Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Reelin' In The Years" - Vol. 4

Now that the Comets saga is complete, here's another round of old journal stuff I dug up from back in the day when I kept close track of day-to-day headlines, as well as happenings in my life.  My original text appears in blue here, followed by my more recent observations thereof...

Mon. March 23, 1992:  “Magician Doug Henning and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the one The Beatles denounced in ’68) want to turn 1,400 acres near Niagara Falls, ON into Maharishi Veda Land, a theme park combining recreation and spiritual enlightenment.  Yeah right.  Will they sell dashikis at the souvenir stands?”
Didn’t these guys learn anything from Tommy’s Holiday Camp in The Who’s Tommy?  “All these pricey deals don’t teach us…your freedom doesn’t reach us…how can all this trivia take us to the goal you reached?”  Doug Henning wasn’t quite all there, anyway—didn’t he remind you of Mr. Van Driessen, Beavis & Butt-head’s tree-hugging hippie school teacher?  A little light in the loafers, too…

Tues. March 24, 1992:  “A bundle of about 2,000 dirty magazine sections spilled from a recycling truck about 10:00 this morning and littered I-35 near Cambridge Circle.  Now there’s a section of highway I wouldn’t mind adopting!”
As Chandler and Joey on “Friends” would surely attest, there’s nothing quite like free porn!

Fri. April 3, 1992:  “The ousted president of the United Way and two close aides transferred more than $1 million a year to other organizations they controlled, the United Way admitted today.  The three also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their travel, pensions and insurance plans, according to a report released by their new management.  The report revealed a five-year pattern of financial manipulation far more extensive than any the organization had previously disclosed.  This included the spending of more than $100,000 of the charity’s money by the former president, William Aramony, for limos, flights on the Concorde, golf equipment, jewelry and flowers.  Need I say more about these big charities?”
And these are only the three scumbags that got caught—one wonders how many more schmucks within the United Way were/are laundering charitable donations under the table.  The bigger the charity is, the less I trust it, and UW is one of the worst, in my opinion—they’re nothing but a big corporation to me.  I resented being force-fed all their propaganda at my job every year when I worked at Boatmen’s Bank, not to mention how they tried to make me feel like a shithead for not donating.  I never confirmed this, but someone told me that some companies who do United Way pledge drives would even go as far as to put employees who don’t participate onto a shit-list which would affect their pay raises, chances for promotion and so forth.  Thankfully, the employers I’ve worked for the last 14 years since I left Boatmen’s haven’t done the United Way’s bidding for them.  There are numerous smaller charitable organizations out there that are far more worthy than United Way.

Sat. April 4, 1992:  “[My friend] Tom discovered that we have a new Rock station in this town.  KRVK “The River” is no longer.  98.9 is now KQRC “The Rock”, playing a basic hard Rock/heavy metal format.  This may finally be what I’m looking for.  Someone finally noticed that there are too many AC [Adult Contemporary] stations in this market, and decided to try something different.”
This turned out to be one of the most successful format changes in K.C. radio history.  “The River” was so wimpy I started calling it “The Puddle”, so anything new would’ve been an improvement.  Hard to believe The Rock has been around 18 years now, and they’re still one of the higher-rated stations in the K.C. area.  I don’t listen to them much now, though—they play way too much Metallica for my liking, and I can’t stand their overrated morning drive yakker Johnny Dare.

Tue. April 7, 1992:  “A jet carrying P.L.O. chief Yasser Arafat disappeared in a sandstorm while trying to make an emergency landing in the Libyan desert.  Hope they don’t find him…
That towel-headed jagoff was the cause of most of the trouble in the Middle East in the first place.  Too bad we had to wait another 12 years for him to finally croak.

Thu. April 16, 1992:  “The Blades [our former IHL hockey team] did better on Salt Lake’s power play than on their own tonight, and won Game 4 over the Golden Eagles 5-1 at Delta Center.  The Blades scored three shorthanded goals—two on the same penalty!  By the way, the Blades were 0-for-5 on their own power play.”
Shorthanded goals are rare enough in hockey, and three in one game is phenomenal.  Salt Lake had several players who Blades radio announcer Bob Kaser dubbed the “Cement Heads” for taking dumb penalties.  Evidently they weren’t too good at capitalizing on the other team’s transgressions either.

Mon. April 21, 1992:  “The Concert For Life AIDS benefit in memory of Freddie Mercury was held in London. Elton John, David Bowie, Extreme, Def Leppard, George Michael, U2, Roger Daltrey and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath were among the performers who joined with the surviving members of Queen for the four-hour concert.  One of the more interesting moments occurred when Elton sang the first part of “Bohemian Rhapsody” and was followed by Axl Rose singing the “So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye…” part.  The two then joined together to sing the soft part at the end.  Strange combination.”
This is the same guy (Rose) who thought nothing of performing in t-shirts that read “AIDS: Kills Fags Dead” singing with Elton John, who is arguably the most famous homosexual in the world.  Strange bedfellows, indeed.  Little did anyone know at the time that Guns ‘N’ Roses’ best days were already behind them at that point, too.  Easily the most self-destructive band of all-time.  They coulda been a contender...

Wed. April 29, 1992:  “Another Raytown (or near-Raytown) institution is closing.  Brywood Theater, KC’s first six-screen cinema complex closed tonight after 19 years of operation.  The lease on the building is up and the cost of upgrading the air conditioning system for the summer would be too much, according to AMC officials.”
Remember when six screens in one complex was considered revolutionary?  Now you have these mega-plex clusterfuck theaters with four times as many screens (or more).  I worked just a few hundred feet away from Brywood Theater at Waid’s Restaurant during the ‘80s and saw many a good flick at the theater, which was state-of-the-art when it opened in 1973, but it was grossly out-dated by 1992.  What AMC didn’t mention was the other reason they closed Brywood was that there was too much gang activity going on in the parking lot at night, and too many Homies were assaulting and/or killing each other over those overpriced L.A. Raiders Starter jackets that were all the rage at the time.

Thu. April 30, 1992:  “The death toll stands at 24 in the wake of the rioting in South Central L.A.  At least 63 fired were burning by mid-evening…The ramifications of the Rodney King thing went further than just riots and protests.  Sports events in the Los Angeles area scheduled for tonight were postponed.  Hollywood Park also cancelled its thoroughbred racing cards for today and tomorrow.”
In all, 53 human beings died because of all this mess.  All over a routine traffic stop of a good-for-nothing alky who to this day still doesn’t have his shit together.  While Rodney King certainly didn’t deserve the beating administered to him, and all the stuff that resulted from his trial and the verdict thereof wasn’t his fault, he at least owes it to those who perished to straighten his life out and make something of himself.  Loser.

Mon. May 6, 1992:  “All curfews were lifted and L.A. tried to get back to abnormal today.  Meanwhile, in typical Republican fashion, the Bush administration blamed liberal welfare programs started by Lyndon Johnson for the rioting that went on last week.  White house press secretary Marvin Fitzwater said, ‘We believe that many of the root problems that have resulted in inner-city difficulties were started in the ‘60s and ‘70s programs of the Great Society.”
What Marvin failed to mention was that almost all of those programs were wiped out by the Reagan administration and hadn’t even existed for the 11 years prior to the ’92 riots.  But, the Blame Game was the Republicans weapon of choice as much then as it is now.  Wait, there’s more coming…

Tue. May 19, 1992:  “Dan Quayle got a lot of single mothers steamed at him with some remarks he made during a speech in San Francisco.  He blamed a breakdown of American family values for the Los Angeles riots and accused prime-time TV of contributing to moral decay by glamorizing a character who bore a baby out of wedlock.  He said the plight of urban America had not been helped by the portrayal this week of “Murphy Brown”’s mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice’.  ‘Marriage is probably the best anti-poverty program there is,’ quipped Quayle.  So let me get this straight—Murphy Brown’s giving birth on TV the other night to an illegit child is what caused the riots in Los Angeles.  Are you totally deranged?!?  I’m just about sick of this traditional “American family values” crap they keep throwing in our faces.  I’m fed up with this ‘live how we think you should live’ attitude our so-called leaders have toward us in the ‘land of the free’.  I’m astounded that people in power can make such ignorant and off-the-mark remarks for public record.  I’m also sick of this hard-on Republicans have for trying to find a scapegoat for all the problems they can’t fucking solve.”
Up ‘til then, I didn’t really have that much of a quarrel with the Republican party (except maybe the Dickie Nixon debacle), but it was at this point that I started leaning to the left.  Republicans are so good at displacing blame where it doesn’t belong and using easy targets as scapegoats.  I never much cared for the “Murphy Brown” show, but I’ll defend it by saying that they were hardly glamorizing single parenthood as much as they were trying un-demonize it.  True, two parents are generally a preferable situation, but there are lots of single mothers out there who can still get it done, including a young woman I worked with at the time who is no longer with us.  She was an ideal loving mother to her two you children.  Rest in peace, Susan…

As for Dan Quayle, this side of Dubya, was there not a more intellectually bankrupt political figure in American history?  He single-handedly kept late night comedians in business for months.  Read on, and you’ll see…

Wed. May 20, 1992:  “The White House spent the day trying to save face in the wake of Dan Quayle’s lunkheaded remarks on Tuesday.  White House spokesman Marvin Fitzwater (the man who blamed LBJ for the riots two weeks ago) tried to put Quayle’s remarks in a better light, but failed miserably.  Reaction was fierce and hot on the radio and late-night talk show circuit, as one would expect.  Some of the more interesting quotes:

“If the Vice-President thinks it’s disgraceful for an unmarried woman to bear a child, and if he believes that a woman cannot adequately raise a child without a father, then he’d better make sure abortion remains safe and legal.”—Diane English, creator of “Murphy Brown”
—“Well, Dan Quayle came through for us one more time…I’m surprised he watches ‘Murphy Brown—isn’t that opposite ‘F Troop’ on cable?”—Johnny Carson on the “Tonight Show”
—“If I hadn’t seen the ‘Murphy Brown’ clip with my own eyes, I would have thought it was another stupid Dan Quayle joke made up by people trying to humiliate him.”—Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons”
—“Murphy Brown is not going to cause an outbreak of illegitimate births.”—Michael J. Robinson, Georgetown University political scientist
—“This whole thing with Murphy Brown is hilarious.  Next, 'Doogie Howser, M.D.' will be responsible for no health care in this country.”—Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, creator of “Designing Women”
—“I think the effect of Murphy Brown on the Los Angeles riots was marginal.”—Bill Clinton, Presidential candidate

Fri. May 22, 1992:  “Even though I never thought it would end, Johnny Carson ended his reign tonight as host of the “Tonight Show”.  Johnny went out with a classy wrap-up show that included a montage of the guests who appeared on the show, as well as a musical montage with everyone from Judy Garland to Z.Z. Top.  I know how badly Johnny wanted to move on and do something else, but for some reason, this just doesn’t seem like the right time for this to end.  Although I haven’t watched Johnny as much the last few years as I used to, it just won’t be the same anymore.  But hey, life goes on…and who knows, maybe Jay Leno will find his niche, too.  Then there’s always Letterman, who by the way, is already one-third of the way to matching Carson’s reign of 30 years.  Later, Johnny…”
And in less than a year and a half, Dave will have matched Johnny’s 30 years on the air doing late nights.  Here in K.C., we were forced to wait over an hour for the final Carson “Tonight Show” to air, thanks to the Royals game at Texas that ran late.  I think Johnny was having second thoughts about retiring at that point, given all the fresh material Dan Quayle was supplying him.  It certainly hasn’t been the same since Johnny retired, and I miss him a lot—just a classy guy and a fun show to watch.  Today’s late-night landscape is a virtual wasteland in comparison.

Sat. May 23, 1992:  “Went with Tom and saw Basic Instinct at Blue Ridge West.  I was not impressed.  This thing was overly-long, rather boring at times, and it left you hanging as to who the killer is.  Sharon Stone is a real babe, but her character was just a little too arrogant for me.  In fact, the whole movie was just a little too arrogant for me.  It only rates a 4 on my scale.”
Can you say ‘overrated’?  And apart from the infamous beaver-shot scene, was there really anything truly memorable about this film?  I don’t think so.

Sat. May 30, 1992:  “The cable guy arrived around 3:00 to disconnect Cinemax and hook up Showtime.  This guy did not have his shit together.  He smelled like he hadn’t bathed in a week, and when he went out to do his thing on the pole, he not only hooked up Showtime, but HBO and Cinemax as well.  After discovering this, he said it was my lucky day, and that he didn’t feel like dragging his ladder back out there to fix it.  He said the next time he did a job out our way, he’d change it.  I hope he has a poor memory—got a feeling he might…”
And sure enough, the som-bitch never returned, and for the next three years until I moved out of my parents’ house, I was getting free HBO and Cinemax!  Sorry, Comcast...