Sidewalk surfin’… and sidewalk fallin’

Spring has sprung (and I’ve got the allergies to prove it) and thus commences the daily struggle to get the kids off the couch, off the phones and out in the “fresh air” (achoo!).

Leah went out in the fresh air yesterday. She was grabbing a skateboard from the garage as I left to go pick up her younger brother from soccer. When I got home, she mentioned that she had fallen on the driveway and that her elbow hurt. Time for a trip to urgent care…. where time stands still, and the only “urgent” is your urgent desire to get a nurse, then X-ray tech, then doc to show up without an interminable wait in-between.

Four hours later, we finally got a diagnosis: incomplete radial head fracture. Time for a splint, and soon a cast. It’s her left elbow… and yes, she’s a lefty.

Poor thing is gonna have to learn how to text righty. While sitting on the couch.

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Robert Burns knows the score.

If I had a boat…

And if I had a boat
I’d go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I’d ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
I said me upon my pony on my boat

“If I Had A Boat” by Lyle Lovett

I don’t have a boat. Instead, we have four cars. Which means four tickets in the car repair lottery. About five weeks ago, my 17-year-old’s ancient Honda got a crack all the way across the windshield. It just magically appeared. A week after I got the windshield replaced, aforementioned 17-year-old managed to scrape the rear passenger door on one of those two-foot high poles that are put in public parking lots to… create more business for repair shops and replacement parts dealers, apparently.

I still miss The Far Side…

He did that on a Friday night, and never mentioned anything to me, even on the Saturday morning after, when I woke him up for bowling. The trim piece by the door was loose… and when he drove Saturday, it flapped in the wind and wound up breaking a taillight housing. If you’re keeping score at home, a replacement trim piece is $20… and a taillight housing is $100. Actually the taillight housing is $100 on Amazon or eBay, but I found it at a local auto salvage yard for $80… a penny saved is a penny earned!

Two weeks later, on a Monday morning, he was driving to school and skidded on a thin layer of ice that had formed… right into the back of the car in front of him. Everyone’s OK, it was just a fender bender… but in addition to paying the deductible, I’ll be paying for that for the next several years via higher insurance premiums.

Ah, the joys of old cars and teen drivers, and the magical combination of both.

After all those incidents, I was looking forward to a repair-free week. Walking into the house the other day, I saw this on my wife’s car:

Is it any wonder why I take the bus to work most days?

My son’s car should be ready tomorrow. I don’t know if I’m ready. Where’s that boat?

Wicked good kids

Last night I attended another house concert at the home of my friends Dave and Jacqui. (You can read about the first gig in a previous post.) They’ve always been huge music fans. Now that they’re semi-empty-nesters, they took the plunge and started booking gigs into their home – nearly one a month throughout the year, in what they call their Parlor & Patio series.

Wicked Peace was band performing last night (sans their drummer – it’s a house concert after all). They’re just a bunch of kids from this hills and hollers… Kentucky for most of them, and West Virginia for one.

The lead singer Tanner and guitarist Patrick met in 2013 when they lived next door to each other in the dorms at Morehead State. Started jamming, started writing. Lead singer conscripted his older sister Amanda as a second vocalist and additional songwriter. They nabbed their bass player Jared from the music program at Morehead, and found their drummer Matthew in their new home base of Lexington.

It’s a family affair – in addition to the brother-sister lead singers, Amanda’s husband Adam is the band manager/booker, does album and poster artwork, sells merch, helps direct their videos… heck, he probably changes the oil on the van too!

Wicked Peace did a very nice set of tunes… some songs sounded a bit like Houndmouth, and Amanda’s voice is like a Southern Sandy Denny.

The show included a tasty “pie break” intermission, where Dave and Jacqui served up free slices from a great local bakery called Piebird.

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Great music, gracious hosts, an attentive (no cell phones allowed) and appreciative audience… and pie. What could be better on a beautiful Friday night in the spring? Nothing!

You can check out Wicked Peace’s videos here.

Don’t sleep on these teams… or do.

Virginia beat Texas Tech in overtime to claim the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship last night. Or so I heard. The game tipped off at 9:26 PM EDT. I had to wake my kids at 6 AM this morning. by the time the clock struck zero, I was fast asleep.

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I’m sure it was “one for the ages” or some other nugget of hyperbole from Jim Nantz (who seems to think every word that comes from his mouth is pure gold). But at my age, my beauty rest is more important. (To be clear, I’m not gaining any ground in the beauty department, just trying to keep the ugly at bay.)

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But even if I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn today, why bother with live feed? It’s a Netflix/YouTube world now. This morning, on my bus ride to work, I was able to watch a 12-minute recap that showed all the field goals from the game. So what did I really miss by not staying up an extra two hours, other than a gazillion Spike-Samuel-Barkley commercials, a bunch of free throw attempts, the always-scintillating “refs going to the monitor for five minutes” and maybe a few Bill Raftery “with the kiss” lines? I’m good.

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There’s no need to watch what happens live anymore. I’ll wait for the recap movie.

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Still the top ranking

“Ranking Roger” of the bands The Beat (a.k.a. The English Beat for U.S. audiences) and General Public passed away a week ago at the age of 56, after a stroke and a battle with brain tumors and lung cancer.

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Ranking Roger (real name Roger Charlery) started out as a London punk rocker before teaming up with Dave Wakeling in The Beat, part of the Two Tone “second wave” of bands that fused ska with punk rock, new wave, reggae and pop music. After The Beat broke up, Roger and Dave formed General Public, while two other Beat members teamed up with Roland Gift to form Fine Young Cannibals. Roger later formed The New Beat and performed with his son, and later still The Beat featuring Ranking Roger.

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It’s worth noting that Ranking Roger was black and Dave Wakeling was white. Well before Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney were teaming up for that schmaltzy “Ebony and Ivory” tune, the Beat were uniting fans of all colors.

“When the Beat were originally going ’round,” he said, “our audiences were so mixed — black, white and Indian, young people and older heads. It was brilliant, and I think we have kind of achieved that today. It is a bit different, obviously, but it is a very friendly crowd and everyone walks out sweating and happy, and I tell myself that’s the most I could ask for.”

Source: New York Times

They also tackled political topics in their songs, most famously in “Stand Down Margaret”… a comeuppance to Margaret Thatcher with the last lines of “love and unity, the only way.”

From the NYT obit: The Beat was born in part out of frustration with the conservative turn in England’s politics.

“To the English Beat,” Robert Palmer wrote in reviewing the group’s second album, “Wha’ppen?,” in The Times, “unemployment, ecology and the antinuclear movement are not separate issues; they are interrelated.”

“Anyone who would like to understand more about the attitudes underlying Britain’s inner-city rioting,” he added, “would do well to start here.”

This nine-minute interview is a great glimpse into Roger’s humble demeanor and his dedicated approach to performing.

Even in his 50s, he was still giving it his all.

That sort of free-spirited yet socially conscious attitude toward life ranks high in my book.