Test Message

Aug 22, 2017 by

This is Ronald Reagan, I have just ordered the launching of all our ICBM missiles at Russia. The countdown begins in 30 seconds. That is all.


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Last Friday of July 2017

Jul 28, 2017 by

It’s the last Friday of July 2017.

The eighth month of the year is upon us. Where did the first seven go?

Sunset over Mesquite, Texas, July 27, 2017.

Last night three GOP senators killed a chance to repeal Obamacare. My premium is $821.55 a month already. It will be higher next year.

My neurosurgeon wants to send me to a neurologist. He made a referral Wednesday. Thursday I talked to Dr. Duc Tran’s office. They don’t take my “wonderful” Obamacare HMO that all these wonderful Americans who love Obamacare so much don’t want to change.

Thanks for that, Sen. John McCain. I’ll start sending you and your to partners in shame my monthly bills. You probably won’t be able to afford it or pay it either.


Anthony Scaramucci is not an unusual presence from what I have experienced in Washington politics. People like him are the reason politics has such a bad name. There are operatives like him on both sides. If they’re not telling you to F off, you can tell they’re thinking it.

My Friend Jeff Sessions

The president this week has been on a Scaramucci-style attack on my friend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Trump, this action is no dumber than the Scaramucci rant to The New Yorker.

Jeff Sessions is a good and honorable man. There should be more like him in your organization and none like Mr. Scaramucci.

The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club

I turn in my first 15 pages and synopsis of my book to the SMU program by noon on Monday. Whether I get selected as an author to go to NYC in November at this point doesn’t matter to me. I’ve learned so much about myself, my writing, and who I am and want to be more like from this experience. Yes, I want to have my books published. But I want to do it the right way, too. When my work is ready for the world. If that’s not now, I’ll keep working on it.

My Leg Pain

My leg pain is back this past week and a half. Almost like I don’t even have the pain stimulator working in my spinal cavity. I made a request three days ago now to go in and have it retuned but the person from Abbott has yet to contact me. The gizmo is set to 15 right now. It was originally set to 11. It hurts just as much now as it did before I got it put in. I’m just not going to take the meds again. My neurosurgeon suggested going back on Gabbapentin, but I was once at 900 mgs per day and wasn’t getting any relief, so I’m not going to start that again. Plus it made me want to sleep again all the time. I’m doing that enough because of the erratic sleep schedule. So, no thanks.

Grateful List

Each day I add a little bit to a list I keep of the things I’m grateful for. There are now more than 600 items. This list keeps me focused on what’s going right in my world instead of letting all the bad and wrong that’s going on throughout the world consume my heart. Someone asked me on Facebook this morning if I thought someone like Scaramucci would ever understand what an ugly person he really is. Not for me to worry about but I have my doubts.

Obamacare has become something of a Democratic entitlement. Republicans should have seen that. Once you’re giving something away to the populace, you can almost never put that Jennie in the bottle.

A friend of mine repeats to me often that “Insurance companies rule the world.” It’d be interesting to know how much Blue Cross Blue Shield and all the others have given to members on either side of the aisle. But that would require reporters doing reporting instead of chasing phantom stories about the Russians.

Why don’t you guys leave that to me in my book and focus on real news for a change? Yeah, I didn’t think you’d be willing to do that either….



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Overcoming 10.5 Months of Opioids is Not Easy

Jul 17, 2017 by

Overcoming 10.5 Months of Opioids is Not Easy

As a result of a chiropractic injury, I spent 10.5 months on opioids and the results of having been off them for almost four months now still afflict me.

On Friday the 13th, May, 2016, I went to what was then an unlicensed chiropractor operating in Mesquite, Texas. I did not know this at the time of treatment. I went in complaining of upper back pain. The man noted that my SI joint was out, too, and said he was going to make adjustments to my upper, middle and lower back. The next day, I was in so much pain, I could not drive to my daughter’s mother’s house to take pictures of the twins in their prom dresses. I returned on Monday, May 16 thinking my SI was out again and the pain was from that. It was not. The problem was from the treatments to my lower back.

A few weeks later, barely able to walk more than 20 yards without being in excruciating pain that required me to stop walking, I went to my PCP. She put me on hydrocodone and muscle relaxers. Nothing worked. I did PT. After three visits, the therapist said not to come back until after I’d had an epidural. This meant getting an MRI, seeing a spine surgeon, and a pain management doctor. The pain guy switched me off hydrocodone onto Nucynta. It didn’t work either. A month later I had a three-level laminectomy in my lower lumbar. This led to more meds and instead of stopping the pain, made it manifest in both legs, not just one.

My Sleep Cycle app graph from last night. After four months being off opioids, my brain is still affected.

My spine doctor wanted to do a fusion. But I also had a hernia he wanted repaired before he would operate again. In September 2016, I had two hernias fixed. Seeking a second opinion about spinal surgery, I went to a neurosurgeon who didn’t want me to have one and instead said we should test other options. This led to my being on Percocet and other meds.

Finally, in March of this year, the neurosurgeon put in a pain stimulator in my spinal column and buried a battery pack in my right hip.

In April, I took my last Percocet, having weaned from three per day to one-half.

It’s now mid-July and I’m still suffering the consequences of having been on mind-altering drugs for almost 11 months.

My sleep schedule is so erratic I have a hard time functioning. The Sleep Cycle app shows that my sleep is a mess. Naps are part of my day because I’m so tired constantly. Even with walking and a proper diet, I’m struggling to function.

I understand the need for opioids or pain-relieving drugs. The pain I’ve endured the past 14 months has been horrific. But the long-term impact of the meds is something I did not expect. I would like to be able to get a sound night of sleep. I would like to be fully functional again at normal hours of the day. But that’s not happening. When I saw my sleep doctor back in April he said it could take months for my brain to recalibrate. MONTHS. He was not kidding.

I have been walking in the mornings to get my brain used to seeing sunlight first thing in the day. By noon, most days, however, I am asleep again, sleeping more soundly than I did all night. This is a vicious cycle and I post this so that others can see the impact it can have.

I was lucky. I was determined to not become an addict of opioids. There are thousands of others who are not as strong-willed and who succumb to the need for meds. Some people are known to do dumb things so that doctors will be compelled to give them more—have you heard of these people who break bones in their hand with a hammer so they can get more opioids?

I cannot imagine getting to that point, but what I do know is what I continue to experience having been on these meds for so long. They have an impact on your mind that does not go away overnight. The opioid epidemic is real and it’s a problem that many people face.

And at this writing, I have yet to find an answer for the impact it has had on my brain.

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Zelda Fitzgerald’s Parents’ Graves–The Sayre Graves

Jul 15, 2017 by

Zelda Fitzgerald’s Parents’ Graves–The Sayre Graves

The graves of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’s parents are in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama.

The grave site of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald’s parents and family members in Montgomery, AL.

They are marked as #28.

They are not easy to find unless you know what you’re looking for.

How To Find The Sayre Graves

Oakwood Cemetery section. How to find the Sayre graves, the parents of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.

Heading east on Upper Wetumpka Road in Montgomery, go past the Montgomery Police Department and down the hill toward Alabama Public Television and Paterson Field.

The last three entrances to the cemetery are important. The third one leads to Hank Williams’ grave on top of the hill.

The first one, St. Ann’s Street, is the entrance to the section leading to the Sayres.

Once you pull in at St. Ann’s, take the first left onto Stella Street. At the first right, turn north on Clarmont Ave. and go up the hill. The first right near the top of the hill is also Clarmont, but go straight another 20 or 30 yards. Then stop.

Off to your left, three rows in, follow the path of Clarmont to the west. You will see several tall and full trees, and there are two obelisk-like markers to the west in the next row of the Sayre resting place.

Once you are three rows deep, turn to your right and the Sayre site should be to your left.

Clearly marked at the front of the site is a memorial marker to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, who are not buried there.

Photos of the Site

I’ve included photos of Minnie Sayre’s grave, as well as Anthony D. Sayre Sr’s resting spots. Minnie is buried on the far left and Judge Sayre is three graves to her right. Zelda’s brother Anthony Sayre Jr lies immediately to the left of the Judge.

Marker for F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald in Montgomery, AL

The grave of Minnie M. Sayre, the mother of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Close up of the tombstone of Minnie M. Sayre, the mother of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, who was born in Montgomery, AL

The tomb of Judge Anthony D Sayre, the father of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, in Montgomery, AL



















Zelda, Almost Home

In June 2017, I made a short film about Zelda. The premise, what if Zelda returned to her hometown Montgomery as a ghost?

Thing is, the more I learned about Zelda and her haunts in Montgomery, the more it seems she actually does return to the city quite often.

July 24, 2017 will mark the 117th anniversary of her birth in the Capital City of Alabama.

Here is Zelda, Almost Home, available on YouTube. Music courtesy of Moby.


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The Barrowfields–Book Review

Jul 13, 2017 by

It’s taken longer than it should have but last week I read The Barrowfields by new author, Phillip Lewis. 

The book starts out a little slow, but once you immerse yourself in the story, and that becomes easier to do with each passing page, Lewis takes hold of you with his quality, rich characters.

I enjoyed this book and will read it again. There are not many on the New York Times Bestseller List I would say that about. It seems of late the publishing industry is all about a bang for the buck that lasts three weeks and no more. My pen-pal, Amor Towles, currently on the list for 32 weeks with A Gentleman in Moscow remains there because his book is of substance. Something someone will want to read again.

The Barrowfields is of that same ilk.

Lewis blends a rich knowledge of literature, books and North Carolina lore together for a superb recipe of a tale. He takes us through his father’s courtship of his mother and the relationship with his grandparents. Then we see the main character seek to recover from the events of home that linger. He seeks to escape his past but like none of us, is able to do so. It comes racing back into his life and he is compelled to deal with it.

I am an active reader so there are a few lines from the book I underlined as I read.

A beguiling optimism is often the first step toward folly. Page 29

“I write, because it’s one of the only things that seems real to me.  It’s the only way short of death to make time stop.” This was not a simplified explanation for a ten-year-old. This was his truth. Page 45

As a fellow writer, I understand the perspective of Henry Aster’s father about writing.

And I so much would like to meet a woman as grounded as Story. She was a dear and though she herself is dealing with her own familial emotional baggage, she makes the story come alive and enjoyable.

I encourage you to find the book and give it a read. It is one you won’t want to take to Half Priced Books in a three weeks along with your current Grisham, Clancy, Patterson, Steele and the like. No, you’ll want to keep this with your Towles and Lees and Patchetts.

This book also helped me with my own writing. The language is rich and colorful and immersive. I look forward to the next book by Phillip Lewis.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

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The Artist’s Way–Week 11

Jul 7, 2017 by

The Artist’s Way–Week 11

I’ve reached Week 11 of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. My life has changed tremendously in the past 11 weeks. I will tell you that. Probably more so than any stretch of time the rest of my entire life. The positive impact this book has had on me can scarcely be measured.

Everything You’ve Got

My twin daughters were visiting on Tuesday for the Fourth of July and the younger one, Haley, (by all of seven minutes) (Oh, and they turned 18 today) kept noticing and making fun of taped images I have at key places around the place. The note says, “Everything You’ve Got.” She was trying to be grammar queen on me and tell me it should be “Everything I Have,” but I’m not changing it.

The origin of the line comes from Ryan Gosling’s character Seb in La La Land when he’s talking to Mia outside the Griffith Observatory toward the end of the movie. She’s auditioned for the part in the Paris film and she’s asking him about what they’re going to do about their relationship and their chase for their dreams. Will he come to Paris with her or stay in LA and pursue his dreams while she goes to Paris to chase hers? He tells her, “When you get this part, you’re going to have to give it everything you’ve got.” He knows the importance for her of chasing her own dream, one that is not his own, and he knows the importance of chasing his dream. And to accomplish the dream, every dream, ones you and I have as well, that’s what it takes, “Everything You’ve Got.”

The Writer’s Path

There now are 24 days left for those of us in the final stages of The Writer’s Path Program at SMU. On Aug. 1 we turn in the first 15 pages of our manuscripts for blind-judging. Thirteen of us in the program will be selected to go to New York in November to meet with publishers and agents with the Big Five. The pressure is on. 

But what I have found by working through The Artist’s Way is that whether or not my book gets selected, it’s going to be okay. I’ve taught myself over the past 11 weeks that I am “a prolific writer and a great artist.” We were told to practice saying that allowed in one of the first few weeks. It was kind of hard to do at the beginning, without laughing that is. I’ve gotten better at saying it aloud over the past few months.

My art is an expression of the inner child who lives within me. The one who has been squashed, crapped on, booed, chided, beaten down, put down, insulted, and abused over the course of my life. All those words are being brushed aside because of TAW and what I’ve learned by reading the book, writing my morning pages every single day since I started them, and doing the chapter tasks.

Not Just For Writers

I told my daughter Haley the other night that she should start working in her own book. That it would change her life. Then she threw more wood on the fire of the past saying “I don’t want to be an artist. You’re always broke.” Ouch.

I’ve had a hard eight years of life and no, I’m not making as much money these days as I used to. But more importantly, emotionally and mentally, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. I’d trade that for lots of money and the problems that come with them any day of the week. Would it have been nice to have more disposable income? Without a doubt. My life would be even more drastically different had that been the case. But God has also used this opportunity to teach me much about life that I was missing.

I’ve never been much for material things. I want a reliable car, a roof over my head, my Macs, Canon camera equipment, and oil paints and canvases, a comfortable bed to sleep in, health care, healthy food to eat, and enough furniture to be able to sit in a chair and watch TV on rare occasions. The car is somewhat on the fritz right now, which is troubling, and income is shallow. But I have most of those other things and they’re helping me in my experience with life. They are helping me write my book. Two weeks ago I made my first short film on Zelda Fitzgerald. And because I’ve made changes in my food lifestyle, weight is falling off my body. My back injury the past year has hurt me in many ways and held me back. That issue is being addressed through legal channels.

What is most important to me though is how close I’ve grown to God and seen that God, as the great creator, created me, you and the world around me. He made the world in seven days according to the Bible, but he didn’t just stop creating then. He still does it today. And in me, he has given the ability to create new stories, new films, new colors, new paintings, new building designs, new whatever he and I can pair up together to dream.

That’s the satisfaction I have from 11 weeks of reading and working in The Artist’s Way. One does not have to be a writer, or a self-declared artist to gain something from this book, but I will almost bet anyone who follows it methodically, working one chapter a week and then doing all the exercises, writing the morning pages, and doing the weekly artists days will find such a dramatic change in their lives, they’ll never regret having invested the time.


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