Thursday, September 17, 2009

Susan Boyle in Coming to America

I'm sure most of you have seen this, but I don't watch any of the reality programs, including and especially the "Star Search" variety like Idol or America's Got Talent. But it was on the latter program that Susan Boyle, she of the "I Dreamed a Dream" who captivated us earlier this year, made her American debut. And as cheesy as it sounds, I love a good underdog story. I admire this woman's courage and dedication, and obviously it has paid off for her. So here she is, doing a remarkable cover of The Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses".

Saturday, September 12, 2009

You Must Watch this Video

I apologize for the two-week absence: I've been sick as hell, really. I only started feeling better in the last couple of days.

Which is oddly appropriate for an introduction for this video, which appeared in my GMail inbox today. It is a song about why we don't need no helth cur here in Amurca. It's called "We're #37" because that's where America ranks among all the nations of the world in quality of health care.

But it's funny, and it rocks (sort of), so give it a watch.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Coolest Dog In The World: Deconstructing the Boston Debacle (Part Four: In Which We Meet Rocket)

I'm a dog person. Have been all my life. My first dog that was MINE, I got when I was about 10 years old, from my uncle. He had puppies all over the place, and I found one I had to have. He said, "If you can catch him, he's yours." That's all it took. Finally, I cornered the scared little guy underneath my uncle's heating oil drum. I don't know which one of us had more oil on us, me or the dog, but I got him. And I held him all the way home.

I named him Waldorf, after a dog in a book that was a favorite of mine at the time. He was a great dog. A year or so later, standing in line at the movies, we noticed a Cairn Terrier wandering around the theater line (a Cairn Terrier looks like Toto). I chased that guy down too. Pat (as he came to be known) had had a bad life. He had a rope collar that he had outgrown, and his skin and fur was starting to grow around the collar.

My mother put an ad in the paper, as was the custom at the time, and prayed that whatever sick son of a whore put the dog in that position didn't claim him (which he didn't). I don't know how much the vet charged to remove the old collar from Pat's neck, but he was very resistant to collars from then on. I don't think he ever wore one.

Pat and Waldorf became good friends, there was no argument about pecking order between them. They would cruise the neighborhood together, and come home when they were hungry or tired. Later, we found out that they had about 6 other places where they were taken in by families who had made names for each of them, they just made the rounds, getting fed at least 4 times a day, and treated like royalty. But they always came home.

But as I and my siblings aged, so did Pat and Waldorf. And I don't know if it was just the slowing down that accompanies age, or if he got caught up in too much traffic, but one day Waldorf got run over on the highway. After a day or so of looking for him, I drove out to the pound, where I claimed his body and took him home for a burial. Pat stood by the grave, as if he were mourning.

Pat wasn't the same after that. The spark he had, the twinkle in his eye, the bounce in his step, they were all missing. And about 2 weeks after I buried Waldorf, Pat was run over on the same highway, almost in the same spot. Now you can tell me that dogs don't have emotions, or can't plan things, but you won't convince me that that dog didn't commit suicide. He had lost his best friend. He had lived a good life, but now saw no future. So he did what he thought Waldorf would have done in the same position.

I buried Pat right next to his friend.

Now, if you think I'm just telling you this because I wanted to tell you about the love that dogs can feel for each other, you're half right. But there is something else I wanted to share.

See, I thought my two dogs were the coolest dogs ever. And they certainly knew the value of a friendship.

But while I was in Boston, I met a dog who strangely reminded me of Pat. His name is Rocket, and his people are Bart and Michelle Welden. When I say this dog is cool, it's giving "cool" a good name.

Michelle drives a convertible. And when Rocket goes for a ride, he wears special doggie goggles, so bugs don't get in his eyes. And his long, floppy ears glide out like wings. Apparently, it's a sight that garners a lot of attention from fellow motorists, who break out the camera phones every time he sticks his head above the windshield.

And after hearing the stories, I had to agree that Rocket is indeed, the coolest dog in the world. At least now. My two would have given him a run for the money, but Rocket has no equal right now. You can have your Portuguese Water Dogs. Give me an old hound like Rocket, and I'll be alright.

This one's for you, Michelle and Bart. And for you, Rocket. You're a beautiful family, and I am richer for having known you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The rest of the infamous Barney Frank town hall meeting

You've heard of or seen by now the clip from a Town Hall meeting in Rep. Barney Frank's Massachusetts district about health care reform. And no doubt, you've seen him cut that idiot lady teabagger (isn't that a physical impossibility: lady teabagger? Lady teabaggee, I can see, but...) off at the knees. But here is more of that same meeting where he handles ignorant constituents of both genders with equal aplomb. I have a man-crush on Barney Frank.

I Have Been Off Sick

I just noticed that the last time I posted was a week ago Friday. I apologize. This is suicide in the blog world, I know. But this being a one-man operation, I have nobody to step in when I am unable to fulfill my duties.

I have been sick-I MEAN SICK- for the past week. Right now, I feel like my head is about to explode. So I'm gonna cut this post short.

I do have one question though: If anyone knows where to get some good narcotics, please contact me through my email address, or post a comment below.



Friday, August 21, 2009

I'm In Rapture: Deconstructing the Boston Debacle (Part Three:Pat Benatar! Blondie! The Donnas?!)

I'm sort of running this story in rewind: I began with the Trip Home; jumped back to Saturday afternoon at Salem, then Sunday afternoon alone with Emily Dickinson (BTW, I left the book for Dawn -- Miss Emily deserves to stay In Massachusetts, she would be so lost in the Midwest.) Now I'm fast-forwarding to Saturday night (August 8) and the first of two concerts we were to attend.

Originally, we thought it was going to be one show, Blondie and The Pretenders. However, Dawn, pressed as she was for time, what with working a high-stress job and raising two lovely teenage girls, mistook the billing. Saturday, 8/08, was Pat Benatar, Blondie, and The Donnas, a fairly good act but not worth rushing to the venue to be there in time to see their set. The Pretenders were scheduled to appear on Wednesday, 8/12, with Cat Power opening, definitely an occasion to skip the warm-up act. (I remember once, I went to see Van Halen (with Dave, the 1984 Tour) at Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio. "Autograph" opened for them. In case you've forgotten, and if you have, please tell me how, Autograph had ONE song on the charts: "Turn Up The Radio". Besides that, they could have been a local garage band. They SUCKED is what I'm sayin'.)

Anyway, sweetheart that Dawn is, she bought tickets for both shows. "I promised you Blondie and The Pretenders, and I'm giving you Blondie and The Pretenders" is not exactly what she said, but it sounds good.

Now, as fate would have it, we could not see The Pretenders' show, as I have explained before. But we made the best of the Blondie/Benatar show.

Twenty-five years does a lot to change people (I hadn't seen either Daw nor Bart since college), but Dawn can always be counted on to Bring the Fun. She even lectured me on the way to the show: "Dale, you need to be more of a participant in your life. Stop standing on the sidelines." Evidently, she had forgotten my modus operandi at school. I didn't bring the fun, I let the fun come to me.

"I'm more of an observer," I told her, adding "I like to watch," one of my favorite movie quotes. (Easter Egg: Here's your trivia challenge. Name the movie which I quoted, the actor who said the line, that actor's character's name, AND the actress to whom he spoke the line. First answer with correct answers for all parts of the question gets a mix cd.)

So, after about 4 Heinekens for me, 4 Bud Lights for her (and some herbal therapy), we met up with Bart and his beautiful wife Michelle.

But I digress (wow, you NEVER digress, Dale). We walk over to the Bank Of America Pavilion, which looks to me like an open-air Sydney Opera House set up at Timberwolf in King's Island. A beautifully engineered shell covered the seats, which were placed on a slope, so that each row of seats was slightly higher than the one before it. It was a beautiful venue for a concert.

The ladies excused themselves to use the pissoir, while Bart and I wandered over to the beer tent. I don't want to complain about the prices, bu I couldn't afford to live in Boston. Twenty bucks got me a Sam Adams Summer Ale and a Miller Lite for Dawn, both from the tap. I told the barkeep to keep the change, cause what was I gonna do with a buck, but I know it didn't impress my server. (Two things I learned in Boston: they don't get discounts on Samuel Adams, and they don't have to sign loyalty oaths to the Patriots, which made Bart happy since he's been a Steeler fan since before Terry Bradshaw played.)

I want to stop here and say something to those of you (Alison and Matthew) who object to my Hawaiian shirts. First of all, they're slimming. But that's beside the point. For the concert I was wearing one of my loudest Hawaiian shirts, and therefore became a beacon to the others in my group. They didn't have to wander around for fifteen minutes looking for Bart and me because my shirt was so highly visible. So Na-Na-Na-Na-Nah-Na.

As I said before, Dawn brings the Fun. And she attracts others who also bring the Fun. That's how we got to meet Joseph Pimentel. Keep in mind that I'm a lousy judge of character, and my first impressions are usually dead wrong. Such was the case with Joe Pimentel and his sidekick David Dutra. I thought at first they were a couple of goombahs, a couple of mooks. And once again, I was wrong.

Joe and Dave were consummate gentlemen. They danced with Dawn, and did nothing untowards (I think Dave got an ass-grab in at some point, but Dawn didn't seem to notice, or if she noticed, she didn't mind.) But there was the Fun, right with Dawn, Joe, and Dave.

Me, in my role as observer, kept my distance in case something went awry. I may not be tough, and I probably would have gotten my ass kicked, but I was there to help keep my friend's dignity intact.

In fact, after she wore herself out dancing, she came back to our seats, followed by some weird fuck who thought he could get a dance too, or maybe more. I moved between him and Dawn, and he got the message.

By this time Pat Benatar was on stage, the last act of the night. About 25 minutes into Benatar's set, Dawn, more than a little buzzed, asked if we could go. Sure, we'll go. She apologized, but I told her, I came to see you and Bart, Pat Benatar was just gravy. We said our goodbyes to Bart and Michelle, and started walking to the lot where she had parked.

Let's jump in the wayback machine now, because I've given no indication about how the music was.

Blondie was perfect. Although I didn't hear "Rip Her To Shreds", the band played an excellent set. And for the encore (and I cannot remember the song they did, but it was one of Blondie's best), the band segued into "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That was it for me. We had left our seats and were standing in the walkway. I had consumed just enough Sam Adams to loosen up and "be a participant". I tried to stop them, but my feet started moving. I mean, it's Michael for Chrissake! How can you not dance? I pulled every MJ move I knew. Michelle asked me if I could moonwalk, but fortunately I was unable to oblige, having never learned that step.

And guess what-Matt and Ali? My friends liked it. So HA!

Two days later, when Bart picked me up at Dawn's to spend the night at his house, I felt the need to apologize. "If I'd known I was gonna see you again, I'd have behaved myself better the other night," I told Michelle. (More on Bart and Michelle in a later post.)

So Blondie rocked the house. And for the record, I'd still do that cute little chick. She is STILL smokin'.

Pat Benatar followed soon after. It was actually a surprise because I expected a longer intermission. Pat Benatar is still lookin' hot, too. There's just one thing that bothered me. I do enjoy a concert where the front man/woman likes to tell a story to introduce the next song. But there were several factors inhibiting Pat's introductions. 1) Her band was the last act. The crowd had gotten used to a presentation with no segues. Finish one song, start another. 2) Pat's speaking voice is very mousy, not the striking, defiant voice of, say, "Love is a Battlefield". So even if you wanted to ther the intros, you couldn't, and everyone around you was talking-no respect. And 3) It's Boston. She's doing her intro while a bricklayer in a Tedy Bruschi jersey yells "Who gives a fuck? Play the Goddamn song!"

So the band: terrific. Right on time. The songs: just as we remembered them. The intros: save it for VH1's Storytellers. Only once, when Neil Giraldo, Benatar's lead guitarist and, as I just discovered, her husband, and de facto leader of the band, introduced a tune did people listen. They had no choice. Giraldo's voice boomed out of the speakers. And he has that old, grizzled, tattooed, been-a-rocker-all-my-life so don't fuck with me vibe that you just knew if anyone yelled "who gives a fuck" while he was speaking, he'd jump off the stage, go out into the audience and commence to kickin' some ass!

They rocked.

Alright, fast-forward to Dawn and me leaving the show. It's obvious that she's not gonna drive. I've got my wits about me, but it's a city I have zero experience with. Dawn can direct me, but what if she passes out? I'm screwed.

Fortunately, she stayed awake for the entire 45 minute drive (give or take: I was too nervous to look at anything but the road. Apparently there's an art to driving in Boston. It's a little like bumper cars, a lot like "get out of the way, asshole". I was the asshole. At one point Dawn turned to me and said "You're not a very good driver." Well, let's consider. I don't know where I'm going. You're too drunk to drive. I'm keeping it together but if I get stopped, I'm gonna test over .10 BAC. Can you put MORE pressure on me? In her defense, when I told her about it the next morning, she was profusely apologetic. Just chalk it up to the beer.

All in all, I had a great time at the show. And Joseph Pimentel? Both Dawn and I friended him on Facebook. You should too-just tell him I sent ya. This guy's picture gallery includes so many concerts and ballgames you wonder when he gets the time, let alone the money, to do all this stuff. This guy is not standing on the sidelines-he's in the game.

God bless you, Joe.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Come Join My Start Up Page

I'm trying to get more attention for this blog. To facilitate this goal, I have posted a profile of myself on to gain a bigger readership. Feel free to visit this website, and perhaps join me in it. Yours,


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