I love U2. Not you, U2.

In the 1980's I loved U2. One day, while shoplifting at Turney's, I discovered the cassette of "October" sitting there. On the top of the cassette case. Not in the locked case (I knew where the keys were kept, I stole things there often so it didn't matter). And not even in the big plastic cassette protective theft-proof cases we'd cut with wire-cutters in the hardware department. Hey, I wasn't always the choir boy I am today!

I was hooked. Totally. In fact, I went back and stole "Boy" just get more U2.

But "October" was, in my mind, the most amazing album of the early 80's.

Until "War" came along and "The Refugee" demolished every other alternative rock song in my world. Why "The Refugee" was never played live (and I mean never) blows my mind.

Then "Under A Blood Red Sky" ... best fucking live album of the 80's ... with "40" at the end with the crowd singing along. That's some heavy shit. I actually purchased that on album. Along with War.

Then "The Joshua Tree" opened my eyes to how a popular band could address political issues in a way that got them coverage. In fact, I ghost-wrote a term paper for a kid I graduated with (he paid me) comparing the lives of Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr., through U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" because it was a great song.

But I thought musically, that album sucked.

It was weak.

I loved the tour, thought they rocked it, but on vinyl, based on that album, I was ready to jump off the U2 fan parade just as everyone else was getting on it.

Especially troubling to me was the recorded versions of "Bad" and "A Sort of Homecoming" ... those songs just flat-out sucked, but live - rocked the house.

Then came their amazing performance at Live Aid.

"Bad" morphed into a 12-minute medley mixing two Lou Reed songs ("Satellite of Love" and "Walk On The Wild Side") with two Rolling Stones tunes ("Ruby Tuesday" and "Sympathy For The Devil"). Unfortunately, the US feed (Mtv) quickly switched from London to Philly for the fucking Beach Boys. Um, yeah. It really happened. Click here for a great breakdown of Mtv's coverage. Talk about your bands not seeing the big picture ... look at who Mtv cut away from, and who they cut into ... that'll give you some perspective on how music was viewed back then. Dinosaurs got all the glory, just for being dinosaurs. If you survived the 60's, you were a god among musicians, and Mtv treated you as such at Live Aid.

But I could spend days talking about what Mtv was, could have been, and turned out to be. Very little of it is good.

But back to U2.

So to capitalize on the success of the band's Live Aid performance, and long before anyone thought of the Internet, YouTube or anything like that, when bootlegs were exchanged on cassette, Island Records tossed out "Wide Awake in America" ... a great 4-song EP that had both of those songs live ("Bad" checking in at 8:02) along with two previously unreleased in America album castoffs "Three Sunrises" and "Love Comes Tumbling" that were b-sides in the UK.

Those versions of "Bad" and "A Sort Of Homecoming" showed what U2 was about, live. And the EP was a success in a market where albums were on their final years of being the big dog.

Then in 1987, "Rattle & Hum" blew the roof off things with some blistering live versions of songs (particularly "Bullet The Blue Sky") mixed with studio stuff and surreptitious stuff pulled from sound checks and bus recordings) that I rode 12 miles in the November snow in Indianapolis on a bicycle to purchase at the Carnation Mall, because the base exchange on Fort Harrison didn't get new releases on the day they were released ... it was usually a week or two later).

Then, as I grew ... and got back into the singer/songwriter phase I was in for most of the 1990's, and still today, I really didn't want to like them anymore. They were old.

Then I heard "Mysterious Ways" and BAM - was right back in the fold. In love, again, with U2.

So as I sit here tonight listening to my 80-song, 6.5 hour iTunes U2 mix, (including the complete "Under A Blood Red Sky" album in one flat-file MP3 with no gaps between songs) I realize that they are an amazing musical act that has been with me for 25 years now.

And haven't left yet.

Yep, it's official. I'm old.

I've spent 25 of my 38 years on this planet with a band now.

And grown with them.

Loved with them.

Hated with them.



Treehouse full of Crackers?

Um, really?

Cracker? At the Treehouse?

Friday night (9.29.2006)

With The Whiles?

If that's David Lowery and Cracker ... Fuck me. I'm there.

Fuck me for real.

It is David Lowery. And Cracker. And The Whiles.

And it's sold out.

SOLD OUT? The Treehouse is sold out?

Again, WTF?

I guess I'll have to slum it over at Studio 35 with Two Cow Garage.

Damn, I loves me some Cracker, too.


Song of the Day

Pawn Shop Crystal Ball

Did you hear? They’ll be landing men on the moon
They’ll be crash landing back in the ocean soon
But despite being heroes and earning fame
Lots of kids in the future won’t know their names.

All our TV’s won’t play only black & white
There’ll be color pictures keeping us up all night
And the bands that we love but don’t get to see
Will be played on this thing they call MTV

And I swear that nothing I say is a lie
I’m not smart enough to make it up if I tried

So take a look in my Crystal Ball
Got it off the shelf of my pawn shop wall
I don’t know what I see, but I see it all
When I take a look in my crystal ball

All our music will come on these shiny disks
Don’t make popping noises and rarely skip
You’ll be able to burn them at home, with ease
Filled with lots of free music, called MP3s

And I swear that all I say is true
Come along, I’ll show it all to you

So take a look in my Crystal Ball
Got it off the shelf of my pawn shop wall
I don’t know what I see, but I see it all
When I take a look in my crystal ball

We will all have these cellular telephones
So we can yell at each other when we’re not home
And we’ll all be glued to the Internet
Trying to have sex with people we’ve never met

And I swear I’m not crazy and I’m not cracked
But I’m looking ahead and not turning back..

So take a look in my Crystal Ball
Got it off the shelf of my pawn shop wall
I don’t know what I see, but I see it all
When I take a look in my crystal ball…

©2006 Steven Wright-Mark (Holiana Music, ASCAP)

Download from garageband.com

(If that doesn't work, click here, then click the song name in the upper right-hand corner, then click download)


Ug. Feeling ill.

So I woke up with a head cold today.

I hate being sick.

I'm going back to bed.


Great Book about the Music Biz

About 10 years ago I was in Columbus for the East Coast Hockey League's initial tryout camp, held at the Chiller in Dublin (then the only Chiller in Columbus). And I knew a bit about Columbus then, but not enough not to get lost. (And no, I wasn't trying out to play hockey for the ECHL.

I was there reporting on the thing for my own minor-league hockey publication called "Hockey Talk" that I published from 1994-1997. My organized hockey playing days ended in the military. My rec-hockey days ended in 1993 when I had my first knee surgery.)

But yeah, like I still do now, I was trying to get somewhere in Columbus and got lost.

This time, I wound up on Sawmill ... but in Powell. Out where all the new stuff is.

Back then, there was a strip mall and a gas station.

In the strip mall was a mom-and-pop record store.

There I bought a cassette. That I loved. And promptly lost. And forgot all about.

Until about a year ago.

Well, maybe earlier than that, but it stuck in my head. I could remember the cover, but not the name.

I knew it was Jennifer (something).

I searched.

I googled.

I spent hours looking in used stores (yeah, that's torture for a guy like me, eh?)

And then one day, while killing time in some city, I was at a book store, looking for some good
Henry Rollins to read, when I saw this

"Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be - A Rock & Roll Fairy Tale"
by Jen Trynin.


Jen Trynin. Yeah. That's it. That's the CD I've been looking for. "Cockamamie" was the name.

Yeah. White cover. Blue words.

Wait. This is a book.

She wrote a book? Really? I gotta read that.

Well I grabbed the book, finally, from the library on Monday. And read it Monday night.


Now let me back up and say since I finally found her name, I also found her website where I ordered both of her CD's, released in the mid-90's, and forgotten by everyone involved, shortly thereafter. And she gave up the music business, got married, when to college, now has a family.
I'm sure if you she walked down the street, even I wouldn't recognize her.

But you might recognize the quasi-hit she had with "Better Than Nothing" back in 1995.

But not the rest of the story. Because I never knew the story until I read the book.

Wow, again.

It's a must-read for anyone who is, or wants to be, a musician.

As a guy who has friends struggling like hell to make a living playing music, because they're gifted musicians, this book was an amazing eye opener into a side of the business I'd never seen before. And a side I'm sure most fans have never been exposed to. There was serious math to be done just to try to follow the part where she explains exactly what musicians get from a standard contract; from the sale of a CD, how advances are handled, expenses recouped; publishing rights; performance pay; tour support and the endless streams of interviews, radio games and flat out crap that artists have to go through.

Makes me give that much more respect to people who do that.

Think about it. Everyone has their own unique gift - that one thing they do the best.

But how many of us share them with the world? I like to believe, among my gifts, are my writing and photography. I share the writing here, and the photography here. And I've not made a dime from my photography. In fact, I've never even been paid for a picture I've taken since 1992 when I was a newspaper reporter.

But neither my writing nor my photography are what I rely on to pay my bills, either.

But I know people who drive all night, city to city, to play music to people they don't know and may never meet, often times in clubs they'd never be seen in, if they weren't the performer.

Sometimes they get paid. But it's not a lot.

Often times they get screwed. In many ways. And none of them good.

The club is over-booked, underbooked, bands don't show, people don't show. The sound guy sucks. There are no lights, not enough power outlets, not enough space.

Then there's the money, or lack thereof: The 'guarantee' they were promised? "By who?" or "That's not our policy" or "I can't give you that because the place was empty."

The person responsible for counting those who come to the show - lets his friends in free, or undercounts, so the band doesn't get a fair take of the cover charge, if they're getting anything from it at all.

Or they're just flat-out screwed - "Well, the guy who pays bands isn't here. We'll send you a check."

If they're lucky ... and this is in the words of someone I know, "I'm making enough in each city to get to the next gig, so that's good."

That's good? Just making enough to get from one dark, smelly, bad-sounding club to the next to do what you love for hopefully a hundred, but more likely a dozen, people? Night after night?

That's dedication.

And that's why I go to see bands you've never heard of. That's why I have no desires or intentions of trying to sell the photos I take of them, to them, or to anyone else.

They give music to me. On stage.

I give them pictures. Of them. On stage.

As well as my $5 at the door.

So don't bitch about the cover charge ... read this book, and you'll understand.


It's all about the voice

I'm not so sure why I have this hang-up about voices.

No, not the voices in my head. Those voices are comforting. And, oddly enough, almost always in a nice, soft feminine English or Australian accent.

Like the old Jeanie ATMs.

Or Julia Fordham.

I guess my dislike of voices is one of the reasons I don't like talking on the phone.

Or I'm secretly Leonard Shelby.

Either way ... I don't like talking on the phone.

And lately, I've spent a lot of time on the phone in September ... talking to recruiters, HR people, old friends, new friends, etc.

And I've noticed that my interest in the person on the other end is based more and more on the voice of the person speaking.

Not what they're saying, but howthey're saying it.

Foreign accent?

Western European ... good.

Asian ... good.

Australian ... good.

Indian (dot or feather) ... not good.

Southern US or hillbilly ... bad.

Not sure why that is ... I mean, who cares what the voice sounds like, right? The words should be important. The job they're discussing is what matters, right?

But I can't get beyond it.

Like the Seinfeld episode "The Ex-Girlfriend." Marlene. Played by Tracy Kolis. She's hot. But her voice ... ugh. Shrinkage.

Because whether it's love, work, or play, voices are deal breakers for me.

On the same level as my dislike of bad grammar, improper punctuation, and poor spelling.

Weird, eh?

Welcome to my brain.


Song of the Day

Decide Not To Decide
Janine Stoll

From the tip of my tongue
to the tip of my toe
With a single glance from you
anything will go
We own this bar tonight
and we own this whole city
When you own the world
it's hard to think that it's pretty

But war is far off tonight
you're my comrade unarmed
If you see your reflection
I'm sure that I am charmed
Don't write me off my friend
'cause you'll pay twice in the end
And I'm not going home alone tonight

Never was an advocate of rational thinking
I did a lot of stare and think
and stare and think
and stare and think
I'll buy another round
of whatever you are drinking
And decide not to decide
anything at all

Mary is five and she plays with G.I. Joe
Mommy won't find out if she keeps her voice down low
All the other girls have a pink carriage in tow
And little Mary smiles
cause she's the only one who knows

If Billy played with dolls
they'd kick sand in his eyes
And no one would help him,
because a big boy is not supposed to cry
What if I was Mary and you were little Bill
Could we spend the night together hold the interrogator's drill

Never was an advocate of loving and leaving
I guess I'm not strong enough to love and leave
and love and leave
I couldn't live without his voice
or the sound of his breathing
So I learned not to love anyone at all

So maybe I'm tired
and nothing tempts me anymore
Nothing makes me laugh
the way I laughed long before
Or maybe I grew out
of dressing in and dressing up
Or maybe I grew too much
forgot to tell myself to stop

But I never joined the army
so I guess I haven't lost
Somewhere in my childhood
my will to fight got tossed
And you were beaten out
of your bangles and your braids
I guess there's more to learning life
then competing for good grades

Never was an advocate of learning and losing
My memory is weak so I must learn and lose
and learn and lose
This bar is getting crowded
maybe we should go cruising
And learn not to lose any time at all

Take it away
Take it away
The pain
And give me ten fold
This love


I wanna disconnect myself

I wish I knew where the logic switch in my brain was.

There are times I'd like to turn it off.

I'd be more fun that way.

I'd have more fun that way.

But no. Not me. I'm the logical one.

I'm the one who sees only the big picture, and acts accordingly.

For better or for worse.

Without failure.

I guess that's why I know that no matter what the number, how big it is, how powerful it seems, all it takes is multiplying that number by a negative one, and like Emeril says, "BAM" you have that same big number, with the same amount of power, only negative.

Because, in a logical world, one bad apple does spoil the whole damn bunch.

And that's my current problem.

In many things.

I have a ton of good ... whether it's intentions, feelings, thoughts, plans.

And then the big picture shows me that negative. Or potential negative.

And it all falls to pieces.

All the good intentions ... gone. I guess, because I see that real or potential negative and realize that in spite of the good intentions, it'll end up bad, so why bother starting, or, if already in progress, continue?

All the good feelings ... gone. I guess, because I see that real or potential negative and realize that in spite of the good feelings, it'll end up bad, so why bother starting, or, if already in progress, continue?

All the good plans ... yeah, what I said up there. Twice. And again.

So how do I get beyond that? How do I realize that yes, all things have real or potential negative items ... and I should just accept them as part of the package, rather than letting the real or potential negative item(s) become dealbreakers?

How do I learn to allow the good to be good and deal with the bad without it being the end of the good?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Because this is nothing I can sit down and plan for ... because this all happens in my head.

Which is why I need to find that logic switch.

Because I'm tired of it.


Song of the Day

The Logical Song
      ~ Supertramp

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegtable!

At night, when all the world's asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.


Sex messes everything up

WARNING: This contains LOST spoilers.

Don't read any further if you don't want to know what happens in a couple of parts of Season 2 if you haven't watched yet.





















So Hurley falls in love with Libby.

Libby dies.

Anna Lucia uses sex as a weapon to get a weapon ... she has her way with Sawyer after following him during his mango-hunting.

Anna Lucia dies ... shot with the same weapon she stole.

Shannon and Sayid fall in love.

Shannon dies. Killed by Anna Lucia.

And I thought my love life was bad.

See, I'm finding out that it's true what they say - love and sex just fucks everything up.

Yet another reason I'm glad to be abstaining from both.

(I can't believe I'm up, sober, at 2:35 on a Saturday writing a blog about a TV show.

I so need a fucking job.

And some sleep.)


Interview today went well.

Well, the interview today went well ... the two guys who are the main IT support staff were very cool.

And ... there was another guy there interviewing for the same position. Granted, we had separate interviews, but we crossed paths a few times.

His name was Ivan.

He was, seriously, at least 6' 6" tall.

And built like a linebacker.

And glared at me once, to my face, and I'm sure, more than that at the back of my head.

I hope they offer Ivan the job, for a few reasons:

1. I really, really don't want to make that drive every day. And those of you who know me know I love to drive, but I need something interesting to look at. The drive is desolate. Like Milwaukee to St. Louis desolate. I'm not dropping any hints here, but looking at that landscape ... I can guarantee there are bodies out there that will never, ever be found. Ever.

B. It's west. I want to go east. Like Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Pittsburgh east. Not west. Not 60 miles north of Dayton and 30 miles from Lima.

III. I'm afraid if I take job, Ivan will hunt me down and kill me. Yeah, he's that big. And intimidating. And he's named Ivan. Nobody named Ivan is passive. Ivan the Terrible, anyone?

d. But if they come in with a stupid offer, I might consider it. The job's not starting until October 2 ... so it's not like it's going to be an immediate thing.

And I have a couple of other interesting positions that I'm being considered for, so it's not like that's my only option at this point.

Oh well, time to get out of this suit (yeah, I said suit, clean up a bit and get my ass in the car to go get my daughter for the weekend.



Gay Midgets in Bathrooms

I was once hit on at a gas station in Beckley, West Virginia.

By a truck driver.

I got nothing against truck drivers. Me ex-father-in-law is a steel hauler. Truck drivers keep America running. Seriously. They bring every item, every bit of food, every thing you buy at every store you shop at and restaurant you eat at was delivered by a truck. So give them some respect on the road.

He was black.

I'm not racist. I refuse to dislike someone for their skin color. Petty hatred ... skin color, religion, sexual preference, political party, upbringing, etc ... that stuff's for amateur haters. If I'm going to hate, I'm going to hate you for a valid reason. I'll get to know you, and find a good reason to hate you.

And a midget.

I not a sizest. I got nothing against anyone, of any height, or weight.

And flamboyantly gay.

I'm not homophobic in the least. I have vacationed in Provincetown, Cape Cod. I support gay marriage.

You are who you are, you love who you love. And love is hard to find, and harder to keep. So if you find it, enjoy it. Revel in it. Respect it.

There, that's my take on life, love and sexuality.

So yeah, I got propositioned in a bathroom in a gas station in Beckley, West Virginia, by a black, gay, truck-driving midget.

True story.

In 2003, on my way home to NW PA where I was living with my then-wife, we stopped off to get gas. I went into the station to pay, get a coffee and go to the bathroom. I walked in the men's room, walked up to the open trough, and realized there was a midget beside me, doing his business.

He looked at me, looked at my dick, looked up at me and said, "I'm the perfect height for your dick if you're interested." All I could think to reply to that was, "Thanks, but I don't think my wife would like that too much."

I finished my business and left.

I went back outside to pump the gas, apparently with the look of a married guy who was just propositioned in a gas station bathroom by a black, homosexual, midget truck driver.

I'm sure it's a very unusual look, because my then-wife rolled down her window, looked at me and asked what was wrong.

I told her what happened.

She didn't believe me until she saw him walk out of the gas station.

And get into his 18-wheeler.

And wink at me.

Needless to say, she had a new favorite party story.


Cleveland people suck at math.

The Cleveland Browns are wearing a patch that has the years 1946-2006 on it. That's because they're celebrating their 60th year in the National Football League.

But let's do the math, shall we?

Cleveland's first season was 1946.
Cleveland's final season was 1995.
Do some subtraction .......... 49 years.

The team then became known as the Baltimore Ravens. And no NFL football was played in Cleveland until Al Lerner bought the rights to the franchise and ...

The team started up again in 1999.
This is the year of our Lord 2006.
Do the addition and you get ... 7 more years.

You see, I took College Math, twice, and passed, both times.

I know, without consulting a calculator, that 49+7=56.

And I took Statistics, and failed, but I know, without consulting a calculator, that 56 does not equal 60.

So WTF is up with the Cleveland Browns celebrating their 60th Anniversary as a franchise?

Obviously, people in Cleveland suck at math, too.


2nd Best Math Joke, Ever.

NEW YORK, NY - A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They who practice it desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are three sides to every triangle.'"

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.

Here is the other math joke on my blog!


Song of the Day

Somewhere Along The Way
Bob Mould

Scratching at the surface, keep the conversation light
Lest I seem offensive, wouldn't want to be ostracized
I don't want approval for what I say
Only an honest reaction
All I get are looks of confusion
I guess I lost you somewhere along the way

I found out some time ago that people can live with their lies
Finding ways to bury bones in graves full of alibis
I don't give a damn what anyone thinks
Every time I try to reveal the truth
All I get are blank expressions
I guess I lost you somewhere along the way

Bullshitting me, bullshitting you
To the point where no one cares
With everything so far away from where it ought to be
I guess it's safer there
Who knows the difference any more
Is this how life is going to be from now on
I could never dance, so I guess I'll take my chances
I've got nothing to hide

Good things come to those who want it, but no one likes what remains
Like the drudge that washed up from the ocean and spoiled your finest day
There, beneath the moon, you can only see the shadow
Of the sun from the other side
It seems the stars have blurred your vision
I guess I lost you somewhere along the way


Don't buy buns from the butcher

i.e. Don't get your bread where you get your meat.

i.e. Don't fuck around with women you work with.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away (or 196 miles east of Columbus, in an office building at 2730 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh), someone I worked with had a massive crush on me.

I should have seen it, but I didn't.

My wife pointed it out to me after she and I were with this girl and her then-fiance.

I should have been flattered, but I wasn't.

She was young. I was 31, she was 23.

I had gotten married about three months before I hired her. Wouldn't have mattered to me if I was single, attached or married ... because I don't mix work and play.

I learned that at another job.

When I fell madly in love with a 6'2" Amazon who was amazingly smart, incredibly withdrawn, totally beautiful ...and absolutely insane.

And, as most things that start with that combination mixed with a 22-year-old full-of-piss-and-vinegar man ... it ended with disastrous results.

I got fired, she got reassigned to another newspaper, and the editor's desk got a good scrubbing.

That's what happens when the boss comes into the office late at night, eh?

But let's get back to Pittsburgh, shall we?

She was very, very cute. Big blue eyes that just sparkled with life. And a massive chest that was way too big for her frame, but was natural.

So she was cute, had blue eyes, amazing breasts, and she had a huge crush on me.

I'd like to think it was for my charm and dashing good looks, but I know better.

It was because I was her boss.

In the two years we worked together, I found out that she had a thing for the boss.

Like the boss before me, and their multiple visits to the hotel across the street from where they worked. Cost them both their jobs; he lost his wife, she lost the respect of her mother.

See, her mom got her the job.

It was the same company she worked at.

In the same department.

For the same boss.

The same boss her daughter ended up screwing.

But that still wasn't as bad as what happened with the boss after me.

About a year after I left that job, one Friday, after work, she went to the airport, flew out to Seattle and went to his house on Saturday morning to surprise him for his birthday. She went over wearing a see-through lace bra, matching stockings, CFM heels and an overcoat.

She was greeted at the door by his wife, who was holding their 8-month old son as the rest of their combined families got the house ready to surprise the boss in honor of his 40th birthday.

There was a surprise all right.

She knew nothing of his wife, young son, and family.

She had only met the boss face to face, once, at the airport in Pittsburgh, when he had a layover on the way to somewhere else.

She later found out he and his wife didn't wear rings because they were against traditional binding displays, or some shit like that.

So that was quite an uncomfortable phone call when she was back at work on Monday.

He called me and we talked for about an hour about what to do before he called her.

She ended up staying on the job for another three years, before moving to Virginia, getting married and having a baby. Last I heard all three were doing well, so good for them.

She loved Tom Hanks movies. At that point in my life, I resembled Tom Hanks.

And I was the boss.

So there was a total draw there.

She had just broken off an engagement with a guy who, for lack of a nicer word, was a deadbeat.

Worked under the table at a record store.

Played guitar.

Wasn't in a band, didn't know any songs.

Just played.


And wanted to get married and move back to Philly. Because his uncle could, and I quote, 'get him in the union.'

So he wanted to leave, she wasn't leaving Pittsburgh.

For him.

She dumped him.

And spent the next six months bemoaning the fact that all the good guys were married, loudly, so I could hear her.

Meanwhile, there were approximately 600 men who worked in the call center we supported ... many of them would have given a nut get a chance at her.

As I said, she was cute, she had nice eyes, and huge tits. I think she told me she was just outside of the 36-26-36 by being 44-27-37. She wasn't fat.

She is now, but she wasn't then (pregnancy, motherhood and age weren't good to her, based on the pictures I've seen).

Anyway, my buddy Gonzo, the network admin, kept trying to get a date with her, but she said no. And he kept asking for just a glimpse at her chest, she said no.

He wanted her, but she wasn't interested in anyone her height, or less.

He was less.

She was 5 foot 7.

So he came up with the bright idea of answering her Yahoo ad. And got shot down again.

So he came up with the bright idea that I should answer her Yahoo ad with a fake Yahoo account and start a chat session with her to try to get her to send us naked pictures.

Gonzo was that short guy who wasn't all that cute, but had a great smile and attitude that got him laid massively.

We could not come up with a name for the life of us that wasn't taken.

Then I looked down at my desk, where I had a bag of rubber bands in my desk drawer.

We had a computer inventory clerk who ran the warehouse and was the most anal fucker in the world. If you didn't have every single piece of paperwork completed, printed out, signed, dated, and sealed with the blood of a virgin, you didn't anything in, or out. And god forbid you try to give him a keyboard, mouse, monitor or computer that had a loose cable or cord. Let's just say it was like Rainman not getting to watch Wopner.

And as my brain was looking at that bag, the Spinners came on the radio talking about how you had to prepare yourself for the Rubberband Man.

It was then I saw, written in Spanish, under the words RUBBER BANDS, bandes de goma.

And it was available on Yahoo.

So I took it.

And found her personal ad.

And sent her an icebreaker.

Which led to emails.

Then chats on line.

We never got to see any topless pictures of her, however.

Then one day, she decided that the online guy wasn't ever going to develop into anything but a chat friend, and she really wanted more than that, so she said goodbye.

I think at that point in her life she was tired of dating, so she started taking classes to finish her degree.

I ended up leaving the job about a month later, transferring to the Cleveland office.

We'd talk via email, and IM, and the occasional business lunch when we all were together, but when I left the office, and wasn't her boss anymore, her desire for me was gone as well.

We lost touch for a couple of years.

In 2004, after my wife and I had separated, she sent me a birthday email ... I called her up and suggested lunch to catch up.

We met for lunch on a Saturday. We talked for about two hours over drinks before we even got around to looking at the menu.

She told me that for whatever reason, she's really turned on the thought of doing her boss, whoever it is, and that after I wasn't her boss anymore, she wasn't interested in me.

But she loved our talks, our laughs, our fun working together.

Then she dropped the bombshell on me with the story of flying to Seattle (I played like I didn't know anything), and then told me she'd have done anything to get me to sleep with her when she worked for me, but I never showed the slightest hit of interest in her, which baffled her.

She said she was impressed that I'd look her in the eyes, not stare at her tits.

How when she'd come into my cube and stretch, arching her back purposefully, I'd not avert my eyes, even slightly, from her eyes.

How I never once tried to cop a feel, brush against her or anything lame like that, despite her standing close enough for it to appear accidental.

For the record, I'm not sure exactly how I kept my composure around her, either.

Eventually, as afternoon rolled into evening, and the drinks kept flowing, I told her I was the Rubberband Man, including bits of things we discussed so she knew I was serious.

She told me she had figured it out about two weeks into it by listening to me type (her cube shared a common wall with mine) and how she'd hear me laugh when she typed something funny, but she enjoyed the game and hoped that it would have led to something.

She did invite me to her place that night, but I didn't go.

Part of me was still confused about my wife, part of me really wanted to bang her, but the biggest part of me realized that she was looking for a husband and father for her eventual children, not a nostalgic one-night stand.

So we went our separate ways.

She eventually moved to Virginia; I'm here in Columbus.

And while I'd like to say she was all that in bed, I have the feeling it would have ended badly.


I'm late to the party.

The Battlestar Galactica party.

On Sci-Fi.


I am a HUGE science fiction fan (no, really?)

I was eight when Star Wars was released.

I read the comics and the novelization of the movie (that's the book for you who are asking "What's a novelization of the movie?) before I ever saw it on the big screen.

And when I finally got to go see it ... that, my friends, was a monumental day.

I can tell you things about the day I first saw the "first" movie (that's Episode IV for you who aren't in the know):

  • We were living out in the country at this time. My mom was married to a biker guy who was, well, at that point in his life, not a nice father figure to a quiet, smart, book-loving kid (me) ... who happened to be the only boy in the group (I had two sisters, he had custody of his two daughters from his previous marriage) I was in 2nd grade when we moved out into his place in Gustavus. He called it attempts to toughen me up. I call it abuse. Thankfully, we only lived there two years. Also, thankfully, he's dead now. My mom was pissed when my response to hearing he was dead was "Good." She was even more pissed when asked me if I was going to the wake and I told her only to make sure the fucker's really dead. She told me not to bother going. I didn't.
  • We went to see the movie at the theaters that were inside the Eastwood Mall. There were two screens. It was playing on both.
  • We took the kid who lived in the next building over in the apartment complex we lived in (Royal Mall in Niles. It was shitty then. It's shitty now.) before we moved in with "Biker Guy."
  • The kid's name was Jason.
  • He was five.
  • He was in kindergarten.
  • I read him, and probably the rest of the theater, the opening crawl, partially because he couldn't read, and partially because I had it memorized.
  • Before I saw the movie, I had read the book, twice, I had the comic books (three issues), and the action figures. I had them all in the car.
  • We ate at McDonalds after picking up Jason.
  • We had a white car with a maroon interior.
  • I had a Filet-O-Fish.
  • I don't remember ever eating another one, but I do remember I ate one that night. (Hey, special moments in life have special memories, no?)
  • I couldn't wait to see it again.

On the heels of the success of Star Wars came a host of other sci-fi titles. Some were good, some were total crap.

Most were total crap.

The original Battlestar Galactica, however, was different, in my mind.

It was amazing.

I remember going to a friend's house when I was in 6th grade to watch the movie on HBO because they had HBO and we had tin-foil wrapped around an antenna wire and a bootleg Cinemax converter on our (probably illegal) cable we had in the projects in Warren.

So we had the Friday night porn (DUDE - I SAW BUSH on TV in 1979 (no, not the politicians) and proceeded, like most 12-year-olds, to beat my meat like it owed me money, before, during and still to this day.) ... he had the cool movies.


I remember watching the movie.

And wishing like hell I could watch the show.

But I had an older sister who would not let me watch anything, ever.

Back in those days, we had one television. Unless it was broken, then we had a black-and-white one we borrowed from someone placed on top of the broken on, that we'd have to wait until one of the Murphy Brothers could find/scavenge/steal the parts to fix.

Mom worked for them under-the-table answering phones and notarizing titles.

I worked there scrapping out TV's ($1 each) and going on delivery runs ($1 each) with Howard, who had a bad back and couldn't lift TV's, and a speech impediment and couldn't pronounce his L's right. I spent 10 minutes one day looking in his truck for a wrench when he wanted his lunch. But they were good guys. Honest guys. Could fix anything with tubes. Or tires. Always good to us. In fact, I rented an apartment above their TV shop later in my life.


My older sister had to watch Little House on the Prairie, which was on NBC the same time Battlestar Galactica was on ABC.

And when the NFL was on, I'd go to the bar my mom was working at and drink coke and watch the games because it my sister would watch Shirley Temple movies on Channel 33 that went up against the AFC on Channel 21 and the NFC on Channel 27. Yep, three channels back then. And I never got to pick which one to watch.

And no, I haven't forgotten.

ANYWAY ... I loved the original Battlestar Galactica.

And when I heard the Sci-Fi channel, the same channel that brought us the biggest douchebag in the universe (shout out to my South Park homies) was re-doing the show, I shuddered.

And vowed never to watch it.

Especially when I found out that "Starbuck" was female?


A cigar-smoking, card-playing female Viper pilot?

Not in my universe.

And I avoided it.

Until a couple of weeks ago when I was in a hotel flipping channels unable to sleep and found myself watching some kick-ass action show that looked futuristic yet employed old technology.

Bullets, not lasers.

Wheeled vehicles, not hovercraft.

People, not CGI characters.

And after about 30 minutes of commercial-free viewing, the credits started rolling and announcer voice said, "Keep watching, we're playing your favorite Battlestar Galactica episodes, back-to-back, with limited commercial interruptions."

W-T-F! I'm liking this shit.


So my next trip to Best Buy found Season 1 in my shopping cart, then home to my shelf, where it sat, mocking me, for a few weeks, because I tried to keep it real.

Yeah. I just got done watching the miniseries ... just the 3-hour miniseries.

I f'n loved it.

Now I'm going to watch the first season, and then get the 2nd season on DVD as well on my next trip to Best Buy.

Because I need to be addicted to another TV show that's on cable ... and I don't have cable.



In other news, Pat Green's show at the House of Blues was a lot of fun. He's a hell of an entertainer, and Chris Skrobot, my motherfucking hero, was solid as ever on the guitar. It was nice to see Chris looking out over the crowd and recognizing and acknowledging friends and family who made the drive from Columbus and Pittsburgh and all over the state to see him play.

He's one hell of a guitar player.

My only complaint is with the HOB. They would not let me bring my camera in (either my new one OR my old pocket-point-and-shoot). Chris, being new to the tour, tried to get me a photo pass but wasn't able.

HOB security said no pass, no camera. And they wanded everyone who came in.

So imagine my surprise when there were literally dozens of people with cameras, snapping pics during the entire show. I was turned away and had to take my shit back to the car, but I saw FIVE people with cameras the size of my Canon and at least 20 people with point-and-shoots, and none of them had a photo pass.

And I'm not bitching because I didn't get my camera in. Sometimes it's more fun to rock out than worry about getting the angle/setting/light right for the shot you want. And I enjoyed the show immensely.

I just want the rules to be enforced across the boards, that all. Either no problem with cameras or no cameras. The hit-and-miss shit gots to go.


To those who have sent me emails about today, thank you. September 4th is a day in my life that is important for good and not-so-good reasons.

To sum it up quickly, Greg Joseph sings a song on his new CD "American Dreams" (buy that shit. It's good) called "Two Suits" ... about having one for weddings and one for funerals.

September 4th is that song, in a day, for me. I had a funeral (my grandmothers) ... and while I didn't have a wedding, I did meet the one I should have (and probably would have) married, oddly enough, just hours after my grandmother's funeral.

It was her birthday (the girl, not the grandma), she came to the bar I was working at. It was love at first site.


We started dating within the week.

We were together until she was killed about 15 months later in a car accident.

I found out about it when, as news director for a radio station, read it on the air at 6:03 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

Talk about starting your weekend off on a bad note, eh?



September 4th is also the 1 year anniversary of my MySpace blog. My first entry was all about the girl, but it died with my original MySpace profile died on December 15th.

And honestly, I'm kind of glad.

While it was nice to get it out there, as my now-dead friend Sue said "sometimes's it's good to spew it out and let someone else digest it," I really have no desire to revisit it.

I think last year I finally got on top of it (after 13 years) and put it behind me.

This year I'm reflective in a good way.

Happy for the love we had, not the love I lost.

Be well.



Song of the Day

Only The Thunder Knows
The Alarm

All I want is someone to believe in
But who to believe is hard to define
When some say the future is unwritten
Some say the simple things in life are the best
When all is dark and dusty down the tracks
And all paths from exile have roadblocks on all points
Saying "No, No way out of here, go back from where you came from"
And some say when you're down you fight the hardest
Some tighten the belt others let go
Someone once said, if you don't ask you don't receive
Someone showed me that written down in the back of a book

And as I reach out and see my life unfold
I tell you this because I truly believe in it
Ask and you'll receive my friend
Seek and you shall find
Oh won't you help me now.

Only the thunder knows
What drives a man in his darkest throes
Fortune and poverty
They're oh so close, oh so close
Only the thunder

And some say everything must have a reason
Some say everything will one day soon come to pass
Some say that's life, that's the way the cards fall
Someone once said the answer's blowin' in the wind
And the word I seek to answer all my questions
Is written down on everything I see
It's in the words written on the subway walls
It's filling the concert halls.

Only the thunder knows
What drives a man in his darkest throes
Fortune and poverty
They're oh so close, oh so close
Only the thunder

I know you’re out there in this world my friend
I know I’ll find you, I know I’ll find you
I’ll be searching all night through the thunder and rain
One day I’ll find you, one day I’ll find you

Oh won't you help me now

Only the thunder knows
What drives a man in his darkest throes
Fortune and poverty
They’re oh so close, oh so close
Only the thunder
Only the thunder


God Hates Fred Phelps

I'll admit that I'm not a big Michael Moore fan, but this is some classic stuff, I'm guessing, from his television show in 1999 when he goes after the right reverend Fred Phelps, the "God hates fags" guy who was then protesting at funerals of gay men and lesbians, such as Mathew Sheppard.

You might know Fred Phelps as the ass clown who now protests at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq.

I'm all for standing up for what you believe in, but when you're this far gone, there's really no hope for you. Seriously ... there are few things worse than kicking people when they're down, but protesting at funerals? Saying that the deceased is getting his just rewards in Hell for being gay? That AIDS cures homosexuality? That brave men and women dying in Iraq - regardless of your political belief on the issue - because it's God's revenge for the decay of America?


As a veteran, I can't wait until Fred Phelps has his day of judgment and gets a hot, stiff pitchfork up his ass. Hopefully, Satan is gay, and aggressive, and makes Fred his bitch.

As one who is coming to grips with spirituality and belief in a higher power, I can't see how any deity could support this whack job, let alone anyone here on Earth. Makes me wish that sometimes, that whole smiting thing would still happen.

There's an old Jim Croce song that has the line, "Now it's let him live in freedom, if he lives like me" the describes the double-standard we often accept as part of life ... this video is right in line with that. As soon as Fred is faced with what he hates, rather than engage in an open exchange of ideas, he tosses out a few epithets and runs.

So, yeah, there are some times I like Michael Moore. This is one of them.

Song of the Day

Which Way Are You Goin'
Jim Croce

Which way are you goin'?
Which side will you be on?
Will you stand and watch while,
All the seeds of hate are sown?
Will you stand with those who say,
Let his will be done?
One hand on the bible
One hand on the gun

Which way are you looking?
Is it hard to see?
Do you say what's wrong for him,
Is not wrong for me?
You walk the streets, righteousness,
But you refuse to understand
You say you love the baby
Then you crucify the man

Everyday, things are changing,
Words once honored turned to lies
People wondering, can you blame them
Its to far to run, and to late to hide

Now you turn your back on,
All the things that you used to preach
Now it's let him live in freedom,
If he lives like me
Well you light has changed, confusion rains,
What have you become?
All your olive branches turned to spears
When your flowers turned to guns


Song of the Day

"Sweet Surrender"
John Denver

Lost and alone on some forgotten highway
Traveled by many, remembered by few

Looking for something that I can believe in
Looking for something that I'd like to do with my life

There's nothing behind me and nothing that ties me
To something that might have been true yesterday
Tomorrow is open and right now it seems to be more

Than enough to just be there today

And I don't know what the future is holding in store

I don't know where I'm going, I'm not sure where I've been

There's a spirit that guides me, a light that shines for me

My life is worth the living, I don't need to see the end

Sweet, sweet surrender
Live, live without care
Like a fish in the water
Like a bird in the air