BJ Shea

 BJ Shea
Posts from December 2013

BJ'S BLOG 12/30/13 " Stuff, AKA Clutter!"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

With the jolly season of Christmas having come and gone, I’ve been thinking about stuff.
Stuff:  What actually is stuff?  The way I figure it, stuff has no definition. It’s a shape-shifter of the inanimate world. It can look like a box, a bag, or just a pile of, well, STUFF!  It is still stuff no matter how it’s disguised.

It seems some people are addicted to stuff. There is never enough. I’m not talking about hoarders but true collectors of stuff: old magazines, records, photos, furniture, etc., much of some value.  Collectors are not in it to turn a tidy profit but just to have it. And the more they have the less tidy the profit seems. Put it in a box or a bag, books in that one, pictures in the other, and so on. Then put them all in larger boxes or bags, and what do you have? Viola! More stuff.

I’m not a stuff person. The less stuff I have, the happier I am. For many years, I lived out of a backpack and a cardboard box that was long and flat and fit under a bed. What that cardboard box held I couldn’t tell you now, but at the time it was very important stuff. A former wife and still good friend, who never looked inside that box, simply referred to it as the under-the-bed box of stuff. Since those days, I have lost the box and the wife but kept the good friend.

I believe that in some galaxy in a demission far, far away, somewhere in someone’s belief system, there is a planet called “Stuff” and that is where the stuff collectors go in the hereafter.  It is loaded with all kinds of good stuff—different stuff but stuff all the same—and in its stuff-ness is oneness.
We who are not over-stuffed with stuff and would really be glad to have even less stuff in our lives, live in cultural hell, falling ever deeper into a kind of Dante’s circle—never-ending, soul-confining clutter. However, if the clutter children have their place of divine eternity and disorganized confusion, so must the ones who want to live clutter-free. Our planet is called “Neat,” truly a neat planet with a place for everything and everything in its place and only enough of anything to make life as comfortable as need be.

They say you can’t take it with you, but if your stuff, small or large, brings you joy on this earth, then after all is said and done, it's good.
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BJ'S BLOG 12/23/13 " Mauled at the Mall"

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

I ventured into one of the many local malls today, a chance I rarely take, especially around the celebration of Christmas, fearing for my safety. Though spelled differently—mall and maul—the sound is the same, and I supposed one could write a completely ridiculous riddle about being mauled at the mall. So I did.

Here in the spirit of the season

My mind has lost all reason,

So off I went to get mauled

In the center of crazy called a mall.

With music playing and toys tall

In a corner I trembled watching it all.

While revelers of madness both far and near

Grabbed items from hangers, from shelves, and from tiers,

Children screamed and parents dreamed.

Santa chuckled. What did it all mean?

Did it all get lost, this do unto others?

What did that cost, as they did unto you?

Love thy neighbor as thyself

Look out, lady, you just squashed an elf.


Happy holidays, everyone. There’s more lunacy inside the shores of Rambling Harbor.

While snowflakes glisten, please give a listen.



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People: Dan Sanders

BJ'S BLOG 12/18/13 "6-Year-Old Criminal of Love"
I know we’re all excited for the holidays, and you’re very busy at the moment, but we need to talk. Just check this out for a minute, and then you can go back to the Nog.

This is just a friendly reminder that YOU HAVE LOST YOUR DAMN MIND, AMERICA.
A 6-year-old Colorado boy named Hunter has been suspended from school for “sexually harassing” a female classmate. If you need to read that again, go ahead. It’s pretty crazy, right? Wrong.

THIS is the crazy part: Hunter’s “harassment” came in the form of kissing the young girl’s hand. The “victim” had no complaint about the incident, but school officials made the decision regardless.

Right now, a kid who probably doesn’t know the first thing about sex has “sexual harassment” on his juvenile record. His mother is fighting to have it removed, at the very least; she and her son certainly deserve anything else they can fight for in this matter. The humiliation alone is terrible, but for this whole mess to erupt because of people, with decision-making power, within our education system, really bothers the hell out of me.

You can go back to the fruitcake and rum balls now, but just remember: We’re not winning the battle for common sense when things like this go down. In 2014, let’s fight a little harder every day. Who’s with me?
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Topics: Education
Locations: Colorado

BJ'S BLOG 12/16/13 "Speed Kills"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

Audie Leon Murphy (June 20, 1925 – May 28, 1971) was one of the most famous and decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He was awarded every U.S. military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, and was decorated by France and Belgium.

After the war, Murphy enjoyed a 21-year career as an actor. He played himself in the 1955 autobiographical film To Hell and Back, based on his 1949 memoir of the same name.

In 1955, I went to see To Hell and Back and went home with my friends and reenacted the scenes we had just watched. Growing up in Tennessee until age 12, I had been shooting some type of rifle even when the rifle was longer than I was tall. And I was tall. And a very good shot.

So, we performed the feats of bravery from the movie, using rocks and air rifles. On one particular combat mission, I waited until I saw the enemy poke his head above an old well and pulled the trigger, wham!, right in the forehead directly between the eyes. What a shot, I thought, Audie would be proud. That feeling soon left as my dad descended on me with a verbal lashing while destroying my artillery. It was then I learned the movies and reality were far removed from each other.

The lights come on, two beaming eyes peering out of the darkness; there is complete silence while we wait for the beast to move. There is complete silence, and for what seems like the longest moment in time, everyone holds their breath. Then, in a sudden flash of light and a burst of speed, we see a car commercial. The car is speeding and skidding and throwing sand throughout the desert, and the great and manly voice of the voice-over announcer states without doubt. “I’ll bet no kid ever had a poster of a Passat on their wall.”

In some town in America, a few boys and girls gather on a back road. They have just seen The Fast and the Furious. The testosterone runs high at night. The girls are pretty. They have swooned over Paul Walker, what a hunk, what a brave guy. And now in the darkness, the lights come on and the engines idle, waiting for the “go” sign. Then in a flash two cars race off, in another flash an inferno erupts, a siren wails, the cheering turns to crying. In that moment, we learn that actors are actors, boys are boys, and both can die in an instant.

James Dean really did die, Jim Morrison really did die, and Paul Walker really is dead.

The original The Fast and the Furious movie premiered in 1955. It starred John Ireland,

Dorothy Malone, and Bruce Carlisle. John Ireland died of leukemia in 1992, at 78, and not in a towering inferno.

More on the movies, including the fun stuff, in the podcast at Rambling Harbor. Give a listen.
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BJ'S BLOG 12/13/13 "Girlfriend Troubles"
Here’s a classic case for Group Therapy:
We heard from a Rock-A-Holic named Dan, whose best friend started dating a new woman a few months ago. The problem is, Dan’s friend pretty much dropped off the map shortly thereafter.
After a couple of months, Dan started to get the impression that his friend was specifically avoiding him, rather than simply being too busy for all of his friendships. Finally, Dan decided to ask his friend if there was a problem.
That’s when the bad news came: The new girlfriend doesn’t like Dan, and never has; his friend refused to tell him why, but assured Dan that the situation was a big deal to his girlfriend. The friend reassured Dan that the two of them would always be friends, but he was choosing to focus on the relationship. Whatever the truth is, Dan has been given the cold shoulder, and he doesn’t know what to do.
I think we all know this story. In this case, I feel like the friend is using his girlfriend as a convenient cover for a bigger problem. If the friendship really means that much to him, he certainly owed Dan something better than a brush-off with no actual reason offered.
Even if he is telling the truth, however, I think the friend needs to seriously evaluate the relationship he’s in. When a partner starts dictating the rules of existing friendships, there’s a loss of stability and direction at play. If Dan’s friend can’t find some equal footing with this new woman, he should almost certainly run for the hills.
As always, we love your feedback, and welcome your personal experiences. Just make sure it’s okay with your girlfriend.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 12/12/13 "Cheating at Boardgames"
Group Therapy is in session! Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics, that’s what it’s all about!
A listener name Mark texted us (at 77999, of course) to talk about his 4-year-old daughter, who was described as a “big fat cheater.”
Harsh words for a little kid? Maybe…but Mark’s daughter cheats at Candyland! Whenever Mark calls her out, the kid is defended by Mark’s wife, and his in-laws; they believe that she’s young enough that it doesn’t really matter. Meanwhile, Mark is concerned that she’s going to grow up thinking that cheating is acceptable, and he’s doing his best to nip that in the bud.
One response from a Rock-A-Holic made an excellent point: Cheating is wrong, and we shouldn’t teach our kids to accept it…but the daughter also needs to experience the joy of winning, or she may lose interest. There’s really something to this way of thinking, in my opinion. It’s a tough balance for a parent, navigating situations like these, especially when your child is at such a young, impressionable age; they need to understand both sides of the game-playing experience.
I’m a great lover of board games, both for personal enjoyment and as a way of bonding with friends and family. Have you experienced this situation with your own kids? Are you a former childhood cheat who has seen the error of their ways? We’d love to hear from you!
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BJ'S BLOG 11/11/13 "How Far Would You Go To Help A Friend"
An interesting video has been making the rounds lately: A man with five DUIs on his record wakes up in a hospital bed, and is told by doctors that he’s been in a coma for ten years. As confusion and panic begin to take hold, one of the doctors starts hitting the man repeatedly! His surgical mask comes off, and the patient sees that the “doctor” is actually his friend, who has finally had enough.
The whole thing was staged by the concerned friend, who just happens to be established internet prankster Tom Mabe. He put his plan into action after finding the “patient” passed out drunk in his car (which wasn’t moving, thankfully.) A rented office space was quickly converted into a hospital room, complete with a pre-produced news update on the TV, to help sell the idea of a ten-year gap.
When all is said and done, the hard-drinking buddy doesn’t seem like he’s learned a lesson at all, and the video’s rising status as a viral comedy sensation might not help him understand how serious his problem is.
(Our very own Group Therapy is designed to help people, but we won’t be remodeling any of our offices.)
Personally, I find it frustrating that a man with 5 DUIs isn’t being filmed from the inside of a prison cell. How far would you go to help a friend? Do you think this was an effective plan? 
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People: Tom Mabe

BJ'S BLOG 12/10/13 "Getting Ready For Divorce"
Our friend Rick Jones (of the Goldberg & Jones law firm, sponsors of the show) recently stopped by the Morning Experience to chat with us, and take some calls from inquiring Rock-A-Holics. During his visit, Rick shared some insight about preparing for marriage and/or divorce.
Rather than re-hash everything Rick said on the show, I’d like to get some feedback from the blog readers.
There are millions of marriage and divorce horror stories, so let’s hear some of your SUCCESS stories. What steps did you take to protect yourself (and your spouse) before you came together in legal matrimony?  How did you come to agree on terms? Is there anything you would do differently, if you could?
Group Therapy is all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics, and this seems like a perfect way to spread some insight around. In the meantime, check out Rick’s appearance on our show, and hear what he has to say about relationship preparedness…
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Topics: Human Interest
People: Rick Jones

BJ'S BLOG 12/09/13 "Homegrown Hearts"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

I remember talking to my dad back in the 1950s—yes, I have seen at least that many moons—about the planets, the stars, and things to come. He told me that someday people would walk down the street talking on phones that transmitted through the air with no wires. Now, it’s hard to walk down a sidewalk without the danger of colliding with a drone-head, walking straight at you while searching his or her handheld communicator. And Dad said cars would fly, and now some can, you know? The problem is, there’s no place to park. Once you’re up there, you’re like Major Tom, floating in your tin can, high above the world. And my dad said people would travel through space and walk on other planets. You see, my dad was a geek of his generation, although that was lost on me then. I just wanted some of the happy juice he was having.
And get this: Amazon is testing drones to deliver packages up to 5 pounds—86% of its business—within 30 minutes of an order. (I guess delivery drones don’t have propellers, but I’ll bet a missed landing could still create bustle in your hedge row.) 
How about vital organs? They can now be grown in labs—lungs, livers, even a beating heart. (My first wife could have used one of those, but I digress.) Someday, you’ll go to the doctor with heart problems, and he or she will call the parts place and say, “This is Dr. Glans. Please send over a new four-valve heart, size medium, and toss in that new improved 201 Aortic valve while you’re at it.” Then, the doctor will look at you and say, “We’ll have to put you on the lift, but you’ll be up and running again by this afternoon.”
More thoughts on the wonderful world of science and technology in this week’s Rambling Harbor podcast. Give a listen!

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People: Tom

BJ'S BLOG 12/06/13 "Crazy Fans"
We like to keep things fun and light when we can, but there are times when a serious news story commands our attention.  Case in point: A woman was shot and killed after a recent Auburn/Alabama football game. It was a fellow female fan who pulled the trigger...and why?
The reasoning was simple, and horrifying: The victim wasn't taking Alabama's loss hard enough.  The murderer - who didn't know the mother of three before they attended the same post-game party - felt that the victim deserved to die because she wasn't a big enough fan.
Sure, it was a dramatic game with a miraculous, unexpected ending for Auburn, but that's no excuse for violence. Can society live through a couple of drunken fans throwing punches in a stadium parking lot? Probably. Is a football game actually important enough to fight over? No way. At the end of the day, though, a five-minute fistfight is a hell of a long way from cold-blooded murder.
Do the world a favor, folks. Before you leave the house today, stop in front of the mirror and ask yourself: "Do I have a handle on this?"
If the answer is anything but "yes", stay inside and talk to a professional.
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Topics: Sports
Locations: Alabama

I found myself relating to an idea from a recent Group Therapy email, sent by a Rock-A-Holic named Cheryl. It seems that her kids have been particularly difficult to deal with this year, and they really went off the charts on Thanksgiving…when they had a food fight during dinner!
Cheryl’s husband has had enough of this bad behavior, so he took drastic action:
He canceled Christmas.
Cheryl completely agrees with the idea that serious action is required to snap these kids back to their senses, but she feels like a full-on Christmas cancelation may be taking things a bit too far.
It’s probably a statistical fact that men -- especially fathers – will crank up the dials to 11 when it comes to an anger-driven reaction. Even if the statistics don’t agree, it’s certainly a universal truth. The male brain can go to extremes with ease, sometimes.
Is this an extreme solution? Yes, without a doubt. In this case, though, I’m still going to side with the husband, because these kids obviously need to learn that actions have consequences. As one listener suggested, Cheryl’s husband needs to stick with this punishment now; if he caves in, he’ll show the kids that he’s all talk, and no action.
Have you ever canceled Christmas? Would you ever consider it?
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BJ'S BLOG 12/04/13 "Christmas or Hunger Games?"
As the clock ticks down to Christmas, we're entering the Commerce Zone: A strange dimension where humans think less about their fellow man, and more about the latest hot sales. When you've had enough of that, you can always find some holiday cheer from your fellow Rock-A-Holics!
Tramplings! Fist fights! Death threats! Women using stun-guns on each other! No, I'm not describing the end of the world; I'm just sharing some Black Friday stories.  
Is a great deal on an XBox One going to be the tipping point between acting like civilized humans, and just turning into idiot cavemen? How can anyone defend this nonsense? When did "The Twelve Days of Christmas" turn into "The Hunger Games"? 
Is it really worth it, America? 
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BJ'S BLOG 12/03/13 "Holiday Guests"
Holiday Shopping Tip: Group Therapy is the gift that keeps on giving!
We heard from a Rock-A-Holic named Aaron, who is tired of having his neighbors over for Thanksgiving dinner. This has been an annual tradition for the last five years, but the obnoxious neighbors actually managed to irritate some of Aaron’s family members, and he’s had enough.
The male half of the neighborly couple is opinionated, and insulting. Aaron thinks he needs a muzzle, but the neighbor’s wife actually thinks her husband is funny. They’re so accustomed to the holiday tradition that they just assume they’re invited as usual, but Aaron wants to change that. Can it be done without ruffling any feathers?
This one seems pretty cut-and-dried to me: If you know someone who is practically guaranteed to ruin your special day – especially someone who ISN’T part of your immediate family – then you have to bite the bullet, and prevent that from happening. You may not win any popularity contests among your friends and neighbors, but you’ll have a happier holiday (or any other day) in the long run.
You may not be the cause of the problem, Aaron…but it’s up to you to be the solution.
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BJ'S BLOG 12/02/13 "Weather Mysteries and Black Friday "
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

There is an old saying in New England: If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute; it will change. Maybe it’s an old saying in other places as well, but New England takes it seriously. In Rambling Harbor, where there’s not much to get excited about, people take the weather challenge seriously.
Take yesterday, for example.  It was 8 degrees, and today it is 60. The water is gray. The sky is gray. The air is gray. I know. This sounds like L.A. last winter, enshrouded no longer by smog, but happy smoke. According to the National Weather Service on January 14, 2013, “Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles dropped to their coldest point in 23 years Monday morning, hitting 34 degrees, setting a record low for the date.” Poor babies. I’d be smoking happy too. In New England, if it hits 34 in January, we run around naked, which is one of the reasons, thankfully, the weather gods hardly ever let it get that warm in January.
Fortunately, I do not live here for the excitement. I live here like everyone else, excluding a few deranged souls who run around in flip-flops when the temperature is so cold, even the coyotes are wearing boots.
Not that I don’t suffer the elements.  I do. But I live here because it is as close to an untamed place not far from a major city as I can get, surrounded on three sides by water. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles, of which 2.0 square miles is land, and 6.3 square miles is underwater.  Rambling Harbor has a land area of just 1.6 square miles, and the rest could be an Octopus’s Garden for all we know.  I believe there is still a bill on the floor, signed by William (Ben) Franklin, that we should investigate who the hell lives down there, and there may be a good reason why the bill is still on the floor.  We do not want to know, and I suspect that pleases the underwater inhabitants. As in all good seacoast scary movies, we leave well enough alone.
Here at Rambling Harbor, waves pound the sea wall and leap 20 feet or higher, flooding streets a mile from the coast at times. Sea water actually freezes, salt and all, and winds regularly soar to 40 or 50 miles an hour. This is a place where there is literally one way in and one way out, and if you're caught in, you ain’t going nowhere.
This place was settled in 1630. It has a jagged coast with unpredictable currents that have sent many a ship to rest forever in a watery grave. The last ship down was the Raw Faith. On December 8, 2010, Raw Faith began taking on water in rough seas off the coast of Nantucket, and sank in 6,000 feet of water. My wife and I had planned to sail with the crew, but her health prevented us from going. We later learned two people had been rescued from the ship by a helicopter the previous day. A close call for them, and for us.
Tune in to my podcast, which will deal with the mysteries of the weather as well as BlackFriday.
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Locations: L.a.Los AngelesNew England


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