Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"I'm Just Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail"

I was peddling into a time warp today on my exercise bike when I was accosted by the Everly Brothers singing, "I'm Just Here to Get my Baby out of Jail." If you have a rock playlist that includes Louis Jordan on it, you should know you're just asking for trouble.
And it's Christmas, for bleep's sake. So I was thinking about what kind of messages I wouldn't want to get:
1. Dad, I know I'm still in High School, but Joey is pledging a University of Virginia fraternity, and he wants me to come down for the big weekend.
2. This summer I want to backpack around Europe with Rodney. Don't worry, I've told you many times he was framed on that drug charge.
3. I've started corresponding with this nice guy in state prison as part of a class project. I know he's innocent, so could I travel down there to talk to him?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Christmas Album That's Covered in Blood

In the car today, on the Sirius Christmas channel, I heard a well-known cut from the Christmas album that's covered in blood. In the early days of rock Phil Spector was famous for creating his "wall of sound." He controlled the girl groups who recorded his songs and one day decided to produce a Christmas album. You may be surprised that he modestly called it the "Phil Spector Christmas album." Back then he was a man with incredible power in the world of rock 'n roll. He married two of the lead singers in his girl groups. The most famous was Ronnie of the Ronettes.
In the  most recent pictures we have of him, taken at the prison where he'll be eligible for parole when he's 88 years old, he's a disgusting looking creep who makes Charles Manson look like Ashton Kutcher. He's there because an actress named Lana Clarkson, was found at his home with a bullet in her mouth and a mouth full of broken teeth. Spector later told a magazine that her death was an "accidental suicide." Prosecutors pointed out that he had pulled a gun on four different women who'd rejected him in the past. Spector told the magazine Lana Clarkson had "kissed the gun." However, Spector told his driver, "I think I've killed someone." From everything I heard about Lana Clarkson she was unusually nice and a good person. (something you don't often hear in connection with a Hollywood actress)
I actually used to like this album, but buying a copy today somehow viscerally repulses me.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Black Rock Director Doesn't Pay Train Fare for 5 years; Now He's Barred from Financial System

Bank regulators and others who watch our financial system recently despaired of finding a way to make those in positions of power behave honestly. Many have said there seems to be no way to make those at our banks and brokerages act ethically and within the spirit and letter of the law. More and more it seems the people who are attracted to the money game are those who want to exploit it,  not make it run in an ethical manner.
Now we have the poster boy for the world's financial system, a managing director of Black Rock Asset-Management Services in London. Jonathan Paul Burrows had figured out a way not to pay for his train ride into London every day. Even though he was probably making a bundle working for Black Rock, he thought if he got on the train at Stonegate he could ride the southeastern commuter train in Sussex for, at the least, one third of the price. It usually cost 21.50 pounds, but if he failed to buy a ticket at the station, which did not have turnstiles, he would only need to produce an "oyster,"  worth 7.50 pounds, that  he carried in London by pretending, when he exited, he had never left the London underground system..
They caught him on November 19, 2013 and they soon realized he had not purchased a fare for the commuter railroad for five years. Britain's Financial Conduct Authority now says, he "lacks honesty and integrity," so they have decided he can no longer work in the British financial industry.
Americans have long since despaired of finding honest people in our banks and brokerages. Now we have a good idea of the kind of people who run the world's financial system. Slime begets slime and anyone who thinks they're going to be treated with honestly needs to wake up before the sewage has surged over their head.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

At Universities and Elsewhere, Women Are Still Prey

Apparently there is nothing new under the sun, or under the devil, in man's relationship with women. 50 years ago there was a chain of barbershop quartet restaurants in New England called Your Father's Mustache. Assuming only the best, I worked there one evening as a singing waiter in their location on Cape Cod.
The best way to describe the workforce was to imagine high school dropouts from Boston trained on their relationship with women by members of a University of Virginia fraternity. Towards the end of the evening the waiters would get  hold of   women's purses. Then when the place closed the women would be trapped there searching for their handbags.
Imagine a guy from South Boston who'd never had a girlfriend let loose on a bunch of women who were virtually in captivity. (Don't read more into this comment then you should. My great-grandmother, Mary Lundy, moved back to the Emerald Isle after my great-grandfather met his maker in this fair land.)
This occurrence, unfortunately, did not come as much of a surprise. I was a college graduate who'd seen a lot of things in those four years. Today I'm surprised that, apparently, situations and universities haven't changed and women are still treated like prey while administrators look the other way.
Since there are now more women than men in Higher Education it's about time this situation was rectified. After all, I wouldn't want my daughter enrolled at the University of Virginia. Would You?