Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bringing out the Cow Bells for Easter! Stevie Wonder's genius "Another Star" still sends me -and reminds me of cross-country drives at night with the windows down, his music filling every inch of the car

Stevie Wonder - Another Star
"There might be another star, 
But through my eyes the light of you is all I see..."
Simply put, genius personified.

One of THE greatest songs ever for playing while driving across the U.S.A. at night on the Interstate, especially on curving roads that you maneuver like slalom runs, gliding with little effort.

And it's even better when you're by yourself at 2 a.m. and there's no side traffic and you can use your steering wheel as your synthesizer and drum.

When I close my eyes and hear this song (and this iconic album), I almost immediately see myself, circa 1979-1987 on I-24 getting close to Chattanooga, and I-75 in Georgia, north and south of Macon, circa 1979-1987, with stops at the Shoney's Big Boy for a post-midnight slice of Key Lime pie and real Cherry Coke, because another hamburger is not what the doctor ordered. Sugar rush!

This video is 100% accurate about the first two minutes depicted here! The immediate area around Monteagle, TN, whether going up or down the mountain, was always THE scariest part of the drive for me between Miami and Chicago -or Bloomington- because of all the armies of trucks that were just flying by me -doing the speed limit- and the cars driven by locals that were passing THEM!
Even while bits of wet rocks and gravel from the mountain were always just inches from the road.
Runaway truck!!!!!

That was always the case heading north towards IU in Bloomington or up to Chicago/Evanston from North Miami Beach, because it means that I still have a ridiculous amount of driving still ahead of me.

And the thing is, even though we've never met, I know that somewhere up on I-65 north of Nashville, maybe just inside of the Bluegrass State, there's at least a few sleepy truck drivers in Kentucky pulling big rigs I have to be wary of, because while they may've stopped to eat, they're still sleepy.

Because there are always sleepy truck drivers at night around there.

Guys who'll drive faster than the posted speed limit while its raining hard, and I know in advance that IF I don't keep a nice safe distance, ahead of them or behind them. their water will just pour onto my windshield like I'm drowning and make my windshield wipers useless.

Trust me, that is damn scary at night on long stretches of roads with trucks forever getting on your bumper while you're trying not to get blown off the road.

The 1980's route from my past to my then-present

To quote myself, "If only blogs and digital cameras had existed then."
I'd have hundreds and hundreds of amazing photos and shots of the passing American scene of the 1980's I knew -and lots of restaurant reviews!- and dozens of anecdotes about my friends and classmates I visited along the way who lived along the Interstate that connected my past and my then-present in America's heartland. 

Especially like my sweet and adorable friend, Beth George in Louisville, whose friendliness, smile, wit and accent never failed to amaze me, and make me thankful to have someone like her as a friend.
Yes, she wasn't an Indiana Pi Phi for nothing!

5 p.m. Postscript: YouTube Frustration.

Since I posted this earlier this morning, I realized that I'd forgotten to add something that was nagging me after I hit "Post" and went to sleep.
Maybe those of you who are my age or share my particular musical tastes and come to this blog fairly often thought the same thing I am now, since it has happened before with other videos of musical talents I greatly admire and appreciate and have chosen to post here.

Since rather out-of-the-blue I'd found myself humming and singing this great song for the past few days while stuck in traffic around the area -something that happens multiple times a day around here at this time of the year because of visitors and toursists, esp. given that there are only three main roads to navigate thru the city- I had already decided that I was going to post this version of the song on the blog today, since late Saturday night is usually the easiest time for me to write something pop culture-related, even if I don't post it for a few days.

The song, which came out as a single in the summer of 1977 when I was 16 years-old and soon to be an Junior at North Miami Beach Senior High School, and one that everyone I knew then, male or female, White or Black or Hispanic, petite gymnast or lanky soccer player loved.

And so, that being the case, that everyone actually DOES LOVE Stevie Wonder, esp. his material from that era, I assumed that it would be rather simple to find a long version of the song on YouTube with him singing it that year or within a few years, whether from a concert or TV appearance, as well as find a version there of British singer George Michael singing the song, too, since he loves it too and has sung it in the past on his concert tours, esp. in Europe.
I'd seen the videos of that before, so knew that going in.

But early this morning I discovered that despite all the tens of millions of things on YouTube, there is NOT a single video of Stevie Wonder singing the song in concert or on TV pre-1985, and NOT a single good video of George Michael singing it in concert, whether via a handheld camera or TV broadcast, where both the audio and video were very good, much less amazing.

Instead, for the latter, much to my consternation, there are a lot of bits and pieces of the song being sung in London, Manchester, Amsterdam or Antwerp where the video is very good but the audio sucks, or vice-versa.

This one from a June 2007 concert at the City of Manchester Stadium has a fan's amazing video of George Michael literally circling the crowd as it were, but the fans around him are so loud that some audio is drowned out. 
Man, this video could have been spectacular but for the other fans.

And sometimes, the rare ones that are good at both, like this one also at that week of June 2007 dates in Manchester, end after barely more than two minutes, in the middle of the song, right when ridiculously-talented George Michael is really getting into the swing of things.
Wow that is SO frustrating!

After spending a lot of time looking, for me and my ears and eyes, this video below from a George Michael fan going by the name of unotraitanti, is THE most consistent quality version on YouTube, but if you know of one that is better, both audio and video clarity, please let me know.

unotraitanti's video: George Michael - "Another Star" (cover of Stevie Wonder) LVE, Manchester, England.


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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Thumbs up! What a night! #HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with a very elated Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy at his Victory Party, held at Leo Anato's Atelier3/AT3 on Harrison Street & S. 19th Avenue, Hollywood. AT3's great environment and the amazing variety of food prepared by chef Kevin Dreifuss, former owner/chef of ENDS MEAT restaurant, was SUPERB! November 8, 2016

Esther Chuang, Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015

Above, perhaps my most-favorite photo ever of Esther, which is really saying something considering the THOUSANDS that I've actually seen of her, from all over the world. But despite the fact that you can't actually see it here, trust me, her amazing smile and inner and external beauty are there. This photo is an even more amazing achievement when you know the backstory of what it took for Esther to get to the top of the mountain, since it's NOT for the faint of heart. Next time you see her, ask her about that! Morro Dois Irmãos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on her birthday, July 10, 2015. That's the Christ The Redeemer statue way out in the horizon on the top of another mountain, to the left of her head. �� In case you forgot what the Christ the Redeemer statue looks like, up close, here's another Brazilian beauty to connect-the-dots for you: Gisele Bündchen, aka @Gisele.

Abençoado por Deus e bonito por natureza!✨ ������

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View of Rio De Janeiro from my room.

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"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." - Martin Luther King, Sept. 1962. #MLK I was a young kid living in #Memphis with my family that April night in 1968 when we returned home from a trip to #McDonalds and like so many nights before, I raced to the TV set in the living room to beat my two younger sisters to be the one who turned on the TV. As my parents walked in and settled down on the family couch, to see what was on TV, literally, within one minute, came the Breaking News that Dr. King had been shot elsewhere in the city. And the news only got worse as the night went on as news soon confirmed that Dr. King had died as a result of the assassination attempt, and soon there was widespread looting and violence in Memphis, the very things he had adamantly opposed. Eventually came the news that the city was under curfew, and sometime before midnight, because my family lived in a new-ish apt. complex that was on the same road as the nearby Armory, my parents and I and many of our neighbors watched in silence from the sidewalk/curb as tanks driven by members of the mobilized National Guard drove towards downtown Memphis, because the city's powers-that-be had decided that this would show the people who was boss. As my mother tells the story, one of my neighbors remarked on the irony of U.S. Army tanks being used to try to stop violence by Americans who were upset about the murder of a great man who had won the #NobelPeacePrize. It was the first time I remember ever hearing this strange word: #irony.

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When you leave but bring the spare key because it is yours to keep.

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2 0 1 7. I made new mistakes and old ones again. I learned things I didn't know and I things I had already learned the hard way but needed to repeat either way. I fell in love again and again, with the same man, and realized that is the way to do it. I stopped thinking life happened to me and started enjoying taking control of what tomorrow would entail. I wrote even when it hurt and I apologized even when they didn't. I almost gave up but woke up and stood up and spoke up and didn't budge and moved on and forgave myself for not always knowing what to do. I decided the most important thing is to be proud of who I become and to make sure she is someone to be proud of. All I truly have is the opportunity to be whoever I want to be, and knowing that is everything.

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I'm not the only poet in this relationship ❥

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The boyfriend of Mikaela -Malin and Jennifer's sister- wrote above: "Honey, you are my everything, my dream, my imagination, my reality, my future. Sounds like something that I would write to someone special -and have!
FYI: There are 10 photos below, including a rare one of yours truly!