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Aquatic ExperienceYou might recall that this past November, I took the family to a new adventure here in the Chicago area, when the World Pet Association launched their first-ever AQUATIC EXPERIENCE: CHICAGO. I posted a full entry about the experience here on THE ROCK FATHER, and evidently it was a success, as it's back for it's second annual run, November 7-9, 2014 in Schaumburg. Also returning is the LIVE SHARK ENCOUNTER, which my kids loved. And the Betta we brought home from last year's show - the one that Addie named "Lula" after a character on DOC McSTUFFINS? She (technically a "he") is doing great and has a new tank!

May 10, 1994: On this date, WEEZER released their self-titled debut album, the one that soon became known as THE BLUE ALBUM. A monumental record that still holds up two decades later (they play it live in it's entirety on a frequent basis), no one would've expected the band to become as long-lasting and successful as they have, especially after the initial "failure" of PINKERTON, and the extended hiatus that followed. Last year, I wrote a feature here on THE ROCK FATHER that is very appropriate to be re-shared today: "Everybody Get Dangerous: WEEZER, Kids and Rock." If you haven't already, go give it a read, and crank up some tunes below...

I never thought that I'd find myself in this situation. Neither in the years before becoming a parent, nor in the 57 months or so since I've been one, did I envision myself as the father of a ball player. It just never crossed my mind, even back when I took my girls to their first Major League ball game last summer, or when I started playing "T-Ball" in the backyard with a little pink plastic set we bought for the girls. Despite knocking the ball around in the yard, I just never had that vision of standing there watching my little ones take orders instruction from a coach. But last night it happened, as Addie (who will be five this year) entered "T-Ball Prep" ahead of starting "Pee Wee Baseball" next month.

Aquabats Turn 20It could be said that last night, I officially introduced my daughter to the rock and roll lifestyle. We took a trip into the big city, stayed out late on a school night, and she got ice cream at 10pm. We were living dangerously, and it was all because last night was Addie's first real concert - her first big ROCK show. And what a night it was... at age 4½, my little girl got her first "special pass," met the band, and can now say that she's been on stage at one of Chicago's finest venues, The House of Blues. THE AQUABATS! kicked-off their 20th Anniversary Tour in fine fashion, and being there with my little girl made for one unforgettable night.

Two bands associated with the Seattle sound of the early 1990s. Two deaths... on the same day, eight years apart. One, completely unexpected. The other, expected much sooner. Yesterday, April 5, 2014, marked the 20th anniversary of the suicide of NIRVANA frontman KURT COBAIN, and the 12th anniversary of the overdose that killed ALICE IN CHAINS frontman LAYNE STALEY.

If you're a parent, there's a good chance you've done it... and if you're like me, usually a couple of times a week. "Where did you hear that?" or "Who told you that word?" - both phrases occasionally directed at your little ones to find out why, exactly, they'd choose to use a word that they shouldn't use. Like Ralphie in A CHRISTMAS STORY when he dropped a word that "wasn't FUDGE," it happens. With my oldest (she'll be five in a few months) occasionally expanding her vocabulary with words and phrases that are most often attributed to "Joshua," the latest viral clip from JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! hits home. Inspired by this video, in which a little boy lists all the bad words he knows, Jimmy hit Hollywood Blvd yesterday to put some kids on the spot by asking, "Do You Know Any Naughty Words?" Here's what happened...

I'd only met Dave Brockie a couple of times, and aside from one occasion where I was feeding him questions on the other end of a video webcast with he in New York and I in Chicago, he was in full costume, portraying the character for which he will forever be known - Oderus Urungus, the 43 billion year-old frontman of Antarctica-based metal titans, GWAR. While public perception of what GWAR is or is not may vary, I've always known the band to be highly-skilled, expert musicians and showmen (and women, on occasion) that performed a mix of entertaining metal and killer satire that was always influenced by the Global landscape of politics and pop culture of the time. I was shocked and saddened to find a note from GWAR manager Jack Flanagan sitting atop my inbox this morning...

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, and like the Chicago River this weekend, it's time to break out the "green" for some shamrock-themed fun for the whole family. One oddity this year is that Addie's school is celebrating it as "Clover Day," which is a term I've not heard before. If they're trying to be "PC" by de-Sainting it, that strikes me as weird since Christmas and Hanukkah weren't renamed... even if you don't celebrate it, that doesn't change the name (maybe that's just me). Regardless, here's a few pieces of St. Paddy's Day fun...

Two years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a blog about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (cigarettes are a drug). Today I am posting once again, as it's the three-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original blog entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Last year, I discussed how Marlboro (under the Philip Morris or Altria name) won't leave me alone. It's continued for another year... and perhaps it's time to lawyer up?

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

Last night, as a fresh blanket of snow appropriately fell from the sky here in Northern Illinois, I took my oldest Princess to our first Daddy/Daughter Dance. "Anna & Elsa's Fabulously Frozen Ball" was an experience both fantastic, and fascinating. As a Father, it was the first of many Daddy/Daughter Date Nights to come - first with Addie, and in a few years, with Little Finley. As a pop culture aficionado, it was incredible to see that a movie that hit theaters just three months ago, had already spawned a full-blown Park District production.

Thursday, February 27 2014 00:01

Does School Readiness Concern You? #PBSKIDSLearn

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PBS KIDS VIPEarlier this week, I posted an entry about attending the kindergarten open house at the school where my oldest daughter will begin a new era of learning adventures this Fall. Evidently, I wasn't the only one thinking ahead to the next school year - specifically being ready to have a kindergartner in our midst. Just yesterday, PBS KIDS released the results of a "School Readiness Survey," and the results showed concern from parents of children ages 2-6 when it comes to social and emotional skills, along with basic reading and math in terms of getting kids prepped and ready to take that next step. Here's some numbers, along with some tips on school readiness from the PBS KIDS Team...

Tuesday, February 25 2014 22:44

Old Crankypants: Chiberia does not exist...

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I hate cutesy catchphrases that are delivered with a smug grin, a chuckle, or wink. Have them delivered by a news anchor, a major website or even a lesser-known internet jockey, and they're even worse... amped-up and ready to irritate. I have a growing list of phrases, along with some individual words and terms that make my blood boil... or "grind my gears" as the wise Peter Griffin once said. One of the latest is "Chiberia," a made-up, annoying term used to describe the arctic temperatures in the Chicago area this year. I'd originally thought that the Chicago Sun-times coined the term, but according to FOX 32, it was a National Weather Service forecaster named Ricky Castro that is to blame. Tonight, as news of another snowfall came across the television, I watched in agony as another anchor delivered the "Chiberia" name with a grin and that fake "ha-ha" delivery that only one at a newsdesk can properly pull off.

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