Check out my latest product. It's my very own series of Under Armour shirts. They are in all the bookstores, and at Jewelry Warehouse. I know my signature is a little bit hard to read, but if you look closely you should be able to make out the M a r t y  S i m p s o n.

I know what you're all thinking. How did Marty get his own autographed series of Under Armour shirts? Well it's really simple. Just have an autograph that is fancy-smancy enough to be mistaken for Steve Spurrier's autograph... that's how.

The Price of Greatness...

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 0 comments
Recently, my 10 year old son, Walt, performed in his school's talent show, "Aviator Idol." (Named that way because his school is the "Round Top Aviators, - Where Learning Takes Flight.") For the show, he decided he wanted to rap Vanilla Ice's, "Ice Ice Baby," so I said, "sure."

At some point during his hours of practicing he said to me,

You know what would be really cool, Dad? If when I said, 'turn off the lights and I'll glow,' the lights went off and I had cool glow sticks stuck on me and I really glowed.

I immediately said,

I will make this happen.

I realize the rest of this story might make me sound like a "stage dad" who lives vicariously through his son, and to that I say you're missing the big picture. The big picture is that I'm a stage-dad who lives vicariously through his son AND daughter, but this story is only about my son.

I suggest watching the performance before continuing to read the rest of this as the remainder references many things in the actual video.

I wanted to write about this to let other parents out there know how much work is involved in a simple thing like creating a show-stopping performance at your 10 year old's elementary school talent show. Yes, that's why I'm writing this. As a service to other parents. Not to brag about my child's accomplishments... not at all. (But did you watch the video above?)

There are many moving parts in this equation. Some of them are outlined below, then elaborated upon below that. You may think these seem far fetched or ridiculous, but to that I say, each point below represents a few loose coins in a change purse, that when totaled, equals the price of greatness.

Some of the things that were orchestrated by Walt and me, in no particular order were:

  • Download the karaoke track
  • Remove all references to sex, drugs, alcohol, and guns.
  • Re-write lines that couldn't be edited out because of the song's structure.
  • Memorize lyrics.
  • Find great glow sticks.
  • Tape the glow sticks to Walt in a strategic, artistically cool way.
  • Choreograph dance steps to accentuate the glowing.
  • Make sure the auditorium could be blacked out all the way so the glowing effect would look amazing.
  • Make sure the light board operator was savvy enough to make the black-out happen at the right times.
  • Make sure we got it well videotaped so I could blog about it afterwards.
  • Go to the doctor and get a prednisone the morning of the show because Walt had a seal-bark cough and couldn't talk at 7:00 am.
  • Force Walt to take the most disgusting tasting prednisone in the world and watch him writhe in agony as he swallowed it in the McDonalds parking lot.
  • Watch Walt shove four McNuggets in his mouth at once to chase the prednisone.
  • Buy herbal tea and honey to sooth his throat all day while we played PS3 with each other instead of going to school.
  • Prioritize the talent show ahead of the school day so his voice would get the rest it needed to be able to perform, but still get a doctor's excuse.

If Round Top Elementary administrators are reading this blog, then I'm only kidding about those last two. (Also my wife had nothing to do with it either way... she had already gone to work before anything was decided.) If you are not from the administration of Round Top, then those last two are true.

There are other steps but this is a good start. If the above list seems too daunting for you, then just realize the following truth: Even if your kid is the most talented, he may never get the show-stopping moment he deserves. It takes more than just talent. It takes a border-line psychotic parent to be there along the way. From the look of the overall show, I would say there were definitely some other border-line psychotic parents out there because many of the acts were outstanding!

Below are some of the above bullet points with longer explanations.

Download Karaoke Track
I am a huge fan of The reason I like this site so much is they allow you to download multiple versions of your track. I downloaded three versions. One with all the instruments and vocals, one with all the instruments and only the back-up vocals, and then one with only the instruments. That way I could create one version for Walt's iPod so he could start memorizing it with the lead vocals, but I also had the freedom to edit verse lengths and chorus structures so we could remove the bad lyrics.

The editing of the multiple karaoke tracks necessary for rehearsal and performance probably took three hours. You might say, "Marty, that's crazy." To that I say, "It's a small price to pay for greatness."

Remove All References to Bad Stuff
"Girls were hot wearing less than bikinis," just didn't seem appropriate for this elementary school performance, so we needed to change that. Also the second verse is full of "gunshots, ranged out like a bell, I grabbed my nine, all I heard was shells (grammar error in lyric, not my writing) falling on the concrete real fast, jumped in the car, slammed on the gas."

So I told Walt, we had to remove any reference to gun violence and barely dressed women. He was fine with that. That's why we cut right to the chorus after "Beachfront Avenue!"

Re-Write Some Lines
At the end of the song we couldn't just cut two lines as it would create awkwardness in the run to the last chorus. The original lines use a swear word and a strong reference to drugs. "Other D.J.'s say, D***! If my rhymes were a drug I'd sell'em by the gram!"

These lines became "Other D.J.'s say, Wow! My rhymes are so good all the people will Bow!" Which Walt wrote himself.

We also changed the last line which reads, "Magnitized by the mic while I kick my juice," to "Magnetized by the mic, while I drink orange juice," because, honestly, I didn't know what "kick my juice" meant, but it just sounded bad enough to warrant the change.

You may say, "Marty, all this editing is so much work and trouble," to which I say, "It's a small price to pay for greatness."

Find Great Glow Sticks
This was easier than I thought. Wal-mart. Total glow stick budget including the ones used at rehearsals... $6.23. Seriously. I used the self-checkout lines to avoid the anxiety attack which is induced by interacting with any employee at Wal-Mart.

Tape the Glow Sticks to Him
This was easy too, but only because I own Gaffer's Tape. Gaff tape is so awesome for clothing because it doesn't leave that nasty residue all over you like duct tape does.

As for the design of the deal, we just stood in front of the mirror and taped them on one at a time trying to make it look like Tron pretty much. We had cracked a few the day before at rehearsal and had confidence that after they were cracked they would glow for at least six hours. This was an important part of the research. Also, in hindsight, Walt wishes he wore a black shirt instead of the white shirt. In our small bathroom the white shirt didn't show up in the pictures as seen below. But on stage the white shirt did show up. Oh well... no one's perfect.

The Most Important Piece in the Puzzle: The Light Board Operator
Instead of finding out if the light board operator was savvy enough to pull this off, I decided to go a different route. I volunteered to run the light board myself for the entire show. When I was a coach and teacher I never liked parents who brought me problems and then expected me to solve them. I loved the parents who brought me solutions as they presented problems! Therefore I decided to be a "solution" to the folks running the talent show. I knew they needed someone to run the board. My son needed it to be perfect. So I volunteered. Easy-peezy. Small price to pay for greatness.

Make Sure the Auditorium Could Be Blacked Out All the Way
This one was also easy. Just make sure your school has the coolest Vice Principal in the world. One willing to perform with his own son in the show and bring the house down. (I'm not the vice principal, even though it could sound like that based on this article.) The vice principal was the fantastic Mr. Sherman, who made sure all the house lights were turned out for me! (And he did so about fifteen minutes after his own standing ovation he got for performing with his son. The performance included him dancing "gangnam style" because his son pressed a button on a remote control! Mr. Sherman understands the price of greatness.)

Prednisone and Staying Home From School
Walt woke up with a horrible seal bark and could barely breath, much less talk. He gets croupy like this from time to time and I know the drill. He usually can't talk really well for a day or two. He rarely misses school for it, because he doesn't run a fever, but this time something had to be done.

My family pediatrician is amazing. I am not going to post her name and links because I didn't discuss this with her, but if you ask me who she is I will tell you! She explained to me that prednisone didn't take effect for 12 hours after taking it, but that if I wanted my son to have it she would write the script for it. AWESOMENESS! She went on to tell me that her own daughter swears it gave her voice back to her two hours after taking it, even though all the medical books say otherwise!

I have had shows when I had no voice because of a horrible sinus infection at noon, but my buddy, who is an ER doc calls the local pharmacy in Nashville (or wherever) with a horse's dose of steroids, and I can then talk like a champ six hours later. So I know the toils of the road and I wanted my son to have prednisone!

Prioritize The Talent Show Ahead of the School Day
This one is probably strange to some of you reading this, but I am serious. I believe school is a vehicle to instill something inside our children. Something that will last a lifetime. Maybe the history lessons or math equations stay inside their heads and maybe they don't, but the overall experience of attending school will stick with a child forever if done correctly. And let me tell you, the folks at Round Top Elementary in Blythewood, South Carolina, do it correctly!

Here is how I view it. My child has spent the last month of his life walking around the house after completing his homework rapping the lyrics to this song. He has spent every ride to baseball practice listening to his iPod play the edited karaoke track and performing the entire song for me in the car multiple times per ride. He has worked for a few hours planning his costume and orchestrating the glow stick idea. He has invested a ton of his emotional well-being into this ordeal.

I think at this point, this talent show has become significantly more important than attending school. I would never let my kid cut school just because he was in the show, but if going to school on this day possibly jeopardized his ability to perform, then you're dang right I will keep him home with me!

It All Came Together
It all came together for me in the McDonalds parking lot the morning before the show when Walt was forcing down 12 milliliters of liquid prednisone. Which, by the way, tastes like a mixture of sand, crushed dramamine pills, chalk, black licorice, liver, kitty litter, and boiled egg yolks.

As he teared up from the sheer smell and gutted down the last few sips, he coughed several times, jammed a few McNuggets in his throat, chewed them up and then drank a huge swig of sweet tea. When he could talk he said, "The price of greatness, right?"

I said, "Yes... yes it is."

I Get Paid More than Money...

Monday, March 04, 2013 1 comments
Sometimes when a comedian performs, he gets an additional payment he wasn't counting on. For example, I always take the free food offered by a venue. That way I feel like I got paid more. You know? And honestly, if it saves a 15 dollar tab at a place for wings and cheese sticks, it actually is like getting paid more.

One church I recently performed at took this to an entirely new level.  When I was on my way to the car, this nice lady asked if I wanted to take some left over red velvet cake with me. Out of habit, I blurted out, "Of course."

Below is what she came back with from the kitchen. And yes... yes I ate it all on the four hour drive home... in fifteen minute increments.

So I Started Working Out...

Monday, February 25, 2013 0 comments
So I recently started working out. After many months of doing the same work-out (pictured below) with no results, I decided to start really working out.


When I walk and jog, I really start sweating. This caused me to start a new blog topic... "What Marty's Sweat Blots Look Like."

I see a koala bear. Let me know if you disagree.

 Look for the new series... "Marty's Sweat Blots," coming soon.


My Live Tweet of the Grammys 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 0 comments

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I love me a good live event awards show! I usually take to Twitter during them, so if you get notifications on my Twitter account, I apologize!

Below is a highlight recap of some of what I tweeted during the show. Each tweet has some explanation, or a picture, or a video to put it in context. Keep in mind, each tweet was done live during the event. (The times on the twitter archive are off by 7 hours because of Twitter's archive service not being in the same time zone that I am in.)

They are chronological starting with the earliest tweets and going to the latest.

Tweet as Carly Rae Jepsen was recognized as the singer for "Call Me Maybe."

Scroll down in the frame to watch Adele's speech.

Tweeted as I watched Fun perform their song, "Carry On." Special effects included live rain on them while they performed... seriously. The video below should start right at the raining. If not, scrub to the 2:30 mark.

This was tweeted as I watched the below performance by the amazing Mumford and Sons. Skip to 2 minutes into it right where their heads start bobbing (It should automatically.) Or listen to an amazing song by Mumford and Sons.

The genius producers of the Grammys hyped Johnny Depp for over an hour. Literally every bounce to commercial started with, "And coming up, Johnny Depp to introduce Mumford and Sons."

Below is his entire appearance on the Grammys. It's only 19 seconds. Nothing else.

And I have two words for you Mr. Depp, "CUFF LINKS."

For some reason the Grammy producers thought it would be cool to start Timberlake's performance in black and white. I guess because it's a throw-back song. I tweeted this after Jay-Z took the stage.

To all my followers who have notifications turned on for me, I apologize for my Grammy bananza. Just know, I only really do this on live event award shows, and things like the Super Bowl. So you can turn your turn notifications back on... at least until the Oscars.

This was just as simple obversation from a Les Mis die hard fan! Below is my own version of One Day More, filmed with my brother and life-long friend, Will Hall, circa 1991.

This one is pretty self explanatory I think.

Noteworthy: This applies to comedians as well. Just ask @AKLAUGHS.

I heard these guys doing this song and just assumed it was named "No Church in a While." Turns out, it's "No Church in the Wild." Who knew? Not me.

This was the stand-out moment for me. Jay-Z made me laugh out loud when he said this into the mic in front of eveyrone about dude's hate shown below.
Image goes here.

Turns out this is a Bud Light commercial theme. Apologies to Bud folks. Here is a Youtube video of an example of one of them. I think the Sitar guy could be a subject of one of these, and I'm serious.

This one is also self-explanatory. This commercial creeps me out. The only way it could be worse is if Charlie Sheen were still on CBS.

I couldn't find a picture of this, but if you saw it you know what I mean.

If you don't understand this one, ask your black friend to explain it to you. I realize he may not be with you right now while you read this, but when you see him next time at work... ask him.

It was just always funny to me that after a person completely murdered their number, they were usually forced to then introduce someone joining them who was a much bigger star. Was it just me?

Tweeted this one during Jack White's performance.

The dude who won "BEST NEW ARTIST" literally said the phrase, "We've been doing this 12 years, so thanks!"

My daughter would not appreciate me making fun of One Direction, so I'll just leave this one alone. You can judge it on face value in the picture below.

This one should be self-explanatory. If not, google the phrase "Kanye and Taylor Swift."

When Prince announced the winners they acted more excited to shake Prince's hand than they did win the Grammy.

Just an actual observation.

All-time worst Grammy moment. The idea that this now shows up in a Youtube search next to "Tom Hanks Winning Oscar for Forrest Gump" just makes me sad.

Also, the internet is all a blaze with posts about how bad he sung the song. I am not referring to that at all. I'm talking about a dude singing a song to Forrest Gump. Seriously?

Here it is, if you can stand it.

Another self-explanatory one, I hope.

Video below which inspired the above tweet. Skip forward to minute 3:40 to see what I was talking about (If it doesn't automatically.)

Except during The Oscars... The Emmys... The Golden Globes... and probably The Super Bowl.

During this time of year everyone wants to make predictions on who will win the Super Bowl. I am here to tell you, that this year's Super Bowl champions will be the San Francisco Forty-Niners. The reason is simple. They are the only team left in the play-offs that has stripes down the middle of their helmets.

Here are some stats to prove my point. In the 46 Super Bowls that have been played thus far, 38 of them have been won by teams with stripes down the middle of their helmets. Only 8 times has a team won the Super Bowl and not had stripes down the middle of their helmet. New England won 3 of those 8, but oddly enough, all 3 of those victories came against other teams without stripes down the middle of their helmets. New England has NEVER beaten a team with a stripe down the middle of their helmet in the Super Bowl.

I don't count the Carolina Panthers as a striped helmet team since their double stripe doesn't connect all the way to the back of their helmet. (However, it's noteworthy to say that Denver does count. The difference for Denver is that their stripe does connect in the back and their original helmets had stripes before converting to the newer updated helmet which won them two Super Bowls. Also, counting Denver in the striped category helps my argument!)

There have been 20 Super Bowls which matched up one team with a striped helmet and one team without stripes. Only 3 of those 17 games have been won by the non-striped helmet team. The Chicago Bears beat the Patriots (in the old Patriot uniform which had stripes,) the Ravens beat the Giants, and the Bucs beat the Raiders. The 5 other times a non-striped helmet team has won the Super Bowl, it was versus another non-striped helmet team. St. Louis beat the Titans, The Patriots beat the Panthers, the Rams, and the Eagles, and the Chiefs beat the Vikings.

There are 11 franchises in NFL history who's teams have won more than one Super Bowl. Guess how many of those 11 franchises have stripes down the middle of their helmets. The answer is 10. Only the New England Patriots have won more than one Super Bowl AND had a helmet without stripes down the middle.

So you see, if you want to win the Super Bowl, the first thing you should do, is put at least one stripe down the middle of your helmet. And actually, stats would say to put only 1 stripe, since the Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls, with six, and they sport one thin yellow stripe down the middle. However, the teams who have won four or five each have three stripes. The 49ers and Cowboys each have five wins, and the Giants and Packers each have four.

The bottom line is the San Francisco 49ers are destined to win this year's Super Bowl since they are the only team left in the playoffs with stripes on their helmet. Especially if they go on to defeat the Falcons and play the Patriots. Remember, the Patriots have NEVER beaten a team with stripes all the way down the middle of their helmets in the Super Bowl. The Ravens have though, so if we see the 49ers play the Ravens, this game could prove to be an interesting match-up. (To say nothing to the fact that it would be the first time in NFL history that brothers squared off against each other as head coaches in the Super Bowl. Hey John, here's some advice... put stripes on your helmet before Super Bowl Sunday!)

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