Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's A Cruel.....Cruel Video....

Cruel Summer by Bananarama

Released in 1983 in the UK (1984 in the US), the song was a hit, reaching #9 and helping to kick off their career.

But the video seems like it was missing a story line. The band is dancing around New York City singing the song and having a good time working at a gas station. Then a truck shows up and they get excited. The truck driver looks as confused as we are. And all of a sudden, a police car shows up and out pops a red neck sheriff.....did anyone tell them that Boss Hog doesn't live in New York City? And why are they throwing bananas at the cop car??.....Oh, bad pun time (they have the word Banana in their name).....well that's just silly. But can someone please explain why, after getting away from the police....they invite the cop and Boss Hog up to the roof top dance party???

The band has said that they tried some drugs for the first time on the day of the video shoot so that explains their super excited antics but who wrote this "story" that they forgot to tells us about?

Oh well, I enjoy the song and that's enough for me.....please go and enjoy the video.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Spaceman Spiff And His Trusty Tiger

Calvin And Hobbs.

First published on November 18th, 1985...within one year, it was featured in over 250 newspapers and was hugely popular. At a time when most comic strips were fading out or were essentially just being republished to fill space, this pair of animated pals were a fresh take on an old medium.

Calvin is a six year old boy who has a vivid imagination and a beyond-his-years intelligence. He imagines his stuffed tiger is really a real tiger named Hobbs and they go through life and all its philosophical trails and tribulations just like any six year old and stuffed tiger would.....they are wise beyond their years and reckless with their own safety. But its not about the destination....its about the journey.

They bother Calvin's dad with questions no six year old should ever need to ask....they annoy Calvin's mom with random destruction and a sense of mischief...they torture the little girl from school, Susie, with their immature boyness (Calvin really likes Susie, but don't tell him that)...they cause Rosalyn, their babysitter, endless trouble while helping her to fund her college education (Rosalyn is the only one that will babysit Calvin....for a very high price).

But Calvin is not always a rotten kid. He battles space aliens in his spaceship on distant planets that are really his school or his own house....the aliens being his teacher and his parents. Calvin can make very good use of a large cardboard box and his wonderful imagination, turning it into a duplicator and making several copies of himself ("they" cause all kinds of trouble that his mom blames him for), making it into a Transmogrifier, which changes the user into any desired shape.....usually with disastrous effect, or even turning it into a time machine.

Spending time with Calvin and Hobbs is to spend time enjoying the simple things, the fun things, the smart things. He's a look inside the rambunctious boy (or girl) we all were and the adult we eventually wished we had become...wise, enlightened, and carefree. His imagination HAS come to life and it makes the world a better place for him and everyone around him....well maybe not the adults in his life but they'll someday look back on this kid and his oversized sense of fun and long for those days when they've finally passed.

To those that have loved and enjoyed this comic strip or to those that missed all the silliness and fun, here is the very first strip that appeared featuring this boy we all wished we could be and the tiger he'd love forever.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

...And With That, I Won $50

The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers were not considered to be much of a team at the start of the year. Made up of untried rookies and veteran players that had seen better days, they were expected to finish last in their division....but no one on the team agreed with that assessment. Led by Kirk Gibson, the team felt that they could prove everyone wrong and win the division and maybe make it to the World Series. Everyone expected the Oakland A's to win the whole thing any way, so getting to the end was victory enough for this team.

Coming off a hard fought series against the New York Mets to secure the National League title, the Dodgers were fairly banged up, with Gibson barely able to walk on two hurt legs but his intense drive and determination kept the rest of the teams spirits up. Even with hurt legs, he spent most of the first game of the World Series in the training room getting physical therapy on his injured legs and watching the game on television. As the 9th inning approached, he began to feel that he would have to come in off the bench to pinch hit and began to get ready by hitting balls off a tee in the locker room batting cage.

With 2 outs in the 9th, the score 4 to 3 in favor of the A's and a runner on first, the Dodger Manager, Tommy Lasorda, sent Gibson to the plate as the entire hometown crowd went crazy. The whole year Gibson had been the go-to guy in pivotal moments...and this looked like his kind of moment. The pitcher, Dennis Eckersley, was the best closer in baseball at the time. He was unbeatable and this was also his kind of moment. It was going to be a battle of wills between the best and the winner would be legend.

As the at bat went on, it became apparent that Gibson was lucky to be standing. His legs appeared to be useless to him if he needed to run and when he dribbled a weak ground ball that miraculously drifted foul, he could barely make it down the base path. If he had any chance he was going to have to hit the ball into a deep part of the outfield and lumber to first base so he could be replaced by a pinch runner. With a 3 balls and 2 strike count Gibson stepped out of the batters box and recalled something a scout had told him about Eckersley: when facing a left handed batter (like Gibson) on a 3-2 count he always used a backdoor slider to finish off the batter. With that knowledge at his disposal, Gibson stepped back into the batters a box and.......

...to this day it brings tears to my eyes. The crowds reaction, the amazing way that two busted up legs carried Gibson around the bases as if he wasn't hurt at all and Vin Scully's call of the play...they get me every time. With Vin Scully retiring this year (2016) this moment is particularly bittersweet because only Vinny could have called that home run. He was the voice of baseball for me growing up...I hear plays called in his voice just out of common practice. I'm still amazed to see the brake lights go on from a car that was leaving the parking lot as Vinny says "It's GONE!!". Who were those people that they were leaving that game before that last at bat? The Dodgers, by the way, went on to defeat the mighty A's 4 games to 1 for their sixth World Series title.

Now for my story: I was working at a pizza place at the time and we had the game on. A co-worker bet me $20 that Gibson would strike out. I said, "I'll bet you $50 he hits a home run." Sweetest $50 I ever made.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I'm Not Sure They Ever Hired This Producer Ever Again

Eternal Flame by The Bangles

Released in February of 1989, the song was a huge hit, reaching #1 on the US charts. It's a great song and it was well produced (it even kept Milli Vanilli from reaching the #1 spot, so thank you to the girls) but there's a bit of behind the scenes info you need to hear. During the recording of the album, this was one of the only songs not uptempo. For the vocals, the producer, Davitt Sigerson (yes, I spelled that name right), suggested to lead singer Susanna Hoffs that she should do what Olivia Newton John had done when he produced some songs with her....sing in the nude. It was only after the song was finished that he admitted that had never happened, he just wanted to see if he could get Susanna to get naked. Clever guy...but you might never get hired by any other female singers with that kind of sense of humor.

If anyone needs help picturing what Davitt was (nearly) enjoying during the recording of the vocals, here's a quick pic from the 1987 movie Susanna was in called The Allnighter (I recommend it)...

...but here's the video for Eternal Flame (all the girls have their clothes on for this....bummer)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Somebody Owes Me $5

Grease 2....

Yes, I saw this massive movie mistake in the theaters. And why wouldn't I? The original Grease had come out in 1978 and was a huge success. Great songs, great cast, great dancing. While Sandy and Danny were cruisin' back in 1958, this new story would rev into 1961....lets see if it was even worth it...

Released in 1982, it was supposed to be a slam dunk. The film came out in the same month as E.T., Star Trek II, Rocky III and Poltergeist...it was doomed. But they tried..

You had a new bunch a T-Birds...

And some new Pink Ladies....

...but Sandy and Danny were replaced by Stephanie and Michael...

...He's Sandy's cousin from England and she's the leader of the Pink Ladies.....honestly, the plot isn't important in this film, except to say he loves her (and he's "ordinary"), she loves a vision of a cool motorcycle rider (SPOILER ALERT*** It's him) and in the end they get together. But this film (like the previous Grease) are not about plot as much as they are about singing and dancing. So what does Grease 2 have to offer?

They had the dancing covered when they hired the original Grease choreographer to be the director. And they had a cast that could sing. And what do they sing about? They sing about bowling...as a metaphor for sex. They sing about surviving a nuclear blast...as a way to trick your girlfriend into having sex. The sing about going to the grocery store....as a place to find sex. They even sing about sex....from the perspective of pollinating plants!!! I'm serious...watch it below.

Its bad and I want my $5 back.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Songs That Need Our Love....Part 27

Promises In The Dark by Pat Benatar

Released in September of 1981, this was the second single from her #1 album, Precious Time. This song only made it to #38 on the US charts so it received a little bit of love but I feel it deserves more.

The song is a full throttled display of her soaring vocals. Listen to how much power she has after the guitar solo, she clearly out-does the guitar of her husband, Neil and he had to get flashy to stay with her while she was tearing up the lyrics. Plus she looked fantastic in that skin tight jump suit. Yowza!!

Pat still performs this song and she sounds just as good today as she did back then. She's a force of nature.

Please Enjoy!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Albums of 1986....Part 8

Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi

Released in August of 1986, the album was the third studio album from the band and the label was hoping they could deliver a hit album to go with the growing fan support.......12 Million copies later and 8 weeks at #1 on the US charts....I think they delivered.

The band released 4 singles from the album, 3 of which reached the top 10, 2 were #1 on the US charts. The band knew that they had struck pay dirt and toured extensively to support the album. The videos for the singles were simple performance pieces and highlighted the fun that the band had on and off stage....heck, 75% of their audience was hot chicks, why wouldn't they be having fun?

Now, if the band had had their way, this would have been the cover of the album....

...might not have attracted as many female fans in the beginning....the videos are when the female fans got locked into this band....I would have bought the original album cover...for several reasons. But the songs were really good and at least 11,999,999 people other than me agreed.

Here's the video for Livin' On A Prayer (one of the #1's) and it shows the band having more fun than they should followed by some great live shots. The song was (and is) an instant classic. I know Tommy used to work on a dock.....but this song is awesome.

Please Enjoy.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hall Of Fame Badass....From The Start

Bad Reputation by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

The year after her band, The Runaways, broke up, Joan was back with a solo project and a backing band. A full album had been recorded and a few shows had been played.....but no record companies wanted to sign the band. In fact, 23 labels turned her down (some of which are listed in this video) ....so she did what any badass would do....she started her own record label, Blackheart Records, and released this gem as the first single. The next year the band would release the single, I Love Rock N Roll, and when it stayed in the #1 spot on the US charts for 7 weeks, suddenly all the record labels wanted to sign her. Funny how huge success changed their opinion.

As for the song, it pretty much says, from the first line, what she thinks about anyone's opinion of her. "I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation". She would maintain that attitude her entire career and in 2015 she would be inducted (along with the Blackhearts) into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. I recently saw her perform live and she still sounds great, still looks great, and she's still badass. I Love Rock N Roll....and I Love Joan Jett!!!

Please Enjoy

Friday, September 9, 2016

That Sounds Like Stalking To Me

Don't Talk To Strangers by Rick Springfield

Released in 1982, this song reached #2 on the US charts.

The video makes Rick look like a creepy stalker. He follows his girl down a dark alley, he hides under her table, he jumps in through the motel window when she's about to cheat on him.....ok maybe his fears were warranted....but still. This is over the top for anyone. If you watch closely, Rick is the one turning over the table in the restaurant.

The song should have been on more of my mix-tapes for some of my girlfriends because most of them ended up "talking to strangers" and breaking up with me for some other guy. I always thought I was a nice guy. I guess Rick and I are just too handsome for our women.....or maybe not so much in my case.

Please Enjoy.

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's All In The Reflexes......And The Porkchop Express

Big Trouble In Little China

Released in July of 1986, it was described by the director, John Carpenter, as an action adventure comedy kung fu ghost story monster movie. Originally written as a western in 1890's San Francisco Chinatown with the lead character being a skilled gunman but a complete klutz in a fist fight, the script was re-written to bring the story into a modern Chinatown and to tap into the mystical world of Chinese Legend and magic.

Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a truck driver headed into San Francisco to see his old friend, Wang Chi, and drive him to pick up his fiancee, Miao Yin (a girl with green eyes.....it will come up later), at the airport. Well, she gets kidnapped by a Chinese street gang and after some searching, Jack and Wang end up caught in a street fight between two rival gangs until Lo Pan (the bad guy/ancient wizard) and his henchmen show up.

So, Lo Pan has an ancient curse on him that prevents him from taking permanent human form. But he can break the curse placed on him by the first emperor of China if he marries a green eyed woman.....and then sacrifices her to appease the Emperor. It turns out that the reporter following Jack and Wang around, Gracie, also has green eyes. PLOT TWIST!!! So while trying to rescue Miao Yin, Gracie gets kidnapped as well. Now Lo Pan can kill one green eyed girl and marry the other.

But Jack and Wang are not giving up. They get Egg Shen, a magician and authority on Lo Pan, and one of the street gangs to help them attack Lo Pan's underground headquarters. During the wedding, a huge fight breaks out between the rescuers and Lo Pan's henchmen....Jack misses the whole fight because he's accidentally knocked himself out. Wang and Jack eventually confront Lo Pan and his Henchmen and Jack's reflexes (which he brags about often) prove to be just as sharp as he claims. The good guys win and everyone is safe. In the end, its Jack that has something he'll have to deal with that he may not be ready for.

What makes this movie so fun is that there is a ton of humor thrown in to make you laugh as often as you're on the edge of your seat with excitement. During a fight between Wang and one of the henchmen, there's all kinds of debris flying into frame while the two combatants fight off-screen. Most of Jack's lines are delivered for as many laughs as they are to sound like action movie catch phrases. I highly recommend seeing this film. Its a cult classic and its a fun hour and a half.

Now, I'm going to add a clip of the film which shows the end of the big fight but it has all of the elements in this clip that make up this great film. So Spoiler Alert....it does show Lo Pan's end. But it also shows a moment that could have only been filmed once.....broken Buddhas is all I'll say.

Please enjoy..