Bamboozled By the Boss

A few weeks ago Bruce Springsteen announced the U.S. dates for his 2023 tour. I found it kind of strange that these dates, which happen first, were announced after the European dates. But I’m not a tour manager and I’m sure there was a logical reason for the European dates, happening after the U.S., dates, to go on sale first. It only makes sense that the dates happening first (the U.S. dates) would go on sale first. But again, I’m not a tour manager, so what do I know? I digress…

So the U.S. dates are announced and everyone gets all excited. After all, it’s been nearly seven years since Springsteen has actually toured. The only action we’ve seen from him, even during the pandemic, was on Broadway. A single show in a single theater.

Then the tickets start going on sale. And Springsteen fans are puzzled, baffled, taken aback, shocked, put into hock, selling their firstborns and anything they can get their hands on to afford tickets. Because, after all, this is The Boss and he hasn’t been on tour in seven years. And we didn’t get to see him on Broadway where, although tickets were expensive, they weren’t nearly as expensive as the nosebleeds on this upcoming 2023 tour.

They told fans to register with Ticketmaster to get “verified”. I’ve been this route before. Once with Harry Styles and once with Olivia Rodrigo. Both shows I attempted to get “verified” to get tickets for my daughter. I never achieved verification for them so you can imagine my shock when I got verified for Springsteen. In fact, I was in disbelief. So I figured it was “meant to be” and I’d give it a shot and see what I could get for tickets for the Mohegan Sun show.

I should mention that a year ago I obtained tickets for Justin Bieber at Mohegan Sun, in the very same arena, in the nosebleed area, for $150.00 a ticket. An entire year before he was scheduled to perform there in June 2022, about two weeks before he announced his illness and a day before I sold the tickets at face value because my daughter could no longer attend. In checking Ticketmaster tonight for that same section, Springsteen tickets are going for $676.00. Now I know Springsteen is not Bieber and Bieber is not Springsteen, but how does this figure? In fact tonight as of this writing at Mohegan Sun the cheapest Springsteen ticket you’re going to find is for $525.00 and the most expensive is for $2,193. In hovering around on the seat map I found the $525 seats to be behind the stage. I’m not even seeing tickets for $2,193. General admission right near the stage are going for $1500. A real bargain if you care to stand for four hours. Shit, at these prices, Springsteen better tack on another hour, just to give the fans more for their money. At 73, does he still have the stamina?

Leading up to Friday’s ticket sales, I had heard plenty from others who had gone into sticker shock during Tuesday’s ticket sales. So I wasn’t expecting much but was hoping for the best. I got in to Ticketmaster with no issues and had a $500.00 budget, before fees and all the other crap. I wasn’t even in there for two minutes, didn’t see anything in my budget range, said “fuck this shit” and left with no regrets.

As a fellow fan and someone who hasn’t seen Springsteen perform live in 35 years, when I paid $20.00 for a seat eight rows from the stage, I can understand everyone’s frustration and let down. It’s hard to swallow when you feel you’ve been bamboozled by someone you felt understood the common person and where they’re coming from, how a lot of them live hand to mouth, how many of them cannot afford tickets, but would still do whatever they could to get the tickets. With the economy the way it is today, it’s amazing that anyone, other than extremely wealthy people, could afford tickets. And if you bought tickets, hopefully nothing occurs in your life between now and then where you are left wondering if you made the right decision because you could have used the money you paid for Springsteen tickets for something more important. We all make choices.

There is one large factor about the Springsteen tour that nobody has seemed to have mentioned. Remember he has not been on tour for seven years. He didn’t even tour during the start of the pandemic. He was holed up in a Broadway theater, which shut down for a period of time during the start of the pandemic. He hasn’t experienced being on the road with his band, hours away from doing a show and having the drummer test positive, having to postpone or cancel a show. He hasn’t started out on a tour in early 2020 only to be shut down for a year because of the pandemic and having to have his shows rescheduled until 2021. Springsteen hasn’t experienced any of that, unless he had to cancel a Broadway show here and there. I don’t know. So there are a lot of unknowns to keep in mind. And I won’t even start with the age factor. But it’s no wonder why he was jumping on stage to perform with McCartney recently.

Dealing With Disappointment

By now the world has seen the infamous Sesame Place video of Rosita ignoring two little black girls who were trying to get the character’s attention and obtain a high-five, like the many people before them were able to get. I feel for the kids. I know what it’s like to see your child ignored by a person dressed up in a costume that they so wanted to interact with. And that’s my point.

It’s unfortunate, for whatever reason, that any child, no matter what color their skin is, should be deprived of that moment they’ve been waiting for. The Sesame Place security cameras should be scanned to see how many children on a daily basis are dissed by Elmo and others. I’m sure we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that more youngsters are passed by than are high-fived. Children of all races and abilities.

And race may have been the reason Rosita dissed the little girls. But aside from their race, they are children first. No matter what color. And for any child longing to meet their heroes and not being able to, it can be painful. For them and their parents.

As sad as the Sesame Place incident may have been for those little girls, and any other child this has happened to, which I’m sure there are many, (I can vouch), the moral of the story is: life is full of disappointments. Being dissed by Rosita is peanuts compared to what’s in store for you later in life. Wait until you don’t get into the college of your choice. Wait until you don’t get the job you want. Or the car you want. The house you want. Or the love you want. Again, I can vouch. And I’m sure race, sex and entitlement will be tossed into the picture as well, because they always are. But disappointment happens to everyone. It’s a fact of life.

New School or No New School?

I can understand the need for a new high school. I mean, a school that’s over 55 years old needs to be updated at least, right?

But at what cost? And is it really for the students or is it just so the town can keep up with the other fancy schools in other nearby towns? To attract more teachers? More students?

Considering the people in charge appear to be trying to rush this thing through without much notice given to most of the townspeople (unless you have a student in the district, chances are you have no clue they are planning on building a new high school), and considering the state of economics in the country right now, I think this whole idea, especially now, is a bad idea. Taxes are going to go through the roof and retiree Joe Smoe is going to be blindsided. Because this whole thing was started with a little known “survey”, a survey that was sent around online and was allegedly answered by not even 200 people.

There are a few things that have “happened” at the school within the past year that raise a few questions in my mind. The pipes conveniently froze this past winter, in a heated school, causing the students to go remote–something the district was strictly against during the height of the pandemic. I also find it interesting to note the principal decided to move on from this high school to another high school after this year. Maybe she saw the writing on the wall.

I can say that a new, improved school is not going to guarantee new, improved teaching. The high school’s “vocational” program is a joke and one that was established only to keep up with the joneses in the other districts. Many of the students from one of the district’s towns already qualify to go to vocational school in another town. Our district offers four “vocational” programs. One of them is environmental science. Sorry. That’s a class I took in seventh grade. Other districts offer 8 to 12 vocational programs, including nursing. Our district offers early childhood as a vocational program. And with their new school, their intention is to have pre-schoolers on the grounds for the early education vocation students to teach. Really? If I were a parent, I don’t think I’d want my 3 or 4 year old being taught by a 16 year old who may or may not actually want to be a teacher. And recent statistics show a drop in people wanting to become teachers, due in part to school shootings and union crap. Seriously, I’d rather learn how to dig up rocks with the environmental science crew. That is. when the teacher is there. Because I can attest to my student’s freshman year and how the class was taught more by the vice-principal than the actual teacher. Because she was never there!

And along with their new school they better think long and hard about how they are going to treat and teach their special needs students. Not brush them aside when the student tells them they want to do school remotely, then tell the student and their parents to find a remote school, which there are none so then the parents are forced to homeschool the student. Because the school was not willing to work with the student, understand the student and their needs and figure out how to make it work. Then the school is so stupid, because once the student leaves the district to homeschool (and eventually quits school), they never remove the student or their parents from their email list. So all year long we got emails from the principal about how bathroom privileges were being taken away and cell phones had to be locked up and how there was a lockdown at the school due to a bomb threat, how she was leaving the district for another school, etc. And of course that’s how we learned about the “frozen pipes”.

So when it comes time in September to vote for this “new” school, even including the fraction of state help that is allegedly being provided, I’m voting NO. Taxes aside, because I’m already paying higher taxes from the elementary school that was built in my town 20 years ago. It’s because an improved building isn’t going to improve the education of students. It takes much more than that. And if the district hasn’t figured that out by now, they never will. New school or not.

Around and around

How many more variants is it going to take for the world to learn that without continuous and consistent prevention, i.e., vaccinations, masks, social distancing, etc., we are nothing but a dog chasing its tail. And we’re never going to catch it. The tail, that is. Covid we’ll have no problem catching. We’re already pros at it.

Beyond Proposals

In the shadow of the most recent mass shootings in Buffalo, Texas and Oklahoma, tonight President Biden appealed to Congress with proposals for tougher gun laws.

His first proposal states “ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines OR raise age to purchase from 18 to 21”. Sorry, but the proposal should actually be “ban all guns of ANY kind NO MATTER HOW OLD THE PERSON IS”. So which would it be? Ban assault weapons? Ban high-capacity magazines? Raise the age? First of all, let’s be more specific. Just say AR-15. And I’m not sure what normal human being wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow at a person in their gun shop wanting to buy an AR-15 and loads of ammunition. Wouldn’t you think they were up to no good? Or maybe the gun shop owner doesn’t care because they got paid, so who gives a shit how many people the son-of-a-bitch blows away? And age? What the fuck difference does it make if the person buying an AR-15 is 18 or 80? The point is THEY SHOULDN’T BE BUYING AN AR-15 IN THE FIRST PLACE!

The next proposal is “expand background checks”. Please. In most states where assholes purchase their guns they don’t even need a license. To even think gun sellers would be on board with that is ludicrous. Because they don’t care about anything but the almighty buck.

Next: “enact safe storage laws”. Yes, because once you own that AR-15 that you have no reason to own, you must protect it from being taken away.

His next one is “address mental health crisis”. Yes, I agree that there is a mental health crisis but not everyone with a mental health issue has an assault weapon that they are going to use to kill a mass of people. I do believe that if you own an assault rifle, which you really shouldn’t own, you probably do have some sort of mental health issue that needs to be addressed. Because owning one of those is not something a person in their right mind does.

The only one I even remotely feel Biden has issued correctly is “repeal immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability”. The issue starts with them and they should be the first responsible. In the case of any mass killing, there are a lot of people responsible but not the ones left dead. They are just the innocent victims.

Although it will fall on mainly deaf ears and America will face yet another mass shooting tomorrow and the next day and the next day and the next, I give Biden credit for trying and at least offering proposals of some sort. It’s more than the Republicants in Congress are willing to do. Shit, they’d watch their own flesh and blood get murdered and still wouldn’t do anything about gun control.