Monday, January 31, 2011

Where The Streets Have No Name

Even when I try to not pay attention, I end up emotionally invested. My day was not good, although in the grand scheme of the subject of this post, it was nothing to talk about. I called my wife as I was leaving work and told her I was stopping by the gym to relieve some stress and my fingers punched the preset for a news station. Details about the protests of the 30 year old dictator style government in one of the most important countries in the Middle East were intriguing. The British accented radio reporter was talking over police sirens, screaming protestors, and loudspeakered activists.

I got to the gym, hit the treadmills and looked up. The televisions were showing the live CNN feeds of what was happening in the streets of Cairo. Then, in my pop cultured, music obsessed mind, the surreal images produced this revelation; "Holy crap, that looks like U2's Where The Streets Have No Name video, except, bigger and scarier, and maybe even cooler." Shallow, a little immature, and slightly ridiculous? Sure, but I'm thousands of miles away and the most important thing I had to worry about today, was getting Tay to cheerleading practice.

I am a sucker for people exercising their rights and holding their government responsible. The protests seem to be controlled and even positive. If they weren't then they'd look like a Rage Against the Machine video.

I won't debate the issues. I do think Hosni Mubarak is a dictator, ready to be deposed. I hope Egypt will recognize how important they are to stability in the region and thus having a democratic government that fights terrorism instead of harbors it is the right way to go. Since 9/11, Egypt has done as much as any country to fight Al Quaida. The point of this blog is how television images can stop you in your tracks, make you think about things a lot larger and more important than your gym workout or mildy annoying workday.

Today's song is obvious. In 1987, U2 pulled a heck of a publicity stunt, playing music on top of an L.A. building, then filming the police shutting everything down. Egypt's events are no stunt, they are the real deal of freedom colliding with government stubborness. Here's U2's Where The Streets Have No Name -

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dads In The Limelight

Our 97th Dad in the Limelight is Lance B. of I want to thank Lance for being a part of this series. It has been great connected with him and now sharing him with all of you!
1) Tell me about yourself, (as well as how you are in the limelight for my readers knowledge)
Hi, I’m Lance and I have no idea what I’m doing as a blogger or a parent. According to the internet that makes me an expert. I recently turned 40 years old. I divorced in 2006 but remarried a great woman and have three daughters. My day job is a communications manager for a fortune 500 company. My other gig is writing. I have been blogging since 2005. My most well known site was a myspace music blog in 2005 and 2006. My current blog has been running since May 2010. I have a very active twitter account @TLanceB and guest blog on occasion. I am not a fan of the band Rush but the I like the song Limelight. I think that answers the question in two ways.

2) Tell me about your family.
In November, 2008 I married the love of my life, Deana aka Bobina aka @deana_bo on twitter, married her, and blended my family of myself and now 7 year old daughter, with my wife, and now 15 year old and 6 year old daughters. That’s right, I live with 4 women. Even if you are not religious, pray for me. I need it. We adopted a golden retriever in 2009. He’s a boy, but he’s as much as diva as the women.

3) What has been the largest challenge you have had in being a father?
When I first became a father, in 2003, with the birth of my now 7 year old daughter, I was clueless. She was born in a difficult time of a difficult marriage and her mother was very sick. I was walking around at 3am, feeding a tiny little girl watching Sportscenter and singing Beatles songs. I thought nothing could be more challenging. Then, after my divorce, I met my wife and two other daughters. I didn’t believe the stepfather horror stories but I thought about them. Everything is working out. We all treat each one as if we’d been around one another since their births. Being the dad of a teenager is very hard. I am blessed with a beautiful, talented, smart, funny, interesting, and special young lady. Her six year old sister is equally as awesome. She's such a princess. Juggling the multiple families is difficult. Their are mixed messages each child receives. I just try to be as good for each of them as I can be.

4) What advice would you give to other fathers?
I grew up with a great set of parents. They were hard, fair, old school, and loving, even if they didn’t always show it. Every child is different. I have to talk and listen to my kids. Because I said so, and do what I say don’t work like they did when I was a kid. Be their exmaple of what good, fair, kind, and human is. They don’t want you to be perfect, they want you to be you. Don’t lie and don’t be something you aren’t they’ll see right through it. Admit your frailties, tell them what’s expected of them, hold them to that standard and love them when they screw up.

5) Seeing that you (or your position) are in the limelight, how have you come to balance parenthood and outside life? If you are currently not in the limelight per se, please still answer this in regards to how you balance parenthood and outside life.
Work is work, Home is home. My kids know what I do when I am not playing games, barbies, and football with them. I involve them with my writing froma  point as using them as muses and relating their experiences and mine into something I can relay to blog readers. My teenage daughter is interested in journalism, a field I worked in a sports and news reporter in the late 80s and early 90s. I talk to her about that, advise her on how to to pursue story angles, and show her my writing when she asks.
6) What have you learned from the fathers that you have interacted with?
If you are judgemental, you will get whatever bad there is in life to receive. There are not only many ways to skin a cat, there are also many wasy to talk about the skinning. Fathers, especially the ones who write, tweet, and blog, aren’t hung up on showing their superiority like mommy blogger are. Instead of internet knife fights about breastfeeding, food preparation and coupon picking, dad bloggers tend to share their stupid mistakes, rational fears, and anxious moments. We are all full of crap, but if out heart is in the right place ecah of us, as fathers, will be what we need to be for our kids in the long run.
7) What else would you share regarding your experiences as a father thus far?
If you high expectations, you’ll always be disappointed. If you have low expectations, you aren’t giving you wife, kids, and yourself enough credit and you’ll find only unhappiness. Treat each day like surprise birthday party. I struggle with this philosophy but I;m getting better. Most of all, put your spouse first, even above the children. This will put you and her on the same page in regards to raising the kids. They will see a united front of principled examples.

8) What have been the most memorable experiences that you have had thus far as a parent?
Watching my girls grow up. My teenager went to homecoming with a boy this past fall. Seeing her so young ladyish was moving beyond words.
Seeing my daughters be compassionate to other people, especially children younger or less advantaged than them has been unbelievable. It’s the stuff they do when they think you aren’t watching that’s the most rewarding.
If you have any questions for Lance, please leave a comment here and I will make sure that he gets them so that he may be able to respond!
Also, do you know a Dad in the Limelight? If so, please email me their contact information so that they too can be a part of this series!
*blogger's note* - This is my guest post for @dadofdivas Dads in the Limelight. I'm the 97th dad profiled. There's great work over there. Track them down. Hope you enjoy my post.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Picking Sides

The sandwich shop next to my office in Washington D.C. has the best turkey on wheat. I paid for one and a tea then walked down to a park. As I took the first bite, I saw a group of kids choosing teams for a baseball game. The last kid to be picked was a harmless looking little guy. He was probably 10 years old, but he looked 8. He looked used to this. I swallowed the final bite of turkey and walked back to my office. It was voting day on the hill and the adults were picking sides.

*blogger's note* This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's #100words at 's 100 word challenge. This week's one word prompt is "HARMLESS". In honor of the The President's State of The Union Address this week combined with a conversation I had with my daughters about playing with their all their friends equally plus being a smallest kid in my neighborhood and school growing up, I chose something that speaks on several levels. Sometimes adulthood and childhood are way too much alike.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Funny For The Right Reasons

I don't laugh at the same stuff most people do. I find funny in the uncomfortable, the weird, the inappropriate, the brutally true. I thought I was a freak because of this until I walked into a comedy club in Atlanta 19 years ago and saw Bill Hicks.

It was a weird night, from what I can recall. Cold outside, the tickets were free from a radio station I worked at, and the person I took with me wasn't a fan. He thought Andrew Dice Clay was funnier. Bill Hicks came on a few minutes late. He looked tired and disinterested. He started his headliner set like this

"Good evening, my name is Bill Hicks. I've been on the road now doing comedy 12 years, so, uh, bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plow through this (stuff) one more time. I'm kinda tired of traveling, kinda tired of doing comedy, kinda tired of staring out at your blank faces looking back at me, wanting me to fill your empty lives with humor you couldn't possibly think of yourselves."

I was one of maybe 5 people who laughed. For the next 45 minutes or so, Hicks ranted and chain smoked his way through thoughts on sex, drugs, rock and roll, and the state of the Union; skewering every conventional thought I or anyone in the audience ever thought. It was brilliant. Bill Hicks wasn't brilliant. He was a little off that night, but his material was ahead of it's time. I never forgot it. He slayed the crowd. I remember my friend being unsure of what he saw and heard. He said he couldn't stand him and were glad the tickets were free. I was mesmerized.

Hicks and I lived similar lives until the age of 18. He was born in Georgia, moved around, settled in Houston at the age of 7. White, straight, raised southern Baptist, and never got into significant trouble; Hicks' middle class family wasn't in show business so he started performing in front of his Sunday school class at church. After leaving home at 17, Bill Hicks changed. He used drugs and alcohol. he read vociferously. His comedy transformed from mildly edgy pop culture stuff to subversive takes on religion (didn't like it), drugs (liked them), and politics (all over the map, mostly didn't like). He cultivated an act as a young curmudgeon who chain smoked, ranted, and challenged the intelligence of any audience that would listen.

I was a bad American last night. I didn't watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union. I followed it online in between looking up muscle cars and listening to 1990s grunge and punk music like Fluffy. Then I got really sentimental, which is something I rarely am. I thought about Bill Hicks. How would he view our world today. My beliefs are similar to his, although I disagree with him on drugs, smoking, and religion. Where is that questioning middle thats asks the left and the right, "what are you doing? what are you talking about? That was Bill Hicks.

Like Bill Hicks, I get frustrated with the political climate and popular culture. The majority of what and who are liked and celebrated I am astounded as to what many are seeing. Oprah, Sarah Palin, reality shows, Jay Leno, party politics (Democrat and Republican), talk radio, fast food, silly bands and silly bandz; I don't understand any of it. I get called negative like Hicks did. I'm not. I believe in the best in people. I just think folks are either too busy or too lazy to let the best in all of us flourish.

I wrote a fan latter to Bill Hicks after seeing that show in Atlanta. I never sent it, because I thought it was stupid. I remember thinking that if every performer in movies, music, television, or comedy could be as honest as Hicks, we would be greater as culture. I didn't watch the President's speech last night because I knew he wouldn't look into the camera and tell Americans to get over themselves and be better, and here's how I am going to help you. Bill Hicks did that every night. Then liver cancer that spread to his pancreas killed him at the young age of 32 in February 1994. Like every great artist, his work became appreciated after his death. if really want to think, to look for answers, and challenge yourself to know more; look up Bill Hicks on youtube or the internet. Even in disagreeance you will like what he has to say.

Today's song is not only a tribute to Bill Hicks, he came onstage to Jimi Hendrix's Voo Doo Child, but also an anthem to those rare artists that were ahead of their time but still resonate today. We could use Bill and Jimi right now. Their respective brilliance could cut through the ignorant clutter.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

I felt like an egg frying that September afternoon as the sun beat down on my dark blue suit. I walked out of the courthouse a free man, divorced, yet I felt like I was caged by the doubts of people who "knew" me. A man I don't know feels the same way today. But, he's a lot colder than I was five years ago.

Jay Cutler is a the quarterback for the Chicago Bears. He makes several million dollars a year. His girlfriend is Kristin Cavallari of Laguna Beach and The Hills television shows.

Jay went to Vanderbilt University. He has a lot going for him. I feel quite sorry for him. As he gets out of bed this morning, in the one digit degree weather of Chicago, he likely feels imprisoned by the assumptions made by people he works with, against, and around as well as those who have followed his career as an NFL player.

Yesterday, while his team struggled in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, he complained of an injured knee. What happened after that is pure speculation. By the time the day turned into night, Chicago Bears fans burned his jersey, other NFL players called him a quitter, and the court of public opinion is convicting him of having no heart. Call me one of the few jurors who is voting not guilty.

I won't go into details of what happened to me five years ago. There's no point. I got a divorce. I became a single father for a while. Eventually I met the love of my life in my wife and daughters. There's no reason to pointificate further. It's unfair to the other people involved who don't have a blog or a twitter account. I write that I can relate to a star NFL quarterback with a starlet girlfriend and a bank account full of money because I know what it's like to be ostracized, criticized, and marginalized by people who should know you better. My dress shirt wasn't burned in effigy that day, but I felt horrible for myself, the situation and wondered what to do next. I also learned, maybe, the most valuable lesson of my adult life. Don't judge others and don't let others' judgements of you, define who and what you are.

I don't know if Jay Cutler quit on his team. I doubt it. You don't achieve at the level he has and then stop wanting to be elite. That's not likely. I don't know if Jay Cutler has a knee injury. He'll find out soon. It's easy to say "you'd have to drag me off that field" or "it's the big game, he should be tougher". I'm not Jay Cutler and neither are you. I do know that making assumptions hurts me and everyone involved with me. I'm bad at a lot of things. Gossip and speculation are two that I fail miserably. I get called contrarian, difficult and hard-headed because I don't always side with the popular opinion or conventional thought of the day about a situation. I have supported friends who were as unpopular as they could be and been right about my support and dead wrong other times. I just believe in what I know. I don't know if Jay Cutler ditched his team when they needed him the most. I did know what kind of person I was five years ago and what kind of person I am now. I need to remember that the next time I make an improper assumption or draw a wrong conclusion about my family, friends or football players I see only on television.

Today's song is not only good rock and roll from Cage the Elephant but it's an anthem for the misunderstood, which I consider myself a member of. There are some naughty words in the chorus and one verse, so listen while the children are away from your computer. Pay attention to the lyrics, though, ribald as they may be at times, they are very straight forward in their message of not judging books by their covers or making up your mind on people right away. Here's In One Ear, play it loud;

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Awards, Tattoos, Bloggers and Glam Rock...get it here

For the second time, this blog can be called "award winning". Myblogcanbeatupyourblog's sterling reputation was recognized by Leah over at . Leah not only wear stylish hats, but has very complex musical tastes. She hates Bruce Springsteen but loves Bon Jovi. She lives in Texas so her issues with New Jersey artists is quite controversial. I do not know where she stands on the Smithereens or Skid Row, but she writes a good blog where she complains about men in an appealing way that makes me and a lot of others laugh. She gave me an award called
Now, my wife, Bobina aka @deana_bo of her own blog will tell you I have no style. My teenage daughter dresses me. I do have a writing style and maybe that's what Leah was going for. Although I prefer glam blogger .

There are some rules that go with the award and here they are:

1. Thank and link back to the blogger who gave you the award. (done)
2. Share 5 things about yourself. 
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Here we go!  Cause everyone wants to know 5 things about me.

1.  I am ambidextrous. I do some things better with each hand, but I am capable with the left and the right. 
2.  My favorite band is The Clash. I have everything they ever recorded. I used to wish Joe Strummer was my brother or uncle. I miss him. RIP. Know Your Rights.
3.  As of 3 hours ago, I have 7 tattoos. One on my ankle, one on each hip, one on each bicep, one on my left shoulder blade and this one, a Native American protection arrow, done tonight: 

4.  I walk on the left side of people. It's a thing with me. Sometimes I let my wife and kids walk to my left side, but rarely. It's weird.  
5.  Lazy or doing nothing is the opposite of a good time to me. I need to be doing something. Even when I write I'm doing other things. Multi-tasking is a superhero power.

Now, I have to pass the award on to five others:  

1.  Jack of He's hardcore at blogging. No one tries harder, gives more effort, and posts so intensely. Read him and you will never feel shorted or disappointed.
2. . Sassypiehole from Newly discovered blog full of originality, spunk, and hilarity. It's told through the eyes and mouth of her toddler little girl and sassy's own wicked sense of humor. A must read.
3. C aka C-Lo is one smarmy mama and proves it at . The smarm is backed by funny and honesty. She makes good blog.
4. Chopperpapa over at Unique perspective on parenting from a rough and tough biker dude with a twisted sense of humor and killer attitude. You won't read anything like him.
5.  I haven't been reading him long but I feel like I've known his work a long time. Micheal aka @tolthinkfree is one of the deepest thinkers, brutally honest writers I've ever read. He lays it all out there and you appreciate every word. Go here:

   Go check out these awesome bloggers.  

Today's song pays tribute to the originality of the aforementioned bloggers and my new tattoo. You all pump your fist to I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Joan is great, but the song is a a cover of British glam rock pioneers The Arrows. I think the first song is really good and deserves recognition. So, put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bon Jovi Still Sucks

I laughed when I saw the Nirvana concert t-shirt at Target. The only time I could have seen them, early 1992, reminded me of a black eye. "Kurt Cobain should ban you from the show for liking Bon Jovi too." That was the last straw for my friend who bought the tickets. Then I said something else obnoxious, and he punched me. I chuckled through the pain, ending the friendship with another stupid comment. I recalled the last thing he ever said to me, "You don't have the credentials to insult people like you think you do!" I bought the t-shirt.

*blogger's note* This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's 100 word challenge at  http:// . This week's one word prompt is CREDENTIALS. This is a partially true story of how my music snobbery gets me in trouble. I never had Nirvana tickets, but I did get sucker punched for saying Bon Jovi sucks. I still feel that way. Kurt would have been proud of me. I do own that t-shirt.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Irony Of Nice

I have been called a lot of awful words in my life. Some of them are remarkably accurate. I have grown very thick skin. I'm divorced, remarried, the father of three girls and friends to several people of questionable character; there's not a lot I haven't heard. Yet, one 4 letter word, a horrible insult when studied,  I can't handle when it's used toward me.

NICE - (nais) adjective :
1) pleasant or commendable - "a nice day"
2) kind or friendly - "a nice gesture of help"
3) good or satisfactory - "they make a nice job of it"
4) subtle, delicate, or discriminating - "a nice point in the argument
5) precise, skillful "a nice fit"
6) Now rare fastidious, respectable - "he was not too nice about his methods"
7) Obsolete
a - foolish or ignorant
b- delicate
c- shy, modest
d- wanton

Notice how the dictionary listing of nice includes one negative definition and tags it at the end of the entry? That's how society gets you. Well I should say me, and the thousands of dudes who get called "nice guys" by people, especially by the opposite sex, and it becomes an insult. Nice guys finish last, nice guys finish in their hands, don't be so nice all the time; how many of you have heard those phrases and felt defeated? I was reminded about 2 years ago by a high school friend (oh how I despise The Facebook and glad I deleted it) about a girl we knew. The original story is pointless except that it brought back a memory of when I was my daughter's age, so 15 maybe, I "liked" this girl. One day, as I was finding the courage to ask her out, I overheard her exchanging scouting reports with her girlfriends about me and a couple of other guys I knew. I was called "the nice guy". It was clear, none of the girls had interest in me as boyfriend material. Now, I laugh at these girls because the one good thing about The Facebook is pictures. You see how they turned out at age 40. But, then, at age 15, I was devastated. Unfortunately, like a single A baseball outfielder who struggles with hitting a curveball and throwing to the cutoff man, you are branded for your high school career and into college.

My parents did an outstanding job raising me. My father is one of the kindest human beings on the planet. The worst thing you can do to him or around him is be rude or impolite. He instilled that into me early and often. I love him so much for it. My mom was the same. She is a good southern lady with manners and treats people by the golden rule. I think my problem was, and to a certain extent, still is, I took being kind, having manners, treating people with respect, combined with my caretaker, people pleaser personality and had "nice" run me over like a MAC truck.

My wife knows me better than anyone. She remembers to not call me nice. Naive, over-trusting, people pleasing, positive and pollyannic, but never nice. Puppies, quilts, fireplaces, and babies dressed for Easter are things you call nice. If you call a guy nice, you may as well call him late for dinner, because he isn't coming.

Today's song would have been an obvious choice if I hadn't blogged about Alice Cooper recently. Instead of No More Mr. Nice Guy, we'll go with another group that should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Social Distortion. Their lead singer and songwriter, the man's man, awesomely tattooed, Mike Ness would probably beat you senseless if you called him nice. It's why I idolize him. Since this blog post is about The unfortunate Story of my Life, this tune is perfect and prophetic. Play it loud. Nice guys....punk rock out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Get Free

Today is a great, not good, but great day. At first glance, it doesn't appear so, but trust me, today is a day to celebrate. Yesterday, we paused to talk about the greatness of Dr. Martin Luther King and his civil rights work that made us a better people. Now, it's time to party like rock stars; the kids are alright; they're back in school.

I read your blogs, tweets, and emails. Some of you like being at home way too much. This doesn't mean I don't like you or respect you, but read my words boys and girls, freedom is OUTSIDE your front door. I am swamped at work. No one that I work with has done much for the last week due to weather, Holiday, and general slow first of the year, stuff. Traffic was Hell on Earth this morning. Yet, I smiled and danced in my car. Why? Because things are back to the way they should be. My three daughters are in school for the first time in 10 days. My wife is back on a regular schedule at work. I couldn't be happier.

Bobina has her own blog, , so in her beautiful blonde way, can expound on the greatness of being a stay at home mom, being inside the house a lot, and wishing the kids were natural geniuses and thus didn't need to go to school so they could be home with her 24/7, but for my money, I'm glad there is an order to things that involves work, school, and getting out.

A week of snow and ice, followed by a weekend, followed by a national Holiday was way too much for me. Don't get me wrong, I love my family. I enjoyed our boardgames , nerf gun fights, trip to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and snowball throwing. We had a good time together. We'll have more good times. Yet, I am elated to be back to "normal" today.

I just wrote a thoughtful post for @dadofdivas for the "dads in the limelight" series on his blog. I think it's there now, if not, it will be soon. I keyboarded paragraph after paragraph about how much I enjoyed being a husband and father. Every word was true. I should have included this blog post, because I am also happy with being back on schedule. Maybe, someday soon, Bobina will get her wish to stay at home. I don't like traveling. I do like working. I am no longer itching like a One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest mental patient to get out of the house. I'm free.

Today's song not only reflects this feeling, it also rocks. Here's The Vines Get Free....

Remember to apply sarcasm to everything I write.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sometimes I'm Right, then I can be wrong

Real, significant, important change takes a while. Today, schools, businesses, and governments are taking the day off to honor a man who gave his life so that change would happen. January 15th is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.. He would have been 82 had people were accepting to overnight change. Instead, two more generations of Americans continued prejudice and hate after Dr. King died to a racist's bullet in Memphis in 1968.

I spent the majority of my childhood unaware of other cultures, races and lifestyle. Everyone around me looked like me, talked like me, and were blissfully ignorant like me. Then I went away to college and none of this was true anymore. I changed every view I had in a span of 4 years out of the culture shock, alone.

My daughters live a different existence. While they have tolerant parents to guide them, my girls are color blind and culturally aware on their own. Dr. King's dream of children of different races attending school, church, and play together in harmony and without conflict is a reality with my children and their generation. My teenager's friend who is a boy's heritage is from Bangladesh and South America. My younger children's friends are from different races and cultures. No one even talks about it being unusual. My kids have no use for prejudice. If anything, they correct their white friends' inappropriateness.

I have often said that societal evolution cures the world's ills. Time just happens and people realize that arguing and ignorance can not stand. Today's song was two generations ahead of it's time. It was released at the same time Dr. King lost his life. If it came out today, it would be considered corny and unneeded. People have probably moved past the message. For today, in case you haven;t moved on, listen to the words. I know some people who could benefit from the sweet educational nature and kindness of melody of Sly and the Family Stone's Everyday People. The first line alone is enough of a theme.

P.S, Dr. King, if you are reading blogs in Heaven, I hope you know, your dream is realized more than you may have even believed. Color blindness exists in adundance.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Learning the Hard Way

Fists hit my face as pain overwhelmed me. I heard her voice, dodging sobs and tears, wail "please, don't hurt him!" Too late I thought; and blood filled my mouth. My assailant seemed invincible as he kicked my ribs until people pulled him away from me. The last thing I remember before blacking out was her saying, "cops are coming, got to get him out of here so he doesn't get arrested." It would be a week before I ate solids. I laugh now at the irony. That was the last time I helped a damsel in "distress".

*blogger's note* This is my 100 words submission to . The one word prompt is INVINCIBLE. I had a tough time with this week's word. There are several excellent entries  including Bobina's own Invincible, Just Maybe at . Check out vel's site's and the fine writers there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Delurk Jerk, and drop in some comments

Grace aka @grace134 over on teh twitterz made me and some other blogger types aware of National Delurking Day. I know. It's some lame internets madeup day to give writer people like me something to blog about. You caught me. You think this is easy? making up blog topics and saving the world every day? Look, I know at least 100 of you are reading this blog every day and only two or three or four are commenting. This National Delurking Day is to bring some of you out of the stalker mode and into the light of day, once. Thank you for reading, now it's survey time.

1. What’s your name, and how long have you been reading this site?

2. Do you have a blog and/or a Twitter name and/or something else we should all read today? If you don’t have one yourself, you can tell us about someone else who is deserving of our eyeballs today.

3. What is your favorite song right now? I am going to go listen to it and tell you what I think. No pressure. Don't let my music expertise intimidate you. I will be gentle....or maybe not

4. Is there anything I haven’t covered or answered but I should have, but you couldn’t tell me that because you were busy lurking?  DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR ME?

5. Are you a lurker everywhere, or is it just my blog?

6. Tell me something really weird or unusual about you. That will take care of the whole “every time I want to say something, someone already said it” thing.

7. Recommend something. A book, or a movie, or a flash game, or a friend of yours as a really excellent person, or a valid career path, or a little known parenting strategy, or a super clever cleaning tip or trick, or incredibly helpful organizational tool, or the best socks you’ve ever owned. Or if you know where I can find the best pumpkin pie, I'll be your best e-friend ever.

I appreciate each of you for obliging my small spot on the web for the last 8 or so months. Things will get better from here, I pinky swear. take the survey, let me know what you think. Baby Jesus doesn't like liars or lurkers but answer however you want.

Thank you again.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some Men You Just Can't Reach

It's forty seconds of your life. Click play on the video and watch it two, three, heck four times. What do you get from viewing? Paul Newman whipped into a ditch? Yeah, what else? "What we have heeeuh is a failyuh ta cummmuynukate. Some men you jus kaint reech." This past weekend a lost soul, full of evil, walked into a political event near a grocery store, pulled a gun, and shot a lot of people in Arizona. Six innocents are dead, including a beautiful nine year old girl. I refuse to post her picture because it will make me, my wife and several of you cry and have nightmares. As a parent, I have done a lot of thinking about what might happen to one of my own daughters if someone horrible crossed their path.

The result of the tragedy, because the main target of the gunman was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a progressive Democrat who was "gunsighted" by conservative Republican Sarah Palin on her website and others for defeat in the next election has been to point fingers at uncivil political discourse. I never post about politics and trust me when I tell each of you, this is the least political post you will read on the internet, pinky swear; real discussion of issues will not drive reasonable people full of goodness to kill. Please stop thinking that Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, or Bill O'Reilly can send right wing zombies on murder sprees. No more than Keith Olberman or Jon Stewart can.

In the early 1800s, Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel. For almost two hundred years people branded Burr a treasonist for disagreeing with Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton on the issues of the day and supposedly trying to overthrow the government. It all turns out that Hamilton was spreading libelous information about Burr's personal life and Burr felt he had to defend his family. Burr's politics are more in line with conservative Democrats or middle of the road libertarians of today. He believed in equal rights for women, a middle class that had access to government, and having newspapers and media have open access to information about Congress. The point is, don't believe everything you hear all the time.

There is no explanation for why a madman or as our former President George W. Bush called it, an evildoer, went on a violent outburst in Tuscon, Arizona. He wasn't driven by The Drowning Pool's Bodies song any more than the killers of Columbine High School 12 years ago were by Marilyn Manson music.

We can do better than pointing fingers at each other and resorting to personal attacks when we disagree. I used to be rant and rave about politics, then I realized I was failing in my own life and worked on myself. How could I argue anything with anyone if I couldn't get along with my own family or friends. I struggle as a husband and father enough that I can not, in good conscience, with a straight face, tell someone else why they're wrong voting on an issue or a candidate. Someof you will read this and call me soft because I'm not blasting one side or the other. Others of you will read this and question my political views and wonder why I haven't made grandiose statements of right or wrong. Wrong blog, wrong post, boys and girls. We can do better than that anyway. We can relate to each other without doing any of that. There may be some men, and women, you just can't reach, but most of them you can touch postively. Let's work from there.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adult Angst

It's the third day. The third fricking day. Ice covers most of the roads. Snow continues to fall, small, light flakes, but it falls. The suburb I live in and the one connected to my employer's office are littered with stalled cars, fender bended cars, and cold, cranky policemen, just trying to do their jobs withoit losing their sanity. I made it out today. I had to. I was becoming Jack Torrance like.

The writer who takes over a haunted hotel in Maine during a blizzard in Stephen King's The Shining, and I are sharing traits that I find disturbing. In a play on his descent into madness; no work, no play, at home all day, makes Lance a crazy boy. We are a mobile society. I am a product of it. I don't apologize for my type A personality, but I am aware it can rub people the wrong way; especially my family.

The first day, Monday, was nice. An unexpected day off from work, the kids were home, Bobina and the girls and I had a snowball fight (see the post - Snowdaze on this blog page) and even talked with each other kindly. The second day was different. Roads were impassable, we were eating like deserted island survivors just found by the cruiseliner, and fuses were getting short. Ok, fine, jerks, my fuse was the shortest. I just wanted to get out of the house for a while. It was hard to write because the girls wanted to talk and play, I got that. By dinner even my dog , the sweet Buddy the golden retriever, was making me want to punch things. The girls and Bobina went to bed early. I watched Bullitt with Steven McQueen.

The coolest dude on the planet witha Ford Mustang Fastback, and dudes getting shot. I started writing. It was good. Words moved, characters did things that made sense, and I felt free with my ideas. I started laughing at myself for being so wound up about being shut in. Then I went to bed to Bobina.

The third day was here. Work called early; just before 8am. Bobina's work did too. She was due in by 10am. Our short fuses were extinguished, somewhat, by Tay's 15th birthday today.

I started looking forward to steak. She wants to go to Longhorn for her birthday dinner. It's a meal away from home. That's what I'm thinking about.

The weather is supposed to bad again tonight and into tomorrow. This is a lost week for schools and businesses. I don't own an ax. Don't worry.

Today's song is a little weird. If there was a rock tune called Adult Angst, I'd play it. But, it's Tay's birthday. She's 15 and trust me she's angsty. I love her so. Here's Cracker;

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One-One One-One One

The calendar says it's 1-1-11 or January 11, 2011. People are telling, emailing, tweeting, blogging, and broadcasting that it's a big deal. I have to be honest, if I wasn't plugged into the internet, I wouldn't have realized. Tay, my teenage daughter, turns 15 tomorrow, and I have been programmed to know what January 12th is; requiring me to know two date sin January is asking too much. I read over the conspiracies and math nerdery and started listening to songs that honored the number one. My favorite is U2's ballad about keeping difficult relationships together:

It has one of favorite lyrics; "has you come here for forgiveness? Have you come to raise the dead? Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head."

The tragedy in Arizona, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head and six others losing their lives, including a beautiful 9 year old girl, has made me think about how lucky each of are to have the people we love in our lives.

The other good line in U2's song, is "we're one, but we're not the same" should be a personal motto for each of us. I struggle with being patient and emotionally strong with my loved ones because I like my strong,opinionated personality, while also liking getting along with them. While none of us are "the same", we, my family I speak of, have decided to be one.

There isn't a lot of snark, sarcasm, or sublime in this blog post. I'm in a mood. I hope, as you read this, you use today's unsual date and the lyrics to the song of Three Dog Night's One (is the loneliest number) -
to pep talk yourself into being stronger and more understanding to the people you know, who deserve it.

Happy One Day

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Daze

My work called, said, work from home or take a personal day. Bobina's had her come in for an hour , then closed down, so she hit the grocery store for importnat things like hot chocolate and pumpkin pie.

Then we did what we always do as a family when our suburban section of Atlanta gets slapped with six inches of fresh snow. We put on every piece of winter clothing we own, including tube sock on our hands, and went outside for a snowball fight!

My youngest was the cutest. She ran up and down the street, getting a head cold with each stride, I'm sure. Then waited for each of us to stand still and she threw snow at areas of our body, we would find flakes tonight when we least expected.

 A winter miracle happened right after I popped Tay the teenager with a snowball in the hip. She turned and smiled, yes, you read that correctly, smiled, and let me take a picture.

Snowbina lives! She loves snow. She organized this family outing and although her snowball aim is minor league, she had fun watching us. Then, in Snowbina fashion, she shoved a pack of fresh white snuff in my collar. I'm pretty sure I have frostbite. Call me whiteneck.

Ahhhh, Snowbinafest 2 in underway. Someone's getting revenge best served cold.

After a nap, we decided to try to make a snowman. Tay and I struggled

While Bobina snapped pictures, Goose ice danced, I'm not sure what that is, but she's very good at it. Buddy the Golden Retriever made an appearance. Neither I nor Goose could get him to make Snow Buddy Angel; he did, though, make yellow snow, so we abandoned the snowman porject.

By the way, last week, he got a haircut at mommy's work. Normally he's well coated against the weather.

Finally Tay suggested hot chocolate and I remembered the pumpkin pie in the fridge and Snobinafest 2 came to a close for this Monday.

Here's some Snow Blind by KISS' Ace Frehley .... rock on:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guest Blogging

One of my new years resolutions has already been achieved. Thanks to Chuck aka @_DeadJournalist on twitter, I have a post priemering today at his website . If you like, care, or even think about music, his site is for you. It caters to the artist, and that's what makes it good.

My post is here:

I hope it becomes a regular thing. Thanks Chuck.

Friday, January 7, 2011

If you wanna, talk fishin', well, I guess that'd be ok

Im March, 2004, I put on a suit. My appearance was the best I could offer and I shined my shoes. I left the house an hour earlier than I needed to, stopping for gas despite having a half a tank. The building was tall, dark, impressive, and the parking garage was massive. I walked through the glass breezeway, told the armed guard twice my size who I was and who I wanted to see. Minutes later he led me to the executive elevator and I went to the 17th floor. Greeted by a pleasant, but serious looking receptionist, I was walked toward a huge office, encased in glass, overlooking the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Six men sat in front of me, none of them smiled. One man knew me, he knew my family, even he was somber. It was a job interview for a large company, the kind where you start a career. Everything started normally, then the fourth question they asked me, threw me for a loop, "Where do you see yourself at 40 years old?" I was 33 at the time, my 7 and a half year old daughter was 5 months old, I had stayed up half the night with her because she ate every 3 hours, I was exhausted, and 40 still seemed like 80 to me. I answered stupidly, "wow, that seems so far off." The man who asked me the question, interrupted me, and replied, sternly, "I'm 40, everyone else here is over 40." I realized he didn't care what my answer was, he wanted me to handle pressure. So he applied more.

I got the job. I'm still in the position. I'm a man, I'm 40 (that never gets old) ,Most of the questions they asked were conventional but a couple were meant to get me out of my comfort zone. In the end, I understood that and I was thankful for their opportunity.

This article, from Yahoo News Finance, highlights the 25 weirdest job interview question:

Some of these seem insane. Others, you can see where the employer was going, trying to get inside the head of the person who wanted a six figure salary and benefits. The NFL is known for there seemingly bizarre interview process. Last year, Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland asked potential first round draft choice, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, if his mother was a prostitute. There was some context, not a lot, that pushed Ireland in this direction. Bryant made it through his interview with the Dolphins without killing anyone, then got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

In the last two years I have received promotions to a managerial level. I hire people. I usually ask the same three things. They revolve around work ethic, history with other people, and availability for emergencies. Then we shake hands, eat something, and start working. I have never asked anyone if their mother was a hooker or what kind of tree they would be.

I am perplexed as to why anyone needs to know something that isn't directly related to the job needed. I think the majority of people conducting the interviews in the Yahoo story and NFL teams are more concerned with their own power, not the applicant's qualifications. I think Lynyrd Skynyrd were ahead of their time when they recorded this song 37 years ago.

For the record, my parents are wonderful, gamefully and respectfully employed people. If I inherited a pizzeria from my uncle, I would hire someone with restaurant savvy to run or I would sell. I would be a banana tree so I could live in warm climate and provide sustenance. Most of all, like my good ole boys in Skynyrd, if you ever want to talk fishin', it will always be ok.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The First Gig

Looking through the maroon curtain, I saw several hundred people in the college amphitheater. Two female students were stooled onstage, tuning their acoustic guitars. I walked inside the mens bathroom, hearing my bandmates arguing. "No way in hell am I playing our first gig ever named samesexunicorns. I'd rather be stabbed in the eyes.", the bassist, Kraig, complained. Writing on the dingy wall above a urinal, Aaron, the drummer, said "stab spelled backward is bats." Seizing a moment, I proclaimed "Fine, this place is about to be rocked by The Stab Bats." No one said anything, we just happened.

*blogger's note* This is my contribution to @velvetverbosity 's 100 word challenge at . This week's one word prompt is STABBED or DEB BATS spelled backward. This is based on a partially true of a college's friend's band, in 1991, who renamed themselves before their first gig, minutes before playing. It was their only performance.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Bad Word

I have written a lot, lately, about the things going well in my life. It is now time for me to be honest about my biggest failure, my language. I don't curse, I don't use slurs, and I don't talk down to women. I talk like my teenage daughter.

She enjoys making fun of me. If she wasn't giving me the business, something would be wrong with our relationship. Yet, I realize that her disapproval of some of the words I use is not only rational, it's right. A few nights ago I was watching San Diego State play Navy in the Who Gives A Flip College Football Is Insanely Greedy For Sponsoring A Game Featuring These Teams Bowl. San Diego State has a running back who is excellent at football. He was scoring his second touchdown and my daughter, Tay, seen here:

was walking through the room and heard me say "that dude is beast", I saw her stare at me, roll her eyes, and then I said "or tight, legit, money, sick or whatever, you know". Suddenly, under the critical eye of an almost 15 year old, I was reduced to blather more suited to a cast member if the movie Clueless.

I have several friends, real and online, with kids in the same age range. They report similar issues with either trying to relate to their teen children through music, movie, or vocabulary. Twitter has become a great resource for antecdotal evidence that a lot of 40 year olds (my age) talk or at least tweet like, 15 year olds (my daughter's age, in 10 days). I see the words holla, aight, whatever, pshaw, k, lol, omg, viral, woot, like, you know, and countless others that probably shouldn't come from the mouths or keyboards of anyone over the age of 20.

Now it's time to show my age. Almost 30 years ago, Moon Unit Zappa, the then teenage daughter of alternative rock musician Frank Zappa, released the song Valley Girl, which spawned a memorable movie starring a teenage Nicolas Cage.

Moon Unit, with her dad's genius production, made a novelty song hilighting the verbal gymnastics Southern California teenage girl engaged in with words like, grody, to the max, gag me with a spoon, as if, like, ya, and many other words that would make English professors want to find a shotgun and lose their minds. I remember my parents thinking me, and my friends had lost our minds when we started mimicking the language. Funny this is, my parents didn't follow suit. Whereas, I have, and so has my wife and our friends.

I'm a word nerd. I used to study the dictionary and thesaurus in my room growing up. I wanted to go into sports broadcasting as a teenager. I had a southern accent, and wanted to lose it so badly that by my freshman year of college I sounded like I was from the Midwest or Northeast. My diction was unnaturally clean. I also did not use Valley Girl words or hip hop culture stables like holla, aight, yo, or bomb diggity.

I find it difficult writing my 100 word entries, my fiction, or even a friendly story review for a friend, without tossing in a non sequiter or some slang. My favorite song of 2010 was American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem. While the song was brilliant, I couldn't escape lazy verbiage. It's endemic, though. I work around men and women who are middle aged and they mix in slang and teenage talk without realizing they're doing it. This isn't me writing about how the world is headed to hell in a handbasket because we talk like Jay Z or Ke$ha. Music is headed to hell in handbasket because of it, but the world itself is ok. I am going to make it a goal of mine in 2011 to talk more my age. Act my age, absolutely not. I have a blog and a twitter account for goodness sakes. I will leave the young slang and the hip hop lingo to my daughter and the teenage kids of Chris/@DxPepper, Nee Cee/@DDubsLilDDub, C/ @onesmarmymama, Corrine/@Corrine224, @& Heather/@MrazFan19 (they all responded to my twitter poll on the subject). My wife is on the spot too. She's pretty and all but the woman talks like Vampire Diaries cast member.

It's funny, I learn more from my kids than I do from people my own age these days. The cooler I try to act around Tay, the less cool I am to her. She wants me to be the big goober dad type I sould be, which means seen, not heard. I'll continue to embarrass her as much as possible, but I'll make sure to say the latest Eminem record is well done hip hop as opposed to phat beat that blow up my speakers, dawg. See, that reads as stupid as it sounds.


I mean, the end. Good night.