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COMEDY SHOWS!

2fpgBLACKJAX in Birdsboro PA (Rt.422)  Saturday night, February 6th.  With the legendary Spins Nitely. For tix Click Here...

ZALLIE’S SHOP RITE PRESENTS
TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS

with the amazing Joe Conklin and myself are returning for our eighth straight year to Pitman's Broadway Theatre on Valentine Day Weekend, Saturday February 13th at 8 pm.  Special guest MC, Marc Farzetta! This show always sells out so get your tickets now by logging on to http://thebroadwaytheatre.org

For you folks in the King of Prussia and above area, we are bringing the TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS Show to the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville PA on Saturday night, March 19th.  This is our seventh straight year and this one always sells out also. For tix Click Here...

 


BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN

throwdown thursIf you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!

Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Listen live at http://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham. By the way, all you have to do is click on that wildfire blue line and the most current show will AUTOMATICALLY begin to play,  Just give it a moment

This week on BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN? 

In honor of Valentines Day... THE 10 BEST RED SONGS!

Check out last week's BEST OF BOWIE (part 2). BTW, you'll be able to call in to the podcast when you listen live and I encourage you to do so. Don't miss!

avagrahamhoursm

 

Check out Ava's podcast THE AVA GRAHAM HOUR on Wildfire Radio live every Thursday at 5:30 PM.  It's really funny and of course being a podcast you can listen to it anytime you want.  Just click here to check it out

 

 

 


surfboardTRIVIA AND QUIZZO...

WEDNESDAY ~ Champps in KOP from 5:30 PM to 8:00.

AVA QUIZZO

My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite every every Monday at 7:30pm at ROCCO'S in Wilmington!   And now at CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly! That's a busy schedule!

Big Daddy Graham-Marc Farzetta & John Conklin taking a stab at Sinatra's "Summer Wind!" Click Here

LP stand

A cool dude by the name of Bill
makes these designer album displays for your home.
LP stand will hold about 70 LPs.
It measures 40" high 13" wide 15" deep.
It’s a mere $275 and he can make
bigger ones, smaller ones,
whatever size you want. 
I really love mine. 
 If you are interested, email him at wdd042662@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

THE TWENTY GREATEST MUSIC CONCERTS I'VE EVER SEEN

OMG, I have seen so many concerts.  Here's what I'm doing.  I go through my IPod in iPod alphabetical order.  When I see a recording artist that I've seen live, I will post that artist.  Remember, this is just the nomination process.  If you see "****" in front of the concert, then that is one I am nominating.  When I can,  I will post the year and venue that I saw that show.  But don't write me and say "BDG, the Knuckleheads NEVER played the Spectrum" or anything like that because I'll admit my memory isn't always sharp..  There will be artists that I have seen in concert MANY times, but if they are getting nominated, I will pick just ONE show.  Here's what we have so far...
If anyone has a ticket stub to any of the concerts that have been listed so far, scan them and email them to me, and I'll post them...
If you see a number like (3) after the show description, that will tell you how many times I saw that band or artist.
 

CLICK HERE FOR A to R...
 

SAM BUTERA...

Resorts   1980-1985    Pick a night.  Pick a set.  My wife and I used to sit for hours and listen to Louis Prima's former band leader.  One of the great saxophonists of all time.   (75 sets?)

****SANTANA...

Convention Hall  November 1, 1969       Well, you can't go wrong with a lineup of Chicago, The youngbloods, and Canned Heat.  Plus saving this ticket stub gave you the right to buy '69 Stones tix before anyone else.  Santana was a smoking' band back then!  (5)

SAVOY BROWN...

EFC  Early 70's     With one of the great blues guitarists of all time, Kim Simmonds    (2)     

SEATRAIN...

Belmont Plateau, Fairmount Park       April 1970      Earth Day!

THE SHAGS...

Doc Watsons     1998?       Chuck Penza, one of the leaders of this Jersey based pop band,  is a fantastic singer-songwriter.

SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET...

Aquarama     1968?       The Aquarama was South Philly's version of a "Sea World" type attraction.  I loved it and we used to ride our bikes do to it because we knew a way to sneak in.  Ed Hurst ran a dance/TV show there and one day I saw Sir Doug.

SKIP DENNEBERG...

May 24, 2010     A very talented Philly singer songwriter who accompanied me on "Subterranean Homesick Blues" at a Dylan birthday party that Kenn Kweeder organized.  Then Skip did a terrific set of his own.

****SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE...

Spectrum         May 1971?       An hour and a half late and I would wait a day and an hour and a half to see this show again.  One of the most influential bands of all time.    (5)

SMOKEY ROBINSON...

Keswick     April 20, 2005      Opened up for him and he was one of the coolest most together cats I ever met.  Hung and talked to him for 40 minutes which considering he's in the Top Ten Songwriters of All Time was a tremendous honor for me.   (3)     

SOUL SURVIVORS...

Willow Grove Air Force Base   June 23. 1989       Same show I did with Hall & Oates,  I went on after the Survivors and I always thought they were a good blue-eyed should band.  (2)

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY...

Spectrum    April 27, 1988     Southside was part of that WMMR 20th anniversary party that I worked with so many cool acts.  (2)

SOUL SURVIVORS...

Willow Grove Air Station  June 23. 1989    The same show that I was on with Hall & Oates and they were better than H&O.  "Expressway To Your Heart" is Top 5 Philly Song Ever.  (3)

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY...

Chestnut Cabaret     1994?     Great singer, terrific horns.  (2)

SPARKS...

Tower March 27, 1976   Opening for Patti Smith, I was a major fan of the Mael brothers.  (3)

SPINNERS...

Franklin Field    1973?     Penn football played an occasional game at night followed by a free concert and his was the Spinners while the great tenor Philippe Wynne was still alive.

****SPINS NITELY...

The Poplar      Wildwood NJ    June 1970         I knew him a little bit in high school and I dropped in to see him where he was living for the summer.  I didn't even know he played the guitar and I had never seen anyone play slide guitar before and he just blew me away.  So began a lifelong friendship.   (1, 325)

****SPIRIT...

Spectrum     December 5, 1970   With the Chambers Brothers and the Kinks!  I loved Spirit and the late great Randy California (who drowned saving his son from drowning) is one of the more uniquely talented guitarists ever.  (5)

****SPOOKY TOOTH...

Original EFC    February 7, 1969     Gary Wright was their lead singer.  With Chicago Transit Authority!  The first time I ever called a radio station to request a song was into WMMR and Michael Tearson (Who I came to know later in my life) answered the phone itself and it made me so nervous.  The song I requested was "Evil Woman" (not the ELO song) by this cool British band.

****SQUEEZE...

Tower      January 29, 1981   With Elvis Costello.  There was even a duet with Glenn Tilbrook and Elvis on From A Whisper To A Scream."   Awesome night!

STAN & THE TOPICS...

TLA       January  1998?     The great Harvey Holiday produces these doo-wop shows that always have a great lineup.  Stan & the Topics are an excellent local doo-wop band.

STEELEYE SPAN...

Main Point   December 1972?      Excellent English folk rock band. (2)

STEELY DAN...

Tower      November 9, 2009   The only time I ever saw them.  For years they didn't tour at all.

STEVE MARTIN...

Bijou     What an honor to see one of my future idols in such a small club.  (2)

STEVE MILLER BAND...

Temple Ambler  June 1976?    What a great guitar player.   (2)

STEVEN WRIGHT...

Comedy Works    1988?        I have one hilarious song by Wright on my iPod titled "The Kitten Song" which is how this one of a kind comic makes it on here.  This is was back when comics (I was working across the street at the CFO) used to drop in on each others sets all the time.  

****STEVIE WONDER...

VFMF     November 28, 1983   He was playing nothing but arenas at this point in his career and I'm not sure why he was at such a small venue and I don't remember how I scored tickets, but it was simply one of the more amazing shows EVER!  I saw the show with my Mom and my wife Debbie who told my Mom she had a "feeling" that she was pregnant and sure enough!  Stevie oozes love!

STRAWBS...

Keswick        September 17, 2011       Nice unplugged set opening for the Zombies. 

STRAY CATS...

Philadelphia Zoo    August 1, 1984      That's right.  The Zoo use to have concerts and this one, with the Hooters opening,  was a lot of fun.  Both bands at the top of their game.

STYLISTICS...

VFMF      1994?    Russell Thompkins Jr. is one of the greatest falsetto singers ever.

SUTHERLAND BROTHERS AND QUIVER...

Tower   Februry 12, 1971     Opening for the Kinks with the terrific Tim Renwick on guitar.

TAJ MAHAL...

Main Point       1972?     Fun, eclectic artist.  (2)

****TALKING HEADS...

Zoo      August 27, 1979       God, I loved this band during this time period.  (5)

TEDDY PENDERGRASS...

VFMF     October 1979          I never saw women go wilder.  It ruined the show a little actually. (2)

TEMPTATIONS...

Scottish Rite    March 6, 2011     I was the opening act and I knew Otic Williams was the only original member left, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  Dennis Edwards was no longer with them (I opened for him once also) either and they put on a tight very entertaining show and I got to rap with Otis for a while.

TEN YEARS AFTER...

Original Electric Factory    February 5, 1971    With Procol Harum (who was the real reason I went) and Leon Russell, AFTER were overwrought.

TERENCE TRENT DARBY...

Tower      I opened up and since I was living in Upper Darby at the time, Larry Magid, the president of EFC, once told me I was the only act who ever performed at the Tower WHO WALKED THERE!

THIN LIZZY...

October 21, 1977      I believe they would have become a band for the ages had not Phil Lynott passed so early.

TODD RUNDGREN...

Belmont Plateau     July 1974?    Beautiful day and a great show.   (5)

bar063

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 1/6

My latest column for South Jersey Mag..

GET HAPPY!

The decorations are down.  The unwanted presents returned.  Your pants are considerably tighter.  You’ve cleaned up after all the parties.  January’s here and it’s time to face the grim reaper of a bleak winter. 

They say the suicide rate is at it’s highest during the holidays and that may be true, but that regular garden-variety depression starts sinking in the second you throw your tree to the curb.  My wife has always said the two saddest moments of her year are the ride home from the shore the Monday of Labor Day Weekend and the moment that final box of ornaments goes up to the attic.

So what to do?  Life goes on, right?  Now I know the obvious move is to book a vacation to Aruba or some other warm, exotic locale.  But many of us are tapped out when those credit card bills arrive and simply can’t afford such a vacation.

So here’s a few “happy” tips form Dr. Big Daddy (and I graduated “magnum cum lade” from Gus’s Air Conditioning School on Rt. 38) that will not break the bank or take a lot of time to pull off and just might get you through the impending gloom.  These always work for me.  I’m leaving out food and well, you know, that other “thing” that even when it’s not great, it’s still pretty good.  They are too obvious and besides the last thing we need at the moment is more food!

WATCH “MOONSTRUCK”        The absolute perfect romantic comedy never fails to put me and my wife in a good mood.  There are plenty of other films (“When Harry Met Sally” “Dumb And Dumber” ” “Ted” “Superbad”) that fit under this suggestion also.  The key is not to watch any flick with a beach plotline because that can possibly bring you down and make you long for the Jersey Shore.   Action-adventure films like the “Bourne” series can also work, particularly ones with European locations.  When is the last time you’ve seen James Bond stuck at the Rt.42/295 junction?  Now that would bum you out immediately.  (That is the worse current construction location out there!)  The point is movies can help a great deal.

CALL A FRIEND    I hope you are fortunate enough to have a few “100% friends” as I call them.  These are guys and gals that every time you see or talk to them they put you in a good mood.  And I mean every time.  I’m not a religious man, but I am convinced that someone put these kind souls on earth so we wouldn’t all be lined up to jump off the Tacony-Palmyra bridge.  (It’s cheaper)  The trick is you have to possess enough self-awareness to know that you are not one of these people, because you can’t call the same people every time something is bumming you out.   I guarantee you that a simple phone call to one of these “100 per centers” will change your day dramatically. 

ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT JOKE HANDY      Sometimes I call a friend, tell them a joke, it gets a big laugh, and I then say ”that’s all I got” and hang up while they are still chuckling.  They feel better, you feel better, and it never fails.  Now I know some of you can’t tell a joke, so the secret is to keep it really short so you can’t screw it up.  Here’s one that, believe it or not, Ray Didinger recently told me, that’s simple and always gets a laugh.

 A 75-year-old woman yells downstairs to her 75-year-old husband.  “I want you to get upstairs and make love to me!”  The 75-year-old husband replies, “well, I can’t do both!”

DAY TRIP   So you can’t afford a Vegas jaunt or a four night stand in Jamaica.   There are plenty of day trips you can pull off in January that are affordable and easy.   Take the Big Apple.  I’m in Mullica Hill and it only takes forty-five minutes to get to the NJ Transit Hamilton station stop where you can hop a train into Manhattan for $32.50.  $14.50 if you’re 62.  Throw in $7 for parking and no matter how old you are, you’re into a city that people come from around the world to visit for under $40!  Once you’re up there you can do nothing more than walk around and you’ll have a great time.  DC is also a snap to get to and is another fun “walking” city with so many sights.  How about visiting the infamous crack houses of Baltimore featured in HBO’s “The Wire?”  (OK, maybe that’s a better summer trip)  None of these destinations will have you tanning on the beach, but they are just that.  “Destinations.”  Something to do.  Something to plan for.  Anything to take your mind off the fact that it’s January.

WORK OUT       Now I realize that this is something you’re supposed to do all year round, but it’s more important to pull off in January than it is any other month.  First of all, you gained weight in December.  That’s a fact.  But secondly, sweating is good for mental depression.  It’s been proven.  (I’m not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night)  Sure, who feels like jogging or walking when it’s twenty-two degrees, but that’s what gyms are for.  Can’t afford a gym?  Don’t have a treadmill or a stationary bike?  Walking up and down your steps is a really fantastic workout that’ll leave you soaked.  Live in a ranch house?  You’re screwed.BUY A PAIR OF HUNTING SOCKS        Nothing bums you out more than shivering when you’re under the covers or putting your feet down on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night.  My wife’s tootsies are always freezing.  I swear they’re like ice cubes.  So about ten years ago, as a joke, I bought her a pair of hunting socks.  “Guaranteed to keep your feet warm at 40 below!” was how they came advertised.  And you know what?  It was her favorite present and now she goes to bed wearing them all through the winter.  They end up toasting your entire body and your dreams get warmer.  Try them out, they really work.

GET DRUNK, BLAST ACDC’S “YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG,” STAND ON A COFFEE TABLE AND AIR GUITAR       Never fails.

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 12/19

My latest column for South Jersey Mag...

I have been sending out humorous holiday cards for over thirty years.  It’s become harder and harder every season to top myself.  But the reviews on this year’s card have been raves.  What I did was, since the South Jersey malls and drugstores put up their Christmas decorations well before Halloween, everyone got my card before Halloween making it the earliest anybody ever got a holiday card.  I got the “what the heck is this?!” reaction I was hoping for when people opened their envelopes.

Now most people I know get annoyed by how early the stores decorate, but we have all gotten used to it.  It is what it is.

But what really gets my goat is they also start playing Christmas music way too early and as a result we have gotten blasť about so many of them.  Even songs I think are terrific you can only hear so many times.

So hear are ten cool Yule tunes that maybe you are not that familiar with that I highly recommend you add to your holiday party playlist and they are all available on ITunes.  I am putting them in alphabetical order by artist, so please don’t think I’m ranking one over the other.   They’re all tremendous. 

FROSTY THE SNOWMAN      FIONA APPLE      Believe it or not, her version of it is very traditional and not performed in her typical foggy, druggy style.  And it’s cool to reply  “It’s Fiona Apple” when someone asks you “who’s singing this?”

SANTA CLAUS GO STRAIGHT TO THE GHETTO     JAMES BROWN        Most folks laugh when they first hear the title, but (as the lyrics state), wouldn’t it be proper for Santa to visit the poor kids of the world first?  Plus the song is so funky with a tremendous horn chart.

I SAW THREE SHIPS A SAILIN’     THE CHEIFTAINS    Believe me, you don’t have to be Irish to be enthralled by this beautiful CD.  Sprinkled with guests like Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, and Burgess Meredith.  (Yes, that Burgess Meredith from “Rocky” and “Grumpy Old Men”)  The entire CD, “The Bells of Dublin,” is worth purchasing or downloading.  However, the real winner is raspy-voiced Faithful’s version of “Ships.”  It was my daughter Ava’s favorite as a little squirt and she sang it at Harrison Township elementary one joyful December morning.

2000 MILES     COLDPLAY        This Pretenders classic is performed by Chris Martin alone on a piano and it’s really moving.  And yes, I am a heterosexual man who admits to being a Coldplay fan.

HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS    FRALINGER STRING BAND     Back in 2002, the String Band Association put out a holiday CD called “’Tis The Season” and put on your struttin’ shoes and have a few too many beverages of your choice, because they did a tremendous job.  This particular cut stands out.  C’mon South Jersey, we all have a little Broad St. in us, right?

HAPPY NEW YEAR   KID ROCK   Like Adam Sandler realizing that there wasn’t a classic Chanukah ditty, Cherry Hill West alum John Eddie took it upon himself to write a song about New Years and it’s terrific.  The extremely talented John Eddie’s been entertaining the country and particularly Jersey for years and congrats to him that Kid Rock heard the song and decided to record it because I’m sure those royalty checks help John out with the holiday shopping.

CHRISTMAS ALL OVER THE WORLD    LECOMPT    Mike Lecompt and his band have been rocking the Jersey shore for over thirty years and are still knocking them dead wherever they perform.  I said at the beginning of this article that I wasn’t going to rank one song above the other, but I lied.  If you’re going to buy just one of these tunes , make it this one.  Should have been a massive hit for Mike (I wish the Foo Fighters would record it)) and I am on a personal mission to make this a perennial holiday favorite.

FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK       THE POGUES     If you’ve never heard The Pogue’s lead singer Shane MacGowan, prepare thyself for one of the worse, and at the same time delightful, voices in pop music history.  It’s a duet between a drunk loser spending Christmas Eve in a drunk tank who is arguing with his “tired of his act” woman, portrayed and sung by the late, great Kirsty MacColl.  Don’t dare own an iPod if this song’s not on there!

THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS     THE ROCHES      I have been in love with this trio of sisters for decades and recently had the privilege of introducing them at Collingswood’s magnificent Scottish Rite Auditorium.  The three of them knock this number out of the park acapella style and with no overdubbing.  Amazing.

AVE MARIA    STEVIE WONDER      Let me get heavy for a moment since this is such a spiritual time of the year and after what happened in Paris, we all could use help in that department.  If I had to pick one person on this planet that I believe could accurately represent God, it would be this man.  I can never listen to him without thinking of my Mother who just worshiped him, as do I.  “Ave Maria” is quite possibly my wife’s favorite song ever and I’m telling you, there is no better version.  The harmonica solo alone is worth the buck whatever I’m asking you to spend on it.  The entire album is a work of art and, get ready for this, it was his eighth album and he was seventeen when he recorded this.  Are you kidding me?!  I was asking my Mother for money to go to the movies at seventeen.

I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY    ROY WOOD     Roy Wood was a massively popular act in Britain with a band called The Move and he was also a founding Father of Electric Light Orchestra.  As big as “White Christmas” is here in America, this song is in Europe. Yet, despite Sarah Brightman covering it on her own holiday CD, it’s gone virtually unnoticed here in the states.  Which is a real shame because Roy’s version really rocks and when the kids come in at the end there’s not a dry eye in the house.
Whoops!  I just realized that’s eleven songs and not ten.  Well, sue me, the more the merrier. 

I want to thank South Jersey Magazine and all you readers.  I love it when I bump into you and you comment on how much you love these pieces.  It means a lot to me, it really does.  So have a great holiday, a happy new year, and don’t lose your temper when you’re trying to find a parking spot at the mall!

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 11/5

My latest article from South Jersey Magazine...

Happy Thanksgiving

“Thank You.”
“Thanks.”
“Hey man, thanks a lot!”

Dr DonnThose short phrases are so easy to say, yet it’s incredible how many people fail to say any of them. 

I get the meaning of Thanksgiving.  The idea is to put aside a day to remember how so many of us reading this article right now have an amazing life compared to others in America and around the world.  I was reading a recent issue of Time magazine and the photos they published of the refugee situation in Syria were heartbreaking.

Yet sometimes I find myself myself getting angry when something petty and idiotic like my DVR isn’t working properly and I must admit I now see how foolish that is.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve become much more adept at staying cool and realizing that there are no impoverished people on this planet complaining about their shower water not getting hot quick enough.  There are millions of people struggling to get water period.

However, that’s the meaning of Thanksgiving in the larger sense of the word and I always think it’s better in the long run to start small.

When Pat Croce took over the Sixers in 1996 he did a very smart thing.  The Sixers were a real mess and he asked many of his friends one simple question.  “What would be the first thing you would do to fix them?”  When he got around to me I figured he got enough answers about the player personnel and the coach and actual basketball related matters, so this is how I answered.

I told him to make sure that the people who worked in the parking lot booths were polite.  And I wasn’t kidding.  First of all, everyone despises to have to pay to park to begin with, but to be treated rudely at the same time?  When this happens you have many of your own ticket-buying fans in a bad mood before they have even entered the arena.  Remember, these parking booth attendants are the very first people that your own supporters are going to come into contact with. Seriously, how hard is it for someone to take your twenty bucks and say “Thank you.  Go Sixers!”

Apparently, it is difficult for some folks.  I am always amazed at how many companies have the rudest receptionists, whether they’re answering the phone or sitting at a desk in a lobby.  And this is with companies that even bother to have a receptionist these days to begin with.   There’s nothing more discourteous than voice menus, which are basically designed to get you to give up and hang up.  We have become so accustomed to “push three blah blah blah” that we are now shocked and so grateful to get a live person to begin that we no longer even notice how impolite that person answering the phone may be.  Isn’t that something?

bdg armen pink caddy smallI have four dry cleaners in my Mullica Hill neighborhood and take a wild guess which one I go to?  The one that says “thank you” the most.  But it’s much more than that.  Show me any business that never forgets to say “thank you” and it permeates the way they do all their business.

At one establishment the owner has a recliner that he reads in and I always feel like I’m hassling him by making him get up.  I don’t think he speaks English, and without sounding like the late Joey Vento here, it wouldn’t kill him to learn “thank you,” would it?  The owner of the second cleaners was friendly enough, but his staff wasn’t.  How did this happen?  Well, he hired awesome looking young women for his own viewing pleasure (which as a man I get), but they were dumber than dishwater and not all that friendly, and he closed recently.  The third dry cleaners opened not all that long ago and they were actually the closest to me, so I really gave them a shot.  But the woman who ran the place was frankly, out of her mind.  She had her elderly Mother working for her and one day she couldn’t find my pants and the owner was freaking out on her.  I felt completely uncomfortable and muttered a weak “hey that’s ok, don’t worry about it” and the owner glared at me and screamed  “mind your own business!”  Needless to say getting a “thank you” was completely out of the question.

So I go to Sparkle on Rt. 45 in Mantua and I love the fact that I am able to highly recommend them.  (For the record, in case you’re wondering, I pay for every transaction and have for years.)  They do good work and always greet their customers with a cheery “hello” and “thank you so much” when you leave.  Seriously, how hard is that?  Doesn’t it just kill you when you pay for something and then it’s you and not them who say “thanks?” 

Then you have TD Bank or the “Disneyland” of commerce as I call them.  When you walk in a South Jersey TD Bank, three tellers and managers might say, “how are you doing today, sir?”  at the same time.  This may seem like overkill, but the truth is I laugh whenever it happens and yell “groovy!” to all the directions the greetings come from.  I get that this greeting thing has probably been mandated from the TD suits up above, but it sure beats the grumpy alternative, doesn’t it?

It always starts at the top and for me the CEO of my house growing up was my Mother.  My Mother was a free spirit and frankly there weren’t a ton of rules that I had to follow.  But if I had a million dollars for every time my Mother said, “what do you say?” to me when someone was nice to me, I’d be as rich as Ryan Howard today.  (Well, maybe)

The day before I wrote this article I was at the AMC Deptford 8 seeing the excellent “Bridge of Spies.”  As my wife and I were exiting the theatre there was a kid hanging at the back of the theatre waiting to clean up the mess moviegoers leave behind.  You know what this kid said to everyone as they were leaving?  “Thank you for coming.”  Can you believe that?  A big chain like AMC and here’s this kid making whatever an hour thanking everyone.  I guarantee you that kid has polite parents. It’s not hard!

So join me as I start a new movement this season to keep the “thanks” in “Thanksgiving.”  We'll all be the merrier for it.

RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 9/25

Here's my latest article to run in the Sea Isle Times

SUMMER 2015 HIGHLIGHTS!

Let’s just get right into it!

447PMMARCH 5TH, 2015THE OCEAN TEMPERATURE
Wow!  Right from early June the water was clean and the warmest I remember it in years.  And it stayed that way the whole summer.  Nothing frustrates me more that sitting on the beach staring at waves that are rocking and the water is just too icy to go in, but that rarely occurred this season.  Even Mary Lee couldn’t stop me! 
However, there was a downside to all this.  My days of claiming I am the World’s Greatest Body Surfer are over.  Kaput.  I’m washed up.  First, in the waning days of last summer, Comcast’s Jon Clark came down to me beach and beat me rather soundly at boogie-boarding.  Now I never claimed to wear that particular title belt, but it turned out to be the beginning of the end.   In June of this summer,  out of the blue,  my daughter Ava challenged me to body surfing one tragic day and crushed me.  Crushed me!  The little tyke that I taught how to bodysurf.  Humiliating.  It’s all over for me.  What’s next?  A hearing aid?!

FATHER'S DAY    
Last summer this paper was kind of enough to allow me to salute my good friend, Rick Steffa, who passed away on Father’s Day of 2014.  “The King of 35th St.” was the name of the article and I was stunned by how much those words moved fellow Islanders who never even knew him.  This Father’s Day we decided to honor Rick with a ceremony on the beach.  It started back at his house in the middle of 35th St below Landis.  About fifty of us, and I mean fifty, met in his legendary garage at and 5PM we headed for the beach.
One of the little tidbits about Sea Isle I get a kick out is when you have to cross streets on the way to the surf.  Cars will stop and let you by.  It’s very polite.  Well, except this afternoon, a VW Bug topped to allow our fearless leaders, Diane and Joe to cross.  Because of a condo building at the edge of 35th St, the polite car who stopped couldn’t see there were approximately forty-eight more of us right behind Diane and Joe.  48!  It was literally being stuck in a car while a long walking procession line went by.  No doubt Rick Steffa was looking down on this scene and laughing his butt off. 

LOU DOGS
Lou Dogs is this really cool hot dog joint on 38th St that serves up a terrific wiener.  There’s a wild history to the hot dog cart that is inside the establishment that it’s owner Christian will be more than happy to talk to you about.  (Just make sure you have an hour or two)  Lou Dog’s has an impressive photo collection of celebrity types who have eaten there on the wall.  Why I am up there is beyond me, but for the longest time he’s had my very first 94WIP glossy hanging up and in that photo I must admit I look like I’m 15 years old.  The photo was a carryover from a previous station that I worked at and it’s over 25 years old. No grey hair.  No glasses.  Over many summers I have received many “humorous” texts from folks cutting me up over that photo.  After much begging it’s finally down with my current photo in its place.  Thank God!

GRETCHEN   
Occasionally I have to use a tiebreaker to decide who’s the winner at my Quizzo nights at O’Donnell’s Pour House.  The tiebreaker is usually guessing my weight.  However, this summer, the beautiful Gretchen who bar-tends at O’Donnells is pregnant with her first child.  She mentioned to me one night that I could use her due date as a tiebreaker and there were even some nights when I needed two tiebreakers and she would allow me to use her weight.   How many pregnant women would allow you to do that?  Thats way cool.  By the way, the due date is September 13 and she and her husband Tim (who works next door at the OD) are expecting a baby boy.  Now there's a  kid who's gonna be born a beach bum for sure.  Good luck to all!

Tbig daddy dinerHE WOMENS WORLD CUP AND AMERICAN PHAROAH  
It’s soooo much fun when a sporting event captures the entire island.  You can here the cheering pouring out of the living rooms, garages, outdoor bars and beach radio’s from Townsend’s Inlet down to the Dead Dog and beyond.  And this summer we had two such sporting events.  Congrats to Delran’s Carli Lloyd.

DREW CAREY    
This town gets the occasional big time athlete, but how wild was it when standup comic and “The Price Is Right” host Drew Carey hung at the Sand Bar?  He posed for pictures, was very accessible and friendly to all.   Now next time bring a refrigerator or new car to give away!

BAILEY RAYSIK   
Speaking of standups, I’ve been judging the very entertaining “Sea Isle’s Got Talent” shows since their inception.  I’ve enjoyed singers, magicians, bands, dancers, jugglers, and dancing bears.  But never a standup.  Until this summer when 17-year-old Bailey stepped out on the stage.  Now listen, I’ve been doing standup for over thirty years, and performing comedy in front of that crowd is very difficult because there are a lot of kids there with their parents.  No comic likes to perform in front of kids.   
And he was terrific.  He was poised and did his very well thought out and funny material.  He even took some shots at Avalon, which will always get laughs on this island.  I talked to him afterwards and was told it was the first time he ever performed in front of strangers.  He’s originally from Bucks County and has spent every summer of his life in Sea Isle.  He’s off to Arizona State to study law or some stupid thing.  But remember that name, Bailey Raysik.  You just might be watching Comedy Central some night and say, “hey, isn’t that the kid we saw performing in Sea Isle?”

JIMMY BENNETT THE JOKE THIEF
You all know Jimmy, right?  The owner of LaCosta, the Lobster Loft, he might have sold you the tires on your car.  I think Jimmy’s the reason the Pope is coming to Philly.  Jimmy loves a good joke and one evening I told him a real dandy. 
For the rest of the summer I had approximately forty different people tell me that joke and when I asked them where they heard it, they all gave the credit to Jimmy.  Owe up, Mr. Bennett!  (Sorry, it’s a family paper and I cannot print out that joke.)  But ask Jimmy, he’ll be more than happy to tell you.

LEE’S WEDDING
My nephew Lee got married in August.  That's the good part.  The bad?  It was over three hours from Sea Isle in upstate Pennsylvania in a town so small that it made the nearby Hazleton come off like it was Vegas.  It was a beautiful ceremony and the reception was a blast.  But don’t you just love weddings in the summer that are not at the shore?  NOT!  Small town upstate PA?  Well, it’s just not my cup of tea, to say the least.  The silver lining of this story?  The following day when my car arrived at the top of the bridge and saw that ocean and the basketball courts and the VFW club, I was never happier in my life.  I was home.

I sincerely hope you had a great summer and don’t forget there are plenty of cool events in September and October.  The Summer of 2016 will be here before you know it.  Thanks for reading!


HEY! I'M LOOKING FOR ALBUM COVERS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE VINYL...


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You can take an inexpensive tour  of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL that's well worth it.

Check out MASH ARMY & NAVY on 8th Ave between 45 & 46th streets.  A blast from the past!

Folks are always asking me about piano bars in Manhattan.  There's two I would recommend and they couldn't be any bit different.  DON'T TELL MAMA is on 46th St between 8 & 9th Avenues.  It's a comfortable narrow long bar where you either sit at thee bar or at a table.  They have a singing piano player and every fourth song or so a member of the bar or serving staff will get up and sing a three song set.  And sometimes a member of the audience will get up at the mic and sing. And they have awesome food also. It's a really fun joint, but completely different from MARIE'S CRISIS CAFE which is at 59 Grove St in the Village.  (Make sure you have the address handy before you get in the cab.)  MARIE'S is a tiny hole in the wall basement club where there is a piano player but no professional singer.  YOU are the singer.  It's insane.  People (like my nutty wife) go there TO sing.  There's no microphone and literally 150 people or so will be singing at the top of their lungs to some Broadway tune  Which, by the way, IS ALL Marie's does.  They don't mix in pop tunes like MAMA does.  The two couldn't be any different from each other and any more fun if a piano bar is your bag.

tunes logoA HOTEL TO STAY AT?   We always use some hotel site and often stay at one of these two hotels which I would both recommend.  THE BELVEDERE on West 48th St is clean with a nice lobby and it's very convenient to Broadway and many clubs and bars.  THE WARWICK is pricier, but still affordable when you go through Expedia.  It's at 54th & 6th and many famous folks (like the Beatles and Liz Taylor have stayed there.

IT'S ONLY A PLAY is hilarious with an amazing cast.

As obvious as this sounds, you can spend a couple hours exploring Central Park and never get bored.

Lincoln Center has a free SINATRA exhibit running till September 4th which has some pretty neat artifacts from his Hoboken days.

LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP on Lexington between 82 & 83rd St. has been opened since 1925 and is a don't miss trip.

THE METROPOLITAN ROOM on 22nd St is a very cool, classic NY cabaret room where we have seen many cool acts at a very affordable price.

BIG ONION WALKING TOURS are a lot of fun and reasonably priced.  I have taken many of them and they never disappoint.

54 BELOW on 54th St. is literally the basement of the famous Studio 54 disco. It's a terrific place to see anybody. Top notch club.

Finally made it to BIRDLAND for one of those CAST PARTY shows. What a great time and the sight lines are excellent.  Legendary jazz artists perform there and if you ever thought about seeing one of them at BIRDLAND, do it.

 

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