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Saturday, December 31, 2016

We Are the New Heroes

Yes, we've finally done it.

We've managed to stagger our way to the end of 2016, and we're still alive. Most of us, anyway. For some of us we find ourselves trying to make sense of a universe we've created for ourselves, and are now slowly destroying it, one brain cell at a time.

Be prepared, I will probably go on a rant.

I can't even begin to completely state in proper words just what a clusterfuck 2016 has been. I don't even want to start with achievements or accomplishments, because they pale in comparison to what we have done to ourselves.

I am not a full-on Gloom and Doom person. No, believe me, I'm not. 

We have lost numerous luminaries in the arts, music, and other areas important to us. My friend Natasha, for example, wrote a heartfelt and emotional post on Facebook about the loss of David Bowie, and what he meant to her.

I think her words reflected a lot of what people felt when Bowie died quietly, and then from the beyond roared back with one final brilliant album, and all the stuff that went with it.

Bowie's life was art. All of these folks were think of were like that. Life is art. And there is an art in living one's life. There really is.

I was never a huge Bowie fan, but I respected him. Never a huge fan of Prince, same thing, respect.

Think of the one person, famous or not, that meant a lot to you, who left us too soon.

Think about it.

I'm lucky. I didn't lose anyone I was deeply close to, unlike friends of mine. 

Why do I say it like that?

I've killed more characters than those I've lost.

These people we loved, but may never have met...they inspired us, and that's great. But what did we do with that inspiration?

What, indeed? (To borrow a phrase)

Leonard Cohen was another. Never a big fan, but respect.

And yeah...what he did...words, music, poetry, spiritual searching. Out of them all, Leonard was The Man.

The Man.

On the other side of it, our obsession with celebrity, with power, with arrogance and madness continues. 

We rush to defend in the strongest of terms people we side with, ignoring the actual gravity of the situation.

I see parallels to King Lear in Donald Trump. Think About It. If you've ever seen the performance of Shakespeare's play, only the names are changed.

We have set loose a grand experiment, and I wonder what we'll be like at the end of it. Oh, we'll still be here; I just wonder what we'll be like.

Will we...?

--Remain obsessed with things that don't matter? The Kardashians, sports, Star Wars movies, "reality" television, dirty doings of people we secretly hate but remained fascinated by?

--Rush about like adolescents on a playground, screaming abuse and hatred on weaker individuals, then running to hide behind the big kid, or the teacher while still lobbing hateful insults and victim-blaming slurs from the protective sphere?

--Believe everything we are told by whomever confirms your ideas?

--Immediately castigate anyone who is attacked by someone you like as a liar, a fake, an agent provocateur, someone who deserved it, instead of decrying the violence done against someone, that no one deserves?

Well...I know what I'm gonna do.

I gotta job to do.

I have two books, "Parasite Girls" and "A Moment in the Sun" out now. "Live from the Cafe" will be my third, and comes out in 2017, hopefully. A fourth will follow.

I keep writing. I keep promoting myself, and plugging my work, because I have a lot to do before I leave this body.

I am going to do it. 

We all have lost heroes. Too many influential people have gone. I see no new heroes. No new groundbreakers, no new anything.

It's our time.

"We can be heroes..." not just for one day, but forever.

So...forgive me if I seem to be about, these stories are about you, and for you. Yeah, I'm enjoying my writing, and my therapy. This is what I do.

I take pride in using my spare hours in creating. I came up with this a long time ago.

"I write about what I want to see, not what other people tell you you're supposed to see."

That's what I do. The world I want to see can be attained, and it's here, if we choose to do it that way.

We are the new heroes.

Think About It.


Peace, Out.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

" The best art and comedy are done in desperate times."

Well, once more we return to the old blog, and I think now we have no choice but to go to the place where many things must be talked about, discussed, dissected and rendered.

So, where have I been? A lot of places, and the world has again become a busy one. 

Let's first get this bit of business out of the way, shall we? While many believe something monumental, a master stroke, if you will, shall be thrown down, I believe we are stuck with what we have.

Yes, President Trump.

Taste that, will you?

You know what? Nothing's changed. Not one thing has changed at all. If anything, it has brought into focus the world we live in.

America, here's the choice you made. Get ready for a ride, because it's gonna be one. The ultimate reality show is now ready to take the stage. This is Donald's World, and you and I are mere extras.

What went wrong? Not that I know, but I'll tell you what I think:

1--The liberals ignored the working class, and took for granted that Hillary Clinton would carry them, while they focused on same old, same old.

2--The new liberals who embraced Bernie Sanders, and yes, what an amazing campaign that was. This at the best, has energized a will they follow through? Remains to be seen.

2a--The Bernie fans who got butthurt by the convention actions? You (and others), who took your vote and went home? YOU FUCKING BLEW IT!

You have an obligation to vote, a civic duty. Those of you who took your vote and went home. Think about that. 

3--You who voted for that self-centered posturer, Gary Johnson? Sorry, kids...Libertarianism by any name is a fantasy, a happy land that does not exist.

"I just want my bread buttered on both sides." -- Graham Parker

I want no rules, no laws, no taxes, no this, no that. I want my weed, my guns, my right to do anything I want anytime, any way. The Constooshun says I can! Let the free market run things, go to the ER if you're sick, just let me drive my SUV at 150 miles per hour down the potholed highway and off the unrepaired bridge to my certain death in a pool of contaminated, flaming water if I want...

Something like that, I guess. I have one close friend whom I call the Intelligent Libertarian, because I believe she realizes you cannot destroy the nation in order to save it.

4--Green Party? Jill Stein? The Greens can't manage a fuck in a brothel. They can barely manage lunch. No grass roots. 

Look, I can tell the Greens how to organize, but give up the big prize and do the work! Figure out a platform. Roll with it. 

Even if six or seven of you in a town are Green, do this: pick one of you. Run for office, get the signatures, get on the ballot, and fucking run!

Even if you lose, you win by getting something started. You will win new votes. You keep working, growing, stick to it.

So now we have Trump, who has given a frustrated, pissed off, angry electorate who feel ignored, a false voice. If you think he speaks for you...well, you been played.

Oh...and for the millions of people who did not vote? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BITCH. SHUT YOUR MOUTHS RIGHT NOW. 

Stop posting your shit on Facebook, and elsewhere. Grow up!

If your man won, fine. Gloat. Act like you won a show-up trophy, because that's about all you got.

We are a nation (largely) of spoiled children. We've had it so good for so long, and we want more. 

This video says it all:

So what do we do now?

I tell you what...I'm gonna do my fucking job. I am fortunate. I work in a company that does it right, straight forward, no frills. You get news. You get things that you need to know about.

On the network I work for, when you hear us, you hear news. You hear stories. You don't hear pop culture references, no opinionated whinging, no agenda journalism. You get the real deal.

I challenge you to listen to one hour of "Morning Edition" or "All Things Considered." Shut your mouth. Sit there. Listen.

If you do not come out of that learning something you did not know, then, "I can't do nuthin' for ya, man."

For those of you who continue to whine about narratives, and other buzzwords spoon-fed you by a crazed "toilet-trained media" cabal (thank you, Mark Jackson), know that you have a responsibility to not spread things you know are lies. Ranting and raving about whatever some trained monkey (sorry to the monkeys) said, that's not gonna do it.

The "proudly ignorant" (another person said that, and I do not recall who did), they believe if they yell their dumbness loud enough, it becomes truth.

Let them.

Let the dystopian, multi-tentacled life form rant, rave, howl, beat their chests (and something else)...they do nothing to me.

Let them watch their reality shows, their WWE, their UFC, their TV preachers, hell, even the new Star Wars movie for all I care. Keep amusing yourselves to death. Keep eating yourself to death. Keep being the self-centered, self-adoring, "doesn't affect me crowd."

Be like these people, which George Carlin so brilliantly caricatured:

You need to paste that in...they won't let me embed it. Hmmm...

As they get played like a cheap fiddle, we can still live our lives. We know what we have to do. 

The best art and comedy are done in desperate times.

So opinion is thus: we are in a spot, but one we put ourselves in.

We can get out of it, by not quitting. Older folks will tell you..."we've been through worse than this."

How true.

The Depression. My parents remembered that. Being broke, no money, no work to speak of, nothing. The farm barely making it, etc. 

World War II. Think about that. Think of the carnage. Our lost people, the millions lost at the hands of Nazi Germany and Japan...the millions of people in the occupied territories, entire tribes wiped out, the Krimchaks for just one of many, not to mention the Jews.

Think of how that war ended, and what we did. 

Ask anyone still alive who remembers that. We got nothing on them.

And people talk like we need that again...

We think of our upheavals, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, and what is going on in the Middle East right now.

Ask someone about man who served told me bluntly, "There's nothing to talk about."

Think about what he brought home. Think about what our people bring home from the recent wars. 

I think about a veteran, half my age, with a service dog I met. This man looked whole physically, but mentally he was gone. Nice person, very quiet and kind...all he said was he'd been in Iraq. Nothing else.

I don't know what he saw, or what he did. But that meeting kills me, every goddamned time I think about it.

Think about what the refugees are running from. Why do you think they want to get to Europe, or to the US?

It's not to blow us all up, apart from a few fanatics, and we've got plenty of them right here to deal with.

Doesn't affect you, right? Wrong.

It does. If affects all of us.

So I have a job to do. I'm going to do it, to the best of my ability. What I say on here is one thing, what I do for my calling, that is a much different thing.

Now, what are you gonna do about "it"? That thing that's been wrought? 

Do what you know is right, not what people tell you is right. Your values supposedly aren't much different than mine...I hope not.

Be honest, be real, and do what you are supposed to do. 

I had a strange experience two nights ago...I was in Washington, on my way to the Verizon Center for a Capitals game. In a hurry.

At a corner, a small, elderly lady turned to me...dressed as I am...she asked would I help her across the street?

Yeah, this happened. 

I said I'd gladly do that. She was a bit unsteady. She explained she only lived a block up, and that she was recovering from a brain tumor.

I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with one. We talked about that, and she explained a little of what she'd gone through.

Next to a CVS, she said I can make it from here, and she thanked me. We talked about the game, and how I do some radio work for the Caps' AHL club, the Hershey Bears.

She knew her hockey. She mentioned there. I said I'd lived there ten years.


I told her a lot of places, mostly in Watertown. Then she said, "I'm from New Hampshire, originally."

I said, "I'm from Vermont."

Never got her name, but we connected.

Things like that. Little things.

And yeah, I made it in time for faceoff.

How about that?

So suffer the slings and arrows from others, but be aware we're all one in this little reality show, and we need to do our part. Even if it's off script.

Okay, I got writing to do. I have a life to live, and I shall not destroy more of the planet than I need. I'll also save what I can. 

If this upsets you, sorry, but you'll just have to suffer it. Instead of yelling at me, calling me names, threatening me, how about you think of what you can do to be better. 


Peace, Out.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

For those who wonder:

Hey all:

Just wanted to let you know that I have a new blog site. This will stay up, but my new page is here:

You can bookmark that and get updates when I post.

Today's post is short, but reflects some pretty awful feelings.

Having been attacked in a similar way as certain people are now talking about with You Know Who, I've felt again I had to do something.

It's on the blog. Be well.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Music among the Art tonight!

Well, my website's blog is acting you like click on the link to my website, and hear about how Saturday night in Mechanicsburg went!

Plus a gratuitous shot of me, along with fellow Sunbury Press Books authors Joe Harvey and former PA Lt. Gov. Mark Singel!

Monday, June 6, 2016

I'm Back! New Home, "A Moment in the Sun," and Our Appointment With This Thing Called Life!

Since the end of February, when I came home late on a Sunday night and found a “Get The Fuck Out” notice taped to my back door, I have had to kind of think about what I’d long put off: finding a new home.

I’m talking buying, because honestly, renting was not an option. I was damned lucky to rent on the cheap for so many years, and I can imagine the obscenities raining down from the hill when the guy who bought from my landlady saw it. But I think he also knew pretty damned well what he was getting.

House hunting is an art, and one that ideally takes months, if not years. Well, most of us don’t have that time.

After false starts, costs, and insanity of varied kinds, I did move in back in mid-April, and but numerous issues arose which scared off one lender and bank.

One of the wonderful mysteries was the actual owner: I thought we knew the owner. Then we find the owner lives in Spain.

Who then, am I dealing with? Well, it was the broker, who for whatever reason put his name on the deed, and had to go get that off.

Not uncommon, but one more thing.

Numerous inspections, examinations, a carpet that looks like someone was ritually murdered on it, and inability to deal with certain things let me in, but also let me not do everything I wanted to do.

Well, that is something I can work around.

Look there, a house! It’s really pretty cool. Airy, cool temps, lots of space, the cats dig it, and I can work about stuff.

Space will still be an issue, and I have a couple of long-running, daunting tasks but I can do them. It will take time.

I do enjoy my neighbors. I have them again. I have blocks of them, and most of ‘em are pretty nice people. Things get interesting late at night, because people like to hang outside.

And…they are at times loud. I mean LOUD. FUCKING LOUD.

But it comes with the territory, and I don’t honestly  mind. How it is.

What else?

Well, I am busy this month, with appearances in support of “A Moment in the Sun.” Last weekend, the Dharma Fools appeared in York at the Rooted Artist Collective:

Pretty cool, eh? Neat little artistic corner place, operated by Dustin Nispel and his merry band…fantastic artwork, jewelry, writings, and both of my books are up there.  We are here:

There’s a brief blog about the band thing. Nice to see York cooking again when it comes to the arts scene, and I was very happy to get to meet more of those folks.

I’m gonna be busy this weekend, if you’re in the Camp Hill area, come out to the Barnes & Noble on 32nd Street:

The first ever of these is a nationwide thing. I’ll be there Friday night to hawk “A Moment…” and to meet, greet, and sign books and stuff.

Sunday, I’ll be there again for an afternoon session, which I think will involve discussions. Ought to be fun, network with the reading public and the authoring types.

Leads us to the 16th, when I’ll be in Mechanicsburg for the annual Jubilee. Sunbury Press Books, my publisher is on the drag, and a bunch of us will be out front of 105 S. Main Street to show what we’ve got.

Also had a talk with Larry Knorr, my publisher. We are leading up to the release of my next book…it might be THIS ONE…

And of course, all this while holding down a job (two jobs in fact), taking care of the house, trying to have a life (hah!) and also restarting my radio program. Oh yes, that:

There is also a Radio-Airwaves app! Get it via Google Play.

DJ`Riff, my musical alter ego got back on a couple weeks ago, and “The Music Club” is going alright. My times, are floating right now, because of the way the business is going, I still have to work. Check my Facebook and Twitter pages for updates. Oh, and that:

@ToryGates is my handle for Twitting.

I am foot to the floor, still…but on certain levels, I’m not sorry. But I have run into things w/o completely thinking on them, and that’s my nature. I have to brake sometime; but there is so much in life to do.

Muhammad Ali’s passing left behind many quotes, and I don’t mean trash talk. Best one:

“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Leave you with that.

Peace, Out.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Well, it's been fun, but...

Just a quick note:

This will likely be my final blog post here. I've "graduated" to the blog at my new website:

Please come check it out! Stuff on my books, my career, myself, pretty much the new home.

This will remain up for a time, but I hope you'll come join me at the new space.

Thank you for reading, commenting and checking in.

Peace, Out.