Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks for the Experience.

Do you realize this man was only 27 years old when he died?


Go out and listen to Are You Experienced? The album with the bonus tracks. No, listen to it all the way through. Try to imagine hearing this for the first time. Then imagine everyone in the world hearing this for the first time with you. Go ahead now..

Today, he would have be 66 years old.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday…Ms. Bullock

This woman epitomizes power and grace. Her voice, her moves, her being. Her influence on women in rock, I think, is greatly understated. Her story is legendary and a triumph of perseverance that everyone can learn from. To the sexiest 69 (!) year old in the world…A hearty happy birthday to Tina Turner, still going strong.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It was 45 years ago today.

The 35th President of the United States was assassinated in Dallas Texas. In this year of incredible change, we should pause to remember the hope this man embodied for an American generation coming out of WWII and entering the cold war. We enter uncertain times with global economic forces, global warming and global wars. We have a new face for an American President and a country looking to him for hope.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Funniest Thing I Have Read and Watch in a Long Time

Bill Simmons is a genius!

By Bill Simmons
ESPN The Magazine

My favorite YouTube clip runs 572 magical seconds. It celebrates an impossible-to-fathom era of political incorrectness, egotistical celebs, misguided testosterone and the purest unintentional comedy possible … only it finishes with a Hall of Fame sports moment. That's right—I'm referring to the match race between Robert Conrad and Gabe Kaplan on the 1976 debut of Battle of the Network Stars.

A quick explanation: Building on the success of its Superstars franchise, ABC mustered an athletic competition that pitted on-air talent from the three networks against each other. Howard Cosell was the emcee/announcer for what is best described as a trashy coed team decathlon. Many TV biggies showed up for the $20,000-per-member-of-the-winning-team prize, even Farrah Fawcett-Majors. Nowadays, of course, she'd tell the producers to screw off. But then? Thanks for inviting me! (You have to love the '70s.) The team captains were Telly Savalas, star of Kojak (CBS), Gabe Kaplan, boss of the Sweathogs in Welcome Back, Kotter (ABC), and Robert Conrad, Pappy Boyington in Baa Baa Black Sheep (NBC). Here's a running diary that won't possibly match the clip itself:

0:00 A furious Telly complains about an illegal NBC baton exchange during the sprint relay. This is personal for Telly. As he explains to Cosell, his people, the Greeks, started the Olympics, so he feels obligated to stand up for what's right. Wait, did the original Olympians smoke cigarettes between events or wear red jogging suits with gold chains and dark sunglasses?

1:15 After a 35-second we-haven't-quite-figured-out-how-this-slo-mo-works replay of NBC's chicanery, Conrad bitches to sideline reporter … wait for it … reigning Olympic decathlon champ Bruce Jenner! (This show practically created two things: sideline reporters and instant replay. In other words, it went one-for-two.) "If they're protesting the fact that we really outran them," he hisses, "that's their problem!"

Not to be outblowharded, Savalas throws around words like "vulgarly" and "flagrantly" to condemn NBC. That's when Conrad crosses every line: "[Telly] is Greek, and the Greeks are famous athletes. That's how this all started. [Kaplan] is Jewish, he wants to arbitrate. And I'm German, I vant to kill both of dem!" Everyone laughs. Why? It's the '70s, that's why!

Just when it can't get better, Pat Harrington Jr.—Schneider, the wisecracking janitor on One Day at a Time—quips, "And I'm Irish, and I'm looking for another mick to hit!" followed by Telly deciding, "And I'm from New York, and I want the bread, baby."

I think that was a joke. I'm almost positive.

2:25 NBC's made-for-TV-movie queen Joanna Pettet sums up: "What is the hullabaloo?" It's the last time the word is ever used.

3:12 Director of competition Howard Katz, who would parlay this gig into a job running ESPN and ABC Sports, assesses a two-second penalty to NBC and awards the race to ABC as future A-list directors Penny Marshall and Ron Howard celebrate a bit too exuberantly. How have Laverne and Opie not yet pooled 10 mil to destroy all copies of this telecast?

4:00 Kaplan, Howard and Robert Hegyes (Kotter's Epstein) discuss the verdict with Cosell as Wonder Woman Lynda Carter happily kisses Kaplan on the cheek. Telly strolls in after popping four more blowhard pills. "I'm still upset, Howard," he gripes.

Me too. I'm upset we once lived in a world in which Telly was a sex symbol. Telly isn't half as ticked as Conrad is. He's now threatening to pull NBC from the competition. "I'm the captain of this team!" he screams. "We ran a damn good race!"

Katz makes the mistake of saying NBC would have placed second if not for their infraction. "Like hell!" Conrad bellows four times. Seriously, LIKE HELL!! When ABC star Richard Hatch (Streets of San Francisco) tries to calm things, Conrad sucks disdainfully from a cigarette and pushes Hatch away. Why was everyone so terrified of him? The guy is barely taller than Darren Sproles.

"Tell Kaplan to get his team out there and run it with us," Conrad yells. "We'll determine who the best team is." He's in a frenzy.

And then it happens: To a bemused Kaplan standing behind him, Conrad turns and snarls, "You and I want to run a 100 to see who the fastest is?" Kaplan quickly agrees. "Lets go!" Conrad says as he whips down his towel.

Now, before I found this clip on YouTube, I hadn't seen this moment in 32 years. I'd always remembered it vividly, though. You don't forget a bully calling out one of your heroes. No one challenges Mr. Kotter like that! I also remember thinking Gabe was in deep doo-doo. He was a gawky teacher with a Groucho mustache. Conrad shot people in Black Sheep. How could Mr. Kotter pull this off?

What I didn't know: Kaplan ran track in high school. He'd actually made up 15 yards on Conrad in the previous relay. "I'm sure it looked like I couldn't possibly win," Kaplan told me recently. "I looked like a guy who should be hanging around a deli, and he was, like, the macho man of his generation."

Even Farrah (Gabe's teammate) complained about the mismatch to Cosell, causing him to respond, "Farrah, baby, I'm not in charge of the rules committee. But … [shifting into Dramatic Cosell Mode] clearly, CON-tro-VERSY has beset the Battle of the Network Stars."

6:30 Back from a tense commercial break. Gabe's teammates try to talk him out of running. Nope. He has to do this.

8:00 They're off!

8:05 Things look bleak as Conrad rips off an early lead. But Gabe makes his move heading into the turn, catches up and—wait, this can't be happening—completely dusts Conrad down the stretch! It's Kaplan by a good 10 yards! ABC wins!

I can't emphasize this strongly enough: This was the happiest sports moment of my childhood—besides Carlton Fisk's home run and USA 4, USSR 3. My man ran 120 yards in under 14 seconds, while poor Conrad heaved his way to the end, handicapped by too many butts and a monstrous ego. It was too fantastic. All of it.

8:16 Gabe is mauled by his euphoric team. They do everything but pile on top of him like the 2008 Phillies. And then, a heartwarming moment: Conrad and Kaplan walk toward Cosell, arms around each other—and Conrad coughing up a lung.

"That's the way I like it," Conrad tells Cosell dramatically. "Best man wins … Best captain won."

Then he walks away, but not before giving Gabe two demeaning slaps on the face. Ladies and gentlemen, the biggest celebrity blowhard of all time … Mr. Robert Conrad!

9:01 The clip ends with a slo-mo replay of Gabe dusting Conrad as Epstein cheers like Lasorda after Gibson's homer. "Look at the smile etched in the visage as he breasts the tape," Cosell narrates. I was just thinking that. What the clip doesn't show is that ABC won the next event and later won the climactic tug-of-war. Gabe's race was Dave Roberts' steal, in a way.

Even now, Gabe remembers each detail. People have been bringing up the show to him for 32 years. He's the Mike Eruzione of reality TV. "I didn't realize at the time how big it would be," he admits. "Nobody could believe I won."

Or anything about those 572 seconds, for that matter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm Back

1st there was the greatest election of my lifetime. Then, I had my career transition.

I started my job as the Competitive Media Analyst in my company on Thursday November 6. The career switch is a big deal to me. I must go into some history here.

I knew I was going to be a musician when I was 15 years old. I geared all of my decisions toward having a career in music-I didn't get married, I have no kids, I worked freelance jobs. After slugging away as the music industry wasted away, I moved to Austin and worked in cover bands. I decided to go back to school and I didn't stop for 6 years. I ended up at the local paper here in Austin and I was primed to move into my retiring boss's job. It was the AR Manager and I just finished my MBA in Finance after completing my BBA in Accounting. To add to the expectation, I was told in 2007 I was going to move into that job. So I was shocked when I was screwed out of the job by a nutjob middle manager. This person really doesn't know what teamwork is and wants to do everything a certain way.

This really added some stress to me. He I am in my mid-30s, getting turned down for a job in the cubicle world after I had trained for it. I was a great student, A average for my BBA and MBA while I worked full-time. I left my music to get a real job and the real job rejected me. I was not happy.

Then the marketing department had this position and it is perfect for me. I use my intellect. I am really a professional information junkie. I look up data and use my judgment to provide people the information they need. The information is all about media use, tracking and measurement and forecasting. The same skills I used in accounting and finance, but now with fun information: audience measurement, market share, audience behaviors. The great thing is that I have been doing this stuff intuitively because I was selling a product and skill in an over saturated market-music.

I have my footing and I will be back to my daily blog posting. Now the election is over and my guy won, I will watch, report and be encouraged. I feel now is the time for a rebirth in America. I really believe our economic issues will get worked out. I feel the good vibe coming back.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

This is cold

You don't make Halloween political. If this was a Obama supporter, I would say the same thing. I have to admit though, it smells of the defensiveness of the McCain campaign.