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January 29, 2014

And The Losers Are . . .


When I was a teenager I was shocked at how narrow-minded my parents were.

It is, of course, the very nature of the generation gap that elders will never understand what the kids are thinking – and vice versa.

My dad was the Supervisor of Brooklyn State Nursing School that was housed at Brooklyn State Hospital, with its huge psychiatric ward.

When discussions turned to politics, or long hair, or marijuana he would lose his temper and blurt out, "There are more nuts in this house than there are at work!"

I vowed never to become such a fuddy-duddy. So it was when I was watching the Grammy Awards Sunday night I tried to stifle the urge to sound like him. It opened with a scantily clad Beyoncé singing "Drunk In Love."

To say she was moving in a suggestive manner would be an understatement. I was thinking, "So is this the message we want to send to our daughters, that they should get drunk and act slutty?" But I said nothing.

Then her husband Jay-Z came out to "perform" with her. My only reaction to that was, "What's a babe like that doing with a dork like him when she could get me?"

That performance aside, the theme of the night was to pair young stars with old geezers. Ringo Starr sang – and what a musical genius that man is. Madonna did something that sounded a little like singing – she looks like she is made out of wax. The worst bunch, looks wise, was Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard, all of whom looked like they died a couple years ago and were preserved just for this monumental event.

I liked some of the new stuff. Lorde was terrific – we had girls like her when I was growing up except we called them "skanks." Robin Thicke sang Chicago's greatest hits – with Chicago. Why didn't Chicago sing Chicago's greatest hits?

Billy Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert performed an Everly Brothers song – he had more makeup on then she did. Just sayin' – I myself have never felt the need, except for a little mascara once in a while.

The bottom line is it was a fun show. Most of the young stars performed live and played their own instruments – a decade ago it was all lip-synching, overdubs, and electronic music.

There was a local presence there – Paul McCartney and his new wife frequent Amagansett every summer. He is now officially "Sir Paul" and everyone referred to him as such. Question: Why not Sir Ringo?

Stevie Wonder, who used to rule the Grammys, has been relegated to a bit role, and that's good. Wonder is one of those creeps who bowed to Palestinian pressure and refused to play in Israel. What goes around comes around, Stevie Boy. That brings me to my classic definition of Eternal Love: Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles playing tennis together.

Wonder, as usual, was dressed like a clown. The old joke about that is Wonder pays a handler five grand a week to buy him the best clothing money can buy. The guys go to the polyester bin at the dollar store and grabs whatever he can. Then they dress up Stevie and Stevie asks, "Do I look cool?" Everyone replies, "Yeah, man, really hip" while they divvy up the loot.

Metallica? Make it stop. I have always hated heavy metal music, which is devoid of melody, features vapid lyrics that repeat endlessly, and biker-type morons who pound their instruments into oblivion. On the other hand IMHO Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles and John Legend all write, play, and sing well and are legitimate big stars.

Do not name your child Trombone Shorty, Lang Lang, or Juicy J, you're just setting them up for painful, tortured childhoods. I went to school with Bobby Crappy, John Trojan, and palled around with Alan Lipschitz so I know firsthand how cruel the other kids can be.

One other Grammy observation: there is something bizarre in a world where one of the only people in the world prettier than Nicole Kidman is her husband – but I'll say this for Keith Urban: he plays a mean guitar.

Back in the day The Beatles were vilified for having "hair like girls." There will be a special next month on the 50th anniversary of their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Check them out: today they would pass as well-coifed, nattily attired gentlemen. Tattoos are all the rage now – who would have guessed that?

No matter how hip or cool you think you are, you are never going to completely understand your kids. You can only hope they don't end up like Ozzy.

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