A Rolling Stone Gathers Relationships

Most of the people I hang with are younger than me. My mom has the same problem, but she’s 99. Nobody left.

For me it’s just circumstantial. I’m around many people born in the ‘70s and ‘80s and our historic memories are completely different. I’m not complaining. Who wants to hang around with old farts? That’s my friends’ problem when they hang with me.

Stories I’m familiar with and remember like they were yesterday are totally new pieces of information for many of my friends. Some of those stories popped up this week and I remembered we don’t know things that happened before we were born or while we were in elementary school.

A newly released book chronicles the Gary Hart presidential campaign and how reporters followed him around and caught him with his mistress. One of my friends had never heard of Gary Hart. I understand that and so it’s fun dredging up my memoires of incidents like that and many friends think I’m making stuff up.

Another story came up when a group of us were discussing “early” Rolling Stones stories.
Rolling Stones

When I talked about Bill Wyman I had a few blank looks. I think this particular story is wacky enough to talk about here today.

Bill Wyman was born in 1936. He played bass and was the oldest dude in the original Rolling Stones. He had a big falling-out with Mick and Keith and left the band in the early ‘90s. The Wyman story I like takes place in 1983 when he was 47 years old.

It seems that Bill Wyman fell madly in love with the beautiful Mandy Smith. Madly is the right word. Mandy Smith was 13 years old. Now I’m talking about 1983, one hundred years after Brigham Young showed us how to practice pedophilia and run a big church. Things have changed.

So Bill did the honorable thing and waited five years before getting married to Mandy. Her mother, Patsy, gave her consent. Bill was 52 and Mandy just turned 18.

Then Patsy, age 49, married Bill Wyman’s 31 year-old son, Stephan.

Suddenly, Bill Wyman’s mother-in-law became his daughter-in-law.  —Sheesh!

Then, after two years, Mandy said, “Yuk, I’m married to a 54 year old dude, let me out of here.” They divorced.

Then, two years later, Stephan Wyman said, “Yuk, I’m married to a 54 year old woman, let me out of here.”
They divorced.

The good news is Mick and Keith have made-up with Bill Wyman and allowed him to set-in with the Stones on a few gigs recently.

Keep it up Bill, not bad for a 78 year-old bass player.
You know how those bass players are!

Bill Wyman

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Boo!

Yeah, it’s that time of the year. Scary times. Books, movies, Halloween haunted houses, all designed to scare the hell out of us. Do you like being scared? What’s it feel like to you when you get scared?
Scared Woman

I vividly remember the first real scary book that haunted me on every page and when I finished it I was still scared. Yes, it was a work of fiction. I love reading fiction. I love writing fiction. But great fiction usually comes from real life.

Let me tell you how the story that scared the crap out of me was born.

Back in the ‘50s we didn’t have the so called 24-hour news cycle. Ted Turner didn’t start the 24-hour Cable News Network (CNN) until 1980. We had the local news and the three networks gave us the “big” stories in the evening.

A murder here or there was always a local thing; unless of course it was gruesome enough to make the network news (If it bleeds it leads)

So, in 1957, when Ed Gein was arrested for the murder of two women in Plainfield, Wisconsin, most of the country didn’t hear about it. As the investigation of Mr. Gein continued the police found silverware, furniture and even clothes made of skin and body parts. Psychiatrists interviewed and examined him and determined Mr. Ed Gein was trying to make a “woman suit” of skin so he could become his dead mother. Now it’s getting good.

But still, there was no Anderson Cooper around asking questions and digging up reports so most of us never knew about that hideous crime. But a writer living in the next little town knew the ghastly story.

He wondered how that true life crime could be twisted into a book. So he did it. The writer, Robert Bloch, published his “fiction” in 1959. Just in time for a 16 year old kid to read it in bed one night and even though this kid was scared half to death he couldn’t put the damn thing down until the end.

Another guy named Alfred read it and got scared too. He made a movie from the book just one year later. Every one of you saw it. At least once. I don’t need to tell you the name of the movie.

Here’s a familiar picture below. The picture alone should send a chill up your spine.

Or does your fright feelings happen to your hair follicles? In your throat? Shaky hands? What happens to you when you get really scared?

What happened to you when you watched the shower scene?

Bates Motel

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Commas Are Good

I write stuff. I re-write stuff. Then I take the stuff to a critique group of fellow writers. They write stuff and do the same. We encourage and help each other. We also circle grammatical errors.

I always have lots of circles. I seem to have a problem with commas. I’ll use them when I shouldn’t and not use them when I should.

Commas are important. Commas are good.

Would you like to see why?

Here are some signs I didn’t make, but someone who has trouble with commas certainly did.
commas are good 2 commas are good 3
Commas are Good 1 commas are good 4

COMMAS ARE GOOD!

 

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Snob Slob

I think of myself as very laid-back. I view myself as very egalitarian. And then I notice I use the word “very” to distinguish myself as more laid back then regular laid-backers and more egalitarian than most.

Then I spin around like Beetlejuice and look in the mirror again and know it’s mostly lies. I’m an insufferable snob about so many things. How about you? Do you have certain things you are snobbish about?

But, this is about me so I digress. Let me be truthful about some of my snobbery. Bare bones true snobbery.
Snob

BEER
When I see someone drinking a Budweiser or Coors I actually see them lifting a bottle of pee to their lips. My stomach turns. Yes, I have tasted pee, and it damn sure wasn’t intentional so turn the page you Golden Shower freaks. My memories of the “pee prank” comes roaring back just looking at a bottle of Bud. Horrible tasting stuff!

Anyway, I’m such a snob about my beer that I won’t even discuss pilsner or lager, just talk to me about your IPA taste buds.

POP MUSIC
I hated 90% of the ‘90s music. Since then I have hated 95% of the last 14 years of new music. Old fogey? Probably. My parents hated 100% of the ‘60s and ‘70s music so I guess that’s par for the aging thing.

I’ve always loved Jazz, Classical and most of the Pop music written before 1990. I wasn’t around for the swing-band era, be-bop era, rag-time era, but I love most of it.

My generation took blues and country music and invented Rock & Roll. It was all good. It evolved into many forms along with many hairstyles. I entered the Heavy Metal phase with an open mind.HairBand

But then I vomited throughout the disco era.

Now Disco is bigger than ever. It’s called “Dance Music.” Rock & Roll is now bad country music. (The only one honest about that is Taylor Swift and who likes her?)

 

CARS
When I was younger this was a huge “snob” item on my agenda. A guy wasn’t allowed on the fence…it was GM or Ford. I was in the GM camp for many years. Ford was dumb (until the Mustang…yeah). Now I’m in nobody’s camp. I think they’re all over-priced ego trips. I’m waiting til my computer drives me around. I’m pissed because the oil companies have filled the American brain with oil-sludge. We get what we deserve so we keep burning and breathing more of their stuff when we could have broken the habit 10 years ago. Thankfully we have people like Elon Musk who is showing us what we “need” and “don’t need.” And we certainly don’t need fossil fuel to get us to grandma’s house.
WINE
Truthfully, I’m not a wine snob. I love wine, I own lots of wine, I appreciate how my taste buds respond to different wines. I love tasting wine varieties. And I totally respect your opinion on this or that wine. A wine doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. Wine is an individual experience.

Don’t even go there with beer. Bud tastes like pee.

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Musical Notes

I’m excited that old guys are still turning out great music. One of my all-time favorite groups, Pink Floyd, is about to release a new album. The album “Endless River” is their first album in 20 years.

They are like a long list of English Rockers who were influenced by American Blues players. Syd Barrett, original vocalist and guitarist in the early years, loved the music (and names) of two particular blues guys; Mr. Floyd Council and Mr. Pink Anderson. And that is where their name came from.

On another silly side of music, long-time singer and songwriter Barry Manilow did not write his big hit song, “I Write the Songs.”

I was four years old when I played my first tune of the piano. It was probably your first tune also– “Chopsticks.” That song was written in 1877 by a 16 year-old girl and was originally entitled, “The Celebrated Chop Waltz.” (so much more sophisticated)
piano practice

Speaking of piano, my piano is like most normal pianos. The eighty-eight keys have 230 total strings tuned to certain pitches or tones to make the piano sound like it does. Each of these strings averages about 165 pounds of tension. The total combined “pull” of those strings is over 18 tons. It’s important to have quality wood in that thing.

It was 33 years ago that MTV (Music Television) premiered. When they came on the air the very first music video they played was, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. (the truest irony ever)—Up to that point, music was a personal mental picture with private emotions stimulated by the words and tune. It ended then.The Buggles

Help!

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40 Years. Getting On With It.

Most of us have pictures or movies of our childhood. We have wedding books of photos—some of us have multiples.

There are the usual family Christmas photos. Some birthdays and anniversaries. A lot of pictures with the kids, grandkids.

And then there’s the damn mirror. Most days I shave in front of it. You might be doing your mascara. You’re plucking a wild hair today. You are dabbing stuff on those grey hairs. You’re combing your hair. Every day we see a little older person staring back. Too subtle to see the gradual “getting older” crap.

Can you imagine having a black and white photo of yourself taken every year for the last 40 years? I would cry. I would blame the photographer for what was staring back at me.
Silly face

And that is a common emotion when viewing four sisters, standing in the same position, every year for the last 40 years. A simple black and white photo.

The New York Times just ran this series of pictures that will be shown at MOMA next month. The display will coincide with the museum releasing their own publication entitled, “The Brown Sisters: Forty Years.”

My Florida son put the link on Facebook and I found myself spending quite a bit of time looking at these photos. I showed it to my wife and she enjoyed going forward and then backward.

If you haven’t had the experience of checking out this photo-display, I encourage you to do it. It’s amazing watching and feeling your own aging with the four sisters. You can’t help building your own stories about “this one’s hidden pain” or “that one’s clear-eyed deepness.”

As the Times story stated, “Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.

This is what happens to each of us as we go about our lives… getting on with it.

http://nyti.ms/1vEqFmc

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Brain Remains

It’s the end of the week and time to clear the mind of the daily routine and enjoy the weekend. I’m trying to do that but a few things keep rattling around in my strange brain.

I get most of my writing kicks out of making things up, writing them down and then moving on. It’s the non-fiction truthiness of my life that also needs to jump onto the keys and out of my brain.

Sometimes they are little bits of communication, either in person or through reading.

Like the conversation with the prettiest little second grader you can ever imagine. She’s part of my “reading group” that takes up my Wednesday mornings. After six years of doing the reading tutoring I thought I heard everything, but this little gal cracked me up.

I asked her how old she was. She said, “I’m over seven but not yet eight.”
I said, “We’re almost the same age.” I wrote down a 7 and put a one next to it and said, “That’s my age and I’m just one more than seven.”
She said, “You’re not as old as my daddy. He’s 29.”
I came right back at her with, “He’s not as old as my mommy, she’s 99.”
And she looked up at me, smiled, and said, “My grandma is 200.”
I gave up and got on with the reading lesson. But I kept wondering what she must have looked like.
old-women-2


Germany got inside my brain this week.

I was looking at a statistic from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. It was a report on cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures for 2013. I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to know the United States was way out ahead in procedures. Here’s the Top Five:
USA                3,996,631
Brazil               2,141,257
Mexico            844,353
Germany         654,115
Spain               447,177

So none of that is surprising. BUT…if we break it down and just look at penis enlargements. Aha!  Germany’s fascination with Bratwurst starts to make sense. Here are the 2013 numbers on penis enlargement:
Iran                  12
USA                61
Brazil               219
Mexico            295
Spain               471
Germany         2786

 Would you like some mustard on that?Bratwursts

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