The crew

Most families from my generation have photo albums where their most precious pictures are stored. I have a photograph of a photograph, sent via text.

That’s me and my squad, my crew… my mom and siblings. Looks like we were checking out a parade, perhaps? I’m the one striking a cool yet casual pose on the railing, resplendent in my turtleneck and double-breasted overcoat. (Eat your heart out, Zoolander!)

There may be other photographs of my mom with all four of her kids, but not many. She died not long after this photo was taken.

Yesterday was the birthday of my dad. He passed away in 2010… would’ve been 88. I cannot fathom what life must’ve been like for the 41 years when he was still around, but my mom was out of the picture.

I feel like we kids cut him some slack when he was raising us, at least subconsciously, because we knew he was working double duty. But still, it was no easy task.

Here’s to you Herb… rest in peace, after a job well done.

Bad is good.

Inspiration is 99% perspiration.

Thanks for reading my bad sentences!

The Graduate Part II

Our son Peter graduated from high school Thursday. Not just any high school, either, but one of the best public high schools in the country. Walnut Hills High School recently made the news when 17 of their students got a perfect score on the ACT. Of course, on the heels of the college admissions scandal, folks like Jimmy Fallon made light of it:

Peter wasn’t one of the kids who aced the test (where’s Felicity Huffman when you need her?), but he did just fine. Better than fine, actually. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, perhaps in plastics.

In just a few short months, he’ll be attending Ohio University, the oldest university in Ohio (and 8th oldest public university in the U.S.). It’s about two and a half hours east of Cincinnati. Which means he’ll be our first kid to leave town to go to college. That’s not surprising… Peter is quite independent. Some kids march to the beat of a different drummer… Peter has a complete band playing in his head.

He’s a fitness fanatic with a super-healthy diet, has a sly sense of humor and never got in trouble during his high school years. Well, other than that silly senior prank involving Silly String.

He got busted and had to stay after school on his 18th birthday… adulting is hard!

I know Peter’s ready to leave the nest, but I don’t think we’re ready for it.

By August, we’ll have two kids out of the house and two left. It’s hard to believe… and even harder to let them go.

Binge reading

Yesterday, I got an email from my good friend Tom Kuhl. (That’s “Mister Cool” to you.) He’s one of the few, the proud… the handful of folks who actually subscribe to my blog. (Poor fella.) And his note let me know there was something amiss:

While I hadn’t made any changes to my WordPress site, something definitely was screwy, and the email notifications weren’t going out each time I published a new post. Ghosts in the machine, I suppose. Tom’s email sent me down a rabbit hole as I tried to figure out what was wrong. The solution involved copious amounts of Googling, multiple emails to WordPress/Jetpack tech support, and getting into the belly of the blog beast via an FTP transfer site… don’t try this at home (unless you have to). But all appears to be well now.

However, if you are one of the lucky few (using the term “lucky” very loosely) who subscribe to this blog, you’ve got some catching up to do. Because what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity. Brew another pot of coffee and dive straight into my latest posts:

  • Remembering Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit (5/10)
  • Paul Westerberg’s sister retires (5/13)
  • My son Peter sleeping (5/14)
  • Life imitating comic strip art (5/17)
  • George “Goober” Lindsey is my nemesis (5/18)
  • Singer Caroline Spence (5/20)

I won’t kid you – these gems are some of my greatest posts ever. Nah, just kidding, it’s the same old random b.s., as usual.

If, perchance, you’ve somehow stumbled upon this blog by unhappy accident (or maybe it was assigned to you as penance or community service) and you’ve yet to subscribe, you can do so via a form on the righthand side of the home page:

You’ll get an email each time I publish a new post. It’ll be like Christmas 2-3 times a week… the Christmas when you got mittens instead of Hot Wheels cars.

Don’t thank me, thank Tom.

Sweeter Caroline

Lucinda Williams. Emmylou Harris. Patty Griffin. It’s time to add another woman’s name to the alt-country pantheon: Caroline Spence.

Image result for caroline spence mint condition

I saw Caroline and her ace band live a few days ago. There were four folks on stage, and only about 24 folks in the audience.

But that audience count is going to keep going up, because Caroline is going places. Her new album Mint Condition is a stellar collection of tunes. It’s her third full-length release, and the first one on a legit label (kudos to Rounder Records for signing her).

Here are a few tunes from the album that showcase her range… first is an uptempo, rockin’ tune:

And here’s a live, acoustic version of the title track, a sweet song she wrote for her grandparents:

Finally, another beautiful ballad, with great lyrics, that reminds me so much of Lucinda and Emmylou and Patty:

Caroline and her band are on tour now, on an East Coast swing. Get off the couch and go check them out… and bring 25 of your closest friends.

George “Goober” Lindsey haunts my dreams

George “Goober Pyle” Lindsey (of The Andy Griffith Show fame… oh, and Hee Haw too!) saved Ernest Borgnine’s life.

But he took a few years off my life.

Image result for goober lindsey

Actually I’m to blame, not Goober. Check out the latest episode of the 97X podcast that I do with my old radio pal Dave for a true tale about Mr. Lindsey that involves the First Commandment of Celebrity Phone Calls.

Life imitates comic strip art

My son Peter has his final day of high school today. I imagine his last couple of weeks have gone something like this:

And then there’s Peter’s old man, the aspiring writer. This strip sums things up nicely:

Have a wonderful weekend, and keep chasing those dreams!

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Here’s my 18-year-old son, fast asleep in “stare at phone” mode.

Not many folks can pull this off, but Peter is a pro. When he’s not at school, at the gym, or at work, this is where you’ll find him – sprawled out on the couch. Many weekdays, he’ll wind up falling asleep there, and when I get up at 6 a.m., I’ll wake him to either get ready for school (weekdays) or head upstairs for another few hours of sleep (weekends).

Oh to be young again…

Grounded at last

A recent blog post from The Current, an indie radio station in Minneapolis, made me smile.

I’ve always loved that song, it has great lyrics…

Sanitation expert and a maintenance engineer

Garbage man, a janitor and you my dear

A real union flight attendant, my oh my

You ain’t nothing but a waitress in the sky

But as the blog post explains, Replacements leader Paul Westerberg wasn’t channeling his own inner rude passenger when he wrote it:

In Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys, he explains that the song was actually inspired by stories songwriter Paul Westerberg heard from his sister Julie, a flight attendant. “I was playing the character of the creep who demands to be treated like a king,” Westerberg told Mehr. “I’d heard all the stories from my sister about how [passengers] would yell at the flight attendants and then how they’d ‘accidentally’ spill something on them.”

Now Paul’s sister has retired after four decades of putting up with all manner of passenger problems. I’m sure the stories would be even worse if Paul wrote the song today.

Congrats Julie… and thanks for sharing your stories with Paul, so he could share them with us.