Friday, May 30, 2008

Changing Time

Stayed up late last night recording a CD for Steve, er, Rusty. Some old tunes of "alternative" music. Even some naughty sons. He'll get a charge out of it.
But I stayed up to the point of the electricity was turned off to get me to go to bed. And the three bottles of wine didn't help.
I did sleep well.
But I woke up at 8 a.m. this morning. 3 hours pass my usual wake up. Hopped on the bike and off I go. (Don't have to be at work until 9, so there is no rush).
I noticed the sun was up and lite the streets and the traffic was much heavier. Different people getting into their mobile machines, children playing in the yards, dogs barking, different sounds and smells.
It's strange how your day can be so different when the time changes.
Got to work safe, though I missed my shower (catch it on the backside) and will try again tomorrow to get back into the rhythm of life.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Ride

Pulled Marin off the porch this morning.

This 5-year old bike with about 10,000 miles on it was going to be my ride this morning. The usual ride, Redline, was having some difficulties. The back brake, when squeezed, would go to the handlebar with no resistance on the rim. This is not a good way to stop.

Since this is all city riding, there are lots of stops. Every corner. Every unusual behavior by a metal mobile monster. And the occasional stop for the squirrels to dance across the path.

So this weekend, another set of brakes will be required. $15.00. Less than 5-gallons of gas.

In the meantime, Marin is the ride. Saddlebags and all. It's a comfortable bike, but I noticed this morning, with the sun beaming in my eyes, the seat needs to rise up a little more. My left knee is a little stiff this morning and with a different angle on the pedal pressure, it makes the leg cramp.

Shake it off. Rub some dirt on it.

But the 5 miles were uneventful and comfortable. Marin is a good bike and I hope we are friends for a lot more years.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

John Boy John

John, boy John,
You were hot as fire,
When the disciples,
were on the hire,
But, you lost your head over Jesus,
You lost your head over Jesus.

Up to your neck in water,
when "HE" came along,
Following "HIS" words,
trying to sing "HIS" song,
The words you said over Jesus.

"HE" broke your bread,
and spread "HIS" word,
But "HIS" voice was weak,
and could not be heard,
And the 12 were fed over Jesus.

On the water "HE" said, "Come follow me,
I'll make it calm on an angry sea."
The skies turned red over Jesus.

John, boy John,
What is your alibi,
If you were somewhere else,
then you won't have to die,
But you prayed, and bled over Jesus.

Jesus Christ,
we remember what you said,
And John, we forgot you,
Soon after you're dead,
Now you’ve lost your head over Jesus.

John, boy John,
You were hot as fire,
When the disciples,
were on the hire,
But you lost your head over Jesus,
You lost your head over Jesus.

...and now some explaination (just for Rusty)......

This is from a musical I wrote in the mid-70's. Politics, religion, food, etc. All kinds of topics. The main characters were "The Lover", "The General", "The Kid", "Roadrunner", and "Gramps". The same characters from Significant Students. This was about the time of stadium shows started happening and religious television was taking off.
Just a different point of view on the things that affect/effect us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Strung up

Spent the Memorial Day weekend restringing all my guitars. Now I know why bands have roadies.
First you have to wind down the old strings. When they are loose, but them with wire cutters, unwind the head, then pull the plugs and take out the base.
Unwrap the new strings, check the color code to make sure you are putting the correct sting in place.
Place the base and plug in, then find the hole in the tuning nob. Place the string through the hole to about an inch or a inch and a half and bend the end up. It needs to go up so as you wind the string will go under it.
Then pickup the special winding tool ( a god send ) and start spinning. Hold the string in place as you watch the tuning nob spin.
As the string tightens, make sure the plug stays in place (press down if needed) and the string lays in the proper groove.
Once all six strings have been strung, start tuning.
This is the dangerous process.
Find the proper key and by hand start tightening the string. Listen to it sing.
Then.... POP! The string breaks.
Start the process over again.
Luckily it was a long weekend and only had to buy one additional set of strings. Note: the girl at the music store where I bought the strings yesterday was way too perky.
Follow this procedure 36 times and you will sound better. Or at least OK.
More music, more music, more music.......

Friday, May 23, 2008


Life is too short.
Life is what we make it.
Life is given.
Life is taken away.
Life is to be used to it fullest.
Life is to be enjoyed.
Life is to be cherished.
Life is too short.
Life is full of values.
Life is what makes the world.

Life is a fleeting a moment of sight, sound, smiles, color, breathe, happiness, sadness, warmth, cold, loneliness, companionship, joy, sorrow, hope, faith, and reality.

Life is layers of experiences, people, and events.

Such is life.

Layers are life’s reactions to effects,
Values, causes, experiences, and events.
All changing and adjusting life.
A butterfly’s color on a warm breeze,
A song drifting on the smell of an outdoor grill, and a kiss.
The smile of a layered memory.
All is happening in a moment.
These memories create the layers of life.

Some layers are heavy and dark.
Some layers bring smiles.
Some layers are unknown.
Some layers last forever.
Some layers come back again and again.

Life is how we weave our layers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spring Morning

6:30 and the air is crisp at 50 degrees. Slap on a jacket, strap the gloves and helmet; climb into the knapsack and up to the street. The moon hangs in the big blue window and not a cloud appears. As I roll along I notice the brakes need tighten, stopping for the wayward squirrels who stop in front of me. The sun is low and in my eyes but I knowing the way by habit. A well-worn path. As I stop at the boulevard, I notice a man get into his car and rush to the corner, creeping out into the traffic flow and almost creating a wreck. "Where is he off to in such a hurry?" I pondered. As the wheels turn the fragrance of the city surrounds me. Flowers, cooking breakfast, oil, garbage.... and all the sounds of a city waking up. Through a quiet VCU. Students aren't usually up this early anyway. "What was that guy mumbling on the corner?" Another stop at Belvidere and the orb is blinding. Another driver in a hurry to get nowhere zips past into the flow. Down the embankment of Franklin and up the 4 block hill past the Jefferson. It can take your breath away. Past the library and a left turn into one way traffic. Wave to the guard as I enter the parking cave and lock up. 25 minutes of a 5-mile wonderful spring morning.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Never Gave A Damn

We jogged thru the parks to mugger delight
We raced ourselves home, for hours at night
We tamed the waves of the oceans might
And we smogged the sky that stole our sight

and we never gave a damn
never gave a damn
never gave a big god damn

We banned the bomb, but fought the war
We gave Blacks pride, but they wanted more
We spent our millions to even the score
To find a "Great Society" and then ask "What for?"

and we never gave a damn
never gave a damn
never gave a big god damn

We murdered a president just to watch him die
We took every drug, but never got high,
We thought we found the truth, and never gave it a try
And we stood on the moon with no wings to fly

and we never gave a damn
never gave a damn
never gave a big god damn

and we never gave a damn
never gave a damn
never gave a big god damn

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Riding in the Rain, pt. 2

At 6:30 this morning, I walked into the backyard and pull my big blue bike off Mansland porch. The rain was barely making it's way through the spring leaves. As the fish rose to meet me, I walked to the alley, only stopping to pry the gate open. By the time I reached the street, I knew I was going to get wet, but I had made the decision.
This is a cool spring rain. Soft. Slight breeze. As I glided down the street with a cathedral of old trees I listened to the droplets splash in small puddles. A jogger ran by and another biker said hello. I'm not the only crazy person in the world.
It's refreshing to do something you know is not the normal way. Purposely riding downtown in a rain shower at 6:30 in the morning, the grey streets welcoming the lit sky and the street lights flicker off. The wet black cat stopped before crossing my path.
Then, pow, the lights of a metal mobile machine flash on and I awoke from my daze of splash and whir of pedaling.
Two hours later, my cloths drip to dry, but they will be fine for the ride home. It will just be cloudy then. It will just be cloudy.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Riding in the rain
trying to make things, the same
forever, as they once were
And almost succeeding,
then maybe we did

Four brothers on the road
Talking, nonsense to each other
understanding, maybe, a little
of the storm that surrounds us
then, and forever

The storm clouds in the sky
and, the tempest, of our lives
forgotten for the moment
of laughter and pretzels
Kids, and our music

Long straight barren roads
On islands, with nothing but sand
and seagulls and a lighthouse

(cliff?/joe, 1971)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Significant Students


Significant Students is a series of cartoons based on the real lives and events of atypical college students from the years of 1967 to 1971. The names have been altered, as have the characters, for the enjoyment of the reader and the relief of the writer. Each vignette will be a typical event in the typical lives of our students, who typically react. Ho-hum.


Peace Freak:
Acting leader of this motley crew and designated hippie

The philosopher of the group and activist egghead

Kid Counselor:
Part-time profiteer in the arts and capitalist

Product of the ever-active adrenaline gland and the 50’s reject

Recognized by his sloppy and horny smile.


“Significant Students” is a series of cartoons based on the lives and events of five atypical college students. The names have been changed, as have the characters, for the enjoyment of the reader and the relief of the writer. Each vignette will be a typical event in the typical lives of our students who typically react.
But first let me introduce these characters!

Gramps: is the oldest, the dumbest, the complainer, noteworthy in his noteworthlessness. He is recognizable by his sloppy appearance and crackly smile. Caution! Approach with care. He is dangerous!

This is “Kid Counselor”. Artist and camera bug, part time profiteer in the arts around this sprawling university. His ability is limited by an overwhelming inferiority complex. He is quite noticeable by his constant mutterings about frogs.

“Roadrunner”, master of velocity, better known as roadrunner, master of velocity. A product of an overactive adrenaline gland, he is never satisfied to be in one place over 2.75 minutes. He can usually be found around his bug, playing his guitar.

“P.F.”, known to our fans as Peace Freak, Poor Fool, Pacifistic Fink, Pourk Park...what have you. His diet consist of nicotine, alcohol, and dope in varying amounts. Standing a head above everyone else, he is acting leader of this motley crew.

Bear, The grade getter, the honor’s holder, he is the hypocritical speaker and philosopher of the group. He thrives on books, games, teddy bears, and other non-edible junk. Truth, justice, and the American way are goals which bring him much confusion.


On an occasion when the Significant Students meet (which is just about every afternoon) each does what he likes to do. On this day, they met at the usual spot to do what they usually do. Sit Around! This lack of motivation has been chosen by democratic vote and by the fact that no one is willing to lead this group of goof-offs. Conversations are seldom heard for fear of controversial quarrels arising from differences in opinion. Suddenly the silence is broken.

“Let’s get something to eat!”

Being that our students are typical “skip-meals-at-cafe, eat-candy-bar-for-lunch, always-hungry” types, this idea strikes their fancy.

Every school (or so I am told) has a special “hang-out” for students. The prices are high, the food lousy, the atmosphere appalling, and (most important) the girls are plentiful. So the Significant Students head for their favorite eating establishment, known as the “Chicken Coop”, run by a little Cuban named Pierre, who specializes in Chinese and Italian styles southern fried hot dogs.

On entering, they sit themselves down at their favorite table, only to have to move to another one because a fraternity “wanted to sit together” (fraternities are all powerful in college, you know). Once permanently seated with grumbles, and gripes, they receive their menus.

“What’ll have?”

The major problem arises when it becomes clear that although everyone is hungry enough to eat no one is hungry enough to order.

As the waitress leaves conversation quickens to “Did you read the last chapter Professor Whipplewink wanted us to read?...What did you think of the 42 page psy. test... I wish I could drop out of modern medieval history course, it’s such a bore!”

...time marches on!

Just when all hope is lost, over the horizon comes the lone waitress.

The finale to a perfect meal is the coming of the check, and, of course, no one has enough money!


In everyone’s life there comes a time when the need for responsible employment is called for. In other words, you run out of money. And so the Significant Students decide no only to enrich their minds, but also their pocketbooks. A part-time college employment is searched for. Resumes are sent out, phone calls are made, and interviews set. Day after day, after long strenuous classes each applicant prepares for his opportunity to enhance the business world.

After getting spruced up with Sunday’s best, Kid Counselor (our representative from the Significant Students and most highly motivated to inquire about employment) gathers examples of his work-displaying his social, moral, ethical, political, and hysterical activities- proceeds to the personnel office.

His eager procession is slowed a bit once inside by being at the end of a long line, all applying for the same executive position. One by one each applicant enters the office, while the secretary asks the rest to wait patiently.

Finally, Kid Counselor is called into the interview room.

Once inside, he presents his forms, gives references, answers questions, shows his work, and tries to “Song and dance” his way into the hearts and files of...

...”The Company”.

After several days of worrisome waiting “The Co.” sends six dozen forms to be filled out in triplicate and sent to their head offices in Pango-Pango, Scakway, Alaska, and Little America.
Included are self-addressed envelopes, but no stamps.

“Have you ever had hemorrhoids, ptomaine poisoning, crotch rot, venereal disease, hernias, or any hallucinogenic drugs?”

After all forms are received and checked, Kid Counselor receives a medical information form. This means he has to see a doctor.

A couple of weeks roll by and the red tape is cleared so he can be assigned his equal employment executive career.

The hours work well with his schedule. Now, he goes to work directly after class and gets home in time for 3 1/2 hours sleep. Since his weekends are free, he can work day and night shifts, all for 79¢ an hour.

“Boy, I sure am lucky to have such a great job!”

Suddenly, he is replaced! Not because he has not done his job to completion, but because the boss has found someone to work for 69¢ an hour.

Once again, among the throngs of the unemployed Kid Counselor, decides to use his newly found wealth for a useful, meaningful purpose- going to a rock festival.


Even those hardworking Significant Students must take a break from their book learning and take some time off for rest and relaxation. Perhaps a weekend rations! No Books! No Work! No Studies! No Problems? A few essential articles are packed and these hardy travelers begin their voyage.

After may hour of rugged traveling they pause to figure out where they are and where they are going ( a small undertaking that always seems to be forgotten)

Once again they are off following the easy-to-read road signs.

Occasionally stopping to enhance themselves with historical sights and beautiful scenery or relieve “Travelers’ fatigue.”

While pressing onward they pass may a strange traveler

When all hope (and fuel) are almost gone, they reach their destination.

The chores are handed out:
1. Pitch the tent
2. Get the food
3. Look for girls!

Once settled, the Significant Students bathe themselves in good weather.

After several fulfilled days in their tents playing cards, drinking beer, and exchanging small talk (that’s all there’s room for) the happy Significant Students depart this hideaway.

Once home they reminiscence over the abundance of girls, the clear skies, and the aching sunburn (the Significant Students are the only ones I know who can sunburn in the rain)


In every college there are social events that require the companionship of the opposite sex. Thus the extra-curricular sport of dating takes place between the normal red-blooded all American college Joe’s and Jill’s. Being that none of the Significant Students live up to either of their before mentioned descriptions they have a hard time getting dates. Usually a friend’s friend befriends a friend to find a friend that will go out with any of these weaklings in the waning world of woo. And so the Blind Date is made. But they still make excuses like these...

“Nope! Can’t make it! Garden needs tending”

“Oh wow! man, I’m too zonked to play that far-out game. Like man, chicks want to rap about meaningful relationships and I just can’t dig it!”

“My love, the essence of beauty, come fly with me in my magic carpeted buggy and I’ll make you swoon with lovely songs on my gittar.”

“Get lost you corny male chauvinist bumpkin”

“Hay! You want a piece of candy, lil’ girl? hee hee”
(there’s no excuse in that)

And there comes a time when the excuses run out and they must be brave and escort their blind date. Such is the case with Roadrunner, better known as “Snowman, Master to the act of loving, wooing, and all that stuff.”

As everyone knows preparing for a date, especially a blind date, consists of a good scrub down, fancy mod 3-piece gray flannel suit. This process of “dudeing up” is to make a good impression, although it can be linked to this masculine vain ego.

Soon the hour arrives, the flowers are bought and the poor sap waits patiently outside the house checking the address and summoning up enough courage to ring the bell.

The father’s reception is warm and cheerful. He starts with a quick glance over Roadrunner’s suit (to see how well dressed he is and to make sure his fly’s not down), then they enter into a timely conversation until the young lady is through in her preparation.

“Your early ain’t you, boy? Why don’t you get a haircut? Where are you going? I want my daughter in by 10:30 P.M.! If you lay a finger on her, I’ll....”

After passing an eternity in the inquisition, Roadrunner is relieved to see the mother bring the young lady in. The shock (or should I say surprise) of the first meeting pass quickly and not one to stand on protocol, this able bodied sucker lead his night’s companion out the door and to their destinations.

Like most untypical college students, “The Date” consists of the usual ordeals:
1. The make-out drive-in movie
2. The favorite drive-in cheapo hamburger joint

The curfew time finally arrives, much to the dismay of the couple who are having such a wonderful time. As he takes her to the door she shyly “thanks him” with a little kiss, then runs inside.

Roadrunner, not one to be easily taken in by such shows of affection, shrugs it off as an adolescent act of a naive child. In others words, he’s fallen for her.

“My work (ribbit), my work must get done! It’s piling up on me (ribbit) and I have a headache (ribbit) mumble (ribbit) mumble...mumble...”

To Gramps it’s wasting time.

But this weekend arrives and it’s party time for the Significant Students.

“You and Yours are cordially invited to the third annual Jawsmashing and Hogstomping Contest. B.Y.O.D.”

To prepare for the gathering certain chores are assigned.
1. Cleaning and straightening up the mess
made during the week.
2. Preparing decorations and displaying
the Significant Students creativity.
3. Selecting the records and munchies

This is the one time during the week the Significant Students remove their old, smelly, worn-out, patched up jeans and sweat shirts and put on their fanciest, new, Sunday-go-to-meeting jeans and sweat shirts.

One by one, each arrives with the date (usually a hand-me-down from another member of the group). Immediately upon entering the other swarm around to introduce themselves.

The record player grinds out their favorite tune to the patter of little feet. (Although everyone enjoys slow dances much more).

And the muchies are partaken of (or should I say...devoured).

As is the usual custom, the lights dim, the music softens, and each couple fights for a cozy sofa or chair in a dark corner.


Our story begins thusly:

Partaking of the beauties and quiet life of the campus community the Significant Students stumble across a mass crowd listening to various orators voicing their demands upon passerby’s.

Being typically naive, the Significant Students stop to listen.

“Brothers, sisters, members of the movement! It’s time to fight back! It’s time to kick the Anglo-Saxon system in the ass! It’s time to down the establishment! Thoske honkies called us niggers and cotton pickers too long! Rise up and take your freedom! Strike for us! Right on! Black power!

“Hey man! It’s time to fight those fuckers back! It’s time to kick the system in the butt! Bring down the establishment! Those pig dudes have ripped us off and shoved us up against the wall too often! Dig it! Strike for us! Revolution!”

“Sister feminist! It’s time to fight back!
It’s time to kick the system in the crotch! It’s time the establishment came down! The shackles of masculine domination have made us burn our bras and girdles, and grow hair on our legs and arm pits! Cut him off! Strike for us! Women’s liberation!”

“Tweeties! It’s th time to fight back those big bulliesth! It’s th time to grab the ths tum by the ballsth~! It’sth time to pull down the ethtablishments pants! We have been denied bny those poo-poo’s long enough! Free usth from brutality! Strike for uksth! Gay power!”

“Members of mankind! It’s time to fight back! It’s time to kick the system in the seat of it’s pants! It’s time to turn around the establishment! We’ve had our water, air, land, population polluted by the labor industries! It’s the end of man! Strike for us! Revolution will open the way for ecology!”

“Dig It”
“Get It Together”

After all is said and done (not much of either) the Significant Students stroll off pondering what the Student soothe sayers had proclaimed.

“That’s the ticket, guys! We’ve gotta get with it and join the movement or we’ll be put down!”

To his embarrassment and anger - all do not agree!

“I wonder if frog’s strike?”
“Let’s go somewhere! There’s nothing doing here!”
“Who would we be striking for?”
“They are doing it all wrong.”

Long Live Militant Apathy

During the school year, our Significant Students have been known for being hard workers.

Always hitting the books.

Using every minute to better their skills or widen their philosophical views.

A fleeing moment is not spent without some sort of meaningful communication.

All is in ready for...


The process of looking back over the books is necessary to see what was missed in lectures (This process is called cramming). The Significant Students realize as never before how much they really know.

There are only 3 choices to take in this situation:

1. Cheat notes (from a reliable source like the dean’s secretary)

2. Brown nose the professor- (better known as bribery)

3. Taking the exam (which most poor unfortunates wind up doing)

After 4 or 5 hours of struggling over right or wrong, multiple guess, and fill in the void, the Significant Students leave the classroom less 100 exam books, 22 pencils, and a carton and a half of cigarettes.

The following days pass quickly and grades are posted. Unfortunately you didn’t get the grade you expected. As a matter of fact, you didn’t even get close.

In which case tensions must be relieved. (Usually finding the crumb that ripped you off with fake cheats notes).


The months pass quickly for the Significant Students and before they realize it, it’s time to go home.

After many months of absence the Students are greeted with open arms.

“Get a haircut!”

“Are we spending all our dough so you can bring home grades like those there?!”

“Mow the lawn, clean the windows, wax the floors, wash the dishes, ......”

“With all that book learning, I’d think you’d know how to act respectable!”

“For Sale”

So ends another school year for the Significant Students. If they can suffer through the heat of the summer and tolerate the nagging of their parents for three months, they will cheerfully trot back to the books, classes, and professors whom they so dearly dislike.
For college is a blessing to these professional students and they’ll be back for more exciting adventures.

Clypht Lephtwytch circa 1970