Tuesday, September 29, 2015

10 Underrated Elton John Songs


A few weeks ago I listed what I feel are ten underrated songs from America's "Piano Man", Billy Joel; today, I felt compelled to list ten from the UK's Piano Man, Sir Elton John. It's a funny thing, but I never considered myself much of an Elton John fan until I started revisiting his musical catalog, which has existed for a good 45 years now. 

Just how amazingly prolific has John's career been, especially during the 1970s? Well, how many artists today release two albums in one year? John did it three times during the '70s: in 1970 (Elton John and Tumbleweed Collection), in 1972 (Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) and in 1975 (Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of the Westies.) Actually, in the U.S. Elton John saw the release of three albums in 1975 if you count the American release of Empty Sky, which was really his 1969 debut album but remained unreleased in the States for six years. Today's music industry is mostly about the flash and appearance, but John's talent actually matches the flamboyancy of the costumes and glasses he's worn throughout the years. 

A warning for the diehard Elton John fans who read this list: you're probably going to hate it. That's because I included several songs from the '80s. I know that a lot of long-time fans are not crazy about the direction John's music took during the decade of excess, namely because he fired his backup band in 1975. However, my love of pop and rock music didn't truly begin until the early '80s, when I received my first portable radio with headphones and music videos were starting to be shown on television. Some of the '80s tunes I've included here have faded from the radio waves and in my opinion deserve a little resurrection. 

Of course, the toughest part of any of these lists is sticking to only ten songs; definitely a challenge with John's amazing body of work. So please keep in mind that it's subjective, and here are ten underrated songs from Reginald "Reggie" Kenneth Dwight, aka Elton John (and his long-time songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin!)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rejoice, Single Ladies: The "Old Maid" Term Is Dead


Yep, you heard it here first on Go Retro: the Old Maid is dead. I'm not a fan of elder abuse, but it was about time someone took that old bag for a ride and dumped her on an abandoned highway in the middle of Kansas. Good riddance! Same goes for the word spinster -- an even worse term someone dreamed up at one point for unmarried women past a certain age. That word always makes me think of a witch...a witch from a Disney cartoon with a big, warty nose who loves to dispense poison apples to innocent children and princesses. 

Normally on Go Retro I like to celebrate the way certain things used to be in decades past...but I am still very much a modern woman, and of all of the things that are awesome about living in the 21st century, the fact that there's no longer a stigma against unmarried (or divorced) women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond is definitely at the top of my list. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Young Don Johnson Was Ridiculously Smoking Hot


Male heterosexual readers of Go Retro, you may want to turn right around and go back to where you came from -- there's nothing for you here, unless photos of a young Melanie Griffith interest you, and the phrase "sexy piece of hunky man meat" doesn't make you uncomfortable. I'm going shamelessly superficial with this post, because it's all photos of Don Johnson before his Miami Vice days. 

With Johnson's new TV series, Blood and Oil, set to premiere on ABC Sunday night, I've been feeling very nostalgic for Miami Vice and have been itching to post about its place in television history. (From the promotion I've seen for Blood and Oil, older Don Johnson is still ridiculously hot, too.) However, years before Johnson made Sonny Crockett with his three day-old stubble a household name, he acted in an awful lot of movies and TV series -- most of them forgettable and some of them failed pilots, like the publicity shot above. I have no idea what show this was that featured Johnson as a police officer, but it may be time to take up speeding. He could pull me over at any time!

Full disclosure: Johnson was my number-one crush starting around the time I was 14 until I was about 16. Little did I know at the time that the man, in his own words, was "trying to set the land speed record" for consumption of drugs, alcohol, and women. Johnson even later admitted to accompanying a drug dealer friend on a deal -- the very type of bad dude his character on Miami Vice was trying to bust! Needless to say, it's a huge turnoff to me today but we're just going to sweep this minor, insignificant character flaw (ahem) under the rug and enjoy these early photos. I think they're proof that Donnie Wayne Johnson  -- with his long locks, beautiful eyes, and killer smile -- really should have been the pin-up centerfold star of every teen crush rag of the 1970s. I know he would have been on my wall for sure. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's A Jungle In There: Invasion of the 1970s Houseplants


I think if there's one decorating detail that defined the 1970s -- besides the sometimes retina burning colors -- it's the plethora of plants that were found in homes during this time.

Look through any modern home magazine or site today, and most of the time you're going to see one or two carefully placed flower arrangements or potted plants in a room and sometimes, none at all. But when I go through photos scanned from 1970s interior decorating magazines or books, I'm sometimes amazed by the amount of vegetation that filled homes -- and public spaces -- back then. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

GoRetroPamela Gets Peanutized


(Auto-correct wants to write I've been penalized.)

So this is supposed to be me in a Peanuts cartoon -- I know, the resemblance is striking! It's been hilarious seeing all the grown-ups on Facebook post their versions because basically, everyone looks the same. Every guy looks like Charlie Brown or Linus in disguise. Unlike other sites like Mad Men Yourself, there's really not much room for customization here -- you can't pick a nose or body shape and the eyes are basically the same beady little ones with different eyebrow shapes. Are you a guy (or gal...hee hee) with facial hair? You're out of luck, because eight year-olds with beard don't exist in Charles Schulz's world.

And in reality all of us adults trying to Peanutize ourselves would end up with a muted trombone for our avatar. Wah wah, wah wah wah wah wah...

But, if you're bored and curious to see what you'd look like in the famous strip, check out the site Peanutize Me. As you might have guessed, this is part of a marketing push for the big screen version of The Peanuts Movie, which is due to hit theaters on November 6 (I believe the new James Bond movie Spectre opens the same day, so Charlie Brown and company will have to wait for me.)

I tried to make my Peanuts version as retro as possible; hence, the saddle shoes, sleeveless shift dress, and disco ball. You know what I like best about the dance scene I chose? That crabby loudmouth Lucy isn't in it. So I'm going to go hit on that cute blonde kid with the German name playing the piano in the background, and do the twist with Snoopy. Later! 

Hot Tub Time Machine: The Heart Shaped Tub Still Exists in the Poconos

A Cove Haven Resort Tub in the 1970s. 
Motels featuring heart-shaped beds and hot tubs sound like a kinky throwback to 1970s porn or cheesy 1980s soap operas. Thank God they went the way of the 8-track tape, huh? Well, I'm more than happy to burst the bubble of any haters out there, because the heart-shaped jacuzzi is still alive and well in the Pennsylvania Poconos! 

I was on a Facebook group page of fans of '60s and '70s advertising the other day when a guy posted several photos he claimed were all from the now-defunct Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos back in the day. Some of the photos were of heart-shaped tubs and one was of a giant champagne glass-shaped jacuzzi -- which, judging by the photo quality and the hairstyles of the models -- didn't look at all that old to me. 

My hunch was right. After doing some investigating I discovered that the photos of the tubs and jacuzzis weren't from Mount Airy Lodge at all, but from a couples retreat in the Poconos that still exists and seems to be doing a thriving business: Paradise Stream Resort. Actually, there are three resorts operated by the same company, Cove Haven Entertainment, that all feature the heart and champagne glass-shaped tubs: Cove Haven, Pocono Palace, and Paradise Stream

I realize that today is the last official day of summer and the last thing people are thinking about right now is summer vacation; however, these resorts operate year-round and Valentine's Day is only five months away, folks! You can thank me later. 

First of all, how cool is it that you get greeted with this sign upon entering the premises for Pocono Palace?



I didn't quite determine the difference, if any, between the three properties because they all feature suites like this:



And THIS:



And this, a gaming room containing arcade machines:



Tacky? Yes. Bad taste? No doubt. Outdated? Delightfully so. 

AND I NEED TO GO HERE ONE DAY.

C'mon, who doesn't want to sit in that insane, amazing, seven-feet tall champagne glass with their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife? (Provided it was scrubbed clean and disinfected after the previous guests checked out. How DO they clean it, anyway?)



Someone on Yelp actually complained that the place is "stuck in the '80s." Sheesh...that's the point! The suites actually don't look that old to me, but the style is definitely a nod to Las Vegas and the disco and 1980s eras. Some of them also contain massage tables with heat lamps, and mirrored headboards. Yow! I mean, if you're going to be kinky, you might as well go all the way. Even the restaurant's name at one of the locations is called Spooner's. This is the kind of stuff that Austin Powers dreams about. Bring your libido and leave your inhibitions at the door. 

All three resorts are set on beautiful Lake Eden in the Poconos and feature live entertainment, restaurants, spas, and a variety of outdoor recreation including paddle boats, bicycling, golf, tennis, snow tubing, and ice skating. 



There's also this kind of creepy Barney Fife-like dude (the resort's Facebook page says he's Officer Billy O; I hope the O does not stand for orgasm) that patrols the premises and busts couples for public displays of affection and hands out tickets. Better safe than sorry: save anything beyond first base for the privacy of your room. 



Now for the other bad part...reviews of all three properties are mixed. There's a lot of complaints about the cleanliness of the rooms and the jacuzzis (ewww) and the quality of the food. But, for every negative review there's one that raves about the place, including several from couples who claims they've been visiting for years. Also, the prices aren't exactly the Days Inn and of course, the suites with the champagne glasses cost the most. But for a special weekend or anniversary, isn't your sweetheart worth it? 




Sunday, September 20, 2015

Not Your Mama's Muppet Show: The Muppets Get Sex-Crazed for 2015


Who knew that I would be inspired to write about The Muppets twice within a few days? Yet here we are again...and by the way, I would hope that anyone who read my attack on Miss Piggy knows that I was (mostly) trying to be funny. Truth be told, I felt a little bad a couple of days after posting that, especially when I caught the wedding scene between Kermit and her at the end of The Muppets Take Manhattan on cable the other day. (Miss Piggy can be annoying but OK, she has her cute, redeeming moments, too.) Let's just hope she doesn't start using new boyfriend Josh Groban as her new karate practice dummy.

Anyways, from time to time we hear about how inappropriately sexualized a lot of things are becoming, particularly toys and clothing meant for children. For example, my generation of girls grew up with My Pretty Pony, pony dolls that actually looked like ponies. A few years ago, a new line of horse dolls was released under the name "Struts." If you think that name sounds too much like sluts, then you should see the dolls -- that look like the supermodel version of horses, with high heels, long manes, and -- I kid you not -- bikinis. We could go on and on all day about sexy clothing and Halloween costumes that exist for girls, sexy looking dolls, and what shows up on TV and in movies today. Now I'm hearing that the new ABC sitcom starring Jim Henson's creations set to premiere Tuesday night, The Muppets, is not immune to this trend. It's already causing a buzz for some of the adult imagery and behavior exhibited by...well, the muppets. 

Case in point -- the other day in my Miss Piggy post, I introduced you to Denise, Kermit's attractive new girlfriend (who has almond-shaped eyes like mine, which I think is hilarious.) Well, it turns out she's a pretty saucy little swine. Here she is making eyes at an older dude muppet while seductively performing fellatio on a pen:



Zoinks. And the old perv is nodding his head with approval...ha ha ha. (Actually, in that scene she's really looking at Kermit from across the board room.)

But that's not even really the most disturbing thing I'm hearing about the Muppets' new show. Sex between muppets...and sexy time between muppets and humans is implied. New York Magazine had this to say in their review of the series:

"One preview for the show includes Piggy telling her co-star [Topher] Grace, in advance of their date, 'Take a long nap, big boy, you’re really going to need your strength,' followed by an extended make-out session, which is observed by Gonzo, who murmurs, 'Cool … Go Topher,' as if mesmerized by man-on-Muppet porn."

You can judge for yourself by watching this preview of The Muppets posted by ABC -- the kissing scene in question begins shortly after the 5:00 mark. If it isn't awkward already, Grace responds to Miss Piggy's advances with, "I want more of that."



On a side note, it sounds like Miss Piggy gets around and lives up to her name. (I thought she was dating Josh Groban?) 

In that same clip it's revealed that Fozzie Bear has a human girlfriend and her father does not approve of his daughter's choice of a lover (icky, huh?) 

Maybe Fozzie is trying to emulate another sex-crazed bear with a craving for women, Ted. Man, it sounds like the Muppets are more than eager in 2015 to "get things started." Maybe that acronym I can't stand, MILF, now stands for "Muppet I'd Like to F---." It almost sounds like The Muppets want to compete with the cast of Avenue Q

I'm not going to lie -- I do plan on watching the show, partly now to see how far ABC can push this...but I must admit, I feel a bit sad, too. This is definitely not the Muppets I grew up with or my generation's children grew up with. I get that the producers want to make the show appealing to adults, but they accomplished that nicely without overly sexual content in the 2011 film The Muppets and again with last year's Muppets Most Wanted

It's one thing when Miss Piggy coos and flings herself at a male costar, but I think it's another thing to see one of them getting tongue-on-muppet action with her, or another muppet. I think back to a lot of the guest stars of The Muppet Show in the '70s...would Roger Moore had agreed to a script where he had to French kiss the pig? Or would Debbie Harry allow herself to be fondled by Fozzie? Hell, no. And how weird would it have felt, as a kid, to watch that?

One has to wonder what Jim Henson would think of this modern but kind of sleazy direction the Muppets are taking...on the other hand, his original intention for The Muppet Show was so that audiences of all ages could enjoy it. An early version of the show featuring his characters that aired was actually called Sex and Violence and took a more abstract tone compared to the series we would grow up on and love. I guess time will tell via ratings and any complaints what the viewers will think about The Muppets.

What do you think -- do you think they should keep The Muppets as innocent as they were during The Muppet Show? Or are we just being a bunch of old prudes?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Power of the Do Over


One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is from City Slickers -- a flick that I neglected to put on my "10 Films That Have Stayed With Me" post from earlier this year. 

Sadly, no one has updated the clip I have in mind to YouTube, but it's when Mitch (Billy Crystal) is riding with his two friends, Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby.) Phil believes his life is a mess. His friction-filled marriage recently ended after he was caught having an affair with a check-out girl at the grocery store he manages that is owned by his father-in-law and as a result he has lost everything, including his job. Mitch points out to him that his life is a "do-over." "You've got a clean slate," he says and reminds him how when they were kids playing baseball and someone hit a foul ball, they'd just yell out "do-over!" and begin a new play.  

Even though I was only 19 years old when I saw the movie, that line resonated with me way back then and has stayed with me ever since. I definitely made a mental note to file that line away for future use. It was probably the first time I realized that some movies do have the power to inspire us and help us change our lives. 

If you've been reading the blog for a while, then you know that once in a while I deviate from the pop culture theme with a more personal post, as this one is, and you probably remember that I was laid off from my full-time job a good 18 months ago. When it happened, I immediately thought of City Slickers although recently I've been extending the "do over" phrase to other parts of my life as well. Usually I exclaim "do over!" when a knitting or crochet project isn't coming out right, but lately I've been applying it to anything that doesn't work out or isn't producing desired results after a period of time. For me, it's kind of a gentler way of saying "f--- it" and moving on.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That is exactly how I would describe the modern-day job hunting "game" that I've been doing for the past year and a half. This game consists of submitting your resume, cover letter, and sometimes even references and salary requirements (two things that employers shouldn't even be asking of you unless you're actually at the stage where they want to offer you the position) into a company's job search portal, or as I like to call it, the Black Hole of Application Death. As you may have guessed if you're not already playing it, it's a pretty difficult game to win. 

I've been doing it, and can't say I was a complete failure -- I did manage to get four interviews last winter, so I must have been doing something right with my keywords. But it isn't very fun, and it is often very time consuming...especially when you have to excruciatingly copy and paste every section of your resume into a company's applicant site, because it couldn't read your nicely formatted resume when you uploaded it. 

So I recently decided that I am not going to play this game anymore, and I'm not going to follow these rules, despite what job hunting advice sites may tell you. I'm giving my job hunting a "do over." 


Earlier this week I woke up and was very inspired to try a different technique of job hunting...something I had read about last year but for whatever reason, was too chicken to try at the time. As it turns out, it's also kind of retro. 

From now on I am going to mail a hard copy letter of introduction, my resume, and some of my writing and marketing samples to hiring managers -- not human recourses personnel -- at companies I can see myself working at. And I'm doing it regardless of whether they have a suitable position open or not. 

I know, it's pretty old school. It worked for me back in high school when I wanted to leave the grocery store and break into hospitality (such ambition back then!) Can it work now? Honestly, I don't see why not. 

I'll go into greater detail in a future post about my plan...my reasons behind it, and if it's working...but honestly, I feel more inspired about doing this versus pitching a resume into an abyss where no human will ever see it. This also gives me control over where I want to work instead of taking any old job because it's available. If I can't get excited about a company's products and services and/or their employee reviews are overwhelmingly negative on Glassdoor, then I don't want to work there. Being out of work for an extended period of time has definitely given me clarity what I do -- and don't want -- in my next job. 

My life in general has been in a "do over" mode for a while -- this was a stressful summer for my family and me, with my mother needing bypass surgery, and it feels like my life's path has been put on hold in many ways. On the other hand, I DO believe in the universe's timing...had I received a job earlier this year, I would not have accumulated enough time off to visit her and more importantly, help her out at home and run errands for her until she fully recovered. We also went through a period where everything seemed to be going wrong -- mainly things in the house that required repair and the money to fix them. Thankfully, that seems to have finally stopped. I've also been fortunate enough to get a freelance writing gig, writing 500 word articles for real estate websites about small businesses such as restaurants and non-profits. I also have been given extra hours for the other contract job I have. But, it is a very limited amount of money and for a variety of other reasons, I'd love to be working in an office again, even if on a part-time basis. 

In a way, I look at every new day as a "do over" -- a chance to begin again, not repeat a mistake, work towards a goal, etc. It's important to note that a "do over" can't always be an "undo" -- what's done is done, and we can't change the past, but we can learn from our mistakes, forgive others (and ourselves) and move on. And personally, I've always been a fan of clean slates. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bacon, Anyone? Why Miss Piggy Is the Most Annoying Muppet Ever


Growing up on The Muppet Show in the '70s, I figured out right that Miss Piggy was never going to be my favorite muppet. While Fozzie Bear is happy-go-lucky, Gonzo is sweet, and Animal is crazy -- but in a good way -- Miss Piggy is just plain mean. Now with the impending premiere of the sitcom The Muppets on ABC and the hoopla over her split with her long-time paramour (frog husband?) Kermit after nearly four decades, I can honestly say that my disdain for her has not diminished after all these years. She is downright annoying. In fact, I'd go so far as to say she's nearly the muppet equivalent of Debra Barone

This is one muppet that could make a vegan turn into a carnivore. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Go Retro/Be Retro Bowling Shirt Giveaway!


It's been eons since I've been able to offer a giveaway on Go Retro, so I was excited and grateful when a company named Be Retro (a soul sister to Go Retro if I ever heard of one) reached out to me about offering up a giveaway item to my readers and followers. 

Be Retro has been in business since 2008, and they make a groovy selection of retro bowling shirts for men, or all you cool daddy-os out there. You've seen this shirt pop up on popular TV series such as The Sopranos and Two and a Half Men. I am surprised that it never made an appearance on Mad Men from what I can remember, but even if Don Draper never actually sported one on the show, trust me: you're going to feel like Don Draper wearing this shirt! 

And HEY ladies -- enter this giveaway, too, for the cool guy in your life you know would love this shirt...your boyfriend, husband, brother, friend, dad, gynecologist (OK, maybe not him), etc. 

What's great about these shirts (besides that fact I think they're sexy) is they're made of machine washable, easy care fabrics including polyester, rayon, and peachskin -- so if you spill anything on it, no worries, dude. Just toss it in the washing machine. I also love the fact that all Be Retro shirts are made here in the USA, a business practice that is near and dear to my heart. 

Be Retro asked me to choose a style to give away to one lucky winner. Because we're headed into fall and because not every man is fond of bright, contrasting colors, I'm going with the Houndstooth Rockabilly Lounge Shirt. This shirt is made of rayon gabardine (65% polyester and 35% rayon) and features two tones of brown, one being the snazzy subtle houndstooth pattern on the front. There are two chest pockets and as mentioned, the shirt is machine washable. 

(Note: although several of the shirt sizes are currently sold out, Be Retro has assured me that they are coming back in stock, so don't be alarmed if the page doesn't have your size.)

Want to win one of these puppies so you can Mad Men-ize your wardrobe a bit? Here are the rules (don't worry; they're easy):

1. You must "like" the Go Retro Facebook page if you haven't already done so and live in the U.S. Your Facebook profile should be legit; not a made-up name or fake profile. 

2. Head on over to Go Retro's Facebook page and look for the pinned post featuring the giveaway at the top of the page (or just access it here.)

3. Leave a comment on the post before Monday, Sep. 21 at 12 noon EST...you can say any ol' thing; I don't care (as long as it's not too dirty!) Feel free to share the giveaway, too.

4. I will choose a winner on Monday after 12 noon via WooBox, a cool social media contest app. The winner will be announced on the Go Retro Facebook page. They will email me with their shirt size and mailing address and Be Retro will ship the shirt directly to you.

5. Get ready to be the coolest cat in your neighborhood sporting your new shirt and mixing up martinis!

GOOD LUCK! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Benny Hill's Hilarious Parodies of '60s Musicians


I've extolled on here before about my appreciation for The Benny Hill Show, an unusual series for a woman of my generation to be a fan of for sure, but I only have watching episodes of it in the 1980s with my parents to blame. Little did I realize, however, until I wrote the first blog post that Hill's show existed in various forms as early as 1955 before eventually becoming the bawdy program it did in the '70s and '80s. The show wasn't quite as raunchy in the 1960s, but thankfully it wasn't any less funny. 

While strolling through YouTube the other day I came across several hilarious send-ups Hill did in the '60s of the decade's most popular musicians. In these clips Hill imitates Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones (The Strolling Ones!), Sonny and Cher (or Char), Roy Orbison, P. J. Proby, and Peter and Gordon. (OK, one of the Roy Orbison sketches is from the '70s.) 

I don't know which segment I found the funniest -- The Rolling Stones one with Hill playing all band members, one of the screaming girls and the one lone, out of place boy who always seemed to be in the audience during these taped television performances, or the Peter and Gordon one with Hill portraying a Ready, Steady, Go-type host with bangs in her eyes who overuses the words fantastic and super and compliments a ketchup stain as "pop art."

(I noticed the same silly lyrics, "How could you kiss the butcher when we owe the milkman so much?" came up in two of the songs.)

I laughed so hard, I cried...which is always the best way to have your funny bone tickled. Click on read more below to view and enjoy them before the copyright cops at YouTube discover them as well. 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Chevrolet's Strange Foray Into Folk Rock Music: Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You



Remember that time when Chevrolet released a folk rock album about safe driving featuring Carly Simon? I'm sure you have this gem in your music collection, right? No?

Well, it happened and the result was called Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You, an unusual marketing piece that comes off a little bit like School House Rock with deep educational lyrics such as, "look at the silent snow but remember to go slow...when it gently covers the ground, turn on your lights and...slow down." 

The album is a lost relic of the 1960s, a Mad Men-esque advertising technique that came to be known as "industrial musicals." A company -- usually one with a bland product or service -- would put out an album of songs meant to promote the company and get people excited to buy the brand. The most unusual one I've seen so far is a late '60s album that American Standard produced called The Bathrooms Are Coming! 

Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You was released either in 1965, '66, or '67 (sources differ) and was aimed at the younger driver demographic; the newly-licensed teens and young people receiving their first car. There's not much info available on how the record was distributed...most likely it was given away at Chevy dealers...but what is obvious is that all of the songs are about safe driving, weather conditions, and the rules of the road. My favorite track is "The Natural Laws (Laws of Motion)", a kicky, Sonny and Cher-esque number with the prolific lyrics, "And when you're in a move...yeah, really in a groove...what keeps you going on your course? Of course...centrifugal force." 

Today's teens would surely roll their eyes if such a record was released today!

In between the lyrics, Simon and her male singing partner speak of the rules of safe driving (which kind of breaks the momentum of the music.) Other songs include "An Exciting Thing (Driving A Car)", "When the Wrong Things Happen (Stopping Distances)", "Nowhere Fast (Observance and Enforcement)" and "Cities and Towns (Driving in the City and Heavy Traffic)". 

Perhaps the strangest thing about the album are the reviews I read about it online; collectors of LP rarities find the songs well composed and Carly Simon fans are practically orgasmic at the idea of the songstress contributing to such a project. Supposedly the price of this album went up on sites such as eBay once it was revealed Simon was the female vocalist on it. Personally, while I can appreciate the effort that was definitely put into it, I just can't see pulling this one out and playing it on purpose for enjoyment. But, whatever floats your boat...or toots your horn.

Want to have a listen? Here's several of the tracks that were uploaded to YouTube. Crank it up! 









Friday, September 04, 2015

RIP Dr. Wayne Dyer


"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

He wasn't an actor, a singer, or a pop culture figure, but I considered Dr. Wayne Dyer to be more than that: one of my personal law of attraction gurus. I read many of his books, visited his website, watched his PBS specials, and listened to his program on Hay House Radio. His teachings helped -- and continue to help me -- through some challenging days. After following him for several years, learning of his death earlier this week at the age of 75 felt a little like losing a friend. Considering he helped introduce the concept of positive thinking to the masses decades before "The Secret" was published, I feel that he deserves a few words of tribute on this blog. 

Even if you're not familiar with any of his books, you may have seen him on PBS in recent years, lecturing to audiences to supplement each new publication. For the past few years I knew he had been battling leukemia, but his cause of death was actually a heart attack. In fact, his family released a statement on Facebook this week that said an autopsy revealed he had no trace of leukemia in his body, proof of his claims that he cured himself of it with his own teachings. 

Dyer's personal rags-to-riches story -- which he revealed in some of his books -- is pretty inspiring on its own. He was born in Detroit in 1940, to an alcoholic father who abandoned his mother and two brothers shortly after Wayne's birth. For the next ten years Dyer lived in orphanages and foster homes, returning to his mother after she got remarried -- this time to another alcoholic who was also abusive. “I was aware at age 10 that whatever happens to me, my own destiny was right in my own little hands and in nobody else’s,” he would write years later. 

As a child, Dyer fantasized about appearing on The Tonight Show and becoming an inspiration to thousands of people. Teachers and family members would call him a dreamer and gently try to persuade him back to earth, but Dyer recounted years later in the book Wishes Fulfilled that he chose to ignore the naysayers. 


Despite a challenging home life, he entered the U.S. Navy and later become a high school guidance counselor and college professor at St. John's University. His lectures at St. John's -- focused on positive thinking and motivational speaking -- started to become popular with the student population, which inspired him to write his first book, Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life, in 1976. 

He felt a very strong inner urging to quit his teaching job that year, despite having a family to support, and promote the book himself by visiting bookstores and giving interviews out of the back of his station wagon. After an interview on a very popular radio station, the title became a best seller and Dyer was invited to appear on The Tonight Show, making his childhood dream come true. 


Wayne Dyer appearing on the Phil Donahue Show in the '70s
He would go on to write dozens of more books, travel to give lectures, and film PBS and talk show appearances. The underlying messages in his writings pretty much remained the same from title to title:

*You create your life first in your imagination, then by feeling it into existence
*You are more than just your profession or career
*You are connected to a higher source (God, the Universe, etc.) that is all loving
*You must choose to feel good despite any outside circumstances
*You must let go of the past and forgive anyone you feel has wronged you in any way
*Letting go of resistance and judgment is one of the fastest ways to manifest anything in your life

Ironically, Your Erroneous Zones is one of the few Dyer books I have not read yet. I own a copy of Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting and You'll See It When You Believe It. Real Magic is also a favorite of mine. 

Dyer's personal life, however, wasn't perfect, and was often used against him by skeptics. He was married three times and currently separated from his third wife for a few years at the time of his death. He struggled with alcoholism, the very addiction that plagued his home life, and he could be judgmental and critical of other people until he learned it wasn't serving him. He got angry once while on tour because room service wasn't available to bring a sandwich to his hotel room -- until he remembered his teachings earlier that day and decided to purchase a sandwich in the hotel restaurant. 

He passed away at his home in Maui, leaving behind his estranged wife, two sons, and six daughters. 

I think the best way to end this is with some inspirational Wayne Dyer quotes, many of which has resonated with me through the years. 

“With everything that has happened to you, you can feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.”

"When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.”

"Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”

“Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.”

"How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”

"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”

"When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace."

"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."

"There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”

Thanks, Dr. Dyer, for the reminder. 

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