In other breaking news, water is wet

Saw this “news alert” on my phone recently:

h is bad


Wow, turns out heroin is bad. Who knew?

In fairness to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the report is a thorough examination of the flaws in the current arrest/treatment system, and well worth a read. But they really need to work on their teaser headlines.


Sorry folks, park’s closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya.

Activities that have been cancelled on me recently: 

1. The Replacements concert in Columbus, OH in early May. I was really looking forward to this show because I love the ‘mats. Originally the show was merely postponed… but apparently they couldn’t find a decent reschedule date so they eventually cancelled the gig. The reason it didn’t go on as scheduled was because lead singer Paul Westerberg was ailing. Or maybe Tommy got his tonsils out.

2. Jesse Malin concert in Newport, KY in mid-April. Yet another concert I was really looking forward to, because I love Jesse and adore his new album, New York Before the War. But I’m assuming he bailed out because his typical shows in the Cincinnati area are high on energy, but low on attendees. He did an in-studio performance at a Pittsburgh radio station the next afternoon to plug his Pittsburgh show – probably a wiser move economically. Ironically enough, Jesse opened two shows for the Replacements in London in early June… Bastards!


3. Paddlefest. It’s not nearly as dirty as it sounds – it has nothing to do with spanking, just paddling down the Ohio River in kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and other people-powered watercraft.


It’s a wonderful event where a 10-mile stretch of the mighty Ohio is closed to barge traffic for several hours, and paddlers own the river. Peaceful, relaxing, beautiful… but this year Mother Nature had other plans. Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Bill made the river too rapid and risky for a bunch of amateur Gilligans.

Activities that have NOT been cancelled on me recently: 

  • property tax bill
  • dentist appointment for 2 cavities
  • colonoscopy
  • my son’s 7:15 a.m. soccer game an hour away… and it started raining with thunder and lightning shortly after the game started so it was called off. Basically we spent 2 1/2 hours driving so he could play 15 minutes of soccer.



I know just how you feel, Clark.

Let’s hear it for Herb

Happy Father’s Day! Sure, we only get one day a year but this year it’s the longest day of the year.

I’m thrilled, blessed and grateful to be the father of four great kids. On Father’s Day in particular, I think of my own father, Herbert, who also was the father of four. His wife died at age 33, of leukemia, just a few months after the diagnosis. Dad was left to raise four children under the age of 7 all by his lonesome. How do you survive that gut punch, that heartbreak, that total meltdown of your world? In many ways, my dad never did fully recover. But he did the best he could. We moved from Jersey City, NJ to Hagarville, Arkansas – from the big city to the tiniest speck on the map in the foothills of the Ozarks. “Culture shock” doesn’t do it justice. However, it was a great place for us to grow up with a single parent, and has made my life experiences richer.

We were dirt poor, but our dad bestowed gifts upon us that were priceless: kindness, integrity, compassion.

Herb passed away in 2010. I miss him every day. To anyone who has lost a father, this beautiful song by Billy Bragg is for you.



Doing the heavy lifting

Hmm, I need to get a gift to get for my wife for our 18th wedding anniversary today, and I’m torn between two fabulous products that I’m sure she’ll love.

This one has a fantastic name


And it can lift lots of stuff – mattresses, washing machines, armoires, exercise equipment, and of course giant Roadrunner-style Acme brand safes that everyone:

  • has in their homes
  • likes to lift and move often

The Forearm Forklift is also an “As Seen On TV” product so you know the quality is top-notch.

Then again, this product looks like a winner too:


And the woman on the cover of this package looks happier about lifting her washing machine. So, Shoulder Dolly it is! I can’t wait to see the look on my wife’s face…


Kickin’ it old school

My 15-year-old son likes:

  1. sleeping
  2. AC/DC songs
  3. going to yard sales

Not necessarily in that order. Last weekend I took him to a few yards sales, and was really intrigued by the things I saw at them. A few observations:

You could safely sum up 99% of the electronics that you’ll find at any yard/rummage/tag sale as “stuff that’s been replaced by smart phones.” Digital cameras are a dime a dozen (sometimes literally). Cassette recorders. Mini-cassette recorders. Micro-cassette recorders.

P.T. Barnum said “there’s a sucker born every minute” and apparently every one of those suckers bought a fondue  set in the  70s.

Yard sales are where officially over-the-hill kids TV show characters go to die. Barney now truly knows what it means to be a “dinosaur.”

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Some folks have never heard about the switch to digital TV. Or flat screens. Or even cable.

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How lazy do you have to be to not be able to flip through ties?

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But our rummaging wasn’t all in vain. We went to the sale at the nearby Catholic grade school and got a couple of old school desks for $5 a pop.

2015-06-07 08.40.20

(Unfortunately they didn’t come with a guarantee that my kids will study. I’d have paid another $5 for that feature.)

That school sale was also trying to unload this sweet Sprite  backboard from back in the “lymon” era:

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I would’ve bought it except for the warning:

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Sorry, I’ve still got hops and was going to go all Darryl Dawkins on it.

Going to the dogs

Don’t ask me why, but this morning I was thinking about how the most interesting dog food brands from my youth are now defunct. (A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but I’m doing a pretty good job of it so far.)

My favorite commercial was for Chuck Wagon, with a pooch chasing a Ray Harryhausen-style Conestoga wagon through the house.

And I was always intrigued by Gaines*burgers dog food too, because of their hamburger shape. Love how the TV ad tout and the package both tout the fact that Gaines*burgers are “made with REAL MEAT”.


Notice they don’t say what type of animal the meat came from. Just sayin’.

It’s all happening at the Zoo

My three sons (not these three) and I went to my company’s summer picnic at the Cincinnati Zoo yesterday. My youngest (he’s 10) had just been to Zoo Camp the week prior, so going through the exhibits with him was like being with a miniature Marlin Perkins/Steve Irwin/Thane Maynard. I was amazed at how much he knew about the animals and their habitats… including the fact that one of the large birds in the Wings of the World exhibit (it has nothing to do with Paul McCartney) figured out how to open the automatic doors so they had to put it behind a net to keep it from escaping again.

Our kids don’t go to a lot of summer camps, but I’m sure as heck  signing up my son – and probably my daughter – for Zoo Camp again next year. Best investment we’ve made in years.

And mentioning Marlin Perkins gives me an excuse to feature this video:


And I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in this oldie but goodie:


Chill Factor

Clearly marketers have run out of decent names for frozen “slushy” beverages. Here’s proof, from a window poster at a downtown Cincinnati newstand/mini-market:

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A “Siberian Chill”? Really? Whoever named this beverage nailed the “cold” part of the equation, but they had a major FAIL on the “refreshing” part of it.

“Yes, being exiled to a gulag sounds delightful… please sir, may I have another?” 

The “thrill of ice-o-lation” tagline doesn’t help matters any either. Who makes this stuff – Putin Industries?


Every day is Memorial Day

Saw Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell and Dwight Yoakam in concert a week ago. Dwight and his band are top-notch, but the highlight for me was Jason Isbell. Loved his 2013 album Southeastern, and still do. But the song from his set list that gave me the most goose bumps was “Dress Blues” – a tribute to a fallen soldier from Jason’s Alabama hometown. The song is from Jason’s 2007 debut solo album Sirens of the Ditch and was written for Marine Matthew Conley, who was killed by an IED in Iraq at age 21, just weeks before he was to go home and be reunited with his wife, who was pregnant with their first child. The song deftly and beautifully pays tribute to the young man while questioning the decisions that caused his death.

There’s red, white and blue in the rafters
And there’s silent old men from the Corps
What did they say when they shipped you away
To fight somebody’s Hollywood war?

Nobody here could forget you
You showed us what we had to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleepin’ in your dress blues
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleepin’ in your dress blues

Here’s a great essay about the song.

And here’s Jason performing it solo.