Thursday, June 26, 2008

Shinedown review; Hey baby, what's your sign?

OK, if you hate my music, skip down to the pickup item. It's worth your time.

If not, a quick Shinedown update...The concert Monday night was so transcendent, I might have to become a stalker. (Wait a minute, I have seen them eight times. That qualifies!)

Stay tuned for BIG news about Uncle Freddy's age. (That's what we call a tease in the radio business). But first, a brief review...

The new music is terrific. "Crow and the Butterfly," "Sound of Madness" (the title track), "Second Chance" and "If you only Knew" are my personal favorites. As always, the lyrics are emotional, tight and they speak to me.

This passage from "If you only knew" makes me think of an old friend, so a brief shoutout:

"It's 4:03 and I can't sleep
Without you next to me
I toss and turn like the sea
If I drown tonight...
bring me back to life
Breathe your breath in me
The only thing that I still believe in...
is you
....if you only knew"

You know who you are.

They did a great show -- .45 , the Uncle Freddy karaoke centerpiece -- was the best I've ever heard them do it...Almost as good as me!

Anyway, check out the new album. I am the Shinedown pimp.

The BIG news, as touted above -- I AM NOT THAT OLD!!!!

I had vowed to never again go to a concert if I was the oldest guy there. Nobody wants to be the pathetic old guy (memo to dude in the UT shirt -- you win!)

I wasn't even in the top 20. (OK, so maybe I counted a couple people twice -- my man Abel loaded us up on Jager. Erg. Was awful shaky Tuesday morning!)

I'll hit this harder on the show Saturday, but going to a concert with Abel is like going to Wrigley Field with Ernie Banks. I work every morning with AR; he is a cool dude who produces Mike and Mike and my morning updates. He also happens to run security at many events around town. He has fast become a valued amigo.

Dude is a monster celebrity. They let us go wherever we wanted, and he knew everybody there. The best part was when he stood at one of the doors with his arms folded and everybody thought he was the door man. He even intimidated a drunk into not slamming the door without saying a word. "Man, that's a big dude," drunk said.

One more jager and I would have started a fight just to have Abel bail me out of it. My goal for next concert is to wear a tux and sunglasses and pretend to be famous and have Abel act like my security guard.

If you go to an Astros game, don't stir anything up or Abel will be the one dragging you out.

I am going to put my official number as 27th oldest dude there out of a crowd of a couple thousand. Not optimal, but not bad. I won't be staring down the barrel of a .45 just yet...


Much love for one of favorite people in the world, who had a bad week. He was supposed to get married, and they broke it off. I was planning a nice quiet night working and goofing off online when I got a text. "Dude, let's go out to Dave and Busters. They are having a singles thing."

For the record, there are MAYBE three people in the world who could drag me to a "singles thing." Maybe two. Uncle Freddy don't roll that way. But I love this dude like a brother, and I was determined to cheer him up, even if it meant going to a meat market.

(It was also hosted by a radio station that was a competitor. Whoops).

It was the most pathetic thing I have ever done. Especially when I started evolving from wingman to....well, no comment.

Man, it was bizarre. The weirdest thing was a woman who gave us her card who said women PAID her to meet men and could we send her a profile.

Back in the 4-0-9, we would have called her a "pimp."

I actually decided to make it a research trip. I asked several women which of the pickup lines they liked best from the ones we did on the show. Turns out I was wrong -- the polar bear line was by far the most popular. (How much does a polar bear weigh? I don't know, but it's enough to break the ice).

I also tried my new Teddy KGB test (do you know who Teddy KGB is?) I was 0-for-12. (MAJOR props to Virtual Val, who got that one while we were chatting on HR. Boy, Val, you get a lot of run on this blog...)

Lines that don't work: "Are you guys lesbians?" and "What do I like to see in a woman? Me."

(By the way, in Houston, when guessing what people do for a living, if you say "you are in the energy business," you have a 68 percent chance of being right, followed by "medical" at 20 percent, "marketing"at 11 percent and "female pimp," 1 percent).

I actually had a cool conversation with two ladies who were nice enough to thank me for talking to them before they escaped to find better looking men. And I also met a cool lady whose kid used to be in daycare with mine, and we had a very nice chat. So it wasn't a complete loss.

However, any positives were destroyed shortly thereafter. There was a woman who was actually making some progress until she tried to guess my age and dropped a "50" on me. FIFTY? FREAKING FIFTY????

My response? "Hey, what's your sign? Wait, I'll tell you. The exit sign. Hit the road."

Maybe I have a future with these pickup lines after all...


Just a follow up on the Teddy KGB test; I love to trot stuff out with my facebook HR buddies before I try it on real people. A lot of the blog stuff and radio stuff you read and hear shows up there first.

I just decided I needed a standard test. Before I meet the Next One, she has to pass a test. I figured if she knows who Teddy KGB is, she would have to be cool, right?

Val -- and a young lady named Jennifer, who I don't know that well yet -- got it right. And since Min, Sandy, Hu, Emma and Sharon -- some of my all time favorite folks -- whiffed, I probably need a new test. (Although props to Em for googling. It's not cheating, youngster. It's "research.")

So any suggestions for a new test would be welcome. Best one wins a shoutout on the blog and on the air.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Meals on wheels? That reeks. Too old to rock and roll...

OK, no more serious stuff. Hate bringing people down.

As promised, the wheelchair story for my good friend Virtual Val:

This was a trip to Vegas that turned out to be one of my best ever -- big score on the ponies, a nice run at poker...Was wandering around with a big stack of cash, which of course led the crew to a night at OG's on Uncle Freddy. (The Czech chick story came from that, but we'll save that for another time).

It turned into an all-nighter of drinking and just having a blast with my old horse buddies. I had a flight out at 6:45 a.m. Vegas time, so after OGs, we found a bar at the MGM and proceeded to keep going until 4ish. By the time I grabbed my bag and stumbled downstairs to catch a cab at 5:30, I was pretty foggy.

At 5:30 in the morning, every *pay per view (*Freddy slang for prostitute, courtesy of my Man Jeffrey) is coming off the streets. It looked like an invasion of leather, wigs and STDs. I was trying to be careful not to touch anything on the way out.

Then I saw a girl in a wheelchair. Tight leather tube top. Rose tattoo above her left breast. Tongue hanging out of the left side of her mouth. She was being pushed by a scrawny, underdressed pay per view with big red leather boots.

In my fog, it took me a few minutes. I wasn't sure at first.

Seconds later, a clean looking man in his 50s wearing a golf shirt approached the duo. And I started to get it, especially when the three of them headed for the elevators together.

The girl in the wheelchair was a pay per view.

All I could think was get me out of there before God saw it and blew the whole city all to hell.

I don't know who was worse -- the girl selling her or the guy buying her.

All I knew is it gave a new meaning to Meals on Wheels.


Memo to older women: STOP SWIMMING IN PERFUME!

Nothing is worse than getting on an elevator and choking to death. This morning, on the way in, an older woman was 40 feet ahead of me walking into the building, and I was choking from the stench. FORTY FREAKING FEET AWAY!

I actually waited two minutes for the elevator so I wouldn't have to ride up with her. It didn't matter. I still rode up with her remnants.

I like a little perfume. I HATE bathing in it. (Same goes for you cologne guys, by the way).

Here's a hint: Try taking a bath instead. Please. If you have to use that much perfume, you have serious issues. Stop choking me to death. You people suck.


I will be seeing Shinedown for the EIGHTH time tonight. Best band in the world, by far my favorite new group. Looking forward to hearing a lot of the new songs.

However, this might finally be the time when I am the oldest guy at the concert.

I hate that. It's pathetic. I used to take older friends with me to concerts just so I wouldn't be the oldest. Tonight might be the end of the run. If it is, I will retire from concerts forever.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yao Ming. SUV. Teen Sex. OK, maybe not...

When I was at the Chron, I used to joke that the way to get people to read your blog was to put Yao Ming, SUV and Teen Sex in the search words. I want you to read this one, but for a different reason.

Today's topic was supposed to be a reset of my now infamous Vegas trip, the Czech prostitute/wheelchair prostitute daily double. (No I didn't, but they are both funny).

And my good buddy Virtual Val suggested something on how stupid racehorse names are. I like that and will do some research. I think that will be funny. Will probably reset that on the show Saturday.

And today's blog isn't about me. It's about you.

I've blogged before about the neighborhood I drive through to get to the station. I've made light of it, but I'm usually pretty aware of my surroundings, even when I am not awake.

There's an intersection on the way -- Triola and Gessner -- that frankly scares me. It's poorly lit. On one side is a bus stop, the other very poor housing. Triola is a street no one ever drives on, but the light is always red for a minute. My spider senses go off every time I stop there. It's one of those lights that stops a busy street (Gessner) for a quiet street, and there is no reason to sit there for a minute.

I have seen some strange things there. Prostitutes, pimps, gang bangers.

Today I saw a gun pointed at my head.

I was sitting at the light, listening to last Sunday's show again, pissed because I thought it sucked. I was pissed because I was running late because I overslept goofing off online too late the night before with my virtual horse buddies. I was worried about money and bills and everything stupid that I never worry about.

And then there he was. A kid. Maybe 20, maybe not. But his face was old, full of lines. He looked angry.

It's funny, I never really looked at the gun. He walked up to the window and was screaming for me to get out of the car. I was sure the gun was pointed at me, but I wasn't really looking.

I was looking at his eyes. Empty. Soulless. They reminded me of a drug dealer who tried to jack me when I was 12 years old (that ended badly for the drug dealer).

The whole thing lasted a matter of seconds, but it seemed like slow motion. His voice was muffled to me, angry. For some reason I thought of Charlie Brown's teacher.

And I wasn't scared, oddly enough. I just quickly glanced to the right to make sure a car wasn't coming, then floored the Accord, pointed it in the right direction and ducked under the dash, expecting to hear gunshots.

I heard nothing but my own stupid voice making a silly joke on my show.

I don't know if he fired or not. I just knew I was going to make myself a small, moving target. If he got me, he got me. Good luck. Just like poker -- make the best decision and live with the result.

Or in this case, maybe not live.

I got about 20 feet past the light and popped up, just in time to avoid the center curb. I was already going 50 miles an hour. I stayed at 50 until I got to the next light, a couple miles away. I calmly dialed 9-1-1, told them what happened, and proceeded to work.

Parked. Walked in. Said hello to Abel. Kidded with Marcus. Prepped for my Sportscenters. Checked email. Signed on Facebook. Went to get coffee.

Then I saw my hands were shaking.

I was never scared until then, because it reminded me of how one tiny little thing can change your life. One wrong place, wrong time. If I leave a minute sooner, maybe I never see him. If I had reacted differently, maybe I don't get out of there.

But I was shaking because I was worried about the next person at that intersection. Yeah, I called the cops, but who knows? What if he got somebody else before they got there?

What if it was a nurse on her way to a clinic? Or a maid who doesn't speak English? Or a high school kid going to a summer job? Somebody small, frail, weak. Somebody who wouldn't think to gun it and go.

Or what if it was one of you? One of the people I care about?

The point of this is something I tell my friends all the time; don't put yourself in dangerous positions where people can hurt you. Many of my friends are brilliant people with the common sense of a mop. It drives me nuts the silly stuff they do, not being aware of their surroundings.
There are so many bad people out there. Predators. Not necessarily bad people, but desperate.

Desperation is dangerous.

One second -- one mistake -- can change your life. You see it every day in the police reports. One wrong turn on the highway and you get t-boned. One too many drinks behind the wheel and you hit a pedestrian and change someone's life forever. Your and theirs.

No, this blog isn't about me. My day is back on track. I was reminded as always not to sweat the little things so much, which I rarely do anyway. And to be smart. I'll take another route in the future, get up 10 minutes earlier. It's just a short note in the life of Freddy.

No, this is about you.

Be aware of your surroundings. Don't put yourself in positions that could go bad. As a favor to uncle Freddy, just use some common freaking sense. Because I worry how some of you would react and what might happen to you.

I was stupid. I have been worried about that intersection for weeks. Maybe because I knew that, I wasn't surprised and was able to act without thinking.

But I should have never been there. No one should. At 5:15 in the morning, there's nothing anyone can do to help you.

Maybe he would have just taken my car and left. Maybe it would have been worse.

But it wasn't. I'm back to being goofy, thinking how I can get Yao Ming, SUV and teen sex in this blog. My updates have been flawless. Abel and I got a good laugh out of it.

I don't believe in living in fear. But it reminded me how much I worry about the people I care about. How much I fear for them.

How much I fear for you.

How much I hope you never have to look into those eyes and see hopeless desperation. And if you do, it ends like this did, as a simple footnote. No one was hurt.

At least I hope no one was.

I will be checking the police reports, hoping not to read about someone else at that intersection.

And going on with my life, being Uncle Freddy.

For another day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Get off the phone and I'll get off your a**

Thanks to my man Nathan for reminding me of this story...

Are you one of those talk on your cell phone in public people? Out loud, where everyone can hear you? In restaurants? At your kids events? In elevators? ("Wait, hang on, I'm losing you...I'm in an elevator...wait, I'm back, no...dammit!")

That's annoying enough.

I can beat that.

Recently I was having lunch at my favorite little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant near Casa del Freddy. Hunan Hut is small; it's rarely crowded, and it is very quiet. On this particular day, there were about 10 people. I was looking forward to a nice, quiet meal while reading my Cardplayer.

The couple two tables over then started making phone calls. On speaker phone.

First, I found out that Betsy won't be visiting; she's still upset that her husband is cheating on her.

Then I found out that our couple's charity was being investigated for possible IRS violations.

But that was the tame stuff. The woman -- a mousy, grousing sort in her 50s -- got a call from her doctor.

To schedule her hemorrhoid surgery.

The whole restaurant heard details we would not want to know about our closest friends. How there were "seeping sores" that needed to be dealt with immediately.

Suddenly my Chicken Lo Mein did not taste so good.

The couple at the table next to them got up and left without a word. The other people were so old they were having problems hearing each other, much less the phone.

The worst part? There was no Uncle Freddy response. No smart aleck comment. No "get your seeping sore ass off the phone while I am eating."

Maybe I've gone soft. I just sat there, annoyed, reading something about Hellmuth taking a bad beat.

The good news is I didn't finish my plate, so it helped with my diet.

I HATE speaker phone. I hate being on them and won't talk if someone is on speaker on the other end. I use to HATE when people would put speaker on at the old office to check their messages. I don't want to hear your crap.

I damn sure don't want to hear someone's loud, annoying personal phone calls about their hemorrhoids.

On the other hand, I hope Betsy reconsiders and visits. She sounds like fun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cynthia Nixon naked? UGH

You can pretty much assume I will not see Sex in the City. I didn't like the series, so the movie is out of the question.

I don't have the usual male hatred of the series. Mine is slightly different.

My No. 1 bitch: Frankly, the actors suck.

Chris Noth has the personality of toilet paper. Sarah Jessica Parker has the acting skills of roadkill. Kim Cattrall hasn't looked decent since Big Trouble in Little China. Kristen Davis? OK, I like her a little.

But Cynthia Nixon might be the most hideous creature to ever show up on a screen. I don't want to see Cynthia Nixon on a small TV. I damned sure don't want to see her on HD. And I would rather have someone pour honey on me and tie me down in a fire ant bed than see her on the big screen.

And a source who saw the movie tells me she gets naked in the film.

I can't think of a more disgusting sight. Maybe Rutger Hauer in a thong. Or The Nutty Professor in a g string.

The mere thought makes me throw up my mouth.

That this troll has become a big star is disgusting enough. That the public is subjected to her naked on the big screen?

Memo to guantanamo: THERE is your real threat to national security. Lock her away, quickly.
Interrogate her. Ask her why the hell she went into acting. Ask her how she turned a chick flick into a horror film.

And get Kristin's phone number for me...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wow. What did Brown do for you?

The Belmont claims another victim.
Richard Dutrow, the cocky cheating trainer, had no answers.
Kent Desormeaux, the jockey, had no answers.
The people who bet millions on Big Brown had no answers, either.

The horse wasn't right. He had no business out there. He cost the public millions of dollars. He did even more damage to a reeling sport.

People still care about racing. The looks on the faces of the people at the track told the story; they were let down. Depressed.

Horse racing still inspires passion. Magical horses still bring people out.

In the 1920s-50s, horse racing, baseball and boxing ruled the sports world in America.

All three have been relegated to second-tier status (yes, even you baseball).

But there are moments where they still make us love them. The HR chase in baseball (phony as it was). A great heavyweight fight. And a Triple Crown chase.

Someday, people will quit believing. They will quit caring, especially if cheaters like Dutrow keep being put in this position and letting people down.

I am beginning to believe we will never see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime. (Then again, my lifetime my last a couple more days).

Horses just can't handle it. They are too full of roids and other cheating drugs. They have been inbred for too long. And they are often trained and owned by criminals who aren't above doing anything -- even stiffing a horse.

There are more good people in horse racing than bad. I believe that. I also believe in life there are more good people than bad. Unfortunately, the bad ones keep winning.

This time, the bad guys lost. But they took a lot of good guys with them.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

If Monmouth is heaven....

I'm behind on the postings, and for that I apologize. Haven't been feeling well.
This posting isn't what it was intended, and for that I apologize, too.
Oh well. It's my blog, dammit.
I'm at that age now where you start getting those phone calls, especially when many of your friends are older than you.
I got one today. My buddy Howie Ryan, racetrack regular and former assistant track coach at UH, had a heart attack and died Monday night.
Howie was a regular at Table 1 at Sam Houston, along with guys like me, JW, Scotty, Jerry and the three Bills.
Many of the characters in Jesus Just Left Chicago were developed at that table. Howie was one of them.
Howie was loud. He could get on your nerves. He was east coast through and through. It was easier to get a date with a supermodel than to get him to buy a drink sometimes.
But Howie was good people. Funny. Always bet the pick fours at Monmouth, and he rarely had a horse higher than 7-2 odds, so even when he hit it never paid anything.
Jerry called to tell me. It hit him pretty hard. It didn't hit me until I sat down to do a funny blog bit about how ugly Cynthia Nixon is and ranking the Sex in the City skanks.
Then I started thinking about Howie, and it hit me too.
I'll miss his voice. I'll miss him giving me grief. I'll miss how he smiled and acted happy to see me every time I showed up, even when he was getting murdered at the track.
Howie was the definition of a racetrack character.
And a friend. I'll hoist one of your Coors Lights in your honor first chance I get.
I hope they have pick fours in heaven, Howie. And I hope you hit them all.