Stephen Newman

Dr. Pimple Popper and the Cranberries by Stephen Newman

I never thought I’d be writing anything this absurd in a blog, but how can I resist?! There is actually a television show on TLC called “Dr. Pimple Popper.” I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to reality shows. I’ve been known to enjoy such classics as “Married at First Sight,” “90-Day Fiance,” or even “Dating in the Dark.” But Dr. Pimple Popper is way overboard. I’d ask “what’ll they think of next?” but I’m not sure that I really want to know.

I did see an ad for the upcoming series, “The Resident.” I like medical dramas — I regularly watch “The Good Doctor” and “Chicago Med,” but what makes “The Resident” special is that it stars Emily VanCamp. I still think of her as Amy, in the show Everwood. I loved that show. It was either on the CW or WB. Emily VanCamp was my dream girl. Then she got that starring role on “Revenge” and she slippped a little in my book. I hated her in that role. I’m hoping this one will suit her better. Everwood, and Felicity (Keri Russell). Those were two great shows, right? Do you even know what I’m talking about? Probably not.

You know, sometimes I wonder if anyone is actually reading these blogs. I realize it’s quite possible that whatever I write goes into a big dark abyss. Still, it’s cathartic, being able to write about whatever’s on my mind. Sometimes it’s a bit like writing in a diary. And this particular blog will be so freaking random, you may think I’ve finally lost my mind. Tonight, you see, I don’t care about sentence structure or the proper use of commas. I don’t even think I’ll proofread this before I publish it. You’re gonna get a raw, authentic, stream of consciousness submission.

I heard from my friend Larry, better known to some as the Saint Marys Slayer, that the lead singer of The Cranberries died today at age 46. Died suddenly, they say, but so far they have no further information. 46 seems too young for a heart attack, and cancer wouldn’t have been sudden. I suppose it could have been some sort of brain hemorrhage. If it was a car accident, they would have reported that on the news. I’m guessing suicide or accidental overdose. No matter what, it’s sad. I had two bands that I loved, in college. One was Toad the Wet Sprocket. The Cranberries was the other. She had a voice that was mesmerizing. The song “No Need to Argue” was the best at really highlighting her vocal talents It’s hypnotic. I recommend that you download it today — not you, Anja, I’m sure it’s too sad and slow for you, and I’ve already subjected you to enough of my sad music…like my favorite album of all time…Bread’s Anthology album. Bread was the most underrated 70s band ever. But I also enjoy some of the current stuff — I’m not a total stuffy old man, I swear. I like Ingrid Michaelson, Sarah Jarosz, Rag N Bone Man, Fitz and the Tantrums, Ariana Grande, Bronze Radio Return….seriously, I have eclectic taste in music, and it’s not all depressing soft rock. And I love country. Everything from Doug Stone to Kacey Musgraves to Joe Diffie to Suzy Bogguss. My speciality is 1997 country. I worked full-time on two different country radio stations in 1997, and I know every country song, every one-hit-wonder releaased in 1997. Names you’ve long since forgotten, like Ty Herndon, Michael Peterson, Chely Wright, Rick Trevino, Mindy McCreedy, Lila McCann, even Melody Crittenden (who recorded “Broken Road” well before the Rascal Flatts version was released). “Enough time to get from Albany to Corvallis…and BACK! Here comes 30 minutes of continuous CRICKET country…99.9….KRKT.” Yeah, 21 years later and I still remember all the liners and jingles. “Cowgirls in bikinis. Free beer! Now that we’ve got your attention, here’s a no-talk triple play…on the BULL…K-Bull 93.”

1997 was one heck of a good year. It was the only year of my life when I can say I truly felt truly free. No obligations. No worries. Just freedom. Sadly, I was too young (22) and too poor ($1500 a month salary) to know what to do with my freedom.

I’ve started reading a book tonight called “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Cline. It is a bit slow but I can tell it’s going to be good. I only read the first 50 pages tonight, but so far, so good. This makes me want to share with you some of my favorite books I’ve read in prison. I almost never read for pleasure prior to prison. Reading is one of life’s little pleasures that I may never have fully appreciated had I not been a moron and gotten arrested back in 2007.

Let me start with the “best of” list. These are the best books I read in each of the following years, but are not the years that the books were published:

Best of 2017: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Best of 2016: The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Best of 2014: The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

Best of 2013: Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

Best of 2012: The novel by Alice Sebold that got turned into a movie. I can’t think of the title — google it 🙂 It was an incredible book.

Best of 2009: Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino

Best of 2008: Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Some of the years are a blur. Let me give you some other great books I’ve read while locked up:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Watchers by Dean Koontz

Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

The Painted House by John Grisham

There are tons that I can’t think of right now. It’s late and I’m distracted trying to figure out why the Bachelor sent home this beautiful brunette. I like how this bachelor has some grey hair — maybe Anja is right — I should embrace my grey, not get it colored back to brown as soon as I get out of prison. What do you think? #GreyNewman or #BrownNewman to cast your vote. Have a great day! 🙂

Stephen Newman
DOC #90843


Categories: Stephen Newman

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