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March 10th, 2018

Screw you guys, Jehtro Tull is sweet

In 1995 I spent an afternoon yelling at my roommate about how AC/DC was better than the MC5. Not just better, but that AC/DC was "important" and that the MC5 sucked. He was yelling the literal opposite at me. It was two burgeoning music snobs screaming at each other, refusing to move an inch. It was exactly why I wanted to go to college.

I spent the next 23 years arguing with that man. About music, movies, politics, sports and every other damn thing under the sun. He eventually admitted that AC/DC didn't suck. I eventually conceded that he had the stronger argument. Recently I was trying to force Hamilton down his throat, while he was telling me that it was for suburban housewives and I'd be as embarrassed in ten years as if I had advocated for Cats in 1981.

Mark Carlson left us two days ago, and if you didn't know him, I genuinely feel bad for you. You'll never know how much this place is the worse for it. A kinder, generous, more caring person doesn't exist. OK, that maybe a tad hyperbolic, but after all these years he'd expect it out of me.

I don't know how tell you how important he was to me. I haven't had a better friend nor closer confidant since I met him. I've never meant anyone who I both agreed with and wanted to argue with more. For many years we did everything together. There's no one with which I've been to more concerts, sporting events, movies or bars. We picked each other up. We celebrated together. We were brothers.

Markie C and I never had a problem telling each other how we felt. Saying I love you was in both our wheelhouses. What you can forget to say is thank you. I wish I could thank him for all of the things he taught me. I wish I could thank him for being there for almost a quarter of a century. I want to thank him for showing me how to be a better human being.

It was an honor and a privilege to be his friend. He's in my DNA at this point. He's with me where ever I go, whatever I'm doing and I'm an extremely lucky person to be able to say that. But holy shit will I miss the back and forth. Son of a bitch left before I got to hear him admit that I was right about Hamilton.

Posted 9:13pm
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March 4th, 2018

Hostus Mostus

Look, I realize that I talk a lot about trivia. Both here and in person. Sorry if it's annoying. It's just I've always loved trivia. Probably because of the Trivial Pursuit boom of 1983*. That and my memory is pretty good.

Plus now you can play it bars! My other favorite thing! The fact that I can go to a pub quiz every night of the week and drink for free is the greatest dream come true story of my life since they figured out how to make superhero movies.

As you may remember, I decided to try my hand at the other side of the pub quiz six months ago by becoming a Geeks Who Drink Quizmaster. It did not go well in the sense that the show never really took off. But I've been subbing in here and there in the interim waiting for a new show to come along and come along it finally has.

The best part is that it's an already established show! Starting this Tuesday I become the official full time Quizmaster at Mash/Blue Tractor! It's a bar I like filled with great quizzers and the best staff. I've been playing there almost every week for two years now and if I can maintain the great atmosphere that Quizmaster Matt has cultivated, I'll consider it a success.

So come on down, every Tuesday, 8pm to Mash (underneath Blue Tractor) and get quizzed by me. We'll drink, we'll laugh, we'll have a great time. Especially if you haven't had quite enough of me running my mouth about trivia yet.

Posted 1:50pm
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February 19th, 2018

So shines a good deed in a weary world

Last weekend we were in Indianapolis for a little mini vacation. The BDGF got to go see a spaceship. I got to go to the Kurt Vonnegut museum. The littlest got see a local theater production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

During that production, which features several spots for local or topical jokes, one of the characters made fun of the President and how terrible he is. Some of the theater-goers in the affluent Indianapolis suburb we found ourselves in were nonplussed. It was hard to miss the several elderly gentlemen who leaned back in their seats, crossed their arms and showed their displeasure with a scowl. At least we all noticed.

Afterwards, we all agreed that the Indianapolis suburbs were not for us. There was some concern that the ACLU sticker on my car may make us a target for anti-liberal violence, but mostly we just wanted to get somewhere that believed in science and didn't hate women and minorities and the poors.

We eventually remembered that most people agree with us, but you'll forgive us if we have to concentrate kinda hard to remember that sometimes these days. The world is a horrible place and I am literally losing sleep over the fact that Trump has an approval rating approaching 40%. Foreign governments are successfully sowing discord and an entire political party shrugs. Kids are being killed at school and we have to debate about whether we should do anything. Ugh.

That last one is unfathomable to me. There's some evidence that this time might be different. The victims are pissed and don't seem to be willing to sit down and shut up about it. The nicest thing I can usually say about teenagers is to roll my eyes, but I've never been happier change my mind. If we're gonna fix this shit, it looks like it'll have to be a group that hasn't been bought and corrupted yet.

I know this ain't no muthafuckin' ballpark, but this also makes me hopeful.

Just a teenager thanking her waitstaff and generally being appreciative. Like Vonnegut said, "Please... a little more common decency." Maybe we'll get there. For now, I'll take maybe.

Posted 10:55am
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January 20th, 2018


It's a weekend of anniversaries. We've spent a year under Orange Hitler, which is memorialized by his inability to keep the government open. It's also been a year since millions of women took to the streets to show their power, which is commemorated by doing it again and oh so many other ways, not the least of which is the record number of women running for office and speaking up to end societal indifference. I choose to look at how B overshadows A while pointing to an end to it. A sucks, but a B working to end the suckitude is no small thing.

It also, I just figured out, is the anniversary of the last time my son communicated with me. After lying to me for nine months, he finally admitted to me that he had dropped out of school and was doing, well, frankly nothing. It was all via text, which doesn't begin to be the most chickenshit aspect of it all. But all of that is neither here nor there at this point.

In the year that has followed, I haven't gotten a text, email, phone call nor visit. I've sent him heartfelt letters, innocuous texts and general inquiries, all without a response. People hear my sad story and try to understand what it feels like. That's appreciated. I certainly don't like talking about it, but it's necessary. I do feel the air going out of people as I do - the look on their face trying to imagine not hearing from their kid for an entire year. I can tell you that the mixture of fear, anger, guilt and sadness is overwhelming. Every single goddamn day.

While I appreciate any empathy you may have, I'm not fishing for that. More than anything, I just feel like I'm out of options, or at least out of places to put all of crushing emotion that is so pervasive. So I write this. In lieu of anything constructive. He's living with his mother in Columbus now (which honestly, feels like more than a little slap in the face. It's a three curl hop junk punch at least.) If he never wants me in his life again, I suppose that's his decision. I can go on wondering what I did that was so egregious for the rest of my days without so much as an explanation. Perhaps I even deserve it. I just want him to be happy.

People say that all the time and don't really mean it, but as a parent nothing holds more weight with me. I want him to be a partner to some one. I want him to have friends to lean on. I want him to find a way to be productive in this world and strive to make it a better place in whatever small way any of us can. It's all I've ever wanted for him honestly. If getting out of the way is what makes it possible, then I am ready to take one for the team.

But I miss my kid. I love my Siddhartha. If he needs help I hope he gets it. If he wants to be on some path I hope he gets on it. Regardless of my feelings about it, I hope he Women's March's the shit out of whatever he's going through and takes the power back to determine his own fate. It's been a shitty year. Here's hoping there's a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

Posted 11:46am
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January 12th, 2018

How much racism is too much?

I spent some time this summer arguing with someone from my hometown about whether or not Orange 45 is racist. Arguing is a strong word. I provided several examples of things he said that were textbook definitions of racism and the other side was him going "Welllllll..."

Donald Trump is a racist. There can be no doubt. The GOP won't so much as publicly disagree with him. Racist apologists are racists too. So why would anyone vote for a Republican candidate for anything at any level? Any answer other than "I am a racist too" is about as cogent as "Welllll..."

Posted 11:46am
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