Category: News

A Different Perspective: Why You Should Take Covid-19 Seriously

Whether I’m out walking my dogs from a safe social distance or driving to pick up much-needed groceries, I can’t help but see members of my community assembling in large numbers at places like parks and shopping centers, despite government and medical professionals advising us to the contrary. It’s become apparent that a vast majority of people are still not taking the Corona Virus (Covid-19) seriously.

Perhaps there’s a reason for this disconnect, because I’ve also read dozens of news articles and listened to a bunch of so-called experts bloviate their opinions. Casting blame for this “virus” pandemic we’re experiencing on everything from a person in China eating a bat, to a biological weapon experiment gone awry, to the new 5G frequency that’s being used for our smart phones. Some are even suggesting that it’s not a virus at all and that the whole thing is nothing more than a crude hoax. In every case, the misinformation given is being shared through various social media outlets where many recipients, who are already unsure and in fear, eagerly accept it as fact without bothering to research it on their own.

The reason I’m writing this is not to fuel debate or cause heated tension. Quite frankly, I’m in no mood to argue. I’d just like to share with you a story that I hadn’t really thought much about until my mother passed away on March 7. I’ll preface what follows by telling you that my mother died of a stroke at the age of 73, and not from Covid-19.

My mom’s mother, Helena (Lyons) Appleman, was born in Easton on April 19, 1914. She was one of eight children from a relatively poor family who grew up to become a wife, mother, seamstress and homemaker, before spending the last nine years of my grandfather’s life being his primary caregiver after he, ironically, also suffered a severe stroke.

Shortly after my brother was born in 1967, when my newly married mother and father had nowhere else to go, my grandparents invited them to move in with them into their small, three-bedroom turn of the century colonial. I came along two years later and was followed by my sister two years after that.

My connection with my grandmother during my formitive years growing up remains my most treasured memory. For, in addition to taking care of my disabled grandfather 24/7, she was also the one who cared for me and my siblings whenever we were sick because our parents were away at work. I remember those days fondly because she’d always have me lie on the soft lumpy couch underneath a mountain of warm blankets; feeding me hot chicken noodle soup and sitting with me to watch shows like “The Price is Right” and “The Joy of Painting,” while getting a much-needed respite from my grandfather, who was taking an afternoon nap.

Every day, unless she was feeling under the weather, she would make supper for my family and would always have extra for any of our friends and relatives who happened to straggle in while we were eating. If I think back now, I can still smell the Sunday roast beef and the Thanksgiving feasts she used to prepare.

My grandmother loved everyone and would go out of her way to do anything to help someone in need. In short, she was the foundation of our family and I remember sitting in wonder as she told me all kinds of stories about what life was like during The Great Depression and World War II. Things I’d give anything to be able to hear from her again because I miss her dearly.

The stories part is where I’m going with all of this, because there’s one story she never told any of us. One that she kept to herself her entire life, and didn’t reveal until she was on her death bed in December of 1996.

One evening, not too long before she passed, my cousin’s husband was at the nursing home visiting her. At the time, he was taking an English course on interviewing and was asking my grandmother pointed questions about her life. Things she always discussed openly. I’m not sure if it was because she was fully aware of her own mortaility, or because she just wanted to get something out that she’d kept bottled up, but she used the opportunty to reveal a little more with one of the questions that was asked.

The question was this: “What was the worst moment of your entire life?”

Without hesitation, she answered. “The day of Clara’s funeral.”

“Clara?” he asked, curiously. “Who’s Clara?”

My grandmother explained that Clara was one of her sisters who had contracted the Spanish Flu during the pandemic of 1918 and died shortly thereafter. Clara was ten-years-old at the time and my grandmother was four. We all knew that my grandmother had lost a sister at a young age but were never offered anything beyond that. She never told and we dared not to ask.

My grandmother then went on to tell him that because the funeral parlors were full due to the large number of deaths, they needed to have Clara’s funeral service inside their home. For some reason; one that even I can’t begin to understand, they were unable to get Clara’s casket out of the house after the service, and several men had to work together to lower it through an open window in order to take it to the cemetery for burial. So, in addition to already being grief stricken over the death of her beloved sister, my grandmother had to witness this entire emotional scene of despair and confusion play out in real time.

Let me say this again in a way that’s more easily understood. My grandmother, who was four-years-old when her sister died, lived almost eighty years after the pandemic of 1918. She lived through a Great Depression, a World War, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Vietnam and many other horrific things in our world, in addition to having to be a caregiver to my grandfather and taking care of my family. Yet the absolute worst day of her entire life was when her sister died of the Spanish Flu. The Pandemic of 1918.

So when I see people, a century later, not taking what’s going on seriously, it’s very concerning. My grandmother’s generation never had access to all the information we do today about what’s going on. Even something as simple as washing your hands thorougly and keeping a safe social distance. In 1918 there was no radio, television, smart phones or social media. Heck, you were lucky if you had access to a newspaper. All you had to rely upon was hearsay. Which is why I can only imagine how scary it must have been for her back then, not knowing what was going on.

The truth is you can believe all the hyperbole and conspiracy theories you want because you have that right. But you’ll never be able to convince me that what we’re going through right now is not something to take seriously.

Here’s a little epilogue to take with you. Something that happened on the night of December 31st, 1996. The night my grandmother died.

My grandmother had shared a room for the last month of her life and, on the day after her death, my mom was talking to my grandmother’s elderly roommate.

“Can I ask you a question?” the woman asked my mother, sounding a bit confused.

“Of course,” my mom answered.

“Do you know anyone named Clara?”

My mom looked at her with concern. “Yeah, as a matter of fact I do. Clara was my mom’s sister. She died when my mom was four.”

“Oh, maybe that explains it,” the woman replied with relief. “Because last night, I kept hearing your mother calling out that name in the dark. She said it over and over, and then she was silent.”

Model Kristy Ann Spillane Discusses Dancing With The Reading Stars, Career

Photo by: Thomas A.
Photo by: Thomas A.

Philadelphia-area model, Kristy Ann Spillane is about to add another entry into her arsenal of talent. Already in demand for her flexible versatility as well as an innate ability to conform to many different genres in the world of modeling, the beautiful Spillane will soon showcase her dance moves and help raise money for a worthy organization at the same time.

This month, Kristy and her husband, Mike will compete in “Dancing With The Reading Stars” – a completion to raise money for The Yocum Institute For Arts Education.

The Yocum is an organization that provides quality programs, scholarships and outreach services throughout Berks County, PA.

Kristy has also started a Go Fund Me campaign where friends and fans can help raise money for the institute.

For the past seven years, Kristy Ann Spillane has been one of the most in-demand models. From being a painted lady at the Playboy Mansion to making the covers of magazines and billboards. She’s also appeared in several movies in addition to her commercial and website work.

I recently spoke with Kristy about Dancing With The Reading Stars, her modeling career and more in this exclusive interview.

How did Dancing With The Reading Stars come about for you?

The Yocum Institute contacted us. A couple that my husband and I know are on the board and had danced in the competition last year. They felt that we would be a good fit to dance in this year’s competition. The competition is a fundraiser to raise money for the institute.

What can you tell me about your Go Fund Me campaign and how the funds be used?

 All of the money is going to the Yocum Institute. Yocum is an art institute in Wyomissing, PA that organizes and runs programs throughout Berks County. The purpose of Dancing with the Reading Stars is to raise the money necessary to support their on-going operations, scholarships, productions and outreach programs.

What can you tell me about the competition itself?

There is only one competition on April 22, 2016 at Stokes Castle in Reading, PA. There are eleven other couples competing and the audience will be judging the night of the event. There will be two sets of winners: the couple that raises the most money and the couple that obtains the most popular votes the night of the event.

Photo:
Photo: Robert Patterson

Let’s talk a little about your modeling career. Was modeling something you always wanted to do?

I think every girl fantasizes about it, but I didn’t think it was in the cards for me. I remember I was bartending in Boston when I was approached about posing for a sexy bartender magazine. The photos turned out great and things just took off from there!  

What inspires you the most about modeling?

I like to become whatever character I’m portraying in the shoot. I love all of the aspects from the wardrobe and hair and make-up to the set, props and final image. My fans motivate me and I really enjoy traveling and feeling beautiful during the shoots. 

What are your long-term goals with modeling?

I would eventually like to get into the fitness aspect of modeling and eventually compete in fitness shows. I’d also love to explore acting.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

I’m constantly planning shoots and submitting to magazines. I also have trips to Utah and L.A. coming up for some pretty amazing photo-shoots.

Is there a bit of advice you’ve learned along the way that you can pass on to aspiring models?

Always hustle, constantly network and get your name out there and avoid getting caught up in the drama that the industry brings with it.  

Photo: Robert Patterson
Photo: Robert Patterson

What are you most looking forward to about Dancing With The Reading Stars?


It can be nerve racking to be dancing in front of close to 1000 people, but we’re looking forward to showcasing all of our hard work and having fun because all of the money is going to a great cause!

Hard Rock Icons WHITESNAKE Announce The Purple Album, New Tour

PurpleRock icons Whitesnake are set to return with their 12th studio album this spring. The Purple Album will be released in North America on May 19th via Frontiers Music SRL. The Purple Album is a re-imagination of classic songs from David Coverdale’s time as the lead singer for Deep Purple’s Mark 3 and Mark 4 studio albums.

The album is currently available for pre-order on Amazon in a deluxe edition format featuring 2 bonus tracks, 4 music videos and a Behind The Scenes featurette on the recording of the album. A standard edition and a double LP vinyl format will be available in the near future. Plans are also underway for a special limited box set edition with memorabilia and merchandise. All details will be announced soon.

“It’s a tribute. A homage. It’s a huge thank you from me to Deep Purple for the opportunity I was given over 40 years ago,” states Coverdale. “As I said to Ritchie, you guys set me on an incredible journey that continues today and I couldn’t have asked for better teachers. The University of Deep Purple was an extraordinary, amazing school to learn from. We can’t wait to play these songs in concert!”

From the opening notes of the classic track “Burn,” to album closer “Stormbringer,” Whitesnake are back and better than ever. Songs like “Lady Double Dealer,” “Soldier of Fortune” and “Sail Away” are given a new energy in the very capable hands of the current Whitesnake lineup featuring David Coverdale on vocals, Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra on guitars, Michael Devin on bass and Tommy Aldridge on drums.

Click below for video of the first single, “Stormbringer’:

The Purple Album: Tracklisting:

1)       Burn

2)       You Fool No One (interpolating Itchy Fingers)

3)       Love Child

4)       Sail Away

5)       The Gypsy

6)       Lady Double Dealer

7)       Mistreated

8)       Holy Man

9)       Might Just Take Your Life

10)    You Keep On Moving

11)    Soldier Of Fortune

12)    Lay Down Stay Down

13)    Stormbringer

 

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks

14)    Lady Luck

15)    Comin’ Home

 

DVD Content:

Lady Double Dealer – Music Video

Sail Away – Mix Music Video

Stormbringer – Music Video

Soldier Of Fortune – Music Video

Purple Album Behind The Scenes

Purple Album EPK

Whitesnake – U.S. Tour Dates:

May 28th Airway Heights, WA Northern Quest Casino
May 29th Tacoma, WA Emerald Queen Casino
May 31st Vancouver, BC Hard Rock Casino
Jun 2nd Santa Rosa, CA Wells Fargo
Jun 4th Las Vegas, NV The Joint
Jun 5th Scottsdale, AZ Talking Stick Pool Amp
Jun 6th Pala, CA Pala Casino – Starlight Theater
Jun 9th Beverly Hills, CA Saban Theatre
Jun 11th San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jun 15th Colorado Springs, CO Pikes Peak Center
Jun 17th Shawnee, OK Grand Events Center
Jun 19th Biloxi, MS Hard Rock
Jun 22nd Grand Prairie, TX Verizon Theater
Jun 23rd San Antonio, TX Majestic Theater
Jun 25th El Paso, TX Socorro Event Center
Jun 27th Greeley, CO Greeley Independence Stampede
Jul 2nd Rama, ON Casino Rama
Jul 3rd Sterling Heights, MI Freedom Hill Amphitheatre
Jul 5th  Northfield, OH Hard Rock
Jul 7th Huber Heights, OK Music Center @ The Heights
Jul 8th Wabash, IN Honeywell Center
Jul 10th Mahnomen, MN Shoot Star Casino
Jul 11th St. Paul, WI Myth
Jul 14th Clear Lake, IA Surf Ballroom
Jul 18th Merrillville, IN Star Plaza
Jul 20th Greensburg, PA Palace Theater
Jul 22nd Hampton Beach, NH Hampton Beach Casino
Jul 24th Lincoln, RI Twin River Casino
Jul 25th Atlantic City, NJ Trump Taj Mahal