To Gain Independence, Or Not

So in less than 24 hours the country of Scotland could be on their own.  I’m not quite understanding their thinking; then again, I don’t live there so what can I say.  But this is starting to remind me of the William Wallace days all over again…

I’m sure Quebec is watching this whole thing closely, especially since so many have wanted to separate from Canada for years.

Next up I hear that Massachusetts wants to leave New England and become their own region.  The state’s reasoning?  This is where the country began and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want, dammit!

PLYMOUTH

Gotta love those piss calls!

Not once, but twice tonight, I was invaded by the “unknown caller”.

Both times the caller, a female, asked to speak to either the “man or woman of the house”.  Huh?  Is this 1955?  Clearly they didn’t know my name.  Nor could she tell I was a woman.  So I had the upper hand.

Being the “woman of the house” (but don’t tell my daughter :) ), I said “speaking”.

All I got next from the person on the other end was that they were a pro-life organization and was I pro-li—-CLICK!

You’d think they’d get the hint?  Nope.  Thirty minutes later the phone rang again.  Again it was the “unknown caller”.  A different female voice once again wanted to speak with either the “man or woman of the house”.  This time I decided to play a long.  For a moment.

“Speaking”.

Again the person began with stating they were a pro-life organization and was I pro-life, pro-abortion or somewhere inbe–

“I’m neutral on the subject and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop calling me about it!”  CLICK.

First of all, this “pro-life organization” never identified themselves as such.  What is the name of your “pro-life organization”?  “Let-us-bug-you-with-questions-that-are-none-of-our-fucking-business”?  Or “We’ll-call-you-till-we-piss-you-off”.  They never even indicated they were conducting a survey.  Nothing.  For all I know they were some extremist pro-lifers lurking around outside my house waiting for me to tell them I’m all for abortion and then they would storm my house like it’s an abortion clinic.

The truth is, I am neutral on the subject.  I would never tell another woman what to do with her body.  It is her body, it should be her choice.

We don’t need piss callers trying to tell us otherwise…

So you want to make the big bucks

From the perspective of  fast food workers, I can understand where they are coming from.  It is a lot to ask someone to support themselves and a family on a federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.  What many don’t know is that amount is the minimum a worker can earn.  Depending on the state, an employee earning minimum wage can earn over $10.00 an hour.  There are also regulations in many states that will increase that amount over the next five years.

For those who are complaining about the minimum wage rate, ask yourselves a few questions.  Do you really think what you do for a living deserves a federal minimum wage hike up to $15.00?  Most fast food employees work part-time.  I know full-time office workers who make $15.00 an hour.  Why would someone who is flipping burgers for four hours think they deserve the same amount of money as someone who works eight, sometimes even ten or twelve hours, doing a hell of a lot more than just flipping burgers.

Take a look at this photo that’s been floating around Facebook for a while:

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It’s very sad and very real.  What is even sadder is that my daughter can spell “fries” correctly and write better than this moron.  She is nine.  Someday this idiot who wants the big bucks but can’t spell can earn minimum wage in the restaurant that my daughter will own.

If you want to earn the big bucks, I suggest getting an education first.

Let The Music Play

Other than being a music consumer, I’m not too familiar with the music business or how music sales are measured.  Having said this, as a mere consumer I do have some insight into a recent article I read about American album sales hitting an all-time low.

The article I read stated that during the week ending August 25, weekly album sales had fallen below four million, to 3.97 million.  I’m not a genius but that isn’t much of a difference.  Still I guess people in the music business are concerned since that is the lowest sales have been since 1991.  I understand the best-selling album last week was by a rapper named Wiz Khalifa.  That album only sold 90,000 units, which more than likely were mainly purchased by Wiz’s family, friends and people who owe him money.

There seems to be some concern over sales of the “Frozen” soundtrack.  For the first time in more than a year sales for the soundtrack fell below 100,000 units.  Has it occurred to anyone that maybe the reason for this is because just about anyone who is going to own the soundtrack already has bought it?  It’s just a shot in the dark, but maybe THAT is the reason why sales fell below 100,000 units.  After all, the movie was released almost a year ago and talk of another movie featuring the characters is currently in the works.  Don’t worry.  I’m sure another soundtrack will emerge.

The article mentions the decline in CD and digital sales, as more and more people are seeking their music through free streamers.  Speaking from a music consumer’s standpoint, I’m guilty of doing the same.  Who wants to pay anywhere from $12.00 to $21.00 plus for a CD when all we really like is one song?  How many people can actually afford that?  It can cost anywhere from 99 cents to $1.29 to buy one song on ITunes.  That’s much cheaper than having to purchase the entire CD.  Better yet, if you can stream the song for nothing on YouTube, why wouldn’t you?

Although it is just my opinion, I also feel a big reason for the sales decline is the state of the music industry today.  When I spend more time changing the dial on my radio than actually listening because every station is playing some shit song at the same time, I know it’s time to just turn the damn thing off.  Or I pop in a CD of music that I actually like.  I can’t defend purchasing music that sucks.  I also can’t defend artists from past decades who have run out of money.  They feel the best way to make some quick cash is to write a few new ditties, throw them on a CD with all their old rehashed tunes and hope people will buy the entire package.  For one or two new songs?  Not this music buyer.

Maybe if the kind of artists the music business generates improves, the music will improve as well, enhancing album sales.  Until then, we still have the same old ho-hum shit to listen to day in and day out.  I won’t be rushing out to buy a new CD anytime soon.

Ice Bucket Challenge

It seems to be the “in” thing these days to go around dumping buckets of ice water on your head.  Yes, it’s all for a good cause.  To raise money and awareness for ALS.  And I think that’s great.

Considering this has been going on since the height of summer, I’m not really seeing the “challenge” in all of this.  It’s a great way to cool off in the summer heat.  No challenge in that.  As a kid we used to have fights with ice cubes all summer long, sticking them down each other’s back, dousing each other with ice water.

So I’m waiting to do the Ice Bucket Challenge.  I’m waiting until December or January, maybe Super Bowl weekend.  You know why?  Because to me the real “challenge” will be pouring ice cold water over myself while standing outside in sub-zero temperatures and not freezing my tatas off!

Now THAT will be a REAL Ice Bucket Challenge.  And I will also donate money to the cause.  Once I’m done thawing.

A Ride Along The “Music Express”

When I began reading Keith Sharp’s ode to his music magazine “Music Express:  The Rise, Fall & Resurrection of Canada’s Music Magazine”, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  What I got was not only a decent read, but a new insight into Canadian music.

Following a brief foreword by Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew, Sharp leads us from the infancy stages of the “Alberta Music Express” to its current days as “The Music Express” within the city of Toronto.  Along the way we embark on a journey featuring not only Canadian artists, but international stars as well.  Anyone who is or was anyone in the music business has appeared within the pages of “Music Express”.

Being from America many of the names mentioned in the book were not familiar to me.  It was interesting to learn about groups with names such as Zon, Toronto and Martha And The Muffins.  Even more interesting was learning Mike Reno’s real last name is Rynowski, Bryan Adams was once known as Bryan Guy Adams and Jim Vallance was in a group called Prism.  I found a common ground with the mention of comedians John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas and verified the fact that the El Macombo was indeed one of the hottest clubs for acts to play.

I found Sharp’s connection with the members of Iron Maiden humorous, especially on the soccer field.  As I read about the frequent soccer matches between the “Music Express” staff and Iron Maiden, I was hoping to read about the game that took out Alan Frew’s knee.  The incident is briefly mentioned in the acknowledgements.

I was thrilled to learn that Platinum Blonde have actually been to Boston, appearing at WBCN’s Rock Expo in 1986.  They, along with Wendy O. Williams, appeared at the “Music Express” booth.  The Blondes and Williams signed autographs while WBCN radio personality Carter Allen interviewed Sharp on-air to plug the magazine.

Another memorable moment mentioned in the book was how Sharp managed to upstage the Juno awards (more than once) with his own Music Express awards.  Canada’s attempt at their own Live Aid, called Can-Aid, ended up being not much more than a financial disaster.  Then there is the amazing tale of how they barely pulled off a fundraising concert as part of their music award show.  The event was to raise funds for young burn victim Joey Philion.  The club they were using had just been constructed and unbeknownst to the event holders, didn’t have a liquor license yet.  Probably the most remarkable event Sharp witnessed was Bryan Adams playing both sides of the Berlin wall in 1988

The book also reveals the trials and tribulations of Canadian groups making or breaking it in the United States.  Many groups like Loverboy and Glass Tiger were faced with record label shake-ups which hindered their growth south of the border.  Loverboy hit it big just as the American music industry was being affected by a “payola scandal”.  Priority for promoting Glass Tiger was lost when their original label Manhattan Records evolved into Capitol-EMI.

Aside from the choppiness of the writing in places and various grammatical and factual errors (Glass Tiger’s song is “I’m Still Searching” not “I’m Still Standing” and Bryan Adams’ album is “Waking Up The Neighbours” not “Waking Up The Neighbourhood”), “Music Express:  The Rise, Fall & Resurrection of Canada’s Music Magazine” is still a good read for Canadian and non-Canadian music fans alike.  It’s also good to know that through everything, the publication is once again going strong in the digital age.