Christmas

Nothin’ Up My Sleeve! Presto!

My posts have been rather heavy over the last year. So let me tell you a story about Dr. Wu’s Rock n Soul Revue.

Wu had just played a show at Union Station in St Louis. I was screwing around and missed the shuttle to the hotel down the street.

downloadSo here I am huffing my fat ass in the middle of the night through St. Louis carrying my guitar case and my heavy old Vintage 50 amplifier down to the Marriott. When I got there the festivities were all ready going strong. The smell of beer, cigarette smoke, a tinge of marijuana and sweat from playing a three hour concert filled the air.

The party was always in Bugsy’s room, either by chance or design. The hotel staff were calling for us to keep it down plus looking for a luggage cart that Kent ‘Sweet’ Aberle had commandeered to load his drums on. He just never returned it.

The Lobby Luge was in full swing. A murder of hickerbilly twenty- something year old R&B musicians pushing each other at dangerous speeds down the hallways of the Marriott cussing, laughing and riding elevators up and down then repeating the process on several floors.

Luge :  noun. [lüzh] a small sled that is ridden in a supine position and used especially in competition; also : the competition itself

forbes-industriesfrb-2425brass-birdcage-luggage-cart-43-x-24-x-78-3304-085The sport of the Lobby Luge consists of placing one guy on the luggage cart sitting down while another guy would push you as fast as he could down the hallway then let you loose and watch as the laws of physics and motion took effect. I don’t know how you keep score but it was funny as hell watching Sweet flying past your room.

We were in the Lou playing as the backup band for the Shirelles and Snake and Dogwood’s Tribute to the Blues Brothers.

Our unofficial member Jon Clarkson from Poprocks/X Krush fame, rode along. Doug Evans convinced Jon to sit in a wheelchair he had found in a closet somewhere in Union Station. Jon, oblivious to the mischievous side of Doug, was pushed with a running start into the center of a large hall full of people awaiting the show. Jon alone and not nearly crippled enough to need a wheelchair did the only thing he could do…

Like a preacher at gospel revival… Jon stood up! A miracle. A tough lesson for Jon who probably will never fully trust Doug again. A good laugh from the other guys who knew never to trust Doug in any position where he could make you look silly, or a situation that could be dangerous. Neither of these would ever stop Doug, though he was quick to apologize before you got too mad.

I was sitting in a chair a few beers in and taking my turn at the jazz cabbage being passed around. Later in life I would become a connoisseur of marijuana. Not much of a surprise to most people who know me. I wasn’t driving so I indulged.

imagesSnake was the ‘Jake’ of the Blues Brother’s Tribute. He had seen it all and we were young and listened to tales of hooker’s being tied up in hotel rooms, horn players hanging off the balcony, and a tale of his partner Dogwood walking nude through a bar wear nothing but a white athletic sock on his dick n balls while the crowd chanted “Sock cock! Sock cock!” This was pre Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was ahead of his time.

During the middle of Snake and my conversation, Snake pulled out a cigarette, told me to watch closely. He held it in his hand and counted 1…2…3… and BAM he opened his hand and the cigarette disappeared right before my eyes. Hand was wide open, he hadn’t thrown it, it was just gone! He then reached back and produced the cigarette from behind his ear. It was the first time I had ever seen a close up magic trick in my life. Upon threats of bodily harm I demanded he show me how it was done.


I’ve always loved magic shows. I used to watch Doug ‘It’s an illusion’ Henning’s hippie magic specials on TV. He would float a a bedazzled woman in the air, cut her in half and make her reappear whole. David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear or would make an elephant appear out of thin air, just by dropping a curtain and prancing dramatically with spirit fingers.

Sometimes we’d have a magician come to grade school and put on a show. He would link rings, cut ropes making them whole again, make doves appear and his assistant disappear from big boxes. These shows were pretty lame even to a 3rd grade kid.

Doug-HenningOne night I was watching ‘The Worlds Greatest Magic” on ABC and David Copperfield did a simple little trick. No boxes or dancing ladies, just him sitting on a set of stairs with two rubber bands. As he spoke he pulled one rubber band through the other. Right before my eyes. You could see him do it. No curtains, no spirit fingers, just two regular rubber bands.

I had to learn how to do this. In the early days of the internet it wasn’t as easy to find information and there was no video to show you how.

I finally discovered the secret, practiced, and could do it for you. Jaws would drop and “Show me that again” were usually the reactions I would get.

Bugsy and I were in Champaign IL hitting the used record shops looking for old David Bromberg albums for me and forgotten gems of vinyl for Bugs. While we were there he said we needed to stop by Dallas and Company. It’s a huge novelty and costume shop. The owner Andy Dallas is also a world class magician and escape artist. His claim to fame was doing a straight jacket escape hanging from a helicopter over the St Louis Arch. Dallas and Company had a magic shop in the back. You had to ask to go there and either Andy or another magician would take you back. Kinda like a whore house but with decks of cards instead of working girls. To this day Dallas and Co has the best magic shop I have ever seen.

A magic shop will usually show you about three tricks and then try to sell you one. Of course you buy it. You want to do cool tricks too. So like all magicians starting out I bought books, videos, gaffed cards, coin boxes, tricks with silver dollars and English pennies. I had magicians wax, invisible thread, and the list goes on and on.

When you buy a magic trick you don’t just pay for the object which might be a blank card or a cup. You pay for the idea. So I had a case with all sorts of junk cheap gimmicks.

There is a theory behind magic believe it or not. It’s just a guy who knows a few cool things. One of the things that master magicians point out is quality over quantity. Get really good at a few things and it will take you farther than knowing fifty tricks.

So I finally took it to heart. I decided a couple of things.  Don’t do pointless magic. Don’t do complex magic. A good trick should be able to be described in a sentence. “The magician changed my red card into a blue card.”

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Notice the pick-pocket behind the spectator.

Sponge balls… You who carries around sponge balls? Magicians. There is no reason a person would have a sponge ball on them. That is pointless magic and I’m a damn good sponge ball magician. But wouldn’t a trick be cooler if it was done with something off your desk? Or maybe items found in any bar? Give me a bar jigger and an olive and I’ll show you a great version of the oldest magic trick ever, the cups and balls.

There are people I despise performing for. The one that wants to trip you up instead of enjoying a moment of wonder. “Pick a card and put it back on top of the deck.” “No I want to put it in the middle somewhere” … dude it’s not that kinda trick. But if you insist, I’ll pull out a marker have them sign their name and phone number and where they work, then I put the card in my pocket and start the trick all over again. If you want to fight the magician we have ways of  getting around that. You are ruining it for anyone else who would like to see it, you are ruining it for yourself, and you are ruining it for me. Sit back and enjoy. It’s not real magic and I’m not a real magician so I can only do so much.

Then you have the guy who thinks you have just tried to out smart him. They don’t smile, they just start tossing ideas out there on how you did it. My answer is always “Yep. That’s how I did it.”

This one is on me. Showing a trick to the indifferent. They don’t care. They didn’t want to see it and they have no moment of joy.

What I do like when performing is people ready to have fun, to enjoy it, and maybe make a little impression of mystery and a smile on their face.

So give me a pack of cigarettes, a couple of rubber bands, and a deck of cards and I’ll knock your socks off for about 20 minutes.


Prologue

When you do a few tricks people will often reference Chris Angel or David Blaine. They are fine magicians and they realize that the real trick is in the performance and the reaction. But they are TV magicians. They set up their revelations before hand. David Copperfield couldn’t make an elephant appear if it wasn’t on TV and the audience wasn’t in on it.

The true masters are the guys who create those effects. Guys you never heard of. Jay Sankey, Jeff McBride (probably the best card manipulator in the world) Michael Ammar, Bill Malone, and the list goes on and on. They are the brains behind much of this. It’s their ideas that they turn into little miracles. You rarely see them. If you ever get the chance though, do not miss them. Chris Angel sure as hell knows who they are. Please enjoy….

This is the craziest trick I have ever seen. I won’t be doing this for you EVER. The man’s name is Tom Mullica and he also did a tribute to Red Skelton and has appeared all over the world, including Effingham Performance Center. He has passed on but he left us with this. RIP Tom. I loved it.

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Project:Holiday Cheer and Update on Lies, Gratitude, and Love.

My ex-wife had a few (very few) redeeming qualities. She is a teacher and I can’t tell you how many times we would run to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, shoes, and tee shirts for a kid who was behind the 8 ball when it came to extra.

The next day the parent/guardian would get a call about the extra pair of flip flops or shorts that we had accidentally received and couldn’t return and wanted to know if the parent would mind if we sent them home with Jr. because she thought they might fit him and we didn’t want them to go to waste.

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Santa just rolled into town

It’s about helping someone knowing that someday you might be at the mercy of your fellow man. I have been there, Hell I am there! I found out there are millions of wonderful people in the world. The same ones I complain about constantly.

There is a local Facebook group that I belong to. It’s kind of a buy/sell page… plus. It’s called the Perpetual Bargain Fair. They have ran a project called Holiday Cheer for the past few years.

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three kids, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Here is what we do, it’s fairly simple;

I get to know the Lopez family. They live in Salinas and Ms. Lopez has recently become unemployed.  She has three daughters, ages 7, 12, and a special needs 17 year old. Ya know what she wants? Groceries.

Rice-A-Roni

From all of us, to all of you. Merry Christmas!

So I’m going to wrap up a box of Cheerios, a can of sardines, and a box of Rice-A-Roni (the San Francisco Treat) for the 7 year old. No need to thank me kid. It’s the least I can do. And never let it be said that I didn’t do the least I could do.

OK what I’m really going to do is track down an I-Pod from someone who has one in good condition and will give it to me so that I can give it to them. I also have a page set up on Amazon.com with grocery store gift cards, Visa gift cards, Walmart gift cards. Anywhere you can get a sweater and a can of chicken noodle soup. Plus I’ll find out what a Dora is and give the kids something to open that they can’t eat. Then I’ll have somewhere to spend my Christmas.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WISHLIST Plus I’m looking for an IPod

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Yeah…I still love them.

They have teamed me up with a wonderful woman named Amy. She’s hopefully helping with clothes since my choices in girls clothes might not be the best, and I have no idea what ‘Dora’ is. Most of my choices would have the Planet of the Apes printed somewhere on it.

In the past people have donated a set of breaks and installation for the car, or a mattress so you don’t have to sleep on the floor. This is the community I live in. Just like the one I moved moved away from. Great people just being great each in their own way.

That’s it. Simple.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one.

The Outlaw Josey Wales lives around here somewhere and so does the guy who pumps his gas. If either of them needed a ride it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to give them one. They are both my neighbors and until I hear differently, my friends.

It reminds me of a favorite memory.

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

It’s the middle of winter in Illinois. It’s pissing rain and the Christmas snow is melting and turning black from wood smoke and car exhaust. It’s cold and nasty with a little fog thrown in for good measure.

I came upon a kid, probably 19 or 20 years old who was out of gas along Highway 130. I told him to hop in, and we ran about five miles to the gas station and I got him ten bucks in gas and a ride back to his truck. He put the gas in and came back to pay me and I replied “Pay it forward.” and moved on. I’m not the only person ever to do that BTW. Most folks do that.

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That’s the dude who picked me up!

Later that summer I’m opening for some country guy who I didn’t know at a good size concert venue. I finished my set and was heading to the merch table to beg people to buy our album we were promoting at the time. I hear “HEY! DUDE!” being yelled at me from a guy on the other side of the concert fencing. So I go up and say “Hey.”

It was that kid. He told me his girl friend made him come to the Famous Country Guy show and when we came on he said “Hey! That’s the dude who gave me a ride!”

Small world… But I wouldn’t want to paint it.


 

 

I don’t really celebrate Christmas. Maybe I’ll give the cat a can of tuna if I have some but usually it’s just us two.

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My Christmas buddy

If I had any kids I would hope that I could pull off Christmas like my Ma used to. We weren’t loaded but she always had the best Christmas for us. She made awesome stockings with candy and comic books. She got me an A.J. Foyt race car one year and I got a hell of a lot of good out of it. Hot Wheels and of course the obligatory Planet of the Apes toy.

If I can help facilitate even a tenth of what Ma made for us, to the Lopez girls I’m going to have one hell of a nice Christmas. Thanks Ma. Feliz Navidad.


Update on my last post.

I was overwhelmed once again by love and support, questions and caring, by people I know and love and by strangers who dropped me a line or a private message telling me that they were there for me or asking where to get help for themselves. Christ people! My cup runneth over already.

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Would you like to go to coffee? And I need a quart of Quaker State

I’m feeling great. I finished up the boat with Eric AND without falling in the ocean. Only one argument and it was small. What a great experience. I found out I suck as a sailor but I’m pretty good at making new friends and keeping old ones. I did get to drive the boat and Eric did send Sarah my message about ice cream and petting puppies… But I’ve moved on Sarah…Ya snooze ya lose.

I’m now in love with the girl at the gas station off of exit 399C. I’m going to ask her for coffee. If she doesn’t shoot me down immediately, she probably will when I ask her if she can pay.


This is the album we were promoting and this is the song I wrote for the album. This song was inspired by a picture on the wall at a now defunked bar called Daddy Rabbits. My friend Mandy was dancing on the bar in the photo. I’d like to think I helped defunk it a little.

Nobody rips off the Stones like I can. Three chords A/G/D.
“You can even play it on the saxophone”~F. Zappa

 

Breaking News: Santa is boycotting the USA 2016

Dec 15th, 2016

Dear Santa,
I have been very good this year. I moved, I told my friends I love them, and I cut my porn viewing in half.

I would like an Evel Knievel motorcycle, like when I was a kid, and some Planet of the Apes stuff. Either the original movies or the new reboot, but not the Tim

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I need this.

Burton Planet of the Apes because he sucks as a storyteller. I already have the movies so I would prefer toys. I have an Amazon wishlist if you need help. No grey socks please.

I can’t wait till Christmas to open the presents you brought me. I will leave you cookies and milk incase you are hungry.

Your friend
–Sammy,  13770 Center St. STE 101, Carmel Valley CA 93924

I received this in the mail from Santa.

Dear Sammy,

Blow me, you ain’t gettin’ shit.

What did you do to help anyone? What makes you think that you deserve an Evil Knievel or Planet of the Apes stuff? How do consider yourself a member of the greatest country when you have ignored the suffering of other lives? You have the power and resources to help yet you don’t.

You are a dick.

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And what would you like for Christmas little girl? How about a Barbie ?

What did you do when you saw atrocities around the world? Ask friends to help? Yeah like that’ll work. They turn it into a political discussion and pat themselves on the back for who they voted for. Trying to gain points against each other to defend the actions of your leaders who don’t care what you think. You have aligned yourself with a group who cares more about where they can pee than the lives of innocent children.

You are pissed at Starbucks but not at genocide. You boycotted events you weren’t going to, and even in your protest you gave up nothing. You slept like a baby while families with babies plead for your help. You turned your back on them as you spend your extra income buying Secret Santa gifts for people you would have never given a gift to in the first place.

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There is a country missing from this chart

You have no problem taking lives, you have a problem saving lives. You have made a point to kick ass over flag burning because it stands for sacrifice, freedom, and the American dream. Good thing you have a symbol of this because your actions show just the opposite. Maybe you should work on generosity, compassion, and empathy and then act on it. Act on it because it’s the right thing to do, not because it will make you a buck.

You spent ten years shoving “Freedom” down Iraq’s throat but won’t cross the street for the people who need the freedom.

You worry about terrorism. This is understandable. You have taken in refugees before. Just not now. You are scared that others will have the same if not more than yourself and you can’t live with that. You don’t even try to come up with a plan. Just keep them away. Let Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey show their compassion. Then wonder why the refugees align themselves with those who saved them and resent those who didn’t.

You tell me “We have people in need here in America.” True. Very true. You also have a system set up to take care of the poor and needy. It’s called social services and welfare, food stamps, and housing. You refer to these people as leeches. How humanitarian is that? Your kindness comes with the cost of shaming those who need it just because you don’t.

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We all agree. You suck!

You pray to gods. You tell yourself it’s fine because you donated a few bucks while everyone was watching at churches but turn your back when they aren’t. There are hundreds of religions. Here is what a few of them say;

Christians               1 John 3:17-18

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Baha’i                       Bahá’u’lláh

O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy.

Buddhism

Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.

Confucianism           (Analects of Confucius, Book II.1)

“Let a ruler base his government upon virtuous principles, and he will be like the pole-star, which remains steadfast in its place, while all the host of stars turn towards it.”

Islam

“Every new breath that Allah allows you to take is not just a blessing but also a responsibility”

Hinduism

Tradition says that a place at the table should always be left for atithi (the unexpected guest).

Judaism

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Do any of these religions apply to you?

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Give me each day my daily bread and my neighbor’s too, and make sure it comes at the expense of others. In your name we pray. Amen

I know you are an Atheist Sammy. So you don’t have the fear of hell to make you do the right thing. What have you done? Posted a few articles that disturbed people as they shopped Amazon because when it comes to the ones you love, make sure you put as little effort into it as possible. No one wants your homemade gift. Just because you are struggling to make ends meet is no reason not to buy something instead making it yourself. You are ruining the Spirit of Christmas when you do that. What if everybody did that? Christmas would become a commercial joke. Take your song or your artwork and shove them up your ass. Buy a juicer. Something they can return and get the money for.

You have recently had an election. You all were disgusted by your choices. They both were shitty people. Don’t fool yourself, they haven’t cornered the market on being a shitty person.

I could go on but I’m sick to my stomach. You spend the day working and checking Facebook. In that time you could take a minute and call or email your Congressman and pressure him to help. Did you? Sometimes. Did you do it regularly? Nope….

So to wrap it up (no pun intended) Do something next time. Once you know of an atrocity and do nothing, the blood is on your hands as well.

You deserve nothing

Go fuck yourself,
–Santa


If you decide to help here are some choices:

If you decide not to here are some choices:

I fuckin’ hate Christmas
-Sammy