Tag Archives: Alice Cooper

The Amazing Randi

About James Randi - JREF
James “The Amazing” Randi
A bit Gandalfesque, don’t you think?

James Randi has made his last escape–this time from this world.

He called himself a conjurer, rather than a magician. He viewed his craft from a very pragmatic standpoint and had no patience with those who claimed to have supernatural powers. These included stage magicians, faith healers, psychics, and others.

When he was younger, he carried a check in his pocket, which he would give to anyone who could perform “magic” that he could not duplicate as an illusion. I forget the amount of the check (large for the time, but not by today’s standards), which eventually fell apart along the folds because no one ever qualified. Later, the James Randi Educational Foundation offered a million dollars to anyone who could perform any supernatural, occult, or paranormal action under test conditions agreed to by both parties.

At one point, he was the magic expert for Alice Cooper. The show opened with sparks flowing from Alice’s fingers when he first stepped onto the stage. Naturally, one does not want live, extremely flammable pyrotechnics on one’s fingers until necessary. He related how, before each show, he’d be with Vincent Fournier in the dressing room, chatting about whatever. Randi was fascinated how, when they got the three minute warning and he’d start attaching the squibs and Vincent would immediately go into character, transforming into Alice Cooper.

He wrote 10 books, most of which are available from Amazon, as well as many public libraries. However, if you’re not a magic aficionado, a great book to start with is Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone.

The Amazing Randi earned his title of Amazing by teaching and researching as well as performing.

James, thanks, and I wish you well.

The End of the School Year

21st Century Odd Couple

21st Century Odd Couple

I was 20 years old and had just dropped out of college when Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out for Summer” was a hit. You have to love a song whose lyrics include “We can’t even think of a word that rhymes.” I could definitely identify.

Now, as school winds down for this year, I identify in a different way.

It’s time for my kids to perform the musical numbers their bands have been working on. There are parties and it’s time to catch up on the various odds and ends. It elevates a hectic schedule of driving and attending by a magnitude (which is why I haven’t written anything in the past few days.)

But good old Vincent Fournier – the man who created and portrays Alice Cooper and (with the help of the Amazing James Randi transformed stage illusions into rock and roll mayhem) – still represented a link to my own youth.

But wait!

Now Ke$ha and Alice have a common theme song in “School”?

(If you don’t know who Ke$ha is, ask you children, grandchildren, or a neighborhood teenager.)

Does this mean that my kids and I share a common musical anthem?

Heh heh heh.

As Alice sang, “Welcome to My Nightmare.”

Enjoy, kids. Before you know it, you’ll be hearing YOUR kids’ version of “School!”

Heh heh heh.

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

pep

This is aimed at only those of us who are old enough to remember the Beatles. Not a retrospective.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away we talked about these – sex, drugs and rock and roll.

We also pledged to “Never trust anyone over 30.”

My, how times change.

Drugs? Oh yeah, man, I’m into all kinds of drugs these days. Blood pressure meds, sleep aids, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines and something to help my memory – I forget what it is. I do them all, man. (Eat your heart out, Tommy Chong!)

Sex? I’m happily married. If you are also happily married you understand. If you’re not happily married, there’s no way I can explain that you would understand.

Rock & Roll? Yes, I still love the “oldies.” The best part is that I can pick and choose the very best of all of the songs I’ve heard. I can fondly remember the best of all the great groups and conveniently forget the duds. (Okay, yes, I do still remember “Hocus Pocus” by Focus and “Clones” by Alice Cooper) I figure, my fond memory of past music is about 10% of everything that occurred in that time.

So as far I’m concerned, BOC, ELO, the Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, and a few others were all that existed.

I’m over 30 twice over. I now know a little bit about life. I trust my peers twice as much as I did before I was 30.

On one hand, I’m more realistic.

On the other hand, I still like (and embrace) the attitude of my youth.

So, in summation:

Pick good – believe in great ideals.

Stick to them.

Try to make the world a better place.

Enjoy the blessings along the way.