Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm going off the rails on a crazy train...

Most days, I love my commute to and from work. It's sort of a respite from the rest of the overly interactive world, so drive time becomes me time.

While most days I sail along listening to the local contemporary Christian music station or the local sports talk station, occasionally...just ever so often... I revert to my old ways and push that preset that takes me back to a time when music was...well... music. Back to when bands consisted of at least two guitar players, a bass player and A DRUMMER. A real drummer too. Not some digitally produced facsimile of one. Ah yes. I'm talking about...

Classic Rock!

Wholesome? Absolutely not. Virtuous? Please. Spiritual? Well now...that one is certainly debatable.  I'm on probation with the wife on songs I can teach the two youngest girls due to more than a few stories afoot about the teenager in her younger days belting out AC/DC lyrics at the most inopportune moments. Apparently dirty deeds done dirt cheap and honky tonk women are completely inappropriate verbiage for a first grader...who knew?

As I drove and listened this morning to the sweet sounds vibrating from the cones of paper making up my no-name brand speakers, something came over me that I never recall happening before today. For whatever reason, I found myself not focused at all on the driving beats and rhythmic patterns but rather on the lyrics.


I'm as surprised as you friends! All these years and I've never realized just how ridiculously stupid some classic rock song lyrics can actually be....(gulp)...apparently, another tell-tale sign I'm...(no! don't say it!)...getting old.

Let's examine the line up from my morning commute:

Bang a Gong (Get It On)- Sweet...the classic retitled T-Rex anthem from 1971 that truly epitomized the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll culture of the era. Timeless guitar rifts with a bass line that sticks to memory. Even this old drummer was never fooled into thinking the title was a percussion reference. Nope. Just to accentuate that point...the mid-song sound effect of lighter flicking and gurgling noises. So...that should actually be gang a bong?

Get it on, bang a gong, get it on. Deep stuff? Don't think so...but fun to sing even if there's not an actual gong in the song to bang or you're ignorant of the drug culture...like me.

Stuck in the Middle-  Nice! Gerry Rafferty with Stealers Wheel (who?) pre-solo and of Baker Street fame. That's K-Tel classic folks! My, oh my... makes me remember my very first boy/girl party where matching party hats and napkins weren't involved but a spinning bottle...oops! Sorry. Better not relive that moment...at least here.

Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right...The very words directly apply to my given situation as I sit in my office and write them. Just saying.

All Right Now- One of the very songs that gave me reason to start playing an electric guitar. Wow! The powerful vocals behind Paul Rodgers' whoa, whoa, whoa are nearly lost to the perfect blending of Paul Kosoff's lead guitar, Andy Fraser's thumping bassline and Simon Kirke's simple but perfect time keeping and fills. Thank goodness my local classic rock radio station plays the full 5:29 version with the leading guitar intro and not that hacked up 4:13 version most stations play these days!  I saw Rodgers and Kirke do this song live with Bad Company in the late 90's and consider it one of the greatest moments of my existence...

Slow, slow, don't go so fast. Don't you think that love can last?   Sadly, I must admit I've used that cheesy line...but it was a VERY LONG time ago!

China Grove- Does the very name of the group, The Doobie Brothers, not say enough? Well actually, the reference to a Chinatown located in the real China Grove in Texas is completely fictional...not to mention the reference to samurai in the song, who are in fact, from Japan. Smoke it up some more boys and let those lyrics keep rolling along. Nobody will ever notice!

We're talking about, talking about China Grove. Wo oh oh. China Grove. Brilliant. Just stinkin' brilliant. Who says drug use can't be a positive social influence...

Fat Bottom Girls and Black Betty- I'm lumping these last two together for obvious reasons. Honestly...I love both songs, but I'm a little confused on whether I should actually admit that publicly or not in the present day climate of uber political correctness. Neither of these songs come close to PC acceptable verbiage. I guess liberals just don't understand that using African American Betty would have seriously messed up the meter in the song. Just get rid of the bam-a-lam? Are you crazy! That's the song!

In the same era that gave us Short People...ladies of ...ahem...size can just deal with it in my book.

She's from Birmingham (bam-a lam), way down in Alabam' (bam-a lam).  A dude from England (William Bartlett) referring to my southeastern neighbor state as Alabam' is about as lame as a couple of white guys calling each other 'homey'. Just please stop.

Maybe I just need to stop listening so close and enjoy those classic melodies and jams. Then again...maybe I should have listened more closely all those many years ago. Not sure it would have mattered though...I still would have hated country music.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I always preferred the taste of Dove over Dial as a kid...

Okay. I'll admit it. Come completely clean. Confession is good for the soul...or is it heartburn...no wait that's charcoal. Anyway, here it goes...

I'm a grade-Nazi.

A what?! ...you may ask. But alas it is I, in mine own household, that holdeth dearest to the true value of one's education.

So why are you talking like you're quoting from the King James Version?

A question most assuredly springing to mind in my beloved to be followed closely by a sudden realization of jiltedess by my Shakespearean banter.

Okay. Enough of that crap. Bottom line...school grades count for something at our house. Period.

While I've blogged pretty extensively about my views on education, the reality is my spoken/written feelings are actually put into practice constantly with the girls. Well...two of them anyway. Bulldog is still at that point she's fascinated with the fact she has toes.

But things will take a drastic turn when she graduates turns 2! Just wait!

From daily checks of the teenager's grades via an online parent portal with real time updates (thank God that wasn't around when I was in high school) to daily quizzing of the Crazy Tomato on addition and subtraction problems along with blended letter combination, the two oldest girls are constantly submerged in an atmosphere of learning.

* Disclaimer: Mrs Tony C does not, nor has she ever, participated in mind-numbing, rote memorization drills that may or may not result in the withholding of daily extra-nutritional treats for incorrect or incomplete answers.


So I ask a lot of questions? Big deal. Last I recall...

We were sitting in a restaurant waiting to order. The Bulldog was hard at work turning her developing brain to goo by re-watching the same episode of the Bubble Guppies on the Kindle Fire for the...oh...say 600th time. At least she was quite. Mrs. Tony C was doing her usually octopus act of multitasking. A juggling act of picking up a sippy-cup off the floor, trying to read the menu for her and both girls, all while employing a delaying tactic that will usually temporarily stifle the Crazy Tomato's obsession with public restrooms.

Tony C: (helplessly entranced Homer-style) Wow...they have a big menu.

Crazy Tomato: Mom. I have to go to the bathroom really bad.

Mrs. Tony C: Honey, wait until after we order. How do you spell 'on'?

Crazy Tomato: Aaaa aaaa nnn nnnn...O and...nnn nnnn....N.

Mrs. Tony C: How do you spell 'off'?

Tony C: (completely to myself): Those ribs look good, but so does that roast beef sandwich. Wings! Wow look at all the wing choices...

Crazy Tomato: Aaaa  aaaa fffff fffff...O and...ffff fffff...F. OF?

Mrs. Tony C: Close. Very close. It has two Fs. OFF.

Tony C: OMG Burger? That suckers got four pieces of bacon! Real bacon...

Crazy Tomato: Two Fs? fffff...ffffff...F ...like in FU**.


Tony C: (looking over my menu) What did you just say?

Crazy Tomato: F daddy...like in FU**.

A quick glance over at Mrs. Tony C, and I find her locked up tighter that the hard drive on my last laptop. I wasn't completely sure she was actually breathing. Just staring straight ahead as if time had actually frozen in that very instance.

Tony C: Where did you hear that word? Where?!

Crazy Tomato: I don't know daddy. Why? It starts with F doesn't it? Is it a word?

A defining moment in the dynamic of this delicate daddy/daughter relationship was about to unfold. Try to remain calm.

Tony C: Sweetheart. That is a very, very bad word. Don't ever say it.

The weight of the moment (and my apparent demeanor) dropped onto the little rascal like an anchor. She immediately curled up into a ball of sobbing withdrawal.

Mr. Tony C: (snapping back into the moment) It's okay honey. You didn't know it was a bad word. You're not in trouble sweetheart. Where did you hear that word?

The response was just a series of mumbles and sniffles.

Mrs. Tony C: Sweetheart. Daddy's (evil eye + head snap in my direction) not mad at you. You're not in trouble.

Tony C: Hey kiddo. I'm not mad at you at all...

In an effort to marginalize the moment and not damage the learning exchanges (aka drills), the wife and I decided not to make a big deal out of an assuming innocent enough occurrence. For her use of another word earlier in the year we deemed unacceptable, the Crazy Tomato now has a bar of soap stored in a clear plastic baggy with her name on it in the bathroom. She sees it twice a day when she gets her toothpaste out of the medicine cabinet. A not-so-subtle reminder of the consequence should she decide to repeat offend....and expand her vocabulary.

We figured there are at least a few places the CT could have picked up the mother-of-all dirty words, with the likelihood falling on school. Imagine that. I was hoping for Robert Frost, and instead she can quote Eddie Murphy. Nice.

I worked so hard at not overreacting that day, that I ended up ordering fish tacos. Fish tacos?! I've never ordered fish tacos in my life! What...the ...

All the way home, Mrs. Tony C drilled the Crazy Tomato with words starting in F. She has a harder time letting things go.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hey to Goober...one last time.

Very few television characters have a lasting presence in pop culture. Goober Pyle, however, makes that exclusive list...

I was deeply saddened to read this morning that George Lindsey, aka Goober, died yesterday in Nashville at the age of 83. Unlike so many other actors, George never tried to detach himself from the role that made him famous on a world stage. He was Pee-Wee Herman/Paul Rueben or Mr. Bean/Rowan Atkinson before those personas were ever imagined.

George Lindsey was the lovable buffoon Goober Pyle.

He had originally auditioned for the role that eventually went to Jim Nabors. The two men  grew up in  Alabama practically real neighbors until the latter moved to Southern California. Jim Nabors is 81 and lives in Hawaii today. The two men will be linked forever as the cousins from Mayberry that both worked at Wally's Filling Station.

Goober Pyle: Yo.

From 1964 until 1992, George played Goober on The Andy Griffith Show and later on the long running Hee Haw. I've always loved the first and have grown to love the latter, but after years of loathing the standard response when meeting people and saying I was from Tennessee...Oh, like Hee Haw?

(eye roll)

We sorely miss genuine characters like Goober on television today. Simpleton in the most innocent of terms. Living life with a sense of wonder and almost childlike. That fact is personified in pop culture slang whenever you call someone a goober. While maybe not fair to the purity of the role, Lindsey's character is a direct result of the slang label. On the other hand, I'm not sure of the origin when using the word in referring to a part of the male anatomy. But I digress...

Much like Elvis Presley, Jughead Jones or even Bugs Bunny, Goober Pyle will live on as a recognizable character for many, many years to comes. Maybe, just maybe, not only because he continues to entertain most all of us with his lovable shenanigans in syndication...but because most everyone has at one time or another had a Goober moment or two themselves.

Lord knows I've had plenty...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You're only as old as you look...feel...I mean believe, yes believe!

It all started so innocent enough. A little gray hair, weight not coming off so easily, a few cracking joints in the morning, etc...

Then came phase two. A case of gout. What the heck is that? Doesn't that effect only old people. Next came the need for a prescribed 'fluid pill' due to excess fluid build up. Dear Lord. I'm a 'nerve pill' prescription away from being my grandmother...and she'll be 98 next month!

Today, I enter a completely new phase of sun-setting life...today I became...a mall watcher.


Not a 'mall walker' mind you. Oh no. I skipped that level completely and went straight to going to the mall, parking on a bench all by myself, and watching people go by while making mental observation all to myself. What next? A Hoveround. Oh the humanity!

My written confession might lead to open weeping. I'm glad my dear readers can't see me right now. Shameful.

No. I can't explain why. I thought the Crocs, the ZUMBA, the Just for Men were all great tools to help me fight off that plummet into the old person abyss of condo-living in Florida and Bingo on Tuesday and Friday nights. Apparently not.

The sad part about the whole affair is I didn't even realize I was doing it...mall watch that is...until the task was well under way. It all happened so fast! I went to the mall to get the teenager a pair of shoes, a bite of lunch and then...wham, bam, Son of Sam...I'm anchoring down one end of a bench with a tag team partner on the other end obviously well into his 70s.

Warm weather we're having for the first week of May.

Yes sir. After that nonexistent winter, we might be in for a scorcher this summer.

The weather?! I'm sitting on a bench in the mall talking to an old man about the weather?! Why does my ankle hurt? On no...not gout. Not gout again...

This weather sure messes with joints. Knees hurt so bad I can't sleep at night.

Weather. Knee pain. Maybe that's it. Maybe it's not gout after all. Maybe, just maybe, it's barometric pressure related rheumatoid...arthritis...oh sweet fancy Moses...please be gout! What's happening to me? I need to lie down...no!...I don't need to lie down! I perfectly okay! I'll do ZUMBA tonight, a little bow-chicka-wow-wow later tonight. Yes! I will be just fine...

These young people and their phones. Walking around texting not watching where they're going. Why aren't they in school in the middle of the day?!

Oh look at the time! I'd better be getting back to work myself. Hope you have a good rest of the day sir.

Work? Oh yeah. Good talking to you.

I'm officially avoiding the mall for the rest of the summer. I'm too young to be old! That's right...you're too young to be old Tony C. You're to young to be old. You're too young to be old.

I missed ZUMBA tonight because my stinking ankle is killing me...dang this gout stuff hurts.