My longtime friend, ex-bandmate, and co-author of two books published by See Sharp Press (The Drummer’s Bible: How to Play Every Drum Style from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco, with co-author Jason Gianni, and Stage Fright: How You Can Beat America’s #1 Fear, with co-author Michael Edelstein), is bringing his well reviewed one-man play, Keith Moon: The Real Me, to Hollywood.

Here’s a bit more info from the producers:

Its showtime this coming weekend at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood at 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard. Keith Moon: The Real Me opens Friday night, March 23 at 8:00 pm.

There will also be a show on Saturday at 8:00 pm and a matinee on Sunday at 3:00 pm. If you can’t make it on opening weekend, the production continues through April 15.

There will be a wine and cheese reception after the Sunday, March 25 matinee. This show will probably sell out, so get your tickets soon if you would like to join the festivities.

For a bit of inspiration, you can see Mick in action in this preview video.

(The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle award ceremony is coming up on Monday, March 26th. Keith Moon: The Real Me is nominated for Best Solo Performance in 2017.  Wish us luck!)

John Steinbeck

“If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.”

–from “Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

Three weeks ago, I started to emerge from the ooze of addiction to prescription drugs. I’ve had chronic insomnia for two decades, and for almost that entire time have been taking more and more prescription Ambien (zolpidem). I tried to quit it a few times, but invariably I’d go 48+ hours without sleep, would say “fuck it, I can’t stand it,” and was back on it.

The symptoms were ever worse. Toward the end, the last two or three years, I was having severe memory and cognition problems, was irritable as hell, and had ever-worsening depression and fatigue. I thought of all this as normal. Couldn’t remember damn near anything else. I even wrote embarrassing blog posts that I  deleted the next morning, without ever having remembered posting them — got up, read ’em, and went, “Did I post that? What the fuck was I thinking?” — before deleting them; you might have read a few.

I was like the frog in the pot. I just didn’t notice how awful things were getting until about three weeks ago, when I finally thought, “Well, I’ll probably die within the next couple of years; that’s fine. I feel so miserable it’d be a relief. Time to end it.”

That was the wake-up call. The thought that death might be welcome. The total self-involvement, self-indulgence. I was disgusted with myself.

I’ve always had severe judgments against those who commit suicide unless they were in chronic pain (the ultimate “fuck you” message to survivors, the ultimate “I don’t give a shit about how you feel, it’s all about me” message to those who love them — yes, I’ve experienced that) and realized I might do the same self-indulgent, self-destructive bullshit to hurt those who loved me.

No thanks. I might be an asshole, but I’m not that kind of asshole.

So, I went to the doc, got a prescription for another sleep med I’ve used only sparingly the last few weeks, and am doing everything I can to get away from sleep meds entirely.

It’s working. A lot of nights I don’t use anything except aspirin and medical pot for pain, even though I only sleep three or four hours.

It’s an improvement. A big improvement.

Goodbye Ambien, hello life. (Iggy Pop “Trainspotting” music — “Lust for Life” — here).

I feel like I’m emerging from a shroud, coming up from the bottom of a deep pool.

If you’re taking Ambien because of chronic insomnia, there are better alternatives to it, and it might kill you if you don’t get off it. It almost killed me.

Mark Twain

“As to the adjective: when in doubt, strike it out. . . . don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in.”

— quoted in “12 Timeless Writing Tips from Mark Twain

Emma Goldman

“History tells us that every oppressed class gained true liberation from its masters through its own efforts. It is necessary that woman learn this lesson, that she realize that her freedom will reach as far as her power to achieve her freedom reaches.  It is therefore necessary for her to begin with her inner regeneration, to cut loose from the weight of prejudices, traditions, and customs. The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. Indeed, if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman, it will have to do away with the ridiculous notion that to be loved, to be sweetheart and mother, is synonymous with being slave or subordinate. It will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism  of the sexes, or that men and women represent two antagonistic worlds.”

–Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation”

COMPASSION, n. Mercy. A virtue so rare in Christian countries that when discovered by chance it is always deemed newsworthy.

* * *

— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


The Water Will Come front cover(The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, by Jeff Goodell. Little Brown, 2018, 340 pp., $28.00)


It’s easy, even if you accept the science, to think of global warming as an abstraction, because, as regards the human perception of time, it’s a long term trend. That’s true even in many places which are already being affected, such as Southern Arizona, which is projected to suffer the highest temperature increases of anywhere in the lower 48.

We’re already experiencing drastic warming. Last year was the warmest ever here, we had our hottest June ever, with three days at 115F or above (46C), and we had almost no winter (well, what passes for winter down here: It’s below 70? Break out the parkas!).

The change in the weather is already affecting vegetable and fruit tree planting seasons here: What I and other gardeners used to plant in October, we now tend to put off until November (hottest ever last year). Or December. (It was so warm this winter that I’ve put off buying and planting a peach tree until this fall, hoping for cooler weather then.)

So, I’m already affected by long-term temperature increases, if only as a minor annoyance. But most people here don’t garden, are caught up in daily life, and find it easy enough to ignore gradually warming temperatures — at least until the next 116 or 117F day, which they’ll promptly forget once it cools down even slightly.

But it’s not so easy to ignore global warming in other places, specifically low-lying coastal areas and islands.

Hence the value of Jeff Goodell’s latest book, The Water Will Come. It serves as a timely reminder to those of us who live inland, those who are climate-change deniers, and those with head-in-the-sand attitudes living in low-lying coastal areas, that climate change (with a focus on ocean warming and sea level rise) is all too real, is already having drastic, destructive effects in some areas, and that the destructive effects will get worse, especially if we don’t do anything to mitigate them, while we still can.

Goodell, in plain, “just the facts, ma’am” prose, explores what’s already happening in places as diverse as Alaska (Inuit villages falling into the rising sea), Miami (ever-worse flooding), and the very low-lying Marshall Islands (which will disappear). Goodell does this through not only presenting the scientific facts, and through descriptive passages, but also through interviews with many local people who provide graphic illustrations of the effects of sea level rise on daily life.

While that’s valuable, I wish Goodell would have spent more time on mitigation efforts and ways of reducing CO2 emissions in the short term. But that’s not the point of The Water Will Come — those are topics for other books. Goodell’s point is that we have a real problem, and we need to start addressing it now.

If there’s one real fault with The Water Will Come, it’s that Goodell gives the Obama Administration, and Barack Obama himself, a complete pass in regard to dealing with climate change (and everything else). There are several passages in the book dealing with Goodell’s interviews with Obama Administration officials, and one with Obama himself, and the tone in those passages borders on worshipful.

Given how awful Donald Trump is, there’s a tendency on the part of liberals to venerate Obama while ignoring the fact that he was a lousy president who betrayed those who voted for him.

When he had real power, with big majorities in both houses of Congress during his first two years, what did Obama do? He produced a grossly inadequate stimulus package that was just large enough to save the big banks, but not the millions upon millions who’d lost their jobs and homes — for them, he did next to nothing; he pushed through a grossly inadequate healthcare measure (Michael Moore called it a “quarter of a loaf” measure) that was designed to preserve the parasitic healthcare insurance industry and big pharma; and beyond that, he didn’t even try to accomplish anything significant regarding climate change or much of anything else. (For more on Obama’s betrayal of the people who voted for him, see “Obama and His Base: An Abusive Relationship, part 3.“)

(I mention all this for two reasons: 1) one always suspects, generally correctly, that when writers treat politicians reverentially, it’s because they’re not fully doing their jobs — as Frank Kent famously said, “The only way a reporter should look on a politician is down”; and more importantly 2) because, if we elect another business-as-usual, corporate Democrat in 2020, it’s a good bet that his or her response to the climate crisis will be, as usual, very inadequate.)

But aside from the Obama worship, there’s little to dislike in The Water Will Come. The book is a useful reminder and illustration of the seriousness of the global warming problem, how bad its effects already are in some places, and how much worse those effects are likely to get — especially if we don’t start making real changes now.