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.

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Who’s Excited for Summer?

wildthingSummer needs to get here.  Fast.  Not because of my impatience for Season 3 of Stranger Things but because it is entirely possible that our 15 and 17 year-olds aren’t going to make it.  Seriously, they just might not get there.  Not because school and activities are grinding them down, moreso because there are times I feel like Mitch Williams coming outta the ‘pen for the ’89 Cubs.  I’m volatile and unpredicatible with my parenting decisions.  And if you’re not paying attention, you might get a 99 mph fastball high and tight.

I mean, okay, maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe its true that they’re worn out from 9 months of school.  Maybe all the studying for finals has them really stressed out.  Maybe those two things combined with track and softball is just overwhelming them.  Or, maybe, its just a whole helluva lot of whining and laziness.  And those two things mingling are really just the girls inviting me to punch them in the face.  Verbally of course.  I don’t want to give any of you online parenting stormtroopers the wrong idea…

Listen, I get that it becomes harder once the weather gets warm, the grass gets green and the grills get smokier.  A cold Miller Lite, a home grilled burger and Poison playing in the background makes me happy too.  School ends on May 31st and it remains unclear how the 15 year-old is going to make it.  Seriously, she’s checked out.  Like she might be more checked out from school than Jerry Nadler is from reality.  Okay, that’s not fair.  Nadler is living in a carefully constructed alternative universe in which he’s taken seriously.  The 15 year-old is only in the process of checking out of a universe in which she knows we don’t take her seriously.  She combats her ineptitude in getting us to take her pretend exhaustion seriously by being whiny and lazy.  As each day goes by, she’s checks out a little more.  Which, if you think about it, is f’ing crazy.  She’s 15.  She’s a freshman in high school.  What the hell is so hard about the life of a high school freshman?  Mortgage payments?  Paying cellphone and car insurance bills for 5 freaking people?  Being stuck in an age demographic that somehow thinks socialism doesn’t always end in theft, murder and poverty?  Okay, that last one does suck but it shouldn’t affect her energy levels.

Anyway, here’s an example.  She has to be in her desk in her first class at 8:20 a.m.  This has been the case since August and isn’t a real high bar to clear.  It’s like if you were a new member of congress and you proposed a giant socialist manifesto proclaiming your greener-than-thou moral superiority and the only bar you had to clear was to not back up the manifesto with arguments about banning cow farts.  Anyway, you’d think after about 9 months of school, the 15 year-old would be used to this.  Shouldn’t her internal clock have moved into autopilot and the whole getting up and having all your stuff ready to go be second nature?  Well, of course not you stupid moron!  Expecting a 15 year-old to show some semblance of consistency when the weather is warm would be stupid.  High level stupidness.  I mean you’d have to be a complete imbecile to somehow come to the conclusion that by the end of freaking May, your 15 year-old daughter would be able to get out of bed, walk the 12 feet to the bathroom, get ready for school, have her track and/or softball stuff ready for practice/meet/game and – and this is key – drive herself to school in a timely manner.  Yeah, she gets to drive to school even though she’s only 15.  School license.  She doesn’t even have to make it to a freaking bus stop.  She has to walk into the garage and succesfully back the car out of the driveway and make, totally serious here, 4 total turns to get to school.

But as I mentioned earlier, that would make you stupid.  Because here’s the thing, at some point in May, the autopilot begins to malfunction.  This is due to something called “Idon’tgiveacrapitis” and we’ve all been afflicted with this ailment.  In high school, in college, as a parent and at your job.  I understand it, you understand it.  And, truth be told, I like to fully and vigorously embrace it at times.  But, here’s where parenting is bullshit, the 15 year-old doesn’t get to do it.  When she’s a senior?  Sure, I’ll probably let it slide a bit.  But not now.  Her life is not hard.  Somehow we’ve allowed her to become soft.  She’s like the media’s questions for Obama after he weaponized the IRS to go after any organization who dared oppose his reign.

Regardless, I need summer to get here so the arguments can be limited to which of the three girls gets a car for the day.  Because the constant vigilance necessary to make sure they study, turn in their assignments, take advantage of any and all retakes/extra credit while also ensuring they are on time and have all the correct track and softball is bullshit.  Now, I know some of you are acting all bad ass and saying, “Yeah, whatever man, if they didn’t have the right gear – TOUGH!”  Yeah, okay, but you know you’re getting a call from the 15 year-old about an hour or so before her first softball game saying, “MOM, I forgot my uniform pants!  Can you bring them to the field?!!!”

Seriously, that just happened.  She forgot her pants.  I wonder if Jerry Nadler forgets his pants when he freaks out about his meaningless subpoenas?

 

 

 

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…

Bleachers, Gas and Parking

Sometimes I marvel at my ability to stay calm in the face of adversity.  I mean it takes a certain level of maturity to keep a composed demeanor while unexpected, and dare I say, unwarranted explosions of frustration, apprehension and just plain ol’ rage blow up in your face.  It also is just years and years of experience of being outnumbered 4-1 in my house by Mom and the girls.  I’m like the 82nd Airborne, I’m not only used to be outnumbered but I’m also completely at ease being surrounded.  All Dads who share a house with all daughters have this gift.

So I’m in the kitchen this morning.  Just had come down the stairs and placed my phone on the island.  I was jammin to Bleachers.  I was in a pretty good mood.  It’s tough to be grumpy when listening to these guys.  I Wanna Get Better is a great song.  Anyway, Mom asks me what’s going on later and then she’s out the door headed to work.  Totally normal.  Suddenly, about a minute or so later she returns to the kitchen.  This isn’t necessarily an odd occurrence.  Sometimes she forgets something.  Sometimes, when it’s cold, she was just warming up her car.  So her presence while not expected, wasn’t surprising.

But the force with which she slammed the door and the angry forcefulness of her stride back into the kitchen foretold something unpleasant.  The fury in her eyes portended  confirmed it.  Nearly 22 years of marriage gives you what feels like a sense of clairvoyance when it comes to your spouse.  But like AFC Central quarterbacks staring into the crazy eyes of Jack Lambert as he wrought his ferocious wrath down upon them, I was frozen in place.  Sometimes I forget that Mom’s vision isn’t based on movement.  This morning, the 15 year-old had evidently parked her car in such a way that angered Mom.

Normally, Mom and I both pull in the garage and nobody parks behind either of us.  Depending on which girl leaves first in the morning determines which one leaves their car in the driveway and which one ends up in the third stall in the garage.  The car in the driveway nearly always is parked behind that third stall.  It’s a simple system.

Unfortunately, the system broke down.  The 15 year-old got home late from a track meet.  And in burst of unexpected forethought, she parked behind me instead of behind her sister because her sister left first the next morning.  I was counting that as a win.  Mostly because I’m the one who normally has to move a car if it was left in the wrong spot.

However, she evidently didn’t park precisely behind me.  She left her vehicle a bit too close to Mom’s side.  So Mom goes to back up her car.  And the car starts beeping, alerting her that something is behind her.  But here’s the thing, that car ALWAYS beeps when Mom backs out of the garage.  Evidently the camera’s peripheral vision picks up the sides of the garage.  So as soon as the back end of the car clears the opening to the garage, the beeping stops.  So Mom didn’t pay much attention to the beeping when it started.  It’s white noise.  Not unlike congressional Democrats covering for the latest comment from Ilhan Omar.

Anyway, this time the beeping not only continued past the normal time frame but it became that really fast you’re about to smash into something beeping.  So she stops.  Looks behind her and notices a blue Ford Escape curiously parked in such a way to inhibit her departure from the garage.

And Mom lost her shit.

She comes into the kitchen and unleashes a furious barrage of anger directed at the 15 year-old.  But the 15 year-old is still upstairs.  But there did happen to be one guy standing in the kitchen in a genuinely good mood listening to some music while he made his lunch.  I’m just paraphrasing but it went something like this:

“What the hell is that car doing parked behind me! I almost hit it!”

“Wait, isn’t it parked behind me?”

“That doesn’t matter!  She didn’t park far enough over so I almost hit the car! Not only that but when I got in her car to move it over, the damn interior lights were on!  So we’re lucky it even started.  She needs to use her damn brain.  And she needs to be more considerate of other people! All she does is think about herself!”

So I then said something that in my defense was not only completely logical but really defensible in every sense.  It just wasn’t advisable.

“Did you look behind you before you backed out?’

She said a whole bunch of words but all I really remember was the aftermath.  An invisible force hit me with the power of an F5 tornado.  Pretty sure I was bleeding from my eyes.  I may have suffered a mild concussion.  When I was able to regain my faculties, I remember Mom telling me that I needed to talk to her about this whole episode.

As Mom drove away, I walked out to her car just to see what the deal was with the interior light.  Mom left the car running so I just glanced inside at the center console.  So two things, 1) the console indicator panel said the rear window to the hatch was ajar, and 2) the low fuel light is on.

I got back inside and the 15 year-old, who undoubtedly was able to hear the torrent of expletives hurled my direction just minutes before, wisely had waited until Mom was gone to venture into the kitchen.

“Hey kiddo so good job on parking behind me so your sister got get our this morning.  But you gotta make sure you’re far enough over so Mom can back out.”

“Well, I’m terrible at parking.”

“Agreed.  But skill level is really relevant here, just actually results.  Also, you left the window on the hatch open so your interior lights were on all night and Mom said your car almost didn’t start because the battery was almost dead.”

“What?  I don’t know anything about cars!  How do I know if something is open or if the battery is dead!”

“Yeah, so there’s this little display directly in front of you below the speedometer that tells you if there’s a door or window open.  And there’s normally a beep or something too…and oh yeah you have no gas.  Like the needle is on the wrong side of the E. Your car has about as much range as Eric Swalwell’s presidential campaign.”

She then said a whole bunch of words about having to leave for school and being late.  I didn’t really stick around long enough to hear all of them.  I just took her car to get gas. I have to do that because the 15 year-old doesn’t have a debit card yet.  Yeah, so that means I always have to get gas for her.  Normally I do I every Sunday.  But, as fate would have it, I didn’t get that done this week.

I get home, throw the keys to the 15 year-old and get in my truck to head work.  And guess what I notice?

I need gas.

“DAMMIT!”

Chargers

No, not the team quarterbacked by Philip Rivers.  Not that I’m adverse to discussing them, it’s just that unless we’re talking about the Chargers of Dan Fouts and Air Coryell then I’m not really interested.

What I’m talking about is phone chargers.  Adapters.  Cords.  The lifeblood of your mobile electronic device.  Is this specific case, iphones.  Now I don’t own an iphone.  I own a phone that uses android technology.  Not that I have a preference, it’s just that I’ve always had an android and I don’t want to learn how to use an iphone.  And please read the next part very carefully…I DON’T CARE HOW EASY YOU SAY IT IS.  AT ALL.  I also don’t care how much you talk about how all your devices are integrated and can talk to each other and make plans and take each other out to dinner.  Two words: Sky. Net.  Your annoying insistence on talking about your affinity for your iphone and all its integrated devices is only topped by millennials’ annoying insistence that everything they say and do is morally superior to literally everything anybody else has ever done in the history of -and let me phrase this right- ever.

I mean you have a phone that millions of other people have.  You’re not special.  Plus Apple Jedi-mind tricks you into buying a new version of the same damn phone every other year while also fooling you into buying a a freaking watch that does the same crap your phone already does.  Then forces you to spend time in the most Godforsaken place on earth…the i store.  So good job morons.  So while I understand that, much like progressives, you believe the only reason I don’t do what you do is because I’m an ignorant, backwoods a-hole.  I’m not.  I just don’t care about what you care about.  And yes, I do realize that won’t stop your never-ending sermonizing regarding how you’re making a impact while achieving a healthy work/life balance while influencing the values of your organization while you’re just being you in you’re own unique way.  Blah, blah, blah.

That being said, against my free will I’ve been forced to care about iphones.  There are 4 of them on our plan.  Mom has one and the girls each have one.  So, much like corporate business incentives, MSNBC and liberal bias in public education, I’m forced to pay for something I don’t use, want or need.

So I went to Wal-Mart.  And I’m not a big Wal-Mart guy.  But Wal-Mart electronics section is pretty bad ass.  I found four chargers, each a different color, and gave them to each of the iphone users in my house.  I did this for one very specific reason.

To make them all be quiet.  When it comes to iphone chargers, I assume the budget shutdown discussions between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi are similar to the ones amongst Mom and the girls.  There’s yelling, sarcasm, condescension and an astonishing amount of blame.  Then that is quickly followed by a helluva lot of shoulder shrugging and a complete and total inability to look for the simplest solution on their own.  I mean, it’s a phone charger.  Maybe look around your damn room, in your damn car.  Or how about in your damn backpack.  You’re not looking for Jimmy Freaking Hoffa. It’s a charger, not Flight 19.  I mean next to the actual iphone, the charger is the most important possession they have.  You’d think they would treat it the way Texans treat the 2nd Amendment.  Instead they treat it the way Jim Acosta treats his credibility.

So for the last few weeks we’ve had this uneasy detente.  I’m skeptical of its duration.  So I’m planning more trips to Wal-Mart…

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.

Like Clockwork…

Every year about this time CBS airs “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”  This year marked the 54th airing.  I have, more or less, watched it each year 1976ish.  But in the last few years with radical progressive outragery selecting every target it can, Rudolph has unwittingly wandered a little too far outside the boundaries of Christmastown.  And now, the airing of this childhood classic has become as much of a Christmas tradition as the grievances about the dizzying array of so-called problematic behavior exhibited by make believe claymation characters.  Which is interesting in and of itself.  I mean the left’s need to control speech and thought is so great it extends into worlds that don’t actually exist.

RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

Anyway, some of the common outrages displayed by the social justice warriors are the following:

It is really a story about bullying.  Yeah, part of it is.  And it’s also a story about overcoming that crap and sticking it to the jerks who bullied you.  Which, and again I’m just spitballin’ here, but kicking a bully’s ass is pretty damn American.  Although being pretty damn American is also problematic behavior according to some of the leftists.  Anyway, Rudolph is bullied – mildly – by the other reindeer boys and by his coach at reindeer practice.  It’s verbal not physical and Rudolph does stand up for himself.  So far this is a good message.  But the whole scene really just shows two things:

1) the other boys are immature jerks, which if you remember grade school, is kinda what most kids act like from time to time,

2) The coach is a bad coach.  I mean Rudolph literally just showed how far ahead of the other boys he was in flight skills.

And, yes, I agree if you are a youth coach and you’re bullying the kids on your team, then you’re a douchebag.  But I don’t know what kind of internal politics go on at the North Pole.  Who picks the coach?  Is it Santa?  Is it the parents?  Maybe the coach throws kick-ass New Year’s Eve parties and the only way to get an invite to vote for him to be coach.  We just don’t know the dynamics.  Bottom line is Rudolph says “screw you guys” and then comes back and burns everybody by being better at reindeer stuff than the kids who were mean to him.  Problem solved.  Then you have Hermey.  Hermey is bullied by the other elves because he wants to be a dentist and doesn’t like to make toys.  Well, this pretty much sucks if your an elf.  Because it sure seems like most of the job openings are relating to toy making.  But let’s be fair.  Hermey isn’t doing his job.  Then he quits by sneaking out the window.  That’s not exactly responsible behavior either.  I mean why can’t he study dentistry at night?  Lots of people work jobs they don’t particularly enjoy as a means to an end they do want to achieve.

It is really a story about racism.   All the elves are white.  Sam the narrating snow man is white.  Santa is white.  The snow is white.  Fireball has blond hair.  Which probably makes him a Nazi.  The progressive lynch mob rarely mentions that there are females elves also in the workplace.  Which for the early 60’s shows, well, a progressive workplace I guess.  I mean I wasn’t there at Santa’s workshop so I can’t comment on the HR policies regarding equal pay, inclusivity training and the acceptable methods of twitter shaming people who aren’t woke.

It is really a story about homophobia.  Yeah, so what about that part with Yukon, Hermey and Rudolph all sharing a bed in small cottage on the Island of Misfit Toys?  Nobody seemed to have any issues with their the sexuality in that scene.  They were all cold and tired so they hit the sack.  If anything, Rudolph is kind of a inconsiderate jerk for leaving in the middle of the night without telling his bros.  Then they spend a whole crap ton of time searching for him while fighting the cold and snow and evading the abomidable snow monster of the north.  This isn’t homophobia, this is Rudolph being a crappy friend.

Santa is bigot.  When he’s first introduced to Rudolph, Santa tells the young buck that he hopes his nose takes care of itself if wants to lead the sleigh team someday.  I don’t think this makes Santa a bigot.  It makes him a bad GM.  He may as well be in charge of the Jets’ drafts.  I mean he’s evaluating the wrong criteria.  Now I’m not sure what the measurements are at the Reindeer Draft Combine at the North Pole, but my guess is that sturdiness, strength, and air speed are probably a tad bit more important than nose illumination.  Plus, if he were better at team building, he’d notice that the shiny nose presents a unique skill set.  Rudolph could eventually be the best 3rd down back on the sleigh team.  He’d be the James Brooks of reindeer.  Santa might be good as delivering toys but he sucks at reindeer skill evaluation.

Clarice’s Dad is a bigot.  He sees his daughter chatting up Rudolph and tells her that there’s no way she’s hanging with a dude with a red nose.  Is this bigotry?  Or rampant leftyism?  I think the latter.  If Rudolph’s nose were blue, then you can be damn sure he let Clarice date Rudolph.  If Rudolph were hanging out in a safe space lamenting his reindeer privilege flashing his sparkly blue nose around, then we’d be having an entirely different conversation.

Donner is a sexist, a verbally abusive father and is ashamed of his son’s physical characteristics.  Now, I think Donner gets a little bit of a bad rap.  He obviously loves the little guy and he teaches him vital reindeer skills like how to get food, fight off enemies and how to hide from the abomidable snow monster of the north.  How different is this than when your Dad told you get off your butt and practice if you wanted to getting more minutes on the court?  Telling your kid the truth about the how the world works is good parenting.

None of the social justice stormtroopers ever seem to mention the strong female characters in the show.  Clarice gives absolutely no craps what the other kids – or her Dad for that matter – think about her hanging out with Rudolph.  Rudolph’s Mom completely ignores Donner’s directives about staying home while he goes and finds Rudolph.  In fact, her and Clarice basically tell the dudes in their lives, “listen jagoffs, your plan sucks, so either get out of the way or get on board because we’re taking care of business.”

The Latest Halloween

So with the oldest off at college and the remaining daughters still under our roof but really too old to go trick or treating, Halloween continues to evolve away from us taking the girls door to door to load up on candy.  Which really just means that the girls do stuff with their friends and Mom and I hand out candy.  I’m both happy and sad about this.  I sincerely enjoyed taking them trick or treating.  I also sincerely enjoy not taking them trick or treating.  And since we moved we only get the most the dedicated and determined trick or treaters.  We’ve had 11 in three years.  Which is simply more evidence of the wussification of American youth by well meaning but utterly misguided adults engaged in safetyism…but that’s a rant for another day.

Regardless, our college freshman sent us some pics of her costume at the Halloween party she went to with the other girls in her sorority.  I had suggested that she go as Elizabeth Warren and carry a DNA kit while wearing a big sandwich board that said “1/1024th” but she didn’t think it was as funny as me.  Instead she went as a cowgirl.  Or a country girl.  Or a girl from a rural area.  I don’t know what pretentiously smug politically correct term the liberal illuminati are using.  No offense intended.  All I’m doing there is what used to be called sarcasm.  Anyway, if we’re really being honest, what she really went as was a girl from the suburbs wearing clothing associated with country music fans.

But I mean who is trying to fool?  Country girl?  I know she goes to Iowa State and evidently all of us who went there are backwoods rubes, but she listens to Justin Beiber and Imagine Dragons.  She used to work at a Cupcakery.  I know…LAME.  She’s no country girl.  She’s comes from good ol’ dependable Gen X stock.  And as we all know that means she really should be dressed like this if she has any cultural pride at all.

vixen

 

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.