Saturday, October 25, 2008

Killer Rabbit

When my daughter was at home, somehow, we got swindled into taking care of a good friend's rabbit. Female, we thought until he (it) started making claim to his territory and then we find out she is a he (sounds like a couple of famous songs). All is well until last fall when my daughter decided to go away to college and she can't take the rabbit. Shit. So, after trying to pawn off the beast to anyone who will have him, the rabbit remains in the house. Meanwhile, I've become attached to the little shit and all options of him being farmed out are now dismissed. I have dubbed him Mr. Bunny the Killer Rabbit. I know what you are thinking when I bring up "killer rabbit"...yeah, me too








or with the words, "shh we're hunting cwazy wabbits"






The cage cleaning is a pain but I kinda like the guy. Call me sentimental..

wait...is there a look of...evil?

Friday, October 24, 2008

October


I don't think much good happens in October. The skies gray, the wind chills and there's that first chill of winter that creeps into your conscience. My brother died in October, I have been fired twice in October and then's there this October, 2008. How brutal it's been. First the onslaught of the stock market news which has cost everyone of us something, some much more than others.

I had to "readjust" some salaries last week and then let go someone this week. See, we feel it too. Budgets for the future are challenging and then this week...


The matriarch of the family passed yesterday. Gladys' mother had been sick since July and "just went to sleep". Joanie was a sweetheart and somone whom I will miss deeply. Gladys and I were about 45 minutes into the relationship when the patriarch passed at age 62 from leukemia so, I never really knew Joanie while she was with G's dad. She lived alone for a time then married a wonderful man named John who really extended her life. He passed at the age of 82 a few years ago. Since then, she's been by herself again. A smoker from the age of 12, she finally gave out at the age of 76. She'd been much more than a mother in law, she's been my surrogate mom since my mother died about an hour into Gladys' and my relationship. A confidant, a friend and the last one of this generation left. Now, there's no one in my family that hails from the previous generation. Kind, considerate and a great example for me, and my family. You'll be missed old girl. Have fun with Saul, you two were one of the greatest couples ever. Time marches on.


Today is the twentieth anniversary of my mother's passing. I think about her everyday. Gone way too soon, way too fast. Her life was hard and her sacrifices many. She always made sure we had what we needed and I got my work ethic from her. She tried to escape reality as much as possible, I understand that now. She was getting older and she didn't like it. I remember one time she told me ..."all my friends are dying and I don't understand how anything works anymore, I feel I am left behind and I'm not sure I want to make sense of a world I don't understand..." How true, mom. She was a tough old broad and the time she punched out her daughter in law is one of my favorite stories of her. It's so her. Twenty years, man where did they go? Seems like yesterday, seems like thirty.


It's great to have the boy home. He looks good, strong and healthy and being of great mind and spirit. He had picked up more musical influences while in LA. One being Stevie Ray Vaughan. Very nice. We can certainly educate him here. The girl hasn't left here much, I guess the comforts of home are hard to beat in a time of crisis. We have all rallied around each other. We pray for the swift passage of time to get all of the family through this and behind them. God be praised.


I found out the October is turning into a cruel month for those in the radio business. Cumulus KC just sacked a couple of fistfulls. Namely, one of my mentors in the radio business and a guy who taught me a lot about handling people, Don Daniels. Don is one of the true great inspirations in my career and without him, I am not nearly the manager I am now. Honest, trustworthy, patient and detailed. It doesn't get any better than Don and I am saddened by his departure from this business. He is one that will be sorely missed. He just came off one of his best ratings periods ever and the reward is.... Not only Don is gone but Moffit and Frankie and a number of others. It's tough everywhere, something I don't think I have ever lived through and I lived through the seventies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Intervention

This show is like crack cocaine. I have never done crack cocaine but if I ever did, this show would be like it. I watch the show for the same reason I watch "Cops" sometimes. No matter how bad my life gets, it'll never be this bad. I can certainly relate to the premise. Before Monday Night Football, this is a weird warm up. It sometimes hits close to home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Same Old Mizzou?

While the successes have been very nice, the past two weeks in Mizzouland have reminded me of well, the past. After the beatdown in Austin yesterday, that could have been ten years ago in Lincoln, or Norman, or wherever. They didn't look like the team that went 5-0. Of course, after the 5-0 start, their level of competition has increased exponentially. The "Chase" has been called off for the Heisman and he'll be lucky to get drafted. The defense has been exposed and now it's time to get ready for the Big 12 chamionship (if they can beat Kansas) and then get smacked around again by Texas.


"You are nothing but a piece of shit" Coach Mangino of Kansas said that to a KU player on the sidelines yesterday within earshot of a microphone. Class move, coach.

Life On Mars



"Life On Mars" David Bowie with Mick Ronson

So far, I like what I see on the TV Show. The premise is a guy gets into a car accident and is transported back in time to 1973. I have always had an infatuation to get tossed backward into time and end up somewhere previously in my life. Knowing what I know now and being able to use that back then would be my version of heaven. Maybe I will in the next life, in another dimesion. How cool would that be? And hile I am screwing around on a Sunday, Here's what would be on the radio on this day in 1973.

"Photograph"-Ringo Starr, "Keep On Truckin"-Eddie Kendricks, "Top of the World"-The Carpenters, "Space Race"-Billy Preston, "Midnight Train to Georgia"-Gladys Knight, "Just You and Me"-Chicago, "I Got a Name"-Jim Croce, "The Joker"-Steve Miller, "Smokin in the Boys Room"-Brownsville Station "Show and Tell"-Al Wilson.

By what was on the radio at that time, Brenda and I were getting really serious. We were in what we thought was love. I had my GTO and was switching jobs, from pumping gas at the Owens station on 19th avenue to working the overnight shift at Miller Container Corp in Milan. I ran a corrugated press and printer overnight while the owner's son was my boss. He wanted to impress dad with his (our) performance and ran me pretty hard. We constantly broke the record for machine safety (those boxes cut the hell out my hands) and machine speed. We'd run more boxes through there in eight hours than first shift would do in nine. It was a difficult job to have while attending high school. It was also a long way from my house and I was putting a lot of miles on that GTO. I was beginning to feel very strange about where my life was heading, I really didn't have much direction and followed along with events without having much to grab onto. It was a very strange time.

Levi Stubbs

It was a great pleasure to come from a family that loved music. My mother would teach me about the great country artists of her time: Hank Williams, Homer and Jethro, Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lefty Frizzell and so forth. My older brother would vicariously pull me along in his musical education. When the Four Tops first hit the radio in 1964, I was eight. My brother, on the other hand was 16. See how that worked? I got my musical education at a very early age. That musical education featured the sweet sounds of Motown drifting from the transistor radio that belonged to my brother. The very first time I heard "Baby, I Need Your Lovin", I felt the pain and emotion drenched feeling behind that song, even though I was much too young to know what love was. The Four Tops only had two number one songs, "I Can't Help Myself" and "Reach Out", but it was that heart wrenching baritone of Levi Stubbs that made the Four Tops kings of Motown in my book. If you'll go back and check it out, very few groups were fronted by a baritone, there were mostly tenors fronting the big groups. That's what stood out for me, that ballsy, gruff, deep emotional sound coming from Levi Stubbs, those wonderful harmonies and the perfect instrumental accompaniment from The Funk Brothers. The songs were written in a tenor's range to give them a sense of urgency and it certainly worked for me. There were some low points in their career, but to have hits in the mid 60, then in the early 70's, that proved the staying power of the band. With the passing of Levi Stubbles (Stubbs)earlier in the week, there's only one original member left, just like there's only one original Temptation, too. Through the magic of music, the voices never grow old or out of tune. These guys who are passing will always remain 23, 25 or, in Stevie Wonder's case, a mere boy. In the case of my brother, he'll never be older than 45.
Thanks, Levi, for your contribution to my musical knowledge and thanks for your contribution to my heart. When I listen to music from back then, my heart pangs a bit. It makes me feel a number of different things. Mostly happy but sometimes very nostalgic for times that weren't really like I remember. We tend to choose what memories to keep. We filter out the ones we would like to toss away.

Thanks, Levi for being the soundtrack to a time when my life was full of awe. I miss that.

My favorite Four Tops songs.....

1. "Baby, I Need Your Lovin" #11 1964 They say your first is your favorite, that would be the reasoning here. Johnny Rivers got nothing on these guys. The Funk Brothers, as usual, shine on.







2. "Reach Out, I'll Be There", #1 1966. Nothing more needs to be said, a true musical classic with everything a great pop song should have. This is the definition of soul music. This song still gets me in my solar plexus still after 42 years







3. "Ain't No Woman Like The One A Got" #4 February 1973 This song was a breath of fresh air coming out of my crackly AM car radio speakers during my junior year in high school. The magic of the Four Tops captured in this awesome video...







4. "Standing In The Shadows of Love" #6 1966. This is the song that I discovered how a set of drums could influence a song. This one of my favories to dance to. Soul music at it's best







5. "Walk Away Renee" #14 in 1968. I am not a fan of covers, but this is as good as the original and sung with much more soul. Typical Funk Brothers backing perfection.





As an actor, he provided the voice of the carnivorous plant "Audrey II" in the movie version of the musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986) and the voice of Mother Brain in the animated TV series Captain N: The Game Master (1989). Stubbs has also guest starred in a number of TV shows as himself.
Stubbs and his wife Clineice were married from 1960 until his death, and had five children. In 1995, Stubbs was diagnosed with cancer, and later, a stroke, and stopped touring. Since 2000, Theo Peoples has taken Stubbs' place as the lead singer of the Four Tops, with Ronnie McNeir taking the place that Payton originally held. Levi Stubbs died in his sleep on October 17, 2008 at his home in Detroit from his ailments. Abdul "Duke" Fakir is the only surviving member of The Four Tops.
Stubbs was a cousin of soul singer Jackie Wilson He also had a brother, Joe, who was a member of both The Contours and The Originals, who died February 5 1998.

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