Because misery loves company

The theme that plays while you’re walking here and there playing “Pokémon Go” is on a continuous loop in my head.

I can’t decide if it’s inspiring me to take a break from my busy nap schedule and get outside or if it’s simply driving me crazy.

Thought I’d attempt to get some relief by passing it on to you.

You’re welcome.


I’d go see ‘Star Trek’ but I’m too shook up

All things being equal, this should be a nerdy weekend for me, just not in the way you’d expect.

“Star Trek: Beyond,” the latest movie set in the rebooted universe, is in theaters.

But it’s opening the same weekend that my kids are appearing in the annual summer show at the Apollo Theater in our hometown – Martinsburg, West Virginia.

They are participating in the Apollo’s Youth Summer Theatre Workshop staging of the Elvis musical “All Shook Up.”

The show opens tonight with performances scheduled through the weekend.

I never thought I’d be faced with a choice between “Star Trek” and a musical.

Good thing I’m more nerdy about my kids.

Otherwise, the lure of “Star Trek” might be too much to resist.



This weekend’s newspaper column -I’ve finally learned to just go with Pokemon

I’ve done it, again.

I’ve publicly shamed my wife for the umpteenth time.

A colleague of hers walked into her office Thursday morning and asked, “Was that YOUR husband walking around downtown playing Pokemon?”

Before you start judging, please note that I wasn’t home parked in my favorite chair and passively binge-watching “Star Trek” episodes I’ve already seen hundreds of times.

I was actually out walking.

Around town.

Taking time away from my busy nap schedule and GETTING SOME EXERCISE.

On a certain level, my wife should be pleased that I showed enough initiative to get out of my chair this week, even if it was to hunt down cartoon monsters from a video game.

But I also suspect she would prefer I not be so obvious about “Pokemon Go,” the incredibly popular smartphone game that’s revived the Pokemon franchise and dominated pop culture since its release this month.

Anyone who is only dimly aware of the game instantly knows you’re playing it when you walk by them on the street. That’s part of its charm and a source of its ignominy. My wife’s colleague certainly figured it out when she saw me wandering around downtown phone-in-face, but she wasn’t the first.

After I initially downloaded “Pokemon Go” last weekend, I persuaded my teenage daughter to roam the neighborhood with me.

Teenagers are helpful. They are Pokemon literate. They grew up with the game and many are as nerdy about it as I am about “Star Trek.” She explained the finer points of capturing Pokemon and helped me catch my first one in an open field near our house.

That’s when I looked up from my phone long enough to notice a car slowing down and the driver giggling at us. Then her passenger bellowed “Pokemon Go!”

I should have felt at least slightly self-conscious. I’ve spent the past 20 years happily scoffing at Pokemon even as I opened my wallet so my kids could play each iteration of the game. But that shout-out felt like I was being welcomed into the club. Pokemon has finally found a way to suck me in.

I am probably more surprised by that than my wife is ashamed. I just wish “Pokemon Go’s” power to motivate people to get outside and explore the world around them extended to yard work.

My son and I usually share lawn mowing duties. This summer, however, I’ve let him slack a bit. It probably has something to do with him leaving for college in a few short weeks.

Rather than simply ordering him to help, I’ve tried to gently shame him, simply pointing out several times a week that “I mowed the lawn for you … AGAIN.” It hasn’t worked.

I tried a different tack earlier this week. I showed him a picture of a Pokemon I bagged while mowing. I thought it might motivate him, but he just shrugged it off.

It’s probably just as well. There are countless stories of “Pokemon Go” players becoming so distracted by the game that they bump into other people and walk into doors, poles and even into traffic.

If I actually let him play the game while mowing the lawn, he’d probably just end up mowing through his mom’s flower beds.

And that, without a doubt, would mean the end of anyone in our house playing “Pokemon Go” ever again.

Clifford and me – Part two

If you weren’t able to make last night’s West Virginia Public Broadcasting get-together in Petersburg, WV last night, here’s a taste of what you missed – Me and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

I stepped out from under his shadow long enough to pose for this picture.


By the way, if you’re looking for something to do for lunch, there were plenty of leftover Subway sandwiches. I’m sure the organizers would be only too happy to feed you if you’re willing to make the drive to Grant County.

Clifford the Big Red Dog and me

My wife thinks Clifford getting top billing is pretty funny.

She’s not the only one.

I’ve been teased about this on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also fielded emails and text messages – all ribbing me about tonight’s get-together sponsored by my friends at my former employer, West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

At least, newsroom colleagues at my current gig tried to brighten my prospects. Knowing Clifford would be more popular with the selfie-taking crowd, they offered to seek me out, instead.

Then again, they were probably just making another joke at my expense.

If you find yourself in Grant County, WV later this evening, stop by Welton Park in Petersburg. Click on the picture below for more details.

The shenanigans start at 6pm.

I’ll be the one in Clifford’s shadow.



I rediscovered my Crocs and now my daughter can’t unsee them

Found these long-lost babies in the bottom of the closet yesterday.

My teenage daughter gave me the side-eye when she saw me sporting them.

Then she asked, “Whyyyyyyyyyyyy”?

I told her comfortable shoes are a must for a man with as busy a nap schedule as mine.