A baker’s dozen from Clyde

I have a ticket for “An evening with Jackson Browne” tonight at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, OR. But on August 7, 2019 I’m gonna be 1984 miles away in Springtown, Misery.

On most days of our summer roadtrip I posted thirteen pictures on Facebook. This time I’m stealing lyrics from a baker’s dozen from the singer-songwriter who has been my favorite the longest.

If I was making up the setlist for “An evening with Jackson Browne” this 8/7/19 I’d have trouble limiting it to his standard setlist for 2019 of 21 songs. And I’d walk away from the show wanting more.

Picking only 13 is not gonna be easy. The first twelve are listed in the order released, and then my number one.

Some editorial comments; perhaps some background; and always the lyrics. Other than #12, these have been the songs of my life for the last 40-plus years.

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1. Jackson Browne’s first album was released in January, 1972. I was a short-timer at Ft. Bragg. I wanted out of the army. They wanted me gone. This is one of the albums that pulled me thru the last few months of my 1 year, 6 months and 6 days in uniform. Angst running rampant. Hoping not to be court-martialed out.

“It’s a hotel at best, you’re here as a guest

You oughta make yourself at home…”

I’ve been lucky enough to bounce from room to room, and from pillar to post, for longer than anyone who knew me back then expected. I was a loose cannon. “Wanta do it? Wanta do it now.”

Last summer I drove by the four places I lived in Corvallis between 76&82.

Played this song more than a few times that day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyktbMZAWcw

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2. From that same, self-titled album a song that seems like it should be played at the baptizing hole…or on a water bed perhaps. I read once that he said the song came from the desire for love and peace and release and reconciliation with the spiritual.

I can support those four.

BTW, the album is NOT titled “Saturate before using.” Just sayin’.

“Your walls are burning and your towers are turning

I’m going to leave you here and try to get down to the sea somehow…

…When my life is over, I’m going to stand before the Father

But the sisters of the sun are going to rock me on the water now”

This song meant more to me after we moved to Oregon and we could be at the beach in under an hour. Someday I hope to be closer to the Pacific again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzKgVOifDc

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3. “For Everyman” was released in October of 73. I was getting ready to start my second year at SEMO. I was the sports editor for the Capaha Arrow, worked football and basketball games and did some tasks for the Sports Information department, and picked up a few bucks as a stringer for a couple of city papers and the AP.

I had been subjected to living for one term with my authoritarian asshole of a brother as a roommate. I spent a lot of time in the library and in my own head. I cannot hear this lyric without thinking of he who shall remain nameless.

“Don’t confront me with my failures

I had not forgotten them”

More people should cover this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV61WZ2OKmY

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4. We talked about leaving.

We talked about going somewhere.

We left.

We went places.

We were everyman.

We are Everyman.

“Everybody I talk to is ready to leave

With the light of the morning…

…Seems like I’ve always been

Looking for some other place to get it together”

I’m still looking.

I don’t expect to die while living in MO. But I’m not going anywhere that will keep me more than a few hours from Dad. And even though at 93 he talks about going somewhere, I’m expecting to be spending several days/weeks at some point wrapping things up at the house he had built a little over 30 years ago.

After his place in Doe Run is gone, who knows?  Stay in Springfield?  Orygun?  Colorado? Virginia?  Belize?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOoeoiO-3C0

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5. The album “Late for the sky” was released on my birthday in 1974. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my copy on 9/13, but I’m sure the first vinyl had been played a hundred times before xmas of 74.

When I met Shelly she wasn’t all that familiar with Jackson Browne, so I bought her 2 CDs: a greatest hits….and this one.

Stick me on a desert island and tell me only one Jackson Browne album, “Late for the sky” is it.

Come to one of the ash scatterings that I wrote about, and this one will be playing. My sister says she wants this one played at her funeral too. When I heard this, I asked what she thought our fundamentalist, biblical inerrancy father and brother would think of the lyric, she said it is open to interpretation. Malarkey. Typical baptist bullshit.

As an evangelical agnostic, I love it:

“I don’t know what happens when people die

Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try…”

And others too:

“Keep a fire for the human race

And let your prayers go drifting into space

You never know will be coming down”

“Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around

Go on and make a joyful sound”

I saw Warren Zevon open for J.B. a couple of times.

Make a joyful noise….and enjoy every sandwich!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78AVc2jV4Sg

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6. I’m thinking that this pick is gonna surprise the folks who’ve known me the longest: “walking slow.”

“I got a thing or two to say

Before I walk on by

I’m feeling good today

But if I die a little farther along

I’m trusting everyone to carry on…”

No “If” about it. Even my true believing father doesn’t expect to be sucked up in the rapture anymore.  We’re all gonna die.

This song never gets played in concert anymore: only a few times in years beginning with a 2.

But it made my baker’s dozen because: (1) it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it; and (2) this lyric:

“I’m puttin’ down my left foot

I’m puttin’ down my right foot…”

Keep on keeping on…and picking ‘em up and putting ‘em down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6txdzsefEHU

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7. Paula Rudloff and I moved everything we owned in a 2 car VW bug caravan from Washington, MO to Corvallis, OR at the end of August of 1976. The road trip was interesting. Saw POTUS in Russell, KS. Got yelled at for pumping my own gas in Ontario, OR.

“The Pretender” was released in November ’76. We were impoverished…with priorities. I scrounged up a few bucks for an album that stayed on the turntable for a long time.

This is another one that he seldom plays, but it has always been one of my favorites.

“Forget what life used to be, you are what you choose to be,

It’s whatever it is you see that life will become.

Whatever it is you might think you have you have nothing to lose,

Through every dead and living thing time runs like a fuse.

And the fuse is burning…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgZsfm_9KHk

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8. Now for a deep-cut that he must really hate!! Setlist.fm says he has only played it 16 times….and only once since 3/24/77.

I have posted links to this song on my Facebook timeline several times.

There is so much that I love about this song.

“Among the thoughts that crowd your mind there won’t be many that ever really matter,

But take good care of your mother

And remember to be kind”

And this:

“And when you’ve found another soul

Who sees into your own

Take good care of each other”

“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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8niggURImqw

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9. It was several years between the time I first heard the title track of “The Pretender” in 76 and when I started at AA&Co. in late May of 82. During those 6 years, I was a substitute teacher for a few and then at OSU on the GI Bill. There were also more than a few prolonged periods of stoned stupors and homemade blackberry wine benders.

At Andersen these lyrics applied. I worked my ass off there. There was tad bit of quality to go along with the quantity:

“I’m going to pack my lunch in the morning

And go to work each day

And when the evening rolls around

I’ll go on home and lay my body down…”

I became a full-fledged Pretender in 2011. I got lucky too….I found her!!

“I’m going to find myself a girl

Who can show me what laughter means

And we’ll fill in the missing colors

In each other’s paint-by-number dreams…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROK1-VvOQ0

-=-=-=-=

10. “Running on Empty” hit the streets 12/6/77.

We house sat for her brother in Vancouver, BC for the summer. In the fall we moved into grad assistant housing. Made 4 batches of blackberry wine…20 gallons. Had grow lights in the extra closet.

As soon as the needle drops, the math works:

“In sixty five I was seventeen and running up 101

I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on…”

“In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own

I don’t know when that road turned, into the road I’m on”

I dropped out of college at the end of 68. It’s a miracle I made it thru 69. Landed a union job at PPG Industries in Crystal City . Shift work. Carpooled…sometimes with a couple of wild guys from Bonne Terre. Booze was a big problem. Blackouts. Stories for another day…

No doubt about it.  I had no idea what I was looking for in 1969. I was indeed running on empty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq25ZJwZJzU

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11. Every time this song played after our marriage ended in 2011, this one hit me with the 3 Jimmy Valvano emotions: I thought; I laughed; I cried.

I had been in love before. Only once.

And for a long time.

Would it happen again?

[And then there is this from Jason Isbell: “If there’s two things that I hate, It’s having to cook and trying to date…”]

“Love won’t come near me, she don’t even hear me

She walks past my vacancy sign…”

“…Where’s the heart that’s been looking for mine?

I hope it finds me in time

Love needs a heart and I need to find

If love needs a heart like mine”

I got lucky. I found someone who loves me in spite of all my quirks.

I am a lucky old coot.

-=-=-=-

12. We saw him sing a couple of new songs before the 10/7/14 release of “Standing in the Breach.”

This was one of them. It’s a cover. If I made up setlists, every one for everybody would include at least one cover.

It’s pretty simple.

“Ever since the world’s existed

There’s one thing that is certain

There are those who build walls

And those who open doors…”

This: “There can be freedom only when nobody owns it”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwT0MI_tlMY

-=-=-=

13.  After Shelly had listened to the album “Late for the sky” several times, including a few when I caterwauled along, I asked her for her favorite.

I don’t think I guessed right.

I Know that she didn’t guess mine.

So I played my favorite from the album and told her why.

The album had always been my favorite album. This start of “The late show” took on more meaning during the 14 years at Arthur Andersen. The politics there were cut throat at times. On the flip side, many of the friendships are irreplaceable.

These six lines start it off:

“Everyone I’ve ever known has wished me well

Anyway that’s how it seems, it’s hard to tell

Maybe people only ask you how you’re doing

‘Cause that’s easier than letting on how little they could care

But when you know that you’ve got a real friend somewhere

Suddenly all the others are so much easier to bear”

The other lyrics that we talked about that day were these:

“And now I’m sitting here wondering what to say,

Afraid that all these words might scare you away…”

I don’t 100% buy into the first half of “say it, forget it; write it, regret it.”

I told Shelly that I have mellowed, but my mouth has gotten me into, and out of, lots of trouble.  I am a wise ass.

Sometimes I’m a dumbass.

Or an asshole.

I’m a work in progress.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lF7pMqCZWio

Sing it: we are all Somebody!

The precise order of events:
1. I saw a five word reply to a FB post : “Somebody needs to do something!”
2. A few minutes later, on a different thread in a different group, I saw almost the exact same words.
3. At that very same moment the song that was playing: “Somebody to love” by Queen
4. I do a search on my hard-drive for song titles that include the word “somebody”

Do NOT ask me why I did that search. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
I learned that I have 28 songs on my laptop with the word “somebody” in the title.
Here are my “Favorite Somebody Seven” in the order they were released, with a few favorite lyrics.

1. “Somebody to Love” was written by Darby Slick, Grace’s brother-in-law. Jefferson Airplane covered it on their second album, and their first with Grace. “Surrealistic pillow” was released in early 1967.
“Tears are running down and down and down your breast
And your friends, baby they treat you like a guest
Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love…”

2. “Somebody to Love” was released by Queen in 1976 on their “Day at the races” album.
“I get down on my knees and I start to pray
‘Til the tears run down from my eyes
Lord, somebody (somebody), ooh somebody
(Please) can anybody find me somebody to love?”

3. My favorite singer-songwriter wrote the highest charting single of his career for the movie “Fast times at ridgemont high” in 1982. The first time “Somebody’s baby” was released on an album was 15 years later when “The next voice you hear” hit the streets.
My daughter was only when that CD was released. I doubt she remembers, but whenever that song played I would sing along and tell her that the song was written for her….
“I try to shut my eyes, but I can’t get her outta my sight….
…Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s only light”
4. This song always gave me dancing feet, ever since I first saw this video in the fairly early days of MTV, back when they played music. It got mixed reviews when it was released in 1987…and won a Grammy. Go figure.
“Oh, I wanna dance with somebody
I wanna feel the heat with somebody
Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody
With somebody who loves me…”

5. I’ve written about this song before. It is one of my “First Time Tunes.” It’s the fourth track on “Only by the Night.” Released in December, 2008 by some of my favorite preacher’s kids. This is one of my absolute favorite songs.
“You know that I could use somebody
Someone like you, and all you know, and how you speak…”

6. This song was released by Gotye after my marriage was over. I had been back in MO for several months when it came out in late 2011. “Somebody that I used to know” resonated.
“Now and then I think of when we were together…
…Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

7. Jack Antonoff wrote this one about the loss of his sister when he was only 18. Bleachers released the album “Gone now” in 2017. I’ve listened to this album a lot. It includes a song that is on my “play it at my wake” list.
This is not that song, and “Everybody lost somebody” is not my favorite song on the album.
But everybody has lost somebody. And that is gonna keep happening….
“I know that I’m lost
Lost in a world without you
And there’s a reason I wake up alone in strange places…
…Knowing everybody lost somebody”

The Pretender

Birthday week of 2017 was a doozy. Music. Sunshine. Friends. Food. Family. Frolicking. Revelry. Reminiscing. More music…and a tad bit of introspection.

We had been in Orygun less than 3 months when Jackson Browne released “The Pretender.” If I had a “ben franklin” for every time I have played the album since I bought the first vinyl copy in 1976, it woulda paid for my new Prius.
The Pretender is still on my 5-CD changer after keeping me company all week….and providing lots of fodder for both reminiscing and introspection.

Lyrics, links and a {comment} or two follow… No singer-songwriter has written more songs that make me reflect on my way of life, my directions and where I am, where I’ve been, and what I’ve done than Jackson Browne.
-=-=-=-=

The Fuse
“….Whatever it is you might think you have
You have nothing to lose
Through every dead and living thing
Time runs like a fuse
And the fuse is burning…”
{Does a short fuse burn faster? It sure seems like it…}

Your Bright Baby Blues
“…Everybody’s going somewhere
Riding just as fast as they can ride
I guess they’ve got a lot to do
Before they can rest assured
Their lives are justified…”

The Only Child
“… take good care of your mother
And remember to be kind…
…And when you’ve found another soul
Who sees into your own
Take good care of each other…”
{“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}

Daddy’s Tune
“…Living your life day after day
Soon all your plans and changes
Either fail or fade away…”
{Never been much of “a planner.” Probably moreso now than ever. My plans: live life day after day; be kind; enjoy every sandwich; listen to lots of music; give lots of hugs; repeat.}

Sleeps Dark and Silent Gate
“…Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder
Where the years have gone
They have all passed under
Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate…”
{Lots of years have passed since I first had this album on repeat. I haven’t laid awake at night very often. But there has been lots of wondering…lots and lots of wondering.}

The Pretender
“…I’m gonna find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each others paint by number dreams…”

{In the fall of 1976 I had absolutely no intentions of ever struggling for the legal tender. 6 years later I was starting a 14 year career with the largest accounting firm in the world…wearing wing tips, wool, silk and cotton….and “keeping score” by looking at the last line of page 1 of my Form 1040.
Several years ago my late friend and mentor John Crudele asked me if I had “taken a vow of poverty.” I told him that I was going to live rich and die poor….and that for the second time in my life I had found the girl that Jackson Browne had sung about. I have never been richer than I am in 2017.
I am a lucky guy. What more can anyone want? Friends, music, and someone to love….who loves you.
Don’t be stingy with your hugs.
Be.
Just Be.}

This can’t be right…

I’ve always been good with numbers…at least that’s what they tell me.
I was a CPA once upon a time. I was/am a number cruncher, but I was NEVER a bean counter.

“But this can’t be the right number….”
-=-=-=

I had just turned 17 when The Who released their first album. I cranked it up to 11 when Roger Daltry belted out:
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
This is my generation
This is my generation, baby…”

As I headed for 18 and draft eligibility, I was a fundamentalist Baptist minister’s son who was just starting to feel his oats…and who was developing a serious craving for adult beverages.
That was 52 years ago.

“But this can’t be the right number….”
-=-=-=

Before we left Missouri and moved west in the Bi-Centennial Year, I had a friend who I partied with on a regular basis. He had just finished pharmacy school. This lyric was my reality.
“…This friend of mine said
‘Close your eyes, and try a few of these’
I thought I was flying like a bird
So far above my sorrow
But when I looked down
I was standing on my knees…”

Somehow I’m still standing 45+ years later….upright even. Go figure.

“But this can’t be the right number….”
-=-=-=
I was 29 and had been living in Corvallis for a little over a year when twenty-nine-year-old Jackson Browne sang:
“In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned, into the road I’m on
Running on, running on empty…”

I wasn’t running on empty. I was running on homemade blackberry wine, home grown weed, white crosses, black beauties and all the shrooms I could find.
That was 40 years ago…and is NOT Fake News.

“But this can’t be the right number….”
-=-=–=
I have always been early to rise and late to bed. (Is 2 am late to bed or early to bed? Just asking.)
Never lived on a farm, but this was…and still is…my perspective on sleep. (Did Warren Zevon ever live on a farm?)

“…So much to do, there’s plenty on the farm
I’ll sleep when I’m dead
Saturday night I like to raise a little harm
I’ll sleep when I’m dead…”

I closed lots of bars. I was the last one to leave lots of parties. Sometimes I even remembered what I had done the night before and how I had gotten to the place where I woke up. The vast majority of those blacked out nights happened before I was 25. But not all of them.
It is NOT sleep deprivation that has me questioning this particular #.

“But this can’t be the right number….”
-=-=-==

I can keep telling myself that “this can’t be the right number” but I know that it is.
On 9/13/2017 I start my 70th trip around the sun. Sixty-ninth birthday; 70th trip.

I’ve got more questions than answers. I don’t know much, but…

I know that I am lucky to be alive.
I know that I am in the minor leagues compared to many of the folks who graduated H.S. the same year as me.
I know that some of the folks who were in the minor leagues compared to me have bones planted or ashes sprinkled. Dead from ODs, car wrecks, cirrhosis…or just being with the wrong people, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Been there; done that. Got lucky.

I know that I am lucky that I didn’t spend time in an orange jumpsuit after being get caught doing some of the stupid things that I did….and I am NOT talking about drug possession. (Nobody should be locked up for a personal stash….U.S. drug laws are idiotic!)
I know that I am lucky to have family, friends and a partner who have my back.
I know that 69 is just a number.
So is 70.
-=-=-=
As a numbers guy, the number 86,400 means something to me. That number pops into my head at least once each and every day.

“We only got 86,400 seconds in a day
To turn it all around or to throw it all away
Gotta tell ’em that we love ’em while we got the chance to say,
Gotta live like we’re dying…”

Enjoy every bite of every sandwich.
Be.
Just Be.

Crazy thoughts….

…i have them all the time: crazy thoughts.
I’m not alone.
But then again, we all are…

I’ve been thinking about this eclipse hysteria. I’ve had a pair of “shower thoughts” about this craziness.

Today I’m seeing pictures of people flocking to “viewing spots” in mass. I have no idea what and where the largest gathering will be. Some people probably won’t agree on it anyway….facts be damned. For awhile afterwards I’ll know and retain “the answer” long enough to have gotten it right for Jeopardy or Who wants to be a Millionaire.

But I really don’t care.
-=-=-=
I’m not that far from “totality.” Not much over 100 miles. Plus I could use it as a reason to head to the Leadbelt to see my 91 year old dad. But I’m heading to Tulsa on Tuesday, and totality is in the wrong direction. Dad and totality are 200 miles east of me; Tulsa is about the same distance…and due west.

Which leads to Crazy Thought #1: what if they miss the path of totality by about 100 miles or so? Or heaven forbid a couple of hundred.
I was responsible for the technology at a niche consulting firm in the years up to and including Y2K. Now I’m not thinking that these 2 events are all that similar. But 1/1/00 was a bit of a bust, eh?

The difference being that if the distance should be off, the science doubters & the climate change deniers & the flat earthers would love it. (Yes there really are beings that appear to be human that spew flat earth lunacy!!! Now THAT is some truly crazy thinking…)

Personally, I expect NASA to nail it…as usual. (Who knows if the “crack meteorologists” will be close re cloud cover, etc?)
I expect to view from here in SW Missouri, basking in 96% totality. That was always an A in any class I ever took. I’ll take that anytime. (In fact, I’m heading in the opposite direction from the totality tomorrow to go with friends on their houseboat, for an adventure and some revelry…)
-=-=-=

The second “shower thought” is a bit crazy. So crazy that I would expect Homeland Security to be all over it. (But in the current admistration, all bets are off!!)

Crazy Thought 2: On Monday, August 21 there is a chain of coordinated terrorist attacks at the local time of totality, happening from coast to coast at places where there large gatherings.

When Joseph and I had our conversation at thirty thousand feet, I certainly wasn’t expecting what would happen less than 48 hours later. I’m not expecting anything awful to happen tomorrow.

My Dad often uses the phrase “the times in which we live.” When I was younger it would have been “if the Lord tarries.”
Both phrases are based on his apocalyptic wishes.
I have different views that Dad’s when it comes to “The” Rapture.
I even have my own special version of the rapture….

Heck, I have thoughts far crazier than these two! (Or three, if you toss in the rapture…)

…And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.”

I most certainly hope that the Eclipse of 2017 turns out to be one big happy traffic jam with not even a single incident of road rage.
One can hope…and enjoy more lyrics from a song from the top of my personal “Eclipse Setlist.”

“Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying…”

Be. Just Be.

Gimme Something Good

It’s been 43 days since June 27 and my last post to this blog. On August 1, 2017 I saw a great show by Ryan Adams at The Pageant in St. Louis. The first four lines of the 3rd song of the evening pretty much describes my state of mind since my 6/27/17 post:

“I can’t talk
My mind is so blank
So I’m going for a walk
I’ve got nothing left to say…”

OK.
That’s a Lie. My mind has not been blank. I’ve got lots to say….

During those 43 days there was a road trip. A good one. A very good one.
There were concerts. Very, very good ones. Santana; Shovels and Rope; Avett Brothers; Wood Brothers; Tedeschi Trucks Band; Ryan Adams. (All of them provided my journal with a list of Desert Island Disk lists….)
There were several rant-inducing events since 6/27/17:
(1) Someone broke into my car and stole my fishing tackle…which included lures that had moved with me to Orygun in 1976. Fuck Me!
(2) There was the invasion by Japanese Beetles….hungry, horny pests. Fuckers.
(3)There was a visit by the apartment’s Rent-a-Cop, followed up by an official “Notice of Noise Violation” by management! Come on…who listens to Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen on a late Friday afternoon without cranking it up?!? Fuck me Twice!

All of the above gave rise to quite a few posts on Facebook. At least 70 statuses, many of which included pictures.
And while I didn’t hit my journal’s daily target of 500 words during the 43 days, it was close.
Then there are the items that got added to the “stories” folder on my laptop.

There has been writing…my mind hasn’t been blank for the past month-and-a-half.
It has been cluttered with the crazy shit coming out of the nation’s capitol. I’ve generally avoided being overtly political in this space. But it’s been hard, especially with the blatant LIES, total incompetence, and authoritarian audacities coming from 45 and his cretinous cabinet.
As much as I’d like to go on a long political rant here and now, I’m going to resist the urge….
I will say this though: read “Giant of the Senate” by Al Franken.  This is from Page 373:  
-=-=-=
Also running through my head, and on repeat in the apartment and in the car, has been Jason Isbell’s latest album. One song in particular.
I have a Love/Hate relationship with “If we were vampires” from “The Nashville Sound.”
Especially with these six lines:

“It’s knowing that this can’t go on forever
Likely one of us will have to spend some days alone
Maybe we’ll get forty years together
But one day I’ll be gone or one day you’ll be gone

If we were vampires and death was a joke
We’d go out on the sidewalk and smoke…”
-=-=
I’ve been in love with 2 people in my life.
I was married to one of them for almost 40 years. We weren’t “in love” for a good portion of that time. That’s history. Lots of it foggy. I hope she is happy.

I live with the second person. She’s may partner on this journey. Shelly and I will be having our five-year “meet-aversary” in a couple of months.
We’re too old to expect 40 years together.
One day I’ll be gone or she’ll be gone.

Eight more lines from a song from Isbell’s latest album are closer to the truth than the four from above by Ryan Adams.
These are damned near dead on:

“I broke a promise to myself
Ride the Throttle til the wheels came off
Burn out like a Molotov
In the night sky
I broke a promise to myself
Made a couple to a brown eyed girl
Who rode with me through the mean ol’ world
Never Say Die..”

Very few of the people I ran with in my 20s would have given me a chance to have a lot of birthdays ending in zero. I have one in 13 months. It’s a wonder I made it to 30.
The throttle has been pushed to the floor a time or two. OK…maybe I am a little burned out. That’s for another day…

Both of my loves have been brown-eyed girls.
I’m sure there were some promises made.
Some were broken.
Some might be.
This one won’t be: Never say die. Resist the bull shit. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

I think I’ll go out on the balcony and smoke.
And then take a walk.
Be. Just Be.

It’s an Anniversary

A year ago I posted my initial blog entry. I wrote that the elapsed time between starting the introductory piece and posting it was about 11 months. This was on top of a few years of internal dialogue about “putting myself out there.”

I was prolific for awhile, posting 10 musings in the month of December, 2015. In January there were 7 and 5 more in February. Then I pretty much went silent….at least when it comes to my blog. Only 8 items in the next 10 months.

I’m not sure why I stopped writing. It was probably two reasons:

  1. The crazy politics of 2016.
  2. The fact that nobody reads what I write, i.e. looking at the stats was more than a tad bit depressing.

Looking back, I shouldn’t have let the fact that I might piss off a few people I’ve known for a long time, or a few relatives, been a factor. (See #2 above….they most likely wouldn’t have read it anyway.)

If they really know me, they know that I’m a LIBERAL, especially from a social perspective, and I’m proud of it. I’m still waiting for someone to provide evidence of any advancement of the human condition for which conservatives can claim credit. I can provide a LONG list of advancements thanks to liberals…but I won’t do it here and now.

Regarding the fact that nobody reads my blog, my response is to tweak the lyrics of a great song (Dog) from a great band (Bottle Rockets):

I love this blog

It’s my blog

If you don’t read or like this blog

That’s okay

This isn’t about you

It’s my blog

-=-=-=-=-=-=

I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions, but when it comes to this blog I do resolve:

  1. To post more regularly
  2. That most posts (not all) will have a lyric component
  3. That some posts will be overtly political.a. This assumes that the flimflam fascist who will take the oath of office as POTUS does not shut down the Internetb. That my political posts will be fact based, unlike the Lies that spew from the Drumpf on a constant basis.
  4. That I’ll ignore the stats of the blog. I’m writing this for me. If you happen to read something you like, it would be nice to know. If you don’t like it or don’t agree with me, that’s OK too.

RE #4, as usual singer-songwriters say it better than I ever could. These lyrics from 44 years ago have been some of my favorites for a long time:

“But it’s all right now, i learned my lesson well.

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT6bgyimP8g

First day of Winter 2016: Let there be music

The first evening of winter (meteorologically speaking….a story for another day) was pretty special this Dec. 1, 2016: the Bottle Rockets at Lindberg’s…a Great band at the oldest tavern in Springfield. Several friends in attendance to share the evening with made it an even more special night.

Marshall Crenshaw was there too, but the evening belonged to a band that has been together for over 23 years.

Sadly, I only discovered them within the last year. Man, have I been missing out….Bigly!! And if you’re someone who only listened to the band in it’s early days, you are missing out too. Their recent releases are excellent.

Their albums from the 90’s are pretty awesome stuff. If you’ve never heard “Wave that flag” you need to do it now….seriously. Whether you know the song or not, you owe it to yourself to read this piece about the song.

This is truly an AWESOME song:

-=-=-=-=
The title cut from the 2006 album “Zoysia” makes me feel the way that this guy did when he wrote a note and left it on the band’s ride after Thursday night’s show:

-=-=-==
I’ve been back to MO for over 5 years, never expecting to live in the midwest again. Here in Springfield, MO in “the buckle of the bible belt” the first four lines of “Zoysia” accurately describes a lot of these United States:

“In my neck of the woods, the town where I live
It’s out in the sticks and conservative.
Got lots of churches, we’ve got lots of bars
And the kids round here, they fight our wars.”

Overall the song is optimistic…especially in 2016! Listen to it. Then listen to it again.

-=-=-=-=

Bottle Rockets most recent album (“South Broadway Athletic Club”) was released in 2015. Seriously good stuff. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite song from the 11, but I do have a favorite lyric from the album. The winning song is simply titled “Dog.” Sometimes it really is just that simple….

The lyric:
“I love this song
It’s my song
If you don’t love this song
That’s okay
I don’t want you to
This isn’t about you
It’s about my dog…”

“This isn’t about you…..” I LOVE that line, especially in these narcissistic times.

A guy’s gotta dream…

For many years I’ve been telling anyone who would listen: “I wanta die like Leroy Nichols.”

And then I have to explain who he was, and how he died. Leroy died the way that almost everyone wants to go…before they become just a memory. Or worse, a drooling doofus. People wanta die quickly, and with very little pain. That’s no surprise, eh?

I’ve told lots of people about Leroy’s death. I don’t know how many I’ve told…probably over 100 folks. Nobody has a story to tell just like Leroy’s, but lots of people knew someone who died suddenly.

I don’t know how long ago I started talking with others about the way he died. These were typically upbeat, and not in the least bit morbid, conversations. Really.

I’m not even sure how long ago his heart failed him. I’m sure it was at least 10, or maybe even 15, years ago. He did it the right way though.
-=-=-=
The version in mind for me varies a bit from Leroy’s, but first the background.

Who was Leroy? He was the brother of two of my aunts by marriage. He had two sisters, Doris and Charlotte. My Mom had brothers named Sterl and Joe. Sterl married Doris; Joe married Charlotte; i.e. my Mom’s brothers married Leroy’s sisters.

I had other connections to Leroy. He taught high school math at Farmington HS. My brother and sister graduated from there and I student taught in the math department a very long time ago. Unfortunately, for eight weeks I was assigned to a control freak named Mr. Ragland. I’m sure it would have been a much better experience (for me and for the kids in the classes) if Leroy had been my mentor. He was a good teacher, far better than the ragman.

He also attended a church for awhile that my Dad started. I was married in that little Baptist church, but I only lived in that town a short time during its existence. I doubt that Leroy and I were there at the same service a dozen times.
-=-=-=
How did he die? Stopped at the first traffic light in town, waiting for the light to change. The light turned green and Leroy was turning white.

My version varies from his and is driven by wherever I’m living. The primary difference is where I’d like to be when my heart stops, but it is always in a car and at an intersection. A busy intersection.

My current fantasy takes place at the corner of South Campbell and Republic Road. Friday at about 4:30 in the afternoon. I’m the third car back, stopped at the light after watching a couple of cretins go through on red…

The car stereo is cranked up to something a bit raucous. Maybe it’s Kings of Leon singing “Revelry.” (Somehow it seems fitting that I should be listening to some preacher’s kids rocking on when the time comes….)

The traffic light changes. The cars in front and beside me take off. My little Corolla is frozen in place with Caleb Followill belting out “So the time we shared it was precious to me, All the while I was dreaming of revelry, Dreaming of revelry….”

The cars behind me start honking. Springfield is the buckle of the bible belt but that doesn’t keep the Baptists following me from spewing hate and screaming profanities as they miss the light because my foreign car has them blocked.

People are honking and screaming about my rock-and-roll, and about my corolla not rolling. They are pissed off.

Finally someone gets out of their car and comes up to mine. The CD is on to another KOL song: “I just wanted to know if I could go home, Been rambling in day after day, And everyone says I don’t know. So don’t knock it…”

But the angry people at the busy intersection aren’t paying any attention to the music whatsoever. They’re mad as they approach my car. “Why the hell aren’t you moving that piece of crap?!? You hippies and your loud music!!”

As soon as they get to my car their emotions go from anger to guilt. I’m already turning gray. I’m a goner. Slam, bam, dead.

“I was screaming and cussing the poor old fella, and he was dying right there in front of me. Oh, that poor, poor man…”
-=-=-
It’s perfect.

People pissed off, then feeling awful. It makes me laugh to think about it. Literally. (Will I be laughing afterwards? That’s a thought or two for another time…)

A quick, painless death. No lingering illness. No huge outlay for healthcare month after month after month. No family and friends watching me wither and die. And on top of it I get to jerk some people’s chains, play with their emotions…and give them a story of their own. Perfect.

Only one person got cranky when I told him my fatalistic fantasy, which only recently got more specific regarding the music playing. Every-time I’ve told it, including telling it to Leroy’s sisters (my two aunts), it’s always been me in the car, with the sound system cranked up on a Friday afternoon at a busy intersection in the town where I was getting my mail.

This perpetually angry man’s reply to my death dream: “Nobody gets to decide how they’re going to die!!” As usual, facts escape and don’t matter to this guy. Someone commits suicide every 13 minutes in the US. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the country. Over 40,000 people a year in America decide how they’re going to die; over half of them using a gun.

While I’ve been sharing this fantasy with people for years I honestly have never thought about death all that much. But a recent rare hospital stay because of pulmonary embolisms of unknown origin does make one think a bit.

What I think is this. It came too early for Leroy. And Leroy got lucky.