This Is Us

Halley’s Comet, the New York Jets winning the Super Bowl and my wife and I having a date night; they’re rare occurrences and after this weekend, the streak’s still on.

Being married with three daughters aged 17, 10, and 9, who are a high school cheerleader, brown belt in judo and trained drummer, and little league softball player, respectively, means complaining about not having alone time with my wife is foolish. There isn’t enough time in a day, much less a week, to share a meal, a drink and are you kidding me, the kind of sexy time you want. But this Saturday we tried.

And it became another ridiculous page in our wonderful but crazy marriage folklore.

Since we’re a blended family, every two weeks, the 10 and 9 year-olds head off to their respective other families. By six in the afternoon on a Friday, we’re supposed to be down to just the teenager, and since she has a friend who is a boy and would rather stick her face in a bathtub of piranha than hang with us on a weekend night, we planned something for Saturday. Friday night was an out-of-town high school football game. Our 9-year-old was with us because she had a softball game the next morning. Our local team got their rear ends handed to them 56-28, everyone passed out on the way home while I drove, woke up the next morning, then watched our little one’s team lose a heartbreaker 18-17. Eventually we passed her off to the other parent.

Freedom! Call the fire trucks, we’re burning this town down with debauchery unseen since the Roman orgies!

Yeah, not really.

My wife was exhausted. After a long work week, she went home and napped while I ran read, wrote and went for a long run. Our teenager, who was supposed to be gone all day with her friend who is a boy, then all night with her girlfriend, sleepover included, kept coming back home for various reasons. So, my wife and I got caught up with the chain around our necks that our DVR had on us, and waited for the next interruption. Finally, it was dinner, and we just didn’t care anymore. Somewhere at a chain restaurant at the local mall, there were overpriced sirloins with our names all over them.

The place was crawling with University of Georgia fans. They were playing LSU. My wife isn’t a sports hater, but she isn’t a fan, either. Plus, she was looking forward to a good meal and a date night, too. I’m not completely unattractive in public. We waited too long to get there. Had we gone a touch earlier, the game would’ve been in the second or third quarter and the fan reaction wouldn’t have been so obnoxious. But we hit a Target before the restaurant, because that’s what middle-aged couples do, and arrived at the eating place in the fourth quarter. While I sipped a beer, and she downed a pina colada, the wait for a table grew to over a half hour, and the fervor of the Georgia fans was out of control. Then, the waitress from Hell.

I waited tables and bartended in college. I know the gig. You are either good at it or you suck. There is no such thing as an average wait staff person. Guess which one we got? The one who should be doing anything else.

I believe in signs. My daughter’s constant returns to the house, the too long trip to Target, the raucous restaurant crowd, the God-awful waitress and then the food came and was overcooked. We should’ve left, went home, and made our own good time. But it just didn’t happen. Parenting instinct took over.

My teenager is a good kid. Correct that. She’s a great kid. But she has terrible luck. For the third time in less than two months, she left our house intending to spend the night elsewhere and something bad happened. Around 8 pm, we arrived home, a touch beaten down and a lot tired. My wife looked at me with tears in her eyes and muttered, “I have a feeling she’s going to need us. We should be good and just wait for the phone to ring.”

So we did.

Around 1am, our daughter called with news that her friend’s family had an emergency and she needed to come home. Due to our state’s curfew for teen drivers, this meant we had to come pick her and her car up.

Halley’s Comet is due sometime in July 2061. The New York Jets are terrible this year and as much as I love them, I don’t envision a Super bowl appearance for at least five years. But I think my wife and I will have another shot at date night. The teenager goes to college in 11 months. For now, we’ll cuddle with each other and the DVR and wait for the phone to ring.

A few years ago, the great Emmylou Harris and almost as great Mark Knopfler did a song about grown ups being grown ups called This Is Us and it was amazing. This tune is my wife and I in a nutshell. If you don’t like it, there’s something wrong with you, or you’re single and you’ll get it someday.

I Don't Like Mondays Blog Hop

Please go check out my new baby, the music oriented website, Raised On The Radio, that I’ve tri-adopted with my musical sisters, @JenKehl and Linda aka @elleroywashere

retro casette music player and red headphones

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 for your kindles, and in paperback from



Last time:

The sun began its ascent in the horizon beyond the Cutlass’ front window. Darkness still blanketed the streets. Olive rolled down her passenger side window and stuck her head out. Silas shouted.

“What are you doing? You look like a chocolate lab!”

Her brown mane swung back inside the car. She spit back.

“I’m  using the streetlights to find the right road. Take the next right. It’s called Garber Avenue. And if you ever call me a dog again, I’ll bite you like one.”

He saw the street sign then put on the blinker. He touched her cold hands and tried to soothe her.

“Olive, I’m sorry. I’m overtired or something……”

His apology faded off in wonder as they rode past houses that looked huge and expensive. He looked at Olive, who smirked.

“Hell yeah, this is what I’m talking about! Zola said her boyfriend made a lot of money. He’s older, like almost thirty. Zola said there was a separate garage behind the house, let’s park there.”

Silas maneuvered the car around a sharp curve and came upon the address Olive had written down. It was a white house with a turquoise door and matching shutters. It was over two stories and thus the biggest house that they’d ever seen, growing up middle-class in small town Georgia. He pulled into the lower level driveway and parked in  the seclusion provided by dusk and a large oak tree.

He turned off the engine but left the car radio playing.

“It’s 6am. Maybe if we wait like thirty minutes then knock on the door they’ll be less pissed.”

Olive pulled off her Def Leppard t-shirt then unbuttoned her jeans. She bit her bottom lip and leaped like a wild animal toward Silas. After an animalistic kiss, drawing blood from his lip after a bite, she said.

“Great idea, honey. I can’t wait anymore. I love you so very much. Meet me in the back seat. Thirty minutes is just enough time for us.”

*****blogger’s note*****

This is a another  333 word new story episode of Light of Day, my short story about Silas and Olive, two 19-year-old lovers on the run in Florida in 1989. It’s for trifecta writing challenge’s prompt “animal”.   Please go see them.

Today’s song fits the story, the characters and the time period. Here’s Def Leppard’s Animal, from the Hysteria album.

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 for your kindles, and in paperback from


So Alive

Last time with “Light Of Day”, a story about two young lovers on the run in 1989. -

Olive stepped in front of Silas, pulled a brown scrunchie, from the back of her head, and long brown hair fell about her shoulders. With the policeman a few feet away, she turned her back to him, leaned into Silas and kissed him with passion. The flashlight glare made them both wince. She stopped the make out session and addressed the officer through a squint.

“Hey, sir. I’m so sorry, we’re getting married this weekend. I guess we’re a little anxious.”

The officer looked down his beam with a deadpan expression.

“Either of y’all got ID and registration for this vehicle?”

He walked to the rear of the car.

“Y’all from Georgia, huh? Garrison County? You’re a little young to be getting married. Ft. Myers is unusual place to do it?”

Silas tried to speak, but she stopped him with a hand on his chest that drifted down to his waist. Her fingers grazed his crotch. With an aggressive and sensual grace, Olive took over.

“Silas, honey, you get what he needs from the glove compartment.”

He leaned through the driver’s side open window, retrieved his driver’s license and the car title his cousin gave him for the Cutlass. Olive chatted up the lawman.

“Yes, sir. We’re from Garrison, a little town called Peach Grove. My best friend in the whole wide world lives in Ft. Myers. They have a place for us to stay and jobs. We thought it would be the best way for us to get started. Unfortunately, we’re so excited, we got down here two hours earlier than expected and I made my boyfriend pull over. It’s all my fault.”

Silas almost laughed. The terror rolling through him prevented it. The officer shined the flashlight on both of them, again. Silas handed him his license and registration. The officer responded.

“Y’all seem like a sweet couple but it’s five in the morning. I’m going to run your information then point you to a 24 hour diner. Stay where you are.”

******blogger’s note*****

I’m back in the Trifecta weekly challenge game with my short story, Light of Day, about two 19-year-olds on the run from something horrible. The word this week is “Grace”:

For today’s song, I’m going with something I was listening to in ’89, So Alive by Love & Rockets. Silas and Olive would’ve been listening to it, to. And it matches the piece.



Looking for something to read? Well, The Ballad of Helene Troy and Soul To Body- I wrote them. They’re available on &  for your kindle and in paperback from



The morning after my wife, teenage daughter, and I visited the downtown Atlanta University, Georgia State, that my kid will likely attend in 2014, I read an email from the New York Times called Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too. Halfway through New York Times reporter Kate Taylor’s provocative five-thousand word year-long on-campus researched expose of University of Pennsylvania students’ “hook up culture”, I considered locking my daughter in her room and having her take classes online, forever.

But the writer, reporter, blogger less “human” part of me kept reading because a lot of what was revealed in Kate Taylor’s piece I’ve known as fact since my days on campus of my college, the University of Alabama, over twenty years ago. Believe it or not, people have casual relationships with others, hetero and same-sex, without commitment and they’re very much okay with it.

One of my favorite quotes about sex comes from David Letterman (ironic because he would later be outed as a serial adulterer who slept with office staff and casual friends behind the scenes of the Late Show in the mid 2000s).


“When I was growing up, I knew about, heard about and knew that there were a lot of naked people having sex but I just couldn’t find them.”

That was me, in high school, college, my early twenties and in between my two marriages. For whatever reason; my chemical makeup, my looks, my emotional capabilities or maybe, like Dave, I just didn’t know where the naked people were, I’ve had mostly committed, monogamous relationships, including the happy one I’m in, now, with my wife. And, yes, I’m very much okay with it.

The tone of Kate Taylor’s column combined with her co-theses: “These women said they saw building their résumés, not finding boyfriends (never mind husbands), as their main job at Penn.” and “Traditional dating in college…[is] replaced by ‘hooking up’ — an ambiguous term that can signify anything from making out to oral sex to intercourse — without the emotional entanglement of a relationship.” were neither shocking nor morally disturbing to me. This isn’t new and it certainly isn’t a bell ringer for the fall of western civilization. Penn is an Ivy League school with a cost of in excess of over $50,000 per year. Planning dates, finding money in the budget to win and dine your betrothed, and also juggle the emotional entanglements of “dating” does distract the ambitious. I mean, my advice to my own 17-year-old daughter is and will continue to be, “concentrate on your studies, cheerleading, clubs, and close friends” so why should I judge the several women profiled in the New York Times article?

Reaction to Kate Taylor’s piece has been predictable, Right wing television and radio hosts were talking about how “liberal elite” places like Penn are letting feminism ruin men and make women whores. A middle-aged father of a female Penn student started a blog and went bat crap CRAZY on Twitter and Facebook about the sinkhole of morals that his daughter and the college has become and is pouring thousands into so she can sleep with some random guy in between classes. This blog breaks down Kate Taylor’s writing and reporting and makes some valid points. The writer is a Penn student, .

Whether Kate Taylor, The New York Times, Penn or the young ladies who revealed their casual attitudes toward physically blowing off steam mean anything negative about society is beyond my scope. What I took away from the piece was that if young women have control of their lives and use their brains outside of class to prevent themselves from being victims while juggling demanding schedules that could benefit their lives down the road, then anyone who is ever against contraception, outside of Catholics, whom I deeply respect, are morons. Be safe, be smart, for the love of college bookstore sweatshirts and textbooks, be ready for the emotional impact of not committing to people you choose to whom you choose to show your nakedness.

Um, what was that last line? Are getting all church on us, Lance?


Look, I’m not one who can share myself with someone and not have feelings. There are plenty freaks of male nature like me, you just don’t read about us on the Twitter or in the New York Times. We don’t “hook up”. If there’s one thing I may agree with political  pundits to the right of me or older folks, it’s that sex without love or something like love is a lot like drug taking, it seems fun at the time, but it rarely leads to anything positive, unless you’re a member of The Rolling Stones.

College is hard. It’s supposed to teach responsibility as much as Hemingway and structure as much as Curie. It’s supposed to be the gateway to adulthood. But if you have a great GPA, a resume full of internships and contacts, all that’s left is the social. One thing I’ve noticed as the parent of a teenager and the observer of friends who have kids in their teens and early twenties, is that immaturity is lasting well past an acceptable age.

Kate Taylor’s aka @katetaylornyt article is a championship banner of feminism but also a cautionary tale of suspended adolescence. Gathering benefits from a friend after exam week? Dude, I would’ve been all over that had I had the opportunity. But if you’re twenty-three and you can’t sit across a prospective date interest and carry on a conversation that doesn’t involve the words “wanna do it, yet?”, then there’s a problem.

Upstairs online school doesn’t sound so bad for my kid or maybe her mom and I are going to have to have a series of “talks” with her before she leaves for downtown Atlanta, next year. Is there such a thing as parenting advice friends with benefits? And do those benefits mean I don’t have to pay you or call you in the morning?

*****blogger’s note*****

Check out the lyrics to this Killers song, Human. They really fit all of this surrounding the topic. Hug your daughters, then talk their ears off. They need to know that college can make or break them in so many ways.

Don’t forget to buy the book, The Ballad of Helene Troy is available, digitally on amazon/kindle, smashwords, and Good Reads. You can get it in paperback from or directly from Pound Publishing like this one, signed. bookpicturesahdddddddddddddddddddddddddkcfb



Since the announcement that two boys, aged 17 and 16, were found guilty of sexual assault in Steubenville, Ohio of a 16-year-old girl, I’ve struggled with how to respond. The black hole of emotional terror that the victim must be going through combined with an abyss of fear that’s seemed to infect my mind as I think about my own 17-year-old daughter being in a similiar situation, now, or when she’s away in college has frozen me. I read someone I admire, intellectually; the punk rock singer, actor, spoken word artist, Henry Rollins, yesterday. His column

while missing a parent element (he does not have children) inspired me.

I don’t care to deal with the political issues surrounding the football crazed town of Steubenville and the alleged attempted cover-up of the horrible crime. What strikes me as important is the gross lack of respect shown to the victim by her rapists and their accomplices. I call the dozen or so people who either attended the party where the assault happened or shared the details via Twitter, text, or Facebook. That’s what convicted the rapists. They treated the girl like a thing, not a person. The reaction of their friends, some would were granted immunity and turned on them to help convict, is what bothers me the most.

The victim has a life sentence of shame and post-traumatic stress to work through. She’ll never be the same. Hopefully, she’ll become a stronger person. Currently, she’s hurt beyond conceivable repair.

I watch how teenagers interact on social media. They do not get the consequences of their actions. Their lack of sexual education is astonishing. The crowd that witnessed the crime later testified they were unaware it was rape.

It’s time adults put away their 1950s conventional lack of wisdom and help the culture of young people. We should have open, brutally honest dialogues with children starting in the pre-teen years about sex, rape, crime, online behavior, and respect.

*****blogger’s note*****

This is my personal essay response to Trifecta Writing Challenge’s one word prompt “infect” I think I broke some rules by using this format and style but maybe the Tris will give me some leeway. Here’s the Steubenville rape story:

Today’s song is from Neneh Cherry with backup from Michael Stipe and the guitar riff of Steppenwolf’s The Pusher. It’s an underrated song about being open-minded, teaching sex education, and understanding the present. I think it fits my essay. Here’s Trout.

100 Word Song – Landslide

I apologize for the one week hiatus in 100 word song. I had a death in the family. The funeral was last Tuesday. My wife and I teamed up for a great tandem writing prompt for Trifecta Writing. It was due last Wednesday morning. Sometimes even robots need to prioritize. Leeroy and I decided to chill for a week and come back strong, today. While writing with Bobina, she was singing Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide. Since that’s a terrific song and it fits the next installment of Soul To Body and that piece would connect well to Velvet Verbosity’s “The Remains Of The Day” prompt , I had to use it. technically, Leeroy and I are choosing this week’s song. But, I think my wife programmed both of us to “think of it”. For my 100 we hang with Jake as he slides into the arms of Mallory.

Last time on Soul To Body:

Wasted by pain medication and a body demanding rest, Jake slept through the morning. He could feel her in his bedroom. He pulled the bandages from his broken torso, stripped off his pajama bottoms and entered into a hot shower. Tears mixed with soap and he spoke to her after seeing his pathetic reflection in the stainless steel fixture.

“Camille, I miss you but today I just need a break. Please don’t hate me.”

His sobs drowned the sound of someone entering the bathroom.

“Jake, are you okay?”

He took a huge breath, exhaled and smiled.

“I will be, Mallory.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog
As always, you have seven days from right now to write 100 words based on today’s song, Landslide, by Fleetwood Mac. You can use any form. Make sure you post it to the Mr. Linky below and then tweet, book of face, and harass your friends with your 100 word piece of art. Tell a friend or 50.

100 Word Song – Elephant

I’m in awe of how creative all of you 100 word singers were, last week. From sweet posts about to childhood innocence to brutal honesty of mental illness, each of you showed artistic power. After a presentation of goth rock and the misery of the dark side, we lightened thing with the OK Go cut, This Too Shall Pass. One entry really grabbed the spirit of the tune and of the week’s theme. I’m not surprised Dawn delivered one of the best 100. The group, Ok Go, is a Chicago product and Dawn represents the Windy City with gusto and ribald humor. Her piece just hit me, and many others, the right way Dawn’s touching but funny way of looking at dating builds into this week’s 100 word song. Dawn has great musical taste. We talk bands everyday. I asked her to choose this week’s writing exercise and she offered underrated Irish rocker Damien Rice’s Elephant. This stripped down, amazingly tortured song about love, loss, sex, longing, and wanting something visceral, opens lots of doors for you all to write. It also works perfectly for the next episode of Soul To Body.

Here’s my 100.

The red light taunted Jake as tapped his left foot on the floorboard while his right anchored the brake. Violet still wasn’t answering calls and texts. His mind drifted into thoughts of his teenage daughter acting out with her boyfriend, Davey. Jake’s phone danced on the console. The light turned green. He hit the accelerator without identifying the caller.

“Just calling to tell you how much I enjoyed earlier. It’s my turn, so wanna go see some live music Friday night?’

Jake smirked and remembered Mallory’s long legs crossing at Starbucks.

“Awesome Mallory, but let me call you later. “

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

Anything you need to know about 100 word song is here: 

You have until next Tuesday at 7pm to write 100 words inspired by Damien Rice’s Elephant.

Sex On Fire

Last time with Helene Troy:

The Golden Apples played their final song. Helene couldn’t bear to listen. As the thunder of drums and guitar rumbled over the audience, she gulped from her bottle of Jack Daniels. Helene laced the fingers of her left hand inside Xander’s right then pulled him away from the stage. She showed him to a hallway, pushed him against a wall and bumped the heavy metal door closed with her rear end. Helene saw fear and confusion in Xander’s dark eyes.

“I don’t want to hear that fucking song ever again, Xander. I wrote it and they’re getting famous off it.”

She attempted another dramatic swig but lost her balance and dropped the whiskey on the floor. The loud clang of the glass bottle on the concrete floor changed the mood.

“That’s so wrong! That’s my bottle and it was half empty!”

Helene leaned down and picked it up, salvaging some. Xander touched her shoulder.

“Helene, it’s okay. They’ll have plenty at your party. Look, I’m going to go. You need to slow down a bit, I guess, and focus on business.”

She saw disappointment in his face. They could barely hear each other as music crescendoed. After being rejected by Ramona, Helene didn’t want to feel defeated, again.

“Yeah, you’re right. Will you call me tomorrow?”

Xander smiled and leaned in to kiss her. He placed his large hands on her waist. His fingertips dug into hips. He pressed his lips against hers. Helene’s heart raced and she lost control. She spun around to place her back against the wall. She bit her bottom lip and fumbled with the top button of his blue jeans. Xander pulled away. He shrugged his shoulders and touched his face with his hands.

“Helene, no. Not this way. I wish I’d drank as much as you did tonight but I wanted to remember you. I’m sorry. “

Helene’s body language screamed and Xander tried to comfort her.

“What you did onstage tonight,  Helene, was amazing. People are going to be talking about that performance for a long time. Now, go make it mean something. I’ll call you.”

Helene shook her head in disbelief as Xander walked away.

She balled her fists and stared at the white in her knuckles. She picked up the bottle, swallowed more whiskey then walked to the backstage area. The Golden Apples ended their set. Helene hunted her bags. They were next to some guitar cases. She opened the larger bag and pulled out the designer dress Ramona gave her. She tossed back her long brown hair and drank the last drops in the Jack Daniels bottle.

“Fuck you Ramona. I’ll make you beg for me.”

This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: Sorry for the two week break from story continuation. Let’s not let that happen again.

Today’s song is more mood than lyric referenced. It was released the same day this scene is taking place, September 2, 2008. Here’s Kings of Leon’s Sex On Fire.

Take It Off

Last time with Helene Troy:

Helene grit her teeth at the framed picture of Ramona Gallery hanging over the three men engrossed in conversation about the her future. She thought about Ramona being her same age, twenty-four, when she left her band, Kerouac Kids,  to sign with Matador Records.  A loud knock startled everyone in the room. Gina entered. The sound of The Golden Apples concert rolled through the room.

“So, can I get you guys anything?”

The men declined but Helene met Gina at the door. She took two cocktail napkins from Gina’s tray and mouthed the word “pen”. Gina removed a black bic from her bra and handed it to Helene. On one napkin, using the tray as a backboard, she wrote.


Congratulations, you’re a good kisser. Follow Gina upstairs if you want to do it again.


She folded the white tissue, and repeated the exercise with another napkin.


I’m here, but I’ll all business tonight. Answer your damn phone, next time.


Gina smiled and took the two folded napkins. Helene reached around Gina’s bare stomach, closed the door, then leaned into her large gold hooped earring adorned right ear. Helene watched her Gina sigh, then bite her bottom lip.

“Put these notes where you put your pen. You can read them. Give the one addressed to the guy you saw me with earlier, immediately. If you see Ramona Gallery anywhere in this club, give the other one to her. Thanks, G. I owe you, major.”

Gina smiled.

“I’ll get your bottle too.”

Helene turned to face the men. The manager spoke.

“Helene, I agree with these guys and your conditions. You’re a solo artist, long-term. If you want Sadie Olivares and Ramona Gallery, you got them. These Matador guys have agreed to let Slipper Socks Medium exist til the end of September so you all can fulfill gigs I’ve booked. If Mara Vincent gives us a problem, we’ll find another drummer.”

Helene rolled her eyes and faked a smile. The manager and the other record company guy resumed talking. Kevin Phoenix approached her at the door. His face was serious.

“Helene, we go back a long way. I promise I’ll help you through the transition. I think you have a hell of a future.”

Helene felt no emotion. Her green eyes looked down at Kevin’s right hand. It was on her right hip. Helene smirked and read through Kevin Phoenix.

The metal door reverberated from another loud knock. Helene opened it and Xander stood, sheepish but smiling. The sound of the concert below, rushed over them.

“Hey, Helene! I got Gina’s note and….”

Before he could finish, Helene turned away from Kevin and pushed her full lips into Xander’s.

 ****blogger’s note****

This is a  new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the story, so far, here: This is in response to the “romance” prompt from Write On Edge: - 450 words on livening up your story with romance or sex or both.

Today’s song is meant to be fun, naughty, loud, and rebellious. It’s from one of my favorite female rock guitarists, Allison Robertson and her band, The Donnas. Here’s Take It Off. Blast this.