Here’s what’s on the blog today:
1. The Worst Original Names for Famous Rock and Roll Bands
2. Good News about Depression
3. What Tony Saw from His Backyard
4. Uber Picks Up a Second Passenger
5. Woman Sues Spammers. Wins $229,500
6. A Page from My Storied Career
7. Campaigning Door to Door with America’s Newest Non-Politician
And Coming Soon, our Annual Look at Toy Fair, with guest co-blogger Josh Rothman
Hey, Readers, its been along time. Sorry for the extended delay in posting, but I’ve been busy.
STAN: Busy shmizzy. He probably just couldn’t think of anything brilliant to say!
HARRIET: Stan, would you please shut your pie hole and let Jack talk? It is his blog, you know?
STAN: Goldman’s name may be on the blog. But people come here to see me.
HARRIET: See you? Stan, you’re not even real! Jack writes everything you say.
STAN: Hah, that’s what you think. Try this on for size, Harriet. I’m real and Goldberg’s the figment. Huh, what do you say about that?
HARRIET: Goldman? Goldberg? You can’t even get his name right. It’s Jack. Jack Goldenberg.
STAN: Yeah, well f**k him if he can’t take a joke. Hey, what the h*ll just happened? I tried to curse and instead I spoke in asteroids.
STAN: Whatever. I still wanna know what happens when I say swear words. How come when Trump speaks you can hear the filth he spews? If he wants to say pu**y, he says pu**y. But when I try to curse, it just comes out full of Astroturf.
HARRIET: Well, that pretty much describes you, Stan. You’re full of Astroturf.
STAN: Hey, don’t try warming up to me Harriet, it just won’t work.
HARRIET: Enough, Stan. Now stop interrupting and Give Jack a Chance.
STAN: Wasn’t that a song by John and Yoko?
Say, where was I? Oh yeah. I was just apologizing for the long delay. Anyway, I’m back, so here goes.
The 5 Worst Original Names for Famous Rock and Roll Bands
A lot of famous bands started their musical career on sour notes. They chose awkward, unmemorable names that never caught on. After all, how cool is it to hear Herbie’s Toilet, The Devil’s Crotch or Jewish Theological Everything Bagels in concert?
Fortunately, many bands saw the light (or heard the music) and we now know them by the new names they adopted.
Original Band Name: Tom and Jerry
But you know then as: Simon and Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met when they were teenagers in 1953. They practiced harmonizing and writing songs together, but first shied away from using their real names.
Paul Simon tentatively changed his name to John Landis after a girl he had a crush on, Sue Landis.
Arthur Garfunkel originally chose the name, Tom Graph, because he loved to record the progress of hit songs on graph paper. Really, I don’t make these things up!
The duo made their debut as Tom and Jerry. In 1957, when they were just 15 years old, Tom and Jerry had their first minor hit, Hey Schoolgirl, which they performed on American Bandstand right after Jerry Lee Lewis sang Great Balls of Fire.
STAN: That reminds me of a joke. Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jumped over the candlestick. Great Balls of…
HARRIET: Shut it, Stan. I don’t want to hear it.
However, when no hits followed their initial burst of stardom, Paul and Art decided to concentrate on college. By 1974, the band resurfaced as the folk rock due Simon and Garfunkel.
“Our name is honest,” said Paul Simon. “I always felt it was quite a shock to people when Bob Dylan turned out to be Robert Zimmerman.”
Original Band Name: Mookie Blaylock
But you know them as: Pearl Jam
In October 1990, a new band from Seattle hit the stage with an unusual name, calling themselves Mookie Blaylock. Now you might think bands choose their names based on some great inspiration. Often the explanation is a lot more mundane.
Mookie Blaylock was the name of a New Jersey Nets basketball player. Somehow, Mookie’s trading card was mysteriously found taped to the case of one of the band’s early demos.
“It was kind of goofy,” said Pearl Jam singer songwriter Eddie Vetter explaining how the band got the name Mookie Blaylock. “But that first week, we were too busy working on songs to think about a name.”
Mookie Blaylock is an OK name for an unknown local band, but when they started to attract national attention, the Mookie Blaylock handle had to go. They’d never be able to trademark the name of an NBA player on their merchandise.
There are many theories about how the band came up with Pearl Jam, some of them so graphic, I can’t post them here. Eddie Vetter claimed the band was named after his grandmother Pearl who made hallucinogenic jam, but the real story is less provocative.
Bassist Jeff Ament randomly thought of the name Pearl and the band added jam after listening to Neil Young and Crazy Horse play a killer “15-20 minute” jam at the Nassau Coliseum.
Original Name: Black to the Future
But you know them as: Roots
When Roots bandleader, Questlove (aka Ahmir Khalib Thompson), and Black Thought (aka Tarik Trotter) were high school buddies, they performed in a school talent show in 1969 as Radio Activity, but their name failed to ignite fans.
So they changed it to Black to the Future. The future house band for The Tonight Shown Starring Jimmy Fallon struck out again.
Then the hip hop band from Phillie chose a moniker that was much nerdier than the fans who were following them, calling themselves Square Roots. This time not only did their fans not like their name, it was also panned by a Philadelphia folk group named, you guessed it, Square Roots.
They went through a name-change once more time, dropping the “Square” and keeping Roots. Finally, their hip hop name matched their eclectic approach to jazz.
Original Band Name: The Obelisk
But you know them as: The Cure
The Gothic rock musicians who would become The Cure first named themselves after a large phallic monument, an Obelisk, but few middle school fans understand the potentially sexual meaning of their favorite group’s name.
At first, band member Robert Smith was just a background figure in The Obelisk, playing piano. But soon he moved up front and took charge of the group’s name.
He tried out Malice and Easy Cure, but neither of the names seemed to stick. Then, realizing the group was the antidote for hoards of lovelorn girl fans, he christened the Group as The Cure.
Original Band Name: The Pendeltons
But you know them as: The Beach Boys
Brian Wilson was probably feeling particularly unauthentic when he chose to name the band The Pendeltons after a plaid wool shirt favored by the surf community. After all, in 1961, he was writing songs about surfing though he’d never “Hung 10” much less touched a surf board.
But even with that awkward, pseudo hip name, three months after the band formed, Candix Records released The Pendeltons’ debut single Surfin’.
The LA-based independent label hated the stuffy sounding name The Pendeltons and without notifying the band, they changed the group’s name to The Beach Boys.
Ten years later Brain Wilson wanted to shorten the group’s name to Beach, but the band refused to mess with success.
Depressingly Good News
It used to be you had two choices if you suffered bouts of Major Depression. You could take psychotropic drugs (That sounds worse than it is, Readers. It just means drugs that affect a person’s mental state.) or you can submit to talk therapy (“I’m sorry. Your 45-minute hour is up!”).
Sometimes drugs and/or therapy works and sometimes all Hell continues to threaten your brain. For almost one of three sufferers, there’s almost no way out of the living nightmares they face.
But now there’s a new treatment on the horizon and if it keeps on completing successful clinical trials, then pharmaceutical companies and just going to have to buy it and quash it like they’ve done in the past. Hey, it’s just business.
The name of the new therapy is Neurofeedback and it has the potential to be more precise than current therapies. It directly targets brain dysfunctions and emotional and cognitive processes that are believed to be the underlying cause of mental instability.
Most importantly, it has the potential to restore mental control to the very people suffering depression. Patients who lie in a functional magnetic resonance scanner are instructed to conjure up experiences when they were happiest and when their minds and emotions were under siege.
Almost in real time, patients see visual representations of their brain activity and correlate it to how they were thinking and feeling. Patients are trained to increase their positive thoughts and suppress the ones that bring them down. Some sufferers can see a marked and sustained improvement in their depression in three or four sessions.
Granted, clinical trials are in their early stages, but so far the results are promising. If neurofeedack therapy continues to have substantial success reducing bouts of depression and increasing happiness and mental control, 10-20 years from now, the only ones on psychiatric couches will be drug makers who are out of business.
Photos of the Week or What Tony Saw from his Backyard
Sure, Sarah Palin can see Russia from her backyard. But that’s nothing compared to what my college roommate, Tony W, can see when he ventures out into his backyard.
Uber Picks Up A Second Passenger–Dinner
Uber revolutionized public transportation by hiring independent drivers to pick up passengers by using their smartphone to order car service. Now they’re going to pick up Kung Pao Chicken, Tuna on Rye and Filet of Sole Almondine (Do you want fries with that?).
Now they’re weeks away from running a 20-city test delivering meal service from local restaurants.
Woman sues spammers. Wins $229,500.
What’s the most annoying thing in your life? What keeps you up at night and gives you frightmares during the day.
Is it worrying that Donald Trump or Ted Cruz could be elected President? Sure, those are terrifying and scary thoughts, but really that could never happen.
After all, the American electorate is much too smart to elect either of them US President. I mean, it’s not like we elected George Bush to a second term, right?
Anyway, I maintain the single most annoying aspect of America life in twenty sixteen are the nefarious, unwanted calls we get from spammers and telemarketers. No matter what you do, no matter how many times you hit #2 and ask to be placed on a company’s Do Not Call List, you just can’t avoid these unrepentant home invaders.
Until Now! Now, there’s hope. Here’s why.
Araceli King, a woman from Irving Texas, asked Time Warner Cable to be put on their Do Not Call List. After all, they were dunning her for money she didn’t owe. She even proved to a representative that they had confused her with someone else.
Still, the calls kept coming. That surprised her because she had registered her phone on the National Do Not Call Registry. By law, 31 days after she registered her phone number, most telemarketers were not allowed to call her unless they were a non-profit or she signed up and asked to be called.
I guess Time Warner Cable didn’t care about the law. They robocalled Araceli King 153 more times! OK, that’s the Bad News.
The Good News is that Ms. King sued Time Warner Cable and won a judgment of $229,500. Judge Hellerstein tripled the $1500 penalty for each call awarding Ms. King almost $230,000. The Judge ruled, “Tine Warner Cable’s action were particularly egregious since it continued making call even after King complained to the cable company in a 7-minute phone conversation. (NOTE: Consumers were elated with the ruling. They was not so ecstatic they had to look up the word “egregious!)
Of course, Time Warner is appealing the judgment, but King’s lawyers expect her to win. And even if the fine is reduced, Ms. King has received no more robocalls from Time Warner. Not one.
It’s simple to register your mobile and landline phones with the National Do Not Call Registry. And if telemarketers still call you 31 days later, well, now you know what to do!
Araceli King is a true American hero. She was “mad as Hell and not going to take it any more.” I’d suggest you do the same.
A Page from My Storied Career
Campaigning Door to Door with America’s Newest Non-Politician
A couple weeks ago I got an email from one of my #1 connections on LinkedIn. His name is Steven Burda. He said he was a Democrat running for State Representative in Pennsylvania from the 150th District. He had checked out my LinkedIn bio and wanted to know if I could offer him any advice. He had a couple weeks left to collect 300 uncontested signatures from his neighbors so he could be on the ballot.
I said I’d get back to him after I had a chance to check him out. I was amazed at what I found. There are 400 million people on LinkedIn. Steven Burda is number (DRUM ROLL)… Steven Burda is #1. He is the most connected person on LinkedIn.
Of course, you can find anything you want on the Internet and that doesn’t mean it’s true. I once found a bio of me on the Internet and it had someone else’s photo. Now I know me well, and this just wasn’t me. See what I mean?
Anyway, I was certainly intrigued so I agreed to spend an evening with Steven in his Pennsylvania neighborhood going door to door to see first-hand how he collected signatures. Although we only spent two hours together, I felt I got to know him pretty well. OK, as well as I could for the short time we spent together.
That night Steven was driven to get signatures so he could be on the ballot, but going to strangers’ homes unsolicited at 7 o’clock at night and knocking on the last door at 9 PM, that’s a pretty daunting task.
I asked him why he didn’t canvass neighborhoods on Saturday or Sunday morning when he might be more likely to be welcomed into people’s living rooms. “Oh, I can’t do that,” he said. “That’s one of the times I have reserved for my wife and kids.”
He’s a true family man which is probably a good thing because he has 5 biological kids and another nephew he and his wife take care of. Their home is filled with toys and love, and his wife’s parents.
Six kids? That’s an occupation in itself. In his day job, he works as a financial consultant for some high level clients. So high level, I was asked not to mention them. He speaks 5 languages and came to America as a 10-year old from the Ukraine, knowing little or no English and with a great desire to help anyone he met.
While Steven is a non-politician, he is also a natural-born old style politician. I don’t mean anything negative by that. Today’s politicians only care about themselves, Steven genuinely wants to be in politics to help people. He lives by a “pay-it forward” philosophy. He has the energy of ten women (Hey, I didn’t say “10 men” because women are stronger than men. Sorry men, live with it. It’s true!). I was kept up with him knocking on his neighbors doors, but only barely.
I was able to give Steven a few suggestions (It’s probably not a good idea to shine a flashlight into people homes to see if there’s anyone home), but it was obvious he was doing quite well without my advice.
Yesterday in Harrisburg, Steven turned in over 1000 signatures, three times what he needed to get on the ballot as a PA House State Representative.
I can’t vote for him. But if I could, I would. He’s real deal.
Hey Readers, thanks for coming along for the ride. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you did, leave me a comment (This means you, Jeff, Debbie and Rusty!) I just visited Toy Fair with my new friend and associate Josh Rothman and he and I will be co-blogging about the Best of Show Toys at Toy Fair 2016.
STAN: Thank God it’s over. Man, that Goldenbergowitz sure can talk.
HARRIET: You should talk, Stan.
STAN: Maybe I will, Harriet. Just maybe I will.