Riding The Riff

Welcome to my website!

Take your shoes off, relax, and check out my site.

If you're looking for Tom  Macklin, the musician and writer, you've come to the right place. If you're looking for the "Lawn Mower Riding Mayor of Avon Park" (yes, there is such a guy. He races riding lawn mowers. Apparently, they still don't have cable in some parts of Florida) you've got the wrong place.

I split up my time between being a musician-teacher and working on my writing career. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments regarding the site.

Don't forget to scroll down below to check out my blog "Riding the Riff."

On second thought, put your shoes back on. It's starting to smell in here.

Tom Macklin
email me

Riding The Riff

New Sound Clips

by Thomas Macklin on 07/18/10

Hey, sorry that I haven't added to my blog recently. I've been working on my new "pretty good American novel." I realize that most people are trying to write the next "GREAT American Novel" but I thought I had a better shot in the "pretty good" group.

I have added a few new sound clips that you can check out by clicking on the "Sound Clips" link. Let me know what you think.

Hang in there.

Orlando Sentinel Article

by Thomas Macklin on 06/08/10

Hey, my latest drival made it into the Orlando Sentinel this past Sunday. Have you seen the new Huggies denim jeans diapers? Check out my take by logging on to orlandosentinel.com   put in Tom Macklin in the search engine and it should pull it up. Let me know what you think. Tom

Let Them Eat Toast

by Thomas Macklin on 05/23/10

The new toaster's here! The new toaster's here!

And what a toaster it is. It's not just your ordinary toaster. No, not for this household. The folks at Oster have guaranteed me "excellent toast the first time, every time with advanced Toaster Technology.

That's right. I have advanced Toaster Technology in my humble abode.

Sure, these scientists could have been working on a cure for cancer, or finding ways to clean up oil spills in the Gulf, but no, they have spent their years of combined upper degree education on following through my lifelong dream of the perfect piece of toast.

And this toaster is not just for toast. Aux contraire. I have buttons on my toaster that allow me to toast bagels, frozen stuff, and if I just want to warm-up a piece of something without toasting it, I can do that, too.

Is this a great country or what? No wonder we have to watch out for those illegal aliens sneaking across the Arizona border. It's not just that America is the land of opportunity. No, it's that land of advanced Toaster Technology, too! Build that wall, darn it!

Did I mention the seven shades of toasting that I have to choose from? Or the cancel button- just in case I'm half-way thought toasting and then remember, "Wait! I don't want toast. I want an Eggo."

Throw in the dual auto-adjusting bread guides, the removable crumb tray, and anti-jamming feature (not to mention the durable brushed stainless steel and silver exterior) and I have set the bar in my neighborhood as the Supreme Ruler and King of the Toaster.

Subjects wishing for an audience should make an appointment.


by Thomas Macklin on 05/22/10

Pssst! Hey, you. The one with the Hawaiian shirt on. Will you cut it out? You're embarrassing the rest of us guys.

Have you totally given up on fashion? I mean, stop it already. You're just one step away from wearing black socks with your Bermuda shorts.

The Hawaiian shirt is to men what the "Moo-moo" is to women.

(P.S. to the women out there - How can you wear something that is named after the sound that a cow makes? Shouldn't that be a clue of some kind?)

Back to the guys - Are you just having a tough time matching your clothes? Do we need to get you some Garanimals for "mama's big boy?"

I know. You're thinking. "Hey, it's easy. Hawaiian shirts go great with everything."

Everything...except babes.

Has there ever been a Playboy centerfold that listed Hawaiian shirts as their number one turn on?


How do you think Nick Nolte's doing in the babe department these days? Remember Nick's famous mug shot? The one where he's wearing a...you got it...a Hawaiian shirt?

So, tomorrow morning when you start to put on your Don Ho gear, take a second to think it over. Today could be the day that you meet the babe of your dreams. It's the chance for your clothes to say either:

"Hi, there. I a caring, warm person that takes the time to dress in a manner that is befitting a woman of your "babe-ness."


"Hi, there. I own the complete first four seasons of "Magnum P.I."

And now, the time is near

by Thomas Macklin on 04/25/10

Game over. It's time to shell out the down payment on the cemetary plot.

First, there was the excitement of getting a magic set for Christmas when I was eight. Later on, it was the anticipation of the group Chicago coming out with their second album (Yes, I'm that old.) As I matured, it was checking out the new Dodge Challenger at the showroom. And not that long ago, it was buying my first desktop computer.

Today, I got excited about a TV ad from the Publix supermarket chain. They're having a Spring Cleaning Sale featuring all of their household cleaning products. No really, I actually thought of hopping in my Hyundai Accent - I'd probably listen to NPR on the way - and dart down the road in hopes of filling up a cart full of Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge, Pine Sol, Tidy Bowl - and if I really went crazy - maybe a new broom and mop.


Shoot me now. What else do I have look forward to? Should I go with the generic adult diapers or spring for the more "sporty" Depends?

On and on and on and on and,,,

by Thomas Macklin on 04/19/10

Just watched a Yanni special on PBS. Maybe his name should be spelled "Yawny."

This Little Piggy Should Stay Home

by Thomas Macklin on 04/18/10

I'm sorry ladies, but someone has to tell you. You're spending way too much time with your feet.

The fact is - feet ain't pretty.

It doesn't matter how you decorate them. All of the nail polish, toe-rings, ankle-bracelets, and tattoos put together, aren't going to change the fundamental truth that feet just aren't attractive. Sure, your ankles may be slender, and every now and then you'll find a shapely arch or two, but hey - every foot ends up with ten mal-formed toes.

Why bother with the tasteful application of facial make-up, choosing just the right flattering dress to show off your slender legs, and then end up with "Hey, did you check out my ugly toes?"

Don't take it personal. My feet are ugly, too. And in my case, there's a whole lot of hair added to ugly. The difference is, you don't see me drawing any attention to them by painting them with colors never found in nature.

And the little toe. Have you ever seen a little toe that didn't look like an afterthought?

It just goes to show you that even God has a bad day. Maybe he shouldn't have waited until the seventh day to take a rest.

In my fifty-two year walking the earth, I have only laid eyes on one set of little-piggies to die for. A once-in-a-lifetime event much like the passing of Halley's Comet. Oy-vey what a set of toes this lady had. At first, I viewed the sighting as a blessing. But, in hindsight - or footsy-sight - that day has turned out to be a curse. For it is because of the high standard set by those piglets from heaven that I judge every other set of ten.

Now, I'm not saying that you have to keep your feet covered up all of the time (although there are some of you out there that should definitely consider it.) It's okay to air-out the lower digits occasionally. A tasteful pair of sandals are even permitted from time to time. Let's just drop the bling and the neon paint.

Who's there?

by Thomas Macklin on 04/15/10

I don't get text messaging. And when I say that I don't get it, I mean that I really don't get it. I never know who it is that's texting me.

No one ever signs their name. They just assume that I recognize their phone number. Heck, I don't even recognize my phone number. If I had to dial 911, I'd probably have to look up that number, too.

Also, if you do text me, be patient. I text slow. Really slow. And if I need to use a "s" or "z" my fat fingers have to hit those keys four times without accidently hitting another one at the same time. Yeah, my phone's that old.

I'm so slow that you'll be tempted to send a second text. Don't. That will only screw me up more. Now I don't know which of your texts to answer. Do I backspace and then start all over? I've already invested ten minutes punching buttons to write six words.

In conclusion, it might be quicker to just call me - and don't forget to leave your name.

Product Placement

by Thomas Macklin on 04/14/10

Grocery stores are not designed with the male shopper in mind. Guys just want to get in and get out. Bada-boom bada-bing.

The corner market would get a lot more bucko-bucks if they would place the products together that the virile gender uses together. For instance:

corn-on-the-cob, butter, and dental floss.

fried chicken, pizza, and heart defibrillators.

Hot Pockets, french-fries, and a Charmin twelve-pack.

cheap beer, pork rinds, and monster truck event tickets.

wine, Viagra, and e.p.t. kits.

You get the idea. If you come up with any of your own, send them my way. I'll forward them to the proper authorities.

Phunny Words

by Thomas Macklin on 04/13/10

Does it bother anyone else that the word "phonics" starts with the letter P?

Dear Tom

by Thomas Macklin on 04/06/10

Every now and then, I like to break away from my hard-hitting blog topics and answer some readers' questions. It helps me keep a pulse on America's thoughts. It helps me "keep it real." It helps me when I run out of ideas of my own.

From today's e-mail bag, I selected some questions from beboptom@owl.bom. he asks:

"What's going on with the whole Sandra Bullock/Jesse James fiasco? Do you think she's going to divorce him? Didn't you used to date her in college? What's she really like? Do you think that she'd be interested in a 52 year-old, 5'10", hirsute, blue-eyed hunk?"

Dear bebop-

My sources (I checked out the tattle-tale magazines while in line at Albertson's) tell me that she's definitely, 100% for sure, probably might separate from him. And no- I didn't date her in college. You're thinking of Jennifer Aniston.

I did have a relationship with her a couple of summers ago - until a restraining order got in the way. But, in our short time together, I found her to be very smart, witty, and capable of a mean left hook.

As to her preferences in men - What? You think I don't know what "hirsute" means? You think I don't know how to use a dictionary? You think I can't ask my daughter the definition of the word? You think I just like putting the word "think" second in every sentence? You think?

By your description, you sound less like a "hunk" and more like a "chunk."

But, judging by Jesse's picture in the magazines, you might actually have a chance. Just keep an eye out for that left hook.

What's That Clicking Sound?

by Thomas Macklin on 04/02/10

It wasn't until Art Blakey's group had finished playing Moanin' that I noticed the clicking sound. Looking down at the car's dashboard, I saw my left turn-signal's green light flashing. How long had it been on? One mile? Two? Since I left my driveway?

And it wasn't the first time this week that it had happened. Just the day before yesterday I noticed it flashing while stopped at an intersection - only I had no intention of turning.

At some point, I have turned into the stereotypical Florida Blue Hair Driver. The same people that I have cursed since moving to the "In Search of Regularity" state back in 1982.

My main worry at this point is that I vaguely remember making my daughter promise to shoot me if my senility ever reached this point. Now, every time she reaches into her purse to get something, I find myself diving in back of the couch for cover - just in case she's bought a small caliber gun with her allowance money.

I should have recognized the beginning signs of my current state much earlier. The clues were all there:

The to-do list that included ear-wax removal.

My brother and I watching reruns of "The Golden Girls" and arguing over which one is the hottest.

My "bucket-list" being watered down from riding the rapids of the Colorado River to hoping to sit through a movie at the theater without having to use the restroom.

Watching the infomercials on "The Scooter Store" with genuine interest.

I could go on but I've lost track of my daughter.

I apologize in advance to all of you with the misfortune of following a silver Hyundai Accent with its never-ending turn signal. I have joined the masses of Adult-Underwear World - not a bad name for a theme park where the 45-minute cue lines are for the bathrooms, not the thrill rides.

Note To Trumpet Students:

by Thomas Macklin on 04/01/10

Remember to practice your scales.

If you don't... the terrorists win.


by Thomas Macklin on 03/31/10

I just wanted to lose fifteen pounds.

I should have kept that desire to myself. My mistake was mentioning it to one of my students.

Trying to be helpful to their ever-widening sage, they suggested a workout video that we will call - for legal reasons - PX666. In hindsight, the student should have waited until the end of the semester - after I had entered their final grade. I've been lowering it with every attempted workout session.

The folks at PX666 have promised me six-pack abs at the end of 90 days. My problem is that I'm starting out with a keg. I'll be happy if I get it down to a couple of liters.

Before you start the program, the instruction booklet has you take a little test to see if you're fit enough for the workout. Technically, I passed. I should be walking again by Monday.

Then, they have you take a before photo to compare with an after photo that you will take after 90 days. I have a call in to my hospital to see if flash-photography is allowed in the intensive care unit.

You also take several measurements - waist, chest, legs, etc. I think they may be fitting me for a coffin. By the way, is my waist measurement supposed to be larger than my chest measurement?

And how do they get the workout pals on the videos to smile all of the time? I haven't smiled once. Am I missing the DVD that covers the smile muscles?

And can I make one small suggestion for the next planned video? The breaks between the exercises need to be a little bit longer. I'm having trouble getting to the refrigerator and back in the time allotted.

Junk-food Junkies

by Thomas Macklin on 03/29/10

Our nation's best are at it again. Crack scientists spending endless hours and untold amounts of money unearthing nature's best held secrets.

In this case, our thanks go out to Paul J. Kenny, Ph.D. at Scripps Research in Jupiter, Florida. That's right - Jupiter. I know that when I think of cutting edge science, I think Jupiter.

Anyway, Paul (can I call you Paul) just published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the fact, or possible fact, that.....drum-roll please.....Fatty foods may be addictive.

I'm sorry, I should have asked you to sit down before hitting you with such startling info. And if you could, please keep it between us. The Russians are years behind us in this research.

So, it went down like this:

Paul and his buddies studied three groups of rats for forty days and forty nights. (No mention of any rain involved)

Group one ate rat food. Group two at bacon, sausage, frosting, and other fattening foods for one hour a day. Group three was allowed to pig out on the food for twenty-three hours a day - We refer to group three as the Carnival Cruise Group.

The results: The Carnival rats got fat.

No, really! They did! Who would have thunk?

And, in addition to getting fat, the rats' brains changed. The massive amounts of high-fat, high-caloric food affected their brains in the same way as cocaine and heroin.

Now I'm thinking that I may have to join OA.

"Hello, my name is Tom, and I'm an Oreo-aholic."