My Family – The Phoenix – Part 2

The only person that could keep him here with us was him and he’d already purchased a ticket on the last train to nowhere.

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My sister Janice called me and told me that dad was in really bad shape and that this could be the end. I called my friend Rob and asked if I could use his truck to go visit my dad at the hospital.  He was fine with it. I was going to run down there on Tuesday to see what was up.

 

I was at work when I got the call from my middle sister that Monday.

“Hey Chaz. It’s April. Dad died.”

I was carrying some proposals and some client files and they fell from my hands to the floor.

I stepped into my editor’s office and of course my horrible sales manager was in there bugging the shit our of her for some inane reason.

I told them what had happened and they said: “Go home”

I knew that wasn’t option for me. I knew my sisters had everything well under control. There was nothing I could do now. I knew for months this call was coming. He had checked out a long time ago, and there was no coming back to us or anyone else.

I worked out the day, and kept in touch with my sisters. I had to keep working and I had to tell my daughter Lorelei.

I couldn’t stay home and do nothing. There was nothing to do.

I spoke with my daughter about it and she was a little sad but she just knew her grandparents as really old people that she saw once a year at the holidays like I did growing up.

My sisters took care of everything. They were in Jersey and were close to it. I knew this day was coming. It wasn’t a matter of if… but when.

On the phone with dad in his final days I would get him talking about something fun and would tell him I knew his life was still in there. That he wasn’t finished.

But he was. The only person that could keep him here with us was him and he’d already purchased a ticket on the last train to nowhere.

Janice planned the funeral and picked the day they would put my parents into the ground. My mom could finally get off the dining room table and into the Earth.

I was at the office the Sunday night I was to drive down to Cold Springs, Cape May where they were to be buried next to my grandmother and grandfather.

At that moment I remember my father once saying he wished he would fall off the jetty down at 2nd street where he used to go fishing.

“I fall in and the fish have at me to get back at me for eating so many of them.”

It made me think back to when he taught me how to catch a fish. Fond memories from a dark time in my young life.

I was there working on a proposal when I got a text from my bank. Apparently someone had gotten a hold of my debit card information and had withdrawn $800 from my account over the weekend.

Talk about insult to injury. I called my bank and cancelled the card. I then packed up and went to my friend Robert and Laura’s house up in Fairmount. They weren’t home so I was standing outside for a while. They finally came home and I told them everything. Rob handed me the keys to his truck and they paid their respects. I took the truck and put it in a parking garage near my house.

The next morning I dressed in black and went straight to my bank the moment they opened.

I told the girl at the desk what had happened and that I had to bury my parents and didn’t have time to dawdle and she produced the proper affidavits and I signed them. She was so amazing.

I later wrote a letter to her manager praising her outstanding performance.

It was a tough drive to the shore. Because whenever you go to the shore it’s always happy.

It was February, but surprisingly it was a warm and mild day. Almost eerily warm.

I pull up and park.

There are many people gathered by the gravesite. I approach and there is the sad outpouring of grief and quiet sadness of loss.

The missing.

I see my co-worker Rocco came and it relieves me to see someone from the office there. I think he just wanted the day off but I’m grateful he came.

My friend Jim who I used to be in a band with that I’ve known since he was 14 was there.

Everybody was there.

I walk up to the site and join my sisters.

The sun is shining on a very dark and dismal day to dissipate our sadness.

I remember telling my ex-girlfriend Michelle many years before that I wanted to speak at my parent’s funerals. It was what I could bring to the family with my words. That’s really all I had left.

The priest begins and does his thing. I scan the crowd. I’m in bad shape. I feel unsteady so just like at my wedding I remember to put one foot forward to steady myself.

This is a bad day.

As I write this I’m listening to the band Steppenwolf for comfort. They were the first band I ever really fell in love with. My mom disapproved but later liked them when I got into a wilder band called Aerosmith. But that’s a different post. (A way happier one!)

I remember my mom always like Scottish bagpipes. I never understood that but her people were Scotch Irish and maybe that music was in her blood. She comes from a musical family and I believe that runs through me and Lorelei to this day.

The bagpipes were sad and beautiful as they played in the background.

Perfect.

Because my father served in the military they did the whole folding of the flag thing. That was very moving and respectful. I like how they handed the flag to Janice and not me, his only son. But what have I really been to him, Not much really. A disappointment for the most part.

But all is forgiven.

I know my sister Janice was worried about me saying that I would make a speech at our parents funeral because I wouldn’t follow through. I get it. Track record. I once was supposed to transfer all of the home movies from VHS onto DVD and never did it. My baby sister ended up doing it.

Another fail on my part about nonsense.

I’m sorry. I was busy surviving in Jersey City trying to hold it together in New York at the time. But I do love that there was fear that I would come up empty-handed in the final reel.

Janice read and it was good.

Really good. I’m sure there was so much else she felt and had been through with this that it was hard for her to express what she really felt, and you know what? Whatever that was, it’s probably not for this audience or this venue.

I was surprised when my middle sister April read. It was good to hear her words and interesting to see it from her perspective and what her experience was through all of this. I don’t think my baby sister read, because she was in bed for most of our family memories. (Kidding! Gabrielle you get the joke!)

It was my turn now. I looked at all of the friends and family that had gathered upon this sad but inevitable occasion.

I looked at the table before me. On it was the little wooden box with the pretty bird on it. That was mom in there.

Next to that was a Lionel toy train standard gauge train station. I remember my father telling me he wanted to be cremated and his ashes placed into that toy train station.

After he had passed, Janice was taking the station down from one of the train cabinets and found a note under it.

It said “Gang, It’s been a great ride, but it’s time for me to pull into the station for my final stop.” Dad

He loved his trains. Now it was time for him to rest at the station and be done with the life he had created for all of us kids.

The Priest turned to me.

“Would you like to say something, Charles?”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish everyday  at 8am EST.

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My Family – The Phoenix – Part 1

When I started writing this blog it was a bunch of crazy dates and series about past relationships. But I knew it would grow and evolve. Now that the dust has settled in my life I can get to the business of writing about what I really want to express. My life. (Don’t worry there will always be crazy dating stories!)

Last year my sisters and I buried our parents.

My mother had died the year before at 86. She was a wonderful woman who was a good wife and mother. She lived with RA (Rhematoid arthritis) for 40 years but never complained and put up with my father for 60 plus years.

She was in assisted living for the last year of her life. She was happy there and said she was never going home. She was with her peers and I know she was comfortable there in her final days.

She always said she wanted to go in her sleep. I think everybody wants that. Just go to bed one night and then just disappear peacefully and quietly. No fear. No pain. Just gone.

The day breaks tomorrow and the world does what it does and you’re just not in it anymore.

Your memory lives on with your loved ones for a while but after a generation, unless you’re famous you’re simply gone. It’s as if you never existed.

She went to bed one night in her pajamas, snuggled down in her bed and just went to Heaven. Just what she wanted. She deserved that.

My mother was a good woman who was really good at taking care of children and a house and animals that she almost seemed born to it. I don’t know if she ever wanted anything more, but my mother never even learned to drive. She didn’t need to and liked to be in her home, doing her thing and drinking her tea.

When she passed she was cremated and her remains were put in a lovely wooden box with a pretty bird carved into the top. My mother always loved birds.

Maybe she always felt like a caged bird. I don’t know.

My father kept the box on the dining room table after she died. I think that’s morbid, but maybe he just wanted some semblance of her there in the big old house with him.

Because now he was alone there. No one to listen to his stories, fears and ailments that didn’t exist or whatever.

My mother was the greatest listened I’ve ever met. The absolute apex of a good listener. I know this because my middle sister April can really talk a lot. So can my Dad. She was always sweet and genuinely interested in what you had to say. She kept her opinions to herself.

There was a surge of attention around my father when my mother died. My father loved attention. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very charming man and is absolutely great with people. He knows how to get it done in a unique and elegant way. Where do you think I learned all of my moves? I took the best of him, and have done my best to discard the worst.

Before my mother died I had conversations with my dad about how he was worried he would run out of money because the facility she was living in cost so much every month. He actually said, “I’m going to end up in the Veteran’s Home because I’ll be broke.” Healthcare in this country is a financial nightmare, but why would he think that?

Why would he say that?

Fear. But it seemed contrary to his character. I think she was living too long. “She’s very frail” he would say to me all the time. It’s like he needed her to go. I get that. I have a really firm grasp of what life is and what death is too.

I’ve been alarmingly close to them both and although one is priceless and precious, death can swoop in on its black wings and snatch the innocent away for no reason.

So dude… live for today.

Have you met your first-born daughter that you love and loves you more than you can even grasp?

My sister Janice.

You’re never going to end up in the Veteran’s Home, man. Not under Janice’s watch. You should rest easy and smile that you have the strongest person in the family looking out for you and Mom’s best interest.

Free of charge.

But my mom passed and it was sad, but she was ready to go. I’m grateful to all three of my sisters for being present through all of that because I was not. I was just living my life here in Philly doing my thing and popping into the occasional holiday party with one of my young girlfriends.

They did it all, especially Janice.

So once the surge of attention, mourning, adulation, cards, letters, love, and people faded as they always do. My dad decided to fold up his tent and go home.

Initially the loss of mom was sad but she was a really old lady, and we all loved her but we were all prepared for her to leave. You have to prepare yourself for that. Forgive me, but I don’t understand why I see people suffering so long after losing their parents. They lived their lives. You had them for so long but everybody has to leave. No one gets out of here alive.  You have to be ready for that.

The dead have a responsibility to the living and vice versa.

But there is a sense of relief that Mom is now at peace and not suffering with the pain of RA and old age. She was ready to go and she went in her chosen way.

I’d see Dad and he was happy and his usual jovial self. I’d talk with him on the phone and we’d be trading stories and it was amazing. He was finally telling me all of the wild stories from his past that I was never old enough to hear. It was great! I was even managing his Netflix because we both love film and that’s something we’ve alway been really close about.

 

But once the light completely went out on my mom and he was alone in that big house he started to want to get out of here himself. I still don’t full understand it but I think my sister Janice may because she was so much closer to the day-to-day grind of watching him plan his going from this world.

Something changed. He just gave up and got tired of playing onstage anymore. He just wanted to quit the band and work on his solo career in heaven.

It was like he was slowly trying to commit suicide. That’s not allowed in this country but I think if it were and he wanted to really go. I know my father well enough that if he wanted me to I would have been okay with him blowing his last breath in my face.

Because he put my sister Jan through hell that last year. No one will ever know how intense that was but I’ve heard from my sisters. It was as if he was this crazy tiger that kept all his powers, weaknesses, greatness and demons locked up in a den somewhere and then the old cat was left inside that den to suddenly deal with them. All of the things in himself that he had never been fixed came to the surface and cooked him alive.

I’ve lived with anxiety and depression my entire life. I turned it into art and sometimes turned to alcohol just to turn off the pain for a few hours. I like it, but I never let that shit own me. I have a strong sense of identity.

I know my father intimately. I understand his psyche. I forgave my parents for everything in my forties. You have to do that to move forward in your life.

 

Let go of the bars of your cell. Let them fall to the ground and take a step. Embrace who you are and how hard they tried to raise the four of you with not a lot of money. How they had challenges with each other in their marriage and how they should have gotten a divorce but didn’t to hold it together for you and your sisters.

How they became husband and wife and then parents to little new minds and did the very best they could with all they knew.

Much of it was so wrong but for the most of it was pretty darn right. My family is super normal and so are their children.

Even though I have felt much more of the scorn of both of my parents, I’ve managed to rise up from my own weaknesses and be a decent and wise father to my daughter, Lorelei.

I’m blessed with a lovely child that I barely deserve. She too has a strong identity and risen up from the flames of her upbringing with her mother to shine beautifully like the morning sun.

Tune in tomorrow.

I’m you about the day that my parents were really gone.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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Asian Massage Parlors – The Sad Part – 2

Massage parlors promising “happy endings” are at the center of international human trafficking schemes involving underage girls and illegal immigrants.

These establishments are starting to crop up in greater numbers across the city again after previous crackdowns by authorities in 2014, and their crimes extend far past prostitution. With the assistance of sites like Backpage.com, the owners of these sex shops can update advertisements daily and better avoid scrutiny from law enforcement.

For those who argue these establishments commit victimless crimes, authorities note these parlors are typically staffed entirely by women, many of whom are forced to live at the store and are often underage. Illegal immigrants are specifically preyed on and threatened with deportation if they do not follow instructions.

The NYPD has arrested 11 people on prostitution charges in Staten Island through April 2017. Criminal complaints show five of the people arrested do not have U.S. citizenship and five provided their work address as their primary residence. All but one woman identified themselves as Asian and/or Pacific Islander.

“Human trafficking is up 50 percent in the city alone — that’s a huge red flag that this issue is permeating and it needs to be addressed aggressively,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican running for mayor, told Staten Island Live regarding the massage parlors. “Unfortunately, we know that this is a human trafficking issue, it’s not just prostitution.”

Authorities arrested eight members of the Rendon-Reyes gang in Brooklyn in April on charges of human smuggling and sex trafficking of minors, which they allegedly participated in for a decade. All eight members face a lifetime in prison if convicted. Detailed statistics on human trafficking are difficult to assemble, but officials estimate thousands of women are trafficked into New York each year.

Officials in New York City say poor enforcement of immigration laws is aiding the human trafficking business. Women are often kidnapped from other countries and subsequently brought to the U.S. Their lives and the lives of their families are threatened in order to terrorize the victims into obedience.

“I consider forcing a woman or a child to perform sexual acts and be victims is something that should be taken seriously and I think that’s the type of message we’re sending if we don’t enforce [people being in New York illegally],”

Authorities successfully closed six of these massage parlors in 2015, but more continue to open. Malliotakis and other local lawmakers say there has been a steady increase in calls reporting shady massage parlors popping up in their communities.

If you think human trafficking, massage parlors and prostitution are limited to urban areas, you would be mistaken.

Lunchtime two weeks ago, Lower Merion Police moved in on a nondescript building, serving a warrant investigating a suspected prostitution operation. The Rock Hill Road establishment in Bala goes by the name Therapy Zone.

“We’ve had it under surveillance for a few days, and a number of things are occurring here consistent with prostitution,” said Sergeant Gavin Goschinski.

Lower Merion Police say those things would be security cameras, a lack of formal advertising and secure exterior doors where clients need to be buzzed in.

“We encountered one female inside the establishment. She’s a Russian citizen. We were taking her in for interviews and to determine if she needs to be connected to services relative to human trafficking,” said Goschinski.

Law enforcement has also been investigating Therapy Zone and similar suburban businesses. Apparently finding a massage parlor with sexual services isn’t very difficult. We found a website which claims to locate massage parlors that engage in prostitution.

For a small fee, you can read reviews that include the names of the women, sexual favors offered and price. The site claims there are more than 230 erotic massage parlors all over the tri-state area, including over 80 in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia police detectives Ashley Capaldi and Kate Gordon are part of the department’s new Human Trafficking Unit. They say the women working in the massage parlors are often the victims of human trafficking, who come to the US heavily in debt and are forced into prostitution.

“You said it cost $70, 80, 90 for me to come here, and I’m supposed to be trying to support my family at home and here, and it’s virtually impossible to ever break that cycle,” said Gordon.

“Until now, no one is ever coming for the person who owns the house, who runs the house,” said Capaldi.

According to court records, Lower Merion Police questioned several so-called “Johns” who left Therapy Zone. The “Johns” allegedly admitted to receiving sexual favors and told police during initial visits, they were asked about what sexual favors they wanted, given a price and assigned a number for booking appointments.

Police say they watched as women of Therapy Zone would discard condoms in the trash cans of other businesses.

“Our surveillance found the women who open and operate the business are dropped off a door or two away and that they come in, they operate during the day,” said Goschinski.

Investigators across the region say putting erotic massage parlors out of business is tough.

It’s supply and demand.

They close one parlor, another opens down the road in another name.

In Bala no one’s been charged yet. They continue to investigate allegations of prostitution and human trafficking.

“This is a brick and mortar operation with a significant investment. We hope to disrupt the organization today, and then follow-up with it and see where money is traveling, who owns it and that sort of thing,” said Goschinski.

 

 

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Asian Massage Parlors – The Fun Part – 1

We here at phicklephilly want to bring you all aspects of the dating culture here in Philadelphia. Asian massage parlors have been around forever and are in every city in the country. Even though it’s not technically dating, the service these places provide feels like the very best part of a date.

I spoke with my buddy Johnny R. because out of all of my friends, this cat digs vice. I asked him if he could tell me what the experience was like at one of these places.

You used to find these places in the back pages of Philly Weekly and City Paper. Two free papers that were in honor boxes all over the city. Now you can find them literally on a website called backpages.com.

Update: Sadley… Backpages.com has been shut down due to these kinds of ads.

Once you find a “massage parlor” you want to try you simply locate it in the city. There are several all over the place. Usually it is just an address, with maybe an “Open” sign illuminated in the window.

You ring the bell and are normally greeted by an older Asian woman. Somewhere in her forties or fifties. She’s the mamasan. That’s the person of authority that runs the parlor. They always ask if it’s your first time. They do that to see if you know what the deal is and also to possibly see if you’re law enforcement.

I believe prostitution should be legalized. They’re working in the oldest profession, and should have access to healthcare and anything else any working person is entitled to. But what’s wrong with these places is the human trafficking aspect of this industry. But we’ll get to that in tomorrow’s post.

Some of these places take credit cards and some only cash. Normally they charge around $180. It used to be $150, but times change. But when I tell you what you get for your $180 you’ll see what a good deal it is. Also, years ago you’d pay the mamasan $50 for the massage and then the girl who was to give you the massage asked for a tip once she was alone with you in the room. But I think it was easier for law enforcement to entrap the girls because technically she’s asking for extra money beyond the fee to perform some additional duties.

So now it’s just the whole thing up front. $180 is the price of the massage and what happens in that room between you and that girl is between you two.

So you pay the lady and takes you to a room and leaves you there. The room is normally dimly lit. Everybody looks better in the dark. There is a massage table in the room and usually some sort of little table. Usually there is some soft music playing.

Within a few minutes an attractive, young Asian girl enters the room. She’s usually wearing some skimpy little outfit with a pair of high heels. She greets you and asks your name. You can give her any name you want because the name she gives you probably isn’t her real name either. She hands you a towel and asks you to disrobe. She then leaves the room while you undress.

When she returns you’re usually sitting there on the massage table with a white towel wrapped around your waist. She takes you by the hand, and leads you into the washroom. There is a long table with a cushion on it. she asks you to remove your towel and lie facedown on the table. There is a large round tub filled with water in the corner and she fills it with warm water. She gets a bucket and takes fresh water from a faucet and fills the bucket and rinses you down. Then with a soapy bath sponge she scrubs your body down and washes you. As an adult we take for granted that we take a shower everyday. But as a man having an attractive woman who you don’t even know bathe you, it’s really nice. You feel like a king with a loyal servant to take good care of you. It’s kind of hot. She really scrubs you down paying extra attention to your butt. The foot scrub is especially good. She rinses you down and then gives you your next directive.

She tells you to flip over on to your back. You obey and let her continue to work on you. She gently scrubs the front of you and your legs. The most brilliant part of this table shower is when her soft, slippery, soapy hand grasps your manhood, and spends a little extra time “washing” it with her dexterous digits!

She rinses you off one final time and helps you to your feet. She then dries you off with a towel. When do you ever get treated like this? A cute Asian girl bathing you and then toweling off your whole body is an experience unto itself. No one’s done this for you since you were a child. It’s a nice nostalgic yet erotic experience.

She checks the hallway to make sure you don’t run into any other clients. Think about that. Can you imagine if you were in one of these places and you see your boss, or even worse, a family member?

She takes you by the hand and leads you back to your room. She leaves again, but usually returns in a short amount of time. She asks you to lie face down, and she begins to give you a legitimate massage. Really works her hands on you and hitting all the main muscle groups.

Johnny tells me that one time he was at a parlor and there was a long pipe above the bed and the lady held onto it and literally walked on his back.

It’s a solid massage and even sometimes they massage your hands and feet. During this massage the girl will normally remove her top and will gently rub her nipples on your back.

“I remember this other time the girl was massaging my buttocks and she just spread them and dug in and rimmed me with her tongue!”

“How did that feel, Johnny?”

“Fucking exquisite.”

Normally as you flip over on to your back, she catches your member in her hand and starts massaging it. He said once you’re fully aroused she’ll roll a condom on down the shaft. Johnny says he remembers this one girl had the condom in her mouth and she rolled it on using her mouth.

“That was pretty spectacular.”

Then the girl will usually climb on top of you and mount you and it just goes from there.

“And that’s it?”

“Well you don’t have to stay in that position. She’s yours for the hour. You can flip her any way you want and have sex with her until you finish.”

Once the act is complete, she leaves the room and comes back with a warm wet wash cloth, removes the condom, and wipes you down with the cloth.

She then helps you get dressed. She will even get on her knees and put on your shoes and tie them for you. It’s a lovely experience. She walks you to the door and asks you to make a return visit soon and your on your way.

Sounds amazing.

Legalize this immediately or please look the other way law enforcement.

 

 

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Tales of Rock: Swedish Metal Fiasco – Duncan – Part 1

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

My buddy Duncan reached out to me a couple of months ago. He’s the one who works all the time at the bank in commercial real estate in North Carolina and makes tons of money. He’s completely driven by succeeding and earning, so he’s lost all site of the little things in life.

But I thought there was still hope when he sent me some music clips from a Swedish heavy metal band called Ghost. I thought it was pretty good, but I’m not thrilled with metal in general anymore. I’m just not that angry. I enjoy music that’s a bit softer now as I’m well into middle age.

A few weeks later he texts me that Ghost is playing at the Fillmore here in Philly. He says he’s buying two tickets and flying up to see them with me. I’m thrilled that I’m going to spend time with my old friend. I wouldn’t care if we’re going to see the Wiggles, I’m just happy to hang with my buddy.

He also tells me he’s staying up here a couple of days because his sister is getting married on Saturday. Ghost is on Thursday so I figure I’ll take off a few days and do stuff around the city with him until Saturday. It’ll be awesome just like the last time he came up.

I was hanging in a bar with my friend Church having some food and drinks when that text came through. Church says he loves Ghost. He wants to go too. I figure the more the merrier. Church buys a ticket on Stub Hub, and now we’ll all go rock out.

Three days before the show, (I’ve already asked for the time off) Duncan texts me that he’s not coming up now. He states that it will cost him $1000 for everything round trip and he just doesn’t want to spend the money. (This clown will be a millionaire by the time he’s fifty years old in two years!) What the hell?

He says it always costs him that much with air fare hotel, transportation, etc.

“Dude. Listen to yourself. You’re close to being a fucking millionaire.  A thousand bucks is like piss in the ocean to you!”

“I just don’t want to spend that much money on anything right now. Got to stay focused.”

“What about your sister’s wedding?”

“I’d rather do a longer fun filled trip and spend a thousand dollars rather that a quick up and back for a ‘questionable’ second wedding.”

“Oh, come on! This was your idea!”

“I’m emailing you the tickets now.”

“You suck! Church already bought his ticket.”

“Well you can bring someone else, or sell the ticket or give it away.”

“I think you’re making a mistake. Dude, you work a lot, you like this band and can totally afford to take a break and come up and enjoy the show. Live a little!”

“I would have really liked to see this band with you, they are good but a little different than what we’re accustomed to listening to.”

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

“You sound like my mother.”

“Fine.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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Celebrity Sightings: Valentine’s Day – My Favorite Victoria’s Secret Super Model

“The minute I lay eyes on the super queen I involuntarily gasp. I literally sucked air sharply into my lungs like I never have before.”

I’ve decided to write about all of the celebrities I’ve met in my life. It’ll probably only be once a month, and I’ll crank them out until I run out of famous people.

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my phicklephilly readers! I hope you’re in love or at least love something! If you’re not happy today, and if anyone starts talking about love, romance, hearts, cards, or chocolate, just slap them and say ‘it’s Wednesday!

It’s a coincidence and fitting that I release this piece on Valentine’s Day. Because this lady is and always will hold a special place in my heart.

This one happened about 11 years ago when I was working in Manhattan. The year was 2007.

I was sitting in a dive bar in Journal Square in Jersey City one evening after work. My buddy Howard was with me. I’m drinking a beer and reading the Daily News. On the Entertainment page was a little blurb at the bottom about how Alessandra Ambrosio was going to be making an appearance at the new Armani Exchange in Manhattan on Saturday afternoon.

I think every guy has an “It” girl in life. Some movie star, athlete, or model that they just adore. In the 70’s and 80’s for me it was Farrah Fawcett. I LOVED Farrah. I owned all of her posters starting with the famous red swimsuit. I was even a card carrying member of her fan club. Always watched Charlie’s Angels and all of her movies.

But sometime in the 90’s I noticed this one model in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue that really struck me. I didn’t know her name for several years. But once you have a woman in your life and order something from their catalogue, they never stop coming. They must send them out every couple of weeks because I had loads of them coming to the house.

I eventually found out the identity of this exquisite woman. Alessandra Ambrosio. I was in love. Her perfectly symmetrical face, with her feline eyes and lovely tawny hair is a combination that drove me nuts. I absolutely have adored Alessandra for years. I know I love beautiful women, it’s hard not to. But Alessandra to me is one of the most beautiful women on the planet.

Alessandra Ambrosio was born in Erechim, Brazil on April 11, 1981. Her parents are Brazilians of Italian, Portuguese and Polish ancestry and own a petrol station. She enrolled at a modelling class at the age of 12, and at the age of 14, she was one of 20 finalists for the 1995 Elite Model Look national competition for Brazil. Ambrosio was always insecure about her large ears, and at the age of 11, she had cosmetic surgery to have her ears pinned back, though two years later she suffered complications. In 2006, she appeared on The Tyra Banks Show, and said that the surgery was a bad experience and has discouraged her from ever getting plastic surgery again.

I would love Alessandra the same even if her ears stuck straight out like open car doors!

When Ambrosio was 12 years old, she partook in modeling classes, and then began modeling for Dilson Stein at age 15. Competing in Brazil’s Elite Model Look competition started her modeling career in earnest. Her first notable modeling job was shooting the cover of Brazilian Elle magazine. Elite passed along some of her Polaroids to Guess which led her booking the Millennium GUESS? campaign. She has since appeared in advertising campaigns for Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Escada, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Guess, Emporio Armani, Moschino, Gap, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Revlon, and the Pirelli Calendar. She has walked the catwalks for designers such as Prada, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Bottega Veneta, Escada, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Ralph Lauren, Halston, Vivienne Westwood, Giles Deacon, and Oscar de la Renta. She has appeared in numerous international magazine covers, including Cosmopolitan, Elle, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Ocean Drive, Vogue and was the only model to appear on the cover of Glamour in the United States in 2006.

“I HAVE to go to A/X Armani Exchange on Saturday and try to see her! Do you want to go with me?”

“Why the hell would I want to go meet some supermodel? I’m gay!”

“Well she’s a fashion model and I figured you guys like stuff that’s fashionable.”

“I’m gay!”

So Saturday comes and I go to the local Rite Aid and buy a disposable camera. (Yea. I had a little cell phone back then before there were any iPhones or androids and that little phone didn’t have a camera in it. That thing was probably made by Fisher Price for all I know. A lot has happened in the world of technology in the last 15 years!)

So I’ve got my little cheapo plastic throw away camera and I hop on the PATH train into Manhattan. I get off at 32nd Street and walk East over to Fifth Avenue, The store is up around 56th Street so I need to walk north about 25 blocks. That’s a little bit of a hike. But it’s Saturday in the Summer and Manhattan is quiet on the weekends.

After awhile I finally reach the store. There’s a line of people to get in. I get in line behind this Asian girl and I go, “Is this the line to see Alessandra?”

“Oh, I have no idea. I just saw a lot of people here and I wanted to see what was going on.”

What a moron. How can she not know who Alessandra Ambrosio is?

The line is moving and I get inside.

The minute I lay eyes on the super queen I involuntarily gasp. I literally sucked air sharply into my lungs like I never have before.

I can’t believe I am standing in the same room with her. I can’t believe that I’m not seeing just a photograph of my queen. I am looking upon one of the most beautiful women in the world and the only thing that’s separating she and I is space.

I’m starstruck.

She sits down and starts signing things. I’m snapping pics and my heart is pounding. I’m getting closer!

Ohh…my love. My Queen! She is stunning! They take my name and write it on a little Post It. I assume this is because they don’t want any misspellings on the pictures she’s signing.

I finally reach Alessandra!!!

 

My arm around my queen!

I introduce myself and I can’t believe I am meeting her for real. She says my name and I swoon. My name coming from Alessandra’s lovely lips.

There she is! It’s really her! I’m shaking hands with my favorite woman on Earth. I’m looking into the eyes of the object of my desire for the last 10 years. She signs the photo, and I ask if they will take a photo of me with my camera. She agrees and I hand it to her handlers. I tell them to take a few just in case.

I put my arm around her, and lean in. My hand is on her shoulder! I’m touching Alessandra! My love!

I’m so close to Alessandra, I can smell her.

This is framed in my livingroom.

I will never be the same. I leave with my little camera full of photos, and the above autographed picture.

To Charles, Love, Alessandra. (Heart. Star.)

I love her even more now. I’ve met Alessandra Ambrosio! This day has been a dream come true. I’m holding the picture and I don’t want anything to happen to it, so I run across the street into of all things, a Victoria’s Secret. (Fitting!) I approach one of the sales girls and ask if I can have a bag.

“What do you need it for?”

I hold up the photo. “To protect this autographed picture of Victoria’s Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio.”

The chick looks like she doesn’t know who Alessandra is and hands me a bag. I gently slide my treasure inside it. (puns abound) I thank the girl and nearly skip to the PATH station.

I’ve added these delicious little videos to close out this piece. I can’t watch the first one without getting worked up. I love her so much.

I met my super queen. I never met Farrah Fawcett. I loved her so much, but I met my new queen Alessandra. It was glorious day in my short life. She’ll never know how much I love her but I met her, We got a picture together, I touched her, and smelled her.

My lovely Alessandra…

 

 

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Elvis Almost Had An Album Produced By David Bowie

Dreams can still come true, especially when you’re David Bowie. In the winter of ’77, Bowie received a phone call from Elvis himself.

In 1997, country star and occasional actor Dwight Yoakam met David Bowie, and the pair got to talking about their mutual love for Elvis Presley, which, despite being a music legend, is generally not a person you expect to find yourself talking about while locked in conversation with David Bowie. As Yoakam tells it, Bowie related a story from 20 years prior, when Elvis had approached him to produce his upcoming album.

This happened in 1976, when Bowie had just released “Golden Years,” a song he’d originally intended to ask Elvis to record. But legend has it that when Bowie asked his then-wife Angie to deliver the request, Angie got so nervous about meeting the rock ‘n’ roll legend that she chickened out and never delivered the message.

However, dreams can still come true, especially when you’re David Bowie. In the winter of ’77, Bowie received a phone call from Elvis himself. He had heard Bowie’s latest hit, “Golden Years,” and was apparently so blown away by it he wanted the pop icon to produce his next album. However, because the universe was not satisfied by the current level of irony present in this interaction, Elvis died of a heart attack that same summer, and the two never got to work together.

However, many critics have speculated that the Duke’s last album, Black Star, was a tribute to Presley, who had a little-known song of the same name. So maybe they’ll do some kind of ghost collaboration, which would be an absolute treat to listen to.

 

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