Tag Archives: demi moore

(6+6)6 Reasons to Love 80s Heavy Metal

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Anyone who knew me back in the 80s is probably freaking out right now saying, “Wait a minute.  Stacie and heavy metal? Is this some kind of joke?  She was sooooo Hazy Fantazy/Wang Chung/Falco.  But metal?  Paaleeeassee.  Total poser.”

So, yeah, point taken.

But little do you haters know that beyond my inclination to dig music sung by dudes in clown suits with asymmetrical hair and way too much blue eyeliner, I actually rocked, on a quasi-daily basis, white man’s overbite-style with one arm raised and flailing in the air, head banging to the beat.

Like most of my friends, I was a latchkey kid (don’t judge me or my mom…we will cut you if you do).

Do not mess around with me, my mom, or Tanya Harding.

Looped into MTV for hours and sometimes days at a time, I became a self-professed expert on anything introduced by a VJ that happened to end up in the Top 20 Video Countdown, which, you may be surprised to learn, included a lot of metal.

Image via liketotally80s.com

Fast forward to last week, when The Byronic Man gave me a shout-out for being his 666th follower (check out his site…hilarious…witty…smart…plus he has this gravatar pic that only shows half of his face?  6th grade science fair project gone wrong on the side he doesn’t want you to see in my opinion…but nobody’s ever asked).

The Byronic Man. Half-man, half ?

Although I’m a little uncomfortable being identified with a number that sends the homeless guy on the corner into apoplectic hysteria and schizoids spiraling to their death, he tied it to (6)66 reasons to love 80s metal, which was cool, and maybe even genius if you ask me.

So I started thinking.  I generally like to think only after the ankle-biters are safely out the door and on their way to school, I’ve trolled around for Demi Moore Skeletor updates (she seriously needs to eat a Shoney’s Big Boy burger), and shotgunned two cups of Morning Thunder black tea.

I want you Demi Moore.

Why not avoid any heavy lifting for my post today, jump on a well-oiled Crazy Train (sorry, couldn’t resist) and add my six reasons to love 80s metal to his?

It’s easy to see why he got a rep for biting the heads off of bats.

Again, genius?  No.  Opportunistic?  Right on.  The Byronic Man is the smart person on the page.  I’m more like…. lazy.  But I’ve got a lot going on this week, so here you go: numbers 1 – 6 belong to the artsy dude with half a face, and 7 – 12 are mine.  If you like The Byronic Man’s list better, please go to his site and comment.  Everyone knows that kids brought up in the 80s have seriously fragile egos because, well, we pretty much raised ourselves.

(6+6)6 Reasons to Love 80s Heavy Metal

1.  For satanic, violence-inducing music that was bringing about the downfall of society, it’s surprisingly fun and upbeat.  In the 1980’s, in the US, Satanic cults and Satanists were EVERYWHERE.  It was an epidemic just waiting to drag the nation to hell in a black cloak and eyeliner.  I mean, no one had ever actually seen a Satanist, but everyone had a friend who knew a guy who had these friends who were, like, hiking in the woods? And the came to a clearing?  And there were these, like, rocks forming a pentagram and a bunch of black candles that were still smoking?  So they ran back to the car and when they got there someone had hung a dead rabbit over their car.  I’m totally serious, dude.  Anyway, the actual music, with some distance, is mostly pretty upbeat and rockin’.  The satanic stuff is so obviously rock ‘n roll posturing and just kind of, well, silly.

2.  You can look at photos of Judas Priest lead singer Rob Halford and contemplate that people were shocked when he revealed that he was gay.

3.  There’s this great moment when Tipper Gore was testifying about the dangers of heavy metal to Congress, and she holds up Def Leppard’s Pyromania album and says, in this scrunchy, squirrelly voice, that looking at it tells young people, “Burn the building!  Burn the building!”  And that‘s just fun to say.  Try it!  See?

At worst it makes me want to start counting off “Gunter, glieben, glauchen, globen…”

4.  Seriously, have you heard the pipes on the singer from Iron Maiden?  Wow.  You could give yourself a hernia trying to sing along.  They, as a band, have also started recently putting together theme concerts based on their early albums.  A kind of thematic Cirque Du Maiden with less gymnasts and more zombies.

5.  Listening to the first two minutes to Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” feels what I imagine it would feel like to emerge from the smoke and haze of a battlefield to see that you’d, personally, conquered the invading hordes and saved your people.  (If you’re unfamiliar with the song, it’s particularly the point after about 1:20, so hang in there)

6.  There are a lot of really cool things out there about heavy metal (even for someone who wouldn’t otherwise care) that aren’t woefully incomplete and haphazardly thought-out like certain blog entries I could mention, and which are quite interesting; Chuck Klosterman’s Fargo, Rock City (originally, and far more rockin’ly, titled Appetite For Deconstruction) for example; Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization part II; or Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.  There’s also supposed to be this really interesting historical survey, but I forget the name of it and I’m too busy a-rockin’ to do any a-researchin’.

*****

Picking up where The Byronic Man left off…..

7.  Mullets.  Any dude in the 80s who either a) drove a bright red Camaro with a self-service gun rack to school or b) consistently cut shop class to roll a fatty in the student smoking lounge or c) both, worked a mullet.  The mullet phase in fashion was just awesome.  Classy.  It was the ultimate 80s combo cut, short enough in front to please grandma and her church-going friends and just long enough in the back for street cred.  And rocking out.  To Ratt.  Or the Scorpions.  Or Night Ranger if you were into angst-infused vocals that were more pop-light than heavy.

Mullets rock. Image via askwardschoolpic.net

8.  Tommy Lee and Heather Locklear, the undisputed former king and queen of 80s heavy metal.   Why say anything else when a picture’s worth 1,000 words?

Rock royalty.

9.  Vixen, the all-female glam metal band who rocked Daytona Beach over spring break 1988 (Eastern High School seniors rule!).  Everyone I knew with halfway cool parents and a beat up Volkswagen Scirocco was there.  On the beach.  Mid-day.  Rockin’ out to a band they’d never really listened to while simultaneously beer bonging a case of Keystone Light, in like, five minutes flat.

AWESOME hair. Image via sweetlyrics.com

10.  You can’t compile a list of reasons to love 80s heavy metal without including midgets dancing around through a medieval town dressed like Renaissance court jesters.  Oh wait, I’m sliding off-topic and straying back toward my comfort zone, which is rooted firmly in one-hit wonder pop bands.  Sorry.  My bad.

11.  In the 80s, when I needed to chill out to MTV after mixing pop rocks and cocoa krispies for my after-school snack, I wanted nothing more than to be one of those gorgeous models doing splits and cartwheels on car hoods in deserted downtown streets.  That’s right.  I was dying to be a video vixen.  And who’s the biggest pole dancing, metal diva of them all?  You know the answer.  Tawny Kitaen.  Never mind that today she’s a crack addict who’s got like, platinum status on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.  Back then she was hot, and in Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again video she epitomized heavy metal hair bands with every overblown follicle she could find.

Before. Image via celebritywallpapers123.com

After. Image via tvrage.com

12.  There’s no way to honor 80s heavy metal without a separate nod to the aforementioned big hair.  Almost as much as the music, hair defined the genre.  The bigger the better, so much so that my friends and I had an incredibly hard time adhering our graduation caps to our heads.  They really had no place to go when it was time to walk down the aisle, grab our diplomas, and rock on over to someone’s house to blast Guns N’ Roses and play quarters for the rest of the afternoon.  Good times.

That’s not me. Image via coolaggregator.com

So, for those about to rock?  We salute you.  Really.  Just make sure to break out your Sun-In, hair gel and half-shirt before you do.

What Would You Do Differently Today if You Were Having Brain Surgery Tomorrow?

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For you and me this is a hypothetical question, because in that way we’re lucky.

But the rhetoric is real for my friend.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to get a fast food dinner to support some of my favorite families, because the restaurant was giving half the value of anything purchased that night to their school.  I’m all about the two-toned beauty of take-out and showing up when it counts, so to me, it was a win-win.

Based on the ginormous line snaking out the door when I got there, half the neighborhood agreed.  Regardless, I dutifully stepped up, wrenched my phone from the ankle-biters, and hummed We Want the Funk under my breath to pass the time.

George Clinton

We want the funk! George Clinton Image via Flickr

It seemed that the lady behind me, who was clutching two kids wearing the uniform of the school I was there to support, didn’t like old-school hip-hop.  Or me.  She was mad, and she wasn’t singing a decades-old song under her breath.  Instead, she ran off a litany of rants that sounded a lot like:

“This line is ridiculous!”

“Do people (me) think we have all night to order?”

“I can’t believe,” heavy sigh, “that someone (me again) would be on their phone in the middle of a restaurant.”

My son, Taylor, was at basketball practice, my husband out of town, I had two straight-from-the-pool, dripping wet daughters next to me, I needed to be three places at once, I wanted to be a good friend, and I quickly glanced at my phone to place the order Taylor had texted about an hour before.

That’s it.

She probably thought I was playing Fruit Ninja, or trolling Safari for articles about Demi Moore.  But I wasn’t.  I was just doing my job as short-order cook and chauffeur extraordinaire for the fam.  Oh yeah, and supporting her kids’ school.

Fruit Ninja is played by using a touch pad to ...

Fruit Ninja Image via Wikipedia

As the back of my head absorbed her string of accusations, it became obvious she was frazzled.  But no more so than anyone else.  Her kids were probably hungry.  Ditto that.  And she obviously didn’t mind taking the news ticker of complaints running through her mind straight to the street.

That’s where I stopped short.

I was this close to going there, and shoving my phone down her throat.  But my soggy girls, wilting by the minute and aware that something was off, stared up at me with a look that questioned a lot more than the menu.  So I kept my mouth shut.

A side view of a Rotary phone

A rotary phone is hard to shove down someone’s throat. Image via Wikipedia

Instead, I stood there and thought of twelve things I’d say to her if I were alone.  That night?  I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and thought of twenty-three more.  I completely obsessed over ways I could fictitiously tell her where to go and how to get there until the next day, when I found out about my friend’s brain tumor.

And then?  That lady disappeared, and instead of stalking my every thought, took up zero percent of my space.  Which is where she should have been all along.

I tell anyone who will listen, but especially my kids, that it’s the small things in life that matter.  What I don’t often let on, because I forget it myself, is there are many smaller ones that don’t.

With that in mind, I’m asking you to help me with one of those small things that matters most.  Whether you pray, think positively, or wish upon stars, please keep my friend in your heart.  His surgery really is tomorrow, he’s one of the good guys, and the world is a much better place with him around.

***

This is my friend's brain tumor.

What was your first thought when you found out about your tumor?

Am I going to die? Be paralyzed? Permanently brain-damaged? What am I going to tell my oldest daughter, Maria?

What is your present state of mind?

That my life is on hold.  I’m worried complications may draw out what I expect to be an unpleasant experience, and I’m not looking forward to a hole being drilled in my head.  I’m also hoping that I’m not too much of a burden on my wife.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To be healthy, financially independent, and spend my days reading, skiing, trail running, cycling, traveling, and playing with my kids.

What is your greatest fear?

Disappointing the people who rely on me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

My quick temper.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Intellectual arrogance and physical bullying.

What would happen if you elected not to have surgery?

The tumor would continue to grow over the years.  It would cause more hearing loss and balance problems, as well as ringing in my ears, and double vision.  It would damage nerves that would make the left side of my face droop.  I would lose the ability to close my left eyelid and my sense of taste.  I could have difficulty swallowing which would make it difficult or impossible to drink or eat, and I might have to be fed through a stomach tube.  I would suffer fine motor control problems in my left hand.  The tumor would eventually grow into the brain stem, which controls involuntary muscle like the lungs and heart.  My lungs and heart could stop functioning.

What do you consider your greatest achievements?

  • Graduating from West Point in the top 5% of my class.
  • Successfully leading my Army unit on long deployments in Bangladesh to build schools, the Kingdom of Tonga to build water desalinization plants, and Micronesia to complete various civic action projects for the islanders.
  • Finding a great woman to marry.

What have been your greatest struggles?

Growing up in poor in Harlem Heights, NYC with an alcoholic, chain-smoking, wife-beating father.  I hated being poor, so I resolved at an early age to do well in school so I could secure a more stable future.  I try hard to be nothing like my father.

What do you admire most about your mother?

Despite living a life filled with abuse and hardship, she is a patient, forgiving, and caring person.

What do you admire most about your children?

  • Maria’s sweet sensitivity (age 10).
  • Michael’s resilience and independence in the face of three surgeries (age 8).
  • Alberto’s easy-going personality (age 8).
  • Andre’s sense of humor (age 5).
  • George’s tenderness (age 3).
  • Ann’s rambunctiousness (age 2).

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

First, the fear of losing a child.  Second, being jailed in a small cell forever with a beautiful view of mountains that I will never be allowed to explore.

Has your prognosis changed the way you look at life?

I worry less about things that don’t really matter.  I worked way too hard and traveled too much last year, so I’ve changed that and am spending more time with my family.

What is your motto?

I have two.

The Seven Ps (from the Army): “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”

“Life is good.”

***

As I look back at these questions and my brave friend’s replies, I’m struck by something I’m embarrassed to admit.  Before this week, I didn’t know the majority of his answers.  I’d never bothered to ask.

In our daily sprint against a fading clock, it’s a lot easier to say, “How are you,” in the form of a statement rather than a question, because society is conditioned to respond with a unilateral “fine.”

“Fine” makes things easy.  It’s an all-encompassing reply that rests in the gray matter of our conscience and allows us to smile, nod our heads, and move on with our day.  “Fine” is a free pass that someone stuck under the windshield wiper in the grocery store parking lot.  It’s when you wave to a neighbor from the porch instead of meeting her at the curb to talk.  “Fine” is convenient.  It’s Facebook…a click, a thumb’s up, quick comment, and I’ve done my job.  “Fine” is one of the small things in life that doesn’t count.

There’s something wrong with a world where I‘d rather shove my phone down a stranger’s throat than stop to ask what’s the matter, or that I go deep with a friend only in the face of pending danger and loss.  Or maybe there’s just something wrong with me.  Either way, I don’t like it, and from now on I’m replacing “How are you?” with “Who are you?”

It’s a small change that leads to a big question, and I, for one, would really like to know.  If I were having brain surgery tomorrow, that’s the first thing I’d do differently today.

02/16/12: I’m happy to report that my friend’s surgery was a success.  He’ll spend the next week recuperating in the hospital, and then he’s homeward bound to rest some more.  All of your thoughts, prayers, and positive wishes made a difference.  Thank you.