Thursday, December 21, 2023

Not Born To The Manner

Yeah, I grew up with them. I don't have anything against them but I was never gonna be one of them. Oh, I suppose I could have joined the right clubs and worn the right clothes and combed my hair properly. My single mom scraped by and did without to make sure that I had everything. We lived in the right part of town, in the right school district because she wanted me to have every opportunity. You know- to be somebody. 

Honestly, I had no idea that I was ever rebelling against anything. I just knew that I wanted to be Little Richard in a Jimmy Stewart world.

Well, sir, I seem to have wound up Ronny Elliott in a Donald Trump world. There's an ocean between me and Old Glory and true love in the future as far as the eye can see.

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


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Christmas Over Here

Hodee-hodee-ho! Happy holidays to all of you. I wish you all the peace and blessings in the world. I hope you're all as excited about this season as I am. 

Maybe this is as good a time as any to tell you about my life on the right side of the ocean and the wrong side of the road. Let me start by saying that my existence is about as perfect as it could be. We live in a tiny village in a tiny town in the south of England.

Dorset has the finest weather in the UK. That's a lot like saying that Morvan was the best singer in Milli Vanilli. When I heard that it was frequently windy, I thought that maybe I could fly the occasional kite. Turns out that windy in England is like pudding or chips or egg nog. Familiar word, entirely different meaning. Let me just say that within an hour of assembling a wooden storage shed in the back garden, we watched out the back door as it sailed across the property. Those scenes on cable TV where the valiant weatherman stands, battered by winds and rain, in a hurricane scene in Florida- that's just waiting for the bus to Weymouth on a Tuesday morning here. Wind means WIND.

To say that life is quiet here doesn't do it justice. We usually walk into town. If we have to drive- well, if Kate has to drive, I'm not crazy- parking is free. Of course, there's nothing in town. Mostly a few charity shops. Thrift shops to most of you. There are a few cafes, the watch strap shop, the vape shop and the wool shop. We like to play a game to see if we can ever find it open. There's the local pub, the Punch Bowl. Main feature is the patch of astro-turf in front. There are cat mummies in the local museum. If company comes, there's the lighthouse and the hole.

Oh, we have plenty to do. Amos and Andy dvds. Rocks and broken glass that we pick up at the beach. We usually manage more than three meals on any given day, too. We spend a lot of our free time lavishing praise on Vera and I'm pretty sure she likes it.

You want to know how perfect Kate is for me? This morning she came down in a gold and silver sequinned dress.

"I bought this for a pound at a charity shop a long time ago. I get it out and wear it once a year at Christmas and I wonder, 'Why do I ever wear anything else?' "

Why, indeed!

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


Saturday, December 9, 2023

City Lights and Country Bumpkins

Maybe it's time to get all the toys out of the chest. If I'm gonna use up all the love that I came with from the factory, I had better shake a leg. Speaking of shaking a leg, I won't miss any opportunity to dance, from here on out. Of course I don't much care for dancing, not with people in the room. Luckily, Kate doesn't either. Still, there's no reason not to dust off my old tap dancin' moves when a hot one comes on.

Who was it who said, "Don't leave any empty tape?"

Oh, yeah.

I hope to leave shoes so well-worn that no charity shop will take them.

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


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

All The Good Ones


Funny, isn't it- none of the beats admitted to being beat. By the end, Kerouac couldn't keep quiet about his distaste for hippies. If the club has a name, maybe you might think twice about joining up.

Always told myself that I wasn't bothered about being picked last for the team. Here I am, still talking about it. Do I mind never having fit in? I'm probably not the one to ask.

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

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Who Came Up With Time?


As I sit here and worry about the babies in Gaza, it's hard to consider that the world is a better place than the one that I came into. If you're not careful, they'll make you cynical. 

Most of my friends agree that the planet would be better run by dogs. There are plenty of sweet, kind folks  around. Not many of them serve in politics. I'll leave it to you to decide whether religious leaders deserve salaries with all those zeroes. Don't get me started on the art treasures in the Vatican and evangelical activity in American affairs of state.

It has taken me all these years to understand that rock'n'roll, like all popular culture, served as a distraction to a world of trouble. Somewhere along the line, some trouble-making kid took Chuck Berry's relatively harmless "Too Much Monkey Business" and sang about bad working conditions and income inequality and insisted that he wasn't going to work on Maggie's gol-darned farm.

Well, you still had professional sports and television to keep the public in that daze. With sex as the secret sauce, tastemakers around the world worked tirelessly to keep our noses to the grindstone. Once the internet paired with cell phones, the fix was in.

Cheaters still win. War is bigger than ever. Any notion of world peace seems quaint, naive.

Somehow I remain hopeful. I don't miss a moment. It's all about love. You do what you can. All you need is love. Maybe this stuff will catch on. It's come in and out of fashion during my time here. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Work Clothes


Over here searching for proof of my existence and all I can find is lustful thoughts and memories of loneliness. What on earth causes folks to behave the way they do? When will the last soldier lay down his weapon? Certainly nobody wants to be the first.

The way I see it, my mind in the perpetual gutter has kept it off war.

Nobody has accused me of being a great thinker, but I don't believe I've done much harm. Maybe I should have had loftier goals, grander ambition.

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

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Some Days

Oh, give me a home where the punks don't have guns and the skies are quite cloudy all day. Drivers wait courteously for oncoming traffic on narrow lanes where two cars can't pass. Road rage consists of a roll of the eyes and a muttered, "Blimey!"

Politics on television is, nearly as I can tell, what every Monty Python skit is based on. You just don't see any lavender turbans in the halls of congress.

Don't get me wrong- I'm not intentionally denigrating American culture. It's just that the sense that I've had over the last few decades that kindness and civility were disappearing seems to be well-founded.

Homesick? Ever? Well, I miss my friends and what family I have left, but Katie and Vera determine home. We share a snood. Can you believe it?


Saturday, November 4, 2023

Jiggety Jig

Home, as they say, is where the heart is. I'm home. By the way, who are "they?"

After a short visit to the good ol' USA, I'm back in Dorset. Home. It was surely sweet to see friends. Of course I missed more than I saw.

There are good people and there are bad people wherever you go. I really prefer to think that there are only good people, but some of them have been damaged along the way. At any rate, I seem to run across mostly the good ones.

We're gonna take the slow approach to Christmas this year. Since we lost our Sunny Jim, we're down to three for the holiday. I'll get our 2' plastic tree down from the attic when I get up the ambition and Kate and Vera and I will decorate as the mood dictates.

I wish for all of you the measure of happiness that I have. Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

How Many More Summers?

When the world is burning and drowning at the same time, but you keep rolling sevens, it's time to go to the party, isn't it? Nothing is guaranteed, regardless of what was promised. You do what you can.

Love is the only currency that matters. 

When you find home again, settle in. If there's wild knocking on the door as the sun is coming up, just assume that it's true love.

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


Sunday, October 1, 2023

Now What?

Arrogance comes early. Wisdom, if it comes at all, is late to the party. Kindness, as it turns out, doesn't cost you a thing. In fact, it pays great dividends. Show me a soul who believes he's been kind enough and I'll show you a fool who hasn't paid attention.

I ran out of stuff to want a long time ago and, knowing that nothing is permanent, all I really want is to pay attention to everything that's in front of me.

Memories? More than my fair share, thank you.

I've always cried at endings but I've always loved a grand finale.

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


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

It Rolls 'til It Don't


Doing good should just come naturally, right? Far as I know, little boys continue pulling the wings off flies. Hey, kid- good luck if you're absolutely sure that you're gonna live long enough to make up for all your meanness.

Snake oil dealers came up with heaven as a concept just before car salesmen originated the extended warranty. Everybody wants to kick karma down the road.

No matter which of those books you pick up, love is always the answer.

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

Sunday, September 10, 2023

What Ever Became of Bebop?

Whatever have I done to deserve this? In all my dreams as a kid, everybody got all the things that I had. Every seagull got his share of bread crumbs and every stray in the pound went home with a loving kid.

Oh, I worry about this old world and I'm well aware of how little I've done to make it any better. It occurred to me a long time ago that I wasn't going to improve the lot of the planet with government work or demonstrating in the street. Now, I've done some of both and I have great respect for the folks who have chosen those paths. Ms. Thunberg is the hero of a generation.

War and climate change and hunger and hate haunt us all. If you miss the magic, however, fretting about the tragedy, you've missed it all.

Do what you can. Love hard, play fair and share what you have. Stand up for the ones who can't and speak for those without voices. Enjoy the whole trip, though, while you're at it. It's beautiful.

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


Saturday, September 2, 2023

Go Now!

Funny, truth and grammar are dispensable, it seems. War never goes out of fashion. Who put these bozos in charge? Oh, yeah- we did.

If you can ignore the buzzing around you, there's still a beautiful world to rejoice in. Poetry doesn't have to rhyme and you can combine any colors that you want. No need to wear your skirt the length of the fashion model's. No need to wear your skirt

I'll drive the speed limit because I should and I'll pay taxes because I use the infrastructure. 

Kindness brings happiness and love brings peace. It surely ain't rocket science.


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Castles and Mushy Peas


Nobody's shooting schoolchildren. "Sorry," is on every tongue. Road rage doesn't seem to exist and government scandals are like soap opera plots. Honestly, hooligans don't seem particularly threatening when they sound like your favorite Beatle.

There's a gigantic palm tree right in the middle of Easton Park, right down the road. Makes it hard to feel homesick. Dogs are in almost every cafe and pub. I can see the English Channel out the back window and I'm about to walk down the lane out back to see the pigs, who just moved in, and their neighbors, the goats and the llamas.

Oh, yeah- Kate has added cornbread to the menu.

A bloke could get used to this. 

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

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Will There Always Be An England?


Guilt is so overrated. I know that. Nevertheless, nobody should have the life that I have. Oh, I suppose that a better way to put it would be to say that everybody should have the life that I have.

Who knew that paradise would be here, tucked under the mainland of Great Britain. I remember old timers always telling me that I should have seen Key West before it was "discovered." I look forward to telling whippersnappers about Portland, before it was discovered.

Oh, and love- I preached about love for so long that I had pretty well decided that the stuff I went on about was the creation of some Walt Disney or the material of some young girl's dreams. Nope. It's right here. In abundance. It's way too late for bad luck. When this plays out, and we know that nothing is permanent, I will have had everything. Great goodness!

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

Friday, August 11, 2023

Peepin' and Hidin'

Can't go over it, gotta go 'round it. Life comes but once, at least in my belief system. Today. Eat the good stuff and read the good stuff and listen to the good stuff. Pet every dog. If he bites you, you will have learned not to listen to the likes of me. 

Every morsel is a feast with the right table setting. I've dyed all our napkins fuchsia and the whole world got better. I haven't solved any climate change problem or ended any war, but I feel like I've done my little part. 

I've forgotten most of everything I ever learned except Elvis' army serial number, my phone number from 1962 and the ending for my nightly prayer. Oh, it's no big deal and it hardly qualifies as dementia. I just never learned much. A great deal of it is not really forgotten so much as I've just changed my mind.

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


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Scenic Routes To Paradise


Great gifts seem to arrive when expectations fade. Miracles are everywhere when you're not looking for anything special. The magic in the world is like floaters in your eye. Don't look at it if you want to see it.

All those hokey things you ever read about love are true. Every cornball "moon, June, spoon" rhyme in all of the mediocre pop songs ever written nailed it perfectly.

Of course loss is the other side of this lovely coin. Nothing lasts forever. Don't miss a moment. Don't just tell somebody that you love them. Tell everybody.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Wide Streets In A Ghost Town


While the planet sizzles I live the life of a prince in some mystical fairyland with the traffic coming towards me in the wrong lane. Loss visits and leaves that familiar, bittersweet memory that makes up all that matters.

If I could have planned a future, this would have been it. 

I wanted to save the world. Looks like the world saved me. 

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

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Pirate Graves and Chips

Time drags on until time's almost gone. I suppose I'm glad that longevity tables aren't that easy to decipher. There was a point in my life where I thought that it was obvious that the whole Adam and Eve parable was about sex. Now I'm pretty sure that it's about mortality.

Is it just me or is it kinder over here?

Maybe it's just that the pushy ones don't have six shooters.

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


Friday, June 9, 2023

What The Heck Is Bubbles and Squeak?


You can take the hillbilly out of Alabama but don't let him drive on the left side of the road. Cultural shock comes naturally to the uncultured. I should probably start a list of some sort of the terms that throw me. If John, Paul, George or Ringo didn't quip about it in A Hard Day's Night or Help! I probably don't have a clue as to what is being said right in front of me.

All I know is that I'm supposed to react positively to, "Alright, Mate?"

They call this English?

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

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Land of Guns and Honey

Far be it from me to criticise, whine, complain. Oh, wait- that's what I do. You don't turn your back on a friend, though, especially when they're down. Somehow the good guys are gonna have to get some kind of control of the US government. 

The majority of Americans are fine, decent folks. A vast majority. I grew up with kind, fair people who shared their good fortune. 

Oh, we frequently had it wrong. Indigenous people. Slaves. The environment. I could go on but I don't want my little blog banned in Florida.

Maybe the old girl has just had her day. Empires rise and empires tumble. It surely seems to me, however, that if the majority made the big decisions again for awhile, that there's plenty of life in her.

Meanwhile, the weather is lovely in Dorset. I'll see you in October.


Sunday, May 7, 2023

Shot Who?


We got a new king, you got another massacre. Sick and sorry as I feel, I have to admit to some small degree of validation. My definition of quality of life has never had much to do with GDP or stars, stripes and steeples.

I've had so many friends wish me well with some version of, "I'd go, too, if I had the nerve. I wish I could get out of here."

Well, I've had a hankering to go since Please, Please Me and She Loves You. I never left, probably because I didn't have the nerve. I still wouldn't. I fell in love.

People are people everywhere. If you're reading this, I probably miss you.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Yeah, But Wait 'til The Sun Shines


Well, sir, I'm back in the UK, legally and all and not a minute too soon. Cable news in the States was about to get the better of me. Oh, I could have turned it off. Walked away. Wait- no I couldn't. I would have if I could.

School shootings and indictments. Sinking states and skyrocketing insurance bills. Half the country hates the other half and one of those sides is armed to the teeth. A Supreme Court that is reviled by pretty much everyone.

More than once I've had friends tell me, "I don't blame you. I would leave here, too, if I had the nerve."
I presume they think I'm leaving for a calmer political climate. Of course that's merely a side benefit in my case.

I left for love.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

One Chased Gold

Three months apart. Could have been brothers. Deep South, good times, charmed lives, different paths. The first-born kept his nose to the grindstone and Jesus in his heart. He shook more hands and climbed more ladders. The other one found rock'n'roll, or maybe rock'n'roll found him. He thought saints whispered in his ear and took good care of him.

They still do!

Does everybody live happily ever after?

Everything sounds like Song of the South mixed with A Hard Day's Night.

Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. That's what Lottie taught both of them.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Purple Puzzle Pieces


Sometimes I just want to be sure that nobody accuses me of taking the easy way. My brain learned a long time ago not to argue with my heart.

For fools like me, there's only one way. Honestly, I feel sorry for those others.

I'm almost home, Sweetheart. Break out the Champagne and the monkey nuts.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Angel Breath and Radar Guns


Well, sir- I've come this far and I never believed in rearview mirrors. All the rolltop, bebop travel guides in the western world ignored Portland, Dorset for too long. Far too long.

We've discovered the centre of the universe. Did you notice how some spell-check doolollie changed the spelling there? I feel like I've blundered onto the set of A Hard Day's Night.

For some time now I've been suspicious that life would present itself. That opening act was alright. Fine, in fact. This, though, is sublime. It's Tecnicolor©. Maybe it's the set of Help!

My trusty pack is waiting for me. Not patiently, I hope. As soon as the Home Office determines that I'm fit for UK soil, I'm off again. I pray, in my way, for kindness to return to these shores.

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

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Gonna Get Along Without Me Now


Heroes fall and I'm humbled to be reminded that the world will get along just fine without us when we're gone. I've been in the UK for about three and a half months now and somehow the good ol' U.S. seems to be holding together, somewhat, in spite of the ravings of that lunatic blonde from Georgia.

In a few days I'll be flying back to Florida to await a visa. It's ludicrous to fret that England might struggle to get by without me for a couple of months. I do.

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

R.I.P. David Lindley.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Who's In Charge Here?


The bureaucracy is always lurking, a reminder that you're never in complete control over your destiny. With my fate about to be in the hands of the Home Office, I relish every moment of bliss. 

My greatest wish is that every living being knows something of the joy in the measure that I have known. I'm awash in new adventures and new holidays. They're all holy, buddy. They're all holy.

Play some Little Richard and drink some Ovaltine. Pray for peace and search for truth.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Stars Are Still There

In case you've been wondering, all the stars are still in the sky. From my second floor landing, here in Dorset, I see them all, all that I remember, when I get up in the middle of the night. We've plastered those little glow-in-the dark ones all over the bedroom ceiling so that I don't have to get up.

Now I've lived like an adult and I've lived like a child. I remember when folks referred to having fun as a grownup as a "second childhood." 

If I tie a silk ribbon around my neck, it won't be to impress my boss or my banker. I eat cake for breakfast and play on the floor with dogs.

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

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Keeping Portland Weird

When I'm not worrying about freezing to death, I'm thinking that the roof might blow off at any minute. It rains pretty much every day, usually for the better part of the day. I love it.

We're sticking stars on the ceiling and we're drinking Ovaltine like there's no tomorrow.

The dogs are happy and the shed is up. I guess life is about perfect. I wake up and see her face every morning.