April 8th, 2016

Καλημέρα σας (Kaliméra sas)! (Good morning to you from Greece!!!) 

Some deep thoughts snuck up and surrounded me this week but first the news:
We lost one of our Highwaymen this week. Our “Okie from Muskogee” packed it in for the last time. Merle Haggard was an icon and rebel against the excesses of Nashville. He took great joy in not going away when they all tried to make him do so.

It seems to me that we go through our lives focusing on the things that are different between us. If we are’t the same we seek to amplify the differences. It doesn’t matter if it is our skin color, age, religion, gender, sexual persuasion, our wealth or lack their of, where we are or where we were born. All of that begins the process of ending peace between strangers on any level. We start every interaction with a judgement of one another. Then we can get on with doing whatever we think is in our best interest to do. Our assumption is to distrust different and its just what we do – we find a way to put every one into either Us or Them. So we can trust Us and defend against Them. How strange is that??

After almost 64 years of kicking around this planet pretty much everywhere, it occurs to me that when you come right down to it, we all want the same things. We want our families to be happy, healthy and secure. We may have lots and lots of different ideas about what that might mean and millions of ways to get it done, but thats what we want. All of us… the Christians, Muslims, Jews, Gays, Old and Young, Black or White, Rich or Poor..We want ourselves and our families fed, healthy and to have a reasonable chance at a good life. All the rest is just noise. But Oh that noise!!! It inspires us to believe, hate, kill, and continue horror against each other in spite of all the common dreams we share.

The last great glimpse of light that crept into my poor old head this week had to do with wealth. This is a concept I am having more and more trouble with these days. I mean that there is enough earth for all of us. No one has to be hungry. No child has to die of a curable disease. There is enough clean water. We know how to grow what we all need. We can build the schools and hospitals needed to educate and keep our fellow humans healthy and happy. We just do a terrible job of distributing it so it gets everywhere that it needs to get to be. We are better at judging each other, fearing each other, hoarding resources to protect against the desperation we create by hoarding resources and focusing on the differences between us all.

I am not sure anyone would argue that our world is safe for our children nor would they say it is getting safer. While some may not subscribe to the global warming as a man made controllable cause for environmental issues, all are concerned about the damage to our barrier reefs, the quality of the air in our biggest cities and the terrible consequences of environmental disasters such as a honey bee die off. None of the religions of our planet can offer true solace to parents of children who die needlessly from preventable disease or at the hands of violence perpetrated by desperate men expressing secular desperation or disapproval of others. How do we get out of this mess? Who is actually working on these root causes? At the end of the day… we are one species, living on one planet for one lifetime with the common aim of making life better for our children than it was for us. It seems like we should start doing things differently.

This week I learned some stuff:
• Mr. Putin of Russia might not be the friendly genteel guy you have thought him to be. It appears that he faked a Chechen separatist bombing of a Moscow apartment building that killed almost 300, injured over 1000 people while pole vaulting him from total obscurity to replace Boris Yeltsin as the President of Russia. Since then he has orchestrated a level of corruption that has created a unprecedented level of personal wealth exceeding 40 billion dollars. Unfortunately, it has also created a world where he can trust no one to protect him or his ill gotten gains. Momma always said, “Be careful what you wish for, you could end up a very rich shithead that can’t safely go anywhere.” Oh? Your momma didn’t say that to you?

Website Update
• Last Week for the “new” Vocabulary Quiz, but I am working on a new one for you… a doozy !
• Two new quotes for you all from Frank Zappa. “A mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless if it is not open.” and “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” All of Frank’s kids were home schooled with the help of the library but presumably got laid as well.

Painting Update:
• Slowly, step by step, I am making my way to the paints…but not this week. I am preparing to move.

Writing Update:
• I took another week off from editing … still finding typos in GPS.

• Speaking of shitheads… someone is killing some of our wild Parrots here in San Diego with pellet and bee bee guns. Listen Up You Wild Parrot Hunting Morons: I hope all of your craps get VD, all the elastic comes out of your underwear and you trip over them falling onto long gravelly slope that scrapes all of your worthless hide off your body before it empties you into a deep pit of rubbing alcohol that it hurts your pellet gun toting moron ass really bad before you shrivel up and fucking die !!!
• Bernie Sanders has won the last 8 out or 9 state caucuses and primaries. I hope he kicks Hillary’ smug ass in NY next. And speaking of shitheads, Donald Trump lost and Ted Cruz won in Wisconsin.

Music Update:
I dusted off some pretty eclectic tunes for you folks this week.

• Emerson, Lake and Palmer – Lucky Man —  We lost Keith
Emerson recently and I failed to play a song in tribute. I got to see these guys about a million years ago and it was an amazing show. This was my favorite ELP song and at the end of it the entire audience was on their feet doing the Bic Lighter salute with tears flowing.
• Carol King and James Taylor – Fire and Rain  — This is the version from the, “Carol King and James Taylor – Live from the Troubadour” album. I was driving down the road when this one came on. I had to pull over. All of a sudden I was moved to tears remembering all of these people in my life that, “I always thought I’d see you again…” but never did. For me it was, Mary Ann Chimerakis, Mary Lou Songer, Joey (never knew his last name but he was a good friend of my sister in law and a sweet always smiling ditch digger who worked for the Miami-Dade water department), Mark Muller, My Crazy Aunt Rita, Mike Reed, and Claude Eichel. Everyone one of those folks I expected to see again the last time I spoke with them. I never did and never will. I am grateful for the time I had and am sad that was all the time I had with them. Anyway, it reminds me, say what needs to be said now because there are no guarantees for any of us. Be sure and listen to James’ intro to Sweet Baby James at the end…its funny! If you ever get the chance to see James Taylor do what it takes to go. Not only will his music fill and enrich you but there is a great comedy show thrown in for free. The guy is hilarious on stage.
• The Moody Blues – The Balance — From their, “Question of Balance” album. I remember the day I bought this album as a young sailor in a new city with new friends listening together. In those days, I thought the Moodies had the secret decoder ring and even now as I listen, I think they did. It serves as an excellent example of how just knowing something is wrong doesn’t mean that you can change it. Which I think they also covered pretty well in their next album, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favor” in a song called, “I’m Just a Singer(in A Rock and Roll Band)”.
• Jackson Brown – Love Needs a Heart(Live) — This is just a song to remind me of just what an incredibly lucky son of a bitch I am. I found my best parts early. In spite of my best efforts and worst behavior, I still find a way to keep them close all these years.
• Matchbox Twenty – Real World — I have been in love with these boys music since I first heard about them. They have it all and the give it all away every time.
• The Ozark Mountain Daredevils – If You Want to Get to Heaven – A song that I had a lot of fondness for back in the day but not enough to buy the whole album for when there was so many great records and so little funding. But through the magic of buying by the song via iTunes ..Weeha! We get to hear it again!
• Atlanta Rhythm Section – Spooky — This one of the songs that was on every juke box in every 3.2 beer bar on Hampton Blvd. outside of NOB Norfolk where I took my first liberty and bought my civilian clothes at the Big O. This one and Black Magic Woman by Santana could be heard fighting it out on every corner as the young sailors roamed from one sad ass bar to the next.
• Molly Hatchet – Flirting With Disaster —  Just some good old boys doing what they will do when they got a little too much of everything going on all at once. Anyway, makes my ass get to shaken and my face to smiling. Just let it go…

That’s it… Do the best you can; Laugh every chance you get;  And always remember, the best is yet to come! 

As always, thank you for being my friend!