The Trellis – Part 2

Philadelphia, PA – Mid 70s

There was this guy named Rudy Falf who lived with his brother across the street. They were probably both in their early 40s back then. They were both weird guys. They kept to themselves and I have no idea how they supported themselves. I’m assuming their parents maybe left them the house across the street where they resided.

Now, when I say “weird guys” I don’t mean creepy, pedo-type guys. They were both really sweet people. But a little touched in the head. Rudy’s brother was really quiet and sort of furtive. We didn’t see much of him. But Rudy was always out. He had a cast in his one eye which made him look even weirder. Like, ‘one eye is looking at you, and the other one is running down to the shop to get a pack of smokes.’ But they were both sweet and harmless men. Rudy was really friendly to us kids, and would always give us comic books. I remember he would sit in his car and just run the motor and read his comic books. I didn’t know why, but I heard he did that to charge up the battery because I rarely saw him ever drive that car.

I remember one of our neighbors told her two daughters that they couldn’t go to the Falf house for trick or treat on Halloween because she figured the brothers would diddle her daughters. But that would never happen because they were two really nice people. Just a little touched in the head. It’s that kind of ignorant behavior that creates prejudice in people. Just because somebody is different or weird, doesn’t make them evil pedophiles. I wasn’t raised that way and never agreed with her behavior.

But we liked him because he was nice and always gave my friend RJ and I comic books when he was finished reading them. I probably still have a few left in my collection. Free comics are always welcome!

Oh, one last thing. Rudy had this crazy stutter. Certain words would just hang there and he’d just keep saying the prefix of a word over and over really fast until the rest of it came out of his mouth. It was odd, but as kids, we just saw it as the way he spoke. And could this guy talk. He could ramble on forever about the most simple of subjects.

Everybody in the neighborhood loved my mother. I mean, everybody. It was like she had a fan club. Back then all of the dads worked and the wives all stayed home and took care of the house and kids. The ladies would stop over and chat with her. My mom was such a good listener and very cordial, so people just gravitated to her. I think there were days where our neighbor, Mrs. Hanley would come over with a cup of coffee and her cigarettes and talk my mom’s ear off. But my mom was always nice and would host anyone who wanted to swing by out of boredom.

Of course, my mother would be at the market and always run into somebody in the neighborhood and they’d chat. But one of the people who was the most annoying was Rudy Falf. Not because he was nuts, but because he would walk her home from the market and literally chatter nonstop. Stuttering his way through some nonsensical tale. My mother would smile and listen respectfully.

But one day she runs into him in the market and she hears him going on and on about a theft at his house. He’s literally talking non-stop to anyone who will listen about this crime that’s been committed against him.

Of course, this gets the attention of my mother in the checkout line. I mean, you couldn’t escape this guy if he started waffling on about something. He just wouldn’t stop going on and on about the subject. But my mom, knowing she’s been cornered and will probably have to listen to him all the way home, smiles and listens to him.

“What happened, Rudy?”

Rudy responds in his usual stutter, more manic than ever because he’s upset about the crime that’s committed against him.

“Somebody stole my ligga, ligga, ligga, ligga ligga, ligga, ligga, ladder!”

“Oh really? That’s awful. I’m so sorry to hear that.”

“Yea, it was lying right on the side of my house and somebody came along and stole it!”

“What did it look like?”

“It’s wooden and about this long! I’m going to call the police!”

The stark realization of what’s happened hits my mom like a freight train.

Rudy’s stolen ladder is resting against the wall of the garage in the garden of our yard.

She tells him how sorry she is for his misfortune and will keep an eye out for it. She never tells him!

Of course, my mother being the sweet woman she is, and an upstanding member of the community, is mortified. She immediately comes home and tells me the story she just heard.

I tell her I had no idea where Michael had gotten the ladder from and thought he had picked it out of someone’s trash. For once, I was telling the truth. My mom surprisingly believes me and tells me to figure out a way to get that ladder back to Rudy.

I concur with Michael. He tells me that he did indeed nick the ladder from the side of Rudy’s house but thought it was in the trash. The truth of what he does or doesn’t believe is a moot point at this juncture. We need to get that ladder back to Rudy’s house as soon as possible before we get in deep trouble.

So that night, Mike and I quietly crept over to Rudy’s house under that cloak of darkness. We gently placed the ladder back where Michael had found it. Then we did what all boys do when faced with adversity. We ran away!

So, in closing, no harm was done, and Rudy’s ladder miraculously reappeared safely back on his property. When I think about this whole incident now, I think it wasn’t so much about us climbing on my mom’s flower trellis. We just wanted a way to get up on the roof. My mother knew that if the trellis broke and we fell, we risked falling through a bunch of sticker bushes and possibly crashing down on one of the many large stones that surrounded her garden.

Parents don’t stop their kids from doing risky stuff to control them, but to try to keep them from killing themselves.

Or… one of us boys could have fallen off the roof and hit the concrete driveway below doing some serious damage to ourselves. Can you imagine falling 20 feet and landing headfirst onto cement as a kid? If you survived the injury you might end up talking like Rudy for the rest of your life.

And nobody wants that.

But, I got a good story out of it, so it was all worth it!



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The Trellis – Part 1

Philadelphia, PA – Late 60s, Early 70s

When we were kids we had this little pool in our backyard. It was actually set up in our carport, not our yard. My mom would put down a big blanket on the ground, and then haul the pool out of our garage. It wasn’t very big, but we had a good time playing in it. It was probably only 6 feet square and less than a foot deep. But it was a fun thing that we could play in to cool off and frolic about.

My mother would fill it up with water from the hose. She’d do this before lunchtime around 11am. By the time we were finished eating, the sun would have warmed the water and we could all go in.

Some of our friends would come over and we’d all have a grand old time on a warm spring day.

The Mitchell family down the street had acquired a large above-ground pool and that became the popular spot in the summer for the neighborhood. I didn’t ever go over there for that because to me it was too crowded and too deep. Not for me.

Besides, once school let out we’d be down the shore for the summer. Which was 1000 times better than any pool in our neighborhood.

Anyway, when we were done playing in our little pool, we’d obviously have to come in and get into some dry clothes. But for some reason, my sister and I would leave our wet bathing suits on our beds. I have no idea why we did this. We could have turned them into mom, or hung them on a doorknob or something. Who wants a wet bed?

But we did that a number of times and my mother was not pleased. She finally told us that if we did it again, we’d have to write: “I will not leave my wet bathing suit on the bed.” 50 times. Which when you’re a kid is a tedious and time-consuming process. I suppose because we didn’t listen to her initial request, this punishment would drill the idea into our thick heads.

So, it happened again and my older sister and I had to write. She was a good student and had mad school skills, so she blew out the punishment in an hour or so. But it took me forever. I finally got it done, and never left a wet bathing suit on my bed again. Effective punishment. It got the result my mom desired. She also figured a little exercise in penmanship never hurt anyone.

My mom had a wooden trellis bolted to the sidewall of the garage in our yard. That’s where all of her rose bushes were located. I remember we always had nice roses growing out there. My mother always liked nature and animals, so she was a natural green thumb out there in the garden.

You had to be careful out there by the rose bushes because as lovely and fragrant roses are, they all have thorns. Much like the women I would meet later in my life.

But when boys see a trellis bolted to a wall, they don’t see a structure to support the flora and fauna of mom’s garden. They see a ladder. What do you do with a ladder? Yep. You have to climb it.

The only reason we climbed the trellis was to get up on the garage roof. Kids love climbing and exploring new spaces. It’s fun to get up on top of things when you’re small. There’s a feeling of power and safety at that height. The garage rood instantly became a cool hiding spot and hang-out spot.

When I think back on the construction of that trellis I’m amazed it never broke under our weight. It was just thin slats of wood nailed together. It was meant to support the vines of plants, not the bodies of young boys. But we climbed up there all of the time.

My mother caught sight of this, and told me if I didn’t stop climbing her trellis, I’d have to write as I did after the wet bathing suit incident.

I may have stayed off it for a week, but in no time we were back up there. Sure enough, I was caught, prosecuted, and sentenced to writing the same sentence over and over. “I will not climb the trellis.” I had to write it 100 times. Not just once… but this time, for a week straight.

That seemed a cruel and unusual punishment for such a simple infraction, but it wasn’t about climbing the trellis, it was the fact that she’d told me not to and I willfully disobeyed her and did it anyway. That sort of repugnant behavior was always met with swift justice in our house. That, or a good smack!

So, each day I would write the same sentence over and over after lunch. It was horrible. After a while, the words you write mean nothing to you. It’s just the same thing over and over. Sometimes I would write the same letter or word over and over down the page and then go on to the next one. Anything to change up the sheer monotony of the task.

I think by the fourth or fifth day, she lightened my sentence and I only had to crack off 50 sentences. Did my handwriting improve? Not in the slightest bit, but it kept me off my mom’s trellis for good!

But I missed going up on the garage roof and hanging with my friend Mike. That was our little throne up there. But what to do?

A year or so passes.

One day Mike comes over and tells me he found an old wooden ladder in the trash somewhere. Back then we were always picking things out of people’s trash and making stuff out of it. But this was a big ladder. Sturdy too!

So Micheal brings it over and we carefully place it in the garden and lean it up against the edge of the garage. It fits perfectly! It was just the right height to get us safely back up on the garage roof. We left it there and it became the way up and down to our little clubhouse. We’d sit up there and chat, and eat peanuts, tossing the shells everywhere. We didn’t care about the mess. The shells were organic material and anything we left up there couldn’t be seen from the ground so who cares?

The most important person who didn’t care was my mother. She never said anything about the old wooden ladder leaning against our garage. I suppose as long as we weren’t on her trellis, we were fine.

To be continued tomorrow!



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Here’s What Happens When You Love Someone Who Isn’t Good For You, According To Experts

If you want to be in a relationship, odds are you’re also looking for a partner who is (at minimum) kind, respectful, and a good fit for you, and to be in a relationship that builds you up and makes you happy. But you also can’t really plan who you’ll fall in love with, and sometimes, it’s hard to tell when someone you’re dating is being genuine. Unfortunately, that means that you might end up in a situation where you love someone who isn’t good for you. It’s not your fault, and we’ve all been there at some point or another.

Maybe you have your doubts, but if you’re not really sure if the person you’re dating or in love with is good for you or not, there are some things to look out for — and most of it is about how they make you feel.

“Someone isn’t good for you when you don’t feel like the best version of yourself in the relationship,” Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, tells Elite Daily. “Oftentimes, when you’re with the wrong person it will feel out of balance, with you giving more than you’re receiving. In a healthy relationship, there should be an equal effort invested by both partners. You can tell if someone isn’t good for you if you’re regularly feeling on edge, anxious, insecure, needy, argumentative, jealous, sad, or crying frequently.”

And perhaps unsurprisingly, being in a relationship with someone who isn’t good for you can have quite an impact on your life and your self-esteem. I asked Burns to weigh in on what happens when you’re in love with a person who isn’t good for you, and here’s what she had to share.

You might alienate yourself from your support system.

sad and lonely girl, violence crime and kidnapping people concept.


“When you’re in love with someone who isn’t good for you, your other relationships take the back burner, or you alienate yourself from your support system,” Burns explains. “When you’re first dating someone and falling in love, you go through that honeymoon phase where you’re obsessed with spending a lot of time with your new partner, but it takes an unhealthy turn where you stop investing time and energy into nurturing your other friendships.”

Sometimes, that happens just because you’re distracted by new love — and you can fix that by putting in the effort to reprioritize — but it can also be the result of a controlling partner.

“If your partner is controlling, they may ask or force you to stop going out with your friends, or talk poorly about your family, slowly and manipulatively isolating you from others,” Burns says.

If anyone you’re dating asks you to stop spending time with your other loved ones, that’s a major red flag.

It can make you feel needy all the time.

As Burns points out, we all have needs — and we all need things at different levels. All of that is totally normal, too.

“Everyone has needs, and some have more than others, which isn’t a bad thing and you shouldn’t let someone make you feel belittled or judged for wanting more,” Burns says.

If you’re feeling needy all the time, however, that can be a sign that you’re with someone who isn’t good for you.

“We tend to only feel needy when our partners aren’t meeting our emotional needs,” Burns says. “When you’re with the right partner, you’ll be able to openly talk about both of your needs and ways you can help meet each other’s.”

What you want to watch out for is a partner who doesn’t seem to understand or care about your needs.

“When you’re with the wrong person, they will ignore or refuse to help you or change their behavior. There’s an overwhelming sense of disconnection, and one or both of you don’t speak each other’s love language, which is the way in which you make each other feel most loved,” Burns explains.

It diminishes your self-worth.

Being in a relationship with someone who isn’t good for you — and thus, doesn’t make you feel good about yourself — can also pose a problem for your own self-esteem and make future relationships feel more difficult for you.

“Dating someone who isn’t good for you slowly diminishes your self-worth, and you begin to believe that you’re not worthy or deserving of a loving, fulfilling relationship,” Burns says. “You pick at your flaws and mentally beat yourself up.”

As a result, Burns says you might start to settle for less than you deserve. “You feel desperate for love and connection, so you lower your standards for anyone who shows you attention because you don’t think that you’re worth more,” she says.

Your partner might be emotionally abusive.

Sad woman lying on bed after an argument with her boyfriend.


Something to keep in mind is that a partner who isn’t good for you may also be emotionally abusive, so it’s important to watch out for signs like gaslighting, too.

“Someone who isn’t good for you may also engage in a manipulative form of emotional abuse called gaslighting, in which they deny and invalidate your emotional experiences,” Burns explains.

Gaslighting can make you start to focus more on your partner’s feelings than your own, and make you feel like you’re always wrong even when you’re not.

“They don’t take accountability for their wrongdoing, blame you, and somehow even when you know you’re in the right, you wind up apologizing just to smooth things over because you’re uncomfortable with the tension,” Burns says. “You then start to tiptoe around conflict and worry more about their feelings than you’re own.”

If you feel like you can’t even bring up anything that’s bothering you because your partner will just blame you, that’s a major red flag.

So, how do you move on?

If you’re trying to move on from a relationship in which you were in love with someone who wasn’t good for you, Burns has some advice.

“Spend time rebuilding your self-concept and identity by working toward new goals in your personal and professional life,” she suggests. “Engage in new hobbies, whether it’s signing up for your first 5K, learning to play the guitar, or planning an international vacation, and surround yourself with quality friends who build you up.”

Along with finding new hobbies, cultivating your friendships, and building your identity back up again, it’s important to spend time learning to really value yourself.

“You need to reclaim your power and rebuild your worth,” Burns says. “A healthy, secure relationship develops when you value, respect, and love yourself first. The relationship you have with yourself impacts all other relationships in your life, so you need to get to a place where you know you’re a catch and someone will be lucky to have you.”

And remember, you can absolutely be in a healthy, fulfilling relationship while you’re still working on these things — as long as you’re taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. You deserve a partner who does the same — a partner who’s good for you — and you deserve to be in a supportive relationship where you can both grow together.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Tales of Rock – 28 Crazy Facts About Freddie Mercury That Will Shock You



How To Compliment Women Without Making It Weird

Once I complimented an intern on her haircut. From behind me, a male coworker commented, “I was going to say that but I didn’t want to seem creepy, what with #MeToo and all.” He figured that this intern would hear “nice haircut” and think “assault.” We teased him about it, and he doubled down: “I didn’t want to make anyone feel like I was looking at them!”

Pretty much every man’s greatest fear is coming off creepy or turning into his father or whatever. But for the vast majority of normal guys, the worst charge you could throw at them is that they’re creeping someone out. It’s a healthy fear, considering the world today and how many men are behaving inappropriately. Even small acts performed with good intentions can come across poorly, and it can be difficult to navigate what is and is not appropriate. A compliment in the workplace can easily cross lines, so here are some tips to help you stay in the compliment safe zone:

Don’t make it about you

The first defense against accidental creeping is taking the word “I” out of your compliment. Even the most innocuous compliments adopt sexual undertones when they start with “I.” Centering the compliment around how you feel carries with it a suggestion that you think the woman you’re complimenting is doing what she’s doing – whether it’s wearing a cute top or wearing a little bit more makeup today – for you. “I” compliments are unsettling because it sounds like you’re telling us that what we’re doing suits your sexual appetites. “I love that shirt” feels like you’re thinking naughty things about what’s under the shirt, while “that shirt is awesome” is much safer. G-chatting someone, “I loved it when so spoke up in that meeting, so feisty!” is creepy. “You made a great point about the budget in there” is nice.

Never call a woman “feisty”

This is self-evident.

Don’t comment on women’s bodies

This, too, should be obvious, but you should never compliment a specific body part. I can think of very few things creepier than hearing “you have such great legs” at work. Specific body part compliments are only for people you’re dating or sleeping with. With the exception of dramatic hair changes (“you got a haircut!” will suffice), you should never comment on someone’s body. Even “you look great!” and “did you lose weight?” are deadly. I know “you look great” seems innocuous, but it often comes off as “I would sleep with you.” As for weight: Never mention it. It’s not your business. You have no idea why a woman lost weight. Perhaps she has emotional issues with it. Perhaps she doesn’t even want to be losing weight. You also don’t need to tell someone how well their clothes suit their body. It doesn’t matter if that dress is flattering; we’re at work, we’re not dating. You can tell a woman her clothes are cool without veering into “your jeans always fit you so well” territory.

Stick to professional merits

In general, we tend to neglect non-appearance-based compliments. One positive comment about a woman’s work will go a long way towards making you seem less horny. Most of your compliments should be not about appearance: I would aim for a good 90/10 split with only 10 percent of your compliments being about how someone looks or what they’re wearing. What’s left, you may ask? Well, you do work with this woman, right? “You killed it in that meeting” is a safe option. If you feel awkward delivering unsolicited work praise (you shouldn’t) try framing your compliments as thank-yous. “Thanks for catching my mistake in the third paragraph, your stuff always looks so polished.” Just be careful not to sound surprised that she’s good at her job, though. Exclaiming, “Wow, what you said was so smart!” is a bad look.

You don’t need to do it

Unless you’re in a feelings circle and everyone is required to say one nice thing about the person to their left or whatever, giving a compliment is never mandatory. It seems like somewhere along the way, a lot of men confused being decent to women with complimenting us, and I worry it has become a compulsive tic. So I’m telling you now: You don’t have to say every compliment that comes to you. Especially if you’re concerned that you’re toeing a creeper line, just shut it down. No one needs to hear your opinion on anything unless someone is about to cut a wire to dismantle a bomb and you are the only one who knows which wire is correct. Most opinions (and your compliments are, fundamentally, your opinion) can stay in your head. Ultimately, understand that a lot of women you work with simply might not care what you think about their new shoes. No woman I know, despite the myth that persists, is upset that she’s not getting more compliments.


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7 Relationship Mistakes That Shouldn’t Happen More Than Once

It’s common to experience ups and downs with your partner. And as long as you love and support each other through it all, you’ll likely be able to work on your differences, developing healthy boundaries, and learning how to compromise. It’s only when toxic problems keep happening in your relationship  despite the fact you tried to fix them — that you may have a problem on your hands.

“Sometimes people make mistakes. It could be out of ignorance or a weak moment. At that point, if you love the person and it’s not a dealbreaker, it’s acceptable to forgive and move on,” Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells us. “However, if your partner makes the same ‘mistakes’ constantly […] it then becomes a red flag that you’re dating a toxic person and you might need to seek outside help or even breakup.”

The choice is up to you when it comes to what feels like a dealbreaker and what doesn’t. But if certain relationship problems keep happening — such as a pattern of toxicity, lack of trust, or boundary issues — it can and will affect your relationship in the long-run. If any of the issues below happen more than once, experts say it may be a sign of a bigger problem in your relationship. Or simply a sign it’s not meant to work out.

1. Relying On An Ex For Emotional Support

Ashley Batz/Bustle

There’s nothing wrong with being friends with your exes, so long as you and your partner are on the same page about it. If everything’s agreed upon, you can all be friends, text, hang out — no problem.

It’s only if you notice your partner reaching out to exes for emotional support — instead of turning to you — that it may be a sign of a problem.

“When we begin looking [for support] outside of our relationship, that is a sign that our needs are not being met with our current partner,” psychotherapist Jennifer L. Silvershein, LCSW, tells us. It could also mean your partner is hung up on their ex, or that something is going on behind your back.

According to Silvershein, this realization should prompt a conversation about the current health of your relationship. By talking about it, you and your partner can set up boundaries and figure out ways to provide better support for each other — in a way that doesn’t involve leaning too heavily on an ex.

2. Keeping A Big Secret

Ashley Batz/Bustle

It’s fine if it takes time to get to the point where you feel safe opening up to each other about your deepest, darkest secrets. But if you two develop a habit of keeping your thoughts/worries/anxieties to yourself, it will create problems down the road.

“While you don’t have to tell your partner every detail of your life, it’s important to be open about the big issues,” Bennett says. “You might be able to get away with keeping a secret once. But, if you’ve agreed to be open and transparent as a couple, keeping another major secret is a sign of underlying toxicity.” It may also point to a lack of trust in your relationship — which is something you’ll want to begin working on ASAP if you’d like to keep the relationship going.

3. Forgetting An Important Date

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

It’s totally forgivable if your partner forgets the date of your first anniversary, or accidentally misses a date you had planned. Not everyone has an ironclad memory, and sometimes a busy schedule gets in the way.

But if things like this keep happening, it may be a sign they’re not invested in the relationship. “Everyone can be forgetful and you’re bound to have a memory lapse on occasion,” Bennett says. “If [they] forget twice, it just proves [your] happiness is not [their] priority.”

4. Needing To Take A Break

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

In order to see your relationship with fresh eyes, it’s sometimes necessary to take a break or spend time apart. And that’s completely fine. “But, if you take breaks or break up more than once, it’s a sign the relationship is unhealthy,” Bennett says. “If you have to keep separating, it’s probably best just to break up and move on.”

5. Not Acknowledging Your Relationship In Public

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If your relationship is still in its early stages, you may be able to forgive the act of downplaying your status. For example, “on a night out, [if] you run into a group of their friends, your partner may introduce you as a ‘friend,'” Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder, tells us.

While it may not feel great, it’s understandable the first time. But once you talk about making a commitment, this shouldn’t ever happen again. “It’s acceptable for someone to muddle their words when you first start a relationship, but only once,” Graber says. “If someone wants to keep your relationship a secret, something is wrong.”

6. Teasing To An Unhealthy Degree

Ashley Batz/Bustle

In many cases, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally poking fun at each other, or cracking jokes at your partner’s expense. As long as you’re both OK with it, it’s definitely not a problem.

Take note, though, if you’re constantly the butt of your partner’s jokes. “If a partner makes a hurtful comment when teasing, it’s important to explain that you don’t like that comment, and not to do it again,” Graber says. “We can all accidentally hit a raw nerve with friendly banter, but when someone says not to do it again — listen. If a partner continues to tease you in an area you’ve defined as off-limits, they need to go.”

7. Crossing A Boundary

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Similarly, it can take time to learn each other’s boundaries, as well as what pushes each other’s buttons. So don’t despair if you cross the line a few times, or if you accidentally upset each other.

As Graber says, “A new partner will test your boundaries at some point, and that is your opportunity to lay down some ground rules.” These moments are the perfect time to chat about what’s OK to talk about, and what isn’t — as well as what the “rules” will be for your relationship going forward.

“This is totally natural,” Graber says. “But watch out if someone habitually tries to test your boundaries. It’s a telltale sign of a toxic person.”

All couples have problems that crop up from time to time. As long as you’re working on improving them, they don’t have to be a dealbreaker. It’s only when the same annoying problems keep happening, and it’s starting to feel toxic, that you may want to reevaluate your relationship — to make sure it’s the right one for you.


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Aerosmith – Part 4

Philadelphia, PA – Winter 1977

I remember coming off the wonderful summer and beginning the next chapter of my life at Frankford High School. It was so much better than where I was a year ago. I had grown and changed. Things were good. At 15 I was almost on the other side of puberty at this point.

It was Christmas morning and one of the presents I got that year was the following record. Of course, my mother had picked that up for me because she knew the rock and knew what I liked. She had also gotten me Heart’s last record called Little Queen which is an okay album. But it does have the song Barracuda on it which could have been a Led Zeppelin tune. But I digress…

Aerosmith – Draw The Line – 1977

At this point, Aerosmith could have put out a whole album of them just chatting and drinking at a bar and I would have loved it and listened to it. That’s how much I worshipped this band. The guys who helped pull me through my early teenaged years. Toys in the Attic and Rocks were such great back-to-back albums, it would be nearly impossible for the band to top them. But this a decent attempt. The cover was drawn by the great Al Hirschfeld. The most brilliant caricature artist I’ve ever seen, and I loved his pen and ink work. An artist myself, I loved his simple, elegant, and spot-on style. I would go on to draw replicas of his work on Draw the Line on all of my notebooks at school.

To be honest this is a band like many that had barely survived the 70’s mired in grueling tours and hard drug use. The band was tired and fraying a bit. But managed to crank out another decent record. Let’s go through this record.

  1. Draw The Line: This is the title track and the song that was played on the radio. I liked it well enough, but it’s not Walk this Way, or Back in the Saddle. This song would later be the first Aerosmith song I learned how to play on guitar and played it in my first band. I was also the only one who could figure out the words to the last verse of the song, where Steven just screams them out and they are not printed in any sheet music available.
  2. I Wanna Know Why: I love this song. It hits hard with a simple message. It’s probably my favorite song on this entire record. It would have been a welcome addition to Toys in the Attic.
  3. Critical Mass: A cool song but never my cup of tea. It just never lit me up. (Funny, it was the song playing on the cassette when I got in a car accident in 1986)
  4. Get It Up: Neither did this song. What’s it about? Are Steven and the boys having some ED issues due to drug use?
  5. Bright Light Fright: A crap Joe Perry song. Sounds like it’s about a hangover. It’s juvenile and I don’t really care for it.
  6. Kings and Queens: This is a great song. Not my favorite, but a strong medieval-themed tune and a solid progressive rocker.
  7. The Hand That Feeds: More tired crap.
  8. Sight For Sore Eyes: A funky, heavy, delicious song. This one could have been an extra for the Rocks album. For years it was my favorite from this record, but I Wanna Know Why ultimately won out.
  9. Milk Cow Blues: Like Walkin’ the Dog and Big Ten Inch Record before it, this was a cover. It’s just a jam at the end of the album because I’m guessing they just were out of creative work for this album.

So overall, this is a decent record, but the band is clearly slipping. They’re exhausted from touring and being stuck together for the last decade, and drugs and alcohol are taking their toll on this band creatively. But the good thing was, I could always go back and listen to Toys, Rocks, and the first album to get my Ya ya’s out if I needed to feel something.

Let’s move on.

Philadelphia, PA – Autumn 1978

I’m the singer in a band by now. Learning guitar and writing my own songs. We play Draw the Line, Seasons of Wither, and Train Kept a Rollin’ so I’m happier than a pig in poop. It felt wonderful to be part of a band and making the music of my heroes. I felt like I was joining an elite club that had special powers over me and especially the kids in the neighborhood. Especially to my delight… the girls.

The next album Aerosmith released was a live album. I didn’t buy it but our bassist, Larry was an avid music lover and collector and he brought it over. I was delighted that I had some new Aerosmith to listen to, and I’m hoping the band was relieved after Draw the Line to take a break and release this live record.

Aerosmith – Live Bootleg – 1978!_Bootleg

As I noted in the last chapter, I bought a bootleg of a concert by Aerosmith, called Look Homeward Angel. Apparently back then bootlegging was a rampant practice among touring acts. Aerosmith was bootlegged so much, that when they put out their own live album they gave it the title, Bootleg just to mess with all of the pirates they knew were ripping them off for years. I liked that my favorite band still had a sense of humor.

It’s pretty much a by the numbers double-live album. It was okay with little surprises. I had already heard all of these songs and there wasn’t much new material here. The song, Chip Away The Stone was a good song, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t write it. I like it though. But there were a couple of really old songs from their early live days that really make this album special and worth a listen.

I Ain’t Got You and Mother Popcorn are the two stand-out numbers on this live record. They’re simple and to the point. The band was really young and they’re doing covers. This may have been recorded before their first album. I loved those two songs because they had a young fresh feel. The band was primitive but tough. Kind of like the band I was currently in. Both of these tunes touched me, and I love them both to this day.

Check out my Aerosmith playlist.


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4 Ways To Fall More In Love With Your Partner Every Day

There’s a reason why fairy tales usually end in “happily ever after.” In reality, life and love aren’t always that tidy. Most relationships will probably face challenges that can test the bond between partners, especially if a couple has been together long after the honeymoon phase has ended. But even if you face hard times together, you can still fall more in love with your partner every day. It is possible to grow as individuals and grow your love at the same time, which can ultimately help you strengthen your bond and face the aforementioned challenges as a team. Deepening and improving your connection starts by simply having the right frame of mind.

“Gratitude and appreciation are like water and sunlight for the garden of a healthy, enduring relationship,” Lisa Concepcion, certified dating and relationship expert and founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells us. “The more you focus on what you love and appreciate about your partner, the more of those qualities (plus others) you’ll evoke from your partner. Also, when you offer feedback from a place of love and not judgment and practice unconditional love of yourself, you’ll strengthen the love in your relationship.”

Here’s what two relationship experts suggest when it comes to helping the connection and affection between you and your partner grow, even when it feels hard as hell.

Set Shared Goals Together

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One way to feel closer and more in love with your partner is by creating a sense of unity and a shared vision for the future. “Setting and achieving small goals together can make you both fall deeper in love,” says Concepcion. “Even something like planning and saving up for a vacation can bond you.”

Your shared goals could look like anything from saving up enough money for concert tickets, to moving in together. The key is that goal-sharing can foster a sense of being on the same team, which is ultimately what a strong couple is: a team.

“When you come together on goals and crush them, you feel unstoppable as a couple, and that positive feeling that comes with shared accomplishment makes people fall deeper in love,” says Concepcion.

Focus On The Positive

As time passes, your partner’s quirks can start to get on your nerves, and it can become easy to dwell on the memories of past arguments that created small cracks in your connection. “Far too often, we become obsessed with nitpicking and finding fault with our mate,” Susan Winter, NYC relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache, tells us. “Over time, noticing the negative becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Resentments grow, as does the distance between each partner. We become miserable.”

The key to falling deeper in love is to stop giving those small things so much power. Instead of harping on the negative, Winter suggests focusing on all the aspects that make your partner special — the ones that made you fall for them in the first place. “Focus on the positive rather than the negative,” she says.

Embrace And Encourage Your Partner’s Growth

A healthy, happy relationship allows both partners the space to grow and change over time. But when one partner changes in a way the other partner isn’t expecting, or grows at a faster pace, this change has the potential to become a source of friction. As a result, the couple can begin to feel like they’re growing apart. Winter encourages anyone facing this issue to turn the pitfall into a strength by embracing and respecting your partner’s journey.

“Growth can be messy and disorienting, but it’s necessary for a healthy relationship to survive,” says Winter. “Allow your partner to expand who they are and who they’re becoming. The key is to look at them with fresh eyes and focus on falling in love with who they’re becoming, in addition to who they used to be.”

Work On Loving Yourself More Every Day

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Surprisingly, the most effective step to falling deeper in love with your partner actually begins with self-love, says Concepcion. “It starts with loving and appreciating yourself,” she explains. “When we vow to love ourselves first, most, best, and always, we develop unconditional love for self and others.”

The experts ultimately agree that while love can change over time, it also has the potential to grow stronger every day as a result of the difficulties you face and how you choose to approach them together. “Meeting life’s challenges together as a team deepens and widens a couple’s love for each other,” says Winter. Once you realize that, it’s clear that the most meaningful love stories aren’t always the ones that end happily ever after. They’re the ones that face ups and downs every day, and grow stronger because of them.


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The Weirdest, Creepiest and Most Annoying Songs of the 70’s – Part 6

If you were like me in the 1970’s you listened to top 40 radio most of the time. You heard a lot of great songs and instant classics. But among them were many unforgettable songs that were just weird or strange. I’ve tried from memory to remember the ones that stand out in my mind.

For weird reasons they became hits. They either made no sense or having any musical merit. Just a bizarre era of story songs.

Of course, this stuff is all pretty subjective but I did have a few criteria for what should be here. I decided to include a song if it:

    • made me sick without even listening to it again
    • made me want to break my radio
    • made my stomach turn
    • brought out violent thoughts of hatred, revenge, etc.
    • reminded me how lame the radio and record companies are
    • could make me want to break my stereo
    • would make me leave a bar or club if they started playing it
    • would make me boo a band who started playing it
    • suspended my belief in a divine force that governs the universe
I’m not saying that there weren’t ANY good songs during the 70s but there was just a truck-load of waste back then. If anybody’s stupid enough to think that ALL disco sucks, remember that it’s just a bastard son of rhythm & blues just like rock’n’roll is- so they’re related, see? Also, the 1970’s definitely didn’t have a monopoly on shitty music- there was tons of crap unleashed on us in the decade before and after and now also (there’s a future article there somewhere). Clothes-pin anyone?

The 70’s was an interesting time for music. There was a lot of experimentation and creativity from that decade, but there was also plenty of crap as well. Here is my list of the worst and most irritating songs of the 70’s.


Indian Reservation – Paul Revere and the Raiders – 1971

This song was written by John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded by Marvin Rainwater in 1959 and released on MGM as “The Pale Faced Indian”, but that release went unnoticed. The first hit version was a 1968 recording by Don Fardon – a former member of the Sorrows – that reached number 20 on the Hot 100 in 1968 and number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1970.

In 1971, the Raiders recorded “Indian Reservation” on the Columbia Records label, and it topped the Hot 100 on July 24. On June 30, 1971, the RIAA gold-certified the record for selling over a million copies. The record was later certified platinum for selling an additional million copies. The song was the group’s only Hot 100 number 1 hit and their final Hot 100 top 20 song.

At the end, where the Raiders sing “…Cherokee nation will return”, Fardon says “Cherokee Indian…”, while the line is absent in Rainwater’s version, which ends with “beads…nowadays made in Japan.” In addition, Fardon sings the line: “Brick built houses by the score/ No more tepees anymore”, not used in the Raiders’ version.

Cherokee people have never lived in tipis, nor do they use the term “papoose”. These are stereotypes and misconceptions, with the reservations and tipi assumptions usually based on Hollywood portrayals of Plains Indians. However, the Cherokee are a Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous culture.

Not a terrible song, just a bit insensitive by today’s standards, but worth adding to this list of 70s oddities.

The Sound of Philadelphia – MFSB – 1974

TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)” is a 1974 hit recording by MFSB featuring vocals by The Three Degrees. A classic example of the Philadelphia soul genre, it was written by Gamble and Huff as the theme for the American musical television program Soul Train, which specialized in African American musical performers. The single was released on the Philadelphia International Records label. It was the first television theme song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is arguably the first disco song to reach that position.

The song is essentially an instrumental piece, featuring a lush blend of string instrument and horn section in the Philadelphia soul style. There are only two vocal parts to the song: a passage close to the beginning during which The Three Degrees sing “People all over the world!”; and the chorus over the fadeout, “Let’s get it on/It’s time to get down”. The words “People all over the world!” are not heard in the original version. The version heard on Soul Train also had the series title sung over the first four notes of the melody, “Soul Train, Soul Train”. This particular version was released on a 1975 Three Degrees album, International.

“TSOP” hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1974 and remained there for two weeks, the first television theme song to do so in the history of that chart. It also topped the American Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (for one week) and adult contemporary (for two weeks).  The Three Degrees would revisit the top of the AC chart later in 1974 with their hit single, “When Will I See You Again”.

Don Cornelius, the creator, and host of Soul Train refused to allow any references to the name of the television series when the single was released, leading Gamble and Huff to adopt the alternate title for the release. Cornelius would later admit that not allowing the single to be named Soul Train was a major mistake on his part. (As a result, the Three Degrees’ singing of the show’s name “Soul Train” during the chorus as heard on the TV version is not heard on the single.)

Although it was rerecorded a number of times for future versions of the show, and various different themes were used during the late 1970s and early 1980s, “TSOP” returned in the late 1980s and remained the theme song for Soul Train through the disco, 1980s rhythm and blues, new jack swing, hip hop music, and neo-soul eras of black music.

Not a bad song. Actually kind of a great disco song. I always hated disco in the 70’s because I felt it undermined rock music. But in reality, it’s simply R&B and Soul music jazzed up so you can dance to it. A huge fad in the late 70’s.

Fly Robin Fly – Silver Convention – 1975

is a song by German disco group Silver Convention from their debut studio album Save Me (1975). Sylvester Levay and Stephan Prager wrote the song, and the latter produced it. “Fly, Robin, Fly” was released as the third single from Save Me in September 1975, peaking at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to the success of “Fly, Robin, Fly”, Silver Convention became the first German act to have a number one song on the American music charts. The song received a Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance in 1976.

“Fly, Robin, Fly” carries the distinction of being a Billboard chart-topper with only six words: the chorus simply repeats “Fly, Robin, fly” three times, with an ending of “Up, up to the sky“. During a segment on VH1’s 100 Greatest Dance Songs, it was revealed that the original working title was “Run, Rabbit, Run”.

It’s a classic disco tune that was wildly popular. But the reason it makes this list is that the only lyrics in the song are, “Fly Robin Fly, up, up to the sky.”

Jacqueline Nemorin (known professionally as Jackie Carter and Né-Mo-Rin) is a Mauritian-British singer, songwriter, composer, and music producer. She is notable for being one of the voices and members of the 1970s Silver Convention project. She’s the main girl in the middle and clearly the prettiest of the three. For me, it’s worth watching just to see her beauty. 

The odd thing about this performance is; the choreography resembles some sort of aerobic workout!

Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Group – 1976

Good Girls Don’t – The Knack – 1979

“Good Girls Don’t” begins with Fieger playing the harmonica, in a part which authors Michael Uslan and Bruce Solomon liken to The Beatles‘ song “I Should Have Known Better.” The lyrics, such as the refrain “She’ll be telling you ‘good girls don’t but I do,'” were considered misogynistic by some critics. However, Joyce Canaan of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies wrote that this line succinctly captures the transformation of teenage girls’ representations of their sexual practices; while they want to be seen as “good girls”, even good girls may engage in practices not corresponding to established moral standards. Fieger has stated that “All we were doing in songs like the naughty ‘Good Girls Don’t’ was reflecting the way 14-year-old boys feel. And there’s a little 14-year-old boy in all of us. I think that’s why the record did so well.” Other lyrics that created controversy included the lines:

“And she makes you want to scream; wishing you could get inside her pants” (this line was re-recorded as “wishing she was givin’ you a chance” on the “clean” single release), and:

“And it’s a teenage sadness everyone has got to taste.”
 “An in-between age madness that you know you can’t erase till she’s sitting on your face (and it hurts!).”
 Although I really liked My Sharona when it came out, I realized quickly that Doug Fieger seemed like a Beatles wannabe and a bit of a pervert. Who names their album, “…But The Little Girls Understand.”??? What kind of Pedos are these guys to approve that? Even the cover’s imagery conveys that. A young girl looking up at the stage in awe. It’s awful. Even when this came out, I was 17 and found this offensive.

Knack - But the Little Girls Understand - Music

Critic Greil Marcus described the song as a “smutty little Beatles imitation”. Author John Borack described the song as “a mean pop tune”, noting too that in the song lead singer and songwriter Fieger comes off “like a leering, sexist twit with hormones a-raging.

I don’t know. It just seems a bit too much. Anyway, Doug Fieger died from cancer at 57 in 2006.

Let’s Make A Baby – Billy Paul – 1975

I don’t know. Here’s another one that makes me think of the Paul Anka song, You’re having my baby. Billy’s a good singer, but again, the subject matter bothers me. I just can’t ever imagine myself driving down the road in my car singing along to these lyrics. Just…NO.

Come on, come on, let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

Take my hand while we walk slowly to the room
Can’t you see tonight I’m gonna make sweet, sweet love to you?

Girl, don’t be shy, don’t be shy
This is a moment we’ve been waiting for
Hey, come by my side, by my side
It’s the place you’ll be forevermore, forevermore

So, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s make a baby
Oh, baby, come on, come on
(Come on, come on)
Let’s bring another life into this world
A little boy, a little girl

The Buoys – Timothy – 1970

Here’s a last-minute entry. One of my followers sent this one to me. I’ve never heard this song before. It’s a perfect addition to this series. I’m not going to give away the twist to this song.

Just listen to it.


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5 Qualities Every Healthy Relationship Should Have

The term “healthy relationship” gets thrown around more than confetti on New Year’s Eve, but people tend to have vastly different ideas of what a healthy relationship actually looks like based on a variety of factors — including the relationship examples they grew up seeing and the values instilled in them from childhood. But despite these different ideas, most healthy relationships will have similar qualities that are important to seek out and strive for if you want a relationship that’ll make you feel stable and happy.

Psychotherapist Dr. Vassilia Binensztok defines a healthy romantic relationship as one that is “resilient” in the face of stressors. “Every relationship has ups and downs. Arguments will happen and problems will arise,” Binensztok tells us. “A healthy relationship is one that has been strengthened by both people so that it can weather rough seas.” Another way of conceptualizing what a healthy relationship looks like is to think about your relationship in terms of how happy and fulfilled you feel. “In a relational context, I like to focus on satisfaction,” Todd Baratz, a psychotherapist who focuses on sex and relationships, tells Elite Daily. Do you feel good about your relationship dynamic? Do you feel respected by your partner, and like you can be your truest self? Your happy relationship might not necessarily look like your best friend’s happy relationship, and that’s OK. What matters most is how you feel in your own partnership.

Binensztok and Baratz laid out five solid relationship qualities that the most basic healthy relationships should have. Other qualities, like your sex life or how much time you dedicate to each other, can be subjective. Again, you and your partner’s ideal might not be the same as someone else’s, but a physically and emotionally healthy relationship will usually have the below.

1. A Deep Knowledge Of Each Other

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Knowing your partner isn’t just about how many years you’ve dated them. It’s about having a deep sense of how they really are as a person. Partners who truly know each other “understand each other’s reasons for doing things, or at least strive to,” says Binensztok. “They know the other person’s experiences, inner world, dreams, and desires.”

While you and your SO might not necessarily agree on everything, Binensztok says, you understand where the other person is coming from when you do disagree.

2. Genuine Connection

Another quality a truly healthy relationship will have is authenticity in the couple’s interactions. In practice, this looks like you and your SO continuing to turn to each other for connection and conversation. Partners are “present and responsive, rather than dismissive or hostile,” Binensztok says. Baratz emphasizes emotional and physical safety (as well as fun) as important qualities in satisfying relationships.

3. A Fair, Equal Approach To Arguments

People in healthy relationships won’t usually fight dirty when faced with conflict. Instead, Binensztok says, “[Partners] try to understand and empathize with each other. They attempt to compromise.” This also includes neither party getting defensive when their partner confronts them with something uncomfortable.

4. Respect For Each Other & The Relationship

Mutual respect is crucial in healthy relationships, Baratz says. And according to Binensztok, partners in healthy relationships “don’t insult, mock, or diminish each other.” Sure, some roasting or spicy banter can be fine every now and then (if that’s the established dynamic between you and you’re SO). But it’s not OK to genuinely degrade your partner, insult them, or make them question their value.

5. Mutuality

couple of lesbian friends in love and happy using mobile phone and laptop on city streets. gay people concept and technology and communications


Last but not least, all parties must be willing to put in the effort necessary to make their relationship work. It’s a quality that Baratz calls “mutuality.” Respect, while important, isn’t the only value that has to go both ways. Each partner has to be committed to the relationship, and to the work, it takes to make it a safe, nourishing partnership to be in.

Yes, there will be ups, downs, and plateaus. But when a couple can accept that these are natural parts of a relationship, they will be more willing to work through them. “When we expect that work is part of the process, we become more open to doing the work,” Binensztok says.

What Do You Do If Your Relationship Lacks One Of These Qualities?

The good news is that your relationship isn’t doomed if you feel it’s missing one of these qualities. If your relationship seems to be missing intimacy, mindfulness, fair fighting in arguments, general respect, or the feeling that the other person cares, “do not freak out,” Baratz says. Instead, try to stop judging yourself or your relationship.”Learning is never a bad thing,” Baratz says. Think of this realization about your relationship as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Binensztok explains that these five healthy relationship qualities are all things that people can learn. “Partners can seek counseling, read books on relationships, and make an effort to improve areas that are lacking.” The only catch, she says, is that all parties have to be committed to the relationship as a whole, “rather than seeking only to get their personal needs met.”

Often, people may think that the existing dynamic between a couple is set in stone, but it’s normal for relationships to need some work. And while the nuances of healthy relationships may look different for everyone, at their core, all it takes is keeping patience, honesty, and kindness at the forefront of your thoughts and actions.


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