Category Archives: Writing

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, Heavy metal suicide

Without researching Merv Griffin’s final net worth (he shuffled off the coil in 2007), I can guestimate it was north of eleventy bajillion.  He created Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, built casino’s with Asshole Trump, and had his sexually harassing fingers in a ton of other “entertainment” endeavours.

Wheel of Fortune is to today’s AARP crowd what Lawrence Welk was to my grandparents.  I like Jeopardy because Alex gets tanked during the tapings.


In an earlier post in this series, I wrote about John Glenn’s  “adamantium testicles“.  Whatever the female equivalent of that is exemplifies Sally Ride.  Besides the patriarchy and sexist bullshit she had to put up with being the first American woman in space.

Consider this from the linked article:

Rather than force astronauts to use urine-catching devices that resembled condoms, NASA added commodes to space vessels. Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her

Sally Ride was not different.  She was a woman, an astronaut, a homosexual, a brilliant teacher, and a goddamn top-tier physicist.  More importantly, she was a true American Hero because of what she endured AND what she accomplished.

If I leave one thing from this muddled string of expressions, I hope that it is about how Sally inspired me to keep dreaming about space and how wondrous it can be.  Thank you Sally for inspiring me.

To comma or not to comma, that is the question.  There is debate in the lyrical interpretation of this song as to if there is a comma between metal and suicide.  I, of course, am taking the easy way out by removing the punctuation and thus reviewing one topic instead of two.  Opinion: if Billy wanted to have this be two topics he would have use a SEMI-COLON.

Heavy metal suicide is probably a reference to multiple lawsuits that were brought against recording artists (most typically those who created music in the Heavy Metal genre) alleging their music prompted people to commit suicide.

In conjunction with these lawsuits, spurious organizations were created to marshal the cause against “inciteful lyrics”.  At the forefront of these ridiculous groups was the Parents Music Resource Council.  The PMRC had nothing to do with encouraging young people to listen to and make music.  It was solely a censoring body and a political platform to push the agenda of close-minded; hateful people like TIpper Gore.

The ultimate rebuke to this nonsense was provided by Dee Snider from the 80s Metal group “Twisted Sister”:

Ayatollah’s in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Is it getting more difficult to write about these things because I remember them?  Or because I’m finally close to the end?  Are my recollections and opinions affecting the process?


Ayatollah is a high-ranking title given to Islamic clerics who are experts in judicial, ethical, and philosophical matters.

Billy’s reference here is most likely to Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini:

Ruhollah Moosavi Khomeini

Khomeini was the 1st Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  He was also a central figure in the 1979 Iranian Revolution which was successful in overthrowing the government of the Shah (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi).  The Shah was heavily supported by the government of the United States, there were hostages taken in the US embassy in Tehran, and the world is still dealing with the fallout.

The Russians invaded Afghanistan during this time period as well.  You know, to protect “Soviet Interests”.  Invading Afghanistan has been folly since the the 13th century (see second paragraph). During this particular attempt, the United States armed the Mujahideen (yes, YOUR tax dollars were spent on Jihad) with every modern military killing tool.  And once the Soviets left, the Mujahideen got to keep all that neat deadly shit!  Which they would promptly turn on the Americans our government was idiotic to send in as an invading force a couple of decades later.


So, even though the songs is titled “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, we absolutely did.

Terror on the airlines

Well, that was certainly a break in writing.  And, I probably should’ve grouped this lyric with the last post.  To play catch-up and hopefully get myself into the writing grove to FINALLY finish this “project” I’m going to knock this one out quick.

In the course of this historical progression of this song, we’re in the early 80s.  Reagan is reigning supreme and The Doomsday Clock is fueling the nightmares of 6 year old me.

According to my absolutely not extensive research, there were 14 hijacking episodes on civil aviation flights between 1981 and 1984.

One of them involved an Australian ex-Trappist Monk named Laurence James Downey who, shortly after takeoff, doused himself in gasoline and demanded that the Pope release the Third Secret of Fatima.

The plane was diverted to France where police stormed aboard and apprehended Friar Larry in an entirely peaceful manner.  The video above has some great evidence of the passengers noshing with their rescuers.

Begin, Reagan, Palestine

So this is where I start having actual recollections….

Menachem Begin was born in 1913 at the geopolitical crux of Poland and Russia. Early Zionist stints in various Eastern European locales.  Caught in Stalin’s net in 1940.  Released and self-inscripted to the Free Polish Army to train in Palestine in 1943.  Led uprisings against Britain, guerrilla bombings, establishing Israeli state. Begin’s political foundings also make him the grandfather of Likud.

Best known for the Camp David Peace Accords.  Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 (shared with Anwar Sadat).  By 1981, Sadat was dead and Menachem was bombing the shit out of Iraq under the pretense of “nuclear containment”.  WMD anyone?

The US President in 1981 was this:

I vaguely remember Carter as president.  My first political awareness is of Bonzo’s best friend.  I think Ronnie is best addressed in listicle form:

Things Ronnie was:

  1. Actor
  2. Effective communicator
  3. Warmonger
  4. Liar
  5. Destroyer of middle class
  6. Neo-con Kennedy

Things Ronnie was not:

  1. Effective
  2. Just
  3. Peaceful
  4. Al Haig

And “trickle-down” economics is nothing more than oligarchs pissing on everyone else.  See: Current state of affairs in Kansas aka Kochtopia aka Brownbeckistan

At this point in my life I honestly don’t know what to think about Palestine.  I don’t believe any side will be successful in violence.  Would a Northern Ireland type solution work?


Moon shot, Woodstock, Watergate, Punk Rock


The Apollo 11 mission was the first to land human beings on a planetary body other than Earth. You know, unless you’re into that whole Xenu/Thetan/Teegeeack thing.  If that’s the case, then you may have the following as a tattoo.


The picture of Neil Armstrong above may be my favorite NASA photo. Joy, accomplishment, excitement.  No perception of space exploration abandonment to come.

I wrote a paper in my Hesston High School English Class (taught by Current Phoenix AZ City Manager Ed Zuercher) about Woodstock.  Ed told us to choose an American historical event.  I ended up writing an account of how my Uncle Dave flew a Piper Cub over the hovel of Hippie Stink of Woodstock weekend.  Besides the facts that my Uncle is a pilot and I’m certain Woodstock was the apex of Free Love Aroma, it was an entirely fictional account.  If I remember the assignment correctly, it was supposed to be non-fiction.  Sorry about that Ed.  I’m also sorry that I asked your then girlfriend (now wife I think) to dance at some horrible HHS dance in the Commons.  She was a good sport about it and you were too.

I don’t really know what Punk Rock is.  I didn’t know it existed until I was in college probably.  There’s such a range.  MC5, The Stooges, Sex Pistols, Blondie, Talking Heads, Rancid, The Runaways, Mekons, Ramones…  Maybe it’s just music.