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Leaving the House. . ..

August 22, 2009 4 comments

Avoiding the news is a preoccupation of mine. This will not be an exegesis, satirical, tedious or otherwise on that subject. But it is a quick factoid, explaining that the Internet has virtually made it impossible for me to not see the headlines in some side bar. Even when I’m only reading the @#%&*! comics! That’s how I read the news today (August 20). Oh boy. . ..

While I often allude to a boyhood in the Bronx, NY, where I was born ( the hospital a block from Manhattan—which made all the difference ), for purposes of being clear about one point in this piece, I admit I graduated high school in New Jersey. That’s why I will now tell you about Stevie Butler. I went to high school with him and his older brother Brian—Brian and I were born a few days apart in the same year. Their parents had a general store, maybe a football field’s distance away from the school. See, if it were in the Bronx, it would have been called a candy store.

Due to the vagaries of life & my incredible smarts ( mostly incredible for the fact each year I seemed to lose an IQ point ), even though Brian and I were identical in age, I was a Senior, he was a Junior & Stevie was a freshman, as was my sister. The year after I graduated, I was in a band & the times they were a changin’. Their mother was my boss for two summers I worked for the Parks & Recreation Dept. Sadly, there was no colleague the equal of Rashida Jones.

So, there was a connection. Two years after high school, Brian & I went to sign up at the US Armed Forces Draft Board in New Brunswick together. Despite the well intentioned advice from Arlo Guthrie, we did not walk in holding hands & sing a chorus of Alice’s Restaurant, and then walk out. One, because we didn’t want them to think we ” were both faggots ( sic )”. Two, I couldn’t sing harmony to save my ass. Literally. The thread which ties my life to others is so unbelievable, it’s more suited for the novel I never intend to write. I can’t do it here. Which spares us all. For now.

In that era, most guys I knew had grown their hair long, mustache and/or beard optional. For authority figures, it was believed to be a solid tipoff that person was doing some kind of drugs. It may strain credulity, but at 18 ( some of this ground covered in a previous episode ) I chose not to smoke, drink or do dope. Maybe it was the Catholic training or maybe it was I just wanted to save all my resources for girls & music. This was also the year I met another person who played a major part in my music history. His name was David Sutch–he was larger than life, and his did not end well.

I’d see Stevie at gigs & parties, he was affable, generous and blunt. He did have an annoying habit of busting me for not going out into the world & examining every possibility, in every corner. My retort was I didn’t need to, I had an imagination. The irony of my relationship with him will show up later in this. Despite what my so called other friends & acquaintances, family too, thought then, I was out doing other things. It just wasn’t with that old bunch. As a new decade opened, I jointly started a unisex clothing shop in Flemington N.J. with a college buddy, and I’d met several girls from that Hunterdon County area.

A life long habit of personal high impact-short lived jobs began with that store. About a year after leaving the store in a clash over business styles, I heard one of the girls Rita, had been hit by a car, while walking. Her injuries were extensive, but by the time I got the news, she was home and slowly mending. Rita had been a friendly and attractive girl, who came into the shop a lot and any ulterior motives aside, I went to visit her, hoping to cheer her up. She had some bad physical scars, all over. Though she was in decent spirits when I visited, one of her friends told me, she was good day, bad day. Something about her made me think Steve Butler could help bring back a healthy spark to her wounded psyche. He had a way with chicks.

I promised Rita I’d come back and I did. This time I took Stevie, he was up for it too, and because I was interested in one of her friends, Jaye, it was only natural for Steve to hang with Rita. I just knew Steve & Rita would like each other. I was right. Somehow I lost track of Steve after he got involved with her—my attachments to girls sometimes as short as my jobs. Their relationship lasted awhile, and I know he helped her recovery.

Next thing I knew about him, he was traveling with another girl, his hair down to his waist, and according to Brian, they were in Los Angeles. Everybody got excited when word was out, Stevie was going to appear on a popular television game show To Tell the Truth. The hook—lame, but tailor made for that era— He and the girl were placed, standing with their backs to the audience, the panel had to guess who was the boy or the girl. Yikes! We laughed, we cried–my pals got high, I didn’t. I was envious of Stevie being on TV. I can’t recall, but I think he & his gf made it onto the original Price Is Right that same week. It might even be on YouTube now—I don’t know and I don’t want to either.

Steve lived in a cave for a phase, on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Mostly he traveled the world. I’d get picture postcards from all over the planet, many with the same message— ” have you left the house yet?” I resented it after a while. But he wasn’t wrong. Experience had made me even more solitary, writing songs & collaborating with several others. My body lived locally—my mind traveled globally. Then I’d write a song. One made a sentimental reference to a friend like Stevie and a guy like me & a girl. I was sure it would be a hit. Just like me, it didn’t go too far. But it did leave the house, winding up no doubt in circular files from NYC to L.A. with a stop in Nashville.

In 1986 I was doing a thankless gig at a street fair in Frenchtown N.J. I’d invited an old friend, but he had not shown up. Much to my happy amazement, another, very unexpected person, did— Stevie. He’d just come back from Tibet (!), spoken with our friend Dennis ( the no-show ) & decided he’d try to sell some of the items ( no! not drugs ) he’d brought back from Asia. Doing my usual, “ I’d like to buy something, man , but I’m doing this gig free ” act, I shook his hand. Being Stevie, he said—“…just pick out a few things, they’re yours. It’ll be your pay for playing.” Chambers of Commerce could learn from guys like him. Ex-cave dwellers being more giving than say, fat white blowhards. I chose a great cap & a scarf, which I subsequently employed as gifts for two women. I’d told him I might do just that & he smiled. But the third thing, a small wooden slide whistle, resides just a foot away from this keyboard.

That was the last time I saw Steve Butler. Two years later, he boarded a plane in London for NYC. It was Pan Am Flight 103 and it blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The story doesn’t end there. That’s why I’m stopping this one. And for the moment, I won’t be leaving the house.


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God Man Out

February 20, 2008 Leave a comment

God, John Lennon once wrote, is a concept. Then some fat mental patient shot him to death. Some people have a personal God. My personal God would’ve whacked Yoko. Before you jump on me, think about it: John would’ve really missed her. Lesson learned. Until a few years later and he got a load of Joan Chen or Ming Wa.

Richard Dawkins, not to be confused with Richard Dawson, a scientist at Oxford University, has a book. Titled: The God Delusion, in which he essentially states–ain’t no God. He also pretty much calls anyone who believes, a dumb ass. (Cough-Correct!) Then he repeats himself over & over ad nauseum. Kinda like God. . ..

My proof God existed, was getting an eyeful of an attractive woman. I’m not naming names. Anymore, any way. A few weeks ago I told a bunch of morons I thought Eva Green was hot. They told me she looked like a man. The nicest thing anyone said was—she looks very severe. Eva, if you read this, I still think you’re fine. Call me?

However, my proof there isn’t a God is, none of those hot chicks ever reciprocated my ardor. I tried compromising, but after a few lukewarm level babes dissed me, I turned devout atheist. Get serious, if you’re only gonna love me for my income, you’re a Satan worshipper. AND I don’t go for that one bit. Fork tongue, fork tail? Fork you!

Also mean nuns. Those [deleted] were married to God! Yikes. NO wonder God was vengeful with those harpies around the house. Though that original black & white look was tres chic. If you were Diane Arbus. This also explains the celibacy of priests and some of their unfortunate urges. Not all nuns were mean naturally. But sexual repression turned inward should never be allowed near children or to possess a ruler.

Country performers, athletes & certain races, like to thank God at awards shows. I admit, if I’d have had a hit record ( or 6 which is what I asked God to let me have–btw God thanks for the Brad Paisley box set, not what I had in mind but hey!) I’d have thanked God right after my parents & dogs. I don’t believe but I would’ve, based on good old fashioned Catholic guilt. Hee haw.

Because my reading retention skills have eroded since puberty, I can’t recall if I read this in the Dawkins book, but apparently that 72 virgins crap the Muslims sell suggestible social retardates, was mistranslated. It’s supposed to be 72 ‘raisins.’ Man, oh Manischewitz, I’d like to be there for that—what a treat! Admittedly, if you lived in the desert a thousand years ago & came across a bunch of grapes, you’d be in Heaven. But that sun would dry them out fast, so the leap to raisins is easy. Guaranteed there wouldn’t be a bit of old Allah left, after one of those psychos got handed a box of California raisins for blowing himself up & murdering some more of God’s Chosen People. Good times all around.

The best display of belief in God, is however, all those so called Christians who persecuted, tortured & killed in the name of God. And they have bad hair. The Spanish Inquisition is my favorite. That epistle was in one of the lost Gospels where Jesus said ‘Rack ’em up boys!’ Torquemada getting Lamb of God mixed up with rack of lamb. Not only is that type sociopathic, they are no fun at parties. Nor are they fun, as radio station owners, who along with tele-evangeli$ts, fleece millions for millions, for God. Makes you hope there at least is a hell. You know, that place where most of my former ‘flames’ will reside for all eternity, as per their fervent wish, granted by their master, the Prince of Darkness, without me! I’ll be in hebben with my raisins, though I’d prefer ambrosia.

Really, I think God was a 5th grader who got a C- on his science project & dumped it in the basement & forgot about it. Then went on to produce reality shows. I know truly wonderful things exist. I’d mention some, but it would just be my list. We all have a list of stuff that makes life bearable. But the repetitive cruelty & injustice, the stupidity of sports talk radio & the Red Sox winning two World Series in the last 4 years, proves it to me. God either doesn’t exist or is an idiot savant who now roots for Boston. Either is too sad to contemplate. In fact, God can just ki *

____________________________________________________________

* for those who wondered, this is not a glitch, it’s supposed to be the hand of G*d reaching down and stopping me before I’d type something like God can just kiss my as

W.W.J.G.?

December 19, 2007 1 comment

Good golly Miss Molly! look at the calendar—Christmas is here. Why only yesterday it seemed as if it were baseball season. Oh wait, that was the Mitchell Report, last week. Lots of coal in those sanitary socks this Yuletide.

As usual, I’ll be walking the line between pre-ghostly visitors Scrooge and Will Ferrell in Elf. I have a Gemini moon OK. Now where’s my present? I do wish I could give my friends gifts, but I’m a bit low on flow, having blown my allowance on NetFlix. Well, the ones who take the time to read my blog deserve gifts. The rest are dead to me. Did I mention I have a. . . yes, I did.

But since Christmas is in theory, a fun time of year, in the spirit of that, here are the gifts I would give what friends I have left, after the preceding paragraph. I will be using initials, because I really can’ t afford to lose them too and/or any litigation. They will know who they are, and that’s all matters. If they don’t, they weren’t really getting anything any way.

For the best sounding board I have ever had GEO: Marshall Crenshaw’s old back up band + 3 hit song co-writes.

For the only poet I’ve ever read who didn’t make me homicidal or suicidal & not necessarily in that order JEM: a villa on the Spanish Riviera & a copy of her daughter’s future coffee table book of photography.

For a woman who had the courage to move to Manhattan, get a Masters, then quit a secure job to pursue the Muse KSH: anything she wants musically. Ever.

For my former manager, a guy too nice for show business REL: one son in the NFL & the other on Broadway & a long, rest of your life to enjoy it.

For the only couple on this list S & EG: a continued endless supply of whatever it is makes you both so amazing.

Finally for the family members who still put up with me: It ain’t over til it’s over. . .. twang twang

Happy Christmas & the best year ever. Hey! what’s Zooey Deschanel doing here? and why is she dragging that huge chain!

Love,

Me