I Do, But I Don't

I Do, But I Don't

Friday, July 03, 2015

Independence Day Weekend Shenanigans

I can remember a time when we took the kids camping or out to do some outdoor activity during Independence Day Weekend.  In the beginning, it was a great release, a respite from our madness to just soak up the outdoors and celebrate our independence, well, independently.  Things began to change, however.  More and more people came out to the lakes, an increasing number of partiers began to litter the state parks.  I can recall one time when I almost got into a physical altercation with some mouth-breathing, Natural Lite-drinking, wife beater shirt-wearing, troglodyte who was certain that everyone in the state park wanted to hear his obnoxiously loud rap music from his boat's sound system. I asked him nicely to turn it down just a bit to which he responded with some slurred gibberish followed by him spitting on the ground dangerously close to me.

He turned down the volume.

That was really the end of it though.  It had become too much of a hassle dealing with all the drunk buffoons and their angry little offspring during the holiday weekends.  Camping was fine, but not during the holidays.  Law enforcement has their hands full on the holidays at the lakes, and I don't envy them one damned bit.

There are, of course, the city-sponsored shindigs wherein you pay for parking, you fight the hipsters and the soccer moms to get comfortable, and of course, it's mandatory that you hear all about their friend who just had breast implants and Botox, and how they too are considering the procedures.  God, help us.

Now, Independence Day has become more contemplative for me.  My band, Signal 8, is playing a private gig this weekend and that will be fun.  But it is an intimate affair and already I'm anxious about the traffic that will no doubt end up being problematic.  Even with all of the idiots out there, I love Independence Day.  It is when we celebrate our break from tyranny, and the birth of something completely different.

I suppose that freedom means that the goofballs mentioned previously have a right to be goofballs.  It's part of this experiment in self-government we find ourselves creating.  They probably shouldn't get on my nerves as they do, and it's something I need to work through - I'll get to that AFTER the holiday weekend.

From me to you, have a safe and sane Independence Day.  Party your all-American asses off, but do NOT drink and drive.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

They Got It All Wrong

I found myself deep in thought today, thinking about some of the things my parents taught me, some of the things our communities preach to us and swear are true, and even some of the things my pastor from junior high school taught me.  To a person, they all got something wrong along the way.  I thought that I would share these with you and perhaps you would agree with me.

First, there is a very popular restaurant in the central area of Oklahoma City that is the "hip and happening" place for all of the go-getters to be seen.  The place gets marvelous reviews as some of the best Mexican food around.  Well, they lied.  The food is an odd combination of Mexican cuisine and hipster sauces made from stuff none of us have heard of before.  The presentation of the meals is good, is suppose, if you don't mind eating something that looked like Picasso puked on your plate.   The colors are pretty, I suppose.  And it's expensive too.

Second, I remember my pastor when I was a kid who used to preach the virtues of marriage, extolling the great many benefits of a monogamous relationship and how God really digs it when we stay married for a very, very long time to someone we have grown to not like being around.  He would talk about how important the sanctity of marriage was and how divorce was of the devil.  He didn't really feel that way after diddling the church secretary though.  Maybe God changed his mind?  Well, he got it all wrong.  Marriage is a tough racket and for those reading this who have stuck it out decade after decade, I tip my hat to you.

Third, my parents always told me that country music was the best to listen to.  That was just wrong of them to do.  There is so much more music out there than just country music - which has its virtues, but to compare Don Giovanni with Red Solo Cup is a bit of a stretch.  I don't think it was very nice of them to do that to me.  They were SO wrong.

Fourth, I remember Pat Robertson saying that God would destroy Orlando because of the gay pride day at Disney World.  He got that all wrong, didn't he?  Then there was the whole Oral Roberts extortion gig of $5 million or something.  He too was wrong.  I've come to the conclusion that televangelists are a bad idea as a general rule.

Fifth, at my last birthday, I turned 50.  My friends told me that it would only get easier from there.  They were totally wrong.  It hasn't been easier, it has been a larger pain in the ass than I imagined.  Getting old sucks.  I am a 30 year-old trapped in a 50 year-old body and there is nothing whatsoever I can do about it.

Lastly, people who are on a sugar-free diet told me that sugar-free ice cream tastes like the real thing.  They lied.  It doesn't.  And the sweeteners used in it have the same effect on the digestive system as Liquid Plummer.  But then again, it's better than not having sweets.  I just eat it on the commode to save myself the trip.

Well, there you have it.  Your Thursday thoughts.  Hope you've been entertained.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Humpty Hump Day Happenings

This week has brought us the great confederate flag conflagration of 2015 (see what I did there?) and it is mind-boggling just how intense the dialog has become.  Democrats are attributing slavery to Republicans, Republicans are slapping down the Democrats by saying that they are responsible for the lack of freedoms and the nightmare that the flag represents for some.  To me, and I'm probably wrong here, this kind of public bickering, the gnashing of teeth and wearing of sack cloth over this issue must paint a desperately infintile picture of who America has become.  It is just simply sad and pathetic.

Now.  Everyone take a deep breath.  Feel better?  Good.


The band I've been playing in will be at the Rockin' the Box Music Festival on July 25th (Saturday).  The festival is a three-day beast, starting Friday evening and ending Sunday evening.  Tickets are $10, however, if you purchase tickets for the whole event, there's quite a savings - $45 for three days, for two.

Our band, Signal 8, has been busting chops to put together an entertaining set that will make you smile and definitely make you want to jump up and down and celebrate.  Some of the other bands, the headliners like Left To Die are incredibly talented, artful musicians who are not only great players, but fun folks to be around.  We consider it an honor and a privilege to play with these folks.

It is an event of only Oklahoma/Dallas bands and is designed to spark a new fire for the appreciation and enjoyment of local music.  Do yourself a huge favor and pick up some tickets and enjoy the food trucks, the festival atmosphere, and the awesome music for the weekend.


Trump.  Donald Trump.  Wow.  Enough said.

The Oklahoma County Republicans, among others, are clamoring for the head of one of former State Senator Randy Brogdon's choices for staff at the Oklahoma GOP.  T.C. Ryan pled guilty to charges of domestic violence some time ago, and Brogdon has drawn his line in the sand over this cat.  He refuses to let him go or even entertain the idea.  This type of incident is only proving what haters of the Republican Party believe to be true.  Because of this alone, Brogdon will be a one-term GOP Chairman.  Maybe Ryan has been rehabilitated, maybe he's a swell, upstanding citizen these days - but his response and the response of his mentor is perceived as wickedly arrogant and aloof.  Ryan, in my opinion, should address this issue himself, take it on and make it his issue and not that of the GOP Chair.  It's just ate up with dumb ass to let it go this far and become this heated.  But then again, what in the hell do I know?

While the madness at the State GOP continues, the Oklahoma Democratic Party has once again shown that while they may be progressive in politics, they are horrible at public relations and being able to take advantage of the GOP's weakness right now.  Mark Hammons (State Chair) and Sarah Baker (so-called Communications Director) need to sack up and show that the ODP stands for something completely different than that of the Oklahoma GOP.  I'm not going to say much more, but if an individual has more than 50 functioning brain cells, it is obvious what type of media strategy they should embrace right now.

Well, at least it's Wednesday.  Merely two days away from the weekend.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More In Common

Social media is often wonderfully entertaining.  The political machines chugging along with their little cult members parroting every pathetically rehearsed line from the candidate's mouths as though it's Gospel, and then there are the folks from the "like if you love Jesus" crowd who are explaining to the world how they love God more than y'all.  Social media has become a pulpit of sorts for everyone from every walk of life and religious affection to share their thoughts and ideas - and the cacophony of voices are only getting louder.

When folks have something intelligent to say, that's just fine.  When it's propaganda for propaganda's sake, it sucks. 

At the very heart of the whole of the ideological spectrum, or from a religious or "moral" standpoint, there are common elements that both sides of the aisle share, but we're often too busy running our damned mouths to even notice.  You see, it's easy to be pissed off and stay pissed off because of "righteous indignation," and it gathers a crowd who end up screaming for someone's blood, but at the foundation, we have more in common with one another than we have reasons to riot.  Here are a few examples of what I am getting at:

Police Brutality:  On the hardcore left, the goal is to see people not have to live in fear of authority and not have that authority inflict harm on its citizens.  On the right, they want pretty much the same thing - they're called Libertarians and Tea Partiers.  What is missed in this equation is that most people who are bitching the loudest on both sides haven't the intestinal fortitude to do what law enforcement is forced to face each day.  It doesn't excuse by any means errant officers who break the law, as a matter of fact, they should be punished quite firmly when they do break the law.  On the other hand, maybe people should stop breaking the law and start acting like human beings with common sense.  The stress on law enforcement would be lessened if we could do that and we'd have a nicer place for all of us to live.

African American President:  This generation has made history by electing a man whose skin color would have gotten him killed in parts of the country not 60 years ago.   Both sides of the aisle want to see our country safe, prosperous, caring, strong, and effective.  The hardcore left loves the President just because of his skin color, and there are those on the hardcore right who hate him for the same reason.  But at the bottom line, you'll find that we all want the President to succeed because for him to succeed means that the whole of the country succeeds.  I'm not a fan of many of his policies but it his policies I abhor, not the color of his skin.

Love:  Everyone wants to love and be loved.  Unless you're a complete sociopath, the human experience includes connection with others and a desire to feel secure in a way that only love can bring.  I don't give a hoot what your political affiliation may be, when you're loved, you're a better person.  When you love others, you become a beacon of light rather than a giver of darkness.

Football:  At a football game, there are supporters of one side and supporters of the other.  No one cares what political party you belong to because what matters is the game and the team.  Period.

Comedy:  We all love to laugh and that excludes no one.  Humor is a uniquely human attribute and it doesn't matter if you're a Lutheran, a Methodist, a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, a Baptist, or an agnostic - we all love to laugh and there isn't anything wrong with that. 

No Hungry Children:  Not a single person I know would advocate that any child should go hungry.  Not a one.  Conservatives and liberals alike see the problem as real, but often, nothing gets done.  

You see?  We have great things in common and if we only had the courage to cherish those things rather than fight about issues of little impact, the world as we know it today would change.  Granted, there will always be the criminal element lurking about, but as a general rule, peace with one another is better than conflict. 

Social media is a great place for positivity and a celebration of commonalities to start.  One person can share a positive note with friends and the result is someone's day is made more bright.  One person can surprise a friend with a sweet message and provide comfort for someone suffering from depression.  Sharing information about progress, about volunteerism, about planting a garden are all very positive and fun things to see on social media rather than the argumentative tripe we see spewing forth today.  Don't you get tired of the duplicity on both sides?  Wouldn't it be nice to see everyone within our sphere of influence just get along and not try to eat each others' flesh with vitriol?

Hell, I'm as guilty as any, if not more so because I was a talk show host. 

Of course, this is just my opinion and if you disagree with me, you're probably one of those long-haired, Birkenstock-wearing, dope smoking, hippie.  Or you're a conservative, fascist, racist, homophobic, idiot.  Either way, you know I'm right.