Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Historic Duel Between Anna Phylaxis and Epinephrine Penn

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Steve’s Back?

OMG, Steve’s back! Okay, maybe not really, but the narcissist in me figured you were all probably wondering what I’ve been doing since I retired BRC back in November 2013. Well frankly I haven’t been doing anything related to blogging or writing but recently I have been “slowly” converting some of my poems into songs because somehow they all seem to come out better as songs. And since this is my biggest social network, here’s the latest:

I’ve loved NOT blogging, but I’ll be honest, I’ve missed it too, especially interacting with all of you. I don’t want to be the Brett Favre, Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan of coming out of retirement (well actually I kind of do…) but perhaps this is me dipping my big toe back into the cold water of the deep end of the pool.

We’ll see.

For now I’m going to keep working on some songs.

I sincerely hope you are all healthy and well!

Steve

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Last Call

Part of the Phone Calls to Julie Series

Ring… Ring…

WP: Hello, WordPress technical support, this is Julie, how can I help you today?

ME: Hi Julie, this is Steve from Brown Road Chronicles, thank you for taking my call today.

WP: Hi Mr. Warner… you’re welcome, how can I help you today?

ME: I think I’m done.

WP: You think you’re done?

ME: Yes, I think I’m done.

WP: Ummm…. done with what?

ME: I think I’m done with my blog.

WP: Okay… uhhhh…. so can I help you with something today?

ME: Well, I just didn’t know what to do when I was done.

WP: Well Mr. Warner, you can close it down, or you can leave it up so others can still find and read your posts. But why do you think you’re done?

ME: Well, I just haven’t been spending much time writing. Have you read my blog recently?

WP: Yes, I read every time you post. Maybe you’re just in a slump. All bloggers get into a writing slump sometimes.

ME: No, I’ve been in a slump before, I know what that’s like. I think this time I’m really done. I think this blog has served its purpose. It was a good blog and every good blog, just like every good book has to have an ending, right?

WP: Yes, I guess so…

ME: Well, I think it’s time to give this blog its ending. I want to do other things now. Maybe I’ll start another blog, or maybe I’ll keep working on my tyme4rhyme.com site. But right now I’m ready for a break. Plus, there’s only so many poop, fart and sex jokes out there. Remember when I called you about BOOBS? That was funny, right?

WP: I didn’t find it funny at the time, but yes, looking back it’s funny.

ME: You’ll be happy to know, I haven’t checked my stats page in weeks.

WP: That’s good…

ME: You know, Julie, this blog really changed my life. I’ve met a ton of really cool people, some have come and gone. Others, hopefully I can stay in touch with. It taught me the power of blogging and social media. It was therapeutic at times and it once again, reminded me that I can have a creative side to my life. That had been missing for a very long time. On the other hand, sometimes it was a headache worrying about it and constantly trying to come up with something worthy to write about. But I think I’ve said all I need to say here and I’ve always known I didn’t want to be one of those bloggers that just vanished without anyone knowing where they went.

WP: Yes, that happens often… well if you need help closing it down, I can help with that.

ME: No, that’s okay. I think I’ll leave it up for a while so others can still read it. A good book doesn’t go away once the author’s done writing, right?

WP: Yes, you’re right… then you could always come back to it if you wanted to.

ME: Like Brett Favre?

WP: Hahahahaha… yes like Brett Favre.

ME: We’ll, I don’t think so but you never know. It was a good blog, wasn’t it?

WP: Yes it was… is there anything else I can help you with? We’re very busy today and the phones are ringing…

ME: Ummm… uhhhh… no, I don’t think so… I guess this is my last call.

WP: Mr. Warner… I’m going to hang up now.

ME: Ummmm… okay…. uhhh… wait, Julie?

WP: Yes, Mr. Warner?

ME: Thanks for reading my blog.

WP: You’re welcome. I wish you the best.

ME: Okay, goodbye.

WP: Thank you for calling WordPress. Goodbye.

Click

To all my friends: Thank you all for reading and commenting. This was an amazingly fun ride, full of humor and heartbreak, happiness and sadness, seriousness and goofiness all wrapped up in 229 posts plus many more that were never worthy of hitting the PUBLISH button. I couldn’t possibly list all the bloggers that I have interacted with over the last several years. There is a core group of you though, that I feel like I know better than some of the folks in my “real life”. Hopefully you know who you are and its been your friendships and interactions that have made this journey the most worthwhile.  If you have not yet found me on Facebook and Twitter (@stevetwarner) and you want to, please look me up.

I will tell you all that ending a blog is not for the faint of heart. But I’ve been considering this for a long while and I think the time is right for me to retire Brown Road Chronicles. I don’t know what I will do next on the writing front. I have recently joined a small writers group of folks in my area that write stories for kids and meets once a month, so I suspect they will keep me on my toes.  Maybe there will be another blog in my future. Other than that, we’ll just see what happens next.  I promise though, that I will continue to write, continue to pick my guitar and sing songs, continue to raise two beautiful teenagers, continue to love my amazing wife, continue to sit around my fire pit, continue to drink too much wine and continue to own goats!

Best wishes to all of you!

Steve

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Five Questionable Playground Debate Positions from when I was a kid

Playgrounds were a tough place when I was a kid and we often had to use our limited resources to stand up for our rights. Here’s five examples of Playground Debate Positions that were questionable in their results.

1. You have Cooties:

Example:

Sally: Will you kiss me under the Monkey Bars?
Billy: Gross! I’m not going to kiss you under the Monkey Bars. You have Cooties!
Sally: Well, I guess I’ll have to kiss all the other boys under the Monkey Bars.

Why this is a questionable playground debate position:

The Centers for Disease Control have no actual documentation of the disease Cooties, what pathogen might cause it and what the signs and symptoms might be. But the similarity to the words Cootch or it’s derivative Cootchie Mama, leads many researchers to believe that it is a form of Sexually Transmitted Disease associated with girl parts.

Analysis:

Like any Sexually Transmitted Disease, the odds of someone Sally’s age having Cooties is very slim. As children grow into adults and become more sexually active the chances of being exposed to a disease like Cooties becomes much more prevalent. If Billy had been more caring to Sally on the playground and not worried so much about catching Cooties, perhaps Sally would not have grown up and exposed Billy to a real STD when he slept with her in the back of his Ford Mustang.

2. I’m rubber and you’re glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you:

Sally: Billy, you’re a dumb jerk!
Billy: I’m rubber and you’re glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

Why this is a questionable playground debate position:

Anyone that has ever tried to glue something that wasn’t on a flat surface understands that if a person was actually made of glue, the odds of something sticking and not immediately falling off is very slim.

Analysis:

Billy has not figured out that Sally calling him a “dumb jerk” is actually her way of showing affection for him and that she is likely interested in a romantic relationship. Billy’s response, alluding to the fact that everything people say to him bounces off, is indicative of a serious self-esteem issue, his avoidance of conflict and personal contact and an inability to stand up for himself in any productive way. In addition, Billy describing himself as “rubber” suggests he has been labeled with terminology such as “bouncy” or “bouncing off the walls” which leads us to believe there are more serious, untreated hyperactivity disorders.

3. I know you are but what am I?:

Example:

Billy: Sally, you’re a dumb jerk!
Sally: I know you are but what am I?
Billy: You’re a moron!
Sally: I know you are but what am I?
Billy: YOU’RE A STUPID HO AND SO IS YOUR MOTHER!
Sally: I know you are but what am I?
And on and on…

Why this is a questionable playground debate position:

On the surface this seems like a “can’t lose” debate position for Sally. She is subtly throwing the insult back at Billy each time (“I know you are…). But she is also continually asking Billy to come up with another, even more horrible insult (…but what am I?).

Analysis:

After an hour or so of this back and forth, Sally will have been called at the very least, a DUMB JERK MORON STUPID HO AND SO IS YOUR MOTHER, while offering nothing back in the way of any defensible position for herself.

4. Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose:

Example:
Billy: Sally would you like to go the 1st grade dance with me?
Sally: No Billy, you have Cooties!
Billy: Up your nose with a rubber hose.

Why this is a questionable playground debate position:

Billy’s response offers nothing of value to the conversation. Had Billy just responded honestly and declared himself “Cootie free” he may have secured a date to the 1st grade dance.

Analysis:

Although Billy’s statement may sound somewhat aggressive, in reality it’s his way of reiterating that he really likes Sally and that he hopes she will reconsider going to the 1st grade dance with him. From Sally’s viewpoint, however, such a non-sensical statement only reinforces her belief that all men are ignorant, it offers nothing productive in the way of continuing the conversation and it certainly doesn’t spark her interest in going to the dance.

5. Boys go to Mars and get more Candy Bars, Girls go to Jupiter and get more stupider:

Example:

Sally: Girls are better than boys!
Billy: Boys go to Mars and get more Candy Bars, Girls go to Jupiter and get more stupider.

Why this is a questionable debate position:

Certainly going to Mars would be preferable to going to Jupiter. Mars offers a much more hospitable, although mostly deadly climate than Jupiter and is the one planet that humans are continually researching as the next frontier of space travel. However, there is really no supporting documentation that going to Mars would result in getting ANY candy bars, let alone MORE candy bars and that going to Jupiter would make someone stupider.

Analysis:

Whereas Sally makes a very simple, concise and well thought out statement, “Girls are better than boys”, Billy’s response reeks of the desperation of a boy who has romantic feelings for Sally, panics when spoken to and responds with another completely nonsensical statement. Billy also uses the word Stupider which clearly proves he is remedial at best and falls on the lower end of the educational spectrum.

In conclusion:

Billy and Sally were sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First came love, then came marriage, then came a baby in a baby carriage. The end.

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Counting on My Fingers and Toes

Some of you old-timers may remember this post: From One to Ten.  With a little editing I’ve turned it into a song. Sorry, I pulled the audio off a video camera so the recording isn’t that great.

Counting on My Fingers and Toes

I once thought that ONE was enough.
Me by myself with only my stuff.
But I met a nice girl and love it was true.
We had a big wedding and then we were TWO.

We once thought that TWO was okay.
She and I hanging out every day.
But we drove by a sign that said, “kittens for free!”
We took home a kitten, and then we were THREE.

We once thought that THREE wasn’t bad.
There wasn’t anybody we wanted to add.
But then we decided to get one more.
A friend for our cat and then we were FOUR.

This is the story how my family goes.
Changing every day right under my nose.
Kinda like a flower living in the garden.
Sprinkle in some love and it grows and grows.

This is the story how my family goes.
How big we’ll get, well nobody knows.
For now I’ll just have to keep on counting.
Starting off small, getting bigger and bigger.
That’s how my family grows.

We once thought that FOUR was fine.
One cat was her’s and one cat was mine.
One day a beautiful baby arrived.
A sweet little girl, and then we were FIVE.

We once thought that FIVE was alright.
Though space was getting a little bit tight.
But we wanted to add one more to the mix.
Along came a boy and then we were SIX.

We once thought that SIX was nice.
Not a bird or a fish or a snake would entice.
Then we decided two dogs would be great.
We skipped over SEVEN and went straight to EIGHT.

This is the story how my family goes.
Changing every day right under my nose.
Kinda like a flower living in the garden.
Sprinkle in some love and that’s how it grows.

This is the story how my family goes.
How big we’ll get, well nobody knows.
For now I’ll just have to keep on counting.
Starting off small, getting bigger and bigger.
That’s how my family grows.

We once thought that EIGHT was plenty.
At least it was only eight and not twenty.
Then one of our dogs, she went up to heaven.
Suddenly we were back down to SEVEN.

We once thought that SEVEN was ample.
Add any more and we’d surely be trampled.
“I have two goats” said a friend of mine.
We took home the goats and then we were NINE.

We once thought that NINE was neat.
But something was missing to make us complete.
We all liked riding a horse now and then.
We got ourselves a horse and then we were TEN.

This is the story how my family goes.
Changing every day right under my nose.
Kinda like a flower living in the garden.
Sprinkle in some love and it grows and grows.

This is the story how my family grows.
Someday we may add more, I suppose.
For now I’ll just have to keep on counting.
But if we keep getting bigger and bigger.
I’ll be counting on my fingers and toes!

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Firsts and Lasts at She’s a Maineiac

This blog has been WAY too serious lately…

So… this is a perfect time to be the featured writer over at everyone’s favorite blog, She’s a Maineiac, with its host, the super-funny, coffee drinking, plaid wearing, half-sane mama Darla.

Maineiac

I met Darla in April of 2011 when I left a comment on her About page after discovering she was from Maine.  I think it said something about “I didn’t know they had computers in Maine” and “have you ever hit a moose with your car?”

No, I’m kidding… my wife and I went to college and met in Maine, so I was happy to find a little connection to one of my favorite states in this big bad blogging world. I love Maine, it’s a wicked cool place, ayuh! It’s known for the world-famous artists “Bert and I” who in a classic Maine accent, tell funny stories about “Downeast”. It’s known for the iconic LL Bean store, where my Barn Coat came from that I wrote about in my one and only Freshly Pressed post, and of course it’s know for Lobstah! If I didn’t love Michigan so much, I’d probably want to live in Maine.

You can listen to some Bert and I clips here: http://www.islandportpress.com/bertandi/index.html

When Darla asked me to be the featured blogger on her monthly series “Firsts and Lasts”, I knew I had finally made it big in the blogging world. All I had to do was answer a series of questions on this personality test that she e-mailed to me. I think she called it something like the Darla Richter MultiPhasic Personality Indicator.  I figured… “how hard could that be?” and since she has like a zillion followers, I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity to pick up two or three more.

I tried to answer as truthfully as I could, except for the questions that I didn’t answer that truthfully.

So come hang out with us today over at She’s a Maineiac and read my answers and check out some of Darla’s stuff. She’s funny, she’s well-known and highly regarded in our little corner of the virtual world, she’s been Freshly Pressed several times and she has some mad Photoshopping skills.

I’d leave you a link to her site, but….. in the words of Bert and I, “come to think of it… you can’t get there from here.”

No… seriously, just click this link and you’ll be there faster than Captain Kirk in a Star Trek Transporter.

Firsts and Lasts with Steve from Brown Road Chronicles

Have fun… and as always, thanks for reading!

 

 

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The Tree of Life

Two years ago, just about this time in early October, I wrote a post called the Tree of Life and dedicated it to my son. It was on a day similar to today, the onset of autumn and days filled with deep, healing breaths of cool, crisp air and the beginning of falling leaves. I stood this morning in my kitchen, staring out the window, with a steaming cup of coffee in my hand and watched a leaf fall from the large Maple tree that sits outside our house. That same scenario, an autumn leaf falling from a tree was the spark that got me to my keyboard two years ago to produce what is one of my favorite posts on this site.

My kids both have milestone birthdays coming up in November. My son will turn thirteen and finally be a teenager and my daughter will turn “sweet sixteen”. I’m so proud of these kids and what they’ve become. Of course, what responsible, loving parent isn’t proud of every step forward their children make in life? But also, like many of you reading, years of guiding our kids in so many directions can take a deep toll on our levels of patience, understanding and compassion.

I’m not always at my most compassionate these days. My wife Kim used to say I had “the patience of Job”, whoever Job is… and she was right. I did and many days I still do. But I’m also a “You’re injured? Wrap a bandage around it and quit moaning”, kind of parent. Last evening my son was an absolute train wreck after weeks of seventh grade classes, daily football practices, Boy Scout events, and on top of that not feeling well. I wasn’t mean or angry with his “call for help”, but I certainly didn’t offer up what would have been most helpful; a strong hug from Dad and some therapeutic compassion. We got home about 8:30 pm and he laid down directly on the mattress of his unmade bed and was asleep in minutes.

Children are resilient little beasts and this morning, all was well again and he was mostly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, as much as a twelve-year-old can be at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. Shortly after the kids left for school, I stood by that kitchen window, with my steaming cup of coffee and watched that leaf fall. It reminded me of my Tree of Life post and reinforced to me that although my kids may be rapidly approaching adult hood, they are still just kids who are trying to find their way in the world, trying to please their parents and teachers and friends and looking for guidance from the adults in their lives.

They are kids climbing the Tree of Life in search of that perfect autumn leaf that they can ride to bigger and better things. As adults and parents, we are that tree and though we often have to fight through the storms that life throws at us, it’s those storms that remind us, always in a most timely fashion, when to dig our roots in just a little bit deeper.

If you weren’t a follower back in 2011, here’s my story: The Tree of Life. I hope you enjoy it.

The Tree of Life

Once upon a time there was a tree.
And it grew in a beautiful place in the country.
The tree was tall and had deep roots and solid branches and green leaves.
And it was a proud tree.

One day a boy began climbing the tree.
And he knew that he wanted to climb until he reached the very top.
So the tree carefully guided him from branch to branch, higher and higher.
And the boy felt safe and loved.

The boy continued climbing the tree, a little higher every day.
And as the boy climbed the tree, the tree provided comfort and protection.
Its leaves gave the boy shelter, its branches gave the boy structure.
And its roots gave the boy a solid foundation to build on.

Then one day the boy finally reached the top of the tree.
He was excited and the tree was very proud of how far he had climbed.
But the tree knew that the time had come.
To let the boy go.

So the tree said to the boy.
“My leaves are changing colors and the wind is starting to blow.”
“Find the biggest leaf you see and climb on it and close your eyes.”
“And the wind will take you wherever you’re supposed to go.”

The boy looked to his right and to his left and up above and down below.
And finally, at the very, very top of the tree on the very highest branch.
The boy saw the most perfect leaf he had ever seen.
And he climbed onto the leaf and closed his eyes just as the tree had told him.

Soon the wind picked up and the boy could feel his leaf trembling.
He grabbed on with all his strength to be sure he wouldn’t fall.
And then he watched as the stem of his leaf began to break free.
From the tree that had nurtured him for so many years.

The boy was excited to be free and on his own.
And as the strong wind carried the leaf high up into the air like a magic carpet,
The boy turned around and waved goodbye to the tree.
And it was a proud tree.

Soon the boy was far enough away that he could no longer see the tree.
So he turned back around to watch where the wind might be taking him.
All around, the boy saw the amazing opportunities the world had to offer.
And he settled in for the ride of his life.

The wind carried the boy to mystical places and magical lands.
On exotic adventures and extraordinary challenges.
Through happiness and sadness and love and hate.
And wins and losses and successes and failures.

As the wind carried the boy he felt exhilaration and freedom.
He began to learn to control the leaf and take it where he wanted it to go.
And he grew and gained knowledge and insight and experience and wisdom.
And felt as if he could fly forever.

But eventually the boy grew weary and wished that his leaf would finally land.
And he remembered what the tree had said when he was first set free.
So he closed his eyes just as the tree had told him.
And the wind began to slow down and change directions.

When the boy opened his eyes, the wind had carried him back to the country.
There was the tree with its deep roots and solid branches and green leaves.
As the boy smiled at the tree, the wind blew one last burst.
And he landed safely right at the base of the trunk.

The boy was happy to finally be on the ground.
He knew that his leaf had fallen right where it was supposed to have fallen.
And when the tree looked down and noticed that the boy had grown into a man.
It was a proud tree.

For my son, who is climbing his own tree and will someday have to be let go.

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