Current Chirps

23 November 2010

47th anniversary of the violent coup d' etat that skewed our nation forever and all we can do is bicker over politicians and TV shows? We have become a demoralized, cynical people. Dismiss it all as hyperbole or nonsense. But common sense and the rear view mirror say otherwise...

* * *

* * *

* * *

9/11 2009

"Baby Boomer Liberal Hippie" scourge

* * *

* * *

* * *

21 March, 2008, Good Friday

Does anybody REALLY think they're going to change anyone's mind? It's like a football game from hell. "My side, God dammit!" Let's be honest. The issue isn't Obama anymore or race or Wright or McCain or Hillary. It's about HATE. And more HATE. And then just when you think you can't stuff even one more vile festering crumb down your throat, PRESTO!...a finger down your throat and one last heaping dish of HATE for dessert. Good luck...have a nice life.

Two sides of the same coin, you and me. Big Brother is laughing his ass off. He has us tear each other to shreds. Distract us from the real horror...whatever that is. Politics is a pretty good job if you can't think of anything else to do. Big Brother doesn't care much, he tends business just fine with all three of our heroes. We are, afterall, the Pepsi generation.

And one last rant as long as no one is awake. JFK, Bobby, Martin Luther King—all liberal leaders championing the black cause. You might ask Big Brother about those crimes as well.

* * *

* * *

* * *

25 November 2007

Holiday Greetings, "I can make it.

"You lose yourself and is not he or she or them or it that you belong clubs in drag disguise...gargles in the rat race choir..."

Hello to Rusty because he's probably my only reader.


* * *

* * *

* * *

31 October 2007

Happy Halloween.

OK, so here’s my Neil Young review!

The new Nokia Theater is right across the street from Staples Center and Neil’s concert coincided with Lakers opening night. So it was an L.A. happening for the fat and pampered all around. Me? No way. Parked far away in the mean streets, had a snack at the Arco fast food hang, and then sat in the very last row, way up high. But in some bizarre way, that worked just fine for me. Because from far away the ravages of Father Time were hidden and Neil was still “24...and so much more.” Just like me.

Would like to tell you about Pegi Young’s opening set with Anthony Crawford, but the 20-something crowd around me was too busy yaking about their favorite beer or starting their own band. I was this close to telling them I hoped during their first future gig that everyone in the audience was yaking about their favorite beer or starting their own band. As a Kesey used to say, “they know what it is, but they don’t know where it is.”

At least they shut up for Neil. In all my 40+ years of concert-going, Neil remains the ONLY performer I’ve ever seen who can walk on stage by himself with a guitar and harmonica, start singing, and the place just flat falls silent. Even the idiots in front of me. It’s part respect, part awe. His songwriting is so pure, so direct, so sparse, that one can’t help but listen slack-jawed and happy. Neil Young isn't in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame for his voice or musicianship (though I love both). He's there for his songs. I've seen Neil in concert in every decade since the 70s and even counting Greendale (his strange little detour into???) he has never ceased to capture the pure heart and spirit of the troubadour. For me, the only living artists who come close to matching him with just an acoustic guitar, harmonica and microphone would be Dylan and Springsteen.

Dividing his show into two separate sets, Neil opened his solo acoustic adventure with “From Hank to Hendrix.” The highlight of that first set for me was the title cut from “After the Gold Rush.” Plunking away on his piano, falsetto in full bloom, “...look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century.” That song has always been one of my favorites and hearing it last night, with my gray beard, it just seemed as if the human race will never “get it.” Equally beautiful was another title cut, “Harvest.” “Well I see you give more than I can take, but I only harvest some...” "Ambulance Blues," a song I'd never heard, (from his On the Beach LP) came way out of left field, with a great string of lyics: "You're all just pissin' in the wind. You don't know it but you are. And there ain't nothin' like a friend who can tell you you're just pissin' in the wind." Neil closed the first set with another tune from Harvest, “Old Man.” Funny how both Neil and I had, over time, switched places with the youthful singer. “Old man...I’m a lot like you.” More than I care to admit.

To be honest, the second electric set couldn’t compete with Neil’s solo acoustic set, but it was a joy nonetheless. He opened with “The Loner,”—something I’ve always been. Next came the title track, “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.” “...I gotta get away from this day to day runnin’ around, everybody knows this is nowhere...” The set ended with “No Hidden Path,” off the new Chrome Dreams II album, a feedback-drenched, psychedelic marathon, complete with Neil’s bobbing and weaving to the endless guitar raunch.

Returning for his encore, Neil opened with Cinnamon Girl and added one more—yet another title rack, “Tonight’s the Night,” a morbid, dark, mid-70s lament of friends lost to drugs. The song’s antihero, Bruce Berry, was a roadie for Neil who died of a heroin overdose. As Neil sat at the piano, fingering the opening chords while his band mates harmonized a haunting “tonight’s the night” refrain, Neil kept audio checking his stage monitor. “Stage monitor, more volume...more volume...” As the band kept playing softly, Neil turned to the crowd and said, “if Bruce Berry was here he’d have fixed that fucking speaker by now...” Classic Neil. That, and the acoustic-set heckle “Youy're the King.” Neil just smiled and said, “Elvis? Now that just ain’t right...”

“Tonight’s the Night” was a perfect ending...understated, low-key, naked with emotion. What a great time. At one point, if I hadn’t been so reserved, I wanted to yell out “Thank God for Neil Young.”

As I reflect the next day, I visualize my life as a spinning little energy mass, same with Neil, and everybody else for that matter. I guess I feel melancholy because for a brief, shining moment our two little masses converged and spent a bit of time together, co-existing in common space. Whatever. I feel sad because in some weird way I miss him. Maybe that's the way it is with all artists: you just want to be close. I'll have to settle for my own artistry, though my pebble seems meek in comparison to Neil's mountain.

A final footnote: Given then distance from home and a late-night drive I decided to maintain sobriety throughout the evening. The first time for a concert, I might add, since 1989 at Shoreline to see the Dead with none other that Crusty Milner and his semi-beloved Ex.

* * *

* * *

* * *

14 May 2007

Gas prices up, up, in politicians down, down, down. I just have a hard believing that the spike in oil profits has NOTHING to do with an administration born, bred, and beholden to oil.

But enough of this negative conspiracy hogwash. This administration has down nothing to warrent such suspicion and disgust. They've been open and above board since day one with the American people, having made tireless efforts to build unity and hope amongst us. Heck, it's hard work. And they've done a heck of a job, haven't they?

Hey, Miller? Where are you? I need a rant!

My birthday is coming on the 18th and turning 54 is a bit sobering. I need to change the subject...

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, what next? A shout out to all my friends and loved ones...and a shout down to all he bullies and liars and cheaters and road pigs and, and, and. Whatever. Looking forward to my bike ride, now a mere five weeks away today!

New kitten comes home Saturday morning. I hope I'm writing 17 years from now about him...for his sake AND mine.

Can't seem to find anyone to play guitar with. It can't be THIS hard. But I'll keep plugging away. Maybe Jacqueline? Francis? Where are my long-time musical friends?

Swim safely, all!

* * *

* * *

* * *

19 January 2007

Happy New Year.

Shout out to Rusty...sitting here on a late Friday night that's already one in the morning early Saturday. Saw your rant and thought I'd try to pick up the ball, get up off my lazy ass and say SOMETHING. So.....You're my bro and I feel you. Maybe it's the gumby. Maybe it's the early hour. Maybe it's the Beatles. Maybe it's Jimmy Dodd. Maybe it's the green Jasmine tea. Almonds, too, and sunflower seeds and raw peanuts.

I still have a string of small Christmas lights strung from the ceiling because it keeps the happiness.

Anyway, guess that's that from deep inside Aliso Viejo headquarters. I think it is the gumby. Swim safely.

* * *

* * *

* * *

8 May 2006

Hello all

Heard the following sound bite as I channel surfed the other morning. And from a conservative talk-show host (Doug McIntyre), no less. But he made GREAT sense. Wanted to share it with you. It is a call to ALL concerned Americans. So here it is:

There’s nothing harder in public life than admitting you’re wrong. By the way, admitting you’re wrong can be even tougher in private life. If you don’t believe me, just ask Bill Clinton or Charlie Sheen. But when you go out on the limb in public, it’s out there where everyone can see it, or in my case, hear it.

So, I’m saying today, I was wrong to have voted for George W. Bush. In historic terms, I believe George W. Bush is the worst two-term President in the history of the country. Worse than Grant. I also believe a case can be made that he’s the worst President, period.

In 2000, I was a McCain guy. I wasn’t sure about the Texas Governor. He had name recognition and a lot of money behind him, but other than that? What? Still, I was sick of all the Clinton shenanigans and the thought of President Gore wasÖ unthinkable. So, GWB became my guy.

For the first few months he was just flubbing along like most new Presidents, no great shakes, but no disasters either. He cut taxes and I like tax cuts.

Then September 11th happened. September 11th changed everything for me, like it did for so many of you. After September 11th, all the intramural idiocy of American politics stopped being funny. We had been attacked by a vicious and determined enemy and it was time for all of us to row in the same direction.

And we did for the blink of an eye. I believed the President when he said we were going to hunt down Bin Laden and all those responsible for the 9-11 murders. I believed President Bush when he said we would go after the terrorists and the nations that harbored them.

I supported the President when he sent our troops into Afghanistan, after all, that’s where the Taliban was, that’s where al-Qaida trained the killers, that’s where Bin Laden was.

And I cheered when we quickly toppled the Taliban government, but winced when we let Bin Laden escape from Tora-Bora.

Then, the talk turned to Iraq and I winced again.

I thought the connection to 9-11 was sketchy at best. But Colin Powell impressed me at the UN, and Tony Blair was in, and after all, he was a Clinton guy, not a Bush guy, so I thought the case had to be strong. I was worried though, because I had read the Wolfowitz paper, “The Project for the New American Century.” It’s been around since ‘92, and it raised alarm bells because it was based on a theory, “Democratizing the Middle East” and I prefer pragmatism over theory. I was worried because Iraq was being justified on a radical new basis, “pre-emptive war.” Any time we do something without historical precedent I get nervous.

But the President shifted the argument to WMDs and the urgent threat of Iraq getting atomic weapons. The debate turned to Saddam passing nukes on to terror groups. After 9-11, the risk was too great. As the President said, “The next smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud.” At least that’s what I thought at the time.

I grew up in New York and watched them build the World Trade Center. I worked with a guy, Frank O’Brien, who put the elevators in both towers. I lost a very close friend on September 11th. 103 floor, tower one, Cantor Fitzgerald. Tim Coughlin was his name. If we had to take out Iraq to make sure something like that, or worse, never happened again, so be it. I knew the consequences. We have a soldier in our house. None of this was theoretical in my house.

But in the months and years since shock and awe I have been shocked repeatedly by a consistent litany of excuses, alibis, double-talk, inaccuracies, bogus predictions, and flat out lies. I have watched as the President and his administration changed the goals, redefined the reasons for going into Iraq, and fumbled the good will of the world and the focus necessary to catch the real killers of September 11th.

I have watched the President say the commanders on the ground will make the battlefield decisions, and the war won’t be run from Washington. Yet, politics has consistently determined what the troops can and can’t do on the ground and any commander who did not go along with the administration was sacked, and in some cases, maligned.

I watched and tried to justify the looting in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. I watched and tried to justify the dismantling of the entire Iraqi army. I tired to explain the complexities of building a functional new Iraqi army. I urged patience when no WMDs were found. Then the Vice President told us we were in the “waning days of the insurgency.” And I started wincing again. The President says we have to stay the course but what if it’s the wrong course?

It was the wrong course. All of it was wrong. We are not on the road to victory. We’re about to slink home with our tail between our legs, leaving civil war in Iraq and a nuclear armed Iran in our wake. Bali was bombed. Madrid was bombed. London was bombed. And Bin Laden is still making tapes. It’s unspeakable. The liberal media didn’t create this reality, bad policy did.

Most historians believe it takes 30-50 years before we get a reasonably accurate take on a President’s place in history. So, maybe 50 years from now Iraq will be a peaceful member of the brotherhood of nations and George W. Bush will be celebrated as a visionary genius.

But we don’t live fifty years in the future. We live now. We have to make public policy decisions now. We have to live with the consequences of the votes we cast and the leaders we chose now.

After five years of carefully watching George W. Bush I’ve reached the conclusion he’s either grossly incompetent, or a hand puppet for a gaggle of detached theorists with their own private view of how the world works. Or both.

Presidential failures. James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Jimmy Carter, Warren Harding-— the competition is fierce for the worst of the worst. Still, the damage this President has done is enormous. It will take decades to undo, and that’s assuming we do everything right from now on. His mistakes have global implications, while the other failed Presidents mostly authored domestic embarrassments.

And speaking of domestic embarrassments, let’s talk for a minute about President Bush’s domestic record. Yes, he cut taxes. But tax cuts combined with reckless spending and borrowing is criminal mismanagement of the public’s money. We’re drunk at the mall with our great grandchildren’s credit cards. Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?

Bush created a giant new entitlement, the prescription drug plan. He lied to his own party to get it passed. He lied to the country about its true cost. It was written by and for the pharmaceutical industry. It helps nobody except the multinationals that lobbied for it. So much for smaller government. In fact, virtually every tentacle of government has grown exponentially under Bush. Unless, of course, it was an agency to look after the public interest, or environmental protection, and/or worker’s rights.

I’ve talked so often about the border issue, I won’t bore you with a rehash. It’s enough to say this President has been a catastrophe for the wages of working people; he’s debased the work ethic itself. “Jobs Americans won’t do!” He doesn’t believe in the sovereign borders of the country he’s sworn to protect and defend. And his devotion to cheap labor for his corporate benefactors, along with his worship of multinational trade deals, makes an utter mockery of homeland security in a post 9-11 world. The President’s January 7th, 2004 speech on immigration, his first trial balloon on his guest worker scheme, was a deal breaker for me. I couldn’t and didn’t vote for him in 2004. And I’m glad I didn’t.

Katrina, Harriet Myers, The Dubai Port Deal, skyrocketing gas prices, shrinking wages for working people, staggering debt, astronomical foreign debt, outsourcing, open borders, contempt for the opinion of the American people, the war on science, media manipulation, faith based initives, a cavalier attitude toward fundamental freedoms-- this President has run the most arrogant and out-of-touch administration in my lifetime, perhaps, in any American’s lifetime.

You can make a case that Abraham Lincoln did what he had to do, the public be damned. If you roll the dice on your gut and you’re right, history remembers you well. But, when your gut led you from one business failure to another, when your gut told you to trade Sammy Sosa to the Cubs, and you use the same gut to send our sons and daughters to fight and die in a distraction from the real war on terror, then history will and should be unapologetic in its condemnation.

None of this, by the way, should be interpreted as an endorsement of the opposition party. The Democrats are equally bankrupt. This is the second crime of our age. Again, historically speaking, its times like these when America needs a vibrant opposition to check the power of a run-amuck majority party. It requires it. It doesn’t work without one. Like the high and low tides keep the oceans alive, a healthy, positive opposition offers a path back to the center where all healthy societies live.

Tragically, the Democrats have allowed crackpots, leftists and demagogic cowards to snipe from the sidelines while taking no responsibility for anything. In fairness, I don’t believe a Democrat president would have gone into Iraq. Unfortunately, I don’t know if President Gore would have gone into Afghanistan. And that’s one of the many problems with the Democrats.

The two party system has always been clumsy and imperfect, but it has only collapsed once, in the 1850s, and the result was civil war.

I believe, as I have said countless times, the two party system is on the brink of a second collapsed. It’s currently running on spin, anger, revenge, and pots and pots and pots of money.

We’re being governed by paper-mache patriots; brightly painted red, white and blue, but hollow to the core. Both parties have mastered the cynical arts of media manipulation and fund raising. They’ve learned the lessons of Watergate and burn the tapes. They have learned to divide the nation for their own gain. They have demonstrated the willingness to exploit any tragedy for personal advantage. The contempt they have for the American people is without parallel.

This is painful to say, and I’m sure for many of you, painful to read. But it’s impossible to heal the country until we’re willing to acknowledge the truth no matter how painful. We have to wean ourselves off sugar coated partisan lies.

With a belated tip of the cap to Ralph Nader, the system is broken, so broken, it’s almost inevitable it pukes up the Al Gores and George W. Bushes. Where are the Trumans and the Eisenhowers? Where are the men and women of vision and accomplishment? Why do we have to settle for recycled hacks and malleable ciphers? Greatness is always rare, but is basic competence and simple honesty too much to ask?

It may be decades before we have the full picture of how paranoid and contemptuous this administration has been. And I am open to the possibility that I’m all wet about everything I’ve just said. But I’m putting it out there, because I have to call it as I see it, and this is how I see it today. I don’t say any of this lightly. I’ve thought about this for months and months. But eventually, the weight of evidence takes on a gravitational force of its own.

I believe that George W. Bush has taken us down a terrible road. I don’t believe the Democrats are offering an alternative. That means we’re on our own to save this magnificent country. The United States of America is a gift to the world, but it has been badly abused and it’s rightful owners, We the People, had better step up to the plate and reclaim it before the damage becomes irreparable.

So, accept my apology for allowing partisanship to blind me to an obvious truth; our President is incapable of the tasks he is charged with. I almost feel sorry for him. He is clearly in over his head. Yet, he doesn’t generate the sympathy Warren Harding earned. Harding, a spectacular mediocrity, had the self-knowledge to tell any and all he shouldn’t be President. George W. Bush continues to act the part, but at this point whose buying the act?

Does this make me a waffler? A flip-flopper? Maybe, although I prefer to call it realism. And, for those of you who never supported Bush, its also fair to accuse me of kicking Bush while he’s down. After all, you were kicking him while he was up.

You were right, I was wrong.

* * *

* * *

* * *

7 October 2005

Hello from a VERY disconnected and transitory ranter!

Was fortunate to stumble into parts 1 and 2 of "No Direction Home," a film biography of my son's namesake, Robert Zimmerman, AKA Bob Dylan. Hooray for Public Television!

Aside from the hidden insights, glorious footage, timeless music, and Bob's piercing blue eyes (behind his, shall we say, disheveled years), there was one single moment which struck me and stays with me this morning. Speaking at the podium after receiving yet another award for some nebulous "cosmic generational spokesman," (a label he vehemently refused to acknowledge or accept), Bob commented--and I paraphrase--"I am not of the left or the right...I am not about politics. I only recognize up and down...and I'm down right now, with all my energy focused on going up..."

Again, I'm sure Bob will parden me for my paraphrasing, but that's the gist of what he said. And he said it 40 years ago! In this era of a rabidly divided American people, we throw stones at one another over WHAT???--the cesspool of politics????? either side is somehow clean or moral or just????

My soul buddy, Crusty Milner, has been wrestling with the notion of human nature, whether or not goodness is inherent, and whether or not we, as a collective race, can EVER rise above the misery and frustration to unite into a loving, human family. And there's that word again--LOVE. A word seeming reserved for poets, artists, musicians and young people. For as Don McLean sang of Vincent van Gogh, "...this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you."

I cannot, with any assuredness, vouch for the existence of God. But I CAN vouch for the existence of love. And ANY idealogy which does not spread and embrace love--regardless of the justification--is a doomed and hypocritical idealogy. God, or whatever one chooses to call the intelligent universe, does not bless war, cruelty or greed. Notwithstanding the hollow words that spill from the mouths of our "leaders," I will try, like Bob, to look up...not to the left or the right.

And though I fail every day to keep my eyes to the sky, I will continue with my struggle to become...happy.

* * *

* * *

* * *

20 April 2005

What to talk about? Politically, I’m not at all happy about the polarity between Americans...neighbor vs. neighbor...when, behind the smoke screen of religious and economic in-fighting, the American state is being high-jacked by forces difficult to sense much less identify.

I can only know for sure that energy prices soar, Wall Street sags, and social programs lie fallow (eg. health care, education). If we can’t educate our children and keep them and their parents healthy, then how in the world do we expect a successful future? I guess that all depends on one’s definition of “success.”

Do the “real” American power brokers even WANT an enlightened, thinking populace...or are “they” better served by an anesthetized, robotic society oblivious to the greedy policies this country initiates in the name of the cash and capitalism?

Are corporations “feeling” entities? No. Are they protected as “individuals” in our legal system? Yes. Do corporations exist for the general welfare? No. Do they exist, rather, for profit? Absolutely. Is that bad? In theory, no. In practice, yes.

Look, I know we all want our piece of the pie...and we darn well want to keep all of it. I’m no different. But at what price? How much is enough? An individual might rip off a fellow human...but corporations rip off entire nations. You say you don’t believe it?

That’s what Halliburton and Bechtel do when they “contract” with Third World countries to build hydroelectric plants, dams, etc...the same Third World countries who must finance these projects through World Bank they can’t possibly pay off. The result? Small pockets of corrupt leaders ruling these Third World countries collect the financial windfall resulting from these projects (NOT the citizens)...the World Bank loan money goes straight into Halliburton and Bechtel bank accounts...and lastly, unable to pay off the loans, these Third World countries are now safely and snuggly placed in America’s “hip pocket” for any future considerations at the time of our choosing. Friendly UN vote. Coalition support. Etc., etc. Yes, friends, it’s a SICK and tangled web we weave.

Bob Marley said it just fine:

“Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?"

Or...with reference to November 22, 1963...or April 4, 1968...or June 5, 1968

“How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
...Won't you help to sing
This song of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have:
Redemption songs."

Sleep tight...enjoy your paralysis.

* * *

* * *

* * *

4 January 2005

And special request from Musty...I shall "chirp" for the first time in seven months! Be careful what you wish for, eh?

So speaking of epiphanies, I had one over the holidays. Nothing earth-shattering, political, or religious. But, by definition, a revelation. About my son and I.

As a teacher, I get two weeks off. Having spent the those two weeks with Dylan, I realized (hence, the epiphany) I wasn't spending much time with him at all during the daily grind. Home at five, a little dinner, a few football tosses, and presto, it's time for bed! Friday night softball made time even more sparse.

So I resigned as high school golf coach--before the season ever began--and will instead, accompany Dylan into the land of Little League, much as I had done with Darren and Amber a decade prior. I guess there was a "line" to become a golf coach (ie., free rounds every afternoon) and some might call me a fool. But if Dylan were sixteen it might be different. But he isn't. He's only six. And I'll wake up tomorrow and he WILL be sixteen. So I need to grab and squeeze and hold him and love him while I can.

So that's the epiphany. Deep, huh? But in a world of George Bush and tsunamis, what's more important, anyway?

Hopefully, the whole family will be off to Europe in June for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Now THAT may bring another epiphany. In other current events, Syndie got me a banjo for Christmas. My first brush with bluegrass. Except the banjo is tuned different than a guitar and I've been playing guitar for over 40 years, and I'm an old dog, etc., soooooooooooooooo, I'm tuning it like a guitar. So there! Anyway, it's my banjo!!

* * *

* * *

* * *

13 May 2004

Dang nabbit! I'm sick of labels!! conservative...Reagan republican...Kennedy democrat. The media has created armed camps and the country is at each others' collective throats. So now hear this, you freaky talk show hosts and political hacks:

I am an American. I play softball on Friday nights...maybe even tip a beer afterward. I umpire Little League games...go to Dodger Stadium...volunteer in my son's Kindergarten guitar with my friends...teach high school Andy Griffith the Beatles...salute the flag...respect my my country--the mountains, the rivers, the redwood trees. I pay taxes. I respect indivdual integrity...national integrity, for that matter. It's called sovereignty and each nation has a right to exist without interference.

I DON'T have to support Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Rice or Powell to be a proud American. I DON'T have to support what I FEEL to be an unjust, farcical war, one which has derailed our resources and focus from the real fight on terrorism.

After 9/11 this country was as united as it has been since Pearl Harbor. We earned the world's sympathy and support to fight the fight. I supported entry into Afghanistan...begrudgingly, but I did. Had we cornered Bin Laden then, lined him up against a fence post, and beheaded that SOB right there and then, no nation on earth could have blamed us.

But not now. Had Bush stated on 9/12/2001 we were headed to Iraq to install democracy this nation would have laughed...then tarred and feathered him. For what possible purpose????, we might have asked. What has Iraqi democracy got to do with Al Queda? Or was Iraq a personal vendetta dating back to Bush Sr.?

Bottom line? George W. is in WAY over his head, whether through bad advice or limited brain cells. Our country is too precious and too wonderful to leave in the hands of this secretive and incompetent administration.

So go ahead--start the name-calling against the dissenters. Sadly. Once nauseum.

* * *

* * *

* * *

8 March 2004

Milner humbles me...challenges me...mocks my very existence with his timely rants and stick-to-it-iveness. His passion. His anger. His peace. And what do I offer? NOTHING! Nothing since last October. So let's get on the ball, here.

Mom passed away last November, thus leaving me parentless, Dad having passed away 18 years ago. It's still a huge open sore and gutting my childhood home is a daunting, sad, emotionally-wrenching experience. A necessary evil. But every time I enter that silent house I get a shot of "heavy load." I look forward to the day the house sells and I can be free of it...though THAT very thought is immensely sad, too.

On brighter fronts, baseball is back, the days grow longer...and hotter--20 degrees above normal here in LA LA land--and my son is a blessed joy. On darker fronts, gas prices soar (remember, I'm a conspiracy guy, and President Oil Bush...may soon be out of a job).

Speaking of that fantasy, I can't rememeber a time in my life when the country seemed so splintered, so fragmented, so eager to back their chosen "man" with complete blinders--both right and left. Surely Republicans can't REALLY give George W. all "A"s on his report card. Where are the jobs? Where are the weapons of ANY destruction? Where is the unity?

Conversely, is Kerry faultless? We'll see. But dangnabbit, ANY breathing biped would be an improvement over Mr. 9/11 Potato Head. How dare he call himself a war president. Terrorism plays by completely different rules. 19 guys with box cutters equals a war? Against whom? Osama? Then why torch two nations? Create civil war? Why alienate our allies? It's not Osama, but all of fundamental Islam, spearheaded by Al Quida? Ummmmmmmmmmmm, me thinkest George W needs a giant dose of creative thinking, then. The old formulas just don't hold water anymore. Then that's it! Creative, soulful thinking...not knee-jerk bullying. Well, OK, never mind.

Love ya, Rusty. Way set the bar high...and good luck with your lads.

* * *

* * *

* * *

16 October 2003

Read Crusty Milner's newest rant so I figured I could at least contribute to the world's literary legacy.

Teaching, teaching, teaching. Mornings at the rigid Catholic stalag and afternoons at the zany arts skyscraper. Much fun...much bizarre...much exhaustion. No walks on the hazy beaches of the Atlantic. Just autumn days of Dylan, baseball playoffs, and my mom's illness. Now THERE'S a sadness I really don't want to explore right now.

Speaking of baseball, how come the Cinderella Bubs and Bosox couldn't beat the demons?

That it? Guess so.

"Not much more for me to say,
The elements of style find few in this age."

A thought from a long, long time age. Hello to all who read this. Ta ta.

* * *

* * *

* * *

26 March 2003

Hatred flares...mud slings...vitriol intensifies...eyes blaze...veins pop...fists wave...

Ah, fellow Americans. Our disgust toward one another is a beautiful thing...a grand show, a dynamic lesson for our children, and a superb spectacle for the (un)civilized world. Such calm in the face of panic...such tolerance in the face of division.

So what up? No, this ain’t no idealistic, fluffy call for peace. It’s a commentary on the absolute degradation we seem so comfortable inflicting upon each other. Hey, when did America become a nation of “us” and “them?” Who designed and built the armed camps? Did I miss something between commercial breaks?

The REAL harm of the Iraqi conflict is the awakening of American prejudice. Not racial...not sexual...but ideological. “Don’t agree with me?—yer an asshole!”

Remember the Twilight Zone episode where aliens park their spaceship a couple blocks over from Maple Street? Then they start disrupting a few lawn mowers, street lights, and automobiles? Before you know it, neighbor is killing neighbor, caught up in the fear and suspicion of the...........UNKNOWN.

Judging by the recent e-mails and chit-chats I’ve had recently with friends and acquaintances, I’d say the aliens have landed. We show our true colors during times if crises. If so, I’m sad to report we are a very splintered nation...a people who neither trust one another nor like one another.

A bit of education and a spoonful of grace would go a long way.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Nearly six months! I guess I'm writing more out of guilt than anything. It certainly has nothing to do with my readership needing me...all three or four of you--and that may be a stretch.

I could get political and share with you my displeasure at the thought of America going to war with Iraq. But I won't.

I could get spiritual and share with you my --wait, I guess I'm not very spiritual.

I could get intellectual and share with you my thoughts on my seeming spiritual void, but that's a lot of I won't do that either.

I could share with you my emotional state, but as a long-time armor-plated camera, it's very difficult for me to share that won't work.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm, what to do? Kennedy was assassinated 39 years ago tomorrow, but who cares except me anyway? Not that I consider him an icon. Far from it. I really don't ponder Kennedy, himself, one way or the other. It's just that in hindsight, retrospect, or what have you, I can trace an almost indelible, discomforting gray line running back thorugh OUR history to that sorry day...a line describing all the pompous, evil political acts we have witnessed--and are witnessing--since then. A simple, public execution...a coup de etat...orchestrated by the shadows within...replete with cover story...and perpetuated by a not-so-innocent media. Scary?

Awwwww, we don't want to talk about it anyway. It was SOOOO long ago, huh?

Sleep soundly.

* * *

* * *

* * *


OK...given the vast readership of this column, I’ll throw my dilemma out there in the hopes that some voice of reason will filter through the morass--and render clarity to my it psychosomatic, physical, or otherwise. And I always include that last comma in a list of three or more, just in case you’re wondering.

Now Brother Bill has been treadmilling lately in order to increase his aerobic stamina, as well as to defuse the blues, blahs, or whatever else you might want to call life’s ennui. He’s also been championing the cause on my behalf, intimating a little road work wouldn’t hurt these old lungs and vascular system, either. Now I’m an easy sell because I used to love running, especially in my old Corona del Mar days where a beautiful little dirt trail paralleled an equally beautiful little stream into the hills behind my neighborhood. Newport Beach’s Back Bay also had a wonderful dirt trail that headed out to a distant causeway--so that high tide meant one was surrounded by water, ala Mont St. Michelle in northern France.

Running was ALWAYS the elixir for a growing belly and I was able to keep my weight down for decades. But some interesting bi-products began to rear their ugly little heads as I approached 35. First and foremost, my crummy lower back would tighten up terribly on me the following day, causing me to concentrate on the less rigorous demands of biking these past few decades. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE’s just that the aerobic benefits are a distant second to running--both tummy wise and endurance wise.

But the most bizarre by-product of jogging these past few “golden” years has been illness--and that’s why I lobby all capable psychiatrists, nutritionists, and citizens of the 21st century to help me out here. Bottom line: I jogged a mile yesterday in the beautiful noon sunshine, cooled off in the warm Spring breezes...and today I have the sniffles. No lie!

Is there a correlation? Bad luck? Coincidence? Mental illness? Self-fulfilling prophesy? Divine intervention? Un-divine intervention? Weakness of mind and spirit?

And, oh yeah, for the record. My lower back was really stiff this morning as I dragged my aging carcass out of bed. much as I enjoyed yesterday’s foray into the world of running, I may have to cease. That is, unless any of you comrades out there can shed a glint of light or offer a shred of homemade cure-all to this snake-bitten, one-time racing wrangler.

Swim safely.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Dusty Milner ranted about a rock ‘n roll I thought I’d equal his effort.

Mine concerns the Beatles and I dreamt it while traveling alone in Europe. John was already long since gone (thanks Mark David scum), but nonetheless, the four mop tops were reunited right there for me in the good old subconscious.

The four Liverpoolians had assembled on a street, under the know, black asphalt and what not. They were dressed ala “Abbey Road,” that being scruffy long hair and unmatching outfits...the “mature” Beatles, so to speak, not the “cloned” early variety adorned in matching gray Nehru jackets and blow-dried haircuts.

There was no crowd, no people anywhere at all. Perhaps the concert was for me alone. The band opened with George’s solo effort “Devil’s Radio.” Maybe because I had just bought that CD a few months earlier. But what I remember from the dream was how happy John looked, how relieved he was not to be the center of attention, letting George take the reins.

The great thing about dream analysis is that the dreamer (me, in this case) is the sole playwrite--the only one to write the dialog and plot the action. And because of that, ALL feelings of EVERY character can be attributed to said dreamer. It, therefore, becomes very easy to analyze each character’s motivations and fears. That’s why I KNOW about John’s relief in handing the ball to George. It was no guess. My subconscious scripted it that way!

So anyway, John is blazing away on guitar, free as bird, so to speak. Next song...”Penny Lane,” again John acquiescing to a band mate, this time Paul. I remember the song sounding SOOOOOOOOOOO fine, happy to finally hear a Beatles tune.

Next song? N-O-T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I woke up.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. Truly. I’m actually laying there in some strange hotel bed, thoroughly bummed at having regained “normal” consciousness. You better believe I tried to fall asleep quick...but the dream never returned, and never has since.

Unlike Dusty’s dream, the Fab Four never asked me to jam, never acknowledged me at all. As a matter of fact, I did not exist in the dream, as far as being an observer or a living person. I guess I was simply a camera, taking it all in. But it feels to me--even to this day--that I saw the Beatles “live.” And for that I am eternally grateful.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Just a short one.

My brother’s old band mate, circa 1966, passed away last week. We attended a memorial service...and there it was--after all these years--a photograph of the famous Beacon Street Boys. Brother Bill noticed the photo first, and what struck me hard was how young (child-like might be a better word) the lads appeared. I had always remembered them as hard-edged, rock stars...but what stared back from the picture were children.

One must remember that the Beacon Street Boys prowled though a vibrant rock ‘n roll landscape--not a cluttered, tired, moldies and oldies closet. The Kinks, Rascals, Beatles...these guys were revolutionizing the artform on the spot. 1966 was only three years removed from Kennedy’s assassination and a year BEFORE San Francisco’s “Summer of Love.” The Who’s “My Generation” was a BRAND NEW song!!!! And of course, the Beacon Street Boys played it.

So, in the finest tradition of “The Big Chill,” I sat stone-faced in the chapel, trying to come to grips with the passing of time. The wrinkles in my own face. The gray, lifeless face of the deceased, somehow preserved in an open casket. The same gray face who had emerged pitiless, over time, from the beaming child in the faded photo.

Who...or such dark magic? The seasons, while offering only metaphor, speak silence. The spring buds, giving way to tattered, rusted leaves...say nothing. My own inner voice comes up...empty. Reality is perception. Or should I say reality is nothing more than now. And just as quickly...........gone.............

* * *

* * *

* * *


Universal kharma. Stream-of-conscious chirp...grateful dead radio..."The Eleven..."

Losing it. Glitch. Dyslexia of the hunt-and-peck fingers.

A L-O-N-G time to save. Computer bogging down. Is that possible? No time to dally. Must I save? Takes SOOOOOOOOOO long. But I fear a replay of the original horror. Dare I save?

Do wah diddy diddy do...I think I will.

Rotating circle gone now. Better functioning...though the music sounds entombed. Hollow. Deprived. Distant. Muted. Pigpen tickles the blues. "The Eleven"

Now I know. The explanation makes sense now. The loss not so much a tragedy anymore....but a nuisanse, that when shown in the light of computer, reveals a mistake avoidable. Spelling and speed notwithstanding.

Worth it anymore? Space made...history recorded. The intent of the artist, no less. "Minglewood...down to Minglewood..." Caliopi. Circus. Giddy. Summer warmth at midnight. Santa Ana winds. If you're lucky the winds will warm the chilly night air as if the word "presto" had somehow been canted.

Born in the desert. With no occupation at all................None so to speak of.

Hey, finally finding a moment to write. Stream of-----------------and Jerry sounds like BB. Bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuues. "Death don't have no mercy in this land." Too scary. Too frightening. In this land, come your house.

Change it. NOW. Will do...though the Siren Song, warmed in the late-night liquid loch...strangeness, fear, monster, suffocation, grandeur, endurance, the secret well kept, the seclusion well concealed, the knowledge well, well what? Onward endlessly.

Almost looked like Oswald at a glance. Gets me thinking, you know? And funny, other people I talk to seem to be thinking, too. Jerry IS family, he go. "Finnegan's Wake." Raise your hand if you've read it. Raise your hand if you've read even one paragraph of "Finnegan's Wake." Good God, y'all.

GLITCH!! Have you been gone? Did you really leave? Or have I been distracted...unconcerned...unworried? One thing for sure...annie laid her head down in the roses. That much we can say for sure. Maybe that's the only thing we can really say for sure. I don't know.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Ok, OK, I's been a billion years...or so it seems. May 21???? 8 months ago???? Oh well, better late than never.

Let's see...anything noteworthy happen since last May? Afghanistan and some whack named Bin Laden dominate the news headlines. Terrorism hits home. Enough said.

On a more personal front, the passings of Ken Kesey and George Harrison were yet another not-so-subtle reminder of the clock ticking. Every time I go about the task of purchasing concert tickets......I end up buying just one. Another not-so-subtle reminder of the clock ticking. My concert buddies have either left this life or have evolved into human beings disinterested in such trivialities. But I still enjoy a good rock show, albeit quieter ones.

Have been teaching high school art since September, set to receive my preliminary credential in about a month. And as life has a way of doing, it threw me a nice curve ball, teaching-wise: two junior high classes. Let me go on record right now as saying junior high school GIRLS are the most vicious, spiteful creatures on God's green Earth. And I'm talking about to each other!

I really don't have the patience for that age group. I'm an artist. I want to teach art...both the assemblage of bizarre characters that have come before us...and hands-on wonder, as well. I do NOT want to break up cat fights...listen to drama queens whine...constantly scold misbehavior. Prod and push...lecture about responsibility...change diapers...wring necks... Heck, I have my own 3-year-old if I want to play that game.

And speaking of Dylan, in all this world--natural, spiritual, or unseen--there is no one and nothing I'd rather spend precious time with than him. He IS the reason and the purpose and the joy.

Anything else? Sheffield gone from L.A., Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young coming, skiing on the horizon, night school done, Christmas seemingly a distant memory, Phil & Jeff holiday fun tape on hold, Tascam at the doctor, new iBook on the way, Happy Tree still happy in Tennessee, Dusty a bit blue (but not born that way), Phil diving into Psych 101, Pookie Mon's $500 kitty vet bill, softball and guitar keeping me sane, and the sun shines and the wind blows and the earth spins and the night sky soothes and water runs downhill and the oceans crash and computers bomb and trees sway and cars grunt and people push, shove and curse--still.

Nothing changes, really. So what's a little 8-month hiatus, anyway?

* * *

* * *

* * *


Maybe Dylan knows something I don? know. Maybe all kids do...before schooling rapes them of their intuition and innocence.

Anyway, Syndie, Amber, Dylan and I paid our annual Mother? Day visit to Syndie? mom? grave site in the hills overlooking the ocean. Now Dylan, who? three-years-old now, loves MY mom heaps?hey?e best buddies. He calls her Nana. Nana? house is always an adventure in food and fun for him. So, as I stood over Syndie? mom? grave site, I felt Dylan should know just who was honored there?is other Nana.

?our other Nana is there,?I told him, pointing to the grave. ?our mommy? mama. Just like Nana is my mom, Grandma Mary is your mommy? mom.?P> Dylan understood. He knelt down next to the flowers and asked plaintively, ?ana...aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare you??P> That? how Dylan finds us in the house or backyard when he can? see us. So he tried again. ?ana...aaaaaaaaaaaaaare you??P> Syndie's eyes filled with tears. She gets weepy enough at the grave site as it is. Dylan was bringing it all back home. The grandchild Grandma Mary had never seen, having passed away more than a decade ago.

I knelt down next to Dylan. ?o Dylan,?I said, ?randma Mary isn? in the ground. She? up in the sky...she lives in the sky.? Syndie finished the Christian thought. ?randma? in heaven, Dylan, up in the clouds.?P> Dylan processed the new information and looked to the sky. ?randma, you come down! You come down here, Grandma...?P> ?ylan,?I said, ?randma can? come down. Once you go to heaven up in the sky you can? come back. We can only go up.? I turned to Syndie with a smile and then back to Dylan. ?ut there? no hurry, little man!?P> Well..............Dylan was done. If Grandma Mary wasn? coming out of the ground or descending from the sky then it was time to play in the fountain of ?etal things.? Of course, by now, Syndie was very teary-eyed and so I wandered to the fountain with Dylan, giving her a few moments alone.

As we played in the water I wondered what he might really know or sense out there...wondered what it was he would soon lose all sight of.

And I wondered, too, if he would ever meet my dad, dead now for over 15 years. Heck, for that matter, would I ever see my dad again? Questions, questions. I looked at Dylan? perfect face. Maybe it? best, I reasoned, just to treasure my son and every incredible moment he shares with me.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Lifeless vs. Life

That will be the lesson for today, class

First, the lifeless. I play on a softball team. With a bunch of friends. But we seem lost...lifeless, as I say. Askew. Off kilter. I think it? because we define ourselves through wins and losses. A very large mistake.

I would choose to celebrate the couple hours we spend together. Of slapping one another? back...of watching one another? back...of uniting with each other...of rejoicing in someone? great play or clutch hit?ot because it helped us win, but because we know that person is stoked.

But I hear little laughter. Little joy. I hear judgement, or worse, I hear silence. I see stone faces. I see players going through the motions as if some great burden is upon them. We have players opting out with flimsy excuses. Refusing to dance the dance. As though playing a simple, little joyous game of softball is some sort of punishment to be avoided. I would urge those people to, indeed, go away. For your own mental health.

Then there is life. Taught by the meekest among us.

My soon-to-be three-year-old-son stops to smell flowers wherever we go...even when Dad is in a hurry. He loves the colors. He loves the aroma. He enjoys his world.

Now remember, Dylan has never heard that ancient sage advice about ?topping to smell the roses.? He just does it. By instinct. He hasn? learned to be bitter, yet. He hasn? learned how to stifle joy.

Oh, I? sure he time. And when he does, when he? good and ready to throw an elbow at an opposing player, or curse one of his own, then?nd only then?will he be ready to take his rightful place amongst adults and yes, join a slo-pitch softball team with a group of his ?riends.?

* * *

* * *

* * *


In the words of the black-eyed gentleman found in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,"...."I'm very tired..."

I shalln't whine...there are others much less fortunate than I--but I'm rocked with the flu/cold yet again. With a wife that works in child care, and a near-three-year-old that also attends, I possess very few defenses. Think it matters that I pour my son's left-over milk on my cereal after he finishes with his bottle???? Nah, I didn't think so, either!

Hat's off to Rusty for continuing with the continum, though I'm not wearing a hat right now.

Not very hungry--appetite gone...head clogged...muscles aching. But like I said, let's not get on germ soap box here.

Anything new to report? Not really. Did a favor for the Little League and designed a 10th anniversary logo. Free, of course. Next thing you know, they want six new comps--color variations, you understand--then once it was approved (thank you for the "approval...") a separate file here, a revised file there, a black and white version over yonder, a bit-mapped file for the trophy guy...on and on. My nerves. Did I say I was tired?

Finally got into the MP3 game. What a marvel of modern whatever. Digital-quality sound on such bizarre and ancient classics as "It's a Happening Thing," by Peanut Butter Conspiracy..."You're Gonna Miss Me," by 13th Floor Elevator...on and on. Felt like an 8th grader all over again.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...8th grade..........when girls seemed like nubile goddesses in mini skirts and the AM airwaves were filled with the "new" psychedelic sounds. 8th grade...a time of innocence and joy...even if I was a nerd. Played the guitar, though. Never could parlay that into social points, however. 'Cause while Hendrix and Cream were re-defining the landscape, I was agog with Paul Revere and the Raiders. Like I said--a nerd.

But all that seems long, long ago...a time of children, really. And as I brace to become a secondary school teacher, I can only stifle my anger at the way teenagers flaunt their youth, unaware that with each ticking second, destiny whittles away at their creaseless faces, ready to deliver them inexorably and most assuredly upon the shores of AGED REALITY! Or to put it another way, "Geez, I hate to look in the mirror these days......"

Take care of yourself. Viruses understand little of charity and mercy. They make no exemptions.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Hey, it's 2001!

After all the new millennium hype, how could a year have flown by already? Unrelievable...and that's no typo.

Finally got the Christmas present I've been wanting for 25 years--ever since those glorious, care-free, car-caravaning hobo days of my mid 20's. When I stood silently in awe at the towering cathedral Mother Nature had created along the great California Northwest coast. Redwood country. The state tree. Prehistoric anachronisms lost in a fast-paced, computer-chip, technological, soul-less world. planted in my front yard is a five-foot high redwood tree! With those delicate, translucent green needles and glorious "dripping-red-wax" trunk. All I ever needed was my own yard to plant it in. That part of the equation was completed in 1992. Wonder why it took another eight years to get off my arse? A tribute to negative inertia, I guess. But there he/she stands as we write, speak, or whatever it is we're doing here.

And that begs the question. Is my tree male or female? It'll get pine cones. Does that make it a she? Or is Mr. Redwood (sexual orientation unintended...) a hermaphrodite? You know, a biological creature containing within itself BOTH sexes, and therefore, capable of reproduction with no help whatsoever!

Now hold on, Birdie faithful. Don't go getting any biological ideas here. I'm sure we'd all like to dispense with the "chase," but we gotta leave earthworms and redwoods some of the fun! And for any of you scholars that care, a conifer tree (as in cones--of which a redwood is one) has both male and female cones, with the wind playing cupid.

In contrast to this type of plant, I have it on good authority (certainly not from first-hand knowledge...) that the "Gumby" tree is either distinctly male or female. And "Gumby" tree growers have been known to rip the male plants out by the "you know what" as soon as they show their sex, preferring Miss "Gumby" to wallow expectant, unsatisfied, and biologically speaking, pretty darn horny. That way, their flower remains unfertilized and, hence, oozing with that good "Gumby" resin. I believe the term is known as Seth Me And. Me and "what" I can't tell you?????!!!.... But again, this all hearsay.

Guess that just about wraps up my new year treatise on floral fun. Have a great 2001 and come visit my redwood tree. Five feet and counting.


* * *

* * *

* * *


Just twelve more years the date will be 12/12/12. And one year after that...the JFK murder mystery will be 50 years old and, at least according to plan, the archives will be opened up. Right. Like anything of value is still going to be sitting there ready to incriminate Tom, Dick or Harry. Get real. But then, I? probably the only one who even cares, so maybe I? better get real.

This will probably be my Christmas hello, knowing my degenerate schedule of updating the rant. So Merry Christmas to the few Birdie fans who take time out of their trivial day to read these even more trivial musings. Those fans would be Rusty, Rick, and sometimes Brother Bill. Rusty was kind enough and genius enough to suggest a link to his site and ?ive?Birdie music. Rick was kind enough to get me off my duff to write. And Bill? He? just kind...kind of.

Hope we soon have a George W. murder mystery. Not really.......well, politically-correctly speaking.

If I?e said it once I?e said it at least eight or nine times??!!?? This country will get what it deserves. And at this point in time, with both candidates so utterly lacking in content, leadership, and charisma, what we?e gonna get is wet, muddy grass tracked through the house ?ause we forgot to wipe our feet. Now please, go figure out THAT mixed metaphor for me, will you? Ramblin?Rose, indeed.

Last Friday night, December 8, the radio boyz paid homage to John Lennon. ?t was 20 years ago that day, Mark Chapman taught me how to hate...? Anyway, one station had a few current popsters in studio, reminiscing and playing a few selected cuts on their acoustic guitars. But it always rankles me when some guy butchers a vital chord, replacing it with the wrong one ?ause his ear can? differentiate the nuance. As in ?? Only Sleeping,?off the Revolver album (Yesterday and Today album for you American folk...). That wonderful C augmented chord became an A minor. Ouch!!!!!

But I shouldn? be so petty. After all, we?e here for the celebration, not a critique. Had I been on that show, I wondered what one Lennon tune I would have played. A very intelligent participant on the show that night observed that covering Lennon tunes bordered a bit on blasphemy. John? best songs really are quite intimate and personal...a lot of pain...unlike McCartney? little knee slappers. Oh sure, Paul wrote ?ey Jude?and I don? mean to dismiss him, but Lennon was the soul of that band.

As for my selection? A very un-deep, ? Should Have Known Better.? How can you feel bummed when you hear THAT tune? Lennon sings it with a huge smile in the movie A Hard Day? Night. To be sure, Lennon had far deeper moments and far more complex, psychedelic arrangements, but somehow, that tune represents for me what the Beatles were.

I remember seeing the Dead in Long Beach five nights after Lennon? assassination. They made no mention of his passing. (For that matter, when did the Dead ever say ANYTHING??) But come encore time, the band performed a single, tear-wrenching ?rokedown Palace.? I can still hear Jerry: ?are you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell...?P> And so, have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, all. In these times of spiraling salaries for jocks, and impaired U.S. elections, just remember what puts the smile on your face. Loved ones and true art. Like the Birdies!

Ta Ta.

* * *

* * *

* * *


Just spent a tremendous 3-day weekend! Tahiti? Hawaii? Europe? San Francisco? Nope! With Syndie out of town, Dylan and I spent all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as best buddies. What a treat!!!

In earlier days he might have been a handful. But Dylan is old enough, at age 2 1/2, to communicate with me and have a rousing good time. Friday to the pet store to watch frogs and turtles...Friday night visit to Nana's house where we crashed...Saturday afternoon tailgate with Uncle Bill before the UCLA/USC debacle (no, we didn't stay for the game), and Sunday lying around watching Dylan's favorite videos.

No, I know it's not as exciting as the singles' bars, or a fancy restaurant, or a weekend in Vegas, or a Grateful Dead show, or even a New Cactus show, for that matter. But it was one of the greatest times of my life. And when Sunday night rolled around, circa 11PM walking the dog in the chill, clear, moonless night, I looked to the heavens, and not being a religious man, thanked God--whatever that Name symbolizes--for simply being alive to experience my son. Life's simple pleasures, indeed!

Had to laugh when I read Rusty's description of George W. in his latest rant. Check it out on my links page. I think he covered darn near every sniveling aspect of the man. Not to admit I voted for Gore...because I did. But it was more a non-Bush vote than anything. And as I become embroiled with the Orange County gang at work, casting stones about at lunch, I have warned them. In the words of Mr. Spock, and I paraphrase, "...sometimes wanting and having are ewo entirely different things.."

This country deserves George W., and after he has bungled his way through the next four years, all his backers will be crying for change. Perhaps even settling for a bit of intelligence or even cunning. The guy is a ---------, well, you fill it in and check with me in four years. I just don't see how he can lose the White House now. Gore. Thanks for a crummy campaign.

Have a great Thanksgiving, of the truly America-only holidays!!!