Friday, October 28, 2011


I Am The "Creepy" Guy!

I recently had the
pleasure of traveling
to Orlando to cover
the opening night
performance of the
Family Force 5
"It's All Gold"
tour at the ultra-hip,
downtown nightspot,
The Social. My official
review is now live

As I stood outside the club, fumbling for my I.D., I noticed that I was getting all sorts of odd looks from the throngs of teenagers standing in line. I quickly recognized these uncomfortable-looking grimaces — I'd noticed them before. Then it dawned on me. Oh no! Say it ain't so! I was immediately hit with a startling revelation. I had become that guy. At (almost) 50, I realized I was now no longer a card-carrying member of the hipster scene. What happened? I used to OWN that bandwagon! Flaunting my unique, fun and fabulous fashion sense and having a lifetime's worth of "insider" show biz experiences, I was (in my mind) still the "cool" guy. But I'd seen this look on too many young faces lately. The verdict was in — I was now officially the "creepy" guy!

See - I'm NOT "creepy!" (Am I?)
We've all seen that guy. He's the one trying to look hip, but (very) clearly hasn't been since probably back in '89. He hangs out at cutting edge, youth-oriented events (typically by himself) — events which he's WAY too old to be attending, but believes that he still fits in — completely oblivious to the fact that teens become disturbed and parents panic and take their children's hands as he approaches.

Yikes! The "creepy" guy? Really? That's not me... right? After all, I was to meet up with my 14-year-old niece, Megan at this show. That would certainly dissuade everyone's anxieties — including the doorman, who also appeared to be creeped-out by my presence. If the perception is that you're somebody's "uncle," then you're "cool" for accompanying a young person to a show. But the longer it took for Megan to arrive at the club, the more dirty looks I received. "Oh hurry up," I said to myself over and over, as I stood waiting outside The Social. Certainly by hanging out together, she'd quickly eliminate my "creepy" factor.

Me and Megan, after the
 Family Force 5 show.
Finally, Megan arrived — just as Family Force 5 was taking the stage. And it was an awesome concert, to be sure. The band rocked, we had a blast, no cops were dispatched and by the end of the night I was back home, cranking up my Foreigner 8-tracks and alphabetizing my Mary-Kate and Ashley video- tape collection. See, I'm not so old or creepy after all!

-Christopher Long
(October 2011)

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Monday, October 24, 2011

ERIN BURNETT: The Hottest Chick Ever?

The Hottest Chick Ever?

I was asked by a longtime friend and business associate, named Jeff, to house-sit for him last week while he went on an action-packed, fun-filled  trip to Las Vegas with his girlfriend. At first, I thought that this merely was to be the typical, bring in the mail, pick up the newspaper, care for the pets-type gig. But given the almost parent / child dynamic of the relationship between Jeff  and his dog, Bandit, I discovered that this commitment would require me practically to move into his house for ten days until he returned home to Florida in order to offer Bandit near 'round-the-clock care and attention. Since Jeff and I only live a few blocks from each other, I reasoned that although there would be a bit of an inconvenience factor involved, the proposition was certainly doable. Plus, the money Jeff was offering me was pretty appealing. Yeah, I know, we are friends, but as I said, we are also business associates. And accepting his generous financial offer made sound business sense.

I had TV capability disconnected from home years ago — simply put, it was becoming a service that I perceived as being just too dumb to pay for. (Have you SEEN TV lately?) What TV viewing I have experienced at other places in recent years is usually limited to news-related programs. In fact, I frequently stay up late at my girlfriend's house, bouncing back and forth between MSNBC for its comedic value, CNN for general info and FOX for the truth.

I first recall noticing a particular young woman a few years ago co-hosting the CNBC business program, Squawk on the Street — her name was Erin Burnett. As someone whom I will respectfully describe as a rather "fetching" anchor, this foxy brunette with sparkling blue eyes and pristine white teeth soon began making random appearances on MSNBC's Morning Joe program — I was intrigued.

I love when Erin is feeling feisty!
The coolest aspect about staying at Jeff's house was that he has  a 950" TV, and the picture is crystal clear. As I surfed through  1,500 channels (Jeff goes for the deluxe satellite service) on my first night, I came across a slew of my favorite news shows. And then, there she was — in full-on, wall-to-wall, HD glory — Erin Burnett, hosting her new CNN program, OutFront.

On my girlfriend's 27" TV, this 35-year-old Maryland native is a stunning beauty, but on Jeff's mega-set, I quickly recognized that Erin Burnett is a goddess — perhaps the hottest chick EVER! Simply put, Bandit wasn't the only one sitting on the couch drooling.

And here's the kicker — she's really smart too. In fact, she uses such big and fancy words that Bandit and I typically curled up in front of the set with our respective treats and a handy thesaurus, just to keep up — I love a woman who can challenge me!

But be sure that my feelings for Erin are genuine and pure, and should not be confused with my obsession with Susan Dey in the early 70s, my affection for Debbie Gibson in the late 80s or my fascination with the Olsen twins throughout the 2000s. No, I'm sure that this is the real deal!

When Erin is happy — I'm happy.
I am concerned, however. Although Erin now flaunts a fabulously fresh, darker-sheen, shoulder-length coif, I noticed that her online promo photos only represent her early, slightly less fabulous look. To that I offer her an open invitation to come to Florida and allow me to set up a proper photo shoot with my longtime professional personal photographer. Heck, even if CNN is too cheap to foot the bill, I'll gleefully pony-up for the session my- self, if that's what it takes to update and expand my now daily Google search options!

But even the "old" Erin is a pretty darn steamy look and my only real dilemma now is how soon I can get Jeff out of town so I can house-sit again. But this time, I'll offer him my service, free of charge, because we are, after all, friends.

-Christopher Long
(October 2011)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

THE SHOWDOWN IN VEGAS: Bachmann - "Taking Care of Business"

Bachmann -
"Taking Care of Business"

The biggest advantage Barack
Obama has over the current
crop of GOP Presidential
contenders is that by running
unopposed for the Democrat
nomination, he doesn't have
to endure initial intra-party
mud that is currently being
slung by Republicans vying
for their party's nomination.
While Mitt Romney and Rick
Perry exchanged a barrage of
personal insults at last night's
Republican debate, President
Obama (for now) has the
advantage of standing back and
at least appearing Presidential.

Like many pre-primary showdowns over the years, last night's Republican event in Las Vegas was less of a debate and more of a high profile, last gasp commercial for candidates considered to be "dark horses" and to offer a knockout opportunity for the perceived front-runners. Ultimately, I don't believe that either objective was accomplished.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum administered a few significant jabs, however, he failed to harness a (much-needed) "Hermanator-like" opportunity.

Following what some consider to have been a couple of lackluster recent debate performances, Texas Governor Rick Perry needed to appear strong, confident and "Presidential" in order to regain his "mo." He accomplished neither  unless you believe that appearing mean-spirited and bullying one's opponent is indicative of being strong, confident and Presidential.

Former Massachusetts Governor and longtime GOP favorite Mitt Romney also failed to the "close the deal." And although he walked unscathed to a degree and in my mind ultimately will get the nomination, certain demon issues such as immigrant lawn workers likely will continue to haunt him throughout the campaign.

Businessman Herman Cain has surprisingly soared recently in the polls, due in part to his controversial "9-9-9" tax plan. However, under closer scrutiny, that plan is seemingly becoming less appealing. And with his rambling about "apples and oranges" last night, Cain just may prove to be this year's "Ross Perot"  hot for a moment, only to fizzle out further down the road.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul continued laying out specifics regarding his bold vision for the nation's future. However, despite the initial appeal of Paul's rhetoric, the perception remains in the minds of many that his message is simply too radical to connect with mainstream America.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich came off calm, cool, knowledgeable and very "Presidential." Unfortunately, perception is reality. And in politics, as with all other aspects of show-biz, perception is of paramount importance. In the 2008 Presidential race, Republicans nominated an experienced political leader and American hero. Unfortunately, when compared side-by-side with his young, svelte, rock star-like opponent, the perception of John McCain was that of a pasty, out-of-touch, old white guy. I doubt the GOP will want to relive that 2008 experience. 'Nuff said.

(President-elect Michele Bachmann!)
As for Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Congresswoman appeared strong, confident and experienced. She was focused on the issues without slinging mud and she too remained calm and cool throughout the two-hour face-off. In short, while the boys threw rocks and engaged in name-calling, Bachmann looked and sounded VERY "Presidential."

So who won last night's debate? Sadly, given the nasty bickering and back-biting among the candidates, I'd say that Barack Obama won hands-down!

-Christopher Long
(October 2011)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011



My son Jesse turns 18 this
week! And while others in
his life are planning a
foolhardy celebration, I
find myself reflecting on
what a blessing he's been
to me, how proud I am of
him, how I miss those
"little guy" days and the
genius of Harry Chapin's 
"Cats in the Cradle."

I never wanted a child. The notions of a baby’s non-stop crying, midnight feedings and dirty diapers were offensive to me. And I was simply unwilling to put anyone else’s needs before my own selfish ambitions. However, I did a complete 180° about face regarding parenthood the instant my wife at the time, Trish, came home from her gynecologist in early 1993 with the big news, “I’m pregnant!"

Trish and I immediately began renovating our apartment together — painting the walls, child-proofing cabinets and transforming the one-time guest room into a brand spanking new nursery — in anticipation of our new "roommate." 

A child arrived just the other day.
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while there was a way.
(From "Cats in the Cradle"
Written by Harry Chapin)

Me and Jesse, a few days after
he arrived home from the
hospital in October 1993.
Everything about Trish’s pregnancy seemed to be a breeze. She experienced very little morning sickness and she gained hardly any weight. And on October 5, 1993, the night our son Jesse was born, Trish was in actual hard labor for only about an hour. In fact, I joked that the baby came so quickly and effortlessly that she didn’t even smear her typically immaculate, Stryper-like make-up.

And I can honestly say that he's been a joy, every moment. Oh sure, we had to come to a few "understandings" along the way, but beyond that, it's been a snap!

Christmas 2004
We've been through a lot together over the years — scraped knees (some were his), father and son vacation adventures, daily commutes to school, our weekly grocery shopping trips, countless late night movies, Orlando Magic basketball games, girlfriends (some were mine) and even a few  hurricanes. And I wouldn't change a thing — except I wish we'd spent even more time together! 

My son turned ten,
just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the
ball, Dad. C'mon, let's play."
"Can you teach me to throw?"
I said, "Not today.I got a lot to do."
He said, "That's okay."
(From "Cats in the Cradle"
Written by Harry Chapin)

Today is the day that I never thought would arrive. But cliches typically become cliches because they're true. And the guy who first said, "They grow up so fast," was absolutely on-point. And as my son prepares to graduate with honors from high school in the spring, I now find myself asking, "Where did the years go?"

(Photo: Kevin Roberts)
I certainly wasn't always the greatest father, but Jesse was, and still is, always the greatest son — and my best buddy. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have anyone to vent to regarding those darn Libs!

It's ironic that as Jess was growing up, I was frequently so caught up in my own personal "stuff," that I didn't always make time for him the way I should have. Conversely, with all of his teenage priorities — school, band, girls etc., I'm now the one who has to fight for his time.

And as I hung up the phone,
 it occurred to me
he'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
(From "Cats in the Cradle"
Written by Harry Chapin)

Doggone that Harry Chapin — he gets me every time!

-Christopher Long
(October 2011)

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