Jobs: Dolphin Beach in the Hamptons

25 Jan

Summers during college – 1986-1988 – I had one of the best jobs one could ever have: working at a beach – on the Atlantic Ocean.  It was called Dolphin Beach and it was right on Dune Road, the main drag through that ran through the barrier beach – essentially a small, narrow strip of land – a barrier island – that was between the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island itself, smack in the middle of the Hamptons.

It sounded like a great gig: taking $10 from out-of-town folks to park in the dirt lot next with beach access (if you were a Southampton town resident and had the sticker on your car you got to park in the paved lot for free). I got the job thru a good friend of mine, who set me up to meet the guy who would be my boss, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I remember it was windy and early – about 8:00 or so in the morning – when I got to the empty parking lot to wait for the guy who was going to hire me.

I’m standing there, alone, when a late-model Cadillac Seville comes cruising in. A thin, and very tan middle-aged guy gets out of the car.  He’s wearing a Speedo swimsuit, flip-flops, a linen shirt and had a bunch of gold chains hanging off his neck and addresses me:

“How ‘ya doin’? Are you Charlie’s friend?”

“Yes indeed” I probably replied.

“Good. I’m Tony Lentini…nice to meet you. Come with me”

And so we – me the blond college kid, probably wearing jeans and a sweatshirt – follow Tony the Italian dude in the Speedo up the parking lot, over the dune to the beach, and to a small, square building.  Unlocking a side door, he tells me to bring the 4′ x 4′ piece of plywood that’s inside the dark room.  It’s the sign for the parking lot, white, with “PARKING $10” painted in big letters on it.  I grab the sign and follow Tony back down the small dune trail, and walk thru the dusty, dirt parking lot.  It’s windy, I’m carrying the wide sign over my head, the occasional gust catching it and affecting my stride just a bit. We walk all the way to the end, to the chain link fence gate at the corner entrance of the lot, real close to Dune Road.

“Put the sign there,” Tony says, pointing to the fence post.  I put the sign down lean it on the fence post.  Tony looks at me and says, matter-of-factly, “that…is the hardest fucking thing you’ll do all day.”

I quickly realize I’m going to dig the job and enjoy working for Tony.  He looks at me, digs into the top pocket of his linen shirt, grabs a roll of various bills, tells me to charge everyone $10 to park and that most people are assholes and will complain about the cost.  They can risk a ticket if they want to park in the town lot without that sticker, he says, and the ticket is a lot more than $10.

We discuss how busy that Saturday might be – its a holiday weekend but its cloudy and only in the 50’s at that moment – and Tony tells me he’ll be back around “lunch time.”  That’s cool, I thought, and realize he must like me to already leave me alone with a bunch of cash. There was no cell phones back then, and I didn’t even have to fill out any sort of job application, either.  This is going to be a cool gig, at the popular Dolphin Beach.  Tony gets in his car, waves and drives away. As the dust from the parking lot subsided I saw his license plate, to this day it’s still my favorite personalized plate:

EZ4U2SAY

Dolphin Beach

Hard To Tell

13 Jan

An instant mood improver. “Hard To Tell” by Cheap Trick, from their live DVD Silver.

Those who know, know.

So Long, Rams, Chargers, or Raiders

12 Jan

Tomorrow the NFL will announce which two teams have been approved to move to the league’s Holy Grail of media markets, Los Angeles. The St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders have all applied to move, each citing difficulty in obtaining a new stadium in their current markets.   The teams that will announce they are moving will issue press releases that will mention that while they regret the move and appreciate their fans’ loyalty for so many years in their respective markets, the current stadium situations in those cities made moving a difficult decision but one they were forced to make. These statements will sound like the organizations had no choice, it was no stadium = move.

The reality is, each team that applied does have a choice: to build their own stadiums or not. Their choice is the latter.

It doesn’t even matter what the teams have tried to do to stay, or what each city has done – or hasn’t done – to keep the franchises in their current cities as the fix is in: the NFL desperately wants a team in Los Angeles. The excellent blog Field of Schemes, which documents professional sports teams constant swindling of cities efforts in getting new facilities, has lots of details about this.

Let’s be clear: none of these teams are losing money. Each of these teams, via the NFL’s stadium loan program and other sources could build their own facilities. Each team, as seen many times before, are trying to get the most by spending the least. As they should – they’re businesses, after all.

But let’s not pretend that they were “forced” into doing anything, or give a damn about fan loyalty and the years, and dollars, that loyalty provided the franchises.

Long Promised Road

4 Jan

A review on the new book about Carl Wilson, Long Promised Road, at a cool blog. For all the many books on The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, as well as Dennis Wilson, there has never been one that looked at Carl Wilson’s life. As the boo details, and this review at Small Press Reviews details, if it wasn’t for Carl, The Beach Boys would’ve ended when Brian Wilson checked out, and into spending more time on mood-altering drugs and his sandbox.

Disclosure Alert! I do marketing & publicity for this boo.

Small Press Reviews

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 3.22.43 PMBooks about the Beach Boys tend to focus on Brian Wilson, depicting him as the “mad genius” behind the band’s music. Such accounts trace his evolution from a surf-pop wunderkind to the architect behind the masterful Pet Sounds album, then dwell almost lasciviously on the mental breakdown surrounding the recording of the long-deferred Smile album before turning to his struggles with addiction, mental illness, and the troubling relationship with the Svengali-like therapist who took over Wilson’s life. While such narratives are certainly valid, they tend to ignore other members of the band—in particular Carl Wilson, the youngest of the brothers who formed the heart of the band. In Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, Soul of the Beach Boys, Kent Crowley aims to correct that.

Less of a counter-narrative than a complementary one, Crowley depicts Carl Wilson as the emotional and musical center of the band, particularly during the years…

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Favorite Rock/Pop Holiday Songs, Pt. 3

12 Dec

The majority of these songs that will likely show up here are from the 1970’s and the early 80’s.  And the majority of these songs were first heard, and heard often thereafter, on WRCN in Riverhead, NY and WPLR in New Haven, CT.  The latter I was thrilled to discover – just 11 or so miles across Long Island Sound and crystal clear – after years of listening to the former and getting tired of the usual classic rock songs (among the songs I never need to hear again, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Freebird”).

A staple on those stations wasn’t really a Christmas song, per se. It was more of a Christmas skit. “Santa Claus & His Old Lady” cracks me up just as much every year.  Cheeck kicks it off, trying to write a Christmas song, without much luck:

“Mamacita, donde esta Santa Cleese… The vato wit da bony knees…he comin’ down da street wit no choos on his feet… And he’s going to… no, no, that’s ain’t it… “Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus… Da guy wit da hair on his jaws…”

Along comes Chong, who needs a little bit of explaining as to who the jolly fat guy with the beard is:

Cheech: I’m trying to write a song about Santa Claus, man, but it’s not
comin’ out…

Chong: About who, man?

Cheech: About Santa Claus, man. You know, Santa Claus, man?

Chong: Oh, yeah, man. I played with those dudes, man.

Cheech: what?

Chong: Yeah, last year at the Fillmore, man. Me and the bass player sat in, man.

 

From there Cheech tells the story of Santa Claus and Christmas. As he knows it, that is:

“Once upon a time, about, hmmm, five years ago, there was this groovy dude. And has name was Santa Claus, y’know? And he used to live over in the Projects with his old lady, and they had a pretty good thing together
because his old lady was really fine, and she could cook and all that…stuff like that, y’know. Like, she made da best brownies in town, man!  Oh, I could remember ’em now, man. I could eat one of ’em, man…”

If you’ve heard this before you know where the story goes.  Santa flies around the world delivering the brownies to kids, in a sled with reindeer that’s powered by “magic dust.”

And in the end, Chong remains confused by who Santa is:

Cheech: Yeah. He’s gotta job in front of da department store, ringing this bell And playing this tambourine next to this black pot, y’know?

Chong: Awww, I’ve seen the dude, man!

Cheech: Yeah! You know who I’m talking about, man!

Chong: Yeah, man! I played with that cat last year, man!

Cheech: Wha!?!?

Chong: Yeah, we played in front of a store, man! We made a lot of bread, man!

Cheech: Aw, hey, wait a minute, man! Santa Claus is not a musician, man!

Chong: I’m hip, man! That cat didn’t know any tunes, man

Still cracks me up, year after year.

 

Favorite Rock/Pop Holiday Songs Pt. 2

10 Dec

Yes, Tom Petty’s version is amazing…but “Christmas All Over Again” by Butch Walker and Taryn Manning is simply sublime.

It’s just raucous and joyous and loose and fun.  Love the ELO-like backing vocals and whole vibe of the song. Its just infectious.  And who is Taryn Manning (note to self: find her music – love her voice)?  Her voice is perfect with Walker’s.

I’ve got an mp3 – can’t remember how I got it – and the only version on You Tube its the soundtrack to some guy’s video about Christmas. But that’ll work in a pinch.

Favorite Rock/Pop Holiday Songs

10 Dec

‘Tis the season – again – for a list of favorite holiday/Christmas rock songs.  One song per post, starting with Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas”.

It’s been awhile since I’ve tried to embed video on this blog; turns out to that you now have to have the Premium version of Word Press, $79.

I’m not much of a traditionalist for Christmas (Thanksgiving is  the only holiday I really look forward to); often times than not it dredges up a plethora of really mixed emotions.  However, behold the healing power of music!  Elton’s jaunty and fun song never fails to get me happy and a bit more into the holiday spirit. How can it not? What an awesome hook!  And I never fail to butcher the lyrics, like I do with many Elton songs.

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