Tuesday, December 08, 2009

First Blizzard

A foot of snow and still falling. Winds kicking up to 30 mph and higher tonight and tomorrow. It's going to be interesting over the next 12 to 18 hours.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Hidden Business Cost of Mental Illness

The Hidden Business Cost of Mental Illness - BusinessWeek.

Here's an excellent article on the impact of mental health issues in the workplace.

It's hard to focus on your work when your child is hallucinating.

I've experienced this so many times - "please come home, he's very manic and throwing things around..."

This stigma extends beyond those directly stricken to family members. Parents of children with mental illness are often viewed as guilty by association, unfairly perceived as the cause of the illness—the source of harmful child-rearing practices—when the origin is mainly biological. Parents and other family members feel shame and a sense of failure.

Nobody knows this better than my wife and I. Having lost our adult son to issues associated with bipolar disorder, we tried everything, and heard every piece of advice when he was growing up.

This is a very real problem, but I don't see any significant changes being made in attitude or workplace policies.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

All-American TV Mom Meredith Baxter Comes Out as a Lesbian

SheWired.com - All-American TV Mom Meredith Baxter Comes Out as a Lesbian.
For the life of me, I truly don't see why this is newsworthy. I mean, what's the big deal? Is there anyone on earth that doesn't understand that sexual orientation is not a choice? Not that I mind seeing her - the pic brings back memories.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obama - Carter Connection

It's not really time-appropriate for a political post, but I'm moved right now.

Back in the seventies, after Nixon then Ford, the nation was craving sincerity, passion, and compassion. They elected Jimmy Carter. A finer man may never have been born. But, not surprisingly, the man wasn't an effective president. I say "not surprisingly" as I don't think he was given an opportunity to exact the kind of change the country needed. But we'll never know.

Right now the country has an opportunity to bring about social change like we haven't seen in most of our lifetimes. Obama has the vision and courage to strive for those changes. I hope he's not cut off at the knees.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Featured Video: Deadly Bipolar Disorder - Jaco Pastorius

Jaco Pastorius was probably the most important and talented bass player of that generation, and perhaps since. My point of view is different from most, I lost a son as a result of bipolar mania. The disorder is more dangerous than anyone can imagine.

On this video he's playing bass guitar with Weather Report in 1978, you can't miss his flamboyancy. Check out the harmonics he's playing. I chose this song, as it's Weather Report's biggest hit, even though it's not Jaco's best song.

From Wikipedia:
In his early career, Jaco avoided both alcohol and drugs, but he became increasingly involved in alcohol and other substance abuses during his time with Weather Report. Bipolar disorder and psychoactive substance abuse disorders have a highly prevalent comorbidity, with a mutually detrimental inter-relationship. Alcohol abuse ultimately exacerbated Jaco's illness, leading to increasingly erratic and sometimes anti-social behavior.

He was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in late 1982 following the Word of Mouth tour of Japan in which his erratic behavior became an increasing source of concern for his band members. Drummer Peter Erskine's father, Dr Fred Erskine, suggested that Jaco was showing signs of the illness and, on his return from the tour, Jaco's wife, Ingrid, had Jaco committed to hospital under the Florida Mental Health Act, where he received the diagnosis and was prescribed lithium to stabilize his moods.

By 1986, Jaco's health had further deteriorated. He had been evicted from his New York apartment and had begun living on the streets. In July 1986, following intervention by his brother Gregory and ex-wife Ingrid, Jaco was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York, where he was prescribed Tegretol in preference to Lithium. He moved back to Fort Lauderdale in December of that year, again living on the streets for weeks at a time.

After sneaking onstage at a Carlos Santana concert September 11, 1987, he was ejected from the premises, and he made his way to the Midnight Bottle Club in Wilton Manors, Florida. After reportedly kicking in a glass door after being refused entrance to the club, he was engaged in a violent confrontation with the club bouncer, Luc Havan. Pastorius was hospitalized for multiple facial fractures and damage to his right eye and right arm, and had sustained irreversible brain damage. He fell into a coma and was put on life support.

There were initially encouraging signs that he would come out of his coma and recover, but a massive brain hemorrhage a few days later pointed to brain death. Pastorius died on September 21, 1987, aged 35, at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

In the wake of Pastorius' death, Havan, a karate expert, was charged with manslaughter but later pled guilty to second degree murder. Because of having no priors and with time served while waiting for the verdict, he was sentenced to 22 months in jail and five years probation. He was released after four months in jail for good behavior. Pastorius was buried at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery in North Lauderdale.

Jaco, we miss you man. There are SO many ways bipolar disorder can kill you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tom Petty

Not only has Petty survived, he's continued to develop and mature as an artist, not content to merely play his oldiies. From a recent interview by Rolling Stone, here's some highlights:
Tom Petty spoke to Rolling Stone for nearly six hours over two days — including his 59th birthday, October 20th — about his rock & roll life. Those conversations, at the Heartbreakers' rehearsal space in a warehouse in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and at Petty's home in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean, ran the length of rock itself, including the day in 1961 that the young Gainesville, Florida native met Elvis Presley (Petty forgot to bring a record for the King to sign); Petty's trials and adventures as a long-haired garage-band kid in redneck territory; his rough late-Seventies tours with the Heartbreakers; the musically rich encounters, on stage and in the studio, with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Carl Perkins and Elvis Costello, among many others; and a sneak preview of Petty's next record with the Heartbreakers.

Remembering The Tragic Who Concert Of 1979

Remembering the tragic Who concert of 1979.

Who could forget the concert 30 years ago in Cincinatti where 11 people were killed - trampled to death by the surging crowd when the band was doing a soundcheck.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on the incident. A sad day, and it brought changes, some needed, some unwanted, to concerts from there on.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Thought

Missing those who aren't with us, happy for those who are, and thankful for all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Craigs List Roadrunner

Remember when somone on your street had one of these, or something just as spectacular?

From the ad:
Under the hood we put a crate 360 with a 36 month or 36000 mile warranty Edelbrock 600 carb Summit mid rise manifold Flotech headers Header wrap 3 ROW aluminum radiator Zirgo 3600 CFM electric fan 904

Thar she blows!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Whatever Happened To...?

Garage bands?

Every neighborhood had a garage band or two. Every decent party had a band playing. Every prom, homecoming, and dance of any sort had a band playing. Today? A few bands show up on indie labels, but how did they get there? I sure haven't seen a garage band in years.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Classic Rock

Is classic rock defined by style, or generation? Does is have to be old to be a classic?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Compulsive Eating

I'm eating compulsively lately. It's like smoking used to be, I'm powerless to control it. But maybe hope is in sight, I have a schedule starting next week that will get me back to the gym every week day. I'll see if I can make it to MY seventies.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary

In celebration of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, Google developed some new logos:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Relics" of 1979! - The Early Show - CBS News

"Relics" of 1979! - The Early Show - CBS News.

This is a cool series that recently featured the year 1979. They talk about Daisy Duke jeans, the General Lee remote car, Sergio Valente jeans, and of course, the disco ball. Check it out.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Featured Video: AMC Ad

$2998 for a new 1975 "performance" Gremlin. Amazing. "Where's the rest of your car?"

A Ryan Dream

Ryan clowningRyan is a son we lost a year ago, he was 24. He died of a freak accident in our home. Without a long explanation (yet), his bipolar disorder killed him, as it does so many of the people who have it. I'll write about that regularly going forward.

I had a dream about Ryan last night.

I went to visit him, he was in some sort of group rehab or residential program. The place was in a bad, old, near-downtown neighborhood. I could picture the door of the building perfectly, it was a familiar place. But when I got there, there were 2 scary people walking up the street towards me, and suddenly the doors didn’t look the same, and I wasn’t sure which was the right door.

I walked in the closest door and it took me to an area outside an empty, dark, church sanctuary. To my right I could see a room full of people, all concentrating on something at the front of the room that I couldn’t see. I saw Ryan sitting in there, just his profile from the shoulders up. A man walked up to me and asked if he could help me. I told him I was there to see my son, and he looked concerned. He said something like he didn’t think that would be a good idea. I persisted, and he got more firm. I saw Ryan looking our direction. About then, the people in the room got up and started walking by. I expected to see Ryan walk by, but he wasn’t there, I thought he was avoiding me. This didn’t surprise me, there was a lot of avoidance in our relationship.

I gave up, and asked the person if the door next to me would take me outside. He said it would, and I walked outside. As I walked out the guy said to me “I wish I could believe you, I really do.” Once outside, I was suddenly scared again, and I heard a voice telling me to run. I ran the half block to the car, stepping over a low picket fence, and got my slacks caught in the fence. I reached the car, and woke up.

What stuck with me was the fear more than anything. There are so many ways I could interpret this dream I’m not even going to try. My wife Karen said simply “oh honey, you have so much more grieving to do.” I suppose she’s right.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hesitate To Post...

I hate to post anything, it will move Carrie Fisher's picture from my last post further down the page. Damn, she's looking fine.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carrie Fisher's "Wishful Drinking"

Carrie Fisher Finishes Our Sentences About Family, Work And That Bikini - Monkey See Blog : NPR.

Carrie Fisher
Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, her one-woman show based on her book of the same title, is a wry, hilarious, insightful, and occasionally touching theatrical memoir of the woman who grew up as the daughter of celebrity parents (Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher); went on to become a film icon with her role of Princess Leia in the first three Star Wars films; struggled with manic-depression and substance abuse; and had emotionally fraught relationships with Paul Simon, the super-famous musician to whom she was very briefly married, and agent Bryan Lourd, who left her for another man after they had a child together.

I dig Carrie Fisher, always have. I haven't read either of her books, I seem to have developed some kind of a middle age ADD and find it hard to read. But there are a few books I'd really love to read, and hers are at the top of the list.

"So for me, for my mother, my grandmother, my father, my uncle, and for the common good, I must now kill you, and your brother."
The Blues Brothers - 1980

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mike Royko son Robert Royko gets 2½ years

World-Famous Chicago Journalist Mike Royko I mean no disrespect by this, as I have (had) the highest respect for Mike Royko. But I can only guess how difficult it would be to grow up with him as your father.

Robert Royko, son of legendary newspaper columnist Mike Royko, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for attempting to rob a bank on Chicago's Northwest Side with a fake bomb in 2005.

"I can't believe to this day that I did this," said Royko, 46, as he apologized to U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, who could have sentenced Royko to between 51 and 63 months under federal guidelines.

Royko's defense lawyers argued he struggled with bipolar disorder and was heavily medicated during the incident at the Associated Bank at 6355 N. Central Ave. He was arrested immediately by an off-duty police officer.

via chicagotribune.com.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arena Show? No Thanks.

There's nothing more opinionated than a music critic. Well, maybe a beer critic, but that's stretching things. I'm a huge music fan, and a critic, and I'm very opinionated. Here's a favorite topic.

I do not understand the appeal of large arena shows. I do not understand people who shell out several hundred dollars a ticket to see a band who (with a few exceptions), couldn't hold their own on a stage against area talent in a local bar open-mic night. Very few seats in an arena are close enough to actually see any of the musicians without watching the jumbo-trons next to the stage. Hell, if I wanted that, I'd buy the DVD. Or for the amount spent on tickets, several box sets. Can you see who's actually playing lead without looking at the jumbo-tron? Can you see the expressions, the interplay between the musicians? No? WTF is the attraction? It goes back to when concerts were a social gathering. When you could spend less than ten bucks to see the top bands. When you would hang out on the floor, see all your friends, and share a joint with everyone. Today you can spend $250 a ticket, $12 a beer, and $40 (or more) for a t-shirt. Hell, take away their High-Life. And be careful not to step on the person's $600 loafers who's sitting next to you when you get up out of your padded seat to jam with your bimbo date with the boob-job. Don't forget to boo when they don't play your favorite song exactly like they played it on the radio!

The quality of entertainment playing small clubs and festivals is better today then it's been since the early days of rock or jazz. Within the last couple years I have seen performances standing or sitting close enough to touch some of the best musicians the world has to offer today. I have chatted, in a conversational tone, with world-class musicians on stage in small clubs. I have talked to many of these performers in the audience before or after shows. I live in a smaller community (relatively speaking) yet can find such entertainment almost any night.

Stop going to shows just to say you did. Expand your musical horizons and explore artists you may not have heard. It's a much more rewarding experience.

Justice to Stop Pursuit of Medical Marijuana Use - NYTimes.com

Justice to Stop Pursuit of Medical Marijuana Use - NYTimes.com.

I had to read the headline a few times before it sunk in - the Obama administration is not prosecuting federal medical marijuana offenses where it doesn't break applicable state laws. I think that's great. I wish it would have gone further, but you take what you can get.

Now, to get mental and mood disorders approved for medical marijuana use. But that's the subject of another post.

Mott the Hoople: Hammersmith Apollo, review - Telegraph

Is there anything more pathetic than a seventies revival show?
Forty years on from their inception, and thirty years since some of the members had actually spoken to each other, Mott stormed back into London for the first of five sold-out nights at the Apollo.

via Mott the Hoople: Hammersmith Apollo, review - Telegraph.

If they have something musically new to say that's a different story. But to shell out big money to hear a bunch of over-the-hill rockers who haven't played together in 40 years is insanity.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I hate to sleep. There's probably several reasons for it, including:

  • I don't want to waste the time.

  • There are other things I'd rather do.

  • It's stressful when I don't fall asleep.

  • I often require medication to sleep, and sometimes that medication makes me do some very strange things.

  • I don't want to tackle the new day.

I can get by on very little sleep, I can go for weeks with 3 to 4 hours a night. But I need SOME sleep each night, even if it's only an hour or two. If I go too long with minimal sleep things start happening. For example, I start to see things, shadows at first, then they get more concrete as time goes on. It also impacts certain parts of my brain, for example, my creativity really suffers.

Last night I got over 8 hours, and it made a huge difference in the day. Motivation was good, frame of mind was good.

But the day's keep coming, I can't duck them forever.

See you tomorrow.