Monday, February 28, 2011

Family Reunion

Our Jeep blared Concrete Blonde's Everybody Knows as we arrived on the outskirts of  Langdon, North Dakota in a farming field. Their was at least at hour of day light left. My Langdon Cardinals t-shirt notwithstanding, neither Breann nor I blended with the Dakota locals.

The late summer wind picked up and blew evenly over the field of yellow canola. Breann and I got out and looked across the first acre of grain. There stood out brothers and sisters. I began to walk the half a mile or so towards the four, Breann stood, like an oak tree, planted to guard the canola. Inexplicably, I walked back towards her and stood. The group of four, although meeting us for the first time, seemed in tune with the unspoken command to stand over the yellow field.

As the first of the four arrived at our station a few feet away from the car, I hugged Bruce and Leann. Then Breann spoked. "Look out at that abudant, perfectly placed crop. Was that where each of us were born?" We all shrugged our shoulders and began to make small talk. Breann grabbed my arm, whispered in my ear "Caleb, break open a couple of the canola plants and show them what we're here for." I cut the top off the furst one near me, split the root, and saw what Breann was talking about. Small, metallic particles gathered in the middle of my hand. Lucas, the landscaper among us and greenest of our 12 thumbs couldn't contain himself, "Holy Christ, these plants are bio-engineered." Lena added, "so. I'm guessing those metal pieces are part of what makes our hearts, nervous systems, and brains work." No one wanted to answer that question. We had above board, everyone knows about grand experimental fake food. Now if was time to find the guys who created this field of faux eats and figure out why the six of us are beyond normal and how long til our warranties ran out.

Breann, Lena, and I followed the rest to a National Park about 10 miles away. I noticed Bruce, technically the oldest of our group by 10 days, was moving slowly, even sickly. I heard him tell Lucas, his closest friend of our unique group, that he "might not make it home". Breann's investigative journalist skills picked up Bruce's weakness and started the think circle with the idea of describing any symptoms and other personal medical  information. Bruce was born September 1st, Lucas the next day, Lena's birthday was September 4th, while her scrapbooking buddy Leann was born almost 2 days later. That left me at September 10th, and Breann 8 hours later, on the 11th. With all of us facing our 41st birthdays between the next 6 and 16 days. It was desperation to find our creators, I should say doctors; or we'll all expire. Not die. Not pass away, but expire. Bruce, a rough and tumble hunter who had shot big game all over Montana, parts of Canada. and Colorado, produced a Bowie knife. "Bruce, this isn't necessary, we can get the not so good Doctors to do this."  Bruce was convinced he was close to dead. That Bowie knife belonged to him, so did his destiny. He held it over a cigarette lighter, then inserted under his rib cage near his heart. Lucas, seeing that Bruce was struggling with finding metal, assisted in the impromptu surgery and they ticked a metal lining near the heart. Breann, knew her role, she took a picture of the incision. Luann, a nurse at a Veternarian Clinic, found stables and gauze and cleaned the wound, then closed it up. Bruce was green with pain and illness.

"We have our evidence, our test subjects, now we need to confront these scumbags," Lucas stated. No one responded. We just checked on Bruce. Then I called my family. "Hey baby, we're in North Dakota cuttin' up." My wife wasn't getting the bad joke. "I have to go, I'll call you soon". Then, Breann pulled me to the side, and said "Bruce is going to die. He knows it too. Say what you want about how crazy this is, robots know there bodies." I was trying to find a silver lining, next to the metal lining of the six of our robotic hearts; "Let's send Bruce home, and let his family see his final days. If we can save him long distancely, sweet, if not, at least he dies with his wife and his kids."  I walked over to my brother in metal arms, and convinced him to get the heck out of Langdon, North Dakota.

*blogger's note* This is an excerpt from a book I'm writing. The good people at Studio30plus issued a one word prompt - CONCRETE. This is my contribution,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Searching For My Fortress Of Solitude

The wood was strong, fragrant and had a green hue that made the sunshine dance off it. The nails were spaced in a pattern that I swore looked like rivets on a B-52 Bomber vintage 1950 something. A treehouse stood between two oak trees in my back yard. It was the perfect hangout for a kid. I don't remember the square footage, but it was bigger than my first dorm room at college. As a 10 year old boy, it seemed like a mansion. I picked up a broom to sweep out the spiderwebs, dust, and mildew. In a few minutes, I would be reading the latest Spiderman or Green Lantern adventure, adding up box scores from the Atlanta Braves west coast road trip, and plotting my future as a rock star or athlete. Then tragedy struck. The broom caught a hornets' nest. Several angry, flying, bad intentioned insects stung. They got me, they got my mom, mostly they got the treehouse. My dad and grandfather poured gasoline to prevent the hornets from returning. The trauma was too much to overcome. The perfect getaway now smelled like petroleum and bug spray. I never used the treehouse again.

I always found Superman boring. The disguise was stupid, He was an alien for crying out loud. Plus there wasn't enough brooding and angst like Spiderman and Batman brought to the show. Jon Bon Jovi has a Superman tattoo on his arm. That means, I will never be looking at Superman as anything cool. The one thing Superman had that's interesting is somewhere in Northern Greenland, near the Artic Circle, called his Fortress of Solitude.
That's where Superman can hang out, watch football on the big screen, not have to put up with Lois Lane's bull, and create scientific experiments that help mankind. Most dudes will tell you, finding their own fortress of solitude is mandatory to being balanced and happy. Hunting, fishing, golfing, their buddies' mancave, somewhere, a guy needs to get  away. It isn't an anti-female thing. It isn't ant-social. It's being by yourself or away from the normal so you can clear you head, have some mindless fun, and understand your place in the world.

The next time I ever found a good hideout was college. I worked at the student radio and television stations. They were located at the top of the communications building almost dead center in the campus of the University of Alabama.

Alabama's grounds; also called the Capstone, were shaped like a perfect square. From a building top view you could see all four corners of a beautiful school that played good football and had a decent music scene. The roof of the communications building had two eaves that weren't seen from the street. You could take a sandwich, a walkman (it was the late 80s to early 90s), and chill completely out for large chunks of time.

I'm the only guy in my home. My dog's a boy but he acts like the 4 women I live with, plus, he doesn't speak in full sentences. As much as I dig my wife, who is my best friend, and three daughters; there are times where it would be nice to be alone for a few minutes. I have two options. One is the bathroom, which is tough to pull off since I do live with women and they like being in the bathroom, a lot. The other one is the gym. No one I live with has a membership so there's an hour I can lose myself in sweat, the ipod, and my own body. The problem with both fortresses of solitude is, the wife and three daughters don't see them as sacred as I. They have to know things. Important things like, where's their hair brush, who moved the remote control, what do I want for dinner, can I go to the grocery store and get what THEY want for dinner, and the most pressing need to know, what am I doing? This contact happens through the door, their voices carrying over while I'm in the bathroom of solitude or by cell phone while I'm on a treadmill, doing pushups or handling a couple hundred pounds on my neck while bench pressing. You can say, "getting away" is a lost cause I'm losing belief in.

The Green Lantern, underrated superhero and one of my favorites, had a ring that could produce a forcefield around himself. Dude could hideout in a cocoon, anywhere in the world.

I wear a ring. It means my wife and kids can tell me what to do anytime, anyplace, and I need to suck it up and take it like a married man. You might ask, why don't you go to the gym or the bathroom when everyone's asleep? Well, I like going to bed with, and waking up with my wife.

She's warm, smells nice, and asks for me to be there. I help her get the girls ready for school. We have a routine that sometimes works. I'm also a responsible person. So, to answer questions like, "why not turn your phone off at the gym" I say, because they may need me, and often do. My job is to be there for them. I get enough time, small pockets as they may be, to work out, write, watch ballgames, and be a dude. I just need to manage my time better.

I travel for work. One of my jobsites in at the top of a mountain overlooking Eastern Tennessee. You can see for dozens of miles through clear blue skies and over gorgeous forests. It's the perfect place to picnic with my wife and three daughters. There's even an area to play touch football. Next time I can, I'm taking them to work with me. Superman can have his fortress of solitude. That's too nerdy for me. I need to hear about hairdos, friends who are boys that are cute, and what the guys on Big Time Rush are up to.

Somewhere through this post I realized I wasn't complaining. I actually got the fact that never being alone is a good thing. I don't disappear in the woods hunting for days at a time like some men do. I trade trips to the flea market for watching the big Jets football game uninterrupted. I accompany a teenage girl to cheerleading practice and later on, I watch an entire Devils hockey game untouched. My wife and kids do kinda, sorta like me. They want me around, not apart from them, contemplating who would win in a fight, a robot versus a ninja versus a zombie versus a vampire. They need for me to be in the same address while they surround me with there dramatic lives. Instead of desperately searching for my fortress of solitude, I think I need to settle on my treehouse of gratitude. I can get a good five minutes, every once in a while, to think about things there. By the way,  Robots are smarter than ninjas, vampire, and zombies. Of course they'd win. You didn't think I wasn't going to represent my cyborg brothers did you?

Today's song is ironic to say the least. When Pat Monaghan and Train were a good band, they wrote this rock tune about being on the road, thinking they were "Free", when they really were searching for a place to call home. This song really lays it all out there. Listen to you several times, if you wish. Here's Free;

Friday, February 25, 2011

Seeing Things

The last five years of my life have been a blur. I know I should have done things differently, but stubborness and pride got the best of me. So I finally manned up, drove to the store, dropped six bucks, and got some glasses. My eyes are not only brown, they're failing. They have been for 10 years. I went to the eye doctor 7 years earlier, had an exam, and got some prescription frames. Those lasted a while, then I got stupid, didn;t wear them for a while because I thought I didn't need to, and my eyesight got worse, making those glasses obsolete. In the meantime, driving, reading, living all worsened. It was time to drop the "holy crap, I'm old if I wear glasses" neuroses and see clearly, literally and figuratively.

I am the owner and wearer of 1.50 rectangular blue framed reading glasses. They also help me write this blog, and see when I drive. I can actually read a street sign, tell you what my daughter's high school sign and wife's work sign says, and not guess as to whether the road lines are dotted or full.

I posted a couple of pictures on the twitter and got comparisons to one of the greatest singer/songwriters of the past two generations, the great Elvis Costello

and Ted Allen, formerly of Queer Eye for the Straight guy, and now the Food Network guru on wine, food, and style.

I'm unfamiliar with Ted Allen's work, but he wears nice suits, knows a lot about stuff I'm clueless on and seems to be a well respected fellow. The Elvis Costello comparison has gone completely to my head. I'm running with it. The Prince of Sardonic Wit and composer literate pop, rock, and jazz music is one of my artistic heroes.

This is me. I can write well, sometimes; I've  maintained gamefull employment with good company for over 7 years, I'm a killer on a charcoal grill, my kids think I'm not half bad, and my wife lets my key work at our house. Take that Ted and Elvis.

This is actually a bigger deal than the surface would indicate. I don't go to doctor unless something's broken in three places, I only apologize when sleeping on the couch is proposed or kids are openly weeping, and I don't take to aging, at all. Six dollars coming off the hip of the robot-human hybrid who thinks he's ok no matter how blurry life looks might as well been six million to the rest of you. Now I just have to keep these glasses out of the hands of my kids. These things break or get lost and I'll drive off a cliff seeing triple rather than get more. You read that right.

Today's song is from one of my hometown bands, Atlanta, Georgia's very own Black Crowes. I saw them perform this song almost twenty years ago, March, 1991. Lead singer Chris Robinson poured so much blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul into the vocal. It's about heartbreak and realizing what you need to do to solve a problem. It serves, not only, as a song title companion to this post, but also as a metaphor for my intentional neglect of my sight. Turn up the sound, let Rich Robinson's guitar take you away, and may the southern fried rock and roll lead your Friday. I give you my glasses, and The Black Crowes' Seeing Things For The First Time;

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Father-Daughter Talk About Beauty

Every morning between 6:50am and 6:58am, my wife calls me. It's one of three reasons. She wants something brought to her at work for breakfast, there's an errand or something that needs to be done that day and she forgot to tell me about it, or our teenage daughter amazed her. Most mornings my wife drops Tay, our 15 yr old, off at her high school which is one mile down the same street from my wife's work. They use the ride to talk, laugh, and make fun me and our other two daughters. Two days ago, Bobina calls me and says "our daughter is amazing". I respond "yeah, I know, what did she do now?" Bobina relays her astonishment as how Tay gets out of the car, pony tailed, t-shirted,blue jeaned and little to no makeuped,  walking confidently into school surrounded by her peers who are dressed to or made up to the nines.

I'm a girl dad. By that I mean I have three daughters and a niece who stays with us quite often. I can't imagine being the father to a boy because I don't have any in my life and I don't think I would want any. I was a little boy. I didn't like myself much. Boys break stuff. They whine a lot. Later in life boys stay dumber longer than girls and they mature slower. For all the faux complaining I do about the 4 women I live with; changing their minds, being high maintenance, and being, well, crazy; I wouldn't want things any other way.

I tell my daughters and my wife they are beautiful several times a day. I say it because I mean it and because I know they deserve to hear it. When I was about my Tay's age, I was very close friends with a girl who had an older sister than everyone considered stunningly good looking. I thought she was a first rate pain in the arse, and I knew some dirt on her that made my stomach turn. Her younger sister, my friend, appreciated me seeing through her sister's bullcrap, and, combined with our mutual interests, made us close for a while. One day while hanging at my friend's house, she was getting ready for a school dance. My friend, feeling plain and unpretty, was being fussy over her dress, hair, and the other stuff girls lose their minds over. She emerged from the bedroom in some ensemble, I told her she looked great, her dad, watching a football game with little interest anything other than the game, barked from the side of his mouth, "it doesn't matter honey, you're the smart one, worry about that." I wanted to punch him in the face,and myself for being part of his gender. I lost touch with my friend after she graduated high school. I later wondered how those words, plus others she heard from her insensitive oaf of a dad, must have hurt her throughout her life.

Being a father in a blended family has certain mine fields to walk through. I didn't meet Tay til she was 12, and her younger sister, the Goose, til she was 3. Not having the benefit of bonding with them as babies , meant there was some clumsiness the first year or so. They don't always know I'm joking when I am. They don't always assume I'm being well meaning. There are nuances to each of our personalities that I, as the adult, have to deal with, so that they feel as loved and cared for, as much as their 7 year old sister, Bug, whose diapers I changed. I try to be careful when Christina Aquilera or someone famously pretty is on tv, the radio, or a movie. I want them to feel comfortable around me at all times, and me and their mom talking about objective beauty probably send a weird message. I know that they'll remember the compliments I give, but they'll never forget the negative things I say. That's another reason why I call my daughters and my wife beautiful every day, several times a day.

Tay not being handcuffed by what her peers think of her superficially is amazing. At age 15, I was the shortest boy in my class. I was skinny, had just gotten off the braces, and I was still laughing at the word boobies, much less knowing anything about the opposite sex. My innocence was only matched by ignorance which competed with my awkwardness. I cared about what everyone thought me. My wife tells me, despite being physical mature at 15, she was mentally, very childlike, and hampered by peer pressure. This makes us more inpressed than usual of our daughter's confidence.

I read a lot of blogs written by women. So many seem overwhelmed with angst about what they look like, how they look like, and who they look like. You can count on one post a week from a  female blogger being about pretty, ugly, fat, thin, gross, awkward, weight loss, weight gain, past beauty issues, or current beauty issues. I want to reach through the computer, give the writer a hug, and tell them to get over it and be happy with themselves. There's something wrong with that mindset, but as a dude, I have no clue what to do about it.

I don't think fathers talk to their daughters enough about beauty. Every dad, except for the one I knew in high school, thinks their girl is gorgeous, a princess, and special. But, really discussing why their daughters feel the need to gussy up for their friends who are boys, compete superfically with girls, and have to have to makeup, perfume, eyebrow wax, and push up bras isn't discussed enough. My other two daughters, while young for this subject - 7 & 6, are watching their older sister. I hope, like their parents, they are admiring their big dumb sister Tay, for her aura of comfortableness. I'm going to have to put by old fashioned ideas aside, learn to to reduce my squirm, and talk more openly with all three girls about the pretty. I owe it to them.

Today's song probably isn't lyrically copasetic but I'm always in the mood for Pearl Jam. I heard this song going to pick up my teenager the other day. It started the thought process for this blog. Here's Daughter, enjoy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shimmer, In Front Of The Curtain

As a child, I lived in what I believed was healthy fear of my parents. Now a father and uncle, I think differently. A fallen curtain; repaired easily. This was the second time. The previous happening was met with my daughters fibs. I wanted the truth and the curtain left alone. As I walked upstairs with tools, I heard my daughter say to my niece "just tell him the truth. If you tell him the truth, you won't get in trouble." I swelled with pride and entered the room. Their faces were not frightened. They smiled and began to spill.

*blogger's note* This is my entry for this week's 100 word challenge for . The one word prompt is FRIGHTENED. This is a true story from about 3 weeks ago. My youngest daughter Carly aka the Goose, and my niece learned valuable lesson is personal responsibility and I awarded myself parent of the millenium for my young ones listening to something I told them. Give me a break, I got one thing right. I'm allowed an endzone dance.

Today's song is an older one from Shawn Mullins. It's about not being beholden to your past and looking at what you have as a blessing and learning from it all. My kids and my wife do that for me. Here's Shimmer....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Childhood Going Hollywood

Earlier today, I was driving to the Georgia - South Carolina border to pick up my oldest daughter. I ejected the Pearl Jam CD to get ready for Tay to listen to one of her favorite pop stations. The DJ was talking about Rihanna coming to an agreement to act in her first film, a big screen adaption of the board game Battleship. The dearth of show business' creativity doesn't surprise me. What caught my attention was, the memory Battleship brought to me. We play the game in our home. My six and seven year old daughters will bury you malice and no mercy in Battleship. Do not play against them. You've been warned. I also thought about two other games or toys created and made popular in the 1970s, my early childhood; Rock Em Sock Robots and Stretch Armstrong. After I got home I looked all three 35 year old child's things on the internet and was really floored. All three are being developed into Hollywood movies, set to release this year or next. This made me blog. Let's break down Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship, toy vs. movie.

Rock Sock Em Robots

The game - You are presented with a plastic "boxing ring" or squared circle. On each side are joysticks that control the fighting robots. Depending on the dexterity of your thumbs, momentary blind rage, and quickness of your plastic badass, you have 3 to 4 minutes of entertainment where your opponents head is disengaged and the taunting begins. This small window of graphic emotion and quick climax prepare you for adulthood.

The movie - Titled Real Steel and allegedly set in the near future where human boxing has been banned, likely due to the pathetic state of the heavyweight division (I blame the Klitschko brothers), and now controlled by Robot Gladiators. First of all, I find this offensive. As a robot-human hybrid, I am concerned at the bigotry shown that Robots are incapable of intellectual pursuits like blogging or tweeting. Hugh "X-Men Wolverine" Jackman stars as a failed human boxer who manages and promotes the Robot fighters. Evangeline Lilly, formerly Kate on the tv show LOST, co stars as alove interest. Hopefully to one of the robot heavy hitters. First review of this film is negative. The robot stereotyping combined with making a two hour pursuit from a game that last, grand total, five minutes, is very risky. I'm avoiding this one.

Stretch Armstrong

The Toy/Action Figure - Blond, tanned, Venice Beach native, malleable dude that you can stretch to ridiculous proportions was a fun time at my house growing up. The main goal to owning Stretch Armstrong was the betterment of mankind scientific experiment of cutting open the stretchy guy to figure out what was inside. After realizing the gel looked and smelled like week old warm grape jelly, you taped Stretch back together and played a Cold War Spy cat and mouse game with your parents until they figured out you ruined your Christmas present and you begged them for another one for your birthday. Later, Stretch made a terrific door stop, paper weight, and extension cord holder.

The movie - Spikey haired, whackadoo movie producer Brian Grazer is getting this made. He may be friends with Ron "Opie Ritchie Cunningham" Howard but after a quote like this : "Stretch Armstrong is a character I have wanted to see on screen for a long time ... It’s a story about a guy stretching ... the limits of what is possible to become all that he can be." This film deserves to be scratched for the sake of all of our intelligence. The Taylor something or another kid with the abs who plays a werewolf in those chick vampire movies is set to star. Run, don't walk from this one. Now, I need to hit ebay and find a Stretch Armstrong for my girls.


The game -

I've already mentioned my family fondness for the board game. It teaches counting, memory, and aquatic navigation. I sank your Battleship stands the test of time better than Oh Snap or You Just Got Told.

The movie -

I'm looking forward to Rihanna winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for her movie anthem "I Sank Your Battleship". Liam Neeson stars as well. He's got a cool voice. He's very tall and rarely makes bad films. I'm assuming Rihanna, Liam, and co star Brooklyn Decker will be playing robust games of Battleship. If not, then I expect good special effects, ships blowing up, and a lot of action. I'm in like Huck Finn on this flick. The outlook is good and the water is warm.

I am writing a book and so is my wife. I'm sure our tomes would make better screenplays than the swill blogged about. How can toys with heydays in the 1970s make decent movies? The ideas may be absurd but the memories they have invoked and the fun that can be had with my kids make for a positive experience talking about Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship. E6, hit!

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

Hmmm, maybe not 1 Corinthians 13:11

Today's song is about childish things like guilty pleasures. I don't like a lot of pop music but I listen to it with my wife and daughters. One of the songs we sing in the car sometimes is Rehab by Rihanna. It's catchy as can be, and hard to forget, Just like Rock Em Sock Em Robots, Stretch Armstrong and Battleship. Maybe I need to go to Rehab for this blog. Judge me if you wish, here's Rihanna and JT.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Day In The Life Of A Suburban Neanderthal

C Lo aka Cindy over at tagged me a few days ago with a good idea. Photoblog a normal day in my life and write something about it all. Today, Saturday was the day I chose. My wife, Bobina, and I had a perfect day for this. We slept in til 8am, watched some Law & Order SVU. 

Mariska Hargitay did her thing. Then we took a shower and headed out for our day.

Bobina insisted on getting some household items at Big Lots.

She likes the place. I always geta tetanus shot afterwards. We needed new bed sheets and a few other things.

Then we headed over to K-Mart. We are a grilling family. When we moved into out new house 4 months ago, we were forced to leave behind our dilapidated charcoal grill, assuming we'd get another one soon. That was in November. By the time the holidays rolled through, we were missing burgers, steaks, chicken, shrimp, and fish out on the grill. Tax money is coming into the home next week, so we budgeted for a new one and hit the Mart of K.

Then it was lunch and we saved some cash on the grill so we used it for a lunch at Momoyas, a Japanese place near out house. I had steak and shrimp, Bobina rocked some chicken and shrimp.

We headed home to put the grill together. Bobina did some household stuff while I engineered like an MIT student.

Buddy the golden retriever was a big help. Finally I got it together

Later we opened adult beverages, checked on our kids (they are all at their other families) and threw some salmon, shrimp, and asparagus on the new unit. It all came out well. I liked it a lot, Bobina said she'd had better.

I hope Cindy C LO is cool with my photoblogging entry. Bobina and I had a good day together without kids ; full of errands. The honeydew list was long but everything was accomplished except changing the headlight on my wife's car. That got pushed til tomorrow.

I'm supposed to answer a few questions in my photo blog:
1. What’s your name/your Blogger name? Lance, Lance
2. What’s your blog’s name/URL?
3. Write “the quick fox jumps over the lazy dog”. THE QUICK FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG.
4. Favorite quote? "You can run your whole life and not go anywhere" - Mike Ness of Social Distortion
5. Your Favorite song? right now it's Weekend by The Smith Westerns....all time it's Lucky Man by the Verve
6. Your favorite band/singers? The Clash, Radiohead, Led Zepplin, NY Dolls, T Rex, AC/DC, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, U2, Metallica, David Bowie, and many many others.
7. Anything else you want to say? I am a grill master and an impressive species of suburban neanderthal.

Today's song is a good one, albeit tongue in cheek. Wilco, The Thanks I Get is a love letter to marriage, in an ironic, realistic way. Enjoy the tune as I enjoyed my day. Our door is open when ever you want a burger or steak.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Worst Party

I'll try to describe the worst party I have ever been to. I walk into this huge house, thinking I had written the address incorrectly. This guy who looked like Don Johnson's methed cousin said hello, loudly. I found that I was dressed approriately for the rest of the planet, but not for this place. The place looked like that Animotion video for the song Obsession. Big clothes, big hair, cocaine everywhere; and somebody really liked the Big 80s greatest hits. Cyndi Lauper was playing. The thing is, and apparently I was the only person aware, it was 2006.

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

Please don't enjoy this song of the day. It's the motif for the entry. Kill me, if I ever play this again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Ghost In My Machine

I'm different than the rest of you. This is not a good thing. Don't take this as ego, because my proclamation is the opposite of self satisfaction. I promise. I think I'm a good person; as much as I hate admitting it, a nice person. But I'm self destructive. I'm also difficult to the ones who love me. Is this intentional? Everything's somewhat intentional. We say to each other, "that's not what I meant" or "I didn't mean to do this or that". It's a lie. If you are something beyond a simpleton, then your complexity allows for you to be stupid, smart, meaningful, shallow, loving, hateful, understanding, intolerant, artful, and nothing. Where I'm different is, if you cut me open and studied my rings or tissues or hell, probably wires and circuitry with me, then you'd probably find, that I do mean well. I want to be the best and wish for the best for each of you. I love my family deeply and unconditionally. The problem is, I don't allow myself to fail. I don't allow myself to be normal. I know I'm full of crap. I write that a lot. Yet, I don't give myself a break and thus others, especially my wife and kids. I don't get depressed, another sign of my difference from many of you. I do beat myself up; so much so, that it hurts those around me.

When I was a kid, I had a digital alarm clock that displayed numbers like this^
For some reason, I was obsessed with thing. I have one like it in my bedroom now, just to look at. When I was eleven years old, I bought the album by The Police, Ghost in the Machine. It looked like this

It had the song Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic. I think that's one of the sweetest, sexiest songs ever written. Bobina likes it too, we should play it more. For years, I never listened to the whole record. I thought the album cover was so awesome, I used to display it in my room near my alarm clock and watch Blade Runner, the Harrison Ford science fiction classic. For me, at that time, I found robot nirvana. I think I just conflicted metaphors in an unholy way. Around age 14 or 15, I finally played the entire album and discovered the song, Demolition Man. For the first time, I identified with my anxiety, my difference. Read these lyrics, and you'll know where my head is at 92.3 percent of the time.

Oh! Demolition, demolition
Demolition, demolition
Tied to the tracks and the train's fast coming
Strapped to the wing with the engine running
You say that this wasn't in your plan
And don't mess around with the demolition man

Tied to a chair, and the bomb is ticking
This situation was not of your picking
You say that this wasn't in your plan
And don't mess around with the demolition man

I'm a walking nightmare, an arsenal of doom
I kill conversation as I walk into the room
I'm a three line whip, I'm the sort of thing they ban
I'm a walking disaster, I'm a demolition man
Demolition, demolition
Demolition, demolition

You come to me like a moth to the flame
It's love you need but I don't play that game
'Cause you could be my greatest fan
But I'm nobody's friend, I'm a demolition man

I'm a walking nightmare, an arsenal of doom
I kill conversation as I walk into the room
I'm a three line whip, I'm the sort of thing they ban
I'm a walking disaster, I'm a demolition man
Demolition, demolition
Demolition, demolition
Tied to the tracks and the train's fast coming
Strapped to the wing with the engine running
You say that this wasn't in your plan
And don't mess around with the demolition man
Tied to a chair, and the bomb is ticking
This situation was not of your picking
You say that this wasn't in your plan
And don't mess around with the demolition man

Inside each of us is a type of wiring. Some people are laid back. Others are hyper. Whatever the makeup of any specific person may be, in lies a truth. Most of you know yours. My wife does. I think my teenage daughter knows her. Like a small child or, dare I say, robot, I don't know mine. I'll be happy for  while, then completely lose focus and lash out at myself, or those around me. I'm not violent. That's ridiculous. I'm more of a whirling emotional dervish that wants to use the map to get from point A to point B, but then tries to overthink the shortcut that probably doesn't exist. That's my Demolition Man.

If a blog is a personal journal where you reveal yourself, then this is my Emo Declaration of Independence. Being content is the goal of so many. On the surface I have everything I need and want. A beautiful, fun, interesting, unique, and loving family that, despite what I have described, takes me into their hearts, regardless. I handle stress when I have to; work, sick kids, bills that have to be paid, the mundane crises. It's the other stuff, the focus, chi, energy center, I blow completely up.  If the devil is in the details, then I'm possessed by one hell of a demon. Instead of New Years Resolutions or self improvement, it may be time to exorcise the Ghost in my Machine.

Today's song is the aforementioned track off the Police album I used as bedroom decor in my teens. I heard it today on some obscure classic rock station. I think they played it by accident. My microchip sensors went haywire and picked it up right away. This is Demolition Man.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Music Lover's Guide to the 2011 Grammys, aka I Love the Way I need A Doctor

If you survive around long enough, most of life's questions will be answered. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The answer is Lady GaGa . The dance diva from New York tried to upstage herself from the whatever the last thing she did, so having people deliver her to the Staple's Center in Los Angeles for the 53rd Grammy Awards in an egg sort of did that. She hatched herself to sing her new equal rights song Born This Way, which sounds a lot like Madonna's 1980s tune Express Yourself, also about the same subject. The bottom line message is, every 25 years someone will say the same thing musically but do it in a more ridiculous way.

That's how the awards show started. It was actually uphill from there. Except for a Justin Bieber career retrospective, which actually ended nicely. Having known everything about him in a five minute span makes it easier to forget him, by tomorrow. I expect to replace my daughters posters by next Tuesday.

As a music lover, and it being Valentine's Day, I wanted to show you part of my heart that didn't include Bobina and my girls. Music is my other love(r). Every year I watch the Grammys. Every year I complain about them. Every few years, I get surprised and actually like some things. There was an Aretha Franklin tribute featuring several people singing back up for my girl Christina Aquilera. Against the wishes of people who actually know better country music was recognized, and Lady Antebellum inexplicably won several awards including record of the year for their version of Starland Vocal Band's 1976 hit Afternoon Delight, called Need You Now. Bottom line message there, every 35 years, someone will say the same thing blandly and get an award they don't deserve for it.

The things I liked, I liked a lot. Katy Perry showed up and did something kind of cool musically but I was too busy keeping eyes in the appropriate places. She was nominated for 4 awards in 4 major categories. She was shut out. Katy did bring her own Grammy. Her 90 year old grandmother was her date. She bedazzled a cane for her and gave her grandmother a heck of a birthday night out.

Muse, the Radiohead derivative band with a cool song, Resistance, won for best rock album, besting better records by Pearl Jam and the timeless Jeff Beck. I was mildly disappointed. It's one category I really care about but at least I didn't want to kill the winner. Then things got good.

The biggest rock star on the planet, Marshall Mathers otherwise known as Eminem took over the show. Fresh off his two commercials on the Super Bowl, the Detroit rapper-songwriter, showed why his album Recovery, a brilliantly profane portrait of personal improvement was the best thing anyone recorded in 2010. His collaboration with pop superstar, Rihanna, Love The Way You Lie, which lost it's nominations, was performed. Then after 4 minutes of excellence, Eminem introduced the world to Skylar Grey. The 24 year old songwriting wunderkind who penned parts of Love The Way You Lie, and the next song performed, I Need A Doctor, from Dr. Dre's new album Detox showed the music world something different. A petite brunette full of soul, fire, and talent that stole the whole show from even heavyweights like Dr. Dre and Eminem. She was outstanding, as were they.

Then things got crazy. The major award is Album of the Year. Usually it's awarded to the record that sold the most or was the most popular. The favorites were Eminem's Recovery, Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, and Lady GaGa The Fame Monster. Yet, the French Canadian indie rock band, Arcade Fire pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Grammys history.

With only 400 thousand units sold, Arcade Fire's six month old album of arena rock disguised as alternative weirdness, won. Then they played an encore, also for the first time ever in Grammys history, and the show ended with mouths agape, and twitter accounts afire. The bottom line message to it all, every 20 years or so, something comes along that takes back the music business. Arcade Fire pulled a Nirvana. It wasn't most deserving or even the most fair, but it was the best thing for music. Arcade Fire, with it;s two sing performance won me over and took back the biz. Bravo, indie rock, bravo.

Today's song was my favorite performance from last night. Dr. Dre, the superman music producer spent 11 years making his Detox album. The first single is I Need A Doctor, penned by he, Eminem, and the aforementioned soon to be household name Skylar Grey. The rage, muscle, power and honesty put forth in the performance was terrific. Play it loud and proud. Happy Valentine's Day, music lovers.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another Gear

"I don't want to do this," she said to me, terrified. "Juliet, you have to know how to drive to get your license. You'll be fine, I'm with you," I assured her, with minimum confidence. Her tiny figure sat frozen, white knuckling the steering wheel. "Juliet, put your right foot on the pedal to your left, that engages the break." She glared at me and barked, "Engages? What does that mean? Talk normal!" I smiled, I remembered my fear at 15 years old driving. "Want to go home, sweetheart?" I asked. Juliet relented "No, I'll do it." Now, I was scared.

*bloggers note* - This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's weekly 100 word challenge at . The one word prompt is ENGAGES. My teenage daughter just turned 15 and we are going through the process of her studying for the learner's permit test. She's a little scared to drive.  Thanks for reading. Real life usually gives the finest inspiration.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kip Winger Sanchez & Eliza Dotoomuch

I want to make this blog post different. No literary attempt to sound intelligent to draw you into something. I don;t care about sentence structure or even coming across as a wannabe writer.


There, it's in front of everything else. So, three paragraphs later who can't say, dude I went to your twitter page, you're wearing a Jets t-shirt and half your tweets are about the Jets, you're a hypocrite with no credibility for your opinion. Wrong. I'll prove it.

Here's what we think we know. On New Year's Eve, the quarterback of the New York Jets went out. Sometime around 2am he met a blonde named Eliza Kruger, who was 17 and aquired entry into the club with a fake ID. Later in some sort of way, they had dinner at a sushi place, went back to Sanchez's home and, well, were intimate. Kruger posted pictures on her facebook page, allegedly of Sanchez's home. She bragged to friends and family that she had hooked up with Sanchez.

Here's what we do know. Eliza Kruger is the teenage daughter of wealthy financier Chip Kruger. He made over 50 million last year. Eliza brags to friends that her mom takes her clubbing and has been doing so since she was 15. She says she told Sanchez about her age, he replied that they could only be friends, she answers that 17 is legal in New York. Her family has gone public with her identity and their "side of the story". Now the internet is lit up like Christmas, and, as usual, over criticizing the wrong person.

Let's really talk here. No moral outrage and save the righteous indignation. I'm a father. The oldest in my house is 15. To me, she seems like a baby. To others, I have heard she looks 18. They know to say this to her mother, not me, for the fear of me assaulting them. I have seen the high school juniors and seniors in my daughter's school, they look over 18. I fear for them and I am not their father.

Mark Sanchez is the quarterback of a multimillion dollar football team. He has hundreds of media outlets looking at him every day, including the God forsaken, cesspool of sports gossip, that "broke" this story, Mark should be more responsible, careful and discretionary. He's 24 years old and even though girls mature quicker than boys, the seven year age gap between he and this alleged encounter is enough for him to know better. I hope his father, mother, agent, best buddy, team owner, and head coach pull him to the side and say this GROW UP MARK, because this can't happen, ever. Then they should introduce him to their single female friends who are age 24 and over.

The girl in the center of this is a real piece of work. If I didn't live with 4 women, have so much respect for them, and value my personal friendships with other females, I would go off on Miss Eliza Kruger. The thing is, she really doesn't know better. Not at age 17 with a dad who is too busy making money to know that she is in a club at 2am on New Year Eve with a fake ID, getting picked up by a 24 year old. The mom, clubbing with her since age 15? Is she trying to overtake Dina Lohan, Lindsay's mom for monster mommy of the decade?

The story here isn't Mark Sanchez dating or getting together with a girl too young for him. The real story, being ignored by members of my own family and friend group on twitter and text, is the failure of these parents. All the money Chip Kruger can make will never pay for the damage caused to his daughter who has no boundaries, no moral compass, and no maturity. She was bragging about being intimate with Mark Sanchez over facebook. I start wanting to throw furniture around my house when my wife tells me my daughter's friend who is a boy tells her " I Love You" over their facebook pages. What must be going through the heads of the parents of this 17 year old girl. Oh wait, they have a lawyer in California and New York looking into legal action, possibly against Sanchez. I think the parents are looking to cover their rear ends and manhole cover the open spots in their bodies where their souls were taken to have their lifestyles.

There is a seven year age difference between my wife and I. I met her when I was 37 and she was 30 at a Chili's near the Mall of Georgia. We both had legal driver's licenses. As much as I love my wife, had I been 24 and she been 17, I wouldn't have given her the time of day. Then again, I'm a robot. I'm the only person who thinks the way I do, because that's how I'm programmed by creator(s).

Mark Sanchez is a good looking, successful, popular, single dude who, at age 24, isn't thinking the way he should be. At that age the only I had in common with him was being single. Now it's time for Mark to be smart. The next time he chooses to go out and approaches someone, he needs to ask for a valid ID, make sure the person the girl is with is not her misguided mother, and get a confidentiality agreement so that the relationship doesn't end up on my wife's timeline on Facebook next to her Farmville updates.

I need to go home tonight and hug my teenager for a long time then lock her in the basement til she's 24

Todays song is too easy to explain. I don't feel good about playing or posting it, but the players in this story don't deserve cleverness or meaningful music. It's Kip Winger's old band, Winger. Just play your bass, Kip and get a girlfriend the proper age. I feel dirty.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lord Don't Slow Me Down

If negativity sells, I'm not buying. After a day without water because of a broken hot water heater (that happened at 2am yesterday), I got up today determined to be better. The problem is, I'm on my own.

Last night, while reading friends' blogs, I accidently typed Mr. Destructo instead of Miss Destructo into the search engine and instead of everyone's favorite internet celebrity's bright and cheery blog on social media, Amber's Miss Destructo's Deviations - I got, well, the anti Miss Destructo. The Mr. is a pretty narcisstic, negative place run by an anonymous guy who fashions his identity after an African dictator. Yeah, real nice, I thought the same thing. This guy, a few months ago, after accidently finding Amber's blog, decided to type a three page hate letter about her, for no particular reason. I didn't read it. I didn't have to.

I turned on both television and radio last night and this morning. All anyone media related wants to talk about is Christina Aquilera's missinging of the national anthem before the Super Bowl. My Christina "stuff" aside for a few seconds, I mean she's perfect, but I'm trying to be fair, ok, she got nervous, missed a word or six. How many people watching at home and in the stadium know all the words to the National Anthem? How many could sing it in front of 100 large at Cowboys Stadium and a billion people watching at home? That's what I thought. Anyone remember what the media was losing it's mind over the week before 9/11 happened? Jennifer Lopez's scarf dress at an Awards show. The best column I read after the 9/11 attacks addressed that silly JLO fracas and opined that we would be better in the future. Guess that columnist was wrong.

Is it fun to be snarky and ridiculous? Uh, heck yeah, I make a habit of it. The two examples above are extremes, unfortunately, that pass for normal in the internet and other media. The first one; a guy, bored, self loathing, and possibly jealous; went out of his way to tear at someone successful. The second example is just inexcusable. It's Christina. She's amazing, we all know this. Let's move on to the relatable, meaningful part of the blog.

My wife and I try really hard with our three daughters to have a positive household. With jobs, bills, bad weather, crazy schedules, and the fact that 4 women occupy the home at one time, to say it's difficult is selling it really short. One of the things my wife is good at doing is stopping in the middle of a stressful moment when the negativity hits the fan, and saying, "what does this matter? How are we solving the problem?". I get to be married to her.

Sometimes when I read other blogs and there's bitching or venting or mean spiritedness masked as sarcasm, I stop and wonder, "is this person happy they wrote this". I am asking the same thing of the people on television talking more about Christina than Egypt or the economy.

Today's song is from one of my favorite bands, Oasis, and one of my favorite songwriters, Noel Gallagher. Lord, Don't Slow Me Down was in the running for the title of this blog a year ago. I thought My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog was more sarcastic. I'm starting to think I may have picked the wrong one. Noel penned this song after a divorce and marrying his current wife. He rarely wrote happy songs about love and life. He would later say Lord, Don't Me Down is one of his favorites because it reveals so much about him. I agree, Noel, and this song makes me an even bigger fan of yours. Play it loud. It works better that way.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Relationship Takes On A Plane

Watching a movie on an airplane is like playing poker. You get delt a bad hand and you are losing regardless of how stupid the dealer may be. A little over a year ago I got all aces in a flight coming back from Cancun with my wife. I won a lot more than money .

Bobina was exhausted. Our delayed honeymoon and first anniversary on November 2009, was a week in Mexico in on the beach, in the streets of Cancun, and around the resort of the Crown Paradise. By the time we came back through customs and started home, I was knee deep into insomnia while Bobina was out for most of the flight. The movie selection on our flight was some romantic comedy and this quirky independent flick I hadn't heard of starring the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun sitcom, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, the weird named, icey eyed brunette who is the sister from the girl on Bones. I didn't have a magazine worth reading so I put on my poker face, and pushed start on 500 Days Of Summer.

I want you to see the movie if you haven't and thus don't want to give away too much of the plot or the surprise emotional results of the actors and the movie making. The jist of what you need to know to explain my blog theme is this; Levitt plays Tom, a greeting card company writer who really wants to be an architect, Deschanel plays Summer, an assistant at the card company that eventually becomes Tom's "perfect" girlfriend. The relationship fails, but how it fails and the hilarious, but poignant aftermath not only make a good movie but also shows how "point of view" especially from only one side of the story can affect a person's personality.

I'm divorced, have a horrible history with not only romantic relationships but friendships as well. Until I met Bobina, I seriously thought I was, like Tom in 500 Days of Summer, a doomed victim of every awful woman, jerk guy, and mixed up human being that ever crossed my path. What I learned, especially from the great relationship I have now with the right person, is it's my point of view and approaches to relationships and friendships was so poorly skewed, I was the problem, not everyone else.

500 Days of Summer bounces back and forth between different days in the tale. On the surface, it appears Tom is this normal guy, victimized by the oddball ice queen, Summer, who doesn't care for Tom like she should. When things go south for Tom and Summer, it's Tom who devolves into funny, but sad depressive behavior of booze, junk food, and emo music. The subsequent turn of events shows Tom, as Summer moves on more maturely, that he idealized Summer. This a mistake so many guys make (and some women, I'm sure).

The idea that anything is perfect, great, amazing or the best is foolish. As much I love my wife and kids, it's their complexity that makes them interesting. Their flaws, like mine, are what should be celebrated not ignored. Unfortunately so many people, especially when they are in the throes of lust or smit or the delusions of being in love they paint the other as perfect. This never works. This idea extends to friendships. The minute you think your friend is beyond reproach, they'll disappoint you and you aren't just broken hearted but disillusioned too.

This happens to Tom. He sees Summer as the perfect woman, which reduces her uniqueness and makes her a stereotype as opposed to a real woman. Both characters are in their early 20s and this is common at that age. Suddenly everything turns into a phase for Tom and Summer as opposed to a relationship. How he gets out of the funk is funny, interesting, and worth every minute on a plane.

I am so fortunate to be in my marriage to Bobina. The best thing we do together is communicate. I see through my friends, especially the younger ones, their trumpet of only the positive aspects of their relationships. This is parallel to the ideas expressed in my Facebook post a couple of days ago. We get too impatient, too selfish, wanting our emotional gratification right now. If there is one thing I can export from my relationships with my wife and kids to any of you, is patience and selflessness are the bread and butter of happiness. Learn to rock those, right now, or you will be like Tom in 500 Days of Summer.

Today's song is one featured in 500 Days of Summer. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths. It's played twice, at two very different places in the film. I recommend the movie, because of it;s unqiue point of view, smart script and the likely idea that after seeing what happens to Tom and Summer, you'll change the way you get along with your significant others, romantic relationships and friendships. Plus, it's The Smiths. Maybe my "good friend", Smiths guitar player Johnny Marr will check this blog post out. Now, that I think about it, when I'm not working on my marriage to Bobina, I need to work on my "friendship" with Johnny.

P.S.  I owe the inspiration, partly. for this post, to Leah aka @WalmartGourmet. She was watching 500 Days of Summer. That reminded me of my airplane flight.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Bet To Regret

"A bet's a bet," Myra told Marley. With a mischievious grin followed by an obnoxious smirk, Myra led her younger sister over to the front door. Marly's eyes began to water. Myra showed no sympathy and pointed to the front yard. Marley offered, "I'll clean our room for a whole week." Myra was enjoying her sister's humiliation too much to listen. Marly found her confidence, dropped her Ariel bathrobe and walked to the mailbox in her underwear. As she came inside, Marly glared at Myra and steely spoke, "I honored the bet, but you better sleep with one eye open." 

*blogger's note* - This is my entry for @velvetverbosity 's #100words at 's 100 word challenge. This week's one word prompt is HONOR. This may or may not be something that happens at my house between my three daughters. I can tell you this, it wouldn't surprise me with the three of them Myra and Marley definitely sound like two of my kids.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mr. Zuckerberg and The New Viscious Circle

There's a creeping sickness in this world. It has infected people I know, knew and might meet in the future. It's the breaking of two of Moses' commandments. Mostly, from an anecdotal view, it's people not being good enough because they can't get over high school.

I like the internet. I really like social media. I abhor facebook. What I like about the internet and the social media network is the ability to communicate to people from different walks of life. This article, based on a Stanford University study, is mind numbingly frustrating.

The article, while interesting and well written, is quite heavy. You are reading my blog for quick information and some pithy commentary. Long story short, is the headline of the piece Why Facebook Makes Us Sad. Really? A website, albeit, a multibillion dollar one made even more popular by an academy award nominated film (please, Lord, do not let it win), makes people sad? According to people smarter than me and a few of you, it sure does. In my experience Facebook also makes people covetous, mean, paranoid, bossy, bullying, and crazy.

Everyone, regardless of their high school and or college experiences can relate to the politics of their teenage years. Hormones combined with gossip combined with ill adjusted socializing teenagers not equipped to deal with their emotions make for tough times. The theory, and unfortunately, it is only a theory, is by adulthood, you get over it and become secure in who and what you are. That perfect world doesn't exist.

The article highlights the paradox Facebook creates. People's pages are represented by the positive aspects of their existence. Everyone is chipper, has cute kids, their pictures are nice, and even when there is drama in their life, it's accompanied by a "like" button. There is no "dislike". That's not how the real world works. People don't get to see the ups and downs of every day life of their high school nemesis or college crush. Only the positives. As a result the same envy, jealousy and political trauma that existed 10 to 20 years ago bubbles to the surface like an eye of newt in a witch's brew.

Facebook, in my opinion, also reveals the worst aspect of the human condition; the belief that self worth is calculated through what others have. This is the most disturbing thing. I can't explain how many negative experiences I have had, seen, heard about or just known through negative social media, both myspace and Facebook of people who used it to justify their bad character traits. Listen, is Facebook, all bad? Of course not. I had it from August 2008 (preparing for my 20th high school reunion) til March 2010. I got in touch with several people I genuinely missed, like my childhood friend Barry, who comments this blog and my twitter account. The greed, materialism, Tiger mom attitudes, infidelity, and keeping up way too much with the Joneses was scary.

My wife still has her facebook page. She is a video game aficionado and likes the applications on Facebook for gaming. I appreciate her hobby. I know that some people use Facebook to organize events, enlighten people to causes, and create positive friendships. Unfortunately, as the study in the above article shows, Facebook also makes people emotionally unstable in ways they just never should be.

"Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life"
Is a quote from the twitter account of @ShaylaMaddox from a few months  ago. That was made into a popular blog post here:

I wish I could have created the words above but someone else was a lot more clever and prophetic. I have made every mistake in the book in my internet "career" But I never poked anyone and I never used the word Facebook are a verb. Maybe I'm placing too much credence in the fact that my experience with this blog and my twitter account have been 99 percent positive. I do know this, I graduated high school almost 23 years ago. The only time I felt like I was back there was the year or so I had Facebook.

Bottom lining my point of view; I wish the people I enjoy online and I could hang out once a week and have deep, interesting, fun, involved, intelligent conversations; like a modern version of the Algonguin Roundtable (google Mrs. Parker and the Viscious Circle. The movie is boring.) That can't happen, unless we all moved to Manhattan and started drinking and smoking.  Wow, now I wonder if Dorothy Parker were alive today would she follow me on twitter or comment my blog? The infection has set in with me, apparently.

I don't want to be poked, prodded, conjoled, guilt tripped, cliqued, bullied, grouped, told, or made to socialize. I want to communicate. It's why I blog. It's why I tweet. It's why I talk. The creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was looking to stalk a girl and get over on his frenemies when he html'd his way into 500 million people's lives. I just don't want any part of that.

Today's song is one of my personal favorite. The Crown Prince of sardonic wit, and one of my songwriting idols, Elvis Costello, wrote "What's So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding" about his disconnection from the people he grew up with. He joked that the song made him a lot of new friends in the arts community and pissed off all the old friends he had back home. I wouldn't be surprised if this blog did the same for me.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

John Scott Railton and the Fire in Cairo

Cynicism is the philosophy of a loser. I woke this morning expecting today to be insufferable. It is groundhog day and national signing day. That means the two major American events I find pointless and ridiculous would dominate the news and social media. Meteorological rodents in Pennsylvania, New York and Georgia are "predicting" an early spring, while middle aged creeps are telling sports fans who love college football about the lives of 17 and 18 year old boys and where they will sign letters of intent to play. I'd rather quit my job, stay home and watch The View. Not really. Seriously, not really.

As written before, I'm fascinated by the occurrences in Egypt. Yesterday, their dictator, Hosni Mubarak pulled a Lyndon Baines Johnson and announced he wouldn't seek reappointment, I mean reelection. Yet, the country still protests and things have turned ugly. For those who don't care or don't know, Egypt is the lynchpin in the political grenade that is the Middle East. If they stay democratic and thus stable, Israel has less to worry about and so does her more volatile neighbors. The point is, if Egypt can figure their crap out, war is less likely to happen.

I am an avowed fan of twitter. In 140 characters you can say a lot. It's mini-blogging, right. Whatever, the thing is, there are good "voices" on twitter and the best of them all right now is a 27 year old Michigan native who is a grad student at UCLA. Normally, 27 year old grad students are not dudes I would call anything other than lame and worthy of ridicule. Get a job, right. Sarcasm aside, this student is named John Scott Railton and he is a hero. His twitter account is @Jan25voices. he has traveled in Egypt, made some friends and other contacts. He is using the numbers in his phone to get information, decipher it, and tweet it ffor us dumb Americans to get in the know. Here's some more about John: Mubarak, in typical dictator move, turned off Egypt's internet last week. John Scott Railton is Egypt's internet conduit to the world.

Forgive me if I am not as glib as I usual am today. I just don't get into marketed groundhogs and football recruiting weirdos. I do like social media and what it can do when it's used well. I promise, by tomorrow, I'll be back to puns, bad jokes, and sarcastic creamy goodness.

Today's song is obvious. The performance video isn't available. Hosni Mubarak probably banned it. But the since Cairo is burning literally and figuratively. The Cure's 1980 breakthrough song off their first album, Fire in Cairo says a lot.