I’m No Fan of the Media

I will make this short and not-so-sweet.

It’s funny how when a celebrity dies, the media thinks it’s everyone’s business how the estate gets divided up. It does not matter how the math works out in one’s head because it is nobody’s damned business.

Duncan Jones’s mother left him with David Bowie long before Iman came into the picture. He provided for his education and such. That was well before his sister was born. If you figure that in, it pans out in the end. However the three of them just lost what no amount of money can replace–a husband, father and friend.

That being said, it is not the public’s business where the estate ends up, and the media along with the armchair experts should shut their collective pie-hole.

That is all I will say on that subject.

How to Do Halloween for Grown-Ups When You’re Broke as Hell!

Okay…It’s the night before trick or treat…You’re between paydays and a lot of you love using October 31st as a way to let off steam once a year, act totally stupid and still have good reason for it. Before anyone asks, NO I’m not going to do Halloween. I’ve been sick with bronchitis so I’ll leave the festivities to the lot of you. It will be much more comical if I do. It’s more fun to watch the adults get drunk and act totally juvenile than it is to take part when with my luck, the weather will totally suck and make my bronchitis worse.

Now remember…EVEN if you’re broke as hell, this will work but you need 3-4 essential ingredients.

1. A sheet.  Doesn’t matter what color. You can use teal, purple, white, whatever…It’ll work.

2. Paper towel rolls–and if your ass is flat broke, ask your relatives for theirs! Tell ’em it’s for a kid’s project. That way you’re off the hook–unless you get arrested for the  OTHER variation of the costume if there is a wardrobe malfunction.

3.  A wire or ring of yarn big enough to fit around (NOT OVER) you’re head. You’re not going as a KKK grand wizard or a fake lynching victim! If you do it and you get your ass kicked and it ends up in the papers, I will laugh my head off at you!

4. A pair of flip-flops or sandals.

Two variations that are optional:  Construction paper and/or a guitar.

Now if you’re using a teal or green sheet–use the paper towel rolls and that ring to make a statue of liberty costume. Use your imagination and the construction paper for the torch.

If you use white, you can claim to be Julius Caesar carrying a scroll (only requires one roll)–or you can carry a guitar and  pretend you’re going to smash it, in which case you dressed as John Blutarsky…IF you don’t know who the hell that is, watch “Animal House”. Most from the era will never forget that show.

If female, the Statue of Liberty one would work–just use two sheets in case it’s cold as hell.

For a purple sheet, use gold paint and paint the leaves on the ring gold…Put some fake vampire blood on your hands and tell ’em you are “Pontius Pilate”.

Whatever you do, don’t go as Jesus. He wouldn’t do that. Besides, the cops might mistake you for an escaped mental patient. In fact if you decide not to celebrate it at all, then you’re not as insane as some of us are that allow the kid in us to come out once a year.  I once dressed up in a potato sack dress as a barefoot and pregnant bride. I had the straw hat, veil, etc..AND the blacked-out tooth. However it’s more expensive and time-consuming to sew the bloody things together. I paid a friend to do that.

Like I said earlier…THIS is what you do if you’re an adult wanting to play crazy tomorrow night and you’re broke as hell!

Happy Halloween!

We Still Have Then but All We Need is Now…

In 1982, I gave birth to my son, Eric…I had him on my 20th birthday in fact–and even though there are times when the old grouch gets pissed off, he’s still the best birthday present I ever had.   I didn’t give a damn about the politics of the day. I didn’t give a damn what people thought of me too much then–and still don’t…Gee…I wonder where 2 of my kids get that from? I’m smiling sheepishly as I remember those days…I liked bowling, dancing, walking about and above all–writing and listening to music.

While 1982 was a banner year, it was also a year of loss. Hell, we lost Marvin Gaye. Now with all the crap going on, “What’s Going On?” really comes to mind here…Forget the “Sexual Healing” bit…He got a lot of accolades for that one but I still say “What’s Going On?” is one of his best.

I can say a lot about 1982 right now…first it was a “Thriller”…. 1982, I was so “Caught Up in You”.  I loved it loud then, and “I Love It Loud” now.  I wonder if “Jack and Diane” ever got into saying “If You Want My Love” to each other?  If they did, maybe it was in the “Heat of the Moment”.

I do know if they had tried to pass the Patriot Act in 1982 there would have been a loud “I Can’t Go For That” being screamed in D.C.  Has anyone ever figured out what the “Young Turks” needed to be free from yet? Just wondering.  However as far as men and women go, I haven’t heard anyone trying to use “I’ve Been Waiting for a Girl Like You” as a  pick up line in a bar yet…

We have learned that it is best to take the advice Rick Springfield gave us…”Don’t Talk to Strangers” because serial killers do not make it “Hurt So Good” now do they?  Funny how when we were young we didn’t seem to worry about too much of that stuff, or did we?  Well I know I didn’t.  I do know that my exes were never “Always on My Mind” when I got enough balls to say “Goodbye to You”.

Well whatever went on in “Allentown”–it wasn’t “Sexual Healing”…Hedonism was the furthest thing from the imagination in that part of the country as well, I think.  However, there was some “Tainted Love” going on until someone decided to “Shake It Up” a bit when they found out their sweetheart was the “Centerfold”–that is, until someone younger came along and the agent said “Abracadabra” and that model got replaced by a younger one a few years later…

Some also said “I Ran Away” because it was “Hard for Me to Say I’m Sorry”.  I can fully prove that was a lie. I just opted for the “Thriller” of a time when someone asked “Don’t You Want Me”? I said no and then turned back to my ultimate love at the time…I mean, most who know me will be the first to tell you that “I Love Rock N Roll”–which left “Rosanna” slightly perplexed as in counseling, she thought I wanted to be a writer and not a rock star.

In music, there was always harmony between “Ebony and Ivory”–until the hair bands told everyone else to “Beat It”. So what did the rest of us young fools do? We went to “Rock the Casbah” while possessing the “Eye of the Tiger”!  We got so “Physical” in that fight that we left “Billie Jean” perplexed and lying in the dust!

And after that fight, we were “Hungry Like the Wolf”….

Well that was a long time ago. And now that I’ve compiled this morbidly insane  list from ONE video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAGYIvg1FHk  in order to complete this writing exercise, with the exception of “Hungry Like the Wolf”– which is included because, quite simply, I know it came out in 1982, I hope you enjoyed this ridiculous trip down memory lane since I was under immense “Pressure” to hurry up and get it done prior to going to bed…By the way, “Pressure” by Billy Joel is not in the video either which surprises me because it was a damned good song!   I should know…I didn’t forget my birthday that year or the fact I gave birth to Eric then!

However, in the present “All You Need is Now”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X3O4PCP5MM     In fact, that is all I need too.  Have a great night!

People Who Complete Suicide Should Never Be Judged…

I had originally written this as a Face Book status, but decided to share it here as well. We never know what is going on in the mind of someone who dies this, but I do know this much, for whatever reason they could bear no more–and should not be judged by some standard set by those who have not walked a mile in that person’s shoes. That being said, here is what I posted:

” Those who commit suicide should not be judged. My stepmother completed suicide in Sept. of 1978. She had more going on than a lot of us knew. She was truly mentally ill. She had actually became the different personalities that possessed her. One of those personalities loved to point the same gun to my head that she shot herself with. THEN it hit me when a year or so passed that it could have been me. She also had problems so severe that she was medicating herself beyond belief. Not all people kill themselves over the same issues .When I came to understand the hell that mental illness can cause another human being as an adult, it became much easier to forgive her. As a child I was unable to understand the depth of her torment. Some people can hide their torment rather well by channeling it differently. It is too bad that many hide it well but never truly overcome it. We have lost many a great talent due to this. RIP Robin Williams. “

I am not saying that he suffered as my stepmother did (before anyone starts in on that idea). I am simply pointing out that no one ever truly knows the depth of suffering one who does this goes through at the time they complete the act.

I’ve heard people talk about those who commit suicide as being “selfish” and such.  That is farther from the truth than Earth is from Pluto. It is more accurate to say that  those who do this tend to seek a permanent solution to what could be a non-permanent problem.

I’m convinced if my stepmother had received treatment–proper treatment–she may be alive today. She could not overcome her illnesses and demons on her own, so she escaped the only way she could see to do so.

As for Robin Williams, he fought with his own demons for years. He also learned that he was suffering from a debilitating and potentially (and often) deadly illness. In my opinion taking his own life in his mind and in others who are now aware of this is anything BUT selfish. In fact, I feel that in his mind he was probably trying in his own way to not be a burden to others as his illness progressed. He chose the means and way to go, and completed the act.

Now that this has been revealed, I have asked myself, “If things ever came to that would I take my life?”

The answer is “No. I wouldn’t.”  Why? “Because I would never want my family to suffer the way I did after Judy took her own life.”

I also have some very good reasons to hang around and here is one of them:

Here’s the Lil’ Man–My grandson…And he just turned 2.

 

 

 

Kevin with Football

Yes, People Kill People But….

Look, I do not talk about this a lot. Yes, I DO support the right of EVERY law-abiding citizen to own a gun, but mental health in this country has to be addressed.  I’m not into all this gun grabbing crap a lot of people are trying to push for,  but I see nothing wrong with flagging people who have severe behavioral disorders from getting a gun. If people are arrested for domestic violence, robbery, assault, etc…they should automatically have their guns confiscated also until found not guilty–and if found guilty, they should not be returned to anyone in the household, but sold to cover costs incurred by the county and/or state.

I do not agree with the extreme left on this issue because they give off a perception that they do have a goal to take ALL guns away, or at least many of them do. However, these violent groups of people have to be dealt with.

I do not think it is that much to ask for. I’m not advocating limitations on all guns or gun sales, just to individuals who have such records.

Had such a system been in place in the 1970’s my stepmother might not have blown her brains out when I was almost 15. Was she mentally ill? Yes. We found out AFTER her death that she had been institutionalized. Her favorite thing to do when my dad was at work was to point that .22 that she killed herself with and put it to my temple as her method of “discipline” which was nothing more than terrorism in my home.

To this day, people, I can still feel the cold end of that gun at my temple. Sometimes I wake up dreaming about it. It was only after she died that I realized that this wasn’t just a surrealistic nightmare I lived in, but that she could have, at any moment, blown my brains out and anyone else’s in the house too.

Unless you lived through it, I know you can’t relate to it and more went on than that, which I will not discuss. Funny thing is I didn’t really realize what “normal” was until I got around “normal families” that sat at the table together and such after her death. I grew to pity her. Hopefully, she is at peace. I forgave her long ago, and despite the nightmares I have once in a while, I can still feel pity for her and understand that she could not help herself–but that the state failed to help her a long, long time ago.

I will say this much for those who have gone through something like this at the hands of a mentally ill relative or person close to your family. What helped me was to forgive her. Once I did that, the nightmares gradually happened less often, and became less intense. I actually stood over her grave about seven years ago and told her that I forgive her. Anyway, I hope that does help someone out there. I know forgiving her did help me.

Alternative Was Around Long Before the ’90’s in Another Form, I Think…

Call me crazy…Call me whatever you will, but some of the lyrics I hear in songs I grew up on would kick ass if updated today.

I have found a lot of songs in the weirdest places where the lyrics seemed way ahead of  their time. I can listen to this one and go straight to “Cat’s in the Cradle”, or “Wonderful” by Everclear since to me, they are songs in a parallel universe.  I can  listen to “Pleasant Valley Sunday” while remembering what it was like living on a military base as a kid, and then going straight to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” when I snap out of fantasy of what family roles while living in some of the places we grew up in should have been–and a lot of dissatisfaction that there was no real “Brady Bunch” after finding out that fairy tales were nothing more than illusions. Hell everyone I knew in school wanted a Dad like Mike Brady–or a Mom like Shirley Partridge. I kid you not!

I will also go so far as to say as these were some early alternative rock lyrics set to pop. They made people think about the “status quo” and the possibility of changing it I think. Since I spent time on military bases–I can tell you that Pleasant Valley Sunday does speak to how everything is the freaking “same” on them–appearances and otherwise. However this one is “Door Into Summer”–and believe me, if telling a story, I can definitely see this as a precursor to “Cat’s in the Cradle” since dear old dad gets left behind–like the kids.

I am putting this link up because the video from the show is really too damned cheesy and it’s the lyrics I want you to see.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7FOSGGPots

For further reference here are “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “Daily Nightly” as well.

Who would have thought the Monkees could evoke such a response?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUzs5dlLrm0

I mean, seriously, did anyone realize how deep these lyrics really were and what they addressed when released the first time around? I think “Daily Nightly” does well at describing addictions to various things–and the fall of the person addicted, if you know what I mean. However it was reported that it was about some rioting that went on and a club that was burned down. Again I post the lyric version so one can actually get the gist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO_HmVpo8lA

Am I the only one out there that has these weird trains of thoughts and the ability to impart to what most people, unless they are writers or musicians, could be the most useless pieces of information in the universe unless one is going to update these things? I’m just wondering because to me, these songs ARE worth updating. These lyrics are genius. I could see a “Nirvana job” on “Daily Nightly”,  if you know what I mean. Man I wish Cobain was still around. When he was here, he made people think. Trent Reznor can make people think…What the hell is wrong with these record companies that promote so few artists with that ability?

And here’s one more thing: “I still say the Monkees belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! I don’t even have to outline the reasons as most fans and a lot of other musicians probably know fully well why they belong in there.

There…I’m through…Coming back to Earth and down from my soap box. Good night–or should I say, “what’s left of it”…?

One Tin Soldier Rode Away…

I am shocked and saddened to learn that Tom Laughlin has passed away.  Even though he was 82, his death was unexpected.  For those of you who do not know who he is, I consider him to be the grandfather of the Independent Film.  He is the one who took on Warner Bros. and then distributed his own films which are still among the highest selling films of all time.  I am referring to the “Billy Jack” Trilogy.  These films inspired an entire generation to look within themselves and to try to make a difference in the world.  The release of “Billy Jack” also signaled the birth of a whole new way of marketing film–and it changed the industry whether some recognize this or not.  The world of Independent Film owes this man much more than people realize.  So it is here I will pay my tribute. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to close with this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qswm7lHp7oY

My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, his wife of 60 years, Delores, and his children and grandchildren.

Here is a copy of the obituary as well:Obituary – Tom Laughlin (1)

How Times Have Changed…

In 2014, the 3oth Anniversary of Live Aid will be celebrated, I’m sure.  1984 was a self-defining Christmas for me and for a lot of my generation because we were forced for the first time in our hedonistic generation’s existence to think about someone else in another part of the globe. The artists had the guts to put this in our faces and to this day I still respect them for it.

In recent years we’ve seen so much focus on the self among our own youth that somewhere along the road, they didn’t find that same sense of purpose–yet. It appears to me that we are so focused on ourselves and pissed about what our government is doing in this country that we’ve lost sight of ONE fact.  WE CAN CHANGE THINGS–ONE PERSON AT A TIME.  However we must start with ourselves. We can and must  lead the way for a younger generation.  We cannot leave this up to others because it is not their job to do our job. It is up to us to impart a sense of what is good and what is right into our children, our grandchildren and in a few more years–maybe our great-grandchildren.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the video. I hope it renews the fire in your soul that we had back when were younger.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjQzJAKxTrE

 

They started it all...

They started it all…

 

On a Not So Special Day…

In October of 2000, I remember going to Eastland Cemetery in Eastland, TX…I found my way to the woman whose suicide I blamed myself for many years…She wasn’t famous.  No one heard of her except the locals who knew of her tirades.  Her name was Judy.  She was my stepmother.  For about 3.5 years, I endured much at her hands but it was on this day that I came to one stark realization.  She could not help her mental illness.  In the last two weeks of her life, she thought she was four years old, and that I was her mother.

For years after her death, I kept asking, what if I had done this? What if I had done that.  The fact of the matter is that it does not matter, especially now. There are two things nobody has control over besides life and death and those things are the past and future. Neither can be changed. However I spent much of my 20’s trying to run from the memories of what went on in my home during the time she was with us. It was rather violent. I got shoved into walls, cabinets, picked up and thrown into one once–and those times were on the days when she wasn’t too pissed off and went off on EVERYONE.

Do I hate her? No.  Do the memories of a pistol getting pointed at my head still haunt me? Yes. That is probably why I never owned a gun. However times change and I do often think about obtaining one now. Please, if you’re into gun control, don’t preach at me. My family hunted for decades and before that my ancestors did also.  Not everyone who owns a gun is a nut-case.

Anyway back to my point.  There is only one thing that enabled me to get beyond the shadows of the past  when it came to her and that was to make this particular trip, on this not so special day to her grave.  It was in the 60’s and the sun was out.  And I stood here for a long time pondering what I would say if she were to stand next to me. It was then I said something very close to this:

This is my stepmother's grave. My father was buried elsewhere

This is my stepmother’s grave. My father was buried elsewhere

 

“It has been many years now. I have done some digging and now I can understand why you were so tormented over several things. Losing your own children and losing two sisters prior took a toll on you. I understand now, Judy. I understand the hell you went through at home as a child too. I forgive you.  I actually forgave you a long time ago but I had to come here to say it. I hope that you are at peace and that you are no longer suffering. I would wish what you endured on nobody now that I have put it together.”

Her suicide took a devastating toll on my emotions all the way through high school and beyond. I buried myself in my writing and my school work. I almost ended up getting into cutting but one of the counselors saw my journal and encouraged me to channel my energy elsewhere.  That was when I picked up a pen.

The chilling remarks when I came back to school after her death were the most cutting. Some new kid asked why anyone would shoot themselves.  My teacher in that class was a coach everyone got pissed at every day it seemed.  As I sat there he said, “I don’t know but women usually don’t go around shooting themselves because they are afraid to mess up their looks.”

I was livid. There is no way he didn’t know about her suicide being that he worked part-time for DPS.  I got up and bolted out of the room.  I stayed home for a couple of days and was in a different class after that. My dad made sure of it.  Even in her death the bullying and idiotic behavior of some of the other students continued as well. I never forgot that either. To them it was all a joke.  Well I hope they enjoyed their years at school afterward, because much of their entertainment came at the expense of others who were broken. This is why I don’t attend class reunions either–along with many others who opt not to show.

It is actually them I feel sad for. Even in adulthood they do not have a clue as to the scars they inflicted with their actions and words, yet most have suffered their own tragedies and seem to forget their past actions.  Ironically, I forgive them too. Some will have much to answer for one day. Until then, I will live my life and continue to work to get questions answered. For Judy, it’s the least I can do. She deserved better than what life dealt her.

 

Remembering the Monster

Part of Kit was terrified, and another part told herself that nothing would come of it.  Karen had knocked the crap out of her again after getting into a fight with her dad yelling, “This was your fault! If you weren’t here–” and she stopped as she reached into her purse next to her in the car and pulled out that damned pistol again.  She put it up against Kit’s head but Kit stared straight ahead. This was a child who had been down this road, in the darkness of the night with that gun at her head so many times, she simply didn’t give a shit anymore. In her mind, at least it would end if Karen actually did pull the trigger. As she felt the barrel against her left temple she stared up at the moon.

The air was cold since it was January and the stars seemed to be very bright. Kit loved looking at them. She often wondered what it would like to fly up into where they were.

“Are you listening to me!?,” Karen screamed, “You had better be listening!”

Kit then looked at her and said, “Nothing scares me anymore. Not even that gun. Not even you. Either do it or let me go live with Mom.”

The gun was now pressed against her forehead.  The barrel was cold and Karen’s hand was shaking as Kit stared into her eyes.

“Stop looking at me damn you! If you go to school one more time and tell them–”

“You’ll what?! Blow my head off? Do it. I told you I’m not afraid anymore. I don’t care!” Kit yelled as she kept staring straight into her eyes.

The now 13-year-old was quite resolute in her statement. She saw no way out of the house of horrors so she began to stand up to the monster.  That monster was Karen.

Karen threw the silver pistol back into her purse, started the car and sped off with Kit still inside. She took her across town to Jack’s house.  She then reached across the seat and opened Kit’s door.

“Get the hell out of here and go inside! If you say one word to Jack I swear I’ll–”

“Whatever…Same old crap!” Kit said to her as she shut the door and began to take a step back.

With that Karen peeled out with such force that Kit was knocked down.  The child got up, dusted off her jeans and went to the door. It took a long while for  her to go to sleep, and her sister-in-law was asking what had happened but Kit only responded, “With Karen what doesn’t happen?”

The entire family felt powerless to help the child.  The only way Karen stopped hitting her was when her mother got wind of it.  Her mother delivered a personal message via her aunt down the street.

“If you touch Kit or my son one more time, Bitch, I’ll kill you myself.” was the message.

Kit would not find out about this until she was in her 20’s but often wondered why during the last six months of Karen’s life she tended to just storm off when things got tense between her and her dad.  She didn’t even bully Kit during that time other than to scream at her once in a while. Kit got to where she would tune her out.

When Kit entered her cell she would look at the green shades and cringe once in a while. She would then look at the wall she decorated.  She put up a red tartan bedspread on her wall for an accent wall and then covered it with Beatles and Bay City Rollers posters.  She also had a huge poster of Paul McCartney and Wings on the other side of her room.

On the other side was her doll collection.  She had Native American dolls, Japanese dolls, the first Revlon doll ever made and a lot of other antique ones–which got sold out from under her little by little  after Karen’s death–along with her TV because her dad said, “You don’t need this stuff anymore.  He then replaced it with stuff Karen had–which she didn’t want.  She worked for her things and now they were taken from her one day while she was at school.  He gave the stereo she did babysitting  for to her brother and then gave her Karen’s which pissed her off totally.

While Karen did have a better one, she wanted no reminders. She liked her white one. She paid for it with her money. Now her brother had it. She had a 19” black and white TV she liked watching. He put Karen’s 9″ portable color TV in there.  That also pissed her off–especially since it had to be sent for repairs every time she turned around.  However one night she was watching and a video from the  year prior came on.  It was “Mull of Kintyre” by Paul McCartney and Wings.

It would be that video that would spawn her desire to see other places.  She loved how the kids in that video were having fun down by the fire on the beach–something she never got to do.  As thoughts of the monster began to fade a bit at night, those thoughts were replaced with new ones–and when the green shades came down, it marked a new freedom for Kit.  It was at this point she picked up a pen and began creating new worlds, new people and dreaming of a new life.  She had never seen mist  rolling in from the Ocean and longed for it…One day she would, but for now, the video had to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5626WzsfMw

This was the video that started that journey for her so many years ago.  The open land and the beach…The smiles on people’s faces…These were the things that she loved to see on TV.  And later in that year–1978, she would find out what a “normal” family was…She would realize then how abnormal her life had been and it would also make new thoughts churn in her head as she pulled out her pen and paper.