Tag Archives: Journey

The cell phone addiction support group. The man who loved power ballads too much. And a fascinating study of teachers and incentives

To my Jewish readers, may I wish you all Happy Yom Kippur. Chances are, when you’re reading this, I’m hungry and dreaming of a seven layer chocolate cake or a pastrami on rye. Twenty-four hours of fasting… never easy.

You know how some people say that with 300 billion people in the world, there’s gotta be someone just like you out there?
Well, I think I’ve found my doppleganger. His name is Mark Sigston, and he’s a 31-year-old British guy who was arrested last week.
What’d he do? He refused to turn down his stereo when neighbors complained he was blasting power ballads too loud.

God I love me a good power ballad. I think I had several power ballad mix tapes in the 1980s. Sadly, though, it doesn’t appear that Mr. Sigston was grooving to the deep intensity of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “Heaven,” or “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

He was listening, really loudly, to Robbie Williams and Celine Dion, and I guess you just can’t do that in England. The cops seized his stereo and that was pretty much that.

I would totally post Robbie’s bail if he needed it. Rock on, power ballads.

**I know people talk about cell phones becoming an addiction, but this seems to be too much.
From the L.A. Times last week comes a story saying researchers have determined that nomophobia (no-mobile-phone-phobia, that’s really what it’s called) is a real thing, and that help is on the way.
According to the story, psychologist Elizabeth Waterman has started to address nomophobia in group therapy sessions she holds at the Morningside Recovery Center in California.  She teaches people to go 10 days without their phones to start “recovery” and tells them not to be scared when they don’t get cell reception.

I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. People, it’s called human contact! Put the phone away every once in a while and talk to people around you.

Nomophobia. What a world we live in (and enable).

**Finally today, this struck me as a worthwhile study in education. A researcher in Chicago decided to try an experiment in one school district: He was wondering if giving teachers bonuses before instructing students led to higher test scores. But there was a catch: One group of teachers received a $4,000 bonus, but would have to give some or all of it back if their students scores didn’t improve.

The other 2 groups in the experiment were made up of teachers who got no bonus, and teachers who got a bonus only if the students did well.

The results?

“What we found is strong evidence in favor of loss aversion,” the man in charge of the study, John List, said. “Teachers who were paid in advance and [were] asked to give the money back if their students did not perform — their [students’] test scores were actually out of the roof: two to three times higher than the gains of the teachers in the traditional bonus group.”

Read the whole story here. Very interesting stuff, though I’m not sure this would hold up in a bigger study.

Journey and Jefferson Starship were right: San Francisco rules. And Rob Schneider’s career completely eludes me

Spent the last 2 1/2 days in (well, OK, near) one of my favorite American cities, San Francisco. And the city that Journey sang about in “Lights” and Starship dedicated “We Built This City” too was again fabulous to me.

Some quickie thoughts on this awesome place:
— People were unfailingly friendly here. To the man who gave up his seat on the bus to my girlfriend, to the woman who told us a quicker route to get where we were going, I was very impressed by the politeness of the locals.
— Had been here a few times but never visited Golden Gate Park. What a gem of a place. Walked through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, which was very moving, and there’s beautiful greenery and a Japanese Tea Garden and all kinds of fun stuff to see there.
— Tried to get to the Golden Gate Bridge to see a sunset, but the traffic was so awful that our bus never made it before it got dark. Annoying, but at least I’ve seen the bridge before.
— Went to City Lights Bookstore, the famous landmark where a bunch of the Beat poets got their start. Such a wonderful place. I hope it stays in business forever.
— You literally cannot go wrong eating at any Italian restaurant in North Beach. I feel like we could’ve thrown a dart and had a great meal.
— Finally, saw this sign at a restaurant in San Francisco’s Ferry building: “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.”

There isn’t enough money in the world to get my mother to eat there. Even I was sorta turned off.

**So after dinner Thursday night we were watching a few minutes of TV and I saw a promo for a new Rob Schneider sitcom on CBS. And I just laughed out loud, before blurting out “Seriously, why is Rob Schneider still getting jobs in TV and movies?”
I mean, I defy you to find a worse actor, or a more unfunny comedian, who continues to be employed regularly. Have the CBS people who green-lighted this show ever seen the “Deuce Bigelow” series? What about anything Schneider has done since leaving “Saturday Night Live?” The only good thing I’ve ever seen him in was as the radio announcer in the loved-only-by-me movie from the 1990s, “Necessary Roughness.”

And yet, despite being unfunny, despite having pretty much no redeeming qualities as an actor and comedian, Schneider continues to be given opportunities. I’m sure there are comedians sitting at home right now, who are 15 times funnier, just fuming that this guy is getting another break, while they aren’t.

Sigh. I just don’t get Hollywood execs sometimes. “Dirty Sexy Money” got cancelled, but Rob Schneider gets green-lit?

Songs that just keep coming back, I call Obama’s peeps out, and life as a Jets fan


Lot of stuff between the ears today, so let’s rock and roll:

** So two things made me think of the ultimate Journey song ‘Don’t Stop Believin'” this week: one, Journey singer Steve Perry, a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, is apparently mad that the L.A. Dodgers are using his anthem as a psych-up song during their games.

And then it came up again while I watched the series premiere of “Glee” that Fox aired last spring, that featured a kick-ass performance by the glee club of the song in the final scene.

And it got me to thinking: Why is it that some songs just keep coming back into our pop culture sphere? I’m not talking about songs like “Y.M.C.A” or “Celebration,” by Kool and his merry Gang. I’m talking about songs that are huge when they come out, go away for a while, and then come back. Then they go away, come back, and well, you get the idea.

“Don’t Stop Believin'” is suddenly huge again. “Sweet Caroline,” by the great Neil Diamond, went away for a while, then the Red Sox brought it back a few years ago and it became big to a whole new group of people. Same for “I Love Rock and Roll,” by the great Joan Jett, which is now basically the theme for “Sunday Night Football” on NBC.

What is it about certain songs that allow them to have three or four lives? I truly don’t know. If you do, please let me know.

In the meantime, bringing up Journey means I get to share with you perhaps the greatest and most unintentionally hilarous music video of all time: Journey’s “Separate Ways.” I believe it was ESPN’s Bill Simmons who once said that if you were to take someone from the future and show them the 1980s in four minutes, this is what they should experience: Truly, truly awesome in its awfulness. YouTube won’t let me embed it but trust me, these are four minutes that will have you laughing out loud.

**OK, lest you think that all I do is cheerlead for Obama and our current administration, I have to slap them down for something. When W. was in office myself and other Democrats were pissed every time he and Karl Rove and Co. intervened in state and federal elections, trying to sway them and push candidates who only believe in their agenda.

Well, Obama and Rahm Emanuel are basically doing the same thing now, trying to get New York governor by default (hey, who knew Eliot Spitzer liked hookers, right?) David Paterson to step aside in next year’s race.  It was wrong for the last eight years, and it’s wrong now. What, the Obama administration doesn’t have enough to do.?

**One of my major pet peeves with the national news media is this bullshit “false equivalency” thing newspapers and TV stations do, where no matter how bogus the claim is from one side of the political aisle, it is presented as fact, all in the name of “fairness to all.” It’s complete crap, it was complete crap during the election when the Republicans made stuff about out of whole cloth, it’s complete crap when Democrats do it, too.

Well, here’s the brilliant Glenn Greenwald with yet another example of the media totally printing fabrications, just because one side says so.

**What’s it like being a Jets fan when times are good? My man Pearlman hits it on the head with this column. This is a fictional conversation, but he and I have had many very similar chats over the years.

**And finally, a little health-care humor to help you through a Wednesday…