The Favorite: A Final Salute to a Graduating Nephew

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Jon Brooks was always everyone’s favorite.

Ask my dad. Ask my grandmother. Ask either of his brothers.

Or just ask Jon. I’m sure he will tell you. He’s never lacked confidence, and truth is truth.

img_5705I should be perfectly clear I’m not joking about Granny. One day, sitting at a table at one family gathering or another, without prompting, she announced that Jon was her favorite. I’m pretty sure it was my birthday.

Jon truly was everyone’s favorite.

Until now. Continue reading

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Josh Nolan’s Kind Heart to Follow is a must-play album

Josh Nolan looked like he was in his mid-20s and acted like he was in his early teens. For this particular summer weekend trip to Chicago in 2006 to see dozens of bands at Lollapalooza, both would see prominence. Thanks to the older side (plus the long, curly hair and the general overall demeanor of a rock and roll star), Josh would get stopped by would-be adoring fans, convinced he was in a band playing the festival. Thanks to the younger side, Josh would freeze at the attention, then tell them he was meeting friends at Taco Bell (TACO BELL!) before scurrying off down Michigan Avenue.

Oh, Josh. Continue reading

Not an Exit

I’m thrilled to announce the online debut of my first published collection of drawings and doodles I dare call “art.”

I’m pleased to be part of The Sketchbook Project 2018, giving me an outlet for the drawings I started creating in 2017 to deal with the presidential administration and the turmoil in its wake.

So, please enjoy Not an Exit (and share with friends)!

Tougher than the Rest: A Song, a Story, a Wedding

I do not want to get married again.

Yes, that sounds harsh, but before everyone cancels their RSVPs and returns their gift cards, perhaps I should clarify. The statement “I do not want to get married again” is a true statement, with the key word being “again.” That word, those two little syllables, imply Marriage the Reboot, which, simply isn’t the case.

I had accepted, even encouraged, the thinking that I would be alone the rest of my life. I’d become a hollowed out person, unable to allow anyone to come close enough to hurt me, let alone love me. Sure, I’d date, perhaps even attach a label to it, but I wanted that distance, needed it to survive, even though it was killing me.

In almost exactly one week from this moment, I will be huddled in a hallway with the woman who changed all that, and our small gathering of guests will be listening to a song that captures us. It is not a shock to anyone that it will be a Bruce Springsteen song, but what might escape everyone is just how on the dot the lyrics to “Tougher than the Rest” are.
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A touch of magic: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”

Many of you, particularly my social media friends, have already seen this story, but I’m sharing it here to reach a wider audience to celebrate the love that has been showered on my friends. To those who are familiar with my friend Kellee, her battle with cancer and her journey to Disney, I ask you to continue spreading this type of joy. To those who are just now discovering this tale, I realize what follows is lengthy, but the payoff is worth it as, at least for me, it has helped reaffirm my faith in humanity.


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For Gabbard: A Briefcase History of Time

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Anthony Gabbard never won our fantasy football league. Never came close, really, despite often being armed with more picks in the first seven rounds than the rest of us had in the full draft. He would methodically fill slots based on need, meaning he always – ALWAYS – ended up taking a kicker not just too early but entirely too early. Like ridiculously early. Like seventh or eighth round early, having already rounded out a roster and ready to go worry about other things, usually poker.

Unlike others in the league, Gabbard didn’t study charts or meticulously pore over fantasy gurus in the days leading up to the draft. He preferred to print out a couple of sheets, then let the numbers be the guide while the team fell into place.

This is not to say, however, that he didn’t come prepared. Continue reading

This is Important (but I Know You’re Not Listening): 2016 PCHS Commencement Speech

IMG_1627The following is the commencement speech I  gave this afternoon at Powell County High School in my hometown of Stanton, Ky. I was a member of the Class of 1993.

The first words my mother said upon being told I’d been asked to speak today were “Please don’t embarrass me.”

Not “I’m proud” or “good luck” or even “they should’ve asked your sister instead.” Nope. Just “don’t embarrass me.”

So, to honor my mom’s wishes, I’ve made a list of topics to avoid: meth, Donald Trump, asking where the after-parties are, stories about my mom, stories about my dad and more meth.

To the person who invited me here today, I’m afraid you’ve made a huge mistake. To Superintendent Michael Tate and Principal Kendall Kearns it’s an honor to be here, but you should know Martina Skidmore is responsible for what’s to follow. To be fair, she’s been a friend since kindergarten, and I thank her for having faith in me. I hope to make my mother proud. I cannot, however, promise I won’t embarrass her. Continue reading