Roll, Tide!!

 

There is a glimmer of hope for this country, after all.

The great state of Alabama has a new United States Senator this morning, and it’s not Roy Moore, the Republican candidate who allegedly pursued teenage girls for sex when he was in his 30’s. Doug Jones becomes the first Democratic Senator from Alabama since 1992, which gives you an idea of just how red that state is.

Jones didn’t exactly win by a landslide. There were lots of Alabamans who were still willing to vote for Moore, because at least he wasn’t (choke, gag, retch) a Democrat, which is right below dog turd on levels of respect in the red states.

Yeah. They’d much rather be represented in Washington by an alleged pervert. Who, come to think of it, would be right at home, there.

However, 22,000 Alabamans elected a write-in candidate, so while they still couldn’t elect a democrat, nor could they stomach the notion of voting for Moore.

Makes my Wednesday a little brighter.

The Scary Guy in the Red Suit

 

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I don’t know how many of you ever had the distinct privilege of sitting in Santa Claus’ lap to tell him what to bring you for Christmas, (yes, tell, don’t ask) but trust me, it is an experience you will remember all your life.

Unfortunately for me.

 

Let’s face it, meeting Santa Claus is a bucket list event for any kid. I mean, we all write our letters to him, asking for what we want, (or maybe, email these days, I don’t know) but to get to meet the Big Kahuna in person??

Oh…WOW!!! Makes me nearly faint just thinking about it.

Just go to the mall, and spend some time around Santa, and you watch how many kids stand in line, accompanied by their harried, stressed-out parents, waiting for their turn with the Big Man. I mean, who knows when he’ll get around to reading your letter; here’s your chance to tell Mr. Claus directly. Big time-saver.

So, here I was, on my way to Leonard’s Department Store, in downtown Fort Worth, for my close encounter of the Santa kind. To describe me as excited that day would be an understatement. I was charged up, folks. I was ready for this; I had waited for this day my whole life. (I think I was about five.) I was even dressed up for it, in my finest gift-begging suit. With my hair perfectly combed, wearing my best cologne, breath mint in pocket, I knew I had this.

Claus, you’re mine!

 

So, I stood in line with the other kids, waiting patiently (not) for my turn. As I waited, I enthusiastically recited to Mom and Dad my entire request list. I don’t recall how long it was, but come on, I was a kid; you think it was just gonna be two or three items? No, sir, no Toy Express Lane for this guy.

But as I stood there, a curious thing happened. My parents noticed, the further up I moved in line, the less talking I did, and my excitement seemed to morph into trepidation, which then crossed over to fear. 😬😲

I don’t really have an explanation for what happened. I can only speculate in hindsight, the closer I got to the man, the more intimidating he looked to me. After all, I was meeting him for the first time, and we weren’t even properly introduced. I was simply picked up and set in the guy’s lap, for Pete’s sake. This scary fellow with the long hair and the long beard and the red suit and the prominent gut. I didn’t care that he was probably some poor store employee who got roped into this gig, and would rather have been off somewhere else, hitting the eggnog with an elf or two.

No, all I knew in that moment was, I don’t like this person. And so, from the time I was placed in his lap until the time I was removed from it, Santa Claus might as well have been sitting there holding a stuffed animal.

I didn’t speak. I didn’t move. I may not have even breathed.

I was frozen solid, a Rock of Gibraltar. You could have busted up concrete with me.

There’s photographic evidence somewhere of this incident, but ain’t none of you ever gonna see it, that’s for sure. Let’s just pretend it looks like this:

 

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So, I rode back home with my head hung in shame. I had my shot and I wasted it. A tragic event, one that would undoubtedly keep me in therapy for life.

You know what, though? Turns out, I didn’t need to tell him a thing.

Because, come Christmas Day, I still got what I wanted. Cool, right? 😏

Now, kids, I’m not saying that’ll happen to you, too. You’d better talk to Santa, if you get a chance, just to cover your bases.

He’s probably not really that scary.

Some Requests for Your Carolers

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You know, in reality, there are only about four Christmas songs, but approximately 8,463.75 renditions of them. 🎶🎵

Everybody records them. In fact, Izzy and Lizzy, my cats, have a new album coming out later this week: “We Need a Little Christmas Meow.” Look for it. 🐱

Anyway, we all have our favorite songs, and our favorite performances, that we simply must hear every year, don’t we? For example, I’ll take Elvis Presley’s covers of “Blue Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” over anyone’s.

Of course, that applies to least favorites, as well. I’m a lifelong Johnny Cash fan, but if I ever hear his version of “The Little Drummer Boy” again, I will not be responsible for my reaction. 🥁 😡

With that in mind, I’d like to tell you some of my favorite performances of my favorite Christmas tunes, and then take you a little off the beaten path and introduce you to some songs/renditions I enjoy, but you may not be familiar with.

But I’ll start with a classic, and my all-time favorite:

The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole. If I could only listen to one Christmas tune, by one person, for the rest of my life, this would be my choice, without hesitation.

White Christmas, The Drifters. Yeah, Bing Crosby’s version is the prototype, but once you hear the Drifters do it, you won’t want to hear it any other way.

Santa Baby, Madonna. Eartha Kitt’s version is so slow, I could have a nap before she finishes. 🎅🏻💍💋

I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Glen Campbell. You can just hear the longing to be home in his voice.

Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, The Blenders. A lively a capella version, like the doo-wop boys on the corner would do it.

The Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, O Come, All Ye Faithful, The Vocal Majority, a Dallas-based, 100-voice men’s chorus. Google ‘em, they’re outstanding.

Christmas Island, Leon Redbone. 🏝 A perfect song for a performer so laid back, his pulse rate must be about 10.

Merry Christmas, Darling, Carpenters. Karen Carpenter was graced with one of the most beautiful voices ever, and she left us way, way too soon. But she did leave us this holiday gem. That last line, “I wish I were with you,” always chokes me up; I wish she was with us, too.

Grown Up Christmas List, Amy Grant. Great lyrics, great melody, great vocals.

Christmas Wrapping, The Waitresses. More rapping than wrapping, a peppy little tune that tells a story beginning with, “Bah! Humbug!”, but working its way to a “very happy ending.”

Mary’s Little Boy Child, Jose Feliciano. Beautiful. I also love his Feliz Navidad, but a store nearly ruined that song for me once, by playing it ten times in a row! Nearly went berserk.

Gift of Love, The Boones. My wife loves this one. Angelic female harmony, featuring Debbie Boone. (Ask your parents. Or maybe grandparents.)

Christmas Macarena. JUST KIDDING!!!

The Restroom Door Said “Gentlemen”, Didn’t I Get This Last Year?, Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio. If you want some laughs this Christmas, check out these hilarious send ups of traditional favorites. Oh, and also, The Chimney Song. Hysterical! 🤣

Sleigh Ride, the instrumental version, by any orchestra you choose. Love it.

Silent Night, Mannheim Steamroller. Absolutely breathtaking instrumental piece.

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas, Don’t Be Late), The Chipmunks. Can’t go a single Christmas without hearing, “AL-VIIIIIIIIIIN!!!!” Can you?

Step Into Christmas, Elton John. Just cuz it’s Elton, and I’m a lifelong fan.

Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season, Some Children See Him, Andy Williams. Both are classics.

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas, Gayla Peevey. Admit it, just reading the title put a big grin on your face, didn’t it?

Mary, Did You Know?, Pentatonix. Unbelievable harmonies from this talented a capella group from right here in Texas.

That’s probably enough for now, but there may be a Part 2 forthcoming. Because, really, there’s a lot more than just four Christmas songs.

Thank goodness. 🎄⛄️🔑🎁

Now, you tell me: what are some of your favorites?

 

 

 

 

 

Homewreckers

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Some things just don’t make sense to me.

I work over in a pretty heavily wooded area, which allows me to still catch an occasional glimpse of raccoons, possums, armadillos, squirrels and even deer as I drive up and down the same road all day.

I enjoy that very much. I love seeing wildlife; it’s my way, however small, of staying connected to nature.

One evening two weeks ago, when it was after dark and I was still driving, I came upon a deer crossing the road. Fortunately, I could stop in plenty of time to avoid hitting him. We just looked at each other for a second, then continued on our way.

A little later that same evening, I saw him again, over in the woods. I stopped a few seconds as we regarded each other again, me admiring the majestic presence of this beautiful animal, him…I don’t know, checking out some goof in a minibus.

And the sight of him thrilled me and saddened me, at the same time.

Because, it reminded me of what we’re doing to his home.

 

Now, I’m not saying we should never build any new roads, or construct any new buildings, in deference to the original inhabitants of this land. I know better.

But, here’s the part that doesn’t make sense:

On the street I drive on all day, what looks like a perfectly good office building sits empty, vacant, unused by anyone.

Meanwhile, more land nearby has been cleared for construction of a new office building.

And I don’t understand.

What’s wrong with the vacant building? Is it in disrepair inside? Wouldn’t it cost less to refurbish it, instead of starting from scratch?

And why do we have to crowd all the animals into an ever shrinking amount of space?

I just can’t help thinking, in our endless zeal to keep building, keep growing, keep expanding, maybe something’s gotten lost along the way.

Something like respect for the land, and the divine creatures that inhabit it.

Honestly, I don’t know what the solution is.

I just know, the last deer I saw was on the side of the road, dead, struck by a vehicle.

And it broke my heart in two.

 

No Place Like It

 

Home.

Even the word sounds warm and cozy to me.

It’s the place I arrive at the end of the day, worn and frazzled from that cold, cruel world out there, to find refuge and safety and comfort. A place to rest, with a roof over my head, and walls all around to shield me from danger. Where my heart can find peace, and my mind blessed clarity.

My safe haven. Where I belong.

And, if that wasn’t enough, I find someone there who I love, and who loves me, who shares this home with me, this life with me. In my case, it’s a loving, devoted wife, and two precious kitty cats.

And home means even more to me.

This holiday season, when home plays such a central role, tell me: What does it mean to you?

Can’t wait to hear from you.

 

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home

”Hungry Heart”, Bruce Springsteen

Angry White Men

A clear-eyed look at the cause, and the solution, for white male anger which, as we’ve seen lately, sometimes escalates to white male violence.

Note To My White Self

According to recent news stories and opinion pieces, America has a growing racial problem. It is a problem that can no longer be ignored and must be addressed. Shamefully, our nation has forgotten an entire segment of our population, disregarding their plight and their legitimate resentment. In the land of liberty and justice, these citizens have been neglected and marginalized. They are righteously angry and demanding our attention. According to these pundits, Donald Trump won election because he spoke to them, giving voice to their pain. And who are these long forgotten and mistreated citizens?  Angry white men.

Indeed, a recent national poll found 55% of white Americans believe discrimination against white people exists in the United States today. This same survey found 19% of white Americans have actually experienced a situation where they believe they were discriminated against for being white.  Many of these respondents were white men who…

View original post 1,358 more words

Drop the Mikes

 

A sad day is approaching for fans of sports radio, like yours truly.

In what is perhaps the most heartrending breakup of a duo since Sonny and Cher (Google it, kids), the morning ESPN Radio tandem of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will air its final broadcast on Friday, November 18, 2017.

A moment of silence, please.

As Greenberg, AKA Greeny, AKA The Green Mamba (don’t ask) would say, here’s the thing:

These two fellows have faithfully delivered your morning sports news for the last eighteen years. For that to abruptly end is going to be a serious shock to the system. Like Cal Ripken, Jr. ending his streak of consecutive games played. Or the UConn women’s basketball team ending its streak of consecutive victories. Or Donald Trump ending his streak of indescribably asinine tweets. A guy can hope, right?

We’ve had these two distinct personalities offering us their unique insights on the sports headlines of the day and, as one of their television ads used to say, “What makes them different makes them great.” Greeny gives us the perspective of the fan, the guy plunking down the big money to go and see the athletes play. His reactions to a story are basically our reactions, and he relishes examining every facet of it. Golic, the former pro football player, gives us a glimpse into the psyche of the athlete, the daily preparation undertaken by players and coaches alike, and the toll this business can exact physically, emotionally and, yes, financially.

Together, Mike and Mike give us everything we need to know in sports. And oh, by the way, they have a ton of fun along the way. And it isn’t just their voices we heard. The show has featured thousands of luminaries from sports and entertainment over the years. Players, coaches, managers, general managers, commissioners, actors, singers, comedians, all talkin’ sports with Greeny and Golic.

So, after studying the game film, let’s break each of them down shall we?

 

MIKE GREENBERG

The uberfan. Lifelong devotee of the New York Jets. (bless his heart) Suave, sophisticated, debonair, sharp dresser, neatly coiffed, impeccably groomed beard, stunningly handsome. Am I getting it right so far, Greeny?

Erudite, articulate, eloquent, loquacious, and perspicacious. (Thank you, thesaurus.com) Genius who will never be appreciated in his lifetime. He said so. Several times.

Germaphobe who can’t even eat a sandwich with bare hands, opting instead to use a knife and fork. You read that right.

Open and willing to listen to other side of an argument before adroitly countering with, “Okay, you’re wrong.” Given to exaggeration, as in, “This is the best, worst, greatest, biggest, highest, lowest, fastest, slowest, whateverest in the history of mankind.”

But, enough about him…

 

MIKE GOLIC

The jock. Former standout defensive lineman in the National Football League. Proud alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, as are his three kids and, undoubtably, all subsequent generations of Golics. (I think there’s a contract somewhere.)

Never met a morsel of food he didn’t like, even one dropped on the floor. Characterizes the 5-second rule as too strict. Lover of cakes, donuts, ice creams, burgers, barbecue…well, everything. Except vegetables.

Posed for a nude photo, a la Kim Kardashian, to pay off a bet. If you haven’t seen it, lucky you. Has admitted to sitting naked on the couch at home. (At least, I hope at home.) Greeny, of course, would never do such a thing without first setting out a coaster.

Knowledgeable, personable, humorous, and easy-going. Just don’t get him started on protecting the quarterback.

 

As I alluded to before, these two brought a lot of humor onto their show, fortunately never taking themselves too seriously. They dressed in costume for Halloween. They made wagers for the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament which, to their credit, they always paid off, no matter how humiliating or painful. Or both. My particular favorite is when Greeny had to milk a cow, live on the show. An absolute classic.

Neither of them is leaving the airwaves, mind you. Golic will continue the show with new partner, and fellow Baylor alumnus, Trey Wingo (Sic ‘em, Bears!), while Greeny goes home to New York to host a new morning show from ESPN’s new Manhattan studio. I’m sure they will have much success in their new ventures.

But a beautiful partnership is ending, and I’m sorry to see it go.

I know this has gotten really long, but you have to understand just how much this show has meant to me and to legions of other listeners. These guys have been an institution, as much a part of men’s morning rituals as shaving.

And we’ve loved it.

Thanks, Mike and Mike. It’s been a crazy, hilarious, educational, fantastic trip. We’d be happy to take it again.

 

 

 

 

 

Selling Myself Short

 

Legendary Texas sportswriter Blackie Sherrod used to open his column in the Sunday paper with, “Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to ____…”, fill in the blank with the name of some famous person, sports related or not, who hadn’t been heard from lately, then regale his readers with short, but brilliant, observations on a variety of topics.

So, in tribute to him, and because I don’t seem to be able craft any narrative much longer than a paragraph lately, here are a few short takes. Here goes:

 

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Kellyanne Conway…

I’m so happy for the Houston Astros, who just won their very first World Series, and are now the reigning champions of Major League Baseball. ⚾️

It couldn’t have happened at a better time for the beleaguered people of Houston, whose recovery from the devastation left behind by hurricane Harvey is ongoing. They had something to rally around, to cheer for and finally, to celebrate. So, at least for awhile, Houstonians had a chance to forget all the troubles that still beset them, and party their Astros off. 🎉🎉

 

It’s come to this, I guess.

The New York City Marathon took place Sunday, mere days after a terrorist killed eight people in Manhattan by running over them in a truck. Several people participating in the race were understandably worried about such a thing happening again during the marathon, so the city and the police took the following precautions:

From the Associated Press:

“The security detail will include hundreds of extra uniformed patrol and plainclothes officers, roving teams of counterterrorism commandos armed with heavy weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and rooftop snipers poised to shoot if a threat emerges.”

This was for a footrace, folks. I mean, good grief!

Fortunately, there were no incidents. Congratulations to the women’s winner, America’s Shalane Flanagan, and the men’s winner, Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor, and to everyone else who participated. And to New York’s Finest for keeping them safe.

You people are masochists, though, running that far. Just sayin’.

 

Well, the floodgates have opened, haven’t they? As predicted, Harvey Weinstein was just the beginning. We’re hearing story after story of men in positions of power abusing that power with women. Women are discovering strength in numbers, and speaking up about instances of harassment and abuse from powerful men, instances they previously stayed silent about for fear of reprisal.

I just read about former and current women in Congress being harassed by certain men in Congress, some of whom still serve. (Nobody was named specifically.)

Actions have consequences, even for powerful men. Time for all this hideous behavior to be called out and punished. Ladies, I salute your courage. Gentlemen, it’s time you were truly gentlemen. Way past time.

And that goes for you, too, Kevin Spacey.

 

donald trump has actually changed my opinion of him. He’s reinforced it. Exponentially.

 

Some people just…shouldn’t… be…parents.

Courtesy of CBS News:

“SAUKVILLE, Wis. — A Wisconsin woman is facing charges after her 9-year-old son was tied to the roof of their minivan to help hold down a plastic pool.

“Prosecutors allege (the woman) had her son hold down the molded pool they’d just picked up because it wouldn’t fit inside the van. CBS affiliate WDJT reports a driver called police after seeing the incident on Sept. 9 in Saukville, about 20 miles north of Milwaukee.”

She later explained to police, she thought it was okay, because her dad used to let her do that all the time. Proof positive that stupid is hereditary.

 

These are certainly different times we live in. I recall a time when the thought never even entered my mind that I might go to school, or to the mall, or to church, and wind up getting shot. There truly is no safe place left anymore. That’s a terrible feeling.

I guess no one is gonna get off their ass and do something about all the gun violence in this country until every single citizen ends up shot. Apparently, that’s what it will take.

 

Model Chrissy Teigen left a waitress in Ohio a $1,000 tip recently.

I know it’s too much to wish for, but I hope she catches a ride on my shuttle sometime.

Later, y’all.

 

 

 

Shutting Myself Up

 

I am a very ruthless editor.

No matter what I’ve tried to write lately, my inner editor taunts, “Aw, come on, nobody’s gonna want to read that! Why are you even bothering? This is junk, pal! Give it up.”

And so, I start post after post, never to complete any of them. I can think of things to write about, but currently don’t have the confidence to follow through.

So I guess this is just to let you know, I’m still here, and that’s why you haven’t heard from me lately, and I hope to find my way out of this frustrating circumstance before long.

Meantime, love and peace to all of you.

I Feel, I Think, I Clam Up

 

The popular saying is, “Opinions are like noses; everybody has one.” I’ve heard a few variations, but you get the point. Each of us has his (or her) own thoughts and feelings about any given subject.

It’s pretty hard not to. Neutrality is almost impossible; chances are, we will have an opinion. We either like someone, or we don’t. We either like a movie, song, or show, or we don’t. We either stand for or against something or someone.

It’s one of our main daily activities, really: forming and developing opinions.

And, at some point, we will express those opinions. We’ll say what we feel, or think.

And the people to whom we say them will either agree or disagree.

Counselor, is there a point to this narrative?

I’m getting there, Your Honor.

I often try not to have an opinion on things but, as I said, that’s pretty tough. I am, after all, a thinking, feeling human being.

What I try even harder to do is keep those opinions to myself, because if I express them, I may have to then defend them. And therein lies a source of great discomfort for me.

 

You ever walk into a gunfight with a pea-shooter?

That’s how I feel almost every time I get into a discussion with someone whose opinions differ from my own.

No matter how confident I may be about my ability to argue my position, I nearly always feel as though the other person can argue his better, thus sending me to a spectacular crash and burn.

I hate that.

Because, then I end up feeling like my opinion is the wrong one, even though I’ve been told many times, there is no wrong opinion. Facts are right and wrong (or even “alternative”). Opinions are simply opinions.

(You couldn’t prove that by the current political discourse in this country, though, but that’s another story.)

What’s worse, I worry the other person thinks I’m kinda on the stupid side for believing as I do. Mind you, this is all under the assumption the other person even cares what I think.

Which all serves to make me less likely to open my mouth next time around. 🤐

 

So, I wonder: does anybody else feel like that? Seriously.

If you do, how do you deal with that?

Because, in my opinion, I could use some tips.