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Micky Rooney – 1920-2014

April 7th, 2014 No comments

I can’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t know who Mickey Rooney was. Not my earliest memory by any means, but when I developed appreciation of film and acting, Mickey was always there. From the Andy Hardy movies and his partnerships with Judy Garland to his later years when he appeared in films like The Black Stallion, A Night in the Museum and Muppet films, he was a consummate professional. It is reported he also just created some additional footage, reprising is role as Gus in an anticipated Night in the Museum 4.

Eight marriages, including his first to film beauty Ava Gardner, were events that helped define his life, but it was really his passion for acting, singing and dancing that defined his career.

Mickey Rooney will be missed. Mickey Rooney will be remembered for roles in movies like Captain’s Courageous, Love Finds Andy Hardy, The Human Comedy, National Velvet, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Pete’s Dragon, Babe: Pig in the City, not to mention television and stage work.

The consummate professional, there was never any one like Mickey, and it is highly unlikely there will ever be another. Well done, Mickey… well done.

Feel Good Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4th, 2014 No comments

I have already had such a good day, that is it almost 1:00 pm, and I am just sitting down to write this. Of course it’s another beautiful day in South Florida. I got up early and, after reading my morning newspaper, went out, drove along the beach for a little while, contemplating how insignificant we all are in comparison to nature, then stopped and had a delicious, yet light, breakfast.

Hit Home Depot for a couple small items I needed for the new apartment, came home, took care of those details and now I’m going to sit down and watch another episode of Game of Thrones.

The funny thing about GoT is I never watched it. I did pick up the audio book a couple months ago and listened to the story. After about 30 discs, I finished and discovered there was a 2nd book. I got it, too, and it was about the same length. Then I realized there was another audio book, and yet one after that. At this point, while driving around listening to a story, I am about 137 hours in to this wonderful Song of Ice and Fire. There are still two more books to be released and I am truly hooked.

So in my new apartment, I discovered HBO has all the episodes available “On Demand”. So I went to season one, episode one and am watching from start to finish, a couple shows a day.

I always wanted to do that with Star Wars, and watch them out of order, but chronologically correct. Someday. You see… technology really is our friend. Maybe a very frustrating friend sometimes, but still a friend. Gives me one more thing to feel good about on this Friday.

Florida Marlins have a chance! April Fool…

March 31st, 2014 No comments

When it comes to the rights of spring, Baseball’s opening day is a benchmark. The fact that it falls on April Fools’ Day, this year, has special significance to baseball fans here in South Florida. We have The Marlins.

The owner of this once proud franchise, Jeffery Luria, has used and abused his team, the fans, the city of Miami and everyone else who took pride in our team. He takes public money to build a stadium then sells off all the talent. The people I know have nothing against The Marlins. But they hate Luria.

After three years of being in the basement in the National League East Division, it is so bad the organization was offering discount opening day tickets on Groupon. They are trying to do anything they can to put fans in the seats before the cameras go live tonight at they take on the Colorado Rockies.

Adding insult to injury, Miami just hosted what is called The 5th Major tennis tournament. The Sony Open on Key Biscayne, still referred to as The Lipton by many, hosted almost every top player in the world with Serena Williams taking the Ladies Title and Novak Djokavic easily taking out world #1 Raffa Nadal for the championship. On top of that, the Miami Dolphins are making moves and did I forget to mention your Miami Heat are in a position to Three-peat in the NBA.

Who has time, patience or interest in The Marlins? Pity.

Malaysian Flight 370

March 24th, 2014 1 comment

In the midst of NSA spying, phone tapping, various invasions of privacy and satellites capable of reading license plates or recognizing hair color… how do we lose a Jumbo Jet?

It’s been three weeks, and even though reports continue to surface, the plane and passengers remain a mystery. News coverage re-hashes what we have already heard, while touting new reports of debris and oil slicks from China and now France.

Maybe I read too much Clive Cussler and Tom Clancey, but I’ve read stories boasting technologies that allow computers to analyze satellite data and not only view recent flight information, but predict future routes. I have read the news and understand that odd turns were made, but I firmly believe we have satellites looking at practically every inch of the Earth, practically every second of the day.

So again… how do we lose a Jumbo Jet… for three weeks?

We have the technology.

With ¾ of the Earth covered by water, I understand that is a lot of square miles of oceans and seas to search, but an aircraft of that size completely falling off the radar is baffling.

I pray for the passengers. Rather than a plane crash, I would rather find out some nefarious Dr. Evil has them on some private island in the tropics, preparing to ransom them to the highest bidder.

Any way you look at it, it is a breakdown and failure of the technology we have come to believe in and rely on. I recently lost my car keys. I understand that; a Jumbo Jet… not so much.

And the Oscar goes to, Russia?

March 4th, 2014 No comments

I know the movie industry is a big deal.  I know it brings our economy lots of money.  Still, I was a little stunned Monday morning that with Russia invading the Ukraine, much of the news coverage was who wore backless at the Oscars.  I certainly think that Ellen’s selfie was worthy of the lead story.  All right, I lied.

Have we become so self-absorbed that awards shows and fashion is more important than world events with real consequences.  How is Russia invading a neighbor not the lead story.  Surely there would be a public outcry.  I decided to take the pulse of public opinion and checked in to Facebook.  I was wrong.  The vast amount of chatter was about the Oscars.  Of course we have some members of congress already endorsing sending war planes.  What could possibly go wrong?

I am betting the only way Russia makes the top of the news is for Putin to appear in a nice strapless number with a matching sequined clutch.

Kiss needs to shut up and rock

February 24th, 2014 No comments

I have been critical of bands being petty, in the past, when it comes to fans.  Now, it’s the band Kiss’es turn to be childish.  They have decided not to play at their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because they can’t get a lineup to please everyone.  First of all, I was never a huge Kiss fan but they did help save rock and roll from disco and have enjoyed a long and storied career in music.  I do think they provided some inspiration for the glam metal scene from the late 80′s.  I also think they belong in the Hall of Fame.  It seems to me that they need to embrace their fans and shut up and rock.

Do the show.  Do it four piece or do it 8 piece, it doesn’t matter.  Your fans don’t care about the spat they just want to see their band.

Remembering Shirley Temple

February 18th, 2014 No comments

Last week I never got a chance to remember Shirley Temple, who passed away.  I loved her as a kid as did my eldest daughter, who is now a very talented dancer.  She was a great actress, singer, dancer and above all a class act.  She endured plenty of bad stuff during her career as an actress but rose above it to become an important political voice.

As I prepared for the piece this morning I found myself mesmerized at the footage of Shirley dancing with Bill Bojangles Robinson.  Her ability to keep up with Robinson at her age was amazing.  The technical ability she conquered at such a young age is still impressive 70 years later.

I am thankful for her talent and the mark that she left.  I hope to enjoy those movies someday with my grandchildren.

It was 50 years ago today, or yesterday- Beatles rock

February 11th, 2014 1 comment

Sunday, watching the show commemorating the Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan was amazing.  The Fab Four really had an impact on music, culture, fashion and teen life for generations.  The music they released over six years still remains timeless.  While I admit I miss John and George like crazy, I was moved to see both of their sons in attendance and, yes, even Yoko.

As a boy, my mom bought me my first Beatles album.  It was the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I left it on my turntable and listened to each side, in its entirety, every night.  I eventually did the same with almost all of the albums, first moving backward to Revolver then ending with Let It Be.  Actually, I ended with McCartney and the Rock Show album. (hey, it contained a lot of Beatles.)  The result was I learned almost every note on all of the albums.  When I was a sophomore I had mono and was out of commission for a couple of weeks.  I took the opportunity to use a multi-track recorder to record myself playing all of the instruments on the opening of Sergeant Pepper. (even the brass!)

Many years later the Beatles became the heart of one of the most memorable experiences with my oldest daughter Alicia.  I used tapes of the band’s early stuff to teach her to sing harmony.  We would drive and sing on our way to anywhere.

The point I am making is the band that arrived before my birth had a profound effect on my life.  They taught me music and helped me bond with family.  The music they made will live on as will their place in history.  But the most dramatic impact is the effect on people’s lives and memories.

Yesterday the music died

February 4th, 2014 No comments

Yesterday was the anniversary of the plane crash that took the life of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.  The tragic event would later inspire Don McLean to pen the hit American Pie.  Many years later the Buddy Holly Story starring Gary Busey would cause me to take up guitar.

It is amazing what an influence Buddy had on the music industry.  He brought technological advances to recording and his songs have been covered over and over.  While some stars that have passed certainly stay more in the public eye, like Elvis and Michael Jackson, the day the music died remains a dark day in music history.  I am sure Buddy would have contributed many more memorable songs had he lived.

Broncos lose… my fault

February 3rd, 2014 No comments

If I hadn’t gone out on a limb and touted the Broncos and Peyton Manning to win the Super Bowl, they would probably all be packing for their trip to Disney World. It’s probably a good thing I’m not a betting man. If it was raining soup, I’d have a fork.
It was a horrible game from the get go and I was struggling to stay interested till half time.

Half time was an unexpected treat. I have heard the name Bruno Mars for a couple years, but know nothing about him. I couldn’t name on song by him, and could not categorize his music in to a genre.

Still, I was very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of his music and performance. Great voice, drums and dance moves. I grew up in SW Ohio and back in the 60’s all the Detroit bands treated Dayton and Cincinnati like local gigs. They were there all the time, and I saw James Brown more than once. Mars has the moves down. It was a very entertaining half time.

Unfortunately, the combination of blow-out score, the barbecue ribs and onion rings and the boilermakers I started drinking about 4:30, (just warming up, Ya’know) combined to create that perfect storm where I pretty much missed the whole second half. This morning’s replays make it sound like I didn’t miss much.

So, Mea Culpa. Sorry Peyton. Sorry Broncs. Time to get ready for next year. Go Dolphins…

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