Let’s Get This Straight

Okay, look. I don’t know who said that wisdom comes with age, but they lied. The only thing that came when I got older was gray hair and the inability to sleep more than 6 hours in a row without getting up to pee.

I’ve decided to deal with this aging nonsense by keeping a record of my thoughts. Random, grumpy, aching-knee thoughts. It is going to be me being grumpy about getting old. As the hair continues to fall, so will the words.

So renew your AARP card and I’ll meet you at Denny’s where we’ll gripe about kids with more hardware in their ears than a Sears store.

Oh, and get off my lawn!

Who Killed Folk Music?

We pull off the road, exhilarated from the ride and parched. Mouths drier than a Brit’s wit. I’m talking dry here. Kelly, Brian and I have not been on the road long, but it’s been busy. A lot of blind, off-camber turns and traffic have taken a little bit of a toll. A cold Coors is calling my name and I feel the need to heed the call.

We stop and pull into a small little dive. The vibe from the place screams “LOCALS ONLY” as we enter the cool interior. Patrons glance our way hoping to see a familiar face and seeing none, return to their beers. I order a $3.50 draft and hand the bartender a 5 spot, telling her to keep the change. I’m “in” now. Oh yeah, so in.

I make my way to the back patio. Biker heaven folks. Porta potty, tables, beer and smokes. Like I said, heaven. Crap! Smokes! I forgot my smokes on my scoot. I now have to walk back out through the bar to get my cigs. Through the stares. The questions. The stale spilt beer. Continue reading “Who Killed Folk Music?”

Death Takes a Holiday Rambler

I’ve just wolfed down a killer Klondike Bar, dark chocolate mind you, that is sitting rather heavy on the 4 extra dry martinis I made for myself tonight. Look, don’t let the headline scare you, I’m just experimenting tonight. I’ve spent the last couple of months writing pablum for the masses. Headlines and short snippets designed to get folks to click on a story. Don’t get me wrong, it is good work and I love that an uneducated biker dude like me was given the chance. It’s just not me, you know? I love to write. I love to express my thoughts in ways I hope that help people understand who I am. That’s immortality, right? It’s what we all look for, no?

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The Northwest Vibe

Ed note: This was written in 2011, and now in 2019 is still rings true.

Okay, before I start hearing choruses of “We’ve heard this” “It’s not always about Nirvana” and other comments, let me just say this: this ain’t your Entertainment Tonight version of the vibe. Shall we continue?

I’ll be the first one to admit it, when we first moved out here and I could wear my flannel and vests and not feel like an outcast, I was one happy camper. I felt at home here. For one thing, people looked like me! Longish hair, beards, jeans and flannel shirts. Christ, this was me going back to grade school! And yeah, I had a beard in 3rd grade. Sue me. Bottom line, I felt like I belonged, and I was one happy flannel covered camper.

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Giving Thanks

Man, hard to believe another year has rolled around and it’s time for Thanksgiving again. Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, brussels sprouts in bacon fat and vinegar, freshly baked rolls, pumpkin pie… I love it all. I also love how while there are “standards”, every family has their own culinary tricks, favorites and traditions.

Not only a time for honoring old traditions, Thanksgiving can also be an opportunity for creating new ones. While our individual situations may put our old, familiar traditions on hold, we can create new ones. The old ones never go away of course. They just sit dormant, waiting for their chance to bloom again.

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Fir Friendships

Friendship. Even the word sounds nice. Like a toasty flannel cocoon, friendships embrace us in warm, safe comfort. “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together” – Woodrow Wilson. “The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?” – Henry David Thoreau. And my favorite on friends no longer around: “With every friend I love who has been taken into the brown bosom of the earth a part of me has been buried there; but their contribution to my being of happiness, strength and understanding remains to sustain me in an altered world.” – Helen Keller

I’ve been thinking about friendships of late. What they mean, why they are so important to us. What is a “true” friend, and aren’t all our friends true? Semantics run wild, I know, but I do believe we have different types of friendships. Like the flora that covers “the brown bosom of the earth”, friendships come in all shapes and colors.

Some are like the spring crocus. Fragrant and beautiful, yet also fragile and short lived. Even when given great care, they are meant to be around for only a few weeks. The beauty they bring to a mountain side, however, is meant to be treasured for a lifetime. Continue reading “Fir Friendships”

Doing 50 in a 35

Well, I did it. I managed to make it through my 50th birthday, and have officially entered my 50’s. I did not go gently into that good night as it were, but I made it. It’s just another birthday, right? For someone who feels like life is already speeding out of control though, it’s like doing 50 in a 35.

I have a loving wife who puts up with me better than I do myself. I have 2 incredible boys. I have 2 amazing step-daughters and one damn cool grandkid. I have a mother who exemplifies what it means to be caring and generous. I have a brother I love and admire, more than he will ever know or understand. I have friends scattered throughout the world. Some close, some distant, but all are the best friends any person could ask for. I treasure each and every one of them. In short, I am one lucky SOB in many, many ways.

Continue reading “Doing 50 in a 35”

America the Beautiful

Like most of America, we are getting inundated here with political ad after political ad. Seemingly nice people who are accusing each other of running this country into the ground. Republicans blame Democrats, Democrats blame Republicans, and some just go ahead and blame everyone. Some claim the problem is that our President is a pinko commie socialist of unknown parental lineage. Others claim it’s that terrorists lurk behind every shadow, just waiting to steal our way of life away. Still more claim that the government has no right to collect taxes, that it invades on peoples right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that in turn, has ruined us. (Why these same people claim it’s up to the government to pass laws on who can love who, or what god you can worship is way beyond my little brain.) Some people claim all this is Bush’s fault. Others claim Clinton started the mess when he made one on a dress. The common theme on all of it though: “It’s someone else’s fault”

I, for one, am sick and tired of that attitude. It’s time for us to stand tall and admit our own failings. Businesses, political parties, common folks like you and me. Start small. Personal accountability. Let’s start a “pay it forward” movement of accountability. If we want government out of our personal lives, we need to behave like grown adults, not 2 year olds. Let’s remove “Not me” from our vocabulary, and instead use “I made a mistake, what can I do to learn from it?” Simple accountability. Continue reading “America the Beautiful”

A Biker Looks at 50

Let me start off with apologies to Jimmy Buffet for mucking with his song title. I love “A Pirate Looks at 40” and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear he wrote that damn song about me. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, I’ve made some money, and I’ve pissed it away pretty damn fast. Bottom line was, I never really meant to last. Never meant to last.

Now I’m on the threshold of turning 50. Forget 40 man, I’m flying into my 50’s so fast I need goggles to keep my eyes from tearing up. Victor Hugo once said that “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.” I’m not sure if I like that or not. On one hand it points to the beginning of a new phase in ones life with certain benefits, AARP membership for one thing. On the other hand it points to… well hell, AARP membership. AARP man. My mom belongs to AARP and she’s old! Cripes. No offense Mom. (coughs)

Thing is, when I was in my 20’s and on the sub, we’d sit around behind the maneuvering room and talk about doing 30 years. We’d laugh and say, “Hell, we’ll all be dead by 40 man, why waste it on the Navy?” We’d laugh, but deep down I believed it. Hell, between the sub life itself, smoking, drinking, carousing, and riding scoots faster than a sane person should, I figured hitting 30 was a crap shoot, let alone 40. Continue reading “A Biker Looks at 50”

The Need to Hate

I was getting ready to write a short piece on the difficulties of finding work today. About trying to find a job when someone is 50, over 20 years experience in a particular field, but getting passed over for kids right out of college. I know the reasons, and they are quite sound from a long-term ROI point of view. Still, the more I wrote the angrier I got. I realized I had started using the word “hate” quite a bit in my rhetoric. Then it hit me. The “hating” made me actually feel a little better about myself. I was transferring a lot of my own insecurities and “hate” of my own inability and inaction onto others. It felt empowering, and oh so wrong. I was fired up and words were flowing when wham… it hit me. Humans seem to have a need to hate.

I stopped writing and started pondering on how it might apply to the world. The ongoing Muslim Mosque/not-a-Mosque issues came to mind. There are groups now springing up all over the US trying to stop Mosques. One in Tennessee is trying to “stop” the formation of a Mosque that has been there for 30 years. I think deep down these people know there is no issue, that in reality, any terrorist cell would most likely be operating as far from the public eye as possible. But it’s just plain easier to hate. Makes us forget that we’ve abandoned our own gods. Makes us feel better when we do something violent or wrong to be able to say, “Hell, at least I’m not a Muslim terrorist!” Humans seem to use the hate to sooth the feeling of inadequacy when shown how little we actually know. Hate is like saying, “I know you are, but what am I”. Childish, immature, and yet so easy to say.

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