Davins Comedy Blog

Selfish Behavior Hurts the Handicapped - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

There has obviously been a downward slide in public manners and civil behavior in recent decades.  People seem to think that they should be allowed to do whatever they want whenever they want, without a second thought to how it affects others.  Loud-talking on cell phones, demanding upgrades and comps wherever they go, and finding ways to game the system for their own advantage at the cost of others. All of this self-important behavior is unfair to other people in general. One particular part of society that is being affected by this selfish behavior is the disabled community. 

Of course, great strides have been made in making the world more accessible for people with disabilities, especially since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It’s only right that every effort should be made to make accommodations for wheelchairs, hearing problems and sight issues, etc., wherever possible.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have long been more acutely aware of these issues, since I worked part-time in college for one of my professors who was wheelchair bound.  Also, with my mother’s mental illness and my father’s failing health in his later years, I realized that sometimes there needed to be a little give involved to help them through certain obstacles.  However, my brother’s recent mid-calf amputation has really pushed the issue back into the forefront of my mind.

There is a Seinfeld episode where the main characters go to a mall, and George choses to park in a handicapped spot for their selfish convenience.  A wheelchair bound woman was injured due to having to park further away, and an unruly mob gathers around the car to wait for the person who illegally parked in the handicapped spot she needed. Obviously, part of the premise of Seinfeld is that the main characters are terrible people who do terrible things and never learn lessons, so no one was condoning their behavior and you are not meant to root for them to win this particular battle. Still, it was always a very annoying episode to me, because it irks me that people ever think it’s okay to take those spaces, even for “just a second”, or that they flat-out think “Screw them, I need a space.”  Uh, don’t you think that people with handicaps have been screwed by life already? How about a little decency? I would have been standing in that mob, yelling for George’s head.

A recent article on the Huffington Post website spoke about how people are ruining the idea of emotional support animals by faking the need for them, or bringing more and more outrageous examples of emotional support animals onto planes. I understand that there are people who may still scoff at the need for such an accommodation in the first place, but that is usually the lucky ones who have never experienced first-hand the crippling effect of some mental illnesses or emotional damage that would require someone to need such a thing.  Lucky you. For the people with legitimate emotional or physical issues that have been helped by support animals, the misuse of this accommodation by people who just want to bring their peacock onboard is very damaging.  When the public perception of support animals turns to cynicism and scoffing, those who truly need and benefit from this help suffer needlessly.  I mean, on top of the suffering they are already experiencing.

Look, in a desperate moment, who hasn’t used the handicapped stall in the bathroom, when no one was around who might need it.  I’m not a saint.  I admit to using them when no one in a wheelchair was in evidence, and I hurry to get out of there.  If a handicapped person were to come in, they would have to wait 1 minute tops, and they could talk to me through the door to let me know they needed the stall.  It’s not the same with a parking space, where there is no way to call other driver out to move their car.  And by the same token, a person who wants to travel with their penguin on an airplane (it’s happened) should have a legitimate reason.  If everyone now looks at people with support animals as fakers gaming the system, because there are so many, then people with PTSD and other issues have to deal with unwanted scrutiny during airline travel, which is already stressful enough for people with no mental or emotional issues.

What we can all do about this trend is to remember that we don’t always know what kind of issues others are going through, but try to be mindful of the ways we can keep from making their journey more difficult.  Educate others that it is not okay to park in the handicapped parking, or to fake having issues just to game the system.  It dilutes the sympathy that other able-bodied people have for handicapped accommodations if every self-important person thinks that they are entitled to it as well.  How about just thanking the deity of your choice that you don’t have to negotiate the world with that person’s challenges, and can walk to a further parking space, or fly without crushing anxiety.


LIFE WITHOUT A PHONE - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)

For eighteen years I have owned a cell phone, we live in a society now where we can’t remember not having one and there is a generation that doesn’t even know what life was like without one.

For the first time in all those years I experienced life without a cell phone. It was a Friday last week and I was leaving the day program to head to my gig in Philadelphia, the trip in rush hour would be about three hours and change. I was leaving at 4:15 and the gig was at 9:30 so it gave me plenty of time to get there even with bad weather coming in.

I jumped in my car and left, about three minutes after I left I checked that I had everything and then my blood ran cold “I LEFT MY CELL PHONE AT THE DAY PROGRAM”. I immediately turned around to head back when I saw my coworker who locked up pass me by. I then turned around and then tried to catch up to him with speeds that would make Vin Diesel shit his pants, but no luck he was gone. I immediately went back to the office to see if anyone was there as someone maybe staying late, but no it was a Friday afternoon and the place was locked tighter than a crab’s ass.

I sat there and as I stared at the building I came to the fact that I will be without a phone for the weekend and I will also have to drive to Philly without a phone. I was pissed at myself for being so stupid and this was the second time recently I lost track of one of my belongings ,the last time was in November when Davin and I were on the road in Myrtle beach and I left my bag in the comedy club parking lot. This time wasn’t as bad as I know where the phone is and that it is safe unless the cleaning people steal it which I doubt as they always are very honest but none the less it was still on my mind.

I had no choice, it is what it is and I started to head to Philly. The trip west through Long Island was fine but when I had got to Brooklyn there was a string of nasty thunderstorms and there was flooding everywhere. I heard on the radio that the Belt parkway which is one of the main roads to get off Long Island into Jersey was stopped, as I have been gigging for twenty two years I know all the short cuts and I took the local roads which were slow but moving. When I got to the Verrazano Bridge which is how you get from Long Island to Staten Island and then to Jersey it was already six forty five. Time was ticking and not in my favor. I will just make this gig and if I am running late I will just call, oh yeah that’s right” I DON’T HAVE A PHONE”. How am I going to call and let them know I am running late, I am the headliner and if I am really late I can still make my spot but how would they know?

I crossed the bridge and the ride through Staten Island was brutal as the flooding from the storm wreaked havoc. I figured when I got into Jersey it would be better, it was seven thirty when I got into Jersey and it was just getting worse. As I am sitting in traffic I am trying to get a game plan going. When I get on The New Jersey Turnpike I will go to a travel plaza and find a pay phone to call the club, however there are no more pay phones anymore and do you know what and idiot I would feel like looking for one “ Do you have a pay phone? Yeah it’s by the Telegraph office stupid”. Another option is maybe find someone in charge at the rest stop and explain the situation and I could borrow their phone or they could call the club for me.  
It was eight fifteen when I got to the New Jersey Turnpike, I know from years of working at this club that it takes forty five minutes from the exit I’m at to get to the club. I decided to haul ass at eighty to ninety miles an hour down the turnpike and then into Pennsylvania. Arrival time for the nine thirty show is nine PM. I got there at nine o’ two, I got there with not one minute to spare but thank god I did not have to use a phone.

The one thing that concerned me is I wrote to Joe’s girl that I was leaving for Philly right before I left the phone at the day program. I was worried because I know she would be worried and I could not write back to her until I got home and onto my desk top computer at three am.
The trip home was uneventful and then there was Saturday. I had to go to the car dealer and sit for two and a half hours for something that was supposed to take an hour and a half. I did not miss my phone as I was making notes for our Davin’s Den Scams the Scammers clips. They take time to log and edit( so I hope you listen to them) anyway that kept me busy and I am on my way home now to have a nice lunch and then leave for the gig again in Philly. I have to leave at five. At quarter to three I get a flat five miles from my house. The only place to change the tire is a sandy patch on the side of the road. I look at the situation, I have two hours to change the tire, put on the donut spare, find a tire place to fix the tire and put it back on the truck and get to Philly. And again no phone if something goes wrong.

A Good Samaritan helped me with a better jack and gave me a tip on how to get the tire off as it was stuck to the rotor. After forty minutes, cutting my hand on the cheap shit jack handle, and being covered in sand and sweat I was on my way back to the house. I got home took a shower and headed to the gig trying to find a tire place on the way because I can’t drive to Philly on a donut.

It is now four thirty and of the two of the tire places I went to, one could not get me out until six, and the other one could not work on the car until the next day. I knew that there was one of those “We Fix Flats” places so I decided that I will just head west on the donut and if I had to I would have to drive forty miles an hour to Jersey on the donut and if that goes flat I will just call the club,, oh yeah that’s right, NO PHONE. With luck I found the fix a flat guy and I was on my way by five.

The trip to the gig was fine and I got there with time to spare. I did find that when you do have down time without a smart phone you don’t know what to do with yourself. It amazes me that for two days I was off the grid and besides of the necessity of a phone in case of an emergency I did not miss it much as it was nice to get a break from the texts and emails.    

I got into the Day Program Monday morning and immediately started to look for the phone. I went to the two places that I thought they might be,,,,it’s not there. One of my coworkers tried to call the phone and no ringing. I am now starting to freak out as I just paid the phone off last month and I can’t afford a new one. As I walk past the reception desk there it is. The cleaning people found it and left a note. What a sense of relief. It is amazing how much we rely on these things and they are such a big part of our lives and how something that was not even around twenty five years ago is now a needed appliance.  
During this whole ordeal I was saying to myself that there must be a reason for all of this, and I believe there was, the first text and voice mail was from my estranged wife saying she is not signing the Divorce papers sent to her. And there is the reason, why ruin the weekend with bad news, and about the divorce? That will be a story for another day. Got to go the phone is ringing.       



Being the fat kid sucks. I am not going to bullshit you and say looks don’t matter and you should be comfortable in your skin no matter how you look.  Looks do matter. They have always mattered.  People who say they don’t matter are either liars, look good, or are much more evolved than I am. Being fat as a kid means you get ostracized.  You are different.  You are a target for bullies and ridicule.  As you start to get older it means you are much less likely to date.  It means while your friends are dating you are home alone or the dreaded third wheel.  For my youth I was always the fat kid.  I had friends and I played sports but for those who did not know me I was a target. Goodbye self -confidence. 
As I approached 15 I realized I wanted to change my life path. I ate a lot of salad, drank a lot of water, and cut down on bread. Lo and behold I got my first girlfriend. In fact other girls started to notice me as well.  I am just shallow enough to know that made a difference in how I felt about myself.  When I look better I feel better about myself emotionally.  I don’t know why fat is a problem in society but I know it is and I know I am not strong enough to take on the onslaught of looks, derision, and whispers of being too fat. 

In college I gained the freshman 15 but I also lifted weights fairly often. I would continue this throughout my college years and though I was no longer the 27 inch waisted kid I was at the end of high school I was in shape and muscular.  I have never been shredded.  Even when I was running a mile every day in 95 degree heat and doing an insane amount of work on my abs I was never ripped but I was in shape.  I did pretty well with the ladies in college. Even though I ate crap and a lot of it I was working out and had a youngster’s metabolism.

When I met my wife I was 150 pounds and built. I had a 32 inch waist.  I was also getting ready to start law school, would soon begin a comedy career, have a part time job and of course a new girlfriend. There was just not enough time to work out regularly like I use to. I was happy. I was busy. I was not focused on my fitness.  I am not one who gorges themselves on food. I don’t eat a lot. I don’t eat exceptionally bad. I just slowly gain weight. I like to eat at night in bed watching tv. I like to sit on the couch and eat junk food. I really do enjoy eating. It makes me happy. I like sweet. I like savory. I like food. I like food much more than I ever liked working out. Maybe you can relate.

Leading up to our wedding we did the South Beach diet together.  It worked very well for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated not being to eat exactly what I wanted but my fiancée made a lot of the food. I essentially was living off of turkey roll. I was fine with it because I was losing a few pounds every week. I like to see the numbers go down on the scale. It motivated me. I did not have to lift heavy objects at a rapid pace. I looked good for my wedding. I definitely could not have done it if my fiancée was eating chocolate cake every night. I do not have that type of will power. It definitely works better when you are doing a program with someone to help motivate each other.

After the wedding we stopped the South Beach diet and fell back into bad habits. Slowly but surely the pounds crept up. It is always a slow climb. A couple of pounds every year.  A few years later my wife is pregnant and that seems like the perfect excuse to eat poorly. And I did. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had gym memberships and I actually went for quite some time. I don’t like going. I hate getting in the car to drive someplace just to be uncomfortable. The point is I was trying. I was walking the treadmill and riding the bike. I was lifting weights.  Thank goodness or I would have really ballooned up. I always tried to keep my weight in check but if you are not exactly on point it is a battle you can lose.  So a bit after my daughter was born we tried Nutri-System.  The food was not great but the plan was easy.  Once again the weight came off fairly easily. Don’t get me wrong, I preferred bigger portions and sweeter sweets but it worked.  Once again though once off the plan the weight slowly crept back up. I was your typical yo -yo weight gain and loss person.

On top of that I stopped going to the gym. It was too far (15 – 20 minute drive).  I did try and walk the hills in my complex. I was still mobile but my eating habits were bad and my metabolism had slowed down considerably. I was getting rounder.  When the crew came to film American Greed at my house we took some pictures. I did not post them because I did not like how I looked. The self-esteem was plummeting. That was the spring of 2017. We then went on a cruise to Cuba. I did the cruise lifestyle and grew to my fattest.  Things were trending badly.  When American Greed came out on tv I joked on the radio that I looked like I ate myself.

When we came back from Cuba my wife decided she had enough of her own weight issues. She subscribed to some something called Beach Body.  They had a lot of work out programs so she picked one she wanted to do and I agreed to do it with her.  We started with 21 Day Fix. It was a high intensity work out 7 days a week for 30 minutes a day.  I did lose some weight. I was not following the meal plan but I was toning some and some pounds were coming off.  We did this program for awhile.  Then we would mix in those work outs with some other work outs.

Still some of the weight I had lost was coming back with a quickness.  There is nothing more frustrating than working hard physically and still gaining weight.  Plus nobody seemed to really notice that I had lost weight.  It was frustrating.  We did drop some weight before our trip to Italy so we were at least happy about that.  The food in Italy is delicious so I was not going to stick to a diet there anyway.

About a hundred days ago my wife was growing bored of our workouts so she wanted to do 80 Day Obsession which is more like 100 days.  You work out six days a week for about an hour a day doing weight training, while doing cardio, and compound movement all while on a very strict eating plan. And no cheat days…F@#k my life.

Can I just tell you I hated waking up in the morning to work out. So many times I wanted to quit within the first couple of minutes of the work out.  My couch and Scrubs is way more enticing than a work out mat and loops and sliders.  If you don’t know what loops and sliders are they are essentially resistance bands and pie tins that are extremely frustrating to deal with.  The woman who leads the work out, Autumn seems like a nice enough gal but I hated her. She was too peppy with too many platitudes and motivational sayings. I am sure this is helpful for some people . For me I envisioned doing horrible things to her just to get her to shut up.  I soon realized that some times the equipment we were told to use was nothing more than an excuse to use the stuff we bought from them.  I stopped using some of the stuff on some exercises. Even Autumn came around and stopped using the stuff on occasion.

The pounds were not flying off of me.  It was frustrating. I was doing the eating plan and working out very hard.  I missed white bread and soda. I was tired of vegetables. I don’t want spinach at 7 Am in the morning!  My mood was deteriorating because the pounds were not coming off quickly and I had never worked so hard.  I lost a few pounds.  My body was changing a bit. I was toning but I needed to see the numbers come off.  About half way through I convinced my wife that we scrap the meal plan and just watch what we eat.  The pounds started coming off more quickly.  The meal plan which had us eating 5 times a day was actually too much food.  With the number on the scale going down my mood brightened.

Next up my annoyance at the woman leading the work out. Shut the F@#k up is never good to yell at a tv.  I started playing music during the work outs. I still heard Autumn but at least on occasion I could lose myself in the music.  Every day my wife pushed play on the video and every day I joined her. Often followed up by playing softball in the evening.  Now my wife thought Autumn was delightful enough though maybe a bit too peppy sometimes.  I think I work out harder on rage and determination than light hearted inspiration.

That is another thing. This work out beat up my body. I don’t just mean muscle soreness. My knees really hurt taking stairs.  My back was aggravated.  I was in pain and feeling worse than I did before working out. There is a lot of jumping while holding weights. I am not a fan of that. You can modify it but I tried to not modify as much as possible. 

Now it did help my cardiovascular conditioning.  I do not get winded nearly as easily.  It did help my strength. I am lifting heavier weights than I was before.  I did get an oblique cut.  I did not shred out the way I would have liked.

In the last month my wife was starting to struggle with the workouts. She was bored and had enough. This is where I picked her up. I would not let her quit.  We were too close and she had worked too hard.  Her body was changing.  She was getting uch thinner but she had problem areas that she was unsatisfied with. I wanted to quit but I wasn’t going to and I would not let her quit.  She had dealt with my bad attitude through most of it so it was time I set a good example for her.

The week before the program ended we went to Florida. I was not going to work out in Florida. I was not going to starve myself in Florida. We went and had a good time. We each lost weight that week. Apparently ice cream and amusement parks are a good work out.

We came back and started Peak Week…the hardest week of the program.  It was hard. It was not Butter Beer and ju ju fruits.  I would end the work outs covered in sweat like I just got out of the shower.

We did it. Did I lose what I wanted to on the program? No. I thought it was a weight loss program. It was a toning program. Am I in better shape? Absolutely! My shoulders are broader, my waist is smaller, my butt is smaller (not that I was worried about that), and my stomach is flatter. I look better.  I have more work to do. I will never do this program again. It is too strict for me.  I will pick various work outs over the next few months to maintain and then October there is another program I hope to start. Work out 4 days a week for 30 minutes with high intensity.  I am going to hate it but I will hate it 30 minutes less at a time. I don’t like working out. That will not change.  I do like being in better shape for all the vain reasons.  I am not an inspiration. I am not going to tell you that I am going to embrace this new lifestyle. I won’t.  I will try. I will fail. I will push again. This will be a life long struggle.  I’m in it. Why? Because my vanity says I have no choice.


They are telling you – You have to listen - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

I remember reading somewhere that in relationships, people usually tell you what they want and where you stand with them.  Of course, you have to actually be listening to what they say, and have to be brave enough to take the words in, without changing it into what you hope they just said.  I wished I had known this so much earlier in life, because I would have saved so much time I spent on people not worthy of the effort, friends, family and love relationships alike.

Why didn’t I listen to the many signals my so-called best friend sent out over the years that she did not value our friendship?  I can recall several painful moments where she told me, not in so many words, but the message was that I wasn’t important.  When filling out the middle-school yearbook questionnaire, she answered the question, “Who do you hang out with?” by saying “No one special”.  I happened to be on the yearbook staff, and the teacher advisor took me aside to show me her response.  At the time, I didn’t understand why he did that, but as an adult, I realized that he saw what I was not ready to see – that she was not a good friend.  He changed the answer to “Friends” before it printed, I think in order to spare my feelings. When I asked her about what she wrote, she gave some strange excuse like she didn’t think it was anyone’s business, but since we had few other friends, everyone knew who her friends was anyway.  It made no sense.  Now I know that she was saying exactly what she thought.  I was “no one special”.

Of course, there were other things that were said or done that made me delude myself into thinking that I must be mistaken, or being overly sensitive.  Whatever the reason, I clung so hard to my childhood friend, well into the first year or so of college, until she finally rejected me outright.

I had been asked to be a bridesmaid to a new college friend, and I guess I was complaining too much about what a process it all was and how it was more rigamarole than I expected. She said to me, “Well, don’t expect me to do any of this when you get married – don’t even ask me.” Ouch.  Who says that to their supposed best friend? Yes, being a bridesmaid or a maid of honor can be a lot of work, but it is a rite of passage for all women.  Your friends get married, you wear an ugly dress and let them fuss over how you are going to wear your hair, etc. I was still unable to hear what she was telling me.

Later in life, I was interested in a guy who belonged to a club I was in.  We spent time together with the club, and then gradually started having coffee together.  I was under the impression that we were making slow in-roads into getting together when he said to me, “So, are we becoming friends?”  Why didn’t I hear that for exactly what it was – I was already friend-zoned.  I heard, oh wow, we are getting closer.  We went out on many what-seemed-like-dates, but without any end of the night kiss, and I thought he was shy.  HA!  He was dating someone else, but was afraid to tell me. It wasn’t until he screwed up the courage to tell me that I knew for sure that nothing was ever going to happen between us.  But I should have, because he told me what I was to him.  A friend.  I just didn’t listen.

When I started to date my now-husband, we spent an evening at Dave & Buster’s, a restaurant/bar with arcade games.  We were having a lot of fun, racking up tickets to be turned in for a prize, and he was casually saying that we could hold onto them and save up for a better prize another time, that we might be able to try for the big prize…a lot of “we”, and talking about the future.  This time, I knew that people tell you what they think.  And I was listening.  This person likes me, this person wants to spend more time with me.  This person values my opinion, even if it is about Dave & Buster’s prizes.  He was telling me what I was to him from the very start.  And this time, I listened.


My long time band Rotgut played last night, we played all cover tunes and no originals. Gone are the days of the full show and everybody in our out fits (except for me because I cannot play live in this band if I’m not in a dress). We were not the headliners and we did not have the luxury of the gig being plugged on a prime time radio show for a month, and nobody in the audience really knew who we were.

This was our fourth gig in five years since the band reconvened after a ten year break.
We always enjoy playing but we all had a great time playing this gig as there was no stress and you could feel the vibe on stage that we just had a blast just cranking out tunes and having fun.
Just enjoy what you are doing and have fun. As Viv the keyboard player in Spinal Tap would say “ have a good time all the time”.

Later that night over beers at the compound Anthony Cumia and I were talking and commenting how we are still doing the same stuff we did at eighteen. Obviously one of us has been more successful at it and it aint me, but the bottom line is what I said at the top, it’s about the fun ,and how you love what you’re doing and what you feel your meant to be doing. Earlier in the day I was in the studio with my other band Fragile Sky laying down the beginning tracks to our new project and it is just so cool to spending the day making music with these two amazing bands.

Davin, our friend Chip and I are writing a series based on my life, we embellish a lot of it as it is a dramatic Comedy or Dramedy. In the show I’m essentially playing in a band, a standup comic, and do a radio show. My character on the show wants to make it at any cost. As I review the script I am driven but I am not as frustrated as the character in the show because at this point of the game I realize things may not happen in my career as a comic or musician but the thing is I’m enjoying the ride.

 Have I sacrificed things for this business? Yes since I was sixteen every decision I have made is how it would affect the band or comedy. But as Anthony and I discussed, we stuck to our guns and as two gentlemen in their fifties we are still doing what we love while people of our age have given up on their dreams and go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed.

Even though I still have to go to the day program, at five my day does not end I’m out almost every night at a band rehearsal, at the radio show, gig, or writing meeting and I would not trade it for the world. As I say it’s a life style and there is no other place I want to be on weekend than a comedy or rock club.

So do what you love and don’t stop if it feeds your heart and soul. And maybe at the next  Rotgut show maybe I will give myself a break and not wear a dress, sorry no can do.


The Jersey Shore - By Davin Rosenblatt

I was born in Jersey. I grew up in Jersey. I live in New York. I miss Jersey.  New Jersey has wonderful beaches though if you are from New Jersey it is not the beach. You are going down the shore. At least that is how everybody I know refers to the Jersey beaches.  A lot of people probably associate the Jersey shore with the show Jersey Shore.  The Jersey Shore certainly gave one aspect of our beach life.

If you are young then yes the New Jersey beaches offer a lot of nightlife and debauchery. Though I have never been kicked out of night clubs or peed behind the bar like cast mates of the show I do know the night life is full of energy. There are dance clubs, rock clubs, comedy clubs, and boardwalks.  All cranking out loud sounds and beckoning your attention. Flashing lights, high hair, loud Jersey accents; it is all very distinctive. It is all Jersey.

The food…oh the food. The Jersey Shore of my youth had huge $1 pizza slices which were delicious. I would drive a couple of hours just to get the slice. Gas and tolls were cheaper then and I didn’t mind the drive. The grease oozing down my chin. Yum. There is also frozen custard, the best salt water taffy, cheese fries, zeppoles, and for seafood loves fried clam strips.  If you know people from Jersey then you know they love food.  Now you can travel and find some of these features at other beaches but not in so much quantity. Not so unapologetically beckoning you to indulge while you are in your swim wear. Jersey tells you, that you worked hard to fit into that bikini but now you are at the beach so you need a freshly squeezed lemonade with half a lemon in it and some fried food. The food is like the people. In your face and dares you to ignore it.

The beaches…I have to be honest, I have been to a lot more pleasant beaches than the Jersey shore. Beaches with softer sand, cheaper parking, warmer water, cheaper beaches, clearer water, and gentler waves.  Our sand is like the people a bit coarse and rough. Like the people our sand is weathered and a little sharp.  It is not that soft powdery stuff of the Bahamas. The sand like the people of Jersey will not be ignored.  The parking is expensive. Jersey is expensive and the powers that be figure you have been eating fried food and cold drinks that a little cardio every few hours to run to the meter will do you some good. Bring quarters. Lots and lots of quarters for those ever present parking meters.   New Jersey is not a tropical state. We get a few months of summer and that’s it. Our water temperatures never seem to understand that come June we are ready for warm water.  Our water is nice and warm in September when everybody goes back to school. Maybe our water has a Jersey sense of humor.  Jersey charges to get onto the beach. I must admit this annoys me. It is a natural resource and should be open to everybody. It does seem wrong to pay for what was once free.  In more tropical locales the water is so clear you can see your feet and what lurks below.  That is a bit comforting. The Jersey shore offers no such comfort.  If you want to come into its water you will have to take it on faith that your feet are still below you and that nothing more dangerous lurks under you.  The water is not crystal blue. It is green from the seaweed.  Crystal blue and clear is so predictable. You can get that anywhere. No the Shore like the people who live there are never quite what you expect. Just when you expect to receive the Jersey state bird you will get a hug and just when you think you are cool with somebody they will rip into you. And oh that Jersey sarcasm.  Are they being nasty or just joking? Who knows for sure? Kind of like our shore water. You know it is water but everything else is up to chance.  Any beach will give you waves on a stormy day. Waves that leave you wondering which way is up. They will also give you calmness on a nice day.  The Jersey waves are a bit more ribald. Even on a nice day they may take you for a tumble.  Much like the people in Jersey you are free to enjoy their company but don’t for one minute get too comfortable and forget who you are dealing with. Before you know it a surge of green water might sneak up on you and dunk your head. The shore’s waves are fun but they are to be respected.  This is not the calm lapping waves of Bermuda after all.

There are places where the locals depend on being more than kind because you are their income.  In Jersey the locals have a name for the people who flock to the Shore…Bennys.  Bennys in their eyes are a nuisance even though they sustain the local economy. They can’t wait for you to leave and give them back what they think is theirs.  This does not change even if you are yourself from the Garden State.  You are still a tourist to them.

I have travelled the world and been to many beaches but none that has the life of the Shore.  It like its people is a rock and roll good time. There are better beaches for lazy days but if you are looking for a place where the food is fattening and delicious, the people are funny and sharp, the ocean is not a passive body of water but has just enough edge to keep you on your toes or knock you on your butt, and the sand is great for sand castles but will leave a mark if you decide to scrape along the bottom on your knees then the Jersey Shore is the place for you. It isn’t perfect but for me it is home.


Vacation Anxiety - Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

I don’t get excited about vacations until I am on the way, bags packed, tickets in hand. There is so much to do before I get to that point, I am an anxious mess until we get to the starting line. We don’t even have kids to worry about, but getting ready for a trip, particularly out of the country, is enough to make me drink.

There are the normal considerations – valid passports, airplane tickets, hotels, transportation.  These things are pretty easy now, since with the internet, there are companies falling all over each other to get you the best price.  And with the new options of places to stay, like Air BnB type rentals, it’s not like you are about to get into a situation with no rooms available.  In a pinch, someone’s aunt is renting out a spare bedroom somewhere.

It’s all the things that are peculiar to me and Mr. Helix that are issues.  For example, I have sleep apnea, which requires the use of a c-pap machine.  For those not in the know, it’s a machine that forces air into your nose, to keep your air passage from collapsing multiple times during the night.  Without this machine, I snore like a bear, and I kick my legs as I struggle for air while I sleep – a real treat for Mr. Helix.  Also, without it, I wake up feeling worse than I went to sleep, and tend to fall asleep at inappropriate times, sitting up at my desk at work, or the moment people stop speaking directly to me.  One time, pre-diagnosis and stone-cold sober, I fell asleep at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ (a little black box of a music venue) while Blue Cheer was testing out their possible decibel levels.  THIS is a problem.
Lugging “Pappy” around with me is something that at least the airlines recognize these days, and they let you bring medical devices along with your carry-on.  However, I have a little roller carry-one to keep Pappy in, and to all the other flyers giving me side-eye, it looks like I am slipping in an extra carry-on.  Also, c-paps seem to look very suspicious to airport screeners, and I have had to unpack and sometimes disassemble parts of it for the screeners to be satisfied that I am not carrying a bomb.

Also, I have the mistaken idea that problems that have been piling up anyway have to be dealt with before we leave.  Why I think takeoff is the deadline for everything that needs doing is beyond me, but there it is.  I get it into my head that I have to do all of the laundry, weed the garden, do paperwork that is already overdue, get in a tooth cleaning, etc., etc. Forget the fact that I have actual issues to deal with, like my brother being threatened by his insurance company every other day that he will be sent home from rehab before he is totally healed.  I don’t even know what I can do if that happens while we are away.  Also, the laptop responsible for planning our trip had a monitor freak-out, and only works when it is in the perfect position and then NEVER MOVED AGAIN.  I sent it out to be repaired, and was told that this model is too “vintage” to repair.  I bought it 5 years ago.  God, that makes me feel old.

There are so many things to juggle, and so little time before we leave, things are going to remain undone, some things will have to happen on the fly, and I hope that I don’t have a nervous breakdown before we even get to the airport.  But, should I get there, I hope to relax and have fun.  I’m just not there yet.



I got some sad news last week, the transmission in my Honda Element is starting to go and the heater is not working that great. To fix all that is wrong is going to run about thirty five hundred dollars, as my truck has over two hundred and fifty thousand miles it doesn’t make sense to keep it.

I am very upset as I love this truck and I have a big emotional connection to it. I did tell myself that I have to relax; it is a machine, and an inanimate object. I did think then, why do I or do people have a connection with their cars?

 I’m a car nut and I go to car shows, I buy car magazines, and the Velocity channel is constantly on at my house, but my truck is not a classic car or a collectable.

My Truck though is a big part of my life and with the schedule I run during the week is my other house. In some cases I have been in the truck more than in the house especially a year ago when I left the only place I ever lived, and a twenty five year relationship, that truck was the only sense of normalcy that I had, it also sits in the drive way of the new house which is one of the few connections to the old house that I have, except the rocks I stole, but that’s another story.

This truck was part of a lot of memories as well, road trips, some great gigs, some bad gigs, it was the vehicle I used to chase down a hit and run driver which resulted in the cops making a big drug bust. It was also a place where Joe’s girl and I have had many special times. It has been my partner during December   when I have my Santa shows and on many a Christmas Eve when people are home with their families that truck is taking me to them to help make some long time memories to them.

I was in that truck when I had a family crisis last year and for a two hour ride I needed to pray for the tools to try to resolve it while  that truck took me to that destination.

Last year that truck was what I was driving when had to go to my sister in laws funeral. I stopped in front of my in laws old house on the way, and while I was stopped, I realized that my in laws are gone, my sister in law is gone and my marriage is gone and this home represented a family who took me in six months after my mother died and made me part of their family for twenty five years, and now it’s all gone.

That truck was by my side that day at the Cemetery when I was talking to my wife and we were telling each other that we tried to save our marriage but its better if we part. I then had to leave my wife at the cemetery and then go meet Joe’s girl, the home inspector, and the real estate agents at the new house for the inspection. That truck was part of that day, the day when my old life and my new life crossed paths, where I said good bye and put closure on my old life and then two hours later was opening the door on my new life and that truck was there to help me cross the bridge from one to the other.
Yes Ellie, that’s her nickname, has been a dependable and loyal vehicle.  Finding her successor is not that easy.

Ellie is my second Element and the truck exactly fits my needs. Unfortunately Honda stopped building them in two thousand eleven and any used one is at least seven grand and has at least eighty thousand miles on it. The only truck that would be close to what I want is the Toyota FX-4 which is cool looking, and exactly what I want. The problem is that it’s still in the prototype stage and Toyota has not started building them yet. I saw it at the twenty seventeen auto show and again this year, so what is the wait??

I even told the people at the auto show I would but a deposit down now if they were going to build it.

As for right now Ellie still has some life to her and is chugging along. With the grace of god and a god mechanic she and I are going to get to that three hundred thousand mile marker before she calls it a day.



A friend of mine has a habit of getting into heated political debates on Facebook. I have gotten into debates with him. He is a good debater and he is very passionate. However, he can sometimes beat his point to death. It can be annoying sometimes. I just stop arguing when I have nothing more to say or I find myself becoming annoyed. Sometimes he continues posting. That is fine. I am done but he does not have to be.  The other day he got into a political debate and it turned ugly. Some things were misinterpreted as can happen online.  Next thing he knows this guy is threatening his life and bragging how he will be doing the world a favor by killing him. The guy says he has nothing to lose. He then shows my friend that he knows where he lives and his unlisted number. Now you can find these things fairly easily but it is very unnerving. Now the local authorities and the Feds are involved. Now he is in hiding and his family, quite rightly, is scared.  This all from an internet argument over politics.

I often see some on the right express glee over things that upset those on the left. They are not even weighing in on if they agree with the policy or law.  They are just thrilled that somebody with different political beliefs is angered or in distress.  These are Americans happy that other Americans are angered. Like if you don’t think exactly like them then they must be the enemy.  It seems like now many in our country are fueled by vengeance. Compromise is a sign of weakness and only total annihilation will make America great.

At some point you have to wonder who we are as a nation that we are willing to threaten, hurt, kill, fellow citizens over a difference of opinion.  At best politicians want to create a better society but just have different visions on how to get there. At worst they don’t care about the average citizen and are just in the position for power or treasure. In either case I don’t think it is worth threatening your fellow citizen. I don’t think it is right to think just because somebody does not agree with you that you wish them distress or worse.  I am passionate about politics. I consider myself informed. I get angry. For the most part I keep myself in check. What type of example am I setting for my child if I lose my shit over words?

I think society has a shorter fuse for those with different opinions because we tend to wall ourselves off into bubbles of people that think just like we do. They tell us how right we are. How bad they are. How they are hell bent on ruining America. And people buy into that and it fuels the hostility in a never ending cycle.

Leave your bubble. Meet your fellow citizens. Talk about your kids. Talk about music. Realize they are more like you than they are different from you. This world would be pretty boring if everybody was exactly like we were. Embrace the variety.


Bandwagon Hate - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

It seems that sometimes, the cool kids suddenly decide that something is no longer the "in" thing, and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon.  I'm not necessarily defending any of the offending items or fashions, but the  ostracism for wearing those looks, or owning those items confuses me.

Why, for example, did the mullet become such an object of derision?  It was an interesting haircut for it's time, and really no worse than some of the other suffering for fashion looks we have all done, but it seems to be a dividing line between the haves and the have-nots.
It seems like a not-so-subtle part of the unspoken class war in the United States.  When you have a lot of disposable income, you can cycle through things, clothes and looks as easy as breathing. When you are concerned about feeding your family, you can't worry if your sneakers aren't up to snuff, or how people may scoff at a hairdo that is "so last week".
Just typing that phrase kind of pissed me off. If you can afford to throw away perfectly good items because they are no longer in fashion, why not be happy for yourself instead of looking down your nose at those who can't just remodel a kitchen because someone decided that stainless steel was the only acceptable type of appliance?  Mark my words, by the way...stainless steel will one day be the avocado or harvest gold appliances of the future. And who cares? If it keeps the food cold, be happy.
The bandwagoneers, the keeping up with the Joneses folks, are the most vicious of them all. They love to point out supposed flaws in the style of those who either can't ot simply won't follow passing phases.  And isn't what they are saying, basically, ha ha, you have less money than me?  If you still have the much- maligned mullet, you don't have the money to be at the hairdresser or barber all the time, or worse, you aren't caught up in the game. How dare you not keep up with what the cool kids demand?