Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Musings....Life's puzzles

When we set out to pursue a vision in life, we assemble everything we know about the subject of our vision like a giant jig-saw puzzle on a huge table top. The next thing we seem to do is to stand and stare at the piles of pieces to see if anything that make sense jumps out at us.

It is at this point where humans break into two groups. Those who see nothing in the pieces and so continue to look at them, and those who dig into the pieces and start trying to put them together.

Those who continue to stare at the pieces hoping something will materialize are finished. They will go no further and they will be critical of those who have forged ahead regardless.

Those who forge ahead will again divide into two groups. Those who diligently continue on trying to find their way through the puzzle, and those who lack persistance and determination and drop out when they cannot find the needed pieces easily. This group now joins the other idlers in standing by and casting aspersions on those who continue on.

Of the group who continue assembling the puzzle, there are two groups. Those who by either luck or attentiveness find their way through the puzzle, and those who by force and intimidation force the puzzle pieces together. Of these final two groups, the former has a nicely completed project and the latter a completed project bereft of any beauty and utility, but completed nonetheless.

Which group are you in?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Hellhound on my Trail....

John Babich wrote: There is a delicious feeling when a person discovers the Blues. Many folks don't really see the light until they've attended a real throw-down Blues show. Sometimes you can see in their faces when that moment occurs.

I had time to get some work done on the blues show over Thanksgiving. The script is really rough and will need extensive re-working but the core of it is there now. I'm looking at needing somewhere around 50 pages of script including the songs. That is about the size of Smoke on the Mountain. I'm gonna bounce it off Mike Craver if he's got the time. He made the mistake of telling me he would look over anything I wrote. What a sap! ;-)

Anyway, I made a CD with most of the music on it in order of performance and have started to look at gathering charts for the songs. Some of them will have to be just lead sheets, but a couple of them I'm thinking of sending off to get full scores written.

I threw out the John Babich quote above because it kind of encapsulates what I have been doing with the gals. Some of them have a good feel and knowledge of the blues and others have nearly none so it is going to be up to me to bring everyone up to some sort of "Blues Baseline". But - they are all great gals and I'm really not worried at all about them - only ME! Can I get the band working well together in time? That may end up being the greatest challenge. I hope to get them together right after the Christmas show closes so we can see what we've got.

Thought for today......
The difference between a man and a savings bond is that the bond will eventually mature.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Thoughts on Dogs

Watching my little furry kids running around the house this evening before coming to work, I had to reflect for a while on what the human fascination is with the domesticated dog, and most especially, the little Westies that have become so near and dear to us.

I mentioned the lady in California on our Westies listserv, but there are many others like her (and us, for that matter) who are absolutely besotted with these little white terriers. So why do they weasle their way so deeply into our hearts?

I think it must be their endless capacity to hold us in reverent awe. They are wildly grateful to their masters for the least little attention and would willingly lay down their life for us. Perhaps it is this dedication that we so adore.

Some doggy literature -

Somewhere a little dog doth wait
It may be by some garden gate
with eyes alert and tail attent
you know the kind of tail that's meant
with stores of yelps of glad delight
to bid me welcome home at night.
- Robert Service

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
- Mark Twain

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
-Mark Twain

Monday, November 22, 2004

Rules for being human...

I don't have much to add today. Only this list that I found recently and thought worth saving...

The Rules for Being Human

  1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
  2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a fulltime informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
  3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works."
  4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
  5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive there are lessons to be learned.
  6. "There" is no better than "here." When your "there" has become a "here" you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."
  7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
  8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
  9. Your answers lie inside you. The answer to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
  10. This will often be forgotten, only to be remembered again.

(Cherie Carter-Scott)

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Cool Stuff!!

I'm finding such cool stuff for the March show by the Wild Blues Women!! I've already started writing the script and its going together fairly easily. Much more easily than I thought. This is the part I was afraid of because it calls for a great deal of creative insight and my brain usually doesn't function that way. It prefers rather dry, hard, cold scientific fact. Intuition is not my strong suit!

So far we have Karen, Joni, Connie, Amy, Wendy, and Cindy interested in the show with some of them already excited enough to start digging into their character development and reasearching music. I found song books for Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, Saffire, and a huge Blues fake book so we should have plenty of charts to work with. For musicians, I've got KentRoss in piano/organ, me on guitars. Hopefully we'll get Joe Walker on drums and Alec Ross on bass. We should be able to put down some real Kick - Ass blues tracks!

I started reading Chris Pyle's script today and what I have read so far is a real hoot. Chris and Sarah have asked if I would help with the musical score for their short film and I jumped at the chance. I've already got musical ideas churning around in my head for this one as well as for the Blues show.

We did the Arts Council Festival of Trees auction tonight before I came to work. I think we did fairly well on the take which will help toward the next couple of months of operating expenses, but I still have to hit our membership and the city hard in the next few weeks or we may end up having to close the building up and sell it. There must be a way for us to raise the needed capital to maintain the building *AND* run the arts council. There just must be!!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sad News....

For several years now I have been involved in several Listservs dedicated to West Highland White Terriers which is what our two dogs - Abbey and Chloe - are. I co-moderate a list called WestiesII and one of our members is an elderly woman in California who really has no family other than her Westie, Cody. About 6 months ago, her neighbor put Decon rat poison on a fnce next door to her which blew into her yard and poor Cody got into it. Since then she has had a constant, heart wrenching battle trying to save Cody's life through the veterinarys and the university animal hospitals. The poor little guy has gained a lot of weight due to the prednizone he has been taking and his blood platelette count has been extremely low from time to time. Well, about 2 weeks ago she announce to the group that his blood platelette count had returned to normal for the first time in 6 months and the vet had started reducing his medication (cyclosporin & Pred.) so it looks as if he has turned the corner and will make it. For a poor elderly lady who has no one else, this was indeed joyous news.

Then came today. When I read my list mail today there was a brief note from her. Only enough to say that she has just been diagnosed with cancer of the esaphagus (sp?). After all she has been through with her little dog.

Today will be a sad day.... probably tomorrow as well....

Monday, November 15, 2004


The madcap diversity of human thought and understanding is incredible. By that I mean I cannot comprehend what makes people think and believe the things they do. Not even myself. Lately it has become apparent to me that so many of my very dearest friends have vast differences from me in the way they view the current administration, the war on terror, international politics, gun control...etc...etc....etc.

It would be easy to chalk this up to life experiences, but many of these people share my experiences and still believe differently about them. Jack and Chuck are, like me, veterans and survivors of that horror in southeast Asia. Like me, both of them keep guns and defend our right to bear them. Unlike me, both detest the current administration and see Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Bosnia/Croatia as another Vietnam. They are unwilling to give the slightest benefit of doubt to the administration and seem to blame the politicians for everything that has not worked out exactly as they think it should have in prosecuting these battles. They do not seem ready to place any blame on the military commanders in the field for making not so hot decisions. Additionally, my dear old friend in England also berates the President as a dolt (and worse). I find it very hard to believe that he is any where near as stupid as these people think. Not only was he smart enough to be elected President, but he was smart enough to do so a second time. Has he made some bad decisions while in office? Undoubtably! But what President hasn't?

The common thread with all these people, I find, is the absolute horror that they hold for the fact that people die in combat situations. They constantly point to the deaths as a sign of failed this and failed that. I'm not callous about the loss of life. Lord knows I've sobbed with the best of them over the loss of a friend in war. However, I'm enough of a realist to know that dying is one of the things soldiers do in battle. It is their very purpose to be in harm's way and to continue to function. I found during Vietnam that most of the people who had problems with that war were people who never actually came to the realization that they were really *in* a war. Somehow, they were in some surreal place where things beyond their control happened around them but were never able to accept the idea that people around them, perhaps even they themselves, were going to be casualties. I had no such delusions. I knew that it was a war and that people, maybe even me, would die.

I am completely buffaloed by all this. I cannot see why so many people have an active hatred of the present administration. I didn't want either Gore or Kerry to be elected because I have some fundamental differences with their take on how the country should be run. But I certainly harbour no hatred of either of them. I disliked Clinton too, but I have never hated the man. What is going on in this country to stir up so much intense hatred - and from what I can see - largely only from one side?

Let's not talk about the courts, judges and lawyers........

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Thought for the day anyway.........

Okay, I do have time enough to quickly throw out my thought for the day that I had in the other blog.....

Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. But it *ROCKS* absolutely, too!!
- stolen from www.despair.com -

Thought for the day anyway.........

Okay, I do have time enough to quickly throw out my thought for the day that I had in the other blog.....

Power Corrupts. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. But it *ROCKS* absolutely, too!!
- stolen from www.despair.com -

Bummed out!!!

I'm really disgusted now. I wrote a nice long blog about everything that's happened in the past few days with the Wyatt Earp statue, the reception, the March show, etc etc etc.... and it just disappeared when I published the post. Well, you'll just have to settle for this puny attempt at a blog for now 'cause I'm plum outta time now......

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Friends, the true measure of personal wealth....

I have no idea what I would have done this past week without some of the best friends a person could possibly have. It's not that there was some major crisis in my existance or anything. Just that in retrospect, I didn't really realize how far my friends would go for me. I'm not sure anyone ever really does.

Stress was pretty bad for me this past week. I worked on mounting Mary's Wyatt Earp sculpture and preparing for the unveiling and the "Thank You" reception. This was coupled with trying to get a few things done on the MG to get it running again as well as working evening shifts. Then there was caring for Carolyn who is on complete bed rest and has to have her meals prepared and be taken daily to the hosptial for her Rocefin IV. Next the visit by the Zoom Communications crew from Calgary and helping them with their pilot filming. Last but far from least has been the financial pit that the arts council has fallen into and trying to resolve that dilemma.

Now the sculpture is in and all the preparations nearly done so I have a little time this evening at the office to finally relax my mind a little. The first thing that hit me was all the help and support I got this past week from friends.

All the Trail of Famers (Pat, Richard, Dennis, John, Soni & Kent) jumping in was sort of expected, but still tremedously appreciated. More humbling was having Dana from the office show me how to change tie-rod ends on the MG - having Joe - and Seth - and Alan - and Ryan - and Mark from the theater show up to help with loading the sculpture on the trailer and then, without being asked to, sticking around and pitching in as we struggled to get it mounted. Friends like Gene Kirby and JC Huckaby who jumped right in and helped out when things got a little sticky with correct mounting - Friends like Bob Hughes and his crew from Aquila who went way beyond that extra mile to install the lighting for the sculpture and seeing to it that we got the mounting problems ironed out. And all these great people doing all of this work for no remuneration other than to know that they helped with the Dodge City Trail of Fame or (more likely?) bailed ol' Jim out of trouble.

You can't have too many friends like these folks. Just having one like them is, indeed, a blessing. Thank you all! I owe you all more than I can ever repay. Please know that you can always call on me to come to your aid. Or just to stick a brew in your hand and listen to what you have to say. You are the salt of the earth, folks, and I wonder if I'm worthy of any of you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Things I suggest for this week....

1) Go vote on Tuesday, November 2nd. Oh! And vote for Bush/Cheney. Locally, vote for Pat George and Van Hampton. I don't care what you think, just do as you are told and vote for these people.

2) Sit down.

3) Shut up.

Finally, and most important of all,

4) Ignore almost everything I tell you. I am a biased old codger who will try to sway you to my beliefs if you listen with an open mind!

Got to get everything ready for Thursday night's meeting of "Wild Women Never Get the Blues". This is going to be an interesting venture - one that may get to be crazy as time goes by, but also one that I think will leave us all very proud in the end. Ask me about it when you see me next.