Fuck you, snow.

If you can read this, please send help. I'm being held captive in a place where it SNOWS.

We’ve long ago established how much I detest winter, yes? Then you can imagine the joy that filled me near to bursting as I drove home from work in today’s blizzard.

It took me almost two-and-a-half hours to cover 13 miles. Most of that time was spent sitting at a dead stop … but the rare moments during which I was moving were made all the more lively by the exciting manner in which my tiny, little, 15-year-old, far-too-light, front-wheel-drive sled — er, car — spun its tires in place and made repeated overtures toward sliding off the roadway. (Granted, it would have had plenty of company.)

Fortunately, I grew up in Boston, where my friends and I spent every snowstorm of our teenage years perfecting our arctic stunt-driving skills … which is why, during today’s commute, I was able to narrowly maneuver my way out of some ugly moments that would have had most gamblers betting the farm on yours truly becoming one with a snowdrift.

As if the treacherous, unplowed roadways weren’t enough to deal with, this was one of those shitty, unyielding storms that makes everyone’s windshield wipers keep icing up. After reaching out the window several times to quickly bang the ice off the driver’s-side blade as it reached its apex (because I sure as shit wasn’t getting out of the car to do it), I employed my tried-and-true method of turning the heat all the way up with the fan maxed out on the “defrost” setting. Sure, it felt like I was sitting in a dry sauna for two hours and I was sweating my ass off by the time I got home … but every motherfucking snowflake that came within six inches of my windshield was vaporized before it could even think about clinging to my wiper blades. So there.

I'm not asking for much. I'll settle for a tastefully decorated beachside bungalow anywhere in the Caribbean.
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Posted in Winter | 11 Responses

In which I place far too much importance on winning tickets to Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash

I don’t let myself get my hopes up about anything that isn’t a complete and utter lock — mostly because I’m an emotionally fragile pussy who strives to avoid disappointment — but I was unable to keep from getting my hopes up about attending Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash in New York City later this month.

In a rare move, I let myself be openly optimistic. Howard first announced plans for the January 31st event back in mid-November … and I immediately booked a non-refundable hotel room in midtown Manhattan. I figured, worst case scenario, Wonder Woman and I get to have some more fun in New York City.

“Are you still going to be able to have a good time that night if we don’t get tickets?” she asked.

It’s almost like she knows me.

“Of COURSE I am, honey,” I lied through my fucking teeth.

And I tried to convince myself that I believed that lie … but I didn’t try all that hard, because I still felt confident that we’d get tickets. After all, I have a pretty spectacular track record of making this sort of shit work out (like that private Van Halen concert, for example).

When I didn’t win tickets via the initial SiriusXM subscriber lottery, I set my sights on the “Howard Stern Look-a-Like” contest on Facebook, for which I dug up a 13-year-old photo of Wonder Woman and me at a Halloween party disguised as Robin Quivers and Howard Stern.

DS & WW as Robin Quivers and Howard Stern

I’m the one on the right.

And I was positive — POSITIVE! — that I was going to be one of the four winners … so much so that I actually dared to speak aloud about the likelihood of my victory. And in return for that foolish act of hubris, I was swiftly and decisively kicked in the metaphorical balls. Four winners were picked, and I came in fifth. FIFTH! No victory. No celebration dance. Just the knowledge that I had come THIS CLOSE to scoring the most hard-to-get ticket of all time. Too bad, so sad, fuck off, The End.

The thing is, I had truly believed I was going to get tickets … and my disappointment after losing ran much deeper than the simple fact that I wasn’t going to be at the show.

As those of you who have read my “About” page already know, Howard Stern has been a significant figure in my life. I began listening to “The Howard Stern Show” show more than 20 years ago while serving as a military police K-9 handler in the U.S. Army, and it is largely because of my exposure to his show that I made the massive shift from a career in law enforcement to a career in writing (by way of a stint in college radio).

I know that Howard Stern is a polarizing figure, and I’m not going to waste my digital breath trying to change the minds of any among you who might have a negative opinion of him. Suffice to say, I do not concur. But, whatever your opinion of him may be, the important takeaway here is that Howard Stern has been my primary creative and professional inspiration for the past two decades. In addition to making me laugh and generally entertaining the hell out of me, he has represented to me the possibility of becoming a self-made success by using your creative talents, and of achieving that success by sticking to your creative vision … even when doing so means risking failure.

With all of that in mind, you hopefully can understand how, without consciously intending to do so, I had let the prospect of winning tickets to Howard’s birthday bash become for me the sign I needed in order to believe that, despite the major, unexpected and completely depressing detour my career has taken over the past few years, I still have “it” … I still have that little bit of magic that has helped make possible things like all of my amazing experiences with Van Halen and my subsequent dream job as a music journalist. And if I still have “it,” then maybe I can get back to believing in the prospect of the rewarding and creative career I had always envisioned for myself. Maybe I can stop feeling like I’ve already missed my chance, and stop feeling like I’ve been sentenced to Death by Cubicle.

Maybe I can get back to believing in the dreams I had for my life.

And, yes, I am fully aware that it sounds completely fucking insane to place that much significance on winning a pair of tickets to a show … but no one’s ever accused me of being the poster child for sanity.

Listen, I wasn’t actually banking the rest of my life on whether or not I won tickets to Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash, OK? But a win would have provided a much-needed ray of hope.

Bottom line: The loss really threw me for a loop.

The first time I listened to Howard’s show after losing, it stung like a bitch to hear him hyping the party. I seriously considered tuning out until February so I could avoid suffering daily multiple twistings of the knife in my heart.

And then, much to my surprise, another Facebook contest was posted, the theme of which was to create a birthday card for Howard. Short on hope, long on desperation, and fearful of opening myself up to another gut-wrenching loss, I recycled my previous entry, turned it into a birthday card, and carpet-bombed the entire fucking Internet by hounding every last person I could think of to “Like” it.

Our birthday card for Howard Stern

Because nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like a woman in blackface and
a dude making fun of your nose.
(For the uninitiated: The “Peace & Love” thing is an ongoing gag on the show.)

On Sunday afternoon, this showed up in my email:


Fuckin’ A. I’ve still got “it.”

Thank you all for tolerating my obnoxious campaign to win tickets … especially those of you who actually “Liked” and “Shared” the photo. I can assure you that no one was more annoyed, sickened and disgusted than I by my pathetic begging and kvetching.

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Posted in Howard Stern | 21 Responses

Exciting news for the grown man who keeps pissing all over the toilet seat at my workplace!

You would think there’d be no need for me to do something like this in an adults-only, professional, key-card-protected work environment.

You would be wrong.

Exciting news for the grown man who keeps pissing all over the toilet seat at my workplace!

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Posted in Cubicle | 8 Responses

An open letter from a die-hard Red Sox fan to all Boston-area Shitheads and the People Who Love Them.

The ferocity of my postseason beard is second only to the warmth of my puppy-dog eyes, with which I am imploring you to heed my words. Please. I beg of ye.

Dear Boston-area Shitheads and the People Who Love Them,

As you well know, Boston experienced a terrible tragedy earlier this year. The Red Sox quickly became one of the things around which people rallied in the wake of that tragedy, and the improbable run that the team has had since that time — not to mention the tremendous amount of work that the Red Sox organization and individual players have done to honor the people most affected — has, for many, served as a symbol of the city’s resilience and recovery.

Tonight (or tomorrow night) could be an historic occasion for our beloved city. A Red Sox victory would mark the first time in almost 100 years that the team has won a World Series title at Fenway Park … a feat that, trivial though it may seem to some, would perfectly punctuate the team’s role in helping the city to heal.

Assuming that we are fortunate enough to see such a thing happen, it will be cause for great joy and celebration. Unfortunately, it also will be seen by some Boston-area Shitheads (like this guy and this guy) as an excuse to act like complete and utter … well, shitheads.

Of course, if the Sox should (god forbid) lose two games, it will be cause for great sorrow and disappointment … and still will be seen by some Boston-area Shitheads as an excuse to act not only like complete and utter shitheads, but like complete and utter and angry shitheads.

So here’s what I’m asking: If you are a Boston-area Shithead, please stay home tonight. And if the Sox should happen to (perish the thought) lose tonight, then I’m begging you to stay home tomorrow night as well. Please. All of us non-Shitheads would consider it a huge personal favor.

Now, I am well aware that the people to whom my plea most applies won’t take heed … because, as you know, the problem with Shitheads is that they have no fucking clue what epic Shitheads they are.

Which brings us to:

If you are someone who knows and loves a Boston-area Shithead, please keep them in tonight. And if the Sox should happen to (hush my mouth) lose tonight, fer crissakes, please Please PLEASE keep them in tomorrow night, because few things would be worse than a bunch of Shitheads running amok after a Halloween-night Game 7, whatever the outcome.

Hide their car keys … or chain them to a radiator … or duct-tape them to the sofa … or give them something shiny to play with … or drop a few rufies in whatever rot-gut booze they’ve already started swilling in preparation for a night (or two) of epic, drunken shitheadedness.

Because, seriously: the last thing that the rest of us need as a side dish to go with our joy (or sorrow) is a heaping helping of Shithead-induced tragedy. We’ve already had enough of that.

It’s up to you, Shithead Lovers. Do what needs to be done. Make Boston proud.



A Die-Hard Red Sox Fan

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Posted in Red Sox | 4 Responses

I’m goin’ back to Cali


Comin’ atcha live from 35,000 feet, it’s the Scratches Family Vacation. Next stop: Los Angeles.

So here’s the deal: My brother calls us last December and tells us he’s getting married. Woohoo! In August, while the kids are out of school. Nice! In California. Ouch!

Yeah, a cross-country trip for a family of four wasn’t exactly in our budget this year. Or any year, for that matter. Partly because we don’t actually have a budget … but mostly because we don’t have any, you know, money.

But, OK, so we’re headed to California. And, hey, since we’re gonna be in So Cal anyway, we might as well go all out, don’tcha think?

Which brings us to:

"Welcome to Disneyland! Now hand over your wallet and nobody gets hurt!"

“Hand over your wallet and nobody gets hurt!”

Yes, y’all, when this bird touches down, we’ll be grabbing a sweet minivan and heading to Walt’s place. Today’s plan is to simply check in and shake off the jet-lag by the pool … but tomorrow we are launching an all-out, military-style assault on Disneyland.

No, I mean it. The reconnaissance I’ve conducted for this mission is nothing short of epic. Or, more accurately, it’s nothing short of proof positive that I’m a control freak with substantial psychiatric issues.

Did you know that there are online subscription services where you can enter the dates and times of your planned visit to Disneyland, along with the attractions you wish to hit, and a complex algorithm will spit out the suggested order and times at which you should hit those attractions? Because there are. And I know this because I subscribed to two of them.

Did you also know that, in addition to the classic Disneyland amusement park, there now exists Disney’s California Adventure, an adjacent, entirely separate, equally massive amusement park? And did you further know that it is considered downright maniacal to try to hit all of the must-do rides in both parks on the same day? I’m pretty sure everybody’s gonna love it when Daddy turns our visit to the Happiest Place on Earth into a forced road march from Hell. (OK, maybe not … but I’m sure they’ll thank me for it later.)

Come Thursday, with our feet sore, our pockets empty and our credit cards full, we’ll head up the coast to Santa Barbara … where, thankfully for us, soon-to-be-sister-in-law’s family has hooked us up with what appears to be a sweet house near the beach. (That fortuitous arrangement, along with a generous airfare contribution from my parents, largely explains why we decided to splurge on the Disneyland trip. And so, on behalf of myself, my wife, my children, and the entire accounting department at The Walt Disney Company, I would like to thank my family — in-laws and outlaws alike — for their charitable contributions.)

Once we arrive in Santa Barbara, we’ll be up to our mouse ears in wedding-related mayhem straight through the weekend… which reminds me: I have to write a speech. Gah!

Alright, enough of my high-altitude blogging. I’ll keep you posted on all the fun via Twitter (where highlights will include up-to-the-minute illness reports on the kids, who have been perfectly healthy all summer long, but have come down with colds just in time for our cross-country adventure), and I, of course, will file a full report upon our return.

Wish us luck, people.

DS out.

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Posted in Family, Life, Parenthood | 6 Responses