Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Kindness Of Strangers

Blanche Dubois, as fans of Tennessee Williams can tell you, depended greatly on "the kindness of strangers". That said, why can't we all be strangers? Why can't we all take on a kindly attitude in our everyday lives? If you're waiting for a bus, why not start a conversation with that sad- [or angry, if you're feeling very kindly. Or very strange...]looking person next to you. It doesn't cost a cent to share an encouraging word. In a store, why not start a conversation with the person in line behind you? You're both going to be there for a while [especially this time of year]; why not spend it trying to forget the delay, and remembering that we are all human, all interconnected?
There was a story on the news recently. Someone, just for grins [maybe s/he was performing a random act of kindness to blog about], paid for the next person in line's coffee at a drive-thru shop. The next person did the same, as did the next. In time, the chain of kindnesses extended for some two hours! It wasn't an expensive thing to do, yet imagine the simple pleasure in having a stranger buy your coffee, and the simple pleasure of doing the same for another stranger, another fellow human, another link in the chain.
Take a look at the world. There's a lot wrong with it. We may not, by ourselves, be able to change the big picture. But we can improve our little corner by simple, unexpected [I hate the idea of "random"; we should be looking for the chance to help a fellow human!] acts of kindness, of courtesy, of acknowledging our fellow members of the human race. (If you need an idea or two to get you started, try
-Mike Riley

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blame It On The Boogie

Was I the only person who saw a report that The Jacksons were considering a tour in 2008? It was a brief item in some "Celebrities" site on the Web last week, quoting Jermaine [the only member of the family besides Michael and Janet to have even limited success as a solo artist] that the brothers would reunite for a series of shows next year. Maybe it's just me, but this could be one of the biggest entertainment stories of the year.

No, there haven't been any hits, or even new recordings, from The Jacksons in almost two decades. Then again, that's not a huge hardship. Groups like The Beach Boys have gone longer between recordings, yet make a comfortable living cranking out the past for My Generation [read: Baby Boomers who feel disenfranchised from the current world of music. For the record, I was in the last wave of that birthing migration] and make a damn good living at it, thank you.
[By the way, are any of the original members still touring with the Beach Boys? My God, John Stamos used to be their tour drummer. Really. Just ask either of the Olsen twins...]
The part of all this that interests me the most is whether Michael will join what promises to be a cross-continent migration. Miko, if memory serves, was always a fragile traveller at best. Granted, his shows defined high energy, allowing him to briefly take the title of "the hardest-working man in show business" from James Brown. As well as most of JB's dance moves [The title, incidentally, is currently retired, out of respect to Mr. Brown's memory. Perhaps in a few years...]. Further, Jacko seldom cancelled a show. But one heard the whispers from the road [no, not those whispers] and worried if their tickets would ever be used [Nowadays, of course, tickets from cancelled shows would hit eBay within minutes of the announcement, and probably bring in more than bootleg recordings of actual performances. The World has changed, and not for the better...]. Then again, if Michael doesn't join the family, who'd go? A medley of Tito's hits would be brief at best and, as noted earlier, Jermaine's body of work is rather limited...
I've got it! Introducing the previously unacknowledged Jackson brother - Randy [no, not Michael's actual brother, Randy. Randy Jackson, the erstwhile American Idol judge and former member of Journey!] Think about it - he'll draw the "AI" fans, those who can't get Journey out of their iPods, fans of Oreo cookies - it's win-win all the way around! Kick this around, people! It'll be the tour of 2008!
Now, can I get t-shirt rights?
-Mike Riley