BJ Shea

 BJ Shea
Posts from January 2014

BJ'S BLOG 01/30/14 "Breaking Up Over a Pet?"
I don’t know if we’ve used this joke before…but we’re using it anyway! Think of it as a potential bonus joke, but please laugh like you’ve never heard it before:
Group Therapy is going to the dogs today, folks.
Richard loves his girlfriend very much. They have a strong relationship, a great sex life, and she gives him all the love and support a man could ever want or need.
There’s just one tiny, shivering, whimpering problem:
Her Chihuahua.
Richard can’t stand this dog. It whines constantly, sheds all over the place, and takes a leak on Richard’s belonging every time the girlfriend sleeps over. Richard doesn’t want the little mutt up on his bed, which causes it to whimper all night because it can’t sleep next to its human “mommy”. As a compromise (to everyone but Richard) she lets the dog sleep on a hairy towel beside her on Richard’s bed.
When they stay at her place, it’s even worse: she lives in a terrible neighborhood filled with garbage and nasty people. The girlfriend walks the dog through filth every night, and her bed is gross and covered with grit, as a result of the dirty dog being all over it.
If you’re a hardcore animal lover, you might wag your finger at me, but…I agree with Richard. This situation sounds like a nightmare, and I would probably be contemplating the future of the relationship, too.
My own dog’s cleanliness is a struggle to maintain, and even though I love her, I am constantly disgusted by some of the nastiness that she leaves in her wake. Where do we draw the line, especially if the pet that you hate doesn’t even belong to you? Is disliking your partner’s animal enough of a reason to put the relationship in a kennel?
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Tags :  
Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 01/29/14 "Stealing?"
Hello again, good people!
(And here’s a cautious nod to the slightly-less-than-good people hanging out in the back of the room. You guys just chill out. Nobody wants any trouble, okay? We’re all cool here.)
Group Therapy is for everyone, really. We don’t judge, but we may ask to see your I.D. if things start getting weird…okay, weirder than usual. It’s all about Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics around here.
We heard from Frank, who is reconsidering going to his friend’s Super Bowl party, due to a disagreement of morality. No, I don’t mean the moral dilemma of how spicy the hot wings should be; the friend in question is planning to buy a new SONY Curved TV to watch the Super Bowl, and then return it the following week. Frank has a big problem with that, but everyone else seems totally cool with it.
I’m probably in the minority here, but I think this is stealing. End of story, black-and-white, no wiggle room, case closed.
If you listen to the show, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that Steve the Producer and Top Shelf have no problem with this concept, and there are some folks out there who do it all the time!
Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, or living in some dream world where people, y’know, obey the law and don’t cheat the system for the fun of it. What do you think?
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BJ'S BLOG 01/27/14 "Wise-less Communication"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

In Boston, red lights, like car turn signals, are optional. Yellow lights mean pedal to the metal, baby, I’m coming through.

I can understand not using turn signals, because it’s difficult and dangerous to reach for that lever and turn on the signal light while one hand is already holding a cell phone. And everyone knows it’s dangerous to take both hands off the steering wheel.

One day, I’m stopped at this optional red light and get bored and decide to count the number of drivers going through the intersection talking on a cell phone. I stopped counting at 7 (out of ten). Does that mean 70% of the people had really good reasons and very important business to conduct while traveling at 40 to 50 miles an hour in a 3,000-pound tin can (the average weight of a small car), being propelled by explosive chemicals through an intersection surrounded by gas stations, stores, and homes?

One of the scariest things is to be stopped at the optional red light, look in the rearview mirror, and see a big pickup truck barreling up behind you. The driver is texting or talking on his phone, and doesn’t seem be aware that you’re stopped. Panic!  Do you gun it through the red light and take the 30% chance you will make it, or ??? But he stops about 3 inches from your bumper as he realizes he’s driving a 7,000-pound pickup about to squash your 3,000-pound car.

On a train one day, a woman at the other end of the car was conducting business on her phone.  She was loud enough to be clearly heard at the opposite end of the car and by everyone in between on a fairly crowded train that was not particularly quiet. So I sat there hearing her talking to her office.  After one awfully long dissertation, she said “And just between you and me….”  Duh, lady, you should have asked us not to listen.  It is obvious that technology is distorting her reality and controlling her life. This woman had no notion that thirty or so people had no choice but to hear everything she was saying.

Sidewalks are also dangerous.  How often have you been walking down a sidewalk, and some person walks straight at you, looking down and fumbling with a handheld communicator?  To deal with this, I have devised, and will adopt, a stand-my-ground policy. I will stop where I am, and wait for the distracted walker to walk into me, and as they go splat to the concrete, I will yell that I’ve been attacked.

There are more thoughts about phones, boneheads, and other odd stuff at Rambling Harbor. Give a listen.
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Tags :  
Locations: Boston
People: Dan Sanders

BJ'S BLOG 01/24/13 "Bachelor Party"
Happy Friday to you, folks! Here’s a spankin’-new Group Therapy session, giving you something to think about (or avoid thinking about) before you start your weekend…
Bachelor parties are almost never a huge pothole on the road to a happy marriage.
(Sorry, I tried to type that with a straight face, but come on!)
We heard from Tom, who is facing a bachelor party dilemma, and he’s not even the groom! His buddy is getting married, and the guys have a bachelor party planned out: they’re taking the basketball-loving groom to a Trailblazers game in Portland. There are other things planned, but the game is the main event.
Not surprisingly, some of the guys want to take the groom to a strip club…but the groom doesn’t want to go. In fact, he has made it clear that he doesn’t want that to be a part of his bachelor weekend. This is causing major chaos within the ranks, of course, and that chaos has made me start questioning what I think I know about bachelor parties.
Let me ask you: Who is a bachelor party really for? Is it the groom, or his friends?
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Tags :  
Topics: Entertainment_Culture
Locations: Portland

BJ'S BLOG 01/23/14 "Addiction"
Rock-A-Holics assemble! It’s time for another edition of Group Therapy.
Addiction is a terrible thing. We live in an age with a full awareness of excessive drug use, and the poor decisions that can go along with that condition. It’s perfectly normal to see a weekly news item about a celebrity going to rehab, or being busted with drugs.
People on drugs do funny things sometimes, and that makes it easy to forget how messed up their lives have become. If it’s entertaining and seemingly harmless, we can occasionally look the other way.
The actor Tom Sizemore has struggled with addiction in a very public way, including a stint on the TV series Celebrity Rehab. It looked like Sizemore was headed in the right direction, but a new video has revealed his recent abuse of heroin and crystal meth. It doesn’t get better from there.
Let’s talk, America: How do you feel about the addiction culture we find ourselves in? Is it better to shine a light on the problem, or are we just numbing ourselves with exposure?
Here is the video of Tom:
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BJ'S BLOG 01/22/14 "Daughter Dating Woes"
Here in Group Therapy, we don’t discriminate! You can be young or old, black or white, male or female.
We only ask that you be a devoted Rock-A-Holic. If you’re the kind of person who likes to share their problems with a large audience, that’s even better! Give us a yell and we’ll do our best to help you.
Rich is 46 years old, and he has just discovered that his 18-year-old daughter has a 36-year-old boyfriend. I know, I know – that’s a lot of numbers to process. Let me break it down for you: Rich’s daughter is getting down with a man who is 10 years younger than her father. That is not considered “good math” by Rich, who is absolutely losing his mind over the situation. His wife is a little more accepting, and she is doing her best to keep Rich from overreacting; she thinks they should let the situation play out for a while.
I highly recommend you check out the audio for this Group Therapy session, featuring the hilarious Craig Gass. In the meantime, I’m going to throw the biggest question out to our loyal blog readers:
Does age really matter in relationships? Let’s hear it, gang. 
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Tags :  
Topics: Human Interest
People: Craig Gass

BJ'S BLOG 01/21/13 "Yelling at Kids"
I checked out a new Reality TV show the other night, and let’s just say I was not too impressed with reality, America.
“Friday Night Tykes” is a new show that follows a bunch of young kids in Texas playing football, and the parents and coaches who are pushing them forward. We’re talking about 8-year-old kids, not even high school athletes here, and they’re being treated like Marines in a boot camp.

It was tough to watch these victory-obsessed coaches and overbearing stage moms, yelling at kids who are vomiting from being overheated, crying in pain, and begging to rest. The adults won’t take “no” for an answer; they push their team further and further. The whole thing was sickening.
Maybe…MAYBE if these were teenagers who were making the CHOICE to be pushed beyond their own reasonable limits, then I could accept the idea. I still wouldn’t want to watch it, but it might make me feel a little less troubled by the facts of “reality.” These kids don’t have a choice; their parents allow it to happen, and in some cases even FORCE it to happen.
Why is this okay, and hey – why in the hell would anyone want to watch this on TV? Explain it to me, please. I am genuinely at a loss.
 (2) Comments
Tags :  
Topics: Entertainment_CultureSports
Locations: Texas

BJ'S BLOG 01/20/14 " Eggs, Opulence and Technology"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

The Urban Dictionary defines Homo sapiens this way: "A pitiful race that will most likely cause its own extinction before its technologies fully develop." Here is some proof we are on our way to nowhere.

Justin Bieber‘s place was raided by police because of an egg-throwing incident at his neighbor’s house, and he could be charged with a felony and arrested. One rapper friend was arrested already on cocaine use.

No word yet on Oprah’s plumber credentials, but recent pictures have shown her fixing a toilet (or was she just trying to keep her OWN network from going down the drain?).

I know where you can buy 19 bathrooms for little more money than you might offer to someone to get in the front of the bathroom line at a stadium event, and the cost of the comfort of knowing you will never have to hold it is only $16,000,000.

Also you have your off-road-capable Land Rover Defender to navigate the treacherous roads of your gated community with your 19 bathrooms. I cannot say enough good things about the ability of one's vehicle to smooth out the bumps in the road at such times, and the $40,000 Land Rover Defender is the only way to go when you really gotta’ go!

If 19 bathrooms and a $40,000 car get boring, then for $200,000, you can fly into space. Virgin Atlantic’s Galactic made a very successful 46,000-foot trip into space, and in the very near future you will be able to do the same for the low, low price of around $250,000. The time from liftoff of the White Knight booster carrying SpaceShipTwo until the touchdown of the spacecraft after the suborbital flight is about 2.5 hours. What a bargain! Only $100,000 an hour! I’ll bet its pay first-fly later, just in case.

The 19 bathrooms currently belong to Michael Jordan, the car to Ellen DeGeneres‘s wife Portia de Rossi, and the space flights are Sir Richard Branson’s. I understand the little Bieber has signed up for the flight. I would be willing to pay for his trip, not that he needs it, if they will keep him up there.

Finally, you may have been worried about the government spying on you. How does this make you feel? Internet neutrality is at risk. An appeals court last week cleared the way for Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner to control what you see on the Net. They now have the authority to block sites they don't want you to see and instead direct you to sites that pay them to do so. The FCC’s "net neutrality" policy has been overturned. The FCC is the good-guy here, and a suit was brought by Verizon.

There’s more on  eggs,opulence and technology on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Give a listen.
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BJ'S BLOG 01/15/13 "OUT OF WORK"
Group Therapy is in session once again!
Let’s see if we can help Shelley with her situation. Shelley has been with her boyfriend for about 3 years, and they have a very loving, happy relationship.  There’s just one problem: The boyfriend has been out of work for 2 of those 3 years, and Shelley is starting to look at the future of the relationship.
The boyfriend is looking for work, but the failed interviews are starting to pile up in his wake. It’s not as if he’s uneducated; he has an MBA (in what, we don’t know), but that education isn’t helping him find a job. He’s also at the end of his unemployment funding, so his parents have started helping to pay for his needs.
A couple of short-term temp jobs have come and gone. Meanwhile, Shelley has a stable career for herself, and used to work two jobs to make ends meet. Shelley insists that they have a fantastic relationship in every other way, and have even discussed marriage…but she’s growing frustrated with the lack of forward movement in her boyfriend’s life.
The breaking point has almost been reached. She’s considering giving him a 2-3 month deadline to find a job, or else the relationship is over.
I guess I’m old enough to remember the 70s, when the notion of a man asking a woman to get a job was still a relatively alien concept. That isn’t to say that women weren’t having careers by choice back then, but the “man goes to work, woman takes care of the house and kids” mindset was still attached to the American Dream.
Times are different now, in so many ways. Both halves of a couple are generally expected to have their own careers; on the other hand, you’re seeing more “househusbands” than ever before, turning that old gender stereotype on its head. Personally, I can admit that I still carry around the “let the man handle it” mindset, at least in regards to supporting the family and letting the wife stay home if she wants to.
There is no textbook situation anymore. Obviously, you have to live within your means (or safely outside your means, as many people do) and make decisions about the relationship dynamic between yourselves, based on the needs of your own unique situation.  I’m not saying that Shelley’s ultimatum is wrong on principle; I just wonder if situations like these are driven less by sincere need, and more by the subconscious influence of what society considers a “traditional relationship.”
Let’s hear what you have to say about this, Rock-A-Holics!
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Tags :  
Topics: Human Interest
People: Shelley

BJ'S BLOG 01/14/14 "On a Break"
What up my fellow Rock-A-Holics? It’s time for another almost amazing Group Therapy.
We heard from Katie, who hooked up with her best friend’s ex on New Year’s Eve.  Katie says she felt a little bad about it at the time, but she felt a lot worse when her friend showed up at a Seahawks party a few days later…with the no-longer-ex ex-boyfriend in tow.
Katie discreetly pulled the guy aside to talk, and he asked her not to reveal their fling; as far as Katie’s best friend knows, the boyfriend didn’t hook up with anyone during that little break in their relationship. Now, Katie is feeling conflicted: She doesn’t want to lie to her friend, but she knows the truth could have some very serious consequences.
When we discussed this on the show, the general consensus was leaning in favor of Katie keeping the secret. If a couple is on a break, and both parties are free to do whatever they’d like, then it’s probably best to let those things remain a secret. There’s something to be said for keeping your eyes on the road ahead, especially when you’re rebuilding a relationship that has struggled a little along the way.
On the other hand, there does seem to be a question about the real strength of the friendship between Katie and her BFF. Is your best friend’s ex “fair game” if they’re no longer together? How about a 5-second rule?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and don’t worry – what happens in Group Therapy stays in Group Therapy. It’s just between you, me, and this massive legion of Rock-A-Holics.
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Tags :  
Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 01/13/1 "Artificial Intelligence"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:
Are you worried about the undead attacking you at night while you sleep? Does the idea of invaders from some unknown place eating your brain cause you pain? And do things that go bump in the night cause you fright?
In the real world, it is more likely that we will be attacked by RoboBees, run over in our backyards by flying drones, or attacked by our over-worked vacuum cleaners, than by zombies or any other denizens of the dark. Meanwhile, we encase ourselves deeper and deeper into a make-believe world of the undead and dull our senses in the realm of singularity.
As mentioned in last week’s blog, when we hear about drones, some of us tend to think about war, destruction, lost lives, and other horrible things, but by next year FedEx will be delivering your packages at 400 feet above your head, landing hopefully not on your head, but somewhere near your house. Harvard has already largely developed RoboBees, which weigh less than a tenth of a gram—about the same as a real bee, and will even have a nervous system and be able to colonize just as real bees, which may soon be nonexistent. These little flying buzzers will be pollinating our food someday—with what I cannot say and if I knew would dare not.
Here is what I think could maybe, possibly, hypothetically happen. Not to cause widespread doom and gloom here, but if bees are able to think and drones can fly your packages, what if this intelligence develops to the level of singularity—a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature itself? Can you imagine a day when you ask your Roomba vac to do the floors, and it says, “Not today.  I’m resetting my microchips”?
We will delve further into this and other things stranger-than-fiction and scarier-than-the-walking-dead on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Give a listen, and let me know if you can tell if it’s me or my clone. Sometimes I’m not sure myself.
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Tags :  
People: Dan Sanders

BJ'S BLOG 01/10/13 "Tales From the Reading Room"
If you have a problem, and no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can...wait, that’s the beginning of THE A-TEAM. Sorry about that. I was supposed to be talking about GROUP THERAPY.
(Maybe Mr. T is available, though. We should look into that. I’m sure he’d fit right in around here. We have a couple of fools who definitely need some pity. You know who I’m talking about…)
Let’s get on with Rock-A-Holics helping Rock-A-Holics! I love it when a plan comes together.
Jeremy recently let a friend borrow his copy of Life Of Pi. Not the movie – an actual book! No pictures! All words! Obviously, Jeremy is a pretty serious intellectual.
During a recent visit to the friend’s house, Jeremy saw his book…on the back of the toilet. I guess the good news is that he knows his friend is reading the book, but the choice of reading spot has Jeremy feeling like he deserves a replacement copy. His friend completely disagrees, and is refusing to buy him a new one.
I’m supporting Jeremy 100% on this one. We all know what happens in the bathroom, and that book has definitely been on the receiving end (that’s right, I said it) of countless bacterial incidents. Sharing the experience of a good book can be a great way for friends to bond, but I guess I’m that uptight kind of guy who doesn’t like sharing toilet juices with my book club pals. 
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Tags :  
Topics: Hospitality_RecreationHuman Interest
Locations: Reading


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