Five Day Diary of a Crazy Old Man

5 Day Diary of a Crazy Old Man

Tuesday, July 19: Home again. Seems like I’ve been gone for three weeks. Wow, I have. No wonder the cat is pissed off. Wk.1 Cool, foggy climate of Northern California with high temps in the low 60s. Wk 2 Perfect weather in the seventies in Napa. Wk 3 Hot, humid Indiana weather, but surrounded by great friends, and warm and loving family.  I’m exhausted. Traveling isn’t much fun anymore. My life’s timing was horrible. Just as I expanded my ass, the airlines shrunk the seats.

Wednesday, July 20: I can’t believe I slept this late. My watch says its 10:30AM as I’m having my first cup of coffee. The cat is still pissed.  I give my wife hell for sleeping till 11:45 and she reminds me I didn’t turn my watch back three hours. Oh.
drink coffee
I’m exhausted and can hardly move all day.
Definitely a decompress day.

Thursday, July 21: Start feeling normal around noon. Actual time. Unscramble my brain to get a to-do list remembered. Ahhhhh, a band gig tonight…outside. Wow, fun. Tear down my equipment in my music room…keyboard, amp, cords, stand, etc and load in my car. Step outside and 97 degrees slaps my face. Go back to load a fan and a couple bottles of water. A breeze picks up around 8PM and saves us from dropping like flies. Big crowd, fun gig, we sound good.  When I get home every inch of my skin is soaked in sweat. I try to cool down while the “Donald” is giving his 75 minute zombie-apocalypse teleprompter speech. Sounds like he plagiarized Nixon.  Suddenly remember I have to write my Friday post for this blog. Haven’t missed my self-imposed deadline for six years.
But…I’m exhausted.
frustrated writer

I need a shower and convince myself I’ll write it early Friday morning. Seven seconds after dozing off my small brain alarm starts beeping…Appointment tomorrow, appointment tomorrow.

32760919 - cartoon illustration human brain with socket

Plug In. Turn On. Tune Out

What? I get out of bed…it’s midnight, pull up my Google Calendar and damn…who would schedule a 7:30AM doctor appointment? Me would. Damn. Well, I figured I’d write my post after the early appointment.

Friday, July 22: Eye doctor has other ideas. Triple doses of dilating poison. Three hours later I can hardly see to drive home in sunglasses.  I sit in the dark for the rest of the day. Big dinner plans with our monthly dining group. Out of town. Exquisite food, fine wine, great friends. Hurry home. Have to pack. Early train. No post for blog today.

Saturday, July 23:  3:30AM: Three alarms go off at once. Don’t trust any of them so it’s a triple-check play. Didn’t make wife happy though.
Heading to hotel near Oakland airport.
I have a Board Meeting with the California Writer’s Club.
Need to do some writing so a train is my best bet.
Amtrak pulls out of station at 4:25AM.
Amtrak San Joaquin

I can never sleep on a train. Clackety-clack, grinding, swerving, hissing, and loud talking. But I get some novel writing time. Arrive in Richmond at 10:30AM. Sixty degrees. Nice. Next to the Amtrak tracks are the Bart tracks. I love BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). When I lived in the bay-area I rode it to Giants games, A’s games, Warrior’s games and anything in between. It goes 80 miles an hour, 135 feet underwater crossing the bay and carries a cast of characters the best novelist in the world couldn’t make up. Today I see a dude on a hover-board stay on the board for his entire 30 minute ride. I’m glad it didn’t catch fire. I get off of BART at the coliseum, give a silent toast to the Raiders, A’s and my Warriors and carry my two cases up a long flight of stairs to catch the overhead shuttle train to the airport. I get off at the airport, call my hotel shuttle and get to my hotel 30 minutes before my van shuttle picks me up to go to our board picnic at the beautiful Joaquin Miller Park high in the Oakland Hills. Joaquin Miller and Jack London were founders of the California Writers Club over one hundred years ago. It’s a great organization and I’m proud to be one of the twenty one board members. Shuttled back to the hotel in the early evening and like most of my hotel experiences the bed is far too squishy. I wake up every couple of hours with sore stiff back.

Problematic Night

Achy Breaky Back

Finally move to the floor and get a few un-interrupted sleep hours.

Sunday, July 24: Meeting starts early AM. Lots of good stuff so I’m surprised how alert I feel all day. Another van shuttle to BART and arrive over an hour early before my Amtrak departure. It feels icy cold to me. It’s 59 degrees and I swear it’s below zero. I call my wife. It’s 107 degrees in Bakersfield. I shut up and enjoy the freezing cold. I’m too much of a wuss to stay in the cold so I drag my bags three blocks up the street in downtown Richmond to a very dirty, crummy, yukky Burger King. But, It’s warmer inside.
As I’m walking to a back table with my “big fish” sandwich (that’s their name for a small fish sandwich) a very downtrodden young girl in multi-layers of clothing beckons me over. I ignore her but do contemplate buying her coat from her. She keeps looking at me and saying, “Mr, Mr, Mr, please help me.” I walk over to her table and ask her what she wants. She says she’s starving and asks if I would please buy her a #7. I buy her a #7 (whopper, fries and small drink…she stipulates a Sprite) and she consumes it in about three bites.

Right now I’m one half hour from home and we’re one half hour late. Will be de-boarding train at 12:30AM this morning. I’m scheduling this post to publish at 8:30AM. Don’t call me. I’m exhausted.



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Today is July 18.
Serious and silly things… historic things have happened on this day.
Just like every day.
Yet today, for me, has been one of those important days one never forgets.


July 18, 1925

If I had been around in 1925 I imagine I would have been an avid reader, as I am today. A new book was released under the title “Four and a Half Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.” Now that sounds interesting. Weird, but interesting.
I might have bought it.
Many people did.
Many people still do.
The name was changed soon after the book was finished.
The new name was “Mein Kampf.” Adolph said he liked that simple title better.


July 18, 1960

On this day a new song was released that was very catchy, but it didn’t sell. The band that recorded the song was called, “Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.” That’s probably the reason nobody bought the record. The band name sounds like some bar band appearing nightly at the Holiday Inn near you.
Hank Ballard

The song sounded like a possible hit to Ernie Evans. He was a nineteen year old singer in Spring Gully, South Carolina. Six months after Hank Ballard’s band failed to sell many records, Ernie Evans re-recorded the song, sounding almost identical to the Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recording. You can take a listen for yourself.

Ernie’s identical version of the song became one of the biggest selling songs of all time. Remarkably it was also the first teen-age rock and roll song that got adults onto the dance floor alongside teenagers. Almost forgot to mention, Ernie also changed his name before the record came out. He started calling himself….Chubby Checker.


July 18, 1963

One of the more important days in history. Well, my history. My first child, a daughter, was born. She was and is a bundle of Joy.
Joy and Mark  Joy and Mark Jarvis in St. Croix


July 18, 1967

Mark Sinclair Vincent was born in New York City. Nothing much happened until he was 29. He was a night club bouncer and saw an ad for extras in a movie being filmed. He signed up to be an extra in the movie and while on the set he met Steven Spielberg. Spielberg gave him an important role in the film, “Saving Private Ryan.”  The rest of Mark Sinclair Vincent’s career you know as well as I do.
He also changed his name.
He became Vin Diesel.
Vin Diesel


I know this is a special day for you. You are reading this. You are alive and kicking.

Keep it up.
Life is beautiful.
Don’t waste today.
Don’t waste a minute of today

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Tastes like?

Supposedly we have about 10,000 taste buds in our tongues. Well, I have to be honest. Some of you have that many. Scientists tell me that “older” folks have about 5000. Not fair! Where did they go? I want them back! How do I get them back?

I don’t. Gone forever. So what’s left?

Chocolate. The taste of fine chocolate. Even the taste of crummy chocolate is wonderful.

That is why I’m so happy with Snickers. The old Snickers is fine, but one of the three NEW Snickers is incredible. Try it! Snickers Crisper. Yummy!

Mars Chocolate North America announced today an industry-leading lineup of new products that will hit store shelves in the coming months, including SNICKERS(R) Crisper. Mars Chocolate is unveiling these items at the National Association of Convenience Stores Show in Las Vegas this week. SNICKERS(R) Crisper delivers crispy satisfaction with a delicious combination of crisped rice and peanuts topped with a layer of caramel and coated in creamy milk chocolate. Singles packs feature two pieces, each with 100 calories, allowing for a snack for now and another for later. SNICKERS(R) Crisper will be on store shelves in November. (PRNewsFoto/Mars Chocolate North America)


What really bugs me is celery. Even when I had my 10,000 taste buds I could never figure out what celery tastes like. Or supposed to taste like. What is with this celery thing? Why did we humans start putting that in our diet?



It’s only six calories per stalk. That’s good news for dieters I guess. But a lampshade is zero calories and I think they taste the same.

A rare sight indeed is a person eating a stalk of celery without dipping it into a high-calorie combination of goop.

If you check on the whole celery family (umbellifers) they are mostly poisonous plants. Poor Socrates died after eating water hemlock, a prominent member of the celery family.

Greeks and Romans used the Celery plant leaves to weave victory crowns for athletes.  They switched to laurel and oak leaves. Probably after somebody tasted it and went….ewwww.

I checked some research by a geneticist from University of California Davis, Carlos Quiros, and he says that people in China and Egypt used the plant medicinally. They used celery for curing hangovers and aphrodisiacs. What? Aphrodisiacs?
Soon as I read that I changed my mind about celery. I went out, bought a bunch and ate nine stalks. Only six of them worked so forgeddaboudit. I’m done with celery.

Have a great weekend!

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Nun for You

I don’t need a lot to be happy. Maybe seventy two degrees, vineyard-lined hills, a glass of Zin and my honey. Throw in a beautiful condo, balcony, and a Jacuzzi in the bedroom and I’m in heaven.

Last week I was looking forward to seven days of all of the above. On the first day of heaven my true love gave to me: My own nun staring in my window.

Thinking I must be dreaming about my old schoolboy Catholic guilt I rounded the corner to the restaurant and saw a sign…actually dozens of signs everywhere:
Napa Institute

They were everywhere. 500 priests and nuns gathered in the most luxurious hotel in Napa. It was called the Napa Institute. I know what I called it.

“Let’s finish our job straightening out that horrible ornery Danny-boy.”

They were all there, back to crack my knucklesNun with stickNun2
                                                                             Correct my spelling


Every night my dreams were filled with scary nun pictures and some not so scary
Nun 7


I then realized–Here I am in Napa Valley tasting fine wines.

But everything I knew about wine I learned from Catholic school.
My tasty Zinfandel started tasting like that altar wine I used to drink when the priest turned his head.

.Altar wine

I dreamed about terrorists and wondered if they realized what was in store for them.


I saw some of my old teachers. Like Sister Mary Gotcha.
nun drinking wine4

I swallowed my guilt and a lot more wine and enjoyed the week. As I was pulling out of the resort I waved to my eight grade nun and she waved back.

Nun 1 It was a wonderful vacation.

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Beam Scotty Up, Scotty

Guitar players’ heaven just added another member last week. The venerable Scotty Moore passed away at age 84. Most people don’t know who Scotty Moore is or was.
That’s the way he wanted it.

In early 1956 my eleven year old brother was hooked on a new record. It was called “Heartbreak Hotel.” Yes, he loved Elvis immediately, but he loved Elvis’s guitar player, too. My brother had been playing his guitar for five years, but hearing Scotty Moore on the Elvis record gave him a new hero.

Scotty also influenced the very essence of rock and country music. In 1955 his ‘slapback’ sound on the Elvis recording, “Mystery Train,” was the basis for the sound we now call Rockabilly.

Guitar players from Bruce Springsteen to Jimmy Page called Scotty Moore their hero. Keith Richards said, “When I heard Heartbreak Hotel, I knew what I wanted to do in life. It was as plain as day. All I wanted to do in the world was to be able to play and sound like that. Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.”

After serving in the navy in Korea and China from 1948 til 1952, Scotty returned to Memphis and formed a little country band with his buddy, another famous rock name, Bill Black. They started working at studio musicians for Sam Phillips at Sun Studios. In July of 1954, the secretary for Sam Phillips recommended he audition a young singer named Elvis Presley. Out of that audition came the first Elvis recording, “That’s Alright Mama.”
Scotty Elvis Bill Black

Elvis and Scotty formed a lifetime friendship and Scotty added his unique guitar sounds to the music of Elvis for fourteen years.

In 1964, at the urging of every guitar player in the country, Scotty released his own album.
Scotty Moore Album

Scotty went on to manage and own many record labels and produced and managed dozens of great acts. He also studio-engineered many famous record releases. When he engineered the 1970 Ringo Star album, “Beacoup of Blues,” he became the only person to work for the two most influential record labels of all time…Apple Records and Sun Records.

In September of 1997, Scotty cast his hand print for the famous Rock Walk at Guitar Center Hollywood. The other inductees on that day included Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, Duane Eddy and James Burton.

In 2000 Scotty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Scotty finished his interesting biography in 2007. It’s a must read for every guitar player and Elvis fan. It’s called, “That’s Alright, Elvis.”Scotty Book Beam Scotty Up, Scotty!

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Felis Catus

I hope everyone has a safe and sane 4th.  Enjoy your family and friends.


I have one of those things above. It is the official Latin term for “domestic cat.” Now you know where the cartoonist for Felix the Cat got his name. BTW: the official Latin classification for a feral cat is: felis silvestris catus. And so that’s how Sylvester the Cat got his name.

My cat has no Latin name, just KC. He’s mad at me now. We’ve left him for two weeks and we’ll only be home for 48 hours and we’re leaving him again for another week. He’s a lap cat so no affection and attention is being given to one who craves both. That’s not entirely true because our twice a day cat watcher does love him and give him some physical attention, but it’s not the hours every evening that he looks forward to.

Cats are weird. Each one is different and I can only speak for the one I have. I don’t own him, nobody owns a cat, but I feed him and let him reside with me. Johnnie, our friend and cat-watcher, texted us a couple pictures of him so we know he’s doing fine.

After a few days of the stupid firecrackers firing off he might not look so alert.

He goes and comes as he pleases. He has a tiny microchip in his neck which is read by his cat flap in the wall. It unlocks when it recognizes him.

I’m amazed at how these little domestic or feral animals have evolved from the wildcat they all evolved from. Their hearing is fantastic…much better than a dog or human. They have a 10 ½ octave range of hearing. They hear ultrasound highs which is the frequency rodents communicate in. Yes, they can hear mice and rats talking.

Cats can’t smell in as big a range as a dog, but their range is twice that of humans. What they can’t do like us is taste. We humans have around nine thousand taste buds on our tongues. Cats have less than 500. Cats have no taste for sweetness. Their taste buds do allow them to taste and smell things we humans can’t.

Their eyesight is also great with their night-vision thing going for them. They just need 1/6 of the light level a human needs to see. However these little fur balls can’t see much color. Don’t bother buying them that cute red ball that attracts you, cats can’t see red. Red looks green to them and most colorful things they see in yellow and green tones.

As science has improved dietary and veterinary medicine for cats their lifespan has increased a great deal. In the early 1980s, only 35 years ago, the average lifespan of a cat was seven years. By 1995 it had expanded to 9 ½ years. In 2014 the average cat’s life was 12-15 years. There are reports of many surviving now into their 30s. Our last cat lived over 21 years. The longest living cat, Crème Puff, was verified to have lived 38 years.

Cats need more sleep than most animals. Somewhere between 12 and 16 hours a day with fourteen hours being the average. Some cats will sleep up to 20 hours a day.

If it was possible I would like to trade lives with my cat for just 24 hours.

I especially like the sleeping part.

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Thriving in Duckberg

Like most of my friends, we grew up with Donald, Scrooge, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Somehow they never aged.

They lived in the state of Calisota and the town of Duckberg. In the comic books we would even see an actual map drawn of the area.
Duckberg                                                               EUREKA Duckburg
I never thought I would visit Duckberg, but here I am. This is where the Donald Duck cartoonist created his phony state and city. See if it looks like Duckberg to you.

This yearly June trip to Eureka/Arcata/Humboldt State University has become a “thing.” A thing I start thinking about in April. With each one degree rise in temperature my longing for this place also increase by one degree. It’s 108 degrees at home, 64 degrees here. Now you understand.

Climate has always been near the top of my list in where I choose to live. Of all the states and cities I’ve lived– this place is my “climate” choice. The high temperatures average 55-65 year round. The lows average 42-52. Hottest temperature on record was an 87 in 1886 (And that was in October). Lowest temp recorded was 20 degrees back in the ‘80s.

Location is also important. This is about as far north in California as one can get. Just 100 miles from Oregon. San Diego is a 12 hour drive, 775 miles away. Yes, it’s a big state.

Seattle is a 10 hour drive and Portland less than 7 hours.

It’s small town living with big town amenities. Classical musicians, a nice symphony, jazz, blues, country all doing fine. Theater and Dance. The same touring acts that play down south play up here.

And then there’s these things where I walk every morning:
EUREKA RedwoodsEUREKA Redwoods2

This morning I took these pictures:

Perfect Marriage


And then there’s these kinds of houses everywhere.
EUREKA Carson MansionEUREKA Pink Lady

Shopping is also a kick in areas like this:

And last, but certainly not least there’s this stuff:
EUREKA Samoa Bridge on Humboldt Bay

Someday this might be my new home.

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