Friday, June 2, 2017

Remembering Carlo "Carl" Driggs


 Though the name Carlo Driggs may not stand out in the music world as much as other artists, it's not for lack of talent.

Carlo was born in Cuba, with music in his blood, and over the course of his career, racked up a string of major accomplishments.

I've witnessed this talent at many concerts, for which I feel fortunate to have been able to do. This is especially true since learning of Carlo's untimely death on May 31, 2017 of a massive heart attack.

Though I didn't know Carlo personally, when I heard the news of his passing I was shocked and saddened.  My first thought was that Rock n Roll heaven had claimed another angel for it's band.  I then thought of Paul Revere, from Paul Revere and the Raiders, and knew Carlo was now reunited with his former boss of 21 years, (1983-2004).

It was with Paul Revere and the Raiders that I first heard the name Carl Driggs, (he'd dropped the "o" at that time), and experienced the talent and showmanship the man possessed.

His voice could be rough and raspy sounding one minute, and the next be soft and sultry.  No matter the song, Carl could take it and make it his own, all while moving around the stage with a force of energy that was contagious; spreading through the gathered crowds of concert goers on a regular basis.

Off stage, when signing autographs, Carl was always kind and polite to every fan wanting a photo or signature.  He treated everyone equally and with respect, and was a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

For me, though Mark Lindsay is the voice on the Raiders' hits, Carl was the face and voice of the post Mark era Raiders.

Having been a Paul Revere and the Raiders fan almost my entire life, I've always had a passion for looking up all the trivial info I can find about the band and it's members.  This same passion is what led me to discover that Carlo had been in at least two other bands, prior to the Raiders, that had released albums in the United States.

The first band was called Kracker, and the other was Foxy.

It was with Foxy that Carlo co-wrote the song, "Get Off", which landed the band at #9 on the Billboard charts and #1 on the R&B charts in 1978.

 For those who may not recognize the name of the band, or the song, I've included it in this post.


As stated earlier in this post, Carlo was with  Paul Revere and the Raiders for 21 years, 1983 to 2004.  After leaving the Raiders, Carlo went on to entertain audiences as a solo artist in Las Vegas.

Though I was never fortunate to see Carlo's solo performance, I've  heard from others that it was a well polished show, where he covered a diverse range of musical genres and artists, from Frank Sinatra, to the Rolling Stones and everything in between.

Being friends with many Raider fans on Facebook, I've seen numerous posts praising Carlo Driggs' talents, and mourning his loss.  Because there have been so many, I debated whether I should post something as well.  At first I wasn't going to, but I just kept thinking of all these different things I wanted to say, so with this post, I've now added my contribution to the others honoring the memory of Carlo Driggs.

 Thank you Carlo for all the great memories you've given so many of us all these years.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

'Twas the Year Twenty-Sixteen

Before you continue reading, I feel I should give fair warning that this is not a "happy" post.  While based on "A Visit from St. Nicholas", (aka " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas"),  by Clement Clarke Moore, this post is filled with darker undertones, and is a bit abstract at times.

Also, I try to give equal time to all, though sometimes it's not possible.  So while I've named a few names in the lines of this verse, please note that I wanted to include more; it just didn't work to my advantage in some cases.

With all that said, the following is my skewed look back at the year 2016.

'TWAS THE YEAR TWENTY-SIXTEEN

Of the year twenty-sixteen there's plenty to grouse,
Including a new president for the White House.
Supporters were happy; the rest in despair,
Of the man with orange skin and really bad hair.

Trump wasn't the only thing there was to dread;
So much violence, people ending up dead.
Shootings, bombings and all kinds of scary crap;
All this, and more, the nightly news had on tap.
Protesters protesting for things they felt mattered.
Marching through the streets, creating quite a clatter.
Though most wanted peace, some with police clashed.
So much tension, no wonder their tempers flashed.

Yet that still wasn't the end, wouldn't you know;
Intolerance and hatred among us did grow.
Always underlying, it rose up this year,
Rearing its ugly head, and making itself clear.
Choose any minority, go on, take your pick;
All came under attack, making others feel sick.
The bigotry of some, made others feel shame.
Yet those causing the problem would not take the blame.
All the emotions, the good and bad were mixin'.
The only sure thing was problems needed fixin'.
Our country had stumbled, had taken a great fall.
The year seemed destined to destroy one and all.
If that wasn't enough to make one cry,
So many icons in twenty-sixteen did die.
Bowie, Michael, Fisher and Prince were a few.
Beloved Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder, left us too.

Talk of Abe Vigoda's death was always a goof;
But twenty-sixteen dealt us all the stark truth.
Best known as "Fish", Abe is no longer around.
Only in reruns of "Barney Miller" he's found.


Glenn Frey with The Eagles was always very good.
Florence Henderson and Doris Roberts both would,
Leave this world for heaven, and never come back.
No longer moms for Raymond, or the Brady Bunch pack.


Seems for the most part twenty-sixteen's been quite hairy.
Maybe what this world needs is a good dose of fairy
Magic to put a halt to this mad, mad show.
What?  You don't believe? Come on, just give it a go.
Maybe, just maybe, if there's enough belief,
We can come together, and start healing the grief,
That's deeper than the underside of a snake's belly.

From corporations to the neighborhood deli,
Let's rally together; take our pride off the shelf.
Plant seeds of happiness and start spreading the wealth.
Twenty-seventeen is a rough road to tread;
Let's lead with kindness, and hope for less bloodshed.
It won't be easy; it's a lot of hard work.
But for all who try, the world has one less jerk.




So now that you're done reading my bit of prose,
Think good thoughts, but stay alert, on your toes.
'Cause next year may come with a nuclear missile,
Eradicating us all, clean as a whistle.
If this little ditty has given you a fright,
There IS hope for next year, when this one's out of sight.




.







Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Happy Doomsday!


Well, here we are, November 8, 2016, the day America decides it's fate for the next four years.

Yep, after months of campaigning, (aka mudslinging, character bashing, name calling, etc., etc., etc.), today is the day we finally find out whether Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump will be taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Personally, I'm terrified whatever the outcome will be.

Seriously, in all my years of being able to vote, I've never really been happy with the choices I've had to pick from for president, but I've never been afraid of what the outcome of an election would be, until now.  
     (Photo not a true representation of the candidates. Actual photos were deemed too frightening for use in this blog post.)

We've been hearing for months about all the wrongs Clinton and Trump have done.  It's like watching a reality TV show, except it IS reality.  We're not going to be able to just turn off the TV and go on with our lives after today.  This reality, however it plays out in the polls, will be with us, 24/7 for the next four years.

It's not just all the dirty campaigning they've engaged in, or the things each has been accused of; it's the voters as well that worry me.  If any of them emulate the candidate they support, what's going to happen if that candidate loses?  Come on, people riot in the streets for less, whether the situation is good or bad.  Who's to say that mob mentality won't take over in our streets, if enough people decide it's okay to handle the situation that way.

As I said in a recent post on Facebook:  I find it strange that we tell our children that it's never okay to lie, cheat, steal, or bully someone; yet our two top choices for president encompass all these negativities, and more.
Just remember, actions speak louder than words. What message are we sending kids when they see these things being done by someone who's supposed to lead our country?

I realize, it's only my opinion, but I just don't like the thought of either Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump being in charge of our country, not even for one day, let alone four years. I've never trusted anyone running for office less than I trust these two.

True to being me though, I've been dealing with all of this my own way, with humor, whenever possible, or when the muse strikes.

One way I've been coping is by trying to find alternatives to vote for, for the office of president. I've actually come up with several choices I'd be happy with.


1,  Bill the Cat & Opus the Penguin

I've loved Bill and Opus from the first time I saw them in the comic strip,"Bloom County", by Berkley Breathed.

These two are a breath of fresh air for politics.  Bill blends right in with today's politicians, seeming to play dumb to the world, while Opus embraces it whole-heartedly, ever seeking to find the good in everyone and everything.

The foundation of their campaign is to put two spaces between a period and the start of a new sentence.  You know, the things that are important to the well-being of mankind.



2.  Alice Cooper

I've always been a fan of Alice Cooper, seeing beyond the shock rock stage performance, and radio hits he's racked up over the years.  Behind all that is a man who's pretty down to earth, tells things like they are, and isn't afraid to speak his mind, while still being respectful of others.

I never thought of him as a candidate for president though, until he mockingly decided to run, because he didn't like what he was seeing happen this year.  He's also running for Prime Minister of England, since he says their political system is as screwed up as ours is.

It may sound crazy, but the man really does have some good points.


3.  Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, star of TV commercials, and the TV show, "Dirty Jobs", is another choice I thought of for president.

Rowe is actually quite a renaissance man, having held several jobs during his lifetime, including a stint as an opera singer.

He's so well loved that Rowe has actually received at least 500,000 requests from fans to run for president.  While he was flattered, Rowe declined the offer, but offered up his dog, Freddy, as an alternative, with himself being Freddy's vice presidential running mate.  

I see Mike Rowe as one of those people that would honestly make a great president, but is smart enough to know he doesn't want the job.


4.  Snoopy

I've been hearing quite a bit from anti-Trump people that, besides all the other reasons he shouldn't be president, a big one is that he has no experience in politics.  

Keeping that in mind, I realized that my other three choices for president also have no political experience.  To remedy this, I've taken into consideration someone who's run for president several times over the past few decades, Snoopy, from the "Peanuts" comic strip.

Who doesn't love Snoopy?  He's an American icon.  And of course, there's his vice presidential running mate, Woodstock, who's equally lovable.  

Another way I've been handling the political maelstrom is with song rewrites.

By no means am I another Weird Al, but I do have fun with parodies, and have had a couple pop into my head in the past few months.

The first one I came up with uses "We Are the World" as it's base.  When it first popped into my head, I was thinking of it as both Clinton and Trump taking turns with the rewritten lines.  Hillary's parts would be in blue, and Donald's in red.

By the time I was able to have time to put my words to paper however, the entire thing had changed, so, I rewrote the first couple of verses and the chorus of "We Are the World" the new way, and used green for the parody part, 

I've included the video for "We Are the World" here, followed by the original lyrics and the parody. 


WE ARE THE WORLD-WE’RE ALL SCREWED

There comes a time
There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
Every four years in the fall
When the world must come together as one
When the U.S. must choose only one
There are people dying
Despite all the lying
And it's time to lend a hand to life
All the mudslinging and all the strife
The greatest gift of all
That one must lead us all

We can't go on pretending day by day
Let’s get real though, let’s not shy away
That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
Despite who wins, it will be a bad change
We're all a part of God's great big family
Will the White House see Hillary’s family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need
Or will it be the Donald who succeeds

We are the world
The Democrats
We are the children
Or Republicans
We are the ones who make a brighter day
Which will be the one to darken our days
So let's start giving
They’re both deceiving
There is a choice we're making
Say they’ll do good; they’re faking
Were saving our own lives
Everything’s based on lies
It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me
The only truth is who’s being screwed, you and me


Send them your heart
Do they have hearts
So they'll know that someone cares
Do they have souls, do they care
And their lives will be stronger and free
We’ll cast our votes, then we’ll wait and see
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
Deleted emails, or crazy in the head
And so we all must lend a helping hand
As Toby once said, fit will hit the shan

We are the world
The Democrats
We are the children
Or Republicans
We are the ones who make a brighter day
Which will be the one to darken our days
So let's start giving
They’re both deceiving
There is a choice we're making
Say they’ll do good; they’re faking
Were saving our own lives
Everything’s based on lies
It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me
The only truth is who’s being screwed, you and me

A couple weeks after the above parody, my brain came up with another one.  Instead of using a song that's 31 years old though, this time, it rewrote Carrie Underwood's latest single, "Dirty Laundry".  

As with "We Are the World", I only redid a couple verses, and the chorus.  Below is the video for Carrie's "Dirty Laundry", followed by the lyrics to the song, and the parody.




DIRTY LAUNDRYPOLITICAL QUANDARY

That lipstick on your collar, well, it ain't my shade of pink
Ain’t nothin’ good ‘bout politics, and this year really stinks
And I can tell by the smell of that perfume, it's like forty dollars too cheap
From name calling, to mudslinging, the candidates are really digging in deep
And there's a little wine stain on the pocket of your white cotton thread
There’s so many things to consider swimming around inside our heads
Well, you drink beer and whiskey, boy, and you know I don't drink red
Until this election’s over, think I’ll hide under my bed

[Pre-Chorus]
Found it over in the corner
Wish election day was over
Wadded up on the bedroom floor
Trump and Clinton are both big bores
You shoulda hid it in the closet
Her skeletons pulled from the closet
You shoulda burned it, you shoulda lost it
As for him, he’s kind of gone and lost it

[Chorus]
Now I'ma have to hang you out to dry, dry, dry
Oh, it’s all left us asking ourselves, why, why, why
Clothespin all your secrets to the line, line, line
Neither as president will be fine, fine, fine
L
eave 'em blowing in the wind, just say goodbye to you
No matter which one wins, who loses will be me and you
All those midnights sneaking in
Our prayers we better begin
"I'm late again, oh, I'm so sorry"
No matter what though, we’ll be sorry
All the Ajax in the world ain't gonna clean your dirty laundry
Lackluster candidates leave us in a political quandary


[Verse 2]
If the neighbors get to asking, I won't cover nothin' up
Swear they’ve been completely honest, haven’t covered nothin’ up
I'll tell 'em every little detail, how you drug me through the mud
Yet, what about Hillary’s emails, while Trump is just out for blood
I'm gonna string up your old button-down and slide it on the porch
We’ve hit a new low, with who will carry the presidential torch
Just in case you get the nerve to come knockin' on my door
Don’t think I’m alone, when I say it scares me to my core


[Chorus]

Now I'ma have to hang you out to dry, dry, dry
Oh, it’s all left us asking ourselves, why, why, why
Clothespin all your secrets to the line, line, line
Neither as president will be fine, fine, fine
Leave 'em blowing in the wind, just say goodbye to you
No matter which one wins, who loses will be me and you
All those midnights sneaking in
Our prayers we better begin
"I'm late again, oh, I'm so sorry"
No matter what though, we’ll be sorry
All the Ajax in the world ain't gonna clean your dirty laundry
Lackluster candidates leave us in a political quandary


[Pre-Chorus]
Found it over in the corne
r
Wish election day was over
Wadded up on the bedroom floor
Trump and Clinton are both big bores
You shoulda hid it in the closet
Her skeletons pulled from the closet
You shoulda burned it, you shoulda lost it
As for him, he’s kind of gone and lost it

[Chorus]
Now I'ma have to hang you out to dry, dry, dry
Oh, it’s all left us asking ourselves, why, why, why
Clothespin all your secrets to the line, line, line
Neither as president will be fine, fine, fine
Leave 'em blowing in the wind, just say goodbye to you
No matter which one wins, who loses will be me and you
All those midnights sneaking in
Our prayers we better begin
"I'm late again, oh, I'm so sorry"
No matter what though, we’ll be sorry
All the Ajax in the world ain't gonna clean your dirty laundry
Lackluster candidates leave us in a political quandary

While this next bit didn't come from me, it didn't fall to far from the tree. My son, Josh, has the same warped sense of humor as mine. The other day he posted what popped into his head on Facebook:

Who to choose, who to choose. While one will win, we all will lose. Turn in your ballot by tuesday night, am i doing this poem thing right?

If you're still with me at this point, thank you for indulging me being able to share all of the above babble, I appreciate it.

In closing, I wish everyone the best in the four years ahead of us.  Let's hope it will be better than these past few months of campaigning have been.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

"Forever Country"

2016 marks 50 years of the Country Music Association, (CMA), presenting country artists with awards for greatness.  In honor of this milestone, the CMA has put together a video featuring over 30 award winning artists, performing a mash-up of three iconic country hits, John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads", Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again", and Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You".

The video, titled "Forever Country", shows the artists singing part of one or more of each song, while standing in front of a green screen.  The green screen allows for various backdrops to be placed around the artists, from cityscapes, and buildings, to forests and hay fields, and everything in between. The scenery is as awesome as the performances, making for a  perfect blending of sight and sound, with neither overstepping the other.

I first learned of "Forever Country" from reading about it on a couple of local radio stations' websites.  98.7 The Bull's Jake Byron noted in his write up that only 1% of people would be able to recognize every country artist appearing in the video.  I was already interested to watch the video, and upon reading about the 1%, wanted to see if *I* would be able to name all of them.  I'm proud to say that I was able to.

Even if I hadn't been able to name everyone though, I'd still be writing this post, because this video is too awesome not to share with others.  Watch "Forever Country" for yourself, and see how many country artists you recognize.  And be sure to tune in on November 2, 2016, to watch the 50th annual CMA Awards show live on ABC.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Better Vote for 2016

I've always been a firm believer that, if you don't exercise your right to vote in an election, then you've waived your rights to complain about who others have elected.  This year though, I've honestly considered waiving all my rights to complain, and not vote for anyone as president.  My reasoning is, no matter who's elected, I'll still have the right to say, "not my fault".

One day however, I realized I know exactly who I'll be voting for in 2016.  Continue on, and discover why I believe these two fine creatures will make the perfect president and vice president for our ailing country.

The most obvious thing you'll notice about my candidates, (and what is the foundation of their campaign), they both have great hair and personalities.  Never mind what the photo at the bottom of this post shows, the candidates can be very personable, and downright friendly, if approached properly.

Though, like Donald Trump, my presidential candidate is quite orange, their hair is much, much nicer, and real looking, than Trump's.

For those hoping to see a woman president in 2016, my candidate fits the bill perfectly, and as a bonus, has a nicer demeanor than Hillary Clinton.

Beyond looks and personalities, my candidates are capable of tackling the real issues of the day. For instance, though they are complete opposites, my hopefuls prove daily that it's possible for anyone to get along, if they at least try.

They're able to relay great messages to future voters.  They live what they believe, demonstrating this by getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and practicing good eating, dental and hygiene habits. 

Many have said that my candidates are excellent at putting others at ease, allowing those around them to relax and melt away their stress.  To me, this is a great quality every president and vice president should have.

Once in the White House, there are several ways my candidates can save taxpayers money.  My presidential hopeful has extensive experience with pest control, and therefore would not need to call in outside exterminators, should the need arise.

There wouldn't be a need to maintain a blaring alarm system in the White House, with my vice presidential hopeful in residence.  The candidate is nearly overqualified at being able to throw their voice loudly for great distances.  For those who don't think this is enough protection, rest assured, both candidates are professional protectors and guardians to all those around them; and though they are polite and friendly, you wouldn't want to do something you shouldn't; it wouldn't end well for you.

Above all, my candidates will save even more taxpayer dollars by not taking any paychecks during their tenure at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Yes, that's correct, they will ask for no money while in office.  Instead, they would only require food and water on a regular basis, plenty of treats, and an occasional toy or two on special occasions and holidays.

Yes, after much consideration, the political candidates I've described above are the ones I'll be voting for this November. You may have figured out by now where this post is going.  If not, I now present my candidates for president and vice president in 2016:  Rusty Predmore and Buttons Falan. 





Tuesday, March 1, 2016

For A Friend

Sometimes it's easier to write the things you want to say to someone, than it is to say it to them. Whether it's because you're not sure how your words will affect them, or you want how you feel to be a bit more permanent, writing fills in those gaps that are left between spoken words.  With that said, this post is for a friend of mine, Dani Hunter.

Dani is a kind, gentle, very caring person, mixed with a great sense of humor and a deep well of knowledge on a wide variety of subjects.  One of Dani's best attributes is his love of animals.  All animals are deserving of Dani's love, and he owns several pets; cats, dogs, and even a sugar glider.
Dani's most beloved pet though was his dog, Indee.

I never had the privilege of actually meeting Indee, but have heard many wonderful stories about this happy little Corgi.

Stories of bravery, strength and always smiling, as in this photo from Dani's Facebook page, that's how Dani always spoke of Indee.

You see, Indee was handicapped.  Though he couldn't run and play the way most dogs do, (his two hind legs didn't work), it never made him a sad puppy.  No, he was always there, according to Dani, to help cheer Dani up on his bad days, and to add extra joy and happiness on his good days.

Despite his disabilities, Indee lived a long life, 13 years, spreading his infectious love and sweetness to all who knew him.  Heck, he even spread it to those of us who never met him; I mean, how could anyone resist a smile like that?!

While other pets of Dani's came and went, leaving holes in Dani's heart at their loss, Indee was always there to help with his grieving.

But then this week came that awful day, that day when all the sunshine went out of Dani's world, that day when he'd be grieving the most, with no help of relieving his pain.

At 13 years old, Indee's paralysis had spread to his neck, and was seriously affecting important aspects of his quality of life.  No one wants to see anyone, human, or animal, suffer, so after some deep soul searching, it was with a heavy heart, that Dani made the decision to have his precious fur baby put to sleep.

Knowing that Indee is no longer in pain; that he's in doggy heaven, running, and playing with all the other doggies, doesn't help with the pain of losing a best friend.  I understand this, as do others who have lost a pet. And though Dani has many friends, who care about him, and his well being, we also know it will take some time for Dani to work through this loss.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, sometimes there aren't enough words, or the right words that can be said to help another in their time of need.  Sometimes writing works better for the person trying to help someone.  That's why I've written this post, because even though Dani knows I'm there for him, to listen, to give hugs, and to understand how he feels; this post is something *I* needed to do, for him, to let him know that I really do care.

Rest in peace Indee, and know that you'll never be forgotten, by Dani, and anyone else who's ever heard about you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thieves & Squatters

I'd hoped in the new year I'd get back to writing more posts to this blog; sadly, so far, that hasn't been the case.

Perhaps I was expecting too much, considering that my family has been dealing with a thief/squatter for awhile now, leaving little time, or energy, to write. Though writing won't help me to escape from the destruction the thief has caused, maybe it will help me to deal with the ongoing issue at hand.

 A while back a thief snuck silently into my parents' home and started taking things.  At first it was sporadic, just here and there, once in a while.  It was just random enough that my parents, as well as my son and myself, questioned whether it was really happening or not.

Then things began missing more and more. Nothing of great monetary value, but things that were sentimental and made of family memories.

Though the theft has affected both my parents, with each of them suffering losses, the thief has singled out my mom for the worst of the attacks.

This thief has no mercy, especially with my mom. The things this thief has done, and continues to do, stresses my mom greatly; which in turn makes the thief steal more and more often. My mom's stress transfers to the rest of us, and the whole situation is a continuing cycle.

The thief my family is dealing with is quite brazen, and has declared squatter's rights in my parents' home, with no intention of leaving. If that's not bad enough, this thief refuses to let them leave their house alone.  Even if my son, or I am taking them somewhere, the thief ALWAYS has to go with us. This thief/squatter is holding my parents hostage in their own home, as well as anywhere they go.

Though we live next door to my parents, the only time my son and I don't deal directly with the thief is when we're at work. Sometimes we try having time away from home for other reasons.  Even then though, we're uneasy leaving my parents to deal with this thief/squatter alone.  Most of the times we've tried, the thief has stirred up trouble, causing more and more stress.  As bold as this thief/squatter has become, my son and I have found it easier if one of us can be home in case my parents need us.  So far this arrangement has appeased the thief/squatter; but not always.  Sometimes nothing works and we just have to ride out whatever comes our way, until the thief/squatter decides to give us a break.

By now you've probably wondered why my parents, or my son, or I haven't called the police to have this thief/squatter taken care of once and for all; we obviously have plenty of evidence to get a conviction in court, right?  Heck we even know the thief/squatter's name, that should make things even simpler, right?  If only it was that easy.

 No one in our family has actually seen this thief/squatter that's been holding my parents hostage.  There's no physical being that we can have arrested to end all the chaos we're going through.  There's no simple ending to the situation before us.  All we can do is muddle through the best we can, looking towards those who have the knowledge to help us do so.  Why?  Because the thief/squatter that's taken over my parents' home, preying on both of them, but mainly my mom, is named Alzheimer's Disease.