Oh, just another school shooting rant. Move along.

I can remember the days three of the four kids who call me Dad (three by choice, one by DNA) started school. The smiles. The excitement. Up early, breakfast eaten, clothes picked out the night before were quickly on, unlike the normal "I don't wanna get up/eat/dressed/shoes/etc" mornings. Waiting by the door. Itching to hop in the van and head to school.

And we pull in with all the other parents, walk them across the parking lot, watch as they join their classmates and hold hands and march into The First Day Of School.  And hoped, as we drove away, they'd love school. And it wouldn't be a fight.

Me? I loved school. I'm a smart guy. When I was in Elementary and Junior High, I was always one of the smartest kids in the class. Wasn't always popular, never really cared about that. Never worked as hard as I could, which is why I was never top 10 after about 7th grade, mainly because I wasn't challenged. Personally, I just loved the library, the textbooks, the teachers, the AV equipment, later the Computer Lab ... all that stuff. I liked going to school.

And I was glad to see for the most part, the kids liked it too. Hell, one of the younger kids threw a fit when they had to leave their older sibling at school and NOT stay for school because, well, you're three, they're five. You'll have your turn. And sure, they had their bad days, everyone does. But they seemed to like school. After moving to Virginia, and some issues with the quality of schools and some of their policies, the youngest three were home-schooled and liked that even better. But they're teenagers, so you'll have that. Sleep later, have more interesting and practical classwork. Stuff like that. An education that's not dumbed down as, sadly, most of the curriculum is these days.

What bugs me the most about what happened in Newton, Connecticut, last week, where teachers had to be heroes, taking bullets while hiding kids from a madman with four guns at Sandy Hook Elementary School, is that every kid in that school, in that area, in the state, and kids from all over the nation now don't have school as a safe sanctuary. Newton is an upper middle-class neighborhood. If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

I always felt safe in school. I always felt safe when the kids were in school. I'm upset that now, a whole generation of kids have had their school experience tainted by school shootings. And, no, I'm not gonna be like BAN ALL THE GUNS because I know guns don't kill people, people kill people. In this case, mental illness killed 20 kids and seven adults in a school. That's what we need to focus on. Sure, the crazy guy with pulled the triggers and the four guns fired the bullets that put the holes in the people that the blood rushed out of really fast, but the issue here is not guns. It's mental illness.

And that's what we need to focus on to move forward. It's time to bury the dead, hope the wounded can heal, hope the first responders can heal, hope the families can heal, and hope maybe some civility can come of this horrible event. Let's hope the media can learn to tone down their sensationalism.

None of those kids should have been on TV or in any print or online publication.

None of them.

And none of them should be asked about what they saw, heard, lived through last week in a week, or when the school reopens, or a year from now, or five years from now. Or ever.

None of them.

I was once a member of the media. I know the old saying, "If It Bleeds It Leads," but not when your lead story is showing faces of children who just had their childhood destroyed. Children who saw their friends, teachers, and trusted authority figures gunned down in front of them. Children who had to hide in their classrooms and hide in their closets. That's just not responsible journalism.

Nobody but you cares if you're the first reporter on the scene, first with the story, first with the photos or video or eyewitness interviews. You're part of the problem. Sometimes people wanna go out big so people know their name. Want their stories told. Old as time. 

One of the reasons I got out of reporting (and I did both radio news and worked for a daily newspaper as a reporter/photographer) was I hated constantly recording and reporting on the misery of others. I just couldn't do it anymore. I had offers when I made my career change to IT. Now, I help people. I like it. I still write, I still do photography. I like it as a creative outlet, not a career. Because I can pick and choose what I write about, what I photograph.

After viewing some of the news stories, reading the articles, and being sickened by the thoughtless slaughter of kids and teachers by a guy so far off his rocker his mother had warned a babysitter not to turn her back on him, I wonder how some of these reporters  sleep at night ... like the guy who photographed the guy get killed by the subway, rather than try to help him out. Granted, that was the result of a fistfight, Sure, you can take that back to if she didn't have guns he wouldn't have had guns, but that's not a valid argument. You're not going to change one of the building blocks of our republic.  You just won't.  We need better education, better mental health education, treatment and getting rid of the stigma attached to mental illness. That's where we need focus.


I *thought* we had a two-party system ...

So, if you go to a fight, and only one fighter shows up, is it really a fight? One team can't play itself in a real game, can it? Because, from what I've been told, it takes at least two to tango, right? 

Unless you're in Mahoning County and running for election, or re-election, and are a Democrat.

I voted yesterday (Oct 29th), early, because I can, and because I hate craziness of Election Day, and, yeah, I'm probably going to be busy at work that day and would hate to miss my chance to vote. 

So I voted early. Because I live in a forward-thinking state that allows it, despite the GOP's rampant hatred of it and attempts to get rid of it.  The same GOP, I might add, that barely registered a blip on the scale here on my ballot here in Mahoning County. 

And after I voted, I was hot pissed. 

It had nothing to do with the ghetto-fabulous iron-on hoodie the woman voting behind me had. It was a full back piece montage of President Obama's family portrait, with the White House in the background, and Presidential crest and script writing; nor was it the way she smelled, which Allison said was very ripe. 

I was hot pissed because I felt like I was voting in a third-world country that was lead by a dictator or monarch and had 'elections' to prove the people wanted that kind of leadership.

Because my ballot had a lot of uncontested races. Because the Republicans in Mahoning County apparently decided to sit this one out.

Oh, they were there in the national races, and the statewide races, but there were a total of EIGHT races where there wasn't a single bit of opposition to Democratic candidate. Add in the lack of a Republican challenger in the County Recorder's race, and you have nine local races the Republicans didn't have a candidate. 

Yeah, seriously ... NINE races the Grand Old Party didn't have anyone on the ballot

Didn't. Even. Try.

Granted, I know the Mahoning Valley, and Mahoning County, are as blue as blue gets in Northeastern Ohio. I once made a joke when I was a newspaper reporter covering the Niles City Council how there were seven white, male, Italian Democrats on council, and one white, male, Republican as Council President, with a white, male, Italian Democrat for Mayor and another for police chief, because Niles is diverse ... meaning they have both Northern *and* Southern Italians in government in elected and appointed positions.

But that was 20 years ago. Apparently, nothing's changed.

I can't believe that the entire Republican Party in Mahoning County couldn't do better than fielding five candidates ... one person to run for County Commissioner; three in State House of Representative races (and one without) and one County Commissioner candidate. FIVE local Republicans had the stones to step up for the WHOLE COUNTY. Five.

Of the five Republicans, I'd only heard of two ... Marisha Agana and Kim Poma. Agana ran against Tim Ryan in the 13th Congressional District. Apparently she had two things she thought would help her win: 1 - Ryan's Pro Choice; 2 - Ryan voted with his party's President. Nothing of note in either of those is going to sway any votes, but at least she showed up and ran a campaign. She'll get smarter and run better next time. I have no idea what Poma stood for, because I'm not in her district, but again, at least she tried. I saw signs, I saw commercials, I know she's heavy into education, and that's good. Smart candidates make smart leaders. I wish I could have voted for her, or someone, other than the choices I had ... which were NONE AT ALL.

Because in NINE LOCAL RACES, the GOP didn't even bother trying. All of these candidates ran  unopposed:

Robert Hagan - Ohio House - 58th District
Anthony Traficanti - Mahoning County Commissioner
Paul Gaines - Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney
Anthony Vivo - Mahoning County Common Pleas Clerk
Jerry Greene - Mahoning County Sheriff
Daniel Yemma - Mahoning County Treasurer
Patrick Ginnetti - Mahoning County Engineer
David Kennedy - Mahoning County Coroner

At least Jim Villani from the Green Party ran in the County Recorder's race to give us an option. So I voted for him. And for the record, as far as the opposed County Commissioner seat, I voted for the non-party guy, because he was the ONLY person who bothered to show up in the rain and discuss his campaign. He earned my vote. And he's a Marine, and could probably kill me and had a porn-star mustache, so there's that. But I will say that Ed Goldner showed up in person, and on the ballot, so he got my vote. (See, I'm not straight-ticket. That's one Green Party, one no-party.)

I guess what I'm trying to say, Republicans, is until your party decides to step up locally and show some balls locally, I think all of my Republican friends should stick to talking about national and state-wide elections, because you had the chance to stand up locally, but since you have no dog in the fights at the County level ... so don't tell me how bad the County is run, m'kay? Step up and run or shut up and take it.

Oh, and for the rest of you, remember, go vote. Even if you don't have local choices like me, you still have a voice nationally.


Why I don't discuss religion with crazy people

So earlier this week, the absolute strangest Facebook conversation happened. It started off with a joke, then another, then someone got offended and it went from zero to I WILL KILL YOUR WHOLE FAMILY in one post.

With that being said ... here's the transcript. I've done the Internet a favor by removing all names but mine.

Cast of characters:
  • OP (Original Poster) - Woman with a twisted sense of humor, a good wit and plays rugby on a college scholarship, so she can probably kill most of you. She wasn't the one making the threats
  • 1st Poster - Female
  • 2nd Poster - Fake Facebook Name ... guessing male by the name. But obvious shit stirrer.
  • Eric Broz (that's me) - I like to stir the shit. But you probably already knew that.
  • Crazy Christian - Male. This is where it got interesting. Really, Really interesting. And scary.

OP (with a simple joke that started all this madness)
23 hours ago via mobile ·
Anti-gay marriage people are so dumb. I'm always hearing them say stuff like "in Genesis, it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." Actually, you homophobic twat, in Genesis, it was Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel. Get some knowledge, fool.
Like ·  · Unfollow Post
37 people like this.

Yes, this is a repost of one of my older statuses. However, it is epic enough to bear posting again.
23 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2

1st Poster
I love u for this !
23 hours ago via mobile · Like

2nd Poster The Bible is an awesome book to read, just like Lord Of The Rings. Then you put that shit back on the shelf and go back to reality.
23 hours ago · Like · 1

Eric Broz You forgot Steve Hackett and Tony Banks!
23 hours ago · Like

Crazy Christian
Listen I don't go cracking on your beliefs. I don't believe in gay marriage. But if people choose that then it's their choice. OP your my friend. Don't go fucking with my beliefs like the Bible. I don't go making fun of other peoples beliefs. I have respect for people for who they are even though I don't agree in what other people believe.
38 minutes ago · Like

 Crazy Christian, re read the status. Its totally asinine. Its a joke, and not really about the Bible, its about the band Genesis.
33 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Crazy Christian
I understand. It's about the band.
32 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian
But other people had something to say about what I believe in.
29 minutes ago · Like

Eric Broz
It's a sad day when someone gets butthurt over a joke.
26 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian
It wasn't funny to me. How about I go joking how I can kill your family not funny.
25 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian
That's my point it wasn't a joke to me. Oh well I got butthurt over a joke. How about I kill your family. Oh I'm just joking.
24 minutes ago · Like

Eric Broz
Well, that escalated quickly. Are you aware making threats on the internet is a felony? Use of the internet to threaten “the person of another” constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875 ( interstate communication of threat to injure) If it is communicated interstate, federal jurisdiction is created.
24 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian
don't give a fuck I was joking
23 minutes ago · Like

Eric Broz
I can see your Christian beliefs just shining out of you like light from the Baby Jesus.
22 minutes ago · Like

Jesus doesn't like swears.
21 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Crazy Christian
I have Christian believes and I also believe what I want.
21 minutes ago · Like

So do i. And i believe you're taking this way too far and way too personally. I don't like Phil Collins, but this joke doesn't offend me. Chill out.
20 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Eric Broz
Well, then Crazy Christian, perhaps you should read your Bible and discover this gem: "Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
19 minutes ago · Like ·

Crazy Christian
I'M NOT PERFECT. NOR WILL I EVER BE. NOR DO I TRY TO BE. I prayed last night that if I could sacrifice my place in heaven and spend eternity in hell so that my son can find Christ and be better then me and have his place in heaven I would....
See More
13 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian
I know the scripture but it doesn't mean that you can't stickup for yourself and what you believe in.
11 minutes ago · Like

Crazy Christian One more thing. I also prayed that I'd give up everything my own life here on earth. If I can be tortured in ways that are unimaginable to mans thinking or comprehension. If that would give my son a better life then I'd do it.

And that's where I left the conversation, and is why I don't argue with Crazy Christians on the Interwebs. The hypocritical shit coming from his mouth is why Christians who act like that guy make the rest of them look bad. If you're gonna get that bent out of shape over a joke, or a one-line tossout about the Bible, you really need to stay off Facebook and get your own house in order.


GOP Releases Statement about Personal Flotation Devices:

GOP Releases Statement about Personal Flotation Devices:

Washington DC ~ After careful consideration, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has released a statement saying he's against all forms of life jackets and personal flotation devices.

"It's my belief that these devices only encourage risky behavior by protecting people from drowning. The only 100% effective way to prevent drowning is total avoidance of going into the water.

"But, if by chance, you do find find your self struggling with drowning, then no life-saving or other preventative measures or acts should be allowed to be administered. You got yourself into this mess, you have to live with the consequences," Romney said.

He continued, "You should consider drowning a dift. And if by chance you were pushed into the water, don't worry. If it was a legitimate pushing, your body will find a way to shut out the water and survive the drowning."

When asked for comment, President Barack Obama said, "Wait. WHAT?"  

Vice President Joe Biden was too busy gut laughing to make a statement.

Doesn't make much sense when you look at it like that, do ya? Nobody asks to get tossed into a lake when they can't swim ... just like nobody asks for rape or incest. Let alone to get pregnant from rape or incest.



Song of the Day - "Lover's Cross" ~ Jim Croce

Guess that it was bound to happen

Was just a matter of time
But now I've come to my decision
And it's one of the painful kind
'Cause now it seems that you wanted a martyr
Just a regular guy wouldn't do
But baby I can't hang upon no lover's cross for you

I really got to hand it to ya
'Cause girl you really tried
But for every time that we spent laughin'
There were two times that I cried
And you were tryin' to make me your martyr
And that's the one thing I just couldn't do
'Cause baby, I can't hang upon no lover's cross for you

'Cause tables are meant for turnin'
And people are bound to change
And bridges are meant for burnin'
When the people and memories they join aren't the same

Still I hope that you can find
Another who can take what I could not
He'll have to be a super guy
Or maybe a super god
'Cause I never was much of a martyr before
And I ain't bout to start nothin' new
And baby, I can't hang upon no lover's cross for you 


Bald Heads and Sunburn Suck

So, I have a really funny story about why we were late for Erica Blinn and PJ Schreiner's show at Club Cafe when they opened for WATERSHED on Wednesday. I burned the holy hell out of my head and face at ComFest over the weekend, and decided that it was 'recovered enough' to shave the fuzz of my head and face. Well, I was wrong. Should have left it alone. Between the shaving and the showering, I think I lost two or three of the seven layers of skin on my head. My skull was ON FIRE.

So Allison and I go to dinner, she notices the patchwork and the pain I'm still in and suggests Solarcaine. I agree. I've used it before, worked great. So we find it, and in the parking lot of RiteAid in Austintown, I proceed to spray my raw and blistered head with a serious coating of this stuff.


Between the already contracted skin from the sunburn, the abrasions from the shaving and the fact that Solarcaine states "Do not spray in abundance on areas of raw or blistered skin" on the warning label I read about 20 minutes later, my head felt like nothing I've ever felt in my life. My vision got white, I got dizzy. I felt like I was going to pass out, shit myself, vomit, or all of the above, hopefully in a manageable order.

For 10-15 minutes, I was completely incapable of doing anything but avoiding all of the three things mentioned above, while trying to get over this so we could get on the road to Pittsburgh. Finally, Allie said we should go to my place so so I could rinse off my head. I tell her there's no way I can drive. Hell, I can barely stand. So we head that way ... I'm still freaking the fuck out. This is the second weirdest thing I've ever been exposed to.

Funny thing ... when we hit my parking lot ... whatever medication is in the Solarcaine finally started working and my head felt great. Tender, sure. But that whole "pass out puke shit myself" feeling was gone, and we switched seats and headed down to Pittsburgh. With a very valuable lesson learned:

Next year, at Comfest, my hat stays on.


My 2012 Comfest Schedule

I've had a few friends ask me for ComFest suggestions ... and who I'm going to see this year, so here is my ComFest Schedule ... in addition to my volunteer shifts doing trash clean up and recycling, I'm also working with my friend Ryan Cox as he spreads the word on the Cannon.fm  (This is an app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, available here, that will allow you to discover music based on individual cities and genres, starting with Columbus), so you might see me handing out info as I travel from stage to stage.

That being said, here's my ComFest 2012 Schedule, and if you want a cool shirt and some free beer tokens, Comfest always needs volunteers ... so go here, sign up and become part of the ComFest Community of Volunteers.

Noon-4 Volunteer Trash
3:40 Whoa Nellie! Bozo
5:50 Ginger Lees Solar
6:30 Low Men Offramp
7:05 Tim Easton Solar
8:30 Shane Sweeney Solar
9:00 Micah Schnabel Solar
9:20 The Ooh-la-las Burlesque  Live Arts
Noon The Shazzbots Offramp
12:35 Erica Blinn Gazebo
2:20 The Salty Carmels Gazebo
3:20 Spikedrivers Gazebo
4:00 Apple Bottom Gang Offramp
5:30 George Elliot Underground Offramp
6:25 The Town Monster Offramp
7:20 The Saturday Giant Offramp
8:15 Winter Makes Sailors Offramp
9:15 She Bears Offramp
10p-2a Volunteer Trash
11:45 Harvest Kings Offramp
12:20 The Dewdroppers Bozo
2:00 Erika Hughes  Gazebo
2:50 Willie Phoenix Bozo
3:40 Jenn Miller Jazz
4:00 Mendelsonics Gazebo
4:50 Lost Revival Offramp
5:35 Bygones Offramp
6:25 Alert New London Offramp
7:15 The Girls! Offramp


Song of the Day - with video!

"I Should've Known"
~ Aimee Mann

I should thank you almost
no one could kill it off until you bled it
but I got rid of that ghost
'though certain habits remain imbedded
with the shadow of a doubt
but baby it was you who fed it
and I don't know what else to say
but I think you get it.

I should've known
it was coming down to this
I should've known
you would betray me but without the kiss
I should've known
the kind of set-up it is.

And always isn't always
when it's not your photograph that I've been keeping
but you still live in those days
when I'd stay awake just to watch you sleeping
you delivered that blow
but it left a mark on me that you're not seeing
and I don't know what else you hear
but it's not me weeping

I should've known
it was coming down to this
I should've known
you would betray me but without the kiss
I should've known
the kind of set-up it is.

I should've seen the cracks in the ceiling
and the mirror covered up with dust
but I was busy talking on the phone
I should've seen the obstacles but I said,
this house was built for us
is anybody home?

I should've known
the minute that we hit the wall
I should've known
the writing was upon the stall
I should've known
'cause Rome was starting to fall

and I should thank you, almost.


My 2012 Charity Event - St. Baldrick's Day

Hello. I sometimes forget that not everyone has moved on from Blogger to my Facebook or Twitter feed, so I wanted to let you know that there are less than six days left before I get my head shaved to show solidarity with and raise money for kids fighting all sorts of pediatric cancers.

St. Baldrick's Foundation  is a volunteer-driven charity funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.  Your gift will give hope to infants, children, teens and young adults fighting childhood cancers. So when I ask for your support, I'm really asking you to support these kids. Thank you!


As of this posting I've raised $930.  I've promised on Facebook & Twitter that if I get $1,000 I'll keep it shaved completely bald for three months; and add an additional month for every $50 increment over $1,000.

So donate if you can, and if you're local to the Youngstown area, come out and join us on March 10th from 1 to 3 p.m. at O'Donald's Irish Pub & Grille, 6000 Mahoning Avenue, Austintown, OH 44515.



Song of the Day - "I Wanna Kiss You"

Paula Cole
I Wanna Kiss You

I wanna kiss you. I wanna kiss you.
I wanna stop the conversation,
I wanna kiss you.

Oh, lie beside me now,
Funny papers, morning sunlight streams,
Oh fantasize me now,
I'll kiss your neck and make your toast and tea,
Oh won't you marry me?
I see a little church atop a hill.
But in the meantime I wanna lose my shame.

I wanna kiss you. I wanna kiss you.
I wanna stop the conversation.
I wanna kiss you. I wanna feel you.
I wanna feel you.
I wanna lean my body into yours.
I wanna feel you.

Oh believe me now,
Walk with me upon the path I see.
Oh a cozy home,
Nestled in an English garden scene.
You will write your books,
And I will paint my paintings by the sea.
But now I'll be Lolita if you please.
I wanna kiss you. I wanna kiss you.
I wanna stop the conversation.
I wanna kiss you. I wanna hold you.
I wanna hold you.
I wanna wrestle you down to the ground.

I wanna kiss you. I wanna kiss you.
I wanna stop the conversation.
I wanna kiss you. I wanna have you.
I wanna have you.
I wanna be a possessive girl.
I wanna have you.
Hold you, hurt you, love you, need you, love you, wrestle you down to the ground,
Bite you, love you, hold you,
I wanna kiss you.


Song Of The Day "This Time It's Us"

"This Time It's Us"
~ Jude Cole

I sat on the roof as the night came down
Looking out over this pitiful town
And thought of you out there back in the race
Looking for someone to take my place
That's when it hit me, that's when the walls came down

You see, I never thought it could happen to us
Now we're going 'round breaking down each other's hearts
So go on and blame me for whatever you must
But we've become just like the ones we laughed about
This time, this time it's us

Up in a watchtower with the streetlights below
In a town full of places that we used to go
And a river of people walking two by two
Everything I see now reminds me of you
That's when it hit me, that's when it all came true

'Cause I never thought it could happen to us
Now we're going 'round breaking down each other's hearts
So go on and blame me for whatever you must
But we've become just like the ones we were laughing about
This time, this time it's us, oh it's us

I never thought it could happen to us
Now we're going 'round breaking down each other's hearts
So go on and blame me for whatever you must
But we've become just like the ones we were laughing about
This time, this time it's us, this time it's us, oh

This time it's us


Song of the Day - "No Mistakes"

The summer is gone I can't believe
it went so fast
Why do only the cold and lonely times
seem to last.
Now it's late at night
I watch you sleepin
I wanna wake you up
and tell you I'm sorry, though I know
I can't make it up.
I made my mistakes now baby
but I did the best I could.
It takes what it takes and sometimes
it takes longer than it should
to just live the kind of life that we both
have been dreaming of.
There are no mistakes in love.
I walk through a fire in my dreams
just to pull you through.
But when I'm awake somehow it seems
I'm just so hard on you.
Baby a change has got to come
nd I can't see
after another winter's gone,
well, who's gonna rescue me.

There are no mistakes now baby
we did the best we could.
It takes what it takes and sometimes
it takes much more than it should
to just make the choices that we both
have been dreaming of.
There are no mistakes in love.
The nights are much colder now
and I feel the nee to have you near.
Maybe we can start all over.
I feel a change in the air.
There are no mistakes now baby
we do the best we can.
It just takes what it takes and sometimes
it's so hard to understand
and just take the chances that we all
have been dreaming of.
There are no mistakes in love,
there are no mistakes in love,
oh, there are no mistakes in love.