The end times are near.  That’s what quite a few Americans I know really think.  I say “Poppycock”!  I’ve been hearing this crap since I was a kid.  At least when I was a kid we had some legitimate fears.  The Russians had thousands of nukes pointed our way.  But that doesn’t matter.  Every generation has these kooks.  They just seem more numerous to me now.  They store food, buy gold, guns and lots of ammo, of course.  Why?  Because you’re gonna have to kill your neighbors as they come to your house to steal your food.  Lord, if it gets that bad, I don’t want to live.  I don’t want to live life with that cloud of doom following me around.  Think about it.  These people live every moment knowing in their minds that Armageddon is right around the corner.  That’s not a good life.  It must be like living on death row.  If I’m wrong and the world ends, I’ll be worried about how well I’ve lived my life and my accountability as to how I’ve treated the people in my life.  My concern for that, I hope, will make me a better man today.

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I really enjoy life.  Of course, it’s easier to enjoy life when things go well as they have most of my life.  It’s not that I don’t have down moments, but all in all I am pretty enthusiastic about today and tomorrow.  Now I am aware that I’ve led a charmed life in many ways.  I know people who are better looking and rich who I sense are not really having a fun ride in their lives.  How tragic to be living a life those less fortunate would envy and not even realize it.  Money, fame, fortune and misery.  I’ll be happy with my little piece of paradise here at the beach.  For you rich miserable people, I have a suggestion.  Find a way to help someone less fortunate.  Volunteer at your church or any charity.  I believe you will find a least a little bit of serenity.  If you don’t, shame on you for not enjoying your success more.

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I am so curious about the future.  I want to live a long life just to see what’s next.  My grandmother was born in the horse and buggy era and lived to see a man walk on the moon.  WOW!!!  Seems unreal.  Yet, we didn’t have a TV until I was around four years old and our telephone didn’t even have a rotary dial.  You’d just pick up the phone and an operator would say, “Number please.”  Antibiotics were new and polio was ravaging America’s youth.  Cancer was a death sentence.  It was before stents and open heart surgery, seat belts and airbags.  Flying was expensive and traveling abroad was mostly for the well to do folks.

Oh sure, doctors made house calls and cars had those real cool fins.  But give me today and, I hope, the future.  There seems to be a lot of pessimism out there these days.  Not me.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!  I hope I live long enough to find out.

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A lot of my Baby Boomer friends, as they’ve gotten older, are a bit negative about America and society in general’s future.  I see us just evolving with some good and some bad.  In our lifetimes, we have seen some amazing progress.  Civil rights.  Women’s rights.  Rights for the disabled.  Look at medicine.  Such great strides in cancer treatment.  Cataract surgery is a miracle.  Advancements in cardiac care.  And with computers and the technology they bring to the medical table, the future will be more amazing than the past.  Stem cell research and treatments will probably change everything.  Most progress has its downside, but as I see it, the upside far outweighs the bad.

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I have a gold record hanging proudly on the wall in my writer’s room.  Unfortunately, she’s not mine.  The owner is my great friend and former record producer, Jim Allison.  The chances of me ever reaching this pinnacle are slim and none and slim’s on vacation.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to because I would!  I’m too long in the tooth and late in the career for there to be reasonable hope of this happening.  Yet I do privately dream and fantasize about it.   At this stage it would be less long shot and more miracle.  But big dreams and wishing are a real part of the music business.  You know, Lazarus rose from the dead.  Problem is, on the scales of possibility, that’s about where this dream is.  That’s okay.  I’m going to stop writing for the day and go polish Jim Allison’s gold record.

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I was watching one of those Congressional hearings.  It was stereotypical for that group of egotistical thieves.  As usual they were all grandstanding.  Trying to act tough and look like they really care about this country.  BALDERDASH I say!  All they want is to stay in Congress.  THEY are America’s problem.  They’re not really political, left or right, Republican or Democrat.  They are rich bureaucrats controlled by special interests of all kinds.  There are good Americans on both sides of the barb wire political fence.  I call it barb wire because straddling it these days can be socially uncomfortable in some neighborhoods.

Those self centered SOB’s can tap dance on the head of a needle when asked a direct question.  Of course, many are lawyers.  I’m with Shakespeare on that subject!  They write complicated laws with more gray area than black and white. 

I hope I’m not candy coating this too much.  Those jerks are the problem.  If you think I’m being too harsh, keep this in mind.  If there are one or two honest guys on the Capitol Hill and they happen to read this, they will agree with me and, by the way, they probably won’t get re-elected.

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I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet for many reasons.  One of the biggest is that I love my work.  My father hated going to work the last 10 years or so of his career.  That really made an impression on me.  That’s why I tell young folks, “Do what you love.”  It sounds simple but I’ve observed that when people do what they love, no matter what it is, the money follows right behind.  Unfortunately, I think people try to find a career that will make them a lot of money.  Then suddenly one day they wake up and realize they are 40 years old with a mortgage, kids in college, condo at the beach, boat and making lots of money at a job they really hate.  Problem is, because of their great lifestyle, they can’t afford to change careers at this point so they crawl to work every day feeling like one of those guys working in a West Virginia coal mine.  So do what you love, but save some money just in case your love for your profession wanes.

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