Monday, August 29, 2016

Sorry, Uncle Fran

Don't ever expect me to suddenly start using the expression "Gee whiz."

There ain't no fucking way that is ever going to happen.

(This post is dedicated to Carol's Uncle Fran).

Thank God For Muriel On Piano

Marc Cohn is a one hit wonder.

At least some people would call him that.

I wouldn't. The man has written some songs, baby.

I, on the other hand, am a zero hit wonder. No fame and fortune here. However, collaboratively, I am a two hit wonder. Mega hits.

Carol and I gave to the world Keith and Craig. What the hell else do you need? Carol and I are the Lennon and McCartney of procreation.

Of course the one song that will be eternally associated with Cohn is "Walking In Memphis." And rightfully so. The song is so goddamn good.

You've heard it a thousand times, so have I, so has every friend and relative you have ever met. For Christ sake, your dead grandmother used to sing the song out loud and off key as she danced around the kitchen preparing her special bread pudding for your next visit.

To me it is an ode to the blues, and anybody who knows me even superficially knows that the blues fuel me. But the song is as much an ode to Memphis and Elvis and a specific lifestyle and gospel as it is to the blues. Zero in on what ever makes you happy, baby but do zero in.

He is sporting blue suede shoes, he is walking on Beale Street, ten feet above Beale Street because it is so iconic; he sees the ghost of Elvis walk into Graceland to meet a pretty little thing down in the jungle room. They got catfish on the table and gospel in the air, and the Reverend Green ready to offer up a last chance prayer for you.

Christ they got Muriel on piano. And when she asks : "Tell me are you a Christian, child?" and he responds : "Ma'am I am tonight" I always belt that line out with him because he makes you feel it, he drags it out of you; there is no way you cannot belt it out.

He captures such a delicious mood and the song is so damn singable.

While you're at it dig on "Silver Thunderbird". Also by Mr. Cohn. It will grease up your Monday so good that before you know it you are sliding home from work almost before you get there.

The song makes me think about my father. Anthony Testa. Tony.

Cohn talks about his father behind the wheel of his silver Thunderbird: "Man it looked just like the bat mobile with my old man behind the wheel, well you could hardly even see him in all of that chrome."

My father drove Cadillacs until he moved on up to Mercedes Benz. He was five foot five and he looked small behind the wheel of those big, beautiful cars.

But he had a presence, baby. His aura was not small by any means. My father belonged in Cadillacs. He wore them well.

My favorite reference in the song is the God thing. His Dad tells him "Don't you give me no Buick, son, you must take my word, if there is a God in heaven, he's got a Silver Thunderbird."

That image is so cool. God driving around heaven in a Silver Thunderbird. Windows down, beer in hand, Beach Boys on the radio, cigar in the ashtray, hair blowing straight back.

Now that is a god I could dig.

You can call Marc Cohn a one hit wonder if you want to.

It just proves you have no perspective, and maybe too damn high an opinion of yourself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Take A Look Around Your Soul

I read a magazine called The Sun.

I read it for many years and then cancelled my subscription because I thought it was kind of depressing; didn't always make me feel good.

I recently renewed. My head is in a different place now. I think I may have cancelled because the magazine is so goddamn real.

First things first and very important: The Sun is a non-profit publication supported through subscriptions and donations. Because of this there are no advertisements.

No fucking advertisements.

It is a deeply personal magazine that is all about truth and emotion and life as it really is, not the way we want it to be.

The website says: "The Sun is an independent ad-free magazine that for more than forty years has used words and photographs to evoke the splendor and heartache of being human. Each monthly issue celebrates life, but not in a way that ignores its complexity."

Dead on, baby - dead on.

Each issue explores one topic through essays, poems, fiction and non-fiction offerings.

I love it because each issue makes me laugh and smile, tear up a bit, think and feel. Pretty heady stuff.

This month the victim is love and marriage.

Here are some quotes I like from this issue.

" George Bernard Shaw described marriage as an institution that brings together two people 'under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.'

Marc Maron: " I married her for the wrong reason - because it was safe. I believed at that time that people got married when they had that moment, when they're looking at themselves in the mirror and say 'Holy shit. I'm going to compromise my dreams, get fat, sick, old and die. I kind of want to have someone around for that.' You don't want to be sixty, fat, sick, and alone, saying to your reflection 'Look at me. I'm a fat failure.' No, you kind of want someone around to say, 'It's OK, baby. You look great. Let's go get some Tasti D-Lite, cowboy.'

Chris Rock: "Marriage is so tough. Nelson Mandela got a divorce! Nelson Mandela spent twenty-seven years in a South African prison - got beaten and tortured every day for twenty-seven years, and did it with no fucking problem. Made to do hard labor in hundred degree South African heat for twenty-seven years, and did it with no problem. He got out of jail after twenty-seven years of torture, spent six months with his wife, and said, 'I can't take this shit no more.'

Priscilla Dean: " I can love you unconditionally. I cannot live with you unconditionally."

Those are just the tip of the iceberg; a taste. I'm really giving you kind of a skewed perspective; there is so much more to the magazine.

I also read two thought provoking articles about the history of marriage throughout the ages and the difficulties of two people fully committing to one another.

A couple of poems.

Socrates said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."

I believe that. You gotta check yourself out and make changes. You can learn from other peoples' lives as well.

The Sun helps you to do that.

The Sun is an excellent magazine because it offers life up to you from many perspectives, raw and unpredictable.

What you do with that information is up to you, Bubba.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Bigger Bite of Cormac

From "The Crossing":

"He said that while one would like to say that God will punish those who do such things and that people often speak in just this way it was his experience that God could not be spoken for and that men with wicked histories often enjoyed lives of comfort and that they died in peace and were buried with honor. He said that it was a mistake to expect too much of justice in this world. He said that the notion that evil is seldom rewarded is greatly overspoken for if there were no advantage to it then men would shun it and how could virtue then be attached to its repudiation?"


"He said that men believe death's elections to be a thing inscrutable yet every act invites the act which follows and to the extent that men put one foot before the other they are accomplices in their own deaths as in all such facts of destiny. He said that moreover it could not be otherwise that men's ends are dictated at their birth and that they will seek their deaths in the face of every obstacle."

Think it over.

Another Small Taste of Cormac

Death plays a prominent role in "The Crossing" by Cormac McCarthy.

It defines life. I think in a way that is simple and powerfully true.

On the back cover are the following words: "....................... - a world where there is no order 'save that which death has put there.'

It doesn't get any more succinct than that.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

More "Smart Phone" Stupidity (It Never Ends)

I was driving home Friday night in a wild and carefree Friday night mood.

Bippin' and boppin' and hippity hoppin'.

Glanced to my left to see a guy walking his big, beautiful, black Great Dane.

Trouble was the idiot had the leash wrapped around his wrist so he could text. Ignoring this special animal who I'm sure was delighted to be out and about with his "master".

For Christ sake, can you not just enjoy a Friday night walk with a dog who lives for your company? Show your dog some love and communication; talk to him?

Revel in the pure love that exists between you? The only pure love you will ever experience?

Fucking fool.

I wanted to swerve over, cut the moron off and slide the dog into my back seat. Lincolns are perfect for Great Danes. Everybody knows that.

Would have been kind of fun to introduce this massive dog to my two cats. Watch him cower as they challenged his authority. Eventually, though, they would become best friends. I know it in my heart.

I didn't let "smart phone" man bother me for long. As I thought about Maka and Lakota I smiled, looking forward to when I would get home and kiss their little heads.

Because they deserve my love. They give it back in spades.

Side Story: Carol and I are about to acquire "smart phones". I guarantee that there is zero chance that those devices will ever make us look stupid.

At least as far as ignoring the cool things in life. The meaningful things.

Figuring out all the options and possibilities is another story, though.

We will look like cretins.

Everybody Needs A Song

Been hearing "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson a lot lately and it got me thinking.

At work we play CD's that get pumped into the store. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The really bad thing is that typically when the CD ends somebody will just push play and the same CD begins again.

I am only there five hours a day. I will sometimes hear the same music three or four times.

The latest brain pounding contains "On The Road Again." I got to thinking what a perfect song that is for Willie.

It really summarizes his life; it really is his life.

"On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again, the life I love is making music with my friends, and I can't wait to get on the road again...................going places that I've never been, seeing things that I may never see again.................."etc.

It was his life when he wrote it; it is still his life a million miles and a million years down the road.

Everybody should have their own song. That one unique and personal song that summarizes their life, puts it out there for everybody to examine and enjoy, revealing the diamonds and the smiles.

Trouble is those songs would be boring as hell. The diamonds are practically non-existent and the smiles rare.

The lyrics would go: "On my recliner again, drinking beer and getting fat again, dreading sleep because tomorrow can't be stopped, I just cannot avoid another beer."

Or: "Paying bills again, got no money for the creditors, I wish I could get some rest and some relief, but the wolf I see has lots of real sharp teeth."

People are attracted to songs they can identify with, but I think in this case these are lyrics nobody wants to hear.

Or identify with even though they represent a vast majority.

"On The Road Again" is appealing because it sounds so fucking cool; who wouldn't want to be on the road, travelling around seeing sights and meeting people? Living like a gypsy?

Running away from boredom instead of embracing it.

Still, I think everybody should have their own song. Seems kind of cool.

If your life is like a coma do not write your own lyrics. Just pick a song. Pick a song that excites you, that makes you feel happy and light.

Make it your song.

Then sing the shit out of it every chance you get.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Technology & Buddhism - What A Concept

Got myself a tablet about a month ago.

A 10" Amazon Fire tablet with which I have fallen in love.

As you know I am trying to improve my brain. Exercise it, muscle it up and stimulate it so I can become competitive and competent in my golden years.

Before I fade away into a distant memory, a mere wisp of a thought of a life once lived. An ex-Joe, a bump in the road of life, soon to be razed and paved over.

OK - I think I have exhausted that line of thought.

We watch a lot of Red Sox. Every goddamn night that there is a game.

I have no problem with this. Carol loves the Sox, they make her happy. I want her to be happy. If THE PATS played 162 games a year I would watch every goddamn one. And I would be happy.

Baseball presents an opportunity for me. It does not require concentration - it is slow moving and generally unaware. As opposed to football, which is crisp and exciting and filled with split second violence and grace - football demands your attention. If you lose your concentration watching a football game than you are probably already dead.

I try to use baseball time constructively. Used to slam my laptop into my lap and read stuff. NY Times, PATS website; look stuff up - you know, actually use my brain.

Invariably one of our precious cats would settle into my lap and I would shift the laptop to the arm of the anti-ambition chair. Tried to make it work but it was awkward; in fact it sucked.

I bought the tablet to save the day, and save the day it has. Now I can muscle up my thoughts even with a precious pet in my lap.

Yesterday I committed a heinous crime.

Of course I have been exploring the tablets capabilities and yesterday I was checking out kindle books.

I downloaded a 24 page "book" on Buddhism. It was free. How could I possibly pass that up? Now I have Buddhism at my fingertips. Admittedly in summary but it is exactly what I need right now. Along with intelligence I am trying to acquire peace of mind.

I am a book lover. The walls of this house groan with the strain of containing my books. Especially since I have semi-retired - I read every day of the week now. I am ripping through books like the blade of a guillotine through an innocent man's neck.

I love to hold books in my hands, I smell them when they are new, I collect them, I treasure them.

I am anti kindle.

However, I am flexible (I hear my wife and sons laughing). I think the use of the tablet to study stuff like Buddhism is a perfect solution. For me, anyway.

Does this portend the beginnings of the classic slippery slope? Will I start buying books through kindle and eventually burn every book in my house?

No fucking way.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Is That Man's Head On Fire?

Cormac McCarthy is killing me, man.

In a delicious and emotionally wrenching way.

Just finished - not five minutes ago - "The Crossing" - the second novel in his Border trilogy.

You may remember my rantings about "All The Pretty Horses" - the first installment. Then again maybe not - it is possible you have more important things in your life.

Fucking books are knocking me out. Powerful, emotional, deeply philosophical - beautifully written. Books that I lay down in my lap from time to time to recover from a sentence or paragraph so amazingly composed that I gotta catch my breath.

Or to recover from a point of view or philosophy of life that resonates with my own perspective at the level of my soul.

Jesus H. Christ.

In fact I have been riding an emotional roller coaster for three books in a row. In between "Horses" and "Crossing" I read "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness".

That book ripped my guts out with truth. The truth of just how cruel our society is and how evil are the power brokers of this country in their campaign to keep the black man down and make his life a living hell and prevent him from participating in a false society that pays lip service to "liberty and justice for all."

The author makes a compelling case that a direct and consistent line can be drawn from slavery to Jim Crow to today's mass incarceration courtesy of "the war on drugs" as ways for the favored elite to subjugate black people.

So many stats overwhelmed me. Like the fact that whites purchase as many if not more drugs than blacks but the number of blacks arrested and imprisoned for drug related crimes is sky high compared to whites.

That the war on drugs specifically targets impoverished areas. That police have virtually unchecked power to stop and search people, and the unspoken reason for doing so is overwhelmingly due to racial profiling.

That prosecutors have more power in our clogged criminal justice system than judges, and they wield that power viciously, taking advantage of lack of money and lack of education to force people into situations that are unjust and life destroying.

That once convicted of a federal crime peoples' lives are essentially ruined. It becomes almost impossible to get a job, they are cut off from public housing and other financial support, they cannot vote, they cannot serve on a jury.

The result is an endless cycle of prison and parole. They cannot support themselves so they turn to crime, get busted again and go back.

In order to make the war on crime appear to be a success, federal grants were authorized to reward police forces for high conviction rates. The Pentagon contributed equipment to police as a reward for high conviction rates, which is why our cities look like war zones with tanks, armored vehicles and high powered guns. The police can seize "crime properties", sell them off and keep the proceeds.

These policies were put in place to get results, not to get justice.

In 1984 when Reagan made his push for the war on drugs the number of people in prison was a tiny fraction of what it is today and the public in general did not consider drug related crimes to be a major issue.

Reagan's policies and those of presidents who followed created the massive injustice of our present mass incarceration reality. And they did it to make money and to continue this country's rich history of prejudice and subjugation of black and brown people.

If you have the guts, read this book. And take your head out of your ass.

Anyway, I am rolling and bumbling along on a sea of emotion created by the written word.

I don't know what I will read next. I now have eleven books to choose from.

It won't be the last installment of the Border trilogy. I can't do that. That is not the way I work. I gotta break it up.

But if I keep going the way I am going my head is going to self incinerate.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Music Defined By Experts (Music As It Really Is)

Reading Rolling Stone this morning and was inspired by the words of two who know.

In a lengthy interview with Paul McCartney he was talking about what it is like to write sad songs and he said: "Music is like a psychiatrist. You can tell your guitar things that you can't tell people. And it will answer you with things people can't tell you."

In a one page Q & A Phil Lesh was asked "What was the best part of the Grateful Dead's success for you?"

He replied: "It was wildly successful for me until we took the break from touring (in 1975). When we came back, it was never quite the same. Even though it was great and we played fantastic music, something was missing."

Next question: "What was missing?"

Lesh said: "It's hard to pin down - a certain spirit. It would come back now and then, on some awesome evening, some particularly great performance. But that was even more frustrating, because it would disappear again for X number of shows, just disappear."

I love these comments because they capture the ephemeral nature of music, the mystery of it, the uncontrollable, untameable nature of creativity.

Music is beautiful, it is magic, precisely because you cannot pin it down.

There is no formula, there is no way to confine its essence.

Music is spirit, it is emotion, it is heart and soul expressed fleetingly and laid out for all to see.

Until it goes into hiding again, waiting, picking and choosing the next moment when it will re-appear to blow your mind and release your tears, inspire you to smile and remind you once again how precious life is.


Sometimes you gotta recover from a good time.

Carol and I had a magnificent and busy weekend.

Saturday we lazed around until the evening when we got together with Jason and Karen and Mel and Greg and D'Leanne.

Enjoyed dinner, shot the shit, played a card game.

As we sat around digging the food and each other, I focused on the simple joy of sharing a meal with friends.

You know how it always looks so cool in the movies? Somehow, when you do it in real life it doesn't seem so deep. But I kept looking around and taking it in; the interactions, the simple ritual of eating together, the shifting but natural flow of conversation and laughter. And everybody contributed something to the meal, which gave it an even more communal feel.

I made a movie out of it in my head.

Anyway, we got home that night around 9:30, lazed around some more, went to sleep, got up and almost immediately trucked out of the house on our way to Craig and Karen's.

We were headed to Fenway; Craig drove. Even though it was 2,000 degrees we had a great day (we lucked out - our seats were in the shade) and the Sox kicked some serious ass.

We got to spend the day at Fenway, we got to spend the whole day with Craig and Karen (it is supreme joy every time we spend time with our sons and their women), we got to talk and laugh and enjoy each others' company.

Carol and I left at 9:00 in the morning, got home at 8:30 last night.

Carol took today off, I have it off and the Sox are on, making it feel more like a weekend day than a Monday.

We are happy tired and feeling good about being able to recover from a very good weekend.


I am filling my life with fiction.

This is not my typical approach. I am a bit of a snob. I prefer to read challenging books; literature, books that examine specific topics or points of view, highbrow authors with hi falutin' and intellectual opinions.

I go to easy reading fiction as an escape, as a way to rest my brain and I enjoy it tremendously. It does feel good to let your muscles relax and just go with the flow once in a while.

They sell books where I work. $2 for hardcover, $1 for paperbacks.

How the hell can I pass that up? So I browse that section regularly and keep picking up books. I have nine books in queue right now, which is a lot even for me.

Most of them easy reading fiction.

I was thinking about the role of fiction in my life this morning and it got me off on a different, deeper tangent.

The fiction of out lives.

The vast majority of humans are living a fictitious existence.

Unless you are working a job that you love, that speaks to your soul, unless you are living in direct vibration with your principles and beliefs and those aspects of your personality that make you exactly who you are - you are living in fiction.

And you probably don't know it. You probably don't see it that way.

Because you are numb, which is a condition that life creates through the daily beat-down, or because you are one of those suck it up type people.

I have no use for suck it up type people. They usually have no imagination; no sense of humor.

These are the people who say "that's the way life is - just suck it up."

I prefer to be a dreamer. I prefer to believe that the option to improve and dramatically change my life exists until moist earth hits the coffin lid. I prefer to believe that I am not the person my life choices have created superficially.

I prefer to believe that I am the person who lives under the surface, the natural inhabitant of my heart and my soul.

But I digress.

Maybe those of us who read ( non of whom are Trump supporters) do it to escape from our own fiction to a better one. Or, if you read darker stuff, maybe you do it to make your own fiction appear better by way of comparison.

Fiction has its place. It can be delicious.

When I read Jack Reacher novels, written by Lee Child, I want to be Jack Reacher. I yearn to be him.

I want to be that guy who is so smart he can never lose, so tough he cannot be defeated no matter the situation.

When I read Dave Robicheaux novels, written by James Lee Burke, I long to be Dave Robicheaux. A deeply flawed reformed alcoholic who is tough, smart and unbeatable. And he is a guy who lives and works in New Orleans, which is a place I could love (although I am not as sure as I was before this unbearable heat wave we have been suffering.)

So fiction tastes really good.

The fiction of our lives, however, is a tragedy.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lyrics I Can Wrap My Head Around (One More Beer)

At work they play CD's that get pumped into the store.

There is a large and eclectic collection of stuff but generally the same music gets played over and over.

Until I arrived.

I was rifling through the pile and I came across a blues compilation. That CD is now my go to CD.

They got some Sinatra, some Beatles, some Cajun music which I also broadcast, but the blues CD is deliriously awesome. And it seems kind of dirty for the environment I work in, which makes it even more appealing to me.

Got a song on there called "One More Beer", played by the Chris Fitz Band. I haven't been able to figure out if they wrote it or not but they do a damn good job with it.

Side note: The Chris Fitz Band is a band I used to see regularly at The Rynborn Blues Club in Antrim, NH; I know them, I dig them.

Additional side note: The demise of The Rynborn was one of the more traumatic moments of my life.

Try some lyrics on for size: "I washed myself from head to toe, shined up my shoes, baby, straightened out my greasy hair, I put on something new, I'll walk 100 miles through the driving rain, and when I get to your back door I'm gonna call out your name.................................

"just before I do, gonna sneak in this door, belly up into this bar and have myself one more.............

"Give me one more beer and I'll be all right, one more beer and I'll be right home, one more beer and I'll be all right now, maybe a shot or two before I change my ways."

I can so identify with this song.

There is nothing more seductive than a shot and a beer.

Not even a woman, because, obviously, all women are insane.

Some of the most comfortable moments in my life have occurred with my ass on a bar stool, a cold beer in front of me and a shot of whiskey on the side.

That's just the way it is.

I was thinking about it Sunday night at the show with Phil. We had a blast and it felt like a natural born experience. We did go a little over the top because we were swept up in the moment and the music but still, it felt so good and so right.

I rarely do that type of thing anymore and I miss it. I miss it sorely. And in today's world there are precious few places that will actually serve you a shot and a beer, which is a goddamn shame.

More lyrics, which, again, I can so identify with: "Everything I did before, this time I'll do it right, I know it's time for me to change, guess I'll start tonight, just before I do gonna sneak in this door, belly up into this bar and have myself one more..................

"Give me one more beer and I'll be all right, one more beer and I'll be right home, one more beer and I'll be all right now, maybe a shot or two before I change my ways."

Dig it, baby.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Talked to Jesus at Bull Run

Had a religious experience Sunday night that woke me up, rocked my soul and took away all my pain.

In other words, it made me realize that I am a living, breathing, human being meant to enjoy life and be happy - something so easily overlooked until you are staring down at a hole dug six feet deep and frantically reaching back trying to grab onto what you never had in the first place.

Butch Trucks and The Freight Train Band. They were playing at a supremely funky venue in Shirley, MA called Bull Run.

Butch Trucks is one of the founding fathers of The Allman Brothers Band, which makes him a god to me.

Since the Allman Brothers split up in the fall of 2014 there has been an enormous musical hole in my soul. When I realized Butch was playing at Bull Run I contacted my friend Phil, a friend since the second grade and a fellow Allman Brothers worshiper, and we made our plans.

Met at a hotel nearby, where we also spent the night, and motored on over to Bull Run, courtesy of Uber.

We knew nothing of Butch's band, had no idea who was playing with him, but we had no doubts that this band would rock.

Bull Run is a very cool place. Housed in a funky old country building with a rustic restaurant and pub, and a concert hall that is small and set up with communal tables where you can eat and drink. It is an intimate way to enjoy music.

As we sat in the restaurant and chowed magnificent prime rib, we laughed as we compared this experience and where we are now in our lives, to the many insane excursions we made over the years to Allman Brothers concerts.

Every summer we would get ten or twelve guys together, head to the concert in a van, party for a couple of hours in the parking lot, rattle our brains and elevate our souls in the concert and then somehow make it home alive, thanks to the one guy who always took the bullet as the designated driver.

It was a blast.

One thing that blew us away was that Sunday night was equally as good. We agreed that the concert was every bit as good as any Allman Brothers concert we have been to. And we enjoyed it in comfort and semi-sanity.

Butch and the band rocked the house. They played a bunch of Allman Brothers songs and they played the shit out of them. Jaw dropping virtuosity on every instrument.

After a few songs Butch introduced the band. When he introduced the bass player Phil and I were blown away. His name is Berry Duane Oakley Jr. and he is the son of Berry Oakley who was a founding father of The Allman Brothers Band and also a bass player.

Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle accident in 1972, three years after The Allman Brothers Band exploded onto the music scene. Phil and I never got to see him play live. Seeing his son up close and personal meant a lot to us.

Then Butch introduced Vaylor Trucks - his own son. Again we were blown away; we had no clue. But after the first couple of songs we wondered to each other who he was because he played his guitar with insane and exquisite beauty and abandon.

We also wondered what he has been doing all these years and why he was never a part of the Allman Brothers Band. Butch's nephew, Derek Trucks, played with the Allman Brothers for decades. Vaylor has the talent and obviously the best connection he could possibly have and yet we were not even aware of him.

The music biz is a slippery, unpredictable thing.

Butch's lead singer is a very young, (21 years old) very attractive woman named Heather Gillis. I was skeptical at first but she won me over. Big time.

This woman can play.

She even sang some iconic Gregg Allman songs, which is a pretty ballsy thing for any singer to do. "Trouble No More", "Statesboro Blues", and..............................."Whipping Post." She kicked ass.

"Whipping Post" was mind blowing. It is the most iconic of the Allman Brothers catalogue of songs and it starts with an ominous and instantly recognizable bass riff.

A riff written by and performed by Berry Oakley. Butch and the band played the song as an encore. When they were briefly off stage Phil and I wondered if they would have the balls to do the song, which was part of the typical ABB encore.

Butch came back and said "we are going to play a song for you and Berry is gonna kick it off." Boom, everybody knew what it was and when those first few notes kicked in I was overwhelmed; overwhelmed to witness Berry Oakley's son perfectly playing the song his father had made famous.

Sweet circle of life, baby. Eternal circle of music.

What a fucking night. We were up on our feet often, applauding in delirious appreciation. Digging this band in such a small and intimate setting; sitting around a table with other ABB fans. We consumed a lot more wine, beer and whiskey than either of us is used to these days and we had a goddamn blast doing it.

What an unbelievable bonus to be digging the night with my closest friend in the world, Mr. Phillip J. Camerlengo.

I would be remiss if I did not name every member of this supremely talented band:

Tad Isch, Damon Fowler, Bruce Katz, Heather Gillis, Vaylor Trucks, Berry Duane Oakley Jr., and .....................................Butch Trucks.

A shot of adrenaline to shatter the every day is sweet medicine every once in a while.

Dig it, baby.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


What I was thinking about yesterday was time and how we waste it.

I hadn't written anything in here for four or five days. Why? Time constraints?

Fuck no. I got all the time in the world these days. At least a hell of a lot more than I did previously over the last four decades.

On the days that I work I generally have four to five hours to myself before I motor on in to ThriftLand. Plus I have three full days every weekend to dig deep and rearrange, plot, plan and recreate.

If you ever hear me say "I didn't have time" just shoot me in the face.

Still July was a bitch. Hot and humid every single goddamn day. I have only exercised maybe three times since the first week of July and that is a goddamn shame because I was in a groove, baby.

I now weigh 310 pounds; the neighborhood kids call me "Fat Tub of Lard Man" and then throw rocks at me.

It is shameful.

So strange to hear me complain about heat. Me. The Heat Lover. But enough is enough. On a few mornings when I woke up cold I was actually grateful. Happy to put the sweat pants on and shiver downstairs to greet the new day.

Anyway, back to the time dilemma.

Wasting time is a crime against humanity; wasting the gift of extra time is the most heinous crime a human being can commit.

So I feel bad.

So I feel motivated. To just deal with this weather and still get things done. Get back to exercising even if it kills me. Get back in shape or die trying. Put words to paper and give them wings to lift me towards redemption. Shake, rattle and roll.

I have a gut feel that we are stuck with this inferno for a while. Over the past few years summer started late and thrived right through September.

You know, that global warming thing that idiot republicans do not believe in.

So I'm guessing we are wallowing in a three month stretch of H&H. And if that is the case I cannot keep my head and aspirations down as my weight balloons and opportunity slips away.

So there you have it. One man's struggles with climate and motivation.

Jesus it never gets easier does it?

(Or am I too privileged and pampered to recognize just how easy I do have it?)

Perhaps that is a topic for another time and place.

Laissez le bon temps rouler

Friday, August 5, 2016

What A Waste

Jesus H. Christ, man - I just spent half an hour scribbling down my thoughts in attempt to get back in the saddle, get the juices flowing again, kick aside the July-induced lethargy and reclaim forward movement.

And then I accidentally deleted the post before I could get it to you.

What a horrendous shame - my words have been lost to humanity. I can recreate the post and I probably will, but the original will never again see the light of day.

I hate it when that happens.