Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30th, 2011 - A New Appreciation for My Birthday

Me on my 3rd birthday!

Hoo boy, birthdays tucker me out these days! I just got back from a little birthday celebration at mom’s house and I am full and tired. At this stage of my life, birthdays are still changing for me. When I was young, of course, I really looked forward to them, becoming a year older and wiser, getting lots of presents, and partying it up with my friends, and then as the years started to build up I dreaded them, feeling as if the numbers were moving way too quickly and moving me closer to …well, you know. Nowadays I’m kind of liking them again for a totally different reason.

All month long I’ve been giving thanks for the things in my life that I am grateful for, the people and the things I have in my life that make it the blessing that it is. On your birthday you get to be on the receiving end on the same sort of thanks by the people in your life that appreciate you. Just knowing that people out there take the time out of their day to give you props for sharing the planet with them gives me a sense of pride that yes, I have made a difference in people’s lives, whether by way of a simple interaction on the street or in a more profound way.

Now I know this happens more often for people in these days of 24/7 all-access social networking, but I probably received more “happy birthdays” today than ever before and it’s a nice feeling. What’s even nicer is the ones you get from people you may have lost touch with, people with whom you were once close with yet drifted apart for whatever reason. On the other hand there are people you might have expected to hear from but didn’t, and that’s disappointing, but I just know that all I have to do about that is shrug my shoulders and move on.

All in all it was a nice birthday. I shared a lot of special moments with a lot of special people in my life and I definitely feel loved!

Note: Due to things being my birthday and all, look for this week’s “Writing Wednesday” in the coming days, as well as the rest of my “Thanksgiving Thanks.”

My Birthday Song of the Day - Everybody - Madonna

Today is my birthday and I wanted to put something special as my "Song of the Day." Since Madonna is my all-time favorite musical artist, I kind of knew I wanted to put one of hers up here. I thought about many songs, like "Music," "Sky Fits Heaven," "Like a Prayer" (my favorite!), and of course many more, but I thought I'd share the one that started it all.

"Everybody" was Madonna's first single way back in 1982 and although it was never a massive hit on the pop charts, it was all over NYC radio back then when nobody knew who the heck she was. The song definitely got her noticed by many, including me, for its catchy lyrics and bassy track. So, happy birthday to me, lol. Love you Madonna!

Everybody - Madonna

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 29th, 2011 - Thanksgiving Thanks - Nanny Vicky

It’s a very rainy Tuesday night here on Long Island and I just got back from picking my friend Dita up from the airport. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am in really good spirits, for whatever reason. I’m already starting to feel the love and just knowing that I am truly blessed by those around me, whether in a big way or simply in bit parts, makes me very happy.

An original painting of Vittoria with my dad

Catching up on Thanksgiving Thanks

Well there’s one more day left of November and I’ve still got 9 more things that I want to give thanks for. Even though Thanksgiving is over, it is never a bad time to sit back and appreciate the things you’ve got in life, for whatever it is you have, it’s yours and you should be thankful.

Gone but Not Forgotten: Nanny Vicky

I neglected one important person when I published my appreciation for those who were once in my life that have passed on and that person is my paternal grandmother Vittoria. Unlike most of my siblings, I was the only one in the family who had a close relationship with her. My sisters were young when she passed away from lung cancer back in 1983, and so they hardly have any recollection of her, and my brother…well, let’s just say that I was her favorite (admittedly unfair!) and so besides my dad, I’m probably the only one who really loved her.

Vittoria Odierno, or Nanny Vicky, was a beautiful woman and a fascinating story. To this day, no one is sure of many of the facts of her life, except that she was one of many siblings born in Trieste, Italy, and she got pregnant at a young age with my father. None of us know who my paternal grandfather was. Vittoria was a single mother when single mothers were unheard of.

Anyway, dad was born in 1941 during the height of World War II and once the tide of the war had turned and the Allies moved in to occupy the city, Vittoria met an American soldier named Norman Myers, who married her and brought she and young George to America. There’s plenty more to the story, but it’s something I think I may save for my first novel, whenever that comes, but for now I just want to speak a little of her and I.

I was Vittoria’s first grandchild and she couldn’t have been more proud of me. She doted on me throughout my young life and treated me like gold. I remember fondly her thick Northern Italian accent and that she always pronounced my name as “Joowan.” She took me out a lot and often told people that I was her son (she was a bit vain, lol!).

She had married a rich man later on in life and lived in a beautiful house in Bronxville, NY, which I visited during breaks from school. During those visits, she’d take me out every day to fancy restaurants and expensive boutiques, out to play BINGO with her friends, and running errands in her big beautiful Cadillac.

The way I look at things nowadays, I can see that Nanny Vicky was never the model grandmother, especially towards my siblings, and much of the attention she heaped upon me caused a lot of tension between my father and I, who had always been her number one. I know that even though she didn’t have the perfect life, I can appreciate the fact that she was a survivor all through her life. Besides, I know she loved me very much and how could I not have appreciated that?

Song of the Day - Make You Feel My Love (Live) - Adele

Source: Coverlandia

I came across this performance while penning my latest "new music" article and knew right away I wanted to post it as the "Song of the Day." It's a cover of a Bob Dylan song that Adele recorded for her first album, "19." Like many of Adele's songs, this one is heartwrenching and beautiful, and I remember listening to it a lot during sadder days earlier this year and it always gave me comfort, the type of magic the young Miss Adele weaves.

The performance is from a new live set that's being released this week of Adele's recent live tour and took place at London's Royal Albert Hall. At the beginning you get a little glimpse of the singer's fun side before she gets serious, dedicating the song to the late Amy Winehouse.

The year 2011 has definitely been Adele's year, and we're all blessed to be gifted with her talent. Enjoy, and Happy Tuesday!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Song of the Day - When I'm Gone - Rockell

Source: Last-fm

I was so disappointed that there is no video for this song! I thought I'd change things up a bit today and go a little back in time, to 1999, with this great, great song. It's a little after the popularity of the genre back in the 80's, but this one is bona fide freestyle, and I don't think it ever became as popular as it could have been.

I've never really quite been sure what the song is about, whether she's dying or whether they're breaking up somehow. I'm still not exactly sure but I love the song!

When I'm Gone - Perfect Playlist: Dance, Vol. 1

November 27th, 2011 - A Nice Start to Birthday Week

Last night I met the man of my dreams! He’s tall, dark and handsome. He’s intelligent, sweet and he loves music. Oh, and he’s a journalist, too. His name is Vin and I met him at Splash last night. Between that club and the Ritz, he and I had a blast dancing all night long, literally closing the latter club before heading out to Dunkin Donuts for a bit of coffee to cap off the night. What a great way to start my birthday celebration, huh? Well, not so fast. You see Vin, or Vinicius, is from Brazil, and he’s just here on vacation.

That’s funny, right? I mean, I go out week after week hoping to meet a guy that I could hang with for awhile and here we are, the one night I do he not only doesn’t live near me, he lives in a whole other hemisphere! It’s okay, though. Vinicius is a real sweetheart, and I could tell almost immediately that he was a genuinely good guy. We met outside while having a cigarette, which is something I hardly ever do when I go to Splash.

While standing outside, I got into a conversation with another dude I always see there whom I’d never spoken to before. Vinicius was standing right there and got in on our conversation. After all cigarettes were done, we all headed back inside and parted ways, but I kept running into Vin seemingly everywhere and eventually we restarted our conversation. He has the same exact taste in music as I do and we danced a bit before I suggested heading on to The Ritz. Since he’s staying in Westchester, he had to catch a 5AM train at Grand Central and I told him that I could drive him there afterwards.

Source: clubfly

The Ritz was rocking as always, but the music was sooo good that we danced straight through to last call. We went upstairs and downstairs and mixed and mingled with strangers on the dance floor. It was literally a blast! Since I knew from when I met him that there was no way I’d even try to get romantic with him, I approached the night as if we were just good friends, which wasn’t hard. Vinicius is one of those people that is just so easy to get along with. Oh, and he loves my new favorite song, “Dog Days Are Over,” by Florence & The Machine, too! Cool!

I have to say the whole night was a lot of fun, and now I have yet another friend who lives in South America. Since we couldn’t find his Facebook page on my iPhone, we exchanged emails so that we can stay in contact. Vinicius is going home on Tuesday and he wanted to go out again tonight, so I steered him towards Greenhouse. I wish I could have gone, but the mini-vaca is over.

Vin already invited me to come stay with him in Sao Paolo. I've never been to Brazil before. Now that could be fun!

Sao Paolo, Brazil
Source: fernandavanderlaan

Florence of the Machine Covers Drake and Rihanna

Source: MOG

What a cool coincidence! I was doing some research for an upcoming article and I stumbled across two of my favorite new music thingys, Florence and the Machine and Drake and Rihanna's "Take Care." It seems Ms. Florence is a fan of the song and she does a pretty nice version of the song, which I spotlighted here a few days ago!

Song of the Day - We All Want Love - Rihanna

Source: lyrics-video-music

Today's song is a standout from Rihanna's newest, "Talk That Talk." It's one of the first songs on the album that stuck in my's very melodic, tender and sweet, and I hope it becomes a single one of these days! Take a listen:

We All Want Love - Talk That Talk (Deluxe Edition)

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 26th, 2011 - LI Eagle; (Another) New Dawn; I'm thankful for my car

It’s Saturday night and almost time for my weekly visit to Splash. My birthday is next Wednesday and I plan on having fun both this weekend and next, and since this’ll be my 4th night in a row, I guess first one check! My friend Paul was supposed to come with me tonight, but he called a little while ago to tell me he was already in the city with a friend, and so I go alone, which is totally cool.

As always this has been a trying week, as you could probably see from my post on Thanksgiving night. Thankfully I smoothed things over with mom and felt much better afterwards. I went into the city and remembered why I love going on Thursdays, because the music was awesome! I was having such a good time that I had to remind myself that I lived an hour away and had to pace myself for the weekend ahead, and I got home at a decent hour…for me anyway, lol. Gotta love that dance therapy, though. Works every time!

LI Eagle

Last night was a fun night, too, as I had some pleasant surprise company at the Eagle. Blanchie had been away for the holiday and I’d been feeding his cat while he was gone. I texted him yesterday afternoon to ask if he needed me to go and feed it one more time before he got home last night, and to my surprise he was already home. We got to talking and when I mentioned I was going to the Eagle, he actually offered to meet me there. It was sort of a blast from the past, as that’s what he and I used to do all the time twenty-something years ago.

I wanted to go to the Eagle again because I wanted to write a piece on it since its owner, Brett, had contacted me on FB to ask why I hadn’t before. I wrote the piece this morning which you can see here. I say again because I also visited the Eagle on Thanksgiving Eve because I didn’t want to venture into NYC and I figured it would be as good a time as any to give it a try. I had a really good time both nights, though it was much nicer having Blanchie with me last night…these Long Island bars are so clicky!

Another New Dawn

As I mentioned earlier, this Wednesday is my birthday and just like the New Year or the start of a new school year, a birthday is a good time to start fresh once again. I’m really tired of being stuck in neutral, so to speak, because of the economy and I think desperate times call for desperate measures, so I plan to make myself some birthday resolutions and set some goals for myself. I think that kicking the, dare I say, habit, might be high on the list, and so is becoming more sociable. I need to dig out that “Life” book again… We’ll see!

I’m thankful for my car

I figured I’d use this opportunity to put in another Thanksgiving Thanks, this time for my car. My 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse is the nicest looking car I’ve ever had and it came to me quite unexpected. On Halloween weekend of last year, my good buddy Jorge was moving back to his country, Chile, and he needed to get rid of his car and he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. So here I am a year later with my beautiful car that’s a pleasure to drive every day. It’s one of the things I’d surely miss whenever I do get to the city. Thanks Jorge!

Well, it’s time to hop in the shower, so I’m going to sign off here. I have a feeling I’m going to be very tired tomorrow! Have a great evening and thanks for checking me out!

Thanksgiving Thanks - My Mom

I love my mom! She often says that being a mom is one of the hardest things in life, and I know it’s true because my mom carries the weight of each of her six kids’ problems on her shoulders each and every day and that can’t be an easy task! Though we have our ups and downs, I’m pretty proud to have her as my mom and I am thankful every day to have her in my life.

Joan Randazzo was born on December 22nd, 1942 somewhere in Manhattan, I believe. She was the younger of two siblings, my Uncle Bobby being her older brother, and she was the princess of many growing up, especially when it came to Joe Randazzo, her father and my grandpa, my great grandmother “mema,” and dear old Aunt Vi. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I really began to see my mom as a real person.

Growing up we all see our parents as these sort of fantasy figures who can do no wrong, but through the years and through our talks mom has revealed enough about herself that I came to see that in her own youth she did some of the same misguided things we all do, and I think it’s pretty cool.

Mom married my dad when she was really young, and starting having babies early on. Though I’m the oldest in the family, mom gave birth to another boy before me, Kenneth, who passed away after three days. After me came my brother Dave and then four straight sisters: Linda, Ann Marie, Gina and Chrissy. Mom has always been a good mother, very laid back and probably a little too permissive for her own sake, for we have all taken advantage of it here and again. In the long run, her kids are her life and we’ve all given her plenty of joy and heartache.

My mom loves all of her children very much and whether or not she always believes it, we all love her just the same. I’ve inherited a lot of things from her and for that I am thankful, too. I like to believe that my kindness and sociable nature come directly from her, as well as my natural affinity for pity parties, lol, which is one thing I’d like to change. All in all, though, I love my mom and I wouldn’t trade her in for anything!

Thanksgiving Thanks - Thanks and Happy Birthday to My Friend Dita

Today is a writing day and you may just see a few posts from me here and there as I catch up on my 'Thanksgiving Thanks' for the month of November. I’m a little more than halfway there, but today is the 26th already, so I need to get a move on. Here’s the first of several you’ll see today:

Source: Deviant Art

I’m Thankful for My Friend Dita

Dita, or Rich, is one of my best friends. I can’t for the life of me tell you how I met him, though it was many years ago and I know it was through Blanche, or Bobby, who’d been good friends with him for years. Because I knew Bobby before I knew Joe, I was already 'married’ when I met Rich, and he’s one of the very few friends that Joe and I both still keep in contact with, though I’m the one who got primary custody in the divorce settlement, lol.

Rich and I became close right after the breakup and he’s been a true friend ever since. He and I have shared many a laugh together and I can always count on him to be the voice of reason whenever I’m having a crazy moment, which of course are many. I can remember all of the ‘best friends’ I’ve had over the years, Mike, Clark, Joey, Vera and Marcia, and Dita ranks right up there with the best of them.

Dita is a very funny person, and before he got his Dita moniker he was called Dorothy, after Beatrice Arthur’s role on “The Golden Girls.” That’s because he shares her sarcastic wit, and though he’s no longer called “Dorothy,” he’s still got that type of humor. Right now he’s in Virginia visiting with his parents for the holiday and he won’t see this until mid-week at best, but I wanted to write about him today because today is a special day. Today, November 26th, is Dita's birthday. (Yes, the Dit is older than the Weez by just four days, and I love to remind him of that. :-P)

My name is Dita, I’ll be your mistress tonight!

Though I’ve said it before, that line from Madonna’s “Erotica” is where Rich got his name. I remember how he loved that line when the song first came out and it’s just so comical to think of him reciting it.

Like all of us, Rich has his quirks, and they’re all a part of what makes him him. The only quirk I don't like is that he doesn’t like to have his picture taken. He’s very rabid about that, and once he even sicked his niece on me to grab my camera out of my hands and delete one I had just secretly taken. Grrrr! I think the only pictures I’ve ever posted of him here were one’s of his back and an oldie in which I didn’t even mention his presence.

Anyway, just last night he had me giggling like a school girl with some text messages while I was at the Eagle. It’s one of the things I love most about him…he makes me laugh during virtually every conversation.

Happy Birthday Rich...Color Me Barbra!

So anyway, a very happy birthday to my buddy Rich! Hope you’re having a good one! Here’s a special song, by request, in honor of his day. Barbra’s his diva, and so Barbra we shall see and hear…

Somewhere - The Essential Barbra Streisand

Some pictures of the birthday boy!

Song of the Day - I Just Wanna F - David Guetta feat. Timbaland and Dev

Source: thegreatblacknorth

Well if you can't tell already, I am slowly working through virtually every song on David Guetta's album. It's that good! Here's what I wrote about today's song in my track by track review of "Nothing But the Beat":

Timbaland and Afrojack are two of Guetta's most successful contemporaries and this one has all three signatures wrapped all around it. Add "Like a G6" singer Dev's vocals into the mix and you've got one heck of a funky song!

I Just Wanna F. (feat. Timbaland & Dev) - Nothing But the Beat

Friday, November 25, 2011

Song of the Day - Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine

Source: Idolator

I am really ashamed of myself that I hadn't discovered Florence + The Machine before now, but better late than never. This one is from their first set, "Lungs," and it's become one of my favorite songs of late. The words and the music are very uplifting and its mantra is something I'm going to try to keep with me for a long time to come. The dog days are over as long as I say they are! Oh, and the video is visually stimulating too. It makes me smile watching it. So kick back, enjoy, and have a very pleasant Friday!

Dog Days Are Over - Lungs

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24th, 2011 - FML

Source: CityCynic

Well it was an early end to Thanksgiving for me today, and I don’t know, but things are starting to get to a point where I don’t know if I’m losing my mind or everyone else is. My patience is very short with people these days, especially with my family, and I’m starting to think that maybe I need some genuine therapy. About a week ago I wrote about how I get these kind of “Ziggy” periods where nothing seems to go right, and yes, the trend continues.

What sucks about the whole thing is that I know some of the things that are wrong, namely my state of mind, and I know that in order to get any better I need to change that, but how do I do it? It seems whenever things go bad I magnify things in my head, and that puts me further into the despair I’ve been living in for what seems like forever.


For those of you who don’t know what that acronym stands for, it means “F*&k My Life,” and that’s become my new mantra lately whenever things go awry, which seems like all the time. I don’t want to get into what happened today, but let’s just say that Thanksgiving started out well and eventually I lost my patience with my family and stormed outta there. It was one of those things I regretted even before I left, but I went anyway and right now I just want to scream.

I’m supposed to go to Splash tonight maybe with my friend Paul, but I kind of want to just go solo and get some much needed dance therapy right now. It’s the only thing that helps me not think about my troubles…so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I think I’m going to call mom…

I Was Here - Beyonce Live at Roseland, NYC

Source: Teacher Mum

This song kind of goes with my previous post. I've posted the song here before, and I believe it speaks for all of us, really. The song is beautiful and full of meaning to me and I want to say to all in my life who've touched me in some way and whose lives I've ever touched, thank you. Whether you stopped by for a spell or remain here with me til the end, I will always remember you and keep you near and dear to my heart. Thank you!

Thanksgiving Thanks - The Life I've Led

Today is Thanksgiving Day and though I plan not to write anything today, I can’t do without catching up on my Thanksgiving Thanks. Since today is the special day, I wanted to put something distinctive here, and I’ve been thinking about it for a long, long time. What I am most thankful for at this moment is the life I’ve lead to this point.

Life is a wild and crazy thing, full of ups and downs, and you learn more about it as you experience it, and overall I am grateful for each day I’ve had to live it. I know that even at age 46 (well, for a few more days, at least, lol!), I’ve still got a lot to learn about life, and through all the ups and downs I live it with no regrets, plenty of love for my surroundings, and forever filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently going through old photos and reliving a lot of memories from the life of John Myers. If I were to die tomorrow, I will go into the next realm armed with the knowledge that I’ve shared a lot of great memories with a lot of wonderful people, and I hope that in some small way I’ve affected their lives for the better, as well. Through all of the pain and sorrow, times of joy and elation, I’ve lived my life to this point hoping that somehow, some way, I’ve made a difference.

So please take a moment to reflect upon your own life and appreciate all that it has given you, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a little impromptu photo album of my life in pictures, along with plenty of people who've left their mark.