Love is The Answer

It’s short. It’s simple. It’s true. Love trumps hate. Period.

The 33rd Imagine Concert was the last “large venue” concert of the year for me, unless something unforeseen happens. I saw LOTS of large venue shows in 2018.
12/8/18 was a great evening in too many ways to list….but I’ll try:
Bar food
Music by friends
Music with friends
All of it with the person I love, and who loves me.
Damn, I’m a lucky old coot.

Today started with brunch in a hotel here in town. Got the room for a steal in a silent auction for a good cause. Got stuck in an elevator on the way down to eat. Could see the front desk across the atrium as we called for help. The person who caught it after we were on the elevator seemed to be having a bad day. Laughing woulda made it better for her.
It did for me.
Just sayin’.

Came home and listened to The White Album. I’m getting ready to spin disc 1 again.
Earlier, Shelly and I sat on the couch and listened to the album that I heard for the very first time just over fifty years ago.
A couple of years ago I wrote about “first time tunes”…FTTs. Songs, often with places attached, that are indelibly stored on my body’s hardrive. I used over 200 words to describe the first time I heard the White Album….in KC…in 1968.

The magic of music…and memories

As we listened to “While my guitar gently weeps,” I hummed and caterwauled along.
And thought:
about the lyrics;
about yesterday;
about John Lennon;
about my life today;
about my past;
about the future;
about being.

Just then the CD changer moved to the next disc: one that I burned of songs by many of the artists who I saw in 2018.
The first song that plays off my “mix tape” is by a guy who I finally crossed off my bucket list last year, seeing him twice in a six day stretch. Both times with friends from my first time living in Orygun.
Friends, music, pie…heaven.

I’ll be seeing Amos Lee again in just over 100 days in KC.
Damn, I’m a lucky old coot.
I expect him to sing this song on 3/26/19, which summarizes what I was thinking as I listened to the Fab 4 this morning and contemplated the meaning of being.

“I believe in the power
Of love, love, of love”

I need a short break…I need to sail away

It wasn’t the first thing I did when I got out of bed this morning. First I got the coffee going.

But even before I put on some music, I unfollowed all my “news feeds” on Facebook. I need a short break.

I didn’t unfollow any of my friends.

I have never been a fan of resolutions, but I’m making some “Valentine’s week pledges” today. I’m gonna do my damnedest to follow through on them for a minimum of one week.

1. I’m limiting my time on Facebook to 15 minutes in the morning and fifteen more in the evening.
2. I’m gonna use the stop watch on my phone to make sure that I abide by the limit.
3. I won’t be launching any of the political items that my friends share on FB.
4. I didn’t unsubscribe to any of the items that hit my e-mail inbox….but I won’t be reading them.
5. I’m gonna spend more time reading the 8 magazines that I subscribe to.
6. I’m gonna write more in my journal.

I just need an online break. A short break….for now….

So if you are one of my FB friends, I may still give your post a “like” but I won’t be commenting on any political items for at least the next 7 days.

Last March I wrote a piece rooting for Villanova in the NCAA tournament. I really did want the Wildcats to win it all….but what I really liked was the idea of “brotherly love.”

The piece was really a commentary on politics in America. I didn’t think it could get worse. But it did. And there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

I still believe that Love trumps hate, and that: “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”

I still believe that we need more of the Beatitudes and less of Leviticus. More “red letters” and less bluster.

I need a short break….I just need to sail away for awhile.


Basketball, Philly, & the Sermon on the Mount

Today i’m thinking a lot about hoops, the City of Brotherly Love and The Beatitudes.
Hoops? I have been a basketball junkie for as long as I can remember. A music junkie too. If I had to pick between them, it would be a tough choice…a match-up of two great teams playing to a packed gym or an artist who is on my bucket list playing in a great venue?? I can’t commit without more details…

But it’s March Madness for the next three weeks, and I don’t see anything on JamBase that’s gonna require me to wrestle with a hoops vs tunes decision anytime soon….

Get the ball in the air. Let the fun begin!
City of Brotherly Love? My best friend from my days in Cape Girardeau has lived in Philadelphia for a long time. It’s always great to see Don, no matter where we are when our paths cross. Several times that has been in Philly, where he serves as the ultimate tour guide and host. Good times with a dear friend in a great city…it doesn’t get much better than that.
The Beatitudes? The meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers…and more and more….
I was one of the early adopters of NCAA bracket contests. There are a couple of stories I could tell about NCAA tournaments in the past, and maybe I’ll write some of them down over the next three weeks while I’m glued to the tube, avoiding commercials and anything remotely political, and flipping between games hour after hour.

This particular post will be short as I need to pour thru USA Today’s bonus section, surf the net a bit, and pull my brackets together. Of course I’m excited that my Oregon State Beavers made the tournament for the first time in Caroline’s life…she was born 5/30/91. It has been far too long since my team made the tournament…

I can even be excited that the quackers from Eugene, Orygun got a #1 seed. But I’m rooting for them to lose their second game, when they most likley will play Saint Joseph’s, which is from Philadelphia.

I’m hoping that Villanova, another of the Philly Big 5, takes the trophy back to the City of Brotherly Love on April 4. I like Jay Wright’s team, and have since I saw them several times when they came to Tampa to play USF…but the key for me this tournament is where the Wildcats call home, and what that city represents.
Lots of people aren’t happy, or even worse, they’re angry. I get it. But there is too much noise about building walls, carpet bombing, that “torture works,” and that we need to “take out their families.” I can’t guarantee it, but I’m pretty sure that none of these are WWJD to improve the living conditions of Americans.

And when I thought it couldn’t get worse, there were these:

“Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.”

“I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”

We need more of the Beatitudes and less of Leviticus. More “red letters” and less bluster.

So I’m gonna pull for teams from the City of Brotherly Love in this year’s NCAA tournament. And for more people who want to build bridges to the future rather than build walls, drop bombs, waterboard…and worse, including helping the rich get richer while the middle class vanishes.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”—Henry James

And this:

Go Beavers!

Let’s drop the big one….

I saw LOTS of live music in the 1980’s in Portland. I was living a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle. I didn’t get much sleep, and when I did it was fitful. I listened to lots of music, and much of that was on TV watching MTV and then either that pioneering station or VH1, but I never went more than a couple of weeks without seeing live music.

When we moved to Floriduh in 1989 I made a mix tape of single cuts from almost every band that we had seen during the 6+years in PDX, in as close to chronological order as I could remember enjoying each artist’s music. Probably 8 or 10 national acts that we saw did not make the tape.

It was a 120 minute cassette. It took awhile for me to map out the playlist. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wouldn’t be able to get a song from everyone we had seen during the Portland years on the tape, even if I only picked the shortest song by each and every artist no matter how I felt about the particular cut.

“Cut” was accurate. The only tunes that went on the tape were ones that I had on vinyl. That wasn’t restrictive, except in a very few cases.

For example, we saw Adam Ant at the Civic. It was a fun night, but I’ve never owned any of his music. The only song of his that I can name is “Goody Two Shoes.” It wouldn’t have made the 120-minute tape, even if I’d had the album, i.e. every act I saw was not worthy of my tape of concert memories.

Some people who I saw had already stopped releasing vinyl. Thinking about that, i.e. an attempt by the record companies to ditch vinyl, still makes me cranky. But I have to admit that most days I just load up my 5-cd changer and let it play. Firing up the turntable makes me have to flip the record over, or change the record, every 20 or so minutes. Sometimes I’m lazy. Fire me.

So if I didn’t have an artist on vinyl, often because they hadn’t released any, nothing they sang made my “PDX Concerts” mix tape. So there was no Robert Cray, who I saw at small clubs in Corvallis, Eugene and Portland. Sometimes he was with, and sometimes he was without, Curtis Salgado and vice verse. Fun times.

One restriction in pulling together the play list was song length, e.g. I had to struggle with what Dylan tune to include. My two favorites of his, the ones that i’ve had on repeat the most, are “Jokerman” and “It’s alright Ma (I’m only bleeding)” but both those songs are knocking on, or longer than, 7 minutes.

So I went with “Subterranean homesick blues,” a classic at two minutes and twenty-one seconds on vinyl. “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows…” Love the line, but gotta say that the way some of the winds are blowing in 2016 is pretty frightening…
I still have lots of cassettes, and occasionally I do fire up the deck when I want to hear the original version of a song that is playing in my head and it’s one that I only have on cassette. (Another confession: in this circumstance, what I usually do is just google the tune and check out renditions on youtube. The cassette deck gets less use than the turntable…i still love the sounds that vinyl makes.)

I no longer have the mixtape that I pulled together in 1989. Last time I remember seeing it was in early 2011. The last time I played it would have been the summer of 2010. It was one of several tapes that I played on a boom box in the garage when I had occasion to spend time washing and detailing one of our cars.

I left FL in mid-2011, when the long downward trend of our marriage imploded. When she and I moved to Orygun in 1976 everything we had went cross country in our two VW bug caravan. When I left Floriduh, I went minimalist. Everything I moved back to MO came in my Corolla or was mailed using the USPS….both of those moving experiences are stories for another day.

I didn’t ditch any vinyl or CDs when I packed up in Tampa, but lots of cassettes were jettisoned. Especially any that had a “memory” component, including this particular mix tape.
I’m not sure how accurately I could recreate the playlist of my old 120-minute “PDX Concerts” tape. I’d blame any discrepancies in an attempt to pull together an accurate list on: (1) age; (2) having listened to too much music (i.e. a confusion factor…but can you really listen to too much music??), and; (3) diminished capacity. 😉

I do know that the first song in the tape was one by my favorite singer-songwriter and from the first concert I saw in Portland. At three minutes and seventeen seconds, I opened the mixtape with “Doctor my eyes,” one of his shortest songs. “..People go just where they will, I never noticed them until I got this feeling that it’s later than it seems….”

The last show we saw in Portland, after my transfer to Sarasota was approved but before we moved, was in a small club with a name that escapes me. The place held 800 or so. That night we saw Randy Newman with about a thousand other people. Everybody in the place was sweating. It was an awesome night.

I listened to him right after lunch today. I probably hadn’t played anything by him in 6 weeks. When I heard the song that made the cut, it literally had my head spinning. Thinking about that night in Portland, thinking about making that particular mixtape, thinking about things i’d read earlier today via my Facebook news feeds. Randy Newman also got my wheels turning….

I picked a song of his for the mixtape that had been one of my favorites since it was released, and it just happened to come in at two minutes on the nose when he recorded it on “Sail away,” so it fit the criteria for the tape perfectly.

I’m sure Randy Newman wouldn’t let any candidate use the song at a rally. Some of the folks running probably wouldn’t even realize that “Political Science” is satire. Sadly, many of the people voting for some of them this primary season not only wouldn’t realize the satire, they’d encourage a president to do what the song says.

The American Taliban is frightening.


Andy Borowitz….well, not really.

Here’s the background to the following: a few e-mails in a thread preceded the e-mail below, starting with some Facebook status posts by Andy Borowitz pasted into my originating message….sent to my friend to give her some laughs as she recuperates.

Primary topic of the thread: terrorism….foreign and domestic, her health, my health.
Auxiliary topics: her TV viewing while recuperating (including TMZ Live), the American Taliban, candidates for POTUS, “radical Islam,” “well-regulated”

the thread was getting too serious, and requiring too much thinking!! so I sent the message below….

From: Steve Weiss <>
To: a friend <—>
Sent: Friday, December 4, 2015 2:35 PM
Subject: Re: andy borowitz…

too much politics….it’s giving me a headache!!

can’t do anything about it anyway.

but i do have a few minutes of fun each day jerking people’s chain on facebook, and pretty much all of it is politics related. i like to hit people with facts…occasionally i’ll poke and prod. yesterday i was referred to as a libturd. i chuckle thinking about it…all i said was “so that’s what ‘well-regulated’ means, eh?”

i’m a binge watcher…or a binge listener. usually it’s the latter. the latest album by dawes has been playing a lot this week. two songs in particular are my favorite from their latest CD…since i’ve been back in springfield they have become one of my favorite bands.

{the e-mail included links to “things happen” and “i can’t think about it now”…see “Never use a big word…” for active links…}

binge watching usually involves dvds on loan from the library, with shelly here too. (unless we’re house-sitting for someone with netflix or an ‘on-demand’ service.)

i’m a believer in what norman cousins wrote about laughter. i can watch seinfeld repeatedly. ditto andy griffith. we recently binge watched 2 seasons of ‘game of thrones’….not a whole lot of chuckles there.

we started season 1 of “breaking bad” earlier this week. shelly had always turned up her nose when i asked her about it, so i finally went ahead and put it on hold. she didn’t expect it to produce any laughs, but we both find parts of it hilarious. i watched most of the first 2 seasons when I was still in Floriduh, but only an episode here and episode there after moving to mo.

i don’t think i’ve ever watched a complete episode of tmz…but i do stop sometimes when i’m channel surfing and watch snippets.

so this:
stay away from “news.”
watch/do more things that make you laugh.
read when you can.
move around some.
if you’re moving to music it’s even better.
listen to music.
(lots of it for me….)
keep in touch with people that matter to you.
hug ’em when you see them.
tell the ones you love that you do.
(in your case, several of the above apply to your boys…) [Note: the “boys” are her 2 rescue dogs]
be. just be.

take care. get better. hello to —. laugh a lot.



my friend replied: “Ok…well, I love you, and, you make me laugh! Thanks for being my friend.”

from me: “back at you. and thanks for having my back.”

I left something out in the e-mail to my friend:

Life is good. Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.

Be.  Just BE.