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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Reminder to Test Your Smoke Alarm

Kent Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging people
across the county to ...
Keep having the time of your life.
Test your smoke alarm weekly.


This video was made to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the classic 1987 movie Dirty Dancing, but also to deliver a serious message about carrying out a quick life-saving weekly check.

A Comment from the Son of Jason Whittle

The following comment was blocked as spam on September 20. The comment was posted under my article titled No More News About Jason Whittle. Since many people have read that article since September 20 and since the comment is informative, I will feature it here.
I am Noah Whittle, the son of Jason Whittle and grandson of Bonnie Kay Lada.

I would just like to say my grandmother never once bragged about sleeping with the actor / movie star Patrick Swayze. I couldn't even get her to tell me who my grandfather was until she was already passing away of cancer. Up until then, it was a "we don't speak of him" or "it doesn't matter".

I grew up my whole life not knowing who my grandfather was and if there is that slightest chance that my grandfather is Patrick Swayze.

For the sake of my family's name and who we are, I think we deserve to know the truth above all else.

My father never once asked for his picture to be placed on this magazine.
I edited the comment slightly to make it easier to read. You can read the comment's actual wording there.

The Globe article was not clear about when Bonnie Kay revealed that Jason's biological father was Patrick Swayze. Noah Whittle's comment clarifies that she did not do so until she was dying. She died in 2012 -- about three years after Swayze died.

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Another comment -- which never was blocked -- from Jennifer Chinn indicates that people who have known Jason Whittle for a long time had no idea that he might be Swayze's son.
.... I'm distantly related to all of these people. However, I don't have a huge relationship with all of them because it [the family] is rather large.

I went to high school with Jason and graduated with him. .... It blows my mind that Jason could be his son.

It would be sad not getting to know Patrick as your father growing up. Such a huge resemblance. ...
These two comments indicate to me that Jason himself was not informed until 2012 and that he subsequently told very few -- if any -- other people.

So, Swayze probably never knew he had this biological son.

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I apologize that Noah Wittle's comment has been blocked so long.

Since the comment was blocked as spam, it might be a hoax. Maybe Blogger recognized that the the comment was posted from a spam factory in Russia, or something like that.

I do not have any inside information from Blogger about the comment or about the commenter.

There was one other blocked comment, which I also unblocked.

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This blog gets very few comments. The blog was created in 2008 and has only 48 comments -- an average of about five a year.

Even spam comments are received only rarely, and so I practically never look in the spam folder.

My settings always have been that anyone can comment and that comments are not moderated.

Anyone who wants to communicate with me outside of a comment can send me an e-mail at MikeSylwester@gmail.com

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To read my other articles about the Whittle family, click on the Whittle label on this page's right margin.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Song "She's Like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze

Johnny Castle has lost his job at Kellman's Mountain House. He says goodbye to Baby Houseman and drives away. Baby is sad. As she is dressing in her hotel bedroom for the talent show, she is comforted by her sister Lisa.


The audience hears the song "She's Like the Wind".
She's like the wind through my tree,
She rides the night next to me.
She leads me through moonlight,
Only to burn me with the sun.

She's taken my heart,
But she doesn't know
What she's done.

Feel her breath on my face,
Her body close to me.

Can't look in her eyes --
She's out of my league.
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs

She's like the wind.
I look in the mirror, and all I see
Is a young old man with only a dream.

Am I just fooling myself,
That she'll stop the pain?
Living without her,
I'd go insane.
In the last part of the scene when Baby is being sad, she too seems to hear the song.

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The song's concept is that Johnny feels he is not good enough for Baby.

The best place to begin interpreting the song is the second-to-last stanza.
She's like the wind.
I look in the mirror, and all I see
Is a young old man with only a dream.
When Johnny looks in a mirror, he sees only himself -- without Baby standing next to him. Baby is not seen, because she is like the wind -- she is air that has blown away.

As Johnny continues to look in the mirror, he sees that he "is a young old man with only a dream". In other words, although Johnny still is rather young, he foresees that when he will be an old man, he will have only dreams -- no accomplishments -- in his life.

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From that stanza, let's now go back to the preceding stanza.
Can't look in her eyes --
She's out of my league.
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs
Since Johnny never will accomplish any of his dreams, he is not worthy of Baby. He is ashamed to look her in the eyes. Baby is only in a minor league, whereas Baby is in a major league. Johnny does not have anything that Baby needs.

So, those two stanzas in the song's second half express Johnny's despair that his not worthy of Baby and that she therefore has blown away from his presence.

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The second and third stanzas express a different thought.
She's taken my heart,
But she doesn't know
What she's done.

Feel her breath on my face,
Her body close to me.
To review, Johnny looks in the mirror and sees that Baby is not standing next to him, because she is like air that has blown away.

Johnny realizes that when Baby blew away, she unknowingly took away his heart.

Now Johnny is in two places. Most of his body is standing in front of a mirror. However, some of his body -- especially his heart -- is riding through the air along with Baby, who is like the wind. Johnny's riding-with-Baby heart senses Baby's breath and proximity.

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The first stanza elaborates the idea that Johnny's heart is riding away through the air with Baby, who is like the wind.
She's like the wind through my tree,
She rides the night next to me.
She leads me through moonlight,
Only to burn me with the sun.
So, while most of Johnny's body is standing in front of a mirror, his heart is riding through the air with Baby. This situation will end badly for Johnny's heart, because she will rise high in status during her life. When Baby eventually flies too high, too close to the sun, Johnny's heart will be burned by the sun's heat.

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Now the last stanza.
Am I just fooling myself,
That she'll stop the pain?
Living without her,
I'd go insane.
Johnny feels pain, because his heart has blown away with Baby. He hopes that she will return with his heart and heal that pain, but he is just fooling himself.

Johnny feels that this situation will make him go insane.

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The song's sensible order would be as follows:
She's like the wind.
I look in the mirror, and all I see
Is a young old man with only a dream.

Can't look in her eyes --
She's out of my league.
Just a fool to believe
I have anything she needs

She's taken my heart,
But she doesn't know
What she's done.

Feel her breath on my face,
Her body close to me.

She's like the wind through my tree,
She rides the night next to me.
She leads me through moonlight,
Only to burn me with the sun.

Am I just fooling myself,
That she'll stop the pain?
Living without her,
I'd go insane.
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The song was written by Patrick Swayze, who is a quite good musician. The main voice in the song is his.

 The movie's producers needed him to play the Johnny role for the movie to succeed, but they were not able to pay him the money that he was worth. Therefore, the producers sweetened their monetary offer with a concession to include one of his songs in the movie's soundtrack. If the movie succeeded, then he might earn considerable royalties from his song. Even if the movie failed, he would get the artistic credit for writing a soundtrack song.

I speculate that the song originated as a song about himself and his wife Lisa riding horses. The Swayze couple loved horses, and much of their book tells about their horses. On the book's cover, Lisa is sitting on a horse.

Patrick and Lisa and a horse
Because (I speculate) the song originally was about riding horses, the song's first stanza is based on a metaphor that riding horses is like riding the wind. However, Swayze rewrote the following stanzas to fit the movie's story.

Before he rewrote the song, however, he rewrote the script to make Johnny unworthy of Baby. The script changes had to be approved before the song's lyrics were finalized.

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Swayze had tried to peddle an earlier version of the song to the producers of a movie called Grandview USA, which was made a couple of years before Dirty Dancing. That earlier version had essentially the same first stanza.

The song's co-writer Stacy Widelitz tells about the song's origin for an article published on the Tennessean website.
Swayze and I became friends in his acting class and discovered that we lived right around the block from each other. So we became fast friends and started hanging out together. He was a very musical guy, and we had talks about music.

[In about 1984] he was doing a movie called Grandview, U.S.A. with Jamie Lee Curtis and C. Thomas Howell. He called me up because he knew I was writing music for TV at the time. He said, "I have this idea for a song. I've been kicking it around for a while, and I can't get anywhere with it, and they're looking for songs for Grandview. Do you want to work on it with me?" I said, "Yeah, sure. Come on over."

So he came over with his guitar, and I was at the piano at my apartment. He started playing the same chords over and over: C to E-minor, C to E-minor, and he had these opening lines that I liked, which were: "She's like the wind through my tree/ She rides the night next to me." I found (that) intriguing. Then the third and fourth lines I didn't like. He said, "Well, what do you hear?" And I just blurted out, "She leads me through moonlight / only to burn me with the sun." He said, "What does that mean?" I said, "I don't care. Let's just write it down and move on from here."

I said, "It's got to go somewhere musically," so we worked out some different chord changes, and over the course of two or three days we hashed out the song ... anyway, ultimately it was not used in Grandview, U.S.A. ...

And then Patrick called me from North Carolina, where they were shooting the film in 1986, and said "I played the demo of 'She's Like the Wind' for the producers of Dirty Dancing, and they really like it, and they want to use it.'

... The word on the street was this was a very low-budget movie that was going to go straight to video after one week in the theater. They also had very little money to pay for (the song's usage), so my music agent made the deal for Patrick and I, and as a result, we retained 100 percent of the publishing. We've always owned the copyright, which has turned out to be a blessing. ...
If the Grandview U.S.A. producers had bought the song rights from Swayze and Widelitz and put it into that movie, then the song would have remained completely unknown. However, the Dirty Dancing producers would have bought some other song from Swayze. The person who was supremely lucky by the failure of Grandview U.S.A. to buy the song was Widelitz. He earned a fortune because the song was still available in 1986 to be included in the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

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Whenever I have seen the below video, I have wondered whether the song was supposed to accompany an eliminated scene where Baby and Johnny were practicing for the talent show.


However, it might be that the song was added later to the video and that this rehearsal was accompanied by other music or by no music at all.

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YouTube used to have a superb video of Swayze singing the song live, but it has been removed.

The following video, of lower quality, shows him performing the song in Norway in 1987, the year when the movie was released.


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Swayze must have earned much more money from this song's royalties than he earned for acting the Johnny Castle role.

Because the song does not make clear sense outside of the movie Dirty Dancing, it has not been covered much by other singers.

Below is a superb performance by Patrick Nuo, who is a better singer than Swayze.


By the way, Nuo grew up speaking German in Switzerland. Singing this song, though, his American accent is perfect.

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I like this Smule duet. (I don't know the singers' names)


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The following video illustrates the song with beautiful women.


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The website Song Facts has an informative article about the song.