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The Night I Didn't Meet Madonna

September 9, 2015

In the early 80's, I worked in a store that sold stereo equipment and big screen televisions, which the young-and-hip staff kept tuned to MTV all day. That's when the newly-launched station was all music videos, all the time. Music videos were brand new and some artists had a harder time than others adapting to the medium.

For Madonna, the timing was perfect.

As soon as I saw the video for "Lucky Star" I knew she was going to be huge. Within weeks of the song's release, half the teenaged girls in town were wearing fingerless gloves, letting their bra straps show and learning how to "rat" their hair. The characteristic clunky dance moves started to appear in the clubs.

I moved to California in the mid-1980s. I soon learned celebrity spotting is SoCal's own version of bird-watching. They really are everywhere – driving on the highway, shopping in stores and eating in restaurants, walking on the beach and, most especially, showing up in clubs. There is an intricate etiquette involved, in which the spotter tries to figure out a way to interact with the celebrity, while behaving as if it's no big deal to be seated at the next table over from Tom Cruise, or when Donald Sutherland asks you for the baseball game's score in a restaurant bar.

Shell-shocked by the housing costs, I rented a room in the home of an aspiring pop musician who went by the professional name Louie Louie. He later went on to release several albums, and one of his songs, "Sittin' in the Lap of Luxury," peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was performed on The Arsenio Hall Show. When we were roommates, however, Louie was still financing his own recording by doing work on other artists' songs and videos. Today, Louie is a popular Las Vegas performer, but his first claim to fame was his appearance as Madonna's boyfriend in the video for "Borderline."

To showcase his new material, Louie managed to set up a showcase at a popular Los Angeles nightclub. It was the kind of place I'd normally never think of going, where waitress/model/actors trolled for people "in the industry" and everyone looked like they hadn't eaten a square meal in years. I was seated at a prime table with some of Louie's friends and family.

Louie was a superb performer, with a kind of androgynous sexiness that had both men and women almost (and sometimes actually) tossing undergarments at the stage. A few minutes into the first set, a woman wearing a bulky jacket, baseball hat and dark glasses sat down at an empty spot at our table, immediately to my right. In those days of cheap and available club drugs, it wasn't unusual to see sunglasses in a dark nightclub—she wasn't the only person wearing them that evening. The woman nodded to everyone—it was too loud to speak—and the other people at the table nodded back. I quickly turned my attention back to the show, not wanting to miss hearing Louie perform songs I'd witnessed him writing.

When the set ended, Louie had to work his way through a herd of admirers, but he eventually made it over and greeted the woman with a kiss on the cheek. They spoke for a few seconds, and she left. Someone commented that it had been really nice of her to come. I was only mildly curious why one woman's attendance was so important, and I forgot all about it when Louie took the stage for the second half of the show.

The woman was, of course, Madonna.

I was still in the earliest stages of celebrity spotting and Madonna was, by far, the most famous person I'd even been close to. AND I'D MISSED THE WHOLE THING.

What would I have done differently if I'd recognized her? I'd probably have acted as if nothing unusual was going on. The difference was, I would have been pretending that everything was normal, making an enormous effort not to stare, while internally screaming, "Oh, my GAWD I am sitting next to FREAKING MADONNA."

Probably just as well.

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To see Louie's biggest hit on YouTube, click HERE.


Training camps are now open and the football season has officially begun. It’s time to study for your upcoming fantasy draft, dust off your favorite jersey, and plant yourself on the couch every Sunday for the next five months. In preparation for the start of the 2015 NFL season, I’m going to begin a series of previews that breaks down each division and I will give my predictions for the season. For part one, I will be looking at the AFC East and AFC North.


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Oh how times have changed. Four years ago, the idea of women fighting in the UFC was preposterous. In 2011, UFC President Dana White declared that women would never compete in the UFC. In the past, MMA bouts featuring women were viewed as nothing more than freak show exhibitions. However, in recent years names like Gino Carano, Christiane “Cyborg” Santos (now Christiane Justino Venancio), and Miesha Tate began to emerge as elite fighters, showing incredible skill and technique similar to their male counterparts. Women were given main event opportunities in the now defunct Strikeforce promotion and the success of those fights eventually got the attention of White and the UFC. However, there was one woman that was emerging as a superstar in the sport, and that woman was Ronda Rousey.

Ronda Rousey is a special athlete. She is a two time Olympian in Judo, winning a Bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. When she shifted her focus to MMA Rousey became a dominant force, racking up ten straight first round submission victories both as an amateur and as a professional. She was given the chance to main event a Strikeforce card against bitter rival Miesha Tate in March 2012 and after the victory of Tate, she cemented herself as the face of Women’s MMA.


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NHL tickets

The NHL had a quick turnaround after the excitement of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only a month after the Blackhawks/Lightning showdown, the NHL released their 2015-2016 schedule and tickets were made available to the public. With the NHL Draft and most of the NHL Free Agency chaos in the rear-view window, it’s time to look at ten of the most anticipated match-ups coming out of the schedule release. Make sure to get your NHL tickets soon because they won't last long, especially for the following games.

1.) Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - New York Rangers @ Chicago Blackhawks

You can’t have this list without opening night for the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. The key match-up here is Blackhawks’ forwards, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, against Rangers’ goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist will need to put on one of his amazing stand-on-his-head performances to withstand the onslaught of the three-time championship combination of Toews and Kane.

2.) Friday, October 9, 2015 - Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Islanders

The New York Islanders begin a new era as they move into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The action on the ice should be phenomenal as this game is loaded with top NHL talent such as Toews, Kane, and 2015 NHL Hart Trophy candidate, John Tavares. The major question mark is the crowd's reaction. Can the Islanders create the same atmosphere and electricity they once had at the Nassau Coliseum? This game will be an indicator of whether hockey will fit into the Brooklyn culture and launch a glorious new chapter for the Islanders.


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50 Cent


As you probably already know, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy this week. Like his failed MLB opening pitch, Curtis Jackson has also failed his latest entrepreneurial attempt. Not exactly the definition of pimpin'. Here are some of our speculations as to what he spent his last quarters on:

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5 Tips for Going to Shows Solo

July 10, 2015

If you've read this blog at any point in time, or you've stumbled upon my Twitter feed, or you actually know me, then you know it's no secret that I'm a U2 superfan. So far on the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, I've traveled over 1,600 miles to Montreal and Toronto to see six concerts -- all solo. (Well, 5 and 1/2 were solo, but that's neither here nor there). I'll be going to all four shows in Boston and all eight in New York City as well. Excessive? Sure. But I might as well smell the flowers while I can.

The point of this post isn't to illustrate that I'll gladly travel to have a good time and see my favorite band, but rather, to provide tips for going to concerts by yourself. Concerts are very much a social thing, but what's truly cool about concerts is that everyone in the building is automatically you're friend. Well, until they spill their beer on you or something, but you get the point -- everybody is there because you have a common interest: you paid money to see an artist perform live. Even if you go alone, you aren't totally alone.

Here are five tips to help you get off your keester and head to a show you really want to see... even if your friends don't want to go, or think it's crazy to keep going.

One: Stop caring what people think

We all remember what it was like to be in high school. It sucked. You're worried about the three pimples on your face and you're worried about what everybody in the world thinks about you. Then we all grew up and realized that we shouldn't care what people think about us; we should just be ourselves and do what we want to do.


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MLB All-Star Game

The MLB All-Star Game on July 14 marks the official halfway point for the MLB season. With the halfway point comes a tradition unlike any other: picking MLB Award winners that won’t win until November. We are seeing tight races across the league, and if the first half is any indication, we are in for a wild second half of the season.

MVP Award:

AL: Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers (Honorable Mentions: Mike Trout - Angels, Josh Donaldson - Blue Jays)

Miguel Cabrera has been the best player in the AL so far this year, but a recent left calf strain will put him on the DL for six weeks and will likely remove him from contention going forward. It’s a shame as Cabrera was dominating at the plate, leading the AL in batting average and ranking seventh in RBIs. His injury is a devastating blow to the Detroit Tigers, who are struggling to get into the AL Wild Card mix. This opens the door for Trout and Donaldson to come in and steal the MVP away from Cabrera, as both players need to boost their batting averages to make a definitive claim to the throne.

NL: Bryce Harper - Washington Nationals (Honorable Mentions: Paul Goldschmidt - Diamondbacks, Buster Posey - Giants)

Bryce Harper is currently running away with the NL MVP. He is having the best season of his career, ranking second in the NL in Home Runs and batting average, fourth in RBIs, and first in WAR. His numbers across the board have been spectacular and he is a key part of the Nationals emerging as one of the hottest teams in the league. Harper finally seems to have reached his potential. While Paul Goldschmidt is trying his hardest to keep pace, the NL MVP is Harper’s to lose.


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Worst of 2015

1.) DeflateGate - I work in an office full of Patriots fans, so this is a touchy subject, but I know if the Pats had lost the Super Bowl and it just so happened that the Seahawks had, er, bent the rules during said game, my coworkers would be quick to point an accusatory finger at Seattle. Some think Brady is a fraud, some think he's brilliant -- either way, an investigation the size of massive political malfeasance over sporting equipment seems a bit asinine to me. I understand, people take their teams seriously, but we all know the NFL isn't the most honest of institutions, so might as well accept that at face value and move on. I have to admit though, I love that Bill Nye got involved with a good old-fashioned science guy experiment.

2.) Dress Controversy – Blue and black? Or gold and white? Who the f**k cares? Maybe I'm cynical, but WHY was this such a big deal? It was interesting for about 3 seconds, but ultimately completely inconsequential to life on Earth. Admittedly, I've never been that into optical illusions, but the point is, of all the events that could make global headlines, it's sad that a piece of garment was more talked about than the tide of racial injustices happening around the U.S.


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It has been quite some time since the UFC had a highly anticipated bout the likes of Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor. McGregor’s popularity has skyrocketed over his last two fights and Aldo is considered to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world. This was going to be a titanic clash, a battle to see if McGregor was going to be the UFC’s next big star or if Aldo was truly the best in the world. Unfortunately, the injury bug reared its ugly head and once again killed a major UFC main event. Aldo suffered a broken rib in training and was forced to pull out of the fight with McGregor. With just over a week left before the fight, Chad Mendes stepped up to take his place, so now it is Mendes vs. McGregor for the Interim UFC Featherweight Championship. While a major disappointment for fans and the fighters, this change could prove to be a major blessing in disguise for McGregor.

To get an idea of how anticipated the original fight was, let’s go back to this past January in Boston. McGregor stepped into the octagon to face off against Denis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 after weeks of trash talking. McGregor flipped off Siver as they met face to face and once the fight started, McGregor was unstoppable. He moved around the cage showing great poise and patiently waiting for his moment to strike. He pummeled and bloodied Siver for two straight rounds, taking a dominant TKO victory. Sitting in the front row watching the destruction of Siver was UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. After the victory, McGregor climbed over the cage and was held back by security as he attempted to confront Aldo, making a clear statement that he wanted the next shot at the title.