Wednesday, June 24, 2020

That Shining City on a Hill


I randomly came upon a couple of YouTube clips of President Reagan being interviewed by Johnny Carson in 1975. I’ll post those later, but they are not what led me here this evening.

Those clips led me to find Reagan’s Presidential farewell address, in which I was somewhat surprised to find that many of the same things I see in today’s America existed over thirty years ago just the same.

As he closed his speech, Reagan discussed what he called his desire for an "informed patriotism." He lamented the fact that perhaps America was not teaching its children enough of what she represents in terms of the long history of mankind.

"Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age [in 1989, mind you] grew up in a different America," he said. "We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn't get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties."

I might suggest that while the paradigm was somewhat shifting during his time at The White House, America... or at least my vision of her, was largely that same patriotic nation he remembered, throughout the 1980's and into the early 1990's.

"But now, we're about to enter the nineties," he continued, and some things have changed. Younger parents aren't sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. Our spirit is back, but we haven't reinstitutionalized it. We've got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It's fragile; it needs production [protection]."

This is what I see today. I believe there is an entire generation... maybe two generations... that largely don't understand America as I understand her. Imperfect, but incredible. A beacon of hope for the rest of the world. That "shining city upon a hill" Reagan spoke of so eloquently. A place where everyone may not be born into the same circumstances, but with hard work and some luck, everyone has an opportunity to make of himself and his life whatever he wants it to be.

Instead, America is teaching its children that this nation is evil. Our education system is indoctrinating children with the belief that America was founded for the purpose of chattel slavery of black peoples, and to kill the indigenous peoples, and to enrich the white man beyond their wildest imagination.

This simply is not true. America’s Founding Fathers knew the evils of slavery. They wrote about it extensively. Presidents Washington and Jefferson both refused to sell their slaves – not because they were fearful of being without them, but because they knew they as white landowners were in a position to protect them and maintain their family units, which would be nearly impossible if any or all of these people had been sold into the trade market.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These were not just words on a piece of paper; this was the ideal from which a great nation was born. An imperfect nation that had to grow. An imperfect nation, within which hundreds of thousands of its own citizens would sacrifice themselves for the betterment of the nation they loved and the freedom of their fellow man, so that it might grow to become a more perfect union, wherein Liberty and Justice for all might someday become the only way of life anyone could ever know. 

“So, we've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important -- why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant.”

Reagan continued, “You know, 4 years ago on the 40th anniversary of D - Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who'd fought on Omaha Beach. Her name was Lisa Zanatta Henn, and she said, ``We will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.''

“Well, let's help her keep her word,” he said. “If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.”

It's the idea of civic ritual that’s been lost as much as or more than anything. Americans aren’t Americans like we used to be. If you had to hide under your desk for fear of the Russians dropping nukes on your school, you get a much greater sense of community than if you’re told the lie that your President is a stooge for the Russians. If you are constantly told that police are bad and that they’re out to get you, your natural reaction when interacting with police will be to recoil, and potentially act out in violence for fear of being harmed or killed by these people you’ve been taught to fear. And if you’re taught that those who happen to have success or have been born into wealth are selfish, and oppressing any chance you for success, you’re likely to resent them. And when you’re indoctrinated with the additional belief that your skin color is the reason these selfish people are holding you back…well, here we are today.

We need to work together to mend what ails us. We need the “news” media to be fair and honest, not partisan and dishonest. We need to remember the “golden rule” and treat each other as we would expect to be treated in kind. We need to not judge people on any more than their actions, and we need to be worthy of positive judgment for actions of our own.

America can still be that Shining City on a Hill. It’s up to you and me.


Monday, June 22, 2020

The Coming Insurrection


That the statute of Vladimir Lenin still stands in Seattle while they’re toppling statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln tells us all we need to know about these people NPR, CNN, and MSNBC continue to call “peaceful protesters,” even though the peaceful protesters have almost all gone home.

This isn’t about George Floyd anymore. What started as a legitimate stand against a terrible injustice has been hijacked by a leftist mob that’s been indoctrinated by the university and public education system.

What we are now witnessing is a totalitarian uprising aimed at the destruction of The United States of America.

And, the “leadership” of the Democrat party and the majority of the “mainstream media” is aiding and abetting this hostility, because they have no more love for our great history than these radicals.. heck, they’re part and parcel of the same.


I don’t know how we’re going to stop what’s happening.


Tonight I heard a report from someone I trust that the other night President Trump said it was “great watching this” about the destruction happening to some of the major cities across America. Theoretically, he said this because from a political perspective a Republican might find it beneficial to watch Democrat-run cities burned to the ground, knowing it might offer Republicans a chance to gain support in those previously hostile precincts.

But a President is supposed to be President of ALL Americans. This situation is not one to take up as a partisan issue. So if Trump said what was reported it’s a terrible thing, and one I hope he learns from.. quickly.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is a shell of a man. He can hardly complete a sentence any longer, and often appears to have no idea where he is or what he’s doing, let alone know what he believes in.

But because of this, Joe Biden the perfect Trojan Horse through which the radicals will try to install their top operative.

At this moment, given the possible candidates, this means it’s likely Kamala Harris. She’s a woman, which Biden has promised, and she’s black (not the African-American type, but more like the Jamaican/Asian type), which fits the need for those who will vote to appease their desire to “check a box” regardless the danger she poses to the nation.

During the Democrat party primary, Kamala Harris announced her desire for reparations. These are payments to black people for something they never suffered at the hands of any fellow American, but it makes an excellent talking point when pandering to people whose vote you need.

If we cannot stop this insurrection, there will be a second American Civil War.

It won’t be a war between black people and white people, or necessarily Democrats versus Republicans, at least at the “average American” level..

Instead, it will be between those who understand that America has been and continues to be the most fundamentally fair and decent nation on earth for all of its citizens, and those who wish to destroy the greatest nation the world has ever seen.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

A Brief Follow-Up To My Last Post

Since last I visited, Rich Lowry at National Review put together an excellent summary of the work involved in getting Senator Tom Cotton's Op-Ed to press at The New York Times. 

It's also noteworthy that in the aftermath of the crying by all the leftists, The Times has added an "Editor's Note" as well as put the piece behind their paywall. 

TTFN... see y'all soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Safetyism

Boy, has it been a while... 

 I've occasionally used Facebook for the purpose I should use this space for... to be not safe. I enjoy my family and friends on Facebook. And I try like the dickens not to post about controversial subjects there. But because some of them do it sometimes, amnd in turn I want them to listen to what I have to say about important issues of our time, and because coming here sometimes feels like I need to make the commitment to “being a blogger” again like I used to do… I forget, to or choose not to use, this space I created for myself to document the things I see and believe are important in the history of my life, our nation, and the world.

 So, on that note… I am back, and I am going to try to come back more often. If you like what I write, let me know… encourage me! Maybe tell a friend… maybe even drop a dime into my PayPal account over there on the right side of the page under my picture… help me retire earlier than my current course, or buy a Harley part I need, or maybe even get to the point I can leave my day job and write full time, which I admit I would thoroughly enjoy if given the chance.

 

Today I learned about a thing called "Safetyism."

Apparently it's practiced at The New York Times. According to the Twitter thread written by a lady named Bari Weiss who writes for The Times , there is a "civil war" happening inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) "wokes" and the (mostly 40+) liberals. She says it is currently raging inside other publications and companies across the country. 

As Ms. Weiss explains, the "Old Guard" lives by a set of principles we can broadly call civil libertarianism. They assumed they shared that worldview with the young people they hired who called themselves liberals and progressives. But it was an incorrect assumption.

The "New Guard" has a different worldview, in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech.

Safetyism.

 

I'm not familiar with Ms. Weiss' career, but she states that she's been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. "They told me it was a sideshow," she explains, "But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them."

She goes on to explain that she is not surprised by what has now exploded into public view. "In a way, it's oddly comforting: I feel less alone and less crazy trying to explain the dynamic to people," she says. "What I am shocked by is the speed. I thought it would take a few years, not a few weeks."


What is really interesting is how she defines it: 

"Here's one way to think about what's at stake: The New York Times motto is "all the news that's fit to print." One group (the Old Guard) emphasizes the word 'all.' The other (the New Guard), the word 'fit.'"

This all came about because of an Op-Ed written by Senator Tom Cotton, published by the Times on June 3, 2020. Cotton wrote about the potential use of The Insurrection Act, which is a legal means by which a President can use the military inside our borders to restore order when civil unrest is beyond the control of local police, or will not be dealt with by local government officials and public safety is at risk.

In his piece, Cotton creates the clear line of delineation with which any reasonable American would agree; "A majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn’t be confused with bands of miscreants."

He went on to discuss previous uses of The Insurrection Act. For instance, during the 1950s and 1960s, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson called out the military to disperse mobs that prevented school desegregation or threatened innocent lives and property. And more recently, President George H.W. Bush ordered the Army’s Seventh Infantry and 1,500 Marines to protect Los Angeles during race riots in 1992. 

The Times has since apologized for publishing the piece, because the cancel culture just will not have something out there that feels uncomfortable to them. “We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication. This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards,” said the paper’s apology, posted by a Times media reporter.

It is worth noting that The Times has published Opinion pieces in the past by such individuals as Vladimir Putin, Nicolas Maduro, and members of the Taliban, among others, with little or no pushback from its reporters.

I read Cotton's piece. It was completely civil. At no time did he make any statement that led me to believe he wished harm upon any American. 

Of course on Twitter people are making unfounded statements, such as how Cotton suggested "we should use the military to gun down protestors," and how Cotton is "Apolitician inciting racial hatred and state violence against its citizens" and "should not be given a platform like NYT to do so."

Here is the Cotton piece, in case you're interested in reading for yourself.

 

We are at a tipping point in America. Right has become wrong, and truth no longer matters. What feels good is becoming more important that what is, because truth is sometimes scary. And people who cannot deal with truth, or something that offends their personal senses, scream at the top of their lungs until the bad thing is taken away by the adults, who just can't take the childishness of the screaming anymore.

There is no doubt an injustice was done to George Floyd. George Floyd's killing was an act of pure evil.

Sadly, now, because of the mob violence that is taking place in the wake of that killing, injustices have also been done to a number of police officers, including but not limitedto David Dorn. Chief Dorn was shot on Martin Luther King Drive in St. Louis, Missouri, while trying to protect a business owned by a friend. His assassination was broadcast live on Facebook for all the world to see.

Chief Dorn was the father of five, and the grandfather of ten. By all accounts he was an upstanding citizen.

I'll bet celebrities won't be donating thousands or millions of dollars to Chief Dorn's Go Fund Me account, even though Chief Dorn was a Black man just as was George Floyd. I'll bet Al Sharpton won't be running to speak at his funeral. That's if he's given a funeral at all, what with the Chinese Wuhan Virus being such a thing still, unless you're rioting that is... 

Sadly, about a dozen civilians have now also been killed during the mob riots that are being fueled by commentators on CNN and MSNBC, because as Chris Cuomo said, "show me where it says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful?"

Mr. Cuomo should check the language of The First Amendment, which is the very same amendment that protects his right to throw rhetorical bombs at Americans and our values on a nightly basis.

Thanks for visiting... I always welcome comments, or come say hi to me on Twitter.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Alone

A long time ago, here in this little corner of cyberspace I share with you, I spoke about one of the most amazing bands I’ve ever had the privilege to have met; King’s X. 

I really didn’t speak of them so much… in hindsight I would say I wrote a biography and added a small personal note at the end.  That personal note was about having met the guys… but to read myself now, I realize I wasn’t really telling the story.

On June 6, 1992, Jerry Gaskill, Doug Pinnick, and Ty Tabor played a show in Cleveland, Ohio at a venue called The Empire. It was a somewhat narrow and long space, so you were either in the crowd or you were sitting at the bar with a little more breathing room.

By the time the band was taking the stage, my friends and I had made our way within the first five rows of eager fans, which spanned all of about ten people wide. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t get our ears blasted out, and I’d be lying even more if I said it wasn’t worth it. King’s X came to play that night, and we were all witnesses. 

As it turns out they were recording that night, and it was the show that the band deemed worthy of their first live release.

As is true with many “smaller” bands, King’s X is known to take a brief reprieve after their show and then spend all the time it takes to share some time with anyone who wishes to say hello. Most bands I follow are great enough to deserve huge recognition, and yet they’re consistently humbler than most “regular” people I’ve ever met. They all seem to enjoy meeting their fans and treating them more as friends. I’ve already started talking about Lincoln Durham and Patrick Sweany, and soon I’ll be telling a story about getting to know The Steepwater Band…

But in the meantime; King’s X.

As Doug and I shook hands and began to talk, he complimented the necklace I was wearing. It was a simple little thing… five chimes hanging from a rope necklace, tied there by fishing line. I had bought that necklace at my one and only Grateful Dead show. I attended this Dead show with my great friend… the first person I met when we moved to Cleveland in 1978, who’d pretty much been my best friend all through my high school days.

And so I offered my necklace to this man I had just met. I did so because he liked it, and because he had just inspired me to find my better self, although I may not have completely understood that in the moment. He refused, but I insisted. We went back and forth a few times, until finally I took the necklace off and leaned over to place it over his head.

Doug told me I would see that necklace again someday. 


In the cover photography for their next album, Dogman, I was amazed to see that Doug was wearing my necklace. It was a most amazing gesture.

Over time I really started missing that necklace. It wasn’t the idea that I gave it away; it was the feeling it had given me when I wore it. 

At that time in my life, I was living a very casual lifestyle. I was managing pizza shops and finding my way up the ladder in the service industry. Working in restaurants, especially the privately owned higher ticket places, employees are often encouraged to “let their freak flag fly,” if you will. Personalities that can entertain at a variety of levels make great bartenders and servers, and I was quite a personality back in the day.

And while never devout in religion, I’ve always been spiritual; always seeking a greater understanding how periods of turbulence and harmony affect my soul. The chimes touched that part of me, and without them I felt a loss of sorts.

So, I talked to friends, family, coworkers…  anyone who would listen, probably… and I asked them to please watch for the pieces… even just the little chimes… maybe in a craft store. I figured if I could put together the pieces I could try to make my own, else ask for help from someone close with craft skills beyond mine.

A couple of years later, for my birthday I believe, my parents gave me the most amazing gift. During their travels they’d found a chime necklace… different yet similar… and so perfect. I’m forever grateful for so much more, but that necklace says everything I will ever need to know about my parents. I am truly blessed.

I still have that wonderful gift my parents gave me. I’ve grown into a new life, with a job in an office environment where a certain level of decorum is the responsible thing to do, and a 50ish year old man wearing chimes isn’t quite within those guidelines.  

And so I don’t wear it every day, but I still love it just as much today as the day they gave it to me. I do wear it whenever I’m out riding my Harley, or any time I go to a show… doing the things that make me who I am… that make me feel free. And every time I lift that necklace around my neck, that feeling comes right back. Harmony.

I just told my friend this story the other night… my old dear friend from high school… and in the process I realized it was he who took me to that fateful Grateful Dead show.

He had never heard the story about the fate of the necklace. Truth be told, I don’t think he remembered the necklace at all, or maybe even that we had seen The Grateful Dead together. But that’s okay… whether he remembered any of that between then and now never mattered.

It’s the fact that we can talk about it today, now that amazing circumstance has rekindled our friendship. We had lost touch for a while. My move to Arizona was at a critical time in both our lives, and we had things we had to do that broke the focus of an everyday friendship.  But thanks to classmates and Facebook, we’ve seemingly picked up at just the right level… for a couple of guys who have led uniquely different lives, all the while understanding that very fact as an integral part of why we are great friends.

As I’ve documented here in times past, I have been through a lot of self-inflicted and circumstantial drama since my move to Arizona. This includes but is not limited to a five-year addiction to methamphetamine.  It’s been one heck of a life. 

But I’m 11-years clean now from the thing that almost killed me, and I know I am a better man for all my life’s experiences.

The night we met, my (now ex) wife and I discussed moving to either Phoenix or Tampa. I’m here, she’s not.

Interestingly, the same friend from Cleveland who introduced me to King's X and encouraged me to go to the Empire show on that hot and humid June night, had somewhere along the way moved to Phoenix. It’s also worth noting that this same friend was the first person to break my trust here in my new home in the desert southwest. I was unaware of exactly how addicted to alcohol my friend was, and how that addiction was causing his life to spiral out of control.

As Memorial Day Weekend approached in 2000, this friend offered my wife and I the opportunity to stay at his place and enjoy a vacation in the city that might become our new home. 

She told me to go have fun, but that she wasn’t interested in going to Phoenix for the weekend, or maybe at all.

Her family life changed in the months leading up to our divorce. Her parents were moving to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, and her sister was having a child… the first grandchild in the family. What had once been a promise to venture across the country in search of an amazing new life together, became her need to stay rooted in the Great Lakes region. I couldn’t stay, and she wouldn’t leave.

Devastated, I made my way to Arizona on my own.

Within the first three weeks I lived in that loft in Mesa, my friend told me he was two months behind on rent and we were being evicted. Of course, I was a friend… so I trusted him when he suggested we move to the central corridor of Phoenix, north of downtown. He convinced me there would be more and better opportunities in that part of town, and that we just needed to stick together.

On a beautiful day in late May 2001, just a couple of months after my friend and I had made that move that was supposed to bring better opportunities, I was out riding my mountain bike.

I’d been out for about an hour and was ready to head home, but before I wrapped the ride I decided to huff it up a street on the side of a mountain to look at what appeared to be an amazing house. I accomplished my goal and saw that house, so with my adrenalin surging and sweat beading on my brow, I turned around and began to ride back down the hill. 

As I was headed downhill, gaining speed and momentum, a van facing the opposite direction pulled away from the curb. I’ll never know if they were going to cut across my path, but in the split second I saw them and reacted, that’s what I believed.

Unfortunately, that reaction led me to lock my brakes.

When my front brake locked I went flying over the handle bars. At the time I wasn’t wearing a helmet or gloves, and I’d just taken off my shirt. With both arms trying to extend to stop the impact, I plowed into the blacktop with my left shoulder and the left side of my face and head.

There was an ambulance ride, and I spent a couple of nights in ICU for the concussion. In addition to the road rash on my shoulder and face, I had breaks in both my arms and had torn off half of my left earlobe. Thank God for an excellent plastic surgeon.

Apparently, this was just a little too much for my alcoholic friend. Once I was released from the hospital, he informed me that he couldn’t “take care of” me, and that he had to leave. I of course didn’t understand what he was talking about, as taking care of me was my responsibility. But that was that, and he bailed… leaving me with a rather expensive 3-bedroom apartment to handle on my own.

I had to break the lease and move to a place I could afford. I was not able to work for about six weeks, but I did have employment waiting for me upon my healing.

I got myself better and got to work… and in the process met I met evil. 

I’m sure it wasn’t her intention to be what I perceive her to be, but the girl who called herself “Vivacious Vicki” was, in my world, the devil incarnate. She was an addict, although I didn’t know it at the time. You never know, until it’s too late. And then you’re an addict too.

There are too many sordid stories to tell here and now, but as things were at their worst, blessings finally came my way.

Five years of tearing my life apart at the hands of the devil eventually led to the good fortune of meeting a better person, who helped me reconnect with my parents and find my way back to myself. The power of my parents’ respect was enough to make me understand what I had become, and what I had to do.

So I took a 5-day assignment through a temp agency. I started that job on Monday, October 2, 2006. I relapsed in February 2007 for one weekend, but never again.

I still work for that same company today.

I truly believe life has moments of turbulence and moments of harmonious glory, and that the wonder of life is learning to navigate those highs and lows without losing yourself in between. I’ve learned about the lows in a way many never will, and I have certainly been blessed with some highs I’ll never forget.

I have chosen to make my home a place that is two thousand miles away from everyone I love most in this world. But I am blessed to be loved by amazing people who never let me forget who I am, and I know amazing sources of inspiration… friends to me in their own unique way… who remind me that no one should ever be made to feel alone.

Tomorrow night, April 20, 2018, I will have the amazing fortune of coming full circle over an extremely monumental period in my life, as I am going to see King’s X for the first time since that night in Cleveland. What a long, strange trip it’s been.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

People Of The Land


Citing “The Crisis in Syria," President Trump announced today that he was not traveling to South America as had been planned. Vice-President Pence will travel in his stead. I had so hoped he wouldn't do a damned thing about Syria, but instead take care of America. It's what he campaigned on, after all, and it seems The Swamp sure wants another war in The Middle East... 

Also today, Mark Zuckerberg gave America it's very own collective #MeToo moment. It seems we have all been his bitch. 


Yesterday on CNN, Jake Tapper cut away from Ambassador Nikki Hayley testifying at The United Nations about matters that could lead our nation into a war in Syria. What he went to was “Breaking News” that was indirectly related to the Stormy Daniels situation, which is apparently the chosen battlefield of "The Most Trusted Name In News."

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Daniels, she’s the porn star who allegedly let the current President grab her by the... or something, back when he was a rich playboy... 2006 or something. I understand he was married, and that sucks. I've not been a saint so I'm not one to judge... but it does help define the man, and that's important in politics. at least we would like to think, since the era of FDR and JFK, Slick Willie... the story of Obama doing cocaine and whatever... I mean heck, our Founders had babies with Slaves. Nobody's perfect... at least none of us.  

My point is that we all knew he was a pig. And yet enough of us either wanted him because of some campaign promise, or we held our nose to protect America from Hillary, or we're deplorable raaaaacists... so here we are.

It’s possible that someday we might learn someday whether Donald J. Trump is the maniacal despot many believe. 

Or perhaps Robert Mueller is just going to keep on digging through Trump’s garbage cans, making a mockery of America. I’ve honestly wondered if this whole thing isn’t some sort of Clinton payback… especially now that we’ve learned Facebook has been working with Mueller?


I’ve honestly not been watching the Stormy Chasers as closely as I have the attacks on our Second and First Amendment by children, who are being supported by major leftist lobbying groups.


I’m also watching as an amazing number of corporations are being bullied into submission by partisan leftists acting as economic terrorists. These people are so hell-bent on destroying any of the foundation remaining under this great nation that they’ll sacrifice damned near anything. I’m wondering how long it will be until Starbuck’s is a corporate sponsor of the wrong cause du jour…

Those kids went through Hell, for sure. Our schools should be safer, for sure. But law-abiding Americans should not lose their rights because of the actions of a few outliers. Fact is that if you don’t own a gun whenever the shit goes down, you might want to know a guy or gal who thinks like me. We are freedom’s safest place. 


America is the Land of Liberty, and Liberty is not a safe space. The government can't protect everyone all the time, as has been proven by events like the shooting in Parkland, where the authorities were called to the shooter’s house 39 times yet failed to accept what was right in front of them.

 Oh, and September 11th, 2001. Another day we weren’t quite ready for. There’s a #NotOneMore moment in American history if there ever was such a thing.


Our Founding Fathers left us the promise of being able to protect ourselves. Whether from each other, or from The Swamp, or an invader from another land meaning to do us harm... The Second Amendment is meant to protect Liberty. The thing is to do it responsibly, with respect for everyone else's rights, whatever you may think.

This past weekend I rode my Harley a little, got a mountain bike ride in, chilled with my “kids.” I stayed away from the drama of The Swamp and had a good weekend of personal growth. I need more of that.

But I’ve learned that I also need to know what’s going on in The Swamp.

It seems like every day there’s something new. People moving out, people moving in. Why? Because of the color of their skin. People love it when you lose. They love dirty laundry… Run, run, run, but you just can’t hide. Just leave well enough alone, eat your dirty laundry…


The thing is, there’s a fine line between right and wrong. Right now, I think the hard left and the hard right are simultaneously correct and incorrect about a number of issues. What we all have in common is our disdain for the people who we believe have been gaining the system at our expense. Where we differ is more difficult, but I think the more we talk the more we find we understand each other. And that’s the key.


I’m a simple man who lives a simple life. I am a twice divorced, white, 51-year old man living in the “Wild West” out here in Arizona.. a "Deplorable" if there ever was one. Out here we still see people carrying a gun occasionally without losing our collective minds. Most of us believe in the individual first and foremost, while still respecting and appreciating the collective. 

I believe in Liberty, which means letting the other guy live his life responsibly, provided he’s not interfering with yours. I’m a staunch defender of The Bill of Rights, many of which I believe are being trampled upon by The Swamp, a.k.a. Washington, D. C. I used to call it The District of Criminals, or The District for short.

Swamp is perfect to begin a sentence, I don’t even have to use my shift button... but I digress...   

I plan to start writing more about a great many issues. There are some issues about which I think the right-wing could use some understanding, or open-mindedness, or both… and some where those truly in search of progress need to slow down… maybe learn a little something from history before they go making all this change we necessarily need as much as they think.

But for now I leave you with a little song called “People Of The Land,” written and performed by a cool cat named Lincoln Durham. Lincoln brings influences from amazing places and people in the history of music to my world. I hope you enjoy.









Sunday, April 8, 2018

Tiger Pride

The last time I saw Patrick Sweany perform was last October. I was in the midlle of a stretch where I enjoyed four amazing shows over about a 2-month period by some of the most amazing musicians of our time (Tab Benoit, The Steepwater Band twice, and Sweany). It also happened to be Sweany’s last night of touring in support of “Daytime Turned to Nighttime,” his seventh album.
Rather than taking an exit and making the crowd cheer for an encore, he had fun with the crowd, joking about how they (the band) might otherwise be standing outside the stage door of The Rhythm Room (in a very confined space) and “make you beg for the songs you want to hear.”

“Value Added,” he said. Funny, I use that phrase a lot…

As he continued having fun playing with the crowd, he broke into the story of being a kid from from Massillon, Ohio. “In high school, I was a 152 pound.. tackle” he joked.
So instead of getting his butt kicked on the football field, he picked up the guitar. 

“Tiger Pride” is a fun blues number that feels really close to home. It’s Patrick Sweany’s ode to his hometown. It took him until his seventh album to write it… or at least to put it on record… because sometimes it takes some of us just a little longer to recognize just how good we really had it growing up, or in that place in life, that relationship... job... or whatever it is… and how important it is to keep showing respect to those who made us who we are today.