Michael’s mega-stardom and messy personal life just didn’t lend themselves to longevity. I figured if Whitney got into rehab and left Bobby, she’d live at least long enough to write THE book on the pop music business.
But now, Prince? He was the guy EVERYBODY thought would be around forever, even if we never saw a lot of him.
In the 1980’s, Tina, David, and Bruce were back. Michael and Madonna dominated. Whitney and Janet were on the ascendancy. But Prince was THE barometer for artistic excellence.
With 30 released albums, 100M sold, a song for every emotion known to humankind, and a minimum 20 years worth of unreleased recordings locked away somewhere, Prince’s greatest gift to the world, his incomparable music, will never be out of place.
His albums could be found in at least three genres at a record store. He merged the styles of David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown, three very diverse artists, with his eccentric, perfectionist own, forming a bold combination of musical and visual brilliance.
While the music is his trademark, his image follows closely. The rear-view, skin tight jeans, high heels, lace, and at least one purple-colored item on stage or clothes often, and deliberately, overshadowed his philanthropy.
Prince frequently kept schools, businesses, and people afloat, all while taking on his first record company, Warner Brothers, for his and other artists’ creative rights. He even refused to use his own name for a time in protest, lest Warner profit from it.
Ironically, even with Purple Rain in theatres and the soundtrack winning Grammys and Oscars, he only appeared when absolutely necessary. That’s the reason why a Prince appearance became such a grand, yet always worthwhile, event.
When Prince passed away at 57 on April 21, 2016, time seemed to stop in its tracks. It only makes sense. People, and most certainly artists, like him are nigh impossible to find today, mostly because he’s far too original to imitate.
Prince Rodgers Nelson could literally do it all: play every instrument set in front of him, wear clothes no man would dare and steal their women, and even at 5’2″, play basketball (yes, the Chapelle’s Show pancake segment is based on a true story).
And yet, he lived for the music, and the artistry. It’s why people in every genre imaginable grieve his passing, even if they weren’t his biggest fans. Talent, style, and philanthropy, all while trying to not be the center of all the attention. What are the odds?
Now, assuming no other major stars die or work doesn’t get off the hook again, I’ll go further into why my blogs are down to 500 words- and the guy responsible for even making this fun again to me…
On April 21, 2016, the world stopped talking about which side to face their $20 bills… in 2020. That same day, people stopped announcing which toilet they should or do use.
That was the day people mourned two of the biggest innovators of their respective fields. Both were notoriously eccentric, revolutionary, and now gone seemingly way too soon.
Prior to February 1997, women in wrestling either competed against each other, or interfered for their man, with the occasional bump from an opponent.
Joanie Lauer, as Chyna, was the not just the mere eye candy/mean woman like Sensational Sherri Martel. She actually competed with men in major matches.
Chyna peaked right as the WWF was becoming THE wrestling company, so such creative booking could be done. And her role in the beloved “Attitude Era” was pivotal.
Physically, she got some work done to look more feminine, but was also taken seriously enough to be in the Royal Rumble, and get the Intercontinental Championship.
Her feud with Chris Jericho for the belt was one of the most fun angles of 1999-2000. But such novelty, even with the WWF at a peak, could only last for so long.
By 2001, Chyna’s real-life relationship with Triple H was crumbling, and Vince McMahon now wanted her to be the Women’s Champion. She was not happy with either situation.
She wound up being released by the WWF that year, and for the next 15 years, the world was privy to one of the saddest downslides this side of Whitney Houston.
She got heavily into drugs, made an infamous porn flick with X-Pac, and made the bitter ex-wrestler talk show rounds after the Benoit murder/suicides.
She had some brief career revivals and highlights. She went to Japan to teach, had cups of coffee with TNA and New Japan Wrestling and was a fairly popular YouTube host.
Joanie Laurer admitted publicly the body-shaming of her youth, the break-up with Triple H at her peak, and the drug abuse plagued her. It finally took her on April 20. She was 45.
When she debuted as Chyna, nobody could have guessed what a revolutionary figure in sports entertainment Joanie Laurer would be.
Sadly, a decade later, the end was all too clear.
It only took two months, but here’s the 2015 recap of Inspirations.
Youthful indiscretions often bleed into adulthood, and can have far-reaching consequences. To the hometown cousin who just graduated college and started an excellent auto restoration business and family, in spite of incredible odds, all I can do is congratulate.
The whole same-sex marriage thing could have been handled infinitely better than it was. If more like the lady in Salt Lake City I know were as tactful, respectful, and empathetic to all those involved as she was, the world would only be better for it.
The July 17 Chattanooga terrorist attacks could have turned this town into a cesspool of rage, theatrics, and suspicion. Instead, everybody here, from Mayor Andy Burke on, remained NoogaStrong. There have been no other major confrontations.
As bad as the co-worker fiasco was on me, the staff at Calvin Donaldson Elementary, and dare I say most school staffs, have it far worse. Yet they get up, brush themselves off, and face it another day. You have to love them; not everybody can do that.
To pretty much anybody in my life I’m grateful, even if we’ve never met. You didn’t necessarily have to be here, but you are, and thank you.
So there you have it, folks. The inspiration list that was supposed to end the last year is the second of the new year. Since I FINALLY have a week off, I’ll get around to one more inspiration, and how his style could prevent a tragedy like next time’s subject.
Yeah, it took me three months to type 275 words. I’m working on it…
With a new year, it’s as good a time as any for a Random Thoughts post. The first ten things that pop up in my head are getting posted…
People who like guys threatening to “upset the establishment” are just too damned lazy to do it themselves.
If Bernie Sanders’ policies don’t do him in, the BernieBots will kill off his voter base. Expect a Ron Paul encore.
f you plan on a siege, it helps to have food packed. All the guns in the world won’t win a war against hunger.
If we have a problem with this, that, or the other, than I want to know when to move into our house and pick up our car.
The Bible being taken out of the schools would go unnoticed if it was actually being used anywhere else.
Unless you’re a Mennonite, you are in no position to rail against evil corporations and rich executives. You’re using technology they built, and you paid them for it.
Three people won the historic Powerball lottery. Even though they don’t have to, they’re giving their money away the same way Mark Zuckerberg did to random Facebook users.
You see what I did with “they’re” and “their” back there? Do people still do stuff like that? Its hard to tell.
Isn’t it odd to see a group calling itself by ethnicity or nationality wishing for a day when race won’t matter? They don’t mean it; they know that would leave them unemployed.
Eat as healthy as possible. Avoid processed meats, cigarettes, and alcohol. And ride a bike everyday. Somebody’s bound to say something nice about you at your funeral.
Next time: The most influential people of my life in 2015…
(I was going to dedicate an entire blog to Bernie Sanders, but politics burns me out nowadays. Instead, he’ll just be a part of the 2016 Random Thoughts chapter. Two and I’m through with full blogs about them, barring some spectacular change.)
Throughout WCW’s 12-year existence, Sting was what would later describe John Cena: the energetic, likable, attractive hero whose love of the business could compensate for any shortcomings in the ring, not that Sting had that many.
It’s a good thing fans were so devoted to him. Otherwise, Sting’s career would have been over after his very first World Title reign. He and the belt were at the heart of one of WCW’s worst story lines ever: 1990’s Black Scorpion Saga.
To summarize, the Black Scorpion was presented to WCW fans as a past Sting acquaintance intent on destroying him and taking the World Title from him.
Sting won the WCW World Title from Nature Boy Ric Flair at July’s Great American Bash pay-per-view. The next month, a masked, fully clad man claiming to be a former tag team partner, possibly a star new to WCW, began taunting Sting.
Sting and the Scorpion finally faced off at the September Clash of Champions show. Sting easily beat the Scorpion, and went for his mask… only to have another Scorpion to appear on the entrance ramp. He had only beaten one of many Scorpion clones.
The next three months saw somebody calling themselves the Black Scorpion playing tricks, like literal, David Copperfield tricks, to rile him up. Sting played along, loyal guy that he was, but fans were getting annoyed, and just wanted it over with.
Starrcade would be the final Scorpion/Sting World Title match, in a cage with Dick the Bruiser as the referee. The mask HAD to come off the Scorpion; the storyline had run its course. When Sting won, he finally unmasked THE Black Scorpion. It was…
Nature Boy Ric Flair!?
To be fair, the match at Starrcade was fun to watch; Flair and Sting always had great bouts. But the idea that a legend like Flair would need to use parlor tricks and a mask to get a World Title match seemed ridiculous.
It was only after WCW’s demise in 2001 that the whole origin of The Black Scorpion Saga came to light. Originally, it was to promote an outside guy to the World Title scene and ultimately lose, which nobody who wore the mask wanted to do.
It was also WCW’s Executive Vice President Jim Herd’s attempt to get somebody, anybody, to replace his nemesis Flair as Sting’s top opponent. The potential Scorpions’ careers, the WCW World Title, and even the fans were not the top priority.
At the very least, fans expected to see a new face on the title scene, even if he did wind up losing. Jim Herd expected to keep Flair out of the main event. In the end, nobody got anything they wanted out of it.
Herd put the belt back on Flair in January 1991. But the damage had been done; the Sting/Flair rematch drew poorly, and Herd wound up firing Flair from WCW, only to be fired for firing Flair, who took the WCW belt to the WWF with him.
Four months were spent desperately building up an alleged outside challenger. The Black Scorpion character was center stage in WCW, only to lose in the end. And the loss was taken by the only guy who could afford it.
For five months, Donald Trump’s every utterance and facial expression is treated like a prophetic word from Elijah. Some in the Political Church are afraid of him and some are on his bandwagon.
He’s apparently speaking some people’s minds. That in and of itself is not wrong, but these same people would rally around pretty much any soothsayer calling themselves an outsider.
Trump’s really just the modern-day Black Scorpion, a character being built up by talking heads solely to lose. He’ll be the easiest candidate to beat. Luckily, he’s a billionaire, so he can afford it.
I recently declined to participate in a book on minority conservatives declined, citing time restraints. That this man is capable of being center stage suggests I should stick to looking at life through the eyes of a wrestling fan. I know the story line too well.
I’ll make the conclusion to the bust-down tribute short and simple. The only thing that rivals a religious hustler in terms of evil is a parent-for-profit. Their fruits are far more obvious in their children.
When a parent turns a child loose to let the streets and meds raise them, knowing they’ll never have enough time to learn decent conflict resolution skills, but wants to cry over their corpse, they’re not just bust-downs. They’re negligent, if not accessories to murder.
When you have a parent who refuses to provide a stable home, but lives better based on how that child dies, then no, that child’s life does/did not matter.
And when a person can live said improved lifestyle based on somebody else’s child dying after a self-incited confrontation, but teaches their own child not to do such things, that dead child’s life matters even less… if that’s even possible.
Next time: the invitation I had to turn down.
On July 16, 2015, right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee, one Muhammad Youssef Abdulahzeez shot up two military recruitment centers, killing five soldiers. He was killed in a gunfight with responding police.
I’ve seen all the “experts and analysts” that cite things they don’t like as the causes of these monsters. It’s apparently the sight and love of the Confederate flag in Roof’s case, and Islamic martyrdom complex in Abdulahzeez’s case.
Nobody and nothing anywhere made them do anything. Either savage could have declined, but didn’t. Dylan Storm Roof and Muhammad Youssef Abdulahzeez became murderers because they wanted to.
If the Confederate flag drove Roof to murder, then how did I survive cabbing in places like Rossville, Georgia, whose state flag includes the Stars and Bars? If Islam drove Abdulazeez to murder, then some critic needs to tell all the people in the mosques that they’re behind schedule.
Those two killers were merely products of the era: emotionally challenged punks who refused to grow up, replacing their coping skills deficiency with drugs, determined to punish people for not affirming their fantasy world. White Nationalism and Islamic martyrdom eased their conscience just enough to act.
Thus, Dylan Storm Roof and Muhammad Youssef Abdulahzeez, encouraged by manipulative supporters who risk nothing, and justified in their own drug-addled minds- the only place that matters to such animals- have left their footprints in the sands of time, and blood on the ground.
If desire, weapons, a “depression” diagnosis, and self-justification are all one needs to throw a lethal hissy fit, it won’t be long before a murder’s significance, and the value of the life taken, will be determined primarily on the social stances and identity of the people involved.
Next up, it’s time to deal with the alleged motivation for Dylann’s rampage… and the “S” word.
2015’s featured bouts have been years in the making. Many of these matches were believed impossible, which made their possible outcomes, and how they played out, even more anticipated. But the actual battle couldn’t match the hype. Once the winner was announced, that was it.
When Vince McMahon purchased WCW in 2001, WCW’s most steadfast star was expected to join WWE. Instead, Sting went to WWE’s closest wrestling rival company, TNA Wrestling. Debuting in 2006, at 48, Sting remained the lone major wrestling star that never worked for Vince.
In 2014, Sting finally made his WWE debut at the 2014 Survivor Series, and had his first match with Triple H, at WrestleMania 31(March 29, 2015). The buildup was good, but Sting’s losing, and immediate absence from WWE television, made his debut seem like much ado about nothing.
2008 saw boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather become the champ in several weight classes, and Manny Pacquaio dominate former champion-turned-promoter Oscar De La Hoya. Rumors about the two undefeated stars colliding began almost immediately.
On May 2, 2015, after six years of waiting, fans got to see Mayweather, the world’s greatest boxer, on defense for twelve rounds against Pacquaio. Despite incredible revenue earnings, the unanimous decision Mayweather win left couldn’t live up to the fanfare.
And then there’s the biggest main event of the 21st century. In 1996, two men in Hawaii wanted a civil union. Then-President William Jefferson Clinton passed a law forbidding federal recognition for such unions. In 2003, Massachusetts began recognizing gay couples, while other states refused.
For the next dozen years, churches with ever-increasing divorce and illegitimacy rates waged war with progressive activists obsessed with destroying Christianity. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriages federally recognized. The outcome was way too forgone.
Christians knew in 2013 they had lost. But for the winners, no victory that follows can match this one. People are fairly indifferent, just glad the worst of it is over. It was hardly a bout people wanted to see, anyhow. America can move on now, and will, even though the warriors can’t.
In addition, the Christian defeat did not and could not mean the end of religion. There are plenty of things to make sacred, and either Christians or atheists can find them. For more information, see politics or the latest veneration of, or blasphemy against, the Rainbow or Confederate flags.
In the age when the impossible will be made possible, and rhetoric sells a non-show, disappointments will surely abound.
One thing about it, the 40th Annual International Douglas Day wasn’t boring.
Rule #1: An enemy of my enemy is my friend, even if they run game on me, too.
Rule #2: I am whoever and however I feel I am, and you are who I feel you are. Society is to affirm me in it.
Those are the two most prevalent rules in society today. The first rule is the easiest to follow. All it takes is knowing how to say the right things to the right folks. It helps a lot if you’re already a celebrity or originally perceived to be an antagonist. As long as you rail against others as much as you con your own clique, then conning is actually forgivable.
Now, the second rule is a lot like the first. But a change in identity runs the risk of change in ideology, which makes the need to maintain the party line take on greater meaning. As long as they do that… well, see the last sentence of the previous paragraph. You can be who you want, so long as you at least publicly keep the same groupthink patterns of your past life.
Consider Rachel Dolezal, President of the NAACP’s Spokane branch. For years, she presented herself as a female with at least one Black parent. By her actual parents, White people living in Montana, to use the words of Atlanta’s 11Alive, Rachel was “outed as a White woman”. Anger and outrage over her years of her attempted black face ensued. But this, too, shall pass.
You see, Rachel was merely adhering to rule #2: she truly feels she is Black. She feels it, and therefore she is it. Wasn’t that what made the previous blog’s subject a courageous hero? Besides, if rule #2 fails her, she can always rely on rule #1. Yeah, her faux light-skinned Blackness was a ruse, but hey, she’s down with da struggle.
So yes, for now, Rachel Dolezal will be criticized for appropriating Black culture and victimhood, or have people insist her trans-racial identity mocks the trans-gender movement. But sooner or later, some common threat’s going to say… something to make Ms. Dozelal’s critics call for an armistice. After all, getting played from within isn’t half as bad as being threatened from without.
The main reasons why all these “rights” groups are so damned popular anyhow are pretty simple. They’re churches for the “virtuous”, safe havens for the maladjusted, and hen houses for foxes. The NAACP is just a prime example. When the smoke clears, Rachel Dolezal will still be standing as a trans-racial champion of social justice… and the hustler that got away with it.
The two golden rules demand it.
This is the end result of adherence to them, and those who tout them have no right to get mad when they’re used against them. And by the way, if a trans-racial movement sounds absurd, think about laws passed in 1996, and see what’s on the plate today.