Dear Friends, Last week my friend Marilyn Dreampeace died. She left our world a few decades shy of what is generally considered old age. Her family, and we in the Art Car Family, indeed the whole of the living world, we all lost a person who, when pressed for words to describe her, this writer could only come up with Lovelovelovelovelovelovelovelovelove. I wrote a few more words than that in an attempted eulogy the day after she died, but not much before I gave up and buckled over my computer keyboard crying. Then a few days later, the most lovely words about Marilyn written by her granddaughter came my way via friends. I asked permission to post them here. Permission granted, I give you Chelsea's ode to Marilyn. (The "forward" is from Marilyn's husband, Shalom)
Marilyn (left) & her sister Sunshine
From: Compost@aol.com I got permission from Chelsea to pass on what she wrote in the minutes after she was told her Grandmother had died. No finer obituary has ever been written. (I put Marilyn's final completed needlepoint into the mail to our youngest great-nephew just 2 hours before Marilyn died.) -- Shalom
hello family tonight's date is november 25, 2007 at five thirty tonight we lost a loved one. marilyn nelson. (dreampeace, compost) she was my grandma and still is in heart, she loved anyone she met sure there were people she didn't necessarily agree with but she had a huge heart she taught me as well as others so much marilyn worked for the people and with the people in her off time she was attending peace rallies and tending to her family life i remember her smile and voice from last time i saw her two weeks ago i arrived in santa cruz to visit her in the hospital she was trying her best to remain calm and happy the whole family had their concerns and thoughts (i apologize right now for this email being so scrambled but as many of you know i write in order to release me feelings) some of us lost a sister, a wife, an aunt, a mother, a grandma, a co-worker, a cousin, an anything but we all lost a friend a kind young hearted friend she always put others before herself in acts of kindness her actions consisted of honest from the heart things such as letting me be the first to paint the "come play with me" beemer or supporting her three children with their life choices marilyn took me under her wing for years putting me through school and putting clothes on my back when my own mother wasn't able to be there for me, marilyn was when shalom had long stressful days at work she would be there to talk to and give great advice all these things from one woman she wasn't just my grandma but my best friend, and the family knot. every holiday we could count on going to marilyn's, everyone could no matter if you were related by blood or not she would welcome you with open arms it's as if our family and her life were one of her needle point projects every stitch so carefully thought out and every color selected for a reason but once she felt she had done her job well, the needle point stocking would rest safely not on a couch not in a chair not in the car but in someones caring hands to be forever treasured that's what she did she patched our family together and once she trusted we could takeover she left it in our hands to be caring and responsible so it is our job, as a family, to watch over this gift of love, to not let it tear away but to keep it and treasure it not to mourn over the stitcher's hands being let off but to have joy in what cradled us for so long.
Rest in Dreampeace, sweet Marilyn! (For more recent pix of Marilyn, click the photo above)
"Marilyn Dreampeace is dead."
This knowledge came to me deep in the night from art car artist and friend Kelly Lyles. I was just shutting down my computer after a marathon day of staring agog into Cyberspace. I only read the subject line. It was enough. I powered down and crawled into bed. I didn't cry. I imagine in time I will. But to cry at the passing of someone who shined as brightly in this world as Marilyn seems almost anathema to the woman herself, to one of the if-not-happiest people I have ever met then certainly one who carried herself with so much joy that those around her couldn't help but be happy in her presence. In time, I will no doubt cry over Marilyn's passing, but they will be selfish tears, tears of sadness wrought from my sense of my loss of her, my loss and the loss felt by others who loved her. Then I will cry tears of joy and celebration, for that is what Marilyn would have wanted. That's what she deserves. She was a saint, a bright, bright light in a world of so much darkness, a multi-colored paint-splattered rainbow Giver of Love, a great hugger.. ah shit. Now I'm crying. Sorry, Marilyn. (this eulogy under construction.. please visit later.. after I get my head together, formulate what I wanna say.) Thanks. - RSM
Friday, November 23, 2007
I'm very fond of my Appalachian Trail friend and brother Tinker, aka David Pozlusny, for all that he is and does. I was recently having a laugh at some vids we made in the canyon country of northern Arizona and southern Utah following his return from the Gulf War, decided to post them on YouTube, told Tinker about them, and was told in response of his new web site TheGreasyBrothers.com dedicated to the use of waste vegetable oil as automotive fuel, and of a video slated for the Hallmark Channel currently posted on YouTube. I watched it with awe and a great swelling sense of pride in my ingenious young friend.
I encourage you to watch the two canyon videos (shot near Lee's Ferry, the jump-off point for Grand Canyon paddlers) first as they are short and fun. Then watch Tinker's video. I challenge you not to be truly impressed. David Pozlusny is in his early 20s. I am forty-one. I look like a total goofball next to him. I suppose I am. And that's all right with me. Somebody has to be! Enjoy! - RSM
Canyon Run part one
Canyon Run part two
The Greasy Brothers interviewed by Stuart Siegal
Saturday, November 3, 2007
The people took the streets last night for the annual Dia de los
Muertos procession in San Francisco's Mission district in what famed
costumer Annie Coulter Couture confirmed as unprecedented numbers. Lez
and I ran into Annie in Garfield Park after perhaps two hours of
wonderfully slow parading, quite literally a zombie's pace, the
procession at a dead stand-still time and again as marching bands and
other music & dance oriented acts stopped to get it on.
Garfield park was a dreamland for the deceased, all warmly lit in
candlelight as alters and reliquaries adorned the entire grounds. I had
carried my own little homemade reliquary through the procession, a
chunk of cardboard adorned with flowers, a burning red candle and
photos of the friends I have lost in recent years. I was amazed at how
much of a draw my little dedication proved to be. People kept jumping
in front of me to snap photos of my alter, or me and my alter I
suppose, as I was something of a sight, in black suit and black top hat
with nest of dirty blonde hair splayed out in bright candlelit
At the park, I bid my friends farewell for the night, setting them
down amidst a legion of other loved ones, incense and sweet sentiments
scrawled on notes amidst flowers and candles. Eerily, the candle
burning for my friends lasted exactly the duration of the procession,
flaming out the moment we reached the group alter. No sooner did I
place my friends down than a young man behind me offered up his Virgin
of Guadalupe tall glass candle to light then anew.
Some said the huge turnout last night was a reaction to the city
putting the big ki-bosh on Halloween night in the Castro, a
police-action poopout that cost local businesses tens of thousands of
dollars in revenue and has city officials backpaddling their actions.
Whatever the cause, it's always great to see the people take back the
streets in such enormous swarms. Add the intensity of event's mindful
purpose, and you had one magic night in San Francisco.
For anyone who knew James Hull, he was strong in our minds last night. I have only dabbled in YouTube, but am adding things now and again. There are a couple of short but endearing little clips of James on my YouTube site,GonzoDNA.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Cypress Trees on the
Mississippi photo by Frank Grandau
For any of you who followed "The Dreamcatcher Expedition," that is
to say the canoe journey of Frank Grandau, his dog Clyde and I down the
Mississippi River last year (dreamed up by Frank and given a clever
theme by me), well, Frank's still at it. I had to give up due to soft
tissue damage in my shoulders, and Frank followed suit just days later
realizing we'd begun far too late in the season anyway to make it all
the way from the river's headwaters to the sea. That was a year ago.
I just received word from Frank that he made it all the way to
Arkansas this season, he and his dog Clyde. One thousand miles in two
months! Bravo, Frank. He has just 800 miles to go now to finish, and I
have no doubt he will succeed when he sets out again next summer.
Anyone interested in reading his blog from this summer's journey should visit him at www.dogpaddling.blogspot.com
As for me, I don't care if I never canoe again in my life, tandem
anyway. Solo, maybe. The need to always be paddling to keep the other
guy from having to paddle twice as hard, well, fuck that. For some damn
reason, it had never occurred to me beforehand, and I paid a steep
price. My reply email to Frank tells that story well enough:
Bravo for the two old dogs! I'd like to say I had been following your
journey, but I was not. I have been w/o laptop and thus almost
completely "unplugged" for the better part of five months. But I am
pleased to hear of your progress, of your giant leap ahead, and of your
plans to finish. I am, alas, reminded almost daily of the judgment
error of thinking I could "train as I go" on the river as I did on the
AT. I don't know if my shoulders will ever heal. And yes, I fell on my
lower back months ago and that isn't going away on its own, either. The
resultant immobility has been frustrating as hell, though I have taken
up bicycling as a way of keeping in shape with the only part of my body
seemingly uninjured. The lesson learned on the river was a good one,
however, as it has given me perspective in my plans to journey far
under sail. I have a friend very eager (and experienced) to hit deep
water w/me, perhaps a crossing of the Pacific. But I am very wary,
knowing what I know now about team efforts. I'd almost prefer to do a
solo someday in the faroff future when and if I am ready. I am more
likely to return to hiking. For in hiking, I can always stop, rest, go
at my own pace. Well, blah blah blah. I ramble. Again, I AM VERY happy
for you, Frank, and Clyde. I wish you a restful winter and blessings on
you both, and mom and sis, too. Best, Rick
Aboard Mike's boat "Natural High" at sunset over San Francisco. Click the photo to see a few folks who fared (far) worse than us!
Weird gray morning on the moat waters of Oz. Lotta sleep to catch up after mad hatteresque birthday weekend sail. Left the marina aboard the good ship Mike M. at a little after noon on the day after my birthday. We were minus two intended passengers: Haideen and Tom Kennedy, the latter his birthday the day after mine. In retrospect I must say whatever intuition called him away from the sailing plans we'd made the night before is an intuition he should forever follow.
Twas a spectacular day in every way and we hit upwards of 6 or 7 knots, at times healing heavy with spray over the bow, the whole bit. Sun, shining, winds just right, the city glistening beside the Gate, Alcatraz closer than I'd ever seen her but from a tourist boat. Even had the honor and good fortune of sighting and snatching out of the water on my first pass of it: a purple balloon with note attached. Turned out to be from a child's birthday party from the day before: the 27th, my birthday. The attached note provided an email address to write and claim a prize. (See our correspondence below.) The REAL prize was in finding it, and in the pure crazy coincidental nature of it.
Things went sour after sunset though. Just beneath the Bay Bridge on the windward side of Treasure Island, the wind quit entirely. Die-hard sailor Mike, not one to jump on the engine, tried everything he could, employing his most gossamer sail, the jennaker, to catch even the slightest whiff of wind. Nothing. Only then did we turn on the engine. A few minutes later, the engine quit.
Out of gas. I found a spare can deep in the holds, poured it in and prayed. Nothing. The diesel engine make as though she wanted to start just once over the next hour's efforts, then never again. We were stranded.
Within no time we were worse than stranded. We were badly adrift. One minute the mouth of the Oakland estuary was in sight. Next we were drifting quite literally sideways straight out into the deepest part of the bay, the shipping lane. Not until the red demon came out of the night closing in on us at breakneck speed did I realize just how fast we were moving in the wrong direction.
What happened next recalled in me with a familiar sense of helplessness. I flashed back on the moment long ago when, from the engine of a speeding train, I held out my hand and stomped my foot as if to brake to no avail and watched helplessly as our train devoured a human being with locomotive force. This time it was a buoy bearing down on us. Well, no, that's not right. We were bearing down on it. But out there in the dark with all perspective lost, you could have fooled me. Worse, I never knew a buoy could be so big.
It struck us on the port side aft with enough force to shatter a teak shelf inside the cabin. In retrospect, I feel sure if Mike's boat had been made of wood, that buoy would have sunk us. Amazingly, the flexible fiberglass hull just gave way and popped right back into place, as though we'd hit something from outside the Matrix. Or would that be inside the Matrix? Whatever.
As I watched the blinking red light atop our nemesis recede into the ever-stranger night, I heard myself echoing Mike's idea of dropping the anchor and then shouting, "Yes! Yes! Drop anchor! Drop anchor NOW!" When the anchor caught, the boat spun around with an eerie mind of its own quality. And then came the rush of water moving by us as, at last, we came to rest, and all that water flooding in through the Golden Gate toward the south of the bay rushed past us like a river.
We spent the entirety of that night on the bay. It was strange and a bit disquieting, being anchored out there in the shipping lane with naught but our spreader lights to alert big ships of our presence. I took solace in the fact that we'd dropped anchor fast enough after the buoy collision that the buoy was fairly close by. What had for a moment been an object of great terror was now suddenly our friend.
I started this tale yesterday, but currently without a computer of my own, I am just now getting it finished and posted today, Halloween. I've been wondering all day what I could do to go out and get really spooked on this, my favorite night of the year. But after the other night's bay adventure, I dunno. I think I'll stay home and watch Bucket of Blood.
Correspondence with The Balloon Birthday people:
Me: Found your balloon on the day after my birthday, out sailing around Angel Island. Spotted it and swung round and snatched it from the water myself whilst steering and without stopping. Got it on the first pass! A mutual Happy Birthday wish to Aidan, or is it Aldan? Tough to read the blurred print. What a treat to find such a treasure and from one with whom I share a birthday! Hope it was a great one!
All the best,
Them: Wow! As the young at heart dad who thought up this crazy idea I have to say I am surprised that someone found any. Each kid let one go, bright-eyed and full of amazement. I love the image of you leaning over the side too.
What's even more astounding is that I just got another email from another person who found a balloon off Angel Island! The currents were all going the same way I guess...my son was so excited...his actual birthday is today.
The "reward" is a Reses peanutbutter cup and this morning he said "we need to send the present to that guy."
Glad to hear you were out on the water on such a beautiful day...
Friday, October 29, 2007
Photo courtesy of mi amigo Michael Strickland
Friday, October 27, 2007
JIGGLE ME THAT
Happy Birthday to Me. Yeah, that's right. I turn five today. Or turned. As of 2:10 a.m. EST, I was born in Salem Massachusetts long, long ago. Forty one years ago. And as I was recently taught by friends to reckon it: 4 + 1 = 5. So I am five.
This is where Rick McKinney begins and Jigglebox ends.
Half of everyone I have ever met has aspired to my occupation. I remember the day when I used to boldly claim "I AM WRITER!" just to hear myself say it and hope it be true. Well, it has long since come true, and I'm ever the more the mental case for it. Now, ever since some cyberjerkoff put together the words "web" and "log," the ENTIRE OTHER HALF of the world's population has jumped on the bandwagon.
Now, if the Internet is anything to believe, EVERYONE IS A WRITER!
Well, congratulations to you all. I commend you and applaud you and invite you all to toss your mortarboards in the air! Whoo-hooo!
Pay no attention to the man kicking you in the balls whilst your heads are tossed back in graduated glee. It's just me, getting my just desserts. It's only fair. After all, you've all put me out of business, haven't you? If EVERYONE IS A WRITER now, ipso facto ergo blah blah, I AM OUT OF A JOB!
Thank you very little, world. If I had the time, I line you all up to kiss my ass and have my assistant pass out cookies.
Today is MY BIRTHDAY and this is MY PARTY and I'm pulling Jigglebox.com OFF THE AIR for the day to enunciate my sincere loathing for every Tom, Dick and cyberJulie who think you can write BETTER than me or BE a writer INSTANTLY, JUST ADD BLOGGER!
So suck this and Jiggle me that. I'm off to the October 27th, 2007 "End The War Now!" rally in San Francisco today.
My good buddy and fellow scorpio - his birthday's tomorrow - Tom Kennedy (creator of The Topsy-Turvy Bus for Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's) and I will no doubt run into ole George W and Tiny Dick C, have a little tea with the boys, work things out, you know. And when we've solved the Pentagon's penchant for whaling on small nations full of darkies, I'm gonna see if I can't get my exec & chief and his homies to toss me a special 41th birthday present. Should be a cinch with all these new anti-terrorist laws in effect and such. I'm not gonna ask for much, just the illegalization of FREE SPEECH FOR IDIOTS from the OLE WWW! The World Wide Web, cleansed of idiot banter once and for all so that WE, THE ELITE AND WELL-HUNG, er, TRAINED WRITERS may again practice our craft without sharing headline space with trailer trash with double digit I.Q.s. Right.
This is Jigglebox.com. We rule and you know it. If you don't, again I say, it's my party and...
Have a groooooooooooooovy Saturday the 27th, a GREAT end of October, and come back often and soon to check out this, the new ATTITUDE EYE OPENER front page of Jigglebox.com.