Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloween - the greatest kid holiday ever. Remember waiting all season for this?


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Christian Left

There's a Facebook page called "The Christian Left". When I discovered it, I was excited. Finally, something I could embrace. In the seventies I tried hard to turn my back on my religion. But it didn't last when my wife came along, she was a devout, accepting, caring Christian, and while she didn't get me to church every week, she got my head moving in the right direction.

In the nineties I got moving even more into Christianity, as I was moving far to the right politically. But there were things I just couldn't give up. I loved my NPR, much to the chagrin of other conservatives. And while I was pro-life, I couldn't bring myself to say there wasn't a time and place where abortions were appropriate. And I felt it hypocritical to be pro-life, yet support the death penalty. I mean, come on! What are people thinking? But I still didn't quite have a handle on acceptance, and true compassion. One small thing really changed me. I was used to people trying to take advantage of me as a store owner - stealing, asking for discounts, wanting money, etc. One night a young man came into my store, humble, introduced himself, and said he, his wife, and children were heading through town, had some problems, and needed money to get where they were going. They saw my shop, and he told me his parents had a similar shop. He said they were in a bad way, and asked if I could help his family. I turned him away. I told my wife about it, she got tears in her eyes, and asked how I could just turn them away. I got in my truck and drove around looking for them, but they had disappeared into the night. To this day I regret not helping that young family, and I'm tearing up now just thinking about it.

In the early 2000's my late son convinced me to take him to a large Christian music festival, the Cornerstone Festival. This son was an incredible person, he made Christianity cool. I learned by example from him, and he also helped shape my faith. I don't claim to be a good Christian at all, but if I can be a fraction of what Ryan was in that regard, I'd be there.

Back to the original topic, the Christian Left facebook page would be great, but it's not any different from the Christian right. There is little constructive, little motivational, and little faith being shared. It's mainly a place for like minds to hang out and feel superior. They are not tolerant, and will delete someone if they catch a whiff of dissent. It's time I stir the pot a little, and get myself banned. I'm an old hippie at heart.

Going back to the Cornerstone Music Festival my late son introduced us to, I heard a band there in maybe 2003 that blew me away. The greatest live band I've ever seen. Even today, after seeing them half dozen times, they still blow me away. If you EVER have a chance, experience this band. In honor of my efforts to continue moving in the right direction...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sons of Guns

Isn't it interesting how you may THINK you understand someone, but you really don't, and never will.

Before I got all soft and liberal, I was as far right as I am left now. I owned a sporting goods store, selling fishing tackle, archery gear, and guns. I carried a gun every day I was in that store. I used to be a serious hunter, with rifle, shotgun, handgun, and archery equipment. So it can't be a surprise that, even though I'm very liberal, I hold to a few of my old values.

I LOVE these gun-shop shows that are on. Sons Of Guns, and American Guns. I know what they're talking about, I know what they'e selling, I know what they're making, and I know why.

Now this has been a long intro to the theme song of Sons of Guns - Tab Benoit's cover of "Shelter Me Lord". He also does much of the music in the individual shows. The show is set in Louisiana, and surprise! Tab Benoit is from Louisiana. He's also one of my favorite blues artists, maybe one of my favorite artists working today. Listen to the tone he gets out of that old Fender.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Drink

One song for a late night when I can't sleep. Listen - it's a powerful song in a laid-back package. Enjoy.

Mary Gauthier (Go-SHAY ya'll)

Retro Photo Shoot

From a photographer in Iceland, a very sexy series. All done in a seventies theme, and it's really pretty accurate. I enjoyed it very much. Hopefully the photographer doesn't mind if I post one of the pics. Click through to her site to see the other pictures. It's worth it.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dude

Another movie clip, from one of the greatest movies of all time. The Dude, a true product of the seventies, who hasn't changed at all since the seventies. The Dude embodies all that we can be, all that we ever wanted out of life. We all think we could be The Dude, but we can't. None of us. The Dude is unattainable perfection. He's what keeps us reaching for the stars.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boogie Nights

Stumbled on the movie Boogie Nights while surfing tonight. This movie is cool. About 70s porn star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg), who works for porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds). If nothing else, it's worth checking out just for the disco soundtrack. Brilliantly put together.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can You Dig It?

I can dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it, you can dig it
Oh let's dig it
Can you dig it, baby

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harold and Maude

My college showed movies in an auditorium every Friday night. It didn't matter what was playing, for a dollar my girlfriend (now wife) and I could see a movie. Some were good, some not so good. But it was only a buck, and we were together.

One night they played this movie. Neither of us had heard of it, and when this scene played to open the movie, we were aghast. We did not know how to take the movie. It took a few viewings before we "got it". And even today, I'm not sure what we "got", but the movie still holds a very warm spot in my heart. And the soundtrack was one of the most perfect movie soundtracks ever.

Ohio Democratic lawmaker is proposing to drug-test elected officials

Ohio Democratic lawmaker is proposing to drug-test elected officials

The subject of drug testing people receiving public assistance really irks me. Here's a lawmaker turning the tables on his peers.
Rep. Robert Hagan's bill would require statewide officeholders, legislators, members of Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-sik) jobs board and recipients of federal bailout money to pay for their testing for un-prescribed pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs and alcohol. Officials testing positive would have to undergo treatment or be booted from office.
You gotta love it. And I'll go a step further. Since drug use is very often a symptom of mental illness, why not screen the same officials for mental illness. Then require treatment, which of course would include psych meds. I think weed is probably the most used mood stabilizer by those with mental illness, so let's make sure the officials and lawmakers have their legal stabilizers if they screen positive for mental illness .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

High Heels Returning

The seventies brought high heel platform shoes for men. Similar to the first pic, I had some, and loved wearing them. They were really pretty easy to dance in. Normally I wore my Puma Clydes, but there were times only the platforms would do. I didn't wear them with jeans, that was for boots or Pumas. But with slacks, leisure suits, or even my Johnny Carson suits, they were great.

Now when they're talking about high heels, they're often talking a different animal. Can you imagine coming out with these in the seventies? They'd think you were actually coming out. Now I've embraced diversity today, but I still wince at the thought of seeing someone walking around in those.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jonathan King, Gary Glitter

I really don't remember any of this.

BBC chief's apology to paedophile Jonathan King for writing him out of pop history

Remember Jonathan King? "It Only Takes A Minute"?
Now 66, King was convicted in 2001 of sexual assault on five teenage boys in the 1980s. He was given a seven-year jail sentence and was released on parole in 2005.

And not only Jonathan King, but remember Gary Glitter? Rock and Roll (Part 2).
He was shamed in September 2001 when he received a seven-year sentence for six offences against five boys aged 14 to 16, committed between 1983 and 1989.
There have been other charges against Gary Glitter also.

I don't recall hearing about things like this back then. Probably because people didn't pay attention, or mind. It wasn't always the "good old days".

People With Mental Health Issues More Likely to Be Uninsured

I wonder how much this study cost. How much actual effort did it take to prove this?

People With Mental Health Issues More Likely to Be Uninsured

What's it take to be insured? For most, a job. What's it take to get and hold a job? For most, a lack of mental health issues.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Middle Aged Mental Illness

Have you ever paid attention to the ages of employees in almost any retail store? Where are all the 50 year-old plus people? With one exception, they just aren't there. The exception, of course, is WalMart. But that's a topic for another time.

Where are the middle aged people with mental illness? You don't hear about them like you do young people - it seems like it's always young people we read about after a mania landed them in the hospital or in custody. I would suspect society has flushed out middle aged sufferers. They learn how to hold a job and quietly fit into society. Or they're institutionalized - I recently read about an explosion of people with mental illness residing in nursing homes with elderly residents. Or they're homeless, or in jail, or dead.

Depending on the study you want to believe, up to 25% of those with bipolar disorder will suicide. I assumed the majority of those were student age, up to young adult. I just read an article that amazed me - the largest number of suicides among people suffering from a mood or other mental disorder is middle aged women.
Suicide spikes among middle-aged women

Amazing, but sad.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Widespread Panic

"Tree huggin’, love makin’, pro choicen, gay weddin’, Widespread Panic diggin’ hippies like me..."
Todd Snider - "Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White American Male"

Widespread Panic was on Austin City Limits tonight, a new performance. I haven't listened to them much in the last few years, and I was missing out. Even better was the audience, they were really into it. I've never experienced a Widespread Panic show, I'll have to make it a point to attend a show sometime. My middle age system can't handle the "Widespread" drugs, but I'll enjoy it anyway.

Work Goals

My son shared these, this was done after a motivational / leadership retreat he'd attended at the national headquarters of the company he worked for at the time. He said within 6 months he'd accomplished both. I'm thinking that accomplishing the first would pretty much guarantee the second.  Click the picture if it's hard to read.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Not that I'm focused on Robbie Fulks, but he's stuck in my head this morning. I'll explore the "song stuck in my head" condition sometime, but it's always there. I've talked to other seemingly "normal" people, and some hear music all the time, and some don't. A product of OCD?

So - a stuck in my head presentation:

Robbie Fulks Show

Saw Robbie Fulks tonight with a son. Had a great time. Robbie's an incredible musician, very intelligent, hilarious, and a very nice guy. Also a Product of the Seventies, although just on the edge. I had a chance to talk with him for a while before the show, he was friendly and gracious, and we both had a few laughs. He asked what my gig was, and I told him it would have been musician, but the F chord kicked my ass. He laughed and said the F chord still kicked his ass at times.

Here he is doing a song from a show 3 years ago, one of my favorite songs of his - It Takes A Long Time To Get Old. I requested it tonight, he said he hadn't played it for several years, then jumped into it and proceeded to blow the audience away.

Here is a pic of my son and I with Robbie after the show.

A very memorable night.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ex Weezer Bassist Found Dead

Ex Weezer Bassist Found Dead

I just saw this, it happened yesterday, so I may be a little late to this story.

My late son introduced me to Weezer. At the time he listened mainly to hard core music, but he had incredible musical taste. One of his favorite bands was Sublime, and after hearing them through him, they're one of my favorites now. But back to Weezer, it's hard to express a lot of admiration for a band with a hit called "Hash Pipe" when you have teenage boys. But it all worked out, I liked the band anyway, and he stayed strong through most of those years.

But check out the article, how difficult would that be, having to leave a mega-band and earn a living painting. I assume when they say painting, they don't mean like an artist. I can only guess on the underlying problems, but it doesn't really matter now. Sad.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Today's Mental Health

Our family has a lot of experience with mental health issues. Bipolar disorder, or more specifically, behaviors that are the symptom of the disorder, killed a son 3 years ago. My late son's girlfriend came over today to wish my youngest daughter happy birthday. She told us of her plans to become a mental health nurse. Since Ryan died it has taken her 3 years so far to get her life moving in a positive direction, and hearing her say that brought tears to my eyes. Because I know, more than anyone else, she gets it. Gets what?

Mental illness is not curable.

Situational issues probably can be cured, for example, I think PTSD might go away over time. But those born with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or other mood or brain disorders are going to have those disorders forever.

She understands that modern psychiatric medicine is, at best, like throwing darts. And the best you can expect from a medication is that it will make life more pleasant for those around the sufferer, and help them fit into a society that doesn't really want to understand. And of course, with luck, it will keep them alive. But that medication exacts a significant toll, more on that another time.

The world will be a better place when there are more mental health workers that understand mental health treatment should be based on compassion, and helping to preserve and cultivate the gifts that are often the result of a mental illness.