Archive for January, 2007

The Dick Summer Connection – 2007#4

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

Proud PodProgram participant Jim King sent this about last week’s Connection:

comment::
One thing I would like to hear is more subject matter on guys as they age, get to the Old Goats era which many of us are approaching. Of course, that includes more than women (though nothing wrong with including them!!). Our (mens’) fears, hopes, our reflecting back upon our lives, what may have been, should have been, could have been. The friends we’ve had, places we’ve been, and the experiences we’ve had.

Jim is a member of the “Louie-Louie Generation.” If you too remember record hops, “rubbers,” and Micro-Minis, you are also a member of the “Louie-Louie Generation.” As I mentioned in last week’s PodProgram, I mc’d a lot of record hops during my Boston radio days. And “Louie-Louie” by the Kingsmen was my secret weapon. Any time the kids stopped dancing, I hauled it out and played it again. “Louie-Louie” was the perfect guy’s dance. No complicated steps, and it gave you a chance to dance close to the girl’s ear and softy sing your version of the words, which “everybody knew” were dirty. That was before political correctness, which means it was ok to like sex. Guys had something to hope for in those days. That’s why we always made sure we had a little round circle of rolled up latex that we called a “rubber” showing through the leather of our wallets. Hope sprang eternal for the members of the “Louie-Louie Generation.”

I’m hanging on to that “Louie-Louie Generation” hope. That’s why I made my “Crush Cynicism” New Year’s Resolution. Cynicism sucks, and I just don’t want it sucking the smiles out of my life. That’s been happening to some of my friends whose bodies are also well past the break in period. Where once we had a six pack of abs, our mid sections are now made of Twinkies. It’s our own fault, of course. My buddy Al had some blood tests done last week, and his blood looked like the run off of a McDonald’s grill. There was so much grease and oil in there that I told him he should seriously consider joining OPEC.

I have some experience with this weird time of life stuff now…finding yourself in the middle of a room and wondering, “Who am I and what am I doing here?” Getting down on the floor to do some push ups, and pushing…and having Mr. Floor totally ignore you. Finding yourself saying, “What?” a lot. If you’ve been there, done that, it’s ok. It can be a serious head problem, but there is still hope. And I’ll tell you about it in this week’s PodProgram. But if you don’t want to go there, here’s the point in a nutshell: “The most serious problems can be solved by the silliest solutions.”

But serious and silly aren’t the same as stupid. When you do something really stupid, you’ve got to take immediate control. Cats do it well. When a cat does something really dumb, he looks at you like he’s saying “I meant to do that. And you just wouldn’t understand if I took the time to explain.” Then he just pauses, shakes himself, licks some convenient part of his body for a while, and walks away. Don’t try that licking part unless you either look like George Clooney, or your wallet looks like Donald Trump’s…with the latex circle showing.Cynics are chicken. They don’t want anything to do with hope. They just want a sure thing. And there’s never a guarantee when hope is involved. If there were a guarantee, there’d be nothing to hope for. That’s the reason cynics aren’t sexy. I’m not talking about “slam, bam, thank you ma’am,” I’m talking about slow sliding, wet black lace, sweaty stripper, lap dance sexy. In case you didn’t know, they aren’t absolutely sure things either. Lots of things can go wrong…especially if your body is a member of the Louie-Louie Generation. But you’ve gotta have hope. Cynics don’t want anything to do with hope. They think sex is sloppy and dirty, and it can be dangerous, probably sinful, and generally a troublesome waste of time. I agree. But I figure somebody has to do it, and it might as well be me.There’s no question that those of us who are members of the “Louie-Louie Generation” get our share of smacks on the side of the head. You’ve got to stand four feet away from the mirror when you shave. And when you see that guy looking back, you know you are who you’re going to be. In my case, no potential “Tonight Show” host. No New York Mets center fielder. Not even the next Howard Stern.

It happened so fast. Just when I figured I was getting my head together, my muscles fell off. Last year my doctor said “I think you should have a stress test so I can save your life.” I said ok. The first thing he did was give me a form to sign that said essentially that this life saving test could kill me, but I’m holding everybody in sight blameless. Then he started the treadmill; every few minutes the speed and the angle went up. Now I do pushups and ride a bike every day, so I was sweating pretty good, but I was keeping up. So I asked the doctor what’s the record for this thing. He said 27 minutes. So I put my head down and got into it. But when I hit 17 minutes HE STOPPED THE DAMN THING. I said…WHAT ARE YOU DOING ? And he said it. The thing I HATE. He said “You did very well FOR A GUY YOUR AGE.”

But I’m determined to maintain my “Louie-Louie Generation” hope. Crush cynicism. And so far, just when I’m beginning to slip into surly mode, something good happens. A few days ago, I took little Emily and her jelly beans for her first flight in a small plane, and what a blast that was. Besides crushing the cynicism, it reminded me of a very important lesson. It’s in this week’s PodProgram, if you’re curious.

And better yet, last night my Lady Wonder Wench came walking into my den wearing a (very) little black stringy item she called “something a little more comfortable,” and my eyebrows started twitching, I pulled in my belly, and started strutting around like I did when I was 21. (And don’t think that’s not a miracle with my knees.) And this time stuff didn’t go wrong…my reward for hanging on to hope. No hope, no hope of love. No hope of love, no Lady Wonder Wench dressed in some very comfortable little black stringy thing.

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – All the answers are in this week’s PodProgram.

1- How did the guy on the $20 bill, President Andrew Jackson, get to be a big shot ?

2- What fruit has half of the same genes as Catherine Zeta Jones ?

3- Why are rhinos bald ?

Scoring – You’re a match for:

3 right – Clint Eastwood.

2 right – Jack Nicholson.

1 right – Woody Allen.

0 right – Ronald McDonald.

So what have we learned ?  Here’s what I learned: Cynics just aren’t sexy. Ever. Sometimes the best way to solve a serious problem is with a silly solution. And if you’re around my age and your life needs a boost, go get a copy of “Louie-Louie.” It’ll make you feel like dancing again. What did you learn ? Drop me an e-mail at dick@dicksummer.com  . Or if you prefer, just click under this blog where it says “comments”, do a bit of quick addition (to keep spammers out) and let ‘er rip.  

 

 

 

The Dick Summer Connection – 2007 #3

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

It’s a bright, blustery, bangin’ around day. Too much to do, and maybe just enough time to do it. Gotta take the Christmas tree down today. I hate that. We wait till the Sunday before Christmas eve to put it up, and we take it down the weekend we get tickets for Mets Baseball Spring training games. Putting up a Christmas tree earlier than the Sunday before Christmas makes it seem like it’s just some WalMart decoration. Gotta give it more respect than that if you want the real Santa Claus to slide down your chimney with the kind of gifts that you can’t buy in the store. And waiting till we get our Spring training tickets to take it down is a good reminder that the magic gifts that the real Santa stuffs in our stockings work all year round.When you cut down a tree and put it up in your living room, you’re sacrificing of a living thing. The Pagans started that tradition on the longest night of the year hoping it would influence their gods to bring the sun back from wherever they were hiding it. The Christians said, “Boy that Yule tree is cool,” and took it over to use as the down beat to start singing Silent Night. For my lady Wonder Wench and me, our tree keeps the memories, the magic and the hopes of our lives permanent and safe. And we trust and hope it will scare away the evil spirits that might be lurking in the new year.But it’s getting crisp, and of course that’s when it’s most fragrant. Where does the fragrance go ? I honestly think it hides somewhere. Sometimes I swear a little touch of it seems to spritz out from a corner of our living room in July…a quick ho, ho, ho, in the middle of the fireworks, hot dogs, baseball and beer.I have a young friend who has a Christmas tree that opens like an umbrella, and closes just as easily. He opens it on Christmas eve and closes it the day after Christmas. The MTV generation likes to do a lot of things at once, and all of them very quickly. Everything changes, of course. That’s called growth. And change can be tough on people who like things to “stay just the way they are.”

Wonder Wench and I are members of the Louie Louie generation. In case you forgot, or you never knew, Louie Louie was a song by the Kingsmen. It was the perfect record hop song. I did a lot of record hops during my Boston radio days, and when things got boring at the dance, I’d always put on Louie Louie. Guys liked it because there were no complicated steps, and everybody knew the words were “dirty”…so they could get away with singing “dirty” words even to the “nice” girls. That was before political correctness, of course, so it was ok to like “dirty.” And I was surprised to notice that lots of the “nice” girls seemed to like it too. That was an important lesson in my own personal understanding of young women…which is a study that I have continued to this day.

Actually, it was impossible to understand the words. But that didn’t stop certain US Senators intent on keeping our attention on ” WIPING OUT GODLESS INDECENCY” so nobody would notice which sludge buckets were contributing to their campaigns. (Why isn’t that called bribery ?) Of course all the guys had a copy of the “real and official” lyrics stuffed into their wallets, along with a little round circle of rolled up latex that we called a “rubber.” Putting political correctness and other hypocrisies aside, you could also call that little round circle in our wallets a “symbol of hope.”

It doesn’t really matter how many birthday cakes you’ve enjoyed, you are a member of the Louie Louie generation if a lot of your conversation these days includes words like “prostate”, “ouch”, “vitamin E”, “stress”, “diet”, and “whhaaat did you say?” It happened so fast, didn’t it ? Just when it seemed like we were beginning to get our heads together, our fannies started causing problems. But… there is still hope.

Louie Louie people are never cynics. We’ve always got at least some little shred of hope going. Cynics don’t. Cynics don’t really care about Christmas trees, Spring training, or even carrying little circles of latex around in their wallets. That’s because cynics are always looking for a sure thing. They don’t want to take any chances. Their attitude is, “I’ve seen a lot of changes in my lifetime, and I’ve been against every single one of them.” Cynics are a bunch of chickens.

That’s why cynics are never sexy. Chickens are not sexy. I’m not talking about “slam, bam, thank you, ma’am,” I’m talking about Louie Louie lap dance sexy. No matter how suggestive sexiness is, it’s not a sure thing. Cynics call sex sloppy, dirty, dangerous, sinful, and generally a troublesome waste of time. And I agree. But I figure somebody’s got to do it, and I hope that somebody is me. See, there’s that word hope again. Hope is a good part of being sexy, and it’s also a good part of love. No hope – No love. Gotta take a chance.

Lots of people are afraid to take more chances. I saw on the news that 51% of our women are now living alone. That sucks for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it makes you selfish. You can’t turn your thinker off. If you don’t have anyone else around to think about, you have no choice but to spend your time thinking about yourself. Living alone can also be physically dangerous, especially for a woman. And the worst part of it is that it sucks the hope out of your life. What’s to hope for if you’re alone? A promotion at work ? Who are you inviting to the celebration ? Gonna buy a mink with the money ? Who are you going to impress ? Going on a fancy vacation ? What, alone ?

Men and women need each other. I wrote a short, lumpy piece about that a long time ago…shortly after Wonder Wench broke up with a guy she was going to marry, and she stumbled into my life. It’s called Alone and Lonely, and it’s in the current PodProgram, if you’re interested. There are exceptions, of course, and God bless them too. But for most of us, it doesn’t matter if you’re from my Louie Louie generation and you remember the Lone Ranger, black and white tv, and BB guns, or if you’re an MTV-er who has no idea what a 45 rpm record looks like, or where to put your crinoline, or what Barbie’s life was like before Ken. You need somebody. Somebody close. Somebody you can trust. Somebody to warm you up on a cold blustery night.

That’s the point of the PodProgram and the Personal Audio CDs on the web site. Nights are tough when you’re alone…for both men and women. You look around and there’s nothing there but you. At least the PodProgram and the CDs are the sound of a human voice. That’s not as good as a whole human being. But I think it’s better than nothing. Give em a listen. Maybe you’ll agree.

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – All answers are in the current PodProgram.

1- Why do most people avoid kissing crocodiles ?

2- What’s going to happen when the earth stops spinning ?

3- What’s the ball on top of a flagpole called ?

Scoring: 3 right – You’re full of hope. 2 right – You are quite promising. 1 right – You’ve still got a shot. None right – No Santa Claus for you.

So what have we learned ? 1- Sometimes a song doesn’t have to have real words to give hope to millions. 2- Cynics are chicken, and chickens aren’t sexy. 3- Hang on to your hope. No hope, no hope of love. Love can keep you warm. And hope is what spring is all about.

And what do you think ? Let me know. Dick@DickSummer.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dick Summer Connection – 2007 #2

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

“I was a hypnotherapist. I used to stop people from smoking by boring them so much they fell asleep, then I stole their cigarettes.” (Bada boom.) You’ve probably heard that old bit, or some variation of it, more than a few times. But I really was a hypnotherapist for about 18 years, while I was working at WNBC, WYNY, WPIX and WQCD in New York. And I really do have a very quiet voice…which is good and bad. It’s bad because most radio station engineers hate my voice. It doesn’t “cut through” very well. And most program directors don’t like my voice because I like to use it to tell stories which sometimes last a couple of minutes, and program directors tend to get nervous when the guy on the air is talking for more than a few seconds instead of playing music or putting a caller on the air. The reason I’m mentioning this is that a lady by the name of Linda, who lives in England, was kind enough to post a comment to last week’s blog, and she mentioned that my voice relaxes her. I know it has that affect on people. And that can be good.I’m lucky. Lucky people get a little pat on the butt when they’re born. George Clooney got good looks. Ted Turner got lots of money. I got an unusually quiet voice. It shouldn’t make George or Ted or Dick conceited…just grateful for the gift. The quiet voice is why I spent most of my broadcasting life doing evening and overnight shows. The quiet voice is good because it tends to make people trust what I’m saying, which was a help a couple of times when people who were seriously considering taking a hard right off the George Washington bridge called while I was on the air in New York. It’s also handy when I’m doing television commercials. Best of all, it’s also the tool I used to convince my Lady Wonder Wench to run off with me. More about that later.

People sometimes ask if I miss being on the air. Usually the answer is no. I’m very happy with my personal life, my day job, and doing the story cds and this blog and the PodPrograms that go with it. But there are a few times when I’d give almost anything to be back on the air…. because I know there is that quiet voice sound that can help people calm down and feel like they can trust what I’m saying. The biggest example of that was when the bad guys took the towers down on 9-11. I grew up looking at those towers. And I knew some of the people who went down with them…and a lot of the people who had to listen to their screams…and I know I could have helped…a little. When John Kennedy was shot…and Martin Luther King…I think a quiet voice was a small help.

There are other less dramatic times. When there are storms and the power goes out…a quiet voice can help. In fact, a quiet voice could take advantage of the situation to help create a sense of a real “lights out family” with some genuine feelings of having quite an experience together. I remember a hurricane in Boston when a guy called me while the waves were smashing into his house on the beach, and he needed to calm down enough to get out. And my Lady Wonder Wench will tell you that there are times late at night when a quiet voice on the radio helped hold her broken heart together…even from hundreds of miles away.

There are lots of broken hearts these nights. I’m not that concerned about the very young ones, because they’ll heal. They’ve got time and lots of choices, and most of society’s attention on their side. But the hearts that belong to the rest of us…those of us who are having a hard time getting used to being called “Mister,” and competing in sporting events called “Masters”…those of us who miss terribly… more and more of the people in the pictures on our dressers…those of us who are beginning to think maybe we don’t have forever anymore …how about us?

“Anonymous” posted a telling comment about last week’s blog. “I like Bedtime Stories because it’s about adults.” That’s the point of the new story cd project. Thanks to Jim and Bob and Brian and Linda who posted some encouragement for the idea of the new project. I’m going to send all of you copies of the four cuts that are done. And if the project gets finished, I’ll send you copies of the whole album. And thanks to those of you who called/Emailed and suggested new and probably better titles for the album. It’s a work in progress. I’ll keep you informed as to how it’s coming along. Meantime, there’s another one of the stories that will probably be included on the current PodProgram. Click here if you’re interested. I really do appreciate your comments. My Email is Dick@DickSummer.com

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – (All the answers are in the current PodProgram)

1- If Da Vinci invented contact lenses in the 15th century, how come they weren’t available till the 20th century ?

2- Which Wright Brothers didn’t make it into the history books ?

3- I claim that Tom Cruise updated what famous movie star.

Scoring: 3 right – Calm, warm and connected. 2 right – Stop biting your fingernails. 1 right – Stop biting your toe nails too. Zero right – Maybe the voices really are coming after you.

So, what have we learned: Hypnosis really can help you stop smoking, even if you don’t want to quack like a duck. Some good things can happen when the lights go out. And I am very glad my Lady Wonder Wench followed the sound of that quiet voice and came home.

 

 

The Dick Summer Connection – 2007 #1

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

An old friend called it a career and moved to Florida a few weeks ago. I guess the word “friend” is a little out of line. WNEW radio was “my station” while I was growing up in Brooklyn. Working there was a childhood fantasy that came true. I got to do morning drive on WNEW-FM, and then overnights and weekends on WNEW-AM, but they never got around to including me in their list of “alumni.” Just ego I guess, but I have to admit that hurts. Guess it’s because, as I said, it was a childhood fantasy actually working with Gene Klavan, Dee Finch, William B. Williams, Allison Steele, Jazzbeaux Collins, Rosco, Scott Muni, Jon Schwartz, Pat St. John, John Zacherle, and Teddy Brown, and it would be kind of nice to be included with them in what passes for radio history. I know I was there…honest. I have pictures and an air check to prove it, and even more important, I’ve met and even become friends with some of the people who used to listen to me in those days.WNEW could only have been born in New York City…Skyscraper National Park. It was the sound of New York while I was growing up, and while I worked there…even though it didn’t have WABC’s ratings. But like so many tired New Yorkers, WNEW just gave up and moved to Florida when the time came to chuck it all and retire a few weeks ago. One of the reasons I’m so sad to see that happen is because WNEW and WNEW-FM represented all the best of both the “Standards” and the “Classic Rock” forms of the kind of genuine personality radio I’ve always loved. And love dies hard. The music was very different. Sinatra, Bennett and Basie were regular guests on the AM, and Lennon, Clapton and Jagger hung out at the FM side. But the guys on the air on both AM and FM all had pretty much the same warm, confident, and quietly passionate sound. It was New York. It’s not anymore. All the guys are gone. Only the call letters remain…living out their last days in retirement in some Florida swamp. And that makes me sad.

Trying to be honest about it, I guess WNEW’s passing makes me realize how fast the years are going by, and I don’t want to get old. I’m just not going to do it. And I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do it either. Proud PodProgram Participant Jim King says, “Inside every old guy, there’s a young guy who wonders what happened.” When I was a very young guy, I met Tinkerbell in a book called “Peter Pan”…and I fell helplessly in love with her. I knew it wasn’t going to work, because she was in love with Peter, even though she knew there wasn’t anything in it for her. She was a fairy and he was a human. No three bedrooms with a white picket fence around it in a set up like that. And besides that, he didn’t really care about her. All he wanted from her was her magic fairy dust so he could keep flying and stay young. Like lots of guys, he was an immature jerk. But she loved him anyway…even though there wasn’t anything in it for her. Nothing. That’s love. Real love. What Tinkerbell did for Peter is a lot like what my lady Wonder Wench did for me…when there wasn’t anything in it for her. I’ll tell you about that another time.

Magic lives. Not the pull the rabbit out of the hat kind. That’s not magic, that’s just a good trick. I’m talking about Tinkerbell’s kind of magic. Here’s how you can tell the difference: Trick magic you have to see to believe. Real magic, Tinkerbell’s kind, you have to believe first, before you get to see it. Trick magic is great fun. Real magic keeps you young…and makes you able to fly.

The book said that if we want to keep Tinkerbell alive, we’ve got to believe in her. And we need to let her know we believe by clapping our hands for her. I think the longer we’re around, the more we’d better clap our hands for Tink if we don’t want to get old and crumbly.

When you think about it, we all need someone to clap hands for us, to let us know that someone believes in us. What do you do at a concert, or a play, or a ball game ? You applaud the performer to let him know you think he’s magic, and wonderful…to let him know you believe in him. If you didn’t applaud, in no time at all Mick Jagger and Tony Bennett, and Pedro Martinez would become just another bunch of worn out old men dressed up in funny clothes.

I’m going to work on a new story “Personal Audio” cd. It’s going to be about people like me. I can still swing a pretty good softball bat, but these days I’m playing first base instead of center field. I’m a few weeks past springtime, and there’s nothing I can do about that…except keep believing in magic… keep clapping for Tinkerbell.

So the working title for my new album is, “Keep Clapping for Tinkerbell.” You can hear a couple of cuts from it by clicking here for the current PodProgram. (It’s free.) I need your help. I need you to tell me if that title makes sense to you, and if you’d be interested in hearing some short stories about people like me and the kind of loving and magic I’m determined to keep going in my life. I also need to know if your friends would be interested. I would be very grateful if you’d send me an email ( dick@dicksummer.com  ) and let me know. If you like, add your snail mail address, and when/if I get the album done, I’ll send you a free copy as a “Thanks for helping” gift.

DICK’S DETAILS QUIZ – (Click here for the answers which are all in the current PodProgram.)

1- Why did I say a horse named “Upset” was so good with “de-feet.”

2- What movie star’s picture was used as the model for Tinkerbell in the Peter Pan movie.

3- What does famous tenor Pavarotti keep in his pocket to help hit the high notes.

Scoring: Three right – You’re flying. Two right, you’re safe from Capt. Hook. One right, Wendy won’t date you. Zero right…crumble, crumble, crumble.

So, what have we learned: Guess it’s about time I got to work on a new cd. I really need your help, because the title I’d like to use is “Keep Clapping Hands For Tinkerbell” and I’m not sure anybody will understand what I’m talking about. So I’d really appreciate it if you’d drop me a note at and let me know what you think. And before you become the young guy inside some old guy’s body “wondering what happened”… if you start seriously considering giving up and going to retire in some Florida swamp like WNEW… just remember to clap your hands for Tinkerbell. You will automatically be issued your minimum adult daily requirement of magic, love and fairy dust.