Archive for September, 2012

Woody’s Roadhouse–Still The One

September 30, 2012

As I sat in the audience of the Colonial Theatre last night, soaking in the Woody’s House of Washington reunion jam, it suddenly hit me what a big part of the music scene that dusty but hallowed place was.

For those outside the area, by now you’ve probably figured out the Berkshires really are America’s Premiere Cultural Resort…a slogan our Chamber of Commerce uses.

As I pulled into the kitchen for an evening salute to some golden raisins, the ringing in my ears from the redux night at Woody’s felt right…three hours of the blues will do that.

Allow me to elaborate.

Burnt Bacon and the Home Fries, crushed the opening with a solid 45 minute set, rounding it out with the best female vocalist of the night...the only one, and they called her Lady-Di.

Then came the Spampinato Brothers, formerly NRBQ, clean and efficient, with my favorite song of the show; Riding in My Car…this one got the ladies up.

Pounding the stage next, with a serious lead singer and the best old fat guy of the gig, was the band Fat…turning 5 moms into 20, dancing in the aisles.

Wrapping up the concert was Commander Cody, looking old but sounding young.  His keyboard is better than ever and he had the biggest hit of the night–Hot Rod Lincoln.

From my perspective, today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll is a lot like a watered down social justice gospel.

The kids have lost their way because they’re so far removed from its origins.

These four bands were like first century Apostles, with Jesus’ words still ringing in their ears.

Last night’s rock disciples were so close to Chuck Barry you could see him smiling in every old dude’s grin…especially mine.

I had a tremendous time, even though I was flying solo…the audience was so diverse I counted three shades of red necksinside joke for locals.

The good news; only one drunk chick.

The bad news; she landed on my lap as the moms were rushing the stage.

Funny how things change as we grow old.

Thirty-five years ago, the only reason I went to Woody’s was so that a drunk chick would…never mind.

Last night I just worried about my sport jacket and the stench an icky discharge.

Thanks Woody and Company for pulling this together…my all time favorite memory from the Roadhouse was the band Orleans, at the top of their famehearing Still the One as I danced with a finance’ named Natalie.

Here’s where I believe Woody’s ranks in Berkshire music lore.

Tanglewood was for the big boys, like James Taylor, Seals and Croft, and Stills and Nash.

The Music Inn was a poor man’s Tanglewood, with Bonnie Raitt and company.

But Woody’s–that was a poor man’s Music Inn.

Last night proved it.

The Lighthouse at the Boy’s Club was the poor man’s Woody’s.

You know you’re a red neck…or at least a music lover from that 70’s show in the Berkshires…if Woody knows you by name.

The Band FAT at the Woody’s Road House reunion.

Book Review; The Gentleman Boxer

September 29, 2012

I might be one of the luckiest sports fans around.

I just finished reading a book called The Gentleman Boxer, by Ion Grumeza.

It’s a story about my great Uncle, Joe Grimm.

His real name was Joseph Hashim, and he was my grandmother’s little brother.

This is the story of boxing in the roaring 1920’s.

It’s a must read if you fall into any of the following categories;

  • Related to Joe Grimm
  • You Have Lebanese Heritage
  • You’re from Pittsfield, MA
  • Or Fall River, MA
  • Or New Bedford, MA
  • Or Bayonne, NJ
  • You Have Ancestors Who Boxed
  • You Loved the Movie Cinderella Man
  • You Believe in Hard Work
  • You Believe in Family
  • You Hate Corruption
  • You Love an Underdog
  • You Love a Gentleman
  • You Love Lebanese Food

I probably could go on for another hour or so, but, I don’t want to delay you from buying your copy of The Gentleman Boxer.

If you do read it and notice the name Louis Massery, playing a prominent role guiding the Hashim  family, I hope you say, it runs in the family.

That was my Jiddoo (grandfather).

If you’re not sure if Joe Grimm was a great fighter, I have just a few words to say that will change your mind;

24 Knock Outs in a row.

Awesome man, awesome book.

Thank you Ion…you brought me ions of laughs and tears.

Here’s the link…the e-version is a bargain at $3.99.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Gentleman-Boxer-Twenties-ebook/dp/B00950CD92

Funny Phones That Aren’t So Funny

September 28, 2012

First of all, the video below will make you laugh.

I have to confess…when I first heard this woman on the radio, I thought it was an actress making fun of someone with an “urban” accent.

Sadly, it’s real.

It turns out she’s an SEIU Union employee being paid $11 an hour from money extorted from hard-working union dues, so that they can dog Mitt Romney wherever he goes in Ohio.

Please keep barking folks…you’re making him look real good.

Now that you’re done laughing, it’s time to cry.

As you watch this next video take note of the year, 2008, when the program exploded…doesn’t that coincide with a certain Presidential election of a person who claimed he’d change Washington from the inside out?

I guess the change he was talking about was a coalition of people ripping off the rest of the taxpayers who don’t want something for nothing.

The Scholarly Journalist…an Oxymoron

September 27, 2012

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Leave it to Beaver.

There was a character who used to try and cozy up to Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver, so that he could influence their sons.

Except this character, though he thought he was brilliant, came across like a phony every time.

More about him later.

One of the biggest problems facing America is the fiscal cliff we’re facing.

Sadly, even if Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate is elected, no matter how good a job they do reigning in spending, left-wing journalists will only report on those whose belts that have been “unfairly” tightened.

The work of a paid writer, at one time, meant that everything they did was to the highest possible standard.

A newspaper editor was considered to be a man above reproach here in the U.S.

They couldn’t choose sides.

Those days are long gone.

Those on the left may be wondering how it is that Fox News, with its obvious conservative bias, has become so influential.

The left has reaped what it has sewn…rigid bias.

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and dozens more like them are booming because today’s journalists have stopped doing their job.

The un-scholarly approach to reporting is so blatant that the pendulum, driven by frustrated intelligent Americans, has swung hard back to the right.

Conservatives, who make up the majority of the country now, are starving for truth, and find it in giant piles on talk radio and conservative cable TV programs with brilliant guest commentators like Charles Krauthammer and Michelle Malkin.

If the old media wants to survive, they’re going to have to pull an Eddie Haskell–and–at the very least, force themselves to pretend to care about truth and fairness.

Wally and the Beaver don’t like liars and hated it when Eddie got them into trouble…in every show.

The liberal press is getting America into trouble, with every slanted report.

The problem is, this is no sit-com….it’s serious business being reported by insincere people.

Damaged Brands–Harvard and the NFL

September 26, 2012

Sometimes good brands end up damaging themselves.

A perfect example this year is Harvard University and U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, with her unsubstantiated claim that she’s a Cherokee Indian.

Another is the NFL, with their inability to resolve a strike with their referees.

In both cases, once impeccable brands are taking a hit.

This type of intangible loss is often times irreparable.

I do have a few suggestions.

Since the NFL is fining head coaches for “flipping out” nearly every week, why not use all that extra loot to settle the dispute with the real refs?

And, since Liz Warren has raised over $24 million, mainly from Hollywood, why not do a remake of the movie The Social Network?

She can play the part of Harvard superstar Mark Zuckerberg’s minority girlfriend, and prove to everyone she actually is a bright young victim of racism.

With my plan both iconic institutions can have their bad calls overruled and go back to dominating Sports and Academia.

Sorry Barry, no redistribution of success is tolerated at either of these HQ’s.

The 9/11 Bump in the Road?

September 25, 2012

The President and his loyal mainstream media are doing all they can to minimize the terrorist attack/torture/murder of our Ambassador in Libya.

Media outlets are pretending that things like Mitt Romney’s comments about government dependency are what’s on America’s mind.

Ooh, that was so mean Mitt, how dare you ask one of your 5 sons to mow the lawn every fifth week?

Fairness is not part of the progressive agenda, unless of course it pertains to the super-rich and their supposed stash that can solve all woes.

There’s only one Person whose storehouse can solve all woes.

If I tell you His name you’ll accuse me of waxing too religious today.

The bottom line Mr. President, is that the death of any American at the hands of terrorism, on the anniversary of 9/11, actually was a bump in the road…for your re-election.

Please, just for one minute each day, take your mind off yourself.

You hold one of the most honored positions in U.S. History–President.

If it ends–it ends.

That’s politics, or should we call it “noise?”

Your world view will gain popularity again…and sadly…all too soon.

Sensing the Supernatural

September 24, 2012

Forgive me if this sounds a bit callous.

I’d bet that a few New England Patriots fans felt what I did last night during the pregame show.

Doom.

Starting wide receiver Torrey Smith, for our opponent the Baltimore Ravens, was in tears on the sideline, mourning the death of his 19-year-old brother, less than 24 hours earlier, from a motorcycle crash.

Hearts all across America went out to this young man, especially for the courage he had to play through his grief.

I had no doubt that Torrey would have a monster game.

In fact it was so good, he helped his teammates to victory with two touchdowns, aided by a last second field goal, despite being down 9 points in the fourth quarter.

Football is just a game, so my team’s loss is hardly newsworthy as it pertains to life.

World politics are not a game.

As important as the economy is right now as an election topic, (that Republicans must talk about and Democrats ignore by attacking Mitt Romney’s success and words) our world is ready to explode.

The President’s unwillingness to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, as if he’s some kind of overly persistent life insurance salesman, is giving me a very similar sense of doom, like I had last night before the Patriots v. Ravens game.

But instead of believing something good was about to happen to the likes of  a Torrey Smith, a victim of tragedy, I sense something bad ready to occur.

Christians and Jews must pray harder than we’ve ever prayed for the peace of Jerusalem.

Our current leadership in Washington is less skilled than NFL replacement referees and our enemy, Iran, has the mind and blood lust of a 9/11 terrorist.

God help us overcome this enemy and insure that our lives are preserved for a few more generations.

If we can’t, then the next best thing we can say is “Come Lord Jesus.”

Trouble with the Curve Movie Review

September 23, 2012

Last night I saw the new Clint Eastwood movie with my nephew and daughter.

It had a little bit of everything.

Sports, mystery, romance, scenery, fights, trivia…you name it (I did–twice)...the only thing missing was Clint’s empty chair.

And for those who hoped Eastwood would be damaged goods, we had trouble finding three seats together at the Beacon Cinema…no fallout I could see.

Sorry Berkshire Eagle, your wish for the death of all things conservative didn’t come true.  You can try again in 2016…if you’re still around.

The movie had that similar feel to it of “The Blind Side,” where a broad range of folks could take home a sense of satisfaction from nearly every scene.

No giveaways here, so don’t panic.

Clint Eastwood put together a great cast, with Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams as love interests.

The conflict between father/daughter had an unconventional conclusion–and–best of all, my favorite scene was a flashback of Clint in his early 30’s, beating the snot out of a bad guy who needed a whooping.

I have no information confirming what movie it came from…my guess is a Dirty Harry outtake.

We old guys like that kind of stuff.

This movie is appropriate for supervised 12-year-olds and up.

Sorry girls…JT keeps his boxers on.

And to you guys…Amy looked pretty fit.

Go see Trouble with the Curve…you won’t feel like you wasted a seat.

Free Tootsie Rolls and the Pig With a Purpose

September 22, 2012

For those who may be shopping at Stop & Shop on Dan Fox Dr. in Pittsfield today, a blogging celebrity will be passing out Tootsie Rolls to anyone who donates to the Knights of Columbus fund drive, to help people with disabilities.

I joined the K of C 15 years ago.

I confess, I’ve probably been their least helpful member.

My excuses for avoiding volunteer work are longer than a Barack Obama speech on what’s wrong with the Ryan plan.

God has ways of using anyone He wants–any time He wants–to make life better for those around them.

If you think you have no purpose, like was once said about The Pig in Charlotte’s Web…think again.

You have a purpose; just look out for others who are hurting.

Like this pig did in the video below.

Ask the goat if the pig had no purpose.

How the Berkshire Eagle Ruined 3rd Thursday

September 21, 2012

For readers from outside the Pittsfield area, please permit me to write a bit about a local happening that’s been effected by our local liberal newspaper.

A few years ago our City began an excellent event called 3rd Thursday, where our main street, North St., was shut down to traffic to allow for shoppers, street vendors and live entertainment.

It was wildly successful, building upon our nostalgic past, when stores in downtown Pittsfield were open late, because the 14,000 or so folks who worked at the Pittsfield General Electric enjoyed substantial paychecks on that same day.

Earlier this year, at the very first 3rd Thursday event, I was having a late dinner at MadJack’s BBQ with my wife around 8pm.

This restaurant is on North St. directly across the road from Melville St., where our Boys Club and CYC are located.

The following day, the front page of our paper reported that there was a huge brawl on Melville St., involving 100 people.

My wife and I never saw a thing and we were right there, at a window seat, at the same moment it allegedly occurred.

Teenagers, especially boys, are almost always pushing and shoving each other.

Does that constitute a brawl?

I had clients in town last night, they’re police officers from Florida.

Not so jokingly, I asked them if they were carrying, as we walked three blocks from Park Square toward my daughter’s Haitian handbag booth.

That’s how one-sided the 3rd Thursday crowd has become.

Ever since our local paper dumped on this event, families with young children and couples are much harder to find, whereas when it started, they overwhelmed the population.

Now, all you see are teenagers and folks who don’t look like they’re there to spend money, but to take it.

For the most part, our local paper prophesied their way into a deeply damaged happening.

Words have consequences.

Thanks Berkshire Eagle–but you did not bring good things to life.

Next time get the facts before you wreak havoc on what so many hard-working locals were doing to help all the small businesses, including yours.