Saturday, July 22, 2017

Roller Coaster Road Trip 2017: A New Adventure Awaits

Back in 2014, just three years ago, my pals Rich and Eddie and I took our second ever Roller Coaster Road Trip, venturing out to Louisville, Kentucky, Nashville, Tennessee, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia.  It was our second such trip, and a great one at that, riding many great coasters at Holiday World, Kentucky Kingdom, King's Island, and Dollywood, as well as exploring Mammoth Cave National Park, all the sites in Nashville, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and more.

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Our third trip will not include Eddie, sadly, but our pal Gary, one of the most intense roller coaster enthusiasts I know, will be joining Rich and I instead.  This time we're hitting King's Island again in Mason, Ohio, Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, Niagara Falls, and finishing up in the city of Toronto, including a day trip to Canada's Wonderland.  Cool, right?

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As the clock ticks down towards our adventure, I'm getting more and more excited.  It'll be our first Roller Coaster Road Trip in three years!  I can't promise any regular posts during the trip, but I do hereby promise to get all the way to the end this time (On our last trip, I only covered up until the first part of Nashville.)  So stay tuned...

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Friday, July 21, 2017


I know, I know, I promised way back in May that I was back again.  Well, of course I found myself without time and ever since I gained that time back at the end of the school year I haven't been inspired.  Well, I think maybe it's time I just delve back into writing.  I still have people complementing my writing, so well, maybe by just doing it I'll be inspired.

I'd like to talk about friends.  I've got a lot of people in my life who I call my friends, but are they really my friends?  I mean, that word is used so loosely.  Luckily for me, I do know what constitutes a true friend because I've got two of them in my life who, no matter what, are always there for me when I need them, good times or bad.  I've had a lot of negative experiences this year with 'friends,' and it's caused me to reevaluate how I deal with people in my life.

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  1. 1.
    a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Okay, so according to this definition of friends, I have a lot of them.  I do.  I'm a very social person.  I liken the difference between the two definitions, though, to loving someone and being in love with someone. Same term, two very different things.  The important thing to realize when you look at your friends is to know which type they are and treat the relationship as so.  That way you won't let any negative stuff get in your way.

Earlier in the year, I was completely cut off by a so called friend, someone I had known for a few years.  We'd shared many good times together and when it happened it was without explanation. That wasn't the first time this happened to me, but for a long time I was left wondering and now there's a person within my circle whose presence makes things uncomfortable.  I hate it, but you know what? He was never really a friend and so it's not my problem.

Then there are those so called friends who take and take and give nothing in return.  I've had several of those in my life as well.  One-sided friendships!  These types of friends are the toughest to deal with because it usually takes awhile to realize, and the best thing to do with them once you do realize is to keep yourself at a distance, eventually weening them away.  Sad, really!

I write this like I write a lot of my posts.  For one thing, it's something I live with everyday and so it's on my mind currently.  I learn for myself when I put it out there and so like I said, I need to reevaluate how I deal with people from here on out.  I certainly don't need to waste any precious time on those who aren't worth my time.  And maybe one of you out there can recognize these types of friends from your own life and realize that maybe you've been wasting your own time.  Life is way too short for that!  Simply open your eyes and evaluate whether or not certain people in your life are worthy of the term 'friend.'  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hey, It's Me Again

Hey there!  It's been a long time, definitely one of the longest gaps I've ever had between posts since I started this blog almost ten years ago.  I've been wanting to start writing again, for awhile now, but somehow life's been getting in the way.  Earlier today, I had been motivated to write a somewhat lengthy post on Facebook (regarding politics) that got a lot of attention, and then a friend of mine reminded me that I had a way with words.  So here I am.  

It's been a rough 2017 so far, sad and busy and tiring and depressing.  Though I've had a lot of things on my mind that I could have shared, I've either been too tired from being too busy or tired, or simply not motivated enough to do so.  There's been a lot, yet not a lot going on in my life and perhaps a return to writing may be just what the doctor ordered.      

So just checking in to say hey and hopefully you'll be hearing a lot more from me again as I try and get my bearings right again.  I know there are some of you out there who've probably missed hearing from me and so I hope you'll welcome me back with open arms.  Till next time, take care and be sure to continue checking out John's Music World.

Friday, February 10, 2017


I've just spent the better part of the last two and a half days crying, and the floodgate of tears came to an ebb at 7:17 yesterday morning.  I sit here, 24 hours later, still in disbelief.  Diego, my little fluffy monster lost his life.  He was only nine years old.

There are so many things related to this death that make it so hard to deal with.  He'd been sick for several months now with diabetes, but he was doing well lately...really well.  Yet it was his disease that ultimately killed him.  Of course, any death comes with grief, and especially when it's someone or some animal who has been around, living with you all the time.  A pet is a part of your family, and since I have no partner and no children, he and Dylan family.

Mourning Diego is not my only issue today and going forward because I'm not the only one mourning.  Dylan and Diego have been together since day one.  Though they look nothing alike, they are brothers from the same litter.  The only thing they shared physically was the fact that they both have extra digits...Hemingway cats.  These two spent every waking moment together, cuddling, playing, fighting, eating, and whatnot.  From the moment I came home after leaving Diego at the animal hospital on Tuesday night, Dylan has been sad.  His buddy's missing.

Wednesday was a roller coaster day.  I received both good reports and bad ones about Diego's progress, but I believed throughout that he was coming home.  I went to sleep that night happily imagining the reunion of those two.  What a sight that would have been!  Unfortunately, that reunion was never meant to be, and I can only hope that poor Dylan comes to accept that his brother won't be back.

At the moment, I can't have any interaction with my other baby, my lil panther, without crying.  He and I have an intimate connection, and somehow I know he knows that his brother is gone and he is sad.  I caught him laying in the cat carrier late Wednesday night, lying on the towel that Diego had laid on last Saturday on his last trip to the vet.  At feeding time, when I call him to come eat, he runs into the kitchen looking around for his little buddy.  And during the night, in bed, where the three of us always slept together, Dylan is restless, constantly looking over the side of the bed for his brother to come up and join us.  My heart breaks for Dylan, as well.

I adopted Diego and Dylan when they were just about eight weeks old, back in April of 2008. Though I'd said that I would never again have a pet after my first cat, Spike, passed about six months prior, I'd been newly single and I wanted one to call my very own, only before beginning my search for them, I had already decided that I wanted two cats.  Spike had been the only one for sixteen years and I always felt bad for him because he always seemed lonely.  At least with these two, I knew they wouldn't be lonely whenever I wasn't around.  And it didn't take long for me to find these two...

From the start Dylan and Diego brought great joy into my life, as pets do, and for the last nine years these two brothers have had their fair share of playful moments, getting into mischief, and just plain adoreable-ness!  They've been all I've had for a family in all of these years I've been alone and I'm grateful for both of them.    

Feline Diabetes

A few months back, around September, Diego had started to lose a lot of weight and hair along his spine.  Admittedly, I hadn't noticed the severity of either condition until my friend Bobby pointed it out to me.  When you're present around someone or animal all the time you tend not to notice such things.  I rushed him to the vet as soon as I realized this was serious.  The vet had to run some tests on Diego, and she told me that it was either a thyroid condition, diabetes, or something else...I don't remember at this point, only that she told me to hope for the thyroid because it was the easiest to take care of.

The next morning, I got a call saying that Diego did indeed have diabetes.  Apparently diabetes has become very common in both cats and dogs these days, and although the treatment...insulin shots every 12 hours...seems like a big commitment to make, I loved Diego and I was readily willing to take it on.  The doctor assured me it would eventually become easy, and it did... maybe too easy.

Diabetes is a serious condition in humans, and in animals.  It killed my father after torturing him for years with its many side effects, yet I'm not so sure if I ever took it as seriously with Diego because it became so easy to take care of and the insulin shots seemed to have brought him back to normal in just a couple of months.  I became complacent, and even thought about him dropping down to one shot a day instead of two while I was away on a planned trip in a couple of weeks, just so that my friends wouldn't have to deal with coming here twice a day.  I realize now that would have been stupid!  So, for any of you dog or cat owners out there who's beloved pet gets diagnosed with diabetes, all I can say is take it seriously, and never ever forget that without the proper care, terrible things can happen.      

So, I sit here with a heavy heart, but I know with time it will get better, for both Dylan and for I.  But it'll be a long, long time...maybe forever, that I will be missing the purrs and the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my beautiful, gentle little Diego.  I apologize for so many pictures, but even though I am prejudiced, I think he was one of God's most beautiful creatures.  Don't you agree?  Rest in peace baby!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Express Yourself

Note: I have duplicated this post on both John's World and John's Music World, as it relates not only to music, in this case Madonna's Express Yourself, but of my own personal view of the many protests that occurred yesterday.  After not paying any attention to politics for the last 8 years (I simply couldn't deal with all of the crap being said about Obama, as well as the unprecedented obstruction heaped upon him by Congress), I now find myself in the state of mind that I need to speak, and starting with this post, I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  


Madonna gave a live performance of this song yesterday, somewhere in D.C., where hundreds of thousands of people were practicing democracy and expressing themselves.  Though she's already been maligned for dropping a few f-bombs directed at our new President while speaking to the crowd, she was practicing the very fundamentals that Trump himself called for during his inauguration speech on Friday...

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

New York City

Madonna and those accompanying her in Washington were not the only ones practicing democracy yesterday.  In all, an estimated 4.6 million women and their allies demonstrated in approximately 670 cities not only here in the U.S., but across the globe (Reuters, politicususa).  People from all walks of life came out en force in places like Chicago (125K), Los Angeles (750K), New York (400K), Boston (250K), Denver (200K), Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, in cities across Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. The list goes on and on.  It was by far the largest protest of any kind in history.

Los Angeles 

Throughout the day the protests were pretty much ignored by Trump and his people.  It wasn't until this morning that he even mentioned it, of course on Twitter, and of course chiding one of his named groups of adversaries...celebrities:

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.

In his defense, though, Mr. Trump added a positive spin just a couple of hours later...

Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.


Now I could go on and on about how many of his supporters took to social media to express their dismay and oftentimes outrage over the protests, but that could take awhile.  All you have to do is look to see.  Just as the protesters did yesterday in expressing themselves, so too, do the maligners have the same right.  I just happen to disagree with their assertion that all of these millions of people are simply sore losers who are whining and pouting that they lost the election.  I like to think that I am one of them, even though I regrettably did not take part yesterday.

I accept, as do many of them have accepted, that Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States, and I want him to do well for all of our sakes, but we do have a right to be concerned.  With all that we have seen and heard, and no, not from the "evil" news media, but from the lips of Mr. Trump himself, time and time again, things do not look good.

Mr. Trump's own words have helped widen this divide that we've been slipping into for years now, and for him to stand there on Friday, in front of four former Presidents of both parties, to tell us that this country is full of "carnage" and needs to be fixed only the way he can fix it, to me took a lot of nerve.  His campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," implies that somehow we stopped being great.  I just don't believe that!  Just take a look at the following graphic:

Regardless of the source, these numbers represent truths.  I don't for the life of me see how they reflect an America that's not great.  Trump supporters like to say that now we're going to know how they felt for the last 8 years.  My question to them is, Do you have amnesia?  Look at the numbers from 2009, when President Obama first took office.  That was the culmination of a different 8 years, where two wars were fought, one under the pretext of the one of the biggest lies ever told, complete enrichment of the oligarchy (remember Halliburton?), and the worst economic times we've faced since the Great Depression.  It's funny that I never ever hear the name Bush come up in any conversation.  Make America Great Again?  Obama did that!

And now we have the promise of more division for at least the next four years as Trump and his largely unqualified collection of billionaires in his Cabinet will methodically dismantle all that Obama has done.  It has already begun with the push to repeal Obamacare.  Just like in the past, we believe that you voted against your own best interests and don't even know it.  That's what has been blatantly shocking about this whole thing. But that's just how we think and only time will tell. To all of you Trumpys out there, I sincerely hope I am wrong.  Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Trump will work to Keep America Great, but I, and the millions who marched yesterday, do have cause for concern.


Trump said on Friday that he was giving government back to the people.  Yesterday, the people spoke.  They used their voices like so many before them in the times of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights and they spoke.  Loudly.  If I could turn back time just one day, I would have been in New York City with my fellow concerned citizens.  I am proud of those who came out in solidarity and I am proud of them and this country, and for the next four years, we will be watching and expressing ourselves.

*Check out an impressive photo essay on the Women's Marches held throughout the world yesterday on NYTimes