Archive for November 25th, 2008


All I Want For Christmas

November 25, 2008

Dear Santa,

You may remember me. We first met when I was little, and didn’t behave very often, but you brought me some very cool G.I. Joe Adventure Team sets, and a red pedal-car. Later, we sort of fell out, though. There was that year I really wanted a three-speed bike and you brought me my very own file cabinet … but I’m not bitter.

Things changed later, of course, when I ended up dressing like you in a shopping mall, and the spirit of Christmas came along … that’s a whole other story.

Look, I’ve been good this year. I’ve been friendly, and caring, and kind. I have taught my children well and been polite to almost all of my coworkers. I have loved my lady and loved my two mamas. So I think, this year, I really deserve something cool.

So here’s what I want:

That’s the Moller Skycar. It’s one of the world’s great inventions, maybe, or possibly one of the world’s biggest scams. I first heard of it in Clive Cussler’s Atlantis Found, which has Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino zooming across the Andes in a Skycar, zipping around like a Federation shuttle, hovering, landing, that sort of thing. It uses four rotating jet engines for VTOL capability, seats two, or sometimes four, comes in red, and has satellite radio, maybe.

In real life, the Skycar, which has reportedly cost $200 million to develop, can hover about 15 feet off the ground … all while hanging from a crane “for insurance reasons.”

There have been lawsuits, SEC probes, complaints, you name it, about the Skycar, but inventer Paul Moller keeps soldiering forward, and I admire that. I like anyone who picks a vision and sticks with it for a long time — in this case, close to 40 years.

I would like a Skycar, Santa. So please, please, go ahead and buy one. Paul Moller could use the dough. I could use the transportation, because, as you know, I live at the top of a steep hill and it’s been a slippery drive lately. It would be so much easier to just land in the back 40. Plus, the kids would really like it. And if it really is a big pile of what-the-fuckness, then I can park it on my front lawn and sell tickets for kids to sit in it or something.

Come to think of it, Santa, you could use a Skycar, assuming that it flies. Put some bells on it, put the reindeer in the barn, and fly, fly fly.

See you Christmas Eve,


PS: Here’s a video of the thing. Note the crane on the right.


RIP Kenny MacLean of Platinum Blonde

November 25, 2008
Serge, Kenny, Mark, Chris

L-R: Sergio, Kenny, Mark, Chris

Kenny MacLean just died, days after he launched his latest solo CD, Completely. His sister reportedly found him dead in his Toronto home on Monday.

If you aren’t from Canada, I don’t blame you for not knowing who he is. He was a member of Platinum Blonde, a major Canadian pop-rock band from the 1980s. He wasn’t there from the beginning, but took over on bass for the band’s second big album, Alien Shores, so leader Mark Holmes could concentrate on singing. This would have required Kenny to grow a trademark Platinum Blonde bottle-blonde shaggy mop and wear tight leather pants, but he was a good fit, and, as I recall, brought a slightly tougher, rockier sound to the band. Maybe it’s because he was from Scotland.

Platinum Blonde was Canada’s B-grade Duran Duran, one of those bands Canadian teenagers of my generation pretended to not like, but somehow knew all about (Corey Hart, Honeymoon Suite, Strange Advance and Haywire round out that bunch). They wore matching red and white leathers, had really stupid hair and Holmes sang in a bit of a nancy-prancy voice. But the guitarist, a guy named Sergio Galli, could really shred, and had clearly listened to a lot of P-Funk, even if it hadn’t rubbed off.

I saw them in concert on the Alien Shores tour, mostly because my mother gave me the tickets for Christmas. And it really rocked. Hair and makeup aside, and out of the studio, this band kicked ass. Yeah, I pretended to have missed it when my friends asked, but it’s stayed with me all these years, so it had to have been good.

After some personnel changes and an attempt to rock hard as The Blondes (I used to have a ridinkulous photo of the band dressed up in black biker leathers, with fake stubble, trying to look tough), that was it for Platinum Blonde. Every few years you hear about a one-off reunion or something, but really, it’s all been quiet.

So Kenny MacLean, the “new guy” bassist of Platinum Blonde, released a couple of solo discs. I used to have one. It was okay, nothing memorable, but that was less about his musical abilities (and surprisingly strong voice) than the clear and blatant attempt to craft a hit.

Kenny MacLean wasn’t a household name, not anymore. His glory days were long behind him. He died young, a working musician who had a rare turn as a rock star and never gave up making good music, and that isn’t a bad legacy at all.

I was surprised to hear he had a new disc coming out. I’ll probably buy it. While never a favourite of mine, I always respected Kenny and Platinum Blonde as entertainers. And I know that later, when things get quiet, I will put on my copy of their 1987 funk-rocker Contact and play some big fat low-end chunky air bass in Kenny’s memory.

Rest in peace, Kenny MacLean. Thanks for the music.