Thursday, December 31, 2009

01/01/10 New Year???? or more of the same

This is a year that was difficult in some way for nearly every-
one, nearly everywhere. Hard times to be sure. Sadly, I have to
admit that on more than one occassion this year, my view was
clouded to the point that I had just plain lost faith, there was just
no way out. What came came from all points on the compass and
with no let up. Wave after wave of misfortune left us reeling and confused, which led to lapses of memory etc. that brought even more in its wake. Relentless, I, and many others, were pummeled mercilessly, day after day, until most everyone I knew was at some point this year on their knees eyes turned to the heavens pleading for two things; the strength to make it through the next ten minutes, and from the deepest part of their soul to make it stop. It has been especially tough for those with families, I can't even bring myself close to understanding how hard it had to be for a parent to tell their children that they had to move, and that they had nowhere to go. How tattered a parents soul gets when a child goes to bed hungry, it went on this year, and still is. Our country is undergoing what many would say is an involuntary transition, that this is the year the American Dream died. My guess is whether you agree with that or not depends completely how you are to define the American Dream. If your version of the "Dream" is based on material well-being and the outward trappings the marketing people have dedicated their lives to force-feeding us. If you can't be happy unless you can buy the newest electronic gadget, or all the other useless bullshit they work so hard to convince us we can't live without, if THAT is what you base happiness on, chances are you are very unhappy. The alternative view is far less popular. How many friends do I have? Isn't that just the best song you've ever heard? You know, the corny shit.

My wish to all of you for a good year to come. One small suggestion, hang onto your friends, try to love yourself, listen to more music, laugh, alot.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thoughts on the New Year


In just over 22 hours, the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close. With our country involved in 2 wars, the worst economic climate in generations, the election of the first African-American President, as well as the passing of the final member of Camelot, reflection is unavoidable.
The year of 2009 has widely been called the worst in recent memory. So much is different, uncertain. The hope we as Americans felt on the election of Barak Obama, has fallen prey to partisan politics and fear of an unknown future. In my humble opinion, America has lost her way. The back-seat drivers are not only many, they are loud and more disruptive than ever before. For the first time ever a sitting President was called a liar in front of the world, the confusion and pain of uncertainty shows in the eyes of more of our citizens that any other time in our national history. The "togetherness" we proudly showed the world in times past, the determination based in the pure pride of being an American, has given way to greed and a climate of self interest rather than the common interest, the dirty little secret of the "haves" is a secret no longer. Our country has changed, that much is undeniable, but what are we changing in to? Can we find our way again?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Patrick Swayze- man, dancer, good guy

The pasing of Patrick Swayze this week of course has me thinking of my own mortality. Not from a place of fear, shit, I ain't afraid to die, more from the perspective that it's been a loooooooooong fucking time since I had a single thing to contribute to anyone. Perhaps my contribution has been accepting help.

Anyway, enough about me. I admit I didn't like all of Patrick Swayze's movies. What caught my attention most was how often I heard of his friendliness, and decency. He seemed to take a little time to speak with whoever asked him to. It's far to rare that someone in the public eye realizes that when a person finds themselves in the presence of someone that they have seen on the screen, or heard the music of etc., it will be that fans one and only chance to express years of emotion in just a few brief moments. That he recognized this, makes him a class act in my book. And sweet jesus could that feller dance. You were a brave man sir. Ditto.

Friday, September 11, 2009

These Days


Today, I became aware of a change that has happened in me, I specify the location because it is an important difference. Hopefully, as I write this, my words will make this clear.
For a while now, say oh, the last year or so, what I am drawn to for entertainment, ie, TV shows, music, etc., are things that touch me deeply. I have been watching certain movies that I have, often. Most of them are inspirational in some way, and are based on real events. I also watch alot of the great guitar players on DVD, performing live and with great emotion, skill, and a joy that fills my heart to over-flowing. There are two DVD's that I seem to watch at least part of daily. The one that is my clear favorite, and for my money showcases possibly the greatest performance ever caught on film by any guitar player, is the 1983 performance by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at the El Mocambo in Toronto, Canada. " Live at the El Mocambo" quite simply will put you back in your seat if you let it. Stevie just plain plays his ass off. Watch his face, its obvious that every single note is deeply personal, his face shows us this is from his heart, sweat pouring off him as he plays. He shares with us his passion for this music, and the depth of his gratitude that he was chosen to receive the gift of making music. He loved the music he played, and he loved playing it for us. The other DVD, I will talk about next time.
Until then, I suggest to you just this; find something that makes you feel, I mean feel, no bullshit FEEL. The way it is out in the world makes us build a shell around us for protection, hell, for survival. But FEEL everyday. It's im portant.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dreams

It's dark days in my life. No matter which way I turn, there is darkness. The darkest time in my life is now, and I don't know what to do. I have no choice but to place it in God's hands and hope for the best. It's times lie this that doubt fills every corner of my thoughts, my being, my very soul. I have friends that without thought of their own needs give all they can, eat mush for days, just to help me. How do I ever thank them, her, for that. She is always there, with words of hope. I feel better knowing she is on my side, behind me, and most of all believes that I am worth it when my own family can only judge. It is good to know that I have done something in my life that has made me worthy of having such a friend.

photo credit Elizabeth Richardson, with a few "textures", also her idea.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What ever happened to?????????????????


Photo credit: Jack Morris
What ever happened to being able to find even a few minutes of peace in a day. In the world today, it comes at you from all angles and at the speed of light, no let-up, no warning. The government is staggering, stumbling, looking for any way to save face. I was so hopeful when Obama was elected, that we would finally have in place a man that knew what is was like to be without, to be different than those around him and know that is was ok. That if you helped your fellow man, if you were kind, walked a mile in the other man's shoes, that truth and fairness would surely come your way. Now, it appears that our civilization is crumbling around us. Greed is everywhere you look. You can't even stop a subscription without the company charging you an extra month hoping you won't say anything, OR, making it so fucking frustrating that you just give in and let them screw you out of it. Banks are finding every way they can to wring every cent they can while providing less and less service. It makes one wonder how they got in such poor shape. Oh yeah, huge bonuses for executives that are incompetent at best. We little people are in deep deep trouble, no health care, too high taxes with no benefits, and on and on. I'm so depressed right now I just need to sleep.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

About friends.........

Aristotle:
What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Buddy Rich

Today, I want to give a "holla" to two of the most generous people to cross my path. That is Rich Diamond and his wife Paula. After I retired, I of course had time that needed filling. Soooooooo, after receiving a laptop as a Christmas gift, and the world of the internet was opened up to me, my life was enriched.

I have always loved the Blues. Over the years, I had managed to build a fairly respectable music collection. One night, most of it was stolen. Since I had retired, and had my own finacial meltdown (another story for another time), the music I loved so much was gone. Some of the titles in my collection were fairly rare, so I was pretty much sure that my beloved music was gone forever. I would now be at the mercy of the radio etc. to hear it.

Well, after a chance meeting online with another angel, this would eventually change. Let me go to the Readers Digest version of this story. The other "angel",
Lizzie Richardson, who is a research genius, discovered that there was VIDEO that I had no idea even existed. Weeeeeelllllllll, during a hunt for a particular item, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King, In Session, I sent an email that would make my life better.

The email was sent to Rich, through a You Tube posting he had made. I asked him if he had the video I was looking for. He said he didn't, but had a list of music I might find interesting. Boy did I. We swapped emails, spoke on the phone, and got to know each other. He is a friend of Buddy Guy's, I LOVE Buddy Guy, and was lucky enough to visit Buddy's club Legends earlier the previous year. Anyway, I told Rich in the course of our conversations, that I would JUST LOVE to have a copy of everything on his list. First, he sent me 50. 50!!!!! I was humbled by his generosity. Then, as a Christmas gift, he sent me what I had jokingly said I has wanted, copies of his WHOLE collection!! Also, his wonderful wife Paula, had a stamp made that had the initals SRV and a Fender Strat that I could use on correspondence, etc.

He isn't feeling to good these days, and I just wanted he and Paula to know, how deeply grateful I am for their generosity. I thank you with every fiber of my being.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In Memory of Stevie Ray


The cursor blinks as it waits for me. My wish/intent/hope is to place here a collection of language that will express how I feel about this day. This day marks the 19th year having come, since the untimely death of Texas Bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan. Truth is, my preference, is to string a few words together about the life, music, and gift of Stevie. I choose to do this rather than focus on the loss. In my house, he lives. I have many pictures of him on my walls, books on his life, and well over 100 recordings that are listened to almost daily. It has become a quest for me to find out about the man. To this point, it has been an interesting and jofyul journey. His heart, and spirit were every bit as big as his tone. His humility and gratitude were an intergral part of his playing, as much as his fire, pasion, and deep love of making music. Often late at night, or when life is particluarly unkind, it seems as though he is playing just for me. The notes speak to my soul, bind my wounds, and lovingly put me back on my feet. To watch him play, and feel his power, his willingness to reach out in my time of need, is a rare, rare gift. Thank you Stevie. In my home, and my heart, you live my friend.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heart prints........

There are days when my heart breaks wide open. When this blessed event happens, I am often overwhelmed with gratitude. You may ask, but why? Ok, I can answer that. To begin my answer, I will ask a couple of questions; how much do you feel? Do you see all the reasons to be filled with gratitude?

Most of the time, it's something really small for me. Today, it was when I gave my little dog, Rambo, a bath. In the kitchen sink, back and knees screaming with pain.... but, he looked up at me, with such love... You see, he has been getting eaten up by fleas, and I don't have enough money to tke him to the groomer. He never complained, he just loved me. It is a very emotinal subject for me, tears roll as I write now, and I will have to finish another time. If we could only learn to love like a little dog.

Be grateful, ALLOW yourself to see the small things. Like the giant heart, and love, of a little dog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Ordinary Moments........

There are No Ordinary Moments....... this was a core message in one of Dan Millman's Peaceful Warrior series of books. Life is so difficult these days, that it is only now sinking in what this phrase means, to me. My life has been blessed over the years with such abundance, so many bright and warm memories that could sustain one for a lifetime standing alone. Just today, 54 + years after my birth, I can say those memories of money, cars, and other such nonsense aren't what gets me through the day. Rather, it is the small, usually gentle rememberances of....... well, moments.

All I can say is this, without the special moments of my life, when friendship has been demonstrated not spoken about, when my little dog climbs up on my chest and nuzzles me while I lay on the couch in pain, moments. The biggest paycheck I ever received doesn't hold a candle to how that feels. Moments. What a huge word.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Foggy Path.......

First of all, photo credit goes to E. Richardson. Ok now, it seems most everyone close to me is going through a series of trials/crisis' in their lives. So many things coming at them, there doesn't seem to be a way to turn, no sft place to fall. One thing after another, badda bing, badda bang, badda boom. From every possible direction and source, in a never-ending attack on the foundation of their lives. Confusing, tearing at every fiber of stability and confidence, the main weapon? Indifference. The most rock-solid people I have ever known, rocked to the point of instability and self-doubt. We are living in difficult and trying times and we often feel like we are living in dog's world and we are wearing Milk Bone underwear. No way to climb high and into the quiet to make a plan, no way to get under the radar to escape detection. It's nap-of-the-earth tree skimming flight in the dead of night at supersonic speed with no lights for reference. Sure to be a terrifying ride for any sane human. Not a day goes by that I don't spend some time on my knees, praying for my friends.....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Decision made


One thing I am very glad about in my life, is that some very, very wise men drilled into my granite like head and into my dim wits, is, to not over-analyze things. Collect the facts, examine them with a critical eye, notice everything, then pull the trigger. Decision making is less about the making the decision known, and is ALL ABOUT GETTING GOOD INFORMATION FOR EXAMINATION. They also insisted that I consider two items not directly connected to the information. Is it the "right" thing to do, and this, "what would it be like if EVERYBODY did it". Of course it immediately became clear that if it was right was the thing that really mattered. Through this they taught me that satisfaction has many homes, has many faces, and is just different sometimes. It is up to us to be paying enough attention to our walk to accomplish the simple task of identifying the cause and effect of our lives. If you are paying attention even some of the time, these things are clearer. Hmm, I like being able to rant and see no rolling eyes or frozen smiles, or deep sighs of boredom.

Whadaya expect? It's Monday!


Well, I have gotten my ass kicked at on-line backgammon today, TWICE! Hee hee hee, big fucking deal. It's still both fun, AND fascinating that I can sit on my couch, and talk to while playing a game with someone over 6000 miles away. Truly a modern miracle.
I am getting concerned about my being able to guest host the show on the 27th. I am not doing well today, and haven't been for the last couple of days. The thing is quite simply this; I don't want to not be able to meet the obligation at the last minute and leave everyone hanging. Cutter will be staying up until midnite his time to do something I asked him to do, and bail at the last minute. So, sadly I am seriously considering canceling this appearance and moving it back some. I just don't know. It's agonizing to make this decision, until I remember that it isn't about me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Well, as the day comes closer, I have spent most of my day today sifting through the music I have available trying to find just the right tracks to illustrate my main point, that Stevie Ray Vaughan played with a fire and passion that many were able to witness, and few ever knew.

I am choosing from the gifts that my friends have given me, most notably, Elizabeth Richardson from Beauly, Scotland, and Rich Diamond from the greater Chicago area. Thank you both. I have enjoyed innumerable hours of joy from your generosity.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My First Post


On the 27th of this month, August, I thought I would spell it out for the legions of readers I have noticed, yes a joke. I will have the honor (I hope, depending on the host of the show's mother and her health problems) of celebrating the life as well as the recording career of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Texas bluesman. As a guest on the show, I have already received confirmation that Cutter Brandenburg former Road Mgr. and friend of Stevie's will be a call-in guest and as it stands now, will stay the length of the show, two hours.

It is an honor I don't take lightly. Though this will be my third stint as guest host, this is by far the one I look forward to most.