I’m ‘Cousin Elmo’

Chances are radio broadcasting’s done with me — so I feel free now to share my little secret: I’m ‘Cousin Elmo.’

As a young disc jockey in the latter part of the 70’s, I thought it disingenuous to learn that some of the talented people I worked with in the radio biz, used ‘fake names.’ Later I realized it was simply a hold-over from the golden days of Hollywood, where actors’ used ‘stage names.’

That’s tradition for you.

About a decade or so into my ‘so-called’ career, as it were, a program director decided I should use the moniker, ‘Tom Cook.’ However, during my first air-shift alone, I couldn’t for the life of me recall that name – so I stuck with my real name.

Looking back, that may have been a mistake as for years I used a make-believe character by the name of ‘Cousin Elmo,’ as my foil. He could say things considered politically incorrect and I, of course, would repeat them.

A strong opinion’s always been a dangerous thing in a public forum.

Today, I often use ‘Cousin Elmo’ – this fake persona — to say shit that might otherwise get me kicked off social media permanently. The amazing thing is that ‘Cousin Elmo’s’ comments are often more popular than anything I have to say under my real name.

I think I’m jealous of the guy!

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The New Human Rights’ Sheriff at the U.N.

While in my 20’s I had the misfortune of being involved in a U.N. Peacekeeping mission that cost several hundred lives of Marines and soldiers. Since then I’ve learned not to trust the organizations.

In fact, many U.S. Marines I know refused to wear the U.N. blue or its badge. A lot of us were threatened with severe disciplinary measures including the possibility of court-martial because of our refusal.

un patch

At least we weren’t made to wear the fiber-glass U.N. blue piss-pots when in the field. And while I still have my patch, I did try to keep the badge I was issued thinking that it would one less ‘flashing’ some other poor-assed Jarhead would be forced to wear.

And when I say ‘learned,’ I mean I studied the flow chart of the United Nations, watching it grow into a monstrous bureaucratic giant that couldn’t “wipes its ass with both hands if it had too.”

Now this — which is jus’ being reported: In June Saudi Arabia was elected as the new head of the Consultative Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council. What a crock of bull-shit.

Why?

The Asian Arab nation has been consistently criticized for its human rights record. In addition to state-sanctioned beheadings, Saudi Arabia arbitrarily arrests, tries, and convicts peaceful dissidents; permits floggings and limb amputations as punishments for many crimes; and uses anti-terror regulations to criminalize most forms of criticism of the government.

In addition to this, Saudi Arabia bans women from getting driver’s licenses; dictates that women wear loose-fitting clothing and cover their heads in public; requires women to get ‘male permission’ to work or travel; and uses capital punishment (beheading) for people who “blaspheme” Islam.

I feel it necessary to mention the ‘beheading,’ twice – because if anything screams ‘humane,’ it’s the loss of one’s head to a heavy sword in public.

In fact, Saudi Arabia has one of the “worst of the worst” in the world when it comes its to human rights records, alongside nations like North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Somalia. And yet, that ‘Mutha of a Brother’ in the White House says nothing and it leaves me sick to think this is the sort of leadership we’ve fallen for in the U.S.

A Sense of Change

I might be spending what could be my final day of this year sitting in our backyard under the shade of our Aspen tree. The nights are growing colder and the days shorter, announcing winter is on its way.

Nostalgia always fills my heart when I know the season is about to pass. I’m not speaking of a date on the calendar, rather the turning of the leaves, the geese in their v-shaped formations winging southward and the winds which have changed their direction.

Even the dogs show the telltale approach of summer’s end and the amplified shortness of autumn’s day, as they spread out at my feet, enjoying what is left of the sunshine. It isn’t hard to notice how quickly their fur is beginning to fill-in, projection from the onslaught of heavy snows and freezing temperatures.

To soon the trees and the grass and the flowers in our garden shall find their winter’s sleep along with the wild beasts and I’ll wonder – why can’t I simply hibernate, too?

Fame V. Riches

Since childhood, I have sought fame, to be known and publicly recognized for my talents. Yet as I’ve slipped beyond the midway point of my life’s expectancy, I’ve learn that I’ve had it all wrong.

I should have sought riches, which are far more than money or material things and do not fade away with time. While some cash is nice to have, it is family and all the memories incorporated with that I now find most important.

From the handshake of one’s father, to the kiss on the cheek from your mother, to the clap on the back of a brother, nothing in life sustains the inner self like those cherished memories. To seeing a baby sister for the first time to holding another baby sister for the first time, the shortness of life adds to these easily and often overlooked events.

Once shared, not even times passing can dissolve the reflection locked into one’s mind. Yes, mental defect can cause the reflective ability of the mind to fail – but it cannot erase what has already happened, only in the end of time shall that be accomplished.

Yes, I write as if I were a dead man-walking, as in the end of all, we are: dead in the body, but not in our soul or the spirit which binds the two. Those belong to the Author of our lives and time immemorial.

So, let me seek the riches and not the fame. I’m already well-known beyond this earthly plain as you are too, now let’s store up riches for heaven’s sake.

One-liners

Much of my life can be boiled down to one-liners; some humorous, others serious. All in all, this is a sad state of being.

First and foremost is: “Only the mediocre are always at their best.” It’s an apt description of me as I’ve always been a ‘mediocre man.’

For years I’ve never really had to try. Much of my life’s activities have come naturally to me and I’ve never once tried to be best at whatever has come my way.

Second is, “Luck is the residue of piss-poor planning.” I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to create a list of steps to get from one point in life to the next and thus, I’ve openly contributed to my meritocracy.

Lastly – “When you stop to think, don’t forget to start again.” For me this has to do with resting on my laurels, something that is a real danger to the person who thinks of themselves with high regard.

In my final analysis, there is very little in my life that I can say, “I did because I…” Rather, everything that I’ve done worth noting has been done because something ‘happened’ to force me in one direction or another.

Maybe I’m alone in this, perhaps I am not. No one I know is admitting to anything.

Choose Wisely

In the 1989 movie, “Raider’s of the Last Crusade,” the bad guy Walter Donovan takes a jewel encrusted goblet, and thinking it’s the one Jesus drank from on the night he was betrayed, drinks from it. He quickly regretted having done so, because he died a hideous death immediately afterwards.

It’s said that life imitates art, so it should be of no surprise that following Pope Francis’ speech to a joint session of Congress, Pennsylvania’ Democratic Congressman Ben Brady, a Catholic, rushed up to the lectern and stole the Pope’s glass of water. He took this modern-day Holy Grail to his office and drank from it as did his wife, Debra, and two staffers.

The congressman also invited Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania into his office, where Casey, his wife, and Casey’s mother dipped their fingers into the water. Brady saved the rest to bless his four grandchildren and his great-granddaughter, all of which is creepy if you ask me.

As the ‘Guardian of the Holy Grail’ from the movie told Indiana Jones: “You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”

No Rules. Jus’ Write

For years my mantra about this blogging thing had been, “No rules. Jus’ write.” I stole that slogan from the restaurant ‘Outback,’ whose tagline is “No rules, just right.”

Then as I continued to write, I realized I did have rules – and it suddenly appeared hypocritical of me to proclaim a ‘no rules’ statement. Slowly, now I am attempting to return to that old idea because I jus’ wanna write without hindrance. I also want to encourage you to write, too.

Many people worry that they are ‘no good’ at writing and this keeps them from sharing their personal stories. I believe that everyone has stories to tell if they’d jus’ take the time to reflect on their entire life. This leads to another situation that I find in need of addressing: it is okay to ‘brag’ on oneself and on your family.

So now it’s time to sit down at the computer keyboard, the typewriter or a blank piece of paper and write freely about whatever the hell you wanna write about. It’s time that you and I let others know what it is that we’ve lived through and observed and that our lives are  full of unique experiences and thoughts and that our feelings really matter.

What a gift each of us has been given within this opportunity and what a shame if we don’t unwrap it.