The elements of maintaining an artistic identity

A  while ago my brother brought to me some books from a book sale.

One of these, the first of James A. Michener’s* that I read, was SPACE; a truly interesting story about our astronauts, beginning with the rocket scientists in Germany during WWII.   Then recently I doubled my pleasure by picking up and reading The Drifters by Michener, which particularly gratified my interest in his writings by being a book very much in tune with the times I grew up during the Vietnam War.

Then I got my hands on a truly unique creative work called The Novel–Michener again.  And it is this book that I highly, no HIGHLY recommend that any author, and that includes composers and songwriters as well should read this story.

Besides predicting the de-evolution of publishing away from traditional methods, and the observance of the plight of publishing companies who get taken over by conglomerates. It is a living mentorship to any author who will knowingly or unknowingly go through all the stages of worry, self-doubt, conflict over modesty vs. triumph; and, conservative outlook in light of the datum, “An author is only as good as his last book/song,” (which datum is maybe an industry maxim but not one in the creative arts), and all written in The Novel, twenty-five years ago.

It will very incisively inform any, writer, songwriter, artist what to expect in attaining the success desired and what the liabilities are when you attain that success, trying to maintain it.

*Motion pictures TEXAS, CENTENNIAL and many others derived from his books.





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The Flag is Back

It’s BACK.  That American Flag I mean.  Waving oh so majestically.  So proudly in brightest hues of RED-WHITE-BLUE.  The earlier flag was getting tattered (by the whipping action of the wind) as all flags eventually do.  Like the legendary Phoenix she rises again.

Why do I wax so enthusiastically?  Because we are so DAMN LUCKY to live and live long and well in America.

Can you imaging living anywhere else.  Where? Why?

I read recently that Johnny Depp moved to France.  So what, he’s still able to come here anytime.  Individuals like Depp don’t move to the U.S. because they believe there is a better country or opportunity.  Usually a person or celebrity wants a better deal on taxation.  Now Mr. Depp is happily back, the tax thing even worse in France because he’d be paying to both countries.

This flag measures 30 feet by 60 feet and can be seen from a mile away.


I’ve included a MUCH better picture now that the skies cleared…WHICH



American Flag 3












2)American Flag 6






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Why Politicians Are Like Dodo Birds

Well, politicians are like dodo birds because they were never aware that they were going extinct. That’s number one. Number two, it’s a common saying, people say “You’re out of your bird,” when someone does something very silly or very stupid. Politicians say and do things that are very stupid. Sometimes they withhold doing things which they should have done that also constitutes a kind of stupidity.

So, yes I can compare politicians with dodo birds with complete impunity. That’s the image they are now projecting and have been for the last couple of decades to voters and to citizens; that they have pretty much lost contact with their true function.

Yeah, the Dodo bird, kind of a stupid silly bird that became extinct many years ago. I suppose in the not too distant future we’ll be saying the same thing about politicians. “Oh yeah, politicians, weren’t they around about ten or fifteen years ago?  Kind of silly people doing the same silly things; getting involved in scandals when they should be doing their jobs.” That type of thing. They’ll continue to be fodder for jokes, probably up until that time, and then be an historical footnote that no one really cares about.

I attest that their are no hidden messages in this blog.

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By The Time I Leave This World

BY THE TIME I leave this world,  even at a great age, I expect that I will be as healthy as when I entered it: not senile, not an invalid, not feeble minded, not in pain, ill or disfigured.  And not sexually impotent. This is no doubt at variance with the bulk of humanity if the bulk of humanity even considers the subject.

Shockingly,  I surmise for most, I have had this expectancy since infancy, possibly much longer.  Although I can not with complete certainty state that this has always been the case, I can say that a version of this statement has always been a part of my character.

Truly, I have never seen a reason for gradual decline of the human condition into toothless, blind, tasteless and helpless dependency, as Shakespeare so adequately describes at the end of his eloquent soliloquy beginning with these words, “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players etc.”

In fact, much like the character of Benjamin Button, I anticipate the gradual reverse of the above cycle at the end of life, completely doing away with tombstones and graveyards, sextons and funeral parlors. Won’t that be a boon? It makes for a much cleaner, even perfect resolution. Instead of the progeny looking on with dismay as their parents wilt and wrinkle, become childlike and inconstant, they will probably see them disappear as healthy embryos.  Who knows perhaps a beloved ritual of eating the embryos will emerge and be the standard instead of burial in a molding coffin or incineration and dumping into watery graves.

Personally I expect to have a bushy head of hair again and get back to wearing leather jackets while riding motorcycles as I did quite a lot in my late thirties and early forties. And just today I was stopped into a clothing store to use their rest room and I spied a beautiful women’s leather jacket and coming out of the RR I asked a sales clerk if the store had any leather jackets for men.  We walked over to a rack and the first one she picked looked great and fit perfectly.  You wouldn’t ever guess the sale price.  One third the way there. Hah!

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Gong to the Great Beyond – Part II

To add in measure a relevant datum to my previous: I called a grocery store today to verify if they carried a type of cereal I liked a lot but had not seen locally in Nashville. The female who answered connected my call but a couple of minutes later another female voice answered “Stationery” when I had asked for “Grocery”. The female answering Stationery, to be kind, probably tried to connect my call to the correct department but failed and I dialed the store again. Got the same female voice as the 1st time. I told her what had just happened about the mis-switching and to the girl answering I said, “Must be a bunch of newbies in the store.” her reply was, “The operator just died this week and yes I’ve never done this type of job before.

The point is, the operator who is departed didn’t give notice, so the above ensued and who knows how many more similar calls will occur for awhile until the “Girl who has never done this before” learns how. If you’re gonna go, GO, but give notice too, or not so long as you’re replacement for your post is in the groove.

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I want to talk about a subject that has many of us baffled: GOING TO THE GREAT BEYOND…my first encounter with death was at age 8 and it happened so quickly. It was a drowning that at the very last second got interrupted by my oldest brother, who ironically became a handsome and virile lifeguard a few years later. There were three more escapes from death, all different but all distinct in well separated times of my life. One, a snake bite from a Pacific North pit viper, a motorcyle crash which took my right leg and obitial socket and mashed them. Plus a premonition at Coldwater Canyon Blvd but stopping just as another vehicle slammed through the intersection on a red light at 50 mph. But there is one I think most of us have had and that is choking on a peanut butter sandwich. One time and only one time did I start to eat a peanut butter sandwich and almost toss in my chips. In fact it was a pb, h and b sandwich…peanut butter, honey and banana. If anyone within the sound of my voice should try this Houdinish trick, please have a resussitator on standby and someone who is expert in applying the Heimlich maneuver. Gagged and gagged and swooned and swooned until finally I grabbed some milk and threw it to the back of my mouth twice and washed the impenetrable lump down my esophogus. Nobody, really, is safe from this type of demise. We love to eat things when were hungry. It could be a super fibrous stalk of celery, that’ll do it too. Stuffing pie down or hot dogs one after another in a contest is a sure way to go to the GREAT BEYOND.

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Our Beautiful American Flag

Recently I was lucky to observe, one morning while at work outside, a large American flag rippling, framed against a bright blue sky and patchy white clouds .  There was (and is) a certain beauty about it and that it was a larger than usual sized replica of our nation’s emblem.  A breeze, at 8 to 10 miles an hour was causing our flag to unfurl and collapse gently its folds repeatedly as if in a dancing freedom seen sometimes in ballet, and reminiscent of the swishing motion of a salamander.

A  week later I was amazed at the size of an American flag unfurled over an entire football field, held by some 100 plus volunteers and at the end of the star-spangled banner in unison the volunteers gently lifted and lowered the edges of the flag causing it to ripple gently.


I invite others to continue to witness the symbolic beauty of a nation that is still ALIVE, still, despite many enticements and provocations to do otherwise, living its original purpose.


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The Power of Chicken Soup

I remember very distinctly, one day, when I was not feeling well…I was down. I decided to make my own chicken soup from scratch. Included a whole host of vegetables in it.

Got out the pots, the cutting devices. No recipe. Just Hell Bent For Leather. Started with some poultry. Put that on the stove and boiled for about two hours. Took the broth and pieces of chicken, which fell apart from the bone, and set that aside. Then I added vegetables. Tons of vegetables. Bok choy, spinach with the stems trimmed. Celery diced up, zucchini diced up. Just everything you could imagine. Cilantro. I had about 17 different vegetables in there. I poured that combination into the home made chicken broth. Simmered that for about fifteen minutes. Wala! Talk about a resurrection. My demeanor was not the same and remained positive for a long time, in fact indefinitely afterwards.

If I had a hundred million gallons of that soup, I could SAVE the world. Save the planet and make a change in a lot of peoples’ lives.

Let’s see…did I include onions?  

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The Reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe

Today marks the first day of this book’s appearance in a Amazon dot com COUNTDOWN. What means this? Well…Find out what really happens when we go to the GREAT BEYOND. Find out what truly caused Poe’s death, that has had his readers, scholars and critics theorizing about it endlessly.
It isn’t just a direct result from the study I’ve done over the years of the spritual nature of Man that caused the writing of The Reincarnation of Edgar A. Poe, but it sure helped. You see as I mention in the book, I for some time had seen many similarities between who Poe was and who he became. Then of learning from these studies of lectures by his successor all the phenomena of transitioning from one life to the next, well…. The true fun was in discovering the clues from all the already existing written evidences abounding about these three Great Men. That was the enormous joy it brought me. And so we have today my simple offer PLUS the de-shrouding of the one mystery that has had Poe lovers, readers, scholars, and critics buzzing and fussing endlessly about how his last days came to pass. You get all this for a trim .99 but for only a couple of days. The countdown continues and Amazon raises the ante every two days, so…
Here’s an excerpt from a Poe Scholar about TREAP:
“I enjoyed very much your lively quotes about reincarnation from Wordsworth, London, Patton, etc. They make an effective opening… I’m on surer ground in reading about Franklin and Poe, and found very enlightening the lines you draw between them: their work for magazines and newspapers; their mutual insistence on avoiding mere ornamentation; their swimming (!); their contempt for plagiarism; their mutual habitation of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia [sic]; their joint opposition to slavery; the popularity they achieved as American writers. Hadn’t thought of benevolence in Poe, but you are surely right in speaking of his devotion to his family, and also in asserting his difference from Franklin due to his traumatic childhood…Wishing you best of luck with the monograph and the book, Regards,”
– Kenneth E. Silverman (Pulitzer-Prize Winning Biographer)

TREAP is also available in soft cover and hard cover as well, from my imprint Velvet Gloves Publishing.

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Our Planet vs. Theirs

For those reading this that are somewhat interested and somewhat informed about UFO phenomena, and extra terrestrial visitations, I offer the following. Is it not reasonable even obvious that if there are extraterrestrial beings visiting us from outside our solar system, which is the given, are they going to be silly enough to do something to provoke a primitive (in comparison) civilization into attacking them with nuclear capabilities? A quote unquote “civilization” whose favorite game is genocide. Whose every Sci-Fi book, TV series or motion picture has invaders annihilating or trying to annihilate some other space society or subjugate them entirely.

Do alien beings know who we are? You bet, and they are clever to not land on Earth and cause a ruckus and get put in a zoo or cut up in a laboratory, even hunted down and killed, one way or the other.

Let’s look at the fact of just how many documented sightings there have been in the last century, leaving off those in earlier centuries and artifacts depicting UFOs from ancient times (didn’t know that?). Tens and tens of thousands. Leaving off ridiculed accounts of abductions. Omitting reports by qualified military and air defense personnel of seeing air ships as long a mile in length hovering close to the ground. Skip the crop circles, perfectly made and only visible from the air initially.

But take into account what astronomers are lately discovering and observing in the distant worlds of distant galaxies…planets of approximately our size and approximately equi-distant to a sun in a similar configuration. Take into account Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter are among noteworthy persons who have seen UFOs aka flying saucers.

What does your gut tell you about all this? Right. You are correct to conclude just that. First you are right in considering it, second you are right in knowing that it will be quite some time before any “visitors” deem it safe to parley with Man, and third, you are absolutely correct in that it is best to get on with your life and Life in general and not give much attention to “aliens” and UFOs. In time Earth will become a friendlier planet, and there will be undoubtedly many opportunities to fraternize with our distant neighbors. Don’t expect to go to their globe and take a ride on one of their roller coasters, but then again you might. Oh, and yes I’ve observed a UFO, circa 1989 in Los Angeles, around 8:00PM DST.

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