Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The soft glow of electric sex, forever dimmed. Darrin McGavin, the man who played the father on A Christmas Story, has passed away.
A few memorable quotes:
Mr. Parker: Where's the glue?
Mother: We're out of glue.
Mr. Parker: You used up all the glue on purpose!
[Mr. Parker reads a side of the box with the prize that he won]
Mr. Parker: Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian.
Mrs. Parker: Uh, I think that says FRAGILE, dear.
Mr. Parker: Oh, yeah.
Mr. Parker: He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.
Mother: He does not!
Mr. Parker: He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare!
I thought my glasses felt a bit extra flexible earlier tonight. Then, while typing at home after work, I reached up to adjust them at the nose and they just snapped apart. This marriage of two lenses, separated. And me, the kid who looks through both of them at life, left feeling a bit unfocused.
But I won't stand idly by and watch this divorce. I will take them to marriage counseling (or Pearle Vision Center) first thing in the morning. I need what they give me.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
I loved that movie then and I love it now. Its flaws certainly more obvious now, the stereotypes so exaggerated that they are not as interesting as I remembered them to be way back when. I came away from it and remembered wanting so much to identify with the Judd Nelson character. The rebel. With his long hair and I-don't-care-that-you-don't-care-about-me attitude.
The truth is that I really identified with the Anthony-Michael Hall character. Yes, the nerd was my part to play in school. The geek, except without the good grades. Getting picked on from time to time and just taking it. Not good at sports and not good at being cool. My glasses were big and my haircut was all wrong. Shy to a fault, I just took my time finding my place. I finally did, but when The Breakfast Club came out, I was still Anthony-Michael Hall.
Thankfully, as is often the case, I turned out pretty well. The people who struggle with high school tend to turn out to be pretty cool adults. I made good friends and found my groove. And so, while waiting for my son and watching all of these high schoolers making their way out of the building, I was at peace. Most of these kids are going to become pretty awesome adults. Their parents are prouder of them than they know. They are struggling now, but things are going to work out just fine.
And then it occurred to me. Life had snuck up on me again. As I had finally found peace with being nerdy Anthony-Michael Hall and not cool Judd Nelson, I realized that twenty-one years had passed and I was not even as cool as nerdy Anthony-Michael Hall. I was waiting in my Honda station wagon for my son. I was Anthony-Michael Hall's dad picking him up after school.
How many of us first watched The Breakfast Club wanting to be Judd Nelson? How many of us wanted to be Anthony-Michael Hall? How many of us wanted to be Emilo Estevez? And lastly, how many of us wanted to be The Dad? That's what I thought. Ouch.
(The thing is, I'm proud to be The Dad. My son's one of those people who will be a very awesome adult. He shows every sign of that. I just hate that I am nearing the age where I can identify with movie characters who struggle not with high school but with prostate cancer. Time keeps on ticking...)
New Springsteen Album Finishing Final Touches
February 25, 2006 12:00 p.m. EST
Joanna Wypior - All Headline News Staff Reporter
New York, NY (AHN) – Reports indicate that Bruce Springsteen is close
to completing work on his upcoming album of cover versions.
With the current working title ‘The Seeger Sessions’, it will feature
songs by American folk legend Pete Seeger.
Better known as ‘The Boss’ to his fans, Springsteen is backed on the
songs by a small group of New Jersey musicians, his wife Patti Scialfa and E
Street Band violinist Soozie Tyrell.
The album is due out in May. Springsteen is also planning a tour to
Thursday, February 23, 2006
But May 1st will see the beginning of Mike's next chapter. No more unhappiness. No more "putting up with it." No more arrested development. No more family health insurance. Oops. That last one is the kicker that kept me there as long as it did.
Wish me luck as I seek to find my "lot in life." I'm ready for the next one to be a real winner. The dream job is not hiring right now, but it is once again taking applications. So they will be hiring soon. That's promising but I need something that is hiring in exactly ten weeks. Or sooner.
My family deserves for me to like my job more completely. And they deserve to see me more often than they do now. My time is now. Let me not regret this. I've got it in me to be awesome. I've taken the first step.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
When he started up, I wasn't sure what we were in for. I wasn't quite sure he wasn't drunk and I wasn't sure if this was about to be a train wreck. Turns out, his presence and voice resonated with me in a wonderfully powerful way. He had a bit of that old Hank Williams force and look about him. And that voice was a bit haunting. If anyone knows who I'm describing, please tell me his name. I have to catch his next live show.
Joy Lynn White was an awe inspiring treat as well. I remember having a crush on her back in the nineties when her first few records came out. Vividly, I still recall the day that she came into the record store where I worked and bought a few CDs from me. Bouncy and happy and full of kindness, her love for life and her love for music told the story of a woman doing in life the very thing she was supposed to be doing. And here she was a good decade plus later, still performing and still looking like she had won the lottery to still be so fulfilled by living a life in music.
Bobby Cochran, Chris Scruggs, and his mom Gail Davies were all there as well, adding to the magic of the night. Rosie Flores certainly was surrounded by greatness and love. She was fun and fantastic and I'm sorry that I only last night saw the light to her talent. But she's going west and Nashville will miss her dearly.
As for the free show that followed, it was a blast. Eight young unsigned bands playing a few songs each, and they all sounded great. The sound was diverse and the songs were full of fire. Leaning against the bar, I thoroughly enjoyed my time. The bartender was nicer and friendlier than any bartender I'd met in a club in a decade or more. She reminded me a bit of Betty Page. She had jet black hair pulled back, a white wifebeater t-shirt, and tattoos on her shoulder. Absent of any "cooler than you" attitude, she raised the bar for bartenders everywhere. She seemed to love her job and was generous with infectious smiles. The way it ought to be everywhere.
I just wish I could remember the names of the bands onstage. It seems that they all had myspace profiles, but I can't remember their names for anything. Is there a way to just find Nashville based bands on myspace? If not, that'd be a nice feature. It would certainly help those of us who want to support local acts.
Anyway, it was a good night out. I come back to my family recharged and refreshed after a night spent pursuing my pleasures as a music fan. It was nice to reconnect with my twenty-something self. If there are any rock clubs who need a doorman and also provide extensive family health insurance coverage, let me know. I'm your man.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Why do I like this stuff? I have no idea.
Click here to watch live webcam streams of Sarratt Student Center, Rand Hall, Peabody Library, and other spots on Vandy's campus.
Now if they'd just get cool like MTSU's WMTS and put a webcam on the WRVU DJs.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
1. King Henry the Fifth - William Shatner 3:00
2. Elegy for the Brave - William Shatner 3:17
3. Highly Illogical - Leonard Nimoy 2:23
4. If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song) - Leonard Nimoy 2:09
5. Mr. Tambourine Man - William Shatner 2:51
6. Where Is Love - Leonard Nimoy 2:01
7. Music to Watch Space Girls By - Leonard Nimoy 2:21
8. It Was a Very Good Year - William Shatner r 3:57
9. Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town - Leonard Nimoy 2:49
10. Hamlet - William Shatner 3:52
11. A Visit to a Sad Planet - Leonard Nimoy 3:05
12. Abraham, Martin and John - Leonard Nimoy 3:19
13. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds - William Shatner 2:59
14. If I Was a Carpenter - Leonard Nimoy - 2:43
15. How Insensitive - William Shatner 3:33
16. I'd Love Making Love to You - Leonard Nimoy 2:54
17. Put a Little Love in Your Heart - Leonard Nimoy 2:32
18. Sunny - Leonard Nimoy 3:22
19. Gentle on My Mind - Leonard Nimoy 2:47
20. I Walk the Line - Leonard Nimoy 2:19
21. Ballad of Bilbo Baggins - Leonard Nimoy 2:21
22. Everybody's Talkin' - Leonard Nimoy 2:59
23. Both Sides Now - Leonard Nimoy 2:55
24. Spock Thoughts - Leonard Nimoy 3:03
Mile High - BBC
All fiction and bawdy and fun. Lasciviousness at its finest.
Airline - Bravo
Reality show revealing the day to day lives of those who work the ticket counters and continue to smile against all odds. These people are the cream of the crop.
Flight Attendant School - Travel Channel
Follows eight hopeful flight attendants as they go through training for Frontier Airlines. Watch this and appreciate that it's about a lot more than serving drinks in the sky.
I'm keeping my eye on the prize. Now where's that resume?
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Hosts: Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger of suburban Washington, D.C.
The SG Show
Hosts: Steve Gershik and his 8-year-old son, Sam, of Menlo Park, Calif.
101 Ways to Use Baby Wipes
Host: Dennis Gray of San Luis Opisbo, Calif.
Mom Talk Radio
Host: Maria Bailey of Pompano Beach, Fla.
Who's Your Daddy?
Hosts: Aaron Johnson and Cliff Knopik of suburban Seattle
Gay Parenting Podcast
Hosts: Scott Sherman, Burlington, Vt.
Website: gayparenting.thepodcast network.com
Two Boobs and a Baby
Hosts: Dave and Heather Delaney of Toronto
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I just shake it and answer, "I don't know."
And there's my PG version of Half Nekkid Thursday. Good to be back.
What's Half Nekkid Thursday? Click here for info and the fun.
Jon Bon Jovi doesn't take our women from us because it would just be too easy. The women at last night's concert would have done whatever that little dude with the perfectly styled hair suggested. We husbands and boyfriends would have had no chance. We would have just shrugged it off, pulled our keys from our pockets, gone to our cars, and driven home alone.
After a few days, a neighbor might ask me where Paige has been. I'd say that Jon Bon Jovi just looked her way, winked, and gestured for her to leave me for him. And that was the last I had seen of her. And my neighbor would just nod knowingly and say, "Yeah, sounds about right. That's what happened to my wife, too. Wanna grab a beer?"
The thing is, we couldn't really be mad at Jon Bon Jovi for that. He really is pretty close to perfectly handsome (did I just say that?), rich beyond my dreams, and writes awesome songs. We could lose our wives to worse.
The bottom line is that he is a magnificent performer. The corporation that is Bon Jovi really is about crowd pleasing in a grand way. It was a flawless night for the fans. Opening with "Last Man Standing" alone on a small stage on the floor amidst the crowd while the band played hard on the big stage, he burst into our hearts like a hurricane. He then joined his band onstage and rocked us all with "You Give Love A Bad Name." I had no choice but to be taken back to 1986, remembering my time at McGavock High, when everyone was wearing jean jackets and ripped jeans, and all car stereos blasted Bon Jovi seemingly all of the time.
His career could have gone so many ways after that big year. Alcohol, cocaine, heroine, internal band fighting, all of that. But with only a few small breaks and forays into acting, Bon Jovi is bigger now then ever before. Like Springsteen, this guy stays in shape, continues to write stuff better than anything he ever wrote in his youth, and works his ass off for those who pay to see him live. There are a lot of bands I like better, but I will always know that I will be thoroughly entertained at his shows. Bob Dylan live? A joke. Creed? They killed themselves with their reputation for terrible shows.
Bon Jovi has me sold. I've seen him three or four times and have always had a great time. I'll go with my wife whenever she wants to go. When my daughter is a teenager and wants to see him (you know he'll still be performing a good decade or so from now), I'll take her and love every minute. And my wife and I will embarrass her as we sing along loudly to "Livin' On A Prayer." Because we will always know all of the words. And we will always feel like teenagers ourselves when Jon Bon Jovi sings to us.
Jon Bon Jovi, thanks for an awesome show. It rocked. Your rendition of "My Funny Valentine" was perfect. Your intro to "Runaway" gave me goosebumps. And I should start each day listening to "It's My Life." And thanks for not taking my wife from me. You're a real gentleman that way.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Jack was a writer who lost his mind while serving as caretaker for an old hotel. Chez Bez would like to consider himself a writer and feels like he's losing his mind bit by bit while spending many, many hours working in a hotel.
Yep, it's definitely time for my nap.
You: Do you have any rooms available?
Me: No, sir (ma'am), we're sold out tonight.
You: Aww, come on. Don't all hotels always keep one room aside just in case the President needs a room?
Me: (wanting to say) One, no. And two, unless you are the President, wouldn't selling you the room defeat the purpose?
I wonder what Robin Crow is doing now? I think he wanted to be the next Satriani or Malmsteen, but it's likely that he's just selling insurance somewhere like one of the guys from Dramarama.
In fact, it was around the same time that I thought Dramarama was just a step away from making it big time. They had 3 or 4 CDs under their belt, a few hit singles, and a great sound. But somewhere along the way, it just didn't happen. I forgot all about them until I saw their name mentioned as a band featured on VH1's Bands Reunited series. I was all pumped about following their path back toward relevance, but discussion boards and email updates from band members proved that it just wasn't going to happen.
It seems that the big problem was that they had scheduled a big "We're Back Together" show somewhere in L.A. but it had to be cancelled. The reason behind the cancellation was that one of the main guys couldn't make the trip out west because he was working for an insurance company back east and didn't want his boss to give him a hard time about needing time off. His wife and kids couldn't afford for him to take that risk. He went from rock star to this?
Reminds me of when I saw Drivin' N' Cryin' at JackLegs Speakeasy on 2nd Ave. This too was years since I had heard anything from them, and years since I was a regular part of the Nashville nightlife. So it was good to feel young again, rocking out to good music, among a cool, fun crowd of people who were into it just as much as I was. All was going well, the songs felt good, the band was tight, and the vibe was electric. Kevn Kinney, lead singer, was delivering the goods just as he had done ten years earlier when I roadtripped to see them in Knoxville at the Bijou. But then, he turned to the drummer and I saw it. We all saw it. Right in the middle of all that long rock 'n roll hair was the biggest bald spot. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. Rumor has it that I am cultivating my own "no hair allowed" spot, too. It's just that rock 'n roll doesn't easily prepare us for these realities of life. We just take and enjoy what we can.
As for me, I am listening to Drivin' N' Cryin' right now, on my laptop, hours before I go to the job that I don't love. But I go in because of the health insurance, because I have that obligation to those I love, my wife and my kids. I bet all of the guys mentioned above are doing the same. If you can't make a million bucks doing what you love, you gotta do what you gotta do for the people who love you. No shame there.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006
The frustration I shared is really just based in the thought that I am meant for better things than what I am doing. Call it arrested development or a crippled career, but with each punch of the clock I know that I am letting myself down and not pursuing my potential. Not to compare myself to a superhero (although it is fun), but I really identified with Bruce Willis' character in Unbreakable. He played the role of a man destined to rid the world of evil with superhuman strength. The problem was that he had no idea that he had such powers within himself. And so he found himself somewhere in his late 30s, working as a security guard and unhappy and unfulfilled while having no idea why. He was here to be doing greater things but hadn't figured what.
And that's where I am. Listening to Dylan sing "Maggie's Farm," I type this while at my happiest. Music in the background, my fingers to the keys, I call myself a writer and seek to be a person who is of value to many. But for 40+ hours a week, I belong to the greedy and the malcontents. They come to town to open the beers and close the deals. And they emote loudly with vicious disdain while I work to cater to their wants and needs. Business is business, I understand that. But I am looking for the compassion in the world. I can always count on finding it between midnight and 2 a.m. while listening to good, good music.
I thank Dylan and his fellow bringers of good songs for getting me through. I also thank my wife for the hand that she put on my shoulder when I was feeling so low yesterday. She's my "everything's gonna be alright." She's my "so pretty that you're lost in the stars." She gets me through. Now I just have to find the man I'm supposed to be. I bet I'm closer than I think.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Overwhelmed again. Not even trying to be the perfect dad and husband, but while trying to juggle those familial obligations with the workplace, it's hard to even feel average. The last week or so has seen all at Chez Bez passing around viruses and colds. Lovely wife and I try our best to share the "stay at home with the kids" responsibilities as evenly as possible while trying not to test the patience of our employers too much.
Today, they sent her home because she was so sick. I volunteered to call in from work today and let her sleep, rest, recuperate. So I made the dutiful call to one of my multitude of bosses to gauge his thoughts on that. He was very generous and kind and told me to do what was best for my family and to not feel guilty about it (as I often do). Early in the conversation we had talked about me coming in late but by the end it was my interpretation that I would stay home all day and they would call me if needed. I ended the phone call feeling pretty good about things.
Come 8:30 or so and I see voicemail awaiting my attention on my cell phone. It was as I immediately suspected. My boss shared the first decision from our call with other bosses of mine and they were angry and wondering why I still wasn't in. I hate to admit that I lost my cool a bit in returning that call but this has been a day of exhaustion anyway. Adding to the day now was frustration and good old guilt again. I was a breath away from quitting right on the spot. Good for me that I hung up before I got around to spouting off with words I would have regretted. Still, it could happen soon.
I just feel so pushed and pulled so often. Where are the well paying, low stress jobs for nice guys like me who never went to college? This one is killing me. As is the case for so many workers nowadays, I am where I am because of the health insurance. The family needs that. And they need from me so much more than they receive. Familial obligations make me a less dependable employee and the workplace demands make me less of the dad and husband I want to be.
It gets better, right?
Monday, February 06, 2006
What songs do you turn to when you are not feeling as you should?
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Friday, February 03, 2006
like a motherfucker.
And my son discovered
Never before had he
exhibited this emotion.
Not of imaginary
But here it was.
Crying for protection,
and me arriving for his
And he settles down enough
to tell me why he's crying.
Scary monsters, scary
Me, answering his call,
I comfort him
and talk to him until
he feels better and drifts off
This morning I begin
another day. Wondering
what awaits me and I miss
only fearing scary monsters.
Lawmaker's wife told to leave during Bush speech
Thu Feb 2, 2006 10:43 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The wife of a senior House of Representatives Republican was told to leave the House chamber during President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech for for wearing a shirt bearing words of support for U.S. troops.
"Shame, shame," Rep. Bill Young of Florida said on the House floor on Wednesday, condemning the treatment of his wife Beverly by the U.S. Capitol Police.
"She was ordered to leave the gallery, because she was doing ... what the president said we should all do," Young said. "She had on this shirt. A very conservative shirt, long sleeves, high neck, but it says support our troops."
Also on Tuesday night anti-Iraq war activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested in one of the House galleries before the speech after she refused to cover up an anti-war slogan on her shirt.
Young, who chairs the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, said his wife "supports our troops on every day, every hour," visiting wounded soldiers at military hospitals and helping their families.
Young said a guard at the House chamber called her "a demonstrator and a protester."
Her shirt said "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."
A U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman said the matter was still under investigation, and declined to comment further.
Two good ol' boys ambled up to my bus as I was about to leave my hotel for the airport. Wearing ballcaps, comfortable bellies, and shit-eating grins, they clearly had been enjoying their early afternoon with more than a few nice beers. I was in a bit of a bad mood, but they were smiling so big that they won me over with their happiness. They looked like my town's physical equivalent of Buddhas. I assumed that they were going to our sister hotel but politely asked them where they were going anyway.
"Hello, Chief. Can you take us to the Purple Onion?" OK, these funny rednecks had me at hello. The Purple Onion is a local adult bookstore, not anywhere near the area of my route though. I played along with their joke.
"Sure thing. I was going there anyway!," I smiled.
"How about that? This is our lucky day," they answered as they boarded.
Now, as I pulled away from the main drive on the way to their hotel, I asked again just to make sure, "So, you're going to "Hotel B" right?"
A small but telling pause followed.
"Um, you mean you can't really take us to The Purple Onion?"
"Uh, sorry. I thought you guys were joking. I can only go to the airport and a couple of hotels."
"Hell, we're sorry man. No, we're staying at this hotel. We just wanted to get out for a bit. That's cool though. Just let us off and we'll catch a cab."
"OK, sorry again guys. Be cool."
And off they went. Two real men, going to the adult book store together on a Friday afternoon. The Brokeback Mountain reference was not lost on me.
They sure improved my mood for the day. I loved those guys.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Anyway, from these past days of super parenting, I now can recite entire passages from Dora The Explorer episodes and the theme song is deeply embedded in my rich and wondrous mind. For those of you familiar with Dora (you poor things), you will appreciate that I went about my worknight last night as if I was in one of those animated adventures.
Thinking to myself as I worked (because doing this outloud would be entirely unacceptable), every bellrun and errand and airport shuttle trip was handled just as Dora would have handled it. "We've got to get to room #1506! How do we get there?" "We've gotta go to the red carpet, past the bar, and up the elevator!" And then I put this to music and it plays over and over.
Or my personal favorite from last night, (singing) "Where are we going? (clap clap clap) "To make some money!" "Where are we going?" (clap clap clap) "To make some money!" "Where are we going?" (clap clap clap) "To make some money!" Oy vey. I used to be cool.
With Dora and her infectious theme song refusing to release me from this infantalizing grasp, I felt comfort in knowing that I would soon be clocking out and driving home in my car. I keep my car stereo there and also a nice collection of CDs by cool people. Chris Whitley, Bruce Springsteen, Nina Simone, and Nine Inch Nails were all waiting for me. "Pick me! Pick me!," they all say. I can't go wrong with any of them. Life is good.
And with the turn of my key, I hear a weird pop come from the speakers. And then the light that illuminates from the stereo itself went black. Consensus? A wire went bad. There will be no music accompanying me on my drive home. Well, no music from the stereo anyway. The music in my head played just fine. All the way home.