In Moon-moriam

I don't think I am doing my sons a disservice by giving them a well-rounded education in rock 'n roll (as if anybody under the age of 35 even uses that term anymore). They've been reared on a healthy diet of the Clash, the Who, David Bowie, the Supersuckers and the Stooges, among many other contemporary and classic rockers.

My wife's big concern is that as they enter school age, particularly my oldest, that they might be a bit behind the proverbial 8-ball. As all the other kids sing "the itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout..." my son will instead be singing

"He's come to a sticky end
Don't think he will ever mend
Never more will he crawl 'round
He's embedded in the ground"

My contention is that there is very little to gain by exposing kids to countless hours of Barney, the Wiggles and their sort. I'd just assume have my boys listening to and watching genuine musicians playing genuine heartfelt music. The problem is that my theory is fraught with its share of ancillary problems.

My mother passed away about five years ago; therefore my boys make frequent visits to the cemetery. Last year, my oldest began to suspect something was 'up' when he went to visit his abuela at the masoleum. He wondered why she never came down to see him. What followed was the best explanation I could provide a then three year-old. "She's up there with god." After crying with him as he shouted that he wanted to go up there to get her, we both came home. I was glad that he cared enough about the wonderful woman he never met to want to venture up to the sky to get her.

Since then, I have had to skirt the concept of death with him on various occasions. I had to explain to him that he could not see the Clash in concert because Joe Strummer lives up there with Abuela. That didn't go over too well, but at least he didn't cry. Then there was Keith Moon. After watching The Kids are Alright with him a dozen or so times, Keith became his hero. During dinner, I would coax him into taking bites by saying "Show me how Keith Moon eats," and he would scarf down his mac & cheese. Again, I had to break it to him that, alas, Keith's mailing address was the same as Abuela's.

The final breakdown came when I bought him the T. Rex video Born to Boogie,. He wanted to go see T-Rex in concert, and again, I was dumb enough to mention that it would be impossible, because Marc Bolan is "up there." As I calmed him down, I resolved never to mention his favorite rock stars are d-e-a-d. If he wants to see the Ramones, I'll tell him we'll wait until they come to town. Joy Division? Maybe the next tour... Hell, he didn't get around to asking about Bon Scott, but I sure as f*** wasn't going to be the one to tell him.

As he gobbled up his macaroni and cheese, he turned to me and said "Daddy, I want to drink like Keith Moon, too."

Buddy, maybe that's not such a good idea. Today, we toast milk and cookies to Mr. Moon, on his birthday, my mom, and everyone else 'up there.' In the meantime, I've been commisioned to design a 'super-cape' so that my son can fly up there to get them down. I hope it works, and they can all get down safely.

Fair Enough

After years of ducking and dodging, I finally agreed to go to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY. My wife grew up and that area, and for some ungodly reason, she's got some nostalgic feelings about it. Maybe it was the summers serving bacillus at the Pig and Ox roast, or the smells of grease, smoke and cow feces that maker her remicisce. Either way, hopefully her thirst for walking aimlessly among the toothless, tattoed denizen of Erie County has been quenched with this last visit.

My visiting niece and nephew enjoyed the Demolition Derby, as did my son. We did have a nice precursor on our way, though, as some jackass ran a red light and t-boned a pick-up truck on McKinley Parkway (Yet another reason I'd never live in the suburbs; not only are the roads heavily trafficked, but people seem to drive like morons on them). My son, of course, thought that was part of the show.

Two hours and $102 in admission fees later, we left; my niece, feeling a little sick to her stomach from her food, and I, feeling a little sick to my stomach from this. Am I the only one who finds this tasteless? What's next: a Twin Towers bounce house or a Kursk dunking booth? Whoever thought up this inflatable Titanic slide should be tethered to a stereo blasting Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" through cheap Radio Shack speakers.


Information Age Meets the Stone Age

May I never again wait in a queue to buy anything. Check out this iBook sale gone awry in Virginia. People will shed what little dignity they have for a bargain. It reminds me of those Christmas WalMart riots.

I highly doubt $50 encyclopedias would have elicited such a response. I can only imagine what those iBooks will be used for: doorstop for the trailer, keeping the coffee table level or porn.

Corporate Deathburger... Ronald McDonald

Ah... MDC. True Prophets. I know I'm not the only one awaiting a nostalgic tour. In the meantime, here's a newsflash. Corporations run the world. Read on.


Today's Reading from the Book of Emesis

My son, the O-Dog managed to spew the entire contents of his stomach on me yesterday morning at his Grandma's. He was running a high temperature, so my wife gave him a couple Children's Motrin to break the fever. As soon as he bit down, he gagged and dumped about a quart-and-a-half of clear milky bile all over my chest.

Aside from being immediately grossed out by the fact that my shirt was saturated with warm puke, I was concerned about my little man. My mother-in-law, meanwhile, begins tugging at my shirt to help me take it off. I think she failed to see that this was a one-man job that required the most delicate maneuvering to avoid getting a facial. After I warded her off, I managed to slither out of the shirt and come back upstairs, flashing the beer-tits and tattoos, checking on the boy and asking my father-in-law for a fresh t-shirt.

As for the O-Dog, he spent the day groggy, in-and-out of bed and woke up his usual self today, thankfully. I, on the other hand started remeniscing about the intimacy vomit plays in my existence.

I remember my dad having a few too many at Kayo and Hank's, back in the day. After yakking all over the bathroom, he'd sheepishly ask my sister Zilt to clean it up because he knew he'd catch sh*t from my mother if he'd ask her outright. My mother knew his little game and let him get away with it, sending my sister out of the bathroom. As my sister breathed a sigh of relief, my mom would clean up and my dad would stumble off to bed.

By contrast, I've always been a graceful drunk. I might have had a couple incidents here and there. Like the time I got the stiff arm from my friend Mike Szucs at a party. "Not on me, bro," he gruffed as he directed me out the screen door to puke comfortably off of the porch. I woke up the next morning hugging a garbage can full of regurgitated cream of mushroom soup.

I'm sure there are a couple other illustrious moments that escape my mind, but there can't be more than two or three more. Defecation and/or urination will have to wait for another log.


Hindsight is 20/20

I took the boys to Fantasy Island this past week. There's nothing like rides and bright lights to make the afternoon complete to a 4 year-old. I remember going to the park around that age.

All I remember is the Cowboy shoot-out. They actually still stage that, though I haven't caught a performance. I did have the misfortune of sitting through the Saloon show, where three youngsters in Western garb dance to a bad Country medley. It actually included the "Achy-Breaky Heart" song, which was my cue to leave.

At the risk of being classist, I felt as though someone had shaken a giant trailer park salt and peper shaker set vigorously over the park. I haven't seen that many withered, tattoed breasts since last year's Buffalo BikeFest.

The proliferation of tattoos on women is going to make for some unsightliness in the nursing homes in about 40-50 years. Bear in mind, those tribal designs on the small of your back are going to make the orderlies giggle like banshees as they wipe your ass.

Enough editorializing. Aside from the unsightliness, and the feeling that any moment you're going to end up feeling like a stunt-double in Deliverance, the park is worth the $8 after 5pm.


Five Years older than Jesus

As a kid, I could never envision being older than 23 or 24. I guess it was either an unhealthy fatalistic outlook for an 11 year-old, or the fact that the concept of being an adult is unfathomable at such a young age. Either way, I've made it to 38; a 9-iron away from "forty."

I'm not anxiously awaiting a mid-life crisis. I wouldn't know one if it hit me, though I've been preoccupied with mortality lately, and am entertaining ideas of running a marathon (just to say I did) and getting my teeth straightened. Is that the manifestation of a crisis? Perhaps.

I can't afford a fancy new sportscar, nor am I intereted enough in automobiles to embody that cliche. I also love my wife too much to dump her for a 20 year-old trophy (and all the work and money involved in the process isn't worth it). Either way, I'm just content with being a dad, playing an obscene amount of hockey and picking up the dog sh*t in my back yard.


'Justin' Mraz doesn't hold a candle to Bob Mould

I'm not exactly a big fan of that old Greg Kihn chestnut "The Breakup Song." I remember hearing the song as a twelve-year-old. As Greg howled, "They don't write 'em like that anymore," didn't know who "they" were or what "that" actually was. I kind of equated the quote to the archetypal grandfather, waxing nostalgic about Glenn Miller or Buddy Rich.

I think I have since become that grandpa. I don't long for the Big Band days, or the stale bongwater dronings of Sabbath. Hell, I don't even long for Black Flag. I think I've just come to terms with the fact that I am on the reversed side of the generation gap. Remember those esoteric Gap commercials? Where that scrubby slacker-type goes through the car wash with his windows rolled down? They lost me there.

About 9 years ago, I went on a date with a college girl. During the course of the evening, the conversation shifted to music. I can't remember what prompted me to mention the GoGos, but her response was, "Who are the GoGo's?" I didn't really feel the need to fill her in.

Essentially, rock is supposed to be about perpetual adolesence. The problem is that perpetuity goes against the 'generational continuum.' It's not that it's too loud, therefore I am too old. The bottom line is that it is next to impossible for me to be entertained by somebody 10 to 20 years my junior. I don't particularly care to hear about the pain John Mayer feels. Those Chemical Romance characters? Please. No young whipper-snapper is going to teach me about rock. The problem is that "they ain't been there."

I highly doubt there's too many 38 year olds anxiously waiting for Blink-182 or to reunite, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels pretty goddamned out of place at a Dashboard Confessional show. Granted, on occasion a group like Jet might spark the interest of my peers, but then again, why not just listen to the Stooges? .

I don't want to be relegated to the state fair circuit, where I can see Styx, or be a fixture at the beer tent during a Blondie reunion. If I do go to a show these days, I'd rather not be the only one there old enough to shave.

As far as the music goes, they indeed do not write 'em like that anymore.