Saturday, July 25, 2015

U2 'Achtung Baby'

Do you like music?

Just about everyone will answer “yes” to that question, but they’re lying through their teeth.

The truth is this… People say they like music, but that doesn’t mean that they like to discover new or different music. Some folks have blinders over their ears and they’re fine moving through life that way.

I prefer to be adventurous. I love music. I love just about every genre with the only exceptions being reggae (and the related ilk), most of what passes for “country” music these days, hardcore rap, and screamo metal.

I purchased an Ion Tailgater late last year. The maiden voyage for my new toy was the trip Tim Beeman and I made to visit Brian Attridge in Richmond. We took it to the last Redskins game of the season where they were WHOOPED by the Cowboys.

The Ion Tailgater worked beautifully. The Redskins… Well, that’s a different story.

Chigs and I like to sit out by The Cabin in the backyard, drink some alcohol, and enjoy some tunes with it. It doesn’t come with a remote control and that’s my only complaint. But it sure makes for good background tunes while we have some verbal intercourse by the fire pit.

We’ve been experimenting with using it for radio remotes for 600 WSJS. And with the built in radio, it works again, beautifully. It’s lightweight and it can get LOUD.

If you’re thinking about such a piece of equipment, I highly recommend the Ion Tailgater.

So with all that out of way, lets get back to the subject that I opened with…

Chigs took it with her on a bluegrass trip to Galax, Virginia. They were staying in a cabin complex near Cana and I thought it would be cool for them to take it with them.

You can Bluetooth connect with the Tailgater or plug a tablet or MP3 player into it. I knew they would enjoy a piece of equipment to play some music on. It’s versatile and I sent all the necessary wires they would need with it.

When I arrived for my part of the weekend, everyone was enjoying tunes from their phones. I was totally cool with it. Everyone was having a good time and I didn’t mind someone else choosing the tunes. I was good with the conversation and drinking aspect of the evening. I was able to kick back and leave everything back in North Carolina. Someone else was handling the playlist and I was totally cool with it even though they were using my toy.


Because I know that my tastes are very eclectic and I also know that people that claim to love music have no patience or tolerance to hear something they don’t know. They only love music that they know.

So I steered clear of even attempting a playlist takeover. Three minutes of something foreign to these self-proclaimed “music lovers” only gets you an earful of What the hell is this?? Why don’t you play something we know??

Instead of dealing with the “music lovers”, I just don’t bother. But someone insisted that I play something from my MP3 player through my Tailgater that they’ve been enjoying all weekend.

I didn’t have a playlist ready to go on my MP3 player, so I thought I’d wing it.

I was put on the spot and my mind was blank concerning the 4,800 songs in my hand. So I scrambled through the artists and found Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers ‘Southern Accents’ album.

I thought I’d be safe with just about anything with ol’ TP and the H breakers.

I wanted something more upbeat than the played out “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and I went with one that I thought everyone would be familiar with… “It Ain’t Nothin’ To Me”.

I was more wrong than a left turn on a red light.

Before the five minute song was halfway over, the self-proclaimed “music lovers” were complaining. So before the second song, I unplugged my Gretchen II (my Zune) and handed the reigns back over to my friend with the current, hip playlist on his phone.

I wasn’t even given time to establish a decent mix for my self-proclaimed “music loving” friends. They turned on me like Warner Brothers television turned on The General Lee.

The bottom line is this… People generally don’t want to hear something new no matter what they say.

And you should never ask a TRUE music lover to handle a playlist with friends and family. They will disappoint you with something that you may like, but don’t want to take the time to listen.

For me, it’s crazy. How do these “music lovers” find new music to enjoy if they don’t listen to anything new?

I just don’t know.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Avril Lavigne 'Let Go'

In case you were unaware, I like to screw around with people.

I don’t ask anyone to rise and kill. I don’t ask that they accept Jesus as their personal savior. I don’t ask that they join the Mickey Mouse Club.

I like to find the breaking points and just where my friends and family stand with public embarrassment.

My friend Sean Whitley is the same way. He has found a few of my breaking points. One comes to mind… Sean going all John ‘Animal House’ Belushi, sucking down jello squares from bowls at a Chinese buffet joint.

Just yesterday I thought I’d give it a shot with my nephew Preston, my sister Tina, and my father Delbert. We started towards West Virginia before the sun came up on a Saturday. We witnessed a few car accidents with at least one fatality during our yearly Christmas pilgrimage to our grandparents.

We had gotten a call halfway through our journey. My father answered his cell with his right hand and held it to his left ear while driving with his left hand. We came to an incline on the highway. My father was trying to figure out which hand to shift gears with instead of handing the phone to me. We started drifting to the right and I put my hand on the steering wheel to guide us away from a mailbox that was in our near future. My father got his bearings and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

I’m not sure, but I think Preston pulled a slug from his hip flask. (I'm kidding)

We were asked to pick up a half gallon of whole milk along with the pre-planned deli tray order.

We pulled into the parking lot and I noticed that the grocery store wasn’t called Ashley’s IGA any longer. My father told me that the Ashley family had sold out to “Jeweller’s” or something like that. I didn’t take time to digest the new name.

As we were opening the doors and spilling out of Tina’s SUV for the first stretch after about an hour and 15 minute drive. Dad stepped out and said, “Deli tray” as he counted down an index finger. Preston said, “Half gallon of whole milk.”

It was at this point that I noticed a woman walking towards her car from the store. I added to that list by saying, “And porno mags!” just as the woman got next to her car and well within hearing distance.

Preston busted out laughing, but Tina and my father just went on about their business. They didn’t flinch. They didn’t shoot me a “shut the hell up” look. They didn’t laugh. They just slipped on their jackets to walk around funny while working out their kinks.

They just didn’t seem to care. They were miles away from cracking.

I believe they have definitely become immune to anything that may come out of my mouth… Or they’re going deaf.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alice Cooper 'Lace And Whiskey'

I didn’t get to see any of the race from Charlotte Motor Speedway last Saturday night. I had my own drama dealing with two rooms full of kids, personality issues, a crazy sister, and an auto accident involving one of the HeroClix Madness tournament players.

Everything turned out okay for the folks racing in Charlotte and the players in the HeroClix tournament. Although, I’m sure someone’s insurance rates will start putting the squeeze on the family of the relatively new driver. Thankfully, she’s okay.

I was listening to the race on 600 WSJS while driving through three counties. In between the post-tournament chatter, I could tell that the race was exciting. After the final caution, I had to crank up the radio and put the brakes on the chatter. I was one big ear listening to the race that I wished I was watching. Cars were hitting the walls. Drivers were jockeying for position trying to win one in order to move onto the next elimination round.

And that’s the deal.

You win and you move on EVEN if you’re dead last in the points with that group of elimination round drivers. And the last race comes down to four drivers. The Sprint Cup Champion can be determined by points OR a win among those four drivers.

Is it gimmicky?

You bet it is! And here’s what I like about it…

If you won a race during the regular season, you were in the Chase. You had a shot at the Championship. It gave my current fave AJ Allmendinger and Aric Almirola from underfunded and under performing teams a shot at some big cash and a possible Championship.

What’s not to love about that?

Allmendinger was the only Chaser from a one car race team.

So back to the race at Charlotte…

Drivers were aching for the win! Joey Logano got the first win in that elimination round at Kansas so he could rest a little easier at Charlotte and Talladega. The other 11 Chase drivers wanted that win in Charlotte real bad so they could relax at Talladega. At Talladega ANYTHING can happen and ANYONE can win.

Drivers were aggressive at Charlotte. They were beating and banging on a mile and a half track. Kevin Harvick scored the win and put himself into the next round of the Sprint Cup Chase.

After the race, Brad Keselowski let his displeasure known to other drivers. He even did a burnout in the garage. And once everyone was out of their cars, mild-mannered Matt Kenseth went after Keselowski with a headlock and “word of prayer”.

Drivers were HOT! Drivers were passionate. And we fans LOVE IT!

Again, it’s gimmicky but something had to give. NASCAR racing seems to be the same ol' same ol’ week in and week out.

“Oh look… They’re racing on a cookie-cutter. Wow. The same drivers keep winning those cookie-cutters. How exciting… Zzzzzzz”

Ratings and attendance continue to go down even with the last race in Charlotte. And that race turned out to have a ton of excitement on and off the track.

And they’re racing this weekend at Talladega and I cannot wait!

10 drivers have one more shot at winning and moving onto the next elimination round. And the other 33 drivers have a shot at winning. From the underfunded one car team that doesn’t compete in all the races to the 3 or 4 car teams that stick it out all 36 races.

I’m going to give you this guarantee… The last 30 laps will be nail-biting and exciting no matter who your favorite driver is. Or hell, even if you’re not a fan of NASCAR racing you will find those last 30 laps just as exciting. We could witness half the field being caught in the “Big One” and taken out of contention. We could see a first time winner. We could see the biggest underdog take the checkered flag. We could see cars flying and flipping through the air. We might even see another drunken dumbass fan sitting atop the catch fence bringing out a caution.
The bottom line… This Chase for the Sprint Cup is exciting. It’s livened up a sport that has abandoned its Southern fans for the pursuit of bigger markets and making cookie-cutter tracks that provide nothing but boring races.

There are lots of fans that don’t care for the Chase at all. But I gotta tell ya… I am LOVING this elimination thing gimmicky or not.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Django Django

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

I love that I can reconnect with friends that I’ve lost track of during the years. I love that I can post the silly thoughts that pop into my head. I love that I can live vicariously through someone’s vacation or event pictures like concerts. I love that I can keep track of my relatives and with what’s going on in their lives. I love writing stupid comments on the local television news postings. I love seeing the pets of my friends. I love that most people see social media as a fun place with tidbits of information.

Thank goodness there’s a lot for me to love. But on the other hand…

I don’t like seeing people constantly moaning and bitching about something that went wrong in their day. How it’s the norm for their lives. It’s one thing to inform everyone about a health issue, but stupid stuff like every day setbacks don’t really call for Eeyore to grab a bullhorn for a blast of negativity. I’ve seen people post things about doing good and remaining positive only to counter that posting a few hours later with a negative blast about their ex or how the Universe won’t allow them to be happy.

I’m starting to dislike the religious postings where they’re convinced that Christianity is under attack because they believe some talking head on some agenda driven website or some broadcast network. I used to find them amusing, but the lack of actual information being tossed around in those postings alarms me. A&E and even the NFL have become fodder for this ridiculous movement on social media. I’ve even jumped into a friend’s discussion only to be insulted by someone fighting and making a stand for Christianity. I guess when you refuse to face the real facts you must do what Jesus would do… Call someone an idiot. I’m too lazy to look up the actual verse, but I think it’s in the Book of Matthew somewhere.

If you disagree and try to present actual facts, you’re labeled a liberal or even worse… Someone that voted for Obama. For some reason, Christianity goes hand in hand with propagandist right wing media.

And for the record, I haven’t seen any Jehoviah Witnesses, Catholics, Episcopalians, or Mormons jumping on that band wagon. But according to my Southern Baptist upbringing, those cats are wrong and they’re all going to Hell anyway.

I’m not attacking. I’m using my experience of growing up for 18 years in a Southern Baptist church. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve heard about other Christians being wrong and bound for Hell.

I also don’t care for the “I’m so happy in my relationship that I must post daily about my undying love and affection”.

Shut. Up. Who really wants to hear that every day?

It’s the opposite of the Eeyore types and that bothers me as well.

First thought that comes to me… Yeah, who are you trying to convince?

Second thought that comes to mind… Was everyone in your past that big of a douche that when someone comes along and treats you better you must constantly rave about them on social media?

“My husband brought an iced tea to work just for me. I love that man! He’s the greatest in the world. Birds fly above him chirping away as my heart sings.”

Are they posting for the benefit of their partner? Does the partner need some sort of validation or reassurance?

Third thought that comes to mind… Must you be so damn open with everything?

And oddly, those are the types that post lots of their doings on social media and yet have a problem with adding Netflix to their Facebook because they don’t want everyone to see what they’ve been watching.

I don’t get it. But I have blocked those types from popping up in my newsfeed. I just don’t care for candy-coated turds looking for some kind of weird approval about their relationship. Just limit that brand of affection to birthday and anniversaries please. I have never been a fan of the PDA (Public Display of Affection).

Then there’s the selfie types that must post pictures of themselves daily. I don’t like those either… Unless they’re selfies of attractive women. And the more cleavage the better.

Hey, I’m fueled by testosterone and these are MY likes and dislikes.

The vaping selfies are the most peculiar to me.

There’s the constant political poster. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle they're on, they have an ax to grind. And grinding that ax in public will eventually cause someone to stop in their tracks and realize they’re on the wrong path.


I must stay away from those types. I’m a Libertarian and that means the left and right hate my opinions. So I’ve gotten in the habit of blocking those people so I don’t get involved. It benefits no one really.

And finally, there’s the excessive hashtaggers. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook they must hashtag every possible word in the posting. #YouKnow #What #IAm #TalkingAbout #?

The rule is – limit yourself to three hashtags per posting. The rule is about eliminating social media eyesores. But I say nothing with the hopes that they’ll eventually find out some information about proper hashtagging.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these?

Leave a comment and exorcise your discontent. I promise not to call you names or insult you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tool 'Undertow'

I want to write about something close and dear to my heart. One of the things that keep me hoping for another day on this earth… Television.

Say what you want about wasting my life sitting and watching some fictional world unfold in front of me. I don’t care. If you’re an avid reader, then you really have no argument. You’re just as bad. Just because you read and visualize the words in your head doesn’t allow you to mount some high horse.

I don’t care for the average ilk that’s offered by the major over-the-air networks. That’s easily digestible crap for the masses. They don’t offer much in the lines of making the viewer think and dissect the story lines for insight or predictions. Like I’ve said many times… If you’re gonna waste your time watching television, make it quality television.

I’d like to write about binge watching.

I don’t like to do it, but sometimes it’s an unnecessary evil.

And then there’s the revisit binge watch. I recently did that with all four seasons of the great and mostly forgotten ‘Newhart’ series. I haven’t seen most of those episodes for something like twenty years. ‘Newhart’ was the ‘Green Acres’ of its time. It was doing well in syndication until a juggernaut by the name of ‘Seinfeld’ knocked it to the side. ‘Newhart’ was cast to the ditch like syndication road kill. And that’s really too bad. The comedy was top notch and still gets me laughing today.

I found myself doing a little binge watching the other day. The Chigger was camping out with friends and family this weekend at a bluegrass festival in Denton, NC. I opted out of it because for one thing, I DON’T CAMP. And the one day pass for a show was $40 was the other reason. I can easily fork over that kinda chunk for a rock/hard rock day, but listening to bluegrass all day would cause me to have a “Sheer Heart Attack”.

That’s a Queen reference for those of you that do not know.

Don’t get me wrong, I like bluegrass. I just can’t take 23 hours of it out of my day.

So with Chigs gone, I did a little binge watching to catch up on some of our shows. I’m up to date on ‘Under The Dome’, which is quickly losing my interest. It’s turning into the usual fare that Stephen King has been offering since the novel ‘It’. His sci-fi stuff starts off interesting enough, but then it become tedious, boring, and you just want it over with.

Then I attacked a candidate for one of my “Best New Shows of 2014” for The Less Desirables podcast… ‘The Strain’. I didn’t get caught up yet, but I’m totally digging their take on vampires. It remains mostly true to common lure and they’re not flying thru treetops or glistening in sunlight in the pursuit of teenage love.

I still have ‘Ray Donovan’, ‘Masters Of Sex’, ‘Dallas’, and ‘Hell On Wheels’ to catch up on. I’m becoming tired of ‘Ray Donovan’. I’ve been saving ‘Dallas’ and ‘Hell On Wheels’ for time with Chigger. We’re not that far behind on the latter. Only two episodes, I think.

I understand the binge watcher. Hell, Chigger could binge watch the for unlawful carnal knowledge out of ‘Orange Is The New Black’. I just like a steady rotation to work my gray matter in trying to remember story lines. I try to keep my mind sharp by working it instead of vege’ing out on one series.

But I do have a dilemma… The 2004 reboot of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is about to come to an end on Netflix. I saw them as they all aired, but Chigger is just now watching this great series. So I must try to tie her down to a couch and send her kids out to the movies in order to finish the series with her. We have two seasons and two episodes left. It’s a tall order with her, but I think it’s something we can achieve if we put her mind to it.

Are you a binge watcher? What series really make you a couch potato?

Feel free to leave your comments.