Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Good Boys






Maybe we'll come back in style. America, I mean. The U.S. It almost certainly won't happen in my lifetime. When I was a kid it all looked to me as though we had peaked, maybe with the Big One, WW II. Audie Murphy. "To Hell And Back."

We should have quit the war game, gone out a winner. It all reminds me of a fighter who just can't stop. You always end up greeting gamblers at the casino, mumbling, shuffling and nodding. Dignity gone.

Even as Chinese and Russian kids were taught to hate and fear the Americans, they still wanted our Coke. They longed for our Levis. Oh, how they loved our rock'n'roll.

Maybe I'll whine a bit about Viet Nam. That wasn't the first war we lost but it showed that we should have quit earlier.

How do I address the middle aged, rich guys who hop around, overstuffed in leather, rhyming like sixth graders to recorded music and a turntable while holding their crotches in a move copied from a dead pop star from thirty years ago, without sounding merely old and crotchety? It makes it worse for me that nobody in the hep SNL audience has the nerve to yell out, "Hey! You have no talent. This isn't edgy. This is stupid. The emperor has no clothes."

Things change. I know that. I hope Little Richard doesn't see any of this.



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When Good News Goes Out Of Fashion






Television newscasts seem almost biblical. Flooding. Fire. Drought. Never ending war. Oh, I'm not blaming the media. They have their own problems.

Technology exists to make our lives spectacular. We have resources to feed and house the population.  Instead we choose to put into office as president a symbol of royalty who brings his own gold throne to the job and not much else.

This era is going to make a fine Masterpiece Theater series someday.



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jackhammers and Ice Sickles






Life changes. Everything changes. Turns out orange really is the new black. The elite have to maintain some type of militia to protect them from the hungry. Some rules never change.

Maybe your big memories of Sunday night are from '56 and Elvis changing your life on Ed Sullivan. More of you probably sit around at the reunion and brag about your family watching the Beatles at 8:00 Eastern Time. Yeah, I know. Your dad didn't like them.

Me? I never got over Ed congratulating Fidel live as he sat on the front of a tank rolling into Havana. Fidel, that is. Ed was onstage in Manhattan. He flew down to interview Castro and mentioned that he was bringing the kind of democracy to Cuba that we needed.

Be careful what you wish for.




Saturday, November 26, 2016

Revolutions Come, Revolutions Go






So Fidel's gone. He was my favorite revolutionary. Oh sure, I was crushed when he morphed into a stereotypical dictator. No more than I was disappointed when Elvis dyed his hair black and gained seventy pounds.

Be careful with your heroes. We're all fragile and they are, too. Hurt people hurt and we've all been hurt.

Which ones do they kill? They kill the Kennedys, Dr. King, John Lennon. They kill the ones who threaten war with a message of peace. You don't have to be a Christian to know the story of the Prince of Peace.




Friday, November 25, 2016

You Call This Happy?






Me? I'm for the good times. You know- wars end and sailors kiss pretty strangers on the street. I watch men I don't know bid five, ten, fifteen million dollars for old cars on TV. Oh, they're not to drive to work or for little road trips. They're just to own.

Of course I see the same homeless families on the street that you do. I wake up early worrying about the children in Aleppo. Knowing that we round up stray, abandoned pets for euthanasia is never far from the front of my mind.

Somehow I have always been one of those people who has everything he wants and more than he needs.

If you can't share what you own with the others, share your love. No spare change? Give him a smile. Give her a hug. We're all in it together. You're not driving that Bugatti to the corner. You're certainly not taking it to heaven.




Thursday, November 24, 2016

Animal History








Kleenex in the pocket? You're old. Oh, what I'd give for a spring in my step, whatever that means. What am I thankful for? Ending sentences with prepositions, I suppose.

Sometimes I get cranky. There's nobody here to listen to me grumble except for Jamaica. She's crankier than I am. 

What am I thankful for? Whatta' ya got?

Memories, I suppose, if you back me into that corner. I've got memories. I've got stories.

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



                                  




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mud Puddles and Moon Pies





What are we celebrating? Whatta' ya got? I suppose I always thought rock'n'roll would go out kicking and screaming. Nope. Barely a whimper.

The world seems to be ready to make nice with Donald Trump. I'm along for a long four year ride. You are, too.

If you think this old world moves fast, just wait. 

Love hard, my friends.




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Temporarily Out Of Fashion






All the world's a stage and I was born in a trunk. Eyes wide open now, I head for the edge. Again. The phony concept of American exceptionalism has been replaced with a bad reality TV set. Really bad.

How high's the water, mama?

Well, in the parking garages in Miami it's up to your ankles.

Oh, the Chinese and their hoaxes! Thousand year old egg! Gag me with a chopstick.




Monday, November 21, 2016

What We Share






Dignity can't be faked. Nor wisdom. Life shapes you. Love shapes you more. You're only lucky when you know you're lucky. Sometimes I describe myself as a patient man. I'm not.




Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are You Listenin', Reason?






Blessed with obsession, life frequently overwhelms me. Now Michio Kaku explains to me that God, with a capital G, is a math problem. Not to be outdone, I am hereby pronouncing Love a geography lesson.

Just as I was beginning to feel old because I don't dance much, it occurred to me that I never danced much. I remember that I won a dance contest at Alison Lewis' party in the eighth grade but I've always been suspicious that it might have been because her mom liked me.

We're down to a two party household for the holidays this year. Jamaica is gonna have to get used to all my love and all my attention. We don't fight much.


                                        

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Angel's Last Ride






On a planet where pop stars pass over on a daily basis with Mondays off, sometimes it's hard to remember whether or not you have a purpose. Whether you ever had a purpose. Guard the palace, I suppose.

Broad shoulders and a southern drawl will get you on the radio but it won't bring you love.

I've dreamed more than a lifetime. Sometimes I dream so hard that it wakes me up. Sometimes I'm not sure which is the dream and which is the life. Is that me or is that the reflection in the mirror and the voice on the radio? What difference does it make?

We all want to believe in heaven. Try to book your passage while you still believe. Let's face it, that's all that counts. Everything's some form of energy and all energy is some form of love and if energy can be neither created nor destroyed, then all love is forever.

I love you.




When All Hell Broke Loose






Lonely is a state of mind and my cerebrum is the capital. I don't care, of course, what people think, but what do they think? Kindness brings happiness. I know that. It will get you aluminum siding and magazine subscriptions, too, if you're not careful.

Maybe old newspapers are the answer. Nah. Turns out they had wars, too. The obituaries break my heart. I'm reminded that Pinky Lee died, not to mention Eleanor Roosevelt.

Nobody puts taps on their shoes or cards in their spokes or Vitalis in their hair.

Oh, I'm not complaining. I was out of fashion before it was fashionable.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Seventy Years A Miner





We've all seen the things that gold can do to a man's soul. I remember being told, "It's not how much money you have, it's how much they think you have."

Rub the lamp, make your wish. 

Chilled Cristal? A platinum record? World peace? A Talbot-lago with 6000 original miles? How about a big talleywhacker? Really big!

No, you want to live forever, don't you?

Things rust. Stuff falls apart. Love vanishes. Dang.





Monday, November 14, 2016

Super Glue, Sonic and Man





The last time the moon was this close I was one year old. The next time around I'll be dead as a doornail. I seem to be washed up on several shores and several accounts. I have lived most of my life as an outsider of some kind. Now I find myself an elitist. An intellectual. Don't tell my high school graduating class!

What's so funny about peace, love, science and understanding?




Bottomless Wells and Topless Bars






Some things stay with you. When I was a kid there were bottomless wells all over the place. Well, that's what they told me. Every old well that we would come across in Jemison, I would ask, "Aunt Noot, is that one bottomless?"

"No, not that one, honey," she would always assure me.

I'm not sure that I ever actually saw one and I'm not sure what fascinated me, no, terrified me about the idea. Seems obvious now that you can drown in six inches of water as easily as a bottomless well. Now, yeah.

It took a long time to realize that ghosts aren't scary and that monsters are just men and women who were never loved. The only thing to fear is loss and it's always right around the corner.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

Arrogance, Naiveté






Let me get this straight- two groups of people, mostly men, tell all of us which two candidates we can choose between to be our president. One of those two will go to war in our name. Checks and balances? That president will appoint an attorney general to head up a justice department to see that our laws are upheld. He or she will be subject to a supreme court with members appointed by that president as the old ones die off. 

Of course we have a legislative branch whose role, as they see it, is to prevent any progress by the other side while jockeying to assure their own re-election beginning day one in D.C.

Have you ever seen the statistics for the assumed rate of psychopathy within the D.C. population?

This group of people sell and trade away our natural resources. They divide us from each other for their own gain. They give away our quality of life and our well being to petroleum companies, pharmaceutical corporations and the insurance industry. They sell arms to anyone with the cash who isn't considered our enemy at the moment with no apparent regard for where those weapons wind up.

In a sick, parasitic relationship lobbyists walk a wide line to further enrich these bad guys so that they can make money partying and supplying sex and drugs and money instead of working real jobs. Their real power comes from promising roles like theirs to the senators and congressmen and their staff members when they leave office.

Over the last few decades an alternative, fair and balanced, media has been created. A legitimate, free press has been labeled elite and mocked. To defend their reputations the credible press has decided to give equal time and attention to both side of any race, any issue. If Jesus gives a speech, Pilate gets equal air time.

Well, here we are. Yeah, yeah, I know. We've had rascals before. Andy Jackson didn't have nuclear weapons. Ask the Native Americans, the real Americans, how that one worked out.




Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Odds





History seems like something in the rearview mirror. Somehow I've missed what's right in front of me. Heroes and villains walk with us now. Oh, I hear the ones telling us that it's all gonna be alright. I hope they're right. I don't believe they are. I feel like a spoiled brat who was moved to first class because he was bothering every other passenger has demanded to fly the plane and now he's headed into the cockpit. Buckle up.



Friday, November 11, 2016

Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason





In fact, most stuff doesn't ever happen. Chemistry, trigonometry, physics- those are just languages for educated folks to communicate with each other about the stuff that does happen. The arrogance of human beings, thinking that they have a clue, is amusing.

The smallest particle is love. The most powerful force is love.

If you want to know something, ask an artist. Ask Butch Hancock.




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Remarkable Days






The genes that carry peace and love and compassion are always recessive. Seems odd to me that a reproductive process that depends on "romance" does its best to get rid of it. I've preached this line since I was sixteen years old. 

The tribes who grew grains were pushed to the edge of the continents way before the white man bumbled ashore. Lots of them starved and froze to death in Patagonia. Conscientious objectors in Nazi Germany were sent to concentration camps and often killed.

The world won't be free of war until all of the soldiers sit down. Those men who start wars don't fight wars. They send your children. They call it patriotism. They depend on aggressive, dominant genes.

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


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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fix Or Repair Daily






Let's not talk about it, okay? Maybe it's time to make music. Love trumps hate, remember? This is not my century, boys, neither was the last.

Real revolution's about love. Fight hard.



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Soundtrack






Cue up the sad ones please. The naked girl, prettiest girl on earth I should add, talked me into that shiny apple and then tried to blame the snake. Mortality. What a concept. Nobody can help much with loss because nobody understands it. Makes it hard to be any kind of believer, doesn't it?

Buck up. Times are tough. They say that all the time.



Monday, November 7, 2016

Flames On The Refrigerator





Today my hot rods would be classified "rat rods." Now it's a badge of honor to have funky, primed accessories instead of expensive chrome hardware. With me and the few other weirdos around Tampa  with old coupes and roadsters in those days it was all economics. One thing that I always longed for, however, was flames. Yeah, they were long out of style by then but so were hot rods fercrissakes.

About twenty two years ago I made up for it. No, I didn't get another hot rod. I could never afford another hot rod. I was buying a house and in the kitchen that was being remodeled stood a perfectly boring, white GE refrigerator.

Now it always took some doing to stir my friend, Ed Brown, to do any kind of work at all, especially if art was involved. Ed was a genius. I don't know how many times he told me. Decades of disrespect and abuse at the hands of newspaper editors who Ed considered his inferiors had rendered him impotent as a working artist. I should tell you that if he were still with us he would deny this. Except for the genius part.

Somehow I managed to convince Ed to paint flames on my refrigerator. Not just any flames. The good ones. Bright tomato red with a hint of royal blue at the base. Yellow, shaded to orange at the tips and outlined in neon green. It was the finest refrigerator ever. Anywhere.

Well, you're gonna have a hard time believing the end of this story. At two or three a.m. some ten years later I was scared out of a deep sleep by the sound of the dreaded smoke detector. Following the sound and the smell and the smoke into the kitchen, we found the refrigerator engulfed in more realistic, if less stylistic, flames. Most of the wall behind it were on fire, too. 

By the time that we had pried the old icebox away from the wall with brooms and mops and had the little extinguisher blasting, the fire department was on the scene. They finished up the chore with little damage other than the charred remains of the GE. The painted flames could still be detected on the smoking hulk.

All of the firemen were fascinated. Let me say that they were all somewhat brighter than I was, too. There was brilliant conversation about the irony. Flames, the symbol of speed for a streamlined rocket painted on a stationary, bulky box. Fire, decorating a utilitarian device designed for keeping things cold. Best of all, the whole damned thing ablaze!

Well, sir, the insurance company bought us a shiny, new, stainless steel refrigerator. Not only was it boring but after the $1500 deductible and the $1800 annual bill it was hardly a bargain, either. I suppose that the good luck is that the house didn't burn down.

Ed Brown's finest art, up in smoke and lost to mankind.


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Sunday, November 6, 2016

You Don't Want That One, She Bites






All my bad intentions, where have they gotten me? Memories? Some. Maybe I just didn't have any wild oats to sow. My gift has been an active imagination. Whatever happened to Long Dong Silver?



Saturday, November 5, 2016

Don't Play The Sad Ones





Sometimes the best rock'n'rollers aren't the most mature of the bunch. Maybe that's what makes them the best. I always seemed to end up the band leader. If I was generally the responsible one, that should tell you something.

Besides filing union contracts and seeing that Econoline payments were made on time I was usually the one to make set lists. No, I was always the one making out set lists. The benefit was, of course, I never had to play anything I didn't like.

In my mind there was never any place in music for slow songs. They're sad. Boring. I always picked up the needle and skipped right over Dearest Darling when Dr. Diddley got there. In order to fill out four sets I would usually have to slip in the slow ones. A few of them. I would always try to space them out four fast, one slow. 

Something happened. Well, the obvious happened. I got old. They warned me but I never believed it. Now, more often than not, I play solo. When I bother, or pretend to myself to bother, with a set list, it's pretty much all slow songs. All sad. 

Folks began asking me fifteen or twenty years ago why I write such dark songs. Sad songs. Maybe I would have never noticed. At first I tried to explain that most of it was just black humor. I don't hack people up.

Sad? Sometimes. Mostly I just ran a little low on joy. Love grows in the dark, too.




Friday, November 4, 2016

Turn Your Radio On






Teeth crack, eyes cloud over. They say it ain't over 'til it's over but you know better. You can put Robert Cummings in a turtleneck but he's still old. Then he dies. Where's the dignity? Remnants of so much trivia scramble for a place in the folds of the mind. We defiantly refer to it as wisdom. 

Live fast, love hard...

Oh, wait. Too late.



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rainbows In The Drugstore





If they're trying to scare me, they're doing a good job. I had trouble drifting off to sleep as a kid after hearing tales of the Klan. It's not so much the hate, it's the ignorance. If recognizing bigotry makes me an "elite," then here I am. 

Facts? Yeah, I tend to believe them. Climate change. Evolution. 

Regulation? While Monsanto, Goldman Sachs and the Koch Brothers roam the planet, I'm for more, not less.

My platform is based on peace and love and rock'n'roll. I'm proud of it.

We buy bombs for Israel while we let children starve all over the planet. Who runs this show? Who reports on it?



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Room Service At The Pierre






If memories are your currency, I'm a rich 'un, like poor old Jett Rink. Memories aren't everything, though, right? Not if you've got 'em.

You never forget what love feels like. Little Richard trills from a 45 and the hair on your arm stands up. As transparent as I feel, I realize that there are things that I just can't write about. I can barely think about them. 

If you're lucky, hate won't last. Anger fades and life has no scoreboards.

Me? The luckiest man who ever drew a breath.



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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Write and Wrong





Politics and power. The jig's up. huh? What a shame. We now know just what a rotten game it all is. Don't tell your daughters that they could grow up to be president. You'll hurt their feelings.

In an internet age we know too much about everybody. The press made sure that we did not know that FDR was a cripple. In the '60's nobody told us about JFK's womanizing ways.

There was a time when you were clean if you could stay off the cover of Confidential.

Do we have worse public servants or more information?

The revolution will run on love. They don't have an army if we don't give them soldiers. Their green paper is worthless if we don't play. Those aren't their airwaves. Turn up your radio like Bo said. 

That's not their internet. Net neutrality forever.

The oil and natural gas under this land and under these waters belongs to us. It's not theirs to sell.

Looks to me like they let the game get a little too complicated. The emperor has no clothes!

What a party. It's a beautiful world.