Out In The Open

275520_501186834_947249_nI wrote this for my wife, before she was my wife, over twenty years ago.

 

Lately I’ve been thinking,

About some things I should have done,

And things I wish I had nerve enough to say.

But, every time I’m with you,

I spend more time tripping over my tongue,

Than telling you how I feel, and I can’t go on this way.

(Let’s) get this out in the open,

I might as well get shot down like a man.

Then I’d know if I should stay or say goodbye.

I may not be a cowboy, girl,

But it’s time I made a stand.

All I want out of life is you by my side.

You’ve always been a dream to me,

A vision of Heaven on earth,

I’ve never seen anyone as beautiful as you.

I think it’s time I laid my cards,

On the table for what it’s worth,

It may not do any good but I think it’s time you knew.

(Let’s) get this out in the open,

I might as well get shot down like a man.

Then I’d know if I should stay or say goodbye.

I may not be a cowboy, girl,

But it’s time I made a stand.

All I want out of life is you by my side.

I guess it worked!

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In The Beginning. . .

Rubber01“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ”
(John 1:1)

“Say the Word and you’ll be free, Say the Word and be like me, Say the Word I’m thinking of, Have you heard the Word is Love.”
(Rubber Soul 1:6)

Perspective plays a huge part on how you view your reality. Whether you find it written in John, or sung by John, the truth still remains;

“All You Need Is Love… Love Is All You Need”

Shut Up & Play Guitar

Elizabeth2

My Dad had an old, Regal “Cowboy” guitar that he got when he was little, 20131016_170610(mid to late 1940’s). He always said that it was Johnny Mack Brown, but I think it was actually Buck Jones. (No one will even know what that means, but I think it is important to keep your 1930’s Cowboys straight.) Anyway, he always kept it in his closet and I always wanted to play it. It had been broken and glued back together, the frets were like knife blades, and I wasn’t allowed to touch it. I would sneak in a look at it from time to time, and wish I could play. My Dad’s Uncle T.J. and his cousin Jim Thomas would come over on the weekend sometimes and sit around and play guitars. Again, I would just watch wishing that I could play with them.

When I was 11 or 12, Dad finally dug out that old guitar, and showed me “G”, “C” and “D”. That was all it took. Three chords that changed my life. The very next chance I had, I bought a cheap acoustic for maybe $10.00 at a yard sale, because the Johnny Mack Brown / Buck Jones was impossible to play. The $10.00 one wasn’t much better, but my fingers didn’t bleed as quickly, so I could play longer. After a little practice I thought I would be ready to sit in with Jim and T.J. the next time they came around. I practiced every day, and was so excited that I couldn’t stand it. At the next get together, I pulled out my piece of shit guitar and started to strum along with the big shots. It was maybe two songs in when I was promptly asked to either “Sit this one out” or “Maybe play in the other room.” I was devastated. Then I was pissed! I dedicated the next several years of my life to getting better. I practiced for hours and hours every day. I bought books and learned every Beatle song. (Except Revolution #9) I worked and worked, and improved a little more every day. I didn’t have to be the best, just better than Jim and T.J. And in the last 30 years, nobody has ever asked me to “Maybe play in the other room.” again.

14544_187816286834_7290503_nWhen I was not quite 15, (1983) I sold my piano for $200.00 and went looking for a “good” guitar. (My Dad had told me once, “Why do you want a piano? You can’t take it to a party with you.) I must have looked at every pawn shop in Fort Worth, before I walked into the Camp Bowie Pawn Shop and saw her. She was a 1979 Yamaha FG-312ii (12 string) beauty. Marked $199.99 + tax and I thought of the David Allen Coe song “Willie, Waylon, and Me” where he sings, “Roger McGuinn had a 12 string guitar, It was like nothing I’d ever heard”. And at that moment, I felt it. Felt it deep down inside where you feel things with your feelings. . .  I had to have her.

I bought her on the spot. (Mom paid the tax.) Took her home. And named her Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has gone everywhere with me for the last thirty years. She has been there through every 164508_1769506886611_5602479_nrelationship, and the myriad of bands. Through the good times, the sad times, the drunk times, and the sober times. We have played together in the mountains of California, and on the beaches of South Padre. In countless bars, around campfires, in back yards and living rooms. In the back of a 1973 Oldsmobile Hearse, and in at least two churches. In front of hundreds of people, (never thousands) and alone in the dark. She has always been there like a best friend, at times my only friend. And over the last 30 years there has never been a time when she was not with me for more than a few days.

Until August of 2013.

Elizabeth was starting to show her age and had some nicks in her neck so on August 17th I took her to Lamb’s Music on Camp Bowie West (Used to be Hwy 80) for a repair and set-up. It was the longest fifty seven days of my life. Of course I would rather someone take the time to do something right than to half-ass it just to finish. I spent $167.00 to have the neck completely repaired, redone, and refinished and the strings lowered and set-up. She plays better now than she ever has. (Steve Lamb is a great guy. Check out their website at www.lambsmusic.com) I could not be happier with the results. (That’s a “Lute Hole” cover you see in most recent picture. It doesn’t serve a purpose on a non-electric acoustic, but it looks cool so I bought her one.)20131015_174913

She still has dings in her body, and a spot where I have almost worn through the wood at the sound hole from 30 years of strumming. She is getting darker with age, but the sound gets better as the wood ages. She may not be worth anything to anybody else, but to me she’s priceless.

Over the years, more guitars have come and gone than I can count. (Currently, seven, I can count to seven.) One however, has never and will never leave my side. My Elizabeth. I may not have another 30 years left in me, but she will still be there when I am gone. Maybe, just maybe one of my children or grand children will find the same passion that I found way back in 1983, and Elizabeth will still be around. The Regal “Johnny Mack Brown” is still hanging on the wall above my computer, over 70 years after it was made. (See the second photo above.) I look at it every day and think of my Dad. Maybe someday, someone will look at Elizabeth and think of me. But for now. . .

I think I’ll just shut up & play guitar!

20131015_175045 2

The Big, Blue Boat

In December of 1998, my oldest was 10, my youngest was 2.5, and my middle-est had just turned 4. I was working Swing Shift, so I got to spend my days with my family. Everyday, we would watch Daniel Boone and Paladin together while we ate lunch. (At the table, as a family.) One night, I sat down and wrote a little poem, that turned into a little book. I scribbled out some pictures, and bound it in a little cover, hoping that it would still be around when my kids had kids. I thought I would post it here for your amusement. The colors faded during the scan, but it’s 15 years old, and I guess that is to be expected. Hopefully, you will enjoy it, and maybe share it with your kids or grand kids, if they are still small. Remember, as sad as it is, they don’t stay little, long.

BBB 001

If I could have just one wish,BBB 002

 

That I knew would come true.

 

I’d wish for a great big boat,

 

Then we could paint it blue.

 

 

 

BBB 003Then when the paint had time to dry,

 

We would all set sail.

 

And all keep watch for dolphins,

 

Or maybe see a whale!

 

 

 

We’d sail away to distant lands,BBB 004

 

On seas both rough and calm.

 

In case there was an accident,

 

We’d surely bring your Mom.

 

 

 

BBB 005

We could play like we were pirates,

 

We’d dress and act so bold.

 

Then we’d stop at every island,

 

To search for long lost gold.

 

 

 

 

 

And if we found a treasure chest,BBB 006

 

That was filled with bubble gum.

 

Would we chew it all ourselves?

 

Or give everybody some?

 

 

 

BBB 007We’d share the treasure with our friends,

 

And all blow great big bubbles.

 

We’d make sure not to swallow it,

 

‘Cause then we’d get in trouble.

 

 

 

Treasure, boats, and bubble gum,BBB 008

 

That wish would be all right!

 

But, now it’s time to close our eyes,

 

I love you all, Good Night!

Well, that’s the story my friends. I hope it made you smile.

Tune in next week, ’cause you never know what’s living,

Life Inside My Head!

  

They Mostly Come Out On Wednesday… … Mostly.

Ripley_NewtWhen I started writing a blog, I thought that it would be a good idea to post on a regular basis. If they were any good, the people who followed them could look forward to a regular dosage of insight and humor. So I decided on every Wednesday. I felt that if I posted more often than weekly, people might get burned out, less often and they would lose interest. Of course that is if the blog was any good, and if anyone actually followed it. Those are two pretty big ifs. You might be surprised by how easy it is to delude yourself into believing that not only do you have something to say, but that others actually give a shit and want to read it.

You see it on Facebook all the time. The self-absorbed ramblings and humorous musings that are probably only funny and insightful to the person who wrote them, and sometimes not even then. Plus, it is so much easier to show your ass online than in real life. It’s a lot like pulling your pants down in public. Everybody on the bus with you (on your timeline) is going to have to look at it whether they want to or not. Some will look away. Some will make snide remarks in the comment section. But online, nobody can punch you in the face and throw you off of the bus.

Spam

A blog is a little different in that you don’t have the captive audience that you have on social media sites. I can’t really spam you with my blog. (I could blog about Spam – “it’s crazy tasty”) But, if you are reading this, it is because you actually chose to.  And I thank you. As of this writing there are less than forty people who choose to read it. That’s OK. (I realize they are almost all friends and family, and that’s OK too.) If you like what you’ve read here, pass it on. If you don’t like it, I would prefer that you keep it to yourself.

Over the years, I have written a myriad of poetry and prose. I have written music and lyrics and stories for my children. However, as I have gotten older, I try to be honest with myself and know that everything that I have ever written is only really important to me. I can’t expect everyone to like it, or even to care. I don’t expect many people to get it, as I am a little askew. And I no longer expect it to change the world. I would like to think that one day, after I am dead and gone (or reincarnated, or in heaven, or a ghost) my children or their children might be interested in reading what I had to say, and that in itself makes it worth doing.

Next Wednesday, I think I am going to post a story that I wrote for my children when they were still pretty small. It’s about a wish for a boat. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will read it to your kids. Maybe mostly you’ll just read it… Mostly.

Schrodinger’s Jesus

179058_196461980364493_5629409_nMost are familiar with the quantum thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat. If you are not, Google it real quick. I’ll wait…………

Besides illustrating Erwin Schrodinger’s hatred of cats, it poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other. If observation creates reality, then until you open the box, the cat is both alive and dead, once you look inside, it is either alive or dead. Pretty freaky. Now you are probably wishing you looked it up.  Or possibly your head just exploded. On a side note, you may also want to look at the “Double Slit Experiment”. But you can do that later.

science-meets-religion

When you apply this train of thought to religion, you get something amazing. A world where all religions are not only equally valid, but can exist simultaneously. I call this “Trans-Denominational Coexistence” (That could be the first album by the band Schrodinger’s Jesus.)

buddha-krishna-jesus

Religions differ most on the idea of the afterlife and how you get there. Heaven or Hell, Reincarnation, your Energy rejoining with the Cosmic Consciousness, the Halls of Valhalla. The problem is that none of these things are observable until you die. Once you die, you cannot report your observation and therefore are unable to influence the observations of others. All of existence is fundamentally an unlimited quantum field of energy, a sea of infinite possibilities waiting to happen. Your consciousness influences that energy. The observer plays a role in creating the reality that he is observing. Faith is the focus. Believe that when you die you go to Heaven, and that is where you will spend eternity. The fact that you are in Heaven in no way effects my reincarnation because you cannot report your observation to me, and thus cannot influence my own observation.

My beliefs can not negate your beliefs. Your beliefs can not negate my beliefs. om_mani_padme_hum

They are all possible until we open the box.

 

 

Find the Cost of Freedom, Buried in the Ground.

581356_524316977593911_1023407327_nI wasn’t going to do a post about 9-11. I figure everybody else is doing one, so why join the fray? The more I thought about it though, the less I figured anything else would be appropriate.

I was working Private Security at Exodus Communications, an Internet Data Facility. Swing shift, 1500 to 2300. I remember waking up that morning and heading to the Dry Cleaners to pick up my uniforms. The radio in my car was on, tuned to the Classic Rock station, but all they were playing was the news. I changed the channel, more news. Changed it again, more news. What the hell? At some point I started to pay attention, they were talking about a plane crash, remember thinking that it must have been bad because it was on every station. I picked up my clothes and headed back home thinking that I would see if it was on the TV news. When I got home, the news was on. Every channel, all day and all night.

I hadn’t been home for very long when I got a call. (I didn’t have a cell phone, it was 2001.) It was the Director of Security for Exodus. Two of the planes used in the attack belonged to American Airlines. Exodus housed all of AA’s servers. Not knowing the reason behind the attack, it was unknown if American was a target and if our facility could also be at risk. I got dressed, and headed to the facility for what was the beginning of rotating 12 hour shifts. Three Officers per shift for the duration.

I remember stepping outside to smoke, and there not being a plane in the sky. The quiet was almost overwhelming.

I remember praying for the first responders. The ones whose duty bound them to run in, while others were running out.

I remember wondering what kind of a shit-hole world were my children going to grow up in.

I remember now, the freedoms that we chose to give up, in order to feel secure, and wondering if we will ever get them back.

I remember the troops that have given their lives directly or indirectly as a result of this initial act of war.11-Memorial-Lights

 

 

But most of all, I remember.

 

 

 

Morbidly Obtuse

The pit**I enjoy peppering my prose with colorful language. If you are offended by colorful language, you may choose to not read this, or you may choose to be offended, the choice is entirely yours.**

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wasn’t fat. (I wasn’t skinny. Don’t be ridiculous! But I wasn’t fat.) That being said, I also had hair, but that is a whole other blog entry. So, I have never been skinny. When I was a kid, I believe the term they used was “Husky”. (At least that’s what it said on my Tough Skins.)

I was always self conscious of my weight growing up, and learned to laugh and joke about it as a weigh (see what I did there) to deflect peoples attention. You have no power to make fun of me, if I have already made fun of myself.  To this day, you will hear me refer to myself as the “Fat, bald-headed guy”.  It doesn’t really bother me any more even though I am bigger than I have ever been. I am also smarter, and make more money, so piss off! At forty-five I have accepted myself along with all of my short comings, and don’t dwell on it. My wife loves me (probably wishes I wasn’t so fat and bald, but she loves me) and that is all that matters.

When I was 21, I applied for the Sheriff’s Department. I had wanted to be a Peace Officer for a long time, and was a little stressed by the hiring process. I had to pass a written Civil Service test, (Not an issue) pass a background check, (they talked to several people that knew me, and neighbors.) a psych evaluation, (worried about that one) a polygraph, (lie to yourself enough and it becomes the truth to you) and a physical (well shit!).Hat

I went to my family doctor. The doctor that I had gone to since I was a kid. I think his name was Dr. Melville.  So, I get a check-up, run a stress test, all that stuff and when it’s over he writes in my chart, “Morbidly Obese”. I weighed 197 lbs. at 5’10”. Fuck you Dr. Melville! I mean, really! WTF! I was healthy. I ran the stress test until they told me to stop, not until I couldn’t any longer. That scarred me for the rest of my life. The rest of my big fat, bald-headed, “Morbidly Obese” life. Well, maybe not my whole life.

Now, at 45, I weigh almost 100 lbs. more than I did when I was declared “Morbidly Obese”. I am a grand ol’ 285 lbs. And you know what? I don’t give a shit! I am happy.

275520_501186834_947249_n At 25 years old, and 220 lbs. I married the woman I had been in love with since I was 14 years old. Raised amazing, intelligent, beautiful children and watched them grow into amazing , intelligent, beautiful adults.

I guess the moral of this story is that you can let the words and opinions of others define who you are, or you can choose to make yourself into who you want to be. Or at least into a person you don’t mind being.

Doctor Melville,Cruise

If you are still alive, now 24 years later, you can suck it.

Fat, Bald, and Happy… But I guess still a little obtuse.

Le Morte De L’intelect

The more I interact with people, either in person or on-line, the more I find people are stupid. I know that this may come as a shock to some of you, (especially the stupid ones) but I assure you that it’s true. I think that the more that people are exposed to instant information (Via the internet, TV, radio) the less they actually have to think. Someone else is doing the thinking for them, and sometimes those doing the thinking are just, well… Wrong.

When you follow the leader, and the leader is lost, you’re never going to find your own way. Take a minute and try something different.

Think for yourself…