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Monday, September 30, 2019 5 comments

Art Bell

At 50.5 years old, I’m hugely lucky(blessed) to have attended only two close-to-me funerals, and for both of those it was a grandparent, so I wasn’t expected to give a speech or write an obituary. 

Today though, I want to celebrate a life that was—and is—important to me. When you read his name, I guess there'll be two main reactions.

Either you’ll smile when I say Art Bell, or you’ll go who? and possibly do a Google search, so I'll save you the trouble. You can find out about him here.

I first “met” Art Bell in 1996 when I was a restaurant manager in Atlanta, GA, and as I generally had the late shift and a boring 30-minute drive home, I scanned the AM radio in my Pontiac Sunbird convertible. (It is truly the squarest convertible ever made, but by God, it was my first of any car and I loved that ‘86 rust bucket!)

One night, I found this deep voice dude talking about UFOs and I was instantly hooked!

As time went by, I listened to Coast-to-Coast AM at 2 or 3 a.m. more often, and became so entertained that I was never sleepy and sometimes continued listening once I got home and began the nightly ritual of restaurant decompression.

Art Bell.

A complicated man, but a blessing to those who needed him when we needed him (I never fell asleep or crashed on the way home!) Daytime radio listeners may think of Sean or the hosts of All Things Considered, but for us night owls, there will only ever be one (lower case) rush— and that was Art Bell.

I’ll never forget listening about Mel’s Hole, or amazing interviews with Michio Kaku, Malachi Martin, Richard C. Hoagland and so many more such as JC and Ma Bell (Ma Bell is easy to figure out, but it’s so well-worth finding out about the very strange and unique JC :)

The best part of the 5-hour show was when Art opened the lines to the always unscreened callers.

“West of the Rockies, you’re on the air,” he’d say, sometimes swiftly followed by, “Turn down your radio, please!”

Here is a 1999 interview Art did on Larry King Live. I want to say a public thank you to those who established the Ultimate Art Bell station, which streams replays of his shows via TuneIn radio. Art’s show ran for more than 20 years, so there’s little worry about getting bored.

Now that the shows are available 24/7 (without ads!!), they'e also fun to listen to from a historical point of view—especially the end-of-year prediction shows where Art would take predictions from listeners about the upcoming year and relate the success of that year’s predictions. (Some nailed it, we had a financial meltdown in 2008, but we’re nowhere close to living on Mars... yet.)

Sadly, Art died in April 2018, but as mentioned above, his voice, huge heart, endearing patience and absolute understanding of his middle-of-the-night audience will never be beaten.

RIP, Art Bell, formerly of the Kingdom of Nye. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019 4 comments

Of Stuffed (lost?) Bear and Scary Horse...


It's been a while since I've done a pictorial dissertation, or in Dublin terms, posted some pics, so here's a few of the many.

It was 7 a.m. the other day, and I'd already walked past, when I stopped and said to myself was that a bear on a bench?

... And yup, it was a lonely bear on a quiet bench... (Would kill to know that story!!)

Some breads at ALDI are lost in translation... hopefully!

But, now I know where all the extra Trader Joe's stuff goes!! We love you, ALDI :)

The town cemetery is on the walk home and I'm dying to go inside...

Sadly, there's limited hours!

Next to the cemetery... is this a stairway to... heaven? 

Son #2 age 9  (using mom's Skype) and I discussing story ideas :)

This is one small bar my Da would love to have somewhere in the world :)

It's closed now, but this is the entrance to the Granada bullring. 

I'm walking the Northern Camino in the next year or two. Interested? Let me know in the comments

Is this where Prince Humperdink's white horse came to retire?

Small signs with big messages...

Entrance to the Closed City of Granadaish... (Gate sponsored by Huawei :)

Time waits for no man nor train signal warning...

Meanwhile, the artistic youth created and made colorful that which was barren and cold in the tunnel under the tracks...

This bloody horse and cart came outta nowhere and scared the shit outta me!! (At least cars have headlamps and horns!!)

(Was pretty cool though :)

Wells Fargo commercial from the 1950s:)

I won't lie if there wasn't a few "YAHS!!!!" going up that hill, but the horse killed it. 

And where they went... nobody knows.

Monday, September 23, 2019 9 comments

Blown Dreams...


Goddamn lost chances, broken promises by others, missed opportunities by self or whatever you want to call it -- it sucks ass.

Blown dreams are my preferred descriptor.

We've all had them, and if you haven't, I most respectfully say you're untruthing yourself.

Personally, I've had some major dreams blow up in my face these past 12 months, but life goes on, doesn't it? What else is one supposed to do?

Recline with crackers and 2-buck Chuck from Trader Joe's while chilling and watching Netflix in lonely selfpity-ness?


But only for a predestined amount of wallowness.

Quit? Fuck. Never.

For me, the saddest blown dreams are when I walk past closed-down restaurants or bars, especially when you can see faded flyers in the window offering the best offers at the cheapest possible prices. They were trying so hard -- and it didn't work out.

Having worked that industry for nearly 20 years, (in mostly a corporate environment where you often had "play money.") I understand how much capital, in time and finances, it takes to open the Place Of Your Dreams, but never had the balls to handle the personal costs.

So, when I see shuttered restaurant or bars for sale, it always feel like a punch in the stomach as I think about those unknown owners who rolled the dice, but didn't get the winning number - for whatever reason.

I mention this as a backdrop for the pictures below. I don't know the history, timeline or what happened, but someone(s) had a dream, ploughed a shitload of money into the project(s) and it didn't work out. I discovered this lost construction project as I was walking home from work one day.

Was it bad decisions that led to the lack of money? I'm not digging further, as there's no happy answer, but no matter the cause or what happened, as mentioned above, broken dreams suck ass.

At the beginning of the community is this old ferris wheel...

...which is a cool idea...

...but as you walk into the community, it's like, "Huh? What's going on..."

...And it feels so exposed and broken...

...Skeletons in line...

...While half-finished homes with skins on...

...stand next to those who were plundered last...

... while on the opposite side on the same road, the community that could stares back in obvious disbelief...

Will anyone, one day, completely tear down these walls, or will they finish (re)building these dreams?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 5 comments

9/11. We Will Never Forget.

(This is the annual "reprinting" of my inaugural post on Sept. 11, 2011. We shall never forget.)


The thing I remember most about 9/11 is how selfish I felt - at the very beginning.

September 11th was supposed to be the day I paid my debts and made some serious money. I clearly remember the last thing I said as my balding head hit the soft pillow on the 10th: "Tomorrow is going to be a great day, man, tomorrow is going to be a great day."
Source: Anthony Grimley

Five months prior to 9/11 and new to California, I had met several fellow Irishmen at a pub or six, which networked into an interview with a starched suit who looked me up and down to see if I could sell gold coins.

"I can sell a Yankees hat in Boston, or a Cowboys jersey in New York, surely I can sell a little coin over the phone?" I said, full of the optimism of the uninformed American sports fan.

My new boss didn't really care. I'd earn a bare stipend for a couple of months, and then work on one hundred percent commission, so no skin off his nose.

They call the big investors "whales," and it took five months of living off credit cards to reel two in. One lived in New York; the other was in Jersey. I arranged great deals with both retired men; deals that culminated on Monday the 10th, and happy as a pig in a blanket, I later went for a few drinks with the boys, having promised my whales that they'd receive the official paperwork via fax before noon EST Tuesday.

That's the only reason I was up at 5:50 a.m. PST, but as soon as I saw the plane hit the second tower just after 6 a.m. my time, I knew the deals were done - and so was I. (I had no clue how bad it would be - did anyone?)

I wallowed in pity for about thirty-five minutes until I heard another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Driving to work in my new, unpaid-for Mustang, I jumped up as far as my seat belt would allow, and let out a scream of hurt and anger I hope my ears will never again endure.

As an immigrant with naturalization papers in process, I had no doubt that the attack was on my country (I swore in July 3, 2003,) and my people.

In October 2001, I tried joining the USAF, but the recruiter told me a 19-year-old's pay "ain't going to take care of the credit problems belonging to a 31-year-old."

On 9/11, as always, I'll wear my Liz Claiborne WTC shirt that I bought 'cos the Statue of Liberty looks cool in the forefront (it was 2002 before I "saw" the Twin Towers for the first time.)

I will also reflect on how I awoke thinking only about me, but ended the day thinking only about "U.S." and the thousands whose lives had been destroyed by hate and fear.

May the good God bless the souls of all those lost on 9/11, and Lord, please continue to protect those who, with a servant's heart, always run into harms way while we scream to get the hell out of there.

One of 343 firefighters who sacrificed everything, Thomas J. Foley, 32, Rescue 3, FDNY, died in the collapse of Tower 2, WTC, New York, 9.59 am, 9/11/01. RIP

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 15 comments

IWSG: Bloody hell it's been awhile!


In a previous life, I was a pleasant Stormtrooper for the IWSG. My highest place on the Linky List was in the low 200's, and I think, in those days, there were many hundreds of participants.

And then 2016 came along and everything went to hell in a handbasket.

But what happened? No idea exactly, but I had a huge life change and to me the Blogger bubble burst - and so did my love of posting silly and fun stories three times a week.

Fast forward what, nearly three years later, and this is my first IWSG post (and I can tell because I had that old hesitation of is it "ISWG" or "IWSG!" 

My writing insecurities this month?

The same as the last couple of months, sadly! I'm so conflicted about writing my memoir, which is about the unique life I've had since leaving Ireland 30 years ago. I'm absolutely the shittiest self-promoter and cringe when I hear compliments about my writing (why is that???) so the thoughts of putting out a full book that's all about me.... dear God. Who would want to buy/read that?

However, as I'm not getting any younger and there is a finite opportunity here, I went out of my comfort zone last weekend to be a guest of a regional radio show to see how I'd sound sharing some highlights of my journey.

If you want to hear the hour-long interview (or have screaming kids you need to get to sleep), the link to that specific post and and the interview itself is here.

Personally, I did the ironing for an hour while I listened to myself and it was cringe-worthy (that accent!!) at the beginning, but by the end, I had 8 freshly ironed shirts and the interview wasn't as bad as I thought (how many times can someone go "Uhhh" and "Ehhhh" .... answer is lots and lots :)

I know this is a big ask, (and apologies for repeating myself,) but if anyone does listen to the full interview, I would be eternally grateful for your writer's point-of-view feedback.

Would you want to read my memoir?
Monday, September 2, 2019 5 comments

"Life Stories" Radio Interview


For awhile, I've been mulling writing my memoir about leaving Ireland and the twist and turns that led me back to Spain, but I'm not sure people would want to read my story. It's an interesting journey, but is it a great story?

So, when I saw a recent request on Facebook for guests for a regional radio show on Talk Radio Europe, I said well, that's a good idea and something I'd like to do!

I put myself out there and the presenter, Ian Rutter, was gracious enough to invite me on the show.

The interview aired on the radio yesterday (and will again this Wednesday), but CLICK HERE for the link if you'd like to listen to the hour interview while you're driving or doing the ironing, which is what I did!!

Can I ask a favor... I'd love your feedback. What do you think?

Would you read the book?
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