Thursday, January 26, 2023

that pyramid book scheme

Facebook is a funny thing -- you'd think after a certain amount of time people would stop falling for the "I am telling Facebook they do not have permission to use my photos, and I'm going to make this known right here in this post so ol' Marky Zuck will see it" hoax that likes to pop up every now and again. Then the person doing the post advises you to not share the post, but instead gives you instructions on how to copy and paste into your own Facebook feed. 

This, as well all know (or most know, as there are some that don't) is false, and Zuckerberg and his META Minions could care less about your declarations of what Facebook can and cannot do -- they have your pics and such, and that's that. 

I think the one that makes me kinda angry are the posts that declare that some big company -- Ford, Chick-Fila, some RV Camper company -- will give away a massive amount of prizes, from free vehicles to free lunches, all you have to do is like the post and share the post and such.  

This is false, and frankly, when I scan these posts and the comments below them, I always see people I know and am FB friends with, and automatically question their intelligence for believing in this utter nonsense -- sure, you are probably smart, but come on... 

Disney, who is usually tagged the most on these and thus makes me the angriest, is NOT awarding you free vacations for liking and sharing their ghetto page titled "DISNEY.WORLD THEME PARK" with just under 8,000 followers and two out of date pics, one of them a hand with chubby hands with nails coated in chipped nail polish holding up a set of park ticket cards that haven't been used since Bob Chapek had a high favorability rating in the company itself. 

If you share these type posts, I make fun of you. Seriously. (also sharing these is a form of phishing, and you are opening up your account and in many cases, other people's accounts to information gathering to all sorts of nefarious companies, so don't ask "What could it hurt" because it could hurt)

But then there is the book exchange. 

You know the one, the one that suddenly pops up and takes over your Facebook feed for a few weeks with your friends and family wanting you to be a part of a program that will garner you reading material for days and weeks. 

 I am looking for people to participate in a huge book exchange!

You can be anywhere in the US!
All you have to do is buy your favorite book (just one) or gift one you own and send it to a stranger! l’ll send their name and address in a private message…
You should then receive roughly 36 books to keep!
An easy option is to order your favorite book from Amazon and have it shipped directly to your person.

This should be fun… And what do you have to lose other than one book!?  

That was actually taken from a post from someone I consider an absolute dollface and a long time friend, so if that's you reading this, I promise, I'm not making fun of you -- that would come if you shared that aforementioned "Free Disney trip!" post.


I am the last person to toss water on someone's joy... but I also don't like that joy to be based on a false premise...

However comma

Let's talk about this Book Exchange program that promises that for the cost of one book, you'll receive up to 36 in return.  That might be idealistic, but hey, what if you get only 18 books in return?  You probably won't like all of them, but if you like 12 of them, you can pass off the other 6 to friends, and now your friends have new books (and they may have a lot of them, because what if they also did the Book Exchange?!) and you have 10 new books to read. 

Say it with me... WHAT COULD IT HURT??? 

While I'm no math scholar, I have yet to figure out how this works, and how you only send 1 book and get 36 in return.  

So to be clear, you spend a little money, then recruit a bunch of friends to spend a little money, and... they in turn recruit friends to spend a little money... and those friends recruit friends to... um... 

Truthfully? That sounds a lot like... a pyramid scheme. A well intentioned one, one that isn't promising untold riches, unless you count the hours of wordy entertainment as untold riches (you can count reading as riches, sure, but you get what I'm saying, right?)

Let's play this out. 

I get six of you in on my Book Exchange (to get 36 books, I have to get 6 people, and they have to all get 6 people) -- Jenn, Kyla, Heather, Amy, Nikki, and Mikey.  Mikey is going to send Star Wars comics, so just ready for that.  

All six of them recruit six people, so we now have 36 people in the mix.  If all of them send me books -- so now I have 36 books, or 35 books and an old copy of Star Wars Old Republic #188 (thanks Mikey).  Because I started this shindig, I made out like a banshee. A reading banshee. Of Inshiren.  Great movie. 

But why would they all send me books?  The instructions are a little vague on most of the posts -- if I recruit 6 people, and they all send me one book, then I have 6 books.  

I've only sent one book, to Kyla (it's a coloring book #BecauseKyla) as per the instructions, so the rest are bookless? They send out a book to someone else, and that person... sends a book to someone else?  Where does the 36 come from? 

Also, let's not forget the fact that as this begins to spread, with me sending books to a stranger, I now have in my hands someone's address, someone I do not know, nor do they know me. Which means someone, or someones plural, have my address... in the day and age of Instagram and TikTok and other social platforms, the information super highway is littered with vehicles of personal data, but are we willingly just tossing it out there in this? 

Here's an explanation from, and I'll toss in some names to help make it more personal:

When user A (let's say "Nikki") messages user B (d$) on who's account the Book Exchange post appeared, making Nikki excited because she's a rampant reader... Nikki tells d$ she wants to participate in the exchange, so d$ provides Nikki with two addresses, one for Nikki to mail a book to and one to pass onto Nikki's followers that end up wanting to take part once Nikki posts the Book Exchange post on her own feed.  

Wait. What? 

Here's what had to say:

The number of recruits needed at increasing levels forms a geometric series (6, 6², 6³, 6⁴ …). It starts with 1 person but just 8 levels down, it requires more than 1.6 MILLION people to keep it going.

So... yeah. 

In my pretend Book Exchange, if it works like it's supposed to (and really, does anyone know how its supposed to work?) I'll get 36 books... but by the time you get a few layers down, people are sending books and getting nothing back.  People at the top get the goods, people at the bottom don't. 

Also called "A Pyramid Scheme".  

Or Biden's economy, but again, I digress.  

Honestly, the idea that you will recruit 6 people to send books, and those people will recruit 6, and those people will recruit 6 is far fetched -- I mean, I can't get some of you people to like my Disney Instagram (@TheMagiconaDollar  and the only commitment there is a click to Follow which results in endless digital pixie dust).

Part of me wants to join a Book Exchange to see what happens because it might make for good material. In fact, I think I'll do that.

Having said all that... let's recap...

  • Facebook is not going to care about your permission given or taken away when it comes to pictures, no matter what you say in your post
  • Disney, Ford, Chick-fila or other companies are not going to give you free stuff by sharing the post
  • Book Exchanges don't work. 

Happy reading. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

to campbell, on your 11th birthday

 Dear Campbell,

Well, nothing like waiting til the last minute of the year to type something up for you, huh kid?

You, enjoying some of that birthday
ice cream (sorbet) at Crystal Palace
I know, I know, I usually go on a bit about your year, about the music you loved and things you did and places you went, but I just ran out of time... especially considering we were in Disney World on your birthday (lunch at Sci Fi Dine In Theater just for you!) and then time just go away from me... 

So I hope you'll forgive your Dad this one year for making it much shorter. Your 10th year of life wasn't a lost year by any means... in fact, I kinda came up with a Campbell Top Ten of songs:

  1. "Break My Heart" by Dua Lipa
  2. "Levitating" by Dua Lipa
  3. "Rollin' in the Deep" by Adele
  4. "Unstoppable" by Sia
  5. "Forget Me" by Louis Capaldi
  6. That "Six Small Wheels" song from one of those Thomas specials
  7. "We Don't Talk About Bruno" from Encanto
  8. "I Like You" by Post Malone with Doja Cat
  9. "Streamlining" from one of those Thomas specials
  10. "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd

That last song, "Blinding Lights" was your number one in 2021, but its waned a little in the last 12 months. 

Either way, this was the year you really started talking. From the presentation that everyone cheered about from school, to telling your RPM therapist that God promised you you would speak, this was the year that you really came into your own as a person, with a big personality, with a big kind heart, and continued love of trains, airplanes, Disney, and people.

Keep it up.

That's all. 

I promise next year's letter will be much better.  

I love you kid

Your Dad

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

movie monday football

Fun fact... I actually wrote this article in 2013... I've been looking over my 30+ drafts that I've written off and on, some totally complete, one or two being completed parts of a series that is unfinished, and some half done. I even have a pointed piece about the kid who caught flack for smirk smiling at a fake protester on the steps of the Capitol -- I'll probably hold onto that one. 

But either way, here is a post about my favorite football movies... I added a few lines and did some grammar correction, but otherwise, here ya go... 

For our inaugural Movie Monday.... since football season is winding down, at least college wise, I thought I'd celebrate America's true pastime with my favorite five football centric films...

5... "The Replacements" (2000)
When pro football teams all go on strike, replacement players are used, including on the Washington Sentinals, where their star QB takes a slide instead of scoring a game winning TD so he wouldn't be hurt.  Enter Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves), who, together with his grizzled coach, Gene Hackman, and a wacky cast of teammates played by Faizon Love, Orlando Jones, Jon Favreau and Rhys Ifans, have to win three of the final four games of the season to make the playoffs.

Sure, its silly.  And goofy.  And its so much fun.  And the incredibly cute Brooke Langton is Annabelle, Shane's love interest... this movie is also known for its great line, "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars.  Glory?  Lasts forever."

What happened to Brooke Langton?  She's 50, she's still working, and still beautiful. 

4... "Remember the Titans" (2000)
Herman Boone (Denzel Washington) is hired on to coach a racially divided Williams High School, taking the reins from Coach Yoast (Will Patton), who stays on as an assistant.  Set in 1971, the school is awash in racial prejudice, as Coach Boone is told that if he loses a single game, he's fired.  

The movie, sometimes being a little sappy and predictable, is solid, fun and weaves a great story.  The cast is also stellar, with Ryan Hurst and Wood Harris as the main white and black dudes on the team who (naturally) find a way to come together, with supporting roles by Kip Pardue as the surfer QB, Ethan Suplee as the token fat guy, Donald Faison as a RB named Petey and a young Hayden Panettiere as Coast Yoast's daughter.  Oh yeah, Ryan Gosling is in this too. 

Fun fact... of course, as most films based on a true story will go, this one plays a little fast and loose with the truth -- turns out, by many accounts Coach Boone was quite the jackwagon in real life -- and lot of the racial tension drummed up in the movie was really just drummed up for the movie. Alas, Hollywood.   

3... "The Waterboy" (1998)
What a stupid film.  It just is.  And I love it.  Do I really need to tell you the plot?  Adam Sandler is Bobby Boucher, a Cajun in Louisiana who is recruit by Mr Coach Klien (Henry Winkler in this don't-take-myself-so-serious phase) to play football for the terrible South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs, after being rejected by the U of Louisiana Cougars... and of course, it all climaxes in... The Bourbon Bowl.  Of course it does.

You know the lines... "been playing the foosball behind mama's back!?" and "water sucks! it really really sucks!" and "I saw Vicky Vallencourt's boobies and I liked them too!"... love this movie.

2... "Necessary Roughness" (2001)
If you are sensing a trend here, of me liking bad football comedies, you are right.  And this one is the best of the comedic bunch.  Scott Bakula!  Sinbad!  Robert Loggia!  Larry Miller!  Harley Jane Kozak! 

Yeah, you probably know those names, and you definitely know the faces...  The football season approaches for the Texas State Fightin' Armadillos, but with most of the previous players suspended and coaching staff fired due to NCAA sanctions (the accusations here are very similar to the real life charges against Southern Methodist University, which was handed the "death penalty" in 1987--more on this later).

Enter Coach Ed Gennero (Hector Elizondo) and his assistant coach Wally (Robert Loggia), who are forced to not only deal with the NCAA restrictions, but also the ones placed on the team by the mean Dean Elias (a wonderfully smarmy Larry Miller)... Dean Miller has left Coach with only 17 players allowed on the team, forcing them most players to play offense and defense, hence, "ironman" football.
The quarterback?  A 34 year old former high school star named Paul Blake (Bakula) who never attended college and has eligibility, who also convinces a TA named Andre (Sinbad), who also has a year left, to play.

And the movie takes off from there, with supporting roles from Jason Batemen, and Kathy Ireland as a the soccer star turned female placekicker (Kathy, I've always loved you from when I was a teenager... but acting is not your forte)... Harley Jane Kozak as a professor, who becomes Paul's love interest and continues to spurn the advances of Dean Miller,  thereby fueling the Dean's hatred of the team.... Rob Schneider, before he got too ridiculous in movies, as announcer Chuck Neiderman and finally, the university president, played by former US presidential candidate Fred D. Thompson.

I love this movie and watch it every time its on, no matter where I catch the film.  Its funny, predictable and a little (a lot) ridiculous, but its so much fun.

Trivia... Texas State wasn't a real university until 2003, when the real life Southwest Texas State University shortened its name to Texas State, with the mascot the Bobcats.  In the movie, the first opponent that the fictional Texas State Fightin' Armadillos plays is the Southwest Texas State U Bobcats.  Irony.

1... "The Blind Side" (2009)
There are some who would say this film is sappy.  There are some who would say this film is made to directly pull on your heart strings.  There are some who would say that it took a little section of a mighty fine book and made an entire movie about that one section.  And they would all be right.

That doesnt change the fact that I am in love with this movie.  I love everything about this film, from the cast--Sandra Bullock in her Oscar winning role... newcomer Quinton Aaron as the lead character of Michael Oher... Tim McGraw as Sean Tuohy... Kathy Bates as tutor Miss Sue... young Jae Head as the youngest son SJ, who has some of the best lines... and of course, the good-lookin' Lily Collins as, conveniently enough, Collins Tuohy, the daughter of Leighe Ann and Sean.

You perhaps know the story, as the Tuohy's, a well to do family in Memphis, TN, ends up not only befriending but becoming the caretakers of Michael Oher, who has been shuffled around from foster home to foster home, running away each time to return to his drug addicted mother. 

The movie then chronicles Michael's story, as everyone discovers how he's been lost in the education system and how he's helped, loved and redeemed by the power of one family loving on a stranger who becomes their friend... then son.  In addition to circumstance, the other foes in the movie are an NCAA investigator who come around, questioning the Tuohy's care for Michael when he chooses what school he'll go to, and gangsta's from the Michael's old neighborhood.

How much do I love this film?  Its currently my 53rd favorite film of all time, has a total re-watchability factor (like "Necessary Roughness", I can pick this movie up anywhere and watch it to completion) and is based on a book that is also extremely awesome.

Honorable Mentions:
"Rudy" (1993) - Like it.  Don't love it, not nearly as much as everyone around me does.

"Jerry Maguire" (1996) - Considered putting this on the list, and it would have ranked #1 if I had--its my 35th favorite film of all time--but to me, this is not necessarily a football movie, not like the ones listed above.  Football plays a part, but its a football agent story.

"The Longest Yard" (1974) - The original with Burt Reynolds, not that travesty made a few years ago with Adam Sandler.

"Varsity Blues" (1999) - I only list this here because I've rewatched it recently.  It holds up, if only for the great cast--Scott Caan, Ali Larter (besides the whipped cream, I mean), Amy Smart (underrated as an actress) and of course, the late, great Paul Walker.

"The Last Boy Scout" (1991) - Like Jerry Maguire, football plays a part of the story, but is not the story.  But I do love me some Last Boy Scout, so I had to mention it.

"Quarterback Princess" (1983) - A made for TV movie with a very young Helen Hunt, a female who quarterbacks a high school team.  This used to come on cable all the time when I was a kid, and I watched it at least a dozen times.

Worth noting...

There are a couple of football documentaries that must be mentioned, including "Pony Exce$$" (2011), a film that takes on the SMU scandal as I mentioned above... "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL" (2009), following the rise and fall of the 1980s USFL, including an interview with who the movie suggests might be the culprit--Donald Trump... and "Undefeated" (2011), the story of the 2009 high school team seeking its first playoff win ever...

(ps... I've never seen "Brian's Song")

Monday, March 14, 2022

a porter waggoner name drop

It's 11:52 at night. and I've got 7 minutes to finish a task.

One of them is writing. Writing something. Anything.

I love writing. For a long time, it was how I thought I'd make my living. I won "Most Talented" in the Senior Superlatives voting in the fall of 1992.. me and Christy Mock, who was an incredible singer and over these last 30 years has spent time performing in the country music circuit, including many concerts with Portner Waggoner. 

That might be the first time in 1100+ posts and 17 years of this blog I've mentioned Porter Waggoner. 

And now I've written 100 words. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

to campbell, on your 10th birthday

This is the 10th in an annual series of letters written to my son, Campbell, who turned 10 in December 2021 - you can find the previous letters at the bottom... 

While I usually write it on his birthday, I didn't get the time to devote to it this year like normal, but I wanted to knock it out before the year officially ended.

Dear Campbell,

Your love for trains did not diminish, as 
evidenced by the 3000 Thomas and Lego Duplo
trains we have, and that stop all the world
if we are around tracks when a train goes by
First of all, kid, what right do you have being ten years old? How did that even happen? How on earth has it been ten solid years since you came to us via Mommy's tummy and God's divine hand? 

If you remember, you were actually supposed to be born two weeks later -- I think December 17th was your expected date -- but you decide to come a wee bit early... your mom had just gone to the hospital for a check up and the doctor said, "Hey Steph, you are having a baby tonight or tomorrow."  And there went the rest of our lives, huh.

Second of all, this year has been... well, I'd say insane but that's typical for our little family. Full of stress, joy, faith and much, much more. 

Usually I fill this note with recaps from the past year, starting with any pop culture things you picked up on... well, without going down that road too much, I can say this is the year you picked up on Top 40 radio.  Okay, so remember when Mom had the grey car, the Honda, and I had the red car? And you rode with me to all of your stuff in the red car?  Mom got a new white car, a Toyota SUV, so this is what you wanted to ride in all the time. Unfortunately, I had satellite radio in my red car, but Mom did not in the white car, nor did she have a CD player, so we listened to Magic 96.5, Mix 97.3, and (sadly enough) 103.7 The Q.

Taken at Ady's Racers in December...
you had a huge grin because it was
a pretty amazing day
And you became a huge fan of Maroon 5, The Wkend, Pink, Lewis   Capaldi, Adele, and especially Dua Lipa. As the songs caught on,   you just listened, learned, and sang -- and you know their other   songs too. When Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" comes on, you yell   "ROAR!" and when The Wkend's "Blinding Lights" played, you   holler "Save... Yo.. Tears for another day..."  You spent the first half of the year obsessed with "Blinding Lights", and the back half of this year all about up Dua Lipa. 

If "Break My Heart" is on, you want  "Levitating." If that one is on, you yell 'BREAK MY HEART!"  And   at bedtime for at least the back half of this year, you ask to hear both of those songs, and if there is time, "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.  And you love "Easy on Me", but I'll be honest with you, I can only handle hearing that one the 38 times they play it per day. 

Of course, it can backfire a bit... we have to watch constantly what is on, as the song title and artist displays on the screen, and I'm not a fan of Doja Cat, whoever the heck that is, and I don't want you walking around saying "Oh My God" (the Adele song) or "[D-Word] It Feels Good to Be Me" (Ed Sheeran). It's bad enough you like to quote Justin Timberlake, saying "Rocka My Body". 

I'm so happy you love music so much. You are doing awesome with piano -- Ms Alaina loves having you.  You do gymnastics now, and you are doing so super good at the vault -- you love just running and hurling your body at a soft mat, which is terrifying to watch, but also fun to watch you come up smiling at a maneuver well done.  

We spend much of the summer at Alabama Splash Adventure - and you finally hit all the slides (except for the free fall slide, which is pretty much a plummet straight down -- you can't do that one right now because you sat up on it and thats bad news).  We spend 3-5 afternoons per week at Next Levl, to the point where they all know by name and give you high fives. We hit any combo of Whole Foods, Publix, Target, and Wal-Mart 3 or 4 times per week, and you love them all. Sprouts too, but the buggies are smaller and you have to walk with me -- and you can be a handful sometimes, champ. 

A lot happened this year in our world around us. It struck me and your mother both how perceptive you probably are right now at everything, and while we don't talk a lot of news around you, you undoubtedly have picked things up along the way. Joe Biden is our president. This note isn't to tell you what you should or shouldn't think based on what we believe -- but as you read this, whatever age you might be, I hope that you have learned from both of us that facts are important. Look at both sides. Then figure out what you believe, and then ask yourself why. 

A great moment in November when we met up with
my very good friend Lindsay in Hollywood Studios,
and it was so cool to have her meet my little family tribe.
FYI, Campbell, like when you met Heather a few 
days prior, you held Lindsay's hand, and was quite 
the flirt.

Sometimes though, faith is all you have... and I think we started to see some of that, especially in May, when I felt like you... well, you had a breakthrough.  RPM, your therapy, has had its ups and downs. Sometimes we walk out and I'm excited you've just done so well. Other times, its been a tad bit frustrating. And sometimes we leave, and I'm all like "Well, ok. Guess that was that."

And sometimes you bust through and say whats on your mind. Back in May, with Ms Lanae, she asked you the questions and you answered. You told her that you needed more Jesus in your life. You told her that your super power was C-A-R-I-N-G.  You said your mom was cool... and your dad too. You said you loved school. When asked if a boy or a girl would be better at something like engineering, you said "does it matter?" 

Along the way in those specific sessions, this also happened -- I'll just pull from the Facebook post I wrote on May 7, 2021... Steph and I have been saying for years that he has a lot to say, he just isn't sure how to say it. This week, I've watched him speak. I've heard what he's had to say. And I'm over the moon hearing his thoughts. Simple, some sorta philosophical, some random, some just black and white.

At RPM, his communication therapy, he spent time answering open ended questions, never being led to an answer, he said the following... and these are pretty much verbatim, not embellished for impact.
--"It is fine to hope I never grow up"
--"Old people think they know everything"
--When asked (as part of a conversation about stereotypes) if he thought girls or boys would be better at science and math, he responds, "I think it don't matter"
--"One hour is long for me"
--Regarding being emotional, "it's bad to cry too much" (he's a sensitive soul)
--"Screaming is not bad if you mean to agree to stop head from hitting on the wall"
--When asked what language he wanted to learn, he said "French". When asked why, he said "It is a Floody language". When asked what is 'floody' about French, he said "It floods your head with sounds."
--"I find it weird in life I sometimes smile..." (he didnt get a chance to finsh this statement, as someone interrupted, but I do wonder where he was going with this.)
Autism. Always presume competence. And underestimate Campbell Dollar at your own peril.

Campbell, we love you so much. We love that you still believe in Santa, even at 10--or at least you play it off. We love that you are using your imagination so, so much right now. We love that you sing constantly, that you are such a helper at school (to the point where the teachers have to tell you that they can handle the leadership part, and you can just sit). We love that you love on your friends Hillary and Jack and Lily and more.

We love that Kindness is a central theme with you. We know it means something.

And obviously I have no proof, but I feel it in my soul that you and God have a connection. Whether He talks to you, or you talk to Him, or (more likely, it happens both ways, your mom and I want you to never forget how much Jesus loves you, died for you, rose for you, and will never stop loving you.

When asked about places you'd like to go, you told Ms Lanae... "I want to go to Washington. And be president. And hit the world with kindness" (direct quote from C Dollar) We love you, son. Your Dad

Birthday letters to Campbell...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

the levity of donna tucker


The only picture I own with myself and Donna both
in frame. She's the one on the far left, holding the
finger gun to my head. Fun fact - with the three girls 
forming the semi-circle with Donna, I actually
went out on a single date with one, dated another
for about five months, and cannot remember the name
of the third. Ah college. 
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 ends,  I always find myself bemused by one anecdote that pops up in my head. On a day filled with chaos and tragedy and the unknown, with buildings burning and collapsing, and people losing their minds -- and rightly so -- there was one single moment of levity in that entire day... and maybe for several days.

Donna Tucker.

As a junior at Troy State, I met Donna as she was an incoming freshman. You know those people that you like, you enjoy being around, but neither you nor they put up any effort to really spend a lot of time together -- you see them around, are very friendly and genuine with each other, then you bid your adieu until the next time?  

That was me and Donna Tucker. She rushed and pledged Alpha Gamma Delta (my personal fave of the sororities full of girls who would never go out with me) and I was Farmhouse, so we definitely crossed paths routinely. Yet, we never got to know each other.

And that was okay. I'm not lamenting that Donna and I were never BFFs, or that she didn't pay more attention to me -- despite her beauty and her loud personality, I never really dug her romantically. She was just... Donna Tucker. Cute, funny, outspoken Donna. She loved Jesus, and I considered her a friend.

And when I graduated from Troy State in March of 1998, and then moved to Birmingham in August of that same year, she wasn't on my list to try to find and say goodbye to. Conversely, when she left Troy, she never had any reason to find me.  

Because that's how we are with people, and that's quite alright to be that way. We can't be besties with everyone, we just don't have time for it. But we can still be friends, good friends for coffee and conversation, without having to keep up with each other. Good friends for a smile and a laugh and sort of inside joke that's a callback to something long ago and even gas.  Like, for the car, not the Taco Bell kind.

You see, September 11th, 2001, was the last time I saw Donna Tucker, or heard her voice, or heard anything about her at all.  She may be single now, living in Tacoma. She might be a married stay at home mom to five kids over in Homewood. She could be a successful exec at an Atlanta area corporation, or an artist with an Etsy shop... I legit have no idea. I even tried to look her up on Facebook tonight, but found nothing.

Like all of you who remember that day, September 11th, was a crazy day. I saw the news about the plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers (I was there a mere 3 years prior!) and watched in disbelief as another plane flew into the the tower, then saw the news coverage switch to Washington DC because there was an explosion at the Pentagon and heard there were more hijacked planes on the way to Disney World or Chicago or Los Angeles or wherever (it twas a blessing indeed that only four planes were taken, with only three getting to their intended targets).

I was working at 106.9 The Point, though you would know it now as 106.9 The Eagle (actually... I think at that time it was Oldies 106.9...) but either way, I was sort of interning with Rob & Shannon in the mornings as the events of the day unfolded. And around 9a, I still had to actually go to work on the other side of the building.

No one was really working, to be honest. Everyone sat in their cubes, stunned, trying to read stuff on the internet as page after page would load and crash, or not load at all, due to being overwhelmed.  MSNBC's page had the familiar picture of the South Tower with the explosion shooting from the side. Fox News page wouldn't even come up. I meandered my way through the morning and finally got to lunch, and had to get out of the office, even for just a minute. 

Of course, I knew gas was going to go up, because in times like these, it always did, so whether I was a reacting to the problem or was part of the problem, I headed for the BP station on the corner of Lakeshore and Columbiana to fill up my tank.

And as I stood there, mind whirling from everything, I heard, "Well hey David Dollar". I turned around, already knowing the face I'd see because the voice is so recognizable.

And I was right.

"Hey Donna Tucker," I replied, with a smile. 
"Been a morning, huh?" she said back, with words that seem empty, things you'd say as you passed someone familiar in a grocery store, then hurried past and then spent the next 1/2 hour scoping the aisles to avoid more conversation. No, Donna was real. It's all she knew how to be, really. 

"Yeah, you could say that," I chuckled with exasperation. 

Is this what we actually said? I have no clue. But it is the air of the words we chose. Friendly. Light. Fun. Authentic.

I asked her how she was, where she was, and she told me of her then-current life, which seemed pleasant enough.  She asked me the same type questions, and I answered in kind -- single, working, no I havent seen ____ but I've heard he's here -- and our conversation lasted no more than a few minutes, however long it took for my car and her car to top each top off with fuel.

We said our goodbyes, wished each other well, climbed into our respective vehicles, and our paths, that only slightly intertwined years before and had only for a moment touched on this day, then diverged out into different directions once again. 

It was the calm of my entire day.

I went home for a minute, back to my apartment. I shed a few tears as I watched more footage in my room. It took a deep breath, went back to my car, drove back to work and finished the day. The next few days were the same -- the radio station was like other stations, both TV and radio, with wall to wall coverage for at least three days. Even if I wanted to get away from the news, and there were times I was ready to leave it, it was all around me. At home, I could shut out the world if needed, but myself and my roommates Mikey, Shawn, Tom, Tommy, and anyone else there discussed it all at length. Probably needed to, just to voice our thoughts.

But Donna Tucker. For 7 minutes on September 11, 2001, there was no attack. There was no collapsing towers or thousands of lives lost.  For about 7 minutes, I had a warm, pleasant conversation with Donna Tucker.  It was exactly what I needed.  A friendly -- and beautiful -- face to look at, and a perky and wonderful voice to listen to when the whole world had collapsed into ugly and horrible. 

Strangely, Donna doesn't cross my mind often, and that's not an insult to my memory of her, as I can pretty much guarantee "d$" is never top of mind for her either... but she does come front and center in those front and center lobes of my brain on 9/11.

She was my levity.  She was my calm.

Thank you, Donna. And I hope you are well.  And as the world once again falls slowly apart, maybe another gas station meet up would be helpful. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

rush is right

 Rush Limbaugh died today. Here are my thoughts. They are my thoughts, and while I usually have no problem with dissenting opinions, if you decide to take this time to trash, insult, and make false claims, I'll just delete your comment. Simple as that.

One of the compliments I hear often when I discuss politics on a random thread, or the rare times when I post here, is that i don't make it personal, I come at it with facts in my pocket, and am amenable to changing my mind on certain things. It doesn't happen a lot, but it has happened. And sure, you may not agree with anything I say, and that's okay, sometimes even the same facts are used to strengthen an opinion on both sides.
Now, what I'm about to say may put one sentence in your mind that will be hard to forget, that being "Well, no wonder he thinks all that stuff he thinks". And I have no problem with you thinking it. Because I don't hold a belief in any opinion anymore without having reasons why. But it wasn't always this way, but probably in the last 10 years or so.
Where did I learn this? Rush Limbaugh. I've already scanned social media and seen some of the disgusting things said already, about "burning in hell" and "lies and vitriol" and such, and it makes me think back to what Rush always said -- you cannot understand his show by listening for one day, or even a week. He, maybe jokingly, maybe not, said you have to listen to his show for six weeks to make an accurate assessment.
In college, I was on the air for 2 hours every day at WTBF, playing the best of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, then worked the board for the first hour of Rush, from 11a to noon (CST). I was a Democrat, thought Bill Clinton was cool, and honestly, paid no attention to politics. Beyond six weeks, I listened for 9 months and while I wasn't sold, it taught me a different perspective... or, as I'm proud to say most people cannot say about themselves, it taught me there IS a different perspective.
Rush never told me or anyone who listened what to think. He was like all shows that did play a sound bite and he picked the context in which to discuss it, which left me with no option but to go find the full context -- and way more often than not, his context was correct.
All told, I've listened to his show pretty much daily since 1996, ended up voting for Bob Dole in my first Prez election, and have learned an infinite amount of history, wisdom, and strategies for debating and arguing my point. I didn't always agree with Rush, and sometimes he was bombastic. I would hear CNN take a Rush bite, or see people on twitter say "OMG RUSH SAID THIS EVIL THING" then see the "evil" thing and laugh, knowing the full context and weight of what was actually said.
He wasn't perfect. His nicknames were usually hilarious, occasionally too much, but many times on point. He had a Rx addiction problem many years ago that he openly discussed and took time to deal with. And no, he didn't make fun of Michael J Fox. He made a point about how Fox was being used by the media, a point that I agree with to this day.
Rush believed in American exceptionalism, and the pure belief that capitalism will help a nation thrive, conservative works, and that liberalism doesn't. Extreme positions? Maybe. But I'm not seeing a whole lot of evidence to the contrary.
The media overall hated him but wouldn't be where they are without him, playing those very same soundbites out of context. Hannity, Shapiro, Beck, would have had a much harder road had it not been for Rush. He lived in the heads of so many in the media, and even when they tried to compete (Air America anyone?) they failed miserably. By the way, I listened for a week to Air American. It was so freaking bad. Chuck D and some other dude spent a whole hour making "W Bush is so dumb" jokes. Like, what? Where was I?
Not until the advent of podcasting did Rush have any real competition -- and even then, it was a different medium.
I will miss Rush immensely. When he announced he had Stage 4 cancer last year, I knew we didn't have him for much longer. And when he came back on the air in January, I knew that his time was even more limited, and I smack myself for never trying to call in. He was my afternoon news update, a break from the I HATE TRUMP SO MUCH WAAAAA screaming that CNN, and even some parts of Fox, gave me daily.
Finally, Rush openly professed a love of God, and more pointedly, a belief in the fullness of Christ. So while Twitter is flush with "he's burning in Hell!" tweets from people who said the same about Billy Graham, if you have a belief in the Bible -- the whole thing, not the warm fuzzy parts -- then rest assured, Rush is having a pretty good day right now. (I've legit lost 3 followers in the 20 minutes since I tweeted about my mourning for his passing)
Thanks Rush for all you taught me. You get some rest now. After 25 years, I think your tens of millions of listeners and fans can take it from here.
your friend and loyal patriot

Thursday, January 07, 2021

late night you tubery: the music video

So I originally wrote this as a Facebook post over the course of an hour, but I realized it was way too long -- heck, I never read long FB posts, so why should you? Figured I'd copy and paste my ramblings here, and then if you wanted to come see them, then ok.

Here are my random thoughts... So I'm making the kid's lunch for tomorrow, and getting his supplements ready for the next few days. This is normally a task I'd knock out in 20 minutes, but it took me over an hour tonight. Why?

Well, I made the decision -- right or wrong -- to open up YouTube and let a music playlist go... and because I've watched these videos a ton, it knows what I want to see... and as each video played, I had some thoughts.

“Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.  I love this video, but not for the reason you think... no, I love it because I love watching T.I. do that ridiculous dance he does. T.I. Dance gives me joy.  Also, this is a great parody of "Word Crimes" by Weird Al.

“Timber” by Pitbull ft Ke$ha. Was anyone else shocked when they found out that awesome female voice in the backup was the same voice that actually sang “brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” in that ridiculous “Tick Tock” song?

“Cake By the Ocean” by DNCE. Anyone else still weirded out by whichever Jonas that is dropping the F bomb so many times?

“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye. Has to go down as one of the best one hit wonders ever. Also does anyone else nearly scream the “Cut me out” part? real quiet “you didn’t have to” then loudly “CUT ME OUT!!!” This song is so great. The video is paint by numbers on acid. And if you don't like feet, the first 10 seconds of this video will give you the skeeves. 

but you treat me like a stranger and it
“Fireball” by Pitbull. Who put another freaking Pitbull on here? (Hint-it was me. I like Pitbull) Also, the “we’re taking we’re taking we’re taking it down/bringing it back” part is a bucket list item of mine to do on stage with a raucous crowd. One day. 

“Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King. First up, Ron Schneider’s daughter. Wat. Second, this is an Incredible driving song. Great drums. Good for counting.

“Run-Around” & "Hook” by Blues Traveler.  Let’s be real. Anyone can learn “WAP”. You just say a bunch of raunchy words and try to have as little talent as possible. Blues Travelers songs take some real work to learn. And “Run-Around” and “Hook” is one of the best one-two punches by any band ever. “Hook” has Paul Schafer, but “Run-Around” has the Wizard of Oz theme, and is slightly more fun to sing. Advantage.

“Impression That I Get” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. AAAAAAAHHHHH NEVER HAD TO KNOCK ON WOOD BUT I KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS WHICH MAKES ME WONDER IF I COULD... you know it. Keep going it. Flailing around enhances the experience. 

“Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger. I legit just laughed when this song started. It’s so stupid... and so freaking catchy... plus the lead singer (I found out later is Sean Nelson) looks like a total dork, which helps me relate. "Been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding" is a line that just owns me.  And no kidding, I just hopped across the kitchen to the fridge to the beat of this song...

“Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three. It’s an outrage, nay, a scandal, that 4 Non Blondes get their suck tune** on heavy rotation on SiriusXM and I never hear this song. Cumbersome freaking RULZ. And I nearly blow out my vocal cords doing the raspy voice. Worth it.

**the song I reference here is "What's Up". I have determined that I hate this song more than any other song in the history of life. I deplore this song. Were I being tortured, I could endure toenail pullings and teeth drilling, but continuous play of this might make me tell the bad guys where the money is. Toss in my 2nd worst most hated song ever, "Get What You Give" from the New Radicals, and maybe my 3rd most worst hated song ever, "Anything By Cardi B with Special Emphasis on Bodak Yello", and frankly, I'm just going to die of awesome deficiency.

I have a hard time dealing with how
adorable she is in this video.

I have two fave songs in the whole wide world, ever. Like all time. Not ironically, like, legit 1a and 1b. 

“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles is one of them. This song is perfect. Flawless. And the video is also awesome. I listened to it, then restarted it so I could watch it before I went to bed.

Okay, that's it. I also saw "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley but forgot to write it down, so... next time.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

the not top ten best books of 2019 (part 1)

So, hey!  Happy New Year!  So you may be thinking "Oh, it's the last day of 2020, so this must be the favorite book list of 2020, right?"  Nope... I have had this draft, half-written, in my drafts for 8 months, so I thought since 2020 is not officially over yet, it would be a good time to finish it...

So here is my report on books read in 2019:

Every year, I list my Top Ten Fave books of the year, and while they can be from any year, they have to be first time reads for me.  In 2019, I actually only re-read two books, both I've read several times through the years, leaving the rest as brand new.  Of course, when I say "read", I do mean audio, because that's reading too... to the tune of 344 hours listened to via Audible.

So let's look at the books I read that didn't make the top ten... and I'll number them - not by the order in which I read them, but just to keep track of how many (for my own purposes because I'm bad at math)


These are a handful of books written by actors and stand up comics, usually telling their story with lots of jokes and such

I was all in on the first season of "The Unbelievable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix.  The star, Ellie Kemper, I found to be just flippin' adorable, and so when she released (1) My Squirrel Life, a memoir of sorts, I had to grab it. In fact, it was the very first book of 2019 for me... and I was delighted. Its short, its sweet, and it's fun... though I cannot tell you that I remember much about it. I just remember liking it.

When my friend Amarylis (by morning, up from San Antone) said she had read David Spade's
(2) Poloroid Guy in a Snapchat World, I nodded. I had been circling that one for a while on Audible, and was trying to decide if I wanted to read it.  I finally pulled the trigger, and liked it. He's got another, Almost Interesting, and I'm undecided. Perhaps.

Another comedian I enjoy is Greg Fitzsimmons, and had heard Fitz discussing his book (3) Dear Mrs Fitzsimmons on the Adam Carolla podcast.  The book is somewhat of a memoir of sorts, told through a series of letters filled with funny stories of growing up.  I found it amusing, but it wasn't my favorite.  It was a well done book, just not my jam.

Finally, Annabelle Gurwitch, who I've always loved from the old school Dinner & a Movie program on TBS, put together a collection of monologues and essays called (4) "Fired! Tales of Jobs Gone Bad", as she, plus comedians like Taylor Negron, Paul F Thompkins, Dana Gould, Paul Feig, and more tell tales of how they were kindly -- and unkindly -- asked to leave various jobs. Hilarious.



Might as well toss these in... the two books I re-read this year are Richard Paul Evans (5) "The Christmas Box", a short but lovely little story of a family moving in with a well-to-do matronly saint of a woman, to assist, and discovering that family is the most important thing. It's a great story to help that Christmas spirit.

Another re-read is one that I read once every 2-3 years, so I'm likely on my 4th or 5th reading of (6) "Salem's Lot" by Stephen King. Its one of my all time favorite books, and while somewhat dated (it takes place in the fall of 1975), its thrilling. If you didn't know the main villain of the book going in, it's a masterful way of slowly unspooling the horror of the story. 

Speaking of Stephen King...



My unspoken, unconscious vow to read all Grisham novels continued in 2019, as I read the older classic (7) The Chamber, about an idealistic law student who is trying to save his racist grandfather from the electric chair. Grisham books are never bad, but this one was a little sluggish... I also watched the movie of the same name, starring Chris O'Donnell and Gene Hackman, aka, "The movie where Hackman destroys O'Donnell in every scene he's in".  So, I can say that The Chamber part of my life is closed for good.  Not so with (8) The Reckoning, however, which tells the story of Peter Banning, who one day long ago drove into a small town and shot in cold blood the local preacher, then gave himself up.

The power that Stephen King has on me is pretty ridiculous, as I do read -- and always have read -- anything he releases.  It's a little personally unnerving, as he politically hates me, but I'm still a fan.  One book that had previously eluded me, and intimidated me, was (9) Four Past Midnight, which contains four smaller... and smaller is a relative term, as this sumgun is just under 30 hours on audio... novellas, including "The Langoliers", about a very unfortunate, dark flight into madness... "Secret Window, Secret Garden", about an author who's own characters are driving him into madness... "The Library Policeman", about a library who's secrets are simply madness... and "The Sun Dog", my favorite of the bunch, about a very sinister Polaroid camera. And yeah, madness.

I dug the book as a whole, and it skirted my Top Ten, as did The Reckoning, but both authors have books in my Top Ten of 2019 already.



Read two books on the fake sport that I love so much... and yes, I realize that while it's fake, the injuries are very real and so on and so forth. but nonetheless, first up was (10) Best Seat in the House, by former WWE and now current AEW announcer Justin Roberts. One of Roberts lifelong goals was to be a wrestling announcer, so it gives his take on his pursuit of, and finally achieving that goal -- and as all know, sometimes that goal isn't all we wanted it to be.  It's got some great stories, and I believe him, though it does come across as a little whiny in a few spots.

The other was by a guy named Sean Oliver, who has been around wrestling for a long, long time. In this book (11) Kayfabe: Stories You're Not Supposed to Hear from a Pro Wrestling Production Company, he does in fact tell some stories, though I'm unsure of whether I should have heard them or not.  The book is more of a history of his production company, Kayfabe Commentaries, which does extensive interviews with past and present wrestling superstars, and releases them on DVD and digital. The book does chronicle stories from the world of WWE, WCW, ECW, and more, and though I enjoyed the stories, it did come across as a long advertisement for his studio.

For the uninitiated... "Kayfabe" (kay-faybe) means "in story". As in, when wrestlers are in a match, they are in character, and you stay in character before and after a match. You never "break kayfabe" unless it's something major, like a serious injury, or you are "shooting", which means you are talking real life in a ring. When someone breaks kayfabe, and shoots, it's always entertaining. See CM Punk's "Pipebomb" or Nash & Hall's big hugs before they left WWF in the 90s.

While not Wrasslin, it has nowhere else to go, so I'm sticking Jeff Pearlman's (12) Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL here. The subtitle explains it all, and it's an excellent bit of sports history, and the words "crazy rise" and "crazier demise" are right on point. It's a wild story, and yes, Donald Trump added to that second part.  



Does it count if there is only an audio book, and not a tangible book?  Well, I'm counting it anyway, so there.

Author Curtis Sittenfield wrote and released a short book called (13) Atomic Marriage, about a hotshot Hollywood writer who is sent to a small Alabama town to interview a pastor who has written a book about marriage. A 12-step process, actually, on how to stay together physically, emotionally, mentally and so on. Of course, Heather, the writer, has her doubts on what this Alabama hick can teach her (and honestly, I was a little timid on how it would treat the South) but to my, and the reader's, delight, that's not at all what happened.  It's a wonderful little book, even with the ending that seems to just... well, end. I liked this quite a bit, and I wished it was actually longer.

In all my years of listing my Top Tens, the first time I ever listed a book purchased at a book fair was... well, right here. (14) "Where is Walt Disney World", part of a "Where Is..." series, this one by Joan Hulab. It's pleasant, written on a kid level, giving general history and location of The Most Magical Place on Earth.  



I'm a huge fan of stage plays and screenplays. I have a few on my bookshelf, and I like the way the word is presented, as opposed to a narrative (much like "Harry Potter & the Cursed Child" is done, but I just can't bring myself to read it yet.)

So I knocked out several of these, including (15) I Love Lucy: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Sitcom by Gregg Oppenheimer, about the creation of the classic television show by way of Lucy and Desi. Enjoyed it, though wanted more from the story.

David Mamet is one of my favorite playwrights and so I found (16) Speed the Plow to read. It's about a Hollywood producer's who's influence is tested when he's torn between a promising script and a hot chick. If I had a dime for every time I had to make such a decision...

(17) The 64th Man, by Bryan Tucker and Zach Phillips, is about a washed up athlete trying to get back in the league while dealing with his own love life and family. I found it... boring. 

Neil Simon is one of my favorites, and I've been picking his plays up all along for the last few years, and in 2019, I liked (18) Lost in Yonkers, a Pulitzer & Tony Award winning play about two teens living with their grandmother in Yonkers during World War II.  The other Neil Simon play I read in 2019 will be coming later.

Another drama that I didn't enjoy as much, though still was drawn into, was (19) Dinner with Friends from Donald Marguiles, a Pulitzer Prize winning story of two couples, their secrets, divorce, and friendship. It's heavy. 

Finally, there was (20) Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers, by Geoffrey Cowans and Leroy Aarons, about the struggle the Washington Post had to release the classified US documents about the Vietnam War.  It was engaging and tense, even though I knew the outcome.  

And then Check out the TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2019

the not top ten books of 2019 (part 2)

Make sure you check out part 1 of the books I read last year that didn't make my Top Ten... and then be sure to check for my Top Ten Books of 2019.

The numbers continue from the previous post -- again, not in the order I read them, but just to keep up with what I've listed. Also, again, bad at math and all that. 


While I'm not necessarily into "self help" books, I do read some if I really like the concept and the author.  I'm a big fan of Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in "Star Wars: the Clone Wars", and a legend around Star Wars circles, and while I did enjoy (21) It's Your Universe, I recognize I'm not the target audience.  But, even not being a chick, this book still is good for everyone. 

It's her story of becoming a voice over artist, and eventually becoming the voice of Ahsoka Tano (though Rosario Dawson is playing her in The Mandalorian, and I'm excited about this, because I love Rosario Dawson hey boo).  It's a book about setting a goal and going after it, and I aligned with it nicely.

I'm also always looking for great books on the clean up process, because... well my house needs a good clean up. Hence reading Robin Zasio's (22) The Hoarder in You. Zasio is known for being one of the main people in the "Hoarders" series on A&E, and while nothing here is revolutionary, it's still a good reminder of how truly easy it is to get organized, it's just having a plan and doing it.

If you are kicking yourself for not accomplishing all that you wanted in 2019, or even 2020, though that's an entire other discussion, then... well, (23) In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It, the book by Lorelei Gilmore herself, Lauren Graham.  Lauren, a Gilmore, a Braverman, and eternal hotness, gave this speech to her high school in a commencement speech, and we got to enjoy it book form. It's worth the brief time it takes to read it.

It's always fun to be reading a book by an author who winds up sitting about five feet away from you as you read. Thus, the situation I found myself in in a Embassy Suites lobby as I was reading (24) Get Weird, while author CJ Casciotta sat nearby. He was there to speak at a conference, and I was there to listen, and it was all around a good time. It's a book about not fitting in, about using your creativity to the fullest, and about being weird and embracing that weirdness. I felt seen.

Lee Cockerell, a retired VP of the Walt Disney Company has a series of books, and this one spoke to me the most... (25) Time Management Magic was some magic I could really use.  Let's be real, nothing here is mind-blowing -- it's all basic concepts, but like Zasio's book about not being a hoarder, its advice we need to be reminded of frequently. Plus, it helps that he also has a background in the Happiest Company on Earth, which really spoke to me.

As a sidebar, he's pretty liberal in his politics and legit came after me in a thread where I wasn't addressing him nor responding to something he'd said. It was bizarre. 

Finally, one of the most popular podcasts around, The Popcast, saw one of it's hosts write and publish a book in 2019. (26) The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life's Biggest Questions is by Knox McCoy, and is a solid book. Knox, a Christ Follower, weaves boy bands, reality television, current musical artists and more around a number of spiritual and Biblical quandaries with God and the Christian Walk.  Believers would likely enjoy this and Knox's take -- he's quite brilliant, actually. Barely missed my Top Ten. 



An author I always check on for new material is Kathryn Casey, who is based in Texas and seems to be covering every major murder and sensational court case in the state -- her book in 2019 was (23) In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders, telling the tale of Kaufman County Assistant DA Mark Hasse, executed in broad daylight, the massacre that followed, and the couple who did it. I enjoy most of Casey's stuff, and while I haven't really like the style of the last few, this was somewhat of a rebound. Good, not great.

Bryan Burrough's (24) The Demon Next Door tells how he learned that a high school classmate of his, Danny Corwin, ended up becoming a serial killer. The book is just okay.

Amanda Lamb's (25) "Love Lies: A True Story of Marriage and Murder in the Suburbs" (true crime subtitles are long) tells of how Nancy Cooper's strangled body was found in a ditch in North Carolina, while her husband claims she went out for a jog and never came back. You might know where this is headed.

(26) "Twisted: The Story of Larry Nassar and the Woman Who Took Him Down", by Mary Pilon and Carla Correa, is the first of several books & films I consumed about the Nassar, the douchebag doctor for the US Gymnastics team, and how the women he sexually assaulted found the bravery to come forward. Takes you through the first few women to speak up, then the women who followed, and Nassar's world that crashes around him. Very informative and very detailed. This is where I toss in that trigger warning thing. 



Final three books on this "outside the Top 10" list all fall under the entertainment and pop culture category list. 

(27) Best.Movie.Year.Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen by Brian Raftery essentially just looks at a pivotal 12 month period in cinematic history -- some of the biggest movies and pop culture touchstones came out that year.  Fight Club, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, American Pie, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Magnolia, and so many more are all discussed, with interviews and soundbytes from Sofia Coppola, Reese Witherspoon, Taye Diggs, Matthew Broderick, and loads more. Any movie fan would love this -- in fact, while I did my list and ranking in January of 2020, I'm not even sure why this isn't in my Top 10. But I'll go with what I have, though I may re-read this one soon.

I read two books about the making of, and behind the scenes of, the show Friends. Both are excellent, but the one I liked 2nd best of the two is (28) I'll Be There For You: The One About Friends  by Kelsey Miller. Like the other (which you can guess will be in the Top 10), it's an indepth look at the creation, the casting, the premiere, and the seasons -- good, excellent, and mediocre -- that followed. If you are a Friends fan, you can't go wrong with I'll Be There For You, but I like the other just a little more. 

And then, (29) Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stetler, is another who's subtitles give you the sense of the book. It concentrates mostly on the battle between The Today Show on NBC and ABC's perpetual 2nd place "Good Morning America", and how the latter slowly chipped away at the former's decades long dominance. The book was written in 2013, years before the (deserved) fall from grace of Matt Lauer, but you can see just in his actions and words that, knowing now what we know about his douchecanoery with his female coworkers, things were not well.  It does paint a rosy picture of how NBC treated Ann Curry, and I can believe it. 



Finally... books 30 to 33... 

One of the joys of being a dude who works from home is that I am able to attend school functions with my kid -- including showing up and shopping with him at the yearly Book Fair (here's to hoping 2021 will bring this back to us. Who doesn't love a good book fair?  Back in my day, I'd show up with $15 in my pocket, I'd walk out with a Beverly Cleary book, the latest Bill Wallace novel, a Star Wars read-along, a poster of a Ferrari, a Trapper Keeper folder, and some pencil erasers shaped like West Indies Komodo Dragons.  Now?  $15 might get a two books from the pre-school section and a sheet of glitter stickers.

I said earlier that "Where is Walt Disney World" was the first book I've ever listed purchased at a Book Fair... I should have said "purchased FOR ME", as these were books I bought at my kid's book fair, that I read, and that I count on my list -- you'll see why in a second.

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Rusker... Mighty Mighty Construction Site, also by Rusker... Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury... and Me & My Dad by Allison Ritchie.

All can be read in 3 minutes or less.  So why would I put these four kids books on the list?  No, not to pad my stats. I think I get credit for these books because I read all four, every night, out loud to Campbell at bed time, and I read them every night for around six or seven straight months -- and that ain't even hyperbole.  So these count. 


So there is my list of books that didn't make my Top 10...

The three that I would say were on the edge -- Knox McCoy's "The Wondering Years", Kelsey Miller's "I'll Be There For You" and Raftery's "Best.Movie.Year.Ever".  Toss in  "Football for a Buck" by Jeff Pearlman and Pilon & Correa's "Twisted" and there is the next five after the Top 10.

That's the Outside the Top Ten List... onto the Top Ten