Archive for March, 2010

The Greatest Rock Photographer of All Time Passes On

March 25, 2010

... Just a fly on the wall

Yes, folks, sad news today. Jim Marshall passed away yesterday at the ripe old age of 74 (read about it here). This was particularly devastating news to me, as I had a chance to sit down with Jim at the bar on a couple of separate occasions and talk about some of the amazing people he worked with and knew as friends, particularly Jimi Hendrix (described as a “shy loner”), Otis Redding (sex god), Duane Allman (friendly and loveable), and Waylon Jennings (son of a bitch). He spoke of all these people as you would any friend who had long since passed away – with respect, admiration, and bittersweet sadness at their passing. To have been in the presence of so many amazing people was a true honor for Jim – and his photographs tell the story of his reverence with much greater proficiency than my words will allow.

He always carried his Leica camera around with him wherever he went, and he told me, “With guitars you have Gibson or Fender. With cameras, there is only Leica.” He also revealed that he had been using the same film developer for most of his career, which had a lot to do with why his images are so timeless. He never adapted to digital technology, unlike almost all of his peers. Mr. Marshall was extremely genuine and you could tell just by talking to him that he was a real artist who had mastered his craft very early on. I grew up idolizing his images, and was lucky enough to get to thank him for providing the visual documentation that created my rock n’ roll fantasy. His photographs allow you to know something personal about about the subject, and Jim was an expert at capturing candid moments. It’s true that half of his magic was just being in the right place at the right time (more about that in a minute), but he was also a technical master and really knew his stuff. He has a unique feeling of composition and lighting that really frames his subjects perfectly without actually being perfect.

 We’ll see you on down the line, Jim.

Yay! One Day I May Actually Have Health Insurance

March 22, 2010

I’m still taking in the news that the Health Care Reform Bill got a thumbs up yesterday. It’s hard to surmise exactly what this means for the 30-something slacker who works several part-time jobs. I mean, they’re talking about having this thing up and running by 2014, does this mean in four years I can maybe expect some health insurance? Because by that time I might actually have to get a full-time job or have cirrhosis of the liver, in which case this whole thing was a waste of time for me.

I guess I should look at this from the humanitarian side of things. I mean, it’s great that future generations of under-achievers like myself will not have to sit in triage at General Hospital for eight hours just to have that hole in their leg looked at, only to be charged $400 for a bottle of antibiotics in the end. I mean, it’s simply unacceptable that universal health care hasn’t been enacted in America already. I’ve always thought that it’s a cruel reality when people who make a lot of money have all their health care paid for by their jobs, while those who really need it (i.e., the poor, the unemployed, and the elderly), can’t afford it or can’t get coverage. Yeah, I know, blah, blah, blah. But it’s really one of the great crimes of the 21st century when you actually think about it. It makes the death penalty seem like a lot less of an injustice by comparison.

I also take a little solace in the fact that insurance companies will have to take the biggest hit on this one. I mean, they have basically been allowed to decide the outcomes of whether people live or die without being put in check at all. I know they are businesses and need to make money, and that’s why they shouldn’t have the right to decide these things. So now that problem should be solved. Of course, it will be the responsibility of taxpayers to do so now, but I don’t mind because someone has to do it, and I don’t particularly like living in a country where I could pay taxes my whole life and then die of a curable disease because I can’t get health coverage. I also find it very conspicuous that a health insurance company already called me first thing at work this morning trying to get me coverage. I bet they will now be offering great deals for people like myself with no pre-existing conditions. Those bastards are out drumming up as much business as possible to cover their own asses… it’s very hard to feel sorry for them. They truly are the casinos of health care.

The drug companies will, of course, make out well in this deal, and on this subject I really can’t say much. We tend to think of drug companies as corporate drug dealers, who slang pills for all your ills, but since working in the medical research field I’ve discovered that a lot of companies create incredible treatments and therapies that truly merit praise and are worth the expense. I just get pissed every time I see an ad for herpes medication, and I think to myself, “The high prices of all the drugs that this company makes are what pays for advertisements and the courting of doctors to prescribe this medication”. By the way – if you don’t like a certain drug company, nothing is stopping you from requesting a generic version of the same drug from your doctor. And it’s cheaper, too.

In the end of the day, it looks as if this bill will pass and we will finally begin the lengthy road to health care reform. I wouldn’t expect any miracles, especially since the government will be in charge of creating the programs that will increase Medicare and cover the uninsured. There will inevitably be great delays and inordinant amounts of money and time wasted along the way. Health insurance companies will bitch and moan, drug companies will stick it to the government because they can, and some people will continue to get inferior health coverage and have their cases mishandled. But at least we can say that we are trying, and this is the most endearing thing our government has attempted to do for the People since I can remember. Too bad Bill Clinton couldn’t have gotten this thing going back when he was in office. We actually had money then, and by now things could have stabilized a little. Oh well, better late than never, I guess?

The World Now Has One Less Boner

March 3, 2010
Andrew Koenig, the actor most known for his role as Boner on the hit TV series “Growing Pains” from the 80’s committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree deep in the heart of Vancouver’s Stanley Park during the Olmpics. While the tragedy of this unhappy event makes me sad, I can’t help but point out the uncomfortable humor inherent in repeating these facts. And I also can’t help but point out that one of my many nicknames is also Boner (Chris Jones ->Jones->Jonesey->Joneser->Boner->Stabone, and so on…), and wonder when I die, will my obituary read something like, “Boner Succumbs to Prostate Cancer”? I know I should feel bad about writing this, but sometimes humor is the only way to deal with loss, especially when we are talking about such a loveable TV personality.
I would also like to point out that Kirk Cameron, who played Mike Seaver (which coincidentally rhymes with beaver) on “Growing Pains”, is now a wacko fundamentalist Christian that makes videos denouncing the ‘absurdity’ of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. When Koenig went missing, Kirk threw this bone (pun intended) to his old buddy:
“Mike and Boner could always work things out when they put their minds to it. Andrew, if you’re reading this, please call me.”
I imagine that if Andrew had actually called his old buddy, he would have been lectured on the fact that God was there for him, and he should answer his call. I’m also guessing that Andrew didn’t call Kirk because the last thing he wanted to hear before ending his life was some religous nonsense from his wacko ex-coworker. There’s no way he was going to play Boner to his S(b)eaver.

Boner Arrested

It’s only fair to mention that Koenig did in fact protest a lot, and there is a picture of him being arrested at the Rose Bowl in ’08 on his father’s memorial site. Apparently he was protesting US involvement in the Beijing Olympics. I don’t know why he chose the Rose Bowl… maybe it was really close to his house or something.

Serious Boner

On a final note, I offer this simple fact as a tribute to show just how powerful and awesome Boner was:  shortly after he left Growing Pains the ratings coincidentally dropped and by 1992 it was cancelled. Even Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t save the show! That’s how awesome he was. Boner simply was the show, and all the other characters sucked in comparison to him. He paved the way for all the Boners to come after him, and he will be sorely missed (ouch!). If only he had Viagra, perhaps this Boner could have lasted a little longer. Ok, now I’m really going to hell!