Quote of the Day

People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows, newspapers, YouTube videos and the Internet. And it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains.

It’s also equally ludicrous to believe that — at the very least — this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient for the people who are in charge.

Charlie Kaufman

The Collie Walk

The Bell Tolls For Cory Monteith

tollsI’m always a bit disturbed when a celebrity like Cory Monteith dies from a drug overdose. It’s not because I’m a great celebrity hound — I doubt that I’ve seen a single episode of Glee, and I wouldn’t have known Mr. Monteith if I saw him. I’m not proud of not having watched Glee, mind you; it’s probably my loss. It’s just the way my life rolls. However, I feel badly about the loss of another person who brought pleasure to many, and about the loss to his family, his friends, and (perhaps) to modern culture. I feel that in a sort of general, regretful way.

But what I really feel badly about is the loss of another human being to the siren call and eventual death by addiction. And I feel badly about the fact that we say “OMG! What a shame!” and similar things when a Cory Monteith learns the final lesson about heroin, or alcohol, or any of the dozen or so other common drugs that kill folks regularly. I feel strongly about that, because we behave as though we don’t give a rat’s ass about the dozens of other addicts who overdose every day.

There were 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2010 — that’s one every thirteen minutes, day and night. They overdose for a variety of reasons, ranging from total naïvete to suicide, but the vast majority don’t do it on purpose. They die because they didn’t get useful information about the effects of drug use, or because they didn’t have access to clean drugs. They die because they didn’t know basic things, like the fact that a heroin or other opiate addict loses tolerance to the drug so rapidly that shooting up a couple of weeks after detox can be deadly.

Cory Monteith was no one special as far as I’m concerned. I grieve for every junkie who dies with a needle in her arm, or a few partially-digested Oxys in his belly, not just for the ones fortunate enough to spend a few years in the spotlight. We tsk, tsk! when a Cory Monteith dies, but in a couple of days we’re looking the other way, and we do nothing to take a stand about the lack of care and treatment for addicts in what is supposedly the most advanced nation in the history of the world.

A junkie is a junkie. A death is a death, and
“Send not to learn for whom the bell tolls….”
It could be for your loved one.

What are you going to do about it?


I wrote this article three days after George Harrison died of cancer back in 2001. (Has it really been that long?)  It was published elsewhere, but I retain the rights and I was going to republish it back in November in honor of the 10th anniversary of his death, but I couldn’t find it.  I ran across it this evening, and belated though it is — here it is. Continue reading

Heavy Metal Harp

Street Painting Festival

Lake Worth, Florida – 25-26 February, 2012


Elvis Presley Appears on The Ed Sullivan Show (1956)

Presley was one of the 20th century’s most popular American singers. His first national television appearance was in 1955 on Jackie Gleason’s Stage Show, but it was his 1956 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that made him a national sensation. His pelvic gyrations caused a scandal but earned him millions of adoring, often female, fans. That same year he released his first million-selling single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” and starred in the first of his 33 movies, which was what? More…