Sunday, April 30, 2017

What's Burning?

So we wait. Come on karma, do your thing. I'm watching children for the clues. Notice the love seems to come naturally and it seems to accompany joy. Meanness and aggression seem to be conditioned by fear and insecurity.

"What are you rebelling against, Ronny?"

"I'm not. I'm over here listening to the rock'n'roll, thinking about love."

None of us have what we would consider enough time. Don't fill up a daily planner. Visit a friend. Hug a baby. Walk in the park. Rub a dog's belly. Love like there's not much time.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

All The Wrong Places

Let's see here, what to take seriously? Sometimes my mind plays a random shuffle that mixes nuclear annihilation, loneliness and home intrusion. You begin in horror, panic. A stranger whacks you on the bottom so that you'll learn to breathe. Heck, everybody's a stranger. You're the smallest one in the room and you will be for a long time. Oh yeah, you're wet and you're naked, too.

Your consolation? A tit. Don't get too fond of it. They will ceremoniously remove your symbol of love and comfort and nourishment and call it weaning. Now that you can get used to. 

You will eventually be pried from your caregivers and placed in school where folks your size will attempt to socialize you with the supervision of teachers who are grown up strangers with a will to help you conform.

Biology will bring sexual awareness and ideas of romance. Those teachers will be ready to instill guilt and the objects of your lust will play roles in rejection and loss.

Of course I could go on with tales of loss through adolescence and middle age and finish 'er off with old age. Why bother? After "tit" it just all starts over.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quitters and Others

Life's short. All lessons are about loss. You first hear that nothing is permanent as a young person. You don't understand but you don't forget. All you've got is love. That's okay. All you need is love.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

War Surplus

You make your own significance I suppose. When the curtain comes down I won't have a full house. It's not likely that there will be a fortune for the heirs to fight over. In fact there won't be any real heirs.

Memories of joy and love are my treasures. It seems funny to me that both of these are so readily available and yet we chase so many other shiny objects.

You like a good mystery? Study biology. Psychology. Anthropology.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Walk Me Up To The Door And Kiss Me On The Mouth

Maybe I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Not the brightest bulb in the box. So I'm a few threads short of a sweater, a few bricks short of a load. I may not have all my dogs on one leash and perhaps I'm a few Brady's short of a bunch.

What's your point?

I'll settle for luck and love. You're welcome to some of mine. I seem to be loaded.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paper Cuts and Tears

Two concepts. One is real. Solid. You can hold it in your hand. I don't much believe in that one. The other is ethereal. Lots of folks would argue that it doesn't exist at all. I believe in that one. I've invested everything I have in that one.

There are smarter folks all over the world who bank on money. Presidents, sheikhs, movie stars and evangelists.

My clubhouse based on love over here is painted bright pink and is full of artists and hippies, poets and scientists. That other bunch refers to us as losers and ne'er do wells.

Those others won't give you any of their money. I'll give you all of my love.


Monday, April 24, 2017

On The Table

Too many memories. Age doesn't smooth the brain wrinkles. They just fill up. The ones based on the joy are welcome. Any time. The sad ones? They glow in tones of blue. Time doesn't heal anything, does it? Over time they just share space with more recollections.

We need each other. 

Be free with your love.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Old Stuff

Its a proven fact that attorneys of a certain age will pay three time the value of a Fender stratocaster if it has been scuffed up. "Distressed," the marketing folks at Fender would prefer. Most of the stuff around here is now "distressed."

Me? I don't know much. I know more than I did before and I know enough to know that I don't know much.

I bought a pink stratocaster. Maybe I'll scuff it up myself. I didn't even go to law school.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Be Still My Heart

We've lost heroes to Paris and we've crowned tyrants to rob the roost while we foul the place with our own waste. Me? I can't tell a fiddle from a violin and to make matters worse, I don't care. If you find a blonde hair on my lapel or lipstick on my collar, let me know. I've run out of stories.

Some of us don't like know-it-alls. We're the ones who don't know much.

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Love Me and Call Me Lucky

Sad and happy are arm wrestling for the day. There seems to be a very dark cloud over everything in my line of sight and everything's a sign if you know what you're looking for. Me? I'm looking for sentences ending with prepositions.

Maybe I should have regrets about not loving enough. I'm happy thinking of it like this- most of my life has been used up and I've got all this love left over. Help yourself.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Are You Asleep Yet?

Does the joy diminish or does it just show up differently? I don't laugh till I cry so much anymore. Do I miss it? Of course I do. I keep my eye on old dogs and cats for clues.

The real fun's never gonna be at the grownup table.

Loss is cumulative. What a price we pay. Birthdays come and go. Don't grow old. Don't ever fall out of love.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Come From Wealth

My single mom raised me on her telephone company information operator's salary. I have trouble understanding the value of gold, diamonds and fur. Unless you're a lynx or a mink. Then I understand the fur value.

When it comes to real riches, though, I'm loaded. Fabulously wealthy. 

Kindness? I'm a kindness magnet. Always have been. 

I've been to lunch with Big Daddy and I've played Maybellene with the father of rock'n'roll. The Lone Ranger sat on Silver's back and gave me a mask.

Romance? I have failed so spectacularly that I would be cynical about love except for the lessons from all of the critters that have passed through my long life. Socially awkward? Maybe. So's Jamaica.

I've seen Oklahoma and I've seen Ireland.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Starting Over Starting Over

Well, the ignorant have figured it out. Indignation. Good one. Well played. To criticize folks voting against their own interests, rejecting science and clinging to news that strains credulity is to be branded a bully by the ignorant, themselves. 

Now most of the 1% are not ignorant. Oh, I know that a good many of them inherited their jewels but it takes a modicum of good sense to hang on to what came in Grandma's will. Obviously they can't rely on their own numbers to control a government. I'm betting that Charles and David Koch watch Survivor.

Throw in with the ignorant, pardon my indelicacy, and you've got the government. Find candidates who promise heaven, coal, respect, winnable wars and a fair-skinned Jesus and you're staying on the island. The continent in this case.

U.S.A! U.S.A!

The problem in such a simplification of our predicament is the implication that all people of means are selfish. Worse, maybe, is the idea that the uneducated are all bigots and selfish.

If we separate into haves and have-nots, intellectuals and uneducated, evangelicals and heathens, they win. Now it really is time to take back our country and maybe even make America great again.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Building and Burning Bridges

If, by chance, you find what appears to be an unprofessionally packaged candy bar in your freezer tucked into a clear plastic bag with "Do Not Eat!" scrawled heavily with a Magic Marker- do as I do. Eat it. Eat it all.

Life's way too short to miss anything and I'm pretty sure I've missed plenty.

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nothing To See Here

Staying out of your way seems to be the biggest problem. Do you choose the one you love or do you love the one you choose? Who cares? The pesky New York Times put that question to me this morning.

My struggle with relevance has ended. It turns out to have been irrelevant all along. Some would call it laziness, a lack of ambition. Most don't know about it. Don't care.

To avoid being the last one picked, start your own kickball team. Throw your own square-dance. Let me introduce The Nationals.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Lovely Ghost Of Minnie Pearl

It was one of those package Grand Ole Opry shows. I suppose that I should be surprised at the memory of being there alone but it was broad daylight and I surely wasn't the only caucasian in sight. It took all my nerve, looking back, but I managed to place myself between Minnie Pearl and the stage door. I struggled to ask for an autograph and asked if she remembered my mom, Maxine Elliott.

"Why, of course. How is she? Well, you give her my love!"

Of course I could hardly wait to get home with the news. My mom laughed and hugged me as she explained that she had approached the star herself many years earlier as she was being introduced. Ms. Pearl had been sweet to her, too, asking, "Sugar, would you mind holding my pocketbook while I'm out there?"

That was the extent of Maxine's friendship with Minnie Pearl. I'm still blushing sitting here telling the story. I don't talk about it often.

Sometimes the whole thing whirls in my mind when someone asks me about Bo or Elvis or Chuck or Jimi.

Ghosts? Well, sir, I have finally figured out that they're real if you believe in them. That's what they are. That's what they always were. Do you believe in dreams?

I've got plans to spend some time with Gene and Jerry and Speedoo. I really want to see Berry and I want to talk to Minnie Pearl. She was awfully sweet to me and Mom.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Either Way, Either Way

So the old man is now a bad ass, or the bad ass is now an old man. Does it make any difference? Does anybody care?

Well, sir, I had a long rant here and I deleted it. Either "if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything," or "better to be kind than to be right." Both, I suppose.

For all these years I've assumed that the only purpose of romance was to break my heart and my spirit. Turns out it was part of a grand, cosmic scheme to teach me universal love.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Batting Cleanup

How many times did Ol' Blue Eyes retire? How embarrassing. Don't walk away from anything unless you mean it.

Now, I've never had much patience with those celebrities who were famous for being famous. It didn't start with a Kardashian, you know. The early ones for me were Orson Bean. Dorothy Kilgallen. Art Linkletter and Arthur Godfrey were radio and television "personalities." What the heck does that mean?

I've made my own exceptions. I worked once with Monti Rock III. Monti was pretty much famous for being gay. As Disco Tex he made his biggest headlines by managing to be one of the first entertainers to die of AIDS. I really liked Monti. His personae was outlandish. His kindness was genuine.

By the time that Rowan and Martin introduced middle America to Tiny Tim he had struggled in the bowels of showbiz for decades. He was beloved by the true hepcats. With the help of Johnny Carson and ambitious young girls he was transformed into a clown, the ultimate celebrity. He was the sweetest person and the most sincere guy I ever met. He never retired.

God bless Tiny Tim, indeed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bombay Potatoes, Bombay Gin

It all seems so unnaturally French at this point. I stood in Pythagoras' shadow trying to get the thing in tune. I traded a fistful of diamonds for it and now I see them all over Chinatown for a song. I don't really care. The family jewels are embarrassing and a hindrance to enlightenment.

If only it all rhymed.

Sleep just won't work around here tonight. Not for me. Not for that old dog. Lottie would say that our nerves are bad. I suppose they are.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunday School Shoes

Everybody I've ever met, I remember. I can't name them all, of course. I'm pretty sure that I remember every melody I've ever heard. The memories that monopolize my hard drive are random.

Seems to me that if the design is made of stardust and water, we're all from outer space.

Television news is poison for the soul. Beethoven and Little Willie John are antidotes. My advice? Study love.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Been Young, Been Old

You could probably make me more of a religious man if you could explain suffering to me. I suppose Buddhism works harder at that pretzel than most Western philosophies to put it all in a pretty little package.

Personally, I'm one of those fools that some god watches over. I've not done much suffering, myself. Oh, I've done enough moaning and groaning so that you would think that you were in the presence of some great martyr. In the real world I tend to be the one to find the five dollar bill on the sidewalk. 

Of course me and my money are soon parted but that's a different story.

Maybe the concept of suffering is what keeps it all a mystery to me. I question the wisdom of the ones with all the answers.

By the way, I have always thought the funniest cartoons were the ones where all the characters were some version of Goofy. Lots of cherry Coke ran out of my nose during those things at the old Palma Ceia Theater. Today's "art,"and I use the term ironically, has two Ronny's. A young one and an old one. Swallow your coffee before you go looking.

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

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fuzzy Dice

The list of folks who were going to make me rich and famous played on my memory blackboard today. I can't say that I really believed any of them at the time. If I tell you I never wanted it, am I trying to convince me or you?

Trying to piece it all together now, I wouldn't change much. If I could. Oh, I should have been more careful choosing keys sometimes, I suppose. My pal, Jimmy LaFave, loves to torment me about being "geographically challenged." I guess L.A. or New York or Austin would have made more sense. London's nice and was always good to me.

In the big picture, though, if there is a big picture, I belong here. There are no gold records on the wall, no gold watch in my pocket. The girls never fought to see who could come home with me.

For the last fifty years I've blathered about saving the world. Big talk for a guy who can't learn to speak Spanish, fly a kite or stay married.

It's my only evidence of ambition.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Warm Beer, Bad Teeth

Funny, isn't it? Everybody's story is pretty much the same. Oh, the details are different. Growing up in Bangladesh is not like growing up in Brooklyn. The girls' stories don't match the boys'. From some god's vantage point, though, isn't it pretty much like us looking down on an anthill?

E.O. Wilson looks down on an anthill and sees and understands ants. And humans. 

Free will? Creation? Myths, according to Wilson. Religion, too.

Who's gonna tell Mick Jagger? Who's gonna tell Donald Trump?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spies, Ghosts and Sinners

Judgement Day. Now, there's a concept. Be good or get caught! Maybe I'll take a few days off and re-live some memories. Well, I have fixed it so that I don't have anything to take days off from.*

Do you suppose anyone ever thinks of me and wonders what might have been?

Maybe the worst of the blues is that zone where sad barely beats out happy on the melancholy scale. How different would the art world have been if Mona Lisa had plopped down on a whoopee cushion?

*Anarchists can end sentences with prepositions.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Red Rumors

Gloria Vanderbilt preached that we all need one red item in every room. Well, sir, I'm not big on doing as I'm told. Some things resonate with me. I have a something red in every room in my house.

You won't find me walking under ladders and I always put my right shoe on first. Always. I don't tell my dreams before breakfast, either. I'm not superstitious but Grandma was.

Some of my songs have bridges and some don't. I think I might start some new ones with bridges. Sometimes I wonder why folks tell me that they like my chartreuse walls, then paint their own walls eggshell.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Burn Bras Not Books

We're down to the last three. Jerry Lee, Fats and Little Richard. Nobody has drunk more rabidly and more gloriously from the fountain of rock'n'roll than I have. Nobody.

Oh, there are those annoying nuts who can rattle off the matrix number of every Benny Joy b side on Antler and your cousin on your father's side who saw the Who open for Herman's Hermits and the Monkees and will never let you or anyone else ever forget it.

I'm no authority on anything. Love is my business. Rock'n'roll is my soundtrack. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

When I tell you that 1956 was a big year for me, you have no idea. Oh, I've told you ad nauseam about Mom taking me to the armory to see The Biggest Rock'n'Roll Show of '56. Elvis tried to call me at home. I got a guitar for my birthday.

Loss called on me, too. It doesn't seem so grievous now but to me and other nine year olds it was heartbreaking and unfathomable. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis parted company. For us there had always been a Martin and Lewis. The handsome Italian crooner and the skinny, Jewish numbskull had begun their nightclub act in 1946 and by the time that I was old enough to sit through movies, there was nothing that thrilled my little heart like Paramount Pictures' biggest stars. 

The plots were thin and predictable. Dean had to take his eyes off the dolls for long enough to save his lovable, dim-witted pal from himself and the cold, cold world. The end always came with Dean and Jerry living happily ever after, usually with the pretty girl in tow.

As nearly as I could follow the news, Dean abandoned his hapless pal. This time he wasn't coming back. Man, I hated Dean Martin! Me and most other nine year olds.

Of course the guitar meant more and more as time went on and pretty soon my eyes were on the girls, too. That's what a guitar is for, isn't it? I didn't think much about Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis.

Time passed. I really loved Dean Martin. He might be my favorite singer of the era. His TV show was timeless. I have to restrain myself here from bellyachin' about Jerry Lewis. Let's just say that as much as I adore Brigitte Bardot, baguettes, fishnet stockings and Citroens, I just can't understand what the French see in Jerry.

More time passed. Lots more time. Lots.

Leaving? I've learned a little. Being left? I could write the book. It's not always what it looks like. Maybe it's never what it looks like.