Needlessly Scared?

Tonight I will be sleeping on the couch. Not because of any fight that Patti and I had, but rather because I have really bad heartburn. It may have been a residual effect from the burritos and beer I had for dinner last night. Or the nachos with the leftover taco meat, black beans, salsa, cheese and hot sauce on top I had for breakfast. Or the greasy fried chicken I had for dinner. Don’t know, don’t care.

Unfortunately every time I get really bad heartburn, I think about my late father. He thought he had really bad acid reflux. When he finally got it checked out, it turned out that his GERD was actually cancer in several organs (stomach, liver, colon and pancreas, I think). Since I am already prone to thinking most of my ailments are cancer related (I once thought that a case of athlete’s foot was some rare form of skin cancer), each moment that I have acid induced insomnia just makes me think that I am a few weeks from death.

When my health insurance kicks in at work, I can go get things checked out and get a physical for Stephen. Hopefully I only have two more weeks to wait.

I’m not expecting anything bad to happen, but at the same time I know how quickly things can go wrong.  Years ago, I was let go on Day 88 of a 90 day contract, when I was expecting to get hired in on a permanent basis. I wasn’t the only one out of a job that day, all of the other temp workers and a lot of permanent employees were let go as well.  I just remember feeling blindsided by that and it has helped me develop a certain anxiety about work that I keep with me no matter how long I am employed by a company. I worked at my last job for six years and I never kept any personal stuff on my desk.

I hope this is just my body telling me to lay off the spicy and allergenic foods and not my body’s way of telling me “Prepare to walk towards the light.”

What Not To Say

I was talking to Patti and I started a sentence with “Today I put in my two weeks notice…” What I meant to say was “Today I put in my two week notification that I want July 3rd off.”

I realized my mistake when all the blood rushed from her face.

Packing for Heroes Con

This weekend I will be going to Charlotte NC to attend Heroes Con.

My packing list:
Laptop – Check
Zoom Handheld recorder – Check
Flip HD recorder – Check
Cell phone – Check
Ipod touch – Check

I suppose I should also pack some clothes and toiletries. I am guessing I will only need three shirts and a pair of pants, underwear and lots of socks.

Anything else?

Advice For The Newly Incarcerated

One of the greatest television programs of all time was Homicide:Life On The Streets. It was perfectly written and acted with scenes and characters that will stick with you years later. Not too many other shows can make that claim.

One such scene was between Frank Pembleton (played by the great Andre Braugher) and a teenager killer, who thought that he should be set free because he didn’t mean to kill his victim; he meant to kill somebody else. As the clueless kid was being taken off to real prison, Pembleton pulled him aside and gave him this advice: “Keep your ass to the wall and don’t trust anybody, don’t help anybody, don’t ask anybody for anything.”

The reason I thought of it is because of Scalped by Jason Aaron. I am reading the second volume and there is a part where some gives advice to another man who is going to Death Row: “Keep your ass to the wall, kid. Don’t drop your guard, and never trust anybody.”

I’m pretty sure that there is no plagarism going on because I have heard different variations on that saying before, but it really got me thinking about what advice I would give some of the young people in my life if they were headed off to jail.

After a lot of thinking I would probably tell them: keep your ass to the wall, trust no one and don’t owe anybody anything.

Strip Club Booze Ban in Detroit?

According to the Detroit News website, Detroit City Council might put rules in place to ban alcohol at clubs with topless dancing. Some lawyer (and member of a large metropolitan church) says “Our goal is to do all we can within the law to root them out. We don’t want the city of Detroit to be the dumping ground for lascivious behavior."

There are three proposed rules that would eviscerate the strip club business in Detroit: 1) Alcohol can’t be served at any existing or new topless clubs, 2) Dancers would have to be at least six feet from patrons and on a stage at all times and 3) Dancers would also have to wear pasties.

Some of the highest unemployment in the nation, a dwindling population as people are continuing to get out of the city at an alarming rate due to inadequate city services, the largest cash cow for the city (The Auto Show) is being courted by the suburbs, vacant houses on every block, City Council members under federal investigation, a city charter that desperately needs to be rewritten and THIS is what they are spending their time worrying about? Drunk people getting too close to a strange woman’s nipples?

Don’t they realize that all these rules are going to do is send strip club patrons across the bridge to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where they have better alcohol, full nudity and no problem with taking American dollar bills? Do they even care about destroying small businesses at a time when they need to stop losing tax money? Do they care about putting the dancers, bouncers, DJs and waitstaff out of work, causing some of them to leave the area in order to find work in less restrictive cities?

This reminds me of the early-90s when a group of people (including the former mayor Coleman Young) were trying to bring casino gambling to Detroit. The churchgoers didn’t want the city of Detroit to be a dumping ground for the type of illegal and immoral behavior that gambling brings. So they got the proposed casino blocked. Then, a casino opened up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada (right across the bridge). I remember reading that Casino Windsor was the highest earning casino in North America for a while. After years of watching Canada rake in big piles of American cash, Detroit decided to allow casinos. Three of them in what is basically a few mile radius. As far as I know, none of them have permanent buildings and they are all still outperformed by Casino Windsor (now Caesar’s Windsor).

Now I’m not saying that if they are kept in business, the strip clubs will help lead Detroit into a new Golden Age of economic stability and growth, but is putting them out of business really going to help? Are nipples really that scary?

Feeling Bad

I feel really bad this morning. Not emotionally or spiritually, this is all physical. I feel so bad that I can’t even make analogies. Case in point: “I feel bad. You know that stuff that feels bad. I feel like that.”

Anyway, here is something that will hopefully brighten my day when I feel like have my day brightened. Ladies and gentlemen, Nina Simone with the song “Feeling Good”

Another Sign of Changing Times

When I was younger, the funkiest radio station in Detroit used to be WGPR-FM 107.5. This radio station used to be the home of The Electrofying Mojo, one of my three all-time favorite DJs (the others are Mike Halloran of Radios in Motion and Brent Bambury of Brave New Waves). WGPR also had Mason In The Morning, which was another very popular program in the Detroit area*.

There were plenty of nights where I would hang out with my friends, eating pizza, playing cards and listening to Mojo. It was just something we did and never thought twice about. The only problem with hanging out with my friends, eating pizza, playing cards and listening to Mojo on Saturday nights was midnight. That was the time WGPR would switch to religious programming.

None of us had a problem with religious programming. And to this day I still don’t have a problem with religious programming.  Whatever gives you peace without hurting someone else is something I wholeheartedly endorse and if someone finds peace and solace in religion or religious programming, then go for it.

However, when you are a teenager hanging out with your friends and you had just been listening to funky music for the past few hours, then songs about the glory of Jesus is not necessarily something you want hang out to.

Fast forward 20 years and I found out that WGPR has a Twitter account. I was curious to see what a radio station would tweet about. Upcoming contests and promotions? Announcements about schedule changes? Off air news about the station or the DJs? Nope, the entire Twitter feed is to announce what song they are about to start playing. Of course, I subscribed.

Just looking at the playlist brought back lots of good memories because in a lot of ways WGPR is still stuck in the past, with songs like Encore by Cheryl Lynn, Flashlight by Funkadelic and Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brothers Johnson; but at the same time, they also have newer artists like Chrisette Michele, Joss Stone and Beyonce.

The Twitter account is not the reason why I think that WGPR is changing their ways. I looked at the feed and noticed that they are now switching over to Sunday religious programming at 6 am! I guess somewhere in the past twenty years, someone must have told them most good hearted church going people were asleep at that time of night and weren’t hearing the programming designed for them. They must have also realized that they were leaving a lot of ad money on the table by having all of the young people switch over other stations at midnight.

In case you were wondering, WGPR stands for Where God’s Presence Radiates.

* I recently found out that Mason In The Morning is back on WGPR as a syndicated show, but I don’t listen to morning radio, afternoon drive-time radio, late night radio or overnight radio, so I didn’t realize. And as much as I like the playlist that I have seen, there is nothing that makes me want to go out of my way to start listening to the radio again. Not as long as podcasts still exist.


The Electrofying Mojo Tribute on MySpace