Monday, February 29, 2016

They Sang Like Angels, They Fought Like Dogs


My insignificance is apparent to me. The humble tasks of tending to a dog and a cat and playing a little rock'n'roll leaves plenty of time to ponder the state of the planet. I have a full heart and I've known love beyond my wildest expectations. It's too late to die young and I'm too far along to ever be considered unlucky. I love you.



Friday, February 26, 2016

Cool Breeze


Sometimes I feel guilty about my life. This rock'n'roll brings me more joy than any one person deserves. Tomorrow I get to play with a bunch of the nicest folks in the world. "Play." That's the key. One of them was onstage with me the very first time I ever performed. That was more than fifty years ago.

Keep an eye on me.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

When Crazy Swirls


Chaos and disorder are in the ether. Everywhere I look there seems to be some blinding reminder that it's all temporary, that nothing is permanent. Okay. As I look on, friends seem to be crumbling before my eyes. So does society, culture.

Love for love's sake. You're not driving.



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Government


I once spent eleven years working for the government helping protect the environment. Maybe I should say that I once wasted eleven years. When I left, broken, dispirited and depressed, I worried that maybe I would no longer identify as an environmentalist. Maybe my idealism would be diminished. Nope. The experience made me cynical about government, bureaucracy maybe, but not tilting at windmills.

The bullies who took your lunch money from your pocket while you were dressed out for phys ed now control your government. As I watched the alpha male lawyer on 60 Minutes boast that the government didn't bother attorneys because the attorneys write the laws, I realized just how simple and straightforward this system really is. This guy was straight from central casting right down to his suspenders.

Oh, I don't need to be reminded that there are wonderful folks toiling in the legal profession and would-be heroes swimming against the tide in our government. As you start to take inventory, though, you quickly realize that there are far more Snidely Whiplashes than Atticus Finches out there.

Unfortunately, we're dealing with evolution here. In the real game love "trumps" power.



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Guns and Duckbutter


Change hats, change character. Roy Rogers first played a villain in a bit part in a Gene Autry movie. When Gene marched off to war, ol' Roy donned the fringe and glitter and the white hat and climbed up on Trigger as the King of the Cowboys.

Eddie Graham tired of making a fortune as a bad guy in the ring. He came home to Tampa and reinvented himself as the ultimate rasslin' hero. When the vile nazis and commies and assorted wrongdoers slashed his forehead beneath those golden locks we all bled.

Somehow the United Stated has worn the crown of the good guy with most of the rest of the world from the get go. That is in spite of slavery and genocide. We got off to a good start as the underdog and, let's face it, the world loves an underdog. To help in the contest we kept winning wars. Let's face it again, the only thing we love more than an underdog is a winner. That means that we wrote the history books, therefor, God was on our side.

Along the way we gave the world jazz, Levis, rock'n'roll, the i phone.

In the meantime we stopped winning wars. You might suppose that losing for a couple of generations might cause us to reconsider that game. Nope. The military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us of makes a fortune from the arms industry, win or lose.

Finally we arrive at a point where the rest of the world doesn't even laugh at us. It shudders. We elect a black president and for a brief, beautiful moment it appears that we have begun a new march forward. This after killing the Kennedys, Dr. King and Malcolm X. Almost immediately the ignorant push forward an evil cartoon character turtle who announces proudly that a minority representing the wealthiest few in this country will prevent the new hero from governing.

In the meantime, science is denied. Infant mortality goes up. The economy collapses. We continue to lose wars but we somehow find new ones to fight in the name of God and democracy. Our infrastructure decays and our education system declines. Health care becomes affordable to the rulers and the few that they truly represent. The environment goes into a tailspin that scientists fret may be irreversible.

Rock'n'roll is usurped by the television networks and presented as melodramatic contests. Sex becomes nothing more than an advertising tool. It's not dirty anymore. Dang!

Without mentioning any names, I don't have to, this political season has clinched the deal. The rest of the world is nostalgic for the day when they could laugh at us. Now, with their heads in their hands they listen to the news every evening of border walls promised and new cold wars. They watch as mobs pummel protesters while orange faced lunatics and pasty faced demigods threaten to carpet bomb the middle east.

In the meantime we wait for the next television evangelist to be brought down by scandal, the next legislator to be undone by a sexual embarrassment. It seems hypocritical that sex is still dirty for them, doesn't it?

I'm considering starting a cult. Who's in?





Sunday, February 21, 2016

Leavin'


Maybe all of the joy is in the mystery. If I knew, there wouldn't be any mystery. Holding hands. Rock'n'roll. The smell of the ocean. A puppy's breath. A mother's love.

Don't waste a moment that you could be loving.


                                         

Saturday, February 20, 2016

When Angels Fall


She walked right into the Kind Heart Trap behind the Race Trac gas station on Gandy and right into my heart where she's purred for the last seventeen years. She was the best mom a kitten could have. She has saved me over and over with her sweet company. Now we're nearing a parting. She lost her eyesight two days ago. Worse, that's a sign that her kidneys are failing. Meantime, she's as loving as ever and her appetite, as usual, is just fine.

Goodbye is not my strong suit. You'd think by now I would be the king of the stuff.

The best lessons in real love come in tiny, furry containers.


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Friday, February 19, 2016

Transformers and Resistors


Yeah, I've always worried that if I were going to figure it all out, that it would come to me at "the end." Of course I haven't nearly figured it all out and I'm hoping that this isn't quite the end. I am an old man, though, and I do know more than I did yesterday. 

It seems that the truth is out there in lots of beautiful books. Plenty of movies, poems, paintings and sculptures, too. Beethoven scribbled it out as a deaf man. Woody Guthrie flooded the market with it and most of the world yawned until Bobby Zimmerman became Bob Dylan and forced it on us with the help of Albert Grossman.

Until you translate it into your own version in your own language, the mystery remains. Most folks don't much care. The others, the ones they call the seekers, keep unwrapping hints until nothing's left but the truth. 

Nothing here to be smug about. We were all born with it.


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Scratch Posts and Bubblegum


Presidential politics and awards shows help me understand just how unfit I am for these times. Reading that back sounds condescending. I don't think I'm better than anyone. This is just not my tribe. I have tried to fit in over the years, I just haven't tried too hard.

There was a short period of time when I was young when I thought that the world was in synch, or more accurately, that I was. It didn't last long.

Ultimately, I pin my hopes on the bonobo and the dolphin. Those are my parties. I don't give up on love. I don't give up on hope.



Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Rise, I Fall


Let's face it, money is not the root of all evil. Money is merely a tool for the greedy. They've got a whole kit of them. Power, religion, politics, ad nauseam. Living in a culture in decline is trying. I choose to be optimistic. That means that I'm forced to look well beyond my time here.

Unfortunately, you can't just choose to live outside the system. You will notice upon reflection that the greedy will appropriate the "outside" once a profit potential exists. There's big money in art, sports, music, film. The beautiful geography of the quiet beaches becomes the "real estate" opportunity for the wealthy. Clearly, they see water as the next oil.

Martin Shkreli and Antonin Scalia will battle it out for Time's Man Of The Year. Meanwhile, Barack Obama will make it into the history books as an unsuccessful, ineffective president, much as Jimmy Carter has.

Mothers, don't let your kids grow up to be politicians. Or pharmaceutical reps. Or, for that matter, art dealers, preachers, soldiers, stock brokers...

Change will come. Love will win. Nobody said it was gonna be easy.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Next, Please


If you run GM, you don't understand Tesla. You have contempt for Elon Musk and you're pretty sure that Uncle Sam and Jesus would both drive Chevrolets. If they drove.

If you're Reince Priebus, I'm sorry. You run the Republican Party and you don't understand Donald Trump. You pretend that you do. In fact, you pretend to like him. You don't have any choice.

As is usually the case, cultural change doesn't knock lightly. It kicks in the door.

So Wall Street doesn't like Bernie Sanders, huh? So what? He didn't like them first. Oh, if the people elect someone who regulates our industry, democracy will fall! Oh, please.

The Grammy Awards were given out last night. Of course I've heard of Taylor Swift. She's on the evening news sometimes. Twice I've seen Bruno Mars on TV. To be honest, I don't know much more about the NFL than I do the Grammys. 

I'm not bragging about being out of touch. I'm not really embarrassed about it, either. I'm not quite one of those jerks who brags that nobody tells him what to do. I'm close, though. When fashion and I track closely, I'm proud. It never seems to last long. On the other hand, peace and love and rock'n'roll always seem to come back around.



Monday, February 15, 2016

Barn Doors and Beets


The world keeps getting smaller, crazier, right? Does the rest of the world hate us here in the states? Are they nervous? Maybe the U.N. could sponsor a lights out, Texas death match between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. Proceeds could go towards feeding the hungry, shelter for the homeless and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

We all love to root for the villain, I know, but this one will be hard. Most decisions will probably be based on hairdo preference. I haven't been this obsessed with hairstyle since the four lads from Liverpool showed up in in newsreel footage on Jack Paar.

This could be bigger than figure eight bicycle racing. Want in on the action? Just go to my gofuckme page or send the cash directly to the U.N.

God bless America. He's on our side, right?





Sunday, February 14, 2016

Family


The plans are being laid for our family reunion. Since I lost my mom about three years ago the whole shebang has shrunk. Of her siblings, only Aunt Jo is left. She turns 100 in July. We plan to gather in Birmingham in June. I have seven cousins and we grew up like brothers and sisters. Being the family numbskull, I have a special spot at the table. All seven of the cousins and all of their "kids" and all of their spouses treat me as if I were okay, just like the rest of them.

Looking back, my mom filled this role before me. They were all good to her, too.

For me, I suppose, it's mostly the rock'n'roll. I'm just not like the rest of them. Not that the others are any cookie cutter models. No sir. They're all over the board, socially, culturally, politically. The common element is love. I guess it all goes back to Grandma. She loved hard and better than anything I've ever seen. She set the standard.

Oh, I'm aware that everyone thinks that their family love is special. I really need to keep quiet about mine. It would be immodest to go on. Let's just say that my heart is really full and leave it at that.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.


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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Blast It


Great tales of adventure I offered, exotic places I'd been. When queried she offered proudly, stories of one hundred men.

Maybe I should have invested in those little chalky Valentine candies. You know, the little pastel hearts that say, "Be Mine," and "You're Sweet."If I had started in the third grade, think of the size of my collection today!

Well, I suppose we all have regrets.


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Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Stuff


Thank goodness the music is free. If you can't afford the new Leon Bridges download, you can still hear the birds sing. You can still whistle Beethoven's fifth symphony or Chattanooga Choo Choo.

If the girl at the show won't give you the time of day because of your old car, you probably don't want to spend time with her anyway.

Remember when Green Stamps went out of business? Well, of course you don't. You're too young. When these "saving stamp" businesses disappeared, every one's mom was stuck with kitchen drawers full of half-filled books of the things. Dreams of lawn chairs and plastic serving spoons left as roach food for years waiting for a resurrection that was never coming.

Don't let the same thing happen with love. Maybe Mr. Right missed his bus. Maybe the great love of your life was actually a psychopath and you're better off without her. There are dogs and cats waiting for you at all the shelters. For that matter, there are strays all over the streets. The nursing homes are full of lonely folks with nobody coming to visit.

I'm guessing Ryan Gosling already has Valentine reservations. There are homeless folks in your neighborhood who would be grateful for a little bit of affection and attention for a special holiday.



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Let Them Eat Pizza


Really, can you believe it lasted this long? We've been told for a very long time that "you can't beat the house." It's been fairly obvious that our "representatives" in government haven't been representing us. From the scared and ill-informed to the obsessive political junkies, we've swallowed it all for a long time. Wars to protect their interests. Economic collapses based on their reckless gambles.

Seems to me that as long as our flat screens kept getting bigger and the multiple of pixels in our i phone kept increasing, we've been passive to the destruction of our planet, the poisoning of our water and food, the hypocrisy of our government and the piracy of our resources including our airwaves.

Now? Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders. One way or another, the jig's up. They can't assassinate their way out of it this time. The truth, the genie, is out of the bottle- out of the closet.

Maybe it started with the Occupy Movement. Me? I like the pretty girl in hiking boots climbing the tree to hang the banner.

It seems that the display of greed and wealth finally became conspicuous enough. You know what they say: Enough's enough.

Oh, they could have stopped, or at least slowed down, with ten times what we have. Twenty. Maybe fifty. They came back boldly for the crumbs. Now, let's see them get this one back in the bottle.

When I was a kid, the word, revolution, scared me to death. It seems upon listening that it still frightened John Lennon in 1968. I never want to see anyone hurt. I abhor violence.

They took our rock'n'roll, though. Not overnight. They stole it, piece by piece, song by song, station by station. It will fuel this revolution, though, along with peace and love.

Is this an exciting time to be alive or what?



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Break It Again


If my heart had never been broken it might not be this open. Truth is, I've never loved with total abandon. Oh, I've been thunderstruck. Crazy in love and blinded by passion. Somehow though there's always been a governor keeping a level throttle limited. I'm guessing that it involves some sort of defensive mechanism to limit the pain of eventual loss.

Well, wouldn't you know it. After all this life, all this living, I just recently gave up on a lifelong search for happiness. It's always been hiding with this next promotion, this next romance, this new car, this next record. Now, here it is. Just sitting there in front of me. Right where it's always been.

Every time that I start thinking that I have no interest in any legacy, my grandmother comes to mind. My heart swells with memories and I realize that she lives with me to this day. If I could ever do half the loving that she did in a lifetime, I would have earned my keep.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. That's what she said.



Monday, February 8, 2016

Now's Good


There's enough food on the planet to feed everyone. There are enough doctors to treat all the sick. We have the resources to house everyone and all the stray dogs and cats, too. Without sarcasm, with no cynicism, I ask why we continue down this road.

Somehow we allow disagreements about religions and politics, ethics and greed to keep children starving. We have decided that it is only fair to let the folks who control most of the green paper to decide who gets to keep the green paper. We cede to them the right to deflower the planet and to declare wars to protect their interests.

The list of extinctions projected are mostly due to human activity. Maybe it's only fair that we make the list. We always need new heroes.



                                     

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Game Day


Better get to the grocery store before the crowds swarm. It's the big day! Downton Abbey! Hoot mon!

It has occurred to me lately that this is, in fact, my last rodeo. Okay. I hate rodeos. Men being mean to animals? Chaps? I'm not wild about cowboys, come to think of it. Oh, I loved Roy Rogers. He put sissy in the west way before any sore back, homoerotic soap opera. All that fringe, all those spangles. He was as close to Little Richard as any boring white guy in spurs is ever gonna get. He got to sing with the Sons Of The Pioneers and snuggle with the young Dale Evans, too. She was quite the dish in those early movies. A divorcee, too! Man.

My point, if I have a point, is that I'm on the outside of it all again. It's a little bit lonely out here but it's not bad. If you go outside to play today, be an indian. Wear fuchsia. 






Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Last Rodeo


Things change, don't they? The joy's always there and the music can always remind you. If you're by yourself there's no "our song" I suppose. That doesn't mean that the memories aren't invested in every note.

Turn on your radio. Now, turn it up. Bo Diddley said so.



Friday, February 5, 2016

The Super Bowl and Syria


The top story on the news, of course, is that Super Bowl 50 is here. Next up is what Donald Trump has to say about Ted Cruz. Then we work our way down to starving children in Syria. What kind of "civilization" is this? Am I really this out of step with my fellow man?

If the concept of peace is naive then surely the concept of war and genocide is stupid. Evil.

Look! The emperor has no clothes.




                                   

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Greed and Paradise


What makes you rich? Depends on who you ask, I suppose. I'm putting all my chips on peace of mind. Now it gets tricky. How do you define peace of mind?

Sometimes they make fun of me for talking so slow. That's alright. My cousin, George, talks slower. I imagine he gets by okay knowing that our cousin, Murray, talks slower.

Now I've been driving life's highway while staring in the rearview mirror for some time. It feels fine to look up and see all the beautiful scenery again. In fact, I may just pull off the road at this next exit and walk for awhile.

I've got songs. I've got love. I've got stories and I've got memories.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

He Had Hits, Just Not With Me


Why bother? Utopia is here. Now. Those distractions that we all tend to use as our excuse to avoid happy are usually of our own making. Notice how often we use someone else's unhappiness as our source of misery. I've lived long stretches with folks who described their condition as "depressed." They probably concluded that their unhappiness was a result of living with me. Maybe it was. I would be willing to bet that most of them, no, all of them are "depressed" now.

Here I am, happy. I'll credit the memories of a lot of depressed people. Everyone deserves happy. Everyone deserves love. It's all in the rock'n'roll and the rock'n'roll's in the ether.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Roll Me Again


Back to invincible. I'm bulletproof. Cosmic rugs were pulled from under me six or seven years ago. Maybe I should have struggled to get back on my feet but crazy folks don't know they're crazy. It's been two steps forward and one and 7/8ths back for some time now.

Crazy's not bad. Depressed is, well, it's sad.

On to New Hampshire! Oh, wait. That's those other crazy people.