Friday, January 31, 2020

Name someplace better

So yesterday I had a meeting with a neurologist (my third) in an effort to get my driver’s license back. He’s a learned man, with man stories he isn’t afraid to share, with a thick Russian accent. He has traveled (“you think this is cold? I’ve lived In Siberia!”) is well respected in his field working with both civilians and veterans, is impossibly knowledgeable about many medical fields (he’s the one who got the ball rolling to figure out why I kept falling asleep).

We got to talking about vacations and travel to other countries and while we didn’t discuss politics, we all seemed to be on the same page that this is a rough patch in America right now. But he always would come home to the U.S., he said. “Can you name anyplace better?”

My wife ventured a couple of thoughts, like Australia and New Zealand, to which he replied, “Both are nice. Australia has a good medical system. But New Zealand is hurting for Doctors right now. They offered me the chance to move there and practice.”

Ah, if only I had gone to Medical School after all.

I opted not to opine on the issue, if for no other reason that this man had the future of whether or not I could go back to driving in his hands. In the end, he agreed to get the process started. I may be driving again by spring. I certainly hope so – I’m a terrible passenger.

But I’ve thought about this for a while now and by my count there are 26 countries where it is better to live than the United States. While I’m not going to go through them all I will point out a few things:

  • All 26 have Universal Health-care
  • More than a dozen have guaranteed income
  • Many are in Europe, but a couple are in South America and a couple are in Africa
  • One has a prohibition against war in its Constitution
  • More than half have solid protections for the LGBTQ Community, and ALL consider a Woman’s right to choose a settled issue.
  • 11 have stronger economies than the US.
  • All 26 have better educational systems, and in 15 of them college is free.
  • Most of them have higher taxes and lower costs of living than the US. But they have all of that shit above
  • In all of them people in Prison can vote, if they are citizens
  • In most, it is fairly easy to get your hands on a lathe.

A few things have become clear to me over the past few weeks. One is that we live in a police state. If you have to not let prisoners vote because you feel it could change the outcome of an election, you might be living in a police state. Another thing is that I am just sick of this whole “We’re Number One” attitude. We’re not. We’re clearly not.

I’m tired of being angry all the time. I was raised to believe that as a whole, we’re better than this. That is clearly wrong as well, but I can’t blame those who raised me for it. No one could see how fragile it all is.

Forgive me, I think I’m rambling.

Our country, its economics and political system, has been referred to as the Great Experiment. I can’t tell you that it has failed, even though all the signs are there – including the same fatalism that gave Germany a real madman. If you think Trump is bad, there are real madmen waiting in the wings. People who believe that they should be speeding up the end of the world. People like Mike Pence.

But I can tell you that by my count 26 countries do Democracy better than we do.

And not one of them is lead by a racist megalomaniac bully with strange hair, an Adderall addiction, an anger management problem, a spray tan, a 6th grade education, and a belief that he himself is the only person in the world that matters.

Cheap Shots. It’s Friday, so imbibe on the beverage of your choice. Or try the recipe below.

My list and Forbes’ aren’t the same, but they have a list.

I’ve always wondered how it is that the far right of Israel can get along with the far right of US Evangelicalism. Eventually, US Evangelicals want every Israeli to die.

Dershowitz quite and Cipollone is actually part of the conspiracy?

Six new shitholes.

“Is clean water too political?” Reverend Andy.

Here’s how to make a Sidecar: 2.5 oz cognac, 0.5 oz Grand Marnier, 0.5 oz lemon juice

Want to learn the basic cocktails, randomly? Click here.

I don’t think this will work but she should un-invite the fucker.

Don’t call Bolton a hero. He’s not.

This could be good. It could also be very very very  very bad.

And because I love you, lovelytheband has a new song out: 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Tomato, tomahton

I wonder sometimes if some of the people are ever aware, if the Republic is able to survive all this, that there will eventually be someone else in the Administrative portion of Government, from the Presidency on down, and they will have access to all of the shit that the Trump administration has done.

Cheap Shots (choose your own libation tonight; I’m tired):

Oh, Charlie you royally cheeky bastard.

Flaunting the rules.

And then he follows up by lying 14 times.

I wonder if it’s possible to dismiss a juror, like in a real trial?

Perhaps you should go to college and study science.

And because I love you, Pearl Jam!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Surprises in unexpected places.

Yesterday I discovered that a place called Waverly Café in Nashville, Tennessee, has been playing my song “Jennifer” in fairly heavy rotation. I looked them up and sent a note of thanks on their Facebook page. Feel free to look them up and if you’re in the area, check them out.

To this day, after 30 plus years in the professional recording artist business, it’s still a thrill to discover that I have fans out there, and that my music gets played. I’ve never really flirted with stardom although it has flirted with me once or twice, so to hear that my work is being recognized is wonderful.

It was nice to think about that instead of the shit show going on in Washington DC.

Senators Murkowski of Alaska and Romney of Alaska both stated to the press that they wanted to hear witnesses and have a fair impeachment trial. Senator Collins of Maine also gave that idea lip service, even though she has a terrible record of following through with such promises. I mention this because this meant a possible 50-50 tie on motions. Unfortunately, it was all talk. Every vote save one was 53-47 in favor of McConnel’s fake trial. The one that was 52-48 was a motion to give the House managers more time to respond to any motions made prior to the start of the trial, should they be made in writing between last night’s adjournment and this morning’s start. Collins, of all people was the vote that moved.

Turns out to have not mattered as no motions were filed. I’d bet that Collins knew that and that the vote was designed to make her look better at home.  Shame on Murkowski and Romney for caving in. Shame on Collins too. I really wanted a 50-50 tie. It would have forced Justice Roberts to rule on the motions, as for once Mike Pence cannot break the tie – as he’s not a Senator.

In the meantime the man on trial was at the Davos conference, slurring his words and barely able to keep up with a teleprompter, and bragging to the press that he has withheld material that the House of Representatives subpoenaed.

It will get voted down, but I honestly hope that the House Managers ask for Trump himself to testify. He won’t of course, and like I said, the motion will be voted down, but the next 24 hours of Trump’s twitter account will be fascinating.

My older daughter has been watching the process live. I’d like to, but I have a day job so I can only get the highlights. I remember well the Nixon hearings but this is a whole new level of strange. At one point my daughter said to me, “Cipollone (the defense lawyer) is either going to stroke out or punch somebody; he’s so mad.” My personal opinion is that Trump just wanted TV lawyers.

E not going to decide on witnesses until both sides have taken three days (at 12 hours each) to present their cases. That’s just weird. We’re going to get 3 days of facts, followed by 3 days of conspiracies and other bullshit, and then a vote on calling witnesses. No trial ever works like that, not even any previous impeachment trial – of which there have been a few.

I gotta admit though, the House Managers were ready for it. So far, they’ve done an excellent job spelling out the case. Hang on to your butts, people.

My wife keeps asking if Trump has dirt on McConnell or on enough of the rest of the Senators in his party to make this happen the way it is, but I have another theory. I used to believe that the Republican party as it exists now would like to be rid of Trump and have Pence be President. He’d do all of the same terrible shit that Trump does while looking reasonable. He’d also push the Christian Agenda even harder than Trump does, which they want. Thing is, Pence could never win an election on a national scale. He’s just not charismatic and in this age a President needs that. The more charismatic man has won the Presidency every single time since 1976. They’re backing Trump because he’s the only option they’ve got. They’ve backed themselves into this corner and crave power so much that all decency has gone out the window. They’ve made themselves into this.

I don’t know who the Democrats are going to wind up with as the nominee, but it needs to be someone that can smack down Trump like the bully he is.

Cheap Shots, and it’s Wednesday Gin day!

While we’re on the subject, where are the fainting couches and smelling salts?

Should we be happy or sad that Greta Thunberg isn’t our child?

Who knew that Geraldo was this funny?

Are you British? No? Then shut the fuck up.

Take your hat off. I didn’t even know he was sick! (Drink an extra shot if you get the reference!)

And because I love you, the late great Terry Jones, Crunchy Frog (Rana Croccante) 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Okay, my hypocrisy only goes so far.

I honestly don't give a damn about the Grammys. It's mostly a reward for selling a lot of albums. But I'm going to be a voting member soon so I thought I should look at the choices.

My votes are:

Record of the year: Hard Place – H.E.R. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Billie Eilish song but I’m not really fully on the Lizzo bandwagon and I despise Bon Iver. Everything else is just so ordinary.

Album of the Year: When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish. I look for shape when it comes to a full album, and the only other one that comes close is Lana Del Rey’s “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”

Song of the Year: Hard Place – H.E.R. An easy choice given the nominees

Best New Artist (aka the Milli Vanilli Memorial Career Killer Award): Billie Eilish

Best Pop Solo Performance: Taylor Swift – You Need To Calm Down. It’s all about the performance. Taylor swift gives the best performance of the songs nominated. If some of the others had other songs up they might have gotten my vote. Like her or not, Ms. Swift can sing.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: SEÑORITA - Shawn Mendes y Camila Cabello. I was all ready to vote for “Boyfriend” by Ariana Grande & Social House until they went into auto-tune mode. Disqualification.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Look Now – Elvis Costello & The Imposters. Here I look for who contributes the most to expanding the repertoire. This was a pretty easy choice.

Best Pop Vocal Album: When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish. Again, it’s about the ALBUM. None of the others even come close.

Best Dance Recording: Underwater – Rufus Du Sol. Which album would get me on the dance floor? This one is it. The Chemical Brothers came in a close second.

Best Dance/Electronic Album: No Geography – The Chemical Brothers. I like the Rufus Du Sol song best, but the best ALBUM is from The Chemical Brothers.

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Mettavolution – Rodrigo y Gabriela. Their reworking of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” is just jaw-dropping.

Best Rock Performance: Woman – Karen O & Danger Mouse. Actually a good crop this year! Shocking! Any one of these could win.

Best Metal Performance: 7empest – Tool. Holy carp Tool came back after so many years with a great freaking album. No one else even comes close in terms of PERFORMANCE.

Best Rock Song: This Land – Gary Clark Jr. Waiting for Trump to tweet about it.

Best Rock Album: Feral Roots – Rival Sons. The selection of albums puzzles me. Tool isn’t nominated. Brittany Howard isn’t nominated. While The Cranberries album is very good, and this would be a nice send off for Dolores O’Riordan, The Feral Roots made a better overall ALBUM.

Best Alternative Music Album: Father of the Bride – Vampire Weekend. The best of 5 terrible choices. I mean, where’s The 1975? The National? Of Monsters and Men? Yeesh  so many bands left off.

Best R&B Performance: Could’ve Been – H.E.R. Featuring Bryson Tiller. Again, it’s all about the performance.

Best Traditional R&B Performance: Jerome – Lizzo, although I have to admit that I’d also vote for “Built for Love by PJ Morton – I’m voting for the more progressive (musically) song

Best R&B Song: Look at me Now – Emily King. Until today I hadn’t even heard this song. It blows the rest out of the water. Good album too.

Best Urban Contemporary Album: Cuz I Love You – Lizzo. Notice that Emily King isn’t nominated. Her album is more old-school. There’s a reason that Lizzo is getting so much attention. She’s not realy my cup of tea, but no denying that she’s good.

Best R&B Album: Paul – PJ Morton. Again, a strange selection of albums to pick. PJ Morton, hands down.

There are a ton of other categories, many of which I’m simply not qualified to vote on (Rap, Country, New Age, Latin, World Music, Gospel, etc.). On all of the Jazz categories the nominations are all so damned old school I’m staying away out of protest. The only album out of all of them I liked was Antidote by Chick Corea and the Spanish Heart Band.

So – take a shot whenever I get it right. Your liver is probably safe. Choose whatever you’d like just make it CHEAP!

Chief Justice John Roberts does some Swearing.

Remember when the word “Boogaloo” just meant “Bad Sequel”?

Remember when you could say “are you fucking kidding me?” upon a revelation like this?

Holy shit. Is this the new John Dean?

And because I love you, Harry Styles. Really.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The worst thing

You know what the worst thing is about having your identity stolen? The phone calls.

I have been receiving phone calls from just about everyplace in the country, at a rate of about 1 every 7-10 minutes. Some come from the payday lenders that the thief took out loans in my name. Some come from even more predatory lenders wanting to know if I want to borrow more money (those people text me too). From Washington DC. Rom Virginia. From Texas. From Ohio. From Florida.

I’ve received phone calls from Restricted numbers. From Anonymous numbers (which I had no idea even existed). I got one phone call from a number that STARTED with a “0”. I didn’t even know that was possible.

The texts start at about 5am. The phone calls start about 8am. They don’t stop until about 6pm or so. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to set ringtones for the numbers I recognize, and a soft, tranquil tone everyone can ignore for the rest.

It has reached the point where I simply cannot answer the phone unless it’s from a ringtone that I’ve individually set up for a person. Except for my wife, children and mom I haven’t done that. It’s annoying.

And it’s not like I can tell people to stop. The calls come from different numbers every day. I know they’ll stop eventually, but right now it’s as annoying as hell.

Cheap Shots, and let’s make it Vodka today!

I am 100% against this. Watching about 150 photographers crowd around a table to just photograph a few pieces of paper on NPR was hilarious.

A little late, don’t you think?

And about fucking time, don’t you think?

Feel free to reverse those last two, if you wish.

20th Century
Ingredients1.5 oz vodka
.75 oz lemon juice
.25 oz Creme de Cacao
.25 oz spiced pear liqueur
.125oz of maple syrup
1 dash chocolate bitters
InstructionsCombine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake to combine.

She’s a nice Ambassador. Pity if anything were to, uh, say, happen to her.

And because I love you, Level 42 performing Something about you.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Vote Counting

You know what Nancy Pelosi might be better at than anyone else in Congress? Counting the votes. Not just in the House, but also in the Senate.

Now that it’s clear that the Senate will have at least the semblance of an impeachment trial, Speaker Pelosi can send the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate – and do something very damned tricky and there’s nothing Moscow mitch can do about it.

Along with the Articles of Impeachment, she can send along all of the new evidence that’s been collected since Trump was impeached. This includes statements made by a number of people, from Mustache Bolton to the contents of Lev Parnas’ phone, new revelations from Ukraine, various things uttered by the worst attorney in New York, discovery of new memos and phone calls since, Trump giving one of his own attorneys permission to defend the two Giuliani buddies indicted on campaign finance charges (which includes Lev Parnas), and on and on. If all of this is sent over with the articles they have to be read into the public record.

To make a long story short, they can’t ignore the evidence, because it’s been presented – whether this turns out to be a sham trial or not.

So Speaker Pelosi needed to have the knowledge that there would be a trial, and not an immediate dismissal before she sent the articles. And as of two days ago, she knew she had the votes - in the Senate. You can judge that from McConnel’s own words today:

McCONNELL: There is little or no sentiment little in the Republican Conference for a motion to dismiss. Our members feel that we have an obligation to listen to the arguments, and we've laid out in this resolution an opportunity for everybody to sit there. And remember, senators can't say anything. And, so they'll have to sit there and listen. To listen carefully to the arguments by both the prosecution and the defense, to follow that up with written questions, submit it through the Chief Justice. And, that means listening to the case, not dismissing the case.

No matter what bullying nickname Dumb Donald comes up with, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is playing 3-D chess, while Trump is eating the Monopoly money.

Cheap Shots: Gin tonight, because there’s a debate. Take a drink every time there’s a mention that there is no person of color on the stage. Pretend to take a drink every time the word Impeachment is uttered.

We are in mourning and I am livid”. In case you ever wondered what an Angry Canadian is like.

Royal fatigue.

Our car broke down just up the road. May we borrow your phone?

Emerging. No shit.

Actually the most alarming thing in this article is the fact that Phyllis Schafly is still a part of conversation, given she died two years ago.

Okay, now I know what Deval Patrick looks like.

Yes, there were 6 schools affected, and that’s bad. But how is it that the story isn’t just schools? I mean, look at the map in the article!

And because I love you, if you feel you might need to be on vacation, I recommend Sanremo by MIKA:

Monday, January 13, 2020

Yes, I have opinions on awards season

Now the Oscars really aren’t my thing, but I do have opinions so here we go, working from the Oscars own list:

Best Actor – 3 of these nods are obvious ones. I especially liked Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes”. But where is Eddie Murphy for “My Name is Dolemite”?

Supporting Actor – The youngest man up for this award is older than me (that would be Brad Pitt).

Best Actress – I haven’t seen any of these movies, but I note that Scarlett Johansson is in both this category and the next one – which will be a problem for her. Knowing the Academy, this is going to be a “Little Women” year for Women.

Best Supporting actress – see my notes above

Animated Feature -  I’m really stunned that “Frozen 2” isn’t up here. The Academy has gone so fucking mainstream in this category in recent years. Remember when Animated films were animated, and not generated? This one should be won by “I Lost my Body”, but it probably won’t be.

Cinematography – yeesh, these are all good, but why not Jordan Peele’s “Us”? I have to rout for “The Lighthouse” – and why didn’t that one get any acting nods?

Costume – Good choices here, save for one thing. Why the hell not a nod for “My Name is Dolemite”? Again?

Directing – Hoo boy, how safe a list can you get?

Documentary – The fact that American Factory, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama, got a nod is going to make some people’s heads explode. It’s going to win too. Just ask Al Gore.

Documentary Short Subjects – I have no clue here.

Editing – Not my field. Couldn’t tell you.

Best International Film – They’re going to give this one to “Parasite”, so that they don’t have to give it best picture. We’ve seen this trick before.

Makeup – It’s Judy, all the way. To make Rene Zelweger into a believable Judy Garland? Yep, that’s the one.

Original Score – Holy cheese Two of the Newman’s are going against each other, and John Freakin’ Williams getting his 1,943rd nomination for that same damned tritone? Nope. Hildur Guonadottir should get this one. Y’all are lucky that Danny Elfman has been doing TV in 2019.

Song – We all know Elton John is going to with this one. Why bother nominating anything else?

And finally, Best Picture – From this list, who the hell knows? It’s a real contest but why isn’t “The Two Popes” up there?  I don’t see Scorsese getting this one and I think there’s going to be a bit of a backlash against the Netflix boom (er, ok boomer). I’d say the favorite in the race is “Joker”.

Yes, I know I skipped the screenplay categories. All I cared about was that “Knives Out” get a nod, and it did.

Oh. About the Grammys?

Fuck’ em. Don’t care.

Cheap Shots – Rum today!

Cory Booker in the Deadpool. Pity he never got any traction – he wasn’t half bad at all.

Again, it’s because he’s a fucking RACIST!

Global Warming is associated with increased injury deaths.

No one is yet talking about it, and it was their idea, but the grandkids have been cut off!

We are such prudes.

But then again… “He worked to set up a meeting in January 2017 between Erik Prince (Blackwater mercenary and brother of Betsy Devos) and a close associate of Vladimir Putin. While Mueller was investigating this meeting, they found the child porn…”

1.5 oz Blackwell Rum
.5 oz Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz lime juice
Top with Regatta ginger beer
Lime wedge for garnish
Shake all ingredients except ginger beer. Double strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

And if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, look into my best of new music 2019 list on Spotify – 100 songs collected into “The Best of Radio Free California 2019”. I promise you it’s full of great music you may not have heard. It's awesome on random play.

Friday, January 10, 2020

67 is just too damned young.

I was going to rant today but I haven’t the heart. It broke.

But, because I love you, what Neil Peart for a very long time considered to be the best lyrics he ever wrote.

And my own personal favorite Rush song, where if you listen carefully the drums and the other instruments are in different time signatures - sometimes. It's a great song:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Approaching 50

So my little brother has now made 49 trips around the sun. He’s a good man, with 5 children ranging in age from quite young to just discharged from the military. He loves his family with a passion you should envy.

We’re quite different, my brother and I. His political leanings are to the right while mine are to the left. He’s Catholic while I’m an Atheist. He’s considerably taller and thinner than I am. I have long, thick hair and he’s bald. He’s very extrovert and I’m a bit of the opposite (although I certainly do have my moments). He makes friends easily while I do not. He drinks beer while I drink Gin.

We’re also very much alike. Despite our appearances we both look like our father. We’re both passionate defenders of every member of our family. Even when we don’t see each other for months or even years, we love one another and that isn’t questioned. Ever. We both believe that a person has the right to be whatever they aspire to be – when my older daughter came out my brother was one of the first to speak up and support her. We’re both musicians. We both like to laugh and have similar senses of humor. We both believe that there is an underlying truth in humor and love, and that the search for it is its own reward.

Because of conflicting schedules and just he ravages of being broke all the time I haven’t seen him in a few years, although we talk all the time. He’s had a child since then and I have yet to meet him. I know however that he’s in good hands and that we love him – because I know my brother.

Happy birthday little bro. You’ve earned it.

In honor of my brother’s birthday, we’re drinking beer today for our Cheap Shots:

Y’all need to remember that this man is a comedian. That said, #adderall is trending on twitter now.

Ben Carson is in charge of releasing aid to Puerto Rico? The sleepiest man in government? Well, that explains a lot.

Trump sez, “All is well”.

I really wanted this woman to run for President.

There really seems to be some confusion in Washington D.C. about what “Constitutional” means – mostly coming from people who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution.

And Because I love you, Climax Blues Band. Yes, they're still around and released a bluesy rock album in 2018.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Which Happens Sometimes...

When I was in my early 20’s I wrote a song called “Which Happens Sometimes”, a blatant rip-off of the style of The Pursuit of Happiness with a killer hook bass line. As some of you know, the song was inspired by a day of apartment hunting, which dissembled from the silly to the outright laughable until we (me and my friend Max) found the right place. One apartment building we stopped at had a beautiful living room with a balcony, and sprinklers that lined that wall. When I pointed out to Max the safety feature the man giving us the tour of the apartment said, “Oh no, that’s in case the building next door catches fire – which happens sometimes.”

I burst out laughing and Max made another joke after that which I no longer remember that had me balled up on the floor, trying to keep my lungs from exploding out of my body. I wrote the song over the next couple of days and yes, it references that incident.

I bring this up because my younger daughter lives in an apartment of her own, attending college in her third year (gawd I’m old). She’s visiting us on winter break and we’re glad to have her. It’s been a rough year – last spring she had to evacuate from campus thanks to the Camp Fire, which was a pretty frightening time. On New Year’s day the warehouse next to the apartment complex where she lives burned to the ground. Reports from the one roommate who stayed is tat the parking lot if full of propane and water, and they’re trying to figure out how to drain it.

This is complicated by the fact that as of January 1st her apartment building has a new owner. I have o clue how this is going to play out, but they haven’t asked for rent yet and the building appears habitable, although smoking isn’t recommended. Heh.

So today I’ve been listening to the new album by Phil Broikos, called “a day in music: 12:00am”. It’s part one of a truly ambitions concept album cycle, and each of the 12 songs are exactly 5 minutes long. There are plans for 23 more albums. I seething with jealousy that I didn’t think of this. It’s good stuff. If you’re into Spotify or any other such sites you can find it easily enough. A tip of the blogging hat to my bud Chris Trapper for telling me about it.

And are you aware that a man who won a Golden Globe won for portraying a man who also won a Golden Globe last night?

And finally, there is still simple good in the world, despite everything. I had to walk four city blocks to the post office today just to get a friggin’ stamp. And they no longer have the vending machines. So I’m in line to use the self-service station, where a mother who is sending several parcels overseas is using the machine to teach her daughter how to spell.  It’s a long walk from Embarcadero 4 to Embarcadero 1 when you have a torn meniscus and I’m getting ready to let off some steam in the most polite way possible (so as not to frighten the child) when the woman in line behind me remembers she has stamps in her purse. She gave me one, and I mailed my letter.

I have to pay it forward now, so I’m looking for my moment. Until then…

Cheap Shots. It’s Monday, so RUM it is!!!

If it weren’t for the impending loss of life, this would be hilarious. (I’m so glad there are no Trump Properties where I live).

He might have been a bad man, but he wasn’t part of 9/11.

If you’re into nostalgia, try this: You should random-play it.

I don’t really care about the Golden Globes, the drunken ramblings of the Joker or the nice things said by the nicest man in Hollywood. But Michelle Williams’ acceptance speech was golden.

In all fairness, I probably would get the picture of Gabbard right either, although I think that’s Patricia Arquette that they used.

As high as a… cat?

Punta Ventana is gone.

If you feel yourself in need of assistance, try Morse Code:

1.5oz Bacardi Superior Rum
.5oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
.1oz Lime
2 bar spoons sugar or .75oz simple syrup
1 muddled strawberry
Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: A strawberry
Shake and double strain

And because I love you, The Motels and my favorite song of theirs.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I'm Back

I don't like social media.

There. I've said it. 

Don't get me wrong I have a twitter account, a Facebook account (well, actually I have 4 Facebook accounts), a tumblr account. I use them. I use them a lot.

But I'm not social on them. I pontificate on matters political, share music, occasionally tell jokes and share news articles. That's it. I don't talk much about my life. Thing is, this is how most of my friends, scattered all throughout the globe, stay in contact with one another.

I have to use them. These are my friends, and I don't make friends easily. I desire their contact, but I know as well as anyone just how much data mining gets done on social media. I know exactly how much of your own rights are given away, and how much we are observed. I know how much is expended on the expansion of social media - the numbers are much more staggering than you'd believe, and it's worldwide.

A few years ago my brother's wife suddenly died. Two days later her picture, her lovely, smiling face was used in an ad for a sports bar on the other side of the country. I was enraged, but this is all part of what we give away for free on social media. Facebook pulled the ad, but still.

twitter allows racists with any form of power to remain on their platform, and quite frankly, I don't give a fuck about whatever any Kardashian or most other famous person is doing.

tumblr has been interesting, but they don't allow for some content.

I don't do Instagram. I just don't understand it.

I've tried. I've really tried. I even did a video blog for a few months. But I simply can't bring myself to share personal information on these platforms. I don't want to have conversations with my friends with every word unscrambled and every digital byte analyzed. And because web browsers use cookies that's yet another form of data mining.

I've even tried quitting. Twice. I couldn't do it, and was mocked soundly and deservedly for my failure.

So why am I bringing all this up? I find myself, at age 55, realizing that most of my friends don't know a damn thing about my life for probably the last several years. People I consider myself close to don't feel the same about me. I live far enough away from most of them that we can't just go over to each other's homes and let's face it, no one phones each other any more.

So here I am, hoping that we can catch up. If my friends want to know what's happening in my life, they need to come here. I'll still be on all those other platforms, doing what I do, but if you want to KNOW me, I'm here.

So, what's been happening?

Welp, 2019 was complicated. I worked on some music, but in March while driving to go visit my younger daughter at college I fell unconscious at the wheel. Four times. I woke up again each time within a few seconds, but we managed not to crash. Fortunately, many of the highways and freeways in central California are straight lines.

Anyway, to the doctor we go.

Who referred me to a neurologist, based upon my symptom, It could be anything from just a lack of sleep to ALS to blood cancer. I was tested for just about everything. It took months, and because of how we discovered it my driver's license was suspended.

Sleep apnea. Now light sleep apnea is when you stop breathing once or twice an hour. It happens to everyone. Moderate sleep apnea is about 10 times an hour. Worrisome is at about 15 times an hour. That's the point the recommend you start sleeping with those machines that put a mask on your face and make you sound like Darth Vader while you sleep.

My count was 59 times an hour. Think about that. Once a MINUTE in my sleep I stopped breathing.


You see, over the past few years I've had some weird health issues. A recurring infection in my leg (which is astonishingly painful), muscular weakness, forgetfulness, scars that don't heal - a whole list of things. I tripped on nothing and broke both of my arms. I am constantly in pain - every second of every day and nothing defeats it. I've come close a couple of times, but it always comes back and I've tried everything except acupuncture, which I will be trying soon.

But now the thinking is that I've been running on less oxygen than I'm supposed to. So I need a CPAP machine.

Oh dear lord, I'm going to have to shave my beard and somehow fight off the rather sever claustrophobia I've developed over the past couple of years just so that I can go to sleep. And William Shatner is going to come over to clean the damned thing once a month. Just too much.

Well, I didn't have to shave. Turns out there are all kinds of versions of these things - most of which you never see in those commercials. It also turns out that it's pretty easy to get used to having air blown up your nose - which surprised me.

In less than a month that 59 got down to 1-2 range. You wouldn't believe the difference that makes.

It's been hard to work on music during all of this. I have the new album written. In my head it's done. I've recorded some parts of different tracks, some of which really sounds great. But it hasn't been finished and it's making me crazy. If it turns out that the lack of Oxygen in my system has contributed to my issues in music I'm going to wind up owing the world an album a year for the next decade.

I say with no sense of humility that that is the best stuff I've ever written. I really want to share it with everyone. But something I've learned over the years is that the music simply doesn't work if it isn't a joy to perform, and with my health issues it's been more work than joy.

I've been on that CPAP machine two months now, and I feel more alive and awake than I have in ages. Years. I'm even going to try to get my driver's license back.

And then....

The evening of October 29th, as I'm on my way to the theater to see Hamilton after work I tear the meniscus behind my right knee while getting onto the train to get there. Literally 2 hours before curtain. My wife Cathy had won the tickets and I wasn't going to spoil this for her, so I went anyway. We had seats in the upper balcony (which were actually great seats) in a theater without an elevator. I had a rough evening but the show was fantastic. A couple of scans later and a cortisone shot and I'm still walking with a cane, but I'm hoping to change that in the next couple of weeks.

And then I got my identity stolen. What a way to end the year, right? I changed bank accounts and the damage has been minimal so far, but I get loan offers via either e-mail or text about once an hour. Sometimes twice a minute. It's annoying but I've found that if I just ignore them they go away.

But you know what? Despite everything, my life is good. I have a lovely wife whom I love and who loves me, two daughters who perplex the crap out of me but I love anyway, and so much music in my head and in my life that all I can really express, on a personal level, is joy. Yes, I rant at the world. I get angry at the crap that happens and can be fixed so freaking EASILY but we just DON'T.

But I'm a happy man.

And about joy. Have you heard of a band called Vulfpeck? I'm telling you, if I ever record a straight pop record I'm hiring these guys as my backup band. Take a look at this FULL CONCERT from earlier this year, recorded at Madison Square Garden..

If you are my friend you are the kind of person who are going to want to find the time to watch this. Trust me.

I'm going to do my best to keep this going, and let you all back into my life should you be interested. I have no idea how well I'm going to be at this - I'm no Wil Wheaton after all.

But this is the only place I'm going to do this. If you want to know the real me, this is where I will be, and I hope my friends remember and come to understand me again.


Okay, getting back to work now. I want to deliver an album soon. I also want a new tatoo. Let's see what the year holds, shall we?