BJ Shea

 BJ Shea

BJ'S BLOG 07/06/15 "Web Watching, Gunpowder Snorting, the NRA, and Eye Color and

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

In the tune "Tower of Song," Leonard Cohen suggests that the rich are watching us, that they have their channels in bedrooms of the poor, and the Boomtown Rats knew "they" were always looking at you. I've been shopping for headphones, headphones, as valuable to a disc jockey as a hammer is to a carpenter. Once I get used to a certain set of headphones, I tend to wear them at least until the foam wears thin, and the time has come to replace them, so I went shopping online. Now everywhere I go—Facebook, my own website, etc.—there are ads for what? Headphones! All I can think of is they are watching me. The watchers are everywhere.

The effects on the brain of snorting gunpowder are yet to be determined. Some reports indicate that people have seen images of Ted Nugent chased by wolves, and some say they have seen Sarah Palin wearing a bullet called FMJ, or Full Metal Jacket, and yes, that is a real bullet. Apparently Sarah wears the bullets as pasties, especially when she is on her way to the Willard, the Hotel, that is, on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the road from the White House. According to Sarah, she can see Russia from there. Yeah, the rednecks and the NRA and some Republicans snort that stuff—gunpowder, dude—the new high of the lowest. All this may simply be conjecture on my part—or not.

Speaking of the NRA, Yahoo News just blew the lid off a scandal that might spell serious trouble for that association. It seems the NRA has been illegally funneling money from contributors to their political action committee, the NRA Political Victory Fund. The problem with that is the NRA accepts contributions from people for a lot of reasons, including gun safety training and education, which have nothing to do with politics. By shifting this money to their PAC, which uses it to donate to Republican campaigns across the country, they're choosing candidates for people by way of donations, which is not only unethical but illegal.

A study by geneticists at the University of Vermont revealed a link between eye color and alcohol dependency, suggesting it occurs more frequently among people with blue eyes and less frequently among those with dark brown eyes. The study, which offers evidence that alcohol dependency has a genetic component, involved a sample of 1,263 individual genetic profiles pulled from a database of people diagnosed with at least one psychiatric illness, including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, addiction, and alcohol or drug dependence. To echo an old Crystal Gayle song, that really makes my brown eyes blue.

There are more random thoughts just a player click away in the podcast, which is often very different from the blog. Join me there, on the shores of Rambling Harbor.
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BJ'S BLOG 07/02/15 "Teen DD"

Hey, gang! With the holiday weekend on its way, today's Group Therapy topic seems strangely appropriate. Let's hear what our Rock-A-Holic "patient" has to say…

Leslie is perturbed by her son's role as a designated driver…because the drunk he was driving around is his own father! The son is 17, and has his own car. Recently, Leslie's husband had a bit too much to drink while out with some friends, and called his son for a ride home. Leslie thinks it was completely out of line on the part of her husband, but he disagrees, and insists that he was teaching their son about responsibility.

Leslie wants to know if it's inappropriate for a parent to ask their (driving-age) child to pick them up if they've had too much to drink. Personally, I think this is one of those modern problems that has a lot of dimensions to it, and can't be solved with a black-or-white answer that applies all across the board. So, let's hear what you have to say about it!
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BJ'S BLOG 07/01/15 "The Wrong Name"

Folks, we're just gonna cut to the chase for today's Group Therapy, because it's a real doozy…

Larry and his girlfriend were in the heat of passion when she screamed another man's name. Needless to say, Larry isn't feeling too good about this situation, and he needs some advice. Larry even went so far as to share the shout-out: "Oh, Chris!"

The girlfriend swears that she doesn't know why it happened. In fact, she says that she doesn't even know who "Chris" could be, because she doesn't have an ex with that name! I'm not sure if I can accept that wholeheartedly, but I don't know this woman, so I can't say for sure.

Has this ever happened to you? If you have a story, we'd love to hear it. Of course, I'm sure that Chris…uh, I mean, LARRY…would love to hear any advice that you have to offer, as well.
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BJ'S BLOG 06/30/15 "Promise Ring"

If you’re a Rock-A-Holic in need, we promise that you’ll always be able to ask for help in Group Therapy. How’s that for a commitment?
Let’s see if we can help Georgia, who wrote in with a problem. She and her boyfriend (they’re both 30) just celebrated their three year anniversary. Georgia has known that this guy is THE ONE since the first year, and she is crazy about him. They’ve had some discussions about marriage, and she believed that they were on the same page…
Unfortunately, a recent trip to Mexico has made Georgia question her man’s commitment. Georgia and her boyfriend were celebrating her birthday, and he pulled out a ring on the beach at sunset; naturally, she assumed that it was an engagement ring, but he explained that it was actually a PROMISE RING.
Georgia hasn’t let on that she’s upset, but the more she thinks about it, the more she wonders if she should give it back and tell her man that she wants a grown-up commitment.
Personally, I’m scratching my head over this. Did I mention they’re both 30, and therefore, it’s safe to assume that they’re not in high school? This seems incredibly juvenile on the part of the boyfriend, especially giving it to her on a beach at sunset. Georgia, I totally understand why you’re disappointed.
Let’s hear it from you, Rock-A-Holics! Does this relationship have a future, or does Georgia need to return her cheesy promise ring and find a grown-up man?
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BJ'S BLOG 06/29/15 "One Tiny Fish and the Confederate Flag"

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.
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Locations : KnoxvilleSouth CarolinaTennessee
People : Chloe CatDan Sanders


BJ'S BLOG 06/25/15 "Kick Her Out, But Stay Together?"

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!
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BJ'S BLOG 06/24/15 "Stealing Someone's Man"

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…
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BJ'S BLOG 06/23/15 "Keeping You From Your Friends"

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? 
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BJ'S BLOG 06/22/15 "Memories, Monsanto, Hair, and the Pachuko Hop"

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.
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BJ'S BLOG 06/19/15 "Quit Job or Leave"

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!
Let’s hear it, Rock-A-Holics!
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