Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

So I was watching TV the other day and some commercial featuring Bob Dylan’s iconic “Times They Are A Changin” appeared. I never was a huge Dylan fan when it came to his singing however as a writer there aren’t many better and this song was just one of his many classics. Dylan recorded it in 1963 and released it in January of 1964 during the heydey of Vietnam and also during the Civil Rights movement. I think he even said the reason he wrote it was to create an anthem of change. Less than a month after Dylan recorded the song, President John F Kennedy was  assassinated  in Dallas on November 22, 1963. The next night, Dylan opened a concert with “The Times They Are a-Changin'”; he told biographer Anthony Scaduto “I thought, ‘Wow, how can I open with that song? I’ll get rocks thrown at me.’ But I had to sing it, my whole concert takes off from there. I know I had no understanding of anything. Something had just gone haywire in the country and they were applauding the song. And I couldn’t understand why they were clapping, or why I wrote the song. I couldn’t understand anything. For me, it was just insane.” It became one of many protest songs of the 60’s and 70’s and is a go to protest song even to this day.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin

I’m always amazed when I listen to protest songs from that era and you see we are still protesting the same issues today that we were protesting then, only with a few new twists. Or to put it in song title terms, “The Song Remains The Same”, as Led Zeppelin recorded. The song has remained the same for the last 55 years and will probably remain the same the next 55 years but that is another gasbagging rant for another day. We have our stand-bys like civil rights, cops are still pigs. War will always be protested, Right To Life, Women’s Rights, gun control. Now we protest any and everything. The names may have changed but yes the song is remaining the same. Instead of Nixon, it’s Trump. There is hardly anything we don’t protest these days. At a recent protest of something, President Trump said that the protesting should not allowed. Sorry Donald, nothing is more American than protesting even if they are ridiculous as UC San Diego’s “Free the Nipple”or the time when the California Polytechnic University Students held a “Shit-In” Yes, you read that right. Cal Poly students held a three-day “shit-in” to protest the lack of access to gender neutral bathrooms. Students were encouraged to sign a mock toilet during the protest, on which messages such as “poop equality”. I guess my favorite is when a group of Amherst College students, known as “Amherst Uprising,”  issued demands  to their university, “to address the legacy of oppression on campus.” One target of their demand protest was a group of students who placed posters on the campus to promote free speech. “Amherst Uprising” called for the free speech fans to be disciplined and “be required to attend extensive training for racial and cultural competency.” What all of these campus protests have in common beside most being in California is that they demonstrate just how out-of-touch college students are with how the world works beyond the college bubble. You really have to wonder how today’s coddled undergraduates will adjust to the real world. I have my doubts.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Times truly are-a-changin’. As we get older we will see changes in our life as well. I find myself slowing down. I never have been a ball of fire but I am becoming more of a flicker of fire. Attitudes change. As I was getting older I was finding myself becoming more of a curmudgeon or worse more like the Michael Douglas character, William Foster in “Falling Down”, then 6 years ago I swore off Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Rush and my life is for the better. Sure I get tore up on occasions when my inner William Foster returns after I see something culturally crazy. Seriously in the grand scheme of things does it really matter? I think Mahatma Gandhi said it beautifully when he said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed”. I try to hit the brakes more as I age. I just spend my time now on the internet doing Buzzfeed quizzes. Plus my wife says I am much easier to be around.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

For those who want to increase your speed we look at 2019. Possibly there will be much to protest. Another Supreme Court Judge? That should get your heart rate pumping. That will be the mother of all protest. Climate change? Better hurry on that one, we don’t have but 12 years. We have more Confederate statues in the South that needs to be protested. Go to Clemson, John C. Calhoun is on the chopping block. Everyone who runs for office now can be protested when they find something in their past from when they were 12. Colin Kaepernick and the NFL are still around and of course anything Trump. So there is a buffet of protesting to choose from. The fields are ripe for protest. There many ways to increase your life’s speed if you choose to but hopefully you will slow your life speed down and look at all the beautiful things that this life has to offer. As for myself, I will sit back and just watch the stupidity and gasbag about all of it. That’s what I do.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

Arlo, the Monster

I have always had pets of some kind. Mostly dogs but I’ve had cats as well at some point in my life. Alphonso, a black cat, with one good eye and three teeth lived to be 21 years old. They didn’t get much better than Al. Years later my wife Rebecca said there was a pup that wondered to a workmate house and would not leave and wanted to know if anyone was interested in it. I took off to Greenville to see this Golden Retriever mix and took him home with me. Tucker had arrived. Tucker was a bull headed, peanut butter, loving dog who after one week managed to chew through the satellite dish cable that ran to the house. I came home one day and looked outside and Tucker was rolling my gas grill tire in the yard with his nose after he demolished my gas grill. He finally calmed down and we had a normal pet to human existence. A couple of years later at a plant site we were working, I met another future pet. This dog had clearly been abused, teats dagging the ground, very shy but after a week of feeding her I finally gained her trust and gave Tucker a roommate. Tucker meet Belle. If there was ever a angel with paws, it was Belle. We had to put them both down, within 3 months of each other about a year and a half ago after 13 and 15 years respectively and that was truly the hardest thing I had ever been through in my life. They left a paw print in my heart forever. They were family. They were life’s apology to a crappy day. I realized more and more every day that Dogs are your friends and humans are assholes. I have never seen a dog shoot 54 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas so I stand by my statement.

Belle and Tucker

All this changed sometime this past July when a former friend, as he is now called me up and said a dog had wondered up in his yard. He knew that we had talked of getting a dog and said he was really cute and loveable. Rebecca said we should look at him so I took off to Townville a couple of days later to meet who would later become Arlo. Arlo was a scrawny 14 lbs when I took him to the vet to get “things taken care of.” Looking back maybe he never forgave me for taking that trip to the vet. Anyway he definitely had not eaten like he should have. “Poor guy”, I thought. Little did I know that the “Spawn of Satan” had infiltrated my household. Everything was good at first, the vet said he was still a pup, one to two years old. Rebecca was happy. She hadn’t been too crazy about the idea of another dog at first because she was grieving still over Belle and Tucker but especially Tucker who was her favorite but little did I know she was soon to be possessed by Arlo. The love for this mongrel would soon be just a distant memory.

The destruction of my life would soon begin. A little chew here , a little nip there. Here a chew, there a chew, everywhere a chew, chew. Then a small hole would pop up in a sheet, then a comforter, a blanket. We noticed the holes were getting bigger and more of them and then it happened……Arlo had shown us fully his demolition, knocking down, pulling down, tearing down, levelling, razing (to the ground), felling, dismantling, breaking up, wrecking, ruination, smashing, shattering,  power that he possesses. Example of the evil that is Arlo in the above picture.


Well months have passes, hundreds of dollars have been spent. Arlo has pigged out to 33 lbs. I never knew that linen, chew toys, rugs, foam rubber and cardboard were that fattening. He purposely holds his farts in until he gets beside me just to see the horrified look on my face. He has the prostate of a 200 year old. Arlo has found new ways to spread his evil. He now moved on to other things such as my backyard for instance. It now looks like a World War II battlefield in France where mortar shells have bombarded endlessly days on end. How long will this madness go on? Has Arlo come back as a old girlfriend that has died that I am unaware of? Whoever I wronged in the past, I am truly sorry.

I’ll wipe that smirk off……

I find myself fascinated about the uproar that a sixteen year old white kid from Kentucky with a smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat has caused in this country. A two minute video has turned this country upside down. Networks have gone crazy over this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. Twitter has completely lost it’s mind over this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. The high school where this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat attends has received bomb threats, families from Covington Catholic High have received death threats, all because of this white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA hat. A longer video appears to have shown that things aren’t always what they seem has not calmed the masses. This sixteen year old white kid from Kentucky with the smirk on his face wearing a MAGA is public enemy #1. These are truly perilous times in our country when this can happen.

We know that this is nothing about this kid from Kentucky but this is all about our seventy-two year old school boy in the White House. Truth is if this kid was not wearing a MAGA hat, Nathan Phillips the Native American in the video would have been ignored like we have been ignoring Native Americans for 243 years. This was never a legitimate news story to begin with. This is just one many stupid stories that has infected the media since President Trump was elected.  The worse offense I saw was the “Tomahawk Chop” and I see it every Saturday during Florida State games and the football team was a lot more offensive than the chop. Americans think the media is key to democracy — but many can’t name an objective news source. Personally, I get more out of “Babylon Bee” or “The Onion.”

In a sane world Nick Sandmann or Nathan Phillips would have just been two ships that passed through the night and what happened during those couple of minutes would not have mattered but we don’t live there anymore. Everything, is seen now through their own biases and if you are a pro-life, MAGA-hat-wearing, white male from rural Kentucky in today’s climate……… Screwed. Our social media mob has to come to an end. Social media has also brought out the worst in many of us. We are regularly under informed and we turn into these pundits and commentators that rush to the quickest of snap judgments before the facts are barely known. I have been guilty of that as well but let’s make no mistake this is all about the hatred of Donald Trump. The left got this wrong in my gasbagging opinion. They stuck there hand in a mouse trap and it went off. Nobody wins in this. Left or right. We all lose. More division of our broken down dialogue in our country.

As ridiculous as this story has become and seems to be getting more stupid daily, it may be taking a turn for the even stupider than it is now if at all possible. I read where President Trump may invite the Covington kids (hopefully not wearing their MAGA hats) to the White House. I can only hope that is “Fake News” but this sounds so President Trumpish that more than likely it is real. Lord help us. So I guess I will just sit back , wait on baseball season and watch my Braves and “chop on.”

R U Challenged?

I was on Facebook the other day and saw where there latest gimmick was “Facebook 10 Year Challenge.” It’s then and now picturesPeople are instructed to post their first profile picture alongside their current profile picture, or a picture from 10 years ago alongside their current profile picture. I have several reasons for not participating in this so called challenge. First of all this is a challenge to what. A challenge to not look older the next 10 years as I have this 10 years? I don’t need a reminder to see that. I am reminded of that daily. I am fatter, less hair and what is there is gray and I swear my ears are getting bigger with more bushy eyebrows and nose hair. As of yet nothing growing out of my ears. So it is pretty much to show how hot we were and continue to be or how hot we are now. Secondly, I just don’t trust Facebook. I’m sure that somehow they are using facial recognition technology for some sort of evil.


What it did do was it found me thinking about the last 10 years of my life. I look at the picture Rebecca took at Hilton Head years ago and see the changes that has taken place since then. I also think about the fish that was missed. So how has your 10 years been? If we were to take a picture of your life from 2009 and then 2019, would your picture remain the same for those 10 years or would it have shown a picture of change as a person.

The late, great Guy Clark wrote a wonderful song, “My Favorite Picture of You” The cover of the album has Clark holding up his favorite picture of his wife, Susanna, just as the song says. The picture was taken after she had returned home one day to find Clark and fellow Texas songwriter, Townes Van Zandt, drunk once again, and she was ready to leave him because of it. She stormed out the front door, which is when the picture was taken. That’s the song in a nutshell, and in it Clark struggles to sort out his emotions about his late wife; what emerges is one of the most honest love songs ever written. She moved out of the house for 4 years while he battled drugs and alcohol but she came back when he quit and stayed together until her death. I would have loved to had seen Guy Clark’s then and now life picture of his last 10 years. You are missed.

What kind of impact have I made on this life. I would hope it has been a positive one. You only have been given one shot at it. Is the world going to better off because of my existence on this planet or am I just here existing. What impact have you made? But Mr. Gasbag what can I do? Here are just a few things.

1. Donate blood. You could help save more than one life with just one donation.

2. Connects with people with organizations with local events that match your interests.

3. Offer your skills: Become a mentor or tutor to someone who would benefit from your experience. 

4. Fill a new or gently used knapsack with toiletry items and give it to a homeless person — or donate directly to a local shelter or soup kitchen.

5. Help someone get active — offer to walk with a friend or sign up for physical activity together. 

6. Give your time and undivided attention to a child. 

7. Drop off “Secret Santa” gifts to an elder care home or hospital — many seniors are alone over the holiday season and don’t have gifts to open. 

8. Volunteer to do yard work or shovel snow at an elderly neighbor’s house. 

9. Spend time with a senior and listen to their stories. 

10. Help your kids organize a can food drive. Daily Bread Ministries will take all the canned food you can raise.

11. Buy gift certificates from your grocery store and donate to a local Food Bank.

12. Offer to babysit for a couple or a single parent who don’t get out often. 

13. Send an encouraging message or handwritten note card to someone going through a difficult time. 

14. Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter. 

15.  Be an organ donor. 

16. Help end childhood hunger in your own backyard

What will your life picture look like when Facebook has their 20 year challenge? (If they are still around, I have my doubts) Physically there will be changes of course but will you be able to see the positive changes in your Life 20 year challenge. With all the darkness in the world, why not let your light shine. Make a difference.

Paul Thorn

Read more: Paul Thorn – Dont Let Nobody Steal Your Joy Lyrics | MetroLyrics


January 21st is the day we remember Martin Luther King’s birthday. This Tuesday on what should be a day for Americans to put aside politics and come together to honor the legacy of an extraordinary American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK Day should be about his his teachings on love, his commitment to ministering the Gospel, his dream of equality for all people. I have a sneaky suspicion we will be hearing very little of that but more on how divided the media thinks we are as a country.

As I get older and reflect on my life I realize that I must have been oblivious to my surroundings when I was young when it came to race. After all I was growing up in the South at a time where I can remember the separate bathrooms. I remember integration at Indian Land High School. I don’t recall having any problems when the black kids from Barr Street High came to ILHS and if there were who could have blamed them. Looking back now, that had to be a awful experience for those kids. When I was young I never saw Hank Aaron as a black player or white for that matter. He was an Atlanta Brave, my team. So was Rico Carty, Ralph Garr, Orlando Cepeda. Black or white, who cared. I was color blind. I never noticed that the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team to start an all African American starting lineup. All I knew was Doc Ellis pitched a no hitter while tripping on LSD. Now that was a big deal. My grandmother always told me to try to put yourself into someone’s place. I have tried to do that all of my life. I admit I could be naive when it comes to race but to be honest I am happy to be naive. I guess in part because of what I see. I read in the press and listen to news that the race problem is worse than it has ever been. I have concluded that race issues will always be with us, some conjured up and some real but I see the good in people. I see it everytime I volunteer at the soup kitchen. I see these people who are mostly white and conservative open up the doors and love on people. I see people shed tears, pray, all sorts of acts of kindness with those on the other side of the serving window, and yes most of these are African Americans. I do not see the race issue as other people may because again of what I experience, not what may be reported on CNN. I also know to say there isn’t any racism would be stupid on my part. The ugliness of Charlottesville has shown us that.


Over the summer we vacated and one of our stops was Memphis. We went by the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated. It was a eerie experience. I walked back in time. The motel, the cars, the sign. The quietness of people who were gathered there. Nothing had changed from that early morning, April 4th 1968 when those shots rang out in the Memphis sky. I can only hope that we will change and like Dr. King said “not judge by the color of their skin but the content of their character.” Amen Dr. King, Amen.



Make 2019 Not Suck

Someone posted on Facebook last night , “ Reviewing 2018 resolutions, I have 6 hours to lose 40 lbs. Your selections are solicited.” That is 2018 in a nutshell for me. All the wonderful resolutions that I made last year and the years before were gone as faster than President Trump’s next Chief of Staff. I have only kept one New Year’s resolution in my life and the only reason that happened was because I was cheap. In 1984 Marlboro Reds went up from 75 cents to a 1$ a pack. I was not going to pay a dollar for a pack of smokes. Haven’t had one since. Resolutions pretty much are useless. So is dwelling on 2018. The same things that drive people crazy in 2018 are going to drive you crazy in 2019. I friend of mine told me last night, this was going to be a terrible year because of a monumental birthday she is having this year. They are pretty much all monumental at this point. It’s more of a surprise to me that I have made another year. Okay you say 2018 sucked. How can you make 2019 better? Seems like I made better bad decisions last year. Does that count?

My first suggestion would be to lay off “Talk Radio”.

A day without Rush and all the other so called radio pundits is like a day of sunshine. This includes Fox News, CNN, MSNBC. I quit several years ago after getting worked up every afternoon watching Glenn Beck on Fox. Rebecca threatened to have me committed. I truly do have a better quality of life.

Read more.

Reading is good for the brain. Reading challenges your imagination. Reading reduces stress. I have always been a reader. My grandmother instilled that in me at a young age when we would run up to Pettus Store to get books from the mobile bookmobile. David Baldacci, CJ Box, my favorite Ace Atkins, Ted Bell, Michael Connoly just to name a few are some wonderful authors. Read more.

Listen to music.

The Science Behind Why Music Makes Us Feel so good. Unlike food or sex, music  isn’t necessary for our survival, but it is extremely rewarding and pleasurable. It taps into the same parts of the brain that pleasure from sex and food does. Music  floods the brain with a chemical called dopamine. Try out Jason Isbell and the 400 unit, Band of Heathens, The Mavericks, The Record Company, Margo Price, Sturgil Simpson, Kacey Musgraves. Plus when I listen to music I find myself not turning the tube on nearly as much. Survivor is still on TV?


Instead of complaining about GOP or Democrats, Trump or Pelosi and about how crappy 2019 is, do something about it. Make a difference. Volunteer. It will make a difference in your life and you will see that some of your problems aren’t as big as you may have thought. If you have big problems find you a support group with like minded people who you can share with.

Adopt a pet.

There are tons of dogs and cats out there who need you. You can make a difference in the life of a animal. You will find that you actually may want to be around them a helluva lot more than people. Just be careful and don’t adopt a tannish beagle mix, with half a tail who loves to chew everything in sight.

I saw Lukas Nelson (Willie’s Boy) last year and he sang a song that pretty much sums everything up. He said, Turn off the news and build a garden. Do this and you will have a full year. Can I get a amen? Have a great 2019.

“Turn Off The News”

I believe that every heart is kind
Some of them are just a little underused
Hatred is a symptom of the times
Lost in these uneducated blues

I just want to love you while I can
All these other thoughts have me confused
I don’t need to try and understand
Maybe the I’ll turn off the news

Turn off the news and build a garden
Just my neighborhood and me
We might feel a bit less hardened
We might feel a bit more free

Turn off the news and raise the kids
Give them somethin’ to believe in
Teach them now to be good people
Give them hope that they can see
Hope that they can see
Turn off the news and build a garden with me

Trust builds trust
And all that negativity’s a bust
Trust builds trust
Don’t you wanna be happy?

Turn off the news and build a garden
Just my neighborhood and me
We might feel a bit less hardened
We might feel a bit more free

Turn off the news and raise the kids
Give them somethin’ to believe in
Teach them now to be good people
Give them hope that they can see
Hope that they can see
Turn off the news and build a garden with me
Turn off the news and build a garden with me

I Love Music As Long As It’s Groovy….

Studio where Bob Seeger, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Steve Miller basically most everything in the 70’s were recorded here.

I love music. It is my passion. Always has been. From the time I was a little kid listening to to the Beatle 45’s on the orange and yellow Capitol Records label, or The Dave Clark 5, I was hooked. I had Beatle cards, Beatle dolls (still have Paul and George). Then British Invasion swept to America. Rolling Stones, The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, The Zombies, The Kinks, Freddie and the Dreamers, The Hollies. I’d watch Ed Sullivan every Sunday night to see who he would have on his “really big shew. “ Then I would adjust the rabbit ears, eat my chicken ala king that I had just boiled in the pouch and watch Shindig or Hullabaloo. I lusted after Petula Clark as she sang “Downtown” and I remember playing “Knights in White Satin” by the Moody Blues and “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan over and over again.

“ I love music as long as it’s swinging, all the joy that it’s bringing” …The O’ Jay’s

Over the years I collected 600 albums from Pink Floyd to Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers with some Andre Crouch in between. I had my Avent Model 300 receiver and pre amp, my Technics turntable and lastly my Cerwin Vega LOUD speakers that when ZZ Top sang where Jesus had left and to where he was going, everyone in the Dungeon on 211A Townes Street and surrounding areas knew it.

“Music is life, that’s why Our hearts have beats” .

Some friends and I took a vacation to Nashville, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Alabama and the Mississippi Delta on a musical blues tour across the south a couple of months ago and to just be able to experience where Keith Richards wrote the iconic “Wild Horses”, which was on a commode lid at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and to hear a story about some little punk living in the woods for two weeks behind that studio which turned out to be Duane Allman. To see the gold records lining the wall of some of the most iconic songs ever made. To hear the famous Wurlitzer Electric Piano where Aretha found her sound at FAME studios was truly mind boggling. To go “Down To The Crossroads” in Clarksdale, Mississippi where Robert Johnson allegedly made his deal with the devil. ( much like Cher, Neil Diamond, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line I suppose) It was a wonderful trip. It was music.

Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Andersen

2018 had its share of great music. Leon Bridges, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Kacey Musgraves, Lukas Nelson, JD McPherson, Chris Stapleton, Lake Street Dive, The Record Company, Paul Thorn, The War and Treaty, The Revivalist, Tyler Childers, Greenville’s own Marcus King. Just to name a few.

Music is in great shape despite the losses in 2018 like Aretha, Dolores O’Riordan (Cranberries), Edwin Hawkins (Oh Happy Day), Marty Balin (Jefferson Starship), Roy Clark, Nancy Wilson (The Supremes), Tony Joe White, Ed King (Skynyrd), Randy Scruggs and despite the cesspool that is country music, the computer techno garbage, the I guess I am to white to get rap although for some reason I did like Danny Glover’s, “This Is America”, so you will find a nugget in any genre of music. So here is to 2019 and the good music, as long as it’s groovy…..

Music is also my escape from the bullshit life can sometimes bring you………..Steve Miller 

Aretha, Clarence Carter, The Allman Bros, Otis Redding, Percy Sledge recorded here