Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas 2005

I'm stealing this from my daughters who in turn started the thievery.

What is the best gift you received this year? (Tangible gifts only, please!)
This is difficult. I got a lovely guitar to take to home #2. I'm really excited about that. I also got photos of all the kids and the pictures are excellent. The thought behind them was wonderful. Chocolate covered cashews are evil.

What is the best gift you gave this year?
I think I had a hall of fame year this season. I gave my lovely partner a limited edition John Lennon lyrics (Woman). I gave my lovely daughter limited edition John Lennon lyrics (Happy Christmas). My other lovely daughter received a great computer to take her into her IT masters program. We gave the two boys X-box 360's...Getting them was a trick. And there is always the Uncle J Christmas ATM imitation on Christmas Eve. I think my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews would speak in favor of this act.

When did you do most of your shopping/creating?
I started sometime after Thanksgiving. I am an expert consumer. Most of the shopping was done online.

Did you go shopping the day after Thanksgiving (U.S.)? day after Christmas?
No frickin way on either day. Did a little online shopping after Christmas.

What stands out already about Christmas 2005?
I had a wonderful time with all of our kids. It was peaceful, relaxing and full of joy for me. My batch of homemade Christmas deep dish pizza was outstanding and da Bears beat da Packers!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Just do it

Another quotation with meaning for me.

"Write in your heart that every day is the best day of the year" Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you only had one more day to live, what would you do? I'm pretty sure you would not choose to be mean to anyone or worry about your job or pick a fight with anyone. Well, I don't know about you but I don't have a guarantee for tomorrow. I like my odds but life is one big uncertainty. One of the things I would do is surround myself with my loved ones and make sure they knew that I loved them. I do love them and I hope they know it. I will try to keep letting them know at every turn.

It takes wisdom to be able to live this way. Wisdom is hard earned knowledge. It can't be taught and it can't be purchased. It takes effort and experience. I'm willing to make the effort one minute at a time. The wisdom for me centers on two things my much adored father said to me on his death bed. "I can't believe it went this fast." and "I should have partied more." For those of you who knew my dad #2 is an understatement.

So, thanks to my dad I know its going fast and I am trying to make the most of every stitch of time that I have. I am not going to waste an opportunity to show or tell my loved ones that I love them. I am not going to spend time feeling sorry for myself. I am not also going to put myself in the position to say that I should have partied more. I believe in making everything a party. Even work.

You wanna party? Join me
Are you a loved one? I love you

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Macca, thanks man!

I just wanted to write my thoughts about seeing Sir Paul McCartney in concert. I have been fortunate to have seen him a number of times. It's always been wonderful. This time was no different. One of the things I noticed at this show was how many people spent time smiling from ear to ear. I'm sure I was smiling as I was looking at them. Smiles are always a good sign.

Oddly, I have a feeling that I will never see him do a live show again; probably a combination of his age, my age and having seen him a number of times.

During the show, I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend. A friend I've never had a conversation with, shaken hands with, hugged, shared a meal with, never helped move or bailed out of jail. Yet this is someone special to me. Maybe because he never did ask me to help him move. No, that's not it. It was the gift.

Thank you Paul (and John annd George) for all the joy you've brought to me. You sparked my interest in music which is one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. It continues to make me smile.

Well, I deliberately soaked up every minute of the show and made sure I said goodbye to him after he finished the last song. He is forever responsible for one of the good parts of who I am.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Don't Worry Write Your Masterpiece

I have always loved quotations. There can be a lot of wisdom found sometimes in very few carefully connected words. They make me smile sometimes but mostly they make me think and I like that. So...I will share some in the days ahead that struck me.

"Worry is a misuse of the imagination" Dan Zadra - Business executive

I don't believe in worrying. I always found it to be a terrible waste of energy. The connection with imagination never occurred to me. But worry is just that...creating little negative cartoons in your own mind. Maybe it's a gift but most of the time I have been able to realize that I was about to "worry" and change my thinking. Imagine all the good things that one can conjure if you take your negative imagination and go the other way. I like the idea. As Sir Paul McCartney sings "What's the use of worrying? No use."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Brothers and sisters

Hurricane Katrina. What devastation. What an opportunity. Come on people. Reach deeply into your pockets and give. Our neighbors need help. Consider American Red Cross or Operation Blessing. The FEMA website has a list of others. Pick one, pick two, pick them all. There are a lot of people in a lot of trouble. Here's your chance to reach out and be a part of the recovery effort. Count your blessings and then share whatever you can and then some. What if it was your brother or sister, daughter or son?

If you consider yourself part of the American community, it is. Get busy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Clues for the clueless?

My wonderful oldest daughter wrote this in a mail to me as a response to an article I had sent which pointed out that there were many many parents and spouses of killed servicemen and women that strongly disagree with Cindy's position. Just trying to present all sides...

"I guess I think that people like this aren’t listening to Cindy Sheehan, not really. I think that they see the protest of the war, but forget to hear what Sheehan is saying—that she doesn’t want anyone else to suffer the way all of these parents have. I suppose, too, I just don’t see how that dishonors any of the soldiers who have given our lives for their country.

I feel for any parent who loses a child to a war, no matter the cause or reason. But I think that the hopelessness I would feel, knowing I lost my child to a war that has no reason—or reasons that have been disproved—would be somehow different. It’s terrible, all of it. The insurgency’s not getting weaker, and more Americans (and many, many more Iraqis) will die. We can’t tame it, and I hope these people don’t think that we can, not with what we’ve got on the ground now. It’s not dishonoring the sacrifice of their children to ask that no more Americans be subjected to a fight we can’t win, is it?"

Heres my take...

All wars defy reason. I happen to believe that we do not know the complete truth about why we went into and still remain in Iraq. I also happen to believe that sometimes our leadership must decide what we (the public) need to know. There are intelligence reasons for withholding information at certain times.

At the same time, having watched Hotel Rwanda and knowing that the “West” was roundly criticized for “letting” Rwanda happen I can’t help but think we (America) cannot win. We ousted a brutal dictator in Iraq. Isn’t this a good thing for the good people of Iraq and the world community? Extracting ourselves from this mess is now the issue. How and when we get out without throwing the Iraqi people back to the lions is the central issue and should be our leaderships #1 concern. I admit that my #1 concern is that our leadership doesn't have a clue sometimes. (Don't we all?)

I think what our front liners are doing by proudly carrying out their duty, is something that we all need to get behind. I choose to believe that they are risking their lives in an attempt to free people they don't know because its the moral thing to do. I am proud that they are serving for us and hope as strongly as anyone out there that they return home as soon as possible. I also hope that the people of Iraq embrace sovereignty and protect it with the dedication that we do.

Hey Leaders...c'mon with the clues already. Get us out of there!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Evil Demon

Ok, it's time to go public with this. I am quitting the habit of smoking. I began the effort on Monday and am doing very well. Failure is not an option.

Now, having said that, cigarette smoking is an evil demon. The characterization of the ciggys talking to you and saying "Oh it's ok. I'm your friend. One won't hurt. Have one now." is more truth than fiction. Addictions are not fun to kick but this addiction is not fun to keep any longer. It's a pain in the ass. The anti-smoking fanatics keep reminding me how bad this is for me and more importantly to them, how it is bad for them and intrudes on their space. I wish they would mind their own fucking business but that is another issue. I did not decide to quit because of their inane efforts. I decided to quit for me and those that love me because they want me to quit not for the nameless know it alls that want to force their beliefs on me.

I can't wait until the nutrition nutcakes make me eat my cheeseburger in the parking lot so the fats don't leech into their systems. What's the quote "...from my greasy dead hands".

Only three things are certain, death (hey health fanatics this does include you), taxes (a thank you note from Uncle Sam would be nice, thats all I'm saying) and people that insist on foisting their will on other people (bite me!).

Think the withdrawal thing has put an edge on me? Ahh, you can bite me too!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Now this is good form! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Where in the world am I? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I Saw Brain Damage

I went with my daughters, nephew and my honey to see the Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley last Saturday. My quick concert review...Dave and his band are good at it. Excellent.

Now what the hell else was going on there was eye opening. We spent 2 hours of our precious time on the way into the venue on a highway route that should take 30 minutes or so in normal concert traffic. Traffic had gotten totally screwed up by an earlier thunderstorm I guess. There were kids, I'm guessing from ages 16 to 25, hanging out of cars, riding on the roofs of cars, puking out of car windows, urinating at will by the side of the road, drinking beer in cars, drinking vodka in cars, walking along the highway drinking (did I say chugging?)from rum bottles, vodka bottles and various other liquor bottles. Freaked me out a bit I must say. I was driving sober amongst this unruly hoarde and I was afraid for me and afraid for them. Passed out kids, kids crawling in mud, one bright bulb that would not clear the road so I could leave the concert. She even stopped walking so I had to stop my car. And then she turns and says "don't hit me bitch". Well, I wouldn't have even fantasized about making a pancake out of you "bitch" if you weren't walking down the middle of the freakin road. Get your fat drunken punk ass out of the road and you won't have any problems. Either that or get the syrup ready.

Concerts can be really a nice experience. These out of control kids don't really know anything about that. It's all about "Look at me...I can drink too much alcohol." It's not a skill people, any moron can do it. It was a moron festival. Ugly.

I guess I have always gone to shows for the show...there were kids that overdid it when I was a kid too. I didn't understand it any better then. I guess I love music, I love the experience.

Why would you buy an expensive ticket to a concert and then render yourself unconscious before the show even starts? No explanation will make sense. It is just simply brain damage.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Things that piss me off

I was just thinking about ticketmaster because a conversation on ticket brokers and ticketmaster and the whole fucked up system of getting tickets for any good shows anywhere. So in addition to Ticketmaster here are some other things that piss me off.

Ticket Brokers. How does the average fan get to see his favorite band or show without binoculars and an overworked Visa Card?

Politicians. They make my skin crawl.

Terrorism. Civilization and terrorism can not co-exist. I vote for civilization.

That there are people starving in this world...someone let me get em a sammich or two!

Bigotry...racism, sexism, ageism...any of these isms piss me off.

Traffic Jams when you are in a hurry. It never fails.

Not seeing Stevie Ray Vaughan play in person when he was alive. You can add Jimi Hendrix to that list...John Lennon...big list here. Now I go when I can to see those that still grace us with their talents.

Rain on any day that would otherwise be suitable for golf
Not getting enough rain this summer
Alright so I'm conflicted on the rain thing.

People that play golf slowly. It's a courtesy thing.

Poor customer service. Respect for everyone is not that difficult a concept. Treat your smallest customer like your biggest customer. Someday they might get there.

People that are rude. I was with 7 other people at a popular Maui cheeseburger joint and the sidewalk is a zoo..i see no reconizable line to get our names in to get a table. The dude says "OK who's next and how many?" And I start to say my name and this BITCH to my left says "I don't think you are next. I have been standing in line here and we are next. If there was a line it was only me and her but had she been polite i would not have cared at all if she went ahead of me. It would have been a chance to have a conversation in a non-confrontational manner and I would have believed her and let her biggie. But she treated me as if I was a jerk before I even got to be a jerk. Slow down honey not everyone is an asshole like you. I did defer to her but she reviled me to the point that I hoped her dinner sucked. But I let it go...what a sorry bitch!

Poor losers and poor winners...I think I used to be like this at some point. Lose with grace. Win with grace. I like how that feels much better.

Not being able to think of any more things that piss me off right now!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Are they really human like me?

I am disgusted that I am a human when other "so called" humans use their abilities and resources to kill other humans when they are going about living their daily lives. We cannot let these bastards succeed in trying to steal freedom. These cowardly lunatics are for real and working to eliminate them is a positive step toward peace and freedom and the dream of a civilized world.

My heart is heavy for the civilized people of London and the balance of the civilized peace loving free world. Peace and Freedom...I'm not willing to give up the dream. Are you?

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A meme that my daughters completed

Haven't been around in a while...who stole all my free time?

1) My uncle once: hired me to work construction during the summers of my college years. The truck we rode in was not working properly so we had to ride home on excrutiatingly hot days with the heat on full blast.

2) Never in my life: have I felt the need to use a "line" on a woman.

3) When I was five: I cut the fingers off one of my sisters dolls. Ok so a manicurist I'm not. I got a spanking for this one.

4) High school was: an interesting place to be in that era

5) Fire is: a word you never want to hear when you are blindfolded with a cigarette in your mouth?

6) I once saw: Count Basie in Morrie Mages...which was at one time the largest sporting goods store in downtown Chicago.

7) There’s this woman I know who: was a clown in Barnum and Bailey's circus.

8) Once, at a bar: I shared the bathroom with a couple of guys from REO Speedwagon.

9) By noon I’m usually: starving.

10) Last night: I fixed my newest electric guitar and played it for a while; it felt great.

11) If I only had: more time.

12) Next time I go to church: will be when the Cubs win the World never.

13) The best thing about my last relationship was: that we made 3 wonderful children.

14) What worries me most: is people that worry. A Paul McCartney lyric asks "What's the use of worrying? No use". I agree.

15) When I turn my head left: My wall calendar.

16) When I turn my head right: Three boxes of wine and a limited edition Walter Payton football.

17) You know I'm lying when: I say I like all kinds of music. I'm not sure I can get into a lot of the world music and most rap is not "music". It may be art but...

18) What I miss most about the eighties: my youth.

19) If I were a character written by Shakespeare, I’d be: an insuranseth unerwritereth.

20) By this time next year: I may have completed my male pattern baldness adventure.

21) I have a hard time understanding: why people aren't more kind and tolerant.

22) You know I like you if: you're not mean.

23) If I won an award, the first person I’d thank would be: Leonardo Da Vinci. He's the first person that came to mind. For what reason, I don't know.

24) Darwin, Mozart, Slim Pickens & Geraldine Ferraro: are up on the tee next.

25) Take my advice, never: say never.

26) My ideal breakfast is: making breakfast for my kids.

37) If you visit my hometown, I suggest you go to: one of our great restaurants.

28) Why doesn't everyone: just chill.

29) If you spend the night at my house: our hospitality will amaze you. And no, you must leave eventually.

30) I’d stop my wedding: What wedding?

31) The world could do without: politicians, bigots, so many lawyers, dictators, politicians, bigots, violent crime, hunger, greed, puritanical bullshit and life insurance sales persons.

32) My favorite blonde is: (was) an old blonde colored persimmon driver that I use to just crush off the tee until it shattered. The clubs name was actually "Blondie".

33) If I do anything well, it’s: spend money.

Uh, what happened to 34-43?? This meme was designed by the government and they needed more funding.

44) And by the way: Eric Clapton can really play that thing.

45) The last time I was drunk, I: had a good time drinking vino at home with some friends.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Animal madness

I was talking to my daughter a while ago and told her that I was thinking about turning my cute little dog (devil) into sausage. She of course said that I would never do that because I'm a softy...which is true and I guess I can get used to dog proofing my entire world (hate it!). I think I am engaged in playing some kind of dog game. My dog spends most of her days with another dog and they get along famously. I also believe they plot together very well. As soon as I leave the house I think they look at each other and say "Let's go see what we can chew today!" If I have been foolish enough to leave anything (eg. CD's, Magazines, Place Mats, Screwdriver, Flashlight, eye glasses, napkins, instruction manuals, socks), it's pretty much toast. They even like to chew toilet paper! If I leave the bathroom door open, I can expect that my house will be TP'd. Drives me nuts!! At least they don't chew furniture or remote controls. My collection of guitars is so protected even I can't get to them. Tonight I think I'll try to scale the walls and see if I can get past the razor wire so I can play a little.

Friday, February 04, 2005

"Can't you see I'll always be a music man"

Just Wondering

My music addicted daughter posted this and kinda hinted that I should give it a whirl so I did and it brought back all kinds of memories. There are more...i mean more!
This was a lot of fun. Thanks Ang

1. Song that sounds like happy feels:

Starting Over by John Lennon and Here Comes the Sun by George Harrison are two of many.

2. Earliest memory:

Going on a train ride with my mother to visit my grandparents in Decatur IL. I remember asking if the train was going to go up and down having seen a cartoon where the train just went up and down hills. I think I was 3 or 4 at the time.

The earliest song i remember is Volare....hey I'm italian!

3. Last CD you bought:

Live in Japan – George Harrison and Eric Clapton Nice to hear George and the band is really great.

American Idiot- Green Day Pretty good rock and roll

In with old and in with the new.

4. Reminds you of school:

Elementary School

Everything Beatles

Ticket to Ride – In 6th grade 3 of my friends and I lip synced at a PTA meeting. We cut our guitars out of plywood and painted them. I wish I still had that thing. I lip synced
Johns part.

Laugh Laugh by the Beau Brummels

All kinds of Hermans Hermits crap.

The Dave Clark 5

Gerry and the Pacemakers

You don’t know like I know…I think it’s a Sam and Dave song…first live band dance.

Ruby Tuesday by the Stones

Songs that my band played: For Your Love, House of the Rising Sun, My Girl, Gloria, Cry for a Shadow ( an obscure Beatles number that we wrote words to), Dirty Water, Hang on Sloopy, Wild Thing, Twist and Shout…

High School

Everything Beatles

How much time you got? First one that came to mind is Dazed and Confused by Led Zeppelin. Communication Breakdown reminds me of the night there were riots in Chicago. A local band was playing this at my High School…it was a weird time.

Inagaddadavida baby

Elton John’s first album

Alice Cooper – Schools Out for Summer

Eric Burdon and War – Spill the Wine

Stevie Wonder – My Cherie Amour


Sly and the Family Stone



Vanilla Fudge


Everything Beatles

Aqualung – Jethro Tull My freshman roommate rigged up an 8 track player and it sounded much better than my crappy stereo. I cannot recall how many times I fell asleep (or passed out) to this album but being an 8 track it played on a continuous loop.

Like You Do – REO Speedwagon. Actually the whole REO TWO album; introduced all my buddies to REO. They played at a bar in Milwaukee (Teddy’s). No cover. We went all three nights they were there. It was excellent.

Going to NY – Climax Blues Band

Band on the Run – Paul Macca

Grand Funk Railroad - I'm your captain....actually that whole album...

Dark Side of the Moon...if you have to ask by whom, go to your room!

Loggins and Messina – Motherlode This was the first quadraphonic album ever got. Ok…you’ll have to look up quadraphonic, I’m not telling. I actually “hacked” my sorry little stereo system and made it quadraphonic.

All the Young Dudes – Mott the Hoople Don’t ask me why it just does for some reason.

Harry Nillson – You’re Breakin’ my heart, You’re tearing me apart, so fuck you. The song is right on point.

5. Total music files on your PC:

Thousands as a result of trying to fill my I pod.

6. Song for listening to repeatedly when depressed:

Secret of Life by JT
Everything Beatles

7. Song that sounds British, but isn't:

I dunno…maybe something by the Cars. I like the nightlife baby?

8. Song you love, band you hate:

Street Corner Talking by Foghat

9. A favorite song from the past that took ages to track down:

See number 8. This album is a pretty good example of “English” blues and r&b

10. Bought the album for one good song:

No clue on this…

11. Worst Song to Get Stuck in your Head:

Anything by Barry Manilow? Tom Jones?

12. Best song to dump a beer on someone's head to, then storm out of the bar?

I’ rather dump a song on someone and storm out of the bar. Let’s see Mr. Jukebox…a whole album of Megadeath, KISS,…no no Pat Boone…RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

13. Who should do this next?

Anyone interested in sharing their memories.

Monday, January 03, 2005

It's Bin a While. Could you pass me that remote?

Betcha thought this was gonna be about that infamous barbarian Osama Bin Laden. Well it kinda is...

Why do we humans continue to act like barbarians? "It's fun?" No, it's really a pain in the ass that barbarians still exist. I was thinking that greed was the main reason (no Gordo, greed is not good) and it does play a part along with other "deadly" sins but the real reason is truly befuddling. I think it comes down to "if you are not like me and do not believe in the things I do, you are different and should be dead and I will make you that way". "Excuse me, could you say that again?" Think about it...

Well, its a good thing we Americans are not guilty of that. "Of course we're not! We are so frickin righteous!" OK righteous face, then explain these to me in a thousand words or less...racism in this country and what about the "christian" barbarians that blow up abortion clinics? There are too many other examples of our "righteousness" to list here but you get get the point. We, like some other civilizations, are just better at hiding it; at thinking we are not barbarians...we try to civilize our barbaric tendencies for the most part. This is progress! Really slow progress...and it doesnt make it right. Not allowing same sex marriage is an example of our miniscule progress! How's that for positive spin on an embarrassing chapter of our current history? "At least nobody has proposed that proponents and participants be burned at the stake." I wouldn't be too sure of that. We have our share of idiots here. No, it's clear to me that exclusion and public humiliation are just a couple of examples of our "civilized" types of barbarism. Wrong is still wrong...

Where is the fast forward button on the progress remote when you need it?