Saturday Night Serenade–This is Me

June is Pride Month. I could endeavor to explain the meaning, but I’d rather defer to a source that can do it so much more succinctly than I ever could.

June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders.  The month is celebrated in June in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, which kicked off the first major demonstrations for gay rights in America. On June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but bar patrons — gay men and drag queens — fought back, a spontaneous incident which is now marked as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, organized a march and other events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the riots and is known as the “Mother of Pride.” Today, Pride Month features marches around the country, educational and awareness events, and parties to celebrate gay pride!

NationalToday.com

While I am not gay, I have a number of friends who are. My step-daughter is. And I support them 100%. I can’t imagine living in a world where I could not be my authentic self, where I had to pretend to be just like everyone else out of fear of rejection or worse.

There’s been a story in the news in the last couple of days about a lesbian couple who were attacked on a bus in London. It seems a gang of troglodites were goading them to kiss, and when they refused, the women were beaten. What the hell? How is it that people aren’t left alone to live their lives?

Our good friends Susan and Lori have been married for years, and they adopted a little boy a couple of years ago. There has never been a child more doted on in the history of time. Together, they are a beautiful family.

But times are getting scary. There’s what seems to be a global movement to restrict the rights of people who don’t look or act or believe the way those in power do. Make no mistake about it–LBGTQ rights are human rights. To marginalize groups of people is to dehumanize them. And when you dehumanize people, you can treat them any way you like. Ask the Nazis.

Tonight’s serenade is a triumphant celebration of being exactly who you were created to be. I hope it find you and yours well. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Wistful

Had enough of the whole ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality? I know I have. What’s happened to us? Seriously.

Remember when we could appreciate viewpoints different from our own? When we could discuss divergent opinions respectfully and in the end, agree to disagree?

How have we come to the place where ‘He who disagrees with me is my enemy’? When the hell did that happen?

This weekend, I’m finding myself wistfully nostalgic for the good old days when cooler heads prevailed, when name-calling was reserved for those simple souls who ran short on vocabulary and long on self-importance. For when civil discourse was, in fact, civil.

Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe times were never really that simple. Maybe that’s yet to come.

In tonight’s serenade, Garth Brooks dreams of a time when We Shall Be Free. The song, co-written with Stephanie Davis, comes from his 1992 album, The Chase.

It was not without its controversy. Polite company in the early 90s wasn’t prepared for a song that celebrated tolerance of all kinds.

Of the fuss, Brooks said,

We Shall Be Free’ is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about ‘We Shall Be Free” is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.“–Garth Brooks–The Hits CD Booklet

The song won Video of the Year at the 1993 Academy of Country Music Awards. It’s a shame you can’t find the original on YouTube.

But I hope you enjoy the simple wish for everyone to just live their lives and to afford others the same courtesy. Have a wonderful spring weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ah Ooooh!

I love the odd, quirky, slightly spooky Werewolves of London by the late, great Warren Zevon.  It’s from his 1978 album, Excitable Boy.  The song was produced by Jackson Browne, and  backing vocals on the original recording feature Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

To me, it’s a fun song, especially for a cool October evening.

I will also say that in my opinion, Kid Rock ripped off the iconic riff of this song in his All Summer Long, which is supposed to be a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.  Nope, not buying it, it’s Werewolves of London all the way.  I won’t dignify it by posting it here, but you can look it up on YouTube.

But as long as we’re talking monsters…
How about a little Frankenstein?  It’s Edgar Winter’s instrumental classic from the 1972 album, They Only Come Out at Night.

I hope you’re enjoying this October weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Slice of Awesomeness

This has been a shit week, I’m not going to lie to you.

You know the kind of thing I mean.  Everything, and I mean everything, has been ten times harder than it needed to be.  Money’s unbelievably tight, Mr. R’s real estate clients have been ridiculously difficult, he has a dental problem and of course, we have no insurance.

The cherry on top is that Facebook, where I’ve spent the last three years building my Pandora Spocks author brand, has decided that because they are ‘concerned for my security’, they’re locking my account until further notice.  How’s a ginger supposed to sell books?  (By the way, you can follow my official Pandora Spocks website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com.)

It’s getting to the point where when something else goes wrong, we just kind of laugh, because what else are you going to do?

Then along came this little slice of awesomeness, like comfort food for the soul.  Paula Abdul was on The Late Late Show with James Corden and she ROCKED Straight Up, her hit from 1988.  That’s 30 years, y’all.  80s music makes me so happy!

It was exactly what I needed to help me believe that there would be light at the end of this tunnel.  You know what I mean?

I hope you’re enjoying this September weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I’m including a bonus.  Do you still gotta fight for your right to pity party?  Asking for a friend.  😉

Saturday Night Serenade–Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

I’m so excited!  Ten years ago, Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical based on the songs of 70s group ABBA, was made into a movie.  It’s not Shakespeare, okay.  But if you ever wanted to see a movie that just makes you feel happy, this is the one.

A decade later, the entire cast is back for a sequel, and with a few additions, most notably Cher, as Donna’s (Meryl Streep) mother.  Mr. R is imminently glad that my best girl Mo and I have plans to go see it this week.  I suppose it’s a chick flick, but don’t say it like it’s a bad thing.   I added a sneak peek from the new movie below.

The world has become a very scary place.  Up is down, right is wrong, and you never know from one day to the next what the hell is going on.  So let me go sit in a cool, dark theatre for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Sprite while I may or may not sing along to songs that make me happy.  Feel free to join me on the next recliner–not going to one of those moldie-oldie theatres, no thank you.  I know there are those who are avoiding this movie, angered by something or other Meryl Streep said a while back.  To that, I say, Good!  More room for me and Mo.  😉

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend doing things that make you happy.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Left Asking Why

It was a rough week.  We lost two creative souls to the private demons we had no idea they battled.

Kate Spade created, among other things, handbags I’ve always admired and been too poor to own.  She always seemed hip and funky and carefree.  Who knew that she suffered from bipolar disorder and depression?

I’ve been a fan of Anthony Bourdain for a long time.  In fact, one of my characters mentions him in my first novel, Luke & Bella.  In the book, they create a travel program very loosely based on Bourdain’s Travel Channel show, No Reservations.  He always seemed to be an asshole, frankly, greeting the world on his own terms.  But he always conveyed a deep respect for the people and cultures he visited.  To hear that he’s gone, and by his own hand, is simply shocking.

We’re left with the inevitable question, why?  Why did two people who seemed to have everything just quit?  The fact that they each left a young daughter behind is heartbreaking.  That’s not something you get over.

Which brings us to this point: We have to start a conversation about mental illness.  Not talking about it is toxic.  It’s not some dirty, shameful secret.  Struggling does not make you defective, it makes you human.  Talk to someone.  Tell them what’s going on.  Seek professional help.

If you had heart disease or diabetes, you’d see a doctor.  Illness is illness, physical or mental.  There are those who will criticize.  Fuck’em.  Take care of yourself.

If you or someone you love needs help, please call this number.  I’ve been through some shit in my life.  But the thing I’ve noticed is that the sun still comes up every morning.  It’s a sure sign that you are loved, you have value, and you have hope.

I needed a little Sweet Baby James tonight.  I hope you enjoy.  Be sure to hug those you love this weekend.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Heroes

Tonight’s song is two great tastes that taste great together.  The Foo Fighters join my hero Joan Jett for two of her most iconic songs, Bad Reputation and I Love Rock & Roll.  These classic punk tunes came out in the early 80s, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

I’ve always said that when I grow up, I want to be Joan Jett.  She was revolutionary, decades ago challenging the notion that women couldn’t be bad-ass rockers.  And she never gave a damn about her bad reputation.  How amazing to free yourself from the concern over what other people think!

That attitude is really the very heartbeat of rock & roll.

It’s also the heartbeat of the new heroes, teenagers who, in the face of tragedy, terror, and abuse from adults who happen to disagree with them, continue to sound off, to call out the hypocrisy they see, and to call for change to make the world a better place.

They don’t give a damn about their bad reputation either.  They just want to feel safe.  And they’re not going away anytime soon.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!