Dead To Writes

eulogy
Beginning With My End In Mind.

I’m writing a eulogy for someone. It’s a person I know inside out, that’s been there for me through thick and thin. Someone I’ve known my entire life. Me. After all, I was there when I traveled down that birth canal without a paddle, I was there when the doc smacked my ass, and I’ve been with me ever since. Obviously I’m not dead yet, but I’ve been to too many funerals and heard too many eulogies to know that without my assistance in memorializing me it would lack the humor, conviviality, and sarcasm my last formal spoken memory should encompass. I don’t want my wife or my kids to struggle over what I would want said so I’m taking out the guesswork.
When I say I’m writing it sounds like I recently started it but the truth is its been a project now for a few years. I keep putting it on the back burner and tell myself “No worries, you have plenty of time.” Hope I’m right because I love writing and I’m not ready to stop. I still have way to many things to say. Ergo I write. I’ve got tons of other projects in the works. I’ve done quite a lot of writing over the years. I wrote poems, most of which suck, a song or two, also sucky, as well as a number of short stories. I’d like to write a few more before my best used by date. I’ve been working on a novel on and off that so far has taken up more than three years of my life. But fuck it at least I’ve settled on the title. Of course nothing is certain except taxes and de…….Nevermind! It’s the third title actually but I really like this one. And as of now only two or five chapters have been re-writes and I am relatively certain of its direction.. So between being the foremost authority on me combined with my love of writing, it only makes sense that I should write my own eulogy. In fact, I highly recommend it everyone but get started soon because its not as easy as it seems.
The first problem a writer encounters during their own eulogy is that dreaded re-write. Nothing is ever perfect. First I just change a word, then I change a sentence, and before I know it I’ve said fuck it and erased the whole thing just to start over. I have my strong finish, and my cheery opening, and know most of what I want to include so I just need to settle on the finality. As I was writing it I struggled with what my format should be.
After a number of musings and a fair amount of wine I finally settled on a basic format. The first paragraph should be about what I don’t want. I don’t want anyone to mention god in any way shape or form. I respect others faiths but I’m the dead one here so I call no mentioning god. Check that, god can be mentioned if its like “Oh my fuckin god he was a pisser“, or “god damn he was funny” or “oh god don’t stop, oh god yes,yes,yes” anything along those lines is permissible. Maybe the last one should be in the privacy of your own whereever. Also I don’t want anyone to say to my family that I’m with god now. If I’m wrong about the whole heaven and hell thing I’ll be taking the elevator to the basement anyway. That doesn’t mean you should tell them “It’s okay, he’s with Lucifer now” either. And by all means stay away from the clichés. “I’m sorry for your loss” sounds like something Mr. and Mrs. Hallmark says to their grieving loved ones. Just share memories and remember the good times. I’m not really going anywhere I just made it to the next level.
Also, I don’t want anyone reciting religious scriptures or saying prayer over me, especially a stranger. You want to pray do that shit on your own in silence. And pray for yourself not for me, I don’t want any prayers. I’m an existentialist, we don’t pray we think. So meditate, its my funeral and I’ll have it the way I want. Seriously guys it’s the most important day of my death so cut me some slack. Here’s what I want everyone to do. Laugh, tell jokes and funny stories, get drunk, sneak out and smoke a joint, do whatever you need to do to make it fun. Thats what I want, a fun funeral like Chuckles the clown got. I want people to say “Damn I wish he was alive so he could die again. What a great time I had. This was the best funeral I’ve ever been to.” That shit would please me to no end. Maybe even make a dead man smile. And please don’t worry about making me blush I have no circulation.
The next stipulation was to honor me as my life was. I ask for a mug of beer. The good shit too, not that crap beer flavored water, but a good craft brew. It’s not like you need to buy it for me ever again. Next to that a shot of vodka, preferably Grey Goose. Leave them at a table as if I were sitting there and then have a party. My son will toast me adios ghost by downing the vodka at the end of the night. No sense in wasting good vodka!
The final stipulation was choosing a good play list. I may be dead but that’s no reason I should be subjected to crap music. No disco, no opera, no hymns. Good music, party music, maybe a tribute to the different decades. Ones with a good beat that you can dance to. I made a list of all my favorite tunes and even chose a few lines of lyrics to highlight that meant something to me. I don’t want my dead spirit to rest in peace I want it to Rock In Peace!
As far as what’s done to my remains, here’s where it gets a bit dodgy. Realistically whoever gets left behind should choose what to do with the physical remains cuz they’ll be dealing with them, I’m moving on sans remains. If it were up to me I actually have two choices. One to be put into a compost somewhere so I can continue to enrich the earth. A sort of true eternity, always contributing life back somewhere. But as I understand it that’s complicated. The second wish is that whatever is left, be it bone or ash, be buried under a dance floor at a popular club. How cool would it be to have thousands of people dancing on my grave?
By far the writing of the eulogy is what was the most difficult. I had to write it with humor, candor, and a degree of sensitivity. As much as I’m writing it for myself, my family will hear it as well so its probably not the best time to let out any secrets. But it will give me an opportunity to let everyone know I don’t regret dying, I had a wonderful life. Hard as it may be I’d prefer people be happy for me. It’s the loved ones left back on earth that need consoling, not me. I’m the lucky one, I’ve gone to those proverbial greener pastures.
I believe I am about three quarters done with it but as some of you may know once I get started I sometimes become long winded. Sometimes I just go on an on and on about this and that until….never mind. I’ll just say its close to being done. I’m trying to so as much of the event planning as possible. I‘m a really good cook and I wish I could do the cooking but that would be way too creepy. The party is almost there. I’ll tell you one thing having almost completed the written segment of my passing has been quite liberating. I feel like once I finish this eulogy I’ll be ready to move on, to go wherever it is I go, to say good by sweet world. In fact I know I’ll be ready to take the next step. Bring on the closure! ………..Then again, maybe I’ll put it on the back burner just a little longer………….PEACE

The Copperfield Christ

Forward

Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Antichrist, Fallen Angel, Prince of Darkness, Ozzie Osborne, whatever name he goes by he is the devilish serpent in charge of all things evil. Satan is one bad ass Samuel Jackson. He’s the Mothah of all fuckahs and he will strike down upon thee with GREAT vengeance. Essentially Satan is the dark angel of everything fun. Wait! I mean evil, yea that’s it, evil! Satan wants us doing nothing but eating forbidden fruits all day and night. But not God! Oh no, God is good God is great. He’s our lord god in heaven. Blessed are the meek, the lord is my shepherd I shall not want. This is the sort of crap I was taught as a kid anyway, before I uncovered Godgate, The great god Swindle. It’s a scandal of biblical proportions making Noah’s soggy story more like a three hour tour ending up on an uncharted dessert isle. The truth took some serious feather ruffling and that don’t fly with me. It started before the birth of Jesus and continued until the truth became so blurry they should give Claritin instead of wafers at communion. How did I get there?
Like most kids I was raised to believe unconditionally and to never question authority. Besides questioning why was unfulfilling and always ended up in the same old cul e sac. “Because I said so!” Please that’s the best you got? WTF? There isn’t a Vulcan worth their pointed ears that could find a nano sliver of logic in this ridiculous answer! Fascinating! Seriously, it has no empirical value and is tediously rhetoric. It’s an answer that defied challenge for one reason. I was unable to respond it because “that’s just the way it is and I could like it or lump it.” It‘s the law! I grew up I learned a lot about laws. How to bend, break, twist, and get around them. I also learned that not obeying laws can have consequences. Bad consequences, like incarceration or fines. Then one day I heard someone mistakenly say, “Laws are made to be broken.” Epiphany.
I wondered why laws were created in the first place? Laws of the people and for the people to keep the “authorities” in control. Laws were made after someone did something authorities didn’t like. Yea,yea, I hear you, laws are the framework of a civilized society, to protect people from those who may take advantage of others and shit. But who is making those laws and more disconcerting who is making sure the laws are being followed by the ones who made them? Laws by nature are bathed in hypocrisy. It’s illegal to steal from another human being, but its okay for some humans to steal gestating babies from chickens. Stealing eggs and selling them is okay. A stretch I agree, but fundamentally we allow some humans to make money stealing from animals, capturing them and raising them for anything from shoes to coats to dinner or to lab experiments. That however is a different fight. My focus today are laws.
There’s a mysterious group of humans known only to us as “They.” They say it may rain, they say you only live once, they say you can’t take it with you, they care about you, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. “They” are in charge, and “They” make the laws. They make them because we don’t know how to live life fairly. They decide what the proper punishment should be for our crimes. They do this for our own good. They sound so…..parental!
I was born with a rebel spirit and I had a problem with authority from the start. When Mom told me alcohol was bad I started drinking, when she told me marijuana would lead to heroin I smoked pot, when she told me masturbating would make me go blind I…….. lets just say I have first hand experience in the art of self autoeroticism and I still have 20/20 vision. Rebel spirit caused me to question everything. EVERYTHING! Mom forced me to attend Sunday School, and one day I was cutting out with a friend to smoke cigarettes behind some trees. We got to talking about all the fun we were missing out on and it came around to old Lucifer. Why is Satan portrayed as evil and horrible if he insists we do things that make us feel good? Satan encourages sex and god forbids it if his conditions are not met. Unmarried sex is forbidden. Sex between members of the same sex is forbidden. Why would God make sex feel so fucking good and then forbid us to do it how we like? Not having sex can make horny teen boys unpredictable and stress them out making them violent. What’s the point of dangling a carrot (phallic symbol alert) in front of the horses mouth? Why make it a sin to do things that feel so good. The big guy talked to Moses disguised as a burning bush (another symbol alert). Then he laid down some laws. A few were more common sense than laws like don’t steal or kill people, but others a tad vague. I’m not allowed to covet my neighbors wife. I didn’t even know what covet meant, I had to look it up. If he doesn’t want us desiring why does he make us all so damn sexually attractive? He made flowers with their organs hanging all out in the open and has us staring at their gonads saying, “Oh how pretty” and even sticking our noses right into their floral sex canals to breath in the sweet aroma of desire. We can covet the hell out of flowers, but don’t gat caught looking at your neighbors cleavage, that’s a sin!. My favorite law is no worshipping images. Oh, like the cross? Statues, busts, paintings, rosaries, all sorts of ways to pay homage via an image. Today there isn’t a Christian alive that doesn’t worship some company logo! (No coincidence the leading iLogo is Apple) So I’m not buying into these laws, or “commandments” that are being force-fed to us through religion. That’s why I started the investigation in the first place. Unfair laws.
I don’t mean to take his name in vain but God damn they made a lot of laws back in the century! And God has us jumping through hoops still today. He makes us pray, assemble in buildings on the day of his choice, and makes us get all dressed up just to listen to how bad we are. Then he makes us give money to the dude that just read us the riot acts. He makes us sit on wooden benches til our asses have cheek bruises plus we gotta kneel down before him. First he makes us pray, then he makes us look like fools by singing songs we really don’t like or fully understand. “Ave Maria!”, “He walks with me and he talks with me“, “Nearer my god to thee“, “The rugged cross“, all such repetitive songs. Who wrote these hymns the Dr. Seuss of Christianity? “Onward Christian soldiers“….Hey! Wait a minute, whaddaya mean soldiers? Is god indoctrinating us to fight a crusading war? Or maybe, just maybe it’s a ploy by god to make us look like jerks sinning silly songs sans karaoke. Maybe god’s pranking us with all those laws! Otherwise why would we follow him and obey all his rules without raising a question. Because he said so?! Oh I get it, god is a Mom!
I can’t except not asking questions. Questions are the main reason I began this investigation in the first place. I wanted to find out who God was and who Satan was, and how the Bible came to be the defining word on humanity. My investigation took me back to the fourth century and I uncovered secrets that have been kept for thousands of years. Are we worshipping the right entity or was there a major switcheroo and ultimate coupe de gras? One thing is for sure, the struggle for power today has deep roots that go way back. You’ve heard the stories “They” want you to hear, now hear the stories that have been buried, and the people that were killed just for talking the truth in caverns, taverns, and campfires throughout the Middle East. Read carefully and choose what you believe wisely. The truth may not set you free it just may scare the Hell out of you!. Or into you.

Writing The Great American Cupcake

Butcher, Baker, Story Maker

I am a chef by profession, a baker by accident, and perusing my original passion by choice. Before its too late. That means writing, using words to formulate artistic expression from the rambling thoughts that burn within this cranium. Or hippocampus or whichever part of the brain deals with the mysterious and unexplainable mental explosions.
I first got into cooking as a way to make money. I was 16 and already a rebel spirit who didn’t fully understand that knowledge was power. It wasn’t easy knowing everything but it was a chore I took on gleefully, making sure everyone knew how clever I was using my biting sarcasm. I had a decent job in a restaurant and knew I could do it all on my own and had no need extended education. Besides, I needed beer money, weed money, money to entertain lady friends, and money to save for a better ride. A beat up VW was cool for smoking pot with the guys but not much of a chick magnet. With only my beetle to cruise for love with I had to rely on my unyielding charm in order to get laid. Fate introduced me to a free-spirited hippie chick and then began its legendary twisting. Hence life snuck up on me and I found myself with a pregnant girlfriend. Ever the idealist I did the honorable thing and got married. We gave it our best go but it meant trading in my dream of writing the worlds hippest novel to a attending cooking school so I could raise a family. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today, that’s just a situation that took me off the course of chasing what I wanted, to become a writer. Missed opportunities but WTF.
I’m still cooking for a living. I did do some butchering, I worked at a number of high end New York City Restaurants, and food became my focus and my passion. The years pealed by and I became better and better at cooking, and more and more knowledgeable about food. It sidelined my passions until now. So this tiny segment of the writing world is where I am, and as small as my audience is they are faithful and encouraging. I was fortunate to have trained under a French chef who was young, passionate about food, and very cutting edge. He taught me technique, dexterity, and how to convert my pent up creative energy into food. He showed me that cooking can be more than just a job, it can be a creative outlet. That’s when I realized that writing is not so different that cooking. They both involve all the senses, as a chef I need you to enjoy the smells, textures, and tastes, and I need to make you see the beauty in my presentations and hear the sounds of what eating good food brings forth. Proper cooking is performance art. A writer needs to make you feel the same things without any props, with only words. We can’t use color, texture, aroma, taste or sound, we have to make the reader sense them, believe that they are right there.
That when I thought about this experiment. To describe the parallels between writing and cooking as it relates to science and art. Since cupcakes are what have become my marked territory these days, I’m writing the great American cupcake.
The first thing I do is conceive the composition of my cupcake. What the main flavor, where will I start it and how will I get to the end. So I don’t know what my finished product will be, but I know where to start. Once begun the cupcake will write itself. So I gather the basic elements of the story and place them all in a mixing bowl. Once in the bowl they blend together and begin to take shape. I have the basic start, the batter. Chapter 1.
Now I know what the cupcake will be about and its time to fill in the events. I need to follow some structure so the batter is symmetrical and forms in a manner consistent with the rest of the finished cupcake. If I baked the ingredients before mixing, the storyline of the cupcake wouldn’t make sense. It needs to have integrity. I choose what size pan and fill the batter in. Now its time to place it in the oven and let things begin baking. But at what temperature? That decision creates the first conflict the cupcake faces as the true story takes shape.
After the conflicts have percolated enough and resolutions have been achieved the cupcake comes out of the oven. I have my base and I set up the standards to follow. The look, smell, and taste of the story will remain consistent from here but I must add some more flavor and juicy situations, and of course some more conflicts. My brain has been working overtime, so now I need to decompress a bit. I let the story cool and I get drunk. Not because I want to, but because my art is so important to me I need to suffer. Hangover, here I come.
A good three bottles of wine and restless sleep has worked wonders for my cupcake bakers block. Idea’s course through my head while I’m in the shower. Why always in the shower?? I get my best ideas when I’m wet, naked, and without paper or pen nearby. My wife merely shakes her head as I run dripping wet from the shower to the desk to try and commit the recipe to paper. She suggests a small tape recorder but my problem is I’m old school, and my creativity runs through my fingers. Besides, I hate the sound of my own voice, it makes me sound so dorky.
At any rate the pounding of hot water on my body shook loose a new cupcake plot twist. A pomegranate and plum custard filling! A cupcake love triangle, which always interests the reader! So be it, the very second I arrive at the bakery I take out my keyboard and begin to prepare the tasty custard, with its silky rich texture. Once it becomes cool enough I inject all that drama into the center of the story. Now the cupcake continues to write itself and takes shape. But this is the tedious part, filling in all the cracks. Maybe I should go back and rewrite part of the cupcake, I sense that something about it just isn’t perfect. I struggle with the cupcake for days and finally decide to keep going to the end when I will edit the whole thing.
Now for the icing on the cake. (that wasn’t an analogy, its time to ice the cupcake) I won’t say the icing is the most important part of the story, but it has to have a powerful statement, and have the consumer understand how the entire cupcake came to this point. It needs to leave a lasting impression. Maybe even set it up for a cupcake sequel.
The finish has to have everything. The look, the feel, the taste, and a sense of continuity leaving the one eating it with a sense of closure. After ingesting the tastes the reader has vested so much personal time in its impotents to reward them with a strong finish, the story should leave a good taste in the readers mouth and hopefully such a good taste they will think about the baker next trip to the bookstore.
I guess what I’m really saying here is directed to the young written (or typed) word expressionists here. Never quit, never give up. If you have to take on a job to live do it, but continue to write in your spare time. All your work is worthy, don’t toss any away. Even when you get pissed at what you wrote and in a fit of self deprecation decree your work unworthy don’t. Put it aside, pour a vodka, light a joint, meditate, so whatever calms you down and chill. Rest the brain waves for a while. I have a few notebooks of written emotion that have been discarded and sent to a senseless death. Keep writing, keep dreaming, keep believing. A cupcake will go stale but a great idea will last forever if you put it into words…..PEACE

There Is Nothing Like A Grateful Dead Concert

dead
Rock Is The Dead
Standing about five rows back in front of the stage at The Nassau Coliseum. Small talk abounds and the loud crackling stereo system cranks out some generic rock tunes. The roadies spend about twenty minutes setting up but it seem more like an hour. No matter, the time has come. The lights are dimming and the band is about to take their places on stage. Mostly everyone begins making bets on what they’re gonna open with as the stage gets pitch dark. The hum of the crowd builds as it gets closer and closer to go time. Bill and Mickey tap out a few drum rolls as they position themselves at their drum kit thrones. Keith is at his piano which has a steal your face skull flag draped over it. Donna can be seen walking on stage and Phil is back by the speakers. Bob and Jerry’s silhouettes walk on stage and we are ready! Most of the time after the first five notes everyone knows what the boys are going to play. Tonight was no exception and they opened up with a rousing cover of Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land”. The music has already lifte our souls into a new dimension. So good we don’t even need drug to feel high, but of course we consumed so much by now our brain waves are stumbling around. From that they sear right into one of my favorite Dead tunes, Sugaree, and Jerry was smoking tonight. I don’t mean he was smoking pot although we all assumed he was, it’s a term for when Jerry was especially on fire. Jerry plays improvisational tripping music and no song is ever exactly the same. Tonight he had a sort of Spanish sounding twist to his playing but the notes were uper crisp and clear and you can feel the notes bending.. The trademark of all Grateful Dead shows is when Garcia begins strumming his improv jam and he goes off into space. As he plays a cosmic snowflake of sound erupts into an iceberg of joyful soul tickling music. Jerry’s playing is like a super melodic interpretation of Jimi Hendrix. If a kaleidoscope could make noise it would sound like what flows from Jerry’s amplifiers. His strings hypnotize and separate our mind from our bodies. Lift and separate, not just a Playtex claim, a mindfuck reality at a Dead show. Some of the jams were so long and spacey you completely forget what song you’re listening to until they went back in to finish it. Sometimes they would even change to a different song in the middle, trance off into space and then finish that song before returning to the original one. It was like being on a musical roller coaster, full of surprise turns, dips, and so many tempo changes you could loose your equilibrium in a flash. Jesus shit man, this is it. This is what its all about, rock and roll at its ultimate. The mind altering effects of the Orange Sunshine are accentuated by the music. The trip peaks as stacks of big ass speakers, gigantic stereo amplifiers, blare music so loud I can feel the hammer and anvil shake loose in my middle ear. The music coming from those amps create an almost demonic possession that sucks up your essence and takes you over the top. Fuck the exorcism I don’t ever want this feeling expelled from my body I want it to enslave and possess my soul forever. Carrie, Ken, Sue and I did not utter a word during the show but gave hand signals indicating how un-fucking-believable it was. Jesus shit man, we’ve got the music, the hallucinations, the dulled senses bordering on numbness, the feeling of love and togetherness. There really is nothing quite like it anywhere. Thousands of people concentrating the collective consciences on one very powerful wave length of unity. When we are tripping, listening to live rock and roll, and we are mere droplets in a massive sea of love. We understand the concept of nirvana, the oneness of existence, and the music helps us transcend all the dimensions we know of and opens our ears and eyes to new ones. The universe is in perfect balance inside this concert hall and it is filled with love, and peace, and a sense of completion. It is filled with rock and roll. I mean it is all about the music, but not just music alone. It is everything that goes along for the ride. The best part of it is that it has just begun.
The show continues with “Birdsong, Mexicali Blues, They Love Each Other, Jack Straw, Stella Blue, Big River and Casey Jones, each tune whipping us into a deeper frenzy than the one before it. Beach balls take to the sky and bounce around in endless search of destiny. Bob Weir walks up to the microphone and announces that they are gonna take a short break, and the lights come on. Our minds are humming and our ears are ringing as our min and bodies dance freely.
The entire Hall is alive with the buzzing of thousands of ecstatic bees engaged in small conversations, nobody aware of how loud we are speaking because our ears have a dull but constant ringing. We don’t even notice. Now The four of us can talk, and most of the conversation centers on what we had just experienced. Carries favorite was Stella Blue, Sues was They Love Each Other, and Kens, no surprise to me, loved Mexicali Blues the best. I prattled on and on about Sugaree of course, but the talk was all about the show. The lights, the Grateful Dead skeletons, the songs, whatever it was it concerned something we had just seen and/or heard. “He whose true spirit dwells in that of a Grateful Dead Concert knows true bliss inexpressible through words.” That was one of my sayings, a bastardization of a Herman Hesse line from the book “Siddhartha” that had become my bible. All kinds of chatter filled the room, as joints and pipes were passed among strangers. If you lit a joint, you passed it to your friends, and they passed to whoever was next to them. It was like getting a smorgasbord of buzz. Someone next to me would pass me a joint of real good gold pot, next someone passed along some crap green Mexican, then maybe a lucky shot of incredible Thai stick, and every once in a while a chamber pipe filled with hash. I wondered if the owner ever got the pipe back. That’s why we always rolled joints. A half hour later, our buzzes restored to ecstasy and fully refreshed, the lights once again go off.
The stage is pitch black dark but we can hear the instruments getting warmed up as a renewed anticipation hangs like a cloud of smoke. Or maybe it really is a cloud of smoke, a sweet earthy smoke. The stage fills up with a neon rainbow of flashing multi colored lights and right on cue the band all begin the first tune. The Dead open up the second set on a bit slower pace to build up to a telepathic mind fornicating guaranteed to please. “Mississippi half step” into “Me and My Uncle” into “Row Jimmy Row” into “Dark Star” as if it were one long song. In the middle of “Dark Star” Jerry went into what felt like a half hour “space jam” which goes so far off the path that everyone in the building forgets where they are until he hits a familiar riff that brings us all back together in an instant. Phil Lesh starts playing some unfamiliar bass chords and Keith plays some soft piano rhythms as Bob, Jerry, and Donna appear to be talking. Maybe they are deciding what they will play next, or maybe they are just talking bullshit to each other. Could be they’re sharing some drugs, who knows and who cares? The only thing on our minds is what’s coming next. I tried to yell to Ken over the buzz of the crowd, “Jesus shit man, I hope they do ‘Eyes Of The World’” to which he yelled back “Man I’m hoping to hear ‘Going Down The Road.’”. We were both wrong but certainly not disappointed as Bob Weir came forward and they did a rousing version of “El Paso”. I loved the way they went back and forth between Bobby songs and Jerry songs. This was a Bobby song and a crowd favorite. Jerry jammed a flamenco-oriented jam allowing us to see his Classical Spanish talent and no sooner did it end when we were already jumping to “Eyes Of The World” with another long space jam in the middle. When it wound down the band took another very short on stage break, and seemed to want to change the tempo. At the very first note the reason for the pause became crystal clear. It was a Jerry song, a very haunting version of a post apocalyptic tune called “Morning Dew.” I felt this was Jerry’s best song vocally, and his guitar strings just wrapped around your soul and sucked a feeling of deep sorrow and sadness onto the stage with him. His guitar was crying at the devastation his eyes were seeing, ears hearing, and soul feeling. It was the most emotionally stinging song I ever heard, yet instead of sorrow or regret it filled us up with hope and joy, as if the words bounced off and only the music remained. When it ended, the lights went off and the band walked off the stage, and we were left with a vibrating sensation wishing this had never ended. But the Dead always do encores and the louder we begged the better the aftershow. The hall filled up with clapping, and whistling, and screams of delight and approval. The chant began to take shape in the form of “more more more.” The stage and the hall were still in the dark and we continued chanting until the sound of a drum roll erased the chant and replaced with a most enthusiastic and incredibly loud collective scream of approval. The colored lights on the stage went back on, and the band took their places. We had gotten so loud that no one knew which song they were playing until we calmed enough to hear “Blossoms blooming and I don’t care”. In an instant we knew it was another fan fave called “Sugar Magnolia” and we erupted into cheering and jumping mass of teenage energy sensing an end to an evening most of us wished would go on forever. From Sugar Magnolia they went into the tune Ken was hoping for, “Going Down The Road And Feeling Bad”. On stage Donna came forward on this and was really getting into it, pulling her extremely long blond hair up over her head and letting it fall a few times as she belted out some back up vocals that were more like musical notes than words. Jerry took control of the mid jam and it was his best of the evening. I don’t remember ever seeing Ken jump quite so much before. He normally got into any show we went to, but whether it was the acid or, the fact that it was most likely the last show we would ever go to I guess I‘ll never know. Whenever he went jumping around with such reckless abandon it made me happy and proud to be with him. Like that wasn’t enough, they continued the encore with one last tune to finish out our night. Bob Weir really let loose on “One More Saturday Night” to the ecstatically rambunctious delight of the crowd. Upon the last note Bob Weir walked to the microphone and said simply “Good Night Long Island, we love you.” Donna stood center stage blowing kisses as the band turned and walked off the stage. A very hopeful crowd tonight, we all started chanting and screaming and clapping again as if another encore might be coming, but all the lights went on, a signal that the show was officially over. We all stood with our brains vibrating and our ears ringing, this time so loud we couldn’t hear much of anything else. We decompressed for five minutes before even trying to speak, and even then our throats were sore and horse from yelling non stop, and our ears were ringing too loud to fully comprehend the words at all. The music had ended but between the drugs, the LSD, and the pure energy of Grateful Dead rock and roll we would remain in an electric state for hours. Fucking A, there really is absolutely nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

Boston We Love You

boston

I am not much of a sports fan. I was as a kid, but the lack of sportsmanship and fair sense of the players compounded by the all out anger and hatred of many fans has all but ruined any enjoyment I received from watching. That said however, I was very happy to see that in baseball, New York and Boston were able to bury the hatchet, at least for a little while out of respect to the horrible disaster thrust on such a magnificent city. The rivalry between these two city’s is monumental.
I’m a proud New Yorker at heart but a Red Sox fan when I had an interest in the game. I have a blue hat with the big red B on top and I take my life in my hands when I wear it around town. Yankee fans you see are beyond obsessed, the Yankees are a religion around here. Like the holy crusaders of the 11th, 12th, and 13th century fans prepare for battle when spotting an enemy donning Red Sox clothing of any type. It was on one such occasion that my quick thinking saved me from a sever beating by a flock of Jocks. Or is it a litter of hitters, a pack of whackers, a pride of the Yankees , or a herd of such a thing. No matter, to me it felt like a murder of crows!
“Hey girlie, why you got that shit hat over you’re long hair? I can’t tell which smell worse, you ar that hat.” It must be the hat, even a hippie can’t be as smelly as a Red Sox”. “Hey lookie here guys, we got us a stinking Sox fan here looking to get his ass kicked. Or her ass!” “Take that stinking hat off that smelly head and get rid of it.” Well that was the intelligent quips anyway, the dumb ass jock ones aren’t worth remembering. Needless to say I was a bit uncomfortable. This group of roid ramming baseball enthusiasts put the fanatic in the word fan and were willing to share with me the talents they were bred for. Tearing apart dissenters limb from limb. Just for the heinous crime of wearing a Boston Red Sox hat. Well let me tell you, I ain’t no wuss an I ain’t about to let these athletic hoodlums kick the shit out of me! Not this boy!
So as soon as their Yankee Inquisition ended and I was convicted of blasphemy in the 3rd degree, I leaped into action. The best defense is a good offense. In my boldest and most frightening voice I said, “Wait! What are you talking about Red Sox. The guy at the store told me this was a Brooklyn Dodgers hat. See the giant B here?? That stands for Brooklyn. I’m a Brooklyn boy an this is a tribute to my Daddies favorite team.” They began discussing the possibility of the truthfulness of my statements and in the confusion I headed for the hills as fast a this skinny track star could run, hair blowing in the wind. I still have that old hat, and I wear it from time to time just to piss off my Yankee fan friends, but I changed the purported meaning of the big B…I tell them it stands for either Badass or Bullshitter, depending on my mood. …………..Love to all the people of Boston, and all effected by the tragedy. Here in New York we are no strangers to tragedy and your resolve has made us all proud…PEACE

Dying To Be Something Special

The physicist creator of this universe takes time to explain life and death at the end

You believe you have made this world a better place? So many creatures that have perished from your great advances would disagree as to how great those human accomplishments have been. You fancy yourselves the superior species yet you think nothing of killing each other. Animals don’t kill for sport, or torture each other for revenge or just sick pleasure. Sure you pretend to care, but look at like this, you walk down the street with an assault rifle and kill random ten men you’d be arrested for the rest of your life. Do the same thing in combat and you’re a hero. You like to pick and choose who and when killing is okay but why should humans get to choose? Humans are willing to kill over disagreement of arbitrary geographic boundaries or differing faiths. You never learned to process this most important information. Life is precious. You place animals in cages away from where they live so your kids can all gawk at the mighty lion or laugh at the funny chimpanzees. Solely for your amusement.
Ever think of how they got there? I can tell you they didn’t walk in and ask if you would put them up here for the rest of their lives because this jungle is scary. The journey to your game farms, zoo’s, and aquariums were not pleasant. Animals should be left where they’re supposed to be, living on earth like everything else, even humans. Yet you raise animals to slaughter them, shave their hides for fashion. But as you say, that barn door is closed, it has gone way too far and it will take an act of profound evolutionary coincidence to reverse it. On some levels humans are a disappointment. You see JT, when I created your universe I had one rule to follow, and that was to never interfere with the process and development of life. We create life and then watch it take its course.
Not that we grow things just to look at, we grow them to allow them to experience. You may not realize this but those mighty oak trees feel as proud as they look and they enjoy their lives, the dangers and pitfalls as well as the wonder of having birds nest on them and watching as the generations of robins live out their lives. Yes there are dangers out there, and survival of one is often at the expense of another, but life is a happy accident. It’s an honor to have one and you have had a very rich one if you really think about it. You can point out the ugly parts, the funerals you attended, losing people close to you, the tragedies of life, the struggles and hard times, but don’t overlook those good things. That’s what made life so worth living. How many of those mountains and waterfalls and trees an flowers did you have a chance to enjoy? How many moments of intense joy did you experience? More than many I can tell you that. If you think back the magnifigance of life will far outweigh the tragedies. The truly sad part is it needs to end. Life ends JT so another life may have its opportunity to thrive and enjoy. You had a great life and you were part of something very beautiful. All those moments in time you had are a part of not only your memories, but the memories of those who loved you. You leave their lives but not their hearts. Like the animal that dies in the forest you never really leave the universe you just become something else. A dead animal was food for grub worms, which were eaten by crickets, which were eaten by owls and so on. Nothing really leaves the jungles, it becomes another form of life. You are more lucky because the cosmos is your jungle, and you get to become other parts of the universe. If there was one thing I wish humans could convey back after they die it would be to shake up the living and tell them to enjoy life. Stop fighting over things that don’t really matter and enjoy the fantastic world around them. But alas, I fear the message will never be brought back down to earth. Anyway, its your time to leave and your going where you were always meant to go.
Now I was pretty much speechless. All I could do was think over all he had told me. Knowingly Al took me by the hand and walked me into another room, a much more comfortable room. It was warm and inviting and I began to get just a little nervous as if I were in a cosmic hospice. The room was all glass and surrounded by a huge garden filled to the brim with plants and flowers, and chipmunks and birds. Alive with sounds of life, chirps, growls, shouts, running water. Like I was getting a last look at all the beauty my planet had offered me through the years. There was a stairwell that led to what I guessed was an observation deck of some sort. Al pointed up the stairs and I went, all the time taking in the sights, sounds and smells. So beautiful, I hope I’m not going to miss it too much. When I got to the top I nearly was blown away. It was like a dream observatory looking out into space, the cosmos, or infinity. More stars than I had ever seen, even in my younger days before light pollution obscured the nightscapes. “Oh my god Al, this is remarkable.” Al was smiling. “An odd choice of phrase, oh my god, don’t you think?” I knew he was teasing me so I gave him the response he wanted. “It’s a conditioned response Al, I get it. God is a concept we invented to explain how beautiful and precious life is. That’s what the woman I first met meant when she said God is everything. God does exist but its not in the form of a spirit, human, or even a scientist for that matter. God is a concept to help us understand the information we are unable to process. The truth. That’s what I’m here for right.?” Al just gave me a knowing nod and placed his arm over my shoulder. The two of us stared into the sky for some time, inhaling its enormity.
“So what Al, this is it? All the stars out there… that’s where I’m going?” I was staring up through the skylight and the view was breathtaking. Literally. “Yes JT, that’s your next destination. You are a bundle of billions and billions of tiny balls of energy and you will be released out there to become energy parts in millions of other matter. That’s why as a young boy you would stare up at the night sky with such awe and wonder, you where looking up to your future and it was…it IS beautiful. All your dreams of astral transport, traveling from star to star, visits to the moon and beyond. It’s happening, it’s real. Except your present self won’t know it. You were meant to gather info on earth and absorb it so you can enrich the cosmos. This my son…this your big moment. You are about to become part of something bigger than you could ever imagine. So go ahead, take off JT.”
I gave Al one last look, and smiled at him. “I’m sorry I made you look so nerdy Al, you deserve better. Thank you, thank you so much for this.” We stood in silence for a few seconds. “You know you’re right Al, I remember staring up at the night sky and seeing the big beautiful moon, and the thousands of sparkling little stars and always imagined being part of it, being up there and dancing on the stars.” Al was smiling a big smile now and he nodded towards the stars. I knew, knew in an instant it was my time to go, I gave Al one last look, mouthed the words thank you one last time, and left my world a very happy bundle, of billions and billions of balls of energy.
The Beginning

Talk To The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

A Hands on evolution

Get your hand off my ass
Heard someone talking about a dude the other day and she called him a, “Hands on Dad.” Now if I heard that 20 years ago I would have thought, Damn that’s cool, it’s really good to see a father get involved with their kids. But today an involved father seems to be the norm, not the exception. Today most fathers are hands on, changing diapers, feeding, taking turns getting up, and then as they grow older sharing the responsibility of taking them to school, the doc, parks, playgrounds, sports, or whatever it is the children choose to be involved in.
I was a child in the 60’s and we had hands on dads back then too. They put their hands on our asses when they spanked us, slapped their hands on our wrists to get our attention, and slapped our heads and told us to “Wake Up! They were away all day long and according to Mom spent most of that time thinking of new ways to dispense disciplinary actions. “Wait till your father get home.“
Something to fear! It never worked cause frankly we didn’t give a shit. The old man came home with a headache, had a drink, and by the time he got around to us all he could muster was slurring a lecture. He only became hands on when he was pissed, like if I accidentally moved the wood he was hammering when I attempted to help him. So unless dad was in one of those foul work sucked kind of moods it was relatively safe. Keep an eye out until Mom trudged into the kitchen. That meant she was preparing our dinner which was served everyday at the exact same time. That meant it was an hour until Dad gets home. Same routine, and if he pounded down his scotch in one gulp that’s when I headed for the hills. Otherwise, just wait for the talking too. It was like I was living in an episode of Leave it To Beaver and Ward was gonna sit me down.
Nighttime was a different story. I have 5 brothers and we lived in the upstairs portion of the house. 5 kids in two rooms. It was like they were raising a hockey team. Being the youngest boy I received most of the body checks and eye gouges. 5 minutes for fighting,? More like 5 minutes for NOT fighting. Needless to say we made a lot of noise which disturbed my mom and dad.
The primary method of corralling us was to send up Dad. He would sit us down like a coach. “Come on fella’s, your mom and I both have headaches. You guys are making too much noise and you need to calm down and stop making so much noise.” Another ten minute of heart to heart pep talk then down he went. Worked like a charm. For ten minutes. Then it was time to resume the games! Laughing and yelling even louder and waging major battles ending up in pile ups with your truly screaming from the bottom. It must have sounded like we were moving the furniture. Okay not the best analogy but it was LOUD! Anyway all fun and games until we heard that shrill sound that sent fear coursing through our collective souls and had us scattering for cover. MOM!
The words in that sound determined how bad the violation was, and what extent of Moms brand of reckoning we would receive. If it was our names it wouldn’t be too bad, middle names trouble, but the absolute worst was “GOD DAMN IT!” Holy fuck she cursed! The angry, wait, no fuming, no, wait, lividly furious voice followed by extremely loud and deliberate foot pounding up the stairs. The closer the sound the deeper the fear. “Didn’t Dad tell you boys to knock it off?” We scrambled like hell to find a hiding spot because Mom was about to unleash a fury of hurt on whoever got nabbed first. Not only a hands on Dad, we had a Hands on Mom!
Hands is an interpretive word here. It wasn’t always her hand that caused us to shit pieces of dried mortar it was what was IN her hands. A wooden spoon, a belt, a shoe, a ruler, whatever was nearest to her that could be used as a weapon and inflict the maximus pain to the gluteus. Mom had an arsenal of weapons of ass destruction with frightening accuracy and was not afraid to use them. Being the smallest I was either caught first or thrown to the wolf more often than not. Mom would wail all her anger leaving welts on my ass. Today, child services would be buried under a month of paperwork after just one visit with my Mom. Today the neighbors would report blood curdling screams to 911. But I tell you what, I grew up having mad respect for her, for women, and for people in general. I don’t advocate violence, but it worked on me. I’m a better person because of Mom, welts and all.
People like to say it was a different time and of course it was. Innocence sure! But easier, no fucking way. Easier than parenting during the depression? Yes. Easier than parenting during the pioneering era? Sure. But easier than today? NO! Raising kids today is a seriously complex operation. Tons of literature assuring them how much harm they inflict on their kids ids and egos. Foods that will destroy their health, actions that will deplete their self esteem, all kinds of advice based on creating paranoia of failing as a parent. Parents can’t just raise kids today they need to have every technologic advantage and informed study before they even leave the hospital. Even the god damn strollers are high tech! Its gotta be really hard to raise kids today with everyone judging every action you take as a parent, so no not easy, only different.
My parents were pioneers of suburbia, and middle class America. We had one TV and we all watched whatever Mom decided on. Mom never worked. Well not unless you mean hard work. She cleaned, ironed, cooked, dressed us kids, and kept everything together with the minimum accessories. When we got an electric dishwasher the neighbors came over to see it like it was a new car or something. Another thing there was only one of. Not complaining or comparing, that’s just how shit was then. A dishwasher was a modern appliance. It was a birthday present for mom. What would happen if my son gave his wife an appliance for her birthday? Hope he never finds out, but my mom was happy about it.
When my brothers and I grew up we attempted to make good on our promises to never treat our kids the way we were treated. That meant reason over violence, sparing the rod TO save the child. Giving the kids everything we could. On the outside it was brilliant. But somewhere along the line something went wrong. We got too soft on the kids. When I played sports as a kid you picked teams and the shitty players always got picked last but that was okay. They understood that they sucked but we let them play because they were our friends. And if you lost you sucked it up and congratulated the asshole winners. We called them all kinds of shit in a whisper, but we lost and that was that. If we won we didn’t rub in their faces and get all chest puffed about it, we shook hands and called them losers in private. Respect! Once we got older it meant the losers had to pay for the beers. We snickered in silence, not up in their faces.
I was watching a group of kids playing Tee ball. WTF? Swing and miss bitches that how life works. If you can’t hit the ball become a musician, or an artist, or a fucking brainiac. No shame, sports isn’t everything. At least it wasn’t, it used to be about fun. Watching the fat kid strike out every time amused us. But then I hear one of the guys, a coach of some sort yelling, “Lets go kids, remember, everyone wins.” WTF I mean WTF-ing F!!! Everyone wins? Oh no please, don’t tell them that! Someone loses. There is always a loser, that’s the whole point of sports, one wins the other loses. I watched the superbowl. The whats their names won and the other guys lost, Okay, I didn’t watch the last superbowl but I’ve seen them before and let me tell you, one team lost. You could tell which just by looking at their faces.
It’ called disappointment and trust me, it’s a fact of life. My Mom prepared me for disappointment. I prepared my kids for disappointment. I didn’t set them up to fail, but to succeed. Because sometimes we fail, and when you fail you suck it up, learn from it, get over it, and move the fuck on. Being hands on is not the same thing as being a friend, that comes later. When my son was little I was his parent, now I’m his friend. Now he’s parent and when his kids grow up he will be their friends as well. He’s a pretty good parent too, and he makes mistake just like I id, just like my Dad did, and all the way back. My son has two little girls and teaches them golf, (I know, right??) takes them al over. He changed their diapers, helped feed them, and now he spends most of his free time with them. And even though he lets them fail sometimes people still describe him as a Hands on Dad!…………….PEACE