Change of Seasons by John Oates – Needs Some Flavor

Change of Seasons by John Oates – Needs Some Flavor

I’m reading John Oates’ book, “Change of Seasons” right now. I was looking forward to reading it and was happy when I was the first person on the hold list for it at the library. I’ve since learned that I was the only person on the hold list. Guess Brooklynites aren’t into John Oates.

At the stroke of midnight on March 28 I downloaded the book and then dug into it. So far I’m not sure about what I think. Maybe John’s early life was too normal to be real interesting. His grandmother took care of him, he loved music, race cars, and wrestling. He went to Coney Island a lot to record Italian songs that his grandma taught him. That got my interest up since I live and have always lived within walking distance of Coney Island. Maybe I saw him there when I was a kid. Nah, I doubt it. What I’m trying to say is that so far this memoir is too bland for me.

Would any of you want to read stories about my life growing up? Well, actually some of you have already. The difference is I can kind of write. Wait, wait, wait, John can write too. He’s in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, or whatever it’s called, but there’s a difference in writing songs and writing a story. I can’t write a song to save my life and it kind of looks like John can’t write a story to save his life so he wrote his memoir with the help of Chris Epting. Chris is a writer but even with his help so far the book is lacking flavor, spice, entertainment, or something. John, if you’re reading this, and why should you be, I’m sorry.

I know this is not a book about him and his good buddy Daryl Hall. It’s John’s memoir and I do like John a lot. My North Carolina “sista” calls him “the other one.”  I guess she isn’t much of a John Oates fan along with Brooklyn. Maybe the book would be more inviting if John wrote about the Daryl Hall and John Oates story stressing John’s point of view of course.

So far, “Change of Seasons” is a little slow going which is why I haven’t finished it yet and am reading three other books along with it. The pace is dragging.

But Oates has included some nice pictures. I especially like the one with his parents.

I will finish this book and will post full review of it. Maybe it will perk up later on.

In the meantime, here’s a good video interview with John and Salon.com about “Change of Seasons” for your listening pleasure.

Oh, and if you want to borrow the book (e-book) from the Brooklyn Public Library they only have one copy and I still have it. But the good news is that the hold list is still empty so you’ll get it when I return the book.

What does Brooklyn have against John Oates anyway?

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The Haunted Library

The Haunted Library

The library is haunted. Why is that such a shock? We all know it, we even talk about it in whispers. It’s never been a secret. But what’s really interesting is that 60 plus years ago the library was located about three blocks away from where it is now and it was haunted then too. When the library was moved to this new location the ghosts came along with it. The spirits followed the books and silently watched as different librarians took control.

The library watched as patrons entered the new building and the rules and regulations became lax. Sixty years ago you weren’t allowed to speak above a whisper and even then the stern librarian would glare at you. Now talking is allowed, beverages are allowed, ringing phones are allowed, screaming kids are allowed. No more are patrons shushed for uttering the lowest of sounds, anything goes at the library in this new age of technology. An age that the library spirits never imagined.

The library doesn’t like this change. It doesn’t like that the silent respect for it is gone. It isn’t happy so it allows its ghosts and spirits to haunt the new building especially after closing time. And sometimes a very sensitive person, like myself, can hear the library whisper to itself about the changes telling the wandering angry library spirits to be prepared for when the library closes for the day. Because when the last librarian leaves for the day it’s time for the ghosts to take control.

The library was closed for over a year. “Restorations,” the city said. “It will be better when it reopens,” the city said and when it reopened, over a year later, there was no difference. The chairs were the same and the tables were the same, but the setup was a little different, and there were less books. The library was not happy.

Everyone was welcome to the library grand opening. The crowd sat and lightly applauded as councilmen gave speeches and apologized for the six-month delay of the opening.  “New heating system, new cooling system, more computers,” they bragged. All of that might be true but the real reason the library was closed was because the city knew about the ghosts living there and these spirits had to be exorcised. The ghosts knew too much and they were getting much louder than they were in the previous century. Pretty soon non-spirits would be able to hear the complaints.

The library is still haunted. I’ve been there at least ten times since it’s reopening and the ghosts are still haunting the shelves. I saw my friend Janet there today. But not the 65 year old Janet, who might or not still be alive. She was very sick the last time we spoke seven years ago. Instead of the older Janet I saw the five year old Janet, the one who was wearing her school dress with patent leather shoes and her little white socks. The Janet who ran around the card catalogs at the old library, the one who was interested in the Dewey Decimal System by the time she was ten years old.

Five year old Janet spotted me, smiled and ran over and took my hand. “Where have you been, Sharon? We’ve been waiting for you to come.” “Who’s been waiting for me?” I asked. “All of us.” Janet said indicating a corner of the room which on first glance appeared empty but then I saw them. I saw some other patrons from 1960, people who I haven’t seen in decades.

I also saw Madeline who lived in all the Madeline books I read as a kid; and there was the Phantom Tollbooth with Milo and Tock standing guard; I saw the three children from “Half Magic” and remembered how one of them, while sleeping, wished that his dead father would come back. I remember how I felt when I read that part as a child thinking that I would wish that too if my dad died. I have wished that many times as an adult. I saw the little child knight I read about in a book who had the mumps and his cheeks became so swollen that he couldn’t get his head gear off.

I saw Stephen King’s clown laughing in the back showing his sharpened teeth holding his dangerous colorful balloons. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight were there talking with some other knightly characters. And trying to take control of the situation was a librarian from 60 years ago who was hushing everyone.

My mother was there too looking up from her book to smile at me. I’m pretty sure my sister and father were there too along with some of my cousins and long gone friends.

“See, Sharon, we’re all here. Your friends, family, and characters you’ve loved to read about. Stay with us Sharon, we’ve been waiting for you.” It was tempting, I wanted to stay but I turned to Janet and told her that I had to get home. It was 5:55 PM and the guard was making the announcement that the library would be closing in five minutes and to proceed to the checkout machine to borrow books. Janet looked up at me  and said, “Check out machine. The librarians used to check out our books. You remember when they did that and now you have to do it yourself.” Yes, I remembered.

“Please proceed to the machine to borrow your items, shut off your computers, and please log off all devices you have connected to our WiFi” the guard stated.

“WiFi, computers, devices, do you really like this better? Wouldn’t you rather stay with us here in 1960?” Janet asked. “No. No, not really. I do prefer 1960 but my cousin is coming by tomorrow and I promised him I’d be home. I can’t stay today but I’ll come back for a visit on Saturday. But one day I will stay here with you in 1960. We will play again, Janet, and maybe all our other childhood friends will be around too. Then we all can talk with the book characters and be happy all together again. But I can’t stay now, maybe in ten years, maybe in 15 years maybe within a year, I don’t know but when the time comes I will stay here and haunt the library with all of you.”

Janet dropped my hand and gave me a small wave as did the little knight and the clown, “It.” “I’ll be back to visit day after tomorrow” I sadly said because, the truth is, I would like to stay with them and see my old childhood friends, and maybe seek out Robert Frost and Herman Melville and other authors. They have secrets to tell me, dangerous secrets that the city tried to silence by the having the new “renovations.”

It would be nice to stay but that won’t be for a little while. Until then I will visit my old friends, books and people, at least three times a week.

Yes, the library is haunted and everyone knows it. The renovations didn’t get rid of the spirits living there. They will always be there, forever, and one day so will I.

To see more of my childhood memories go to  S.A.K. Remembers on my blog.

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Cancer Is Not Always Pink – Dress In Blue Day -March 3, 2017 – Graphic Details

Cancer Is Not Always Pink – Dress In Blue Day -March 3, 2017 – Graphic Details

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and tomorrow is Dress in Blue Day. Please wear something in blue to support your fight to end this cancer. I know everyone has their causes and Colon Cancer is mine. I’ve written about my sister’s battle and there are so many others struggling to become a colon cancer survivor.

Most people don’t like to talk about Colon Cancer. It’s not pretty, not that any cancer is, but Colon Cancer deals with a very personal part of the body. It’s ugly. To be brutally clear here, you defecate in a bag that is attached to your stomach. Through surgery your rectum is attached to the stomach and when you have to move your bowels everything comes out from there into a bag. Many health insurance companies only allow for  ten bags a month so each bag has to be used for three days. You have to empty the bag and then clean it before you reattach it to your stoma, which is the rectum that is now at your stomach.

Grossed out yet? I have more. The stoma bleeds very easily, IF you scratch it while cleaning it or scratch it while changing the ostom bag it will bleed -a lot. Think of how much a hemorrhoid bleeds. The stoma is very delicate

Want to hear more? There are times when the stoma become prolapsed. That’s when the bowel protrudes through the stomal opening in the skin to a greater extent than was anticipated. The amount of protruding bowel can vary from 2-3cm to more than 10cm. Although when this first happens it can be very distressing and frightening it is usually not serious. My sister’s stoma grew to 9 inches. She had 9 inches of stoma hanging from her stomach. They had to operate on her to take the hanging portion off. The doctor said it was like removing a penis. That’s how big and thick it was.

And here’s another good one – visiting nurses aren’t allowed to change the bag, at least not back when I needed a nurse to stay with my sister for a day while I had to go to a Disability appointment. I was told to have a neighbor come in and help my sister change her ostomy bag. A neighbor! A visiting nurse wasn’t allowed to change it but a neighbor was qualified? I didn’t make my appointment that day.

I can tell you a lot of horrible stories about Colon Cancer but thinking back on all of that upsets me.

But I will ask you to wear something blue tomorrow, March 3, 2017 to HONOR everyone who is going through this dreadful type of cancer and to honor their caregivers too.

If possible change your Facebook image for an hour tomorrow with the blue star that I’ll post at the bottom of this page.

Colon Cancer is not for the squeamish. It’s devastating and deadly. If you’re over 50 and don’t really watch what you eat get checked. There are symptoms but you don’t always have them but beware of blood in your stool and pains in the left side of your stomach.

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Dying With Cancer – A Plea For Help From My “Sista” Janette Broome

Dying With Cancer – A Plea For Help From My “Sista” Janette Broome

I’ve mentioned Janette a few times in the things I’ve written here. She lives in North Carolina, has three sisters, one of whom is her twin, and one brother. She also has three kids, loads of grand kids with a new little boy expected any day now, she loves Daryl Hall and calls him her “man.” Janette is a sweet woman who can kick anyone’s ass if they push too hard, and she a good friend to me. We, along with our friend Cathy, call each other “sistas.”

Why am I telling you so much about Janette? Because she called me at 10:00 this morning in tears. Janette has cancer and not just one cancer she has a few different ones. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma ten years ago. Then late last year she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and had a mastectomy. The cancer has now spread to her liver and she just found out that it’s also in her Cervical Spinal Nerve 2. Out of all the cancers she’s been diagnosed with this cancer frightens her more than the others. Let  me just say that Janette is dying. Everyone knows it but even Janette never said it out loud to me until this morning when I told her I knew she was dying and have even spoken about it with our friend Cathy and to another of Janette’s friends. I admitted that I suspected that things were not going well to Cathy but never said it to Janette herself.

The reason for her tears this morning is that Janette’s having severe pain in her neck caused by the cancer in her Cervical Spinal Nerve 2. If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve in your neck you’ll understand had horrible the pain can be. Her doctors don’t seem to be taking her complaints seriously. Janette has told me multiple times that she feels as if she’s being brushed under the rug. I understand that.

I truly believe that when some doctors see a 66 year old woman with terminal  cancer they might not go out of their way to help much. Janette needs pain medication to control or even take the edge off the neck pain but she’s also given a million excuses why she can’t get a prescription. One excuse is that she might become addicted. For real? Becoming addicted to pain medication is the least of her problems.

Janette called and begged me to write about what she’s going through with her process of dying. She’s tired of platitudes, “the sun will come out tomorrow”, “you’re strong”, “keep fighting” and things like that. What Janette wants everyone to know is that she is not strong, she is not brave, and that whenever she seems that way it’s all an act that she feels she has to put on. The last thing she wants to do is upset her children, grandchildren, her sisters, and brother and the rest of her family so she smiles through it all but inside she’s terrified.

I tell Janette that she can call me anytime at all and she can feel free to get it all off her chest. That’s what she did this morning. My sister died from Colon Cancer seven years ago and I saw what a battle with cancer can and does do to the victim and their family.

She wants me to spread her story to other people fighting this disease. She needs help. Janette want to know how all of you fighting and all the caregivers get what you need? How do you get your doctor to listen to you and not brush you under the rug? How do you get your family and friends not to be afraid and to not try to sugar coat the fact that you’re dying and might not be around when Christmas rolls around this year? How do you explain to people that telling you not to be afraid does not work? How do you get people to understand that you’re afraid and need them to listen to you cry and to talk with you? How do you live with the fact that your time is limited?

I do my best when I speak with Janette. I never told her that she’ll be fine because I don’t believe that. I cry when I think of her but the last thing she needs is to comfort me because I have to be a part of her support group.

We’ve been on the phone for hours this morning. The only time we weren’t  was when she called her doctor’s office, stopped being nice, and told his nurse that she needed some relief from her pain. Today is her doctor’s day off but he called her back and told her to go to his office. That’s where she is now.

More than anything Janette wants whatever is left of her life to be lived with some sort of dignity and with some quality. She wants to be able to hold her new grandson when he’s born and tell him she loves him. She wants to be able to play with her little three-year old granddaughter, and she wants to be able to talk to her older grandchildren and tell them more stories about her life growing up. She wants to hold her children and tell them not to worry too much, and she wants to love her siblings and smile with them and maybe laugh a little too.

“How do I do this Sharon? How do I get people to listen to me, treat me with respect, understand what I’m going through? I’ve thought about this and the only option I see is to go to you and ask you to please write about me on your blog. Please ask people if they have an answer to the best way to die with cancer. I just want to wake up in the morning with little or no pain and to know that all my family and friends are supporting me and to not treat me like a child. I know I’m dying but I need a ton of support.”

So I’m asking you, cancer fighters, caregivers, friends and family of people who are going through what Janette is going through to please post on the blog and help Janette get through this hard time. I will make sure she sees your posts and I’m sure she will comment.

Thank you all.

UPDATE on Janette – The night this article was written Janette fell in her apartment and broke her back. She’s in the hospital now and is scheduled for back surgery next week. She will then be put in a back brace so she can heal and then she will have to go to a rehabilitation center. All this will take months.

I spoke with her late last night and she said that she thanks everyone for their beautiful comments. I’ll be sending her everything you’ve been posting. The only time she brightened up was when I told her how many people have read this article about her.

Please share this piece about Janette if you can. I’m so worried about her. Last night she said, “I’m in a real pickle now, Sharon.”

 

 

Author Pat Conroy Dead at Age 70

Author Pat Conroy Dead at Age 70

Pat Conroy, one of my top favorite authors, died from pancreatic cancer on March 4. He announced he had this disease a short time ago and tried to fight it but lost his battle.

Conroy wrote such classics as  “The Great Santini,” “The Lords of Discipline,” “The Prince of Tides,” and my all time favorite, “Beach Music.” I think I’ve read every one of his books and have read many of them multiple times.

He was 70 years old. Way to young to pass.

He was so talented and fans will miss him.

Hall & Oates Called “Jagoffs!” Um, What’s a Jagoff?

According to Wikipedia, “Jagoff or jag-off is an American English derogatory slang term from Pittsburgh English meaning a person who is stupid or inept. It is most prominent in the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania areas. The Dictionary of American Regional English defines the term as a ‘general term of disparagement.'” Oh, okay. Not such a nice term.

It seems like singing duo, Blue Jean Committee, a soft rock singing duo from Chicago, have been at odds with Daryl Hall and John Oates for some time. Way back in the 1970’s Hall & Oates were the opening act for Blue Jean Committee and then something happened. Daryl and John became bigger than the act they opened for. Well, that happens sometimes but Blue Jean Committee is not happy about what happened next.

According to A.V.Club.com, Blue Jean Committee stated, “The minute they hit it big, they just left us in the dust. They don’t talk to us anymore,” reveals Clark Honus (Hader), one half of the Blue Jean Committee. “That’s a real Philly thing to do.” The article also said, “Daryl Hall hasn’t even invited them onto Live From Daryl’s House or Daryl’s House Club to jam at the jawn over some hoagies…” Jam at the jawn? I must be getting old because I don’t know what that means either.

I wonder why Blue Jean Committee is so surprised that Hall refuses to “jam the jawn” with them. Not that I know anything except for what I hear and read, but Daryl Hall doesn’t seem like the type of person who keeps his friends close. In fact, in one episode of “Live From Daryl’s House” he even told his band that he doesn’t have friends. Maybe that’s because he won’t “jam the jawn” with them over hoagies.

Anyway, Daryl Hall and John Oates are both in their late 60’s but are still going strong and touring. I give them lots of credit for that. They’ve been around a good 40 years, their songs are still popular enough to have them in television shows and movies, and not every young person says “who?” when H & O is mentioned.

Daryl and John will start their summer tour soon now that they’re about to end their winter tour. The summer fun starts on May 13th in Dallas with Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. If you want to see them tickets go on sale February 12th.

I wonder if Blue Jean Committee will attend one of the concerts. Or maybe Daryl will send them free tickets or even better, ask Blue Jean Committee to open for them.

May 13 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion

May 15 – Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

May 17 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater

May 19 – Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre

May 21 – Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

May 24 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion

May 26 – Washington, DC @ Jiffy Lube Live

July 10 – Philadelphia, PA @ BB&T Pavilion

July 12 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center

July 14 – Bangor, ME @ Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion

July 16 – Boston, MA @ Xfinity Center

July 18 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre

July 20 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center

July 22 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

July 24 – Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center

September 9 – Seattle, WA @ White River Amphitheatre

September 12 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre

September 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion

September 18 – Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion

September 20 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl

September 23 – Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand Garden Arena

 

Janette and The Fear of Daryl Hall’s Death

Janette and The Fear of Daryl Hall’s Death

My friend Janette posted something on a Facebook Page I belong to, “Old Hippies Never Die, They Just Flashback.” She doesn’t believe that old hippies never die because when one does die she’s the first to spread the word. In today’s case it’s the death of Richie Havens. Of course Richie died a solid two or three years ago but we’ll forgive Janette for forgetting exactly when Richie left us.

But it made me feel bad remembering Richie because of Glenn Frey’s recent demise and others so far this year. Not a good year for old hippies, which I am sadly a part of. But no one will care when I kick the bucket – no real friends except for maybe three people. Janette is one of my three close friends. Yeah, she’ll shed a tear or two I suspect but not the waterfall that will be pouring out of her eyes when, (and I have to whisper this because I don’t want Janette to hear), Daryl Hall leaves his Earthly life behind.

You remember Daryl Hall from Daryl Hall and John Oates? “Sara Smile”, “Maneater”, “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” You remember them, right?

Anyway, Janette and I met maybe five or six years ago on a Daryl Hall Facebook page. You’ve seen pages similar to it. A bunch of middle aged women swooning over a, well, I’ll say it, an old rocker.

In a way Janette and I didn’t really belong with the middle aged swooners. We kind of joked around about Daryl but we were/are fans of his. I was an entertainment writer for a now defunct entertainment site and Janette was sure I would get the opportunity to interview Daryl. You know, sit by his side and watch as he tossed his hair around. Daryl has some nice hair. Much better than mine.

Janette was going to be my photographer so she could get into the room where Daryl and I would be talking. The only problem is that Janette told me that she would most likely faint and I would have to pick her off the floor. This became a running joke with us. “Sharon, you better not let me lay on the floor when I see Daryl.” “Sounds good to me,” I told her. I wouldn’t let her lay on the floor unless I was too busy laughing. No, no, I would get Daryl to pick up Janette’s swooned body and gently lay it on the couch with her head on his lap. I think that’s Janette’s dream.

But reality always shows its ugly head and the odds of meeting Daryl Hall are close to zero. But, I do think the the good Mr. Hall is aware of my name because I have written an article or two or 20 about him and they weren’t always nice. Now, now, now, it isn’t because I don’t like the good Mr. Hall it’s just that I got more hits if I didn’t write all the positive things that every other writer spoke about. I wasn’t exactly mean to him but I did have my sarcastic moments.

Janette didn’t mind my sarcastic articles, she loved them. She prayed that my articles would one day get Daryl to notice me and thus she’ll get to have her head laying on Hall’s lap after she fainted. Keep dreaming, Janette.

When Janette posted about Richie Havens today she said she was afraid about who the next old hippie will be to join Richie and Glenn in the great band beyond. Translation: “Oh no, if it’s Daryl Hall no one will ever be able to console me. Sharon, break his death to me gently.” Okay, Janette I will tell you about his death as gently as I can.

But I have to say something here. Daryl Hall will be turning 70 years old this October. Certainly not as young as he was in the 80’s but, you know, 70 isn’t that old. Right? Tell me 70 isn’t that old.

And something else of great importance; Daryl Hall is not sick. At least as far as I know but no one knew David Bowie was sick. Hall also has them strong Hohl, (his real last name) genes roaming around his body. His dad was well into his 90’s when he passed and his mom, Betty, is in her 90’s now. I figure Daryl has at least a solid 25 years left. With the way things are going he’ll definitely out live me. Probably even Janette and all those middle aged ladies that still swoon over him on all those Facebook pages. (They’ll never meet Hall either but don’t tell them that. They’re busy cuddling with posters of him on their beds.)

I’m stocking up on Kleenex just in case Daryl departs before me or Janette. And I’ll save some for my pal, Jill, who feels the same way about Tom Petty.

Okay, here’s one of my favorite videos of Daryl Hall. I know Janette will like it, she likes everything he sings.