Rick's Head

Evolution, not Revolution.

Lost Hope

leave a comment »

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but today seems like the day to scratch out a few words. I’ve had a huge lump in my throat for the last few days, and I’ve found myself frequently wiping my eyes as I read the news.

Jacob Wetterling disappeared about two months before Jen and I were married in 1989. It had such large coverage in the papers and on TV. As the story played out, it transitioned from a rescue, to a recovery, to an advocacy movement. Patti’s face was everywhere. She was fierce and persistent. I don’t know if she knew that her son’s disappearance would forever changed how we deal with child predators, not only in Minnesota, but across the nation. Even if she did, she would not have cared. This was personal.

And now the monster has been arrested, told his story, and been sentenced, all in the short span of five short days. As a parent – a dad – I am brokenhearted. I feel ill, angry, and so sad. I think about the family and the distraught state they are in. I think about the community, still stunned and in disbelief over what happened in their backyard. Most of all, I think of Jacob.

I read the testimony that came out of the hearing today, and it took me to a new depth of horror and sadness. I think about an eleven-year-old boy – I’ve had two of them – and how he must have been feeling at the time, in a state of shock – scared, confused, and alone with no one to protect him. How, with a bit of guilt in my heart, I feel relief that he died quickly, that he did not suffer over an extended period of time as so many other kids do. Beginning to end, it was all over in just a few hours.

For the family though it has gone on much longer. I’ve read many comments on the case since Thursday that say similar things.

Now the family can start the healing process.

Now there is closure.

Now we know the truth.

It is over, and there is solace in knowing that.

Now we can move forward.

These comments are well-intended – I understand that – but they are such bullshit. Knowing the truth does not make it better because the truth is horrifying. Knowing what happened to Jacob does not make it better. It makes it far worse. It amplifies the horror. It changes it from a series of hypothetical scenarios to actual, fact-based storyline that you can play back in your mind over and over and imagine what your child must have been living and feeling in those final moments.

I grieve for Jacob, but my heart is with mom and dad tonight. They’ve lived 27 years keeping a glimmer of light that things would turn out ok, and that was crushed last Thursday and made vivid today. The family is getting this new and real today, after 27 years of hope. There is no closure. There is no moving forward. The only hope left is that you can get up and put your feet on the floor again tomorrow.

The most hopeless part of this is that realization that there is nothing anyone could have done to prevent any of this from happening. These were just ordinary folks living their lives. This is the sad fact that we must all accept: While we can hope not to accidentally stumble onto a monster’s path, the truth is: The Monsters live among us.

To Jacob, I hope you knew much much you were loved. To the rest of the Wetterlings, I am so sorry. May you find whatever peace you can.

Written by Rick

September 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Posted in News, Personal

Reflections from Asbury Park

leave a comment »

At 49 years old, my first Springsteen concert is in the books, and I need to process what I have just witnessed.
The Hype: The guy who sold me a beer before the show asked me “have you seen Springsteen before”? After I replied No that this was my first time, he replied “well you are in for a real treat”. The dude had wicked BO so it was hard for me to focus on our interaction at the time, but later I understood. I had very high expectations heading into the show, perhaps too high. I can safely say my expectations were exceeded.
The River: The first two hours of the show were dedicated to The River, the 1980 album that he described as his “first adult record”. I didn’t know how that was going to go, given that I only know maybe a third of the 21 songs. When we saw Stevie Wonder perform “Songs in the Key of Life” there were many moments when I found myself looking at my watch. This didn’t happen with The River. Sure, there were a couple songs that made good bathroom-break material, but overall, viewed as a complete work, beginning to end, I found it to be very engaging, sometimes moving, and occasionally extraordinary. It didn’t matter at all that we knew so few of the songs from that record.
After The River: When “The River” portion of the show ended, he gave his band and the audience about 20 seconds to gather themselves before launching into Badlands. The transition was breathtaking and thrilling. He then played for another 90 minutes, knocking out one huge song after another. I love The Rising, and was very happy to have the opportunity to see it live. The six-song encore was perhaps the finest, most intense and entertaining 30 minutes I’ve ever seen in any concert.
The Boss: Bruce himself, at 66, is an amazing physical specimen. He basically did three-and-a-half hours of continuous calisthenics, bouncing across the stage, side-to-side, and front-to-back. He fell back into the audience and crown-surfed for 40 feet during Hungry Heart, still holding his microphone and singing up to the ceiling. He brought a 91-year old lady and a teenage girl on stage to dance with him during Dancing in the Dark. I’ve never seen any performer put out that much energy on stage. Never…not even close.
The Band: With the possible exception of Nils Lofgren, there are no virtuosos in The E Street Band. Individually, they are fine musicians. Collectively, however, they are the finest rock-and-roll ensemble out there. When The Boss describes his band as “the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking, booty-shaking, love-making, earth-quaking, Viagra-taking, justifying, death-defying, legendary E Street Band” he is not overselling anything at all. Wow. Wow. Wow.
OK, I Get it Now: At the beginning of the show, after the lights came down, Bruce greeted the crowd with a “…are you ready to be entertained? Are you ready to testify? Are you ready to be transformed?” The crowd was clearly ready to do all of these things, but it was at the end where I truly understood what he meant. Had I been transformed? Hell yes I’d been transformed. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at a live show the same way again. It was an exhilarating and, yes, transformative experience. I was left with two questions: Why did we wait so long to do that? When can we do that again?
Truest
Line of the Night: Jen, looking over at me, after another amazing moment, and saying “I think we are witnessing a genius.”
The setlist, for those of you who are interested in such things:
  1. Meet Me in the City
    — Beginning of The River —
  2. The Ties That Bind
  3. Sherry Darling
  4. Jackson Cage
  5. Two Hearts
  6. Independence Day
  7. Hungry Heart
  8. Out in the Street
  9. Crush on You
  10. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
  11. I Wanna Marry You
  12. The River
  13. Point Blank
  14. Cadillac Ranch
  15. I’m a Rocker
  16. Fade Away
  17. Stolen Car
  18. Ramrod
  19. The Price You Pay
  20. Drive All Night
  21. Wreck on the Highway
    — End of The River —
  22. Badlands
  23. No Surrender
  24. Prove It All Night
  25. Backstreets
  26. Because the Night (Patti Smith Group cover)
  27. The Rising
  28. Thunder Road
    — Encore —
  29. Born to Run
  30. Bobby Jean
  31. Dancing in the Dark
  32. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
  33. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out
  34. Shout (Isley Brothers cover)

Written by Rick

February 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

Posted in Like of the Day, Music

Secret Garden

leave a comment »

My first Springsteen show is nine days away, and I’ve been obsessing a bit over his body of music. I’ve discovered- they were new to me, anyway – so many musical gems.

This song is certainly no rarity, but it is rarely played live. It is a lovely piece of work that takes on a depth  on stage that I’d never expected.

Written by Rick

February 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Like of the Day

Hold Me Closer Tony Danza

leave a comment »

I’ve never watched James Corden’s television show, not one time. I have however subscribed to him on YouTube and have become quite fond of the Carpool Karaoke series. It’s a little like Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee series (also very entertaining), but with singing, lots of singing. If you have a chance to see the episode with Adele, it is, as the English would say, brilliant. This guy has a great gig.

My girl and I happened to see Captain Fantastic a couple of years ago. We purchased our tickets right before the show. They were marked as “obstructed view”, behind the stage. Of course we saw everything perfectly, and sang along with every song at the top of our lungs. It was a great night, for many reasons.

Written by Rick

February 8, 2016 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Like of the Day

Thunder Down Under

leave a comment »

I will be posting too many Springsteen-related items over the next 2-3 weeks, in anticipation of his show in Minneapolis on Feb 29.  This clip came from a show in Australia a couple of years ago.  This song was the very last of the night, as it often is with many of his shows. Everything laid bare and simple, and made more powerful because of that.

The screen door slams, Mary’s dress sways
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that’s me and I want you only
Don’t turn me home again, I just can’t face myself alone again
Don’t run back inside, darling, you know just what I’m here for
So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore
Show a little faith, there’s magic in the night
You ain’t a beauty but, hey, you’re alright
Oh, and that’s alright with me

You can hide ‘neath your covers and study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers, throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now, I ain’t no hero, that’s understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl, is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now?
Except roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair
Well, the night’s busting open, these two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back, heaven’s waiting on down the tracks

Oh oh, come take my hand
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it’s late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road

Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car’s out back if you’re ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door’s open but the ride ain’t free
And I know you’re lonely for words that I ain’t spoken
But tonight we’ll be free, all the promises’ll be broken

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets
They scre
am your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines rolling on
But when you get to the porch, they’re gone on the wind
So Mary, climb in
It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win

Written by Rick

February 6, 2016 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Like of the Day

If I Should Fall Behind

with one comment

I need to post more, so in between those times I feel inspired to write something, I’ll simply post something I like (or dislike).

I’ve been running through The Boss’s catalog in preparation for my first Springsteen concert in Feb 29. I revisited this little gem. The starkness of the video production contrasts with the beauty of the song in a really nice way. And it reminds me of my girl.

We said we’d walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we’re walkin a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we’d travel darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see
And I’ll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me

Written by Rick

February 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

Posted in Like of the Day, Music

Tagged with

In Memoriam: A Note From Bob

leave a comment »

Now that I have passed on to the great beyond and possess otherworldly superpowers, I have written my own obituary.

I passed away peacefully in my sleep, in the early hours of November 7, 2015. I will be remembered mostly for my barking, my big body on skinny legs (I am NOT a Whippet, for God’s sake), and barking. I enjoyed warm places to sleep, food, and incessantly warning my humans of their impending doom, by barking. I was named for famous television personality Bob Barker. Even though I never met him, I heard he is very fertile – much more than me – particularly since the whole neutering thing happened (thanks a lot for that, by the way). The humans called me Bobby, except when they were too tired or lazy to say the whole thing, and then it was just Bob.

I was preceded in death by the mean/bitchy meow-thing (Penny), wussy/boring meow-thing (Critter), teeny/frail meow-thing (Sally), and nice/weirdo meow-thing (Harriman). To all of my long-gone frenemies, it makes me very happy to know that I outlived you all. That fact puts a smile on my face, and now that I am once again fully-abled, a happy wag to my tail. My smile is even better now that I have all of my teeth back. Wherever it is that we all are right now, please don’t look me up.

To the surviving red menace, The Ginger, the orange meow-thing, I say sayonara and good riddance, even though you didn’t completely suck. I forgive you for all of the times you randomly bitch-slapped me for no reason other than I was a dog. I forgive you for all of the times you entered my bubble and tried to snuggle with me. It was terrible. And ok. Sometimes. Not really. Most of all, I ask that you take care of the humans now that I am gone. I can no longer bark at things on their behalf, and you seem to have their confidence. I know you are worthless because you cannot bark, but the least you can do is to grimace menacingly at things with your snotty, mangled, deformed face. It just might be scary enough to ward off evil. It’s all on you now. Soldier on, you disgusting beast.

To my humans, I say thanks for giving me a good life, enough to eat, a soft place to lie down, and a forum to do what I did best: Bark. I’m sorry for all of times I pooped on your floor, pissed on your rug, or inconveniently barfed on something that you value. I understand why sometimes you had to yell at me, and there are no hard feelings. You handled all of that with incomparable grace, and I thank you.

To Young The He, thank you for being exceedingly kind and nice to me. I knew you less time than the others, but in our almost 13 years together, I grew quite fond of you. I liked how you talked nice to me and petted me, even though I know you like the orange meow-thing a little bit more than me, for reasons I’ll never completely fathom. You are a sweet, kind boy. I will miss seeing who you will grow up to be, but whoever that is, I know you will be extraordinary.

To Older The He, I knew you my whole life. You were only 4 when we met. You were a little, blond touslely-haired thingy, and now you are a big hairy thingy. I’m sorry I was never much for fetching the ball, but I appreciate you playing with me nonetheless. I loved all the naps we took together, especially when we were both little. I have watched you grow up to be a fine, decent, kind young man. I know my leaving is hard for you, but both of us are going to be ok. I’m very proud of you. You are at the beginning of an amazing adventure. Go out and be great.

To Other The He, I know you loved me even though you were frequently crabby with me. Thanks for paying for all of the things. Thanks for putting food in my bowl. Thanks for loving my people and taking good care of them. Thanks for doing your best to help me here at the end when I was a hot mess. And that time at the PetSmart when I unloaded a quart of Bob’s Finest on your favorite pair of Sebagos? Do you remember that time? I do, and I would totally do that again if I had another chance. That was the best. What a great day. May you live a long life with dry shoes, mon frère.

To The She, I don’t know where to start. We have been constant companions for 17 years. You let me follow you from room-to-room for all of that time. I’m sure it was annoying sometimes, but you never once complained. You let me sit next to you wherever you were, even when I smelled very bad because I snacked from the meow-thing box. You always talked nice to me, always put a blanket on me (we both get cold, don’t we?), even when I was a pain-in-the-ass, or put my bodily fluids on something, or was just inconvenient. I never felt more loved than when I was with you. You were my whole world. Thanks for being my person. I know this is all very hard for you, and that you are terribly sad, but don’t be that way for too long. You gave me a great life, and that is what you should be thinking about. I love you.

To everyone else, thanks for letting me bark at you so hard and so loud and so long that I nearly passed out. I cherish those memories. If I was annoying, I’m sorry not sorry. If I pooped on or near you, or peed, or barfed in your general vicinity, I’m actually am really sorry. These things happen. Thanks for understanding.

I guess that’s it. It was a good ride. Thanks for all of it.

Always be good to one another, and Bark On.

Bobby

Written by Rick

November 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Personal