There are still times that I get carded in bars or venues.  It’s usually an indication that the establishment sits in an uptight municipality or they recently got tagged for selling booze to (too) young’uns.  I won’t give them too much trouble since they’re really just doing their jobs.  And also, a lot of venues have guys at the door with necks thicker than a redwood tree.  I just show them the card and move on with my life.  People say that I should take it as a compliment.  Hardly, they aren’t looking at me and thinking that I might be under 21.  They’re doing it because some asshole council member wants to make a statement.  It would be great if it was a compliment but I’m not that naïve.  I’m not standing there thinking “Gee that new moisturizing cream is really reaping dividends.”  I’m usually just anxious to get in the door and get settled. 

Largely not nessa

a delay in the next beer

thirst waits to be quenched


There’s an age old adage in American football that goes: “Offense wins games.  Defense wins championships.” Everyone loves the quarterback and the offensive skill positions.  It’s sexy to run up the score with the touchdowns.

But the truth in football has always been that defenses are what wins championships.  It’s held true throughout most of the history of the NFL.  Offensive juggernauts routinely cruise into the playoffs with lofty records only to be knocked off by a potent defense.  Look at what the Seattle Seahawks defense did to Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl.  Offense wins game. Defense wins championships.

It’s sexy to go on offense and try to run the flea flickers and try to complete the 60 yard TD passes.  But there are times that you need to settle for a field goal to pick up points and stay in the game.  And when you don’t score, your defense needs to step up and make the stop and get the ball back.  You win the game and you win championships by playing on both sides of the ball.  It also doesn’t hurt to have outstanding special teams.  A well placed punt pinning your opponent on the 2 yard line can change field position.  A good kick return setting up good field position can ease the strain on a struggling offense.

So what does this have to do with politics?  Well, politics needs to be played a lot like a football game.  It helps to have a game plan.  It helps to play well on both sides of the ball.  It helps to perform in all phases of the game.  Too many people just want to obsess on the quarterback and not build a complete team.  Yes, the quarterback is an important position.  But let’s be clear about it:  The best quarterback in the world can’t complete a pass if he’s laying on his back buried underneath a blitzing linebacker.  The offensive line has to give him time to complete the pass.  The wide receiver has to get open and catch the pass.

Too many people will champion a single candidate for president and forget all about the down ticket.  They’re too busy to vote in the off year elections.  You want change, you have to vote in every election.  You need to get good senators and House representatives on both the state and national level.  You need to hire good mayors and governors as well as good council members.  You need effective leadership on the local school board.  Games are won in trenches.  The president isn’t worth shit if the people down ticket can’t get the job done.

You can’t throw a hissy fit and walk away because your preferred presidential candidate didn’t get elected.  Wallowing in self pity and crying about how unfair everything is doesn’t bring about change.  You may have to play defense sometimes.  You didn’t convert the third down conversion, you need a good punt to back the other team up.  The defense needs to show up and make the stop. 

To say it doesn’t matter just because your personal favorite didn’t win is asinine.  Am I to believe that allowing companies to pollute the air and water is no different than continuing to disallow companies to pollute the air and water?  That is fundamentally the result of this apathy and self pity.  Wah, my favorite didn’t win.  So fuck the environment!  Fuck women’s right!  If my person doesn’t win, I’m just going go on twitter rants about how unfair everything is.  If there’s 100 problems in the world, wouldn’t it be better to solve 5 of them rather than create 10 new problems?

This really is the issue.  Do you want real change?  Or do you just want to wallow in self-pity?  If you want real change, you have to develop a game plan.  It also helps to have alternative plans because you might have to make half time adjustments.  You may have to throw a block rather than carry the ball.  You need a great defense and great special teams to complement the offense.

Are you really so selfish that you can’t celebrate if your teammate scores the touchdown rather than you?  Are you going to lay down and pout because your teammate got the QB sack rather than you?  If your teammate scores then your team has a better chance of winning.  Yes, the quarterback is the sexy position and the offense makes most of the highlight reel but the teams that win the championships are the ones with a deep roster.  Keep in mind that the quarterback may get the lion’s share of the glory but it’s the defense that brings home the ring.


You were pissed off

even though

I hadn’t said

anything wrong

and it began

to dawn on me

that you weren’t 

pissed off at

what I had said

you were pissed off

at something

I hadn’t said.

Problem is,

it’s hard enough

for me to remember

all those things

that I actually said

It’s damn near impossible

to remember

all the things

that I haven’t said.

I just wish

I could find a way

to make you understand.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO DO POETRY AGAIN: Schaefer, George: 9798449725561: Books

Luminous Grays

Going to Amsterdam was always a blast.  It was always easy to get cheap flights into Schiphol.  A lot of Asian and Middle Eastern flights used it as a fuel stop.  It worked out well for me and I got to discover airlines like Royal Jordanian and Tower.

Getting off at Schiphol was easy enough.  The train station is connected to the airport so one could easily just jump on a train and go.  It was an easy train ride and then you were getting off the train at Centraal Station.   I had a hostel on Warmoestraat that served as a go to place for a cheap bed.  

Generally speaking, I would get off the train and fall in with English soccer hooligans.  These drunk limeys found me every time.  We’d have to hit up In de Wildeman and T’ij for some good Dutch beers.  We’d be best friends politely overlooking the insurrection/revolution.

Of course, Amsterdam offers all sorts of stimulation.  One needn’t stick to just to beer.  There’s the old Hill Street Blues Coffee Shop sitting next door to a police precinct.  You can walk along the canals on those old streets.  There’s a lot of overcast weather in Amsterdam.  You get a good deal of mist and drizzle.  And yet somehow, Amsterdam always seems to have the most luminous grays.  It often feels like walking through an impressionist painting.  The funky centuries old buildings are off kilter and the sky bleeds right into the canals.  Bicycles whiz by and I avoid streetcars finding my way out to the Dam Raak.

And one must indulge in the arts.  The RijksMuseum and the Van Gogh museum are lurking in the shadows calling out to me.  You have to see The Night Watch.  Frans Banninck Cocq needs our support.  Prometheus was chained by Vulcan but I narrowly make my escape.  After that, it’s time to slide over to the Van Gogh museum.  

You can peruse the pedestrian underpass to get from one museum to the next.  That provides entertainment on its own.  Two street musicians with accordions are playing “Tocata and Fugue.”  The sound is majestically ricocheting off the bricks.  That’s about the time that the psilocybin begins to kick in.  The echoes are causing seismic tremors to run down my spine.  Haunted houses are no longer required.  There are no doubt many ghosts and spirits dwelling in this tunnel way.

I nearly forget I’m supposed to go visit Vinnie Van.  It’s always a treat to wander through.  The irises and sunflowers slowly seep into my consciousness.  The crows invade the wheat field and stir up subconscious memories.  It’ll become all too much to handle.  Time will come to cautiously step back out into the open air of the city.  Nearing sunset, orange, pink and purple are starting to puncture the gray clouds.  It’ll be a long walk back to the hostel to catch some sleep.  The jenever procured from Wjinand Fockand should help settle me in for a few hours.  New adventures will wait tomorrow afternoon.

AUTHENTIC STONER GIBBERISH: Schaefer, George: 9798811598632: Books


I remember when I saw Anthony Bourdain do a performance at the Academy of Music.  During the questions from the audience portion of the show, someone asked him what his favorite trip to take was.  His response was that his favorite trip was walking his daughter to the bus stop each morning.  It got the requisite “awws” from the crowd. 

I didn’t really think that much about it until a couple years later when he committed suicide.  When the story of his suicide broke, we were all trying to make sense of it.  How could this possibly happen to him?  I started thinking back to his comment about walking his daughter to the bus stop being his favorite trip.  If that statement was true, it certainly wasn’t the life he was living.  He was doing anything but that.  He also was a person who had the means that he could have walked away from the show and simply wrote a couple books and still made millions and lived off his reputation.  He didn’t have to continue living the life he was living if he wanted a simple, family life.

It occurs to me that the line he gave at that performance is a bit of a cliché.  Everyone who is a parent will have some variation of that story. It’s always how this was the monumental moment that changed their life.  Someone else was now the most important being in their life.  It can’t be true for all of them.  You can get mad at me for saying this but there are too many bad parents in the world for that to be true.  I have to wonder was this line from the show how he really felt or was it something he said because it’s how he thought he should feel?  Our society does like to force people into roles and positions they may not be meant for.

Maybe he was wracked with guilt because he didn’t feel that way.  Maybe he really did love the travel and the adventure more than the family life.  We will never know.  We can only speculate.  But I think part of the problem is that we do try to make people into something they are not.  There are people who can be perfectly happy getting married and living that life.  Other people are polyamorous or even asexual.  There are people that legitimately don’t want kids.  Of course, a person isn’t allowed to be single at a certain age or else they must be gay or they must have something wrong with them.  Then you end up with people in relationships built on lies. And at the risk of pissing some people off:  If you’re too obsessed with someone else’s life, it’s really a reflection of your own unhappiness in your own life.

People buy a lot of shit they don’t really want or need.  If I buy one more pair of shoes or if I go to one more concert or ballgame, it will fulfill me.  They get into relationships that are toxic or unhappy because they think that’s what they have to do.  How many couples do you see that are spiritually dead?  They go through the motions.  Zombie movies are so popular because we have a lot of walking dead among already.  A lot of people see themselves in the zombies.

Ultimately, we have to find happiness within ourselves.  If you aren’t happy with yourself, you won’t find happiness with another person or with vast possessions.  Bob Marley sang those immortal words of wisdom:  “They don’t love themselves so they can’t love anybody else.” We really do need to work on ourselves and learn to love ourselves.


I guess some guys just don’t realize what they’re saying or what they sound like to anyone with a brain in their head. He’s entirely too proud of himself telling me his joke “What do a fat girl and a moped have in common?” The answer was “They’re both fun to ride but you wouldn’t want your friends to catch you on either one.”

Damn! My first thought here is “Buddy, you need to get better friends. You also need to grow a pair and stop caring what your friends think.” If you enjoy something, you should pursue that activity. If you like someone, you should pursue their company. Are you really going to let some morons dictate your life just because you think they’re your friend?

Why are you so afraid of being seen with a girl if you like her? I mean, it’s one thing if you’re just not attracted to her but that’s not what you’re saying. You’re telling me you have fun with her but don’t want to be seen with her. Truth is, you’re not good enough for her. If you like someone then that’s who you should try to be with or spend time with. “Gee, I’m miserable and chronically depressed but at least I look cool to my friends.” Don’t be that asshole.

Think of how many people out there are passing up on someone that they really would like and appreciate because they want to impress their friends or make a good impression on their family. I hear people about not being in someone else’s league. This isn’t baseball. This is life. In life, there’s only one human league. We’re all in it together.

Ride the moped or listen to the John Denver CD or whatever it is that you like. And for the love of all that’s decent. If you really connect with someone, don’t let it pass because you feel some subconscious need to impress morons. If they really are your friends; they’ll be happy for you. Fuck ’em if they can’t be happy for you.


I was on Twitter recently and I noticed that Dennis Miller was trending.  I remembered him from when he had a series on HBO.  He would go off on his little rants about current events that grinded his gears.  He could be funny at times.  Then he got canceled and seemingly vanished off the face.  I never read anything about him dying so I just assumed he faded to complete irrelevance in the entertainment world.  It happens to a lot of performers.  Isn’t funny sometimes when you see a news clip about some old celebrity dying and you’re thinking, “Wow, I thought they were already dead.”

Well, it turns out that Dennis Miller is still alive and apparently many even have a couple dozen or so fans left.  I don’t even remember what the topic was.  It was no doubt some political issue.  Dennis Miller was able to stand out due to taking conservative positions on most issues.  It can be an advantage to be different.  It’s easier to stand out and attract attention to yourself.

What I remember most about Miller was the rants.  I think I may have even forked out 4 bucks to buy a hardback copy of his book in a clearance sale.  The rants were largely a masturbatory exercise.  He would go off on his topic complete with obscure references and peppered with archaic words or words with more than 3 syllables.  I guess he needed to make sure we all knew he was smarter than us.  He could be quite clever and funny at times.  But I always came away with the impression that he had an inordinate proclivity towards jacking off.  Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with jacking off but most of us have the decency to do it in the privacy of our own bathroom.  It’s a little awkward for everyone involved when you do it in a crowded room.

Being a conservative comic in the age of trump can’t be easy.  You ‘re trying to be an intellectual for an audience that struggles with spelling basic words on protest signs and other than Kentuckians think Frankfort is the capital of Germany.  He’s similar to Bill Maher in that he’s really a smarmy douchebag.  Bill Maher has been able to succeed by being able to connect with audiences on a visceral level.  Even when he pisses people off, they usually go back.  Bill Maher is equally guilty of thinking he’s smarter than everyone else but he at least knows when to tell a joke.  You don’t always have to find some obscure, barely relevant reference to be funny.  Sometimes what’s right in front of your face is funny enough.

There is something to be said for directness.  If I want you to turn left I should probably just tell you to turn left.  If I spend 30 minutes trying to find the Amharic word for left and pronounce with the accent of a Mongolian warrior from the 14th century, we may end up missing our exit and ending up in Virginia.  I’m sure Miller views Maher’s success as a liberal conspiracy.  In all likelihood, it just comes down to a more direct comic speaking directly to an audience is funnier and more entertaining.


Some people get upset when friends go off on sidebars on their posts.  They want everything on the post to be about them. I guess that’s fine for some people.  Me, I don’t really care if my friends—or even members of the general public go off on little sidebars.  I’ve always been a reactive artist.  I feed off of stimuli going on around me.  I overhear something on a train or see a newspaper headline or look at graffiti on a bathroom wall and I react to it.  I try to turn it into some form of literature.  I may post a half-hearted gentle reminder to folks leaving me behind on my own post but I won’t have a temper tantrum or unfriend them.  I do issue a caveat though:  You would do well to copyright your thoughts if you place them on my post.  I will steal them shamelessly if the spirit so moves me and I find a way to crystalize it into what I would like to believe is art.


I was only 5 years old when Columbo first came on the air.  Suffice to say, I didn’t start watching it from the start.  I vaguely remember my parents having it on from time to time.  My mother was a Columbo fan.  I didn’t really become a fan until I was around 16 years old.  It happened quite by chance. 

I was home alone and decided to turn on the TV.  Serendipity reared its wondrous head as an episode of Columbo was on the screen.  It was the episode featuring Johnny Cash as gospel singer Tommy Brown whose wife wanted all the money to go to the church.  Tommy Brown just wanted to party and chase skirts.  So it’s quite understandable that he would feel the need to off  the nagging (capital B). 

Anyway, I turned it on mid-episode after the nagging wife (I later learned played wonderfully by Ida Lupino).  The point I turned the TV on was when Johnny Cash was throwing a post murder party and playing a version of Kris Kristofferson’s song Sunday Morning Coming Down.  TV was a lot more prudish at the time so you can imagine my 16 year old delight to turn on the TV and hearing Johnny Cash singing “On a Sunday morning sidewalk, wishing Lord that I was stoned.” 

I was hooked.  I started watching all the reruns of Columbo that I could find.  It also turned me into a big Johnny Cash fan.  I still view his version of Sunday Morning Coming Down as the best version of that song.  That’s pretty good considering Ray Stevens did the first version and this song was also covered by Willie Nelson, Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings and Lynn Anderson.

Later in life I would face many Sunday morning sidewalks wishing that I was stoned but that’s a tale for another time—or possibly a tale best left untold.  But sitting here listening to a Shawn Mullins version of the song just got me to thinking about this episode and the best version of one of the finest songs in the Kris Kristofferson canon.

Mail Order Bride

I’ll never understand these facebook algorithms. I check off a like for a Pussy Riot post. I occasionally earn their top fan badge. I check off a like for a Nadya Tolokonnikova post. This is usual behavior on my part.

So I keep scrolling down and I come across a suggested page for “Russian Girls” and a suggested page for “East European Women.” So am I looking for a mail order bride that they would suggest these pages? My heritage is German but my last name isn’t Drumpf.

I would think that my support for Pussy Riot and their “Smash the Patriarch” agenda would clearly indicate different interests. I’m probably not looking for someone I can get shipped in from a Slavic country or otherwise.

so try seduction on a modestly shy boy morals corrupted

I would think they would be giving me suggested pages like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Saul Alinsky. That might be more in line. Then again I do follow the Suicide Girls so maybe that’s the dilemma. Some would say I’m conflicted. I prefer to say I’m complex. Maybe they should do less thinking for me and let me stumble upon my own folly. That might be best for all of us.

a mail order bride thoughtlessly left in box marked: return to sender