Joann and I are watching a History Channel program on "The Dark Ages." Calvin's at the kitchen table finishing up his homework and giggling to himself.

The homework piece is fine, but we start to be a little concerned about the giggling.

Math isn't funny.

Yes, mathematicians can be a riot, but a page full of addition problems isn't exactly the kind of stuff that pokes the Pillsbury Doughboy's belly.

"Calvin, what are you laughing about?"

"Nothing." giggle giggle.

Joann and I look at each other with that "I'm worried, but not quite scared enough to get up off the couch and investigate much further" look . . . and it is just at that moment that something horrible occurs to me.

See, you can't watch a TV show about "The Dark Ages" without the casual mention of Christianity's influence on the times, and you can't casually mention Christianity without someone saying "Jesus Christ"

And every time the announcer says "Jesus Christ" . . . another little peel of giggles.

It took me a second.

And then I realize.

Despite our blood being nearly 50% Roman Catholic, the savior doesn't play much of a role in the WaitDad household. There is no crucifix. No virgin Mary. No saints, no angels. We own several bibles, but they're mainly used for reference checks and spider killing. So really, the only time Calvin would hear someone say "Jesus Christ" is when they are taking the lord's name in vain.


Swear words make Calvin giggle.

Calvin thinks "Jesus Christ" is a swear word.

Like "Stupid Head" and "Doody Balls"

Meditate on that for a bit.

Doody balls.

And I know how much that very idea would break the hearts of grandmothers, and I know how secretly conflicted Joann feels about it, yet I can't help but feel a little smug that he shall live a life filled with rights and wrongs but free of sin. That the choices he makes will come from himself and himself alone. And that there will be no need for absolution for every decision will be its own learning, and every bad one will come with its own penance, and every good one will be reveled in its own light.

I've been thinking about this a lot over the last few days.

Cause soon he's going to come to me and ask about god. And heaven. And Jesus. And girls.

And I'm going to tell him that I don't believe in god, but I suspect there is something greater to us than these fleshy bodies. And that I don't believe in heaven except for the kind found in the perfect major chord or a full body hug. And I'm going to tell him that I don't believe in Jesus because I don't think Jesus would've either, and if I'm wrong, he'll forgive me. Win, win.

And I will tell him that I do believe in girls, but I can only teach him to be a better man, and even then he's going to fail more often than not,

cause that's what we do.

That . . .

and giggle when someone say's "Doody Balls"

Spinal Injection

Went to the doctor.

Getting an injection of steroids into my spine so that I can continue more aggressive physical therapy.

Nothing funny about today.


Approving this Message

Hard not to get political in the dog dangling days of Decision Twenty Twelve. Seems the airwaves have every intention of turning your complacency into outrage.

Do you like nice things?

Sure do.

Then vote Romney, cause with Obama you can't have nice things.

Do you like sex?

Hell yeah!

Then vote for Obama, cause Romney doesn't want you to have any.

Do you want money taken out of your paycheck to pay for political adds?

Fuck no.

Then vote Yes on 32.

Do you want a 60 hour work week for you and your toddler?

Me . . . no.

Then vote No on 32.

Which I have every intention of doing. Cause the union I belong to fights for better copyright infringement laws, just as the teacher's union fights for smaller class sizes, and the Ice Cream Truck driver's union fights for more variety in the songs they play. Or at least they should.

But I can see the other side's point. If my company were to take money out of my paycheck to pay for a Romney ad because his policies are friendlier to tax loopholes for coffee roasters, I'd be a bit pissed.

and by "a bit" I mean "Really Fucking"

And, yes, I've let the cat out of the bag.

I admit it.

I'm an Obama supporter.

Cause, dude, c'mon.

The man can sing like Al Green, dunk a basketball, he saved the world from a great depression and put two bullets in Bin Laden's head before dumping his corpse in the ocean.

The man's a super badass.

I honestly don't understand why he isn't universally adored.

So to all you Conservative/republican/tea baggers, hey, we are not going to see eye to eye, really ever. I'm firmly planted on this side of the tracks, you're firmly planted on the other. Lets us drink our beers and toast to our shared Americanness.

But to you . . . you lilly livered . . . whiny . . . fair weathered . . . limp wristed liberals . . .

All I've heard from you people is that you're disappointed. That Obama hasn't done enough. That he never lived up to your expectations. That he didn't communicate well. That he was too middle of the road.

It's so bad that there's a pro Obama ad running right now with Morgan Freeman doing the voice over and he sounds almost apologetic. Like "Gee, fellow Americans, I know you're sad, but we can do better, really we can."

Jesus Christ, are you kidding me?

Are you honestly trying to tell me that because President Obama hasn't championed every single one of your pussy agendas that he has failed you in some way?

O. M. F. G.

Have you been paying attention?

The lunatic fringe is sharpening their sticks and donning war paint and all you can do is stare at your feet. You're gonna get us killed.

I hate you all so much right now.

Okay, breathe, breathe.

I'm better.

But seriously. If you can't vote FOR something, at least for fuck's sake vote AGAINST something.

If you're not riled up enough to throw your panties on President Obama's stage, then at least try to imagine what Governor Romney has planned for your vagina.

And yes, I will admit freely that I actively voted for Ralph Nader in 2000. I threw my vote right out the window because of how much I hated Tipper Gore. But lets face it, if you are out classed by Dee Snyder in a Senate hearing, you really need to get your ass out of politics.

But I was 24, and the economy was growing, and we had a budget surplus, and I didn't live in fucking Florida.

And I'm not telling you to not stand up for your beliefs. Stand up! Talk Hard! Write letters, post signs, march, whatever.

But we live in a two party system. No way out of that shit. No fucking way.

So pick a goddam side and be supportive. Get elected and THEN push for change.

When Calvin comes of age, I will tell him the same thing.

But I hope I don't have to.

Why I Love Her

Top Five Reasons to Love My Wife: 
(This week)

She makes a good cup of coffee.

And if she dumps too many grounds into the filter, she'll just get a bigger cup.

She gets lost, and then gets pissy when I give her instructions.

Like a true american.

When Comcast doesn't carry the Niner's game she says this:

"How about we open a bottle of wine and watch Band of Brothers?"

She gets a Bacon Western Cheese Burger from the drive through and then complains about being fat.

Like a true american.

She knows me enough to say this:

"Every time you are right, I'm gonna tell you to go fuck yourself."

Man Balls

Ripped the tip right off of my ring finger.

The pain was so bad that I didn't even notice I had also ripped the tip off my right index finger. Blood on the neck, blood on the strings. And this rehearsal is officially over.

Well . . . shit.

Guitar players spend years building up those calluses. Its going to be at least another few weeks before I can play comfortably again.

Just another thing to add to the list of why 36 year old men don't become rockstars.

Its not just the thinning hair and the thickening love handles. Its not the joint pain or the 8:45 bedtime. Its not even that spending 10 years building a career and raising a family is an automatic disqualification to leather pants and V-Neck t-shirts (although there ought to be a law against both, we'll call it "The No One Moves Like Jagger" law.)

Its just that digging a foundation and digging a grave is essentially the same thing. And when the walls get too high and your ladder rusts its easy to start tricking yourself into believing that maybe you're perfectly cool down here. Who knows what the weather is like top side and you've never exactly been a sweater guy.

But I'm a man with a particular set of skills. So what seems like one in a million is more like one in a thousand. And when you factor in experience, flexibility, talent, and a little wisdom you could easily cut that in half. All I need, is to be the right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Time, I can do nothing about, that's just luck. Place, well, with space age transportation and a few internet keystrokes, I can be anywhere in the world with better distribution than the Beatles (At least until Apple signed a deal with Apple.)

So I just have to be the right guy.

Which I'm not.

Not yet at least.

But I have a list.

A list which includes a look (hair cut and a few dropped inches)

A list which includes a sound (voice is in great shape since the great nicotine cessation of 2012, but it does mean I have to rekey a whole bunch of songs)

A list which includes a  performance ready set and now a list which includes finger tip repair.

And that's it.

But not really.

For there's something lurking in the dark, hiding in the shadows behind creaky doors. The which gives voice to every murmur of procrastination and self doubt.

Fear, baby, yeah!

Cause if everything goes perfectly right, then one day my album will drop into Adam Levine's skinny jeaned lap and he'll looked down at me with his doe eyes and perfectly manicured five o'clock shadow and he'll say "Sorry, dude, this sucks." And every dream I've ever dreamed will shatter like a wine glass after my fifth cup and I'll have to hastily sweep up the pieces before my wife gets home and slowly back out of the room.

And if all goes extremely well, I will have to live that moment over and over again, one douche bag after another, until I'm signed or I'm dead.

The very thought makes me want to stay in bed. For I do not want to go to there.

But I have to get up. Cause I have to take Calvin to school. And as we stand together on the blacktop waiting for the bell to ring I look over at him.

He stands perfectly still on the balls of his feet. He's breathing short little gasps and I can almost see his thundering heart beneath his shirt. I've talked about his anxiety disorder before, but what does that really mean?

You know that feeling you get when the roller coaster reaches the top? That pain in the bottom of your stomach when your boss calls you into the office or the beating of your heart when a half naked coed goes into the basement rather than running out of the house and you know the serial killer is under the stairs?

That's your "Flight or Fight" response. Your body senses danger and your happy little amygdela responds by flooding your system with adrenaline to get you moving and a healthy dose of dopamine to shut down your pain receptors. Basically your body chemistry is telling you run away or prepare to whoop shit up.

And in little doses its awesome. It helps you slam on your breaks to avoid a car and makes your girlfriend squeeze into you a little closer on movie night. But the side effects, the nausea, the dread, the pain in your chest, the helplessness, that's enough to make you swear off the stuff until further notice.

So imagine if your brian doing this to you all the time. Every time a dog barks, or an engine revs, or a butterfly swoops too near. Imagine the sense of dread you have in the pit of your stomach when you hear a rustle in your closet and you think you can just make out a glowing set of eyes staring at you from the crack in the door.

Except its not dark. And you're not in bed. And you're standing on the playground.

That's a Monday for Calvin.

Yet he gets up. Everyday. And he puts on his clothes and tries to eat as many mini waffles as his stomach will let him. And he checks his backpack for his lunch and silently marches to the car. He knows there are no monsters and there's nothing to be afraid of, but his brain is telling his body that there is a mountain lion bearing down on him, and all he wants to do is to not cry.

Sure the little guy might seem a bit twitchy, but if he has the courage to get up every damn day and face that kind of pain, well, my friends, that's a 7 year old with a huge set of man balls.

I'm not just proud of him, he's my fucking hero.

So when I think about my petty little fear of rejection or a little bit of blood on the strings I can just tell myself to man up and grow a pair.

Be a bit more like my boy.

Friday Five: That's what she said

Five things my wife said to me:

"Moms taking Calvin for the night"

"I don't feel like cooking, I feel like nachos"

"And sliders and chicken wings"

"And a Black and Tan"

"And happy hour starts in five minutes"

The Afternoon Nap

One of the great things about observational posting, is that the subject matter is only subject to my whims.

This post was supposed to be about music. I am feeling revved up again after the summer of my discontent and I wanted to share some sunshine.

Yet on Sunday morning I found myself in a sea of families with no clear direction other than that is was Soccer Picture Day. There was going to be a funny bit about awkward children and their awkward families and the color green. There was also gonna be a funny bit about the fight I got into with my wife and that fact that Calvin looks a little creepy when he takes posed photos. There was also gonna be something about his current smile which due to the lost teeth and the size of the replacements only half emerged makes him look like a caricature drawing of the royal family.

And then we were back to music, for I had a long drive this morning.

And then it was going to be about family, money, and football for I got to spend some wonderful hours with my own dad, and those are laughs I like to share.

Yet I got home and there were no pressing chores except for Yahoo Sports, who apparently needs to let me know that one of my running backs was down for the season. Ho Hum. And Calvin was playing outside, and the wife was in the room reading, and I was very relaxed and just a bit on the dozy side.

So I took a nap.

A glorious nap.

Sweet dreams and cool breezes.

My pal Joey said to me once that he wasn't sure if he should go home a take a nap after work. I told him of course he should.

If you can, you should.

And today I could.

So I did.

And I got up a little woozy and becalmed. I swapped my injured running back for a long shot wide receiver who isn't gonna do squat for a few more weeks, but has a few tasty match ups if he can get healthy and learn his routes. I ate dinner (chicken cutlets and peas) and realized I have soccer practice in less than an hour and there is no way I could write about sensitive issues with a sharp wit and soft hands.

Too much editing.

So today's morality play is simple.

If you can take naps, do it, they are wonderful.

As is music, family, chicken cutlets, and the color green.

Take naps even if you have to reduce your posting to just a few unedited paragraphs.

Your readers are a forgiving bunch of people.

Friday Five Pop Radio

So . . . Now that the new album is in post production I can finally listen to music on the radio again.

The reason for the self imposed pop music boycott is simple. While I'm working I am highly influenced by the sounds around me and my sub conscience will willingly adopt/incorporate/steal anything it can get its grubby little hands on.

I'll spend weeks on a piece only to realize that I've just rewritten "Yesterday" with the original scrambled eggs lyrics.

Yet this sonic diet has lasted almost four years and although the twelve notes haven't changed, there have been some interesting developments since the last time I switched from my local NPR station.

So here we go:

Five things I've learned about pop music this week:

1. Justin Beiber really is really that bad.
For someone who has been as culturally ever present as this little Canadian import, I assumed there would be at least some redeemable quality in his work. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Can't change the channel fast enough.

2. Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, 
Katie Perry and Taylor Swift 
have all gotten much much worse, 
while Pink has gotten much much better.
The pop girls have become imitations of their own parodies. In contrast, Pink has got some writing and producing chops. There is a duet on her new album that is just breath taking.

3. If Maroon 5 did it, it must be good.
I've teased Adam Levine before, but its ridiculous the amount of airtime he's getting. I found three different Maroon 5 songs on three different stations playing at the same time. What's more amazing, I discovered that they don't even write all there own material. Which means that there is a demo version of "Moves Like Jagger" out in the universe. A demo version which must have been selected over thousands of other submissions. That shit wasn't just an accident, it was a fucking choice.

4. Auto-Tune is a playable instrument.
Everyone now knows that Auto-Tune is pitch correcting software. Singer sings off key and Auto Tune will automatically tune it. By now we've also grown accustomed to the sound it makes at the beginning of each note as it drags the wave length up or down to stay in key. What you might not know is that in order to get that way-wah sound, the vocalist has to be REALLY off key. Which is REALLY hard to do. So now I'm imagining hip hop session where some guy at a mixing board is saying something like "Sorry Jay Z, you're just too good with the pitches, lets try it again, only this time I gotta feel you suck more."

5. Regardless of time, technology, and taste, there is still only two kinds of music.
Good and not.

26 Points

26 points to win.

Those are all the points I need. I've got two guys playing tonight. If they both have a good game, I win. If one of them has a good game and the other doesn't, I win. If they both only give me as much as their worst game, I win.

So yes, the odds are stacked in my favor.

But I won't win . . .

Until I win.

And I think of everything that went into tonight's better than average win possibility. The research, the choosing, the deciding, the weighing of factors, the luck and the un-luck.

And the best part?

The outcome is meaningless.

There will be no less food in the fridge if I lose, I won't be any thinner if I win. For its not whether you win or lose, its how awesome the ribs taste on a Sunday afternoon with your bros watching football.

Nah . . . I'm just kidding.

Winning kicks ass and losing sucks, no matter what the stakes.

I'm not here to make friends, I'm in it to win it.

So when Joey tells me that he's quitting his job because he doesn't make enough money, I totally understand. Right now his job feels like a lose.

He's in his early twenties, he lives with his parents, his car is dead, his smart phone is shattered, and his job barely pays enough for him to travel back and forth to his job.

Joey's not dumb, lazy, or useless. Far from it. Not only is he a healthy male with a full head of hair, but he's also easily one of the most talented musicians I've ever worked with. He's a skilled craftsman, a focused technician, and a very sweet humble man. You put him into a cool car and some clean fitting clothes and there isn't a single girl out there who wouldn't drop and give him twenty.

This is what sucks about life in your twenties. You do all this research, choosing what you want, deciding who you are, figuring out what makes you happy and what makes you sad. You have all these people around you who will give you advice, most of which fall under the category of what not to do and every day you toss the dice hoping for the one throw that makes you Jay-Z on the Sunset strip. And everyday you go home, and your room's a mess and your parents want you to do some chores and you've got that project you've been working on that's getting in the way of the other project you've been working on that's getting in the way of the project that you dream to be working on. And Please God don't let me end up like my Dad/Older Brother/Boss/Friend/Jay-Z's Dentist. Let me be who I am, if I ever discover who that is. Don't force me to sell out until the price is right.

But he wants to sell out. Even if for a little bit. Even if it's just to get him to that next level. The level that involves a room that his mom doesn't see and a car that starts up in the morning. Just to be able to say to a girl, "Why don't we finish this conversation at my place . . . baby."

And this is not too much to ask.

But there's a problem.

Once you reach that level,

You are now playing the game. The game where decisions have consequences. The game where once you sell out, it becomes harder and harder to buy some of that back.

So Joey, who's got the talent to become a full time musician, who's got the skill to open up a shop of his choosing and who's got the smarts and time to go get his Master's Degree in biological warfare, may end up driving a truck for $30,000 a year.

Which is great.

When you're twenty.

But then you're forty, making $50,000. And that hot chick you brought to your studio apartment is now your ex wife who hates you and tells your children how much of a loser you are.

And you're a little fat, and a little bald, and all your stories sound the same.

But this won't happen to Joey.

Just as this won't happen to my boys, one of which is so close to Joey's age that I'm already taking notes of my own writings so that I will have one helluva speech when he comes to me wanting a few buck to get his Class A license.

But the odds are in your favor, Joey.

Just don't lose.

26 points man.