All posts by Dave Shoemaker

Dave Shoemaker has been an educator since 1984. He holds a Masters Degree in Educational Administration as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Ohio University. He has taught various subjects at several grade levels, ranging from pre-school to 8th Grade. He has also coached several sports and spent 7-years as a high school basketball coach and 11-years as a high school and college Athletic Director. In addition to being involved in college basketball camps at several major universities, Dave is the National Basketball Coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. His son Kip is a 2011 graduate of The Ohio State University and is employed by Farm Credit Services of Mid-America in Washington Court House.

The Genre-Phobe. Don’t be that guy.

My dad, circa 1973

As many of you know, I have a pretty extensive music collection. I recently did a rough count and when you include albums, 45s, cassette tapes, CDs, and downloads I have over half a million songs in my collection. Yeah, I know. Hard to believe but it’s true. That’s a lot. I have the complete works of several artists, including The Beatles, R.E.M., Eels, Todd Rundgren, Pink Floyd, The Who, The Chi-Lites, Bob Dylan and many others. My collection is very eclectic, from The Osmonds to Frank Sinatra to Tchaikovsky to Hank Williams to . . . you get the idea. The point of this blog is a problem I have with certain people. What people, you ask? The people I call Genre-Phobes. I made that word up by the way, although I suppose it’s possible that it’s been used before. Actually I put two existing words together to make up a new word. Anyway, a Genre-Phobe is a person who says he “hates” certain types of music, or says certain music is “stupid”. You know the guy I’m talking about.

Don’t be that guy.

My point is this – how can you label an entire genre like that? How can you even eliminate a genre from consideration? How do you “hate” an entire form of music? For that matter, Continue reading The Genre-Phobe. Don’t be that guy.

Killer Toys, Soft Kids and a Sobering Realization

We’ve all gone soft. There’s no doubt about it. I know I’ve written about The Wussification of America before, but come on, this is getting out of hand. Hell, I came across a softball game on TV last night and the players had on helmets with facemasks. And they were playing in the infield. Sweet Mother of God. Really? That’s what gloves are for, damn it. For Babe’s sake, the hitters in the Major Leagues look like Robocop with all the armor they’re wearing. Jeebus, man up.

I can think of several things that have changed since I was a kid back in the ’60s and early ’70s. Here are just a few off the top of my head:For one thing, the rules of riding in a car were completely different. The first thing Dad did when he bought a new car was cut the seat belts out. Couldn’t have those damn things getting in the way. Shoot, I rode from southern Ohio to Colorado in the back window of a ’72 Pontiac Catalina Brougham. You know, up above the back seats. Just for kicks, Dad used to hit the breaks Continue reading Killer Toys, Soft Kids and a Sobering Realization

Tales from the Classroom, Part VIII: The Bathroom Arsonist

So I was minding my own business, just relaxing and watching a riveting episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County Criminal Minds when I remembered this nugget from my early days of teaching.  It involves arson, 13-year old girls and toilets, so it’s a can’t miss blog, amirite or amirite? Let us proceed . . .

It was my second year of teaching and I was full of vim, vigor and the blind belief that I was in it for the kids.  By the way, what the hell is vim? Something akin to vigor I presume? Whatever, I’m using it this year when I coach. “Let’s see some vim out there today boys!” Yeah, maybe not. Anyway, don’t get me wrong, I’m still in it for the kids but on the odd day I sometimes lack the vigor and, uh, vim.  Am I even close to the point of this blog yet? The answer is no. Focus, Shoe, focus.  OK, my point is I was young and very idealistic. Keep that in mind as I recount the following anecdote.

As I still do today, I told my students that they could come to me about anything if they needed help and I would help them anyway I could. I also told them I would do it Continue reading Tales from the Classroom, Part VIII: The Bathroom Arsonist

Tales from the Classroom, Part VI: When Winning is, Well, Losing

Alright, I’m going to get right to the point. I’ve finally been pushed over the edge. For the third time in the past month I’ve heard the following words uttered in one context or another from one of my students. Although different sports were involved, in each incident the conversation went something like this:
“Hey Mr. Shoe! Did you hear about our soccer tournament last weekend? We won third place!”

Wait. What? You WON third place? What is this, some psychobabble nonsense somebody came up with in order to save our kids from damage to their self-esteem? Good Lord. You know, I think I first heard this senseless phrase last summer when some Euro Trash announcer proclaimed that some biker in the Tour De France had “won second place” in Continue reading Tales from the Classroom, Part VI: When Winning is, Well, Losing

The Best Band You’ve Never Heard: The Hoodoo Gurus

Hoodoo Gurus

We’ve all listened to bands over the years that none of our friends knew about, right? You know, the bands that you really liked and couldn’t figure out why they’d never made it big. Well, the #1 band in that category for me is undoubtedly The Hoodoo Gurus. I first bought a Gurus tape back in the mid-80’s at a little record store on High Street in Columbus. I believe it was the magificently named Magnolia Thunderpussy. Anywho, I was with Goose and I basically just made a blind purchase (Note: I hate it when people say “anywho”. Unless it’s me). I don’t know if it was the band name or the album cover that caught my eye, but I grabbed “Mars Needs Guitars” and was hooked. Thus began my 20+ year love affair with The Gurus.

The Hoodoo Gurus are a band out of Australia, home of Midnight Oil, AC/DC, and INXS among other great bands. It’s also the home of Olivia Newton-John, who I had the biggest-ever crush on in high school, but that’s neither her nor there. The Gurus formed in ’81 in Sydney and are led by Dave Faulkner who sings lead and plays guitar. His vocals are very Continue reading The Best Band You’ve Never Heard: The Hoodoo Gurus

Shoe’s Dos and Don’ts of Death and Dying

I know, greatest blog title ever. You’re welcome.

This is a major departure from my usual subjects of music or stories from the classroom. Still, it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot lately so I thought it was time to unleash. Apologies in advance to those about to be offended.

Alrighty then. Let’s take a deep breath and begin with my list of dos and don’ts of dying.

The Don’ts

For the love of all that is holy, if I die in a fiery car crash do not put up one of those roadside memorials at the scene of my demise. For the life of me I don’t understand or comprehend why people do this. Why would I want flowers, signs, notes, teddy bears and God-knows-what-else at the place where my head went through the windshield or steering column went through my oral cavity? Thanks but no thanks. Continue reading Shoe’s Dos and Don’ts of Death and Dying

Something/Anything? – Rundgren’s Magnum Opus

For those of you who are unaware, Todd Rundgren is one of the most underrated, underappreciated, and generally unknown to the mainstream musicians of the rock era (click on his name to see his amazing self-maintained website). He began his career as the leader of Nazz (they had 3 albums entitled Nazz, Nazz Nazz and Nazz III – Todd evidently cared little about catchy album titles), and he later recorded under the name of Runt. An accomplished musician, Rundgren can play virtually every instrument. His style really can’t be classified, but it’s been said that his early 70’s stuff was an early form of power pop that was profoundly influenced by soul music and 60s rock, especially The Beatles and The Beach Boys. His music also featured sophisticated chord progressions unlike most songwriters of his day, or today for that matter. He sometimes demonstrated an interest in other genres as well, such as hard rock, Continue reading Something/Anything? – Rundgren’s Magnum Opus

Paul Westerberg: Man Without Ties

I first laid ears on Paul Westerberg back in 1982. Somebody, I don’t remember who, had given me a mix-tape (ah, the mix-tape. I miss them terribly) and one of the songs on the mix was called Kids Don’t Follow by The Replacements (The Mats to hardcore fans). It was a full bore slice of rock insanity, Westerberg was the lead singer, and I was hooked. I went out and bought the album the song was on, called Stink. By going “out” I mean I drove to Columbus where they actually had record stores that carried such non-mainstream rebelliousness. Hell, in 1982 you couldn’t find an R.E.M. tape in Ross County. I know, I’m old, but so is Rock ‘n’ Roll. Anyway, I loved the album. It’s hard to describe how different the sound was to me now, since “alternative” music was really in its infant stages and there Continue reading Paul Westerberg: Man Without Ties

Tales from the Classroom: Part V

I began my career at Greenfield McClain teaching a Reading class to junior high students. I had a 7th grader in class named Tommy that was also on the junior high football team I coached at the time. Tommy came from a poor family, was a bit of a badass, and a helluva football player as well. Just as fearless and tough as they come but with a heart of gold. One day Tommy, to my surprise, walked into my class during lunch with tears in his eyes. Here’s the conversation that transpired:

Me: “What’s wrong man? You OK?”

Tommy: “Not really. A fifth grader was picking on my brother, who is in 3rd grade. I told him to leave my brother alone. Anyway, he said I was too big to be picking on me and he was going to get someone bigger to beat me up. He got a sophomore.”

Me: “Ah man, I’m sorry. Are you afraid?” Continue reading Tales from the Classroom: Part V

Mr. Bad Example: The Legendary Warren Zevon


Kids, I’ve had a Zevon jones lately that you would not dream, just strollin’ around singing “Sentimental Hygiene” like a boss (HEY! Click on that link! Don’t you dare slide right on by). Anyway, I thought it was time to share (by the way, Zevon Jones would be a great band name, no?).

So, let’s talk about my man Warren Zevon. The first time I’d heard of him was back in early ’79 when I was living on West 8th Avenue, just south of The Ohio State University campus. Good times from what I remember. I distinctly recall sitting at a table in the since demolished Serene Lounge, a misnamed establishment if there ever was one. I believe Continue reading Mr. Bad Example: The Legendary Warren Zevon

Random Rock Encounters: Bodyguarding Beck

A few years ago I had a rather interesting experience involving Beck. Here’s how it went down.

A buddy of mine used to work for a company in C-Bus that provided concert workers. You know, to take tickets, stuff like that. He asked if I’d be interested in working one of the shows and I said sure, what the hell, might be fun. So, he talks to the folks in charge and they make the approval. Didn’t know me from Adam but that didn’t seem to bother them. A couple of weeks later I get the call – Beck is playing Veteran’s Auditorium and they needed extra workers. Cool. We get there, are given the yellow T-shirts with Security on the back, and then the head guy comes in to assign jobs.

He goes down the line, grabs my buddy and his wife, and tells them they’ll be assigned rows to help people get seated. Awesome. They’d get to stand there and watch the show. Continue reading Random Rock Encounters: Bodyguarding Beck

Tales from the Classroom, Part IV

Just a couple quick ones here. As some of you know this is my first year back in the classroom after several years as an Athletic Director and PE teacher. Anyway, awhile back we had Valentine’s Day parties at the end of the day. When everyone was starting to leave to go home, a little 3rd grade kid sauntered by. Here’s the conversation:

Me: “Man, you guys really know how to party in this hallway.”

Kid, without missing a beat: “This is nothin’ man. St. Patrick’s Day is off the hook.”

That cracked me up for some reason.

A couple weeks ago I asked the kids as a bonus question on a test to name the seven dwarfs. What follows are some of the answers: Continue reading Tales from the Classroom, Part IV

The Legend of James Taylor’s Jacket

Sorry, James. We had to do it.

Well, it’s a legend in my circles anyway. Anyway, as many of you know I have a jean jacket that once belonged to James Taylor. For you younger readers there was a pretty good singer known as JT before Timberlake. Here’s how I got the jacket.

I went to see JT at Blossum Music Center back in ’78 with friends Tom E and Chris B. After the show we ambled down to the side of the stage, just getting a look at the setup really. The roadies were tearing down the set, wandering around doing this and that. At some point I look up and say, “Hey, look. He left his jacket hanging on the mike stand.” He’d worn it onstage and had taken it off during the show. Anyway, one of us (probably Tom) gets the bright idea to try to grab it. Nice plan but the place was crawling with security and roadies. I turn to Chris for ideas, turn back Continue reading The Legend of James Taylor’s Jacket

Go to Hell Songs

Ah, the go to hell song. The public rebuke of one once loved. We’ve all listened to these songs after an ugly breakup, amirite or amirite? Hell, “Already Gone” by the Eagles got me through many a night after a love gone bad back in the day, and that song didn’t make this list. Here are my top songs that are an arctic blast at an ex, a cold shot of bristling hate at the one who did ya wrong. And the best thing is, it was a public put-down at it‘s highest form – on the acetate and over the airwaves. Without further ado, here are just a few of my favorites …

Death on Two Legs” – Queen Continue reading Go to Hell Songs

Tales from the Classroom, Part III

Just a quick one here. A couple years ago I had a pre-school PE class, an adventure in itself. It was the first day of school and I was introducing myself and going over the rules. I told them my name was Mr. Shoemaker but they were allowed to call me Mr. Shoe. They thought that was pretty funny. A while later, after I was finished, the kids were playing a game. At that point a little girl came up to me and asked, “May I go to the bathroom, Mr. Boot?”

Hey, she was close.