Saturday, October 04, 2008

In Praise of Vinyl

One of the additions we've added to our weekly programming schedule on the Eagle is an idea I stole from a friend of mine. "Off The Record" is a show we air every Sunday night at 6:00pm. It is the playing of a great, classic release off of vinyl. That's right, we actually play a "record". Ken Dillon did this at his station in Sedalia and I though it was a great, cool tribute. So, we have set aside some time to play a great old record, starting with the needle dropping on the side, playing side one in it's entirety, stopping for a break, then coming back and dropping the needle on side two. I think it sounds great and even through my shitty car radio, I can still tell the difference between digital and analog. It's the debut Boston release this Sunday night at 6. Thanks, Ken for the idea.

My Church Speaks...

Vatican officials seldom single out political leaders who differ with the Church on issues like abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research. But now that the Vatican’s highest court is led by an American, the former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, we can expect things to get more explicit in Vatican City — at least when when it comes to U.S. politics.
Burke, who was named prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature in June, told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire that the U.S. Democratic Party risked “transforming itself definitively into a party of death for its decisions on bioethical issues.” He then attacked two of the party’s most high profile Catholics — vice presidential candidate Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion.
He said Biden and Pelosi, “while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way.”
Pelosi drew U.S. bishops’ scorn for saying in a television interview last month that the Church itself had long debated when human life begins. Biden is a practicing Catholic who also supports abortion rights and analysts have said he could help woo wavering Catholics into Obama’s fold. Both argue that they cannot impose their religious views on others.
Burke said pro-life Democrats were “rare” and that it saddened him that the party that helped “our immigrant parents and grandparents” prosper in America had changed so much over the years.
Burke made headlines as archbishop of St. Louis for his public attacks on public figures who strayed from Catholic teaching. He suggested during the 2004 presidential campaign that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, a Catholic, should be denied communion because of his views on abortion. Several bishops said at the time they would not give him communion and the media staked out churches where he attended Mass to see if he received it.
“Lately, I’ve noticed that other bishops are coming to this position,” Burke told Avvenire, which is owned by the Italian bishops’ conference.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter in 2004 to American bishops restating the Church position that a priest must refuse to distribute communion to a Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. But Burke lamented that the letter was never distributed.
Burke’s criticism isn’t limited to Democrats. Last year, he accused singer Sheryl Crow of being “a high profile proponent of the destruction of innocent lives” for defending a woman’s right to have an abortion and for being a proponent of stem cell research. He resigned as head of a children’s medical charity that featured the singer for a benefit concert.
Pope Benedict has been encouraging Catholic bishops to speak out more openly on public policy issues to make the Church’s voice heard. Any bets on when we’ll hear from Burke next?

Archbishop Burke may be a holy man, but he was not well liked here. He picked fights with a number of people about a wide variety of things. While I recognize his deep devotion to his church, he is a canon lawyer and a well respected one, he dismisses ANYONE who disagrees with him. Here is what Joe Biden said..."I believe life begins at conception, however I don’t feel it is my duty to legislate my faith on others.” And Joe, you are right. We created a separation of church and state for this very reason. People have different beliefs and views and no one is “right” or “wrong”. It’s simply a religious choice, one that should NEVER EVER be forced on anyone. One thing the Archbishop has had little to say about is the slaughter of innocent Iraqi citizens and the unwarranted killing of over 4,000 of our finest men and women for a fight that wasn't provoked against a sovereign country. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, Bin Laden did and he's nowhere near Iraq. What was said about that, Archbishop Burke? You can't have it both ways. Will the republicans who voted for the war be denied communion too? I love my church, although I vehemently disagree with them on this count.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday On My Mind

In St. Louis today, thought I would "gold brick" with an appointment and then take the day "off". Ha! I have a ten oclock appointment, one at 11:30, 12:45, 2:15, 3:20 and 4. The headquarters of Schuncks, Panera Bread, JBucks, Wehrenberg Theatres and others are here. These are my clients in B/N. Ah, maybe Saturday I can "gold brick" and be lazy. Not today, So, time to get the old three piece suit on and hit the "bricks". Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Little Eric and Jenny are only 10 years old, but they know they are in love. One day they decide that they want to get married, so Eric goes to Jenny's father to ask him for her hand.Eric bravely walks up to him and says, 'Mr. Smith, me and Jenny are in love and I want to ask you for her hand in marriage.'Thinking that this was just the cutest thing, Mr. Smith replies, 'Well Eric, you are only 10. Where will you two live?'Without even taking a moment to think about it, Eric replies, 'In Jenny's room. It's bigger than mine and we can both fit there nicely.'Still thinking this is just adorable, Mr. Smith says with a huge grin, 'Okay then how will you live? You're not old enough to get a job. You'll need to support Jenny.'Again, Eric instantly replies, 'Our allowance. Jenny makes five bucks a week and I make 10 bucks a week. That's about 60 bucks a month and that s hould do us just fine.'Mr. Smith is impressed Eric has put so much thought into this.. 'Well Eric, it seems like you have everything figured out. I just have one more question. What will you do if the two of you should have little ones of your own?'Eric just shrugs his shoulders and says, 'Well, we've been lucky so far.'

Mr. Smith no longer thinks the little shit is adorable

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top 100

Mahogany Rush IV 1976
When I was 20, I listened to a lot of out there, different, eclectic stuff. Yes, he's ripped off Hendrix and I always thought the idea of someone having a near death experience and then returning while capturing the "spirit" of Jimi was a bit much, ( that was the rumour we heard) but this guy can play. I really liked "Strange Universe", and while "Strange Universe" got way out there with some wired and weird shit, this was the release that got me to enjoy Frank Marino's music. He pulled in the "Hendrix" stuff and started to concentrate on making more accessible, strongly crafted music. The album starts with "I'm Going Away", a very melodic song that builds and builds, such a departure from the over the top playing on "SU". "I'm Going Away" is a funky number that does have a Hendrix feel to it. "The Answer" is one of my favorites and I would say the guitar playing on here rivals most. He's backed by a fine pair of guys who provide a nice rhythm section. Yeah, like Hendrix, it's a three piece band. "Jive Baby" is a time and tempo changer that's filled with great funk and nice chops. "It's Begun To Rain" might be my favorite of the bunch, slow, moody and played with great dynamics. A perfect song for a rainy day. "Dragonfly" is a great Robin Trower song, it sounds more like Trower than anyone other than Robin, who many people have criticized for sounding like Hendrix. "Little Sexy Annie" is a fuel driven guitar work out. He lets it rip on this one. "Moonwalk" was the one that I'd play to stump my friends..."well, it's sounds like Hendrix". "Emperor IV" is the slow, drifting epic that closes out the record.
If you are a guitar fan, go to Frank's website and check these out for yourself. Here's the story about the Hendrix rumour and all of that.
He was born Francesco Antonio Marino on November 20, 1954 in Montreal, Canada. Half Italian and half Arabic, Frank is one of five children and only has a 7th grade education that even included a short stint in military school. "Those years were the late sixties and everyone was into the hippie peace movement and we were so busy getting stoned that we certainly didn't want to attend school. All we did besides getting stoned was listen to Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles and a few others as well as getting involved in movements such as peace, love, anti-war etc. Those were definitely the days, not like now where many young people seem to be into negativism and hate".
It was during those days that his experimentation with LSD would lead him to what was later to become the definition of his life. As a young person doing far too much acid, he couldn't really understand when it finally caught up with him and gave him such an incredibly vivid experience that was so overwhelming, that it landed him in the hospital. "This experience became the basis of everything that I was to do in music, including the name Mahogany Rush, which was a description I would use to describe a certain sensation that I was having on the trip. The artwork on the albums, Child of the Novelty and Strange Universe are an artist's rendition of my trip as told by me to the artist, Ivan Schwartz, who has since passed away".
Since this early drug experience later became known to the press that covered his career, and since he played much in the style of Jimi Hendrix who had recently died, these sensationalists created stories that to this very day Frank has tried immensely and unsuccessfully to dismiss. "The most often heard story is that I took an overdose and woke up from a coma in the hospital and somehow became the spirit of Hendrix, or that I met this spirit and it entered me, endowing me with this amazing ability to play a guitar and magically know everything about it. Later on the story changed into a version that said I was in a car accident, died and came back as Jimi Hendrix in my body. They never ask me the truth and when I told them, they wouldn't listen. The short truth about it is that I learned how to play guitar while recuperating from my trip. The guitar became a soothing help for me because of my great fear of letting my mind wander back into the trip if I wasn't occupied and besides it was the only thing in the hospital relaxation room. I never even thought about the guitar before since I played the drums quite well anyway. I had this trip while Hendrix was still alive and began to play his music because it matched perfectly to what I was going through at the time".
It was only a few short years later after many different band members, that Frank Marino recorded his first album. "In the early years I played in a church and even on a float in a parade. I did mostly cover songs by The Doors, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Cream, Johnny Winter, The Beatles and even The Grateful Dead as well as a few originals that I had written".
Frank Marino's music never reached the mainstream of popularity, but has had a devoted fan base that has grown over the years. Being sober now for over 35 years, he still plays with the enthusiasm that he's always had. Frank is into his music and doesn't really care for the business side of it and has always produced his own albums as well as writing and arranging all of the music.
If you ever get a chance to see him play live, don't pass it up. I have been a devoted fan for 34 years and welcome any newcomers with open arms.

Another Unmissable Movie

Night Shift 1982 A sweet , funny comedy with Michael Keaton's debut role. This movie also features the debut of Kevin Costner and Shannon Doherty. Henry Winkler is trapped a loveless engagement with Gina Hecht and falls for neighbor Shelly Long who happens to be a hooker. After being transferred to the night shift at the morgue, Micheal Keaton devises this scheme to get rich by being "pimps". They succeed beyond their wildest dreams. I saw this movie in the theatre after our resident movie guy at KY102 (Jack Poessiger) loved it. It was relesed in the middle of the summer in 1982. Adam Sandler and Pauly Shore can only DREAM of being as funny as Michael Keaton in "Night Shift." Keaton's hilarious performance only serves to underscore the fact that he's never been near as funny since.Sure, the movie will never be in the AFI's top 100 list. But when I was 26, I only dreamed of being as funny as Billy Blaizejowski, Keaton's character in the film. I credit the script for great lines, but I doubt anyone could have made an annoying character like Billy loveable - except Keaton. Henry Winkler does a bang-up job with a straight role that affords audiences little to get excited about. He is completely convincing as an in-over-his-head nebbish with a nervous stomach, and deserves credit for pulling it off without seeming whiny. We identify with Winkler's character even though we can see how cowardly he is.The plot, of course, is contrived, as is any plot involving hookers with hearts of gold. It's hard to see Shelly Long as a prostitute, but she plays it gamely and has fun with the role.I recommend this film if you have any craziness to your sense of humor, or just if you're a male between the ages of 17 and 25. That's the target audience, but even at 53, I still find Keaton's performance refreshing and laugh-out-loud funny. It came on the Universal HD channel the other night and even though I was dead tired, I watched every minute. One bit of trivia, the music was written by Burt Bacharach and featured Quarterflash singing the title tune and Rod Stewart singing "That's What Friends Are For" over the end credits. I have always liked his version much better than the one that was popular. Once again, a sweet, funny movie with an over the top performance by Michael Keaton and a great role by Shelly Long (who has never looked better) and enough silly stuff to get you through the film.

And Now For Something Completely Different.

Working in the office today, had the old Ipod rockin....

Here's the tasty playlist

"Girl Goodbye" Toto
"Long Hot Summer Night"-Jimi Hendrix
"Siberian Khatru"-Yes
"Over and Over"-Fleetwood Mac
"Somebody Get Me A Doctor"-Van Halen
"Mrs. Robinson"-Simon and Garfunkel
"Gallow's Pole"-Led Zeppelin
"Transmaniacon MC'-Blue Oyster Cult
"Jive Baby"-Mahoghany Rush
"The Boston Rag"-Steely Dan
"My Fairy King"-Queen
"Midnight Train"-Darden Smith
"Midwest Midnight"-Michael Stanley Band
"Sauvecito(long version)"-Malo
"Inner City Blues"-Marvin Gaye

It was an outstanding day of music that motivated me to get stuff done.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Aunt Jane

Yesterday, while in the Quad Cities, I got to see one of the most incredible people I know. My aunt Jane married my uncle Martin in the summer of 1969. Before that, he was a drinker, smoker and in all probability a womanizer. He was married to my father's sister "Bette" who was probably the most disagreeable, nasty woman I have ever met. She was a smoker and drinker with a filthy mouth that had no use for kids. She was my dad's age and all of us kids couldn't stand her. Her contempt for us was very palpable. She had a nasty little chihuahua that bit us constantly. I WOULD NOT have blamed Martin if he strayed, but it's pure conjecture if he did. She died of cancer in teh winter of 1969 and he immediately found solace in a mutual friend. Aunt Jane introduced him to the Lord and in the long run, peace and tranquility. He immediately changed his whole persona. He quit smoking, drinking and swearing and developed a love and goodness that was always there, but she was the catalyst for his transfomation into a man of the Lord. She's an incredible woman and she just celebrated her 90th birthday in April. I never call in advance because she will always have some excuse for me not to see her. I stopped by right after a nap, she was groggy and not quite with it. I don't think she recognized me at first. As we talked, I could tell she was having a difficult time getting her bearings. She was ready to get lunch, so I told her I would be back after lunch and we would go "see" Martin. Martin died ten years ago and while I remembered how to get to the cemetary, I didn't remember where he was. So, with some help from my cousin Robbie, I found it and was ready to go get Jane and take her to see Martin. For being 90, she's a spry gal who all the time told me how much she missed driving and how she could still drive better than most. I believed her, for sure. After visiting Martin, she asked if we could go driving around to visit old residences and places she knew. How fortunate I was to be her companion for two hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We went by two old houses she lived with Martin, her old house that her dad built, her old school and an old residence that had long ago been torn down. Each time, her describing to me the memories she had in each place. She told me about how the whole family had built a garage and how nice it was that it's still standing, where she walked on her way to school and generally reminiscing about long ago held memories and dreams. I don't know if I'll ever see her again, her being 90 and all, but when I dropped her back off at her assissted living residence, we both cried on our beautiful, wonderful day and how two old friends relived a life filled with grace and love. I cried uncontrollably as I left, thanking God for an opportunity to do this. I cried about as hard as I am now putting these words into print. I love you with all my heart Christina Jane Martin. You have meant more to me in my life than just about anyone I know. I learned so much from you and can never repay the love, hope and beauty you've added to my heart. I remember when I cried at my mother's deathbed, she said to me..."Who are you crying That's selfish. Her? Know that at anytime, she'll go to a better place." For me, it was two hours, for her, maybe one last times to live a life in reverse. Thank you, Lord for the chance.

Post number 1300

A man is at work one day when he notices that his co-worker is wearing an earring. The guy knows his co-worker to be a normally conservative, macho fellow, and is curious about his sudden change in fashion sense. He walks up to him and says, 'I didn't know you were into earrings.'

Don't make such a big deal, it's only an earring, he replies sheepishly.

His friend falls silent for a few minutes, but then his curiosity prods him to ask, So, how long have you been wearing one?

Ever since my wife found it in my truck!

I always wondered how this trend got started.

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