How important is music to you?

I’m sitting here, like I do a good many mornings, enjoying the last private place on the planet – behind headphones and my music collection, letting a carefully randomized set of songs set my mood for the day – and pondering the importance of music in my life.
I don’t remember the first song I ever heard – but I remember the most important ones – the ones that stuck. I remember in DETAIL that “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” played on the little Polaroid picture cube in my childhood home and I remember the scratch in the middle of the “Ain’t She Sweet” 45 by the Beatles (later being amazed that there wasn’t a scratch in the original song when I heard it again as an adult). I remember the theme songs to almost all of the cartoons I watched growing up. I remember hearing the pep band in grade school preparing to play “Africa” by Toto before a home basketball game. I remember a friend playing The Violent Femmes for me in their car and the way REM “Document” sounded through my Walkman. I remember requesting “Farewell My Summer Love” at 2am for the girl who went back home to Kansas after the Summer. I remember the excitement of my mom handing me Kiss “Dynasty” after coming back from a bus trip – playing it and memorizing every word. I remember Dave playing Jellyfish over our PA on break at Macduff’s. I remember slow dancing with my wife at our wedding reception to “Dig Down Deep”. I remember playing “In Your Eyes” with my band for a talent show. And crying singing “Daniel” at my Uncle’s wake…
I could go on and on.
The essence of it is this: Music means everything to me. Songs are the precious luggage tags that attach themselves to the people, places, experiences, feelings that live in memory.
These days, they are also a reminder of the blazing speed at which time passes. But it’s still nice to know that behind these headphones a song can pause and rewind time when necessary…

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just a few quick thoughts on Ted Williams, the homeless former DJ discovered on a highway in Ohio who literally BLEW UP this week – is there anyone in the country who hasn’t heard of this guy and his story at this point? First and foremost, this guy’s tale immediately divides people based on their perspective – I think there are those (like me) who really honestly believe that EVERYONE deserves a second chance. I honestly want to see this guy turn his life around, appreciate this as a gift and make the very most of it – to right some of the wrongs from his last ten years of addiction and lawlessness. And of course, there are those who choose to focus on the negative: he has nine kids, he’s stolen, trespassed filled his body with poisons of all nature for the past decade. He was clearly a desperate man. And he seems sincerely grateful to have another shot to be a positive part of society.

He should have kept the hair...

I say more power to him.

His appearances this week have been incredible to see. To see the country embracing this guy. It’s pretty clear people WANT him to succeed. We NEED this story to have a happy ending. He seemed most comfortable on Jimmy Fallon’s show last night and you saw a guy who was genuinely like-able and who clearly deserves success – wow, that voice!

Let’s check back in next year…

A junkie in his element

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ve had a wonderful Summer – the kind you had when you were a kid that you wished wouldn’t end (been reading too many social media posts from friends who are ready for the kids to go back to school or ready for cold weather!). This summer has been fantastic for the myself and the fam – lots of great shows with the Sammich, adventures with the fam as we hiked the Great Smokey Mountains, Jimmy Buffett at Alpine Valley and a successful St. Jude Run. But, last night it hit me, as I sat reflecting and planning for the “busy season” of school, intermingling schedules and active kids – Summer’s end is near and I’ve eaten a total of 3 corn dogs.


Now to some, this might sound like an improvement – and you may question if I’ve started working with a personal trainer. I can’t impress upon you, though, how alarmingly small this number is. I am a corn dog junkie, friends. Proud of it, too. I plan my Summer around carnivals, concerts and events where I KNOW there will be corn dogs. Granted it’s a love/hate relationship, what with the massive calories and dangerous concentration of various forms of fat. If I ran a marathon a week – I couldn’t compensate for my normal corn dog intake. Call it a problem if you must, Corn Dogs are SIMPLY a necessary part of Summer for me. My ritual is as follows: stalk the booth – amateurs will be crowded around buying up the sad pre-cookeds that have been sitting under the warmer lamps for undefined periods of time. I’ll wait – I’ve built in time to wait –  for the one that comes right of the vat, into a napkin (which is as much a defense against hot grease burns as it is a means of cleanup)…two of them, please…and where’s the mustard? Early on, a lemon shake-up would be the beverage match…now, my discerning taste leans toward Budweiser (which is placed in the front pocket of my shorts to allow for dual-wieldng of the dogs). My wife glares in disapproval, checks the terms of our life insurance policy…but she doesn’t understand…no one understands…just let me be to enjoy my corn-coated weenie on a dangerous wooden spike…my precious. Admit it, though. We ALL have that something, that trigger of the season…whether it’s that first time you pull the old sweater on when Fall turns crisp, that first light flurry of snow or the first Spring flower bud that opens, that signal that (insert chosen season here) is at hand. For me, unless I have yellow mustard on the corners of my mouth – it is not Summer.

So, it’s time to play catchup (or is that ketchup?). It begins Saturday night in Eureka where I know the corn dogs will be both available and plentiful (and delicious, if memory serves me). I have a lot of ground to cover between now and September. Some might say, why not eat corn dogs year ’round instead of attempting to condense consumption to one season…BLASPHEMY! I’d just as soon watch a Canadian football game! Corn dogs are SUMMER food. They should never be packaged, individually wrapped, re-heated or served as part of a “combo”. Under no circumstances should they be frozen. They should only be eaten when handed to you directly through the window of a lavishly lit carnival booth by someone not completely trained to operate the dangerous array of fryers, warmers and sharp sticks behind them. And don’t monkey with the recipe: batter, dog, stick, grease, mustard. That’s it. Carny Reserach and Development have worked for years to find other clever things to deep fry on a stick. Nothing comes close to the corn weenie and, in this consumer’s humble opinion, you merely taint the legacy of your greatest creation when you try to pass off a Twinkie or a stick of butter as “innovation”.

So, partake with me, won’t you? This weekend…forget your troubles – and your soaring cholesterol – and enjoy the simple Summer magic of the Corn Dog.