Friday, January 31, 2014

No Pack Of Wolves, No Swarm Of Bees, Just The Goddam Humans




Last night I was thinking about Molly and Callie, the two cats who are now part of my life, and who have brought me more joy than I’ve experienced in a long time, maybe ever. I was feeling extra sad for them that they had been abused so badly before I met them. Today I saw an episode of Dr. Phil, he was talking to the two Inman kids who had also been horribly abused. I thought about wars, rape, child molestation, psychological warfare, greed, and raping of the planet. It suddenly dawned on me that the only life from that perpetuates this crap is the HUMAN being. Other life forms only care to live their little lives, raise their families, and have enough to eat. Humans seem to get some kind of cheap thrill when they can inflict harm on other living beings – even inanimate ones. I get bullied every time I leave the house, and it’s never a pack of wolves, or a swarm of bees, doing the bullying, it’s the goddam humans – most of them, by the way, driving full size pickup trucks –which I’m sure is no coincidence. That's right, it's always the humans.

Humans have made laws to protect the bully from me, but there are no laws to protect me from their smartass, their aggression, their threats, and their habit of endangering MY life on the roads and freeways. I’ve been lectured by cops more times than I care to think about, their main spiel, in their threatening tone, being “You cannot take the law into your own hands, it’s OUR job to take care of this or that!!!”.

I’ve been in this life for more than five decades, and I’ve seen a few things. One of my observations is that the bullying types almost always aspire to positions of power. Not only do they use their positions for their own self serving B.S., and their violating of other people, but they will defend their kind – hence the laws that protect the lowlifes of the world – especially the high priced ones who cause damage on large scale. It’s not exclusive there, though, their laws also protect the small time punks, eg: Laws against “assault” that punish an innocent person for defending himself, laws against shooting an intruder in a person’s own home, and much more.

I’ve never been much for people, never much liked them, I mostly try to avoid them the best I could. I have one person in my life that it appears I can call a true friend. Every other person I’ve spent any amount of time around, showed that he or she had the “It all comes down to money” attitude, most were envious – of god knows what, most wanted control, and most wanted something for themselves. It’s been said that perception is reality – well, that seems real enough to me. If someday, somebody comes along and proves me wrong on all this, then great, but it’s gonna be awfully hard to argue with 50+ years of firsthand experience. I’m with Leroy Jethro Gibbs, who said, “You always look for the good in people, there, there’s not much to find”.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Joy, Hell, and Me

The Fid, Around Late1983

It’s been 34 years in this nasty music business.  It’s been fun, it’s been great, and it’s been hell.  Not sure if this is a permanent thing or not, but these days I just don’t feel the thrill or the joy that I used to.  I will say that I missed out on the joy part for most of my years doing music – it was always, “Get the gig”, “Make that paycheck”, “Learn them songs, learn them licks”.  It was being on the receiving end of pathetic little men (and sometimes women or girls) whose streak of envy and jealousy, along with ruthless vindictiveness, caused me to look on with my jaw on the floor and my face with a look of puzzlement and total disbelief.  Add to that, every significant other that I’ve ever had gave me a hard time about – well, just about everything, but music in particular.  It wasn’t as if I lied to any of them, I was a musician when they met me, and I always told them right up front what they were getting into.  They all nodded knowingly and with a big smile, but living up to it was a whole ‘nother – which none of ‘em could do.  Some of them had a gigantic problem with pretty girls being in the room – and I NEVER gave any of them any reason to worry, be jealous, threatened, or whatever else.

At this point, I feel beat down beyond anything I could have imagined.  I did, early on, have this nagging feeling that I would get burned out before my time, not sure if this can be considered before my time, but I am burned out to beat hell.  Over the past 2 or 3 years, I seem to have developed something that finally allowed me to find real joy in playing – and I mean playing for me, for the trees, for the dragonflies, and for the birds and squirrels.  4 hours would fly by when I found the time and opportunity to get outside and play – and there was nothing like it.  It even seemed that the birds would come hang around where I was – seeming to like the music – or at the very least be curious.  In the past couple of months, though, even that seemed to go away – I play in my room, but with circumstances that I have no control over, I just don’t feel any motivation to play.  I’m also still fighting with some kind of strangeness with my banjo playing – my brain and my fingers know exactly what to do, but fingers won’t do it.  I don’t have stiffness, aching, or pain of any kind, but my fingers will do everything but what I tell them.  The first time around, it took me a few weeks to be able to play the thing – and it was like walking – no effort.  For the longest time, I thought it might be a case of the “Yips”, but I’m beginning to think it might just be something else – something much more serious and sinister.  I won’t go into the sinister part right now, but the fact is, it’s very strange – the way my fingers seem to be doing some kind of involuntary thing.  Over the past 4 years or so, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours, maybe into the thousands by now, playing my banjo, only to have my playing get worse, not better.  It’s even more strange that on a given day, I may seem to make some amount of progress – where it starts to feel like I might be actually playing again, only to pick the thing up the next day and be right back where I started – this is not normally the way it works – when you learn, make progress, you will always pick up from where you left off.  So, bizarre doesn’t begin to cover it.
Whatever is or is not happening, and regardless of why, I just don’t find joy in playing.  My CD, “Wooden Trail”, that I recorded back in July, 2013, is currently being played on Pandora – I don’t know how Pandora works, but it is being played, and while it would be great if something happens with it, the only thing I really hope for is that it brings me enough money to have my own life back – so I can have control of what I do and don’t do, and so the bullies from hell that I have always attracted can go suck an egg.  If it does nothing, well, I don’t know what I’ll do.  I will say that I’ve about had it with being stifled at every turn.  Somebody once told me that if I worked hard at something, got good at it, treated people with respect, kept my hair combed and my shoes shined, that I would be successful – well, that was a lie.  So, we’ll see what happens with Pandora and the CD over the next few weeks, if nothing, well, I’ve had about enough of being stifled, ridiculed, and otherwise bullied into oblivion; not to mention, watching the world spiral down the toilet at a dizzying rate that I could easily do without.  No sadness here, just lots and lots of disgust.

All for now.

Until I decide otherwise, you can find me here:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Rich, The Poor, And The Attitudes


Back in the late 90s, during one of the times I was trying to get out of this nasty music business, I drove a truck for Big Brothers and Big Sisters for a couple of years.  Our job was to pick up donations from people who were contacted by our “solicitors”.  They would leave their donations in a conspicuous place in front of their residence or business, and mark it, “BBBS”.  One of the glaring things I noticed, and this was consistent, something that happened no less than 99% of the time, was that in the more affluent neighborhoods, there would be a lot less addresses to stop at, and the ones that did agree to leave a donation, many would not leave anything, and the ones who did, it would be a pair of used socks, ONE used t shirt, or, in many cases, plain and simple junk that should have been thrown in the trash.  I remember one house I stopped at – it was in the rich part of town, looked to have 8 bedrooms or so, two story, huge two car garage, big yard both front and back.  Well, they had a folding table set up in the front yard, near the sidewalk, with a few pieces of junk sitting on it.  It was used, rusted out pieces of metal, wadded up balls of rusted out wire, and other miscellaneous stuff that was totally useless.  When I pulled up, there were maybe 7 or 8 of these things on the folding table.  A young-ish woman came out as I approached the house, and said, “Ok, here’s your stuff”.  I started to load in into the truck, and when I returned for the next armful, she has brought out a few more items and put them on the table – more junk.  I took my next load to the truck, came back to find that she had brought even more junk.  This went on for about 45 minutes, my truck was about a third full of this woman’s useless trash.  By the time I was done loading up all this crap, I was fuming, called into the main office and vented a little, only for the lead driver to tell me to “calm down”.  Needless to say, all of her stuff went straight into the dumpster at Savers (, similar to a Salvation Army store, where we delivered all the donations to).  The rich neighborhoods usually did stuff like this, but not usually quite that bad, and quite that sneaky.  This woman was obviously ready for me, and ready to trick me into hauling that junk away – instead of calling the city refuse people to come and get it.  I figured she probably tried this once before, but just had the whole load of junk sitting out front, at which time the driver told her he was not obligated to haul away her trash.  So, in order to get even, she pulled this, and I had the misfortune of being the one to be her stooge.  Funny, in the poorer neighborhoods, there were many, many stops, and most of them would leave bags and boxes of donations – most of which were in good enough condition to be sold at Savers.  We’d have the occasional sourpuss, but most were pretty good about all of it.

Back even further, around 92, I made a trip to Nashville, I really had no business being there, with all my personal B.S. that was happening at the time, but, while I was there, I got shanghai’d into working for the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Company.  I was only there a short time, but I was there long enough to see a pattern.  In the more affluent neighborhoods, the people were rude, condescending, and sanctimonious.  There were a couple of times when the people who lived at the house would tell me which room they wanted to have cleaned, and then get in their car and leave me there by myself.  This is the way Kirby advertised – they would offer to clean and shampoo one room, and that would be the demonstration for the machine.  Of course, these rich people knew that, and looking back, they were doing nothing more than shaming me, ridiculing me, and probably snickering the whole time.  As with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, in the poorer neighborhoods, the people were always attentive, sometimes apprehensive, and sometimes even a little angry, but they would sit through the demonstration.  I only sold a few machines, and you get three guesses which people bought them – hint – they  were certainly not in the rich parts of town.

There’s more.  When I was in Austin in the mid to late 2000s, I had a little hula company, we did live Hawaiian music and hula.  The thing that comes to mind first is this one black woman who called to book us for her party, she dickered and dickered an dickered over the price.  She got us down from $300 down to $250 – that’s fifty bucks, for the arithmetically challenged.  We get to her house, and it’s a mansion – four stories, each level being its own house with 6 or 7 bedrooms, 4 or 5 bathrooms, huge living area, huge dining area, and at least two of the levels, there was a huge, full kitchen.  This house was right on Lake Austin, complete with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, concrete statues around the pool area, and a nice sized boat tied to the launching dock right outside the gate that went to the lake.  The husband sat there for the first 20 minutes of my being there after I got done setting up the sound system, telling me all about his multi million dollar business, his huge house, his cars, etc.  And these people just HAD to save the fifty dollars at our expense.  It was the same, poorer people treated us very well, made us feel welcome, made sure we had something to eat, and were happy when they handed us the check at the end of the show.  I don’t need to tell you how much hassle it was when we played for the Rich and the Ruthless.  I remember one in particular – huge ballroom in an upscale hotel, huge first class buffet, bunch of uppity people at the party.  Before we went on stage to do the show, somebody came to us and said, “Follow me, we have dinner for you guys”.  They took us into a room that looked like it had been hit by a hurricane, and pointed to a table that had a bunch of brown bag lunches – sandwiches and potato chips, and we went to the drinking fountain to wash down our food.  Back in the mid 90s, I did a bunch of luaus in Hawaii – mostly for lower income people on the west side of the island – the families would get together, pitch in, set up, cook, and there would be anywhere from 100 – 300 people.  Not only did they NEVER try to question our price, but they always made sure we, the entertainers, ate as much as we wanted – they would wait on us hand and foot, making sure we were comfortable, always felt so welcome by those folks.

This is no coincidence, this is a definite pattern of behavior.  I’m sure there are exceptions, and I’m sure they’re very rare.  In my lifetime I’ve noticed this, the “Haves” are very selfish, self serving, greedy, and they treat folks less fortunate than them like they are lower forms of life.  My own step dad is one of ‘em, I had the misfortune of going to restaurants for dinner with him and my mom on a few occasions over the years, and let me tell you, I was beyond embarrassed by the way he treated the wait staff, and this jerk was not even rich (fairly well off, but no rich), he was more of a put on than anything else – and one of those sleazy sales type guys who would go to parties and make the rounds, selling everybody on his latest pyramid scheme product – form Super Bluegreen Algae to the water ionizer to the Chi Machine to the Hothouse, on and on and on.    I have tons more of glaring examples of this, but hopefully you get the idea.  And, let’s not forget that most rich people see poor people as the reason for all the ills of the world, and that we are nothing more than a bunch of lazy people who have no ambition, and who only have our hands our expecting free stuff.

As with most things, I have no answers, only observations, and lots of disgust.  Sorry, but that’s my reality.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

More Hypocrisy And False Statements

We have all heard the exclamation, “I don’t care what anybody else thinks”.  I’d ask how many of the people who have said this are actually being honest about it?  I would say, none.  I’ve endlessly seen people squeal with joy when they are being congratulated, patted on the back, “Atta boy’ed”, fawned over, and otherwise rewarded for one thing or another – whether the thing they did was real or not.  Yes, we’ve all seen the false humility, and we’ve seen gloating, but that aside…       It’s only when they receive less than flattering remarks or observations that they indignantly exclaim, “I don’t care what other people think!!!”.  A person who is honest would be totally indifferent to both complimentary, and unflattering statements from people – but well, in my lifetime, I have yet to meet a person who is indifferent to compliments – or to insults, for that matter.  We can show the person making the compliment that we appreciate the kind word, but that’s a separate issue from feeling some kind of wonderful as a result.  These same people, behind their thinly veiled indignant exclamations, will always be offended, and it will be obvious.  Once again, if a person’s words are different from what he does, I will go by what he does, every time – and without fail.
I’ve seen the human ego cause people to commit many horrendous and despicable atrocities – including but not limited to, controlling another person, child molestation, rape, greed, and even murder.  About ten years ago, a friend of mine said, “If you think anybody is going to fight you straight up, then you’re naïve”.  Playing dirty is something that has never entered my mind, but, I have yet to find, in a confrontational situation, a single person who took me on in a fair and honest way – they have always, without fail, done something sneaky and cowardly in order to “win”.  From what I’ve seen, there are very few people in the world who have any real sense of fair play, who have real character, or who have any degree of integrity.  As I’ve said many times, I don’t claim to be perfect, but there are lines I will not cross – being dishonest, playing dirty, being sneaky, and being cowardly are at the top of that list.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never cookied the deadly phrase I’m speaking of, mostly because I know that I do care to some degree what other people think.  As for my caring or not caring about what other people think – I guess by nature I never did care much about what other people thought, but I do care about it to some small degree – in both directions.  I do get some amount of good feelings when somebody appreciates my efforts, hard work, or abilities, and I am somewhat offended when a person purposely insults me.  On insults, though, it’s never the content of the insult that gets to me, it’s only the fact that this person is taunting me, provoking me, trying to push me into displaying some kind of less than pleasant reaction.  I know all the reasons why small people insult other people, I know they are not happy, I know they are sending the message that they know they are worthless, but even with that, it’s one area where I haven’t gotten to the point where I am where I’d like to be.  When I can feel total indifference to both compliments and insults – no matter what part of the insult, then I will be able to say with total honesty, “I don’t care what other people think”.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

TV – The Biggest Detriment… creativity that there is.  It’s also the greatest and most effective brain washing tool invented to date.

Today I want to talk about the TV hero syndrome – which has very nicely and effectively been created and perpetuated by good ol’ Hollywood and its puppetmasters.  We Americans, since we are born, are told that we must “Kick ass”, and other such macho horseshit.  We watch Dirty Harry, Chuck Norris, Superman, and other such “heroes” display bravery that is beyond anything human.  I’ve been in this life for a few decades, and I’ve been all over the world.  I would like to know who, if any of you, has met any such hero in their personal life – I know I haven’t.  Have you personally met any person who deals with situations the way Chuck did in his movies, or in Walker Texas Ranger?  How many Dirty Harrys have you seen with your own eyes?  Of course, Superman is just a comic book character, but he is in the minds and hearts of millions of little American boys – many of whom have never grown up.  Ya know what else is real funny – all the “miracles” in religion – they all happened thousands of years ago, and in faraway lands – pretty much in the same places as all the heroes that we read about, that we hear about, and who we watch on TV.  I wonder how many times Chuck Norris, or Clint Eastwood, or Charles Bronson, or any of ‘em – ever belted anybody in real life – my guess is none.  Yes, Chuck competed in Karate competitions – in carefully controlled situations, where there is no danger of being shot at, clubbed, tazered; or thrown in prison after some lowlife speed dials his lawyer.  We hear about war heroes – who stood in the face of loaded guns and flying bullets – never flinching, never blinking – same – we read and hear about them, and we watch their scripted lives on TV and the big screen, but have you ever seen any such person in action – with your own eyes?  My guess is no, you haven’t.  Dirty Harry was a cop, right?  Do you know, by seeing with your own eyes, a single cop who is not a bully, and a flaming coward, and who does anything other than harass innocent, UNARMED citizens – much less handle a situation with such flawless poise and grace as Dirty Harry, or Walker, Texas Ranger?  I can’t name you a single one.  I was a resident manager of an apartment building back in the late 70s.  There were a few times when I had to call the cops to come and deal with a “Domestic Disturbance” – usually after 10 pm is when these would happen.  There wasn’t a single time when they took less than TWO HOURS to arrive, by which time I had to go up and handle it myself.  Lucky for me I was too naïve to know what the hell I was getting into, because if I did, I probably wouldn’t have done it.  There were also a couple of times when they (Honolulu’s Finest) didn’t show up at all.
I go out in public at least three times a week, I must get in my car and drive on public roads, and go into public places of business.  Very seldom am I able to accomplish this without seeing, or being on the receiving end of some piece of dirt, almost always in a full size pickup, who tailgates everything in his path, speeds around, and generally acts like a flaming dumbass every inch of the way.  This crap seems to have fairly recently spilled over into the grocery store – where more often than not, I watch people huff and puff while they’re in the checkout line – angry as hell because people are in front of them.  I never hear them actually say anything, it’s just a lot of rolling eyes and huffing and puffing.
Now, the worst part.  As the years go by, the laws become more and more apparent – that they are on the side of the bully – they protect the bug eyed full size pickup drivers who tailgate and speed around, they protect any smartass who might taunt somebody into “violence”.  They protect the punks who rape and murder their girlfriends, wives, or perfect strangers.  These days there are video “surveillance” cameras every five feet, so, if you decide to pull some smartass out of his vehicle, if you’re lucky enough to find one of ‘em who doesn’t come out of his ½ ton pickup with a gun pointed in your face, and you smack him around, you better be damn careful that you’re not caught on Candid Camera.  I’ve seen, with my own eyes, first rate murderers get caught, arrested, convicted, and sent to prison for 4 or 5 years.  Meanwhile, there have been many times when a person who had the audacity to defend his own honor, defend his physical safety, not to mention the abused wives, who have spent no less than 5 years, and up to 25 years in prison – all for defending themselves against endless beatings and threats.  I was told that Oregon’s “Measure 11” does not apply to a simple fight in the street – but bullshit, it has been used as revenge from “Law Enforcement” for “Taking the law into your own hands”.  Let me tell you from first hand experience that cops, lawyers, and judges HATE it when a person defends him or herself, and they will punish you to the fullest extent for doing so.  My guess is that it’s an ego thing, and a good ol’ boy thing.  I don’t  know how it’s possible that a guy who rapes, tortures, and kills an innocent girl (with the help of his two other punk friends) can get a four and a half year prison sentence, while an obviously abused wife, who on numerous occasions, was beaten, and on a couple of occasions, beaten within inches of her life, then kills the cowardly piece of shit in self defense – can end up in prison for TWENTY FIVE YEARS!  These are but only two of the many atrocities I’ve witnessed in our disgustingly crooked courtrooms.
So, to my original points, first, there are two main reasons why we innocent citizens cannot handle our daily situations the way our TV heroes do onscreen.  One, it’s a pretty sure thing that these lowlifes who go around bullying people on the roads are not doing it unarmed.  Second, none of us want to spend time in prison because some yellow bellied, goatee wearing, shades on the head, baseball cap covered punk, doesn’t know how to behave in public.  Third, Watching Chuck, Clint, and whoever else, flawlessly kick the badguys’ asses, sets us up for some horrible self image distortions, and again, I have yet to meet a person who even distantly resembles any of these TV heroes.  Of all the stories I see on TV, including news, and so called “Documentaries”, I believe very little, if any of it.  To me, the heroes are the ones who personally help hungry people, who personally and realistically do something for poor people.  If somebody does occasionally beat the dogshit out of a badguy, or does actually risk his life for another person or cause, then great, and it does happen once in a while, but all the hero bullshit you see on TV, don’t believe it, or you’ll be in for a lifetime of self loathing and frustration.
I believe that this is the reason why there are so many mass shootings these days.  This country is so full of frustrated people, that it’s only a matter of time before the next one snaps and goes on a shooting rampage.  Not to worry, it ain’t gonna be me, I will never hurt an innocent person, but somebody will.
It goes a lot deeper than this, but this is a blog, not a book, so I’ll stop here for now.