Flashback: “Countdown” by Rush

We heard late last week that Neil Peart, the drummer and top lyric writer for the Canadian rock band Rush had passed away at age 67.

“Tom Sawyer” is probably their best known song, but this is song from 1982 (thanks to MTV) that got my attention – a commemoration of sorts of the first shuttle launch on April 12, 1981.

Flashback: “Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6

Sad to report that on Monday night, Denise Matthews, better known in the 80’s as pop singer Vanity and part of the pop/funk group Vanity 6, passed away at the age of 57.

“Nasty Girl” was her (and her group’s) biggest hit in 1982, serving as part of the soundtrack of the first Beverly Hills Cop movie, the Phoebe Cates movie Private School, and on Spike Lee’s Girl 6. Two decades and change later, Inaya Day would remake the song and score a hit with it in the Australian and UK markets in 2004.

Neat little tune that had some explicit lyrics on it which kept it from charting in the 80’s, but was perfect for the movies it appeared on.

Miami Beats The Odds

Duke and Miami battled each other in a college football game Halloween night, which had a totally bizarre ending.

Miami trailed 27-24 with six seconds left in game, meaning any kickoff return would have to go for a touchdown for Miami to win. In these situations, it’s not too unusual for the trailing team to move down the field as if it were a rugby game. They cannot pass the ball forward and advance it, but they can pass backward or laterally.

In a college football game back in 1982, California beat Stanford on a kickoff return on the final play of the game lateraled five times. (Joe Starkey is the announcer going berserk at the end of the play, having never seen a finish like that, nor had anyone else up to that point.) Miami lateraled the ball a whopping eight times, and at one time backed themselves up to nearly their own goal line. Despite what appeared to be at least two blocking in the back penalties the officiating crew missed (you have to block the front side of an opposing player, blocking the side or the back is illegal when caught), the touchdown stood. Miami “hit the slot machine” and pulled off a 30-27 win.

Allen Bestwick’s call of the touchdown on ESPN was EXACTLY how you should call such a play, in my opinion. He reminded the viewers what was at stake during the play, and when it looked like Miami had the touchdown, he mainly let the pictures tell the story, providing minimal commentary of it which explained the significance of the event transpiring. Who says he can’t call a football game?

It’s a beautiful play when it’s pulled off, but those times are incredibly rare.

Cooney The Cockateil

A photo on Google of a cockatiel...not Cooney.
A photo on Google of a cockatiel…not Cooney.

Let me introduce you to another pet from my childhood.

In the summer of 1982, I was counting down the days (not really) before I entered Largo Middle School. One day during the summer, my dad asked me to accompany him down to near downtown St. Petersburg. He was going to buy a pet cockateil bird for our amusement. With the recent heavyweight fight between Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney fresh in my father’s mind, he named the pet Cooney in the defeated boxer’s honor.

Soon afterward, Dad gets Cooney a companion whom we simply called Mama. He had a bigger goal in mind: breeding cockateils to sell them off. By the fall, Mama started having eggs, and those eggs began hatching. I was going to school by this point, and I had a new duty on top of my schoolwork: aiding in the feeding of these baby cockateils.

My mom insisted Dad curtail his breeding ambitions, and by 1983 we were back down to Cooney and Mama again. One morning that summer, Dad told me that Cooney had accidentally died, breaking his neck in the cage he and Mama shared, probably showing off for her. That pretty much was the beginning of the end of that hobby of his, with Mama sold off a few years later…or did she pass away in our care one day? Can’t seem to remember what happened to her.

As for me, I could see a time where I could get interested in cockateils once my duties with Harry The Cat conclude, which may be a long way off. Cooney was quite the character, though.

Mount Hillary And The Sundress

I’m thinking back to earlier times today. The year was 1985, but the story begins about two and a half years earlier.

There was this girl I met when I went to Largo Middle School who I will call Hillary. She was from another country originally, but had no problem picking up the English language before she came to middle school. At first, we called her “Miss Piggy” because we thought facially she resembled the Muppet Show character, which was a cruel thing to do. But she resembled her in another way. When Miss Piggy was the butt of the joke, she’d karate chop the offender which usually ended whatever skit they were on.

Hillary didn’t karate chop people: she’d knee the boys square in the testicles, including me a couple of times. I can attest to the fact that she had sharp knees!

She went to another middle school when 7th grade started in the fall of 1983, but she was back at the tail end as 1984 began. Always seemed to have a class together from 6th to 10th grade, but that’s another story for another day.

As girls do of that age, Hillary blossomed in the chest area, except she went from being flat chested to having a chest the size of a woman at adulthood. She lived further up Indian Rocks Road in the 8th grade in the 1984-85 school year, so we had the same bus route home. One Friday afternoon, she had the seat all to herself, wearing a light colored sundress. She decided to lay down on her belly on the seat, showing off her ample cleavage.

I just happened to be in the same row, on the opposite side. Whether or not she meant to show me the goods (no nipple or areola mind you, just a good sized mountain range) will forever be a mystery.

The view had me thinking about every sport I could think of, if you know what I mean.