#BuckFiftyADay Since March, 2014

#BuckFiftyADay Since March, 2014

Friday, January 30, 2009

To Tillie's Place, Long Run Friday Set LIst

Prove it All Night, Leah, The Rising, Youngstown, Jackson Cage, The Price You Pay, Brilliant Disguise, Sandy, If I Should Fall Behind (Live), We Shall Overcome, One Step Up, You Can Look (But you Better not Touch), Independence Day, Thunder Road, Badlands, Long Time Comin', Mary's Place, Land of Hope and Dreams (Live), Sinaloa Cowboys, Man's Job, The Ties That Bind, Tougher Than The Rest, The E Street Shuffle, Tenth Avenue Freezeout (Live), Surprise Surprise, Incident on 57th Street, Rosalita, New York City Serenade.

This is part of my Springsteen Stimulus Package...an all Bruce set list for my run to Convention Hall and back today, 18 miles with the wind in my face all the way home. Mind over matter...

It's been a bad week for me and Bruce. You're probably all too aware. But this is how I bury the hatchet on our differences, by celebrating the songs that have been the soundtrack to my life (I even threw in one from the new CD). A lot of my friends think I worship Bruce. Nah. In the business I've been in for the last 20 years, sitting and talking to so many people who've been worshiped by so many, I know better. He's just a guy who fell in love with the guitar and poetry and had the ambition to be great. If he wasn't recongized at the right time, he might be playing at O'Neill's tonight, or reading poetry in some coffee shop, or better yet, looking to kick his feet up on a Friday night after a long week of work.

An Aside: Here's what I mean. I covered Don Mattingly for four years and most of my friends thought Donnie was a god. They'd ask me all the time, "What's he like? What's he like? Good guy? Bad Guy?" My answer was stock. If he didn't hit and field quite as well as he does, he could've been your gym teacher, putting a mark in a book if you forgot your locker combination or weren't wearing a jock. Just a dude. Hits better than you. But just a dude.

But no, Bruce is playing the Super Bowl. Speaking of which...earlier in the week, I said I was undecided how I felt about Bruce doing half-time. Upon further review...

I'm down on it. I'll watch, but I'm down on it. I dunno, part of me still rebels against the whole idea that Bruce plays concerts in football stadiums at all. Brings back memories of him pumping iron and wearing tight jeans and kinda deserting his old self, the skinny hippy dude who lived above the surfboard repair shop in Asbury Park. Stadium rocker? Blech. Have fun, Bruce.

Time for me to move on. I was just genuinely excited for this album drop because, well, because I loved The Wrestler and I figured when I heard that, Bruce was in a good writing place. Man, was I wrong. Seriously, I had a poetry professor at Carolina, Jim Seay (I think it was Jim). Dude wore an eye patch like a pirate (I have no idea why, but I think he chose the patch over a glass eye, or at least that was the legend). I think what Seay would've done with Queen of the Supermarket and, man, it wouldn't have been pretty. Seay would've spit it out.

And, remember, Seay was teaching poetry to a bunch of hungover college kids.

PS: I could not care less about the Super Bowl. Unless it involved the Giants, which excites my dad and my brother, I don't get into it. Like the halftime show, I'll watch it...

But I doubt I'll enjoy it. Hope ya'll do.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Open Letter to the President of the United States

Dear Barack,

I'm going to keep this informal, because it's about Rock and Roll, okay? First off, I'm going to call you out, 'cause I read in Rolling Stone where you said your favorite Bob Dylan song was "Maggie's Farm" and, well, no one's favorite Dylan song is "Maggie's Farm." I mean, I'm not sure it makes anyone's Top 10. Mr. Tambourine Man. Blowin' in the Wind. A Simple Twist of Fate. The Times They Are A-Changing, Forever Young. Do I need to go further? Ballad of a Thin Man (now THAT would've been a good call, Barack). Knockin' on Heaven's Door. So, I'm calling BS on Maggie's Farm, ok? You just should've said, "I wasn't into Dylan."

Instead you went "Maggie's Farm." Please.

But I'm willing to forgive and forget.

If...if...if you can sit down with your buddy Bruce Springsteen and bring him back to earth. Listen, I voted for you, but do not worship you. The way I look at it, you're just another dude with a chance to run the show for a while. I wish you luck. But, in the process of winning this election, you befriended a bunch of stars, who backed you and, somehow, somewhere, I'm not sure why, but we lost the Bruce Springsteen we all have known and loved for the last 30-plus years. I need no more evidence than the disaster of an album he released yesterday.

I'm blaming you, Barack, for Working on a Dream. Probably not 100 percent fair, but you're the new man in charge and sometimes it's tough in the Big Chair. I bet it was you who convinced him that whistling, not a Clarence Clemons solo, was the way to go on the title track.

Am I right?

While Bruce was out working for you, playing The Rising acoustic (that was good, by the way) and We Shall Overcome (tears in my eyes), you should've been reminding him, "Bruce, I'm way ahead in this race, bud, you better get back to work on that album of yours, bro. 'Cause, honestly, that Queen of the Supermarket deal? I mean, you couldn't have pulled that crap off when you were young and singing about Crazy Janey putting her fingers in the cake."

Make it right, Barack. Talk to Bruce and tell him to get back in the freaking studio and write some songs around the immense talents of the E Street Band. Rock songs. Guitars and drums, sax and, for god's sake, put Roy Bittan back to work on the piano! Danny Federici has already died, which broke our hearts, and no one in the band's getting any younger. An Obama Presidency was supposed to make Bruce happy, not turn him into some late 50s perv hanging out in the Rumson Shop-Rite (thanks, Bob F) ogling the checkout girls. So while we don't expect Darkness on the Edge of Town, is it too much to ask for some songs like Sherry Darling, Cadillac Ranch, You Can Look...sheez, I'd take Mary's Place...anything. I'm begging.

Bruce lives around the corner from me. I'm on the other side of the trestles, but you know what I mean. He and his kid surf at our beach and we leave him alone to enjoy the time. That's the way we like it. Just a normal guy ("There I was, one night, just a normal guy...") Most of us wish we were his friend. But we respect him and leave him alone.

But you are his friend, right? Or is that more Maggie's Farm bull-junk? No, no, I'm not going to call you out again. Just bring back our old Bruce, because real Bruce fans, we don't want to join the idiots at the live shows calling out for all the old stuff.

We just want some new stuff that rocks.

Thanks dude, your fellow American,


The Worst Springsteen Song EVER

Hey, Jeff Bradley here.

That's me, at a Bruce show last summer at Giants Stadium. I've been to over 100 in my lifetime, starting back in 1980 at MSG. I consider myself a worthy judge of all things Springsteen...and like most zealots I've cut Bruce much slack through the years. For example, I kept Devils and Dust in my car's CD player for a good month before finally telling a friend (privately), "it kinda sucks, except for maybe four songs."

Anyway, I'm taking off the gloves today. And here's what I'm sayin'...

See ya, Cover Me. Adios, 57 Channels and Nothing On.

You're now safe, Big Muddy, Last to Die and Gypsy Biker.

You're off the hook boys...as of January 27th, there's a new worst Bruce song.

Here it is, folks.

Queen of the Supermarket

There's a wonderful world where all you desire
And everything you've longed for is at your fingertips
Where the bittersweet taste of life is at your lips
Where aisles and aisles of dreams await you
And the cool promise of ecstasy fills the air
At the end of each working day she's waiting there

I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
As the evening sky turns blue
A dream awaits in aisle number two

With my shopping cart I move through the heart
Of a sea of fools so blissfully unaware
That they're in the presence of something wonderful and rare
The way she moves behind the counter
Beneath her white apron her secret remains hers
As she bags the groceries her eyes so bored
And sure she's unobserved

I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
There's nothing I can say
Each night I take my groceries and I drift away
And I drift away

Guidance from the gods above
At night I pray for the strength to tell her
When I love I love I love I love her so
Take my place in the check-out line
For one moment her eyes meet mine
I'm lifted up, lifted up, lifted up, lifted up

I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
Though her company cap covers her hair
Nothing can hide the beauty waiting there
The beauty waiting there

I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket

As I lift my groceries in to my car
I turn back for a moment and catch a smile
That blows this whole fucking place apart

I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket
I'm in love with the Queen of the Supermarket

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Working on 3 or 4 Songs worth Listening To

There is no bigger Bruce Springsteen fan than Jeff Bradley (referring to myself in third person, suh-weet). Go ahead, ask around, if you don't believe me. I once took a week off from classes at UNC to follow Bruce around the Southeast, with no tickets.

A girl named Liz Clarke (now a fantastic sportswriter for the Washington Post) and I would walk around various arenas until showtime, searching for bargains and, if all else failed, Liz had a trick that almost always seemed to work. She knew when and where the band's unused tickets would be released. It was genius, pure genius. Liz was cool...a bigger junky than I was (and talks to Joe Posnanski about it here), if that's possible, and she knew bigger junkies than both of us combined. Fun times.

Why did we want to go to so many shows? Simple. Because it seemed (I'm not sure anymore if it's reality) that every Bruce show was different.

I've remained loyal. When Bruce releases a new CD (yeah, I still call them "albums"), I am there to buy it (or download it), on Day One. Even when it's one of those somber, mostly acoustic deals like the Ghost of Tom Joad or Devils and Dust, I buy it soon as it hits the shelves...or soon as the link shows up at the Itunes Store.

So here I sit today, listening to Working on a Dream, Bruce's latest...which is being released just prior to his appearance at the Super Bowl. Going on a tangent here, I don't know how I feel about Bruce doing halftime...I mean, we used to applaud when Bruce turned down the big bucks Chrysler was offering him to use Born in the USA as a jingle. We even used to cheer Bruce for not "selling out" by doing music videos...or appearing in music videos after he did Atlantic City...then came the Dancing in the Dark and Courteney Cox...and, well, we accepted it. Not sure we liked it, but we accepted it. It actually got bad for a while with a cheezy vid for I'm on Fire (where Bruce attempted to act), but, hey, it was Bruce...so you put up with it, I guess.

Back to Working on a Dream. Seems Bruce has gotten all into altering his voice with electronics (I'm no sound tech, but it's clearly nothing like the raw stuff back in the The River era), and a lot of heavy production. Whatever, I'm down with it. It's cool. It's the songs that leave me begging.

The first song, Outlaw Pete, is a "Western Ballad" (at least that's what I'm calling it) that, at eight minutes, seems to last too long. And this criticism from a guy who gets ticked off when I hear Incident on 57th Street and Rosalita does not immediately follow it, providing me with the full 12-minute experience. I'm all about the 15-minute version of Racing in the Street that Bruce used to do on the '78 Darkness Tour...Love Prove it All Night with a four-minute piano intro...etc. Outlaw Pete, however...I kinda wanted it to end at four minutes. Drone, drone, Outlaw Pete, Outlaw Pete...Can You Hear Me?...Can You Hear Me? Unfortunately, yes.

The next two songs you've heard already. My Lucky Day and Working on a Dream. I have to say, My Lucky Day is a good rocker, and I really like the Miss Soozie Tyrell violin...no complaints. Working on a Dream lost me with the whistling part. Is it too much to ask for a Clarence Clemons solo here, or maybe some harmonica? OK, it's a decent little pop song, obviously linked to Bruce's man crush on Barack Obama, but a Bruce Classic it's not. It's a B-minus song.

At this point, Bruce throws at you perhaps the most ridiculous song I've ever heard from the man. Queen of the Supermarket. Just brutal. It's a song about some dude obsessing over the checkout girl at the local A&P. And at the end, Bruce throws in his second-recorded F-bomb. And it basically comes out of nowhere. This, I don't get. I mean, Bruce had 1,000 times the raw emotion when he sang Streets of Fire or Adam Raised a Cain...and never needed an F-bomb.

The next few songs -- What Love Can Do, This Life and Good Eye -- just nothing I'll want to continue listening to. I'm hitting the skip button in my car and the FF button on my ipod. Sorry. Come to think of it, I'm deleting it from my ipod. It's going the way of Spare Parts and 57 Channels and Nothing On and Last to Die...see ya.

It gets better with a 2-minute 17-second ditty, Tomorrow Never Knows, which I like a lot. Just a good little Bruce tune, an album tune, not a tune people will clamor for live...but a good tune. Let me see if I can type the word "tune" one more time. Tune.

Skip Life Itself. It's been getting play on E Street Radio..and it's just not good. Kingdom of Days sounds like an outtake from Magic, which is not a bad thing. I'll call it a keeper. I also like Surprise, Surprise, which also reminds me of a Magic song...think Girls in Their Summer Clothes..and has nice 60s, Byrds-like, harmonies. Good, solid stuff.

The Last Carnival...hey, it ain't Wild Billy's Circus Story, but it's a nice song. This one I'll keep on the ipod and add to some of my chill mixes. Have a feeling this one will grow on me, the same way Drive All Night and Something in the Night and Further On Up The Road evolved from songs I liked to songs I loved over the course of time.

And, of course, the best track on the whole CD is the title-song Bruce wrote for the Mickey Rourke movie, The Wrestler. It's quite simply a song that helps me keep the faith that Bruce can produce music worth listening to as he nears 60 years... This song actually put a lump in my throat similar to the lump I used to get hearing Bruce dedicate No Surrender to Steve Van Zandt back on the Born In the USA Tour...and then he'd play No Surrender solo acoustic.

Honestly, E Street Radio has probably made "new" Bruce music a harder sell for me. When I get random live shows like Live From St. Rose of Lima School in Freehold, and random jolts of The Price You Pay and Independence Day and Atlantic City live...man, Bruce, you set the bar high. Now, I feel compelled to type the word "random" again. Random.

I'll buy the next album, I'm sure...but the days of dropping the needle (or hitting play) and just rolling with it for 45 minutes to two hours...I guess they're gone.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

To the Bridge (Long Run Friday Set List)

I'm a day late with my Long Run Friday song-list, but here 'tis. This week, I relied on the "Party Shuffle" mechanism on Itunes. After hitting refresh a good dozen times, I was satisifed that these songs would get me through a 15 mile run to the Mantoloking Bridge and Back.

Training is getting better. As I glanced at my reflection in the Martell's Tiki Bar windows on the Point Pleasant boardwalk, I thought I looked a lot more like a runner than I looked three weeks ago. Better stride, less jiggle.

The home stretch was difficult, as always, and the thought of tacking another 11 miles onto this distance, right now, seems ridiculous. From doing this five times before, I know that will change if I stick to the program. A month from now, as I begin to stretch long runs to 20 miles and beyond, it won't seem this bad.

During my two-hour, 10-minute journey today I thought a lot about baseball and how I'm starting to fall back in love with the game. I openly admit, the steroid mess hit me hard, probably because I (and many of my colleagues) knew perfectly well what was going on, and beat my head against the wall trying to figure out the best way to tell the story to America. In 2000, two years after the Mac and Sammy Freak Show Tour, I got this story published in ESPN The Magazine and it barely caused a ripple. At that point, even though I knew there'd come a day when this was the biggest story in baseball, I threw in the towel and basically became disgusted with the game.

But, finally, I'm getting over it. I have to credit having two sons who love baseball with the re-kindling that's going on. Working with them on the skills of the game, talking about our favorite players (this guy is the current guy in our house), basically, re-living my childhood, when the game was EVERYTHING, is helping me move on. I am really looking forward to spring training this year. And I haven't said that in a number of years.

Anyway, here's the music that moved me (and a few comments)...

Cigarette Eyes, Matt Costa...if you don't know Matt Costa, you must check him out.
If We Can Land A Man On The Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart, Beulah
Pretty Pink Rose, Ashton Allen
The Road, Jackson Browne...memories of Al Bartello singing this in the West Essex Talent Show.
Born To Run (live), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band...far from my favorite Bruce tune.
The First Time, U2
The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff...the first song on a sublime mix tape I made in college, called Old, New, Borrowed and Blue...could've been called, "Music to Beer Pong To."
Hello It's Late, Stone Temple Pilots
Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head, Ben Folds...Ben does Burt Bacharach, really good stuff.
Leah, Bruce Springsteen...wish I could play this on my acoustic, dammit.
Airlift, The Connells
House Of Sand, Simon Lynge
Los Angeles, Counting Crows...beware, my party shuffle is about to go into Adam Duritz Overload.
Minutes To Memories, John Mellencamp...the only Cougar song on my ipod.
Far Far Away From My Heart, BoDeans
I Need Direction, Teenage Fanclub...Love this band and everything they sing.
Mr. Jones (acoustic, live), Counting Crows...ok, this CC song, I can listen to every day.
Soon We'll Be Found, Sia...weird for a running mix, but what a voice.
No Surrender (live acoustic), Bruce Springsteen...this song once made me cry.
It's Different For Girls (Live), Joe Jackson...sixth and Seventh grade memories, how's that possible?
Somebody's Baby (Live acoustic), Jackson Browne...Fast Times scene, anyone?
Usually, Traschan Sinatras...a 90s MetroSexual band introduced to me by A's GM Billy Beane.
When I Dream of Michelangelo, Counting Crows...ok, enough.
He Said, She Said, Bell X1
Listen to Me Girl, Smithereens...like baseball, I'm rekindling with the Smithereens lately.
Shooting Star, Elliott Smith...this dude died too soon, great songwriter, guitarist.
What If We Give It Away?, REM...anyone who went to college in the South in the 80s loves REM, or they do not hang with me.
I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down, Elvis Costello
Love Needs A Heart, Jackson Browne
Daring Night, Van Morrison...sing it, Van, bring me home.
Used To Love Her, Guns N Roses...a smile to my face at the end of a looooooooooong run.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wishing Everyone A Life-Changing Day

My two-year old yellow lab got hit by a car yesterday. Chased a snowball thrown by my son right into the street. Thankfully, she escaped with only cuts and bruises. We were lucky.

Lucky to still have our dog. Lucky to not have to console a 12-year old boy and his 10-year old brother. Lucky to have survived such a scare, and lucky to have the chance to learn from a mistake.

In the past couple of years, I've dealt with other scary things. Health scares involving loved ones. Thankfully, everything's all right. I watched one of my bothers -- the hardest-working of all the Bradleys -- lose his job because of some nimrod boss. Watched as he had to pack up his family and move across the country.

I live every day, wondering how I'll be able to keep my boys on the right path. Wondering how a parent is supposed to deal with something like the internet, much less drugs and alcohol.

I wonder how, with all that's happened in the past year to our money (not just "ours" but everyone's retirement money and investments), I'm going to be able to educate my boys the way my parents educated me. I hope and pray every single day that I'm not going to be the next casualty as I watch so many colleagues lose their jobs.

I've got a lot on my plate. More than I can possibly control, but I view it as my job to do my best to look after those I love...and those who've loved me. That, in itself, is what occupies my brain.

And, what's the point of this rambling note? Well, I'm happy for everyone who's getting all teary-eyed over today's inaugural. I can appreciate the history that's taking place. From what I've heard, Barack Obama is an amazing speaker. From what I've read, he's a brilliant writer.

But I just don't see how my life changes all that much today. I don't see how Obama will be any better at keeping me and my family going than George Bush was. I mean, how's Obama going to keep my dog from running into the street. Simple answer is, he can't.

I guess there's a chance down the road I'll feel differently, if Obama ends the war in Iraq, keeps my boys from having to deal with a draft 5-7 years from now. That's why I voted for him.

But as of today, unlike so much of the country, who are rejoicing as if our retirement money's all going to re-appear tomorrow and our jobs are going to be safer, I'm in "wait-and-see" mode. I seriously hope that Obama turns out to be the greatest president in the history of our country.

And if everyone else I know sees their life change for the better after 12 noon today, than I'm happy for you. And that's sincere.

I don't know. I just feel like I've got to keep an eye on my own. Same as yesterday.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Heavy Hearted

This morning, I received an email that was so very sad. The best teacher I ever had has fallen ill and is seeking help. I feel so powerless, I don't know what to say.

Ms. Lane, my high school journalism teacher, has Stage IV ovarian cancer. What's more, she recently left my old high school -- and teaching -- to become an administrator at a different school. She's non-tenured, already out of sick days, and trying to figure out how to cope with it all.

I saw Ms. Lane recently, at my induction into the West Essex High School Hall of Academic Distinction. Go ahead and laugh. I did, too, when Ms. Lane called me a couple of years ago to tell me she wanted to nominate me for the Hall. "I'm a sportswriter," I said. "You're joking, right?"

Turns out, Ms. Lane was not joking. She told me she'd followed my career (I hate even calling it my "career"...it's my job), from Sports Illustrated to the New York Daily News to ESPN The Magazine and she had shown her journalism students my work through the years.

She nominated me...and I was inducted.

And when I saw her in October at the banquet, man, was she proud. She introduced herself to my wife, gave her a hug, asked to see pictures of my children. She hugged my parents.

She told me (I graduated more than 20 years ago) that she regretted not nominating me for some senior award. I told her I had no idea what she was talking about. We both laughed.

It was so humbling, really. It's a long time ago, high school, but Ms. Lane was, let's just say, the only teacher who convinced me I could do this...do what I do...for a living. She didn't just talk it, either. She was our school newspaper advisor and she pushed me to make my stories better. To do more reporting. To write more vividly. "You're happy with that?" she'd ask, often, when she knew I'd mailed it in. So, it was back to work, trying to make the story...the paper...better.

The two or three of us who actually cared about the paper would work odd hours, trying to make deadlines. Ms. Lane was not averse to coming to school on the weekends to hammer things out. She would guide us well-past the hours when everyone else had gone home. She didn't have to.

Ms. Lane was also the teacher who took the time to ask me about things other than my grades. She wanted to know what, exactly, it was that I was looking for in college...and in life. I told her I wanted to write...maybe books...maybe for a newspaper...maybe a magazine...of course, I had my doubts. I was no ace. Certainly not one of the "gifted and talented" ones. Just a kid who liked sports and words who wondered if there was any way... Nah, it was a pipe dream. Right?

"If I were to tell you anything," Ms. Lane wrote in my yearbook, "I would tell you to work hard at what you enjoy. I hope to see your name in print, Jeff. May you possess all of the earth and the sun. There are millions of suns left."

I pray now that there are millions of suns left for Ms. Lane, as well.

If you care to know how you can help out, please get in touch with me.


Long Run Set List

I did not have the patience to create a long (two-hour) song list today, so instead I went for a theme. It was "All or Something...or Nothing"...from my ipod.

Here it is.

All Good Things, Jackson Browne.
All Her Favorite Fruite, Camper Van Beethoven
All I Needed Was You, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
All In My Head, Shawn Mullins
All My Life, Echo and the Bunnymen
All Night Long, Southside
All or Nothin' At All, Marshall Crenshaw (Springsteen Cover)
All Possibilities, Badly Drawn Boy
All Sinks In, The Connells
All Systems Red, Calexico
All That Heaven Will Allow, Bruce Springsteen
All the Dark Horses, Trashcan Sinatras
All the Small Things, Blink-182
All the Time in the World, The Connells
All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands, Sufjan Stevens
All the Way Home, Bruce Springsteen ((great, little-known song)
All the Way Home, Southside (Bruce Cover of great, little-known song)
All Too Much, Gomez
Something to Say, Ashton Allen
Something to Say, The Connells
Something Fine, Jackson Browne
Something For You, Dillon Fence
Something in the Night, Aram (Bruce Cover)
Something in tne Night, Bruce Springsteen
Something New, The Smithereens
Something Pretty, Patrick Park
Something So Strong, Crowded House (still an 80s guy from time to time)
Something to Talk About, Badly Drawn Boy
Nothing, Nada Surf
Nothing But Time, Jackson Browne (bookends)

As for the run, not much to say other than I got it done...14 miles, 14 degrees. To Avon and back, snotsicles hanging, face stinging. I think I'm down about five pounds in two weeks. I need to drop another 10 lbs. to be really equipped to run well in Boston.

The key, as always, is not to use all the miles as an excuse to eat everything in sight. That's tough, as is the fact that I've gone beerless for more than a week. I cannot remember the last time I went a week without enjoying a cold beer. Maybe I'll break down tonight.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Hate List

An hour and 48 minutes is a long time to run and a lot of time to think about all the things you hate. On my journey to Belmar and Back today, here's what came to mind.

I hate being out of shape. This is the No. 1 thought I have every time I begin to train for a marathon. Why didn't I just maintain? If I'd just continued on the right path of diet and running, I'd not feel so god-awful right now.

I hate being so uncool. But I hate even more when uncool people (like me) try to be cool. I think it goes along with my age (45). I mean, as much as I can buy the right jeans, the right shoes, the right shirt, it is sometimes impossible to pull it all off. I've got buddies who still dress like we did in college, crotch-hugging jeans and all, and...well...that doesn't work, either.

I hate that I look older than my age. My wife (who looks 25) asked a little girl the other day to "guess how old Mr. Bradley is." The kid replied, "50?" I'm not going to argue with the kid. I look every bit of 50. But, I'd rather have gray hair and look older than my age, than look like Bob Costas, Dan Patrick or any of those other dye-jobbers who look like complete fools. Oh yeah, add to my hate list...I hate people who say, "I've just got good genes!" Keep it to yourself.

I hate that I can't decide if I'm old school, or new school. I think I'm old school with my kids. Make them do their chores, keep a tight leash on 'em, etc. But I think, in general terms, I'm more new school. I prefer new music to classic rock. I am bored watching athletes who are described as "fundamentally sound." Yet, at the same time, I want Carolina to pull back a little from this Loyola-Marymount brand of ball they're playing the last few years. I'm confused.

I hate that I cannot play the guitar for beans. I've been banging around on a guitar for about five years now and I still cannot play anything but the most basic chords, and I can't play those all that convincingly, either. Along the same lines, I hate that I can't speak Spanish, especially when I feel I've put in a fairly good effort to learn the language.

I hate that I can't solve my dad's computer problems over the phone. Yeah, got back from my run and the phone rings and my dad wants to know what's wrong with his printer.

I hate that I'm hungry 24 hours a day. I am five-foot-six but can eat as much as an NFL lineman. How is this fair? I'm a little man. I should, therefore, have a size-appropriate appetite.

I hate when my whole family wants it to snow. You love the snow so much, let's see you all grabbing shovels tomorrow if the forecast is correct. I love New Jersey, love the change of seasons, but a winter with zero accumulation does not bother me in the least.

I hate what's going on in the newspaper business right now. Before our very eyes, an American institution is crumbling. An American institution that I have been a part of for, get this, more than 30 years. Yeah, I count my days of calling in high school games, my days writing stories for the Caldwell Progress (my mom did the typing) and even my days of swapping stories for lift tickets when I was working for the Olympic Committee in Lake Placid, N.Y. As great as the internet has been for so many things, it could very well make newspapers obsolete.

I hate Oprah. No explanation necessary. Of course, you could read further down the blog.

Long Run Friday Set-List

The Genius once again provided an interesting set-list for my 12-mile run today. We keyed all off of Conor Oberst (pictured) and let it fly from there. Next week, I plan to take the time to create my own song list as I am not sure I consider the Genius to be even "gifted and talented." Have a look.

Conor Oberst, Danny Callahan
Calexico, Yours and Mine
The National, Ada
Griffin House, Let Me In
Ashton Allen, Dew Drops
The Beautiful Girls, I Need To Give This Broken Heart Away
Mike Doughty, Fort Hood
Patti Scialfa, Play Around
Vampire Weekend, I Stand Corrected
The New Pornographers, Streets of Fire
Ben Kweller, Family Tree
Matt Costa, Never Looking Back
Calexico, Two Silver Trees
Josh Ritter, Wings
Conor Oberst, Eagle on a Pole
Griffin House, Burning Up The Night
Counting Crows, On A Tuesday in Amsterdam
Neutral Milk Hotel, Two-Headed Boy
Marah, Angels on a Passing Train
Graham Parker, I Discovered America
Calexico, Lucky Dime
The Walkmen, In the New Year
Devotchka, Too Tired
Shout Out Louds, Impossible

At this point...the Genius list ran out...so I hit "Shuffle Songs," which seems to be every bit the genius...

10,000 Maniacs, Don't Go Back to Rockville
The Sundays, Love
Los Lobos, One Time One Night
U2, New Year's Day

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Spam of the Day

Got one today with the following subject line:

#1 Diet Recommended by Oprah in 2008!

The next line is, "Flush Out Up To 20 Pounds of Toxic Sludge and Undigested Food With The Acai Slim Diet. Oprah Approved!"

I don't even need to get into it, but did anyone get a look at Oprah in 2008? Not exactly what I'd call a career year in dieting for the Big O. I would say she digested more "toxic sludge" than she eliminated. In fact, recently, she's been talking about how depression drove her back to the Fudge Stripe cookies. What's funnier? The fact that Oprah's fat, or that she's depressed? People are losing their jobs all over this country and Oprah's depressed. Classic.

Are you going to care what diets she's recommending?

Anyone really looking to yo-yo for the next 15 years? It's bad enough that people buy books she recommends, even when they're full of lies!

Oh, by the way, my wife worships Oprah. Blech.

Friday, January 2, 2009

And He's Out of the Gates...

So, training for Boston began in earnest today.

My friend (and former professional marathoner) Nick gave me my marching orders for January and today he called for "12 miles at a pleasant pace" (u should be able to hold a conversation during the run, nothing fast.) So that's what I set out to do...

I've done a few seven and eight-mile runs recently, so I've been building up slowly for January.

Since I don't have one of those fancy pedometers, I base everything on a 9-minute pace (in reality, I probably train at 8:15-8:30), and since I was told to run comfortably, I felt that 9:00 was a safe guess. So, I ran for precisely one hour and 48 minutes, which I assume got me to 12.

It was cold and pretty windy outside and a check of weather.com showed me that the wind was out of the South/Southwest, so that meant I would South to begin, so the wind could blow me up the coast on the way home. That's my typical approach and the main reason is, if you run with the wind at your back you will work up a good sweat, even on a cold day, and if you turn back into the wind you freeze your butt off. I know this from firsthand experience.

So, today's route was Manasquan, over the bridge to Point Pleasant to Bay Head to the Mantoloking line. Back up the coast, up the Point Pleasant Boardwalk, back over the bridge and home. It was not pretty, people. As the process continues, I will be able to share the thoughts that crossed my mind on a run. Today, I can just tell you that it hurt...a lot. My feet, my legs, my back. I caught a glimpse of myself in the long windows in front of Jenkinson's and I was pretty much a fat load moving along like a sloth. Embarrassing. Pitiful. This is the way it always starts.

I blogged a while back that I've added an ipod to my training (after years of resisting) and I'll share the songs that came out of a "genius" playlist that was songs "linked to" Semi-Charmed Kind of Life by Third Eye Blind. Now, before people start trashing my taste in music, this is not my playlist, but the playlist of the little "genius" inside my new ipod. As you will see all the "Genius" does is choose songs from a similar genre and era. Hence, a lot of 90s tunes.

1. Semi-Charmed Kind of Life, Third Eye Blind.
2. One Headlight , The Wallflowers.
3. Run-Around, Blues Traveler.
4. Two Princes, Spin Doctors.
5. Hey Jealousy, Gin Blossoms.
6. Let Her Cry, Hootie and the Blowfish.
7. When I Come Around, Green Day.
8. Linger, The Cranberries.
9. You Were Meant for Me, Jewel. (yeah, I know)
10. Interstate Love Song, Stone Temple Pilots.
11. Stay (I Missed You), Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories (yeah, again)
12. Look What You've Done, JET.
13. Jumper, Third Eye Blind.
14. Hands Down, Dashboard Confessional.
15. Buddy Holly, Weezer.
16. Runaway Train, Soul Asylum.
17. Sixth Aveneue Heartache, The Wallflowers.
18. Basket Case, Green Day.
19. A Long December, Counting Crows.
20. Dreams, The Cranberries.
21. Who Will Save Your Soul, Jewel (Dammit!)

At that point, the ipod went off, not sure why...so I ended up with a chosen song.

22. Moab, Conor Oberst.

Any of my music-loving friends can feel free to suggest songs as this endeavor continues. I'll post my "set lists" from every Long Run Friday. I need to go weigh myself. And take a nap.