Friday, December 31, 2010

Yes It Does....The Thorns N Roses Meme

It's just me, my guitar, and a roll of quarters in this all night laundry mat in Dallas, Texas. I just called my stripper girlfriend and I heard another man's voice in the background. You know what happens, now. I turn into rock and roll hack.

Ok, I found my motivation. Earlier this year I ran across Jana on twitter. She lives nearby and is a huge Auburn fan. I decided to not hold that against her and she along with other bloggers I met this year became good friends. Jana is good writer and shes rocks a blog called Jana's Thinking Place, found here: . Two days ago she had a good idea. Each day, her husband, Jason, and their son Henry commiserate around the fireplace with a good book, some warm milk, and talk about their day (I like to throw things in that probably aren't accurate for artistic purposes). They ask their grade school age son three questions. What was your thorn, or bad part, of your day? What was your rose, or your good part of your day? What is your rosebud, or something you look forward to tomorrow? This helps them bond with their child, talk about each of their days, and serves as an excellent family tool.

She asked her blogging buddies, this is where I come into play, to create a meme, which is internet for , um, something blogalistic that blogging people throw against the wall to see if it sticks. So, here is my Thorns N Roses (loved their first record then they got poppy and corporate) and Rosebud meme:

Thorn: I did a lot of personal evalution this year. I decided to put my wife and kids first, regardless of consequence. This caused some other relationships to end. I will miss those relationships, but everything has a beginning, middle and end. While the end was difficult, I am happy with the results.

Rose(s): 1) Putting Bobina and my daughters first has made my marriage and fathering duties blossom. The last few months of the year has seen my family grow like I never thought possible. Everyone is getting along, realizing their purposes, and Bobina and I are happier, individually and together more than we ever have been. There are times we look at each other and say "there has to be something we can argue about?" then we just laugh and go about our day.

2) getting into the new house in November has made everything in our family better. The dog has a backyard to play, lounge, and eat in. The kids have more room for creative pursuits, playtime, and doing their homework. Tay the teenager is even cheerier, well, as cheery as almost 15 year olds get, because she has more room, more time, and more resources. Bobina and I have a home, not a place we stay, but a home. It made us less stressed.

3) I am writing. I have always written, but never this steadily over a 12 month period. I have begun my first book. I am more satisfied with this blog compared to the others I have attempted. I have irons in the fire for 2011 to write more.

Rosebud: I only agreed to do one of these because Citizen Kane is my favorite movie and rosebud is so prominent in that film. 1) the writing stuff, alreday mentioned. 2) A new project with work, which will mean so much to my career. It starts this spring in southern Maryland. 3) Building new friendships with people like Jana and her family, Andrew aka @kidcue, Jeff aka @THEbrickwall and the most important one, Bobina. I have never had a best friend like her.

I can't get Jana's fancy pants Thorns N Roses button to work so just go to her blog and check out hers and other contributions. Bobina the new blogger is supposed to be dropping her meme tonight.

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Dawn was minutes away. Light began to move over the dark sky, and she closed the broken blinds. He stared at her carefree posture. She fell awkwardly onto the bed next to him. They were dead. Not to the rest of the world but to themselves. Two distilled spirits mixed together that no one would imbibe. He touched her round, smooth face, brought her dirty blonde hair to his nose, sniffed and said, "you smell like defiance". Barely paying attention, she blinked, and responded, "what?" Enraptured but scared by their dysfunctional bond, he looked away and answered "nevermind".

*blogger's note* : 100 words is back. @velvetverbosity and her 100 word challenge is in business for the New Year. This is my entry for this week. The one word prompt is SPIRIT. There's a musical theme here. Hope you get it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So, Johnny says to Lance

Everything has a name

then Lance says to Johnny

except for the Horse in the America song

then Johnny says to Lance

That is true. I probably don't believe them though (let's get a pint and new tattoos and score some birds)

*note* the part in parentheses was fictionalized for artistic purposes.

Listen, I don't brag about myself. Ever. Really. At all. I do, however boast on my friends and aquaintences. Based on the twitter conversation between myself and Johnny Marr, former guitar player for The Smiths, The The, Modest Mouse and now current band leader of The Cribs I think I can call Johnny my dearest mate, as he would say since he's from across the pond, and he is an amazing guitar player, songwriter and gifted tweeter.

Dear mom, dad, Bobina, other less informed friends and family, twitter does matter. It brings two people like me and the rock and roll legend Johnny Marr together. Now, before I end up in LA or London hanging with Johnny, talking tunes, writing, and playing guitar, I want all of you little people to know, I won't think about any of you while it's happening. My more important friend, Johnny Marr, the lead guitarist of the greatest rock bands in history, The Smiths, would see things the same as I.

ok, the sardonic, satirical portion of the blog post is done. For real, people, I'm on my sixth heart attack of the night. I'm sitting on the couch, watching the Atlanta Hawks-Golden State Warriors game and Johnny Marr tweets and then I tweet and then he tweets me back and suddenly I'm 18 in my college dorm room listening to The Queen is Dead over and over again. Who says twitter is dumb? Riki Rachtman, Ralph Macchio, a few other athletes and sportswriters have tweeted back, but a guitar legend, a rock god, a superstar, the GUITAR PLAYER FOR THE SMITHS!

I'd like to thank Bobina for signing me up for twitter a couple of years ago. I'd like to thank Jen aka @Jen_eration_X & Deedra aka @SportsTalkWithD for getting me involved in a stupid twitter conversation about bad 1970 songs so that when Johnny Marr tweeted I had Horse with No Name by America in my head, otherwise I would have just sat there like an idiot, now, Johnny Marr and I are boys. I'd like to thank Andrew aka @kidcue for keeping me on twitter for the Hawks game tonight. Most of all I'd like to thank Johnny Marr. He's one of the greatest musicians and his music kills boredom.

Ok, I need a moist towelette, some anxiety meds, and the Meat is Murder album. God Bless you all.

Here's some Johnny Marr:

Rise Today

Finding motivation during the dead week that is December 26th through January 2nd is difficult for some. Everyone I work with is either taking the week for vacation or operating at half staff. I am "working from home" Tuesday through Thursday until 1pm, that;s when Bobina gets home from her job. Working from home is code for playing with my six year old,the Goose (Bug and Tay are at their other families) , loading and listening to my ipod, doing numerous household chores, and of course, rockin' twitter.

I have been getting a jumpstart on 2011 (mentioned in the previous post, titled Next) by organizing work tasks, writing a lot, and working on my relationships with Bobina and Goose. Goosey cleaned her room to a Princess like level this morning without even smarting off, much less arguing. I might actually rule at this parenting gig.

I am instituting a new feature. Since the title of this blog is My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, I need to maintain some level of masculinity/toughness so you all won't accuse me of false adverstising. Each post will have a song of the day. The first three songs I listened to this morning, Rusty Cage - Soundgarden, Cochise - Audoslave and this one, from Alter Bridge, Rise Today. The lyrics match my attitude and outlook right now. Atlanta Falcons fans should like it, Rise Up. I will now go change the world by playing barbies with Goose.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I can be incredibly stupid and completely crazy. I make and follow New Years resolutions. A few years ago, I made major changes in my life. I made promises to myself and kept most of them. Then I met Bobina and the girls and realized I needed to be even better than I thought I could be. One way I do this is take the week between Christmas and and the New Year and figure stuff out.

I am taking stock of 2010, reviewing what I did right and wrong, and trying to see how I can improve. Some of you will read this and think I'm this sad, unhappy dude who needs to be overachieving to be fulfilled. I assure you it's quite the opposite. If nothing else inproved with my life, today, December 26th 2010, then sweet. I'd be wine fine. What I like to think, or some would say, overthink, is what can I accomplish that could make me a better husband, father, employee, writer, blogger, and over all dude. I have some things in mind. Yes, you can hold me to these December 26th of 2011. I will give a whole 5 dollars to the first person that does. There, it's on the innerwebz, come and get me.

Husbandry -

If you haven't see it, my beautiful wife has taken to blogging and twittering: @deana_bo and . Her first entry is a wake call for me to listen more, be more patient, and take it what's important between the two of us. Of course, to track my success with this, you'll have to ask her. I'm sure she's be honest. That's sarcasm, kids, smell it?

Daddyering -
I've made some strides here. I live with 3 daughters, ages 14 (she'll be 15 on the 12th of January), 7, and 6. I have been more patient and talkative with them. Their behavior has reflected this. I want to be more involved in their educations. It's tough being a blended family and only seeing Bug, the 7 yr old, on Thursdays and Fridays. We make her do her homework and read to us on those nights. Goose, the 6 yr old, is blazing through kindergarten like she owns the whole thing. She's so anxious to show us what she's learning, that I'm trying to slow down and let her go through everything, you know, like the 50 times she wants to. The teenager is tough, She doe sher homework at her own pace and her studying is kind of unique, yet she makes great grades with advanced classes. I am going to start forcing myself to be more assertive about seeing what she does and how she does it all. I'll have the kids guest blog and guest tweet to see where my parenting progress goes. If any of them get arrest over the next 365 days then that will tell you all something as well.

Work - I don;t talk about it much here, because I like my job and want to keep it in 2011. I will be more organized and thorough, which is tough for a type A, anxiety type like me. Maybe I'll have my boss okay my evaluations for blog posting. LOL.

Writer -  
I will write a book in 2011. I have 8 chapters down. I am currently combining two different novel ideas. Also, my boy Chuck aka @_deadjournalist has approached me about contributing to his site He is an outstanding music writer that I admire. I am honored he'd even ask. I will be writing something for him over the week. Hopefully it will become something regular. I used tow rite my own music blog several years ago and it was one of the best thinsg I have ever done, artistically. I will be more active on others' blogs especially @velvetverbosity 's 100 words at and flash fiction sites, once I find one I enjoy.

Blogging -

Since starting this site in May, I have never personally enjoyed something, writing wise, as . It's not as "successful" as the old music blog was, but the people I've met and interacted with are a lot more interesting and likable. Trying to relate things sports, pop culture, music, twitter, general news, and the written word to my life is difficult sometimes, but even when I suck, I enjoy it. I will blog more, better, and be more interactive. Right now, the site is averaging about 70 hits a day, with a loyal audience of about 40. I'd liek to grow that by 3 times in 2011. Having over 120 or so visting every other day would be satisfying to me. But if it's the same 40 of us, we'll just be cooler than the "popular" blogs. Thanks for reading, those of you who do.

Do you make resolutions or goals for each year? If so, what and why? I think about the future more than I do the past. I've written about it so much, it's kind of redundant to mention it again. With my family situation and possible work situation - there's a likely gig in southern Maryland that could turn into a move for me and my bunch - I am more concerned about tomorrow than yesterday.

As far as today goes, there's 4 inches of snow on the ground, in suburban Georgia, with more coming. I have a new ipod (thanks Tay) and football is coming on in an hour. I'll think about tomorrow on the 27th....or when the battery runs out on the ipod.

Merry Happy New Year


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Line

We are in the middle of an imposing gauntlet of family gatherings. They started last Saturday at my Aunt Angie and Uncle Paul's and will end at my father in law's bunch the day after Christmas. Eight appointments in eight days covering four sides of a blended family. That's a lot of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Tonight, as I pleasantly observed my three daughters, wife, mother in law, father in law, sister in law, niece and daughter's friend who is a boy, eat ham, toss around wrapping paper, play games, and show off their new gifts, I thought of how comfortable we were with each other and how others would find some of what we do, say, eat, play, and think; odd or even crazy, but it was perfect for our part of the family. The last thing I would ever want would be for someone who didn't under stand us to judge it all incorrectly. There were playful insults, inside jokes, fun loving needling and over the top family humor that a videotape would have shown wrongly. We were so happy in the moment.

Rex Ryan, the coach of one of my favorite football teams,  the New York Jets, had to stand in a  room of strangers, and some friends, along with his employer and listen to questions about a personal videotape made years ago, between he and his wife. The details are theirs, and I find them gross, but let's just say there was a fetish some find weird. A disreputable website published the tape and now Ryan and his wife face public embarrassment over something they found ok, unique, interesting, and of course, very personal.

I relate to what Rex Ryan is going through. A few years ago, I blogged something I shouldn't, used very poor judgement, and regretted it, felt embarrassment, and still face consequences. I crossed a line I shouldn't have, and it appears the Ryans did too. It doesn't make them bad people, nor did my mistake make me a bad person, but now is the harsh light of public persecution that makes me feel so very sorry for them. I hope they are made stronger because of it all.

When I walked into my in laws home, a video was playing. It was a collection of pictures of my mother in law's family including me. There were pictures of her brothers, mother, father, cousins, daughters, and grandchildren. Tender moments that told stories of joy, sadness, belonging and family played for several minutes. They were still pictures made into a video, like a slide show. I started thinking of what I wasn't seeing; seconds or minutes after each picture was happening. Then I stopped myself. It was none of my business. The still shots told enough of a story that I didn't need backstory, gossip, or juicy details. That's the problem with so many of us. Instead of being happy with our own lives we have to be worried about others. It is what is feeding the Rex Ryan story and other things that are too much information.

I have a twitter account and a personal blog. I post pictures of my family and friends. I talk about silly, sometimes touching instances that happen to them and myself. I try to know the line and not to cross it. Since I'm a writer, I write, a lot. Most of it doesn't make it to the blog. There are things I want to say or write but know that I don't need to. Often, I read the blogs of my friends and fellow writers and I geta  little jealous that I am not more revealing. Then I think about what people, who do not have me or my family's best interests at heart, would think or do with out of context information; and I practice restraint. I am honest, very honest. The Ryans were certainly honest with their unfortunate video, but I enjoy the cocoon of appropriateness my wife, kids, and other family members can live inside knowing I would never release them.

Its a daunting Indiana Jones adventure my family is living through right now. Dodging sweet potato pie and casseroles while picking up a a gift card and leaf blower here or there. Can't wait to update you all on SOME of it, just not ALL of it. Here's the Claus sisters Bobina and Bubba aka Deana and April, my wife and sister in law:

 Happy Christmas, so far.....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Inside The Blogger's Studio

I have been meaning to post this dream I had and I haven't been able to figure it all out. Then my boy Jack aka @TheJackB on twitter, did his own Inside The Blogger's Studio post on his groundbreaking, award winning, Earth altering blog, a couple of days ago and the pressure was on for me to complete my post.

If you haven't seen Inside The Actor's Studio on the A&E channel; it's hosted by this ironically pompous old actor named James Lipton. He "runs" an offshoot of the original Actor's Studio in New York that Al Pacino, gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and many other acting heavyweights came from. Lipton sits by a desk with a stack of index cards piled high enough to reach the Earth's atmosphere, and interviews an actor, comedian, or entertainment personality, sometimes associated with the Actor's Studio. The audience is full of acting students, fans, and artist types that make Star Wars nerds seem kind of cool. Sometimes the interviews are revealing, even funny. Kevin Spacey did one where he showed off his talent for impersonations and the hour actually flew by. The point of the whole thing is the unintentional laughter between self absorbed individuals, Lipton and the ham actor, and the fawning of the audience. The bizarro world interplay is strangely intriquing to watch.

The end of the each show, Lipton show off his pretention and predilection for haughty French stuff by asking a series of questions froma  questionaire created by Bernard Pivot. This is always the best part of the program because it either reveals the interviewee's perosnality or lack thereof. In my dream, Lipton was interviewing me. I was predictably self involved. I talked too much. I said some things that I probably shouldn't. I was heckled by my wife, kids, and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. I then did my six impressions: Eddie Vedder, Jon Gruden, Vince Neil, Jack Nicholson, Vin Scully and Al Pacino. Here are my responses to the questionaire:

  1. What is your favorite word?   SUPERFLUOUS
  2. What is your least favorite word? POOP
  3. What turns you on? INTELLIGENT CONVERSATION
  4. What turns you off? SELF-ABSORPTION, not mine, but others
  5. What sound or noise do you love? BOBINA's LAUGH
  6. What sound or noise do you hate? BURPING
  7. What is your favorite curse word? well, James, I don't curse, and neither does my father. when I was a child he would make up words, and I would find that so funny. His best one was "goshamickey!"
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? SONGWRITING
  9. What profession would you not like to do? POLITICS
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? - we've been waiting for you. Your grandparents are right over here.
I'm anxious to hear your responses. Please be as indulgent and arrogant as possible. It would match my dream and the show.


Monday, December 20, 2010


Tay made fudge. It's so good, I feel like I'm doing drugs with a gaggle of groupies in the penthouse suite of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City while and my bass player is tossing a a big screen television out a window. It's that decadent. Chocolate, homemade, warm, thick, and perfectly mixed; this stuff is perfect.  It shows me how extreme emotions can be so misguided. I feel comfortable. Flipping the tv between an Atlanta Hawks basketball game, Atlanta Thrasher hockey game, and Monday Night NFL football while licking food heroin off a spoon. None of this is good for me. Now, I put the spoon down, check on the girls, they're sleeping well, and Bobina's breathing better. She's on the mend. I love them. I like the fudge.

My problem with the extreme emotions are for trivial things. While Christmas shopping this week, I saw people stressing over not finding their children the right gifts or over items they felt were priced incorrectly. Now, on this football game, grown men are spewing adjectives that should be reserved for the dude who cures cancer, for a 41 year old quarterback with morality problems, declining skills, a tendency to commit turnovers. One announcer actually said "I love watching him play football. It makes all if this worthwhile." Really? It's football, dude. I played it, followed it, and cheer for it a lot. It's football. It's something to like, a lot, not love.

This happens in my life often. I live with 4 women, including a teenager. They love some odd things. Clothes, pop songs, doritos, pop tarts, over the hill singing stars, bad television shows about reprehensible teenage vampires and unlikable Seattle doctors, and certain scents from Bath and Body Works. For some reason, maybe because I'm just a certifiable weirdo, I never use the word love, great or hate unless it pertains to my family. I like the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, chicken marsala, sweet tea, pumpkin pie (ok i may love that), Christina Aquilera (also debatable), hockey, grilling, writing, the Atlanta Braves, the University of Alabama, sushi, the number 7, summer, the beach, twitter, and blogging. I love my wife, my three daughters, my dog, my mom and dad, my sister in law, my niece, my mother and father in laws, my close friends, and a few other family members. Ok, fine I love pumpkin pie, red velvet cake, and writing. Still, the emotion people show for material things and trivial things confounds me.

When it comes to emotions and language we all should be renting, not buying. They're temporary. Love your family, love your friends (the good ones), like everything else or you will be disappointed often.

The adoration shown people like Brett Favre, Oprah, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow, various politicians, and any other pop culture figure is ignorant. Go kiss your significant other, hug your kids, and invest in less emotional pursuits. You'll be a lot happier.

Good grief, I may find a vein and mainline this fudge, I Loooo, really like it.

Friday, December 17, 2010


No one gets me. My parents are stupid, they don't understand. I don't like what everyone likes. What is right isn't always popular and what is popular isn't always right. He or she dances to their own drummer.

The cliches are laid out for you. I have spoken each of them dozens of times. The truth is few are really special. We are all different, but not as different as we like to sell ourselves or image the world sees us. Just because I might like to listen to punk or alternative music while you jam to Pink or Lady Gaga doesn't mean I'm that much smarter than you. I have better taste and I'm right but that's obvious. That is sarcasm, hope you smelled it. Occasionally people do happen along that are really, truly, without argument, different and special.

Don Van Vliet died of multiple sclerosis today, he was 69 years old. He was a painter of international reputation. You may have heard of his alter ego, alternative blues singer and avant garde band leader, Captain Beefheart. Don Van Vliet grew up destined to be an artist. He sculpted, painted, wrote; his parents were asked to send Don, then a tender age of 13, to Europe to study art. It was the 1950s, and that idea seemed so, well, foreign, they moved him to a California suburb to "normalize" him. Instead, yound Don met another young artist named Frank Zappa. Suddenly Don wasn't as "different". He met a contemporary. Zappa, who became the most famous avant garde musician of the 1960s and 1970s, rechristened Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, helped the Captain recruit his "Magic Band" and the late 1960s became revolutionary for each artist's musical visions. 

While attending the University of Alabama for interim session, a six week, one class, curriculum right after second semester, I roomed with a guy who loved off the wall stuff. The weirder the better for him. One day, after class, I walked in the room and he was playing Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band's 1968 album Trout Mask Replica. I was a college radio station DJ, self desrcibed "music geek" and "music snob" yet I had never heard of the record. It sounded like crap. I thought it was a recording of my roommate's band that had never played instruments before. Then I listened to the album again. It sounded the same. Finally after a third listen I started "getting it". I wasn't supposed to like it at first. It didn;t sound like what was played on the radio. It wasn't particularly melodic. Other than weird, it belonged to no genre. It was as if Velvet Underground and Jefferson Airplane and Van Morrison all stopped doing drugs got really depressed and made a very cranky baby. It was brilliant, but it was that kind of crazy brilliant that conventional thinking would never believe. That was the point of Captain Beefheart.

For research and further understanding read this:

then read this:

For the purpose of this blog, it's important to view anything artistic with an open mind. Genius is always subjective. Different is almost always layered, nuanced, and studied. Captain Beefheart was never meant to sell millions of records. His buddy Frank Zappa was ignored by the mainstream for decades. He wasn't inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame until after his death. Few serious artists are recognized during their lifespans. How many authors that we read now are alive for us to appreciate?

I never got around to thanking my six week roommate for turning me on to Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica or The Minutemen's Double Nickels on a Dime or Nirvana's Bleach. I hope he has the internet and stumbles across my blog while looking for alternative South American architecture or the enxt Daft Punk since Daft Punk just sold out to the Tron movie soundtrack. If he does, I can say hello and say, thank you for teaching me how to appreciate the different and go beyond conventional thinking. I hope all of you do the same.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The tie was blue with stripes of silver and red. He pulled the knot to his throat, leaving a tiny space for breathing, which he was finding difficult. He turned on the sink, splashing water on his face. His friend asked "are you all right". Natural color came back to his countenance and he answered, "I'm going to be fine." They walk out of the restroom together, and continue into courtroom 1B. "Time to start a new life.Time to get married." he exhaled. The last act of a single man,; he grabbed her hand, and made her his wife.

*blogger's note* - This is entry for @velvetverbosity / 's weekly 100 challenge. The 1 word prompt is ACT. There are word nerd t-shirts at velvetverbosity, I will be ordering a medium in the color blue or stone in a few days. Please check my other word nerds at the 100 word challenge. They are all excellent writers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Listen Baby, you really wouldn't understand

He was born Vincent Furnier in Allen Park, Michigan in 1948, a year before my dad. Today, he's hard core, right wing, conservative, golf fanatic who doesn't drink and is faithful to his wife. But 40 years ago, he took the name of a 17th century witch, Alice Cooper, drank and drugged to unbelievable excess, put on horror makeup, tattered women's clothes, cavorted with pythons, guillotines, and blood; and changed rock and roll.

Today, Alice Cooper, the creator of shock rock, and forefather of Heavy Metal and glam rock, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. For anyone who likes rock music, it's about time it happened. Cooper started out in Michigan in basic rock bands, emulating the Beatles. Wanting to be a rock star and n0thing else, he got creative. Once he and his band mates settlesd on his androgynous name and wild make up, they chose a musical style that had not been tried successfully. Most rock stars were heroes, Alice Cooper was the villain. Alice and his band met legendary musician and producer Frank Zappa, who hooked them up with the underrated all female band, The GTOs. Those girls, which included infamous rock groupie Pamela Des Barres, played with the Alice Cooper band's image and the macabre, shock rockers were born.

I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame once, in 1996. I spent about 5 hours there, saw maybe half the place, and left somewhat unfulfilled, and definitely confused. the best exhibits were from the 1970s, featuring acts that either not inducted or were inducted recently. Pioneering groups like Alice Cooper, T.Rex, the NY Dolls, Motorhead, and Kiss are all featured but not as inductees. What's the point? Having a Hall is ridiculous anyway. My wife's favorite group is New Kids On The Block. Those guys should have pay double for tickets to even get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as customers. Bon Jovi, in my opinion, the biggest hacks in rock history other than Journey, were denied entry this year, yet in my twitter timeline, there are plenty of lame, I mean misguided people who like them.

Since there is a Hall of Fame, I will say, that Alice Cooper makes a great honoree. He created a genre. He influenced many bands. Most of all, he never took himself too seriously that you wanted to disregard him. His music is really good, especially his first 3 albums. I first saw Alice when I was about 8 years old. After my parents went to bed, I snuck a look at latenight tv, and caught Alice Cooper's act. I was enthralled. I became a fan young. His signature song, School's Out, is played by kids my teenaged daughter's age. Tom Waits and Neil Diamond made it into the Hall this year. Waits, while great, is too serious and depressing to blog about and Neil Diamond gets plenty of publicity. I thought it was a good time to talk about why the singer's name is Alice. The next line is the title of this blog post. Enjoy some more Alice...the telephone is ringing:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Wrapping

My favorite holiday is less than two weeks away. Yesterday, while on the way to church to watch my niece, Isabella, aka Belly, do brilliant work as Corporal Christie in her Christmas play, I caught the last twenty seconds of Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You: . I groaned at not being able to hear one of maybe 5 contemporary Christmas songs I can stomach. My wife, who loves anything with Christmas in the title, snarked, "what's that Christmas wrapping paper song or band you like?" I responded, Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses." She said "Whatever, you love me." I laughed then realized, wow, for my favorite holiday, I don't enjoy a lot of things other people do. Watching A Christmas Story or It's A Wonderful Life are cool, but I've seen them so many times that I can tell you who the stuntmen were. After the Rat Pack made their Christmas album in the early 1960s, most Christmas music is maudlin and just not good. Here's the real rub; I don't like getting presents. Yeah, I wrote that. I enjoy, greatly giving gifts. Seeing the smiles on the faces of my family and friends is what I treasure about Christmas. For whatever reason, dumb luck, or just unique circumstances to myself, I have never looked froward to receiving presents since I was a teenager. I am tough to buy for, I admit that. I think Santy Claus gave up on pleasing me after age 8. I shudder when I hear and/or see people over the age of 16 talk about their "list". Give me some pumpkin pie, my family being nice to me, and everyone healthy. I'll get you gift cards or stuff I know you like, don't worry about me.

Over at a couple of other blogs: and they're asking for your wildest stories or things that your consider wild, emotionally and intellectually. It might have been the dayquil I took to stave off the cold my wife probably gave me, but I got wistful and said my widlest days are ahead of me. Do I have stories about waking up on putt golf courses in Panama City, Florida with no pants on and a mustache painted on my face. Yes. I realized, though, getting married again, blended the family I have, my wife, the Bobina, and our three daughters and one golden retriever, is the wildest thing I have ever done.

My family will have their third Christmas together. We are mastering the art of multiple sides of family and their traditions. We are getting decent starts on Santy Claus duties. Mostly, we are learning what Christmas means to each of us, after, of course, it being Jesus' birthday. Bobina and I have entered negotiations as to what we are doing for each other concerning gifts. She is steadfast on not buying for each other so we can make sure the kids, our family members, and friends have gifts. I'm sure I will just get in a whole lot of trouble and get here something and even a few things. She asked me, hypothetically speaking I'm sure, what I wanted. I sarcastically said, socks, underwear and a tattoo. She called me a few names and huddled with the kids. Who knows what's coming now? I don't have a real list, as I said, I find those to be reprehensible. I do have some hopes.

I hope there's pumpkin pie. I hope my kids are majestically happy. I hope my wife knows how much I love her and appreciate what she's done for me over the past 3 years. I hope the Jets turn it around. I hope the Falcons keep it going. I hope the the sports media quits talking about Brett Favre, we've all had enough. I hope the weather moderates so I dont have to clean out the new fireplace in our new house. I hope there's a little extra money in the budget so I can find something special for Bobina, she deserves it. I hope my friends, here and there, have awesome holidays. I hope there's genuine joy for everyone who reads this.

I hope you enjoy 1981 Billy Squier, because this is one more Christmas song I like:

Saturday, December 11, 2010


There is one thing about getting older that I am excited about. I am getting more comfortable in my personality and thus, no longer hide my guilty pleasures or fondness for things considered weird or "geeky". There's a set of posters lining the hallways of my daughter Lyla (Bug)'s school. Various celebrities saying "I geek superheroes" or "I geek books" or "I geek science fiction" or some other predilection folowing the words "I geek". I like these posters a lot. When I was my daughters ages - 14, 7, 6, "geeking" or "nerding" anything was not cool and you tried to be as mainstream as possible to keep up with your cool friends or whatever the "Joneses" liked. All 3 of my kids have things they like and they do not hide their geekiness towards them. I am proud of them. In the past few years, I have recaptured my passion for writing. I also have realized my deep fondness for several things many people would consider "out there" or "weird" or "geeky". Here are a few:

words: I am a word nerd to the nth degree. One of my favorite twitter followers is @MerriamWebster because she/they reveal a word of the day every day. They also find words in the news that are not used often, provide definitions, and try to promote them in their tweets. When I was a kid I used to study the dictionary. This probably explains my sbobbery towards words that are overused like great, love, hate, like, awesome, and so many others. For the record, today's MerriamWebster word of the day is frisson which means; a brief moment of emotional excitement, a shudder or thrill. It was used ina  story about Wikileaks here:
As you can tell my reading this blog, I am part of a interesting group of word nerds from . Each week, there is a one word prompt, I write 100 words around that prompt. It has led me to expand my writing abilities and follow my passion. Maybe vel will prompt us with frisson.

NFL Matchup : My favorite television show, without question, is the ESPN film breakdown program profiling upcoming NFL games. Sal Palantonio and Ron Jaworski painstakingly use game film and analysis to explain why a team can or will be successful against another team for the following week's game. Sounds insanely boring. Not for a football geek like me. I played in highschool and a little club ball in college. I find the Xs & Os of the game of football enthralling. NFL Matchup is the only show on television that gives you that banal analysis. I could wtach it for hours. ESPN givesme only 30 minutes of show.

Ernest Hemingway writings: I read and reread it all. The Nick Adams short stories, the novels, the novellas, his newspapers articles, even his diary entries. Papa Hemingway's style is what I consider to be art. I traveled, by myself once, to Key West to drink in the bar he did, and visit a museum.

Punk rock: It doesn't represent my life in any way. I am not angry, disaffected, overly rejected (i live with women so I'm rejected a lot), or poverty stricken. Yet, give me a fast guitar chord, a spitting lead singer, and a two minute rant against the mainstream and I'm in like Minutemen (four people will get that reference). The Clash, The NY Dolls, and The Ramones are 3 of my favorite bands. I think everyone should own Never Mind The Bollocks by the Sex Pistols. I was fortunate to visit CBGBs in New York's  Bowery twice before it closed. At least once day a year, I walk around speaking in a cockney accent and/or rip up a t-shirt while doing the Pogo. Punk rock forever.

geography/maps: I am kind of obsessed with where things and people are located. When I have a friend and they live in a different place than me, I look up that area and get immersed in the facts. When my family takes a trip, I am in charge if the map. I know way too much about the geo-politics of Mexico. Why? Because Bobina and I went to Cancun last year. I must have had a really good geography or social studies teacher when I was in school.

What do you "geek"? I need to get my hand on one of those posters in Bug's school. I'm anxious to see what the rest of you are into. I geek twitter, too, by the way. There's some interesting stuff in people's thoughts strewn over 140 characters. That may be the scariest thing I do.

Here's some punk music:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Small Victory

The mirror was brutal. Wrinkles around the eyes, follicles missing near his part, the skin around his neck was loose, chicken like. He shook his head and muttered, "damn". Soft, warm, female hands reached around his waist and moist, full lips kissed the middle of his back. "What is it, baby?" she asked. "Nothing," he said dishonestly. He walked over to the shower and turned on the water. She knew what to say. "You know what makes me wild and crazy? The thought of growing old with you." Vanity lost this battle, he prepared for the war.

*blogger's note* This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 word challenge this week at . The one word prompt is WILD.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Fighter

Since I am more of a music person, I don't get too fired up about movies that are coming out. Next week, Mark Wahlberg, not this ^Mark Wahlberg but this ^Mark Wahlberg: will portray former welterweight boxer Irish Mickey Ward (seen in a trio of fights with Arturo Gatti in the youtube video shown above ^) in a film called The Fighter. I recommend giving it a watch. Ward's life story is fascinating. The Ward family was from a hardscrabble existence in Lowell, Massachusetts. The father was absent and their mother was tougher than most boxers. She managed two of the sons, Mickey and half brother Dickie Eckland (played by Christian Bale in The Fighter). Dickie later became a crack addict, profiled by HBO's America Undercover, although he was a former fighter whose career ended in 1985, and he trained Mickey Ward for 26 fights before getting back on drugs. Ward broke his hand and lost four straight fights in the early 90s. He left boxing for three years, worked on a road paving crew, then financed his own operation to graft bone from his pelvis to his hand, and made a comeback in 1994. By 2002, Ward was a contender for the title and faced Arturo Gatti in the 3 epic fights shown in the video I posted. Mickey Ward won Boxing's Fight of The Year 3 straight years in the early 2000s. He was known as a real life Rocky Balboa. In many ways, Ward's story is better than the fictional one Sylvester Stallone wrote for his Rocky movie over 30 years ago. The irony of all of this is today, Stallone was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame today for his FICTIONAL contributions to boxing.

Ward and Gatti fought like I had never seen before. Two men, refusing to give in for 3 fights, 30 rounds, and so much damage to their bodies. Ward never fought again after the third Gatti fight.  He retired with a record of 38 wins 13 losses and the respect of the boxing world. Ward and Mark Wahlberg became friends and Ward and his brother Dickie moved into Wahlberg's house while making The Fighter. I have been a spurned lover of the boxing game for many years. Two years ago, I trained as a boxer for about six months nefore my gym closed and I started traveling for work. I'm 5'8" and when training properly, between 160 -165 lbs, which is a middleweight, my favorite boxing division. Ward and Gatti are the same height as me, and watching them fight was inspirational, physically and emotionally. I am anxious to see the movie. i just hope it's not so successful that Mark Wahlberg's becomes a boxing Hall of Famer.

Go see it, here's the trailer: It also has Amy Adams from Enchanted as Mark wahlberg's love interest. I will be making the $9 dollar investment, Hope I get knocked out by a good story.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Bobina

I've had a bad day. The devil is always in the details and that devil will get me in trouble talking about it all. I experienced rejection with my writing earlier. There's a whirling dervish of stress around me. The Jets are on; they're playing like crap. The Patriots just scored again and I yelled at the television as my Jets went down 17-0. Then, I looked over at this:

She was singing Bon Jovi. I abhor Jovi. She knows this. It made me laugh.  Then there was dancing and  sarcasm and playful bickering. It made me laugh again. She's pretty and funny and interesting. She has terrible taste on music, likes bad television, and steals the covers. She is my best friend. I am a lucky man just to know her, much less be married to her.

I have always been close friends with women. I like to talk a lot, women do too. Funny thing is, I never believed in being best friends with my significant other. That's why my relationships were so tragic. I figured, why in the world would you have your best friend be someone who was mad at you at least once a month? Then I met her, the blonde you see. Her name is Deana, but everyone, including me, calls her Bobina. She knows the right thing to say and do when I have a bad day. Cool part is I get to wake up with half my body colder than the other every day next to her. She's singing New Kids On The Block now, I'm not laughing. Only my best friend gets away with this.

Here's Weezer to tell the rest of the story:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Solving a Mystery

Ever have a song just overwhelm you in the middle of an ordinary day? Lately I have been dealing with my Faith. I have never had a better personal relationship with God, than I do now. I have been reading and praying a lot.

Anyway I used to think Sarah Mc's song about some ex boyfriend who was too screwed up to know anymore was her lashing out at loneliness or even questioning Faith;whether she had any left? Then, as I was driving to the gym, an acoustic version of this song came on and I paid attention to ever lyric. "You live in a church, where you sleep with vood doo dolls and you won't give up the search for the ghosts in the hall." The song's about figuring yourself out before you examine other people. It's about removing ego and judgement to be a better person. I hope this post and this song reach the right people.

I just wish Sarah McLachlan would tell me what a razor wire shrine is. I haven't figured that out, yet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jack and Diane and LeBron and Cleveland

Rejection is medicine. It doesn't taste good, it's always packaged attractively, but ultimately it makes you feel better. A close friend that i met in college, we'll call him, Jack,  relayed an experience yesterday, with the opposite sex that taught him such a valuable lesson that he used the knowledge and the feeling to dictate every relationship, with friends and more than friends, for the rest of his life. I think, by blogging this story, I can explain the LeBron James-Cleveland Cavaliers soap opera.

When Jack was in grade school, he met a girl, we'll call Diane, who he would remain friends with throughout his childhood. She would become his first female friend, kiss, "girlfriend" and teacher of breakup. They were buddies for several years. He was a late bloomer and wasn't "into girls" until high school, partially because his friendship with this girl blinded Jack to the fact that they were just kids and not "destined to be together". Diane developed quicker than he did, and when they were in the 9th grade, found the man she would eventually marry and have children. Jack went to a high school football game in the 9th grade. He said hello to friends and sought out his "really good friend", Diane. He expected a hug, maybe a kiss, and the comfort of her company on a crisp, fall night in Virginia. Instead he saw her in the arms of another guy. He was a year older, in a his football uniform, sneaking a smooch from Diane, before running onto the field where he starred as a linebacker. To make matters worse, Jack handled it all poorly. She laughed at Jack, posing in front of her friends cooly, and brushed him away with the line, "he's my boyfriend, you're just my friend." Jack never saw the signs. He was too immature to see. Jack also didn't understand that sometimes, other people are better oppotunities, that love or romantic feelings are different than friend feelings. To this day, Jack remains a bachelor. He often breaks up with significant others before they can develop feelings of rejection. In many ways, he stays frozen in the steps of 9th grade Jack, unable to process what Diane was telling him.

Professional basketball superstar LeBron James spent 7 years in Cleveland. About the same amount of time Jack and Diane spent together. LeBron James is from Ohio, raised in Akron, and has a lot of memories there. After that time was spent cultivating his professional career, James made a decision. He chose to leave for Miami, a city and franchise that he fell in love with, presumably for the rest of his career. Last night, LeBron James returned to the scene of his rejection, Cleveland. The fans hissed and booed him. Threats were made. The city remained frozen in the moment of July 8, 2010, when James walked away from them. James, like Diane, handled everything horribly. He led Cleveland to believe he would stay. He used ESPN to make his rejection announcement. He danced and taunted with his Miami teammates and new friends, just like Diane.

How Cleveland handles something as small as a basketball player leaving a franchise may seem silly to compare to the first girlfriend rejection of my friend Jack, and his former love, Diane. But witnessing how my now 40 year old buddy is still entrenched in his feelings may be a harbinger for how an entire city can churn itself into butter over a guy who played sports for them.

This blog is largely about moving on, getting to the point you want to be in life. I ask my wife every day, "are we good? are we ok?" I know we are and we will be good for a long time. It's guarding my heart against rejection on a smaller scale than my friend Jack, and the city of Cleveland. Every day is a contest. You win hours, you lose minutes. As long as you learn from the losses, you'll win more than you can ever imagine. This pop psychology was brought to by Dr. Lance. It's time for you get surreal! Seriously, rejection is a good thing. What Cleveland has to realize is LeBron was a a huge fish in the sea, but not the only one. They have to get over him wanting someone or something else. Maybe there's a kid playing hoops in Kansas or Arizona or New york City right now that will make LeBron seem insignificant in a few years. My friend Jack needs to work on his issue as well. When he realizes that Diane's slap in his face was a lesson and not a curse. He'll be happy.

If you're bored, here's another story about Jack and Diane:

don't let it rock, let it roll

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Code word

She bit her bottom lip, leered at him, and stated "I don't want you to go. You belong here with me." He smiled, kissed her sweetly and walked away. Stopping by the doorway to pick up and put on his shirt, he leaned back and said "Sorry about this second job at the pizza pub. Text if you need me." She leaned over, picked up her phone and began typing. As he got to the door, he read her message, "Don't need you right now. I will later. If you read the word anchovies, you'll know what I'm really thinking."

*blogger's note* - This is my latest entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 word challenge at . It is part of my story, Hellandback, still being worked on for . This week one word prompt for the 100 word challenge is ANCHOVIES. It's from one of my favorite books, The Garden of Eden by one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway. Please read the book before on in lieu of seeing the movie, out in December.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hellandback 10

Years had gone since her name was spoken. Only two people in his life even knew she had existed. Did he really see her in mirror? Dean became conspiratorial. The man in the black suit was manipulating him, he knew it was something like that. He made a phone call he knew he would regret. "Perfect timing Dean. You need to meet with the band now. I have to do some business for an hour or so, they're rehearsing," the voice on the other end, Lark McKissic said. Dean didn't know how to broach the subject so he just said it, "i think I saw Fiona, but I need to know if he messes with your head at all." Lark, had no time for deep discussion of the man in the black suit's mind games, but she needed to get Dean in the fold, "yeah. we are in the game now Dean. The head stuff is pure him. You have to block it out for now. When we get to New York, then you can deal with it. The Jennings Warehouse block is located at 521 Jennings Drive. Once you get hear, follow the cigarette smoke, bikinis, and guitar chords. Take over if you want. I have had it with you musicians today. See you in two hours before the show." Dean hung up with saying goodbye and left the townhouse. Lark pulled into the Seashell and saw the police cruiser lights and parked behind the dumpters so she could get to the room without being detected. Cocoa Beach Police had not secured the crime scene in the room, everything and everyone was outside where Greg had "jumped". She walked into the room, put on surgical gloves, and removed a piece of paper and an envelope containing cash from her bag. She put them on the floor next to the bed under the nightstand, curiously, next to the Bible. Lark closed her eyes and breathed in a deep breath, something she always did when she was doing something she knew was wrong. She looked around for anything pertinent and saw a green notebook. Inside the notebook were financial figures and information about Agent Tangelo's business dealings. At first, she put the notebook inside her bag, then she thought of something more convenient. She took out a pen of the same color as the writing in the notebook and began changing some of the figure and adjusting other numbers. She left the notebook next to the paper, the envelope and the Bible. Lark left the room and removed her gloves and put them in her jacket pocket. She took a different route to her car. No one saw what she had done.

Mallory walked into the Applebee's she had been in earlier that day. She saw Evelyn in being served a drink from BeeGee. The tiny laugh from Evelyn made Mallory smile. That was the appeal of BeeGee. She a small group of wickedly humored people happy for the most bizarre reason. "Please tell me you sat at this table by accident Ev?" asked Mallor, ficitiously. "After the day I've had, I needed some boob decor with an adult beverage," said Evelyn as she sipped her vodka collins. "I don't want to cry about Dean. Our situation is so whacked right now Mal, but I am concerned about him. Just be honest with me. Please don;t feel you're being disloyal, I just need to understand what kind of mess he's either in or about," Evelyn opined. Mallory answered, "Did you see the woman he was tattoing when you came by the shop earlier?" Ev shook her head yes and took another drink. BeeGee was back and asked Mallory for her order. Mallory ordered a beer and started talking more, "Her name is Lark McKissic. You may have heard of her. She's the Vice President or head bitchy manager of destroying people's crap of Gotham Media Evil Empire up in New York." Ev cautiously asked "She knows Dean from his band days, right." Mallory shook her head yes and kept going, "she was like a rock groupie, A&R scout, butt-kisser when Dean and his band were going on. My mom knew both of them well. My mom doesn't talk about those times. She was pregnant and then had me in the middle of all that time and combine that with her drug and man history, it's not something we talk about over bacon and eggs. Deal is something happened back then. Dean's back didn't make it, Lark did, and there was Days of our Lives type drama that no one dare discuss." Ev stopped Mal and bravely asked, "but today Dean and Lark decide to reminisce over tattoos and Agent Tangelo fandom?" Mallory didn't answer her. She took her beer from BeeGee and took a large gulp. Then said, "I think Dean's being brought back into Lark's music business world but I don;t know why. My mom agrees with me but even she's being coy and secretive about it all. My deal is we pay close attention to Dean tonight at the show. Bonnie's covering for me at the shop. My friend Geo is going with me, but I told him I was staying close to you and Dean, he's cool with that." The two women kept talking and never ordered food. They did order another round of drinks.

Dean arrived at the warhouse block and picked up a backpack carrying the contract from his office safe and followed two young girls as they went into the warehouse to hear Agent Tangelo rip through their rock song Just Can't Hear. The chords were rough, even dirty but they sounded tight. The band finished the song and saw Dean. Silas put down his guitar amongst clapping from the dozen onlookers, 9 of which were teenage girls. "Dean, welcome to the ATFunhouse. What did you think?" Silas asked enthusiastically. "Um, well, it was rockin'. Drake, it's Drake, right? I really like the chord progrssion. The slide technique on the bridge is very different. Cool." Drake said thank you and feigned interest in Dean being there. Silas asked, "So, um, our favorite record company She-Devil said you were going to help us for a while?" Dean took the contract out of his backpack and threw it on the formica table in front of them. "There it is. Black and white reality. I've read every word of that thing maybe 100 times and I still don;t understand all of it. Yet, over twenty years ago I signed it. I was drunk when I signed it. Which is a good thing, had I been sober I might have thrown it in the garbage and I would have never sniffed the charts, MTV, or two blondes at one time at the bottom of the Hollywood sign." Silas chuckled, so did Kyle, the other two looked away, waiting for the hasbeen to shut up. Dean kept talking, "do what you want guys. I know you liked Greg and think I'm some loser from a two bit two hit hair band that Nirvana killed. Technically, Queensryche killed my band and others like it with Opertation Mind Crime and Silent Lucidity. Extreme didn't help things with More than Words. We won't even talk about Warrant. That's a joke, but I don;t really make jokes so it isn't funny. The point, guys, is the next 9 or so days of your life will be more important emotionally, artistically and financially than you'll ever think about the rest of your lives. You want some insight, I can try to give that to you. You want some recording and performing ideas, I doubt you need them from me, but I can try to impart. Whatever you four do, do it because you want to, not because some chick tells you're hot or how awesome you are or because Lark intimidates you. So, tell me what the word? Come after me. Give it to me." No one says anything. Dean says, "How about we send some of your admirers, if there are any over the age of 21, to get us a case of beer and a bottle of Jack Daniels. We might even be able to write a song or two before your show?"  Silas breaks the silence of the four, "Hell yeah." From there the rehearsal picked up in energy.

Empathetic brown eyes greeted her as she walked into the tiny apartment. "Hi mommy", the 2 year old girl lisped as she hugged. Kelly's own mother, also her babysitter, put out her hand, and coldy said "before you go to that other job, I'll need some money. You are out of food." Kelly pulled out a roll of money from her glittered chest and counted out 85 dollars."That's all I made waitressing today. I'll have 4 times that dancing tonight. Her mom glared judgementally. Kelly knew she was unseemly to her own mother, she pretended to not care. She turned on the shower and turned on her stereo. A cd playing her favorite band began to play, loudly. The happy brown eyes greeted her again as she started to undress. "Mommy, you listen to those same songs over and over. They're too loud for you." Kelly laughed,a little too much, as the stress of her day overwhlemed her. The only two things in her life that comforted her, the music of that loud band, Agent Tangelo, and her loving little girl, Olivia were in one place. "Baby, I need wash off all the dirty french fries and ketchup and chocolate brownie yuck so why don't you go play with Gramma for five whole minutes," she said to Olivia. "Mommy, Gramma went to the store and she she I need to play with you. You and Gramma need to talk to each other. Can I sit on the potty and sing like you do when you when you are in there getting the Applebees off you?" little Olivia responded. Kelly smiled, laughed again, and thought to herself how awesome all of that sounded. As she stepped into the warm water and started singing along to Agent Tangelo, she heard Olivia tiny voice mimic her every word. For a brief time, everything was okay.

Cocoa Beach police caution taped the room, the balcony and the area around Greg Cooke's body, now covered by a sheet and awaiting the coroner. A few bystanders were questioned. No one saw anything, they just heard the thud of the body hitting the ground. The hotel manager said Greg Cooke was always in a bad mood and never seemed relaxed. He said Greg Cooke always apologized for the other people in his party's behavior, paid for the minor damages with his credit card and his cell phone was always in the ear. One of the maid's said Greg Cooke was like an unhappy father to a bunch of kids and she wasn't surprised he might kill himself. Everyone saw this as more nuisance than tragedy. Lark McKissic arrived back on the scene and spoke with the police. She told them nothing of substance. Then the detective came out of the room and asked Lark about the money and the drugs. Lark did that sigh she always did before doing something she didn't like to do but had to do and said "I gave him that money this afternoon, about three hours ago. It was a payment, part of a deal to leave the band I now manage for Gotham Media. The drugs, I have no idea. I didn't know Greg Cooke personally, just professionally. " The detective said he'd call her later and to not leave town for a couple of days if possible. For now, Lark walked away and went back to the Jennings Warehouse. Getting Agent Tangelo to play their show tonight was priority one.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Empathetic brown eyes greeted her as she walked into the tiny apartment. "Hi mommy", the 2 year old girl lisped as she hugged. Kelly's own mother, also her babysitter, put out her hand, and coldy said "before you go to that other job, I'll need some money. You are out of food." Kelly pulled out a roll of money from her glittered chest and counted out 85 dollars."That's all I made waitressing today. I'll have 4 times that dancing tonight. Her mom glared judgementally. Kelly knew she was unseemly to her own mother, she pretended to not care.

*blogger's note* - This is my entry in @velvetverbosity 's aka 's weekly 100 word challenge. This week's one word prompt is UNSEEMLY. I have included an entry from my project Hellandback.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Christmas, Easter, Dick Clark's Rockin Creepy New Years Eve, Bobina and the girls birthdays, the Sex Pistols song Holidays in the Sun and the Dead Kennedy's thoughtful tune Holiday in Cambodia; that where I rank the holidays. Thanksgiving has never really done much for me. Pumpkin pie and football are enough to make me be ok with the last Thursday in November but I'm not really a fan. I think the reason I am nondescript with the day is because parades, turkey, Arlo Guthrie's Alice's restaurant, and the obligatory here's what I'm thankful for lists from writers leave me cold. This year I will try to get into things but in my own way.

I am very content with my family. My parents and I get along well, they treat me like an equal and after a funny conversation with my dad yesterday about my Black Friday plans involving my teenage daughter, I realize he digs me a parent like I dig him. My wife gets more awesome with each day. She's patient with my crap. She loves me unconditionally. Her cooking is beyond description so today's meal will rock hard. My mother in law loves me. We talk like friends and that is rare. My sister in law and I are like sibling except we don't fight and she likes me giving her the business. My kids are beautiful, funny, smart, and in between bouts of insanity, joys to be around. I am proud to be their dad.

For the first time in my life, I am at peace and to those who know me, that's saying something. Orginally the pilgrims and the native americans got together to find common ground and give thanks to nature and fellowship. The least I can do is give Thanksgiving a break, devour the pumpkin pie, smile through Bobina's parade fandom, and make a turkey sandwich tonight and watch the Jets pound the Bengals.

I'll even participate in a list of what I'm thankful for beyond the things mentioned above, but give it a blogger/internet spin;

I'm thankful for bloggers. Blogs are easier to read than newspapers and more entertaining than magazines. There is some good writing on the internet and you can find some excellent aquaintences as a result. Thanks (your music knowledge and snobbery is appreciated and admired) , thanks - you make reading about my favorite band a pleasure, thanks and (following the Braves baseball team has never been funny and informative but you two guys make it that way) thanks , ,, , , , Tara_R 's blog and Jenninflux's blog. You all shatter the myth of female bloggers being annoying and pointless. Thanks to @DxPepper, @fcardillo and the daddy bloggers like @SpinyNorman and @AlanKercinik. You guys provide a lot of entertainment and insight.

I'm thankful for @velvetverbosity 's 's 100 word challenge and it's writer outreach community. It's expanded my creativity and made me love writing again. Same goes for even though I'm failing at it. The failure is teaching me some important lessons.

I'm thankful for sports fans especially Braves fans on twitter and the awesome Jets fans on twitter. You guys have reinvigorated my interest in following the teams and make me laugh hysterically even during losses and low points.

I'm thankful for my mom. Twitter and my blog have improved our relationship and found some mutal respect for each of us. I enjoy how we've become friends over the past two years as a result.

In a couple of hours my family and I will make some more memories, some of them ridiculous, some of them sublime, all of them memorable. I'm thankful for today opening my mind a bit. Now, where's my mother in law and that pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rick Springfield : Dark Genius

A few years ago, I shocked friends and family when I dropped this science on them; "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield is one of the greatest songwriting achievements in pop rock history. In fact, it's artistically awesome. Yeah, soak it in. The ripple effect of "what the (bad word)" was so great about my circle of people, I decided to not expand upon it and make them just think I had eaten something that didn't agree with me. I am hear to blog, I menat every word. Please, oblige me. Do I think Rick is a good songwriter, overall? No. His catalog is pretty thin. There are 3 good songs on the Working Class Dog album and one of them was written by Sammy Hagar, I've Done Everything For You. Rick is a one hit wonder, not because of chart history, he is technically a five hit wonder, but because on a Saturday afternoon in Southern California in 1978 after talking a painting class with a buddy and hit beautiful girlfriend, Springfield was inspired enough, to penn what would become a number one song, and the most kareoked tune in bar history.

Rick doesn't belong in the same breath with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, Thom Yorke, any of the Beatles or Rolling Stones, Kurt Cobain or even Sammy Hagar. Rick Springfield deserves pop culture praise for creating a layered masterpiece that is only 3 minutes and 16 seconds long about longing for a buddy's girl, not doing anything about it, upholding the bros before hoes code (which is older than the Magna Carta) and writing the line "I've been funny, I've been cool with the lines, ain't that the way love's supposed to be". That's poetry, and every man can relate. The greatest part of Jessie's Girl is the irony.

Rick Springfield is a great looking soap opera actor who can get any girl he wants but he's singing about a girl he can't get, and he's masking a dark, subversive ode to sexual frustration around peppy pop melodies and a catchy guitar riff. That's beautiful. Throwing in dark lyrics while bouncing a pop tune has been around since the fifties. I have been to two weddings that had Every Breath You Take by The Police, a scary song about obsessive love, essentially the stalker's anthem, and The One I Love by R.E.M., a depressing song about a breakup that is more ominous than foreboding. Obviously the couple didn't listen to the lyrics. Both marriages ended up divorces. Rock and roll strikes again.

Every television show, news program, or pop culture special about shopping, dancing, trying on clothes, or some happy activity has Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind blaring in the background. Ever seen the lyrics to that one? It's about sex, drugs, and debauchery. It's a filthy tune.

What makes Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl genius is, it is part of our national consciousness. Generations after generation will belt that with smiles on their faces to kareoke machines and wedding dance microphones and the irony will dance the dance of love with art.

It's amazing what a drive home in heavy traffic will produce in my head as I listened to 80s on 8 on Satellite radio. All Hail Mr. Rick Springfield and his brooding belch about some chick he'll never even talk to. We've been there, brother.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Duece

If I wrote the entire real story it would come out as weird, wild, comic book fiction. Two years and six months ago I met the right person. Two years ago, today, she became my best friend and wife. I've written about how we are a blended family. I've written about how we met. I don't think I have ever gotten around to talking about the wedding day. It was a little chaotic, a lot crazy, completely appropriate and thus perfect.

There were several reasons, none of which are important now, but we decided to marry at the Gwinnett County Courthouse on a Friday afternoon then throw a party for family and friends the following night. Everyone involved later later me they wish they'd done the same thing. When the judge said we were married and the flashing cameras started, I kissed her harder than I ever had, and we hugged the kids and started our life.

Two years later we are still in the honeymoon period. I think we are just different than most. We'll be in that stage for a while. The kids kind of insist on it. I've never done anything as worthwhile as marrying her, with the exception of the kids, and I never will equal the accomplishment. I peaked at age 38. I wake up everyday and thank God, and or whoever else is responsible for bringing Deana aka Bobina into my life. Thanks, Bo, for making me and our family whole.

ps....yes, I got her a card and took her out to dinner. jerks. (sarcasm)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

There's Someone Inside My head...but it's Not Me

I probably should have written this blog during Halloween because discussing what is inside my head on a daily basis is scary. To keep readers and avoid being committed I'll discuss how my extreme interest in music manifests itself into what I like to call the ipod between my ears.

I hear music even when the radio or whatever, isn't on. As i go through each day I often recall pieces of music, both lyrical and instrumental, that coincide to the situation I'm in. For example when I'm in traffic or driving I hear Crosstown Traffic by Jimi Hendrix or One Headlight by The Wallflowers or Radar Love by Golden Earring. I know I am not alone. Through the blog and the twitter I see so many friends/followers who are major music fans.  This is a list of situations and the songs I attribute to them. Feel free to comment and/or add your own.

When people are smoking or I am around smokers - That Smell by Lynyrd Skynyrd -

When I walk in a bar or restaurant where people are drinking/mingling - Roadhouse Blues - The Doors -

When Bobina is mad at me - Barracuda - Heart -

If I am having a bad day and the anixety is building - Bleed It Out - Linkin Park -

I'm at work in a meeting or confined to the office - Man In A Box - Alice In Chains -

Waiting on someone, like for lunchm but being casual about it all : Waiting on a friend - The Rolling Stones -

Feeling down, introspective and a little nuts - Brain Damage - Pink Floyd -

Saturday afternoon, hanging around the house, doing chores like ironing or laundry or whatever - Tumbling Dice - The Rolling Stones -

Doing something with the kids and I'm proud of them or just reflecting on my parenting - The Kids are Alright - The Who -

I'm looking at Bobina's blue eyes and thinking about how lucky I am - Sweet Child O Mine - Guns n Roses -

Thinking about death, mortality or something funeral related - Bittersweet Sympjony - The Verve -

Mourning people I have lost - High and Dry - Radiohead -

Beating myself up over my mistakes - Just - Radiohead -

my personal "theme song" - Lucky Man - The Verve -

Before you ask, I'll just answer the question; yes I play out the whole song, video, images, and song analysis. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, Elton John, and Billy Joel songs play a huge role in a lot of everyday situations because of their amazing lyrics and sardonic attitudes. When I read your blogs and tweets music come to mind immediately. I probably have assigned a personal song to each person I interact with here or on twitter. I definitely do that with people in my everyday "real" life. I haven't gotten around to assigning songs on my phone to people but I already know what each song would be. All of this came to mind earlier today when I was walking out of my office and people were smoking. Suddenly Lynyrd Skynyrd starting playing and I was singing along to music that no one else could see. I feel pretty sure that those smokers were thinking Crazy by Patsy Cline or Aerosmith or Seal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Billy Joel State Of Mind

I find nostalgia nauseating. I don't even like looking into my past in an analytical way. Yet, the other day of my my twitter followers and fellow bloggers, @SugarJones asked this question;  "Do you ever have those moments where you wonder how you got to where you are? And how drastically different it is than what you had planned? " I answered "yes....that what my blog is about...well, when im not writing fiction, Im writing about how the heck I got here" This caused a rare moment of rear view mirror philosophizing.

Indeed, this blog isn't really about topics like music, writing, television, my family, or sports. It's about how the heck I became and am becoming who and what I am. I just never thought Howard Stern interviewing the Piano Man would be the catalyst for a revealing blog post. I was in the car a lot today for work and my new love, satellite radio, was whispering sweet somethings in my ears. I turned to Howard Stern's morning show and for an hour and forty seven minutes he interviewed Billy Joel. My memories start at age 5. Between then and say age 12 I thought Billy Joel was the biggest rock star in the world. I had yet to discover most of the music you see me blog about. Piano Man, Cold Spring Harbor, New York State Of Mind, Captain Jack, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, The Stranger, It's Still Rock and roll to Me, My Life, Im Movin Out, Say Goodbye To Hollywood, Just The Way You Are, Only The Good Die Young, You May Be Right, and so many other songs were played in my parents' house and car. Joel was a superstar on the radio and tv when I was a kid. I developed this fake, stupid, New York attitude, speech, and manner to copy Joel. Finally, when I was 11 and a half year old I made it to my first concert, Billy Joel's Nylon Curtain tour in the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. After the show as I was walking out, a man with a harmonica played the first few bars of Joel's signature song, Piano Man, and several dozen people on escalators started singing the song. It was surreal. Here's the kicker to this story and this blog, I had forgotten almost all of this until this morning.

Music snobbery didn't start for me until my early teens. By 1983, I had put Billy Joel away, along with my comic books, stretch armstrong, and baseball cards. Joel wasn't cool to me anymore. I certainly wasn;t buying into Uptown Girl and him marrying Christie Brinkley. Hearing the interview this morning brought back something that I really screwed up in my life, a sense of camraderie with normalcy. Billy Joel is kind of a dork, a regular dude. These days, he's bald, pudgy, grayed, and well, basic; you know, for a multi millionaire. He runs a motorcycle shop, which loses money, for fun. He hasn't made a pop song since 1993, and doesn't to. What attracted me to Joel when I was a kid, was what I later rejected. He made good pop songs with no pretention. Joel never tried to save the world. He rarely whined about the state of the world, with a few exceptions, like Allentown. When he did do a song that was personally relatable and "about" something other than himself and relationships, like Pressure, he made it sound enjoyable, not angst ridden. Now that I am 40 I found a conduit to my childhood without relinquishing maturity. As I write this I am playing youtube and the songs that I admired in the 1970s aren't just bringing back memories, they're causing me to plan new ones. I am going to introduce Joel to my kids this weekend. I remember driving in the car with my dad playing air piano to the Turnstiles album and 52nd street, and Glass Houses. My 45s of Piano Man and Just the Way You Are and My Life will be turned into itunes purchses for my girls. Joel was a good songwriter. I maintian my music snobbery as most of what he made after 1982 is quite weak and I doubt I will change my mind. Joel is one of those things or, well, I guess, people that got me here. I wore tennis shoes with suits and huge sunglasses as a kid, because I was a dorky normal little guy. It was Billy Joel that got me through some of those New York Jet losses in the early 1980s. It was Billy Joel who made me use a hairbrush as a microphone when me and a buddy or two would have spend the nights before MTV came along. It was Billy Joel who told me bedtime stories that I should have never forgotten. I may have put him away when hard rock, hair metal and later, punk changed my focus, but pulling Billy Joel out every once in a while when I want to go to Vienna or I;be Got To Begin Again or take a Miami 2017 is perfectly understandable.

I usually don't recommend Howard Stern, because of his show content but if you are so inclined, go google the Billy Joel interview. The musical stories are priceless and Joel personality is irrepresible. For the musicologists out there, this website is great for breaking down Joel's great songs, I agree with everything from 1972 to 1982, after that, listen at your own risk

The greatest thing about the Billy Joel interview and the subsequent reminiscing is I am listening to some really good songs and discovering what this blog is about. This is one heck of a break from fiction writing. "Don't go changin to try and please me, you never let me down before, don't imagine you're too familiar and I don't see you anymore." Ugh, I should have listened to Billy Joel over the past twenty years, I could have saved myself some Pressure.

You May Be Right, i may be crazy :

Summer High Land Falls:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hellandback 9

Being a band manager is an a thankless, unglamorous vocation even if the musical act is established and successful. Being one for an unsigned, almost famous rock band is visciously unrewarding. Greg Cooke met Agent Tangelo two years earlier in a McDonald's parking lot in Panama City, Florida when the band's drummer, Kyle Jackson, asked him if he could jump off their battery deprived van. By the time he got their 10 year old junker of a band vehicle on the road, he had agreed to help them travel to their two gigs in Destin later that week and put them in touch with a lawyer friend who could help them with a financial planner. Like feeding a stray cat in a rainstorm, he couldn't rid himself of Agent Tangelo. In a month, he became their road manager, loaned them 11 thousand dollars and helped precipitate his divorce from a disapproving wife. Like most entertainment support people, Greg was fascinated with music and musicians as a teenager. He had been in a bad grunge rock act for 5 months as a freshman in college, He sold his drum kit only a year before crossing paths with Agent Tangelo. Being part of Agent Tangelo ascent had been one of the greatest personal experiences of his life, divorce and financial strain aside. The band was a fulltime job but he balanced day trading and tax preparation for friends and family while collecting low pay as their business voice. What happened next, he should have expected, but hearing Agent tangelo's honest chords and soul baring riffs on a nightly basis had blinded him to the reality that he was a short term answer to Agent tangelo's management needs.

Agent Tangelo's rehearsal was schedule for 5pm. Each member, their manager, their road crew, and various hangerons knew that 5pm was optional for Silas Bane. On a average Silas was 20 minutes later. When Silas walked into the warehouse at 5:02pm everyone gasped. "What? I got some killer new ink. Who wants to see?", a clueless Silas announced. The next person to arrive brought an even more dramatic reaction. Lark McKissic strolled into the rehearsal space and answered Silas, "me too. Same spot. I think you know the artist." Silas' jaw didn't actually drop, but the facial expression was similar. Lark was there, unannounced and the band knew the news was both good and bad, it always was with a record company executive. Greg decided to speak next. "Guys, we have some developments. Things are going to be different, well, if you want them to be. Gotham Media wants to sign you guys, we all know that. They also want their management in place during the transition." Musicians hated this kind of speech. Guitarist and business major at Central Florida University, Drake Huntley, responded, "You want us to fire you and bring in some jack ass from Gotham to babysit us so we become some corporate puppet band, right Greg?" Greg answered quickly, "No Drake. Not at all. I want to still be your road manager but you need musical mentor to help with the first record for the label. You need someone who's more experienced than I am. I'm still going to be around. But it's time to reality check. Agent Tangelo is going to be big time. Big time requires a team of people." Silas hated the business part of being a musican. He always deferred to Drake and Greg. he was talent, they were business. Now was a time for Silas to show some leadership. "Let me see your tattoo, Ms. McKissic." Lark gently removed her bandage and Silas removed his. They noticed the shading, the steady lines, the use of color. Silas smiled and said, "How does Dean Hellenbach fit in to all of this, Ms. McKissic? I know you two worked together back in the day?" His band members looked puzzled. Greg Cooke saw the freight train starting down the track, Lark gave the news, "I just came to an agreement with Dean Hellenbach, former singer-songwriter of the band Hellandback to help manage you guys through the New York trip next week. his name and his industry contacts will grease the rails. You all will be pleased with what he can help with. The key is you all stay focused, relatively sober, and kick a lot of ass for the next 7 gigs covering 10 days. You do that and we will all be very rich and famous." Silas looked at Greg and saw anguish not jealousy nor envy. Silas went over to pick up a guitar and start tuning. Greg wanted the band to pay attention to getting ready for their sets later that night and said, "Lark, why don't you and I talk about the advance for the band and let them practice." They walk out of the warehouse, Silas looked arounds, sees the three guys he met during his junior year of high school. He was a year younger than each of them. They needed a leader during an uncertain time so he spoke. "We don't have to do this. We can stay indie and still make enough money to survive. " Drake felt like punching the chick magnet media darling for trying to pose as a starving artist. Silas wanted to be famous just like they did. Drake said "we're a genre bending band. we play power pop mixed with hard rock. Our only hope in selling records and being heard is with a major label. Gotham has all the resources, They're just evilish or whatever. Plus I hate that ice queen. She makes me want to punch toddlers." Kyle, the drummer and Nate McNeil, the band's bassist and keyboard player, laughed, Nate offered a compromise, :what about being like Radiohead? Ok Go? They release their stuff online and are like independent contractors with the major labels? Drake wanted to hurt Nate now, who was like a toddler, mentally. Silas spoke, "yeah what about that?" No one said anything. Drake and Silas began playing their guitars. Without even taking a band vote, Agent Tangelo just became a major label band with a record contract, to be signed in a few days, in New York City.

Greg and Lark stood outside the warehouse. Lark said "you still smoking Greg?" He nodded yes and Lark walked over to her car, flipped the hatch and reached inside her briefcase and retreived a pack of marlboro lights. Greg was surprised. "I thought you were a fitness person, Lark. You spend more time in the gym than a bodybuilder." Lark rarely explained herself to anyone and considered his question a sign of ungratefulness but she sighed and responded, "everyone in this business drinks, smokes, drugs, or has some digusting habit I have to deal with. I might as well promote the lifestyles as well as the talent." Greg ignored her arrogance and condescension and asked an important question, "Why Dean Hellenbach? He;s never managed before. He's an over the hill musician and producer. I mean he's a tattoo artist and t-shirt shop owner. What can he do?" Lark stared at Greg and in her coldest delivery said "leave." Greg took a long drag off the freshly lit cigarette and answered, "what? you can't just make me go. The band has to agree to that until that contract is signed." Lark went to the hatch of her car, pulled out a pouch and took money and handed it to Greg. "there's 50 thousand. That will get you to whatever mediocre livelihood you were destined before you tried to play Brian Epstein to the Central Florida Beatles. Leave. I don't need you. This band doesn't need you. You are giving me a headache. When I get a headache, I get annoyed. Then I start making bad things happen. Leave. Before the bad happens." Greg Cooke stood there, amazed, almost frozen by the threat of this tall, mean spirited woman. He gave the money back and said "Let me talk to the band. I'll tell them something lame then I'll check out of the Seashell and head back to Orlando. Our agreement was 100 thousand off the top of the advance and I would act as a road manager consultant for six months. I'll honor that agreement." Lark wanted to tell him that he wouldn't make it to Orlando, but her headache was real, her anger was building, and she never liked Greg's small time thinking. As far as she as concerned, what was about to happen to him, was deserved. She put the money away in the car and said nothing as they walked into the warehouse rehearsal space and spoke with Agent Tangelo.

Dean Hellenbach was sick to his stomach and whiskey wasn't making him feel better. He placed his half empty tumbler on the deck of his townhouse and walked into the bathroom. A coldness overtook his spine and hr dropped to his knees. The nausea subsided and he could not deny the way hhe felt, physically, was similar to what he was like twenty years earlier when he delt with Lark, Gotham Media, and the man in the black suit. He heard his cell phone ring in the other room was he was still to weak to move quickly enough to answer. Someone else did. "Hello. Hey mallory, it's Evelyn. I just got home. He's here. He's sick, probably something he ate, it doesn't sound good in there. You guys handle things for him there and we'll catch up with you later at the concert. Thank you Mallory. bye" Evelyn walked into the bathroom and looked down at him. "Are you drunk or did I actually speak some truth to Mallory?" Dean wanted to be alone and just thin, he shouted back to her, "No, I am not drunk!" He bounded from the bathroom tile and walked agressively  past his girlfriend. "I don't want to fight with you, Dean, but I can't just let you order me out of your shop, not call me all day, and refuse my help when you obviously need it." Dean grew more belligerent, "Leave me alone right now. I don't want your help!" Evelyn walked lightly into the bedroom, picked some clothes and a few other things from drawers and picked up her keys. "Dean, I love you, you know that. You may not want to hear that right now, but I think you need to hear it. You moods, your periods of misery are just too much sometimes, and I can't always allow you to push me away when you carry the world on your back. I will meet you later at your shop or the show, you pick. I'll get ready over at my friend Olive's place. I'm watching her cats while she's in Miami with her mom. I'll keep my cell phone on. Evelyn walks over to him, leans in to kiss his cheek and tightly hugs him from his right side. Dean said nothing as she left the townhouse. Dean sits on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands for several minutes. He looks up and briefly sees a her reflection in the mirror. He turns around and see no one. Dean yells, Fiona!

Greg arrives back at the Seashell feeling flush, feverish. He walks into his roon and open the fridge and takes out an ice pack and a Heineken. He walks to the patio door and opens it to take in some beach air when the wind suddely stops, and the room grows quiet. He turns around and see a man in a black suit, with a white dress shirt, open collar, no tie, and charcoal eyes staring through him. Greg, it has been a while since we have talked. Three years, if I remember correctly. Greg, feeling almost faint, can't believe he's seeing the man again. "What do you want?" Greg asks. The man in the black suit extends his hand and unfurls his long, pale fingers to hand Greg Cooke several pills. "You, Greg. You have served your purpose, well, I might add. Agent Tangelo, the music scene, even my lovely Lark, they have all been proud of your work, but it is time for you to be pushed aside. Take these Greg. It will help you cushion the fall." Greg looks into the man's eyes and sees them flame in the pupils. He takes the pills and swallows them with a mouth full of beer. "Why, why now, I was going to leve eventually after the band got through everything." The man answered curtly, "You have to go now Greg. It is time." The man in the black suit reaches out his right arm and Greg's throat closes quickly so that Greg can't make any noise. Then the man thrusts his right arm like an NFL running back to a linebacker and throws Greg out the window over the patio. Three floors later laying on the concrete, blood pours out of his mouth, his neck broken. Greg Cooke was dead.