December 8, 1980

I wrote this back in May but since it’s December 8th I thought I would repost it…I can’t believe it’s been 38 years ago… Seeing that date depresses me…this was not the way to start the decade that was my teens.

Since second grade, I’d been listening to the Beatles. While a lot of kids I knew listened and talked about modern music …I just couldn’t relate as much. By the time I was ten I had read every book about The Beatles I could get my hands on. In a small middle TN town…it wasn’t too many. I was after their generation but I knew the importance of what they did…plus just great music. The more I got into them the more I learned about the Who, Stones, and the Kinks. I wanted to get my hands on every book about the music of the 1960s. Just listening to the music wasn’t enough…I wanted to know the history.

I spent that Monday night playing albums in my room. Monday night I didn’t turn the radio on…I’m glad I didn’t…The next morning I got up to go to school and the CBS morning news was on. The sound was turned down but the news was showing Beatle video clips. I was wondering why they were showing them but didn’t think much of it.

Curious, I walked over to the television and turned it up and found out that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I was very angry and shocked. The bus ride to school was quiet, at school, it was quiet as well. Some teachers were affected because John was their generation. Some of my friends were shocked but some really didn’t get the significance at the time and some didn’t care. A few but not many kids acted almost gleeful which pissed me off…It was obvious their parents were talking through them.

I went out and bought the White Album, Abbey Road and Double Fantasy in late December of 1980…I can’t believe I didn’t have the two Beatle albums already…now whenever I hear any song from those albums they remind me of the winter of 80-81. I remember the call-in shows on the radio then…pre-internet… people calling to share their feelings for John or hatred for the killer.

The next few weeks I saw footage of the Beatles on specials that I had never seen before. Famous and non-famous people pouring their heart out over the grief. Planned tributes from bands and everyone asking the same question…why?

My young mind could not process why a person would want to do this to a musician. A politician yea…I could see that…not that it’s right but this? A musician? Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK were before my time.  By the mid-1970s John had pretty much dropped out of sight…John and Yoko released Double Fantasy on November 17, 1980, and suddenly they were everywhere…Less than a month later John was murdered. The catchwords were Catcher in the Rye, Hawaii, handgun and insane. The next day we were duly informed on who killed John in the First, Middle, and Last name format they assign to murderers.

I didn’t want to know his name, his career, his wife’s name, his childhood…I just wanted to know why… he says now…”attention”

I noticed a change happened after that Monday night. John Lennon was instantly turned into a saint, something he would have said was preposterous. Paul suddenly became the square and the uncool one and George and Ringo turned into just mere sidemen. Death has a way of elevating you in life. After the Anthology came out in the 90s that started to change back a little.

I called my dad a few days after it happened and he said that people were more concerned that The Beatles would never play again than the fact a man, father, and husband was shot and killed. He was right and I was among those people until he said that. Dad was never a fan but he made his point.

Remembering Molly

This is will be out of the norm for me and may be boring to some people so you may want to click the back button…but after talking to another blogger I wanted to write it down.

When I was a kid my mom would not let me have any pets in the house. She was a great mom but no pets at all inside. I had outside dogs but none inside. I knew when I got older I wanted a dog in my house…Not just any dog but a great big dog…I guess it was my way of rebelling against those earlier rules.

In 2009 I saw a local ad on the internet for a Saint Bernard puppy. It was the first puppy I ever had in my life. We did have one Saint Bernard before this that we got from a rescue when she was 8 months old. She passed in 2008 after 9 wonderful years.

We named this 6-week old puppy Molly and she was the runt of the litter. We took her home and she would not interact with us in the first two days at all.

On that third day…different story. She took off running through my wife’s flower garden and from then on she was ours and we were hers… She had one bad mishap. After a lengthy rain she wanted to go outside and she ran and while running caught her front right leg in a hole…it stretched her tendons…the vet put a cast on her leg for a month but her leg never looked the same but it didn’t stop her from running the rest of her life.

Molly was THE family dog and was one of us. She gave love but she wanted it also… when she thought she was being ignored… out came that giant paw pretty much making you pet her. She never hurt a living animal except for Bees…which she would catch with her mouth and quickly get them out…She didn’t like toys with squeakers because she thought she was hurting something so I had to take the squeakers out of every toy.

She grew very fast like Saints do and Molly was not a runt anymore. She looked after my son like he was her own. My son’s friends would be careful not to play too rough with him or each other…if they did they would get an earful…and Saints bark loud. Scared the hell out of some of them but she was never aggressive…just barked loud at the kids to stop. You could play but no shoving or hitting or she would referee really quick and wanted order.

She had the run of our house and many utility people were scared to come in but some braved it and were rewarded with a new friend. It was rare but once in a while, I would wake up with a snoring Molly beside my wife and me in bed. She would lay in the busiest part of the house so you would have no other choice but walk over her.

Last Thursday night my son and I went to dinner and came home to a happy Molly…she was happy because we were all at home safe and sound. She didn’t like when one of us was missing. She was demanding our attention that night and she got it.

The next morning she was breathing heavy and something seemed wrong. She would drink but would not eat. It just kept getting worse over the weekend.

I took off of work Monday to take her to the vet. She had been so lethargic that I thought we would have to get a mobile vet. To my surprise I said the magic words “car ride” and she came to life and followed me to the car…She got in the car and off we went. That was the best she looked in 3 days. We took her in and the vet said she was in poor shape but he wanted to do X-Rays and blood work. After that, he told me to go home and he would call. I foolishly let a little hope creep in.

The call came at 1:30 that Molly had cancer all over and failing kidneys. I don’t like playing God but he said that Molly had put on a brave face for us that morning and showed me the X-Rays and I knew we had to make THAT decision. He said it was a miracle she was walking around at all and she was in extreme pain. We waited for my son to get home at 3 and we traveled to the vet all together to say our goodbyes to our beloved Molly.

It was horrible to see my son hurt so bad and it wasn’t a damn thing I could do. We all hurt but we tried to make the ending happy for Molly. It will be a little while before we get another dog…but when we do we won’t be replacing Molly…it will be to add a new member to our family…Molly will always have her place.

My son will never forget his companion of nine years for the rest of his life…and neither will we.

My 9-year-old son and Molly at 6 weeks old…the day we got her in 2009

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My 18-year-old son with Molly at 9 years old sitting close to him.

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Someone Who Really Didn’t Like Me

I felt bad after the story below happened. I’ve never been an angel but this was one time I didn’t know what was going on.

In 1990 our band was playing in a club called Ronnies every weekend. It was the best time we ever had playing at any place. They had a patio out back and the place was packed on weekends. I was single and was working three jobs, a full time and part time job trying to get ahead and playing music.

The weekends at Ronnie’s was from 8pm – 3am with 15 minute breaks Friday and Saturday. That took more out of me than my full-time job. After my part-time job every day I would go to the park and jog for 2-3 miles…it was the only way I could make it through Friday and Saturday nights. I’m not complaining because it was a great time in my life.

There was a bartender working there and she was really nice and cute and her name was Chrissy. She started to talk to me and we went out on a date after I had known her for a while. We had a good time and I was going to ask her out again the next weekend…This is where it gets interesting.

A week went by and the management of the club thought it would be a good idea to have two bands alternate sets over the weekend so we did that. The other band was good and played similar music. Both bands went over well but it was a pain changing up after sets. When they got off the stage I went up and shook hands with three of them but the drummer didn’t offer his hand back and just ignored me.

I was wondering why this guy ignored me. He shook hands and talked with the rest of us but me. Then I found out that he didn’t like me and I didn’t blame him. I discovered late that night that Chrissy was his girlfriend and he had heard I went out with her…which I had no clue that she had a boyfriend. I’m glad that double band arrangement only lasted one weekend. After that, we were the only band to play…and no I never asked her out again.

After a few more months the owner lost everything and that was the end of Ronnies…but not the end of the story.

A year or so later Chrissy called me up out of the blue and asked me how I’d been. I thought for a second that she missed my charming self (just kidding) and maybe she wanted to go out again…I was wrong. No, she called because she had a friend for me to go out with that I would be “perfect” for… She said her name was Dana and she was attractive, nice, but very quiet. I met Dana at a restaurant a few days later and she was everything Chrissy described her as…in fact I liked her better…so Dana and I started to go out regularly.

I met Dana’s parents after about a month of dating…They liked me and everything was fine until a familiar looking guy walked in the door with a shocked look. He ignored me…yes he was Chrissy’s boyfriend, the drummer from a year before… and the worst part was…he was Dana’s brother!

To tell you the truth it’s a wonder the guy didn’t pick up something and hit me over the head. Not only did I go out with his girlfriend (unknowingly but still)…now I was dating the poor guy’s sister. After that, he and I stayed clear of each other. Not a bad word was shared between us…not a word at all. Dana and I broke up after a couple of months but not because of that. We just didn’t click. I never understood why Chrissy didn’t clue me in on the brother situation.

I never met Dana, Chrissy, or her boyfriend (I don’t remember his name) again after that and I’m sure he was glad to be rid of the likes of me. I was like a bad penny to the guy.

We needed a drummer (good ones are hard to find) later on and part of me thought about calling the guy because he was a good drummer…but I wisely thought better of it.

My First Car

It’s funny how you don’t know what you have when you have it. I was 16 in 1983 and my mom surprised me with my first car. It was used…it cost her 1000 dollars. I thought it was cool and everything but I didn’t know cars. The car was a year older than I was at the time. It was purplish…I currently cannot find a picture of it. Inside was off-white cloth seats with blue carpet…not factory I assure you.

I drove the wheels off of that car. The engine was decent and it didn’t burn much oil at all for an old car.

Was it a perfect car for a 16-year-old boy? NO, it was not the perfect first car for a kid.

My mom had bought me a 1966 Mustang. I still cannot believe I had this car. No sixteen year old should have a classic Mustang…but then again…in 1983 they were not classic yet.

Those cars do not have much room but my friends and I made it work. Our band would have gigs or practice and the four of us would pile into the car…with our amps and drum kit. The passenger back window would not roll all the way up and in winter our drummer would be in the back seat on that side…he said his teeth would hurt because he was so cold when we arrived at our destination with the bass drum in his lap.

The first time it snowed, I got out in the car. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. No one ever taught me how to drive in snow. In middle Tennessee, we don’t get much snow now… but in the 70s and 80s, we did. We got off of school early that day because of the snow so a couple of friends of mine (Kenny and Paul) jumped in the car and we went out exploring the winter wonderland. Kenny was in the backseat with my Epiphone guitar that stayed with me. Paul was riding shotgun and we were happy getting out of school early.

I drove us around most of the day and it was at least 5 inches of very wet snow on the roads. I thought well, this is no problem. That is until we started down a certain snow-covered hill. I did the one thing you don’t do on snow…locked up the breaks. Everything was slow motion when that happened. I suddenly said…”we are going to wreck guys”. I heard a laugh and sure enough, off we went into a creek.

We hit the creek bed with a crunching thud… everybody was tossed around. What was the first thing your humble writer asked? Did I ask how everyone was? No, the first thing I asked was “Hey, Kenny… is my guitar ok?”…Ya, I was a sensitive 16-year-old. They never let me forget that to this day. By the way, the guitar was ok and Paul and Kenny still walk the earth today so no one was seriously hurt.

We had no money on us, we walked through the snow for a couple of miles…me carrying my guitar to a friend’s house and I borrowed $25 for a tow truck.

I was extremely lucky with the Mustang. The only damage was the passenger side fender. It took me months to find a fender for that car. I finally had to order it from a junkyard and it cost me 75 dollars in 1984.

In 1985 the Mustang broke down and I got another car instead of getting it repaired but not after racking up a lot of mileage and fun… You only get one first car…and mine was something to remember. Now when I see an old Mustang I think of how I wish I would have appreciated mine more.

 

Magic 8 Ball

I was told as a kid that a Magic 8 Ball could predict the future. I bought it hook line and sinker…I was also told by my older sister (8 years older) that snakes bite the second person in a line while I was merrily leading the way hiking in the woods as a 5-year-old…so I caught on pretty quick after I stepped on a snake…didn’t get bit though…but I never let her forget it.

I bugged my mom till she got me the mysterious Magic 8 Ball. I was amazed at this toy…well it wasn’t a toy to me. I thought this was great. So being 5-6 years old I thought I would put it to use… Oh, Magic 8 Ball should I color in the encyclopedias with my crayons? I shook it up and waited for the triangle to give me the answer… “signs point to yes”…those signs must have pointed in a different direction than my Mom… she wasn’t a fan of the Magic 8 ball after that.

Abe Bookman invented the Magic 8 Ball, a fortune-telling toy currently manufactured by Mattel.

During World War II Alfred Carter in Cincinnati had created a tube-like fortune-telling toy. To help him he got his brother in law to help…that would be Abe Bookman. they created a 7” tube device with glass on both ends with a pair of floating dice with responses. It was sold as the “Syco-Seer: The Miracle Home Fortune Teller.” Their company was called Alabe Crafts.

The original Magic 8 Ball was tubular and went by the name Syco-Seer. The Magic 8 Ball above. The Syco-Seer metal cylindar above. The Syco-Slate Pocekt Fortune-Teller at right.

Carter died in 1948 and Bookman revised it into a crystal ball but it still didn’t sell really well. Then the Brunswick Billiards company commisioned Bookman to make them one for them shaped like an 8 ball as a promotional giveaway.

After the giveaway was finished Bookman kept producing them shaped like an 8 ball.

The Magic 8 Ball that we have known since then has contained a 20-sided polygon inside a hollow plastic ball, floating in a liquid-filled, 3-inch diameter tube. The liquid largely consists of dark blue ink and alcohol. The predictions, yes, no, or non-committal, appear on each triangular face of the polygon.

Bookman marketed it as a conversation piece, a paperweight and then a toy.

Ideal Toys bought Alabe Crafts in 1971. Next, Tyco Toys bought the ball in ’87. Mattel owns it today and sells one million units a year.

Here are the magical statements of the Magic 8 Ball

  • As I see it, yes
  • Ask again later
  • Better not tell you now
  • Cannot predict now
  • Concentrate and ask again
  • Don’t count on it
  • It is certain
  • It is decidedly so
  • Most likely
  • My reply is no
  • My sources say no
  • Outlook good
  • Outlook not so good
  • Reply hazy, try again
  • Signs point to yes
  • Very doubtful
  • Without a doubt
  • Yes
  • Yes, definitely
  • You may rely on it.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_8-Ball

 

The excuse for leaving work today

My son texted me this…I don’t think my company would buy it…Of course being at Dodger Stadium would be hard but I will be there in spirit. If the Dodgers win today they will win the division…if they lose they are off to the wildcard game.

Colorado Rockies (RHP German Marquez – 14-10, 3.76 ERA) at Los Angeles Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler – 7-5, 2.76 ERA), 4:09 p.m. ET. The Brewers and Cubs are playing right now to decide their division.

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Helpdesk Calls – Sally’s Computer

Sally’s Computer

I have worked in IT for twenty years and back in the 90’s, I got my start by working on a Helpdesk for a restaurant chain. Back in the late 90s people just didn’t know much about computers…they were hired to serve, cook or whatever… not to be a tech. I couldn’t stand the rude techs who talked down to people. It took patience at times but it was nice helping people.

But…it was hard not laughing at times. Some people thought a computer didn’t work with the natural laws of life like everything else.

I took one call from a lady named Sally. She told me her computer would not turn on. Well, I had Sally go through the cords and electrical cables on the back of the computer right after checking the power button. This restaurant she was working at had a very small office…not too much bigger than a broom closet. Anyway, I was walking her through it and describing what she was looking for…

I hear her moving things around and I heard her say OOOW! I didn’t think anything of it but then I heard an OOHHHH! I asked her if she was alright and she said yes she had hit her head. Ok, we continued on our journey and  I was telling her to make sure it was plugged in…another very loud BUMP…OOWW… She said she hit her head again.

I asked her again if she was alright…Sally was a trooper…I thought maybe a little clumsy but a trooper nonetheless.

I wanted to make sure she wasn’t holding the network cable instead of the electrical cable so I asked her what color the cable was in her hand…she said she didn’t know…Ok…

I then asked, Sally you can’t tell what color it is? Sally said no, she said she didn’t know what color it was because there was no light in the office. She said she was in the dark.

I thought maybe a light bulb had gone out in the office…Nope…

Sally then proceeded to tell me that the electricity had been out in the office for over an hour.

Holding back the laughter I told Sally that could very well explain her computer problem.