Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just a thought...

Isn't it amazing how quickly a mood can swing? And it can take the smallest little thing...too bad so many of us fail to notice those small things on a regular basis - I know I'm guilty of letting them pass far too often.

Today for example...a typical Wednesday of late...the boys are bouncing off the walls, arguing with one another over which Geo-Track train they want a turn with, what cushion of the sofa they want to sit on, what channel they are going to watch on TV, what crayon they are going to use...the basic stuff that keeps parents on the verge of spontaneously combusting regularly...anyhow, the mayhem in the Stone house is at a fever pitch, I'm trying to shave quickly after my 5 minute shower so I can get them out of the house...and my nerves are - as they have been a lot of late - SHOT.

My voice is raised and tense, the boys know I'm not too happy - threats of taking away the Wii, Thomas the Train, the TV, etc., are being heaved from my pie-hole at a break-neck speed, to the point of me speaking in tongues.

I shuffle them out of the house only to notice that Gabriel, who is wearing black swoosh pants, is covered in hair from Maggie, our 7-year-old Golden Retriever.

The little things that you aren't supposed to sweat have me perspiring like a fat kid chasing cake...the kids are corralled into the Jetta, and then it happens...

I hit play on my iPod, and it's tuned up to a live version of Dave Matthews Band performing "Funny The Way It Is". Whether you like Dave or not, it's an incredible song, lyrically and musically. The opening strands lifted the weight, and by the time the lyrics "The evening comes and we’re hanging out, On the front step and a car rolls by with the windows rolled down, And that War song is playing, 'why can’t we be friends?'" blast through the speakers, the Stone boys are bopping our heads, singing and/or humming along, without a care in the world...except for the groove. Mikey is jamming on air guitar, Gabriel is pretending to drum, I'm "singing" was a good moment.

Life throws stresses at us every minute of every day. Life's all about finding the things that can balance it. I know, some who read this will tell me I need to practice what I write about - and you are correct. It is much easier said than done, and I am envious of the people who are able to hold it together all the time.

I think the first step is finding out what can help balance things. What's the passion that can melt away the stresses? That's the question you have to ask yourself.

For me, its good music, gatherings with good friends, and having an ice cold beer. It's quite simple, actually. And when the three are mixed and combined into a blissful euphoric moment, all is right in the world.

That's all I got at the moment.

I do have to say, any DMB fans should check out their live album that came out yesterday - Dave Matthews Band - Europe (2009). 23 songs, including the aforementioned live version of "Funny The Way It Is", and EPIC 21 minute version of "#41" (which will ALWAYS remind me of someone special), and other classics...peppered with stuff from 2009's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.

And if you get a chance, check out this live version of "Time Bomb"...

It's absolutely amazing.

See y'all on the flip side. Until then, stay classy, Beatdowners.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Assorted Ramblings

Greetings and salutations from the Dena on this 25th day of January, 2010. It's been a spot of time since my last blog, and I'm not in the mood at the moment to dive into a meaty topic, so I'm just going to throw some stuff out there that's been buzzing around my head the past week or so. Perhaps I will revisit some of these again in more detail at a later time.

The Dropkick Murphys and The Bouncing Souls are two PHENOMENAL bands - if I was a musician, these are bands I'd want to be in...their music is fun, loud, and gets under your's sonic. I highly recommend checking them out on iTunes, YouTube, etc.

I have an idea to do a TV show - or an Internet show - called "Tavern Talk"...the premise...the show would be filmed in local watering holes, and would feature candid interviews with regular, ordinary people about current events...enough of this BS that we are spoon-fed every day on TV that features the stars of Hollywood, the politicians in DC, and the rich and powerful...I'd think a show that featured no one famous - just your average Joe's, would resonate - allow regular folks to hear what other regular folks are thinking and saying. Hell, if it got popular enough, maybe the a-holes in DC would start listening.

Ah, politics...what a shit show and mockery our government has become. "For the people, by the people" my ass. We are governed by the wealthy. The all mighty dollar dictates policy, not my opinion or yours. Special Interest Groups, Lobbyists...and their fiscal contributions to candidates and current officials is what matters. When was the last time ANY of your representatives asked YOU what matters to you? They are whores in sheep's clothing in DC. They sell-out to the highest bidder. They do what's best for them and their re-election bids. They are used car salesmen, nothing more. It's a disgrace. And find someone to run and tell the truth - to bring the majority of his or her constituents opinions to Capital Hill, and you will find someone that will lose. BADLY. And if they would stand up to the wrong folks who pump millions into DC, you'll read about them in their Obituary.

Jiff Creamy Peanut Butter and Smuckers Strawberry Fruit Spread (jelly) on wheat with an ice cold glass of skim milk could quite possibly be the most satisfying lunch in the world.

I've made some piss-poor choices in my life. I've fucked up. BAD. I feel strongly, however, that I have paid the price for my errors in judgement, for my lack of self-restraint, for my over-indulgence, for my lies, for my lack of will-power. I do my best each and every day to be a better person. And it sucks that some of my past mistakes continue to have an impact on me, despite the years that have passed. I do not need the reminders, I know where I've been. I'm trying to move forward, grow. It's a shame that some things continue to anchor me down...the lesson was learned, the score need for things to continue to have an adverse effect on me, my family, the boys, etc. Frustrated, Inc...that's the company I am the head of these days.

I feel myself slipping into laziness, and it's driving me nuts. I need to step away, re-evaluate, and put a foot up my ass to kick things into gear again. That first step, though, is always the hardest to find.

The Colts vs. The Saints has the potential to be a Helluva game. Two teams that deserve to be in the Superbowl are, and I'm personally pulling for the Saints. New Orleans, after the clusterfuck that was post-Katrina, deserves a victory party.

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends from college this Saturday...some of the best times of my life were spent with these fella's, and I'm looking forward to feeling that spark again.

It's hard to not let my own frustrations spill over...and I think my 2 littleheads are feeling a bit of that overflow. I'm going to work on it, but still think a few days away would do them and me some good.

Yo Gabba Gabba and Max & Ruby are torture to watch...if you have children that love the shows, do your best to leave the room when they are on. Consider yourself warned!

The ACLU sucks. I respect defending people's equalities, but at the cost of things like "Merry Christmas", or "Christmas Tree"? C'mon! If someone(s) gets their panties in a bunch over that, go f yourself. Listen to the Guns N Roses song "One In A Million" off of GNR Lies...the jitbags that create stereotypes that hold people down are not the norm, they are the exception - they are one in a million...and why should weak-minded losers get everyone riled up to the point that political correctness makes us all automatons? I'm pro-equality for all, yet anti being told things that have been a major part of my life are no longer considered to be politically correct by the ACLU. Hell - opinions are like assholes - we all got them.

It disturbs me that "beauty" is being shown to be strictly thin in most mass media forums. Curves is where it's at in my humble opinion.

"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." - Bertie C. Forbes...words that I'm trying to live by these days.

That's all I got at the moment. I'm sure some of it pissed some folks off...these are my views, my opinions. I won't apologize. Just a simple man trying to find my way in the world. More to come. Until then, keep on rockin' in the free world.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Musical Jounrey

1991...a whopping 19 years ago! Holy shit!

My freshman year in college at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) in good ol' Westminster, Maryland, where I learned the joys of Mickey's Big Mouth Malt Beverage...where I attended 1 more class in my spring semester than I skipped...where I witnessed the true flammability of grain alcohol, and the even greater LACK of flame retardedness of a cheap comforter when said flaming grain is spilled upon it...where I met the legendary Coop and Posty...ah, the memories...I digress...


Scott Norwood misses wide right and the Giants beat the Bills 20-19 in SuperBowl XXV (25, for the slightly slower readers out there).

The Gulf War breaks out and ends.

Rodney King is beaten like a red-headed step child by some "fine" members of the LAPD, and the incident is recorded and broadcast all over the news.

The Soviet Union collapses.

Magic Johnson tells the world that he's HIV positive...on the Arsenio Hall Show.

The Twins top the Braves in a remarkable 7th game of the World Series...featuring 2 teams that finished dead-last in their respective divisions the year prior.

The whole Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill harassment debacle...wasn't something mentioned during one of the hearings about a pube on a Coke can, or did I imagine that?!?!?!?

The Silence of the Lambs cleans up at the Oscar's...Best Picture, Anthony Hopkins wins Best Actor, and Jodie Foster wins Best Actress.

And then there was the music...which is the focus of this blog...Sweet Christ, what a year for music!

Grunge EXPLODED into the mainstream, while Glam Rock went the way of Aqua Net hairspray.

NWA, Devo, Jane's Addiction, The Replacements, Talk Talk, and everyone's favorite - Wang Chung - all disbanded.

Lollapalooza - the brain-child of Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell - rocked the faces off of hundreds of thousands of angst-ridden teens and tweens across the USofA...and served as Jane's Addiction's farewell tour (well, farewell tour for the time being).

Jesus Jones told us what it was like "Right Here, Right Now", and Christina Amphlett of the Divinyls told us that she didn't want anyone else, and that when she thought about (you) she touched herself.

Marc Cohen told us an amazing tale about seeing the ghost of Elvis while he was "Walking In Memphis".

Primus was Sailing the Seas of Cheese, and Les Claypool and his A-fucking-mazing bass lines wailed while telling us that "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" and all about "Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers".

Material Issue told us that "Valerie Loves Me", Too Much Joy's "Crush Story" told us that the foolishness of an all-encompassing passion was better than love, and Roxette took us on a "Joyride".

R.E.M.'s seventh studio album, Out of Time, took them from being an underground, cool-kid band to the mainstream, with the band incorporating a little bit of a country feel into their music. "Losing My Religion" was all over the radio, and the video was featured on MTV for what seemed to be once an hour, EVERY hour. R.E.M. kept their "edginess", so to speak, by not touring at all to support the album. Quick sidenote, my favorite R.E.M. song, "Country Feedback" is on this one...track 10...highly recommend a a matter of fact, I'm loading it up on my iPod as I type.

KLF grooved us with "3am Eternal", and Enigma incorporated Gregorian vocals into their seductively catchy "Sadeness", which certainly served as "mood music" in bedrooms, dorm rooms, or back seats of cars throughout the civilized world...not that yours truly would know anything about that (wink, wink).

Rush rolled the bones, School of Fish told us about "Three Strange Days", and Seal told us that the only way we'll survive is if we get a little bit "Crazy".

Naughty By Nature told us about "O.P.P", and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch hit us with "Good Vibrations".

Anthrax attached us with Killer B's, and had their biggest hit ever with their remake of Public Enemy's "Bring The Noise".

L.A. Guns held on to the last fleeting moments of Glam Rock with their release of Hollywood Vampires, which featured the super-catchy and super-glam "Kiss My Love Goodbye".

Color Me Badd wanted to Sex You Up, and the Spin Doctor's had A Pocket Full of Kryptonite and their smash "Two Princes".

BoyzIIMen schooled us in "Motownphilly", Mariah Carey's 2nd studio album Emotions was all over the charts, and PM Dawn put a new spin on hip-hop with their smash "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss".

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sailed Into The Great Wide Open, and Ozzy Osbourne lamented as only he can for "No More Tears".

Matthew Sweet sang of his "Girlfriend", Big Audio Dynamite gave us annoyingly catchy tunes on The Globe, and Toad the Wet Sprocket's Fear gave us another airplay monopoly with "All I Want" and "Walk on the Ocean"...IMO, it's too bad the best song on the album, "Hold Her Down", never got the airplay it deserved.

One of the best live bands I've ever seen - straight out of Stourbridge in West Midlands, England with their dual bass guitarists - Ned's Atomic Dustbin - blew this blogger away with their debut album God Fodder, featuring "Kill Your Television", "Throwing Things", and one of my all-time fav's, "Grey Cell Green".

Two hip-hop acts put out their debut albums...Cypress Hill (Cypress Hill) and 2Pac (2Pacalypse Now).

Metallica. The Black Album. Some call it their "sell-out" album since it sold over 20 million copies across the world and is their best-selling album ever. Fuck the dickweeds that say that, it's a masterpiece.

Guns'N'Roses hit us not once, but twice with Use Your Illusion I & II.

U2 transcended their sound with their amazing piece of work, Achtung Baby. A new sound, a new direction for the band that had become the biggest act in the world. It left many speechless, many angry, and many more confused. Quite simply, it knocked my socks off...the alt-electronic-industrial fusion was surreal...and it worked. Bono became "The Fly", and he, Adam, Larry, and The Edge embraced rock-stardom during the Zoo TV tour that supported this, their 7th studio album. My blog, my opinion...this is one of the greatest albums of all time...certainly for my generation.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers released Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the band's springboard effort into the mainstream. "Give It Away", "Suck My Kiss", "Breaking the Girl", and "Under The Bridge" dominated alt rock radio airwaves, and the videos were featured prominently on MTV. Again, my blog = my opinion...this one NARROWLY beats out Mother's Milk as RHCP's best album ever.

An alt rock band out of Chicago, Illinois snuck onto the scene with their debut Gish...that band, of course, being The Smashing Pumpkins. From the first beats of the first song, "I Am One", this band had me hooked. The highlight of this album for me is the epic third track, "Rhinoceros"...this was certainly played many-a-night the summer of '91 in the wee hours of the morning while folks were winding down from over-indulgence of one form or another.

And all of this lead to one thing. One subplot in the story of alt rock. A subplot, though, that defined Generation X. Grunge. The music was pure, unadulterated, non-corporate, angst. Alt-punk-metal-indie rock all mashed together in a beautifully dark, sludgy, crunching soliloquy. Distorted, fuzzy, feedback-ridden songs of social withdraw, apathy, emotional or spiritual imprisonment, and the yearning to break free...

It crashed the party HARD with a simple 4-chord progression of a tune written to mimic the stylings of The Pixies (an AMAZING band from Boston formed in the mid-80's by Frank Black - or Black Francis, whichever you prefer -, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering), and a music video featuring cheerleaders in black dresses sporting the Circle-A anarchist symbol on them...of course I'm talking about Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", from their second studio album, Nevermind. The song changed music. It pissed on the make-up, big-hair, and spandex of Glam Rock. It gave a big ol' middle finger to the status quo. For Christsakes, it made plaid a fashion statement!!!!

Grunge. Nirava's Nevermind. Pearl Jam's debut Ten, their best album of all, spawning such classics as "Even Flow", "Black", "Alive", "Jeremy", and "Porch". Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger (the band's THIRD studio album), which gave us "Jesus Christ Pose", "Rusty Cage", and the drop-D laced "Outshined". Even a joint effort by members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog (a one-album collaboration to pay tribute to the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, whom Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament were members of prior to Pearl Jam) achieved success with an often under-appreciated, yet brilliant work...their self-titled Temple of the Dog.

I'm sure I left out some of your highlights in the world of music circa 1991. That's fine. Blog about it yourself. I hope I threw some in here that you may have to dust off and put back into rotation, or find on iTunes.

Regardless, 1991 was a significant year for the world, and a PIVOTAL year for music, especially on the modern alt rock scene. I hope you enjoyed my reminiscing and my musical journey back...

See you on the next blog.

Peace, I'm outta here!

I'd be an ass not to put this out there...the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere was DEVASTATED by an earthquake yesterday. I know everyone's watching what they spend...but do what's right - give SOMETHING to the American Red Cross for the Haiti relief fund ( or by texting HAITI to 90999 (it's legit and on the Red Cross web page), or give to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti organization (

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Revelations, Ruminations, and Assorted Lagniape


My name is Matt. I'm a thirty-something father of 2, currently unemployed (going on four months now - the longest "dry spell" since my first job at Musicland in Columbia Mall back when I was 17!), and generally over-opinionated and never short on words. My friend Mandy told me about blogging (she blogs a lot, usually about much more important things than I ever will) - so I figured I'd give this thing a whirl in hopes of maintaining my sanity, spreading my opinions, making some laugh, some cry, and some hate me even more.

So what topic will I tackle in my first blog? There's a Helluva good question...politics and religion are out...I figure best not rock the boat straight out of the general assholeness probably isn't a good starting point, either, as I hope some folks will "follow" The Beatdown Blog after the intitial then where to start?!?!?!?

Ah! Being unemployed. There's a fun one.

9/17/09 marked the last day I was employed (although I did collect another paycheck plus accrued time-off since I resigned). The facts surrounding my leaving my previous job have been twisted and contorted by so many douchebags, it's ridiculous. Some are amusing, some are ludicrous, and some piss me straight the fuck off...but I digress...I resigned, gave 2 weeks notice, was told "Thanks but No Thanks, and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out".

And what better time to resign than when unemployment hits a staggering 10%!

Way to go, Matt! Good plan!

I immediately file for unemployment - the great state of Maryland allows those that resign to file for unemployment, as long as some conditions are fulfilled...for those of you wondering what they are, do a little research yourself to see what a clusterfuck our Unemployment Benefits folks are. Holy Shit! I thought the people at MVA were all idiots! The folks at Unemployment make the MVA assholes look like Albert Freakin' Einstein...that's a blog in-and-of itself! Long story short, it's been 16-and-a-half weeks, I have no benefits, my blood pressure has kicked up quite a few notches, and the wonderful folks at the Unemployment office have yet to return any of the 72 calls I have placed to them.

So step one is done. File for unemployment. My next step was quickly completed as well...I created an account on Careerbuilder and Monster. Third, I sent out some resumes to folks in the industry I was in locally,hoping for someone to scoop me up quickly or at least throw me some leads. Then I decided to kick back for a week and settle down a bit...let it sink in that I don't have a job, and unwind a touch from the rigours I had dealt with both professionally and personally over the last 5 years I was at the job.

I quickly find out that not doing anything is absolutely impossible for me. I vacuum/clean my house daily, go for long rides in the car to nowhere (good move to waste gas when you have no income), and begin to get bitter. That shit had to stop. While it has subsided, it isn't gone completely.

I start sending out resumes like a madman...anywhere I see on Careerbuilder or Monster. I send unsolicited resumes to companies locally that I think I would like to work for. And low-and-behold, I get a call for an interview not even 2 weeks after being unemployed. It went well, but the company decided to go another direction (the first of many "Thanks but No Thanks"). I had a few local places tell me I was OVER qualified...WTF?!?!?!? I have no income, I'd scrub toilets if need be!

Time comes to make a in on the 401(k) to get by...obviously finding a job wasn't going to be easy. I'm still kicking myself in the ass for it, but you have to do what you have to do!

Then another decision time oldest son attends a private school pre-K program on Tuesday and youngest attends a daycare Monday thru Friday, and is joined by the oldest on Monday, Wednesday, and is tight and has to the decision is made to keep the oldest in pre-K, keep the youngest in daycare on Tuesday and Thursday, and have the littleheads hang with me Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Good times.

I love my children - an insane amount. There is NOTHING I would NOT do for them. I have to preface my next statement with that...

I really don't like kids!

Boo me. Curse me. It is what it is. The whining, the crying, the constant need for entertainment/'s a pain in the ass!!!!!

So that adventure begins. I will say it's been good for me - I'm a lot closer to my kids, which rocks. I've lost my authority with them (I'm the pushover now, Mom is THE Law), which sucks dogass. But most importantly, this whole thing has given me a profound respect for all the stay-at-home parents out there...the one's that do it 24/7. There is NO pay in the world enough for the job you people do, and no amount of respect anyone can give you that is worthy.

While my stress levels are at all-time highs (unemployed, no income, stresses of being a stay-at-home dad 3 days a week), I do manage to laugh at the kids a lot...some of the things they say is priceless....

Gabriel - "Dad, Mikey punched me in the willy!"
Me - "What?!?!? Why did he do that????"
Gabriel - "I was trying to fart on him and he punched me in the willy!"

What do you say to that???? Me, I say, "No more punching in the willy or farting on each other, got it?!?!?!?". Outstanding parenting!

Mikey - "Daddy, guess what?"
Me - "What buddy?"
Mikey - "incoherent 2-year old babble..."
Me - "What?"
Mikey - "Daddy, guess what?"
Me - "What Mikey?"
Mikey - "incoherent 2-year old babble..."
Me - "Mikey, I have no idea what you are you need something?"
Mikey - "Yes."
Me - "What do you need Mikey?"
Mikey - (giggles)..."Guess what Daddy? incoherent 2-year old babble..."

I shit you not this goes on for a solid 5 minutes, with me desperately trying to decipher what it is Mikey is telling me!

Lately, it's been a whole lot of Gabriel saying "Daddy, I need a break from you...can I go over to Granny and Pop's house for a sleepover?". Yes, he's serious.

It's been a bumpy ride for certain these past 4 months. Good times, bad times, frustrating times. It's amazing that when you are, in fact, beatdown, you find out who your true friends are, and you discover those that you thought were good friends turn out to be not-so-much. Through it all, though, I'm still here...and I've decided to share a little bit of my world with whomever decides to read this stuff.

I'll wrap this babble of a 1st blog up with a few random thoughts...
1. Listen to the song "Gossip in the Grain" (off of the album of the same name) by Ray's a modern folk music masterpiece.
2. When you start thinking it can't get any worse, it usually does.
3. Random acts of kindness practiced each and every day would make the world a much better place - do your part.
4. No matter how tight things are, charities around the world still need contributions...every little thing counts.
5. Thanks to Lisa, Tom, Cody, Paul, Ann, and the rest of the crew at O'Lordan's in Westminster, Md ( for helping me maintain my sanity with good food, drink, and conversation during the past 3+ years...anyone that likes Irish pubs should check this place out...well worth the trip to Westminster!
6. Thanks to Darrin, Elk, and the rest of the folks at Brian Boru ( for being another sanctuary for me over the past 4 months...again, any fans of Irish pubs should check this place out down in Severna Park, Md.
7. IMO, the Ravens have a Helluva good shot to take Saturday night's game against the Colts...I wouldn't count them out against ANY of the teams left in the AFC playoffs.
8. S'Mores Pop Tarts ( are GLORIOUS!
9. For a good laugh, check out "Funniest Treadmill accident ever" on YouTube.
10. If Hunter S. Thompson was right when he said "Good people drink good beer", check out the brews from Flying Dog Brewery ( They have truly wicked-good stuff!!!!