Posted in Commentary, Growing up/old, Lessons Learned

Mixed bag

I have for you today a mixed bag of thoughts that have been caught in my hamster wheel this week. Some of them are Snickers; some are probably are those nasty peanut butter chews in the black and orange wrappers, but come December when you’re desperate, they start looking pretty tasty, don’t they? Onward!

Fall Festival

So the local fundamentalist Christian school up the road did not have a Halloween party this week, because, as anyone knows, Halloween is about evil, Satan-worship, and all manner of occult beliefs and practices. (Never mind the fact that I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to fourth grade, and we had a Halloween carnival every single year.)

However, they DID have a “Fall Festival” that just happens to coincide with Samhain, a Celtic harvest festival still cherished by many pagan folk, and one of the greater Wiccan Sabbats, a time when the veil between this life and the next is supposedly thinnest. And the sign they used to advertise their non-Satanic, non-evil festival? For a “Fall Festival,” you’d think maybe leaves and perhaps a cornucopia—harmless signs of autumn—right? But actually, it had a carved pumpkin on it (which were used first in America to scare off bad spirits, initially one drunk Irish trickster named Jack, a guy who had once cleverly treed the devil himself, and who wandered about with a candle in a turnip), and a black cat, known far and wide as a witch’s familiar. Well done. Ignorance and spiritual guidance are always a spectacular combination.



Last week Tuesday night, I am hanging out after a gig, and we are talking about the fires in California. We all know someone there, and it is a concern, although the gal working that night is not particularly concerned because at least it was only the rich people in Malibu whose houses burned to the ground (at least by Tuesday). And ordinarily, I am quite comfortable discussing class disparities in America, but this just seemed a little mean-spirited, and her tone had a definite air of “serves ‘em right.” Sure, they might have an easier time coming back financially from such a loss, but it is always hard on folks to lose everything, including your home, no matter what your job, how big the house was, and how much money you have in the bank.

It was a tragedy for everyone affected that way, but apparently we don’t have any sympathy for people we think are rich and successful. They don’t have any real problems. Just ask Owen Wilson.

Money doesn’t solve all your problems, but the only people who know that are the ones who have it. That said, I don’t think a person has to overtax their compassion to imagine that as bad as they would feel about losing everything and starting over is how anyone else would feel, too. But instead of going that direction, we separate into “us” and “them” and wonder in the same breath why we cannot have peace.

There is an erroneous pair of dangerous assumptions (aren’t they all?) afoot: that poverty automatically makes one virtuous, and that those who are wealthy must necessarily be corrupt and evil. If poverty made one virtuous, the bulk of criminals wouldn’t come from lower-income backgrounds. But they do. Being poor or rich just makes you poor or rich. Whether you’re virtuous or vicious has more to do with who you are than what you’ve got in the bank.

Britney Spears’ mom

I understand that Britney Spears’ mom is going to write a book on what it is like to parent two famous children (and if you can’t name the other one, don’t worry, you’re not alone.) If I were her, I wouldn’t write it; she should really plead the 5th and avoid public indictment, but if she had any sense and a less desperate need for attention, no one would be offering her book deals in the first place. She will be savaged, and probably not undeservedly. Children do not become famous on their own; they do not drive themselves to auditions, and rehearsals, and performances. They need a stage parent for that, to push, polish, and appease the growing monster-child that results. No doubt it’ll be an self-applauding novel about the challenges of guiding one’s child to the skids by the time she’s 25. One has to wonder if she’s seen her daughter lately. I have, and if she were mine, I’m pretty sure I’d keep my mouth shut about my parenting.


June tagged me with this “6 facts” meme. I’ve done it before, but fortunately I have lived a vast and varied life and can come up with 6 new facts about me that you might not know. That, or I’ve lived a life refining my bullshit. Anyway, the following facts are entirely true. Should you feel so inclined, please pick up this 6-fact meme and post it at your blog, where I can read and marvel at what interesting people I know.

  1. I was born in South Bend, Indiana, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, the same hospital as George “The Gipper” Gipp (played by a young Ronald Reagan) died in, in the film Knute Rockne All American.
  2. I wear wrist braces on both hands every single day at work.
  3. Since the last time I was tagged with this meme (and mentioned my girls), I got a new girlfriend. Everybody, this is Blanche.
    Pearloid pickguard
    Blanche, everybody. Blanche is a 2007 standard Telecaster (Made in Mexico) with custom paint, pickups, and pickguard. The pickguard I installed myself (which required learning the fine art of pickup positioning under fire), the rest was done by the previous owner. While I was at it, I got her a very girly case and a small and sparkly amp so I can take her to open mic without dragging Big Bertha, my 55-pounder. Ain’t she sweet?
  4. I started piano lessons when I was in 4th grade, and I loved my teacher. Then we moved the summer before 5th grade, and I ended up with an old biddy of a teacher who poked me in the back to get me to sit up straight. I stopped practicing, and I quit in 7th grade after my mother told me I had to fish or cut bait. I have wondered how far I would’ve gotten with piano if we hadn’t moved that year.
  5. In the 9th grade, I wrote an original short story about a homeless lady for an English class assignment. I’d been inspired by a short, nearly wordless film they showed us in CCD class. My teacher took me aside and questioned me, as he suspected plagiarism. He was mistaken, and I was embarrassed and angry about being accused. I hadn’t thought about it before, but maybe that’s why I don’t write fiction now.
  6. I haven’t considered myself a Christian in a very long time, but every December I put out my nativity scene. And little 8-pound baby Jesus stays hidden until Christmas morning.


I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.