Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on a weekend

Its 8:32 pm

    Its a nice warm evening here in SE Michigan. Summer is still in full force as we are being blessed with just wonderful warm days.
   Where to even start with this entry...I had a decent week for the most part. Had just a hellish night on the 19th of August,so bad I had to take a day off work because I couldn't sleep a wink. And that was even with my CPAP machine. I finally fell sleep but only for a little while..but that is the nature of what is going on here.
But since that day,its been pretty okay....talked to Becca from Arbor Hospice who called on the 20th and also Don Neilson where we talked on FB for an hour. Felt good to decompress a bit.
  The U of Michigan is having a day of remembering for the families of those who lost a loved one. I decided I am going to go,I am submitting a picture and Lori's name to be included. There is also a option for those folks who may wish to speak about their loved one at a future time. I also am going to sign up for that. I want to speak about Lori and how bravely she lived despite her cancer. How she loved life and kept her beautiful smile all the way to the very end. I want her remembered and I know I am the only voice that can really tell her story.
  So I am taking my neighbor Al's advice and am looking to join Toastmasters so I can learn to speak in a public setting. This will take some doing because while I am quite good at sharing my feelings via this blog,speaking publicly would be a whole different ball of wax. The local chapter meets on Wednesday night so I am going to go and see what happens.
  I also took the time to go to Canton's city hall and signed up to resume volunteering for the emergency food program. I had been a steady volunteer there as had Lori until her illness prevented her from doing but I continued. Its a good program and while the numbers of families had stayed pretty steady for the 4 years of the program (about 70-72),it recent saw a upsurge of about 30 more families/people who have requested help. So now its at about 100 families..the part-time economy is starting to take its toll on people. I know it has for me as well as I too,am going to have to sign up for some help. There is a local church that runs a massive food assistance program close to me and I am going to ask for help. But that is not uncommon after such a serious illness devastates a family or a couple like we were. Its hard to fathom this is happening to me but one can only grit their teeth and push on through it. I intend to volunteer in exchange for the help I am hoping to get. I said hoping only in the fact a person has to be interviewed first before being placed on the food list. I have been told they had to really crack down because of the abusers and cheats who look to take advantage of the program. I can understand that and agree with it as well.
  I'm turning 49 on Monday....but all it means to me is One Day Closer. I can't ask for a better present.

My thanks to Ken Helwig of the The Empty's for a fine interview and for the great support the interview has been showed. I want to go on record that I had to go and re-edit the story because of a few errors that I made. The small changes were made and the interview is 100% factually correct.
  Next interview will be posted shortly...

So Ben Affleck is going to be the new Batman. Well,I for one,am very happy with the choice. I think Ben will be a excellent Batman and so will any REAL fanboy and not just some whiny posers who are bitching just because its "Ben Affleck". I heard this same shit when Tobey McGuire was picked to play Spiderman,Hugh Jackman was picked to play Wolverine,even Halle Barry to play Storm. Face it,except for a handful of not so bad casting but horrible scripts (hello Superman IV,Supergirl,the cheesy Hulk series) the actors chosen to play superheroes has been pretty well thought of. Think about that for a can point to Catwoman and say "Look how awful that was". And I would agree but an actor is only as good as a script lets him/her be.
  Daredevil was Ben's first superhero movie and while the film that was in the theaters was so-so,the director's cut fully shows off just how badass Ben's Daredevil really was. And speaking of that film,I can remember seeing so many snobs protest both Colin Ferrell as Bullseye but Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin. But years later and many fans who loved the director's cut of Daredevil,agree that the casting was near perfect and Ben played both Matt Murdock and Daredevil as they should have been played.
  I mean the other "name" that was being tossed around was Josh Brolin! Really?? Josh Brolin?? He is a good actor but as Batman? He may have been good but not as good as Affleck will be. I think fans need to take a deep breath and let it slowly out. And if you really need convincing,go rent "Argo" and "The Town" and tell us that he can't pull this out.

 Its now Sunday,the 25th....its 2:07 pm

  Another great day a phone call from Marlene (Crash's mom) who invited me for brunch today. Since I was scheduled a quick 3 hour shift,I agreed to it and we made plans to meet after work.
Dylan showed me a couple of card tricks and they gave me a cute card. It was a very nice gesture and I was touched they remembered my birthday.
 But when I got to work..I saw that I had somehow gotten my times mixed up,I thought it was 8 am to 11 am (it is a special project,hence the weird hours) when it fact it was 8 pm to 11 pm. I had another crappy night of sleep so I had to fight to get up and get going.
  Once I learned what I did,I was bummed..I have plans for tonight so I asked if they needed me anyways. They did and I worked with Ty (the ASM who really supported me during Lori's illness),Paul and Val in straightening our tile and floor section. It was hard work but I enjoyed it and the time flew quickly.

Football season starts this week. The San Jose State Spartans are hosting a dangerous Sacramento State team on Thursday night. As I have pointed out,while being a lower FCS squad,the Hornets have beaten two Pac-12 teams the past two years and will get a third crack at it as they play Arizona State after SJSU. They upset Oregon State,29-28,two years ago and then beat Colorado,30-28 last year. So this is a game the Spartans MUST take seriously and yet dominate in order to get ready for 2nd ranked Stanford the next week.
   But even more important,the fans have to show up. Spartan Stadium is 31,000 seats yet it drew the least amount of fans for a Top 25 team last year. This has to change and change quickly. We really good crowds so ESPN and Fox 1 will be willing to show the Spartans on TV. No one wants to see a 5,000-6,000 crowd on TV. The school is trying very hard to bring quality teams in as one wants to see a FCS team every year,its cool to be able to host a "name" program like Navy and BYU. But those games cost money to bring in and only packed houses can generate that...the school just signed two home and away series with both BYU (the last two games were on ESPN and did pretty well rating wise) and also with Oregon State.
Add two games against SEC Auburn plus signed series with Army,Colorado and Iowa State and the future is along as the fans show up to support the team.
  Well,that is all I have for this short post.

Special shout out to my favorite crew...Sue,Tiana,Kim (enjoy the getaway!) and Angie (no more TJ Hooker for you,detective).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

8 Questions with................singer/guitarist Ken Helwig of The Empty's

Its 7:38 pm

   Welcome to an another edition of my ongoing interview series,"8 Questions with.....". I started this waaaay back when on another social media site and have re-started it here. The series features people from all over who in one or another have perked my interest. So I ask them to do a interview where they answer the questions themselves,in their own words. 

  Back when I booked my first club,Marsugi's,in San Jose,the one thing that Marsugi's had over the much larger F/X and the 18+ over Cactus was its reputation for finding the next big thing first but for giving local bands a stage to showcase their new music and line-ups. As a new booking agent and following a complete disaster that the previous talent buyer had left me,I knew I had to hit the ground running. To me the quickest way was to see which bands were ready to take off.
   I had first met Ken Helwig when he attended some of the more hardcore punk shows we had. But he was different in the fact that while he enjoyed his beer and punk rock,he carried himself like a gentleman. Loud but never pushy and he is a great guy to talk music with. It was while hanging at Marsugi's that I learned a lot about the local scene from guys like Ken. 
  As a friendship started to grow..I got word that a new band called Slip was forming with Ken,Sean Gregonis,Kenhead and a dude named Lars. Soon enough,Ken approached me about a show but I wasn't convinced because a of a nasty incident that happened with Lar's old band,IMRU that had included a racial incident. I was not going to have that kind of band or band member while I was booking it. I mentioned to Ken about the incident...he personally assured me Lars was a good guy and said he would prove it by having Lars come have a talk with me...which happened in the next week.
  Lars remembered the moment but insisted he had nothing to do with it and talking with both Ken and Lars,I knew it to be true.

   Plus,I had learned Lar's own personal history and really wanted to see him sing and thus Slip played its first show with me and just completed shredded. Ken was right in the fact his new band was kick ass.
  Pretty soon Slip grew too big for me and they started to really soar. I saw Ken more and more at Marsugi's,supporting other bands. One night we started talking about women singers and I started to talk about Barbara Manning,Ken's eyes got big and he said he loved her music as well...I knew then I had made a friend for life...

  But sometimes life plays a cruel joke and it did it here. Just as Slip was poised to go large,Sean injured his shoulder and his dad got cancer and he had to quit the band to take care of his ill father. So while Slip was idle,a gentleman named Tim Armstrong,approached Lars about joining HIS new band. Lars agreed and while Slip was spinning its wheels,a group called Rancid just exploded on the national stage.
  And while Slip faded away,Ken helped create The Forgotten. The band recorded, toured and put some mighty good music out,after 6 years(4 with Slip and 2 years with The Forgotten),Ken decided to take a step back from playing and left to take a break.

2013. Rumblings from San Jose are being heard that Ken Helwig is coming back with a new band. Soon enough,the rumors are proved true...The Empty's are the new blood in town but with a battle-hardened veteran leading the way. Ken is back in a live band,back on the stage he was destined to be on and is ready to make you start a one man mosh pit as The Empty's start to play out live.
  I asked Ken if he would agree to do a "8 Questions with..." and tell us a little about himself and his new band. 

This interview will also feature a little giveaway.....the first 3 readers to leave a comment will win a 3 song EP from The Empty's. How fun is that?

And now.....its "8 Questions with.........Ken Helwig of The Empty's"

Tell us a little bit about yourself,where you grew up and what was it like in your home as a youngster.

About myself? Well I grew up in a single family home on the Campbell/West SJ border. I have a couple of younger siblings and a mother that is still living in the South Bay.
I have always like music and grew up a huge Beatles fan as well as other types of music. Music was a big part of our household as my dad, before he split, was always playing music at night. The other big influence from him was my love for the outdoors.
I tend to do a lot of backpacking during the summer but this summer was a health sabbatical. I am a Type 2 Diabetic and I have been trying to figure out how to do both. Pretty much I grew up a bad kid so to speak. I had a lot of growing up to do and I got into trouble quite a bit and learned some lessons by being dumb. I guess it all evens out as I ended up going to college, getting married, etc. Now I live near Santa Cruz and work in the South Bay each day. I am in the wine how punk rock is that!!!

What bands did you like growing up and which one influenced you the most into becoming a musician?

What bands did I like growing up etc.??
Well as I stated earlier I was a big Beatles fan, as I got older during the mid 70's (boy I am old!) I listened to a lot of stuff on AM radio when it was good. People will laugh, but I listened to bands like Jefferson Airplane/Starship, The Steve Miller Band, CCR,Doobie Brothers. Pretty much bands like that ilk.
THEN, one day I was listening to the radio and I heard this song called Train In Vain by this new and exotic group from The UK called The Clash....I was hooked! That band, THAT person (Joe Strummer) changed my outlook on what I would listen to and eventually want to play.
From there on it was listening to The Modern Human show on KSJO on Sunday nights, KFJC and other college radio stations to soak in as much new music as possible. From Elvis Costello, to The Ramones, Talking Heads, The Jam,Sham 69, Wire, Buzzcocks, Damned, SLF, Angelic Upstarts, Dead Boys, Skids, to bands that were more modern to me around 1981 like The Business, Blitz, Peter and The Test Tube Babies, GBH, Anti Nowhere League and including US bands like CH3, Social Distortion, X, Avengers, DK's.
Probably the biggest influence on me to be a musician would be Paul Weller of The Jam. I am a massive fan. Just the respect that he gave his audience each night was amazing. He'd que up kids after each show so that they could meet the band. The Jam were all about a youth movement. That is why they will never reform, even though I would love to see them once again.

You have been involved in the live music scene in San Jose for over 20 years. What has changed the most during this time both good and bad?
For being involved in the local scene....well I have to say that I have not been much of a participant since around 2000 or so. After doing Slip for 4 years and then Gordy and I started a new band, The Forgotten and that lasting for a period for me, I was burnt and needed to refocus my energy for awhile.   With that said, I am grateful for my time in Slip as I started that band with Lars of Rancid and eventually played with 3 very talented individuals, and then obviously playing in The Forgotten where we raised our expectations and went on to become more of a non local band per se and take it to a much higher level.
I went back and finished my BS in Poli Sci, bought a few homes, got a job other than bartending and moved on. The thing that I have noticed since my return is the resilience of the music scene in the South Bay. Of course there is no Marsugi's anymore, nor the beloved Cactus Club, or heck ...damn what was the place in Palo Alto(That would be The EDGE,Ken)....I cannot believe I have forgotten the name.
Oh well....I see others trying to fill the void. Booking shows at The Caravan, Blank Club, Johnny V's....there is a ebb and flow with that nature. I really cannot make too much observations of how bands interact as it has been so long for me.
I can say this though, back in the day (damn I sound like a crotchety old man) there seemed to be more of a community? Dunno, but then again, I live near Santa Cruz so I am somewhat removed from the local scene there. What has changed good or bad....I would have to say that it seems local bands don't get out and try to get shows out of the area much? There are exceptions obviously and I feel silly saying that, but it just seems that SJ bands hardly ever play in Santa Cruz or SF. Not sure why that is.

What was the single best performance in your career and how did it happen?

Single best performance.....Hmmmm.....I have played so many great shows, but that is/was a band situation. I never really looked at how I played, but more of how we played. I would say touring with Peter and The Test Tube Babies for 3 months was a high, as I was a huge fan and I got to see them play each night. Opening for bands like The Business, Dropkick Murphys, Anti Nowhere League, Fear,Swingin Utters, Rancid, DI etc. playing SOFA Streetfair or just about any night really.
I really enjoyed some of our Slip shows as I always felt that there was something special playing live in that band. Maybe in The Forgotten playing CBGB's or The Whiskey in LA....Yep that would be special. I got to meet the band Mad Parade and became friends with them. I listened to them in the 80's and was very happy to share the stage with them a bunch of times.

As you have gotten older,how has that affected your musical vision both as a listener and a performer?
As I have gotten older how has that affected my vision. Funny thing really. I played bass in Slip and The Forgotten and I could not articulate myself as well as I can now because of switching to guitar and being the frontman.
I participated a great deal in those two bands when it came to writing and arraigning, but this time in The Empty's, I pretty much introduce a song that is almost completely written. I enjoy the fact that we have two guitar players in the band so there is a bit more of things going on so to speak. 
But really, for me, on the music side, I am still a freak about melody, song structure and just having a great tune. I still love the bands that I have listened to since I was a teen so I feel my songwriting is pretty similar to my time spent in Slip and The Forgotten.

In your opinion,has social media leveled the playing field for bands,are the major labels rapidly becoming dinosaurs? Is "getting a deal" still looked at the same way today then 15 years ago?

Social media affecting music. Wow has it. When I started playing again, things have changed greatly. Mp3's, Facebook pages, Reverbnation, Myspace (even though it is dying a slow death), Bandcamp, webpages...galore. I think it is fantastic.
There are so many ways to converse with fans, sell merch. and music. The days of getting a deal is not as important and it has made for more of a "grass roots" effort. Record labels, and I mean the "majors", rip you off. The amount of money you need to make is insane. I love how bands can tour without the support of a label. 
Yes you have to be organized and it does take some money, but you can be a self sustained unit and be successful at it. Funny thing happened to me the other day. On my phone I downloaded an app that has 4 tracks to record and send off to others in mp3 form. I was besides myself chuckling and thinking how cool that is. I can write something and send it to the others without leaving home and driving 25 miles to practice over Hwy 17. But i have to add, thank God that the music industry has taken the hit that they have. The majors have been ripping off bands for too long of a time.
As a performer who has toured quite a bit,how do you feel about shows like "The Voice" and "American Idol"?

American Idol and such??? Hate those shows. I look at it as the easy way to get ahead. But to be honest, those people have talent, but how many of them have really made it? Touring builds an audience. Playing out live makes you a seasoned pro. There should be no easy way to get ahead in this business.

Tell us about the new band,The did this come about? Who is in the band and what is in the band's future?

Band members are; Ken-Guitar, Vocals, Mike-Guitar, Vocals, Mike W.-Bass, and Steve-Drums

Tell a little about my new band The Empty's.... Well after a few failed attempts with others, Steve our drummer and myself finally found a few others to play with and we have been rehearsing all spring long. The Empty's are an extension of Slip and The Forgotten really. Since I did some of the writing and a lot of arraigning we are going to sound a bit like them. I have always been into UK punk more than US punk (don't get me wrong, I have a massive collection of music and there are tons of US stuff too) and we come out sounding like that. Many of the bands that I grew up listening to has influenced me greatly. SLF, Angelic Upstarts, Cockney Rejects, Sham 69, Cocksparrer, Blitz, Business, Infa Riot, Chron Gen, UK Subs, Clash, Ramones, etc.
The difference with The Empty's versus my old band is that we are a four piece with two guitar, bass and drums. This is the first band that in many years that I have played in that utilize two guitars. We're heading into the studio in late Sept. to record 4 songs that we will be giving away at shows.
On the merch front we will have more buttons, cozies, patches and the cdr with 4 songs to give away. This is not about money but about the love of playing. T shirts will be coming soon too. We just want to play a few times a month around The SF Bay Area as well as an occasional show down in LA or so. I am not opposed to a week on the West Coast if the possibility presented itself. Record labels that like us? Get in touch! We'd love to do something!!!

If a 18 year old musician walked up to you and asked for 3 pieces of advice,what would you tell and why?
If an 18 year old asked me 3 questions what would I say........practice! Play as much as possible. Put yourself out there. That means, take advantage of your youth and make this something of importance to you. Get merchandise, record some solid songs and play out and tour as much as you can. The more you do it the better you will get as well as your audience will develop. Have fun! This is all about having fun. have fun but don't get too serious. Serious is great, but when it becomes a make or break kinda thing, it'll ruin everything.

My thanks to Ken Helwig for this interview. To learn more about The Empty's,check out their new Facebook band page and hit "Like". Tell them you heard about the band from this interview...
The Empty's page is here

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog....if you feel you would like to be interviewed,hit me up via Twitter @Jinzo_2400

Upcoming "8 Questions with......" interviews

Poet Brad Beneke Detroit Politician Aaron Brown

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Its 10:30 pm

    Nice crisp night,the last two days have felt more like Fall then summer...overcast skies and temps in the high 60s.
  I like to thank Tyler Beltz for providing such a great interview,it was a interesting peek through the eyes of the next generation and get a idea on how someone his age sees the world. I really hope more of my readers and a few of his friends come by to take a peek at the interview.
  Already hard at work at the next as well....singer/guitarist Ken Helwig of the band The Emptys will be the next guest answering 8 Questions....looking forward to that very much. Also will be talking with poet/small business owner Brad Beneke and Detroit politician Aaron R. Brown in the upcoming weeks.
  The week has been a rollercoaster so far for me but what else is new,right? Sunday was one of the roughest days in a quite a while as I really was fighting my emotions all day at work. Its so weird how one second I can be interacting with a co-worker or guest and all is well and then in a split second I am back with Lori during her first chemotherapy session...its easy to remember as it was the day of the royal wedding with Kate and Harry. The thought sits in my head and I start hearing the whole day all over again. More often or not,I am back here during the last 3 months and recalling feeling so helpless and looking for answers that just weren't coming. Its then I start getting wound up and choked up...I go outside to compose myself,to breathe in and out....generally that works,sometimes not so much. And on Sunday,it didn't work so well...after I settled down,I continued to work. My shift ended and I dropped by the restroom to wash my hands before meeting my buddy Jerome to see "The Wolverine". Suddenly I just lost it....alone in the bathroom,my tears came pouring out silently. I miss Lori so much...the pain and loneliness and grief get so bad and I have no release point at the worst possible time.
  I compose myself and head out to kill 90 minutes before the movie. I go by Sonic for lunch and then to the parking lot of the show to have my lunch and read my book called "Farlander" which is excellent. I know I'm going to have trouble with "Farlander" as its the first book of a trilogy...and I got the first book at Dollar Tree! Going to be tough hoping for the next two books to land there as well.
  Soon it was time to go in and hook up with my fellow fanboy Jerome. He is the same one who saw "Pacific Rim" with me in July.
  Thought "The Wolverine" was pretty good,much better then the mainstream critics gave it credit for. It was action packed with some very tender moments including one where Logan is talking to Jean Grey who died in "X-Men: Last Stand". It hit far too close to home for me and I had to I said,Sunday was a rough day. 15 minutes later I came in to catch the final credits. Jerome,who had already seen the movie,was very concerned and said he was sorry he didn't warn me about that part of the film...hey,who knew I was going to be in such a state?
   We chilled afterwards for a hour talking fanboy....we are not fans of the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out next year and we bantered back and forth about some other stuff before we went our separate ways.
  Monday was much better....I had a day off and I caught up on my sleep. Woke up refreshed and in much better shape. Of course being Monday,it decided to rain and rain all day. I sat down and clipped coupons and put them in my book. I saw on my local Meijer ad that they are no longer doing double coupons after 25 August. That sort of sucks because of the great deals you could get,especially on the 10 for 10 sales they do once every 3 months. People commented it was the extreme coupon people who ruined it for everyone,I don't know about that...I never saw any extreme couponing at all since the show came on the air.
 Anywho,I went shopping and got a few deals that I could use. The lady who has been dropping off cookies was shopping and she walked up and said "hello".
   After shopping and putting the food away,I killed a little time before going to a new yogurt place in Canton called Menchies. I met up with a former co-worker of mine,Anna,had been bragging about this place. While the weather had cleared up,right after Anna and I started eating our yogurt,it decided to thunderstorm but good. While Anna said she was scared of lightening,she held tough and stayed outside with me while we talked for a while. She had a lot of funny stories to share and the time flew by quickly.
  It seems like small outings are the ones that feel most comfortable to me at the moment. I don't read anything profound in this,just that in a small way,it doesn't surprise me as that is what Lori and I enjoyed the most.

Its Saturday and its 9 pm

Ahhh,another rolling blog entry.

 Looking at where I ended the first entry.....

Back on 19 July,I wrote about a actress friend of mine who had been booked at a fan convention in California. The promoter turned out to be completely shady and a cheat and my friend took a bath financially and a hit to her good will.
   I have known her for quite a while and think she is in a Debbie Rochon class of being sweet and easy to talk with. This is rare in Hollywood as each year you're in the limelight,you start to lose a little something in the way you are as a person. Be it no jobs,low paying ones,bad roles,personal relationships,substance abuse (hello again,Cory)...Hollywood is not a nice town,it eventually will turn on you.
  So when you are a veteran of several film roles and TV spots but still retain your inner value system,you are pretty amazing,at least to me.
  My friend shared even more details of what happened to her and I promised I won't reveal any names or specifics.
I do know that after this mess,she will be a lot wiser in the future and insist on contracts and riders in place before venturing out. And after reading the below,can you really blame her?

1) the promoter promised me a guarantee then backed out in the 11th hour. 
I can only relate to how we did business at the EDGE and Agenda...but any signed act,we generally had to send half the guarantee to the agent/manager with a signed contract. This protects both the artist and venue in case something happens. If a artist skips a show,often we got a make up date,another good package or the up-front money back.
2) I had already done some publicity around it so I decided it's best to put the fans first and show up regardless of politics.
This is what I mean by staying a class act. My friend could have said "no money,no appearance" and be well within her right to go home. But she stayed and was the professional she is. Many fans who were looking forward to meeting her,would never know what was going on behind the scenes.
3) On Saturday night, we found out we were locked out of our rooms and that we were going to have to pay for our accommodations. So I left the hotel at 1am to go and stay with a local friend. Came back on Sunday to collect my belongings.
Can you even imagine this? I mean,really? You drive all the way up,check in,hit the convention floor and then come back to this mess? She was fortunate enough to have a friend put her up,many convention guests would have been hosed.
4) We were told by the promoter that he was robbed ...but he didn't call the police to report it. So one of the actors did.
Pretty much says it all,doesn't it? Like I said,a liar and a cheat. I wish I could have Rob Wolchek put this loser in the Hall of Shame where he belongs.
5) We were not given gas money as promised for driving up there.
This is pretty major as it was a pretty hefty round trip of about 500 miles and with gas prices in California being pretty high,it would have been nice to know at least your gas was paid for.
6) The event was slow and most likely took a loss. As did all the actors. We were not paid promised monies.
So the only person who made anything was the loser of a promoter. But my friend,as I wrote,is much wiser and will be only appearing at conventions with a solid history of being run professionally.

I decided to try and tackle the basement again. The last time didn't go very well and I just walked away.But I ventured once again and actually made some head way. Cleaned out a cabinet,tossed a old computer and gave away my Christmas wrapping paper. It doesn't sound like much but I did it with no tears and being focused.
   I know there will not be much a of Christmas spirit in the house this year so it makes the decluttering a bit easier. I will be heading back down there on my day off and hopefully will get it cleaned by the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8 Questions with.........teen journalist Tyler Beltz

Its 12:01 am


   Welcome to an another edition of my ongoing interview series,"8 Questions with.....". I started this waaaay back when on another social media site and have re-started it here. The series features people from all over who in one or another have perked my interest. So I ask them to do a interview where they answer the questions themselves,in their own words

     Being a a older adult and living in such a weird world,I often go back when I was a teenager and try to recall what my world was like back then. Was it as dark and gloomy as it appears today? Did my parents think that their teen years were more rugged then mine?
  I admit,I am not overwhelmed by today's generation of youth...they seem more shallow and selfish then ever before. They want things instantly given to them and complain bitterly if something isn't. They are into their cell phones and mobile devices then actually talking to people face to face. But then again,look at the path my generation has left them...huge gaps in race relations,making college a sentence to heavy debt,being forced to work longer and harder with less time for true family bonding times.
 The some things change,the more they stay the same.....but once in a great while,you can be pleasantly surprised by the power of a driven young person. They see a goal and instead of hoping for a short cut to the goal,are willing to work very hard for it. Someone like 17 year old Tyler Beltz. 

  I got a friend request from Tyler on FB,when I checked his friend's list to see if we had mutual friends,I saw he was following several journalist types and guessed maybe he thought I was someone in the industry. I explained I had worked in the music business,he said that was pretty cool and would it be okay if I accepted his request.
  With over 1,750 friends,I didn't think he would even remember me...but I was wrong again about Tyler. He actually was reading my blog about my Lori's ordeal and when he saw the revival of "8 Questions with....",he approached me about interviewing him. I agreed,not every day I get asked....I am always the one doing the asking. 

 So when I felt the time was right,I sat down to write out my questions. I had just lost an interview when the person (who had asked for the interview) decided my softball questions were "too personal". Out of the over 80 interviews I have done,only famed actor Robert Fuller had declined to answer one of my questions. So here I am,do I decide to cancel this interview as well or do I think Tyler can handle some serious questions....I choose the latter and send him my list. 
   Getting the interview back...well with Tyler's very busy summer vacation activities,I didn't know when that would happen...but 6 days later,I got the email and the interview...

I hope you remember Tyler's name...because I think you will be hearing it a lot in the near future.

And now.....8 Questions with.........Tyler Beltz.

Tell us about you...and what is the typical day like in your home?
My name is Tyler Beltz and I am seventeen years old. I am from Oak Park, Michigan and I will be a Senior when we return to school in the fall. A typical day for me in the Summer, is staying up late, sleeping in, waking up and probably watching one of the local news stations to see what the daily breaking news headlines are and the weather forecast for the day.
While still in bed I like to check my phone and catch up on any missed texts, calls, tweets or Facebook or Instagram notifications I may have missed while sleeping. Shower, listening to my favorite radio station --> 98.7 Amp Radio (Yeah, I made the switch). Then once I take my shower, I like to interact with people on my various social media sites and blog. Then somewhere in between working and interacting with people online I manage to squeeze in some time to eat.

You have stated on your FB page you want to be "famous". What does fame mean to you?
  • Actually, I think people misinterpret me by saying "I want to be famous." I think part of this reason people think I'm doing this for the fame or the money is because my Twitter handle is @GonnaBFamousTB. Just by looking at the name people think "Hey, That kid want's to be famous." That's beyond the truth...I have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities that I will never forget.
    The story behind my Twitter and Instagram handle is simple. When I first started off on Twitter when I first started Tweeting my handle name was @Tylerdoo711. That name came from my grandma when she created me an AOL, Back when dial-up internet and AOL was the thing. No hard feelings towards AOL, because I still use it as my MAIN email source today. But as I got older I felt that "Tylerdoo" (Yes, the doo was from me being a Scooby-Doo fan) had to go. This life for me isn't about becoming famous or making money. I am happy doing what I do and I could care less about being famous or making money.
As a young person,do you get discouraged by the attitudes of older people or do you feel you and your generation can make a difference?

I think people get the wrong idea when they see stuff involving my generation. If you don't look and focus on the negative side of my generation (sex, drugs and crime) then you will see that there are so many Detroiter's and Metro Detroiter's trying to change the way people think about our generation and more importantly the way people think about our city.
I don't get discouraged by the attitudes of the negative society, If so many people weren't so negative all the time then our city, our world, and our society would be a better place. I continue doing what I'm doing and don't let the negative impact what I do. If you have a idea run with it, start something and make a difference in your community or in Detroit. Don't be afraid to start something you vision, as long as you work hard it'll go somewhere.
As cliche as it sounds, it only truly does take one person to make a difference, whether it's starting a recycling group in your neighborhood, picking up trash, picking up cigarette butts and disposing them properly, or doing something like I do and blog about the positive side of our city and highlighting local talent here. You can make a difference.

What do you think of the state of Detroit? What 3 ideas do you feel could help save the city?

The state of Detroit is a mess. It's a mess simply because we continue to let the crooked political people and people that "work" for our city to continue doing the things they do and running the city their way, what's best for themselves. Most people working for our city, if you even want to call it work don't care what the public's opinion is.
I may not be a Detroit resident but I can tell you I care for the city of Detroit just as much as any resident or business worker. We can make Detroit a better place with less violence, making it more safer, bettering our education and making Detroit a place where more people want to visit. I think if we voice our opinion more frequently, stop the senseless violence and work together as a community to clean up neighborhoods and abandoned houses we'll see a significant change. But we can't call it done and over after we do these things, we have to continue working together to do it to other neighborhoods and making sure the neighborhoods we clean up and make nice stay like that.

What three people outside your family have influenced you the most and how did they affect your life?

The three people that have inspired me outside my family would have to be God, Ashley Elyse and Justin Bieber. I know your probably thinking what a interesting combination but let me explain first before you judge me. I am a Christian and I believe in God. Without God I wouldn't be here doing what I love today. God has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities in my life so far and I am anxious to see what he has in store for me next. I am not all about religion, I actually admit I need to start improving on my religiousness and attending Church more.  
The next person would have to be Ashley Elyse. Ashley is an amazing person inside and out. She is the person who started me Teen Corresponding for the online entertainment webshow, "Red Remote" at the U of Detroit Cafe, 1427 Randolph in Detroit. You can catch me teen corresponding / hosting every 3rd Wednesday of the month. Ashley not only is a co-host, but she is also a friend, family member and a role model to me.
She gave me the chance to continue doing what I love and allowed me to grow as a teen correspondent for her online show.. I have been so blessed to have her in my life. She has given me so many amazing opportunities and advice through out my time working with her. She is one the people in this industry that I am very close with and that will always remain. She is off to California to continue living out her dream and once I graduate I will be out there as well living my dream. Good luck Ash, I know you'll do great.
The last person who inspire me is Justin Bieber, I'm not crazy. Justin Bieber has had a similar childhood to mine growing up. Justin was raised by a single parent and it was only him and his mom. Same situation with my life growing up. Justin Bieber has taught me to never give up and always "Believe". Despite what you hear about Justin in the negative spotlight the media shines on him he's a great person and he's always giving back to the community, his fans and to people in need. I'm also a fan of his music, so yeah...You can call me what you want but I'm not afraid to admit that I am a "Guy Belieber". One of my dreams is to meet Justin Bieber and have a sit down interview with him. I will always support him regardless and I pray to God that one day my dream of meeting him and interviewing him will come true.

(*Editor's note...after reading this interview,I think this should be switched. Tyler shouldn't be a fan of Justin Bieber,its Justin who should be a fan of Tyler's. )

Where do you see the future of social media going next?

Social Media is drastically expanding since back in the day when I first had a Myspace or when I had to lie about my age on Facebook because I wasn't 18. Now Myspace is out and Facebook is getting older and older by the day, We have new sites of social communication such as Instagram, Vine and Twitter. My friend Shayla actually sent me a message on Facebook with a link about the ACT college test soon to be digital?
And that just shows you that more and more things are becoming digitalized. Soon I believe technology will be put in place instead of teachers and in the years to come all schooling will be from home on a tablet or laptop and there will be limited teachers just in case students need that one on one learning experience. By the way, while we're talking about social media please like my fanpage at , Follow me on Twitter @GonnaBFamousTB and request to follow me on Instagram by searching: GonnaBFamousTB and check out my website www.YoungDetroitShow.WordPress.Com

If asked to volunteer for either a movie shoot,a news story or a political campaign,which would you choose and why?

I would choose to volunteer for a news story because I'm interested in becoming a news anchor and a news reporter. I have been a fan of the news ever since I was younger and that passion for working in the news industry has only grown in the past five years.
I am friends with a lot of local news reporters and anchors and talk to many of them frequently. I'm a fan of all the three major Detroit news stations and can't pick one to watch. I like the different styles and the different way each station reports the news. Every time I'm out and about and I see a news van I make sure I stop by and say hello to whoever is in the van and tell them that I'm interested in becoming a news personality. It's all about contacts and who you know in the industry. My contact list has sky rocketed and I'm always looking for a way to get me in the news studio and watch a live broadcast right there in studio on the sidelines, which I have done already quite a few times.

We just landed in Detroit and we have a day to're the tour guide....where would we go and what would we do?

If I was a tour guide for a day in Detroit, We would start off by leaving Metro airport and I would take you straight to Downtown Detroit. But forget about me being a tour guide for only a day, We'd have to spend the weekend down here. First we'd stop at the Starbucks located on Woodward and we'd get us some nice beverages, by the way if you can't tell I'm addicted to Starbucks.
Then we'd drink down our beverages and head out to the Detroit Institute of Arts. I just recently visited there for the first time and it was an amazing experience, you learn so much more about our city than you ever thought you knew before going. 
Then we'd make our way to Eastern Market, There's always nice things to buy down there and shows you how the community does business in the city. Then we'd head off and stop by Campus Martius... if it's nice out we'd enjoy the beach theme down there but if it's Winter time we'd throw on some skates and going skating.
Then we'd go to one of the many Coney Islands. Then the next day we'd go to the Michigan Central Station, Belle Isle and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour at the Henry Ford in Dearborn.
Then I'd take you to the U of Detroit Cafe so you could see some amazing local talent perform and do interviews during my show Red Remote. Then the last day we'll take a bus downtown and spend the day there. Taking pictures, sightseeing, looking at the graffiti and then lunch at Hard Rock Cafe in the CompuWare building.

   Pretty refreshing to see the hope for the city's future. It gives one pause to think about our future. To be so determined to be the difference is a rare trait we all could use more of. Detroit has 713,000 citizens within her city limits. We can only hope and pray that are more Tyler Beltz's out there,being a beacon of light to those who look for such a light in such a hard pressed city. Just because you are 17 doesn't mean you can't be the one who leads the way,Tyler is proof of that.

My thanks to Tyler and to you,the reader,who by reading this,are supporting this interview. 
Upcoming interviews are with 

Kenny Helwig of The Emptys
Poet/writer Brad Beneke

Feel free to drop a comment!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

21st Century Battlefields: Detroit (and other stuff)

Its 12:10 pm

    It's a cool day here in Michigan. The only sound in the house is a ceiling fan and a meow or two from Derek when he hears me typing in the den.
I like to thank and give respect to Susan Smiley for sharing her eulogy for Hercules,by the traffic,her words really touched a lot of hearts. I like to thank my readers for supporting this entry in a big way. As you know,pets are a huge part of my life and Hercules was one of the best. Glad you all had a chance to get a idea of how much he was loved and Susan was a great mom to him.
   Been a so-so week here,haven't really done much worth writing home about. I did finally buy some Roundup and sprayed my driveway which was slowly turning into a jungle. I started to cut my backyard and as I was do,I was pretty surprised to the amount of weeds that have invaded both my flower beds and lawn itself...considering I had pulled a full lawn bag of them a mere 3 weeks ago. So I decided to leave the front alone and hit the back again....I cut back the huge sage bush we have and pulled every weed from stem to stern,once again thankful for the heavy gloves I bought at an estate sale. Truly have been a saving grace....
   Going to have to buy some mulch for the central flower bed,the bare dirt is showing and it looks ugly.
My wonderful neighbor Kathy has been watering the plants for me....she is such a kind hearted soul,Larry and her have been such good neighbors and she is always checking in on Derek and myself. She pointed out that I have a tree growing in the back,courtesy of a bird no doubt. She suggested I lose it before it gains traction and starts growing,so that is my next project after mulching.
   Talked to my other neighbor,Charlie,who was cutting his lawn as well. We talked about the fence Al put up to protect his garden,it really needs a paint job. I suggested to Charlie we paint it blue with a "Go Blue!" in yellow written on it along with some rabbit paw prints and a flag.
 Being Al is a Ohio State fan,I think this might get him out there to paint the fence a nice shade of white.
When I told Al this,he laughed and then said he was thinking of taking it down. I don't think he needs to do that,but perhaps cutting it down would be nice. I said the fact that our yards (Al,Charlie and ours) are open is a real asset and it would be sad to see fences go up.
 But I know I have to be more of a good neighbor by controlling those weeds,its not fair to my neighbors who work hard at their lawns to be subjected to my lack of effort and desire to work outside.
 Also cleaned out my lint trap for the dryer,it was getting pretty nasty but 10 minutes later and it looks good.

Pretty exciting life,isn't it?

Yesterday was Detroit's primary for Mayor and City Council. 13 folks were running for Mayor and a slew of other folks,including Aaron Brown (who I wrote about 2 entries ago) were battling for city council spots.

Now take a GOOD look at these numbers. This is a primary election to help cull the crowd for the General election. Now remember,Detroit is under a Emergency Financial manager who basically is running the city and will guide the city through bankruptcy before turning it over to the duly elected officials.
Now some folks like Steve Hood and Sam Riddle would have you believe that this takeover is the teapublican way of suppressing the democratic process. I like both men and respect them tremendously but their vision is clouded. As much as I don't like Rick Snyder and his underhanded tactics,in this case,he did the right thing in pointing a beyond broken city towards bankruptcy. These folks who claim race is behind this are themselves showing their own racist tendencies. They remind me of those religious parents who refuse to let medical doctors treat their families even if it means their child will die without help.
  They mean well but they are also very misguided and the above graphic proves this. Detroit has about 710,000 citizens now,you would guess that with this primary and the eyes of the nation on them,the voter turnout would be huge. And you would be wrong. Originally the estimated voter turnout was going to be 17% of all registered voters but in reality,only about half of that turned out.
   This is the NORMAL type of turnout for the city....there was a spike during the Presidential elections but as far as state and local races go,this was even a little lower then normal.
  The Motor City Muckraker published a article trying to say that Snyder,Bing (voted into power by the citizens of Detroit) and other state/city leaders were already looking to take Detroit into bankruptcy as early as 2011 when they created the EM law. what? You have a city billions in debt,a shrinking population and 47% of the people don't pay taxes because of severe poverty or other reasons. You have the city throwing out tax abatements around like Christmas candy for wealthy businesses who want to come to Detroit but unwilling to pay their weight. City services are third world level,IF,they work at all. The mayor and city council can't work together on even the most basic common problems and this has been happening for over 50 years!
  Detroit has fucked itself over and over electing poor leadership choices based on color then ability. This was never more evident by this mayor's race when a a four time loser for mayor,Tom Barrow,made it his mission to get perhaps the most qualified (on paper maybe,I think Lisa Howse might have been the best choice,ethics wise) candidate off the ballot through technicalities and skin color.
  Mike Duggan,who is white,was forced off the ballot and had to declare himself a write-in candidate...of which Barrows challenged and lost that round. Instead of debating records and skill sets that are so needed in the city,Barrows,who is black,decided to use a tactic that only showcased his own political weakness.
  And the voters for a refreshing change,saw right through this and helped write in Duggan with over 50 percent of the vote......while Barrows had his ass handed to him with a mere 4 % percent,finishing dead last.
  These tactics are a prime example of self suppression by the voters....that a man like Barrows would do his best to keep perhaps a man with the ability to change the culture of Detroit off the ballot because of his skin color is deeply disturbing.
  Anyone who has gone through bankruptcy knows its a hellish way to escape one's debts. You get in too deep,lose a job,get a serious illness (hello cancer!),the housing bubble collapses and you need help. You do the right thing by exploring all avenues but sometimes,only a bankruptcy is the answer.
 Snyder knows this,Dillon knows this,Mayor Dave Bing and the city council knows this. A bail-out from Washington was never in the cards because why? The same culture and brokenness that is Detroit will not be fixed,just like the car industry and the housing market,unless massive changes are effected,this cycle will happen again and again. So why waste tax payer dollars on a huge band aid?
  Bankruptcy is the best answer for the city,it really is....but Snyder and company better be ready to use the fresh start and help the citizens with better training could in effect create a little New Deal action within the city itself by hiring and training the unemployed into tearing down the 78,000 abandoned buildings being used as crack dens,squats and arson targets. This is what is needed far more then walking in and selling assets like the Zoo and the fine art at the DIA.
  Snyder has a chance to show that all the behind the door bargaining has a real pay-out,he needs to show why this bankruptcy was the right call....and men like Hood and Riddle need to realize that as well. Because for their posturing,just like the teapublicans opposing healthcare reform,I have yet to see anyone come with a way to get Detroit whole again.....

I am getting pretty excited about the upcoming college football season. The San Jose Spartans open up against Sacramento State and then battle 4th ranked Stanford.
As I have blogged before,Lori and I tried to attend at least one Eastern Michigan game a year. It was a lot of fun and we always had a good time. The two favorite games we attended were against Howard (they have a awesome band) and Maryland. This year,Western Michigan is playing at EMU and I am looking to get some people willing to go to the game and watch it with me. Lori graduated from Western and I thought it would be fun to get some folks together,make some banners and watch the game.

 I have written many times about how damn lucky we are to have the finest journalists here working in Detroit. One of everyone favorite's is Fox 2's Hall of Shame reporter Rob Wolchek. He works tirelessly to expose some pretty unsavory characters,be a rancher who lets his animals rot where they drop,sleazy "music promoters",unsafe,unlicensed contractors and stoned and drunk autoworkers. If you are doing bad and you see Rob coming at you...there is nothing you can do but report to the Halllllll of Shaaaaame!
  So this week Rob breaks a story of this internet bully called Ebay Is A Joke who goes around and smears other people's good names and online businesses. He wears a mask that "V" wore from the film "V for Vendetta" and goes on these senseless rants about other people. Basically,he is a asshole who likes to hide and harass people. Well some of these folks struck back when they contacted Rob and told him about this guy. I am guessing that they found him by his Ip address and the trail led to the metro Detroit area....right in Rob's stomping grounds.
   After some more work....Rob went after this guy and it turns out he lives in my town. When you watch the video,that is the local theater about 7 miles from my house! It means,that Charles Fitch can no longer hide out,that he is now exposed as the small minded little roach that he is. Personally,I can see why he wore the mask but it won't do him any good now.
  This was a great story and one I hope you'll pass on to your friends as well.

You can read and see the story here.

Well,that is all I have for "8 Questions with......" coming soon.

You can follow me on Twitter @Jinzo_2400

Aaron Brown: Not a bad showing at all. You'll be one to keep a eye on in the future.
Gina : Good luck with your show!
Michelle (N.D.): Thank you for the song,you indeed made me cry.
Sam and Steve: Have nothing but respect for you both.
Rob: You're just awesome.
Amy: Just realized you are still on vacation,you picked a good week for it!
Elissa: Thank you for sharing your Loo with us,I never would have guessed how sweet a pigeon could be!
Susan: Thank you again.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest writer Susan Smiley - "Requiem For Hercules"

Its 6:30 pm

  Its a overcast,cool night in SE Michigan. Its quiet outside as I type this intro...I am thinking back to when Lori and I first met Susan Smiley. I have blogged about the adventures of Oliver the grey kitty who our old landlady Carolyn Caves helped saved when I first moved here to Michigan.
  After we got Oliver patched up,we took him to a pet shop in Warren to get him adopted out. Lori had to work but she wrote Oliver's story and I was the one who went with him in hopes of finding him a forever home. 
  Alas,we struck out the first day and it wasn't looking good the second day as well. But the pet store owner had a secret weapon,he knew of a woman who loved to rescue the seemingly hopeless cases and so after hours on a Sunday,he called Susan and told her about this wonderful monster of a kitty.
  Susan came down,read the note and fell in love with Oliver. On the not Lori wrote,she gave out our phone number and a gentle invite to whoever adopted Oliver to give us a call. 
  And that is how we met Susan....she called and told us she had adopted Oliver and that he was doing wonderful and when we got a chance,to come visit. 
 It came to pass we drove out to see Susan and discovered she really loved her animals,she has 4 other cats plus Oliver (all rescues) and a very sweet mannered dog named Hercules. Hercules was very friendly and also loved the cats...and developed a very close bond with Oliver.
  Through the years,the cats crossed over....Oliver lived with a awesome life with Susan until his mighty heart gave out and left this world for the next. But Susan being the compassionate person she is,opened her heart to new rescues,hamsters and more cats. The one true constant was that Hercules was beside her,assuring the new arrivals that a safe and loving home was now theirs. 
  So when Susan emailed me last week and said that 17 year old Hercules was dying,I knew I had to give her a chance to share with you how wonderful this beautiful dog and companion was and I asked Susan to write a eulogy for her beloved dog,the sweet and immortal Hercules.

The following is what she wrote. 

Requiem for Hercules
There you were at the shelter;
your home for 10 months.
Your owner moved
left you and the cat behind.

You wagged your tail and smiled
while the other dogs barked and jumped
I knew right away
we were kindred spirits.

I tucked a soft blanket in the back seat of the Jeep
but halfway home you crawled into the front seat
all 100 pounds of you on Chris’ lap
happy to be sprung from your cage and to be loved.

Those early days I worked afternoons at the paper.
I’d come home to find you cuddling with one of my slippers
or the latest paperback book I was reading.
Something to keep you company until I got home.

We took long morning walks and made friends in the neighborhood:
            Ginger, the old chocolate Lab who was a grey then as you are now.
            Winston, the Yorkie who feared all large dogs except you.
            Guinness, the Rottie pup kitty corner from us who is now more than 10 years old
            The black Lab puppy who touched noses with you through the fence and still looks for you when I walk past his house with Nellie.

Kids in the neighborhood loved you too,
thought you were named for the cartoon character “Hercules”.
They petted you, hugged you, scratched your ears.
Once, during my first foray into running, I fell face down on the sidewalk
a sawed-off fence pole my demise.
You looked frantically for help trying to let someone know:
“Mom is down!”
Now it is Nellie who runs with me while you sleep soundly
your arthritic limbs too stiff to travel our old routes.

On hot days we rested halfway through our walk.
The shady corner with the white house
Cool dirt under the lilac and honeysuckles provided your bed
After a couple of minutes, you got up and led us home.

Like me you detested hot weather.
On the steamiest days we walked at midnight; an effort to keep us both cool.
One beastly night we got to the corner of our street
I asked, “Which way do you want to go, Herc?”
You looked left, looked right, turned back to the air conditioned house.
We both had cold drinks and vanilla wafers.

You were always my protector
Wedging yourself between me and a male friend making unwanted advances.
Jumping in bed with me and a new lover
just to make sure everything was on the up and up.
“I’ve got my eye on you!”
the message to my suitor.
During thunderstorms I protected you
Stroking you slowly while whispering, “Everything is all right.”

You loved going up north
laying on the dock watching the ducks, sniffing the crisp, fall air.
Over the years we hiked every inch of the High Country Pathway
            Devil’s Soup Bowl
            Up top of the Rattlesnake Hills
            Through the beech trees covered with bear claw markings
            Around the Dog Lake Flooding marshes
You waded into the Pigeon River, got a drink
then tried to charm a bite of sandwich from a nearby picnicker.

We would come back to the cottage
let the pontoon boat rock us gently to sleep in the afternoon.
At dusk we would look for elk.
I look at the picture of you balancing on a log extending over the lake
not willing to jump into the water
yet wanting to be close to me while I waded, hunting for shells.
You never did catch one of those elusive chipmunks.
Now you chase them in your sleep, feet twitching, soft muffled bark
tells me you are dreaming of the hunt.

I called you Angel Dog because you never did anything bad.
Lori called you “World Class Dog”
because you loved all creatures great and small
so calm, so loving, a gentle giant.
When you stole biscuits from Henry and Max
they pretended not to notice, deferring to the senior dog in the house.

The things you hated:
            Rumble strips
            Hot weather
            Thunder storms
            Me having to go to work and leave you alone

The things you loved:
            Cats – Rolo, Townes, Oliver, Travis, Jacques, Boomba, Scotty and Sukie. You and Townes curled up together was last year’s Christmas card; Peace on Earth.
            Italian sausage
            Biscuits from Sunflour Bakehaus
            Henry, Max, Nellie
            Plush toys – especially the hedgehog and your very first toy; the football.
You methodically pulled the nap out of each toy, removed the stuffing, pulled out the squeaker.
I kept an “emergency hedgehog” in the linen closet just in case.
You loved pizzelle so much that I bought a Cuisinart pizzelle baker.
You would come into the kitchen when you smelled the Italian waffle cookies baking.
I fed them to you warm; powdered sugar on your nose.

I know this week’s batch is the last I will make for you.
I bought this house, got you three months later and can’t imagine not having you within its walls
            your bed empty, toys untouched.
This October I will travel up north without you and think of you
            when I drive over rumble strips, sit on the pontoon boat, walk the trails,.
Your big German Shepherd-Rottie body is close to 17 years old, and it is failing you.
I knew you could not live forever, saw you gradually slowing down
and after this 4th of July, struggling.
I knew it was time to let you go, that you were trying to tell me you were ready
            but it is oh so hard to say good-bye.
But I want to take away your pain, give you peace, allow you to chase chipmunks again.
I know you will be watching over me during thunderstorms
and when I am on the pontoon boat rocking gently to sleep