Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
It seems no matter how much I try to keep my blogs and podcasts light and easy, life at times insists I make them heavy duty.
I am watching a small blue fish less than two inches long struggle for breath. "Blue Boy," as I have come to call him, had survived an injured tail fin from a previous mishap. Now I watch him flipping that broken fin, struggling to move. To a fish, movement is life, and I feel the same way. If I ever stop moving, I will die.
I have witnessed this struggle before in the small water world that I am god over. This little environment needs me to keep it ecologically safe and the lives that dwell there alive. They depend on me, and when something goes wrong, it is my failure. They didn't screw it up, their lord—I—did. Unlike us humans, they don't have a choice.
As I watch this small life fading, Chloe Cat comes to my feet and meows. It's dinner time, and she needs clean water, fresh food, a warm place to sleep, and lots of love. Chloe, like my past furry four-legged friends, will only be in my world for a short time, and ours is the only world she knows. It is absolutely unconditional that I make her precious life as safe and happy as I can. I wonder why we can't always feel the same about our fellow human travelers in this short life span we are given.
I spent a lot of time in battles today I knew I couldn't win. I have a god-awful habit of doing that. I'm still swinging at windmills and trying to send fast balls into the bleachers. As I watched, a small fish struggled for air, took one last breath, one fin still attempting to swim, then he died. I wondered why I spent such intellectual capital fighting that battle. Someday I'll struggle for my own last breath.
My family dates so far back into southern ancestry and aristocracy that if you do a search of the name Sanders during the Civil War, you'll find the books and bloody ground are littered with it, and yes, it is part of my blood line. I was born in Fort Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee. My dad was from South Carolina, and my mom, a Cherokee, was born in the mountains of Tennessee and oppressed just as much as African-Americans. I have no love of my long line of southern history, deservedly blown to hell in the Civil War. I feel no sense of loss on the removal of the Confederate flag. Family members on my dad's side, the privileged, tried to maintain a life based on oppressing and murdering other human beings, but I did not adopt their standards. The Confederate flag is a shameful rag and nothing more.
There are more thoughts on this subject and other things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.
Greetings, fellow Rock-A-Holics! Let's beat the heat for just a few extra minutes by staying inside to help out one of our own! It's always air conditioned in Group Therapy!
Today's person-in-need is Donovan, who recently asked his girlfriend to move in with him. They have been together for a year, and they were spending all their time at his place anyway, so he figured it was an obvious decision.
Unfortunately, cohabitation hasn't been quite what Donovan expected. His girlfriend is, to put it plainly, a complete slob. It's driving Donovan crazy enough that he's starting to resent her, but his attempts to discuss his concerns with her have produced no results. The big question for Donovan is this: can their relationship survive if he tells her that he wants to stay together, but can't live with her under these conditions?
I do not envy you in this situation, Donovan. Maybe a year was too soon for consolidating your living situation, but it's not like there's any real yardstick for making that decision.
Do you have any advice for Donovan and his extremely complicated roommate/relationship situation? Sound off, good people!
It's Group Therapy time! Let's help out a Rock-A-Holic in need of advice!
Ashley is a fan of the show, so I'm going to try my best to be kind here…but I'm struggling from the get-go, folks.
25-year-old Ashley has a male friend named Tommy that she's known since high school. Tommy's been dating another girl for the last four years, and Ashley doesn't think much of her. Of course, that might be due to the fact that Ashley always figured that she and Tommy would end up becoming an item. Ashley and Tommy used to joke that they should get married if they were both single at age 30, so that just adds fuel to what Ashley hopes could become a fire someday.
Recently, Tommy confided to Ashley that he cheated on his girlfriend on vacation. Ashley was shocked, but it also made her realize that she had never considered trying to come between Tommy and his girlfriend. She just assumed that they were solid, and that he would never go for it. Now that she knows he might be susceptible to temptation, she has actually come to us to see if we think she should go for it. In fact, she wonders if his confession is some kind of sign that it's time to make her move.
Oh, man. Where do I ever start with this girl, and how do I say what's on my mind without using terrible language and saying mean things? It's always a struggle, but this is an especially difficult case for me. This is exactly why I always say that men and women who are close friends are usually holding back some kind of attraction, at least on one side of the friendship.
I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts, good people of the Rock-A-Holic community! Cut loose and tell Ashley what you think of this "problem" that she's looking for help to solve…
Hello again, good people of the Rock-A-Holic community! I hope nothing ever keeps us apart, because I sure love having your help in Group Therapy!
A listener named Mark is having some difficulty getting together with his own good people – specifically, his friends – and he's looking for some help with the situation. Why is he having so much trouble seeing his friends? Well, you may not be all that surprised to hear that Mark's girlfriend of five years is the obstacle here.
The girlfriend has always been the jealous type, and she's been working extremely hard to keep Mark away from his friends for the last three years. Mark is finally fed up over this situation, and he wants to see if we have any advice for him.
Mark, you've been putting up with this for five years, and it's only gotten worse in the last three. Do you really think it's going to get better? After all, you really make yourself out to be a cool guy with cool friends, who is an innocent victim of this tyrannical woman…but there must be more to this situation than simple jealousy. I don't feel like we have a lot of helpful information here, and I have a hunch that we're not hearing the whole story. Migs wonders if there's a reason why you didn't specify the gender of your "great friends", and that definitely makes me think…
Well, let's see what you have to say, folks. Can you take this at face value, and give Mark some advice for his situation?
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Sometime around 1973, I found myself sitting in a restaurant in Washington, DC, more precisely a health food restaurant called Food For Thought. I was listening to the song "Cecilia" by Simon and Garfunkel (1970 # 4 hit) and falling in love with the waitress as she moved to the beat up and down the aisle. For however long it took me to eat a banana, walnut, apple, yogurt, and granola salad, with honey, of course, I was in love. I never got to know the waitress's name, but for 42 years she has danced up and down the aisle of my memory just as she did on that wooden floor in a place called Food For Thought, and she forever will be remembered as Cecilia. That was a great afternoon, and it was all real, especially the food.
Monsanto has its claws down my throat as they sue the state of Vermont. With Governor Peter Shumlin's signature, Vermont became the first state in the country to require foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to carry a label. The effective date is July 1, 2016, but whether it goes into effect depends on defeating legal and constitutional challenges, and there are many challenges by Monsanto. Currently, 29 states have bills in the works, with Oregon gearing up for a GMO-labeling initiative that will appear on the ballot this November, and Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association keep on suing. While there has been speculation Starbucks was part of this suit, the company has stated those allegations are completely false.
Donald Trump has thrown his wiggy-ness into the presidential race, and it's not the first time wigs have been involved. Back In 1834, political opponents of President Andrew Jackson organized a new party to contest his Democrats nationally and in the states. Guided by their most prominent leader, Henry Clay, they called themselves Whigs (nothing to do with wigs, by the way) and disparagingly referred to Andrew Jackson as King Andrew. The Whigs were immediately laughed at by Jacksonian Democrats as a party devoted to the interests of wealth and aristocracy, but they won the presidential elections in 1840 and 1848. However, by 1852, the popular issue of the day was slavery, and the Whigs fell out of favor. The "cotton" Whigs moved to the Democratic Party, and the "conscience" Whigs formed the new Republican Party.
Rock History: On June 2, 1956, in Santa Cruz, California, there was a dance party, and 200 teenagers packed the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on that Saturday night to dance to the music of Chuck Higgins and his orchestra, a Los Angeles group with a regional hit record called "Pachuko Hop" (catch this rocker on YouTube). The Santa Cruz police entered the auditorium just past midnight, and according to Lieutenant Richard Overton, found the crowd dancing suggestively, presumably triggered by the "provocative rhythms of an all-Negro band," and shut down the dance. The next day, June 3, 1956, the city authorities announced a total ban on rock and roll at public gatherings, calling the music "detrimental to both the health and morals of our youth and community."
There's more on "Pachuko Hop" and Chuck Higgins, morality, lack of morality, music, and other wigged-out things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Come on in.
Welcome back to another round of Group Therapy, gang! We appreciate you taking some time away from your workday to help a Rock-A-Holic in need!
Jeff wrote in with a doozy of a situation. Last week, his wife revealed that she had an affair with her boss. He also said something we don't hear very often in cases like this: they both want to stay together and make the marriage work. Jeff has never cheated, but he does think that he could have been more attentive to his wife. That lack of attention was definitely a factor in her affair.
The wife has a great job, and she doesn't want to leave it. She swears the affair is absolutely over, but Jeff isn't comfortable with her continuing to work under (hi-yo) the man she cheated with. His wife believes she should be able to keep her job, because she's the primary breadwinner in the relationship. Jeff wants her to quit, and is contemplating making it a deal-breaker for moving forward.
I'm going to turn this one over to the good people who read this blog, because I'm fairly certain we'll have plenty of opinions for you to sort through, Jeff. This is a tough scenario. I'm no fan of infidelity, but there's a practical part of my brain that wants to point out how hard it is to find a great job…especially when you have to leave a great one before you start your search!
It's time for another round of Group Therapy, the psychological help that won't cost you a dime!
That's probably good news for Peter, who made a startling discovery while cleaning up after having some company stay over at his house. Peter keeps $200 in cash for emergencies, and now that money is missing from the guest room, which is where he keeps it. Admittedly, Peter forgot to hide the dough away before company came, but that doesn't change the fact that he's missing his rainy day money, and one of his houseguests is very likely a little richer now.
The guests in question were former neighbors who were visiting after moving away, so it's not like they're strangers; Peter has known them for a while. He feels very uncomfortable about asking them to answer for the missing money, but he's having trouble coming up with a scenario that doesn't point to them taking it. He's really not sure what to do, so let's see if we can help him out, shall we?
I don't know how to approach this subject, because it seems like it's a no-win situation for Peter. If he accuses his friends and he's wrong, they'll be deeply offended; if he doesn't, he'll never have the answer to the mystery of the vanishing money. There's also the third option, in which he asks them to answer for this, and they just lie to him. That won't solve anything, either.
What say you, good people? How would you address this problem if it happened to you?
It's time for Group Therapy! Get your helmet and put on your pads, kids!
We heard from Monica, who needs some help from her fellow Rock-A-Holics. Her boyfriend has a 19-year-old sister, who is apparently "dating" (the quotes are Monica's) the boss at a tanning salon, simply for the benefit of free tanning. Rumor has it that this guy isn't the only one on the list; the sister has a reputation for sex-as-trade, and Monica goes so far as to describe her as the town bicycle.
(In case you don't know this classic term, we'll clarify: everybody in town gets a ride.)
The boyfriend believes that his sister is a good girl, and that seems to be the family's overall perception as well. Monica feels like they need to know the truth, and she knows that means it will probably have to come from her.
I'm trying to be cool about this, but I just don't understand why this is any of your business, Monica. I'm not passing any judgment – good or bad – on your boyfriend's sister, and maybe that's an approach that might offer you some peace of mind. Focus on your own life! Stop worrying about bikes and the people who ride them.
As always, we'll open up the door for everyone's opinions…so, let's hear from you, gang!
It's time for Group Therapy! After recently agreeing to a contest where the grand prize is a date with my daughter, I am definitely feeling a strong sense of appreciation for anything that helps with a damaged mental state. Oh, and would you look at this…it's a Father's Day question, sort of.
Don wrote to say that he recently found his birthday / first Father's Day gift by accident…and he doesn't like it. In fact, he thinks it's horrible! He knows that money is tight, and that his fiancee tried her best, but she's made a big deal about this gift, and he absolutely hates it. He doesn't want to upset her by returning it, but he's in a double-bad situation here, because he couldn't pretend that he liked it, even if the surprise wasn't already ruined for him!
This is a tough situation, Don. Believe me, I've been on the receiving end of some less-than-awesome gifts, but what can you do? It's the thought that counts…but it's no fun when the thought goes wrong, and you're left holding the bag.
What say you, Rock-A-Holics? Is Don stuck with a bad gift, or is there some way for him to get what he really wants out of this?
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
One of my very good friends from Rambling Harbor, the aquatic specialist formerly known as Swamp Woman, who is always very soft spoken and mostly keeps her opinions to herself, looked at me the other day and said so sincerely, "It must be hell to be in your head," after listening to some dissertation I had just finished on the state of the state of something.
Ha! She has no idea! I'm sitting here trying to write my blog for next week and going totally blank. I want to remain nonpolitical, but the song "Master Jack" by Four Jacks and a Jill will not leave my tangled grey matter alone. Over and over, I hear what a strange world we live in... and damn, ain't it the truth.
In my opinion, there are some things that were meant to go together, peanut butter and chocolate, scotch and soda, and music and politics, especially folk music, which I will talk about in the podcast. I have been trying to avoid as much as possible that last combination and concentrate on just the music, but that's almost impossible for me.
The late Howard Zinn, after being beaten at a peaceful demonstration, said that if you try free speech The Man will be there with sticks and guns to stop you. He went on to say that from that moment on, as he rubbed the lump on his head, he was no longer a liberal but a radical. I too have felt those lumps of peaceful free speech, in Chicago in 1968 and in Wounded Knee in 1973.
In "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Bob Dylan's statement about not needing a weatherman to tell which way the wind was blowing did not refer to the astronomical climate but the political one and to the Weather Underground. Today you need a score card to keep the candidates for president straight. At this time, there are 10 candidates from the Republican side of the barbed wired fence. One more and they could start a football team, and I hear the candidates don't all have deflated balls and there are some females.
My conservative friends think I'm a liberal, and my liberal friends know I'm a radical, and my radical friends think I'm insane, all of which makes it difficult for anyone to agree with me completely. As of this date we do not have the NVRP, the Non-Violent Radical Party. There is a book and a documentary film about Howard Zinn, both called You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train. If there is one thing that makes me more politically angry than anything else, it's the term neutral. As my dad used to say, "Do SOMETHING even if it's wrong."
There are more nonpolitical thoughts—hee hee—and musical notes on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.
Our boy Migs is experiencing a lot of new things in his life lately: the return of a classic nickname, an elevated presence on the radio show (including name credit!) and so much more, including a recent experience that was new in a way that I just can't put my finger in…er, on…
Yes, Migs got himself a prostate exam. Take a moment to chuckle about the mechanics of this – we certainly did – and then listen up! It's time for a BJ & MIGS MEN'S HEALTH MOMENT.
Guys, the prostate exam is an important thing for you to get taken care of. We know you hate to go to the doctor, but once you hit 40 years old, it is past time to take responsibility for your own health. If you have a spouse and/or a family, the need becomes even more essential. You're not the only one who has an investment in your physical (and mental) condition then, and no one needs or wants the kind of nasty surprises that can stem from neglecting your personal health.
We'll stop preaching now, but we hope you'll take the advice and get it done!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Rock-A-Holic rowdiness…
It's time for Group Therapy, where we do our best to offer some assistance to Rock-A-Holics in need. We think of you all as a big, extended family…that we're thankfully not directly related to.
Today's topic comes from Al, who is struggling with his stepdaughter's request for help. She's 10 years old, and she has asked Al for assistance in making a Father's Day gift for her deadbeat biological dad. Al really loathes the kid's father, even though he's never expressed that to her in the four years that he's been in her life.
Why does he dislike the other guy so much? Well, he only sees his daughter for two hours a week, and refers to Al as "whatshisface". The idea of making this Dad Of The Year washout a gift is really chapping Al's hide, but he doesn't want to disappoint this little girl that he loves so much.
Al, you're not alone. We hear from a lot of Rock-A-Holics in "blended family" situations around here, and it's rarely an easy situation to be in. I don't have that experience directly, so I'm going to turn this over to the good people who read this blog.
I was just in Las Vegas for geeky reasons (a Magic tournament with my son), so let's catch up with an interesting news item from that famous city of sin…
There's some buzz about what's happening at Little Darlings, which is – to say it politely – a "gentleman's club" in Vegas. The club is actively recruiting recent high school graduates, making the point that stripping is a great way to earn money for college. You probably won't be shocked when I say that there are some people who are outraged about this, but I think it's fair to point out that the average fresh-out-of-school young woman isn't making $1000 a night, which is a completely realistic goal for a dancer in Vegas.
I don't understand why the year 2015 this is still an issue. Remember back in the day when bartenders used to get grief for their jobs?
I'm curious to hear your feelings about this, gang. Is this bad business, or a simple truth of the world being turned into an opportunity for young women?
Are you a Rock-A-Holic in need of advice? Come on in, friend – you're just in time for Group Therapy!
We're hoping to offer some help to Roy, who has a problem with a situation at his wife's place of employment…which just happens to be a bar. Here's the situation: Roy's wife takes off her wedding ring at her bartending/waitressing job, because she says it gets her better tips. Roy's not too thrilled about this, and has turned to us for some guidance. He's wondering if it's acceptable for her to take this particular action in the name of a better payout at the end of the night.
Roy, this isn't an uncommon practice. I understand there's a question of integrity and loyalty here, so it doesn't surprise me that you're unsettled by it; I also think it's probably better that you don't see "work mode" wife versus the woman you live at home. I'm not suggesting there's anything unsavory going on – not at all – but there's a certain level of hustle to any customer interaction that has a sliding scale of profit. Flirting gets the job done, and I'm sure this situation is no exception. That still doesn't mean that your wife is being unfaithful, though.
Let's hear from you, good people: should Roy be upset about his wife giving the sign of "single status" to help entice her customers into tipping her a little better? Give us a shout!
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
The mid-1950's through the early 1960's were truly happy days. There were no wars, and it was a time of prosperity for the country. Those of us who began coming of age in that optimistic time were also being molded into the so-called hippies that many like me would become. You see, we had known something our parents had never felt—a time of peace—and we carried that with us. We knew what it could be like.
By the fall of 1955, it seems happiness was too much for us. Enter "Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots" by The Cheers, which hit #6 on the Billboard best-selling singles chart, and ushered in the era of teenage tragedy songs, also known as tearjerkers, death discs, and splatter platters. I must have cried "96 Tears" over "Tell Laura I Love her," and I never even knew a Laura. And who could ever forget "Endless Sleep" by Jody Reynolds. To think it all started with a two-minute-and-thirteen-second song from 1955, which when you hear it sounds like a 33-1/3 rpm being played at 45 rpm because in those days we had to die in three minutes or less.
If you think that trend ended with the 1960's, think again. In 1976, there was "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!" by Jethro Tull, about an old rocker who lives in the past, refusing to grow up like his friends did, and has a motorcycle accident and dies, and "The One That Got Away" by Katy Perry in 2010, "Teen Idle" by Marina and the Diamonds in 2012, and "White Is Red" by Death From Above 1979, which made its debut in 2014.
To end on a silly musical note, how about songs like "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney, written as a response to a post-Beatles breakup comment by John Lennon in which Lennon claimed that the only songs Paul wrote for the Beatles were silly love songs. Or "Muskrat Love" by Captain & Tennille (Billboard #4, September 25, 1976), a song about muskrats Suzie and Sam falling in love. It was cute, it was really stupid, and it was a hit. Then there was "Mickey" by Toni Basil (#1, September 4, 1982). The song is as shallow as a song can get, but the video with Toni and her cheerleader squad stole the show. Finally, how many of us, I hope in private, still sing "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (#1, February 8, 1992)?
There's more on death and sex and who knows what else on the shores of Rambling Harbor, just a player click away. Join me there.
Group Therapy is a committed relationship between Rock-A-Holics who believe in helping each other out from time to time. We try to keep the trust, and we know you do, too. Sometimes, though, you folks make it more than a little difficult…
Mary is our patient today, so let's see if we can offer her some advice. A few months ago, her husband uncovered an affair she'd been having with an old flame. He moved out, lawyered up, and things were heading toward a divorce…but a repentant Mary finally convinced him to give her another chance, if for nothing else but the sake of the children. The husband is willing to return, with one condition: he wants an open marriage.
Mary doesn't want to be with anyone else ever again, but he says he just can't trust her, and he simply has no urge to remain faithful to her after the affair. Now, she's trying to figure out how to persuade him that their marriage can only continue if they are both truly dedicated to the cause.
Come on, Mary, are you KIDDING me? Men are very black-and-white about these things, and you are in breach of contract here. You cheated, and now you're making the case for a committed marriage as the only viable option? That's some nerve.
I'm going to leave it there, and turn you over to the Rock-A-Holics. I have a feeling they'll have plenty to say on this subject…
Welcome back to Group Therapy, gang! It's all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics here, so let's get down to it!
Today we're helping Kevin. He recently went to a Mariners game with his wife, his buddy, and his buddy's girlfriend. During the game, the weather turned chilly, which we all know is a pretty common occurrence.
Buddy's girlfriend got cold, so the buddy offered her his jacket; she wore it for one inning, then he got cold and asked for it back. As the game went on, Kevin could see she that was still cold, so he offered the girlfriend his own hoodie, and she accepted. Kevin's friend was visibly mad about it, but didn't really say anything directly.
On the way home, Kevin's wife wouldn't talk to him. After a little prodding, he learned that she was also mad about the gesture, which Kevin meant as nothing more than an act of polite kindness. Now, he's come to us, wondering if he should check his behavior in this situation.
I wonder: is this projection, or does Kevin not realize he was being flirtatious? Of course, there are just as many cases when a man would be in trouble for NOT offering a jacket to a woman who's cold. How can you tell, in the new age of equality? It's almost impossible to be nice without getting some kind of grief. If men and women are supposed to be on an even playing field now, are men supposed to do away with the politeness we were taught growing up? Am I a jerk if I hold open a door, give up my bus seat, or offer my jacket…to a lady? Those are hard habits to break, especially when you were brought up to think they were the right thing to do.
Let's hear it from you, good people! Where do we stand on Kevin's apparent misstep, and male-to-female manners in general in the year 2015?
Today's guest blog features one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Johnny Depp is facing up to ten years in prison in Australia for doggie smuggling. Australia's Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, demanded Depp fly his Yorkshire terriers out of the country by May 16 or face having them put down. He obeyed the order, but now Depp could face a stiff punishment for ignoring animal immigration procedures. There are good reasons for those rules, and I disagree with Depp's disregard for them, but I'm a Depp fan especially after he announced he wanted to buy Wounded Knee, sacred ground where many atrocities were committed against the Sioux, including the killing of Sitting Bull in 1890, and where in the 1970's there was a stand-off between the Federal government and the American Indian Movement about ownership of the land. Landowner James Czywczynski and tribal president Bryan Brewer say the purchase would be a noble gesture, but neither has heard from Depp. More disappointing is that the most recent information I could find about Johnny Depp's possible purchase was from Feb 20, 2014, when Sioux Falls, South Dakota, television station KSFY reported he was again showing signs he might buy Wounded Knee. That report is over a year old, though. Buy it, Johnny, and give it back to the rightful owners!
"Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," written by Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel, was originally released on August 26, 1977, as a Stiff Records single with "Razzle in My Pocket" as the B-side. Only two members of Dury's band, The Blockheads, appear on the record–guitarist Chaz Jankel and saxophonist Davey Payne—and although Dury hadn't formed a complete band yet, the song did very well. Ian Dury, they say, was also highly successful with women. Some leading actresses, such as Helen Mirren, are said to have enjoyed a friendship with him, and Jane Horrocks moved in with him when she was in her 20s, admitting later she always chose men who, while bright, were untamable, and Dury was the most challenging of the lot. Ian Dury left an indelible mark on the London music scene especially. He died of metastatic colorectal cancer on March 27, 2000, at age 57.
You might think this was true of the wild and free 1970's, but a 2010 National Opinion Research Center study revealed that women are 40% more likely to cheat today than they were a couple of decades back. Also, according to an American poll, 85% of females and 74% of males considered sexting as cheating and also that a non-sexual affair was as dangerous as a physically intimate one. Is a non-sexual affair like a Vulcan mind meld? Oh baby, baby, you rock my frontal lobe!
In other news, it was just a year ago that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got married. The exalted date was May 24. There's still no confirmation that little North was an Immaculate Conception.
For more random ramblings on the shores of Rambling Harbor, hit the Play button and join me there.