This Present Moment

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 27, 2009 under Personal | 2 Comments to Read

I was at an interesting party about the time that I had traveled 17 revolutions around the sun.  A lot of philosophical professor types getting buzzed and talking about all kinds of metaphysical existentialist things.  Yikes – an intellectual smorgasbord!

I was discussing some mundane topic like the meaning of life with a psychologist by the name of George Appleton.  I remember that he had his arm in a cast.  Found out later that George had broken it by tobogganing off the roof of his house.  Also found out that he liked to go duck hunting with a submachine gun.  Appleton may have had a few personal idiosyncrasies…

When another person joined us, the conversation took a twist.  I’m going to have to paraphrase & significantly condense, but this should be a fairly good depiction of the exchange that took place:

Other Person:  I had a rotten childhood and crummy parents.

Appleton:  OK, so what are you going to do about it now?

Other Person:   I have no friends and no one likes me.

Appleton:  OK, so what are you going to do about it now?

Other Person:   I’ve been treated unfairly by others.

Appleton:  OK, so what are you going to do about it now?

Other Person:   Life sucks, I’m bored, I never get a break, and so on.

Appleton:  OK, so what are you going to do about it now?

I’m sure you get the picture of where Appleton was coming from.  It was one heck of a revelation for me.  I was very fortunate to have been present during that conversation.

Appleton taught me that unless I could go back in time and change things, I had better be concerned about my present choices.  The present moment is everything – there is no rewind button when it comes to life.

Of course, I’ve had to re-learn this lesson periodically, but it enabled me, at a young age, to accept personal responsibility for my own life.

But that also left a lot of time for me to create other more interesting problems…

And for that, I thank you George Appleton.



The DeadBeats

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 26, 2009 under Music/Musicians | 8 Comments to Read

The DeadBeats World Tour – Coming Soon To A Town Near You!

(L-R) u.Jimi, Fran, Eddy & Wild Bill

(L-R) u.Jimi, Fran, Eddy & Wild Bill

My latest band, The DeadBeats, is the best band ever to never perform.

With a little luck and a whole lot of lack of effort we will be able to hold on to our self-proclaimed title.

We’re working on the endorsements and merchandise deals now.

The DeadBeats don’t take themselves too seriously and neither should you.

At least I can proudly say to everyone I meet, “Hey, I’m a DeadBeat!”



Some Thoughts on Common Courtesy

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 18, 2009 under Personal | 3 Comments to Read

I find myself more and more often in the midst of unhappy and uncivil people.  There’s a certain element of being a good American and being abrasive, but there are reasonable alternatives too.  I prefer common courtesy and civil politeness.

Fundamentally, we are all orbiting the sun together on the planet we call Earth.  There are very big things out there more worthy of our time and consideration than the pettiness that we all too often spend our valuable time on.

Some specific observations:

It is never a good idea, under any circumstance, to piss-off the cook or waiter before you get your food.  Anyone who has ever worked in the food service industry knows this.  Trust me.  And please tip your service staff generously if they serve you well.

All too often I have an idiot driver in front of me.  More often than not it is an elderly person.  Just remember, that could be your parent or grandparent and how would you like them treated by others?  Once it actually was my parent.  People of all ages have bad days and do stupid things while driving.  I have, tell me that you haven’t…cut some slack.

If you go to a drive-thru window, expect to be screwed.  That’s just the price we pay for convenience.

I’ve lived through the Modern Feminist Movement.  I believe in equal pay for equal work.  I know that there is a difference between men and women.  Personally, I like that difference and respect it.  Therefore, treating a woman, as a lady does not nullify any equality under the law, it just shows a respect for the other gender.  Furthermore, I do not understand why women are more willing to be subjugated by popular culture today than they have in the past.  As a man, I find it embarrassing.  Makes no sense to me, but maybe I’m getting too long in the tooth….

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, never, ever, underestimate the power of a random act of kindness or a senseless act of beauty.  It’s such a selfish thing to do because it feels so good.  The “Pay it Forward” and “The Butterfly Effect” of doing something nice for someone – you just never know what good it will produce.



Phelps: One Toke Over The Line!

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 16, 2009 under In The News | 9 Comments to Read

I feel compelled to comment upon the notorious dope smoking photo of US Mega Olympic Champion Michael Phelps – As a society, we seriously need to grow up.

Perhaps Michael Phelps smokes marijuana, perhaps he does not – I don’t care either way.  We do have a picture of him hitting a bong, which he apparently does not deny.

Michael Phelps Doing What He Does Best

Michael Phelps Doing What He Does Best

If it’s true, then we would all have to face the fact that you can win more gold medals in Olympic history and still smoke grass.

Is our civilization crumbling?  Is the sky falling?  Are we all lost?

When I was much younger, I realized that sooner or later, we would be able to rationally think through our position on marijuana and then re-legalize it.  I still feel that way, but had no idea that the “later” would be so much later.

Barney Fife

And to the Barney Fife Sheriff down there that has spent unbelievable amounts of money and manpower to get to the bottom of this heinous crime, I am truly glad that you are not my Sheriff.  I suspect that the victims of rape, murder, assault & robbery in your jurisdiction wish that they had received the same amount of dedication of time and resources as the Michael Phelps photograph.



My Numeric Progeny

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 13, 2009 under Personal | 11 Comments to Read

I have three daughters, and though they have given names, I prefer to refer to them by their numerical birth order.  Thus, my daughters are One, Two & Three.

(From left to right) Three, Two & One

(From left to right) Three, Two & One

My Dad turned me on to Charlie Chan movies (the black & white days), and Charlie always referred to his eldest son as “Number One Son,” so that is probably where my numeric system comes from…or perhaps it is that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t escape my background in accounting.

I think this is also a very practical way to talk about my kids with anyone else.  Why burden other people with the responsibility of remembering your children’s names?  My numeric name system to those outside my family is clear and easy.  And from my experience, seems to work well.

So as you can figure, in discussion, if I inadvertently say my child’s name, my listeners usually tend to ask: which kid is that?  One, Two or Three?

When One became pregnant, I had to consider my numeric nomenclature.

The answer was not difficult to arrive at.  Since One is my first child, therefore her first child, in relation to me, is 1.1.  Ah, the joys of fundamental mathematics.



My first grand child, 1.1, is two years old now, but she is still too young to be informed of her designation yet.  I can’t wait.

Now the plot thickens, but the methodology holds up.  Daughters Two and One are presently simultaneously pregnant, in that relative order.  A first child for daughter Two and a second child for daughter One.

According to my system then, One is having 1.2 and Two is having 2.1.

1.2 and 2.1 makes for reciprocal grand children – what a delightful coincidence!

And maybe, I just have too much time on my hands…but most certainly, I have very understanding daughters.



The Future Is Upon Us…And It Might Be Pretty Good!

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 11, 2009 under Social Issues/Politics | 4 Comments to Read

Doom and gloom can be an easy trap to fall into.  After all, does not misery love company?  Well, obsess negatively if you must, but I do not.  I think that this is a most wonderful time to be alive.

The Last 100 Years
Let’s take a look at just a few of the advances over the last century. To start with, we had this thing called the Industrial Revolution, the catapult for all to come.  Municipal electricity and the telephone were great advances.  Then we have readily available automobiles (the horseless carriage, in the vernacular of the time) soon followed by the airplane, television and walking on the moon.  Of course my personal favorite advancement during this time period was in-door plumbing.


The Last 25 Years
My youngest daughter, at age 18, has no conception that we ever lived without the Internet, much less computers or 3,147 television channels.  Cell phones are ubiquitous.  GPS is readily accessible.  Digital everything.  But, remember that even within this very time frame, pocket calculators and LED watches first became economical to everyone.

TV Remote Control 1955

The Present
The Technological/Information Revolution may make the Industrial Revolution look like a hiccup.  The rate of technology turnover is at an unprecedented level and appears to be only getting faster.  People are living longer, coupled with a much higher quality of life.

Ray Kurzweil, technology visionary, is planning on living forever and not in the “so far, so good” sense.  He believes that if he lives responsibly, in the near future, medical science will be able to fix him before he breaks permanently.  Kurzweil is a brilliant human and his opinion is not to be taken lightly.


The Future
It is not only reasonable, but also highly likely, based on the march of technology, that within 20 years we will be able to derive ALL of our energy needs from solar power.  That does not factor current advancements in electric, wind, geo-thermal, hydrogen and nuclear technologies.  Also, nanotechnology and robotics have some really interesting aspects.

Solar Panels

So if you are worried about global warming and even if that concern is valid, the greater likelihood is that we will stop greenhouse gas emissions much sooner than the end-of-the-world guys would have you think.

My Concerns
Any technology that can be used for good can also be used for evil.  I expect that there will be bad uses of technology, but I think that the good will outweigh the bad overall.

I know that there are those out there rooting for the Christian Apocalypse or the Mayan 2012 calendar end of the world, but I think that in the foreseeable future they will be disappointed.  By the fact that we have not managed to nuke ourselves into extinction yet says some good about us.

You know what my biggest worry of all is?  It is the possibility that Americans are so fat, dumb and happy that they just don’t care about what happens.  Apathy could be our biggest enemy of all.  This is a threat and we need to be cognizant of it.

I know that the only constant is change.  Because of that, I know that life should continue to get better for all, but realistically, it will be a roller coaster ride.  Hey folks, change is never easy, even if it is for our benefit.

So be of good cheer, the odds are overwhelming that the best times are coming.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!



Celebrating Other People’s Pain

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 8, 2009 under Personal | 3 Comments to Read

I recently recalled a perspective changing event from my youth.  Thought I would share:

My brother was sick.  Yeah, he was sick, but he wasn’t feeling well either…

Dad said that he had to go see the doctor.

I surmised that there was a good chance that he would have to get a shot.

Oh Yeah, You Know What's Comig

Oh Yeah, You Know What's Comig

The thought of seeing him squirm and in pain appealed to me, so I asked if I could go along.

The doctor visit went like this:

Doctor to my dad: This one’s sick (my brother) – can’t really do anything for him.  How’s the other one (me)?

Dad to doctor: He’s fine, so far.

Doctor to my dad: Well then, I can give him (me) a shot so he won’t get it.

Frankly Francis: YIKES!

So as this little true parable turns out, I got the dreaded injection and my brother got to see me squirm.

Last time I ever thought about seeing pain inflicted upon anyone.  As usual, I learned my lesson the hard way.



Dr. John – The Night Tripper

Posted by Frankly Francis on February 3, 2009 under Music/Musicians | 3 Comments to Read

Who doesn’t remember their first concert?

Well, my first concert occurred on April 1, 1972 with Dr. John opening for Emerson, Lake & Palmer at the venerable Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium.

While I was broadly schooled in most varieties of music, Dr. John’s New Orleans style, coupled with his Mardi Gras costume and pixie dust was overwhelming to me at 15 years of age.  It changed my perceptions.

Dr. John

Dr. John

Ever since, I’ve been drawn to the music of the Big Easy: Jazz, Blues, Dixieland, Gospel, Cajun, and Zydeco.  That Voodoo sure has some draw.

If you haven’t let it into your heart and your head, I would urge you to try what you’ve been missing.  I’m not preaching and I don’t want to convert you (I got past that), but it is some wonderful stuff.

A couple of summer’s ago, I saw Dr. John perform at an outdoor venue.  Many, many years had passed since I lost my aforementioned concert virginity…

Number Two Daughter (I prefer to refer to my daughters by their birth order) went with me to the show.  Out of nowhere, I thought, it would be pretty special to meet Dr. John.

Two accompanied me in search of his tour bus.  Did I mention that it is fortunate that my daughters look like their mother?  Once found, I asked the bus door guard if we could meet Dr. John…

After a spell, the bus door guard returned and said that the Good Doctor would see us, but the Good Doctor would need a hug.  I considered this momentarily and said, “Sure, I’ll give him a hug.”  Door Guard looked at me with disdain and motioned to Two.  Realizing, I looked at her and asked, “Are you willing to take one for the team?”  Two assented (God Bless Her) and in to meet Dr. John we went…

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed meeting him or how open and friendly he was.  I cannot begin to tell you how much natural grace and dignity he had.  I cannot begin to tell you how comfortable we were made to feel.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times he hugged Two.  I was in the Court of the King of New Orleans.  It was really special.  And I got a hug too!