Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 A Year To Forget

On the eve of the ending of the year, I managed to write up my 100th blog of the year with the summary of this year.

In short, this year sucked.  I never had such a GD crap year when things went wrong on a regular basis.  I've seen plenty of good people die and still Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and Dick Cheney still live, which makes me tend to think that Jesus isn't coming back on this planet anytime soon.  It is kinda sad to watch King Of Kings on Silent movie Sundays on TCM and getting caught up in the hope that the Son Of God will return but in the meantime, bad things happen to good people and vice versa.  What else to explain Trump's high approval rating in the polls.  Or how Corporations continue to distort news and music.  Cable TV continues to drain itself into the cesspool of crap and still raises rates due to programming, which is bullshit.  But then again I don't watch cable outside of TCM or whenever ESPN decides to show an Iowa game.  But most of the time it's hot air from dumb has been jocks or ratings whores like Colin Cowturd Cowherd, to which I have given him too much publicity.

We all think that the new year will bring in better luck, it's been commonplace for as long as I live and still the same results of crap continue.  I've tried to upgrade to the latest technology and new computers. In May I end up going to Office Max to replace the old Dell, that worked well for 10 years before Microsuck decided to end Windows support and cast my lot and 576 dollars for a Lenovo that is a step up from Gateway but has failed to live up to expectations and getting the GD blue screen sad face about needing to update everytime I try to watch something on You Tube for more than 10 minutes. I haven't seen new and improved while trying to read an online article and have about 10 pop ups and black screens for more commercials.  Is there's not anything sacred anymore?  Plus the fact, while typing, my fingers which have minds of their own will hit the wrong keys or hit a wrong button and I lose everything already written.   Or the usual server not found messages that are more common than not.  But I haven't gotten fed up and destroyed this computer yet.  I also tried to upgrade to a CD recorder since the old Marentz was getting up and years and doesn't like CD R that don't say Music CD Rs, so I took a chance on a TEAC.  9 months down the road the piece of shit quit working, since I was writing out the next edition of Townedger Radio, the GD POS would lose its mind and I end up getting writing errors.  So that got donated.  It seems like everytime I tried to upgrade or have shows to preserve the music that I like on net radio shows, the powers to be thought otherwise and after a while I just gave up.

This year was full of being at the wrong place wrong time, and it didn't help while some Linn County Deputy pulling me over for a slow and go stop on a isolated highway and I didn't see no cars coming. Another case of bad judgement and 225 bucks removed from my wallet.  So much for being honest. It didn't help while doing jam sessions and watching me drop drumsticks on drum solos either or spilling my drink while missing the fucking table.  Christmas may have been the worst of all time, nobody was in a good mood, and I tried to dress up trying to learn how to tie a necktie and took an hour to come up with a so so knot and my mom didn't like it much, nor my wavy hair all over the place.  Or yelling at us to smile while trying to take a picture, and we couldn't decide to sit on the couch or stand up, just take the damn picture and get it over with.  We may never celebrate Christmas ever again.

But the year pretty much defined itself in June, in Dubuque with the infamous Cancer Walk and the irate Redwing, who had 500 people to choose from but decided on me.  A fucking shame that I can't have this type of luck winning the lottery.  What annoyed me even more was the lack of understanding from the crowd and the smartasses laughing about it.  Which is basically the mindset of America anymore, laugh at the ones who get the misfortune of life  or take pictures to post on You Tube or Facebook.  Too many concerned about the happenings of the Kasdashians or the local Muslims who trying to live their lives.  Not everybody is an terrorist.  Whatever the case may be, it seems from now on we'll have to wait till the corn grows high in July to take walks in this wonderful state due to some fucking dumb redwing who decides to build their nest on a busy trail or parking lot.

The two trips to Madison were another exercise in trying to tolerate bad traffic, roundabouts, every red light hit in town and finally saying the hell with it after a disastrous fall trip, which I  couldn't find a motel room for the night.  Another case of wrong place wrong time.

The year was full of deaths from the music world.  BB King passed away, so did Lemmy which ends Motorhead.  Ernie Banks didn't get to see the Cubs make the playoffs this year.  Meadowlark Lemon, best clown prince of basketball skills said goodbye.  Scott Wieland finally found the right drugs to take him out of here. Allen Toussaint, PF Sloan, Gail Zappa, Billy Joe Royal, Kyle Oyloe, Ben Cauley, Martin Milner, Chris Squire, Vic Firth, Jim Ed Brown, Ornette Coleman, Johnny Gimble, Ben E King, Stan Freberg, Percy Sledge, Don Covay, Leslie Gore, Gene Gene The Dancing Machine all left us in 2015 and many more.  Wayne Rogers and Natalie Cole also left us on New Year's Eve as well, he was 82, she was 65. Natalie has rejoined her dad in the afterlife.  Unforgettable.

The weather up here was not as chaotic as it was this year in other spots, with Winter Storm Goliath Goddam becoming a major tornado and rain maker to the point that most of Missouri and Illinois were drowning in a foot of rain and floods not seen since 1993.  St Louis really got kicked in the teeth as nearby areas such as West Alton had to see evacuations and levees that failed. On a different note this planet has been the warmest ever and El Nino really playing havoc.  We ended up getting five inches of a combination of snow and sleet, which was a heart attack in itself while trying to shovel it, but we all know it could been much worse.  

Now that you're depressed, there were some highlights of note.  Not everything was all that bad.  For baseball it was a fun season watching both the Quad City River Bandits have the best record in minor league baseball and Cedar Rapids Kernels battling it out.  I spent more time in Davenport watching the Bandits than I do staying at home to watch the Kernels, and one of the highlights was Bobby Boyd throwing a baseball up to me after an inning in the playoffs.  Nevertheless, The Kernels took them out in the first playoffs and managed to get to the finals before losing in five games to Western Michigan.  For baseball this season, The Chicago Cubs in yet another year of transition, convinced Joe Maddon to be their manager and he somehow got the team turned around with them getting hot in July, August and September and managed to clinch a spot in the playoffs and they took out Pittsburgh in the wild card game and managed to shock the baseball world by eliminating the St Louis Cardinals in the next round before running out of gas against the hated New York Mets, which Kansas City beat them 4 games to 1 to win the World Series.  Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young Award, Kris Bryant Rookie Of The Year and Joe Maddon Manager Of The Year.

The other surprise was the Iowa Hawkeyes going 12-0 in their season and drawing the ire of ESPN and one Colin Cowpie Cowherd, ESPN reject and Fox Sports Horehound  who managed to get a ratings boost with his anti Iowa rhetoric, pissing off the Iowa faithful would like nothing more to run him off into a flooded river if he ever stepped foot in this state.  There were bumps along the way, Iowa needed a 57 yard FG from the erratic Marshall Koehn, and a Wisconsin fumbled snap that sealed another victory.  However, the Hawkeyes managed to fill up their trophy case with the return of Floyd Of Roseland, the Cy Hawk Trophy, The Heartland Trophy and the Heroes Trophy by beating Minnesota, Iowa State, Wisconsin and Nebraska.  Alas, the Iowa offense didn't come through on the Big Ten Championship, as Michigan State went on a 22 play drive that won the game for them and the trip to the College Football Playoffs.  For their showing, Iowa did get to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 25 years.  And the Iowa basketball team did get revenge by beating number 1 rated Michigan State in basketball Tuesday 83-70.

This year the best moments for me was in May when Dennis Lancaster came into town and that ended up being the reunion of my old band Paraphernalia Tyrus in May.  For the first time in 30 years that most of the guys that I grew up playing in the band were in the same room.  On a bit of irony, my high school sweetheart Penny ended up marrying Karl and had the reception up at the same bar where the Paraphernalia Tyrus reunion was held at.  We all would get together once again, with the addition of Doug Bonesteel at the Marion class of 1980 35th reunion which also was a sort of the class of 79 reunion.  It was also special talking to my grade school best friend Jeff Kewley again.  That meant a lot to me as well.  It also finally put to rest that the one girl I thought was the one that got away, turned out to be nothing more than the worst girlfriend that I ever had, in Janice and that her friend Sue, who made my high school life hell, a stuck up snoot. She never did made an effort to talk to me when we saw each other at the reunion.  If I knew now what I knew back then, Janice and Sue would have been told to piss off and not have a second thought of it.   But outside of that, the 35th reunion wasn't too bad and out of all the Freshmen girls that chased me around the school, only Jenny was the one that talked to me that night.

If the band reunion did anything, it did spin the wheels about me going back into playing on the weekends during jam sessions up at Rumors Bar And Grill in Cedar Rapids and Wrigleyville in Marion which I got to become friends with T Ray Robertson, Dave Bonham and Bart Carfizzi.  Later on I got to jam with some of Cedar Rapids' finest musicians along the way.  In August, Me and my best friend Russ would share the stage for a few songs for the first time since the OK Lounge of December 7, 1984 and two weeks later, our guitarist DeWayne would jam with me for the first time since The Legion Hall Gig in October of 1984.

For bargain hunting, most of them were either in Dubuque or Davenport with isolated trips to Iowa City and Waterloo.  There were some finds at the Salvation Army or St Vincent De Paul but it was great to finally find a much better copy of Cruel World/Till I Found You from Don Hollinger.  Bob had a tub full of promo 45s that this obscure single was found along with about 80 dollars worth of other singles.  A week later, some dollar 45s I bought at Moondog had My World Fell Down by Sagittarius and The Electric Prunes Get Me To The World On Time.  Again The Salvation Army Davenport Store came with the cheapest and winning 45s, most notably Pita Pita by Miriam Makeba and I Wanna Know Her Again by The Wagoners.

It's been a full year since a certain outdoor pussy cat decided to call our yard her home which is a surprise itself.  With the neighbor from hell next door ready to shoot her or any cat that comes in their yard (another outdoor cat Rocky Rococo wasn't so lucky RIP) Callie Marie Rustbucket has defied the odds of living and still continues to stalk the shrews, mice and frogs around the yard.  After years of saying Hell No to cats, Callie somehow adopted me and my brother as one of her own and at times it has been a trying of my patience, but we actually have come to understand each other and even love her too.  I just didn't see any value of taking her to a animal shelter to have her put down when nobody would want her or have somebody abuse her.  Callie has provided some comic relief at times and it's hilarious to see her jump between the footprints in the snow.  She also tends to annoy me when she plops on the recently washed car and walk on the side of the cardoor to which I shot this after dark picture.  For a cat on her own freewill, this free cat managed to relieve me of a 100 dollars to get her fixed in exchange of being here, but the returns have paid off.   In my lifetime I have never witness such a happy and content cat like Callie Rustbucket.  Even she knows she has it good here.

While there was good moments, 2015 still had too many bad moments to consider this a good year.  I hope 2016 has to be a better year.  Nobody should have to deal with irate redwings at social gatherings.  I certainly don't want to stay indoors all spring to keep away from the flying shit bags.  Hope that next Christmas we can all have a civil time together at the folks.  It should be the most happiest time of year.  But with El Nino going beserk and flooding the hell out of Missouri and tornadoes unleashed in the south the weather shouldn't be frightful.

In my heart I do believe something special will happen in 2016 and I hope it will be for the good and life changing.

On behalf of myself and the whole gang  Good riddance  and F U 2015.

 (Chris Fowler: photo credit on Phil Campbell's showing up at a Cardiff bar in tribute to the late Lemmy)

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