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Maverick is the name…

July 21st, 2014 No comments

When I was a kid, Sunday night television started after dinner with Walt Disney, then shows my parents liked. Saturday and Sunday nights were the family nights because dad worked 3 – 11. There were great shows back then, that, even as a child, I enjoyed too. It was quality writing and acting. The Defenders, Perry Mason and others, but my favorite was always Maverick.

The situations in which brothers Brett, Bart and Beau would find themselves were always entertaining.

Over the years, and different television series I finally realized what I really liked was a certain kind of character. It was that nice guy who would really rather not get involved but who had a moral and ethical center that always made him do the right thing. And there was a lovely lady in distress… like it or not, they always came to the rescue.

I think of that character as the Brett Maverick, Jim Rockford, Travis McGee personality. But nobody did it better than James Garner as Brett Maverick.
He passed away a couple days ago and I was genuinely saddened.

While I sat at the computer and thought of the many different roles he played on television and in film, I decided to go to Wikipedia to check it out. I’ll give you the link in case you would like to visit yourself, but here, in a very impressive nutshell are his numbers:
He starred in several television series over more than five decades, most notably Maverick and The Rockford Files,
Garner also starred in more than 50 films, including The Great Escape (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964), Grand Prix (1966), Blake Edwards’ Victor Victoria (1982), Murphy’s Romance (1985), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, Space Cowboys (2000), and The Notebook (2004).

Pretty impressive body of work.

He always had that sly smile that made you feel like you were on the inside of an inside joke. You almost could not help but like him. They don’t make many like James Garner. I’m certainly glad I could enjoy his talents during my lifetime. So long, Jim…

Feel Good Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014 No comments

Summer vacation is nearly half over, depending on when your kids go back to school. Through the heat and the rain, it’s still all good.

This morning I played tennis with my buddies in Plantation and, at Central Park, where I play, they have a young person’s tournament going on. Between the teenagers, their parents, friends, coaches and judges, it’s a fairly hectic atmosphere. We were bumped from one court to a different court to accommodate the competitors. No problem. We are old guys who rather enjoy watching the youngsters coming up in the game as they hone their skills and dream of incredible futures.

Central Park in Plantation, Florida is a remarkable facility and in addition to the tennis tournament going on this week, there was a swim meet taking place at the aquatic facility across the parking lot. There were literally hundreds of cars and streams of competitors and their support teams making their way to the appropriate field, or pool, lay it all out there in search of victory. I love that.

For me… that’s the problem with the recent World Cup. (Yawn). For me sports is about victory or defeat. I want a winner and a loser. As proud as American Soccer fans were about how well our team represented the nation, I still can’t figure out how they lose and move on to the next round. I don’t understand games ending in a 0-0 tie. Somebody fix that for Christ’s sake. And while you’re at it, fix hockey, too. If you’re not going to be eliminated, why give your all?

In tennis, I warm up for a few minutes, but I want to get to the playing part. Here’s the difference. I don’t run down every shot during warm up. If it’s out of my reach, why bother. Now if there is a point at stake, I move my feet and my ass in every effort to make the play and win the rally. It’s as simple as that.

So here I am this morning leaving the park after losing straight sets. I really let my partner down today. Lost the second set in a tiebreaker. More like a heartbreaker. As I’m winding my way through the incoming traffic and myriad parked cars, I couldn’t help but think how great it is to have a superior park system and opportunities for kids, (and seniors) to get out and play, be with friends, make friends, compete and, no matter how you define it, try to be the best you can be. It’s a beautiful thing.

So you wonder what I feel good about today? In a word…EVERYTHING.

The Infernal Revenue Service

July 17th, 2014 No comments

Due to a misunderstanding, I have a rather substantial obligation to an agency of the United States Government which due to potential repercussions, I prefer to leave nameless. What I’ll do is change the name to protect the guilty. I’ll call them The Infernal Revenue Service.

After having discussions with numerous agencies within this Super Agency, I have made no progress in over a year of trying to make a deal with them. Monday, I showed up to speak with someone face to face. I arrived at 10:00 in the morning and they informed me they had no one available to see me until after 3:30 that afternoon. Could I come back then? I replied I had a job that not only helped me pay my back debt, but at the same time created a new income stream for them by providing additional taxable income; an absolute win/win for The Infernal Revenue Service.

This morning I set my clock for 6:30 so I could be there in line by 7:30 and could, hopefully, see someone today. At 7:30 I was number 15 in line. At 8:30 they allowed the first 10 people in line to enter the building and escape the heat and humidity that was making the wait outside nearly unbearable. By this time there were another 30+ people behind me in line.

I get in. My call number is #909. They immediately call #402. I think I’m going to die here. But it turns out all the numbers were not in order. Leave it to the government to make things run smoothly. At least I’m sitting and there is AC.

Finally, I get called and the lady behind the glass was wonderful. Yeah. Surprised me too.

After explaining the situation and what I hoped to accomplish, we came up with a solution that although, not exactly what I wanted, was acceptable to them and to me. But…

I had to leave. Go to my bank and bring them a Cashier’s Check, because they don’t take debit/credit cards. The lovely lady behind the glass did give me a “Get out of Jail Free” that allowed me to return without waiting another hour in line.

I give her the check. She’s happy. I’m not happy, but slightly content that I’m finally making progress towards ending this showdown.

As she sets me up for an on-line payment account, she mentions there is a fee to do this. I’m thinking it’s about $20 for a simple software app to do this in about a nanosecond, but it’s $120. But the good news is… they will deduct it from my first payment. Jump for friggin’ joy.

So progress has been made. I was compelled to write this out of aggravation. I have no doubt since it reflects negatively on an agency of the Federal Government, that they are watching, reading and probably tapping my phone. I will probably go to prison or be shot/hanged/lethally injected for daring to question my government that gives billions of dollars to foreign countries that hate us, but won’t listen to a simple explanation of how a simple mistake created thousands of dollars of debt for me and show a modicum of understanding and forgiveness.

Remember the old Peter Sellers movie, The Mouse that Roared, about Grand Fenwick, the tiny, insolvent country that declared war on America, then immediately surrendered and collected foreign aid? I think I’m taking my bean shooter and squirt gun and heading for Washington.

WEiRd WeDneSDaY, July 16, 2014- Almost Weird Thursday

July 16th, 2014 No comments

(Because of Usedtoy becoming a papaw, Weird Wednesday is a little late.)

It’s time for another installment of Weird Wednesday at Bolognabrain.com. Be forewarned, some of these stories are so ridiculously stupid you may actually scratch your head in wonder. Headlines include the latest rage to hit New York… butt facials. It may not be what you think. We have the guys smoking heroin at a favorite children’s pizza hangout, a Taco Bell employee shooting at a customer with his BB gun, and a man stabbing a watermelon in a manner that suggested impending violence. And that’s not all. We have the guy captured wearing women’s clothes he stole from Diddies and Doodads, and the dumbest thing ever said to a cop during a DUI stop. You know what it is. You know you want it. Welcome to Weird Wednesday…

Feel Good Friday July 11, 2014

July 11th, 2014 No comments

I am always aware of how blessed I am to be able to make a living playing music. The old saying “If you love what you do, you never go to work a day in your life” describes me pretty accurately.

I have encountered trying times in my life. Like now. But the music has always been there to carry me through. As I ponder my current circumstances, getting older, being alone, I could wallow in pity and despair. Instead, I seem to be playing/performing/working more; re-connecting with old friends and making new friends. And the beautiful thing is my music provides comfort and a release for tension and drama.
Music and brain
I am learning new songs, something I am not always so good about. Still, when I learn something new, it is probably old. I’m working on Five O’clock Somewhere and Darius Rucker’s remake of the old Dylan tune Wagon Wheel. Classic songs never grow old. Wish I could say the same for me.

Earlier this week I played a reunion party for a waterfront bar that happens to be the very first place I ever sang in Ft. Lauderdale. This coming January will mark the 40th anniversary of that night. The fun thing is that former owners, employees and customers came out to reflect and remember the old days at Durty Nellies Saloon on the Intracoastal Waterway. It was a great bar with a great location, a great reputation and, if I do say so myself… pretty damn good music.

They say music soothes the savage beast. Not many people think I’m savage. I think more believe I’m a pussycat. I like that better, anyway. Meow…

As we age, conversations about running out of time and enjoying what we have and what we have left seem to occur more frequently. I never thought I’d make it to 30 years of age. But once I did, I thought I’d live forever. I find myself re-thinking that belief as I realize I’m way closer to the end than the beginning. Still, the music never fails to get me through. My new idea is that I want to just keel over dead, sitting on a barstool with my guitar in my hands.

My friend, JC, insists he wants to go peacefully, in his sleep, like his grandfather… not like the people who were riding in the back seat of the car.

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Bang Bang

July 10th, 2014 No comments

The long forth of July weekend in Chicago featured 82 people who were shot and 14 of those people died. That’s only about a 17% kill ratio. Come on folks, we can do better than that…

Sorry for my sick sense of humor but those are unbelievably disgusting numbers. I’ve written about the gun issue in the past, but apparently no one is reading my opinions. Or trying to do anything about them.

As a kid raised on a farm I hunted with guns before I was 10 years old, I have no issue with owning or using a gun. I have no problem with hunters and sportsmen who play by the rules. However, no one needs an assault rifle to shoot Bambi or Gentle Ben.

I have maintained that the problem is handguns. Those cheap Saturday night specials are good for nothing except shooting another human; up close and personal. With those short barrels, they have so little accuracy one needs to be within spitting distance to hit a target. They’re not for sport. They’re for killing.

They should be outlawed, banned, confiscated whenever possible and melted down for scrap.

My heart goes out to the families of the wounded and killed. Although I have a feeling this may just be another day in the life for these folks. The article I read mentioned most of the shootings came in some of the most violent sections of South Chicago. I always heard the south side of Chicago was the baddest part of town.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said “All of us need to take a stand.” That’s the same kind of noncommittal leadership he endorsed when he jumped ship on Obama, seeing the end of the presidency might not be pretty. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was more pragmatic blaming the violence on the proliferation of firearms, while calling for tougher gun laws and prosecution.

Eighty-two people shot and or killed over a four day span. That’s sick. Multiply that by every major city in America. Toss in the small and medium sized towns and you start to talk serious numbers.

I know I sit here at my keyboard and whine without offering solutions, but I believe we need to start by banning the import of these small handguns. We have to provide incentives for American firearms manufacturers to forgo the production of these weapons and focus on quality and safety instead of cheap, affordable killing devices. When we get those weapons off the street, destroy them so they don’t recycle and live to kill again.

Too many people are dying because there are too many guns in the hands of too many crazies who should not have them. It may not be the most popular solution but it sure seems better than the status quo.

WEiRd WeDneSDaY, July 9, 2014

July 9th, 2014 No comments

We earn our stripes today on Bolognabrain with stories that will grab your imagination, stretch your credibility and make you scratch your head and say “Huh?”.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come… Daytona burglar tells cops he doesn’t know how all that stolen stuff got in his apartment… he was drunk and high. Is honesty always the best policy? How about the postal worker caught throwing packages over a hedge into a ditch?

These are just the warm ups. A lady who was turned down by a guy for sex, grabbed a knife and cut him. I don’t think she was a lady. The Kool Aid killer escaped from prison while watching 4th of July fireworks, a man is caught putting a camera in the ladies locker room at the gym and a man broke in to a costume shop, grabbed a giant chicken suit and wore it in to the bar next door.

It’s all here, friends. It’s Weird Wednesday… but you knew that.

Pink Floyd to release The Endless River

July 8th, 2014 No comments

We use words like legend too often but word has leaked out that one of the true music legends, Pink Floyd, will release their first studio album in 20 years.  Details remain sketchy but the tracks were apparently started in 1994 and according to Polly Samson the album is “Rick Wright’s swan song”.

The album titled, The Endless River is not scheduled for release until October but speculation is already swirling.  Will Roger Waters be involved and will there be a tour?  Those are a couple of the questions remaining unanswered.

The band’s guitar player, David Gilmour, is also planning on releasing another solo album.

For music fans this is huge.  The longevity of much of the work from Pink Floyd remains an inspiration for many old school rock and roll fans.  But… the bar is high and expectations will be huge.

And the rocket’s red glare

July 7th, 2014 No comments

What a great 4th of July weekend. Patriotic moments, music, good company, beer; who could ask for more?

If you caught my Feel Good Friday post last week, you read about the folks who came to the pub where I play a couple nights a week. Seven people got up and read The Declaration of Independence. It was touching… moving… a very positive experience.

So this morning I’m reading my newspaper. You know how I am about that. In the Nation and World section the first story I see has the headline Afghan candidate rejects results before release. The candidate is Abdullah Abdullah. Sounds like a rock band to me. Anyway, he suggests election results are skewed because “The country’s electoral commission was involved in widespread fraud that tarnished the legitimacy of the runoff vote.”

As if that were not bad enough, the next story headline read “Libya delays announcing voting results until July 20th.”

I remember when there were questions during the last George Bush election that put my adopted state of Florida in a negative spotlight with lost ballots and hanging chads, but events like that have been rare in American electoral politics. It seems like this stuff happens every time there is an election in some foreign nation run by despots or religious zealots. I don’t believe Americans would stand by and let this occur. We may be a nation of sheep, but there are limits to which we will allow our leadership (I use the term loosely) to diminish our freedom and ability to choose.

Independence Day is a good time to reflect on our so called leadership and determine to make the appropriate changes necessary to get America back on the right track and the road to recover; instead of the road to ruin.

We can continue to harp about the broken government, the broken medical system, the broken educational system, the broken judicial system, but until we go to the polls and let our voices and opinions be known, we are no better than the sheep in Afghanistan and Libya.
I’m sorry… we’re Americans. We know better. We are better.

Feel Good Friday July 4th 2014

July 4th, 2014 No comments

Independence Day

It is a day that holds different meanings to different people. I’m all about baseball, picnics, cold beer and fireworks, but there are serious times and heroic Americans to remember, too.

As a kid growing up in Middletown, Ohio, I have early memories of going with my parents to Barnitz Field on South Main Street to watch the fireworks. The colors, the noise and the crowds were amazing to a five year old. I still love fireworks and will never forget the year when I had an office on the 7th floor of a building with tall windows facing east. I took my five year old daughter, Emily, to my office on the 4th of July and we could see fireworks exploding over the ocean from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale. Sweet memory.

It’s another beautiful day here in paradise. At tennis, this morning, one of my buddies commented on how the weather is always nice after a major storm system moves out. Our poor neighbors in the Carolinas and points farther north are experiencing the effects of Hurricane Arthur, the first of the 2014 season, and even though it formed off the coast of SE Florida, it moved on and blessed us with a gorgeous day.

I have a regular music gig I play on Fridays and this afternoon at three o’clock a group will read the Declaration of Independence. I’m going in early to catch this. It will be nice to hear someone else read it and show this historic document the reverence it deserves. We’re also having a barbecue. Hey! How could we not?

These Feel Good Friday Posts have been coming your way for almost two years now. I look forward to sitting down and writing something positive every week. It helps keep me focused, committed to writing and being creative enough to find material that is hopefully new and entertaining/thought provoking enough to capture your interest. Thanks for staying with me all this time. That’s one more reason I feel good.

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