Connie’s Creed

I recently made a list of things – ideas, ideals, intended behaviors – I find important. Mostly simple things; but sometimes as I’m riding life’s wave the simple things are those I’m quickest to forget.

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Do your best.
Keep your promises.
Meet all deadlines.
Do what you say you’re going to do.
Return phone calls and e-messages.
Set priorities: first things first.
Say what you need to say.
Take care of yourself.
Manage your time: there’s only so much of it.
Focus on what your client wants and give it to them.
Keep your files organized.
If it feels wrong or makes you uncomfortable, walk away.
Say no.
Save, invest, collect money.
Spend as much time as you can with your children.
Be dedicated to your craft; be a lifelong student.
Be humble, not arrogant.
Don’t over-book or over-commit.
Don’t let anger/emotions interfere with your thoughts/actions.
Bill on take and make sure you are paid.
Treat others fairly – in work and in play.
Make sure others treat you fairly.
Give your clients more than their money’s worth on every assignment.
Charge fair, reasonable rates; Don’t undercharge.
Be willing to walk away.
Keep in touch with your clients and prospective clients.
Keep in touch with your family and friends.
Listen more than you talk.
Be true to God.

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What’re you gonna bring? Essentials for Ghost Hunters

05As the operator of Dalton Ghost Tours, the author of “Haunted Dalton” (available October 2013), and the instructor of Dalton State College’s former Ghostbusting 101, Ghostbusting 102, and Legends and Folklore, I am often asked: What do I need to conduct a paranormal investigation?

I’ll tell you:

1.  Flashlights. Because most investigations take place at night or in dark places, you need a light source or two. Or three. Expensive, cheap, it doesn’t matter so long as it can cast light. A lot of ghost adventurers like headlights – like miners wear – to remain hands-free. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in the dark; that’s an invitation for accidents!

 

2. Extra batteries. Even if your flashlights and other equipment have fresh batteries, bring along more. As you likely already know, spirits manifest through collecting outside energy – like from your equipment.

3.  Your identification. Be sure to have your driver’s license on hand, just in case the police come along.

4.  Digital Recorder. Can’t catch those Class A EVP’s without one! Well, it doesn’t have to be digital – any recorder will do – I just like the digital better. They’re faster, easier. You can get them anywhere – Office Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. To me, this is the coolest part of the investigation.

5.  Notebook and Pen. Either yourself or someone in your group (never go ghost hunting alone) needs to write down any and everything out of the norm. It’s best to do a walk through before the investigation begins, in order to make note of things you believe could affect your investigation. Where are the outlets? Is there an area subject to breeze? When your investigation starts, write down who heard what and when. Write down changes in temperature. Take note of a swinging chandelier, a slamming door, etc. Believe it or not, you’ll forget a lot of things that might make a difference in your review later. Patters are more easily recognized through details.

6.  Electromagnetic Field Meter. An EMF meter measures electromagnetic radiation.  Areas of paranormal activity often produce strong electromagnetic fields and have high EMF readings. Be careful, though. EMF meters can produce false positives. Man-made electrical sources such as power lines, appliances, cell phones, and fuse boxes can give off strong EMF readings. Before assuming paranormal activity, check to see if the cause could be a man-made electrical source.

7.  Digital Camera. Use the highest resolution and make sure your memory stick is either empty or has plenty of room. Orbs, ectoplasms… get ready for your close up

 

8.   Video camera.  This is an optional tool, in my opinion, but if you bring one, always use clean, new discs for your camcorder. If you are filming a designated room/area, place the video camera on a tripod for stability and ease of use.

9.  Comfortable Clothing and Shoes.  Wear appropriate apparel. Layer. I actually had a student show up for a field investigation in high heels once! Not only was she uncomfortable, she made everyone around her uncomfortable with her complaints about the terrain (a cemetery). She also slowed everyone down, not making her very popular. Sometimes investigations take a long time, and they rarely occur in 5-star settings!

10.  Water.  Whether it’s yourself or someone in your group, somebody’s going to get thirsty. You’ll concentrate better if you aren’t worrying about when you can get to a store. Some people even like to bring snacks. I recommend eating BEFORE you go.

There are other toys available… some of them are even a lot of fun!… but what you see above is all you actually need to get started.

Those things, AND an open mind! Go in with a positive attitude, a pocket full of patience, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Good luck to you, and happy hauntings!

 

 

This Day in ROCK History: QUIET RIOT; an interview with Drummer Frankie Banali

30 years ago today Quiet Riot played the first of a series of sell out shows at the Roxy in Los Angeles. This, after the release of their album Metal Health. In honor of this foundation-laying occasion, I’m sharing part of an interview I did with Frank Banali in 2011 when he was in Atlanta for Rocktoberfest. Enjoy!

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FEELING THE NOISE WITH QUIET RIOT DRUMMER, FRANKIE BANALI

Frankie Banali is the hard hitting, heavy rock drummer behind the grooves of Quiet Riot – best known for their singles “Metal Health”, ”Bang Your Head,” and “Come on Feel the Noise.”

There was always music playing in the background of Frank Banali’s youth. Though neither his Italian father nor his Spanish mother were musicians, they loved music. In the beginning there was a lot of Latin music in the Banali home. Then, big band. Then, John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

“We were living in New York when the Beatles came to America and that was the first place they hit,” he told me in a recent interview. “I got to see them once and I never looked back.”

Next, Frank found Led Zeplin and got turned on to drumming.

“I love the fact that out of all the instruments, it’s very organic,” Frank said of the drums. “Guitars use amp effects to get tones and sounds, and drums can be mic’ed up but it’s still in your hands. It’s a pair of sticks and you’re hitting them.”

Frank said he likes to think of every day as a good day, but every day he gets to play the drums is a great day. And he’s had a lot of great days throughout his career.

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“I’m very loud and very energetic,” he shared. “But drums are my Zen, where I find the most peace. When I sit behind the kit, Disneyland is not the happiest place on earth, my drum set is.”

But it’s not all fun and games, Frank insists. This is his 19th year managing Quiet Riot. He negotiates deals for videos, records, tours. He advances and approves tours and shows and he oversees the budget.

Frank is the only Quiet Riot member to have played on every single album since 1983’s “Metal Health.” I asked him what kind of ride it has been.

“It have experienced every emotion from being a totally ignored band to having an album,” he said. “It has been the whole gamut from nothing to everything to going back down the ladder and up again and sustaining a career… Here I am, 28 years later, and I’m still doing it.”

Famously described as the first heavy metal band to top the pop chart at No. 1 on Billboard magazine, Quiet Riot ranks among VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.”

Quiet Riot disbanned in 2007 after the unfortunate death of frontman Kevin DuBrow, who was also Frank’s best friend. Last year Frank made the decision to revive the band.

“When Kevin passed it knocked me out of orbit, both personally and business-wise,” Frank told me. “I couldn’t see going on without him. I had no intention of continuing. For the next year I didn’t pick up a drum stick, didn’t play, and was in deep mourning.”

For the next two years Frank was urged by everyone – labels, musicians, friends, and managers – to bring Quiet Riot back, to keep Kevin’s memory alive.

“I got together with Kevin’s mom,” he said. “We’re close. I wanted to make sure she was okay with it. She was.”

So, Frank said, the Quiet Riot machine was put back in motion.

The current and, according to Frank Banali, the most stable line-up includes Frankie on drums, Chuck Wright on bass, Alex Grossi on guitar, and Mark Huff, vocals.

Frankie loves being back in the Georgia, where he says the audience is always energetic. Well, that, he said, and he loves girls with Southern accents.

“Off the top of your head, what would the name of your autobiography be, should you write one?” I wanted to know.

“’There Goes the Neighborhood,’” he laughed. “Totally off the top of my head.”

Though he may indeed pen a memoir one day, he’ll likely put out a cookbook first. Turns out, he loves to cook and experiment with multi-cultural dishes.

In the meantime, Frankie Banali is working on a top secret project with a group of musicians, combining a diversification of influences, styles, and sounds. In its final stages, “Acid for Blood” is slated for release at the beginning of 2012.

(NOTE: ACID FOR BLOOD IS NOW AVAILABLE.)

“When it comes out we’ll see if I’m genius or just insane,” Frankie said.

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Keep up with Quiet Riot at http://www.officialquietriot.com.

Stalk Frank Banali at www.frankiebanali.net.

The original interview the above was taken from ran in the Daily Citizen-News in October of 2011.

Pow-wowing with STEVEN ADLER on his new album, BACK FROM THE DEAD

Steven Adler

Steven Adler first hit radar as the original drummer for one of my all-time favorite bands, Guns ‘n Roses.

As viewers of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House” know, Steven traveled a long, obstacle-laden road to recovery following his forced departure from GNR. It’s easy to get weighed down by our past mistake, but what’s important is that we move on, forgive ourselves, move FORWARD…  Steven Adler has done that. I submit that his NEW album “Back from the Dead” proves it.

While you wait for his band, Adler, to rock your town, check out mine and Keith Coffey’s recent chit-chat with Steven Adler about the album ALL self-respecting rockers MUST listen to:

CONNIE:  After listening to “Back from the Dead,” I was blown away by your drumming. I love the sounds you made with GNR, but this new material is also great.

KEITH:  It is definitely a CD I could put in my car stereo rotation.

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CONNIE:  I foresee a lot of radio play… what was your inspiration?

STEVEN:  Thank you. I’m not sure it was as much “inspiration” as it was simply the right time for me to do something new. Once I met the right group of people – Jacob Bunton, Lonny Paul, Johnny Martin, Jeff Pilson, and Jay Ruston – things just came together.

CONNIE:  The other times I’ve interviewed you, you still had hope that GNR could get back together for some sort of reunion. MY GUESS is that after Axl didn’t show up for the GNR induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, you – and the rest of us – realized it’s not going to happen. Did this realization, assuming my assumption is correct, free you up to make this kickass album, “Back from the Dead?”

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STEVEN:  Yes, your assumption is correct. I knew then that GNR would never reunite. But honestly, I was working on this record “Back from the Dead” before the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame induction. Whether or not GNR ever got back together, I felt it was time to get back out there and move on. Especially when I finally surrounded myself with the right people. Things just fell into place.

CONNIE: I’m going to refer to the song, “Just Don’t Ask.” How cool was it to work with Slash again? How was it different this time around?

STEVEN:  I started my career with Slash so I was honored for him to be a part of my new chapter in life. Besides, I’ve always loved the way he plays, and he performed a beautiful solo on “Just Don’t Ask.”

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KEITH:  I really like the fat sound of the Les Paul on that lead. But “Blown Away” is my favorite song on the album. It just freakin’ rocks. The lead guitarist kicks ass in this one. What’s your personal favorite, Steven?

STEVEN:  I’ve been asked this question a lot and honestly, it’s too hard to answer because I love them all for different reasons. They each have their own unique sound and style.

CONNIE:  “Back from the Dead” and “Own Worst Enemy” seem to have been born of some of your past struggles. If so, did creating these tunes kind-of push you over the bumps in your road and into a promising and exciting future?

STEVEN:  My past certainly played a part lyrically. The songs were definitely a team effort, but I contributed plenty of scars.

KEITH:  “Own Worst Enemy is another song with good energy, a rockin’ tune. “Your Diamonds” is my second favorite on the album. I love the backing vocals in this song – it has a Journey feel to the riff: oooh anytime you need me…

CONNIE:  The song is romantic and sensual. I like how the album, as a whole, delivers solid, hard-hitting rock and also this emotion-tugging song.

STEVEN:  That’s exactly what we wanted the listeners to feel. Our band brings many different influences to the table, but ultimately, we made the record we wanted to hear.

CONNIE:  In your book (“My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, Drugs and Guns ‘n Roses,” released in 2011) you said , of your GNR band mates: Axl is the smart one, Duff is the sweet one, Izzy is the coolest, you are the cutest, and Slash is the sexiest… If you had to tag Lonny, Jacob, Johnny, and yourself NOW, what would you say?

STEVEN:  I think everyone in my new band is smart, sweet and cool. But specifically, believe it or not, Jacob – also lead singer – is the smart one and Lonny – also guitar – is the sexy one. It looks like I’ve got the winning combination again! (laughs)

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CONNIE:  I saw your last formation, Adler’s Appetite, twice. The show was full of energy and fun… but this new line-up kicks it up another level. Do you feel the “magic” of your new band, Adler, the way you did with the original GNR line-up?

STEVEN:  Absolutely! I knew the moment I met each of the guys in my new band that these are the right combination. Certainly, I felt that “magic” in the studio making this record.

KEITH:  I give the album an 8 out of 10 because it’s very cool. Very cool. I thought the drum and bass lines were real solid, backing vocals were outstanding and that lead guitarist is a monster!

CONNIE:  The album is a perfect representation of what rock ‘n roll SHOULD be… the best I’ve heard in a really long time. Can fans expect more?

STEVEN:  Thank you. Our goal wasn’t just to put out a few good songs, but a great record. Unlike GNR, this time, I’m going to be around for a long time and plan on recording many records.

CONNIE:  Will you be touring? And if so, will Adler be coming to Atlanta in 2013?

STEVEN:  We plan on touring everywhere. Our manager and agents are putting things together as we speak. So I’m sure we’ll see you soon. I want to thank you and everyone for all the love and support. I couldn’t have imagined being so embraced. It means the world to me… I love you all!!

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(above: my future-Slash, my son Adam, Steven, and me)

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(above: fellow interviewer, rocker and friend Keith Coffey. Follow his band, The 348 at https://www.facebook.com/The348).

To keep up with Adler happenings click on the following:

https://www.facebook.com/adlermusic

http://www.adlerrocks.com

https://twitter.com/adlerrocks

http://www.youtube.com/adlerofficial

Read one of my past interviews with Steven (2010):

http://daltondailycitizen.com/features/x1274852215/Connie-Hall-Scott-Talking-rock-with-Steven-Adler-Guns-N-Roses-Drummer

Phones and Computers, Smiley-facing; and is Sexting Cheating?

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Sometimes I wonder if we just don’t have too much, too easy access to one another. Back in the day – you know, pre-cellphone, pre-internet – a person had to make a real human effort to reach out to another person. A telephone call meant something. It most likely meant the guy calling was interested in you. Men used to actually have to exercise confidence and take a risk when asking a woman out on a date. Now, he can – with precious little effort – send a facebook message or an impersonal text.

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I think something has been lost.

And what about smiley-facing? I use smiley faces a lot, because in “real life” I smile a lot. Being able to express a warm feeling within an impersonal text message is kind-of nice. Or, so I thought. Recently, my son saw a few casual texts sent back and forth between myself and a male friend. Our words were sometimes followed by 🙂

My son freaked out. “Oh, my God, Mom, why are you and Rodney flirting?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “We aren’t. He’s married. I don’t think of him that way.”

“Then you need to stop sending the smile face because he’s going to think you do.”

Really?

I mean it. Really?

So now I’m just afraid to send the 🙂 at all when texting not only Rodney, but any other married or committed man, ALL other women, anyone under the age of 18, and clergymen. I wouldn’t want to convey the wrong message.

Last year I was talking with country music star Cold Ford. He began telling me about how much he HATES cell phones and texting because our children are FAR too caught up in them. He ranted for a good ten minutes, with much conviction. Mother of three teenagers, I get it. He’s right.

Communication has changed. The rules have changed.

Last year a friend of mine initiated divorce after finding out her husband was using the home computer to chat up women. It started, it seems, with small flirtations held behind the closed doors of his study. Eventually this professional man found someone with whom he began to share a lot of cyber-time. The flirtations became sexual dialogue… the sexual dialogue became intentions…. intentions became reality.

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At what point was my friend’s now ex-husband in the wrong? Was it when the provocative talk began, or was it when he and his cyber girl met for the first time? I say, it was the first time he logged on looking for a female to talk to. Why? Because he was MARRIED. This is a guy with a large pool of friends to talk to – both male and female. This is a guy who was – I’ll say it again – married.

Maybe he thought the initial anonymity made it less real. Kind-of like a game, a short vacation from reality. Harmless. Fantasy. His then-wife didn’t see it that way.

I have another close friend who recently found our her husband was exchanging sexy texts with a mutual friend. He swears it never went beyond texts and a few photos. She is devastated. She feels betrayed. Her heart hurts. Mine hurts for her.

His defense is it wasn’t “real,” and that the sexting never led to a hook-up. Whether it did or whether it didn’t, trust has been lost. A very wonderful lady has been hurt. The thoughts exchanged between her husband and her “friend” caused pain and confusion and anger. So, it was wrong.

And, yeah, it was cheating.

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Here’s the way I see it: If you are married, don’t sext with someone other than your partner. The intent is essentially the same as any action. If you aren’t happy in your marriage, if you aren’t getting what you need, then FIX it or LEAVE it. But be true to your vows and your promises. Be honorable. Be kind. Be thoughtful of the person you promised yourself to.

Keyboards and phone pads have power. It is your choice if you utilize the power for good or evil.

2 Vinyls, 2 Books: My January Recommendations

I LOVE to visit McKay’s Used Book Store in Chattanooga, Tn. The large two-story warehouse is full of a satisfying assortment of books, movies and music.

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On my last visit I picked up a couple of treasures in the form of vinyl:  Rick Springfield’s “Working Class Dog” (1980) and Bryan Adams’ “Reckless” (1984). I hadn’t purchased albums there before because I haven’t had a record player in ages, but was gifted an awesome stereo system for Christmas. As I browsed through the selections and was ushered willingly through a trip down memory lane.

When WAS the last time I listened to Springfield? My sister, Angela, and I used to quote lyrics from the dude’s discography as part of our regular conversation. Once upon a time, when she lived in Raleigh, we talked on the phone a lot.

“How’s life in the big city?” I often began our long-distance dialogue.

“The competition’s tough,” she would reply. “Every man’s an actor and every girl is pretty.”

If you don’t get me, YouTube “Don’t Talk to Strangers.”

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I have had fun with Springfield since he re-entered my life. Especially Side A: “I’ve Done Everything for You,” being my favorite. Also, “Hole in My Heart,” “Love is Alright Tonite,” and “Jessie’s Girl.” I’ll be honest; Side B doesn’t do much for me BUT Side A more than makes up for it.

My memories of Bryan Adams began with my first love, a boy in high school who played a little guitar and believed he looked like Adams. I guess he kind-of did. Because HE liked this particular rocker, I listened – and ended up liking the artist based on his own merit, and not just because someone else did.

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Bringing “Reckless” back home with me has been a bit of a pleasure. Not just for me, but also maybe a little for my teenage bohemians. Although Lexi and Aaron haven’t exactly SAID they like the record, they haven’t complained either. Translation: I think they like it. As for Adam, my own little guitar player, a wide grin formed on his handsome face when “Summer of ’69” spun. He related.

“I did that too; Remember, Madre?” he asked.

“I do,” I answered, not having to ask what he was talking about. He was speaking lyrics: “Got my first 6-string… played it ’til my fingers bled…”

Just like older Adams, young Adam had indeed played his first guitar ’til his fingers bled.

I’m most enjoying, from Side A: “Run to You,” “One Night Love Affair,” “Somebody,” and “Heaven.” From Side B: “It’s Only Love,” “Long Gone,” and “Ain’t Gonna Cry.”

At any given time I am reading several books. A work of fiction, a biography, a self-help (I’m not ashamed), something educational, and the Bible. I keep my “in progress” selections beside my bed so that when I retire to my nightly reading I can grab whatever I’m in the mood for.

I just finished reading the last biography I picked up at McKay’s last month.

Published in 2011 by Henry Holt, “Stories I Only Tell My Friends, an Autobiography by Rob Lowe” is a book I recommend.

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When I first saw Lowe’s book on the shelf, I paused but didn’t grab. I paused, nostalgically remembering the poster I had on my bedroom wall of him playing the saxophone (I guess I’ve always been into musicians). Words, movie titles and phrases bounced around my brain: About Last Night. The Outsiders. 80s videotape sex scandal. West Wing. St. Elmo’s Fire. Brat Pack. Austin Powers. Wayne’s World…. I’ll be honest, I put the hardback in my cart based on the title: Stories I Only Tell My Friends. I figured the book would likely satisfy my morbid fascination for gossip. With any luck I’d find out what REALLY happened in that Atlanta Hotel Room.

Instead, what I got was a look into the life of a very creative, intelligent artist.

The behind-the-scenes stories Lowe shared were funny, interesting, but never malicious. I like that. He talks about growing up in a broken home, feeling like an outcast, falling in love with the stage and eventually with the camera, meeting his idols, breaking into the business, friendships, romantic relationships, addiction, politics, writing, meeting his soul mate, and fatherhood.

The book is well written, attention-holding, and entertaining. At no time was it boring; as autobiographies CAN be. Rob Lowe is able to expertly develop the character (of himself) in a way that left me rooting for him.

A favorite quote from the book:  “By pushing through my comfort zone, I was able to train an emotional muscle that serves me well today. All of us on a daily basis have the opportunity to move forward or backward or stay put. Today, I know to move forward.”

The other book I’m raving on is part 1 of a trilogy written by Nora Roberts. Roberts is the goddess of romance and suspense. Within the first few pages of “Jewels of the Sun,” I was hooked.

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This book, picked up at Barnes and Noble the day after Christmas, first came out in 1999 but reads as if it could have made shelf last week.

Set in Ireland, Roberts introduces us to an American woman, Jude, who leaves the security of her job, family, home, and country to reboot following a drop-the-bottom-from-under-her divorce. Jude, a hopelessly practical type, surprises herself by moving to the little town her grandmother grew up in and of which Jude grew up hearing stories of.

Turns out her family cottage – set on a fairie hill – is haunted by the ghost of a maiden centuries dead. Additionally, Jude has conversations with a stranger she learns is a fairie prince, in love with Jude’s resident ghost.

Within walking distance is a pub, ran by a sexy Irishman named Aidan. Sparks fly. Jude reluctantly falls in love with Aidan, and I half-way do too. Aidan’s brother and sister also works at the pub – I’m looking forward to reading more about them in parts 2 and 3 of this trilogy.

Before all is read and done, Jude and Aidan lock into place the first part of a three-piece puzzle that, when complete, will reunite the maiden ghost and her fairie prince.

In  “Jewels of the Sun” Nora Roberts crafts characters you’ll quickly come to love and shows you an Ireland you’ll want to visit. The dialogue is witty and engaging. If fantasy and romance is your bag, put this book in it, snuggle up and enjoy.

Virtual Dinner Party

I accept blogger/author Rick Mallery’s fun challenge:

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Rules:

Throw a dinner party

– Five guests and oneself. While relatives are permitted, it will be more interesting if guests are public figures – dead or alive, speaking any language – or even fictional characters.

– In turn, tag five others to hold Virtual Parties of their own.

Menu: Look at the guest list and tell me who would have time to eat? We’ll order a bunch of pizzas as we’ll need something we can eat cold long into the night.

Location: This gang could hang anywhere. Top choices are the Eaton Auditorium, a conference room in the Temple of Delphi, the Elsinore Odd Fellow’s Hall, under the apse of St. Mark’s Basilica, or Finca Vigia.

Guest List: (no messing around, we go straight to the top)!

So, here are MY guests. Let’s get this party started!

  • James Dean
  • Dorothy Parker
  • Scarlet O’Hara-Hamilton-Kennedy-Butler
  • Axl Rose
  • Marilyn Monroe

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I developed a delicious post mortem crush on the rebel himself when in college. James Dean is cool incarnate. He possessed every quality necessary – good looks, a creative mind hidden behind a mischievous smile, mystery, and angst-overload – to forever hook a bad-boy loving girl like me. I have explored his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana, wrote about him, and engaged in wonderful conversations with one of his best friends, author/actor John Gilmore. So, naturally, he’s on the guest list and sitting to my right. I’d love to pick his brain on “the method” (his favored style of acting), poetry and art, his sexuality (was he or wasn’t he bi-sexual?), Hollywood in the 1950s, and whatever else he wanted to chat on.

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Introducing… the wonderful Ms. Dorothy Parker! My faaavorite poet eveeer. What a brilliant mind! I get her. Sometimes when I miss a deadline I raise my head above the pool of self-loathing and think of Dorothy. Dorothy ALWAYS missed deadlines. It doesn’t make my folly go away, but for a moment I feel better. I would have her recite some of her best works and tell me all about the roaring 20s.

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Oh, how I love Scarlet. Since I was a wee little one, I’ve admired her beyond most others. In difficult times I’ve often asked myself, “What would Scarlet do in this situation?” This was a woman (er, character) who would always rise above any circumstance, who did what had to be done and who went after what she wanted, never too worried about what others thought of her. I wouldn’t ask her if she got Rhett back, I’d ask her how.

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Axl, Axl, wildly talented and misunderstood, Axl. He gets the seat to my left. Because he’s cute. And, BECAUSE he’s cute I forgive him for not showing up for Guns ‘n Roses’ induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame AND for not doing JUST ONE ITTY BITTY TOUR with the original GNR line-up. But because he’s been bad, he will have to sing for his supper.

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With the (probably late) arrival of Marilyn Monroe, I will FINALLY learn what happened the night she departed planet earth. I’ve read the books, watched the documentaries, and have my own theories. IF anyone, anyone at all, was responsible for her death (other than herself) the world deserves to know. Additionally, I’m sure there are loads of fabulously interesting stories Ms. Monroe would bring to the table.

Love Bytes

It has finally happened. Computers have taken over the world! Virtually everyone is online. Texting, tweeting, instant messaging, and photo-tagging are all a big part of American culture. You can shop online, pay your bills online. Sometimes you can even find love online.

Cody Davis doesn’t have problems getting dates. As the front man for rock band Triple Threat, he gets a lot of attention and a lot of offers.

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“I’ve had a couple of serious relationships,“ he shared. “Being in a band, I find myself in a lot of bars and clubs and situations that foster dating scenarios. That can be fun but it isn’t the best way to connect to someone on a more than superficial level most of the time.”

Though he doesn’t practice “internet dating” through sites specifically set up to make love connections – such as Match.com or any of the other hundreds out there – he is open to meeting people through social networks like Facebook.com.

“There’s less pressure with Facebook,” 22 year-old Cody said. “I use it as an advertising tool mainly, but also as a way to communicate with friends and keep up with family. I spend part of my time in Dalton (Georgia) and part of my time in Thomaton (Georgia), so it’s a nice way to kind-of be in two places at once.”

“I have less than 800 friends (on Facebook), so I wouldn’t call myself a friend collector,” he said. “Some of the people who add me do so after seeing my band perform. I’ve had some nice conversations with girls who have contacted me through that medium. I haven’t, to date, dated any of them.”

He isn’t opposed to it though.

“The idea of making that initial contact, where you think she’s cute and she thinks you’re cute, through Facebook seems plausible,” Cody said. “I can see some benefits of hooking up internet-style. I mean, if you have a busy schedule – like I do – you can get back to the person you’re interested in whenever it‘s convenient. You could take your time and get to know each other. Talk about things. Learn things about each other. I think that’s cool.”

Cody said his biggest relationship challenge so far has been jealousy and the problems that go along with it.

“If I am playing somewhere and my girl can’t go because she has to work or it’s out of town, she may be worried that I’m hooking up with one of the girls at the show,” he said. “But I’m not that guy. If I’m in a relationship, I honor it.”

Another benefit of using Facebook as a way to meet people, Cody said, is the ability to see photographs of the person you are talking to but haven’t yet met.

“You can tell a lot about someone by the photos on their page,” he said. “If she has a lot of goofy pictures with her friends, she likely has a big sense of humor. If there are all kinds of shots of her playing different kinds of ball, she’s athletic and probably takes care of herself. If her friends are posting pictures of her acting up all over town, I’m staying away!”

Cody laughed. “It’s new frontier. There are so many opportunities to meet people online – whether you are looking for it or whether it falls in your lap – it’s insane! Maybe once upon a time there was a stigma to hooking up through the internet – like something people did but didn’t want their friends to know about – but let’s face it: everybody is online now. It’s a social network world. What difference does it make if I meet someone special standing in line at the mall or online? What matters is that I met her.”

While Cody Davis is waiting for his love match, Erica Carlisle has already found hers. Through Match.com. She and her husband of 13 years are an example of an online dating success story.

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“I put up a profile, just playing around,” Erica recalled. “This was when the internet was relatively new and Match.com was still free. It was 1998. Mike and I started chatting and suddenly he says, ‘Do you want to go out?’ I was like, okay, with butterflies in my stomach.”

Erica said she was instantly drawn to his personality, to the way he behaved like a gentleman and showered her with attention.

“He was living in Ackworth (Georgia), me in Dalton (Georgia), and he drove the hour and a half here to take me to dinner and a movie. Our first date was on Halloween and we went to see The Bride of Chucky. What a stupid movie!”

Erica laughed. “We’ve been together ever since. We’ve been through two military branches – he was in the Army and I’m in the Navy. We have two kids and we still behave like newlyweds most of the time.”

“Like with anything else you have to be careful,” Erica warns. “There are good and bad people  everywhere. We all have heard horror stories of meeting people online. Whenever someone presents himself, or herself, as something other than he or she really is, it’s wrong. That can happen in any aspect of life. We have to learn to look for these things in others, whether you’re talking about online friendships, relationships, or offline. The biggest thing is, use common sense. Trust your instincts. And proceed with caution.”

“Because it’s that time of year again, when Cupid is at it, a lot of people are thinking about love,” Cody Davis said. “How could you not think about it, with all the red and pink hearts stuffed in store windows? Love is in the air! It’s bouncing around the internet airwaves, calling out to lonely hearts. If you want to jump on the internet dating bandwagon, seize the day. Face book ‘poke’ that cute girl who sat behind you in history class back in high school. Who knows? She might ‘poke’ you back.”

New Year’s SUPERSTITIONS

Are you superstitious?

Yeah, me neither. I mean, I don’t REALLY believe bad luck is in store just because a black cat has crossed my path. I still quickly finger three X’s onto my car windshield whenever this happens. You know, just in case. I’m not sure where I first heard marking X’s on the windshield wards off whatever bad luck the cat supposedly left in his wake, but the idea took root in my brain nonetheless and make the X‘s I do. A little insurance never hurts.

Tomorrow we enter 2013. Some people believe that events that occur on New Year’s Day set the pattern for the rest of the year. In efforts to invite good fortune into our lives, or to ward off evil, many of us make sure we do – or don’t do – certain things on New Year’s Day.

Below are some of my favorite New Year’s superstitions:

1.  DANCE IN THE OPEN AIR, and around a tree if you can, to ensure luck in love and prosperity and good health for the next 12 months. Sure, the neighbors might cast you an odd look or two, but what are you willing to do for love and fortune? I say, DANCE!

2.  WEAR NEW CLOTHES. Doing so is supposed to ensure the expansion of your closet for the upcoming year. One can never be too thin, too rich, or have too many outfits. So, throw on that new sweater or dress and up your odds!

3.  DON’T CRY. Avoid breaking things and wailing on New Year’s Day, unless you want to set the pattern for the rest of the year.

4.  BE NICE.  Don’t use foul language, tell ghost stories or talk about death either.

5.  OPEN ALL THE DOORS TO YOUR HOUSE AT MIDNIGHT to let the old year out unimpeded.

6.  BE LOUD. In my house this won’t be a problem, as we generally already are. Some cultures believe the devil and his lackeys hate loud noise, so they attempt to be as loud as possible in their New Year’s celebrations. Think party horns, music, and shouts. Church bells used to be – and sometimes still are – rung at midnight for this same reason.

7.  EAT BLACK-EYED PEAS. This is a tradition that springs from the southern part of the United States. Here in the south, we believe that the partaking of this particular legume on New Year’s Day will attract good luck in general and money in particular. I don’t especially like black eyed-peas, but I do like good luck and money.

8.  KISS AT MIDNIGHT. Doing so ensures that affections and ties will continue throughout the New Year. To not kiss will, it is said, set the stage for a year of coldness.

9.  FIRST FOOTING.  Are you ready for this? It is said that one must never leave the home before someone comes in first. First footer in the house should be welcomed warmly and should not have flat feet, cross-eyes, or a uni-brow. Better still, he or she should come bearing a small gift. If your first visitor is a tall, dark-haired man, all the better. Just make sure you have him leave through a different door than the one he entered.

10.  STOCK YOUR CUPBOARDS. Make sure you don’t start the new year with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for 2013. Some people even like to make sure their wallets and purses are filled with money to set the pace of things. .

So, there you have it. 10 handy-dandy New Year’s superstitions. Take them or leave them, I’ve done my part in the sharing. I leave you with wishes for a happy, prosperous, love-filled, healthy, and peaceful 2013. As the Irish say, In the new year may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, never in want

I Know it’s Only Rock ‘n Roll but I Like it

me with the founders of Skid Row: bassist Rachel Bolan and co-lead guitarist Snake Sabo at Wild Bill's in Atlanta 2011.

me with the founders of Skid Row: bassist Rachel Bolan and co-lead guitarist Snake Sabo at Wild Bill’s in Atlanta 2011.

In a recent interview I did with Dave “the Snake” Sabo of Skid Row, I learned some things about this dynamic dude… like, why is he called “Snake”? Hint: it has to do with a part of his body, and probably not the part you’re thinking! And, who was with him when he got his first tattoo? This is the guy behind the hit song “I Remember You,” and he’s pretty cool. Check out the piece I wrote with Dave “the Snake” Sabo for Legendary Rock Interviews. Just click on the link below.  I’d love to hear what you think, so take a moment and respond.

http://www.legendaryrockinterviews.com/2012/11/01/skid-rows-dave-the-snake-sabo-discusses-new-album-and-more/