BJ Shea

 BJ Shea

BJ'S BLOG 08/27/15 "Delivery Room Problem"

Hello again, good people of Rock-A-Holica! (Yeah, that sounds weird. We probably won't be trying that one again, but you know we like to keep it fresh…sort of.) Anyway, it's time for Group Therapy, so let's see what the Trouble Stork has delivered this time.

James and his wife are expecting a baby, so congratulations to them! Mrs. James wants someone extra in the delivery room: her best friend, going back to elementary school; unfortunately, James can't stand this woman, and he doesn't want her there at all.

We live in an age of overexposure, and this is just one more aspect of the new way of thinking. I know I'll be accused of being old-fashioned, but I feel like the father should have some input regarding the people who are present when his child is born. What do you have to say on the subject, folks?
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BJ'S BLOG 08/26/15 "Age Difference"

You're never too old for Group Therapy, although I can't really recommend it for the younger set. It gets a little raw around here sometimes, and we don't want to harm the tender ears of children…

Mary has an age-related predicament that she needs some help with: she's dating a man who is much older, and she's worried that their age gap might be a little TOO wide. The difference between them is 17 years, with Mary in her mid-20s, and the boyfriend in his 40s.

Mary's family doesn't approve, and her friends say they can't find anything in common with him. For her part, Mary is crazy about this guy; she believes he may be The One, and she's hoping to convince everyone to come around to her way of thinking.

We don't have much more to go on, so I can't make a judgment based on the guy's personality, or how he interacts with the family and friends. So, I'm going to turn this over to the Rock-A-Holics for some feedback! If you have any advice on making a relationship work with a big age split, fire it up!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/25/15 "Payback For The Wedding"

Hey, gang! You're never obligated to help out with Group Therapy, but we do appreciate the advice you share!

Today's session is already getting my blood pressure up, so let's just take this frustrating dive together…

22-year-old Trista got married back in February and her parents picked up the bill for the occasion. The grand total for their daughter's special day was a cool $45,000.00…so this was no small affair, obviously.

After barely half a year, the marriage has ended in separation. Obviously, some mistakes were made, and we all know that mistakes can be costly in many different ways. In this case, the cost includes a demand from Trista's parents that they get their money back! Trista is confused and upset, because she just doesn't understand why her parents aren't willing to eat 45k for a marriage that crashed and burned before it ever really got airborne.

This is more B.S. from the entitlement generation: Foot the bill for my mistake, and when you feel like you should be repaid, I'll take my problems to the public! I'm just certain the world will be outraged on my behalf. Life is so unfair! Can't I just have everything I want, without consequence or conscience?

This one's going directly to the court of public opinion, because if I take the time to say what's on my mind, I'm just going to start yelling and swearing (even more than usual). Let's hear your thoughts on Trista's situation, good people!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/24/15 "Major and the Zoo"

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

The song "At the Zoo," recorded by Simon and Garfunkel and released as a single in 1967, was intended to be in the soundtrack of The Graduate, written for the scene that takes place at the San Francisco Zoo, but the song tells the story of a trip to the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Perhaps that's why it didn't make the cut. But it's a song I like—the lyrics are fun, giving character traits to different animals, for example, portraying orangutans as skeptical and zebras as reactionaries—and it's been the soundtrack in my mind recently.

I went to a zoo the other day, The Stone Zoo, which first opened in 1905 and in 1990 was forced to close after big-time state budget cuts. The public wanted the zoo, though, and kicked up a bit of a fuss, so the state senate, along with help from fundraising and other donations, set up a private, non-profit corporation to manage it. The Stone Zoo reopened on June 6, 1992. As I ambled about for the first time in maybe 30 years, maybe more, I noticed many of the attractions I remembered from the early-to-late 1980's, when the zoo flourished, were gone. As I talked with some of the zookeepers, it became apparent the zoo is still in desperate need of funding.

During the transition from public to private, the zoo lost all of its large animals except for Major, a polar bear who stayed at the zoo until his death. Major had been the star attraction since his arrival at the Stone Zoo in 1975, and he was also the "poster bear" when the people wanted their zoo back. He weighed about 900 pounds, stood over 8 feet tall, and lived to be 33 years old — the oldest known polar bear in captivity. Major was the Stone Zoo in so many ways. He was put to sleep in June of 2000 after a long bout with cancer, but his presence at the zoo is still greatly missed. When I knelt by the black bear you see in the photograph, I felt we were both saying a prayer for Major.

The bear in my photo is a rescue bear. He and his brother were found without a mother and were sheltered with the hope that they would be returned to the wild, but they could not be rehabilitated enough to go to the mountains safely. So here they are, safe and content in a good-size area.

My friends thought I was bit whacked went I said I was going to talk to this big guy and proceeded to lie down and call him over, but as you can see from the picture we hit it off big time. I so wanted to touch him, and even though a thick piece of plastic hung between us, I know this guy and I were communicating, and it was good.

Sometimes zoos bother me, particularly when the animals do not have enough space or the area they are in is poorly maintained, usually because of lack of money. It seems it has become more important to spend money to find life on Mars than care for the lives we have here.

There are more thoughts on zoos and other things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you'll join me there.
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Locations : New York City
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BJ'S BLOG 08/21/15 "Inappropriate Contact"

Hello again, good people! If you're the type to share some good advice, we could really use you in Group Therapy! We have Rock-A-Holics in need, so let's get down to it!

We heard from Wyatt, who wrote in because he's worried that his father-in-law is carrying on some kind of inappropriate relationship with a woman at the gym. Wyatt has been a firsthand witness to their lingering physical contact, and he also noticed that they spend an incredibly long amount of time talking together. Wyatt says that if he didn't know better, he would assume they were in a relationship.

Wyatt approached his father-in-law at the gym after watching him interact with the woman, clearly catching him by surprise. He asked Wyatt "how long he'd been there", and was definitely shocked to see him there. Wyatt wonders if he should say something to his wife about her father's relationship with this woman.

Ultimately, the father-in-law is a grown man, and I don't understand Wyatt's fascination with this…whatever-it-is. Isn't it better to just let people do what they're going to do? There are so many potential moving parts in this scenario, ranging from the relationship parameters between his wife's parents, to his wife's potential rage reaction, and back around to the simple truth that it may be completely innocent.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think this one is better left alone, but maybe you disagree. Should Wyatt get in the middle of this matter, or just let it go? Your opinions are appreciated, gang!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/20/15 "Close Friend"

It's Group Therapy time! We appreciate the good advice you share with your fellow Rock-A-Holics, so keep up the good work! Let's see who we're helping today…

Ray is happily married with a great wife. He also has a platonic female friend who suffers from depression, and he tries to be there for her when she needs him. Ray and his female friend meet for coffee, and he lets her take the time to share her problems; they also take walks from time to time. During these walks, they occasionally hold hands.

Well, that sets off an alarm in my head. I take a lot of grief for my strong stand against male-female friendships when at least one of the people is in a relationship with someone else. HOLDING HANDS, Ray?! Seriously?

Ray's wife knows about the friendship, but she doesn't know how close they are, or about the depression. Ray says he's worried about his friend, and he fears that pulling back from their established friendship could send her into a spiral. He wonders if he should explain everything about this friendship to his wife.

I'm throwing my hands up in the air on this one. Men and women should NOT be hanging out if they're not intimately involved, and I'm not changing my stance on that anytime soon (read: ever.) Why would you take on this woman's problems? Let her find a man of her own, and you can focus on your marriage. This is trouble waiting to happen, and that's my last word on the subject.

I don't care about this situation, and it's making me irritated to keep dwelling on it. Let's hear it from you, good people…what do you think Ray should do about this weird little triangle he's built for himself?
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BJ'S BLOG 08/19/15 "Coattail Rider"

We work hard around here, but we usually end up getting all the credit, anyway…because no one really wants to stamp their name on the half-assery that we commit on a daily basis. It's Group Therapy, and it's all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics!

Today's patient-in-need is Lee. He's dealing with a co-worker who is taking credit for his hard work! Lee's been at the job for about three years, and the new guy is still…well, new. The new guy was recently recognized for Lee's work by their mutual boss, and even posted on Facebook that he was happy to be complimented for his achievements! Lee is sick and tired of this coattail rider, and he's not sure what to do about it!

I'd offer my own opinion, but I'm sure Migs (or Vicky, or Rev, or Mono Nick, or Prodigy, or Sara, or INSERT NAME HERE) will just end up taking credit for my genius! Do you have any advice for Lee, folks?
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BJ'S BLOG 08/18/15 "Bad Dinner Behavior"

Group Therapy is all about bringing people together…specifically, Rock-A-Holics in need. Let's see if we can help today's patient, shall we?

Jeff wrote to ask about a recent bad date experience. The date itself wasn't bad, and he really likes the woman he was out with, but there was one moment in the evening that has him wondering what he should do next.

So, Jeff was on a blind date with this woman, after they were set up by a mutual friend. The night was going well, the food was great, and some good conversation was happening between them. BUT THEN…something happened.

Jeff's date flipped out when the server brought the wrong dessert, and even lashed out at Jeff when he tried to tell her that it wasn't a huge deal. She claimed it was the principle of the thing, but Jeff felt like the level of her response was really over the top, given the relatively harmless situation.

Truth time, ladies and germs: I have DEFINITELY been the person that loses their cool over a dessert error, so I can't really come out against the girl in this situation. Maybe it's a good time to see what the rest of you are thinking about Jeff's conundrum. Should he overlook this one uncomfortable moment and keep seeing the woman? Should he talk to the mutual friend about it, or even bring it up to the woman directly? Your opinions and welcome and encouraged…
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BJ'S BLOG 08/17/15 "My Name Is Regulus, and This Is a Whale of a Tale"

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders!

My name is Regulus. I was named after the brightest star in the constellation Leo and nicknamed Reggie. I was born in 1983. My mother's name was Spoon. This is part of my story.

It was one of those beautiful New England mornings in the North Atlantic ocean in the year 2005, and on this day I was out for a swim and stirring up some plankton. Unlike my mates, I never learned the proper way to do this. Most of the others slapped the water to bring food to the surface, but I slapped my side. This made me unique, and there I was, happily dining on plankton and small fish like herring or mackerel. Oh! Perhaps I should tell you I am a humpback whale.

On this morning, things were going quite swimmingly, pardon the pun, when all of a sudden, as I dove toward the ocean bottom, something went horribly wrong. I was caught on something strange, and it held me tight. The more I struggled to free myself the tighter it got, and it started ripping and tearing into my flesh. Oh God, how it hurt! What was it? I had never felt anything like this, and I was so scared, so very, very scared.

A nylon line formed a loop around my belly and back and cut into my right flipper. As I fought for my life, I saw people in boats and became even more frightened and began to swim away. I took deep breaths and then dove and stayed hidden as long as possible. After all, I had already suffered enough pain at the hands of the land animals. I stayed hidden in spite of the pain for a very long time. As my fear and pain drove me further out to sea and deeper into the ocean's depths, I knew I was going to die, but I would die where I was born, deep in the ocean.

How was I to know I was avoiding those who were trying to help me? I later learned it was a research rescue team, who were forced to give up when they couldn't find me. Then on the morning of November 28, 2005, four months after I had been discovered entangled, I was again sighted and the research team confirmed I was with another humpback whale and was gear free but in very poor condition with deep wounds across my back and in my flippers. Eventually I recovered and was seen using my unique style of flipper slapping. The rescuers estimated I had been struggling to live for as long as two months.

Once again I could swim and gulp in the North Atlantic, happy to face each morning alive and playing with the seagulls and other humpbacks. My story had a happy ending, but unfortunately many entangled whales die a painful, lonely death.

Fishermen need to fish and whales need to feed, they just need to keep a safe distance from each other. I hope fishermen find a way to protect whales while doing the work that brings them their own survival.

There's more on Reggie in the podcast. Join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.
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People : Dan Sanders


BJ'S BLOG 08/14/15 "Girlfriend Work Surprise "

Group Therapy is all about Rock-A-Holics working together! Unfortunately, today's "patient" is having a problem with the people his girlfriend will be working with…

Evan's been dating his "super-hot and awesome" girlfriend for about seven months, and things are going well. She's even got a new job…but Evan's not so happy about that. You see, Evan's girlfriend is coming to work at HIS job, and he doesn't want to be in a relationship with a coworker. Maybe that's because he got something going with TWO other women at his job (separately) and neither situation worked out for him.

Oh, and did I mention that those two women will be working with Evan's girlfriend? That's an interesting complication for a guy who would prefer that his girlfriend not find out that he got some coworker action before they started dating. Her first day is Monday, and Evan is tempted to tell her to turn down the job!

Evan, you're not giving off a "genius vibe" here. In fact, I'm starting to think that your little brain is doing most of the heavy lifting…so to speak.

What do you say, gang? Does Evan have a right to be freaking out, or is he just a dog who wants to keep his options open?
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BJ'S BLOG 08/13/15 "Inappropriate In-Law"

Welcome back to Group Therapy, where it's all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics.

We're going to see if we can help Lena today. She's married, and her husband is currently unemployed; they're definitely struggling at the moment, and may even lose their house. If they can't reverse this situation, they may end up living with the husband's father. That's looking like a difficult option for Lena, who recently had a bizarre exchange with her father-in-law that left her feeling extremely uncomfortable.

Are you ready for this, gang? It's a doozy. Lena's father-in-law said – in front of Lena and her husband – that if he has to support his son's wife, then he "should get to f*** her, too".

It's a horrible thing for the man to have said (although the shock of it is enough to make me laugh with discomfort), but Lena's husband says that he didn't mean it, and told her not to make waves while they're negotiating a possible living situation. Lena is willing to accept that the old man was probably making a harmless joke, but I think she has every reason to be uncomfortable about it.

I get that we're dealing with an old guy – probably REALLY old, I'm guessing – but this just isn't socially acceptable. Unfortunately, they're in a rough situation, so I'm not sure if pushing back is the right move at the moment. It's a desperate time for this couple, so Lena may have to endure his caveman way of thinking for now. I'm not saying this is okay, and there should be ZERO tolerance for anything that tries to go past the verbal stage…but I'd be willing to bet that the dad was taking a shot at his son's failure, and Lena was the easy target for his words.

I suspect we'll have a big split of opinion on this one. Let's hear your thoughts, good people!

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BJ'S BLOG 08/12/15 "Quitting Her Business"

It's time for another round of Group Therapy, gang! If you're a Rock-A-Holic in need, you're a friend indeed!

Today's patient is Alex, who works full time, while his wife stays home with their three kids. He also has a second job that he does at home, and may be taking on a THIRD gig, all in the name of bringing more money into the household.

Alex's wife has a small, home-based business that doesn't make much money; she keeps saying that she's going to give it up, but she never quite follows through. Meanwhile, the household chores aren't getting done…and this working man feels like he shouldn't have the bulk of that responsibility.

Alex wants to know if he'll end up being the bad guy if he asks his wife to drop the job. Personally, I think Alex is in the right here, and his wife is being selfish. Maybe you agree, and maybe you don't…so let's hear what you have to say, good people!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/11/15 "Husband On a Date"

Holy moly, Rock-A-Holics! We took a short vacation, and the Group Therapy messages really piled up while we were gone. I guess you really need us…so let's get right into it!

Today, we're trying to help Nora, whose husband secretly asked his co-worker out for a dinner date. The husband's conscience got the better of him, and he confessed the crime…but there's some debate about whether Nora can actually consider him guilty of cheating. Confused? Well, keep reading.

During the date, Nora's husband realized that he was making a mistake, so he paid for the dinner and came home to his wife. So, nothing happened between them. Unfortunately, this dummy (sorry, Nora) chose to console his wife with this gem: "At least I didn't cheat on you."

As you might expect, Nora has a severe difference of opinion about the situation. Clearly, her husband asked the woman out with bad intentions, and she's not happy. In fact, she wants them to go to counseling, and would strongly prefer that her husband find a new job, since the object of his affection is his coworker. Naturally, the husband thinks she's overreacting.

This…THIS is why all men are regarded as idiots who can't keep their pants on. Backing out of your own plan to cheat on your wife is not exactly heroic behavior, and trying to minimize the damage just makes it worse. Nora, you're not being oversensitive…your man is a dog, but he's also a chicken. Great combination!

I hope it works out, I truly do. Whatever the result, you still deserve some Group Therapy love, so let's hear what your fellow Rock-A-Holics have to say about it!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/10/15 "I've Been Imbued"

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

I had a revelation. I have been imbued with the truth, and it has set me free. There is something about losing half of your income that says there's no stopping you now. I am free, free, free at last! And I know what I'm not. Knowing not is sometimes more important than knowing.

What I am not is a person who likes to write about politics, sports (usually), and most music people, who actually bore me. The movies I like are not likely to be the ones most people like. If you do like them, then you don't need me to tell you how great they were.

I'm a poet and a storyteller. I like to take people on journeys, some real, some imagined, and some a blend of both, leaving my readers to decide where one ends and another begins. Here's a tale for you.

One summer in the 1700's, a boy walked up his favorite hillside, the dark blue sky and white clouds hovering above the water. He looked at the harbor and saw the sky reflected in the sea, made more striking by the white sails of the tall ships and the clouds right next to them. It was as if the sky was the sea and the sea was the sky. It seemed to him that the world could be turned upside down and still keep a steady keel.

Continuing up to the highest point and looking down on the harbor, down on the schooners and whalers, he saw the frigates and warships. The ships that carried goods from faraway exotic places thrilled him the most. He dreamed of the day he would also sail outside the harbor to places of mystery and magic. The sea cried out to him like a mistress waiting in the dark, barely veiled behind a dream, calling to him to learn from the trade winds of life.

On this day as he looked at his town, he wondered what changes time would bring, how hundreds of years would alter what he saw, and about the new and incredible things that would come to his town that he would never see. Oh, how he longed to be a part of this place forever.

Hundreds of years later waking from the dream, a man walked to the top of the hill and looked down, and the harbor spoke to him, as it had through the ages. The city was different, but the sky was the same, and though the ships had engines instead of sails, his harbor remained. As he stood there, he could not help but wonder which was the dream? It was as if one was either, and both existed one inside the other. This place had always been and always would be his place in time. There was more to know, and he knew that the dream would never end and the questions would remain. Which was the dream, who is the boy or the man? Could you turn one one way and one the other and still have an even keel? Is the dream a memory? Is the boy still walking those hills today beside the man?

I'm not sure what flights my imagination will take on the shores of Rambling Harbor, but join me there and hold on.
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BJ'S BLOG 08/04/15 "Playboy Subscription"

If you want the naked truth, then Group Therapy is the place for you!

Marcy and her husband got married about six months ago, and things are going well. The husband has a subscription to Playboy, and it really bothers her. She admits that she's aware that Playboy is tamer than most men's magazines, but she doesn't like him looking at other naked women.

"I only read it for the articles" is a joke that goes back several decades, but Playboy is an insightful magazine with some top-notch writing. That said, let's not kid ourselves…he's also looking at the pictures.

Marcy, I appreciate your honesty about why the Playboy subscription irritates you. You don't like your man checking out other women, and that's not unreasonable. In your correspondence, you asked two questions:

1. Are you being unreasonable; and/or
2. Do you have a valid point?

I think the answer is "both and", an idea my therapist introduced to me. There doesn't have to be a yes/no answer to your two questions. Let's hear what the Rock-A-Holics have to say! I'd like to hear from men AND women on this one, so take this as your cue to sound off!
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BJ'S BLOG 08/03/15 "Thoughts on Time and Rocky Horror"

Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

In the song "Fly Like an Eagle" by the Steve Miller Band, time keeps slipping into the future. The Time Machine" by H. G. Wells helped move the concept of time travel to the forefront of the public imagination, and Einstein, in his theory of relativity, cited that time travel was possible. He said he wished he could ride a lightning bolt so he would move fast enough to travel through time. (What Albert planned to use as a saddle is unknown.)

My father was highly intelligent and a very good man who taught me many things, a few of which I have lived by my entire life. One was, "Don't waste time. It's the stuff life's made of." Another was, "Sleep is a waste of time. I'll sleep when I'm dead."

"The Time Warp" is a song featured in the 1973 rock musical The Rocky Horror Show and in its 1975 film adaption The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It seems that from the scientific to the ridiculous, we are obsessed with time. I know I am.

On July 8, 2012, a 28-year tradition came to a close. When the AMC Loews Harvard Square Theater closed its doors for good, it brought an end to performances there of The Rocky Horror Picture Show by The Full Body Cast. Each Saturday at the Harvard Square, the regulars, dubbed "sluts," returned week after week, and the "virgins," as they were called, came to check out the show, the actual performance starting at 11:59 p.m. sharp at the Church Street multiplex. Some longtime fans credit Rocky Horror with helping them meet their spouse or launching their acting career. Now the long lines of men and women in some combination of black fishnets, stilettos, lace corsets, gold spandex shorts, and red lipstick V's on their foreheads, have left Harvard Square forever.

Rocky Horror and The Full Body Cast performance has moved on to the Boston Common Theater, but in my mind, the men and women, the sluts and virgins, are still in Harvard Square, lining up or sitting on the steps outside the theater, waiting for the director's call, "We're in," which meant the crew could now set up the stage.

If we believe Einstein and H. G. Wells, somewhere in time and space my old friends are still young and full of hope for the Great White Way or the major radio or TV deal. Somewhere perhaps hope still springs eternal.

What we have now is today, and we should not dare waste a minute of it because time does slip into the future and we will never return to be those people of the past. They still live in their space in our hearts and minds, and maybe that is just where they should be.

There's more on time and space and other things on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Click Play and join me there.
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