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Dallas, Texas, United States

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Latest Hmph

It's official.....I hate that Vlasic Pickle Stork dude. Great pickles.....bad stork. He has zero problem explaining away that it's perfectly okay to scare the bejeebers out of unsuspecting cats and redheads enjoying a glass of lemon-laced water.

Get the fuck out, Stork Dude. I'm going with the Polish pickles, the ones with all the consonants, now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tootin' The Ole Horn

Reprinted from BlogTalkRadio.com's blog entry dated May 14, 2009:

Rock Legend Rick Derringer: ‘Internet Radio Is the Wave of the Future’

Forget social-media gurus. If you really want to know where the radio industry is headed, ask the man who wrote Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo.

That would be Rick Derringer.

“It’s just like going back in time and rebuilding the whole record business from scratch,” Rick (above) tells us of Internet radio.

And this week on Rundgren Radio, Rick riffs on the subject like no- body’s business.

“I saw the old Elvis Presley movie Jailhouse Rock the other night. And in it, he’s actually able to say, ‘Let’s start our own label,’ the guitar virtuoso, whose new album is titled Knighted by the Blues, tells hosts Doug Ford and Cruiser Mel.

“And they started their own label and they were able to cut this record and bring it right into the radio station and get the guy to play it while they were standing there. And the audience would call in and request it at that time.

“Those days of radio, people figure, are gone because radio is so controlled and it’s so big – Clear Channel and all those stations – it’s programmed and it’s so controlled that that can’t happen anymore.

“Well, they’re wrong. It can happen and it is happening right now. Tonight, you’re listening to it. Internet radio is the wave of the future – but it’s also a big salute to the past, because we’re able to go on, we’re able to do things like we’re doing now.

Rick’s original band, The McCoys, had a No. 1 hit in 1965 with this single.

“Stations can play whatever music they want to, people can either call in or email, immed- iately responding to what the radio station is playing.”

If that weren’t enough of a sales pitch, Rick goes on to explain why oldfangled radio just can’t cut it in this day and age.

“Radio stations, no matter how big they are – the terrestrial stations, we call them – are limited by the output of their transmitter, which means they can only be heard within a certain given metropolitan area,” he says.

“These stations, like the one we’re on now can be heard everywhere in the world.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tallulah Lives

One of my favorite telly shows these days is A & E's "Paranormal State." I'm not sure where I've been hiding myself until recently, because this show has been on for quite awhile, yet I only got on the ghostwagon in the last couple of months.

I dig this stuff mucho - well, maybe not in person, but on the tube when I'm in the safety of my own un-haunted home, it's the stuff that gets my ghost. Pun intended.

There have been nights when I have to watch old Frazier or Golden Girl re-runs to get the heebeejeebees out of my head from watching this show. No kidding, I'm a sucker for this shit. And Ryan Buell? Oh yeah. He can exorcise me anytime.

Last weekend was my high school reunion and it was fun seeing everyone that I wanted to see. That's really not related to this blog entry, but it does bring up the fact that I missed my college reunion this past year. And that reminded me that I had a ghostly encounter in my dorm room at said college.

The college I'm talking about is a beautiful campus on a hill in Virginia. The dorms are old plantation homes from the civil war. The school was a seminary for girls for awhile and then became a liberal arts college at some point. Blah blah blah.

ANYWAY - one of the most famous students at the seminary was Tallulah Bankhead. (don't ya love that name?) Tallulah attended the college in 1913, but only lasted about a semester. See - she was a little tough to tame. In fact, she was expelled from the college for hanging upside down from a tree in a skirt. Tsk. She also bit a student or perhaps a professor. Not on the same day. Well, I don't think so.

When I was at the college some many decades later, I was a theatre major. All I could do was eat, sleep and poop the theatre. (Notice the "re" and not the "er"...yeah, that's how I roll.) My senior year was awesome. I finally found a roomie that I could truly giggle with and we were both hall officers - she was hall president and I was the judicial rep for the dorm. (I was always a stickler for da law. Take that!) Barbara and I had an awesome room on the second floor of a beautiful dorm / plantation home. On pleasant days, we'd hang out the windows like proper southern ladies, smoking ciggies and drinking grain alcohol, but unlike Tallulah, we never hung from trees in skirts, never bit anyone and we both made it out alive within 4 years.

Being a theatre major, I was directing my first play just after the Christmas break and had been living solely on Dr. Pepper Big Gulps and cigarettes for about 3 weeks. Sleep was a luxury I couldn't afford. One night, Barbara was studying on her bed and I was stressing about my directorial debut. Though I can't recall just how late at night it was - it was bloody dark outside and it must have been cold as our radiator (yes, this place was old) was banging more than usual. We both looked up from our studies and a rocking chair by the window started rocking pretty wildly. I can recall not believing my eyes and looking over at Barbara only to encounter her eyes - now baseball sized. I think I levitated over to her bed and we embraced, watching the chair continue to rock back and forth for several minutes. I'm not sure what we did next, but I'm sure it involved blowing off our studies in favor of eating or drinking to purge ourselves of that vision.

Being curious about whether or not our vision was a ghostly visitor or just a group hallucination, we did some research in the library....back in the olden days when there were libraries and card catalogs, remember those? We had heard about Tallulah Bankhead being a student in days gone by, but were stunned to find out not only had she lived in our dorm, but had lived in our ROOM. Yes, my friends, Tallulah may have checked out, but she never left.

I think what allowed me to not get completely creeped-out was the thought that perhaps she approved of what I was doing with my play, one theatre person to another. I've often wondered if any other appearances of Tallulah have been witnessed in that room.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Another RundgrenRadio.com Presentation

Wanna make a little history? Todd Rundgren will perform his entire "A Wizard, A True Star" album top to bottom LIVE (yes, the one from 1973) in Akron, Ohio on 09/06/09! Buy your tickets at AWATSLive.com or Ticketmaster.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Can't Help It....I'm Traveling Back to the 80's

I promise that I'm not copping out here by posting a video in place of a blog entry. This band came up today in convo, if facebook counts as convo - and I've been hankerin' to see my ole Atlanta boys ever since. Ain't they the cutest? Enjoy. Pull out the ole banana clips, the shoulder pads, the heavy eye makeup - but please, leave the leg warmers in the trash. P.S. Hi Rick! *winky winky*

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Kasim Weekend in Tampa

Well, it's been almost 3 weeks since CruiserMel hit the blog, with anything of interest or not. For the record, I've read the emails and instant message thingies and haven't been ignoring you guys, but I just haven't had the blogging mojo until today. What helped was having a bunch of free time and a late lunch that meant I didn't have to worry about what's for dinner, so I decided to read a few blogs and voila!, I found my muse to share and so - here we go.

Back at the end of February, I headed out to the airport to board a plane that would take me away from Dallas to some Tampa sunshine and the Kasim Sulton DVD Release Party that Doug & I (RundgrenRadio) had worked pretty hard to produce. It's always simultaneously tense and a relief when you're a day away from a gig and the outcome is totally up to the Gods as to whether this thing will come off with or without a hitch.

I knew when I got a gander of the pilots on my first Southwest flight that all would indeed be golden, because the two pilots were scrumptious. I mean - omg, if I could've ordered one of them from the flight attendant with my free drink coupon, I certainly could've died happily in a plane crash and still been saying "Kasim, who?" Nah - but if you'd seen these two, you'd be rushing the cockpit in your fantasies as much as I was. No doubt.

We'd booked a bunch of hotel rooms with a typical Tampa hotel right across the street from our venue. Convenient wasn't the word - it was closer to walk than to drive to the place, which meant lots of adult bevs would be consumed and Doug & I were diggin' that concept as part of our venue rental involved a certain guarantee of alcohol and food sales. When we went to the venue to check it out, we were pleased to hear the manager had waived that requirement since we were bringing so many folks to his place. Nice dude. Of course, he knew we'd far exceed any minimums - but he was cute and I figured he was probably flirting up to me. Natch.

We got all checked in at the hotel - but only after looking at dozens of rooms (okay - about 5) with beds so concave anyone, not only a princess, would feel a pea lurking beneath the mattress. Actually, the hotel was very cool as every single room had a view over Tampa Bay, known for it's glorious sunsets. It served us quite well. Nicely done.

After having a pow-wow with Doug about last-minute party plans and picking up Mrs. Doug at the airport, we suffered through a 6 mile goof by the GPS which took us across the longest bridge to nowhere, a certain redhead who needed to pee, and a near-empty gas tank, we found our way to the restaurant where we would meet Kasim, Carrie and Dave, the other producers of the DVD taped last March in Atlanta. We had to snicker because they'd waited for a table for about an hour and we skated in just as they got seated.

By the time we made it back to the hotel - many of our guests had arrived and there was a party-a-goin-on in Carrie's room. I got to see many of the folks who had been at the taping a year earlier as well as I got to meet some new friends who wanted to get out of the cold that the northeast has punished them with this year, as well as to see Kasim in a dinner-club setting the next night. We had an awesome group, I tell ya. There are pics galore on Facebook and MySpace, but I left my camera behind that night so I could truly relax and be photographed embarrassing myself. You can check some of them out here, if you must.

I'm not sure what time I hit the bed that night - but it was some glorious sleep and not a pea in sight.

The next day a group of us went to Whiskey Joe's for fish tacos (grouper, yummm) and what would turn out to be our last few hours of sunshine on a deck that is probably best visited at sunset. No lie - if you go to Tampa, you must hit this spot and let me know if that's true. Anyway, Joe had a fish tank in the foyer that mesmerized me for some reason. There was this fish that was totally flirting with me. Totally. He was so cute, I gave him star billing in this post. Ain't he cute?

That afternoon, we headed to the venue to decorate before Kas' sound check and found the place awaiting our arrival. B helped me execute some pretty cool table centerpieces while Doug hung giant facsimiles of the DVD cover behind where Kasim and Jesse Gress would be performing. It looked so nice. Hell, were we really doing this? And was it looking this good? Hell to the yeah! G was tweaking sound equipment and by the time Kasim arrived, we were about ready to go whore-up for the party which would start an hour later.

Here's what we saw when we arrived. Dammit! We missed Tina's baby shower! But what we were most pleased about was that they had spelled Kasim's name right. Oh and that they mentioned our party in the first place.

The people poured in, the drinks started flowing and Kasim arrived for a little pre-dinner mingle with the peeps. He's incredible with the schmooze. He was tired and not at all used to having to mingle before a gig, but he was a sport and people loved getting autographs and their photos taken with da man. He adjourned just as dinner was being served, to a place where he obviously channels the angels and their voices. All in all, the dinner was pretty yummy, considering this place was cooking 100's of meals for the wedding reception and quince (15th bday celebration for the Hispanic crowd) going on all at the same time. And just as we were finishing our UNBELIEVABLE chocolate cake slices, Kasim and Jesse arrived, all shiny and fresh for a night of celebration and music - unparalleled in a Kasim solo show, in my opinion. He was stellar and told some brand new tales and brought out some material that no one had heard from him before. I so wish we'd made another DVD that night. (Just kidding, to my fellow producers...I wouldn't wish that investment of time and work on anyone more than once!)

After the show, Kasim and Jesse signed more autographs and Doug & I let out a big sigh of relief as we'd racked up another home run in our stable of RundgrenRadio hosted gigs. And if we had thought Friday night's party at Carrie's room was rockin' we were so wrong when we arrived at her room on Saturday night. Even Kasim joined us, which was either him expressing his adoration for us all or his resignation to the fact that no one was going to get a quiet night's sleep anywhere in that hotel.

When the sun came up on Sunday - oh wait - it didn't come up; instead, Tampa was cold and rainy and miserable. A huge snowstorm had blanketed the eastern quadrant of the US from Birmingham and Atlanta all the way up the eastern seaboard, so some of our guests had to scramble for flights and/or another night at our hotel. Though I'm sure it was a hassle at the time - all have reported that they eventually made it home and are warm and cozy in their memories of a fantastic time with their friends, old and new. Awwwww.

And if you haven't gotten your copy of the DVD - you can order here. Four stars, I promise!

Here are a few pics from the gig. Peruse at your leisure.

My centerpieces:
The DVD cover and poster for the evening:
Mr. Sulton channeling the angels:
Jesse Gress joined Kasim on stage for a few songs:
A very tired CruiserMel and Kasim smiling at the success of the evening:
Kasim and a very proud Doug:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

And I wonder why I have to watch The Golden Girls after watching this...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Heading North for the Holidaze, Part Two

Oh all-righty, I know it's been weeks instead of days since I last posted. So sorry, as usual. I wish I could tell you that I've been on a whirlwind world tour or that I've been training for a marathon somewhere...alas, those would be lies. I have, however, been laying a little lower than normal with an upper respiratory thing that has kicked my butt six ways to Sunday. I haven't really felt all that bad, but my energy level has stayed pretty much at 30% for what's been over 3 weeks. I'm still popping horse pills and am upright a good portion of the time, but when given the chance, I've taken enough naps to last a year.

Meanwhile, I've had this here blog on my brain and so finally tonight, I decided to just knock it out - good or bad.

We left off with CruiserMel and others in Annapolis, MD. Well, we got up and said "tootles" to Merv who had to work on New Year's Eve. WTF? Yeah, she rolls like that....a night of drunken fun and giggles til the wee hours and she's up and at 'em by 8:00 am. The rest of us were a little slower, but we hit the road back to Philly with stars in our eyes and very high hopes for the fantastic party we had planned.

We were slowed a little by the driving snow we headed into and the mutha-effin' awful traffic in Philadelphia. Geez, what is up with that, Philadelphians? Crazy!

We got checked in to the hotel and Doug & I hit the street for last-minute items. We headed over to the venue and the fairies were hard at work.

Perhaps I had not mentioned, but a couple of Toddfans wanted to get married amongst their Toddfriends...so several girls hopped on the romance train and threw together a really "Toddcentric" wedding. There is an old Quaker law on the books in Pennsylvania that once licensed, a couple can "marry" themselves - so this particular couple decided to go that route. And what a trip!! The wedding "fairies" had decorated the place and not missed a single detail. The bride wore a bridal train that included a facsimile of every Todd Rundgren album cover trailing behind her and carried a bouquet of flowers fixed into an over-sized martini glass. The bride entered the venue to an electric guitar version of "Here Comes the Bride" and the officiators were Prairie Prince (TR's drummer) dressed as the Pope and Rachel Haden (TR's bassist) dressed as a Catholic school girl. Yes, this was wacky. As planned. Kasim Sulton (TR's keyboardist and guitarist) even sang a love song to the couple whilst dressed as a Catholic priest. The bride & groom spoke vows to each other in the form of Todd lyrics and song titles. I had written the vows one Sunday afternoon and was thrilled when the crowd "got it" and laughed. If I ever get married - this might be the way to go. But alas, I didn't catch the bouquet.

After a quick reception - it was SHOWTIME! Doug & I took deep breaths as we looked out over the crowd and just let whatever happens happen. There was so much excitement and buzz - it was palpable. Before we knew it - Todd was shouting: "Is this a show? NOOOOOOO, this is a PARTY!" And we were off.

Todd & Company put on a very cool show and even did a couple of songs he hasn't performed in ages, including "Hello, It's Me". Todd didn't disappoint at midnight either...we got Auld Lang Syne and a rawkin' countdown. Doug & I contributed several cases of champagne which were shared amongst the peeps. It was truly my favorite NYE in my lifetime! Wanna see some pics? Well - have at it.

Prairie & Rachel officiating...
Father Kasim sings "Love Alone"...
The Pope as mic stand...
Striking the early chords of the show...
Look, Ma! A real Todd show!...
Hiya, Kas...
Todd takes us into the new year...
And Mel gets her kissy on...
...and again...
I'm pretty sure we had a great time from the look on our faces...
Happy New Year, y'all!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Heading North for the Holidaze, Part One

Oh my Todd, I have been remiss in my blogging responsibilities during the holiday season. So let me start off with a big ole BELATED HIPPY HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all my chitlins! I hope yours was awash of happiness and joy and blah blah blah. And where would I be if I didn't say HAPPY NEW YEAR, my dears.

My holidays? Well, we had our "family" Christmas early because CruiserMel had travel docs in hand for Christmas Day and I believe my brother had tix to a bowl game or two that week. Yeah, the holidays had a different feel to them this year and that was cool with me. I'm afraid that we just didn't have it in us this year, what with Mom & Dad both gone for the first time. We'll get back on track for 2009 though.

Meanwhile - here's what went down with the Cruiser, in case you wanna know. And if you don't wanna know, then just fast forward through the pics and make up your own stories.

I got to Philadelphia on Xmas Day - to join my bff E and her family for left-over turkey and piles of spinach artichoke dip. And vodka. Hey, it was better than the bag of chips I'd purchased at the DFW airport that morning. E had a similar Christmas spirit as I did this year (she lost her mother, too) - but she beat me by having 11 ornaments on her tree, whereas I had 2 (a Kasim ball - private joke - and a Hawaiian dude with a ukulele that I'd bought in Kauai in June.).

Anyway - after many vodkas and a gallon of spinach dip, we all passed out for a long (well, it was actually kinda short) winter's nap. Before I knew it, my alarm clock went off, I brushed my teef, grabbed a diet coke and stumbled my way down to E's basement office where Doug & I had shipped boxes and boxes of New Year's Eve / Todd Rundgren swag (I believe I counted over 30 boxes - sorry, E) to make some kind of organization of it all. While E tried to conduct her business as usual, I got a workout of mass proportions by bending over approximately 2347 times to pack NYE "gift bags" with event tshirts, champagne glasses, Toddtini shakers and such for the lucky couple of hundred who would be attending our gig in Philly for NYE. After 14 1/2 hours, I was still in my jammies, but had completed the task at hand. When I could barely move - I was lured upstairs by the pull of more cocktails (hey, it's a painkiller, right?) and we stared at the tree and had a little togetherness by the fire. But we had big plans for the next day....

We drug ourselves outta bed and into the car for a short ride on the Pa and NJ Turnpikes to Secaucus, NJ (thus begins the loss of the Texas twang) where we had decided to stay to save some dinero for our visit to New Yawk. Let me say right here and now: you get what you pay for and though the hotel bill and even the busfare / trainfare into Manhattan was reasonable, I will certainly not do that again for a couple of reasons. 1. The time it took to traverse back and forth. 2. We got a nasty surprise in our room's ice bucket. Get a load of this...

Can you see that shit? Yes - those are dirty toenail clippings. We still aren't sure what's worse - the lack of thorough housekeeping or the fucked-up A-hole who did this in the first place. Nevertheless, we didn't let it hamper our fun, but we passed on ice for the rest of the stay.

As soon as we got whored-up, we caught a bus and then a couple of subway trains into Manhattan and met up with a gal I'll call "L" who I'd met previously through various Kasim and Todd channels over the years. We had a nice Irish dinner and got to The Blender Theater with enough time to get a good place up front for E's first Todd show in a long time and her daughter's first Todd show ever. It was amazing - but I must say, I've never been so uncomfortable physically at a concert in my life. I was wearing heels (gotta, ya know...I mean, there were cute boys there!) and the floor area was graded downward towards the stage, so you try standing on your tippy-toes for 2 hours and get back to me on that. AND when one needed to leave one's spot to get a drink or hit the ladies' room or whatnot, those people were not going to budge to let you back in. I figured it out pretty quickly and put my own brand of New Yawk on and bullied my way back to the front, but not before pissin' off a bunch of folks. (We in the south are a kinder, gentler bunch....but I digress...) Get a load of the one decent photo I snatched that night... oh my. Excuse me for a second...

After the show, we visited with the band and some friends I had not seen since Kauai or some earlier shows this year and it was vunderbar. [edit: when spellchecking this paragraph, blogger wanted me to write wonderbra. ha- ha] Eventually, we needed libations and decided to go back to the Irish pub and enjoy some fun and fellowship with L. L lives in Longuhh Island and we had fun poking good-natured fun at her accent - though I'm sure she had to bite her tongue not to call us hillbillies.

Get this line of questioning that we barraged L with: What do you call cat's feet? Paws. What do you do when you hesitate? Paws. What are the tiny holes in your skin? Paws. LMAO It's not nearly as funny in written form, but it was worth the trip to NYC all by itself. And L was such a good sport, too. She delayed her trip home so we could close up the bar and caught a train at 3:19 in the A, which meant we had to train and bus back to Secaucus - arriving somewhere around 5:00 in the A. Fageddabout any body clocks at this point.

We emerged around noon for 9 hours of what I would call a NIGHTMARE and E and her daughter would call power-shopping. I am no fan of shopping, but in the name of being a good sport, I hobbled along and ended up being the one who bought the most. It figures. And I had zero space in my luggage. Typical. We finally FINALLY got to sit down at a restaurant, stuffed our faces and drove back to Philly, arriving around 1:00 in the A. I'd logged more miles in 3 days than in the entire year - it felt that way, at least. Oh and just by coincidence, I saw Grace's office building from Will & Grace!

On Monday morning, E drove me into Old City Philadelphia where I met up with Doug from RundgrenRadio to check out the venue we'd booked for our NYE celebration and were very very pleased with what we found. Not bad, for booking sight-unseen from Texas and Alabama. We went and bought thousands of dollars of wine, vodka for Toddtinis, mixers, beer, etc etc etc and arranged for delivery for Wednesday. The beer store said it would cost us an additional $6 - after we finished laughing, we said "sign us up" and were off. (What? We're going to give you mucho dinero and balk at a $6 delivery charge? Get outta here!)

Anyhooooo - we took a little time off Tuesday for some fun and made our way to Annapolis for another Todd gig, by way of Baltimore, where we met my friends Merv (another bff) and S (who had flown in from Cali and is quickly becoming another bff) for crabcakes at G & M at lunchtime. Excuse me while I gasp. The Maryland crabcake is one awesome mutha-fucka, baby! I swear, it bears no resemblance to what we have in Texas. I think an entire family of crabs gave their lives for my lunch that day. It was so delicious that I almost licked my plate. I heart you, Maryland.

We made our way to Annapolis before too long and can I say ADORABLE!?!? First we saw the naval academy on the right and then made our way to "town" where they have streets paved with red bricks and some presh storefronts. Awww. S, Merv and I dropped our bags, whored-up (the girls helped me compile a rockin' ensemble for the night with some of the togs I'd purchased in NYC and a leather spike bracelet that Merv had confiscated from her pre-teen daughter days earlier - I looked a little Beatlesque, but with a punk flair) and walked to a little pub for some fellowship with about 20 other Toddheads before the show at the Rams Head. It was truly like a Toddstock reunion...all hugs and kisses and sharing of photos. I know you non-Toddheads don't get it and it's not your fault - but these things are way better than any family or high school reunion you could conjure up in your imagination - even if on hallucinogenics.

After dinner - it was Todd time again - and we had primo seats smack dab in front of the postage-stamp-sized stage. It was so small, I honestly thought we'd be wearing some Todd by the end of the evening, but he kept his footing (for once) and put on his typical A-1 show for us.

After hanging out a little after the show, our crew re-grouped at the pub next door and closed it down, as usual. Somehow we made our way back to the hotel and giggled til the wee hours like teens at a sleepover. I have a feeling S & Merv & I will end up in jail together some day. S called the front desk at whatever time it was, because she'd seen on a travel show that our hotel was pet-friendly and even had a "house dog" who greets guests upon check-in and somehow we hadn't seen said "house dog" so she felt slighted. Merv & I could only roll in laughter on the floor like 14 yr olds and that's saying something if you read my earlier paragraph about the Secaucus hotel and it's cleanliness. Ah-ha! - just checkin'.

Whew. I'm tired. Or hungover by proxy. I had planned to give you the run-down on NYE, but I'm afraid I'm wearing out my welcome here, so I think I'll punt for a day or two so you can catch your breath. You'll need it because the NYE story deserves a good night's sleep beforehand. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Catch ya on the flipside, okay?