Monthly Archives: March 2011

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I was right there at 6:07

I’d like to return these things to their owners

Little Geek Shui amazes me

Little Geek Shui is eight going on nine. Last year, he taught himself to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. This evening, he wrote and created what you see below.

He had no help whatsoever….

Yes, that’s my son.



Kiss and Gene Simmons: The Hottest Show on Earth…led by a great husband and dad

I’m proud to say I’m old enough to remember Kiss from as far back as the early 1980’s, when they first hit the music scene. Granted, I was very young and had yet to learn how to write in cursive letters. For that matter, when they first went on tour in 1974, I was -2 years old. No, I wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind at that point.

My first recallable memory of them is from back when I was about five years old. Their music obviously fit the times, but, like many, I was captivated by their makeup and antics. As I grew older and developed actual musical likes and dislikes, they continued to grow on me. Yes, I was born a rocker, grew up a rocker, and, to this day, am still a rocker.

I can’t say that I’ve ever dressed up (or even had the urge to dress up) like Gene Simmons. I didn’t have dreams of being a rock star. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even own a Kiss t-shirt. No, I just like Kiss. I like their style. I like their music. As a man in his mid-thirties, I now like them for their sheer tenacity to remain relevant. Unlike so many other bands, Kiss has forged on. They never gave up their dreams. They may have had some hiccups along the way, but, like any family (be it a DNA-based or musical one), they kept on going.

[Kiss “Rock ‘N’ Roll All Nite”, San Juan, PR, March 12, 2011]

In the past several years, we’ve been fortunate enough to see another side of Gene Simmons, via A&E’s “Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels”. Like Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons let the cameras into his home to see how he lives on a day-to-day basis, how he interacts with his family, and how really is a pretty wacky guy. Yet, we also learned of a Gene Simmons who is a business genius. He took a dreamt up identity and cultivated into a multi-million dollar business. Through it all, he still seems to be a fairly normal guy, complete with weird quirks and a penchant for getting into some odd situations. Some of my favorite clips in the television series are the old home videos showing him with his common-law wife, Shannon Tweed, and their, then, two young children. It gave me the chance to see him in another, much more gentle light.

Instead of fans seeing “Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels” and feeling betrayed at the fact that he’s not in make-up and rocking 24/7, the opposite has happened. This is true for me, at least. When I first saw Kiss in concert back in 1999, I was impressed, of course, by a concert that doubled as a full-fledged show, complete with pyrotechnics, seizure-inducing lights, and a lot of fire. This time around, though, as I watched Simmons perform, I couldn’t help but think (just as I did when seeing Ozzy Osbourne in concert a few weeks ago) about the man behind the makeup.

This time, I felt more than musical respect for Kiss, and specifically Gene Simmons. I felt a kinship. No, I’m not rich or famous. I am a dad, though. I couldn’t help but wonder if, when the show was over, would he hurriedly take off the makeup and rush back to his hotel, to join Tweed or the kids for a late-night meal. Would they wake up him up at sunrise to make him go tour El Yunque (aka Caribbean National Rainforest)? Would they all go to the beach and, undoubtedly, tease him mercilessly for wearing SPF-110 sunblock and a huge hat? Of course, they may not have been with him at all, which means he quite likely would go back to his hotel room, call to say goodnight, and wish he was at home with them.

Yes, I may have ruined the image of the Hottest Show on Earth for some. For others, though, they’ll get the same feeling that I have. Kiss is more than just a great rock band that has endured for more than three decades. They’re people who managed to achieve oft-ruinous fame and fortune, yet forge a legacy that is much more important…that of a loving family man.

So today, I say, “Thank you, Gene. Thank you, Kiss.” You’ve given us a great music. You’ve given us a great show. You’ve created head thrashing memories that we’ll hold onto forever. Most importantly, though, you showed us that, above all, being a good husband and dad is what makes the whole show worth doing.

(Note: The above video is obviously not posted with the intention of stealing revenue from Kiss, especially since the video and audio quality are definitely not good enough for that. Moreover, it’s posted in tribute to a great man, great husband, and great father. That said, please don’t sue me, Gene.)

Brick oven pizza

Sunday afternoon in Old San Juan

A great place to sit and do a great deal of nothing.

Changing our perspective often changes everything

Sometimes a curve in the road brings an unexpected surprise

The sun sets on another beautiful day