I gave up whine for Lent

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Second generation famous

I’m not a doctor, and I never even played one on TV. But at least some relatives of mine are getting their star turns.

My cousin Tom’s daughter Jamie just wrapped up her second season as a New England Patriots cheerleader.

(Pro tip for Jamie: stand next to Tom Brady on the sidelines and you’ll be on TV roughly 10,000 times during a game.)

My niece Julia just moved up the TV food chain from Myrtle Beach, SC (#101 in market size) to Greenville, SC (#38) where she is the weekend sports anchor for the NBC affiliate, WYFF.

Last but certainly not least, my cousin’s daughter Erika will be playing the role of Cady Heron in the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of the iconic movie Mean Girls. She’s getting all sorts of kudos for her performance (they had a short sneak preview/tune-up run in D.C., and Broadway previews begin March 12th). You can read more here. And here. And here. Or you can check out the article in the latest issue of Vogue, along with a photo by Annie Freakin’ Leibovitz! NBD.

HT to my sister Jeanne for letting me know about the Vogue article… she’s the fashionista in the family.

I remember going to visit my cousin and her family in Northern California back when Erika was about 6 years old, and she was already performing plays for her family, friends — and house guests like us –on their back patio. (So basically, “I knew her when…”)

One of the characters in Mean Girls is named Damian…

Here’s hoping Erika thinks of me, her old pal and early theater patron, whenever she hears that name.

“You know I couldn’t invite you. I had to pretend to be plastic.”

 

 

 

 

The once and future Kings

Certain songs from my youth are forever etched in my brain. One of them is a one-hit wonder from 1980 from a Canadian band called The Kings. Actually, it’s a one-and-a-half-hit wonder, as the song was a bit of a medley/segue called “This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ to Glide.”

I remember hearing it on WLS-AM, the rock and roll powerhouse (back then… now it’s news/talk) out of Chicago. (Yes, children, gather round and Grandpa Dubbatrubba will tell you of a day when folks actually listened to something called “the radio” and there was this thing called “AM” and you could pick up stations from all over the country if their signal was strong enough… now get off my lawn!)

The song peaked at #43 on the U.S. charts, but it’s a Top 10 memory for me. Every time I hear it (which is once in a blue moon), I’m immediately transported back to Hagarville, Arkansas (population: 100 if you count cows), and am listening to that song in a camper parked next to our house (why my never-been-camping father purchased a camper is a story for another day), with an extension cord running from the house to the camper to power my radio, and the TV so I could watch “Saturday Night Live” and the turntable so I could listen to Rush’s Permanent Waves and REO Speedwagon’s A Decade of Rock and Roll.

Extension cord sold separately. Also, our driveway was rocks.

Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

 

The Kings are still around… gotta love a band with a lead singer named David Diamond and a lead guitarist named Mister Zero! They even have a documentary about the making of their hit song, if you have 43 minutes to spare:

They were just a blip on the pop radar, but in my head, my heart and my ears, this beat goes on…

 

 

The pot calling the kettle black…

In my most recent blog post, I made fun of the garish sport coat and bow tie sported by Mr. Clyde McCoy:

Then I realized that I too was guilty of the same sort of sartorial selections:

“It was the 60s… things were different then!”

In fact, on the Severinsen/Sager/Tarlek Scale of wacky outfits, from 1 to Oh-My-Goodness-What-Is-THAT!, Clyde is only about a 5… whereas I’m easily an 8.

Former Tonight Show bandleader. Suit NOT furnished by Botany 500.

Former NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager. Always understated.

Would you buy radio ads from this man?

I’m willing to do one of those “recreate the childhood photo” things that are all the rage on social media these days.

But I don’t know if we can replicate the crazy pattern of my suit, which seems better suited for a great aunt’s couch than a suit.

Werther’s candies sold separately.

Sorry for making fun of your outfit, Clyde. I now realize you were a fashion trendsetter, just like me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do a bit of shopping.

It has a good beat and you can dance to it

I love crate digging at the thrift store, you always find some classic albums. And by “classic” I mean “weird.” Check out these “mounds of sounds and stacks of wax, all designed with you in mind…”

Clyde doesn’t look the part of a blues man, but you have to admire his fashion sense. Plaid jacket, polka dot bowtie, boater hat at a jaunty angle… play that trumpet, Clyde, let’s get this party started!

(Quick Google search reveals Clyde was more of a Jazz guy, and co-founded Downbeat magazine. I’m learning while I’m dancing.)

Next up on Bandstand is a man who really needs no introduction. He also needs no more beads and rhinestones on his outfit.

Looking good, Wayne. But let’s pick up the tempo a bit… grab your batons everyone:

And now for the grand finale. Gents, break out your tube socks and tight shorts. Ladies, it’s leotard time. All together now…

Exercising to the top hits is the best. Although song choices like “Let Me Be Your Fantasy” may scar kids for life. Aw, what the heck, it had a good beat and you can dance to it, I gave it an 86.

 

 

 

Bowlers are cool

My son Peter and daughter Leah are on the bowling teams for Walnut Hills High School. For several decades, it seemed like bowling was a relic from the Stone Age.

But now bowling appears to be catching on again. It has cachet.

The sport (or “activity” depending on where you stand on the “anything you can do while holding a drink is not a sport” spectrum) has been great for our kids.

The bowlers are a wonderful group of kids, and they definitely have a lot of fun together. I suppose it’s because you have a lot of time to chat with each other while you’re waiting for your next turn.

Here’s a video that recently appeared on Cincinnati.com, about a high schooler who bowled a perfect game (and then some). But don’t watch the interviewees, watch the bowler’s teammates in the background. They are blissfully unaware that the camera is rolling, and they’re just hanging out, goofing off and having fun.

Ultimately, that’s what matters more than your score… making friends, having fun, enjoying life, frame by frame.

 

 

Addicted to this Pot, Instantly

My named is dubbatrubba, and I’m addicted to the Instant Pot. 

It’s a combination slow cooker/pressure cooker/rice maker/steamer/yogurt maker… I think it might even play karaoke tunes – I’ll have to check the manual.

I couldn’t help myself – all the cool kids were doing it, and I succumbed to the peer pressure. Oh, and there’s also the fact that a lot of recipes that used to take hours now take mere minutes. Hence the “Instant” part of the name.

A co-worker was the one who introduced me to it. She kept bringing in her lunches and raving about how good they tasted, and how easy they were to make. Her recipe for lentil chili is killer, dude! Of course, she’s a darn good cook even without the Instant Pot.

Now I can’t go a day without using it. As a veg-head, it comes in very handy. I make a big ol’ batch of black beans every week. I used to have to make them on weekends, because they take 10 hours in the crock pot. Now it takes less than an hour. I’ve also whipped up red beans with veggie sausage, the aforementioned lentil chili, curried lentils, mashed potatoes and a batch of veggie chili. It comes in handy when cooking for my 16-year-old son (the fitness freak) too. He eats chicken for lunch and salmon for dinner every doggone day, and it used to be a laborious process of thawing and baking. Now we can go from frozen to finished in less than an hour. We also use it for brown rice and hard-boiled eggs. And I’ve merely scratched the (cooking) surface of what it can do. Seriously!

I think you might even be able to make brownies, but searching for Instant Pot Brownies might get me busted in Ohio.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m jonesing. I need to go make another meal. Be back in an Instant!

 

 

 

You can learn a lot from viewing P.B.S.

In this case, P.B.S. doesn’t stand for Public Broadcasting System. Sorry Elmo.

Elmo sad. Elmo need hug.

P.B.S. = Pearls Before Swine, a great comic strip. This past Sunday, PBS creator Stephan Pastis went a bit deeper than he usually does, and I loved it.

 

That’s a pretty profound pig!

Don’t worry, the very next day Stephan — and his character Pig — did a 180:

Now that’s just plain funny. Check out a week’s worth of strips at this link — Pig is just one of the many animal characters in the strip. I think you’ll find yourself laughing more… and maybe you’ll get some food for thought too.

 

Savor your screen saver

If you’re like me (and heaven help you if you are… seek professional help immediately), you probably spend a fair amount of your workday staring at a computer screen.

This posture is recommended by optometrists and chiropractors… the ones that need business.

And if you’re like most people, you probably still have some sort of default background on your screen all day.

Bill Gates isn’t known for his artistry.

 

Why not add a smile or three to all that screen-staring, by personalizing your desktop background. I have double monitors (it looks like “multi-tasking” but really it’s just ADHD) and this morning when I logged on, here’s what I saw:

Screen #1: Replacements, circa 1986      

Screen #2: Inspiration from Hugh MacLeod

I have an entire album of desktop background photos, ranging from the profound:

… to the ridiculous:

There are 66 photos in the folder now, and the photos rotate every 30 minutes, so every day is a new grab bag of visuals. Bands and artists I love:

A picture of my childhood home:

Deep thoughts (most courtesy of the brilliant Hugh MacLeod):

Nostalgia:

Sports shots:

Goofy photos of my co-workers:

Goofy shots of me with co-workers too:

Screen shot from a buddy cop spoof video we did for a company meeting. I’m “Cheese” but you probably could’ve guessed that.

 

It’s just a little something to make me think or make me chuckle, and keep The Man from getting me down. Give it a shot… or give it 66 shots. Here’s how for PCs: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17144/windows-10-change-desktop-background

And here are instructions for a Mac (but if you own a Mac you are an artsy-fartsy person and you probably already have done this): https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/personalize-your-desktop-mchlp3013/mac.

Happy viewing!

It’s Groundhog Day…

It’s Groundhog Day…

… so enjoy some ground hog…

… then get in your ground hog…

…and this weekend, root for the team with a grounded Hawg.

Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters, a 14-year veteran who played tight end at the University of Arkansas, tore his ACL in October.