Adventure

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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No Green Weenies

In 1982 Cumberland Unit #77’s High School student body collectively rioted and demanded action. Cumberland Unit #77, surrendered in two days.

Due to the efforts of the sadistic Lunch Ladies, a series of events caused the students to take drastic action. Utilizing every bit of know-how at their disposal, (A civics textbook) they fought the school’s establishment, armed with nothing but a Plat Map, the Student Handbook, and a poster board sign reading “NO GREEN WEENIES!”

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Cumberland Students march against the frequency and color of their weenies

These are the facts

  1. Students could not leave the school grounds for lunch.
  2. For one week the students were fed corn dogs each day.
  3. The next week they were given hot dogs that had a green tint to it.
  4. The students revolted…

I don’t know the complete story with names and dates, but I know how it went.

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “Energy may be likened to the bending of a crossbow; decision, to the releasing of a trigger.” 

It probably started out as a joke, then an idea, then a strategy. Hushed meetings in the library between Mrs. Ettlebrick’s piercing ‘SHhhh!” Someone says something to another student between classes. Notes are passed, rumors of a coup d’état have started.

The scheme was planned like the JFK Assassination. No one knows who put in the order, deniable plausibility. The entire student body knows their part. Everyone had to be in for the plot to work. Nerds, jocks, stoners and Prom Queens joined together in unity. There could be no dissention if the scheme were to be effective…

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.ript_samuraiwars

Each morning after attendance was taken in homeroom, the teacher would ask how many were eating school lunch. They would then send this number to the office and the kitchen workers would prepare food for at least that many students. The campus was closed so the students ate what they were given, brought their own lunch, or went hungry.

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.” 
The morning of the conspiracy, each student in every class raised their hand. They were ALL eating in the cafeteria that day. The die had been cast. There was no turning back.

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Hands raised in the classroom. The Conspiracy has started

When the lunch bell rang, the Lunch Ladies, (as they became known) with their ladles, hair nets, and their cowboy cake, stood ready to shovel the daily swill onto virtually indentured students who had no choice but to take their mocking smiles as they shoveled mystery meat at them.

The Lunch Ladies waited, and waited, and waited… Not a single student ate their swill that day. They cursed the students, they screamed “FOUL!”, with cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths. “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??? What will we do with all this swill?”

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What will we do with all this swill?

The students had drawn first blood. The teaching staff and Principal were in a panic. “These punks won’t strong arm us! WE are in control!

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “he who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.” 

“You will not raise your hand during attendance if you are not eating” growled the Principal, teeth clinched veins bulging as his fist crushed the school intercom mic. “There will be hell to pay!” as he throws the mic against the wall.

The students stood steadfast as 350 green hot dogs went cold. There would be no ‘Cowboy Cake” that day.

Students were called in and interrogated. Parents were called. Detention was cancelled due to overcrowding. Reports of beatings, sleep deprivation, and threats about a “Permanent Record” were being thrown around. The due dates on essays of “Moby Dick” were moved up a week.

The students were prepared with water, nourishment and a stack of Cliff Notes for Moby Dick. They laid low and kept the momentum of their first victory to themselves. The war was far from over

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.”  bag

Part two of the battle plan involved the Plat Map and the civics book…probably.

While the students couldn’t picket on school property, they discovered that there was nothing the School could do if you stood along the highway on the opposite side of the road. It is owned by the state.

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” 

“Who gives a damn about those ungrateful bastards? Who cares about a group of  kids holding a  poster board sign that said ‘NO GREEN WEENIES’?

WTHI TV Channel 10 out of Terre Haute Indiana. Serving the Wabash Valley with news and information; that’s who cared. photo

A masked spokesman for the group explained to the entire Wabash Valley about the school’s weenie policy. Terre Haute was outraged! Letters were written and phone calls were made. Politicians gave speeches. It was a turkey shoot. No one was left unscathed. War is hell. A lone child stepped forward and sang “99 Luft Ballons” tears fell and hugs were exchanged. The weenie word was out. The students could stand down.

Sun Tzu says in the Art of War “One need not destroy one’s enemy. One need only destroy his willingness to engage.”

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Victory!

Battled scarred and weary, Cumberland Unit #77 gave in to the student’s demands and nary a green weenie is seen in Cumberland County Illinois ever since. The Principal hung his head in disgrace. He later left teaching altogether to join the carnival. He runs that machine where you spray the water in the clown’s mouth.

The lunch Ladies simply disappeared. It’s rumored they are buried under the 50 Yard Line at the field where the Fighting Pirates played football.

And there isn’t even a fuckin’ plaque.

*The events are true even if I have taken liberty by filling in the blanks. 

On a side note, I graduated from Cumberland and the Kitchen Staff, Administration, and Teachers were always wonderful. Forgive me if I have put you in a bad light.


Dedicated to

Ciara Jade Faires

  In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond

‘Like’, ‘Follow’ and LEAVE A COMMENT ⇓

Inner Beauty…Everyone Will See it if You Lose Weight

Passion. Motivation. Inspiration. Sacrifice.

We see these words and what pops into your mind? Blue tinted glitchy films of athletes drenched in sweat while their faces scream of agony as they cross the finish line, or lift an unimaginable set of weights over their head.
I’ve read recently about a wave of body acceptance crossing the nation. Gas Station food, sitting on your ass, not getting enough exercise. I should be ashamed of the extra weight I have put on since my depression has subsided a bit. There is no secret to losing it. Eat less, move more.

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Dedication!

Exercise has never been my favorite thing to do. The thought of walking out the front door in 100 degree heat and running never crosses my mind. The thought of lifting something heavy over my head doesn’t seem like a priority. I don’t want the athletes to think that I don’t respect what they do. I do want them to realize there are other ways to sacrifice that are just as hard, take just as much dedication and don’t give you shin splints or constant surgeries to get there.

I’ve heard it for years and to this very day it’s brought up. “I thought you’d get in shape with me! You never want to do anything.”Inner-Beauty-Best-Demotivational-Posters

Not exactly true. They don’t see that I don’t like the gut. They don’t see me cringe when I have to buy clothes. They don’t see me taking a brisk walk or skipping the snack that I’m craving. They don’t know the ache I feel in my lungs and heart from my smoking addiction which I have avoided through will power and an electronic cigarette. Right now I’d love to light up and read what I have written.

I was married to an Ironman triathlete. She could swim 2.4 miles, hop out and ride her bike 112, and then run a full marathon, 26.2 miles. We have no love left between us but I’d never take that achievement away. I saw it; I was always in awe of her and the ability to do such an insane race. I was at the finish line every time. A few times she even appreciated it.

She had the passion, motivation, and inspiration. She sacrificed time with her family, with her kids, ballgames, proms, birthdays (yes she went to London UK over her daughter’s birthday, and she forgot mine totally on a race trip.) Is it sacrifice or selfishness that guided her? She didn’t feel like she sacrificed anything. Who cares who you neglect as long as it doesn’t inconvenience you? THAT is the reason no love is lost between us. Narcissism and selfishness. Life went on while she was sweating; just she wasn’t a part of it. She chose not to sit on her ass over the needs of everything and everybody else. The sacrifice was given by her family, not her.

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Success!

She couldn’t tell you the name of a single one of her “best friend’s” children, but she would work any conversation back to herself and her abilities. Which were being a damn good singer and an Ironman. It sure didn’t make up for character and honesty let alone respect.

Why do passion, motivation, inspiration and sacrifice only apply to athletes and upper management? Could it be that possibly my passion has nothing to do with being an athlete?

I’m passionate about art, learning new artistic abilities and programs, activism, reading, writing, songwriting, guitar playing, great movies, mentoring, and fighting for the rights of children, far out thoughts that lead to skills that I’d like to try. New things, new experiences, fresh ideas, wrongs that need corrected. Bad behavior that needs corrected. Documentaries about subjects I know very little about but want to know more. I have a passion for learning and exploring. I want to know how Ravens use tools, and why the laws of nature break down at the quantum level. I want to know how Robert Crumb thinks and what his process is when creating a comic.KK-254Who'sAfraidT.jpg

I’m motivated because I want to please myself. I’m curious. Recently I have tried and failed twice at sculpting and mold making. I know two ways NOT to make a mold. I know why and will solve the problem or realize I know how to solve the problem now and I might just move on to the next project.

I’m inspired by artists, writers, dreamers, good music, great songwriting, great animation, original ideas, and seeing an artistic medium that I’d like to try. I might not be the best at any of these things but I strive for them.

Sacrifice? Through the years I’ve sacrificed everything I’ve had at one point or another. I sacrifice my time to listen and laugh and cry with friends. I’ve sacrificed things that I love and moments of joy to do what someone else wants to. No one sees that.

I’m a guitarist and a bass player. I sacrificed every party, event, and good time to go out and entertain. I’ve sacrificed money and time to charities. I’ve sacrificed relationships and left myself open to ridicule by people I love. I’ve sacrificed time doing what I love because I have this built-in guilt that I’m supposed to be hiking backed up by society and friends who love to hike. I think hiking is ok, putting me down for not wanting to seems like a reasonable solution for not loving it though.

I write a new song. Record it and I can’t get anyone to listen to it. I recorded a whole album and even my best friends didn’t buy it. I’m giving it away now. Ask and you can have it. It took a year to make. It took a lifetime of heartbreaks and good times to find the words to write. Isn’t that dedication? I opened my veins and bled for you openly showing what goes on behind these tattoos. Maybe I should run along the highway with a sign advertizing my little collection of songs and a peek inside of me. If I show a little sweat maybe the songs will have some value.

v1_7Passion? I sat in my room as a kid learning to play a guitar. I still practice for the love of playing. Not for you but for me. No one saw it. No one heard the out of tune guitar trying to smoothly play Crazy Train. I worked for every note that comes from my guitar. Then through motivation I started working my way up the musical ladder until I was standing on a huge stage, or playing nose to nose with a guitar god and holding my own. You get to hear the results and never think about the dedication it took. Mainly because you don’t see the sweat dripping off a kid when he finally can play the opening lick from Layla.

My passions don’t involve a sport but unless they do, society, some friends, and strangers looks down their nose because I have a Buddha belly. I’ll finish with a true story.

I belong to a Facebook group of internet *Trolls. They gathered together to make fun of the Militia occupation of a bird sanctuary/gift shop in a Federal Park. Thousands of random people from all walks of life joined this group. No one trolls each other. They are just a group of clever, witty, sarcastic do-gooders. Many are activists and have been for decades. I have trolled hate groups for years. No regrets. These folks troll for good, not evil.

A young early 20’s gal hopped on the message board one day and started body shaming other ladies about fat asses, smoking, lack of will power, and no motivation. She’s a distance runner. She knows pain, she knows sacrifice, she knows dedication.

I came to the ladies aid and replied to her; “These people have been helping others since before you were born. From civil rights, to Save the Whales. Years of writing congressmen, marches, spreading the word and making the world a better place. Personally I researched and implemented a program that would help locate missing children after a tragedy in my old home town. I told them I wanted NO recognition. It was my duty as a citizen of the world.”
“What was it you say you do? Run really far? That’s nice.”

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Am I off base in thinking this way? Leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. You may get a discussion but you won’t be met with hostility.

Be sure to Follow, Like and Subscribe. I have low self esteem and could use the extra bump!

*Troll- (noun) In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion, often for their own amusement.

Even the President has to Stand Naked.

Three upscale society ladies were having brunch at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan.

Much to their chagrin, a Southern woman asks to sit with them as she is from out-of-town and alone.

The Southern woman asks “Where ya’ll from?”

One of the upscale ladies places her cup back into her saucer and without looking up replies “We are from a place where we don’t end our sentences in prepositions.”  Her friends smugly smiling into their tea.

The Southern woman took a sip of her tea and placed it on her saucer and replied, “Please forgive me. Let me restate my question. Where ya’ll from bitch?”


The culture shock hasn’t gone unnoticed. The weekends are filled with day trippers. Ladies in carefully thought out “oh, this old thing” light spring dresses complete with matching jacket and shawl, walk casually down the street.  They walk through the village and stop in the wine tasting rooms and admiring the quaint ambiance of an artist colony full of purple-footed grape mashers.b3557

I don’t think I’m fitting in. In Greenup, I am very liberal. Here I see where rules that I thought were universal are not. Such as respect.

“Don’t say ‘Hon’ to the fem-nazi’s here. That lady looked kind of pissed.”

My answer? Fuck her.’Hon’ is a benign term of endearment given when I don’t know your name and if you are a woman. It’s what words like ‘buddy’ and ‘My Man!’ are meant when dealing with a stranger who I don’t know who happens to be a guy. I refuse to believe in pointless outrage.

Show me proof of someone actually pissed because you told them Merry Christmas and I’ll show you someone with a stick so far up their ass they could be a scarecrow. You are out voted! Saying nice things to one another should be the freest of free speech. I say it and I’m an atheist. Beats a poke in the eye any day.

Vigilante justice, or the gold ‘ole ass kicking. It’s like they have never heard of using violence to solve your problems??!! The fear of being called on your buillshit should be real.

When someone is speaking out of turn, they expect not to be confronted with a conflicting point of view. Like a two black eyes, because I had to tell ya twice, kind of justice. Nothing like the fear of being hurt to make you think about your choice of words.

Attitude adjustment. Equalizers “If he’s too big, get a bat!” The throwdown. How will we know the line in the sand without two guys puffing their chests like peacock feathers. A bro-down.

They used to have ‘Bro-Downs’ all the time in Robinson IL. Two farm boys would stand outside in the parking lot of the club.Each are being ‘held back’ by a gal who weighs a buck-o-five. Played that joint for twenty years. Never saw a punch thrown. I miss it though. If you are ever through there, stop in the Main St. Pub and say hi to Sherry for me. Don’t worry, you are safe from violence there.

There is a lot to learn. I’m not a fan of wine. I never expected to be in California, let alone here. Maybe I can summon the spirit of Steinbeck. I think I’ll write Of Mice and Men. I snow-bunnyremember pretty much how that story goes. I won’t ruin it for you, but I remember there is a guy who keeps Vaseline in his glove so his hand is soft for the ladies. That with the “I’ll love him and squeeze him and call him George…” from the Bugs Bunny cartoons I watched in my youth, toss in an action scene or two. We got ourselves a humdinger of a story.

I listen weekly to the songs the songs I need to finish but just can find the words. I’m still blocked. In the interim I heard the master tapes to my close friend Tommy Dunn and Ike Edwards new album. Once again, great songwriting and performance. Check out their stuff. Mustache. This is the best kept secret in the world. I really mean that. These guys could stand toe to toe with any band and hold their heads high.

Tommy said something that I can totally relate to. He said he played and the most he could hope for was to impress his peers. Me being one of them. I’m honestly honored that he thought that much of me to even mention it.

I am just like Tommy. No matter what I have done, the shows I’ve played, the people I’ve played them with, It was the guys I looked to that I always wanted the respects from. The Three G’s, Greg, George and Garrie. I’ve stood nose to nose with George Lynch (guitar god from the 80’s) held my own and the dude I wanted to impress most is my neighbor and my buddies Rod and Doug. They are the ones who answered my questions and let me pester them into showing me something until I could start figuring it out myself.  Every note I have ever played came through them. Like shit through a goose.

Prince died this week. Every band on YouTube was playing Purple Rain. Iconic song, I played it for years myself.  I would have played Darling Nikki, I Want to B UR Lover, or Computer Blue. That’s how you solo brother!

Prince had a strange fame. He took all the best parts of Little Richard, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Kung Fu, Shaft and Super Fly, and unapologetically put them together and invented a five foot funk machine, His Royal Badness, the former-artist-formally- known-as Prince.

He’s the one guy who, throughout his entire career, it was OK to like. Sure, you had your Ted Nugent dudes who don’t know the difference between a good guitar player and an Susanna-Hoffs-with-The-Bangles-550x310amazing musician. But he was cool, because he was boinking all the stars you wish you were boinking. Like Suzanna Hoffs from the Bangles…Ok so you can’t argue that. He puts on an amazing show, complete with great songs.  Ya got me there…

He has the majesty of a Las Vegas show in his pants. Canned heat in his heels and oh yeah, he can blow you away on the guitar. This is when it hits you that there are people better than you in this world. And I’m not talking about guitars. He is simply better than everyone.

His daily life is better than any vacation you will ever have. And we’re Ok with that. He’s transcended the American Dream and now lives the life of luxury in a palace of his own making. Too bad it’s in God for sakin’ Minnesota.  No one said he didn’t deserve it. He was the Willie Wonka of music. He produced the most wonderful flavors.

When you didn’t hear from him in awhile, you assumed he was off somewhere making purple music while wearing a smoking jacket, and a bevy of white women at his feet. Somewhere between Dante`s Inferno and the Care Bears Christmas. Both having their own foot in Hell.

There was a lot to being “Prince” but there are something’s that your assistant can’t do for you. At some point Prince sat down and dialed in the sounds he recorded. He was sitting on the floor with his pedal board. He was tuning that guitar and cutting the solo to Lets Go Crazy. The dude sitting alone and writing with a pad of paper and an acoustic guitar. “Even the President has to stand naked.”~ Bob Dylan

There could be a far out parable about Of Mice and Men’s main characters George, who has the burden of the simple minded Lennie to deal with. Prince let us pet it and love it and squeeze it and then a bullet to your head.

Prince is gone. Purple bunnies are chasing him. They are coming to dig him.

  • Robert Duvall and Prince have a separation of #3.

Christian Rockers are Some Sick Mother F***r’s

Listen up sports fans! I’m dying a slow death. Suicide by still life. This is an artist community of people who paint nothing but bowls and pitchers with avocados or apples. The brave will throw some grapes in there.

I had to draw these in art class when I was in high school. I hated it then and I hate them now. Some of these guys can paint them with such realism that you could make a good bet it was a photo. Which brings up the point of painting it in the first place when you could have just taken a picture and not spent a year getting the colors to blend just right on a freakin apple.

There was an art show this weekend. They tossed some heavy dough into a big tent, people organizing and judging, setting up displays, and then they hung 100’s of still life paintings throughout the tent. Some of them had ribbons. Big blue ribbons. They said “Your picture of this bottle/avocado theme is the best bottle/random fruit in this category!” There must have been only two categories. Amateur bottle/random fruit painters and Professional bottle /and random fruit painters.

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This picture inspires me to bust the bottle and cut someone with it while eating an apple.

I assume there was no cash award, making the amateur a professional by definition.

The music. I have been trying to meet some musicians so I’ll have someone to buy pot from since I got here. I answered an ad on craigslist for a guitarist. When they replied the choice of material was obscure and benign. If ever a town needed a pair of jeans, a chain drive wallet, a pair of Chuck Taylors, and a three-chord-shit-kickin’ band busting out Travelin’ Band like they were playing it as if their life depended on it, this is the place.

Where is the passion? The beauty of simplicity, the beauty of painting outside the lines? Like a child. There are no rules. Will my lowbrow style even be considered art here? What if it’s not? I won’t be offended, mine will seethe with sweat, anger, danger and humor. Art without passion is Still Life, music without it is Christian Rock.

What if I told you I was going to start a band, but were only going to sing about ducks. A whole album about me following a duck, or simply saying what a great duck it is. People eat duck so I could sing about various ways to eat duck. It’s a myth that ducks don’t make an echo… After that I’m out of ideas. Maybe I could write a song or two about a duck when the mood hits me, and then write about a cow, or other bovine.

I’ll never understand Christian Rock. I helped out my Mom’s church by playing in a one time band playing three songs. All mid-tempo, extreme graphic violent accounts for the entire lyric and the chorus guilts us into buying a CD because my grandson likes Rock and Roll music. It’s not the music. It’s Christian Rock listeners. Are you kidding me? Hillsong? Casting Crowns? No one smiles. Not the band, Not the audience just the road manager counting the receipts back stage.

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Christian Rock. Not a smile in the creepy-ass crowd

Nothing creeps me out more than the hand raising. It’s way too “Hitler Youth” for me to swallow. Put your hands down and put them together. Maybe Hillsong will crack a smile as they describe Jesus being nailed to a tree. Metallica wrote a song about being trapped under ice on the Ride the Lightning album plus the title song, which I suppose is another description of death. Neither coming close to the description of the Passion. Christian rockers are some sick mother fuckers. A musical snuff film. I have news for you. You can love God and AC/DC.

Longtime AC/DC frontman, Brian Johnson has lost his hearing mid-tour. As the replacement for the late Bon Scott.  Brian could hit the notes and snarled out a comeback album like Back in Black. Due to Brian’s hearing problems the band just let him go. They will be finishing the tour with the dreaded Axl Rose singing lead.

I can only hope they are hiring Axl on to finish the tour, give the fans something special and all of it being a tip of the hat to B. Johnson. If he’s filling in to finish the tour, then Axl will be a hero. If he feels he’s replacing Brian then he will be the villain. I kind of like the idea. Beats trying to buy a ticket for an oldies act from the 80’s with one amazing album under their belt.

AC/DC fans are having a ball. For those about to rock...

AC/DC fans are having a ball. For those about to rock…

GnR back together, doesn’t thrill me and I LOVE the original version of the group. Appetite was on my turntable when it came out. IN 1987! Kids today weren’t even born then. Guys you have been a day late and a dollar short since you became superstars. It’ll be a big-time grossing tour, but it’ll also be playing the oldies, a picture of a once great band. A snapshot of the past. A still life.

Ever notice Axl sound like Ethel Merman? Knock, knock, knockin on heaven’s dow-wow… juxtaposed with There’s NO business like SHOW business….

Ethel Merman was in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with and actor named Tyler McVey. McVey was in the movie Captain Newman, M.D. with The Great Santini himself, Robert Duvall.

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Listen up hog!

 I’m 100% immersed into John Steinbeck country. The places I’ve read about in some of my favorite books are right here. I went to the Steinbeck Center the other day. It was pretty stiff. I did get to see his camper from the non-fiction travelogue Travels with Charley and his handwriting and typewriter. All for twelve bucks.

“It ain’t much of a crime, whackin’ a surly bartender.” ~ Captain Augustus McCrae (Robert Duvall)

~Arlo

 

 

We were just outside of Barstow when the drugs started kicking in…

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was made into a movie that stars Johnny Depp. JD was in Don Juan Demarco with Marlon Brando. Marlon Brando is the Godfather and his consigliere, Tom Hagen was played by Robert Duvall who was in the Great Santini, which is possibly the best movie ever made. Right up there with Lonesome Dove.

What the hell does that have to do with me? Col. Bull Meechem liked to hit the road before sun up. Me too.

Traffic is light, the music sounds clearer, you smell like coffee, cigarettes 12901459_180644418993331_5627199759655942339_oand traveling. Cat traveling. Traveling with Milton the cat couldn’t have gone smoother, it was like menthol. Cool and nice.

The first time I ever crossed any farther west than St. Louis MO I was 21. I loved the open road. Steel belts on asphalt. The next cheezy landmark. “the Buford Pusser Museam is only and hour and a half out of our way??? Lets go!” and “Pull off here, There is a guy who puts on a christian parrot act!”

The town I lived in had signs for “Merrimac Caverns 200 miles away” painted on the roof of barns up and down Rt40.

I thraveled (sic) west with two books that time. “The Mother Road Rt66” and “Roadside America” a listing of all the giant balls of twine, white squirrels (Yes Olney Illinois, You were there) and Michillan Man statues that used to pepper the American landscape like ticks on a dog.

Doug and I took pictures of the things we had seen only in one of these books.He keeps everything. I keep nothing.

The billboards promised us authentic hillbilly carved nut bowls. The radio was selling autographed copies of the Last Supper. I could get a free 72 ounce steak if I could eat it. It was just about a days drive to get it. The yellow Jack Rabbit Trading Post signs counted down the miles when Doug wasn’t. Television started speaking a little Spanish. The grass was gone. There were the buttes and the mountains I had only seen in movies. That’s some pretty cool shit when you have never seen it.13015552_204074199983686_7090931735159582288_n

The Highway Beautification Act. It stopped the signs that littered our ribbon of highway and replaced is with Subway NEXT EXIT. No shit. There is always a Subway next exit. Here I am, having a nostalgic moment about nostalgia.

I’m no Tom Joad, no matter what ever romantic fantasize run through my clouded noggin. I have an accent here. I don’t understand. A man guessed Louisiana.

It’s blues music. I have always felt that American guitarists are better blues players by far than the British. Yeah, I know they rediscovered the music and gave it back. We appreciate it my fog-breathing friends. Let me buy you a beer.Migrants_car_Lange_1936_dbloc_crop

I’m a white kid from the rural midwest. We were also not far from the path traveled by, Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Willie Dixon, etc… During the northern migration of poor blacks in the south. I have known men with thick southern accents. I have seen cotton, I have seen delta, I have seen the McDonald’s on the Crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Leg-Buh.

As liberal as I am, I find the midwest and my friends and culture taking over. I’m living in an artist community. They know me as Arlo. I know Claudia at Kathy’s Diner. Bana from the middle east. Gay Stephen. I don’t really know them. I know their names. Gay Stephen and I even had a moment.

GS was the guy at the Verizon Store. He’s saying a fact about something, and it related to a fact I knew about guitar strings and without blinking an eye he said “Super Slink-ayyys!” We fist bumped as brothers of the guitar. Though I use Fender nickle wound on my Tele.

There is “soul” inherated by simply being there. chicken, cornbread, black coffee. I’m the only one who says “Hello pretty lady.” or “Fine. How are you?” They look and sound shocked. These people are fuckin’ rich around here. Not the “one night the band ate in the corner with other rich people.” These guys are 24/7/365 and a 1/4 days a year! I’m in way over my head.

When we saw a rodeo ad on TV she said “That is so cruel” I’m thinking “How else are those guys supposed to brand those calves?”

I want a bar. One that smells of cigarettes and stale beer, desperation and alcoholism. I miss my friends. I miss some of the women I have known that I probably won’t ever see again. I gave my heart to each and every one and though we will still talk I doubt I’ll feel their hugs, smell their hair and listen as I tell them I love them. It was never a lie. You know who I’m talking to, because I never said anything but I love you. I would have done anything for you. We didn’t breach the subject much, just in jokes and passing but I would have traded my life for yours.

Clint Eastwood lives here.

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