Archive for the ‘country music’ Category

2012 in review

December 31, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see
the complete report.


Thanks to all those who visited AMRFP in 2012. I make a resolution to be more active in 2013. Happy New Year and stay tuned, there is more to come!

Check me out here as well:

Hey! It’s 2011! Scroll Back, Ya Varmints!

January 2, 2011

2011.  A new me and a new you.  WordPress was kind enough to summarize the previous years posting for AMRFP… check it out!


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,200 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 408 posts. There were 162 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 12th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was John Lennon Sat Here….

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and WordPress Dashboard.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for socially unacceptable behavior, 27 club conspiracy, 49 bye byes, how to succeed in amway, and advantages of respect.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


John Lennon Sat Here… September 2010


rude, crude, lewd and socially unacceptable behavior October 2007


The illegal immigration solution, conclusion… a.k.a Illegal Immigrant for President! (he’ll do the work George Bush won’t) June 2007


songs to play at your funeral April 2008


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Lying April 2008


I’d like to thank WordPress for hosting such a cool site which in turn enables a writer’s whimsy to see daylight on the Internet and finds audiences such as you whom I otherwise might not have met!  (Hey! a little rhyme there!)

So from the bottom of my heart to the top of the apple cart…(I can’t help it)  thanks for reading!  I look forward to adding future posts in 2011 here at Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play. 

There really are… you know.


It’s a “guy” thing

July 10, 2010

I have yet another pet peeve.  Is it possible to have too many?  I don’t think so.  Case in point, dining out…

I took my beautiful girl out for dinner last night to a nice restaurant. Not quite formal dining but right up there.  Clean jeans, vintage T-shirt, I even shaved the night before.  Anyway, we arrive early to beat the crowds and BB asks for a booth (for our cozy rendezvous) and after a slight delay, we were cheerfully assigned one.  The manager’s seating person steps up and directs us “guys” to where we will be enjoying the next 1.5 hours of the evening.  

It irritates me to be out with my wife and hear us being refered to as the “guys”.  If we were in a sports bar or attending a monster truck event at the local arena, I would concur we probably were just a couple of “guys” out having a good time.  But my sweetheart was looking fairly fab and being addressed as “guys” seemed to diminish that a little in my mind.  So after beckoning us to “swagger along behind” I said, “We guys would love to follow you.”  My always intuitive better half smiled and said, “There’s a new post for you!” and so here it is.

As stated previously on AMRFP (Let Me Call You Sweetheart,   01/06/07 )  I do not mind a little familiarity with my servers, but that is just me.  When it comes to dining out with my wife at a nice restaurant, I would like a little more proper decorum. 

So how does one distinguish between being or not being called “honey”, “babe”, “sweetheart” or “guys” when assisting patrons at an eatery?  Simple.  If there is sawdust on the floor, the people coming through your door are probably “guys”.

  If there is a television set anywhere within the public area for viewing, the cheers and jeers you are hearing probably are coming from the “guys”. 

If you serve pickled pigs feet, Slim Jims, chicken wings or Bar-B-Q ribs, the people wiping their mouths on their shirt sleeves are without a doubt “guys”.  If your all-night Diner is within 500 feet of a truck stop, chances are the people pluggin’ quarters into the jukebox are “guys”. 

You can call me “sweetheart” in front of my wife if you have the kahunas, but not if you are a “guy”.  That would be too awkward.  “Guys” should not call guys “babe”, “honey”, “dear” , “sweetheart”, “pumpkin” “swivel hips”, “daffodil” or “sweet cheeks”, it is just too weird sounding.

“Guys” do like formal dining.  “Guys” enjoy ordering from the wine list, having appetizers, eating 4 course meals and scarfing down deserts that are large enough to satisfy 3 normal sized persons.  We marvel at the simplicity of using our charge cards and confidently figure out 20% gratuities without the little “helper” guidelines (more for exceptional service, of course) and we won’t bat an eye when our bill exceeds a measly $100 for the two of us.  Nope.  It is a guy thing to be able to go out and mingle with society incognito without the astigmatism of being cast as “guys” when you clearly are not in your “guys” mode.

While I am out with my fair one, I may be a guy “out of water” (and I am proud to be an ordinary guy with aspirations…) but she is my lady.  Always.  In that respect, I should reach an elevated status simply by association.

It is a guy thing. 

The women we choose to associate with reflects our good taste.  They in turn should qualify us as “gentlemen” in certain instances. 

A respectful person providing a service should be mindful of that.


Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time? Not Hardly

June 2, 2010

Another list, another bust.  I guess Rolling Stone had to “update” it’s 2004 greatest songs of all time list to accomodate the Y2KO’s  but I say bunk.

And I guess I’m not the only one who feels this way…

Here’s the list if you haven’t shelled out the bucks for the prints yet…,1086538,1086538

It’s almost hysterical.  Some of these choices to be “politically correct” left out some fantastic songs by great artists.

You know, a great song should be a defining moment in our culture.  Bangladesh by George Harrison.  Back in 1971 George did it first by sponsoring a charity event, The Concert for Bangladesh. Unselfishly, a world renown artist did something to make a difference.  That song should be considered one of the greatest of all time simply because of what it started.

On the heels of George Harrison,  Micheal Jackson helped organize We Are the World for charity.  It was a rallying cry for people to make a difference.  I think that song deserves to be ranked as one of the greatest of all time ahead of Rolling Stones choice for #417, Fuck the Police. Don’t you?  Beat It did manage to rank #337, kind of like an afterthought.

Let’s see,  the Moody Blues recorded the first stereo album, Days of Future Passed, back in 1967.  That is a landmark achievement not only because of it being stereo, but because it blended classical instruments with rock for the first time! Perhaps rather than No Woman, No Cry (which sucks) we could have had Knights in White Satin.

There was no mention of Harry Nilsson, personally I think Everybody’s Talkin’ or I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City does it for me much better than Nirvana’s Feels Like Teen Spirit, ranked at an unbelievable #9!

Neil Diamond, accomplished singer and songwriter, didn’t get a spot on Rolling Stones list.  I Am, I Said should have been included somewhere.

Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle beats anything Iggy Pop put out, in my humble opinion.

One For My Baby (and One More For the Road) by Frank Sinatra?  Nothing by The Voice on this list.

Kris Kristofferson was an obvious oversight.  Loving Her Was Easier Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again should have beat out at least a hundred lesser songs chosen by Rolling Stone’s panel, or at the very least… Sunday Morning Coming Down.

I would have liked to see Charlie Rich, either Rollin’ With the Flow or Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues but who says Rolling Stone really knows what they are talking about?

It’s Only Make Believe by Conway Twitty.  Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain by Willie Nelson.  You’re So Young and Beautiful by Elvis Presley.  I Saw the Light or I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love With You by Hank Williams.  From a Jack to a King by Ned Miller.  He’ll Have to Go by Jim Reeves.  Devil Woman by Marty Robbins.  I Will Always Love You or Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton.  Coalminer’s Daughter or You Ain’t Woman Enough by Loretta Lynn.  Me and Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin.  At Last by Etta James.  Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt.  This Guy’s In Love With You by Burt Bacharach.  No Waylon, no Merle, no Roy Clark, no Boy Named Sue?  and on, and on, and on…

And no Grateful Dead?

Why omit this song?

We Can Run

Lyrics: John Barlow
Music: Brent Mydland

We don’t own this place though we act as if we did
It belongs to the children of our children’s kids
The actual owners haven’t even been born yet

But we never tend the garden and we rarely pay the rent
Most of it is broken and the rest of it is bent
Put it all on plastic and I wonder where we’ll be when the bills hit

We can run but we can’t hide from it
Of all possible worlds we only got one, we gotta ride on it
Whatever we’ve done we’ll never get far from what we leave behind
Baby we can run, run, run but we can’t hide

Well I’m dumping my trash in your back yard
Making certain you don’t notice really isn’t so hard
You’re so busy with your guns and all of your excuses to use

Well it’s oil for the rich and babies for the poor
We’ve got everyone believing that more is more
If a reckoning comes maybe we’ll know what to do then


All these complications seem to leave no choice
I heard the tongues of billions speak with just one voice
Saying just leave all the rest to me, I need it worse than you, you see
Then I heard the sound of one child crying

Today I went out walking in the amber wind
There’s a hole in the sky where the light pours in
I remember the days when I wasn’t afraid of the sunshine

But now it beats down on the asphalt land
Like hammering blow from God’s left hand
What little still grows
Cringes in the shade till the night-time


as recorded by the Grateful Dead

This song was way out of character for them and it struck a chord with all of us, sort of a modern send up of… It’s Natures Way by Spirit.

Or how about this one?

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (B. Scott and B. Russell)

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…

as recorded by the Hollies

Or how about the single most recorded song of all time?

check it out…

Gentle On My Mind by John Hartford

It’s knowing that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag
Rolled up and stashed behind your couch
And it’s knowing I’m not shackled
By forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
That keeps you in the backroads
By the rivers of my mem’ry
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It’s not clinging to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that binds me
Or something that somebody said
Because they thought we fit together walking
It’s just knowing that the world will not be cursing
Or forgiving when I walk along some railroad track and find
That you are moving on the backroads
By the rivers of my mem’ry
And for hours you’re just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines
And the junkyards and the highways come between us
And some other woman crying to her mother
‘Cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me ’til I’m blind
But not to where I cannot see you walkin’ on the backroads
By the rivers flowing gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup back from the gurglin’
Cracklin’ caldron in some train yard
My beard a roughning coal pile and
A dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands ’round a tin can
I pretend I hold you to my breast and find
That you’re waving from the backroads
By the rivers of my mem’ry
Ever smilin’ ever gentle on my mind

as recorded by Glen Campbell


Yes, I could go on but I won’t.  Suffice it to say I don’t buy into Rolling Stones “something for everybody” greatest songs list.

You shouldn’t either!


Where Have All the Flowery Posts Gone?

May 23, 2009


Okay, dang… just when I get to thinking I am a serious blog hack, someone comes along and declares I need reform.  Perhaps it is time for an overhaul, after all… this month marks three years of AMRFP!

In the past three years we have talked about politics, love, religion, music, books, and movies.  There has been social injustice, chaos  and anarchy.   We seem to teeter on the brink of disaster yet all in good humor and forced optimism because… what else is there?  We obviously cannot pack up our things and relocate to another planet because no one would have us.  We know we are the root problem and reason for disunity in the world but we cannot seem to eradicate this self-destructive urge.  We are constantly bombarded with information, yet how can we decipher it, knowing which is accurate and which is merely bunk?  Here’s another controversy…


My life has turned dramatically since I first fostered this blog on a whim three years ago.  I set out to discover if there was any use in my attempting to write, wondering if I  “had the goods”.  I found my audience to be somewhat sporadic and the subjects I held near and dear to my heart less popular than the ones I thought to be frivolous, so therein lies the paradox.  What I enjoy writing may not be what I am good at, what I am good at may be drudgery.

My most popular post to date has been;  Songs to Play at Your Funeral from April, 2008, which I wrote based on what had actually transpired between my business partner and I one day during a light conversation on death.  It has garnished twice the hits of the runner up;  The Illegal Immigration Solution Conclusion, from June, 2007.  While the latter post has had twice the exposure it has fostered less activity.  I have posted poetry, short stories, a screenplay and the rough draft of my story, Shades of Hemingway. I have progressed (slowly) in my ability to add pictures and video (thanks YouTube) to my posts while trying not to use them in place of good (?) writing.  And after three years, 340 posts, 333 tags, 96 categories, 1004 comments, 37,045 hits and 28,496 spam I am virtually right back where I started from, questioning my validity as a writer.

There has been one bright spot.  Actually, the greatest reward I can think of has come on to me while doing this experiment.  Like most things that we find to make life worthwhile it came unexpectedly, yet has been the difference between merely existing and living.  She sits at my side right now, not realizing I am writing about her.  My beautiful wife, Chantal.

I have proven myself by winning her attention,  admiration and love.  She has faith in my ability and confidence that one day, the world will see what she sees in me, though that confidence in myself wanes and falters.  Through our love of writing; whether via our blogs, to each other publicly or privately, or in our imaginations,  we have accomplished something that would not have materialized otherwise.  We have become each others hero and fan club.  We have become kindred spirits.  Chantal and I are glorious.  I have not failed as a writer, I have acquired a following of one, as she has found in me.

I am living in Canada now, which is quite the contrast from spending most of my life in Florida.  The economy has put a strain on my ability to make a living through my trade and I am still struggling to adapt to life as a foreigner.  But my beautiful girl has the utmost confidence in me so that is a hurdle I will easily overcome with patience.  I am learning to accept that I cannot always have things my way.  But I need to concentrate on making a living and right now it does not look like writing is the way of prosperity for me, at least not financially.

I started this blog in May of 2006 not sure of where it would go, how I would do or how long it would last.  But I feel it has served it’s purpose, at least for a while.  The archives will remain and comments will still be directed to me via e-mail, but I plan on taking a little hiatus.

This month, May 2009, is heading towards being my most active month ever, with seven days left it will easily accomplish this.   The second most active month was back in November of 2007.

I’d like to think that on that note, it is a good time to bow out gracefully.

Thanks for reading  Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play…

there definitely are,  you know.


Rescued from the Depths of Obscurity, Part 6: Johnny Cash, 10 songs from the abyss

May 5, 2009




Johnny Cash has had a musical presence on the American scene for over 50 years. His music personified American strength and dignity while standing up for the common man. Yet are there 10 songs of his that you might not have heard?

It’s New Year’s Day 2009! (scroll back, ya varmints!)

December 31, 2008

Another year has passed and what have we learned? As AMRFP enjoys it’s 304th post we begin to realize this blog will not take no for an answer! (what was the question?) Some people just have more audacity than others and will not go away!

2008 will be happily placed in our rear view mirror as we look with infertile optimism to a new Democratic majority across the board in American politics. Has there been another year in recent memory that has been as foul as this one? Most people would be hard pressed to find one that was, causing them to look back with disdain and relief at 2008 passing.

But in reflection, there have been some fine posts for one and all to enjoy on this site (humbly submitted by yours truly) and I’d be remiss not to mention the fact that my life changed dramatically (and for the better) this past year because of this little blog. For that reason alone it shall continue… not to mention the sheer joy I get at ranting on like I do and of course, the pleasure I derive from the remote possibility of your company.

Despite the difficult time I had at being regular the past three months because of my move to Canada and the fact that I posted a short story, a screenplay and the continuation of the Shades of Hemingway series,… my readership actually increased. AMRFP approaches the 32,ooo hits mark which made it the best year to date as far as averages go. Akismet has blocked over 25,000 spam comments (mostly porn but some insurance quotes are trying to muscle in as well) While some friends have faded into the depths of the black hole of the blogosphere, new friends have risen up which makes this site a pure joy each time I acquaint myself with a different prospective on life.

I met my lovely wife through the postings of our blogs, and while some may view the online relationship with trepidation I must say it has been the most exhilarating experience I have ever known. We were married in March of this past year and I was finally able to relocate here in Canada in October. But future posts will address our relationship as it progresses, suffice it to say I am thrilled by her love each and every day. That in itself should provide some interesting fodder…

So without further ado and for your discerning review, from the latest entry to the first of the year… Advantages of Mutual Respect and Fair Play 2008.

Scroll back… ya varmints!


1) 12-23-08 – A Sand Road Christmas Card. Remembering the holidays of my youth back in Iowa. In the good ol’ days, when times were bad.

2) 12-20-08 – It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time. Having just come off three months of creating and posting the third installment of the Shades of Hemingway series along with moving and adjusting to the climate of the North and making my excuses for being preoccupied with life in general and love in particular.

3) 12-16-08 thru 9-17-08 – Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo. Parts 1 – 12 and Epilogue. My readership plummeted through the time I took to post this, which I knew it would. But I feel it also was because it generally takes about six weeks for the series to run through it’s entirety. When my circumstances dictated otherwise it took me 12 weeks and I feel I alienated myself from some of the faithful readers (both of them!) of AMRFP. But my own true love assured me from the beginning that it was MY blog and I should be able to go in the direction of my choosing, so I am glad I saw it through to the end. Now is the time to recapture our imaginations and I will do that to the best of my ability in the coming weeks… I promise.

4) 9-14-08 – Prelude to Shades of Hemingway / Deja’ Voodoo. You can’t say I didn’t warn ya. One day I’ll finish this story… and yes, post it here! Some people just will never learn… sigh.

5) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Presley Hound Dog, the complete performance. One of three videos I inserted for the post, Politics and the Billboard Top 100 Hits of All Time… pathetic.

6) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Jailhouse Rock. The second of three videos for the same post.

7) 9-13-08 – Video. Elvis Twist with Elvis. The third of three videos for the same post.

8) 9-13-08 – Politics and the Billboard Top 100 Hits of All Time… pathetic. You know the cool thing about these best of lists is that it gets our dander up. But picking The Twist because of the insertion some formula instead of just counting airtime play and sales smacks of favoritism. Too bad.

9) 9-11-08 – Born Laughing Out Loud. A little review I did of Steve Martin’s book, Born Standing Up, which I throughly enjoyed.

10) 8-29-08 – McCain/Palin? Bravo! (oh! bomb awed). I’m not much on politics, obviously. My beautiful girl and I go round and round about American politics (good naturedly) and it is an eye opener to think that we may be our own worst enemy. But I thought the picking of Palin was a good thing for McCain’s candidacy. While Obama landslided McCain in the electoral college, he only received 52% of the total vote per population input. Popular opinion not withstanding, I was sure nothing short of a miracle would put another Republican in the White House… and I was right.

11) 8-29-08 – return of the dreaded sequel, part 1. I had thought Deja’ Voodoo would have been up and presented way before this time, but you know… life gets in the way.

12) 8-19-08 – Spending the day with Tropical Storm Fay. Gosh I had fun with this one. I have lived in S.W. Florida for the better part of 36 years and you never get used to the weather in paradise.

13) 8-17-08 – you must remember this. Memorable movie kisses, what are yours?

14) 8-16-08 – Video. 1984. A funny thing happened on youTube… I meant this vid for another post and it somehow got crossed up in cyberspace then appeared sometime later on my blog. I don’t remember the subject or even if I posted it, but I liked the premise of 1984 knocking on your door (from Spirit) so I left it in… hm.

15) 8-16-08 – Video. Shawn Colvin – Catch the Wind. I chose this as one of two vids for the post, Catch the Wind, but it got lost in cyberspace at the same time I was foolin’ around with 1984. And since I am not all that great at shifting things around on my blog (lazy brained) I just left it in at the time it appeared. Yes, sometimes this blog takes on a life of it’s own.

16) 8-11-08 – Not your favorite cover. Another one of those “best of” lists and my opinion which you all hold your breath for.

17) 8-7-08 – don’t know much about the Hadron Collider. A little parody that just conjured itself up when I read of this multi- billion dollar effort to smash things together. Scientists on a controlled hissy fit.

18) 8-4-08 – oh the humanity! and the cost of celebrity… Paris Hilton’s mom decrying the media for it’s portrayal of her talented daughter.

19) 8-02-08 – Choosing a running mate. McCain can win if… Hey! he may or may not have listened to me on this one but you gotta admit McCain’s choice made the race interesting.

20) 7-29-08 – Hey… told you so! Senator Ted Stevens and his exploits have been discussed several times on this blog, glad justice was served on the jerk.

21) 7-26-08 – Catch the Wind. The things we can and cannot control cause me to wax on, wax off in contempt and sentiment… my favorite forms of expression.

22) 7-23-08 – Video. Donovan-Catch the Wind. The original that was meant to be accompanied by Shawn Colvin’s rendition, but perhaps better as a stand alone vid.

23) 7-12-08 – Let My Gonads Go! a.k.a. nuts to you, Jesse Jackson. Gosh, I loved doing this little parody considering the riff comes from a freedom song sung by the oppressed slaves during the Civil War. Jesse Jackson and his infamous utterance deserved to be ridiculed loud and long.

24) 7-7-08 – Where the light is, John Mayer. Occasionally cool things happen and I was thrilled to see this DVD/CD released. I bought it the very first day.

25) 7-5-08 – Quick Draw (Tim) McGraw and his rootin’, tootin’ wild west outlaw show. Got some negativity on this post but you know…

26) 6-29-08 – throw mama (and junior) from the plane! If any post could divide my sweetheart and I… this one could. I’ve looked at flight from both sides now.

27) 6-28-08 – the hippie dippy weatherman no longer sweats the ICBMs. The death of George Carlin caused a wee bit of reflection in my heart.

28) 6-28-08 – Video. Religion is bullshit. The late George Carlin expressing his opinion in true comedic form.

29) 6-28-08 – Video. the hippy dippy weatherman. George Carlin in less sarcastic form.

30) 6-17-08 – inner-mission. Left you to your own devices for a few days, did you break anything?

31) 6-15-08 – Happy Father’s Birthday. A slip of the tongue by my French speaking step-son tugs at my heart.

32) 6-15-08 – Video. Eric Clapton – My Father’s Eyes. Selected to go along with, Happy Father’s Birthday, I feel this is a song Eric did that could have gotten a little more acclaim but seems to be coming around again… which is cool, you can’t keep a good song down.

33) 6-12-08 – that’s right, you’re what’s left (screwed, blued and anti-socially tattooed). Gee, folks… just learn to live with it. Our government is not accountable.

34) 6-12-08 – Video. water as energy. We have the technology, we need the direction.

35) 6-8-08 – It was/is a Wonderful Life. The death of young “George Baily,” Bob Anderson, inspired this post. It was one of my favorites from the 2008 year simply because I got to review one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite movies of all time. “… you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a shame it would be to throw it all away?”

36) 6-6-08 – Public Displays of Effection. What effect does PDA have on you? This post was inspired by a case of supposed discrimination… you be the judge.

37) 6-4-08 – Obama Surrender (Hillary concedes). I love these little parodies that just pop into mind. Funny how the resilient Ms. Clinton still has a place in her opponent’s heart.

38) 6-3-08 – Video. Jemima Surrender. Try as I might I couldn’t find a vid by the Band performing this song, but this rendition is still good.. in case you couldn’t catch the riff in Obama Surrender.

39) 5-31-08 – what goes around Karmas around? I’m not that sure of Karma. I mean… if it were true, why do the wicked seem to prosper while the good suffer? Sharon Stone is a dunce.

40) 5-28-08 – double checking reality bounce. One cannot be too careful, or so I thought…

41) 5-21-08 – Blogging for Dummies (what was Scarlett Johansson thinking?) Sometimes you just gotta wonder…

42) 5-21-08 – Video. Falling Down by Scarlett Johansson. You decide…

43) 5-16-08 – “Jawbone” George Bush and the Saudi Oil Shriek a.k.a. the Blame Game. Hey George, just tell them to open up the spigot a little…

44) 5-16-08 – Video. Shirley Ellis – the Name Game. Bush, Bush, bo-shush, sittin’ on his tush.

45) 5-16-08 – creative foreplay. I find that looking for inspiration comes with no effort at all… really.

46) 5-10-08 – they are dumbing down our Rock and Roll! Who is the greatest recording artist of all time? The answer may surprise you.

47) 5-10-08 – Video. Mariah Carey – touch my body. For your comparison.

48) 5-10-08 – Video. Eric Clapton – Layla (live). For your enjoyment.

49) 5-7-08 – God’s Yard Sale. The world is in chaos… does God really care about us?

50) 5-5-08 – Waiting for Zed. An expose’ on why the term “zed” was removed from the American lexicon. A real eye opener… or perhaps not.

51) 4-30-08 – friends. There are many forms of friendship and those we choose as best.

52) 4-30-08 – Video. The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Chosen to accompany the post, friends.

53) 4-20-08 – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Lying. One of my favorite posts of 2008.

54) 4-17-08 – The Great American Boycott. I think we as consumers deserve better.

55) 4-12-08 – Why Obama? Sometimes these little parodies play so well in my mind…

56) 4-12-08 – Video. The Knack – My Sharona. For those of you who could not catch the riff in Why Obama?

57) 4-11-08 – Cheney’s Sunglasses – Not a Rosy Reflection. Your imagination runs wild.

58) 4-8-08 – Video. The Beatles – And I Love Her. Follows the post, Songs to Play At Your Funeral because I do.

59) 4-7-08 – Songs to Play At Your Funeral. This post has been on my blog for less than 9 months but it has become a runaway best topic since it’s inception and continues to pull away from the rest of the crowd at a rapid pace. I realize it is more the topic than the content, but even so it has become an easy #1 post for 2008 and the all time winner for top post so far at AMRFP. A distance second is, Let me call you sweetheart, posted on 1-6-07. Bringing up the rear at 7th is, the Rock and Roll Conspiracy, posted on 8-26-06. So it is quite the accomplishment in comparison. The fact that the conversation actually happened in the way I recorded it makes it all the more enjoyable for me because it is real life and that is the best sort of living.

60) 4-7-08 – Video. Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman – Time to Say Goodbye. For my fair Chantal.

61) 4-6-08 – Goodbye / Charlton Heston. 2008 saw many great stars passing, this was one of them.

62) 4-1-08 – Why are we here? The question of the ages, I found my reason.

63) 3-29-08 thru 2-20-08 – Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran. I had written this screenplay ages ago, but when the new film Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was about to be released I thought perhaps Indy might enjoy a sort of renaissance and an interest might be piqued in this tale. Too bad their story didn’t live up to the hype while mine didn’t live up to expectations… but oh well. It is preserved for prosperity.

64) 2-17-08 – Free Indy. The story behind my writing, Indiana Jones and the Dance of Aldebaran. I liked my story better than theirs, didn’t you? (please say yes)

65) 2-13-08 – Economic Stimulus Plan. You know, I still think my idea would work and I have not met any opposition to it.

66) 2-9-08 thru 1-20-08 – My Dog Sam. I don’t remember what caused me to write about that dog of mine, but I’m glad I did. I have thought about taking several of my recollections and compiling them into one story. Funny how things work in my mind, but I began the year with thoughts of Sand Road and my dog, Sam… then concluded the year with A Sand Road Christmas Card. They say you can never go home, but I think home never goes.

67) 1-18-08 – An Evaluation of the Bush Administration (2000-2008). Not too favorable to ol’ King George and my apologies for that. Will history be kind to him? With the worst rating of any sitting president… it is difficult to say.

68) 1-15-08 – …so you wanna be a Rock and Roll star? Rethinking some music and impressions of artists.

69) 1-15-08 – Video. The Byrds-So You Wanna Be A Rock And Roll Star. To accompany the post of the same name.

70) 1-7-08 – New Year… knew you. I met my own true love twice in a lifetime.


So there you have it. 70 different topics posted in 103 segments. While we may have had some bumps in the road of 2008, it has been a year that I have realized it is not the miles but the destination that makes the journey tolerable. It is not the smoothness of the pavement but the direction we are headed in that make the traveling light. It is not the degree of difficulty to proceed, it is the strength of our resolve to begin. It is not the complexity of the task but the undertaking with the commitment to see it through. Life indeed goes on…

And it is my sincere hope that whatever you may have had to endure, whatever your losses may have been, whatever your disappointments and fears… and we live in a world governed by and propagandized with fear, that you may face 2009 with optimism and hope. We may never understand the powers that be, but the power to be you and me holds the key to our happiness… it all comes from within.

Have a joyous and safe 2009… and thanks for reading.


A Sand Road Christmas Card

December 23, 2008

I have enjoyed many yuletide carols and fa la la lala -ing in my time. We have made multiple wishes for peace on Earth and goodwill to men in my small family community, enough to fill the mandates of 10 United Nations. As the years do their one horse open sleigh ride through the memories that remain evergreen, I am reminded that not all recall the past as warmly as I do.

We struggled in those years; my single mother, six sisters and I. When the holidays rolled around it was a time to be anything but joyous. We were never certain where we would be living from one month to the next let alone be shopping for holiday gifts for ourselves. In those days we would draw names at school from our list of classmates in order to buy gifts for one another, and I dreaded each time having to ask my mother for the money. Even a couple of dollars was a big dent in our funds and I grew to resent the season to be jolly because of it’s hopeful glitter and emphasis on our poverty.

It was all a sham. Merchants displaying the traditions, crafts, foods, music, and toys of the holiday would put a desirous longing in my heart each year. But a cold reality as deep as a snow drift crept in my young mind all the while. It didn’t matter if I was “naughty or nice.” I could have been the nicest guy on the planet (though I wasn’t) and still the outcome would have been the same. I’d hear an aunt or uncle talking about how their family “weren’t going to have much of a Christmas this year” and I would cringe. They didn’t know what it meant to “not have much of a Christmas” because they gauged it on Christmas’ past. We knew each year that it wasn’t going to be much of one because it wasn’t much of one every year. But then one year a miracle happened, my oldest sister married.

No, I did not mean it was a miracle that she married. It was a miracle because when she married she remembered us, her siblings. I don’t doubt that back then it was sort of like a release from purgatory for her to become partners with a man and begin a family of her own. Whatever her feelings about being raised by my mother as the oldest and spending time with the rest of us kids (there were only 4 of us by the time she moved on) she was generous in her spirit. I received my first bicycle from her and my brother-in-law, and that year Christmas was the most joyous one for me and it remains so to this day. (see the post, My First Bicycle from 8-29-07)

But another Christmas year stands out in my mind as well and it was during the time we lived on the Sand Road back in Iowa.

My poor mother never had a chance when she was young. The opportunity for an education eluded her and the need to grow up too fast robbed my mother of her youth and the dreams associated with innocence. She was married at 15 the first time and frivolously threw away relationships that could have fostered a salvation of sorts with each marriage that followed. Instead of finding better relationships she fell in with unsavory men that abused her. Finally my mother found herself alone with the 7 children she bore having no skills or guidance on what being a proper parent meant. Being the oldest in her family, the only way to get out of her own circumstances (her father died when she was 12) was to marry and move on, with devastating results. In many ways, she was not more than a child herself.

We whittled through many locations in eastern Iowa and lived in Council Bluffs twice before we settled into the house on Sand Road. Usually it was because we couldn’t pay the rent and had to make a “mid-night move-out” to avoid the landlord. I think my mother had reached a time in her life where she realized she would remain alone from that point on. Fortunately my kind hearted grandfather by my grandmother’s second marriage had arranged to purchase this major fixer upper, otherwise we would have had no where else to go. Living in that house would ultimately change my life. (see the posts, My Dog Sam beginning on 1-20-08) Though at the time I felt our circumstances went from bad to worse.

My mother informed us that this year she could afford to buy a Christmas tree to enjoy or she would take that money and buy us gifts, but we had to choose one or the other. You can imagine what amount of money she had to buy gifts with if that sum total was what it cost to purchase a tree back then. I remember we all agreed in unison that we had to have a Christmas tree, even if it meant that we could not have the gifts. It was also quite possible that a bill was not going to get paid or the rent to my grandfather was going to be a little short, but our mother would not be deterred.

I know there were sacrifices she made back then. I do not recall ever seeing my mother buying something for herself, unless it were pen and paper. The cars we drove were clunkers, the clothes we wore were thrift store bargains or hand-me-downs. We were welfare babies and did not have any money to waste on things like toys and such. But whatever we had to do without, she did with less.

My mother had a generous spirit and opened up our table many times offering the food that we had. There were nights we spent together eating and talking amongst ourselves about what she had read or philosophised about. We laughed a lot about things we could only imagine that “someday” might happen. She loved music and would often sing to us. Many times traveling in our “beater” my mother would sing Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn. Given the right circumstances my mother could have been a successful singer. But Christmas was always a cold reality check, the proof in the pudding, the wake up call to our dismal circumstances and hopeless surroundings.

That year we had decided to have the tree and were not expecting anything from my mother. Each night we dutifully plugged in the lights and gazed at the reflective tinsel that we had carefully strung like icicles from it’s boughs. I think our first season on Sand Road was particularly hard because we had just moved again after my mother’s last husband had walked out on her. My younger sisters tried to add to the festive appeal of the tree. They made their own gifts and went wrapping up some knick knack or other forgotten object left laying about just to add substance to it’s base. Christmas music played from the radio in our kitchen that usually boasted Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard. I could not wait for December 26th and the putting of all this useless longing behind us. But then, another miracle.

My next oldest sister was in her mid- teens and had been working as a waitress for a while. In her generous spirit she had purchased numerous gifts for all of us . On Christmas day, my oldest sister and my brother-in-law rolled in a wood cabinet stereo console for my mother along with gifts for her Grinch-like brother and sweet, little sisters. My mother cried when she saw the console, declaring it beautiful and began playing her precious albums immediately. I think it was the first time I saw my mother openly weep over receiving a gift. So it was my two oldest sisters that made our holiday memorable that year and I’ve never forgotten it.

I know my mother prayed, I found her upstairs one time kneeling on the edge of her bed. I think being caught appealing to the Almighty embarrassed her, because we were not overly religious. I also know that world events troubled her as well, recalling how she cried when Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy died. And I have no doubt that she anguished over her abilities as a parent, because she always tried to bestow as much wisdom as she could in her dealings with us kids. It had to be frustrating to feel that the entire world was against you and then have some event at home cause you to cave in, as she did numerous times.

But now as this Christmas rolls around and I look at my own tree set up by my wife and her children, I remember that time when we had the choice of something however meager now or the representation of the hope of better things to come… and we chose the latter. I do not know why that was. You would think that having done without all our young lives we would have gone for the substance, the bird in the hand.

I am not a guy that goes for the celebration of Christmas in the worldly sense, but I do enjoy the traditions of family and friends that come with it. I haven’t purchased any gifts and my poor, new bride is left to accept the cards we receive from the relatives she has yet to meet as graciously as she can. I know she feels the acceptance and love from my sisters as if she were one of them and it makes me feel proud of the girls.

I am also grateful to my mother who left the choice of what Christmas was all about to us and despite our crummy circumstances… we chose hope. My mother gave us her generous spirit and when we express it in giving and/or forgiving, we do her a great honor because that is all she had. I feel that she did the best she could under the circumstances and now my mother lives in each one of her children, especially during Christmas… through the miracle of love.

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas from the Sand Road.


Quick Draw (Tim) McGraw and his rootin’ tootin’ wild west outlaw show

July 5, 2008

In the wide world of new millennium entertainment who’da thunk we’d revert back to the wild west of the 1880’s? 

Last week I watched a video capturing C&W star Tim McGraw hauling a fan up on the stage during one of his concerts in Washington and ordering him out after feigning a punch to his face.  To say the least, I thought this type of behavior bizarre.

According to reports, Tim witnessed an unruly and slightly drunk man acting belligerent and unkindly to a lady in the front of the stage.   Now I admire any man standing up for the virtue of a woman, coming to her aid in her time of distress or defending her honor… but during a concert and in the middle of a song?  Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to just calmly walk to the side of the stage and signal security that there is a problem “down front” and let them handle it?

I wonder if this will be a new trend now for concert goers.  Not only will our entertainment be in music but also with fisticuffs and bravado reminiscent of barroom brawls the likes of John Wayne and Randolf Scott.  In those days the piano player merrily accompanied the smashing of glasses, bottles, and mirrors while ruffians were being tossed out into the street without restraint.  With Tim’s concert, too, the band played on while Tim drew back his mighty fist threatening to duke it out with the star crazed fan who must have thought he was being pulled up on stage to sing a long with his hero.

I wonder if other stars will find that appealing?  Get down to the level of their rowdy fans and kick some ass while performing?  But rather than just one drunk, maybe several at once?  Maybe a free for all!  Let’s do some possible scenarios, shall we?

I always thought that Charlie Daniels song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” would be good for scrappers, especially the part “Johnny” plays.  I could see all kinds of fists flying to the strains of “dee diddle dee diddle dee diddle dee diddle..” couldn’t you?  or how about Tobey Keith singin’ “I Love This Bar” or better yet, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue?” Even though there presumably wouldn’t be any terrorists in the audience we could still get caught up in the spirit of kicking  some camel jockey’s ass by busting a local yokel’s head.  Perhaps even the pairing of Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett on “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” would signal a rampage.

Tim has been in the news before.  One time an overly aggressive female fan reached out and cupped his private parts as he walked by.  This caused his wife, Faith Hill, to chastise her in full public view on stage and repeatedly on talk shows later on.  That one could have been a monster if the two of them could’ve gone at it then and there; fists flyin’, hair pullin’… screamin’ and name callin’… whew!  Nothing like a good cat fight to bolster one’s reputation as a “Stand By Your Man” kinda girl, or at least… “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby.”

I don’t know if we are heading towards a Woodstock ’99 in country music, but lets get real… do we really need to watch our entertainers settle things with their fists?  I hope not.

I like Tim and Faith, as a matter of fact, one of their songs, ” It’s Your Love” resonates very well with my fair one and me… it has become an anthem of sorts, we are always quoting it to each other.

So please, Tim, keep putting out the good music ( I really do want to “live like I was dying,” but not like I was getting beat up! )  Leave the violence to the WWF.


Inner – mission

June 17, 2008

As of today I’ll be out for a while… but fear not, I shall return.

There are distant voices calling me,

there is a heart I yearn to have

beating in unison with my own…

up close, in sync… beautiful harmony.

So I will travel to the Great White North…

we will wine and dine 

cram as much living as we can

into the next few days.

There are always the archives…

even I check them out once in a while

just to see where I was

and if I still am.

You’ll be fine… trust me.