Friday, November 09, 2018

Happiness is Just Around The Bend


Am I happy?
Someone asked me that a couple of days ago and I had to stop and think.
What is happy? Is it the same as content? I guess you can be content without being happy. Not sure you can be happy without contentment.
I have being chasing money for the last 12 years now, working my way through this sales job and that sales job only to find I'm not as good of a salesman as I thought.
I can lead a team to greatness though.
Maybe the old saying..."those who can, do and those who can't, teach... but I don't believe that either.
Growing up as the adult child of an alcoholic, we're not quite sure what happiness is and when we find it, we're so shocked, we start planning to get rid of the happiness.
We're not comfortable there, we have NO business being happy, we're not worthy of it.
After splitting with my wife of 28 years, I stumbled around the wilderness. Going from this job to that one, trying to find peace through the pursuit of money.
That pursuit somehow led me to Morris Illinois. A fine midwest town far enough away from Chicago, but yet close enough to touch it.
I worked (and made a good living) for people who wanted to know what I did every minute (no, make that second) of the day.
If my day was not filled out to the inth degree, I got a call from the owner.
I worked for one of the soulless, heartless people I have ever seen. My job was to hire, train and mentor new sales people. In the four months I was there we didn't hire anyone, due to the reluctance of the owner to bring anyone new on.
I was sold a bill of goods.
When I got there, the line was..."well, we will hire someone, but we want you go out and get new business during the meantime."
What? A long haired stranger was going to go out and get new business from people in a small town that he's never met? Seriously?
I told them how I thought that was going to play out. I went about doing my work and found that, yes, people really don't want to do business from someone they don't know. As time went on, I got very depressed.
I was fucked here. I knew it and so did they.
It came to a head on the 70th anniversary of my brother's birth. It was raining and nasty and, in an attempt to be "transparent" (their favorite word), I said something to my boss about it being a bad day, but I was sure I could find people to see.
Fifteen minutes later the owner and his son texted me that they were heading to Morris and would like to talk to me.
Twenty minutes later, I texted Tess and told her I thought I was going to be fired.
"No way", she said, "why?"
It was a true premonition.
Under the guise of "this isn't a good fit", I was relieved of my duties.
99% of the time, I am a professional who doesn't burn bridges. Not this time.
I told them exactly what I thought of them and their business practices.
That weekend Tess and I did fun things.
We visited my kids and grandkids in the Quad Cities, we spent a day in Chicago, going to the museum, getting Chicago pizza, going to a dive bar (a story from that is coming soon), meeting great people in the bar, then going to see Fleetwood Mac. On Sunday, we spent most of the day at Starved Rock State Park, just getting out boots muddy.
She saved the weekend.
In the meantime, an old friend reached out to me and asked if I was happy.
Certainly not.
In one serendipitous email, my life changed dramatically.
He offered me a chance to run a 100,000 watt radio station halfway between KC and Columbia. I had known about Power 97 since my good friend the late Ken Dillon did mornings there 20 years ago.
Under one condition he said.
"I need you here by Monday"
Wait a minute, it was Monday. He wants me there in a week? I have a three bedroom house to pack up and move. "I'll throw in some help money wise if you can do it."
So, on Tuesday I drove to Sedalia, and found a place.
On Wednesday and Thursday I packed the house. On Friday, I loaded the truck (by myself), on Saturday, the cat and I hopped into the front seat, drove 382 miles, and arrived in just enough time for me to unload just my bedding so I could sleep. News of an impending storm got me out of bed early and I unloaded the rest of the truck by noon.
Eureka!
What a challenge but I did it!
In Sedalia in less than a week.
The new job is incredible.
I have the complete trust of my owner to "fix" his station.
This is what I do, what I've been trained to do and I am now doing it for basically no money but maybe that was the problem all along. Instead of doing what I loved, I was distracted chasing change.
Am I happy?
I don't know, but this sure feels good. I have a place within five blocks of the station. I hardly ever drive my car and I'm at the station for about 10 hours a day, doing what I love.
Happy? Dunno, but I'll take it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Spaceship Superstar

Here's one from the journal that I wrote really high one night....



I woke up on a dingy, urine stained mattress with dirty and crusty underwear thrown about the room. One thing went through my head over and over..."Lord, where am I?"
Relax and remember I told myself.
Finally, through the fog, it came to me. I was in the basement of one of the Krognar Palaces. Not very palatial, I'm thinking. This seemed to be the place where the universally famous Krognar sex games were held. They were so popular, there was a cable show about them.
Obviously an aftermath.
Dammit, if I had been two hours earlier. Where are the nubile young women and how did I get into this mess and who and...?
The Krognars were the self proclaimed rulers of the entire six known dimensions. They installed themselves in a bloodless coup not more than four hundred years ago, so they were pretty new at this. They bore an uncanny resemblance to a creature once known as a lobster. These cats were about seven feet tall with claws that could kill a man within seconds. They were also legendary across the universe for their well...how should I say their power and prowess under and between the sheets.
I know it's hard to believe but even I admired and respected their reputation...must have been a guy thing.
Now, I remember, I was crossing through their space at about three o'clock in the morning, sorry kids, drunk on my ass. There is a tolerance of about fourteen centimeters on either side of the portal, not much for my vehicle, which was a 2068 Chevy Malibu. I thought I could make it because at this time of night (or morning) they were usually sleeping. It was also a Saturday night and that's when the majority of the sex games are still rocking on (I told you about their prowess). If you gunned it at the right time across the celestial axis, you could be in the third dimension before the sentries knew what was going on.
Tonight, unfortunately, I was not that lucky.
I tried to outrun them through two dimensions. I blew a transducer and then it was just a matter of time before the jig was up, and indeed they tracked me down quickly. Crippled, by the side of Sirius, I was easy prey for the Krognar Gestapo. They demanded my ethereal notice, federation number and of course, the registration.
I was taught by my father to only relinquish my star and fighter squadron number, nothing prepared me for this.
"Ydnar Yelar, Ydnar, Yelar, Ydnar, Yelar!!!"
With that, all hell broke loose.
Without warning, I was surrounded by these ugly fucks speaking gibberish and spitting on each other. These stupid idiots then stopped and in unison, recited their national anthem "A White Sport Coat and A Pink Crustacean,"as it looked like some kind of ceremony was about to happen. This didn't really look good here. Here I was, in a place far far away and I had no idea what to do. To my surprise, all they did was haul me off to what their version of jail looked like and there is where I woke up.
The doors of my room sprung open with an ear spitting clang and suddenly, I was face to face with the most terrific creature I have ever seen. Seven feet three inches tall, built like I had only dreamed. And yes, I could also see why he was such a hit with the ladies. Even the old comic book pictures of Charles Atlas could NOT do this cat justice. I tried to make conversation about his work out routines, but he was having none of it. I DID find out his name was Larry.
Yes, Larry the Lobster, THAT Larry the lobster.
On that fateful Saturday night Eddie Murphy tried to kill him, and getting away somehow, he never forgot it. He's been pissed ever since. Turns out, he's the chief prosecutor. I didn't know whether to kneel in front of him, curse his very being or both.
"I am your biggest nightmare as I rule over the entire lemon wedge dimension You will wish you had never met me, infidel."
At that moment, he opened his trench coat and out fell a 2234 model AJ 447 flanger. Indeed, my opportunity to make my getaway, but alas, I was only familiar with the two button model and this had three.
The academy taught us over and over.."yellow and green, lose your spleen...green then yellow, live to be a happy fellow.. But I wasn't ready for "now there is blue with the other two.."
As he hesitated in shock, I reached for the flanger and yes, I pushed the blue button. It could not get any worse that his, I reasoned.
And with that, it did.
The skies opened up with the brilliance of a thousand white hot suns, like only something Moses could have witnessed.
All of a sudden, I was sucked through a vacuum of a hundred gravitational pulls, the rising and setting of those white hot suns all it once, I was pulled through a vortex of unknown physical properties, swallowed into a continuum right in time for my mom to wake me for school.


Saturday, October 27, 2018

All Down The Line

Lovely day in the mid west today. Instead of watching football on TV, I decided to as my mother would say, "go outside and get the stink blowed off me."

The nice thing about Sedalia is the access to the Katy trail. I decided to go south west today for a leisurely ride toward Green Ridge which is about 12 miles down the trail. In the above picture I approached some spot on the trail named "Campbell." If you look closely in the distance there is the marker to people coming the other way with absolutely nothing in between
My view today. The Katy is well taken care of and well maintained, a true jewel in the Mo. State Parks system
These things are deadly and dangerous. Glad I looked up when I did.
Nice spur off the trail right outside Sedalia

So, there it is. I haven't played basketball in awhile, I'm about 30 pounds overweight but I can still do this, Sedalia to Green Ridge and back. Lovely afternoon on the trail.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Are You Sirius?


This is just about the only thing I have that proves Ann and I were at Abbey Road studios in January of 1994.
An incredulous serendipity that never happened. Picture wise.
After introductions, Alan was indeed impressed I was from KSHE as he knew KSHE was one of the very first stations to play his music in America.
I have pictures of him, Ann and I standing under the Abbey Road sign at the front door. Pictures of Alan, myself and Ann having tea later in the day.
Damn. I can't find them.
Sure, I can find pictures of me 60 year ago that mean nothing but I can't find ANY of these.
Alan, Ann and I got along fabulously.

Nine months later, Alan is touring America and stops in St. Louis.
He leaves a message and I call him back.

We have dinner later and he proceeds to tell me we were not alone at Abbey Road.
Apparently, in the penthouse studio after we leave to go downstairs, on that particular Saturday morning, George, Paul and Ringo were putting the final touches on the "Anthology" project.

What?

"It would have funny as hell if you would have seen one of them in the loo."
"Yes, Alan, I would have pissed all over myself."
"Couldn't tell you about it then, mate. Sorry."

Yeah, the three surviving Beatles in one place and apparently, so was I.

And I have no pictures of any of it.

Paperback Writer

Getting settled 382 miles away from hell.
Morris did not/does not exist.
I wasn't there and none of those terrible things happened to me.
It was all an ambien induced bad dream.

My ex wife texted me a few days ago about some items left behind in the divorce. One was a box full of pictures I attempted to digitize a number of years ago over the Christmas holiday. It was great to start with, but seeing all those dead people kinda wore on me. It just sent me back to a place when everyone was still alive.
That time seems like hundreds of years ago.

One of the things I found was my writing journal when I took a class at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood. I lived literally across the street and I thought being 40 was a good time to keep the brain cells stimulated. I took a course in non verbal communications and also the study of Native American Indians along with this Humor in American History class taught by Dr. Michalski, a jovial, wonderful teacher.

My final exam in that class was to do the George Carlin "Wonderful Wino" radio broadcast by memory in front of the class.
It was awesome.

A very young George Carlin doing the bit.

I will post some things I found in the journal because he thought they were very good (his words, not mine).

I wrote two limericks:

4/10/96

There was a young girl from Alquipper,
She had trouble with the boyfriend's zipper.
She tried and plied
He sighed and cried
What hit the floor was then known as Nipper.

Then came a man from Kirkwood,
Who saw more really than Dirk could.
The young miss was pleasing,
And obviously teasing
Would Doug done more than Kirk would?

Pretty cheesy but I'll publish some of this stuff over the next few days.

About four years after I got out of his class, I found out Dr. Michalski died a horrible death from cancer. Of all the people I knew that have died that way, he probably deserved it the least.
Incredibly supporting and kind, we became kindred spirits and as what usually happens, our communications became more sparse until I read the news that day.
Lessons apparently not learned.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Down Down

Say goodbye internet.

See you in five days from a new location.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Moving Pictures

Who the hell does this?
Who has THIS many pictures?
I'm a freaking HOARDER!!!





Put me on the damn show.

Those Shoes

How'd your day start?
Mine...

But, it did get better....



Glory Days


This picture was taken at my house on Springwater Drive in south St. Louis County. Not sure the reason why we were all together, but it was great we were.
Such great love and respect between us all.

1987

Me,  Fredrocks, Skid Roadie, Jon Hart

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Chasing Change

(and yes that is the name of a song by the Climax Blues Band from their album Sense of Direction)

The last few years have been brutal.
Up one minute, down the next, down one minute, down the next.
Seems to have been a downward spiral, or like Sisyphus pushing the rock and the rock always wins.


God seems to have been grumpy with me and I him.
Didn't like that he didn't communicate very well. Or often.
We would acknowledge each other in passing, but just a bit of old man attitude between us.

It came to light (or dark) recently as what I thought was, was indeed not.
I wasn't hired to hire, train, mold, mentor and be a teacher for a new sales staff.
I inherited a staff of one who had been there for a hundred years and didn't need/want any help from me.
Didn't blame her. She was lighting it up.

I was hired to be the new business development guy, moving to a town of 13,000 in the middle of a corn field.
City boy, new guy, pretty closed society. A list that had no meat.
Set up to fail, and...and before I could, I did something I hadn't done just about ever.
I told them what to do with their business.
Stick it where the sun don't shine and  ain't talking about your closet.

So, God, whatup?
How about helping a brother out?
Where did I go wrong?

It's the bright shiny object theory over and over again which seems to have a particular pattern in my life.
Better. Brighter.
For the last few years, I've been chasing change.
Mo money.
No happiness. No justice, no peace.
Maybe I just suck at sales.

As the events were unfolding, on my brother's 70th birthday I made contact with an old friend in radio.
We chatted and talked about happiness and if I was feeling it.
No.

So, a break in the clouds, an instance of serendipity, an ounce of kismet.


Fuck the money, let's go have fun again.
So, screw it, I am.
In one of the truly WKRP packing and unpacking moments, I have five days to pack, load, drive unload, move in and report to work on Monday 7 hours away.



What is this? This is the remains of my CD rack. Totally taken apart. When intact, it holds about 2200 CDs.



My 2400 CDs

My itinerary goes like this...
Today...packed
Tomorrow...pack
Friday...pick up truck and car tow, load truck.
Friday night, with cat in the cab, drive 392 miles.

Hopefully unload truck Saturday.

Where am I going?
392 miles where I pick up my keys to a radio station.
A real radio station.
That actually streams.
Where?
The apartment is ready.
Soon.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Stairway to the Beatles

Now we know where Led Zeppelin REALLY got the idea for Stairway to Heaven...

Stairway to the Beatles

500 Miles

Great prank.

A very creative senior prank.

Too Many Cooks


One thing I do know how to do is cook.
With limited resources.
My mom could take an onion, some eggs, a slice of bread and feed the forty thousand.
She was always very creative that way.
What you see before you is a very favorite "batch" recipe.
Fish stick tacos.
Crispy fish sticks  (2 each) combined with whatever else you may have rolled into a tortilla.
I think this edition included lettuce, guacamole, onions, diced tomatoes (diced by hand of course,) some sour cream, 3 cheese Mexican blend cheese, refried or black beans and some Mama Risito's hot mango salsa.

A culinary delight worth sharing.

Short Stories (for kids even)


Tess and I were at Starved Rock State Park yesterday and hiked probably about 5.5 miles.
We came upon this group of egrets on the river bank and that started my incredibly twisted mind into a very dark hole. Tess contributed and the next few hours or so were wasted in this children's book that will never be published.

"Edgar The Regretful Egret"

Here's the story of an egret named Edgar who had an egregious ego.
Edgar loved Eggo's for breakfast.
Edgar's neighbor Eldred, the elder eagle, watched eggs for the neighborhood.
Eldred was always egalitarian in his eggressions.
Eldred descended from Egyptian eagles, known for drinking egg nog.

Eldred's niece Edie was an elegant eaglet.
Edgar and his ego were envious.
She was more eagle eyed than he and always won the elementary earthworm eating event.
Embarrassing!

Edgar and his emotional ego decided to commit the most egregious, egg headed act ever.
At Edgar's next encounter with Edie, he edged her into the engine of a 747 airplane.
Eldred, the elder eagle, (Edie's uncle) perched on the edge of a nearby branch, observed the encounter.

As Edie's feathers fluttered through the fauna, Emmett, the emo emu, who's been embittered and embarrassed by charges of embezzlement, emoted "Egads!"

Eldred, the elder eagle, emasculated Edgar and decided to extract Edgar's entrails.
That's how Edgar became the egret filled with regret.
But since he was killed by Eldred he was no longer regretful but dead

This is an anti bullying message put together with love from yours truly.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Help!

Image result for stuck in the mud

The current state of affairs.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Sports...

Go Brewers.
Go Rockies.
Go Chiefs.

Bet against all of them.

Heroes


October in my family normally sucks.
It seems just about anything bad that has happened to the family has happened in October.
OK, it'll be my brother's 70th birthday this year. While it's a joyous experience, I have no one to "celebrate" with me.
All I know is that it will be Friday.
Maybe I'll make some profound blog that will in someway affect you.
Maybe I'll try and dismiss the thought all day.
Maybe I'll just go about my business.
Maybe I just won't get out of bed.

My very first hero.
He was a man I could never hope to be. He went through more hell in 45 years than I ever have yet. His job in Vietnam was to kill "anything that moved" after dropping into fields of agent orange. The last couple of weeks in his life, I think the agent orange weakened his heart and he knew it. About six months before, standing in my driveway in Kirkwood, he told me he didn't have long.
I, of course, guffawed and told him he did.
He knew.
I miss him more than life itself. the last 25 years have been "played in protest" as they say in baseball because I never got to watch him get well.
And old.
I wish I would just have had one more day.
Now, I'd take 30 seconds

His children remain and I hope to see a couple of them this weekend.
My mom's not here, my dad, he isn't of course, and for the last year or two, my sister won't be here either.
My siblings will never get older, I'll always remember them at 45 and at 57.
They will never age.
But I sure do.

The 25th anniversary of his death arrives this month, too, along with the 30th passing of my mother.
Tess asked me the another night about the obsession with numbers. I'm not sure, I think it's a genetic thing, as my mom would obsess about anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

His 70th.
The 25th of his passing.
The 30th of my mom's.
I've been fired a number of times in October and Joanie (Ann's mom) died in October too.

October has started cold, cloudy and windy in Morris.
Apparently we get the wind of Chicago without any of the benefits of the city.
Too early to hibernate?



Friday, September 28, 2018

City to City



I'm trying to think of things to write about. So, every once in awhile, I'll pull a picture out of the files for inspiration.
No inspiration needed for this photo.
In my top ten of all time (and will always remain), this was a long shot for such greatness.

Legal issues after the break-up of Stealers Wheel meant that, for three years, Rafferty was unable to release any material. After the disputes were resolved in 1978, he recorded his second solo album, City to City, with producer Hugh Murphy, which included the song with which he remains most identified, "Baker Street". According to Murphy, interviewed by Billboard in 1993, he and Rafferty had to beg the record label, United Artists, to release "Baker Street" as a single: "They actually said it was too good for the public. It was a good call: the single reached #3 in the UK and #2 in the US. The album sold over 5.5 million copies, toppling the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in the US on 8 July 1978. Rafferty considered this his first proper taste of success, as he told Melody Maker the following year: "...all the records I've ever done before have been flops. Stealers Wheel was a flop. 'Can I Have My Money Back?' was a flop. The Humblebums were a flop... My life doesn't stand or fall by the amount of people who buy my records."
This is one of the records to me, that doesn't have a bad song on it. "Right Down The Line" is such an incredible love song, "Mattie's Rag" talks about the "grand old man of rock..." "The Ark" is a beautiful song along with "Home and Dry" and the title track. Talk about your shooting stars. This is my "comfort" pick when I want something like an old friend. It never gets old and it never will.

My Little Town


For those of you following along and have been around awhile, I will always try and find a song title for the title of the post. I live in a town of 17,000. I chose to do this. My Little Town fits

Morris is situated on Interstate 80 about 17 miles west of Joliet. 
Apparently, it's along a "cut off", a road that saves trucker's time from Interstate 55 to 80 or vice versa. Damn, there are a lot of trucks. As it is with most small towns, it's very guarded, but I knew that when I signed up.  




I had plans to do 40 miles on the bike on Saturday before Saturday got here. Saturday morning, brisk (just turned) fall day and a great time to get the bicycle out. The Farmer's Market was open. I had a back pack. I rode 7.8 miles round trip that morning, scored some local goods and made a contribution to the local economy.

From right to left, homemade salsa, organic maters, okra and some of the best grapes I've ever had. I must admit, the okra purchase was just because I dug the people running the booth.


Whatever.





I live on Cemetery Road. There is a reason it's called that. While I am not sure how many people are still here, it is highly populated and maintains heavy traffic on the weekends.


 This so reminds me of growing up in Ava. Except...well...it's flat. The ride home...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Growin' Up

I wrote this on my blog in May 2006...

Jeezix, how fast time is going. After returning from Cedar Falls to see my oldest daughter graduate last night, and after play practice, my youngest had a party to go to. These were good kids having the party, but when she says "bye, dad", with the words she just tosses over her shoulders, you wonder how long you have left. Will she disappear after high school or will she return until we kick her out? I think she will be gone for good, hardly if ever to return. I left home at 17, rarely to return and for good at 22 when I moved to KC. 


While trying to sleep in the middle of the night(see previous post), the phone rings. A phone call at one a.m. is never expected and rarely good news. "Hey, I wanted to let you that I'll be home at 1:40 instead of 1:30, we are leaving now". Whew, thanks kid. 



"Bye, dad".

Friday, September 21, 2018

Old Ads






Old As I Was Born



This is my dad and his mom.

I'm guessing 1908.
I only knew my grandmother as an old woman. She died at 88 in 1967.
She has a Katherine Ross feel, no? It's almost out of an old western.
At one time, the family had some money; she died poor but I believe very happy.
She always seemed happy to me.

I think my dad threw a wrench into a couple of families as I have an older half brother who is 86 and my half sister is 81.
My father was older than my grand mother which didn't set well with that side of the family. He left the mother of the aforementioned half siblings and married my mother many years later.
He was 51 when I was born and almost 54 when my sister was.
Such a normal childhood.

We would drive to Kewanee on Sunday and visit Granny and Florence. Sisters that lived in the projects, but they always had  enough to get by. Many times, we'd have Sunday dinner at Granny's. The women are from Kentucky and so, they have been known to take a nip now and then. Even as a ten year old, Florence seemed to get real happy as the day went on. Being from Kentucky, ol' aunt Florence liked a chaw or two also. So, when you mix the combination of Jack Daniels and a tug, goodbye kisses were to be avoided at any cost.
God help you if Florence got you about 5pm.

"Granny's" husband died of a heart attack in 1953. My dad in 77, my brother in 93, my sister in 17

Even as an old woman Granny seemed to enjoy us kids, but I don't think that side of the family cared for my mother. She was much younger than everyone and hard to relate to.

But, that's my dad and his mom.

Anyway, a time long ago through the rear view mirror.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Goodbye Stranger

I've been asked why I left Facebook.

Time waster. That's my response.
I was the admin for the KY Video Page, the KY Fan Club Page, The Planet Radio page and my page.
It seems I was doing nothing else but be on that platform.
I have a new job in a new town I need to focus on and I was just spending way too much time there.
I need to get back here and continue writing the book.
So, for the time being, I'll give you my opinion, reflect and write on what I think.

Planet Radio is doing a countdown from this day in 1971.
Sometimes, I wish there was a time machine to drop us back somewhere in our lives, so we could get a do over.
I think I'd pick just about that time.

Starting to be a sophomore in high school.
Would I do it different?
Possibly.

I think I'd be a teacher, or maybe a preacher.
Knowing me, I'd probably get busted for having inappropriate relations with a student (only early in my career.)

Sophomore in high school (sigh). The only thing on my mind was how to get the homework done on time. Had a huge crush on my English teacher who was tall and black. Ms. Newborn didn't need much to garner my attention. Coming from crackerville where I lived, having a sexual thought about a black woman was a bit unnerving but I quickly realized if this was happening to me, I should probably rethink thoughts about black people. Moving to a high school that had a multi cultured population was so good for me.
It took awhile for the message to get in, but it was an incredible lesson in the fact people are people.
My good friend Jose had an older sister that I just about went nuts for every time I saw her only cemented how right the move was. Hispanic, black...people are people. No matter.

Our high school was in two campuses. It was such a huge population. I missed the familiar faces of the graduating class in Ava, which was 68. I was now in a sea of faces, over 800 strong in our class.
1971 was a shitty year for my brother, as he was in Vietnam, but for me, it was the beginning of my education into things other than school work.

Music, girls, cars.

The top ten from this day in 1971 featured Lee Michaels, Rare Earth, Dramatics, Carpenters, Paul and Linda McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Joan Baez, Bill Withers, Rod Stewart and well, Donny Osmond.

Damn fine time to be alive, 15 and somewhat safe.
My 12 year old sister would agree.





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Hello Hurray!

I got to spend some quality time with my daughter this Sunday.
In fact it may be one of the best days we've ever had.
We got a burger at the Village Restaurant, and a custard at the local Kirkwood store that's been there forever. Then we found a bench under some shade, in close proximity to a train and we ate and talked.
And talked.
We cried and cried.
She seems to be at peace with a lot of things in her life and for that, I am grateful.
And jealous.
We did a "pinky promise" about me starting this up again. She promised me she'd read it.
So, if for no other audience than my daughter, I'm going to fire up this machine again.
I used to be pretty good about this and had an incredible following.
Facebook popped up and as you go through the history here, 10 years ago, three previous posts would be one day. Now, it's ten year gone. That ain't right.
Facebook became an obsession and unhealthy one at that. So, I'm taking a break, writing stuff that could or could not be used in the book depending on what you think.
It'll take me a couple of posts to figure out the lastest gizmos and stuff at my perusal.
So, Emily, here we go again.
Maybe if enough shit gets thrown against the wall, maybe some of it will be some what relative.



BTW, I have a rental car with satellite radio and I can't turn off Willie's Roadhouse.
My mother used to buy these Shurfine Country albums at the grocery store.
They had all those old country songs like Hank Locklin, Cowboy Copas, Faron Young, George Jones and the like. Hank Williams probably held a bigger place in my mother's life than ANYONE. I learned his stuff in utero. So, I'm pretty comfortable with Willie's station




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In My Time of Dying

As I literally wait for a friend to take his last breath after a four year battle....I am reminded of what an incredibly lucky man I am. 
I've met Presidents and rock royalty, but in the end, don't we all want just more time?

George Harrison likened death to just passing on into another room. I hope I'm that calm.


I found this today from Kevin Smith, who was a bit out of my wheelhouse. "Clerks" was when I was after thirty three...but he sums it up so incredibly well...


"I was trying to do a killer stand up special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life at Glendale Hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as “the Widow-Maker” because when it goes, you’re a goner). If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight. For now, I’m still above ground! But this is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life. When the time came, I never imagined I’d ever be able to die with dignity - I assumed I’d die screaming, like my Dad (who lost his life to a massive heart attack). But even as they cut into my groin to slip a stent into the lethal Widow-Maker, I was filled with a sense of calm. I’ve had a great life: loved by parents who raised me to become the individual I am. I’ve had a weird, wonderful career in all sorts of media, amazing friends, the best wife in the world and an incredible daughter who made me a Dad. But as I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content. Yes, I’d miss life as it moved on without me - and I was bummed we weren’t gonna get to make #jayandsilentbobreboot before I shuffled loose the mortal coil. But generally speaking, I was okay with the end, if this was gonna be it. I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and I’ve had so many adventures - how could I be shitty about finally paying the tab. But the good folks at the Glendale Hospital had other plans and the expertise to mend me. Total strangers saved my life tonight. This is all a part of my mythology now and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan). But the point of this post is to tell you that I faced my greatest fear tonight... and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift.


"I was ok with the end." 


I think I will be too.
A life filled with great adventures.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Key To The Highway


The funny things in life you write about.

I was chatting with a friend today and somehow the phrase "taking a new road without a map" came up. For some reason, it stuck. I got to pondering how many times in my life I took a new road without a map. Now, before that, on trips, I used to be the map kid. With my trusty always perfectly folded up guide to places I had never seen, I could tell you the next turn was approximately 6 miles down the road. Insufferable in the car.

A new road without a map?
Wow, a lot to digest in one setting. I can make this career related and then get personal later.

I'll say it was early on.
12ish, putting together my little radio station in my bedroom,in the middle of nowhere, complete with a 5 inch reel to reel, a cassette player that had an AM radio built in, a record player and a cheap microphone. I cursed the DJ that talked all the way to the beginning of the vocals because damn it, that was my job. What fun, but quite eccentric for a kid reading Encyclopedia Brown books as fast as they could make them. I was so enamored with the radio. Every Thursday night the local station would count down the top 30 songs of the week and I'd write them down. Every Thursday night. I remember getting mad that "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher kept "Satisfaction" out of the number one spot. I was furious. What to do from here? I was enthralled with radio at its best, certainly a new road but no map.

When I graduated from radio school it was ok, what now?
Where do I go to follow this dream that has so far cost me my marriage, my relationship with my father and overall great consternation among the close knits? "The boy has lost his mind." "Why on earth would he leave a great job in the foundry? He could retire there." It sure seemed like I had lost my mind. I walked out the door to no job, but dang it I had a tape. The map appeared about two weeks into the search when I strong armed my way on the air at the local country station. Now, not only did I have a tape, but I had a tape of me actually being on air. That turned into my first full time job and then three years later...the map disappeared again.

At this point in the journey, I was half asleep when I got the call.
All I wanted was to sleep. Getting up at 3:45 made sure I slept in shifts; 4 to 5 hours at night, two to three in the afternoon if at all possible. I was groggy as someone named Max Floyd from Kansas City said something about him not knowing how my tape (see?) ended up on his desk, but he had an opening at the station. "What station? Who? Is this a joke?" No joke, three weeks later, I was sitting in the drivers seat of a UHaul trailer with a garbage bag of home grown that I almost went through by the time I got all the way through Iowa bound for the bright lights and the big city, the home of pretty little women and damn it, I'm gonna get me one. Right before I left for KC, I got cold feet and my dear Aunt Jane almost slapped the shit out of me. "Isn't this what you have spent your life waiting for? Isn't this your dream? Kansas City or Moline? You want the big time or do you want to be comfortable? I think you know your answer" Little did she know the job I left paid more than the job I accepted. I got to KC about 6pm on a Sunday night, knowing no one, or where anything was. All I knew is I had to find the Howard Johnson's downtown.This was a literal interpretation of our subject as I had no map.  It's getting late, I can't find the hotel, the neighborhood is dicey and I'm about ready to call Aunt Jane form a pay phone to tell her exactly what I think. Then, it appeared. The Howard Johnson sign. I checked in, locked my truck, went to my room and cried myself to sleep.  I woke up the next morning anticipating a road without a map.

I've always taken the blue highways whenever possible.
I used to take vacations by pulling a direction out of a hat and just leaving that way. No maps, no deadlines, no worries. As I've gotten older, I've had a bit of wanderlust, I like taking off in new directions and traveling with no map. Whatever that means to you, I know what it means to me.
I wish you many mapless travels.









Sunday, April 30, 2017

A New Day

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves "off the track".
My good friends know the last six months have found me so off the track, I don't know where it is...disappointments, falsehoods, game playing, heartbreak in relationships, health, employment...whatever, can grind you down like pencil lead.
When two of my best friends told me a couple of weeks ago "I look behind your eyes and I see nothing in there," I knew it was time to start over. 
Then a very sweet friend sent me this today...for anyone who has found themselves off the track and wondered..."is this it?"
Maybe you can start over...
"You can get yourself a small room in a new city where no one knows your name
just yet
but they will,
for they will see you walking quietly through the market on Sunday mornings,
and sitting at the cafe on Tuesdays
scribbling thoughts in that worn out notebook,
or in the library between the shelves of different worlds, and late on Friday evenings
you will sit peacefully in the corner of the pub
by yourself
and you will be okay with that.
Some nights beautiful women will buy you drinks and ask your name
and you will smile, but be okay with walking home alone
because one day someone will know you
without asking your name
and that’s the person that matters.
So wait a few years,
until you can get yourself a small room in a new city where no one knows your name
just yet
but they will
and there will be an older lady
knocking at your door
saying hi and you’re very welcome,
and you can have a garden
where only flowers grow, with no thorns, that you plant yourself,
and on sunny mornings in April
you can sit and watch them bloom
a little more each day,
just like you do,
bloom a little more
each day.
And on crisp winter mornings in January you can drink coffee in the cold
on your own front porch
and the town is empty
but full
of other things
like space.
And hope.
And purity.
Wait a few years,
when things are clearer, and you will go on well. Just hold on
and wait.
You WILL be ok."
-Charlotte Erickson

I am starting over. In a new town. You?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In Search Of...."God?"

I've reached a point in my life where "God" or whatever "he/she" may be is so far removed from my life, it's scary. I realize other people don't share my belief there is something bigger out there, hell two of my kids don't believe in "it" at all. That's fine. If you choose not to believe, you believe in that choice, and that's OK.
So, where do you go to find "God"?
"He's in your heart" a good friend said. Not that easy.
"He works through you," added another.
So, does that means if I do good works, be nice, generous, kind, considerate, he (we'll use he subjectively) will magically appear?
So when searching for "God" where do we start?
I was listening to some blue grass music on the way home from work today and I thought how many people find God in bluegrass music. Alison Krauss was featured and I think she's pretty godly.
So, where do we start?
I think first we must define God. I see God as not quite a person, but a guiding force that guides us, maybe a conscience, an intuition, a second sense that, if allowed, will hopefully allow us to make choices in our lives that enrich us, surround us with a feeling of comfort knowing we are doing the right thing.
I have a guardian angel. I know it. When I was three, my next door neighbor was a guy of about 21, who would let me ride in convertible, wash his car and, from what I gather was crazy about me. He drowned on his wedding day and I guess for the next few weeks I would come over ans wonder where Bobby was. It got to the point that my mom wouldn't let me go outside because she knew how much it upset Bobby's mom for me to go over there.
It's him. He's my guardian angel. Don't ask why I know, I just do.
But as that proof of God? I don't know, if I feel he's my guardian angel, then I must recognize there is something out there, bigger than us. I know I have felt his presence a number of times in my life, and the times I have ignored that instinct, that feeling, I've usually made the wrong decision. I know people will poo poo all this, but there HAS to be something to believe in.
The last six months of my life have been me walking around the desert waiting for manna to drop from heaven. It seems like it's been kick Randy in the nuts everyday season. From failed relationships, to being gaslighted by someone I trusted respected, admired and adored, to losing my job, to just about anything you can think of, I've been through it. Where the hell has God been through all of this?
Maybe right here lurking but not posting. Maybe nowhere to be seen. I sure haven't felt God lately.
So, I'm on a search to find "him." "I'm on the road to find out..." as Cat Stevens once said.
Let's take a look at the simple things...a walk in the woods, a bike ride feeling the wind in your face as you go faster and faster. Maybe simple smile, hello or a kind gesture now and then when someone least expects it.
I've reached November in the calendar of my years, maybe even mid November and I know I need to find "him" soon.
The way I look at it, it's kinda like Pascal's Wager, it is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62).It posits that humans bet with their lives that God either exists or does not.Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses.
Whatever that means...I think it means if there IS a God, and you have lived your life denying his existence then you are standing before him in the afterlife, how do you explain it to him? I'll report back with various clues along the way.




Sunday, June 28, 2015

Generation Landslide or Funny How Time Slips Away

I got a text from my daughter the other day and it was very interesting. She said since moving to Los Angeles, she's started gravitating to the classic rock stations. "I guess I knew it would happen someday."
I think she's a little put out at happened at only 26. She said she's noticed they play the same songs over and over and she's looking for something else.
She's asked me to make CDs of "my music" for her so she can listen to them.
Whaaaat?
I was a bit taken back by this and I wanted classification, so I texted her "what exactly do you mean by 'my music'"?
"Songs YOU think I need to hear."
Child, there are hundreds you NEED to hear.
"Send them."
That's my girl!!

Since the Time Machine on Thursday morning dealt with 1971, I started there.
Her first CD will include The Rolling Stones (three from Sticky Fingers), Marvin Gaye (three from What's Going On), James Taylor (three from Mud Slid Slim)and about eight John Denver tunes.
She wants a description why each song should be on there.
The Stones, Marvin and James are no brainers, the John Denver requires a bit of explanation.

I was his doppelganger in high school, His first BIG song came out in 1971 (between freshman and sophomore years) all the way through 1975. He was Johnny Carson's fill in, had his own show and was a movie star (Oh God!).
john or me?



 
me or john?
There are a hand full of people I didn't know who I have cried about when they died. John Denver was one. While he could be very pedestrian, his good stuff ranks right up with me as some of the best of all time.
I thought a could cover the Beatles in two CDs. Not even close. Not three. It looks like four. Maybe.
I'll keep you informed of what happens.


With great sadness I found out about Chris Squire succumbing to cancer earlier today. The picture above was taken in 1984 at a park off state line in Kansas City. Yes came to town wanting to play softball for some reason. Chris Squire is in the van. Most of the band came ready to play but Chris Squire was dressed in boots and wasn't really interested. He sat on the bench, chain smoking cigarettes; in fact lighting one off another. I sat next to him for a minute and the conversation went like this...
"Hey man, those things will kill ya." "It's probably a bit too late for that, mate."
"Not a softball fan?" "No not really, I just come out to these things to hang around and see new and different things. I'm not really into exercise, that's why I play the bass." (he laughs)
I told him the first Yes song I ever heard was "Your Move".
"That's a good one to find us by", he said.
"What was it about?"
"Love is such a chess game, you make your moves for future plans, and the next thing you know, checkmate, she's got you."
I told him how much time I spent under the headphones with his band and that Yes was definitely in my top ten of all time.
"Why not top five?" he laughed.
He was gracious and thanked me, I shook his massive hand (they were like concrete blocks) and I moved along to do something else. I remember he was a massive human being, especially with those boots on.  He was also very charming. Cancer sucks.

Drew Johnson from KSHE has asked my to cut a small piece about my time there and KSHE will play it on the air. It will go something like this..."when I stood up at graduation from radio school in 1976 we were all asked where we wanted to be in ten years. I proudly got up, threw my chest out and said I would be doing afternoons at KSHE 95 in St. Louis. Cue the rounds of laughter.
I made it in nine years. When I go back and look at my career, my time there provided the most interesting and fulfilling chapters in the book and the brightest colors in the picture of my life.
13 years I'll never forget and cherish forever. It was always a privilege and one I NEVER took for granted. Thank you for listening, and thank you for allowing me to come into your life every afternoon. I thought we made a great pair."
95% of my time at KSHE was heaven. The other 5% is for another day.


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