Friday Fives – the reality of it all


What is something you swore you’d never do, but ended up doing later in life?

Geesh, everything. When I was about 6 or 7, my only goal to growing up was to never get married or drive. Driving was the worst, it seemed. My mom had a stick shift. I noticed once it going to the store a couple miles away she would shift, like, 27 times. Man, did that seem dumb. WAY too much work.  Thanks, I’ll take my bike. I thought driving was supposed to make things easier. And getting married? Dumb! Room-mates are dumb, girls are dumb… there was simply no upside.

What’s something that got extremely popular that baffles you

The reality competitions. Not the reality shows, mind you, but the competitions. I don’t much watch the reality shows, either… but I get the appeal. I like to know how people would react to certain situations… and compare them to how I might act. That is why I loved Punk’d. I thought it was cool to see super successful, beautiful, and rich people be put in super awkward situations. How would they react. At a certain level of success, you are surrounded by ‘yes men’. People who fawn over you and praise you every move. As we know, this is often the downfall of super successful folks who are only surrounded by yes men.

Look at Michael Jackson. How did he not have people who said “listen, Michael, I know you love kids. I know you sleep with kids and you say it is innocent and natural. However, you have already been once charged and arrested for suspicion of having sex with little kids. So, it would be best for you to NOT sleep with little children. I don’t care what your motivation is, you can not do that anymore for any reason at any time.

I also really like aspects of the reality competitions for talent. I like the democracy of it. If you have a tremendous gift, you don’t have to be well connected or rich or have years of training. If you are willing to stand out in the rain or heat for a few hours, these people will give you a shot to show your gift. That part is super cool. To me, it defines what makes America great. Problem is, that is all programming now. We don’t have cable anymore, so I am stuck with the networks. They suck. 80% of their programming is these shows. They do it because there is virtually no overhead. Problem is, most folks (you and I included, btw) are marginal talents at best

Ok, last thing on that. When I see these kids get their hearts broken on national tv, they will say “he just didn’t know what he was saying. I AM better than all those others. I am the next Idol – or whatever. That is bad parenting. Your parents gave you too much self esteem. This is what your answer should be, always – “I appreciate the feedback. I am going to get better and I am going to practice my ass off. I will be back next year, and the year after that. This is important to me, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. I will see you in one year, America.”

Simon Cowell was absolutely right in dealing with these people. Sure, he played that character up because it was good TV. But, his point was “I am not the villain here. The parents are for sending this kid out when they knew he had no ability”.

What is something that has peaked and is on its way out?

I think all of these reality show are. Do you know why they are so ubiquitous? It is because of the writers strike a few years ago. The networks knew they were going to lose access to their scripted shows for a long time… so they doubled down on these competitions. Then, they saw how cheap it was. You don’t need actors, scripts, unions… any of that shit. Put a microphone out on the street and watch people react. You don’t have to pay them dick, and people watch the shit out of it.

There is a new aspect of that, though, which I really don’t like. Because we are skipping through commercials, the networks have to do product placement. I get that, it’s our fault for skipping the commercials. We broke the social contract. Shows like ‘Undercover Boss’ and ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ are just thinly veiled one hour commercials for mega-companies. What is the take away from every single ‘Undercover Boss’? “Wow, that company really does take care of their employees. Its nice to see someone finally acknowledge the proletariat for a chance. You dumb ass, you just watched a 60 minute commercial for ‘Marriot’. If they are going to do this, they should at the very least not have commercials.

Lastly, on that topic, let me talk to the advertisers for a second here. Hi, come in please and have a seat. Its about your commercials. I DO fast forward them. You know why? It is because they are too fucking loud. I don’t have a DVR anymore, so I can’t zip past commercials. So, I mute them. Some time ago, Congress passed some law that said commercials can’t be louder than the programs. It made no difference. I can prove it, too. Being a musician, I have very and complicated sound meters. Every time the commercials are about 30% louder than the program they are sammiched in.

What’s something you would do if you were the first inhabitant of a new planet?

Food, shelter, fire. Then… or maybe ever before that, ascertain the skill sets of the people around me. Who can cook? Who can grow gardens? Who can build? I was chatting about this with my amazing and wonderful neighbor Jared* (for the purpose of privacy, we’ll call him ‘Jared’. Plus, it’s his name). We were talking about a neighbor who has a survival bunker. He wants no one to know about it. NO ONE. My guess is if the zombie apocalypse comes he doesn’t want a bunch of moochers. To me, that is the worst possible plan. If I am down there, I want diverse skill sets. Who can build, who can weld, who is a really good shot, who wants to handle security, who wants to handle maintenance. We can’t do shit on our own, and it’s a fool’s errand to believe any differently.

What something unwritten that people should know as a rule?

Be kind and nice and helpful. Every single person you encounter is going through serious shit in their life right then. Maybe a love one died, maybe their husband left them. Maybe they have cancer, or just got written up at work. Maybe they are suicidal… or homicidal. Everyone could use a kind word and a smile and a dumb joke. You know the ‘Golden Rule’, but this is better. I wish I could give it attribution. It’s the ‘platinum rule’. Not just ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.’ No. Treat others as THEY would like to be treated.

I keep a clipping on my mirror from a recent Psychology Today. It’s from a article by this gal. It is, without question, my guide to life. I have just never seen it said to perfectly.

“a bare minimum of one kind act a day should be our self imposed cover charge for living in this world”.   That is, in every sense, the social contract.


Friday Fives- smells and memories edition

sorry, that is a crappy title.  I get the questions from my editor.  The titles, though, I make up myself.  These questions can only be summed up by my editors deep hatred of me.   and fish.

What is your favorite underrated TV show that everyone should know about?

nothing I can think of.  I watch the same shows you do, and they aren’t exactly underground:  duck dynasty, dexter, breaking bad.   OOOHHH WAIT.  I thought of one;  CNN has a show called ‘Inside Man’ by Morgan Spurlock.  He is the guy from Supersize Me.  He is a genius, and I love all of his work.  If you have seen any of his movies or shows… this new show is exactly like those.  That is ok, though, because I love Morgan.

Speaking of CNN and new shows, Anthony Bourdain has a new show on CNN, too.  Here is where it gets weird, though.  Ever seen his other shows:  a cooks tour, kitchen confidential, no reservations, the layover?  Well, this new show is EXACTLY like those  shows.  I love Bourdain.  Read his book and I follow his writings.  However, his tv shows are identical.  Freakishly so.  I don’t know if I blame Bourdain for that, or CNN. If I were a good journalist… or journalist at all, I would likely google the name of the new Bourdain show for you.  My articles, as you can see, and impeccably well researched. I am not researching Bourdain’s show as a matter of principle.  Just called it ‘No Reservations 5’.  It is the 5 iteration of that show.

Hell, Bourdain travels the world and gets paid to eat and be a snarky hipster who makes his bones being snarky about hipsters.  So, he has the last laugh.

That got a little tangenty, so I will sum up here.  Big yes to ‘Inside Man’ from Morgan Spurlock, and a meh to whatever the hell they are calling the Bourdain show.  Skip the Bourdain show and read his amazing book.

Also, since we are talking about what TV shows everyone is watching, I have to say this.  I don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’.  Apparently, I am the only person on Earth not watching it.  Every time someone asks me about it, which is literally daily, it makes me not want to watch it all the more.  Ok?  Shut the fuck up about Game of Thrones.  I have zero bandwidth for new shows right now.  In a month, I will have plenty of time.  Dexter, Breaking Bad, and Under the Dome will all be over.  So, I will use that time to watch even more West Wing.  I know I am late to the party on that, but I just started watching from scratch about a month ago and i LOVE it.

Then, if I am going to go back and pick up a new show, it would be Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, or the Wire.

What would your sixteen year old self say if they could see you now?

Oh man, I have actually written a lot about this.  I hate to re-write that story, so lemme see if I can find a link to one of them.  I am so often so correct that there is no need to repeat myself. FOUND IT.  It’s right here.  Here is the fun part about this, I wrote it almost ten years ago.  Let’s see if it still holds up.  Well, read it first.  Did you read it?  Ok, some changes 10 years later.  Don’t much go to parties or concerts.  Well, I do, but not like I used to.  I can’t sleep 12 hours in a row anymore, which is sad.  I still love love love sleep, but now I sleep like a regular person.

I still have the wife and the truck, and life is still grand.  I have gone farther with that dream of ten years ago.  I said something about not having a camper.  Well, now I have two campers!  Plus, I live on my own ranch now.  So, it’s like going on vacation every day when I come home.

Ok, here is my big lesson.  Ashton Kutcher said it here, and so did Thomas Jefferson.  Opportunity looks a lot like hard work – Kutcher said that. I am sure millions have.  But, I super respect an actor/model receiving a teen choice award standing up and saying it out loud for a new generation. Thomas Jefferson said “the harder I work, the more luck I have seem to have”.  My dad had another one “you cay pay now, and play later… or play now and pay later”.  My step dad, Roj, taught me even more by example.  Hard work is the key.  Oh, and monotonous work.  That is a big part of it.  You go in every day, always.  Be there before they get in, and after they are gone.

Oh, and I would say this to my 16 year old self “cool beard, huh?”  See, I always wanted a beard but could never grown one.  Oh, and I would point out to 16 year old self I am a in a rock band now.  So, growing up and old isn’t so bad.  I am living the life I always dreamed of, just with less hair.  Speaking of that, here is a picture of me at 16.

What is the most horrid smell you’ve smelled?

bacon coffee syrup.  I was at this nice little independent coffee place here in Parker on Main Street.  As I was walking out with my coffee, I saw all their flavors.  They had the usuals – hazelnut, vanilla, french cream, chocolate, caramel, and bacon.  Bacon?  Bacon!  I told the lady I just had to smell the bacon syrup.  Why?  Because I love bacon.  Like every guy, and maybe a bit more, I love bacon. so, I smelled it.  I was ripe with confidence that I may have discovered the new greatest thing.  My two passions > coffee and bacon.  So, I smelled it.

It was disgusting.  It smelled like bacon alright, but super duper concentrated.  It smelled like 1000 slices of bacon distilled down to one liquid.  It was SO strong that after that whiff I did not touch bacon again for three months.  I looked online, and found it.  Here is proof!  try it, I dare you.  It’s like super hot wings.  I will pay for them just to watch you sweat.  We are doing that at work today.  We are going to see if we can break Suchocki.

Who is the one actor/actress that you can never like?

I have really tried to dislike the Scientology.  Problem is, they are all great actors, and incredibly nice people.  Besides their totally absurd beliefs about secret volcano gods, there is nothing wrong with these people.  Jason Lee, Tom Cruise, Mimi Rogers, Giovanni Ribisi, that guy who played Hide on that 70s show.  Oh, and Beck.  All cool and interesting people.  Oh well, who am I to judge?  Just kidding, I AM the judge.  Scientology is bullshit and I can prove it.  See, I don’t care about the mythology.  Its not much dumber than the Mormons.  No, what is wack about Scientology is they charge you for the knowledge.  So, it takes years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to be told the truth.

back to the question – actors I hate.  Well, the late Dennis Farina was one.  Why?  For 30 years he played the exact same character every time.  Drives me nuts.  It’s not acting at that point.  Just reading lines and collecting checks.  Not exactly high art.

What are your go-to karaoke songs?

I don’t do karaoke.  Not because I am above it, but because I can’t sing.  i know, I know.  I am in singer in a rock band.  Trust me, I am always working on my singing, but its in band practice.  Plus, when you go, you have to hear ‘Black Velvet ‘ and ‘Friends in Low Places’ so many times it makes me want to stab my eyes out.  Wait, no.  That would be dumb and then i couldn’t play guitar.  So… amendment,  It makes me want to stab your eyes out.

oh, and I tried it once.  I won’t tell you what song it was, just that it went horrible.  I can sing in D.  Small problem, though, its the only key I can sing in.  It literally took me forty years to figure that out.  So, anything that isn’t in D does not go well for me.