Thursday, October 25, 2012

Celebrity Encounters #1: Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers - circa 1970s
I was sharing some stories recently with my Lady about some of the crazy celebrity encounters I've had over the years, and thought it might make for a fun blog series.

Having spent many years of my youth, and some as an adult, growing up in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and the Hollywood area, I've often found myself in some interesting situations with the celebrity type; some more interesting than others. Some you may not know. Others you will instantly recognize. Either way, I hope you will find them equally entertaining.

I did a quick scan of my brain the other day -didn't take long - and I came up with a list of 20 or so people I've encountered over the years that I would say fit the celebrity status, or, at least, did at some point in their careers. I’m going to attempt to lay them out in chronological order, but to be honest that function of my brain is a bit faulty, so please bear with me.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween Costumes: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

"Blondie" by Rufogh
With Halloween around the corner, Alisha and I were reminiscing about our childhood days and the costumes we wore. She told me that her mother loved Halloween and would dress her up in all kinds of odd costumes. One that stuck out in her mind was when her mom dressed her up as Carmen Miranda the year she turned 8. You know, the famous Chica Chica lady from the 40’s and 50’s who wore those crazy fruit baskets on her head. Alisha had no clue who she was dressed up as, but noted that every door she went to the parents would yell, “Chica chica boom!” or “Carmen Miranda!” and give her lots of candy, so she enjoyed that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer of '86


A few weeks ago, Brandy over at Momwich.net (you should check her out, she is a riot, and and great Mom with a similar story) invited me to do a guest post on her blog. Of course I was honored to do so, and shared a little event that happened in my not-so-recent past, so I'm sharing that story here as well. Thank you again, Brandy!
* * * * *
Sometimes there are events that happen in our lives that remain forever etched in our minds. We can conjure up those memories so easily – the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions – as if they were a movie that can be rewound and played back again and again to our heart’s content. Occasionally these memories are ones we wished we could forget, but cannot. Others we recall with much fondness, gratitude, and joy. All help define who were are and how we respond to similar events that arise in our future. Such was the case for me 26 years ago.
It was the summer of 1986. I was a junior in high school heading into my senior year. Much promise and eager anticipation of my future hung in the balance. I had just hung up the phone with my girlfriend moments before my parents returned home from the store. My eyes immediately began to swell with tears upon seeing their faces.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Running

Back around this time last year Alisha and I held a photo contest as a way to kick-off Defying Procrastination in hopes of generating some followers and showcasing Alisha's art. It's crazy to think how much Defying Procrastination has grown in that short span of time. Just last week DP hit the 40,000 page view mark.

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my writing. It really means a lot to me, and inspires me to keep fighting off those procrastination demons so that I can continue to do what I love, and that is write.


Winners of the contest (1 Grand prize, 2 Runner ups) are getting their photo painted by Alisha and a complimentary short story or poem written by me. The theme is centered around photo's of shoes, since Alisha's specialty is painting life-like portraits of shoes (she can paint anything really). Hence the name of her gallery, Painting Life's Footsteps. We had over 60 entries. Today's post is the final product of one of the Runner-up winners, Shaun Temple of Birmingham, UK for his photo "Fila Footwear."


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Last Dance of the Lakota

The Native by Ron Monroe


Chief Ghost Wolf watched through pensive and blurry eyes as his people danced against the firelight, like they had done for as long as time remembered. Like blades of grass set in motion by the tranquil prairie winds, so too did the Lakota people sway in rhythm with the pounding of the drums and the enchanting cadence of the proud and once mighty tribe. Dressed in their elaborate and colorful traditions passed down through the ages, his people opened up their troubled hearts to the Great Spirit in the sky.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Shotgun and a Fist Full of Toilet Paper

Bathroom Stall by mirrormasked
I’m going to tread into a territory that I don’t normally go to on my blog, and that is “potty talk.”

Have you ever gone into a stall in a public bathroom, sat down, then noticed that the person next to you isn’t making any noise?

None. At. All.

No grunts, squirts, or plunges. No tugs on the toilet paper roll. No wiping. No snorting, chewing, or coughing. No tapping of their feet or snapping of their fingers. No clickity click sounds of their iPad or iPhone. No talking, humming, or singing. No moaning or slapping sounds. No sounds of their belt buckles, badges, pagers, or other belt accessories, brushing against the tile floor. No jingling of jewelry or beeps of their digital watches. No turning of pages or that familiar crinkle sound of a newspaper or magazine. No laughing or crying. No heavy breathing.

Nothing.

Dead silence.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lover's Leap

Battling Nature by Knold
Never one to turn down a dare, Nathan snatched the chalk sock from Brandon’s hands and began applying a healthy layer of climbers chalk on his hands.

No more words were exchanged.

Nathan clapped his hands together, adjusted his sunglasses, and like a prize fighter sizing up his next victim, let his gaze follow the rock formation from base to summit. A wall of treacherous stone towered over him, reaching more than 400 feet toward the heavens.

His face held a mask of battle-hardened determination.

Nathan’s mind was free of fear. As clear as the blue sky that spanned from horizon to horizon above him, his thoughts held little sway upon his conscience, like wispy white clouds on the outer fringes of his mind. The sun was his only guidance; a beacon of inspiration that provided focus for the task ahead.

Nathan lunged for the first handhold, then the next. Without rope or safety harness, he completed the first 30 feet of the climb like a seasoned veteran. Hand over hand, foot by foot he ascended. Stretching and leaping. Crisscrossing and sidestepping.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mile Marker 39: Believe


Abduction by tntrekabulator


If you told me two weeks ago that I would be one of those kooks claiming to have been abducted by aliens, I would have spit in your face and called you a stone cold liar. Yet here I am.

I’ve never been one to believe in the supernatural. What transpired on July 5th, 2012 changed the way I think – what I believe – who I am – forever. It very well may change yours, if you’re smart.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 8

St. Luke's Hospital - Chicago from Postcard Roundup
[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7]



Time and location unknown...



Darkness

I could hear voices, but I was in total darkness. Some were shouting, some less so, but all seemed far away, distorted. Frantic voices, bathed in chaos.

I was moving, but not of my own free will. I could feel the earth move beneath me, jostled and tossed about.  

Was this heaven or hell? It seemed more like hell to me.

Mary always tried to get me to go to confession. I should have listened to her, but I don’t think it would have helped me none. Some men sin more than others. Some men need to die for their sins.

The sounds were fading; fading into the blackness. I could no longer feel anything, hear anything.

This was hell alright...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 7

Escapism by KDMB

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]
[Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6]



Chicago – South Side – Liberty Motel


Big Jim Bradley sounded like he was in a piss poor mood, but then again I can’t recall a time when he wasn’t. Maybe it was only when he was around me. Either way, I wasn’t going to stick around and find out.

 I quickly threw on my trench, pocketed my shooter and wallet, slipped on my streetwalkers, and headed for the window.

"This is your last warning! Open up or we're coming in," a muffled shout came through the door as I worked the latches on the window. I pushed up with all my might, but it wouldn't budge. Years of neglect and far too many coats of cheep white lead paint kept it sealed tight. Good for keeping the heat in, but not so good for letting me the hell out.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl. I could feel the adrenaline racing through my veins. The shouts of the police behind me were subdued and muted by the sound of my own heart beating in my ears. No matter how hard I tried, the window would not budge. Soon the pounding in my ears was replaced by the sound of pounding on the door behind me.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 6


Gun by pixie-meat

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5]



Time and place unknown...


“Pull yourself together Dan. Feeling sorry for yourself ain't going to help matters none," I whispered, soft enough that only gods and the dead could hear.

I leaned down and picked up the only sock of mine that wasn't soaked in blood, then picked up the gun that was on the floor. It was a Colt 45 model M1917 revolver [1], serial number 193224. As I had suspected, it was mine. Its brushed blue carbon steel was cold in my hand. I checked the cylinder; one shot spent and there was black powder residue present in the chamber. No visible prints. I'd have to confirm later once I had my snooper gear. I laid the gun on the bed, and took a whiff of my shooting hand. As I feared, it smelled of gunpowder.

"Damn it Dan, you really done it this time." I’d hoped the gods hadn’t heard that.

Set up? Like hell.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 5

Snuff by O-onoes


[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]


Time and place unknown...


I decided the need for quick cash out-weighed any suspicions I might have of Mrs. Gladys, so I took the job. Pretty dames and the devil's currency are every man's weakness. Even a seasoned veteran like myself isn't totally immune to their powers.

We shared a few more drinks and conversation that night, and that's the last I remember of that evening… 

*****

I woke up suddenly to find myself in a small, dark room. The sound of the furnace kicking in woke me from my sleep. My head was pounding, and I had no idea where I was or how I had gotten there. A red flashing glow was streaming across the bed from the only window in the room, providing some faint lighting. As my eyes adjusted, I noticed a clock on the shelf that read a quarter after six. Was it morning or evening, I thought. Hell, it was hard to tell this time of year, even if I could see outside.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 4

Final Gun by Lucri

[background] [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]


1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

That kind of bread could help a man out of debt, this man in particular, but I needed some more information before I went and got myself into something I wasn't prepared for. Gladys seemed overly convinced that her husband had been murdered, yet according to her, the cops saw it as an open and shut suicide case. There had to be more to it than this dame was letting on.

"Before I give you an answer, Mrs. Gladys, I'd like to ask you a few more questions if you don't mind.”  I made sure my eyes were focused on her and not on the wad of cabbage rotting in front of me. Her finely tuned chassis eased my torment.


She nodded while casually exhaling a plume of smoke into the air. "I'll do what I can to help you, Dan," she replied. Although her words sounded promising, her demeanor seemed reluctant.

"Why are the cops dead set on this being a suicide case?"

"They found a note," she said, then took another draw from her gasper. "A suicide note, in his coat pocket."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The United States Constitution: The Man behind the Quill

Madison, James Madison by Vertazontal
James Madison is often sited as the “Father of the Constitution” though, even in his own words, the constitution was not "the off-spring of a single brain," but "the work of many heads and many hands.” It is largely accepted that Pennsylvania representative Gouverneur Morris wrote the preamble and Jacob Shallus, Assistant Clerk to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, actually pinned the United States Constitution. In truth, there were many great men and patriots responsible for the framework of the Constitution, some of which were not even present at the time of its construction; Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Thomas Paine chiefly among them.

However, James Madison rightly deserves his title as the “Father of the Constitution.” His in-depth and prolific research prior to the Philadelphia Convention, noted by Historian Douglass Adair, as “probably the most fruitful piece of scholarly research ever carried out by an American,” and his authoring of the Virginia Plan, set the groundwork for what was to become the United States Constitution. Even though Madison exhibited tremendous leadership, organizational skills, and heavily participated in the key debates that would define our country’s finest document, his greatest contribution to the creation and acceptance of the Constitution likely had nothing to do with its construction or authorship.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 3

Flapper 2 by Hyllna
[background] [Part 1] [Part 2]


1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

I had to think about Mary. She was widowed with three hungry mouths to feed. If this dame proved to be a reliable client, I could throw some much-needed cabbage Mary's way, and by the looks of it, this broad wasn't short on cash. I wasn't the type to go around taking wooden nickels, but hell, I didn't have anything else better to do, especially since Jack stood me up. I figured I should at least hear her out.

"Well you're in luck doll. It just so happens you've caught me in good mood," I said, forcing a smile. It was a lie of course. It was more out of desperation than anything else. This broad wasn't the only one who could put up a good front.

"Thank you Mr. Swagger, I was…"

"Uh uh… not so fast doll," I cut her off. "I'm willing to let you punch the bag [1], but on two conditions. First, your name, and second, you remove that squirrel cage so that I can see that pretty puss of yours." I won't lie, I wanted to see if her face matched the rest of her impressive chassis, but that wasn't the only reason. More so, I wanted to see her eyes. You can learn a lot about a person through their eyes. Any dick worth his weight has developed the skill of reading people’s eyes.

She hesitated.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 2


1920s Photo Shoot3 by Jun TAN
[background] [Part 1]


1927 - Chicago – West Side – Late Evening [continued...]

"Thanks doll-face," I said to Lucy, lifting my empty glass in a mock-toasting manner.

"Don't thank me Sparky, I ain't the one trying to swoon you," she quipped.

"And why the hell not?"

"A girl gots to have her standards," she returned with a sly grin and a tilt of her head.

"Ah hell Lucy, you really know how to charm a fella don't `cha?"

Truth be told, I wasn't looking my best that night. Oh sure, I had my on my regulars – a grey suit and black tie, white cotton shirt pressed with heavy starch, and a pair of black patent leather walkers – but I was looking rough. My suit was in need of pressing and cleaning, and my shoes lacked the shine and luster their quality and make demanded. Not to mention I was in desperate need of a bath and a shave; even more reason to be cautious of this broad.

I put out my already smoldering choke stick, grabbed up my newly acquired swill, and sauntered over to the damper-doll, keeping my eyes focused on her getaway sticks. I figured a dame willing to lay down a fair amount of cabbage for a drink for a man ought to buy her a moment of his time at least. Besides, I wanted to find out what this dame was all about. Perhaps my luck was about to change for the better.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dan Swagger: Death Only Knocks Once - Part 1


Downtown Chicago
circa 1920's

Character Introduction: Dan Swagger is a former police officer turned private investigator. He is more cunning than brawn, but certainly isn’t one to be bullied. This is fortunate for him, because his quick wit and no nonsense attitude tends to get him into trouble. In his mid-forties, he wears ruggedly handsome features and is of medium build, but carries himself in manner more fitting of a giant without fear.

Setting: Chicago - 1927, during the heart of prohibition and at the height of gangland activity from the likes of Al “Scarface” Capone, "Bugs" Moran, and "Lucky" Luciano to name a few. With prohibition in full swing, gangs fought viciously for control over being the bootlegger of choice. With the Great Depression and Black Tuesday (stock crash of 1929) just around the corner, times were tough, making people even tougher.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dan Swagger Project

Charles E, Walker - Writer, Inventor, Tough Guy, & my Dad
circa 1969
A few years ago I started a "Choose Your Own Adventure" writing project in honor of my father via a Yahoo Group. I'd post short snippets of a story loosely based on an unpublished novel my Father wrote a long time ago, and others (mostly friends and family members) would vote on a decision tree as to what Dan Swagger (the main character from my Father's book) would do next. I thought I'd rekindle that writing project, only this time, I would just progress the story with a few posts a week and see where it takes us.

Let me take a moment to give you some background information on my Father why I chose to base this project on his character Dan Swagger. For those who may not know, my Father passed away in 2006 at the age of 74 from complications with Leukemia. Some time during the early 1980's my Father wrote a book - which was a big accomplishment for a man born in the heart of the Great Depression (1932) with only a 7th grade education. My Mother and Father went to school in the same "one room" schoolhouse, which is still standing today.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Momma


My Momma - Myrtle Lee Walker
Nearly twenty-three years ago a very special person in my life passed away; Momma. She was only 54 years old, I was 19. She died from complications from brain aneurysm surgery. I have never forgiven God for that. I was very close to my mother. I was her baby of seven kids. Her passing had the most devastating and profound effect on my life. One which I am still recovering from.

I'll never forget three phone calls I received during that short period of time.

The first I received while I was still living in Phoenix. My (then) wife, some friends of ours, and my kids had all went to dinner. The men and women rode back home in separate cars. I had the girls with me (Amanda & Aletha). I arrived home first, but didn't have a key. I kept hearing the phone ring but couldn't answer it. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Glynis arrived with the key. As soon as I stepped through the door, the phone rang again. It was my dad. He said Mom had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.

The second, I received early one morning about a week later from my sister Janet. She was staying with Mom while she recovered from surgery. She said that mom was having a hard time walking and talking. I rushed over and found my Mom lying on the couch. I knew immediately that something was wrong. I told my sister to call the ambulance. I sat down and held my Mother in my arms. She could barely move... barely talk. She forced a hand to my face and looked at me lovingly, as she always did, with those motherly eyes and said, "Michael, my baby Michael." Those were the last words she ever spoke.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grandma's Story #1: Pages 21-End

Grandma Dovie Walker
About a year ago I discovered some old handwritten stories my Grandmother Walker wrote back sometime before the Great Depression. It was a real treasure find for me, especially since I had never gotten the chance to meet her - she passed away just a few years after my father was born. You can read the story behind the story here: Grandma's Story #1.


I decided to compile the first 5 pages into one to make it easier to read. In the future I'll keep with this format, transcribing 5 pages at a time until I have the entire story transcribed..


If you see any errors or have comments about my interpertations or transcriptions please pass them along in the comment section below.


THANKS!


[PAGES 1-5] [PAGES 6-10] [PAGES 11-15] [PAGES 16-20]



[continued from page 20…] that she went to lots of them by slipping off after we went to bed and her brother would keep it a secret from me, but since she ran away and married she is so wild her brothers see where they done wrong by upholding her in her meanness.

So I still see trouble in my old days; my children are almost running me crazy after all I have gone through. They don’t seem to think that it wearies their mother. My youngest girl is 14 now and is an awful quiet girl.

Girls obey your parents and don’t think because your mother wants you to do right that she is mean to you, for your mother has already been over the road that you are going and knows what life is.

Ruby, my youngest girl, likes to read to me and she is lots of company to me since my eyes have gotten so I can’t read to do any good. But James doesn’t like for us to read novels or the papers. He says they are all lies, but that is about all the pleasure I can see is reading.

Boys obey your parents that you may live long on Earth, for the Bible says that. I have raised 6 boys to be almost grown and I haven’t seen but one of them drunk and that was my 4th boy. When he was 20 years old he came in sight of the house and got off of his horse and laid down, for we had always taught them to never drink, and he wouldn’t come on to the house. His boy friend came and told us that Sam was laying up there drunk and wouldn’t come on to the house and now he can’t walk so his father had William, one of the youngest boys, to catch out the horse and put it to the side and haul him to the house. He was poisoned on poison whiskey. He didn’t know anything when he was carried in to the house. I don’t think it could have hurt me much worse to have seen him carried to the grave yard as to seen him like that, but I was good to him and fixed him hot coffee and made him vomit up the poison. But, when he was alright again I begged him never to touch another drop, and if he has, I have never knew it. I haven’t a boy that gambles but I can say one good thing for James, he never drank much, never got drunk or gambled or allowed such about our house.

My girl that is married is my biggest trouble now: if she would only live right. She has two boys and oh how they are raising them up. People of today are not raising their children to go to church and to live right like we raised ours. The last I heard from Mae she was in the hospital to be operated on for appendicitis and I am praying for her that she might live to repent, for she has so many sins. When she was at home last to see me she got mad at me for not wanting her to go to a dance and she called me everything but a mother. It was almost more than I could stand. James had a pistol behind a picture on the wall. I intended to get it and end it all but she beat me to it and called James. Just to think, my girl would stand up and call me everything when I had went through with what I had to try to raise her and give her an education, but a mother never knows what she is raising one for.

Well, here I am now, 50 years old and James 49 years old. We are trying to live the life we ought to have lived in our young days, but one can’t live their lives over. I hope the ones that read this will find a lesson in it that will help them to live right and to help them to be good to each other and always do unto others as they wish others to do unto them, for I know I haven’t many years more to live but I want to try to live and follow the golden rule so, when I leave here, I will have a promise of a better home above.



DOUBLE CLICK TO ENLARGE


Story 1 - Page 21

Story 1 - Page 22

Story 1 - Page 23

Story 1 - Page 24

Story 1 - Page 25

Story 1 - Page 26

Story 1 - Page 27

Story 1 - Page 28


Well, that's it. That concludes Grandma's Story #1. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have. Reading these old stories really takes you back to another time and place. Things were so different back in the 1920's, yet they still had to deal with a lot of the same issues we do today: infidelity, alcoholism, domestic violence, poverty, education, and mixed families. That makes the story timeless, because no matter how technologically advanced we become, one thing will remain inherently true, we are human and these are issues that have transcended the ages and will continue to until we all become zombies or mindless drones.

My plan now is to compile all the transcribed pages into an e-book that anyone can download for free, but mostly for my family to have and cherish. However, before I do that, the story needs a title. Grandma didn't title her stories, so I'm thinking of holding a contest to pick a title for the story. What do you guys think of that?

Up next is Story #2. I'll be posting the first 5 pages soon, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Thank you for all of your kind words and creative feedback, it makes it all worth it.


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

Find any errors? Any suggestions for the edits or highlighted areas? Would love your help.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Grandma's Story #1: Pages 16-20

Grandma Dovie Walker
About a year ago I discovered some old handwritten stories my Grandmother Walker wrote back sometime before the Great Depression. It was a real treasure find for me, especially since I had never gotten the chance to meet her - she passed away just a few years after my father was born. You can read the story behind the story here: Grandma's Story #1.


I decided to compile the first 5 pages into one to make it easier to read. In the future I'll keep with this format, transcribing 5 pages at a time until I have the entire story transcribed..


If you see any errors or have comments about my interpertations or transcriptions please pass them along in the comment section below.


THANKS!


[PAGES 1-5] [PAGES 6-10] [PAGES 11-15]


I finally got out on the fence and sat down determined not to go to bed until he came home and tell him what was what, and how he was going to have to change or I wasn't going to live with him. I guess it was midnight when he came and I was sitting out on the fence. Then and there I got my second whipping by my second husband, but I guess I needed one that night for being so silly.

Well we had our ups and downs for several years over other women, but I was true to him. He stayed away from home a lot working at Public works while we were raising a family. When our third boy was about 15 years old we lived closer to my father. He had a boy by the name of Ben Hooper staying with him. He always had someone around to be a slave and to cause trouble.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Grandma's Story #1: Pages 11-15

Grandma Dovie Walker
 About a year ago I discovered some old handwritten stories my Grandmother Walker wrote back sometime before the Great Depression. It was a real treasure find for me, especially since I had never gotten the chance to meet her - she passed away just a few years after my father was born. You can read the story behind the story here: Grandma's Story #1.


I decided to compile the first 5 pages into one to make it easier to read. In the future I'll keep with this format, transcribing 5 pages at a time until I have the entire story transcribed..


If you see any errors or have comments about my interpertations or transcriptions please pass them along in the comment section below.


THANKS!


[PAGES 1-5] [PAGES 6-10]



[Continued frompage 10] …but still he wouldn’t let anyone know that.

So I stayed at home with my parents and worked like a hired servant until I was 19 years old, when along came James Henry. I fell in love for the second time but if one could see the future ahead there would be several steps they wouldn’t take - girls don’t be too quick to marry - for I would have been better off to have not married my second time. But I did. For, James and I were marred soon after our first meeting.