Thursday, May 26, 2016

So the last time I asked for help via the blog, things turned up lovely for me. My mother-in-law read the blog I wrote about the strange dream, she analyzed it, and then gave me some homework assignments for me to dissect future dreams. Now I have another request for anyone out there who reads this blog.

So back in '91, Public Enemy had a song out called Nighttrain which appeared on their album "Apocalypse '91, The Enemy Strikes Black". The song that appeared on the album was good, not great. The remix to the song--which came out in 1992--was simply amazing for so many reasons.

1) James Brown. The remix used the beat to Brown's song, "Get Into It, Get Involved", which is absolutely impossible not to dance and move to. In fact, my mother and father used to tell me that when they were in college, that record had to be a staple at any GOOD party. Public Enemy was smart to incorporate that into the remix.

2) The presence of Pete Rock and CL Smooth. By the time this Nighttrain remix was released, Pete Rock and CL Smooth had already released their 1992 classic, "Mecca and the Soul Brother", , and "(T)hey (R)eminisce (O)ver (You) was just picking up steam. But they already had an EP out from the previous year entitled "All Souled Out", and Pete Rock had been doing great remixes for a few years now--including my favorite remix of his ever for EPMD's Rampage.. So when they both made an appearance on this Public Enemy remix, it set the song off that much more. Pete Rock was on the beat and the adlibs, and CL Smooth laid an efficient verse which effectively stuck with the train theme:

The conductor, track the structure overstood
Nighttrain the plain, little engine that could
One express so the next stops Mecca
A place to face to make a black man better
CL and Chuck D, we don't talk rubbage
But just like a slave, we gotta ride wit the luggage
On the nighttrain

3) The voice. Chuck D has the best verse in all of hip hop. It really doesn't matter what he's saying, because he has the cadence, the tone and the gravitas of a Baptist preacher. But sometimes it is easy to forget just how adept he is at writing rhymes that flow perfectly over the beat--this Nighttrain remix allows him to "catch wreck" as the kids used to say in '92. Chuck is never on anyone's top 10 list in the rhyme department but this song would get him some honorable mention votes.

So why am I mentioning this damn song? Back in 1992, I first heard the remix on Rap City when they played the video and the next week I went to Sam Goody and bought the maxi single. The maxi single had the original song, the instrumental, the remix and the instrumental to that. Sadly, that maxi single was lost some time betwwen 1992 and 2000, but thanks to lovely music sharing sights that popped up around 2002 or so, I was able to find the song and place it on a CD (I didn't have an iPod back then). I lost that damn CD before I had a chance to convert it to mp3, and now I can't find the song. It isn't on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal or anywhere. I've seen it for sale online via vinyl and cassette, but that ain't helping me get it on my iPod. So I need help. If anyone can help, I'd really appreciate it.

And now, the song:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nyles has had the same bath routine since he's been a year old. My wife reads him a story or two, and then I give him a bath for about 5-10 minutes. We talk, I politely and repeatedly ask him to wash all of his little body parts, and I always play two to three songs that I want him to hear. When my wife gives him a bath, she tends to play the Pandora station geared towards children, but I do no such thing. I see it as my mission at bath time, to force feed as much good music as I have in my iPod, so when my son gets older, he'll have Questlove sensibilities, and not someone with the music IQ of Fetty Wap (and hell no I'm not hyperlinking anything related to that man).

The first bath song Nyles latched on to around two years old was Michael Jackson's "Human Nature", which made me very happy, since I am the world's biggest MJ fan:

The second song Nyles really took a shine to was the Doobie Brothers song "Minute by Minute". Nyles really had no interest in the verses, the instruments or even the background vocals, but he loved the chorus where Michael McDonald would sing "Minute by Minute" over and over again. I never realized just how catchy that song was until I heard Nyles gravitate towards it.

Fast forward three years later---more specifically about two weeks ago, when Nyles was listening to Maxwell's new song "Lake By the Ocean" at bath time. For the first 50 seconds, Nyles was more interested in playing with his toys than he was listening to Maxwell. Then the chorus came on, and Nyles had no clue what the words were, but he recognized the cadence of Maxwell's song, and he said, "Is this Minute by Minute Daddy?". Now I corrected him and told him it was Maxwell's "Lake By the Ocean" and not "Minute by Minute", but I could barely contain the smile on my face because it appears as if my son has a good ear.

So listen to the chorus of the Doobie Brothers (start at the 1:02 mark):

And then listen to Maxwell's chorus (start at the 48 second mark):

Monday, May 23, 2016

It rained every minute of the weekend, and since my wife and I decided not to register young Nyles for soccer for a fourth consecutive time, it was imperative that we come up with activities for the weekend. Saturday there were errands, an indoor playground, blocks, coloring and indoor basketball (via the timeless invention called the Nerf Hoop), but we needed an activity for Sunday morning. Usually he watches cartoons, while Mommy and Daddy read and watch inane political shows, but this time we decided to switch it up and visit the National Air and Space Museum.

Now, I had not set foot in this particular musuem since my son oldest son Carlton was 12 (almost 7 years ago), so I had completely forgotten how overwhelming the sights are when you initially walk in the building. There are planes, propellers, planets, pieces of space vehicles, exhibits, things for the kids, and of course lots of people. Nyles was just as overwhelmed as I was, but to his credit he asked questions, he (for the most part) kept his hands off the exhibits and he enjoyed setting foot in the antique planes. His questions were not quite a sophisticated as the ones I heard from kids who were seven, eight, nine years old and older, but I was proud of my son for holding it down at the age of four. My wife always says it isn't a contest or a competition, but that's bullshit. EVERYTHING is a competition. I digress.

I will readily admit that I was deeply concerned about setting foot in the museum, because I loathe crowds. People are arrogant, oblivious to people around them (the rule is to keep your head on a swivel, or as we say in basketball, see your man, see the basket and see the ball) and they are loud. But since it was raining, and my son needed an activity, I had to place aside my own personal insecurities and make sure those two hours or so were good for my son. For the most part, I was able to do that, but there were two annoying things I observed.

Cutting in line

There was an older plane which was cut open so visitors could see inside the cockpit, and I'd say the line was about 20-25 people deep. There were people taking annoying selfies in line (more on that later), but for the most part people were patient, relatively quiet, and they acted like they had home training---except for this one gentleman. He looked to be around 50 or so, and he was way too close to my wife in line. My wife would move up three inches, and this ass would move up two and a half inches, so that he was RIGHT on her ass. I mean literally if she took half a step back, she'd bump right into him, which naturally would have set me off. My wife does not like my temper, so I decided I would stew in silence, while keeping an eagle eye on the situation.

As we got closer to the cockpit, the line narrowed a bit, which allowed me to let my wife get in front of me, which meant the creepy old man was now on my ass. When the line moved up, I purposely stood still and didn't move, just to annoy this guy, but eventually he got the point--that was until we got closer to the cockpit. There was a couple in front of us taking pictures, which meant my wife and I were next to view the cockpit. After the couple was finished, but before my family could walk up and in the cockpit, this creepy dude steps in front of us and starts observing the cockpit as if he were next in line. My first impluse was to do a Rambo and then pull out the jammy and flat blast him
, but I instead I opted for the cooler approach. I said to him, "So you're just going to step in front of us like that boss?". He looked back at me incredulously, stood there for a second, and the got the hell out of the way. My family looked at the cockpit, lingered for a minute just to f**k with creepy guy, and then we left. Nyles asked why we were leaving, and I said, ""We have some people really pressed to see the exhibit Nyles", and then I looked back at the creepy guy who was foaming at the mouth to see the exhibit.

Did I mention I hate crowds?

Selfie sticks and camera phones

I apologize if I sound old and out of touch, but back when my family visited museums--and even back in 2008 when I brought my son Carlton, we simply enjoyed the museum. We took a picture or two as we left, but the bulk of our visit was for questions, answers and learning. It was basically an extension of the classroom. Yesterday, every damn kid and parent decided that they had to take pictures of everything and put them on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. There were cameras and selfie sticks everywhere and in some cases, folks got annoyed if you walked into their shot, not really grasping the fact that their were six million people trying to see things in the museum. If folks really want to see what's in the museum, they should bring their ass in there and see, rather than getting an eyeful via someone's social media page. Not five seconds went by without someone snapping a picture of some sort, and it made me angry, but it made me a little sad too. There is such a thing as being in the moment and soaking it all in, but I guess that is lost on some parents and kids.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I've played one instrument in my life and that was the trumpet from age 8 to age 16. I briefly took trumpet and bass lessons, but because of various duties I had to tend to as an adult, they never really got off the ground and I damn sure didn't achieve any level of proficiency. My main man jazzbrew used to be a proficient trumpet player and more recently he has switched over to the bass and he's moving closer to proficiency in that as well. I admire that and one day soon while my son Nyles is taking piano lessons, I will attempt that feat as well.

But this morning while I was in the shower, I was listening to Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al", and the nasty bass solo came on, and it reminded me of why I even wanted to learn the bass in the first damn place. I can think of several songs with unmistakable bass solos or basslines that I would attempt to recreate simply with the air guitar, and I would wonder what it would take to learn the instrument. I shall list some of them now--the aforementioned "You Can Call Me Al" is on the list by the way.

Robert Palmer - I Didn't Mean To Turn You On

The bassline of the song is average and nothing spectacular or noteworthy. And then at the 2:23 mark, there a nasty bass guitar pluck and makes you want screw your face up while you play it. That nasty pluck reappears at the tail end of the song as well. I was 10 or 11 when this song came out, but I'll never forget that.

Steely Dan - Peg

The only reason I knew about this song was due to the De La Soul Song, "Eye Know" which was on 3 Feet High and Rising which used the Steely Dan. I later looked up the song on my own and initially it was Michael McDonald's background vocals which reeled me in. Then later as my ear got more sophisticated, I zeroed in on the nasty bass line and now I can never unhear that part. A few years ago, there was a documentary on Steely Dan, and the bass guitarist mentioned that Steely Dan did not want him to pluck the guitar during the chorus, and he snuck it in anyway (skip ahead to the 1:15 mark of the video below):

Chaka Khan/Rufus - Tell Me Something Good

Come on, do I really have to explain this one? Just listen how the song starts, and tell me it doesn't make you want to do something x-rated..

Stanley Jordan - The Lady in my Life

Yes I am well aware this song is smooth jazz, and I generally am condescending towards the entire smooth jazz institution. However, when I was a nine year old lad going to and from soccer practice, my dad (who was a huge jazz head) fell in love with bassist Stanley Jordan and his inaugural album, "Magic Touch". One of the standout songs from that album was a remake of MJ's "Lady in my Life", and the bass parts were damn good

On Green Dolphin Street - Jimmy McGriff

This is yet another song that I discovered thanks to a hip hop group. A Tribe Called Quest sampled this in their song "Jazz (We've Got)", and thanks to the extensive liner notes in the tape cover, I was able to discover that and other basslines.

Get on the Floor - Michael Jackson

The lyrics were written by Michael Jackson, but the beat was done by legendary bassist, the late Mr. Louis Johnson (half of The Brothers Johnson). The bass is so nasty in this song, I don't even think the air guitar can do it proper justice. It is intricate, it is funky and to me it is flat out amazing. Louis Johnson briefly discussed it in this interview:

Bass Solo: Louis Johnson - "Get On The Floor" by Fanuchi

Here's the real song

I'm sure there are more, but that's a start...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Let me begin by saying I know right from wrong, and for the most part, it is my intent to do the right things in life, and to make correct decisions. Occasionally I fall short of that mark and when I do, it is unintentional 90% of the time--my behavior this morning was not one of those times.

I don't know if you've noticed, but people tend to be obsessed with their cell phones these days. It isn't as big of a deal when someone is at home, waiting on the train or just out of harm's way. But it is a problem when texting is done while driving or walking. Today during my rainy walk to work, I had an encounter with a woman who was texting while walking.

Now the responsible thing to do would have been for me to sidestep her as she walked down the sidewalk with her head buried in her phone, but then I thought to myself, "How will she learn her lesson?". So as she walked towards me, I kept walking towards this woman, and she ran right into me and dropped her phone on the hard concrete face down. The following wonderfully profane conversation took place:

Her: What the f**k man? Watch where you're going

Me: I did, I was walking straight down my side of the sidewalk but you didn't look up

Her: So you just f**king run into me"

**She looks down at her phone***

Her: And now my phone is cracked, what the f**k man? You're a f**king asshole

Me: I may be an asshole, but I'm the asshole who walks with his head up on the sidewalk and my phone isn't cracked so...

Her: Whatever asshole

Me: Have a good day sweetie

Now again, I realize that there may have been a better way for me to handle this type of conflict, but I'm tired of enabling folks who can't look up from their phone enough to simply walk down the street. Of course is someone was texting and driving, the stakes would be much higher and of course I would be much smarter. But since this collision was only going to happen on foot, I thought I had some leeway to teach lessons. The fact is, you can't barrel down the street with tunnel vision--and she should know that as a woman. A myriad of things could have happened to her and a cracked phone is at the bottom of that list. I didn't get mad, I didn't yell, and I overlooked the fact that she was cursing at me like Bobby Knight at halftime. She had a right to be mad, but I had more of a right to be, and that was that.

And I also realize I didn't have to call her sweetie, but I know woman hate to be called that by men they don't know, so I just threw it in for good measure.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Stevie...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I have no idea if anyone reads this blog, and I definitely don't know if the folks who still read are savants in the dream interpretation area, but I'm just going to write about it anyway to get it off my chest.

I was in the middle of a kickball game with the teachers and staff members from my son's school. I was playing in right field, I saw my son's teacher in center field, and the co-teacher was on the other team preparing to kick the ball. I had on sunglasses, and I distinctly remember swatting gnats away like a crazy person. I can also distinctly remember that it was hot, and I really did not feel like participating, which is unlike me because I like kickball a great deal.

The pitcher rolled the ball to the co-teacher and she kicked the ball high in the air, and far away from me. I remember taking two steps towards the ball, before I quickly realized it was well beyond my grasp. My son's teacher and some random schmo in left field both converged on the ball, and it ended up dropping right between them. I remember saying loudly (come on man, what are we doing out here man , but nobody paid me any attention). The schmo went to pick up the ball and all of a sudden out of the clear blue--and this is where it gets a bit surreal--three giantrobots came on the field and started dismantling the field.

First they threw the ball out of sight, then they started tearing up the grass, the bases and everything. Most of the teachers and faculty started running in the opposite direction, but I just stood there because the robots clearly had no interest in terrorizing the humans. This destruction continued for a good 45 seconds or so, and then I woke up. I didn't wake up via my alarm and I didn't wake up sweating or excited, I just woke up angry that my kickball dream ended a)prematurely b) on an error by my assclown teammates and c) before I had a chance to kick the ball my damn self.

So what the the hell does this mean?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

During my formative years, my parents partly relied on Sesame Street to reinforce the lessons they taught me, as well as the ones that were being taught in school. Sometimes they would sit and watch with me, and other times they would take off to do other tasks, while trusting that the little, multi-colored Muppets--along with a few adults--could sustain my attention for approximately an hour. Based on how I turned out, I'd say that was a mutually beneficial transaction.

Now that I am in the midst of raising a four-year old son, I too am relying on the fine Seasame Street Institution to help raise my son. I particularly like for Nyles to watch Seasame Street in the morning while he's eating cereal and after he gets dressed. It puts him in an academic state of mind and it makes him more receptive to learning than just playing on the iPad, playing with his toys or watching Toy Story for the 567th time. Just this morning, the Sesame Street crew (Gordon to be specific) was describing what a stapler was and why it was necessary, and when my son got to school, he wanted to see the teacher's stapler. Win-Win.

But yesterday morning, there was a Sesame Street skit with Cookie Monster on it, and it backfired a bit. You see, Cookie Monster wanted to give cookies to his mother as a mother's day present, but Mr. Monster could not keep his hands and mouth off of the cookies long enough to actually gift them. He would start off calm and reserved, and then eventually, Cookie Monster would dominate the cookies as he is wont to do. When I was younger I thought it was funny the way Mr. Monster would devour the cookies, but as I got older--and particularly now that I'm a parent, I think it's flat out disgusting.

Young Nyles and his impressionable mind were sitting down eating mini-pancakes for breakfast as Cookie Monster ate and dominated cookie after cookie, and he made the executive decision that his pancakes should be eaten the same way. He picked up three mini-pancakes, put them up to his mouth, and proceeded to imitate the Cookie Monster as best he could. My knee-jerk reaction was to get mad and tell Nyles to stop, but he had his retort ready:

Me: Nyles don't stuff your mouth, why are you doing that?

Nyles: I'm doing what Cookie Monster is doing

Me: I know but the way Cookie Monster is eating is wrong, you eat one thing at a time and you chew and swallow

Nyles: But Daddy Cookie Monster isn't doing that

Me: What the f**k did I say? (I didn't really say that, but I wanted to)

At this point, I wanted to ramp up my anger, but given that I was the one who plopped my son down in front of the TV to watch this fine television show, I had to take some responsibility, which made me feel like this:

Anyway, Nyles now knows that Cookie Monster is a poor eater with less-than-desirable habits, so I guess in that respect, the show still allows for teachable moments. But it backfires sometimes too. That is my Public Service Announcement for the day.

Friday, May 06, 2016

I have been singing The Stylistics Song, "Hurry Up This Way Again" for years because the beat and singing and are so on point. But as is the case with most songs of my youth (take Evelyn Champagne King's "Love Come Down" which I sang religiously when I was young lad--not knowing that this woman made an entire song about how her dude has the ability to reach, touch and then bring down all of the wonderful, wet goodness that has previously been untapped, so to speak), I neglected to pay close attention to the lyrics until recently when the song came on my iPod during a walk home. As my wife said, you don't think of the words being particulary shady, because the lead singer of the group has such a high, disarming voice. But basically this dude is giving the business to a woman who has another man at home, but he wants her to hurry up and come back so he can administer more of the deep di....well you get it.

Here are the lyrics:
Oh, how it hurts loving someone who has someone else
So many nights I've spend here all alone by myself
Whenever you're with him, whose loving me, nobody
Hurry up this way again, I love you, hurry up this way again

I'll never know when I'm going to see you again
Can't make no plans, I just see you whenever I can
What happens in between, I sit and dream about you
Hurry up this way again, I love you, hurry up this way again

So many lives I spend here all alone

I love you, hurry up this way again
I need you, I want you, I don't want nobody else
Hurry up this way again, I love you, hurry up this way again
I love you, hurry up this way again

I've gotta have you, I want you, hurry up this way again
Hurry up this way again, I love you, hurry up this way again

And here's the song:

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Eddie Murphy has a joke about how he used to scare girls by waving a stick around, telling them he had rubbed against a dead bird, and then chasing them with it by saying, "Dead birrrrd, dead birrrd, gonna put it on youuuu". It may not sound funny when I repeat it--in fact Eddie Murphy also has a joke about people butchering his jokes--but just click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph, and maybe you'll laugh. If you don't, f**k it, the joke is funny to me and my main man Sabin. In fact in college, every time Sabin and I would see a dead animal or any dead bird for that matter, we'd start saying, "dead birrrd, dead biiird, gonna put it on youuu." No one around us got it, but we did, which again, was all that mattered.

So this morning as my son and I were walking to school, we saw not one, not two but three dead birds beside his school building. Apparently the school windows are so clean that the birds, who clearly are not being praised by MENSA for their overwhelming intelligence, are flying directly into them. This is prematurely ending their precious lives and probably scaring the shit out of parents and some kids who have to step over the carcasses. Some kids went and stepped directly on the dead birds, which was funny to me, but not really. Some kids screamed and ran in the other direction, and then there's my son Nyles.

Young Nyles didn't scream, he didn't step on the dead bird, but he took a few steps towards it, then immediately took two steps away, and proceeded to start the following conversation with me:

Nyles: Daddy, what's that?

Me: That's a dead bird Nyles

Nyles: Well who killed the bird?

Me: The bird accidentally killed itself by running into the window

Nyles: Noooo, someone else killed the bird (he's already subscribing to conspiracy theories, I like that)

Me: Maybe, but I think the bird flew into the window and died

Nyles: Well why did the bird do that?

Me: He's dead so I can't ask him

I thank god that my last statement, along with the fact that it was time to actually enter the school, effectively ended our conversation. The inquistive mind of a four-year old is relentless and not bound by time, how annoying their line of questioning is, or how repetitive they are--which is fine since it is their job to be curious. But I was trying to get Nyles to class, and then I needed to get to work, so we had to cut it short. Plus, from the time I saw the bird, until I dropped Nyles off, I had to keep myself from laughing in his face because all I really wanted to do was say to him, "Dead birrrrd, dead biiiird, gonna put it on youuuuu." But he wouldn't have gotten it..not yet anyway.

I texted the abridged version of this story to my main man Sabin when I got to work, and he laughed, and then told me how he was in the process of introducing his two daughters to clean Sinbad and Eddie Murphy jokes. He told me a story about how his wife told one of his daughters that her room was a dump, and her daughter responded, "When you think of garbage, think of Akeem!" That is the level I need to get to with Nyles, so in addition to the educational and musical content I've been shoving down his throat the past few years, I may need to pepper in some fine comedic stylings as well. While he is in the nascent stages of his comedy education, I need to stress to him how harmful it is to latch on to bad, unfunny comedy. That just sets a bad precedent that I simply cannot be responsible for as his father.

And now, one of my favorite routines from Richard Pryor. The line about the luggage (around the 0:53 mark) makes me laugh every time. But don't just fast forward to that part otherwise you'll miss the essence of the joke...

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Robert Reid, a former Houston Rockets basketball who achieved minor success in the NBA from 1997-1991 (he averaged 11.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists during his career) had some rather strong opinions about current Houston Rockets star, James Harden.. The Houston Rockets greatly underachieved this past season, and although the finger could be pointed at their head coach instability (they went through two coaches this season), the failure of Daryl Morey (aka Dork Elvis) to bring in a third scorer, and the de-evolution of Dwight Howard as a productive basketball player. Mr. Robert Reid places the blame solely on the shoulders of young James Harden.

In an article--which can be seen here--Mr. Reid, who is clearly still passionate about the fortunes of his former team, criticizes the selfish way Harden plays. The article is strewn with quotes that have that get-off-of-my-lawn quality about them, but there are a few quotes that stick way out to me. Allow me to share:

"The new coach that they bring in here is the one that's going to have to say, 'I'm the one who gets fired if we don't win, not you. Do you feel lucky? Because your happy-jack behind will be at the end of the bench until you come to this game that we want to play.'

Now, 95% of that quote sounds perfectly normal. Yes it is a little dated to use the Clint Eastwood do-you-feel-lucky reference but that is a timeless movie loved by folks old and young and it is constantly on tv, so people of all ages have carte blanche to say such a thing. However, the usage of "happy jack behind" is not the language of young person. In fact, as I told my wife, no one under the age of 55 has ever used that expression in life. It sounds like something my grandmother would say when she wanted to be authoritative without cursing. "Jack" is used my mostly men who most likely drink brown liquor, smoked Kools or Newports and rub their hands together when they are about to holler at a young lady. But sometimes women use it too when they are really trying to slam a point home without using "nigga", "motherfucker" or some other disparaging noun. "Joker" can also be used in the same way, but that sounds even more dated.

If you don't believe me, after you read this brief but informative blog, try inserting "Jack", "Joker" and definitely "happy jack behind" into your lexicon (especially if you aren't black) and watch the reaction you get from your peers. The beauty of all three expressions is that you can use them at work, at home, around children, and feel not one iota of guilt. Try it! Make it your own!

See I like to get down Jack!

Monday, May 02, 2016

My father lives in Phoenix, Arizona now which means the time we have together is significantly less than it was when he lived 30 minutes away from me in Columbia, Maryland. I have been saying I was going to get out to visit him but something always comes up. In fact, the last two times I saw him he was here in the DC area on business for a few days, and we would have time to spend only a few hours together. It was better than not seeing him at all, but it fell far short of the type of substantive visits I am used to experiencing with my dad.

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from the University of Pennsylvania regarding their annual Penn Relays track meet. I initially forwarded the email to my brother and my father, in hopes that all three (four when you throw in my nephew) could go on a road trip. Sadly, my brother and nephew were unable to attend, which meant my dad and I would be going alone.

The first thing I did when I realized my dad and I would be road tripping was make a playlist based on the songs he said he liked (I blogged about some of his list here) The Thursday before the trip I enjoyed a few glasses wine, I rolled up my sleeves and I got knee deep in Tidal (which I only joined because they had all the Prince songs that Spotify lacked) and I made an 140-song playlist of songs my dad loves. It was an arduous task, but the wine helped as did me anticipating my dad's reaction to hearing some of these songs. I included all of the songs he initially sent to me, then I added some songs I knew he had omitted. The plan was to talk to my dad while being serenaded by all of these lovely songs.

I went to pick him up from his hotel at 8am, and then we took that two-hour drive to Philadelphia from Washington D.C. We discussed family, sports and music, music, music. There were songs from Quincy Jones, Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown and even Beyonce--my dad loves Beyonce's song "Love on Top", because he says it reminds him of songs female artists sang in the 70s. He gets a pass for that, because every time one of the other songs came on, my dad would have some type of accompanying story or memory with the song, which is why I wanted to put this list together in the first place. I wanted to learn, I wanted to talk, and mainly I wanted to be a son around my father. It sounds simple and borderline corny, but most of my life is about me being a manager at work, a father to my sons and a husband to my wife. Occasionally a brother needs a a change of pace and that time with my dad provided that.

Once we arrived at the Relays we turned into two track and field fans. We had our stopwatches out, we analyzed all of the relays, we talked to some of the folks around us, and of course we marveled at the thousands of Jamaicans in attendance--they come in droves every year and this year was no except, even without Usain Bolt in attendance. We saw Sanya Richards Ross, Justin Gatlin, Jeremy Wariner but sadly no Allyson Felix who my dad has a huge crush on. I realize most people aren't track fans, so hopefully one or all of those names look familiar, but if not I wouldn't be surprised. It was fun, and we sat in 60 degree weather for nearly four hours watching race after race.

On the way home, we talked a little about track and field, a little about Prince, but most of the ride was us talking about his favorite memories of his parents and the circumstances surrounding his divorce of my mother. It was deep and a little emotional at times, but it was exactly what I wanted out of a day trip. I love my dad and I still consider him to be my hero. And on a slightly less corny note, I highly suggest that everyone go on a road trip with one or both of their parents. It is truly a beautiful experience..

And now a selection from my dad's playlist: