Welcome back, Rock-A-Holics! Before we begin, I'd like to remind you all that we value your sincere and honest feelings in Group Therapy, so don't hold back...because we certainly don't!
By the way, I don't like that shirt on you. Sorry.
Today's patient-in-need is Kenny, who is all set to be the best man at his cousin's wedding. Kenny and his cousin have always been the best of friends, but there's just one problem…Kenny seriously HATES his cousin's fiance! He just doesn't like this woman, and the fact that this marriage is following a mere 8 months of dating is adding fuel to the fire.
The cousin doesn't know about Kenny's feelings toward the bride-to-be, which makes this next bit even more awkward: during a recent conversation, the cousin asked if Kenny dislikes his fiance. Kenny lied and gave her the stamp of approval, but then the cousin said that he was asking because he values Kenny's opinion, and wanted to make sure that he didn't have any reservations about the woman he's planning to marry.
Now, Kenny's feeling conflicted, and his wife says he should step up and share his feelings before it's too late. Kenny's friends, who ALSO hate this woman, have advised him to stay out of it.
I don't know the ages of the happy couple – and I don't know the woman, of course -- but I think eight months of dating seems like a pretty short road to marriage. What's the hurry? Honestly, I think you could use the idea of "too soon" as a way to lead your cousin in a more thoughtful direction about his life choices. Plus, it might open the door toward some more direct conversation about your feelings toward the bride.
That's just my opinion. Maybe you agree, or maybe you think I'm crazy…so let's hear what you have to say on the subject, gang! How soon is too soon? And more importantly, how should Kenny tackle this sensitive subject with his cousin?
It's Group Therapy, where Rock-A-Holics help their own kind with a situation that's too big for one person to tackle alone!
Christy is a Bothell native who now lives in L.A., and she's stayed loyal to our little radio show. For that, we must show our immense appreciation! Christy has been dating a new guy for about three weeks. He's a TV writer, which seems like unnecessary information, but it actually has some bearing on the situation, as you'll learn shortly. Things are going so well, she's moving slow…and hasn't slept with him yet. It's not that she doesn't want to, but she likes him so much that she's taking a different approach from her usual relationship M.O.
(I don't understand a woman taking things slow sexually when she's trying to keep her new guy, but let's keep going....)
Here's the thing: the boyfriend's TV show is going on hiatus for the summer, so he is taking a month off to go on tour with a friend's band. Christy is wondering if she should seal the deal before he leaves.
Let's hear it from you, good people! I'd love to get some opinions on this conundrum, especially from the ladies…but as always, we're open to thoughts from anyone!
Today's blogs come from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
This blog turned into almost 2,000 words, and I said to myself, "That's not a blog, it's a short story." The last thing I wanted to do was whittle it down from the magnitude of verbiage it once was, so I decided to present it in three parts, one each week for three weeks and no part connected to any other part. If you miss a part or lose interest in a part, stop reading and feel free to sing "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes.
Many years ago at the end of the Vietnam War, a friend told me she hoped I would say our work is finished, and believe me I wanted to say that more than anyone. My entire adult life had revolved around that war. But instead I said there was still so much more to do. Look at hunger, homelessness, and nuclear proliferation, to name but three battles to wage. I think that annoyed her mostly because she knew I was right.
Perhaps you wish I would lighten up and talk about the good ol' days of broadcasting when vinyl delivered the music, weighed 10 pounds, and was played on a thing called a turntable. Sometimes I do that and more. Just get me started on Ted Nugent and the Brave Arrow tune (you remember Brave Arrow, one of my spirit guides, who wrote "I'd like to stick my arrows in your nuggets, Nugent.")
All life needs protecting, and we are indeed our brothers' and sisters' keepers. Since we two-legged animals have the resources to protect the rest of life, WE are the guardians, whether those lives live next door or across the ocean, in the mountains or under the sea.
This belief is not based on deep religious convictions but simply on what is right and wrong, what is good and what is not. There are so many things on our little planet that need to be changed, it can be overwhelming, and "What difference can I make?" is a fair question to ask. This reminds me of the story "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley, which tells of a little man walking on the beach, picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean. An old man who was watching asked him why he was bothering. "You cannot possibly make a difference to them all," he said. To that the little man replied, "You're right, I can't, but I am certainly making a difference to this one."
In the podcast, among other things, there are thoughts on Deflategate and new rules (or not) for NFL umpires, songwriter Wayne Carson, and the Beatles' "Sexy Sadie," an alternate title to one of their songs. Do you know the original title? Join me for the podcast on the shores of Rambling Harbor.
I'd like to thank everyone for joining us on this special occasion…wait, what are we doing? Oh, right! It's a Group Therapy session!
(Sorry, I have trouble keeping my events organized sometimes.)
Apparently, I'm not the only one who can't keep his events organized: a Rock-A-Holic named Jared is torn between two occasions, and he wants some advice. You see, Jared's buddy is getting married soon, and the bachelor party is coming up very soon. Unfortunately, Jared's girlfriend's grandfather recently passed away, and his funeral has been scheduled for the same night as the party.
Unsurprisingly, the girlfriend has asked Jared if he would go with her to the funeral, knowing full well that he'd have to sacrifice the bachelor party. Jared says he didn't know the man very well at all, and they had no relationship, so he's feeling like he doesn't have any real obligation to escort his girlfriend to the ceremony. He wants to know if going to the bachelor party would make him a bad boyfriend.
This is one of those Group Therapy situations that looks like a no-win scenario. I'm dying (whoops) to hear what the Rock-A-Holics have to say…and I'm especially looking forward to seeing how the answers are different between the sexes. Sound off, gang!
It's time for another another round of Group Therapy, and we swear that's the truth!
We heard from a Rock-A-Holic named Carissa, who dated a guy for a couple of years before he moved out of state. Some time passed, and the guy returned, reuniting the couple once again. Things have been going well, and it's looking very much like they'll return to an exclusive status. There's just one little hitch, however: while they were apart, Carissa slept with his brother.
She says it was a one-time thing that she regrets, but she's not sure if she should come clean about the lapse in judgment. The problem is compounded by the fact that the two brothers aren't particularly close; in fact, they have historically been aggressively competitive with each other.
Oh, stupid humans; do we ever change? Talk about a race driven by simple needs, with little regard for the consequences. I'm going to go shake my head in the corner, but I'd love to hear your feedback on this one, Rock-A-Holics…
Hello again, Rock-A-Holics! The summer weather has cooled down a little, but Group Therapy is just getting warmed up!
We heard from Renee, whose sister is getting married soon. Renee is worried about her date…because he happens to be the bride's ex-boyfriend.
Here's the scoop: the bride-to-be dated this guy for about six months, and things didn't work out. Renee started dating him two years later, so it's not as if the guy just jumped from one sister to the other overnight. Renee and the boyfriend have been together for a few months, and it's going very well. Still, it's understandably awkward.
Renee didn't say whether or not she's in the bridal party, so it's hard to properly gauge the exact situation. We also don't know if the sister is even aware of Renee's relationship, although it seems like a safe assumption that she knows.
Let's leave the question as simply as it was presented: should Renee leave her date behind for her sister's wedding? We'd love to hear your thoughts, gang!
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Cyril Connolly was a literary critic and writer as well as the editor of the literary magazine Horizon. He once said it's better to write for you and have yourself than to write for an audience and have no self. How woefully difficult that is when there is a carrot-shaped dollar bill waved in front of your nose.
Tom T. Hall, singer-songwriter, penned a song called "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" in which he declares that the three things in the title are all that's worth a dime in this world. Simon and Garfunkel's "Old Friends" from 1968 is about the importance of those who have been our friends for many years.
I don't own an eBook or a Kindle and likely never will. I do own books, and some I have had for years. Some were inscribed to me by hands no longer in this world. I like holding them, knowing what other hands had passed over their pages. Other books came to me used, and I have no idea who their owners had been. The mystery of who had sat for hours reading the words that the author had put there, words that had made a child smile, sitting under a tree on a warm summer day, or an old person whose feeble hands could barely turn the pages, find joy in the words, sitting for hours in a rocking chair on a porch. Someday words and memories are all any of us will have left.
I like old things, not because I think they are better made or have greater material value but because old things have much to tell us. Even in their silently kept secrets, they tell stories. I think part of my love for old things is that they are survivors. They have escaped landfill.
I have a small book in front of me now, published in 1926, titled Last Poems. It's a translation from The Book of Indian Love, and it has lived longer than I may. It has seen 89 summers of hands and love touch it, and when I hold it I feel I'm holding a piece of the time and place when it was new.
Here's a poem I wrote about old things.
Old dress I really must know
Where was the party
And with whom did you go
Who wore you so proudly
And danced with such flair
Straight into the morning
Like floating on air
The wine stains
How did those get there
A hand waving
And slicing the air
Just a slight little quiver
That's how it got there
your party has ended
You rest now alone
With your memories sealed tightly
Of one you have known
She who danced
In ribbons and bows
Keep your secrets
I'll not ask again
For answers to questions
I feel we both know
There are more thoughts, old and new, on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Please join me there.
It's time for another survey, where everyone is encouraged to be completely honest. If you can't manage that, just try to make up a decent lie. It's insulting when you don't put any effort into it, y'know…
A recent survey says that 68% of women have dumped a guy because they didn't like the smell of his cologne, and 52% of THOSE women have used that reason to dump a guy on the first date!
Ladies, why can't you just be honest? If you don't like a scent that people CHOOSE to put on their bodies, then just say so. If it's a deal-breaker for the person you're telling, then it wasn't meant to be; clearly, they have their own shallow issues to deal with.
For your part, it's all about being forthright. Is that so difficult? If you can't handle a cologne level of confrontation, then you're going to have hard times ahead in a serious relationship.
Lucky for me, my wife has very specific taste in her man's cologne. Not so lucky: she prefers a scent that shall remain nameless, but is well-known for its douchebag associations. Me, I'd just prefer to smell like…me. Like it or not.
Hello again, Rock-A-Holics! It's time for Group Therapy! Who can we help today?
We heard from Jamie, who is four months pregnant. In a strange coincidence, Jamie and her sister found out they were pregnant on the same day. Oh, and they're both having baby girls! If that isn't cause for celebration, then what is?
Well, let's not bust out the streamers and balloons just yet. Jamie wants to pay tribute to her late grandmother by naming her child after her…but her sister wants exactly the same name for her daughter. The parents, for their part, have declared themselves Switzerland in the argument; they're staying out of it. Unfortunately, this situation has divided the sisters to a terrible extent: they haven't spoken since the weekend when they revealed their name choices.
What advice do you have for Jamie? Does anyone have experience with this peculiar problem? We'd love to hear from you, baby!
Hey, kids! It's time for another session of Group Therapy! We know you little Rock-A-Holics will be polite and respectful while we help out a listener, right? That would be so neat-o and swell!
Today's Rock-A-Holic in need is Ken, and he's having a disagreement with his wife about something they became involved with recently. Ken and his wife were at a restaurant, when they heard a teenaged boy being rude to his mother at a nearby table. The kid told his mom that he wouldn't have broken his cell phone if she'd bought him a proper case for it, that the $300 expense of the phone was her fault, and then…he called her a horrible mom.
The mother kept her head down, eating in silence. Ken couldn't stand to watch the scene, so he interjected with a thought of his own, starting with a preface of "I know this isn't my business"…and then proceeds to light up this kid, telling him to appreciate his mother more than a stupid phone. Ken's wife and daughter think that Ken was totally out of line, and they were embarrassed by the display. They also believe that he probably made things worse for the mother in the long run, at least on that particular evening. Ken wants to know if everyone thinks he was wrong.
Ken, my first piece of advice is to do away with the preface/apology. If you're going to butt in, then just do it, and own it. As for your interjection being inappropriate, I suspect you are at least adjacent to my generation, and I have to break the bad news that society is just different now, for good or ill.
I'm leaving this one to the Rock-A-Holics. Let's hear your thoughts, gang!
Hey, gang! It's time to help out a fellow Rock-A-Holic with some Group Therapy!
Today's patient-in-need is Don, whose girlfriend "playfully" picks up his phone and scrolls through his calls and messages to see who he's talking to. Don has nothing to hide, and thinks the whole thing is kind of amusing…but his friends say that it's a definite red flag. In fact, they think that Don should break it off with her completely.
Awww, isn't that cute? Don's girlfriend makes a fun game out of invading his privacy! That is SO adorable, don't you think?
Personally, I don't think it's cute at all. In fact, it irritates the living crap out of me. So, I'm going to turn this one over to you, folks…and I hope we get plenty of FEMALE responses about Don's situation. It will definitely be interesting to see how the sexes are divided on this topic.
Today's blog features one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
In the song "Death Is Not the End," Bob Dylan cautions against taking one's own life, declaring that death is not the end and no matter how bad things are, death will not necessarily bring closure to the troubles. To my thinking, it won't bring an end to the good times, either, so don't bail out early, and don't fear the grim reaper.
Arm yourself, buy guns, and then buy bigger guns. Plant explosives, electrify the fences, and build a bunker. Death is lurking outside. Is that what we're all really running from, death? Not to worry, because as Emily Dickinson wrote, death kindly stops for us. I talked to a lot of people who intend to get out of this world alive, or at least try, and they make sure they don't exit before they're supposed to. Willy the Shake wondered what fears may haunt the mind when the flesh has given up the soul. The big houses, the cars, the so-called job, and financial security—are these our defenses against the final frontier?
Many of us eat too much, drink too much, or use drugs, light or heavy, too much. Others go to the gym, and grunt and groan and moan, and then repeat the chorus again and again, only heard by the choir. Then there are the joggers. Remember Jim Fix who authored the 1977 best-selling book The Complete Book of Running? He is credited with helping start America's fitness revolution, popularizing running and demonstrating the alleged health benefits of regular jogging, and he died of a heart attack while jogging at 52. All of these activities are a form of running, and the mind is in fast getaway mode. Whenever I see a jogger now, being the somewhat pessimistic person I am, I wonder two things: how far behind them is death, and would they be running if they knew they would live forever anyway, no matter how physically god-awful they looked?
Are there those among us who would still hate African-Americans or gays or lesbians or anyone or anything that doesn't conform to whatever sense of values we were taught from the day the umbilical cord was cut, if we knew we would live forever? Learning to hate starts at father's knee and mother's breast, and focusing on putting down others to feel in some way superior, maybe even immortal, takes our minds off addressing our own fear, dying.
Skin color and religious beliefs don't matter. It matters not how big our guns or how full our wallets are. The great equalizer, death, will have the final say. Since we really don't know what comes next, I wish we would learn to just let each other live while we have the chance because one thing is certain. Life as we know it will end, and we all deserve to have a good one while we're here.
There are more random thoughts, maybe related to death or maybe not, on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope to see you there.
It's time for Group Therapy! We're all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics around here, and our advice is always free!
Jeff emailed us because he's worried that his buddy is in a bad relationship situation. The friend is in his 20s, and has recently taken up co-habitation with his girlfriend, who is a little older. She also has two kids, each of whom has a different father. The house they're sharing belongs to the guy's family, so he's the provider in that situation. She has a job, but it's only part-time; she also collects child support. Jeff's buddy picks up the rest of the slack.
Jeff is deeply concerned that this woman might be a gold digger, and he's not sure if it's his place to say anything to his friend. Plus, the woman expects her boyfriend to take care of the kids when she's not home, and has taken control of his life. Oh, and Jeff recently overheard that she wants another kid ASAP.
I think most of us have an ideal situation, and I would bet that "meeting a partner with kids from a previous relationship" isn't really at the top of anyone's list. That's not a slam on kids, or single parents, but I believe that the average person wants a fresh start with their prospective life partner.
Even if we put THAT argument aside, I still stand firm on my judgment: Jeff, your friend is screwed. You're in a bad spot, because I suspect that he won't take your opinion very easily. The situation will get even worse if the gold digger girlfriend gets a whiff of your opposition. In case I'm not being clear, I am definitely in agreement with your assessment about her intentions.
I can't deal with this case any longer. It's stressing me out, so I'm turning it over to you. Is Jeff right about his buddy's girlfriend?
I'm sure you've all heard the news about Jared, the famous Subway spokesman…but I have to wonder if you're actually aware of the facts in the case, because there seems to be a real storm of confused controversy around this situation. In fact, Subway has suspended their relationship with their most famous consumer, following the FBI's search of his house in relation to a child pornography investigation that may not even directly include Jared. At this time, he hasn't been charged with anything, and he is cooperating fully with the authorities.
Jared Fogle turned his ample endorsement money into a positive thing, and hired a guy named Russell Taylor to run his child-focused charity, the Jared Foundation. In April, Taylor was arrested for child exploitation, possession of child pornography, and voyeurism; this has resulted in an investigation that extends to Jared, and he's paying the price in the public eye…despite the fact that there is, as yet, zero evidence of any connection between Jared and Taylor's lascivious activities.
Even if he is cleared as completely innocent, Jared Fogle may have already received the death sentence in the court of popular opinion…and that, in MY opinion, goes against the foundation of our entire legal judgment system. If he's guilty, we'll find out, and he'll be punished. Until we know for sure, why the hell are we okay with judging him?
As always, your mileage may vary. I'd love to hear your thoughts on either side of the argument, folks. Sound off!
Gather 'round, kids! It's time for another saucy story from Group Therapy!
Today we're trying to help a woman named Lucy, whose husband has a close female friend who is ten years his junior. (You all know my feelings about close friends of the opposite sex, so let's just note that I'm already starting to get my hackles up.) The friend is 31, single-but-dating, and has been friends with the husband for a long while now. Lucy doesn't think there's anything going on, but she does feel like "the line" is being danced on occasionally.
This close friend always tells Lucy's husband about her dating exploits, complete with all the dirty-gory details of what they get up to. The husband thinks it's funny, but Lucy disagrees, and she wants to know if her fellow Rock-A-Holics share her opinion that the relationship is bordering on inappropriate.
See, we're just getting back to my ongoing fight to expose the dirty truth about "close friends" of the opposite sex: yes, it's inappropriate, and I'd say there's more than a fair chance that Lucy's husband has a young female friend who wants something more. Why else would she share her sexual exploits for his entertainment? He's a guy, and while guys love to laugh at dirty stories, we also love to hear a woman talking dirty. Which thrill do you think Lucy's husband is getting from these exchanges?
Maybe I'm too black-or-white about this, but I don't think so. As always, you can agree with me or set me straight. Let's hear from you, folks!
It's time to rub – sorry, I mean RUN – into another session of Group Therapy, where Rock-A-Holics help their own kind! If you need help, send us a massage…uh, MESSAGE. Whoops.
We heard from Paul, who recently walked in on his girlfriend while she was getting a massage…from a co-worker! Paul says the guy is good-looking and well-built, and the girlfriend was caught in the headlights when he walked in. As for the "masseuse", he looked awkward about the whole thing, and fled the scene immediately.
Paul said his girlfriend was definitely defensive about the situation, which we surmise to be a thorough neck-rubbing at the workplace. The girlfriend says that she has neck pain, and the female co-worker who usually handles the rubbing wasn't available at the time. She swears it's no big deal, but Paul says she's been acting strange, and even a little snappy, since the incident.
What do you have to say about this, folks? Was Paul's girlfriend the innocent recipient of some platonic neck therapy, or is there a chance of some deep tissue work going on behind Paul's back? Your thoughts are appreciated, so let's hear it from you!
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.
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!
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.