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The Promise

18 May

I’ve often wondered…do artistic people who dwell on a whole different astral plane have an unconscious awareness of when it’s time to  move on?  And is it even a choice?  Jimi Hendrix seemed to know his fate when he wrote and recorded, “The Ballad of Jimi”.  Lines like “Many things he would try / For he knew soon he’d die,” “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone / His memory still lives on” and “Five years, this he said / He’s not gone, he’s just dead” weirdly predict the legend’s death and legacy five years later.

Last night Chris performed with Soundgarden in Detroit, Michigan.  Before taking his final walk off stage, Soundgarden worked in a little bit of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 epic, “In My Time of Dying” while performing the closing notes of Badmotorfinger’s “Slaves & Bulldozers”.  The video below shows this final footage.

Chris Cornell – Final Footage

 

I could sit here and write down all of the memories I have that are linked to every single Soundgarden and Audioslave song.  But I won’t.

I will simply salute a man who personally held the hand and ushered in an era of music that made an ethereal footprint in our music’s landscape.  Thank you, Chris….for leaving us with “The Promise”.

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Albany Strong

27 Jan

albany-strong

 

I know, I know.  I’ve been MIA for the past few months.  I’ve got the stereotypical excuse of, “I’ve been busy.”  Lame.

But then something happened here where I live in Albany, Georgia.  On January 2nd my family crouched in the hallway while our home and the homes surrounding us were completely obliterated by a tornado and straight line winds of 95 mph.  I don’t really have the words to describe the sound.  The closest thing I can compare it to was the sound of a huge train slamming on it’s brakes before it began tearing up homes.  No one in our community was prepared for what we saw when the sun rose the next day.  The landscape of our entire neighborhood had been forever altered. 100 year old pine trees were uprooted and thrown through houses and laying across yard and streets.

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We were shell shocked to learn that it would be several months before we could get back into our home.  For some of our neighbors, it was even worse.  Their houses had to be completely gutted and it’ll be close to a year before they move back home.   But in the midst of this tragedy, something beautiful happened.  My faith in humanity was restored as I watched my community and town come together to help one another in a way that’s indescribable.

That community help continued through sub-zero temperatures while the majority of people had no electricity.  My home still doesn’t have power, and won’t until electrical lines are repaired and rebuilt.  Before the magnitude of our devastation could even register, we learned that there were 3 back-to-back severe storm systems that would be following the same path as before. So on January 22nd, we once again crouched in our safe room, terrified at what the news outlets were predicting.  We heard the tornados tearing up the other side of town.  An hour later, the pictures began to show up.  The damage was so much more than the first round of storms on the 2nd.  Then we started hearing about the casualties and the missing people.  As of today, officials are still searching for a missing 2 year old boy who was separated from his mother during the storm.

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We’ve begun the battle of getting FEMA to help us out.  International Crisis Support Teams took one look at our damage and said it was the worst under-reported storm they’d ever seen.  Dougherty County Commission Chairman, Chris Cohilas, has taken up the torch of responsibility and spear-headed the task of getting state and federal leaders to recognize our situation.  He had this to say:

“This has been called by one of the national charities who have responded as the most under-reported disaster they have ever serviced. It is truly a travesty. News media draws resources and volunteers. We have received some great volunteers, but it is not enough. State resources have been provided (and we are very thankful) but they are inadequate to address our community’s needs. If you have the ability to influence media, and or share this information within your spheres of influence, I would ask that you do so. I serve as the County Commission Chair down here, and I have alot of people who are hurting. It is sad.

Our community has gone to social media and posted photos of the carnage. Those photos have been made publicly available. Search by the hashtags #HelpAlbany. Trust me…you will be blown away. Visit my page Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman and view the damage and the people’s needs.

This disaster struck everyone, poor, rich, black, white, old, and young. It should be noted that we have some of the poorest people in the country that live here as well. The entire community is hurting. The needs are great and changing every day. If you can find a way to help, please do it. If you serve on a charity, please consider steering it our way. If you can steer media coverage down here, do it. If you are in a position to help, please do. We have an Emergency Management Agency which can help coordinate the delivery of those resources. Please call them at 229.483.6226, 6227, or 6228. They will receive your call and gladly coordinate your kindness.”

#AlbanyStrong
#OneAlbany
#OnlyOneAlbany
#OneGeorgia

 

 

Robin Williams: Laughter Fading

12 Aug

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I didn’t have a TV when I was a kid.  So when I’d visit cousins or friends who owned a television, I’d binge-watch like a crack-head.  One of my earliest TV memories was ‘Mork & Mindy’.  There was a kid named Clark in my 4th grade class who would wear rainbow suspenders and throw what appeared to be a gang sign whilst muttering “Nanu Nanu” under his breath.  Initially I made fun of him.

“Yeah well you’re stupid because you don’t even have a TV to know who Mork is.”, he said.

So I asked around and found out about ‘Mork & Mindy’.  One episode in particular stands out: The episode, which aired on February 19, 1981, was called “Mork Meets Robin Williams.”  Mork meets Robin Williams and learns about the nature of fame on Earth and the toll it takes on those who get swept up in it. In the final scene, Mork reports back to Orson to tell him what he just learned about the culture of Earth. He explains to Orson that “being a star is a 24-hour job and you can’t leave your face at the office… some of them can’t take it.” Then he lists the names of those Earthlings who were destroyed by the pressures of fame: Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon. The episode aired just two months after Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged fan. If it was written today, there would be a quite a few more famous names to add to it.

I think Robin’s death hit a particularly raw nerve with me because of the bipolar struggle that he and I share.  It’s taken years for me to find the right combination of meds and cognitive therapy that also allow my high level of creativity to remain intact.  But the depression still comes.  The higher the peak the lower the fall.

Robin’s suicide is an unfortunate result of his mental illness.  No different than death as a result of cancer or heart disease.  The fact that a soul like Robin’s could succumb to to the effects of bipolar speaks to the power of psychiatric illness.  Robin was a genius at using his manic highs and depressing lows to produce comedic genius on and off screen.  Perhaps it’s true that those who make us laugh the hardest battle the darkest demons.

  • We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?  ~Dead Poets Society

 

Bowe Bergdahl: Hero? Not So Much.

3 Jun

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Touchy subject, I know.  Touchy touchy touchy.  I didn’t really want to touch it but I’m touching it anyway.  Apparently the United States has engaged in some gimpy swapping with Afghanistan.  Five “high risk” high-ranking Afghan militants for one….well, let’s just look at the official definition of “traitor”, shall we?

Traitor:  One who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty.

What we know is that Bowe Bergdahl vowed an oath to Protect & Serve, then skulked off base in the middle of the night while he was on guard duty.  The internet is blowing up with stuff that may or may not be true.  All I know is that the boy is going to have some explaining to do when he comes home.

The one tragic truth in this whole mess is that six young men lost their lives because they were out looking for Bowe.  YOUNG men.  All but one of them were still in their 20’s.  And if any of these six men were my family, I’d be having a real hard time getting my head around the fact that they gave up their lives for someone who seemingly lacked courage and noble quality.

So as a civilian, I won’t forget about these six men.  And this time next year I’ll be like, “Bowe who?”

 


Staff Sergeant Clayton Bowen, 29, of San Antonio, Texas.

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Private 1st Class Morris Walker, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C.

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Staff Sergeant Kurt Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah

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2nd Lieutenant Darryn Andrews, 34, of Dallas, Texas

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Staff Sergeant Michael Murphrey, 25, of Snyder, Texas

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Private 1st Class Matthew Martinek, 20, of DeKalb, Ill.

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Oscar: Angel Cat or Mocking Demon?

22 May

This is Oscar.  If you’re reading this article….chances are he doesn’t like you.  Oscar is partial to those on the fringes of life.  The souls who are lingering on death’s doorstep, waiting for someone to open the door and let them in.  Souls that are unaware of their surroundings due to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Oscar was born in 2005 and adopted by the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  In 2007, Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University who works with several Steere House patients, wrote an article that was featured in the New England Journal of Medicine.  An article telling the story of Oscar and his ethereal ability to predict the impending death of terminally ill patients.

Oscar’s M.O.?  Apparently Oscar observed the patient and sniffed the air all around them.  If he walked out of the room, you could sigh with relief.  If he turned around in a circle and laid down next to the patient…then you could expect that patient to be dead within hours.

Explanations for this ability include that the cat can smell ketones, the biochemicals released by dying cells, or the lack of movement in near-terminal patients.

Oscar usually stayed with his patient until the morgue came to collect the body.  If the family put him outside of the room, he’d pace back and forth, howling in protest.  I guess Oscar is proof positive that we all have a purpose.  Even those who may hiss and bite.

Like my old cat, Tess (God rest her soul).  I’m not quite sure what her purpose was, but I’m fairly certain it had something to do with teaching me the lesson of commitment and consistency.  She was also a walking reminder for me to take my meds.  Motherhood didn’t exactly agree with Tess.  We had her fixed immediately after the birthin’….and somehow…she got permanently stuck in postpartum depression that didn’t budge for the remainder of her life.  She’d walk through the room and just kill the joy.  When she made a poo in her litter box…she’d get OUT and scratch on the outside of the box and on the floor instead of putting litter over her stinkin’ atomic mess.  When I’d catch her in the act, I’d remind her of her blooming stupidity by dragging her box and setting it outside the back door with a disgusted “GAWD!”  Then I’d commence to fumigating the laundry room.  I have a sensitive sense of smell, you see.

Apparently there were people who didn’t see Oscar’s purpose either.  In the fall of 2007, Oscar turned up dead.  And not from natural causes.  Apparently it was a case of feline homicide.  Not verified but hinted at by the Steere House:

Oscar, the nursing home cat who could seemingly sense the impending death of patients, was found dead early yesterday. The cat gained recent notoriety when reports of his ability to detect the impending death of the terminally ill became public. Seemingly aware that death was at hand, Oscar would reportedly climb into the bed of patients during their final hours.

Officials at the facility would not reveal the cause of death, but did acknowledge rumors that the cat was becoming increasingly unpopular among the patients. One knowledgeable source – who agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity – confirmed increasing animosity toward the animal, and that a dented bedpan was found near the body.

Patients in the terminal ward became increasingly upset at the sight of the cat, prompting administrators to move Oscar to another floor. After an unexpected death on that floor, Oscar quickly became quite unwelcome there too. “Good riddance.” said patient Gertrude Feinman, when told of the cat’s demise. “It would just sit there and stare at you – with this look on his face like ‘you’re next’”.

I know some of you are out there laughing at the thought of a senile old person beating the brakes off a cat with a filthy bedpan.  I’m trying really hard not to grin here too.  But we all should just stop it.

So was Oscar’s gift a blessing or a curse?  I would sit and contemplate this….but I feel the presence of my own deceased cat giving me the stink-eye.

So I must go now.

Pits: A Brief History

6 Jan

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I haven’t been able to sleep for the past few days.  Not sure why really.  No, I won’t take Ambien.  Not anymore.  Not after that unfortunate experience that wound up on video-tape.  Anyway, last night as I lay there staring at the wall, the thought came to me:

“When did women start shaving their pits?”

For some reason I was thinking about colonial women.  Which is what led to the pit question.  Usually these middle-of-the-night musings are forgotten by dawn.  But not today.  So I’m sharing the info with you…because I’m fairly certain it’s a question that WANTS to be answered by some of you out there.

I heard a rumor that back in 4000 B.C., women were using dangerous substances like arsenic and quicklime to get the job done. I just wish there was more solid information on what led to the desire to shave the pits at all.  There had to be an initial conversation that led to all of this.  THAT is what I wish I was privy to.  Instead, I was forced to learn that in May of 1915,  Harper’s Bazaar informed us that if we wanted to wear the fashionable sleeveless dress, then we’d better rid ourselves of any objectionable hair.  

It’s apparent that not all individuals subscribe to Harper’s Bazaar.  And that’s fine.  I ain’t mad atcha.

Educate yourself, people.  Underarm Hair.

10-4 Good Buddy

11 Oct

Lockwood

Pardon the wobble in my voice, but I’m excited people.  EXCITED!  Why?  Because this weekend, a gaggle of truckers plans to descend upon Washington’s Capital Beltway with one goal and one goal only.  To snarl traffic beyond recognition.  All without breaking the law (hopefully). So I know what I’ll be doing this holiday weekend.  Slinging slang in honor of all those big rig operators out there being big on the road.

Maybe I’ll bust out my CB radio so I can hear all the slander that will no doubt be slung regarding law enforcement:

Cheese Wagon: School bus

Cowboy Cadillac: Pickup truck

Sleeper Leaper: Working girl

Driving Award: Speeding ticket

Harvey Wallbumper:  A reckless driver

Chicken Choker:  Truck carrying poultry

Greasy Side Up: Truck that’s flipped over

Gator Guts: Pieces of shredded tire in the road

Big 10-4: I completely agree

Draggin’ Wagon: Tow truck

Bubble Trouble: Problem with your tire

Lot Lizard: Working girl at a truck stop

Fifty Dollar Lane: Passing lane

Toes on the Bumper: Driving at full-speed

Town Clown: Local police officer

Weight Watcher: Weigh station worker

Meat Wagon: Ambulance

Smoke Detector: Radar detector

Pay the Water Bill: Use the potty

Starving the Bears: Driving the speed limit

Boom Wagon: Truck carrying dangerous cargo

Half Cheese: A short school bus

Smile and Comb Your Hair: Radar trap ahead, slow down

Lane Lover: Vehicle that won’t leave a particular lane

Loot Limo: Armored car

Pregnant Roller Skate: Volkswagon Beetle

Billy Big Rigger: Trucker with a big ego

Chew-n-Choke: Restaurant

Tijuana Taxi: Tow truck

Bone Box: Ambulance

Organ Donor: Motorcycle rider without a helmet

Colorado Kook-Aid: Beer

Bucket Mouth: Loud, obnoxious or vulgar

Land Yacht: Large mobile home or camper

Dream Weaver: Weaving driver – sleepy or impaired

Wiggle Wagon: A truck pulling two or more trailers

On the Floor and Looking For More: Accelerating at full speed

Watch Your Donkey: Watch behind you, police are approaching

Nap Trap: Motel

Pickle Park: Rest area known for working girls

Mud Ball: Donut

Motion Lotion: Fuel

Junk Buzzard: Bum or hobo

Miley Cyrus Smells Like Failure

26 Aug

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So this morning my kid is eating Lucky Charms when she sees a recap of Miley Cyrus’ dirty-butt performance at last night’s MTV VMA awards.  I tried to change the channel but it was too late.  She had questions.  Like…”Hey, didn’t you buy me some discount lipgloss from Walmart that had her Disney face on it?”

Psh.  Don’t be ludicrous, child.  To which she sucked her teeth and replied, “Mm hm.”

I could sit here and bust insults all morning, but I shall refrain.  Because I’m a good person.  So let me just put some perspective on this.  In case ya’ll forgot.

billy

Oh, and in case you have no morals.

 

 

Trump University: Insistent Fraudulence For All!

26 Aug

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It’s no secret that I loathe “The Donald”.  A loathing that comes from the bowels of my soul I might add.  So I became giddy when I learned New York’s Attorney General is suing him for $40 million because he duped a bunch of innocent bystanders into believing they could become zillionaires by attending his Amway-esque seminars at his very own Trump University of Narcissism and Joy.

Okay, let me back up here.  Many of the 5,000 students plunked down $35,000 because they naively assumed they’d be able to meet The Donald in the flesh.  Nay.  Instead, they were given a photo-op in front of a cardboard cutout.  So I use the term “innocent bystanders” loosely.

Trump’s response to the suit?  It’s Obama’s fault because he’s a foreigner in a sheep’s raggedy clothing, skulking around the country being a weasel and dropping propaganda pamphlets into the yards of unsuspecting illegal immigrants.

 

Messiah Dissed by Judge

14 Aug

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When I was in the third grade we got a new kid toward the end of the year.  They said his name was Hey Seuss.  We figured Seuss was his first name and the Hey was an attention getter.  We didn’t know how Hey Seuss spelled his name until he got in trouble one day for talking in class.  We all snickered as we watched Miss Cruz scrawl his name on the bad side of the board.  J-E-S-U-S.

We’d been fairly friendly to him up to that point.  Just yesterday Hey Seuss passed muster on the teeter totter test.  We used some doe-eyed 1st grader to lure him into being his teeter totter partner.  Then we bribed this same doe-eyed turncoat with a Zinger snack cake to jump off the teeter totter and let Hey Seuss crash to the ground.  He didn’t cry.  Therefore, he passed muster.

Now we all refused to make eye contact.  We had personally conspired to persecute Jesus and ain’t none of us could lie ourselves out of this one.  A proposal was made unto me.  “Hey April.  Go touch the hem of his garment and say you’re sorry.  For all of us.”  I refused.  So did the next three kids.  Frail Kenny finally wound up doing it.  Jesus pretty much avoided us until summer break and never came back the following year.  Frail Kenny took it personally.

What made me think of this story was hearing about  how Tennessee child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew took it upon herself to snatch the name of Messiah away from a seven month old baby boy and replace it with Martin.

She said,  “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

The Judge also added that her American south is no place to raise a baby named Messiah.

“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is.”

Messiah’s parents had come to court because they couldn’t agree on his last name.  They had no idea that a judge could just up change the kid’s name because it offended her religious beliefs.  Quite frankly, I didn’t think it could happen either.  Not surprisingly, Messiah’s parents are appealing.

Well, it’s a good thing for that little space in between the Lu and Ann.  Because the American south is no place for a Luann to be raised.  What with it being a new age Kabalarian name and all.

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