Def Leppard: On Through the Night

Way back in 1980, Def Leppard recorded its first album: "On Through The Night." Two albums later came Pyromania, the one album that nearly single-handedly set the then-smoldering flames of the metal scene of the early 80s to a full blaze.

Without the polish of expensive budgets, this album captured the fire and spirit of some young, hard rockin' lads from England in ways that expensive production, elaborate arrangements, and A&R people would never have allowed to escape the studio alive. In my humble opinion, this album is as good an album as Pyromania, and is a must-have for anyone who wants a hard rockin' metal album that can only be played ALL THE WAY UP!!!

My favorite songs on the album? Rock Brigade, Hello America, and Wasted. The lyrics of the song Wasted seemed oddly prophetic of the nihilistic culture which had much to do with the sudden collapse of the metal scene in the early 90s:

Well I've been lying awake all night just thinking of you
But a bottle of whiskey lies heavy obstructing my view
I've got a bottle of pills to give me my thrills and I know that I'm leading a life that kills
I've wasted my time
I'm shooting a line
I'm stuck in a hole
I'm losing control and I've been meaning to call, I've been wanting to phone
You see I don't like the thought of leaving you here alone
Well I've seen things down here that are fit for a queen
I've seen things down here that should never be see
I've wasted my money
I've wasted you honey
I'm out of my brain
I'm going insane
I'm running in thin air, there's nothingness everywhere
I've gotta get out ... I've gotta get out ... I've gotta get out, oh won't you help me get out?
I thought I saw you just the other day, but it couldn't be you 'cos you had nothing to say
'He's going away', they told all my friends, well now I'll be stuck in here til the misery ends
I've wasted my time
I'm shooting a line
I'm out of my head
I wish I was dead

They're on tour this summer across the U.S. of A. with ... Journey?!? Go figure - I guess sometimes people grow up and ruin a good thing.

Thank God some of us never will.

Find the music


A friend of mine emailed this to me from the Virgin Music website. She says there are supposed to be references to 75 bands. So far, I've found 20:

Those of you who've posted before, and those who haven't, are welcome to put your thoughts up here as to who you see. I'm interested in seeing what I've missed. No right or wrong answers ...

The Thugs in Belarus

It seems as if the government thugs are on the loose in Belarus. They shut down the demonstrations against elections which were clearly rigged, arresting hundreds of those who defied the efforts of their government to silence their voices.

I'm not silent and I'm outraged. Those behind this act of thuggery, terror, and intimidation cannot be allowed to succeed.

I hope you won't be silent either. Please lend your voices to those who can't speak for their freedom tonight, and your prayers for their protection while in wrongful captivity.

Battle of the Bands tonight

I'm going to the Battle of the Bands at the Music Farm downtown tonight. This is an annual event put on by the undergraduate Communication majors that I mentor in the College's PRSSA chapter.

Last year's event, which was largely underwritten by local attorney "Extreme Akim" Akim Anastapoulo, who also has a syndicated courtroom show entitled "Eye for an Eye", was a huge success. So much so that they had to move to the Music Farm, the largest music venue downtown.

Just eight bucks to get in the door, so ya'll come on down and have a good time tonight. The show starts at 8 p.m.
POST-SHOW UPDATE: WWWOOOWWWW!!!! What a GREAT event - it was by far the biggest and best BofB yet, and expect an even bigger one next year. An excellent production, and thanks to the current PRSSA chair for dragging me and BofB founder Joe McClendon on stage to thank us for our efforts to support their continual efforts with the event.
Those of you who could have gone but didn't ... your loss!

McMaster to star in Ferris Bueller remake

(Rotter's News Service)

Having transformed himself from partisan warhorse as state GOP chairman to the most popular and bi-partisan South Carolina statewide office holder in just four years, Attorney General Henry McMaster (R-Easy Street) added another feather to his cap yesterday. Named to star in a remake of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, McMaster will reprise the role of happy-go-lucky Ferris Bueller, a cool hero in his community, well-liked by diverse groups who otherwise hated one another.

Lee Bandy, political columnist for The State, has agreed to play Ed Rooney, the unpopular high school principal whose main purpose in life is to chase Ferris, in spite of the ever-growing futility of the challenge of stripping Bueller of his cool image and huge popularity. Fellow Republican Lt. Governor Andre Bauer (R-e-elected already, give it up guys) will play the “bad boy” role once played by Charlie Sheen. State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom will play Cameron, Ferris' sidekick who is loyal to Bueller, reluctantly at times, but lacks his best friend's charisma, charm, and popularity.

Talks to fill the roles of Bueller's girlfriend and his jealous sister are still ongoing, but a long list of popular musicians and actresses have expressed interest, many offering to waive their salaries for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear the silver screen with the amazingly-popular Attorney General. "He's such a hottie," said Jennifer Lopez. "Who wouldn't want to have a boyfriend like Henry?"

Madonna was considering the role of Bueller's sister, especially the movie script would be revised to allow them to spend long nights alone, and force them to share a bedroom. "Henry McMaster .... smart, popular, sexy, and so cool. You know, he would be the perfect lover ... ummm, I mean brother", she said, her eyes aglow.

“When I look at my widespread popularity, I think about, well, I think about me,” said McMaster. “I’ve got people who wouldn’t be in the same room as me falling over themselves to support my re-election. In South Carolina politics, I’ve become the new ‘cool’.”

A school secretary and local cultural observer also noted McMaster’s broad base of popularity: “The Republicans, Democratic solicitors, Elvis impersonators, the unions, treehuggers, lawyers, the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, waistoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."

While recent discussions about a joint NAACP-League of the South endorsement have not borne fruit, water towers in the Columbia area have reportedly been repainted to say “Save Henry” as an encouragement for him to file for re-election.

Next Grad School project: Cultural, political, and social critique in Rock Music

With my last long-term research project in iconography complete and out the door, chasing presentation and publication opportunities, I'm moving my next back-burner research project forward: an examination of cultural, political, and social critiques in rock music.

This undertaking was inspired by, and will probably speak much of, the Queensryche albums Mindcrime (1988) and Empire (1990), as well as their upcoming Mindcrime II album, as well as the fact that I've found very little research in the field of Communication studies on this subject.

As with my past track record in academia, this undertaking will not attempt to defend, express or critique any personal views or general political leanings (I imagine a lot of this stuff is much farther to the left than I am), but present the facts as they are, and those who read this stuff can take it for what it's worth.

But if anyone is interested in Alice Cooper's thoughts on politics and rock, here they are:
"I call it treason against rock 'n' roll because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics."

"When I was a kid and my parents started talking about politics, I'd run to my room and put on the Rolling Stones as loud as I could. So when I see all these rock stars up there talking politics, it makes me sick.

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."
Input from any readers as to directions I should take or resources I should consider in my work, which I hope to release early next year, will be gladly accepted.

Happy Sunday - still buried

Just a note ... I'm still alive, but buried.

Among other things, I've been swamped with emails from students in two classes that I lectured last week with my Agenda Setting and Contemporary Media lecture. I also put forth an application for a scholarship award for graduate students - prayers and positive thoughts for a favorable review would be greatly appreciated.

Certain coded hidden messages which I recently posted in my blog were not picked up on, or maybe their intended recipients don't give a darn?

Look for more stuff coming from my strange and bizarre blogland of Communication, Contemporary Events, Religion, and Rock 'n' Roll, once the logjam clears. Until then, keep your heads down and your aim high.

Going to see Queensryche (Post #100!)

My 100th blog posting!!!

I just bought my tix to see Queensryche on their Mindcrime 2 tour at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach on 9/3 - I can't wait for this show!

The performances on their tour will start with the performance of the first Mindcrime album, released in the late 80s, and after an intermission, the band will then go into new Mindcrime II album - a total of approximately thirty songs that weave a dark and compelling tale of mind control, cults of personality, manipulation, power, murder, revenge and redemption.

Loaded with critiques of society, politics, religion, media, and culture, both then and now, it's a show that should enthrall both those who enjoy Queensryche for their music and those who appreciate their thoughtful commentary and well-orchestrated stage performances.

It's bound to be a hell of a show. I hope to see some of ya'll there.

Miami Vice: Don Johnson look-alike

If one looks at the background on the website for the upcoming Miami Vice movie, which pictures the "new" characters, with Colin Farell playing hard-edged Sonny Crockett, and Jaime Foxx playing ice-cool Ricardo Tubbs, you'll see Farell sporting stubble and wearing a white suit.

All you old 80s-era Vice fans may recall that was a regular look for Don Johnson when he played Sonny in the original TV series.

Interesting similarity ... with Mann producing the movie, as the producer of the original TV series, I wonder in what other ways the movie will be true to the TV series.
Stay tuned ...

End of the Gatekeepers: Rupert Murdoch agrees

Media mogul Murdoch also sees the end of the gatekeeper role of mass media:

"Power is moving away from the old elite in our industry—the editors, the chief executives and, let's face it, the proprietors," said News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch in a speech to a printing guild in London on Monday, Reuters reports.

"A new generation of media consumers has risen—demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they want it,” said Murdoch, whose company owns The New York Post, Fox News Channel and two British papers, as well as 20th Century Fox film studios.

Welcome back ... to Welcome Back Kotter?

Wow - never thought I'd see this become a remake:

Ice Cube has signed on to play the title role in a film adaptation of the classic 1970s TV series Welcome Back, Kotter, it was announced Tuesday.

As part of his deal with Dimension Films, Cube will also coproduce the redo of the former ABC series that turned John Travolta into a household name.

"There was no bigger fan of the original show than me, and I'm very excited to beable to put a new twist on it," the Barbershop star said in a statement.

Cube will play the titular Gabe Kotter, a slacker turned teacher who returns to his inner-city alma mater and who sees himself in the new batch of underprivileged troublemakers. He works to inspire the seemingly apathetic students, known as the Sweathogs

Upcoming CofC Alumni events

Those of you who are, like myself, CofC alumni, may want to check out the following upcoming events:

Saturday, April 1st, 8:00 – 11:00 pm
Band, Burgers and Brew! The Cistern

$5 for graduating seniors (December 2005 through December 2006)
$15 for alumni and guests.

The College of Charleston Young Alumni (CCYA) invite all graduating senior students and alumni for great burgers and beer. Entertainment provided by Permanent Vacation.

Saturday, April 22, 2006, 5:30PM - 11:00pm
Alumni Annual Meeting and Reception

Locations: Annual Alumni Meeting and Champagne Reception - Simons Center for the Arts; Alumni Reception - The Cistern, C of C Campus.

$35 for attending alumni.

Champagne Reception which will be held at 5:30 pm in the Simons Center and visit with fellow alumni prior to Annual Meeting. Listen to the music of the Tommy Gill Jazz Band at the Cistern beginning at 8 pm.. Sneakers band will play from 9:00 to 11:00pm.

For reservations, please visit: this website

I've always had a really good time at the alumni reception event in the Cistern, and am looking forward to the April 1st event as well. I'm hosting a cookout for some friends the afternoon before the April 1st burgers and beer event, but I've got my tickets.

Hope to see some of ya'll there!

Two neat places for the kids in Charleston

Took my little one to a birthday party at the House of Bounce in Ladson today. Big industrial shop filled with inflated playground equipment. Fun for the kids, but for us grownups ... well, good thing I had games on my PDA to keep me busy. Spent a couple of hours beating all my oldest daughter's high scorces.

Another neat place to take kids is Bee City, up S.C. Highway 61, about halfway between Givhans Ferry and I-95. Bee exhibits, a classroom with a bee hive, and a petting zoo. Great fried fish on weekends at their diner too.

After a birthday party, evening Great Vespers at church, and visiting my four year old sister, I'm finally ready for bed.

Someone once told me: "now that you're single, bet you're gonna chase every piece of tail in town" - not really. The biggest difference between my life now and married life was one less person in my bed, and nobody to pick up the slack at home when I'm too busy. I still chase kids, taxi them, keep up with mine and others on weekends, sweat over bills, try to figure out how to juggle schedules and all that.

No wonder most people I've dated (esp. those who were single with no kids) dropped me like damaged goods. I have all the burdens of married life, without the time or energy to be single.

I hope to be back to posting sometime in the next week or so, so ya'll stay tuned and check back for new ramblings ... that is, for those few of you who are my fans and readers.

As for my anonymous disgruntled harasser (does your husband mind you spending all this time on me, and not him?) - kisses and hugs to you too ... after all, if you're taking all this time away from your husband for me, you ought to at least get something for your trouble. :)

The news on my appointment

Halfway through serving the remaining six months of the vacant term I was appointed to fill, the word finally gets out ...

Talk about buried

Happy Wednesday - welcome to the halfway point!

Work ... grad school project ... kids ... this darn cold ... AARRRRGGGHHHHHHHH!!!

Sorry, everyone, I'll be sidelined for a few days, so those of you who actually read this stuff need to stay tuned for new thinking after the weekend is over. By then, I might be feeling better and have my head above water once more.

I sure could use some snuggling accompanied with seal noises right about now, and some Alpha-Numeric De-Evolution.

Speaking of the word de-evolution ... anyone around here ever heard of Devo?

Good news about SC Fire Safety

In doing research for a graduate school project, I was doing a statistical analysis of the ISO ratings for fire departments. When I ran a comparison in Excel, looking at how South Carolina departments stacked up against departments nationwide, there was a BIG difference. The ISO ratings of South Carolina departments overall were noticably better than national ISO results.

For those of you who don't know, ISO ratings are used to set fire insurance rates for homeowners and businesses, and are mostly based upon the quality of a department's training, equipment, and response times, as well as availability of water supplies (tankers and hydrants play a large part of that one). A one rating is the highest level of quality, and a ten is below ISO's minimum standards.

To help illustrate my findings, I've copied and pasted the Excel charts below. The first chart looks at the percentage of departments, per ISO rating, and the second shows the cumulative ratings. Roughly 47% of S.C. departments had ratings of one to five, and only 15% scored a nine or ten. However, only 28.5% of departments nationwide had a five or better, with a staggering 32.3% of nationwide departments scoring a minimal nine or failing ten.

SC and US, by individual ISO rating

SC and US ratings, cumulatively

The leadership of a speedtrap town

Those of you who know Cottageville's reputation for being the worst speedtrap town in the Lowcountry (and probably all of SC) will probably appreciate the irony of this story.
S.C. mayor gets $375 ticket for speeding
Associated Press

COTTAGEVILLE, S.C. - The mayor of this rural town was candid after being ticketed for driving 103 mph in a 55 mph zone: "Thank goodness I'm not trying to get re-elected," said Mayor Bert Reeves.

The mayor, who has worked to erase the towns' reputation as a speed trap, was given a $375 ticket Wednesday after a Colleton County sheriff's deputy stopped his 2005 Ford F-250 on state Highway 303.

Reeves told the deputy he thought he was driving about 80 mph, according to an incident report. Deputy Robert Cook wrote that Reeves has had numerous traffic violations and requested the ticket not be reduced.

AAA Carolinas recognized Cottageville in December as one of the state's top five communities with populations of less than 10,000 dedicated to traffic safety. The town is about 45 miles northwest of Charleston.

Since Reeves has been in office, Cottageville has reduced its reliance on revenue from speeding tickets.

The mayor declined to discuss the ticket, but said he is not seeking another term. "I will have done my public service," he said.

Agenda-Setting, Gatekeepers, and Convergence

Tonight, I’ll be presenting a lecture to an undergraduate class in Media Criticism, which will discuss the contemporary roles played by mass media in setting public agendas, with a special focus on political communication. I’ll be presenting it to three classes this semester, adding to the other lectures in my little bag of tricks.

A couple of ideas that have emerged in my research in this area, which will be included in this lecture, are:

The “End of the Gatekeeper”. It is believed by some that media, before the broadening of media with cable networks, blogs, talk shows, the web, and other outlets, the limited number of outlets, and figures such as Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, who were well-known celebrities, had the ability and motive to act as “gatekeepers” of news. In this model of operation, news was vetted carefully for accuracy (and some would argue screened to suit political agendas as well). With the broadening of media into a 24-hour news cycle, the emphasis is now believed to be on quantity and speed instead of quality and accuracy, and may be behind a number of recent highly-publicized goof-ups.

Convergence effect. This effect takes place when a combination of messages from political campaigns, independent groups, and media has a mutually reinforcing effect which can be far more effective than the positive or negative effects created by the direct strategies of political campaigns alone. With the growing amount of influence upon campaigns by independent groups, who work independently to develop their own messages and dissemination processes, it is believed to be an effect worth studying.

For those of you who may be curious, I have posted a PDF of my lecture. Feel free to download it, read it, and make any comments, criticisms, or suggestions that you’d like.

Sex Pistols in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

... believe it, it's true, they're being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In spite of their rejection of the Hall of Fame's invitation to attend the induction, and the legacy of rock and roll rebellion that was inspired by their one and only studio album, Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols, they're really being inducted.

Talk about long-overdue respect and vindication!

The raw energy they inspired helped fuel the then-fledgling London punk scene into what eventually became a strong new source of inspiration for the revival of the lagging rock scene of the time. While bands like the Sex Pistols, as well as the Ramones, The Clash, and Black Flag sold comparatively few albums, they inspired those bands who made it big, both punk and otherwise, bringing vital and much-needed raw energy into rock music, much as was once done by Elvis and The Beatles.

It's been correctly pointed out that they achieved far more fame, and inspired far more creativity and dissent in music than dozens of bands who claim to have fueled the fires of rebellion that is at the heart of rock music.

Congratulations to the Pistols - it's clearly one of the most deserved inductions the Hall of Fame has ever made!