March 31, 2012

An Important Story.

If you have not heard or read about a woman named Anna Brown in St. Louis, Missouri, then I implore you to go here.  Be sure to watch the accompanying video as well. 

Anna's story needs to be front page news.  It's especially timely with the pressing issue of health care in this country.  It sheds significant light on the reality for many underinsured and uninsured in this country.  It highlights the danger of passing judgement based on race, economic status, and life circumstances.  One might even conclude that this story indirectly addresses the need for improved and increased mental health coverage for all, because it's highly possible that whatever unaddressed mental health issues Anna had contributed to her inability to properly care for her children and led to her homelessness. 

Anna's story is wrong on so many levels.  Not the least of which is the treatment she received from the police.  I am so outraged by the police in this story, I could spit fire.  And thus far, the police department involved is not being further investigated regarding this incident.  This woman did not take a swing at the police.  She did not resist arrest.  She was clearly writhing in pain.  She could not walk or put any pressure on her legs.  But instead of using a wheelchair to transport her from the car to the police station, the cops grabbed her by the arms and dragged her.  Once inside, when she once again stated she could not walk, they carried her to a holding cell and dumped her onto the cold, concrete floor.  Even despite the fact that there was a bed with a mattress right next to her.  She was dead minutes later, after a blood clot from her leg traveled to her lungs. 

I don't give a flying crap how dangerous or hard a cop's job is.  There is no excuse for the treatment this woman received.  She posed zero threat to them.   She was clearly in pain.  They assumed she was on drugs even though her behavior did not indicate that (and not to mention could've been easily proven while they were still at the hospital if they were so sure).  I really hope that this story continues to get media coverage so that a proper investigation, of both the hospital and the police, is done.  It's all infuriating.

Rest in peace, Anna Brown.  I hope your death will not be in vain, and will instead be a catalyst for some much needed change in our country.  Change in our health care system, mental health services and availability, and perhaps most importantly, change in how we treat each other.

March 17, 2012

Happy Holidays.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks.  Irish or not, it's a good excuse to go have some cocktails on a Saturday afternoon, so take advantage of it and go enjoy yourself.

March 10, 2012

The Cult.

I'm a huge fan of the band The Cult.  They are definitely one of my top 10 favorite bands of all time, and in my top 5 as far as live shows go.  I find them to be rather unique in the music world.  It's 4 guys with basic instruments and no frills, yet they put out some goddamn loud, rockin' sound that cannot be classified by any one genre. 
Since I'm back into vinyl, I've been on a quest for some Cult on album.  I never owned any back in the day.  My first exposure to them was in my early teen years.  Back then, they were called the Southern Death Cult, and they were heavy on the punk and goth rock influence.  I remember always wanting to buy that album back then, but for some reason never got around to it, only to forget about the band altogether at some point (they never had mainstream popularity and faded away pretty quickly), until years later when I was first exposed to The Cult's album Love.  When I first heard it, I immediately recognized the voice.  A voice that I could never forget, because something about it makes me swoon.  The rest, as you know, is history.  Love was The Cult's breakthrough album that brought them mainstream success in the mid 80's.  I love these guys because they are different.  They came from England when punk was all the rage and they took those influences and did something different with them, which was heavily criticized at the time, yet developed a cult following (no pun intended).  Southern Death Cult lasted less than 2 years before singer Ian Astbury joined up with guitarist Billy Duffy to form Death Cult, which quickly evolved into The Cult that we know today.  Along the way, they kept those punk and goth influences to varying degrees, blending in some classic hard rock, a little metal, and even some 80's, new-wavish qualities.  Their sound is odd blend of a lot of stuff that somehow works beautifully, and to this day, cannot be compared to anyone else out there.  That is why I love The Cult. 

So, now that you understand my love of this band, you will be happy to know that I've had some major success in my album search.  When The Cult reached popularity in the 80's, the world had already gone cassette.  Hence, making their albums a bit hard to find.  But miraculously, after spending 4 hours in the most insanely packed (to the ceiling) record store I've ever seen, I spotted the album Love staring at me from a "new arrivals" bin next to the register.  It was right there in the front of the stack, just waiting for me.  I didn't even look at the condition.  I wanted it.  I had to have it.  And it wanted me, as I felt this was no coincidence.  I shouted in excitement and added it to my pile.  I didn't even know how much they were asking, but it ends up it was only $8.00.  And it's in mint condition. 
Perhaps an even bigger find was this:

I got this precious gem from some sucker on Ebay who sold it for only $12.  This is rare, folks.  Very rare.  This was the only release from the Southern Death Cult, and it wasn't actually released until after they had disbanded.  In fact, by the time it was released in 1983, they had already morphed into modern day Cult, although none of us would know of them as such until a few years later.  It's all confusing, I know.   How odd is it that they released this one album long after the band, who was never that popular to begin with, had broken up?  Strange, indeed.  It's the crappiest recording you've ever heard, too.  Since they disbanded before recording it, the LP was created using various session and live recordings.  And it sounds like it.  Kinda like how Rerun's bootleg recording of the Doobie Brothers probably sounded when he snuck into the concert with a gigantic old-school tape recorder in his overcoat pocket (and was subsequently caught red-handed by the band).  Yes, I'm talking about Rerun from What's Happening!!  I love that episode.

Here's some vintage Southern Death Cult for ya:

Here's classic Cult in more recent years doing In the Clouds.  I had always liked that song, but it wasn't until I saw them perform it live for the first time on the '99 reunion tour that I fully appreciated it. 

The Cult is about to release a new album on May 22nd called Choice of Weapon.  I'm beyond excited.  A tour is to follow, and if you want to rock your face off, I highly recommend you go if the opportunity presents itself.