Men’s Needs

I think a lot about the future. I estimate, if I eat better, exercise a moderate amount, and stay away from Nickelback fans, that I’ve got about 35 more years of quality life on this Earth. I want to make the most of them.

One way I think I get more out of my limited breaths is to pay attention to my own needs. My wife and three daughters are amazing. I cannot and will not go through life without them. But, I’ve got to tell you something, they’re as crazy I am. Look, I know I’m whacked. I take pills ya’ll. My women may not be diagnosed or need to hit Walgreen’s every couple of months but they’re goofy, too.

Earlier tonight, my wife and teenage daughter texted me about dinner. We’re on the go on Wednesday nights so we usually eat out or get take out delivered. That’s cool. The deal is, they know I don’t care what we eat. I’m anti- green peppers, coconut, coleslaw and mint with my chocolate, Other than that,I’m easy. One way I think about the future is, before i pass, I hope we can put meals into pills so I can just say “orange”, and chicken marsala with red wine drops into my throat and I can go write or watch a ballgame. My women are different, THEY LOVE FOOD. So texting me about dinner is kind of lame on their part. They just want to look good for asking me. I responded “anything but chinese, I had that the other day.” They text back “we’re ordering chinese”. Do you see where I’m going? WHY ASK ME?

I’m getting better as far as taking care of my mental health. I pick my battles with not only my women but also with work and friends. My skin is a lot thicker than it used to be. My needs are getting simpler, even though I’m weird and complicated. Sometimes I just want want some time to myself and to have people deal with their own problems unless they really need me.

There are as many as 10 females in my life on a daily basis yet, I’m still clueless about them. I’m trying to put more focus on myself and improving my flaws so I can be less horrible for them to deal with.

After a couple of smart aleck remarks and a passive-agressive tweet about the chinese food episode that garnered a handful of laughs, I was ready to get home and devour mongolian beef. The smiles and affection I received from home made my sweat about the small stuff fade.

I think this man’s needs are more understandable than I let on.

Today’s song is one of my favorites from the 00s or the naughts or whatever. It’s The Cribs, Men’s Needs. I love this band.

Hotel Illness

Another week of 100 word song and the writing increases in quality. There were so many good entries. Poems, songs, and some terrific fiction. One of the best was from my friend Michael Webb aka @spudrph from I’m Leaving conveyed so much. Mostly, that miscommunication can kill a relationship. The couple in his short story lost their light. The results were life changing. So, Michael got to pick this week’s song. He and I share a love of my hometown band, Atlanta’s The Black Crowes. One of their best songs is called Hotel Illness. It’s a great choice for 100 word song. The rules are almost non-existent. You give me 100 words inspired by this week’s choice of tune. Keep it at an even 100 and get it in by Tuesday, 7pm, February 21st. Here’s my 100….it’s a continuation of my widowed father story. While he and his teenage daughter are walking to get gas, he remembers first meeting her mom.

“I want you to get me high.”

He laughed through mouthing the word “no”.

“We’re in paradise, thousands of miles from home. We’ve told each other our life stories. You’ve done drugs. I haven’t. “

This blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman, layed out in a blue bikini on his hotel room balcony, was asking someone she’d known for two days to procure drugs in a foreign country.

“Where in Cancun should I find your poison?”

She sat up. Sun-baked tresses danced on her tanned shoulders.

“There’s a band staying here. The drummer hit on me when I checked in. Trust me, he’s holding.”


My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

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Leeroy approves, here’s my Atlanta rock and roll brothers, The Black Crowes, with Hotel Illness

Down With The Sickness

Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene changed back into jeans and a black t-shirt. She placed her duffel bag next to the guitar case and backpack by the door to Ramona’s brownstone. A feeling of dread rushed over her.

“I wish you’d come tonight, ‘Mona.”

Ramona tightened the muscles around her mouth and pulled her long red hair behind her ears. Helene smiled at the lines in Ramona’s face. She admired the experience they expressed.

“Leney, if I’m there, you’ll be nervous. Your band needs for you to be a rock. I think that’s what happened the last time.”

Helene frowned and bit her bottom lip. Ramona sensed her unhappiness and walked over to her, smiling.

 “Leney, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll scoop you up from the afterparty and take you to our recording session. That way, I’ll keep you out of trouble from your certain success, tonight.”

She felt patronized but once Ramona’s long fingers ran along Helene’s cheeks, she relented.

“Sounds perfect, “Mona. We can celebrate in the cab.”

Helene awaited Ramona’s flirtatious response but instead felt paper being placed into her left hand. It was check, written for three thousand dollars.

“Leney, this is for the next ten recording sessions. It was all I could get the producer to front. That should help you out of hot water with your landlord. If you don’t have a bank account, you can just sign it over.”

Helene needed to feel safe from the chaos in her life that Ramona’s affection provided. She settled for the money that Ramona paid her to prevent her being homeless.

She forced a smile and leaned into Ramona. A beep sounded from the kitchen. Ramona turned and walked away from Helene’s pursed lips.

“Spinach and mushroom panini! You’re going to be late, Leney. No one likes a band diva. Go!”

Helene suppressed her hurt and summoned strength. She realized what was ahead. Without saying goodbye, she picked up the backpack, duffel bag, and guitar case then swaggered from the apartment.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. Your can find the rest of the story, so far, here: This latest installment is based on the one word prompt “SAFE” by my friends at Trifecta Writing Challenge:

Today’s song is what I imagined may have blared from Helene’s iPod as she left Ramona’s place. Needing something hard, fast, nihilistic, and mean to get her through. Here’s some perfectly good rock music from Disturbed; Down With The Sickness:


It took twenty-five years and about twenty five bucks, but I finally achieved a lifelong goal. I walked into a school gym with two girls, one on each arm….

Friday, my 7-year-old daughter’s elementary school hosted a father-daughter dance. I took my two youngest (the teenager is way too cool for such an event) girls. We ate bad lasagna, good brownies, then Party Rocked and Cupid Shuffled for 90 minutes. It was a blast. There’s a reason why my name rhymes with dance. We won first and third grade dance contests. It was a thrill to see 150 or so other dads. I’m usually the only one at my daughter’s deals.

There will be some subtle changes to My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. I’m over six weeks behind schedule finishing my novel. You can find about 30 thousand words of it under the page heading, Crazy Robot Stories. I’m thinking of titling the project Hybrids. I’m aiming for this week to get it to my critique group friends and then try to find a publisher. Self publishing is definitely a possibility. As a result, I’m going to concentrate on the serial fiction posts, Helene Troy, and a new short story about a widowed father and his relationship with his teenage girl. It’s untitled, but you’ll seen three posts about it, so far: It’s Alright It’s Ok, The Middle of the Road, and my latest 100 word song, See A Little Light. I’m taking a break from Indie Ink and concentrating on prompts from Write On Edge , Trifecta Challenge and Studio Thirty Plus They seem more likely to fit the serials. 100 word song is a rousing success. It will run Tuesday nights at 7pm. You can expect a couple of personal posts about me living with these 4 women each week with the fiction.

I’ve taken a writing position with Sprocket Ink It’s a snarky news site. They do great work and it’s a daily read for me. My sports column will run Tuesdays at 1pm and my politics column will run Fridays at 1pm.

Don’t forget to like the blog on the facebook!/pages/My-Blog-Can-Beat-Up-Your-Blog/339720439382777 . We’re at 55 likes. I think we can do better. Basically, this place will become a little leaner.

Finally, My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog is a multiple award winner. Saturday morning, Studio Thirty Plus announced that this spot went 3 for 3 in their Boomerang Awards, including male blogger of the year. My friend Abby from AbbyHasIssues, took the female spot as well as Blog of the year. You need to be reading Abby. She makes the internets a much better place. I’m letting this news go straight to my robot head. I’m renting out an Applebees and holding court next to the draft beer spigots.

This is a lot to take in, and I’m confused and dizzied by it. I’ve got this new deal of wearing my shirts with the sleeves unbuttoned and big sunglasses like this guy:

So today’s song is from U2…here’s Vertigo

If It Isn’t Her

Last time with Helene Troy:

The sound of water bathing rattling dishes in the kitchen sink distracted Ramona to Helene’s vibrating cell phone. Helene grabbed it and headed to the bedroom to remove the dress and shoes and pack them until it was time to get ready for her show. Darcy was calling.

“Darse, what is it?”

Helene heard her whimper. She looked around the bedroom for Ramona then walked into the closet to talk to Darcy.

“Darse, this has been coming for a long time. Just do me a favor. When you get to the apartment, stay out of my bathroom. Two kittens are in there. The landlord knows.”

Through more whimpering, Helene heard Darcy utter a muffled, “I miss us Leney.”

Helene felt a hurt across her chest. She held the phone against her forehead and tried think of how she’d reply. She brought the phone back to her ear responded in a way she’d regret.

“I miss us too, but that’s not what this is about. I have to go, Darse. I’m with someone else.”

Helene hung up and dropped the phone to the carpet. She stripped down to her bra and panties and looked for her jeans and t-shirt. Ramona’s long fingers moved over the small of Helene’s back. They were cold from the kitchen sink water.

“Leney, should I be jealous?”

Ramona had heard the phone call, Helene assumed. She straightened her posture. Ramona’s hands moved to her hips. She didn’t turn around. She feared Ramona’s expression.

“I’ve moved on, ‘Mona. I really want us to happen.”

Silence moved throughout the apartment into the small closet. Ramona’s body purred against Helene as she hugged her from behind. She nestled Helene’s bare shoulders with her nose.. Her hands caressed Helene’s pulsating stomach.

“Leney, I realize you don’t have time. I just want you to know I really want us, too.”

Helene dropped the jeans from her left hand and turned to Ramona. She tossed her brown mane, smiled provocatively and answered.

“I’ll make time.”

***blogger’s note****

This is a new episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: This is in response to a Valentine’s Day prompt from Trifecta Writing Challenge: A love story in 333 words, not using 33 cliched words.

Today’s song is perfect for the this scene. Ani DiFranco strips down the message to this – If it isn’t her, it isn’t here. Helene pushes Darcy out of her life and lets Ramona in. Nothing will be the same.

Cat Power

Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene stood outside her apartment facing the bathroom window.  She saw the two gray and white kittens peering through the glass panes. She turned her attention to the two thousand dollars cash in her backpack. She countered her nervousness by putting her knife in the back left pocket of her faded blue jeans. Ramona called. Helene answered with enthusiasm.

“Hey ‘Mona, I can’t wait to see you! I talked to my landlord about keeping the apartment and I have two new roommates!”

Helene could hear people bustling in the background.

“Yeah? So your band moved in with you, Leney?”

Helene picked up her guitar case and duffel bag.

“Nope, two identical twin seven-week-old kittens. They’re fucking adorable. Are you not home?”

Ramona breathed into the phone. Helene couldn’t tell if it was bother or disapproval.

“I’m getting something to eat at the coffee shop near my place. I’ll bring you a sandwich and a tea. You need more than booze in you to get through your show, tonight.”

Helene smirked at the influence Ramona was exerting. She said goodbye, shrugged her shoulders and hailed a taxi.

The door to Ramona’s brownstone was open. Helene’s hands and shoulders ached from the weight of her bags and case. She kicked open the large oaken door. Cat Power was playing throughout the apartment.

“Perfect, ‘Mona! I got kittens and you’re playing Cat Power! I love her!

Ramona appeared from behind the refrigerator door. She smiled and carried a small jar of Dijon mustard.

“I do too. She’s so sassy and unpredictable. I need another minute with this food. Why don’t you show me what you’re rockin’ onstage?”

Helene felt like a teenager. No one ever paid attention to her feminine side without ulterior motives. A few minutes later, she emerged from the bedroom in brown leather pants, a white lace top, and Doc Marten boots. She pulled her long wavy brown hair behind her ears and gave a sheepish grin. Ramona turned her head to one side and sighed.

“Well, if that’s what you’re wearing, Leney, you’ll be beautiful, regardless.”

The opening lines of Cat Power’s Free filled the kitchen. Helene stared at the hardwood floor. She felt ugly.

“It’s the leather pants, right? They’re cliché. I have time to hit my apartment after rehearsal and find something else.”

Ramona placed a pickle in left side of her mouth and began to chew. She moved her hazel eyes up and down Helene’s body then shook her head while pointing at her with the half-eaten sandwich garnish.

“I think women should be able to play in their damn pajamas if they want. But sweetie, there are going to be more judgemental music whores there that you can shake a five-hundred-dollar shirt at. I’ve got stuff from previous tours that could fit you. But, you wear whatever.”

Helene liked her low maintenance style. It wasn’t the first time she’d been criticized. Her ex-boyfriend, Case Hill, once told her she wasn’t sexy enough to be a solo artist so had to be in a band. The desire to succeed was eating at her like Ramona devouring the pickle.

“Show me what you have “Mona. I guess I suck at the whole image thing.”

Ramona smiled and walked over to her with two plates of sandwiches. She leaned in and kissed Helene softly.

“Leney, you made my day. Come on, we can eat in my closet. It’s how I get ready for concerts.”

Between bites of tuna on wheat, they exchanged negative head shakes at various pants, shirts and dresses. A decision was made. Helene walked out of the closet and saw herself in Ramona’s vanity. She slouched at her reflection. Helene placed her left hand behind her head and examined the long sleeve House of Dagmar black dress that hugged her figure. Ramona beamed.

“Leney, you look fucking amazing. Every eye will be on you.”

Helene felt uncomfortable. The dress was tight. She liked to move around when she played. The shoes, three-inch studded Louboutin heels, were gorgeous. She wore heels two or three times a year. She thought she’d fall off the stage.

“Ramona, this isn’t going to work.”

She caught Ramona’s glare and dissatisfied crossed arms.

“You’ve seen me play, I’m crazy when I perform. This is good for a video but a live show?”

Ramona walked to the dresser, picked up the crumb covered plates and retreated to the kitchen in silence. Helene knew she was mad. She followed her, briefly stumbling in the heels.

“Talk to me ‘Mona! Shit, I’m sorry! This is a little out of my comfort zone.”

Ramona placed the plates in the sink and turned around with her hands on her hips.

“This entire night will be out of your comfort zone! For three years I played every dive bar on the east coast with my first group, Kerouac Kids! I wore dirty jeans, t-shirts, and washed my hair in gas station sinks! No one gave a shit outside of booger-eating college radio Djs! Then, I slip on a cocktail dress and some hot shoes for my “On The Floor” video from that first solo record and people were so impressed with my growth as an artist!”

Ramona finished her speech with her fingers performing air quotes. Helene teared up and touched Ramona’s weathered hands.

“Leney, you are so damn talented. But you’re naive about the music business. If you can take that punk fury and bad-ass song writing ability and pour them into a dress and heels while winking at those bastards, you’ll own the world!

Helene was speechless. She let go of Ramona’s hands and wiped away tears.

“Do what you want Leney. I’m just trying to help.”

Ramona turned her back. Helene finally responded.

“I was thinking really dark eye makeup. Not like a baseball player’s eyeblack but more like a slut who would fuck a baseball player wearing eyeblack.”

Ramona turned around and smiled.

“Beautiful, Leney. You can have every ounce of eyeliner I own.”

****blogger’s note***

This is a new story episode of Helene Troy. You can read the rest of the tale, so far, here:

Today’s song is the one mentioned in the story. Here’s Cat Power’s Free:

See A Little Light

Week 2 of 100 word song brought out some of the finest creativity I’ve ever read on the internet. There’s some serious talent hanging around here. I’m proud of all the entries, especially Victoria, because she appeared in an a Off-Broadway production of the Odd Couple last week and still contributed. That’s 100 word song love. Leeroy appreciates that.

Some of you wrote songs. Others created super short stories of gripping fiction. The one that seemed to stay with me the most was Marian’s The Ice Age. It played a theme that I write about a lot; finding that connection, that ray of light, in chaos and drama: It was outstanding. So Marian gets to pick this week’s song we tackle. She understands metaphor, theme, and “hey, see what I did there” better than just about anyone. She chose See A Little Light by the great Bob Mould. After our last two songs, it’s a terrific choice. See what she did there?

For new people; don’t worry about rules and regulations. Keep your entries to exactly 100 words. Write what inspires you. Use the hastag #100wordsong on your twitter accounts. Post it on your the facebook pages. Tell a friend or 50.

Here’s my 100:

The hug seemed to last for minutes. Violet’s warm tears dampened my t-shirt. She let go of me and began walking down the road. I bent down to grab the gas can. She started singing. I hadn’t heard her burst into song in months, well before her mother died. She swung around and rolled her eyes at my grin.

“What? It’s Lady GaGa. You hate her.”

I felt tears of my own so I turned away. My body language was still abrupt despite our moment of emotional relief.

“Vi, hearing you like that means something to me. Just keep singing.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

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Here’s this week’s song, Bob Mould’s See A Little Light:


The Middle of the Road


The sputtering of the older model, yellow Volkswagen beetle simmered tension between the two of them. He shook his head in disgust and glared at the teenage driver. She rolled her pale blue eyes and responded.

“It says we have a quarter of a tank, dad! Look at it! I’m not lying! I swear! Okay?”

He craned his neck a few inches to his left and rolled his tongue through over his top set of teeth, along the gum line. She continued, in exasperation.

“I hate this car! You know I hate this piece of crap!”

His mind was elsewhere. He knew it shouldn’t have been, but he missed her mother. He eye-balled their residential surroundings and felt safe.

“Park the car on the shoulder, Violet. We’ll be alright here while we walk to the nearest gas station. It’s less than a mile away.”

Her small, recently manicured right hand put the gear shift into park. Her body language screamed conflict. His muttered loneliness.

“Mom wanted you to get rid of this stupid car and you wouldn’t !”

He ignored her and collected their belongings and took note of landmarks for later. He opened his passenger door and left the Volkswagen. She followed him to the front of the car where he opened the trunk and took out a small two gallon red gas can. He had used it the last time they ran out of gas.

“Come on, sweetheart. We have quite a walk.”

She crossed her arms and pulled her shoulder length dirty blonde hair into a piny tail, using a brown band that was around her left wrist.

“This sucks so much. Why couldn’t you have just let me go to Davey’s house instead of proving what a great dad you are?”

The sarcasm in her voice was hostile and disrespectful. He was hurting inside and she knew it.

“Your mom’s been gone for three weeks and all you care about is going over to some boy’s house whose parents lie to me about being home? Here’s what I know about your mom. She would have kicked both of our butts if I let you go over there. It’s Saturday. You’re 16 years old. We do driving lessons on Saturday. Get over it!”

They were both drowning in grief. Before her death, they never argued. Since she’d been gone, this was their fourth confrontation. He was tired of the fighting. He just wanted his wife back. Trees lined the path. Sunlight danced in and out of the foliage. They were, now,  several hundred yards from the little yellow car with a broken gas gauge.

“Dad, why are you walking in the middle of the road? You’re going to get run over! There’s a blind curve ahead!”

He wanted to tell her that the middle of the street was the safest place for him. He could feel danger, which was more than the numbness inside of his chest he felt most of the time. Instead he dropped his shoulders, placed the gas can on the white center line and extended his arms. She stared at him with gross disapproval. He mouthed the word “please” and fought back tears. Violet stepped toward her defeated father and gave him what he needed. They embraced for several seconds, straddling the middle of the road. She began to cry, hard, into his chest. For the first time in a while, he felt fueled.

****blogger’s note***

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Hannah challenged me with “Tell a story about a person who runs out of gas in the middle of the road.” and I challenged R Martinez with “the case of the poisoned doughnut”

I’m kind sorta maybe working on a story about a guy who loses his wife. I realize there are tense issues with It’s Alright It’s Ok and this piece….indulge me for now….

Today’s song is from the great Chrissie Hynde’s band The Pretenders. Here’s Middle of the Road

Dixie Chicken

My wife’s a witch. Please, allow me to explain. The Bobina has powers. I’ve never seen a wand. Her boiling cauldrons in the kitchen usually contain turkey chili or chicken marsala. She’s a trained chef. Yet, no matter how self-assured and strong-willed I am, she knows how to get her way with me. Saturday, I was in a nail salon for over an hour. Seriously.

In May, the love of my life, Deana, also known by her nickname, Bobina, and I will have known each other 4 years. I like to tell people she stalked me through mutual friends and Al Gore’s internets, but the truth is we were, somewhat dysfunctionally, destined to be together 

It didn’t take long for Bobina to show her mind altering skills. During our first argument, about two months into dating, I tried to use my educated debate techniques. I hammered home three points. I used that college professorial voice and condescending attitude. Mid-sentence, while trying to expose her illogical points, she uttered.

 “owww huhssssssh aw that! uuuu knowuh wut I mayeeeent!”

When The Bobina speaks, it sounds like maple syrup having a passionate love affair with deep fried pancakes topped with confectionary sugar. You melt. I’ve seen the woman use her blonde, sweet, deep southern charm on our 3 daughters, cashiers at Target, and TSA agents at a Mexican airport. She smuggled in candles, vanilla , and six political prisoners from Cancun. It was amazing.

That moment in our first argument helped me gain an appreciation for the southern accent I ran away from during my teens and twenties growing up in the Atlanta, Georgia suburbs. She’s made me proud of our dialect. Of course, the fact I get to kiss the mouth that speaks those rebel words makes me biased but still, it’s impossible to argue with her.

She says yaw instead of ya’ll, kuhler instead of color and thayt thang o’er theyer instead of whatever English is supposed to substitute. Mostly, when she’s mad at me, she makes Tahhhmuhs Layunince Buhrrrrsuuuunnnn sound sexy through 47 syllables. I immediately confess to being the man on the grassy noll and singing Milli Vanilli’s songs for them in 1989.

It’s her supernatural powers of speech and persuasion that make me glad I went ahead and put a rang (her word) on it.

Here’s some of The Bobina:


*****blogger’s note****

RemembeRED: Colloquialisms and Dialect 

memoir, dialect, creative non-fiction, writing prompts
It never fails to shock me when my sons speak with a regional Southern Maryland dialect “Mahm! I need some wah-durr.”

It leads me back to a tidbit from my linguistics class: a trained linguist can determine, just from listening to one’s speech, the birthplace of the speaker within thirty miles.

So, in the spirit of dialect, slang, and turns of phrase, this week’s RemembeRED prompt is: Write a piece of creative non-fiction in which turns of phrase, dialect, slang, or colloquialisms feature prominently.

Let’s keep it to 400 words.

Today’s song is a southern rock n roll classic. If you live where I do, it’s like a church hymn. If you ever have a chance to be with a  Dixie Chicken aka Southern Belle, do so. Here’s Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken…


Trever Hoyt was not an average man. Born with a brutal secret, he felt unable to blend with society. He lived in the shadows, paying his penance to those in need, anonymously.

***blogger’s note*** – as a kid, I was obsessed with comic books and superheroes. I always wanted to created one. My friends at gave me this: For this week’s challenge, we are asking you to give us a complete story in three sentences.

How do we define a story? Loosely. There are no right or wrong answers. Responses will be judged by their ability to engage us. How do we define a sentence? Again, loosely. This contest isn’t about picking apart the definitions of either story or sentence. It’s about creating something thrilling and engaging and whole in just a tiny amount of space. There is no word limit, but you should aim for brevity.

If you think all of this is impossible and ridiculous, I ask you to think on Hemingway’s famous flash fiction piece: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Six words. At least three believable characters (the baby, the person selling the shoes, the person to whom the shoes being sold). A crisis. A resolution. He did it in one sentence. We’re giving you two extra. Not because we think you need it, but because we like the number three.

Today’s song served as the theme for the HBO show Entourage. I want to take it back for my superhero. Here’s Jane’s Addiction’s Superhero: