Thursday, December 14, 2017

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (Is a Generous Heart)

ALL I WANT
FOR CHRISTMAS
(Is a Generous Heart)
_________________________

The words are biblical  from
Jesus himself. However, the
simple and pure message is
one everybody knows. In fact,
even some of the most hard-
hearted ogres subscribe to the
sentiment: It is more blessed
to give than to receive. 
_________________________

"Excuse me, sir. Do you work at this plaza?"

It was a warm Florida night, as this holiday season was revving up — and it was particularly dark out behind the shopping center. I was running late, prepping for my DJ shift at a nightclub tucked inside the strip plaza. In NO mood for nonsense or interruptions, I was approached by a young man on a bicycle as I retrieved my laptop from the front seat of my car, parked out behind the club. Having prefaced this engagement with, "sir," I knew the 20-something was ramping up to ask for money. Oddly, he wasn't. "I haven't eaten in days," he continued. "If your place of employment has a kitchen, could you please give me a slice of bread?" A slice of bread? Really? Clearly, this fella wasn't one of the area's resident panhandlers. The man was merely hungry  and desperate.

I was so moved by his seemingly honest transparency and genuine need, I couldn't just give him the standard, "Here's a buck, now go away donation." I only had a little cash on me, but I felt compelled to give him what I had. My newfound friend was so overwhelmed with gratitude, I thought he was gonna burst into tears, as I slipped him two crisp five-dollar bills. And I quickly pointed out a couple of nearby eateries where he could maximize his $10 budget.

I'll wager a bet that we've ALL "visited" places of need at some point during our lives — I sure have. And I recognize completely the comfort from receiving a "hug" — when it's needed most. As a result, I possibly felt blessed more by giving than my buddy did by receiving. The only problem was, I now wouldn't have enough on-hand scratch for gas to get home. Oddly, my tip jar overflowed literally that night — nearly $100. Funny how the generosity thing works sometimes.

_________________________

...You should remember the words
of the Lord Jesus: "It is more
blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35 (NLT) 
_________________________

A few nights later, I was approached by another guy, this time in the parking lot of my local Zip-E-Mart as I was scoring a couple of energy drinks to get me through that night's DJ shift. Carrying a hefty-sized duffel bag, he cut to the chase, informing me of how he had just been released from jail and was in need of "a couple of bucks." Was this hard luck story authentic? I didn't care. If it was simply some sketchy ruse, well, shame on him. The man appeared (to me) to be in genuine need, so I gave him my last $10. In return, he gave me a hug. In my mind, it was a fair exchange.

I've experienced several other opportunities throughout this Christmas season in which to be kind and compassionate. And every time I respond generously, I'm the one who seems to walk away feeling blessed. Note to self: The spirit of giving is pretty cool. I just hope this gift of a generous heart is one that won't be soon discarded along with the floral neck tie and the "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt from seasons past  — as I want to continue sharing it with others for years to come. 

-Christopher Long
(December 2017)

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Geezër - "Heavy Metal Xmas" b/w "Jingle Bells"

RECORD REVIEW
Geezër
"Heavy Metal Xmas"
b/w "Jingle Bells"
_________________________

Miami's #1 super-crunk, pop-punk
combo returns this holiday season
to carve out a super-crunchy and
extra-catchy chunk of yuletide glee.
_________________________

In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess openly to not being a big fan of holiday music. Don't get me wrong  I love the true Christmas classics. I'll take "Oh, Holy Night," "Away in the Manger," “O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Silent Night" and my personal favorite, "Little Drummer Boy" all year long. But it's the saccharine-laced, secular-style stuff — "Ruloph," "Frosty," "Santa Baby," etc. that makes me cringe — specially when force-fed such Twinkie-type tunes non-stop from pre-Thanksgiving until post-Christmas. YUCK! However, this year, I've taken to a particularly crunchy and catchy holiday single.

The new holiday classic from
Geezër - available NOW at CD Baby.

Many critics didn't know quite what to make of Geezër when the super-crunk, pop-punk combo broke onto the Miami club scene with their self-titled debut record in 2015. Since then, band has developed a fervent following — amassing a legion of loyal super-teen fans. 2016 saw the release of the band's acclaimed sophomore effort, Geezër II. And in 2017, they're back with a raucous Christmas single.

Geezër injects pure adrenaline into
this much-loved Christmas standard.
Following the recent death of original drummer, Victor Farnsworth, co-founding frontman Harvey Geezer, guitarist Leonard Geezer and bassist Calvin Sizemore vowed to move forward. They brought convicted street thug, gangsta back-up vocalist, Lil Shoogie and new drum recruit, Ms. J into the fold and cut a couple of new tracks, just in time for the holiday season.

A modern-day anthem, "Heavy Metal Xmas" smacks of authentic, hard core chaos, while their remake of the classic, "Jingle Bells" crushes even my personal disdain for secular holiday music. Mad props are also due to famed recording engineer, Brendon Paredes for keeping the energy high, and the guitars out front. Crunchy, indeed!

-Christopher Long
(December 2017)
_________________________

GET BOTH TRACKS
NOW AT CD BABY

_________________________



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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MY FAVORITE STUFF OF 2017

MY FAVORITE
STUFF OF 2017
_________________________

Simply put, 2017
was quite a ride.
_________________________

Despite saying "farewell" to a few friends and surviving another devastating hurricane, I also experienced a bounty of blessings this past year — I visited some cool locales, discovered a load of incredible new music, read a stack of compelling books and saw a couple of decent flicks. But most important, I connected (and re-connected) with a menagerie of amazing people. I hope you'll dig this little overview of my personal favorite stuff from 2017.

BOOK
Addicted No More
Jason Miller

A gripping personal story of addiction
and redemption, this memoir delivers
an enormous, life-changing payoff.


_________________________

FROZEN TREAT
Jesse Tanner Long's
Signature Ice Cream

There are few absolute truths in
this crazy world — one of which
is, EVERYBODY loves ice cream.
And EVERYBODY loves this
kid's unique line of frozen treats.


_________________________

DOG
Buddy

In 2017, this lovable Lab became
one of my most faithful friends
and trusted confidants. FYI, he
loves treats and hates squirrels.

_________________________

TV
New Girl

In the smelly locker room that
is network television, New Girl
remained a greatly-welcomed,
sweet-smelling air freshener.

_________________________

MOVIE
La La Land

I saw a bunch of movies this year.
Most of them sucked. This one didn't.


__________________________

CONCERT
Styx
REO Speedwagon
Don Felder

Boasting more bang for the buck,
this triple bill concert event was
brimming with hit song after hit
song. A spectacular production.


_________________________

RECORD
Jule Vera
Waiting on the Sun

Jule Vera is a golden gift from God.
Oozing infectious ear worms, their
long-awaited sophomore record
is my personal top pick of 2017.


_________________________

SONG
Doll Skin
"Sweet Pea"

A band can harness all the swagger in
the world, but if it ain't got songs, it
ain't got jack. Featured on their latest
poster chicks, Doll Skin, dropped a
doozie — my favorite song of 2017.


_________________________

VIDEO
The Fantastic Plastics
"She Don't Use Jelly"

I'm not saying my life would suck
But it sure would be A LOT less
"fantastic." And the duo's recent
video remake of the Flaming Lips
classic, was the most stimulating
clip of 2017.


_________________________

BAND
Bad Cop / Bad Cop

From the rib-cracking cords and catchy
choruses of their latest record to their
crushing performances while on the
recent Warped Tour, Bad Cop / Bad Cop
rekindled my rock and roll fire in 2017.
The undisputed "Band of the Year."


_________________________

LIFE EXPERIENCE
Forever Young
Summer Camp

As a dedicated member of the (non-
denominational) Central Life Church
ministry team, I possess a heartfelt
passion for young people. In fact, I've
now participated in six consecutive
summer youth excursions. Yep, nothing
keeps an old dude young quite like
speeding concentrated, quality time
with crazy teenagers. And last summer's
Daytona Beach outing proved to be a
particularly powerful experience.
_________________________


So, what's some of  YOUR favorite stuff from 2017?  Feel free to share in the "Comment" section below.

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)


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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THANKSGIVING 2017: The Top 10 Things for Which I'm Most Thankful This Year

THANKSGIVING 2017
The Top 10 Things for Which
I'm Most Thankful This Year
_________________________

My awesome son, my amazing
chick, people who hate me the
list of things for which I'm always
thankful is endless. However, I'm
particularly thankful for these ten
super-sized blessings in 2017.
_________________________

10
DANA LOESCH

Despite dropping ALL of my personal
political perspectives this year, I still
adore "The Conservative Alternative,"
Dana Loesch. I continue tuning in to
her wildly popular daily radio show
because the mere sound of her voice
beams sunshine into my soul. Plus, her
"Florida Man" and "Mailbag of Hate"
segments are freaking hilarious.

__________________________

9
PUMPKIN MAPLE FRITTERS
(AND COFFEE)

It's how I start EVERY day.
(Thanks, Cumberland Farms.)
__________________________

8
EMMA STONE

C'mon now — do I really have to
explain this one? Okay, Emma Stone
is a breathtaking delight to look at,
her talent is immeasurable and she
starred in two of 2017's best films
__________________________

7
CAULIFLOWER

When prepared properly, 
it's better than ice cream.
__________________________ 

6
GOOD BONES

After launching its second season,
I became hooked on Good Bones
in 2017. While the creative energy
between Karen and Mina is unique
and compelling, the mother/daughter
factor is super-fun and contagious.
__________________________

5
DEAD SERIOS

My award-winning troupe DEAD SERIOS
— we've (almost) done it all over the last
30-some years. We've played countless
shows together, created some amazing
music together, traveled together, done
drugs together, drank together — Ugh, I'm
SO glad that's NOT who we are anymore.
And after an extended hiatus, I'm thrilled
to have reconnected with these clowns
this year. 2018 will have no boundaries.
__________________________

4
BRENT JENSEN

Host of the acclaimed No Sleep Til Sudbury
podcast, Brent Jensen is a celebrated author,
music critic and speaker. He's also one of my
dearest friends. The value of our relationship
sunk in a little deeper this year as it dawned
on me how everything I know about being
cool and projecting mystique, I owe to Paul 
StanleyRuth Gordon and Brent Jensen.
__________________________

3
JESSE TANNER LONG'S
AMAZING ICE CREAM

Unique and delicious, this kid's
original concoctions will soon
revolutionized the ice cream biz.
Read all about it HERE.
__________________________

2
BAD COP / BAD COP

One of the last truly great, truly
authentic American rock bands,
I discovered this crunchy So-Cal
combo last spring. Simply put, I
love them as much as Skittles.
Thanks Jesus for Bad Cop/Bad Cop.
__________________________

1
CENTRAL LIFE
CHURCH

Central Life has been my (non-
denominational) church home
since 2014. And it's a blessing for
which I'm incredibly thankful.
__________________________

Okay, so I've shown you mine. Now it's your turn. What are YOU thankful for this year? Feel free to share in the "Comments" section below.

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

THE TOP TEN BEST RECORDS OF 2017

THE TOP TEN BEST
RECORDS OF 2017
_________________________

The "best" records of the year
is a subjective topic, to be sure.
Hence, this fun year-end wrap-
up reflects merely my personal
picks from the last 12 months.
_________________________

From rock, punk and various "core" sub genres to pop, country and all points in between, 2017 was truly a banner year for music. And as someone who is consumed by listening to music 24/7   particularly new music, determining my personal Top Ten this year was a daunting task, indeed. But after intense, careful consideration, I've accomplished my mission masterfully. Spoiler alert — I have extremely eclectic tastes.

10
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Echo Papa

I was crushed completely by the
2017 set from this indie darling.
You will be too.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

9
JOHN 5
AND THE CREATURES
Season of the Witch

One of rock's most innovative artists
of the last two decades, guitar ace
John 5 dropped a doozie last spring.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

8
SAVE FERRIS
Checkered Past

 Perennial ska poster chick Monique Powell
returned to Vans Warped Tour in 2017.
And along with the latest configuration of
her famed troupe, she also delivered a crisp,
concise and totally irresistible new EP.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

7
GRETA VAN FLEET
Black Smoke Rising

Simply put, this Michigan-based
powerhouse is the "Led Zeppelin"
for today's deprived young rock
crowd. And their debut EP was
truly an epic offering.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

6
KELLEY RYAN
Telescope

The latest from Kelley Ryan was a
surprise seduction when it arrived
a few months ago. And it's a "must"
for singer / songwriter aficionados.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

5
FASTBALL
Step Into Light

One of my all-time favorites,
Fastball knocked it clean out
of the park with their latest
batch of contagious ear worms.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

4
DOLL SKIN
Manic Pixie Dream Girl

When I say this scrappy combo is
the greatest American rock band
since Guns N' Roses, I mean it.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

3
BAD COP / BAD COP
Warriors

I love this band so much, I vomit
just thinking about them. Hmm,
I sure hope that's love. Anyway,
this is THE strongest straight-up,
pissed-off rock record of 2017.

 Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

2
LILLY MAE
Forever and Then Some

Forget about genres — Lillie Mae
is an artist of the highest order.
And her 2017 debut effort is
packed with impeccable songs.

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

1
JULE VERA
Waiting on the Sun

A superb band whose super-sweet
sophomore set did NOT disappoint.
ALL HAIL JULE VERA!

Read my official review HERE.
_________________________

So there you have it — my official 2017 Top Ten. I realize your results may vary. Hence, feel free to offer your personal thoughts in the "Comments" section below.

-Christopher Long
(November 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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