A salute to my graduating nephew

Matthew Brooks was not a pretty newborn.

unnamedOh, come on — we all know it, are all probably thinking about it right now and agreeing with the statement. This came as quite a bit of a surprise. His parents are both nice-looking people, and he obviously shares some DNA with non-trolls (again, obviously), so when he arrived looking like someone had crossed an alien monkey with a prune, well, we didn’t know what to think (other than perhaps a mix-up in the nursery). It’s OK because he turned into an adorable baby, but those first few weeks were touch-and-go looks wise.
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Springsteen creates special bond with nephews

It is the hackiest way to begin a story (“It was a dark and stormy night”), but in this case, the night truly was dark and stormy, so I guess it’s fair to say a cliché led us to this moment. So, if you’ll indulge me, I want to share my own version of that time-honored story, the one of how a truck ride in Haiti led to a musical night in Nashville.

It will, of course, involve Bruce Springsteen.
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Father’s Day: Song meanings can change over time

I didn’t always get along with my dad, and at its worst, I remember listening to this song and thinking this verse summed it all up:

“Now I don’t know what it always was with us
We chose the words and yeah we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind”
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Communist Russia, milk, bread and Meijer are no match for family bonds

Today, for the first time in my life, I stepped inside a Meijer.

This is a fairly significant deal since, for well over a decade, I have refused to enter the megastore. I have had my reasons, which might not have been “good” or “sensible,” but they were my reasons, which were good enough for me.

So why had I never entered a Meijer?

Two words: Jason Newkirk.
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Some days, it’s just about Springsteen

I first wrote this a few years ago in preparation for a blog project I never got around to finishing. I hope to get back around to finishing the project one day, but until then, I wanted to share this story I wrote as an introduction for it. Tomorrow, I head to Nashville to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band for my 10th, and quite possibly my final, time. As the band dusts off old gems each night, many fans have the feeling this might be the group’s last tour, as many of them have crossed the 60-year mark and might have retirement in mind.

Making this concert even more meaningful is the fact my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews are also going (albeit separately from me, through a fluke in schedules), meaning another generation gets to be introduced to this world-class band. Beyond that, it’s another shared moment, another shared love between my nephews and me.

Nashville, here we come.

Why Bruce Springsteen?

In the late 1980s, my sister dated Scott Rose, easily one of the coolest kids at Powell County High School. He worked as a lifeguard. He had a moustache. He drove a Jeep.
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