Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my website. I hope you will enjoy the eclectic collection of short stories and essays. They are all very close to my heart, in whichever genre. I always welcome comments and feedback. Once again, I hope you enjoy my site. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Friday Night Fever"

  • inspired by "Am I the only one?" by Dierks Bentley

He woke up this morning with the cool air against his face.  Yesterday had been a pivotal moment in his life, he had graduated high school as he and his family had always hoped.  They all had celebrated the occasion with a party to honor his accomplishment.  He was the first in his family to be awarded such a distinction.

Yesterday, he and his friends enjoyed the high school graduation ceremony by throwing their maroon cap in the air as which is the tradition.  However, the next day the celebration was just to begin. 

The time had come to be initiated into the working-adult world.  Yet, something had been forgotten. 

After his morning coffee, he put on his gym clothes.  It was about eleven in the morning when he got home from his workout.  Showering and putting on his house clothes, he realized the festivity which would accompany the summer. 

Unpacking freight for a hardware store was good work.  It liberated the night hours for the social activities which would mark his entire summer. 

When he returned home from work, he put in his favorite CD and jumped into the shower.  After all the festivities and parties with his family it was time to celebrate his last summer of youth with his friends. In preparation for the night to come, the music played to full-volume.  His favorite CD, The Essential Elvis Presley, invigorated his senses. 

He didn't need to call any of his friends on the telephone.  He knew where they would all meet-up tonight.  It was the local bar where they would meet most weekends.

The music his apartment blared, shaking the walls.  He brushed his teeth and put on clean clothes.  He pulled a beer out of the refrigerator; it was part of the ritual marking the beginning of the weekend.

His taxi-cab arrived and he paid the cab driver for the eight mile trip down the street to the hangout.  It cost him twelve dollars out of his pocket plus a three dollar tip.  

Not quite dusk, the blaring light from the sun stung his eyes. 

He opened the door to join the party that had already begun.  The dark, barroom beckoned upon him a cool breath of relaxation. 

George’s friends, Jonathan and Michael, were already sitting at the bar.  With a pleasant buzz from the beer he had at his apartment, he ordered himself another beer which he would nurse for the next hour.  He took out a five dollar bill to put some music on the jukebox

With an extended thump and a loud blare the music began, exciting and energizing the barroom.  The blues-guitar strings and heavy drumbeat infused the barroom with energy. 

As if scripted and on cue, three college girls passed by George and his entourage, casting an enticing glance in their direction.

The night went on.  George drank his beers slowly and enjoyed the music and the company of his friends.  The celebration was highlighted by their moderate drinking which did not cross the line into drunkenness. 

When George arrived, he had noticed a host of girls.  Most of these girls were quite attractive, yet all seemed to be out of his reach.  As the night drew on, however, his focus turned to a less pretentiously beautiful girl across the bar who had also been trying to get his attention most of the night.

He sat with his friends at the bar.  The three of them shared conversation that matched the atmosphere.  George kept an upbeat supply of music playing on the jukebox.  He gazed the barroom wondering if this night would end like most.

“The barmaid is always friendly.”  He knew she was not interested in any of the usual patrons.  “Too bad, she seemed like a very nice girl.  Pretty smile, too.”  Gazing upon her was always welcomed in the situation which would oftentimes, otherwise become mundane.  

He continued to look around the room.  “There she is, she looks like the type of girl I would like.”  She was the girl across the bar that had been at the bar all night.  “We could take it slow and see what happens.  No pressure, just a friendly dance.  Is she smiling at me?”

The night carried on.  He thought that with one more beer he may have the courage to walk over and talk to her.

He made eye-contact back at him.  It was not a seductive look, but more of a flirtatious look.  She seemed very welcoming and he hoped for the best.  He walked up to her and asked her to dance. 

They danced a few dances and shared a drink.  She left the bar, vowing to meet again next Friday night.

He had another drink and got in his cab to go back to his apartment.  He went alone, but with a promising request for the weekend to come.  He got back to his apartment and watched television before he laid down for sleep. 

It had been a good night at the bar which had ended uneventfully, but with optimism for the near future.

Awakening the next morning he enjoyed a hot cup of coffee with the cool morning air.  So soon after graduation, he was to enjoy the summer and wait for better work after the summer would end.  The job unpacking freight offered enough money to live off presently. 

He sipped another cup of coffee and welcomed the day to come.  Next weekend would bring with him other possibilities.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

“Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer”

“Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer”

Country music and beer reach out to each other as do country music and boots.  Honkey-tonk barrooms featuring cowboy hats and boots along with good country music and beer are one of the reasons that country music is as popular as it is today. 

Drinking songs, featuring whiskey and beer, are a part of the soundtrack of many country music listeners lives.  Whether it is sad drinking songs, party-drinking songs, or country songs with a comedic flare, many of these songs feature beer as the center piece to the emotion laid down in the music.

Many country singers have made their mark on the country charts with drinking songs including Garth Brooks, with his barroom anthem, Friendsin Low Places, and Alan Jackson with his duet with Jimmy Buffett, Five o’clock somewhere.  These songs, in addition to scores of other country music hits, have helped to define country music as the working-man’s blues. 

In modern-day country music, a whole new generation of country singers has helped to bring the tradition of country music to a much wider audience featuring an entire slew of country music drinking songs.  Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, and Luke Bryan have done so brilliantly with chart toppers and huge hits.

Beer songs, however, are some of the most notable of country songs.  As primary examples of country drinking songs, these songs highlight listeners sitting at a bar, siting in their backyard, or at a party while listening to country music and drinking beer.

The songs that I have chosen for this “Top 10 … Country Songs” list reflect not only country hits, but also some of my favorites that may have fallen in below the radar.  These songs contain hits from recent decades, recent years, as well as current hits on today’s country music radio.

Hopefully you will enjoy some of your favorite songs and I hope you also discover new songs to add to your library.

Number 10:                      Tear in my beer by Hank Williams & Hank Williams Jr.
                                        Hank WilliamsOfficial Webpage
                                        There’sa tear in my beer Video

This song, electronically re-recorded with Hank Williams Jr. from the original recording by Hank Williams, is half-comedic and half-tragic.  Recollections of nights of sad drinking surface in the hearts many of its listeners when it is played.   It helps to establish a base between beer and country music.

Number 9:                        Beer Thirty by Brooks and Dunn
                                        Brooksand Dunn Official Webpage
                                        BeerThirty Video

Brooks and Dunn, at the forefront of country music for more than 20 years, have released many iconic country music songs before their recent break-up.  These songs include heart-wrenching ballads as well as songs fitting every niche that can be found in country music.  This song celebrates drinking beer while enjoying barroom life.  It is done so by with the trademark loud-vocal, up-beat edge for which the group is known.

Number 8:                  Beer Money by Kip Moore
                                  KipMoore Official Webpage
                                  BeerMoney Video

This recent hit by Kip Moore is a pure, party country song about nothing but beer and having a good time.   The backdrop set with the lyrics is a long night of partying with a long awaited date.  This song has helped this recently discovered country music singer to gain fame in his time on country music radio.

Number 7:                  Beer for my horses by Toby Keith & Willie Nelson
                                  TobyKeith Official Webpage
                                  WillieNelson Official Webpage
                                  Beer formy horses Video
This song, reminiscent of the Old West in America, pairs Toby Keith, a superstar in this generation, with Willie Nelson, a superstar for many generations.  Whiskeyfor my men, beer for my horses,” is the triumphant lyrics sang when the villain is caught.  The song serves as a party song, with a patriotic reverence of America of old.

Number 6:                  Beer Run by Garth Brooks & George Jones
                                  GarthBrooks Official Webpage
                                  GeorgeJones Official Webpage
                                  Beer runVideo

This song, once again, pairs two different superstars from two different eras.  Garth Brooks is the definitive country music superstar of all-time; crossing over on to the top of the all-genre charts while maintaining true to his country roots.  George Jones, a legend himself, especially among country music stars but also among country fans, sings with Garth Brooks in this song.  The song, featuring beer as the center piece to a larger party, is one that country fans can relate.

Number 5:                  Drink a beer by Luke Bryan
                                  LukeBryan Official Webpage
                                  Drink a beer Video

A mellower, heart-broken version of a “song about beer,” this song highlights a hard night of drinking in memory of an ended relationship.  Sitting at the bar and not thinking about much, helps a man to recover and start to regroup after such a break-up.  This song invites its listeners to share in this sentiment.

Number 4:                  Beer in Mexico by Kenny Chesney
                                  KennyChesney Official Webpage
                                  Beer inMexico Video

No gimmicks, no tragedy; this is simply a song about have a beer while enjoying a long vacation.  Upbeat, with catchy lyrics, it serves as both a mood setter at a bar and a back-beat at all other times.  Kenny Chesney has released many hit songs; this is another to add to his extensive collection.

Number 3:                  Beer and Bones by John Michael Montgomery
                                  JohnMichael Montgomery Official Webpage
                                  Beer andBones Video

This song, a big hit for the singer in the early 1990’s, is comedic yet tragic.  If you haven’t heard the song, take a listen.  I am sure that as a country music fan, you will enjoy this song.  The satirical, lyrical take-off on slang fits perfectly with anybody that can remember such a night of drunkenness.

Number 2:                  Good at drinking beer by Billy Currington
                                  Billy CurringtonOfficial Webpage
                                  Good at drinking beer Video

This song is about drinking beer, drinking beer, and more drinking beer.  A party favorite, this song is true to Billy Currington’s style which is iconic of country music in a very traditional style.  The mellow approach to country music that this song brings with it, refreshes it’s listeners with a breath of air quite unique on today’s country music radio. 

Number 1:                  I like girls that drink beer by Toby Keith
                                        Toby Keith Official Webpage

“I like girls that drink beer.”(Toby Keith)
“I like girls that drink beer.”(Me)

This song, reminiscent of my college days reminds me of one of the reasons I like women.  A simple, barroom jukebox song, this song is fun in a poignant way.  Girls that have fun, (i.e.) girls that drink beer, alongside with college drinking buddies, created a party that was unrivaled every weekend while I was in college.  I like pretty girls, I like smart girls, but most of all, I like girls that drink beer.

Toby Keith, since his first release, which went number one, I should have been a cowboy, has been a perennial favorite among country music fans.  In his career, which began that year in 1993, he has released 19 hits that reached number one.  He is as popular today as he has ever been.  His music, mostly with a hard-edged country feel, has created for him a large fan base which has helped him to sell more than forty million albums.

Toby Keith has received more than thirteen major awards for his music, including the ACM’s Entertainer of the Year in 2002 and 2003.  His most recent, most notable award came in 2012 for “Red, Solo Cup” as “Country Music Video of the Year” in 2012 from the Country Music Association.

Take a listen to this song and see how you like it.  Released in 2012, it only reached number 18 on the charts, yet it is very appealing among those who can relate to it.

I hope you have enjoyed this “Top 10 Country Songs … Songs about beer” list.  I hope you have discovered new songs of which you were unaware of, and others that are among your favorites.

You are most welcome to leave comments and to share this list with friends.  Keep an eye open for new “Top 10 Country Songs …” features in the future.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"A Meaningless Life"

  • Inspired by … “Desperado” by The Eagles

The barroom lights were low.  He came in here early after work, as he did every night.  The faces were familiar, yet daunting.

“What will it be tonight?” the barmaid asked him with a smile on her face.  She had seen him here very often lately. 

“I finished up college around here, a couple years ago,” he told her once.  “I’ve been trying to settle myself here since I graduated.”

She thought he was an especially good looking guy, but very quiet.

“I’ll start out with a Budweiser,” he politely asked the barmaid.

“It will be right up,” she told him.  She reached under the counter and handed him a bottle of beer.

“Do you want me to put it on your tab like I always do?” she asked him automatically. 

He came here often and he didn’t say much, but he was always a good tipper and she always appreciated that.

As she handed him his bottle of beer, he put a dollar on the table as a tip.

The music was playing in the background.  It was a song he knew and sometimes enjoyed, but as he typically would, after he ordered his first beer he went to the jukebox and put five dollars in to play an assortment of his favorite music.

He listened intently to the music as he vaguely paid attention to the conversation the guy on the next stool started.

The conversation was dull and routine as it always was at the bar.  He didn’t come to meet any women, or to meet up with any friends, he came to the bar simply so he wouldn’t have to spend the evening alone. 

The music continued to play in the background.

As he sat at the bar, he would often contemplate his life.  He was still very young, shortly out of college, but it seemed that he had missed out on a lot in his life.  Not that he could think of what to call it, but he had a vague impression that his life lacked passion.   Even in college, he showed up to class and did his homework, but he never put any actual effort into it.  His social life seemed to be lacking and he was unable to make close friends or have any sort of special relationship with a woman.  The monotony consumed him.

The music continued to play in the background.

“What do you think?  Will Seattle win The Superbowl again next year?” one of the patrons asked the group of friends. 

It was not football season yet, but much of the barroom conversation existed of talking about football and talking about women.

Justin, eager to discuss football because it was one of the topics he actually knew something about, rebutted.  He said, “I think the team that has the best shot of going all the way this year is Green Bay.  If Aaron Rodgers stays healthy and the running game continues from where it left off last year, I think they can beat any team in the league.”

It was mundane conversation, yet it seemed to break the nothingness in his life. 

Every weekend, more often than not, he would come to this same bar; he didn’t have any friends, but it was better than time spent alone.

The barmaid listened intently to the three men discussing football.  Not a football fan, Rebecca, enjoyed the conversation that served as mild amusement while she worked.

“Could I have another beer?” Justin asked the barmaid.

“You just ordered that first beer five minutes ago,” she told him as she handed him another Budweiser.  “If you keep it up, you aren’t going to find your way home tonight.”  The modest flirtation lifted Justin’s mood for a brief moment.

He, once again, put another dollar on the counter as a tip for the beer.

The music continued in the background.

The conversation in the barroom continued as the three patrons’ inebriation grew.  They discussed football and baseball.

“I would like to see The Dodgers do something this year, but I just don’t think it is going to come together.”

“I am interested in what The Cowboys will do in the offseason,” another of the patrons said.  “There offense was excellent last year and I think it is only going to get better.  I’m interested to see if they make some key moves on their defensive team.”

The barmaid cut into the conversation, “Any of you want another beer?” she asked the three men.

All of them vigorously nodded and she laid a beer down for each of them.  Justin put another dollar on the table and thanked the barmaid.

The music continued in the background. 

Justin thought of the chances of something meaningful that could happen in his life.  He thought of the void in which his life was now engulfed.

One of Justin’s fellow patrons, absorbed with his own typical drunkenness said to him, “What’s wrong buddy, something wrong with that beer?  Let me buy you another one.”

Justin gave a painful grimace which was all that was needed to disguise the solitude of his soul.

“One more beer for my friend,” he asked the barmaid. 

Justin looked into the mirror and kept drinking his beer as his two compatriots continued their own conversation.

His morbidity was well hidden, all of Justin’s compatriots thought Justin was having a good time.  Oblivious, the people who Justin considered to be strangers all considered Justin to be a friend.

The hours passed and the three friends got drunker and drunker.  The music continued to play in the background and Justin listened more intently to the music than his two friends.    His stone-cold drunkenness covered the blur in his mind.  Shortly after 1:00 in the morning, it was time for Justin to go home now. 

“Could you call me a cab? He politely slurred to the barmaid.

She grabbed the phone under the counter and dialed up a cab.

“It will be here in about fifteen minutes,” she said to him.  “Are you o.k.?” she asked slightly concerned with his level of drunkenness that was a little bit more than typical today.  “Do you want another beer while you are waiting for your cab?”

In a drunken stupor he thanked her.  He paid his tab leaving an extra five dollars for a tip.

As he walked out the door he the patrons wished him a good night and said, “See you tomorrow night, buddy.” 

The barmaid, not inflicted by the same drunkenness, looked upon Justin as he left.  She, although not
interested in the man, felt some level of empathy in a quiet understanding of the real reasons he was drinking.  She brushed it off along with a tear which almost welled up in her eye.

During the ride home in the cab, Justin, too drunk to sit up, nearly passed out in the back of the cab.

He arrived home, paying the cab driver his fair and a tip.  He went into his one room apartment and fell asleep immediately. 

Another day would end as it did before.  Another morning would start in a similar fashion.