Wake Me Up For Meals

Steph and I sing to our babies pretty much every day. It’s the usual stuff, you know – Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus…..all the classics. Usually their reaction is to just rock back-and-forth and smile, a lot. If I have the IPod going in the background, I’ll sing whatever song is on. Yesterday, however, marked the first day one of the boys perked up when the IPod was on shuffle and started doing something as close to dancing as a 1-year-old can do.

The boy was Nathan and for those of you that know us, you know how to describe him. Always moving. A total spaz. Occasional pest and villain of toys to his sweet-natured brother, Zachary. The song, you ask? Warren Zevon’s “Mr. Bad Example.” I said to Steph, “I really hope this isn’t some kind of sign.”

The lyrics:

I started as an alter boy, working at the church
Learning all my holy moves, doing some research
Which led me to a cash box, labeled “Children’s Fund”
I’d leave the change, and tuck the bills inside my cumberbund

I got a part-time job at my father’s carpet store
Laying tackless stripping, and housewives by the score
I loaded up their furniture, and took it to Spokane
And auctioned off every last naugahyde divan

I’m very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
I’m proud to be a glutton, and I don’t have time for sloth
I’m greedy, and I’m angry, and I don’t care who I cross

I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I’ll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

Of course I went to law school and took a law degree
And counseled all my clients to plead insanity
Then worked in hair replacement, swindling the bald
Where very few are chosen, and fewer still are called

Then on to Monte Carlo to play chemin de fer
I threw away the fortune I made transplanting hair
I put my last few francs down on a prostitute
Who took me up to her room to perform the flag salute

Whereupon I stole her passport and her wig
And headed for the airport and the midnight flight, you dig?
And fourteen hours later I was down in Adelaide
Looking through the want ads sipping Fosters in the shade

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman’s comp and pauperized the lot

I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
I’ll live to be a hundred and go down in infamy

I bought a first class ticket on Malaysian Air
And landed in Sri Lanka none the worse for wear
I’m thinking of retiring from all my dirty deals
I’ll see you in the next life, wake me up for meals

Something Please Stop Us

So I drop the kids off at daycare this morning and I need to go to the supermarket because we’re out of orange juice. Orange juice is a must in our household. Both of us drink Tropicana Premium with calcium, but I have to buy two anyway because Steph doesn’t like pulp and I like my OJ to be almost soupy with pulp. Pulp makes it rock!

Anyway, I walk into the place and I’m psyched because REM is playing on the sound system! “Wow,” I think, “hip store!” Next song: Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” My heart sinks. My guts churn. This is the second worst song of all time. What’s first, you ask? “We Built This City,” by……Starship. Yes, I think I might believe wholeheartedly that Starship has made the TWO worst songs of all time. That’s quite a feat.

I’ve been devouring the book about Warren Zevon, written by his ex-wife Crystal. What a great read. It’s one of those deals where it’s simply a collection of stories that walk through the timeline of Zevon’s life, cut short by cancer at the age of 56. Just about everyone contributes – Jackson Browne, Waddy Wachtel, nearly all of his wives, mistresses and girlfriends and his kids. The stuff from his kids is most heartbreaking, although he made some amends. Of course, I am a huge fan of Zevon’s work and have been since my early high school years. This book doesn’t paint him as anything but a totally fucked up guy with some serious issues. Which, by the way, is what he wanted – an honest fist-clencher on a book. Which it is. Pretty captivating stuff that has me wincing, laughing and feeling sad at some parts.

The book also made me whip out the smoking hot Stand In The Fire, the live album that was just re-released last year. This has got to be one of the top 5 live albums in existence. Zevon – kind of a dickhead, but boy did he ever bring it on stage. Holy crap!

He Ain’t Been Right Since Vietnam

Time for a quick sample of some music I’ve been digging lately.

I clearly came late to the Josh Ritter party. I’ve been hearing about him for years now from various friends and I think I heard one song a few years back that I didn’t care for, so I didn’t give him another shot. Bad Jeff. Bad, bad Jeff. Ritter is a singer/songwriter who crafts excellent songs and makes most of them feel rather timeless. Here’s “Right Moves.”


I’m finding it hard to believe that Warren Zevon has been gone five years already. It seems like just yesterday when I’d tune into Letterman to see his yearly appearance, which would almost always be terrific. It seems like just yesterday when I saw his last appearance on Letterman, where Dave devoted pretty much the entire show to Zevon. Well, “Stand in the Fire” came out a little bit ago and it’s a positively KILLER live album. Warren Zevon will never die! Here’s “Play It All Night Long”


Finally, a little local band called Drug Rug from the Boston area is starting to make a little noise. Think Sonny & Cher for the new millennium. Their voices don’t soar, their instruments are not expertly played, but there’s still something totally delicious about their music. It’s infectious. Fun. Here’s “The Sound Alone”


Enjoy! Would love to hear your thoughts via the comments.

Hurry Home Early….

Whatever happened to boxing, anyway? Up until about 1992 or thereabouts, boxing was just HUGE. When I was in grade school and high school, whenever Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Ray Mancini, Larry Holmes or even Mike Tyson fought, it was an EVENT. Those Leonard-Duran fights – was there better sports theatre than those fights? You just didn’t miss it, no questions asked. Nowadays, there’s no excitement at all about any boxing matches. I can’t even name the heavyweight champion of the world and I think many others would be hard-pressed to do so. Now, you might respond by saying that perhaps my tastes have simply changed and I’m not dialed in like I used to be. I actually don’t think so. I think what boxing lacks these days are the true gatekeepers – the guys who were not just excellent boxers, but personalities with marketing potential. I think Sugar Ray was pitching Sprite for a while! (Quick search proves me wrong: it was 7-Up he did commercials for.)

Anyway, I DO know that I can get into boxing. I came across a match one night while I was flipping channels and I was entranced by two no-names slugging the living hell out of each other. Seriously – I had nothing invested in either of these guys and there I was on the couch, biting my nails and holding my breath. So it’s still in me. I just need someone to latch onto and it’s not Oscar De La Hoya, so don’t tell me that. Is there another young Mike Tyson out there (the BOXER, not the person) that will put boxing back on the map? Or is it really all about Ultimate Fighting or whatever that is?

The great Warren Zevon wrote a song about Boom Boom Mancini back in his glory days. Here he is performing it on Letterman back in 1997. Love the guitar riffs in this and also love the song because I remember each and every one of the fights Zevon is singing about in each verse. Great stuff. What happened to boxing?