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