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Tonight at 7pm a giant in the TV industry passed away. CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. He was known to many as Uncle Walter because he was part of your evening routine every night during or after supper you sat down to watch the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite. He was the Anchor from 1961 until forced to retire because of his age in 1981. He still had many good years left. Walter delivered the news with the authority of someone who actually understood it. He wasn’t just a Handsome or Pretty Talking Head like most of those on TV today. He had been a reporter since WWII and covered every significant event including D-day, The end of WWII, The Korean War, The Cold War, The Vietnam War, The Kennedy assassinations, All of the important Space program items including the 1st Moon Landing, The Civil Rights struggle, the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Watergate, and all of the Presidential conventions and elections. He was once voted the most trusted man in America.  Unlike most TV anchors of today he reported the news, he did not give you his opinion of the news. That’s what made him trusted. There is no one like him today and there may never be another. Today the Anchors and the networks are more interested in ratings, and image. Hair is more important than what’s underneath it. Goodbye Walter, you sure will be missed.  Spiney

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Well there seems to be some outrage over Adam Lambert not winning the title 2009 American Idol.  Here is my take on it, for what it’s worth. They are both very good in their own different way.  Kris is a good singer / musician who will do well.  Adam is an incredible entertainer / singer who will go the way of Daughtry and be a smashing success. As the past has proven you need not be the title winner to do well, and just getting the title does not guarantee success. The have been winners who are hardly ever heard from again. Reuben may be the velvet teddy bear but he’s not been a commercial success. Clay Aiken came in as number 2 and has been a commercial success ever since. He may not be on the radio everyday, but he has a strong following and sells out personal appearances. The original Idol Kelly Clarkson has been a Star since winning and Justin who? fell into the abyss. I got to see Kelly with Reba McEntire last summer. She was incredible. Clive Davis may not have liked “My December” but it became a Gold Album for her.  The “Somewhere over the Rainbow Girl” , Kathryn McPhee, got over there and has not been heard from since. Then you have standouts like Ms. Jennifer Hudson and incredible breakout stars like  Carrie Underwood.  And who knew Kellie Pickler would have a career. Not winning will probably be the best thing ever to happen to Adam, just like it was for Daughtry. Even more than Daughtry, Adam got the publicity and exposure to ride it out all the way to the end. He got the car, he Will have a contract, and he wont be confined to the box that is the Idol and have to sing the dreadful song. Kara having written many hit pop songs, I expected we would finally get a decent song.  With all the Millions if not Billions by now that Idol, 19 entertainment makes by now you think they could buy a hit song.  Back to Adam. He may end up being THE Most Successful Idol Contestant Ever.  He can sing, he has commanding stage presence, he can do Broadway, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him in film. You can’t say that of many other Idols.  He has great Crossover potential. His songs are already The Most Downloaded on Itunes of any Idol this Season.  He could release “Mad World” tomorrow and it would be a Radio Hit, and has the potential for a very cool Video. My Mother-in-law who is 68 just melts we she hears that song and sees him in his trench coat. She said she hasn’t been this excited about a singer since Elvis died. So he has a pretty broad fan base. So don’t cry for Adam. Now to Kris, I’m glad he got the title.  He worked very very hard, and came up from behind like an underdog horse in the derby. Plus he seems like a genuine nice guy. He too will do very well. The biggest problem for him will be the strain it will put on his still new marriage. Seems just like they forgot, Adam wasn’t batting for their team, all the Tweenster girls who voted Kris in overlooked he’s still a newlywed. Having once been an early something newlywed, all those hours apart can be brutal. I waited 7 years to marry my high school sweetheart, and working 80 hour weeks, killed our marriage after just one year. I hope and pray that Kris and his wife have a strong relationship. He will have girls throwing themselves at him for a long time. Finally Gokey & Allison will get the recording contracts they deserve, as will a few of the others from season 8. I felt that Allison didn’t have a fair chance since Tween Girls are the majority of voters running up their cell bills. She has an incredible voice for a 17 year old girl. We have not seen the last of her.  And Gokey deserves success.  Not because he’s a widower, but because he has talent, pulled himself up from a devastating blow, and kept winning with class all the way.  And yes because of his convictions and acts, he has God on his side. I have tickets to see the tour in Reading PA on Sept 8th. If summers got to end, that’s a beautiful consolation prize to look forward to. Dave

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The President announced yet another bail out package. This one is to help people who are in danger of losing their homes.  Many, and I will agree not all, are in this position because they bought a home that was way more expensive than the could afford. Many Americans who have done the right thing, bought houses they could afford, didn’t lie on their applications, or are renters are very mad that they will be paying to bailout people who tried to live beyond their means.

Many people did this with buying too big homes, leasing or buying cars they couldn’t afford, and buying many items: large screen TV’s, computers etc with credit cards. Now the cars have been repossessed, their behind on the credit card payments, and the houses are in foreclosure. I’m sorry but I don’t feel sorry for these people. I feel sorry for their children, but not them  I’ll tell you why. I owned a house once.  When I bought it in 1985 I bought the cheapest home I could find. It was a real fixer upper at $37,500. I got an old fashion mortgage at 30 years and 13.8% interest.  I made a 10% down payment and had to give blood to get the mortgage. At the time they would not give you a mortgage for more than 25% of your income. And you had to give blood, your right arm, and first born to get that mortgage. And they really made you sweat it. You applied and maybe 2-3 weeks later you found out if you were approved.

Now the people who are in these houses bought houses way over their head. Many times homes in the $150-200,000 price tag or more. They got in with mortgages with anywhere from 5% down to No money down.  In many cases they didn’t have to prove their income, debts, or credit score.  It was reported that in many cases all they had to do was have a pulse.  also many got in over their head by getting new fangled mortgages.  Many were adjustable mortgages. Mortgages that started at a very low affordable monthly bill, based on a low interest rate of say 3.5%.  But after a year or two, they ramped up to the current interest rates, or even higher. It was then that the real cost of that house hit home and they couldn’t afford it.  This was the real l payments for a $150K home.  Payments went from $395 a month to $995 a month overnight.  Other mortgages were interest only for the first few years, and other creative financing types to sell a home to anyone who wanted one.  That is how these huge developments grew up on our farmlands overnight. Now these people want the government to bail them out and let them keep their houses. But they are way over their heads, and no matter what the government does, they can’t afford these homes.

Here is how I did it.  I did own a home for a short stint, only 5 years. Due to a divorce we sold it to settle up.  From that point on I rented.  My first rental was a room, yes just one room a woman was renting out in her house. I think I paid $175 a month for that room and shared bathroom privileges.  Then I rented apartments. The highest I ever paid was $550 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. I lived within my means.  I bought and drove used cars, and I drove them until the wheels fell off.  My current wife and I had a business for 15 years. during those times we rented studio space. We were tempted by nice big spaces, but we knew we couldn’t afford them, so we passed on them and again, we Stayed within our means.  At one point due to my health, 3 back and 1 neck surgeries, we had to file bankruptcy. We were offered a loan, that would have kept us out of bankruptcy. We got as far as sitting with the loan officer. At that point my Wife and I looked at each other, realized it was only a band-aid, and we couldn’t pay it back. So we walked away without getting the loan. We did the responsible thing.

To this day we rent. In fact we share a home with my wife’s mom. This helps her because she is a widow, and helps us. Even though my wife now has a well paying career we rent  and both drive used cars. Mine a 1991 pickup I inherited from my Dad, and my wife a 98 Volvo wagon, the nicest car we ever owned.  We have no debt, we pay cash for everything, no credit cards.  And we go on vacations, have computers and a laptop, and yes even a big screen TV. We saved and paid cash for all of them. It can be done it you save for it, and don’t have to have it NOW!

So I don’t think that we and other Americans who did it the right way, pay their mortgages on time etc should have to pay to bail out those who lied about their income and lied to themselves in order to have their dream home. I’m not being mean, I don’t want to see them fail. But They need to be in housing they can afford. A smaller home or an apartment. I never felt ashamed to be a renter. I was damn glad to have a roof over my head. And I was able to sleep at night knowing I could afford the monthly rent payments.  And I did whatever it took to keep that roof over our heads. My Wife and I had the studio, but I also worked driving all night as a courier, washed cars at a car rental agency, you name it. Did I like washing cars? no I was 39 and the other people were mostly high school drop outs. But I could look my landlord in the eye every month and hand him the rent. I did the right thing.

So how about you. Do you think we should spend billions to bail out people, maybe your neighbors so they can stay in their dream house? All courtesy of your and mine taxes, from our hard work. Please comment and let me know.  Thanks, Spiney Dave

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The media is and has been biased for years always depicting men as the snorers and woman as those who suffer listening to their man snore.  Well I came home tonight after everyone else had gone to bed.  My Wife is snoring, like she does every-night. My Mother-in-law in the next room, just on the other-side of the wall is snoring.  And the cat, a male is snoring.  Now if pushed for an honest answer my wife will tell you on average I don’t snore.  It also be because I rarely sleep.  She would also tell you that I love her very much, but I do say “She snores like a water buffalo”.  I often nudge her asking her to roll over, use nose drops you name it something to make it stop.  Think of all of the commercials and magazine adds for snoring treatment, that mouth-guard you have to wear, the Breath-right strips, and the sprays. They all show men, usually overweight dopey looking men with hot disgusted looking wives with pillows over their ears.  Well this is all biased prejudice. I have it on good authority having been raised by a mom, married more than once, raised a daughter, having dated several women of all stripes, and now living with my wife and mother-in-law. Women snore, burp, fart even if they’re SBD’s, make foul noises in the bathroom, hiccup, and curse just like men. We are not the only practitioners of the foul arts.  Spiney

If you have been wrongfully accused of snoring, or put down for making other body noises by your significant other, spiney wants to hear from you.

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You need to photograph those you love no matter how adamant they are against it.  And have Them photograph You .  I just came from a funeral.  A sad event a father and husband cut down in his prime.  He was a very involved Father of twins,  a husband, a Son, a  Brother, an Uncle, a Friend and a prominent member of the community. In his later years I’m sure he was self conscious, because of a medical condition he looked obese, but was not, he had kidney failure and other issues that just made him look that way.  At the funeral his family took the time to make up 2 very nice display collages about 20×24 each with snapshots, professional portraits, newspaper pictures showing how involved he was. You saw him with his children from birth through college. They are both in the 4th year of college and in the middle of mid-terms when their father became ill and hospitalized for 54 days. These display boards showed to all of us what we already knew, how loving and involved he was, and it was all documented there to help us remember, now that he is gone. I was proud to see an image there I did of Him, his Mom, and his Brother with my 1953 Rollieflex and an off camera Metz.  My Wife and I have been together for 19 years now. I have very few pictures of her.  She does not like to be photographed, is never happy with where she is at in her eyes, though I love her much and think she is very beautiful. In the old film days she would look through pictures I took and literally tear them up. Now in this digital age she wants me to delete them.  And While I have many pictures of my daughter, and thousands of strangers, there are very few of me. It’s the old shoemaker has no shoes problem. ( I was a pro photographer for 15 years)  Ladies How many of you are guilty of not wanting yourself photographed.  How many photographers out there have few photos of themselves, especially snapshots.  Well my wife and I had a discussion on the way home.  I told her I would no longer stand for her not wanting to be photographed. It is a very selfish position that robs me of memories, God forbid if anything were to happen.  And I recently bought her a Kodak P&S at an after Christmas sale.  I told her I expect her to start taking snaps of me.  In the end this is all we have.  This poor man had deteriorated so bad during the 54 days that they had to have a closed casket.  Thank God he was a Bank President and had a very nice professional portrait to display on top of his casket.  So please don’t be selfish or inatentive.  Photograph all of your loved ones, especially your spouse, even in the morning before they make themselfs beautiful, and Spouses photograph your photographers so your not left without precious memories. It’s not too late.  Start right now!   Peace be with you,  Spiney-Dave

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Warning this is semi graphic.

My apologies to Lennon & McCartney for the title and anyone who knows me.

Time frame Saturday evening until Sunday evening, early January.  Evening started with a wonderful visit from my sister and her husband and most importantly my Daughter who I don’t see enough of.  My other-in-law whom I live with spent the previous 24 hours frantically cleaning her house in anticipation of guest. The house got cleaned post Christmas this year because this is the 1st year we didn’t have a large family Christmas in this large Victorian home. Many happy Christmases have been had here with large gatherings, lots of children of all ages, and way too many gifts. But then unexpectedly the man of the house died. He was hospitalized for 45 days from just after Thanksgiving thru Christmas and into January of the next year. The holidays in this house haven’t been the same ever since. There were attempts, but they were pushed trying to be happy and it just wasn’t the same.  Then this year another tragedy struck. A family member became very ill. Instead of celebrating Christmas at the big house we all gathered at his families house and had a nice Christmas gathering. He gave a meal prayer that God willing we would all do it again next year. That left a real lump in your throat. Anyway that was a long way of telling you why the house didn’t get straightened up until after New Years, and why This Family gathering was important.  Spiney did his part by helping to clean his little piles of existence around the La-z-boy, and doing whatever the ladies asked.  Most days I need to be told what to do or I’ll do nothing. Not because I’m lazy, but depression and pain make you want to take the path of least resistance. If you’ve seen the Cymbalta commercials, that’s what it is really like.  Mom being an incredible cook, cooked us a wonderful dinner of stuffed pork chops, real mashed potatoes, stewed apples, and vegetable dish that Spiney didn’t partake in.  Being in my mental state I was nervous. When in depression you like what is familiar.  Anything that disturbs your groove, even though it may be a very positive thing, makes you nervous.  I was nervous as to what I would say. Would I have enough to say for more than 10 minutes of niceties?  When the majority of your days are spent with you, a cat, a rabbit, and the TV your conversation skills aren’t honed.  Except for those in your head.  They are very well exercised. You run the coulda, woulda, shouldas through your head all day.  Sometimes they even get a chance to come out.  And sometimes you have to yell “Shut Up” to get them to quiet. A noisy head is no fun.  It doesn’t allow for great productivity.  Well all that came to rest when my guest finally arrived.  They offered up conversation, as did the other two ladies of the house, my Wife and Mother-in-law.  So that gave me a springboard to jump in.  There was a time you couldn’t shut me up.  I was once class clown, life of party, foot in mouth guy, and once had very long, very meaningful conversations with my daughter. These conversations kept us both sane during her teens, and really bonded us.  I know she misses them and can’t understand where that went.  I miss them too. I have god days and bad.  Unfortunately the good are spread pretty thin and you got to be there when they happen.  Sometimes they are weeks or even months apart.  and when they come, I feel like I can do anything.  Anyway we had a great dinner. I did disturb my sister when I kept disappearing during the visit and meal. My medications make me thirsty so I drink a lot. I drink diet Sierra Mist Free because it’s  decaffeinated.  The 2nd part of the equation is drinking makes me pee a lot, but the pain killers I take 24×7 make it very hard to go. So I have two speeds in that department.  I either can’t go, or I go every half hour or less.  I take Flomax for that, which again is always advertised on TV.  I could be doing TV pharmaceutical commercials. So I kept going to the bathroom and this upset my sister for some reason.  My wife, mom, and cat are very used to it. If my sister reads this and gets upset that I call my Mother-in-law my Mom it is not out of disrespect to our much loved, deceased mother. It’s because she treats me very much like a son, she is a mother figure in my life, and it’s easier to write mom, than mother-in-law all the time.  We then exchanged belated Christmas gifts with my Sister and Brother-in-law before they had to leave.  I know my sister wants a closer relationship too.  Both our parents are dead, our older brother is estranged, many of our aunts and uncles have passed on also.  She feels I’m all the family she has, even though she has three sons, two that are married, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way.  So she has family.  I wish we did more together too.  But again she doesn’t understand that while I look normal, my days are far from normal.  I bid her and her husband goodbye.  Then My Wife and I exchanged gifts with our daughter.  That was nice.  I think we surprised her. She’s our one and only so we did the best we could do.  We wanted to give the gift or more time together doing things we all like, such as concerts and plays.  But our schedules and the distance between us, about 1 hour, make it difficult. So we have that on the back burner in case we can work it out.  We then sat down to watch a movie. Since the Spineys don’t get out much we invested a windfall last year in a 42″ LCD TV.  This Christmas we followed up with surround sound.  This is our entertainment since we don’t get to the movies and such.  So we broke out “Mama Mia”  My Wife and I had seen the play in NYC and loved it.  This was the first time for our daughter and Mom to see it.  The first time actually for all of us to see the movie.  It was fun and uplifting.  The only bad part was feeling bad for Pierce Brosnan. They should have used a vocal dub.  Everyone else could sing pretty well, especially Meryl Streep, but not poor Pierce.  During the movie I was in a good bit of pain because I had been up quite awhile without rest. I sat with an ice pack on my shoulder, then my aching knee, and also used the massage of the La-z-boy throne. I had to change position constantly to redistribute the pain.  I also disturbed the others with my constant trips to the bathroom.  I got up probably 5 times during the movie.  At the end of the movie we checked out some of the bonus footage, because we all wanted a little more.  Then knowing I had to get up to travel the next day, and being co-dependant I kept asking my daughter if she had to go.  I was worried about her driving home, I was selfishly thinking about going to bed, and I was in unfamiliar territory.  At one time this was very familiar territory. When we all lived together My Wife, Daughter, and myself would often have all night movie, music, TV, or cleaning jags. We were all night owls who had gobs of energy at night and loved to sleep in late the next day.  We lived in a 2nd floor apartment with no neighbors. We would break out 100’s of 45’s from when I was a DJ and have our own little listening and dance parties till the wee hours.  Music, Family, conversation, and 13 rabbits we a big part of our life then.  That was before the 2 big operations and subsequent downturn of my pain. Plus our daughter grew up, moved out, went out on her own, had a life changing epiphany, we moved away and closed our business. A lot changed in a few years. But when we are together I think we all realize that we miss being a family.  I know my wife and I do, and we sense it in our daughter. And I will state here, I have changed the most. I’m in pain, I’m depressed, I’m alone a lot, and I’m not real fun to be around anymore.  So back to day.  Our daughter stayed a bit more, we had a bit of desert and we all bid adieu.

At this point I wanted to crawl right into bed, but we had to clean up the house to the spotless condition it was in earlier that day because everyone worked so hard on it.  Then we retired. Part of our nightly ritual is after we brush and such, and take my nighttime regiment of about 7 medicines I get a massage from my wife with a handheld percussion massager. This is every night to break up the pain. It usually last about 5 minutes though it could go one forever as far as I’m concerned.  It’s a concert of a little to the left, a skinch to the right, yes yes right there, that’s where it hurts.  Then onto another hurting spot, or instructions back to THE spot as my wife falls asleep.  And I have to have pity on her because she needs to get up the next day, I usually don’t.  But this day We both do, to travel to her Fathers for a belated Christmas gathering.  One last thing before we retire.  I get an Ice pack which is a semi frozen blue gell in a plastic pack, wrapped in a light towel.  I get one for each of us.  My Wife uses it to fight back her constant headaches, and I use it for my shoulder, neck, and back pain.  In fact I will go through about 3-4 throughout the night. We keep them in a small refrigerator freezer on the 2nd floor, just for this purpose. We now have 9 on hand at all time.

This is getting really long and I’m tired. Thanks for sticking with me.  It’s 1:45am so as they say on TV to be continued….

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To use and update a Bruce Springsteen’s song we have 357 channels and nothings on.  Bruce’s original was 57 channels and nothins on, an ode to cable TV.  We we don’t get out much here at the Spiney household so we invest in digital cable which gets us many channels, but not alas any of the subscription ones, or the one that has the movie or show that looks interesting.  Tonight we had a little age regression in the Spiney House.  The Mrs. and the Mother-in-Law both worked today after having travelled or had a busy day yesterday.  Spiney, yours truly did a little traveling today.  While it was a beautiful 60 + degrees, it was very foggy.  Also I had travelled much both before, during and after Christmas, so my pain threshold was low, my pain was high, and we were all tired.  Well when your a kid, someone tells you when to go to bed, and you resent them.  When your an adult, there is no one to be the voice of reason.  Your tired, your cranky, and on top of that you just had a very late supper of take out Chinese.  A bad setup indeed.  You then feel, somewhat justified that you deserve a little entertainment before you give in, even though you are tired and cranky.  A check of the regular suspects ABC, CBS, and NBC shows re-runs, or Sports, or the Sound of Music.  Personally I could have lulled into the alive hills full of musical sounds, but it was on until 11pm, and lights out was 10pm.  So I suggested we watch Mama Mia, light, airy, no-brainer.  I was shot down, the girls weren’t into a musical.  I then saw Paladia had Christina Aguillera concert on.  Looked good to me, “No Music was the cry of the land”, but I wanted to see it so I hit record on the DVR.  We had 20 things on the DVR that someone wanted to see bad enough at one time, so that they taped them.  But noooooo, no one wanted to watch those.  So disgusted, I turned the entertainment selection over to Mrs Spiney.  She was tired, cranky, wanted to watch something, but like a cranky toddler, nothing suited.  Then to top it off, we get a phone call from someone who wanted to talk, probably needed to talk.  But when your tired, cranky, and miserable the last thing you want to do is talk.  I tried, but gave up after 10 minutes.  Finally after wasting probably an hour the voice of reason called off the hounds, turned off the TV and said lets go to bed.  This made Spiney think about the origins of two great little numbers.  The previously mentioned “57 Channels and nothins on” by Bruce and “I want to be sedated” by the Ramones.  I could relate to both.  Why when we are fully emancipated adults do we not know when to quit?  Why do I hear so often I’m so tired at say 3:00 in the afternoon on a day off.  I reply, lets take a nap.  Not some convoluted ploy to get Mrs Spiney in Bed, just a simple let’s take a nap.  I can’t I hear, it’s my day off and I need to do something.  The Mexicans, or anyone else that is wise enough to take a siesta, my hat or sombrerro is off to you my Amigo.  You are smart enough and man enough to say Whens when.  And what is wrong with silence, music, read the paper, or talk?  I love entertainment, but if there is truly nothing on, why then keep searching, or worse watch a re-run, just to watch something.  Thank God cooler heads prevailed and we pulled the big plug and called it a day before I had to be sedated.  Can you relate?  If so drop us a note of how you and yours doesn’t know when to quit and call it a day.  Thanks,  Spiney

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