Sep 05

Growing older, but not up.


As we get older in this world, the news increasingly turns sour. No, I’m not talking about wars, pestilence, politics or the many whack jobs running around our world these days. I’m talking about the inevitable loss of the people we all know and love, the folks we grew up with on TV, radio, records and the silver screen.

The Boomers are the first mass culture in history. Unlike our parents, we grew up having the same experiences in common. We often speak in a shorthand of song lyrics and lines from our favorite movies or episodes. We all know who the Fonz is, we can all quote lines from most Beatles songs, many of us had Farrah or Hamill hairdos, we have done the Macarena, and we knew everyone in Mister Roger’s neighborhood.

The heroes of our youth grew older right along with us, and inevitably, one by one, they are passing away. With social media, we often hear about a passing before it’s in any news feed. Within moments, social media pages become a long litany of mini obituaries, filled with memories of the first (or last) time we saw them play, or what our favorite movies of theirs were, or in the case over the weekend, a scrolling panacea of cheeseburgers and margaritas.

I don’t even have to name the person. Chances are good that you are either a Parrothead or know one. You may even be sleeping with one. Whether you liked his music or not, his impact on music is known throughout the industry. Everything Troprock flowed from this one artist. From Paul McCartney and Keith Urban to Kenny Chesney and Caroline Jones, you come to find out that he really was bigger than life; a storyteller and troubadour that comes along perhaps once in a century.

I first heard a Jimmy Buffett song back in the 1980s. Some guy was auditioning to be the new guitarist in the band my brothers and I had. He played Margaritaville. I thought it was a catchy tune. I didn’t know who originally sang it. This was long before iTunes or Alexa, where you can simply ask who did a particular song. To find out, you had to go to a record store, one run by a music savant who could not only tell you the artist, but the album, the session players and who did the cover art.

I slowly became hooked. After I went solo as an entertainer, I started learning many Buffett songs. Not always the popular ones, if you could call any Jimmy Buffett song outside of Margaritaville “popular”, but ones that spoke to me personally.

His life did too. We were both journalism majors. The life of a pious Catholic was not for us. He often said that he wasn’t a great musician or singer, something I had laid claim to long before I heard of him. But he could sure entertain and so could I. We were both born storytellers and could charm a room in moments with a fictional fact or factual fiction. When I became a Seafair Pirate, I longed to live the pirate’s life I heard in his records, “writing checks the morning couldn’t cash” as one of his album liners noted.

Eventually, this love of living a pirate’s life led me to Key West. My first visit was because my then-wife and I won a trip for four to Disneyland in a local ball race. Our ball rolled in first, and we won the trip. Sharon and I traded it in for a trip to Key West instead. It turned out to be my son Parker’s first trip; We smuggled him on the plane in his mom’s tummy. It was the first of his many visits to Key West too, as I ended up moving to Florida for eight years to live as a writer a few feet from the beach. There, I pondered answers to questions that plum evaded me, only to find that my own quest for treasure would lead me back to my home waters in Washington.

Still, I think of Key West as my home away from home. I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years. I can even say I was God’s own drunk on more than one occasion.

I even had a product in the Margaritaville stores for a time. I had contacted Sunshine Smith with the idea, and she bought dozens of my 24-Hour Marriage Kits and sold them through the Key West, New Orleans and Charleston restaurant gift shops.

In 2003, I met Jimmy in Key West. Well, sort of. He was recording License to Chill in his recording studio along the waterfront. My band was playing across the way as part of the Pirates in Paradise Festival. At one point, his bodyguard motioned for us to come over, but the idiot selling capes in the booth between us and the studio door thought Carlton was pointing at him. So our big chance to sing background on a Buffett song never happened.

During a break, I went over by the studio, just in case someone famous came out. I was looking at the Sebago catamaran, fondly recalling the time I almost drowned jumping off the side of her when I heard a very colorful conversation coming from some guy to the left of me. Every other word was an expletive. I didn’t want him to know I was listening, so I did the old, look everywhere else before glancing over at the colorful conversationalist.

To my surprise, it was Jimmy Buffett. He was obviously not happy about something as he continued to lambast the person on the other end of the line. He looked over at me, dressed as a pirate, and I looked at him. We gave each other the courtesy nod peers give to one another, acknowledging that each one of us, at that moment, wished to have the other’s life.

I’m often asked why I didn’t get a photo with him. I mean, he might have loved getting a photo of him with a pirate. But me? I don’t do that. He has a job, just like I do. I was doing mine, and he was doing his. We were both pirates, sailing the course we were meant to sail. There was no need to capture the moment. It was perfect just the way it was.

I guess his bodyguard felt bad about the mixed signals moment. He let us know that we should be at Margaritaville that night. He couldn’t say why, but he said it would be worth it. That night, we got an impromptu concert at the restaurant. Jimmy at his best with some of the Coral Reefers, and Carlton, his bodyguard, to the left of the stage, smiling at us.

So perhaps when I was informed of Jimmy’s passing that my reaction was somewhat tempered. We’re all going to go away someday. Some just get more press than others. We are all here for a frightfully short time, and as we get older, the days left get shorter and the moments we have become more precious.

It does seem fitting, though, that when word came that Jimmy had died, I was doing the same thing I had been doing when I first met him in Key West some 20 years ago, living a pirate’s life. I thought back to the moment we had met as I threw on my pirate gear, slung my guitar over my shoulder and headed down to the docks to bring joy into the lives of others. For me, the day was a way to honor one of my heroes of my own youth. I may be growing older, but definitely not up. I’ve lived a pirate’s life for some 40 years now, and I’ll continue to defy gravity until I make my own final trip around the sun.

Somewhere north of the Emerald City, with my heart in Margaritaville,

–          Robb

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Aug 11

The swan song.


This has taken a while to conjure up. It’s not easy to write about the loss of a person so important in your life that you find it hard to categorize his role. Mentor? Besty? Surrogate Father? I can’t even begin to put my dear friend and companion Bobby Smyth into a box.

His passing was not entirely unexpected. At 98, the days that the phone doesn’t ring with the sad news rapidly dwindle. At some point, it was going to happen.

I had convinced myself over the years that I would be ready for this day. When it finally arrived June 15, I found how foolish I was, for nothing can prepare you for this inevitability. The call itself was short and sweet from a hospice worker. True to form, Bobby never let me know that he was in hospice. The last call we had was just as routine as any other. We talked about all the fun we had, the pirates, the band and all the projects he still had on his list.

We would often laugh about how we met. Me, the 24-year-old kid in the Seafair Pirates who played banjo. He, the seasoned performer and one of the old-timers. We would take turns playing in the bars, never playing together. Then, just before the Hawaiian Tropic pageant in Grand Cayman, Cabin Boy Christopher told him and I that the captain wanted us to play a song together – one I did – on stage.

Bobby lost it. “I’m not playing with this young whippersnapper anywhere,” he said, storming off. We were rooming together, so I wondered what the next few days would be like back at the condo, as I had followed the captain’s order and did the song by myself on the stage.

It was then that we became bandmates. I still can’t tell you how. I guess we found friendship in the music first as he discovered that I loved the 60s folk era. We spent the next few hours jamming in the condo. The next day, we were inseparable. Almost everything the band does these days – including more than two dozen songs – came from that moment.

Over the next few years, others joined the band. Some, like Animal, for a lifetime. Others came and went, but even though we went our separate ways, we are all bandmates. But the core was Bobby and I, who had so much together that it should have been illegal.

If that’s all we had become – bandmates – I would have been good with it. My own father had died the year before I joined the Seafair Pirates. Without asking, Bobby eventually stepped into the role of a surrogate. We never talked about it; like many things in life it just happened over time. He was always there for me. Helping me move some many times that he said he was going to sell his pickup so I wouldn’t move anymore. He provided me with that wonderful fatherly advice that led me to become a better man and human being. About humility, empathy and compassion. He had the best sense of humor – a quirky Irish one – that always made me laugh, even when I was at my lowest of lows.

There was no age gap between us. We were both kids in a candy store when we played. We’d walk into any bar with our instruments – in pirate gear or not – set them down on the bar, and within moments someone would ask us to sing. We’d “reluctantly” say sure, and off we would go.

The record for “working the crowd” was set at the Westin Hotel at a gig the band did; five hours straight. Every time he or I would say it was time for a break we’d see the other one across the room singing to a small group of people. Of he or I would go, joining the other. Before we knew it four hours had passed in that ballroom of tuxedoed men and sequin-gowned women. Then the manager of the hotel asked us to play in the lobby as the power was still out. Off we go for another hour of magic-making.

That’s how we were together. Neither of us superior, both of us upping the other’s game, and both being there through thick and thin.

Over the years, Bobby helped me move a dozen times. He endured my string of failed relationships. When tragedy struck in our respective lives, we were there to see each other through our grief. And when I married Kat, fittingly, Bobby was my Best Man. And on that particular day, he really was the best man in the room.

My own grief comes in waves still. I know that it’s a natural part of healing and celebrating a life well lived. There’s no way to explain the impact my dear friend had on me. There’s simply not enough bandwidth on the Internet to explain it anyway. It’s days like this that I hope there is a hereafter so we get to make more music together in the eternal. I just hope he remembered his uke.

North of the Emerald City, missing my Bobby,

  • Robb

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May 29

Happy Birthday’s Eve!


My birthday came and went yesterday. I spent it watching mindless TV. My main celebratory indulgence: Rhubarb Custard Pie for breakfast. Not the whole pie, mind you. Just a slice. Gone are the days when I would justify bad dietary behaviors by saying it was my birthday, or at times, a whole month of debauchery dedicated to turning another year older.

It’s not that I didn’t celebrate the milestone. I just did it a bit differently than most folks, for it occurred to me that the real celebration takes place at the close of the previous year, on the eve of one’s birthday.

Stay with me on this. The last real birthday worth celebrating is 25. That’s the year you can finally rent a car. 21, the legal drinking age. 18, eligible to vote. 16, get a driver’s license. Those are the birthdays to look forward to and celebrate their arrival. No 65. What a silly thing to celebrate.

Oh, I know it’s supposed to be retirement age, time for the Golden Years. But that’s a false flag, in part because Social Security changed my retirement age to 66 years and 8 months. That day will come in February 2025. Not my birthday, not anything but a day when I can finally call it a career. It’s not like that is mandatory either. I can continue working if I like. It’s not like 66/8 arrives and they shovel me out the door with a pension.

So Sunday was just another day. It is the start of 364 more where I will be the same age. The real milestone happened the day before, when me being a Beatle’s song came to a close as I would no longer be 64.

With this in mind, I chose to have the celebration and measured debauchery on May 27, Birthday’s Eve. It was a time to mark another 365 days on this rock and reflect on everything that had happened during the year. I would wake up on the 28th and it would be my birthday and all the pages that were to chronicle this supposed milestone were all blank. What’s to celebrate?

But the previous year, right up to midnight, that was cause for celebration. I managed to keep a job, stay married and not give up another house in a messy divorce. I finally got my little red truck, I survived a three-year pandemic, one of my best friends moved back from Florida, I still am on just one prescription, I have some of my hair, most of my teeth and I still have all of my faculties. At least the ones I care about.

That’s worth celebrating. Not the fact that a new chapter awaits me in the morning with a bunch of blank pages. That’s a writer’s nightmare. There would be plenty of time to reflect on what to fill those pages in the coming days, weeks and months. For the moment, it was all about the past year and what I experienced and what I learned.

And what did I learn?

The most important lesson I came away with was that seeking happiness is bullshit. Happiness comes with a sliding scale, a scale that keeps changing. There’s never enough money, or friends, or love, or status. Someone is always going to seem to have more than you, and pursuing it is a waste of time and spirit.

The thing you should seek is contentment. Being content is what it’s all about. It’s not about being happy, though you will find happiness in being content. But being content is about being good with it all – the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

That’s what I’ve been working on this past year. Being content. While everyone else is finding new things to be indignant about, choosing sides and descending into tribal camps of hate, I choose contentment. In the river of life, I am on an inner tube. I don’t have to struggle to swim back to the past. I don’t have to paddle wildly to see what the future holds. I just get to enjoy the ride.

The river will take me where I need to go. Yes, there will be scary rapids and maddening backwaters where I seem to get nowhere. There will be snags and rocks. That’s just part of the experience.

Where the pursuit of happiness can be downright maddening, being content with your life is freeing. It brings you peace. You no longer struggle to keep up with the Joneses in your life. You come to realize that you are making them crazy because they actually want to be more like you, but don’t have the faintest idea how to be content.

And that’s what my Birthday’s Eve was all about. Recalling all the reasons why I am content and why I don’t need to be in a continual struggle over what might have beens and what might becomes. I’m just here on the inner tube, enjoying the things life has for me, for as long as I get to enjoy the river of life.

And all those empty pages waiting to be filled in Year 65? It’ll come to me. There’s no rush. I’m not ready to write “The End” just yet.

Somewhere north of the Emerald City, wondering if there is any more pie left,


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Apr 25

Growing older, but not up.


In 2012, I returned to Washington State from my eight years of incarceration in Florida, doing my penance for trying to find love in all the wrong places.

Retirement seemed like a dream back then. It was so far away. It’s what old people did, not something I needed to think about. I still had a lot to give to the working world. I wasn’t one of those old people who peaked long ago in their career and were marking time until the day they had a slice of cake, received plaudits from their coworkers, and by the time the next work day began, all evidence that they ever worked at the place was erased as a new nameplate goes on the door.

But that day is beginning to approach for me. The intervening years have flown by and now my retirement date is looming on the horizon. I can see it clearly now and as I head toward it, like a billboard once way off in the distance, it grows closer and closer by the day.

It’s an illusion of course. The days didn’t get shorter and no one, at least to my knowledge, shaved months off the Gregorian calendar. Though I think I could argue rightfully that COVID shaved three years off of all our lives. But I digress.

I am 22 months away from the “big day.” If Congress hadn’t short-sheeted us years ago, I would be retirement age next month. But I have to wait until I am 67 years and 8 months, a somewhat arbitrary date that holds no melodic significance to it. When it’s time for me to be given the ol’ heave-ho, it will be February. Not the anniversary of my start date with the state. Not my birthday. Not even the end of the fiscal year, which all arrive in April, May and June of 2025.

Nope. I can head for the old folk’s home in February, the dead of winter. Sure, I can stay longer, but I don’t get any bonus rounds for it. I don’t get a single more dime from Social Security and my state pension will go up about $3. In 2025 dollars, I think that will be worth about 4¢ given the rate of inflation.

Where am I going with all this? Well, I’ve managed to make a living making stuff up all these years. From 1985 on, I have worked at various companies and organizations, including my own company, and people have paid me to make stuff up. I can’t believe that this “unique set of skills” I was born with actually has/had value in the workplace.

I mean, who gets to make stuff up for a living? I’ve worked at some pretty uppity places that have let me run amok, often without any supervision. I worked at a bank at one time. I convinced them to convert the Museum of Flight into an airport for their annual meeting. I renamed the bank Pacific First Air and convinced the bank’s security team to wand everyone at the “gate.” I didn’t have real wands so I gave each of them one of those plug-in BBQ wands. Another time I convinced them to do a golf tourney for charity with holes on all of the floors of corporate HQ. And I talked them into the first Intranet back in 1991, using shtml, the predecessor of html and the web we’ve all come to know.

At a retail software company, I got them to do a mystery theme for the introduction of DOS 6 with my alter-ego, Brewster McCabe as the private eye. He was charged with figuring out who who stole all the sixes in the world (It was Bill Gates, by the way). I even got to spend about three months writing, producing and rehearsing a parody of A Christmas Carol starring the management team. I’m not sure who did my regular job. I was too busy being a playwright.

The state has been equally gracious over the last 11 years, letting me run with my often wild ideas. Many of them have transformed the way the state is perceived in the international marketplace as a place to do business and invest. Others have helped small businesses start, grow and succeed. It’s been an amazing run to be sure so far.

And now, there’s just 22 months to go. I know a lot of retirees who never thought of what their second or third act was going to be. It was as if it came as a complete surprise, even though we all know the day will come when we no longer punch the clock. They didn’t really come up with something to do in the “afterlife” known as retirement. Instead, they watch TV, bury their pets, or read books that are still related to what they did in their work-a-day life.

I am not casting stones at any of this, by the way. It’s just not me. Assuming I don’t stroke out down the road, I will still be blessed/cursed with this imaginative, creative mind that wanders all over the place, connects dots with lines that shouldn’t connect to anything, and if one were to look inside my head, they’d see a little desk surrounded by file cabinets filled with random thoughts, obscure trivia and rare facts. Curiosity sits at the tiny desk in the middle, considering it all separately and at once.

So, here I sit in a bit of an existential retirement crisis. Most people transition to a favorite hobby. My hobby – making stuff up – will have been my career for 40 years before I punch my final clock. I have done so many creative things in my work life that others could never have pulled off (and I still can’t believe I did), that being creative in my private life where I – not my employer – has to foot the bill for my crazy ideas, seems a bit daunting.

I still have way more ideas than I have time. I have way less money than some of the ideas will need to realize. And I have a wife who rightfully tempers some of the wilder ones so that we don’t end up living in a house that looks like a pirate ship.

Where this all leads, no one really knows. Perhaps I will never know. There will come a day in the not-too-far future when I am no longer part of the workforce, at least not in the way that I have since I graduated from school. Since August 1981 I have been unemployed for only three months by choice and even while I was “coasting” I started a non-profit. So this extended unemployment holds a lot of uncertainty for me.

In my continual need to make it even more mysterious, I am already contemplating how I am going to spend/fill my time until the day there is a knock on the door and I find it’s not Amazon but the Grim Reaper, and he’s making a pickup on a No Return.

Who knows where it will lead? A new company? A sudden love of knitting? Faux cannons along the entryway where the ports lift as you walk by them on your way to the door? Or a new love of The Wonder Years where I wonder what life would have been like if I had met Danica McKellar (Winnie) and we had fallen madly in love.

Before that sounds creepy, Danica/Winnie is the same age as my ex in Florida. That seemed like a great plan back then. Marry someone who was 17 years my junior so she would continue to work long after I retired and foot the bill for all my wild ideas. A marriage made in heaven. She’s gone all day making money. I’m home all day spending it.

Don’t worry, I’ve moved on from this plan as it was just plain crazy now. Besides, I hear Valerie Bertinelli is available again.

In the Emerald City, spending time on my own Wonder (what I will do) Years,

  • Robb

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Mar 04

The rearview mirror.


I am turning 65 soon. If I were a car I’d be in a museum. Or the junkyard. I’ve never been one to care much about the vehicles that carry me around in this world. I don’t think I’ve washed my car in over 10 years.

I’ve done much better with the one some would call my body. It gets a somewhat regular washing, but my wife still has to remind me.

To be fair, I have never cared much about the body I drive around in. I know others do. I see them applying paint, making sure their headlights shine, torturing over every curve of their body, and getting their tires rotated regularly after a night of being tanked up on alcohol.

Meh. I’ve never tortured over this body of mine. After all, I didn’t have any say over its features. No say on color, grain, driveline, or power package. I got a stick because no one asked if I wanted an automatic. My parents chose all these options for me the night they decided get a little horny after too many cocktails. Some egg winks as she passes by, I win a swimming competition and viola! – the order has been placed.

Sixty-five years later, that champion swimmer has a body that makes some funny noises under the hood. Time has taken its toll on some of the original manufacturer parts, but it still manages to get me around without giving me too much trouble.

I know this because I took it to the shop recently. The professional I take it to gave it a thorough once over. Sure, there was some additional mileage, and the spare tire around my waist had gained a few more psi, but overall nothing too much out of the ordinary.

Well, there seems to be a small problem with the rear end. I’ve been told that I might have a leaky gasket. So the person I take it to wants to do a closer inspection.

It’s always been a finicky rear end. For instance, it likes to omit really foul smells from the tailpipe at inopportune times.

But now it seems I need a rear-end job. This is a bit of a concern, in part because I’d had so little work done on this thing over the years. Sure, I had the dipstick cover taken off when I was born. A few years ago I had a couple nuts that needed attention, but nothing really major.

I’ve been fortunate in that regard. I’ve never had to have stitches to reconnect my ample upholstery. I did rip it wide open one time with an X-acto knife, but the guy at the shop put some tape on it and called it good.

Small wonder that to this day that I think tape will fix just about anything. Duct tape is by far the best, along with some Super Glue. A little here, a little there. All good.

Miracles of miracles, I’ve never had anything really break. I’ve done some pretty stupid things while moving about the cabin. I did hurt my ankle skydiving. But it wasn’t a break. My guy said I should have broken it; it would have been better if I did. So close, but yet so far. I didn’t get a cast. Just more tape.

Before you call my bluff, I will admit that I have broken my little toes so many times that I can’t even count them on two feet. I had my nose broken by an errant softball in elementary school, but no one did anything about it. To this day I look like an enthusiastic window shopper.

I did manage to break my ring finger in middle school. That was Harley Spaeth’s fault, not mine. He threw a volley-soccer ball – you know, those do-everything-but-not-well balls schools have. It knocked the end of the finger back into the knuckle. That split the bone in two. When I was taken to the shop, the guy snapped it all into place without much ado or warning and slapped a metal splint on it with you guessed it – more tape.

As I said, I have nearly all of my original parts. A few pieces of my grill have had some work done to them, and then there was the cap on the dipstick. The pesky nuts were disconnected by the Celtic Dick Snipper. The nuts are still there but they really have no use anymore.

As I look forward(?) to my rear-end job, I marvel at how lucky I am. I have only stayed in the shop for a week in my entire life. It was all my fault. I had never such headlights before. I have seen a lot since. How was I to know that they weren’t the best, brightest or biggest in the land? I did have those computer resets a time or two over the last couple of years; for some reason my body likes to do that. No one at the shop can tell me why the odometer rolls back an hour or more and then works starts clicking along again.

And I had that pool noodle that was shoved down my radiator hose that one time after it was blocked by an unchewed piece of grisly steak. I tried to do a flush myself with red wine but it really required the touch of a real pro armed with Armorall. Wait, that was Demerol.

I am pretty sure that I won’t enjoy the rear-end work as much as I enjoyed the “go ahead, rip it all out” feeling of the pool noodle drugs. I am told that I won’t be awake, but rather twilighted. I’m not sure what that exactly means and Kat isn’t very forthcoming with details. I did plan to bring my own borescope with me to the appointment. If I can save a dime or two while I’m in the shop, I’m on it.

But they say they have their own diagnostics at the shop. But as a thank you for being so thoughtful, they said they’ll send me a free drink to enjoy the night before. I love free drinks. So thoughtful.

Somewhere north of the Emerald City, kegeling unexpectedly,

–          Robb

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Aug 14

A good lesson indeed.


In my youth (for me, that is from birth to age 55), I used to assume everyone was just like me. Since the only experience I had ever had as a person was as me, how was I supposed to think otherwise?

This, of course, caused issues in my life. I think the fact that I have so few friends to this day is because I held them to a higher standard than they themselves wanted to achieve. It could be argued that I did this was some of my exes. It wasn’t my ego at work; I could see the potential in them they couldn’t see. I thought if I could help them reach that potential, they would meet some kind of goal that was eluding them, whether it was being smarter, more creative, or as I have come to learn more recently, a better pirate.

The lesson became very apparent at a recent reunion of the Seattle Seafair Pirates. Many years ago, 40 to be precise, I was brought into this magical world. It was 1982 and in Seattle and its environs, the Seafair Pirates were the rock stars of their day. They could get away with things that to this day some people won’t believe. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about these antics, I mean, I wrote a book on that part of my life. But we could carouse, womanize, drink, drive drunk, fire sawed-off shotguns in downtown streets, and trash a hotel room or two (or three). Everyone ate it up.

Times have changed, of course. And I have too, it seems. I thought the reunion would be a lot of fun. My old pirate buddies are dying off by the day and the number of times we will spend together is rapidly dwindling.

I showed up early at The Ballard Elks. The pirates were upstairs, and I was down in the member’s quarters with my fellow Elks. As the time neared for the formal part of the reunion meetup, I found I couldn’t go into the room. It’s not that I wasn’t welcomed. I had been invited. But suddenly it felt as if I were attending a reunion for the Class of 2022 when I was in the Class of 1982, and from a different school. Though we claimed a similar origin, I had nothing in common with the guys assembled in the room, reliving a past glory they themselves never experienced firsthand. This isn’t to fault them mind you. Time marches on and people and experiences come and go.

Over the last few days, I have been counting pirates as I go to sleep. It’s a lot like counting sheep but there’s a lot more facial hair. As I did this, it occurred to me why I am so different in this world, the pirate world that is.

Forty years into it, my persona has continued to build on that period from 1982 to 1990 when we drank, cavorted and paraded as a band of pirates. Those 56 guys were my brothers (two of them really were brothers) and I was in the halcyon days of the group without even knowing it.

As a 24 year old, I got to learn from the same guys who started the group in 1949 and those who came along during the crazy days when Seafair handed the pirates a big check every year to run around town and party like there was no tomorrow. I was harvesting a gold mine of knowledge about how to do improvisation, perform, run parades and serve as goodwill ambassadors. In short, I was learning to live life as a pirate, both in gear and out.

My teachers had hundreds of years of experience. In those short eight years before I went off on my own in the famed mutiny, I went on hundreds of voyages with these characters; many of them were playing pirate a decade before I was even born. What would become my best friend to this day, Bobby Smyth, was Captain in 1971 of the Seafair Pirates. I was 13 years old.

It was like going to a music school and the instructors were Beethoven, Gerswhin and Jimi Hendrix. These guys were the rock stars of their time and I got the honor of being a young sponge, soaking up everything I could.

I paid back all this education, mind you. I was a singer. We’d hit a bar, I’d sing with my band or alone, and the patrons and bar owner would buy us round after round to keep us there. We were always late to the next place, in part because I have 80 or so songs in my head.

For 40 years, I have been able to keep their lessons alive and add a few of my own. That night at the Elks, I did what I always do. I brought my guitar in with me, sat it down on the table, and waited for someone to ask me if I could play that thing. At that moment, the Entertainment Light went on in my head, and like a jukebox stuck on random play, I sang whatever came to mind.

The next day, I remembered the comment from a former crewmate. She asked one time if the rest of the crew was just supposed to be window dressing or band groupies while the band and I did our thing.

I would reply, just entertain the crowd. Mingle, talk to them, make them laugh. Some could; others didn’t have a clue. Eventually, they would all sit down at a table and talk among themselves. It wasn’t their fault at all that they couldn’t do what I do. I learned from the best through osmosis (and alcohol). Hell, there are days when I still don’t sit down for hours because we used make fun of those pirates who were just holding up the bar or appeared to be supper clubbers, showing up for the freebies but not really earning their keep.

Most of those ol’ salts are gone now. There are few of us left from those days, and even fewer still pirating.

As I read the names on my list of 56 pirates who taught me so much, I think back to this magical time when I was still trying to grow up ever so slightly and all these old farts became my friends and crewmates. I wish others could have seen so many of them in action, from Weaver Dial who always had the right gimmick in his seabag to Bourbon Jack. Jack and Curly had the sixth sense to find all the best happy hours in town minutes after arriving, and more importantly, would get us invited to some premium places to play pirate, from Rosellini’s 410 to the Bull & Finch (the real Cheers) where, instruments in hand, we walked right by the block-long line of tourists waiting an hour or more to get in. We ended upstairs, singing songs to the owner’s mother. It turned out to be her birthday.

Thanks to all of you. And my apologies to those who I thought should be just like me, knowing now that we all have our own journeys, our unique talents and stories to share around the table.

But please don’t judge me if I smile at you, say “it’s good to see you” and quickly move off to sing another song, catch myself in a net or drive my terrifying inflatable shark on an RC car down the road. It’s what I know. It’s who I am. And I owe it to those who came before me to share the same magic.

Just north of the Emerald City, amazed by how lucky I have been to live the life I’ve had. So far…

  • Robb

My Taskmasters (1982 – 1990)

“Plywood” Bill Johnston
Art “The Chief” Karelsen
Art Neu
Barney Moore
Bernie McKee
Bill “Taylor” Englehart
Bill Ogden
Bill Simon
Bill Taylor
Bob Burrows
Bob Dorsey
Bob Grubb
Bob Lisoski
Bob Odman
Bob Rutan
Bob Salonen
Bobby Smyth
“Bourbon” Jack Langeloh
Brian Zerr
Butch Hulit
Curly Haviland
Dan Cameron
Dar Westphal
Dave “Dogmeat” Speckels
Dave Benson
Dick Alba
Dick Munsell
Dick Selland
Donny Rice
Dwight Hallock
Ellard “Black Bart” Bartlett
Frank Kane
Fred Still
Gary Bratton
Gary Kuhn
Gary Vance
Gene Sykora
Jeff Zerr
Jerry Ceis
Jerry Williams
Jim Makos
Joe Peak
John Erickson
Karis Malagon
Ken Boisse
Kenny Baker
Lee Bicknell
Marcel Poelvoorde
Mark Christopher
Mark Moorer
Morie Lohre
Mike Cuffin
Mike Merryfield
Nappy Soma
Nick Nichols (Kinler)
Pat Patterson
Richard “Bulldog” Eberhardt
Rick Park
Robin Larson
Weaver Dial

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Apr 30

The unfriendly skies.


I used to enjoy flying. I took my first big trip in 1984. It was to the Cayman Islands. I was just 24. It was the first time I had ever been on a commercial jetliner.

Since then, I have rarely lost my love of flying. Even in the middle of a hellacious thunderstorm on approach to Minneapolis when we were bouncing around the cabin, I still found a way to enjoy the ride. In the spirit of the moment, I started singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and by the time I had hit the chorus, the rest of my party was singing right along. A chorus of 12 heavenly voices, most drunk, singing our way to the netherworld – Minnesota.

I have been fortunate over the years. I have never lost a piece of luggage. It always showed up magically on the carousel. Sure, planes were late departing or leaving, but I never missed a single connection. All those horror stories on TV about people sleeping in airports for days at a time were unfathomable to me.

With all this in mind, I set off a couple of weeks ago to Key West. I haven’t been on a vacation in two years, thanks to COVID. So I thought, what the hell, let’s make it a memorable trip.

Back in November, I booked our flight. My favorite airline flies straight to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. But it doesn’t fly to Key West. I guess the Eskimo on the tail of the plane didn’t wasn’t the sun-worshipping type. In normal times (re: Pre-COVID), I would fly into one of these two cities on Alaska and then rent a car to make the three-hour drive south through the Keys.

But this time, we weren’t going to need a car and figuring out what to do with it on the crowded, narrow streets of Key West would have been problematic. Most of the town is fairly walkable, so taking an actual car from Point A to Point B on a three by five mile island is nonsense.

Against my better judgment, I decided to take another airline this time around. Two airlines flew one-stops to Key West – Delta and American. Remembering that Delta killed one Jan’s dog, I opted for American.

One-stop of about 45 minutes in Dallas. Total price: $1099 for the two of us. Feeling a bit largess since I hadn’t gone anywhere in two years, I upgraded the legs to First Class. For those who haven’t traveled recently, that’s the part of the plane that arrives at the scene of a crash shortly before the peasants in steerage do.

I have always wanted to experience the luxury and pampering of First Class. Sitting with the highbrow and hoity-toity, sipping champagne and toasting our good fortune and so much legroom that you could have let two people in Coach sit on the floor and still have enough room to put your feet up.

The outbound flight was a joy. I was a bit concerned about the scant 45 minutes we had to make our way from our Seattle flight through the endless passageways of DFW, but it was a snap.

We had the same layover on the way back, and as a bonus round, the terminals were next to each other, so it would be a quick walk.

Our flight from Key West back home was right on time. We walked out on the tarmac and climbed the stairwell to the door of the plane and settled into our First Class seats. The peasants passed us on the way to steerage and we were off.

Free drinks, food served on plates with silverware, hot towels (I don’t get these at all), a dedicated bathroom and I had finally figured out how to work the Tetris-like seat tray.What could be better?

A lot, it turns out. As we approached Dallas, I started to notice that the flight tracker was getting a bit wonky. Our 45 minutes time to arrival changed to 60, then 75. We circled the airport for so long that we had to leave it and fly to Houston instead. The weather had closed in, and I guess American is famous for canceling flights because of a little crosswind.

Our pilot – a good ol’ boy from Louisiana who had about 33 weeks to go to retirement – was apologetic, but his voice had a slight overtone of unexpressed anger in it. He said that the crosswinds were gusting to 40 mph at DFW. I sensed that he had been through far worse. He seemed like a guy who would put it down on the numbers in a hurricane with both engines on fire.

Even so, we were off to Houston to refuel. Our flight from Dallas to Seattle was delayed too, so no biggy. We were 12th in line for fuel at Houston so it felt like we were taxiing back to Dallas for a while. Finally, we gassed up and took off, flying with reckless abandon back to DFW before they shut it down again.

So far, so good. But we climbed out of Houston, American became American’t. Our homeward leg was canceled, all of Monday’s flights were canceled, and the first we could get out on American was 8:35 p.m. Tuesday night. If we wanted to get home earlier, we had to fly from Dallas over to Miami and then back to Seattle. In Economy.

No biggy. We were in First Class, I thought. American will take care of us. That’s what airlines do with First Class passengers. They’ll already have us rebooked before we land or find us a hotel for the night. We’d hop off the plane and meet a gate agent waiting for us. There wasn’t one.

There was, however, a long line of peasants from previous flights waiting in a line. I figured that line was the Peasants Line because I had been in one before. It couldn’t be for the First Class passengers. But it was a general line, a line Kat took her place in as I called American’ts Customer Service. They were of no help at all.

A hotel room? All we got was a postcard with a QR code to some partner hotels at ripoff rates. That was a non-starter so I switched to where I had some free nights banked. I found a suite at a Sheraton six miles away. By now it was midnight. We should have been back in Seattle four hours ago. Now all that was left was to retrieve our luggage.

Another line. Another disappointment. Our bags were somewhere in the catacombs of the airport. Now I was stuck in my pirate geat in a cowpoke town with nothing to change into and nary a single clean piece of underwear in sight.

Oh well, we’ll get them tomorrow. Let’s just catch the shuttle to the airport. I called the hotel and they said the shuttle was about an hour late. No biggy. We were still trying to find our luggage so we had time. They finally said they had found them and would get them to us.

With nothing left to do, we called the hotel shuttle. They were running an hour behind. No problem. We could wait.

And wait we did. Before we knew it, it was 1:30 a.m. and raining. Another person was waiting for the same missing shuttle. We initially didn’t engage her because she kept mumbling into her phone, like the guy in Office Space. We finally named her Red Stapler Girl.

I shouldn’t throw too much shade on her as it was her idea to get a cab to the hotel. As a travel tip, know that taxis in Dallas seem to head off into some secret cave at night. They are impossible to find. To get one going out of the airport, someone has to be coming into the airport. An airport that was now officially closed.

Finally, we get to the hotel. It turns out the shuttle didn’t come because the hotel was officially full and they were hoping we just wouldn’t show up. They looked pretty surprised when we did. We had outsmarted their little game of “ignore them and they will just go away.” To their credit, they did give us a suite; one an assistant manager had to clean while we waited in the lobby. Kudos to him.

In the morning, I checked again on our bags. American’t had sent them on to Seattle. They were set to arrive at 10:30 Monday morning. We weren’t set to fly out until 6:10 a.m. Tuesday.

By now we had totally abandoned American’t, even though we had an unused leg to go. I booked on Alaska and decided to eat the cost of two one-way rides home. By now, our reservation with American’t had disappeared from their screens, as if we never existed, nor the money they promised to reimburse us for the last leg we never took.

The Eskimo didn’t let us down. Like someone who had been unfaithful, we were welcomed back to our first love – Alaska. We swore never to be swayed again by those fancy promise of First Class on another airline or any trip that used DFW in their itinerary. We won’t even do another one-stop. We’ll stay with direct flights from now on. I don’t care where they go, as long as I don’t have to be expected to fly the American’t Way.

Somewhere north of The Emerald City, thankful that the Eskimo is planning to fly direct to Tahiti in the fall,

  • Robb

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Oct 29

A Real “Dating” Problem.


Being a pirate isn’t easy, at least if you want to have what some people call a normal relationship. I have written here and there about my many misadventures in pursuit of love, including a book that chronicled all my exploits in often embarrassing detail.

But now that I am in a happy, fulfilling relationship with someone that took the better part of five decades to find, I can reflect on the effect my pirate life has had on relationships, both good and bad.

I only write this because I was recently watching a documentary on the Treasure Island Resort in Vegas. This shouldn’t be more than a footnote, except that I got married there. This would be Marriage #2. This was back in 1994 when I was still so young and immature. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As you may recall in my missive about Diablo, the entire relationship could be described by the titles of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Episodes 3 and 4, At World’s End and On Stranger Tides, mirrored that relationship perfectly, right down to the moment when we struck the reef of romance and Diablo jumped ship, leaving me to go down with it, as any good captain would.

But as I think more about it, the years that end in a 3 and 4, much like the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, seem to strange influence on my life.

In 1983, I became a Seafair Pirate. I had gone through my year of candidacy and the crew voted me in unanimously as a member in the fall of that year. I was a full-fledged pirate, in more ways than one.

I was told back then by a fellow pirate that “when you become a pirate, you know it, and so does everyone else.” This, I think, is where the casual pirate player and a pirate diverge. When you become a pirate, your brain changes. You no longer care about your job, your relationship, paying bills or civilian life. That world is a place you visit occasionally, but you no longer live there.

It is a transformative process, going through that year of candidacy, learning all the ropes, doing total shit work that would make the most determined individual quit, and then going through hell week, Seafair, where you stay in a hotel and live and breathe being a pirate 24/7.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that during Seafair 1983 I found my romantic sea legs and lost my “pirate virginity” as it was called. I was now a true pirate. And one of a select few.

Just one problem. I still had a wife in the civilian world. What to do, what to do.

Long story short, she found out I was spending a lot of time in someone else’s harbor and wasn’t thrilled I was visiting that particular port regularly. The following April (1994), I was on the lam, my brothers were trying to kill me, my soon-to-be ex was living with my mother and me, I was navigating a new world.

Not really proud of how it all played out, but hey, that’s life.

Almost 10 years passed before I found true love again. At least she was a wench and singer. She understood where I was coming from more than the civilian. Plus we went everywhere together as part of a crew, so what could possibly happen?

Back to Treasure Island. We started dating in 2003. We got engaged in the winter of that year. Looking for a place to get married, we saw that Treasure Island Resort had just opened. So we set a course for Las Vegas.

We were the first couple to get married in full regalia at Treasure Island. I still remember when the security folks tried to keep us out of the casino after we got hitched. Then someone whispered in their earpiece and we were free to roam about the cabin. Take that, members of the King’s Navy.

This was back when the pirates and navy fought one another in fully rigged ships in front of the casino. It was pretty cool, being in our gear, posing for photos in front of the ship and getting a salute from the crew on our wedding day.

The show went on for 10 years. About midway through it changed to a Sirens of TI show, the pirates becoming half-naked showgirls. It closed in 2003.

This was the same year we went down to Key West to renew our vows. It was the DVD release of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie, titled appropriately, “Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Feel free to read the details of that misadventure in the Diablo chronicles. Talk about a curse. But let’s cut to the chase. I found myself dropping anchor in a different harbor again.

In April 2004, I was once again offered the chance to leave the wonderful life I had and set course for the stranger tides of Florida. Dumbass.

If I had only known that the Treasure Island Resort had shut down the show the previous October, I may have been able to keep a weather eye out for rough waters ahead in Key West, knowing my “dating” problem. As we know, history repeats itself and mine seems to have a love of Aprils, years ending in 3 or 4, and pirates, whether movies, events, or antics.

So it’s with a bit of trepidation that Kat sees 2023 on the horizon. I keep telling her that I don’t believe in all this nonsense. That’s it just an amusing coincidence or more likely, a writer’s overactive imagination.

I can’t say I blame her. I can take solace that there are no more Pirates of the Caribbean movies coming up and I have lost my taste for unfamiliar harbors. I’m very happy with the anchorage and safe harbor she’s given me.

The years are just years now. It’s 2021 now, next year it will be 2022, then comes 2025, 2026 and 2027. Just dates on a calendar and there’s not a single stitch of superstition left in me.

Somewhere north of Seattle, keeping my tiller in familiar waters,

  • Robb

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Feb 01

Doing one’s duty.


We’re coming up on a year now since the stay-at-home orders began. In that time, I have been out of the house (i.e., beyond the street in front), a total of 14 times. Most of these were out of absolute necessity because of family health issues. Otherwise, I’ve been on lockdown.

I see others out and about on social media all the time. That’s cool. I don’t expect everyone, or anyone for that matter, to be like me. I just have a sense of duty to do my part in this war against this invisible enemy we can’t see, smell or hear.

Yes, duty. I’ve been thinking about how I grew up over the last few months as I live life in my self-made monastery. I’ve come to realize that I have a very different set of values than others. I supposed I gained it through osmosis in my youth. Or maybe it’s a generational thing.

As I was growing up, I can still remember the few times my father spoke about his service in World War II. He was a ground pounder in the Army. A lowly private, 19 years of age, sent to fight the Japanese in the Pacific. It was one bloody battle after another for four long years. At one point, my father was training for the invasion of mainland Japan, but a couple of atomic bombs saved him from that ordeal and probable demise.

My dad had already been through a lot by that time. He would reminisce about the many landings he did, where half of the soldiers on the landing craft were dead before they reached the shore. How the guy next to him took one in the head that with a simple pitch of the sea, could have ended up taking him out instead.

He spoke about the holes and caves he had to go into on the many islands that dot the Pacific. How the Japanese soldiers refused to surrender, believing the U.S. troops were lying to them. More often than not, they took their own life rather than be disgraced by surrender to the Allies.

I also think about my brother who went to Vietnam. He didn’t have to. He had a deferment because he worked for a military contractor. But he went anyway. He said it was his duty. That sense of duty almost killed him. He was attacked in the middle of the night at a bridge outpost. Instantly he was in a firefight with the Vietcong. They threw grenades, they shot at him. The only way he could save his life was to drop off the side of a bridge into barbed wire. It was a drop of about 25 feet. The enemy threw more grenades on him as he landed. He broke both legs, took a bullet in his arm and was still picking out shrapnel from his legs for when he returned home. His war injuries are one of the reasons he later drowned at the age of 24.

I think about my grandparents who immigrated from Russia. They had to flee the Cossacks and leave their land grants behind. They had to flee on foot, traveling hundreds of miles to get somewhere safe and could sail to America. They didn’t speak the language, didn’t know the customs, but the promise of America was worth the hardship, the risk, and most importantly, the sacrifice of having to start over from scratch in a land that was foreign to them.

And then I think of my own plight on lockdown. No one is shooting at me. No one is taking away my home or land. I have shelter and food. I am mostly healthy. I live a life that my parents would marvel at; a comfortable life where I don’t have to worry about the things they worried about – my dad and brother being shot at, my grandparents being thrown in the gulag, my mother having to forage for food during the Great Depression, wearing the only pair of shoes he father could afford.

All I have to do is stay home and be a good soldier. When I’m out, I need to physically distance, wash my hands and wear a mask. That’s it. That’s all the sacrifice I have to make. No food rationing coupons, no gas shortage, no blackouts at night or air raid sirens, no blistered feet from walking days and weeks, carrying everything I owned on my back.

This is my duty right now. To be safe, to contribute to this war effort against this invisible enemy and wait for reinforcements to arrive in the form of vaccines. It’s been a little less than a year now. Big deal. My dad did four in hellish conditions, my brother two in the stifling heat of the jungles of Southeast Asia. Others who came before them dug into the trenches in France or fought their brother hand to hand in the Civil War.

All my country is asking me is to be safe, be considerate, wait out the battle and try not to pass COVID onto others, and more important, overwhelm the healthcare system by being selfish and insisting on living life like it was normal.

It’s not. It wasn’t for my ancestors either. I can only imagine my father if he were still here, wondering what the hell is wrong with me because I think I need to go out to eat when there was a deadly virus making the rounds. How I would put myself and others in danger because I was in his mind, just being selfish and self-centered.

Again, I’m not judging others. They didn’t grow up in my family or have my dad. But his truth rings in my ears as I wait for help to arrive. I see the end is in sight, I’m not about to shirk my duty now and leave my post.

North of the Emerald City, content with my marching orders,

  • Robb

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Jan 23

Speech has never been free.


There’s an awful lot of hoopla right now about freedom of speech, the clampdown by social media companies on certain striations of public discourse, and the role media companies have in our seemingly fundamental right to freedom of speech.

First, let’s start with the fact that social media companies – nay, all media companies – don’t have to protect your right to say anything you want to on their platforms. This has never been the case, even if you go all the way back to the beginning of mass media.

I know, you’re trying to quote me the First Amendment right now. I will save you some time. Here it is:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[3]

You’ll notice that it says that “Congress shall make no law.” Since its enactment, courts have largely held that it’s not only Congress, but states as well who shall not infringe on your right to speak freely.

Notice it says nothing about media, social media, corporations, organizations, schools or any other body. The government, and the government alone, cannot prohibit you from the right to freedom of speech.

Still with me?

Now let’s move on to the current hubbub about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al. We’ll start with the history lesson.

If you watched Citizen Kane, then you probably know it was all about William Randolph Hearst. At the height of his power and fame, he owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines, along with several radio stations, movie companies, and news services. He is known for ushering in the age of sensationalized news, what is commonly known as yellow journalism. If Hearst didn’t like it, it didn’t run in his papers or on his stations. It was a benevolent dictatorship.

Fast forward to the dawn of television. As many of you old farts remember, there were only three national TV networks: CBS, NBC and ABC in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. These networks decided what went on television and what didn’t. They decided what shows you saw, what news you heard and even drove what our culture looked like through advertising. If you were really lucky, you got an independent station in your hometown and a public television station.

The point here is that the public didn’t have any say on what was shown, outside of the Nielsen Ratings. Live TV didn’t allow you to fast forward through commercials or even watch the show as a rerun, in its earliest form. Network executives dictated what the content was. Another benevolent dictatorship, controlled by three large corporations with holdings in radio, TV, publishing and music (remember the Columbia Records club?).

Then the Internet arrived. A new medium that seemed so democratic. Anyone could logon and revel in content that was of specific interest to them. Well, kind of. First, you had to login through an Internet provider who charged you for the privilege of accessing their version of the Internet. AOL and Compuserve gave you an edited version of the Internet in the early days. They dictated what you saw and how you interacted, much as the major TV networks did.

Eventually, it got easier to access the Internet. As it did, companies began to explore it as a new business model, one where they could tap into their customer base to create relationships around their brands. Again, this was a benevolent dictatorship. You could post comments or even testimonials on products, but these were approved by a moderator. You never had free speech on these sites either. Discussion forums and BBS were pretty much the same thing. We thought they were democratic until we ran afoul of the site’s terms of use and were blacklisted or at least got a hefty slap on the hand from the moderator.

As more and more people got on the Internet, newcomers started to notice the power of the web, not as a tool for communication and an exchange of ideas, but as a data goldmine. We probably all remember MySpace, one of the pioneers of data amalgamation as a business model.

Today, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, etc., use this same model. You get to be on their site for free because your the price you pay is the surrender of all your data to the host company. Everything you do on a social media site is logged, analyzed, synergized, and then shared with other companies who buy your data. Ever wonder how an Amazon ad shows up on Facebook for a product you just searched for on Google? It’s data shares, my friend. That’s where the money is.

If you ever read the Terms of Service on these sites, you’d quickly learn that you don’t have the right to say anything you want. To be fair, you’re given a pretty wide space to play in, but if you cross the line, you run the risk of getting a timeout. Why? Because these businesses don’t want to lose revenue. No advertiser wants to hang around an insurrection-minded mob. There’s no money in it, except to sell Trump flags and ammo. I am singling them out unfairly because being on the far, far left isn’t any better for these businesses.

This all seems so unfair, I know. But these companies don’t have to pander to your desire to post whatever you want to on their sites. They aren’t charging you to be there. You’re there on their dime and you’re paying for the experience with every poll you take, every post you like or dislike and any ad you click on because it has an amazing offer for something you were just thinking about buying.

There is a simple remedy for this. Stay off social media. There was a time not so long ago when people managed to live without Facebook posts and Tweets. There was no need to feed your ego or engage in pseudo-debates with click-baiters on the other side of an issue.

We wonder why we’re so divided? Because Facebook has convinced us that these people we Friend are actually our Friends. In most cases, they aren’t even our acquaintances and in many cases, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, there to tear you down, fuel your fears, create fear about others who aren’t exactly like you, and divide us even further.

In short, mass media has never been democratic. There is a buck to be made in any media company’s business model. It was never about creating something for the greater good. It was about making money off of you.

If you can live with that, enjoy social media. If you can’t then perhaps you need to question why you’re really spending so much time there. Regardless, realize that your freedom of speech is not being abridged by these corporations or the sites they run. You gave them the right to delete content you post the day you signed up, logged in and clicked on the Terms of Use. Read the terms sometimes (see Facebook’s terms). You’ll be amazed at what rights you gave up. Your freedom of speech was just the start.

Somewhere north of the Emerald City, exercising my freedom of speech in my own sandbox,

  • Robb

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