Flashback: “Centerfold” by The J. Geils Band

I have to admit this is not my favorite song by J. Geils, but it is the most appropriate one I could think of following the news Wednesday night that Hugh Hefner had passed at the age of 91.

You heard this song everywhere in the spring of 1982, and for good reason. It went to the top of the Billboard pop charts and stayed their six weeks. It always struck me as one of those songs on the radio that was (no pun intended here) overexposed – a good song for its era but in the age of internet pornography available at the stroke (didn’t intend that pun, either) of a keyboard or a mouse, the song seems a bit dated.

As for Hugh Hefner, he was an iconic figure no doubt, though I was born in 1971 and became the legal age to buy his magazines in 1989. By that time, Playboy was pretty much the Disney movie of men’s magazines, and I was much more interested in Penthouse and Hustler because you, ahem, saw more reading those. The stuff you’ve read about Playboy having superior articles is absolutely true, by the way.

Odd that Hefner and Jerry Lewis died a few weeks apart in the same year at the age of 91, isn’t it, considering they were both philanthropists at opposite ends of the spectrum, you might say.

Post 1500

Friday would have been my 1,500th post. I’d thought I’d get there a day early.

Maybe I have a warped point of view of this as a blogger, but not a lot of blogs last as long to get to this many posts. I like doing this. I haven’t shared everything about my life on here, but I’ve shared a few stories and I’ve tried to explain my thought process about the world in front of us.

Again, thanks to all of you for reading these entries and for your continued support.

A Few Weeks Down The Road

The trip to the east coast of Florida to go on a casino cruise has been pushed back for about four weeks due to expected bad surf on yesterday.

Hurricane Maria was just a little too close, it’s wind field and area of heavy surf was just a little bit too large. Hopefully, the now scheduled October trip brings cooler weather (which for us would be 60 for a low) and lesser odds of some tropical cyclone brewing.

I was disappointed to hear about the cancellation, of course, but eyeing Maria and monitoring the Cape weather like it was a shuttle launch (remember those?), I thought it was the likely outcome.

Here’s the promo of the ship I would have been on yesterday, and the one I’ll probably be on in four weeks. Keep in mind this video is six years old, so I’m sure the cruise might actually have a few more bells and whistles added on by now.

They Thought Rome Wouldn’t Fall Either

I’ve probably mentioned the downfall of the NFL and American football a few times on this blog. After watching developments in the news and sports worlds over the weekend, I’m much more convinced it will happen. Probably within 20 years, possibly sooner.

Believe it or not, I’m not referring to President Trump’s remarks about players kneeling during the National Anthem and how he feels owners should fire anyone doing that in protest. I get why this is one of the biggest issues in culture, news, and the sporting world we’ve seen in a long time, but as big as the issue is it’s a side show, a distraction with what’s really going on with the NFL.

The bottom line is that the President is going to say what he wants to say, and the world will have to deal with it. I’m sure Mr. Trump is well aware that the reverse is true and will react likewise. The world won’t back down from him, and he won’t back off from them – it’s a Mexican standoff, and always will be. Neither side is going to change the other, or will even discuss their grievances at this point.

No, this is not the NFL’s biggest problem, as impossible as it sounds. The concussion issues are. Of course, the NFL would want to talk about any other hot-button issues as opposed to a medical issue going on with its players that the league turned a blind eye to for years.

The family of Aaron Hernandez is now suing the NFL, based on the theory that Hernandez’s football playing turned him into a murderer, then caused his suicide in prison.

It turned out that Aaron had third stage CTE, despite only playing 40 pro football games in his career over three seasons. If a court of law finds the NFL culpable, it might open the floodgates for past and present players to also sue. If that is allowed to happen, sooner or later the league will run out of money should a menagerie of lawsuits come forward.

By the way, I didn’t watch the games yesterday, nor will I be watching the Monday Night game tonight. If I have to choose between my favorite game or my country, I choose my country, somewhat reluctantly. As Chazz Palminteri said as the mob boss in A Bronx Tale, “Mickey Mantle doesn’t care about you, so why should you care about him?”

Flashback: “Intermezzo” by Pietro Mascagni

Without looking, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve had a piece of classical music on the Flashback series.

It was announced Wednesday that Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight boxing champ, had passed away at the age of 95. His life was turned into one of the best sports movies all time for my money, Raging Bull, which premiered in 1980. It brilliantly portrayed the good and bad about prizefighting and LaMotta at the time, and how the Mafia had an influence on the fight game on the East Coast, even telling fighters to stage outcomes of their battles and take dives. No issue was taboo, and the movie didn’t pull any punches about LaMotta’s phobias and paranoia.

Rest in peace, champ. Here’s hoping you don’t go down for anyone in the hereafter as was the case in real life.

Maria And The Day Cruise

This September 20th morning has myself watching yet another in the menagerie of hurricanes in the Atlantic in this rather unfortunate 2017 season. This new hurricane, Maria, went to category five status and is probably battering Puerto Rico pretty good or has as you read this.

I’m a bit more concerned about Maria for another reason, although no one is expecting her to hit Florida. I don’t want her getting too close either, because I agreed to go on a day cruise in the Atlantic Ocean on the 26th, a Tuesday. If it gets too close, the cruise might be in doubt, though it looks like it would miss by a good 300 miles east of Florida’s east coast or so if it went in the center of the forecast cone. Maybe more, maybe less.

My retired mother always seems to get these excursions to do a few times a year and always invites me. I usually always decline for a variety of reasons, but my instincts are a bit different this time around. I don’t why the thought of going popped into my head, but I usually go with my first instinct on these things, so off I go, Maria permitting.

It’ll be a three hour bus ride over to Port Canaveral, followed by five hours on the boat to eat, drink, and gamble. Then it’s three hours more on the bus back. It’ll be a long day, but what the heck. I think higher powers are trying to tell me something by this opportunity.

I just don’t know what it is yet.

The Week After

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It’s now been a week removed from that beast of a woman payed us a visit. I was very fortunate to get power back within 16 hours. Many of my friends on social media didn’t get theirs back until as late as Sunday, which kind of gave me a bit of social media survivors remorse in a sense. Some still don’t have power even now, or had it and subsequently lost it.

While I was running around the house to shelter in place a week ago and moving things into closets, I injured my left leg, picking up something heavy the wrong way or so I self-speculate. I felt it at first Sunday night when we here in Pinellas County were getting the higher winds, so I thought it had something to do with the lower barometric pressures you get in hurricanes. By Wednesday morning, it felt like a Charley horse in my left calf. Correction: it felt more like a Charley Kentucky Derby. I got to Walmart the next day to get some Bengay and, unfortunately for the rest of you, I’m doing fine again. My calf is still a bit swollen, but I can now walk around with normal mobility as before.

Seeing all of these power without power for the days has to make one wonder about how our area would handle a bigger hurricane threat, and whether or not those who believe in global warming are correct, those are longer term questions that will need a closer look. I really don’t want to move to another part of the country, but after Irma, it might not be a bad long-term goal.

Aircheck: Goodfellas, 1990

With the passing of Frank Vincent on Thursday, I thought I’d do something just a bit different on this week’s Aircheck and show you one of the best scenes I think I’ve ever seen in the movies.

In the scene from Goodfellas, Vincent plays Billy Batts, a mobster from the Gambino crime family who’s returned to society from prison. Batts keeps needling Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci’s character) about how he shined shoes as a kid, much to Tommy’s embarrassment. Well, you’ll see how the scene plays out. Personally, I can’t think of a worse fate than getting beaten to death. (Or so we think. Batts was actually beaten into unconsciousness. When Batts regains consciousness and starts beating against the trunk of the car, then DeVito and his buddies kill him.)

DeVito is of course whacked himself later in the movie, because he violates a clear cut mob rule: a made man killing other made men isn’t usually permitted without the sanction of a capo or someone higher up in the chain of command. Violating that rule put the perpetrator at risk for his own death, which was exactly what wound up happening.

RIP, Frank. His book is on my Amazon Wish List, so I’ll have to get around to that in his honor.

Flashback: “Circle In The Sand” by Belinda Carlisle

This single from the former Go-Go’s singer went to #7 on the Billboard charts in 1988. It got stuck in my head thanks to our mutual friend Irma.

In the summer of 1988, I spent a week up in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit relatives. You’d hear the various radio station markets going up Interstate 4, 95, 26, 20, and then 77 up there, and I swore on the trip up an back a week later I must have heard the song about a dozen times. Didn’t get bored with it though.

The New York Rays

One of the things that came from Hurricane Irma was that the sports calendar and map got shuffled around. That’s quite understandable of course, because you don’t want to risk the health and safety of fans, players, or the structure of these facilities hosting the events.

Tropicana Field hosted a three game series between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers while Houston was flooded by Hurricane Harvey. When it looked like our area was going to get Irma, MLB moved the series where the Rays were going to host the New York Yankees.

I understand the logistical nightmares moving games around can be, and I don’t think that’s an easy operation by any means. But having the Rays host games at Citi Field where the Mets play is embarrassing. It’s basically giving the Yankees three more home games where their fans will come out in droves.

I get that there are times that games can’t always be played at neutral facilities, but come on. Baseball could have made something positive out of all of this, but instead chose to gave one of its prized teams an advantage that could make the difference as to whether or not they make the playoffs.

As The Infrastructure Turns

Good to be back with you so soon. Leading up to Irma’s approach, the media speculated that the power would be out for days. For me, it was out 16 hours, roughly. Congrats to Duke Energy on a job well done. Many of my friends in Pinellas are still without power as I post this on Tuesday morning, and I hope for a swift restoration for them.

Sunday morning, those computer models were thinking the eye of Irma would go right over me as a Category 3 storm. Much like Charley in 2004, jogs to the right kept that from happening, and Lakeland wound up getting the brunt of it, 50 miles to my east or so. Many areas in Florida not all that close to the eye took huge hits from the storm, a testament to its size and force.

I don’t consider myself an environmentalist by any means. However, we now had a pair of Cat 4 hurricanes hit the United States 16 days apart. I don’t know if that’s some kind of record (I’m thinking possibly yes) but usually it is years between fours.

After Irma, I’m just hoping for a quiet remainder of the season. Considering yesterday was the peak of the hurricane year, there’s probably more work ahead.