Sometimes, I just have to shake my head and be thankful that I'm not the kind of person who ends up being the star of news items like this:
A man with a head full of acid opened fire on a pizzeria because it wasn't open for business.
Go back and let that sentence sink in for a second.
Are you insane with confused anger yet? Well, there's more to the story.
27-year-old Philip is a Michigan father of three kids, all under the age of 7. Responsible parent that he is, Philip took some LSD with the kids in his custody. Naturally, this candidate for Dad of the Year decided to get some pizza with the kids, so he loaded them into the car and headed out to satisfy his craving.
Did I mention that he was wearing nothing but a towel? Sorry, I guess it slipped my mind. I'm pretty sure you already guessed that Philip had a gun, though.
When Philip reached the pizzeria, he discovered that the place was closed, so he freaked out, and banged on the window so hard that the gun went off and shattered some glass.
As it happens, Philip's brain was so drug-addled that he didn't realize that the pizza place was actually open after all. It was 7:30 at night, and there were two employees inside. Thankfully, no one was hurt! Philip was arrested, the kids were taken away from their crazy dad, and no pizzas were harmed during the making of this insane story.
I'd love to hear some responses that restore my faith in humanity, my friends…
Sometimes, I feel like sports entertainment – and the associated media -- has turned into nothing more than “anger and stats”. In my opinion, ESPN doesn’t need to talk about domestic violence unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
That kind of thinking might have produced a better result for ESPN’s Steven A. Smith. I consider him an extremely smart, well-spoken broadcaster, but he really went off track on the topic of Ray Rice’s alleged assault of his wife in an elevator. Smith took the obvious stance against domestic violence, but he also suggested that people need to avoid provoking these kinds of physical altercations. It wasn’t hard for most people to reach the conclusion that his advice was aimed at women.
I really don’t think that Steven Smith was trying to be a jerk, but he definitely ended up looking like one. Smith released a very eloquent apology, and has accepted his short-term suspension from ESPN with what appears to be a sincerely penitent attitude.
Whoopi Goldberg also made some similar points on “The View” about provoking physical assault, but she boiled it all down to a basic idea that everyone can agree on:
DON’T HIT PEOPLE.
It’s pretty simple, right? Could it just be that easy to figure out how to deal with our fellow human beings without resorting to violence?
We have a lot of relationship conversations around here, and today’s discussion follows that tradition. I’d like to talk about one of the biggest obstacles in a productive relationship – CHEATING.
Human beings are raised with a sense of individual identity. Sure, most people have a family, and pretty much everyone is exposed to relationship dynamics from birth onward, but we still develop and evolve as singular beings. If you’re going to survive in the world, you have to learn to take care of yourself, first and foremost.
As you get older, you start to learn, and adopt, a sense of community; the tribe mentality starts to take hold, and we (hopefully) move past self-absorbed singularity, and begin to understand the benefits of sharing our life with someone else. Still, it can be extremely hard for us, as individuals, to shed the narcissism that we carry around with us through life.
We generally understand “being self-centered” as selfishness, and it certainly does come out that way at the worst of times; but it’s also self-centered for a person to believe that they are the reason for other people’s decisions. That extends to a partner’s reason cheating in a committed relationship.
There’s a new list of reasons that people give for cheating, and the #1 excuse was, “it just happened.” Maybe that’s a better explanation than assigning blame to the person who was cheated on, but I still think it’s a lame cop-out.
The #2 reason: “It was exciting.” Some people get a thrill from breaking the rules, and that sensation is probably doubled by the basic biological drive that governs our sexual identity.
At #3, we have plain old, garden-variety loneliness. If you’re lonely in your own relationship, maybe you’re in the wrong relationship.
“I was bored with the sex in my relationship” comes in at #4 on the list. Honesty is the best policy, and it does far less damage than cheating. Think about it, and talk about it.
It’s hard to make a perfect argument against the #5 reason, “I fell in love.” While I constantly make the case for complete honesty in a relationship, sometimes love comes out of nowhere. That being said, there is usually a warning sign, either on the failing side of a current relationship, or the exciting feeling of a new romance.
I have zero support for the terrible justification at #6: “I thought I could get away with it.” You know what? That’s never an acceptable excuse for a decent person to make in ANY situation. What would you like to get away with next?
The list ends at #7, with “I thought I deserved it.” If you think you deserve to have sex with someone else, then you need to get out of your relationship.
There are always extenuating circumstances and gray areas in every scenario, but there isn’t a single reason on this list that can truly justify cheating in a committed relationship. Cheating doesn’t ever solve a problem; it only adds to the existing ones. If you need more out of your romantic and sexual coupling, then you need to ask for it. If your needs can’t be met, then it’s time to hit the road. Better to move on with a clear conscience, don’t you think?
Welcome back to Group Therapy, gang! I’m glad we get to spend time together on a regular basis; especially when we hear things like this…
Today’s case comes from Gary, who’s been in a long-distance relationship with a woman for a couple of months. They’re not exclusive, but things definitely seem to be heading that way. That being said, Gary is troubled by something that happened during a recent visit: right before the couple was about to have sex for the first time, the girlfriend told Gary to get a condom from a box in her medicine cabinet. When he did, Gary found that the box was already open, and several condoms were already absent.
As you might expect, Gary is a bit unsettled by this development, and he wants to know if he should ask her about her sex life, specifically as it pertains to the time that they spend apart from each other.
Here’s my thing about long-distance relationships: I guess I don’t think they’re a completely bad thing on principle, but I do wonder how people can engage in a situation like that and still feel entitled to an expectation of monogamy. It just doesn’t seem logical – or actually, even likely – when two people have some semblance of a commitment to each other, but only see each other sporadically at best.
(Of course, I also wonder about sending your partner to get a condom out of your bulk supply, especially when the ABSENCE of a bulk supply might raise some issues, or at least questions.)
I’m a married guy in a world of modern singles. What are your thoughts, Rock-A-Holics?
Today’s blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders.
My mind sometimes befuddles me. I don’t know why I think the things I do, but I think them anyway. Here are a few from the past week.
In 1980, poet and punk musician Jim Carroll wrote “People Who Died,” which was on his album Catholic Boy. Ironically, the song could have been titled “People Who Died in July,” including punk rocker Tommy Ramone, who wrote a song called “Too Tough To Die.” It still bothers me, as I said in last week’s blog, that his death went largely unnoticed, as did the passing of Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters.
As the list grows on, here’s another name for you: Dick Jones. You probably wouldn’t know him if he were sitting next to you, but you have heard his voice many times. Dick Jones was the voice of Pinocchio, and he died on July 7. James Garner, the “Tall Dark Stranger” named Maverick, died July 19.
Under “Man, is that a strange day, indeed,” we can post that a pine tree, planted near L.A.'s Griffith Observatory in 2004 in honor of George Harrison, was killed by his band's namesake insect. The Beatle's memorial tree was killed by beetles! Harrison's pine had grown to more than 10 feet tall by 2013, and the good news is the tree will be replaced, time and place to be announced.
In other bizarre and unexplained news, Russia seems to be sinking. Russian scientists conducted a primary examination of a giant sinkhole in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. There was no dangerous radiation detected on the site, and the scientists, who arrived to examine the sinkhole on the instructions of the regional governor, said it appeared “as a result of a natural phenomenon, the nature of which is impossible to establish yet.”
Personally, I’m expecting the four horseman of the apocalypse to burst out of there in a frenzy of flaming glory and head directly to the Westboro Baptist Church, consisting of a collection of hate-mongering protesters who have targeted everyone from the singer Lorde to Brad Paisley, of all people. Recently this bunch of ghoulish protesters met their match with a bunch of punks. They planned on protesting at a “Panic! At The Disco” concert, announcing plans to picket the pop-punk band's Sunday night show in Kansas City, Missouri, but Brendon Urie of the group retaliated. He said that for every member of the Westboro church who showed up he would donate $20 to the Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest civil rights organization, working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality at home, at work, and in the community. Brendon said, “This is pretty much the perfect way to render the protesters' hateful intentions useless” and would actually be useful and raise money for a good cause.
In the podcast, you’ll hear a few minutes about Ted Nugent as well as other topics. Come on shore and give a listen.
Happy Friday, gang! Before you head out for the weekend, we could sure use some help over here in Group Therapy!
A Rock-A-Holic named Nicole is looking for some advice. It seems that her best friend and her brother had an affair, and even worse – Nicole’s sister-in-law caught them! Nicole’s brother and his wife eventually reconciled, but that recovery came with the condition that Nicole’s BFF had to be cut out of everyone’s life altogether.
This isn’t just a casual stipulation: Anyone who is still in contact with Nicole’s friend is regarded as no longer being a friend of the couple, and is not allowed in their home. This includes Nicole, of course, and even though she doesn’t condone the affair, she’s feeling pretty upset about the whole situation.
Nicole can’t call or email her old friend; if she does, she will be cut off completely from her brother and his family – that includes their kids, too – and the sister-in-law is actually angry that Nicole still misses her friend.
I can understand the brother’s wife insisting that her husband avoid the woman he had an affair with, but declaring it a law for everyone else seems pretty harsh. Did the couple go to counseling? Sounds like a “no” to me, because I can’t imagine a professional counselor would ever dispense this kind of advice, or even go along with it.
Infidelity is a huge thing, and I don’t think you can sort out the damage without therapy of some kind. There’s a lack of perspective between the two parties in that situation, and you can’t fully unpack that mess without a thoughtful, impartial third party.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think it sounds like the situation is out of control. Let’s hear it from you, folks! What advice do you have for Nicole?
It’s Group Therapy time once again, Rock-A-Holics! Let’s walk down the aisle and see what we find, be it new or slightly used.
We’re trying to help Rachel today: she got divorced after 5 years, and plans to marry a new guy this fall. Like everyone in the world, she’s trying to save a little bit of money…and she wants to know if it’s okay to re-wear the wedding dress from her first wedding.
Rachel hasn’t said anything to her husband-to-be yet, but she has sought the advice of the people around her. She says her family believes the dress is jinxed, and they’re a little horrified by the idea. Likewise, some of her friends think that wearing the dress again is disrespectful to the new groom.
I’m handing this one off to the good people who read my blog. I have my own beliefs about second (and third, fourth, fifth) weddings, but I’ve only been married once. So, I don’t know if I really have much of a perspective here. I do find it curious that a groom traditionally rents a tuxedo that’s been used by countless men before him, but a wedding dress seems a little more sacred.
Give Rachel your best advice, folks! Maybe you can teach me something in the process…
As you probably know, Reddit is a very popular “fun” site to visit on the internet…but it can definitely backfire on you.
Recently, a woman posted something that her 26-year-old husband sent to her before he left town on a business trip. It was a spreadsheet of all the times she has turned him down for sex, and the reasons she gave for the rejections.
This chart didn’t exactly paint a picture of productive intimacy. From June 3rd to July 16th, they had sex just 3 times…but she turned him down 25 times. Yes, you read that correctly: 25 (twenty-five) times.
The wife offered up every stereotypical excuse, including these classics:
She has to wake up early
Watching a show (it was a rerun of “Friends”)
Just got home from gym, and feeling gross
Too drunk, and ate too much
She posted this spreadsheet on Reddit, for reasons that escape me. It seems she was trying to make her husband the bad guy, but this document went viral, and the whole thing sort of backfired on her.
Look, nobody should be forced to have sex if they don’t want to. That’s not even open for debate. However, I do have to wonder about a situation like this. When you’re in a committed relationship, monogamy is expected; on the other hand, we never talk about the expectation of sex within the marriage itself.
Prenuptial agreements aren’t very romantic, but how many relationships are damaged when the sex life falls into a rut, or vanishes almost completely? How can a couple reach an understanding about the needs and desires they’re bringing into a marriage?
Let’s hear it from you, good people. Bonus Honesty Points if you’d like to share your own spreadsheet numbers for the last month or two…
30-year-old Megan Christopherson has been in the news lately, and it’s not because she’s contributing positively to society.
Megan brought her 4-month-old daughter to a Brad Paisley concert, and was completely shocked and outraged when police wouldn’t let her bring the baby (and her other, slightly-older daughter) into the pit!
Police asked her to leave the pit, pointing out the obvious risks to the well-being of her children. She claims that they made her leave for breast-feeding, which she had apparently been asked to stop earlier during the event.
Megan posted video of the incident and tried to claim police harassed her, but the recording does nothing but show how patient and polite they were. Unbelievably, they had to repeatedly explain how her actions were bordering on child endangerment – exposing tiny eardrums to loud music, not to mention the potential physical harm of having the kids in a tightly-populated group of excited fans.
Megan’s arguments were outrageously stupid, but even worse - she has apparently done this before! I don’t know why I’m shocked, but this one just makes me mad. Megan left the show, rejecting the very kind offer of proper seats located further back, but she ran to YouTube to make her case against the police and concert security. Sadly, this has become national news, but Brad Paisley himself has publicly confirmed that he’s in complete support of the police officers’ decision, because bringing young kids to a concert like that is just a bad idea.
The entire video is posted below, so take a look, and let me know what you think of this mother’s judgment!
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders.
On Friday July 11, Tommy Ramone died. Born Tamás Erdélyi, he was the drummer and last survivor of the Ramones, whose members adopted the last name used by Paul McCartney to reserve hotel rooms as a Beatle.
The Ramones were not known as great musicians, but the band has been acknowledged by many as the inventors of punk rock. They began life in Forest Hills, Queens, about the same time I was growing up on Staten Island.
In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spinmagazine, trailing only the Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the Ramones—the founders and drummer Marky Ramone, who succeeded Tommy when he left the band—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Ramones performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert and disbanded. Among the Ramones best-known songs was "I Wanna Be Sedated,” a song I still sing to me-self, especially after watching the evening news or for that matter the morning news and the mid-day news. I don’t like the term rest in peace, so I’ll just say rock on, Tommy, rock on!
Another group, associated with but not totally affiliated with punk rock of the 1970’s, was Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. I say not totally punk rock because they were what is known as proto-punk, which is the music from the mid-1960’s to mid-1970’s that influenced punk rock and is not a distinct musical genre, covering a wide range of musical backgrounds and styles including garage rock. Boston can claim the Modern Lovers as our own even though Richman moved to California in 1975. He recorded a few tunes, came to his senses, and moved back to Boston and formed a new version of the Modern Lovers in 1976.
Oddly enough, according to a survey taken by voters on the punk forum at musicianforums.com, neither the Ramones nor the Modern Lovers made the top 100, but Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys came in at number 16.
From country to punk, I still believe that those in my age group grew up in the best of all musical times with artists like Jonathan Richmond and the Modern Lovers, the Ramones, The Cars, Pink Floyd, Queen, the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, of course Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, the Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival…. Sorry, kids, you can’t touch this.
There’s more on music and other topics on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Give a listen.