Next month I have one of those fun “milestone” birthdays as I will turn 40. SOMEONE BETTER BE ORDERING A TIME MACHINE FROM AMAZON OR SCIENCESTUFF.EDU! So, I have decided to do some blogs related to that over the next several weeks until the Logan’s Run people put me down or my wife sends me to a home where I can eat pudding and watch Judge Judy in my wheelchair during social hour.
Today, I’ll cover the good and bad about this dark, miserable time and what it means for my withering husk of a body, so you younger kids (now I’m calling everyone younger than me a kid) know what’s coming and can shudder with fear!
Yesterday I found a hair randomly growing from the side of my neck that was two inches long. THIS IS MY LIFE. My eyebrows at this rate will look like this by 50.
Amazingly, my back is still looking like that of a 35 year old. #blessed. In other words, my back shaver and wife keep me from being shot with a tranquilizer dart through the window when I remove my shirt.
What other fun changes await you whippersnappers? Sorry, older people, I should have made the font bigger so you can read. That’s right, I can’t read my phone or menus with contacts. At 30, it was a struggle, now it’s impossible. Hairline? I’m OK up front, but the back has been thinning for a decade. All I had to do was sacrifice live chickens to Baphomet to salvage that much – some agreement about my soul also, but I couldn’t read the fine print, my glasses were dirty. I also hurt my shoulder last month. Sleeping on it. It still hurts.
GET READY TO GET FAT, MILLENNIALS! I eat better than I have since that summer in college when I didn’t have money to buy food. I workout more that, well that summer also. One bad day? It’s over Johnny. Used to be I eat like hot garbage for three days, go run around the block three times and back to what I was before the bender. Now, I have one bad run to Taco Bell, I’m going pants shopping or entering a half marathon. Oh and hangovers are a whole other life change. A hangover used to mean, “Gee, I’m a bit fuzzy after drinking for seven hours and sleeping four.” Now it means “Call a squad and get me IV’s now, I’m dying. I only slept six hours after having two shots and an IPA. Someone put me out of my misery.”
It’s not all bad, though, in fairness. For example, peer pressure doesn’t work on me anymore. I don’t argue with people on the internet. I have a real job now. I don’t mind waking up early (at this rate, I’ll be at the Shoney’s buffet at 5 am by mid-40’s). I can buy stuff I want (but really can’t because the family gets priority, forget that one). Plus, now I’m officially old enough to shake my fist at people and yell. For example: Get off my lawn, you damn kids with your skateboards!
COMING NEXT WEEK: Music since I was born is getting worse and you’re going to hear about it: a blog from every single person 40 and up that has ever existed.
Last week was Thanksgiving, which according to some on my Facebook is now some genocide day. What I thought previously is that it was a day to eat and eat and eat and argue about who is taking what leftovers and post what you’re thankful for on social media, but it’s a Turkey murder celebration day or you support ethnic cleansing now, so sayeth the Internet, so you’re all going to fake hell. Actually, no one thinks of Pilgrims except elementary school art teachers making hats, but whatever.
The real affront holiday is Black Friday. At most 9-5 jobs, the only two day block of days off you get the entire year (including Christmas) is murder feast day and Black Friday. Why you would spend the day getting up at 3 am to camp out in 25 degrees only to bum rush a Wal-Mart and get arrested punching a soccer mom to save 50% on a Playstation is beyond me.
Since all these days are evil and stuff on the Internet is a fart in the wind, I am officially declaring that we as a society need to rethink and reconfigure our November. We need two days off every single week until we agree on what direction to go moving forward. “Why do we only get one day for Veteran’s Day?” Exactly – two days off. “Why do people fight over Black Friday sales?” You are on it! TWO DAYS OFF SO THERE’S MORE TIME TO SHOP! “Why do we kill turkeys?” Finally, someone is looking out for the turkeys who have contributed so much to our society – we need a day of beef also. Just trying to help. Don’t bother me after Wednesday this week, it’s still November and I need more time to reflect.
We had a quick family trip to the mall for a Santa event on Sunday. Nothing says Merry Christmas like being around 78 snot dripping children, each vying for an opportunity to start the next virus merry go round in the Coen household. On the way in, I saw this:
Dogspot, the pay by the hour air conditioned isolation box for your dog. It’s .30 per hour (what a steal!) which means you can bring your box to the mall, stuff it a cube and shop til you drop for just $18 per hour. FINALLY! I was telling my dog to lie about her status as a service animal for years.
While this is truly a better solution that leaving your dog in the car, there is always the obvious questions and concerns such as does the A/C actually work? Will your dog collect Parva or worms from some other skanky dog that was there just before? Oh and probably the most pressing question: WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE YOUR DOG AT HOME??!!
“Well, here I was, with a fully trained dog that is perfectly fine at home, just thinking, how can get this dog to the mall, knowing I can’t take it inside? Before, I just had risk killing the dog via heat stroke or letting it roam the parking lot to be hit or run away, but now I have Dogspot! Where I can spend $36 bucks to go underwear shopping instead of doing that for free like a logical and rational person would have by leaving their dog at home.”
Stan Lee, the patriarch of Marvel Comics, passed away yesterday at 95 years of age. I had heard he was in poor health, but the news was really crushing nonetheless. Stan got started at the age of 18 working for Timely Comics in 1941. After the creators of Captain America left abruptly, he was thrust into editor, getting his start in writing, his true passion. After many years of working for other people, he finally broke out in the early 60’s, starting a run unprecedented in American lore. America loves superheroes. Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and even our own like George Washington crossing the Delaware or Abraham Lincoln using his intellect and will to overturn slavery. We can’t enough of people who rise above and achieve extraordinary feats, whether real or imagined. Stan Lee was able to tap into that and interject humanity into characters.
He helped create, even with later controversy about who exactly got credit, heroes like Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Black Panther (the first black superhero), Dr. Strange, the Avengers, Daredevil, Hulk, Thor and more. He added relatability to characters. Spider-Man had to pass tests and help his Aunt May pay the mortgage. The Hulk had to fight to constrain his emotions which overtook him and destroyed his personal life. Even Thor, the God of Thunder, had issues with his half-brother. His creations were unique, but like us. Diverse and yet everyone. He voiced the intros on cartoons, became the face of an entire universe of make-believe and from his work, plus the tremendous artists, spawned the most powerful comic company on Earth.
Stan didn’t create Spider-Man, he made the Amazing Spider-Man. Not the X-Men, the Uncanny X-Men. The Incredible Hulk. The Mighty Thor. Captain America’s shield wasn’t good, it was indestructible. He loved to add the adjectives to make the good be great. Yet the heroes were what we wanted to be and could understand.
I read stories routinely of people who abuse kids, rip off the elderly, assault innocents and take advantage of others. That, in part, is what makes Stan’s life so important. The joy he provided to millions, just from a pen and his imagination. I have seen, hundreds, if not thousands, of children wearing t-shirts, costumes and capes, on Halloween or just waiting for the school bus, all from his characters. I have seen the smiles on faces at the movies, time and time again, from the Marvel Studios films. What a light especially compared to the darkness we can find in the corners of society. All from his ideas. My own daughter called me Captain Dada and it made my whole month. I have been passed over for opportunities, had bad days but at home, to a little girl, I was Captain Dada as she ran up and down the hallway with a cape on.
Stan’s life shows that tremendous good can come from one individual. And we need it. One mind, one heart, one creative spark set off hope and inspiration. It created jobs for very talented artists and editors where none existed before. Films, that put food on the tables of many small theater owners and movie extras and stunt men. Cartoonists and toy makers, not laid off, but gainfully employed crated memories for kids…and maybe some adults.
I had a chance to see Stan Lee at a Comic Con and I missed it because it was right after we landed coming back from our honeymoon and I regret not going. I was Spider-Man and Hulk for Halloween as a kid and probably have more Captain America stuff than any living person. Stan was, and will be always, the Man. While not uncommon for his age, Stan meant so much to so many that no time was the right time. Humor and hope, humanity and superhuman feats – Stan brought it all to us. Excelsior, Mr. Lee, you were necessary and are missed now, but not forgotten. Not where good will fight with everything it has and the next superhero is just one dream away; born from a true believer little kid’s imagination and hope.
My wife got tickets to see Jamey Johnson for our anniversary in my hometown last week. I hadn’t been back in a while and we ended up going with a lot of my good friends from high school, so it was a really cool gift and fun time.
We went out to eat before, one of Zanesville’s nicest restaurants is about 1/4 mile from the venue. I had crab stuffed orange roughy, becoming the first person in history to have crab stuffed fish before a country concert. We got there right as the opening act was playing, but the alcohol was downstairs. We stood in a huge line for about a minute that turned out was the men’s room line. I knew this when a really drunk guy told my wife for 45 seconds straight. THANKS WE GOT IT.
We got to our seats in time and I was surprised at the size of the band. Three horn players, three guitars, a steel guitar, bass, piano/organ, drums and a lady – still not sure what she was doing. She sang backup on about two songs and got stuff from offstage. I think she won a contest to go onstage.
One of my favorite things about Jamey is that in two times seeing him, he’s said about ten sentences that weren’t singing songs. The steel guitar had some brief technical issues on the fourth song and after they fixed it, he said, “Guess we got to start over now.” Then about 12 songs in a row before talking again. Are you reading this musicians? Take notes. He also played a lot of unique songs, even covering Tom Petty and Jerry Reed, plus a song that was a Johnny Cash poem he added a melody to. I guess Johnny’s son found the poems and had Jamey, Jewel, Chris Cornell and others add music to a few; so he played “Spirit Rider” and it was awesome.
If you like blues and old school country, original songs performed by the songwriter, acoustic guitar or performers that sound like the album, then you would enjoy Jamey Johnson. Other than some added guitar riffs, it sounded like studio recordings, which is rare for live music. My favorite part, though, is the couple that was asked to sit back down after going to the front near the stage and slow dancing to “In Color”, which is a song about a grandpa telling his life story through black and white photos. Very romantic moment, for sure.
When I was in middle school, Bill Clinton, Ross Perot and George Bush (there was no need for the H.W. then) were running in 1992 and MTV was all about Rock the Vote. Between music videos, they would have short interview clips or VJ’s telling you to go and rock it while people screamed. It was really well-meaning, but pretty annoying. They would interview some of the screamers and the answers were sometimes things like “I’m going to vote because stuff is important!” Kind of like social media now.
I think people should vote, but if you don’t care, don’t vote. Please. If you aren’t willing to research beyond your friend Gunther’s Facebook post, don’t vote. If you think the dogcatcher locally should be determined by whether you like the president or not, don’t vote. Voting is important…if it’s informed. Going to a poll to get a selfie, not so much.
When you’re 18, you can vote. You start paying taxes – my first experience with taxes was buying a pack of baseball cards for a quarter when I was seven. It was .27 cents and I didn’t have enough. You can get your own healthcare – or stay on Mom and Dad’s for a spell – but eventually that will matter, especially if you are in poor health or start a family. You begin to realize immigration, national defense and human rights issues are more important than you thought in high school. You get a paycheck (or can’t find a job and don’t). You meet new people with different life experiences than you and may think differently on things – left or right or both. My point is, if you go through all that, and don’t care take the time to vote once a year or two, then please don’t run out and smash buttons to get a sticker. Leave it up to people that do care. Rock the couch! (For everyone else, seriously, go out and vote.)