Crazy Nights and Hamburgers

So I went to see Kiss on Tuesday night.  It is, afterall, the Final Tour Ever.  First thing is Paul Stanley still sings everything.  No backup singers.  When I saw Motley Crue in 2012, Vince Neal barely sang anything.  He had two backup singers and I’m pretty damn sure those two ladies carried him through that entire concert.  Paul singing all the songs was almost as impressive as him wearing a vest throughout the show without a shirt underneath.  A 67 year-old dude in all his hairy chested glory.  Go Paul!

KISS

Second, Crazy Nights is a great song.  Never really realized it before but it kinda has the same message as We’re Not Gonna Take It.  And nobody likes a good solid rock song that gives the middle finger to the elite know-it-alls more than me.  The music snobs like to rip hair metal for its lack of sophistication, its lack of social messaging and its embrace of over the top cheesiness.  Well, screw you.  Go listen to Green Day and hang out with Pete Buttigieg and scold us for being part of the problem because we like to eat hamburgers.  And by the way, what the hell is the deal with the left and it’s war on tailgating?  AOC wants to ban cows, Mayor Pete says if you eat hamburgers you’re part of the problem.  Cows/hamburgers are the backbone of the American Tailgating Experience.  But again, I’m just a simple 49 year-old Midwestern Dad who likes football, hamburgers and hair metal.  If that means I’m part of the problem, well, like Paul sings in Crazy Nights – “And they try to tell us that we don’t belong, But that’s alright, we’re millions strong, You are my people, you are my crowd, this is our music, we love it loud.”

Third, you don’t see it much anymore but Kiss is just 3 guitars and drums.  And explosions.  And flamethrowers.  And Gene spitting blood.  And Paul suspended from a rope flying over the crowd.  It was pretty cool.

Last, nobody knows how to finish a show like Kiss.  Last song was I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night.  Complete with beach balls falling from the arena ceiling and about 15 confetti cannons going off during the song.  Add in the whole arena screaming at high volume and you have a recipe for pandemonium.  It was eerily reminiscent of my senior prom when one guy, a huge Kiss fan, got up on a table in white tux with tails and used his white cane as a microphone and belted out I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night when the DJ played it.  And that was also awesome.

I’m patiently waiting for the next hair metal band to stop in Des Moines.  Because I’m gonna be there.  And I’m gonna have a cheeseburger.  And a crappy non-craft beer.  And its gonna be freaking awesome.

Advertisements

The First Day of School

The first day of school is tomorrow.  At least it is for the now high school senior and sophomore.  The soph in college doesn’t start classes until Monday.

First day of school is an adjustment for everybody.  Kids and parents.  We aren’t any different.  The biggest adjustment for Mom and I is twofold.  First, we have deal with all the whining about getting up early.  Our strategy is relentless indifference punctuated by random unpredictable explosions of outright derision.  Kinda like the political left’s strategy in regards to the First Amendment.  Second, we have to brace for the whining about homework.  Our strategy is persistent questions and reminders about their homework.  It’s a war of attrition.  Eventually the girls’ resistance crumbles and they get their homework done simply because they want us to go away.  It’s basically how Jerry Jones gets his way so often with other NFL owners.

The soph in college is different.  She left for college on the 11th.  Her sorority had to get ready for primary recruitment.  Which is what everybody used to call rush.  They got the house ready for a week and then they spent this week, well, recruiting.  Today they’re done.  So if I still have the math correct from when I was in college that means they’re going drink their asses off until Sunday.  But maybe that doesn’t happen anymore…

Because lots of things don’t happen anymore since I was college.  There are some obvious examples.  Nobody listens to hair metal anymore.  Which really must suck for the students.  You’re not allowed to fly the flag anymore – unless of course it’s the hammer and sickle.  Hell, last year the 19 year-old and her roommate didn’t even have a TV in their room.  Yeah, I’m totally serious.  It’s f’ing insane.  No idea what they did on Sunday afternoons.

Now she’s living in a room with 9 other girls.  Which, if I’m being honest, sounds absolutely awful.  Like being forced to listen to rap.  When all the three girls were home this summer it was impossible for me to get dressed without pulling long blonde hairs off all my clothes.  Every single item of clothing I have.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  Socks.  Shirts.  Shorts.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s even worse because big t-shirts are evidently cool again so the girls all feel like they can “borrow” any t-shirt in my closet.  Most of our furniture has a nice extra blonde layer.  Plus it looks like the kitchen floor has fur.  If we turn the fan on there’s blonde hair tumbleweeds blowing across the kitchen.  I shudder at what that 10 girl room looks like.  I bet they hang machetes outside the room so they can cut their way back in after class everyday.

Anyway, do you remember the start of your senior year in high school?  Your sophomore year in high school?  I’m not gonna lie.  Senior year was awesome.  I’m pretty sure it was awesome from start to finish.  I mean how could it not be awesome when you’re driving a sweet 1981 diesel Volkswagen Rabbit listening to the supremely hot Sheena Easton sing “U Got The Look” with Prince wearing a pair of Guess Jeans with some white Reeboks.  Don’t let anybody tell you 1987 wasn’t awesome.

No idea if our senior feels as strongly about Sheena Easton as I did but she does have fairly strong feelings about her white bib overalls.  Turns out it is a tradition for the senior girls to get a pair of white bib overalls and decorate the absolute crap outta them and then wear them to the home football games.  If you were to go just by the sheer number of hours she’s put in decorating them, you’d think she was studying for the bar exam.  Luckily for her, the sophomore is a hell of an artist.  And she was somehow convinced to not only help her senior sister decorate the bibs but also to help three of her friends too.  So part of the garage was turned into a small laboratory equipped with a lot of paint and glitter.

You know what is only thing on the planet harder to get of than long blonde hairs?

Freaking glitter.  But at least the garage and driveway are really shiny now…

Ah, Spring…

So its spring.  The wonderful time of year when your allegies cause your brain to swell and your teenage daughter obessess over prom.  We’ve already been through three proms with the oldest.  So another prom didn’t seem like a big deal.  And, turns out, it really wasn’t.  The best part, for me anyway, was writing this.  Why?  Because nobody rolled their eyes at me while I meandered my way through my memories of April of ’87.  And, listen, I have three daughters.  I can identify an eye roll when I see one.  It is one of those skills that Dads of daughters involuntary master.  Like the selective hearing it takes to enjoy a game broadcast by Dan Dakich.  Or Jim Acosta and his unflappable ability to have zero self-awareness.

But back to prom and 1987.  Top Gun just came out on VHS.  George Michael and Aretha Franklin were singing I Knew You Were Waiting For Me.  And my friends and I somehow finagled a hotel room at a local hotel in which about 20 of us partied the night after prom.  I didn’t bring that up with the kids.  But I did bring up that Prom ’87 was the first time I heard Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again.  Because that’s a key moment for anyone who was in high school in the late 80’s.

The middle daughter, who happens to be on the edge of seventeen, had this whole thing planned out.  I’m not kidding.  She could teach a class on logistics and transportation.  They had a fairly decent sized group all going together.  The girls met at our house early to get ready.  She staggered the times a bit to make sure everyone had a sink and mirror in front of which to prepare.  To no one’s shock or amazement, I’m still perplexed at not only how long it takes teenage girls to get ready for prom, but also how much attention to detail they have during the getting ready process.  I’m a dude so the entire process of getting ready for prom for entailed taking a shower, putting on a rented tux and wearing these:

blue wayfarers

But with girls it is a process.  A process honed by hours and hours of practice.  It also include lots of discussion about various methods and different techniques of getting ready.  I assume it is the teenage girl version of an off-season meeting of defensive coordinators discussing the best ways to defend Tom Brady.

Regardless, I was happy to be uninvolved with all of it.  Similar to how I approach math homework.  Not a lot I can contribute, so I leave it up to Mom and provide a wide area in which she can operate.

Transporation from our house to the picture location was seemless too.  Again, mostly due to the tireless attention to detail provided by the 16 year-old and her fondness for planning.  Yeah, so instead of taking pics at the house, which is what I did back in the spring of ’87, they all pick out a picturesque locale in which to take the pics.  They picked a business close to the house that had a pond, decorative flower pots and fountain.  The picture taking process was made easier and far more enjoyable by the beers I drank prior.

The 16 year-old got pics with her boyfriend.  With each of her friends.  With most their dates.  Plus varying group pics, with assorted poses and looks – some planned, some unplanned.  When that was finally completed they ALL came back to our house to kill some time before they headed to dinner and the actual prom.  This was one of the few things that was not mapped out ahead of time by the 16 year-old.  So she volunteered our house as a spot where they could reorganize and, I assume anyway, be uncomfortable in their formal wear.  We left out a 30 pack of bottled water and some pop for them.  They were clearly and sternly informed that was all they were to drink. I also informed them of exactly how many cans of beer were in my basement fridge.  If any were missing, the only thing more obvious than the fact it was them who drank it is that Alexa is not only spying on you if she’s in your house but that she’s also the precursor to Skynet becoming self-aware.

So I’m not sure how they do it at your kids’ high school, but at ours there is generally a house where the group sleeps over.  Yeah boys and the girls.  I was as shocked as anyone to find this out three years ago.  Somebody’s parents host, and by host I mean they are tricked into having everybody stay overnight.  You generally provide some snacks and drinks for the promgoers and some semblance of a breakfast.  Your breakfast effort is largerly based on – 1) your devotion to breakfast, and 2) your skills at preparing breakfast.

A couple years ago we hosted the group after the Homecoming Dance.  We bought them some donuts and called it good.  The family that hosted the group after prom this year made them an actual breakfast.  Pancakes, eggs, etc.  Yeah, that’s just f’ing crazy.  I thought we were generous with the 2 dozen donuts.  They were Krispy Kremes.  The 16 year-old got home and if you were judging what the best part of prom based on what she talked about the most, it was the breakfast.

Teenagers can be easy to please…

 

Magnum and Hallmark

The 15 year-old said something recently that got me thinking.  I mean legitimately made me stop and think.  It was like the opposite of what happens to me when Kamala Harris speaks or when the girls watch The Bachelor.  Anyway, Mom and I were watching Magnum.  Yes, I realize that I’ve previously stated how it was predetermined that the reboot would suck.  I also am fairly certain that I was not alone in this assumption.  Mostly because nearly every attempt to recreate the awesomeness of any original 80’s movie or TV show has utterly and completely crashed and burned.

Red Dawn. The communists are bad.  America, with all her imperfections, is awesome.  Solid premise.  Also I’m pretty sure the original would have come true if Carter had been re-elected in 1980.  But the remake was awful.  Like if I laid out a scale of 80’s awesomeness and at one end you had Mel Gibson’s hair in Lethal Weapon and at the other end you had Walter Mondale’s acceptance speech at the ’84 DNC, the Red Dawn remake wouldn’t even be even with Mondale.

The A-Team.  Since Taken, Liam Neeson normally makes things awesome.  Not so in The A-Team reboot.  It’s not like it was hard to take the premise of the TV show and turn it into an awesome movie.  The Equalizer was essentially the same TV show and they managed to turn that into a freaking bad ass movie.

Miami Vice.  C’mon Hollywood.  This thing was, for all intents and purposes, a manual on how to absolutely and entirely ruin something awesome so completely that anyone who actually watched the TV show is now unable to ever explain to their kids that Miami Vice was, at one point, the coolest thing on the planet.  So pretty much what lefty academia is doing to free speech on college campuses.

Not that they always get it wrong.  The Goldberg’s is great and their attention to 80’s detail is extremely satisfying.  Stranger Things is one of the greatest shows of all time and having it set in the mid 80’s only makes it better.  Although Season 2 consistently got the music wrong.  They were a year off.  Season 2 takes place in November of ’84.  At the Snow Ball, they feature Twist of Fate by Olivia Newton-John.  The song was the theme to the extremely underappreciated Two of a Kind…which came out in 1983.  Perfect song for moment but they were a year off.  And Ready Player One is an 80’s trivia nerd’s dream.  So naturally, I liked it.

If the rumors are right then we’ll be seeing remakes of Escape From New York, War Games and Weird Science.  Which fills me with a great sense of anticipation…and also feelings of incredible dread.  Basically the same feelings I get when watching Chris Boswell kick field goals for the Steelers.

Regardless, there we were watching Magnum.  And the 15 year comes downstairs and says, “Is this Magnum?”  To which was naturally answer, “yeah, be quiet.”  To which she responds, “This show is basically a Hallmark movie.  It’s exactly the same thing.”

MagnumHigginsSo two things.  1)  Higgins is hot.  Not something I’d have said about the original but a stone cold fact in reference to the reboot.  I mean one of the main reasons I watch the show is because of Higgins’ British accent and hotness.  And I don’t care what you say, that is a perfectly legit reason to watch the show.  Same reason why I’ll watch just about anything with Salma Hayek.

2) Magnum is not a freaking Hallmark movie.  I mean clearly it isn’t Christmas.  And nowhere is there a woman who recently broke up with a long-time boyfriend who works in New York at an investment bank who also is really, really wrapped up in his career and the all the status that goes along with that.  Also nowhere to be seen is the small hometown to which the recently single woman must return to visit her parents or her ailing grandmother or to save the Christmas Tree Farm that is about to be bulldozed by the investment bank to put up some environmentally ignorant condos.  And surprisingly, she runs into an old high school boyfriend who never left the hometown but has a successful carpentry business and wonderful old house who also desperately believes the Christmas Tree Farm must saved from the corporate a-holes in NYC.

Magnum is an ex-Navy Seal who had a rough experience in Afghanistan.  Along with his buddies Rick and TC, they use their training to crack cases and help the underdog on the island of Oahu.  All of them have a few skeletons in the closet that are tough to talk about.  And yes, things do get wrapped up in the end but not so tightly that there aren’t a few loose ends that always come back to haunt Magnum from his past…hey, wait a minute…

Die Hard

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Here comes another formulaic take on why Die Hard is, or is not, a Christmas movie.  Plus Christmas was a month ago.  And, the truth is, I don’t care about your opinion on this matter.  Not sure I even care about my opinion on this matter.  But I watch Die Hard at Christmas.  I also watch Die Hard 2 at Christmas.  Also Lethal Weapon.  Because if Die Hard creates an entire conversation around it’s yuletide bonafides then why doesn’t Lethal Weapon?  Totally serious.  I also watch all the Die Hards and the original Lethal Weapon in seasons other than the Christmas season.  Because they’re awesome.  And, I assume anyway, that it is only a matter of time before Maize Hirono and Kirsten Gillibrand, ban them.  But that’s not what I want to write about though.  I want to write about Ellis.  Because Ellis is what we used to refer as a douche.  And we all agreed.  Liberals, conservatives, men, women, old and young.  This was before the progressive left somehow decided it was a sane idea to teach people that being a male was a crime.

Anyway, Ellis, besides being the stereotypical 80’s plot device character, is somebody in every workplace in America.  Ellis, for you non-Die Hard fans or communists as the civilized world refers to you, is the sleeze John McClane meets upon entering his wife’s office with Mr. Takagi.  Ellis is busy using his nose to vacuum up what we all assume to be cocaine.  Then he lies about it in front of not only John but also his boss.  Eventually Holly walks in and Ellis badgers her into showing John the rolex the company gave her.  A gift Holly is obvious a bit self-conscious about.  Ellis eventually is such an annoying douche that even the terrorists tire of him right before they rid the world of his presence.

His character is a snapshot of an 80’s douchebag.  Womanizer, braggart, cocaine sniffer, stupid hair, expensive watch and equally expensive suit.  All wrapped up in telling everybody how important he is.  We all know an Ellis.  Maybe the one in your office doesn’t do cocaine at the office Christmas party but that’s probably because office Christmas parties don’t really exist anymore.  Although that’s another hilariously awesome Christmas movie.  The truth is we all know an Ellis.  Even Santa knows an Ellis.  Donner is the Ellis of Christmastown.  Which got me thinking…

Adam Schiff and Ted Lieu are the Ellis’ of Congress.  Jimmy Haslam is the Ellis of the NFL owners.  Jim Acosta is the Ellis of White House reporters.  The Riddler is the Ellis of the Legion of Doom.  Seth is the Ellis of Pretty in Pink.  Millennials are Ellis’ of generations.  Richard Marx’ 80’s hair is the Ellis of power mullets.  CC DeVille is the Ellis of Poison.

Published in: on January 25, 2019 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

So I Had This Dream…

miamivicecrockettYou know how you have a dream that is so awesome, so compelling, that you simply enjoy the dream as if you’re watching a great movie?  You might even realize at some point that you’re really asleep and what you’re experiencing is only a dream.  But you don’t care because the dream is so gripping that you can’t look away.  Like the Miami Vice episode when Crockett gets shot by that Columbian drug lord’s girlfriend while Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight is playing during.  But then the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the one thing you don’t want to happen actually happens.  You wake up before the dream is over or at least has reached a point that you’re satisfied with the outcome.

That happened to me right before Christmas.  Granted the dream was powered by Miller Lite and tacos but it was still awesome.  I got up the next morning and immediately wrote it down because I didn’t want to forget any details.

So Mom and I are at a Peter Gabriel concert.  Don’t really have a historical context for the point in which this concert was taking place during Peter Gabriel’s career but I’m comfortable saying it was during his  greatest hits phase.  We’re sitting in the back row on the end of the aisle.  The seats are arranged in a half circle.  We were super pumped about being there which is kinda weird because I’m not really a big Peter Gabriel guy.  Never have been.  There’s really only two, maybe three, songs that I like.  But here’s the thing, Peter Gabriel was only sitting one minute versions of his songs.  Who does that?  I distinctly remember it pissing me off because I had hauled my arse to a freaking Peter Gabriel concert and I wasn’t even going to hear the full version of Solsbury Hill.  Which, as we all know, is Peter Gabriel’s best song closely followed by In Your Eyes with Shock the Monkey a distant third.  I realize you could make a persuasive argument for Games Without Frontiers for that 3 spot.  I’m just saying that I’m not going to help you with that argument.

Anyway, I had a spiral notebook at the concert and everybody was stepping on the notebook tearing all the pages off.  The presence of the notebook and the reasons behind its presence remain unclear.  Regardless it was there.  At this point everybody in our row needed to get up and leave the concert or at least the row we were in.  I assumed the short ass concert was over.  So I turned to my left and let everybody leave the row and then I picked up the now loose and torn pages of the trampled notebook .  I was very angry about the notebook being torn up and combined with the unannounced and thoroughly unacceptable plan for Peter Gabriel to only sing one minute versions of his songsStill extremely mad we only got to hear a one minute version of Solsbury Hill.

As we got up to leave our seats we turned to leave but instead of stepping into the aisle we stepped out of the driver’s side back seat of a stretch limo.  Don’t really remember being confused by this occurrence either.  Regardless, we just stepped out of a limo.  And I was barefoot.  Yeah, as we were walking to our car to leave I realized that I was barefoot.  I know, weird.  So I turned back to the limo to get my shoes out of the back seat.  The shoes were my brown Birkenstock clogs.  Don’t laugh, they’re super comfortable.  But as I turned back to get the shoes the limo driver is walking across the street to this shanty looking house and he gives my shoes to the people at the house!

voodoohenchmanAnd these folks were those creepy looking voodoo guys like Yaphet Kotto’s henchmen in Live and Let Die.  So I casually, but in a sternly confident way, walked up to them to get my shoes and – poof – they were gone.  Like voodoo magic.  So I yelled at the limo driver “Yo, Yo, Yo, those are my shoes!”  But the creepy Cajun guys just smiled toothy unsettling smiles and opened the door to the shanty.  There, directly in front of me was a staircase to an upstairs room that looked like your uncle’s den from 1973.  Gold carpet, wood paneling, crappy fold out table for a desk.  The guy at the desk was the big fat black guy with the gravely voice and big glasses from the Kandy Bar in Weird Science.  I climbed the stairs and a quick conversation ensured.  Turns out to get my shoes back I had to agree to buy some homemade alcohol in a super weirdly decorated bottle.  The bottle kinda looked like a homemade maple syrup jug.

But it was apparent that this was now a bargaining process to get my shoes back.  Unbeknownst to the guy from Weird Science, I had this giant crumpled up wad of cash in my pocket.  But, like any good negotiator, I didn’t want to take the money out because then he’d know how much money I had and the price of getting my shoes back would undoubtedly go up.

So I offered $30.

gravelyvoicedguyweirdscienceFor some reason I knew the price was $50 so I tried to lowball him.  He said “higher.”  So I said $40 and he just laughed and walked away.  That’s when two of my nieces, Mom and one of Mom’s sisters started walking up the stairs at various intervals.  And their hair was wet because they had all taken showers.  And I thought, “Wow these creepy weird Cajun voodoo guys are letting everybody take showers after the horrible Peter Gabriel concert, that’s really nice.”  But then Mom walked into the den where I was and asked the big fat black guy from Weird Science if she owed anything else.  I turned to her with the WTF look on my face.  I was naturally confused because I was negotiating for my shoes which had nothing to do with Mom.  And I was completely and utterly unaware of any previous business dealings between Mom and Weird Science guy.  So I said, “What are you doing?  He wants me to pay for this stupid homemade moonshine to get my birks back.”  But then the guy says to Mom, “No we’re square. $58 dollars.”  So I was super mad now because how is this guy doing business with Mom and I had no idea.  And what the hell cost $58?

Even weirder was everybody from Mom’s side of the family was there and waiting outside the shanty.  I mean everybody except the few that were lucky enough to score shanty showers.  Anyway, they all wanted to leave the absurdly short Peter Gabriel concert so I was feeling a lot of pressure to get the moonshine for shoes deal done. So now the Weird Science guy knows that I didn’t know Mom had some side deal going and that I’m under pressure to wrap it up.  Both of which undermine my credibility!  Then I notice this one guy from work is also there.  He was wearing a red and black track suit and was also wearing his blublockers.  He’s also getting irritated with me to get this thing done because he had to ref a soccer game at 1:00 and it took two hours to drive home from where we were.  And, he was tapping his watch telling me it was exactly 11:06.

Which made me even angrier because now I’m losing even more leverage in the deal making process.  Which, of course, means the price to get my sweet Birkenstock clogs back is not going to go down.   So I offered $50 and said you win.  But he said that was the old price, the new price is higher now.  So now I’m moving from feeling pressure to being just plain angry.  So angry that I start doing what Denzel Washington was doing in The Equalizer when he checks his watch to time himself on how long it takes to kill all the guys in the room.  Evidently that got me so angry, I woke myself up.

So I did what everybody would have done.  I frantically tried to go back to sleep to find out if I ever got my shoes back and how much damage I caused in the process.  Didn’t work though.  Instead I woke up Mom to tell her that if she’s going to negotiate side deals with big fat gravely-voiced dudes from Weird Science then I’m going to need a heads up.

Things are getting better…

We have a busy December. But, in America, that’s just how we roll.  We have family coming to house the next two weekends.  Then right after Christmas, we’d headed to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.  This weekend the 16 year-old volunteered to host the secret Santa party for the softball program at the girls’ high school.  So about 30 girls showed up about 10:30 in the a.m. on Sunday and stuck around for about 90 minutes.  At first I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing.  But who can blame me?  I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to trials and tribulations of the aforementioned teenage girls.  I already have had YEARS of teenage girls living in my house.  Why the hell would I purposely invite an extra 30 girls between 14 and 18 into my house?  No, seriously, why would I do that? 

But I gave my approval.  Mostly because I’m a seasoned veteran and know which battles to pick.  Piece of advice for all you Dads of little girls out there.  Anyway, even though I knew it was a good long-term decision, it still had me pondering what in the name of the Burl Ives was I thinking.  Turns out it was mostly cool.  They organized it all themselves and helped clean up afterwards.  In fact, the food they brought over was awesome.  Breakfast pizza, egg casseroles, donuts, cookies, bagels, muffins and chocolate milk.

Plus I had to drive up to Ames and pick the 19 year-old.  So I flipped on the radio to the station that plays the old top 40s.  Today was this week in 1987.  So yeah, I was singing my ass off.  Top 5 songs for the week ending Dec. 12 1987:

5- Is This Love – Whitesnake

4- (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

3- Should’ve Known Better – Richard Marx

2- Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle

1- Faith – George Michael

So let’s break this morning down.  First, my house was invaded by teenage girls.  This is a normal occurrence.  So I was relatively unfazed.  Like John McClane when he finds Hans checking the explosives in the Nakatomi Building.  He knows it’s Hans.  But Hans doesn’t know he knows.  So John is unfazed.  He’s not relaxed, his cop senses are on high alert.  But he’s unfazed.  That’s how I felt.  Because these invasions are normally conducted by small raiding parties of less than 5 girls.  Sometimes they only come in pairs and I don’t even notice they are in the house except for the extra shoes by the front door.  Today it was a platoon of softball girls.  But I wasn’t there for most of it.  And, instead of bringing drama, they brought delicious breakfast foods.  Unfazed.  Also a tad bit hungry.

Second, on my way up to pick up our oldest at college, I enjoyed the best music from the Christmas season in 1987.  Notably absent from the top 40 were two songs I distinctly remember from playing an outsized role in the soundtrack to the fall of my senior year in high school.  Those two songs?  Casanova by LeVert and Say You Will by Foreigner.  Man, that LeVert song, now that I listen to it again, is…still freaking awesome.  It might even be better.  Im-freaking-possible not bust out your best dance moves.  Better than I remember.  Say You Will still rocks too but it just didn’t have the same surprise impact that LeVert did.  But go back and look at that top 5.  Not sure you can make a credible case that you’re referencing an actual top 40 list from the late 80’s unless Richard Marx and his power mullet are on the list.  Okay, quick, you have to listen to a Richard Marx song…what is it?  Should’ve Know Better?  Satisfied?  Endless Summer Nights?  Not easy is it?  Because nobody is going to pick any of those songs.  Unless you’re drunk and playing name that tune with your friends as you search for somewhat memorable Richard Marx songs from the 80’s.  Also go play Heaven Is A Place On Earth and don’t sing along.  

Can’t do it can you?  It can’t be done.  There is something physiological that happens.  Some kind of chemical that is released in the human brain when you hear Belinda Carlisle.  Involuntary response to said stimuli is to sing your ass off.  

So I know it sucks that wokeness police are trying to kill Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  And I know they killed any chance you were going to watch the Oscars by sacking Kevin Hart.  And now you have to worry about anything you said when you were 14 years old because the USA Today is going to dig it up and turn it over to the woke Stasi.  But I ended up with free egg casserole and sweet tunes from December of ’87.  So that’s a win dudes.

Things could be worse…

I know after the last two weeks everybody is angry.  Everybody is at battle stations.

But things could be worse.

On the way home from church Sunday morning Mom and I were listening to the radio station that airs replays from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40’s from this week in some distant year.  Truth be told, assuming it is a year from the 80’s, I like to show off by being able to name the year by hearing any song within whatever Top 40 is featured.  Nobody is impressed.  Except me.  Whatever.  Today was this week in 1981.

I was 11 in October of ’81.  My main concern was the Steelers recovering from an 0-2 start and what I was going to be for Halloween.  What should have been a top concern for all of us was the fact that Eddie Rabbit, Ronnie Milsap and Juice Newton all had songs in the top freaking 10!  The top song in the country and evidently for 8 consecutive weeks back in the late summer and early fall of 1981 was – brace yourself – Endless Freaking Love.  I know, I know…there are no words.  How did America survive this?

If you jumped in your Chevy Chevette on your way to the local watering hole because tonight was kinda special and you wanted it to be a Lowenbrau, and you flipped on the local top 40 station, you were tortured with a loop of Pablo Cruise, Kenny Rogers and Air Supply.  I’m not certain how the new Reagan administration recovered from this headwind of suckitude.  I mean the hostages had been home for almost a year and we welcomed them back by forcing them to listen to Al Jarreau?  Geez, Al Jarreau?  Al Jarreau wasn’t even remotely cool until he sang the theme song to Moonlighting in 1986.  How did this happen?  The early 80’s were evidently a dark, dark time…

BoDukeIf that wasn’t bad enough John Schneider, yes Bo F’ing Duke, actually was moving up the charts.  Seriously, what in the sweet hell was going in the early days of the 1980’s?  Thankfully MTV was born in August of ’81 and quickly and mercilessly annihilated all this easy listening, countryesque soft rock bullshit from the airwaves.  It wasn’t long until Genesis, Pat Benatar and Rick Springfield were dominating the Top 40…along with under appreciated one hit wonder No Time to Lose from the Tarney Spencer Band.

So rest easy America, things have been worse.

Full Disclosure

Gotta admit something…I’ve watched both episodes of the new Magnum, P.I.  Both of them.  And here’s the thing…I don’t hate it.  I sorta like it.  It’s not nearly as cool as the original but it really isn’t bad.  But that’s not really what I wanted to write about.

High school yearbooks and the remarks contained within are evidently the latest thing we all need to worry about.

With this in mind, I took a look at my high school yearbook from senior year.  I don’t remember the last time I did this.  But after the last couple weeks, all of our senior year high school yearbooks have become the code breaker for our DNA.  They are evidently filled with clairvoyance.  These amazingly prophetic crystal balls foretell our activities and conduct for the rest of lives.  Which is weird because after talking with some friends, it turns out nobody wanted to be judged on what was in their yearbooks.  Regardless, let’s examine mine.

Turns out, at least according to the wise teenage sages who detailed my senior year through written notes in said yearbook, beer and parties were our main interests.  Now I’m just spitballin’ here but that qualifies me for exactly one job…an 18 year old high school senior boy.  Weird, I know.  In fact my senior picture was adored by a hand sketched arm holding a beer.  Still not sure who drew that.  But judge away I guess…

Second sentence of the very first note written in the yearbook on the inside front cover was by a guy who is still a great friend and has gone on to become a respectable husband, father and public servant.  Nonetheless, he thoughtlessly wrote – “Now we have to get out and party all summer but we can’t get in any more trouble with the cops or we’re toast.  We need to get wasted!”

Just so there’s no misunderstanding of the terms used – when we say “cops” we mean local law enforcement.  When we say “wasted” we mean drinking to the point of being inebriated.  And just for some context, we considered getting wasted a worthwhile pursuit of happiness.  That pursuit of happiness often led us to participate in drinking games.  It was through these games that we were able to satisfy our toxic masculine desires to drink beer, compete in games of skill and yell movie quotes in loud voices.  Such is the life of the 18 year-old recently graduated high school senior.  But I graduated from a small suburban Catholic high school so judge away…

In another note, one of my buddies told me not to forget to ZEUS.  We used zeus as a euphemism for farting.  So two things here: not totally sure what Zeus has to do with farting and I’m not clear why I needed to “remember” to zeus as I’ve never really thought of farting as being a memory issue.  But that’s just me.  There’s also references to “blowing chow” and “booting” and “Q.P.T.” and a short note from my senior prom date who wrote that she just might take me up on the offer to pour a beer on my head.  Again, facts remain cloudy as to why I allegedly made that offer.  Again, just to be clear “blowing chow” or “booting” means throwing up.  In college we called it “honking” and it sometimes happened because you drank too much over the course of an evening.  Other times it was likely the result of a beer bong.  And I’m sure you’ll agree that not all stomachs react the same way to quick consumption of beer using what is essentially a hose.  “Q.P.T.” means quality party time.  It was also noted that Q.P.T. lasts until well after midnight.  The stamina for partying amongst high school seniors is astonishing.  Almost as astonishing as the amount of references to throwing up in my yearbook.  It’s almost as if we thought it was cool…

But these weren’t the only terms we used that became colloquialisms within our group.  I know, I know sounds like crazy talk.  For example, when something unfortunate would happen to one of us, the rest of us would derisively say “Dude, you failed to avoid the goon rush.”  Sometimes it was further slanged into “failed to avoid the GR” or to simply “gooned.”  I haven’t doubled checked its meaning in Urban Dictionary…

One of our favorite movies was Heartbreak Ridge.  And we dubbed ourselves the Recon Boys and the platoon that was featured in the movie.  Which, now that I write it, is astoundingly lame.  Nonetheless we came up with 46 Rules for Partying with the Recon Boys.  This list of unenforceable decrees was, and this might surprise you, laced with our preoccupation with beer and parties.

Rule #1: If you are there, then you drink — no exceptions.

Rule #7: Blowing chow is a positive experience — it makes room for more beer.

Rule #11: Never under any circumstances leave a half-finished beer sitting around.

Rule #21: If you spill, you clean it up.

Rule #30: If a keg is present, assume you are spending the night.

Rule#39: We are not totally worthless, we can always serve as a bad example.

It’s as if we thought beer actually gave us superpowers…

We even gave each other nicknames.  Our friend Rich was called “Sid” one year because another guy on the baseball team thought he looked like Mets pitcher Sid Fernandez when he pitched.  Another dude was “Gouk.”  And it was pronounced the same way a racial slur for Asians is pronounced.  But that’s not what we meant and our friend wasn’t Asian.  His first name was Matt.  Turns out that at the time we were in high school the head coach of the 76ers was Matty Goukas.  So we started calling our friend Matt “Goukas”  or “Gouk.”  I wonder how that would be interpreted in a Senate hearing?

There are references to parties at my house and parties at my friends’ houses, parties in cornfields, parties in an unoccupied house owned by a friends’ parents, parties in an undeveloped cul-de-sac we dubbed “The Circle.”  Lots of references to drinking at Prom and parties in hotel rooms we somehow were able to get.  A reference or two to the liquor store in the town north of our high school which thought our fake ID’s were good enough to sell us 30 packs of Stroh’s and cases of Milwaukee’s Best.  By fake IDs I mean small laminated cards with our actual pictures accompanied by made up names and addresses.  We used them to buy beer.  Because we were teenagers who liked to break rules and were impatient to be 21.

So current and future high school seniors…choose your words carefully I guess.  You never know…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I like this teacher…

I walk in the door after work Thursday and the 14 year-old is sitting the kitchen doing her homework.  So two things comes to mind:

  1. Damn, we’re killing this parenting thing.
  2. Wait, is she just trying to impress us by doing her homework right after school and in an area of the house which we will undoubtedly notice her doing homework and therefore be impressed with her…so she can ask us for money or something?

Regardless, she was doing her math homework.  She also let us know a couple observations she has of her math teacher.

“Dad, my math teacher is like you times 100.”

“What?  Why?  Does he consider the first weekend of the NFL season a national holiday?  Does he agree that Die Hard is a Christmas movie?  Does he agree that socialized health care like Obamacare is only supported by people who are bad at math?”

“I don’t know but he’s the most Gen X teacher I have.”

“Hmm…I’m interested.  Go on.”

“First, he tells us that he’s there to teach us math.  Not care about our feelings.  So if we think he’s mean or that our feelings get hurt then we should just go see the guidance counselor because math doesn’t care about our feelings.”

“Sounds reasonsable.”

“Then, he tells us that his main rule is no whining.  And if we have any complaints about that we should write them down put them in his complaint file which is his garbage can.”

“Well that’s just smart management.”

“Then he tells us that he’ll let us listen to music in class when we’re doing work but that our music is crap.  He thinks the rap we listen to is trash so he’s going to do for us what his parents did for him and teach us about good music.”

“And what’s that?”

“He makes us listen to classic rock.”

“This guy either should get a raise or they should make him superintendent of the whole school district.”

Which got me thinking about something else.  Did any of you watch the VMA’s last week?  For yet to be explained reasons, Mom was.  Which was weird because unless you’re pretty sure Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a future president of these United States, you’re not watching the VMA’s.  But I’m a Gen X Dad in my late 40’s.  This ain’t my show anymore.  Judging from the ratings, most of America agrees with me.  But Mom was interested in a few of the performances.  So we watched it.  Kevin Hart’s comments about Trump sounded a bit forced.  Which was disappointing to me because I was looking forward to a lot of moralistic smuggery from the liberal thought police.  There were a couple things that were simply a surprise.  For example, I just learned that they no longer call the video music award handed out at MTV’s awards show a “moonman.”  They now call it a “moonperson.”  I’m sure someone can explain to me why that change is so important.  I’m also equally sure I won’t listen.  I also learned that they hand out something called the VMA for video with a social message?  Maybe you knew that.  Maybe you watch the VMA’s and believe this is an award that is super important.  I don’t.  It kinda sounded like an award developed within the “everybody gets a trophy for participating” school of thought.  But that’s just me.  Because, once again, I’m a Gen X Dad in my late 40’s.  Truth be told, the award did make me a bit curious.  I mean, what videos would have won this award back when I would have watching the VMA’s?  I’m just spitballin’ here but here’s a few guesses:

1984 – “You Can Still Rock in America” by Night Ranger.  Back in the 80’s you could still rock in America.  Social message?  We’re Americans.  We like to rock.

1985 – “My Girl Wants to Party All the Time” by Eddie Murphy.  Reagan just got re-elected and Rick James was in the video.  Social message?  We want to party.  All the time.

1986 – “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins.  I feel the need, the need for speed.  Social message?  We’re Americans, we like to sing off key in bars and blow those commie bastards outta the sky.

1987 – “You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party” by The Beastie Boys.  White dudes rapping.  Diversity.  Social message?  Breaking racial stereotypes is important…but not as important as partying.

1988 – “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard.  Social message?  Sugar, beer, tax cuts…who cares…just pour it on me.

1989 – “Bust a Move” by Young MC.  A rap song can sound like music.  Social message?  Got no money and you got no car, then you got no women and there you are.

1990 – “Up All Night” by Slaughter.  Social message?  Annoy authority.  Sleep all day.  Party all night.

I’m just saying that maybe Gen X was pretty good at staying on message.  And our messages, and again I’m just spitballin’ here, seem like a helluva lot more fun.