I stumbled on the above quote as I sat here thinking. If writing (or blogging) is the best way to improve my thinking, I figured I would just start typing and publish whatever winds up here.
I just finished another post for Dave Ruch’s Turntable Talk recently and I have come to really look forward to it. Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on an post I wrote for Max at the PowerPop blog. He is doing a “Beatles” themed week. Watch for that to post here in a week or so.
Max and Dave are just a couple of the normal bloggers that I have come to know. There are many others who participate in these monthly (or occasional) features. In the past I have also participated in Blogathons about movies and other “themed” features. I have also done “answers” to interview questions for more than one blog about radio, sleep, and other nonsense.
I say all that because I have often thought about hosting some sort of “theme” feature. Maybe not a monthly one, but an occasional one. Would any of my readers even want to commit to something like that? I don’t know if it would be music, movie, or book related. I really don’t even know what I could come up with. I know that my followers have increased because of “cross blogging,” so maybe I could help others get a few extra followers, too. My mind is still churning this around.
I have also had a couple “Guest Bloggers” here. I would love to do that again. My brother (who does not have a blog) wrote some very fun stuff about me and Max offered up some Beatles thoughts (no surprise there!). I have featured poetry from a few poets I follow that hit home. I wonder what the best way to handle a “guest” blog would be. Is it an interview? Is it giving a topic? I don’t know.
I did a few “call outs” to Facebook friends who could provide questions that they’d want me to answer on here. Keith’s Q&A. I did that a couple times and it was fun. The last time I asked for questions, I got stuff like “If a train leaves the station at midnight … blah blah blah.” I know they were trying to be funny, but I was hoping to get some serious questions.
The whole thing is churning around in my mind like when I used to try to create a bit to air on my radio show. The idea or topic is there – I just need to find the angle or the punchline to create around it. For now, I will keep thinking. If you have done anything similar, I’d be open to your ideas. If you have an idea for something you’d love to write about, let’s chat about it.
A to Z
Do you do the A to Z April Blog challenge? A couple blogs I follow have mentioned that it is coming up and to begin planning for it. Basically, you write about something every day for the month and each day the topic is a different letter – starting with A and going to Z. Some pages offer themes for the challenge – Favorite Books, TV Shows, Movies, Actors, etc…
Committing to an entire month sounds difficult to me, so I am trying to decide whether or not to participate. I guess I will have to see if I can find theme that I wouldn’t mind visiting 26 days in a row (although I think you take Sundays off). More to come on that ….
If you would like to write something or offer an idea that you would rather not put in the comments, you can reach me at: email@example.com
The first episode of the Price is Right hosted by Bob Barker
Gas that only cost 36 cents a gallon
Nacho cheese Doritoes
Time Warner launched HBO
Oakland A’s were World Series champs
Dallas Cowboys won Superbowl VI
The Godfather hit movie theaters
My baby brother was born
The story goes something like this – my mom and dad brought my brother home from the hospital after he was born and introduced us. My first response was “I don’t want him. Take him back!” And so begins the relationship of two brothers who couldn’t be more different.
Back in 2019, I asked my brother Christopher to write a little something for this blog. I went back and reread it today and found myself laughing again. It is worth sharing again.
Now that he has been older than me for 13 years (I’m stand on Jack Benny’s position that I am 39!), I wanted to find a special way to salute his 50 years on this planet. So, how about some photographic memories (in as chronological order as I can get):
I’d say the above photo is early 1973. He is obviously still too young to be that big of a problem to me.
This might be 1974. I’m not sure, but it seems like this may have been an outfit my mom liked me in. I think it is the same one I wore in a professional photoshoot.
Sure looks the same to me. Despite the terrible outfits, I love this picture of my brother and me.
Sesame Street was such a big part of our lives. I guess Chris really liked Big Bird. This picture cracks me up because I have mismatched PJ’s on! I may have to revisit this one for a Photo Flashback!
One of the first family photos I remember. We were at my dad’s work open house. Nice shirt, Chris!!
My mom made that ceramic Yoda for my brother for his birthday!
Christmas cheese! This might be the only picture of Santa with both of us. I could be wrong.
HA! We made these hats.
This was a Halloween costume I wore one year. Then they had some play at school and we recycled it for Chris.
I have posted that one before – fishing in Caseville! LOVE this picture – but hate my outfit!
Chris and I in matching shirts at my grandma’s house.
Terrible picture of both of us – but the look on his face cracks me up!
ANOTHER terrible photo!! Not sure about the ugly flannel shirts or our hair!!!
From my first trip to Columbus. I think this was the trip we had professional pictures of us taken for our folks. Thankfully, I cannot find those pictures!!
My aunt and uncle had a place on the lake and had a big picnic every year. Always loved going to them and it was always an added bonus when Chris was able to make it.
Best man at my first wedding.
A favorite photo of my brother, me and my dad – 2010
Again in 2013 – Christmas Eve I think
First anniversary trip in 2019 to Cleveland. My brother met up with us for dinner … somewhere in Ohio!
He’s quite a good Uncle to his niece and nephew. 2020
Family Photo shoot 2021
I have so many wonderful memories with my brother! We had a lot of fun growing up together. In recent years, we’ve become closer and I am grateful for that. I’m proud of his successes and am thankful that we are family. I wish you a wonderful day full of smiles and happiness.
Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, a support, and caring brother. Thank you for loving my family. Thank you for being such an amazing uncle. Thank you for taking us all to Disney (You are doing that, right?!)
Here is to another 50 years! Happy Birthday, Christopher. I love you, always!!
As I announced a few blogs ago, I am happy to present to you a blog written by my pal, Max. I stumbled on his blog when I first started blogging. I found he and I were around the same age, loved the same music, TV shows, and movies and we’ve become very good friends. You can find his blog here: https://powerpop.blog/
I mentioned that I have wanted to write a blog on the Beatles for some time. Max is quite a Beatles fan, too. I thought he’d be the perfect guy to write a Beatles blog for me. Actually, he’s gonna do two! He recently interviewed me for his blog regarding my radio career, so he kind of owed me at least one blog! LOL. So without any further ado, here’s Max and the first “official” Beatles blog on this page …
COVER SONGS BY THE BEATLES
Hello everyone! I want to thank Keith (nostaligicitalian) for allowing me to interview him for my blog. Keith mentioned to me about guest hosting his blog. I’m sorry to say this to all the readers, but I will be here twice! What I’m going to do is list my top 10 songs that the Beatles covered (today)…and my top 10 songs that people covered of the Beatles (next Saturday). I want to thank Keith for thinking enough of me to let me share this.
I first found the Beatles when I was 8 years old (in 1975) and have read and listened to them ever since. Their original songs are what set them apart from everyone else then and now, but they did play some interesting covers.
The Beatles did mostly covers when they played Liverpool and Hamburg before their fame. They had great taste picking them and they also did some B sides because they wanted to do songs every other Liverpool band wasn’t doing. Although I’m a huge Beatles fan…I’m not suggesting that any of these are better than the original (Except a couple). In some cases though the Beatles brought attention to the song which the original artists were usually really grateful.
I’m only listing songs that were on studio albums not any live albums like Live at the BBC. So lets get this started!
10: Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes version will always be my favorite of this one…and I remember the Carpenters did it also in the 70s.
The Beatles version was good, but I have heard a live version that is a little more up. Would American audiences be interested in a young white British group covering a black R&B pop smash hit? Capitol Records didn’t think so. They decided against including the song on their first album “Meet The Beatles!” for just that reason.
After three million copies of the album had been sold by mid March, Capitol was ready to rush-release another album to cash in on the excitement. And you better believe they included “Please Mister Postman” on that next release, “The Beatles’ Second Album.”
9: Bad Boy – For me this is punk Beatles. John’s voice carries this song. They were in the middle of filming Help! when Capital Records in America requested a few more songs.
They went back in their Hamburg/Cavern days and picked two to record – Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Bad Boy. The Beatles don’t stray too far from the original Larry Williams rendition of the song while compensating for the saxophone and piano dominated arrangement with guitars and subtle organ/electric keyboard work…it is a bit more energetic than the original. (KEITH: I actually had no idea this was a cover song, until I bought a Larry Williams album!)
8: Slow Down – Larry Williams wrote this song. They recorded 3 of his songs. More than any other songwriter but themselves.
There was no internet or a good way to get lyrics back then. Ted “King-Size” Taylor from the rival Liverpool group The Dominoes remembers that The Beatles all sat in a row and took down one line each of all the songs they did… Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Slow Down all of those – and “the next time we saw them they were playing all our stuff.” (KEITH: I never heard this story!! That’s great!!!)
7: Money – It fit their style perfectly but John sounded as if he held back a little on this one. I still like it but it probably could have been better.
The Beatles performed the song live, vocals and all, for six full takes until everyone was satisfied. George Martin play piano on this song. (KEITH: Barrett Strong’s version was a staple on Michigan oldies stations. It was written by Barry Gordy and was the first Motown hit!)
6: Dizzy Miss Lizzy – This is one of the first guitar riffs I learned on guitar. It’s simple and if played right it can light up a club or bar. A song written by Larry Williams, John Lennon would later cover this live in 1969 at the concert in Toronto.
This was recorded on the same day as Bad Boy. (KEITH: I think the Beatles version of this has a bit more “oomph” to it. Larry’s version sounds weak in comparison.)
5: Long Tall Sally – Paul did his Little Richard best on this song. They were playing this song way back in 1957.
Long Tall Sally has the longest legacy of all the songs in The Beatles catalog, but that is the song held an affectionate place in the hearts of The Beatles all of those years. (KEITH: What a vocal on this one! Paul knocks it out of the park!)
4: Rock and Roll Music – I was introduced to the song by the Beatles.
Their backs were up against a wall. They were not able to compose enough material on such short notice to fill an entire album. So they were happy to record their renditions of some of their favorites. “Rock And Roll Music” fit the bill. It’s another song that they knew well. They kept playing this song through their touring career. (KEITH: A classic by Chuck Berry, however, the Beatles kick it up a notch. Such a great sound to this one.)
3: Roll Over Beethoven – Everything from George’s guitar to his vocals are spot on in this Chuck Berry cover. “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” John Lennon.
They had perfected this song on stage during the last seven years. It was the first of two numbers immortalized by The Beatles from the catalog of the most influential songwriter/performer of the fifties…Chuck Berry. (KEITH: The song itself is a great track. I always though the Beatles version was better than Chuck’s. If I had to pick a favorite version – it might be the version by ELO.)
2: Twist and Shout – John Lennon sounds demented in this song in all the right ways. It was the last song they cut that night after recording the entire album and John just got through it. They adapted the original arrangement within their limited ‘guitar-bass-drums’ format and did so very well.
Although The Beatles’ adaptation was a direct reflection of the hit version by The Isley Brothers, I feel safe to say that this version became the definitive version of the song. (KEITH: I would agree. How can you even touch this version of Twist and Shout?!)
1: You Really Got A Hold On Me – This is my personal favorite. The popular opinion would probably be on Twist and Shout as being the best song they covered…and I think John was beyond great on that…but these harmonies are hard to beat on this one. You can’t compare Smokey to anyone…but the versions are apples and oranges.
It had been recently recorded by its writer Smokey Robinson and The Miracles and first hit the charts only earlier that year, debuting on the Billboard singles chart on January 12, 1963. Yet just over six months later, The Beatles chose to translate the song themselves. This was the first song they chose to record for the album. They do a unique version of it that has stuck with me. Below we have a bonus…an isolated vocal of this song. (KEITH: I like their version better than Smokey’s. Cool vocal track. Never heard it before. Thanks for sharing.)
More next week….
These are some of my absolute favorite Beatles cuts!
I’m looking forward to Max’s follow up next week, which will feature songs by the Beatles that were covered by other artists! I hope you are, too!!
After the HUGE dumping of snow we got a week or so ago, in typical Michigan fashion, we’ve had some warm weather recently. Most of the snow has melted away. The other day, we actually went to the store and didn’t have to wear a coat!
Walking in Sunshine!
We have a small house. Ella looks forward to car rides and just getting out of the house. Today, while I napped before work, Sam took her out for a walk. She was going to put her in the stroller, but now that she is walking, that is what she wanted to do!
It took her a minute to realize she was free to walk around, but when she did, she was off like a rocket!
When I woke up for work, I took her out for a walk, too! She was a bit more tired by the time I took her, so she was a little less cooperative. At one point, she lost her glove. She cracked me up because when it came off, she stared at it on the sidewalk for a few minutes….
…and when it didn’t miraculously go back on her hand, she stared at me like “Are you gonna help me?” “This thing ain’t gonna put itself back on, Daddy!”
She isn’t quite yet to the point where she will walk and hold our hand. I am really looking forward to that and more walks this spring and summer!
One of the things I have had on my “to blog” list is one word: “Beatles.” As a fan of the Beatles, I have wondered just what I want to write about, their solo stuff, the early stuff, the later stuff, a list of my favorite Beatles songs…I just haven’t been able to decide. The first blog here about the Beatles will be presented by my blogging buddy, Max, who is quite the Beatles fan as well. I’m excited to announce that his guest blog should be making an appearance here in a week or so. I’m looking forward to it and am sure you will enjoy it!
A Brew You Can’t Refuse?
A friend of mine saw this coffee online, and knowing that I love the Godfather movies and coffee, she ordered me a bag of this and sent it to my house. I’m excited to try it. It has “cannoli”in the name of it ….It has to be good, right?
I have been at a loss for what to write the past few weeks. I’m not sure if that is because I am busy with other things or if I’ve run out of things to talk about. Everything I read about blogging always says “Just write!” So here I am – writing.
I went through countless “writing prompts” and the ones for this month are all pretty lame: “Five things you like about yourself,” “Describe the view from your window,” and “What do you want more of.” I really don’t think that these are the kinds of things my readers what to read about. Do you really want to know what’s out my window? I mean, I’ll write about it if you really want to know…..but our house has a lot of windows!
Recently, this blog hit 200 followers! The fact that I have even 50 followers amazes me! Thank you for deciding that my thoughts are worth reading. Please feel free to drop a note in the comments and let me know what you’d like to see more of. I am grateful for my old and new followers!
Coming up soon, I am happy to announce that one of my blogger friends has decided (after much begging by me) to write a guest blog (or two) on a subject that I have wanted to write about for some time. He is currently working on it and I will let you know when to expect it (and give more details) as we approach publishing it.
We recently celebrated President’s Day. Maybe I’m just old, but I actually remember when we celebrated both George Washington and Abe Lincoln’s birthdays separately. I may be remembering it wrong, but I could swear we had both days off school. Do you remember that? I guess I could Google it, but was it really necessary to combine the two days?
A month and a half into 2021 and I have been following a plan to read the entire Bible in a year. I have missed a day or two along the way, but I always make it up the following day. I am right on track. It has been a nice way to either start or end the day (depending on the day of the week). It is a mixture of Old and New Testament right now, which I like. I am noticing just how everything fits together. I also have a plan to read through all of the Apostle Paul’s epistles in a month, but have yet to start that. I hope to do that in March.
I think I read somewhere that half of the population of the United States was affected by the winter storms that came through this week! I know many folks in Nashville and in Texas who were without power and struggling. We got hit with something like 8 or 9 inches the other night and more accumulation tonight. Tuesday morning, my wife called me from the street and said that the snow was up to the windows on the van and could not get in the driveway. The snowplow had blocked the end of the driveway, so I ran out and shoveled so she could get into the driveway.
The night before I had gone out and shoveled the driveway and my neighbor brought his snowblower down for me to use. One of the sheer pins was broke, but he had bought new ones and he gave them to me. He had surgery recently so he couldn’t use the snow blower. So I went in my garage and tried to put the sheer pin in, but it was too big. I had no idea if the thing could run with out the pin in one side, so I just went back out and shoveled the rest.
I texted him that night and said the pin was too big and told him I would go to the hardware store to get a smaller one the next day, not knowing that we were going to be slammed overnight with a ton of snow. After I got my wife’s van into the driveway, I went out and shoveled the whole thing. After I came back inside, I got a text from the neighbor saying, “You know, you can still use the snowblower. Only one side will work, though.” 800 mg of ibuprofen later – I sent him a text that read “thanks.”
I think if that stimulus ever gets here, I’m going to go buy me a new snow blower!!
Well, here it is – my 300th blog post. To be completely honest, I have a few more than 300, but some were kept private. So this is my 300th “published” blog. Over the past few blogs, I knew this milestone blog was coming, and wondered just how a blogger celebrates this kind of achievement. I found that most look back and reflect on stats.
I don’t know about doing that. Does it matter that the most popular day my blog is viewed is Thursday? Are you impressed that in the first 299 blogs I have written 64,488 words? Does it thrill you to know that each blog averages about 921 words? I highly doubt that means anything to you.
A Short Reflection
300 blogs. It is amazing to actually look back and see the wide variety of content that I covered since beginning this blog:
The blog is full of many posts about music – some about specific tunes (Tune Tuesday) and some filled with many songs.
There have been many blogs about television – whether it be actual shows or just theme songs.
I have also written many blogs about movies – some as part of blogathons hosted by other bloggers and some of my personal favorites.
There have been blogs about holidays from throughout the year – some contain specific memories and some are just general thoughts.
I have written special blogs to family and friends – my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my godfather, my kids, my wife, and my lifelong friends.
There have been no shortage of radio stories about listeners and coworkers.
Some blogs were just full of random thoughts and observations.
There were blogs about celebrities – some funny, some musical, some just for the hell of it.
I shared the love story of my wife and me.
I shared with family and friends the news on our miracle baby and blogged about the days that led up to her arrival.
Of course, after she was born, there have been many wonderful stories and things to share about her as she continues to grow up.
I was honored to have my brother write a guest blog for me (and hope to have more in the future).
I opened up about many personal things – my divorce, thoughts on suicide, the changes in my personal life, reflections on life and death, my faith, and so many other topics I kept to myself.
There have been some “Question and Answer” blogs that contained things asked of me by friends and family.
Looking back, I am impressed with myself. Who knew I had it in me?
If you have a Facebook, you know that they will occasionally give you friend suggestions. They will offer up “People You May Know.” Many of those suggestions stem from mutual friends. There are people that pop up and I have 65 mutual friends with them because we went to the same high school together, or we both have the same radio friends, etc…
With this blog, we don’t have that feature. However, through searching things for things like movies, TV, music, and such, I have found many bloggers that share my interests. I follow quite a few blogs and continue to add more to my “read” list. Some of those bloggers offer up personal stuff like I do on occasion. Some respond with personal stories to my personal blogs. Through that, I feel like I know many of them.
Max is a good example of this. He has blogged about things I remember and vice versa. We also share many of the same musical tastes. He actually helped me set up the index on the side of the blog. Since doing that, more of my older blogs are being read than before. We swapped e-mails and eventually phone numbers. When I called him to talk about the index and creating some pages, it was like talking to someone I had known for years. How cool is that?
After 300 blogs, I think it is important to note some of the things I have learned since the beginning. If you are a new blogger, maybe some of my observations can be useful to you.
Even with spellcheck, I make mistakes. I found going back through some older blogs that there are some typos. Some are spelling mistakes, some are grammatical. My one radio buddy, who also works for a newspaper, told me I need an editor. He then proceeded to tell me I couldn’t afford him! I need to be better at proofreading.
There really is no way to know which blogs will be popular. I have written blogs that I think will get a great response, only to see that is not the case. At the same time, I have written blogs that I feel are just “ok” topics, and had a ton of hits on it. You never really know. It hurts your ego a bit when a blog you think is great is barely read, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Keywords matter. I try to include as many “tags” as I can with each blog. I have found that this will ultimately lead to more followers and readers. My most read blog? It is about a scammer. I got an e-mail saying that someone noticed I spelled a word wrong and said I should download some app. With research, I found the app is actually something you want to avoid. The keyword “Scam” or “Scammer” has lead to many reading that blog and some even commenting saying that they got the same type of e-mail.
The personal blogs I wrote about suicide, divorce, staying positive, dealing with a narcissist, and depression led to many new people following this blog. Some went as far as to reach out and share their own stories about those things. You know, sometimes, it helps to know you aren’t the only one dealing with those issues.
Each blog represents a moment in time. It represents what I felt at a certain moment in time. Early on in my therapy, I was angered easily. I didn’t realize how certain things by certain people triggered it. I was not a pleasant person. Over time, I have learned to not let those things trigger anger. I have learned coping skills. I am a different person than who I was.
Think about your favorite TV show. Did you like it immediately? The first time I watched Seinfeld or Cheers, I was not impressed. Over time, I came to enjoy the shows more. At one moment in time, you may feel one way, and over time you can feel another way.
Many of my blogs are memories that I want to preserve for the future. Other blogs are about things I have observed. At the time, I felt a certain way about things – over time, my thoughts or feelings might change. It helps to keep that in perspective.
Write about what you are passionate about! Chances are if you are passionate about it, a reader will find it interesting. This same principle was suggested to me when I worked in radio. Share things that “make you feel!” Some readers love my musical blogs while some prefer my more personal ones. I am passionate about everything I write, however, not all things will appeal to everyone. Anyone who comes to this blog will see my love for all things entertainment, but also see my love for my family and my children!
Another principle from radio that translated to writing a blog is to simply “observe life.” Look around and take notice. A successful stand up comedian is one who observes little things, talks about it, and the audience says “Oh yeah! I have noticed that too!” George Carlin was a master observer! Take those things that you observe and relay them. You know the whole “which way should the toilet paper roll go on” thing was simply something that someone wondered about, right!?
I always loved the above Far Side Cartoon. It points out another lesson I have learned. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everything I write. That’s ok. You have a right to disagree with me. However, when I write, I’m going to be myself.
While it can sometimes feel like work, I find blogging to be fun. I enjoy writing. I also enjoy hearing from readers who comment on my blog. That’s as much fun as writing them.
There are some blogs that I just sit and write. Others (most of them), it takes time to plan out. Either way, I try to give myself time to think it through and get the flow. It takes time and sometimes, you have to MAKE time to write.
So there you have it ….
Blog #300. As a follower, I need to say thank you. I am truly glad that you are here. I always welcome your suggestions. How can I make this blog more enjoyable for you? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Please feel free to let me know. What do you like? What don’t you like? Feel free to suggest other blogs I might be interested in. Feel free to share this one with others.
Thank you so much for reading. Here is to the next 300 ….
Word Press informs me that this blog turned two years old yesterday! Two years and the blogging continues….
I wrote a blog reflecting on one year and some feelings remain the same. Rather than look back on the entire two years, I thought I would reflect on the last year, which had many milestones! Over the past year, I have gained many more followers, so for those new followers, let me give you a brief look at why this blog exists two years later.
When I began this blog, I really didn’t have any idea of what it would be. In my head, I thought that I might blog about some things I liked. I also knew I would probably write about some favorite memories. I might also write tributes to important people in my life or just random thoughts to help me deal with emotions or life situations.
This blog was meant for me. It was to be a “sort of” therapy for me. I envisioned it as a way to keep track of thoughts, write down stories I didn’t want to forget, and occasionally just vent. I had often joked about writing an autobiography, and in a way, this blog has become “chapters”.
I never thought that anyone would actually want to read these blogs (unless, of course, the blog mentioned them)! Yet, here I am over two years later and I have “followers” – people who actually make it a point to read this no matter what the topic. It humbles me.
If I were to compare “year one” with “year two” I would say the blogs leaned a lot more happy. They contained many happy moments. Looking back, I see how I have grown and learned to deal with certain people, certain situations, and look at things more objectively. I have learned to think before reacting. I have learned to separate myself from those things that bring on stress and make me uncomfortable. I have gotten more in touch with the person I want to be. Looking back, I see much more happiness. Life has been very good to me over the last year.
Much like last year, there were plenty of blogs about music. I began to post a song every Tuesday that held some special meaning. Maybe the song was prompted by a singer’s birthday or it was just something I heard on the radio. I admit toward the end of the year, I neglected the Tune Tuesday feature a bit. I hope to be a bit more consistent with it in the year ahead. Last year’s songs ranged from Dean Martin to Hugh Laurie to the Muppets! I look forward to this year’s selections.
Memories of the Past
Nostalgic memories are often featured here. Many of them stem from things I see that bring back memories. Some writings stem from an idea I got from a fellow blogger. Some of the topics from last year included the ice cream man, toys I remember from my childhood, breakfast cereals from my childhood, memories of band class, the Sunday comics I used to read, books I read as a child and to my boys, and the summer baseball games I played in the neighborhood. There was also a blog about Muppets phased out of Sesame Street.
I toyed with this idea, and my little brother stepped up to bat. It was fun to tell him to write whatever he wanted to and see what he came up with. I really like this idea, and I hope to get a few others to write occasional pieces for this blog. I am very open to this idea. Let me know if you would like to do this! You could write about me, our friendship, or expand on something I have already written.
This year I saluted my oldest and best friend on his birthday. I also saluted three of my friends from school/band in one blog because they all celebrated birthdays in October. Remembering some of the funny radio stories that involved my co-host Stephanie was a blast for sure! Some blogs were inspired by friends and their posts on Facebook. Year three I am already planning some overdue friendship blogs. Stay tuned!
This year, I did a series on my favorite movies by decade. The idea was to pick one favorite film from each year you have been alive. I was born in 1970, so I did a blog for each decade (70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s). I neglected to do 2010-2019, but now that we have entered the new decade, I will have to make sure to wrap that series up. I really enjoy being able to write about my favorite films, and I found it a challenge to narrow it down to one each year.
Last year I wrote about less celebrities than the year before. I wrote about The Three Stooges, in a round about way, as I went with the boys to the Stooges Festival in Redford. I devoted an entire blog to some of the very funny lines that Paul Lynde had from the Hollywood Squares. The great Jack Benny got an much deserved blog on his birthday. I also wrote about Elvis on the anniversary of his passing. I believe that there are a few other celebrities who I could easily devote an entire blog to, I just wonder if folks would read it.
Along with movies and music, TV tends to be a topic I love to write about. This year I wrote a blog about the classic 1966 Batman show. I also wrote about my favorite TV shows of the 1950’s. For Tune Tuesday, I picked Sanford and Son because of the theme song. I really need to write about that show and some of my other favorites. This year I blogged about the remake of All in the Family and The Jefferson’s which again brought me back to one of my original blogging ideas – “why must they remake everything!?” I also had a chance to talk about one of my favorite Christmas TV specials this year.
While many blogs tend to focus on entertaining things, some blogs wind up being of a serious nature. I am human. I can’t be upbeat all the time. I finally had the guts to write about the topic of divorce – just to see if I could do it. Death was also a topic. I lost some close friends this year. I also had friends of mine who lost loved ones. Just this week alone, my buddy Chris lost his mom and a co-worker lost hers. It’s a hard topic to write about, but I did.
As I look back over “year two”, there is no shortage of blogs that brought about strong emotions from me. One of those stemmed from a photo shoot for my oldest son. Senior pictures. I still choke up as I think about him being a senior and graduating. Speaking of graduation, my wife graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in April. I felt so much pride for her as she walked that stage. She did all the work, so why it was so emotional for me, I don’t know. I sometimes think I can get too emotional. Rest assured – there are more emotional blogs in the year ahead!
The blog also consisted of many personal rants. Some I have mentioned (TV and Movie remakes, missing Muppets, and such), but I also ranted (and whined) about having the “man cold”. That blog brought about much teasing from friends! I also ranted about how much I miss record stores (prompted by a record player I received for my birthday). I know I have other “rant” topics in my blogging notebook.
A Love Story
Sam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. I chose to take the occasion of our anniversary to tell “our story”. The people who were close to us knew the story, but many didn’t. As sort of a “love letter” to my wife, and as a way to tell just how our wonderful relationship began, I wrote a series of three blogs leading up to our anniversary. Those blogs talked of how we met and became close friends, how we began dating and how I proposed, and then how we got married. Those blogs were among my highest read last year. A blog followed about our anniversary trip. Sam makes me SO happy and I am sure there will be many more blogs about our amazing relationship.
On Father’s Day, Sam told me that we were expecting a baby. It was SO hard to NOT blog about that!! We waited some time before spilling the beans with our big announcement. A series of blogs about expecting a baby, then finding out we were having a girl, and finally sharing the name we had picked for her remain the most read blogs in the history of this blog! The support from our friends and family has been SO amazing! Sharing stories of the baby shower and 3D ultrasound pics has been a thrill. We are closing in on the due date (February 16) and she can come anytime. The nursery is ready and so are we! We anxiously await her arrival and with it, I will have plenty of things to share with you about being a dad again!
As I said last year – Not so long ago, I was told my someone once close to me to stop writing. “Nobody wants to read about that crap! It is a waste of time. Stop trying to be creative. Nobody cares about what you like and don’t like!” If I have learned anything from Facebook and this blog, it is that people do care! People do like to read what I write! In the end, I don’t really write for others, I write for myself. The fact that other people read this blog and get some enjoyment out if it is a little bonus.
In future blogs, I will continue to write about things I love. I will write about things that people want to know about. I hope to do more Question and Answer blogs and I will continue to participate in Blogathons. I want to write about how Autism played a role on my life, which I never seemed to get around to last year. I also want to continue to write on movies and music. I will continue to write about things in my personal life (and how it is affected by the arrival of our beautiful daughter). I will continue to write – because I enjoy it. The minute this is no longer satisfying and I feel that I have written all I can write … I will stop. Until then, thank YOU for reading my “various ramblings”. I appreciate you!
A week or so ago, I posted a blog stating that I was toying with the idea of inviting someone to be a guest blogger. Without hesitation, my younger brother Christopher said he would love to write one. Let me say that he is WAY more qualified to write than I am. He has published a book and has been writing short stories and other things for as long as I can remember.
I saw his email this morning as I was getting ready to take the boys home. I had to open it and read it. I stood in my kitchen laughing as I read it. My wife was still asleep, and I thought for sure that I was going to wake her up. My son, looked at me and asked “what’s so funny, dad?” I looked at him and said, “Just something Uncle Chris sent me…”
At this time, I’d like to introduce you to my brother, Christopher. I hope that you laugh as much as I did….
What the heck are they laughing at? By Christopher Louis
Growing up my brother and I were crazy and rambunctious kids. There is no denying that we gave our parents a run for their money. If we weren’t pushing their patience by staying up long past our bed time or begging them to buy us the newest Star Wars figure, we were beating the snot out of each other or purposely egging the other on to do something totally stupid. While we were not angels, we also weren’t devils. We just loved to have fun, laugh, and have a good time. We wanted to make each day an adventure. Sure, it got us in trouble sometimes, but it was almost always good natured.
As with any siblings there are lots of growing pains as you discover new interests, new friends, and truly come into your own and the relationship between you and your sibling changes. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not so good. Despite our many differences, there has always been one thing that could bring us together – laughter. Laughter has helped us to remember and rebuild our bonds. When friends ask about my brother, I love to share how we can have the other laughing within seconds simply by sending a photo (usually of William Shatner), copying a movie quote (Airplane is always a good bet) or sharing an inside family joke (usually something our dear Grandpa mispronounced).
I admit there was a time when I swore I had to be adopted because I could not understand the joy that Keith, my dad, and my grandparents found in watching Sanford and Son. However, the same could be said for him in my guilty pleasure of watching Dynasty. While I am sure neither of us would relish the idea of sitting down and watching either of those shows together, there are still so many movies, TV shows, and old radio shows that provide us with so much laughter and delight. I thought I would share a few of them with you now.
Your Money or Your Life!
Mugger: Your money or your life.
(Long, awkward pause)
Mugger: Look bud, I said your money or your life.
Jack: I’m thinking it over!
The first to share is one of the greatest comedians of all time – Jack Benny. I am forever thankful for my dad introducing us to the joys of old radio shows. While we both love many others (Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen, or Suspense), The Jack Benny Program is our favorite. Whether Jack is giving sales clerk (Mel Blanc) the worst time possible by constantly exchanging show laces (he can’t decide between plastic tips or metal tips), or constantly insisting he’s 39 years old (which can’t be confirmed because there is a hole in his birth certificate from erasing it too many times) it is comedy gold. Plus, both of us can totally tell you what LSMFT means or what the six delicious flavors of Jell-O were. (For those not in the know, those are both from sponsors of the Jack Benny Program – Lucky Strike Cigarettes and Jell-O).
(Keith Note: Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco! Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, orange, lemon, and lime!)
“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”
The 60’s Batman TV show is a treasure trove of comedy genius. Adam West’s portrayal of the Dark Knight is played so straight and even that it is impossible to not start laughing at the utter absurdity! Don’t get me wrong – I love it, but it is odd to think how anyone couldn’t see that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same.
(Keith Note: I pointed out to my brother how he hits the nail on the head here! It really is absurd! Proof of the absurdity – and how Commissioner Gordon must be clueless – can be seen as Adam West has a conversation with himself as both Bruce and Batman in the following video clip!)
Of course, the many guest stars paraded through as villains brought much of the laughter. There was Cesar Romero as the Joker with white paint over his mustache, Frank Gorshin jumping all over the set as the Riddler, Victor Buono running around as King Tut, and Vincent Price as Egghead making more egg puns that you can imagine. Of course, part of the fun is trying to count how many times Robin says “Holy ____” in an episode. My favorite will always be “Holy Hole-in-a-Doughnut, Batman!”
(Keith Note: Oh, and I had to add the above picture because of the sub-title of this section!)
“What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?”
There are truly so many wonderful Mel Brooks movies and while I am not as into Blazing Saddles as Keith is, we can’t deny the laughter that comes from watching his films. I’m choosing Spaceballs for this blog. Plus – what’s not to love about this amazing spoof of Star Wars, a movie Keith and I both loved and played and recreated more times than I could count with many, many action figures.
Some of my favorite quotes include:
No sir, I didn’t see you playing with your dolls again.
How many Assholes we got on this ship, anyhow?
Keep firing Assholes!
We ain’t found shit!
Why are you always preparing? You’re always preparing. Just go!
Smoke if you got ‘em.
So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life. That’s the kinda thing an idiot would have on his luggage.
(Keith Note: Love the bumper sticker – “We Brake for Nobody!”)
“Kiddie Car, June Bride, Rookie, Phantom Fox, Blarney Stone, and Clunker”
AKA – The North Avenue Irregulars. We loved this movie! It was one of those great Disney gens of the 1970’s that we found and just loved as kids. I remember how excited we were watching our dad record our own copy of the movie from one VCR to the other. I also remember the exact spot where it cut out for a moment. Oh, those good old days of VHS tapes…
Anyway, who would think that kids would love a movie about a group of church ladies who work to take down an illegal gambling ring? But we did! It had so many big stars of the era; Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Karen Valentine, Cloris Leachman, Michael Constantine, Ruth Buzzi, and Dena Dietrich (famous for playing Mother Nature in Chiffon Margarine commercials). Each character was different and came with their own burdens and personal issues but came together to bring down the bad guys. As with many 70s movie, it includes its own car chase / demolition derby.
One of my favorite scenes includes three of the ladies “going undercover” to place a bet and they are all wearing trench coats and sunglasses. One has a tape recorder hidden inside her coat and just as she is about to place her bet, she is advised to start recording. She accidentally presses “play” instead of “record” and the song “Roll Out the Barrel” starts blaring from her coat.
(Keith Note: My Favorite quotes: “It’s her money. Get two” and “Butt out, lady!”)
“Help! Help! The Alcalde has all my money!”
George Hamilton playing dual roles! Enough said!
Zorro the Gay Blade is one of those movies that just makes me smile and laugh. While George is hilarious as Don Diego and his twin brother Ramon (aka Bunny Wigglesworth), Brenda Vaccaro and Ron Leibman as Florinda and Esteban are so over the top and crazy you can’t wait for them to come back on the screen.
Some of my favorite lines:
You naughty, evil Alcalde! I’m going to do . . . such . . . terrible things . . . to you!
Two bits, four bits, six bits, a peso. All for Zorro, stand up and say so!
Thank goodness for small favors!
Know me? Sink me! We were once womb-mates!
There is no shame in being poor! Only in dressing poorly!
(Keith note: It’s funny that Chris mentions this movie. Look for a full write up on it from me in early September for the “Costume Drama Blogathon”!)
“Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home …”
Airplane! One of the great comedies of the 1980s. There is something about spoofs that if not done correctly are painful to watch. This is not one of them. I think Keith and I have quoted this movie since our first viewing and haven’t stopped yet. There are just so many great lines that I could do an entire post on this movie alone!
Some of my favorite lines:
It’s a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows, wheels. It looks like a big Tylenol.
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
Surely you can’t be serious? I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.
Joey, do you like movies about Gladiators?
A hospital, what is it? It’s a big building with patients in it, but that’s not important right now.
Get me someone who won’t crack under pressure. How about Mr. Rogers?
I haven’t felt this bad since I saw that Ronald Reagan movie.
There are many, many more movies and TV shows I could have included here, but I decided to focus on just a few for now, but as I near my wrap up, how can I not share the one photo that I think we’ve shared back and forth more times than I can possibly imagine? I mean, I even mentioned the person’s name at the beginning of this blog. Without further ado, I present the one image guaranteed to make both of us laugh.
You can totally hear him right now, can’t you?? The king of the dramatic pause – William Shatner. There are no more words necessary – this image is all you need.
(Keith Note: Ricardo Montalban should have won an Academy Award for his performance in this film. He is brilliant! My brother once got me a Khan figure to put on my desk for Christmas!)
Laughter. It has been a delight revisiting these few memories as they have helped spur so many more that could fill numerous more blog posts. Thank you for joining me on this guest post, I hope it brought you some laughter as well. I will end with one final image that encompasses a big part of our childhood: Keith and me playing with our Star Wars figures. The fun and adventures we created beyond the films!
(Keith Note: My brother could not have picked a more awful picture of me – ok, maybe he could have. What makes me laugh about this picture is that he has Star Wars figures, and I have that Fisher Price motorcycle dude (who we called “Ginge”)! I am also appalled that I am wearing black socks in this picture! The picture, however, is a wonderful time capsule, though. Besides the toys of the 70’s and 80’s, you will notice ugly shag carpeting, HUGE books called phone books (where we used to look up phone numbers), a stack of newspapers (where we got news before the internet), and one of the first video game systems – the Atari 2600!
It’s always fun to see what others remember and what you forgot. The North Avenue Irregulars was something I had forgot about! I am so glad he mentioned it. In speaking to my brother after reading this, he stated that writing this blog for me, brought about many other things that he “could have” wrote about. I am encouraging him to keep notes on those things and return for another “guest” spot. Thanks, Chris! I love you!)
Because of my “real job” work schedule, I have Thursday-Saturdays off. I have my sons three weekends a month, and I love that time with them. One weekend a month, my wife get a “date” weekend. This past weekend was that weekend.
Thursday is usually a short day, because I work the night before. I sleep late into the afternoon, and then begin the process of going from “midnight” mode to “daytime” mode. Thursday night, Sam and I didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to our favorite restaurant for dinner.
I LOVE Lucky’s! Not surprising I am a “meat and potatoes” guy. I usually get a Filet Mignon and baked potato. Because I am currently on Weight Watchers, I opted for broccoli instead of the potato this time. I also drank water, instead of beer. The steak was cooked to perfection, as always. I love when a steak is cooked and seasoned so right, you don’t need to put anything in it. I always ask for steak sauce, but never use it.
Friday is “weigh in” day for me. After the BIG meal the night before, I stepped on the scale hoping I had lost weight. Happily, I was down 4 pounds and that took me to an overall milestone.
What an amazing feeling to be down 31 pounds. Years ago, when I first did Weight Watchers, I hit a 30 pound loss on the week of my 30th birthday. I was a bit lighter then, but I am working toward being down to where I was the first time I did it. The journey continues!
I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve been seeing a therapist since before my divorce. I needed to have someone who was non-biased to talk to. It was a decision that I am glad to have made. She has helped me in so many ways. I have learned much about myself, and gained many skills through our visits. I had an appointment Friday morning. She, once again, hit on something that really helped me. I’ve been struggling with something outside of my home life and she helped put some things in perspective. Those moments are awesome. It should help a lot moving forward. It’s always a good thing to be able to talk to someone who sees things in a different way and can offer honest opinions and advice.
Sam had a practice exam she had to do for her final clinical class. It was a three hour test that is helping her prepare for the actual test she needs to take for her new credentials. While she worked on that, I finished the book I was reading.
Can you imagine America without George Washington? Me either! Hell, he’s one of the first famous people you learn about in elementary school. I went to elementary long before there was President’s Day. When I was in school, we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday in February. Washington, the “Father of our Country”, was almost NOT.
This book is a work of non-fiction by one of my favorite authors, Brad Meltzer. As a history buff, I was excited to read this. This all takes place prior to the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and his presidency. As a matter of fact, I was surprised at just how close to the start of the war and July 4, 1776 all this took place.
You get a really good picture as to what kind of man Washington was. Through excerpts of his letters, you see the various struggles he faced and the stress he bore on his shoulders. You really get a sense of the weight and pressure that was on him during this turbulent time in our nation’s history. You also see the “birth” of counter-intelligence. It’s a very good read.
The book takes place prior to the Revolutionary War primarily, but it does touch on the first few battles of it. It mentions the “Culper Ring,” which was a group of spies that Washington used to gain information throughout the war. AMC did a very cool series surrounding the Culper Ring in the series Turn, which I believe is still on Netflix. Ian Kahn played Washington in the series.
I watched the entire series, but now that I have read this book, I think I am going to revisit it.
We spent part of the day grocery shopping and we made turkey burgers for dinner. We then retired to the couch to relax. The original plan was to watch a movie, but when we turned the TV on, the Tigers were on, so we watched the game. It was their “Pink Out the Park” game.
As you know, my mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer. I wish I had known that it was “Pink Out” day. If I had, I may have gotten tickets to the game. I LOVE when professional sports supports a cause like this.
The Tigers lost (miserably, I might add). Tiger fans are living through more of the “we are building” stage. Basically, that means we’re going to suck for a few years. Maybe, because of this, I haven’t really been watching or listening to a lot of games this year. At any rate, the game was one of the first ones I really got to sit and listen to the broadcasters.
Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson were calling the game. I was quite disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love Gibby as a ball player, but as an announcer, he is boring and monotone. If there wasn’t a game to watch, and it was just audio, I would have fallen asleep. I guess I was lucky to have watched George Kell and Al Kaline call games on TV, and Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey call games on radio when I was growing up.
After the game was over, Sam and I tuned in for one of our favorite shows – Live PD.
I have dissed “reality” shows before. This, however, is not Survivor, the Bachelor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, or those other shows about winning money or a bride. This is real cops doing their job. I LOVE this show! There are some other variations of this show – Live Rescue and PD Cam – which are good too. In my many years on the radio, I have interviewed police, fire, and rescue people before and I ALWAYS made sure to say “thank you.” They are out there putting their lives on the line, saving lives, and keeping us safe. Live PD is a guilty pleasure.
Host Dan Abrams has actually wrote a couple books I want to read: Lincoln’s Last Trial and Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense. Definitely, two to add to my stack of books to read.
Saturday started early, as usual, for me. I have to be up early so I can get to the radio station to be on air at 9.
I worked for the Moose years ago full time. I left to take a morning show position. I was so grateful to be asked to return part-time. The staff hasn’t changed much since I left and it’s like returning home to family. I truly enjoy being back there.
I woke up Saturday feeling like I might have a sinus infection. This is never a good thing for me. Upon feeling those symptoms, I need to act fast. If I don’t, I wind up with vertigo. Every time I have ever gotten vertigo, it has happened because of a sinus infection. Unlike, Mel Brooks poking fun at it in High Anxiety…..
…it’s not fun. It is crippling! The last time I had it, I couldn’t even sleep in a bed. I had to sleep sitting up. The dizziness is SO bad. I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. You have no control over anything. You can barely turn your head. EVERY little movement can cause you dizziness. It’s awful.
Because of this, Sam and I went to the Urgent Care and I got checked out. Definitely the start of a sinus infection. So they gave me some steroids to bring down the swelling, told me to up the Flonase and sent me on my way. So far – so good. Fingers crossed!
While we were filing the fridge Friday night after grocery shopping, Sam pulled out the package of bacon that was in there. She looked at me and said, “You know….BLT’s sound really good. We should do that for dinner tomorrow.” Behold the power of bacon!!
So, we had BLT’s for dinner! “You’re on a diet, though, Keith” you say? Yes, indeed. And Turkey bacon works just as well! Sam had hers on bread and I had mine in a low carb wrap – BLT wraps are just as good!!
The Week Ahead …
I may have a Guest Blogger lined up in response to my earlier blog. If you have a story about us you’d like to share, a favorite memory, or a story that one of my blogs reminded you of – I’d love to hear it. Let me know.
It’s back to work for me, tonight, but I have a very important appointment to keep this week. It can mean some big changes on the horizon. It’s exciting. If all goes well, I will be sharing the “breaking news” in the days ahead ….
Until then … Have a great week. See you Tuesday for Tune Tuesday.
I’ve always enjoyed when TV shows bring in guest stars for appearances on my favorite shows. For example, That 70’s Show brought in many stars from the 70’s as guests or for cameos. This is not a new concept, Jack Benny’s Show in the 50’s often featured stars like Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and more. In the 60’s Batman had guest stars featured in the villain roles. The Big Bang Theory had some great guest stars! Today, I believe there are even Emmy Awards for Guest Actors in Dramatic and Comedy Roles. I suppose I could write a blog about my favorite Guest Stars, but that’s not what this blog is about….it’s actually about YOU.
This blog is over a year old now, and much of my writing is personal. Some of it is about movies and music. Some of my writing comes from my observations or is brought about by a writing prompt. While I have a notebook with “future blog ideas” written in it, I have not yet gotten to the point where I feel I am ready to write about them. There is, however, one “writing prompt” that has come up occasionally that I have thought about using: a guest blogger.
I realize that my blog doesn’t necessarily fit into a “category”. If I wrote about nothing but movies, I know three or four “movie” people that I would go to and ask if they would consider writing something for this blog. If it were exclusively about music, there are even more people I know who could write something musically oriented for me. With this blog being a bit of everything, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to handle a “guest appearance”.
Again, this is still up in the air, but here are some preliminary thoughts. First, someone would actually need to WANT to write something for me. Once someone expressed interest, I’d want a general idea of what the topic might be. Topics could be: favorite memory of us, favorite movie we both like, why you liked working with me, song that reminds you of me, why you read this blog, things that only you and I laugh about, or something like that.
I guess what made me decide to even post about it was listening to an old Jack Benny radio show this week. In the 1945-1946 season of his radio show, they ran an “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny Because….” contest. The idea was that listeners wrote, in 50 words or less, why they couldn’t stand Jack Benny and the winner won $10,000. Let me be clear, if someone wants to write a guest blog for me, it will be for free. I’m lucky if I have $10 in my pocket. Maybe I can buy you a beer or send you a nice card or something, but money is a bit hard to come by. I digress. I think it would be fun to read your thoughts about what we have in common or your favorite “us” story.
By even opening the door to the possibility of having a guest blogger, I am hoping for a few things. First, I hope to be reminded of a funny or special moment that I may have forgotten about. Second, I hope to hear a familiar story, from YOUR point of view. Third, I’m hoping to learn a bit more about me. How have I made an impact in the lives of others? How am I perceived by my friends? Am I a good or bad friend? (and why?) Do I make a difference? You know, things like that.
This could actually be something very cool and fun. It can also be something that I regret. We’ll see. Maybe I tossed this idea out and no one will respond – that’s ok. If you are interested, let me know. It can be something short or it can be long. Maybe you don’t want do it at all. Maybe you just want to suggest something you want me to write about. I’m ok with that, too. If you read this through a Facebook link, you can comment there. If you are reading this on Word Press, you can make a comment here.
I’m interested to see what happens…..
Thanks for reading, and for humoring this idea with me.