Finally! 2020 is officially in the history books, and life can start anew! Well...not exactly. While the concept of a clean slate is a good thing, but expecting 2021 to be a cake walk, is a set-up for depression, anxiety and a host of other soul crushing maladies, and while some major names passed away last year, I also wanted to take a little time and remember a few friends I lost, and also what I found, in their passing.
'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house, hardly a creature was stirring, except my computer mouse. So, I fired up my mic and swung into action, just to see if I could get a reaction. As we put another Christmas in the books, perhaps it's the perfect time to remember a few lessons that Charles Dickens wrote about 177 years ago, and that unfortunately are still much needed reminders today, and as a matter of fact...every single day of the year.
Halloween was bigger than Christmas at our house, it was the time of year my dad would transform from banker into full-blow Dracula mode, scaring the snot of out people in our basement, for over 20 years. I felt it was the perfect day to share perhaps the most unnerving event I have ever been witness to, from my book Phenomena, when a voice came through a speaker and gave the name of a man who had died 93 years prior, in the Eastland disaster on the Chicago River. And finally, my high school apparently has residents that have never left, especially in the library, where I caught something on tape that is beyond unexplained. Happy Halloween indeed...
When news reached me last week that my friend Matt Blair had passed away, it set off a ripple effect of emotions-some good, some not so good. Matt played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Vikings, racking up 1,452 tackles and from 1977 to 1982, Matt made it to six consecutive Pro Bowls with a 1980 All-Pro selection. In Blair's 12-season tenure with the Vikings, they went to the postseason seven times and played in two Super Bowls. But, Matt Blair was so much more than a football player. His passing from CTE related dementia had me thinking about my own time wearing a helmet, and the "disposable heroes" like Matt, that offer up their long-term health for the short-term entertainment of fans and talk radio.
On October 12th, 1997, John Denver perished in a plane crash, the earth lost its greatest voice, the music world lost a legendary performer, and Ron Deutschendorf lost his brother. Ron joins me to share his thoughts about John, and how 23 years later, his influence and impact continues to create ripples of positive change. For me, my friendship with JD is the root cause of the entirety of my radio career, and without a song heard on vinyl back in 1974 and a chance encounter after a concert in 1992, my life path would be very different.
When news reached me that longtime friend Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis had passed away, I felt like I had been body slammed. Joe was one-half of "The Road Warriors" along with the late, great Mike "Hawk" Hegstrand, the greatest tag-team in the history of pro wrestling. Back in the early 90s, I was fortunate to connect with these two characters, and for a few years, we worked together, and the memories of that time are a headlock on my heart. WHAT A RUSH!
So, what do China, haircuts and cellphones all have in common...? Those elements are part of my recent hiatus that includes launching an international radio show, my visit to Ray's Barbershop (haircut is just $12) back in my old neighborhood and my ongoing angst about cellphones becoming part of people's workout routine in my gym. They are apparently more interested in building up their scrolling muscles instead of their biceps.