“Tales From PA 6” available now!

June 22, 2018 Leave a comment

Physical CDs now available here..



Download now from….


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download the album NOW. Name your Price. From our BandCamp store

 01 – I Ain’t Gonna Grow Old In This Place Anymore (Flannery)
02 – Amantha Ray (Flannery)
03 – Rolling On (Flannery)
04 – Morning Eyes (Flannery)
05 – The Death of Joe Strummer (Flannery/Alexander)
06 – As Good a Choice as Anyone (Alexander)
07 – Stephen Foster’s Ghost (Flannery)
08 – Twilight In the Shadowlands (Flannery/Alexander)
09 – County Line (Flannery)
10 – Shelby Cobra (Flannery)
11 – A Greater Generation (Flannery/Alexander)


copyright 2018 all rights reserved
recorded at Saturation Acres in Dupont, PA
produced by Bret Alexander

Tom Flannery – guitar, vocals
Bret Alexander – guitar, vocals, mandolin, piano, harmonica

“Their songwriting chops are touched by the gods on this 11 song set. I don’t think any other duo does it better right now”
— 88.5 WRKC radio
“‘Twilight In The Shadowlands’ is a haunting track….Alexander transfers this
listener from the streets of north Belfast Ireland to
the rugged and haunting mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania…..
With its embattled stories of love, life and death ‘Tales From PA 6’
matches the intensity and standard of what the two men
have done before. We can only hope that this isn’t the last collaboration
between these 2 American gems”

— Seán Ó Sirideán

Belfast Poet, author of ‘The Ramblings of a Bessbrook Boy”

“Tom Flannery and Bret Alexander do it again. Two different voices, but one soul. And that soul shines within these new songs as it did on their 2016 release ‘Dupont Back Porches’.

Their latest release Tales from Route 6 is sharp, focused, and poignant. It’s filled with tales of America. Tales of all of us caught in the middle trying to make the best of thing…keeping our chin up…moving forward. Their style is in the vein of Springsteen, LaMontagne, and Drake. It’s Americana, it’s gritty, and it’s real. Alexander breathes into his harp and it wails in a Nebraska style. Many of these songs could easily fit nicely between “Mansion on the Hill” and “Used Cars”.

..even in the most melancholy or heartbroken lyrics there’s a sense of hope…Flannery and Alexander are two truly gifted individuals. Not sure if there’s anyone better locally to tell our stories.”

–Keith Perks – 1120 Studios / AntiHero Magazine

“Tom Flannery’s songwriting has always been distinctive for its defiant exuberance in the face of loss. In his latest, Tales from PA 6, with Bret Alexander, he takes it step further, claiming the mantle as coal country’s answer to James McMurtry. From the stunning, nuanced opening lines of “I Ain’t Gonna Grow Old in This Place Anymore,” into the evocative picaresque, “Stephen Foster’s Ghost,” all the way through the rocker “Shelby Cobra”, Flannery and Alexander catch the soul of a region – and a country – making damned sure if it’s bound for hell, it’s gonna squeeze every drop out of life before it goes.”

Seamus McGraw – Author of ‘The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone’, ‘Betting The Farm On A Drought: Stories From The Front Line Of Climate Change’, and ‘A Thirsty Land The Making of an American Water Crisis’

“…Universal and articulate; powerful ruminations on life, family, love and death.  An exception album of rock-driven acoustic story-telling…. the songs from Tales from PA 6  are thoughtful, mature and empathetic stories that have a familiarity that rings true no matter what road you are on.”

–Vinyl Voyage Radio

“Throughout its stirring 11 tracks, ‘Tales From PA 6’ takes you on an imaginative and highly descriptive creative journey. With each number, singer/songwriters Tom Flannery and Bret Alexander take you inside the lives of people that we’ve all seem to have known or encountered, and its done with a thoughtful sense of poignancy. It’s folk music at its best from two of the region’s finest songsmiths.”

—Alan K. Stout, music journalist and radio host, 105 The River



My favorite line from Tales Of PA 6 is this: “Resistance is futile saith the Lord/Especially when you’re 50 and bored”.

You have to be 50(or close to it) to feel that line. If you are half a century old AND a musician you feel it quite a bit more. The ghost of that line keeps showing up time and time again throughout the record. In character after character and in every story.

Tom and I discussed this record for the first time at a bar. We didn’t talk much about marketing it or doing shows to support it. We just talked about Pennsylvania. Love it or hate it, Northeastern PA is a unique place. It’s the kind of place that deserves a song or two written about it.

I wanted to do a collection of tunes about the people and places along Rt 6. I have spent a lot of time on that highway, and I thought there were treasure troves of stories on the side of that road. Tom had half the lyrics written before I decided whether I really liked the idea or not. That’s the way it is with him. We are a good combination, no doubt.

When I was in middle school my favorite short story was “A Piece Of Steak” by Jack London. It was a tale about an old prize fighter trying to win a match against a young man. The one fought for his family and the rent, the other for glory. Experience lost, youth won.

Years later, my favorite movie was “Cinderella Man”. A similar story but with a happy ending.

I don’t know what it is about fighters that I love so much. And if they know they are fighting a losing battle, I’m totally smitten. Resistance is futile, indeed.

As Rocky famously put it “It’s not about hitting hard. It’s about getting hit.”

That’s what I get out of these tunes. Everybody is out there, still in the game. Maybe they win, maybe they are still waiting to win. Sure, things didn’t go according to plan. That was years ago. But, like The Winter Warlock, they still have a couple magic beans….. and goddammit it’s time to use them. Probably they are fighting a losing battle, they know that. But there they are anyway.

Any 50 year old can relate to that.

— Bret Alexander


So we were sitting in this bar….

It was last summer. Bret and I decided to meet over drinks and discuss working together again. So we found a joint halfway between his place and mine, and started in on the whiskey and lager.

Our first effort was a record called “Dupont Back Porches” which we released in 2016. We met and wrote and recorded it in a sort of creative blur, skipping the parts where you’re supposed to rehearse, and going right to the parts where you hit the “record” button and hope you remember the bridge that you just finished writing 30 second ago. Somehow we pulled it off, and became good friends in the process. Music does that.

When we get together to talk new music we usually spend a few hours talking about everything else first. Our kids (we both have 2 daughters, around the same ages), our shared love of Levon Helm, the books on our respective nightstands, the current state of our nation. There’s no fixed starting point, and no roadmap. It’s a whirlpool of laughing and head shaking and sometimes astonishment that we’ve managed to make it this far without committing a felony. We kept the bartender busy, needless to say.

But back to the music. We discussed writing and recording an entire record in a single day. Neither one of us thinks the idea is insane….which should tell you all you need to know about who you’re dealing with. Anyway, someday we’re gonna do that. But we were looking for something else on this night.

Bret had this idea of getting in his car and following route 6 and the river, writing songs about what he encountered along the way. He also started to get really technical and talked about building an app for your phone that would pinpoint your location on route 6 and cue up the appropriate track…..like having a tour guide in the passenger seat who played guitar. I loved the concept but my non-technical eyes glazed over at the thought of downloading something from the app store…..and right around this moment somebody came into the bar and played The Beatles “Revolution 9” from the White Album on the jukebox.

I cannot convey to you just how weird of a moment this was.

You know the tune, right? Eight minutes of some guy chanting “number 9 number 9” over noises that sound like a barnyard being strafed by fighter jets. It’s how you spend your time when Yoko takes over, and the drugs run out of ideas. Why in the world anybody would play this song on a public jukebox is best left to deeper thinkers than I.

Bret and I both kind of looked at each other. Initially I thought maybe a herd of cats were fighting in the street, but no, it really was Revolution 9 on the jukebox. The volume was, it should be noted, at a level akin to a Motorhead concert.

A guy teetering on the edge of sobriety walked over to the (digital) jukebox. He assumed there was a record inside and that it was skipping. He was beating on it like the Fonz in a frenzy…to no avail. “Number 9 Number 9 Number 9….” continued unabated. He couldn’t take it anymore. Things were getting surreal.

We suddenly had the bar very much to ourselves. Everybody in the place had disappeared like they were raptured. The faces on potential patrons walking in was one of horror. What is that screeching sound? What kind of place was this?

And then, it was finally over. I think the next song was some vintage Chuck Berry, so at least the culprit had a wicked sense of humor. The bar re-filled and everybody pretended that what just happened didn’t really happen. And me and Bret emptied our glasses and silently decided that we’d do a sort-of concept album about a mythic road trip filled with rogues and tramps and saints and sinners and gamblers and thieves, all searching for redemption and little slices of dignity, and all not worrying about the sins of Saturday night until Sunday morning rolls in. We’d write songs about guys who might play “Revolution 9” on a jukebox in an Old Forge bar, in other words.

And then I went home that night and wrote the lyrics to “Twilight In the Shadowlands” and soon after Bret had the tune and we were off and running. We encountered Stephen Foster and Sid Vicious and Joe Strummer in our travels, discovered a man paralyzed by blind faith, waiting for his Amantha Ray. Men and women were scattering in all directions, running both towards and away from each other, numbed by religion or pills or booze or one-night-stands. Or just plain old 9-5 alienation. Three and four minute movies is what I discovered we were making. And we were pooling our voices together….showing solidarity with each other and the folks we were writing and singing about.

And just when we felt bereft of happy endings, kids the age of our own daughters stood up and said “no more”. Those long moments of silence from Emma Gonzalez at the March for Our Lives in DC were the first cracks under the feet of the casually cruel white men who stopped caring about us and the people we write about a long time ago.

The times seem to be a-changin. A greater generation indeed…..and so that seemed a good place to stop until the next time.

In a bit…



Categories: Uncategorized

The Dirt

March 23, 2019 Leave a comment

I watched the Motley Crue whateveritscalled late last night. With weirdly placed voice-overs and actors speaking directly to the camera…..it’s sort of a movie/documentary/immorality tale that begins with a scene showing the drummer going down on a girl in the middle of a crowded party, with her eventually…er…squirting across the room. This sets the overall tone quite nicely….so that later when we see the lead singer repeatedly banging groupies in assorted (always unlocked…strange?) bathrooms, or the bass player shooting heroin into his neck and between his toes, it feels almost quaint in comparison.

The 80s were a strange time. If you were a rock star you could kill your friend and seriously injure 2 others in a drunken car crash and spend less than a month in jail. When you returned from court appointed rehab what do you do? Why, snort heroin of course.

You were also celebrated for snorting ants up your nose and lapping up urine with your tongue. As long as you looked good in spandex and had good hair. Of course there was some music involved, but I think the movie spends more time on the nameless girl who sits under the band’s bar table offering unsuspecting blowjobs than to the appeal of the songs.

The debauchery is only interrupted to deal with the tragic death of the lead singer’s young daughter to cancer (dealt with with all the aplomb of a bad Lifetime movie), and then picks back up with the death and resurrection of the bass player, who was revived from his latest heroin OD via not 1 but 2 shots of adrenaline straight into his heart.

Hardly any of the nearly always scantily clad women in the movie are even given names, although one of them gets enough screen time to be punched in the face by the drummer, who later marries his first Hollywood starlet (his second one is, for whatever reason, not addressed in the film at all). He calls his wife on a payphone after a show while he’s getting a blow job, but feels sorta guilty about it afterwards….especially when his wife discovers such things and files for divorce. This is not exactly the film the #MeToo movement has been waiting for….but you do get the feeling that these guys had a small hand in creating the movement anyway.

Rock and roll road hijinks are a-plenty….with plenty of bar brawls and trashed hotel rooms and TVs tossed out of windows. There’s enough cocaine to make the medellin cartel blush. In a nice touch, we learn that the band’s manager resorts to handcuffing the band’s rhythm section to their respective beds, so they can’t get up to any more mayhem. This was my favorite bit, actually. One wondered why he didn’t cuff them the second they walked off the stage….

Then of course….the Behind the Music-like redemption. The band elects to enter rehab collectively….or so we’re told. We watch them struggling to stay relevant in the 90s, flailing away inside a studio decorated on the outside with a huge poster of Pearl Jam. So it’s not like the filmmakers didn’t have a sense of humor.

The band splits up…..not sure how many times….they get a new singer….not sure how many times….they reform and tour again, not sure how many times. I’m alerted at the end that the band is still together, which was news to me. They’re portrayed as survivors, a band of brothers, a group of boys will be boys scamps….with a twinkle in their collective eye, and all sorts of war stories for the grand kids.

And not as….you know……complete assholes lucky to be both alive, and out of jail.

I never gave a shit about Motley Crue. Their direct appeal to the lowest common neanderthal never resonated with me…..but that didn’t stop me from buying a Ted Nugent live record, so who knows? Teenage boys are demented by design. I do think I’m a better human being for having a Pete Townshend poster on my teenage wall than one of Nikki Sixx, however.

I also don’t think any of the Crue would have lasted a week with Keith Moon. So there.

In a bit..



Categories: Uncategorized

Eat the rich…

March 17, 2019 Leave a comment

When I started reading the headlines about rich people using their money to gain unfair advantages for their spoiled douchey kids, I scrolled right past the way I scroll past articles about Trump saying something stupid. I’m unclear why this is even considered newsworthy.

Of course rich people, most of whom have gotten rich by being sketchy in the first place, use their money to influence all sorts of situations that would normally require……like…hard work and stuff. I must say that spending a cool half million to buy scholarship spots on a college crew team for your 2 daughters, neither of whom has ever stepped on a boat before, doesn’t exactly scream “high parental SAT score”, but then neither does being known for playing second fiddle to John Stamos. Subsequently marrying a fashion designer with a net worth of $80 million doesn’t make you any smarter. It just means you get to do your makeup and choose your wardrobe before the FBI arrests you.

eatWe’ve all heard about kids in academically prestigious schools, schools with acceptance rates in the single digits, and wondered how they could possibly get in without being able to recite the ABCs or read a wall clock. And I’m not talking about the ones who can tomahawk dunk or run for 200 yards a game. (Athletics are a special category, where classes are as optional as actually graduating, and under-the-table payments might force you to actually take a pay cut when you become a professional.) I’m talking about the random dolts who couldn’t get a 1600 on an SAT if they took it 5 times and added up the scores. Their only qualification, inevitably is coming from a family that has gobs of money. Of course these kids are stealing a spot from somebody way more qualified, but from the college admission perspective, the kids left out were too dumb to be born to rich parents so….fuck them.

Generally money is enough. There’s no need to doctor SAT scores, so this part is a bit confusing to me. You can only chalk this up to astounding hubris….the “my kid scores this”……type of hubris that separates the normal rich asshole parents from the supersonic rich asshole parents.

Even a school as pretentiously self-important as Harvard has their price. The fact that it took the slimy Kushner family a $2.5 million bribe to get Mr Ivanka Trump enrolled gives new definition to the term “the best and the brightest”. This is definitely not a case where more is better. Can you imagine how much of a fucking idiot your son must be if it takes $2.5 million of your hard earned stolen money to get him into a school?

Stunning how so many were involved in this scheme….at all levels. Apparently there is nobody left in the US who can’t be bought, from college admission directors, to coaches, to some blue collar schlub at the table set up at the SAT testing school, willing to wave the 50 year old white haired guy with the picture ID of the 17 year old girl past. But a hung- over college kid with bad time management skills who cuts and pastes sections of a Wikipedia page and forgets to add a footnote will be dragged before some insufferable academic board and systematically filleted.

Sounds fair.

But then again….ho hum. Catching a few Hollywood middling starlets (interesting how the husbands aren’t being pillared though, isn’t it? Things that make you go hmmm…) dumb enough to put their dumbness on display in traceable emails is not going to change the fact that while the earth is round (people who don’t believe this get into colleges too….), it is not fair. At all. Rich kids will always have the advantage over our kids. Our kids will work hard and work fair and follow the rules, and they’ll be allotted the scraps that fall off corporate tables.

And when they leave college, they will deal with dumb rich people in positions of authority over them for the rest of their lives. This is just the beginning, so they might as well learn it now.

The game is rigged Bubba. The only way to end this is to burn it all to the ground.

It’s said there is no replacement for hard work, but those who say that don’t have the ability to simply cut a check.

In a bit..



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Parade Day

March 9, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s Parade Day in Scranton.

Drunk_LeprechaunThe professionals are home today…..or gathered in out-of-the-way bars or man caves, as far away from downtown as possible. They have no desire to be vomited or spilled on, rear-ended, t-boned, shanked over the last parking spot, or forced to play peacemaker during the inevitable Hill Section brawls that will break out when the sun goes down, like wild-fires, all captured on video and posted on social media (Ok…I can’t wait for these, but that doesn’t make me a bad person).

And alas, we all remember the year Scranton became the romance capital of the year, as a parade dwelling couple bent over each other against a dumpster in an alley were made virally famous, to the horror of the Chamber of Commerce and, presumably, their parents. The stuff PTSD is made of.

So again……the pros stay away.

There’s a reason the day is widely known as “amateur hour”, as hordes of 20 something green-clad college students from Schenectady, most of them as Irish as Pope Francis, start drinking Keystone Light at 8am and continue until blackout, emboldened by a pack mentality, peer pressure, and and some Xanax to move things along. Clashes between townies and students are inevitable….and will light up Talkback-16 like a Christmas tree for at least a week.

The sheer disdain professional drinkers have for this day is palpable. Theirs is an orderly existence…….filled with routine. The same bar. The same stool. The same time. Not having to ask for a drink….but having one placed in front of them before they can get their coat off. Three long necks….then a pee. Repeat. Bartenders you can set your watch to. But today? That has been obliterated. Their sacred space has been invaded…..and there is no rank they can pull to get it back. If you want 3 beers today….you better order them at the same time. And if you think you have to pee before 10pm, start lining up now. (the girls have it way worse here…..by 9am the guys have already starting pissing in the sinks to move things along)

And in a nice touch, the weather is uncharacteristically perfect, which increases the potential carnage exponentially.

My musician brothers and sisters are out there…..spread out amongst the numerous bars, somehow negotiating the load-ins despite blocked off streets and zero parking. It’s good pay on parade day….much more than regular gigs….but they earn every penny, with half an eye always on the reeling drunks staggering in front of the stage, threatening to topple the sound system. When the band gets a break, somebody has to stand sentry over the gear, in case somebody takes the guitar in its stand as an invitation to re-create Hendrix at Monterey.

Totally rock and roll. Bands sleep well tonight Bubba. That I can tell you.

And somehow, amidst the maelstrom, a parade actually breaks out, and it’s wonderful. One year my father was chosen as the Grand Marshall, and I know it was a true honor for him. Music and smiles and kids and the joy of a community coming together for a day. Families gather. Old friends reunite. Over the years the cops have really cracked down on open containers, so the trouble mostly remains behind closed doors until after dark. So if you can survive the DUI bumper cars of the expressway and find a place to park, things can remain pretty kid friendly until you make your escape.

Or you can just stay home and watch it on TV.

In a bit..


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Dry humping the flag….

March 5, 2019 Leave a comment

190303135723-trump-cpac-0302-exlarge-169The President of the United States walked onstage Saturday in front of a disturbingly adoring crowd and proceeded to hump an American flag, surely one of the most disturbing images I’ve seen in quite a while.

I don’t know what to make of a guy not merely content to be an asshole, but desperate to be the biggest asshole in any room he enters. The speech that followed his dry humping lurched like a drunk on a cruise ship from one bizarre non-sequitur to another, at one point invoking TiVo (um..)…”I think it’s actually better than television, because television is practically useless without TiVo, right?”….before claiming, once again, that his inauguration day (which was nearly 800 days ago, for those counting such things) crowd was the biggest one ever….despite….you know, pesky facts the the contrary. And near the end of his speech he riffed on forest fires thus….”The leaves — every once in a while, you have to remove the leaves because they are so — a guy smoking a cigarette, he throws it away, he doesn’t mean it…”, just in case you were concerned that he might be a wee bit of a simpleton on the science of such things.

He spoke gibberish for well over 2 hours, unscripted, and his minions practically jizzed all over themselves the entire time, especially when he once again called the press the enemy of the people and claimed that anybody in Congress who doesn’t agree with him “hate our country.” And of course there was the “lock her up” chant. If anything, he needs new material. It’s like Ric Flair living on “woo!” for 40 years.

Totally normal stuff. Lincolnian even.

From “the better angels of our nature” to “I never saw so many beautiful-looking machine guns. I’d look at that equipment and I’d say, ‘Man …’ They sit in the trees. They sit on the lawn.” Yea….me neither.

From “…in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal…” to “Nobody has left. I watch those doors. Because a lot of times — a lot of times — well, one time, the press said people left. Yeah, you know where they went? To the bathroom. And then they came back.”

President’s of the United States said these things. In public. In major speeches. You figure it out if that’s your thing. I’d rather just get drunk.

It’s hard to comment on such utterances. If Trump’s idiocy proves anything, it’s that one can get used to just about anything if presented with it frequently enough. The fact that he’s incapable of telling the truth, has the vocabulary of a 4th grader attending classes in the van in the school parking lot, has the attention span of a goldfish, is a blatant draft dodger and a serial sexual predator, and is racist as fuck….well…..it’s become boring. Nobody really cares anymore. He’s done and said 200 things that would have gotten anybody else thrown over the side with a cinder block tied to his ankle…and nobody gives a shit….because this is daily stuff, like the morning coffee. There is no longer anything unique about a President who speaks English but isn’t quite sure where to put the words.

No supporter of his would leave their daughter alone in a room with the man, but as long as he’s hating on the browns and owning them libs…..well that’s a trade-off they’re willing to live with. I’m not sure how this works…..

The truth has become, ironically enough, fake news.

We’re doomed Bubba.

In a bit…



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Sunday evenings and Monday mornings….

March 4, 2019 Leave a comment

This weather is whipsawing us…..spring is close but seeming more and more like fake news. Getting home last night was a bit of a shit show…..but it ended well. A warm fire and stocked cupboards and a dog happy to see me….so happy in fact that he peed all over the comforter, which delayed bedtime for a bit. Max is my dog’s name. Cute as a button but not much for taking direction, and fully equipped with some serious bladder control issues. Anybody want him?

Sunday evenings are sad and lonely times…..we’re never quite able to forget the panic attacks of yesteryear….dreading the resumption of school days. Either due to the test we didn’t study for, the homework we neglected, or the bully we were hoping to avoid. Even though school is over for us grown-ups, the terrors it inspired remain with us. Forever. Like luggage or an STD.

The promise of sketchy weather always brought out the gambler in us……no need to study for that exam, or to write that graded essay due in first period,  or to plan an alternate route home to avoid said promised beating, with a Sunday nor’easter bearing down on us. No need, even, to pretend we have a fever by placing the warm washcloth on our forehead for 10 minutes before calling Mom up for her diagnosis. Right? All in good time….for tomorrow we rest and snowboard and drink hot chocolate (only on called days do we drink this, not sure why)….confident that one adult or the other will whisper those delightful words into our sleeping ears….”school is cancelled today”.

(“Two hour delay” is possible, but while it’s better than nothing, it’s still a massive letdown. This is the all or nothing section of our lives….)

Of course the promised snow-mageddon rarely happens as expected….and Monday morning bring roads highly passable, indeed often scraped as dry as a Mormon….with sidewalk snow that can be brushed away with a broom. And once again we’re furious at the dumb weatherman. “Vince didn’t say it would be like this…and neither did that annoying little Snedeker…”

The plan for the weekend was to sleep in. And Saturday morning arrives….and you are fully awake at the normal weekday alarm clock hour….desperate to sleep longer not because you need to, but because you can. This repeats itself on Sunday morning, despite your best Saturday evening efforts to make it not so….so come Sunday evening you’re knackered……and in bed early…eager for a repeat that never comes….for somehow Monday mornings don’t work that way at all. The alarm that you didn’t need the last 2 mornings will screech you into semi-consciousness, and you’ll beat on the snooze button 3 or 4 times before the necessity of adulting finally kicks in. Something inside the sleeping brain knows all about Mondays, and wants no part of them.

And then the day itself. If your job is not the life-saving variety, then Mondays are never quite as horrible as advertised, although they sometimes come pretty damn close. People start to care about real work actually being done around Tuesday morning…..and this care level steadily increases until late Thursday, when it plummets dramatically. Fridays count as real work days only in accounting. They exist to move your hours from 32 to 40.

And then you get home…..ram the garage door shut, pour yourself a tall one, and mumble and grunt your way through any conversations until it’s time for bed….which is generally around 9pm…..since that’s when you woke up from your 2 hour nap and decided to make your way from the couch to the bed. There is no better sleep than a Monday sleep…it’s deep and luxurious and no longer encumbered by it being a Sunday. The week has begun, you have once again survived, and will probably live to do it all over again.

In a bit..


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Back at it….

March 3, 2019 1 comment

Trying to settle back into it.

As a writer you need to get to the point where doing nothing stops making you feel lazy… and starts to piss you off.

And you need to once again make friends with discipline….which is like asking me to wear a MAGA hat…..but still.

I’ve got words in my head again….the kind you sing when you assign them to the appropriate noise….and the kind that actors say on-stage when you assign them to the appropriate scene or story.

Initially, whether the words are good or not is irrelevant. First you must get them flowing. Vomit them onto the page…and then worry about what they say or what order they’re in later.

All that time spent being blinded by that blank sheet….trying not to be distracted by a piece of lint on the carpet or the intent gaze of your cat, must be purged.

All that time spent looking over your past work and wondering “how the hell did I do that?” must be accounted for….

You must do penance.

Then you need to lash yourself to your desk chair and start gibbering.

But most importantly, you need to make friends with math.

A few sentences a day. A page. It adds up…..a page a day is a large novel at the end of the year. A page a day is an on-stage trilogy for an entire company. A page a day is more song lyrics than Lennon and McCartney.

Of course, all those pages could be worthless drivel, but if a dog swallows a pearl, eventually he’s gonna crap it out (or die….but we’re being optimists for once here…)

And they say you can’t shine shit, but those who say that are not good re-writers.

Re-writing is the art of digging through the dog’s crap and searching for the pearl. It’s not very glamorous work, and it’s easy to forget that you actually did it in the past, but you did and it’s why you’re questioning your ability to do now what you’ve already done then.

Memory is a tricky thing….and writers are the most forgetful people in the entire world.

So yea…..get down to it and sputter….and be ready to blow your own horn, ’cause if you ain’t willing to do that, don’t expect anybody else to pick up your ball and run with it. If you create something that’s good, you’ll know it. If you create garbage, you’ll know that too. If somebody calls your good stuff garbage, ignore them. If somebody calls your garbage good stuff, ignore them too. Compromise only if the rent is due, but always be grateful for the attention.

The year is a third in the books. I was supposed to get up to all this when the ball dropped…..but I went to bed early that night, missed the ball, then lost track of time. There was some routine chaos to deal with, periods of mass confusion intertwined with loss and collapses of confidence and crippling back pain, but all things must pass. A Beatle scribbled these words on some hotel stationary, so it must be true.

I’m counting on it.

In a bit…





Categories: Uncategorized

There’s a place…

December 28, 2018 Leave a comment

We live in a strange place, Bubba.

A place of fear and walls and lies.

A place that’s too often mean and ignorant.

A place that too often lacks basic empathy.

A place that twists religion to justify its anti-matter.

A place that fears strong women and lionizes small men.

A place that distorts the truth and accepts the lie.

A place of newly-emboldened racists, and young people who, having no experiences to draw on, think marauding bands of scowling khaki-wearing nazis marching with swastikas and tiki-torches is normal. Why else would the President of the United States refer to some of them as “very fine people”?

A place that has replaced soaring rhetoric with misspelled tweets and CAPITAL letters and exclamation points. All entered into the Presidential record, “covfefe” and “smocking gun” included…..for future generations to both laugh at and question our sanity with. From “the better angels of our nature” to “SAD!” Nobody should have to deal with this. That I can tell you. Totally “unpresidented”!

A place filled with those willing to fuck themselves over as long as it means those they’ve been taught to fear are fucked over too.

A place of contrarians.

A place that kills its prophets.

A place that doesn’t learn from history because it’s filled with people who don’t know history.

And still….a place capable of astounding acts of kindness, both large and small.


Happy new year boys and girls…

In a bit..



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