Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things I would like to do

My last post was a meme about things I had done...this is about things I would like to do. I guess this is my version of a "bucket list".

1. See Niagara Falls

2. See the Great Pyramids

3. Leave Chicago for most of the winter

4. Play my guitar well enough to perform

5. Go to Scandinavia

6. See New Zealand and Australia

7. Spoil a grandchild

8. Shoot a 66 or better on a regulation golf course

9. See Alaska

10. Meet Sir Paul McCartney

11. Read a comment from one of my daughters

12. Feed the world...okay this is big but if I start with one and go from there and I can get anyone to join me, it just might make a difference.

13. Write a book...I have some ideas but I just can't get going

14. Meet Barack Obama

15. Bring my splintered family back together before it's too late

16. Take Michelle to Paris

17. See Jimmy graduate from college

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Things I have done (the sequel)

In addition to the things in the previous post there are some things that I've done that I wanted to mention. Sometimes I can't believe I did some of these things...

1. Was part of the Olympic games...I ran in the Olympic torch relay for the 1984 LA Olympics. Anyone who has seen me knows that I am build more like a fireplug than a runner. It was a very cool experience and has connected me to the Olympics forever.

2. Met Count a sporting goods store! I was floored when he walked out of the elevator by himself. He was quite old at the time and I have always wondered what he was doing there. A new tennis racket? A new pair of running shoes? No clue. The sporting goods store was in Chicago and it was called Morrie Mages which was some 7 or 8 stories and boasted that it was the largest in the world.

3. Bought some men's cologne from a Monte Carlo. Princess Stephanie had a store at the time and we went in out of curiosity. She was working the register! I just had to buy something so I could "interact" with royalty. I still have the cologne. She was absolutely stunning.

4. Started a successful business when I was 35 years old...part guts...part insanity. I am so fortunate that this worked out. It provided me with some financial security and I did it "My Way".

5. Got married in Vegas...yes there was an Elvis involved but no Brittany. It was an absolute gas. Short, sweet and incredible....

I may think of some more but these came to mind and I thought I would right them down...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things I have done

I lifted this from one of Barb's blogs. Kinda fun. Feel free to copy and post. Please let me know if you do so I can have a look. The idea is to put an asterisk next to those activities that you have done.

*1. Started your own blog
*2. Slept under the stars
*3. Played in a band
*4. Visited Hawaii
*5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
*7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
*10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
*12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
*16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
*18. Grown your own vegetables
*19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
*21. Had a pillow fight
*22. Hitch hiked
*23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
*24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
*26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
*28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
*29. Seen a total eclipse
*30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
*31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
*34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
*37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
*40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
*45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
*47. Had your portrait painted - drawn I think that counts!
48. Gone deep sea fishing
*49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
*50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
*51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
*52. Kissed in the rain
*53. Played in the mud
*54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
*57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
*64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
*67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
*70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
*71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
*73. Stood in Times Square
*74. Toured the Everglades
*75. Been fired/laid off from a job
*76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
*77. Broken a bone
*78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
*79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
*81. Visited the Vatican
*82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
*84. Had your picture in the newspaper
*85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
*88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
*91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
*93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
*95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
*98. Owned a cell phone
*99. Been stung by a bee
100. Seen Mount Rushmore in person
*101. Learned to play an instrument
102. Kissed the Blarney Stone
103. Ridden a camel
104. Been arrested
105. Visited someone in jail
*106. Flown a Kite
107. Been surfing
*108. Had a broken heart
*109. Wished on a star
110. Fell off a horse

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Day Late but Thankful Nonetheless I didn't get to my annual Thanksgiving post. I ate too much and we ended up at a friends house and it got late. Lame excuse if you ask me.

But these are some of the things I am thankful for:

I am thankful for:

My family - top of the list. I love my kids more than can be measured. Unconditional as it sibs...again unconditional but more difficult at nieces and nephews are awesome. My step kids are amazing too...well, maybe not Jen.

My partner, wife, business partner, best friend - thank you, thank you, thank you. All wrapped up in one...amazing

My sister Suze gets special mention for all she does for our mother. Thanks Sue, I can only handle so much of's how I cope. Without you, she'd be a lot less fortunate.

Music - Tonic, poetry, soul soothing

Health - It's all ya got. Mine is not perfect but it will do and I appreciate that I am a lot more fortunate than many.

My financial success - There is a lot of truth in the verse that "the more you give, the more you receive". I am living proof. Financial success is not something that defines me and that's why it found me. I got to do it my way and on my terms and I am comfortable that I didn't have to sell my soul to the devil to get where I am. I sleep great.

My sense of humor -I love making people laugh and sometimes I actually do it!

For the time I have had and I am hopeful for a lot more

For the dedicated employees that help us make our company the success it became

Selling my company - I'll be retired soon and I am looking forward to this new adventure. I only hope I can help make our retirement interesting and worthwhile.

All my parents "tried" to do for me. They were kids when they loaded themselves down with 5 banshees. They did the best they could. One can't ask for more.

Computers - I don't know where I would be without all the assistance that this singular tool provided for me. Business, pleasure, convenience, knowledge...what a cool tool.

America elected Barack Obama - what a moment for the world! I hope that he fulfills the promise. I think its cool that he's the first half white man ever elected. Made me proud of my country again...I have a feeling he may be able to evoke that emotion a few more times before he's through.

Two members of my family that decided driving drunk was a good idea and survived to regret the decision. You know who you are...don't do that again or I will kill you. Too many people love you for you to risk your lives and the lives of others. To any of my loved ones, if you ever need a ride, call me or pay for one. I promise I will pick you up or pay the tab. I'm selfish. I want you around.

The Beatles - you planted the seed in me and fostered what has become a great love of mine

Forgiveness - without it there is no relationship with my parents and just about every other human in the world. We all make mistakes and we all deserve's a big part of loving and being loved.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm not thankful

This is my third annual Anti Thanksgiving post. Some of these will be repeats because we still haven't gotten things right...

I am not thankful for:

greed - bailouts, robber baron executives, money's ugly

Dick Cheney - War criminal, greedy bastard, wrong Dick...way wrong.

terrorism - uncivilized behavior; wild animals behave better

racism - see "terrorism" above. I witnessed a lot of "closet" racism in the presidential election. I'm grateful that thinking people out voted ignorance. That might be 1 in row!

hungry children - feed the world dammit

my digestive system - it makes the list again because the discomfort it causes me a good 20% of the time is debilitating. I will fight it but man do I hate feeling lousy. I am tired of it.

the guy who thought of cigarettes - I hate you but unfortunately I seem to love your work

stupid drug laws - Tommy Chong put in jail for selling bongs! Boy, I feel a lot safer now. C'mon spend our money getting vicious Dick Cheney. Marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol. This is a free country right?

drug commercials - so, I can get a drug that can stop me from frequent urination but one of the side effects can be fatal. First off, I'm glad I don't have that problem at this point but if I did I'd rather pee my pants thank you.

my "lost" family - a family feud took place years ago and I have been estranged from two aunts and two uncles and countless cousins. I regret the time lost and have yet to do anything about fixing the problem. I guess I'll just wait until we are all dead...seems reasonable. OK maybe not.

my lost friend the doc - look up miserable in the dictionary and you will find his picture there. Wallows in misery and won't do anything about it. I can't help him and he needs help. His wife can't help him. Very intelligent guy but he's no very smart. He's missing any joy that can be squeezed out of this tragedy called life...his life is a tragedy. Sad.

that I can't make everyone I love have all that it is they want.

that I don't have a "happy" switch for those who need it but can't seem to find it when they need it. Other switches that would be good: peace, kindness, companionship, loneliness be gone...

Tomorrow I go positive and give thanks for all that I am so blessed to have

Monday, November 10, 2008

I need rubber walls....stat!

After being in business for over 21 years, my wife and I, after much consternation decided to sell our business. The sale closed in early September. Every business counselor we presented the terms to told us we'd be fools not to take the deal. It did provide us with a continuation plan for our employees. It also provided a way for us to get the value of the business out of the business for our retirement and for our family. Win Win. Not so fast...

Our employees are bouncing off the walls. The change has jarred them. We fully recognize that change is unsettling. I can tell you that we believe that we sold our company to an organization that comes close to providing the kind of culture that we successfully created for our employees. We did the best we could. By all measures, the transition is going as well as can be expected. The new company has bent over backwards to accommodate our staff. They still have great jobs and have not lost any benefits of note. They are still bouncing off walls.

There is pressure on us as well which I really underestimated. We have signed up for "change" as well. We have two year employment agreements and after that retirement. In other words, the unknown! We are both cool with the idea but combined with the angst our employees are exhibiting, it definitely has been working on us. So, now we are all bouncing off walls.

We'll get through this but I never expected the anxiety levels to reach these levels. I needed to write this just to relieve some pressure. We humans surely know how to amp up the drama level of anything.

In a crazy sort of way, I think being in the middle of this process will make the whole retirement thing very attractive. You wanna bounce off walls, go ahead bounce away. I'll be pleasure traveling or reading for pleasure or playing my guitar or making gourment food for us to eat while we still have teeth, or golfing or laying by the pool or watching a movie or sipping on some wine or golfing or golfing or golfing. Did I mention golfing?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Repairing the damage

The following is a comment I copied from this site. The photos on the site are great. "Fred" gets it. This historic election has helped this country in so many ways already. I hope that we build on this momentum and lead our great country and the world back from the quagmire our current "unleadership" left us stewing in.

The sentiment here from those of us outside of the USA appears to follow a common theme.

Our disdain and distrust of the US has changed to optimism for the future.
It has been a painful 8 years watching a respected nation wallow in borderline fascist self destruction. I actually decided that if I had the opportunity to visit every country in the world, I would have avoided the US.

Now that has changed.

Thank you to those that made this happen. If the future is even half as bright as what we all hope, it will be a finer future for all.

This is an amazing time.

Hope doesn't come from calculating whether the good news is winning out over the bad. It's simply a choice to take action. - Anna Lappe

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We did it!

I wish I could forecast football games as well...

My wife summed it up for us tonight. She said "I've never cared so much." Bingo. This is the emotion Barack Obama can elicit. This country will be better for it. We needed an attitude adjustment and I think we just hired the adjuster in chief.

I have never been more proud of my country. This truly is the greatest country in the world.

Now the hard work begins...I'm ready.

My Election Prediction - VOTE!

History will be made today. The Obama / Biden ticket will score a decisive victory today.

Get out and vote. That is the key to making this prediction a reality. However, I would like to excuse some folks from the "burden" of having to vote today.

Anybody voting against Obama because he's a Muslim, please stay home today.

Anybody voting against Obama because he has some black heritage, please stay home today. By the way, Barack Obama is has as much white heritage and why the hell does this matter to anyone anyway?

Anybody voting against Obama because he's a socialist, please stay home today.

Anybody voting against Obama because he's dangerous, please stay home today.

Anybody voting against Obama because he's going to federalize health care, please stay home today.

Anybody that votes against Obama because of something Joe the Plumber said, stay home today.

Anybody voting against Obama because he's going to take "all your money and give it to people that don't work", please stay home today.

Anybody that votes against Obama because he is the anti-Christ, please stay home today.

Why? My mother lives in a retirement community. I was talking to her the other day and she started going on about Obama. I mean, she gets it. Then, and this will come as no surprise to anyone that knows my mom, she tells me " One of my girlfriends told me she was going to vote for McCain. So I told her you are too stupid to vote."

I don't agree with her very often but she may have hit the nail on the head this time.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nice idea; bad execution

I really intended to participate in NoBloPoMo again this year; posting every day for a month. I missed it! I absolutely forgot about it until yesterday. Great start. Well, I have a lot of travel scheduled this month so it would have been nuts anyway. I like the idea of the challenge of having to write regularly. I'm just not good on the follow through.

I guess my limited readership discourages me a little and the fact that only one loyal cyber friend regularly leaves comments (thanks Barb). Maybe I should just send her emails and have my conversations that way. I know there are more of you out there. Your silence is deafening.

History will be made tomorrow. I have to travel tomorrow afternoon so I am missing my daughters election night party which bums me out. I think it would be fun to share this moment in history with them. I will be communicating with them throughout the night as we watch the election from our hotel room in San Francisco.

Free association....

racism = ignorance

war = barbarianism

partisan politics for the sake of partisan politics should go the way of the Flowbee

hoping for better is never wrong

I'm addicted to this election and I think it has a lot to do with the sense that I have that this country desperately needs a course correction.

M & I regular park ourselves in front of the TV and watch the talking heads on CNN. See, addicted...

If we, as Americans, do what I think we are going to do tomorrow, it will make me as proud of being an American as I have been in a long time.

Vote you monkeys!

Go Barack!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Break out the Kool Aid

M and I watched the Obama commercial tonight. It was brilliant. Barack Obama and his team have done a masterful job throughout this campaign. This was another example of their intellect.

I just wish somewhere in the infomercial he would have called McCain an ass and Palin a bitch.

However, this woman took care of it for him. This blog is wonderful and written by one of the wittiest 82 year olds that I've ever had the pleasure to read.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gimme Andy Dufresne

I have been engaging in an email debate with one of my friends on the Obama vs. McCain decision. She and her husband are going to vote for McCain I know I won't be able to change her mind. My goal has been to help her understand why Barack Obama is reaching so many.

All of her arguments (higher taxes! universal healthcare!) begin and end with the same thing; Fear. Isn't this really the Karl Rove legacy? Fear sucks. I think FDR said that once (well sorta).

All of my arguments are based on Hope. Hope is positive. In the face of all the crap facing this country and the world, hope is a better choice than fear.

I am personally very tired of fear based politics. It has failed us and the Republican party miserably. I think there are millions like me who will turn their hope into progress.

I hope my friends get the chance to find out how much better it feels to hope than to fear.

P.S. I consider myself independent although my voting record over the last 20 years would brand me as a republican. The republican party helped me discover my independence once again. At least I can thank them for that!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

But seriously folks

I just saw her on CNN. Can you see this woman as President should anything happen to 73 year old John McGrumpy? No really? No way No how. What a disasterous choice John McCain made here.

John Cleese was right. This is something Monty Python would have loved to write. I'm starting to think that Barack Obama must have picked her for McCain. Wow, the dude is good!

Vote for unity, vote for change, vote for hope. Obama / Biden 08

Friday, October 17, 2008

It moved me

This is outstanding. Im' starting to believe that thinking may not be a lost art after all.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Just Wondering

Just wondering...How can anybody in their right mind give the Republicans the wheel again when, under their watch, they have driven America into the ground. How much more of this can this country take? I'm thinking not much.

Just wondering...If the USA was a baseball team and after 8 years of leadership the manager was unable to field a respectable team, wouldn't the owner clean house? Wouldn't the fans demand a change. Its clear to me that our manager should have been fired long ago.

Just wondering...Am I the only one that thought that McCain and Obama might have been the two best candidates that we have had to choose for some time. (George W and John Kerry? puke city). McCain changed that in a heartbeat by choosing the worst running mate ever (My opinion but I'm sure it's close). I couldn't vote for that ticket if they were running unopposed.

Just wondering...

Monday, October 06, 2008

NO thinking necessary; you are entitled to my opinion

I was reading a story earlier about Palin's defending her remarks about Obama paling around with terrorists. Her reference was to Bill Ayers, the terrorist so dangerous that he is now a distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois - Chicago. I am not denying that Barack knows this man; nor is he. All of Mr. Ayers students better be careful or they may win a free trip to Gitmo I guess...

But cmon; this is an obvious scare tactic aimed at the uninformed. Is an exaggerated truth any less than a lie? If you purposely utilize "stretched truth" can you blame me for questioning everything you put forth? I believe one would have to be an idiot to blindly accept what comes from a source willing to defend this type of half truth.

Don't misunderstand me. Both political parties are guilty of utilizing this type of crap. The Republicans are more desperate this time around so their tactics have become blatantly desperate. I think it's disgusting actually. I think it's insulting to any person of intelligence. Unfortunately, its clear who the Republicans are trying to reach. Fortunately, I don't believe it's me.

One other item of note...I posted a comment to the site with story about the Palin / Obama terrorist thing. It seemed that all of the comments were from McCain's family. I put up an even handed post questioning the legitimacy of the whole issue. Guess what? My comment was removed. I guess the comment section on this particular site is reserved for right wing nut cases only. I wish they would have told be before I wrote the comment so I didn't waste my time.

Comment only if you have a brain please. Oh, the fun part is I get to be the judge.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debate #1

We watched the debate last night. It is now clear to me why McCrazy was trying to find a way out. I'm sorry but the man's only point seem to be that we can't afford to lose in Iraq. We have already lost in Iraq.

We've lost thousands of valiant warriors.
We've lost our place in the world as a respected power.
We've lost billions of dollars.
We've lost sight of the real enemy.
We've lost track of the economic health of our nation.
We've lost track of taking care of each other at home.
We've lost faith in the feeble leadership we've been saddled with for the last 8 years.
Many have lost hope here in America.

Barack is hope. It's that simple for me. I don't care about lipstick or bracelets or who the fuck John McCain says he knows. I don't care if McCain is experienced, a heroic warrior or just some old geezer. The only hope he instills in me is the hope that he'll just shut up and go do his self appointed maverick thing somewhere else. We need leadership and you are not it Johnny.

Last night one of the things I noticed was that McCrazy focused on attacking Obama. Hey, his family background is military city, attack is his game. He talked about Obama; Obama talked about us. McCrazy is trying anything to get elected so he can be the one elected. He didn't really give me any clues as to how he was going to help this country. So, I have to think he is just clueless.

Obama represents the side of trying to end this horrible thing in Iraq; McCain talks about winning the war. Can anybody tell me what we are going to win?

Did anyone else notice that Sarah Palin was locked in a closet somewhere? Joe Biden was available to spin the debate but Sarah was busy? This spoke volumes to me. Nice selection John boy. The republicans threw out Rudy Giuliani in Sarahs place. Note to Rudy: Find Sarahs closet and get in there with her. Your words were a waste of my time.

Republican leadership, your worst fears are going to be realized. The thinking and suffering of this country are fixin to show you the door. You've earned it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Another meme

I saw this on my friend Barb's blog...

1. My uncle once
gave me a great summer job working construction when I needed it most.

2. Never in my life have I used a blow dryer on my hair.

3. When I was five my parents were not equipped to be parents.

4. High school was a time in which I made a lot of new friends. Unfortunately, not many of them are in my life to any extent.

5. I will never forget to try to tell my loved ones I love them.

6. Once I met Count Basie at a sporting goods store in downtown Chicago. The elevator opened and there was the count. Very cool for me.

7. There’s this boy I know who can't seem to get out of his own way.

8. Once, at a bar, I realized it was time to go when the floor was covered in broken beer bottles.

9. By noon, I’m starving.

10. Last night I took my exhausted wife out to dinner.

11. If only I had a little more hair.

12. Next time I go to church will be for a wedding.

13. What worries me most is how poorly we humans treat each other.

14. When I turn my head left the blank wall of my office. (I wonder what happened to my wall calendar?)

15. When I turn my head right a bookcase filled with clutter.

16. You know I’m lying when I tell you I love politics

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is the age I was then

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I’d be Faust?

19. By this time next year I will be a year closer to not working anymore.

20. A better name for me would be No idea on this one

21. I have a hard time understanding why people are intent on killing each other in the name of God and Country.

22. If I ever go back to school, it will be for a reunion

23. You know I like you if I don't throw a rock at you and I haven't thrown rocks since I was a kid.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be my dad. His guidance is the only thing that kept me sane.

25. Take my advice, never forget that "it's whatever it is you see that life will become." (Thanks Jackson)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Politician Heal Thyself

This caught my attention in John McCain's speech last night. "I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption." My first thoughts were...I need names. I can venture some good guesses...

You want to regain my trust? Tell me you are going to bring justice to the corrupt. Or, is the Bush administration really above justice as they have demonstrated time and time again?

Maybe not?

Reviews of McCain's speech. The comments are good reading.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

You call that change?

I didn't watch much of the Republican convention last night (thank god). I did however catch Sarah Palin taking issue with the Obama campaign's message of change. I believe she said something like "they're not the party of change, we're the party of change". She is right (sorta).

In the last 8 years the Republican administration has changed us from having the largest budget surplus in history to having the largest federal debt ever!

They have changed us from being at peace to being at war.

They are now presiding over one of the roughest economic times that I have ever witnessed.

They have changed the meaning of the words "Justice Department"

I could go on but thinking about the damage they've wrought is causing me to lose my appetite.

If this is their idea of change, we've certainly had enough.

I think what Ms. Palin meant to say was "....we're the party TO change.

Republicans, you have lost your opportunity; you stunk it up; you lost the program. If this was a baseball team, the manager and the general manager would have been canned long ago. You deserve to be canned. We need you to be canned. We cling to the hope that the new new manager is better than you have been. Obama and Biden represent that hope and you have no prayer of instilling hope in any thinking Americans.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hold the Bon Jovi please

If you are a fan of Bon Jovi, I suggest you stop reading right now. I am not a fan although I do like one of their songs. One.

Last summer we were fortunate enough to attend the second "Crossroads Festival" here in the Chicago area. It was a day of great music featuring a whole lot of great guitar players. Perfect for a guitar junkie like myself...comparing and contrasting with Bon Jovi was inevitable...

I have a befriended someone in the past few years that is a music industry insider. One of his involvements is with the "Soundstage" program. Knowing my love for music, he had mentioned that he would get me to one of the shows at some point. These are very intimate shows in a small television soundstage. Knowing that he has had artists in the past like Neil Young and Allison Krauss, I was really excited about the idea.

Well, he finally got us into the studio for, you guessed it, Bon Jovi. We didn't feel we could turn it down without ruining our chances of ever going to one of these shows, yet my wife and I were not big Bon Jovi fans by any stretch of the imagination. So we go...

When we get there we are met by the producer. He shows us to our seats and says "you guys are going to be on camera a lot so I need you to really get into it". Yikes! Now I am thinking that I will have to pretend to really like this. I am also hoping that maybe I am wrong about Bon Jovi, maybe they will actually be good and I will get into it. I regret to inform you all that not a single one of my overactive rock and roll genes was awakened at any time during this show. Alas, I sold my rock and roll soul to the devil at the request of a producer.

We did enjoy seeing how these shows are put together. In fact, we made fun out of being in this predicament. Only one song had to be redone. Unfortunately they were three quarters of the way through it when the producer stopped the action due to some technical problem. Now I had to re-pretend I was enjoying this song I barely survived hearing the first time. It was a struggle but as first time television actors, it was our duty to grind it out.

John is actually very good at what he does. I am sure when he was younger the girls went crazy. He's not younger and I'm not a girl. Richie is a tool. He had make up touch him up after every song. His guitar playing was average, at best (read lousy). Hell, I'm average and I don't need makeup after every song! The other members of the band were there...thats about all I can say about them. Who's the guy with the French poodle haircut?

We were fearful that our friends would see us being "into" Bon Jovi, demand that we give up our die hard rock and rollers membership cards and get a laugh on us for a long time. Well, we finally watched the show on TV and we can see us but if you don't know where to look you won't see us and I'm not telling you where to look. One thing of note...the sound production on the TV show is incredible. They sounded infinitely better on TV than they did in a live studio. My kudos to the producer. That is some unbelievable producing!

I will have some other concert updates when I find the time to write again. Business dealings are really taking up a lot of my time right now. I will do some posts about this when I am able to share. I am using what free time I have to take advantage of the short, though beautiful summer we are having here in Chicago.

To all my friends and loved ones...I love you more.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I am not a republican or democrat. I am an American

I was just wondering...Am I the only one that sees racism as overt ignorance?

I have found that discussing the possibility of Barack Obama as our next president with some people seems to give them a free pass to show their ignorance. I was discussing politics with several friends and mentioned that I had voted for Republican presidential candidates in the past. One friend said "Well, you're gonna keep it that way aren't ya?". To which I replied, "I am going to vote for the best person possible." His response, "Now why would you want to do that?"


Because I have always tried to do that. Because I care about my country. Because I like to think I am not ignorant.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hey there Hi there Ho there

Yes, I am still alive. I have just been going through one of those periods in my life in which the treadmill of life is stuck on too fast for conditions. It's mostly good but it has seemed to compress my hours and suck the energy out of me.

Contributions to compressing my time are: (in no particular order):

1. Work - the state of the American economy has affected our business. I'm not complaining; many have it far worse. I am just stating a fact. We are diligently working to attempt to slow the effects of the sagging economy. Not an easy task...but we are giving it a go.

2. My mother - A few weeks ago my 75 year old mother took a fall and broke her her leg quite badly. She is in a rehab facility at this point and my sister and I are working on housing that does not include her going back to her house. She has been showing signs of dementia for some time and despite our best efforts to get her out of her house, she was so reluctant and ornery that we backed off. Well, we can't back off. It's early stage Alzheimer's and the doctors confirmed that she cannot live on her own. I cannot list this one in the "Oh boy, this is fun" category. I'm really glad that I have my sister and my wife to help me with this or I would be totally nutso on this one.

3. Golf - I love it. I need it. The weather here in the Chicago area has been shit for golf! It was 86 degrees yesterday which was the first hint of summer. The temperature this morning was 46 degrees and the high temp for the day will only be in the 50's. Windy, cloudy...I'm really tired of this poor excuse for a climate.

4. Travel - We've been jumping around the country a bit lately. A little vacation and a little work travel combine to make the time seem even tighter. The travel will slow down soon I hope.

Other than my mom, we are all fairly healthy and happy so that's a good thing. Hope to write again soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Blog Found

Thanks to my friend Barb for turning me on to The Shortest Blog in the World. Quite amusing!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

B as in

Beatles - as I had written about before, the first music that was "mine" not my aunt's or my mom's. Thank you boys...

Booze - nasty stuff...has ruined many lives. I used to love a wee nip now and again

Beer - see above. Summer, European, belly, responsible for some of the worst commercials ever.

Bang a gong - on the radio right now...kind of a tough drum beat on Rock Band

Barack - man I hope he's for real and he gets an opportunity to give it a go

bitch - female dog, the other democratic candidate

Categories Food - burgers, bacon (everything is better with bacon), bok choi, bean sprouts, beets, blueberries, bleu cheese, bagels, bologna, beans, banana, beignets

Cities - Batavia, Bern, Bologna, Barrington, Bartlett, Baltimore, Bay City, Boca Raton, Berkley, Bala Cynwd

Cars - BMW, Boxster

Animals - bobcat, boa, bears, bats

Science - boron, bile, bauxite, biology, barium,

Bands - Beatles, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Barenaked Ladies, Billy Holiday, Bee Gees, Black Crows, Byrds, Boston, Buckinghams, Black Sabbath, Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi

Songs - Beat It, Baby, It's You, Blackbird, Back in Black, Back in the USSR, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite, Badlands, Born to Run, Blinded by the Light, Because, Baby's in Black, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Brilliant Disguise, Brown Sugar, Beast of Burden, Black Cow

Wierd Word of the Day - bubal

Monday, March 24, 2008

A as in

This idea started with a note from the NaBloPoMo folks but it seems as if I am ripping off Sesame Street. I will free associate in an effort to do some writing and stay in touch with my blog a bit we go. Feel free to add your entries or ideas.

Apple - ipod, computers, hip advertising, iPhone, Jonathans or Macintosh

Ang - lovely, wonderful, intelligent, sensitive, music nut, book nut, food nut, Rockband junkie, my daughter

AC \DC - not the electrical current, ok the electrical current...that's about all there is to this one.

armadillos - the one living next to my pool in Florida. Its time to move him with a little cayenne pepper. It won't hurt the little bugger but they have highly sensitive noses so it won't be happy with the pepper.

April - tax time, flowers and showers, in Paris, opening day

apathy - I was trying to think of a cute answer but who really cares?

America - I never thought this was a great band but I have to admit that, every so often, when one of their tunes come on the radio it takes me back and it feels good. Oh yea, the greatest country in the world. We need some work to get it back where it should be.

aging - too fast, beats the alternative, great for wine and some cheese, not for sissies, doesn't seem to be happening to my wife.

Allman Brothers - the most disappointing concert I have seen in the last year. Horrible production, the sound sucked. We walked out. It bums me out because I know these guys can play.

alimony, alimony payin' your bills... a Led Zeppelin moment...just came on the radio.

ass**** - one of my mothers favorite curse words, thieves, mean people, power mongers, political beasts, Barry Bonds, Heather Mills, Dick Cheney, Dick Rumsfeld, GWB, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, criminals of any kind


Food - artichokes, ahi, apricots, asparagus, anchovies, abalone, almonds, avocados

Cities - Abilene, Austin, Aurora, Arlington, Atlanta, Amarillo, Asheville, Amalfi (pictured), Aberdeen

Cars - Audi, Avalon, Altima, Avanti

Animals - Aardvark, Anteater, Antelope, Armadillo, Agouti, Anaconda, Ani, Alpaca, Appaloosas, Arabian

Science - Acid, argon, ammonia, agar, alkali

Music - Abba, Alabama, America, Allman Bros., AC/DC, Aerosmith, Asia, Animals, Arcade Fire, Average White Band, Arrested Development, Archies, Association, Afrika Bambaataa, ABC, Amoreena, Chet Atkins, Amazing Grace, Angie, Tori Amos, Average White Band, A Hard Days Night, Across the Universe, Any Time At All, All You Need is Love, And Your Bird Can Sing (went on a Beatles jag there)

Wierd Word of the Day - Aubade

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Times up

This story just infuriates me...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Geraldine Ferraro, the only woman to run on a major U.S. party's presidential ticket, on Wednesday defended her comment that Barack Obama was ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination because he is black.

Ferraro, a Democrat who ran for vice president in 1984 and now supports Obama's rival Hillary Clinton, rejected what she called attempts by Obama's campaign to paint her remark as racist.

Obama, who has built up a strong lead in the state-by-state contest, dismissed the idea that his being black was an advantage and said Ferraro was being intentionally divisive.
Ferraro told CBS's "The Early Show" she thought Obama had been able to mount a strong campaign against Clinton because his was a "historic candidacy" that excited the country, as her candidacy did in 1984.

"For his campaign to take that and spin it and attack Hillary and me as being racist, I tell you, it is just appalling," said Ferraro, who is on Clinton's finance committee.

"My comments have been taken so out of context and have been spun by the Obama campaign as racist that it's doing precisely what they don't want done -- it's going to the Democratic Party and dividing us even more," Ferraro said in another interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Ferraro ignited the flap when she told a California newspaper that "if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."

"And if he was a woman he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept," she said.....

The story continues but I can't take any more. Let me get this straight...the country is caught up in the concept of a black man being president...hmmm. How cool. We've come a long way as a society. Oh, one more thing. That's bullshit.

As someone that has a lot of respect for Barack Obama, I can tell you that I have never once said "oh wouldn't it be cool to have a black president"nor have I heard it from any Obama supporters that I have spoken to. You want to talk about coming a long way...we're not seeing color. I see an intelligent, reasonable young American man that is reaching millions of Americans that are desperate for a real change in Washington. Now that is cool...that is's all that's right about this great country.

Okay, I lied a little bit. I am seeing color. The color is red. Everything about the Clinton campaign makes me see red. Ms. Ferraro is on Hillary's finance committee so I have hard time believing that this is not just another (in a growing series) of desperate, old school politics, attempts by the train wreck known as the Clinton campaign to slow down the soaring Obama campaign. Go away. Just frickin' go away. We have to right this ship we call America and I have bad news for you Clintonites, we do not need your input. We just need you to take your politics of greed and power and get the hell out and take your accomplices with you. If you don't take them with you, we'll get to them later.

I see one distinct difference in these two candidates that Hillary cannot overcome. No way. Never. The Obama campaign has a heart and soul. The heart is the desire to tackle the tough job of trying to affect change. The soul is the core values of remaining independent of PAC monies, representing "we the people", of being realistic in what can be accomplished, planting seeds of hope and acknowledging that politics as usual, needs to go. The Clinton campaign is steeped in blind ambition; not heart, not soul. They're running on empty. Their time is up.

Ya know, come to think of it, it will be cool to have Barack Obama as president, not because he's black, but because he's Barack Obama.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I'm still standin'

Wow...I haven't posted in over a month...I have thought about it from time to time but I just haven't been up to hitting the keyboard. I have something brewing at work and it is sapping my energy and eating up my attention. It's all good but it does soak up my dwindling brain power.

Just a few quick notes...

I love Rock Band. I am progressing on the guitar and I will move on to vocals. Fun game. It doesn't seem like you're "wasting" time when you are listening to music. It also introduced me to some music I might never have listened to. I think we will have a family rock concert on Easter! Sharpen up your skills out there.

This democratic presidential race has been very entertaining. Hillary getting desperate and Barack just pointing out her desperation. The republicans don't want any part of Obama. They are ready to "beat" Hill and Bill. I wonder how many republicans voted for Hillary in TX and OH. I think the numbers would be very surprising. I can't wait to see what happens with this one. This morning both democratic candidates claimed that they were "leading". Sure.

Global warming - theory
Unholy dependence on oil - reality
Maybe if we attend to the reality we will have the luxury of working on the theory. This country must pull the "oil needle" from its veins or we will continue to have little control of our economy (unless you like where our economy is heading). We will continue to be forced to butt into politics in the Middle East so that we can have some assurance that we get our "fix". This crisis spans the economy, foreign policy and the environment. Instead of fighting a symptom (the war in Iraq?) with billions of dollars, we probably would be better served fighting the disease with that $$$. This is not an option. We either solve it or...well...I hate to think of what will happen if we don't.

I was really sorry to hear about the death of Jeff Healey. One of the good guys...

Winter has overstayed its welcome.

The Robin used to be the first sign of spring. I think its the beginning of baseball spring training. Well, its here and it's spring somewhere.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Something to take my mind off the winter time / flu bug blues

I'm at home trying to beat a flu bug. We had about 10-12 inches of snow in the last day, so there is snow everywhere. Nowhere to go and no energy to go anyway so...I started looking at my pictures and found something that made me smile. This event goes back to last fathers day...

My wife gave me and the two boys a gift for fathers day that was unique and really very cool; Mario Andretti Racing School. We went to the Joliet Speedway and had a riot. I had my car up to 153 mph and nosed the boys out by a hair. The experience of driving an Indy car was incredible. I would like to do it again and since we have already been through it once, we will be allowed to drive even faster the next time. Scary? Initially I was a little nervous waiting to drive. By the time I was ready to roll I was not afraid at all. I like fast cars and this was the fastest I would ever drive a car legally. Plus, the cars are engineered to stick in the turns...they are not going anywhere. The Andretti folks were awesome as well; very professional. It was obvious to me that they took this very seriously and that safety was a priority. I can't thank them enough for the great day we had.

I know we all thanked M that day...but I will do it again...thanks hon.

You can see some pictures here

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bright Copper Kettles

Yesterday I got a text message from my son (who never reads this by the way). His text asked me if I ever heard of a guitar player named Andy McKee. I told him I had not and he said he would show me this guy when he came for dinner. Well, he came and he showed. Wow. There is a lot of talent out there to be found. Check these clips out. I found Don Ross up at CANdYRAT Records also. I ended up going to CANdyRAT and buying all kinds of cd's. Sweet styles...

Andy McKee

Don Ross

Incredible. Brilliant.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Whiskers on kittens

I had the opportunity to see Ben Folds this summer in Chicago. Great show. He is definitely having fun up on that stage and that's contagious. I have listened to most of his recorded music and some of it misses the mark on me but some of it makes me smile or think. I like to do both but I probably do the smiling thing a lot better. The video is for his song "Still Fighting It". Sweet song written by Ben to his young son...This is from the "Rockin' the Suburbs" CD which I love from front to back. A double selection coming up!

"Everybody knows it sucks to grow up"

"I am the luckiest"
This one has made me get emotional more than once. I truly feel that I am the luckiest. To all my loved ones out there, this is how my love for you makes me feel.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Raindrops on Roses...

I have been thinking about this ever since I read another blog in which the author ranked a list of the "greatest guitar players". I have always had a fundamental problem with ranking artists and art itself. Who's to say what is the greatest piece of artwork ever? Now, if you create a list that is your personal list and do not disparage others opinions or argue that your list is THE LIST, that's a different story.

I'm convinced that appreciation of the arts is as personal as your fingerprints. There is no right or wrong...the art touches you and you experience a personal reaction to it; positive, negative or somewhere in between. There really is no need to justify your personal feelings for art to anybody. They're yours and they're personal. Nobody should try to convince you that you are wrong about your choices or that a particular thing that you like stinks...if someone or something "stinks" in your opinion it's OK to think it but its probably more mature to keep it to yourself.

I have a friend that absolutely loves ABBA...I don't. As hard as it is for me, if it comes up I just go silent on the subject. My real statement might be that ABBA can not be found among the 8500+ songs on my iPod. Did ABBA stink? Absolutely not. They were making music and it's music that has delighted millions. I admire anyone with the fortitude to make put it out there. I don't have to personally love it or "get" it.

Music means different things to different people. Among other things, it can evoke emotions, vivid memories and mindless comfort. I am going to share some of my personal feelings and opinions about musicians or songs that touch me somehow. These will be my personal thoughts and feelings. I hope this stimulates me to get the words flowing here again.

The first example of music that can conjure a powerful emotion in me, comes from a rock hall inductee that rose out of the C&W world. He is one of my favorite pure guitar players. The song is, I still can't say goodbye by Chet Atkins, C.G.P. I cannot get through this 4 minute and 7 second song without crying (hearty weeping!). Beautiful sentiments by Chet and it gets me every time. When it randomly pops up on my iPod, I will change it if I'm not in the mood for purging my tear ducts. Do you have a song or performance that pushes your buttons?

Here's a sample of his playing...stunning touch....this is a cover of Don McClean's Vincent

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hot or Not

In honor of it being really uncomfortably hot in my office I think I'll do this list.

What's Hot

My Office
Rock Band
Barack Obama - Can we call him Rocky?
Hybrid Cars
The New England Patriots

What's Not

Hillary Clinton
Gas guzzlers
The real estate market
Brittany Spears
Greedy politicians
Greedy lawyers
Greedy everything

Gimme some hots and nots...That's all I can write. I am melting in here.