30 December 2009

Why bad things happen to good people...

Why would God allow bad things happen to good people?
I have recently decided that I don't believe in karma. I think I believe in judgement though....you know, like in the end. It just seems like people doing the wrong thing fly through life being selfish and unsatisfactory in the eyes of the world. My interpretation of people doing the wrong thing, is people who have no issue projecting evil acts. Well now how am I defining evil? Evil: as in certain behavior that is universally considered harmful or wrong. Good people- as in legit, faithful, loyal and honest, fall between the cracks. Lose everything. Get the short end of the stick. End up ill. Whatever. Well...why? I mean, everyone has a streak of bad luck every now and then, but what if I started statistically evaluating everything? I feel like more often than not, more and more of some of the greatest people I've ever met, or who have left me significant inspiration, have found themselves in some of the most tragic circumstances imaginable. It's not fair. This sort of thing has millions of people everyday testing their faith.

I heard a song not to long ago that sparked my curiosity on this thick, theological issue. It's called You Found Me by The Fray.
The vast range of emotion flowing from this song clenches your gut, and sends a rush of wonder through your veins...if you ever focus on the poetry in lyrics. I always like to evaluate what the artist is trying to express.

I found God on the corner of 1st and Amistad
Where the West was all but won
All alone, smoking his last cigarette
I said, "Where you been?" He said, "Ask anything"

Where were you when everything was falling apart?
All my days were spent by the telephone that never rang
And all I needed was a call that never came
To the corner of 1st and Amistad

I researched a bit because I knew this song couldn't have been about finding God in his heart. There was more to it than that. It sounded like disappointment, despair and confusion. Like maybe God had been letting him down. In a recent interview with Press Association, Isaac Slade, the lead singer of The Fray, kinda threw himself out there, explaining his emotion.

"I kept getting these phone calls from home - tragedy after tragedy... If there is some kind of Person in charge of this planet - are they sleeping? Smoking? Where are they? I just imagined running into God standing on a street corner like Bruce Springsteen, smoking a cigarette, and I'd have it out with Him."

He further explained the song's meaning in a post on his blog.

"You Found Me is a tough song for me. Its about the disappointment, the heart ache, the let down that comes with life. Sometimes you're let down, sometimes you're the one who lets someone else down. It gets hard to know who you can trust, who you can count on. This song came out of a tough time, and I'm still right in the thick of it. There's some difficult circumstances my family and friends have been going through over the past year or so and can be overwhelming. It wears on me. It demands so much of my faith to keep believing, keep hoping in the unseen. Sometimes the tunnel has a light at the end, but usually they just look black as night. This song is about that feeling, and the hope that I still have, buried deep in my chest."

Why did one of my closest friends die from brain cancer? Why did all those soldiers get killed in Ft. Hood? Why did one of the nicest people I know get in an accident involving facial reconstruction and watch his friends stray away from the tragedy, when he needed them the most? Why did a young grocery store employee step out of the store and fall victim to a drive-by shooting two days ago? Why did an old friend e-mail me out of the blue explaining that he was cleaning up his life and just started college so he could exercise criminal justice to start a career...two days before he got killed in a car accident? Why did one of my brother's best friends and football teammate lose his scholarship to play collegiate ball his senior year of high school because he was helping his single mother fix fence and ended up gouging his eye out? Why was his mother so broke that she had to cancel her son's health insurance four days before the incident? How is he going to go to college now? Why did I watch some yuppie girl smash her mercedes benz into someones average car last night...then witness her drive off real fast to avoid dealing with a deductable she obviously could afford...or maybe a DWI she deserved? I could honestly go on for days.

You can find in the book of Job how God had allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job...except kill him. Instead of throwing fists and cursing God, Job reacted by showing his devotion. Job didn't understand why God was endorsing these things, but he relied on his veiw of God as good, and he continued to hold his faith. Conclusively, that is how we are expected to acknowlege these tragedies. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21).

I do think that there are so many people who are undeserving of the misfortune that they experience. I guess there isn't a clear answer for why it's like this, but I guess really all you can do is know that being a good person is worth any despair or struggles that one encounters. I also feel like maybe we battle through things like this because it's the Lord's way of building character. Maybe it's how he mentally prepares us so we can learn to deal through anything. Who knows.

Song of the Day: All the Same; FREE HUGS

28 December 2009

Contingent Voyage with Randy Roger's Band

I had been looking forward to this for weeks. Literally. I absolutely love the Randy Roger's Band. For those of you living on the moon the past, like, ten years; they're it. The sandbox of my musical playground. Alone, and sometimes teamed up with other great American Songwriters like Radney Foster, Randy Rogers and his band of brilliance are American Country Music's most golden secret. There isn't one single red dirt song of his that I don't enjoy. Even his playful cover of a Ryan Adam's song is great ear candy. Besides his amazing voice, incandescent fiddler, well written songs spelling out everything that's ever went through my head, and the rest of his mind blowing band...I love how they are so genuine. He's not gunna throw on a pair of ropers, squeeze into rhinestone attire and wranglers, a black stetson or sing about some random bar skank's ba donka-donk or dip his finger into a Jimmy Buffett themed spiel of beaches. Nor will you see them striving to play in Colosseums for thousands. They like the good old fact of being uncommercialized badasses, walking onto stages of small town bars, just like they did when they first started, wearing worn-in converse shoes, and a simple pearlsnap or tshirt. Randy likes to wear his infamous cubs hat to his Columbia shows. It's kind of like flipping everyone in cardinal country the finger...and we hate to love it.

Anyhow, now that you understand how cool these guys are, you can trust and understand the substance of our little trek. Back to square one- I asked my roommate A-pop to join me at the concert.

A-pop: "you know how much I love Randy Rogers Band, but I don't know if I really feel like going."

A-pop. Seriously. PLeeeeeeeeeeeease. Don't make me call Ddub just because you're wanting to back out. C'mon. Since the first night we've become friends, our loyalty to their concerts has been pretty strict, lol. We NEVER miss them. C'mon we'll probably end up hanging out with them like always.

A-pop: "Okay, I'm down. You're right though Jcoop. I mean, we ARE like groupies...groupies in a non-sexual, non-trashy way."

After she got ready, we headed for another A-pop and Jcoop night full of adventure. The concert was great. The opening band was non other than the John D Hale band. They're like a mirror image of how cool RRB is. They have their own edge and style, and they kick total ASS. They're Missouri's very own little flavor of damn good music. My friend Ddub grew up with John and introduced me to the band years ago...the very first time I watched RRB live, they opened for them. As soon as I graduated Army training, I went to Texas, then back to Columbia Mo, then all the way down to Joplin just to hear John and the boys...what? I needed my fix! I missed out on good music for six months straight. The long drive was so worth it. Yes. I can honestly say that we're all friends. BOOM! Those two bands together guarantees a good night for sure. Later I will post some JDHB adventures.

I had a good buzz going, and after the concert we stuck around to chit chat with friends. As we were walking out to leave, we struck up a good conversation with Jon "Chops" Richardson. He's a dang good bass player and also does vocals. At the same time...some snarky faced girl that we would NEVER be friends with was standing with us talking to him too. We all were talking him into going out with us. Snarky face mentioned Black and Gold, a tiny little dive bar where all of our little country friends chill. I have a love-hate with Black and Gold. Sometimes you love it, and sometimes you don't. Everybody knows each other and we're all into the same stuff for the most part...but I'm a non-conformist. I do what Jcoop wants to do at all times....unless I'm in uniform that is. So in other words, sometimes I want to be a little more incognito, so crowds are more fun to blend into and to be around everyone of all walks...downtown. I like black and gold every so often...but for like 20 minutes. hahaha.

Jon was all for it..but thought it would be tight to get the rest of the crew to join us. He left A-pop and I standing on the sidewalk with Snarky face. He then stepped off the bus and asked A-pop and I to come up and meet the rest of the band! We were more than happy to leave Snarky face outside, and hurried on. Randy was sitting on the couch relaxing...jamming to to Miley.

Is this...IS THIS Party in the USA!?

Randy: You're damn right it is. This song is the SHIT!

You know what's not the shit?

Randy: What's that?

That damn cubs hat!

Randy: My cubbies? I love my cubbies.

We sat and partied on the bus for about ten minutes, then decided that we were all going out. The consensus was never black and gold but I was having way too much fun to argue it...I was focused more on having a good night chillin with my favorite band over a debate on where we should go. So I guess we all agreed by exiting the bus, and finding Snarky face outside in her car because she had announced that she was sober and driving. As we got in, I had a beer still. I'm pretty sure Randy and the guys had given it to me on the bus. I honestly don't remember how a got it, lol. Anyhow, we start driving and I pull my camera out. I never like the situation where I'm on an adventure without my camera. There are too many moments that need captured for later nostalgia purposes. I pride myself on my constant clicking addiction. A-pop's brother Voldermort told me that my click-happy addiction is so bad that it's almost sickening. Anyhow, I have my reasons. I like pictures.

Jon takes my camera and gets some good shots of A-pop and I in the back with Randy, while he was discussing the release of their next album. I was pissed because we have to wait so long for it to come out. All of the sudden, the pretty flicker of red-blue lights beamed in the back glass behind us. We were getting pulled over. ugh. What a waste of time. OH NO. I had just realized that I had an opened beer bottle in my hand.

Randy:"I don't care how you do it...but get rid of it QUICK!"

So I started chugging. There was still some left, but they were coming back with flashlights so I wasn't gunna get caught. I stuffed the bottle containing the rest of the coors light into my purse. Our driver was sober, and the cops initially informed her that she was getting pulled over because they noticed flashes inside the vehicle. Yeah. That's called a camera flash, I irritantly mouthed off from the back. What dumb reason to pull someone over. I would never pull someone over for that. Instead of catching real bad guys...like the ones that broke into our house and stole A-pops TV...Columbia PD likes to be lazy and stick to the easiest violations they can because drinking and driving is inevitable. There are always people doing it. Investigating other crimes involves way to much effort, and when there isn't any drinking and driving suspicion, they like to create their own little variables that lead them to their reasons to believe. So basically they get to waste our time too.

As they made our driver get out and do all the procedures, Randy's eyes got really big....

Randy: "my ass is wet!"

That beer bottle had less than a 1/4 cup left in it and had spilled out of my purse and onto the seat between him and I. ahahaha.
It seemed like we were there forever, and we debated getting out of the vehicle and just walking off to have someone else come pick us up. Leaving Snarky face wouldn't have effected my feelings or concscience at all. Jon insisted that we not do that because he thought Snarky face was pretty cool. uuugh.

Randy: "so you're the freakin MP now get out of the car and pull some rank so we can go drink dammit!!"

Ya right, lol. Finally Snarky face came back, and we pulled away. Then A-pop reminded me how much she hates black and gold. I was like whooooooooa. I had to re-direct this effort.

We are going to balck and gold? How about Willies back downtown?? Can we please go to Willies?

Randy: "ya can we please go to Willies...I mean, I think our other friends are there too..."

A-pop: "Oh for the love....we seriously should go to Willies"


Snarky face: "no. absolutely not. Not after I just got pulled over."

Seriously, it would be easier for them because Willies isn't far from the Blue Note...they could just walk back to their bus after the bar closes...instead of getting a ride back from the black and gold.

Snarky face: "no."

Okay well just drop us off there and you can go do whatever you want.

Snarky face: "no. no and no."

See...Snarky face wanted to be a hero in front of everyone at the black and gold for bringing Randy Rogers there because EVERYONE at Black and Gold knows who Randy Rogers is. We seriously would have had more fun downtown. Not alot of people in that scene know who RRB is...so it wouldn't be as annoying.

Randy: (high pitched) "Willies...."

A-pop: (low pitched) "Willies...."


Randy: (low pitched) "Willies...."

A-pop: (high pitched) "Willies...."


Snarky face: "No it's not gunna happen!"

Randy: "Seriously I really don't give a shit but c'mon. I would much rather go downtown, so will you please take us to Willies..."

Snarky face got really pissed off. She screamed at Randy!

Snarky face: "I FUCKING SAID NO. I SAID IT A MILLION TIMES, NO! We're going to my bar and I'm driving so tough shit!

We all three shut up into complete silence. Then A-pop, Randy and I just BUSTED up laughing. Are you completely kidding me? Did she just freaking yell at one of my all time favorite songwriters? What a fucking joke.

A-pop: whispers..."dude...she just yelled at Randy fucking Rogers, lol"

This is retarded. This is seriously just the dumbest ever. Are you kidding me? lol who cares. Because as soon as we get to black and gold...I will have someone give us a ride to Willies so I don't know why you're so hell-bent on taking us there.

Randy: "OK!"

We get to the black and gold, and I notice the time. Bars closed in 20 minutes. We were there for good. I called and had my DD prepared, and noticed the swarm of people that hovered over the two band members. Randy was having an involved conversation with A-pop about his work and his favorite pieces etc, and EVERYONE in that bar wanted to have his undivided attention. No one could just sit and have a beer the guy. Randy turned to A-pop with an exhausted grin.

Randy: "I feel like I'm on display..."
A-pop: "ha, welcome to the Black and Gold"

A-pop went to wait her turn outside of the bathroom when this tall guy came up to wait his turn for the Men's restroom. They stood in silence for a little bit, then A-pop broke the ice.

A-pop: "Soooo, what did you think of the concert?"

Guy: "Well, I'm in the band. I thought it was pretty good."

A-pop wasn't sure what to say after that, but they ended up making pretty good friends. The guy told her that he was Les Lawless. She argued that he wasn't so he went ahead with it and said he wasn't. We all ran around and hung out with Randy and everyone for the remaining 15 min, and realized it was time to scoot. My boyfriend S-train was waiting outside for A-pop and I...and the guy. This is where things started getting hazy. We were having a blast with all sorts of conversation, then A-pop says...Jcoop, this guy told me he was Les Lawless. I started laughing.

We laughed it off and then he was all for coming back to the cottages to party with us. Everyone was down for it, until he said he would need a ride back to the bus at 5am. I knew I would still be considered over-the-limit and A-pop NEVER gets up that early. We explained the reality of the situation and he decided would just get out at the bus.

A-pop, by the way, this guy is a liar. lol, I assure you that he's not Les Lawless.

Guy: "Are you kidding me? Why else would I be going to the bus?"

Dude, you're not Les Lawless. He wasn't wearing that shirt earlier.

Les: "I am Les Lawless."

NO YOU AREN'T.....wait, are you?

It was Les Lawless. It WAS FREAKING LES LAWLESS. We said goodnight and headed home.

The next morning I went into A-pops room...


Song of the Day: You Found Me

27 December 2009

Adventure to Saddle Saloon

My good friend Pookie called me yesterday and we debated forever on what bar we should visit. It's Christmas break, so alot of people are out of town...so downtown was out of the question. We were thinking smaller establishments and dives. I put a big fat no on Black and Gold and Jakes. Not in the mood. We hung up for further thinking. Well, Trumans, The Zou, The Duece, and Southside. Nah. Not in the mood for that either. What about Cody's? I had already had my fill of Cody's Saloon last weekend- which will probably last me for the rest of the year. Pookie called and mentioned the Saddle Saloon in Booneville. Never been. Lets do it. It was a fun time. Alot like Cody's but with a slice of class. And smoke. agh. I hate smokey bars. I asked the house DJ if he had any Randy Rogers Band or Ragweed- guess those were top notch requests because he bought me 4 shots of cabo tequila. He also played me some Britney and Lady Gaga. They get a B+ from me. Waaaaay better than Cody's....just wish there was a no smoking ordinance.

Song of the Day: Broken Heart

24 December 2009

JCOOP's Top 5 Como Dining

1. Murrys
Murrys is the best. By far my favorite restaurant. All of thier desserts are homemade and to die for. I'm not a big fan of desserts, but it's totally worth it. The black beast cheesecake is a masterpiece. The steak sandwhich has got to be one of the best deals in Columbia. This perfect, thick and juicy slab is a total steal. On friday nights I think they break out some live jazz and the baby grand piano. Off Greenmeadows
2. The Jazz
This little bourbon street themed joint is the best little cajun kitchen in the mid-west. Live jazz and their killer bloody marys would send a Louisana man up stream. Try the coon ass chicken! Off Forum onto Cherry hill
3. Wise Guys Pizza
Best pizza in Columbia. It kicks the shit out of Shakespeares. Inside McNallys across from police station
4. Willies
The burgers here are phenomenal, get the big kahuna! Off Broadway.
5. Shiloh Bar and Grill
The ribs and the steak sandwhich are awesome. My personal favorite is the chicken salad sandwhich. The homemade chips are great leftovers too! Shiloh by far has the best service because the kitchen has the fastest running system I've ever noticed. Off Broadway

So what are the worst?! Well in my opinion...(which is always correct)...

1)Buffalo Wild Wings
Worst service in the fucking world. If you're lucky they wont do a shitty job on your food. Yet I keep going...well because...they have the NFL ticket. And their bartenders make awesome top shelf long islands.
2)The Sub Shop
Lets just say I threw up for days. There is a possibility that I ingested human secretions.

What's a Feral Bar Cat?

The term "feral bar cat" refers to any cat that does not adapt to indoor homes. Sometimes the cat is feral, which means it was born and raised in the wild bar scene with little or no human contact. Others are strays, cats that were once domestic but reverted to unsocialized behavior after long periods of surviving on their own in a bar. Please aid in the effort of catching these feral bar cats for immediate sterilization.