Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Born in a crossfire hurricane, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers                  

70 % of dog owners will buy their dog a Christmas present. Don’t give presents to Labrador Retrievers, they’ll just return them.

Italy’s disgraced prime minister, 76-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, revealed he is dating a 27-year-old woman. She is described as pretty and ambitious, he is described as swallowing Viagra like they’re M&M’s.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said that sex at 65 isn’t as good as it used to be; I guess it really is hard to find good housekeepers these days.

The Chicago Bears, who are still playoff contenders, lost to the Green Bay Packers, 21-13 and were booed loudly at home. Getting booed at home is a terrible reception, but unlike the Bears receivers, at least it was a reception.

The New York Jets suffered a horrible playoff-hopes ending loss to the Tennessee Titans, 14-10, Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions. Watching Sanchez play is like watching my friend’s puppy, Wally, learning to be housebroken. “Look he is doing so good, oh, shoot, he just pooped on the rug.”

Italy’s disgraced prime minister, 76-year-old Silvio Berlusconi, revealed he is dating a 27-year-old woman. She is described as pretty and ambitious, he is described as extremely, extremely tired.

New York is a great place to be around Christmas, in Times Square, the hookers are offering a Christmas Mark Sanchez special: for an extra $50, they’ll really suck a lot.

My Lifelong Love Affair With The Rolling Stones

It happened the summer before I went to high school. The thought of entering my high school was as terrifying as it was exciting. On the one hand New Trier (nay) East in Winnetka, Illinois, was a Dickensian/Orwellian nightmare: a gothic factory that churned with an insane beehive of 4,000 students.

On the other hand, there would be a lot of pretty girls. (At this point my hormones were running the show)

Sometime that summer I heard “Tumblin’ Dice.” Like Lester Bangs said in “Almost Famous,” music picks you. In my mind it is a lot like sex. Lord only knows why the sight of girl’s pretty legs in fishnet stockings and a short skirt set off a fireworks display in my Fruit of the Looms, but they did. (I'm a boxer guy now) 

It was the same thing with “Tumblin’ Dice.”

The song seemed to create its own music video of how a good life in high school was supposed to be spent: A bunch of good-looking teenagers, scrubbed and well-dressed after a day at the beach, cruising down a sunny tree-lined road in a shiny red convertible on the way to a great party while blasting "Tumblin' Dice" on the radio.

It gave a tall and skinny kid with braces - who was scared to death of the future - hope. Hope that one day even I could be as cool as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. OK, maybe Mick Taylor.

So I started to do some research. The Stones also had many other awesome songs. “Jumping Jack Flash” “Brown Sugar” “Sympathy for the Devil.” The only thing I wanted for my 13th birthday in 1972 was the Stones double album “Hot Rocks.”

The Eagles like to take credit for being the first band to release a greatest hits album while they were still hot. Not true. “Hot Rocks” was way ahead of them. There was nothing about that album I did not love. The abandoned castle where the Stones posed dressed like a medieval biker gang on the back cover? Perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, the Beatles were great an ehhh-eeee-thang, but they were my older brother’s era band. (Not for my brother, his peers, John only liked musicals, but that is a whole other story)

To me the Beatles were too into the “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”/"Yellow Submarine" crap. The way they double -recorded John Lennon’s voice with an echo seemed creepy to me. Yoko Ono weirded me out. Ringo was a tad goofy.

That left me with two choices, the Monkees or the Stones. Even I knew the Monkees were closer to cartoon characters than a real band, so that was no choice. That was like having to choose between Mighty Mouse and Superman.

From that point on, the Rolling Stones music marked my life like a great movie soundtrack. When I fell in love with Betsy Fox it was to “Wild Horses”. When we broke up I almost cried ever time I heard “Angie.” Even I could dance to "Honky Tonk Woman."

 The world was divided into three groups: those who hated all “rock” music, those who liked the Carpenters and those how liked the Rolling Stones. All you needed to know about someone is if they liked “Close to You” more than “Gimme Shelter.”

Even my dad, a early hard core hater of "rock" music, went from mocking the Stones background chorus of "Who, Who" on "Sympathy for the Devil" to being fairly impressed with the image of history they wove into the lyrics. 

"Anastasia screamed in vain." 

Before I got ready to play a high school football game, my last three songs I played before leaving the house to go to the locker room were the Stones “Brown Sugar,” Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Derek and the Dominoes (Eric Clapton’s) “Layla.”

After listening to the holy triumvirate, I could have run through a brick wall.  

(To any Stones Rain Man statistic nuts, I may not have the songs and dates lined up, but this is how I remember it) 

Cannot wait to see:

"Zero Dark Thirty"

For me this is the perfect example of the difference between a movie and real life. 

In real life, Navy Seals are the toughest of the tough. Not just physically, but also mentally. 

How tough is the selection process? One candidate was told he could take his time finishing the beach obstacle course, a huge exemption above the required time restriction, but he had to finish to graduate. The problem? He had a compound fracture of his ankle. The solution? He finished with is group. 

A Seal Commander friend of mine has three bullet holes on his body - two back, one leg. How did they get there? I've got no idea. Why? He is not allowed to say. 

He told me a story of a fellow Seal who was being treated for third degree burns following his parachute landing on a live wire. Skin- grafting burn victims is apparently one of the most painful procedures there is, so they hooked him up to a strong morphine drip.  

Halfway through the procedure, the quietly grimacing Seal raised his hand to ask a question;

"Wow, hate to do this, normally I am pretty good at handling pain, but this is tough. Can I ask you to increase the amount of morphine?" 

It was then they noticed the morphine drip was not, in fact, on. 

Movie stars got paid to work out for six months so they would resemble the uber- fit Navy Seals in "Zero Dark Thirty". The actors got as many takes as they needed to shoot the fake bin Laden, the Seals got one to shoot the real thing.

And yet without great directing, casting, filming, writing, editing and acting, we, the rest of us, would not get to see what it probably looked very much like during the raid on Osama bin Laden. 

Good job by all.