99 Red Balloons

red balloons

I’m reminded of the song “99 Red Balloons” from the 1980s.

The lyrics talked about how this is it and this is war. The leader singer then let 99 red balloons loose to fly up in the sky.

It was a song about promoting peace on earth.

A lot of twisted individuals with sick minds are ruling countries in the world.

America is undoubtedly going to be forced into another near-endless war. A war whose funding will come by diverting the landmark mental health funding into the war chest.

This is it. This is war.

Won’t you join me in speaking about against any kind of war and warfare?

Optimal mental health is all too uncommon in the leaders pulling the triggers and authorizing chemical and nuclear attacks.

What’s next?

 

Rebel Rebel

bowie-cover

I’ve installed David Bowie’s song “Rebel Rebel” on my iPod and set the alarm clock to wake me to this song.

Ordinary people in the world aren’t kind to those of us who rebel.

Early on in my life I rebelled the role of “mental patient.”

Thirty years later I tell you readers that living a counterfeit life is a mistake.

It comes down to being okay with not conforming to what has been designated as the norm in society.

Yet why do people think they have the right to brand others as–at worst “crazy”–and at best not normal? This intrigues me that most people fall in line to wanting to be normal or have a normal life–and expect others to follow suit.

I ask you: Is normal what it’s cracked up to be? I think not.

If you ask me there’s no safety in numbers–you’re just numbing your individuality to please people who won’t accept your true self.

I have thought often about the futility of seeking other people’s approval for who you are and how you live your life.

Way back in the 1970s David Bowie sung about how the girl’s mother didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl.

The lyrics about the torn dress; the face a mess–and how the young girl was there when the dues were counted out– it all reminds me of the story I told in Left of the Dial.

If you ask me “Rebel Rebel” is the perfect anthem for self-expression of bold stripes and of any stripe.

My high school art teacher told us that successful composition requires “unity with diversity.” That’s a great credo for the world right now.

God made us individuals. He thinks we’re divine just the way we are. We aren’t  supposed to be mirror images of each other.

“Rebel Rebel” was prophetic in its message:

That you can only be a success if you dare to be yourself.

Life Begins at the Hop

In the immortal words of the XTC song title: “Life Begins at the Hop.” Not at conception.

The guy who wrote this HuffingtonPost article is actually a Pastor who flambe’d the pro-life contingent in an astute fashion in his essay.

As for “ripping babies out of the womb at nine months”–that isn’t happening Mr. Toupee. No woman wants to have an abortion. We’re forced to choose. We’re getting abortions as soon as possible without delay.

Just remember that the next president will choose Supreme Court justices.

Running the country isn’t a Monopoly Game where you’re buying and selling real estate with fake money and everyone wants to live on Park Place.

For a lot of us we’ve historically had no say in how the government enacts laws that dictate what we can and can’t do as U.S. citizens.

We’ve had no control over our destiny. We’ve been forced to choose to collect SSI for the rest of our lives because for too long recovery was a distant dream. Not now.

Today we have the choice as to how we want to live our lives–even with any limitations we might still have. Today more than ever we’re able to have a full and robust life. Today we can not only dream we can do the things we want to do.

For the last week the words “Life Begins at the Hop” have been running through my head so I had to Google this. The song was popular on alternative radio in the 1980s.

For the contingent flambe’d in the HuffingtonPost article life begins and ENDs at conception more likely. I risk losing followers or alienating religious readers of this blog by linking to the Pastor’s essay.

Yet now more than ever it’s time to flambe stigma of any kind: sexism, racism, narrow-mindedness, intolerant religion, hatred that leads to violence and killing throughout the world and in America too, and any other kind of fervent ghastly mentality.

I live in a world where everyone I see is beautiful. I live in a world where everyone has the right to recover. I live in a world where difference is to be celebrated.

Where human beings have more in common than not. Where judging people benefits no one–most of all not the person doing the judging.

It’s time to see and love human beings living on earth for what we are: a rainbow not a container of marshmallows.

Whoever wins the presidential election I’m not sure real positive change will happen any time soon.

Change will happen because as Michael Jackson sang in the song “Man in the Mirror” if you want to change the world you first have to change yourself.

All-American Social Club

July 9, 2016

All-American Social Club

This was my America inside the club:

A dreadlocked Adonis in Nike trainers chatted up a chica.

An Asian woman in Breton striped danced with a lightning-haired guy.

An African American woman in a purple shirt danced magnificent with a white woman to the cover band.

This is the America I know: free souls at the social club choosing to buck the system that divides us.

We keep on rockin’ in the real world.

 

Year-End Rear-End Review

I counted down to 1987 at the radio station where the disc jockeys played the top 120 or so songs from 1986 in a “Year-End Rear-End Review of 1986 Record Picks.”

To this day I still listen to music. You can listen to The Alternative Project radio station on the iHeartradio website. In New York City if you have an HD radio receiver you can listen to K-Rock at 92.3 FM HD2.

Over the years my brother has given me exorbitant gift cards for Christmas. One year I used one to buy an HD radio/iPod dock/alarm clock. You can set the alarm clock to wake you up to the radio or to music from your iPod.

I also used one of those gift cards to buy an iPod that holds something like 100,000 songs or something outrageous like that. Of course I doubt it contains anything near that amount of music.

My contention is that often what gave a person joy when they were younger can give them joy as an adult.

From the time I was a young kid I always listened to music on the radio. It’s a free source of happiness.

All you need is the money to buy a radio. And if you’re content to listen to Taylor Swift or any regular Top 40 music played on average stations you don’t need an HD radio receiver just any old cheap radio whose frequency comes in clearly.

At the time I was a disc jockey in the 1980s a listener had called in and told me he was miraculously able to tune into WSIA, Staten Island from all the way up in Boston. This cheered me.

I make the case for listening to music. Or reading books. Or cooking or baking from recipes. Or if it’s your thing watching TV. These simple pleasures can be enjoyed from your own apartment or house.

In the coming season with the encroaching arctic freeze of late I recommend staying inside and doing things like listening to music or cooking.

You really don’t need a lot of money to be happy.

I make the case for installing iTunes on a computer and listening to music to cheer up our spirits in the coming gloomy cold weather.

I’ll end here by saying that gratefulness goes a long way in feeling good when parts of your life are not so good.

And face it: when it’s cold outside baby who wants to trudge outdoors in the snow.

Music can be a companion to our days. It can lift us up. It can take us to a better place.

It’s said that “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

I say: finding what gives you joy (whether music or something else) and going and doing that makes us richer too.

Never Broken

I will rave forever about singer-songwriter Jewel’s new book Never Broken because it stands alone in a genre I call humanitarian literature. Her dignity and compassion are rooted in the trauma she experienced as a young kid. I told the audience in an acceptance speech for a volunteer of the year award that if I could turn my pain into a thing of beauty for other people I will have done my job.

Alas: Jewel has done this brilliantly, and there’s no comparison. We are both artists and authors. I can sketch and paint yet I can’t carry a tune. If I started to sing I might kill cockroaches. That might be a good thing depending on where you live.

Elsewhere:

The Lost Gospel of Thomas verse 70 tells us: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

I referenced this in my own words in Left of the Dial in a scene where I returned home after a failed drug holiday. My own words alongside this quote were: “What you resist persists.”

Jewel in her bright and luminous memoir Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story lists under her principle: Let go of shame: “We cannot change what we are unwilling to bring into the light of day.”

Everyone on earth is born with gifts to use to better ourselves and others in the world. I have said this so often I must sound like a broken record. Failing to use our gifts and keeping them buried is the greatest loss of all: a loss to ourselves and our ability to have a better life; a loss to humanity that will not ever experience the best we have to give.

Jewel was born beautiful outside yet on the inside where it counts she has reached into a gorgeous milieu of resilience and strength and courage to give us the most inspirational story.

Hope=healing. And Jewel’s book offers hope to all of us who struggle with a challenge.

Mix Tape

In the early 1990s you’d make a mix tape of songs you recorded on an old-fashioned cassette tape. You’d meet a person in a club and he’d send you a mix tape of his band.

This was the prelude to a playlist on iTunes.

The chapter titles of Left of the Dial are mostly song titles, and they’re short, catchy titles.

I present here the “mix tape” of the songs should you want a soundtrack to the book. The songs have lyrics that relate to what was going on in my life in the chapters.

Everybody Knows – Leonard Cohen
White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
Head Like a Hole – Nine-Inch Nails
Cotton Crown – Sonic Youth
Crazy – Seal
Roadrunner – Modern Lovers
November Spawned a Monster – Morrissey
Hybrid – Siouxsie and the Banshees
Transmission – Joy Division
Too Much – Fetchin’ Bones
Personality Crisis – New York Dolls
Chill Blue – the Chills
Walk On – U2
Just Like Honey – Jesus and Mary Chain
Funky but Chic – David Johansen
Unwell – Matchbox 20
Mysterious Ways – U2
I Wanna Be Sedated – the Ramones
Left of the Dial – the Replacements
London Calling – the Clash
Regret – New Order
Into a Swan – Siouxsie
Wonderwall – Oasis