GROWING OLD IS NO FUN!

Sguitarmajicomeday, I want to find the person who coined the phrase, “The Golden Years” just to ask where they think all that “Gold” is! That has to be a prank or someone’s idea of a bad joke! Nowhere these days, do I see too much gold and whoever has it, is hanging on to it for dear life!

Today I met my old drummer and bass player at a local restaurant for a little lunch and a giant rehash of what things used to be like during the “good old days!” Sadly enough, it seems that we spent more time talking about cholesterol and blood pressure pills than we did the “Good Old Days” but we gave it our best shot!

We did manage to talk about all the bands we played in when we were young and all the different places we played that are dusty used car lots now, or pizza joints or thrift stores or whatever. We talked and laughed about what brand of cigarettes we smoked and why we smoked them, (Parliament had the recessed filter!) our most favorite (or unfavorite) songs, our favorite drinks, cars with fender skirts, glass pack mufflers and sun visors! Premium gasoline was 26 cents per gallon and somebody was there to “fill ‘er up” for you!  God, what memories! Any way you looked at it, the whole night club and restaurant industry in this town that used to employ so many of us, is now just a collection of ghosts, smoky dusty memories stored up on the shelves of our minds, growing older and dustier with every passing day.

We talked about the clubs, the songs, and the bandstands, the beads, the bell bottoms and bouffants, and what a thrill it was to be up on top of Lookout Mountain with your favorite girl, (or someone else’s girl if you were into living dangerously!) and that long drive back down the mountain to get her home before the sun came up! Aaahh, the good old days!

Now, almost before we know it, we’ve arrived at the autumn of our years. The “Gold” is fading, the bass player is on a walker, the drummer imageshas just come from a doctor appointment, and mine isn’t scheduled until Monday! We still disagree on lots of stuff but we do agree that if things get tough, our “anti science,” “neanderthalic” congress with it’s lofty 7% approval ratings might be qualified to get a job as door stops somewhere! No more wars? No way? Immigration reform? Are you kidding? Improve our education system? When pigs fly! And on it goes until we came to something I really hadn’t given too much thought. Amendment 64.

Amendment 64 is the 2013 ruling that said it was OK to purchase marijuana for recreational use and, at the same time, it gave the OK to farmers to grow it’s more straight laced cousin, industrial hemp commercially in Colorado. Although there are still “t’s” to be crossed and “i’s” to be dotted, the fact that we may have a cash crop here with a whole myriad of possible uses (one being a synthetic fuel,) it just might be one of the first bright pictures we’ve had on our agricultural horizon for a long time. This is in contrast to Oklahoma whose number one industry these days rather than drilling for oil and fracking, is the door-to-door selling of Earthquake Insurance! I know I’m talking too much ’cause it could happen here, but if industrial hemp can be anywhere near the commercial success of it’s cousin, recreational marijuana, and we can just keep our congress from meddling, who knows, we might be able to put Colorado on a profitable path and help see our way around problems like overhauling our education system and actually tackling this global warming thing! Just sayin’!

Send me your comments and critiques. I’ll certainly read them all and if I can use them, I surely will.

Thanks again,

Rod

 

 

 

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CHANGE THE DAY WITH MARY J!

image 1In the past few days, our country, and I must admit, myself personally have had things revealed to us that I previously might not have envisioned. The first is a story by one of New York’s most preeminent writers, Maureen Dowd, who made the long pilgrimage out here to Denver not to sample the skiing, but the other product we’re now famous for. That would be recreational marijuana.

After arriving in Denver, Miss Dowd checked into a motel (or hotel) and met someone who took her to one of our many marijuana outlets. As I understand it, she purchased a marijuana laced chocolate bar and went on about her business. When she got back to where she was staying, Maureen then made the mistake that all rookies seem to make, and that is if one bite tastes good, two is better, and if I’m not mistaken, she went on to eat the whole thing!

image 2The rest, you can look up on Google. Whether she meant it to be or not, her recount of her first day as a Colorado Pothead is probably the funniest thing she’s ever written! I only want to say on behalf of every other Colorado Pothead who’s done exactly the same thing; Welcome to the Club Maureen! We’re happy you could join us! Next time you decide to sample the local wares, bring it over to my house and I’ll be happy to help you interpret the directions. There’s really only one other thing to remember, after the first couple of bites, if you get the munchies, THE COUCH IS MINE!

The other story that really caught my attention this week, was the way the war hawks are screaming about the way President Obama ended our war activity in Iraq and the developments since then. First, we must remember the two prominent tribes in Iraq, (at least the two major ones who really hate each other) were kept in line for years by a brutal despot named Saddam Hussein. A few years ago the two guys in charge of our country (one who avoided military service with his five deferments and the other whose military career consisted of hiding behind daddy’s coattails,) decided Hussein was a problem with far too much oil under his greasy fingertips. A story about “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” was cooked up and fed to the public, and the rest as they say, is history.

Once Hussein was gone, it was only a question of time (and circumstance) before those two warring tribes came together, rekindled their hatred which goes back hundreds of years and, began killing each other again. The war hawks in our country who don’t trust our President anyway, want to go back over there and jump in. The only problem is, after spending two trillion dollars, killing over 4,000 of our kids, and permanently wounding hundreds of thousands of others mentally and physically, there is no appetite for it. Chief among the war hawks is Senator McCain who I have previously referred to as Mr. Magoo. His number one problem is, where’s he going to get an army? Well… here’s my solution to his guns and manpower problem. Remember, you heard it here on AAS first!

image 3What Magoo (McCain) needs to do, is round up about a million NRA members who get off on strutting around, showing off their assault weapons and flashing their extended magazines. Since they don’t need any more guns, all they have to do is dress up in the uniforms thrown on the ground by the Shiite guys who thought they were bad and found out they weren’t! The Koch brothers can finance everything, and Magoo gets his chance to show Obama how you really git ‘er done! The War Hawks will be ecstatic, the NRA gets it’s reward, Obama can actually get to work on global warming, and the rest of us can all say Amen! Case closed.

Please send me your comments and critiques. I’ll read them all and if I can use them, I surely will.

Thanks again

Rod

PLAYING THE BLUES AWAY AT THE DENVER VA!

militaryThe VA in Denver is an impressive place in many different ways. Your first thought when you’re introduced to it, is how well it seems to run even though it’s stuffed to the rafters with the traffic of caregivers and those seeking medical aid. It’s also a little intimidating with all the little nooks and crannies and elevators and floors and hallways, and the first thought through your mind is, “How the hell am I supposed to find my way around this maze?” On closer inspection you realize that every square inch of this building is being used for something and sometimes two or three something’s and the message comes through loud and clear as to why a new facility is drastically needed and being built.

Your second impression is the realization of the awesome number of people who go through this place every day. It’s not only just those who are requesting help but those who are providing it. Everywhere you look you see patients and family members, doctors, nurses, assistants, orderlies, janitors and just about anyone you could imagine who can be of assistance hustling up and down the hallways on a single mission to provide help and aid to those in need. It’s really no wonder you hear the stories about a visit to the VA being an all-day process but the thought that sits deepest within you is that no where do you see sloppy work or people who might look as though they don’t give a damn about the job they have or the people they serve.

After your initial obligatory number of dead ends and wrong turns, you finally come to the office of the man who heads up the volunteer department at the VA. His name is Jack Fletcher and if he wasn’t a drill sergeant in a past life he missed a hell of a chance! Actually, he’s a nice guy and after getting my guitar case stuff stashed in a little closet, we headed upstairs to the 4th floor where he turned me loose.

As is typical of any older building the hallways are a little narrower and because of patient conditions there are more quarantine signs on doors. This means that many times you end up playing out in the hallways but when you do, the response is overwhelming. Not only are the patients inside the rooms encouraging (“Hey man, you know Stairway to Heaven?”) but sometimes even the janitors have requests! I had one room where the patient had a guitar of his own and wanted me to hang on a minute while he got in tune so we could play together. (“Hey man, you know any Clapton?”) You have to be careful not to let it get too far out of hand, because if you do, it would end up being a giant jam session and the whole object of playing “healing” music would easily get lost in the shuffle.

I’ve been playing a long time, rodeos and races, hotels and honkytonks, and plenty of other stuff in between, but I’ve never felt more accepted and welcomed than this VA hospital right here in Denver, Colorado. It’s not that other facilities don’t make you feel welcome as well, I believe it’s that thing of people feeling your music coming from the heart, and that you’ve actually come up there to play for them and want to help that makes the whole thing feel very special indeed.
Last but not least, I hope you like the look of our new site. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’re biting off when you decide to rebuild one of these things. It has definitely made some of my white hair a little whiter, but we’re going to be here for a while and I hope you like it.

Please send your comments and critiques. I’ll read them all and if I can use them, I surely will.

Thanks again
Rod