It’s easy to get lost in this world even while pursuing a clear objective. Running into so many trees you lose perspective regarding the forest as a whole; unwillingly embodying the old joke about how when you’re up to your neck in alligators difficulty ensues remembering the original objective was draining the swamp. It happens.

At such times it helps referring not to what you should be doing, but why you should be doing it. Clarity comes from purpose; purpose is rooted in core beliefs. With this in mind, time to look at the oft neglected cornerstone that should be at the heart of what we do in this odd little realm of blogs and social media.

Some years ago, back when I harbored hallucinations of joining cyberspace’s high rollers, I came up with what I called the four tenets of the blogging evangel. They were:

  1. The ability to broadcast an opinion neither elevates nor validates said opinion.
  2. Blog from and for the heart, not the wallet.
  3. Answer your email every time all the time.
  4. Never become what you profess to oppose. Never.

These are quite self-explanatory, methinks. Especially in noting how following them permanently relegated me to the blogosphere’s, and social media’s, far sidelines. But I digress. To brusquely summarize, the eighty-fifth post/status update/tweet today yelling about how Obama is a poooyhead and/or Trump is a meanypants, all while offering rip and read analysis from the same ripped and read mainstream news story everyone else has ripped and read, doesn’t add anything to the public discourse. Neither did the other eighty-four. Try finding something worth your, and the reader’s, time. Something that matters. Something that gives something more than bait with which to lure sycophants into boosting your visibility within the echo chamber. Have a reason worth considering.

Here’s mine.

I’ve been a Christian since 1975, and a passionate fan/supporter of Jesus Music/contemporary Christian music/whatever you want to call it since then. I spent several years from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s as a journalist covering the music scene, this time period including numerous interviews with, and feature stories written about, many of the genre’s top artists, all published in the era’s leading magazines.

I drifted away from the scene in the mid 1990s, disillusioned by several people involved in it at different levels and also extremely unhappy with myself and how I had occasionally acted. I came back to the music, and into a walk with Christ that was something more than lip service, in 2005 at a concert featuring several of the ’80s-’90s bands I had loved back in the day. I later interviewed many of the artists from that era and published my work in book form; info at http://godsnotdeadbook.com I also have an online radio show, with info for same at http://cephashour.com

The bands and artists I loved – Larry Norman, Undercover, The 77s, Daniel Amos, The Choir, and dozens more – were bold both musically and lyrically. They addressed subjects like failed relationships, death, suicide, racism, sexual perversion, and other topics usually considered too hot for discussion within Christian circles. They did so understanding and accepting it would permanently put them on the outer fringe of Christian music; minimal airplay, far fewer concert opportunities, a lot fewer Christian bookstores carrying their records. But they did it anyway, because it was their calling.

I don’t listen to much current music of any genre; don’t have as much patience or time as once was the case to seek out the latest and greatest. I’m sure there’s some terrific new Christian rock and pop out there. But I will always hold on to my beloved classic Christian rock. It truly is the soundtrack of my life, and it has been a faithful companion in my walk with Christ. It remains vital and fresh. It can, and does, still bless people. Promoting it, getting and keeping it out there, is my purpose in the online world. It is my fundamental.

What’s yours?

This past Tuesday, the mysterious yet not mythical Mrs. Dude and I took in a one night only presentation of a concert film. Well, to be accurate I took it in; she endured it. Said film was a never-before shown Grateful Dead show recorded in the summer of 1989 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Given how I’ve gotten into the band in recent years, this is as close as I’ll come to seeing them live (sorry, John Mayer, but Dead and Company doesn’t do it for me).

Although the Dead are commonly and not inaccurately associated with San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, hippies, the Summer of Love, etc etc etc (translation: sex, drugs, rock’n’roll), many non-fans are surprised to learn the band had a huge and fiercely loyal following on the east coast. And I do mean following, with multitudes piling into their VW microbuses and following the Dead from show to show, selling anything available – including themselves if need be – in order to score concert tickets. It truly was a long, strange trip.

Musically, either you get the Grateful Dead’s free-flowing mix of easy blues, Americana, roots rock, folk, free-form jazz, and whatever else came to mind during assorted lengthy improvisation sessions, or you find them quite possibly the most boring rock band in history. Either is okay. I don’t possess 1800 different concert tapes, pouring obsessively over each one and thus able to immediately tell whether a song is from Watkins Glen in 1973 or Boise in 1982. Further, I couldn’t tell you if the band played either of those locations during said years. Or at all. I listen to live shows on Sirius XM’s Grateful Dead channel, I own a few live CDs, and I have all of the band’s studio efforts. That’s good enough for me, sugaree.

Anyway, back to the concert film. It was magic. The band was on that night both musically and personally, with shared smiles the norm from start to finish (i.e. from “Touch of Grey” to “Black Muddy River”). It was good to pretend, at least for a couple of hours, that time had reversed itself and Jerry Garcia along with keyboardist Brent Mydland were still with us instead of Mydland having overdosed a year and five days after the concert in question, followed by Garcia succumbing to the ravages of drug use along with diabetes and other health complications in 1995. They are missed.

The next day, having one of those modest perks of working in retail known as a day off during the week, I took myself into San Francisco. Allow me to backtrack a bit: over the decades, I have loved, absolutely loved, walking around San Francisco. Avoiding certain neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin District, I have luxuriated in the city’s vibrant energy, sampling the multitude of one-off shops and restaurants. It has been an exhilarating time most every time for this hybrid boy comfortable in both pastoral rural settings and amidst concrete and steel.

Yesterday I hated most every minute of it.

One is always best advised to be on high alert in every section of San Francisco, practicing full streetwise caution techniques and staying aware at all times. That said, yesterday I felt not the energy of times before, but rather tremendous disquiet. The street people no longer seemed sadly amusing. Now, they felt threatening, emboldened by a city government blissfully ignoring their excesses and public excrement while labeling any who dare complain as haters, or worse yet in their eyes Trump supporters.

This discomfort is not solely confined to San Francisco, of course. It permeates most every city out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as friends around the country report, most every major and not a few minor metropolitan areas. There is a palpable anger, a defiant edge marinated in by many on both left and right. It is one that can easy explode into violence, and not just the occasional Antifa versus Trump supporters clash. This is something far worse.

I believe there is a genuine danger of widespread civil disobedience in the very near future. No, not the cartoon kind practiced by those who believe waving a sign and getting “arrested” constitutes making a stand against the evil corporate oppressors who made the phones with which all involved are filming things. This is the kind that lobs live ammunition, and lots of it. Should the current deep state plus establishment (no party line delineation needed) open war against President Trump succeed in forcing him out of office, there will be blood and lots of it as the deplorables embrace a call to arms. I pray it will not come to this, and I pray I am wrong. But I don’t believe I am.

All I can do is pray and be a witness for Christ. His love and life-changing, along with saving, power can change even the hardest hearts into acceptance of others without compromising beliefs. This is what our country needs. Only then will San Francisco and all like it again vibrate with natural energy, not the dark energy of a city and country teetering on anarchy’s edge.

It would help if more people listened to the Grateful Dead too.

Many things about the presidency of Donald Trump defy the normal conventional wisdom concerning elected officials and politics. His relationship with the media, his public tweets, his extensive business dealings all over the world and of course his dynamic personality are all things that can and have thrown professional prognosticator for a loop when deciding exactly where he stands or what direction he will go on an issue.

A great practical example of this dynamic is the issue of online gambling.

To both the causal gambler who occasionally enjoys the occasional casino visit or likes a hand of online blackjack or the serious player who hopes to hone his poker skills online to become the next Scott Blumstein, the administration’s decision on online gambling might be of casual interest.

But for a professional pundit, congress watcher or lobbyist knowing where an administration is going directly affects their livelihood.

This would be an easier call in the old days with a regular pol.  In a normal situation one would expect that a pol who had heavy backing from supporters like Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate would reflexively oppose online gambling in deference to such a big donor who has made restricting it his cause with some success. Likewise as the winds of opinion begin to shift on sports betting you would expect to see a politician’s ear very close to the shifting ground to keep the various sports leagues, a large potential source of campaign revenue happy.

In such a situation the professional pundit, congress watcher, much like an experienced gambler, could confidently predict the chances of any such legislation passing and a lobbyist for either side of these issues would be able to inform their clients where an if their efforts should be concentrated to make their goals.

In a Trump administration it’s a little more tricky.

First of all there is President Trump’s own vast wealth and name recognition. The combination of millions of his own dollars available to invest in his campaign with a name and a persona that was already well known to the public not only is his dependency on individual big donors considerably smaller, but his relationships with such men, as they previously existed, means he approaches them as an equal rather than a supplicant. Furthermore he won his first election despite being outspent both in the primaries and in the general election

Second of all there is his own history and experience with the gaming industry. Starting with no experience but understanding that a casino with a hotel can produce more profit than even the grandest lodgings without one, he studied the industry when he was ready dived in making a name for himself in the industry even being named to the World Gaming Congress Hall of Fame. This gives him a perspective on the issue that most pols would not have.

Finally added to this is the politics of the matter, according to a recent Washington Post report two allies that President Trump has clashed with in his first six months have made contrary moves. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to reexamine the rulings authorizing online gaming while Governor Christie on behalf of his state which has benefited from such gaming publicly urging the president to avoid such a ban. (It certainly doesn’t hurt the timing of Christie’s argument that Poker’s newest champion World Champion Scott Blumstein credits his experience in online casinos for his victory.)

For us amateurs this uncertainly of the President’s position is a source of mild amusement no different than playing a few dollars on the slots of an online casino, a bit of fun, maybe some profit but not life and death.

But for the political class seeking power and lobbyists with millions at stake for themselves and their clients, the inability to predict with certainty where President Trump stands on online gambling or any issue is a spin of the wheel that they wish they could avoid and is one of the reasons why they long for the days of business as usual.

I talked to Author John Desjarlais last week in Chicago at the 2017 Catholic marketing Network Event about his upcoming Mystery Novel tentatively titled A Drift of Swine

His Author Page at Amazon is here and it’s loaded One example below

as usual I include the audio only part of his interview for those who found the background noise distracting.


This blog is a venture in capitalism. If you like the work I did at the Catholic Marketing Network and elsewhere You can help finance my writers and myself by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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And as I’ve said if you can’t spare the money I’ll happily accept your prayers.

As anyone who has read more than one of my modest little scribbles here has doubtless noticed, I have a warm spot in my heart for classic Christian rock and the artists who created same, many of whom are still making great music. Doing my best to inform as many people as possible about these artists and their work is, at its core, a holy obligation; one I willingly embrace. At the very least, it’s a far more productive time utilization than spending all day on social media yelling Obama is a poopyhead and/or Trump is a meanypants.

This came into focus earlier today while perusing a Facebook thread involving Mike Roe (77s, solo work, Lost Dogs). Now, if you’re looking for Good Good Father Part II, you’ll most likely be disappointed in Roe’s body of work. If you’re looking for superb songwriting in both the shimmering guitar pop and earthy blues realms, laced with genuine heart laid bare lyrics discussing relationships and philosophical matters as seen through (to borrow a phrase from Roe’s Lost Dogs compatriot Terry Scott Taylor) the tired eyes of faith, Roe is your man. He also plays Clapton-level lead guitar. He’s that good.

Back to the aforementioned thread. A fan had passed along some of Roe’s ’80s work to Stephen Fellows, in days gone by leader of English alt band The Comsat Angels. Roe is a huge fan of Fellows’ work. Fellows had high praise for Roe’s work. Everybody happy happy happy, correct? Not so fast, as said fan after several lengthy dissertations on what kind of music Roe should be doing and which musicians he should be playing with next threw this at him:

Commence butthurt!

Aside from the minor detail Roe has decades worth of work amply exhibiting he doesn’t need anyone telling him what to do, the exchange reveals a mindset far too prevalent on both sides of the political aisle. Namely, that unless an artist is playing monkey dancing to an approved organ grinder’s tune they’re doing it wrong. How DARE you not worship at my sacred cow’s altar!

It’s not that politics are unimportant. But are they that important? The single mom scrambling and ofttimes struggling to keep a roof over her children’s heads is often, doubtless to the surprise of political junkies, perhaps not nearly as concerned about the new menu items at that fine French restaurant Outrage du Jour as she is about silly stuff like paying bills and raising her kids right. People and their priorities; go figure.

It also may come as an utter shock, but some folk are actually cognizant of the fact that life on this planet comes with a firm, albeit unknown, expiration date. This should induce neither morbid resignation nor frenetic efforts to fulfill all life goals by 2 PM next Tuesday. It should help bring matters into focus. Is what any one of us is accomplishing authentic progress toward our goals? If our goal is self-glorification and browbeating others into bending toward our political whim, what are we actually accomplishing? Unless Ozymandias is your role model, kinda spinning your wheels there.

Be mindful of what truly matters: faith, hope, and love. The latter is the most important. We, and one day the memories of us, will pass from this earth. Love is eternal, even as Christ is eternal. The years indeed go down. Live and love accordingly.

Here are the last Pintastic 2017 Videos and interviews from the show.

I talked to Jessie who was at her first Pintastic

and watched her play a little Wizard of Oz

I talked to Sean who was waiting to play Dialed In

I played a little of the new Star Wars Pinball (only got to play it once)

And that ended the Pintastic Interview on Saturday. On Sunday morning I shot (what I thought) was the last Pintastic interview again with Gabriel D’Annunzio the man who made it all possible at the cost of being flat out taking care of things

If you enjoyed Pintastic he is the man you need to thank the most.

I was getting ready to leave and join my wife and other son at a breakfast/lunch Buffet down the road when internet sensation Todd Tuckey’s partner in crime Frank joined me for an interview filmed by my son, we were shortly joined by Todd Tuckey himself.

That video I shot for Todd that we’re talking about is not up at TNT Amusements yet, I’ll post it once he has it up.  I was wearing two hats and scarfs btw because we were leaving and I had not packed a hatbox.

My full playlist for Pintastic is embedded below

As you can see there was a lot of work along with the play at Pintastic 2017.

I’ll likely have one more pintastic post related to a topic I’ve dealt with before but we now return to our normal blogging, at least until next week when I’ll be at the Catholic Media event in Chicago and I shoot a whole bunch of new interviews to post


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this by picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

Of course PintasticNE is more than just great pinball machines to play, it also has vendors who provides products that make play even better.

Like the folks at Tilt Graphics

and Pingraffix who demonstrated their wares on their own machine

The folks at Pinbox 3000 who make cardboard pinball fun and affordable

The Bit Bar Beer Garden which is a restaurant/bar/arcade

and of course PintasticNE wouldn’t be pintastic without Maggie the Clown

who keeps the kids smiling between games.

And keeping folks smiling is what PintasticNE is all about

Not much time for a full post so the rest of the interviews will have to wait a day or two but here are still images from PintasticNE 2017 The full gallery is below but we’ll highlight a few

Pinball giants

Jersey Jack and Todd Tuckey

Captain Pintastic and friend in the VIP room

Men of the Internet together at last!

DaTechGuy and Todd Tuckey of TNT Amusements

The Gallery follows below, for some reason wordpress is getting weird about picture rotation but I didn’t want to leave any out

On Day 2 of Pintastic NE 2017 I talked to several people who had come a ways to be here such as Scott and his Son in law who came from PA

Like me their had wives who were hitting quilt shops while they played (although this year mine stayed home),

I also talked to Robert and his Daughter Briana.

I spoke to a Husband and wife in line for the Dinner Buffet for the Superpass

He is also a Catholic Deacon who blessed my new Rosary that I got at St. Anne’s Shrine which is a mile from here.

You can’t of course do Pintastic without interviewing Captain Pintastic of course

and I spoke to Ryan who bought a machine at the location and was automatically upgraded on his badge

but of course the stars of the show are the machines on freeplay like Starwars

I was right I haven’t been able to get near either of the two Starwars games here since they’ve been set up

Games like Ghostbusters which is a lot better than the movie

Which was the best thing that came out of the movie release.

Thanks to a ball stuck I got a shot of the Hobbit machine

and I had to play one-handed.

And for those of you into arcade games you weren’t left out

I did several interviews with some pinball greats like Jersey Jack Todd Tuckey and David Thiel but that’s worth their own post so I’ll put them up tomorrow night as a stand alone, if you can’t wait you can hit my youtube channel and watch em now


This blog is a venture in capitalism which depends primarily on readers to pay me and my writers. You so you can help finance this buy picking up my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or show your approval by Hitting DaTipJar




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and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

We interrupt our coverage of CNN & the MSM’s heads exploding to remind you that it’s once again time for Pintastic New England 2017

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, forget the politics and come down and have some fun.

Gabriel D’Annunzio is back and he brought a bunch of Machines to the VIP room with him

In the main room which closed much earlier there were plenty of machines that are inexpensive to buy if you want to pay under a grand

In fact some are under $500

And if you’re one of those folks who played for hours for only $15 thank guys like Gabe and Brian Bushey

I should point out there are some classic arcades games and a nintendo tournament as well

so if you are in driving distance of Sturbridge come on down either today or tomorrow and have some good clean fun.


Incidentally my new book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) prayer is now available at Amazon

and this blog are capitalistic ventures. So if you like what we do here and want to support it please consider buying this book (A portion of every sale will go to WQPH 89.3 Catholic Radio) or Hitting DaTipJar




Olimometer 2.52

and if you really want to help for the long term consider subscribing and get my book as a premium


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.