Month: May 2016

Communing with the Spirits of the Past, Present, and Future


Yesterday was the first of what I hope will be many special days in the spiritual development of my granddaughter Audrey. She celebrated her First Holy Communion in the All Saints Catholic Church.

Now I have no idea how Audrey’s relationship to her spiritual life will turn out. Neither does she, for she’s only 8 years old. Audrey may be like her great-grandmother Price and become an avid churchgoer and true Christian, exemplifying the teachings of Jesus Christ in every aspect of her life. She may decide to be more like her Nana Sullivan, a believer in God who goes to church, but doesn’t accept all the tenets of the Catholic faith. Or she may opt to follow her father, her grandmother Price, and myself, all of whom were raised in the Methodist Church but elected to reject regular church going as a requisite to living a good life on Earth. Or, of course, she may choose some other way.

But no matter which path Audrey heads down, I think it’s important that all young Americans receive an understanding of Christianity.

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Dana Fuchs: Serene Singing Angel, Sexy Devil Temptress, or Both?

Given that it’s the musical child of the sacred – gospel – and the supposedly sacrilegious – blues – it’s not surprising that rock n’ roll often reflects a spiritual crisis that plays out in both its music and its musicians.

Sometimes, you can see these two spiritual sides play out in one performance. Such was the case earlier this year if you were on the Rock Legends IV Cruise and saw Dana Fuchs, the very last artist listed on the bill, perform.

Now if you don’t know who Dana Fuchs is, stop reading this post right now, open your browser, search her name, and read, view, and listen to as much as you can about her.

Fuchs, a transplanted-Southerner who now calls New York City home, is best known for her performance in the Beatles-inspired movie All Across the Universe and as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway play about the tragic 60s blues singer.

To me, Fuchs is also one of the three best (Joan Osborne and Grace Potter being the better-known two) females keeping the classic rock tradition alive today.

To read the complete article, click here.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow …

For Russell Mitchell and Richie Nocella, who were too soon taken from this Earth to be once again a part of the Cosmos, and to Steve Ferrera and Dr. Robert Wilkinson, who are still here. And a special shout-out to William Shakespeare, John Updike, and all my South Jersey high school students without whom this story could not be told.

Have I ever told you about the time I performed the “Tomorrow” soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth live on the stage of the Folger Shakespeare Library? No? Well, that’s because up until last Sunday, I hadn’t done any such performance.

But now I can tell you the tale (and, no, you smart-assed Shakespearean scholars – it is not a tale told by an idiot).

I performed the monologue as part of a day-long celebration at the world-renowned DC Shakespeare institution to honor what would have been William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday.

To read the complete article click here.

Artimus Pyle: A Great Drummer, A Simple Man

If famed former baseball manager and player Leo Durocher had known Artimus Pyle, he might not have been so certain of his noted quip: “Nice guys finish last”.

Pyle, 67, is the original drummer for the classic Southern Rock band Lynard Skynard. He survived the fatal 1977 airplane crash that claimed the lives of 3 band members. For more than a decade now, Pyle has been leading his own group of early Skynard-song players in the Artimus Pyle Band.

Pyle and his bandmates, who produce sets of crowd-pleasing recreated versions of such Skynard staples as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” performed earlier this year as one of 22 bands on the Rock Legends IV Cruise. The band had played on the three previous cruises and has already been named as one of the bands participating in the 2017 sailing.

Now while many well-known rock stars (and during their heyday Lynard Skynard was one of the most famous bands on the planet) are recognized for their arrogance or off-putting behavior, Pyle defies that description.

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Bruce Springsteen and Donald Trump: 2 Bosses, 2 Bases, and the Fate of the American Dream

How is a Donald Trump political rally like a Bruce Springsteen concert?

Let me count the ways.

Now I admit before last week, I had never really considered comparing the two. But on Thursday, I attended a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Phillips Arena here in Atlanta with about 20,000 enthusiastic Springsteen fans. Three days later, I was at a Donald Trump for President rally at the World Convention Center just across the street from the Phillips Arena with more than 10,000 equally rabid Trump followers.

Here’s what I discovered:

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Requiem: A Few Thoughts on the Passing of Old Friends

It comes with aging.

As happens more and more frequently since I have entered my 7th decade, two big pieces of the once-completed puzzle of my teenage years have been removed.

Last week, I learned that Bucky Hayes, whom I had known since grade school, had died in his current Tennessee town. A few days after, I found out that George McLaughlin, my 11th-grade history teacher and later fellow teaching colleague at our hometown Bridgeton (NJ) high school, had passed away.

Obviously, as with the deaths of all people whom we know well, there comes a sense of sadness with the finality of their passing. However, today I’m much more grateful than sad since I can keep the memories and lessons I learned from them forever, or at least until the time of my own passing.

At a cursory glance, Henry Allen, or Bucky as everyone called him, and Mr. McLaughlin (or George as I later came to call him) couldn’t have been more different.

To read the complete article click here.

Finding a Meal with a Side of Romance at the Waffle House

Dixie has always demonstrated a dichotomy when it comes to its men and romance.

On one hand,  you have the chivalric, courtly charms of the Southern gentleman as embodied in such characters as Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. On the other end of the Southern male spectrum, you have your bromancing, baseball-cap-wearing, fast-car racing, beer guzzling, gun toting redneck with a nickname like Gunner or Bubba.

For example of what we mean take dining. The first type of man can often be found eating on exquisite China in expensive, jacket-required, urban restaurants. The second type usually frequents the numerous diners and dives that dot the South’s highways and rural roads.

Of course, when it comes to romantic settings with a culinary focus, the upcoming Valentine’s Day and its dining is in a class by itself. Now what if you could bring together all the best elements of both elegant eating and diner dining for that special woman (or man) in your life?

Well, you can. For the 9th year in a row, Waffle House – one of the South’s most iconic eateries – will be rolling out white or red table cloths, lighting truckloads of romantic candles, and offering specially tailored menus for its one-of-kind Valentine’s Day experience.

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