Monterey

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

 

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Lies, Gratitude and Love

Life has been somewhat surreal since September. I have been collecting on every piece of karma I have put out into the cosmos.

It’s tough to talk about my depression in real time and not in generalities. This one was a mother fucker. Sorry but that’s really the only way to describe it.

When ever I am stressed to the max I will literally black out. I lie about the stress and the horrible feelings that come along so that I don’t scare the living shit out of friends and family. This is a double edged sword.

I lie about the stress and the horrible feelings that come along so that I don’t scare the living shit out of friends and family.

One it makes me me a liar. I lie to escape the advice of  Dr. Phil watchers. I lie to quickly get rid of the immediate stress until I can hide. Kind of a ‘Look over there” as I make an escape. I lie about how I’m feeling. That one is more like talking myself into feeling better. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I found out that the lies I use to protect myself and others, make me a “pathological liar.” I know this is true because I heard specific examples second hand by a person who wasn’t looking out for me and was doing their best to feel better about themselves by trying to hurt me. I’m a pretty easy target because I internalize my sadness instead of getting up and punching you in the nose for being cruel. But I’m not going to point fingers today or any-day. I will just know who is and who isn’t there to count on.

I blacked out in September and I tried to remove my hand by cutting it off at the wrist. I did a pretty good job except I hung on. Barely, but I did. I awoke in the hospital after bleeding out in my apartment for about three hours. My sweet neighbor Brooke found me hours later called 911 and I guess they drug me out and I came to in the hospital. I would give anything to have not put her through that. I am not her cross to bear.

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You brought this on yourself

My ‘friend’ went into panic mode and started making calls to make sure she looked 100% innocent and called around and gathered info to make sure that even though I felt bad, I didn’t feel bad enough. As they were pouring blood into me my friend called and wanted the Version account number. My ER nurse actually ripped the phone out of the wall and wouldn’t allow anymore calls after the ones that came through.  Let me repeat… SHE RIPPED THE PHONE OUT OF THE WALL! “Don’t let any one else call this guy!” The Mother Theresa’s were out in full that day making sure I knew I wasn’t feeling bad enough for them.

From there I healed and then checked into the Monterey Monkey House. I walked around in my jammies and went to Group, colored pictures and watched movies with the rest of the loons.

As the song ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police says, ‘I’m not alone in being alone.’ in fact I’m normal when it comes to severe depression.


In Group they finally explained the stages and severity of depression, mania, and bi-polar condition. As the counselor went through the habits of each of these conditions she would ask if any of us had these habits. EVERYONE in that group of 20 people raised their hands.

I’m going to explain it once and for all and never apologize for it again.

I’m going to call this the Fuck Dr Phil and his Bullshit Show and his Dumb-ass forty minute diagnose’s  or FDPAHDAFMD for short.

Imagine a  scale of 1-10.  1 being bad, 10 being good…kinda

scaleMost ‘normal’ people live around 5. but can fluctuate up or down a number or two. Having a bad week might make you dip to a 3 for a bit or waiting on Christmas might put you at a 7. They are short term and will pass and the median will still be right in the middle.

Bi-polar people can range from 1 to 10 depending on the day and usually stay around 3 or 7 depending on the person. Mine is depression so I stay about 3-4 daily. I’m going to only focus on depression.

The term they use for me is Dysthymia. It is long term but a person can function. You can work, be social, go places, take care of yourself and hide the pain.

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Changes in sleep habits — oversleeping or not sleeping enough
  • Changes in appetite — overeating or poor appetite

When I am under stress, I can dip down to the 1-2 area, also called Major Depressive Order

  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others)
  • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)
  • Feelings of fear
  • Memory problems
  • Suicide

And there it is. I usually hit 1-2 when under a ton of stress. I have abandonment issues that pop up and people either don’t know or worse DO KNOW and use it against me as a threat.

depression-meditation-8Some people strike out and crawl up in a tower and shoot into McDonalds. Some people like myself internalize it and their brain just shuts down. Too much stimuli and fear, and months of feeling like you can’t do anything right. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy but all I can do is follow my doctor’s orders.

The abandonment comes from the feeling of not being worth sticking around for. Friends and family write you off and you hear from them twice a year out of some sense of dreaded duty. Like having to pay taxes. Ya do it, but you don’t want to. I can tell and I can feel the resentment and the out of sight out of mind attitude. Hell I’d probably do it myself. I put these people through a lot so I can’t really blame them, but I also can count on them to either disappear, distance themselves, or pawn you off onto a doctor. I’m not looking for happiness. I have happiness. I’m looking for peace.

I’m not looking for happiness. I have happiness. I’m looking for peace.

The funny thing is, the number one thing every doctor and counselor tells me that I must have is emotional support. I’ll say it again THE NUMBER ONE THING YOU NEED IS EMOTIONAL SUPPORT! If you can’t get it here, then find it somewhere else. I get it that you need to distance yourself but you have to also get it that I will too. The difference is  you have the choice. My part is getting over the resentment I feel when I know I can’t call and cry. I don’t blame anyone really, but I do miss them. Life goes on, just without them.


It is Thanksgiving today so I’m going to give thanks where I know it is due. In no specific order.

  • Brooke Weston. My beautiful neighbor for two years who makes the greatest lowbrow art. Thank you and I love you.
  • Jen Shipley. A surprise friend, and my angel.
  • Lily, the other angel in my life.

Lily and Jen met for the first time when they broke into my apartment and grabbed my guitars and computer. They had never met in person and I hadn’t met Lily until later. When I got out of the hospital they brought me home, put me up. Now that is a friend.

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The Mighty Dr. Wu

  • My brothers and best friends from Dr Wu’s Rock and Soul Revue. They dropped everything and gathered the money and the love and support to get me home to heal up and be around people who loved me. My Doctor, myself, and the fellas thought this was exactly what I needed. So Pat ‘Mr. Sax’ Lee, Mark ‘the Master’ Cornell, Dr. Shane Pitsch DMA, and his ex-wife Jamey, Kent “Sweet’ Aberle, George Ozier, Doug Evans, Chris ‘H.C.’ Taylor, J.B. and Michelle Faires, Bugsy Eagleson, and Doug Evans.
  • My brother’s in the Matt Poss Band, Matt Poss, Tim Alverson (I want that Tele back someday!) and Mac McDevitt.
  • My brother’s in Poprocks Jon Clarkson, Wally Hooker, and Brendan Gamble.
  • The loves of my life Kelly Guerrettaz, Brandi Yagow, Beth Kintner, Karen VanBlaircum, Jenny Green, Michelle Robertson,  Joi Green, Marna Neese. If I ever get married again, it will be to one of these women. Don’t worry ladies I’m never going to get married again, the last wife cured that and the last girlfriend cured me of relationships. Rest easy.
  • Tommy Dunn, Ike Edwards, Damian Light. Corey Neidigh, I have more love for you guys than I can ever express.
  • Rich Matlock, I never had a bad time at a Rhythm Pigz show, or with you.
  • Aaron Cox my oldest friend.
  • And who ever I missed. I got out of the hospital and found hundreds of ‘I love you’ messages.
  • My sister Mo for talking me through a lot of this.

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

A special thanks to J.B. and Michelle Faires. You put me up, took no shit, gave your love your time, your advice, and your studio to a guy and his cat who had no place to go. I have been thinking everyday how to tell you what that meant to me. I have never found the words that even come close to the the appreciation I feel. Thank you.

Dr. J.B. Faires

Dr. J.B. Faires DMA

Jon invited me to lunch and to hang regularly. Pat did too.

Michelle Faires said something as she was walking out the door one day. I told her I was overwhelmed by the out pouring of love from so many people and she replied “And the common denominator is you”

So I can look at these scars and know these people cared enough to get up and help me when I was sicker than I have ever been in my life. You don’t get in the paper for helping with an invisible illness. You did it anyway. I can’t express my gratitude enough.


So I’m back in California, I’m feeling better than I have in a really long time. It’s a shame some of the people in my past couldn’t hold out a little longer because the best has yet to come. I am actively searching for work in San Francisco doing Graphics. I sold my guitars, even my beloved Telecaster that I have had for 25 years, to get back but what the hell I don’t feel like making music anyway. Now I have no choice LOL.

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A Ketch, not THE Ketch

In the interim I just spent the week at the Breakwater Marina in Monterey working on my new friend’s boat. I spent seven days 8-14 hours a day in the sun, climbing ladders (the boat was in dry dock) cutting wood for bulkheads, painting the boat, smelling salt air and listening to the sea lions bark. I have a farmer’s tan and a new friend in Eric.

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Eric is a character. He fits right in with the rest of my friends perfectly. He laughs a lot, He looks like Ritchie Havens, he listens to 80’s Rush, He hates Trump, and he’s famous. For real famous, not infamous. Award winning film star, scuba instructor, lives on a boat in the Caribbean. I’m sure many of you have enjoyed his work and I have put the pressure on him to hook me up with his friend-ish Sarah, who is also famous.

I want to take her to Dairy Queen for ice cream and then to the ASPCA to pet kittens and puppy dogs.  Eric seems to think she’ll expect a nicer date but ya know what? That seems like a great date. If she wants to dress up and go to dinner and dancing, we’ll just crash a wedding. If Sarah doesn’t want to go screw her, He knows plenty of people that I’m a fan of. I bet one of them would love ice cream.

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Ice cream and petting puppies with Sarah

I watched a beautiful Ketch (it’s a boat) being lifted up and put into the Pacific yesterday. We smoked cigarettes and sat on the boat he restored. The two masts looked a mile high. It never felt so good to be so tired. Thank you Eric for giving me the opportunity and for not getting too pissed because I can’t remember anything. Call Sarah…

I have too much to be thankful for. I hope you all do too.

S.

 

Factcheck.org… A Liberal Rag. My Views on the Woefully Uninformed

The title of this post comes from a discussion I had earlier this week. It’s a Trump world where his supporters are somehow emboldened to say what they want no matter how little they have investigated. Where does this false sense of pride in a grown man’s ignorance come from? Why does he feel he can get personal with my life? It is because his mentality has become mainstream. If Trump can grab a woman’s pussy, then by all means psychoanalyze me.

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                         Poor Parenting

My choice to move wasn’t so that I could pee with other liberals. It wasn’t because I’m embarrassed where I come from. It was a mixture of many things.

 

I’ve never hidden my depression and at times it became debilitating. It was chink in the armor the man used. The problem was, it removes the question of his character also. He has none. But his leader can find fault with someone suffering from Muscular Dystrophy then he feels like it’s fair game. Well score one for you.

Somehow this man feels superior in his ignorance and child-like name calling and keyboard warrior-like threats of physical violence. ( A sure sign you are winning an argument). He has no idea how petty I am. You never want to mess with a man who possesses graphic artist skills like mine. Not only could I make a picture of him singing “Lime in the Coconut” while dressed as a penis… I could have it seen by thousands of people…Not wise. Kind of like in the music business, never argue with the soundman. He’s holding a serious hand; you better hope he has mercy.

I use my friends to test out new projects. Thank You Doug. You Da Man!


This guy forgot, or maybe never considered that the town I love and the people I see and also love, became a constant reminder of dark days. Not their fault at all. A trifecta of heart breaks leaving me numb to any sort of love in my heart for years. That my one constant, music, had become something I dreaded due to burnout and lack of inspiration. I stub my toe on the ACME Anvil that is in the form of a half-finished album. I just don’t have the words. Here is a demo I have had in the can for two years.

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                  This is what I see when I go to a concert.

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   These people made me a better musician and have all been great friends.

For 25 years I have been in the smile business. I sell smiles. Here, have one on me. Looks good on you. Have another. I did it with a guitar and some of the most talented and grooviest people in the world. Some people get their smiles from riding a Harley, or mudding in a Jeep. They get it in a sport. They let it loose as a fan. What happens when that smile is missing from your own life? I worried a lot of people over the years and felt the resentment. I decided I could get by, or get going.

 

My cat Milton and I packed in an hour. And as I gassed up the car I said goodbye to the lady at the Casey’s General Store. I hit St. Louis and took a right. I drove as far as I could without drowning. Like the Joad Family, promises of new starts, new chances, high paying work in my field.

I weighed the two options. I decided to leave it all and go. The  adventure of a lifetime. Going with nowhere to land. Scariest and most exhilarating experience I have ever had.

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                            I’m out of here

I know a few people here that are quickly becoming friends of mine. I opened my windows on Christmas Day, and I drove ten minutes down to the Pacific and watched the Sea Otters playing in the kelp. I’m living simply but I am living again. I have guitars, recording equipment, and blank paper. I’ll be using them all.

Not with a smile but with a brazen grin. Because I’m up to no good.483df5cc296b94a34e329291b0125109

What Was the Best Day of Your Life?

The election has taken its toll on me. I look at people differently. Maybe this simple question will realign how I look at the world.

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My 2000th Sound Check….Ugh!

I’m pretty lucky to have had a life of being an entertainer. My job is to make you happy. I’m in the smile business. I’ve always given 100% when it comes to me giving you your money’s worth. I didn’t hit it on the head every time but I sure as hell came into the game with that on my mind.

I picked up my guitar and played it and winked and smiled. I slapped hands, snuck people backstage, told stories, and wrote songs. I juggled; I did magic tricks (I’m a fairly good magician in case you didn’t know) I did it even when there was a party I wanted to go to, or my depression had kept me in bed until I left for the shows. Hiding anxiety and sadness many times so that I wouldn’t let down my band mates or my audience. Some days I hid it better than others, but those are stories for another time.

So let’s think about this. What were the best moments I have known….

My first kiss. I won’t embarrass the young lady that gave it to me. As they said in Stephen King’s “Hearts in Atlantis”; It is the kiss that all other kisses will be measured by.

I was at the Cumberland Co Fair when a girl I knew asked if I wanted to go uptown with her other two friends. I said ‘Sure!” Having a crush on the gal superseded the “Don’t leave the Fairgrounds” instructions that had been laid down by Ma.

3cb9dd7c4449b87759645e740542e92aWe hopped in the back seat and somewhere along that ride she laid a kiss on me that curled my toes. I was so scared. I didn’t give her a feel up or anything, just kept kissing.  I was IN LOVE! I couldn’t sleep for three days. I wasn’t hungry for a week.  It was the last kiss I ever got from her. I’m not sure why? Like it matters. It was perfect for a few minutes.


For my birthday my Mom bought me a boom box. I was about 13-14 probably and was obsessed with music. I listened to the radio constantly. The radio tuner quit working after a few months.

My Dad wasn’t around much and when he finally came home I asked him to fix it. He’s a handy guy. Got it to working in about ten minutes. About a week later it quit dialing again. No telling when the Old Man was going to show back up at home.

Ma got the screwdriver out and took the boom box apart. She fixed it.

14938220_10211416113624679_3024598311309867963_nI guess it was at that moment I realized we were going to be okay without my Dad around. Mom and Michelle and I were going to be OK because we didn’t have to wait around for the old man to reappear when he decided to.  Fuck him. The three of us were a pretty good group of people. Better than the barflies and whores my dad spent most of his time with. We didn’t have much but we never felt unloved. Mom made sure of that and I know sacrificed a lot for us and still does to this day.

I played a lot of gigs in my day. Some with huge arena crowds and some to the bar staff. The ones that stand out were the ones that happened when I was coming up.

My first band Bootleg, were playing a little knife and gun club outside of Greenup, IL called El Patio. I had found two huge bags full of these hollow plastic balls with faces on them. They were like a whiffle ball in size and weight. They were called “Ugly Balls”

832d925da7220111148bb36d5ef3e285Bootleg is pumping out tunes like  “All right Now” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” while dodging  Ugly Balls that were being tossed full speed across the bar. I was playing with my best friends Rod, Doug, Bugsy and George to about 50 people who were having a ball. It was the first time I found out I could make OTHERS happy with my limited knowledge of the guitar.

I have always believed that every night the best band in the world is playing their best show ever. The band changes from night to night. I’m happy to say I feel like I have played in the best band in the world a few nights.

My first big indoor show was opening for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in Mattoon, IL. Sold out show and my R&B band Dr Wu was opening the show. That band had a great set that we had honed to a razor’s edge. Pat the sax player always said, “Give this band 45 minutes and we could take on anyone.”

fee9bef7a4073cae14a2db0a60049c2fRight before we were about to go up the ramp to the stage, Doug Evan’s, my best bud from High School and band mate shook my hand. We started playing together knowing two songs. “Wipe Out” and “Paranoid” All that work was paying off with high paying gigs all over the country and then some. Doug’s handshake that night was different. An epiphany that we had surpassed our dreams. The next 45 minutes we tore the stage up with swinging horns, great tunes, pounding drums and classic R&B music blasting out as only a clueless all white rock  band could. A standing ovation for the open band.


I met a gal in San Francisco. We saw a jazz concert featuring Esperanza Spalding. I could have sworn once those lights went down, Esperanza played just for the two of us. Lisa agreed. Amazing feeling.


My main girl Susan came over for my birthday a couple of years ago and made lunch and spent the day just talking stupid stuff. Meeting Susan was one of the best days of my life.


A buddy sat in on bass one night at a show in Greenup. I asked a girl to dance. It was the closest dance I ever had. Silently two people held on for dear life as we danced to Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’


Hands down though, the best day I ever had in my life was the day my girlfriend and future wife, Shannon told me she loved me. She was painfully shy and quiet and the nerve it had to take to say those words had to be one of the toughest things she ever had to say. It was returned in spades.

57d19a2c7af888af166edd1cde724a91I will always love her even though we aren’t together anymore. Shannon is one of the greatest women on the entire planet. I miss her sometimes at unexpected moments. She loved me without condition. I screwed it up and a lot of self loathing comes along with it. If I had only not been so scared to get help with my depression instead of running from it till it was too late. She’s living a better life than I could have ever given her. She’s remarried to a good man, she has adopted two babies and I have no doubt those kids won the lottery when they came home with Shannon. A mom who knows nothing but love.

I have love for all my friends, some helped me get up when I was broken down I treasure them for it. I do have the best friends.

So there it is.

Tell me about your best day and let’s forget about hating each other for a minute just to relate a story. I’ll protest tomorrow. Today is all about us. We are all on the same side of the fence when it comes to the best day ever.

Below the video is a link my last album. It’s your’s for the taking. I hope you enjoy it.


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You Have the Mark of Cain in your Underwear

I swear on all that is Holy that I have seen the light. It’s a black light though. The kind you don’t want to turn on in a cheap hotel.

I have been disheartened before, but never like this.

As a musician most of my heroes were black. Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Sammy Davis Jr., Miles Davis, John Coltrane,  Howling Wolf… I could go on for days. The music you hear today, YOUR favorite song,  came from these people. I have stood onstage playing with the Shirelles, the first black girl group. Sam Moore, the Soul Man himself. Gene Chandler, The Duke of Earle.

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Miles Davis

I’m not saying that I don’t have just as many white musical gods. Van Halen, David Gilmour, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, THE SCORPIONS! They are soulful players and writers.(Ok that’s a stretch for the Scorps but they made me want to play guitar in the first place) You can draw a line from a Black Southern Baptist Revival to your favorite song.

Little Richard invented Rock and Roll. A homosexual black man during the 50’s. Thank him when you turn on your stereo. Thank him twice when the stereo does the same thing to you.


When the first rehearsal came with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Sam Moore. I shook his hand and told him I couldn’t come up with the words to tell him what an honor it was to be playing behind him. The man popped out classic tune after classic tune. Hold On, I’m Comin’, When Something is wrong with my Baby, I Thank You, Soothe Me, Soul  Sister, Brown Sugar, and yeah, I’m a Soul Man. He has recorded and performed with Springsteen, He has performed at the White House, and He is a National Treasure.  It was like a Catholic getting to have an hour long conversation with the Pope.

I have a tattoo of the Rat Pack on the back of my arm. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. One night at a Casey IL bar, the local meth head wanted to see my tattoo sleeves. I was happy to show her. When we got to Sammy Davis she asked, and I quote “Why would you put a nigger on your arm?” I rolled down my shirt sleeve and said “Do they still make people like you?”

They do. They were closer than I thought. She looked down on one of the greatest entertainers of our time. What had she done to feel superior? Sammy was missing an eye, she was missing her teeth.

My buddy George always warned any black singer I was recording with about going into Greenup. I told him that was his generation. If I was to walk into the local bars with a black friend I would have laid money that she would be greeted with nothing but kindness. Bullshit. George was right. She would be considered a spook, jungle bunny, nigger, because the pigment in her skin is darker than the yellow hue of the alcoholic at the end of the bar with pickled liver disease. Greenup, IL has a population of about thirty-five-hundred people in it. I used to believe that most people were naturally good people. Hell I used to believe that most of America was good.

I was dumbfounded by a friend who turns out doesn’t like my Girlfriend because she is 1/2 Chinese, a woman, gorgeous & smart. A woman who is unafraid of a misogynistic gun nut who wonders why he can’t get a date? Maybe it’s because you have narrowed it down to only white folks.Then mark out anyone outside of the Cumberland Co. area. Then funnel the ones out who have progressive ideas, then funnel the ones out who will put up with me Tarzan you Jane attitude. Prick.

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A close friend, loving, sweet, bad-ass, highly educated, model, and I won’t bring her to my local bar for fear of someone embarrassing me in front of my friend. Sucks being a racist. I think she’s single.

I saw a large group of people who sleep like babies, go to church, and somehow can overlook admitted sexual assault, hate, bigotry, removing women’s rights, fear of Blacks and Latinos. Scared of the Muslim religion. Somehow thinking that the migrant workers picking the veggies that they buy at Walmart for pennies are ruining America as they drive through a boarded up downtown business district because they didn’t support the local businesses.

Ever wonder why you get these products so cheap? The people you look down on make them, pick them, and load them on the trucks. If you are dying for the chance to take those jobs for America, I bet they would put you on. You could get a job picking strawberries anytime.

If these minorities have it so great, I ask you; would you trade places with them? No. Their work is too hard and a dollar an hour plus twenty-five cents a basket doesn’t lend itself to weekend trips to Branson.

I have watched interviews about the Presidential Election from both sides. I get it. You care about the economy, about your health care, about your jobs.Understandable, but you also sold out a lot of people in the process.

You bought an absurd idea that a giant wall is going to built around the southern border of the US. Fear, mistrust, self imposed ignorance and lies. My question is; how can you as members of the human race overlook, admitted sexual assault against women, race baiting, anti-intellectualism, fear mongering and hatred? Our President ran on that platform.

Does anyone remember the outrage of a Muslim man making his wife wear a burka? Trump will put a Supreme Court Judge in place and he will figuratively and literally have his hand on your pussy, and there is nothing you can do about it.

If the voting record shows us anything, 50% didn’t care enough to vote; about 25% voted pro sexual predator. Fuck you. You are disgusting. I won’t forgive Brock Turner and I won’t forgive sexual assault from anyone. I have no idea how it has been justified. But it was.

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Brock Turner. Rapist, elite, and ready for Congress. Brock tells it like it is.

Most Presidents have a 100 day plan. Ideas they want done quickly. For the most part we nod our head and say “Yeah! This is the stuff that didn’t get done the last time! (Not always a reflection on the previous President) This will help and makes us a stronger, better country for it.”  Not that we all agree, but we all agree that we want what is best. So we hope the policies are put in place.

These policies are based on hate and xenophobia. I in no way shape or form want a single one of Trump’s policies to pass. We have stepped back. Women will be fighting again for the rights they once had.

Our Vice-President has put laws in place in his state to discriminate against gays based upon which God you pray to. I’m an atheist; I wouldn’t serve any of you mother fuckers.

He is a climate change denier, and believes the Earth is 6000 years old. This makes him a 6th grade Earth Science Textbook denier as well.3528781_s1_i3

I root for the home team and honestly hope that I will eat crow and swallow my words as Trump finds out a way to give us world peace, stop starvation and cures cancer. I will carve his mug in Mount Rushmore with a spoon all by myself.

1964 Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York City over a period of forty-five minutes.  Thirty-seven people heard her cries for help and some actually saw the stabbing and watched as Genovese crawled around the corner only to have her attacker return to finish the task of stabbing her to death. No one called the police and no one came to her aid. Apathy killed Kitty Genovese. The ability to block out the cries of a dying woman. It’s happening again only this time it’s the world that is being stabbed. We closed our windows and turned up the TV.

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1964 Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death in New York City over a period of forty-five minutes.

Sleep well but know when you get up tomorrow you have made someone else’s life harder than it was yesterday. Explain that shit to Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, explain it to your daughter. I don’t want to hear it. You have the mark of Cain in your underwear. All the Tide© in the world won’t remove this shit.

Apathy, hypocrisy, and heartlessness will destroy America, not an illegal immigrant.


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Daily Life in Third World America

TRUMP: “We have become a third world country, folks.” Sept. 26th, 2016 Presidential debate.

The struggle is real folks. I didn’t realize how we had fallen so far. It’s time to let the secret out to the rest of the world. We have went from Superpower to Third-World under Obama.

9:15 am-ish. I wake up to a cold apartment. I have an old thermostat so it’s hard to regulate the heat.
I need coffee. I see I am out of coffee. So I make due and WALK 50 yards just to have to wait in line to buy my coffee at a gas station. A GAS STATION!

Not only was the coffee in the back, very far away from the checkout counter, but when I pull out the lids, two come out. I ONLY WANTED ONE!. I couldn’t find the creamer or sugar. Good thing I take my coffee black.cup-of-coffee

9:30 am: I sit down in front of my computer. Yes I work and use the same computer to do other tasks and for entertainment. I need a new one but I don’t have the money right now. This computer is three years old. I have to live with this shame. But in a Third World I’m lucky to even have this.

10:30 am: I read the news on my ancient outdated computer. It’s how I have to do it since I don’t own a TV or buy newspapers. God? Why do you let these things happen to good people? I should ask my old school mate (even though she is young) Aimee. She’s smart. She lives in England for most of the year. But talking to her over video chat in real time across the globe, just isn’t the same.

11:00 am: I need medication. My 2010 Ford Fusion started (thankfully) and I began my five mile trek to the pharmacy/grocery store called Safeway. The pharmacy is also in the back. They make me wait behind a line before they dispense my meds. My Third World insurance covered it. No charge. Finally things are looking up. My only complaint was having to walk by all the food in the isles. I hugged a worker there and expressed my sorrow at him working for only a living wage. I’m liberal. It’s what I do.safeway-1384087897

12:00 pm:I get home and I can’t find my phone. I WALK across the whole wide room and have to have my computer dial my phone so I can find it. The screen is cracked. It makes it tough to see texts, the weather, what time the pharmacy opens, photos, videos, the guitar tuner, YouTube, email, Instagram, Twitter, the Stock Market and my entire music library. Luckily It will give me audible directions. Lord I wish I had a map!

12:20 pm: I have to drive into the city. I talk to my  phone and pull up Spotify. Yes I can listen to all my favorite songs but since I don’t pay $9.99 a month I have to listen on shuffle mode. It’s 2016. I’m an American, and sure, I can listen to any album I want, anytime I want to, but not in the original order? I guess luxury comes with a price. Only the top 1% ever get to skip the ads. Facktcheck.org

1:30 pm: I finally get into the city. The fear of the tunnel collapsing and the state of the left lane for two miles was atrocious. Probably because men are busting up that lane with jack hammers and back loaders. Merging into one lane isn’t the America Grandpa grew up in. All he had to worry about was Polio.

2:00 pm: The comic book shop was closed today. CLOSED! They must be rationing comic books. I will try again tomorrow. comic-book-club-ray-gootz-970x545

I notice all the homeless people wandering the tourist district with nothing but digital cameras bowling shirts and sun dresses. They are forced to carry their bags with “I  Love Monterey” T shirts and refrigerator magnets. They look longingly at the Pacific. They are wishing for a better life, like in South America, or Africa. Who can blame them?

I decide to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. I have to ask for water, and they make me eat with sticks. You read it right. STICKS! And the portions were too big. So I eat half of it, and stiff the waiter for making me eat with a stick.

4:00 pm: My afternoon nap is taken on the futon in my studio. Not even a couch. A room with  no air conditioning. I like my studio to be a constant 45 degrees. But it’s impossible with the window open and the saltwater air blowing the 70 degree heat through here. I can’t sweat, and my feet are dirty from wearing only sandals every day. Not even real shoes. Dirty toes are common here. They are known as ‘Valley Feet.’

5:30 pm: Back to grinding out logos and webpages. Illustrating and animating. I’ll never get used to it. My elbows are calloused from leaning on the desk, My coffee is now luke warm.

The immigrants and illegals have taken all the jobs here. I walked miles and miles of fields and can’t find a single strawberry or stalk of broccoli to pick. They have looted the fields here and taken all the strawberry picking jobs that Americans want. Want in one hand and put strawberries in the other, see who’s hand is holding the strawberries. Mexican hands.

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Migrant farm workers in strawberry fields. (Mark Miller/Getty Images)

I can hear them laughing in the trailer park. The comradery among THOSE people is overwhelming. You’ll never find a white man like me being invited to live with a dozen Mexicans in that trailer. Racism. The Hispanics are living it up and I have to deal with a cracked phone.

6:30 pm: I trek across the parking lot to order from Kathy’s Little Kitchen. Mexican food. Sure they take my order in English but they speak in Spanish to each other. Possibly about murdering and raping me. I get my burrito and hurry out the door. I run back to the apartment looking over my shoulder. I consider calling Homeland Security and turning Kathy’s in. Kathy isn’t even a Hispanic name. What are they hiding?

7:00 pm: The only way I have contact with my family is over Facebook, or a text. Possibly call or Skype. Being so far away in a Third-World country means being cut off. My only options to see my mother are either driving the interstate or getting on an airplane. It’s a 4 hour flight to see my dear Mother. Home just a dream.

8:00 pm: Netflix is not showing the movie that I have been skipping for two months. I guess I’ll have to read the book. Maybe I’ll just watch ‘Family Guy’ even though it’s all reruns. But I really wanted to watch the live action ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. I can’t win *Sigh*

ef34f5566ebbd6237e0b844d674366fa9:00 pm. I’m a so hungry… I go around the whole wide corner to buy the fresh fruit. My debit card now has a chip in it and I have to put the card in to pay for my bananas. What ever happened to swiping? Just one more inconvenience other countries don’t have to live with. In California many people even carry their own bags. Why should the local wildlife get the perks? Why am I carrying my bananas in my hand just because a seal is swimming around with a Safeway bag in his colon? I should have more rights than a seal. If only a bananas were wrapped in some sort of package. Dirty banana peels caused the Red Death that wiped out 1/3 of Europe a few years ago. Factcheck.org

9:15 pm. I take my shower. The conditioner is almost out and I have to put a little water in the bottle to get the last bit. I could use a new razor, but they are in my medicine cabinet so I reuse my old one. After only 45 minutes the hot water is running out. No hot water.

10:00 pm: I start my work for the day. I’m uninspired from being beat down by a system set up to keep me down.

10:05 pm: I’m watching ‘Family Guy” on Netflix. Tweet my thoughts, and hop on Facebook to tell other people why they are obviously wrong.

Walk a mile in my shoes! Even though I haven’t walked a mile in them. But I have probably a dozen pair of shoes. So you taking my shoes doesn’t bother me that bad. Probably a Mexican took them.

I call 911 and five minutes later the cops finally show up. I explain the stolen shoes and wanted to make sure I had an airtight alibi in case my shoes were used in a rape or a murder. I was assured I was white and this would not be the case.

philly-good-guy-with-gunI then quickly whipped out a pistol that I owned and was rather proud of, to show the officer. He admired the gun, told me that it was a good thing I had the loaded pistol on me. After all when a Mexican is raping you, what are you going to do? Call the police? We both laughed.

11:00 pm: I’m STARVING!! I am forced to forage for food at the convenience store. If I don’t eat I will surely die from malnutrition and starvation. Funyuns.

12:00 am: I grab a blanket and curl up in the corner. I have my gun in one hand and used copy of “Tuesdays with Morrie” in the other. I check the gun one more time to make sure there is a round in the chamber and I pee a little bit thinking about shooting a Mexican rapist through my door.

tuesdays-with-morrie-06-07-web-image12:01 am “Tuesdays with Morrie” sucks. I think I’ll watch ‘Family Guy’

4:00 am: I go to bed. I am saddened at the fact that I can’t look up and see the stars. The roof blocks the view. I cry myself to sleep hoping I can hang on. The salt in my tears rust my gun under my pillow.

I don’t see any end to this cycle of having to wait for 30 seconds when I want it NOW!

I am an American and I deserve more than this! Why do I have to spend more than $25 dollars to get free shipping from Amazon? Why does the government  have to be all up in my face fixing roads, making sure my meat is suitable to eat and the water drinkable. I’m a slave to the electric company!I am an indentured servant. If I want anything I can think of , it all comes with a price.

That’s a lot of strawberries

–A

My great friend and amazing musician JB Faires has recently started his blog. I’ve spent many a smokey evening discussing music and the ways of the world. He is truly inspirational

Help me out and give me a like and a share. I will personally write you an email thanking you. I have nothing else to offer.

Inspiring speech. Not dated in the least. I salute you Joe Friday!

Will Donald and Hillary please report to the Principal’s Office

Political rant: When I was in school Dr. Pat Smith, the grade school principal, could make you piss yourself with just the sound of his voice. That baratone voice over the intercom would leave you shaking in your cowboy boots. The last pair I have ever owned.
 
I was called into the Principal’s office for name calling between myself and another kid. We were told that he wasn’t going to put up with crap like that in his school and if he hears it again there will be a couple of red asses going back to my 3rd grade classroom.
 
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Baldy, Cripple, and Commie.

 

Those same traits that Dr. Smith squashed would have labeled me as immature, but not a liar. I told him I did do it. This can be blown off for being 10 years old. But even as a ten year old, I knew it was wrong. I had a Mom who taught us manners and respect.

 
So does grade school immaturity instill confidence in any leader? Especially one wanting to run the free world? Things that would get you detention should be taken care of before you are considered for office. I don’t vote for 3rd grade kids either.
 

Lets try something new. We are a great nation. We do have problems. Nothing is perfect. But why not show some integrity and instead of stooping to others, why not accept the fact that we live in a hell of a nice place and use our policies to bring Washington up to our level and accepting nothing less.

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Vote for me! I have what it takes to be your leader!

 
Pretend you are in a hotel and the air conditioner doesn’t work. Do you hit FB? Makeup memes? Point at the owner and say he’s anti gay? No we ask for a better room, and it’s expected and they give it to you. But we don’t demand ‘Customer Service’ from our soon to be and former leaders.
 
Later in life Dr. Smith became a friend and morning coffee buddy. He made fun of my liberal ways daily. He would have never stood for this shit. Why should we? Dr. Smith You’ve pissed me off, you raised your voice when I would contradict you, and I miss it. I hope you have your feet up on the desk of whatever Heaven means to you. Amazing what maturity does. From intimidated child to drinking black coffee with a frenemy. 
 
If Trump takes a stupid tweet, tweet back “Just stop it” If Hillary takes to Facebook, she needs to be told to “Stop right now.” They have treated us like children long enough. We have fallen for it and I’m stopping.  Take them apples Mr. Poopy Pants

Help a brother out and give this a  “like” and a “share” Your mom would be proud of your good deed.