Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Remembering Summer Heat, Part 5

Like I said before, I never ever thought that as a band Summer Heat would ever top the performance we gave that night after the sectional tournament, but I would be proven wrong later on.
Summer Heat did become known locally for something different to happen each and everytime we played "The Pusher." One night I smashed an old dilapidated tape recorder, and another night, just for the sheer pleasure of making the masses wonder, we pushed an old stuffed rocking chair out onto the stage and I sat down in it with an axe in my hands. That brought the crowd around the stage again, I'm not sure if it was the audience believing I was going to trash the chair with the axe(which quite honestly, was what I originally had planned to do, but we collectively as a band decided that might be going a bit too far, especially if the axe flew out of my hands and out into the crowd) or if they just weren't really quite sure what the crazy skinny dude was going to do with the axe, but all I ended up doing was just sitting their passively in the chair and stared straight ahead and did absolutely nothing. Yes, no doubt the masses were disappointed, but this little stunt proved once again that no one could ever predict just exactly what Summer Heat might do during a three hour dance, and that was exactly what we wanted to do. And believe me, we sold the tickets to the dances, too. An older gentleman who was the overseer for the Community Building told us that no other band ever sold as many tickets as we did to our dances, regardless of the time of year we performed, and one night he told us we set an all time record for ticket sales. Now the years have taken a toll on my memory, but if I'm right, and I'm sure one of the remaining members might recall if I'm right or not, but I believe we sold a whopping 511 tickets one night, which meant we outsold our own record by nearly two hundred in attendance.
The best part of it was, our show just got better and better each time we played, and word got around about the hard rock band from Rushville with the fabulous light show and the fact that we played some damned good rock and roll. We received a request from the entertainment committee at Greensburg High School for an audition tape of a few songs so they could review us as the possible band to play their annual Valentine's Day dance.
The band got together at the Mike's dad's law office, and a friend of mine, Bill Atwood, brought along a small cassette recorder. I don't remember all the songs we recorded, but I do remember that we did record "Parchment Farm" by Blue Cheer and one of our band's original tunes, "Sounds From 46,000 BC." There was either one or two others we recorded, but these are the two I remember.
The tape was mailed, and within a week we were notified that we would indeed be the band to play the Greensburg High School Valentine's Day dance, which was either in 1969 or 1970. I'm thinking it was '69, but again, my memory isn't what it used to be.
What I do remember was that it was probably the best evening that we as a band ever performed to near perfection. It was a strange evening, an evening where everyone of us seemed to be sharing the same karma, feeling the same excitement, and the band that night was just so tight!
One thing that I did different that night was that I chose to wear this hat that I had, an old green formal dress wear hat. On that hat I had taken the last name off a buddy's army uniform, the word Hunter, and added to it in block letters written with a black magic marker, THE. So, there, on the front of this green hat were the words "THE HUNTER." Needless to say, this hat didn't come close to fitting anything in my wardrobe that I was wearing, but I had added an extra attraction.
Back in the late 60's, girls came into a fad called a "fall." A "fall" was a partial hairpiece that was added to a girls shorter hair and made her short hair appear to be much longer. I had borrowed one of these from a friend of mine, who had helped me pin it to my own existing hair. Now consider for a moment, folks, it's the late 60's and we live in a conservative county in a conservative state and we're all in high school. At that time in our history, there was a strict school policy that governed hair length, which was not allowed to be below the collar of your shirt, in your eyes, or sideburns past the bottom of your ears. Facial hair of any kind was banned as well.
Well, with this fall added to my own hair and cleverly hidden under "THE HUNTER" formal hat, I appeared to have hair half way down my back, which added a touch of wildness to at least one member of the band. The guys in the band thought it was great, a few of the parents weren't too wild about it, but after some consistent begging on not only my part but a couple of the guys in the band as well, the parents relented, the fall stayed, and Summer Heat started the drive to Greensburg in the van we borrowed from Denny's dad, who owned a water softener business, and we headed towards the city of Greensburg.
For some unknown reason that evening, Mike had brought along a beautiful acoustic guitar, all six strings in tact, and my eyes became mesmerized looking at it and imagining the damage my hands could do to that guitar given the proper chance. Mike caught me eyeing the guitar and immediately went on the defensive before I had even uttered a word about it. "Don't even think about it, Charlie. This is one of the best acoustic guitars I've ever owned."
Jay looked at Mike and laughed and said, "Come on, Mike, I'll pay you for it, or we can take it out of the band's bank account. Let Charlie have some fun tonight." Mike shook his head, but he never gave a definite no, either.
On this particular evening, in another vehicle that followed us down to Greensburg High were Denny and Jim, and Bill Atwood who had made our audition tape and our friend, who for the sake of not wanting to mention his real name for reasons I don't wish to get into here, was our mutual friend, Flip. Later on that evening, Flip would do exactly what his name said; he would actually flip out and add to the excitement of the evening.
Flip had a brought a sack along with him, which we found out after we began unloading the vehicles to set up, contained a set of plates and saucers. Pure white plates and saucers, obviously some form of cheap white china, and why the hell he had brought them along, none of us knew until later on before we started playing. One thing with Flip, he was generally a quiet and reserved individual, but when he had something to say, you definitely had no trouble hearing him. Tonight would be no exception.
As our crew pulled into the parking lot at the high school and we began to unload the equipment, Mike's dad came up to me and asked,"Charlie, don't you think the hair is a bit much tonight? You guys have a chance to come back here and play again if they really like you."
I looked at Jack, a bit taken aback, and I said,"Jack, how can one guy out of five with long hair make anyone not want to have us back if we give them a good show. Besides, I'll make you a deal. If we get asked to come back, I'll leave the wig at home, ok?"
Jack laughed and agreed with me. After all, I only represented 20 percent of who was on the stage, and all I was really going to do was run the lights, play percussion, and do my dead level best to get my hands on that acoustic guitar of Mike's. I mean, that beautiful shiny and highly polished wooden guitar with its full set of strings was begging for me to grab hold of it...
Obviously, Greensburg had had many teen dances before, but I don't think they ever had one at that time where one of the band's members had hair half way down his back because I was being rushed by lots of people wanting to talk, mostly girls wanting to talk about my hair and if it was real or not. My standard answer to them each time was asked was, "If it wasn't real you wouldn't be able to see it now, would you?"
That seemed to satisfy most of them. One brave young gal, a nice looking girl if memory serves me correctly, came up and asked me to take off my hat. I smiled at her and said, "My dear, if I reached up and took off my hat it would only prove that my arm would allow my hand to reach my head, and besides, we're busy moving this equipment inside so we can play a nice evening of music for you, so, I need to stay busy, ok?" She turned to her friend who was standing with her and told her "It has to be fake, but it sure looks real."
And as much as we all believed Flip to be the ultimate nerd who just happened to be with us that night, we were wrong. There was a young man who apparently had been assigned to helping us out. He was an Explorer Scout, decked out in full uniform, possessed a Curly Howard of the Three Stooges haircut, and was obviously not a popular student amongst the many that were that night, but he was nice, polite, and very helpful, and as big a nerd as he truly was, each one of us in the band took an instant liking to him, I think mainly because he was being given such a rough time by the locals. His name was Val. Before this night was over, Val would receive his fifteen minutes of fame as well. And the remarkable thing about Val, he made wearing nerdish black frame glasses almost look cool.
The stage setup was quite a bit different than what we had been accustomed to. The stage itself was portable, very nicely varnished wood, but it only set about 18 inches at the most off the floor, so we were just almost at eye level with the audience. The stage sat at the end of an open auditorium, and there was an area behind the stage that probably went back another twenty-feet or so and then made a right turn down a hallway filled with student lockers. But when we did our sound check, the acoustics in this room were fantastic, and the volume we would be playing at would be condensed into a smaller area than we usually played in. All in all we were all pretty satisfied with the set-up.
Flip set his sack of china over to stage left, down on the floor, along with various other empty boxes, so it was almost a forgotten thing that he had brought them in with us. Jay had convinced Mike to bring the acoustic guitar in, although Mike warned repeatedly for me NOT to smash this guitar, because it was a C.F. Martin his folks had gotten for him, and he didn't think they'd appreciate the shape I'd have it in if I got my hands on it during "The Pusher."
As we sat waiting out the end of a basketball game(seems we ran into that a lot during the school year) we got to talking to Val and realized that really, other than being so totally naive and sheltered, he really was a hell of a nice guy who just happened to be the guy that everyone picks on unmercifully. On this night, Val had at least 6 guys who were treating him with dignity and respect and actually enjoying his company, and you could tell it wasn't something he was used to.
Finally, a few more people who hadn 't attended the ballgame started milling in, and around 8PM the principal of the school told us we could start anytime, that the crowd would start milling in shortly, and we could get started and entertain the 40 or so students who were already there.
I took control of my lighting and grabbed my trusty tambourine and Summer Heat took to the stage playing their version of "Midnight Hour."
Amazingly, right away couples started out dancing and they seemed to get into the music right from the start. We played another few songs, the crowd by this time was really starting to grow, and the music was just sounding so damned good that night. Jay's voice never sounded better to me than it did that night.
Val stood down by the stage on the left, talking with Flip and with Bill while the band played and I worked the lighting and played my tambourine occasionally. By nine o' clock, it was time for our first break, and just as that break began, it seemed like a seafull of people began coming into the auditorium. It was going to be a huge crowd, and there was going to be a full dance floor of people as well as a few who would sit off to the side in chairs, but mostly everyone decided to either dance or stand.
Right before we had begun our first set at 8 PM, I had gone into the men's room and taken four hits of some really potent diet pills. Their actual medical name was methedrine, not to be confused with the poison that is circulating the streets today in its bathtub chemist form, but this was some really professionally made, high quality methedrine, and it had an unbelievable euphoric effect on me whenever I took it, and it really got me into the groove of the music and what we were doing onstage. By the time that first break was over, I was speeding like a backwoods Kentucky moonshiner outrunning revenuers. Folks, I was truly lit up! And, might I add, I was having a ball and enjoying talking to people in the crowd. Funny how a guy with hair half way down his back and only weighing about 115 pounds can draw attention like that, but like I said, this was late 60's and in the midwest you just didn't see too many longhairs at my age...
Summer Heat took back to the stage at around 9:15 or so, and the songs started cranking out. Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge, Otis Redding, Steppenwolf, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Cream...The band just kept belting out these fabulous songs one right after the other.
During the second set, Jay had given Flip the job of kicking on the vocal echo chamber, and he was doing a great job whenver Jay told him to hit it. Val had taken to sitting on the edge of the stage near Flip, and occasionally Flip would lie down on the stage and put his head inside the bass drum Jim Smiley was playing. For acoustical purposes, Jim rarely played with the front cover on the bass drum and Flip just seemed to really be into putting his head in there when he wasn't operating the echo chamber for Jay.
The band finished up a song and Jay walked over and was talking with Mike, who didn't seem very pleased about something, but finally they must have come to an agreement and Mike smiled, shook his head, and went behind the large Fender amp and brought out the C.F. Martin guitar and motioned for me to come over and take it. With a huge smile on my face, I rushed over, grabbed the guitar and took my position back over on the right side of the stage, but instead of sitting down at my light control box, I stood, holding the guitar and waiting for Jay to introduce the next song.
Jay walked over and picked up a guitar, something he didn't do very often, Denny sat down behind the keyboard after laying his bass on its stand and Mike took the lead guitar from Denny. Jay walked up to the microphone and announced our next song something like this: "We'd like to play for you now a song that has gained us quite a reputation when we perform in our hometown of Rushville, and we hope when we leave here tonight it will be the one song you won't forget that your heard Summer Heat play tonight. This is our version of "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf, written by Hoyt Axton."
I glanced out at the crowd, and amazingly the floor was full as far back as I could see. Denny began the opening chords on the organ and Mike followed with the guitar as well as Jay, and Jim started his drumming. I stood, turning halfway towards the wall on my right so no one could actually see that I had not a clue how to play a guitar. We went thru verse one and the chorus, and each time Jay screamed, "Goddamn, The Pusher" I could feel the tension in the room rising. I couldn't tell if it was the crowd, the band or just me, I just knew that I could feel the tension building and I knew that very soon this crowd of highschoolers in Greensburg as well as their principal and some of the faculty were going to see an instrumental break like no one had ever seen before at a high school Valentine's Dance.
I could feel my heart racing faster and faster as Jay sang verse two, and as he began the chorus for the second time and was practically screaming his "Goddamns," I looked over at Mike, who simply gave me a nod as if it to say, "It's cool, man, do your thing when you think it's right."
We went into the instrumental break of the song, and probably had played it for close to a minute when I knew in my heart that the time was right.
Mike's guitar solo was deafening, and as I looked over, I could see that he had placed himself facing his Fender amp, and feedback was pouring out back at him and out into the crowd. Jim was beating his drums like a red-headed stepchild and even Jay had started closing in on his amp, the feedback beginning to build from his guitar as well.
I turned and faced the crowd, some of whom had quit dancing because they couldn't believe what they were hearing, and I took the guitar from in front of me like I had on one occasion before, and I held it high above my head and stared skyward at it. The strobe light was doing its thing as I began to spin the guitar round and round, floor to ceiling, ceiling to floor, in a counterclockwise motion. After a half a dozen or so spins, which looked like slow motion in the strobe, I stopped its spinning, placed it against my right leg, and grabbed the thinnest of the strings and pulled, and immediately I knew I was already cutting my fingers. I did the same thing with each string, slowly, methodically, and with speed driven purpose.
When the last of the strings was ripped from the guitar, I glanced peripherally at the crowd, because I didn't want them to know I was looking at them, and everyone had crowded the stage, so much that you could actually see in the back of the auditorium and could actually see places where there were no longer people because they had closed in on the stage so much.
I grabbed the guitar by the neck with my right hand, added my left hand right below it and rammed it as hard as I could into the stage. The base cracked, but that was all, and there was plenty left of it for me to do. Again and again, I pummelled that guitar into the stage, and with each hit, more and more of it broke apart and turned into splinters on the stage, which quite honestly, was being gouged quite badly too. On the floor in front me, the guitar lay smashed, literally, into hundreds of pieces. The largest piece was part of the neck, which had been reduced to about two thirds of its original length. I looked out at the crowd, held my smashed and bleeding hands up in front of me, and was amazed at how the blood was freely flowing down my arms. The audience was simply standing in front of the stage, in total awe, and some of their mouths were actually dropped open. Mike was literally ramming his guitar into his amp, Jay was sliding the neck of his guitar and its strings down the side of his amp, and I hit an ultimate rush and turned and jumped off the back of the stage and went behind the wall where the lockers started.
I stared down at my hands, and it was worse than the first time. The little finger on my left hand was cut so severely, probably from that first thin string, and I could actually see the bone thru the cut. My hands and arms were covered in blood and I felt such a burning and a stinging in every finger and my hands felt as if they had been crushed. And as bad as I hurt, I still could hear the music playing off in the distance, and I knew I had to get back out there because we still had the last verse and chorus to do.
I walked slowly back to the stage, and just as I got back on stage and back to my position where I had been standing and this now splintered guitar lay, Jay was preparing to sing the last verse and he looked over at Flip and yelled, "Now!" What he meant was for Flip to hit the echo chamber button, but Flip was so caught up in what had just taken place he misinterpreted Jay's call of "Now!" and grabbed his bag of china, which he immediately began smashing against the wooden stage floor. Piece after piece of broken glass flew thru the air, and in just a short matter of moments, Flip had run out of whole dishes and began picking up the smashed pieces and began smashing them again. This was NOT what we had expected.
Finally, Jay walked over and hit the button for the echo chamber himself and finished out the last verse of the song and the chorus, and I swear, when the last chord of that song played, the crowd went into a frenzy of applause and cheering. People stood and stared, some too dumbfounded to say anything at all, but you could read the looks on the faces of the crowd. They were in total shock and had just seen the wildest damned thing a band had ever done in their little school.
Jay announced that we would be taking a short break, and we all went behind the stage and tried to regroup. Indeed, my little finger was cut clear to the bone, I had numerous deep cuts and scratches, and already my hands, palms and backside both were bruising.
Flip's hands were bascially cut to shreds, the glass had taken a lot worse toll on him than me as far as the number of cuts, and while he had a few deep ones, none made it quite as deep as the one that had gone to the bone on my little finger. Jay was laughing almost uncontrollably and asked Flip what the hell he had done that for? Flip said, "Well, you shouted now at me, so I thought after Charlie destroyed the guitar you decided I should smash my plates."
And as bad as we both felt with the pain, we laughed and we smiled and we realized just what a spectacle we had just presented. We had to get back out front and see how the crowd was reacting, and besides, we still had one set left to go.
The stage was a wreck, covered with broken cheap china and the splintered remains of the guitar. Some of the locals decided it was time to buddy up with the band, and when we came back out, Val came out walking towards us and a couple of the local "jerk" jocks pushed him aside. It was Mike and Denny who walked up to Val and asked him to come up on stage with us while we cleaned up our mess. The jocks stared at Val like they couldn't believe we had welcomed him onto stage with us and not them, and Val actually asked one of them to bring him a broom and a trash barrel. The guy actually did it, too.
Bill and Jim took Flip back to the men's room and began cleaning out his cuts with soap and water. I knew I could wait a few minutes, because Flip's hands were really bleeding quite badly still. While we were standing there talking amongst ourselves and with people in the crowd, I folded my arms across my chest as the bleeding slowed down and the pain really began to set in.
One guy, and there seems to be one in every crowd said, "I've got something here you can play with and I bet it don't break." I smiled and answered him smartly and without hesitation, "What's that, your girlfriend, or is she just a front so people don't really know what your real interest in lovemaking is?" He never smiled or said another word, but his friends laughed at my put down and I immediately felt like I had been rewarded.
I put my arm around Val and asked him if there was first aid kit nearby, and bless his heart, he almost ran off the stage to get one. He brought it back to me and as he started cleaning up the glass and the guitar again, Jay and Mike and myself went back to the men's room to where Jim and Bill and Flip were.
As they began applying first peroxide and then alcohol to Flip's injuries, Jay and Mike began helping me set forth the task of getting my hands washed and doctored as well. Amazing how alcohol burns, especially when a finger is cut to the bone, and even though I knew I really needed to go have stitches, I just couldn't leave that night. I to this day still carry the scar on my left pinkie from that night of chaotic entertainment.
After tending to our injuries in record time, we were back onstage in less than fifteen minutes to finish out the rest of the Valentine's Dance. Collectively, as a band, when we started our third and final set, we brought Val up on stage with us and introduced him as a friend of the band and let him play the tambourine on the first couple of songs we played that set. We also presented him with what remained of the neck of the smashed C.F. Martin guitar. When he was done playing on those songs, he went over to stage left and sat with Flip, and a couple of times I looked over from working my lights and saw Val lying on the stage with his head inside the bass drum. I couldn't help but smile, because for just that one evening Val had become a part of something that was so special and unique. And he would be carrying home with him a medal of honor for his becoming a part of our the Summer Heat show that night, the broken neck of that guitar. I've often wondered if Val still has that trophy.
To me, out of all the shows and dances we ever played, and there were many more after this one, this one still stands out in my mind as our best and was when Summer Heat had really hit their peak!
Jay is no longer with us, God rest his soul, Denny and Jim I've lost contact with over the years, but I do see Mike occassionally, and when we talk memories of Summer Heat, we always talk about this one special night and we both agree it was the best show we ever put on.
And yes, there would be many more shows to come, and yes, Greensburg High School shockingly enough after this wild ass show of ours, actually had us come back the following school year for another dance, although this time we would not be the hit we were at our first performance there.
As a matter of fact, the second time we played Greensburg we barely made it out of town without getting our tails kicked by a large group of the locals. But that's another story for another time.
One thing has disappointed me all these years, though. On that night, during our wild performance of "The Pusher" and all the mayhem that happened, the yearbook staff took pictures of that night and to this day I don't know if any of those pictures still exist or made it into the yearbook that year.
I hope that if anyone who reads this knows of any of those pictures or possesses a yearbook from Greensburg High School that has any of those pictures from that wild night, I would truly love to see them, because it would be a dream come true to finally see what that night must have looked like from out on the floor.
to be continued.....

Sunday, March 19, 2006

You Decide

Inward, amongst the trivialities
Of daily existence, there lies a
Within each of us.

It is with our own decisions and actions
Whether or not to use this power,
Or to just reject it and cast it aside,
Forgotten and unutilized.

Many people tend to complain,
Yet never act to make attempts
To change those things they cannot handle
For the better.

Complaining, though it burns so much energy
Tends more to be an act of
Whereupon one sits and bitches yet never tries
To move forward and create
Positive change,
Merely complaining,
Yet never tapping that which lies within us

To complain is to surrender,
To act is to refuse to accept that change
Cannot happen.

Deny fear, take action
And take command and control your
Follow the path
Your heart has chosen for you
And be all that you have the power
To be.

Become motivated,
Become all that you can acheive
Of your own free will.

Take action!

Something Different For Those Bold Enough To Give It A Shot (pun intended)

I'm taking a completely different approach with the following entry, and it might catch a few of my faithful a bit offguard, but hey, if you know me, you know darned good and well I'm anything but normal.

One of my favorite things to do on certain evenings is make exotic drinks, or drinks that simply just taste really good, and a lot of them are made with a certain coffee flavored liqueor. And while I'm a big huge fan of that delicious, thick concoction, it tends to be a bit overpriced.

Therefore, yours truly has been blessed with a recipe for same said coffee flavored liqueor, and once it has been made, and made at a fraction of the price you would pay for a single bottle of it, you can use it and make the same drink recipes you would use the brand name stuff for. You can make white Russians, black Russians, mix it with coffee, use it to make mudslides, the list goes on and on. And while I'm protecting myself by not mentioning the name of this liqueor, you can go to their website and find recipes which you can use this recipe of mine to make.

I'm curious to hear from any of you bold enough to take the challenge, because honestly, it's very inexpensive to make and will yield you probably close to a half gallon of the stuff or more. The best part of it, other than the cost, is that it tastes absolutely like the real thing, if not a little better, and it tastes great just drinking shots of it all by its lonesome...

So come on, faithful few, grab a few bucks, go to the store and pick up the necessary items and let's get ready to make the

RainbowDemon's Coffee Liqueor

In a pan on the kitchen stove combine the following:
4 cups of water
4 cups of sugar
6 well rounded teaspoons of instant coffee (I prefer Folgers)

Bring the entire contents to a boil for 20 minutes, stirring occassionally to keep the sugar disolved, then let cool.
Once this mixture has cooled, add the following:
4 Tablespoons of Vanilla Extract (makes no difference if it's the real thing or imitation)
32 ounces of Vodka (it doesn't have to be a top brand either, actually, the cheaper stuff will do fine, just try and make sure it's at least 70-100 proof.

And that, my friends, is it. It's ready for immediate use, and I suggest having a couple of bottles handy, the empty vodka bottle is a good one as is an empty glass gatorade bottle...

Come on, faithful readers, and give this a try and let me know what you think.
And remember, drink responsibly, but above else, drink and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh My, It's Really Coming Now!

It's hard to believe, but in 18 days for the first time in decades, Indiana is going to start observing Daylight Savings Time. It's a touchy subject for a lot of people, but I, for one, am glad to see it coming, because frankly, it finally puts Indiana in touch with the rest of the country, save for the last two holdout states.

Yes, it's going to be a hassle changing all the clocks, and it's going to be a real trip trying to figure out this beautiful watch my wife gave me for our 25th anniversary a few years back and how to change the time on it....don't laugh, this sucker came with a manual the size of metropolitan city telephone directory and I don't have a clue how to change time on it. Thank God it's solar powered, otherwise I would have already been in deep doo-doo trying to adjust it. But I'll figure it out, and if not, I guess I'll just have to wear a cheaper watch during the DST months.

I'm happy that we'll no longer have to try and figure out what time it is east of here, south of here and west of here. If we plan a trip to King's Island amusement park in Ohio, we won't have to get up an extra hour early and try and get there on time, because finally, we'll be on the same time as Ohio.

I'll be blessed with an extra hour of daylight so I can do my lawn work after work and not have to tie up my weekends mowing and weeding. That hour may not seem like much to a lot of folks, but it's going to be a true blessing to me when it comes to yardwork.

My wife and I love to sit outside in the evenings and read, and now we'll have an extra hour of daylight to do that as well.

When I'm watching "live" tv shows, I'll actually be watching them live and not on a one hour tape delayed basis as I have for so many years. When the next American Idol is crowned, I'll know it when everyone else does and not an hour later than they do.

But the best part of this change is the fact that most of Indiana will remain in the Eastern time zone, so there really will be an extra hour of daylight gained from the change. When this was first discussed, it was also talked that Indiana would all move into the Central Time Zone, which meant we would have gained nothing from the change to DST. Now, thankfully, we really will be gaining an hour of daylight during the summer months.

Now, if someone can just explain to me the benefit Indiana will receive by leasing the Indiana toll road in northern Indiana to foreigners for the next 75 years, I'll be one happy camper. But let's not go there today, because frankly, I think the entire idea and the way it was handled was foolish and underhanded and not in the interest of the residents of this state. It was solely for the benefit of Indiana's governor, certainly not my man Mitch Daniels, who I just happen to think is one of the biggest cry babies and sore losers I have ever seen in politics.

Let's see, he places our toll road in the hands of foreigners, our president attempts to put our foreign ports in the hands of an Arab nation...hmmmm, that might be why Mitch was given the nickname by George W as "My Man Mitch."

He sure as hell isn't my man, and neither is the jerk that sits in control of our nation, either...

'nuf said!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Windy March Evening In 2006

Glen, Glen, Superman!
So many years have gone by.
But it's great to be back in touch my friend
And I hope it's for a very long time.

The old friends are the ones we miss the most
And the ones we never forget
And I hope that by talking we soon can begin
A new chapter in our lives not yet met.

Our lives have changed throughout all these years
But our friendship has remained in our souls
We just need to remember to never utter those words
That simply went, "Pray for me, Lowell!"

You got shot, I got scared
And sis and the guys got missed.
And that town drunk of ours got off scott free
And left everyone of us pissed.

So here's to you, my dear friend Glen,
Let not our friendship end
I hope that this is just the beginning
Of two old friends becoming the same again.

Peace, Bro!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Legend

What gives you the power to judge me
To decide when I'm right and when I'm wrong?
What gives you the ability to decide
Just exactly on which side I belong?

What gives you the power to judge me
And to delegate the path my life shall take?
And who do you think you are that I should have to obey you
Over all the decisions in my life I'll make?

I've tried to be a friend to you, I've tried to make you happy
And I know that isn't possible all the time.
But where do you get the nerve from, to try and live my life for me
And to treat me like some useless form of slime?

We used to call ourselves close friends and I really thought we were
But I didn't see the error of my ways.
It was until much later on and many years had passed
That I discovered you were simply playing games.

The human heart is a fragile thing and needs
To be handled much but with care,
You stomped on mine with both your feet
And left me in despair.

As time moved on and years went by
I learned the truth that lies within your heart.
You manipulated me and pulled my life into yours
And did your best to break this soul apart.

I've wisened up, I've learned your tricks and have seen
The hell you cause those around you.
I now refuse to be a prisoner of yours
And be one of those "friends" you try and screw.

And although I'm told that I am a tender
And loving soul
I now refuse to let you put me
In your preconceived human mold.

Do me a favor and move along you ass
And get the fuck out of my life
I don't need your controlling ways
To add misery and pain and heavy strife.

Move on, depart, and set me free and let
Me be on my own.
Stay out of my life, stay away from my dreams
And leave me the fuck alone.

I pity you, you shameless fool and am sick to death
Of your kind.
Because all you are, quite simply old friend,
Is a legend in your own mind.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Purse Before Slime and Other Obtuse Observations

Holy cow!

It's been nearly a year now since I started this little venture of mine, and I look at where I started and where I've arrived at this moment.

Actually, at this very moment, I'm enjoying a glass of the first homebrew I've made in close to 14 years...and I have to admit, it's pretty darned good. My wonderful wife Peggy bought me a beer machine for my birthday last month, and today, my first batch finished up and I'm sampling the contents of said batch. Now, while it's a bit on the cloudy side, it doesn't lack in the taste category at all. Matter of fact, it's damned good tasting, to say the very least. And I figure as I start homebrewing again, I'll learn as I go along and things will improve with age.

In March of last year, my friend of 30 years, Kingfish, aka ems, aka Jeff, and aka Benji sent me the url to a site by a friend of his, Space Ace. It thru SA's site that I discovered blogspot. I fought off the urge to start my own site for close to a month, and then finally, in April of last year, I decided, what the heck, let's see if I can do this. For every reason I could think of not to, I thought of five or six reasons why I should. The shoulds won out, obviously.

So, what have I accomplished so far?

Let's ponder this for a moment....

Okay, enough pondering!

I've awakened in me the desire to write again, whether it be just to give my views on a certain issue, write a poem, or just blow off, I have found the entire experience a revelation to the stirring that still exists in this 54 year old soul of mine that needs to be released. See, I always wanted to be a writer, and for reasons we won't get into now, that didn't happen. BUT, when Kingfish and all his various aka's sent me SA's blogsite, I found something that intrigued the writer in me that still wanted to get his feet wet, and I started this thing we now call blogging.

So, what have I gained from it?

First, I have found out that I still have the yearning to write. That makes me happy, so therefore, that is a good thing, as far as I can tell at this point. Thanks to ems, and his various aka's, he sent my url for my site to others for them to check out. They, for the most part, have remained silent, so I don't know if any of them are reading or not, but I have had a couple of people I didn't know send me e-mails and tell me that they had liked what I had written up to that point, which I have to admit, has been many months ago.

I also shared my site with friends and associates of mine, some who have told me they liked, some who have told me they didn't, and still others who tell me I need to be locked up in a state hospital somewhere and eating pureed food and pablum. And that's okay, too, because I enjoy making people wonder just what it is I'm getting at when I write.

Last April I went off on this entire big speel about Daylight Savings Time in Indiana and the possiblity of Indiana finally getting with the 21st century but taking a step backward and moving back into the Central Time Zone, which thankfully, we didn't. And, on April 2nd of this year, for the first time in literally decades, because I was a teenager the last time we observed DST, Indiana is finally going to go back on DST, and I for one am thrilled to death about it.

Will I write another blog about it once we start doing again? I have no idea. I usually don't know what these fingers are going to start typing until I sit down in front of the keyboard and they begin moving with a mind of their own. I did, however, realize not long after I started writing, that I didn't want my blogsite to become nothing more than an editorial page. I decided to just do what came to mind, type whatever came up in my mind and take it from there.

Since then I've just "blogged." And to be honest, I hate that term. Blog to me sounds like a serious medical condition. I prefer to call it more simply, just "writing." I remember the first time I threw in a poem, it felt good, so I decided I could do that on a more regular basis.

I flashbacked to my years in high school and when I was a part of "Summer Heat" and I decided to make "Remembering Summer Heat" a serial, with installments to cover a vast amount of time in between episodes, and trust me, the next installment is coming soon.

I took an evening and wrote a piece of total nonsense, which I used to love to do, and I threw that in, just to see if anyone responded. And indeed they did, I believe it was two spam responses, but what the hell! My piece was total nonsense and so was their response, so it served a purpose as well.

I've had customers come up to me where I work and tell me they read my site regularly, and that thrills me to no end. I had a couple of people tell me in person that they thought I had actual talent! That touched my heart.

And then the truly amazing thing I hadn't expected to happen, HAPPENED! I started reading other peoples' sites, and as I read them, I gained a broader spectrum of what blogging was about and believe me, I've seen and read some really interesting, uninteresting, and some totally worthless sites.

I discovered blogporn, and thanks, but I can certainly do without that. I found out that a lot of businesses use blogging to gain attention, and while I think that's cool, I have a problem with people gaining free advertising from their blogs. For instance, I have a sideline business that I go thru proper channels to advertise, and have yet to use my site to advertise it. I don't find it ethical, in the first place, and am actually quite surprised that people do this, but what the hell? This is basically free speech, so more power to you. You use your blogsite and advertise, I'll spend my hard earned money and advertise my alpaca farm thru other channels, ok? And no, that wasn't a plug for my farm. If it had been, I would have named the farm for you, etc...

Then one day while going thru random blogs I happened upon a young woman's site that caught my eye. I read the entry in front of me that appeared, and was so impressed, that I continued to read further back at other entries she had written. I was so impressed with what I had read, I went back to the very beginning of her site and read every single entry she had written. To say I was thrilled to have discovered her site would be an injustice, because, quite honestly, her writings blew me away! She wrote in a poetic style that captured my attention, my heart and my love of the written word. When I read in her intro that she had only been writing for a few months, I was amazed, because truly, she writes some of the best poetry I have read in years. She possesses a style that is so unique, so her own and so uncanny.

I was an instant fan and left a brief comment to let her know how much I enjoyed what I had read. I had no idea that this young single mother of two would capture my attention to the extent that she has. I so admire her writing style and I so admire her ability to write about almost anything she's given the challenge to write about. I daily check her site and am disappointed if she hasn't added any new entries, but hey, after all, this young woman is not only a single mother of two, she's a full time student as well. Trust me, folks, this girl is on it and I have an admiration for her she wouldn't believe!

I shared her site with others, with my friends and associates, my wife, hell, anyone I could think of that I thought would appreciate her unique style of poetry. People came to me, called me, and e-mailed me and told me what a great author I had discovered. And as much as I would love to say that I "discovered" her, that would be a lie, because truly, she is an author in a class by herself and I had nothing to do with discovering her, but I've done my dead level best to encourage her to continue to write and to pursue a career beyond "blogging." And yes, faithful readers, she's honestly that damned good.

I don't really know her, but I feel she's a close friend. I don't where she's from, what she does other than being a full time mommy and student, and I don't know anything other than what I've read that she's written and the comments we've shared back and forth. And that in itself has made this entire period of "blogging" worth it all.

As a gifted writer, she has had her share of the bullshit artists have to contend with. Rude, unneccesary comments have been thrown at her, people have bugged her because they contend that everything she writes about is all about her, and damnit, that isn't what being a writer and an author is about. It's about being able to be whoever you need to be at that particular moment and putting into words so the reader "feels" the emotions that they are trying to convey. In a word to the question"Is she able to that?" the answer is an unequivocal YES!

My heart was broken when I went to her site one day and found out that the pressure from so many trying to put her words into being things that meant them or her caused her to discontinue her site. I can't imagine how she must have felt, but I understand that when an author writes, so many ignorant assholes assume everything you are writing about is strictly about you. Finally, she took all she could and said to hell with it and moved on to another site so she could write and be her creative self and do so with a select audience. I was honored to be included in an invitation to be a part of that select audience. And yes, faithful few, even though I don't really "know" this wonderful and talented young woman, I consider her a very close friend.

Someday, folks, you'll be reading this young lady's writings, and it won't be online, either. I truly believe she's going to become a published author by a bonafide publisher. I can't wait to see that happen for her. And it's not a question of "if?", but a question of "when?"

She will make her mark for so many to see, and I will continue to do my thing here on my site, because that is truly where my writing will remain, because I'm nowhere near the writer she is. And I can live with that. I'm not selfish, folks, and I'm thrilled that something wonderful lies ahead for this talented young lady.

I'm happy and contented to be able to do my blogs, to have my faithful few who continue to read, and I hope that in the future I receive more comments on the site, because they do make me feel honored that you've taken the time to write something in response.

In the future, Lord willing, I'm going to rise above the problems I have health-wise and I'm going to continue to add to my site with more nonsense, somesense, poetry, and my continuing serial. I hope to someday soon begin to add short stories, possibly a novella, and whatever else happens to float my boat at the time.

I hope you all, my faithful few, continue to read and hopefully enjoy at least part of what I'm writing. The positive comments help, and thankfully, so far, I've not received any negative. I'll deal with that when it happens, but for right now, I'll take what I get and let it motivate me onward to do more in the future.

Do I care about how you feel about how I've done and what I've written?


Do I think I've offended anyone?


But that's what makes writing such a challenge.

And that's what keeps this fat old bald fart going!

Trust me, if you read all this, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you got thru part of it, I still thank you.

And if you want to please a 54 year old guy who never got to be the writer he always wanted to be and you have something positive to say, please, take a moment and please leave a comment.

As far as what lies ahead here, I have no idea. I only know the motivation is here to keep trying to do it as long as I can and hope that I'm pleasing at least one person along the way.

Let me end this blog by writing something unique enough that it might catch your attention, ok?

A flat basketball without ink in it can do more damage to the sunspots than the average joe when he fails to pay for his cup of coffee after filling up his car with overpriced gas, unless it's in one of the two remaining states that don't observe Daylight Savings Time!

And finally, from the bottom of my heart:

Go get 'em, Autumn!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crystal Flight of Elijah

The camel's back.
He shows the picturesque pose
Of being dictated into a reality
Not of his own

An instant of awkwardness,
Flashes of thought
Randomly seeking refuge,
Hovering only for an instant:


Sunday, March 05, 2006

An Evening Stroll Of Need

An abandoned umbrella, blowing crazily down the street
As the rain begins slacking off.
Pulling my jacket close to my neck
In a futile effort to keep the cold and
Rain from getting me cold and wet.
I can't remember how long I've been walking out here,
I only know my breath plumes out in a haze as I walk,
And I believe part of my dampness comes from sweat and
Not the rain.
Off in the distance
I hear the forlorn crying of a lonely dog,
Its howl adding to the dreariness of the night.

I know the moon hangs full in the sky
But the clouds from the storm
Keep it hidden from view
As well as the stars.
The streets appear deserted
People hidden behind the shelter of their homes
And warmed by fires from their furnaces and fireplaces.
I'm so alone out here tonight
Searching for the one thing that will bring
An end to my ravenous hunger.

A black cat crosses in front of me
Its back arching and hisses coming from it
As it greets my presence
And runs off into the night.
I hate the loneliness of this night
Yet at the same time I relish its existence,
For it makes my search easier
Amongst the wind and the rain that has
Taken the umbrella into its dark prison,
Out of my sight forever this evening,
Its path so far removed from my own.

Ahead I hear the shallow breathing,
My hearing has become so keen,
And I hear the gasps that come along with its
Knowing that the possessor of these gasps
Is trying hard to find refuge on this night.

I feel the saliva begin to flow in anticipation
And I move myself closer to the the darkness of the
Grass next to the sidewalk
Trying so hard to stay out of view until the critical
Moment arrives.

Although the full moon remains hidden by the clouds
Its effect upon me even as if it were in full view,
Creating the hunger that can only be satisfied
By the blood of one so full of fear,
By the one who has yet to know they have
But brief moments of tranquility left
Before I strike.

This curse has followed me for so many years now,
I've actually forgotten the failed attack
That afflicted me with this yearning passion
So many years ago,
But I've never forgotten the hunger that it has
And the hunger must be satisfied,
Regardless of the costs involved.

An unlit building approaches, taking my refuge
In the dark wet grass away,
And as I glance at my dark reflection
In the window to my left,
I'm awestruck at what I see peering back at me.

I can't believe this creature with the long snout
And long fangs is me,
And that long hair that covers my face
Is much longer than I remember it.
Yet, there are no longer wisps of gray
Mingled in,
The nightly feedings of the full moons
Of many years have taken that gray away,
Leaving only the dark black that I see now.

As I pass the building, I pause in the dark shadow
It has left behind
And I wait for my prey
Who has gotten so close now
That I can smell the plumes of breath
They are exhaling.

I watch as they approach,
Their attention directed towards their feet
And out of the rain that falls at their face,
My presence in the shadow of the building
An invisible one.
The believe they are alone,
And I allow them this pleasure a few extra seconds
As they pass by me,
Unknowing and ignorant of me,
Only worried about their journey
In the rain.

In mere moments my hunger and thirst will be quenched,
As it is so many nights just like this,
Their cries of anguish will excite me
And drive me forward in my quest
As their lifesource becomes mine
And generates the fuel needed by my soul
That feeds my eternal damnation.

As I begin my approach, I wonder for a moment
Just how many more nights will I feed like this,
How many more nights will I take the soul
And lifeblood of a living being
To further the length of my own life?

Those thoughts begin to fade as I make my approach
Much like those of a thief in the night
They know not that I am here,
They cannot hear me approaching,
They cannot know the longing and the hunger
That I am about to feed.
I'm swift, I'm cunning and I'm greedy in my assault.
Success is assured
As the killing begins...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

This is a postscript to my last posting.

You know, I try very hard not to whine and complain and about my aches and pains, but you know, this past few months has taken such a toll on me, I can't begin to tell you how bad it has really been.

After going thru two carpal tunnel surgeries and my physical therapy sessions, I truly thought I had this problem licked. As I've stated before, my right surgery went so well at first, and sixteen hours after surgery my carpal tunnel pain had gone. Other than the pain where I had the surgery itself, I was amazed at how good I felt.

Then came surgery number two on the left hand, and things didn't go so well with it. It was the worse of the two, and it didn't respond quite as well at first. But, after continual visits to physical therapy and therapy done at home and after returning to work, things with the left hand really started getting better.

Now, about two to three weeks ago, new pain began surfacing in the right shoulder, arm, wrist and hand. This pain, however, was much different than what I had had before surgery. This pain can only be described as excruciating at times, and it feels like my arm, shoulder and wrist are being crushed constantly. There are very few positions that I can put my arm in that I'm not in damned near sheer agony! Sleep is becoming harder and harder to accomplish, and for someone who suffers from chronic insomnia to begin with, let me tell you, this really sucks.

I've tried taking the meds prescribed by both my neurologist and my surgeon. The really "good stuff" that they gave me after both surgeries is gone now, but even before I ran out of it, it didn't seem to do much good. The neurologist has me on muscle relaxers three times a day and the surgeon has me on a non-narcotic pain pill, and though they seem to help a little, the pain persists. I go to work each day, do my job to its fullest, and then come home in the evening and endure an entire evening of sheer hell with my arm.

The neurologist explained to me a few months ago before I had my surgeries that I had degenerative arthritis of the spine and that the spurs that had formed from that were pushing into my nerves, causing me the pain in my right arm. After four weeks of PT, most of that pain had subsided. Now, unfortunately, it's decided to return, worse than before and with an unbelieveable intensity.

He tells me surgery in that area is too risky, so, here I am, trying to handle the pain with exercise here at home and mild pain medication. I'm hoping that soon, the exercises start strengthening that area of my spine and that the pain will begin to subside. Unfortuntately, it's hot happening soon enough to suit me.

So, I guess now I wait and see what happens, because, frankly, my sick leave is about gone from work and I can't afford time off again. Hopefully with my dedication to my therapy here at home and with the docs' prescriptions and a few prayers, maybe someday in the near future I'll feel more like myself again.

And as bad as I feel and as sorry as I've felt for myself, I look around and see so many others that are so worse off than myself, and I feel guilty that I'm so self-centered about this pain I'm having. Lord, I don't have cancer, I have all my limbs and I'm able to go to work each day and I'm able to put a smile on my face and try and do what I like to do with my job and that's give my customers 110% of myself each and everyday and try and make them happy. I hope I can keep doing this each day, because, honestly, it's getting harder to put that smile on my face each day as this pain persists.

But I'm sure going to keep trying.

I'm also really going to try and get on here more and do my thing with my writing, because I really miss making my regular entries. It's also nice to hear I've been missed, whether it's been by a posted comment or by someone telling me in person. I appreciate hearing that from you folks, I truly do.

So, I'm done whining for the evening, and I thank you all for putting up with my gloomy side tonight. I promise to do better next time and try not to cry on your shoulders.

Now, I might consider letting the United Arab Emirates take over my pain for me....hmmmmm.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

An Update of Sorts, Amen!

Someone recently came up to me and asked me why I hadn't posted anything recently as far my views go on some kind of current event going on and that they missed that. Actually, there are several reasons for that.

Number one, since I had both of my surgeries back in December, I've not really felt a great deal like sitting in front of the keyboard for any meaningful length of time because frankly, it hurts quite a bit still, even all these weeks later. Apparently, the problem now is not my carpal tunnel post surgery, but the degenerative arthritis I have in my spine. I have a pretty bad case according to the neurologist, and apparently I have bone spurs now that are pressing into the nerves along my spine in the area that controls my right shoulder, arm and hand. In the past two weeks the pain has become nearly constant and is some of the worst pain I've ever had to endure. I know I need to get back to the doctor, but trust me, with what I've spent out of my pocket already and the fact that my sick leave has all but run out, I'm going to have to work something out other than see yet another doctor.

Also, I do indeed plan on getting back with the program here and on a much more routine basis. I have several ideas in the works for topics I would like to discuss and expound upon, and I am also trying to locate some of my writings from 25 or so years ago that I'm going to include on the site, hoping that my faithful will find entertaining.

So bear with me, faithful readers, I promise that very soon there will a more routine schedule of blogs to appear. As our warmer weather slowly approaches, I'm hoping the pain subsides and I have began a more faithful regimen of physical therapy in an effort to try and help myself out.

In the meantime, please continue to check back with me from time to time and I will do my best to serve up more drivel from the bent mind of the original Rainbow Demon.

And no, I'm not planning on selling the rights to my page to the United Arab Emirates at anytime soon, either!