Pleased To Serve

Pleased To Serve
Originally published March 26, 2009

High school and college students are often criticized for their general attitudes about life. Charges of selfishness and self-absorbed behavior are frequently among the complaints. One image that has emerged over recent generations is that of a vacuous, self-indulgent, pleasure- and wealth-oriented bunch that is unaware of and unconcerned about what’s going on in the world around them.

For some that may be true, and, well, if the shoe fits, wear it. And, of course, they’ll always have plenty of adult company.

But many among the current crop of young people are bucking that stereotype, showing a genuine interest in politics, social justice and the fate of others that is perceived to have been missing to some extent in recent generations.

Frederick News-Post reporter Marge Neal’s March 20 story on “alternative spring break” clearly showed that you can’t paint an entire generation with one brush.

It seems that while a lot of their peers are partying out in places such as Daytona Beach, Fla., the Bahamas, Mexico and ever more exotic locales, some young people are choosing to tend to the needs of others as opposed to the desires of self.

Neal’s story recounted the spring break experiences of a number of local college students, including groups from Hood College and Mount St. Mary’s University. Rather than lying on the beach all day and partying all night for a week, these young people devoted their time and energy to their fellow man. They engaged in work such as tutoring and helping rebuilding houses. Some traveled to Florida, others to North Carolina and West Virginia.

While we have no doubt that college students who went the more traditional spring-break route had fun, we wonder how memorable a life experience their week will be. It appears from their comments that those who chose the alternative had fun, but their experience was also truly meaningful.

It’s arguable which group “enjoyed” itself more, the traditional spring-break crowd or the more altruistic ones. Ironically, it may well have been those who decided to spend their vacation in service to others. Helping other people is every bit as rewarding to those doing it as it is to those they’re helping — ask anyone who volunteers.

We hope that more college students will consider this kind of alterative next year at spring break. Otherwise, they may never discover what they’re missing.

As the Indian spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba succinctly put it: “The body has to be utilized for service to others. More bliss can be got from serving others than from merely serving oneself.”

Who doesn’t need a little more bliss in their lives?

Frederick News Post Reference

Stars Shine At House Of Blues

Stars Shine At House Of Blues
By Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa
Monday, February 23, 2009

The Blues Brothers – Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi – capped off a three-day blowout to celebrate the opening of the 13th House of Blues on Lansdowne Street with a rockin’ invitation-only show for 2,500 the other night.

Elwood and Brother Zee (who took over when original Blues Brother Joliet Jake, aka John Belushi, passed) hit the stage for an hour with what seemed like a cast of thousands, including Vineyard songbird Carly Simon, David Letterman’s music man Paul Shaffer, original Soul Man Sam Moore, and bluesmen James Montgomery, Skunk Baxter and Jimmy Wood.

The Blues Brothers and their band belted out faves, including “Sweet Home Chicago” and Wilson Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances,” which brought Dan’s daughters Danielle and Kingston, and Simon, out from the wings to do the mashed potato.

And can we tell you that Carly’s still got it goin’ on? Na, na, na, na, na . . .

Jake and Zee, who jumped into the crowd and aggressively belly-bumped hefty fiftysomething fans, were mighty winded after their hour-plus set and a long encore.

But after the gig, they got their chow on at Sonsie with a posse that included Shaffer and funnyman Tom Davis (original “SNL” members); Dan’s wife, Donna Dixon, and John Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi Pisano; “Trader” Fred Mascolo from the Vineyard and Hub entertainment lawyer George Tobia.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves . . . .

The party got under way just after 7 p.m. when a looooong line of revelers wound down Lansdowne Street to check in for the evening’s festivities. Inside the new hotspot, the cavernous Music Hall was slowly filling up with media, guests and Live Nation suits while most of the VIPs made a beeline for the second-floor Foundation Room .

A fixture in every House of Blues, the Boston Foundation Room is a warren of private enclaves gussied up like an upscale hookah lounge – an homage to original HOB founder Isaac Tigrett’s guru Sathya Sai Baba.

Mingling near the mountain of shrimp cocktail, we spied Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer and his posse; Summer Shack chef Jasper White; Foundation Lounge lizard George Lewis; radio marketing gurus Mary Menna and Bev Tilden and their S.O.s, Peter Darveau and Steven Riley; Suffolk County Register of Deeds Richard Iannella and his bride Arlene; fashionista Alan Bilzerian and his bro, Vineyard fixture Larry Bilzerian; PR guru George Regan; Nauticus naughty boy Sandy Tennant; chiropractor to the stars Richard Greene; City Hall gadabout Tony Nunziante; social scribe Lisa Pierpont; and Red Sox [team stats] shareholder David Ginsburg.

While the VIPs sweated it up (literally) upstairs, the rest of the revelers filled the Music Hall and two upper-level balconies to take in opening acts that included a gospel choir and blues guitarist Ronnie Earl and his band, as well as Reverend Lee.

Groovin’ to the tunes we spied House of Blues honchos Don Law and Debbie Eybers; Mass. Supreme Judicial Court Judge Robert Cordy and his son, Sean; Vineyard songbird Kate Taylor; Channel 5 GM Bill Fine and his wife, Gail, and WCVB newsgal Gail Huff and her hubby, state Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham); Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis; former New England Patriots [team stats] hunk Christian Faurier; Entercom marketing guru Bill Alfano and sales veep Jim Rushton; HOB landlords Patrick and Michael Lyons and Michael’s veddy attractive companion, Angela Aucoin; La Verdad kitchen king Ken Oringer, who was showing off cell phone photos of his new baby daughter, whom he calls “Little Vivi”; Mandarin Oriental spokesgal Edwina Kluender; TD Banknorth Garden gals Trish McCorkle and Jen Compton; PR princes Max Buccini and Steve Pellegrino; Boston Common czar Glen Kelley; KISS 108 marketing man Joe “Public” Mazzei; MIX 98.5’s Fast Freddy and Gregg Daniels; South Shore gals Connie Hubbell and Elizabeth Smith; Lyons Group PR gal Lindsay Curtis; and The Greatest Bar baron Bill Fairweather.

Boston Herald Reference