Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Its Polka Time


A Facebook friend got me started today when he posted about having been "forced" to watch the Lawrence Welk Show as a kid. Jeff, if you read this, suck it up. You seem to have survived just fine.

As children, many Boomers had the pleasure or the pain of dealing with a weekly dose of Lawrence Welk. He was the  equivalent of a Rock Star back in the day. Women wearing winged glasses and full length dresses gathered with their husbands and families in front of  black and white TV's with 15 inch screens every week to see what Lawrence had up his sleeve this time. 

Every week he offered up a mixed bag of homogenized and pasteurized American music that lifted hearts throughout the land. His show had no rough edges, no bite; it was cheese puff entertainment. And America loved it, or at least the honchos running the shows thought so.

Only Ed Sullivan's show was more popular. Of course Ed allowed the latest immoral and deviant Rock n Roll stars to actually play their devil's music in front of the whole country. Gasp, oh the horror. Lawrence was decorum and civility squared.

Although Lawrence appeared to be a pleasant man, an affable man; as a kid, I always thought there was something off about him. He never stopped with that smile during the whole show. Come on now, nobody smiles that much. Ed Sullivan never smiled that much. Matter of fact Ed did not smile much at all. 

Myron and his accordion were a weekly mainstay on Welk's show. There seemed to be at least one polka number or accordion rendition of an old standard every week.  After the Lawrence Welk show ended, Myron hit the road and performed over 200 shows a year as a solo act or with the orchestra he created. He even appeared in a music video by Kansas. 

Nationally renowned as he was, Myron never was an A-lister though. He worked hard, recorded many albums, and played every East Gish boondock venue he could find. One year he even filled the grandstand at the Acton Fair. 

I am not sure of the year, but I think it was the early 1970s that Myron made all the blue haired ladies in town swoon when he played to a packed house at the Acton Fair's grandstands which usually only saw pulling contests of the animal and mechanical kind. 

Some days after his appearance I was over to Half Way Up Farm, my Aunt Helen's place on the Witch Trot Road for some errand or chore I was to perform for her. I asked her if any of her buddies had thrown their bloomers onto the stage. 

Without missing a beat, she looked at me with the disapproving look she had mastered over 70 years of living. "They are referred today as underwear. And to answer your question; No, I saw nothing tossed on the stage, though the ladies from the Old Timer's Shop were quite giddy."

The twinkle in her eye and the slight upturn of the corners of her mouth told me she probably had one of the best times of her life that night. 

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...........................................


And in keeping with the music of my forebears, please give a moment or two to listen to Myron at his best - "12th Street Rag" and then "Tico Tico". The man knew his way around an accordion.


Monday, December 27, 2021

Another Free Thinker

Made the mistake of stopping for just two minutes in front of the TV this morning as I prepared the morning pet repast. I heard the most recent failed Winger slogan, "Lets go Brandon". I always get a chuckle when the Winger chuckle heads come out with what they consider another Libtard owning idea, saying, or incredibly stupid crazier than any before conspiracy theory. 

I know in the scheme of Winger nonsense, "Let's go Brandon" doesn't even ring a bell. It is a wink, wink, nod, nod smile, gotcha slogan that only has wings flying around in the local internet cesspools where the self inflicted stupidity of the Winger homelands is obsessed over. 

I had forgotten about it until Joe and Jill Biden's Merry Christmas call with an Oregon father of four went viral.  Pleasantries and good tidings were exchanged between the Bidens and Jared Schmeck. Before they both signed off, Jared blurted, "Let's go Branden".

Of course the tight asses among the elite of the Left got huffy and righteously indignant. Many mounted their high horses. Meanwhile, the slack jawed coalition of the Right laughed uproariously. Everyone it appears got something out of it. What caught my attention though was the follow up to this interaction.

Jared decided he needed to clarify his remarks . He felt they had been taken the wrong way. Insisting he meant no disrespect, he followed with this:

    "Schmeck said he’s not a “Trumper,” but described himself as “free-thinking             American and follower of Jesus Christ.”   

The contradiction in his assertion caught me and I immediately thought that following Christ meant one had given up their ability to freely think. I know that the Thumpers and Trumpers will contend I am wrong and they are free to think that. But this incongruity does not jibe with my understanding of the term "Free Thinking". Apparently Jared Schmeck's notion of free thinking does not mesh well with it either. At least three well regarded internet dictionaries have this to say:

  • Dictionary.com a person who forms opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition, especially a person whose religious opinions differ from established belief.
  • Merriam-Webstera person who thinks freely or independently : one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; Especially one who rejects or is skeptical of religious dogma
  • Cambridge Dictionary - forming your own opinions and beliefs, especially about religion or politics, rather than just accepting what is officially, or commonly believed and taught 

I have tried to find some way to include "free thinking" with religious belief. At best all I can come with for the free thinkers who rely on religious dogma to frame their life, is they might be called "semi-free thinkers".  And it would only apply to those who follow the spirit of the Bible or Quran and not the hard core literal translations. 

In my opinion, free thinkers generally do not fit well into the boxes religion nails around them. I know from my own struggles as a kid before I tossed organized religion out of my life, the narrow path set out by religion for me to follow did not allow me the freedom to consider that all things are possible not just that which is laid down in a book written by folks who are more interested in controlling me than setting me free.

Later .............................................


Today's musical interlude  - Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen.  After all, the World is nothing without them.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Puke Salad - Revisited

I am amazed at the ingenuity humans use to combine simple mundane ingredients, cook them and then serve them as gastronomical wonders that please tongues everywhere. How many failed recipes did Humanity have to suffer through to find the ones that separated food from just a survival tool into the dishes we have loved to get fat on?

Other than the folks who cannot get past the look of this wonderful dish, I have never met anyone who did not enjoy it. So, because of the interest shown in my wife's Puke Salad, I offer up the recipe she got from her first mother in law. It is so simple, it smacks as a recipe found on the back of a Jello box. So I doubt it has noble roots going back hundreds of generations or anything. But I bet it sticks around for the next hundred generations .............. If we last that long.

Enjoy. And while you are at it,

Keep it 'tween the ditches .............................................

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Puke Salad


So it's Christmas Evening, 2021. Best laid plans have been shot out of the water. My wife is the only one who manages best laid plans. Me, well I learned long ago to think about plans but never totally commit,  as any plans I make often come off half baked. I am better and more successful at shooting from the hip and turning chaos into a party. Anyway, the kids (daughter and her SO, "Mr. Man") were supposed to swing by for a sumptious repast and now they aren't. Freezing rain and a three and a half hour drive through it negated those plans. We are getting together next week anyway, so our seasonal hoe-down will still happen, just a week late is all.

I had my mouth all set for lobsters, steamed shrimp, a dizzying array of baked goodies, and last but not least, BA's infamous "Puke Salad". I do not know its real name. BA's brother named it that back when they were kids. He has refused to let one spoonful pass his lips ever since. My daughter's husband is of the same mindset. Just can't get past the name and the fact that it actually looks like puke...... green puke as a matter of fact. But I tell you what, I could live off the stuff. If there are gods out there eating somewhere, they are feasting on Puke Salad for sure. It is so delicious.  

With the day's plans shot in the butt, we reset our day to accommodate what turned out to be just another day on the planet for the two of us. BA threw the shrimp back in the freezer but she assured me Puke Salad was still on today's menu. We will eat the lobsters and my wife will be secretly pleased. She would rather eat lobster than anything else. Me, well I like lobster well enough, but I prefer  steamed clams.  But with two lobsters to myself, I really cannot complain.

Up until the last decade or so I would dread the Christmas season. It was never a fun time when I was growing up. More alcohol than usual was consumed which led to more ugly confrontations between the adults that inhabited my life at the time. I grew out of it, but still a little sadness always tainted my holiday revelry. I accept it and eagerly wait for the new year to offer me the hope of a better year than the last. 

But what constitutes "better"? The word conjures up comparisons which leads to the notion of "its relative", which ends being so much bull shit. I have decided that "a better year" is the next one I enter still above ground. That is what matters. All the angst and sorrow I dumped on myself over the years only confused the issue. The issue was always simple. It was never complicated. .....................

 Tis the season to be jolly ............................


This Christmas night I offer up for my musical offering - Father Christmas by The Kinks - A band I drove for and had the best month of my driving career.

Friday, December 24, 2021

HO !

It looks like we are going to squeak through with a White Christmas. That 7" storm we received a few days ago was followed a couple of days later by freezing rain and now we have maybe 3 inches of the white stuff under ice to look out at and try to fool ourselves it is another normal Christmas in Maine.

Regardless, my family and I are going to celebrate the Holidays as we have for the last many years and yes, it will be much better than last Christmas. So I am counting my blessings with hopes that everyone will pause to count theirs. The blessings are out there. We just need to take the time and effort to push them to the front.

HO !   ...............................

***  In the interest of full disclosure - Technically, the pictured Outhouse is not mine. However, I did follow its construction closely as my neighbor Duncan built it. I offered him appropriate verbal encouragement. I also used it once or twice just to say I did and to give it my meaningless stamp of approval. Finally, under extremely difficult footing conditions, I bravely ventured out and took that picture after the infamous Ice Storm of 08'. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Of Caterpillars & Snow

We finally saw our first real snow of Winter 2021/2022. Up to this point, all I had measured by eye was a total accumulation of less than two inches. This 7-8 inch dump overnight is as close to a real storm as we are likely to get before the end of the year. 

Enough said. I won't get up on my climate change high horse and beat the Humanity is killing itself drum. 

Which brings me to caterpillars.

I ran into this cute little feller on the Smithsonian Channel this morning on some show about all the weird and wonderful stuff found throughout the natural world that most of us would never know existed if not for the efforts of folks carrying magnifying glasses and butterfly nets.

This future Aussie moth, the Uraba Lugens, has a very unique defense mechanism not included at birth. It actually creates that so very cool head dress as a defense against its arch enemy, the stink bug. 

As it grows, the uraba lugens has to discard one skin for a newer more roomier one. Not one to leave its trash kicking around for others to trip over, this catepillar eats its old skin but saves the head to become another ornament on top of the last head. And so it goes. Eventually as its end time nears, it looks like the dashing dude chilling a few lines up. The stink bug, who everyone knows is not the brightest bug to fly to the flame, becomes confused and befuddled when confronted with this five headed monstrosity. It loses its cool and blindly tries to stab its proboscis into one head after another attempting to suck out the little Uraba's vital juices. 

Looking good is far more important to these sharply festooned critters. It's a matter of survival.

All this bug watching and conversation again makes me wonder if I did miss my calling back in the day when I decided to not pursue a science oriented career. I can remember declaring I was going to be a marine biologist. And sharks were going to be my focus. ..........................

I will never know that "what if". All I can do is embrace what was, what is and what will be.

Later Gator ..........................................


PS - Music this Sunday is an appropriate tune written by Tom Waits and this is by Beth Hart.

 I will close with a collage of a few locals who spend their summer here growing fat and beautiful.

Friday, December 17, 2021

We Can't Know What We Don't Know

I recently vowed to no one in particular I would not react to the viral stupidity our elected leaders practice day in and day out. But again, that rolling train wreck that is the GOP these days is constantly shoved in my face on any number of media outlets I would happen to glance at or listen to. The barrage of lunacy pouring out of GOP mouths and propaganda sites is impossible to avoid. Some of the nonsense always slithers through even the best of defense mechanisms.

This morning was no different.

I made the mistake of turning the TV on before I had successfully grounded myself after a tumultuous night of bizarre dreams. Before the video even came into focus, these were the first words I heard,

"We can't know what we don't know."

I knew the words were the regurgitations of a GOP butt licker of some kind; either a drone, or one of their eloquent leaders. Words this profound could never come from any other source. The Right has been formalizing and manipulating stupidity and lunacy into a fine art over the last  two or three decades anyway.

Those words should have been my warning that upcoming moments I wish had back were about to be wasted by stopping my morning routine to find out what Einstein came up with that bit of wisdom.

Apparently this happened during a debate among GOP candidates for governor of Minnesota. The question was simple, point blank, with apparently no wiggle room. It begged for either a Yes or a No answer. With Politicians though, no question is ever really asking for a yes or no answer.

The question was,  "Do you think Biden won the election?"

And the response of one of them was, "We can't know what we don't know." 

The video part of the news piece finally caught up to the audio and on the screen there stood a very earnest looking man, clean cut, and clear eyed. With no trace of irony in his voice, he repeated,

"We can't know what we don't know."

Indeed sir. Well played. You surely clarified your stand on the recent election. I look forward to more of that kind of drivel in our next encounter.

I turned off the TV and came in to cry on someone's shoulder. Didn't matter who, just someone who could prove to me the inmates have not really taken over the asylum.

Oh well..... All we ever really can do is .........

Keep it 'tween the ditches..........
________________________________  @400 words

PS - a new feature on the BoZone is hopefully a regular posting of music I have loved, music I have discovered, and music that made me cry.

Today's choice is Spooky Tooth's best ever cover of  "I am a Walrus" written by John and Paul of the Beatles. I wore out my first copy of this album back in the early 1970's.

Enjoy ...........................

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Nothing In - Everything Out

This morning I  broke my newly created rule only days after creating it. I ordered myself to not allow a bad day to ruin my Sunday. While this has not become a bad day in the life, it seemed headed there after an hour of socializing on social media. 


Now ain't that odd. A worldwide group of Internet communities called "social media" turns many of us into a Gloomy Gus, everyone else is an asshole participant. Civility is often only skin deep on many pages and sites. Why I forget this so often, I do not know. I still insist on deluding myself everyone on the planet wants to have a nice day. Regularly I rediscover the many people who revel in and celebrate being in an ugly mood, a judgmental mood, or just a plain ole mean mood. And like this AM, I often get sucked into the vortex. 

Most days I think a more accurate name for Facebook and its kindred spirit social media buds would be "Anti-Social Media".

Today though I snapped out of it, grabbed a fresh cup of coffee, sparked up a doob,and pumped the music up to Wow. I closed my eyes and focused on sweeping my mind clean; leaving Nothing inside and driving Everything out. Five songs into the Rolling Stones album, "Let it Bleed" I opened my eyes.  

Nothing had conquered Everything and my Sunday was back on track. _________________________________

The first time I heard "Let It Bleed" was in 1969. We were breaking into a recently purchased bag of pot in Snake's basement. The album was playing on one of those four foot long Motorola stereos so popular in the 1960s. His grandparents had bought a new stereo and they let Snake claim the old one for his basement retreat. The speakers only lasted for a month or so once Snake took charge of the furniture sized boom box. That was okay though. I hooked up some speakers my dad gave me and it sounded even better.

So here is a taste of that great album ................... "Midnight Rambler"


Picking the best tune on this album was impossible.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .............................................

Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Government is Not the Enemy - The Private Sector Is

I am so sick of hearing the bullshit about how the private sector does things better and cheaper than the government when in most cases where there are universal needs, that assertion is absolutely false. Stop believing in the private sector to solve every problem. They can't because they depend on a profit motive to exist. Some services are better left to well designed and run government management that has the profit motive removed from the equation.

Healthcare, Prisons, Power grids, and distribution of electricity are three industries that should have at least more government oversight than they currently do.  Instead, the greed of the private sector is allowed free rein to bend us over and have their way with us. And they do have their way with us.

When Maine's power grid was a semi-public held entity that depended on the PUC (Public Utilities Commission), to set electric rates, the rates tended to remain static and were nowhere as volatile as they are now that the private sector controls the price of electricity.  We have allowed greedy out of state companies to dictate what we pay for electricity. By going private we have handed over an important right to the private sector. Private power is more expensive than public power.

"Residential customers of public power utilities pay 11% less than customers of investor-owned utilities – for the average U.S. household, that’s $176.79 saved each year or about $15 per month."   (publicpower.org)

Recently Maine went through a voting process to stop a private venture from finishing cutting a swath through our state to provide Massachusetts cheap Canadian hydro power. If it had continued, upon completion,$250 million would be paid to the state and Maine consumers could expect a pennies on the dollar decrease in their monthly bill. The honchos of the private electricity owners lauded this as proof of how much better they were at handling our electrical needs.

Yet, in the meantime, the greedy assholes who have us by our electrical short hairs asked and were given the right to raise rates in 2022. The rate hike would amount to an 83% increase according to some experts. 

The first salvo in re-gaining public control of our energy needs began when Maine voters shot down the corridor. More importantly, this issue put the spotlight on the Spanish based company, Iberdrola, who owns our power grid now. There are allegations of of all kinds of misdeeds and illegal Bull Shit that has been ongoing since Avangrid (Spanish owned) originally obtained CMP in 2008. The later shuffling around and merging of corporate interests into our current owner, Iberdrola, changed nothing. It actually got worse according to some of the accusers.

A well run and well monitored government agency is more likely to work for the benefit of all and be quicker to respond to public pressure than anything run by the private sector. We have more of a chance having our voices heard with the government than we do in some boardroom in Spain. Investor own public services are a terrible idea.

Later ....................................................

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

My Two Bucket Bench

I was out back sitting on my two bucket bench this morning sipping coffee and chastising Maggie once again for finding another disgusting Nature treat in the yard. She was not having any of it. She laid down some thirty feet away from me, placed the leaf covered delicacy between her paws and began to gnaw on it. And then she had the gall to look up at me with her "You're not the boss of me" stare.

I was almost angry enough to get off my two bucket bench and ..... No. Instead, I turned on my come hither voice and finally, on the fourth or fifth 'Maggie Come", she dropped the treat and meandered in my direction, being careful to not look me in the eye. She knew. ............ Yeah, she knew.

I got her to sit within arm's reach and after much cajoling, she turned her head and faced me. I launched into the same speech I always launched when she stuck an ugly bit of something or other in her maw. Using hand gestures and injecting several "Look at me's", I finally gave up. Her vacant eyes told me all those wasted words did not strike a chord with her. For her part, Maggie was satisfied it was over and she immediately found her recent tidbit and laid down facing away from me to enjoy it without recrimination. She knew I was all hat and no cattle. Damn dog.

I went back to enjoying my two day old coffee and the roach from last night and shifting my attention to something else. Problem was I had made the mistake of watching too much news this morning. Watching the news is like passing an accident. I never want to look, yet I always do. My mind immediately refocused on the latest nonsense and dysfunction being dreamed up by our all stars in DC. I had recently promised myself to not let them back into my head, yet there they were, once again worming their way to the top of my attention span. 

I could not let that happen. I had been working too hard lately to free myself from the media's insidious grip on me. The news industry was nothing but a collective of  peddlers and purveyors of the words, ideas and actions of evil people who did the bidding of the really evil people ensconced behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms. The media was the gate protecting the gated community of the unadulterated information from being exposed without the proper twist and pat on the head from the moneyed elite.

I often have trouble emptying my mind. More often than not, my mind is only empty when it shouldn't be. But this morning I concentrated and while I did not empty it, I did succeed in distracting it. 

I looked down on the reclaimed board sitting on the two reclaimed buckets I have been using as lawn furniture these last many years. How long have I had this particular set. Ten years? Twenty years? I could not remember. But I knew it was a long time. 

As I sat and dug for when I had first put a board on two joint compound buckets, I realized that I could remember using a variety of them in the early 1980s when I had a good sized garden producing more vegetables than our two or three dozen boxes of caning jars could handle. I remembered also when I put this particular set together. It was in 2004 when I hacked my secret garden out of the pucker brush on the Southeast side of the property. 

Suddenly my angst over news and events I had no power over disappeared and I relaxed. Life goes on no matter what happens out there and focusing on the bench I was sitting on was the most important thing in my life at that moment.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .....................................................

Friday, December 03, 2021

Her Majesty Has a Play Date

Right after I fed Maggie this morning we went out back so she could do her morning dog thing. Poop, pee and fart around smelling stuff. It was finally a typical day for this time of the year. The wind was up and the temperature was in the upper teens to low twenties. 

Maggie bolted out of the back door and began her routine. The wind blasted me in the face and I realized it was not tee shirt weather anymore.

"About time", I thought. 

The morning ritual was moving along with Maggie uncharacteristically keeping to her business and not finding some distraction to prolong our time outside. It was damn cold. The wind was blowing up my ass and I only had one thin short sleeved layer on. I was grateful she seemed to be on the same page as I was. Take care of business and get back into the house.

But no. Suddenly Maggie stiffened into her hunting dog stance. Her nose spiked up in the air and her nostrils flexed in and out as she took in as much of the scent as possible. Any thought of pooping was put on hold until she had investigated this incursion into her territory. She took off full tilt boogie into the pucker brush out back that formed the border between my property and the new neighbor's huge field. She loved nothing better than running at full speed anywhere. I caught glimpses of her as she dashed through the leafless brush and out onto the neighbor's field. 

A second later an explosion of turkeys took flight to escape this well known threat to their composure. A rafter of summer fattened turkeys taking flight is an impressive sight. For her part, Maggie stopped, sat, and watched the turkeys fly away. She was satisfied. She had done what she came to do. Chased those turkeys off her property. 

Now it was onto her next favorite thing. Eating the turkey poop left behind. Its always best when eaten fresh. Or so she informed me when I attempted to command her to stop.

She promised she would return to her regal ways once we were back in the house.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ......................................................

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


I can hear the TV in the kitchen. Not enough to understand the words but well enough to know my wife is watching or was watching the morning news and commentary. 

For years we have been locked into an old couple ritual of watching the morning news together as we sip coffee from favorite cups, take our ever increasing regimen of pills, and decide whether or not the significant other is worthy of conversation this AM. 

Most days we agree the worth is there. So we'll discuss the madness that makes up the back ground noise in our lives. It will usually be a hot topic currently on the tube being swatted around a table by talking heads. If it is football season, we more often gravitate to talking about the New England Patriots and their prospects to make the play offs. Or we might share some local gossip, but that would be rare. Neither of us are inclined towards gossip mining nor are we regular purveyors of the unseemly and unlucky events in our town. Morning is when my wife and I talk the most. 

Yet, there have been some silent mornings in the last forty one years. Neither of us allowed them to go nuclear. Seldom any heated rhetoric. At worst, usually just snark and nasty inflection. And if one of us was really pissed, absenting the room in a huff would end it.

For my part, I treat disagreement with BA in a passive aggressive way I guess. My childhood was spent watching parents who would drop civility in an instant, cue up their nastiest rhetoric and try to beat the other into submission. I was eight when I decided they had to resolve their issues this way. It almost became bearable after that. I vowed to never do that in my own family. And I haven't.

I am not so naive I would say that the way we argue is responsible for our marriage lasting so long. I cannot even say our way of resolving conflict has been good for our marriage. It is how it has settled out. 

I will say though, sharing my life with someone for so long has been wonderful in spite of all the dumassery I inflicted on it.  I have come to a conclusion at just shy of forty one years with the same woman, a major cornerstone of our long marriage has been Tolerance, with my wife bearing the brunt of it. 

And that is what I was thinking about this morning.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ................................... 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Paradise Revisited

Over the past several months I have not listened to "Paradise" by John Prine. Every time I tried to listen to John after he died, I would tear up. So I put his music on the bench for the foreseeable future.

This morning I was ripping a Nitty Gritty live album that featured acoustic Country and Blue Grass music from my past. Jerry Jeff Walker, Allison Krauss, Jackson Browne, John Prine and others joined the Nitty Gritty Band and rocked the house somewhere in front of some very lucky fans. And thankfully NPR taped it.

If I had remembered John Prine was on the CD, I might not have listened; just ripped it and walked away. But it caught me listening and I could not not listen. And yea dammit, I teared up one more time. 

Midway through the song though I realized around the second refrain or so it was not John's untimely death that made me turn on the tears now. It was images of strip mines, dead cities of the Rust Belt and Smog hovering over Los Angeles that created the deep sadness in my mind. The song just sparked my sadness. What are we doing to ourselves?

"And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away"

I am a card carrying member of the Boomer generation. My peers were instrumental in establishing the "Save the Planet" campaign sixty plus years ago that still chugs along today. While our efforts have been less than the success we had envisioned so many years ago, I cannot imagine where the collective we would be now without those early efforts. For my own sanity, I have to believe we helped even if it may not have been enough in the long run. 

Are we doing enough now? Or is it too little too late. 

Time and the planet will be sure to let us know. Bet on it.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ................................... 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Drawing a Last Breath

For me, watching someone draw their last breath was no small thing. 

It was my first tour with SHOWCO and only our third venue in October, 1976. This was my trial run. I was to co-drive with Ron W. to see if I had what it took to drive Rock n Roll.  Also, The Who wanted no issues with time and distance for this leg of their two year "By the Numbers Tour". They insisted on co-drivers in all the trucks.

Much of that tour comes back to me in smaller bits and pieces than the rest of my memories of my time with SHOWCO. I was fresh faced, naive, and had not yet become jaded and numb. The sensory overload I was experiencing came too fast and was too intense. This immersion into the business side of the Rock industry was the grandest thing in my little world to that point. That first tour went by in a blur.

We landed at Oakland Coliseum for a two show outdoor gig. Part of Bill Graham's "Day on the Green" series. Only two bands played. The Who headlined with the Grateful Dead pulling duty as the front band. The two shows were enjoyed by 94.000 people on Saturday and 110,000 people on Sunday. The gross for the two days was was over 1 million bucks ($4.8 million in 2021 dollars). Of course they had to split it with The Dead, Bill Graham, blah blah blah. Still an impressive turnout and payday for sure.

So here I was in Rock n Roll heaven, starry eyed and in a state of constant befuddlement. My first dose of Reality occurred after the second show on Sunday, October 10th. 

Ron had me get our truck ready to back in for load out. I was outside the 12 foot chain link fence behind the stage finishing up the safety check for the second time. Many folks were milling around so I leaned up against our White Freightliner to spark up a smoke and attempt to look as cool as I felt. No one from the milling hordes even took notice of me, my hip aviator sunglasses or SHOWCO Tee shirt. I wasn't crushed, but I remember a twinge of disappointment.

I watched the people filing out and was struck by how odd the group was. There were folks wearing suits, folks wearing tye-dyed shirts and ratty bell bottoms. Mixed in with this erratic group of people coming and going, four huge security guys passed through the gate carrying what I assumed was a rowdy fan. I quickly realized he was not being rowdy anymore. He was not moving. He just hung from their massive mitts like a sack of grain with four legs. Right on their heels, his hippie friend followed. He was hysterical and screaming about how his lover was going to die from an overdose and why isn't anyone doing something for him.

The security guys gently set Mr. OD down next to the fence and went back into the backstage area. I was shocked by their "this was nothing unusual, same shit, different day, it's part of the job dude" calm demeanor. In the meantime the sidekick was wailing, "Someone call an ambulance, he's dying..... I told him not to hit up .............. Please someone help him!" 

He was out of his mind with worry. 

The flow of milling people continued to pass in and out of the back stage gate with barely a glance at the life and death emergency unfolding next to the gate. I continued to smoke my cigarette and watch wide eyed as the hysterical buddy cradled Mr OD's head; all the while wailing and moaning. I was frozen in place by the whole episode. This was not something I expected to see, ever. I had no clue about what I could do. So I did nothing and became but a witness to humanity carrying on in its classic selfish ways while one of their own was expiring in front of them.

Ron showed up. His all business attitude brought me out of my shock and forced me to focus on the job at hand. He had no time for the drama unfolding near by. In a fog of sorts I went through the motions and backed the trailer in for load out. 

Focusing on my job interrupted my preoccupation with the OD just outside the fence. But while the stage hands and roadies were wheeling the sound equipment on the trailer that preoccupation turned into a kind of morbid fascination and I went out to check on the couple, one possibly dying and the other frantic with worry. 

The two of them were still outside the gate and no ambulance or medic of any kind had made an appearance. The concerned hippie sat cross legged, his back against the chain link fence and cradled Mr. OD's head in his lap.  He was leaning down and speaking softly. I could not hear what he was saying.  I walked closer and the hippie suddenly looked up at me with red eyes and tears streaming down his face. "He's dying you know. And no one cares." He bent down again and continued to whisper in Mr. OD"s ear.

I said nothing as I stared at this unnoticed tragedy unfolding to its apparently forgone conclusion.  I briefly looked down the lane that led to the parking lot. There was an ambulance coming. I turned back to the couple. Before I could say anything, I saw MR OD's chest heave and then he went limp. I knew he was dead in that moment. The hippie looked up at me. We did not exchange any words but his grief passed onto me as we stared at each other. I backed up and went back through the gate to my truck. I would never forget what I witnessed that bright October day behind the stage at the Oakland Coliseum.

Later .........................................


(994 words)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Remembering a Note or Two

Every time I step away from the computer for any protracted period, I can find it difficult to jump back on the bus and slip smoothly back into a groove.  My mental abilities, such as they are, have no problem shutting down if they are not exercised without at the least the occasional stroll. 

My brain after all, is sixty-nine years old now and was never much to crow about when it was peaking and I had more hair on my noggin and lead in my pencil. Rust sets in faster on old steel and connections created seven decades ago tend towards some corrosion.  

Bringing this loose dog back up to speed is often slow, mind numbing drudgery. My first few knee jerk efforts are akin to running through the scales on musical instruments. No music comes out but I hope to still remember a note or two. There is no doubt about it. Stop writing for awhile and for me the road back can seem daunting.

I will often, like now for instance, crank up one of the many music playlists I have created and stashed deep inside my computer. I slap some earphones on, turn the tunes up to wow and do my best to write some sense. If music untwisted does not do it alone, I may call on the bench and the stimulating/stupefying effects of Demon rum and the Devil's weed to loosen my writing tongue and shock it into a composing frame of mind. The result is always a crap shoot, with an occasional bright nugget shining through the darkness.

So let's see. Where are we now after a great dinner, some beer, a couple of shots, and some sweet herb rolled up for the perfect after dinner joint. The 3 hour playlist is half over and I am pretty sure tonight's effort will remain in draft form in the future. 

Or not.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .............................................

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Stock Yard Animals

So I guess I am back now. For how long? Well, not that it matters, but I just do not know.  I became weary of existing in the crowd of nervous sheep milling around the stock yards of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Everyone finally knows something is happening, and it is not a good something happening.

Some of us became uncomfortable with America’s path over forty years ago. Others, like the apathetic born to shop self serving reality show intelligentsia, have only in the last several years awakened from their brain dead creature comfort lifestyle and realized the USA is in trouble. In the meantime, the World managed a twenty year head start on the USA that began in 2000.

At first, the previously clueless didn’t know why our country was in trouble. Not really. They looked for easy answers and found them in the lies and false conspiracies involving boogie men pedophile/Alien consortiums whose ultimate goal is to turn us all into brain munching vampiric zombies. It is so much easier to cozy up to our fears. It comes naturally and cheap. It is harder I think to stifle fear and search for clarity in an ever growing atmosphere bombarded by doubt and false premises created with evil intent.

Our various leaders, who had seen and been advised the US was dropping into a huge shit hole decades ago, decided that taking advantage was a better play than trying to do something to stop the decline. For they too were trapped in the evil cycle of American Consumerism.  Only what they craved was power and they found keeping the citizenry on edge, off their game, and clueless was the easier path to power and glory.

They stepped up their fear campaigns, fed the conspiracy fires, and enthusiastically allowed doubt in our government to grow to alarming levels. And they did so easily. They convinced us our looming failure was not our fault but someone else’s. We were not to blame; we were innocent victims of the other side’s evil plans and efforts. In the meantime, their deep pocketed benefactors sewed deeper pockets into their Brooks Brothers suits.That both sides were and are actively involved in screwing us is the only true bipartisanship being practiced at the moment. Two sides of the same coin bending us over different tables.

And now here we are, a country of nervous barnyard animals waiting to see who Farmer Brown will slaughter next. Meanwhile, we all hope our leaders will do something positive, and hopefully do something "together". Instead, all we have is the small comfort of watching them piss on each other’s feet while sticking their tongues out at each other.

Later ……………………………..



Monday, September 20, 2021

Education Should Not Be Profit Driven

So I joined another Facebook group. This group sent me a request that I join because I liked one of their posts that crossed on my page. The group is called "Public School Advocates". Their stated goal in as few words as possible is;

" ....... to organize to advocate for strong public schools that serve all students well."

That they are a satellite organization of "The Progressive Magazine" did not bother me at all. I have been accused of being a progressive in my past and will be more than happy to be accused in my future. I am not sure if I am a progressive though. I let others decide that for themselves. Just don’t call me a Winger.

I chose to join this group because I am sincerely interested in education in the US, having gone to 12 different public schools before I graduated from high school. My experience was a crap shoot when it came to quality and what was focused on in a particular state. And though I never attended school in the town I live in now, Acton, Maine, my daughter did and her education was as good, if not better than most public schools at the time. Acton school, along with many others in the nation at the time, were recognized for their quality of public education. She is a tenured college professor today. I hold Acton School responsible.

So, any group that is for a strong public school posture at the state, federal and local levels is okay with me. Education, like Healthcare, is better served with government involvement than not. A country is only as healthy, mentally and economically as its population. If the people are under educated, less healthy and poorer than competing nations, then who loses? We all do. 

I am tired of losing and being ashamed of how far the USA has fallen. The rest of us should hang our heads also. There is no excuse other than we have caved to the petty selfishness of small minds with deep pockets in the private sector. Relying on them to carry the ball is not working out. But we have known that for a long, long time. Government is not the evil, the money grubbers are.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ......................................

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Cutting Them Some Slack

Morning Joe is still pissed off at his party. But now he has tempered his criticisms of the GOP as a whole and divided the GOP into two sections. We have the Insurrection Party or Trump Cult as the loudmouth infantile representatives of the Right and the more main stream old skool, calmer and cooler now Republicans who had been momentarily swept up in Trump Mania these past six years. 

Instead of beating on all Wingers, Joe has allowed old favorites like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham some major slack of late. It is disappointing, but not unexpected. Joe is a genuine to the bone, Right Winger. That he was and still is so anti Trump and his minions just proves that not all Wingers went insane. It also proves that if one hates Trump, that does not necessarily turn them into a commie pinko libtard, no matter what Fox News says.

He is beginning to ask that the Republican party be considered separate from the Qanon style madness attributed to them by the Left. 

Bullshit. It is nothing but the old excuse used and abused by religious and political leaders to deflect any blame for the horrors done in the name of their religion or political party.

" Not all Muslims are terrorists." or " Not all Republicans are Trumpers."

These are true on the face of the statements. But the responsibilities of leadership does not stop there.

If leadership fails to try to rein in or, at the least, condemn the extreme factions of their group, they become enablers which makes them no better than accomplices. When a leadership stands mute while many of the faithful run amok, their silence is more often than not taken as tacit approval of the craziness acted out in the name of the group.

This is why I am disappointed in Joe. He is taking his heel off the throat of selective Wingers too soon by using a tired excuse that does not hold water. As long as the insanity within the ranks of the GOP continues its out of control trajectories, the whole party bears responsibility. 

Hand wringing and mealy mouthed insincerities do not cut it anymore. The Republican Party owns Trump and all that has transpired as a result of his presence these last six years. And as far as the historical repercussions, they will own those forever.

Later ................................

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sunday Morning Outrage

Early this AM before I fed the animals or made fresh coffee, I grabbed a cup of day old joe, mic-ed it, sat down at my desk and opened up Facebook. I had not even worked the night grunge out of my eyes, yet here I was scrolling through the posts with a chip on my shoulder. I did not remember details from my dreams the night before so I had no hint why I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But I did. 

A familar irritation had taken root again. An irritation I developed to a keen edge over the last 6 years when the Right compounded their ever increasing stupidity and pushed a moron into our lives.

I came across a quote post attributed to Arnold, one of the few Republicans I still have any respect for. You can read it there on the right.

The lead in comment by T*:

"The earth isn’t stagnant. Climate change has been happening since the dawn of time."

At the bottom of 70 plus replies to T*'s classic Winger go to Troll comment, I posted this:

"So would this be an excuse to not try to mitigate the worst effects? Certainly Climate Change or global warming has happened many times before. Does that mean we should just carry on and add to the damage? Or maybe start paying attention to a planet whose resources are being used up at an ever increasing rate. Maybe start looking to clean up our nest that we have been shitting in for so many millennia."

I was pleased that I did not let my shoulder chip get the better of me. I made my point and left. ..... Left that is until I got here to my relatively safe space I call "The BoZone".

It was not surprising the ardent climate change advocates were sucked in by this low hanging fruit. This was a post on a purportedly science leaning group page. Folks posted graphs, charts, and probably held pointers as they scurried to get their replies in front of the audience. 

What surprised me was climate change folks continue to reply to the audacious Winger troll bait aimed at owning the libs and progressives because that is more important than anything other than kissing the orange man's ass. These clueless minions of the Right have nothing tangible in their support quivers most days, so they make shit up, obfuscate reality and fact with unitelligible replies, or just use a bunch of  fuck you emojis. 

The problem with these worthless Winger taunts is they work. These clowns are able to stir up the local Liberals on a facebook page with drivel and nonsense.  And even though I have recently vowed to not get sucked in, here I was sitting in with 70 others who had Sunday Morning Outrage.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ................................

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Twenty Years Later - 100 Words

I am still angry, sad and confused over 911 and all the madness that has transpired in the twenty years since. My country was brutally reminded that the planet was no longer just our oyster. The age of modern colonialism was over.

Adrift in a new age with no rudder, our response was mindlessly lashing out which was what the attackers wanted. Any victory perceived on the far horizon was doomed to fail. And fail it did; Big time.

Time may heal wounds but Time does nothing for the sad memories so violently implanted.

Where do we go from here?

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Realm of Possibility - Redux

A flash fiction piece originally posted - Jan 2, 2012

I am posting again because recent events in Texas seems to be coinciding somewhat with this potential future scenario.


Elder Jacob Bean closed the banned copy of the Scripture. He understood why the second book had been outlawed during the Troubles. Harsh times called for harsh measures. The clearly defined rules found in the first book were perfect in their simplicity and dovetailed well with the brutal measures taken to fulfill the Great Elder’s prophecy of the Final Reformation. He could not understand though why owning such an innocuous collection of harmless fables was still on the list of capital offenses. Would not a good caning suffice?

Rules were rules. Shortly Elder Bean forgot about it. He was only as inquisitive as he needed to be to render a verdict. Without new rules, his only choice was to convict. It was a shame they had no females of breeding age. At least they would have been spared. Elder Bean shrugged. The family of three would have to die.

“Jarrad get in here.”

No response. Servo-tech Jarrad was not at his desk. Elder Bean got up and walked out to the anteroom outside his office just as Servo-tech Jarrad came careening down the hall. “Deep Apologies Elder Jacob, …….call of nature.”

Elder Jacob Bean’s cold eyes studied his assistant for a moment. “I understand simple Jarrad. Even eunuchs have to urinate.” His eyes softened and what might be construed a hint of a smile whisked across his face and was gone. He handed Jarrad a bulky envelope. “Please forward this to the Council of Elders ASAP. I have rendered my decision.”

“Yes, right away your Holiness.”


The Final Reformation was in full swing by 2075. The Troubles that had started in earnest around 2024, ripped and tore through Humanity for fifty years. The planet’s population had at first tried to discuss their differences. Unforeseen political and military alliances were formed. Regional confrontations escalated into planet wide scorched earth campaigns. War, starvation, disease, and mass suicides took their toll. By 2035 less than two billion souls still walked the Earth. Religious zealots took control over two thirds of the planet. The Pan Asians controlled the rest.

The Age of the Three Kingdoms had begun.


Scurrying servo-techs connected last minute wiring to the feed going out planet wide. They applied last minute make up to aging Elder faces and fussed over positioning of the altar in the Elder Well. The two prayer benches upon which the Witnesses would sit had been scrubbed and polished. Three stainless steel crosses with braided wire restraints formed a semicircle around the altar in front of a larger Cross upon which hung the current facsimile of what Christ looked like now. He sported a stern face now days and fierce eyes. His arms were spread open as if welcoming all who ventured into the Elder Well, but it was his razor sharp hands that told the truth of what went on here. The Elder Well was designed for one purpose – to instill fear. Fear kept the Elders in power. Only the pious walked out of the Well alive.

Christ had finally transitioned from being the son of God and was now God’s Avenger.

Elder William Graham ll sat and fidgeted in front of his mirror. Tonight would be his first chance at the Bloody Pulpit. He worried every detail with his hair, his robes. He practiced his severe look. He worried that his sweat would show through the heavy makeup. After all, the Witnesses, comprised of the founding Elders would be watching his every move. Sweat would be a sign of weakness in his faith. A servo-tech with a clip board touched his shoulder. “Five minutes Elder William.”

“Are all the sacred devices in place?”

“Yes Your Holiness.”

“Well then, let’s break a leg.”

The servo-tech counted the last few seconds before the night’s festivities began. “9….8….7….6…..”, and then with his right hand he silently finished at 3 and …………… an off camera tech with a calm mellow, made for prime time voice began.

“Welcome good Christians of the Realm. The night’s Sacrifice is brought to you for the first time from the newly constructed and righteously blessed Harold Camping Studios here in New Holywood. Elder William Graham ll will perform God’s Will as Heaven’s Apprentice and will be witnessed by twelve of our most revered founding Elders."

"Tonight’s unfortunates are a family of three from Oxnard. Caught with a copy of the New Testament, the mother refused to acknowledge her sin and plead for mercy. Their fate was sealed when her husband tried to run with her and their son of six. So tonight for your viewing pleasure, …….tonight we have a three-fer."

"Ladies and gentlemen let the festivities begin……………”


Mullah Saluman Kaleri sat 6000 miles away watching the feed from the Realm. Others in his mosque considered the monthly sacrifices broadcast over the Net nothing but more foolishness from the Realm of God. He knew better. There was more to their monthly bloodletting than just reinforcing the fear of God to maintain control over their heathen majority. They wanted a new crusade. What they did today, tomorrow, next year was all aimed at defeating Islam. The sacrifices were a promise of sorts should the Infidels successfully overrun the Kingdom Of Allah. He knew this because it would be what he would do to them.

The Mullah watched the various players take their places in the Elder Well. He watched each “lamb” being led or dragged in by two ornately masked assistants who shackled them each to their respective crosses. He watched the Acolyte solemnly lay out the cloth which held the devices of the Sacrament and then stand at attention to the right. “Ah”, he thought. ”Tonight the new guy has chosen blades to purge their sins.” Mullah smiled and settled back to watch.

The music swelled. The house lights dimmed. The audience grew quiet. Suddenly spots lit up Jesus. Fire and sparks shot out of his eyes. Heaven’s Apprentice began his slow march to the pulpit. Adorned in a simple red and green striped robe tied crudely with a knotted piece of hemp rope he gave the appearance of a god fearing man until he looked at the camera. At once he became a figure to fear. William Graham acting as Heaven’s Apprentice had nailed the look. There was an audible gasp heard as the audience moved forward on their seats. This was a man to fear.

What followed was a well rehearsed sermon of the evils of allowing unclean thought to sully the mind of the faithful. Mullah Salumen Kaleri lost interest and turned the sound down. With one eye on the feed, he poured himself some tea and was just raising it to his lips when the first cut was made. Mullah turned the sound back up and settled in. “This guy knows how to do it.” 

He took a sip of tea.

@ 1150 words

Image - Salvdor Dali - Christ of Saint John of the Cross 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Truck Porn

I recently joined a Facebook group named “Fallen Flags – Trucking Companies of the Past”. It has hundreds of thousands of members, most of who have trucking in their past. The group’s stated reason for existing is to share pictures and stories from this country’s trucking culture, preferably from back in the day.

To put it bluntly, it is Truck Porn aimed at the classics when trucks were like women. And some even looked better than women. Personally, I prefer the B&W grainy, been folded four times image with thumbtack holes and a round brown coffee stain blocking part of the name on the truck. Those are the ones to copy and hide under the mattress.

The posts are mostly images with or without explanations or historical context. It only takes a half hour to accrue many likes. My first post had 80 plus likes in the first two hours. The last time I checked there were over 500, which is not unusual. I have never been part of such a large Facebook group.

Since I joined a month or so ago, the rule regarding no politics seemed to be respected by the posters as a whole. I read subtle digs here and there: mostly where a union or independent trucker would feel slighted. They were mostly minor skirmishes that lasted only a few comments.

And then this morning someone posted the image at the top of the page. Less than an hour and 93 comments later, Fallen Flags shed its calm, friendly wrapper and revealed the hate and discontent that roiled and boiled just below the surface.

An overwhelming majority voiced their disgust with such obvious socialist leaning propaganda. Nasty comments rolled off their computers like someone spitting out something evil they found in their mouth. Get in a trucker’s face and nine times out of ten, they will respond in kind.

The negativity did not surprise me. I remember existing in the trucking world for 17 years. As an accused freedom hating commie pinko libtard I had had more than a few heated discussions back in the “My Country, Love it or Leave it” days. I even had to join a drunk driver of a ten wheeled dump out in the gravel outside a bar on some foggy mountain top southwest of Pittsburgh. He objected to my hippie freak flag sad excuse of an American wearing an Atlas Van Line uniform. He kept mumbling how I dishonored my uniform. Since I was sober and he was not, it did not go well for him. At least I kept him from driving that dump truck home that night.

Well, he was drunk so he gets a mulligan. The comments this morning I assume were soberly written. If so, then not much has changed since I pounded the highways and byways of this country. Truckers spend countless miles considering the Universe and their place in it. An often favorite fantasy of mine which I know many truckers shared back in the day were those hours I wasted coming up with how to fix every fucking problem on the planet. And to this day, I know I was right then and even more so now. The ex-truckers this morning wrote with the same confidence.

Sadly, just as truckers from the 1970s tended to do, today they are still not getting it when it comes to their industry’s liberal roots which the meme wonderfully points out. Truck drivers owe the liberals of the early 20th century big time whether one is union or independent. Without those liberals, I would guess the golden age of trucking in the US would never have come to pass. Without those liberals, today’s retired truckers might not have the pensions or Social Security the liberals forced upon us. So hate the liberals all you want, but it only shows that you have been convinced to not know where the butter for your bread came from.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .........................................


Saturday, September 04, 2021

Fearless Nature - 100 words

I was rooting through old pictures yesterday searching for specific Kodak moments from my past. The images I sought were not found. Instead, unexpected images caught my eye. I pulled out my smart phone and copied a few of them.

The one to the left is my daughter and I enjoying her first trip up a ladder. She was not even three yet.

Though tentative, there is no panic on her face. It was an early glimpse into the fearless nature she would grow into as she took on each new challenge in her young life.

She made me proud.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

God & Government

Tina commented this morning on Facebook. Her comment was a reaction to the new Anti-Abortion, Pro-Birther law passed recently in Texas. She wrote:

"Different hats, same goal, the Taliban have taken over Texas."


This is what happens when religious extremism mingles with politics. And while the Christian Evangelicals will cry unfair, not true, and become righteously indignant at being compared to suicide bombing losers from a religion they hate, there is credibility in the claim that the two religions at their core are not that far apart. And it is ironic that they do not see that they agree more than they disagree. But such is the nature of the average fanatic.

Abortion long ago stopped being about abortion and some false claim of protecting the sanctity of Life. Abortion is the spear that leads the charge of the Dominionists of White Christianity to force theocratic law into our everyday lives. The movement has had legs as long as there has been Christianity. Its influence has peaked and cratered at various times over the last two millennia. At this point it seems to be growing within the ranks of existing White Christians while at the same time White Christianity membership has shrunk from its super majority of 80% in 1976 to a new stable population of 44%. There are less of them overall, but the ones left are certainly an angry and dedicated bunch.

This scary supposition by an avowed Dominionist is replicated in various ways in articles and books by most of the Dominion advocates. If we are not believers, we have neither the intellect nor the moral right to govern ourselves. We need God to show us the way.

Again, like abortion, the Dominionists are just using Biblical interpretations they made up to hide their true intentions. They lurk behind a facade of religious ooga booga fire and brimstone gobbledygook they may or may not believe themselves. Their quest is to gain power and wield it without any question. It is that simple. 

Combine this new twist in Texas, all the other abortion twists in other states, the assault on voting rights and it seems we are headed to becoming a country ruled by a tyrannical white minority who use religion to hide their true intentions.

Be wary of all politicians, but be really afraid of those politicians who wield their Bibles in public. They do mean us harm.

Later ................................

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Uptown - Best Fight Ever

At the end of February, 1977, the ELO tour finished the month with a three day gig at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago. After these shows, we had nine days off and then back at it for the rest of March. 

It had been a punishing tour for everyone. My only hope was to finish out the tour with less drama than had centered on me previously. My truck and trailer were fixed, I was full of renewed dedication after having almost blown it in Erie. So closing in on Chicago had convinced me it would be a cakewalk from here.

My first effort to find the Uptown found me looking at it after an hour of navigating streets not meant for semis. The problem was even though I could see the theater, the north south running El hung at about twelve feet off the road between me and the gig. At least I had plenty of time to regroup, form a new plan of attack and end up on the right side of the tracks. I was parked street side in plenty of time for stage call.

The three days in Chicago passed without much fanfare. I thought so until I recently found a remark I had scrawled in the margins of my ELO itinerary next to the Chicago dates:

"Kung Foo"- and then under that, "Best fight Ever" - and suddenly I remembered.

I cannot remember their names now, but I was sitting in my cab with the two T-shirt concession guys waiting for the show to close so I could back in to load out and they could man their Tee shirt and swag table for the exiting crowd. The Tee shirt guys were a buddy duo who had been in Vietnam together and were now in the Tee shirt business together. Being a sanctioned "official" vendor of ELO Tees and other swag, they frowned on the pirates who haunted the venues marketing inferior knock offs. I once watched them beat a competitor senseless at a large venue, I cannot remember where. Needless to say, they would cheerfully use thier fists to mark their territory.

So, we are in my truck.  They were sharing a six Pack, I was not. I never did mix alcohol and driving trucks. I was a very loose dog when off, but not while driving. I was probably sucking on some coffee or a soda I poached from the Green Room.

A small man came out of the alley I was to back down. On his heels two more small figures came running out of the alley and jumped the first guy. They began to awkwardly put on a sad rendition of a kung foo fight.  It became very clear that all three were more than half in the bag, they were all shitfaced. Maybe every 3rd or fourth blow landed and often without much effect. The victim gave as drunkenly as he got.

This went on for several minutes. Meanwhile one of the Tee shirt guys begins a Howard Cosell style commentary on what was unfolding 30 feet from the truck. It was hilarious until it wasn't.

At some point, the two assailants manage to get the victim on the ground. At this point they had forgotten any Kung Foo magic and were busy kicking the victim in the kidneys, the legs, wherever they could land a kick.

The Tee shirt guys became concerned. The funny dialog stopped and one of them began to open the door. The other one grabbed his arm and told him to wait a second. He saw something I guess that I and the other Tee shirt guy missed. 

The victim was not as down and out as we supposed. When the two assailants stopped to catch their breath, the victim got up and kicked their asses. Not just a minor beating, but a call the ambulance type beating. One of the duo managed to make his escape, but his buddy ended up in the ambulance. 

The whole fight lasted maybe five minutes total. The three of them could not have weighed more than 120 pounds each soaking weight. But as it turned out one of them definitely was able to fight above his weight class. His obviously superior martial arts talent prevailed. Oh yeah. The original victim was put in handcuffs until the Tee shirt guys and I offered our take on the fight.

Damn, the odd things I have witnessed from inside a truck.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..................................................