April Fools – Pranks Gone Wrong

LLL Header w address revised copySome pranks I am seeing these days on social media are very wrong. Now April Fools can be fun. Yet with the advent of every cell phone having a pretty good video camera and the ever-present hunger of social media for content that shows people being silly or embarrassed, there has been a rather sizeable increase in the number of “pranks” that people are playing on each other. And the creativity and artistry of many of them are rising – but at the same time a great many of them are downright cruel, traumatizing at the least, or even flirting with people being physically injured.

Sure, I remember having a prank or two foisted upon me when I was a kid at summer camp. Or in college there were certain “jokes” that were played on people – where maybe someone opened a door and a 50 gallon drum of water flooded their room, or a bucket of water doused them from above. And yeah, there was a guy with an MGB convertible that wound up being carried partway up a staircase to the landing halfway between the parking lot and the front door. But generally property wasn’t destroyed, and people didn’t have their entire life altered.

When I see some of the video pranks shown now such as having a blindfolded man drop a cinder-block unto a shovel wherein the handle racks his nads while his buddies laugh, I’m thinking to myself, ‘self, those buddies would be leaving behind mourners’, and revenge would be thorough indeed. Or when it involves pretending to be a kidnapper or gun-toting murderer and a scared witless victim runs into the next room to retrieve a weapon or delivers a well-thrown shuto uchi a shutoto the throat of a prankster’s larynx in a moment of reflex survival, it just seems to me like the danger of reaction is greater than any pleasure or art of the prank.

People, prank prudently and think before you set yourself up to be the target of well-planned vengeance or accidental survival reflex that could hurt somebody you love.


What does being a baby boomer mean to me? Part II of II

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I’ve met a great many baby boomers who have learned how to sacrifice and manage their time and efforts with discipline. Yet sadly, there are many of them who also have buried treasure inside their youthful passions so long denied; those many things they dimly recall as being part of the “why” of their living life.

This is not to say one should cast off all balance scaleor semblance of work and duty. And of course, I agree with Mike Rowe in how one cannot just “pursue your passion” with blind faith that all things in life will magically come together to give you success in life that way. Surely the metaphorical highways are littered with many abandoned dreams that people sought after with great passion, and they crashed and burned with them. Yet to me, more sad is how many baby boomers just won’t even take a small step to begin to investigate their artistry or passion.

Looking over the past year, I stumble back upon my budgets and plans to spend time inside my passions. One of them has been my steady and increasing focus into my music of past and writing new music as well. My church, my music, my aerobatic flying, my sailing, and others all were given slivers of my time and budget as an investment by me to remember why the living can be such a blessing. And now, as I look back unto the past 12 months and recall 24 original song releases, 4 cover song recordings, working to learn the beginnings of playing the Hammer Dulcimer, IMG_20150114_113934_190and putting forth a slice of my time to promote a web page and better tell a story, my story, I am so glad that I didn’t wait for a more “perfect” time to begin.

Could I have done more? Sure. Can I do better? Sure. Do I wish I had waited another year or 3 before making the time to get off my butt and take those next, first steps? No way. If you had told me in the summer of 2009 that I would be now still taking joy-filled steps towards my 125th songwriting copyright, or working on a 169th recording, I would have likely said “yeah right.”

Sure, don’t kill yourself on the alter of passion out of proportion, but don’t rob your life with no portion towards your passion.  Video Snippet on this topic.



Song Within A Song : Notebook

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It is especially nice when someone from far away pops me an encouraging email regarding a song of mine. It happened recently regarding this song, “The Road We Didn’t Go”. It was actually written during a time when I was waiting to enter the recording studio to record a DIFFERENT song of mine. Funny how that works.

I was killing an hour or so while waiting for my producer to pick me up from the hotel. And the day’s plan was for us to work on an entirely different song. But as I pleasantly and aimlessly roamed around in solitude in a “new” town, watching the shops open and begin their day of retail, etc., the lyric and melody for this song came to me. And I plopped down with my notepad and pen (nearly always with me for just such occasions) and I worked out this song’s basic structure.

Many times, such songs never make it to production, but this one did and I’m glad. And so is someone about 2,100 nautical miles away

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New Song Etiquette

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A pet peeve of mine is when people are sometimes totally disrespectful in how they listen to a song new to them, even when they have specifically asked to hear one.

There are several variations on a theme of how it can happen and how the scenario starts, but allow me to describe some “typical” situations:

Scenario #1 – Somebody hanging around the studio says something like, “Hey dude, have you heard anything cool recently?” Or, “Hey man are there any songs you really like that are, like, you know, indy… you know something different maaaan?” And so then I will take a second to find something that fits the bill in my music library and say, “yea, here listen, check this cool song out.” And the music begins to play — and they listen for anywhere from 5-12 seconds as the song begins to unravel itself and get going. Then right as the intro is wrapping up and the song is going to deliver its first line or melody, the person blurts out something relevant like, “dude, that reminds me, did you see that cool commercial with the fat guy and that pregnant cat?”

Scenario #2 – Somebody hears that I play piano and write songs and while at my home they ask with genuine sincerity, “He man, why don’t you play me one of your songs, man?” I try to let them off the hook with, “tell ya what, here’s a disc with some of my better works so you can listen later.” And they insist now with, “No man, I want to hear you play something live guy.” So I go sit on the bench, crack my knuckles, and start into a song – to which after listening for 5-12 seconds they blurt out something about how the song sounds great and then they ask me some sort of question as I’m playing the melody and singing a line. Something like, “That is cool, man, it kind of reminds me of… oh what is that song about the bull horn humping the unicorn? — You know!” It’s as if, to them, that my providing a radio quality performance of an original song is only taking maybe 10% of my mind and surely I can answer a question on a non-sequitur topic while I’m doing it.


Scenario #3 – A fellow musician who is going to play on a song of mine asks me to play it for him one time, “so that I can hear it man.” — To prevent their pissing on my peeve I say, “Ok, but do me a favor and listen to it all the way through one time before you doodle around with it, ok?” They agree. I relax into performing the song as if I am at a coffee house style soiree’ setting. Less than 30 seconds into the song, and long before the 8 key-change bridge that will totally surprise them and make it impossible for them to just “wing it”, they say something like “Oh, that is cool” and then they start jumping in – though not really jumping in, but rather smearing over (since they have no idea where the song is gonna go – even though they may have already complimented my songs on being “unpredictable” at times).

FOLKS: If you have requested to hear a new recording, or a live performance, please be prepared to listen with quiet attention for at least 30 seconds before launching into turning the spotlight back unto yourselves. Just sayin’ – really. OK OK, rant accomplished.


The Week After Valentines Day

I recall quite well being younger and times when it almost felt good to be single and unattached during Valentines Day.

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And then I recall also how it could be a very lonely holiday indeed; full of reminders of past loves gone wrong, or simply just gone.  I also look back and reminisce about the joyous activities in my life and how glad I am to have someone with whom I have and can share those times. Of course there are things that are a pleasure to share, or a talisman of remembrance of trips together or romantic moments of the past. But so too it is hard sometimes to conjure up the urge to provide a romantic “thing” on cue. 


When asked about Mother’s Day, my father used to say how he tried to make every day feel like Mother’s Day. In many ways I think about trying to make the feeling of Valentines Day extend out to be a lifelong habit. Of course it doesn’t always work out, but so too how often does the idea of a particular day being forced on you in a holiday like this coincide with your feeling perfectly romantic about a loved one?

I think the main point for me now is how Valentines Day feels different to me when compared to how it felt when I was younger, or compared to how it felt when I was single, etc. And so be prepared for how the way it feels for you will change too over time. Just what does it mean for you these days? … Think about it.


Lichtotropism – Neologism of the Day

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My father is a very learned man. And there are many things about the example of his life that have inspired me in the past. Even now at the age of 89, he continues to inspire me in ways small and large. One thing about him is how he can surprise you – just when I think he has settled into a routine of “old age” or those “golden years” that he and I laugh about, he will come up with something novel and unique.

Recently I arrived at his house to pick him up for one of our routine father-son lunches out, and he announced he had created a useful neologism.


He smiled wanting to make sure that I remembered that word from our many previous meals together when I was a boy and he would endeavor to teach me oddball words, like neologism. I told him, “ok, spit it out… what word have you coined now?” He answered with, “Lichtotropism” and watched my face intently as I tried to work it out in my head.

“Isn’t that a bit redundant?” I asked, “because most plants that demonstrate tropisms do so inherently towards the light?” And he beamed with a sparkle of pride in his eye. “But,” he said, “with ‘lichtotropism’ I am speaking of the spiritual side of it – specifically one’s moving towards the light, spiritually.” He went on to give examples of using his new word as regards man’s quest for enlightenment or wisdom, and I found myself enjoying his neologism – oddly enough it also made the think of the Star Wars movies and character plays; the light and dark side of the force, and I found myself moving towards latin derivatives a bit: luxotropism versus tenebritropism – oh mercy my Dad has infected me.

Papa Ed Pride Wall

Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies are delivered from baby boomer singer songwriter Ed Verner. Weaving together lyrics from personal experiences and tales from a life of people watching, these Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies present contemporary younger songs from a salty renaissance man.

For more information on Ed and his Lyrics, Logic and Lullabies, visit:


Patience and A Dangerous Man

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I have many times been referred to as a patient man. And just as often I receive that label with a happy sense of accomplishment. And yet, when some people blanketly refer to patience as a virtue, I’m often left wondering about those circumstances when people take advantage of patience. Or I wonder about times in my life where my employing patience was really just a method of delaying needed conflict with someone who was growing to take more and more advantage of me.

I believe in the end, the variety of patience that is indeed a virtue is more akin to the patient application of faith when doubting a trusted course of action; or the application of patient endurance when awaiting the fruits of hard work or discipline. However when confronted with an agonizingly slow clockwork of justice coming back around on someone who “has it coming”, I have felt more than once that to show more patience towards someone who is being rude, or uncivil, or downright bullying about treating me as a doormat for their selfish urge to climb the ladder of success upon my work, or upon my “patience”, is actually a species of cowardice. I would not want to be treating someone that way, and if I did I would want them to tell me and to stop me – the golden rule.

There really ought to be two different words for these two types of “patience”: One being to define patience associated with trusting in God and having faith in character and in the slow wonderment of seeing nature at work; and the other type wherein one simply endures unjust suffering or rude treatment like a polite doormat as being some other word more akin to the slang usage of words like “pussy” or the phrase “spineless doormat” etc. I suspect there may be a Yiddish term that might apply here, but put this in the bank, “Patience is a virtue” is a phrase that needs a few qualifiers when applied by someone trying to manipulate you.

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Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies are delivered from baby boomer singer songwriter Ed Verner. Weaving together lyrics from personal experiences and tales from a life of people watching, these Lyrics, Logic, and Lullabies present contemporary younger songs from a salty renaissance man.

For more information on Ed and his Lyrics, Logic and Lullabies, visit:


Liberal Versus Conservative II

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After writing a blog about how labels can be needlessly divisive and/or polarizing and thus destructive to robust political debate; let me now proceed to pontificate about “liberals” versus “conservatives”.

First off, please know that I would label myself as a fiscal conservative with Judeo/Christian underpinnings and as such, I’m pretty well right of the political center if you believe there is one. Yet I have more than a few friends who are left of the center and healthy debate sometimes springs up between us. Unfortunately, unhealthy spitting at my opinions does sometimes occur from some left of the center, with generally some completely baseless attack on one moral lacking or another they feel must be the center of my motivations.

As I’ve gotten older, I watched several classmates or cohorts migrate from being very liberal in their politics while in undergraduate college, only then to become more conservative as they deal with the issues of marriage, business, parenting, death, and other aspects of (dare I say it) maturation. Similarly, I’ve noticed how few former conservatives migrate to become devout liberals. With obvious and sometimes bold exceptions, I still anecdotally observe how “liberalism” seems to speak most effectively to those who are young, and/or who have come into a large fortune suddenly and with little effort on their part to “earn” it. Sports celebrities, overnight Hollywood celebrities, or a Nouveau riche trust fund kid, all seem to help deal with their inner guilt at “unfairly” having something many deserving people want by embracing a liberal political agenda. It seems to be an emotional thing to them, as opposed to their conservative counterparts who often base their political beliefs more in an intellectual scrutiny of history’s examples.

I do not imply that there is a differing degree of intelligence involved in separating the two camps, rather the motivations draw majorly from emotion on the one hand and from history and experience on the other. Yet I’ve met many absolutely brilliant liberal defenders, and many brilliant conservative ones. Likewise, I’ve encountered more than a few painfully stupid ones in either camp as well. The difference between them is most certainly NOT one of intelligence, or even the desire to do a greater good in one versus the other. The main difference I can observe, once the name calling and attacks on character have died down, is a difference in the belief as to which will bring more prosperity for more people: government edict or freedom.

The balance between too much government and anarchy demands that both liberals and conservatives do their job, yet the balance is best when they are about equally unhappy and find compromise.


Liberal Versus Conservative Part I

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Election season is here again and it seems like the whole nation is abuzz with an entire buffet of opinions from the mild to the wild. And much like classic football rivalries, there are basically two types of fans: 1) the ones who root for their team to win and be the best while still holding the foe in their world of respect, care, and concern, and 2) the ones who root for their team to win and be the best while wishing all manner of hatred, humiliation, and zealous disrespect toward the foe.

Inside the world of political debate, where the stakes are arguably more important, the media and the world of entertainment (sounds redundant a bit doesn’t it?) have long found that generating and retaining eyeballs on the screen to sell them beer or pharmaceuticals from their sponsors seems to work “better” if the sensational things take the stage. And thus, honest and robust debate on issues falls below personal attacks, outrageous behavior, and the like from any candidate. It has become a sad farce.

And the divide between “liberals” and “conservatives” gets drawn with bolder and wider black markers. The truth is, even when we disagree vehemently, we still have more in common than any ideology that separates us. When I witness the harshness of opinions that begins to call into question an opponent’s motives, I am saddened. Yes, it is important to have correct policies win out over those that are proven failures, and yes some previous failed ideas might succeed in an altered future, but those who fight for their position gain nothing by impugning the motives of their political foes.

Labels like “liberal” or “conservative” distract from the true aim of trying to discern character and intellectual honesty in a potential candidate or ballot amendment, etc. And to disagree with each other on politics is not something to build walls over.  The quote, ‘Somebody who agrees with me 80 percent of the time is a friend and ally, not a 20 percent traitor.’” has been attributed to President Ronald Reagan and is a good reminder to us all.