Thursday, July 27, 2017

Truth In The End

Gregg Allman finished recording his last solo album shortly before he died.

It is called "Southern Blood" and will be released on September 8th.

NPR premiered the first song from the album yesterday. It is called "My Only True Friend".

Dig these words:

It opens with the line: "You and I both know this river will surely flow to an end".

Later:

"Still on and on I run,
 Feels like home is just around the bend
 I got so much left to give, but I'm running out of time, my friend

I hope you're haunted by the music of my soul, when I'm gone
Please don't fly away and find you a new love
I can't face living this life alone
I can't bear to think this might be the end
But you and I both know, the road is my only true friend"

At some point in the recording process he knew he was dying. So he said good bye in the only way he knew how - honestly, through song, with soul deep bluntness.

This song is haunting; it faces the truth head on, it is soulful, it is deep. And it is gorgeous.

If you care about Gregg Allman at all, if you care about his legacy and the legacy of The Allman Brothers Band, you have to listen to this.

You will shed some tears the first time you listen to it. After that, your soul will come around as if it were jolted by lightening. You will lose yourself in the bluesy soulfulness of this man who lived a life like no other.

And who made music like no other.

We deal with a lot of bullshit in our lives, some a product of just being alive, some we heap upon ourselves. We get lost, we get unsure, we get afraid. We waste a lot of the precious time we have here on this earth.

But no matter what you do or don't do, no matter how you feel about your life, one day you will come face to face with death.

It hangs out there from the minute you are born, waiting to claim you. From the moment you are old enough to be aware, it is in your mind in one form or another. And when you come up on it, you gotta deal with it - there is no running away. It is as real as it gets.

You can avoid a lot of shit in life, you can fake it in so many ways and in so many situations, but death is the one thing you cannot outrun.

Creating beauty when you face death head-on, is the ultimate fuck you to mortality.

It says so much about the creative spirit that, when faced with death, you choose to create one more time. Most of us would curl up in a ball and cry.

It says that creativity is who you are and you have no choice but to express yourself in your own way, to let your soul breathe and, hopefully, to connect with others who need your words and your music - which is the ultimate fucking gift.

Gregg Allman does it with power and class and emotion in this song. Fucking amazing.

Bowie did it too. He too died from cancer; he knew it was coming. His last album was called "Blackstar", and on it was a song called "Lazarus".

With these lyrics: "Look up here, I'm in heaven, I've got scars that can't be seen; I've got drama can't be stolen, everybody knows me now, look up here, man I'm in danger, I've got nothing left to lose, I'm so high it makes my brain whirl, dropped my cell phone down below, ain't that just like me?"

The video for Lazarus is haunting.

By the way - FUCK CANCER.

I worship the creative process in any form or format. I believe creativity comes closest to capturing what it means to be human.

I especially appreciate it when it expresses hard truths head-on. No bullshit. Because that is what we all avoid.

I am glad to get a taste of Gregg Allman's final solo album. It will be mine on September 8.

My life will be better for it.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen (But What The Fuck - Life Is A Fuckin' Roller Coaster Ride, Is It Not?)

Say good bye to The Big Ride.

Say hello to Black Beauty.

How the story ends: On this past Wednesday I traded my 2004 Lincoln Continental Town Car in on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I just wanted to get The Big Ride up to the dealer without the fucking thing breaking down. Had two cars in mind - the Hyundai and a 2011 Jetta. Had no intention of doing any type of inspection/comparison/investigation, and I did not. The Hyundai caught my eye and I went with that.

I did not even test drive the thing. Why the fuck should I? These people - Phillips Auto Sales - this is the fifth car we have bought from them. They are easy to deal with; the cars are reliable. Besides I just didn't give a fuck.

These people are so cool. I called Wednesday, told them I wanted to drive the Lincoln in and leave with another car that day. They made it happen. As far as I know our financing had not even been approved. No temp registration; he put dealer plates on it. We didn't even make a down payment.

I actually drove the car for two days before I technically owned it. Did not finalize the financing until Friday morning.

I wanted to hate this car. I mean, for Christ sake, I loved that damn Lincoln so much I committed objectophilia with it.

I can't hate the Hyundai. It actually leans toward stylish. Nice lines. And it is black. Black on the outside, black on the inside.

Black Beauty, baby.

78,000 miles. High/low, know what I mean?

I don't love it but I like it. It ain't no fucking Lincoln, I can tell you that.

But you know me. I am a positive guy. Cheery as fucking hell. Glass half full and all that shit. Always looking for the silver lining.

What I sacrificed in comfort I gained in technology.

This car has everything.

First of all the AC works. It did not in the Lincoln for the last two summers. I enjoyed the hell out of that since Wednesday.

This baby has a hookup for my ipod. A hookup for my phone. A navigation system. Access to Sirius XM (which you know I am going to activate immediately; I'll be drowning in the blues and The Beatles, baby).

It has 237 other technological marvels as well. Who cares about comfort, who cares about performance, who cares about reliability - I got the toys, baby - I got the toys.

I am just going to enjoy this car.

And I learned a lesson. I am not going to drive it into bankruptcy, like I did with The Big Ride.

In two years I will be looking to trade Black Beauty in. I am too fucking old to deal with automotive fuckology.

I do not want to sink three million dollars into a car again for the rest of my life.

So here I am. At least I am not holding my breath while I drive. This car feels good. It looks good. Its blackness matches the blackness of my soul.

Life is one motherfucking unpredictable son of a bitch.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jesus Hates Me, The Fucktard

Jesus hates me. He fucking loathes me.

That is the only thing that has prevented me from driving an ice pick directly into my brain all these years.

My toughest swear, the go-to of all go-to's, when I am really fucking over the top pissed off is Jesus Fucking Christ.

If there is a Jesus guy lounging around in the sky, I guranfuckingtee you he does not appreciate it when I cut loose like that. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, and all that shit.

I am sure I have uttered that phrase approximately 16 trillion times in my life.

So if I did decide to put the ice pick to good use and had to stand before Jesus' dad to be judged, his kid would be on the sidelines whispering "stick it to him good, Daddy - send him to hell for nine eternities".

Finally fucking picked up The Big Ride yesterday. Timeline: Car breaks down on July 7. Car gets fixed on July 18. Finally get it back.

I'm driving home and I get a little melancholy; I am going to trade it in this week - period. I fucking love this car.

Low on gas; stop at a gas station five minutes from my house, put in just enough gas to get me to Concord, where the dealership is located that I plan to visit today.

The car won't start. Did you fucking hear me? THE FUCKING CAR WOULD NOT START. I had the car back less than half an hour and it broke down again.

Of course it couldn't be something simple like a dead battery. Tried to jump start it - no luck. Had to get it towed right back to the place I just fucking picked it up from.

Timeline:  I had to wait 45 minutes for the first AAA guy to show up (neither me nor Carol has cables) to try to charge that puppy up. That didn't work so now he has to call for a tow truck. I originally called around 4:30. Around 6:00 Carol and I finally went home, leaving my car and the keys behind. The car did not get towed until 8:00. It was a whole fucking comedy of errors and miscommunication on AAA's part. A few phone calls back and forth between me and them.

I just called my mechanic this morning. Told him I do not want to spend one more dime on this car. Please just get it started so I can drive it to Concord. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!

I have an appointment to see a urologist this morning. The PSA count was up a bit at my physical a few weeks ago. You know, the supposed indicator of potential prostate cancer.

I am not that worried because Dr. Feelgood did the manual check while I was there and did not find anything alarming. It ain't the size of a grapefruit yet.

But I woke up this morning - somewhere around 4:30 ( I got up around 5:15 because I am so fucking irritated) - remembering the only other time I saw a urologist, he stuck a cue tip or a piece of fucking lumber up inside the tip of my dick.

It was the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. Except for the twenty some odd years I spent as an accountant.

I am hoping that does not happen today. That would just be the fucking icing on the cake this week.

So I gotta see the doc this morning, then check the status of The Big Ride, then make a trip to Concord to buy another car. Carol took the day off so we can get this shit done.

I have family members who have lost spouses. I have family members who have lost children. So lately when I vent in here I realize that my problems pale in comparison to the suffering of others. So I try to lighten up a little bit.

So here we go. I am the kind of guy, when I get furious, I need to break things. I need to punch, I need to express myself violently. But society dictates that when you have a spouse, you should not disturb said spouse through violent action.

So I kept it all in yesterday. As all this was going on and my anger built and grew and just fucking metastasized to gargantuan proportions.

I went to bed shortly after 10:00. Couldn't sleep. Tossed and turned. At one point I rolled over on my back and spontaneously started to bang my fists into the mattress. I beat the shit out of that thing. It came out of nowhere. I just exploded. Must have looked like a drooling madman.

Or a child.

Fortunately, we have one of them fancy foam mattresses. That thing took a beating and just bounced right back. No harm done. To me or the mattress.

Shit, man it is pure joy to be alive in 2017.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fractured Hip, Broken Car

Say good bye to The Big Ride, ladies and gentlemen.

My amazing car blew up on me. July 7 was the day. A day that will live in infamy.

Got it towed on July 8. Today is July 18. Still don't have it back.

How do you feel about that?

Needs some air bladder thingy, which apparently is being walked over to the U.S from Australia. Or maybe it's like getting a liver transplant. Maybe I have to wait for somebody else's 2004 Lincoln Town Car to expire before they can remove the bladder, pack it in ice, and ship it to good ole Henniker.

Doesn't fucking matter. I'm just waiting to get it back so I can trade it in.

When I bought this beauty I made the assumption that, because it is a Lincoln, it will last forever. Figured I would drive it for a bunch of years and when it finally gave up the ghost I would run right out and buy another Lincoln.

I was wrong. The car has not been a pain in the ass but the pace of repairs has accelerated over the last two years.

I don't want to deal with it anymore. I'm tired of it.

Breaks my heart.

I am not in the position to buy another Lincoln. My dream of riding in luxury until I am laid in a luxury casket is shattered.

Now I just don't give a shit. Just want a car. Any car. Preferably something that runs.

I'm thinking of making an ironic statement. Thinking about getting me a Ford Pinto. The one that was famous for bursting into flames in the seventies. Gotta be some fucking low life criminal that has one or two of those hanging around just looking to sell it to a guy like me.

I will drive it like a madman too. Tempting fate. I'll set it up with a secret compartment that can hold a 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Royal. With a hose. A hose I can suck on and easily conceal if the coppers come around.

So I'm just waiting. Not waiting on a friend, as The Stones sang about. Just waiting. Just fucking waiting.

Waiting to see some goddamn specialist dude about the hip. Got an appointment for this coming Thursday.

Fucking medical community. They get all up in arms. Holy shit - you got a fractured hip. We gotta get you in here. You gotta get a cane. You gotta be careful. You gotta ride in a car with a luxury air bladder in it.

Then they keep me waiting three weeks.

Meanwhile, unfortunately and disconcertingly, the pain has increased.

I am riding a bubble of negativity. Unfortunate. But that's the way it goes. You know the feeling. I know you do.

But I am a very positive guy. Always looking on the bright side. Cheerful and encouraging. With me the glass is always half full. Especially when it has whiskey in it.

I know that in a couple of weeks I'll be riding around in my Pinto and the hip will have been dealt with.

I will win Powerball to the tune of $675 million bucks, I will buy a second home in Arizona, a third in Hawaii. I will join a health club, lose twenty pounds and get a call from Johnny Depp asking me to co-star in his next flick. I will finally take Carol to Niagara Falls. I will be invited to tour with The Stones.

Yeah, baby, life is a thrill-a-minute joy ride, ain't it?

My future's so bright I gotta wear shades.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This Allman Brothers Thang

I work with a VNP.

Very Nice Person. Amanda.

We just started working together in May. For Father's Day she gives me a book about The Allman Brothers.

"One Way Out. The Inside History. The Allman Brothers Band." Very cool thing to do.

And an excellent book. Of course I already have it and have already read it, but I did not tell her that because I appreciated what she did.

At first I was going to slip it into the book case, but then I got to thinking that this was the perfect time to re-read the book.

So I did.

The book was written by Alan Paul, a guy who has been following and writing about the band for 25 years. The thing I like about the book is that it is an oral history based on hundreds of interviews over the years.

What I really like about it is that when he gets conflicting stories from different people about the same situation he just puts them right out there side by side, instead of trying to get at the truth (a concept that doesn't exist).

"Yeah, that's when Gregg bought me a plane ticket to get back from the west coast."

"Yeah, that's when Gregg sent him gas money so he could ride his bike back from the west coast."

"Yeah, that's when the crazy son of a bitch hitch hiked all the way back from the west coast."

Let's face it - memory is subjective - especially when you cloud it with a whole bunch of booze and drugs.

Anyway, reading the book was the right thing to do. I read it reverently and with a totally different perspective, given the finality of the situation.

It reiterated the fact that I loved the whole package about this band.

The music, obviously. But the rebel image too.

They looked wild, they looked tough. They were insane. They traveled throughout the south in the late sixties with a black man in the band. And took a lot of shit because of it. But they always stood up for Jaimoe - they never backed down. If he wasn't allowed in a restaurant then none of them ate there.

When they weren't making any money they established a rule that the roadies got paid before the band did. Who the fuck does that? The only other band I ever heard of doing that was The Grateful Dead.

They were a pure democracy. Come decision time every member got a say. Duane was the unacknowledged leader but he never imposed his will against that of the group.

They started what came to be called Southern Rock, a description they hated because they felt it pigeon-holed them. But they did start a movement, a genre of music that wasn't there before and that inspired a lot of other bands to follow.

I loved the book, it inspired deep emotion in me (again) and I'm glad I read it.

Then I decided to take it all the way and re-read Gregg Allman's autobiography next.

Excellent. He has his own story to tell in some ways, apart from the band's history.

He was such a sensitive and vulnerable guy who was thrust unwillingly into a leadership role when his brother died in 1971. Duane was the tough guy and a natural born leader; Gregg was shy and inward directed and it was tough for him to have to carry the Allman Brothers' mantle.

He did the best he could.

I am glad I re-read the books. The timing was right and I was emotionally raw enough to get a different feel, a different perspective this time around.

I would like to now declare a moratorium on the deaths of musicians who feed me soul. I need some time to regain my balance.

Unfortunately that reality is out of my hands.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Marsellus Got It Right

In Pulp Fiction, Butch asks Marsellus Wallace: "You okay?"

Marsellus says: "Naw man. I'm pretty fuckin' far from OK."

Solid quote.

Universally applicable.

I Never Know What Will Save Me

Robert Klein. "Still Can't Stop His Leg". Just watched it. A documentary about his career and his life.

If you don't know where the title comes from, please don't bother me. In fact, turn off my blog.

If you don't know who he is, kill yourself.

You ever get your mind moving in the wrong direction?

I do. Happens a lot.

Got me a new job a couple of months ago. I dig it. I was happy to escape the thrift shop and the withering stares of the wealthy patrons of O's Steaks and Seafood across the street.

Went to work my first day and realized this was a job and these were a people I could dig.

Had the next day off. Motored my way into Concord and my car broke down. Got it towed, and fixed up the next day but I was late for my second day on the job.

I of course called apologetically and it was no big deal.

But a seed was planted.

Coupla months later I find out I got me a fractured hip. Last week, actually. Been playing telephone tag with the fucking doctors regarding follow up and so far I have gotten no where.

Pisses me off.

Driving into work yesterday, the car makes a strange sound as I negotiated "Keith's exit" off 89. Call it that because it is the exit we take to get to Keith's house.

Definite something breaking sound. I drove slowly for a couple of minutes (something I rarely do). Could feel that the Big Ride was not driving right, not quite as smooth as usual, but nothing really scary going on.

Drive home last night. Pull onto my road, go over a bump and literally heard an explosion. Sounded like a gunshot or bomb going off.

I said "What the fuck?" and slowed way down. Car started bouncing like a red rubber ball. I nursed that baby home, the car bottomed out as I pulled into my driveway. Rear end was way low.

Then I noticed this thing lying in the driveway. A piece from underneath my car. About a foot and a half long with a hunk of rubber flapping loose. A severely torn piece of rubber - the victim of the explosion.

Bummin' last night. Bummin' even more this morning. This afternoon got The Big Ride towed to Danny's for a Monday morning rendezvous.

Too much negative shit on my mind. Which I stretch all the way back to last summer's cancer bullshit. Start thinking about all the negative shit that has happened since I semi-retired.

What the fuck.

Just an average life keeping me from getting cocky.

Get back from Danny's and my brain is severely bruised. Looking for release. Distraction.

Got me about 300 things saved as favorites on the magical X1 Infinity machine. So many that I don't remember what I have saved.

Troll it and come across Klein.

Yeah, baby - I could use a laugh.

Fucking spectacular.

He is a funny dude, man, and a comedian routinely mentioned in the same breath as Richard Pryor and George Carlin as a pioneer.

By comedians like Jerry Seinfeld,  Jay Leno, Billy Crystal, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, Larry Miller, and David Steinberg, all of whom admit Robert Klein had a major influence on them.

Made me feel good. Made me laugh. Got my respect vibe working.

I never know what is going to save me. Today it was Robert Klein.

Christ I was down. I feel better now. Not cured, but better.

Not half bad, baby.