BJ Shea

 BJ Shea
Posts from October 2013

BJ'S BLOG 10/31/13 "Sexy Halloween!"
Happy Halloween, Rock-A-Holics! Don’t be afraid to stop by Group Therapy while you’re out trick-or-treating; I know you probably think we’ll be giving out dental floss, or psychology textbooks, but I promise we’ll do our best to give you something sweet.
Melissa reached out for some Halloween-related help: She and a friend were recently prepping their costumes for an upcoming party, when they spoke to another friend, who was planning to hit the party dressed like Dany from GAME OF THRONES (that’s the very attractive Mother of Dragons, played by Emelia Clarke). Needless to say, this is definitely a “sexy” costume.
Here’s where it gets awkward: The friend in question isn’t in very good shape at all, and Melissa isn’t sure if she should try to talk her out of wearing such a revealing outfit. There’s a lot of potential embarrassment at play here, and it isn’t limited to just the girl wearing the costume. It can be tricky to judge these situations without knowing the hard facts about all the people involved, so we’re going to rely on common sense in our judgment.
I know that guys have it easier when it comes to being “Doughy Superman” or “Hairy Harry Potter”; it’s a double standard, and it’s wrong, but we’re not here to solve that issue right now. Women are judged far more harshly in regards to their costumed sexiness, and that won’t change by the end of this blog…so it leaves us without a true black-and-white answer to Melissa’s dilemma.
The best advice I can give is this: Halloween is day of disguises and deceptions; it’s a time to step outside of your normal existence, and live in your own imagination for a few hours. If the friend is comfortable in her costume – regardless of her physical state – then more power to her. If Melissa isn’t comfortable with her friend’s decision, then a second Group Therapy session may be in order…because that’s a different problem altogether.

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People: Emelia Clarke

BJ'S BLOG 10/30/13 "My Friend Wants My Ex! "
Group Therapy is in session, Gang! When you don’t have the time or money to seek professional help, you can always count on the unprofessional (but often very helpful) advice from your fellow Rock-A-Holics!
Today’s topic comes from Mary Ann, whose best friend recently expressed interest in dating Mary Ann’s ex-husband! The friend went so far as to ask if Mary Ann was okay with the idea. As you might expect, Mary Ann has a couple of major concerns about this, starting with the fact that her friend is fully aware of the problems that led to the divorce, four years ago. Mary Ann is happily remarried, so there’s no jealousy at work here; in fact, she doesn’t really believe that the relationship would have much of a future, anyway…but if it does work out, will she have to develop some kind of new middle-ground with her ex, for the sake of her friendship?
Mary Ann doesn’t feel like she can say anything in this situation. If she points out the negatives, her friend may take it the wrong way; if she encourages the idea, she’s willfully turning a blind eye to those same negatives. One bad decision could lead to a damaged friendship.
Personally, I don’t understand why Mary Ann’s friend can’t find a man of her own. It seems a bit lazy to me, and more than a little bit ignorant of the big picture. Like many of the questions we deal with, this one really comes down to personal comfort, and mutual respect. Unfortunately, it sounds like Mary Ann is going to have to sacrifice both of those if she wants to keep her friend.
It’s a risky prospect, but I think this is one case where honesty is definitely the best policy. Mary Ann’s friend asked for her opinion, so we can only hope that she’s willing to accept some honesty. The truth isn’t always comfortable or convenient, but it IS absolute. In a situation like this, a strong foundation can make all the difference.
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Topics: Human Interest
People: Mary Ann

BJ'S BLOG 10/29/13 "Embarrassed Of My Parents "
As long as there are Rock-A-Holics in need, Group Therapy will BE THERE! That’s just how we do it, America. If you have more questions than answers, maybe we can help.
Today’s topic is a time-honored classic: The teenager who is totally embarrassed by her parents.
15-year-old Ellie is having some serious issues with the way her parents dress, and even what they have planned for Halloween costumes this year. She desperately wants to get the message across, but is afraid that such a revelation might be upsetting to her folks.
Speaking from experience, a parent isn’t usually aware when they’re not looking (or acting) age-appropriate. I went through a period where I was dressing in ultra-casual cargo pants and tees, years before Sheldon made it cool on “The Big Bang Theory”. My kids never really seemed to have an issue with it, but my wife eventually made it clear that she would like her husband to dress like a grown man.
I didn’t take it too personally, because I would never want to embarrass my family. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have an identity of my own, but I’m smart enough to know that I’m not the barometer of cool when it comes to fashion and style. Maybe that’s why I have some sympathy for Ellie’s situation; I realize she’s only 15 years old, but it’s a hell of a lot harder to “fit in” for a teenager. More to the point, “fitting in” is part of the growing process for Ellie…and I’m pretty sure her parents already went through that process for themselves.
Some constructive feedback might lead these parents to stop trying to relive their glory days at the expense of their daughter’s first time experiencing her own.

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Topics: Human Interest
People: Ellie

BJ'S BLOG 10/29/13 " Rambling Harbor: The Real, the Unreal, and the Unanswered"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Rambling Harbor: blue skies and mild temperatures fade quickly into cold, gray, lonely backdrops fit for the season of the witch.
Fall colors are gone, and bare branches dance around under the moonlight, casting shadows. Long bent branches, resembling arms that stretch across the bogs and open fields, taunt you to come close. Come in, if you dare. No longer clothed in their coats of many colors, the branches resemble long, twisted arms, reaching out in agony to wrap themselves around you, and bring you down to their shadowy world.
The harbor almost always has a wind blowing, favorable for both sailors and one’s imagination. What was that sound? Was it just the wind, or the cry of some lost spirit?
So many things in Old New England remain unknown, hidden behind centuries-old houses that hide--secrets? The jagged, unforgiving coastline and unpredictable storms that roam the North Atlantic have sent many ships to rest forever at the bottom of the sea. Do they rest? Perhaps that was not the wind.
One particular story says that in 1851, a lighthouse located just off Minot’s Ledge in a particular turbulent part of New England waters was destroyed by a storm, killing two lighthouse-keeper assistants who were trapped inside. The lighthouse became automated in 1977, and now no one goes there except the coast guard, on occasion, for general checks of the lights; but boaters and fishermen have reported spotting two men, who appear to be hanging over the side of the lighthouse, clinging to it for their lives.
Not too far from the entrance to Rambling Harbor, there is Hangman Island. According to legend, many a pirate felt the rope of the hangman, left there to dangle in the wind as a warning to others to avoid the same fate.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables, it is agreed, was written because of ancestral guilt. Hawthorne’s great grandfather was one of the main perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials, and the house and property where Nathaniel grew up is said to be cursed.
There are so many mysteries in the air, in the sea, and on the ground. Rambling Harbor, a small piece of land located somewhere off the coast of New England in the Atlantic Ocean and settled in 1630, is inhabited by the real, the unreal, and the unanswered. Come ashore and give a listen to more mysterious yarns. 
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BJ'S BLOG 10/25/13 "No Kids, No Relationship"
It’s time for Group Therapy - Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics!
Max’s girlfriend of 5 years recently learned that she will never have biological children. This was terrible news for both of them, but the girlfriend has been doing her best to recover from the disappointment. She has suggested that they could adopt a child, but Max isn’t so sure. He’s done the research, and he wasn’t encouraged by what he learned. Adoption is a potentially stressful process, and Max is not willing to take responsibility for a child if he and his girlfriend aren’t absolutely sure that they want to. Ultimately, the infertility problem may be a deal-breaker for him.
Life is short, uncertain, and full of detours. Personally, I wish more people would have the good sense, and courage, to be truthful about what they want out of life. We live in a society of reckless irresponsibility, and being honest and responsible is the only way we can ever hope to keep some shred of integrity as a people. People will judge Max harshly, but I think he should be applauded as a good example of an honest man.
The truth hurts…but it will set you free. 
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BJ'S BLOG 10/24/13 "The Bride Wore White"
Just when I think we’ve heard it all, a story comes along to remind me that there’s always something new out there in this fine country of ours.  
Edward Smith is a 62-year-old “mechaphile” who is quite famous for his attraction to, and sexual interaction with, a variety of automobiles. No one’s denying that Ed has an unusual love life – least of all, Ed himself -- but I’ve met the man, and he comes across like a fairly average individual in person. In fact, he recently attended one of our big listener parties.
Maybe he’s ahead of the pack. 20 years from now, when we’re celebrating the new law that allows humans and robots to marry, we might just look back at Ed Smith for being a forward thinker.
Well, Ed has recently announced that he’s settling down with a white Volkswagen Beetle named Vanilla. We wish the happy couple all the best. For those looking to send a gift, Ed and Vanilla are registered at their local auto parts store. 
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BJ'S BLOG 10/23/13 "The Girlfriend's Son"
Group Therapy is here for you, gang! Rock-A-Holics unite! Together, we can DO THIS!
Okay, maybe I’ve had a bit too much sugar. Let’s move on: John is a faithful friend of the show, and he needs a little guidance. He’s been with his girlfriend for about 4 years, and he loves her dearly…but John’s relationship with her 12-year-old son isn’t going so well.
The kid’s father was recently released from prison, and he doesn’t play a role in his son’s upbringing. Not surprisingly, the kid is tough to manage: He steals from his mother and John, entering their room and taking things, lies constantly, and acts like the world owes him a favor. John and his girlfriend are finding themselves facing some kind of disciplinary issue almost daily at this point, and John doesn’t know what to do. He cares about the kid, and wants to help him grow up right, but it’s an uphill battle.
Being in a relationship with someone who has their own kids is an incredibly difficult thing to do, even without the added issues that an absentee parent situation can create. I usually advise against these relationships, as a general rule; I’ve heard the stories a thousand times, and it’s a rare case that ends successfully.
Unfortunately, John is already in this situation. When we turned the question over to the Rock-A-Holics, we heard a lot of feedback that centered on serious discipline, and consequences. Personally, it sounds to me like things have moved out of the realm of the usual threats being effective.
One listener suggested some family counseling, and I think that might be the best idea, if John plans to stick it out. With a dad in prison, the kid comes by his problems naturally, no doubt; the solution to those problems won’t be so easy to pinpoint. Sitting down with a therapist as a family – and maybe some solo sessions for the kid – could be the way to get to the heart of the matter. You can’t cure a disease by simply treating the symptoms; find out what you’re fighting against, and you have a better chance of working together to find a solution. 
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BJ'S BLOG 10/22/13 "Breaking Up A Couple"
Justin is a Rock-A-Holic who has a tough situation that he’s hoping can be solved in Group Therapy. As always, we do our best to help.
Justin is new to the area, doesn’t know anyone, and rides the bus because he doesn’t have a car. Even with those obstacles in place, he still managed to meet a woman…and then had a threesome with this woman and her best friend! Obviously, being the new kid in town hasn’t been much of a problem for Justin.
Actually, there is one little problem: Both of the women have boyfriends, and have pretty much walked away from the threeway arrangement, but Justin thinks he has a serious interest in one of them. She’s made it clear that she won’t be switching boyfriends, and Justin wonders if he should try to steal her away.
We could debate the morals of the involved parties all day, but let’s boil it down to youth. These are people in their early 20s, and those are the “fun” years. Allow me to offer a different viewpoint: If you’re having threesomes with women from the bus, maybe you’re not quite ready to settle down.
Go out and have your fun, Justin. Don’t break up any couples, and start asking your potential partners if they’re spoken for in advance. Save your long-term girlfriend search until you find yourself moving on to a more stable dating lifestyle. You’ll be much happier in the long run. 
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BJ'S BLOG 10/21/13 "The Internal Struggle"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Ten days away and creeping closer: a tradition dating back thousands of years, brought by Irish immigrants, first to Scotland, later to North America, and now to the four corners of the Earth. One could easily say it spread like Christianity. We call it Halloween, and it may be one of the most misunderstood holidays in this country. The idea of wearing costumes was originally devised to ward off evil spirits that would roam on this day, looking for souls to steal. The best way to defend yourself was to look like an evil spirit: costumes!
This past week, I caught up with our friends Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills of Sleepy Hollow. They find a boy suffering from a rare disease, and the boy is not from this century. Their search for answers leads them to the lost colony of Roanoke, now known as North Carolina.
The lost colony of Roanoke is a historical fact. It disappeared without a trace, along with all inhabitants, including Virginia Dare (also mentioned in Sleepy Hollow), who in August 1587 was the first child of English parents born in the New World. We don’t know much about Virginia Dare's short life because the Roanoke colony vanished!
At the end of 1587, having established his colony, Virginia's grandfather John White sailed for England for fresh supplies and was not able to return until August 18, 1590, Virginia Dare's third birthday. He found the settlement deserted, the buildings collapsed, no trace of his daughter or granddaughter, or any of the 80 men, 17 women, and 11 children who made up the lost colony of Roanoke. Poof! All gone.
Abbie Mills, the detective in Sleepy Hollow, has questions about her faith, as is true of most people, including me. A battle between intellect and spirituality; for me, it is a constant struggle. The brain says faith is impossible, but the emotions feel it, know it, and believe it, but lack the ability to convince the brain, which believes only what can be proven.
Abbie struggles with the same interior battles, even as she and Ichabod Crane battle evil that is trying to destroy the world. Abbie’s brain and emotions collide, like so many of the rest of us. We know we are, at all times, fighting tangible evil as well, but we think that if we deny it, maybe it doesn’t exist.
As for our friend Ichabod Crane returning after 250 years, I leave you with this question: Have you ever recognized a place you’ve never been before, felt you already knew someone you just met, or had the feeling this (whatever “this” is) has happened before? I have always had a feeling I lived before. What about you?
More thoughts ashore at Rambling Harbor. Listen In.
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BJ'S BLOG 10/17/13 "My Girlfriend's Ex"
Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics! That’s what it’s all about in Group Therapy!
Paul and his girlfriend have been together for almost half a year, but her parents obviously prefer the previous boyfriend! How does he know? Well, they invite the ex-boyfriend to various events, and even tag him in Facebook posts on the daughter’s page.
Meanwhile, Paul has to play along with all of these shenanigans. His girlfriend was in a long relationship with the now-ex, but it’s been over for quite some time. Why can’t her parents let the old guy go, and give Paul a chance instead? Paul and his girlfriend are in their 20s, so it’s not like they’re kids.
I have kids of my own, and I make it a point to keep myself out of their personal lives as much as possible. Don’t misunderstand: I meet their friends, and their more-than-friends, but I don’t go out of my way to create long-lasting, intimate bonds with those people. If a boyfriend or girlfriend becomes more of a constant presence, then we’ll develop a closer relationship over time. That’s a natural process, at least in my mind.
I do occasionally have a pow-wow with recurring potential boyfriends for my daughter. If they seem like they’re sticking around, we’ll have a nice lunch out, complete with friendly insight from Dear Old Dad. I’m not the threatening-father type; I just like to meet them, find out what they’re about, and vice versa. No long-term contracts, no shotguns, just a nice little chat.
We heard a wide variety of feedback during Group Therapy, but there seems to be a bottom line consensus on this point:
This cord needs to be cut. Either the girlfriend puts a stop to it, or Paul stands up for himself to the parents, but something’s got to give. The parents need to know that they’re disrespecting the man their daughter has chosen to be with. I would certainly hope that they have enough love for their little girl to make that change.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 10/16/13 "Confiding In Friends"
Trusting people can be a difficult thing to do, and a bad experience can lead to all kinds of trust issues. Luckily, you can always share your deepest thoughts and feelings with your fellow Rock-A-Holics in Group Therapy!
We recently heard from Diana, who is dealing with a fractured friendship. Diana’s best friend revealed that her husband had been cheating on her; she confided this to Diana, and no one else. Naturally, Diana supported her friend in every way she could. Unfortunately, everything changed when Diana admitted that she strongly disliked the husband in the first place.
I think you know this story, people: The best friend reconciled with the cheating husband, and now Diana’s been left out in the cold. Diana believes that her friend is ashamed of her husband’s actions, and can’t face the one other person who knows about it. Meanwhile, Diana isn’t sure if she should just back off, or try to repair this important friendship.
Diana may be right about the reason, but there’s also the possibility that revealing her feelings about the husband may have created some bad feelings with her BFF. Ultimately, the reasons don’t really matter; this is always a tough hit for a friendship to take.
Getting involved in someone else’s relationship issues is a huge risk. No matter how close you are to your friends, the intimate workings of a marriage can only be solved between the two spouses. Even if the couple goes to counseling, the survival of that bond comes down to the strength of the love and trust that should be the foundation of a good marriage.
A lot of our Group Therapy relationship questions end with this advice: Back off a little, and see if time can heal some wounds. Adding more drama to the best friend’s life, especially while she’s rebuilding a damaged marriage, will almost certainly push the chances of repairing things much further away.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 10/15/13 "Facebook Friends You Don't Like"
A new survey says 34% of people are Facebook friends with someone they don’t like.
Let me see if I can make this easy, America: Facebook is one of the biggest names in social media. If you were going to a “social” party in real life, would you have all of your conversations within earshot of someone you don’t like? Of course you wouldn’t.
So why would you do it on Facebook? The end result is pretty much the same. You’re giving this non-friend access to a chunk of your life; and depending on how much you use Facebook, that could be a very big chunk.
Sometimes, I think the simplest answers are the hardest to see. I know I’ve missed my fair share along the way, but this one’s a slam dunk:
Remember what social media really is, and ask yourself: “Would I act this way, say this thing, or show this picture, if I was at a party with my family, friends, and co-workers?”
Don’t be friends with people you don’t like.
It’s like the old joke:
A man tells his doctor, “It hurts when I go like this.”
The doctor says, “Then don’t go like that.”
You heard it here, America. It’s the best advice I can give you, but it suits so many different situations. Don’t go like that.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 10/14/13 "A Rambling Harbor Halloween"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

The month of Halloween is wrapped around us, All Hallow’s Eve is creeping closer and closer and…well, you get it. It’s constantly, creepily creeping, as is the fog off the ocean, and in from the bogs near where I live. In this, the land of witches, the mind is easily nudged into roaming deeper and deeper into the far and foggiest realms of one's imagination.

Last week, I wrote about the four headless horsemen of the apocalypse, who had come back after 250 years to bring fire and brimstone--and grand entertainment--to the world, and how Ichabod Crane, cranium reunited, tried to stop evil by following clues from the founding fathers of the United States. I speculated on the possibility that some members of Congress could be demons returning from the past, seeking to destroy the world; and the evil-fighting spirits like Ich, or the few remaining good Congresspeople (we are not yet sure who they are), trying to stop them.

In last week’s Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane and detective Abbie Mills were trying to find a secret magic box, and so were the bad guys. This magic box contained a book with a ritual that, when performed, would release demons, help the bad guys win the war and gain supernatural powers. The Tea Party of 1773 was a hoax, a diversion. Some things never change, but more on that in the podcast.

It is a known historical fact that, at some point during World War II, the chief architect and manager of the Nazi Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler, made secret visits to Spain in search of the Holy Grail, believing that its power would not only help him win the war, but give him supernatural powers as well. Squads of S.S. men searched in vain for the Grail. The Nazi empire committed evil beyond a human's ability to understand; a tangible, touchable type of evil, unlike any sci-fi movie or TV show.

Writers and poets have often wondered if art imitates life or the other way around. Oscar Wilde believed that life imitated art, and he once wrote, “Although there has been fog in London for centuries, one notices the beauty and wonder of the fog because poets and painters have taught the loveliness of such effects....They did not exist until Art had invented them." If Sleepy Hollow is art, will life begin to imitate it? Or has it already? (Bring up eerie music.)

Come into Rambling Harbor and my cabin, bordering the Atlantic Ocean on one side, and the bogs on the other. I have a wide-open view of the night sky from my windows, and see the moon on its western journey, sometimes like the Highwayman tossed up on stormy seas, and wonderful creepy, foggy dawns with the chorus of seagulls cawing ‘good morning’, and coyotes howling ‘good night’.

Welcome ashore.
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Locations: London
People: Abbie MillsDan SandersHeinrich Himmler

BJ'S BLOG 04/11/13 "My Stepson is looking at Porn"
When Rock-A-Holics need help, they turn to Group Therapy…
We heard from “Heisenberg” (no relation), who recently discovered that his 12-year-old stepson has been looking at porn on his iPod Touch. The mom doesn’t know, and the kid doesn’t know that his stepdad found the evidence. Heisenberg can’t decide what to do: Should he tell his wife? Talk to the stepson? Confiscate the iPod for ‘evidence examination’?
This would be a tough question for a biological parent; being the stepdad adds another layer of uncertainty. There’s a chance to bond with the stepson, but there’s also an obligation to the kid’s mom. Add to that the embarrassment and shame that society assigns to sexual matters, and it’s a tangled situation to say the least.
We don’t have the facts on the kid’s biological father, so I can’t say where the responsibility sits in this family unit. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I think that it’s far better for everyone if fathers handle the “boy talks”, and mothers handle the “girl talks”. Every family is different, of course, so this is hardly a one-size-fits-all solution…but if I was the stepdad, I’d probably talk to the kid, and at least help him understand the need for discretion in his exploration.
Heisenberg, if you’re the main father figure in this kid’s life, this is a chance to step up and forge a bond and also to teach him that he doesn’t have to be ashamed of something that comes naturally for pretty much everyone. I think, if given the choice, most men would wish that someone had helped remove a few of the stigmas around this very ‘touchy’ subject…
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BJ'S BLOG 10/10/13 "People on Drugs"
“Are you on drugs?”
The question has become a go-to joke that we use, whenever a person says something dumb, or acts slightly strange in a harmless way.

In the real world, people on drugs are capable of behavior that ranges from idiotic to horrifying. They abandon children; jump off bridges; or lead the authorities on a chase, only to be shot and killed by police after inexplicably trying to drive into a government building.
The human brain is a delicate piece of equipment. A hundred outside influences can affect the workings of the brain, and a hundred defects are hiding inside our grey matter, just waiting to become a serious problem.
Some people need medication; others need to stay away from chemical alteration of any kind. An absence of drugs in one person can have just as many ill effects as the presence of drugs can for someone else. It’s enough to drive you insane, and that’s not a joke.
Maybe someday, the artificial intelligence in our phones will be able to read our body chemistry at the start of each day, and help us adjust as necessary. The question could become less of a joke, and more like routine maintenance:
“Are you on drugs? Should you be?”
It sure beats having to answer all the questions that follow a tragic, unexplainable event.
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BJ'S BLOG 04/09/13 "Plastic Surgery"
Do you know what I love about Group Therapy? We’re always finding new and interesting situations to weigh in on. Take this recent dilemma, submitted to us by a Rock-A-Holic named Kevin:
A few months ago, Kevin’s girlfriend decided to get a nose job. “She was beautiful the way she was,” Kevin tells us (and kudos to him for saying so). Regardless of her boyfriend’s opinion, this woman goes ahead with the procedure…
…but the results are not sitting too well with Kevin. He still loves his girlfriend, but he’s no longer attracted to this new, altered version of her. This is her second “improvement” surgery, although Kevin didn’t specify which part of her body was changed by the first operation. We assume it was something in the chest region, but we can’t get our hands on any…solid…evidence.
Kevin is deeply concerned that his girlfriend will continue to feed her low self-esteem with even more surgical procedures! How many changes can she undergo before she’s a completely different person on the outside?
I just can’t understand the plastic surgery obsession we’re seeing in so many women. You have a man who thinks you’re beautiful the way you are! How insecure can you possibly be?
Kevin didn’t tell his girl that he felt she needed physical improvement, so this is all on her. We see so much of this “beautiful people” nonsense in popular culture, and it truly bothers me. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can’t think of a single person who looks at these Frankenstein-ed women (or men) and says, “Yeah, that looks gooooood.”
The Rock-A-Holics who weighed in on Kevin’s situation seemed to agree all across the board: It’s probably time to move on. There are bigger issues at play here, and they clearly can’t be overcome by the love and appreciation of a man who loves you as you are…or as you were, in this case.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 10/08/13 "Pedestrian Style Drivers"
I’ve lived in a few different spots across America, but the Pacific Northwest has been my ho
me for a good, long while now. There’s a lot to love here…but the local driving skills leave something to be desired.
Alex is a Listener on the Loose who originally hails from Arizona. This is a guy I can relate to, because I spent some time out in the AZ desert valleys, too. Alex also shares some of my frustrations when it comes to Washington drivers.
The Northwest is very pedestrian-friendly, and we do love our bicycles out here. However, I often wonder if our accommodating attitude toward pedestrians is contributing to a local culture of drivers who forget they’re operating a motor vehicle!
Walkers and bike riders have a long list of rights and privileges here, all designed to keep them safe; the problem I see is that most of that safety is the responsibility of vehicle drivers, and not the pedestrians themselves. You put that pedestrian behind the wheel of their own car, and they can’t break out of the “I’m safe because everyone’s looking out for me” mindset that they learned on foot.
Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that we have a progressive mindset in regards to people getting around. The big flaw in the plan is that it presumes that everyone is paying attention at all times.
Spoiler alert: People are not paying attention at all times.
Between that sense of pedestrian safety, the attention-suck of technology, and the everyday hustle and bustle of life, the roads (and sidewalks, and bike lanes) are more dangerous than ever before. We all need to be looking out for each other, or the system will never work properly.
Pay attention when you’re out there today. Try it just this once, and see if it suits you. Once you get the hang of it, you can just do it every day. It’s hard enough to stay safe on a clear day; if you add in the wet Washington weather, the disaster potential increases.
And don’t even get me started on the snow…
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Topics: Disaster_Accident
Locations: ArizonaWashington

BJ'S BLOG 10/07/13 "Send In The Clowns "
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

Ironsides is back and black. The original Ironsides aired from 1967-1975, a very turbulent period in American history, and I am not sure that in 1967 that concept would have been easily accepted by the citizenry. The new show stars Blair Underwood, who is African-American, and I already like the idea. I hope it says something about our progress in race relations. Today, imagine an African-American Raymond Burr and no one cares. It's like yeah, so what? Is it a good show?

Another show I like, even though it has a typical plot of good vs. evil, is Sleepy Hollow. Evil returns from hundreds of years ago to try and destroy the world, but it has a few twists. The show introduces Ichabod Crane, chasing after ancient demons in today’s world. It seems Ichabod comes back after 250 years because he has to help the town’s police destroy the four headless horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they follow clues left by the founding fathers (yes, the founding fathers of the United States). This was Ichabod’s mission way back in the day, but he lost his head. However, in today’s world, Ichabod has been reunited with said head and really looks amazingly good for his age.

One thing that I keep thinking about--and this is not part of the Sleepy Hollow plot, but I think it could be--is if the clues on how to destroy the four headless horseman of the apocalypse were left by the founding fathers, and you accept the idea that the founding fathers are the cornerstones of today’s government, is it possible that way back in the day, one or two of those founding fathers were not so good, and like good old Ichabod, are still running around creating destruction and apocalypse in Washington, D.C.? Maybe Ichabod is disguised as Bernie Sanders? I had a dream that Congress marched into session singing “Send in the Clowns,” and it seems to me the D.C. circus clowns have lost their heads already.

I’m trying to look on the bright side of the government shutdown. With the parks closed, “the bears are having a picnic" (everyone sing!), the moose are contently grazing, the wolves are safe, and the KKK didn’t get to have a rally they had planned at a state park (YES!). There is some good in this, but you have to look really hard. It doesn’t matter which side of the alleged aisle you’re on, or which tea bag you’re dipping: Affordable Health Care, or “Obamacare”, is the law. It’s good, and it’s not going away.

In the podcast, I take a look at “Kirlian” photography, a photographic technique used to capture the phenomenon of electrical coronal discharges, along with whatever thoughts pop spontaneously into my head. I’ve even taken off my tin foil hat, so I get better reception. Give a listen.
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BJ'S BLOG 10/04/13 "When Foot Met Mouth"
Rock-A-Holics, you’re never alone in Group Therapy!
Confession is good for the sole. Let’s start the heeling. We’re here for shoe, America!
I’m sorry! I couldn’t help myself! I can almost never help myself when it comes to holding in those truly Rando thoughts that pop into my head sometimes. In my defense, it may have something to do with my job. It’s almost like they WANT me to say what I’m thinking!
(Most of the time, anyway)
Rock-A-Holic Michelle thinks she may have put her foot in her mouth, and she’s not sure what to do.
Michelle and her husband were walking their dogs when they passed the house of a female neighbor. Michelle has seen this woman before, but doesn’t really know her; although she apparently knew enough to ask this question out loud:
“Isn’t that where the tall, funny-looking woman lives?”
You know what happens next: The neighbor steps out of her garage at that exact moment, close enough to Michelle that she undoubtedly heard the question…and she doesn’t say hello.
What happens now? Michelle will definitely run into this woman again soon; they live in the same neighborhood. Michelle’s husband thinks she should apologize, and Michelle doesn’t disagree, but she wonders if her tiny joke really requires damage control. Michelle also hates the fact that the neighbor will always know what she said about her.
Let’s go back to the self-control issue I mentioned earlier: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said terrible or inappropriate things to someone, without a second thought. Most of those things were far worse than “skinny” or “weird-looking”, on the grand insult scale, but that’s my personal judgment talking.
This is about cause, not effect. Michelle doesn’t know how her words affected the neighbor, and she doesn’t really need to know. She should apologize for what she said, first and foremost; if there are bad feelings that need to be sorted out, the two ladies can get into those later.
Take your foot out of your mouth. Use it to take the first step.
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People: Holic Michelle

BJ'S BLOG 10/03/13 "All Taxation, No Representation"
The New American Morning:

Wake up
Shuffle into kitchen
Consider a big classic breakfast (egg whites, turkey bacon, acai fruit bites, almond milk)
Eat a bagel (with the smallest amount of peanut butter known to man) instead
Head to the bathroom
Die from heart attack on toilet
(If you’re lucky, maybe your spirit is still floating around long enough to see your family’s reaction when the doctor says the cause of death was that damn peanut butter. You certainly didn’t die of Shock and Awe…because that’s ridiculous, right?)
This is my greatest fear, America. I realize I’m the magic voice that comes out of your radio, but at the end of the day, I’m just an average guy who doesn’t know if he’s smart enough to comprehend his own nation’s leadership.
The national parks are closed. Federal employees are on furlough. There’s no one to collect our taxes—
What’s that? There IS someone to collect our taxes? We’re still expected to pay? Hang on a second: I remember seeing some kind of document – I think it was on Pinterest, or maybe it was Facebook – that mentioned “no taxation without representation.”
Our “representation” isn’t doing much representing at all right now, America.
I can’t believe I’m bringing up Boston Justice for the second time in as many days, but it’s hard to avoid falling into that mindset right now. The original Tea Party took place in Boston, and was an act of revolution; maybe it’s time to bring that kind of protest back into style.
This time, though…let’s keep the tea for drinking, and toss the party into Boston Harbor. It’s the same revolutionary spirit. We’ll just be dunking a different kind of bag.
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Locations: Boston

BJ'S BLOG 10/02/13 "Don't Drop A Shoplifter"
“The best defense is a good offense.”
You know that one, America. It’s a time-honored philosophy that applies everywhere from the boardroom to the football field.
I’m from Boston, where we have a long list of philosophical statements. I think it’s fair to say that 75% of those could be boiled down to a basic point:
“If you’re gonna do me wrong, you’d better pray I don’t get you before the cops do.”
Let’s be clear: I don’t advocate violence. I am, however, a very big fan of justice. Sometimes it comes in the courtroom, and other times you can find it being served up fresh, right in the middle of the street.
Rock-A-Holic Joe told us that he found himself on the wrong end of justice when he followed a shoplifter out of his convenience store. Joe didn’t realize that it’s against the law to physically confront a thief, so he didn’t hesitate to bring his escaping shoplifter down to the pavement.
Maybe I’m one of the outlaws who look at this thing sideways, but the equation seems pretty clear to me:
The best defense
(Prevent the creeps from stealing your goods.)
Good offense
(Feed a shoplifter some sidewalk pie, sending a message to any other fools who think they want to try it. It’s a reverse incentive plan.)
I guess the customer really IS always right, even if they’re taking a five-finger discount. Maybe we could find some sort of middle allowing business owners to throw a neck-punch on a thief, as long as they post a large, clearly visible sign that warns them it could happen.
After all, we can’t deny a criminal his rights.
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Locations: Boston
People: Holic Joe

BJ'S BLOG 10/01/13 "Friendship Shutdown"
This first day of October 2013 may not be the best example of people working together, America…but you can always believe in Group Therapy! Rock-A-Holics are still helping Rock-A-Holics! The dream is alive!
Heather and her ex-boyfriend broke up after three years together, and they’ve managed to stay friendly for the last two years. Everything was fine and dandy, until Heather’s ex started a new relationship. Not long after, he texted Heather and said they couldn’t be friends anymore, “for the sake of his relationship”.
That message was only the beginning. Heather was immediately cut off from any contact, dropped from all their shared social media, and left to wonder how this could have happened in the first place. She says they never crossed the “friend line” after their breakup, and her feelings toward her ex had evolved into a family bond. How could that possibly threaten a six-week relationship with a new girlfriend?
Once again, I’m trying to balance a positive/negative reaction to a woman reaching out for advice. We love to hear from the Rock-A-Holic ladies, because it gives us a chance to offer some insight from the male perspective; unfortunately, that insight sometimes takes on the flavor of bad medicine. This is one of those times.
Heather wonders if she might be able to turn this around by reaching out to the new girlfriend. It’s a noble idea, but I just don’t think it’s realistic at all. Heather’s feelings toward her ex may be strictly platonic – even brotherly – but there’s a big difference between Heather’s understanding, and the new girlfriend’s perception.
Step back, Heather. This isn’t just about protecting your ex, it’s about protecting yourself. If the friendship truly means something to him, you can only hope that he decides to find a way to make it work within the boundaries of his new relationship. Trying to force the issue could destroy everything you value about this bond, and that’s a double-heartache waiting to happen.
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Topics: Human Interest


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