Jen insisted that I "hustled" her.  She insisted that I was playing possum when I insisted that I had never sung karaoke before, and wasn't any good.

     In full disclosure, I guessed I wouldn't completely stink - both my parents were singers, so I figured I had some genetics on my side - but the closest I had ever come to singing in public was in my car.  Alone.  With the volume turned up to 20.

     This is the first of at least four installments of The Lammers Lahmers Challenge, and both Jennifer Lahmers and I agreed that fully embarassing ourselves in the very first story was the best way to make an entertainment splash.

     We agreed to sing one song apiece, on a Friday night at the Butterfly restaurant, in West Hartford, in front of a packed and partially drunken house of strangers.  We also agreed to pick each other's songs, for maximum humiliation.  Whoever got the most applause would be the winner.

     She initially picked "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" by Shania Twain for me.

     I countered by picking "I Touch Myself" by The Divinyls for her.

     Now, I hadn't completely thought this through, for a number of reasons.  First, given how provocative that song is, she could have made it a spoken-word song like William Shatner and she would have won hands down.  Second, given how provocative that song is, it may not be the best choice for a newscast.  Luckily, Jen realized this, and backed out a couple of days before.

     Well, if she was backing out of her song, than you can bet I was backing out of mine!  I dumped Shania Twain in favor of "Never Never Gonna Give You Up" by Barry White, a song that should still embarrass me, but would be in a register a little closer to my vocal range.  She picked "Don't You Want Me, Baby?" by The Human League, for reasons I'll explain soon.

    The idea of these stories was not solely for Jen and I to make idiots of ourselves.  In each story, Jen and I would try to learn new skills, and decide a winner based on who could demonstrate a particular skill the best.  So, for our benefit, we got some lessons from Nancy Anderson, a singing teacher at the Hartt School Community Division, in West Hartford.  Nancy was awesome, considering we weren't giving her much to work with.

   Fast-forward to showtime.  I unsuccessfully tried to fill the audience with friends and co-workers who would cheer for me.  Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of friends and co-workers there, but I didn't get the impression they were there to do me any favors.

   I was up first, and when it was time to tell the DJ my song, I found out that it wasn't in his archive.  Nor was my Barrry White backup song.  I couldn't believe it - 15,000 songs, and they didn't have either of mine.  They probably had 11 songs by The Captain and Tennille....  But they didn't have either of mine.

   I panicked and flipped though the book until I stopped at the first song I was familiar enough with to sing without having to stare at the TV that displays the lyrics.  It was "She Talks To Angels" by The Black Crowes.

   Later, I found out that Jen picked the song she did because it also had a male part in the song, which she recruited our co-worker and friend Joe Wenzel to sing.

   Watch the videos, and decide for yourself who was better.  Personally, I think Joe singing sounded like someone punching a housecat, and her dragged her down completely.  Joe Wenzel was completely tone-deaf, and the one tragic feature of tone-deaf people is that, because they are tone-deaf and can't understand how tone-deaf they are, these people DON'T REALIZE THEY ARE TONE-DEAF TO BEGIN WITH.  He would have been better suited to be a nude model.  And I say that with all due respect.  I love Joe.

   Sorry.  Sorry.  I'm being judgmental.  Again, watch each of our songs.  Decide for yourself.  And vote for me.  Thank you.