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.

I was a troll…

Sgt. Joe Friday apparently never said it, but this piece will be the Jack Webb version: “Just the facts, ma’am.”
{Apparently he did often say: “All we want are the facts, ma’am”and sometimes “All we know are the facts ma’am”}

It was the years 2000 and 2001.
It was the years of the presidential election that was decided by the SCOTUS.
I had a new job.
It was my last W-2 job.
I received mail in Tampa.
I reported to two people: one in Virginia Beach; the other in Parsippany.
When I wasn’t in one of those two cities, I was sleeping in a hotel somewhere in the lower 48, unless I was lucky enough to be working from my home office.
I was racking up LOTS of frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
I had lots of “alone time” in hotel rooms.

The job required me to be on my laptop, in a meeting or on the phone…or a combination of the three…six days a week…minimum.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve written that I used to “work hard and play hard.”
This new job required a significant amount of the former.
The Yahoo message boards provided much of the latter, i.e. play.

Long before 1996 when Warren Zevon sang “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” that was my lifestyle.
Up with the sun…or before.
Seldom in bed before midnight; usually not until 1 or 2.

Lots of those nights in 2000 and 2001 I was online for work purposes until god knows when.
There is a good chance that I would also be having some evening and nighttime fun, anonymously jousting at the “fact-free droolers.”
By 9 o’clock every evening, sitting in a hotel room or on those nights when I was lucky enough to be home, I became “Wet Willie” online.

Pretty much everyone on the message boards was anonymous.
One of the most obnoxious, and fact-free, regulars went by the moniker “Labrat.”
Like many of those online today, the Labrat and many others were prone to spew “alternative facts.”

I have always had some pet peeves, with bald faced lies, hypocrisy and willful ignorance at the top of the list.
When I caught the Labrat in a blatant lie about his military service, allegedly serving in a unit that wasn’t even in existence when he claimed it was and was never assigned to the base that he claimed, I pounced.
My online moniker changed from Wet Willie to “Labrat_the_Liar.”
Many an evening I gave the cretin hell, with a link proving that he was a Liar.
He wasn’t the only one to get nailed by one of my profiles for posting lies and bullshit.

The Internet has changed a LOT in the last 17 years.
Read “Why we’re losing the Internet to the culture of hate.”
The “online disinhibition effect” has unleashed hatred.
Today’s trolls say they’re doing it for “lulz” which often goes beyond poking and jousting to threats and harassments.

I said I was living in Florida at the time, right.
It was my second time living in that flat, humid, critter infested, loony tune electing swamp land.
{Floriduh does have some great beaches…winter beaches.}
It was like living in the Northwest back in 1980, and once again people who didn’t live there made “when is it gonna blow?” part of the conversation.

2017 looks like a powder-keg to me.
Too bad there aren’t do overs.
I understood why someone would not vote for Hillary Clinton.
I will NEVER understand why anyone thought that he who shall go down in history as 45 would make a good president?!?

What is even more puzzling is why people still support him?
They’d get Pence out of the closet and into the Oval Office with both the House and Senate jettisoning the thin-skinned, incompetent G&S in Chief.
That’s “Grifter-and Snowflake in Chief.”

In 2000-2001 I was more of a pest than a troll.
Today I’m still a bit of a pest.
Sometimes I do cross the line…and I feel awful when I realize that I had spewed (and probably started a firestorm) on a friend’s thread, rather than on a news feed.
When I started this blog a friend told me (and I’m sure that other friends hoped it): “please don’t get all political!?”
Well, my friend didn’t get her wish…

Hang on.
It’s gonna be a wild ride.

Until then: Be. Just BE.

I have a Lot of questions…A Lot.

I’ve got a lot of questions….and I have had for as long as I can remember.  I probably always will have more questions than answers.

I remember a time when I was probably 5 or 6 years old. The older of two boys who lived next door to my Grandma Ruth was doing chores, including cleaning out the gutters. Jerry was probably 12 or 13 at the time. Up on that ladder, he was trapped.

I have no idea what I was asking him about that day. I do remember that I had a lot of questions. Some of his answers resulted in more questions.

I remember my Grandma telling me to leave him alone. “Let him do his work!!”

I remember Jerry, about a dozen questions into the inquisition, saying that I should listen to my Grandma. I remember her coming out again, telling me to stop with all the questions.

I didn’t stop until she made me come in the house.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I am a huge fan of the KC-based band The Rainmakers and that I love many of Bob Walkenhorst’s lyrics.

There is lots that hit’s home for me in the lyrics of “Long gone long.” Lots of the lines could have been mine.

1. I often have the “ready to get out of here” feeling. (I never expected to live in MO again…and don’t plan to die here. But I’m not a planner, so who knows where I’ll be having my mail delivered when I take my last breath?)
2. There are the freight trains hauling new cars. (Never used a 22….i preferred golf ball sized rocks….)
3. There is drinking underneath the stars. (Been there. Done that. Haven’t done nearly of enough of it. Need to do LOTS more of that….)
Then there is a line that I gotta take exception with…it’s the second line of the song: “Fewer things puzzle me than when I was young.”
On this Groundhog Day of 2017, more things puzzle me than ever before. Not fewer. It’s not even close.

I’ve got more questions today than probably at any other time in my life. They’re rattling around inside my head. They are not simply rhetorical questions.
But these questions don’t seem to have answers. At least not satisfactory answers.

And I gotta take exception with this line from the song too: “Is something going on, I tell you nothing’s going on.”

Oh, something is going on alright.

And it scares the shit out of me. We got a guy about to become a member of the National Security Council who said: “I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Steve Bannon is a seriously bad hombre, who should be shuffled off to Siberia.
I’m not gonna list a bunch of the questions flying around inside my head. What’s the point? You can probably guess what some of them would be. But I do have two questions….

The last line of “Long gone long” is this: “Goodbye to more than either of us could have known.”

My first question: What are we as a nation saying goodbye to….and why would anyone be so delusional and/or filled with anger, hate, and bigotry to think that anything taking place in D.C. since January 20 is “making America great again”?
I do not want to say goodbye to the advances in the human condition that people fought and bled for. Something is going on. And it’s destructive. And evil. And immoral. And people with power are sitting on their hands with their eyes closed.

Last question: When will this lunacy in D.C. end?


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…”

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.