American Blogger, The Real Thing

With a post due tomorrow morning for my politics and pop culture site I run with friends, Lefty Pop, my third book, a fiction novella, Woman of Troy, about a twenty-something female rock star,  currently in rewrites, and this post burning a hole in my head, my biggest obstacle is a 3-year-old cat who wants my leftover pizza sitting next to me on the couch. Shooing her away with my dirty workout panted leg and answering questions from my wife and 9-year-old daughter ranging from “did you put chicken out?” to “which one is Snow White on Once Upon A time?” to “what’s that smell?”, I lose my place and mutter a PG-rated curse word.

This is blogging to me. At least, it’s my experience.

My legs hurt from working out back to back days on a 43-year-old body, after taking 7 weeks off to travel for work. And I seem to be aging quicker than ever, as gray hair laughs with the aches and dance with my forgetfulness. Did I call about that thing I was supposed to?

Yet, I write. And it looks nothing like this.

The video you just watched is a trailer for an upcoming documentary moronically titled, American Blogger. My post is one of many already dotting the virtual landscape of Bloggerdom. Don’t worry. There are no technical English rules in blogging. We get to make them up as we go along. Bloggerdom is as much a term as selfie. Like the other posts you’ll read on this subject, I find that trailer and the movie it represents laughable and not reflective of the community I’ve been a full-time member of since May 2010, and a part-time member for five years prior.

I have no idea who the bloggers are, highlighted. I didn’t realize that children of supermodels also posted their lives, or portions thereof. But pretty people in fedoras, basking in natural sunlight tearing up at the notion of being a blogger isn’t my gripe. God bless them all. It’s the guy and his wife, The Wiegands, who made the film. I don’t know them. I think I’ve seen the wife’s blog around the corners of the internet over the past few years, but I’m not a regular reader. They say that they interviewed over 50 blogging friends. I don’t think they’re lying. But calling a flick about their clique, American Blogger, is a very bad joke. My first thought when my blogging friends showed it to me was that it belonged to Saturday Night Live as a digital short or some mockumentary. I started looking for my favorite cast members.

Being a writer, or a blogger, and yes, sometimes they’re the same like a real estate novelist and other times they’re as different as real estate agent and novelist; is a job. You have to treat it as such. I write every day, post every other day, and take it as serious as I can without upping my usual medication. I haven’t made a lot of money doing it. I’ve sold some books, made some money as a freelancer named Lance, here and there, but mostly, it’s a labor of whatever that can, at times, resemble love.

American Blogger is to blogging as Nickelback is to music. It’s bad. It has Kardashian depth in a milieu that’s diverse, unique, and impossible to film in less than two hours, much less a 3 minute trailer.

No, I haven’t see the whole film but the promotional material suggest something that isn’t what I know of the blogging world. Take away the good-looking folks, impressive cinematography, voice of God narration, and super duper clean homes, and it’s mostly hip, young, white women talking about their fashion and lifestyle sites. That’s a subculture of a subgenre.

If you really want to know what blogging looks like, check out the people who read this place, my http://www.leftypop.com site and my social media accounts for a community that’s very difficult to classify. Then go read and follow many other sites that I don’t even touch with my limited scope.

I wish I could write more, but my cat has won this battle of nitwits and I’ve got to take out the garbage. Real bloggers know how this is done. It’s more like the real thing.

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I Palindrome I

Unironic rebel flags, velvet Elvis paintings, unprotected hunting knives, a Duck Dynasty racecar, snakeskin everything, and axes, out in the open, for conscientious slashers.

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Being out of my element lifted my doom mood.

*****blogger’s note****

This morning I accompanied my wife and 18-year-old daughter to a rural Georgia Flea Market. I laughed throughout and lifted myself from an exhaustion induced depression.

This is a 33 word piece with 2 palindromes for my friends at Trifecta www.trifectawriting.com. They’re going out of the internet business very soon so please go by and find some excellent writers and good humans.

Here’s the perfect song for this weird post from They Might Be Giants, I Palindrome I.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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What A Liberal Looks Like

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Last week, I stood on the 81st floor deck of the Empire State Building watching a morning snowstorm blanket New York City when a voice behind me snarked “beautiful city, too bad the liberals ruined it.” It reminded me of the last Halloween when I was in a Haunted House maze in rural Georgia, bumping into a wall in darkness and someone spat behind my shoulder “this place is set up like the Obamacare website”. That reminded me of last summer when I was in Washington D.C. with my wife and three daughters visiting the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and a middle-aged woman remarked “it’s his fault why everyone has their hand out these days”. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about me or the 32nd President, whose New Deal helped the country deal with the Great Depression. But, I took it as a compliment because like FDR, I’m a liberal.

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Being a writer, I’ve shoehorned my better instincts into a pledge to enjoy the medias that are social; the Facebook, The Twitter, and Google+, because I advertise my books, blogs (this one and the other one I tri-operate www.leftypop.com) to family, friends and followers. I do so without shame because who needs that that when you’re on the internet. I try to not complain too much about discourse, political or otherwise, online. For every ten like-minded, smart, funny, interesting connectors, there will be one hundred trolling knuckleheads. It makes art fun. Not really. But it’s a lie I tell myself so when my $5 amazon and lulu royalty payments appear in my bank account I can justify going through these motions as a tortured soul for the sake of being what I always wanted to be, a writer.

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It’s offline that really blows.

I live in a very conservative place, politically and culturally; suburban Atlanta, Georgia. It’s nice to look at. The dogwoods are blooming, the kudzu is awakening, and little league teams have started in the numerous parks around my house. The schools are good, here. But the way people talk to and about each other politically and culturally is getting worse. For the first time in my life, I’m sick of being too punk rock for the room.

This morning, I got up, showered, then helped get my 9-year-old daughter get ready for school. We playfully argued about her dressing too light for the rainy day. We analyzed a rerun of Victorious. Then we got in the car, drove less than a mile and dropped her off at third grade. I don’t think I screwed up society during any of this, despite what the guy in line at the convenience store said about me to his friend while I pumped my gas.

“Stupid President is letting Russia invade Ukraine. The liberals are going to get us in another war.”

I should’ve been impressed he knew about current events and got the name of the country correct but I wanted to tell him the last two wars were conservative creations. But my handle clicked then I dropped my gas card then I just got tired.

John Kennedy, another liberal President I admire, once said.

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

I agree with the guy who slept with Marilyn Monroe. That’s what I am, a liberal, not a philanderer.

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As my conservative friends tell me they aren’t anti-gay but pro definition of marriage as a man and woman for religious reasons, I resist the urge to get anthropologically indignant with them, pointing out the original Aramaic the Bible was written in, was likely misinterpreted when it was printed into Greek and later English thus the gay is sin stuff may be wrong. But I draw the line at “religious freedom” bills recently vetoed in Arizona and Kansas and one sitting in the Georgia legislature. They’re Trojan horses containing everything the worst of in society, bigots, believe about same-sex and non-white Christian relationships. I’ve had it with wanting to go back to pre-1954 living and using my religion, Christianity, as cover to do so. This is why I’m a liberal.

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I pray a lot. I make sure my kids are fed, dressed, educated, and don’t rob liquor stores before breakfast. My key worked when I left the house this morning so my wife seems good with me. I’ve never voted against anyone’s lifestyle or their right to make choices with their own body or their own families. So the next time you use the word liberal in a derogatory fashion; out of fear, ignorance, frustration or all three. just remember, you know what a liberal looks like. You’re reading one, now.

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way next month.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Crumbling Down

I grew up in a medium-sized suburb thirty-five miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia. It was the kind of place where I could leave my parents house on my bicycle at daybreak, return at dusk as my mom turned on the house light and everything would be relatively alright. Most of the parents knew each other, hardly anything really bad ever happened, and the worst part of my day was a bloodied knee or nose due to a heated touch football game or an argument over who was better, Van Halen or Motley Crue.

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Atlanta-based WTBS, now known for comedy shows and baseball playoff games, was a sense of pride for us Georgians that showed Atlanta Braves baseball, pro rasslin’, The Three Stooges, Andy Griffith Show, and Leave It To Beaver. A lot of what was broadcast on what we natives called “channel 17″ was in black and white. And it was completely unbelievable. No one reasonable took it seriously. If your parents were lucky enough to have stayed together during the turbulent 1970s and greedy 1980s, then they were working so hard you barely saw them or were so exhausted it was better if you were seen and not heard. This makes some of my social media timelines quite laughable. I know that they mean well, but I believe if they took time to really think about what they post, they’d realize that the sanitized world of the 1950s and 1960s broadcast back to us in the 1970s and 1980s never existed.

This isn’t an attack on conservatism by a liberal but more of a mock. What passes for political and cultural commentary on cable news or social media isn’t reality. Divorce, drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, alcoholism, and whatever you want to call “the breakdown of the family” started happening before my generation started using Clearasil.

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I was fortunate. My parents stayed together and seem to be head over heels in love with each other after 45 years. But they, like most people, were far from perfect. They had a bat-crap crazy son who ended up experiencing divorce, mental illness, and the ups and downs of the internet age.

What aggravates me about the immense cultural divide that exists today is that the side I disagreed with, mostly conservative, doesn’t want to argue from an intellectually honest base. They seem to think we’re all going to hell in hand basket when an athlete screams in a microphone, people of a different sexuality want to marry, marijuana gets decriminalized and recreationally legalized, or a former Disney star twerks on MTV. Richard Sherman is this generation’s Muhammad Ali, same-sex marriage is this generation’s civil right, legal pot is this generation’s contraceptive pill, and Miley Cyrus is this generation’s Madonna.

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When cultural walls start crumbling down we should look at it as progress. You know what the reality was behind those black and white television shows we all liked to watch on WTBS? Jim Crow laws terrorized minorities across the nation, mostly in the south where I was raised, alcoholism was greater then than now, especially among housewives, women were not only discouraged from working but sexually harassed when they did, and technology and transportation limited where people could live, work, raise children, and communicate to one another. Not only were things worse in black and white, they were misrepresented on purpose.

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I proudly and enthusiastically tri-created a politics and pop culture website with my friend Linda aka @modmomelleroy of www.elleroywashere.com and Natalie aka @singingfool1224 of www.thecatladysings.com three weeks ago called Lefty Pop aka @lefty_pop  www.leftypop.com. It’s initial success has startled me into realizing I need to be a different kind of lefty, a unique liberal voice, that is both intellectually honest and less arrogant. Yesterday, there, I wrote about my support for legal marijuana. I may be a joker but I’m not a midnight toker, so I made sure to be considerate and sober in commentary.

We can disagree about how the country should proceed. As a liberal, I need to be more open-minded that not every conservative hates gays/women/minorities/and well, lefties like me. I do ask of people who don’t think like me to stop saying and posting things that are just not true. The black and white television show world you wish for this country to be never actually existed. If all of us, regardless of political persuasion or area of the country we hail from would start from this intellectually honest place, then the walls that are crumbling down could be more understandable and easier to debate.

Let me know what you think. As the author of today’s song would say “I don’t mind being their whipping boy, I’ve had that pleasure for years and years”.

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One of the songs I’d run off the school bus in my Atlanta suburb as a 13-year-old in 1983 to watch the video on MTV for is from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, John Mellencamp. He shares my politics and this is one of my many theme songs. Here’s Crumbling Down.

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Team

The first time we saw those words, our fists drew. But a fight has to be worth the spill of blood. That is rare. So we learn our foe, mark our time, and plot our line of fire.

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photo credit – www.standbyformindcontrol.com/images

****blogger’s note****

This is for friends at Trifecta Writing http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/
 
We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:

The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.  Can you class it up under these restrictions?  Give us your best.
To clarify, we are giving you 5 words.  We want another 33 from you, for a grand total of 38.

Here’s my favorite new artist, Lorde with “Team”. Pay attention to the words. It may help you interpret my 38 for Trifextra this week.

http://youtu.be/f2JuxM-snGc

You know what would make lovely Valentine’s Day gifts? My books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Simple Song

Work hard, smarter

****blogger’s note****

My friends at Trifecta Writing wanted a three-word resolution for their challenge this week. I went with something I can do, sometimes.

http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

Michael Hess inspired us with his three word New Year’s resolution - just be nice.  We’re asking
for your own resolutions in just three words.  Make it count; we’ll be checking
back in come 2015.

And since this is our ninety-ninth Trifextra
challenge, we’re giving away the journal shown below from Tricerashops, our Cafe Press shop, in a randomly drawn giveaway.  All you have to do to be entered is to enter this week’s challenge. Good luck and good writing. “

I heard The Shins at a restaurant with my family tonight and this song always makes me happy and reflective. Here’s Simple Song.

Those gift cards you got for the Holidays? How about using them on my books.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

Christmas is a glorious holiday about celebrating the birth of Jesus and being selfless to your fellow man. It also has the worst music. My wife and kids like to turn on the Holiday standards and put on their Christmas music happy face but I think they’re brainwashed. There’s no way they can think the sap and pap that passes for the soundtrack of the season is worth all of that. There are no more than ten songs that I can stomach. I suspect most people feel the same, they’re just scared to admit it. My top five Christmas songs are an ironclad list and then I’m sponging and open to suggestion for the next five. But for Jen and Kristi aka @jenkehl and @findingninee ‘s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday, I’m just sharing my five.

My Skewed View

5) Run Run Rudolph – The first real “rock n roll Christmas song” was written by Marvin Brodie and Johnny Marks then shopped to rock stars in the summer of 1958. Chuck Berry said yes, first, and created a standard for guitar players worldwide. There are dozens of terrific covers including a drunken one by Keith Richards that’s a personal favorite. But Chuck’s original rocks.

4) Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You – Billy Squier. Recorded in 1981 as a holiday B-side to his hit My Kinda Lover, the video for this makes my argument. Watch Martha Quinn get down. She’s maybe a notch better than Seinfeld’s Elaine as a dancer. This is a fantastic sing-a-long.

3) Do They Know It’s Christmas? Band Aid. The most essayed and argued Christmas song of all-time. Yeah, Bono’s weird “tonight, thank God, it’s them instead of you” and songwriters Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s knowledge of Africa is limited at best, but everyone’s heart is into it and the guitar lick is solid. “Throw your arms around the world, it’s Christmas time”.

2) Father Christmas – The Kinks. The idea of drunken brother Davies – Ray and Dave, being in a Holiday mood and wanting to deliver presents to children is hilarious. The composition and lyrics are outstanding. It’s so underrated. I could listen to this during any part of the year. This song is so punk.

1) Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses. It’s the best one and it’s not even close. Songwriter and lead guitarist Chris Butler’s riffs are amazing. The lyrics about being too busy and stressed to celebrate the Holiday as well as running out because you forgot the cranberries are relatable and more honest than any Christmas song ever written. But most of all, are the late great Patty Donahue’s insouciant “the devil may care but I sure as hell don’t” vocals. They’re perfect. RIP Patty, you’re the patron saint of “”Bah, humbug” no, that’s too strong cause it is my favorite holiday but all this year’s been a busy blur don’t think I have the energy”. We get it, dude, we get it.

Stuff your stockings with my books.

have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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New Sensation

I think this post will work best if I just go ahead and confess to you what inspired it; I spied on my teenage daughter. Relax, there’s no tracking device on her cell phone or a camera in her bedroom. I’m not that insane, but she’s seventeen, doesn’t like to talk to me or her mom about much, and in a few months she’s leaving for college. So, I check out her Twitter, put an ear to her bedroom door when I go put away towels or say goodnight to her two younger sisters, and I pay attention when she talk to her friends when they come over. Here’s the intelligence I’ve been able to gather; she wants to grow up as soon as possible and it scares her, a lot.

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to forget my teen years. They weren’t great. As a writer, I’ve shared a letter to my eighteen-year-old self http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/onlyamemory/ , waxed nostalgic about my 25th high school reunion http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/nothinbutagoodtime/ , and came to a grand understanding with my mixed bag of a past. But having a seventeen-year-old girl in my life makes me think about that time when I was finishing my senior year of high school, applying to colleges, getting acceptance letters, and twitching with bittersweet excitement about my future.

Occasionally I have talks with my daughter. I run my mouth about whatever deal is going on in our lives, she smirks while watching television over my shoulder, lets me hug her and have an “I love you too” back as I leave her room, and I always feel better about us. I’m sure she texts one of her friends about being unavailable for a few minutes while her dork dad was talking to her. If I’d had a smart phone in December 1987, it’s what I would’ve done.

One of the things my daughter and I have in common is a freakish love of music. We listen to different stuff. Right now, she “has Drake on repeat tonight” and I’m blaring The Descendants epic 1982 punk album Milo Goes To College. But we both appreciate music as an important component of our existence. I always knock on her door before I go in for our talks. The main reason is the last two times I forgot to knock I walked in on her dancing and singing to her favorite songs. I hated when my parents busted me playing air guitar like Slash or moving like Jagger. I think this is why she doesn’t sigh, roll her eyes and death stare me when I ask for another one-sided in depth discussion about her future or whatever is on our minds. She knows I’m respecting her right to tune up, tune out, and tune in.

Later this week, my daughter, her mom, and I are visiting another college. It happens to be the first school that sent her an acceptance letter, offer a significant scholarship, and it’s only twenty minutes  away from where we live, now. This is probably a huge con for her and places it down the list but maybe after our visit she’ll find a cool dorm room that she can dance to Drake in and start the next four years of her life.

After my talk earlier with my daughter, I started thinking about the first of December, 1987. I’d been seventeen for three months. My first couple of college acceptance letters fluttered on a small wooden nightstand next to my twin beds. Cassettes of Guns N Roses Appetite For Destruction, Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and INXS Kick  splayed on my floor while I tried to snake dance like Axl Rose, air guitar like Dave Gilmour, or wish I was half as good-looking as Michael Hutchence. My dad knocked on my door, came in and talked with me about how serious I was about going to college at big school in or out-of-state. I pretended to listen and while watching pro wrestling on WTBS behind his shoulder on a tiny television (cable and MTV was on the TV in the living room, only).  After he left, I did the version of 1987 Twitter and scrawled in one of my notebooks, “I just want to get out of here”. I’m sure I’ll see that on my daughter’s Twitter timeline one day and it will make me smile more than get angry. I’ll understand her, completely.

Here’s Hutchence and INXS. The lyrics mean something totally different to me, today. My daughter’s life is a New Sensation, all the time, these days.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Jailbreak – Twisted Mixtape Tuesday

Things Ya Might Get Busted For In Real Life

I know it’s gonna be hard, with Thanksgiving and all, but this is a really fun topic suggested by my favorite mixer-uper – literally, she’s always mixing up the topic. Kerri from Undiagnosed but Okay. She said,  how about a “this song could’ve sent me to jail?” I was intrigued, but needed more. Hmmm let’s see the Doors come on baby get higher, Or Carrie Underwood doing a little grand larceny beating up her boyfriends truck? Blondie gets arrested after seeing Aliens in Rapture Or even to be funnier: Joe Cocker you can leave your hat on, so if I left just my hat on I would be arrested for indecent exposure. Trust me it wouldn’t be pretty! Aha!

Please go see me, Jen, and Linda aka @modmomelleroy from www.elleroywashere.com at our other place, the music centered Raised On The Radio aka @raisedonthradio  www.raisedontheradio.com Today’s Twisted Mixtape Tuesday made me realize how many songs I listen to that are about crminals, their activities and the fact it’s a small miracle I’ve avoided serious jail time juxapositioned against my CD collection. From my friends Jen aka @jenkehl www.jenkehl.com and Kristi aka @findingninee www.findingninee.com here’s a playlist that if I blare too loud in front of a police station, I might be without my shoelaces and needing a lawyer.

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash. Dude, the Man in Black played this live in a prison. He wins at everything in life. There is nothing better than singing “But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” in any setting and watching the person’s face freeze. I wonder what it was like in 1968 to walk around singing this song.

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones. Mick and Keef wrote a lot about drugs and a song about being the Devil, but their seminal work is a celebration of a bank robber. Keef’s guitar makes it seem even more dangerous.

I Fought The Law – The Clash. Sorry Bobby Fuller Four, your original is terrific but when Joe Strummer and the boys went at it in the late 1970s they felt and looked like a gang.

Jailbreak – AC/DC. Early “thunda from down unda” was led by lead singer Bon Scott who spent time in the pokey for fighting and other juvenile delinquent offenses. He also looked like he just woke up in a 5×5 room with orange polyester pajamas.

The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave & The Seeds. Johnny Cash Covered this years later but Nick Cave’s tale about being in the electric chair is creepy, poignant and makes a point you can’t forget.

Killing In The Name – Rage Against The Machine. I’ve written dozens of times about how great it is to blare Rage in the suburbs getting out of the car at my kids’ events. One of these days, when the culture gets even more conservative, someone’s going to pinch me for inciting a riot when Zach whispers “Now you do what they told ya” and Tom screams “F*** you, I won’t do what you told me!”

Jewel Thief – The Kills. Is there a more underrated female voice in music than Alison Mosshart? The proper answer is hell no. She adopts the pseudonym VV, here, and then leads us on a crime spree that’s both indie rock superstar quality and unforgettable narrative.

Stuff Your Stockings with my books:

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Time To Get ILL

I feel like it’s time we talked about something very important. There’s no need for any of you to be uncomfortable. We’re all kind of, sort of, maybe, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head 32 degrees to the left; family, here. I feel like I have enough life experience and in the past 3 days I’ve done two Holiday meals with other members of my families, so, scoot in close to the computer and pay attention.

Do Not Do This.

I see your reaction. You’re all like “dude, I thought you were a panty waist, bleeding heart, half a commie liberal lefty whackadoo that likes the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Shouldn’t you be promoting that?”

No.

Here’s why.

I don’t think you should spend your holidays talking to your family at all. The right thing to do is exchange pleasantries, smile, make sarcastic remarks, poke fun at your family with inside jokes and one liners that may go over each others heads, then find a comfortable seat and watch football or the least obnoxiously offensive Holiday movie selected by the least obnoxiously offensive relative and or friend. It they choose the overrated pap of It’s A Wonderful Life, talk them into Christmas Vacation or deal with football even if you’re not a sports fan but do not, under any circumstances, talk about healthcare, the new Iran nukes deal, or anything associated with intelligence, nuance and complicated thought.

Trust me.

Yesterday at one of my family’s Thanksgiving dinners (this year we have 3) my Aunt Madison (changed to protect her innocence and me against her lawsuit) asked me about my writing. That was nice. But she was the only one and that likely vaulted her ahead of several others for my favorite person I’m related. But no one I know shares my politics and if you’re reading me, it’s likely no one shares yours. So do not talk to your family about healthcare.

You know what I like about the holiday get-togethers? The fact that no one will discuss anything substantial with me, at all. The Holidays should be about food and gift cards and whoever is getting married, divorced, or knocked up. Sure, some of that flies in the demilitarized zone of healthcare.gov and the current insurance crisis, but smile, wave, and think of something banal to say, be kind, then stare at the television. This is what happy families do.

Let’s be clear. I support that commercial’s intent and design. But those are actors representing rare people who respect each others’ differences. They’re freaks. I like freaks. I’m a freak. But my family members are normal people. And they should have their six weeks of 1950s-like aura of drama-free existence and calorie pounding happiness. I support this 100 percent.

So, don’t talk to your family about healthcare. Shove your face into the middle of a pumpkin pie and let the tryptophan coma of turkey and whatever ham does to your nervous system, blind, deaf, and dumb you to what’s going on to the world.

It’s the Holidays. It’s Time To Get Ill.

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Get a jump start on your Holiday shopping:

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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