Kooky news and even kookier crimes have been the staple on Rynski’s Shattered Reality for its past year-plus of production but, alas, the time has come to take a hiatus.
Other projects are screaming for my attention. It’s time to write the sequel to “Moby Dick.” Then perhaps publish some other stuff I have lying around. Stay tuned!
In the interim, let’s celebrate the finale of a season well-done with a music-only show. It comes about, in part, to start the hiatus early. It comes about, in the other part, because this week’s weird news selection stank.
The zaniest tidbit around was about a newborn zebra somewhere in China that only eats if fed by a person wearing a black and white striped shirt.
So get ready for some rollicking music. The planned theme is finishing off the elements with songs about air. But there might also be some surprises in store.
Thanks! to all who listened in, provided requests and helped the show be a success.
Many of us are suckers for a success story, and we can find one in a flash with Tom Moran.
This Brooklyn boy went from suicidal drunk to Daddy Rocker who just released his second album “Ain’t Gonna Give Up.”
Success didn’t come easy. The 44-year-old first had to ride the express train to hell and hit a bottom so low he needed to be scraped off it. And he’s not ashamed to admit some of the tough stuff he’s been through.
“I am so proud of my life and my past, ” he said. “I can now help others through my music and by being an example to them.”
Although booze badgered him, bludgeoned him and eventually ruled his life, Moran didn’t even dig the taste of his first drink.
That drink came as a teen and he slowly slid into a life of beer and pining after girls who didn’t pine back. It got worse right after high school.
“That’s when I really got hooked on the juice,” he said.
Other than smashing a beer bottle outside his frequent hole-in-the-wall hangout called the Truck Stop, Moran didn’t get into much trouble drinking – at least on the outside.
Inside, he was dying.
Still in his early 20s, the Canarsie chap moved to upstate New York to live with his sister. But his “good buddy Weiser” came with him.
“I was lost for some time upstate and in my mind,” he said. Thoughts of suicide constantly trampled through his head. “My life was really nowhere. I really did not want to go on anymore with my useless life.”
Waking up was turmoil, pulling himself out of bed a major chore.
“Getting up the next morning was hard to do. After a night out, I remember getting up the next day and wishing I would die and the hangover had my head spinning.”
Moran finally sought help when his sister decided to quit her own drinking.
“I went where she went and got some help,” he said. “That was the best decision I ever made: getting help for my drinking.”
Falteringly at first, Moran finally embraced a life without alcohol – even when that life continued to fall apart.
Married and living in Gerritsen Beach, Moran was working as a teacher, which he still does, with 90 percent of his cash going to fixing up the couple’s refinanced house.
He decided to use the meager 10 percent to record his first album, “Starting Over.”
That may not be the main reason behind the divorce that followed – “She did complain a lot!” – but the result still left him as a single parent raising his son Jonathan.
Move over Budweiser, as his son, now 10, took over as the most important thing in his life.
“When he first called me dad, I lit up,” Daddy Rocker said. “When your kid calls you dad for the first time, it’s amazing and wonderful.”
Working with former drug and alcohol addicts in recovery programs, teaching physical education to special needs children and, of course, spreading his message through his music are near the top of his list, too.
Moran’s first album sold 12,000 copies – not bad for “an unusual bad boy turned good,” as he jokes.
His second album has just hit the market, and I’ve already picked out my three favorite tracks:
1. Kisses & Hugs – An oozy, bluesy tune that soothes, grooves and mentions Santa Claus a la Leonard Cohen.
2. No Big Deal – Rocking number that devotes a whole stanza to the joy of Jonathan, especially watching the Yankees-loving boy play baseball.
3. This Poor Boy – Sweet, soulful song asking for help being put back together.
Even with through the turmoil of depression, alcohol addiction, divorce and working as a teacher in NYC public schools, Moran’s music is uplifting and filled with hope.
It is also infused with a simple innocence that makes you smile, not to mention tap the steering wheel while driving.
Even though Moran no longer longs for death, he easily answered the question I asked about what he would want on his headstone as his final words:
To my son Jonathan: I love you.
Go Out and Enjoy Your Life
P.S. Daddy will always be with you.
Full disclosure: I’ve known Tom for about 10 years and he’s one of those sweet, supportive friends that can’t make you mad even if they try. (Tom – that doesn’t mean you should try.)
Phoebe went hoarse from wildly barking at all the fireworks, but the rest of the July 4 weekend was dandy, in Tucson and beyond.
More than just used clothing was on hand at the July 4 clothing swap at Congress Street’s Dinnerware Artspace. Tucson performer Kathleen Williamson jammed in one of the gallery’s front windows while others began dancing in the second one.
The only drawback about dancing in storefront windows is that it tends to attract ne’er-do-wells, like one guy on a bicycle who appeared to either want to bum a cigarette or make a drug deal. He continued to lurk outside to perhaps abduct a clothing swapper to steal their new clothes or slice the person’s throat and throw them in a quarry.
The coveted Mustard Belt stays in America, with Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., winning the Nathans Famous Hotdog-Eating Contest for the third time. He scarfed down 68 dogs in the allotted 12 minutes, setting a new world record.
My highlight at the contest, which I used to cover when I lived in Brooklyn, was when one contestant puked after scarfing down the dogs. He was not disqualified, however, because he was able to suck it back in before it hit the table.
Those who prefer a lighter fare also had some feasting going on.
Anyone who takes a cue from my dearly departed Grandma G knows holidays are the best time to do some work around the house. She used to clean her closet on Thanksgiving. She also used to buy cat food just to get the rebates even though she didn’t have a cat. In her honor, I often try to do a holiday home project, with this July 4 leading to the repainting of the patio and its furniture.
Decking out chickens:
Meanwhile, back in Michigan, mom’s Mother’s Day chicken and dad’s Father’s Day duck got into the patriotic spirit. Dad at first denied having anything to do with this dressing up of inanimate objects, but we later learned he was the one who went out to buy the ribbon.
How did your holiday weekend compare?
Did you paint your house? Swap clothing? Vomit hotdogs?