Today Is A Great Day…Period.


After spending the last 6 months in the hospital or rehab, today is the day. Today at 8:45am, my Mom returned to her home and now everyone in my family can breath a sigh of relief. What that woman has been through over the last 177 days is remarkable. I’ve seen her near death…TWICE…myself. Her body fought against her. Her kidneys, lungs, pancreas, you name it…they ALL wanted to quit. My Mom fought harder than I’ve ever seen anyone fight before and here she is.

I realize that there’s a Game 7 in the World Series tonight. It’s a game no one ever thought they would see in their lifetime…Cubs vs Indians. It’s been EPIC! But honestly? THIS is MY World Series championship. Nothing compares.


There’s nothing more impressive than someone who goes against the odds and fights and battles and makes it. Someone has the strength to say, “I know the odds are against me but screw it…I’m ALL IN!” And that’s what my Mom did.

5 months ago, as she was laying in her hospital bed with tubes sticking out of her mouth, nose, arms and God knows where else, I looked into her eyes and, without speaking a word, I saw that she wasn’t ready to go. She wasn’t ready. And dammit if she didn’t do exactly what she set out to do.

Unbelievable is what it is. And I couldn’t be more proud that my kids got to see someone go through what she did and survive. Now they know. Now…later in life….when the shit hits the fan and they think they can’t survive, they’ll know. It ain’t over till it’s over. Keep the faith, pray and fight. That’s all you can do. Amazingly enough, sometimes those prayers are answered. Today they are.

I’d like to thank all my friends who texted, called, posted or just said a prayer for my Mom on their own. Trust me…they were ALL appreciated!

And a HUGE thanks to the Big Guy upstairs. You rock!!! You answered every prayer that we sent your way and then some! And I can’t thank you enough! But now…I’ve got more to ask. You helped us but now I’ve got 2 neighbors here in the Bubble who need your help. My Mom can take it from here. Please go give Madison and Margaret all of your attention. They need you more than ever! Two of the nicest people you’ll eve meet and they are at a threshold. Be kind and help them as much as you helped my Mom please. Please give them strength and courage to fight on!

Today is a great day. God is with us and he is lighting the way. Peace, my friends. Stay strong and be positive. Amazingly enough…sometimes that’s all you can do and ya know what? Sometimes it really works!


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My Top 50 Favorite Movies


50. The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason trade barbs and fall in love. Great writing and great chemistry between the 2 stars make this a romantic comedy for the ages.
Favorite Scene: When Elliot (Dreyfuss) and Paula (Mason) fight over the apartment.

49. The Sure Thing (1985)
One of many John Cusack films on this list, this little gem from the 80’s showcases Cusack’s comedic timing and his ability to play it straight. And having Anthony Edwards as his wingman makes it all the more satisfying!
Favorite Line: “Don’t you want to give me a ride? Hahahahahahahaha!”

48. Lost In Translation (2003)
Such a slow buildup with a satisfying ending. Bill Murray is subdued and Scarlett Johanssen is too young, which makes for a marvelous pairing between 2 sleep deprived Americans in Japan.
Favorite Line: “You’re probably just having a mid-life crisis. Did you buy a Porsche yet?”

47. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
Marvel has made a LOT of movies over the last 10 years but this is the best of the MCU bunch. The opening alone is worth the price of admission but then it kicks into gear when Cap fights against his best friend and hidden enemies come calling.

46. No Country For Old Men (2007)
Getting old ain’t as easy as it used to be. Tommy Lee Jones is the main character, but it’s Javier Bardem that stole the show. Next to Hannibal Lecter and The Joker, quite possibly the meanest bad guy ever to grace the screen!
Favorite Line: “This country is hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it aint all waiting on you. That’s vanity.”

45. Cloverfield  ( 2008 )
Easily the most fun I’ve ever had watching a horror flick. It’s like riding a roller coaster! A lot of people complain about the shaky camera. I complain that it wasn’t long enough!
Favorite Line: “Well, I need to talk about something because if I don’t I’m going to actually shit my pants in this stairwell!”

44. Sex, Lies & Videtape (1989)
I remember going to see this in college and thinking I was going to see a grade-B sex flick. Actually it’s a very good study of the destructive relationships we make for ourselves and how we protect ourselves from the pain they bring.

43. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Cheer up Charlie…you got the Golden Ticket! And the golden ticket for this film is definately Gene Wilder. No matter how you cut it, from the second he falls, flips and pops back up to greet the kids at the front of the factory, Wilder owns Willy Wonka (and I don’t care what you say…Tim Burton’s version is crap).
Favorite Line: “So much time, so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it!”

42. The Breakfast Club (1985)
If you’ve ever been to high school you’ve dealt with the sterotypes. Although it doesn’t hold true to real life in the end, it’s still a hopeful look at what it could be. John Hughes at his best (but not his best!) and the soundtrack is kickin’!
Favorite Line: “Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?”

41. Deadpool (2016)
If you wanna make a superhero movie…then THIS should be the blueprint. Full of action, violence, romance, sex and a superhero who breaks the 4th wall and makes it fun for everyone. Forget the big budgets Hollywood. Take a look at this one and do it this way from now on!
Favorite Line: “Listen Al, if I never see you again, I want you to know that I love you very much. I also buried 1,600 kilos of cocaine somewhere in the apartment – right next to the cure for blindness. Good luck.”

40. Night of the Living Dead (1968 )
A strong combination of social commentary and horror film, all wrapped into a neat little black & white package. The low budget gives it a more drastic sense of urgency.

39. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977)
The special effects, the performance of Richard Dreyfuss and seeing that alien walk out of the spaceship make this one of the greatest sci-fi films of MY time.
Favorite Scene: When the railroad crossing sign starts to shimmy and the lights shine down on Dreyfuss in his truck. Crazy scary!

38. Finding Nemo (2003)
The first of the Pixar films is the standard by which all of their films are measured. Everything about this film is genuine and the animation is flawless!
Favorite Line: “Good feeling’s gone!”

37. Dodgeball (2004)
This one is as stupid as they come…and chock full of some of the greatest one-liners since “Blazing Saddles”. Just dumb fun…and that’s good enough!
Favorite Line: “There’s no reason we need to be shackled by the strictures of the employee-employer relationship. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. In which case, I got some shackles in the back. I’m just kidding. But seriously, I’ve got ’em.”

36. This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
The greatest mockumentary about a rock band EVER. Rob Reiner follows the greatest (or worst) group of rock stars around the world to film them in all their glory. It’s the love of the music that keeps these guys cranked to 11!
Favorite Line: “As long as there’s, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.”
Favorite Scene: When they lower a 2 foot tall Stonehenge monument onto the stage and midgets dance around it.

35. Heathers (1989)
Big Fun! This is one of the most comedically dark films ever made. Christian Slater’s greatest role…and Winona Ryder seemed to have a career in the making.
Favorite Line: “I love my dead, gay son!”

34. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
A love story told in reverse. Sometimes you have to see the ending before you can understand the beginning. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet are an odd pair, but this movie makes it work. Very thoughtful and artfully done!

33. Joe vs The Volcano (1990)
So many Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies to choose from…and I choose the least successful? Well…maybe it’s because I like orange soda. Or maybe it’s because it’s really a great story about looking for one’s soul mate.
Favorite Line: “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?”

32. Rear Window (1954)
Jimmy Stewart is a photgrapher looking for something to do while laid up in his apartment complex. How a man could be bored with Grace Kelly watching after him is beyond me, but Jimmy gets himself wrapped up in a murder mystery and Alfred Hitchcock is pulling the strings. An amazing film simply because you never leave the apartment and every second is filled with suspense!
Favorite Line: “Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.”

31. Star Wars (1977)
The premier science fiction film. I must have seen it 7 or 8 times in the theater. Everyone always picks “The Empire Strikes Back” as being the best of the bunch, but this is the one that made my mind spin!

30. The Dark Knight ( 2008 )
Heath Ledger IS the Joker. And everything else in this dark and fast paced drama is just as good! Raised the bar on how comic book movies CAN be made!
Favorite Line: “I’m a dog chasing cars. I don’t have plans. I just do things. I’m not a schemer.” -The Joker

29. Blade Runner (1982)
It’s looking like a bleak future…and Harrison Ford is one bleak cop. But for all of the dark subject matter and constant rain, Rutger Hauer brings a ray of light to the party as Roy Batty, a cyborg on the run. The ending is one of the best in science fiction history.
Favorite Scene: The entire ending when Roy has Deckard hanging over the ledge. The writing and the cinematography is excellent!

28. Broadcast News (1987)
James Brooks’ look into a newsroom is poignant and accurate in many ways! I know…I used to work in several of them. But it’s script that makes this movie pop, and the triangle affair between himself, Holly Hunter and William Hurt make this one all the more interesting.
Favorite Line: “A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!”
Favorite Scene: When Altman (Brooks) has to fill in as an anchor and is overcome with sweat on the air. Quite possibly one of the funniest scenes ever!

27. Blue Velvet (1986)
Take a small, everyday town and throw David Lynch into the middle of it. Shake it up a bit and throw in an over-the-top performance by Dennis Hopper (as Frank Booth. One of the baddest guys in cinematic history) and you have this classic. Violent and edgy and before it’s time!
Favorite Line: “Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”

26. Weird Science (1985)
Yes…it is weird. But it definately ain’t science! This 80’s comedy might have escaped your radar, but it has always been dear to me. Anthony Michael-Hall plays it for goofs, but it’s Bill Paxton that makes this movie more than it should be. His character, older brother Chet, is a mixture of charm and idiocy.
Favorite Line: “For Christ’s sake, will you cover yourself?”

25. The Matrix (1999)
Revolutionary as a science fiction film. Should probably be a little higher on my list, but it loses points due to the 2 mediocre sequels it spawned. Hugo Weaving as Agent Smith is another bad guy who takes this movie to a whole new level! And the Wachowski Brothers mix special effects with incredible stunts to make this one for the ages!

24. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975)
Some of the greatest comedy scenes in film history are in this movie. From the “Knights who say Neh!” to the dance number at “The Round Table”, there are just too many to name.
Favorite Scene: When the tiny rabbit maims an entire army. Or maybe it’s when King Arthur uses a giant rabbit as a decoy to get into the French castle. Or maybe…

23. Defending Your Life (1991)
Al Brooks is great as the schlub who dies in an auto accident and finds himself in purgatory where he is given an attorney and must defend his life in order to move on to the next stage. Meryl Streep and Rip Torn almost steal the show as his attorney & love interest and this is just the right mixture of comedy and drama to give it weight.
Favorite Line: “Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything – real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can’t get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you’re in for the ride of your life.”

22. Big (1988 )
Tom Hanks before he got “big”, and he was perfect for this film! As genuine and entertaining as anything else he has done, this little comedy that could follows 8-year old Josh as he learns how to be a man…in a matter of days. Elizabeth Perkins is lovely and perfectly cast as his love interest.
Favorite Scene: When Josh spits out the caviar at the Christmas party.

21. Poltergeist (1982)
Scary without being gory, this is one of Spielberg’s best! The everyday family in the suburbs gets visited by ghosts and Carol Ann gets sucked into the television. It goes from being entertaining to being horrific in a matter of moments!
Favorite Scene: When Carol Ann sits up close to the telelvision and you can hear whispering in the t.v. Still gives me the willies everytime I watch it!

20. Raising Arizona (1987)
Ridiculous situations. Ridiculous characters. Ridiculous dialogue. All the ingredients you need for a madcap adventure with Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter!
Favorite Line: “Son…you got a panty on your head.”

19. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Guillermo Del Toro’s classic fairy tale of heartbreak and wonderment. One of the best movies of the last decade.
Favorite Scene: When Ofelia is being chased by the creature with eyes in his hands. Very intense stuff!

18. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
I watch it every Christmas and it always brings back memories. Jimmy Stewart is as classy as they come!

17. The Princess Bride (1987)
This little fantasy has such a good script that no one knew what it was supposed to be. Is it a fantasy? Is it comedy? Is it for kids? Whatever…it was good for everybody!
Favorite Line: “And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… “

16. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
It’s a classic. From the moment Dorothy steps out of her house into Munchkin land, I was blown away.
Favorite Scene: I just said it…

15. Bull Durham (1988 )
Kevin Costner IS Crash Davis. This love story wrapped in a baseball coating is one for everyone. Susan Sarandon is excellent as the love interest and Tim Robbins steals the movie as the dumb as rocks but lovable Meat…er…Nuke LaLoosh!
Favorite Line: “Yeah? From what I hear, you couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a fucking boat.”

14. American Beauty (1999)
Oscar-winning film about the decay of the American family. The ending is my favorite ending of all-time. Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is my hero!
Favorite Line: “Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.”

13. Swingers (1996)
It’s just so money! And it DOES know it. Nothing like kicking back and flipping on this little independent film that could. I think it was in our art house theater here for about 2 years!
Favorite Line: “And you got these fucking claws and these fangs, man! And you’re looking at your claws and you’re looking at your fangs. And you’re thinking to yourself, you don’t know what to do, man. “I don’t know how to kill the bunny.” With *this* you don’t know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean?”
Favorite Scene: When Mikey calls the girl he met at the bar and the answering machine keeps hanging up.

12. When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Can friends sleep together and still be friends? Who knows? All I know is this was the defining romantic comedy of my life. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan brought comedic touches to their roles and Burno Kirby was excellent as Harry’s best friend.
Favorite Line: “Do me a favor, for your own good, put your name in your books right now before they get mixed up and you won’t know whose is whose. ‘Cause someday, believe it or not, you’ll go 15 rounds over who’s gonna get this coffee table. This stupid, wagon wheel, Roy Rogers, garage sale COFFEE TABLE.”

11. Aliens (1986)
The aliens are bigger and badder and Ripley is ripped. Sigourney Weaver is awesome and Bill Paxton shines as the marine with a nervous attitiude.
Favorite Line: “Hey, maybe you haven’t been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”

10. Pulp Fiction (1994)
This film set the industry on it’s edge, cutting through to audiences with it’s jump-cutting plotline and it’s crazy cast of characters. Showed Hollywood that it could be smart and violent and we’d all get it.
Favorite Scene: When Vincent (Travolta) and Jules (Sam Jackson) shoot the guy in the backseat in the face.

9. Risky Business (1983)
Tom Cruise wasn’t big yet, and Rebecca De Morney is hot! This little movie made all kinds of money and put Cruise on the fast track to superstardom. The soundtrack is awesome (Tangerine Dream, Prince, Journey) and the plot (as implausible as it is) makes for some entertaining movie watching!
Favorite Line: “Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.”

8. Better Off Dead (1985)
Lane Myer hates his life. His parents are strange, his friends are strange, and his girlfriend has dumped him for the captain of the ski team. What’s a high school loser to do? Fall for a foreign exchange student and bring home the trophy! This 80’s comedy has got some great scenes and some greater one-liners!
Favorite Line: “Sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.”
2nd Favorite Line: “Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.”

7. Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman make the perfect prison buddy movie. I could watch this movie every day and not get tired of it.

6. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
The most popular guy in school can get away with anything, right? Well…in Ferris’s case…yes, he can! And there’s nothing Principal Rooney can do about it. It’s like watching the coyote chase the roadrunner…and the roadrunner always wins!
Favorite Line: “I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.”

5. Hoosiers (1986)
Nothing better than this little drama about life, love and the pursuit of a high school championship. My all-time favorite sports movie.
Favorite Scene: When Coach gets booted from the game and Shooter (Dennis Hopper) coaches them to a win.

4. 28 Days Later (2002)
My favorite horror film. The editing is perfect, the acting is perfect and the social commentary is perfect for our times. Love it.
Favorite Scene: The entire opening sequence with Jim (Cilliam Murphy) wandering around a deserted London.

3. Die Hard (1988 )
Greatest action film ever. And why? Because it seems like it could just happen! Bruce Willis’ greatest movie.
Favorite Line: “Oh my God, the quarterback is TOAST!”

2. The Night Of The Comet (1984)
Okay…what in the world is THIS movie doing in my Top 5? Well…glad you asked. As you can see by all the other movies on this list, just about any of them could be on a list like this. But here’s the deal with “Comet”…I love it because no one else does! It’s got everything I like in movies, from the apocalyptic theme to a bad soundtrack from the 80’s. it’s just dumb fun and I could watch it a million times and not get bored with it. If you haven’t seen it, you should! And be warned…it’s campy and silly and the acting isn’t Oscar worthy. But it’s a great B-flick…and I love it!

1. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
John Cusack is perfect and the dialogue is awesome. Everyone in it is perfectly cast and the scenes with Cusack & Arkin as his psychiatrist are hysterical. Jeremy Piven as his best friend is fantastic and Minnie Drive and Joan Cusack are excellent as well. Just a really well done dark comedy and one that I have watched many times over.
Favorite Line: “Look, I don’t want to get into a semantic argument, I just want the protein.”

Updated Sept. 3, 2016

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Do You Remember That Time When We Were…?


The other day, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook and it made me think. Years from now, maybe once my kids have grown and are having their own kids and I’ve retired and my co-workers have gone on to do amazing things and all of my grade school, high school and college friends are sitting around chatting about “the good ol’ days,” how will I be remembered? Not that it’s all that important really, because it’s not. I truly believe that you live your life on your own merit and what people think of you in the long run has no bearing on who you are or who you were. But with that being said, men and women far greater than I have done their best in life to warrant buildings and monuments and statues be erected in their honor. I am certainly not of stature to ever receive my own statue. Obviously THAT honor is reserved for people who make millions of dollars and play sports for a living.

No…I won’t be getting my own parade nor do I really want one.

But still. I DO wonder…what do YOU remember about me? I know I have memories, hundreds of them, tucked back into the corners of my mind (cue the Elvis track now). Many times I find myself listening to Sirius radio and a song comes on and immediately it triggers a time with someone. Maybe you and I were in high school and “Danger Zone” came on the radio and the next minute…we’re zipping down Maple in the ol’ red VW bug (Chuck). Or maybe it’s a ballad from the early 80’s like Spandau Ballet’s “True,” which reminds me of my very first dance with a classmate (Audrey). Or maybe it’s anything by Guns N Roses (Mandy). Maybe it’s a rock song that we played in heavy rotation at ACRN back at my college days (there are too many to note however they would include memories of Will and Tommy and Kelly and Greg and Ben and Matt and a slew of others). Maybe it’s a rap song by Run DMC and it reminds me of the time I drove you to get their cassette because you had to have it NOW and I had the time (Darcy). Maybe it’s a disco song by Abba that was playing in the background at a party where I watched you from across the room and I knew I was in love (Stephanie). Pretty much ANY song by Patsy Cline reminds me of my Mom. The Violent Femmes remind me of John. Most Prince songs make me think of Eric. R. Kelly’s “Ignition” reminds me of Meko & Donna. If a Pearl Jam song comes on, I immediately think of Steve McBroom (who passed a few years back) and my friend, Brad The New Guy (and yes…I DO know his last name but he was given that name as a part of our crew and so…that is how he will forever be known). So much of my life is attached to music. I think that is why this post stuck with me.

So…out of curiosity…is there a memory YOU have of me that is music related? When a song comes on the radio, does it trigger some moment that you and I had? It could be anything. I know I listen to a LOT of music. Some you may love, some you may not care for. Maybe it’s a song that I can’t stand and have mentioned it and now you will always think of me when that song is played (anything by Drake…my son). Either way…I’m curious. Please feel free to respond. I’d love to hear the story!

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Trying To Make Sense Of It All

Police LivesMatter

This past week has been, by all accounts, another very low moment in our nation’s history. First there was a police shooting of a man at point blank range apparently for selling CD’s near a local store in Baton Rouge. Followed not a day later by a Minnesota police officer pulling over a couple for having a busted tail light on their car and then shooting & killing the driver as he reached for his car registration. In both cases, the men killed were black. In both cases the police officer who fired the gun was white. In both cases, both men who were shot were “thought” to have had a gun on their person. This, in turn, led to the shooting of 12 police officers and 2 civilians at a peaceful demonstration in Dallas by a former military veteran who had served in Afghanistan. 5 of the officers died from their wounds. All were caucasian.

There have been many media reports, many online investigations, many social media posts and much conversation about what has happened. I have personally been a part of several conversations. Some have said it’s all about guns. Some have said its all about race. One friend I talked to thinks it’s about money. I believe it’s a little of all of these things. It IS about guns. It IS about race. And it IS about money. This country, in many ways, is angry. We have become angry because of all of the above. But today I read something that was reposted by a friend on Facebook that was written by TNT sports analyst, David Aldridge, and it was perfect.

The following is what was written by Mr. Aldridge on his Facebook page on Friday, July 8, 2016…


“What’s on my mind, asks Facebook.


Something simple, really. I would just like us to stop killing each other. That’s all.

We don’t have to love each other, or live with one another, or go to school together, or get married, or share a ride to work, or eat out on Fridays. We don’t have to go to the same church, or root for the same teams, and our kids don’t have to have play dates together. I don’t have to support your political candidates, and you don’t have to support mine. We don’t have to believe in the same God, or any God, and we don’t have to watch the same TV shows, and you don’t have to like my music, and I don’t have to like yours. 

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

The anger in this country is choking us, slowly, like a mutant weed, and it permeates everywhere. I’m a black man, and I am doing better than 99 percent of all black men who’ve ever walked this planet. I’m good. And I’m scared that the next time I’m stopped in my car–for there is always a “next time” for us–a cop is going to look at my skin and pull out his or her gun, and kill me, because they’re scared and they’ve been trained, through history and regulation, to view me as a threat. And I’m terrified that when my two boys get old enough to drive, the same thing could happen to either of them. That makes me angry. When people say “Black Lives Matter,” you know what they’re talking about. Don’t insult me or them by replying “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” I know that white people are killed by police, too. But the chance of me or my kids getting shot is a lot higher than the chance of you or your kids getting shot.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.


I saw a video of a police officer in Cleveland, who was crying and upset about the shooting in Louisiana. She was a cop who grew up in the ‘hood, as she said, but stayed in the ‘hood and worked there because she wanted to do good for her community and her people as a black woman. And while she was justifiably angry with the cops who have a “God complex,” as she put it, she also was crying because so many teenage boys of color were shooting and killing each other in her city. Yes, black people know all too well that our young men are shooting one another at an alarming rate, in Cleveland and Chicago and D.C. and communities you don’t know or read about. You don’t have to tell us. We know, because those are our sons and brothers and fathers we’re putting in the ground. And we know that there are lots of reasons that our kids are shooting each other–some our fault, some not. And we decry and protest those killings, every day. That you are not paying attention when we do is not our problem. Some of my black brothers and sisters will say I’m blaming our kids or that I’m a sellout, Uncle Tom, whatever. You can’t do or say anything to me that I haven’t already done or said to myself. I believe I’ve helped some young people see a different path and future, but I think I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, because my young brothers keep shooting one another. But you’ve failed, too. If calling me out of my name gives you comfort, so be it. 

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

A lot of white folks are angry, too. They seem to believe that their country has been taken from them, and they want to take it back. I am not sure who they believe is currently in possession of said country, given the complete lack of wealth in communities of color, and given that women are still paid less than men are at just about every job. But that anger is real and I do not dismiss it or belittle it, for it comes back at me, and my family. I would just like them to understand that, whatever has happened to them or their families, it’s not because black and brown people have taken your jobs or your homes or your money. Trust me. We don’t have them.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

People of faith are angry, because they often believe their faith is twisted and misconstrued and belittled, and because there is a small but potent minority of people in this world who besmirch that faith and hide behind it to commit monstrous acts, in the name of the truly holy. I do not believe terrorists who kill Muslims during Ramadan represent Islam. (The vast majority of people killed by Al Queda and other terrorist groups that say they represent Muslims are other Muslims. That is almost never mentioned.) I do not believe that that young man who walked into Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and murdered those people in cold blood represents all Christians. And the people that killed those cops in Dallas do not represent me. I do not want white police officers killed any more than I wanted Sandra Bland or Philandro Castile or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or Alton Sterling or Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell killed.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

We are all getting played, by an arms industry that has turned inward, and convinces us, through its financial backing of its cowardly elected officials, that we all have to have guns to feel safe. And so we all buy weapons that were designed for fighting in war, and bring them into our homes and communities. And the arms industry–whose only goal is to sell more arms–happily provides the police and the compensating and the insane and anyone else who has the money access to whatever rapidly firing munition that can slaughter dozens of people in a matter of seconds that they want. Do not come to me with your technical distinctions without a difference about “semi-automatic” versus “automatic.” You know these guns are not designed to shoot deer, or skeet. They’re designed to kill people, efficiently and quickly. And just about anyone with a pulse can get one.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

I know who my friends are, and I love them, and they love me. Please feel free to unfollow, or unfriend, if you like. I just can’t take this anymore. I don’t want my children, or yours, to grow up in a world like this.

I would just like us to stop killing each other.

“There is no such thing as the State 
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.”

–W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939

I love this post because it says so elequently what needs to be said. All of the “Black Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter” back & forth, back & forth. It’s gotten kind of out of control. Of course ALL LIVES MATTER. It’s not really up for debate. Anyone who thinks otherwise has a screw loose. No one should feel worthless. No one should feel alone. But a lot of what is happening is because some people apparently don’t feel that way. It doesn’t matter if you’re holding the gun or not. People DO NOT CARE if you are rich or poor. They DO NOT CARE if you are lonely or in need of help. People, as a whole, do not care. Oh…we will SAY we care. We LOVE to do that. And I’m just as guilty. As I sit in my living room, reading all of the media posts and status updates telling me how much everyone cares about the people who were killed in the shootings in Orlando or the shooting in Baton Rouge or the shootings at Sandy Hook. We all care so much that we post about it and we send prayers for those who were involved but let’s be honest…we’re not REALLY doing anything about it.

We can go on and on about how much we dislike it. Obviously, most of my friends, whether they are black, white, purple, green, whatever color…none of them WANT to get up in the morning and see another horrific account of something else that has happened in another city. Hell…it could be in MY city, for crying out loud. In 2001, a white Cincinnati police officer shot Timothy Thomas, a young black male wanted for non-violent misdemeanors, when he ran from law enforcement. An entire section of the city RIOTED for 4 days, caused millions of dollars of damage, the mayor had to issue a city-wide curfew and brought national attention to police brutality. That was 15 years ago.

Nothing has changed.

Mr. Adlridge’s post is amazing because it’s honest. As a human being, it is within our nature to love, to sympathize, to invest interest, to feel a variety of emotions. It’s who we are. But through experiences that are individualized to each of us, some of that all changes. As an individual being, I am who I am. It starts at a very early age and continues forward from there. The old adage, “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” placates what is truthful.

Honestly? I can’t.

I can’t understand what you are going through. Not because I don’t try. Because I CAN try. As I sit here in the comfort of my hotel room, I can TRY to imagine what it is like to be driving down the road and then pulled over for a random traffic violation and then SHOT as I reach for my registration. Or I can TRY to be a small child sitting in a classroom when a crazed gunman comes barging into the room firing an automatic weapon. Or I can TRY to imagine that I’m a police officer rushing into a situation that leaves me with choices I do not want to make. But I’m just being honest when I tell you…it doesn’t matter how much I TRY to put myself in these situations because I have not lived them. There is no way to comprehend the kind of emotions that are involved in such incidents. I have never been in any of these situations and all I can do is pray that I never will.

This does NOT mean that I can’t sympathize. I truly believe that we should ALL be better humans and strive to help one another. But every fucking day I turn on the tv or I read the paper or I see another report on the internet that people are killing one another at an alarming rate. I see another iPhone video of someone killing someone else. I see hate and anger and hostility that I cannot fathom and then I have people I know & love who are suffering, who are angry and hurt. Not because any of those mentioned above incidents happened to them OR to someone they knew. It matters to them because it’s about the color of their skin. It COULD happen to them and that is a reality.

“I would just like us to stop killing one another.”

It’s such a simple thing. It really shouldn’t be so hard and yet…years and years of violence begets violence. When will it end? Maybe that isn’t the question we should all be asking.

Maybe “HOW will it end?” is what we are looking at in our current state of America 2016.

It scares me think that this is what it will come down too. But it seems that we don’t have the common decency or sense to discuss it in a way that is civilized.

How will it end? I can only hope that there is a point very soon when we can all look past our differences and sympathize.

“I would just like us to stop killing one another.” Wanna know what I would rather be said?

How about…”Be human.

Yeah. THAT is what I think we should do. THAT works for me. Wonder if we could give that a try?


Other posts of interest:

Sunny Sanguinity – “Here’s Why to Resist The “Not All White People and “Not All Cops” Argument & What To Do Instead”


“It’s Not Us vs Them”“It’s Not Us vs Them” “People Protecting A Baby”


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Prayer, Positivity & The Power Of Pooh


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my Mom being in the hospital and the problems she has been having. Today, I feel I can write that, despite not being out of the woods, she is on the long road to recovery. She’s still in the hospital and she still has pain. Apparently the pancreatitis isn’t completely gone yet but, after several surgeries, she does seem to be on the downside of this entire experience and is expected to make gains to getting better. I would like to thank all of those who prayed for Mom and who called, texted, emailed or simply asked how she is doing. With social media being what it is, I wasn’t sure what I thought about posting things about Mom. Sometimes things can be misconstrued. Maybe for the first time ever, I didn’t want attention for myself (the internet IS the most narcissistic form of communication in the history of our modern world after all). I simply wanted to let family, friends and anyone who may love or care about Mom how she is doing. At some point I posted the photo above to Facebook and some people thought she had passed. Miscommunication is probably the worst when trying to convey something in this situation. Needless to say, all of the prayers and positive energy has really paid off! Mom is working hard to recovery and my family & I are so thankful! We still have a lot of moments we want to share and we love her so much!

To Mom…thank you so much for working so hard. We all know it hasn’t been easy but you never gave up! Keep working hard and getting better! We all love you so much!!!

Your son

IMG_1213 (1)

Oh…and a HUGE thank you to my Pooh Bear. I knew his powers of love and healing would help. Seriously…after 47 years, he has never let me down!🙂

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2 Concerts In A Week


I love music but it has been a long time since I’ve been to 2 concerts in 1 week. This week, not only did I attend 2 concerts, but I can say that neither of them were concerts I would have expected to find myself at. On Wednesday, Stephanie & I joined our friends, Jennie & Robert, for my very first country concert at Riverbend Coliseum. The Dixie Chicks have taken their act out on the road after a hiatus and returned for the first leg of their DCX tour here in Cincinnati. Although I’m not a super fan like some of the people who were there, I definitely appreciate their style and all 3 of them were very entertaining! I would see them again someday, I think. Minus the rain that fell on us early on in the evening though…LOL! My favorite moment? When the Chicks sang “Ready To Run” with the video on the backdrop showing all of the Presidential candidates in various stages of buffoonery. It was hysterical and, despite not really throwing out the political barbs that they have been known to do in the past, it really showed that the Chicks aren’t so far gone that they won’t show their true colors!


My second show of the week came about totally on a whim. I happened to be listening to the radio on Friday and overheard a commercial advertising that Selena Gomez was in town on Sunday. I haven’t been to a pop concert since seeing Madonna back in the late 90’s so I thought maybe Ava would want to go. As it turned out, so did Stephanie and Ava’s friend Megan. So…we went! There were 2 opening acts, one was an artist I had never heard of named Be a Miller. She did maybe 5 of her songs and I imagine she probably has some fans out there but honestly…her backing band was so loud I could barely hear her. Following her was DNCE, the band led by Joe Jonas, one of the Jonas Brothers. With their hit songs “Cake By The Ocean” and “Toothbrush” lighting up the airwaves, it was no surprise that the crowd really got into this pop/dance band. I personally think they would be a LOT better if they added some horns to their mix. A sweet sax would make their sound all that much better but they had high energy and I liked that they seemed very confident onstage. And their bassist, Cole Whittle, was INSANE as he did his best Flea act, wearing a goofy outfit and flailing all over the stage. Overall, I can’t say that I need to ever see them again, but for the hour that they played I was entertained…especially when Jonas decided to go running up into the audience to sing from the an empty section of U.S. Bank Arena.


Soon…how about the main act? Well…first let me tell you…there ain’t nobody out there who has hair quite like Selena Gomez. Sponsored (wisely) by Pantene hair products, this girl has got it GOING ON when it comes down to a great mane! It was blowing all over the place and honestly? It was kind of distracting after a while. I mean…I couldn’t take my eyes off it!!! But that being what it is…overall I really enjoyed the show. I don’t really know how much singing she did (because there IS a backing track so when she was singing and when it was playing is hard to say), but with the excellent staging and the amazing backing dancers always on stage, it was a smorgasbord of visual activity!

My favorite moment was when she sang her yet-to-be released song, “Feel Me.” If I had MY way, that song would be available on iTunes right now! It’s gonna be a hot single once they get it out there and it was cool hearing something I hadn’t heard on the radio yet. Check it out HERE!

Up next…Ava and I have a trip to Cleveland and a date with Journey & The Doobie Brothers. Looking at the Riverbed schedule, I may find myself at some other shows this summer however 2 in one week? Yeah…that probably won’t happen again…LOL



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Braced For Impact


On April 15th, Sturgill Simpson, released his third album titled “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.” Simpson’s music, while often described as country, really defies categorization. On one hand, his voice is that of a country singer. Baritone with a southern twang, his vocal style is that of a classic country artist. But Simpson doesn’t fall so easily into the new pop/country style and on this release, he experiments with a soul sound that is exemplified by his use of a horn section, generous supplied by Amy Winehouse’s former backing band, The Dap-Kings. It’s a unique sound that makes his music next to impossible to place into a single category. All of the songs on “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth” were written and produced by Simpson and he has said that he wanted this album to be “a heartfelt manual to his young son about how to navigate life.” So obviously, when talking about life, he also talks about death. It is within those lyrics that I have found some solace over the last few weeks…


“There will be nights that go on forever
Like you’re long-lost at sea
Never to be found
Just know in your heart
That we’re always together
And long after I’m gone
I’ll still be around
Cause our bond is eternal
And so is love

God is inside you
All around you
And up above
Cause time slips away
Skies fall apart
It ain’t too hard
A universal heart
Glowing, flowing, all around you”
Alan Bangs Xmas Drum
On May 8th, my Mom was rushed to the hospital with gallstones and pancreatitis. First she went to our hometown hospital in Zanesville and then she was taken immediately to Riverside Hospital in Columbus. She has been in ICU there for 21 days tonight. She has been through various stages of “recovery.” One day, she is aware and vocal. The next, she is in terrible pain and unable to speak. Her breathing is labored, her kidneys have started to fail her. She has a been on a respirator, she’s been poked and prodded. Tomorrow she is having a dialysis done to clean her blood due to her kidney failure. She’s had multiple drugs and has fluid filling her body that is pressing on her lungs. It’s been a daily nightmare, watching as she slips & slides, not knowing whether she will be able to survive this particular dance with death.


“Oh, how the breakers roar
They keep pulling me farther from shore
Thoughts turn to a love so kind
Just to keep me from losing my mind
So enticing, deep dark seas
It’s so easy to drown in the dream

Oh, and everything is not what it seems
This life is but a dream
Shatter illusions that hold your spirit down
Open up your heart and you’ll find love all around
Breathing and moving are healing
And soothing away
All the pain in life holding you down”


It’s not easy watching a loved one go through this pain, especially when that person is the one person who loves me more than life itself. I know if it were me on that table she would be beside herself. I know she would do anything, say anything, move mountains to make me feel better. And here I am…feeling so helpless. There is nothing I can do. No medicine I can give, no one to blame. 20 years ago, my Mom suffered an aneurysm that nearly killed her. She recovered with only some long-term memory loss. And so here we are again, my Dad, my siblings and myself, sitting and waiting and praying that she can fight once again and return to us. What God has planned for her is unknown but every day I ask forgiveness in hopes that she will be spared. I don’t want to know life without her. I am praying for the absolute best and finding myself preparing for the absolute worst. It is not a situation I find myself comfortable with. I am an optimist. I want the best to happen. But I know that isn’t always the case. I know God has other plans. What those plans are aren’t for me to know.


“It’s the love that I feel in your arms
It’s the glow you wear around you like a charm
It’s the tender in your eyes
That keeps me safe and warm at night
From this life
Sometimes this life feels like a big old dream
I’m floating around on a cloud inside
When my cloud starts coming apart at the seams”


There are many ways that writers have used to describe their mothers. There aren’t many new ways to do it. I could tell you that I have the greatest mother in the world! She’s my rock, the foundation of who I am as a man and a person. I could tell you that she is love personified. I could tell you that she has always been loving and nurturing and has never left me feeling lost. There are so many ways to describe a mother and over time, they just sound so contrived. We all know what a mother is supposed to be and so, when presented with the time to come up with a sentence, we find the most obvious terminology the English language can come up with. In accordance with my feelings about this, I can’t exactly relay to you how much my Mother means to me. It’s not me being anti-establishment about the whole thing it’s just that…well…it’s OVERWHELMING. There will never be anyone who will influence me as much as my Mom. There will never be anyone who speaks about me the way my Mom has. She raised me with pride. She taught me how to be who I am today. She held me up as a baby, carried me in her arms as an infant, taught me how to walk and then set me on this path, never interfering yet always there on the sidelines to cheer me on. She is my Mom…and I love her with all my heart. And that is all that really needs to be said.
“One day you wake up
And this life will be over
Every party must break up
For burdens to shoulder
We’re dying to live
Living to die
No matter what you believe
And all of us cry
For the ones we must leave
So go and live a little
Bone turns brittle
And skin withers before your eyes
Make sure you give a little
Before you go to the great unknown in the sky”
Praying for the absolute best, preparing for the absolute worst. It’s not the way I would have it. Nor would anyone else in my family. But it’s the cards we have been given. I don’t know what God’s plans are but I have to trust that my Mom’s heart is with us. I have looked in her eyes and I see spirit. I see fight. She is not giving up. I have seen the eyes of someone who has given up on life and my Mom has life left in hers. I have to believe she is in this and is willing to put up a fight. My Mom has done so much good in her life, she has influenced so many, her spirit and her zest for life has taken her far and this will be no different. I believe this with all my heart.
There are so many reasons for Mom to fight this fight. I know she’s lacing up the gloves and ready to step into the ring. It has been a rough 3 weeks. Tomorrow I drive back to Columbus and I will see her in yet another state of medical confusion. So far, modern medicine has not impressed me much (again). I’ve been told many times that it takes time and patience for her body to heal. 3 weeks into this and I have to wonder about the truth of that. Either way, I’m not a doctor. I can’t say one way or another what is good for someone her age when it comes to pancreatitis. But we are all here with you, Mom, and we all believe that God has more for you to do here on Earth. We are braced for impact and ready to fight. I can only pray that you are as well.
We all love you so much and we’re gonna be pulling around Normandy Circle again to see you again soon. I just know it.
Love you forever and I’m blowing you kisses…and I know you got them!
Your son.
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