Books · Performances

Breathing is Now a Privilege… Hands Up Mother….

This Land is Your Land

We are no longer a freedom loving country. We are something else now. “Corporations are people my friends, and they are pissed off.”

Our counterinsurgency has gone domestic. We are the enemy now.

The police are dangerous. If you are arrested and it doesn’t go so well that is too bad. Our own security is threatened by our own security forces.

Privatized prisons and two million incarcerated felons who may never vote again are tossed on the scrap pile of democracy. Freedom’s costs keep skyrocketing.

We go to war in some far corner of the globe while here on our streets justice is a maniacal police officer who may use whatever force he deems necessary to bring his man down and then whatever is left of him in for questioning.

In case you haven’t noticed our national narrative is imploding. We need markets we do not need democracy. We need free trade we do not need freedom, that is so last century.

Equal justice under the law like universal health care is a luxury we simply can’t afford. Edward Snowdon knows this. Our human rights whither and wilt, the capitalists invade Washington, lobbyists spend their days purchasing what is left of our constitution. None of this is a secret.

Where to start trying to fix this mess? I say a few less dead black guys might be a good first step. A few more bankers thrown into those nifty privatized prisons might be a good second step. How about we bring Snowdon back and give a hero’s welcome? Can we stop with the enhanced interegation’s? It is not clear anyone can make an omelet out of these broken dreams.

Books · Performances

Mental Rattlesnakes and Ego Implants



In Birdman Michael Keaton plays a desperately successful actor riding a new play into an uncertain destiny. His fame weighs on the new show he is opening on Broadway.

Critics unimpressed with his selling out to the big time lurk in the saloons of Time Square waiting to pounce. They are ready to fell this bombastic super star for daring to descend from Hollywood back to Broadway where he has the nerve to write, direct and star in a new show. It is a desecration.

He is rotten with doubt, miserable in his quest and racked with fear and delusion. If that is not enough the whole stinking mess backstage is hysterically pathologic to the point of being so chaotic as to be hilarious.

If we could rip open the actors head without mortally wounding him then look inside we would see that thing we were worried might kill him is waiting just the other side of his skull. It is his date with immortality.

There are a constellation of other players and people in the film. They are all there in the libidinous tumult that is opening a new show.

None of that matters so much as the fact that Keaton is in a creative corner of his own making, a predicament that took a lifetime to conjure up; a pyrotechnic head trip in wide screen living color. It’s career daredevilry in Panavision.

Birdman: The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is a send up to all of us who awaken to the self-inflicted fix we are caught in at this latter stage of our careers. We are suckered into taking one more foolish bite of the apple.

Now me, I am just back from being on stage six nights a week for two months. I thought I might be cracking under the pressure. I thought maybe there was something wrong, that I no longer had it. That’s what unconsciousness and questing for immortality will do.

As the lyric goes, “The road gets rougher, it’s lonelier and it’s tougher…” And then I come home to this brilliant film… Birdman!


“According to the package on my underwear it says that when I put on my briefs that I will be able to stride in confidence.GetTNI put two pair on now I am twice as confident.”



Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow…


You say you want a revolution

The long term fallout to the disaster known as the global financial crisis is playing out on the right sided spectrum of the political scene. Economic anxiety translates into a turbulent, unpredictable, heated voiced, violence prone mob rule. Let’s go first to a little nugget from Andrew Sullivan. (for those not in the know, he is a gay conservative, if that is even possible.)

“In other words, this is not just a cold civil war. It is also a religious war – between fundamentalism and faith, between totalism and tradition, between certainty and reasoned doubt. It may need to burn itself out – with all the social and economic and human damage that entails. Or it can be defeated, as Lincoln reluctantly did to his fanatical enemies, or absorbed and coopted, as Elizabeth I did hers over decades. But it will take time. The question is what will be left of America once it subsides, and how great a cost it will have imposed.”

In other words not only do we have to worry about our ice caps melting and climate change sparking an extinction event, but wait for it, now we get to worry about the primitives and tribalists who are so sure that they don’t like what they see that they are willing to do whatever is necessary to insure that nobody likes what they see.


Where to get your food while the tribes quarrel

But, all is not lost. Politics is one thing, but a skilled economist is another, and for this we turn to John McCain’s economic advisor during his run against Obama, punching way above his actual weight, let’s listen now to Mark Zandi, a man working for Moody Economics

The stalemate in Washington also may have long-term economic consequences for the U.S. as international investors grow wary of investing there, Mr. Zandi said.

“You will hear increasing calls and actual efforts to diversify away from the U.S.,” he predicted. “It could in fact impair this very strong economy that we have.”

The solution? Washington should “do nothing. Literally nothing,” Mr. Zandi said. “No change at all for the next three-four years. Let the private economy do its thing.”

Once the economy starts growing at a faster cliff, policymakers should consider making changes to rein in government spending and cut the U.S. debt, he said.

Nothing trumps something when if you try to do something what crawls out of its hole looks like Sarah Palin, spits nonsense like Grover Norquist, and has the face of Joe McCarthy (hi Teddy Cruz). The vast sea of ordinary citizens trying to enjoy the ride of one lifespan here on earth have literally been drawn into a grand coitus interuptus.

I can explain in shorthand what needs to happen, anybody can. Raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, get control of health care spending, and do something about climate change.

There, see, it isn’t that difficult now is it?

But, as it sits at this moment the mob would become so flipped out by anything other than getting their way or the highway that we can go back to Zandi’s prescriptive and of course even that milk toast proposal, the do nothing proposal will not be easily sustainable against the right wing heavyweight championship of the post-confederate-cause that will be playing out across the country.

Nothing really here that a few decades on holiday in Costa Rica might not cure…


The Greatest Human Folly of All Time

“There is a bottleneck in human history. The human condition is going to change. It could be that we end in a catastrophe or that we are transformed by taking much greater control over our biology.

“It’s not science fiction, religious doctrine or a late-night conversation in the pub.

“There is no plausible moral case not to take it seriously.”

                                         How Are Human Beings Going to Become Extinct

                                         Sean Coughlan BBC 

End time



Characters in a story make choices. One choice and things might go well, make another and matters may spin out of control. What if the nuclear waste in Hanford, Washington spins wildly out of control and ends up irradiating most of the North America? According to an article by Valerie Brown published in Scientific America on May 9th that is indeed the problem technicians face as they race to find a method of securing 177 underground tanks so they might not face a chain reaction hydrogen explosion that result from leaks from the metal corrosion. When writing a comedy it is wise to factor into the stories equation the consequences of human folly. What is being made clear at this moment in history is that our political and economic system seem ill suited to our navigating the harm our use of the world’s resources seem to be causing. The matter is not whether or not we should do something, all of us know better, but it is a question of how in the world to arrange the world into some collective means of doing what we all know must be done. Underlying our species survival is an enormous reservoir of powerlessness, something approximating a Shakespearean tragedy. We are having an impossible time trying to not be the cause of our own demise… on the one hand it is tragic and on the other, through the lens of human folly it is a comedy. All’s Well That Ends Well.



Fletcher walked back and stood in front of the assembled audience. The valance for the altar was made up of chiffon and taffeta square dancer petticoats. They’d been strung together into an awe inspiring kaleidoscope of turquoise, ruby, and purple laces and satin sheers intended to tickle an eye. Undergarments for this shaman were near where sublime and sacred might meet. He gleamed in the candlelight, a bird of prey perching upon a nest of fine ladies lingerie, a complex matrix of turquoise miner, town’s most notorious lover and now the biggest miracle of all… a virgin shaman. His spiritual powers were a revelation.


The Nevada Single-Leaf Pinion Pine Nut as Plot

They are right there... those are those dark spots on the hills

The Nevada single-leaf pinion pine (pinus monophylla) produces a nut. If you’ve ever made pesto you will recall that most recipes call for the use of pine nuts. If you’ve ever gone to a grocery store to buy pine nuts you soon discover that they are expensive. Retail they sell for near thirty dollars a pound.

Pinion and juniper grow together. The trees back in the ‘50’s were considered a nuisance. They removed them by hooking a stout anchor chain between two dozers and then our barbaric forefathers cleared the land. The land was now more suited to grazing cattle. Ranchers somehow overlooked the fact that beef earned them peanuts compared to what a crop of pinion nuts could bring.

Now the Nevada single-leaf pinion nut is not just some run of the mill pine nut. It is in the opinion of those who are supposed to know regarded to be one of nature’s most delicious prizes. Nevada pinion nuts are nature’s highest achievement.

If those old cowboys are anything like me they probably sat on their saddles looking out over their herd watching the sunset and the whole time they didn’t realize that they were looking right at the biggest cash crop growing in the Great Basin of the American west.

Biologists put pencil to paper and the value of the pine nuts in Nevada are an estimated 100 million dollars per year. That’s not a gold mine that’s a renewable resource. The eye popping economic value of this crop is a revelation. Add the ecological, spiritual and cultural significance of this prized nut and the wealth of this harvest boggles the human mind.

Before we knew what the heck we had we’d already removed as much as 90% of the original old growth pinion forests. Some folk are thinking might be another kind of nut if we don’t get our heads on straight and put new trees back in where the old ones once grew.

What’s this have to do with the price of tea in China? Exactly what I thought you’d be thinking too. What it means is that there exists a spectacular means to help the people right in Nevada to become self sufficient, care for the land, provide a valuable product to the world, and earn a wage that can help support a worker, a family, a community, a state and ultimately the whole nation.

We built the Bonneville Dam and it is as if nobody gave it a second thought as to what might happen to the salmon. Until taxol was discovered to be of use fighting cancer the Pacific Yew tree was a garbage tree of minimal value and of limited practical uses.

My next novel is set in Nevada. It is a comedy. I’m learning about pine nuts. I’m finding out about geothermal water heated greenhouses, Basque sheepherding, turquoise mining and land speed world records. I’m busy trying to make things up (plotting the novel) and it turns out truth as always is stranger than fiction.

Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for the handsome price of $1.00 What are you waiting for

Infinite Pleasures

Waiter I think someone put something into my drink...

Everything I thought I knew has been thrown into doubt. I had thought today could be much like any other day. I thought I’d go along and get along.

I made the mistake of listening to a physicist. It seems that this one universe we live in might be just one out of an infinite number of universes. Let’s make our basic units stars. We orbit around one. Next, depending upon who you ask and how they count there are 200 billion stars just in our one galaxy, the famous Milky Way, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. So, how many galaxies are there in the universe? Seems like a reasonable follow-up question doesn’t it? Here’s the number… in the visible universe it is estimated there are 125 to 550 billion galaxies, perhaps more!

I asked a math person how many stars was that? The answer: there are more stars in our universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on earth.

And then comes the smoke and mirrors moment. We have never actually been able to see an electron, or for that matter a second universe, or for that matter most of the galaxies in our universe. We detect them and infer their existence!

It is how things are done. They say inferring is reliable. I’m told by my sources that if your girlfriend has a vintage pink Cadillac convertible parked in front of her house that when you knock on the door and there is no answer, although you hear music and the sound of a headboard knocking against a wall from inside while listening with your ear against the door, that you would be accurate in inferring she was probably in that apartment doing exactly what your inference imagined she was doing. Worse than that it appears all the more probable that by visualizing this it is likely to encourage the very thing you are trying to avoid.

My sources tell me that it is possible that for each individual universe we might well have a god dedicated to just that one universe. Since there are possibly an infinite number of these universes there is likely to be an infinite number of these gods. Since in this system where there are an infinite number that this infinite number might best be expressed by use of a single integer. That what might be happening is that it isn’t just all for one, and one for all, but that one might be paradoxically the most divine mathematically succinct way to express the infinite! And since I am but one of 3.5 billion men on this planet the fact of whether it is me in that apartment or another man might not matter and the fact that I seem to care about whether it is me in that apartment or not is really a delusion and that on a quantum level this would prove to be an insignificant rounding error.

So, you can see this isn’t turning out to be a good day. Not only have I got to figure out how many gods there are, and if any are any better gods than we have thus far identified, after all replacing an existing god for a new and improved god seems a bit judgmental. And when I finally confront whoever that was who was having his way with my beloved, when I look into his eyes, according to this physicist it might just turn out to be me looking at myself. This is not my idea of a wholesome sexual fantasy. This is what science would identify as one potential sexual reality. And maybe that’s why we eventually die, because otherwise it would just be too much sex for us to get our imaginations around.


Cheating Changes Everything

You Can Run But You Can't Hide

Every so often I survey single men while in conversation about whether they have ever had a sexual affair with someone they knew was married. Some men answer no, some yes, and others anguish over the question and in so doing reveal their experience by way of a non-answer. The married men are all but for a handful mute on the topic. Some of the confessions I have taken are soaked in sympathies for the abandoned wife’s no longer attentive partner who is often likely to be one of these muted married men. Entrance into this secretive world and speaking anonymously to sources inside this frail human yet full sized shadow world is to view things as they actually are, not as how we think they should be. Sad to
say if you’ve ever made this trip to the other side of integrity, this other side of having had your good word gone bad, there is a profound price to be paid for this incredibly human weakness for the forbidden fruit. Usually, in a rational world we’d decide we are not happy in our agreements, change the agreements and get on with finding new partners to pursue the wholesome healthy appetite that comes with our being alive. But, no, that’s not how we prefer to do it, and so instead we are pulled into this vortex of irreversible action suffering all the consequences of this act, pretending that we’ve been able to do what we had to do, and nobody needs to know, everything will work out, everybody will be happy go home and resume what they were doing. Cheating doesn’t change everything, cheating changes a person’s ability to live in the open, where the world may see them, where there is nothing to hide, it isn’t the sex it is the secret that changes everything…

Highway Home the Novel

 “I’ve got one more customer to kick out
over there, count up the money, put it in the safe, and I’m walking home.
Thought you could walk me home.”

Noel wasn’t sure what she meant by that.
“I guess, Kathy, sure. I’ll walk with you.”

Noel thought it was odd she’d asked him
to stay. She had pulled a sweater over her head. It was low cut too. She made
an act out of the thing, and leaned over, almost like on purpose, and wriggled
into it. It fit tight. She glanced at Noel. She noted that he seemed to enjoy
the show.

Books · Performances

Changing Arizona

Desert Spring
















Tonight in Tempe. Street shows at 5th and Mill Avenue. Four shows today. I played this space first in 1992. It has been on my schedule since.  Tempe Festival of the Arts has been happening since the 70’s…..  Lots of change… Played my first date in Tempe in 1974. Lacey is hanging with me at our hosts home. While out on the street she stays behind. Our audiences are banged up and you can feel it here. Arizona is on a down swing of some kind………it would be too easy to say it is politics, too easy to say it is economics, but we are in the realm of the changes here…something needs changing here…something…….needs to change


Weather to Change Course


Late Summer San Francisco Bay

Noel spoke to June, soft enough so she could make out what he was saying,  “Been a best day for me too.”

June smiled tenderly, and glanced up into Noel’s eyes for a brief moment. She patted him on his leg.

“Never know what a day will bring.”

Highway Home

As they say a collision at sea can ruin your day. In all things human we seem
wired up to an either or proposition, on the one hand or the other, some see it
this way and some that, I’ll give you half and I take the other. We advance
technologically and seem to be in full retreat when measured by the unintended
consequences of hubris. We know that deep water oil wells are dangerous, that
coal mines can explode, and that nuclear power can be harnessed but not
perfected to operate at a level safe enough to merit their being sited just
upwind of a place such as New York City. (Who thought that one up?) The last
week has exhausted tear ducts. There must be something awful hidden in wind
powered electricity generating turbines, photovoltaic solar panels must have
embedded within their core some unintended consequence, fuel cells must spew something
other than water, natural gas cannot be so wonderful, and the advances in shale
oil developments across the frozen tundra of the north must have disturbing consequences
far beyond anything yet contemplated. I used to ride motorcycles. If you were
going to be in accident it was said you hoped not to be blindsided. Your
survival depended in part on being able to see the accident and to react to the
situation and with luck you might save your own life. We need a good old
fashioned visit down to the river of new thinking…We need to be honest with
ourselves. This is the way we are going and we need to figure out what to do
and whether to change course….


A World of Change

San Francisco Bay Bridge at Dawn

“That everything changes is the basic truth of existence.”

                                    Shunryu Suzuki

            We do great harm to our lives when we surround it with worn out old stories. Nothing stays the same. Things are not fixed but rather in a state of flux. We have a lot of change going on in our world. In Japan there is change happening. In our own lives it is happening. It is wonderful in some circumstances to have fond memories of some special moment. Not so wonderful moments take advantage of our minds tendency to cling. We think that Japan is a fixed thing. I look at photographs of centuries old villages here Thursday and now vanished. Everything is gone. They can’t even find the bodies. It is difficult to accept. My mind doesn’t want to believe this can happen (to me). It happens out there somewhere, to somebody else. They were caught in a story. Someone didn’t look both ways before they crossed…. We have this mental trick in our head that tends to be dishonest about reality. We predict when something bad might happen. We avoid certain neighborhoods. We stay off the roads when weather is bad, we hope things will work out. Might be that we would be better served by taking a fresh look every next moment and forget about thinking we know how something might turn out. Might be better to not know how it is going to go. We don’t have to go around believing everything we tell ourselves. I got up Friday morning and it turned out I was wrong about what I believed about Japan. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. That is a fact.