Well, I didn't win the Hit Me Baby One More Time competition, but that's just as well. It was a unique experience to say the least. I'm glad I did it. Now that it's over I'd like to share my thoughts.

First of all, I don't feel bad. I did the first day, but I don't now. You have to understand my personality; I play to win. I never play just to play. In my life, and all the many endeavors I've pursued, I never once expected to lose. I play every game to win. It's just the way I am.

That's the attitude I had in the 80's when I was having hit records, and it's the same attitude that drives me to write novels and drag my ass out of bed at 4:00am to do my radio show every day. I write every novel as if it were a number one bestseller. It doesn't matter to me that nobody else believes it; the important thing is I believe it. Same thing with the radio show. I do every show as if it were the last show I'd ever do. Looked at through the prism of my ego, it's either all great or it's all crap. I can't tell. I just do it.

I live for the passion. Creative passion. You need to understand that about me, whether I play Monopoly or toss horseshoes, I always play to win. Every professional athlete I have ever known has the same attitude.

So, when the Hit Me Baby One More Time producer came into my dressing room shortly after the voting had been tabulated, and he told me Thelma Houston won, it pissed me off. I felt like I let down my charity and my fans, all of whom were pulling for me. My charity, by the way, was Operation Care and Comfort, the American Red Cross. They send packages to the troops, and let me tell you, those guys really appreciate it. Operation Care and Comfort adopts military units in Iraq and Afghanistan and sends them a care package every month until they come home.

I get letters and emails all the time from the recipients of those packages and it's a huge boost to the men and women on the front lines of the war on terror. I know from my father's letters from WWII how much packages from home can mean when you're thousands of miles away and under hostile fire. The other great thing about Operation Care and Comfort is, every penny goes to the troops because they are all volunteers. Every penny. So far, they've sent 107,000 pounds over. That's a lot of beef jerky, handy wipes, and dental floss!

Getting back to the show itself, I thought we rocked. My plan was to feature the band, and my son Ry. I knew if I gave him a guitar solo at the end of Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, the camera would find him. And it did. We had to track Green Day's manager down to his hotel room in London to get permission to do the song. I figured that since we were one of the original Berkeley bands, and since they're a Berkeley band, we could foster a little civic pride. I want to thank Green Day right here and now. Those guys have a lot of soul and I really appreciate the opportunity to do their song on network TV.

All the guys preformed exceptionally well. Dave Danza, Tim Gorman, Dennis Murphy, and Ry all rose to the occasion. It was fun being a part of something so big.

The show is taped on Wednesday night and broadcast Thursday night. I woke up in L.A. on Thursday morning knowing the outcome, but not being able to tell anyone. I did my morning radio show from L.A. that day, and I successfully kept it under my hat. When I watched the broadcast on Thursday night, and I got a chance to see Thelma Houston, I can see why she won. That woman can sing rings around me! It's hard to tell from backstage, but once I saw the actual broadcast, I realized that she won fair and square. In fact, all the acts were great that night.

The next night we played a gig on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The place was packed as far as the eye could see. We preformed the Green Day song and really nailed it.

During the concert I mentioned that Julie DeMaria from Operation Care and Comfort would be accepting donations by the side of the stage and they collected almost $6000 that night. Over the next few days, many loyal listeners to the radio show sent in money. One guy even donated $5000! I figure we must be close to $20,000 at this point, so it looks like we'll make our goal anyway. Thanks to everyone who pitched in. It just goes to show you, when people are in a position to support the troops, they do. God bless 'em all.

We'll be accepting donations at all the upcoming gigs. If you're in the neighborhood, stop on by. It looks like the Green Day song will stay in the set for now.

-Greg Kihn

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