Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I've Got a Crush on You....

He may be a little old for me (I was 8 when he released his first album), but I've got a little crush... Last night I went with Hub and friends to see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Ram's Head Tavern/OnStage in Annapolis, MD. And I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY. I've always liked SSJ's music. I've owned several of their albums for years, but never really followed them closely. They've always been part of my "Jersey Shore" rotation, though, along with The Boss and you-know-who. SSJ has been on many a mix-tape and CD compliation and iPod playlist over the years. When I saw that SSJ was coming to my neck of the woods, I jumped at the chance to FINALLY see them live. Hub has always liked their music (where he simply tolerates Bon Jovi) so I figured this was one concert experience we could share that he might actually enjoy. And with our long-time New York friends back on the East Coast from an assignment in California, it just seemed like the perfect way to ring in 2010/celebrate surviving the holidays. So off we went. And WOW!!! WHAT A SHOW!!! As you can see below, the Ram's Head is a really small venue -- only about 400 seats total. It is TRULY a "juke joint." This pic (not mine) is taken from the VERY BACK of the room, so you can see that it was an "intimate setting." We had a table in the front row, stage right. The stage was ridiculously small for The Jukes--it was pretty funny watching them stumble all over each other trying to maneuver the horns around for various solos. And Johnny never stands still, so... brings a whole new meaning to "Trapped Again", lol. From the first note, I was hooked. The place was ROCKIN'. But lemme tell ya, the breaks between songs were as good as the music! Johnny was HILARIOUS. The banter between the band members and him (especially with Jeff Kazee) was a riot. At one point Johnny jokingly "revealed" his plan to add Jukes Snuggies to the band merch table, and asked the audience's opinion. A woman told him she got two for Christmas and they were crap, so he called her up on stage to explain exactly why, into the mic. The executive decision was that Jukes Snuggies would actually be pashminas, LOL! A little later he offered romantic advice to a couple seated in front of Jeff's keys (Johnny's advice to Him: No more Nachos tonight. To Her: Keep drinking). Then he told them he was going to set them up with a room at the Loew's Hotel across the street after the show. During another song he decided to take a little break while the horns played, so he laid down on one of the tables and relaxed, being careful to make the patrons pick up their drinks first. But the funniest moment of the night was when he bantered with the folks at the front table, asking what they were drinking. The man replied he was drinking a Copperhead Ale (local brew), to which Johnny remarked it was "poisonous snake beer", then the woman said she was drinking Chardonnay. Johnny's crack: "CHARDONNAY? You're drinking CHARDONNAY in a Beer Joint?" After tsk-tsking at her for a moment, he kicked into the next song, only to find his harmonica was broken. He swapped out for a new one, blew a few notes, and promptly declared it wasn't "bluesy enough." So to remedy the situation, he picked up the woman's glass of Chardonnay, dunked his harmonica in it, shook it off, and proceeded to play the hell out of it! After playing, he staggered around a bit, then observed that it was obviously a California Chardonnay, probably a 2008, from Napa Valley, not Sonoma, with a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon. We were practically rolling on the floor, we laughed so hard. Quite a character, is Johnny. The music was, of course, awesome. In addition to some of my SSJ favorites (Gin-Soaked Boy, This Time It's For Real, Walk Away Renee, I Don't Want to Go Home) we got to hear Jeff Kazee croon a little Sting and the Police (which of course Johnny made fun of), as well as a Christmas tune. And I was VERY happy to get a rip-roaring version of my Theme Song of the Month: Workin' Too Hard. We also got a little Jingle Bells from the horn section, which was fabulous. All in all, the 2 hours passed WAY too quickly. I left wondering why the Hell I waited so long to see SSJ live. As you all know by now, JBJ and the boys are never far from my mind, and several times my Jonny-Muse snuck up and tapped me on the shoulder to give me a wink and a grin. It was funny to watch SSJ do some of the same little moves and quirks that I have seen JBJ do on stage. And when SSJ broke out the maracas and started shaking his booty all over the stage, I couldn't stop grinning. It's evident that SSJ was a MAJOR formative influence on young Mr. Bongiovi's stage presence. It was really fun to watch. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a non-Jovi show. I'll definitely be in the audience the next time Johnny and the Jukes come to town. If they're in your town, make sure you get yourself down to the show, ready to laugh and sing and shake your booty. You won't be sorry! And yeah, Johnny's still got it. *SIGH* Jersey Boys are like fine wine... NOTE: These pics aren't mine and they aren't from last night's show, but they fit my narrative. Thanks to whoever put them out on the Web for Google Image to find!

Monday, December 28, 2009

We're Havin' a Party...

FINALLY, after all the holiday "merriment" I've endured the past week, my time has come. Tonight I get to celebrate the holidays MY way. I'll be hanging with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes tonight! They are playing a great little venue in Annapolis, MD, the Ram's Head Tavern. This place is TINY. It's gonna be AWESOME. Hub and I bought a table and invited one of our favorite couples to join us to celebrate. They're headed down from New York as we speak. It's gonna be the first real "grown-up" night out we've had together in YEARS -- we both have kids, and finally theirs are old enough to stay with grandparents overnight while Mommy & Daddy get to play. And you can BET we will be playing -- HARD! I've been playing this over and over the past few days. Unfortunately, it's not 1994 and I won't get to see this up-close-and-personal tonight, but I'm hoping to at least hear this song. It's my mantra at the moment... I've DEFINITELY been Workin' Too Hard lately! I'll let ya know how it goes!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Author's Note: I apologize in advance for the length of this post... but I have a LOT to say tonight! Consider yourself warned!

Well, maybe not the VERY best day of my ENTIRE life.... but damned close! I was a very, very Lucky Girlie today. I met Jon Bon Jovi. Really MET him. As in talked to him for a couple minutes. Told him my name, a little about myself. And he remembered my name. *sigh* Here's how it happened.

I live and work in the Washington DC area. Several weeks ago when I heard about Jon's scheduled participation in the USA Network's Characters Unite Town Hall, I started researching the event. I thought it would be interesting to attend, not just because JBJ would be there (though that's what initially caught my attention) but because I find the Characters Unite campaign quite innovative, and I love a good political discussion.

  NOTE: Full disclosure -- I'm a PoliSci GEEK. Have Bachelors' and Masters' degrees in Political Science, as well as in Criminal Justice. Yep, full-on Social Science NERD.
When I saw the lineup of panelists, I couldn't resist. Not only JBJ, but Tom Brokaw (moderator), Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Columnist Kathleen Parker, Secretary Max Cleland, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Politico White House Correspondent Mike Allen, Dr. Michael Dyson... and the list goes on. Some All-Stars of PoliSci Nerddom, to be sure. So I started placing calls to my various contacts about town. It took some doing, but finally I got my name on the list for this invitation-only event. God, am I glad I did.

 I showed up at the Newseum a half-hour early, a little nervous and slightly shaky. Murphy's Law is no stranger to me, so I wanted to be sure to have plenty of time to straighten out any problems should my name not appear on "The List." No such worries. I was ushered right in, straight to the check-in table, issued my credential, checked my coat, and headed in to the reception room. There I mingled for a very few minutes, then headed to the taping room to find my seat.

 My contact was VERY good to me. Third row, aisle seat, right center of stage. About 25 feet from the chair on the dais with the placecard that read "Jon Bon Jovi." SWEET.

 I pulled out my Blackberry to type a quick message to a friend, and suddenly found my hands were shaking so badly I couldn't push the buttons. I had to take a DEEP breath, blow it out, and try again. Finally I was able to complete the task.

  Sidebar - In DC EVERYBODY is on their Crackberry ALL the time, so nobody noticed. Everyone else in the room was glued to their own little glowing screen. 

I killed the 15 or so minutes before air time with a few messages, then listened as the girls sitting in the row in front of me were sternly told that no photography would be allowed during the taping, as official photographers would be recording the event. Dammit. I turned off my Blackberry and left my camera in its case.

 At 10:00 (start time), two women strolled past me down the small aisle and slipped into seats in the front row. Had no idea who one was; the other was Dorothea Bongiovi. Little butterflies started in my tummy. Holy Crap, HE'S REALLY HERE!

 About 10 minutes past official start time, we started. We had an introduction by Dule' Hill (Charlie from West Wing), USA VP Bonnie Hammer, then Tom Brokaw came out. He talked a bit about the Town Hall and his new documentary, then showed us a short preview. (Looks GREAT!)

 Then the moment most of the people in the room were waiting for... Mr. Brokaw introduced the panel. Sixth in line, JBJ himself. Dressed all in black, blonde hair shining under the lights, looking very dignified, serious, and scholarly. No usual wave and megawatt smile as he bounds onto the stage, like on Conan or Fallon or Leno. This was CEO JBJ. Soul Foundation JBJ. A man with something serious to say. Lord, what a turn-on. *growl*

 Immediately the room was filled with hundreds of *clicks* as every woman in the place, and half the guys, started taking pictures. I whipped out my camera, turned off the flash, and did the same, warnings about "no photography" be damned! No way in HELL was I missing out on THIS photo opportunity!

 The rest of the panel followed, then all took their seats. Mr. Brokaw launched into the moderation with the polished skill of... well, Tom Brokaw. Seriously. There's no one better in the biz.

One by one the panelists addressed the opening questions asked of them, each in his or her area of expertise. Jon listened intently, brow furrowed and little frown or pout on his lips, depending on what he was thinking. He was holding a folder (the only one on stage with something in his lap), and he fidgeted with it throughout. Oh my God, I thought. He actually looks... nervous! Turns out he was... but we'll get to that in a moment.

Finally Jon got the chance to answer his question, about artists and musicians and involvement in various causes. He had a great answer, and he talked a little about Bob Dylan, which was really cool. He seemed to relax a bit, but there was still a little edge to his voice. He still wasn't really at ease.

 Once each panelist answered an opening question, Mr. Brokaw started guiding the discussion to various topics about the state of life in America. Jon didn't say a lot; he did talk a little about his kids and how he is proud that they don't look at other people and see black, white, Hispanic, Asian... they see people. There were a lot of nods all around at that, from panelists and audience alike. He threw in a couple little comments here and there, but mostly he listened and frowned and nodded, and looked off at the back of the room, like he was trying really hard to concentrate on what was going on. There were a few times he cracked a smile, including one adorable grin, but it only happened a couple times.

The only exception was that, every once in a while, he'd glance over at Dorothea and the corners of his mouth would twitch upward ever so slightly. I don't know if anyone else saw it or not. I was looking for it. It was quite sweet.

 There were some quite funny moments in the discussion once it got rolling, with Writer/Activist David Mixner, who is VERY openly gay, commenting on how fabulous Dorothea looked, stating "And I should know! I'm Gay!" Later Dr. Dyson responded that he noticed how beautiful Dot looked too, and HE should know because he's NOT Gay! Jon looked pretty darned proud at that, I must say, LOL!

 Dr. Dyson also got Jon to loosen up a bit when he started analogizing public perception of race with music, talking about "Brother Bon Jovi" going from hair metal band to hard rock band to pop band to grunge band" (yeah, he didn't quite have that right), and quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson and Jay-Z in the same breath. It was pretty funny. And a very eloquent way to make a point.

 After about an hour and a half of moderated discussion, the floor was opened for questions. Four high school students from across the U.S., who had won contests to attend the Town Hall taping, were allowed to present their questions to the panel. Jon didn't answer any of them, but he was very sweet in making eye contact and giving each student an encouraging little smile. Considering he was sitting RIGHT in front of them, dead-center, next to Tom Brokaw, that was the least he could do. I was lucky enough to be RIGHT behind the microphone stand, so I could look straight past the students at him.

After the students asked their questions, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. I took a deep breath... and raised my hand. And (HOLY CRAP!) I was the first person called upon by Mr. Brokaw. Out of nowhere, a microphone was thrust into my hand. Please God, don't let me screw this up...

I stood, glanced at Jon, then immediately looked away so my brain didn't freeze up. I introduced myself, hoping I wasn't squeaking like a guinea pig, and started to talk. I commented that I am both a military and law enforcement veteran, and that I appreciated the discussion the panel had on those topics earlier. I couldn't resist glancing at Jon, and saw those blue eyes staring intently STRAIGHT AT ME. HOLY CRAP!

 I took another breath, looked at the other side of the dais, and started to ask my question. For those of you who care, it went something like this... "We talk a lot about our cities. There are certainly many problems to solve there, be it education or housing or whatever... but the majority of this country is made up of small towns and rural areas. Those communities face the same or greater problems as cities and often don't have access to resources or services to help them solve their problems. Often these communities are ethnically homogenous (yes, I used a big word). How do we overcome the obstacles of increasing understanding and tolerance of diversity in small-town America?" 

No, I didn't write it out. That shit just rolled right off my tongue. Thank You Political Science degrees... See, Mom? TOLD YOU it wasn't a useless major... Then I sat down (on my Wonder Woman notebook and camera, which I had laid in my chair) and about fell OFF my chair when half the panel said "Good Question!" HOLY CRAP!

First Mr. Henderson answered, then Mr. Brokaw, then Ms. Parker. I really wanted to look at Jon, but considering all these other people were looking DIRECTLY AT ME and there was a camera in my face, I had to maintain eye contact with them. It was the polite and professional thing to do. (Dammit!)

 Finally, what seemed like an hour later but probably more like 5-7 minutes, the panel moved on to the next question, from a young woman on the other side of the room. I exhaled, looked back at Jon, and just as I did he turned his head and looked straight at me. Our eyes met for just a brief moment, I smiled, and he gave a little half-smile and looked back at the girl with the microphone. I just about melted into a big puddle, right there on the floor. GAH!

But it gets better.

After the second question from the audience, Mr. Brokaw wrapped up the meeting. We all applauded, then everyone stood and started to mill about. Jon talked to several of the other panelists for a couple minutes, then stepped down off the dais and walked over to Dorothea. He gave her a little smile and reached out and squeezed her hand (AWW!). Then he started to walk up the aisle, RIGHT TOWARD ME.

I gulped, smiled what I hope wasn't a goofy/creepy/stalkery smile, held out my hand, and introduced myself. He stepped up, gave me a beautiful smile, and took my hand. OH. MY. FREAKIN' GOD. His hand was VERY soft. He said "Nice to meet you. So, you're the gun-toter, huh?" He had a little sparkle in those blue -- and I mean BLUE -- eyes, and the little lines crinkled at the corners. I giggled or chuckled or choked or something, and said something like "used to be, back in my glory days." He laughed at that, then asked me what I do now. I told him I work for the State Department, and he said "Oh, you work for Mrs. C, huh?" I nodded and said yes, then he complimented me on my question *swoon* and thanked me for being "involved" in the event. (I guess begging your way onto the guest list is being "involved", LOL!). I thanked him for his work with the Soul Foundation and his other projects, then said hi to Dorothea and shook her hand, and they moved on.

As I stood there dumbstruck Jon & Dot slipped out the back of the room. After a couple minutes I was able to move, and I wandered up to the front of the room where I talked to Dule' Hill and Cory Booker (who is VERY funny), then made my way through the crowd, headed for the stairs to the luncheon room. I stepped out into the lobby, which was almost empty, and froze.

Jon and Dorothea were standing in the lobby, chatting with the other woman who had sat with Dorothea in the front row. She seemed to be some sort of a personal assistant. As I started to walk past I heard Jon say "I think it went pretty well, I didn't look like too much of an idiot, did I?" or words to that effect. I had to stifle a chuckle at that. He really HAD been nervous. (NOTE: See Hath's blog for details of his open-mike comment...)

I hesitated and thought Well, it's now or never.... and pulled out my camera. I turned toward Jon and Dot and stopped about 5 feet away, and just stood quietly for a minute. Dorothea noticed me and gave me a little smile. Jon saw her look at me, then turned his head my way too. "I'm sorry to interrupt," I said meekly, "But would you mind if I got a picture?" Jon gave me a BIG smile and said "Sure!" and held out his arm. EEEP!

Dorothea offered to take the camera, so I handed it to her and moved over to Jon. He slipped his arm around my waist, I slipped mine around his, and we leaned in to each other and looked at the camera. He said "Smile, Cate," that rough, sexy voice right next to my ear. *swoon* And believe me, smile I DID! (I still haven't stopped.)

 It was absolutely surreal... and let me tell you, the man smells GOOD. Don't know what his cologne was, but it was just.... GAH. The smell of pure sin, I tell you. Dot took the pic, and when she lowered the camera Jon said "You sure you got that?" to her, apparently because the flash didn't go off. I didn't even notice -- I was already seeing stars.

Okay, so it's not the greatest photo, and I look like a blithering idiot, but who cares? I wasn't gonna critique Dot's photography skills when she let me grope her husband!!!

 Dot handed the camera back to me. I thanked her and turned to Jon and thanked him again. Then I said something about "see ya on tour," and he gave me another big smile. He asked if I'd heard the "new record" (I love it that he still calls them "records"), and I said yes, I loved it. He said "Well Thank You!" still with a big smile. He told me he'd see me on the road, then I shook his hand again, and Dot's, thanked them both again, then headed for the stairs.

 How I made it up the stairs to the luncheon I have NO IDEA.

 Jon & Dot didn't stay for the luncheon -- apparently they had to get back to Jersey. I had a great time there, and was completely awed when Tom Brokaw came over to ME and told me he really liked my question. Then he stood and continued his answer for another 10 minutes, LOL! Later Mike Allen (Politico) came over and gave me a pat on the back, as did Kathleen Parker and Dr. Christine Sierra. Dr. Sierra was VERY cool -- she's a Political Science professor, so we did Geek-Talk for about the next 20 minutes. 

Finally, after the luncheon was over, I claimed my coat and stepped onto the elevator -- and found myself again with Tom Brokaw and Kathleen Parker. We chatted on the way to the main floor, then they headed out into the rain, to their chauffeured Town Cars. I practically floated out of the Newseum and back out to real life.

 It still seems surreal. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As much as I love to see Bon Jovi in concert, to watch Jon perform, to do what he does, IMO, better than any other Frontman on earth, today was AMAZING. I saw Jon Bon Jovi the Man. Watching him in an environment where he was not in control or completely comfortable was fascinating. He was quite humble, very down-to-earth, and extremely gracious, as was Dorothea. He was exactly as I've always hoped I would find him to be, if I were ever lucky enough to meet him. He really is a Good Guy... as he would say, "warts and all."

  NOTE: The Characters Town Hall was webcast on passtheball.com  If you missed it, you can go to the site and watch it in "online events". 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad, Bad Boys! (YUM!)

I'm finally starting to catch up on my TV viewing. Well, kinda. My DVR is still loaded with episodes of various series I follow. I'm woefully behind in most of them. There's just been too much Jovi-Goodness going on lately! Hell, they're EVERYWHERE! Not that I'm complaining... Monday night I recorded Lopez Tonight, comedian George Lopez' new late-night talk show on TBS. I've never seen it before, though I think Lopez is a HOOT. The only reason I hit the "record" button was because I saw on Twitter that Slash was going to guest (yes, I follow Slash on Twitter. He's funny as Hell!) I was out of town for a couple days, then catching up with work, so I didn't get around to watching Lopez until last night. And Holy Crap, was I in for a pleasant surprise! Not only was one of my favorite Bad Boys on the show, sitting in with the band... my OTHER Major Bad Boy Crush was the featured guest! The one and only Charlie Sheen. I've mentioned before on this blog that I've had a major thing for Charlie since 1986, when I first saw him lounging on that Police Station couch in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." *shiver* He just makes my toes curl. Through all the trials and tribulations of his life, I've remained a Charlie Fan. Same with Slash. I've always found him insanely HOT, in a skeezy, dirty, wanna-lick-the-sweat-off-his-bare-chest kinda way. Not to mention he is one of the most amazingly talented guitarists ever to walk the earth. Every time I see him play, I just stare in awe. This performance was no exception, even though it wasn't "incredible" by his stratospheric standards. He really is in a class of his own. (Sorry, Richie Baby--you're amazing too, but I know you'd agree Slash is not of this planet.) So imagine my glee when I discovered Charlie and Slash were on the SAME SHOW at the SAME TIME! It made for some funny dialogue about their Wild Days together, including a story about Charlie taking Slash to his first Dodgers Game and neither of them remembering how they got home. Slash is now one of Charlie's neighbors in Malibu, and they kidded about carpooling to the show, and about their kids having playdates together. Lopez, ever the comedian, just shook his head and observed: "Man, what's happened to you? You've gone from Playmates to Playdates!" VERY funny moment. Charlie was on to talk about "Two and a Half Men" and his new twin boys, Bob and Max. Slash not only sat in with the band, but did an interview with Lopez to promote a benefit concert he set up for the L.A. Youth Network, a charity he is actively involved with (his wife Perla is on the board). The concert is tomorrow night (11/21) in L.A., with a killer lineup of the Who's Who in hard rock (Ozzy, Billy Idol, Tom Morrello, Dave Navarro, Perry Farrell, et al). Then he performed a SMOKIN' guitar duel with House Band guitarist Tommy Organ. Okay, I confess, I watched it a couple times. And it's staying on the DVR for awhile.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's THAT Time of Year

Well, the holidays are officially upon us, as of this week. Know how I know? I got 26 catalogs in the mail today. Yep, TWENTY-SIX. Most of them went straight into the recycle bin. A couple I kept to page through, just for fun. One of my favorites was in there, one that makes me laugh. It's one of those catalogs that has all these goofy novelty and pop-culture gifts; crap that nobody really needs but you inevitably end up buying for one of your good friends because it "just fits" them. I was not disappointed by this year's selection of gifts. I even found a couple items to put on my must-read list:
Wonder Woman is my hero, so I'm sure the first book will be full of handy tips from the Amazon perspective. I can see it now: "If your boss insists on calling you "Honey," wrap his ass in the Golden Lasso of Truth and dangle him off the 34th Floor window ledge." And the second book? Well, really, what more is there to say? I'm giggling already. Probably my favorite thing about this catalog, though, is the selection of wittily-captioned t-shirts. Face it, we can all use more t-shirts. And many of these we'd LOVE to wear in public, but couldn't quite get away with it. A few of my favorites: Don't make me get the Flying Monkeys! National Sarcasm Society - Like we need your support.... Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints. Just another poo-flingin' day in the jungle. Sarcasm. Just one more service I offer. Patience is a virtue, but flipping someone off feels better. I'm a BadAss. You're just an Ass. Easily distracted by shiny objects. Heavily medicated for your safety. Yet despite the look on my face, you're still talking. Paddle Faster! I hear banjo music. I admit it. I ate the last cookie. Looking for love (will settle for green jelly beans) The decline of Western Civilization leaves me strangely unmoved. Careful, or you'll end up in my novel. What would Yoda do? Your ass, kick it, he would! Police Officer: Our job is to save your ass, not kiss it. And my personal fave... If you woke up this morning.... It's because Jack Bauer spared your life. Only 56 more shopping days, People!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

They're Still Beautiful... Oh SO Beautiful...

I was one of the lucky folks who won passes to the theater screening of the Bon Jovi documentary "When We Were Beautiful." You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got THAT e-mail a couple days ago! I never win ANYTHING. But if I am going to win only one contest, ever, well, this one will do. At least for now. So, tonight was the screening of the Doc. Both of my local SheCop Jovi GalPals happened to be out of town for work this week, but they just couldn't stand the thought of me attending alone. So one of them changed her return flight, which would have been tomorrow, to today so she could "keep me from being lonely" (AKA glom on to my free second pass). She came straight from the airport to the lovely Mazza Gallerie Mall in northwest Washington, DC, in just enough time to enjoy a pre-Doc celebratory glass of wine. Then in we went, along with a whole buncha other Jovi Peeps. Oh. My. Freakin'. God. It was everything I hoped it would be. And more. I love documentaries. I will watch a documentary on just about anything. History of toilet paper? Check. Soviet Space Program? Yep. ANYTHING by Ken Burns? Abso-freakin'-lutely. But of course I love Rock-Docs most of all. In fact, I just recently watched "Anvil - The Story of Anvil," which I thought was brilliant. So, knowing I liked the genre, my question going in was: "Is this really gonna be the honest, open, warts-and-all behind the scenes look at what it's really like to be part of the Jovi world? Seriously?" Well, IMO, it is. The doc opens with scene of Jon getting limbered up in prep for playing MSG (side note -- how do I get that job? GAH!) and talking about the fact that it's almost 25 years ago to the week that he first played The Garden. And off we go from there. I'm not gonna give you a play-by-play and ruin the fun for those of you who haven't seen it yet. But I will say that I found it to be well-balanced, with a good mix of interviews with each of the band members (no Huey, though), candid moments with Jon and the Band, concert footage, and interviews with others such as Obie O'Brien and Kid Rock. I really got a sense of the highs and lows the Guys go through on the road, and how their own personal lives help ground them and sometimes push them close to the edge. There is some pretty raw emotion, some candid opinion-sharing, and even a little smug arrogance *gasp* from you-know-who. But you definitely see the love and devotion these men have for each other. And that's the real story, the real heart of this film and this band. Just a few of my favorite moments: * The pre-show huddle in Abu Dhabi, when Jon tells the guys what to do if things go wrong (it's funny) * Jon talking about going from on-stage in front of thousands of screaming maniacs to the silence of his hotel room, and not even being able to call anybody and share how excited he is that the Soul just beat Dallas -- Again! * Tico talking very frankly about dealing with his anger about his childhood and his drinking *Jon going off about his frustration with lawyers and promoters and Ticketmaster and MLB and the Mayor of NYC and pretty much EVERYBODY in trying to get the Central Park concert to go. (I could TOTALLY identify with his reaction here, lol!) * David commenting that maybe someday Jon will make the band a real democracy... and then somebody better check the dosage on his Prozac * Some very candid and direct conversation by all the guys about what was going on behind the scenes when the band almost split up in the early 1990s.... and just how close they really were. * A really sweet & funny scene of Jon meeting an elderly lady whose home was rebuilt as part of the Detroit Soul Foundation project. * Richie talking about Ava coming to NYC, not to see him play in an historic event (Central Park), but for another reason entirely (I won't spoil it for you, but it's really funny, and Ava's gonna kill him!) * The gorgeous soundcheck performance of "Diamond Ring" * Richie performing IBTFY * Jon performing *gulp* "Hallelujah"--the entire song, with some dialogue overlaid. Just stunning. * The final scene, which damned near turned me into a Jonny Girl. You get to see the REAL Jon, probably more so than anywhere else in the doc. It's just beautiful. Judging from the audience reaction, pretty much everybody had the same thoughts as I did as I watched. There were lots of chuckles, some outright laughs, and quite a few sighs and growls (especially when there was a sweaty lead singer involved); singing along to the concert scenes, and complete breathless silence during some of the more painful parts (such as Richie talking very candidly about his problems). Granted, there was some pretty significant bias in this audience, but it really did seem to touch everybody on some level. My only complaint? It's not 12 hours long. Can't wait to watch it again, and again, and again.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ever have one of those moments that just makes you go "WOW"? One of those times when it seems that the planets have all aligned, the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place, and some higher power is trying to tell you something? I had one of those today. I have had a brutal week at work. My job takes me all over Washington, DC, usually by means of public transportation and good ol' shoe leather. My scheduled was jam-packed all week long, meaning I had to accomplish all my paperwork at night, after normal business hours. Add to that family responsibilities, a little time for my writing, the baseball playoffs, and that didn't leave a whole lotta time for sleep. Oh yeah, and it's been cold and rainy for like the last 3 days straight. So today I was trudging down the sidewalk from the Metro stop toward the State Department, hunched under my umbrella in the pouring rain, feeling pretty cranky and snarky, when I saw something that actually made me stop and smile. My trek to State takes me through the campus of George Washington University. I've been making that walk for the past 5 years, and for as long as I can remember, I have encountered a homeless man sitting on a milk crate outside one of the buildings that is part of the GWU Medical School. His name is Ernest, and he is something of a "mascot" to the people who pass his way, especially to the GWU students. Ernest is a Vietnam Vet, and the lines on his face and the weariness in his posture tell me me has had a very tough life. Far tougher than I can imagine. But Ernest is always smiling, always cheerful, calling out "Hello"s and "Good Morning"s and "God Bless You"s to all who pass by, whether they decide to drop a little change in his cup or not. Over time Ernest and I have gotten to know each other in a way, and when I have time I stop to chat for a moment with him before continuing on to whatever appointment I have to keep. I had a series of assignments over the summer that took me to other parts of the city, so I didn't see Ernest for awhile. When I started walking by his usual place again, a couple months ago, I was saddened that I didn't see him. I wondered what had happened to him, and I hoped that he was okay. And today, he was there. He was sitting off the sidewalk today, under the overhang of the building, out of the rain. "Well, Helloooo, Purple Lady!" he boomed out when he saw me. (He calls me that because I have a purple briefcase.) Though I was in a bit of a hurry, I gave him a big smile and asked where he had been for the past few months. Ernest had wonderful news. With the help of a couple GWU Law Students, he had been put on a list for a subsidized housing unit through a local charity, and he had been fortunate enough to receive a small apartment and other services to help him begin to climb out of the poverty and despair he had endured for so long. I was genuinely happy for him, and I told him so. But the thing that really made my jaw drop was what Ernest had cradled on his lap. It was a beat-up old acoustic guitar. I asked him about it, and received a gigantic grin. Turns out Ernest has played guitar since he was a boy, growing up in the South. After he started receiving services through the charity a volunteer found out he played and gave him the instrument. Now Ernest plays every day and is teaching some of his friends from the Shelter he used to frequent how to play too. Standing under the overhang of that building as the rain pelted down, looking at the smile on the face of a man who had little of nothing but the pure joy of music, I remembered just how blessed I am, to have a job and a family and a home and people who love me. Then something else happened -- and I'm convinced it was the Karma Goddess just tapping me on the shoulder, but nearly knocking me on my ass. "You look a little down today, Purple Lady," Ernest said, giving me another big smile. I nodded and made the excuse that I was tired, and that the rain always made me a little blue. "Well, then maybe you need a little somethin' to cheer you up." Ernest replied. Then he started to pick out a tune on his battered old guitar, and to sing in his warm, gravelly voice. Here comes the sun Here comes the sun, oh I say It's all right.... I damned near started crying right there. Seriously. I had tears in my eyes. I stood there listening and watching for another minute, until I had to go. I thanked Ernest and wished him the best, and stepped out into the rain again, continuing on to do my job. That was probably the best gift I could have gotten today. Not just because I needed it, but because I have a friend who is going through her own little rough patch right now. And I happen to know that she loves that song, too, especially as performed by a certain Jersey-Boy guitarist. She was on my mind as I trudged through the rain and encountered Ernest and his song. I'm convinced that song was as much for her as it was for me. Everybody rides on the Karma train. And sometimes it's a good ride...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Squids!

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength. After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798. In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service." And I must say, they do have the best and worst uniforms in the entire military. Worst: dungarees. Best: Oh, those Officer's Whites!!! Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy! Anchors Aweigh....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, You Hot Cubano!

Happy Birthday to my favorite Hot Cubano.... Teek, hope your day is filled with laughter and love. See you soon! 'Cause I just can't resist him when he plays the bongos....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Rite of Passage

How many of you remember the first album you ever bought? Was it vinyl? Cassette? CD? I remember mine - Pat Benatar's "Crimes of Passion." It was 1980, I was 12. And yes, it was vinyl. I still have it. My parents, who were still living in the era of Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets (not that that's a bad thing, they're just a little behind), were NOT thrilled. Especially when they heard my favorite song from the album.... "Hell is for Children." Yeah. Today was one of those landmark days in our house. Today my Baby bought her very first album, with her very own money. After her guitar lesson we stopped by WalMart to pick up a couple necessities, and there she encountered the album she HAD to have, just COULDN'T live with out. "Momma?" she said, batting her insanely long, thick brown lashes at me. "Will you buy me this? PLEEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE?" (She forgot that works on Daddy, not me). "Hmmmm..." I thought. Actually, I really wanted the music, too. But I wanted to see just how badly SHE wanted it. "Well, not today." "But Momma, PLEASE!" she begged. "Well, Baby... if you want it, you can buy it with your own money." She stopped and considered that for a moment. She won $20.00 in premiums for her projects at the county fair last week. Normally that money would be frugally squirrelled away to pay for an extra week of horseback riding camp next summer. Was this CD worth having to work a little harder for the Barn Rat Fund? I tried not to grin as I watched her little face twist into a beaming smile. "Oh yeah, Momma. I'm gonna buy it." Blame it on the love of rock and roll. Her very first album purchase? Sonic Boom, the new KISS album. (Jeez, Kid, couldn't wait for "The Circle?" LOL) I know she'll remember this day forever, just like I remember the day I walked out of Musicland with "Crimes of Passion" tucked under my arm. I wish she could have had the experience of going to a REAL record store, but hey, times have changed. She'll have it memorized by tomorrow, I guarantee. *tear* I'm so proud!

Heat Wave

October 4-10, 2009 is National Fire Prevention Week. Many cities across the U.S. also designate this week as Firefighter Appreciation Week. I am firmly in support of that idea... In observance, be safe and thank a Firefighter! Though to have one of these guys show up in a big red truck.... Kinda makes you wanna play with matches, doesn't it?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I Hate it when Work Interrupts Important Stuff...

So, Jonny snuck into D.C. again today... Well, he didn't really so much "sneak." He was a keynote speaker for World Habitat Day Opening Ceremony at the National Building Museum. JBJ is a member of the U.S. World Habitat Day Honorary Committee. Unfortunately, I don't hang out at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HQ (though I am in there occasionally for work) and I can only watch so many press office sites at one time, so I missed this one. And, to add insult to injury...I was only TWO BLOCKS AWAY at the DC Metropolitan Police HQ at the time! Grrr... One of the press releases mentioned he was scheduled to perform, so we may see some video sometime soon. Of course, it's all over the press here...NOW!!! D.C. always gets all a-Twitter (pun intended) whenever HRH comes to town: Politico Spotted: Jon Bon Jovi kicking off World Habitat Day at the National Building Museum Monday morning. Also in attendance: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, and HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan, among others. Washington Post ".... Jon Bon Jovi hanging in the lobby of the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton on Monday. Tight black pants, tight black T-shirt: Rock on! Was in town to serve as a celeb rep at the U.N.'s World Habitat Day at the Building Museum." Apparently Jonny's hangin' at the Ritz! Hmmm... they have a good bar.... :) Queenie also has some great pics up on her blog. Man, he cleans up good! Jonny, Baby, next time you come to town, give me some notice and I'll clear my schedule for you, LOL!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Retail Therapy

Ahhh.... Sweet Relief. I feel a little like Jonny, in need of a nice, long break... Well, I survived the visit from my family. All in all it went well, and I was glad to have the chance to spend time with my aunt, cousin, and even my Mother. I was pretty much right on target with my 72-hour Mom Tolerance Window... somewhere around hour 75 she called me "middle-aged" and told me to cut my hair. Apparently 41-year-old "matrons" shouldn't have long hair. Or listen to loud rock and roll music. It all kinda went downhill from there. *Sigh.* Anyway, had a great time with my cousin, and it was lovely to see my 80-year-old aunt again. She's a hoot. And now, Thank God, they've gone home. I took the fam to the airport just outside Baltimore yesterday morning. After ushering them through the check-in process and watching to ensure they made it through security (never quite sure what my Mom may try to "smuggle" aboard her flight), I almost skipped back to my car. The first thing I did was turn up my stereo - LOUD - and blast out some Velvet Revolver (Slash, Baby, how I missed you!). Then I headed down the road for a little Retail Therapy. There is a huge, world-class, upscale outlet mall about 3 miles from the airport. Now, I'm not much of a shopper, but I have been known to enjoy a good sale. I have been looking for a new pair of black boots, and I need some new work clothes, so I figured...WTF. Indulge my "Girly" side. That's not quite how it worked out.... I spent about 4 hours at the mall, working my way around the huge racetrack of designer and upscale outlets. I was actually quite surprised that I found some things I needed... and LOTS of things that I wanted. But I kept repeating my mantra ("Tour Tickets... Tour Tickets....") and managed to keep myself reasonably within check. I only bought things for which I have a legitimate need. Until I hit the one store that always seems to be my undoing. Perhaps you've heard of it... "Kenneth Cole NYC" ? And everything was 30% off of the markdown price. Drat! I've loved Kenneth Cole's stuff since even before Jonny signed on with the RSVP to Help project. It's just my style. So of course I couldn't resist. I walked out of there with a couple t-shirts (from the RSVP line, thank you very much!) and the most GORGEOUS jacket. My little splurge to celebrate making it through the week without commiting Matricide. So I went to the food court for lunch (sat next to a bunch of Nuns eating tacos, LOL!), and contemplated my purchases as I nibbled at my Subway sandwich. It was then I realized that... I've been spending WAY too much time in Jon Bon Jovi's head. Among my purchases: One black v-neck t-shirt from Kenneth Cole One pair of dark-wash premium denim jeans One pair of black leather boots with low stacked heel (that will undoubtedly be scuffed soon) One pair of pewter-rimmed, smoke tinted sunglasses Sound familiar? Crap, all I gotta do is add the black cap (I actually have one that is similar) and I'm practically a female JBJ. Without the money, looks, or talent. Wow. Self-awareness can be scary sometimes. But at least I'm fashionably self-aware.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Air Force!

You're lookin' good for age 62... Many of you know I am an Air Force Veteran. I spent 13 years on active duty, most of it in law enforcement. However, before I became a Special Agent I was honored to work in two large aircraft maintenance units; one at McGuire AFB, New Jersey and the other at Luke AFB, Arizona. Both squadrons had over 800 active duty airmen assigned; about 15 officers and 775+ enlisted men and women. I was doubly-blessed in those two units: my Commanders were good, honorable, and decent men who were the best role models imaginable, and the Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) who served under me were brave, dedicated, and patient men and women who helped gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) "grow" me from a clueless and naive young "butterbar" into a confident, capable, and compassionate junior officer. I will be forever thankful to those NCOs; one of the proudest days of my life was the first time one called me "L.T." instead of "Lieutenant." I knew then that I had earned respect, and that I was doing something right. On the flight lines in Jersey and Arizona I saw the blue-collar Air Force in action. I carried tool boxes and slung gear with the Crew Chiefs, I hung bombs off fighters with the Armament Techs, I counted missiles and bullets with the Ammo Crew (IYAAYAS!!!), I packed parachutes with the Life Supporters, and I worried over depot and flight schedules with the Maintenance Officers. I learned what it REALLY meant to be an Airman, with a capital "A." The experiences I had on the flight line early in my career gave me the appreciation for the heart of the Air Force that would serve me well in my law enforcement career. It helped me understand the culture and lifestyle of the men and women, and their families, who are the backbone of our national defense. And it gave me the courage and resolve to take the sometimes difficult, sometimes gut-wrenching steps necessary to enforce the law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice against those who dishonored the uniform and their fellow Airmen. Today, September 18, 2009, marks the Air Force's 62nd birthday. The Air Force was originally part of the U.S. Army, but was created as a separate branch of the U.S. Military by the National Security Act of 1947. The Air Force is by far the youngest military branch (and the BEST!) There are currently over 327,000 officers and enlisted men and women on active duty, another 115,000+ in the Reserves, and over 106,000 in the Air National Guard. Additionally, the Air Force employs over 171,000 civilian personnel, who are very much part of the Air Force family. The Commander, Air Mobility Command, had this to say about this auspicious occasion: On Sept. 18, 1947, our Air Force became a separate branch of the military. Since then our unequalled accomplishments have helped provide a beacon of hope for men, women and children all over the world. The Air Force's birthday is an ideal time to celebrate this heritage and the people who have made and continue to make it all possible. During the Berlin Airlift, our veteran Airmen delivered 2.2 million tons of cargo to a city desperately in need. Today, our AMC, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard Airmen continue this honorable tradition as they work together to achieve unprecedented results around the globe. Our success does come at a price as evidenced by the many sacrifices of our Airmen and their families. While our people work long hours and endure time away from home, their families remain steadfast in providing unyielding support and care for our personnel as they make history every day. Take time on Sept. 18 to remember and recognize the superior contributions our Air Force has made to this great nation. Also take time to remember the sacrifices that Airmen and their families have made to found the freedoms that we enjoy today. For that, I am honored and thankful to be among you wearing the Air Force uniform. I am honored to have served alongside these amazing men and women of the U.S. Air Force, and to have been a part of a glorious history. Happy Birthday, Air Force! To my Brothers and Sisters in Blue -- Good Luck and GodSpeed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mother Superior

There's a certain level of insanity that only a mother can drive one to.
My mother is coming to visit tomorrow, along with my aunt and my cousin. I'm looking forward to the visit, for this is my Very Favorite Aunt coming to see me. We always have the BEST time together. In fact, my own Mom often comments that I am much more like my aunt than I am her.
I'm also really looking forward to seeing my cousin, whom I haven't seen in more than five years. She is a cardiothoracic nurse, and one of the funniest people on the planet. And a Jovi fan to boot. Yeah, we're gonna have a good time.
Our guests will be here for a week, taking in the sights of the Washington, DC area. I will be playing tour guide part of the time, and hiding part of the time. (I'll probably have to hide in my bathroom with my laptop to post my Jovi-Porn, so be warned!)
Now, before you start to wonder why I haven't said I'm looking forward to my MOTHER visiting, let me go on the record and say I AM looking forward to seeing her.
For a little while.
Don't get me wrong, I love my mother. She is an amazing woman, and I am so very grateful for all the things she has taught and given me throughout my life -- even when the lessons were administered under the heading of "Tough Love" or "Because I Said So." I hope I am half the Mom to my daughter that she has been to me.
But I have about a 72-hour tolerance window with her. Then things start to get a little iffy.
One of the many things I inherited from my mother is a compulsive perfectionist streak. Another thing I inherited is a stubbornly independent streak. Both of these traits have served me well in my chosen professions and in life, and I have learned how to harness them to use my powers for good rather than evil (most of the time).
But that all goes out the window when Mom is around. Now, Mom comes from good German stock. She grew up on a dairy farm in Kansas, where you worked from sunup 'til sundown, and went to school for a couple hours in between. My grandfather immigrated from Germany when he was a teenager, and he instilled his work ethic in all of his five children. They in turn passed it on to (most of) their children.
I'm like my mother in that I'm not afraid of a little hard work. I'm also not immune to her criticism, no matter how veiled or sugar-coated it might be. And that's why I'm sitting here at 1:30 in the morning writing this (somewhat therapeutic) rant/post.
Because I have spent the past 17 hours cleaning my house.
Now, I can usually clean my 4-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home in about 5 hours, all told. And it looks pretty good, too. But not when Mom comes to visit. Approximately 48 hours before her arrival the perfectionist gene goes into overdrive, and I see dirt and crud and filth EVERYWHERE. It's not enough to just wipe down counters and sinks and vaccuum and dust and swish toilets. I must scrub the tile floor on my hands and knees, like Cinder-freakin'-rella. I must meticulously scrape the miniscule specks of mildew from the grout in the shower tiles. And I must crawl along the entire perimeter of every room of my house, wiping every smudge and stain from every white baseboard.
That's what I did today... well, yesterday. Now I'm sitting at my keyboard, gulping iced tea and waiting for the Naproxen to kick in to soothe my aching back muscles so I can sleep.
About 5 hours ago my Hub gave me one of those looks that only he can muster as he dragged the Dyson vaccuum cleaner over to empty its bin for the 6th time. "Why didn't you just hire a cleaning service?" he asked wearily.
I fixed him with a glare. "Because. I can handle this." I answered tersely. "Besides, there's no reason to spend good money on something we can do ourselves" (NOTE: The "we" comment was to appease him; I actually meant "I.") Besides, I thought, There's this TOUR coming up, and this means more money in my ticket/travel fund...
But we both knew the REAL answer to his question; the unspoken truth. Because Mom would KNOW I hired someone to clean my house. And to her that is just unacceptable. It is a badge of dishonor. It is LAZY. Even if I never told her, she would somehow know.
So I choose to suffer on into the night, then to quietly smile and bite my tongue in a few short hours as I stand in my sparkling-clean kitchen as she performs her little covert inspection. "Oh," she'll say. "The house looks... nice." Then she'll give me that little Mom smile. "I know you're busy, Dear. You're doing the best you can," she'll say gently.
Thank God my cousin drinks wine.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Our Heroes...

On September 11, 2001, the world was forever changed. That fateful day touched every American, every Citizen of the world in a profound way. For me it was personal. On that day, I was sitting in my classroom with my students at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Training Academy at Andrews AFB, MD (we hadn't yet moved to FLETC). I was an active duty Air Force Officer and Special Agent. My students were preparing to go out to our training "raid houses" for tactical assault training. First one, then a second plane slammed into the World Trade Center. We heard the explosion as American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon, just across the Potomac River. We watched the smoke and flames rise into the sky. There are no words that can describe what I felt. Probably the closest I can come is... RAGE. Complete, profound, all-consuming rage. And unless you are a military veteran, or a cop, or a first responder, you probably can't understand why I don't say shock, or sadness, or fear. I was four months pregnant with my daughter at the time. Six hours after the attack on the Pentagon, I was there, at the site of the crash, helping process the second-largest crime scene in the history of our country. The largest was the World Trade Center. I didn't sleep for more than two days. I had a job to do, and despite my pregnancy my mind and my body wouldn't let me slow down. I remember driving home on the usually-busy DC Beltway in the middle of that long night, my car one of only three on the road. It was eerie. Like I was one of a few survivors of the apocalypse. I heard the afterburners of the F-16 fighters flying combat air patrol over our Nation's Capitol. After 10 years in the Air Force, the sound of jet engines was like background noise to me -- I never noticed it, even when I lived right next to the flightline. That night, I heard every jet. When I got home from the Pentagon that night, I wrote a letter to my unborn child. I read it every year, on this day, and again I feel the rage and pain and sadness I felt as I scribbled out those words. I don't ever want to forget how I felt that day. It's part of who I am, who I have become. I want my daughter to know that about me. Someday she'll be old enough to understand. The days that followed passed in a blur. There were too many funerals to count. We grieved the loss of our brothers and sisters in police and fire departments, and we prayed for the souls of the victims of the attacks and for peace for their families. We also prayed for those who would endure the hardship and sacrifice yet to come. And we went to war. Since 9-11, there have been 7 Special Agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) killed in the line of duty, in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than a dozen others have been seriously wounded. All were performing critical counterintelligence work in incredibly dangerous environments. Even tonight, as I write this, hundreds more are in harm's way. I am not a religious person--at all. But I pray every night for their safe return to their loved ones. Today I remember Special Agents Tom Crowell, Nate Schuldheiss, Dave Wieger, Matt Kuglics, Ryan Balmer, Danny Kuhlmeier, and Rick Ulbright. Tom, Dave, Matt, and Danny were former students of mine. Rick was a friend and colleague. You can read their stories here. I also light a candle and say a prayer for the firefighters, police officers, and other first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9-11-2001. When others ran out, they rushed in. Today, take a moment to reflect on the fact that Freedom is not Free. And if you see a cop or firefighter or EMT or Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine, thank them for their service. For a long time I've been meaning to put together a tribute to these heroes. I finally did it. Chances are if you're reading this, you know the music: It's "Nobody's Hero." Please take a minute to listen and watch and remember. If you are so inclined, say a prayer. The portraits shown during the solo are of the AFOSI Special Agents killed in the line of duty. They are images of from the Hall of Heroes at AFOSI Headquarters. Well Done, Agents. We are forever grateful for your sacrifice. You are my heroes.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are You Ready????

...For some FOOTBALL? The NFL Season starts TODAY! Now mind you, I'm a Baseball Girl all the way. Given the choice to watch a baseball game or a football game, I'll take baseball every time (well okay, 99% of the time). But football is my second-favorite sport, and I celebrate the return of Monday Night Football as exuberantly as most of my guy friends. Like most fans, I have teams that I follow faithfully. I grew up near Kansas City, so I am of course a Chiefs fan first and foremost. But since there hasn't been much to cheer about there lately, I've sought solace in my "other" teams -- the Eagles, Steelers, and Bears. Growing up, I was a huge fan of two quarterbacks who played on opposite ends of the State of Pennsylvania -- Terry Bradshaw and Ron Jaworski. (Hey, my Grandmother was from Philly, so it does run in my blood...). And of course, being an Eagles fan, I absolutely loathed anything to do with the Dallas Cowboys. Still can't stand 'em. When I was in high school I traveled to Chicago for the first time and fell in love with the Bears. I gleefully followed Jim McMahon and the Monsters of the Midway to their Super Bowl XX trouncing of the New England Patriots (sorry, Hath!), and yes, I could do the Super Bowl Shuffle, LOL! : ) My devotion to Da Bears would pay off... on my first date with the cute little soldier who is now my Hub, we discovered we had identical six-foot posters of "Mad Mac" (Jim McMahon) hanging in our barracks/dorm rooms. We knew then that fate had brought us together. I still have my #9 Jersey. I break it out every now and then for the Hub. ; ) So, here we are on the cusp of a new NFL season, and I'm looking forward to watching and attending as many games as I can. And I'm sure there will be a goodly amount of trash-talk going on with friends and family as the season progresses. And it will be SUH-WEEEET when the Eagles kick the Patriots' butts in the Super Bowl, after a rockin' Bon Jovi halftime show! (My prediction, not actual fact.... yet!) BRING IT ON!!! Get us started, Hank... (and Richie!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Alice Cooper and... Alice Cooper

I have this really cool kid. She's funny, smart, adorable, and sometimes a bit too mature for her age (like 7 going on 30). Thankfully, she has inherited my taste in music. After all, she's been exposed to Bon Jovi and other rockers since her residence in the womb. Come to think of it, she was probably conceived to a Bon Jovi song... Anyway, there's none of that Hannah Montana crap in our house. High School Musical? Gag. The Jonas Brothers? "Mom, they're just BOYS," my kid says with a sneer and a roll of her eyes. "They don't know how to ROCK." (Note to Self: Start preparing Hub now for the fact that Daddy's Little Girl will probably be "With the Band" when she's in college...) Anyway, one of my daughter's favorite rockers of all time is Alice Cooper. She thinks Alice is absolutely HYSTERICAL. Now, before you cringe and think "Jeez, that Catte is one permissive Mom...", let me tell you how Kiddo discovered Alice Cooper. It was the Muppet Show. I'm a lifelong Muppet Groupie. I am head-over-heels in love with Kermit the Frog. So of course I have every season of The Muppet Show on DVD. When Kiddo was 5, I took great joy in introducing her to Kermit & Co. And I gotta admit, I breathed a sigh of relief that she was immediately hooked, since she was not a great fan of Sesame Street. (Can you imagine a preschooler who could care less about Elmo? That was her.) Slowly, patiently, I doled out Muppet Show episodes as special treats, watching her little face light up and hearing her delighted giggle as she watched "Pigs in Space" and "The Swedish Chef," and "Veterinarian's Hospital." We worked our way through the episodes in order, starting with the first season and advancing. I should have seen it coming, when somewhere around Episode 8 she remarked. "Mommy, Rowlf the Piano Playing Dog looks an awful lot like David Bryan." (Took me awhile to stop laughing at that, but damned if she isn't right!) Finally we arrived at Season Three, Episode 7, with guest star Alice Cooper, circa 1978. I was a little apprehensive about her reaction to Alice, even in family-friendly, fuzzy Muppet mode. After all, the guy does climb out of a coffin and dance around with Muppet ghosts while lip-synching "Welcome to My Nightmare."

She LOVED it. From that point on, it was all about Alice. She played that episode over and over, and begged to be allowed to listen to more of his music. I relented somewhat, allowing her to add "No More Mister Nice Guy," "House of Fire," and "Feed My Frankenstein" to her Alice playlist, which already included Muppet-friendly "Nightmare," "You and Me," and of course, "School's Out." Needless to say, most of the rest of Alice's catalog, along with music videos and footage of his stage shows, have remained off-limits. Since that time I've added a couple more songs with more mature lyrics to her playlist, along with a long discussion of what is and is not appropriate to be belted out at the top of her lungs on the school bus or in other public places. She has also expanded her list of favorite rockers to include Joan Jett, KISS, Lita Ford, Meat Loaf, and Slash, among others. And since HairNation is on A LOT in our house, she does hear some things that aren't exactly second-grade-friendly. Yeah, I'm still awaiting that phone call from the school: "Well, your daughter was singing some... um... inappropriate music on the playground... Yes, well, it was "Take me down, slow and easy..." (She likes Whitesnake, too). But I just can't find it in my heart to squash her enthusiastic discovery of power chords, screaming vocals, wailing guitar riffs, and heavy, thumping bass guitar. I remember how much I loved to sing when I was her age, and my heart just melts when I hear her in her room, singing away to Alice or Joan Jett or Bon Jovi. Blame it on the Love of Rock-n-Roll. Anyway, the thing that inspired this post was an article I stumbled upon yesterday. It's been out there for a few days, but I thought it was pretty darn funny. It's about Alice being quintessentially Alice, one of the nicest guys in Rock and Roll, trying to be all scary but not quite succeeding. Apparently last week the New York Post ran a story about some Good Samaritan out in Brooklyn who rescued a rare kestral (a type of hawk), then named it "Alice Cooper" because of its resemblance to said Rocker. Now, this is one cute, fluffy bird, and one not-really-cute, scary-ish character. But you can definitely see the resemblance. Alice is currently on tour in Australia, and when asked about his avian namesake, responded with tongue firmly in cheek: "First 'The Crow' stole my makeup, and now this kestrel has done it. This madness has got to stop, or I'm going to send my army of lawyers with everything they've got to go up against this bird. The bird has been trying to get a part in the show and will try anything to generate attention and get into our production.... the only one who wants him in the show is the snake."

And that's why I love Alice. Scary and sweet, all at once. Rock On, Dark One. As a treat, one of my favorites. Could have a little something to do with backing vocals by His Royal Hotness himself.... "If my love was like a lollipop, would you lick it?" Umm, yeah....