I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Challenge Brings out the Best in my iPod.

I have a lot of music on my ipod. When I was single, all I really spent my money on was music, DVDs and food. I don't eat as much anymore now that I am married. I don't watch DVDs much because we have cable now and I spend more time with my wife watching whatever she decides to DVR that night. But I still listen to my ipod. A lot.

So, some of the students like to surf through the ipod to see what music is on there. It is a 30 gig and is basically full with over 6000 songs. But these students love to find music that I don't have. And then when they see that I don't have the new Flyleaf or Dave Matthews or whoever they absolutely let me have it. Apparently even with over 6000 songs I am lacking so much. My music collection is pathetic in their eyes. It is an old man's collection.

So in a conversation we had lately, I was challenged to find 20 old songs that every music collection should have to make it a complete collection. It had to be represented with most of the big acts of all time with a few wild cards. So, I set off on my task. In each case I didn't choose the biggest hit someone had. I chose my favorite song. Here is what I came up with:

Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley
Move It On Over - Hank Williams
Get Rhythm - Johnny Cash
(Night Time) Is the Right Time - Ray Charles
Runaway - Del Shannon
I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles
House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Can't You See That She's Mine - Dave Clark 5
It's Only Rock'n'Roll - The Rolling Stones
Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
Marcella - The Beach Boys
More Than a Feeling - Boston
Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen
Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love - Van Halen
London Calling - The Clash
Seventeen - The Sex Pistols
Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
When Love Comes to Town - U2 and BB King
I Love Rock'n'Roll - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Pop Singer - John Mellencamp

Honorable Mention: Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel, Glory Days by Bruce Sprinsteen, Am I Wrong by Keb Mo, Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters, Bama Lama Bama Loo by Little Richard, Lola by The Kinks, Mountain Dew by Grandpa Jones, Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Red, Red Wine by UB40.

I know you don't care. But there you go.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Obligatory Father's Day Post

April 19th. Just before 2PM. It is time for the groom, groomsmen and the marrying minister to assume their places behind the door. The music cue is getting ready to start. Honorary bridesmaids, of which there are multitudes, are getting ready to take their spot. The singer is warming up. One of the nieces of the groom has read the first set of verses in scripture. The ushers are escorting grandmothers and mothers.

The groom and his older brother (not the oldest, who is trailing because he felt the need to find some water) make their way down the long hallway. The following exchange takes place:

Groom's Brother - "Well, are you ready, big boy?"
Groom - "Absolutely."
Groom's Brother - "Not nervous?"
Groom - "Not at all."

A slight pause. Some emotion, a touch of the melancholy, creeps into the groom. He looks at his brother and chokes out, "I wish dad was here."

The groom's brother gives a knowing look of shared sadness. "I know. Me too."

And that's that. With those nine words, everything that needed to be said about the father who was present in photo only and represented by a candle, was said. Both the groom and the brother had hours worth of discussion with those simple nine words.

The groom said, in his five words, so many things. He communicated that it was one of the extreme sadnesses of his life that his bride will never know the father of the groom. Even though the father was not the greatest dad, he wasn't exactly the worst, either. But the groom is convinced his father would have absolutely loved the bride. And though his father could be distant, many times invisible, he had this odd warmth that he would share over dinner or at a movie.

The groom said, in five words, that he had finally had come to a place of peace and contentment with his father. He had said all the ugly things you say to a father when you are convinced he left you and hurt you out of selfish reasons. Then the groom even apologized for most of the words. The father talked about his life, his faith, his background and the family life they had only shared for the first six years. They came to an accord, an understanding. And respect and friendship began to bloom, although it was not a long time before forty years of self abuse caught up to the father. One heart attack, an odd funeral, a punch-in-the-stomach-painful afternoon spent cleaning out the meager house and five years later, his two younger sons shared the moment that he should have been sharing with them himself.

The groom's brother said, in four words, exactly what the groom needed to hear. He offered what limited encouragement he could, considering it was light years beyond his comfort zone. In those four words he was placing a bookend on that awful Sunday afternoon phone call which started with another four much more ominous words; "Are you sitting down?"

The groom's brother said, in four words, what he needed to say. In that look, in registering the same grief with one of the few people who really shared it, he realized that they both carried the weight of that loss. And although the sting has worn off, the reality is that void will be felt for a long time. When a tree has been uprooted suddenly and violently it leaves a void. Eventually other grass and shrubs will fill the void and will look normal, like no tree ever existed there. But the people who knew the tree was there will always see it as empty. That feeling was in those four words.

The groom's brother patted him on the shoulder, an odd but very generous gesture from a person who is certainly not comfortable in another's personal space. The groom couldn't offer a response. Just a nod and a simple, small sigh and returned to walking down the hall. Any more words would betray the coolness he was trying to play off. Just under the surface some real emotion was just ready to come out. And it was only going to be in tears. And that was not the time or place for tears that day. It wasn't the moment. The groom knew that.

The tears would be shared with the bride, although there were a lot of other people in the room. Those other people never knew those were tears of both joy and sadness, of an incredible sense of blessing and loss felt simultaneously. The groom wanted to get a wink, a nod, something from his father as his bride made the entrance everyone wanted to see.

So, as this first father's day approaches the groom types the one blog entry he knew he would type when he was married.

I miss you, pop.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Make Up Your Minds

These religious right-wing nutjobs drive me crazy.

I just got another spam email warning me against the evils of Obama. Only this was a new slant. Usually, they say that Obama is a closeted Muslim and once elected will slip secret military passwords out to Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Cat Stevens. But today's email was a dandy.

Apparently, according to the book of Revelation, Obama is the anti-christ. Because he is charismatic, in his 40's and will sneak up on us and take us over. Somewhere, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are standing up and applauding.

Seriously, you people need to make up your mind. How can Obama be the anti-christ when one of the Clintons was? I thought it was Bill Clinton? He fit the criteria. What about Hillary?

And honestly, people, why do you panic? Do the words "Bradley Effect" mean anything to you?

Time for some of you to google or wikipedia, huh.

Obama is the anti-christ. Sure he is. Don't we know that our government is too screwed up to be able to mobilize for the plans that the anti-christ intends to put in motion? If he comes from anywhere it will be the European Union. Or American Idol.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Great Quote

Tonight, my lovely bride said the funniest thing so far in our young marriage.

"Being married is like having a slumber party every night!"

Let's see...my slumber party experience is limited, as I have not really been to one since the 80's. But my memory is not THAT foggy. Here is what I remember about slumber parties and how they compare to marriage:

- I don't get much room to sleep. Hmm, eerily similar.
- There is a lot of giggling. We do crack each other up.
- Someone usually has gas and it usually wasn't me. Uh, check.
- I didn't really like to wrestle around much as a kid. Thank God that has changed! Ba-zing!
- Somebody usually snores. And it was usually me. Some things never really change.
- I really enjoyed the first four hours of slumber parties. I absolutely love and cherish every moment of marriage. Even the ones where I am mowing and she is living it up with her new BFF...

So, I never really did the slumber party thing. Unless it was at Mike Gelsthorpe's house. He had a pool. And always had Pepsi in the fridge. But I preferred to stay at home.

Now, I prefer to stay home too. With my wife and dog. So much has changed for the better in my life. Now, I need to get to sleep. The dog doesn't sleep well unless he is forcing me to the very edge of my side of the bed.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

New Template

My wife has encouraged me to change and post.

So I changed.

And now I posted.

Being married is great.

Posting late at night? Not so much...