Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thanks for two amazing years of reading my stories.

Looking forward to more fun in 2012.... and beyond.

My next post will be after the ball drops.

Be safe and please come back soon.

Follow me on twitter @sirbacon123.

Happy New Year.

Sir Bacon

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eve of Distraction

Twas the night before Christmas.
When all through my house.
There are some damn excited kids.
Ok, that’s not exactly how the poem goes.
But that’s how it goes in my house.
Three kids.
At three very different stages in their young lives.
All looking forward to Christmas morning.
When they wake up to a house full of presents.
For my 14-year-old daughter.
She is somewhere between High School.
And Med School.
She’s always been sharper than her age.
If you look close enough, you can actually see her wheels turning when you ask her a question.
And if you wait four or five seconds, she’ll usually respond with the right answer.
This Christmas is a new one for her.
Probably a confusing one.
I think she’s trying to figure out how old she really is.
When it comes to presents, she’s still all kid.
But when it comes to everything else, she’s all grown up.
High school can do that to you.
My son is two years younger.
And he too is growing up.

Way too quickly.
But he usually acts the age of the people around him.
In school, he’s a 7th grader.
Around me, he’s a lot more polished.
But put him with his eight-year-old sister.
And let the games begin.
He’s definitely a candidate to work at NASA.
Because when it comes to getting under her skin, he knows all of the right buttons to push.
The eight-year-old is our last piece of innocence.
The last one who actually wants a hug.
The last one who does what we tell her.
And the first one to express herself.

At our Christmas Eve dinner, she decided to perform the National Anthem.

Oh, not sing it.

That happens in the morning.

At dinner, she decided to pit fart the National Anthem.

Talented, that kid is.

When that was over, she started singing the words to "Santa Claus is coming to Town".

He sees you when you're sleeping.   He knows when you're awake.

Then suddenly she stopped.

"Santa kinda sounds like a stalker," she quietly mumbled.

"But he's a nice stalker," with a big smile on her face.

I asked her what she wanted Santa to bring her this year.
“Three things,” she said.
Without any hesitation.
“A baby brother.”
“A little dog, like a chihuahua.”
“And a magic wand.”
Well if I were her, I’d ask for the wand first.
That’s her best shot at getting the other two.
I love that little girl.
Love her sense of humor.
Love her kindness.
Love her innocence.
I love looking into her eyes.
As much now as I did the first time.
Eight years, two months and two weeks ago.
She is something special.
And she’s not afraid to show it.
Tonight before bedtime, there were six of us hanging out in my son’s room.
Me, the three kids and a pair of books.
A pair of Christmas books.

What else.
One of those books was “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
But reading the book wasn’t good enough for her.
She had to perform it.
From the first line, through the last.
She was living on her own center stage.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
She did that one from memory, not once taking even a glance at the book.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
She tapped her fingers on the wood door, as quickly as possible, to provide her own version of a clattering noise.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf
She tried to inflate her frame as big as possible.  But sixty pounds only go so far.
Now Dasher!
now, Dancer! 
Longer pause.
now, Prancer
Drama Building.
and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
Those she flew right through.
Picking up the pace to recapture the energy of the story.
She flipped each page, like it was the script of a play.
Each line more theatrical than the one before.
Finally closing with...
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!
And with that came a bow.
A bow she held for seconds, but felt like minutes.
A bow that signaled the end of Christmas Eve.
And the beginning of the longest night of the year.
Waiting for hours.

That feel like days.
For morning to arrive.

When we all learn what Santa delivered.

I'm hoping for the Chihuahua.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two Tickets to Paradise (City)

Appetite for Destruction.
The greatest album of all-time.
The best.
The 1987 debut from Guns N’ Roses was off the charts.
Actually it was on the charts.
The top of the charts.
#1 for four weeks in 1988.
But from where I’m sitting, it deserved better than that.
From the first note of Welcome to the Jungle.
To the last note of Rocket Queen.
Start to finish there is nothing better.
Throw in Nightrain.
Mr. Brownstone.
Paradise City.
Sweet Child o’ Mine.
And you’ve got a classic.
And that’s just half the album.
The other half is just as good.
Even if I can’t remember the names.
24 years later, it still sounds fresh.
And new.
And awesome.
My love for GNR goes way beyond the first album though.
I have them all.
Use Your Illusion.
One and two.

The Spaghetti Incident.
I’ve got a live bootleg.
A bootleg of covers.
Yes, I’d say I’m a fan.
So much of a fan that when I heard that Guns N’ Roses was out on a concert tour.
A friend and I ran to get tickets.
This was a show I wasn’t about to miss.
Even though the specifics were less than perfect.
School night.
Hour away from the house.
Show starts at nine.
At night.
And Guns N’ Roses was the third band.
Not to mention that this Guns N’ Roses only had one thing in common with the real Guns N’ Roses.
The Roses part.
As in Axl Rose.
The lead singer of this super group is the only original member left in the band.
But since he’s the lead singer, I guess that’s ok.
It took 14 years of silence for Axl to put out the only GNR album without the old band.
And to be honest, it didn’t feel the same.
Or sound the same.
This wasn’t Guns N’ Roses.
This was Axl.
And a handful of other guys.
The concert was no different.
And a handful of other guys.
I was definitely skeptical about those other guys.
And what they would sound like.

For good reason.
Gone was Slash... and Duff... and Izzy... and Gilby.
Rocker names.
Replaced by Tommy... and Ron... and Frank.. and Chris.
Dentist names.
Can you see why I’d be skeptical?
Well that skepticism went away almost immediately.
Not only did this band sound the part.
But they looked it too.
They had more tattoos than the New York Knicks.
At times the show felt like a GNR band.
A GNR cover band.
At times it felt like I was watching Elvis.
In his jump-the-shark Vegas days.
But by the end of the night, this group of Who Are You N’ Roses had definitely won me over.
And it wasn’t just the gimmicks.
Sure they had high-shootin’ flames.
Indoor fireworks.
And the fresh smell of marijuana.
But it was the rock n’ roll music that kept me going.
Axl looked the same.
Danced the same.
And sounded the same.
They had three different guys playing lead guitar.
Including one guy wearing a top hat.
And smoking a cigarette.
Slash are you listening?
And everybody in the band got to play the solo of their choice before a song.
Everything from Pink Floyd.
To Pink Panther.
The band took the stage straight up at 11 o’clock.
At night.
Straight up.
I checked my phone.
After leading off with “Chinese Democracy.”
The title song from the “new” album.
The time machine quickly moved back to the late 80’s.
In fact, 18 of the 25 songs they played were from back in the day.
And every time they played a song from the new album.
They were kind enough to flash Chinese symbols on the big screen.
A perfect cue for the crowd to sit down.
Or go to the bathroom.
The main set ended at 1:30 in the morning.
With all the “Good Night” and “We Love You” stuff.
At 1:31 they came back for the encore.
I’m really not sure why they do that.
Especially at 1:30 in the morning.
But nobody asked me.
The show continued for another half hour.
And when the final note of Paradise City faded out at 2:02.

In the AM.

I was spent.

Three Hours.

And Two Minutes.


An amazing show.

Enough to whet anyone's appetite.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Waking is the Hardest Part

My phone started buzzing at 5:30 this morning.
As it always does.
That was followed by...

All aboard!
a'ight, a'ight, a'ight, a'ight (echo)
That’s the beginning of Crazy Train.
By Ozzy Osbourne.
My own personal ring tone.
The sound I wake up to every morning.
I set my alarm for 5:30.
So I can leave the house by 6.
And be on the elliptical machine by 6:30.
That’s the goal.
Every morning.
That’s the result.
Many mornings.
Some days are a little slower out of the block than others.
But the good news is I usually get the gym four or five mornings a week.
Actually, we get to the gym four or five mornings a week.
My 12-year-old son and I.
Now I consider myself a pretty good negotiator.
I credit it to my many years of playing fantasy sports.
But talking a 12-year-old boy into getting up at 5:30.
Four or five times a week.
To work out.
Now that's quite the challenge.
At first I just asked if he wanted to go.
Guess how that turned out.
Then I hinted that I thought it would be good for him.
Strike 2.
This is where it gets dicey.
One more strike and I’m out.
So instead of taking a risk, I went for the sure thing.
A sports analogy.
That’s what we do.
I asked him how many times Michael Phelps cursed at his mom when she woke him up at 4:00am to go to swim class.
For a brief moment I wondered if this was where he was going to throw a shoe at me.
Or if he was actually going to bite the hook.
Fortunately when I looked him deep in the eye, I could see the light.
The light from where the light bulb had gone on.
I knew I had him.
I told him that Michael probably cursed at her EVERY day.
Maybe even twice a day.
But she believed in his ability and recognized that he had the opportunity to be special.
And nothing was going to get in the way of that.
I told him I see the same thing in him.
That was a few months ago.
And for a few months we’ve been working out together.
Almost every day.
Not exactly P90X.
Not even p9x.
It’s a handful of weight machines.
Abs, delts, pecs, lats, traps, arms, legs.... whatever. 
Followed by a half-hour (or so) on the elliptical.
We’ve got a workout.
Some days our workout qualifies as “something is better than nothing.”
Other days I actually break a sweat.
But everyday is great.
Me and my boy.
Just the two of us.
Building castles in the sky.
Just the two of us.
I’m not so sure I have a Michael Phelps on my hands.
But the fact that he is still going is a victory in itself.
And he seems to be sincerely enjoying himself.
Which is a bonus.
Not to mention he has mastered the face of looking like he is lifting 2500 pounds.
When it’s only 25.
I should know.
I invented that face.
While the results in the gym are certainly paying off, it’s the entire morning that is special for me. 
The discussions we have on the car ride to the gym are nothing short of perfect.
An uninterrupted conversation between a boy.
And his dad.
Take that Harry Chapin.
Sure, there has been more than a morning where there’s been no conversation at all.
I credit that to the pitch-dark departure.
But those rides are just as heavenly.
I split my time 50-50.
Between watching the road.
And watching my son sit next to me.
Nothing more peaceful than that.
Nothing more perfect than that.
Who knew that working out could be so much fun.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm a Tebowliever

Let me begin with this disclaimer.
I am a huge fan of the Oakland Raiders.
And that’s what this team does to its fans.
It kills us.
Yes, we have won three Super Bowls.
But the last one happened when I was in high school.
And lets just say that the silver in my hair has nothing do with the Raiders colors.
Good or bad I haven’t missed a game all year.
Including last week’s disaster in Miami.
This week’s disaster in Green Bay.
And next week’s disaster against Detroit.
But we will bounce back.
We always do.
And then we will lose again.
We always do that too.
Screw the box of chocolates.
Life is like the Raiders.
You never know what you’re gonna get.
Win or lose, they are my Raiders.
And they’ve got my unconditional love.
But reality is reality.
Whatever we had going for us a few weeks ago.
Is gone.
Long gone.
The way things are going right now, there’s a better chance of me running a marathon.
Both ways.
In a snowstorm.
Than there is the Raiders making the playoffs.
The same can’t be said for the rival Denver Broncos.
It was really cute two months ago when their lovable lefty quarterback pulled out a miracle win against the Dolphins.
But then he did it again.
Against the Raiders.
And the Chiefs.
And the Jets.
And the Chargers.
And the Vikings.
But what happened on Sunday against the Bears was nothing short of divine interception.
Ok, it was a fumble.
But you get the point.
Houdini would’ve blushed at the way this game finished.
This ending was so far fetched, I thought I was watching the Buffalo Wild Wings commercial.
Tim Tebow is far from perfect when it comes to playing a football game.
But when it comes to talking the right game, he is a Hall of Famer.
I could go on all day.
I’ve got bookmarked.
Now as a disciple of the Lox, Eggs & Onions, I could do without all his “my lord and savior” stuff.
But when you’ve pulled out more miracles than Elijah you can praise any one you want.
There’s no question that Tim Tebow’s recent success has opened many eyes around the country.
But thanks to my friend Jon, I knew about this train way before it left the station.
Almost a decade ago Jon told me about this home-schooled high school kid in his Jacksonville neighborhood.
The next big thing.
But even after winning a National Championship.
As a freshman.
A Heisman Trophy.
As a sophomore.
Another National Championship.
As a Junior.
Being selected 25th out of the 255 players in the 2010 draft.
Tim Tebow was still considered nothing more than a joke.
But who’s laughing now.
The Broncos have won seven of their last eight games with Tebow under center.
They are locked in first place.
On the verge of making the playoffs.
Tim Tebow is as legit as M.C. Hammer.
As a Raiders fan, it’s been difficult to watch.
But thanks to my friend David, everything is getting more in focus.
Like me, David is a Raiders fan.
And like me, we both hope there’s one of them miracles ahead for the Silver and Black.
We spoke last week after the Broncos last second win in Minnesota moved them into a first place tie with our team.
When David heard the woe is me in my voice, he knew it was time to bring out some Tebow-style inspiration.
David told me that because of his undying love for the Lakers and the Dodgers.
He spent his childhood hating Pete Rose and Larry Bird.
Instead of appreciating their genius.
Now as a much more mature sports fan, he wasn’t going to let that happen again.
The Raiders are still #1 in his heart.
But instead of rooting against everything Broncos.
He is sincerely enjoying a phenomenon that we have never seen before.
And may never see again.
He is a Tebowliever.
I knew exactly where he was coming from on the whole Rose/Bird thing.
To this day, I get sick every time I think of John Elway or Graig Nettles or Jack Clark or ...
I could go on.
But the point is, what we are seeing with the Broncos right now is nothing short of ... miraculous.
And rooting against Tim Tebow just because of the color of his... 
uniform... rooting against everything that is right with sports.

Enjoy the ride.

Go Raiders!