Friday, May 03, 2019

My gracious son

On Wednesday, Jacob put up the bravest Instagram post I’ve ever seen from him. In it, he talked about how cystic fibrosis has not only affected his physical health, but his mental health. This took courage because this young man is only 17.

Throughout the years, he’s struggled with what it’s like to have CF, and what it MEANS to CF. So much of his life has been defined by being Jacob Malchus, the son, the cousin, the best friend, that boy in school or church who has CF, he wondered what it would mean not to have something that has been a part of him for his entire life, even though it’s a chronic illness.
That’s a pretty tough question, one that most adults would have difficulty answering, let alone a teenager.

Being his father, I’ve witnessed Jacob’s struggles first hand. I’ve lost count the number of times I wished I could reach in and remove CF from his body. It’s every parent’s dream that their child stays healthy.

On their way home from the hospital the other day, Julie asked Jacob if he would take away having CF. His response was surprising: he said that he wasn’t sure. Would he be the same? And then he said something so gracious. Jacob said that he would keep CF if it meant someone else wasn’t born with it.

When I hear Jacob’s wonderful statements, and I read at his recent social media posts, I realize that I’m seeing my son mature into a young man. I’ve watched this before with Jacob’s sister, Sophie, and how she has grown into a remarkable woman, one who’s going to change the world (mark my word). Now I’m witnessing the same transformation in my son.

I’m so proud of him (both of them) and I’m constantly questioning “Who is this kid?” I know that I wasn’t as respectful and composed as he was when I was 17. All I thought about were music, movies and girls. I know that Jacob has his own passions (comics, video games), but he also has a maturity that I never did.

The future is bright for Jacob and people with cystic fibrosis, something that wasn’t said in the 1980s, before the CF gene was discovered. We’re so close to a cure. I hope you’re like me and you can’t wait to see what Jacob does when he’s 27, 37, and beyond. This is one special young man.

Please consider giving to our Great Strides walk.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Cystic fibrosis has been in the collective conscious this year.  A recent contestant on American Idol has CF; Salt in My Soul, a heart wrenching posthumous memoir from CF’er Mallory Smith, was released to universal acclaim, and Five Feet Apart, a mainstream Hollywood feature film tackling the illness was not only a critical success, but a box office hit.

More and more people are becoming aware of cystic fibrosis and asking, “What can I do to help?”

This year’s Great Strides is a mere two weeks away. As with every year in the past 17 of Jacob’s life, I’m reaching out for your help.

This past year has been Jacob’s most challenging yet. Three stays in the hospital resulting in pic lines for at-home antibiotic treatments, and just recently a surgery to have a feeding tube placed in his stomach for supplemental nourishment. Throughout ever challenge he faces, Jacob continues to maintain his humor and positive outlook.

And throughout it all, Jacob’s sister, Sophie, his mom, Julie, and I continue our fight to bring an end to cystic fibrosis. The work continues.

Since the CF gene was discovered in the early 1990s, the CF Foundation has work tirelessly to help fund life changing medicines that are nothing short of miraculous.

Currently there are new treatments in the works that will soon be available to prolong and improve the lives tenfold of people living with this horrible illness.

This is not hyperbole.  Within a year, Jacob’s life could change dramatically, as a new drug combination becomes available that targets his specific CF genes.

This breakthrough makes me cry, thinking of the struggles Jacob has endured, and praying that many of his burdens will be lifted, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

I also think about those families who lost the fight to CF and won’t be able to experience this joy, and the families who’ll still wait for the day when their doctor tells them that the medicine is available for them.

We still need your help.

And, as I say year in and year out, every single dollar helps.

Think about your Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon subscriptions. Can you spare what you pay them each month to help end cystic fibrosis? Perhaps a little more?

In less than 30 years, the CF Foundation has literally changed the world and the lives of generations of families living with CF.  With a cure so close, they’re not giving up, and neither can we.

Please follow this link. Please donate. And please help change the meaning of “CF” from cystic fibrosis to “cure found.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Basement Songs Facebook page

It's time to make this official. I am releasing a book this winter called BASEMENT SONGS. I have created an official Facebook page for the book. Please check it out and "Like" it.

This doesn't mean you have to like the book. but it would be nice... even though you haven't read it yet.


Check it out here!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I'm on a train!

I just discovered the Blogger app today, which is exciting because I'm addicted to this damn smartphone and now I can give myself carpel tunnel (sp) by typing posts to and from work. Mind you it means you'll have to put up with my shitty grammer and weak spelling, but hey, it's the Internet, baby, no one knows how to spell or punctuate!

I had a brief email exchange with my friend, Sara, this morning. She was my first prom date (I went to 4) and it got me thinking about a possible book idea. This was exciting because I haven't had an original book idea is some time. Oh, I could have been working on a 2nd novel based on recycled scripts, but all of them felt like they should be movies (one of those is my dream script I'm currently rewriting). But this one offered me a unique idea and really had the old creative juices flowing. That's the best feeling when you're a writer.

My phone battery is about to die. Gotta run.

BTW, The Basement Songs book is near completion. Still optimistic for the holidays this year.


Sunday, September 30, 2012


We went to see Finding Nemo in 3D this afternoon, the first family movie in a long time. I can't recall the last time the four of us have been together in a darkened theater. It was almost just Jake and I taking in my favorite Pixar/animated film, but he really wanted the whole family together, so Jules decided that she and the daughter would come, too.

God damn, that movie just kills me. The moment Thomas Newman's theme begins I start crying! The entire story is so moving, and the father/son aspect hits close to home. With Jacob, especially because he has CF, I don't want anything to ever happen to him. But I know the day will come when I have to let him grow up and venture on his own. Kills me, man, this movie kills me.

Then again, all films about fathers shred me up on the inside. Field of Dreams, Billy Elliot and Breaking Away are three of my favorite movies of all time. These three classics all contain the theme of father's and sons. My one wish is to capture the kind of love and humor that those films contain and place them in one of my own scripts.

I've begun, in earnest, to write my dream script that is about music and friendship and fathers and sons. I guess I'll be adding Nemo to the list of films that will inspire me as I work toward completing the screenplay.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


Today I learned that I do not meet the requirements to become a member of the Online Critics Society. Even though I've written enough reviews and I publish ample amount each year, I assume it's the quality of my writing that doesn't meet their standards.

This may have been the best news for my writing career. Instead being a writer who is also a critic, I can now be a writer who likes to post his thoughts about TV and movies. There's a difference; at least there's a difference for me. The past year I've been blocked by trying too hard to come up with the right phrase or allusion to past films and television that my output has been just okay. Now that I know that I'm not good enough for the Online Critics Society, I don't have to pretend to be something that I'm not.

I'm not a critic.

Although I was disappointed about being turned down, that disappointment lasted just minutes. Immediately I began thinking about the scripts and stories I wanted to write and I wasn't worried about posting my thoughts about Falling Skies (although I have to get to that).

This is a good thing. A relief.

I'm not a critic. Phew.

Whoa, they've changed a few things around here!

Been some time since I posted anything on thunderbolt and I see that Blogger has made a few changes around here. Site stats? Wow! Very nice. Maybe I'll come around a little more often.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Springsteen review

I write record reviews for Here is my take on the new Bruce Springsteen album.

Bruce Springsteen just won’t let up. Since the 2002 release of his post 9/11 album, The Rising¸ the Boss has put out five studio albums and an assorted lot of live CD’s and DVD’s. Oh, and there were the elaborate box sets celebrating Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town, the numerous tours, and the occasional stump speech for presidential candidates. After being pretty much dormant throughout the 1990’s, Springsteen has taken it upon himself to become a spokesman for the nation, which is exactly what he’s doing again on his masterful new album, Wrecking Ball.

If you were a fan of Springsteen’s last effort, the optimistic pop album, Working on a Dream, you’ll probably be disappointed. Wrecking Ball is cut from the same cloth as 2008’s Magic and its predecessor, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, that furious collection of folk songs he put out in 2006. Those two albums found the artist looking at the state of America and reflecting on the sorry state we’ve found ourselves in. Somehow, he still found a way to instill hope in those albums, something he’s always had a knack for doing. Wrecking Ball may be his most pointed group of songs since 1982’s Nebraska. However, just as he’s did on Born in the USA, the Jersey born artist uses his pop music sensibilities to draw you in with stirring melodies and gutsy vocals. Throughout Wrecking Ball, he and his group of musicians (which include several of the E Street Band) deliver festive songs that will have his fans thrusting your fist in the air. It’s only when listeners dig into the lyrics that they’ll find themselves shaking in anger or close to tears. Such is the gift of this great American artist.

The album opens with the anthem, “We Take Care of Our Own” directed straight at Washington DC, scolding those that are supposed to be running out country, but instead seem to be running it into the ground. The statement has two meanings in the song. On one hand, he’s applauding people for helping one another; on the other hand he’s admonishing those politicians who’ve forgotten their role of looking out for the poor and middle class. From there, Bruce and company take us on journey through hard times. The protagonist of “Easy Money” (a descendant of the guy from “Atlantic City”) decides that if the bankers can be crooks, he’ll be one, too. The man in “Shackled and Drawn” is doing his best to rise above hardship. The poignant ballad, “Jack of All Trades,” shows us the new working class; a person who works whatever odd job comes his way, whatever it takes to survive. The opening cycle of songs ends with the pissed off protest song, “Death to My Hometown.” This one completes a triptych of songs that began with the classic single, “My Hometown,” was brought up again in 1996’s “Youngstown” (from The Ghost of Tom Joad) and now has the people of that hometown ready to take arms against the fat cats who walk free after feeding on the flesh of the regular folk who fell for predatory schemes and have suffered the most thanks to war and the rising cost of living.

From there, Wrecking Ball takes a turn, beginning with the title track. Originally written about the demise of Giants Stadium, Springsteen uses it as a metaphor for the state of our country. “Hold tight to your anger/And don’t fall to your fears,” he sings, practically begging his fans to keep looking for the sun coming over the horizon. “Rocky Ground” returns to the hip-hop textures that Springsteen explored in “Streets of Philadelphia,” for a gospel infused number about people coming together during hard times. Again, Springsteen is holding out for hope when he says, “There’s a new day coming.”

“Land of Hope and Dreams” is one of Springsteen’s best, and for longtime fans, most familiar anthems. He premiered the song in 1999 and showcased it during his reunion tour with the E Street Band (it was even released on two compilations). Used here, in a different arrangement that features a choir and some electronic beats, the song is the perfect number to bring the Wrecking Ball toward it’s resolution. In it Springsteen informs his audience that on the train he rides, the one called America, everyone is supposed to be welcome, everyone is supposed to be there for each other… to take care of their own. Winners, loser, bankers, whores, everyone. That’s the country he’s always believed in. It’s because he loves America and the idea of America so much that he’s willing to piss off others to speak out about what’s wrong with the nation now. “Land of Hope and Dreams” is also significant as the final appearances of Clarence Clemons on a Springsteen album. It’s a beautiful farewell to the Big Man.

The album’s coda is a dust bowl ballad, “We Are Alive,” that uses the trumpet melody from Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” Is this lift on purpose? Damn right it is. Who better to take the place of the man in black as the voice of the downtrodden than Springsteen? At 62, he continues to not only set an example for younger generations of rockers, but also lead the way for his contemporaries in quality and content. Some people may bitch that the album doesn’t sound like his older material, or that he shouldn’t be using samples or have attempted a short rap in the middle of “Rocky Ground.” I applaud him for continuously trying to expand his musical horizons. Wrecking Ball is a triumph in content and in the studio (the album was produced by Ron Aniello with Springsteen). More importantly, once Bruce and the E Street Band hit the road, the material should help make for some of his most memorable concerts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Basement Songs book update- March

I'm happy to report that the first draft of the book is completed. From here I'm going to have some people read it and make sure there aren't an abundance of typos and then I hope to get it to a couple of critics for possible quotes. I'm also waiting to hear back from several of the artists I wrote about hoping they'll give me permission to use their lyrics.

If anyone has an in with Tom Waits or Bruce Springsteen let me know.

Robbie Robertson has already said "yes."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Basement Songs- The Book

Sorry it's been so long. We're still hanging in there for anyone who is wondering. We still have a long road ahead of us. In looking back on my brother-in-law's accomplishments, I was inspired by Seann's drive to get his art out to the world for his friend, family and fans to listen to and appreciate. Seann recorded music and sold it independently through a digital music service. I sort of took his ambition for granted until it was too damn late to tell him how much I admired his drive.

Well, now I'm drawing from Seann's life to try and get my act together. For two years I've been talking about compiling some of my favorite Basement Songs columns and self-publishing them as a book. After seeing the success that my good friend, Will Harris, had when he published a book of his own Popdose columns, I'm finally going to do the same.

Ever since we returned from Ohio, I've been editing the Basement Songs columns that I consider some of my best and/or my favorites to put in the book.

"But Scott, can't we just read your columns on the Internet? What's going to make this book different from the web postings?"

Glad you asked. My plan all along was to make this collection read like some kind of story. Therefore, I've been going through my choices and editing out certain phrases that get used often in the Basements Songs columns. In other words, I'm doing my best to remove redundant information. Also, since I've decided to publish the columns in chronological order, not by publication date, I've decided to revise some of the older columns. I've become a better writer in the past couple of years and I feel that if I'm going to ask people to shell out 16-18 bucks, I should put my best foot forward.

Moreover, I want to give people buying the book something different than what's already been on the web. One analogy could be this: The original columns are like a concert performance of a new song- a little raw with most of the kinks worked out; the book is like a album of those same songs and I've had a chance to refine what's been worked out on the road. Oh, and there will be one unreleased Basement Songs column that is exclusive to the book.

When will it be done? Soon, I hope. I'm about half way through doing my pass, then I need the final stamp of approval, Julie. After that, I'll slap on a foreword by my good friend, Jeff Giles (aka jefito, aka the guy who came up with Popdose) and I'll place a nice looking cover (still in the works) by another Popdoser, Dw Dunphy (who also designed the Basement Songs banner) on the book.

I will keep you updated as the publication date arrives and how you can purchase a physical and digital copy.