Friday, March 31, 2017

5 Songs

In this time of anger and politics and religious upheaval. In this time of some little old bald fat man jumping in front of me every time I look in the mirror. I wanted to make a list of my all time favorite songs. Well, I thought and came to the conclusion that I really can’t do that. Depending on my mood and era and other factors it tends to change and become very flexible. So, here are 5 songs I really like and the reasons why.

I’m So Lonesome I could Cry…Hank Williams:

Now, I’m not a big country fan. I grew up on it. My mother sang it constantly and played it and my step father played a Martin Guitar and they went to Saturday Night Square Dances in my youth. But, young rebel that I was I decided at an early age that I hated it. Later on I would grow up self teach myself the guitar and having been exposed to Willy and Waylon and the Boys decided Country wasn’t so bad after all. But, why this song?

It paints a picture. I’m southern and I can almost feel the Alabama night. My aunt and uncle lived in Altoona, Alabama. Small town and the railroad ran right  through it. I can hear that old train whistle and imagine a beer soaked night of youthful angst.

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

Also, the following line brings a hot summer evening in the south to my mind.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry

So, yeah. Hank Williams was a poet and an artist that for me is transcendent. I love the song and for a different take on it I recommend a listen to Keb Mo. He does a brilliant bluesy cover linked below. Either way. It’s classic.


Midnight Train to Georgia…Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Cindy and I have an old friend from Colorado who used to say: Life is like riding the bus. At the end you just get off. I guess he didn’t know after that. I don’t either and this isn’t the post where I do the “what I believe” thing. I love the rhythm and the voice and the harmony of Gladys Knight and the Pips. I want this one played at my funeral. No, I’m not being cute. I love the thought of just getting on that train and “Going back to find. A better place and Time.”


Lyin Eyes…Eagles

This is another one that reminds me of that old teenage angst. It has it all. Being held by her lover while she thinks of an old love. Having a “Lil Sometin” to help her with the pangs of memory. Looking at the years gone by and wondering how it all got this crazy. Not my absolute favorite song of the Eagles. But, the lyrics and the harmony and the story of the “human condition” makes it one of those that stands the test of time.


Slow Ride…Foghat

18 or 19 years old. Stoned and drunk and that’s no way to go through life. But, for a minute and for a time in my life this song was my anthem. Pony Millers and beautiful youthful blonde memories. I might be old and there are some things I wouldn’t do again. But, this song and it’s memories are things I’d do again on some level. I also have a present day experience with this old rock classic from my misspent youth. I’m on Mcfarland Blvd in my ole rattle trap pick up. But, that thing has always had a superior sound system. Wish I could say the same about other aspects of a Ford Pickup. But, I digress. Anyway, my little aging butt pulls up on a hot Tuscaloosa afternoon next to a young African American (please folks. This isn’t about race but I know the way our society is right now.) this is about youth and age and it’s funny. He has rap going and it’s at a pretty good level. I put Slow Ride on and turn it up. My little truck is rockin (which at it’s age isn’t exactly a unique experience.) I notice the young man look over. He can’t hear his rap over the old man’s music. He starts to nervously inch up so he doesn’t hear the rock drowning out the rap. Cost of classic old CD? $5 at the bargain bin. The agitation of a youth having to pull up to drown out a little old white honkeys music? Priceless. J


Haunted House…Johnny Fuller

Now, I don’t know who Johnny Fuller is or was. But, according to the interwebs and Google he wrote this song. I more than likely heard it as a child as a cover by a guy (who I also don’t know even though he has the same name as the bass and leader of KISS) Jumpin “Gene Simmons” It’s not one of my all time favorite songs. But, it is memorable. It’s about a haunted house and I always think of the title as “Ain’t no Haint gonna run me off.”  This one is fun. Also, I first heard the word haint as a child from my North Alabama Grandparents on my mother’s side of the family. Turns out Haint is a appalachian term for “ghost.” The haint drank the hot coffee right from the pot. Fun stuff. Link below.


Jumpin' Gene Simmons - Haunted House (original 45 rpm)

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

America Needs You!

Oh beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain….Katharine Lee Bates – 1913.


A long, long time ago…I can still remember. How that music used to make me smile…American Pie…Don Mclean.


To borrow a phrase from Bruce Springsteen “The Boss” Who I think is otherwise overrated but that’s a classic rock discussion and this isn’t. …”I was born in the U.S.A.” I was taught that God was in his heaven and that the United States was a beacon of freedom and a haven from oppression. Thing is I always believed that. I’ll tell ya another thing I believed. Even after I became more of a democrat I still believed it. I honestly thought the republicans were the party of the grownups. 

I mean they respected the flag and Jesus and the fighting men and later fighting women of our armed forces. While I thought pot should (and still do) be legal and everybody should have a house and a turkey in every pot (different pot) the republicans were there to ask me “How ya gonna pay for that?” While I might have considered them a little harsh at times I had to admit they had a point. It was a good balance. The well meaning liberal bleeding heart and the more conservative but still well meaning authority asking for a plan or a roadmap to this liberal utopia.

But, somewhere it changed. Maybe it started when Reagan was able to equate the “L” word with godless, communist hippie. Maybe it started when Jerry Falwell cast his greedy “Gawds own party” prosperity gospel as the only true faith and the conservatives ate it up. I don’t know.

But, the nation seemed to be better under Reagan and there was an honest concern with the sanctity of life. But, somewhere, somehow the sanctity of life became the sanctity of being born. After that God help ya, you thugs. Still, there was an honest conversation to be had.

I remember a little about Watergate. I was a kid and I admit the most vivid memory for me was John Dean’s tall, blonde wife. John Dean was a part of the Nixon team and later turned on Nixon. Some call him patriot and some call him turncoat. Still, in the end the other thing besides my adolescent infatuation with tall blonde’s was the way the republicans were willing to bring their own to justice if it meant the greater good of the nation. See? Grownups.

I watched in horror as the democrats anointed the “chosen one” even though Bernie rightfully won the primary. Still, I thought even though Cruz is an idiot you still had Kasich who I would gladly have voted for and even Rubio seemed to be an intelligent person that maybe could reach across the aisle if needed. Trump? ROFLMAO! Yep, I was one of those that thought there was no way in hell that idiot was going to get elected.

Scuse me while I finish this last bite of crow. Gawd, that was awful.

I watched as a well meaning and earnest veteran gifted this pig of a man with his Medal of Honor. I thought “Well, a good man. A decent person is going to thank this man for his service and tell him he isn’t worthy to accept this from a veteran.” But, NO! this smirking chimp actually reaches for the medal. Looks at it like an appraiser looking at a piece of merchandise that is kinda neat but, not all that. Then puts it in his pocket. PUT’S IT IN HIS POCKET!

I waited. I waited for the patriotic roar from the good Christian conservatives that have always valued our military’s sacrifice. I had no doubt the party of the grown ups was about to put this charlatan in his place. Yep, here it comes. How Dare you take a medal that you didn’t earn. HOW DARE YOU! CRICKETS! Frickin CRICKETS!

Then there was the video of this cruel man mocking a disabled reporter. I waited. Surely, someone on the right. Someone who loved Jesus would say something. Anything? Somebody? CRICKETS!

Then of course there was the famous or infamous “Grab em by the Pussy” statements. I mean Obama was slandered because an old angry preacher ranted. So, surely the party of good clean family values  would…Oh, hell never mind. Frankie Graham called him a baby Christian. I threw up a little in my mouth at that one.

Still, on the day of the election I could at least understand the honest concerns the republicans had with a Hilary presidency. She was arrogant and loose on matters of security. People were tired of the media’s “Ain’t we all cool democrats now” routine from the past 8 years and now Hilary and her “cool hollywood connections” didn’t seem to be playing well. Still, the debates showed a pig of a man with an IQ that seemed to consist of being reduced to six word responses or less. Still, I also understood the Clinton fatique. I voted for her but I held my nose while I did.

But, now with Russian ties to the election. A patriot named John McCain seems to be the only republican with the balls to say  the emperor has no clothes. Yet, lesser men and women than him are  savaging him for it. Lesser! Yeah you conservative snowflake that never fired a gun at anything bigger than a fricken deer. I’m saying a POW is better qualified than you and more decent to speak on national issues.

So, where are the grownups right now? Where are the people who say they place the good of the nation over political party? I tell you this generation will answer one day to the republicans of the 60’s and 70’s who said NO, but Hell no we will not hide a crook and harm the nation for the good of the party.

America needs you Howard Baker, Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson. Google is your friend for those who don’t know who these republicans are and were. God, does America need someone like these folks.

Truth is I don’t think America is kind anymore. I was in my late 50’s and out of work for a short time. It seemed like an eternity. I prayed in my own liberal, snowflake way and meditated and believed that my redeemer heard me even if it seemed like the world was falling. In the end I was able to get another job in my field even at my late age. But, let me tell you right before I got it some of the crap I heard.

Now, I was a person who had worked my whole adulthood for the most part. My child had Asthma and needed his inhaler and his doctor appointments. If it had not have been for All Kids which was part of the dreaded godless liberal agenda of Medicaid we would have been even more scared than we already were.

A good conservative Christian type said “We should shut down Medicaid” Now, I’m assuming he never lost a job or insurance. I’m assuming he didn’t have an elderly mother in a nursing home. I’m assuming if he had kids then they were all covered and good. I’m assuming he’s a @#$% Asshole.

So, anyway yeah I am concerned with the tone in my nation right now. You don’t have to agree with everything I say in order to be correct. I’m not much into political correctness myself. I have no white guilt or no blanket condemnation of law enforcement. I don’t think it’s harder to make it because of skin color and nothing else. I think money talks and poor white and poor Hispanic and poor blacks get it in the butt. Also, the struggling middle class. Because we are constantly one paycheck or one medical bill away from hurting badly.

Anyway, my point here is basically “Where are the grownups?” America needs you.

Monday, March 20, 2017



I don’t know if it’s true or not. Science? Does everything we can ever know about ourselves and reality have to be proven by the scientific method? If it does then doesn’t that mean that what we call the scientific method might have to be updated and adjusted for new data? Otherwise it becomes a religion doesn’t it? Like the Christians who say God never changes and therefore this 2000 to 6000 year old dogma is still up to date for modern society. Anyway, before I get off course let me get back to reincarnation. I don’t intend to share this with anybody unless they come across it on my blog. I don’t intend to post it to facebook where all my Christian friends will try to pray the devil out of me at best and disavow my very right to exist at worse. Where my scientifically inclined friends (I think I have a couple) will think I’m nuts to even think I’m more than the chemical reaction of an organic collection of matter and neural firings totally dependent on the existence of my body to exist at all and there is no other existence possible. So, I might just keep this one between me and God. I keep most of the deeper parts of myself between me and God anyway. Even the parts that are culturally or sexually provocative are pretty much kept between my own sense of self and my own sense of a greater ground of being. (God) so, what do I think reincarnation means?

Well first of all I don’t equate it with religion any more than I equate the eternal sense of I Am with religion. I sometimes hear people debate the honest questions of none intentional evolution with the neo Darwinian view that it’s all just a happy little accident. They do fine in my opinion because regardless of the accusatory cry of “stupid creationist” on the Darwinian side there really is an honest question as to intent in the universe. But, then the one questioning the straight materialist will go “But Jesus” which takes it out of honest intellectual discussion and paints them into the religion corner. Sorry, the bible says it, I believe it, that settles it, doesn’t work for me. Doesn’t work for anybody who honestly wants to think and figure out what life is about for each individual. One size doesn’t fit all. So, my thoughts on reincarnation likewise have to be separate from Buddhist or Hindu or new age dogma.
When I was a child I had a memory that I couldn't really understand. I "saw" an old man walking in to a room. Perhaps down some stairs (50 year old memories are fragile things) I knew somehow that the old man was going to sit in the chair and die. I felt a connection. There was a ticking clock and he (me?) I honestly don't know. Did sit down in the chair and die. I remember telling my mother about the memory. She dismissed it because none of my family (southern born and Christian to the core) had any concept of reincarnation. I don't think I had any concept of it when I first told my mother but later I must have read something about it. Most likely Edgar Cayce who ironically spent some time in Gadsden, Alabama which is the town I was born in. (No, I don't think I'm Edgar Cayce reborn.) Anyway, I must have read something about it because I went to my mother as a young person and showed her the top of my right hand. I have a birthmark there that looks like an age spot. Now, that I'm sixty I have age spots anyway. But, not back then. Her response was pretty much "get out of here. that's crazy" So, I put it on the back burner and went on with life.  I have also always hated ticking clocks. I would get in trouble with my mother and my sister and other family members because if they had a ticking clock in a room I would do my best to remove the battery or silence it in any way that I could. I still don't really like to be in a silent room with a ticking clock. I understand there are people with absolutely no past life belief's or memories that don't like ticking clocks. I'm just saying.
When I was really young I would be in bed and think about being on a raft in a raging river. I was safe on the raft and I would sometimes put my food on the edge of the bed for a thrill. Like it was dangerous. Now, I knew I wasn't really on a raft but it was at once scary and fun for me to play like I was. Many years later I read an account where Edgar Cayce (No, I'm not saying I knew him in a past life but this did honestly make me think) gave an account of a past life where he was with a group of people on a raft in a swift river.
I have always felt connected to certain people in my life. Even people who I would not really have much of a present life connection with. I have some really strong feelings about that but I won't go into them. I did meet someone in recent years who I can't even remember their name. But, the recognition was instant. I don't know them in this life and the meeting was really casual and quick but I just felt a knowing. Hard to explain if you have never experienced it.
I really tried to connect reincarnation with my Christian faith and when I honestly didn't think I could I tried really hard to demonize it. I read Frank Perriti a Christian writer who wrote a very entertaining novel about the evils of a Christian believing in reincarnation. I read the apologetics and decided that I would just have to be careful not to expose myself to the evils of new age stuff (though I and the Christian apologist seemed really fascinated by it.)
As a young adult in the 1980's I went to Montgomery, Alabama to attend a seminar put on by A.R.E. which is the Edgar Cayce group based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There was a lady there and this is how I remember it. I have already admitted that memory is an odd and at times unstable thing especially as years go by but this is how I remember it all these years later: A lady walks up to me. All 5 foot three of her. She has long brown hair and I have the thought "She was a man in a past life." "She was a warrior." Now, I don't know why and can't remember why. But, she comes up and says her husband is a professor at Auburn University and isn't really pleased with her attendance at this event. He would be ridiculed by his colleaque's at the university if they knew his wife was into this kind of woo woo stuff. But, she said "I was a man in a past life." "I was a warrior." She then went into some detail that I have forgotten over the years. Their were two memories from this event that I remember. One was the speaker who I have forgotten over the years. I should have been paying more attention but this was a lark on my part and so I was really more concerned with my old clunker car making the trip home than anything else being presented. Anyway, the speaker said although we would like to  think reincarnation is in the bible and was removed from it. The truth is we don't really have any hard evidence for that. I think her honesty was admirable. The final incident that I remember concerned an old man. He was close to the end of that lifetime and some people were around him praying. I  remember praying that if this really was "of the devil" that God would have mercy on him because they weren't Christian. (remember when I  tell you I was steeped in bible belt Christianity I'm not lying.)
Another thing that happened to me as a young adult. Again, I think it was the mid to late 80's or very early 90's. Most likely 80's. I had written the great researcher at the University of Virginia Doctor Ian Stevenson. I had read some of his work concerning reincarnation and I was asking him about intelligent people believing in God or any other so called supernatural reality. I was going through a very questioning time in my life where it seemed like only superstitious and unintelligent people could believe in spiritual matters. I really needed to hear a person of education tell me it wasn't completely idiotic to have hope beyond these few short years of this life. I really wish I had kept his letter. But, I didn't. So, all I have is a memory of it. It was short and to the point. Some very intelligent people including some scientist believe in God. Other's don't. It has nothing to do with being intelligent. Believe it or not this helped me immensely. It gave me permission to at least think about these things without having to leave my brain at the door.
I have no religion to sell to you. I have no burning desire to prove to you I'm right. For one thing I haven't proved it to myself. But, it works to an extent for me. It makes sense (to me) that the eternal essence of who I am isn't decided by the sperm lottery at birth. Still, there is much new agey baggage that comes with these thoughts. Much like religion it has stuff like "everything is planned before birth." I  find that extremely insulting and cruel. I can say that I don't believe the Jewish people planned being burned in ovens by Nazi's or that black people planned to be slaves or that children planned to be raped by adults. I could go on and on. But, that doesn't touch the core reality of the possibility of reincarnation any more than creationism or neo Darwinism touches the reality of evolution.
At the start of this blog I said I would not share it on facebook or any other place except my blog. But, now that I look at it I don't think it's all that scandalous. I didn't name names except for myself and public figures (which I'm surely not.) I don't think I've tried to beg for someone to agree with me nor have I disrespected anyone else. So, I think I will share this after all.

Finally, please understand I mean no disrespect to any of my friends or families faith. I understand how you feel. Please understand me. I have the t-shirt so don't try to convert me to save my soul back to a fundamentalist view of God or Christianity.

As my grandma Snead on my dad's side once told me. "Stevie if you belong to Christ nobody can undo that. So, don't tell me you or the bible feel I have fallen or backslidden." So, understand I have my own understanding of who I am. You don't get to judge and you don't get to pound me over the head with a 6000 year old collection of sacred writings that you don't understand completely yourself. Also, to my more science oriented friends. I have considered atheism. It doesn't work for me. You can put lipstick on a corpse but it's still a corpse. So, you don't get to pound me over the head with "It's Science" as if science were a single entity that answers to that name.

 I in return will not try to  tell anybody else that what I have written about is absolute or even correct. I reserve the right to be wrong. But, I don't  think I am wrong. After all it's my opinion at this part of my journey. In the end all we have is our own inner life that we can share with others who are graceful enough to want us to share. I believe in prayer. I believe in meditation. I believe there is more to us than brain farts or neural firings that somehow produce this entity I call myself. I also believe in medical science and biology and that quantum science is fascinating and that we need to watch our footprint that we are leaving on the earth.

Monday, March 6, 2017

My Place

During my morning check in with The Ground of My Being/God/Source. I was thinking about what kind of being I am. Now, I have left much of my religious dogma behind. I just can’t pretend to believe in something that I no longer accept as true just to fit in or get a pat on the head from a church or a group of people. I haven’t become an atheist. I don’t believe that way has any hope and it’s like becoming a meatbot or a brain fart. It’s not something I would ever aspire to even if it were true. I wouldn’t be joyfully acting as if it were good news. You can put lipstick on a corpse but it’s still a corpse. However, I no longer believe in a superman in the sky with a big S under his cloak and a rule book in his hand just waiting for me to screw up. So, that’s the fast version of some of my morning thoughts.

I’m not mad at religion. I’m not mad at the church and I have no horror stories of hypocrites or pedophiles or false prophets that caused me to lose my faith. I didn’t lose my faith. My faith is in the ever present dialog that I’ve had ever since I can remember. I have a quick story that has been the one absolute of my whole life. It started as a child and it developed during all the stages of my life including the Christian as well as the so called secular stage. It’s still developing. But, here’s the short version.

1968- 69-70 or somewhere in there. I’m 11,12 or 13 years old. Time is funny once you get older. My favorite author Stephen King once said something to the effect of “Once you reach 60 the expiration date expires.” I’m getting there. Fast. Matter of fact I have around 41 days left to say I’m in my 50’s. Yikes!

Anyway, there I am a young kid and I hear a Sunday School sermon in my local Southern Baptist church about how God can forgive anything except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Well, being a very inquisitive child and a voracious reader with a very vivid imagination you can imagine (or if your lucky you can’t) the immediate thoughts and scenes and stuff I’d rather not even approach that went through my young mind. I was horrified. I was pretty sure I was about to be damned to eternal torment in flames of fire because of my thoughts. My “what if I thought or said this or that?” Ahh, intelligence. It can be a two edged sword to say the least.

So, as I’ve done my entire life I had to get away with my thoughts and be by myself. So, I go into the backyard and turn this situation over in my mind. I also begin talking to God as best I understood god to be back in those days.  But, here’s where it gets better. Right after it got worse. I’m praying and telling God that I really don’t want to be burned forever because of my thoughts and I really couldn’t help having thoughtsandohpleaseohpleaseohpleastdonthateme.

I get calm. I see a room and a couch. It’s my place. It’s his place. I’m safe. I hear a thought. It goes “I’m here and I know you.” “I’m not a fortune teller” “I’m not outside somewhere judging you as a person who doesn’t know you.” “Those thoughts you’re having are directed at me. So, you just sit here. See the door over there?” I thought yes. “Well, look outside the door. They’re beating on it.” “I’ll answer it.”

Instant Relief! The Holy Spirit, God will answer it.

So, from that moment on Everytime the intrusive and scary  thoughts came I would find my/our room. I would sit down and let him answer them.

So, yeah I believe in God. Now has my life been a barrel of roses? Of course not. I  don’t have an instant get out of jail free card. I don’t have absolute faith and I don’t have a box to put faith in. But, I have seen my room and my space and it’s wonderful. I’ve been attacked and abused and some have tried to throw me to the gutter. But, everytime I’ve been able to get to my space. My place, our place.

So, no I don’t believe because the bible says so or a preacher says so or I’m prone to accept fairy tales and wishful thinking more than the next guy. I believe because I have at a young age touched fear and came away with the hope of the infinite.

So, no I don’t need a preacher or a guru to teach me what I have already been given. I know I sound like a heretic to some and a space cadet to others. But, I have this place that I can be honest and whole and have a little touch of home while I’m still on the journey.