Often, I look at my life and see nothing but failure.   It’s really hard, some times, to sift through thwarted plans, foiled loves and other dismal adventures and rediscover the other moments that have brightened our lives for decades.   Hell.   It really is.


I have dealt with failure all my life.   I suppose we all have.   Failed mortgages.   Failed jobs.   Failed marriages.   And other relationships.  Those unsuccessful moments overpower us sometimes.   But within those instances of total darkness, those times we cannot find the brightness again, our greatest despair is created.

This is one of those disparaging moments.

A few months ago, I chose to sort of “come out of the closet” a bit.   And I said some things.   Some things I believe with all my heart.   But my heart seemed to cause immeasurable despair among some hearts I truly love.   And I regret that.

In the most adamant manner.


So, I have tried my best to restore a few dear friendships and the love we have mostly always shared.  I have mostly failed.


Now that I am “out of the closet,” those friends seem to think that I am a different man than the one they have known for decades.   I recently told one of those friends, as I sort of quoted lyrics from a song, “I have lost my faith in many things.    But I will never lose my faith in you.”    Unlike my undeniable belief in each of them, they have lost all faith in me.   And it is so damned hard to find the the sunshine, the stars, the moon – the brightness those hearts so generously provided to my failed one for so many years!

And I hate like hell the notion of failing again without the trust and love they once had in and for me.

I truly do.

The darkness that has overcome their once beacons of faith in one of the many hearts that share their same love, well – that’s way too overpowering right now.

So, too, is the lack of that sweet and loving light that mostly grace all of our lives every day!

(Look, I have been writing this for a few days.  Just this afternoon, one of those long-time and dear friends acknowledged my love for her.  And she acknowledged her love of me as well.  Suddenly the sweet and loving light has reappeared just a bit!)

That one friend made my day today.   Faith in friends and all others, including God, make such a powerful difference.  It certainly eases the often necessary siftings.


FROM MAY 22, 2014
Our society – our very own culture – thrives on failure.

Our heroes. The very people we hold in such high esteem are incredible failures. All of them! Highly paid professionals, like doctors, our athletes, our Hollywood stars – all of them – are failing. Even the best and most respected of them.



Most of the really great actors make, what?  One film a year?  It takes, roughly estimating, three months to shoot one.   So, for nine months a year, our Hollywood heroes are like 20% of the rest of us – unemployed!

How about NFL quarterback greats? DonMeredith, Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, and Johnny Unitas?   They each completed only around 50% of every pass they threw.   They failed half the time.   Even the all-time NFL leader, Chad Pennington failed 30% of the time.   I don’t know about your job, but if I fail just 5% of the time, I am an unemployed actor!

Artis Gilmore, my hometown favorite NBA tall guy (he played college ball at Jacksonville University when I was in high school in that town!) is the all time field goal percentage leader in the NBA. Even worse than Chad Pennington, Artis failed slightly more than 30% of the time that incredibly tall guy shot the ball.



And Major League Baseball? Come on! Over 60% of the time, Ty Cobb failed to get a hit! Ty freakin’ Cobb!



And doctors?   Our most coveted profession.   We all believe with all of our hearts that OUR doctor is the very best. Well, I heard this years ago somewhere, so I won’t take credit for thinking of this myself.   But have you ever realized that 50% of all doctors finished in the BOTTOM HALF of their class?




Man.   We are all doomed!

Still.  Suddenly I’m liking my own success rate!


FROM JUNE 13, 2011


What can be more bizarre than a United States congressman named Weiner, sending photos of his… well… you know…. over the Internet?



Yeah, the toe-tapping Republican senator was bizarre, but his name wasn’t Stahl, or Tap or anything like that.  And, yeah, one of our presidents did receive oral favors and such from a White House intern, but his name wasn’t Hav-A-Tampa.  So that wasn’t all that bizarre.



But “Weiner?”  This is material from a really bad 1960’s B-movie. I guess it would have had to be a really bad Science Fiction/Porn B-movie since the Internet and Tweeter weren’t even concepts in the ‘60s.  And we still had community standards back then, I guess.

But you know, it’s a well-known fact that Al Gore invented the Internet.  Do you suppose this whole Weiner thing is a vast left-wing Democratic conspiracy of sorts?  Just why did Al Gore do what he did?  Why did Weiner choose an Al Gore invention to deliver such provocative photos?  Did Gore know what Weiner had in mind when he invented it?  And what’s up with the former vice president’s name?  Did he know when he invented the Internet that his buddy’s body part photos would be distributed to folks who might find them a bit gory?



And is it true that Weiner nicknamed his – well…you know… thing – “Al?” These are important questions, y’all.  Bizarre?  Yes.   But important.



Man, they’ve got to hold hearings on this stuff.  We need answers.  Besides.  We’re all going to be stuck at home this summer, fighting global warming heat waves, waiting for our unemployment checks and conserving $5-a-gallon gasoline.  And Oprah’s off the air.  Give us something, y’all!  I would be willing to watch John Boehner cry every morning for six months if I can just tune in every day this summer to the “Weiner Hearings.”

Please.  For the love of God, Congress.  Give us this.


FROM JUNE 21, 2011

There was a time when we all worried about Daddy.  Well, there were many times.  But this one was different.

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida during a time when “high society Jacksonville” was important to a lot of folks.  Every year a new batch of young well-off women were honored with parties, wore beautiful and expensive clothing, attended teas and garden luncheons, and the like.  All of that led up to the one evening when they wore their finest and made their debuts as they were presented to Jacksonville society circles.  They were called debutantes.

The local newspapers, The Florida Times Union and The Jacksonville Journal did remarkable jobs of covering the debutante season each year.  Since most of the debs back then attended the same high school that my brother, sister and I did, I read all the deb news in the paper.  And the newspapers would list things about each young woman – you know, goals of world peace, colleges they were going to attend, stuff like that.  They also listed each girl’s hobby.  I would say that 97% of each year’s batch of new debs during that time period listed as their hobbies decoupage.

This is where Daddy comes in.  He didn’t have many hobbies.  He played golf every Tuesday with his long-time buddy, Linky.  But that was more of an excuse to work up a sweat and cool down with a few cold ones.  He was actually a good artist, but he rarely did more than a few mind-numbing “paint by the numbers” things.  He did play a lot of solitaire, too.


But at some point, the man set up shop in the dining room.  He spent hours and hours in that room, with tools and supplies spread on the dining table and chairs and dining room floor.  The man was into decoupage.  Big time.


He was quite good actually.  Very clean presentations.  Well, there were the occasional decoupaged-over cigar ashes on some of his projects.  But that gave his work a sort of “antique” look to it.


He enjoyed it.  And he was good-natured about it all.  Each time one of his children would ask the man, “So, Daddy, are you going to make your debut this year,” he almost always responded the same way.  He would look at us, move his cigar to the side of his mouth, bend his wrist to the limp position, sticking his crooked little pinky finger out in typical high-society fashion, and say with a lisp, “Oh yeth!”

My dad.  The decoupaging debutante.




I’m an issue oriented voter. I really do not care if our president elect is an effective leader or a Democrat or a Republican. All I want is someone who believes in the few things that will make a difference in my life.


The issues are what matter to me. It’s because of my devotion to the issues and the ultimate importance of such and even more so to the ultimate importance to me personally, that I need to attend a presidential debate or town hall meeting. Like all neglected voters and constituents, I need to be heard. And I have some meaty things to discuss with the wealthy and privileged caviar consuming party nominees.

Now, I won’t whine and complain because I am unemployed or without health insurance or need a new kitchen. The folks who bring up such gut-wrenching stories as those are pathetic humans filled with self pity and need to get a grip on life and government and politics. No, I won’t go there.

My question will be simple and straight forward. “Sirs, will you sign a pledge, both of you, right here and now, to invest in our infrastructure by building new and improved Biff Burger restaurants in every state across our fine land?



Or at least allow Krystal to operate in North Carolina?”*



*(Biff Burger, one of my favorite fast food chains, went out of business more than 30 years ago. Krystal, my other favorite, is still in business in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. There are none in North Carolina.  Damn!)

CLASSIC LUNAR – “MY BEST DAY” From January 5, 2010




January 5, 1985 was a scary day for me.  It was also the best day of my life.

Today is my only child’s birthday.  I have recalled his first day on earth often.  At least once a year for the past 24 years.  Today he is 25.



When it was time for my son to be born – I mean really time – I wanted out.  I didn’t know how to get out.  All I knew was that I had changed my mind.  I just didn’t want the responsibility.  Now, granted, I had kind of painted myself into a corner on this one.  I mean, I probably initiated the whole thing nine months earlier, and now my wife was panting, breathing, screaming and cussing me from a hospital bed when the nurse threw a set of surgical blues, a shower cap and booties at me. Telling me that it was time.

Time for what?  Time to run like hell?  Time to tell the doctor to keep that thing inside his Mom and to never let it out?  All I really wanted was a stiff bourbon, a few dozen cigarettes and a quiet sandy beach somewhere.  I have never felt as helpless as I felt at that very moment.  Obviously, it was time for me to “man up.”


And I did.  But I almost too “manned up.”  I got into the delivery room garb and into the delivery room and thick of things. The wife was pushing and groaning. The doctor was pulling and talking nonsense.  They had to use forceps on the child for some reason.  I was thinking at the time that maybe the Doc had tickets to that night’s game and just wanted to get the little guy out so he wouldn’t miss pre-game cocktails.  The sight of some man I didn’t know, pulling and tugging on the head of my unborn child, especially from that region of my wife’s body, was disturbing.  Especially since I wanted the little guy to stay put forever!  I swear, I think I saw that man put his foot on the foot of the bed to brace himself while he yanked out my child with those big metal tweezers.  Again. Disturbing.

So the Doc was pulling and tugging and wrestling and God knows what else, when my son was finally pulled from his Mom’s womb.  His head was long and distorted and close in size to the rest of his little body.  He looked awful.  I was terribly afraid.  Marva, the Lamas instructor, never told us of this freakin’ possibility.  My baby wasn’t right.  Something was wrong.  About the time that I became convinced that my child would not be normal, the doctor, with a chuckle, said, “Well, it looks like we have another little cone-head baby!”  I swear, if my wife hadn’t had the incredible bone-crunching, blood-stopping grip on my right hand at that time, I would have punched that doctor.  He delivered my deformed baby and then made fun of him!

I do not hit people.  The last person I hit was 7-year-old Johnny Lemon, a few weeks after my 8th birthday.  But I was ready to pound this guy.

At that moment. At that very moment. I became a Dad.  My urge to punch the doctor was my very first parental instinct, and it happened just moments after the birth of my child.

I have never been proud of the feeling I had when the nurse threw those surgical blues at me.  What a wimp I was.  I even failed at the “birthing coach” thing.  One of the nurses on duty sort of showed me how to do it.  She would look at some monitor that graphed contractions.  At the time I thought, “Why the hell do you need to graph pain?”  Anyway, the nurse would tell the wife when pain was coming and say things like, “Okay, it’s peaking now.  The pain is peaking.  You should begin to feel better.  Breath.  That’s it. Breath.  The pain is going away.  You did it.  That was good.”

After the nurse left the room, confident that Dad had been properly instructed on his coaching duties, my wife had yet another contraction.  I was very calm.  I could do this.  I remembered everything the nurse had taught me.  I encouraged my wife as I watched the graph needle climb on the monitor.  I said, “Honey, the pain is coming.  Okay, it’s getting a bit stronger now, but you are almost through this one.”  I kept watching the needle on the monitor.  It climbed almost as high as it could, then dipped.  I said, “There, now. The pain is over.  You should start to…”  At that time the damned needle shot up to the top of the graph like a freakin’ Sputnik launch.  She let out a scream like I had never heard.  That scream was even worse than the one I heard when I told her the year before that my Mom was coming for a visit!  Yeah.  Good job, Coach.

So I will readily admit I was a terrible coach.  I don’t guess I was much better at being a husband, then or even in later years.  But the fathering came so damned naturally.  I cannot explain this.  It simply happened.  January 5, 1985, I became a Dad.  I felt it.  I knew it.  It was natural.  It was real.

It was beautiful.

My son and my dad.

It still is.

My son and his children

Happy Birthday, Matt.

My young son. And best friend.

Thank you so much for everything, my friend.