Rocks Off enjoys reading The New York Times on Sundays. It's one of the few things in our topsy-turvy lives we can count on. However, several stories in this past Sunday's paper gave us serious cause for concern. The best way to help these people, we figured, was to take their problems to Georgia rockers Collective Soul - who play House of Blues tonight with Kentucky hair farmers Black Stone Cherry - and look for answers on the grunge-pop group's 2001 anthology 7even Year Itch. Dear Collective Soul, I am the president of a war-torn former Soviet republic. I cannot reveal any more than that because all summer long, my country's streets have been rocked by sniper fire, machine guns, exploding vehicles and suicide bombers. Those seeking to bring peace or publicity to our plight are often kidnapped from their homes and summarily executed, yet our supposed allies in Europe, Moscow and even Washington have turned a cold shoulder, if not outright aided those who seek to destroy us. I live in constant fear for the safety of myself and my family. What should I do?
Love is in the water, love is in the air. Show me where to go, tell me will love be there (love be there)? Teach me how to speak, teach me how to share. Teach me where to go, tell me will love be there (love be there)? Oh, heaven let your light shine down.
I am an aspiring songwriter and performer, but I make most of my money buying tickets to upcoming concerts on the Internet and selling them the night of the event for a fair, but by no means outrageous, profit. Recently another gentleman has begun doing the same thing on another street corner in front of the venue, and actively discourages people from buying my tickets by offering discounts, two-for-one deals and calling me all manner of racially and sexually derogatory terms. Is there any way to persuade him to take his business elsewhere besides what I'd really like to do, which is give him an old-fashioned by-God country ass-whuppin'?
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New meanings to the words I feed upon, wake within my veins elements of freedom. Can't break now, I've been living for this. Won't break now, I'm cleansed with hopefulness. Precious declaration says yours is yours and mine you leave alone now. Precious declaration says I believe all hope is dead no longer.
Dear Collective Soul, I am a published author and English professor at NYU's Brooklyn campus, and own a townhome in a well-to-do neighborhood not far away. The family next door, who moved in a couple of years ago and still spend several months a year in the deep South, recently adopted what appears to be a year-and-a-half-old Doberman and keep it chained up in the backyard. This dog barks like the house is on fire every time I go into my backyard to tend my rare herb garden, and could easily leap over the four-foot chain-link fence were it ever to get loose. I am scared to go outside, and my garden is starting to go to seed. What should I do?
Dear Collective Soul, I am half of professional tennis' No. 1-ranked men's doubles team, and have won over 30 tournaments with my brother and lifelong partner, including seven Grand Slams. We have lived together since moving out of our parents' house, but I think it's time for him to get his own place. My girlfriend and I would like some privacy, but all he does is play Nintendo Wii or lay on the couch Twittering on his iPhone all day. We have a U.S. Open title to defend this week (and hopefully next), so how do I tell him it's time to hit the road without blowing our ride?