Archive for March, 2010


                              I remember the “Flying A” gas station within walking distance of my parent’s house in Queens, New York City, where the price per gallon was, like thirty-seven cents back then.

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          It now kind of hurts to remember these things – or angers me.  I also remember and notice now that free air at a filling station is becoming increasingly rare here in this southeastern U.S. city that I currently reside in and maybe your town also.  This is another bad trend because, after all, it is freaking air dammit!  A dude from Egypt recently moved from his Tobacco/Beer/Lottery store and bought a Shell station here.  It was the only gas station left to have a free air hose like we above a certain age are accustomed to having,  and within two miles of my house.  Don’t tell me to “get over it” either!  If you say that, then you are part of the problem and not the solution.  Air for our tires should always be free.  Do you pay to breathe?

The Flying A became either Mobile or Getty or maybe both – I forget which, but it always had the free air hose like every other station did.  The air hose was more important than the gas to me earlier in life because I and all my boyhood mates rode our bicycles all over the place, and a flat was as major for us as running out of gas was for our parents in their automobiles.

I could hardly hold in my chagrin when my twentysomething adopted sister and secretary at Office Depot tried to recently convince me that we should pay for the air to inflate our tires upon the premise that “someone has to pay the cost for the compressor” or some such bull.  Since I like her expertise at saving me money on printer ink – a subject for another post – I held my tongue that wanted to unleash this historical lecture that you are reading.

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Why are free air hoses at filling station going “bye-bye”?  Number one reason: greed.  In the case of the entrepreneur from Egypt: lack of historical perspective over here in the U.S.A.  Which speaks to the end of “neighborhoodness”; would you charge your next-door neighbor for the cup of sugar they rang your doorbell to borrow or a cup of milk?

Now my top  reasons air should still be free: 8- Because we all breathe air freely – it is a reflex; 7 – Just ask someone with respiratory issues like Asthma or Bronchitis if air is free; 6 – Because it is part of our atmosphere on Earth; 5 – Because air is like the ocean, rivers, stream and lakes – do we have to pay to enjoy them? 4 – Because it is just mean to charge for harnessing air into a hose; 3 – Because it is air and we pay too much for tires anyway; 2 – Because gasoline costs too much and we are too willing as a nation to pay high prices so it is just greedy not to give us something for  nothing at the gas station; and my #1 reason air must be free: Kids and adults (like me) who ride our bicycles don’t carry money and should be able to fill-up our tires with air, especially in cases of emergency, and ride off into the sunshine.

Feel free to add your own reasons should you be old/young enough to understand where I am comin’ from. TTYS

**PickHITT: Kudos to the stations in Bellerose, New York, Lacey Township, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nashville and Floral Park, New York that I noticed recently have free AIR! Comment here with your gas station location if you also have a free air pump for kids and grown-up tires alike! ~ October, 2013

**Check this site, FreeAirpump.com click “view map” to find stations in your area with FREE air!

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Well…It is spring, and time to renew.

Last year this time I had you.

I am not sure why, but this song tonight

Says something about Spring Fever…to me

and says something about me and you.

Pickhitt: Strangely enough, since I first posted this, several of my male friends; “my boys” if you will, have inquired as to if I have  “heard from her” recently.  “I doubt I ever will …” I tell them. I missed that friend, however, then my fiancee`, Nina found me a few months L8R…hurt gone!  With these warm days of spring comes the fever for the comfy feeling of belonging to another in life.  Don’t get me wrong: my broken heart had NOT mended when I wrote the above – yet – but did with the medicine of “Simone”. I cut that piece out and threw it in the recycle bin.  I am only currently the lead singer of a new group entitled, “Pain, Hope, Despair & Long-Distance Hair” ;-j 

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Well fancy THIS!    I heard on the NBC Nightly News tonight, March 23, 2010, (that I now  watch only online, thank you EL) a Republican legislator named Jim Diment lament, “What’s happening to our country?/The sadness turned to anger because people feel that they weren’t listened to/they want their country back, blah, blah, blah…” regarding the newly signed U.S. Health Care Reform Bill.  I have to wonder, is all of this angst (esp. “I want my country back”) because a Black man/African-American is the President?  Hmm?  Now, even I don’t like the “mandatory” provision because I feel that it is imposed upon the backs of those who can least afford another draconian “tax” if they choose not to sign-up, but this is amusing. I am into CHOICE big-time.

 However, now it is their ( the” tea partiers” and angry, tunnel-visioned Rebublicans)  turn to feel “left-out” , just as many of the people I have known over the past two decades  have felt disenfranchised when Reagan, both Bushes and yes, even at times, the sometimes Republicrat leaning Bill Clinton were in the Oval Office felt. 

This is part of  “democracy”, and it is our  turn; and as I’ve written previously, with me there is always a song I can attach to a moment.  This time, Diana Ross has the stage:

Pickhit: just Chill haters, and see where it goes.  Now you know how people who are  forced  by “the government” to pay things like child support feel.  I didn’t hear any cries to file lawsuits or play the “states rights” card when (mostly) men were legislated without representation into that predicament. ‘Just sayin’…what’s good for the goose…or repeal ALL the similar federal mandates.

 And why are you/we  looking for “government” to manage your health?  just exercise regularly and eat healthy.  That “cliché”  is true my friend. Working-out is the best “health care plan”.

I was a pre-achillies pierced adolescent acolyte every sunday at my parent’s local Episcopal Church back in the 1960s and early 1970s. I carried either the cross at the front of the beginning processions or was a candle-bearer and thinking really nothing of it except as an experience like being in the Cub Scouts.  We were especially not thinking along homosexual lines back then either!  My fellow acolytes and I were in the midst of discovering girls!!  [not knowing what torment THAT would later bring, by the way]

However, I am not surprised that the Priests, Ministers, Pasters and whatever you want to call them who did the memorized magic on the altar had become a bit “freaky-deeky” along their ways when I learned, many years after-the-fact, that they were not allowed to get married.  This is one-thing-leads-to-another common sense of the most basic level, so what is the uproar for?  I say we accept it, those who didn’t raise a hand to stop it should stop “crying” all these years later, and either disbar the robed ones who they can  prove did some molestation, otherwise, let us all (pray) and move on.  Geez…It is more of the put-your-heads-in-the-sand religious cult at work, I guess.  I mean, where were the “victims” parents back then??

“Disclaimer”:   when I say “married”, I mean it in the traditional sense, because I am old enough to know that “married” still has only one legitimate meaning on most of the planet (yes, I love my gay friends). OK??

What do you expect guys of the cloth to do if you make them subscribe to religious “celibacy”  in order to keep their gigs and yet keep them in regular public prominence with a congregation, who at least fifty percent of, are females?  I noticed some of those female worshipers too, and they love to flirt with the  “power” of the pulpit” so to speak.  Masturbation only gets a guy so far anyway.  So let these people get hitched with a woman; what is the problem?  It would solve the overt issue here for sure.

Yet all the news media, certain religious groups, and off-shoots of the Catholic Church are still regularly appalled when allegations surface like the recent ones that now come within a hairs-breath of implicating the current Pope Benedict  the XVI.   I like the current Pope; I actually think he is cool!  Yes he’s German – and???

Shoot, if one of those “fathers” had tried to touch my alter-boy ass or somewhere more private back in the day, he would have been the one who ended-up needing “counseling”, OK??   Amen.

                                                By the time you read this, the sun may have peeked through long enough that these words are moot.  Or maybe where you are reading this from it is sunny most of the time unlike here in most of the eastern half of the U.S. and especially the southeast where I only remember one sunny and springlike day since this month began,  and that was Monday March 1st.

I hate when it is cloudy all the time with temperatures steady in the mid-40s;  I am one of those people for whom sunshine is a necessity.  It is bad enough that I moved to a state that is landlocked several years ago for the first time in my life, and that I miss the ocean like a long-lost friend, but these clouds day-after-day is beginning to wear on me.  And it is not even  raining! At least if it is going to be cloudy, then it should RAIN!! [I’m sorry, lost it for a minute…] It is just freakin’ cloudy, dreary, boring, depressing and difficult to imagine that the first day of spring is only days away and St. Patrick’s day is tomorrow.  Green looks so much better under sunny skies. What has happened?  Has the atmosphere stopped moving the weather form west to east?  Is the Earth now becoming more like our nearest neighbor, Venus?

When the weather is stagnant like this, I don’t even want to get out of bed; mood melancholia magnified sapping my motivation, and January-like hibernation beckons again.  In short, “this weather sucks!”and the timing couldn’t be worse with so many of us needing some really good news because we are so financially fragile nowadays.

I remember when I was a kid back in the 1960s and there was a rumor that they were seeding the clouds to make it rain because of a perceived “drought” over much of the country and this makes me wonder about that all over again. Or the “old wives tale” that when they shoot the space shuttle up over the earth, it messes up the weather patterns for weeks, the vapor trails disrupting the flow of the winds.  Is there a shuttle in orbit right now?  Hmmm.

The weather channel guy says  there is a “blocking northeastern low pressure system in the upper levels of the atmosphere”, yeah well get it out of there! This is when a practical application of science needs to be applied to help unblock the weather and move things along. This IS “the future” right? Can’t they do something constructive like  keep ample sunshine peeking through for me and you?

AND now for something completely different…

                                       While reviewing “MAVIS” with my co-editor, we heard from Reykjavik’s feathery-voiced Disa on track number four. The video is one of humble beginnings. Predicting a nice Dance music/House/Electro track or remixed version (I’ll remix it!) in her near future….PLEASE!! 

pickhitt: also check out “Sinful Love” on the new “MAVIS” album by K7…..sooothing.

That is the question kids will be asking their elders soon if they aren’t already.  Terrestrial commercial radio as we once knew it IS dead. The mean-spirited “no fun bunch” has taken over. Corporations are to blame, and the Congress that deregulated radio about twenty years ago a la what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers union in 1980 is also. I used to dream of being a successful music radio Program Director in a big city when I landed my first on-air gig back in 1978.  Now I know that dream will never be realized after almost forty years in the business – now mostly relegated to “part-time” status, I’m sad to say.

Recently, one of my favorite FCC Commissioners Michael Copps commented, “a tsunami of media consolidation fueled by the same hyper-speculation that was fueling so many bubbles in so many other industries [where] Stations were gobbled up en masse and totally unrealistic expectations were visited upon both them and even upon the ones who managed to stay unconsolidated.” And furthermore he said at the workshop, “the FCC had fallen “fell under the spell of an ideological deregulatory mind-set that fueled the evisceration or outright elimination of just about every public interest obligation or public interest guideline we had.” Not to mention planned careers like mine.  You can read the Commissioner’s complete remarks at  FCC.gov.

I had a job interview with a Program Director a few weeks ago.  I guess he is close to my age but younger because we both reminisced about the days of editing audio using celluloid tape and a razor blade on those big ten-inch reel-to-reel tape recorders.  When I left I wondered how he got his job? Not that he isn’t qualified or anything like that, but I’ve almost forty years in “da bizness”, and can’t even get a sniff to fulfill my career dream?  I must have missed something along the way.  All of this began to change around seventeen years ago – about the time the computer became commonplace.  The bean counters came  in over we who had gone to school for/trained in broadcasting. Suddenly we had too many desk jockeys and not enough true disc jockeys.  I remember when I always had an eye to the “trades” Help Wanted sections for that next desired location, air shift or a music director gig.  I could send a tape, CD  and resume and get hired – seeing America the raido way; stations would even help you move !  Not no more – I’m stuck at the scene of my last relocation eight years ago.  No more “Radio Ga Ga” ( a song long before Lady Ga Ga burst onto the scene, by the way).

The result is the current vast, cold and cookie-cutter non-creative radio wasteland that discourages a disc jockey’s individualism, and where every genre’s playlist is a replica of the “competing” station over at the next corporation.

Of course another big competitor for radio ears are the I-Pods, Podcasts and other virtual media which I can only wish were never invented pertaining to the number of traditional radio employment opportunities; a no-win situation.  Here is a link to a friend and former co-worker speaking upon her being let go fromWBLS FM where she helped me get my audition tape to then Program Director, Frankie Crocker:

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Upon my recent prevailing against another unjust firing (when will I ever learn to get out of “radio”) a mentor wrote to me, “”Congrats!  I’m glad you won and yours is a victory for everyone who has been made a victim by companies such as Citadel.  I hope you get a generous settlement and I’m glad you didn’t let them get away with it.”

“The radio jobs that [we] yearned for thirty years ago aren’t coming back,” a Program Director friend of mine commented to me last week.  He has been one of the fortunate few to have been in his chair for about twenty years!  My suggestion has long been to bring back the requirement that broadcasters (yes,even DJs) have to pass the minimum Third Class FCC license test.  There are three classes of FCC licenses.  You would have a better quality of true communicators, and it would weed-out much of the “junk” we currently have over the terrestrial airwaves.  I bet people like Rush Limbaugh couldn’t pass the test for one on the first try! LOL

Two of  of these major “evil empires” of radio are Clear Channel (the former AM/FM radio and the greediest) and  Citadel Broadcasting.  Everytime I read a headline like this week’s “Clear Channel Revenue Slips 6% In Q4 ’09” I am happy. I hope one day they disintergrate.  Citadel has recently filed bankruptcy, so logically they should not be appealing any worker’s mysterious, curious and cost-cutting dismissals these days – except that they too live in the illogical world of the bottom financial line which dictates that they shouldn’t pay a worker who is partially unemployed and pay into his/her unemployment benefits; yet they would rather dismiss that type of employee rather than create a position where he or she could earn more and get out from under the Unemployment safety net. I was a victim of such a bean counter lady recently.  There is no respect for longevity anymore and no willingness to “work with” employees for mutual benefits.  My uncle, who just passed away at ninety-two years old was a Jazz fan – he loved WBGO and NPR’s programs – always said, “The larger the company, the more stupid rules.”  ‘Nuff said.

We used to lightheartedly say about our being in radio that we were “bitten by the bug” because we had the fever to play music, cut-up, entertain, inform and communicate the truths about our times.  That bug led to a fever that is hard to cure, and if you can break it, the residue tastes like that of losing a long-time lover or breaking a drug habit.

pickhitt: an optimistic perspective on the future of traditional radio DJs (at least in the UK) is here:

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Dave

His favorite cocktail was a “Red Snapper” (Crown Royal and Cranberry juice) short and neat with a cherry.  He almost didn’t fit in with the rest of his casino co-workers; too nice or straight-laced and clean-cut.  He tried to play the part, and I could tell that often they tried to make him the butt of their practical jokes, and as he got to feel comfortable with me, he’d stop at my bar first and began to open up about his personal life.  Apparently he too had a relationship nightmare with a woman back somewhere in Pennsylvania and there was drama over a daughter that either he wasn’t allowed to see or that wasn’t really “his”; it varied from week to week.  What was certain was that here was a misunderstanding, money involved and that hurt it this young man deeply.  I could tell from the tears that welled in his eyes when he came close to getting down to the nitty-gritty about it with me – often after the second Snapper.

This one particular night he was particularly distraught.  His weekend visit into Pennsylvania with the female not gone well and he is almost crying as he tells me his story when I lean towards him over the bar and say, “Let me tell you something and maybe you won’t feel so hopeless…”

Suddenly a fifty-thousand dollar pendulum swinging back and forth over his prone body, getting closer and closer to slicing him up and ending his life.   This “child” is apparently thirty years old by now!  “Isn’t there some statute of limitations on a female coming after you at this late date?” Dave asks. “How’d they find you?”

I told him his lesbian and sex-starved “sister” who is twenty years younger-than-he pointed the snoops in his direction against his wishes when suddenly sheriffs and police began to terrorize the house he grew up in, about five months ago – a betrayal that has not gone unnoticed.   He lost his tax refund for this year because they took it for this “debt”.  “That was my rent money, ‘Man!” he said.

“I’ve heard of that happening, ‘Man, it is like they don’t want a guy to be able to make a living or suntin,” Dave commented.

This most recent unjust tax threatens to end life for those who want to pursue what few dreams that I have left in mind.  A shackle like this changes he way men manage their lives and injects fear and paranoia where there was none in mind previously. By taking my tax refund all they do is unjustly penalize and hurt them short-term – like a dead man walking.

It is time to encourage an amendment to these laws that will allow this amount to be deducted from the Social Security account associated with this action in one lump sum. After all Dave, the Social Security number has already been besmirched in order to locate potential victims of these laws like me (a use for which it was never intended, you know), so why not while they are into my “private” account, just go ahead and take the whole sum and be done with it?  This would be an especially fitting remedy for an older gentleman like me who cannot afford another “car payment”. Of course a guy could then choose either to get involved with said female again or not. “Wow, choice, what a novel idea,” said Dave sarcastically.

What is the point of this greedy action?  It will NOT create a family or a “father” for an illegitimate child birthed by an unmarried woman who, if I remember correctly, the case was an acquaintance for only three weeks after some former co-worker set him up with her as a “blind date” over thirty years ago.  I remember the story of her dumping him for another man or men – no reason given . When  heard from  again briefly months later, she told him she was pregnant. He asked her, “So where is the ‘father’?”  “He left me,” she replied.  I think she fooled-around with a few guys, and didn’t know who the unlucky bastard was.

The a paternity test maybe nineteen years ago, and the result was “inconclusive”, so he didn’t worry much about it anymore, even though the first time they even heard of this female’s actions was when the state of Connecticut took his driver’s license away out of the blue in true draconian style.

Yes they fooled around during that brief time period – so did everyone back then (and even nowadays).  That doesn’t give a female Carte Blanche to be a ball-and-chain on a man who desires no relationship with her, for the rest of his days.  Dave might have been open to the idea if she came to him within the first weeks she found out about her condition, but to jump out of the alley and mug him years after she gave birth is behavior that should not be rewarded!

Most guys I know would not WANT to have any dealings with such a selfish and capricious female who would ruin three lives when a simple abortion or giving it up for adoption would have solved the problem. I remember that my parents always said to me, “Don’t bring home no bastards into this house!”  And I knew what they meant and never wanted to shame the family like that.  Ya know, there is a reason births like that were called “illigitimate”  until child support enabled this culture of the “single mom” at the expense of many men who are great people who got caught like dolphins in a fishing net – that stigma should be restored.

This is mentally traumatic and physically debilitating; Dave cannot sleep, and this will indeed shorten his life without some kind of intervention by a sympathetic entity or persons.

“So… I know your pain Dave,” I said.

“Child support laws do nothing but increase the resentment and hate between former sexual partners and reduce a man to a “sperm donor” who then has to pay for the “privilege,” Dave replied, now looking more relaxed. “Why don’t they have a birth-control pill for guys?”, he asked.

Pragmatically, since my broadcasting career began to fall apart almost twenty years ago, I knew that I could never afford children and a traditional “family”, nor have I ever wanted to raise any in these days of distraction we live in.  Is this a “sex tax”?  If so then let us call it that so we ALL know what we are dealing with.

I am lucky and  happily childless by CHOICE – yet the laws allow a female to take away my choice upon any gold digging whim she may have.  “I think we should write to President Obama and beg him to HELP!” said Dave, his mind now analyzing.  “Let’s do it, Dave – or I’m going to cease to exist!  I’m losing all incentive to go on…” 

I lamented as I sighed, “Last Call! Dave, here’s another one – it’s on me.”

pickhit: for over a decade stuff like this has gone one with (mostly) guys being intimidated by a system and judiciary that dismisses their pleas, lumping every case into a one-size-fits-all formula instead. The field needs to be leveled.

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