The paranoids are out to get me

I have had lots of time but have been unable to lift a brush…I can’t paint.

Alright, I’ll say it, and if I disappear or get sick and die so be it!

I think all this flu scare is bullshit, a lie and a global plot to bring about a one world government.

Even the CDC web site says the Corona virus expresses its self, in most people, as no worst than a mild cold. Most people walk around without even knowing they are infected. Granted, this stain goes for the lungs and can be deadly to those with existing difficulties such as asthma and diabetes. Yet, this can be said of stains that are prowling our community already. Why have they shut us down; the entire world no less?

I’ve watched every video I can stomach, read every article I can force my way through and I just don’t get it. we have endured viruses in the recent past that have been more dangerous… so why now do we huddle down and hide. It’s weird to the point that Salvador Dali would have said, “Nope! Too surreal.”

Social distancing? Wash your hands?. Essential jobs? Stay at home orders– from the government. Really?

From the get go; every fiber of my mind and soul has rebelled at the onset of the government imposing restrictions on its people like an angry totalitarian monarch throwing a temper tantrum.

And the result had been illuminating. Toilet paper and cleaning products hoarded into false, man made shortages. Mild cynics, like myself, have been pushed into becoming full blown paranoids.

And then, I can’t paint! Even my drawing requires great effort. I am filled with anxiety, sloth and depression. I know this too shall pass…. but it sucks going through it!

To what end is all this enforced shutdown? To save us from a bug that we would have survived without government intervention?

It has been my experience that the worst results are born of noble intentions.

Hitler wanted to restore his homeland’s honor and pride. But, even from the very get go he used fear and hate to fuel the national resurgence. Result; millions of human beings murdered in systematic mechanized slaughter houses.

Universal health care? (I really think that is where we are heading). Equal treatment for everyone…yea! Sounds wonderful… plays out like a nightmare. Long waits, inadequate service; folks in Canada come to the US to get care they can’t receive in their own country. Or, so the media tells me.

Years ago, I lost my mind when we put a socialist into the white house. I began listening to ‘conservative’ radio shows and even bought into their rhetoric. Then, one day I tuned into a ‘liberal’ station. It was the same sensational nonsense but from they other side. It’s all about entertainment and had no substance or truth. So, what can we beleive?

And here is the worst reality of all. All this shut down and restrictions wont save us. When prople go back to work the bug will still be there and newer, stronger and more deadly diseases are coming. We can only slow the spread not stop it. No one gets out of life alive.

So, what can I beleive in. I can beleive in the prower of my forever family. They’ve known me for years; they know who and what I am. Dispite my grumpiness and often cynical out look they still allow me indoors. There is no other explanation for this other than the benevolence of a higher power expressing itself through their kindness. And therefore; there is a God and he does love me and will give me the strength to carry my share of the load. But, he won’t do it for me…I still have to get off my ass and do my job.

And so, last night, we had a group meeting via the internet…I got to see my friends whom I have so deeply missed. I want my brother and sister hugs (Social distancing be Damned)…they give me enough strength, just by their smiles, so that I am able to paint again: even this poor excuse for art but it’s a start on the road again.

Thanks for letting me rant.

I need a Hug

It’s 5am Sunday morning. There’s no church meeting, there’s no AA or Celebrate Recovery meetings and even if there where… we are supposed to practice ‘Social Distancing’, not gathering in groups of more than 250 (or is it 5 now?) washing hands, coughing into elbows, Vulcan peace signs…. and that might be a good thing, we should be more aware and careful….

But, I need a hug. I miss the proper gentle sharing of space and strength.

Last week (it seems so long ago) I walked into my Friday night recovery meeting and was greeted with a warm hug by our ministry leader. (She is a hugger)

Next, two little ladies hug me from either side. “Hi, grandpa Terry.” (They are just so cute). Another young lady jumps up and throws her arms around my neck, “Hey big brother!” I feel warm and loved.

This week, nothing, zilch, nada..hugging bad!

Church service on the internet. Everyone stay home, huddle down and wait out this impending doom.

And I am depressed….I need a hug. last week was my birthday (I am 106 btw) and I did not even see my mom. I’ve had all this time to paint and I can’t.. I’m worried. And worry leads to depression and depression kills creativity.

I know this too will pass. We will survive we may even grow stronger… but life will never be the same again. Many folks are out of work, we are in a sudden, self imposed recession.

Excuse me, I have to listen to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I will survive’. There, I am better…

I’ve lived a longer life than most people in human history. I’ve seen worst and more frightening times and events. And yet, we have survived. l have faith in a power greater than myself (I’m a Christian) that power had always seen me through. The hard times have been when I forget my faith and worry. “Who amongst you can gain one minute by worry?” Life is like a river; once in a while we hit the rapids. It’s scary, we know there are smoother waters ahead, but while we are in the midst of white water it can seem overwhelming. And I could sure use a hug.

So, here Enda seems a message of love to y’all. Practice safer social relationships, wash your hands, have faith this too will pass.

Quarantine birthday (too much time to think today)

Even my momma doesn’t want to see me today. And I don’t blame her; I think this whole thing is bullshit…. but what if….

I keep asking; what will we do next time? Our country is systematically shutting down. Gatherings shut down, bars shut down on St. Pat’s day… no parade… hording…forced “vacations”.

I drive truck, yesterday the traffic was light to the point of alieving my claustrophobia…. but the people still driving….freaking nuts…. were even more aggressive than usual.

And then, yesterday, I got a text from my son. (He rents the basement of our house) He was at a party Saturday and so was a guy who tested positive for Corona. I read the text to my boss…. and got sent home. (my wife was also sent home, she has a home office set up and will work from home. She is very strict about her duties; I wil only be allowed to speak with her on her breaks. Very conscientious.

So, today is my 63rd birthday, and I’m isolating. I was hoping to go to my recovery group tonight (a friend is speaking) but my own conscience dictates otherwise.

No self pity, really, it is what it is and I really do not care for the fuss associated with the celebration of having completed, yet another, revolution around the sun.

I have a requested art project to work on, Netflix on the telly and a backyard to clean up (my puppies like to landscape).

But, what if it’s all bullshit? I have a life to lead. There are riffs in the universe that only I can fix (can you say: super ego).

Then again, what is rock-n-roll with out a great guitar riff.

Janice joplin just came up on my playlist ,(she did the best rendition of ‘Bobby Mcgee’). I am drinking my second cup of coffee, the dogs are snoozing peacefully and I have no flu symptoms, happy birthday old man.

Thanks for letting me share.

Summer

This is a preliminary sketch of a friend’s pup. The final picture will have two dogs. For now, I am trying to exercise patience, which is not my strong suit.

Two little angels

Peanut and Bo Peep

These two young ladies are in our youth program. They both give me grandpa hugs when I get there. That always puts me in good mood.

Tonight I made them wait and went to my car to retrieve these pictures. They seemed very happy with my interpretation of them with their pets.

I have made many mistakes in my life; usually with the best of intentions. But, once in a while I do good things. The smiles on the ladies faces are worth all the energy and effort I had to make. I only hope they realize the happiness they have given me.

Aunt Lupe

A short story by Rocket

She was not really my aunt. I don’t think she was ever anyone’s real aunt. But, she lived down the street a block away with my Dad’s best friend and they thought of themselves as brothers.

“Daddy was a rollin’ stone; don’t you know,” they would sing with arms draped around each other and bottles of beer swinging wide.

She was the first adult person with whom I a felt a connection: a common ground, a kindred soul mate.

She liked to tell stories. And I liked to listen. God only knows if any of them were true. She’d been telling the same stories so long that they become her reality.

lupe liked to drink and smoke; (both tobacco and wacky weed). I never saw her with pot, but I later learned to recognize a stoner. And aunt Lupe, she liked her ‘wild weed’.

Our backyard had two picknick tables and a well used charcoal grill. “Gas is something you get from eating food cooked over coals, boy!” dad liked to say.

Lupe and Kurt would come over toting a partial 12 pack box of beer and voices set beyond loud and into half drunk roaring mode.

Some where, after hamburger scraps and ketchup were smeared across discarded paper plates that now served as ash trays, aunt lupe would light up one of those long ass brown smokes of her’s and she would tell me a story.

“Did I ever tell you I was a great rock and roll singer? Did I ever tell you about the time I played Woodstock?”

I propped my head up on my folded arms and settled in for the the meandering ride that was my aunt’s storytelling.

“Did I ever tell you I slept with Mick Jagger?

“We was on our way to Woodstock. He was on the front of the bus I was in the back. We were both passed out.” Big belly laugh from Aunt Lupe, she was always her own best fan.

“True story, we were on our way to the music festival at Woodstock… yeah that’s right ‘the’ Woodstock. 1969, summer of love. Race riots in LA, they killed Martin Luther King and then Bobby. And they sent baby boys out to die in the Nam. Summer of love my ass.

“But, for three days, we got to sing and love and bathe in a little muddy pond … did you ever seen the film they made? I’m the third naked girl from the left. You only get to see my back side…oh, I had a great ass! But, did they get one frame of me singing on stage? No. It was just a sound check they told me. In between acts, but I was there, I sang on stage at Woodstock… and I can’t prove it. there ain’t no film. But, you believe me don’t you baby boy?”

“Sure, Aunt Lupe.” I never did. I loved my ‘Aunt’ and I knew, when she was in her cups, she was a big fibber. As a grown up I would have just nodded and grinned at her stories, but I was just a kid then and was about to learn a lesson about discretion; the hard way.

“Aunt Lupe,” I said with the earnestness of youth, “my teacher said the Rolling stones weren’t even at Woodstock. You could not have rode there with them, so you probably weren’t there either. “

She got real quiet, as if trying to remember the track of her tall tales. I thought we would have a good laugh at me having caught her in a lie…. but, I was about to meet her ugly side.

“Are you calling me a liar?”

Her face was cold and dark, she put a cigarette in her mouth, lit it and blew the smoke away. All her motions were quick and hard.

“Well, mister smarty pants, were you there? Was your big college going teacher there? Do you think I’m a liar? Do you think I make up big stories to impress some punk little boy at back yard barbeque?”

Something dropped out of my gut, I thought I might throw up dad’s half cooked hamburger. I’d never seen this side of her. She was like a wounded animal striking back in pain. She did not raise her voice, in fact it lowered like a low crippled dog’s growl. She was even scaring me now.

“I’m sorry aunt Lupe, I didn’t mean…”

She got up and slung her purse across her shoulder.

” ‘You didn’t mean”? You didn’t think calling your aunt a liar wouldn’t hurt her feelings, or did you just not care?”

She left our yard and walked down the block to the home she shared with dad’s best friend.

Hot tears rolled out of my eyes. I had meant that maybe, aunt Lupe had been at a different concert. Or, maybe, it was another band.

What I was hoping to say was; I was in on the gag, it could be our secret. I had enadvertly hurt someone for whom I cared. The world suddenly felt cold and sad, empty of joy. I wanted to be sick. I wanted to take back those last few minutes. I could feel my mother’s eyes on me, but this was nothing she could fix.

And to leave it there would be a gloomy way to end this story, but it ain’t my story it’s aunt Lupe’s story.

An hour later, she came back to the party, sat next to me and put her big sweaty arm across my shoulders and pulled me in close with a hug.

She grew a deep breath and sighed. After a couple heart beats, I drew in a deep breath and sighed even deeper than she.

Then aunt Lupe sighed again.

And I made a big sigh.

Then we both sighed together.

And then… we both laughed.

“You know what I hate?”

“What’s that aunt Lupe?”

“When you tell a lie for so long; you begin to believe it, know what I mean. baby boy?”

“Sure, aunt lupe.”

“Now whose the liar? You are too young to have told a lie for that long.”

I grinned through tear dried cheeks. I still felt sick to my stomach but I was beginning to think I might survive.

We sat that way for a while, then she fired up a new smoke.

“You right, the Stones weren’t there. But, I was!”

She took another drag as if steeling herself.

“I was there, and I did sing on the stage! Not just in any sound check, but as one of the main performers. I kicked the crowd into high gear and they loved me, all one hundred thousand of them, they loved me.

” I faked my death not long after; I had to get out of the business. I went into a kind of witness protection program…. twenty years later, here I am swapping lies with my best friend. You see baby boy, before I was your aunt Lupe, I was a big recording artist and concert performer….

“I was….” her voice trailed off and she bent forward me and looked deep into my eyes…

“I was…. Janice Joplin.”

I sat there stunned, gut punched. I was young, but I knew about traveling the back roads with Bobby McGee. I knew I had just been taken in and trapped by my aunt Lupe, the great fibber of the backyard cook out.

We just looked at each other until she laughed. Then I laughed, then we laughed together.

We laughed together and Lupe hugged me to her and we rocked and swayed together until my mom looked over at us and smiled.

“Are you getting my boy drunk, lupe?”

“Naw, I’ll I’m just teaching him the fine art of of story telling. He’s gonna write for TV someday.”

“Now, tell me the one of how you slept with Jim Morrison.” I said. I was happy again being on the inside of the joke.

“He was on the front of the bus, I was on the back!”

We both laughed our secret laugh and mom turned away, shaking her head and rolling her eyes; reassured that all was well again in our little backyard world.

And that’s it. That’s the story of my aunt Lupe….or at least, one of her stores.

Maybe, someday, I’ll tell you another.

Vincent Child of God

Alice Cooper was my high school idol. He rebelled for the sake of rebellion. His shows were all theater and over the top dark drama. I lived such an ordinary mundane (boring) life, I just wanted something interesting to happen.

Other people escaped into Science fiction or cowboy romance. I into axe murders and haunted houses.

Recently, Vincent has become more vocal about his faith. He set up a center for youth and testimnoyes of his recovery from substance abuse. Thanks Alice.

The 27 club #2

“When you’re a stranger”
Member #2 (via Rocket) of  the 27 club
I remember sketching in study hall. The radio was playing “Touch me” and roadhouse blues. I drew a cartoon of Jim singning into a microphone with Dracula on lead guitar, wolf man on drums and the mummy playing keyboard. I threw out the drawing; most folks thought I was weird enough already.

I was inspired by a photo that caught Jim from a upword angle. His face is a bit rounder than more flattering images. I think it captures the boy still in him. the kid who wanted to make movies and rebel against the status quo.

He also haunts me as I imagine the lost potential of having died so young. Everything I’ve read indicates that he and the doors had parted and would not be reuniting. Had they finished their run? We will never know. He was the face of entity known as “The Doors”. Without his fellows he was not the same. He did not die alone the Doors died with him.

Ray Manzarek was a frequent guess on my favorite radio show. He said he wants the band remembered as the doors of perception; a seeking of sight beyond the normal and everyday.

That’s what I seek in my art. Not just a portrait of what is readily available to the eye, but also that which is felt, interjected and perceived by the heart and soul. My viewer should have an experience even if it varies from my own. This is the true role of art; to suggest and to lead each participant from their own vantage.