Oreos, Deflated Balls, and Justin Bieber

Why do those three totally unrelated topics seem to fit together so well? Let us start with Oreos. Red Velvet is here, a red-tinged chocolaty cookie with a cream cheese-type filling instead of the traditional filling. These cookies are set to hit stores nationwide on February 2, Groundhog Day. This does not mean I’ll make a hog out of myself, but I am planning on following the delivery truck and stockpiling since the Red Velvet Oreo will be sold only for six to eight weeks. While much to the horror of many, I’m sure, I have never been a big Oreo fan, but this one I will try.

Before we get to Justin Bieber, let us speak for a minute about deflated balls (now stay with me and don’t get confused. I mean footballs, of course). Even non-sports fans must have heard about this story. The NFL discovered that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used to trounce the Colts were underinflated by 2 pounds. Imagine 32 ounces of pigskin making a 45-7 win possible when in fact the Patriots would have won 21-7 if all they had were LeGarrette Blount’s 3 rushing touchdowns. That’s rushing, not throwing and catching, but rushing, as in running and running. In high school our coach use to throw what felt like rocks at us in practice because it got us ready for regulation footballs, which were somewhat softer and easier to catch than the hard ones in practice.  Softer footballs, which are also easier to intercept if you can get your hands on them, wouldn’t explain this 38-point difference. Cheating is cheating, though, and there will be more on that in the podcast.

Now from deflated balls to no, er, what is the word?  Hmm. Ah, nuts. Comedy Central is going to roast Justin Bieber. It’s unclear whether he will be skewered first, but one can always hope. It seems the Biebe has always wanted to be skewered, I mean roasted, and Comedy Central said the only reason it hasn’t been done yet is there was not enough material until now. The date has not been set, but I have a line for the roasting: when Justin lays an egg, he throws it at his neighbor’s house (crowd erupts with laughter, Bieber cackles).

I have no idea what else will be on the shores of Rambling Harbor, but join me there and we’ll find out together.




Winter and the Lonely Surfer

It’s mid-January at Rambling Harbor, and it seems as if the sun has not shown in months. We rejoice if the temperatures break the freezing mark. Me, I’ve been playing surfing music, Jimmy Buffett and any other tropical tunes I can think of. A mile from my home is the part of the beach that has the best waves, and even on a 10-degree day, with colder wind chill, you will still see some lonely soul either waiting for a wave, or just waiting, and I start reminiscing.

The dark night is a lonely time, and I hate it. My favorite time to be on the ocean was always the evening, and I would sit next to the calm sea, sun fading behind me. I would sit waiting for the ocean to erupt into a massive, raging wall of water that would be so demanding of my body and mind that I would have no time to feel alone or dread the night, and I would ride it. Ignoring it was not an option, and dying was always a possibility.

Many times my best surfing was when the ocean was calm. I would go out when the likelihood of good waves did not exist. I wanted the calmness. I could surf the universe in my mind, the dreams, the fears, and the unknown—sit on the water and barrel through the clouds in the sky. The ocean was and always will be the expression of the mysterious, especially at night. I wanted the depths of the darkness to talk to me, the ocean, the endless unknown ocean, where I could hear the splash of life. A porpoise? A fish? A shark?  I knew there were no answers to the night sounds of the waters around me. I would feel a stir beneath my feet, a few small fish or a squid or maybe something larger out for an evening meal. The ocean scared me and yet lured me back again and again, especially at dusk. As the night grew darker, the ocean and its hidden mysteries grew deeper, more daring, daring me to stay a minute longer and wait to see what danger there might be. To me, life was made solid, tangible, won or lost on a quick ride. Like the mysteries of life, as I sat there alone, I could absorb the loss of certainty, almost touch it, hold it, and I could sink or swim, no longer a metaphor but a fact. If a wave came I could rise or fall, retaining some control, always a choice I liked.

What about the actual surfing?  In those days most surfboards were made of Koa, a wood found in Hawaii. The original boards, called papahe'enalu in the native language, measured from 8 feet to 15 feet long and were very heavy. There is nothing like the feeling of a tube ride, hearing only the roar of the ocean as the wave breaks over your head, alone, against one of the mightiest forces ever created. You cannot control it. The best you can hope for is to ride the waves to the safety of land. Sometimes they will spin you around like a piece of cloth in a giant washer and slam your body against the bottom, knocking the breath out of you. You know at that instant that in some small way you have come face-to-face with death, but you rise to the top and let the rest of the wave carry you home.

There’s more on the safe shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.




R&B, Hip-Hop, and Taylor Swift

I would like to explain myself. Notice I said I would like to. The desire to explain myself happens rarely and never lasts very long because by the time I finish explaining myself I have changed a great deal and have to start over. Also, I already seem to be channeling the great verbal befuddler Yogi Berra again, hobbled by a brain freeze due in part to the 0 degree temperature outside the cabin here at Rambling Harbor—ZERO, as in goose egg, zip, and nada—along with a wind chill factor of -21 degrees.  Right now, I have the Boomtown Rats tune “Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)” running through my head, and it’s 3 a.m.

But I’ll try to explain myself. Last week I pretty much ripped apart Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as being one-sided, apparently paid for by every R&B and hip-hop manager in the world, if the performers, except Taylor Swift, were any indication.

The target audience for R&B and hip-hop, according to radio statistics, is teenagers and young adults, ages 16-25, both male and female, who tune in to Radio 1Xtra, KISS radio, and MTV Base, among other stations. They shop at places like Nike, Adidas, Hugo Boss, Prada, and Giorgio Armani and wear trendy, high fashion clothes like models on the covers of magazines. These were the people viewers saw on the broadcast, which prompted the question I asked in my blog and podcast last week: was anyone over the age of 30 celebrating New Year’s Eve in the good old U. S. of A.?

Personally I am not a hip-hop fan, though as with all music I can find parts I do like. I like my music on the rocks, so to speak, so after devoting 4 hours to R&B and hip-hop waiting to see Taylor Swift, who was the headliner but came on last, I have to ask, was this one-sided, or did I miss something?

Hear more thoughts on the rockin’ shore of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.


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