|News & Editorial Archives, 2009
► Single Women, Watch
Out For the "Nice Guys"
Sunday, Dec. 27,
It happens far
too often -- a girl meets an extremely nice, thoughtful,
gentle guy and falls in love. The guy, however, is not interested in a
commitment and won't admit it because he knows he'd lose the
companionship of the girl. Instead of doing the honorable thing by
being truthful with her from the beginning, he misleads her into
thinking they are in a bonafide relationship.
In recent months,
some of my female friends have been hurt by these
so-called "nice guys" and were left anywhere from a little peeved to
outright devastated. I am sick and tired of seeing my female friends
get hurt by guys this way, so I'm going to use my forty years of
experience as a single man to dispel some myths and offer some helpful
information to all of you single women out there. There are secrets you
need to know about the psyche of these "nice guys" that have been left
unsaid for far too long. I hope you can use this information to better
- MYTH #1: Kindhearted, gentle, sensitive men are
too aloof to know they have those attractive qualities.
Men who have
dating experience are acutely aware of what it is about them that
attracts women, whether it's their appearance, personality, or a
combination of both. This also applies to men who you'd never imagine
would hurt a fly because they seem to be so innocent, naive, and
sensitive. If they have any experience with dating, then you can be
assured they already know that it's their innocent, gentle personality
that attracts women. This, in itself, is not a problem. It only becomes
a problem when the man uses his seemingly-innocent personality to
deceive women into thinking that they've actually found an innocent man.
- MYTH #2: "He's the sweetest guy I've ever
known. He's just searching for the right person. He wouldn't hurt
anyone. Believe me, he's not a player!"
I hope you're
right, but you need to be aware that the most thoughtful, caring,
sensitive, gentle, and generous of men -- the last people on earth
you'd think would take advantage of women -- could be just as capable
of doing it as any other man on the street. I'm not trying to scare you
by saying the sweet guy next door is probably a womanizer. Chances are
he's not. It's just that sometimes the ones who cause the most
emotional damage come in the most deceiving packages you could ever
- MYTH #3: Only guys who go out looking to pick
up women are dogs.
who attract women can sometimes go throughout their whole dating life
without ever having to ask a girl out. Unfortunately, this can give the
guy a twisted sense of absolution. How many times have you heard the
excuse, "Hey, she came on to me."? If a man does not actively pursue
women, yet misleads women who fall in love with him, he is a dog.
"Nice guys" are
not inherently mean people. They are every bit as
sensitive, gentle, and caring as they seem. They'll go to church,
volunteer at the homeless shelter, mow your lawn, fix your car, take
you to dinner for your birthday, and treat you like queen, and all of
those are genuine characteristics of their personalities. Their one
huge flaw, however, is that they are so needy for intimate
companionship, if you offer it to them, they will take it even if it
means deceiving you into thinking you've entered into a normal,
The man will keep
the relationship like this going for as long as it
continues to work for him. He will keep you around for companionship
until either you wise up and break it off, or a more attractive
opportunity presents itself to him.
there is no surefire way to know if the guy you like is
truly a nice guy who's interested in you for a relationship, or a "nice
guy" with a dark side who wants to use you. However, here are a few
signs to watch out for:
- Has he ever told you, in no uncertain terms,
whether or not he loves you? "Nice guys" often share an unusual trait:
they twist and bend the truth instead of lying, because they believe
that things left unsaid will somehow absolve them of all responsibility
when the girl finds out the truth. A "nice guy" will never outright lie
and say that he loves you or wants to commit to you if he doesn't.
Instead, if you ask him, he will give you a vague response in his most
sincere voice, "Gosh... I mean, I really like you.. I just... I really
love being with you, and... well... I just think we need to spend more
time together... ". By giving you an answer like this, he will
accomplish three things: he will avoid lying to you, he will avoid
telling you that he does not love you, and he may further captivate you
with his sensitivity.
- "Nice guys" will also avoid admitting they
want a commitment by playing the pity card and turning the conversation
around. In their sincerest voice and maybe while welling up a few
tears, they'll say something like, "I really like you. it's just that..
well... my last relationship ended badly. She didn't believe in honest
communication, and I just don't want to end up in a relationship like
that. And I'm so busy with my job, it wouldn't be fair to you..." "Nice
guys" are masters at this charade, and can hold your hand and look you
square in the eye while they pull it off.
If you need
to know how a man feels about you, sit him down,
hit him point-blank with specific questions, and accept nothing less
than very concise answers. If you are persistent enough, he will
realize that you have caught him at his charade and hopefully give up
the game. If he continues to give you vague answers, it then becomes
your responsibility to determine how you want to proceed with the
relationship. If you stay with him and get hurt, you become partly to
- Is he as affectionate toward you in the company
of his friends as he is in private? Guys who deceive unsuspecting women
will attempt to keep those relationships hidden from their peers.
this: Hook up
with him at a place where he is likely to be around a lot of people who
know him, such as a party or reunion, especially where there might be
mutual friends of yours. Put your hand in his or give him a kiss on the
lips. If he becomes noticeably uncomfortable by trying to hide your
hands from his friends, or he can't reciprocate a kiss, then you know
he has been using you all along. "I don't like public displays of
affection" is not an excuse, because if you were a supermodel, trust
me, he'd have no problem with it. And "I wasn't brought up to
express my feelings" is not an excuse, either, because if he's
affectionate with you in private, what's his excuse for suddenly
abandoning it in public?
- Has anyone ever warned you about him?
Unfortunately, love is so blind that a girl smitten by a "nice guy"
usually cannot fathom that he could have a dark side, even when friends
of hers (and sometimes even his) are adamantly warning her about him.
warnings no matter how unbelievable they may seem, and proceed with
caution. You don't have to outright dump the guy, but listen to what
your friends are saying, especially if their stories are similar. At
the very least, watch for the warning signs and remain extra guarded.
Also, have you noticed if any of his single, female friends have
suddenly stopped coming around?
- Are his words matching his actions? Remember
when I said that "nice guys" feel absolved of any wrongdoing for things
that were never specifically said? To clarify this point, they think
that as long as they don't specifically say "I love you," or "you're my
girlfriend," they have carte blanche to mislead you in every other
possible way and it won't be their fault for hurting you.
If a man cannot
verbally express in no uncertain terms that he loves you, then DO NOT
assume he does. Don't let a man's actions deceive you, no matter how
convincing they seem. There's a fine line between believing a man loves
you and knowing it.
I didn't write
this article to take hope away from single women. We all
know that dating can be discouraging, but there are guys out there with
honest hearts who would never intentionally hurt a girl. It can take
quite some time to find the right one, but good guys are out there.
Present From Kittling; A Story You'll Find Too Hard To Believe
Sunday, Dec. 20,
Today would have
been Kittling's 17th birthday. To honor her memory, my
mom and I each donated $50 to a local cat shelter. I spent about
fifteen minutes at that shelter today, where many cats made me feel
welcome. I knew that if I ever felt the need to adopt a new cat, I'd
have a place to go. Still, I always felt that if I ever took in a new
cat, it would be because the cat sought me, just like Kittling did
seventeen years ago. On a cold, Winter day, she wandered into the
parking lot of a rural, Wisconsin dance hall (then known as the Cedar
Creek Inn) where I happened to be playing. That's how Kittling and I
Today, I was
playing at another rural, Wisconsin dance hall -- Prairie
Lanes in Markesan. As I was carrying my drums into the hall, I couldn't
believe my eyes. A cute, black kitten came wandering up through the
parking lot to where the band and I were unloading our cars. Instinct
took over, so I cautiously approached the kitten. It scooted away, but
after I got my drums into the hall, I went around the side of the
building, found the kitten, carefully approached it, and finally the
kitten let me pick it up. I could see that it was a stray, but that it
also was living in a shed adjacent to the building where it had a
little cardboard shelter with food and water. Instead of putting the
kitten into my car, I let it go into the shed and decided to inquire
about the kitten inside the dance hall.
Clyde (of Bonnie
& Clyde's Polka Palace, located inside Prairie
Lanes) said the kitten suddenly showed up about a month ago and began
hanging around the dance hall. He and Bonnie set up a little shelter
inside the shed and provided the kitten with a heated pad so that it
wouldn't freeze. (Their efforts undoubtedly saved the kitten's life.) I
expressed an interest in the kitten and asked if they would consider
giving it to me for adoption. Both Bonnie and Clyde were happy to see
it go to a safe, warm home. After the band job, Clyde coaxed the kitten
out from the shed and plunked it right into my arms.
A young family
member of theirs gave the kitten the name of Snickers.
She requested that the name not be changed, so, to respect her wish,
the name will stay. Right now, Snickers is at my mom's house while I'm
busy making my home cat-safe.
Without a doubt
in my mind, Snickers was a Christmas present from
Kittling. Kittling must have felt that I was ready to share my home
with a new cat, even though I'm still deeply saddened by her loss and
quite apprehensive about taking this big of a step so soon. She also
knew that I would never turn down a stray that found me the same way
she did. I have no doubt that Kittling -- my beloved angel in heaven --
picked her birthday on which to guide this cold, hungry kitten right to
me, knowing I'd recognize it as a sign of her work.
In the days to
come, I will be taking Snickers into the vet for a
thorough exam. I'm still not sure what gender Snickers is, so once we
get that established, he/she will eventually be spayed/neutered and
then vaccinated. Then it's on to living the good life in a warm, cozy
home for what will be the first of many, many years to come.
Thank you, Bonnie
and Clyde. But most of all, thank you, Kittling.
Dec 22: A few people who knew Snickers at the dance
hall have emailed to express how happy they are to see that he has
found a new home, so I thought it might be a good idea to share with
everyone exactly what kind of home he has found. Because of how spoiled
my Kittling was, Snickers has inherited a gold mine of luxuries:
climate -- the thermostat stays at 70 degrees
* Electric heat
pad for extra warmth
* Clean, sanitary
air, supplied by two HEPA air purifiers
* Fresh running
water, supplied by a Drinkwell Platinum fountain
* Six-foot tall,
custom-built, carpeted house with spiral staircase
* Plush cat bed
and sheepskin window perch
* Box of over 250
toys -- everything from pom-pom balls to
remote-controlled, motorized mice
Perhaps best of
all, Snickers is going to receive a lifetime of healthy
food and tasty treats, the best veterinary care available, a grandma
(who loves to spoil!) to babysit for when I am away, and, of course,
all the love and affection a cat could ever want. Snickers' new-patient
examination is scheduled for Christmas Eve, although I can already
assure you all that this is one healthy, very happy cat!
Dec 24: It's a boy! The doctor also estimated
Snickers to be 4 1/2 months old, so I counted back on the calendar
exactly 4 1/2 months from today, which puts Snickers' birthdate on
August 10th, 2009.
► Tom the
Human Satellite Tracker
One night in 2006
after a recording session, I was standing out in my
driveway with Carol and Dennis from the Carol & the Keynotes band.
Noticing how clear the sky was, I asked if either of them had ever seen
an orbiting satellite. I pointed upward to demonstrate how fast they
move overhead, but at exact the spot I happened to be pointing was an
actual satellite in orbit. Now here's where it gets freaky...
Later that year,
I was standing in the driveway with my friend Kim
after a recording session. I told her about that odd coincidence that
happened earlier that year when Dennis and Carol were there. I
explained how I randomly pointed to a spot in the sky and happened to
point right at an orbiting satellite. Just for fun, I did it again...
and it happened again! I pointed to a random spot in the sky, and
another satellite happened to be passing overhead right where I was
pointing! Now this is where it gets downright scary...
At 5:45 this
morning, I was awoken by a pack of neighborhood dogs
fighting near my bedroom window. Unable to get back to sleep, I noticed
how clear the sky was and thought of how cool it would be to spot an
orbiting satellite, since the time was right. For a few seconds, I
reminisced about those two, odd circumstances that I mentioned before.
And once again, for fun, picked a random spot in the sky. Not five
seconds later, right where I was looking, it came into view -- the
International Space Station.
► Tom Brusky
Band Receives $1,500 Bail-Out Package
The decrease in
support of polka music, coupled by the tanking economy,
proved to be too much for our band earlier this year. Our last
quarter's profits were down 18%, which is the sharpest decline we've
experienced since the live music recession of 1993. Faced with certain
bankruptcy, we contacted the United States Department of Performing
Arts and applied for a bail-out. The application process took more than
two months from start to finish. During that time, the DOPA thoroughly
reviewed our financial records and determined that $1,500 would bring
us out of debt and sustain us through the next two quarters. So far, so
Of course, the
bail-out came with a few stipulations. I had to sign a
contract under executive order from the President of the United States
declaring that our band restructure. Apparently the National Pastime
& Heritage Coalition had been lobbying the government for years to
mandate the downsize of polka and other ethnic bands across the country
by one musician. Somehow they calculated that the ratio in live
entertainment income and the lowered band expenses would spread wide
enough for polka and ethnic entertainment to become economically
self-sustaining by June of 2010. Although we're not pleased about being
told how to run our band, we didn't have much of a choice.
We want you to be
assured that this restructuring, so far, only affects
ethnic bands that have applied for bail-outs. A complete list of bands
is on the DOPA website, but here are some of the polka bands I
Tom Brusky Band
Happy Henry &
Ronnie Tercek Band
Dynaco & Co.
John Gornicki Band
Button Box Club
John Gajewski Band
Polka Push Power
Jolly Roger &
Joe LaBotz Band
Dutchmen of Swing
Walt Lesmann Orch.
Silver Fox Revue
Dottie & the
These polka bands
are among hundreds of ethnic bands facing the
executive order to downsize. However, in my opinion, it is only a
matter of time before President Obama begins assuming a larger portion
of control over the live entertainment industry in America. He's
already working on running the banking industry, the automotive
industry, and now the entertainment industry, one polka band at a time.
Don't be surprised if, within the next decade, you're paying taxes just
for listening to the radio... all because polka bands like mine were
forced to apply for a government bail-out. Sadly, you'll probably be
paying those taxes sooner than I can wish you a happy April Fool's Day.
► When Things
Don't Work Out
February 14, 2009
experience of being human involves making mistakes.
Sometimes those mistakes aren't exactly unintentional, because as
humans, unfortunately, we're also capable of using poor judgment. When
poor judgment results in someone else's loss of money, property, or
quality of life, we have the legal system to iron out the situation.
But what can you do to prevent such situations from going that far?
I believe there
is one, major reason why there are so many disputes in
the polka world. Polka people, by nature, are set in their ways.
There's nothing wrong with that, but if two people don't agree with
something, rather than try to understand the other's point of view,
they fire up a defense mechanism and vehemently stick to their "I'm
right and you're wrong!" attitude. If neither party can set aside their
stubbornness, the dispute can escalate to the level of animosity. At
that level, the only communication between the two parties has been
eroded down to accusations, discredits, and possibly even slander.
Call me old
fashioned, but I believe situations in which two bullheaded
parties are butting heads can be fixed with compassion and a little
swallowing of pride. Let me offer a few hypothetical scenarios.
- SCENARIO #1: I'm not paying a cover charge!
- A patron walks into a bar to listen to live
polka music and sees that there is now a cover charge. "I never had to
pay one before!" And the bartender replies, "Sorry, we have to charge
it, but our cover is still less than most of the other clubs in town."
The patron becomes visibly angry, and begins to storm out. The
bartender lets him walk out, chuckling at the patron's childlike
behavior. Result: The bartender loses the patron for life.
- Now, suppose the bartender took the man aside
and explained in the warmest tone possible, "I'm sorry the cover charge
offends you. It's just that live music is suffering everywhere, and I
have to follow in the footsteps of all the other clubs just to stay in
business. The cover charge isn't to punish you -- it's to keep me from
going out of business. Listen, between you and me, I'll waive your
cover charge just for tonight, but I won't stop you from buying a drink
or two." :::wink::: Result: Problem solved. Compassion wins over a
- SCENARIO #2: You stole my song!
- A musician picks up a polka CD and realizes
that not only did another band record his song without permission, they
took credit for it, too. So the musician calls up the bandleader and
starts spewing legalese. The bandleader feels offended to be talked to
in such a harsh tone, that he fires up a defense mechanism and spews
legalese and excuses right back at the musician. Within minutes, the
two parties are at the level of animosity, and the musician files a
lawsuit. Result: A lifetime of animosity between everyone involved, and
a huge, black mark on the polka industry for all to see.
- Now, suppose the musician stopped out to hear
the band play live, and during a break, sat the bandleader down, bought
him a drink, and brought up the subject of the song credit. In a warm
tone he explains, "You guys recorded a great version of that song, but
I was kind of surprised to see Joe Dokes credited with writing it."
Without feeling threatened in any way, the bandleader replies, "That's
not Joe's song?" The musician then explains how he, himself, wrote the
song. "Hey, believe me, I know how these things can happen. Sometimes
it's really hard to figure out who wrote what these days. Tell ya what,
let me send you a copy of my CD that has the original version. I
know you can't change the printing on the CD cover, but if you wouldn't
mind maybe making a credit correction on your website, I'd really
appreciate that." By the end of the week, the band's website says,
"This song was written by our friend..." Result: Problem solved, and a
new friendship has been made.
- SCENARIO #3: Hey, that was my idea!
- Polka promoter Jane Doe comes up with this
idea of getting all of the top bandleaders in the state to come
together and form an all-star band for charity. Doe plans it, organizes
it, and trademarks it as "Wisconsin Polka Power." Meanwhile, promoter
John Q. Public from a different organization likes her idea, so he
calls up the individual bandleaders and asks them if they would perform
at his event. They say no problem. John Public then advertises that
"Wisconsin Polka Power" is going to be performing at his event under
his direction. Jane Doe finds out what John Public did, and calls him
to advise him that what he did was wrong, and that he needs to put a
stop to the concert. Public agrees to delete all of the advertising
that infringes on the WPP trademark, but is unable to pull some of the
ads in time, and they go to print. Doe becomes livid about the content
of the advertising that couldn't be retracted, and blows up at Public.
Public is abhorred by the language by which he's been subjected. His
feelings toward Doe likewise sour, and their relationship as fellow
promoters goes down the hill. The animosity between them lasts
indefinitely, preventing them from finding a way to make amends. Can
anything be done? Is it too late?
who are involved in situations like this always appear
to want nothing more than vindication. They want to be right, while
everyone else is wrong. But, even if they are 100% right from a legal
or technical standpoint, what is proving it to the world going to
accomplish? How can the polka community possibly benefit from
continued animosity between two people?
- What if John Public admitted that he was
wrong? What if he said, "Jane, I was so impressed with your concert
idea, I wanted to bring it to my area. In restrospect, I see that I
didn't go about it the right way, and I'm sorry. I should have
contacted you before doing anything. I did everything I could to pull
the ads, but I'm afraid I couldn't pull them all in time, so I will
credit you in the next publication. Thank you for bringing this matter
to my attention, and know that it will never happen again. You're a
great promoter and perhaps wee can work together on future projects.
Please accept my apology?" Jane Doe would have replied with, "That
means a lot,. Thank you so much for understanding." They shake
hands, and the public enjoys the benefits of two organizations working
with each other.
actually have to be wrong to admit you're wrong. But
sometimes it's when you do that you are doing the right thing.