I first published this on April 20, 2016 on my WordPress page, I now repost this piece with an addendum.
Some of what is written below may piss off or annoy a few people. If what I write offends you, please unfriend me and block me if you have to. At this point I don’t care who I offend or who I please, I must stay true to myself and my beliefs.
The Common Man
In this age of celebrity worship, overpaid and over-egoed athletes, and the divisive chicanery of the mountebanks that pass for politicians. We the people of the United States of America have forgotten our roots. The Common Man!
The Common Men and Women are who built this country, not the bloated “billionaire real-estate investor”, or the Wall Street stock broker, or the other white collar criminals of the world. No the real builders of this country is the guy with the tool belt and bills, the single mom with thankless officejob, the nurse with sore feet, and too little sleep, the over worked and underpaid teacher, the bus driver, the server, the cop, the fireman, the guy who takes away your garbage so you don’t have too; the list goes on. These are the women and men that made America great.
When I was kid I was taught to respect everyone, because everyone had a purpose in this world, especially those who put their blood, sweat, tears, back, mind and soul into a job; many times jobs that nobody else wanted to do. They earned that respect because they did what they did and didn’t expect praise or reward. All they wanted was a decent way to live and to pursue the American dream, “
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, but what they most importantly wanted to provide for their families. It wasn’t (for the most part) about who had the biggest house, the shiniest car, or whose wife had the biggest boobs. It was
about being happy and being a decent person. The greedy people have always been amongst us, but the truth was they weren’t really respected and were looked at with an eye of suspicion.
The Common Person is who made America great, it was these people who made our way of life possible. But somewhere along the way we got bedazzled and star-struck and the charlatans slowly took over. Convincing us that if you’re not rich or a celebrity you’re not worthy of respect, or love , or admiration or even a decent living. That needs to end!
Professional athletes and movie stars are over payed and over praised. Bankers, stock brokers
and “investors” are wolves in sheep’s clothing, veracious predators who look at you as if you were prey. They are often indifferent to our problems and/or out of touch with the realities of the real world.
America is Great to say otherwise is an insult! However we are going through growing pains…again. If we want to keep America great, we ought to pay attention to what’s going on and take care of the people who truly make this country. The little guy, the Common Man, the Common Woman, you and me. Build up the Unions and keep big business the right size, build up education, the arts and make sports an extra-curricular activity again. Stop praising the celebrities, idiotic reality TV stars and the uber-rich, and start praising the educators, scientist, inventors again, but most importantly start respecting the working stiff again; the men and
women that bring home a pay check and hope it is enough to make the ends meet somewhere in the middle. In other words respect your friends, family and yourself again. We all are on this boat together it is up to us to keep it afloat.
Doug B. © April 20, 2016
(Fanfare for the Common Man ~ Aaron Copland)
Addendum June 1, 2017: We are being held hostage by a mad man egomaniac, out of touch with reality, in the back pocket of Russia and with a cult following that is incredibly dangerous and blind to the fact that they are the ones who are going to the biggest victims of his insanity.
We are rapidly losing our standing in the world! This isn’t a conservative problem, or a liberal problem, a Republican problem or a Democrat problem, this is an American problem. We need to put aside the party first politics and become Americans again. Hopefully we can take control of the country again. The Senate, the House of Representatives, state legislators, governors, mayors and even the President work for us. It is time to remind these people who they work for. Work for us or you get the boot!
Doug B. © 2017
I belong to several artist and writer groups on Facebook. The purpose of these groups is to share, our work and give each other positive feedback on our work. Also we share ideas and in some groups we even have prompts, challenges. I am a member of many these groups and I have benefited from these groups in many ways.
I have noticed is a lot of my fellow artist have been complaining about writer’s block, artist’s block and depression from lack inspiration. I have been experiencing this phenomenon too. It started in September for me but I have noticed an increase in this problem among others too.
It is my opinion that this has been exasperated by the results of the election. Many artist are fearful right now of what is going to become of our country, of our rights, of our ability to make a living. These are indeed dark and frightful times for all of us. But it has occurred to me that it our duty as creators of beauty, joy and general distraction to do our duty to create defenses against and to mock the monsters and demons at the gate.
In emergencies we are advised to put the lifejacket or oxygen mask on or selves first and help others next. Well this is an emergency my friends and it is time for us to put on the “oxygen mask” and help others.
What can we do as artist to get out of this collective rut and do what we were called to do? It is time for us to step up and fight with the weapons we have. Time to prove there are good and beautiful things in the world and to take the power away from the ugly and bitter things in this world.
What are some of things you do to get back in the groove? What do you do to get inspired or stay inspired? What can we do to help each other?
Living in tent in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, is cold and miserable on long December nights. The Sonoran Desert is a wonderland of dusty ugly beauty; with flora of Saguaro Cactus, Sage Brush, and the Deadly Cholla, and fauna of Dirty Hippies, Burnt-Out D-Bags and Retirees! Central Arizona is the refuge for Old Minnesotans and Retired Canadians, Want-to-be Outlaws, and the Purposely Disaffected; an unorthodox mix of the absurd and the pathetic!
Christmas in the desert is spent fighting with old people at the Walgreen’s, terrorizing the retired Canadians at Captain’s in Apache Junction. My nights filled with sorting through the spoils of the day. Dumpster diving, ground scores, pool hustling dividends add up. I drank red wine to fight the chill of the night and ate the little red and yellow pills to fight sleep…wasteful sleep…dangerously over rated sleep! I must stay awake…must stay alert…the Coyotes and the stoned beer stealing Hippies sneak into camp at night.
My nightly vigil of staring at the stars, tending the fire, and heavy drinking, while waiting for them…the unlikely axis…my foes…the Coyotes and Hippies. Both can be heard in the distance…singing and drumming! The glare of the drum circle fire glowing on the horizon while the thumps of doumbek and farting whistle of didgeridoo assault the night as their canine cousins cry out for the moon! The fleeting glance of a lone Coyote scout is occasionally spotted. But my camp is safe as long as the Hippies are making their pointless noise.
The moon rises higher and the glow from the drum circle dims and the Coyotes edge closer as the thumping drums and the farts of the Didgeridoos decline; the nightly Bacchanalia winds down and the wildlife relax as the human animals tire-out.
All seems peaceful as I climb into the tent and zip the flap against the nights chill, but slumber won’t come, (too much speed and too many thoughts) but the bed’s warmth and wine is welcomed. I listen to the Coyote songs getting louder as the drums and didgeridoos die. The Hippies in their Ganja and drum induced haze stumble off into the dark to their yurts and tents. Thankfully the natural sounds and rhythms of the desert quietly return.
As I lay in my sleeping bag fighting the cold and insane thoughts, a feeling of mid-grade alert over powers the silence of the night. The aroma of pretension, unwashed pits, patchouli, bong water and Dirt Weed offend the night air; the unmistakable shuffle of a shirtless, dread-locked, hypocritical, preachy monster entering my camp. There arose such a clatter on this “Silent Night” around my desert domicile a filthy Hippy stumbles and curses under his breath. I could hear and smell the beast rummaging through my stash. I wait until he finally finds the ice chest and spring from my tent, “Get out of my beer you bastard!” I commanded. “Hey man a community shares with each other!” the Hippy self-righteously replied, “Especially during the holiday season!” “Members of a community don’t steal from each other!” I proclaim. The hippie exclaims “You’re a fascist asshole! You just don’t get it Man!” The socio-economic philosophical debate was cut short by a well-aimed whiskey bottle to the filthy dread-locked head. The Dread-locked Prophet retreated into the night; his head knotted pain. His whiskey bumped brow to warn his Hippy brothers and sisters. My beer, wine, weed and cookies were safe one more night, no freebees for hippies this “Silent” night.
The Coyotes observed the short lived battle of the Stoned versus the Wasted, with bemused interest! They shook their fuzzy heads and laughed a mocking high-pitched cry at the “Humans” and their folly! The Coyote Leader gave orders to avoid the Mean One’s tent and charge the Hippies yurts instead. The Coyotes invaded the Hippies’ encampment with yelping gleeful intent!
Sleep finally came as I listened to the din of yelping from the other camp. I slept a self-assured sleep knowing I would wake to an intact safe camp.
A bright beautiful day waited, after of night of others’ carnage! And as I slipped off into stupefied slumber I thought I heard sleigh bells and jolly voice proclaim, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!”
Doug B. © 2015
If you are going to wear the Santa suit please be on your best behavior. There is nothing cute or funny about a drunken asshole Santa. When you put on that suit you are taking on the responsibility to carry the illusion! Christmas is a magical time. Kids don’t need to learn about Santa from watching some dude in a Santa suit puking on the sidewalk.
The same goes for women dressing up as Mrs. Clause or elves or reindeer or etc. There is nothing cute or funny about sexy or slutty versions of these costumes either.
The excuse “Well it’s just harmless fun!” Doesn’t cut it either. Kids are watching and nothing destroys the illusion quicker than Santa smoking a Marlboro, chugging a long neck and grabbing a boob. It is obscene!
Larry Jefferson aka Santa Clause at The Mall of America
I have played Santa during the holidays and I always conducted myself accordingly even when the gig was at “adult” parties, I felt it was my responsibility to act accordingly, after all Saint Nicholas is an actual saint have some respect no matter what your beliefs are, kids are watching they don’t need the magic of Christmas and the Holidays shredded just because you’re having “fun”! If you want to get wasted and make an ass out of yourself, you can do that in regular clothes. If you absolutely have to wear a costume; dress like the Grinch or Krampus or anything else!
Jolly, jovial and fun do not equal drunk, loud and obnoxious!
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Doug B. © 2016
I stumbled across this today. I suppose that means I am to post it again. I originally posted this on December 1, 2007 on my old MySpace page. It is about a hero of mine. I hope you enjoy it.
Ode to Mr. Knievel
How to Un-lock Your Inner-Evel Knievel
Robert “Evel” Knievel passed away yesterday (November 30, 2007) at the age of sixty nine. Due to complications of living and I dare say living a very full and fun life!
Evel was born in Butte, Montana on October 17, 1938. He was raised by his grandparents. Evel was survived by two ex-wives, 4 children and 10 grand and great-grand children. He was an out standing track and field athlete in high school, a champion ski jumper, a semi-pro hockey player, painter and The World’s Greatest Daredevil.
Evel was a man’s man, a ladies man and a real man. Guys we could all take a lesson form Mr. Knievel! Evel didn’t know the meaning of the phrases “You can’t do that, because…” or “that’s impossible”, after hearing that he would do it anyway.
Despite the fact he was not an engineer he would figure out how to jump the 14 Greyhound busses, the tank of sharks or what ever supposedly insane thing he was going to do. Evel rode stripped down Harleys (some of them AMF hogs, eek!) which in the70’s where not equipped with springs or shocks of any type. They where built out of tube steel and cast iron. These bikes after being stripped down still weigh 60 to 125 pounds more than the modern motocross bikes used today. Evel supervised the erecting of the ramps and maintenance of the bikes.
On the day of the show he would take a shot or two of Jack Daniels climb out of his custom built Mack RV and pull some awesome wheelies say a few words of inspiration to the crowd with the Wide World of Sports interviewer. Then he get back on his bike race around the arena pop some more wheelies then run up the take-off ramp and stop at the top. There he would survey the situation, rev his bike a couple times; give the crowd thumbs up. At that he let the bike roll down the ramp backwards as the crowd roared and flashed the cameras. Evel would take the speed up run and do the jump. Ninety nine percent of the time he did the jump perfectly, but sometimes he crashed. Thus causing the 40 or 50+ broken bones and other injuries he endured in his life time.
I had the privilege of wittiness one of Evil’s stunts once. It was wonderful and beautiful. It was at the annual “Destruction Derby and Thrill Show”. This event happened at the new and very modern Astrodome in the early 70’s. The show featured the Destruction Derby (another story of redneck-white trashdom, I’ll explain latter), The Joey Chitwood Driving Daredevil Team, and Evel Knievel Stunt Show featuring George Hamilton.
This was a yearly event for my family. I was about eight or nine and an hyper-active overly smart wild child. I loved this annual pilgrimage more than anything else in the world. This was more important than even the beach or riding my own motor bike, which if you knew me when I was younger this would mean a lot to you. I loved car crashes, motorcycles, and dumb-ass stunts and still do. So this was Mecca for me.
I was especially excited about seeing Evel. He was (and is) my hero (him and Dean Martin) and I was on the edge of my seat. I love Joey Chitwood, The Destruction Derby, the Thrill Show but all I was interested in was Evel’s Jump!
Would he make it, would he crash, would he get injured, would he get killed, who is this George Hamilton guy, why the Hell is a spider monkey riding a mini-bike jumping 19 Tonka Trucks is in anyway important to my life, “Don’t you fucks realize Evel is here!” I screamed under my breath, so my very strict, very religious parents could not hear.
Anyway to cut a long story short, the show was pretty good. Come to find out George Hamilton was there because they were filming “Evel Knievel Forever” (a very cool and cheesy movie) and they wanted a record breaking jump shot and lots of camera flashes. Evel and Mr. Hamilton came out of Evel’s RV they hopped on the stripped down Harleys. Evel and George did the runs and wheelies together. Mr. Hamilton actually pulled off some fairly good wheelies for a “Drama Queen”.
Evel went up the ramp and stopped at the end surveyed, gave the speech and the thumbs up! We the audience did our part and went wild. Evel let his bike roll backwards down the ramp. Then he made his run and the jump. It was prefect. It was one of the greatest moments in my young life.
I wish I could have seen Mr. Knievel jump something(s) more than once. I also know my early fascination with Evel, helped shape my life as a man, non-conformist, clown, student, entertainer, artist, etc. for a life time.
Below I posted a few of Evel’s paintings. His is work impressive for a guy who thumbed his nose at death everyday of his life:
September 11th, 2001 at 8:46 a.m. the world changed.
Nine years and five hours and seventy eight minutes later,
9/11 happened again, although the world it impacted small,
The changes were dramatic, shattering; but strangely positive.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. a new life began.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. a new path.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. a foggy haze.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. unforgettable change.
1962 a life that began with such promise and dreams,
Diverted paths at the age of nine; although innocently.
A taste of beer began a lifelong chase…a quest.
A first joint, a first drunk, a first black-out. Euphoria.
A boy’s first love was chemical induced euphoria.
Years past and his lover treated him well; so it seemed.
But there were clues of what was yet to come even at 14.
A lust for learning, a dissatisfaction of how things are.
Feeling out of place, awkward and alone, so old yet so young.
Fights, trouble and danger felt adventurous and natural.
The awkward boy was becoming a troubled man.
A part of yet separated from all who loved him.
Double, triple and quadruple lives, lived in tandem by one.
Brushes with the law, brushes with death, brushes with reality.
Fast cars, insane motorcycles, adrenaline and other men’s women.
Homelessness, yet not feeling homeless. Lonely, yet never alone.
The boy/man was full of emptiness, but always thirsty for more.
Ravenous, afraid and tired; more afraid of living than dying.
10 years, 20 years, 30 plus years of living yet not being alive.
Dead soulless, lost, faithless, paying for suicide on the installment plan.
The chemical lover no longer cared. No longer worked.
Enough was never enough. Hope, happiness and peace moved away.
True love, true friends were pushed away, in favor of morning wine.
Shaky hands and body, dark eyes and unexplained bruises.
No sleep, no rest, no love, no forgiveness and SHE no longer worked.
The lover, the false god, demanded tribute! First his soul, then the liver,
The mind, the confidence, the honor, the truth, the bowels, the nerves.
SHE wanted it all! His life, his heart and soul was hers. He was dead.
The jumping off point was near. The cross roads was here.
Death would have come, but Fate’s intervention in seconds and inches.
A morning of drinking, followed by an afternoon of the same.
Blackout, a waking crash, red and blue lights and handcuffs.
In an instant 39 years of abuse and chasing bliss ended
In a twinkling everything changed, everything was different.
The true enemies were exposed. The victim was self and ego.
All seemed lost and over. But in truth everything just began.
September 11th, 2010, was just another day, until 2:24 p.m.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. was the end of an old life.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. was the trail-head of the new.
September 11th, 2010 at 2:24 p.m. was emancipation.