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World Community Arts Day 2010

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The best advice and wisdom given...from a Rabbi's Yom Kippur Speech.

"I've learned-

that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I've learned-

that it is taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned-

that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I've learned-

that you can keep going long after you can't.

I've learned-

that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned-

that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned-

that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I've learned-

that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned-

that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I've learned-

that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I've learned-

that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned-

that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I've learned-

that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I've learned-

that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned-

that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I've learned-

that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned-

that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned-

that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned-

that no matter how badly your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned-

that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned-

that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I've learned-

that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned-

that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I've learned-

that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned-

that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I've learned-

that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I've learned-

that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I've learned-

that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Well...I have not done immediate writing in this particulr way for some time, mening i will not bother to edit, bneing it seems no one reds this bsel sorry for me buit nozt at half as sorrty as I fel for my dof Gina laola bridgida who is what aapear crippled for she ever walks again normally it will be a mirs coe...  I hy hy yiou now know what Ilobv ;love this hu=\hysterical miscaluklatlataiopk

Okay if I sow down it is joyt so nabad or istatt?

No right, it is worse.!



Being it is the Christmas stories are on my list of reflections that are poignant, funny and sometimes more sad than I want to remember...

A bad love affair is a good love affair when love is blind.

"But, honey he's a boy dog, and Rose is a girl's name," I said to my four year old daughter. "I don't care. He is Rose," she retorted. And so the little English Cocker Spaniel puppy was named and became a very important member of our family. He turned out to be as beautiful as his Westminster champion pedigreed parents. Between buying him for a Christmas present, veterinary bills, airline tickets and just plain trouble he created over the years, the total came to over three thousand bucks by the time I buried him in our back yard 13 years later. He was worth every penny and if I could bring him back to life for another three grand, I would do it in a heart beat. But he is gone. Quite often I stand at his grave and talk to his spirit memory. We lived on a Scottish wheat farm the first year we had him. The farmer was a rogue bachelor, who loved skiing, yachting and pulling practical jokes on his cronies. He had an odd sense of humor which was probably why he allowed us to live in a cottage on the farm. He had a little female dog who was testimony to his quirkiness.  She was without doubt the ugliest dog I had ever seen, looking like a mixture between a wild boar and a hyena. Her tongue permanently hung out of her mouth, was blind in one eye and walked a crooked gait because of a birth defect. She was nearly ten years old and the farmer loved her dearly, but not as much as our little boy dog. It was love at first site for both of them. What is more than odd  was her name, Boris. We all thought it hilarious, but the farmer even  more so, because he said Boris never ever ever allowed any other dog near her. Not only did she let Rose near, but she went into heat for the first time in her life. Rose stuck to her (tail to tail) for over a week. I wish I could make this a happy story and say they had beautiful children, perfect in every way. Not so. Boris delivered two little shriveled lumps that looked like furry toads, dead at birth. All the same, it was a ironic reversal of names and looks. The love affair of Rose and Boris will go down as the one of most unusual between the Beauty and the Beast.

Another Angel...


I had a strange if poignant conversation with a couple of friends last night on whether I believed in God, Jesus, Buddha or anybody, and at the risk of going to hell, I told them I did not believe in any of that children's myth of a benevolent being reaching down through the ions or ether and helping short, I said the universe does not give a flying **** about what us silly little mortals do down here in the mud...maybe I am rash or just plain stupid, but I have only one conviction: just to believe, in the act of other words I believe spirit is energy that is not destroyed when our time comes to an end. Where it goes or what it does next I have no idea. Don't get me wrong. I am very grateful to be alive and witness everything around me, even if it hurts...

Dec. 27

On the road, there are warning signs of crooked corners and falling rocks, but omens of treachery fly over your head.

I wasn't exactly stranded or homeless when I was in San Diego in 1970. I went there because my hippie girl friend's sister lived in a very nice house on Mission Beach, and I thought we were friends. She lived with two other beautiful gals and they agreed I could sleep on the veranda while I looked for places to do art work and make enough money to get back to Telluride. The first day I found a boutique, a lady owned, but she said she was going bust and she didn’t know what to do. I told her I would paint a mural for $35. She picked up an arm full of her merchandise, went next door and came back with the money. I didn’t have any paint or brushes with me, so I had to buy it all, spending the $35 she gave me. I returned years later and the shop was still there and so was the mural. It must have been a good deed because the next day I got the job painting another mural at an amusement park, making the money to return to Colorado. The last day I was in San Diego, my gal came down from LA. We went to the beach in the afternoon, which was just next to the Amtrak Station where she would get the return train. We lay on the beach talking about when we would see each other again. While we were on the sand looking up in the sky, fibrous black ribbons of millions of flies flew over the top of us. It went on and on until her train finally came and she departed crying. The flies seemed like a bad omen. I went back to her sister’s house. The three girls had made a farewell meal for me. After dinner, one of the girls who was incredibly beautiful, said she was going to miss me very much, and suddenly sat on my lap, put her arms around me and gave me a more than affectionate kiss on the mouth. Being the young man I was, I could not help but respond, and kissed her back with just a brush of my tongue on her gorgeous lips. She jumped up and slapped me, and said, “How dare you kiss me like that when my friend’s sister is so in love with you, you fucking jerk.” At that point all three girls started yelling at me and told me to get out and go back to Colorado. Humiliated and angry, I knew this was not the first time my girlfriend’s sister had tried to set me up to act like a horny man. In fact it was the plan to get me out of the picture for good. That night, somewhere on the road, I picked up a hitch-hiker that said Jesus had saved his soul. I was so low, it made sense to me. When I got back to Telluride, the very first person I ran into was Brother Al, the minister of the Southern Baptist church. “Why don’t you come to the meeting tonight, son, I can see your soul is hurting.” It was, and I did. There was a very pretty gal in the congregation, and I thought, “Hey, things are looking up.” In a week I was beating my dope smoking hippy friends over the head with a bible, and me and the pretty gal communed daily.  “Thank you Jesus,” I said when she laid her healing hands on me.


 A Mexican Christmas can happen in the land of no borders and eternal time.

It was Christmas Eve in 2001, when my Italian girlfriend dumped me. Heartbroken and totally crazy, I took off for Arizona, where I was going to be the care-taker at my brother Red's horse ranch. I was driving a beat-up 1976 Dodge van, pulling a 81 Toyota pickup with my motorcycle in its bed. In Albuquerque the hitch broke.  After a couple of hours searching for a mechanic I found a great guy who worked for several hours, and rebuilt the whole thing. When it came time to pay, he only asked for a few dollars and told me I could do a favor for someone else down the line. Just on the other side of Deming New Mexico, at sunrise on Christmas  morning, with the temperature well below freezing I saw two illegal looking immigrants with their thumbs raised. I muttered, "Fuck 'em" and drove on. My broken heart had turned me hard, but I kept hearing the words of  mechanic "You can do a favor for someone else down the line..." I went on another 20 miles but felt guilty as all hell. shgrI went back. When I stopped for the Mexicans, suddenly there were several. A man came to the window and begged for a ride just to the next town. He looked frozen and as he spoke he pointed to a group down off the road. Altogether, there was 11 of them, including two little girls. My heart melted. I took them all the way to Phoenix, which was 200 miles out of my way. They had a friend there who was going to take them on to Denver, where jobs were waiting for two of the men, who led the group walking at night, 40 miles across the desert. This will sound like a lie, but I swear on my life; the name of leader was Jesus, and his co-pilot's name was Abraham. Two years later, I got a telephone call. It was Abraham, who had learned English. "Meester Keen," he said, "Wheen you come Deenver, you have no worries because we weel never forgeet what you do for us." Before I left them in Phoenix, and got back into my van, one of the young men came up to me and said "Mi corazón para usted, que usted."

He gave me a pair of motorcycle boots, which were  brand new, except for 40 miles across two nights of frozen desert. They are just about worn out now, but I will never throw them away.


On  a sentimental journey you meet reflections of souls who traveled before you. 

You don't miss the water until the well goes dry...that was the phrase going through my mind as I watched my little hippy chick disappear over the horizon. The thing was, I thought that was what she would think. Her parting words so dear, "Fuck you, you chauvinistic pig!"  Wow!, I didn't know she loved those plates that much...40 years later I realize the plates were the proverbial straw... Okay admitted, I wasn't the most considerate young man. Yup, severely lacking in my sensitive female side. In short, I didn't slow down on a bumpy jeep trail in the hippy bus we were living in, after my little gal screamed, "The plates are are all falling out of the shelves." Most of them broke and she stormed off after leaving her choice words. I watched the road for an hour believing when she came to her senses, she would come back. Two hours, then three, and on and on and she did not return. By that evening I knew I had blown it. My heart was gone. A month later, I gave up my pride and telephoned her parent's home in LA. She said she missed me too. I promised to come see her as soon as possible. I was living in a ski town in the mountains of Colorado. I had a old 1950 Ford pickup, with the name HOZ sprayed on it's doors. It had four absolutely bald tires and a spare just as bald. I had $20 which in 1970 was just enough for gas to go 800 miles to southern Cal. My first blowout was in the middle of the Navajo Reservation at midnight. I got 30 miles from my gal's house when two more tires blew during the morning LA traffic rush. I limped along the freeway at 5 MPH and rolled into her driveway on shredded rubber and bent rims 6 hours later. I was only there 24 hours before her father gave me $25 and said goodbye. I bought two worn out rimmed tires and a tank of gas. HOZ and I got to San Diego where I talked the manager of an amusement park into painting a mural on his merry-go-round, making $100. At a gas station I found snow tires that would get me back to Colorado, but I only had enough money to buy two. The owner looked at me for a minute, then said, "Look, you need four good tires to get back to Colorado, so I'm going to put them on your truck and you can send me the money when you have it." My mouth fell open. He went on, "I know you wonder why I am doing this. When I was your age, I had an argument with my girl friend and she went back to home in Colorado...well,  I went to see her but things didn't work out. On the way back to San Diego my old car broke down and a Baptist minister stopped to help me out. He gave me a $100 bucks to get my car fixed and told me to send him the money when I got it and gave me his address. Well, damn it, when I got home, somehow I lost that minister's address and I've felt guilty about that ever since." I couldn't believe it.  I had not mentioned why I was in California. A month later I was a Holy-Roller in a Baptist church in Telluride, Colorado and had sent the money I owed the guy in California. Things never did work out with my little hippy gal.



Ruth and I are in a VORTEX of HELL which is just too funny, like ho ho ho and Merry Xmas.

Count the numbers:

1. 5 days ago Gina hit by car and is in the hospital, with the bill coming to a unbelievable $4,000, and at this point she does not recognize us.

2. 1 day ago, Ruth's father who was with us for his final two months on the planet, died. The bill which was the least amount going these days for cremation over $1200. The man came and took the body away like he was hauling away garbage and had 50 other clients waiting on him...

3. 12 hours later, her 93 year old mother falls and breaks her hip. We got home from the emergency ward at 11 PM. The possible hospital bill, $30,000.

Ruth and I wonder who is writing this script...but..oh yeah...Merry Christmas...


Ruth's father died this solstice morning around 5:00.

Obviously, with the situation of the last two days, I have been incapable of writing on with the ZenCowboy stories...but Gina is alive. 

Mr. Aber lingers at Death's Door, and Ruth bares the is not easy, and yet the irony of my anger towards the universe...the notion of a benevolent God...the strangeness of the Karmic balance of good, first reaction in seeing Gina alive was to say THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of everything that allows consciousness, as well as being in awe and bewildered  by the human will, that keeps Ruth's father in the arena of suffering.

He is 95 and afraid to die. I wonder, will I have the same anguish at my demise?

Dec. 19
48 hours and Gina is not here, and Ruth's father has not opened his eyes in recognition of anything. I was so distressed, I yelled at the idea there is a God who gives a damn about humans and our calamity if life. I do not know what the lesson is for Ruth, her dear father, or me. If it is my Karma, then why does it slap down a beautiful innocent creature, and make an old man suffer endless dying? That question I have no answer for either...


To travel in a world of turmoil, a place of peace and comrades unknown will come to you.

I joined the U.S. Army in 1967 because I was flunking out of college, which meant at the ripe old age of 22 my draft status would go right to the top of the list. I was terrified I would be made a medic and sent to a war that made no sense. By absolute fluke and good fortune, near Christmas of  67, instead of Vietnam, I was a combat medic in Aschaffenburg, Germany. My luck continued. The commanding officer of my battalion made me his special artist, giving me a huge studio space on the fourth floor of my company barracks. My best friend, Dennis Max, was a rich kid from Hollywood, who was the battalion carpenter. He had his own woodshop in the basement of the barracks. That was one of the reasons we were friends, because both of us knew we had a special of angel watching after us. That was further confirmed by almost dying together one night when we flew off a cliff in his Volkswagen landing without a scratch on us or the car, 300 feet away in a snow bank.  From that moment on, we were inseparable. Our favorite hangout after duty hours was a tiny wine cellar in the middle of town. The main reason we went there, was because it was one of the few places in town the proprietor allowed American soldiers. Most locals hated us, not just because the Vietnam war was protested in Germany, but because our regiment had some of the craziest bad asses ever in a uniform. One night, two drunk GI's managed not only to get a 50 caliber machine gun out of the armory, but stole a 50 ton M60 combat tank. They drove around the city, running over cars and parking meters, being chased at a distance by German polizie and military police until they ran out of gas. No one knew there was no ammunition in the machine gun. The wine house was a refuge for many anti-war people. The old proprietor liked Max and me, because we never complained about his vinegar tasting home made wine. We loved him because he recited German poetry in the dim light of a 25 watt lamp sitting on a wine barrel. It was a zone of sanity in such a crazy world.

Big cities are labyrinths so it is best to unwind a ball of string to guide you back in the night.
I had not been back to America for over five years. When I returned, it was with my Scottish wife and little daughter. We did the rounds of my family for a month and then flew back to London just a few days before Christmas. It was a hectic journey resulting in classic jet lag. We rented a car at Heathrow, leaving our luggage and gifts for Christmas in the auto because I had an early morning appointment with a trust fund near Piccadilly Circus. That night we stayed with friends in a suburb miles from London's city center. I had not counted on such heavy traffic in the morning. By the time I was only half way, I knew I was going to be late. I parked the car at Elephant Castle subway station and got to the appointment on time. Afterwards, I met our friends at a nearby pub. They took me back to the car when we finished our drinks.  When we got to where I had parked the rental car, it was not there. It was then I realized I had not only left all of our luggage in the car, but also Christmas gifts, our passports, money and what was worst of all, my 1959 Gibson guitar I had retrieved in America. We called the police, but they had no record of it being impounded. Maybe I mixed up the street where it was parked so we drove around and around looking for it. I was not only jet lagged but hysterical. I told my friends to wait in another pub, while I walked retracing my steps from the morning. Ten minutes later, I concluded the obvious; the car had been stolen. I started to walk back to my friends when I realized I was totally lost. I wondered back and forth for a half hour before I began to sob. An old lady came up to me and said, "What is the matter, my son?" I moaned like a little boy, "I'm lost and I don't know where to go." She kindly led me back to the pub, where on entering, one of my friends remembered there were two stations at Elephant Castle. We went to the second station, and sure enough, the rental car and everything in it was where I had parked it hours before. I could hear my guitar, who I called Molly, hum Merry Christmas as we drove away.

Tuesday, Dec.15
One of the better things happening this winter...

Monday, Dec.14

The next few stories I have taken out of order from the original list because they all happened during a Christmas season somewhere...

Real friendship is born with many miles of journeys together and love is remembered in miles apart.

Many years have passed since the last time I saw my faithful pal, a little grey mutt that followed me everywhere for five years.

He was what in the dog world is call a Cockerpoo. I called him Pig when he was given to me at 8 weeks old, because he would eat ANYTHING. Later my musician sidekick Fred Baue, said his name was not euphonious enough and suggested adding something musical thus he became Graffitus Melon Pig. He was my shadow and hitch-hiked with me all over the west, went on tour when I was doing music with Fred, lying on the stage or standing by a stage door or sitting in our car, but he was always there. In the winter he wiggled down to the foot of the bed and kept my feet warm. In summer he would go skinny-dipping with me and  hippies in the rivers of Colorado and California. If we ever got separated for any reason, all I had to do was go back to the last place I had seen him and there he was. He picked fights with dogs five times his size, which had three parts: 1. Pig picking the fight. 2. Pig immediately falling on his back, baring his throat, squealing like a pig. 3. As the big dog he picked a fight with would turn and casually walk away, Pig would jump up, bite the dog in the ass,  then run like a grey hound to safety. That went on for years until it came the time I could not take him with me, because I was going on a Ship to Scotland and was planning on returning in three months. I left Pig with friends who loved him. Hey, I was coming right back, I thought. Christmas, five years later, I went purposely back to Colorado, with the full intention of collecting my little pal who by then was ten years old. "Oh Pig," they said, "well he was with us for about a year, then some long haired dope-smelling hippies moved in down the street and Pig changed residence. The hippies moved a few months later and Pig went with them." I guess Pig could relate to patchouli oil and soy burgers better, but now, I still regret leaving him behind.

Saturday, Dec.12
ountains can be mole hills or more than hills.

For nearly five years on the Isle of Arran, I ran Scotland's first funded 
RURAL COMMUNITY ARTS program with the gal who became my wife and the mother of my only child. We did a lot of altruistic social networking with the philosophy of alternative education through the arts. We, were part of a art activist movement that was happening through out Britain. It was the kind of work that tends to burn out most people after a few years. One day, I finally had enough and decided to return to being a solo artist, doing my own thing. We moved back to the mainland and found a cottage on a wheat farm, a farmer owned and operated. He allowed me to use machine shop part of the giant grain barn where I made wood sculptures. At harvest time the farmer pumped the grain from wagons onto a mountain over 30 feet high, filling the giant barn, creeping into the space where I worked. The farmer appreciated how hard I worked at my own craft, but considered artists by and large as effeminate lazy bums. Near Christmas, before the grain was shipped to the breweries and distilleries it had been grown for, my best friend Mike showed up one evening as I was finishing a big art piece. He had grown up in Scotland and had seen grain mountains many times.  "I have always fancied sliding down one of these in the nude." I looked at him and laughed and without further ado we pulled off our clothes and ran to the top of the wheat mountain. It was great to jump in the cleaned and husked silky smoothness, head first, completely starkers and slide down the slope like we were surfing waves. The more we did it the more we roared with laughter. Suddenly lights flashed into the doorway as the farmer came rolling into the barn in a big John Deere tractor. Caught with no clothes on, we ran back up the slope and jumped over the peak and hid in the black shadows of night. We sneaked looks to see if we had been spotted, as the farmer walked around the machine shop where our clothes were strewn across the floor. "God if he sees us, this is really going to be hard to explain," Mike said. "Yeah, and knowing how he feels about guys like us, he will probably have the grain cleaned all over again." In a few minutes the farmer left, and Mike and I like two guilty school boys ran for our clothes and straight off to the pub.

It is a dream to have a cottage by the sea where almost anything can happen in the lapse of  a wave.
I was in a mixed mind about canceling my world tour. I had got as far as Isfahan, Iran with my Scottish girlfriend when we discovered she was five months pregnant. Shazam!   Just like that, she was my travel buddy doing clown theater one moment and the next, she was the other half of me being a parent. It seemed like a good idea. We had very little money, so to go onto another third world situation with no real prospects of paid work and possibly having complications with the baby, we turned tail and returned to Germany, where I had connections. We made enough money for us to go back to Scotland, where we decided to rent a cottage on the isle of Arran.  We both loved the island but had never been there together. We thought it would be a romantic place to have a baby, like something out of a D.H. Lawrence story. The baby was born, a beautiful little girl I wanted to call Colorado but agreed to call Rowan, like the Rowan Tree.  When she as a month old, I drank a bottle of whiskey with a visiting Australian friend, and got stuck on the fender of our Morris Minor Station Wagon, screaming for my girlfriend to save me before I froze to death.  A few months later, we telephoned two friends to come and be our witnesses at our civil ceremony wedding. They brought along a party of ten of our best friends and their friends, and we had a party that went  on until the coast guard was called out because we sent off fireworks into the night sea sky, and almost everyone wound up in bed with the partner they did not come with, but not my best man, who at the height of the party tried to run off with my wife of few hours.
Thursday, Dec.10
Sometimes going around in a circle brings you right back to where you are supposed to be.
On t
he west coast of Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde lies the Isle of Arran. A bird watching Scottish friend, Phillip, convinced me to bicycle with him, the 50 mile highway around the 20 mile long island  He had an extra pair of binoculars and told me it would be fun. I am easy. I like fun. After all, I had bicycled in January from London to Edinburgh, over 500 miles in 7 days. 50 miles around Arran was no obstacle on a four day weekend. It was 1975, and my first summer in Scotland. I thought Scottish people were really weird because everyone kept saying, "What a lovely summer it is with sun shining so warmly." Others would respond, "Aye, its blistering." Where I came from, summers always had sun, and a hell of a lot hotter than the 70 degrees called blistering. I was to learn differently about the summers of Scotland. So my friend Phillip and I arrived on the Arran ferry and promptly turned north to do a counter clockwise tour of the island shaped like a potato. We had not gone fifty yards before Phillip stopped and pulled out his binoculars. The whole first day was like that, us only going a few yards at a time. I was used to travelling on a bike, at least more than the 5 miles we made the first day. The second day I gave up trying to get somewhere and began looking through my pair of binoculars. Phillip was right, when he said it is like being in another world. Birds do the funniest things when they don't know someone is looking at them ten power. By the end of the second day we had only gone around  a quarter of the island. The next day we didn't even get to the half way point, but it was because of a different kind of bird. We met a couple of Scottish lassies who urged us to stay for a dance held at the local community hall. I didn't know Scottish birds could drink so much whiskey, and have a very faint memory of the four of us tumbling around in the tent that night. On the fourth day, we had over 30 miles to go to get back to the last ferry to the mainland. I discovered Phillip could travel when necessary. By the afternoon we were whizzing down a long hill on the south coast. Below us was the beautiful scene of a traditional stone cottage, surrounded by green grassy fields with  a rocky stretch of beach and the sun shining down on the sea. I called out to Phillip, "I would love to live here." I had no idea if I projected the future, but destiny was before me. In two years I would be living in that cottage with my very pregnant Scottish girlfriend.

Wednesday, Dec.9
Painting the town red is not the best way to have a colorful holiday. (Part II)
I woke up suddenly with my eyes viewing the vandalism of crazed orangutans...then I realized; I was the one responsible for spreading stoned wall paintings from one end of the cottage to other. "Oh Christ, jail time for this," I muttered as I resolved to return to the cottage the next weekend and repaint the walls me and my friend had freeform decorated, especially the black smoke smudge from the turkey burning in the kitchen oven. That was my intention, but I took along the woman who in nine months would be the mother of my only child and two New Zealand actors who were doing a workshop with my company. I told them what I had done and they said they would be glad to help me get the cottage back to its former clean lean image. The problem about that was they loved the paintings when they saw them, and suggested I just paint out the parts that did not work...ah well, noble intentions down the tubes, I got rid of the black cloud and streamlined what was left. EGO at work; the truth remained, they were not my walls, and nobody asked me to spread weird art shit all over their house.  Still, I felt slightly relieved after two days cleaning the cottage and leaving a long note and a carved cane I had brought from Romania. We were ready to leave when  it began to rain hard, so we decided to stay until the deluge passed. The rain got worse and beat on the tiled roof like a tin drum. After a couple hours there was a distinct sound of water rushing somewhere in the house. I looked down stairs to the ground floor where a foot of water was flowing in the hallway. Water was pouring in a window on the bermed back side of the cottage. A creek had broken its banks and all of the water was coming right into the house. All four of us went out into the icy rain and for the next three hours, working with shovels and rocks and boards and bags and anything we could find, managed to dam the flood. In the morning the cottage was a tragedy again, but this time with the white lower walls and furniture smeared with two feet of mud. We stayed another day and cleaned the mess up as good as we could. I thought maybe the owner might forgive me for my earlier transgressions, because we saved the house from a real disaster. I revised my note to include the mischief of nature with my own short comings as an interior decorator. Oddly, I was never asked to visit the cottage again.
Tuesday, Dec.8
Painting the town red is not the best way to have a colorful holiday. (Part I)
Between 1974 to 1977, I was a member of Theatre Workshop Edinburgh, in Scotland, there was a wealthy woman who was our patron in several ways. She had great parties at her beautiful home; she made costumes for us at cost; she helped fund raise for our salaries and she had a beautiful cottage in the country, she allowed all of us to use from time to time. I had already been there a few times with the other team members for week long retreats and relaxation. We left the cottage in immaculate condition, repairing or doing maintenance on anything that was needed and replenished any food or drink from her store room. It was a very symbiotic relationship between us. One year she was spending the holidays abroad, so she offered the cottage again. The rest of my company were going home to their families. I was the only one that had no plans so I invited my first friend in Scotland to join me in the country. Over a few bottles of powerful home brew he made, we got our necessities together and went grocery shopping for a big turkey dinner. When we got to the cottage and unloaded our supplies, we discovered two things: we forgot to buy the turkey which was central to the meal, and I found a plastic baggy full of marijuana someone had given me. My friend brought along a dozen bottles of his potent home brew, so we decided to make the best of our forgetfulness, have a pint or two (more) and just relax. I had not smoked
whacky backy since I left America three years before, and my friend had never smoked the herb. After another pint or two, we smoked a reefer and came up with the brilliant idea to design a turkey out of the cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes we brought. That done we put it in the oven and had another pint and another reefer. Bad idea. Next, I began a painting on a large sheet of paper I was going to give the woman for her generosity of the cottage. Some how, I accidently smeared a large paint loaded brush on a adjacent white wall. My friend thought it looked like a duck in flight, so I decided to add two more making it a traditional image seen any many houses at the time. Even bigger bad idea. From that point on, my friend and I decide to drink more, smoke more and paint rainbows on the walls. Somewhere in that madness, we smelled smoke. When we looked in the kitchen we discovered the fake turkey was on fire, sending a funnel of black smoke up the wall. When I woke in the morning, the first thing I thought was, "Oh no, that must have all been a very bad dream." I peeped one eye open and immediately closed it. There was not one white wall that did not have some kind of Charles Manson insanity scrawled over it and above the kitchen oven was a huge black cloud smudged all the way to the ceiling. I had two weeks before the cottage owner returned, so I made a resolution to return all of her walls to their pristine whiteness, never drink home brew and smoke reefer ever,ever,ever again.

Monday, Dec.7
You can never judge travelers by the contents of their baggage.
To celebrate getting the money from The Institute of Intellectual Development as the Shah's libraries were called, we stopped along the street on that particularly hot day and bought ice fruit drinks. In the evening we were sitting in the back of a jet liner that was being blown all over the runway as it lifted off and we flew back to Istanbul where a society page journalist had invited us to stay at her house.  Our Turkish friend, Zenep Oral whisked us off to a fancy high society party in our honor, overlooking the isthmus of Istanbul. We had not seen such gourmet food for over six weeks and ate like pigs, drank champagne like water and promptly fell asleep on a bench in front of all the guests who had come to see famous artists. The next morning I not only had a hangover, but a bad bug hungover in the Iranian ice fruit drink. For the next 48 hours, I went between a freezing or roasting fever. The sickness faded and we bought cheap tickets on a
Magic Bus ( ) to a street theater festival in Germany, and chance to make money. The poor friend was relieved to say goodbye after three days. Through out the journey to Iran and back, we had our life size dummy, stuffed into a canvass bag that was tied with a thick draw string. He was the star of our show, THE LOST CLOWN, but he continued to be a star on the bus journey back through, Bulgaria, Austria and Germany. Every time we came to a border crossing, the customs cops made everyone get off the bus and open their bags. Our fellow passengers were mostly Turkish guest workers who were returning to jobs in Germany and for some unfathomable reason their shabby suit cases were full of high heeled gold slippers or watermelons. The guards knocked on the watermelons to see if they were full of drugs. After the first inspection, the Turks would stand around our dirty canvass bag waiting to laugh when our dummy, who was made of very springy thick foam rubber would leap out of the bag when the draw string was released, and the guards pulled their guns. Somewhere in Austria the driver took a wrong turn and went to a border crossing where the guards had never seen a Magic Bus. The Austrian guards panicked seeing so many dope smuggling poor immigrants and shouted for everyone to stand on a small platform as they called for dogs and began going through the luggage. As usual they inspected the old cases and boxes of the Turks, squeezing the watermelons and gold slippers and laughing about the stupid Turks. Revenge is sweet. When the clown popped out of our bag, the guards nearly shot it, then were so embarrassed they told everyone to get back on the bus and go to hell or Germany.  On the road again, a young German who was returning from India said to me, "Zese border nazis are stupid and zere dogs don't know shit. See my Levi jeans?" He said, pointing his finger at what I thought were brown leather pants. "Zey are solid hashish I rub into za material."
Sunday, Dec.6
Taking a long shot is not always a good idea following a narrow path.
While painting the mural in Isfahan, my girlfriend and I walked through a corridor kind of alley way. It was barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. There were high adobe walls with windows, and  the kids who were painting the mural at the library with us, would be waiting, watching out the windows for us to come along the narrow path. When they saw us they would come out with a soccer ball,  kicking it off the walls towards me. This went on daily, with the kids always trying to get me involved in their game. Because they thought both of us they were from Scotland,  the kids were always shouting, "Georgie Best," who happened to be Scottish and the most famous soccer player in the world at that time. After many times of me ignoring the ball kicking ritual, one day I spontaneously joined in the fun and motioned for the kids to go out to intercept my delivery. I have always been rotten in sports, but while I was in Scotland I tried to play soccer. I discovered I was even worse than I thought. Anyway, I stepped back in the alley way and hauled off with a mighty rocket launching kick, sending the worn-out leather sphere sizzling in the kid's direction. I had not noticed there was a very old hump-backed woman wobbling out in my field of fire. If I had a sniper scope, I could not have hit the old woman more directly in the huge hump. I was mortified. I ran up to apologize, as she turned snarling a snaggled tooth demon's face and leaped at me  with cracked black fingernails. Except for the missing front teeth, she looked just like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. The kids thought that was the funniest thing they had ever seen.  No matter how I tried to explain it, they said I was better than Georgie Best. Apparently the old woman was a famous soccer sorcerer who put curses on anyone who crossed her path.

Friday, Dec.4
The pen is mightier than the sword and is a lot easier to carry on a road trip.
I had never been in a Muslim country until going on my world tour. Istanbul was the beginning of that experience. There were minaret's all around the city with Mullahs calling to prayer five times a day but I did not comprehend how westernized Istanbul was until travelling on to Iran with my girl friend who was getting fatter everyday. We went overland on buses and taxis to Tehran, where we were treated like dignitaries by the director of the Shah's Cultural Department for a couple of days. He then sent us to Isfahan to paint a mural at a children's library. The director of the Isfahan Cultural Department treated us like  we were lepers. The first insult was to book us in a hostel, that made a flop-house wino-hotel look like the Ritz. We protested and eventually we were put in a hotel that was modest, but clean and private. We worked with children painting a mural on the library's exterior wall in blistering 120 Fahrenheit degree weather. The employees at the library were a complete contrast to the Isfahan director. They treated us like we were the best thing since ice cubes. The janitors especially loved us because their children loved painting the mural. At that  point my girlfriend was having morning sickness, and the obvious was finally obvious. Her pert breasts and growing belly in that tight "T" shirt now made sense. Iranian woman could not dress so casually. Even worse, was when my gal wore long thin cotton pants she bought in the bazaar. It turned out they were the underwear men wore under their long pants even in the heat of summer.  When it came time to be paid by the director who hated us, we were left in his office while he walked around the building ignoring us. He would pop in his office every hour or so to see if we were still there, then say he was getting our money, and leave again. after several hours, I began to hate the director more than he hated us. Behind his desk on the wall was a portrait of the Shah. Using a blue ink ball point pen on the director's desk, I carefully drew a very fine pencil line mustache on the glorious leader. Finally we got our money, went to airport and flew back to Istanbul. The world tour was over and we were going to be parents. I have no idea if the mustache on the Shah was ever detected. The infamous revolution took place the following month. Perhaps the director was declared a national hero for the vandalism to the Shah.
Thursday, Dec.3
  One can be full or a fool about being full.

Istanbul, Turkey is a beautiful vibrant and chaotic city. On May 1,1977 there was a political demonstration that got out of control and several people were killed by Turkish police. When I arrived May 2 with my Scottish girlfriend, we were greeted by a group of young actors I had met in Hamburg, Germany during a theater festival. They told us things had become very ugly with police brutality and that we should be very careful. As far as I could see, the street vibrations were no worse than any big city I had been in, but took their advice and only moved around the city with one of our hosts guiding us. We were to be in Istanbul for ten days, performing in several theaters and schools, doing our show, THE LOST CLOWN. Our hosts took us everywhere, treating us to dinner parties, insisting we eat until we popped. In the process we learned a few words of Turkish. My favorite phrase, spelled phonetically was: Ya Poosh, Ya Poosh, Ya gibeebee beire besh, meaning, I'm thirsty thirsty, please give me a beer. My girl friend learned another phrase once again spelled phonetically: Ya Dolmoose, her thinking it meant "I'm full," (of food). Each time she said it our Turkish friends laughed and insisted she eat more food. The phrase did mean to be full, but not of meant to be full of child. We still did not know we had made a baby.

Wednesday, Dec.2
Just when you think a journey is over, you may start on a road that will go to where you never imagined.
In 1977, I had a plan to go around the world, doing all of the activist art I learned in the three years working with Theatre Workshop Edinburgh. It was time to move on. My colleagues had gone to different places; one went to Australia to become a pyromaniac burning down huge art pieces for festivals; two others went to a mime school in Paris, and another was on his way to being the Culture Minister for the EEC. They were not only colleagues, but buddies and without them around the fun of our team was gone. So I wrote letters to people around the world, doing our kind of work, getting answers from most of them. The schedule was set. Paris, Istanbul, Tehran, then overland to Bombay, on to Japan, Hawaii and back to my home state of Colorado. Then one night about two months before the tour,  I went to a party and found myself in the morning in bed with an art school gal.  When I finally left for my "world tour", the gal was with me and a surprise in her belly. Neither of us knew she was already pregnant from the first night we were together. But there we were rehearsing a clown show in the very chic central Paris apartment of a famous artist. It was my plan to do a little of everything in the arts as I went around the world: a clown show in Istanbul; a mural in Iran; a sculpture park in India; learning Japanese kabuki mime in Tokyo and a artist residency at the University of Hawaii. The big apartment in Paris was perfect to get my little performance  together, that now included the gal who had never done any kind of theater. She was game, but one of the clown tricks of standing on my shoulders, then diving off on to her hands and doing a forward roll was intimidating for a novice.  Each time she was about to take the leap, she would panic, and then nearly fall off backwards. After several days of failure at this particular clown skill, I was ready to give up the duo performance and ship her back to Scotland. It was in the afternoon, and there she was once again standing on my shoulders with her legs going rubber, when we heard a voice outside the large open windows. Across the street, in a big window on the next floor up, was a nude man, wearing an orange wig and a red nose, yelling "Hoorah, hoorah!"The woman who would be the future mother of my only child, suddenly began to laugh, then dived off me and did a perfect forward roll across the room. I decided then and there to keep her in the show that was already billed in Istanbul as THE LOST CLOWN.

Tuesday, December 1
I thought about publishing some of the poetry I have written over the years, but after doing a few lines, the enigma factor was too intense. Why bother?
This blog is self indulgent enough without making readers guess what am I talking I return to the list of antidotal short stories of the ZenCowboy series. To recant what that is all about...

I was doing a mural at an elementary school in 1992 and had an hour for lunch. Before I returned to the collaborative project with kids, I would think of an experience in my life, give it what I called a ZenCowboy synopsis in one sentence, then  on one page, try to encapsulate the event involving my days on the ranch or eclectic journeys I have had.

Below is the second list of titles I put together a few years ago. So far,  doing the first 27 in Nov. 09  .

Starting with the title, I give it a one sentence leader, then try my best to get to the point in 300 words...

I have discovered I still enjoy the exercise, and beginning tomorrow will carry on the best I can.

29.    Lost Clown In Austria

30.    Chrissie’ Belly  “I am Dolmoos”

31.    Mustache on the Shah

32.    Humpback woman of Isfahan

33.    Painting Minimal

34.    Saving Monymill

35.    Fours Days Around Arran

36.    Drumla Cottage

36a.Grain mountains in Scotland

Xmas stories in red

94.    The Last Time I saw Pig

69.    Lost Car in London

51. The Wine House of Aushaffenburg

38.    Pig in the Redwoods

39.    Hoz Returns to The Mountains

40.    Hoz In San Diego

41.    Hoz Returns to Telluride

42.    Hoz and Brother Al

43.    Poets of Edinburgh

71.    Broken Hearts with Fi Fi La Boom

82.    In Australia the Sky Roars

37.    Bottle of Whiskey in Portland

95.    The Love Affair of Rose and Boris

44.    Forest Fire Fighting in Alaska

45.    Painting In Pilton/Smego/Phillip Spit

46.    Tommy’s  Dog Ring

47.    Stabbing a Lizard

48.    The Ice House/Johnston Boys

49.    Running The D. I. Into The Ground

50.    Leadership Schools Steps

52.    Returning To Aushaffenburg

53.    Bandits at the Guymas Picnic

54.    Plane Rides in Alaska

55.     James The Donkey and The Fractal World

56.    A Three Dollar Whore in Portland

57.    Pepita in Barcelona

58.    Gary Slack Rides and Crashes

59.    Running Through Rattlesnakes

60.    Class Reunions and $20

61.    Dumped in the Needles Desert

62.    No Brakes to Kingman

63.    Hitch Hiking To Bakersfield

64.    Meeting Bob Dylan

65.    Getting Out of the Army/Chaplin/Doctor/Hand/Psychiatrist

66.    My first Dead Body/ drive carefully, the life you save...

67.    When I fell off the Wall and Screamed Jesus Christ

68.    Scaffolding Rolls Into Traffic

70.    Playing Dead in England (Mime)

72.    Rolling Tires Down Long Hills in Scotland/Wee Mark

73.    The Errant Data Point

74.    Dead Black Cat on South Broadway

75.    Pogue, Grant, Max and Me

76.    Escaping Mosquitoes

77.    Mexican Farting Machine

78.    Sleeping in Guadalajara

79.    Sleeping Through Mexico City

80.    Head-On Collision in Vera Cruz

81.    Driving Around Fiji

83.    A Gig With The Pope

84.    Sarge” of Telluride/Salt and pepper/age

85.    A Babe Picked Me Up in the Desert

86.    Homesteads and Weed-Fed Cows

87.    Old Cowpokes at The Sinks

88.    Pig In Utah

89.    Finding Molly Gibson

90.    The Rape of Molly

91.    Pig Crossing the Street

92.    Pig and a Light Pole

93.    Pig Flies Out Window

96.    Rose The Gourmet

97.    James Brown in Corsica

98.    Losing Rose in Corsica

99.    Rose in Paris

100.  Mike the Blue Eyed Devil

101.  The Hungarian Border

102.  Lost in Transylvania

103.  Red Cloud, Rock and Sean

104.  Red Cloud and Tits at the Mailbox

105.  Arrested in Matamoras

106. The Twenty-Five Dollar Pontiac

107.  Making Love In a Hillman Minx Convertible

108.  Trying To Kill A Marine

109.  The Woman Who Gave Her Wigs Haircuts

110.  Max Golfs Los Angeles

111.  Pig in Redwoods and Hole in Roof

112.  Love in a Chicken House

113.  Hoz Goes To California

114.  Looking For Castles

115. Three Bullets Past My Head

116.  The 100 Mile Ride of Brown Valley

117.  The Last Time I Got Bucked Off

118.  Red Cloud’s Singing Truck

119. Spudnuts in Pueblo Rain

120. Scaffold Rolls into Traffic

121. Falling Off Ladders

122. Falling Off Scaffolding

123. Looking For Jeane

124. Four tires in San Diego for 25 Bucks

125. A Car in Oklahoma City For 25 Bucks

Ruth's 93 year old mother died at around 6:00 PM, ten days after Ruth's father died. He passed on Winter Solstice, and the mother died on a Blue Moon. They were together for 71 years.

It has been a God Awful December.

Gina is alive and that is good. The bad side she may never walk like a normal dog again and the whole ordeal has cost $3,800 and counting...still she is home and seems to be happy about it aside from being stuck in a cage for the next 8 weeks...

Pine wood found in Truth or Consequences...

Gina is coming home and the cage above will be her hotel for a long spell. Her pelvis is in a very fragile condition and being confined will be her only chance of walking again.

Considering what to do on this holiday is not too complicated when one's bank account is abysmally vacant of the old that is a good thing about the pool table in our living room, as the game is always there or as I am doing now, using it as my winter workshop and creating a new Anorexic Angel series...I am not sure why, but people buy them...meanwhile Ruth is trying her best to be with her 93 year old mother who is in the hospital with a broken hip. She fell down 8 hours after the father died, so as you may imagine, this is without doubt a very bad and sad time for Ruth. We will get through it.


Just for the record, this is not the worst Christmas I have ever had. It is the second worst Christmas. And yet, in comparison to the Christmas that more than half the population of the world have, neither of my complaints of past and present Yule are worth mentioning (again). But, as my life long friend Neil Cameron is fond of saying, in time everything is funny. So, in time, I will write about this day in 2009.


This is the most odd Xmas time in many years as far as my experience.  But, I am alive, and Ruth is here with me and we have a great home with lots of furry friends who are happy that is not only good, but wonderful to be blessed with so much.
Enough gloom and doom...on the good side of SHIT HAPPENS...

Gina will be operated on today costing $1,800 which is not quite as much as thought...but the good thing is yesterday Ruth  saw her and Gina was her old mind of being excited and puppy-like even though crippled.

Ruth and I spent last two days remaking the room her father stayed in and getting the house back too how it was.

Once again, the pool table served as a workspace, so in many ways it has a dual role of function.

As for Ruth's mother, she has had a hip operation and we await what takes place is an Xmas like no other...

I am full of clichés. When it rains ,it pours...Ruth's father dying is not a cliché, nor is the transfer of Gina from the emergency Vet to our regular vet, to have surgery on her broken pelvis...all on the same morning is more like an avalanche of life moving on.

Ruth's father at last is released from his worries and ours carries on, and that is like a cliché of the worst theater.

Gina still did not react, or seem to recognize me four days after being hit by a car, so naturally I wonder if she has head injuries not I slip from relief back to concern  again, not only of that, but  vet bill which has already passed $1,600 without the operation.

The old cliché, "What a difference a day can make..." is once again profound wisdom to think of in moments of doom...

Ruth said yesterday, "Come out to the car; there's something I need in the back seat." I assumed it was a heavy package as the usual, to be taken into the shop.

I opened the door and nearly fell over backwards. There was Gina, sitting dazed, battered, but calm. She had crawled back to the house 56 hours after she had disappeared, apparently hit by a car, and not in good shape, but alive.
That is the good news.

The bad news is she is in an emergency vet hospital and the first part of the bill is $1,400  and that is only the beginning. Her pelvis is broken as well as a broken rib, with lung and heart conditions...she must have got smacked very hard, so it is a miracle she survived two nights in sub-freezing weather. But she is ALIVE and will be home after surgery Monday or Tuesday.

Dec. 18

Our beautiful dog Gina has disappeared.

Naturally we have checked the animal control, looked along roads and I have walked up and down river banks, but she is gone...I  can only hope some miracle occurs and she reappears.

A black cloud dims our world, with Ruth's old father slipping everyday closer to death and Gina,  a young dog gone. The house feels like a tomb.

This Christmas is weird. I extract myself from it by continuing the Chihuahua Ranch and Garden Complex...insane, yes, but not half as nuts as the business of waiting on death to take Ruth's father to a better place...I feel for Ruth, because it is her father and she is a very loving daughter who is baring the brunt of all.

At this time of year it seems to me, one of several possibilities:
1. The world is going increasingly mad.
2. There are more mad people going more mad.
3. The world is just the same as it has always been and I am nuts.
4. Why be serious, when the only thing important is air, water, fire and earth, and our individual existence is not even one tiny squeaky fart in the infinity of  time/space continuum.
5. Be serious tomorrow, because how can we explain today?

Every day is a struggle to somebody somewhere, just as everyday one must fight to retain dignity...and it is so easy to struggle with no dignity, it is scary.

Ruth was stuck at the house last night baby sitting her Father, who seems to be diminishing rapidly, while I did the "escape act" and hung out with a couple of good friends at their club house...I returned to find Ruth worn to a frazzle by trying to keep her Papa comfortable.

My friends are turning an Air Stream into the best hangout in the Galesteo Basin.

The snow is gone but like a lot of the country right now, it is FRIGID.

Today in the cold grey.

A kind of woody Poem..

gathering sacred anything

taking from graveyards of old grain

to a place of meditation

and prepare the ground

to put order into the chaos of death

creating the labyrinth

and finding small beginnings
DEC. 6
It is an experience watching the final days of a person's life, and I can't say there is anything to prepare you for it. It is not so tough for me, but Ruth has got a heavy load.

1:42 PM, Amtrak blows by as I babysit Ruth's old daddy, Big Ken. I am Baby Ken. He is 95, I am 65. I don't know shit about being that age.
Also, I guess, I don't give a shit, as I can be as cantankerous as this old man. Perhaps I don't have his excuse of suffering a debilitating brain condition, but then many people would not agree.

10:00 AM The Xmas parade in Madrid which demonstrates what a small town it is. Uh, what parade and where is t?

It was so cold only the fire Department and two or three local lunatics had the guts to act like a parade was happening...most people with any sense went to the bar where it was crowded but warm.

Dec. 3





From Barry Graham's web site Dec. 2

Obama: Morally bankrupt, strategically stupid

I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.
- Barack Obama, October 27, 2007

And, when we took it to the bank, it bounced. Since March this year, Obama has sent 33,000 troops to Afghanistan, and is about to send 30,000 more. 

Admittedly, in the quote above, he was talking about Iraq. I think his slyness makes it all the more repugnant.

He'll be gone at the next election. Having repeatedly betrayed the people who elected him (some of whom, in their continued blind support for him, seem to have some form of battered wife syndrome), who does he think is going to vote for him next time? Republicans? While his moral bankruptcy does not surprise me, his political stupidity does. In a year, he has rendered himself unelectable.


Road to Santa Fe

Franny takes a nap at Ruth's shop.