The Thing (For Mature Audiences Only)


WARNING: If you are easily offended by discussion of male organs (and I don’t mean Hammond or Yamaha), it’s best you stop reading here. See you next time.

That just leaves the curious and the perverted, so let’s proceed.


Guys, ya gotta admit, this thing is a pain sometimes, you know it? This thing that dangles between our legs.

Well, dangles for some. For the rest, it more closely resembles a baby bird in a nest.

Except for first thing in the morning, right, fellas? When it’s popped up like those things they have in turkeys now to tell you when the bird’s done cooking. Only, in your case, it’s your bladder saying, “WAKE UP, SPARKY! I NEED DRAINING!!

Okay, so you get out of bed (I hope) and go into the bathroom to do your Morning Chore. Once you get started, you notice hey, that’s not where I’m aiming, what’s going on? Guess I’ll point it this way…Whoa, why are you going that way, now? Redirect, redirect…oh, NO, two directions at once?? MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!!!

This is why you need a trough in the bathroom, guys, to remedy the problem of inaccuracy.

And, just think: as you get older, you get to experience this in the middle of the night, too! Maybe several times. Sweet dreams.

At least, you can practice your basketball skills during the day whenever you have to go. (Here a dribble, there a dribble…)


Okay, now, just a few words about another annoying situation:


You know what I mean. You sit down, you have to readjust. You stand up, you have to readjust. You emerge from the water in your swimsuit, you have to readjust. You start to feel like the pinsetter at a bowling alley. It reminds me of when I was a kid, watching my dad up on the roof of our house, moving the antenna around to get a better picture on the television.


Ah, but then, there’s that other function for this thing, am I right, dudes? The one that, starting in adolescence, occupies your mind pretty much all the time.

Now, first of all, let’s discuss the presentation. The narrator in one of Stephen King’s novels rhetorically asked, “Is there anything more unintentionally comical than a sexually aroused man?”

My reply to that would have to be a firm (sorry), “No!”

I mean, really, it’s laughable. Depending on your vantage point, it looks like either a coat rack, a toll booth gate, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

I remember one time I took this girl on a date to a water park. We’d already been down a few water slides, and were waiting to go down another one. As I stood behind her in line, I began to realize, I was faced with two options: I could get up closer to her, and let her know exactly how I felt about her, or I could stand back away, and let everybody know exactly how I felt about her, including any astronauts orbiting overhead.

Stupid swimsuit.

Now, to the function. As you know, guys, there are three pivotal events that occur in your young life, predicated on the moment you first look at a girl and, instead of thinking, yecch!, you think, hmmmm…

And eventually, WOW!!

One, Old Faithful erupts for the first time, a seminally climactic event. (sorry!)

Two, you make the discovery that you can have some FUN with this thing!

Three, you make the more important discovery that you can have some fun with this thing WITH SOMEONE ELSE!!

And THAT, gentlemen, is when the Thing takes control of the logical part of your brain. Seriously.

Remember, though: How long it stays in control is ultimately up to you. It can be your ally or your mortal enemy. As they say in the ads, enjoy responsibly.


Now, a word about those other things dangling down there, except in cold weather, in which case you have to send out a search party:

I am convinced their primary function is to itch uncontrollably in the most awkward social situations.

Any argument, guys?

All Aboard?


We’re gonna keep this train a-rollin’
We ain’t gonna break down on this highway
We could sit here waitin’, worried, wonderin’
Wishin’ we were somewhere other than right here
But we’re right here

“Keep This Train A’Rollin’”, Doobie Brothers


Well, we are right here, aren’t we?

And we’re all witness to the infancy of a historical revolution.

Ladies, I’m looking at you.

A distant voice is calling, growing in volume and intensity. It’s the voice of millions of women – of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations – standing together to say emphatically, “TIME’S UP!

Women are speaking out against sexual harassment from powerful men, finally revealing secrets they’ve kept for years under threat of swift and severe consequences.

Women are speaking out against pay inequities at work, along with other forms of discrimination they experience on a regular basis.

Women are speaking out against the body shaming culture that denies their right to simply be themselves, and be happy with that.

Oh, yeah, the revolution is happening. This train is a-rollin’.

And I’m on board.


This week’s Grammy Awards ceremony gave us two definitive moments in that revolution.

First, there was artist Janelle Monae, issuing a clarion call for the just treatment of women in the music industry, holding out an olive branch in an ironclad fist with the unequivocal declaration, “We come in peace, but we mean business.”

Immediately following that was recording artist Kesha who, backed by an all-female chorus, delivered a devastating performance of “Praying”, an anthem for every woman who has endured the worst kind of treatment, only to emerge victorious.

Mind you, this follows on the heels of Oprah Winfrey’s energizing speech at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this year, which was inspired by the #Me Too movement, which itself emerged from the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Put coal on the fire, and the train gains steam.



You fellows that have terrifying visions of armies of militant, man-hating bitches marching down our street, ready to castrate every male they see, like so many bulls down on the farm:

Honestly, get over yourselves.

If you feel threatened, welcome to their world.

Women aren’t looking for dominance. They’re not looking for supremacy. They’re simply asking to be treated with respect. Aretha was right all those years ago.


When I was a lad, pop singer Helen Reddy released “I Am Woman “, a confident, self-assured statement which became a huge hit song, and was adopted as the anthem of the Women’s Liberation Movement. The lyrics remain amazingly relevant, I think:

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong

I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

From the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the 19th century, all the way to the present, the struggle for women has been long and arduous; at times, disheartening, at times, rewarding. After all, just two years ago, a woman was nominated for President of the United States.

If there’s one thing you should take from that, guys, it’s this:

They ain’t givin’ up.

The train is a-rollin’. Get on board.





Michael Phelps Earns Another Gold




In the eyes of the world, he was superhuman.

Absolutely nobody owned the Olympics like swimmer Michael Phelps. 28 medals have hung around his neck, 23 of them gold, over the span of five Olympic Games. An athlete for the ages.

But guess what? As Phelps publicly admitted this week, during that astonishing run of championships, he was suffering from depression and thoughts of suicide.

Read Michael’s story at  If you think CNN is a bunch of “fake news”, get over it and read this, anyway.

Men, especially, I want you to read this. Pay attention when he says he realized he needed help, and how he now understands the importance of opening up and talking about depression, instead of keeping it to yourself.

Listen to me. I don’t care what you tell yourself; you cannot, you will not beat depression on your own. Believe me, I know. It is far too formidable an opponent. I know us men are supposed to be the strong, silent type, but it’s precisely that silence that could kill you.

Go to to learn about depression. I know, that’s kind of a creepy name for a website, but it’s an excellent resource on the subject. If you think you have it, please call someone for help.

It could very well save your life.

Michael Phelps, thank you. This is your hardest earned, and most deserved, gold medal. I’m glad you got the help you needed. I wish you continued good mental health.



A Descent into the Maelstrom (Apologies to Mr. Poe)


I tell you, friends, this depression thing just sucks, sometimes.

It can come up on me at any moment and pull me down into a vortex of fear and anger that eventually has me feeling as if I’m no good for anything or anyone.

It’s usually triggered by me saying or doing something wrong (which is annoyingly often), but sometimes, all I have to do is think of something I said or did wrong, and down I go.

In that whirlpool of darkness, I see all my failures, all my insecurities, all my wounds, self-inflicted or not, and I feel irretrievably hopeless, and I wonder, really, what is the use, anymore?

It doesn’t make me suicidal, but it does sometimes have me longing for Mr. Grim Reaper to show up.

Because, in those times, I just feel so thoroughly worn down. And I’m ready to simply give up.

And then, it passes, just like always, and I’m back out of the vortex, and life goes on.


Yes, I’m on medication, yes, I see a therapist, but that doesn’t mean depression keeps its distance every hour of every day. Unfortunately.

I guess, the one good thing is that, having experienced this plenty of times, I’m self-aware enough at this point to know it will pass in time, and so, I just have to be in it for a little while, and it won’t result in me doing anything harmful.

Unless crying is harmful.


I’m telling you this for two reasons.

One, in the spirit of being honest with you about how frightening my otherwise wonderful life can sometimes be. (And it is mostly wonderful, really.)

And two, to assure any of you out there who think you can handle depression on your own:

No, you can’t.

I got help for it, and it can still knock me down, sometimes. If you try to beat it alone, it can kill you. Please, get help. There is no shame in doing that.

BTW, I’m doing just fine, today, thanks. At the moment.

Hit Reset


Okay, truth time: how many of you have already gone off the diet you started on the 1st?

I’m sorry. That was cruel, wasn’t it? Forget I asked.

Anyway, here we are. A brand new year is upon us. Is it just me, or did the last year go by in a blink? Jeez, before you know it, it’ll be Christmas time again.

I’m sorry, I did it again, didn’t I? Just SHUT UP, WILL YA??


Okay, no more clowning. Seriously, welcome to a brand new year. I hope it has started well for you.

Many of us use January 1st as a marker, a place to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. It’s life’s Reset button. Whatever happened last year is last year’s news; it’s in the rearview mirror, getting ever smaller until disappearing over the horizon line. We savor the good memories, and shed the bad ones.

Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know.

But now, our eyes are on the future, who stands before us with both hands full; in one hand, exciting opportunity and possibility, and in the other hand, unsettling fear and dread.

Most of us will take a little from each hand, because we need a healthy balance of fear and optimism, right? Too much dread is just too depressing, but too much optimism seems a bit unrealistic, doesn’t it?

The more depressed among us – like yours truly – will probably take more from the fear and dread hand, because that’s our comfort zone, it’s our default mode. We’d rather not be that way, but unfortunately, it’s not as simple as making different choices. If only…

However, I will work harder this year at picking from the other hand; I need to. Because there have been days in the last year when I had no optimism whatsoever about the future. (I don’t think I should have to explain why.) I thought we were absolutely doomed. Everything looked bleak and hopeless.

And yet, somehow, we’re still here.

There is still much to fear as this new year commences. Some of it is fear of the unknown, some of it of the all too well-known.

But this is a good time for me to clear my head and focus on what I need for this to be a better year. Do I need to be healthier? More loving? More open and honest? More trusting? More attentive to others? More appreciative of life, of nature, of people?

Less fearful?

Probably all that, and a lot more.

It’s a good time for a new beginning. I look forward to it.