The Witty Lizard

Ramblings of a grilling, drinking, black flag hoisting father and philosophical eclectic.

The Witty Lizard - Ramblings of a grilling, drinking, black flag hoisting father and philosophical eclectic.


I said I would get back to my personal madness later… It’s later.

I have really slid backwards lately. I’m drinking too much again and have generally been my old self, the one I don’t like (and no one else does either). I haven’t been able to figure out why. The divorce? The job? My relationship? I was really happy for like 6-8 weeks, then suddenly, not so much.

I don’t understand why I can’t be happy. I don’t understand why I went to a bar Monday night, it never leads to anything good. I just want to be normal again or at least as normal as I was 2 weeks ago. I should be happy, things are going well in my life (job, girlfriend, kids) but I can’t seem to grab on to happiness and make it last.

I am readingThe Heroine Diaries, Nikki Sixx’s first book. I’m really enjoying it, but holy shit he was fucked up. I will not pretend to be on his level, I’ve never done heroine. But I can relate to the premise of the book. The crazy shit we can do to ourselves as we sink deeper down the rabbit hole.

I thought maybe I was just sinking back into my head reading all the madness in Sixx’s book. But then I read a passage where he talks about Prozac saving his life and it occurred to me that I’ve been off my meds for days. I’m supposed to take them at bedtime but invariably, I’m out-of-town or just out and can’t remember to take them. So I took my pill this morning and I’ll be damned if I don’t feel a ton better. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe this time I can recover.

Hope I don’t fuck things up…

Friday Five

People I want to have drinks with, or people with whom it would be interesting to discuss life.

  1. Thomas Jefferson
  2. Winston Churchill
  3. Nikki Sixx
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. Mickey Mantle

Jefferson is the quintessential American for me. He could have done anything he wanted with his life and he chose to create a nation. He included naturalist, scientist, philosopher and entrepreneur among his hobbies. Unquestionably brilliant and in some ways tragically flawed, Jefferson wrote arguably the single most important manifesto of all time. I can’t imagine someone who would be more interesting, given his depth of knowledge, to sit down next to at the roadside tavern than Jefferson.

The man who is most responsible for the fact that this blog is not in German is Churchill. His reputation for drinking, carousing and womanizing earn him a place at my bar. Although, his skill as an orator is unmatched and is the reason I was initially drawn to the man. The “Blood, Sweat, Toil and Tears” and the “Never has so much been owed by so few” speeches, I could read them over and over. It would make for a helluva conversation I’m sure.

Nikki Sixx, the man should be dead…twice. Without a doubt, one of the greatest artists in a generation. He is a rock star, musician, song writer, writer and photographer. Oh and an addict. The brilliance and the flaws, these are the things I want to talk about. All of the men on my list have their demons, and so do I. If the struggle and the fall and the rise are to be the topic at this get together, who better than Sixx?

Apple. Is there much more that can be said? Steve Jobs is the technology icon of the computer age. I own Apple products (I’m using one now) and so do you, so does everyone. But any serious analysis of the company has to begin and end with Jobs. Various descriptions of him include innovator, druggie, genius, rebel, hippie and task master. I am continuously amazed by his company and the man. I would love to get a glimpse into his thought process.

The Mick. The Commerce Comet. Casey Stengel said, “He shouldn’t be this fast and this powerful. It’s very confusing.” He was terribly afraid of the bright lights of the Stadium. He was an alcoholic and a womanizer. But by all accounts, a he had a genuinely wonderful soul. That’s the thing that gets him to the bar, the dichotomy of the man.

Friday Five

My favorite American cities.

  1. New York
  2. New Orléans
  3. San Fransisco
  4. Chicago
  5. Dallas

I struggle with New York and New Orléans. Both incredible cities with rich history and culture. I have to choose New York because I’ve been there more than any city on my list (except Dallas), almost ten times. I know New York. Where to go, how to get around, what to do, what not to do… I have all these things figured out. I even have a favorite bar, McCoy’s on 9th avenue between 51st and 52nd. I always go to McCoy’s when I’m in town. It’s a wonderful little Irish pub. The barkeep speaks with a heavy Irish brogue as though she recently arrived in town, although with knowledge of the city only a local would have. And I’m quite sure the 3 guys in the corner booth last time I was there are mobsters from the old days of Hell’s Kitchen. Sports, food, music, bars, and theater are among the best in the world.

New Orléans is my second favorite for the pure debauchery of the place. OK, I know, it’s not always about drinking and carousing, but damn, it’s NOLA. The history and culture of the place is so unavoidable that the city oozes with it. The river, the architecture, the food, the music, how can you not love New Orléans?

Number three is a recent addition to my list. I had not been to San Fransisco until a summer trip in 2010, I instantly fell in love with the city. I’ll admit that I haven’t done much past the usual tourist stuff, Alcatraz, the Mission, the Golden Gate. But the vibe of the place is incredible, reminds me of NOLA in that way, and I can’t wait to make a return trip.

My dad, that’s Chicago for me. We have taken 4-5 trips there over the years to watch baseball. I have taken trips to baseball games with him since I was about 10 and Chicago has been our top destination. It is an incredible sports town. Plus, the bar scene and the food are top-notch.

Dallas… What to say except I grew up not far from there, I lived there as an adult for 12 years, and I still live close enough for a quick road trip. It is my town. And for travelers, it offers all the same things any major city offers except public transportation. Like any city, if you know what you’re doing, it has great bars, great food, sports and culture.

There you go, my favorite American cities.

Damn, I need to catch a plan….



Stuff About Me and This Blog

This blog started in a different format a little over a year ago, albeit in a different form. It started shortly after my mother died at 59 of the most “curable” form of cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancer blows, but that is for another post on another day. The thing that happens when you are faced with one of the most difficult times of your life is you find out real quick who your real friends are. I know that sounds cliché but if you are ever there you’ll find out I”m right.

So, it turns out that the few people who actually care about me were all still in my home town. You know, that place that you spend your entire youth trying like hell to escape. Well, I escaped, or I thought I did… I spent 12 years in the big city and had no intentions of ever returning. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum… My marriage fell apart and my mother got sick. I’m not real sure which happened first or how one is related to the other, but they happened roughly the same time about 4 years ago. It was obviously the most difficult thing (s) I had ever endured.

It then became clear that the people I had worked with in said big city for 10 years didn’t give two shits about me. At least not deeply and spiritually, oh they like me but didn’t like my angry, loud, and obnoxious ways. Those things only bothered them because they affected them… What would people say? Would he lose it at work? Would he shoot someone? WTF is going to happen to me if I’m to close to him? You know, the lizard…

Not one of them ever asked about my mom, never asked about what was going on in my world. That probably sounds selfish and I guess it is, but I spent every day for almost 2 years in a hospital room with my dying mother. Seems to me like the people you spend every day with might ask occasionally. And what put it in perspective for me was the fact that those people from home asked almost daily. Why were people I hardly talked to for 15 years (or more) more concerned than the people I spent everyday with for the better part of 10 years?

Anyway, my mother died on September 20, 2010 and from that moment on, things began to come into focus for me. I made 2 decisions on or about that day.

  1. Get the hell out of there (and move home).
  2. Find happiness.

So the first one is done. I have returned home. I get to see my dad on a regular basis. I get to see my friends all the time. It’s a good time in my life from the standpoint of not dealing with people who don’t care about me and I don’t trust.

The real trick is number two on the list. When I talk about happiness, I talk in relative terms. I was miserable for a long time. Ultimately, the idea is true happiness. Intrinsically happy. Happy because of the people in my life. Happy because of how I feel about myself. But that is still a work in progress. The plan is to work toward that ideal everyday.

Thus, I embark on a journey for true happiness. I will fight the lizard brain inside me. This is the journey for great food, good drink, real friends, and adventure.

Hang on for the ride because I have no idea where we are going…..