Jul 28

May 21, 2011: Are you ready?

July 28 - harold_camping-2011 I was surfing through Comcast's cavalcade of countless channels the other day when I happened upon Harold Camping and his Family Radio Network.

Oh boy. The guy stopped me in my tracks. Harold Camping is a televangelist with a terrible twist.

Unlike his peers, Harold Camping does not pack a positive punch. Camping is no Joel Osteen with a set of pearly whites to go along with his message of do good and make money in this lifetime. No sir. No way. Not this televangelist. He doesn't have the time.

That's because 88-year-old Harold Camping is laser-focused on the end of days. He's close to the end and he wants to make sure we know we're close to the end of our days as well.

In fact, Harold knows the exact date of his end, and ours: May 21, 2011. Yup, May 21, 2011. Camping's pieced together various Bible passages that, he says, pinpoint May 21, 2011, as the end of the world. He says 5-21-11 is the date when the 'Rapture' will begin.

If I heard him correctly, the Rapture is a period of 155 straight days of nasty, horrible and terrible things that will beset Planet Earth (think: locusts, floods, long-standing PR accounts going up for review, etc.).

Happily, though, Brother Camping and his devoted followers will survive. Nay, thrive. And, when the 155 days are over, Brother Camping & Co. will ascend to Heaven and all the good things that go with it (Christianity's version of Islam's 73 virgins?).

News flash: Brother Camping is the latest in a long line of prophets, fakirs and whatnots who have predicted the end of days. Sane people ignore them. But, the vulnerable do not. And therein lies the issue. Far too many people buy into the end of days mythology and end up selling their worldly possessions (Think: Jonestown, Waco and others). Real people with real problems get badly hurt when a Brother Camping decides it's time to cash in his (and others') chips.

And what happens when the end of days doesn't happen? Well, the Brother Campings of the world just end up blaming others for the apocalypse that wasn't. And the devoted find a new prophet with a new dire prediction.

It's so sad and, in some individual cases, apocalyptic. And, from an image and reputation standpoint, just further tarnishes the overall image and reputation of organized religion.

Jan 28

Captain Jack’s too frail to get you by tonight

I like to think my music tastes run to the eclectic. I love listening to Thelonious Monk as much as to T.Old
Rex. And, Liszt is just as cool as, say, Lionel Hampton. But, there’s nothing like working out to classic rock. I like those pulsating sounds as I’m pumping or pedaling away.

So, with my iPod still nursing its post Mt. Kilimanjaro wounds, I tuned in my favorite rock station this morning and stepped onto the elliptical trainer. What immediately stuck me, though, wasn’t the same old, recycled songs but, rather, the dramatically different radio commercials.

I’d grown accustomed to hearing banal spots for drag racing, blue collar beer guzzlers hitting on hot babes and the latest, greatest winter sporting gear sales. So, imagine my surprise when I heard one spot after another for cancer, heart disease and other afflictions associated with aging boomers. The effect was striking to say the least.

So, I began thinking what a smart image move it might be for aging rockers to update their classic songs, and make them, shall we say, more age appropriate?

Here are some suggestions:

Van Halen’s no longer screaming ‘Dance the night away’ anymore. Now, they’re unplugged and suggesting, instead, to ‘Sleep the day away.’

Bruce’s ‘Born to run’ has many possibilities and could be altered to ‘Born to limp’, ‘Born with the runs,’ or ‘Born to run (to the bathroom several times a night)’

The Stone’s signature song could be updated to: ‘(I can’t get no) erection’

Neil Young’s ’24’ becomes ’64,’ and it’s most poignant line changed to ‘…64 and there’s not much more.’

Jim Morrison’s long gone, but I’d like to think a simple update to his classic Door’s ditty would resonate with aching Boomer fans: So, with just a little editing, we now have ‘C’mon baby, light my fireplace.’

And poor, bald and battered Peter Frampton would now lament, ‘I hope you don’t feel like I do.’

Last, but not least, let’s not forget The Who, who could really hit home with, ‘Talking ’bout what’s left of my ggggggeneration.’

The opportunities are endless. If classic rock radio audiences are willing to listen to commercials from the likes of Mount Sinai Medical Center, Montefiore’s Heart Clinic and the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, why not bring the message full circle with updated tunes that tell it like it really is?