If you read only one blog full of ranting and raving about sports (local and otherwise), movies, TV shows, miscellaneous pop culture, life and other assorted flotsam and jetsam, make it this one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Advice For Candidates, Supporters And Successors

What? A post not about my cancer or featuring disco music? WHAAAAA...? It's true, though. I start with a quote:

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need
(The Rolling Stones)
With Pennsylvania and four other states having held their primaries yesterday, Republican Donald Trump and, especially, Democrat Hillary Clinton are both closer than ever to clinching their party's nominations. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver says that Trump's sweep of all five states makes it likely that if Indiana wants Trump (whether he can go back there or not) the Cruz-Kasich tag-team, formed much, much too late, will be probably be unable to stop Trump from preventing the contested GOP convention they so desperately need.

FiveThirtyEight also says that, barring a miracle, Clinton (winning 4 of 5, including the big prize of PA) will have more total elected delegates than Bernie Sanders, and adding in the superdelegates (more on them in a bit) makes her pretty much the a certainty to win the nomination in Philadelphia in July. (Side note: if health permits I plan to volunteer at the convention here in some capacity.)

So with that, and the comments I'm reading from supporters of both Bernie and Hillary ranging from angry to smug, bitter to ecstatic, desperate for a miracle to anxious to fast-forward to the fall, and too much it nasty, I've decided to spend a few minutes dispensing some advice -- I'm a little more focused on Sanders, any progressive candidates who may come in his wake, and his supporters, many of whom are younger and idealistic -- certainly much younger than myself and somewhat more idealistic. :o . But I'm nothing if not an equal-opportunity advice giver.

Monday, April 25, 2016

New #cancerisabitch Update: Featuring Pee!

So I found out today that I'm off (at least temporarily) the Avastin treatments.

A couple weeks ago the urine sample I gave them on my regular visit showed some protein in it, although not at a high level. My oncologist was concerned enough to have me do a 24-hour urine collection, which I completed a week ago (at home -- because there was no way I was carrying a jug of pee around with me to work, so I waited until my last work day until this coming fall, which was April 15th). This time the testing showed it had a even higher protein level. So he wants me to see a nephrologist to see if there's a problem with my kidneys. The protein could just be a side effect of the Avastin, though.

I'm still waiting to see if I quality for the immunotherapy vaccine clinical trial through Penn. They had said the genetic testing would take a couple months, and it's been that long since I saw that doctor, so I called the office to follow up, and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

Also, I mentioned a while back that my focal seizures had returned and were occurring periodically. I saw a seizure specialist, who thought I might benefit from switch from the regular formula of keppra (anti-seizure med) to the extended-release version. I've been on that for 3 weeks. At first it didn't seem to help -- in fact, at one point it happened three consecutive nights -- but I haven't had one in the last week-plus. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm to schedule my next MRI in May.

Birthday Month: Day 8 (And Phillies -- Really)

When I first got the idea for this series of posts, this song immediately jumped into my mind.  Coinicidentally, this story popped into into my Twitter feed today...

Phils celebrate 40 years since 'Phillies Fever'

But how this other "classic," written about Pete Rose and released the year he joined the Phils, has been lost to the dustbin of history...

Pamela Neal - "Charlie Hustle" (Haven't found it on You Tube but you can listen to an mp3 at this link. The accompanying article at the website is hilarious in that it says this song "anticipates the coming of Blondie..." Ummm, no.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 7

When I left work on Friday, April 15th -- for the last time until September!!! -- I posted this first song to Facebook and Twitter. So this leads to a string of Kool and the Gang here.


They started out, however, in jazz, before moving into a more soul-funk sound...

"Jungle Boogie" (sampled in, among other hits, Madonna's "Erotica")

"Hollywood Swinging"

"Open Sesame" was featured in the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack...

When James "JT" Taylor became lead vocalist the band's sound became more disco-fied, and they had some of their biggest hits...

"Ladies Night'

Friday, April 15, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 6

Choose your favorite versions of these classics. I DARE YOU! (And if you have other cover battle sugesstions, let me know!)

"Never Can Say Goodbye," Gloria Gaynor vs. the Communards (whose lead vocalist was, as you should know, one-time Bronski Beat lead singer Jimmy Somerville)...

...or "Don't Leave Me This Way," Thelma Houston vs. the Communards (again)...

...or how about "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," Sylvester vs. Jimmy Somerville (this guy loves his covers!)

Ooh, what's interesting about this pair -- "More Than A Woman," the Bee Gees vs. Tavares -- is both versions are on the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 5

Check what Wikipedia's entry on disco music begins with!

Disco is a genre of dance music containing elements of Rhythm & Blues, funk, soul, pop, and salsa. It achieved popularity during the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Its initial audiences were club-goers from the gay, African American, Italian American, Latino, and psychedelic communities in Philadelphia during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

So, it it weren't for Philly we'd have no disco???? Well, that may be a reach. But when you think of some of the stuff that came out of the Philadelphia International Records talent pool, from "The Love I Lost" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes...

...to the O'Jays' "Love Train..."

... to "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)" by M.F.S.B. -- which soon became the theme song for Soul Train...

...and many more, clearly we were a major influence.

More in the coming days. I vowed to do 30 posts and I will. With my last day of work for the summer being tomorrow(!!!!) I have no excuses!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 4

Already playing catch-up. Oh, well. Divas have been known to show up late. I must emulate them. But I've promised myself I'd do 30 of these. (I have to make time to do my taxes, too. But priorities, people, priorities!)

How do you like this disco ball I found? :)

Let's get back to more classic disco, starting with...

Karen Young - "Hot Shot" (Oh, and guess where she's from?)

Evelyn "Champagne" King - "Shame" (Not born in Philly...but raised here!)

Alicia Bridges - "I Love The Nightlife (Disco Round)"  (No Philly connection that I know of. Also...I want some AK-SHAWN!!!)

Rose Royce - "Car Wash"  (From a movie I've never seen. Perhaps I should change that.)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 3

Yes, I'm a day behind now. I'm gonna do 30 posts, though!

A few examples of house music to show how disco evolved and grew while the haters thought they got rid of it...

Adeva demands "Respect." Give it up!

Crystal Waters - "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless.") La da dee, la da da, la da dee, la da da,la da dee, la da da... (And another artist born in Philly!)

Inner City - "Big Fun," "Do You Love What You Feel" -- Out of the Detroit house scene. The entire album is excellent but the latter is my favorite

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Birthday Month: Day 2

Before we continue this journey: I want to get some back-and-forth on this. If you have song suggestions, comments, reminiscing, etc., comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instragram (should I get a link there as well)...I'd love to have your feedback.

Pamala Stanley's "Coming Out of Hiding" is an example of the hi-NRG music that kept the clubs alive in the 1980s. Wikipedia says Pamala is from Philly. I didn't know that. I'm also embarrassed to say that it didn't dawn on me until now why this was so popular in gay clubs in particular. I mean, really? Just the opening verse itself should have clued me in...

Standing in the shadows too long
Waiting on the sidelines too long
Boy I've been watching you
Now you're gonna watch me too
I'm coming out of hiding

On the same jawn -- HEY! I JUST USED THE WORD JAWN! -- but a little later, and again from Philly, there's Pretty Poison...

In a more classic disco style, another Philly star, sadly no longer with us, Phyllis Hyman.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Birthday Month 2016: Day 1

I've given this month of April a special theme: DISCO!

Why? I'm turning 54 this year.

Get it? Studio 54? Hence, DISCO!

I hope to post a video every day, but I honestly don't know how successful I'll be in reaching that goal. I plan to share some classic faves, some not-so-classics, and maybe a little off-the-beaten path items and some songs that came along to keep the dance alive after the "Disco Sucks" crowd tried its best to kill it. Call it hi-NRG, call it dance music, call it EDM, whatever.

So here's the title song from a movie. The title sums up how I feel every seven days. Thank God It's Friday!

The movie featured Jeff Goldblum and Debra Winger, as well as Donna Summer, playing a singer. What a stretch. She sings one of her most famous songs, which will definitely be featured here later this month.