Stickin’ it to the man with help from the women

“Yeah, you can try, but in the end you’re just gonna lose, big time, because the world is run by the Man. The Man, oh, you don’t know the Man. He’s everywhere. In the White House… down the hall… Ms. Mullins, she’s the Man. And the Man ruined the ozone, he’s burning down the Amazon, and he kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! And there used to be a way to stick it to the Man. It was called rock ‘n roll.”

So said Dewey Finn, masquerading as a prep school teacher in “School of Rock.”

I stuck it to the man called Type 2 Diabetes.

Thanks to three female doctors who helped me lead a healthier lifestyle.

My doctor, Alyssa Boyd, and two interns, Doctors Ashley Coulter and…medical cliche, I can’t read the signature on the massage therapy referral letter she signed…anyway, another young lady who treated me a few months ago at Dr. Boyd’s office.

OH SUGAR!!!

Go back to the fall of 2014 and I went to Dr. Boyd complaining of pain in the nether regions (likely a groin injury that was sports related) and peeing too often.

The urine test…sugar.

I was sent for a blood test and the results said I was on the cusp of Type 2 diabetes. 6.5 on the blood sugar scale.

At the time, I weighed around 185 pounds and even though I was getting plenty of exercise (tennis, volleyball, slow pitch) the cause was easy to figure out.

I was a poor eater.

Game on.

You’re supposed to go for blood tests every six months or so but I didn’t do that for another three years because I was on a mission to stick it to the man.

In November of 2017, I tested at 5.9. No longer Type 2. Not even “pre-diabetic.” No, I’d lowered my blood sugar levels to what is called the “warning” range.

How did I do it?

GOODBYE DR. PEPPER

A wholesale diet change.

Bye bye sugary cereals, frozen dinners, white bread, french fries and soda pop (haven’t had a Coke in over three years…tried a Coke Zero and it was fuckin’ awful…no sugar but tasted like someone had dumped two spoonfuls of sugar in it).

Replaced with All Bran, cooking with solid meats and vegetables, sweet potato fries and more water.

And, coffee and red wine. Okay, I’ve always consumed the latter two beverages though even when it comes to beer, I’ve switched to lower calorie choices like Rolling Rock (hey, Sandbar!) and Beach One Cerveza.

From what I’ve been told, many people in my situation haven’t changed their diets one bit and either totally ignored their doctor’s recommendations or need pills to keep their blood sugar in check.

After eight months of my new diet, I began my Wasaga spring as I’ve done every beach season for the past ten years, with a meal at the beachfront Burger King operated by friend, Fred Char. In previous years I’d ordered the Whopper combo, with fries and a large Coke.

“I don’t know what to offer you,” said Fred.

WHOPPER, FRIES AND A GIANT COKE

Thats’ the definition of a real friend. A guy who had served me dozens of Whopper combos, concerned that his menu offered very little in terms of healthy choices.

I’ve since switched to a Junior Whopper and a bottle of water.

This morning, I tipped the scale at 157. The lowest I’ve been since high school and, of course, college packs on the pounds thanks to pubs and, when you leave home and trade your Mother’s cooking for TV dinners, fast food and weekends at local clubs…

Hello beer gut!

So cheers to the ladies who gave me a much-needed wake up call. I could have ignored your advice or comprised a bit (okay, Ashley said I should cut down on my nightly milk and cookies and I have cut that in half, and I would highly recommend dark chocolate-covered almonds!) but I took it as a challenge.

In the words of my fellow Canadians, Triumph….

Fight the good fight.

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Has ‘50s rock and roll faded away?

Gary Clark Jr. and Jon Batiste are fine musicians and did the best they could in saluting rock and roll legends Fats Domino and Chuck Berry at the recent Grammy Awards but, when their brief mashup of Ain’t that a Shame and Maybellene ended, I just stared at the screen.

That’s it? Two songs in the middle of the show. Elton John is one of rock and roll’s great piano men so why didn’t he do a medley of Domino hits? I imagined an all-star tribute to Chuck Berry to end the show with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, Robert Cray, Joan Jett or any combination of rockers who are indebted to the man who laid rock and roll’s foundation.

And meanwhile, I was thinkin’….(Berry reference.)

Music fans tuning in to see Kendrick Lamar, Kesha, Rihanna and Childish Gambino likely had no idea who Domino and Berry were.

Meanwhile, I’m still thinkin’…

Has ’50s rock and roll faded away? Retro rockers like Brian Setzer and Robert Gordon have done their best to keep the fires burning but are they just flicking their Bics?

My show features tunes from the late ’40s to the present day and continues to run on a community station in Middelbourne, West Virginia. WRSG. And it was recently added to the internet station Beach Booster Radio here in Wasaga Beach. But it was canceled a few weeks ago on the station I work at, 97.7 the Beach (I’m still there, my day job is commercial writing and production, thanks for concern).

I took it well, as you may recall. Picture that Willy Wonka meme that gets recycled every time someone needs to express sarcasm on Facebook.

Okay, I was pissed.

But…

The station plays ’70s to the present day. My playlist was too old and the show was doomed even though I’ve met many listeners during the past 10 years who really liked my program and tuned in every week.

But…

They were usually over 60. Which brings me to the conclusion that ’50s rock and roll is in danger of being forgotten or slowly erased and maybe it’s just the passing of the years that causes that musical memory loss. Oldies radio used to be ’50s and ’60s. Now, it’s ’70s to the ’90s and Pearl Jam and Nirvana are classic rock.

“JOHNNY MARACA’S GONNA SHAKE IT IN YOUR FACE,”–VINCE BRACA

My show was inspired by the band I played with (after a few beers) and became friends with, The Black Holes. Hailing from London, Ontario…Vince, Sean, Tom and Jedd. Holes drummer Sean Anderson was my co-worker in the late ’90s and his band introduced me to Johnny Burnette, Link Wray and Eddie Cochran….and played supercharged versions of hits by Little Richard and Chuck Berry.

I became Johnny Maraca after shaking said percussive instruments with the Holes on Johnny B. Goode.

At the time, the Holes were playing college pubs and really, since the The Stray Cats exploded on the scene in the early ’80s with their retro rockabilly tunes reminiscent of Cochran and Gene Vincent, I figured early rock and roll would always appeal to at least a small segment of music fans.

Perhaps too small for Neil (“step up…females”) Portnow and the presenters of “music’s biggest night.”

Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard are the only ’50s legends still with us. The remaining Beatles and Rolling Stones are septuagenarians.

In Johnny B. Goode, Berry wrote about a young guitarist seeing his name in lights but the bulbs on the marquee are burning out one by one. The ticket booth is boarded up. There’s an echo of staccato bends and double stops…how that little country boy could play…close your eyes and picture a brown-eyed handsome man holding an electric guitar.

Smiling, duck walking across the stage.

Rock and roll. In 1958, Danny and the Juniors said it was here to stay. In the mid ’70s, Ronnie James Dio and Rainbow gave us (well, hard rock fans, most people reading this would say, who?) long live rock and roll. A decade after that, Twister Sister went further. You couldn’t stop it, according to Dee Snider. Tonight, sang Oasis, you’re a rock and roll star.

Every  couple years, some music journalist declares rock is dead. Like many of you, I’ve either doubted their conclusions or wanted to believe such was not the case.

But now…the ’50s ARE fading away and the ’60s, even with the Beatles and Stones, will as well.

I hope I’m wrong.

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Trapped in an elevator

McCully & Mariane told my Mom’s “trapped in an elevator” story on 97.7 the Beach this morning.

Here’s the audio:

By the way, Mom was in the elevator for 45 minutes but the Wasaga Beach firefighters probably got her out in about 10 minutes after they arrived.

 

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The toughest girl alive

Candace Hogan died from cancer in 2016, at the age of 54.

Known professionally as Candye Kane and she lived up to the title of her 2000 album, The Toughest Girl Alive.

I found that disc seven years later at a shop that no longer exists, though I’m pretty sure the awning that reads CD Shuffle still hangs above whatever took its place in Wasaga Beach.

When I took the CD to the counter the proprietor said, “She used to be in adult films, you know.”

I did not.

In the liner notes for The Toughest Girl Alive, James Kelly of Creative Loafing.com wrote, “How often does a woman overcome life’s obstacles and truly find her niche in a society that tends to reject minorities, the physically different, and the sexually ambiguous? Well, Candye has done it, time and time again. Not only has she beaten the odds cast on an unwed pregnant teenager, a welfare recipient, an abuse victim, and a girl struggling to survive in the carnivorous adult entertainment industry, but she has become a role model and an advocate for those still caught up in these situations.”

Toughest girl alive.

In those same liner notes, Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller recalled booking Kane on the duo’s TV variety show, Penn & Teller’s Sin City Spectacular.

BOOK HER!

Mostly because he heard Kane played the piano with her 44-H breasts.

In 1986, Kane married Thomas Yearsley, bass player for the San Diego rockabilly band, The Paladins. She started writing songs and it turned out Kane could sing. Really well. Several recordings were made prior to that appearance on Penn & Teller’s program and when Candye performed…

“She killed on our show,” Jillette said. “Killed. The crowd was jumping. Teller and I were dancing. This new album rocks while it swings…she’s the toughest girl alive.”

In 2009, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She lost over 100 pounds and that piano-pounding chest went from 44-H to 38-D but Candye maintained a hectic schedule of 250 shows a year, including appearances at many prestigious jazz and blues festivals.

“I’m the toughest girl alive,

I’ve walked through the fire and I’ve survived,

I’ve been beat up, burned up, pushed around,

But they just can’t keep me down.”

Candye Kane wrote and sang that but even toughest girl alive couldn’t beat cancer.

I’m playing another one of her songs on the next Rock and Roll Riot (on WRSG, see the link on the right side of my page). You gotta work what you got.

Candye Kane did that, and much more.

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