May 312011

Frankly, I was going to let this go, but that was before this marvelous exchange (and do watch; after all, you don’t see a U.S. Representative calling someone a jackass every day).

When an arrogant, self-absorbed liberal hangs himself, you can count on me to point and laugh.

With relish.

 Posted by at 7:35 pm
May 302011

I always liked Sammy Hagar all right in my early adolescence.  MTV played “Three Lock Box” and a live “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy” a lot, and then “I Can’t Drive 55” was impossible to escape.  When he joined Van Halen, I dug 5150 top to bottom.  Still do, actually.  Marvelous record.

Then I started running with Charles in 1987, and he was a real Sammy fan.  He played the Montrose records for me, and a lot of his early solo stuff.  It was nice to have that bottom to the story.  Sammy was a working-class kid made good, so it was easy to like him.

I borrowed Red:  My Uncensored Life in Rock from Charles, and read it last night.  You can take three hours and enjoyably knock it out.  You get the childhood, early bands, Montrose, the solo early career, the mature solo career, Van Halen, Cabo Wabo, the Waboritas, and Chickenfoot, backdropped with the emotional ups and downs of what’s definitely been a wild ride.  It’s skillfully and humorously told.

Of course, the subject with the widest appeal here is going to be what happened in Van Halen.  Sammy tells a story that paints himself mostly in a favorable light, which is to be expected.  But the restraint with which events are narrated lends a lot of credibility, and I certainly didn’t read anything I thought was inconsistent with Eddie Van Halen’s public behavior since the mid-1990s.  I never got even one “aw, come on.”

Just have a look at Sammy and Michael Anthony today, and another at Van Halen today.  Where would you say the adults are?

The story of his first wife Betsy underpins the first three-quarters of the book.  I felt for him when she wasn’t well, and then I was a bit mad at him for not closing that chapter of his life sooner.  He says he did the best he could, and probably, he did.

I wish he’d been a bit more explicitly cautionary about drug use.  Though I think we’re long overdue for an extensive dialogue and attitude adjustment on drugs in this country, it’s still a serious topic, carrying a bit more consequence than many other things.  I thought he passed up a couple of opportunities to expound on that a bit.  Perhaps he is relying on the negative outcomes of most of his narration in that vein.

It’s sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but with more than enough humanity to hang it all together, and even warm your heart a bit.  I never saw Montrose, of course, and I never saw a pre-VH solo show.  But I’ve seen and heard everything else he’s ever put out there, and I’ll keep doing so.

Good book, Sam.  Nice to have you around.


 Posted by at 10:01 am
May 282011

There are all sorts of suggested criteria for happiness, and in many quarters little agreement.  That’s why the conversation continues.

I don’t claim to have all of the answer.  I’m pretty sure, however, that some of it is embodied in the way that Saturday night of a three-day weekend feels.

I’m full of grilled chicken and corn, sipping a little Jack, enjoying my family, looking forward to the Indianapolis 500 tomorrow, and feeling blessed.  I hope you’re having a good one too.

 Posted by at 8:43 pm
May 272011

The Incredible Shrinking Woman was one of my childhood favorites.  I remember watching it with my parents and my friend Jason who was over spending the night, less than a year before my parents divorced.  Loved Lily Tomlin my whole life.  It’s screwball enough for a kid to enjoy it.  As an adult, the satire clocks you in the melon.

It’s been awfully tough to find, frankly.  It didn’t make it to DVD for years and years, and now it finally has, but as an excessively-priced exclusive.  Fortunately, it’s on streaming Netflix right now.  I checked it parentally earlier this week, and now the boys and I are enjoying it together as I type.

Check it out sometime, if you can—as a window into the early ’80s, as a clever assault on consumerism and gender stereotypes, or just as a goofy 88 minutes.  It works well as each.

 Posted by at 8:11 pm
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