Mustache Friday

Tom Selleck.   Hulk Hogan.   White Goodman.   Ben Wilder.

What do these four men have in common? A fairly common case of Awesomeupper Lipness. For seven days I wore a mustache with as much commitment as I could muster. Consider it an experiment in social acceptance. Here are a few reactions I got from people:

Nice ‘stache.

Are you trying to get on the government’s watch list? Because you’re creeping out Amber.

*applause*  I’m applauding the mustache… manly.

Oh, damn… that’s deisel!

Magnum.

Are you trying out for the Police Academy?

I think I saw you on “How To Catch A Predator” last night.

Have you been watching “Three Men and A Baby”? What inspired this?

Honey, come over here. (mother commanding young daughter near me at a yard sale)

Ben, you have some dirt— *points finger to upper lip*

You kinda look like Tom Selleck. *followed by ‘not-a-compliment’ laughter*

What are you doing? (me to myself in the mirror)

*A nod and a wave from another guy with a mustache*

I’ll still hang out with you, it doesn’t matter.

You should grow it out.

Slow down, ‘stache.

Ben Selleck.

I like your mustache.

Birth control.

The Dude abides.

This is not the first time I’ve grown a mustache, however I was more commited this time, and spent more time making it look the best it could. Suprisingly, I never heard these comments:

That mustache is hot.

Hey manly man, take me out on a date and make my whole life worthwhile.

If I said your mustache was awesome, would you hold it against my lips?

If your mustache was money, it would be a thousand dollar bill!

Wow, Tom Selleck looks like you.

Did Chuck Norris scare the rest of your beard away?

*after seeing me, girl to current boyfriend*   We’re done.

*after seeing me, girl to current boyfriend*   See? Now that’s a man.

*after seeing me, girl thinks about current boyfriend*   Am I settling?

His upper lip is partying like it’s 1989.

Does that policeman know he’s awesome?

Is he punching through glass because he can or because he can?

Move Me, Baby!

One observation I’ve made about Christian radio stations has really started to bother me… most of the music they play is deep, introspective, and self-denying. I support the mission of having positive, uplifting music as an option on the radio. I’m not knocking the radio stations. Deep, introspective, self-denying songs are great but do they all have to be so thought-provoking? I like to look inward and take personal inventory just as much as the next guy, but I’d be headed for a mental breakdown if this type of music were all I was listening to.

Sometimes the brain needs a break and lots of times the heart just needs to beat, not bleed. Perhaps that’s why I find my playlist full of the most random songs. For example, my most recent playlist includes:

Rock & Roll – Eric Hutchinson
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
Good People – Jack Johnson
Freedom – Amos Lee
The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega
Bad (Live) – U2
Christmas Canon Rock – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Good Good End – Waterdeep
Jump Around – House of Pain
Made To Love – TobyMac
Oh What A World – Rufus Wainwright
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
Awful Beautiful Life – Darryl Worley
Say Hey (I Love You) – Michael Franti
Body Language – Jesse McCartney
Ridin’ Dirty – Chamillionaire
Paradise City – Guns and Roses

We all have depth at some level and it’s true that our souls long for music that moves us. But we also need music that can make us move!

Mumford & Sons:

Zac Brown Band:

Why Does X Go First?

Does anyone know why X always goes before O in Tic Tac Toe? Here are a few theories, in order of those with most public support…

Conan O’Brien recently marked his next target, George Lopez, by putting an X on his back!

because X is the Xavior of the alphabet.

because O doesn’t mark the spot.

hugs always come before kisses (xoxo).

because O is never associate with a good reaction… “Oh geez!” “Oh gosh!” “Oh no!” “Oh boy.” “Oh wow, that smells.” “Oh well.” “Uh oh.”

because the Executive Officer (XO) made the strategy “X first” mandatory, with approval from the CO, of course.

because of the previous administration’s goal: “no X left behind”.

the Big Bang Theory banged an X first.

the O’s are well-known for hiding behind the X’s when Chuck Norris is looking at them.

Never “O first,” it just makes an ox out of you and me.

X’s love attention. Just look how many divorced couples always talk about the X!

O’s were first until the landmark case of X vs. Tinklefern, 1963.

O is the home team, so X’s bat first.

The O is always opening the door, sending flowers, sending sweet texts, and letting X go through the buffet line first. Such a gentleman!

and without checking wikipedia, any idea why a tie is called a “cat’s game”?

Will You Accept This Prose?

If dating were only as easy as The Bachelor makes it seem! The show is more of a scientific experiment than it is a true attempt at finding love. That’s why when you include the unknown variable, the X factor called “life,” the experiment most often blows up.

Jake Pavelka

If you can prove the success rate of that show is higher than the number of Yanni discs you have in your collection, then I will be a little more optimystique (optimism + still a little confused on where they mysteriously find the contestants for The Bachelor). Until then, I will have the sincerest devotion to the old-fashioned romantic moments I hear about when my parents or grandparents tell me how their stories began.

In my time, though, dating is a little different from theirs. Only slightly different because although the form or fashion in which relationships happen has changed dramatically (with the onslaught of social sites on the internet, ability to travel great distances quickly, revolution in sound technology, and, oh yeah, the internet!), the fundamentals of solid dating relationships remain the same: communication, common interests, mutual friends, keys to imagination and similar world views. The Bachelor includes one, maybe two of these fundamentals, and therefore, is starting behind the eight ball from the very beginning. The reason the success rate’s extremely low is because the relationships are formed in a controlled environment, just like an experiment. Once the show is over and the elements are introduced into the “real world,” the variables can no longer be controlled. Variables like career goals, family, location, ethnicity, and many more. To further my argument that dating is much harder than The Bachelor reveals, I give you… exhibit A: High School Ben Wilder.

My dating life got off to a slow start and to be perfectly honest, my first real kiss was in 10th grade. If I could tell you that secret with little to no embarrassment, then I’ve made progress in the 15 years gone by since. I often refer to my high school love life as “the private years” but again, to be perfectly honest, shrouding those years in privacy makes my love life sound so much more mysterious and exciting than it actually was. Tracy the softball player*. That’s who I kissed. Out of silence my love life burst into song!

Whether we were listening to “Sukiyaki” by 4 P.M. or the best of Yanni at the time, I can’t say. I was just happy it happened. A quick encouragement to readers patiently awaiting their first kiss: Hang in there and dare to dream!

To sum up, I hope these personal reflections of passion (I wouldn’t call my example of dating passionate, actually) help to prove the point that in dating, as in real life, sometimes you got to learn the hard way, not the live-on-television way. And yes I’m talking to you, too, Jake Pavelka. Vienna? Really? Reconsider Sheila Lidner (or return to suprise Ali Fedotowsky this season) before you tell Vienna, in one of your best Yanni voices, “niki nana.” However, if you end up marrying Vienna I’ll make a toast in celebration of life… and I’ll look up and whistle while I’m walking.

*I refer to Tracy’s love life in high school as “the chameleon days,” because I later found out she is now a lesbian. Hope it wasn’t because of me!

Boney M in Viet Nam

I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a green taxi cab in Hanoi, Vietnam.  I felt pretty good about this taxi for two reasons…

1. There was a plastic box over the meter tracking our distance and cost. This meant the driver was less likely to dishonestly tamper with the meter, deceiving us into paying more. My sister and her husband were in the back, holding their new daughter Ava (click here for her adoption video) who was born less than a year earlier in central Vietnam. The plastic guard put me at ease, but that wasn’t all that contributed to the happy good feeling.

2. The music playing on the car stereo. This particularly catchy song playing over the speakers had such a vintage, timeless feel. The lyrics were fantasticly odd, too, with lines about “a man in Russia long ago.” I couldn’t figure whether the song was a new hit by a band like the Scissor Sisters, or a 30-year-old classic. I later found out the song was called “Rasputin” and guess what, it was from the 1970s. I became the biggest fan of the group responsible for “Rasputin,” they’re name was Boney M. Who?

That’s right, I said it, Boney M. Click here to find their best songs, from Amazon: Greatest Hits

The more you say it the less you’ll feel weird saying it, I promise.

I researched Boney M (say it again!), Boney M, and discovered more of their famed history. Why hadn’t I heard them in the States? They must’ve been more popular in countries outside North America, however, they are closely linked to a well-known U.S. band from the late 1980s. They’re connection to this U.S. band is Frank Farian, Boney M’s creator and producer, who later produced the lip-sync kings we all know as Milli Vanilli. Some Milli Vanilli hits include, “Blame It on the Rain” and “Girl, You Know It’s True.”

Vietnam produced for me a niece and a new appreciation for the international stars of Boney M. Soon after returning to the U.S. from my two-week-long adventure in Vietnam, I found out a Christmas song is credited to Boney M, as well. The song called “Mary’s Boy Child/ Oh My Lord” continues to be a very popular holiday song to this day. Boney M’s hits include “Hooray! Hooray!,” “Rasputin,” “Rivers of Babylon,” “Ma Baker,” “Brown Girl in the Ring” and “Daddy Cool.”

Even in 2011, Boney M is a popular band around the world, their songs being introduced to younger generations through avenues like YouTube and iTunes. Just type in Boney M on YouTube and you’ll see they are just as popular as Celine Dion’s hit “My Heart Will Go On” (Ok, that’s another story for another posting!). It just goes to show that good music is good music, no matter what decade it is, what continent you’re on, or what color your taxi cab is.