Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Blog In Boxer Shorts

Stuff happens, right?
Actually, (amongst other things) I've been laid up a bit with a bad back lately. Sure, I was worried - after all, it was my lower back (no, think lower. Yeah ... that low!). In fact, it was so bad that, just below it, I actually saw the beginning of a crack ...

During that time, though, whilst laid up with this headache-near-the-rump, I found the scraps of an old manuscript I'd written back in '83.  Accepted by a book publisher a year later, the thinly-disguised autobiography (some of you know my earlier years were a bit, er, adventurous) was pulled due to serious death threats (no, I'm not making that up!). So, until recently, it sat on the shelf, collecting dust and the occasional crumb from a mislaid donut.

Sooooo, thirty years later and with the help of an amazingly creative young angel, I pulled the script together, altered its tone (it's now a comedy) and now have it online as the book, Boxer Shorts!  Oh, all the events you'll read about within its chapters actually happened, but with just a few little fictional ditties thrown in to flesh it out.

You'll meet characters like Hu (the Shih-Tzu), travel agent Justin Case, find out why Tony and his wife, Wanda Duitt go to Hell (and back, after a stop in Paradise), and the main characters, Charlie and Rachel Boxer. Whether it's their shenanigans in a lingerie shop, used car lot or restaurant, you'll witness it all in a book that reviewers have called "readable" ... er, "imagine the Marx Brothers in 2013!" "Hilarious!  You can't help laughing at what you find in 'Boxer Shorts'!" and "Do I get paid for writing this review?"

Just click on the new Notes From Home site, then on the "web store" lind, and take a look.  It's the first of the Shorts series, and a pretty good bargain at just $2.99!

Now, we'll be back-to-speed with our regular programming tomorrow so ...
stay tuned! 





Monday, February 11, 2013

A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE

Since I've been away for awhile, I'd planned to return with a big, fun-filled page full of fireworks and ice cream and everything ...
but ...
yesterday, one of my friends nearly lost his life thanks to a drunken driver who also just happened to be a teenager. This on the heels of another who's still in danger of losing her foot due to the same cause. And we're hearing that, in parts of the USofA, drinking amongst teens has actually increased in proportion to the drug use's decline.
So what I'm gonna do here is re-run a VERY SPECIAL POST ... on BOTH blogs ... and hope it gets around. It's a little long, but, mannnn, what a MESSAGE!! I hope SOMEBODY takes this to heart ... y'know, this thing we call "life" is WAYYYYY too precious to waste:
WARNING: What you're about to read is graphic and VERY strong! But let your kids read it ANYWAY; it was Mike's wish, and is the STRONGEST message I've EVER read about the pitfalls of drinking:


"Dear Young Friends,

You don't know me, but I am in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. I was the drummer for "The Byrds." We were almost as popular as "The Beatles." Back in the 60's everyone knew who we were. Your parents will remember, I was a famous rock 'n roll superstar. My band performed for millions all over the world. Our songs, "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Eight Miles High" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" are still played constantly on the radio. Our concerts were often sold out. I made a lot of money and had everything going for me including a problem I want to share with you. I was a drunk. Alcohol killed me on December 19,1993 when I was only 47 years old. It's embarrassing to have to share with you my stupidity that resulted in my death. But you need to know that what happened to me can happen to you. Honest to God, it can. Dying of alcoholism is not an easy death. You have a right to know the truth. Really, you need to know the whole truth.

Don't stop reading my letter yet. What I am about to tell you is real serious. It is no lie. It is time for you to be told the facts of drinking too much beer, wine or distilled spirits. You need to know the facts about the horrible death I suffered and the excruciating pain and embarrassment I went through at the end. I did not die of too many drugs like coke or pot. I died of too much alcohol which is really the most lethal drug of all. Trust me, this is no jokel

When I died I weighed only about 75 pounds. I had been a great looking teen and handsome man who was 6'2" and my normal weight was 175 pounds. I was a real lady's man and women loved me when I was healthy, but right before I died I was a horrible mess. My face was unrecognizable to my family and friends. You would have shuddered from the sight of me, I looked like a walking skeleton. I was so weak, I couldn't even smile.

I started drinking alcohol when I was 14 years old and until two weeks before I died, I could hardly remember ever being sober again. Sometimes when I was drunk I was mean. I am sure some of my friends could no longer stand me. I am lucky I did not kill anyone driving drunk and wind up in prison. For years, I would drink a 2 litre bottle of vodka almost every day and while I was performing I would drink beer on stage in between songs. When I was young I did not care about what would happen when I got older and just kept drinking, but believe me, when you grow up you want to live a full life. I know I did, but I robbed myself of about 30 years that I could have had fun with my fame and money and I cheated my son out of having his father. Please believe me when I say, "I wish I had never taken the first drink. I wish I was alive today."

I got hooked, that's right hooked on alcohol. It is addictive just like crack cocaine and many people like myself find it impossible to stop. We are called "alcoholics." And for people who start and get hooked and cannot stop, it is a fatal disease and can lead to other serious problems like teenage pregnancy, child abuse, crime and premature accidental death. For a young person alcohol is an illegal drug. Alcohol is more harmful than all the other illegal drugs combined. I know you can get it easily; I did. But don't be stupid like me. Too many beers or other alcoholic beverages can ruin your life. If you get hooked you may not finish school and get a good job, you may lose your health and friends and family. I did other drugs too, but none like alcohol. Alcohol is so addictive that I warn you if you get hooked you may not be able to stop by yourself or even if you get help. It is that powerful.

Right before I died, my liver disintegrated inside my body. You could see pieces of it breaking off in my guts with a special type of x-ray picture taken called a sonogram. When I died my liver was the size of a dime. My pancreas and kidneys were also affected by my drinking. Because I destroyed my liver with alcohol, my wastes had no way to leave my body and as a result my testicles swelled up to the size of a basketball. You can't even imagine how painful they were. It was like someone took a sledge hammer and hit them about 1000 times and wouldn't stop. My chest, stomach and legs swelled up so huge I was the size of a summa wrestler. I could hardly move. My eyes turned yellow and my skin was discolored from the toxic wastes in my body. I had to go to the hospital so the doctors could drain the poisonous fluid from my abdomen to keep me from exploding. They inserted a catheter into my bladder through my urethra to draw off the urine into a plastic bag attached to my leg with an elastic strap. I screamed with the pain. I lost all my dignity and there was nothing more they could do to save me, so they sent me home to face death.

All of my vital organs stopped functioning and my body started to shrivel from the inside. The pain was so unbearable that even the morphine they gave me didn't help. I couldn't eat and I felt nauseated all the time. They gave me suppositories for the nausea but they did no good at all. I knew I was soon going to die. Believe me when the end comes, it is not like you think. I didn't want to go. Two weeks later I died. Before I died I made my soulmate, Susan Paul, promise me to get this message to you. Please, please I say to you with tears in my eyes, say no to alcohol the worst drug of all and if you already have a problem with it, plead with your parents, your doctor or friends to get you help.

If you are drinking at your age you are abusing alcohol. Let me warn you that you face a crisis in your life. You might live to be 47 like me and then die a nightmarish death like I did, or you could be killed or disfigured today in an alcohol related crash. And if you drink too much alcohol in one sitting, alcohol poisoning will shut down your breathing and you will die.

Alcohol is a bad drug and a bad trip. Please think about what I have told you. Look what it did to me. It could happen to you too. So if you drink, stop! If you can't stop do everything in your power to get help. If you haven't started drinking yet, don't even take the first drink. My first drink eventually killed me. I don't want to see what happened to me happen to any of you. Trust me, you don't want to suffer like I did, really, it's no joke.

God Bless you all,

With all my love,
Michael Clarke
Drummer for The Byrds"

Now, most of you remember the Mike Clarke in the first photo, taken when he was with The Byrds. The middle one, I understand, was taken when he was in his late thirties.
The last one ... was taken a little over an hour before his death.

It's this writer's hope that, somehow, Michael's message gets through to EVERY young person. If you or yours are fortunate enough NOT to have a drinking problem, please SHARE his message with someone! Thanks ... 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who's An Old Rocker?

That's right:  Old rockers never quit ... they just change the song to fit their age.

And whilst our music and times were absolutely fab ... gear ... cool ... outtasight, we old hippies now use Fab for our laundry ... we got the gear, but forgot how to shift it ... today, we depend on central air conditioning to keep us cool ... and -- well, some things are, er, "outtasight" now due to pot-bellies or simply because we forgot where we put them.

And, sure, our songs would have to be altered just a little to suit our generation (if we can still hear them through our hearing-aids-with-dead-batteries or excess ear hair). For us, they'd include hits like:

Herman's Hermits "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Walker"

The Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Pee When You Want"

The Who "Talkin' 'Bout My Medication"

The Troggs "Bald Thing"

The Bee Gees "How Can You Mend a Broken Hip"

Roberta Flack "The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face"

Johnny Nash "I Can't See Clearly Now"

The Temptations "Papa Got a Kidney Stone"

ABBA "Denture Queen"

Leo Sayer "You Make Me Feel Like Napping"

Commodores "Once, Twice, Three Trips to the Bathroom"

Procol Harum "A Whiter Shade of Hair"

Joe Cocker "I Get By with a Little Help From Depends"

The Byrds "Mr. Absorbine Man"

Sadly, Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling"  was cut from the list.  Some of my elderly friends say it just doesn't work for them anymore ...

Now ya see why most of us just wanna stay home at night these days? (Oh ... how about sending in yours? Just leave 'em as a post reply, okay?? Or email me if you're a bit shy ...