Friday fives – home is where the

Image result for home is where the heart is mandala

What is your favorite place?

Home.  they say ‘home is where the heart is’, right?  Or, is it ‘home is where the hearth is’? How about this > home is where my big ass TV is?  Home is where all my guitars are! Home is where the dogs and cats and horsies are. Home is where my wifey is.

What is your favorite place in your home?

The kitchen.  I love love love to cook.  Plus, the kitchen and family are largely connected.  Let’s call it a ‘great room’. This means I can watch movies or stand up comedy while cooking.  Btw, don’t watch movies while you are cooking, you’ll cut your fingers off. Stand up comedy is way better… because you can look away and still get everything.  Plus, Netflix just has tons of stand up comedy, and they are always refreshing it.

Would you most want to live in a city, a suburb or the country?

Oh, in the country. We kinda live in the country here.  5 acres dirt roads, no street lights. We live way outside the city because we have horses.  Moving out of the city to some land is far and away the best thing that has happened to me. Its been about 7 or 8 years.  I think I will look back at my life as everything before, and after, moving out of the city and getting some land.

What is special about the town you live in?

Parker?  Not much.  We have lived here for almost 20 years, in several different places.  It used to be very very small 20 years ago. There was one business on Lincoln for a 15 mile stretch, it was a Conoco.   Now, it has filled in, and frankly looks exactly like every other suburb in America. For people from Denver, I tell them I live in Parker.  For people outside of Colorado, I just say we live in Denver. Parker is a southern suburb of Denver. Actually, almost no one lives in Denver proper.  It’s boundaries are just a few miles by a few miles. Last time I looked, metro Denver (meaning Denver plus all our suburbs) is about 20th in size and population of American cities.

How much time do you spend in nature?

Not nearly enough.  I miss camping, in the emotional and romantic sense.  I also keep missing all the camping trips. Last few years, I have been working evenings, and Saturdays.  I pledge to do more and spend more time outdoors. I mean… we live in paradise. Colorado rules!

UNLESS… you count me hanging out and working on the property.  Fixing fences, and other such country tropes. If that counts, then I have a good balance.  Still needs more. The reality, though, Winter is coming. So… Winter in Colorado is different game.  That is an inside game. 

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Harry Belafonte is an American Hero

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*** update Sept 2019 at bottom.  Original piece written Sept 2014

I have written a bit about Harry Belafonte over the years, but not nearly enough. I am afraid his magnitude may not be appreciated until after he is dead. Harry Belafonte is a great man. You know him as the banana boat guy. There is so much more music. He invented his own sound and style. Think of it, who else sings those happy reggae-ish calypso type catchy tunes? What the hell is calypso? I have no idea, as I hadn’t heard of it before Harry Belafonte. In fact, like Hunter Thompson and ‘Gonzo Journalism’, I am not sure it existed before Harry. There is nothing like it. As I said, you know the banana boat song (god, I hope so) but here are a few more. Yeah, he did ok with music. He was the first artist in history to sell a million records. Read that again. It wasn’t the Beatles, or Michael Jackson, or Nickelback, or Elvis.

Mr. Belafonte has also done so much more for humanity that transcends his music. You love Martin Luther King, right? Yes, we all do. What did you do, though? I mean, not just liking the guy or throwing up a quote to your facebook wall on Feb 1… but what have you personally done about racial segregation in the United States? Right. Me neither. Well, I did write this… but I am no Harry Belafonte. Oh, and I am not waiting until February to acknowledge black history. Here at I am Correct, every month is black history month, crackers! I digress, back to the story.

MLK famously wrote a book called ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’. MLK got arrested, a lot. That is kinda the deal with civil disobedience. Harry Belafonte was the guy who bailed him out every time. That is putting a target on your head. When MLK was locked up in the deep south, he was the most hated man in the country to those folks. In walks Harry and hands them the cash to set him free. That is balls of steel.

Oh, then he discovered Bob Dylan and gave him his first job. When Bob Dylan moved to New York in 1961, it was Harry who gave him his first job. Bob was Harry’s harmonica player. Are you thinking “how is that possible? Dylan is a terrible harmonica player?” You should be, it’s true. I don’t know what Harry saw in Dylan, but we owe him huge thanks for keeping Dylan afloat as he discovered his thing.

Am I going to tell you that Harry Belafonte also invented electricity, and puppies, too? Well, I can’t prove he didn’t.

Each and every one of you has the power, the will and the capacity to make a difference in the world in which you live in. … You should go through life knowing, “I am somebody.”

Who said that? Mandela? MLK? Ghandi? Chad Kroeger? Nope, it was our boy Harry. How about this gem from Maya Angelou Harry Belafonte?

You can cage the singer but not the song.

He is still alive and recording and writing and generally being the great fucking human that he is. I am not claiming that Harry isn’t being recognized by society. Thankfully, he very much is. Just this week he is being honored by Harvard. Last year he was honored by the Kennedy Center. It’s a big deal there. I am not sure what they do, or what it means, but the president shows up. So, it’s a big deal.

Ok.  Time out.  Let’s have a little song and a smile from that man himself.  Here he is with Steven Colbert riffing on some genuine classics.

So, the intellectual elite know all about him. I am not telling them the virtues of Harry Belafonte, I am telling you. Like you, I wasn’t invited to either event. They love Harry, whoever ‘they’ are. I just wanna make sure you do, too. Lastly, he is also impossibly charming. Here is from a year or two ago on the Colbert Report. I would embed it below, but it got pulled from youtube. So, here is a link from Colbert’s official (and very cool) site. Stay for the whole thing. At the 8:30 mark into the interview, they (Colbert and Belafonte) sing together. It’s pretty terrific.

I just found a biopic on Harry here. Can’t say how good it is, never seen it. Truth be told, I didn’t know it existed until 4 minutes ago. I am going to stream it now, it’s $3.

Thank you, Harry Belafonte.

**** update Sept 2019

I am just about done with Harry’s autobiography, ‘My Song’.  I learned a lot that I want to share with you quickly. I mention above his impact on the civil rights’s movement.  Harry Belafonte is one of the single most important and influential figures in the Black Civil Rights movement.  Let’s say there is a top 5 of GREAT black leaders.  MLK would be there, as would Nelson Mandela.  Harry is in there, too.  What I learned in the Belafonte book is his single-handedly bankrolled ALL of this.  Remember those voter registration drives, where white college kids drove down to the South to register voters (and sadly… get killed doing so).  Belafonte paid for it all.  He kept MLK solvent, as well.  MLK was so the real deal, he gave away all of his money and possessions.  He wouldn’t charge to speak.  He walked the walk, a la St Francis of Assisi.  He and Harry were best friends, and it was Harry who was flying Martin all over the country to speak.  It was Harry who bailed him out of jail every time.

You know about black civil rights from the late 60’s.  Harry and Martin were fighting this battle together since the mid – 50s.  See, Harry doesn’t just have a good heart.  Harry was crazy fucking rich at the time.  He was the first artist ever to sell over a million copies of a single record.  Note that I did not say ‘first black artist’, you racist.  He was the first.  In his prime he was selling millions of records, a huge movie star, and a VERY big club draw across the country.  Because of his mojo, he was able to break so many color barriers of that era.  Example?  When Harry started doing big Vegas shows, he wasn’t allowed to come in the front door or walk around the casinos.  He and his band where not even allowed to stay in those hotels.  As his star rose, he got to make his own terms.  One of my favorite moves of true civil disobedience was to go swimming one day at the big pool at one of those casinos.  People freaked the fuck out, like that scene in Caddyshack.

I think one of the reasons he was so successful as an activist was by staying under the radar.  He preferred to operate more behind the scenes, as a silent partner of sorts.  Smart move.  Had anyone known back then how incredibly valuable he was to the movement, they would have killed him, too!

I am so thankful and so happy that he is still alive as I write this (Sept 2019).  The man is 92!  Sadly, though, I think the reason you are reading this is because he likely just passed away.  Odds are, that will be the next time I read this as well.

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What else has he done?  In case that wasn’t enough.  He worked very hard to end apartheid in South Africa!  You don’t do that with letters and marches and hugs and good vibes and benefit shows (btw, ‘USA for Africa and their song ‘We are the World’?  Yeah, that was ALL Harry Belafonte as well).  The way to crush a tyrannical regime is through money.  By cutting all of it off.  The key term is ‘divestment’.  This is getting all companies and governments to stop doing business with South Africa.  Belafonte successfully such diverse and important financial institutes as the teacher’s union.  the California teacher’s union pension is valued at 230 BILLION dollars.  Luckily, teachers tend to believe in justice.  Of course, that kind of money… you invest.  So, the California teachers union told their banker investment people ‘don’t do ANY business in South Africa.  Don’t even do business with people who do business with South Africa.’  Pepsi, for example, took Belaonte’s lead and pulled all their business interests out of South Africa.  Coke, on the other hand, did not.  In fact, quite the opposite.  Coke saw that Pepsi was leaving and took advantage of that gap to move in and make a monopoly in the market.  Now, am I saying specifically that “Coca Cola hates black people”?  Yes.  Yes I am.  In fact, i am going to put that in the tags so it becomes searchable.

Harry is one of the most important people alive, and we are all better for having him on our Earth.  If there was a black Mt Rushmore… well… it wouldn’t be in South Dakota on scared native land.  But it would have Harry Belafonte on it, it would have Nelson Mandela, it would have Bob Marley,  it would have Chris Brown, it would have Barack Obama.  You get the idea.

God bless you Harry!  You have done SO much for society and music and love and human rights.  AND…. don’t forget… dude discovered Bob Dylan and put him on a record!  If you know how much I love Dylan, you know that is my favorite part.

Like a few other pieces I have done over the years… I want to stop and treasure the man before he dies.  Too often, only when someone dies do we stop and appreciate them.  Let’s not wait any longer!

Here is a look at my fledgling ‘still alive’ series.  Of course, many have since passed on.

the Amazing Randy – still alive

Peter Coyote – still alive

Bobby Seale – still alive

Christopher Lloyd – still alive

Friday Fives – Autumn magic edition

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Do you have any special rituals to welcome the approaching season, such as cleaning or decorating?

Not really.  Only concern about this transition is winterizing things around the property.  One of the biggies on that is shutting down the swamp cooler for the season… draining it… etc.  What sucks is this is an era where I like heat AND cold.  Example?  Yesterday, Sept 26th, we have an historic high temperature > 90 degrees!  So I never much need the swamp cooler cranking out chilly goodness.  In the early mornings, though, it is 40 degrees.  That is COLD mister!  I still have Phoenix blood, I guess.

I am a thermal coward, though… I admit that.  I used the heat and seat warmers today on my way in.  On my way home, I’ll be using AC in the truck.

Thermal Coward ® – that is a very good line.  I like that.  I now patent thee!  I am getting more and more like Rufus as I get older.  Anything over 71 degrees, and I am uncomfortably hot.  Anything under 60… and I am pretty much freezing to death.  Rufus, my hound, is VERY specific about 71 degrees.  It’s quite odd.  I follow him around to his sleeping places around the house and property.  I have a cool little pointy temperate gun thingy.  He finds a 71 degrees spot to sleep in.

Do you welcome the approaching season or despise it?

LOVE IT.  Fall is the greatest in Colorado.  I tell my fam to always visit in October.  It is the perfect month.  The weather is cool, and stable.  What I mean by that is the weather in nice and April and May, too… but that is also when the blizzards hit.  Oct is just nice.  The wind finally dies down and the trees change.  I don’t need to tell you that growing up, I did not have seasons.  YES > this is truly a first world problem.  But, Phx doesn’t have 4 seasons, or changing leaves, or a romantic chilly breeze that prompts your best gal to wrap her arms around you.

I have to tell you, this is not compelling writing, is it?  I bet every fall for the last 15 years I have been answering variations on that.  Reader, you deserve better.  Not today, though… but soon!

What has been the high point from the preceding season?

Is that fancy talk to say ‘what was your favorite part of the summer?’  That would have to be finally getting to see Penn & Teller live.  I have been following them for about 30 years (they have been together 45). I have their books, watch their shows… etc.  I just haven’t made the pilgrimage to Vegas yet to see them.  Last month, though, they did a short tour and Denver was on it!  I am such a fan of them, I knew most of the tricks.  It was like a greatest hits setlist.   Now, doesn’t mean I know how they do them, but I have scene these tricks often.

This may sound a bit dramatic, but seeing Penn & Teller live was very high on my ‘bucket list’.

What has been the low point from the preceding season?

Nothing, it was a lovely summer.  Wifey and I have firmed up this nice little tradition.  Every night we sit on the porch and listen to some country music,  We have a few drinks, and watch the sunset together.

What are you looking forward to in Autumn/Spring?…

Going to Peru very soon.  Two weeks in South America to see the jungle, and Machu Picchu.  I don’t know a lot about it, but I think we are going to climb the Cadillacs.  It’s a special spiritual and metaphysical thing.

Friday Fives – Wednesday movie style

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What bad film could be made into a great film if it were to be remade?

If they put some driving scenes in the movie ‘Drive’.  There is only about 2 minutes in the opening scene, and no one drives again.

Probably asked and answered, but, what is the absolute worst movie of all time? 

Gangster Squad.  Now, the movie is terrible, no doubt.  But that isn’t what makes it the worst of all time.  Oh no, it’s the cast.  This is an Oscar and Scorsese level cast, all in a movie that is a smoking crater of refuse.  I am going to show you the cast, and you will wonder why you have never heard of it. > Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Giovanni Ribisi, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena, Emma Stone.  There may never have been a cast assembled this good.

Conversely, the absolute best, bar none? [defend]

Since it is art, I am hesitant to call anything ‘the best’.  Here is a current favorite that is far under the radar – Big Fish.  Don’t even rent it.  Go buy it NOW.  It will make you a better person.

What makes a better movie adaptation:  a Nonfiction story or book or a novel to film?

I prefer non fiction.  To me, it is easy to make up a character and cast them.  There are no expectations.  But, how do you cast someone like Hunter Thompson?  Billy Murray was great in the first one, but the Johnny Depp one is the perfect movie!  Depp gets so far into Hunter, I don’t know how he made it out.

Off to youtube – whats a good ‘Tube post/link/scene from a movie that brings back the whole film so you don’t need to rewatch it?

I don’t think a clip of this exists, so I shall describe.  A scene in ‘Fish Called Wanda’ where John Cleese is being verbally eviscerated by a king string of expletives.  At the end of the tirade, Cleese says to Cline’s character (Otto) “you are a true vulgarian, aren’t you?”

And Otto comes back with the perfect response (clearly, not understanding the jibe) “you’re the vulgarian, you fuck!”  WAIT WAIT WAIT

I found it, and you are welcome!

About that tattoo, lady

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This happened to me yesterday, thought I would share with you.  I was leaving a doc appt, heading through the parking lot to my truck.  This was in a medical campus of sorts, and was very confusing to navigate.  I had been someone lost in the same plaza just an hour before. That is why I got there early.  Anyhow, this lady asks me which huge soulless building is 15753, as they weren’t even labeled well.

Having been in this stupid plaza much more than once, I had a good idea which building she was looking for.  I pointed that way. “That way?” she asked… pointing to the wrong building. So, I kinda stuck my head in her car, to help orient her correctly.  “No ma’am, I think it is that one, there on the left.” I am a nice guy, i swear. Well, she might not think so.

This lady was like a 50 year old-ish mom.  Total suburban stereotype. The kind of nice lady you would cast in a commercial for some weird medicine.  She was wearing something sleeveless, so I saw her tattoo. It was this, a ‘dancing bear’. This is an instant icon she is of the tribe… a Deadhead.  There is no mistaking this icon. It means absolutely nothing else.  This brief conversation happens >

Oh, your a Deadhead, too?

Huh?  She replied

Your tattoo, the dancing bear.  You know, its a reference to ‘Bear’, OwsleyThe great pioneer of all LSD, and benefactor to the band!

In retrospect, it was a little weird I went into such detail.  But, I was genuinely excited to see another person who (like me) appeared to be a ‘square’.

No.  Um, never heard of that.  It’s for my son, Jesse – she said, kinda getting sad and puzzled at the same time.

VERY quickly I surmised she was not into the Grateful Dead.  It could only mean this tattoo was a tribute to a dead son, who probably was a Deadhead.  I could truly tell in about 3 seconds that she was piecing together that her very permanent and visible tattoo didn’t represent the love of a perfect and caring mother, but instead she had inked a monument to LSD on her arm for life.

Sorry about that lady.  Good luck at your appointment.

Friday Fives – you’re not my real dad!

 

What fictional character has actually made you angry or upset?

Edward Norton’s character in ‘the Italian Job’

What historical figure fascinates you? 

Nelson Mandela.  I have said this before, but it bears repeating – Jesus may have died for our sings, but Nelson Mandela lived for them.  Isn’t that great? You can, and should, quote me on that.

Who is just the best, the best? 

Fred Rogers.  It appears on every conceivable level… he was the real deal.  Even MORE wonderful and thoughtful than we imagined. There are a couple very good docs available, and Tom Hanks just wrapped a Mr Rogers movie.   Man, is there better casting in history than that?

What “Friends” character are you?

Naked neighbor guy

What celeb or famous person is alive today that really should be your best friend? 

Dalai Lama

 

Friday Fives – ekkcentric edition

Image result for keychain mandalaWhat’s a sketchy cheap buy which ended up being one of your best purchases.

This guitar.  You may think ‘hey, in what world is $300 cheap?’.  In the world of well made acoustics. I fucking LOVE this guitar.  Here, read about it. I wrote this review, and i am quite proud of it.  It is still the only decent review they have. It’s a relatively new company, and certainly a small company.  Go ahead, read it.  If you are going to read this drivel, check out something I actually got published.

What car would you buy from any era if you had 20k bucks?

As an unnecessary purchase?  Either a mid 90s convertible mini cooper (supercharged, and stick shift only), or a jeep wrangler.  I would never have a jeep wrangler as a primary car. The suspension is horrible, the driving experience is wildly uncomfortable, they get terrible mileage, and are made very poorly.  But, there is nothing  more fun than a no top Jeep.

You have won $100,000,000 in a Lottery, Only Catch is you can ONLY buy things that start with Your First Name Initial, What are you buying?

Kevlar, and lots of it.  With all this money, people are trying to kill me.  I want kevlar everything. Right now, i am working on a design patent for a kevlar condom.  Funny, as I typed that out, I initially typed ‘a design parent for a …’.  Man, talk about a Freudian typo, eh?

So… lesse… ketchup.  Lots of ketchup. Now, I am not really a ketchup guy.  However, I plan to trade it for ranch dressing rations.  And it HAS to be the right kind of ranch. First off, the stuff in the plastic bottle (ed note:  Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing)… none of that. I have also never had a good ranch come in a packet.  It can’t be yellow, either. That shit should be nuclear white. We want the kind you get at a village inn with your fries.  It’s a bit more watery than you would think. Almost drinkable by a straw. This may sound absurd, but I can tell if the ranch is good just by looking at it.

Oh, and Ketamine.  You know… for… um… the horses?  Yeah.

And…keychains?  Yeah! Keychains! I will be a goddamn keychain baron.  I will finally buy my mom a keychain for her new house.  Don’t we always dream as little kids about buying our parents a home?  What’s better? A keychain for that home. It’s super apropos as they live in a van down by gully.  I can’t afford them a house, anyway.  BUT… they shall have the finest keyring of the whole drifter community.  Technically, they are snowbirds.  the heat in Phx is too much for them in the summer, so they tow the van up by the damn where the cottonwoods provide some shade.  In the winter, it’s back across the spillway to the sunny shores of the moss collection screens.

and Kid Rock.  Not his CDs, mind you.  I would just buy Kid Rock.  I like him.  I know that isn’t cool to say, but he is ok in my book.  Not his politics… but I think he is a good dude.  Really, I just need to find a guitar manufacturer that starts with a K, is there one?  I’d spend it all on guitars, baby!  For what?  To do all the rails of ketamine, duh!

You would be rich if you had a dollar for every time what?

“Every time I had to sing, while people sat there drunk” – John Fogerty (Lodi, from CCR)

What is your go-to phrase to low-key piss someone else off?

When I am pissed in traffic, which is often… I don’t give the finger or the fist.  I get in front of them, and do this very visible head shake. A tilt my head down and shake it gently side to side.  As if to say “wow, I feel bad for them. Can’t believe they are allowed to drive. Maybe they were having a stroke. Well, it is just a shame no one has taken their car away yet, as it is clear they shouldn’t be on the open roads by themselves.  Do they let the mentally handicapped drive?  It sure appears so”.  And it works. It REALLY pissed people off when I do my pity shtick… even if its just a silhouette.