Friday, March 24, 2017

The Art Is Better Than the Artist

Steven Van Zandt, Silvio from the Sopranos, and the guitarist from E Street was asked about Chuck Berry and the alleged underage girl charges that were levied against him.

"The art is always better than the artist," he said. "There are no exceptions."

Steven is right, of course.

At first glance, it appears that he is diminishing the charges against Berry, but he did no such thing.

He was letting everyone know that the art that is created seems perfect, but the artist never is.

That's the equivalent of Kathy telling people that:

"He's much better on paper."

Which, is true, of course.

The words are very often carefully considered. You put your best foot forward.

Bruce recently did his autobiography and while he came off great, he didn't pull any punches when he spoke about his behavior at times. He was very honest about his shortcomings while married for the first time, and that is often a shock to people who expect their heroes to be perfect.

Perfection doesn't exist!

Of course, that is not to minimize the questionable actions of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis or even Prince and Elvis - guys who died too young by kind of destroying themselves.

Does the fact that Elvis was isolated and alone and in all kinds of pain diminish from Jailhouse Rock?

The art is always better than the artist.

I thought it would be interesting to hear about Chuck Berry and listen to all those who praised him...

...it's no secret that he was difficult.

He kind of tarnished his image with his behavior...

...but does it make 'You Can Never Tell' any less awesome?

I usually can make the distinction...

...there is only one artist who I sell short in this regard, and that's Michael Jackson.

His songs were great.

The allegations against him turned me way off though.

I can't hear the first note of his songs and not think about the underage boys.

Maybe that's not fair...

...but what can you do?

I'm better on paper too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dine & Dash

There's a guy out there working a scam on women.

This is how it works:

He goes on a dating site and charms a woman. He asks her out on a date, and meets her at a fancy place.

He tells her to order whatever she wants, and he proceeds to go off the top of the menu.

They eat and converse.

When he's just about done, he grabs his cell phone and mentions that it's a call he has to take. He excuses himself from the table, and flat-out takes off.

Leaving his date with the check.

Whoa!

Why didn't I think of that?

He has pulled it off so far, getting away with it at least three times!

And here's the worst part:

It's not really a crime!

He didn't enter into a contract to buy the meal.

The woman, the only one left at the table, has to cover it.

Genius.

The latest woman to get scammed in this manner said that he ordered a bottle of wine, had a Caesar salad and a jumbo shrimp cocktail, a bowl of soup, and a steak and baked potato.

They were having a nice chat.

He got the call with just a half of the potato left on his plate.

15 minutes later the waiter came to the table and asked if she would like the check.

"I'm waiting on my date," she said. "He went to make a call."

"That guy left," the waiter said.

She texted him, of course, asking if he was all right.

He didn't answer.

Whoa Again!

What a dopey bastard.

But it is kinda' funny.

Past Lives

Was listening to Jenny McCarthy on Tuesday and she had a bit of an off-beat guest on.

First off, I like listening to Jenny, but it's a little shocking, at times, because she has all women co-hosts, and it's crazy to listen to women talk about sex in such an open forum.

And they call men pigs.

Anywhoha...

Jenny's guest was talking about...

...get this...

how she became convinced that her son was Lou Gehrig in his past life.

Color me skeptical!

The mother (and I didn't catch her name) said that she figured it all out when she took her son to a Yankees-Red Sux game and he was telling her about remembering what life was like when he was big like Dad and playing ball all time time.

He distinctly remembered riding on elevators, and trains, and was put-off by a photo of Babe Ruth...

...who, the kid said, treated him poorly.

Come on, now!

But the woman wasn't just messing around.

She believes that her son - who was three years old when he figured it all out - is Lou Freaking Gehrig!

What if the kid had told her that he remembers being Mr. Ed in his past life?

He was three years old!

You give what they say, at three, validation?

At three, Jake and Sam both believed that they were going to play in the NBA.

(Sam might not yet be totally convinced that he won't).

But what if I had taken them serious at that age and started contacting the Celtics and the Lakers?

What strikes me about it is that I really feel for that kid now.

His mother is going around the country telling people that he lived a past life and was one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

And how about the poor kid's father?

Can you imagine listening to that bull crap every day?

Once her son mentioned that he didn't care for Babe Ruth she started researching everything and she eventually went to some guy who validated all of it for her.

Now she's pedaling a book and a movie about it.

Lou Gehrig?

What are the chances that the kid remembers that he was reincarnated, and lo and behold, was a famous person?

What if he had told her that he remembered he was Antwain the school janitor from the 1920's?

Jenny was listening to her...

...explaining that it was absolutely amazing!

Good thing I wasn't the host.

I would've been calling the authorities to take the lady away.

That poor kid.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Played A Guitar Like Ringing A Bell

My Dad had Chuck Berry's greatest hits record.

He used to put in on every now and again and as little kids we laughed a lot at "My Ding A Ling."

But that wasn't my favorite.

I liked Johnny B. Goode.

It was just an exciting song.

It caught you; shook you; and hammered your senses.

I still have it on my I-pod along with two or three others.

He could play a guitar just like ringing a bell.

My Dad liked him better than Elvis.

So, I kinda' always had a soft spot in my heart for Chuck Berry. The Rolling Stones, my favorite band as a teen, played a whole bunch of Chuck's tunes.

There are a whole bunch of stories out there about Chuck being a rough guy to deal with. His personal life was rough.

Some of the guys who idolized him, talked of meeting him, and coming away less than thrilled with the interaction.

I thought of that immediately after hearing of his death, but I kept going back to my Dad, singing the song.

And laughing at 'My Ding-a-Ling."

He lived a good, long life.

Twitter was alive with tributes.

Bruce sent out a few nice words, so did Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronny Wood.

Elvis was the King, but Chuck Berry was the Big Daddy of them All.

His influence will last a good long time.

Even if he was a bit off-putting now and again.

RIP...

...Go Johnny Go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Some Rules

Trying to fathom how Meals on Wheels is a bad thing.

Sometimes there are breaches of etiquette that are so appalling to me, and I think of it in the context of the nuns, who beat the loyalties into me

Isn't your word what matters?

You lie blatantly, or go back on your personal vows because it's too tough, or not convenient for your own selfish agenda?

Can't fathom that.

A few hard and fast rules I try and live by

 (Because of those nuns!)

1). Be nice.

To as many people as you can. This one isn't always easy, but try and be as cordial as you can to as many people as possible.

Even when they're blatant idiots.

2). Put yourself last sometimes.

This is easier than you might think as a decent human, but harder than you think as a selfish human, and we all have the capabilities to be equal parts each. As a Dad, I come in last a lot around here. I am more than willing to do that.

When others see you doing that for them they sometimes let you be first.

The key is to see it from someone else's eyes a lot of the time.

3). Grace

As children we are blessed to be born with an unending supply of grace. We lose it along the way. Life beats it out of you, but you still catch glimpses...

...in the eyes of your children...

...in the heart of your spouse...

...in the cherished memories of youth.

Grab it.

Hold onto as much grace as you can.

4). Say it.

If you want to say something to someone, say it!

Whether it's standing up for yourself, or telling someone how much you care.

Tell them!

Regret comes in a lot of forms. I lost people to death. I could honestly stand before them, knowing that they knew how much I loved them.

Holding onto something that needs to be said will eat a hole in your heart.

5). It's Okay to Be Wrong.

I laugh at myself a lot.

I can be an idiot.

I often say something that is later proven to be complete garbage.

I own it.

There has to be accountability. No one is perfect. If you screw up, stand up.

"I blew it," goes a long way.

So.

There you go.

Just getting a few things off my chest.

We're all just striving to do the right things (I hope)

Some rules for some of it.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

NCAA First Weekend

The boys went to the games in Buffalo on Thursday, and after a sweaty first half for 'Nova (Sam's favorite team), a great time was had by all.

We got our brackets in too, and that was a little rough on me because some of the people who entered their brackets decided that I would cover their entrance fee.

(Sam, Jake, Quinn, Johnny and Kathy felt that I would like to assist them with their entries).

Lovely.

I didn't get to see a lot of the Thursday games, but there was a buzz around our home:

Jake had 16 picks correct...

...out of 16.

"I did an answer key for the rest of you idiots," he texted me.

Yet, I know my son.

"You do realize that you will miss a couple tomorrow," I said.

"Why do I have to?" He asked.

Because it's March Madness!!

The end came in late afternoon on Friday.

Michigan won a thriller of a game 92-91 to end Jake's dream of perfection.

(He finished 28-4 in the first round).

And through it all, on Friday night, Sam controlled the remote so that we didn't see any commercials or miss a single dribble).

"The first day is better than Christmas," Sam said.

And it is approaching that level for me...

...because it's almost as expensive!

I was just a few points off the lead in the bracket pool.

If there's a god of college hoops...

...I'll get my entry fees back.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Climbing Mt. Everest

Caught a radio interview with a guy who just reached the summit of Mount Everest.

He broke it all down for us, and as he spoke, my skin sort of crawled.

He was caught in an avalanche on an earlier climb, so his second attempt had him quitting because of PTSD. It was his description of being trapped in the avalanche that made me cringe.

He talked of the snow hitting him like a freight train and trapping him in a rolling ball that made it tough to breathe because the snow filled up his nose and mouth.

He went up there a third time.

And finally made it!

It's a 40-hour ordeal.

The climb up is 8 hours of climbing in the 40-hour period. You can't just walk straight up because it would kill you.

So a little at a time.

He talked of seeing the mummified bodies of the climbers that didn't make it.

Then he described how cold he got at certain points.

Obviously I am no longer a candidate to make the climb at the age of 52 with a busted up body.

But at the peak of my athletic abilities (shut up, Pops) I wouldn't want to go even 200 feet in the air.

(I take that back...I did the walk-up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, but that was easy).

Anywhoha...

This dude made it to the top.

He thought he'd die a bunch of times...

...and when he got there he found that his phone battery had died!

He took one selfie of him at the top, but that was it.

Then he mentioned that 80% of the deaths happen on the descent!!

Can you imagine??

You make it all the way up...

...then freeze to death getting down!

I felt good for the guy.

I really did, but if I want to see the summit...

...I'll look at his selfie.

Nice and warm on my couch.

Much safer, right?

And I'm a safety man!

The Art Is Better Than the Artist

Steven Van Zandt, Silvio from the Sopranos, and the guitarist from E Street was asked about Chuck Berry and the alleged underage girl charge...