Total Baller

My 11-year-old son Andrew came up to me last night and said, “Dad, I got a triple-double!” Normally “triple-double” is a term used in basketball to denote reaching double figures in three statistical categories (e.g. 12 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists).

But Andrew had a different one in mind:

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He’s holding the filling from three double-stuffed Oreos.

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My son, the Magic Johnson of sugary snacks.

 

Take a walk on the Wilder side

This dude brought a lot of smiles to the world:

American actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory', directed by Mel Stuart, 1971. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

American actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’, directed by Mel Stuart, 1971. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory…

Producers

In The Producers

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In Blazing Saddles…

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In Young Frankenstein…  (admit it, in your head you just thought “It’s FRONK-in-Steen)

 

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In buddy films like Silver Streak and Stir Crazy with Richard Pryor…

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… and in the way he cared for his wife Gilda Radner as she struggled with, and eventually succumbed to, ovarian cancer. Despite his heartache, he became an advocate for cancer patients.

Kind. Gentle. Loving. Right up until the end.

 

 

Big Magic

I just finished reading a great book about the creative process, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame). I found it quite inspirational, and think she does a great job demystifying the creative process.

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She offers tips for overcoming fear, finding inspiration, giving yourself permission to start the work, being persistent, and trusting in the process. Here are a few quick excerpts:

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What’s in a (band) name?

My  kids like to make fun of me for liking bands with “weird names.” But I could certainly turn the tables on them: what the heck are names such as 5 Seconds of Summer and The 1975 all about? When you come right down to it, nearly all band names that aren’t tied to a particular person (Santana, The J. Geils Band, Van Halen, et al.) or a particular place (Kansas, Boston, Chicago) could fall into the “weird” category. However, after 50+ years of rock and roll, all the good semi-weird names are taken, and you have to go full weirdo.

 

And going full weirdo is exactly what Car Seat Headrest did. My 15-year-old son thinks that’s the funniest, weirdest band name going. I’ll admit it’s pretty wacky. But the music is damn good:

 

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And Car Seat Headrest is getting some face time with Warren Buffett. And love from the music bloggers. And, as my 13-year-old daughter pointed out last night when “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” came on the radio, you can use your detachable car seat headrest to break out the window of your car in an emergency. So really they’re a lifesaver… you can’t say that about Maroon 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going, going… gone

I was sorry to hear about the passing of longtime ESPN sportscaster John Saunders. Not just because he seemed like a really nice guy, but also because he was one of the few “worldwide leader” ESPN personalities that didn’t have copious amounts of smugness, smarm and/or shtick.

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He was just an old school broadcaster who came across as relatable and reliable. They are few and far between these days.

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Mike Lupica has a nice tribute to John Saunders here.

 

Ice Cold Chili Pepper

Have you ever read a book and then almost immediately wished you could un-read it? That’s what happened to me when I read Scar Tissue, an autobiography from Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Bottom line: he should stick to performing in a band.

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The book is called Scar Tissue because the better more fitting title wouldn’t fit on the outside cover: I Took Tons Of Drugs, Had Sex With A Lot Of Models And Groupies, And Occasionally Sobered Up Enough To Sing In A Band.

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Mr. Kiedis spends 455 long-winded pages talking about his debauchery, and about 10 pages talking about his sobriety. And occasionally they overlap. Here’s a (thankfully) brief passage that gives you a few clues about the type of person we’re dealing with – the “meeting” he mentions is an AA meeting:

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Did you follow that? AK cuts the line (because he’s like this guy) to chat up a “extra-fine girl” at a club (she lives with Paris Hilton and a lesbian Playboy centerfold, btw), one who had a dream about them being together, and she becomes “his girl”… until he goes to an AA meeting a month later and sees his ex, who he points out in his flashback was a leech. And he winds up making out with her.  Classy!

Save yourself the time and trouble, don’t read this dross. Here’s an Amazon review that sums it up quite nicely:

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TC knows best

My good friend Tim Condron has an excellent blog post about the Republican candidate for president, and his backers.

Speaking of which, I thought this was the funniest piece of satire I’ve seen in a while.

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Big. Damn. Band.

Met some old radio buddies last night at a free outdoor concert in downtown Cincinnati. The headliner was The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. And damn were they good!

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You can be a three-piece and be a Big Damn Band when you play like they do. Reverend Peyton is a killer guitar player, his wife Breezy plays washboard, and drummer Ben plays a kit that has an upside down pickle barrel on it.

Not quite sure how to describe their music… it’s “old-timey” but newfangled. It’s bluesy, but it’s a highly caffeinated version of the blues. Here’s the blurb from their bio:

The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band has always been strong on authenticity, playing music that blends blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles with the sleek modern energy of do-it-yourself, homespun, punk fueled rock. 

Yep, that sounds about right.

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Reverend is from Brown County, Indiana, the least populous county in the entire state. Nashville, Indiana is in Brown County, and for more than 25 years it housed the Little Nashville Opry, an Indiana venue that hosted hundreds of legendary country music stars. The Reverend and his Big Damn Band could teach the folks in “Big Nashville” a thing or three about authenticity.

Here’s the Rev playing 18 different instruments during John Henry:

 

And here’s the band raising a little hell:

 

The band puts on a fantastic, high energy show, so if you ever get a chance to meet the Reverend Peyton, it’ll do your soul a lot of good.

Hockey Dads and Blind Pilots

NPR Music has a couple of fine forthcoming albums streaming right now on their “First Listen” page.

One is from an Australian guitar-drums duo called Hockey Dad. It’s fun, punky pop.

The other is from a Portland band called Blind Pilot. Even if you don’t care for their music, you have to admire the fact that they did a couple of tours traveling by bicycle.

 

 

Dick’s Sporting Goods – living up to their name

I pulled a Jimmy Buffet recently (“blew out my flip-flop”).  It happened about 2 minutes after my youngest son and I got to Kings Island. If you’ve never tried limping/shuffling around a giant amusement park with a broken flip-flop, I highly DON’T recommend it. I even stopped at a help desk and tried to staple and duct tape it back together. That always worked for this guy:

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But no luck for me.

I’m an old man with arthritic toes (youth is wasted on the young) so I need more arch support than the average flat flip-flop provides. Crocs makes a pair that suits me well. I know what you’re thinking:

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But these are flip-flops, and they are less hideous than the clog Crocs.

See? Very un-Croc-like.

See? Very un-Croc-like.

So a few days later, I went to the Dick’s Sporting Goods website (be careful how you search for this business name online!) and ordered a new pair. I got two emails from Dick’s that same day, one saying “we received your order” and then this one:

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All good, right? Processed… they’re working on it.

Five days later, they tell me it was cancelled:

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Sorry, but if you didn’t have the inventory, why did you let me place the order in the first place? And if you didn’t have it, why did it take you five days to figure that out? I’ve got half a mind to kick Dick’s Sporting Goods butt… if not for my arthritic toes.