When I was a kid in 6th grade I bowled on Saturdays. I got on my bike with my bowling ball and my bowling shoes and road a few miles across town to the bowling alley in Encinitas and bowled in a league. I was good for my age. Good. Not great.

At other times of the year I played baseball on some Saturdays and I remember being dropped off. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I didn’t always have a family member with me at those games. My mom was there a often and my dad rarely was and usually when he got there it was near the end of the game.

Many Saturday afternoons I watched monster movies or science fiction and there was a local host – Moona Lisa. There was also Bob Dale from San Diego. I sometimes watched the Indy 500 and those types of races and it never ever occurred to me that some people watch those races to see if there might be a crash that might kill someone. I was a Catholic boy then and I just didn’t think that way.

More than once in a while I watch Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, especially as I got past 4th or 5th grade. I found his record rating interesting and it was really interesting when John Travolta was interviewed and later Madonna and others. I also remember The Bay City Rollers and Shaun Cassidy. It’s funny because I didn’t really get into rock and roll until 7th grade or so. Not that I never listened to it, but I didn’t really know who very many bands were besides The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and a few others.

In 7th grade we got pencils at school that had the names of bands on them like Deep Purple, The Who and Jethro Tull. I had absolutely no idea who Jethro Tull was. It’s funny what would sell back in those days. Obviously we needed pencils for school so there was a bit of a captive market, but compared to today those pencil “products” were very primitive. No colored erasers. No sparkle. Not attached to anything. They just had a name of a band printed on the side in the same way the pencil brand was if you bought it at the store instead of a Oak Crest Junior High.

I didn’t think of myself as a lonely kid and I don’t think I was a true loner, being left on my own on Saturday seems unusual for that time as I look back.

Dick Clark was a friendly face on television and I had no idea about marketing the music. I just knew that I liked music and my tastes were beginning to change.

Less than 2 years after not knowing who Jethro Tull was I owned their album that had Bungle In The Jungle on it. I didn’t realize that many of their original fans were not that happy with that single. Very soon after that I had this interesting dychotomy in my musical taste. I asked my aunt and my mom for The Commodores and Alice Cooper Goes To Hell for Christmas. My aunt was really concerned about me wanting the Alice Cooper record and almost proud of me for asking for The Commodores.

When I got together with a buddy that I used to be really good friends with before we moved inland, he was disgusted that I liked Alice Cooper at all. He probably liked School’s Out and that was it. He was a straight ahead rock and roll fan who was really into Aerosmith. Alice Cooper? Yuck.

What so many people don’t know is that Alice Cooper Goes To Hell is really a metaphor for alcoholism. That album helped him deal with his addiction. And there were some really creative tunes on there like Give The Kid A Break. It was about a guy who dies and goes to hell and wonders what he’s doing there. I still remember one of the big lines of the song:

Don’t- know why I’m down here.
Must be something I said.
Or some small imperfection
in my soul or in my head.

Give the kid a break.

The big hit single was a slow song titled I Never Cry.

You probably know it even if you don’t recognize the title.

It’s so funny (strange) to look back on that now and when you get down to it, those shows were a way to advertise music and get paid for it. And all television with some exceptions like public television are really delivery systems for commercials!

When you’re a kid you don’t think about stuff like that.

Now that we have so many shows about so many tiny little niches of interest it seems more obvious that television (I’ll say it again…) is a delivery system for commercials!

Not so with movies at the theater. You are paying for the privilege of seeing a movie and only in about the last 20 years have they started showing commercials in theaters.

What about awards?

I’ve enjoyed the Academy Awards for decades.

Still, they are given out by the industry itself.

The Emmys are really more about what I’m talking about since the Oscars are about movies that you have to pay to see.

How funny that a medium that is a delivery system for commercials (except for HBO and the like) has awards that the industry gives to itself.

It’s amazing that anything that passes for art gets made.

This isn’t actually meant as some big criticism.

Are we really seeing things as they are?

Just something to think about.


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