Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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The Grammy’s — The Gen X Perspective

January 31, 2010

I can’t help myself.  I’m watching the Grammy’s, and it is such a self-congratulatory clown fest, I gotta blog moment to moment:

8:00 p.m. EST — Undeniable proof that Lady Gaga is a drama club nerd who woke up 4 years ago and thought “I know what will make me famous . .. . I’ll wear a thong and 9″ inch heels and HUUUUGGGGGEEEE shoulder pads.”  Yep, we’re all impressed Lady.  Oh, by the way, I had to switch the channel when they threw Lady into a cauldron.  My daughter was still in the room.  When I flipped back, Gaga was doing a “return from the dead” duet with Sir Elton John.  They are both covered in soot and, apparently, back from the dead.  Elton John covered in soot? Hey, Elton:  You’re a Sir, dammit, don’t let some flash in the pan make you agree to any costume change that includes covering yourself in dirt.  Take it from Madonna: Dirty = okay.  Dirt = desperate.  Got it?

8:13 — Beyonce’s “All The Single Ladies” wins Song of the Year.  Appropriate coming from a woman dating the most Powerful Man in the Universe.  No, not Massachusetts Senator-elect and former centerfold Scott Brown.  I mean Jay-Z.  He’ll remain the most powerful man in the world until 50-Cent cashes in the rest of his Vitamin Water stock in 3 months.  Enjoy the time, Jay.  By the way, I love “Crazy in Love” by Jay-Z and Beyonce because they really ARE crazy in love.

8:15  Green Day performs with a broadway cast.  Who would have thought 3 chords would last them over 15 years?  Enjoy it, Billie Joe, Billie Bob and Billie Bill — there’s no way you’ll see the pearly gates of heaven.  You’ve obviously made a deal with the devil to gain any sort of popularity.  And, just to set things straight:  You’re not British, are you, Billie Joe?  You’re from, like, Charlotte, right?  Start singing like it.  It’s never too late to let that Southern accent shine.  Also, this is quite a bold move to perform with Broadway actors who have no money in the bank and 10 times m0re talent than you.  Bold move, to say the least. 

8:23  Commercial for CBS’s Monday night line-up.  Really?  35 year-old nerds and Charlie Sheen are actually funny?

8:25  Josh Duamel presenting.  Somebody tell Josh-y that his wife is in the building.  That should help him keep his hands to himself. 

8:26 Taylor Swift just won her first Grammy of the night.  Nice work, Kanye.  Before you stepped up to the plate she was only moderately successful.  Thanks to you, she is every girl’s hero now. Please, Taylor, please:  thank Kanye in your acceptance speech.  You owe him big time.

8:27 The Mentalist Simon Baker presenting.  Oooohhh — he wears funky glasses and her STILL looks handsome.  Shame on you, Austin Powers.

8:28 Beyonce performing.  Man, is it windy in there.  She’s decked out with the Bomb Squad from Public Enemy.  Did she get permission from Chuck D to skip their performance at Northern Lights to do the Grammy’s? 

8:30 Beyonce’s gone from screaming her own song to screaming “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrissette.  Proving, once and for all, that Alanis’ music rules the world with an iron fist.  The only time I looked up from my computer was when she switched to “You Outghta Know”, and thought:  now THIS sounds good.  Alanis Morrissette:  enlightened, running the marathon, and writing music that kicks ass 15 years after release.  Nice.

8:34  They just promised that “Robert Downey, Jr. will be bringing out Jamie Fox, T-Pain and Slash . . .” otherwise known as ‘One Big Mess.'”  T-Pain.  T-Pain?  Come on.  You should only be allowed to call yourself that if your first album is entitled “Painful.”   I just checked Wikipedia.  His first album wasn’t entitled “Painful”, it was called “Rappa Ternt Sanga.”  That means “Rapper Turned Singer.”  It took me 5 minutes to figure out the translation.  So, in other words, not Painful, but definitely painful.

8:40  Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and now Pink.  I’m sensing a pattern.  Yes, they’re all women.  But I’m looking slightly beyond the obvious.  Every song is this:  “I’m strong.  I’m confident.  I’m passionate about the fact that I can’t forgive you.  And I’m singing soulfully about it.  And even more soulfully about it.  Now I’m screaming.  Look at me!  Now I’m really screaming!!  [A guitar solo and some awkward high-heeled dancing]  I’m soulful.  The End.”

Wait — that’s  not Pink!  It’s the Virgin Mary in a long white robe and hood.  Wait again.  Plunging neckline.  That can’t be the Virgin Mary.  Maybe it’s Princess Lea.  But, Carrie Fisher can’t sing.  Wait — sher just de-robed.  Definitely NOT the Virgin Mary.  Looks like Pink with Blonde hair and the body of an East German swimmer.  Pink’s now she’s spinning in the air, basically naked.  Sopping wet.  With three naked gold people hanging over her.  Is this a song or a gold medal performance in trapeze?

8:46  Keith Urban presenting.  For the un-initiated:  Urban is Australian.  He’s an Australian Country Western singer. Read that again.  Confused yet?  Me too.

8:47  Best New Artist:  The Zach Brown Band.  Who?  Oh . . . . .  that guy. Zach, right?  I didn’t know the pudgy guy from The Hangover even had a band.  Good for him, because the “I’m disgusting and yet you gotta love me anyway” act was getting old.  Good for you, Zach — way to have a back-up plan.

8:54 AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW  YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  The Black Eyed Peas are performing.  Or, as I call them, “”The Hooker, the B-Grade Wyclef Jean, the c-Grade Jermain Dupree and the Realllly Scary Guy With Long Straight Hair.”  This music is hilarious.  Every single BEP song sounds like it was written and recorded by two high school kids messing around on their Garage Band program on their Apple computer for 10 minutes.  The only difference is that, when the high school kids throw the crap away, the BEP’s send it to Sony Records.

The Black Eyed Peas.  Everyone treats them with such reverence, like they’re music royalty.  Listen up:  the Black Eyed Peas are the Village People of the 2k10. Everyone’s got that, right?  Guaranteed:  they’ll be the best punchline at every wedding starting in 2021.  You know how you danced your face off when YMCA came on at your buddy’s wedding in 2001?  That’s how the kids will react to the BEP’s in ten years.

9:07  Someone else is performing.  I honestly don’t know who it is.  I looked down, and I missed who these people are.  It looks like Lance Bass singing with one of the finalists from American Idol.  Sounds good.

9:09  Best Comedy Album category.  The one I’ve been waiting for.  Come on Punch In The Face.   Come on.  I can feel it.  This is my year.  My video has 139 hits on www.funnyordie.com/chriscurtin.  Surely that’s enough momentum to put me over the top.  And the winner is . . .  Stephen Colbert!!  Corporate America’s answer to the question “hey, do you have a sense of humor?”  Great. 

9:18 Record of the Year Category.  Note:  Ringo Starr looks fantastic.   The winner is:  The Kings of Leon.  Finally, some dudes on stage.  And the song is killer. 

9:20 Robert Downey, Jr is presenting.  How is this guy not dead or really, really old?  He looks great.  Hold on . . .  RD, Jr is making a theatrical funny.  He’s announcing an opera.  Oh wait — it’s funny-man turned waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy too serious actor Jamie Foxx.  He’s has dramatic Kanye-level voice effects on, and their’s only one problem with that:  Foxx can really sing.  The effects are supposed to be reserved for guys who can’t sing.  Wait another minute — now I know why he has the effects on the mic:  it’s because the lyrics are awful.  It’s just several 40 year-old men screaming “Blame it on the alcohol.”  Maybe the Black Eyed Peas should be more comfortable than I previously thought. 

9:26  Just a few minutes left to vote for the song Bon Jovi will play later in the show.  Can we all agree to have them play  “Cherry Pie”?  Oh wait — that was Warrant.  Actually, that’d be great.  Let’s all write in for “Cherry Pie.”

9:32  Best Rock Album.  Nominees include Dave Matthews.  He’s considered rock?  I thought he was folksy bluegrass.  And the winner is . . . Green Day.  They look very normal.  Too normal.  So normal that Billie Joe starts to panic at the end (“Oh no. Everyone’s gonna know I’m just a regular guy”), so he blurts out: “and I’m gonna go have shots with the Kings of Leon!!”  No you won’t.  You’ll be tucking your kids into bed while the Kings of Leon are doing . . . what really cool rock dudes do.  I have no idea what that would be.  But it will definitely be things that neither I nor Billie Joe can witness or relate to.

9:34  Zach from the Hangover is on stage singing America the Beautiful.  I didn’t know he wrote that.  Incredible.

9:35  Zach’s playing with Moses from the Bible!!!  Cool . . . but I always thought Moses was more of a jazz guy. 

9:36  Whoa!  Zach from the Hangover is really going at it on the Gui- tar to a stunned audience.  Hey, Zach, don’t feel bad if the audience isn’t feeling you.  This isn’t the Milwaukee Waterfront Festival.  It’s the Grammy’s. 

9:48  A washed-up Stevie Nicks sounding much better than Taylor Swift in another painful duet.  Taylor:  Text Kanye and have him jump on stage to stop this train wreck before it costs you another 3 Grammy’s tonight. 

9:52 Lionel Richie!!  He’s only won 4 Grammy’s?  That Cannot Be Right.  Lionel rules!  Plus, he officially looks younger and better than he ever did in the Dancing on the Ceiling years. 

9:53  Get your 3-D glasses out.  We’re gonna see Michael Jackson in 3-D!!  Here to sing an MJ tribute are . . . . A Whole Bunch of Random People!!  Where were we supposed to get the glasses?  The Optometrist’s office?  Our local 7-11?  I didn’t get the memo.  Why doesn’t anyone every tell me anything?  Did they come in a bottle of Pepsi? Dammit.  I’m never gonna enjoy this without my 3-D specs.  And who has 3-D specs just lying around?  Sure, Potsy and Ralph Malph, but that’s about it. 

 10:08  Sheryl Crow is on stage.  Eat your heart out, Lance Armstrong. 

10:09  Bon Jovi!!!  Forget Jon.  I see Tico.  Go Tico!  Drum your little heart out, Tico!  Go Tico Go!!

10:10  First time I laughed out loud tonight:  Just look at Sambora’s hair. No wonder it didn’t work out with Heather Locklear.  No self-respecting Pantene spokeswoman can hang with a dude with hair like that.  With the bangs, he looks like a date to the Junior Prom. 

10:13  Menage-a-mic!  Gretchen, Jon and Ritchie just shared the mic.  I thought only Springsteen, his new wife and the guy from the Soprano’s could pull the menage-a-mic!  But — No.

10:14  The fans want Bon Jovi to play Living on a Prayer!  Of course we do.  It’s called music.  We used to hear it all the time in the ’90’s. It was an incredible. 

10:16  Mos Def is the coolest man in the world.  Period.  I’m going out to buy the jacket and the tie to try to be more Mos-Def-ish.

10:17  Rap Collaboration category.  In other words the “Big Old Mess” category.  And the Winner is . . . Kanye West.  That was easy.  He performed in every song nominated, so it was kind of a lock. 

10:18  The show will continue . . . but I’m going to bed.  Tell me how the rest of it went tomorrow.

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A Documentary for Gen X — Anvil! The Story of Anvil

June 22, 2009

Here’s the deal, Gen X:  You gotta see the documentary Anvil!  The Story of Anvil. The movie was released nationally last Friday (June 19, 2009), and it’s the story of the Canadian ’80’s metal band Anvil — a band that, according to the experts in this field, came this close to making it big, and influenced many of the ’80’s metal bands that came along right after and alongside them (Slayer, Scorpions, etc.).   All of the other bands went on to sell millions of records . . . and Anvil did not.  Fast forward twenty years, and the documentary finds the primary members (lead singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner) still trying to become rock gods while balancing families, jobs (Lips works delivering school lunches, Reiner works as a home contractor) and their own mental health and stability as they follow thier dreams into their 50’s. 

Now . . . don’t get me wrong.  I’m not telling you to see this movie because I’m a huge metal head from way back.  I couldn’t tell the difference between Slayer and Scorpions if my life depended on it.  I was always more of a Brit Rock kid in the ’80’s (Duran Duran, The Alarm, etc. . . . okay The Alarm was from Wales, but you get my point . . .).   I’m telling you to see this movie, Gen X, because it is a gift from the generation before us about what we should expect from ourselves and from life over the next twenty years.   This isn’t a movie about metal music.  It’s about what is important in life:  friendship, passion, love, fear, doubt, commitment, experience, expression, kindness and faith.  These are the words we swore we’d live by when we were kids.  Real kids — like when we were 12 — before the high school peer pressure and hormones kicked in, before the self-obsession of our college existences and the cluelessness and greed of our early twenties. 

Don’t worry.  I’m not telling you to quit your job or leave your spouse or (for heaven’s sake) go join a metal rock band.  What I am telling you is that Anvil!  The Story of Anvil will remind you of what really matters in your life, and should help you think about what cards you’re going to play before time’s up.  For Lips and Robb from Anvil, they decided put all of thier cards on the table for the chance for fame and fortune of being heavy metal gods.  For you — and for all of Gen X, I’m only asking that we have to at least put some of our cards on the table.  If we continue to hold back, I’m concerned that we’ll stop taking any chances at all  — in the name of security, our personal obligations and, yes, granite countertops.  See Anvil!  The Story of Anvil and think about the calculated risks you can take (however small) to pursue your dreams and face your fears and doubts.  If you don’t, how will you really make your mark?  The irony in Anvil! is, in the midst of the anguish, pa and pursuit . . . Lips and Robb are participating in the fullfillment of their dream because the documentary itself is becoming the vehicle for their ultimate success.  And therein lies the true lesson for Gen X:  we’ll only achieve our goals if we’re willing to participate (indeed, cherish) the struggle.

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Gen X’s Top Ten Pump Up Jams (of All Time)

May 6, 2009

Here it is, Generation X.  Our Top Ten Pump Up Jams.  These are the songs that rocked the bleechers of every high school pep rally from 1987 to 1995.  There is no dispute to this list — it was definitively complied by through market research — i.e., my veiled recollection of the past — and several heated debates with my cat, Estelle.  So, after much debate and a cat fight or two, here is the final list:

10)  The Final Countdown, Europe — the only thing prettier than leader singer Joey Tempsett was his angelic voice.  C’mon, you know you love it.

9)  Good Vibrations, Mahkie Mahk and the Funky Bunch— Don’t hate, and don’t lie.  When they boomed this in the high school pep rally in ’91, you were feeling it — I don’t care who you were, or who you thought you were , you wanted to be Mahky Mahk doing arm curls with cinder blocks in an abandoned warehouse. 

8)  Ice, Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice — Say what you want, and I can hear the groans now.  The bottom line is, Queen rules, and Ice had a moment — a moment he’s ridden for the past 18 years.  ‘Nuff said.

7)  Turn This Mutha Out, MC Hammer —  Hammer’s gotta make the list.  I know you thought I’d go with “U Can’t Touch This”, but — pound for pound — “Turn This Mutha Out” was a much better pump-up song and, after all, that’s what this list is all about.   Go ahead, youtube it — it’s nice.

6)  Everybody Dance Now, C+C Music Factory— Another, “what the hell was that?” music collaboration from the early ’90’s — a singer that looked like Jody Watley, but wasn’t.  A rapper/ body builder who looked like a pump-up Rico Suave.  I didn’t get it, and yet we all got it at the same time. 

5)  Mama Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J — LL was the original one-man star MC who had absolutely no issue telling the world how great — or, bad — he was.  Think of every rap song you’ve heard in the past 20 years — every MC telling you how great they are — that sorta “props to me” attitude started with LL and, let’s face it, very few have done it better.

4)  Thunderstruck, AC/DC — The first time I heard AC/DC, I was 8. My older brother played Back in Black for me, and I had nightmares for two weeks.  Even today, when I conjure up an image of the actual Devil, it is some variation of Angus Young in horns.  When I heard Thunderstruck 9 years later, I was still scared . . . but this time I liked it.  You’ve been Thunderstruck? We’ve all been Thunderstruck.

3)  Pump Up The Volume, M.A.R.S.— I don’t even know what this song was.  Was it rap?  Sorta, with Rakim’s voice repeating “Pump Up The Volume.  Pump Up The Volume. Dance – dance.”  Was it house music?  Was it Gregorian Chanting?  Who knows.  But it was killer.  I’m pretty sure the group “M.A.R.S.” was fromMars and US satellites picked the song up from with elaborate soundwaves.

2)  Sabotage, Beastie Boys—  The story goes that this song was purely an instrumental until AdRock (Adam Horowitz) walked into the studio and just “had” the lyrics.  And that, my friends, is how history was made.  Paranoia (“I can’t stand it.  I know you planned it. I’m gonna set it straight this Watergate . . .”) is a tremendous motivator.

1)  Welcome to the Jungle, Guns-n-Roses —  If I was scared of AC/DC, I was reallyscared of Guns-n-Roses.  Axl Rose looked like a Pantene model, and I was pretty sure Slash was anthropologically categorized as a Wookie.  It didn’t matter.  Welcome to the Jungle was the purest form of adrenaline that shook our high school gyms.

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What’s Your Punch In The Face?

April 5, 2009

You’ve heard the things that give me a Punch In the Face (“PITF”) .  Missed it?  Have a listen here:

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But, here’s the deal:  You’ve only heard myPITF.  I wanna hear yourPITF.  PITF isn’t mine — it’s ours, and I want you to insert your own lyrics for PITF that apply to you — your frustrations with life and being a (c’mon . . . admit it) full-fledged, card-carrying adult.  Favorite sports team keeps making poor decisions? Maybe that’s your PITF.  Meddling in-laws?  PITF.  Pop quiz in school?  PITF.  You get the idea, now start writing.  There’s a PITF for all of us.

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Running a 5K Road Race — Punch In the Face

March 5, 2009

I’m trying to get back to my fighting weight.  Problem is, I haven’t been in a fight since before the Roller Skating Party in the Fifth Grade.  So now I have to lose 150 pounds in time for beach season.  It’s gonna be rough. 

 

So I’ve started running.  I have one goal when I’m running and only one goal:  to stop.  That way, when I go for a run, I run as fast as I can for as long as I can, so I can get back to sitting around the house doing nothing. 

 

In a rush of testosterone and physical optimism, I decided to run a 5K road race.  Nothing like an incredibly barbaric activity to shock my body (back) into shape.  Plus I don’t mean to brag, but I ran a little in high school . . . Freshman Cross Country Champ.  Bishop Gibbons High School.  Big Ten Conference.  That’s right — I know what I’m doing.  I also had a secret weapon:  at the end of the race, I’d start to yell “AISH!” with each breath.  I’d really AISH it out.  It was my Call of the Wild that would intimidate the competition and propel me to victory.  

 

I showed up at the 5K road race ready to race.  Just one problem:  I’m not Cross Country Champ.  I haven’t seen him for a long, long time.  As I walked up to the starting line, the darnedest thing happened:  Cross Country Champ appeared out of nowhere and started walking next to me.  Before I know it, we’re in step with each other — and he got right into my head:

 

Cross Country Champ [looking around at the Competition]:  What a joke.  I’m gonna kick some A-$-$ (aka A-double dollar signs) today.

 

Me:  Listen, kid.  You haven’t been around for a while — more than 20 years.  I know you were great – you were the best. But that was a long time ago.  Let me handle this for now – we’re just gonna take it nice and easy.

 

Cross Country Champ:  [Ignoring Me] Huh?  [bouncing up and down like a caged animal] I don’t like that guy over there. Who does he think he is?  We’re taking him down.  [shouting] Hey – You.  Yeah you.  Gibbons is in the House!  You hear that? [cheering] G-I-B-B-O-N-S that’s the way we spell success. Go Gibbons.  Go! Go! Go Gibbons! 

 

Me: [shaking my head and trying to lead the Cross Country Champ away from a sure physical confrontation]

 

Freshman Cross Country Champ:  And who’s this guy over here?  I think he’s giving me the eye . . . [to another runner]  We’ll settle this on the course!  If you can keep up . . . [back to Me]  I’m sorry.  Were you saying something?

 

Me:  Forget it.  Let’s just not die.

 

Freshman Cross Country Champ Guy leads me up to the front of the starting line and . . .

 

BANG!  We’re off. 

 

Cross Country Champ takes us out of the shoot like Tom Cruise running through the airport in . . . every one of his movies.  We’re 30 steps into the race, and I’m already spent.  In full-out panic mode, I start to “AISH” it out.  It appears to have little impact on my present competition.  After that, I pretty much blacked out.  I vaguely remember telling some guy who passed me to “go get ‘em  . . . for all of us” but, even now, I don’t know what that means.  Or what it could mean . . .  

 

After the race, having regained consciousness, I was leaning over a post-race table of snacks — bananas, muffins and PowerBars — and I had one final thought before being re-checked by the EMT’s:  if I’m too weak to unwrap the PowerBar package, how am I ever going to get the power inside me?

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Friendless and 35 — Punch In The Face

March 3, 2009

I just got tickets to the big game.  You know — the game where everyone who’s anyone will be this weekend.  It’s gonna be huge, and I’ll be right in the mix.  And I don’t just have one ticket.  Me gots four of ’em.   That’s right.  Let the positioning begin, fellas.  Will it be my pals from my Thursday poker night?  Or maybe the guys from the Monday night flag football league.  I can’t forget my Saturday morning running club buddies — they love going to the big game.  There’s only a few problems:  I can’t play cards (can’t even shuffle cards), I’m pretty sure a flag football league would be the 7th layer of H-E-double hockey sticks for me, and the running club doesn’t exist.  Check that — the running club exists, and I always picture myself jet-setting around the country with a bunch of others runners kicking A-double $ in Masters’ competitions, but my bed’s too cozy to get out of bed to join them.  So what I’m saying is . . .

I’m friendless. 

It’s a fact, and I say it without any self-pity.  Okay, maybe an ounce of self-pity.  But I honestly don’t take my friendless-ness personally.  Maybe I should take it personally, but I’m convinced that whether or not a Gen-X’er has friends comes down to a 4-factor test based on the following:  1) age; 2) marital status; 3) familial status; and 4) employment status.  Let me walk you through these factors to illustrate my point.        

Age

If you’re 35, you’re certainly not too old to meet new friends.  But definitely in a “friend valley” age-wise.  I’ve got none of the friends I had at 25 (okay — 2, but we’ll keep it at “none” for dramatic effect) and I won’t have my 50 year-old friends for several years.  I wish I could say the loss of my friends from 10 years ago was due to dramatic circumstances that ended in knock out, drag out arguments in the middle of a barren city street at 3:00 a.m.  But I can’t.  I pretty much lost all of my old friends because I don’t go to Dave Matthews Band concerts and I don’t know what a Fantasy Football League is or how it works.  Actually, I know what Fantasy Football is, and I play it all the time in my mind:  I imagine I’m running punts back against a defense of swimsuit models who are trying to tackle me with big pillows.  So, there you go — Fantasy Football.  What I don’t understand is:  how do they form leagues around these football fantasies?  Would I have to join a “team” of weirdo’s who share the same football fantasy as me?  Maybe this is why I don’t have any friends . . .   As for my 50 year-old friends, I just haven’t met them yet.  I’m looking forward to it, but I got about 10 years before I lower my friend standard to the point where I’ll call someone my friend because we meet for a round of golf every Saturday.

 Marital Status

Fellas, I’ll make this one short and sweet:  if you’re married, you may have a couple of “married friends”, but no real friends to speak of.  All you have is your wife’s friends.  And their husbands.  That’s it.  

Familial Status

This’ll be even shorter.  If you have kids, you don’t have friends — you just have other tired parents at 3 year-old birthday parties at the petting zoo.  That is if — if — you even have enough energy to nod at these other people while your feeding apples to the llamas.

Employment Status

Got a job?  You don’t have friends.  You have the “Krazy Krew” from work that teases you about the fact that you like to order the same thing from the Chinese take-out place each week.  And they try to convince you to call the local morning show to request some Bon Jovi each Friday — a lil’ Bad Medicine before the weekend. 

So, there you have it.  A simple equation: 35 +  Married + Kids +  a job = me and three empty seats at this weekend’s game.  If you see me at the big game, feel free to mock me.  Heck, beat me up in the parking lot.  There’s nothing I can do about it.  My posse of friends left 10 years ago.  I don’t really know my wife’s friend’s husbands.  The petting zoo parents are napping. And the Krazy Krew at work doesn’t really exist — I work at home, and the Krazy Krew is entirely comprised of the cat.  And my Curious George doll.  Now that I think about it . . .  I’ll get ready for the beating now.   Feel free to Punch Me In the Face.  It’ll be poetic justice.

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Vacation — Punch In The Face

March 1, 2009

Two types of vacation:  the  “Go Somewhere” vacation and the “Do Nothing, Go Nowhere” vacation.  I’m not down with either type. That’s right, Sports Fans:  Vacation, A Punch In The Face.

First, the Go Somewhere vacation.  Being from the Northeast, that typically means going somewhere in the Caribbean.  Ah, the Caribbean.  Nothing like the natural tension between  an essential tourism industry and intense poverty.  I can hear you now:  But C-ROC, the people in the Caribbean are so nice.  I’m sure that’s partially true, but let’s not confuse smiling with being nice.  I’d grit my face and smile too if making my living depended entirely on whether or not a couple of drunk co-ed’s from Kutztown State decide to have their hair braided.  But C-ROC, the weather and the beaches are so beautiful.  Yeah, I get it.  But every time I’m on a vacation in a tropical setting, I keep thinking:  What am I doing here?  I feel like there are only three types of people who really deserve a tropical vacation:  1)  soldiers just back from the war; 2) celebrities (hey, what else are they going to do other than pose for paparazzi photos while they frolic in the water?); and 3) migrant workers.  If you pick lettuce 15 hours a day, you need a week in an ocean view cabana.  Me?  I’m hunched over a computer in a temperature-controlled office three steps away from a Keurig coffee maker and a drawer full of Power Bars. That’s right K-cups and Triple Threat Bars — a vacation in my mind with each sip and bite.  Plus, I like being home — that’s why I live here.  I like Chili’s for Dinner, Dunkin’ Donuts for dessert, and Target for after-dinner entertainment — don’t knock shopping for black athletic socks until you tried it.  The Go Somewhere vacation isn’t for me.

That leaves me with the Go Nowhere, Do Nothing vacation.  I’d get to stay home.  It really doesn’t sound that bad — I can already taste the Chili’s Chicken Tenders and feel those thick black athletic socks snug around my calves.   But I’ve tried that, and even though it’s okay for a day, I just can’t take it.  Having time to actually do the things I enjoy reminds me of how much of my actual life I miss out on every day.  I don’t want to have those thoughts — thoughts of being able to spend more time with my family and friends, and exercising without guilt or panic.  In fact, these very thoughts are exactly the reason why I keep my nose to the grindstone.  As an old cowboy once told me, “No need to be ponderin’ the meanin’ o’ life . . . you’re here now, and, God willin’ you’ll be here tomorrow.  Now get back to the herd.”  (Okay, an old cowboy never really told me that . . . but I can imagine a Jack Palance-type guy with an Irish brogue telling me that and it’d really make an impression on me and my outlook on life.  After all, Palance could do one-arm push-up’s at the age of 87.  I could never ignore such a combination of wisdom and brute strength.)  So, following that fake advice, I’ll just keep my head down.  Buried in the sand.  Like an ostrich.  Hey, it’s cool and dark down here.  Not too shabby.