the armstrong and getty show.

I listen to Podcasts frequently. One of my favorite ways to unwind is to drive and listen to something interesting and/or entertaining. Some of my favorites include This American Life, RadioLab, Sound Opinions and The Armstrong & Getty Show.

Armstrong and Getty is an AM talk radio show based out of Sacramento. They regularly mention that Podcast listeners are stealing their children’s food from them, as they get no revenue for the Podcast. I do feel bad about that, but not enough to drastically change my listening behaviors. If you’re reading, sorry Jack and Joe. I donate to Fisher House every year during your promo at least!

I would classify Armstrong and Getty as conservative. More specifically, they tend to reflect a more Libertarian point of view – less involvement from and downsizing of government, more power in individual decisions. They are a fiscally conservative and socially liberal kind of duo, with whom I can often relate.

They don’t just cover politics though. They balance comedy, entertainment, news, YouTube videos, book reviews, the list goes on and on. Jack & Joe host; Marshall does the news; Vince is a senior or executive producer and recent weight-loss champion; Michael (aka Michaelangelo) is the virtuoso of a board operator, and the new guy, Positive Sean (or Shawn – I don’t know, they’re website really sucks) is a lower-tiered producer than Vince, and in general seems like a dude I’d like to have a beer with.

They like to describe their show as ‘Info-tainment’ which is precisely why I listen regularly. Though I may not always agree with their opinions, I appreciate how much they cover, their mostly fair and balanced approach to their stories, their dynamic and the dynamic of the team, and their stories about their wives and children. Even though the show can get crass at times (which I personally find entertaining), I would describe it as mostly good, wholesome radio.

So if you’re looking for something new to listen to and my description doesn’t sound too scary, you should check them out. Here is a link to their website (again, it’s kinda crappy – c’mon guys get on that!)




That’s a picture of the album sitting on my bookshelf above the turntable. I started getting into vinyl back in Chicago when some hipster friends would round up for ‘Record Swap Wednesdays.’ I was a spectator at first – we’d listen to records, shoot the shit, drink beers and maybe order a pizza. It was a great mid-week tradition.

When I moved back to Oregon my mother loaned me her vinyl collection, since she doesn’t have a turntable anymore. So now I look like a much more legitimate collector than I am. Let me tell you, there are some cool records in there, but more to come on that in the future.

Today I want to talk about Jack White’s new album. I’ve been meaning to get Lazaretto for awhile now, and I finally did. I remember hearing that he had done some unique things with the design of the record itself and I thought it would be a cool addition to the collection. I actually hadn’t heard many reviews about the music, but I’m a fan of his stuff so I figured the risk of disappointment was low. So far, after only a few passes through I’d describe it as cool, raw Jack White, with some folksy numbers in there. Long story short, I enjoy the music. I don’t know enough about music to review it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Now let me tell you about the album itself. First of all, I thought I knew everything that was cool about it by seeing/feeling/hearing it, but when I googled the special features, there are some I’m going to have to go back and check out. It’s crazy. Here are just a few examples:

  • Side A plays from the inside out – meaning the needle starts toward the center and ends at the edge of the vinyl.
  • There are a 2 tracks hidden beneath the center labels – one plays at 78 RPM and one at 45 RPM.
  • The space between the hidden track and the rest of Side A contains a hand-etched hologram.
  • According to, there is “Dual-groove technology: plays an electric or acoustic intro for ‘Just One Drink’ depending on where the needle is dropped. The grooves meet for the body of the song.”

I know Jack White made some controversial headlines several years ago, and that he is certainly eccentric if not borderline crazy. But some of the best artists have been borderline (and sometimes beyond borderline) crazy. Vinyl is in the midst of a major resurgence and this record is a really cool new take on an old product.

And that’s about the best I can do in the album review department.


a younger brother’s take on his older sister.

Today is my sister’s birthday. That’s her. Up above there. The name is Rachel.

Our relationship is probably not unlike other sibling relationships. She is five years older than me, so that has allowed us to only grow closer as we age.

She was young for her class. She graduated from high school when she was 17 – salutatorian, varsity athlete, student body president, District FFA officer, etc. She pretty much kicked ass.

She went out of state for undergrad at UC Davis, continued to work her tail off and after completing her Masters at Oregon State started teaching in Phoenix, Oregon.

At 29 her career was a huge success, she was married, had a little girl and began making plans to move the family back to Elkton to be closer to Grandma and Grandpa and go to the Elkton Schools.

Today she turns 35. She lives in Elkton with Morgan, who is in her first year of Kindergarten. Though Rachel is now single, which wasn’t part of the original vision, I’d go as far as saying nearly everything she pictured is growing truer by the day.

It’s not because she is lucky. In fact some of the strife she has to deal with really makes me rethink my own complaints. It’s because she has a natural drive to be the best person she can be. Even in the middle of some of the most challenging scenarios I couldn’t even dream up she remains positive and ridiculously strong. I don’t think I’d feel very strong nor have a very positive attitude if I were in her shoes sometimes, but that’s because I don’t have as strong a constitution as her.

When she was in elementary school I admired her and tailed her wherever she went. When she was in college, it was her high school legacy that I tried hard to keep alive and build upon. And now that we both live in the same town again, she continues to be a tremendous example to me. I’m very fortunate to have her as my sister and am so thankful we now just live a few miles apart.




I’ve forgotten what it is to be neighborly.

When I lived in Chicago, I remember one day my door buzzer went off and it was my buddy Colin. He was just in the neighborhood and wanted to drop in because no one just ‘drops in’ anymore. I remember really loving that.

Last night I got a knock on the door around 7pm. I was cooking a little dinner, sipping some wine and watching last week’s Last Week Tonight.

It was my neighbor Ken with a bag o’ cocktail fixins. He just wanted to hang out, have a drink or two and chat. I proceeded to have several cocktails while we listened through a few Dylan records, and even through my hangover this morning I’m thankful for having such great neighbors and friends.

I’ve become someone who plans and schedules and puts things on calendars, and I need to remember to be a little more spontaneous and neighborly sometimes.

Thanks for dropping by,


This morning I watched a short TED video about left-handedness. It introduced a couple concepts I hadn’t heard before, but that definitely made sense for me as a lefty.

One topic is the ‘Fighting Hypothesis’. This basically explains how lefties are at an advantage in competitive sports, simply statistically. Lefties go up against righties all the time, but righties don’t face lefties as often, thus giving lefties the advantage. This is why my little league coach wanted me to be a pitcher. Unfortunately my aim failed me.

It also mentions ‘Tool Sharing’ – a theory that because tools are mostly made for right-handed people, lefties have to adapt and are consequently less graceful using tools.

That’s why my dad called me handicapped.

He meant it as a term of endearment. I’m not confessing to psychological abuse here.

It was always funny doing woodworking projects with Dad. He was a great builder, so when I botched driving a nail, he never failed to have a laugh at my expense. It’s comforting knowing that there is a theory that exists to justify my lameness with a hammer though.

The video also talks about the hereditary connection to left-handedness. Mine comes from my mom’s side. She was one of those kids they refer to in the video – who started out left-handed but was ‘corrected’ in school. I always thought that made Mom kind of a secret badass.

Anyway, the video was cool. It got me thinking early on a Saturday, so that can’t be a bad thing. If you want to check it out, here is a LINK.

And now you are the one who is left.


thirty years.

So I’m less than the shortest month away from being 30.

I don’t really get why anyone would feel anything other than excitement for that benchmark. My 20s were great; my 30s will be too. Plus the way I see it, the day a person turns 26 is the day that person begins turning 30.

My Dad turned 30 in 1978, 2 years before he planted the vineyard. I like to think of him as a youthful man, working his ass off and having a blast with his friends. I like to think of him as a guy who knew a lot – not everything, was incredibly skillful and eager to learn. I like to think of him building relationships with locals and establishing a reputation for himself as that really nice guy who is happy to chat with or help out anyone.

I like to think of him this way, because that’s the kind of person I’m hoping to be. I’ve had some people tell me recently how much I remind them of John, or, “Wow you really sounded like John just then.” It’s these moments I’m comforted that I am on the right track toward becoming the kind of man he was.

So I’m not going to fret turning 30. The way I see it, I have six more years before I start to turn 40, so I’m going to just focus on enjoying those.

I wonder how I’d feel had I been born on a leap year.


one year ago.

Last night I watched the movie The Judge with Roberts Duval and Downy Jr. The synopsis said it was about an attorney who has returned home for his mother’s funeral and ends up having to defend his father (The Judge) in a murder trial.

I sidled up to what I thought would be a great court room movie. I wasn’t wrong, but there was much more I loved about it than that.

There is obvious tension between Downy Jr.’s and Duval’s characters. The small town judge and big city attorney seem to have some differing opinions on how to approach the law, first of all. Further into the movie, you discover that there was some delinquency in Downy’s past which Duval has never really forgiven or forgotten.

There is one scene in particular where Duval says some hurtful things that results in Downy Jr. speeding away in his car after claiming ‘I won’t be back.’

Scenes like this are in a lot of movies. The tortured father/son relationship is unfortunately common, and probably not just in Hollywood.


One year ago today, I flew into Eugene from Indianapolis because my dad had been rushed to the hospital and things weren’t looking good. By the time I had landed, the battle was essentially lost. He was still with us, but there was no saving him.

I’ve thought about my last moments with my father a lot this year, and especially this month. After seeing that film, and in particular that scene, I have some thoughts that are giving me some peace.

First of all, had I come back to Elkton and worked on the vineyard with Dad, while the fantasy seems ideal, I’m sure it would have had it’s challenges. Working with Dad could be tough, especially as I grew up. My stubbornness might have even surpassed his own, so the two of us could have spent a lot of time butting heads. I highly doubt it would have ever really harmed the relationship, or ended in a scene like that with the Roberts (above), but the opportunity to say regrettable things would have been much more of a possibility.

I think this is mainly justification for the loss. Of course I would much prefer learning directly from him and having him around for many more years. Unfortunately, he had to get going. It’s still hard a year later, but I’m trying to find some peace in his passing.

Missing you,