Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RUSH…Yesterday and Today

"Rush is Canada's greatest rock band ever!" I remember believing that to be the gospel truth when I was in high school. Today is Frontman and bassist Geddy Lee's birthday. He's 61 years young. The power trio were forged from the slate of progressive rock in 1968. The beginning was a struggle for these guys. In fact they nearly hung up their prog-rock axes and sticks in 1974 until thunderous drummer and amazing lyricist Neil Peart replaced drummer John Rutsey. The band have never looked back…almost. More on the 'almost' shortly but first…

I was in the 10th grade in 1982 and September of that year was the first time that I had the awesome privilege of seeing Rush live. I can't exactly remember how I was able to go by myself but 'go it alone, I did'. More than likely I told my parents that a buddy's parents were taking us. We did what we had to do in those days to get our asses to concerts. There was not a huge Rush following in my circle of friends and certainly none of which were girls. I'd taken the bus to the Pacific Coliseum hundreds of times so transportation was locked. Next I needed the gear, I needed; the look. Rush was considered hard rock (and later progressive rock). This meant my look had to be tough. There were going to be a lot of tough guys at the show and most of them older than me. The right look was not only meant to help me blend in but was also meant to ward off bullies or 'pricks' if you will. It's simple anthropology people.

Where to start? Jeans and boots, preferably steel toed was a given. A jean jacket would be cool and totally acceptable but I wanted to add size to my grade 10 frame. Luckily I owned what we used to call a mack jacket; commonly known as the lumber jack jacket. At the time there were 3 distinct ways of donning the 'kick ass' apparel.

1. Wear jacket as is…with boots and well-weathered jeans
newer version of the 'mack', original had tough-guy buttons
2. Cut the sleeves of said jacket
3. Cut sleeves off jacket and wear over a denim jean jacket

I opted to go with the 'mack' as is and blended in just fine with the 12,000 other die hard Rush fans. Where I did not blend was ethnicity. In short I was the only black cat in a mack jacket in the joint. Alas, we were all fans of Canada's greatest band ever and it never became an issue. At one point as I was making my way to the stage (you never stayed in your assigned seat in those days unless you were a loser) I bumped into a girl about my age with a rockin' body that wouldn't quit. I can safely say that if I was the only 'brother' at that show, she was definitely the only girl at that show. We stopped and stared at each other briefly before smiling.

She gave me a hug and said, "what are you doing here?"

"I love Rush what are you doing here?" I laughed enjoying the hug and the smell of her hair.

"I love Rush too!" We both laughed and told each other to enjoy the show. She moved away from the stage and I toward. I heard the guy she was with ask who I was. She responded that I was a black guy into Rush and wasn't that the coolest. Although our time was brief I shall never forget my Rush girlfriend. We were kindred minorities who shared a tender moment as passing ships in a tempestuous yet magnificent sea of hard rock, pot and fleecy plaid.

Eventually I made it to the front row. As a group or perhaps gang it was somehow decided that we'd stand on the backs of the metal folding chairs. We were slightly in luck as the chairs were locked together at the legs so all we had to do was balance. We did this by linking arms standing shoulder to shoulder. But, like any dominoes wall when one portion of the human wall began to teeter so went the entire human chain. When this happened we usually fell backward into the row behind us. We'd scramble to get up and quickly rebuild the wall. Believe me when I tell you if you haven't been part of a human rock n' roll wall at a Rush concert…you have not yet lived. I'm happy to report that during the two hour plus, show our rock line tumbled a mere 49 times. It was outstanding and for the record there is
nary a deeper bond that strangers can share.

Returning to my 'Rush almost never looked back' comment from paragraph one. The band is still on fire to this day but where forced to take a couple-year hiatus when tragic news befell Neil Peart. In the course of a year Neil lost his college aged daughter to a car accident and later his wife who died of a broken heart at the loss. Understandably Neil called it quits and not just from the band but from drumming…music altogether. He locked up his home, hopped on his motorcycle and rode from Toronto to Alaska, down to Mexico and then some. Bandmates Geddy and Alex also devastated by the events were also done with Rush. They would not replace Neil. In fact, Alex barely touched his guitar for a year. Neil wrote an amazing book of his tragic journey/ road to recovery entitled: Ghost Rider...Travels On The Healing Road. I highly recommend it.

The pieces now firmly back together Rush is rocking harder than ever. As a kid Neil was one of my top 3 drumming influences and reading his book helps push me to keep pen to paper. The trio bring nothing but the pure rock; no auto tuning, no ghost studio players, no B.S. just the raw rock that has changed the lives of millions of people for over 45 years. I've seen them close to 20 times since that rip roarin'-bone crushing-body tumbling-minority bonding-coming of rock age-explosive concert in 1982. Thanks for the music and memories Rush--happy birthday Geddy Lee! You guys are still the best!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Man Scorned: Halle Berry Must Pay

I love Tasty Blogs!
Actress Halle Berry has been ordered by Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon to pay fashion model ex-husband Gabriel Aubry 16K a month in child support. Ah, to be a celebrity child. But wait a minute, I thought it took a village to raise a child. Who knew it actually takes a disgruntled, bitter ex-hubby to go after a financially loaded ex-wife.

Upon hearing of the payout my immediate question, which was no doubt similar to yours was this: what does this child do that warrants 16K every 30 days, give or take? I sincerely hope that the lawyer for the pose-y model didn't utter the words, "…the child must be allowed to maintain the lifestyle that she's accustomed." Dude, she's 6 years old! Are her Sippy cups made from platinum? Are her 'Hello Kitty' lunch bags hand made by Louis Vuitton? Are her jump ropes made from Italian cashmere and hand crafted by Donatella Versace?

To compare salaries between the divorcees; Halle Berry allegedly made 4.7 million dollars in 2013 while Fashion model or 'Print-Poser' Gabriel Aubry allegedly brought in 192K in the same year. Disparity? Sure, but this is not alimony this is child support. Halle must also pay Aubry 300K in legal fees and continue to pay the full amount of the child's private school tuition. Add to this Halle must pay 115K retroactively seeing as they battled it out for so long. (They were married in 2005 and called it quits in 2010). Last, I dare not forget that Halle must pay the 16K/ month until the child graduates from high school or reaches age 19 which ever comes first. (By the way the custody is 'joint custody')

Quick Math:

16K x 12 months= 192K (1 year)
192K x 13 years= 2,496,000 (13 years until the child hits 19)

You might be saying 'what's 2.5 million over 13 years when she made 4.7 million in one year?'. You might be saying that but I'm still asking what the kid needs the dough for especially when she'll be in mommy's care half the time.

The Back Story:

F.Y.I. there's always a back story. This legal battle is actually about a man-scorned. In 2012 Halle's current hubby actor Olivier Martinez mixed it up with model Gabriel Aubry. (Sounds like a bad movie doesn't it?) Anyway, the ex and the current engaged in a 'dust up' where Olivier beat the crap out of Aubry and sent him to the E.R.

Ya win some...
Olivier's father Robert Olivier Martinez was a professional boxer. Guess what pugilistic art dear old dad passed on to junior? Sorry Aubry but part of picking one's battles should always include knowing who one is about to do battle with. Ok, so Gabriel Aubry got his butt kicked. He should have gone home (after the hospital stay) and done one of two things: either rest up and challenge Martinez to a rematch or dusted himself off and moved on.  That's how a man would have done things in my day but a boy or perhaps Zoolander-esque male model would have felt wronged. He'd cry, 'no fair!' or 'the injustice!' and 'Oweeeee!' But Aubry sought out a lawyer and alas a third option materialized: go for the monetary jugular.

No doubt the hand wringing Hollywood lawyer was more than happy to take the battered print model's case. I'm sure as  the lawyer sat behind the big desk listening to the sweet sound of his money-counter he exclaimed, "...Never mind the assault charge Aubry we'll go for the high buck child support. You'll be sittin' pretty in no time. Stick with me kid and you'll never have to pout for those testy shutterbugs ever again!"

At the end of the day this could be referred to as a 'win-win'. Halle claims that she's fine with the result and just happy to move on and live her life with a tough guy. (I'm paraphrasing a tad on the last bit). And Aubry the 'I-shall-not-be-wronged modeling pretty-man' has a few extra ducats in his pocket…all of which will naturally go to the raising of his lovely daughter. So, no harm--other than the total beat down of ass kicking pugilistic shit kickery; no foul.
the money's in child support Bub