Some Days

Some days are better left forgotten.


I read somewhere that many ancient recurve bows were destroyed because some museum curators strung them backwards.

Being an expert in something doesn't necessarily imbue one with common sense I guess.

How immanent the destruction when our mastery collides with our ignorance.

I could give you a four hour lecture on the cultural significance of Beatles White Album without using notes, but I couldn't keep a 4/4 rhythm steady for more than a bar or two, which makes me fun at parties unless there is dancing.

I bought a bow today.

A recurve bow.

A Martin Jaguar Take Down 40lb Recurve Bow, to be precise.

There's a company named Martin that makes guitars too. I heard they are good, but I don't have the kind of money it takes to purchase something manufactured in the United States.

Unless its fresh produce.

or a Martin Jaguar Take Down 40lb Recurve Bow.

It came in two different colors; Camouflage and Black.

I wanted the black one, cause for some reason camouflage always makes me think of hillbillies, but black was an extra $10 and my prejudice against hillbillies is in no way worth $10.

I'm a snob, but there are limits.

Now the boys at the archery club, they are gun toting, camouflage wearing, fly fishing, red blooded americans. If they own guitars, then those guitars would be manufactured in Nazareth PA, and not anywhere near the island that we dropped the bomb on.

The Vice President of the archery club was telling me a story about the local hunting grounds. The local hunting grounds had to be shut down because houses were built right up against it, and even though the homes were clearly sold with the understanding that it was right next to the local hunting grounds, people still complained that there were hillbillies with shotguns in their backyards.

He called these people "The Anti's," as in they are anti-this and anti-that. The anti's don't want people with shotguns poppin caps in wild turkeys. The anti's don't want us fishin in the steams, and the anti's certainly don't want people with recurve bows to peacefully assemble together to put tiny little holes in tiny little targets from forty yards out.

Did I mention Calvin can put six arrows in the center mass from ten yards out.

Just sayin. My boy has a good chance of winning The Hunger Games.

Unless there are butterflies.

He still hasn't gotten the hang of butterflies.

Anyway, I too do not want hillbillies with shotguns in my backyard no matter what they're dressed in, but I also happen to like that they have their own little place where they can walk around and shoot shit.
Shootin shit is fun, whether its with an AR-15 or a Martin Jaguar Take Down 40lb Recurve Bow.

Now, I gotta be honest, I don't like guns, but mostly because I don't trust people.

Gun owners, to me, fall under the same category as dog owners. Its as though they are completely blind to fact that their cute little hobby can be deadly and shut out the world completely whenever a baby is mauled or the Vice President of the United States shoots his friend in the face.

Guns don't kill people, and the master is to blame.

Granted, nobody ever attacked a school with a dalmatian, but an AK-47 doesn't shit on your lawn.

Bad things happen when mastery and ignorance collide.

I just don't think you should have a gun unless you've been able to demonstrate that you are a perfectly sane responsible adult.

And you shouldn't have a dog unless you've been able to demonstrate that you are a perfectly sane responsible adult.

And you shouldn't curate a museum exhibit on Native Americans unless you can hit center mass six times from ten yards out with a Martin Jaguar Take Down 40lb recurve bow.

But mostly,

you should stay away from butterflies.

Friday Incidentals

There's a movie promo for "Zero Dark Thirty" that has a boy choir in the background.

It took me a second more than I'd like to admit to realize they were singing "Nothing Else Matters" by Metalica. Three things popped into my head at the time. First, my buddy Aaron would be very disappointed in how long recognition took me, second, how badly I needed that recording, and third, how movie and TV music would make and good Friday five post.

So here they are, the first five movie/TV songs that popped into my head:

Needle in the Hay - Elliott Smith
This song is playing in The Royal Tenenbaums during Luke Wilson's suicide attempt. The movie was co-written by Owen Wilson who tried to commit suicide in real life, but was unsuccessful. The same of which cannot be said of Elliott Smith who was.

. . . Incidentally, the first concert that Joann and I ever went to was Elliott Smith's last tour.

Suicide is Painless - Mike Altman
This was also playing during a suicide scene in the movie MASH but is best known as the theme song during the opening credits of the TV show. I used to watch this show with my dad all the time and could never figure out why a show about silly people doing silly things would have a theme song about suicide, but then again, the first season had a black character everyone called "Spear Chucker." So mistakes were made.

. . . Incidentally Joann and I met David Ogden Stiers at a theater cast party on our first date.

Hallelujah - Buckley Version
This Leonard Cohen song pops up everywhere (I know cause I just read an entire book about it), but the one I just heard was on The West Wing when Mark Harmon is shot and killed. It's moodily appropriate, but the lyrics "She tied you to her kitchen chair . . ." coincides with Allison Janney crying on a bus stop bench. Mistakes were made.

. . . Incidentally, a few episodes later, a guy named Omar Miller made an appearance as huge football player. Omar also happened to play opposite me in "Hair" which was where Joann and I first met.

Pathetique Sonata - L.V. Beethoven
This was the piece that was played by the girl that Billy Bob Thorton falls in love with in the movie "The Man Who Wasn't There" What makes this remarkable, is that for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why the girl was playing an instrumental version of Billy Joel's "This Night" It never occurred to me that The Joelmeister would appropriate a Beethoven theme and add lyrics. Ludwig was credited on Billy's album, but where do the royalty checks go?

. . . Incidentally, "The Man Who Wasn't There" was filmed in Santa Rosa when I was doing "Hair" for the first time at Santa Rosa College. The production was so lame that I looked for every opportunity I could get to do the show somewhere else. Which I did. A year later. With Omar and Joann.

The Sound of Music - Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge
At the same time as I was performing "Hair" in Santa Rosa, I was also performing as an extra in "The Sound of Music" There were a lot of bad memories of the lameness of that particular performance that when I first heard Ewan belt out those all familiar opening lines, I was ready to walk out of the theater. But I stayed, and held my girl's hand, and we laughed and cried and fell in love instead.

. . . Incidentally, we still do that.

Napping in Nirvana

Heaven is a rainy afternoon with a good book and a Chicken Pot Pie in the oven.

Something Something Lolligagging

Everything has it's own certain truth.

There are general truths such as "There is no such thing as a free lunch." and "When she say's she's 'Fine', she's anything but." Any one of us could name a thousand different truths ranging from basic hygiene to nuclear science, and some of these we only need be told once, and some of these we need to learn over and over again until we reach that age where we're just unwilling to make that same mistake again.

The reason I bring it up is because Tee-Ball tryouts just happened.

Now my blood runs just as red white and blue as any other american out there. I have oiled my glove, kicked the dirt off my cleats, and placed a plastic cup between my genitals and the outside world. Sure I may have only participated in one year of little league and proven to be an absolute embarrassment to organized sports. I may have stood five feet from home plate because I was too scared to get any closer and I may have broken down sobbing when it was my turn at bat, but I did make contact with the ball once even if it was a short and slow ground ball to first base. And I did get on base a couple of times due to my unconventional stance and a ten year old pitcher's inability to throw the ball with any degree of accuracy, so for all intents and purposes, lets just say I get baseball.

Would I jump at the chance to join a league?


But I can play catch with my old man and am perfectly happy with a beer and a hot dog and bleacher tickets on a Tuesday night in July.

So unlike soccer, a silly game played by silly people, I can be a little more participatory like all good dads should be when their boys are playing sports.

So Tee-Ball tryouts happened.

And I realized that there are only a few truths I know about baseball.

And most of those came from baseball movies.

Like: There's no crying in baseball.

Unless you're seven years old and get hit in the face by a ground ball that popped up at the last second.  The likelihood of this happening is exactly 100%. I've never met a man in my life who doesn't remember getting hit in the face by a ground ball that popped up at the last second and the bloody nose that followed.

I hit Calvin in the face playing catch once and it has taken over a year to get him to come out and play catch with me again.

Another truth about baseball is that its a simple game: You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.

And something something about lolligagging.

Anyone else still find it a little sad that Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins are no longer a thing?

It just seems sad to me.

But there is one truth that I do remember from experience:

Never swing on a 3-0 pitch.

If you don't know what a 3-0 pitch is, don't worry, it simply means that the pitcher has thrown three balls outside of the strike zone. If he/she throws one more, then the batter gets to walk to first base.

If you don't swing at that pitch then there's a good chance you'll get on base. If you do swing at the pitch, you'll either whiff it, hit it foul, hit it up and get caught out, hit it down and get thrown out, or hit it perfectly and get to first base.

Swinging at a 3-0 pitch is a no no, cause you're basically saying that you care nothing for statistics, let alone your team mates, and you're the kind of jerk that doesn't like to play by there rules, which is awesome in punk rock, but ridiculous in Tee-Ball.

Now its a little different in the big leagues, where the truthism is that you should never swing on a 3-0 pitch if your team has a comfortable lead.

The reason for this might take some explaining, but rest assured, if you don't already know why, then you will never need to know why and if you can't contain yourself, then google it on your own dime.

So when I teach my son the truth about baseball, I can tell him with absolute authority that he should never swing on a 3-0 pitch.

Except that he's playing Tee-Ball this year and there will be no pitching.

But I can tell him not to lollygag.

And that there is no crying in baseball.

Until he gets hit in the face with a ground ball that pops up at the last second.

Which will happen.

And its okay to cry.

Cause that shit really hurts.

Friday Life Cheats

News flash: Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs.

Now I don't want to shock you, but it turns out that rich people steal and unknown actresses are willing to have sex for walk ons.

All life is a game. And to win some pie for yourself you gotta do a little cheating. A B A B Up Down Left Right Start.

If you didn't get that last joke, you didn't have a Nintendo in 1989, which suddenly made me nostalgic for Super Mario Bros and Round Table Pizza.

Don't you wish you still had the LiveStrong bracelet? I would totally sport that shit right now.

Anyway, if you've found that your lack of success in life is questionable, let me regale you with a few little cheating techniques I learned in my careful study of such things:

1. Be Born Rich.
First and foremost if you want to make a splash in any field your gonna need time, money and connections. The best way to do that is to have parents who have those things already and are willing to share.

2. Drugs.
Can't hit 64 home-runs fueled by Wheaties, can't have a tech boom without cocaine, and neither Cheech nor Chong studied with Uta Hagen at the Actors studio.

3. Be Pretty.
People are willing to give you things because of how ashamed they feel for imagining themselves having sex with you, or for how awkward they were when they did have sex with you, or because you're pretty. Whatever.

4. If you can't be pretty, Be a Dickhead.
When you're an asshole/insufferable bitch, people assume that you know something that they don't and are willing to relinquish power. This one can however back fire if the Dickhead above you knows this little cheat and doesn't want to pee in the executive stall next to you.

5. Blind Ambition.
If you like your couch, or drinking beer, or long pointless novels, playing with your kids, easy-cheese, sweat pants, if you want to spend the extra time getting something right, making something good, expressing what you feel, if you think its not too much to ask if you could be on bottom once in a while, then you clearly don't have what it takes to skip a few levels. There's no shame in taking the bunny slope, but don't forget that the ass hat who lunges for the triple diamond on his first try is going to have a better story to tell. Not to mention getting down the mountain faster.

Hint hint

Flu Shots

So yeah,

Sitting in a crowded waiting room.

Waiting to get our flu shots.

I could make a list of things I'd rather be doing, but I'm honestly not certain if you have that kind of time.

This will be the first time I've ever gotten a flu shot.

In fact I'm pretty much against them. There's just something oddly sinister about how convincing the medical community seems to be regarding their importance. Every interaction with every doctor who says "Are you getting the flu shot?" Makes me feel like I'm trying to be sold the "undercoating" for a used car.

In fact, lately I've been compelled to trust the medical community less and less. They just seem like people who are overworked, underpaid, and dreadfully tired of humanity.

Look at the circles under the eyes of a nurse practitioner and take in the smell of sweat and purelle. This isn't an oasis, it's a truck stop.

So why sit in this dank smelling room sandwiched between bodies more befitting a line at Walmart than a yellow brick road?

Is it cause my wife is making me?

Sort of. But only sort of.

See, I'm around a lot of people.

I'm around a lot of people all the time.

And some of them are bound to be sick. And some of them are bound to breathe in my general direction, and I'm just as likely as the next guy to get sick.

And if I get the shot, and I don't get sick, then all is well. And if I don't get the shot and I don't get sick then all is also well.

But if I don't get the shot, and I do get sick, then there's a good chance I get my family sick, cause I am bound to breathe in their general direction.

And since I love them very much, I should probably get it, because if I get the shot and get sick anyway, then at least I can look my beautiful wife in the face and tell her that I did my best.

And then she's more likely to make me dinner.

Among other things.

Vacation Five

Best parts of my January vacation:

1. West Wing now streamable on Netflix

2. Xmas Scotch

3. No alarm clock

4. Found a book I've been looking for for 20 years.

5. Got to introduce "My Sherona" to a bunch of 20 somethings.

Muh muh muh my Sherona!

Memory of light

My best friend introduced me to this series over a decade ago. The author died before finishing and a new writer took it on, and yet still didn't complete it for seven more years. The final book just hit store shelves and my weekend is now officially booked.

Ha ha.

That was a pun right there.


We all have our little rituals.

Things we do.

Things we just do.

Just cause.

I'm not talking about religious rituals, although even those have their history rooted in an individual's compulsion. I'm talking about all those little things that we do organically that help us navigate through what might be described as the chaos of the rest of the day.

Some of those rituals are addictions.

Can't be civil to another human being until I've had at least a cup and a half of coffee.

Some of those rituals are compulsions.

As the patriarch of a family with varying degrees of OCD, I am well versed in the nature of compulsion.

Side Bar:
When I mention OCD, I am referring to the ACTUAL Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The disorder were your body chemistry tricks your brain into holding off the release of dopamine and floods your system with adrenaline until you perform some task.

Example: The twenty year old suffers from severe OCD. He washes his hands until the skin of his knuckles are cracked and bleeding and he takes two to three showers a day. However, he comfortably lives in an absolute pigsty; a pigsty I will mention that took me four hours to clean, vacuum and de-grease after I dropped his crazy ass back to school. He's not fastidious, organized, or a neat freak. He has OCD.

Your friend, however, who likes to correct everything, pick up your house, wipe the dust from your dashboard, and always prefaces her behavior by saying "I know its just my OCD, but . . . . ", does not have Obsessive Compulsive Behavior, and is in fact, just a dick-head.

So some rituals are addictions, some are compulsions, some are bad manners, and some are just things we do.

For example:

My wife and I don't fight.

Not really.

Instead of fighting we play a shouting game called "Who has the right to be the bigger asshole?" and it goes like this:

We will sit down to a meal.

Any meal, doesn't matter.

My wife will look at her food, then she will look up at me, then look down at her food and say this:

"Is this cooked all the way?"

In the ten years I have been putting food in her pretty little face, I have under cooked exactly two meals. One was grilled salmon and the other was grilled tuna (and the tuna was under cooked on purpose because that's how it is supposed to be cooked) Not only has no one ever gotten sick, but I also purposely over cook her food. I have ruined more steaks and pork chops than I care to admit in order to make sure that everything was visibly over cooked.

I know for an absolute fact that she doesn't doubt me. I know for an absolute fact that she is extremely grateful not only for the food but for a husband who goes out of his way to meticulously craft an excellent meal. And I know enough about compulsion and addiction to know that she can't help herself.

Yet rather than hitting her in the head with my coffee mug, or simply saying "Yes dear" which is the most manly thing any of us will ever do, I will tilt my head slightly to the right, purse my lips and say "Nope."

"I'm serious Josh, is this cooked all the way?"

"Well . . . we won't find out until one of us dies."

or I'll say:

"Don't eat it."

or I'll say:

"Mine is."

And the game will either escalate or deescalate from there. Either she will have won the game because it's a simple question and I'm being ridiculous for getting my vagina all bent out of shape, or I will have won the game because I can get really loud when my vagina gets all bent out of shape.

Again, its not who is right and who is wrong, its who has the right to be the bigger jerk. Her compulsion versus my vagina.

And this is the definition of a great marriage, for this is a ritual we must follow. It's a game we will always play.

For every meal.


Just cause.

Shuffle Five

It's nice listening to music.

I do, however, need to update the tracks on my phone. The Beatles don't get stale, but there are more than fifty different recorded tracks/mixes of the new album and some are just awful. So I got some cleaning to do.

Here is a little Friday Shuffle, and I skipped anything by me:

The First Cut is the Deepest - Cat Stevens
I'm a little ashamed that the first version of this that I heard was the Sheryl Crowe cut, and when I heard it I thought the lyric work was pretty lame, which it is, but somehow it seems appropriate when Cat does it. It's not a Yusef song, it's a Cat song, and should really remain in the 70's etched in vinyl.

Stupidity Tries - Elliott Smith
My wife and I saw Elliott Smith on his last tour at the Warfield in San Francisco. While we were upstairs getting our vodka cranberries there was a guy at the bar in a yellow shirt and a ten gallon hat. I leaned over to Joann and said in my starkest tone "Gee, I wish I was as cool as that guy." Turns out, the guy was Elliott
's backup player and during the concert he sang vocals, played the cello, bass, piano, harmonica, banjo and drums. To this day I wish I was anywhere near as cool as that guy.

Wait - The Beatles
We all have our own opinions as to what Beatles album we like to share first with the uninitiated. Revolver, and Abbey Road are the popular ones, Sgt. Pepper is my go to, but if you want a newbee to hear a band transition from good to off the hook, there is no album like Rubber Soul.

Enchanting Ghost - Sufjan Stevens
I am a pretty casual Sufjan fan. I don't own everything, but will listen all day given the time. This one is from "The Age of Adz" which has some amazing tracks but the experimentation with midi tracks can go on forever if you're not into that sorta of thing. I never tend to include long instrumentals on my songs because I'm not good enough for jazz, and if its not jazz and its not a movie score, then it doesn't need to be over four minutes. Unless you're stoned. Lookin at you Dave Matthews.

Many the Miles - Sarah Barielles
What I love about Sarah's work is that she is always worth a fifth listen. I mostly wrote this tune off, but sitting at my desk, pretending to be doing anything productive in the last pre-vacation twenty minutes, this little ditty popped up and just grooved. The restraint on the piano lick, the clean back up vocals sliding in like very white, but nevertheless sexy gospel quartet, and I don't know how her producer gets this sound, but you can hear the bass player's fingers slide along the strings as if they miked his hands as much as his amp. Listen with a good pair of head phones and its like a kiss on the nape of your neck.

Have a good weekend y'all. I'm gonna get me a hat.