BJ Shea

 BJ Shea

BJ'S BLOG 10/01/14 "Should I Tell My Dad..."

Greetings, Rock-A-Holics! You're just in time for a new session of Group Therapy! We've got a guy here who could really use some advice, so let's try to help him out, shall we?

We heard from Ron, who said that he never expected to be in a situation that would require Group Therapy help. He's here now, though, and he doesn't know what to do.

Ron's father is a 57-year-old widower, who is back into the dating scene after Ron's mother passed away three years ago. Dad recently revealed that he's been on a couple of dates with a woman who is closer to Ron's age. This didn't bother Ron in the least…until he saw the woman's picture, and recognized her immediately.

Ron dated this woman in college. Well, okay, they didn't date, but they spent a night together, if you get what we're saying. Ron says he's not even bothered by the fact that his father is dating the woman, but he isn't sure what to do about the fact that it's a woman he once hooked up with.

We don't have all the information here, so we can't effectively run the numbers. Maybe Ron's night with this woman was decades ago, or maybe it was a few years ago. There's no real way to be sure.

Should Ron tell his dad, or just wait to see how things play out? BONUS HONESTY POINTS if you've been one of the parties in a situation like this, and can speak from experience…
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BJ'S BLOG 09/30/14 "Lost the Weight...Now You Want to Date?"

Hey there, gang! You’re looking really great these days! You, uh…wanna hang out some time? I know I wasn’t interested before, but that was before you looked this good. Are you down for some Group Therapy?
We heard from Tanya, who has dropped a fair bit of weight in the last year – 50 pounds, and we congratulate her on the healthy achievement. A year ago, when she was still heavy, Tanya had a big crush on a guy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. She ran into the same guy recently, and he gave her plenty of attention; in fact, they exchanged numbers, and he’s already texted Tanya to ask her out!
Tanya’s feelings on this situation are split down the middle: one side of her wants to embrace the opportunity to date her college crush, while the other wonders if he’s only giving her a chance because she lost all that weight.
This one’s too heavy for me, Rock-A-Holics. I’m turning it over to you for a judgment call. Let’s hear it!
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BJ'S BLOG 09/29/14 "Psycho Spam"

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

Remember the song “Psycho”? It was written by Leon Payne, an incredibly good songwriter who wrote many top hits for country singers. He was known as the blind country balladeer, partly because he was blind and partly because he was a country balladeer. The song was actually inspired by a particular incident.

In 1966, a man named Charles Whitman strangled his mother to death, stabbed his wife, and then headed to the top of the University of Texas library tower and opened fire on an unsuspecting crowd, using his Marine Corps sniper rifle, killing sixteen people. Whitman was gunned down by police.

Apparently Whitman complained for a long time about headaches and strange feelings, and an autopsy later revealed he had a brain tumor. On the day he purchased his rifle, Whitman also bought a can of Spam.

The version of “Psycho” that inspired Elvis Costello’s version was recorded by Jack Kittel, although George Jones (yes, that George Jones) and Eddie Noack both recorded it previously. In the remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho, the song was recorded by Teddy Thompson.

Now, about getting smaller (I have derailed again. I tend to do that, and some readers think I’ve gotten weird, if not psycho, as well. I ask them to assure the newbies that they may continue reading without losing any more grip on reality than they are willing to lose). I moved from a big place to a small place, and in that process I parted, sometimes happily, sometimes with tears, with things that have been held precious for generations from many childhoods. Many things belonged to my wife Jennifer who got her wings on September 25, 2011. No one wanted the things she had held dear, and I did not have room for them. Some things were donated, but others, like an old clay pot, are now landfill and giving back to the earth. My possessions are fewer, my struggle for money is less important than breaking the shackles of dependence on material things, and my life is simpler. In a world of belonging and longing, I have gotten smaller. Getting smaller is not age-reliant, but it is one of the benefits of getting older, and I will say that getting smaller can make you feel bigger. Ridding yourself of Stuff is cathartic. When you tell that to someone attached to their stuff, they may indeed think you’re psycho.

Anyone paying attention to the Charles Whitman story would have quickly seen that someone buying both a gun and spam had issues, but isn't a lot of material stuff a little like spam? No one really likes it or knows what it is, but everyone has had it at one time or another.

So, what part did “Psycho” play in this piece? Really, none. As I said, I derailed myself, but I’m sure it made things more interesting than 500 words on landfill, and there is nothing like adding a bit of information to my esoteric ramblings on life.

There’s more on Spam on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you’ll join me there.
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BJ'S BLOG 09/26/14 "The NFL is NOT the Government!"

This feels like a non-story to me, but it seems that a large number of people would tend to disagree:
The National Organization of Women (NOW) is putting some stock into the suggestion that something within organized sports – specifically, the NFL – is perpetuating a subculture that contributes to, or perhaps diminishes the seriousness of, domestic violence.
The NFL is not the government. There must be rules and consequences within the NFL, but matters of domestic violence are criminal in nature. Just like any other offense that violates our established social guidelines, these matters should be dealt with by law enforcement on the direct level, and addressed within the greater body of the law by the U.S. government.
I simply don’t agree with people who are casting blame on the NFL, in its entirety, for the poor behavior of isolated individuals. Don’t get me wrong: I’m just as bothered by the actions of those players as the next guy, but I certainly don’t see how the business that employs these people should be involved in the blame game.
“Hate the player, don’t hate the game” has never had more meaning than it does right now.
Your thoughts are welcome, friends. My head hurts too much when I try to figure this one out…
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BJ'S BLOG 09/25/14 "Would You Tell Your Ex That You Made a Sex Tape"

Hello again, good people! It’s time for some Group Therapy!
Today’s topic was texted to us by a Rock-A-Holic named Mark. He has a sex tape with his ex-girlfriend, and they each have a copy of it. Mark is engaged, but he hasn’t revealed this little tidbit to his fiancé, and he’s wondering if he should. Mark is leaning toward NOT saying anything, but he says his ex is a little on the crazy side, and she knows the bride-to-be.
This is almost a generational question, because people who are currently in their 20s have come up in a society where shame and discretion are rapidly flying out the window, and recordings and photos of a sexual nature are extremely commonplace. Maybe this is a new “checklist question” for prospective mates: do you have a sex tape that might come back to haunt you?
I can see both sides of Mark’s conflicted thinking, so I’m just not sure what the right answer could be. What do you think, gang?
BONUS HONESTY POINTS if you’ve been in this situation…and EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS HONESTY POINTS if you include a link to the video.*
(*Please don’t include a link to the video. I see enough terrible things around here already.)
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BJ'S BLOG 09/24/14 "Google Stalking"

Before we start today’s Group Therapy, I guess I should ask if you’re a regular blog reader, or if you found us by Google-stalking me! I’m okay with it either way, really…
Henry wrote in with a problem: He recently met a woman, and she gave him her name and phone number, in order to plan a date. As many people do in this day and age, Henry did a Google search on this woman, to see what came up. That’s perfectly fine and dandy, right?
Well…on their first date, the woman grabbed Henry’s phone to Google something they were discussing, and saw his search history. Henry came clean, and she laughed it off, but the date ended with the woman saying she had an early morning ahead of her. She said she would go out with Henry again, but he hasn’t heard from her since, and he’s getting a bit worried that he might have scared her off.
I’m a hell of a long way out of the dating loop (my wife and I are celebrating 30 years in 2015), but my big question is this: who grabs someone’s phone on a first date? Putting that aside, I think that Googling someone is very common, and Henry didn’t do anything wrong. If he’s as interested in her as he says, then maybe he should let his pursuit go a little bit longer, but if she’s avoiding him, then it’s time to move on…and keep searching.
Let’s hear it from you, Rock-A-Holic pals!
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BJ'S BLOG 09/23/14 "Passwords"

Welcome back to Group Therapy, friends!
Today’s topic is one for the modern age. Holly contacted us with a big question: Should she give her boyfriend all her online passwords?
Holly’s boyfriend always logs into her Gmail account to use YouTube, and various other online entertainment sites, but now he’s asking for all of her passwords across the board. They’ve been dating for six months, and she feels a little bit weird about this. Holly says she has nothing to hide, but she doesn’t like feeling pressured.
First off, I have to admit that I’m surprised by the gender positions here. Had this topic come from a man, I might have rolled my eyes before replying, because we get a lot of that around here in Group Therapyland.
Personally, I think the boyfriend should make his own accounts for these types of things, and Holly should stop letting him poke around in her business. Anyone can set up a Gmail account, so why does he have to use his girlfriend’s ID? It doesn’t make much sense. I can’t help but wonder if this guy has some trust and control issues.
I believe in privacy for both parties in a committed relationship. Maybe you can start sharing logins and passwords when you’ve been together for a few years, settled into a fully-connected life, and maybe have some interconnected business and/or social needs for such things…but even then, I find it largely unnecessary. If you have love, trust, and commitment, then you shouldn’t be worried about your partner’s emails, text messages, or Facebook interactions. Just calm down and enjoy your life.
While we’re on the subject, stop making “couples” Facebook pages, people. Cut the cord once in a while. You’re not a two-headed monstrosity!
(I’d like to apologize to the couple in the back. That last comment wasn’t directed at you. I couldn’t see your, uh…situation until you stepped forward. Congratulations on finding love with your Siamese twin. That’s…unique.)
Let’s get back on topic: Should Holly give her boyfriend full access to her private business? 
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BJ'S BLOG 09/22/14 "Jack White, Kanye West, and Other Thoughts"

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

Jack White is one of the more talented of the recent crop of rockers. The song “I’m Shakin’” takes one listen, and it’s stuck in your head (in a positive way). I’ve been shakin' for days through Rambling Harbor, looking a little strange, as difficult as it might be to look strange here. The video is a lot of fun. Check out the featured dancer in the video on YouTube, and if you’re in the mood for a mind minder, watch the video “Sixteen Saltines” or “Would You Fight for My Love.” Jack White’s videos are strange, to say the least, and there seems to be some element of Nick Cave running through his mind. Sometimes I find it disconcerting to relate to people like Nick Cave, his album Push the Sky Away, and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “Death Is Not the End.” There is an unsettling genius in people like Jack White and Nick Cave.

Recently I had to disagree with a statement made by Jack White. In an interview with Dan Rather on The Big Interview, he recalled once saying to Bob Dylan, “In a way, you guys had it so lucky in the sixties. All these recording techniques that had never been tried before, the Civil Rights movement was coming to a head, the Vietnam War…the whole world was changing…. There was so much to sing about. It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

Jack White was right about the recording techniques, but he was wrong about the artists and the people of the sixties. Artists wrote songs about the issues, political and social, of the sixties, and many people latched on and got involved to make things better, but it wasn’t any easier then than it is now. What is needed now is the spirit of the sixties: artists who are willing to say something about issues that matter, such as peace and equality, and people who are willing to lose the apathy, step outside their own comfort zones, and offer support, as we did in the sixties.

In New England recently we saw the power of protest and peaceful demonstrations as the workers of the Market Basket food chain went on strike even at the risk of losing their jobs, and they won. McDonald’s employees are starting to fight peacefully for better money. Someone should write a song about these things. Write about what people are doing now and what needs to be done. “Blowing in the Wind” may have been inspired by the people, but the song kept the people believing. It starts with a whisper, Jack, help make it a roar.

There are more words on this, on football violence, and on Kanye West, who can’t make the crippled stand (so much for the Jesus thing, Kanye). Come join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.
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BJ'S BLOG 09/17/14 "Mom and Girlfriend VS Me"

Howdy once again, good people! Let’s see if we can help out a fellow Rock-A-Holic with some Group Therapy!
Today’s situation comes from 21-year-old Eric, who has been dating his girlfriend for two years. Eric’s girlfriend and his mother have become very close: shopping, talking on the phone, and just generally getting along like the best of friends. For some guys, this might seem like one less hurdle in the way of a relationship, but Eric is experiencing the downside: the last few times that he and his girlfriend got into an argument, she called the mom for advice. Even worse…Eric’s mother takes the girlfriend’s side!
Eric’s girlfriend insists that this kind of mother-girlfriend relationship is common amongst her friends, but he isn’t feeling too great about that. I’m a little bit surprised by that, but it’s different for a father. I’ve said it a million times, but most dads don’t want to acknowledge the fact that another man is involved with his daughter. Even though it’s a mother-girlfriend dynamic, I still lean in the direction of this situation being inappropriate. Maybe if they were married, I could cut the concept a little slack, but I don’t know.
I believe I’m on Eric’s side in this instance, gang. What do you have to say about it?
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BJ'S BLOG 09/16/14 "My Partner's Friend Hit On Me, And My Partner Doesn't Care

Hey there, Rock-A-Holics! Can I just say that you are looking f-i-n-e FINE right now? Seriously, your face is just so beautiful, reflected in the screen like that. I’ve always found you attractive, but you are ROCKIN’ IT today!
What’s that?
Why, yes…I have been hitting the caffeine and sugar extra hard today. Why do you ask?
In all seriousness: Jamie needs some Group Therapy, folks. It seems that her boyfriend’s pal (a guy, of course) met them at a bar for some drinks recently, and was starting to be a little insulting to the boyfriend, as he tends to do when he gets drunk. He didn’t finish his beer before he left, so Jamie’s boyfriend gave her his number, and told her to text the pal a picture of the unfinished drink. Jamie sent the picture, along with a text joking about how disappointed she was.
(I’m just going to jump in here and plant a warning flag. Please continue.)
Is anyone surprised to learn that the drunken friend responded with some eyebrow-raising conversation starters? This fine gentleman suggested that Jamie should get in touch with him if she ever gets bored and wants to have some real fun, promising her an amazing night if she’s interested.
Jamie’s boyfriend was seeing these texts in real time, and they didn’t bother him a bit. He claimed that his friend was just drunk, and didn’t know what he was saying. The friend apologized the next day, but Jamie feels like things will be eternally awkward.
Jamie’s other big complaint is with her boyfriend. She thinks that he should take his friend out behind the woodshed for a good old-fashioned warning conversation. The fact that he’s not upset about the whole thing has Jaime pretty irked, and she wants to hear your opinions.
Here’s my take on it: I think the boyfriend is choosing to avoid the type of drama that some women tend to seek out in their lives, and I applaud him for it. The stereotype of the jealous boyfriend is a real thing, and there are many women who won’t allow that kind of thing in their lives (and rightfully so), but I think there are more than a few of you ladies out there who actively encourage that kind of behavior.
As always, your mileage may vary. Let’s hear it from you, gang!
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