Changes

We gotta start making changes

Learn to see me as a brother

Instead of two distant strangers

As someone who’s white and privileged thanks to a good home and great parents and a loving brother, I feel blessed. I wish we could all just get along. I’m lucky to have close friends who are like brothers and sisters to me and my family. You are the reason for hope in a chaotic and sad time. Our extended family are the Inner Circle.

I sympathize with that the family of George Floyd is going through. He should still be alive. Shame on the four racist cops in Minneapolis! Arrest the other three already and make a strong example. Lock them up.

No matter who you are, what your color is, race or ethnicity, racism should NEVER EVER BE TOLERATED! The irrational hatred has to stop. That includes any hate crimes, looting and violence in response to Mr. Floyd’s murder. As his courageous brother stated at a rally in Minnesota, you’re not doing anything. That accomplishes nothing and is counterproductive.

Shout-out to all the Staten Islanders from Stapleton, who peacefully protested over the weekend without any arrests. They marched to the 120 NYPD Precinct and communicated well with police officers. That’s a great job by everyone. I’m proud of the Forgotten Borough for reacting the right way.

These aren’t fun times for anybody. It’s important to keep perspective and remember how we should act. I’ve always said treat each other with respect and the way you want to be treated. That applies in life.

I chose the classic Tupac Shakur song, “Changes”, for that reason. What have we learned in over two decades since that came out posthumously. I remember when it debuted. It was on MTV when they cared about music and we were spending the New Year upstate in a cabin. Wow. That was cool. My friend Sinan reacted to the new song by saying, “2Pac did it again. He’s still alive.”

How I wish it were true. The thing about Tupac is his message was always very powerful. I’m not saying I agreed with everything he did. But he stood for something and was a legend. Still is because #LegendsNeverDie.

The message in Changes is simple. Let’s change the way we are. It still applies sadly. The world is mad and falling apart. What are you going to do to change it? Be part of the solution. Do the right thing.

How Can I Be Sure

The title for this entry is actually from a memorable hit song by The Young Rascals of the 1960’s. A terrific band that both our parents loved.

I actually can remember hearing it on the radio in our old car with Dad singing along. It’s a very catchy song. I feel that the style is also different. Something you can see with older classic music. There’s a uniqueness or distinct quality that I like.

Of course, rock and roll was a lot different back then. Especially the sound. It was a lot more complete. But also, there were plenty of shorter tunes that sounded like melodies which were easy for listeners like our Mom and Dad to identify with. No wonder it had so much appeal.

I have gone back and listened to hits from the 50’s and developed an appreciation for it. A cool style no one had ever heard before.t Of course by the next decade, music sure evolved once The Beatles came over. The London invasion was in full swing with legendary groups like The Rolling Stones, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Doors and The Who.

There are so many others including The Animals who I like. House Of The Rising Sun is a classic which I used to be able to play on my old acoustic guitar taking lessons in my teens. Those were the days.

We’ve seen this big hit featured in Goodfellas. Appreciate the past. It set the tone.

All I See

“All I See”

by Derek Felix aka DFlex

All I see

Is my shadow from behind

All I know

Is that the clock’s been in rewind

All I want

Is to get up to date

All I see

Is a chance to become great

All I know

Is that it’s time to move on

All I want

Is to improve each day and be strong

All I see is opportunity ahead

All I know

Is that it’s time to stop being dead

All I want is to feel alive again

All I see is the chance to finally win

All I know is it’s all right in front of me

All I want is to make it a reality

All I see is a completely different outlook

All I know is that it’s time to stop feeling shook

All I want is to rise up and prove myself right

All I see is the unique ability to knock it out of sight

Chris Cornell remembered three years later in tribute by Matt Cameron and Taylor Momsen

Chris Cornell is fondly remembered as one of the greatest singers three years later. AP Photo credit Billboard

Monday marked the Three Year Anniversary of the tragic death of Chris Cornell. The legendary former front man of Soundgarden and the Supergroup Audioslave passed away on May 18, 2017 after taking his life at age 52.

He will always be remembered fondly by the music community for his unbelievable voice. His pipes were so tremendous that it was considered almost four-octave vocal range. Cornell remains a rock legend for what he achieved over three decades with Soundgarden, Audioslave and solo.

A huge part of the Seattle grunge movement that featured Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Mother Love Bone and Supergroup Temple of the Dog, Cornell was just a cut above the rest. No disrespect to Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Eddie Vedder and former great lead singer Scott Weiland of San Diego group Stone Temple Pilots. Cornell was the absolute pinnacle of that classic 90’s era.

I consider all those bands to be terrific. They were unique and always shall be. I just wish Cornell was still around along with close friend Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. I’m glad I got to see him perform with a reunited Soundgarden alongside my brother Justin and Dad some nine years ago at The Prudential Center in Newark. It was memorable. What a show that was. It was like hearing the voice of God grace our presence in the beautiful hockey arena of the Devils. I really enjoyed it.

There’s just something cool about seeing a great band and tremendous talent perform in concert. These days, we get a lot of solo one offs or duets from different spaces due to the pandemic. It is nice to see Matt Cameron taking part in a nice tribute with the talented Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless to remember their forever friend Mr. Cornell. They covered Soundgarden’s “Halfway There.”

It speaks for itself. Her voice continues to get better all the time. I particularly like the emotion she sings with. She’s into it and it shows in how she delivers the powerful lyrics. Momsen is great. Cameron sounds good playing the guitar. I wish they would’ve credited the third contributor, who also played guitar and supplied backing vocals to mesh nicely.

Who needs a stage when you can still pull off such unique covers in different locations via Zoom? Technology serves its purpose.

Here are some other favorites from Cornell to remember him by:

Kind of forgotten even though it’s such a symbolic song on the unforgettable Superunknown. Listen to this masterpiece and the words certainly apply. Cornell wrote it during a tough time.

Another quality masterpiece from Superunknown. There’s not a bad track on it. I’m glad my CD album still works.

This one was produced by the talented Timbaland. You can tell by the drumbeats at the beginning. The song itself sounds quite personal. I don’t want to speculate as some comments did. But it seems pretty obvious who it’s about.

The astonishing aspect is this is the first track on Audioslave. It’s outstanding. The energy and vibe it gives off are out of this world. Classic stuff. And yes. I still have that album and it works.

Considered the best off that one album by Audioslave, “Like A Stone” comes at you with so much passion and electricity. It has a great sound and is delivered so well by Chris.

The intro is very trippy and makes you close your eyes and picture a memorable place you’ve been or perhaps even an unknown destination that feels like Heaven. Then Cornell graces us with his gospel.

Of course, I could easily include more such as the legendary “Blackhole Sun”, and “My Wave.” I wanted to feature some of his other stuff.

When it comes right down to it, Chris Cornell is amazing. He always will be.

#LegendsNeverDie πŸ™πŸ’œπŸ€˜

If You Leave

I honestly feel like leaving for somewhere else right now. In light of our Governor extending the deadline until June 13 as far as reopening New York City, I’m just at a loss for words. Will it ever end?

It would be nice to leave this god forsaken state for anywhere and feel good about things. NYC is a mess. I have friends who need money to survive. The longer this goes, the worse it is for small businesses and for many people to recover. That’s what I’m thinking about.

Mental health isn’t good. I would know. Bleep anxiety to shreds! There are so many people affected right now due to the impossible situation we are in. I don’t know when it’ll return to normal. What is normal you say? Oh. Being able to go out and do things without having to suffer wearing masks and struggle breathing. Being able to go to work and earn a paycheck. Work from home isn’t for me. I did it once and hated it.

So, if you leave, don’t look back. A cool reference to a classic 80’s hit song from OMD that was prominently featured in Pretty In Pink. That’s all for now. Enjoy this awesome song along with the great highlights of a funny movie starring Molly Ringwald. Everyone needs a Ducky! 😁

Until next time.

Lost My Way

“Lost My Way”

by Derek Felix aka DFlex or DFlow

The day doesn’t seem to matter

It goes by fast without any chatter

The cooler nights are the same

I lose my train of thought and feel plain

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times

Boredom can confuse you and lose your rhymes

There isn’t any rhythm to each day

Quarantine life is just like Groundhog Day

All I see are the random images in my dreams

They’re full of excitement instead of quiet screams

Emptiness is something we feel and hide inside

We don’t often show it due to our foolish pride

I’ve lost my way

Since this began

I’ve lost my way

And feel like an also ran

It isn’t easy to admit defeat when you have lost focus

It’s even stranger to bring the lens back into focus

Things haven’t been right for a while

The repeats make me lose my smile

I’m usually optimistic and upbeat

Only lately I’ve felt constantly in retreat

Things must change to improve my mood

Don’t give in to it by doing more good

If I can just see the light peak through

I know I’ll be alright and feel brand new

It can’t rain forever even if in my head

Things will come together as I rise from the dead

I’ve lost my way

That much I know

I’ve lost my way

Only temporary and I’ll recapture my flow

Flashback: Griffey goes upper tank at the Skydome

With no baseball to speak of due to COVID-19 pandemic, we’re left with memories of the game.

Undoubtedly, Ken Griffey, Jr. was the game’s brightest superstar from his rookie year in 1989 for the Mariners. Possessing the sweetest swing and unbelievable athleticism that made him one of the sport’s best center fielders, the Kid made the game look easy.

In 1996 at the height of his stardom, he hit a tape measure shot into the upper deck at the Skydome. Not many players have done it. Jose Canseco stands out all these years later even if he was an admitted juicer. But Griffey did it clean with a swing that fans could only admire. The ball jumped off his electric bat.

We got a taste of it in the American League Division Series when he paced the Mariners with five homers while hitting .391 in their five game series win over the Yankees. Of course, it’s best remembered for Griffey flying around the bases on a series clinching Edgar Martinez RBI double down the left field line off Jack McDowell. There was no chance they’d get a hustling Griffey at the plate as the Kingdome exploded into celebration.

It spoiled a big playoff series from Don Mattingly, who hit .417 with an emotional home run at Yankee Stadium that followed Ruben Sierra. In his only postseason appearance, the Hitman went 10-for-24 with a homer, four doubles and six runs batted in. He would retire following Seattle’s comeback from 2-0 down by winning the last three at home.

For that ’96 season, Griffey established a new career high with 49 homers and 140 RBI’s. It was his third season of 40 dingers or more and fourth of at least 100 RBI’s. He took home a sixth gold glove and finished fourth for MVP in the Junior Circuit.

It was a year later at age 27 that his 56 homers and 147 RBI’s led the league along with a .646 slugging percentage. He alss paced the league in runs (125) and total bases (393) to take home his only MVP.

Over his Hall of Fame career, he had five top five MVP finishes including runner-up to Frank Thomas in the strike shortened ’94. Thomas won back-to-back in ’93 and ’94 before Mo Vaughn edged Albert Belle in ’95 and then Juan Gonzalez took the honors in ’96. Griffey finished fourth in ’98 when Gonzalez again took MVP with a monster year enough to outdistance Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Jeter.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe how much star power the AL had. While the Senior Circuit boasted Barry Bonds, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa and Larry Walker, Ken Caminiti and Barry Larkin, the AL was loaded. It’s still a crime that Belle never won one MVP with his best case coming in ’95 when Vaughn got it despite better overall numbers for the former Indian slugger. Mike Piazza never won one either in the NL.

Even though he had injuries due to the reckless abandon with which he played center field, Griffey still wound up hitting 630 career home runs to rank seventh on the all-time list. He wasn’t the same with the Reds due to his body breaking down. However, he did wind up concluding his brilliant career back where it started in Seattle following one year with the White Sox.

For his 21-year career, Ken Griffey, Jr. wound up hitting .284 with 630 home runs and 1836 RBI’s. He recorded 2781 hits and won an MVP with 10 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers.

What if he’d been more healthy? Maybe it’s the Kid wearing number 24 who would be the home run king. He was that special. I still consider him the best player I ever saw.

Thanks for the memories.