Tag Archives: love

A Valentine’s Day Song

So I’ve been working on a song for Valentine’s Day. This is a pretty big Valentine’s Day this year. It doesn’t often fall on a Saturday, plus with the whole Fifty Shades phenomenon going on should be lots of fun for couples.

It’s called “On Valentine’s Day You Don’t Get No Say”.

I think it’s pretty good, kind of a love song, country western kind of tune, you know, from the guy’s perspective.  This is just a draft. Let me know what you think!

I have to give some credit to Ross Murray at Drinking Tips for Teens for a little inspiration on this whole topic with his recent, very funny post about Valentine’s Day and Fifty Shades.

You can and should go read it here!

And if you liked this post, or even if you didn’t like this post, you might really like this Valentine’s post from a couple years ago: A Conversation Heart Conversation

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Psssst… George, you’re killing us over here.

Clooney

George, c’mon, seriously?!? You just said all that gushy, romantic shit on TV? At an awards ceremony no less? Dude, what the fuck, did you not read the handbook they gave you when you got married? C’mon, it’s the handbook… THE HANDBOOK… and you were supposed to read it! But obviously you didn’t. Or maybe you just skimmed through it like some kind of savant and thought “whatevs, I got this, I’m George Fucking Clooney.” But you should have read it… especially the part about not showing up all your fellow men in front of other women… especially millions of other women!

The morning after the Golden Globes my family and I were sitting around with the TV on and all the stations were recapping the highlights of the previous evening’s festivities. I didn’t watch the awards, it doesn’t really interest me. Maybe the rest of the family watched some of it, I don’t really know. But the highlight among highlights was apparently when George Clooney got up on stage to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award and after thanking a bunch of people he (more or less) said this:

“So congratulations to all of you for having a very good year. I’ve had a pretty good year myself. Listen, it’s a humbling thing when you find someone to love. Even better if you’ve been waiting your whole life and when your whole life is 53 years. Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband.”

Upon seeing a short recap of this part of the speech that morning, my 14 year old son turned to me and jokingly asked “Dad, how come you never do that for Mom?”

I smiled and listened closely for the inevitable chortle from my wife.

“Do what?” I answered.

“Give a romantic speech like that” he said, egging me on.

I thought for a minute and then replied with the best I could come up with. “Well, I guess because no one has ever thought I deserved to receive a really prestigious award like that.”

“That’s because you don’t” chimed in my 17 year old daughter with a smart-ass smirk on her face.

Wow, tough crowd!

Look, I can dress up nice and “product” up my hair and stand around and look handsome with the best of them. But I’ll admit, I’ve never been that great in the “romance department”. Apparently a lot of guys aren’t if you take a long stroll through the ROMANCE section at the local Barnes and Noble.

But what really is romance? Is it what you see on the screen at a movie theatre? Is it what you read in a $6.99 paperback you found in the book section of a Wal-Mart? Is it pouring your heart out at a gala event of overpriced celebrities while our materialistic, gossip driven world watches in awe?

Perhaps on rare occasion it’s those things.

Or is it climbing onto the whirling carnival ride of life with someone you love and frantically pulling down the security bar… a ride that starts slow but before you know it is moving and spinning and you’re hanging on for dear life through weeks and months and years of changing shitty diapers, not sleeping, driving to a million of your kid’s sporting events, lifting them up when they’re down and guiding them to places you’d always felt you should have gone, celebrating victories and mourning losses, working endless hours to pay endless bills, watching family and friends battle illness and tragedies and everything else the world wants to fast-pitch, 90 miles per hour at you on a daily basis… only to be the happiest two people on earth when you’re given ten minutes at the end of the day to share a glass of wine and talk about anything other than the carnival ride that’s just stopped for a short moment to let a few people off and welcome a few new people on.

“Three tickets please.”

No author or screen-writer is making a living off of that story. Maybe no one is even writing that story. But maybe that’s what romance really is.

Had I actually been watching the Golden Globes, when those words poured out of Clooney’s mouth like an oversize serving of mushy cream-of-wheat being scooped from a cast iron cauldron into a cereal bowl, I imagine I would have heard the collective swooning sighs of millions of breathless women and the sounds of flapping pages as all of the Nicholas Sparks books sitting on shelves lifted off in unison and began flying around houses like doves at a royal wedding.

That’s a tough act to follow.

But it’s fiction. He’s a celebrity. He’s not real life.

I have nothing against George Clooney. I like him as an actor. He’s probably a great guy and he gave a speech that evening that was honest and moving and inspirational. He’s certainly one of the most handsome celebrities around right now. MAN is he fucking handsome! He seems compassionate and whether you agree with his politics or not, he actively uses his fame and wealth in many philanthropic ways and I respect that.

He and his new wife have probably just climbed onto their own version of the whirling carnival ride.

The toothless “carnie” is standing in the control booth with a pocket full of tickets, ready to push the start button.

George, you need to read the damn handbook…

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The Dad Store

A little boy named Jonny, got tired of his Dad.
He went into the Dad Store, to see what else they had.
The choices were so many, of every shape and size.
All with different skill sets, he couldn’t believe his eyes.

He stood there in the Dad Store, feeling sort of lost.
He didn’t know quite where to start or what a Dad might cost.
His confidence was waning, he turned back towards the door.
But in his way, a salesperson said “welcome to our store!”

“I’ll help you find a Dad today, let me show you ‘round.”
“‘Cause when it comes to Dad Stores, we are world-renowned.”
“I’m only here to help you, I don’t work on commission.”
“I’ll help you find a Dad today, just give me your permission.”

Jonny said “I guess so, please show me what you’ve got.”
“I didn’t bring much money, I just can’t spend a lot.”
The salesman looked at Jonny, a big smile on his face.
“We’ll work within your budget, you’ve come to the right place!”

“Let’s start here with the athletes, the ones who teach you sports.”
“The ones who’ll have you spend your days on fields and rinks and courts.”
“They’ll teach you lots of lessons, to take one on the chin.”
“And why it so important, to always try to win!”

“Over here’s the wealthy Dads, the ones with tons of money.”
“They’re always at their offices, on rainy days or sunny.”
“They’re mostly not around much, not when you want to play.”
“They’ll buy you lots of stuff though, new gifts for every day.”

“This aisle is the Brainy Dads, the ones who’ll be your buddy.”
“When hanging out means books and such and lots of time to study.”
“Report cards with a load of A’s, your only affirmation.”
“They’ll push you to a 4.0, a Harvard education!”

But Jonny didn’t want these Dads, with all their quirky rules.
He didn’t want that pressure, of money, sports, or schools.
“I only want a Dad” he said, “who’ll love me every day.”
“Regardless of the grades I get or all the sports I play.”

“I want a Dad who’ll hug me, when I’m feeling down.”
“I want a Dad who’ll make me laugh by acting like a clown.”
“Who’ll teach me to be brave enough to try things on my own.”
“Who’ll be the closest friend I have, when I feel alone.”

The salesman looked at Jonny, digesting what he’d heard.
He paused for just  a moment, before he said a word.
“I’m sure that we can find a Dad, the one you just prescribed!”
“With all those special qualities, the ones you just described!”

Then Jonny said “I’m sorry but I think I know who’s best.”
“I think I know a Dad who’s so much different from the rest.”
“That’s the Dad I have at home, who’ll stand so far above.”
“That’s the Dad, no matter what, the one I’ll always love!”

Happy Father’s Day to ALL the amazing Dads out there! Whether we realize it or not, we provide an integral part of the package that helps our kids grow into caring and responsible adults. Thank you  for being a loving, involved father to your kids, you ARE making the world a better place!

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Roadkill Stew (the Audio Version)

Thinkin’ I should turn this into an audio blog…  🙂

The original post here if you want to read along!

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What books are you reading?

Men across the globe are praising the Fifty Shades of Grey series of books for the increase in their sex lives the books have provided as these sensual stories have been devoured by female readers.  If you are not familiar with the Fifty Shades of Grey books, well, apparently the two main characters have sex… ALL. THE. TIME! In any case, nothing like a little literary fantasy to get people revved up.

In the past, other series of books haven’t worked out so well…

Prior to the Fifty shades of Grey series, the Hunger Games books were topping the charts. Now granted, I read the first one and I thought it was a very good book. But in all honesty, horrible, desolute poverty and kids killing each other just doesn’t put people in the mood. I mean, the average guy could spend hours out in the woods collecting and preparing stuff for a romantic dinner of stale bread, roots dug out of the ground, nuts and berries, mice and squirrel meat and porridge, his hands dirty and bloody from digging in the soil and tearing meat from bone… only to have his wife crush all his dreams when she walks in the door with a pizza and six cartons of Chinese food. It would be enough to want to fire an arrow through her heart. Not very romantic.

Before the Hunger Games, most women were, of course reading the Twilight series of books and men were thinking, “this is it, a sexy vampire story, I am so in, I just need to spend a lot of time down in my basement so I can get that pale white skin!” Plus, the average, grunt-speaking man had to learn to talk in short, breathy sentences while staring off into space and saying things like “you are utterly indecent — no one should look so tempting, it’s not fair” and “yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin.”  Of course, if a guy was able to master those things, he had to attempt to move through rooms at light speed while shirtless and wearing tight pants.  This of course came with the high risk of knocking himself out while tripping over the unused exercise machine and flying head first into her nightstand.

Then, who can forget the Harry Potter years, when women wrapped their vivid imaginations around wizards and magic. It seemed like those years went on forever, but most men thought, “what could be sexier than a guy in a wizard costume with a pointy hat?” Sales of those little circular glasses went through the roof and men interacted with their wives by saying things like “woulducus likto havicus sexicus” and “engorgio erecto, can you takus carathis” while simultaneously opening up the black cloak that they were wearing as a bathrobe.  Apparently women didn’t find any of this arousing in the least.

So, now that the Fifty Shades of Grey books will slowly fade from the best seller list, men around the globe are concerned about what books will become the next craze. As most men don’t follow the best seller list and/or know what’s popular maybe you female readers can help us figure out what we can look forward to next!

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The Greatest Song Ever Written

What is the greatest song ever written?

That’s a discussion that has gone on for decades, if not centuries, and will continue to go on for an eternity. Radio stations have Top 100 song marathons on holiday weekends. Websites abound categorizing music fan’s varied choices. Music pundits are always available to share their expert opinions based on sales and stats and song rankings and weeks stuck atop the music charts.

Well, I’m here to set the record straight.  The greatest song is not Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. It’s not Don Maclean’s American Pie. It’s not a song by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or Nirvana or Elvis Presley or Woody Guthrie. It’s not even a song by my all time favorite musician, Jackson Browne, whose music has had a more profound effect on my life than any other. It’s not a song written during the 20th or 21st centuries when what we all know as traditional Rock and Roll music became the backdrop to our every living moments.

The greatest song ever… well, it’s not really a “song” per se. Let’s see, what’s the proper word… it’s a Piece, it’s a Movement. In fact, it’s the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund Tat und Leben, BWV 147.

Huh?

Don’t worry, if you don’t recognize the formal name, you’ve heard it, believe me. I don’t have scientifically garnered evidence of this but I’d venture to guess that no piece of music has been covered by as many musicians, arranged more often into so many distinct versions, played by so many different musical instruments. It’s been performed on church organs, pianos, and classical guitars. It’s been performed by full symphonic orchestras and small chamber groups. It’s been performed with vocals and without. It’s been played on kids xylophones and recorders and toy pianos. Check out youtube… there are classical versions, pop versions, heavy metal versions. There’s even a guy who plays it by rubbing his hands over a table full of water filled wine glasses! Very cool!

Here’s a particularly stunning rendition of it in my opinion. Although not originally written for guitar, I find classical guitar versions the most powerful and moving. Take a listen.

Yes… you’ve heard it.

I grew up playing the cello. I started in fifth grade and stopped when I graduated from High School. I took personal lessons and played in the school orchestra. I participated in contests and festivals.  I got pretty good at it, although not as good as I could have been if I had really put the effort in. When I went away to college the music department wanted me to continue playing but I was tired of it. I wanted to drink and chase girls and screw around… oh, and of course, study. These days I realize that I will always regret not continuing but it was one of those decisions that you make as a teenager that sounds right at the time. Although I still own the instrument, these days I can barely bang out Mary Had a Little Lamb.

What it taught me though, was a love… okay, maybe love is too strong a word… how about a deep respect for classical music. Colby College, where my wife Kim and I went to school, offers what is called a Jan Plan, a month-long class you can take during January when the school is mostly closed down and most of the students have gone home. One year Kim and I took a Chamber Music class taught by a four piece, string chamber group, who would basically sit in the front of the lecture hall and play for us, while teaching us the musical structure and history of chamber music.  It was one of the few classes in college where I somehow managed to pull off an A grade.  But Kim and I would walk to class together and walk back to the dorms together. We would eat together in the cafeterias. We would sit through the class in the mornings and when it was over, the days were free with no other classes or homework to be concerned about. It was a part of me that I was able to share with the girl I was falling in love with and although many of the details are lost to my aging memory, it was a month that I will remember always.

I still listen to classical music occasionally. It’s very soothing and grounding to me. I often like to have it playing in the background if I am working at home or washing dishes or writing. It puts me into a place and a frame of mind that is very difficult to obtain in this hectic and stressful world we live in. When it comes to composers, Johann Sebastian Bach was the fucking rock star of his day, in my opinion the greatest to ever compose music. In a very simplistic viewpoint, without over analyzing every note, his melodies are happier and more upbeat than any other composer, less dissonant and grating than many of his counterparts. I won’t claim to be an expert on any of this but I know what sounds good to me.

And his greatest piece of music… Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Now don’t go thinking I’ve gone all religious and spiritual on y’all. I have not! But if there is a piece of music that can put someone, even a hell-bound, heathen like me… in a spiritual place, this is it! I don’t really consider it a wedding song, like I consider the classic Pachelbel Canon which was played at my wedding, although I understand it has become a wedding staple.  I don’t really consider it a Christmas song either, although it gets a lot of play time in its many versions during the holidays.

For me it’s a piece of music that transcends all of that. If you’re happy it can make you happier. If you’re sad it can make you sadder. It makes me cry… yes… cry, pretty much every time I hear it. I can’t help it… I’m listening to it as I type this… can you see the tears falling on my keyboard? It’s the one melody that I think, if I had to hear over and over for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t tire of hearing. It’s a melody that reminds me of my Mom who is no longer with us. It’s the background music to a life of love and friendship and family and happiness and sadness. It’s classical music that has become mainstream and will stand the test of time longer than any other piece of music. And in my opinion, it’s the greatest song ever written.

It turns out the underlying melody that has become so recognizable to the world was not written by Bach himself, but by composer and violinist Johann Schop. I never knew that until reading some Wikipedia notes. That’s okay, just like today’s musicians who don’t write all their own songs, if it’s your face on the album cover, you get all the credit.

Even 300+ years later!

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Roadkill Stew

This is the tale of Billy O’Hill.
Who lived all his life in the town of Saville.
In a lil ‘ol cabin, he’d made his abode.
At the end of the dirtiest, dirty, dirt road.

Now Billy O’Hill had been married a time.
To a girl named Pearl, a lady sublime.
But Pearl’d got sick, dun gone up to heaven.
Ten long years ago, or maybe eleven.

So he kept to hisself, stayed mostly alone.
‘Cept for his pooch who he called Al Capone.
And a few of his friends that he’d see now’n then.
Down at the coffee shop now’n again.

The Hill Top Cafe is what it been named.
Cornbread and Johnny Cakes what they was famed.
They’d sit there fer hours not talkin’ ‘bout much.
‘Cept for some gossip and weather and such.

And on his way yonder he’d pass by the house.
Of the purtiest lady, as cute as a mouse.
She’d sit on her porch, a-sippin’ her tea.
In the shade of a giant magnolia tree.

See Billy O’Hill had a crush on this lady.
A purty ol’ girl named Myrtle O’Grady.
She lived in a house in the center of town.
Where them wealthy folks lived, the rich and renown.

But he never could git up the nerve to suggest,
“Wouldya meet me for coffee, I’d surely be blessed?”
‘Cuz what would a girl so swanky and chic,
See in a guy “from the hills”, so to speak?

So Billy would wave as he briskly walked by.
He wouldn’t say nuthin’, cuz he was right shy.
When Myrtle would smile her purtiest smile.
Billy’d be floatin’ on air for awhile.

Then one day he asked for some friendly advice.
From his closest of friends, named Earl Versluice.
‘Cuz everyone privy knew Earl could charm.
Like a rooster that woos all them hens on a farm.

Now Earl had fetchin’ advice to impart.
“The stomach’s the way to a good woman’s heart!”
“Let’s throw a party like we used to do.”
“Invite all our friends, we’ll serve roadkill stew.”

“Every-un brings somethin’ fresh that they’ve found.”
“From the side of the road, just plain dead on the ground.”
“Squirrel or coon or rabbit or beaver.”
“We’ll slice ‘em all up with a very large cleaver!”

“We’ll mix in some collards and veggies and rice.”
“Add in some ‘shine to give it some spice.”
“We’ll invite Ms. O’Grady to join us that day.”
“Then you can dun meet her, whatdaya say?”

So Billy went home, started makin’ a list.
Of who’d be invited and who could be missed.
At the end of the list he penned really neat.
“Myrtle O’Grady”, the list was complete.

He wrote out the invites, said R.S.V.P.
We’re throwin’ a party on Sunday ‘bout three.
We’ll serve roadkill stew and plenty-a ‘shine.
I’ll break outta jug of my dandelion wine.

Then he mailed ‘em all out and dun prayed for the best.
Would Myrtle O’Grady show up for this fest?
When the day dun arrived, his friends all came through.
They’d all brung some roadkill to add to the stew.

Ms. Blossom brung possum…

June brung raccoon…

Mr. Monk brung a skunk…

Mr. Babbitt brung rabbit…

Jake brung some snake…

Mr. Weaver brung Beaver…

And his best friend Earl? Well, Earl, he dun brung lots of Squirrel…

Then Myrtle arrived and the place got real quiet.
What had she brung, would anyone try it?
Every’un watched as she walked through the door.
She carried a bag from a fancy clothes store!

She handed that bag to Billy O’Hill.
Who opened ‘er up with the most gracious skill.
And Billy looked in and dun said with a grin.
I reckon Ms. Myrtle O’Grady fits in!

‘Cuz Myrtle…

Well… Myrtle… she brung Turtle.

In fact… she dun brung the freshest, most purtiest turtle, bigger’n any of ’em had ever seen!

So they cooked up the stew ‘n that party was grand!
And Billy’n Myrtle hit it off just as planned.
And the rest be dun history, them guests they all knew.
That Billy and Myrtle fell in love over stew!

Listen to the Audio Version!

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