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Marco Rubio

“If I believed an assault weapons ban would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it.” Marco Rubio, CNN Town Hall February 21, 2018

We all remember the game we played as children, usually while swimming. Now imagine playing the game, but in a strange twist of fate, all the other children were replaced with doppelgangers who happened to be deaf. You call out “Marco….Marco….MARCO!” Your frustration grows as your playmates remain silent. Finally, unable to take it anymore, you open your eyes to make sure your friends were still in the pool. There they were, just as you remembered before closing your eyes. So were they ignoring you? You call out again, “MARCO!” Still silence. Like any child, you get real close and yell into someone’s ear, “MARCO!” Nothing. Finally, unable to take anymore, you grab a friend by the arm violently, screaming “Marco!” and shaking him or her. He or she responds, “what the hell? Stop grabbing me!” You begin to cry, and get out of the pool.

I am that frustrated kid. I am sure many of you feel similarly. How can these troglodytes live amongst us? Are they kidding? How did this guy get elected? How can this devil woman believe the venom she is spewing? How is this La Derrière character allowed to breathe the same oxygen I am? Can half our country really be this stupid? Why aren’t the more educated among the gun freaks not stepping in to slap some sense into their ignorant brethren? How many children have to die before things finally change? All of them? And if all of them is your answer (and believe me, after the nonsensical answers I have heard from your camp, I wouldn’t put it past you), then what exactly are you protecting with your prized guns?

And down the rabbit hole I go…again.

Look, kudos to Marco Rubio for even having the balls to show up Wednesday night. The governor and our Narcissist-in-Chief were clearly too busy polishing their extended taints (the space their testicles, which were sold to the NRA, once occupied). And good ol’ Rubio even showed sense enough to concede a few points…albeit minor points…on every White Supremacist’s favorite Constitutional Amendment. But look at his quote again (“If I believed an assault weapons ban would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it.”) This is so insulting. How can you know if such a ban has never been enacted? Who cares what you believe? Facts save lives. Not beliefs. This is the same BS-laden venom anti-vaxxers spew that puts children’s lives at risk. And how dare you look the very children who miraculously survived the Rambo-like blitzkrieg of an assault weapon carrying 19-year old, and spew that garbage. YOU HAVEN’T TRIED EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO SAVE LIVES! And you know how IDROS knows this? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN”T ENACTED A LAW THAT MOST LIKELY WOULD HAVE PREVENTED THAT 19 YEAR OLD D-BAG FROM BUYING THE ASSAULT WEAPON!

In a recent Facebook post, when I called Bullshit on the NRA and their supporter’s entire platform vis-a-vis guns, many of my faithful friends and readers asked me…”So now what do we do?”

Below is IDROS’ playbook (this is not exhaustive):

  1. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON! Every day that goes by after a mass shooting weakens our leverage. But we can’t take our feet off the gas. Sandy Hook deflated all of us…we all have this horrible aftertaste in our mouths (it is actual throw up…we all threw up in our mouths a little) because “If nothing changed after 6 year olds were massacred, nothing will ever change…” IDROS is still in shock over the inaction. Thousands of young lives have been extinguished far too early since that awful day…and we all know that if even one of those lives could have been saved by common sense gun control measures…So keep writing on social media. Join a march. Call or email or write your Congress people, Governors, Council people, Comptrollers, DAs, ADAs, Attorneys General, Commissioners, Mayors, Sheriffs, Clerks and unwelcome residents of 1600 Pennsylvania. Boycott any company or business that supports the NRA. Write letters to large known NRA donors. Call those supporters out on social media.
  2. FIND TURNCOAT FORMER GUN NUTS – IDROS is certain there are NRA members who have lost loved ones in one of these senseless mass shootings. We must find these people and tap into the “Come to Jesus” moments. It’s so easy to brainwash the ignorant. But even the most devout cult followers can be easily deprogrammed when traumatized. And these people can expose the weaknesses in the NRArmor. There may be other former NRA members who have seen the light without experiencing trauma…we must utilize these gifts.
  3. GET OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE / ECHO CHAMBER – Posting rants, sharing articles and blogs, and voicing disgust solely in our own networks, families and circles of friends is not enough. For the majority of us, most if not all of our outlets have similar political and social ideals. We must take the discussion to those who don’t already share our beliefs. Sure, my parable about the most frustrating game of Marco Polo ever looms large here, but if we can get through to even one or two people, have meaningful discussions and debates, and find some common ground in a forum where others like THEM might be watching/listening/reading, we may actually preach beyond the choir. The recent Townhall aired by CNN was great, but unfortunately, most of the people in our country we want to receive that type of message view CNN as the devil, and would rather have a family of Middle Eastern foreigners move in next door than tune in. So be sure to engage the one or two hard line gun fanatics in your network and/or family. Engage in a Breitbart or NRA message board. Find anything the likes of Tomi Lahren, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity posts and respond. Sure, for the most part you will feel like you are playing Marco Polo in a school for the deaf. But it is vital to keep the lines of communication open.
  4. FUND THE ANTI GUN LOBBY – Unfortunately, IDROS does not think there is an equivalent to the NRA in terms of funding and influence that lobbies for sensible gun control. THIS POST is dead-on in much of its logic. It is a much more difficult task to influence a bureaucratic system awash in red tape to create new legislation, than it is to influence the same people to DO NOTHING. And since those who own guns and want to keep owning guns are much more motivated to protect their stance, even on a boring, garden variety Tuesday, than the opposition, who really only ever shows its teeth following a mass catastrophe…well, we get present day America. Michael Bloomberg and his Everytown For Gun Safety seems to be the best we have, and it is fairly new, established in 2014. IDROS would prefer to see money removed from politics altogether, as it is the root of all evil and corruption, but because so much money hangs in the balance of every major election outcome, unfortunately, this is unrealistic. So fund the opposition to the NRA. Solicit outspoken celebrities and wealthy friends and associates to do the same. Everytown is still in its infancy, but as the opposition to the NRA grows, the power of the gun lobby will shift. This article implies that money doesn’t matter. IDROS begs to differ.
  5. MARCH MADNESS – IDROS loves the idea of March For Our Lives. The surviving MSD students are giving our nation a clinic in how to enact change following a mass tragedy, and all of us who have been clamoring for change dating back to Columbine or any of the hundreds of shootings since owe these brave children a debt of gratitude. So get out there and support them physically, financially and/or any way you can. Colleges are promising not to penalize students who garner any disciplinary fallout relating to protests and marches. Here’s hoping companies will follow suit when hiring time comes. But as much as IDROS supports the student marches and protests, there is another option which may send a more powerful message, and just might get lawmakers to act more expediently. IDROS turned to his wife the evening of the Parkland shooting (IDROS’ wife is a longtime administrator at a school in South Florida) and said, “this has to stop, and I know how to stop it quickly. Unfortunately, it’s up to you. And by you, I mean all school employees, nationwide…pre-school through universities. Teachers, administrators, janitors, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, athletic coaches, counselors, nurses…all of you.” Please know that IDROS does not suggest others risk their financial security, their employment, their job security, their pensions, their futures, lightly…and anything IDROS is recommending, please know IDROS would be willing to do himself, along with his wife. Because it is all of their lives who are at risk every day. Because this is not what any of them signed up for when they made the incredible selfless choice to become educators and champions of our children. And because these are actual, current, registered voters whom the lawmakers actually represent right now, and for us to ask our children to do this alone may just be asking too much. IDROS recommends all school employees across the nation take the calendar at face value, and MARCH, starting in March. March 1, 2018, all employees strike until Congress enacts sensible gun control measures…PERIOD. All moneys forfeited, and jobs lost as a result must be guaranteed and made whole by a fund to be set up, like a GO FUND ME. And the rest of us will back this effort by A) Dealing with the frustrating and difficult repercussions of having our kids at home during this time period; B) Funding the GO FUND ME to make sure no person involved in this effort loses a single paycheck from doing so; and C) Offering support in any other way we can. IDROS believes this will work, and will work more quickly than any other tactic. Why? Because the opposition may have more lobbying money, but when push comes to shove, more than their precious little guns, they need their kids in school…and their politicians would not withstand the avalanche this kind of mass walkout would unleash.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas once said: “Be a nuisance where it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics—but never give up.”

Let’s honor her, and the brave students and faculty at her namesake school, by doing all we can to move the needle. We must not let these precious lives…any of them, from any of the tragic shootings of our past…be lost in vain.

As always, thanks for reading. Please share, and if you have any clout with the Teachers’ unions, the NEA, the Department of Education, the PTA, etc…let’s make this a MARCH to remember. Our children are counting on you.

Please let IDROS know if you have any other ideas to share that might help save lives.

Best regards,



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Uniom? The tickets for tonight’s State of the Union address by Don the Con contained a spelling error. Obviously this allowed at least half our nation of armchair pundits to pile on, saying something along the lines of, “no surprise…this administration can’t do anything right.”

But for IDROS, the mistake is glaring in that it highlights perhaps the biggest problem with our nation. Our country is no longer a union. I am not implying it ever truly was the perfect union glorified in the Preamble to our Constitution, but America certainly masked its divides much better at various times in our questionable past.

IDROS found Trump’s motto, Make America Great Again, to be complete BS from the get go…actually worse than BS…insulting on pretty much every level. America’s historical greatness only exists from one paradigm…that of a white, Christian male. Sure, America is and has been a beacon of light, on an awful scale of relativity, in a world of tyrants, despots, oppression, incessant war, famine, unimaginable poverty and general fear and insecurity. It has stood, pretty much since its creation, as a bastion of freedom in a pool of shit and misery. So it is, and has been, easy for many of us and our ancestors to puff out our chests and wave our flag at the rest of the world from on high.

But just because the US of A isn’t as awful as other nations and fiefdoms, doesn’t mean our societal fabric isn’t rife with its own warts, horrific history and ubiquitous problems. And many of these historic issues are currently boiling over the cauldron of Trump, and are poised to engulf us in something pretty terrible (and by that, IDROS means something more terrible than this first year of the House of Orange administration has already been).

So the error on the SOTU tickets…UNIOM…pretty much says it all. Our union has all but dissolved in the 16+ short years since 9/11, just after which IDROS would argue, our nation was as united as it ever has been, with the exception perhaps of the time just after the attack on Pearl Harbor (though at that time, our nation was still segregated in many places, Asian Americans were put in camps, and women were treated like second class citizens).

Trump has not succeeded in “Draining the proverbial Swamp.” He has flooded it, and the sewage has risen above the banks, destroyed the levees and is threatening to drown us all. I don’t mean to be such a Debbie Downer…hey, look…the Stock Market is soaring. Maybe we will all be rich in retirement. Oh right, by we all, IDROS means only those of us who had enough money before this incredible bull market to sock some away for the future without eating into our savings and retirement accounts during the bad times. So probably like 25% of us, more or less. Too high?

Unemployment is at historic lows…that’s good, right?

On second thought…IDROS has reconsidered. Stop with the politics! Now! Need air. Panic attack setting in. Bear with me for a sec. Deep breath. Second deep breath. Ok. Where were we?

Let’s talk about some other stuff.

Here are some brief comments on some other current events to distract your author and all of you from further ruminations on our comic book character in chief:

Super Bowl – Fly Eagles Fly. IDROS likes them and wants to put a ring on them.

Grammys – Not a great awards show…not that any of them are. IDROS particularly liked that Lorde didn’t get to perform after her ridiculous anti-Semitic decision to cancel a show in Israel. Really liked Ke$ha’s performance with Cindy et al…found that the choir eerily resembled the cult in the show The Leftovers. In Memoriam confirmed that way too many of IDROS’ musical heroes left us this past year…many of them way too soon.

Michigan State – Seems in line with the nightmare that was Penn State. It is clear, following scandals that have rocked pretty much every institution and organization that involves children, that children have been horrifically abused, and then neglected and ignored throughout our history…and most times, even after some brave souls have found the courage to come forward and attempt to end the abuse, the machine (i.e. whatever institution that has so much to lose, be it money, credibility, power, enrollment, attendance, endowment funds, recruits, prestige, image, etc.) uses its vast resources to quash the complaint and/or cover it up. IDROS threw up in his mouth a little just thinking about this.

USA Gymnastics – See above.

Aziz Ansari – If women believe his behavior warrants this public thrashing, we should listen. No, what he did doesn’t deserve his career to end, nor is it on a level even close to what Harvey and others have done. And it is incredibly unfortunate that a minority celebrity, someone who champions minorities in his show and in his writing room, who tackles minority issues and who brings things to light that, to be frank, White America needs to see and hear, is the one being dragged through the mud over this type of behavior. BUT, this should be a learning moment for all of us, because our misogynistic rape culture will improve if and only if all behaviors that are inappropriate are highlighted as such, AND we all learn them ourselves and teach them to our children.

Tennis – Congrats Roger. Mazel Tov and Siman Tov!

Poland – In the friggin’ face of the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Poland is allegedly passing a law making it a jailable offense to associate Poland or Polish people with any culpability vis a vis the Holocaust. While IDROS agrees that Poland and many Poles were also victims of the Nazis, Poland and its citizens played an enormous and horrific role in the perpetration of the Final Solution. I am not sure people understand what it takes to murder six million people. A majority of Death Camps were located in Poland for a number of reasons. Sure, one of those reasons was that the largest Jewish population in Europe was living in Poland at the time. But to murder that unfathomable number of people, you need a lot of help. The Nazis had it. Many willing Poles. Nazis oversaw many of the camps, but the day to day workers executing the Nazi directives, in large part were Poles. Poles also ran the ghettos, and facilitated the transport of Jews from the many ghettos to the extermination camps. Please join IDROS in raising a middle finger and pointing it in Poland’s general direction.

People Complaining About the Judge’s Verdict In the Larry Nassar Trial – IDROS believes Judge Rosemarie Aquilina showed a lot of restraint. Sure, the judge probably knew millions of eyes and ears were on her in such a high profile trial, and so she wanted to milk her moment to shine for all it was worth…maybe even parlay it into a book deal and/or a television gig. But who could blame her? And as for the scum she sentenced, he deserved much worse. Settle down trolls. Save the venom for people who actually deserve it….like the sub-human she addressed.

The Golden Globes – Pretty unwatchable. But the winner for best television drama, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, totally deserved its prize. IDROS highly recommends the Amazon offering. Do it!

Anyway…that’s my four cents.

Let me know your thoughts on any of the above, or anything else you believe IDROS should address.

Hope 2018 is off to a great start for all of you. And for those of my faithful living in Northern climes, just think…only 50 days till SPRING!

Thanks for reading.

All the best,



Filed under Current Events, Politics, Uncategorized

13 Reasons Why

Earlier this year, my wife and I (yes, IDROS is married…sorry ladies) watched the titular Netflix show thinking it might be good for us, as parents, to learn a little about what the youth of today may be experiencing. Also, perhaps we could glean why the series became such a viral sensation so we could seem in tune with “Non-Fake News” topical subject matter at the proverbial water cooler, or while mingling with our counterparts at kiddy parties or activities. I can’t say I hate-watched it…In all honesty, IDROS was generally entertained by many aspects of it, and found some eerie similarities to Season One of Twin Peaks (which I might just discuss in another post)…but what your author enjoyed most about the series, hands down, was the music.

Which brings me to the much more interesting event of 2017, IMHO, that plays on our triskaidekaphobia for the low and totally worth-it price of 13 easy installments of $74.99 plus whatever applicable fees and charges various sources inexplicably get away with shaking us down for these days.

And I suppose now is as good a time as any to forewarn you. This will be a long(ish) post. Not quite as long as that Lawn Boy Supreme served up on July 25…but let’s just say it might run you a deuce and a half or even two jaunts.

This Baker’s Dozen run has been extraordinary from the starting gun. Even people who aren’t phans have taken notice, and if they haven’t, they should. Phish sets the gold standard for a live convert experience. This was going to be special from the moment it was announced.


So without further ado, here is the MEAT of this post. 13 reasons why IDROS loves the foursome named Phish:

  1. It’s my thesis, man – Let me first say that I have never witnessed a full Gamehendge set in its entirety. Until TBD, the closest I ever came was a group of four shows I caught where they played all but 2 songs (non-consecutively). I don’t know how many of you faithful readers actually researched, wrote and defended a thesis, be it in college or grad school, but it is no joke. Still, when I think of someone writing a thesis I don’t usually harken back to my own terrible experience. I tend to conjure up images of the guy in PCU who apparently spent his senior year watching every movie that featured Gene Hackman or Michael Caine. When, toward the end of the cult favorite (which starred a young Ari Gold, obviously before he found a dentist), said thesis writer stumbled upon a movie that starred both Caine and Hackman, he yelled out “this is my thesis man!” It was pure comedic gold…but it was funny because to those who have toiled in the stacks for hours, coughing up dust from never before read tomes, scouring microfiche, developing blisters from banging on a Mac keyboard at all hours of the night, pumping our bodies full of Mountain Dew (or worse), blinding ourselves staring at the small endlessly blinking cursor on a screen the size of a pack of cigarettes, editing, re-editing, and then waking up in a cold sweat the night before our defense/presentation…we only wish our thesis could have been that entertaining to research…and that fulfilling when proven. We all know the plural of thesis is feces. But Trey Anastasio’s thesis at Goddard College, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, is a masterclass in and of itself. If you’ve never listened to the Gamehendge chronicles from beginning to end, played a rare cassette tape until your car radio ate the tape, permanently scratched CDs from overuse, or were lucky enough to attend one of the rarest of Phish shows where the band played the rock fantasy operetta in its entirety…my advice to you is take an hour and do it. Oh…and read the friggin’ Book!
  2. Then Once More – every band has a gateway drug…a song that speaks to so many, inviting them in for further inspection with its pleasant beat, catchy hook and major chord melody. Bouncing Around The Room is a song guaranteed to bring a smile to pretty much every face at a Phish show because of all of these things. An early Phish tune, BATR has been reeling in Phish phans since 1990, but the thing I love most about the song is that it really encapsulates, and even showcases, the strengths (and to a lesser degree, the limitations) of the band. Fish establishes the beat from the jump and Mike lays down the bassline. With the structure in place, Trey and Page harmonize the vocals, with Page quickly demonstrating he has greater vocal range, but Trey, ever consistent (vocally), holding down the melodic fort. Page and Trey sprinkle in some keys and guitar as appropriate. The song slowly builds…Mike eventually spearheads the vocal and musical magnificence that ends the song in a round with his limited but deep baritone voice. Trey and Page beautifully layer both their voices atop Mike’s and begin to really unleash their respective instruments in what amounts to three minutes or so of pure musical bliss. All the while, the Wolfman’s Brother keeps the whole thing together.
  3. Deep Cover – Phish is a super talented band…not only do they prolifically write their own music, tour often, and sit in with other musicians…but all four lead their own side projects, experimenting in a multitude of musical genres, from funk to bluegrass to jazz to classical and even some dabbling in musical theater. It should be no surprise then that Phish, when together, is able to draw on these experiences as well as their vast talents, channeling their musicianship in ways few bands can. They play other people’s music with respect, but also have the courage and ability to take songs and give them a personal and unique take. I won’t say that every Phish version of a covered song is better than the original, and vocally, most of the time, Phish versions fall short. But musically, and occasionally, comedically, most Phish versions are superior, if not simply more entertaining. They have covered artists across pretty much every major musical genre, primarily alone, but a number of times on stage alongside the musicians they are covering. From Aerosmith to ZZ Top, BB King to Jay Z, Katy Perry to Chaka Khan, Miles Davis to Rage Against the Machine, Neil Diamond to the Beastie Boys, Jimi Hendrix to Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell to Elvis Presley…they are not afraid to take chances, and they have added hundreds of songs to their repertoire. And during this current TBD run, they are adding dozens (pun intended) of new and exciting covers to their songbook. Which leads nicely into…
  4. Ghost – One of IDROS’ favorite differentiators of the band has to be their Halloween costumes. Instead of dressing up in traditional costumes, however, Phish, beginning in 1994, has donned musical costumes, playing a full album of one of their inspirational musicians or bands. This has included the Beatles’ White Album, The Who’s Quadrophenia, the Talking Heads’ Remain In Light and The Velvet Underground’s Loaded, which IDROS was lucky enough to witness live. These musical costumes are stuff of legend…and for some lucky fans, unexpectedly in Utah in 1998, just after that year’s Loaded Halloween show, Phish played Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, leading many phans to speculate that the band rehearsed both albums for Halloween and made a game time decision to go with the VU album. Many classic songs from these Halloween shows remain fixtures in Phish’s normal tour set lists.
  5. Say Yes to The Dress – With everything going on in the world today, and especially in our own country as it relates to discrimination, hostility and the giant step back basic human rights and equality seem to have taken this past year, Fish’s donut-laden muumuu, which has been a fixture for decades, seems to say to the LGBTQ community, “feel free to join us….you are safe here.” This makes IDROS happy.
  6. The Women Are Smarter – Phish have written some amazing songs about women over the years. From Suzy to Esther, Tela to Eliza, Reba to Olivia, Jennifer to the incomparable Landlady…and have mentioned many others (Liz, Millie, Jill, Vanessa, etc.). So here’s a shout out to the women of Phish. IDROS is partial to Esther, which is one of the most terrifying but beautiful songs ever written. A short story…Phish rarely plays Esther anymore. This has been the basic trend for over a decade. Many times, the band eschews the song for entire tours, even years. IDROS has attended exactly one Phish concert with his beautiful bride (who was merely IDROS’ girlfriend at the time). At that show, Phish played Esther. We were engaged the next day. To give you an idea of the odds – since 1998, there have been about 635 Phish shows. Phish has played Esther exactly 12 times in that stretch. That is once every 53 shows, or less than 2% of the time. Since our “engagement show” Phish has also played the song on my wife’s birthday as well as on another very significant date to us. In other words, the song Esther is very important to my family, and the cosmic Phish gods know this.
  7. Somewhere between Erie and Pittsburgh – Many great bands have at least one movie/documentary that captures them, realistically or fictitiously, at the peak of their popularity and creativity. From A Hard Day’s Night, to The Grateful Dead Movie, to Stop Making Sense to Purple Rain to IDROS’ personal favorite, The Last Waltz. Phish’s movie, Bittersweet Motel, came out in 1998, pretty much capturing the foursome at the height of their powers with footage from their 1997 tours. It is funny, filled with great live concert footage and captures the band members in rare candid moments most fans seldom see of their idols. In retrospect, the film is also aptly named as it is poignantly capturing the beginning of the end for the band, who would break up for the first time a couple years later. Fortunately for all of us, the band was able to put their differences aside, Trey was able to get the help he needed to move forward, once briefly in 2002-2004, and again hopefully for good in 2009-present. So now, hopefully a sequel is in the works, capturing Phish 3.0 in all its glory. Maybe it will be called Blissful Bed and Breakfast, or perhaps, just, JOY (oh, wait…).
  8. A Higher Purpose – There have been many articles written about the “religion” of The Grateful Dead and Phish. Loyal fans who follow them, an earthy way of life, drug based and sober “religious experiences,” and the artists themselves, assembled upon the pulpit or bimah, rifling through the newest testament of all…the music. Like the Dead, Phish has a number of spiritual and religious songs, both originals and standards, that they play regularly. From Daniel Saw the Stone, and of course Avinu Malkeinu all the way through Trey’s opus, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, which is as spiritual a story as any you would find in the Bible, there is no denying that there is a large spiritual element to both Phish and its congregation of phans. Every time IDROS sees TMWSIY->Avinu live, your author hopes Fish or Mike would say “Tekiyah Gedolah” into the microphone, and TMWSIY would be played on shofars, or rams horns to kick it off. IDROS’ favorite version of a spiritual song ever played by Phish is Yerushalayim Shel Zehav, which ends their song Demand on the Hoist album, but has only been played as part of the song Demand once live. Phish has played YSZ twelve times in history (here is a favorite)…. And yes, to IDROS, Chris Kuroda is the Ner Tamid.
  9. Page side, rage side – IDROS plays the piano. Page plays the piano. IDROS believes Page is the greatest pianist in the world. Trey may be Phish’s “front man,” but for my money, Page is the MVP…a close race to be sure, but it is what it is. When given the choice IDROS sits or stands on the left side of a venue facing the stage…cause that’s where Page’s keyboard surrounded throne sits on the stage.
  10. A Festival to End All Festivals – Ever notice how SOAM can be a viable acronym for both Split Open and Melt AND Scent of a Mule? Yeah, I know I’m deflecting. There are not a lot of positive things to say about the great mudfest of 2004 (IDROS refuses to mention its name). The storm-ravaged fairgrounds resembled a third world country that had just been decimated by a hurricane…to those of us lucky enough to make it in. Thousands were stranded on a highway that could have been a scene right out of an apocalyptic movie where everyone is trying to flee the cities. And poor Cactus…the ace of bass was clearly forced to announce on the Phish radio channel set up for the festival for everyone to turn back and go home. Well my group persevered. We made it, came equipped with fly fishing boots we picked up along the way, hiked miles to and from the fairgrounds, slogged through the muck and the general malaise and melancholy that hung like a guillotine over the downtrodden faithful, and bid our farewells to our favorite band. Oh yeah…Phish was hanging their instruments up after this “Un-festive All.” Calling it quits for good this time. I mean, they say nothing ends well…that’s why things end. Well if this were to be the end for Phish, they were going out in a spectacular pool of vomit and putrescence. And for that, and because I had been to three other glorious Phish festivals, I got to see my musical hero, Page, melt down and cry on stage during Wading in the Velvet Sea, and because it wasn’t really the end…but rather an end to a bad time in the arc of the band’s story…I can include those three awful days in Vermont among my 13 (you can have good without bad…and sometimes it takes hitting bottom to rise up and attain true greatness).
  11. Dancin’ On My Lawn – Phish is an amazing band if you wanna dance. When the band is bringing the funk, almost any song could be an opportunity to showcase your Camel Walk. Some songs (like MOMA, SOAM, Jibboo, Boogie On) let you break it down from start to finish. Other tunes, like YEM, begin with a composed section, which is difficult to dance to (read: sober), but builds into a funkier, free-flowing dance party after a few minutes (think Bowie, Hood, DWD, the Lizards, etc.) Reba, in IDROS’ opinion, is in a class all by itself. While it seems to fit into the latter category of a song that builds to a dance fan’s crescendo (it does), the beginning is not so much the orchestral building block that is the staple of many other early (read: core) Phish songs. In fact, deep into Reba at the opening show of TBD, IDROS came to the following conclusion: Reba, as a song, is very much like the love scene in the move Armageddon. The whimsical silliness of the beginning is like the animal cracker-based foreplay, which gets more and more inane, until…even if Liv Tyler and/or Ben Affleck aren’t your thing, you get the idea. Out of the ludicrous comes pure, unadulterated bliss…some of the best dance jam music Phish ever unleashes.
  12. Atama Ga Shock – Because a long time ago, IDROS lived in Japan and developed a working knowledge of the Japanese language, your author was over the moon when, in 2000, Phish toured Japan and unveiled the Japanese lyrics to the chorus of their song, Meatstick. It would have been incredible to have lived in Japan during said tour, but I have seen Meatstick performed half a dozen (yes, we are counting in dozens for this post) since 2000, and every time I hear them break out the Japanese lyrics it brings a huge smile to my face.
  13. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – TBD has taken Phish’s unique live concert experience to new heights. No repeats in 13 days (this was posted after 12 shows but IDROS has faith) ensured not only every show was unique, but that every song was as well. Phish fans know, however, like Dead fans, that a lack of repeated songs aren’t what make this band so fun to see live…rather, it is the freshness of the setlists, and the trill of the chase. Phish has a number of rare songs that they play once in a blue moon. They also can be full of surprises, playing new covers, or old songs in new ways. We all treasure those shows where we can say “we were there when.” And just like the Stones forewarned all of us…we may not hear the exact songs we were hoping for when we had that ticket stub in our hand…but we always get what we need…and the Phab Phour always give us everything they have.

Phish – Thanks for a great three weeks, and for an amazing 35 years.

And to my faithful readers, IDROS hopes you caught at least one show during this outstanding Baker’s Dozen run.

Let’s all live while we’re young. We can still have fun!

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Summer School

So I’m driving toward Longport on Tilton Road for my family’s annual pilgrimage to my childhood beach community down the shore, and we pass the Shore Mall movie theater. I was instantly transported back to my adolescence, and in particular, one jaunt to that theater occupied my thoughts on this passing. After all, it had been pretty much 30 years to the day when two of my favorite guilty pleasure movies were released. Because I was 14 and did not have my license yet, getting a ride off the island to one of the two Cineplexes (Cineplexi?) in the vicinity happened pretty infrequently (i.e., when my friends’ or my parents wanted quiet, or when any of them were headed to the movies themselves due to rain). We were otherwise confined to the limited selection at the Margate and Ventnor Twin theaters, but more often than not, had seen all four of the movies offered in pretty short order.


Summer School and The Lost Boys came out the very same weekend during the summer of 1987. At the time, I wasn’t entirely over my childhood fear of horror movies (I went to see Poltergeist with an older cousin when I was 9 years old and had nightmares for a full year). So despite the fact that pretty much everyone I knew was talking about TLB…especially the girls…and I was at an age where I definitely preferred to go places where girls might be present…I made the difficult choice to see Summer School, a movie I knew little about and which proffered a B-list cast (other than one of the stars of my then-favorite television show Cheers). As an aside, I had no idea who Mark Harmon was at the time, and would see the movie Stealing Home later that summer for the first time. Melrose Place wouldn’t put Courtney Thorne Smith onto the map for a few more years.

To this day, I am not disappointed in my decision. Summer School was great. Mr. Shoop, roller skates, Wondermutt and all, saved the day, against all odds. Ana Maria was great (and would go on to play Alotta Fagina in Austin Powers). And the dude who spent the entire summer in the bathroom was, put plainly, my favorite character in the movie. Summer School did highlight a great deal about why America’s education system is so horrific…from the emphasis on standardized testing, the tenure system, the lack of resources in the public school system and of course the complete neglect of those students, whom for whatever reason (and this particular film highlighted a multitude), failed to grasp the basic skills to move forward in their education, as determined by a Scantron test. But nevertheless, it was a fun summer movie chock full of classic quotable lines and characters, and is a movie I will seldom turn off if I happen upon it flipping through the channels.

It wasn’t until The Lost Boys made it to the premium cable channels the following year that I finally found the courage to watch it. And watch it again and again and again. This movie featured a cast of mostly male youngish actors who were heartthrobs. This was not the reason it resonated with me. I did not subscribe to Seventeen, Tiger Beat nor Teen Magazine. I did not find any male member of the cast dreamy, not the Coreys nor Jason Patrick nor Jack Bauer nor William “Bill” S. Preston, Esquire, for that matter (I did have a thing for Jamie Gertz for a hot minute, but it wasn’t a love that was pursued after the credits rolled). The movie won me over because its script was well written, its plot was intriguing and suspenseful and its soundtrack…all I can type is wow. In the opinion of IDROS, whatever that is worth, TLB has a Mount Rushmore level soundtrack for movies not about music or musicians (this idea alone is worthy of another post sometime in the near future, so stay tuned).

TLB is one of those movies that is sneaky good in so many ways. Among the many reasons it is nearly impossible to turn off whenever I happen upon it are the fact that its themes are timeless (brotherhood, being the new kids in a strange town, family dynamics, the dangers of love and how clueless we can be when falling under its spell, etc.) The movie also offers plenty of comic relief throughout, be it from the Frog brothers or Grandpa, to cut the horrifying tension and counteract the overarching evil that lurks beneath the seemingly innocuous teen romp the movie often appears to be. And finally, at the base of it all, TLB is a Vampire movie. Before True Blood, the Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, and a generation before the Twilight saga, one could argue that TLB was one of the first (no, IDROS did not forget Anne Rice) to successfully expand upon Bram Stoker’s themes and package them for teens and young adults thirsting for a blood-sucking Brady Bunch story…or at least a more modern twist on Vampiric lore.

Anyway, during a recent viewing of TLB, which spawned the idea for this post, IDROS began to see Max’s family of undead in a new way. My epiphany occurred during the most unpleasant scene in the entire movie, IMHO, which is when David and his Lost Boy brothers take Michael out to “hunt” for the first time, and they horrifically feed on a group of partying young adults around a bonfire. As I watched the awful scene unfold for the umpteenth time, I realized that Vampires, particularly those in this movie, are a terrorist organization not unlike ISIS, or Al Qaeda. Think about it…they kill innocent people in gruesome ways; they recruit others by promising eternal youth (a trip to heaven surrounded by virgins); they blend into society, even having jobs such as the friendly town video store proprietor; they use caves as a hideout/lair/home; they are vengeful; and the greatest connection of all – Kiefer Sutherland who plays David, arguably the most fearsome terrorist, I mean vampire, in TLB, would basically reinvent himself more than a decade later playing the foil to terrorists worldwide as Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) superman, Jack Bauer.

If you want to know how this post came to be…the truth is it was on a dare. Someone who reads IDROS gave your author four themes, and threw down the gauntlet. “You seem to be posting less and less frequently. Here’s some motivation. Combine the themes ‘Summer,’ ‘Education,’ ‘Terrorism,’ and ‘Tina Turner’ in your next post and I will bestow upon you my own version of a Pulitzer” (when pressed for details on said prize, IDROS was told that it involved a ticket to an upcoming concert).


Oh, and as for Ike’s ex-wife: The shirtless, long-haired saxophone dude who plays on the amusement pier in TLB (“I Still Believe”) is none other than Ms. Turner’s chief of brass on tour. Check him out here basically pleasuring the venerable pop star with his horn in an amazing version of Private Dancer.

Happy Summer all.



Did you know that TLB was originally written to be an updated take on Peter Pan, in which Peter (which was David’s original character name) was a vampire? It’s true. There are a multitude of Easter eggs from that storyline that remain in the movie, including the title itself, that point to that original theme. IDROS is glad Joel Schumacher, who directed, insisted on removing the overt Peter Pan references.

There is one actor/actress who appeared in both movies referenced above. Can you name him or her?


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The problem’s plain to see

Too much technology

Machines to save our lives

Machines de-humanize

I apologize to the loyal readers of IDROS for my long radio silence.

I do not want to get political, and have tried to refrain from joining, and invariably contributing to, the awful vitriol that has engulfed our nation and all media and social media outlets over the past year.

IDROS has basically sat stupefied, mouth agape, head in hands, alternating between muttering and outright screaming streams of four letter words since the election cycle got into full swing last year…the histrionics picked up after the primaries, and the past month has been a giant shitstorm of head-scratching, visceral pain, recurring nightmares and abject horror.

The dystopia that has enveloped what I once believed to be the greatest nation on the planet is NOT the fault of the Orange Twitter Troll. He is merely a symptom (think diarrhea, or migraines, or vomiting, etc.) of an amalgam of problems that all came to a head over the past decade…but how anyone in this once proud nation of ours with a true second grade education or higher can look me in the eye and honestly tell me they are 100% confident in having a male Kardashian, a narcissistic man-child with thinner skin than refrigerated pudding, a lying, misogynistic, shallow, science-denying troglodyte at the helm, influencing global and national policy on a daily basis…is beyond my comprehension.

But still, trying to avoid politicizing this post, it is not the doofus played by Alec Baldwin’s fault that we are in this position. DT did not create the rampant pay-to-play, corporate controlled political system mired in a “no-win,” corrupt, two-party system that ensures whomever escapes the gauntlet with the presidential crown will be beholden to many rich and powerful people and companies and other nations, but never to the actual people who vote en masse. And DT is not responsible for the racism that flows effortlessly from sea to polluted sea (even if he has become its champion), nor the firmly entrenched institutional racism that continues to divide our nation long after the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln and the fall of John Crow.

The Donald, toupee wearing ass clown that he is, and his band of unqualified, upper-crust, out-of-touch, swamp-dwelling-extraordinaire, racist losers that comprise his cabinet, has become a scapegoat and the ultimate target for the leftists in our nation. They will spend the next year, or two or four, or god forbid, even eight years fighting these f-wits’ every move…and with good reason. But what really needs fighting…and their full attention…are the reasons he “won.” The underlying cancer(s) that have thrust our nation into this mess, that made it possible that a self-conscious 12-year-old in a 70-year-old’s body could ascend from the celebrity C-list circus to the highest office on earth.

Or so I thought…

We have a bigger problem than Trump, his mostly unqualified and undeserving cabinet, and the reasons most research and media outlets point to as why Trump won…a much bigger problem, one that threatens all of humanity, frankly.

Maybe you are wondering why I titled this post “Kilroy,” and led with a song lyric that seemingly has nothing to do with anything I have written to this point.

Maybe IDROS simply really loves Styx, and fondly remembers roller skating at Young’s Regency to songs like Mr. Roboto. Maybe IDROS was hearkening back to a simpler time, in the early 80s, when IDROS was 10 and hadn’t a true care in the world…when the man-sized Oompa Loompa was still married to his first wife and had not yet opened any casinos in Atlantic City.

Or perhaps IDROS speaks Japanese, spent some time living in Japan and appreciates the references to the Land of the Rising Sun, and the Japanese language in the lyrics.

Or…the band’s name really seemed apt today. The mythical river, after all, was as divisive as our current Halloween Marshmallow Peep-led administration, and I suppose many would be pretty satisfied with the analogy of POTUS Chump to Hades. Even Cerberus, the mythical 3-headed beast guarding Hades, is well-represented by Bannon-Spicer-Pence. Hades himself is described throughout the mythical canon as being cold, stern and wrathful, with a childish stubbornness, rage and poor self-image (which derived from him basically drawing the short stick, which banished him to lord over the underworld, while his two brothers inherited the air and sea).

While A, B and C are all solid guesses, and pretty spot on in their own right, the truth is IDROS recently read the scariest article ever and realized humanity, especially for those in the 99%, is in greater peril than imagined. Even by great thinkers like Carl Sagan, who in 1990, warned: “We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.”

The article in question: Click here

Please find a quiet spot, take a deep breath, click on the hyperlink and try to make it through this piece without flying off the handle.

I am sorry for sharing that with you. But here’s the thing. I reiterate…it’s still not Trump’s fault. He harnessed [read: purchased] the power and used it for his own brand of evil, sure. But this technology is up for grabs. If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else…and it will be seized upon by people and entities far worse than the giant Cheeto. And used in ways far more sinister. Think about it. And by the way, this is only the beginning. This technology will improve, and become even more accurate. The data it uses will only become more accurate and more pervasive. And I hate to say it, but just as Sagan (and Orwell, and a litany of others) warned, the majority of the world population will become more and more ignorant to the increasingly advanced technologies that drive this Orwellian nightmare.

After a rough stretch, I sat down and pondered the situation. I believe we can make a concerted effort to combat those who might seek to exploit us through technology. My thoughts are below. As always, IDROS welcomes and encourages all of you to comment and add to this list:

  1. We really have become way too dependent on technology in general. Whatever you can do to ween yourself off the teat of Silicon Valley, even just a little bit, will be helpful. I realize this is a platitude, so find a way to unplug every now and then…put down the smart phone, read an actual book or magazine, write an actual letter…learn or embrace a non-tech-related hobby…exercise more…go acoustic…find your beach;
  2. Make yourself difficult or even impossible to map by these BIG BROTHER wannabees. This is where it gets interesting, and even fun. Don’t be so predictable when using technology. Visit sites that have content opposite or vastly different from your own beliefs. When shopping, hit up online stores that go against all of your fashion sensibilities, your musical taste, and your general preferences. Go to dating sites where you never in a million years would think to go. Same with porn. Same with news, sports, blogs and anything else. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t buy shit online if you can help it…(I realize that organic baby food your baby loves isn’t sold in stores, and you need your anonymity to buy those Civil War and Third Reich relics…and I know the convenience is pulling you like gravity, but think of it as saving the retail real estate industry. I know. That is going to be tough. But if you want your freedom, think of IDROS as Morpheus, and this advice is the red pill (and the removal of the tracking device);
    • ***On a related topic, we are already way past the point of no return with how we buy things…because of credit cards, debit cards and all sorts of electronic payment options, tracking our spending habits gets easier every day. I am not sure how we reverse this, or ensure complete privacy, but how we consume is and will continue to be a leading driver in how tech companies and those that control them can map us, our personalities and ultimately anticipate how we behave and thus influence our vote (if we even have a vote anymore);
  3. Turn your devices off whenever you can, and be sure to disable any cameras unless you are using them – who knows who might be watching, or hacking;
  4. Know that whatever you post, email or blog will be permanently inscribed for eternity, and will be searchable and likely used against you either directly or indirectly. Be careful, and teach your children to use caution as well;
  5. Stop taking those ridiculous tests (IQ, Which Facts of Life Character Are You? How well do you know the movie Sixteen Candles? What Color Is Your Personality? ETC…) This goes double for those social network games, by the way…you know who you are, and to what I am referring…just stop;
  6. We need to find out which tech leaders are with us [read: good people], and empower them to assist us in preventing a 1984/Matrix/Terminator tech-driven dystopia. People were very quick to #deleteUBER, and screamed bloody murder when Elon Musk joined Trump’s advisory team…but if any of these tech leaders (Gates, Zuckerberg, Ellison, Brin, et al) truly have humanity’s best interests at heart…we need to figure that out, and we need those men and women to join ranks with the likes of Trump and Theresa May, and to ensure that harmful technology does not end up in the wrong hands; and,
  7. If I am missing anything, and I am sure I am, because this is complicated and mostly above my paygrade, please add to these ideas in the comment section below.

IDROS is frightened by recent events. There is a lot going on, and much of it, unfortunately, is awful. While the media is in many ways as bad as it is good (and in, fact, is largely responsible for an ego like POTUS rising from Reality Star to his current perch), what is happening vis-à-vis Cap’n Hell-Toupee and multiple media outlets is unacceptable.

F-it. I tried to avoid getting political, but I can’t do it.

IDROS promises not to ramble on too much more, but here is my general take, if you couldn’t crack my code already:

Trump is bad….and embarrassing. But none of this is his fault. The system was clearly broken before his ascent from the bowels of the underworld. With a great deal of assistance from technology, which is pretty much terrifying, and a little more from Russia, which is scary too, especially since they seem to employ technological warfare quite well, here we are, on the precipice with all that is sacred, watching as the foundation supporting us is eaten away and compromised more quickly than a sand castle in a rising tide…during a hurricane.

IDROS is generally optimistic, however. All of what was broken before Brexit and Trump still threatens us… more so even than Trump and his Fourth Reich. Had anyone else won the 2016 US election, nothing would have changed. None of our systemic failures would have been fixed. And we would continue to plod along in a broken world, becoming more and more marginalized. IDROS believes that our current assclown-in-chief is so loathed, and so bad for humanity in general that he will serve to actually unite enough people to not only remove him and his cronies from office, but also to fix much of what created the perfect storm that led to his election in the first place.

Anyway…keepin’ it light pre-Oscars. Enjoy the show tonight. RIP Bill Paxton. And if I am wrong/misguided regarding my optimism above, in one of his great character’s immortal words (using a bit of poetic license), “we’re stewed buttwads.”

Thanks as always for reading,



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Game of Thrones

As much as I enjoy that show, I apologize for the misleading title of my first post in quite some time. Wrapped up in those child rearing years, I haven’t been afforded the time to sleep much, let alone formulate some [rational/cohesive/non-incriminating] thoughts, type them and inscribe them in the book of life that is the internet.

In returning to my long-neglected blog, I wanted to make a splash. And so I chose a subject that is near and dear to my heart…and one on which I am a bit of an expert, if you get right down to it. That subject is none other than bathrooms. These idyllic sanctuaries of thought, chambers of solitude in which I escape my yelling children and the stresses of life…blessed houses of the unholy; day and night spas, where we all cleanse ourselves in myriad ways, by purging ourselves of the wretched and putrescent filth within us as well as by rinsing away and sanitizing ourselves from the accumulation of unpleasantness and detritus that clings to our exteriors, and mats itself in our plumage…oddly, these havens have taken center stage in our national political scene, just in time to add another layer of excrement to what is already a giant compost pile of an election cycle.

Ok…I realize the lavatories that have the Bible Belt’s collective panties in a bunch are not the wonderful and relatively clean oases depicted above, but rather the terrifying, rancid, god-awful bowels of society better known as public restrooms, the necessary evils that demonstrate to all of us that we humans truly are still wild animals, barely removed from primates who fling feces at one another; and we continually remind one another of that fact by doing unspeakable things in public facilities, and just leaving it there, in all of its glory for those that follow…one after another until some poor, unfortunate soul paid what I can only imagine is minimum wage, summons their dignity and courage, dons some industrial gloves and heads on in with enough ammonia to kill all living things in a small country.

Not sure public bathrooms have received so much attention since George Michael was arrested…or perhaps that congressional game of footsie. That said, I have had some time to reflect on this hot button issue, and can say that while it is complex, and does not and will never have a clear-cut and satisfying solution for everyone on the planet, I believe I am close enough to an expert on private residence bathrooms (and half baths too) to effectively weigh in and provide my faithful readers some insight into the hysteria that is boiling over in North Carolina and many other areas of our nation where the average constituent believes the earth is younger than my grandmother, evolution is a myth, the second amendment is the single greatest edit to a document in the history of the world, even though said document governs a nation his or her great grandpappy and mee-maw tried to secede from (they still believe their family was right in doing so and that the South will rise again), and no, they are not so fond of Jews, Muslims, Immigrants, Blacks and most other minorities, including homosexuals…certainly not trans-gender people.

Most of the people clamoring for the status quo are the same homophobes and ignoramuses that willingly send their children to church related activities, the Boy Scouts, duck hunts and clan rallies…and even subject them to long and uncomfortable family dinners with their estranged, drunk uncle two-first-names.

But when I say most, I am afraid that is misleading, as I see far too many people who do not fit those redneck characteristics all over social media, and even on my own feeds…people in my network…who believe Caitlin Jenner and her ilk should continue to hike up their skirts at urinals in men’s rooms rather than use the ladies’ rooms where they would be most comfortable.

I GET IT. I understand and empathize with the argument that this law would potentially endanger women and children as it opens the [bathroom] door to perverts, pedophiles, sexual deviants and rapists, who are willing to throw on a skirt and some make-up to gain access to public ladies’ rooms, then thus use this new loophole to prey on their newly vulnerable targets. And frankly, I don’t put it past some sickos in our society to do just that – peeping toms will ogle, perverts will cop feels, pedophiles will endanger our children and perhaps take photos or videos and share them in their disgusting online circles, and rapists…well you get this sordid picture.

But we are not a society who limits or withholds rights from people, no matter the size of that group, because doing so would possibly endanger others. Sure, our history books are littered with examples of the opposite of what I just typed…but that is not the ideal America we seek. Freedom, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness are FOR ALL in this country, despite what prejudices and fears and built-in hatred and ignorance many in our populace might have…and certainly despite our own history, which is despicable on so many levels.

Furthermore, it is not the trans community that we have to fear. The miscreants and dregs of society many fear will take advantage of this new legislation to perpetrate evil will unfortunately continue to exist, whether these laws are enacted or not. We, as a society, will have to fear them either way. We cannot withhold rights and freedom from some in order to make evil people less able to enact evil. We cannot let the minority who truly don’t matter in our society – the criminals and perpetrators of evil – limit and effect the rights of upstanding citizens in any way…no matter who those upstanding citizens may be and what they may believe.

I see and hear and read a lot of rationalizations by those opposed to this new legislation based on the comparatively small size and therefore insignificance of the trans community. People fail to realize that allowing minorities equal rights, no matter how small a minority may be and no matter how uncomfortable said minority may make you due to your own belief system and narrow mindedness, means that anything you are able to do, buy, experience and enjoy in your life should be available to all…even if it creates discomfort, and yes, even if it might put some in danger from time to time. The trans community has been teased, bullied and tortured since the dawn of man. What they endure within their own psyches is unfathomable. Their entire lives, they deal with not only their own struggles and demons, but the very worst society has to offer. Anything we can do to make things better, easier and more human for the persecuted in our nation and the entire world should always be done. It is up to the rest of us to deal with the ramifications the best we can…for the instances we all fear are few and far between. The persecution and societal exile minorities like the trans community are subjected to are constant…every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

Hypocrisy reigns supreme in our country. People believe only what is in their own personal best interest. We cannot be a nation where the company line includes sentiments like “we can’t stop living our lives and visiting popular places and traveling, etc. because if we do, the terrorists win,” and also deprive our own citizens of rights because it might endanger our wives and daughters. Seriously…how can we allow people to have guns in their homes for protection, when it is clear as day that doing so is extremely dangerous to children who live in that home? How can we allow people to swim or surf in our oceans when some will inevitably be attacked by sharks, or drown? And how can we allow white men to become police officers when we all know some will abuse their power and profile and even kill innocent minorities?

Public restrooms are already awful, scary places. Allowing all people to use the appropriate restroom really doesn’t change that fact. It just makes us a little less of a society of assholes and hypocrites. It makes America better. Girls and women already tend to use the loo in pairs. Men and women bring their small children into public restrooms with them, whether those children are boys or girls. So TEACH your children the importance of vigilance and safety should they ever need to use a public restroom when you or another adult is not with your child. Teach them to always go in at least pairs…especially the girls, but the boys too. (And while you’re at it, teach your children to be more tolerant…the fewer assholes we raise, the better our country will be in the long run). And now even adult women need to be more alert and sensible when using public restrooms. There is always a price for freedom. Not just our own freedom, but our neighbors’ as well. If you haven’t served our great nation in combat, then please ask someone who has (or someone who lost a son, daughter, husband, wife or other loved one on the battlefield) what the true cost of freedom really is…and then thank them.

Tywin DiesSPOILER ALERT for GoT fans late to the party – To come full circle, George R.R. Martin made a humorous nod to his own first book title (which became the HBO series title) by having one of its most competent, strategically gifted and sinister characters meet his untimely demise on the proverbial throne, the can. Because just as with the Iron Throne, the porcelain throne is a place where men and women are quite vulnerable (go ask Elvis, or Lenny Bruce, or Top Gun Producer Don Simpson, or the others on this list). And now, that will be even more true. But this legislation must pass.

Thanks as always for reading.

Two weeks till Memorial Day…



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In Memoriam: These Places Were Not Such A Shore Thing


This post was written in honor of Memorial Day, the unofficial kick-off to summer and most importantly, the first major weekend of shore season. Going “down the shore” for those of us who grew up in and around Philadelphia, is and always has been a way to escape to a relaxing paradise, replete with sand, sea, good food, good friends, family and a host of landmarks, attractions, restaurants and watering holes that offer just enough nostalgia to elevate even the most average places to must-visit/see status, and to propel the very good to levels of unimpeachable perfection. We all have places we take visitors who have never been to our little island (Absecon Island, home to Margate, Longport, Ventnor and Atlantic City), without fail…our favorites…you know, the ones we are most proud of, the ones that bring extra special smiles to our faces just thinking about in the freezing cold depths of winter.

There are many places down the shore that have reached pantheon status…regulars in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of the Shore” issues. The shore just wouldn’t be the same without them, they pre-date all of us (or at least seem to), everyone we know hits them regularly, or at least semi-regularly, and they define our summer experience…or help shape it. Even if we don’t go, or don’t go as often anymore, some of these places remain as important landmarks and just knowing they are there is comforting (and we definitely use them when giving others directions). Some of them aren’t even on Absecon Island, but they are close enough to become part of our shore world. In no particular order, these gems include the big three sub shops (Dino’s, Sack-o’s and The Whitehouse), Angelo’s Fairmont Tavern, Gillian’s Fun Deck, Smitty’s Clam Bar, Ventura’s Greenhouse, The Boardwalk (ours and the one in the OC), Robert’s Place, Frank S. Farley Rest Stop, The Dairy Bar, The Knife and Fork Inn, Downbeach Deli, Mentos, Chef Vola, Casel’s, Ozzie’s (despite a brief time in absentia), Storybook Land, Johnson’s Popcorn, Tony’s Baltimore Grill, Jo Jo’s, Little Saigon, Memories, The Point, The Tilton and Towne 16 Movie Theaters, Two Cents Plain, and of course Lucy.

But this is Memorial Day weekend, so this post is written to memorialize those old haunts down the shore that are no longer with us. Those forever emblazoned in our memories, sometimes even our hearts, but are no longer there. Seasonal places like beach towns make it difficult for some businesses to survive. For others, the skyrocketing real estate market created opportunities for developers to purchase our beloved places and explore new highest and best uses (in real estate speak). And some were destroyed by fire, changing tastes, greed, stupidity, hubris and bankruptcy. And a few on this list never deserved to line our shore landscape in the first place, but are notable nonetheless.

Without further ado, and in reverse order of significance, at least according to your humble author, a trip down the shore’s memory lane:

The Showboat: Look, it was all the way at the north end of AC…such a hike anyway. It was never the nicest casino, and architecturally was perhaps interesting in its own weird way, but losing it last year was nothing worth shedding a tear over. But the bowling alley was cool (remember that?), and provided some good times back in the day.

Pat’s Steaks: Notable only that the Philadelphia institution failed, and failed miserably, when opening an Atlantic City location.

Pantry Pride: There was another grocery store in Margate, for those who can remember that far back.

Lenny’s Hot Dog Stand: IDROS has faint memories of this place (it closed when IDROS was 5), but IDROS remembers sharing a dog with his dad here once upon a time. It would have been nice to have another option than pizza for late night grub, but with all the great junk food littering the shore, not too broken up over this loss.

Party Pak: Make way for the bigger and better Wawa. No real loss here.

Mojo: Not a lucky spot (more on this later), but a nice enough restaurant with pretty good food, and some decent live jazz on some weekend nights.

Captain Starn’s: Great restaurant overlooking the Absecon Inlet, and for those that rode their bikes or jogged or walked all the way to the northern end of the boardwalk back in the day, Starn’s was there…

Lou’s: A long-time Ventnor diner/kitchenette with killer milkshakes and a musty smell derived from both its hundred year old furnishings and an aging (read: aged) clientele.

Tivoli Pier: In the late 80s, the Trop, then called TropWorld, opened an amusement park which included a roller coaster (it was lame) and a Ferris Wheel (it resembled the big wheel in every casino that has the different denomination dollar bills on it) in an effort to mimic the Las Vegas trend of offering a “family friendly” experience. Alas, it closed in 1995, making way for the Trop’s new, and much better, entertainment area, The Quarter.

The Waterfront: There have been quite a few new brands to take over since it closed. Built with a shitload of wood and an expansive deck overlooking the bay, there was live music, boat drinks and pretty good food. Baia is the latest…Inlet before that.

Sailfish Café: Great beach town restaurant name. Lasted forever. Only ate there once.

Bubba Mac’s Shack – This short-lived BBQ and Blues joint in Somers Point wasn’t bad…but the real estate it sat on was worth more to developers.

Gilhooleys: Fun bar that had its day before your author’s time, but it did honor IDROS’ fake ID once upon a time. One of the updated bars along the famed Barbary Coast that foreshadowed a trend toward nicer establishments to please the well-heeled summer home owners that were slowly replacing the locals and college crowds, and the dive bars those crowds preferred. (Read this account of the Barbary Coast)

The Golden Nugget: Steve Wynn’s first foray into AC was the most easily accessible to us downbeachers. For a summer or two in the late 80s/early 90s, there was a summer stage on the beach in front of the Nugget, and every weekend we had the likes of Rod Stewart, Steve Miller, the Beach Boys and Don Henley setting the tone for those summer nights.

Land of Oz Amusement & Arcade Hall: Boarded up after a fire in 1981, this place was a little kid’s dream.

Omar’s: Late night at the pool tables at the first bar IDROS ever got into with fake ID. Let’s just say it wasn’t a very rigorous entry policy at the site that eventually gave way to Mojo.

The Taste: This ice cream, yogurt and dessert shop run by a crazy Aussie who seemed to be a character in an 80s movie, was ahead of its time and also up against some stiff competition in the Margate City ice cream scene.

Billy Ho’s: The pink Margate restaurant still stands, but unfortunately the name does not…and what a name. This is definitely your author’s brother-in-law’s favorite entry on this list.

The White Sands: Margate’s only hotel (motel?) that IDROS can remember…bought and converted to condo during the last real estate boom cycle.

The Islander: There have been quite a few restaurants to open and subsequently close in Seaview Harbor on the Longport Bridge…but this was the first, and IDROS worked there one crazy summer…

Ventnor Mini Golf/Ice Rink: Loved everything about that place…especially the open air architecture with a suspended roof. Bonus points to those who actually ice skated there. IDROS did.

The Crab Pot: Now Lamberti’s, Steve and Cookie’s first restaurant had better real estate and served breakfast. IDROS worked there as a bus boy a long time ago.

Jefferson Miniature Golf: IDROS still has two or three free game cards from this crappy but beloved course in Margate. A favorite hang-out for your author and his cousins.

Polo Bay: Tomatoes’ new spot (remember when Tomatoes was on Ventnor Avenue where Miyako sushi and hibachi restaurant is now?), the crowd was twenty years younger, on average, in its heyday.

Million Dollar Pier: A few of ACs amusement piers closed and re-opened over the years, but MDP was the one IDROS visited every summer as a child. When it burnt down, IDROS was very upset.

Michelli’s: Great pizza spot to soak up the booze when bar crawling along Amherst or Washington.

Ocean One: A mall built on a pier jutting into the Atlantic. A couple friends of mine worked there one summer. It was cool for a hot minute. The Pier repurposed it with some better, higher end shopping and a few of Philly’s finest restaurants. Now Blatstein will try to improve upon that.

Brigantine Castle: Scared the crap out of IDROS back in the day. But even scarier than the attraction itself is how many haunted houses have caught fire over the years and burnt down…many times injuring and even killing people inside them.

Fideli’s: Too many restaurants to count have opened and shut over the years (Fai’s, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, Dune, and so many more), but this old Italian stalwart had a very nice run.

Playboy Hotel & Casino: A number of gambling halls have come and gone over the years in AC, with four more shutting down just last year. But Heff’s black glass tower was one of the least gaudy looking monstrosities erected to take its patrons hard-earned money, and because IDROS was just hitting puberty when it opened, IDROS was a huge fan of the scantily clad bunnies that ran rampant throughout the building from day one. And everyone has to admit…that bunny logo at the top of the tower gleaming amid the growing neon glitz of the city was so much better than anything TRUMP.

Reds: A personal favorite of your author, combining a decent pool room with a disco and lounge that played primarily new wave and alternative music. Hated when it closed to make way for condos.

The Margate and Ventnor Twins: With summer traffic it can take a half hour to get to Tilton and forty five minutes to get to the Towne 16. Having two theaters on the island was priceless. Over the years IDROS saw ET, Stand By Me, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bull Durham, Dirty Dancing, The Abyss, Beverly Hills Cop 2 and Terminator 2 and countless others at these theaters.

Maloney’s: A restaurant and four separate bars rolled into one. Many incredibly fun nights ended here…IDROS thinks.

Our Youth: How lucky were we all to have this place when we were young? How lucky are we to still have it now? While we can’t turn back the clock, our incredible memories remain…and new ones will be made with our own kiddos.

If you have other places you feel should be included in this list, please comment below.

As always, your author is grateful for all of his tens of loyal readers, and wishes you all a happy holiday and a terrific summer.

Hope to see you down the shore next month.

All the best,



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