BJ Shea

 BJ Shea

BJ'S BLOG 04/20/15 "Holograms for Peace"

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

In the year 1968, in the month of August, from the 26th to the 29th, I spent most of my time running down one alley chased by the Chicago police and another chased by the National Guard. The hottest month of 1968 was August with an average daily high temperature of 83°F. The hottest day of 1968 was August 6. Ironically enough, it was on August 6, 1945, during World War II that an American B-29 bomber dropped the world's first deployed atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. My dad helped to build that bomb, and 23 years later here was his son being chased by his own countrymen for protesting a war, one with not even the slightest justification of World War II.

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy on June 5, 1968, the country was hot, not just from the sun but in the minds of many, as riots broke out in over 100 cities in America.

Chicago's mayor Richard J. Daley intended to showcase his and the city's achievements to democrats and the news media at the National Democratic Convention. Instead, the proceedings became notorious for the large number of demonstrators and the use of force by the Chicago police during what was supposed to be, in the words of the activist organizers, an anti-convention demonstration, the Festival of Life. Rioting took place between demonstrators and the Chicago police, who were assisted by the Illinois National Guard. The disturbances were well publicized by the mass media, with some journalists and reporters also caught up in the violence. Dan Rather was roughed up on the convention floor.

In 1968, "Hey Jude" by the Beatles was number 1 on the Billboard charts, and "Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat was number 2. When said properly in French, "Love Is Blue"—"L'amour est bleu"—sounds like you might not be feeling very well, appropriate, I thought, for a sad, numbing little ditty. Strangely enough, not one song by the man who has since come to embody the spirit of the 60's, Bob Dylan, was in the Billboard Hot 100 that year.

Now we have a new way to break the silence I wish we had when I was getting beaten in one alley by the Chicago police and chased down another by the National Guard at the Chicago convention in August, 1968. Go to and you'll find a number of stories about holograms used to protest without violating the law.

In the podcast, there are some musical notes, tra-la, and also some thoughts on the Aaron Hernandez conviction vs. the Jodi Arias conviction and on our interest in those things: Are we more upset at Aaron Hernandez or at our hero-worshipping selves? Join me at Rambling Harbor.
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BJ'S BLOG 04/16/15 "Dividing the Housework"

Life is better when you can help others. "A friend in need is a friend indeed" is just a small step to the side of another great phrase: "Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics!" Let's work together on some Group Therapy, shall we?

We heard from Shelley, who is a little dismayed by her husband's computer habits. No, it's not the content he's viewing…it's the fact that he's spending all his time playing games online, and Shelley's not getting any help with housework, or their young child. It's an ongoing argument, because he works 40 hours a week, and she's a housewife and full-time mother. Shelley agrees that her husband deserves his downtime, but she would really appreciate some help and attention when he's not at work.

I used to be this guy, and that's the influence of my generation's standards about the division of labor between the man and the woman. It used to be quite common that the man would come home from work, plop down to watch TV, and enjoy his effort-exempt status as the breadwinner. Of course, times have changed in most parts of the world. Yes, Shelley's husband is the one going off to work every day to provide for his family, but the effort of maintaining a house and taking care of a child isn't exactly insignificant, especially for one person.

I'm sure we'll have some strong opinions about this one, so let's hear what you have to say…

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BJ'S BLOG 04/15/14 "Conditional Bridesmaid"

Group Therapy is built on the principle of Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for as long as you all read this blog…

Marissa has a friend who's getting married, and she wants Marissa to be in the wedding party! Isn't that great? Well, you'd think so, but the bride's offer hangs on one condition:

Marissa can be a bridesmaid, but only if she loses twenty pounds.

Marissa says that she was planning to go on a diet anyway, and the bride knows this, but she's still wondering if she should be insulted. This stipulation has been presented as "incentive" for Marissa to lose weight. The wedding isn't until next summer, so the dresses will be ordered in the winter…but if Marissa hasn't dropped the pounds by then, she simply won't be included in the wedding party.

People do the dumbest things under the guise of good intentions, and weddings have a tendency to bring out the worst examples of tactless behavior. I also can't help pointing out that men don't usually act like this; I don't think that every woman has this maddening lack of consideration, but we can definitely narrow the majority of the culprits down to one side of the gender divide.

Marissa has two options: use this opportunity as it's been presented, and follow through with her own stated goal of weight loss, under the stated conditions…or, she can drop out of the wedding party now, and not submit to someone else's standard for her physical appearance.

This one's a toughie. Do you have any advice for Marissa, gang?
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BJ'S BLOG 04/14/14 "No Lap Dance!"

It's Group Therapy, where Rock-A-Holics do their best to help other Rock-A-Holics, and you never have to tip for special service!

Today's topic came via text from a woman named Tracy, whose brother is getting married soon. The best man has organized an Oregon-based bachelor party that involves some strip clubs, and the bride-to-be is furious about the whole thing. Tracy isn't thrilled about it either, because her man is going along for the event as well…and she wants to know if it's unfair to ask him not to get a lap dance during the party.

Then, Tracy goes on to ask if we have any advice for good times at the bachelorette party. I speak pretty fluent "chick", but I'm not certain where that question is coming from. I suspect there may be a tone of revenge-planning to it, so we'll leave that one alone.

Look, a lap dance is intimate, and arguably inappropriate for a man in a relationship. I am totally willing to concede that point, and I'll even go so far as to point out that a strip club is really the only setting in which such behavior is even possibly considered acceptable. I'm not a big fan of lap dances, because I genuinely feel bad about the contact between the dancer and a person in a relationship…so maybe I'm not the right guy to ask.

I'm going to turn this one over to you, good people. Can Tracy (and/or the bride) justifiably request that their men refrain from receiving lap dances at the bachelor party? Also, we're happy to hear your bachelorette get-down suggestions. It's a party in the U-S-A….
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Tags :  
Topics : Human Interest
Locations : Oregon


BJ'S BLOG 04/13/14 "Roth, Springsteen, and Allen"

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

On July 25, 2014, there was a death, a death not just of a person but of a vanishing period of time, a time that history books will never truly cover and that will never come again. That death likely went unnoticed even by the most devoted hippies of the 1960s.

When the '60s are studied in some far off time and place, one name I hope will be remembered is Manuel Lee Roth, Manny Roth, founder of Cafe Wha' and owner until 1968. Roth died of natural causes at his Ojai, California, home on July 25, 2014.

Without Manny Roth many of us might never have seen such greats as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen,Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, Kool and the Gang, Peter, Paul & Mary, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Woody Allen, and many others. They all got their start at the Wha?, thanks to Manny Roth.

I knew last year that Manny Roth had passed on, but I was preoccupied with writing about so-called "important things": Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, and other morons and mental defectives; great events like our plans to shoot a submarine to Titan (yes, we are) and colonizing Mars (yes, we are); and how about that great event, landing a bean can on a flying comet (yes, we did). The bean can never spoke to us again, and NASA will never be able to say "roll that beautiful bean-meets-comet footage," but it seemed important at the time. Manny Roth did something the selfish, maybe insane, morons playing politics with our lives will never do. He made the world a much better place by helping to further the careers of some of the most talented people of our generation.

In 1975, after sleeping for a few days on the sand alone on Myrtle Beach and on the occasional Episcopal pew (in those days they left the doors unlocked), I started hitching north, and this knight was saved by a hippie damsel. Along with a cat named Clare, a few bottles of red wine, and the song "Born to Run" blasting from the sound system, a woman named Faye, with me in tow, drove from the shores of South Carolina to accomplish what the confederate army failed to do. We took Washington, DC, by storm. Without Manny Roth, Springsteen might not have been along for the ride.

I really don't like using the term "hippie," as I did at the top of this blog, since it seems inextricably caught in the '60s and implies that after that decade hippies vanished like the dinosaur. But what I was in the '60s in thought and action, I am even more so now. Does that make me an old hippie, a super-hippie, or just a person still on the road to self-discovery?
There are more stories on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.
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BJ'S BLOG 04/10/15 "Vacationing With Not-Your-Boyfriend"

There are times, my friends, when we get a Group Therapy topic that sets my blood boiling. This is one of those times…

We heard from a Rock-a-Holic named Carmen, who is about to enjoy a nice Hawaiian vacation…with a guy who's not her boyfriend.

Carmen's current boyfriend has been in her life for about three months, so he's fairly new. Before they got together, Carmen planned this trip to Hawaii with a "good guy friend"…who she slept with once, ten years ago. She insists that they only got physical the one time, and the experience led them to agree that they're better off as good friends. Nothing has happened between them since. The boyfriend does NOT know about the one-time bumping of mutual uglies.

The boyfriend can't go, anyway; he has to work, and can't take the time off. Carmen's already shelled out her half of the dough for this excursion, and doesn't feel like she should have to back out, even though some of her friends think that it's disrespectful of her to pursue this plan.

Carmen and her friend will be sharing a room in one of the most romantic places on earth, but they'll have separate beds. She says that her boyfriend claims to be okay with this plan, but he's not overly enthusiastic about it.


Sorry, I shouldn't yell. This one's really eating me up. I guess she did reach out for some Group Therapy, so she's at least somewhat aware that this is off-the-wall, but…yeesh. Come on, Carmen!

Maybe I'm taking this one too seriously. Let's hear what you have to say, gang: is Carmen making a mistake with her Hawaiian vacation plan, or is everything going to work out just fine?
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Tags :  
Topics : Human Interest
Social :
Locations : Hawaii


BJ'S BLOG 04/09/15 "Anger Issues"

Today's Group Therapy "patient" sent us a message that was short-but-not-so-sweet. There's some family drama at work here, and we're going to see if we can help out.

We got a text from Max, whose younger brother has some anger issues. Max says he's "a psycho", and goes on to reveal that there's a state-mandated No Contact order in place, following a physical attack on Max.

That's the background, and here's the current problem: despite the division between the brothers, their mom keeps trying to organize a family get-together. Max doesn't want to be around his brother, and doesn't want his daughter around him, either, because he believes he will blow up at the drop of a hat.

Families fight, and brothers are often the worst offenders. It's hard to find the line between what is secretly "normal" in the average family dynamic, and what constitutes a genuine, adult-world problem. This is a case where the law is involved, so that leads me to believe that the angry brother's behavior issues are pretty serious. Their mom is probably going to have to come to terms with that, because it's out of her hands.

Max wants to know if he's overreacting to the situation. What say you, Rock-A-Holics?
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People : Max


BJ'S BLOG 04/08/15 "Boyfriend Going Shopping with Your Daughter”"

Hello again, good people! Let's get started on a new session of Group Therapy, shall we?

Today's Rock-a-Holic in need of guidance is Chase, who is having a big problem with a decision his ex-wife made recently, specifically concerning their 15-year-old daughter. It seems that Chase's ex let her new boyfriend take the teenager out shopping…


Chase is pretty furious about this. Why would a grown man have any interest in underwear shopping with a 15-year-old girl? I guess everybody needs underwear – it's a necessity for most folks – so maybe the instinctive response to judge the boyfriend as a pervert isn't really a logical conclusion. The mom insists that there's nothing to be upset about; she simply couldn't get the daughter out for this particular shopping trip in a timely fashion, but her boyfriend was available.

We don't have a strict definition for "underwear" in this story, but I can't imagine they were shopping at Victoria's Secret. I sure as hell hope not, anyway.

Take a deep breath, Chase. I think we're okay this time around…but maybe I'm off-base. Rock-A-Holics, let's hear it from you!

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Tags :  
Topics : Human Interest
Social :
Locations : Victoria


BJ'S BLOG 04/07/15 "Ex-Wife as Best Man"

It's time for Group Therapy! We're all about Rock-a-Holics helping Rock-a-Holics!

Heather is getting married, but she's having a hard time with the person that her husband-to-be has chosen as his best man…

…because it's his ex-wife.

Yeah, you heard me: Heather's fiance wants his ex to be his best man. Hoo-boy, this is a west coast problem if I've ever heard one! Let me assure you, as a transplanted Bostonian – this would NEVER fly back east. The groom would have so many people in his face over this decision that he'd have to fight his way through the mob scene just to catch his breath. On the other hand, this just sounds like business as usual for this part of the country.

Maybe it's my upbringing, but I find this whole situation to be pretty weird. Heather says that her husband-to-be doesn't have many close friends, which is something I can actually relate to. She also insists that she genuinely likes the ex-wife, but she's just worried about the awkwardness of this unusual best man selection.

I'm not sure what to say about this one. We'd love to hear from anyone who has experience with this situation – either directly or indirectly – but we're really just looking for some advice for this worked-up bride-to-be.
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Tags :  
Topics : Human Interest
Locations : West Coast


BJ'S BLOG 04/06/15 "Our Small Place in Space Is Dying"

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

For the first time ever, California's Governor Jerry Brown has imposed a mandatory limit on water use, this after the state's fourth year of record-breaking drought. The mandate targets businesses and residents in cities and towns, but it will not affect the farms that use most of California's water. California, a place that you might not think of as depending much on snow, actually does, and this move by Governor Brown comes as California reports its lowest snowpack levels on record, oddly enough as the city of Boston reports its snowiest winter in recorded history. Something's happening here and it's become more and more clear: global warming. The only place we have to call home is in deep trouble.

In the 1930's, America suffered The Dust Bowl. Also known as the Dirty Thirties, it was a period of severe dust storms that damaged the ecology and agriculture of the U.S. and Canadian prairies. Severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion caused the phenomenon. The drought came in three waves—1934, 1936, and 1939–40, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.

There is a breathtakingly beautiful five-minute video that makes it even easier to love our earth and brings the present drought into perspective. It shows the history of what our small place has suffered with indications of the probability that the worst is yet to come. At the end of the video is a tribute in honor of some of those who have died for the common home we call earth and the creatures who share it with us.

This video was brought to my attention by Shalini Kagal, a friend and writer who lives in Pune, Maharashtra. Pune is the seventh most populous city in India and the second largest in the state of Maharashtra. The producer of the video is a friend of Shalini's, and they have given me permission to share it with you. I thank them for that.

In the podcast, there is more on our small place as well as music and other timely events. Come join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.
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Tags :  
Topics : Environment
Social :
Locations : BostonCaliforniaMaharashtraPune
People : Dan SandersJerry BrownShalini Kagal


BJ'S BLOG 04/02/15 "Apologizing for Someone Else"

One of these days, I'm going to shake my head so hard that it just falls off my damn shoulders…but there are times when I actually believe that there may be some tiny spark of hope left for the human race.

Kyesha Wood is a mom from Alabama. She's been in the news lately, because her kids behaved terribly at a movie theater, and she posted an apology on Facebook. It seems that Kyesha dropped her three kids off at the theater for a screening of "Cinderella", and later learned from her son that the two girls were rude to a woman who tried to quiet them down. Kyesha took the matter to a public Facebook community, publicly apologizing to the woman, and offering to pay for her next movie (with concessions!) out of the girls' allowance. This post has been a massive social media sensation, and deservedly so.

Kyesha, you are my hero today. What a great lesson for your kids to learn – if you mess around, you have to pay for it. Maybe if more people – grown or otherwise – could grasp this, we'd have a much more peaceful day-to-day experience in this world. The woman who was on the receiving end of the rudeness - Rebecca Boyd - replied with nothing but praise and appreciation for the gesture.

Sometimes, the world is right on. Today is one of those days, thanks to a couple of sensible, intelligent mothers.
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BJ'S BLOG 04/01/15 "Getting in Shape for the Wedding"

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today for some Group Therapy. Do you, Rock-A-Holics, take responsibility for helping your fellow Rock-A-Holics?

Ben and his fiance are getting married, and she's insisting that they both get in shape before the big day. They're both carrying a few extra pounds, but Ben feels like his bride-to-be is taking things to extremes. He doesn't care what they look like; he's happy with who they are, and would gladly marry this woman without any kind of forced change. She's controlling every aspect of his food intake, counting calories, and aggressively forcing him to comply without any flexibility.

Recently, Ben gave in to a craving, and got some fast food. When his fiance found evidence – in the form of wrappers in his car – she went completely ballistic, and accused Ben of not taking her demands seriously…and in ultra-dramatic female fashion, she said she felt betrayed.

Ben is really struggling with this situation, and he needs some advice. Personally, I think this is all incredibly stupid. It sounds like Ben's bride is wrapped up in her own self-image issues, and she's forcing her soon-to-be-husband to adjust himself accordingly, if only to make herself feel better.

I am profoundly irritated by this, so I'm throwing this one out to you, gang. Help Ben with your words of wisdom…and if you can slip the poor guy a sandwich, I'm sure he'd appreciate it…
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