Tag Archives: Hot Spring Honeymoon

running west with the wind

Buffalo Head

In the 1970’s I played my show in Colorado. Autumn was preferred. Instead by hubris in winter late near midnight I drove Highway 160 over Yellowjacket Pass in thirty below. I made Durango that night for a show the next day. My teeth chattering, I climbed into my goose down bag tossed a blanket over my dog. Getting out of my bag at daybreak was agony.

Four decades later Colorado mountain towns have swelled up and are too big. Roads are full of vehicles. Hillsides are dotted with second homes. While there are still vast sweeps of undeveloped landscape there are fewer to be found and their unbound nature has been nibbled on by the crush of humanity seeking a piece of their own.

A westerner understands what I mean. Emptiness is essential. Mustangs need room to roam. So do prospectors, outdoorsmen and curmudgeons.

Michael’s Diesel Truck

In Ely, Nevada I had the pleasure to speak with a retired military man. The mother had not much cared for Ely and had run off with another man leaving Michael and the children. Everything about life in Ely is hard including finding a reliable wife. So, it was to be the father completed the task of raising his sons.

For twenty-four years he worked at the Robinson Mine four miles west of town. This is an open pit copper mine. Gold is also found in the ore as well as molybdenum. There are no easy jobs when you hire on to work at an open pit copper mine.

Strolling the Neighborhood

Luck is changing for this Ely, Nevada resident. South 216 miles is St George, Utah. Michael has become partners operating a big rig diesel service shop. Putting the finishing touches on his home in Ely our military veteran is ending all these hardscrabble days preparing to sell his property and move on to life’s next chapter.

He’ll be leaving behind 4000 of Nevada’s most remotely located citizens to take up a new life in St George where near 88,000 Mormons, near Mormons and never will be Mormons reside. Michael’s servicing long haul trucks means he’ll be wrenching on equipment one quarter the size of the behemoths he kept serviced at the mine in Ely. Cracking off a two-inch bolt is that much more work from removing a three-quarter inch piece of hardware.

Backbreaking awaits high desert immigrants wanting to make a life out here. Punching water wells, wrenching on studded snow tires for the season, or assembling a Quonset hut will humble the uncalloused hands of a Great Basin newcomer.

Cooking beneath Cottonwoods

Michael invited us to remain parked right where we had stopped to make dinner and sleepover beneath the cottonwoods. Social distancing being what it is Michael explained most of what I’ve retold here. Michael’s veteran military status had provided him with a healthy skepticism. Politics and rattlesnakes were both to be sidestepped, left alone so that a citizen could move on to better things to do with a mind and a life.

Wandering into the least parts of the American West is where I often find the most durable characters. Keeping intact this emptiness makes room for those few odd citizens that seek to build a life as near to civilization’s edge as a soul may travel.

Minting Ghost Towns

Dirt Track up to Ridge for View of Sunset

You can call me at home. I’m home. Home is where I’ve been spending my time.

For example sleeping in the same bed. I haven’t slept in the same bed for months on end since like ever. OK, maybe in some distant past but not like this.

It’s all food preparation all the time now. I miss a good restaurant, but under the circumstances I don’t miss dining out nearly as much as I covet my current health status.

With Some Spare Time You Can Make a Hinge

I rate my favorite walks on the basis of head count now. A good walk in my book is a desolate stretch of trail with nobody else anywhere. Sorry to zero you out, but these are the times we live in.

My wardrobe counts for nothing. I change it up for my wife, but she doesn’t see my clothes, she just sees me.

That gal of mine and I have no more than a few after supper hours to debrief on the busy days we each have concocted in support of our egos desperate attempt to hide from this horror show we find ourselves surrounded by. I’m making the movie, The Fall of the American Empire. It’ll be out soon.

We have just completed our first jump from California to Colorado. We are totally self-contained risking nothing and encountering next to nobody. We can jump twelve hundred miles in two days time. This is in support of my wife’s work. I’m the professional road dog in the family and with show business shut down I’m playing the role of long haul driver.

Lunch beneath cottonwood in a patch of shade

I miss seeing friends. Miss petting strange dogs.

We’re doing as best as can be expected. I spoke at a safe distance with a proprietor in Cold Springs, Nevada. Cold Springs lies two hundred miles east of Reno, one hundred miles north to Elko, three hundred miles south to Las Vegas, this nowhere spot in the Great Basin is plodding along taking life as it is, was, and always will be.

Proprietor was sunny in disposition and because of the remote location skeptical of anything having to do with the price of tea in China. Warned me to stay away from the goat head thorns, watch for rattlesnakes while walking up the ridge to taking in the sunset, and settle in for the night and take noise from the highway and what sleep I might get as it comes.

Something about a good end of day

This proprietor is hopeful they won’t dry up and blow away. His plan is to bide time and wait the stinking hard times out, no hurry, nothing to hurry about out in Cold Springs, Nevada.

In a general sense Cold Springs because of there being so damn few people living there (a handful of hard scrabble souls at most) that the travelers stopping to slake their thirst or rest their weary behinds will right quick learn they have come to a place that time has asked to stand still.

Most of all you should know that chores and living in Nevada are just two sides of the same coin. Fancy britches and pearl snap button western shirts are of no use. A good herd dog, now there is a useful critter to partner up with. Nevadans come in all shapes and colors, some from the casino populated cities and the rest scattered far and wide over an immense confounding landscape.

The next wave of Great Basin ghost towns are being minted as we speak. Still we figure that our fellow citizens will dig out of the corner they are hunkered down in and will be out there on the high desert soon enough. Come see what is likely to never change. Collard lizard, sagebrush and a posse of turquoise miners will be holed up in a boxed canyon waiting for the privilege of your company. Nothing but cat houses, mustang and hard times for as far as an eye can see. Rural Nevada puts nothing and nowhere at the top of the list somewhere lost on a map. And it is this spot if you set boot to dirt, sweat to brow, hike to the top of that ridge where fellow citizen what you’ll find waiting is what is most worth preserving. This is our America out here.

Thermopolis, Wyoming’s Hot Spring

Deeper into the journey now. After Fort Collins, Colorado’s leafy college town coddling I am back in the sprawling lost world we know as Central Wyoming.

Hot Springs State Park is set against a northern flowing Big Horn River. Half the town’s businesses are in dire circumstances the rest boarded up.

You come to Thermopolis to avoid the bumper to bumper buffalo watching quagmire.

Still as far as rural Thermopolis goes the idea of leaders in Cheyenne or Washington nurturing its citizens here is apparently not on the agenda.

It is this gutted, forgotten, exploited and neglected kind of isolated (super far from anywhere) community we need to help. Coal mining, natural gas exploration and logging operators need not apply. This whole top down Wall Street siphon off the profits leave the locals with crap wages and post industrial cleanup bills won’t cut it.

Best as I can tell they do have a pretty good hospital and health clinic. Highway in and out of town is in good shape. Probably too geologically interesting but not quite enough trees for most of the accidental tourists that unwittingly land here.

Nearby Northern Wyoming Shoshoni Tribal Lands play into the economic direction made visible here. Of course capitalism, democracy and the deal cut with the Shoshoni might have more than some fraction of the whole reason for why here has been so overlooked..

Bolt of Thunder water slide is an attraction.I took my chances last night and lived to tell, not before seeing my life flashing before my eyes just prior to my parachute popping and slowing me down after one terrific 30-40 second corkscrewing hot springing gravity induced flight of this able bodied bumble-he.

Baker, Nevada

Sixty-eight citizens call Baker, Nevada home. Five miles from the entrance to Great Basin National Park makes this unincorporated corner of the universe a park visitor must-do experience- like it or not.

Nearest grocery stores are 56 miles west in Ely, pronounced E-Lee. Nearest saloon once you depart the two saloons in Baker is 8 miles distant. This is why for safety in dog days of winter the barkeep will open up for the other 67 citizens stuck in Baker due to inclement weather. This is a Nevada nowhere public service,  Lord knows it is not for profit.
In particular writers prefer as little distraction as Baker may provide. Due to the consumptive nature of writing 67 other stubborn desert dwellers is regarded to be a near maximum number when giving consideration to writer focusing dysfunction. Procrastinating writers if wired up to the grid could provide enough electricity to light São Paulo. 
This thistle of tennis shoe torment begs my revisit. Parking my escape vehicle just yonder of my threshold, mere steps from my four cords of wood, where I may fend off the ice demons, where I may plunge my fingers into immortality, where I may give chase to time, where the Bristlecone pines on Wheelers Peak landmark their longest living thing on earth defiantly, where geology sneers, and the gods bait our convictions.

Fallon, Nevada

Getting packed and out of town without a hitch wasn’t likely to begin with. Because of the sailboat, home renovation and general spirit of upheaval there were things that would go missing. Forget the vest and 12 volt cool chest so you know. Bitter pills to swallow. Success in low budget showmanship demands a vest. 
Near as I can tell I’m plenty far enough away from the maddening crowds. Wasn’t until I got 25 miles east of Carson City before I began to recognize the Nevada I know. Fallon, Nevada mixes things up 
Ukulele is upstairs. Fantasize and sports franchise   You might imagine how we can create a lyric about a sports franchise that doesn’t run off and leave Oakland for somebody else.
I’ll roll to Baker, Nevada and take a room.  Between here and there I’ll juggle, recite my new lines and investigate a few roadside curiosities while Great Basin high desert drifting.
Like mustang near everything in Nevada makes being here a disrupting proposition. Early man was here hunting 12,000 years ago. The terrain was more verdant, herds were larger, the animals were bigger. Most of what counts for size here is imagination. There were too few here back in that era and too many now.
Nevada in the warmer months hiking among the pinyon and then up near the tree line among the Bishop pines proffers a chance to run deep. Ancient trees holding on for dear life provide a “arboristic” mirror to your own clinging here on this hard rock. Let’s move out. We’ve some east to make good

April 19,’18 Gridlocked in Tsunami Zone

Bio-Debatable Bat-Poop-Crazy 

Rattan Bike

Not the Destination? It’s the Journey? Are You Sure Sherlock?

We’ll say a quick hello… Thursday here in LA with Emeryville on our evenings itinerary. Got that? We’re aboard the vessel Sweet Seas.

Yesterday foolishly believing I could do better than be held hostage to the tyranny of Los Angeles traffic I took it to Malibu. There amidst the splendor the the brilliant and beautiful I walked along the shore briefly imagining I would speak with Dylan who wasn’t home and Cindy Crawford’s doorman who informed me that she couldn’t see me right now.

So instead I took a table at Gladstones where I’ve carved out heaps of almost free time- if you don’t count the $10 it costs to have valet parking hold your keys and car hostage until finished with that portion of the other part of the self indulgence you have so fruitfully come wallow in.

Highway One was bounded in traffic congested fender bending behaviors while I was completing the pleasant part of the adventure. Next came the extract the American from the inundation zone. Gladstones parking lot spit me out onto Sunset Boulevard and there snug and tightly fitted between others who had also taken to their automobiles I rotted away growing way too old way too soon on an otherwise lovely afternoon. A mere two hours and twenty-five minutes later I limped into my parking place in downtown some twenty plus miles away.

Let me leave you today with a quote from one of my favorite bachelors from one of my characters in Hot Spring Honeymoon.

Warm tubs

“You’re coming out for ‘naked night?’” Keefe asked.

“We’re going to have strong feelings for one of the guests.”

“What are you going to do with those pictures?” Keefe had a sly look on his face.

Glenna resolved. “Change how a person thinks…”

“Help him see the error of his ways?” Keefe asked.

“Finding a way to changing a man’s mind isn’t necessarily done by playing around with what he has between his ears,” Glenna said.

“A lot of men do their most penetrating thinking by way of another part of themselves altogether,” Keefe said.

“I’d say that holds true for near all the men I’ve ever known,” Glenna said.

Edited Red Star

It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Canary Starts Sizzling…

Six Boats

Setting Sail for a Better Future

Let’s head out from here where sanity prevails. First, we have a global manmade climate crisis. Got that? Let’s get our priorities right. Wake up!

Next up is worldwide population levels continuing to expand while we wreak havoc upon the support system all these new lives will need if they are to survive.

Our politics and our economics are complex. This is a two headed monstrosity. One defends the other, while the other goes about plundering the world and taking a modest sum of their profits to keep propping up their enablers.

Like an addict business just can’t help itself. The business of business turns out to be all too often quite rapacious of resources and let’s just say not particularly talented at focusing upon sustainability to say nothing of mankind’s survival.

And then there is Hillary Clinton’s campaign, a Democrat running for office and she can’t take a position on the Keystone Pipeline? That’s not going to get the job done. Does she support the Transpacific Partnership; a trade agreement that affects 40% of the world’s global trade? No, she can’t say one way or another. We are being asked to vote for a riddle inside of a mystery.

There is all of this plus we have Republican Senators plotting in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act which would result in stripping 17 million citizens of their health insurance. This isn’t humanity’s best moment.

Plus, with the world bursting at the seams with people this same grand deliberative body is rushing as fast as their fake bile can be spewed to defund an organization that tries to help all of humanity in general and women in particular to determine if and when they will have a child.

Some low life named Drudge calls the Pope the Antichrist. Some Cuban out of Florida running for higher office claims Obama is covertly funding the same terrorists that the Pentagon is trying to kill. Please…

Here is the situation. We have to deal with climate change. That means doing something about it here. We’ll need to work with every other country in the world because this isn’t just our problem it is the world’s problem too.

Next up is getting control of the world’s most voracious inhabitants… human beings. Where to start? Well, obviously we’ll need to figure out where all these people are coming from and why there are so many individuals, religions and governments blocking efforts to help humanity manage their reproductive systems. What the hell is wrong with you people?

This isn’t a mystery. If we deploy women’s health care programs across the world we will enable billions of earth’s citizens to have the chance to choose the right moment to start a family.

If you object to offering others the chance to choose how they wish to arrange their lives then you might well be confused about what the difference is between freedom and tyranny.

Finally the stupendous wealth that has accumulated in the hands of so few has in turn been used to frustrate efforts to put in place policies that will go a long way toward solving humanity’s problems. It turns out great wealth is in and of itself a great big problem.

Billionaires are not a feature of capitalism they are a flaw and to drain the swamp of excess wealth is to make our world a safer more egalitarian place where we might well survive if only we can clear our minds of the haze and get focused on the challenges we face.

Does this sound radical? Cleaning our air? To help men and women determine when to start a family? To tax our wealthiest citizens more and our poorest citizens less?

Some political party is going to have to clear their throat and speak out and then pass the necessary legislation. Trump and Sanders are merely canaries in the coal mine. They are harbingers sounding the alarm.

Our political, religious and economic systems are in desperate circumstances. They are all in need of change and yet each has exquisitely organized itself to resist change. One way or another, this is going to come to an end. I’d prefer a soft landing or if not perhaps it is time we start manufacturing helmets… and fast.

Five Boat

Let’s Set Humanity’s Course for Survival

How Sweet It Is

Pouilly Fuisse
The Most Beautiful Places in the World

Timing is everything. A good location doesn’t hurt.

But, it’s the intangibles that will get you.

“To be completely honest, although I love living in the city, it’s not my favorite place to perform.”

What?

“It seems to have an overly-politically-correctness vibe.”

Really? So, we haven’t changed; they have?

“They seem to repress some of the fun and energy that our typical street show presents.”

For the love of show business.

Street act is foreground, cityscape is background.

A performer is barely on earth. We’d like to be, but you know it’s tough. We tend to be on stage, in bars, at rehearsals. Why isn’t that enough and if it is why doesn’t it come with a dental plan?

Once you have an act you are set. You get to be witness to more death than a mortician. There’s a lot of turnover in this industry.

One day the best act you’ve ever seen turns out to be a plumber. That unexpected incarnation put the fear of god in you.

As Jackie Gleason opined after a sip from the good stuff at the opening of his schtick.. “How sweet it is…” He’s only making that crack because of all the cadavers stacked up backstage.

So, the hungry acts know that you best keep the hook baited. Nothing but nobody waits for spit.

That’s the game. In these modern times. We used to be lousy with gigs from Salinas to Santa Rosa. But, that’s all dried up and nobody left instructions for what to do next.

You want a career in show business? Buy a suitcase, look for cheap tickets. Keep an eye on your back. Change is coming.

Then, you know, the phone rings, they need somebody for some spot dates in Northern Arizona on the Navajo Indian Nation’s territories. “Are you available?”

“You got to be kidding me? I’d do that date for free. When do we leave?” That’s how it is in my game.

You get the regrets and those of us with the moxy to have stuck it out we get the unpaid bills.

Nothing is free but for love and even that bargain comes with baggage.

I got an Australian friend in Dubai playing his swami act with a fake Indian accent to the Emirates. That’s some kind of con he’s got going. And YOU wanted to be in show business…

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 This is what the professionals look like…

How to Not Write Anything Brilliantly

Write What You Know
Write What You Know

We go to busking great Tim Motley enjoying his summer in Melbourne for this: “I try to sit down with my morning coffee around noon.”

It usually happens first thing,” Dan Looker explains, “when the previous evening’s alcohol and the morning coffee meet in a front.”

That’s some kind of weather pattern.

The well washed one- veteran British comic- Andre Vincent, “It is thought of in the bath and then never stopped working on.”

Ellen Gavin screenwriter and former theatrical producer at the Brava in San Francisco confides, “I try to write from 9 until 3…” and then cheerfully admits, “I’m supposed to be at my desk now.”

Most writers do their best writing when they are supposed to be writing. It is only when we are actually writing that it is so difficult.

One way or another, sooner or later, they do get it down on paper.

Jay Alexander explains, “I send a recording of my show and have a professional transcribe it.” He’s got the idea.

“I’m open to writing,” Lee Ross explains, “I did get up and do an ‘open mic’ the other week and killed.”

This is how the really gifted writers write.

As Karl Saliter explains, “I continually find myself 10,000 miles from the keyboard.” This is pure virtuosity.

Still technique is important. Rob Williams, “I recommend upscale pencils… look for the Palomino Blackwing Series.”

They are impossible to find.

Andre Vincent, “Notebook is friend, memory is enemy.”

James O’Shea, “I’m not trying to plan anything or know what the story is about.”

Here it is sage advice from many of the hardest working writer-entertainers in show business.

Take it from the working professionals. Blaming writers block is overrated. Hard work is for suckers.

They say that we all have a novel in us. Writing it down, printing it out and putting it on a shelf. That is so last century.

I hope this clears thing’s up for those of you who might still be thinking about writing something.

Out with the Old
Out with the Old

Want to find my comic novel

Hot Spring Honeymoon…

Click on the Picture Above

Kissing George Wallace at a Petting Party

image

Fire the Boat Up… We’re Coming For Them…

It is all connected. Let’s review. Climate change is real and carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere is the cause of the problem.

Income inequality is real and uber wealthy titans of industry and finance have rigged capitalism and now literally spray money to regulators and politicians to maintain the status quo. This is a problem.

Sideshows? Sure we got plenty. In U.S. it is voter suppression legislation. The majority up at the House of Representatives is of the opinion that the voting rights act does not need to be renewed. They are a problem.

Union busting has been such a success we need to move on. What else can we do? Let’s defund social security. It ain’t nothing but a New Deal communist plot to weaken the spineless and lazy laborers.

More… We will create a 401K, then we’ll make it kind of cheesey… make it kind of mathematical and then while it looks like you are getting a 5% return on your retirement account we’ll let the fund managers take 2% off the top leaving you with 3%… Yeah, that gets the fund managers 40% of your return. You got that or is it too hard to wrap your head around? You shouldn’t be allowed to vote you are so stupid. You can be your own worse problem.

That my friends is what we are up against. Ready for this one? About 90 multinational corporations are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases being dumped into the worlds atmosphere. Ninety multinationals with thousands of locations, but when you are fighting snakes you go for the head of the animal not its tail.

The parade of rush hour traffic goes and surrounds each one of these ninety titans of industry and we punch them in the face (dramatic expression only… use your words) until they figure out how to stop dumping all the carbon dioxide they make into the atmosphere?

It isn’t complicated. That feeling of helplessness you are feeling isn’t a symptom it is a feature. The Fear News Channel pumps non-stop terror into your amygdala keeping you hypnotized into believing that what we really need is a bigger bomber and more guns in the hands of our citizens.

What if what we needed was a posse to saddle up and go arrest a few hundred white collar elites throw them in jail and then be sure to pay a fair wage to workers who we hire to shut down and or clean up those ninety multinational corporations?

Our institutions are failing us and by us I mean the collective good will of virtually every citizen I speak to on the street in the course of my day. I do not meet a single soul that wants to burn every last piece of carbon based fuel on this earth, incinerate ourselves and literally bring civilization to an end.

Citizens I know are also for a fair wage for a fair days work. Most of us are so piss poor at math we don’t even know what it means to have a boss that earns 400 times more salary than we do. What does that mean? It means if you get a salary of $4000. per month your boss is making $1,600,000. (one million six hundred thousand dollars) per month.

When you explain this most people cannot believe that is the truth. No wonder we want to privatize education. You see we count on you not be able to count and even when you can count we count on you not having any faith you could do a damn thing about it. So far they’ve been right.

You are reading my outline to my next novel and it will be a comedy. If you got a problem with any of this maybe time to ask yourself how whether its just a faith based case of delusion you got gripping your mind.

Ninety multinational corporations… and every single one of them is run by some guy who wished he’d been around to vote for George Wallace.

Hot Spring Honeymoon is now on Kindle Select… ” I didn’t want the book to end…”