NBC keeps “Days” but dumps “Today”


Fans of “Days of Our Lives” can breathe a sigh of relief for now.  NBC has cut the third hour from “Today” to make room for Megan Kelly’s new show.  They don’t know if Kelly will replace Tamron Hall and Al Roker or Kathie Lee and Hoda.  One will go when Kelly debuts in September.

“Days”, however, is not out the woods yet.  Their renewal is in September and things could still change.  It would be awkward for the show if it were cancelled since they recently hired ex-“One Life To Live”/”General Hospital” head writer Ron Carlivati as its new head writer, whose material isn’t slated to start airing until September.



I will be so glad when this election is over.  If I hear that same female voice announcer talking about how rotten the candidates are, I think by December, I will get a different TV set because I would have thrown a brick through my set.  Thank God for the secondary channels that don’t run political ads (although Justice Network -KXTV 10.2 in the Sacramento market- is going to veer into that territory when John Walsh, Justice’s founder/host, “America’s Most Wanted” gives his reasons on certain legislation and candidates).

Well, what I noticed are the obvious hit pieces by the Koch Brothers.  The ones that demonize Democratic incumbents and candidates.  You vote how you want to, but the Kochs have funneled money into attack ads that are a combination of fact omission, blame game and fear.

Like the ads that are running in California attacking Democratic candidates and incumbents.  They have one common thread-Iranian and Islamic terrorism.

They have painted all Democrats that signed the deal with Iran as siding with the terrorists.  Therefore Iran is terrorist. So are followers of Islam.

But the thing that they leave out is that we have had terrorist acts on our own soil.  They conveniently leave off the fact that most of the acts that hit on our soil weren’t from Islamic extremists but by other people who don’t have a tie to Iran or Islam.

Like the guy who shot up Sandy Hook.  Or the guy who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  Or the guy who shot up Virginia Tech.  The list goes on.  But the people who they want to keep in control did squat when it came to talking about sensible gun control measures, these guys are so scared of the NRA that for years they believed the lie that Obama was coming for your guns.  The NRA has Congress by the privates keeping the Surgeon General from discussing how gun deaths are a health issue.

For the record, Obama couldn’t get them unless 2/3 of the Congress writes off on it as well as 75% of the States agreed to let him do so.  So those of you who believed the NRA…pooj on you.

And even though one of the worst terrorist acts happened in San Bernardino, they heightened the fact that the people who committed the act were ISIS sympathizers and practice Islam, what they leave out is the fact that the person who got them the guns was American.  He did a ghost buy – he got them for the shooters because the shooters couldn’t get them.

I have got to the point to where I’m not watching regular television until the election is over.  I don’t have cable or I would be doing on demand a lot.  I have regular antenna that picks up most of the secondary channels.  So far, I’ve been digging Heroes & Icons because of the “All Star Trek all the time” thing (every “Star Trek” series including the cartoon), MeTV, This, and Decades, which is news, history and entertainment rolled into one…and better yet, just turning it off until it’s over with.







How Teddy Pendergrass became the anomaly in the world of music.

In 1982, the late great soul singer Teddy Pendergrass had an auto accident that left him a confined to his wheelchair for the remainder of his life.  So, even though he was in this predicament, he managed to work to get his singing voice back.  But even his then-label Philadelphia International found it hard to market Teddy as wheelchair-bound.  Even though This One’s For You and Heaven Knows were recorded before his accident, they tried to market him as having the ability to walk, thus dropping him from the label.  But his paralysis didn’t stop him.

He had recorded “Hold Me”, a duet with a then-future superstar Whitney Houston which was featured on her debut album.  Soon afterwards, he was signed to Elektra/Asylum and this is where the anomaly starts.

Record labels sometimes branch out to go into different genres.  Like the Christian label Light going from jazz in the late 60s, Elektra was looking to make changes to its sister label Ayslum.  Along with funk hard rock outfit Xavion, Pendergrass was the only other black act signed to the label, in my opinion, an anamoly.

Asylum itself went through a few changes on its own.  Joni Mitchell left in 1980 to go to Geffen, the Eagles broke up and eventually left, Linda Ronstadt started recording torch standards, and Jackson Browne was about to make them nervous with his politically charged Lives In The Balance.   It was a state of flux for Asylum.  Nevertheless, Pendergrass signed on.

One of the first moves that Asylum did was to make a music video featuring Pendergrass amidst footage of his accident from a  news report and show him as he was.  The song “In My Time” did that.  The album Love Language soon followed and it also spawned another hit, the Luther Vandross/Marcus Miller-penned hit “You’re My Choice Tonight (Choose Me)” for the movie Choose Me.   His next album Workin’ It Back didn’t do well on the Billboard Hot 100 but it did spawn a Top 10 R&B hit “Love 4/2”.

The anomaly came full circle in 1988 with the album and the single “Joy”.  Pendergrass produced by album along with Reggie and Vincent Calloway (ex-Midnight Star), Nick Martinelli, and Miles Jaye, an artist he produced the year before through his Teddy Bear Productions company.  Joy  was the shot in the arm that Asylum needed, but a few weeks after the album’s release, Elektra/Asylum became Elektra Entertainment and Asylum was shuttered.  Please note: it’s common when parent labels shutter other labels to consolidate their products; it’s uncommon when the parent companies shutter other labels just as they release a new album. Labels tend to wait for the release to gain notice and, with the re-issue or the follow-up single, they change hands.  Elektra didn’t wait: everybody that was on Asylum were immediately switched to Elektra, but unlike Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt who had albums coming out on the label, Pendergrass’s release happened as Elektra shuttered Asylum.  In other words, it was released with both labels.


“Joy” by Teddy Pendergrass was released on both Elektra and Asylum at the same time.



You really like that album art?  You and everyone else who fell in love with the work.  Well, here are my top 10 interesting things about album art that you can see and other things you really couldn’t see or didn’t pay attention to.  I’m only counting the 12” vinyl album cover work as it relates to the label, so album covers by Yes won’t be counted here since it pertained to one particular group and not the label per se.

10. ALMOST LIKE ADIDAS (Phonogram)-On their albums, labels that were under Phonogram began sprouting barely-there three thick diagonal stripes located in the upper right hand corner on the cover where the record comes out.  Primarily focused on Mercury, Philips and Vertigo labels under Phonogram, these stripes usually blended in without being conspicuous.  Some labels like Casablanca and Capricorn didn’t get this treatment.

9. DIAGONAL STRIPES AND VERTICAL NUMBERS (CBS/Sony)-In the 1970’s, CBS began doing extreme diagonal stripes below the album’s serial number on the spine of the cover.  There were very few exceptions where the diagonal stripes were omitted, but it was the norm until 1984 when the stripes were done away with completely and the numbers were vertical.

8. SIX STARS (MCA)-Like CBS/Sony, the spine gave it away that the release was/belonged to MCA.   They had three stars on the top of the spine and three stars at the bottom.  The information was situated in-between.

7. IN THE CORNER (Montage)-Montage was a very short-lived label that was handled by EMI under an autonomous deal, which in this case, they kept the same pricing scheme but different numerical sequence.  Their logo was a woman’s hand peeking over window blinds with the label’s name written in red.  Whereas labels would make a secondary logo for the cover with just the name, Montage made their logo fit into the upper right corner, effectively making it part of the cover design.

6. MULTICOLORED WORLD (Real World)- When Peter Gabriel founded WOMAD, he began world music powerhouse Real World, he did something that tend to escape a lot of music labels that tried to do world: put multicolored bands on the back cover which represented the continents and parts of continents where the artist would come from and then would write the name of the country in the corresponding color stripe.  On vinyl, the label was colored the same way.

5. NORMAN MOORE ERA (Private Music)-If you want to know about Norman Moore, he is a graphic designer and chances are if you picked up nearly any cover from Private Music, he was their main designer.  Moore’s designs were very layered and gave you the mood of what you were about to buy.   He gave new age a contemporary edge.

4.  WHATEVER THE MUSIC IS (Narada)-In the late 80s, Sacramento used to have a radio station called The Point, and The Point was a breath of fresh air for its’ time.  It played contemporary jazz and new age.  One of these labels that benefitted with The Point as far as airplay was Narada.  And Narada divided their music under three different labels and designs to match.  Narada Lotus was new age acoustic, Narada Exquinox was contemporary jazz and new age and Narada Mystique was electronic new age.  These labels had their own distinct designs (Lotus resembled Windham Hill, Equinox had the main photo in a square with the title on top and bottom of the square, Mystique had an illustration in the middle of the cover with a sandstone-like backdrop).  They got contemporary in the mid-90s and switched under one moniker when Narada went from MCA to Virgin.

3. RAISED SCRAPBOOK (Meadowlark)-This short-lived new age label (not the hip-hop label under the same name) set itself apart by making their covers look like a raised scrapbook using water paper with the main cover photograph torn around the edges.

2. A WALK THROUGH A PHOTO GALLERY (Windham Hill)-Windham Hill’s covers were like going through a photo gallery in the record store.  Primarily the covers would be bathed in white with a photo on the front and back to represent introspection, sometimes even with an illustration.  So bold was this label they even had their own section in the record store with each artist having their own index cards.

1. JUST ABOUT ANYTHING GOES (ECM)-From day one, ECM (Edition of Contemporary Music) is the boldest in its’ cover designs because just about anything goes.  From using nice photos to just having the artist’s name on the cover by itself with the title.  From using regular fonts to actually using a typewriter (no joke) for some of their covers, ECM pretty much was at the forefront of groundbreaking design since 1969.  Photos used on their covers spawned two photo books.  And they still write their name plain on the front cover.ecm covers


Epic_Records_1979Meet the logo that refuses to leave: Epic’s classic motorcycle vintage logo and the more they change away from it the more it comes back.

This logo was introduced in late 1978 and it is one that it refuses to leave, lol.

Epic had given us the vibrant stereo look and the “orange groove” designs, but once this one entered, there was no turning back.  [EVIL LAUGH].

How powerful was this one?  It wasn’t like Nonesuch which changed during the Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch redesign years when it went from a classically-styled N to a more blocky one and then came back after a 23-year hiatus.  This one gobbles the one that it changed to.  In 1991, the logo was changed to a stacked records logo and this one ruled the roost still.  It changed back to the vibrant stereo logo completely in 1998 and then the classic motorcycle logo ran it down to ensure dominance…[EVIL LAUGH WITH LIGHTNING STRIKES].

Then in 2006, it was sidelined again by the red print logo which was an improvement, but then it struck again in 2011.  All other logos beware because THIS ONE’S A MONSTER!!! [EVIL LAUGH WITH LIGHTING AND THUNDER AND WEREWOLVES HOWLING].



There’s a saying that goes: “Always the bridesmaid, but never the bride.”   And it was this way with Foreigner.

The band struck hot with their debut which scored three Top 40 hits in 1977.  And even though they were hot property, they almost had their own boutique label out of the gate.  But it didn’t happen, so the company did the next craziest thing.

They gave them their own album catalog number on their albums.

In 1977, the music industry decided to raise album prices from $6.98 to $7.98 (which, by all accounts, it was like Windows jumping from XP to Vista – a very short-lived decision).  Foreigner’s debut album was originally numbered #SD-18215.  But the numbering guys at Atlantic got unintentionally lazy.  The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” single #RS-19100 minus the RS code became Atlantic’s $7.98 album price.  Atlantic’s best-selling acts got the $7.98 treatment – Foreigner’s debut album got renumbered at #SD-19109.

And it should have been going along in the current sequence.

Until “Double Vision” was released.   The album cover had the band photos in various tints on the inset and the covers.  Then Atlantic put the band’s logo on the altered Atlantic label.  And thus began the nines.  The album was numbered SD-19999.

The nines would stay  as part of the band’s album releases: “Head Games” (SD-29999), “4” (SD-16999), “Records” (80999) and it would end with “Agent Provocateur” (81999).  “Inside Information” came out and it was back to normal (81808).  Even so, the labels were design specific for their releases.  It wasn’t bad for a band that was many times platinum.




When we were being brought up in Del Paso Heights, then Lemon Hill, then 16th Avenue, finally at Kennedy Estates, there has always been a constant: they were low-income neighborhoods.  Because there wasn’t much that a single mother with many young-uns could swing.  And we even had to move in temporarily with my late sister Teresa and her family.

There was also another constant: how my mother told us to speak proper English despite our surroundings and raised us decent the best way she could.  For the record, I had a little bit of an edge because I would read the encyclopedia for fun and some knowledge.  And that opened the floodgates of people calling me an “Oreo”, a “Wannabe” and a sellout.  I can take comfort that most of those that did ended up in juvenile hall or dead.  I count myself blessed and lucky.

Now that’s out the way, I took strong offense to what Dr. Ben Carson said about President Obama regarding race, more to the point of “being raised white”.   I have to ask the question and I might be missing something but I don’t think so.

Since when does being raised with a moral compass have to do with being raised white?

Okay, so Obama’s half-White and half-Black, born in Hawaii, spent some time in Indonesia, came back to Hawaii.   We got that.  But reading Carson’s comment makes it that much irritating. 

When he said that Obama didn’t live the Black experience, he lied.  He must have “convenient amnesia” because Obama was met with being called a Muslim (he’s a Christian), a socialist (Wall Street nearly tripled), Hitler (really?) plus was going to make death panels (the insurance industry beat him to that), he was going to take away people’s guns (if he did that, you wouldn’t have the guns you got)…he was treated with utter contempt from members of the House and Senate to Fox News, so explain to me how he hasn’t had the “Black Experience”

And yet, Carson calls out Obama for being raised white.

And then these Republican thugs are trying to hop on board with this. 

Obama got elected in the White House twice and Republicans are butthurt.  These guys are too busy trying to overturn Obamacare, giving the rich and corporations big tax breaks, and trying to control women’s reproductive rights (what is it about the female anatomy that scares these guys?), and blocking legislation that supports getting us back on track.  Add to the fact that he has been married to the same person, have two wonderful daughters that didn’t get into trouble – most of these guys are having and have had affairs, children out of wedlock and multiple marriages.

But this “Obama’s raised white” irks me.

It pisses me off because I realize that every person of color is, what I call “The Funkadelic Effect” – this band in their early days couldn’t get airplay on mainstream radio because they were too rock-n-roll for R&B stations and too funky for pop/rock stations.  In our own backgrounds, people bitch that we’re too this but not enough of that.  Many of us don’t act what our backgrounds that white people stereotype and dictate because [gasp] we were raised decent, with morals, and no matter how bad our surroundings were, we had parents, friends, role models that kept us grounded, never selling out to anyone to please them.  We are what we are and the person who tries to change your core without your permission had better disappear.

To say Obama has been “raised white” is a slap in the face of all parents (single or married) who are raising their kids in less than good conditions and giving them a moral compass to make sure they do well.   Raising them with empathy while still keeping them strong; teaching their kids how to be kind and caring like they have to be, yet strong and ferocious when they need to be.  And children of color, especially multiracial ones, face the “Wannabe” names every day as if they didn’t have enough problems.

Carson’s remarks show that he is going too much in racism ghetto territory, but it’s moot.  Obama’s not running a third time because he can’t.   And his remarks trying to show he’s the most intelligent made him look like the kid  sitting in the corner of the classroom wearing a dunce cap forgetting to realize the these two simple facts.

We are what we are and we know who we are.