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Monday, December 17, 2007

Image courtesy Amazon.com.

Finally, someone out there who happens to be African American is paying homage to their roots instead of putting out a hip-hop record. Boyz II Men has released a CD called Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA and covers such classics as Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me), The Tracks Of My Tears, War, and Mercy Mercy Me. The Boyz performed a choreographed medley on The View last week and said something to the effect that they wanted to bring back the old music before it was forgotten, which was greeted with cheers from the audience. Of course, to quote one of their redone songs, ain't nothing like the real thing, baby, but I'll give these boyz kudos for trying.
Gadzooks! I nearly forgot! Who else could I pick for December? Danny Kaye from White Christmas? (Sorry, Mr. Kaye.) Yes, this guy is a bit herky jerky but he can't help it - he's a bumble. And bumbles bounce!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Image courtesy Macys and International Concepts.


Just when I think I've outgrown the 60s-inspired look that clothing lines bring back year after year, INC (International Concepts) has to come out with something groovy to lure me back. This looks like something I wouldn't wear until the spring, but Macy's is selling it now for $89 in case you want to give it as a holiday gift to the flower child in your life. It's cotton but has to be hand washed as there's beaded detail on each of the flowers. Available online at the Macy's site or in Macy's stores in the INC section.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pay phones, I'm afraid, are about to go the way of the telegraph. AT&T has announced that it is getting out of the phone booth and pay phone business by the end of 2008, since so many people own cell phones now.

The first public coin telephone was installed in a Hartford, Conn., bank in 1889. By 1902, there were 81,000 public pay phones in service in the United States. During the 50s, the phone booth gained notoriety when the fad of "cramming" - or the act of stuffing as many people as possible into a phone booth - became popular among college students.

I think it's sad. I like phone booths. Years from now some kid will be watching an old movie and will ask, "What IS that?" I can't think of Superman without thinking about Clark Kent changing in a phone booth. Verizon still operates some pay phones in the U.S., particularly on the east coast, although I wouldn't be surprised if they yank them eventually as well.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Picture courtesy Amazon.

Oh, untimely death! Along comes a book that is either fascinatingly morbid, or morbidly fascinating, depending on which way you look at it: Rock & Roll Heaven: A Fascinating Guide to Musical Icons Who Have Joined the Great Gig in the Sky, by Robert Dimery and Bruno MacDonald. Here's the description from the inside flap:

Rock & Roll Heaven is a fascinating look at over 100 of popular music’s most famous fatalities, from legendary rockers who lived fast and died young to tragic and self-destructive poet-musicians.

Discover whose body was washed up at the foot of Beale Street, home of the blues. Find out why country legend Gram Parsons’ corpse was stolen. Read about the grisly coincidence that links Keith Moon and Mama Cass.

Artist portraits feature career highlights along with details of their untimely demise, accompanied by stunning photographs.

This is your graveside guide to the final days of some of popular music’s legends. Featuring 120 late-but-great icons that have knocked on heaven’s door or driven down the highway to hell, each entry includes a revealing account of the star’s death, along with a wealth of fascinating facts and tantalizing trivia. Here’s how the end came for . . .

Buddy Holly . . .Died Feb. 3, 1959 . . . Cause: plane crash
Sam Cooke . . .Died Dec. 11, 1964 . . .Cause: gunshot
Jimi Hendrix . . . Died Sept. 18, 1970 . . . Cause: asphyxiation
Janis Joplin . . .Died Oct. 4, 1970 . . .Cause: drug overdose
“Mama” Cass Elliot . . .Died July 29, 1974 . . .Cause: heart attack
John Lennon . . .Died Dec. 8, 1980 . . . Cause: gunshot
Marvin Gaye . . .Died Dec. 28, 1983 . . . Cause: gunshot
Jeff Buckley . . .Died May 29, 1997 . . .Cause: drowned

You’ll get inside stories on these tragedies and many more in Rock & Roll Heaven.


It's retailing for $16.49 on Amazon.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Picture copyright Telegraph Media Group Limited 107.

Rogue stuntman Evel Knievel passed away last week at the age of 69 from multiple health problems.

Robert Craig Knievel began life as a small-time burglar and motorcycle thief in Butte, Montana, which led to his being nicknamed "Evil Knievel" by the police. He changed the spelling and later adopted the moniker as his stage name. Long before extreme sports were invented, Knievel's stunts during the late 60s and 70s propelled him into pop culture icon status, and created a new artform. He survived over 300 jumps and broke 40 bones during his career. An attempt to jump the fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in 1967 resulted in a 3-month long coma when he lost control of his bike on the way down.

Knievel left his first wife, the mother of his four children, in the early 1980s and married Krystal Kennedy-Knievel in 1999, who was less than half his age. They later divorced, but continued to live together until his death.

His gravesite has actually been waiting since 1974, since he didn't think he would live to see old age. Several tributes were held yesterday in Montana. His final message to his fans was, "chase your dreams and get up if you fall."
I'm only mentioning this because it is a milestone for my pop culture generation, but Friday marked the 25th anniversary release of the album Thriller. Why was a record that featured clearly a Halloween-themed song released less than a month before Christmas?

I loathe Michael Jackson so much that I couldn't bear to post his picture on my blog, and I can't believe how many girls in my age range had a crush on him when this album came out. He was already so creepy to me - the soft-spoken, effiminate voice, the one glove, Neverland Ranch, etc. You mean no one else could see back then that this was a freak in the making? And while I will admit the album had some good songs on it, the only one I really liked was "The Girl is Mine" - because it was a duet with Paul McCartney. BTW, his sister Latoyota or Latoya or whatever her name is played his love interest in the video of the other song he did with McCartney, "Say Say Say." This didn't raise any red flags in the early 80s?

Anyways, the album still continues to sell 60,000 copies annually. It introduced us to Jackson's trademark dance the moonwalk and was instantly a huge chart success.
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