Monday, December 31, 2012

notmovingpictures Episode 14: End Of The Year But Not The End Of Time

I had time to sneak in one more episode of notmovingpictures so get your podcast listening ears on and give it a whirl! Don and Tommy talk about the status of Tommy's band Alloy, the so called Mayan Prophecy that really wasn't a Mayan Prophecy at all, where we'd like to see Rush play in 2013, Don listening to Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier giving props to Rush on SModcast, The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame and Chris' (Tommy's son) band Flotag. I'm assuming I've spelled that right. Take it easy until next year.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

notmovingpictures podcast Episode 13:The Road To Rush part 2

Part 2 picks up as Don, Tommy and Chris make their way back to Tulsa from San Antonio and discuss the Rush concert.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Podcast - notmovingpictures Episode 12: The Road To Rush part 1

On November 12th Tommy and I (and his son Chris) took a road trip to San Antonio, Tx to see Rush in Concert. Our goal as we get older is to see them play someplace we've never been before, not only do we get to see a great concert but we also get to explore  a new city. San Antonio was great. One of our rules is that we don't eat anyplace that exists back home, local or regional joints only. To that end the Enchilada's Campesino at Fogotas and the Bison Burger at The Cove stand out for me. Claudia (our waitress at Fogotas) was very helpful and Jessica (a customer) was so nice and helpful we elected her as the Mayor of San Antonio.

We were able to see the Riverwalk, The Alamo and a few other things and honestly another day probably would have been beneficial. One interesting thing that we saw as we were driving was about 40 mariachis practicing in a courtyard for a hotel. Before we could get a picture the light turned green and the opportunity was missed. Okay, also because my camera was put away and Tommy somehow is unable to work his in a timely manner. The concert itself was amazing of course. Rush put on a great show, focusing on music from their latest album Clockwork Angels and a few albums after Grace Under Pressure. They also had a string section play for half of the show and we heard not one, not two but two and a half drum solos from Mr Neil Peart.

On the way back we stopped in Austin for lunch and saw an unusual sight. Apparently the white version of Blade lives there. A guy with a long black overcoat and shades was walking down the street with a katana strapped to his back. I have heard that Austin attracts a lot of unusual people. Anyway, after a long drive of about nine hours we made it back home safe and sound but very tired. Hopefully next week I'll be able to get part 2 of the podcast out. Until then.......... 

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ten For Tuesday Episode 020: The One After The Road Trip

Episode 20 arrives after the road trip to San Antonio and features music from the 80s, 90s and even some from very recently. No matter what the decade is, no matter what the genre is, if the music is good I'll play it. I've only seen two of these artists live but to find out which ones you'll have to listen to the podcast.

X - The Have Nots
Del Amitri - Always The Last To Know
Rosie Flores - Push Right Over
Velocity Girl - Crazy Town
Wire Train - Last Perfect Thing
PiL - One Drop
Tim Armstrong - Into Action
Gang Of Four - Never Pay For The Farm
Belfegore - All That I Wanted
PJ Harvey - Sheila Na-Gig

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Another Reason The NFL Sucks

Today I had to stay home from church so that someone could come and fix a problem with my kitchen sink. My consolation was that the Cleveland Browns, the only NFL team that I ever cared about since grade school, are playing the Kansas City Chiefs. In Tulsa the Chiefs are the AFC team that is ALWAYS shown on the local affiliate no matter how bad they or their opponent is. Until this week that is. Instead a game with playoff implications featuring two teams from the East Coast is being shown. This is typical of how the NFL operates. The Browns are given zero respect in the league and in the media.

Don't get started with all of the garbage about how it's up to the local affiliates as to which games gets chosen because that argument is utter hogwash. The NFL doesn't want die hard fans of individual teams anymore, instead they want fans of the league. They want fans who have several favorite teams, fans who will accept whatever is given to them. Do you really think the NFL wouldn't exert any type of influence over the choice of games that are shown on TV? Please. Besides, the Browns vs Chiefs offers a back story of several former Browns players and coaches who ended up with the Chiefs and they likely want to exact some sort of revenge on the team that gave up on them and cut them loose. That makes for good drama.

So instead I'm given a game featuring the Ravens vs Washington, a game by the way that I refuse to watch. I''ll watch nothing instead.  It may actually all be for the best. It seems that as I write this and follow the game on the Internet Cleveland has given up a big play, an 80 yard touchdown run on the very first play of the game. Also it seems that Brady Quinn, the quarterback cast off from Cleveland, has also completed a pass for over 45 yards. He's on his third team after being unable to win the starting job for the Browns. If I were watching the game I'd probably be yelling curses at the screen as I pulled out what little hair I have left on my head.

It's not easy being a Browns fan. I've suffered through countless regime shifts. Often head coaches and general managers are gone after only two years and many of them never have been the right choice in the first place. It seems like every few years they start over, installing a new philosophy and having to change most of the players so that they fit the new system. Hardly a blueprint for success or longevity. I've said for years that they need to get personnel in who have done the job and been successful before instead of hiring those that never held that position. But what do I know, I'm only a fan.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Idiots Speaking Out Loud Incur My Wrath

As I drove into the parking garage at work yesterday I already knew that I was going to be late. Well, let’s back up for a minute. I was trying to get to work an hour early for a meeting and I knew that I was going to be late for that. Little did I know exactly how late I would be. After my first turn in the garage I proceeded up the ramp where I promptly had to stop behind another car that was waiting for the car in front of it to do something. That car had it right turn signal on and was just sitting in the lane. On my left hand side was a parked car wanting to back out but it could not because of all of the cars blocking the lane. Impatient as I was (it’s a shortcoming of mine) I honked my horn and then sat as nothing happened in front of me.

In situations like these I tend to act quickly rather than to waste more time than I already had so after determining that there was no oncoming traffic I pulled out to my left in an effort to go around the problem. As I pulled abreast of the lead stationary car another car appeared from the far right wanting to turn into my path but I was not to be deterred. My windows were down and I said something like “Idiots!” as I made my way around them and into my left hand turn to go up the next ramp. As I did so a woman walking down the ramp looked at me and said very loudly “Really?” to which I responded even more loudly “Really shut up!”

Now I know I was wrong to yell out as I did and that nobody in front of me was doing anything with malicious intent towards me (other than the idiot lady walking) however I have to say, it felt really good when I said it. Call me what you will but I gained a small bit of pleasure responding to her even while knowing that nothing I said either way would make her think twice about vocalizing her thoughts in the future to random strangers. Society is at a point right now where too many people think that just because they have a thought they need to share it with anyone around them as if their opinion matters to the public at large. They are wrong, very wrong.

For far too long these people have gotten away with voicing their opinions about every little mundane thing in the world whether it is vocalized or typed onto a message board or as a comment on a blog/story with no thought whatsoever as to what repercussions may come from their actions. These people will cut you off in traffic and then have the audacity to flip you off if you react in any way. Basically put they are getting away with rude, childish behavior that they would never attempt face to face with a living, breathing person who they thought even for an instant might give them a smack in the face for being so impudent. They belong to the faction of cowards who hide behind their anonymity.

The only solution is to call them on their actions whenever they see fit to burst out in their stupidity. Of course if you do so online then you run the risk of feeding the trolls who want nothing more than somebody to reply to them. That way they can continue their nonsensical attacks. That way in their minds they seem to matter and have a purpose in life. Perhaps as you read this you may make the mistake of thinking that I am doing exactly what I am complaining about. I would caution you however that I see it as making them accountable for their actions and that it is necessary to turn this world of cry-baby douchebags into a better place. One where you know that there will be consequences when you decide to act out and thereby expose your rudeness for all to see and hear.

Call me what you will, I’ve probably been called worse and at some point in my life will probably be called even worse. I don’t really care. After all, this is the place I go to spew forth my opinions and you don’t really have to read it (although I thank you if you do) because ultimately none of us are perfect least of all me. The thing is, I don’t claim to be in the first place nor do I believe that my opinion is any more important than anybody else’s. Well, except for that stupid lady that was walking down the ramp that is. Clearly I’m much smarter than she is. At least I’m aware of my shortcomings and try to fix them, this situation notwithstanding.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Don’t speak
Don’t talk
No questions allowed
Keep your head down
Concentrate on the task
Stay the course
Not supposed to
Not allowed to
Stay at arms length
All will be well
Blind loyalty demanded
Nothing given in return
I can be friendly
Just not your friend
They told me so

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ten For Tuesday Ep 19: All Rush All The Time

In honor to the band Rush and to commemorate the road trip to see them in San Antonio I offer you the listener with this special bonus podcast. Rush has such a huge catalog of music to choose from so in an effort to whittle the possibilities down I decided to concentrate on my favorite period of their music. My favorite period is from three consecutive albums (Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures and Signals) which actually straddles a line drawn by a lot of Rush fans, that being between Moving Pictures and Signals. Since I'm not a conventional guy or even normal according to my friends and family though this is my favorite period of the bands music. To be honest I could almost include all of the songs on any of these albums on a list such as this but since I am limited to ten I had to make some hard choices. Here they are:

The Spirit Of Radio
New World Man
Digital Man
Tom Sawyer
The Analog Kid
The Camera Eye

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Road To Rush

At last the day has come for a road trip, Tommy (my brother from other parents) and his son Chris brought me along with them once again to see Rush. The idea we have is to go someplace we've never seen before and it was decided that we would travel to San Antonio, Texas. After about eight hours on the road (and a traffic jam in Austin) we arrived at our hotel and promptly went down to the Riverwalk to do the tourist thing. I had some Huevos Rancheros which I've never had before and more things are lined up for tomorrow. The best thing of course is seeing Rush, for me it will be my eighth time.

I think that every so often it's good to get away from things and relax, whether by yourself or with close friends, whichever works best for you. Tommy and I intend to work on some lyrics while we are here and hopefully the trip will jumpstart us creatively.  We'll try and poke around the town in the short time we have. Below are pictures of my dinner and the view from our room. Look for a special new episode of Ten For Tuesday of all Rush tomorrow and new notmovingpictures will be coming soon as well.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ten For Tuesday Episode 18

It's only been two weeks and I actually got another episode of Ten For Tuesday done. What's more, there should be another bonus episode in the next few days so pay attention! Music for this episode comes from Amsterdam, The UK, The States, Japan, Peru, Argentine and Canada. The track list is as follows:

Jaya The Cat - Here Comes The Drums
The Skints - Rise Up
Casper Loma Da Wa - How The West Was Won
X - Country At War
The Nerves- Hanging On The Telephone
Mission of Burma - That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate
Oi Skall Mates - Nutty Sound
Olaya Sound System - Innocente
Anabella - No Me Conviene
The Real McKenzies - Scots Wha' Ha'e

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, November 19, 2012


This one came to me somewhere around the 6th of November. It's been a good month or so for me as far as writing lyrics at least. If you can guess what it's about then you're probably not much of a mind reader. I think it's rather clear and to the point unlike most of what I write. Still, by the time it gets worked on for an actual song it will probably change a lot. Once it does I'll try and remember to post it and contrast what it is from what it was.
You always talk a good game
Open your mouth and
Expect me to follow
Snap your fingers and
Tell me to listen not
Do what you do.................actually
Is this the dream life you thought of
Clashing verbiage when you fall down
Surrounded by moments of joy
Is this how you bury your sorrow.......actually
The things I do that you hate
Are fine enough for you to imitate
the looking glass never shows the truth
Your eyes are covered by a mask........actually
Multiple cult of personalities gather
Behind the curtain of dark gray matter
Do the linguistic dance mix patter
Blame it all on cultural diversity......actually
Conflicting interests far too frequently
Never claimed to be a mind reader
Come down off the pedestal you chose
Come join me in a real world alliance....actually

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Swimming In The Sewer

I wrote this one on the 7th while listening to a band called Jaya The Cat. It seems pretty self explanatory to me but who knows, maybe somebody else will get a different meaning from it.

They say that nothing in life is free
Man they got that right
Ever since I was pushed out
It’s all been struggle and strife
You can talk all you want
About the way it should be
I’m down here swimming
In the sewer with the animals….actually

They say nothing is owed in life
Man they got that right
Every time I try to make a turn
I’m plagued by a man with no sight
If I ask for a helping hand
Is anybody even gonna listen
Meanwhile I’m still swimming
In the sewer watching the animals…..actually

Just let me take a step, take a step
Before the next wave crashes down
Just let me have a little dream, little dream
Before it all comes crashing down

They said I’d never amount to nothing
Man they got that right
Learned my lessons being pushed
Never chose the nine to five
Still I can hold my head up high
I took everything that I earned
That’s why I’m a shark swimming
In the sewer with the animals…..actually

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.



Scurrying from door to door
Papers multiplying in your hands
So busy in appearance
So little work actually done
Watching you do this
As my life slowly fades away

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, November 12, 2012

movingpictures Episode 17: The Boner Ep

Right on the heels of Episode 16 comes number 17, the bonus episode. This extra episode is long overdue. Since I've had such a problem with getting these things done in a timely manner I bore down and got it done early for once. This episodes music is:

The Skids - Of One Skin
Demolition 23 - Nothins Alright
The Lemonheads - The Great Big No
Joey Kneiser - He Put It In The Soul Of Everyone
The Cars - You're All I've Got Tonight
The Smithereens - Behind The Wall Of Sleep
Matt Mays & El Torpedo - Ain't So heavy
Iggy Pop - Real Wild Child
The Godfathers - Birth, School, Work, Death
Rancid - If The Kids Are United

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Podcast Alert: Ten For Tuesday Episode 16 Is Ready

Episode 16 of my amazing musical podcast is now ready. Go to to download, subscribe, etc or just click on the player below. This episodes playlist is:

The Jam - Modern World
Violent Femmes - Gone Daddy Gone
Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All
Nine Below Zero - 11 + 11
The Slackers - Cooking For Tommy (live)
Sugar - Changes
The Beatdown - It's Alright
Chuck Prophet - Love Won't Keep Us Apart
Satelite Kingston - La Ultima Carta
The Dualers - I Won't Let You Go

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

See What Listening To Punk Music Can Do For You?

Yesterday I listened to a few punk podcasts and out came some lyrics, but can you guess the impetus for them? It's not what you think.

Keep It Simple

Walked in the door got blindsided again

Tell me the order of what to do

Shifting priorities from day to day

Who am I to talk who am I to say

Change it up move it around

Talk as if the picture’s crystal clear

Not enough time not enough space

Chastising me is such a waste

Keep it simple keep it plain

Let me be lord of my domain ( terrain?)

I want to make everything fine

But you keep crossing the line

(Tell me what to do)

Perhaps a little clarification might

Help me realize the error of my ways

Some subtle understanding draws

Illuminate the size of my enormous flaws

Piece it together from here and there

Daily inventions amass piling over

At my wits end revealing it all bereft

It’s no wonder I’ve got no hair left

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day To Day

I hear your anxiety muttering
Coming from under your breath
Afraid of what the future holds
Lamenting who you have become

I’m an easy target for you
The source of all that’s gone wrong
Before me there was only good
Now only scars of what’s been

When your anger has burst
Boiled over from a long simmering
Normality somewhat returns
The story changes until next time

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Trying So hard

What we do isn’t conversation
You’re only talking at me
Not interested in what I have to say
It can’t be good anyway
What we do is more like competition
Talking over each other
Trying to make our points
Nobody really wins by the way

Then you tell me
Do the best that you can
Believe me baby I am
Trying so hard
Trying so, so hard

Life is filled with false ideas
Freedom is only an illusion
You only think that you know
The truth cannot set you free
I don’t want to see this end
But nothing lasts forever
Sometimes it’s necessary
Still I don’t want to disagree

If you’re too old to enjoy it
What was the purpose
Everything was ventured
And nothing was gained
I’m convinced waiting for
Life to get better than this
Will be the death of me
I want better than this

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Art Of Cowardly Fighting

Recently while in Sunday School I had a memory of a kid I knew when I was young. It's been over twenty-five years since I've seen him and as a result I no longer remember his name. For the sake of the story let's just call him Greg. Greg didn't live in my apartment building but did live on the same block as me in the projects. We were friendly off and on over a period of a few years but not exactly friends if that makes sense. As a matter of fact, the last memory I have of him was a fight between me and his younger brother and subsequently me and him but that's another story entirely.

On this particular day when we were about ten years old during a period of friendship we happened to be standing outside on the block talking. Greg had this bad habit of running his mouth to other people but unfortunately for him he had absolutely no ability to defend himself. For whatever reason there was he would start calling another kid names, saying bad things about his family and what he would do to the kid. Since he couldn't back any of his smack talk up whenever it came to physical violence (which with boys at that age it invariably will do) Greg usually wound up taking a beating. I recall on one occasion a boy we'll call Mike (can't remember his name either) came running up to Greg and started punching him out of the blue. It seems Greg had been mouthy with Mike in school where Mike couldn't do anything about it but now out in the open he had found his opportunity for revenge.

Greg immediately dropped into a fetal position and covered up as best he could while Mike pounded away on him. Eventually Mike tired of this and figuring that his need for revenge was sated he stopped pummeling Greg and told him he'd gotten what he deserved. Mike let him up and told him in great detail what he would do to him the next time he dared to talk to him the way he had before. Greg kept his head down and started to walk away sniffling but when he had gone about thirty to forty feet he started a vicious, nasty, verbal assault on Mike the likes of which I had never heard before. Greg took off running with Mike in hot pursuit but he only got a short distance before Mike caught him and the whole scene repeated itself.

Once more Mike let Greg up and once more he walked away before starting another verbal assault. Mike chased him down again and bashed him as best he could, given Greg's fetal position. This scene repeated itself several more times before Greg finally made it to the safety of his home (or Mike just tired of using him as a human punching bag) whichever came first. Greg had suffered a very public beating but had never stopped running his mouth once he had gained some sort of relative safety. Mike had shown that he could dominate Greg but could not stop him from running his mouth, no matter how many times he beat him down. It's hard to say whose will was more indomitable.

What's could all of this possibly have to do with Church you say? Our lesson was about a leader who refused to make an oath that he would war no more even though he and his men were trapped and could not win. They faced complete destruction and still he would not give in. Greg was very much like that leader. He put himself in a bad situation of his own making and talked about what he would do but ultimately would not fight back and defend himself. Behind his verbal smokescreen he was a coward and could not face his own demons. Not once did he stand up for himself, not once did he attempt to throw a single punch. Instead he chose to transfer those demons to others in what I can only surmise was an effort to deflect the pain he felt inside. As a result he ended up having pain on the outside fighting a war he could never win.

Greg could not bring himself to capitulate nor could he learn from his mistakes. At the very least he should have realized that the smart thing to do was get a little more distance between Mike and himself before opening his mouth again, but he could not even do that. I don't know if it was pride, stupidity or good old fashioned craziness which drove him. At the time I didn't know whether I should admire or pity him and even now I still can't say for sure how I feel. His behavior puzzled me then as it does now. If you won't defend yourself then perhaps it's better to just keep your mouth shut. If he never learned from his mistakes and dealt with those demons he might still be stuck in the same revolving door pattern he developed all those years ago. For his sake I really hope that's not the case. It would be rather sad at his age to still be living a life as a cowardly fighter.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

poem for my mother

while I was young
life was hell
falling asleep at night
listening to you rant
how i was no good
"i'll send you to your father"
even though you didn't
know where he was
for a bad grade
you yelled at me
then gave me the same
when i got a good one
the wrong lesson learned
it's better not to try
with my shared name
secrets passed over me
life lived oblivious
left out always excluded
is it a wonder
it took me so long
to learn my truth
recovery can be a bitch

reflecting on time
raising three young children
i see the difficulties
you had to live with
no help from the runaway
man that chose you
society looked down
it's long nose
the short supply of money
engulfed by life's demands
the pain and anger
left on your shoulders
is it any wonder
it came our way
spilling over the levy
overwhelming your defenses
you didn't know
how to cope
the world wasn't fair
life even less so
it's the only way
you knew to fight back

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

poem for my father

in your life
you held many titles
father and son
Sergeant First Class
Vietnam veteran
deadbeat dad
champion habitual liar
disappointer of your
children's children

i wonder which one
filled you with
the most pride
the most shame
if you could feel it
it's far too late
to find out
you've left again
this time for good

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Little Something I Wrote Recently

day by day little by little
i go from thinking
to knowing i don't know
one moment confused
by what you say
the next full of energy
ready for the world
what life will bring
it's crazy sometimes

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Episode 15 Of Ten For Tuesday Is Ready

It took a month but Episode 15 of my podcast Ten For Tuesday has finally been uploaded. It really is a continuation of Episode 14, when I selected the songs I had about seven or eight left over and I really didn't want to leave them out so after a little digging I found a few more songs and it was decided. Life as always intervenes but also I've been busy with my other podcast notmovingpictures. As a matter of fact I've just recorded three episodes of that one in the past five days. Be of good So jump in the time machine with me and remember what it was like to rock out in the early 90s.

Biohazard - Punishment
Rollins Band - Starve
Testament - Practice What You Preach
Prong - Snap Your Finger, Snap Your Neck
Rage Against The Machine - Testify
Butthole Surfers - Who Was In My Room Last Night
L7 - Pretend That We're Dead
Sponge - Rotting Pinata
Alice In Chains - Would
Paw - Jessie

twitter - @notmovingpics   email -

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, September 24, 2012

notmovingpictures Does MMA, New Podcast Is Up

Right on the heels of episode nine comes episode number ten, recorded this past Saturday at my friend Eric’s house. Along with our other friend Tommy (nope, different Tommy, this one has fought MMA before) we had convened there to watch UFC 152 and talk MMA. We had a spirited talk about Jon Jones, Dana White and the cancellation of UFC 151 and who really was at fault. There was discussion about local MMA, the Ultimate Performance Center where Tommy works and trains, grappling, and more. We also picked who we thought would win on the main card fights and afterwards came back to see who picked best. Want to find out who had the sharpest mind for picking the winners? Then listen and wisdom will be granted you.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

notmovingpictures Episode 9: Don Goes Solo Again And Rants

True to form it’s been several days since I uploaded the latest edition of the notmovingpictures podcast and I’m just now getting around to writing about it here. What can I say? Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you would like them to. In episode 9 I went solo again since Tommy had shoulder surgery and there were things on my mind I just couldn’t wait to get out. The one thing that propelled me forward to do the show immediately was when I went to pick my son up from school. The parking lot has an entrance and then you have to go in a U shape to get to the exit. A truck was partially blocking the exit and an SUV was sitting in the street blowing it’s horn repeatedly. This lady roars in through the exit and then has the nerve to yell at the driver of the truck about how it’s not a parking spot. I couldn’t hold my tongue at this point so I yelled out that it was an exit not an entrance. It took several times before I swear she looked over but I don’t think she could tell where it had come from.

For some reason I got wound up over this. Some people are just pure idiots who think the world revolves around them and although they don’t have to follow the rules everybody else does, especially when it makes their life inconvenient. Idiots. I also talked about jury duty and how I believe the people who try and get out of it without a valid reason are part of them problem with this country. Their mentality kind of mirrors that of the lady driving the SUV. I also delved into the controversy over the Muslim unrest of the horribly done anti-Muslim movie. I’m not going to say the name of it because that would only give the makers of that piece of garbage even more attention. Really if you’re a Muslim you shouldn’t be upset over it because of how laughable it is. The production on it is so bad you might as well say there was none.

Lastly I talked about how two Russian scientists who are self described UFO experts have predicted that a cataclysmic earthquake the like of which has never been experienced in our recorded time would hit Lima, Peru yesterday. It would be the so strong that it was felt in parts of the United States and would be the first in a series of three that would ravage the world. Many Peruvians were feeling anxiety over this news. Once again it was much ado about nothing. There was no earthquake which is no surprise. The thing that should have alerted everybody that this was so preposterous was that they stated they gained their knowledge from decoding information left in places like Machu Picchu by aliens thousands of years ago. It seems that false prophets are everywhere these days. That wraps it up. If you feel the need go to and check out this or any of the other episodes. If you do let me know what you think, so feedback would be nice. Until next time, take it easy and don’t sweat the stuff idiots say. Life goes much better that way.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Jury Duty Is Over, Now Get Back To Work!

Now that my first ever jury duty is finished without actually being chosen to sit on a jury it’s time for my final reflections. Twice my name was called to be in the voir dire and twice my presence was not required. After the second time the judge excused those of us not selected from further service for the week and just like that, after three days my jury duty experience was over. I answered all of the questions put forth honestly and didn’t hold back which is probably why they didn’t want me. Unlike many others, during my service I made little effort in interacting with my fellow jurors, as is my nature. It’s not as if I hate people or anything, I’m just slow to feel comfortable around strangers and usually I prefer my own company. I’m not sure if that sounds arrogant but this was time that I was able to indulge myself reading and writing. Kind of an extended “me” time, which if you’ve ever been married or had a kid, you know can be in short supply. If only I’d have remembered my headphones I would have been watching movies to while away the time as well.

For some reason many people just didn’t understand the simple rules set forth. Either that or they felt they didn’t apply to them. First we were told during a jury pull (when potential jurors are chosen to participate in the voir dire) to remain seated unless our name was called. If your name was called then you were to sound off with in any way you liked, so long as it could be heard. That way it was clear that you were on your way over to the front to be taken upstairs. Both of those rules were constantly ignored. People were up and moving around, going to the bathroom or throwing away trash, none of which are things that cannot wait for a few minutes. Some answered very softly in a big room full of walls set at angles, filled by several hundred people. Some didn’t answer at all, seemingly sure that by their movement it should be known they were on their way. Two simple rules that couldn’t be followed. I didn’t understand it at all. Some people just think that the rules don’t apply to them no matter where they are.

Choices of clothing were an interesting thing to notice for me. There were several people who wore their work uniform the first day but abandoned it after that. One younger person wore long, baggy shorts and flip flops. On the other side of it many people were very well dressed, you could almost say they were wearing their Sunday best. I myself dressed on the lower end of the business casual scale. There are only extremely rare occasions where you can find me in a dress shirt and tie and even rarer ones that I would wear a suit, my wedding being one of those. As a matter of fact I don’t even care for wearing a dress shirt period. Mainly I dressed as I would at my job except for Wednesday when I wore jeans. Part of me wondered if those that wore their work uniforms were doing so in an effort to get dismissed from further duty. I further wondered if others dressed down in an effort not to be picked for a jury. In the end I don’t really know if that was what they intended. I’m not trying to say who was right or wrong in the clothes that they wore (other than the shorts and flip flops), I’m just making observations here. You are to free to wear what you want when you report for jury duty, just don’t be surprised if the judge calls you on it.

Lastly, as each day went by you realized what a long, boring process this could be. There was a lot of waiting in the jury room where we were supposed to remain and nobody else was allowed to enter. Unless you count that one lady was there with her boyfriend/husband and tried to spend the entire day with him. She was caught in the jury room and told to leave so they both sat on a bench right outside the door. Later she tried coming back in to use the restroom but she was rebuffed. What surprised me was once you knew just had tedious it could be, some people didn’t bring a book, an electronic device or anything else for that matter. I brought a book and my laptop and used both extensively. I can’t imagine coming in every day with nothing to occupy my time, it would make the day seem interminable. To each his own I guess.

There were many different kinds of people from a wide age range and from all walks of life. I’m sure there were many interesting people with stories to tell but I didn’t hear any of them. There were one or two that I was thinking of asking some questions of if I’d come back today or tomorrow but it was not to be. Like life the trials will go on, some people will share and some like me will keep to themselves, making observations and enjoying their solitude in a room full of people. For me, jury duty is no longer in session.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ever Been Called For Jury Duty?

I'm halfway through my first day of jury duty and I thought I'd share my thoughts so far. While I'm not extremely familiar with downtown Tulsa normally I can find my way without too much trouble. Not today though. The street I wanted to turn down was closed for construction which led to a lengthy detour and as a result I wasn't too sure of where I was. In the end I parked (illegally) at DHS and had to hoof it back over there on break so that I could park in the correct place.

Checking in took a long time as there seemed to be at least two hundred people here, if not more. We were given instructions about the process and then people were chosen for three groups to go upstairs (we're down in the basement, just like at work) for the voir dire. That's where you are questioned and either chosen for the jury or returned to the bowels of the building to await another potential selection. At some point if not chosen and there are no more juries to be selected for the day we may be released. Basically just like the Army it's a lot of waiting.

Good points so far:

We were sent to lunch early and actually had an hour and thirty five minutes which is thirty five more than I get total for the night at work.

I was able to eat my lunch outside in the open air where the sky was blue and the temperature wasn't too bad. Well, maybe if you're walking it seems hot but not when you're sitting in the shade. Thankfully it's not as hot as it's been in recent weeks and the forecast (for what that's worth) doesn't call for a return to triple digits.

If it does get too hot while on break the wonderfully sweet air conditioning at the Central Library is waiting right across the plaza. The walk is so short you won't even break into a sweat.

I don't have to pay for parking which can really add up in downtown Tulsa and that's money I don't have to spend.

My employer pays me to be on jury duty and I don't have to use vacation time. Bonus!

I get to spend time writing (like I am right now) and reading without being constantly bombarded with questions. So while it's not exactly a vacation it is a vacation from work.

Bad points so far:

I have to get up really early in the morning to get ready, get my son ready for school and then make it here in traffic on time. I've never been mistaken for a morning person and it's a bit rough for me to be up so early.

There is a lot of waiting. After a while even writing and reading can get boring. Perhaps I'll be able to doze off for a bit and get a little rest.

That's it so far. Time will tell if I am to be chosen or if I sit here in the lower level, rejected by all suitors. Sounds like the story of my life.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Taking The Family To The Zoo

My wife and I had plans to spend this Labor Day together as a family. One of her friends had invited us to an outing that her church was having at their church camp which required about a forty minute drive from Tulsa. The church was supposed to be having a free cookout and had buses that would transport everyone there. Once we got up this morning I had her call her friend and it was discovered that in actuality the food and drinks would cost an unknown sum. Her friend and her family had gotten up late so they were going to drive there and then leave at about two o'clock. The bus however wouldn't be returning until five PM.

Faced with this news and the idea of spending all that time in the heat, most of it with people we didn't know, coupled with fact that we didn't know how much the food would cost or what activities would be available, we made the only sensible decision we could and elected not to go. Instead we chose to go to the Tulsa Zoo which would cost us far less since we have a family membership there. That means no entrance fee to Mohawk Park and the zoo. We did have to pay for tickets to ride the train (a must after tromping around for several hours in the heat) and a small fee for the merry go round that my son just had to ride. I couldn't deny him this tiny extravagance.

Since we had brought our own water we were not subject to the price gouging that is called buying drinks at the zoo.  The main drawbacks for this visit were that there were quite a few exhibits that were empty and more that had different animals than the ones listed on the signs. Oh and the heat. Did I mention how hot it was? It seemed as if were at least a hundred degrees which was what was in the weather forecast. It turns out that it was one hundred and four degrees in Tulsa today. Honestly there are fewer things I dread more than spending a lot of time marching around in this kind of heat. It's not my idea of fun. Still, the idea was to spend time together as a family, something that has been dreadfully overdue before this summer.

So instead of spending a lot of hours (not to mention an unknown quantity of money) in the heat and company of (mostly) strangers, we traded that for spending a few hours (and dollars) less in the heat with a lot of strangers. At least at the zoo though we were free to go where we wished at our leisure and interact as we saw fit. Personally I don't really care much for the zoo. I think it's sad that these animals are held captive in a usually too small enclosure just for our enjoyment. I'd hate to live a life with that kind of boredom, although some might say that I had already done that in my period of near hermetic seclusion after the failure of my first marriage.

But this is the way things are in the world and the idea was to spend some quality time with the family which was accomplished. The best I can try to do is to educate my son about animals and expose him to other cultures and countries. That way he can make up his mind and think for himself down the road. Right now he just enjoys seeing new things and learning as much as he can. That's the number one thing I can try and instill in him. If I do my job right and am lucky he'll turn out to be a pretty good guy which is the most I can do. I think I'm on the right path. I just pray I can stay there.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things I Don't Do

I don’t hit you
I don’t call you names
I don’t sleep around
To you it’s all the same
I don’t smoke, do drugs
I don’t drink
I don’t gamble my pay
All the same you think
I don’t go to parties
I don’t stay out late
I don’t sleep around
And yet you start to hate
I don’t pay enough attention
I don’t give enough love
I don’t spend enough time
And that you let go of

I can write the words
But have trouble speaking
I can see my flaws
Too slow to change them
Is it too late
I don’t know

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Episodes Of Both Podcasts Are Finally Ready!!

It seems like it's been forever since I've put up any new episodes of either of my podcasts so good news is in order, both of them have new episodes ready to explode into your ears. As of late I haven't had much time to dedicate to writing or editing the podcasts, especially last week when I was on vacation. Originally I thought I'd be able to get it done but with trying to spend time with the family and all it just didn't happen. Once it was over work was crazy too. Sometimes it seems as if it would be better to not take any time off rather than clean up the mess that is waiting for me when I get back but that's just crazy talk. During my one week off I was able to de-stress quite a bit (when my wife allowed me to that is). This was my first vacation in over two years so you could say I was more than ready for it.

Before I could put up any new episodes of Ten For Tuesday I had to deal with a problem first. I was out of room on Podomatic and couldn't upload a new episode until I'd done something about it. Since I don't have the cash to upgrade to a Pro account I did the next best and cheapest thing possible. I went to the Internet Archive and set up a free account with unlimited space and started archiving the podcast there. To date I have five episodes available and in the near future will have them all. Once I get caught up I'll put all new episodes in both locations. Now the first three episodes can only be found there. As this goes on I'll be rotating out the episodes on Podomatic whenever I have a new one to post. To find them just go to and search for Ten For Tuesday, it's that easy. I'll also be moving notmovingpictures there and will host my other projects as well once I have time to start on them.

With that done I put together Episode 14 comprised of songs from some of the artists I was listening to from 1992-1995. Believe me the tracks are not indicative of everything that I listened to but comes pretty close. The artists featured are Helmet, Clutch, Life Sex and Death, Soudgarden, Jesus Lizard, Nirvana, Gruntruck, Hammerbox, Stompbox, Monster Voodoo Machine and The Screaming Trees. And yes I'm quite aware that there are eleven bands listed. To find out why you'll need to listen to the show. This episode came about because of the conversation that my guest host on notmovingpictures and I had about music from that era. I think he'll enjoy this one.

Just who was the guest host? His name is Richard Shockey and we met because our kids were in school together and they became best friends. Late in the year we found out that we had a few things in common so I finally got around to asking him to do the show. Tommy was out of town so it was a perfect fit in the schedule (I have a schedule?). If you tune in you'll hear our rambling discussion (as well as our kids in the background) on bands, local music, the Internet radio show he does (High Voltage Horror Show) with his friend Justin Edlich, my story of missing out on seeing Helmet and then finally getting to see them as well as how work and family problems can turn into good fodder for lyrics.

So there you have it, new episodes of the podcasts that you (hopefully) love to listen to. I'll do my best to get them out at a faster pace. I really want to do that but often it's a question of doing things with the family or around the house or working. I've gotta pay the bills, these things don't make any money. That's why they're done as lo-fi as they are. Of course if anyone wants to give me some free equipment in exchange for being mentioned or want to sponsor the show I'm open to suggestions so long as it's a product I can get behind. Who am I kidding? I've got to get a lot more listeners before stuff like that happens but I can dream so I'll dream big. Until the next time keep listening and reading and I'll keep putting it out there.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'll Eat At A Hole In The Wall Anytime

I've been watching a lot of Anthony Bourdain's show No Reservations lately in an effort to try and catch up on the last two seasons. I'd seen some of season seven before but not all of it and none of season eight. Watching the European episodes brought back memories of my two years in Germany from 1988 to 1990 while in the U.S. Army. Mainly it was how Tony likes to go somewhere at the end of a night of drinking and get some food, preferably street food, to "soak up" the alcohol. Back in those days I used to drink but no more. Still, I have a certain amount of fondness for things that happened in those days.

On my first Friday night at my unit I was taken by a team member into Stuttgart from Boeblingen because he wanted to show me the ropes. At the end of the night he decided that before we caught the Bahnhof (think above ground subway) back to Boeblingen he just had to show me a food stand that he said was amazing. The only problem was that he had consumed a large amount of beer and couldn't quite remember where the stand was. We went up one street and down another and eventually we found the stand in question.

At the time for some reason I thought the food was called Hackfleisch and that perhaps it originated from somewhere in the Mediterranean. I was wrong about that. Now I know that Hackfleisch literally means "hack flesh" (the Germans can be so straight forward in their descriptions) which really means chopped meat so I'm not entirely sure what it was that I was eating back then. I am sure however that it was delicious. That was the first of many times that I visited that stand late at night to taste their wares. One bad thing about the night though was that it took so long to find the stand that the last train had left and we had to spend the next four or five hours sleeping on the benches at the Bahnhof station. A small price to pay for the culinary delight I was shown.

My other favorite place to eat was at a stand at the Bahnhof station in Boeblingen that served currywurst. Their version was fairly straight forward. The wurst was cut into small pieces and a sauce comprised of curry and ketchup covered it. It was outstanding! I always made sure that I had room in my belly when I was using the Bahnhof to go into or come from Stuttgart. Once and only once I ordered currywurst at a nicer sit down restaurant thinking that it would at worst be comparable and at best be much better than my beloved version from the Bahnhof booth. I was wrong.

The nice restaurant version was just the wurst cooked with some curry and you had to try and add ketchup to make your own sauce. It just wasn't the same. That experience was one of many that taught me how simple I am when it comes to food. I very much prefer street food or hole-in-the-wall restaurants over fancy gourmet places. As a matter of fact I have no use for gourmet restaurants at all. They just don't appeal to me. Too often they seem to place the look of the food and the ambiance of the experience over the taste of the food. I'm all about the taste, as my belly can attest.

Thinking back it seems to have always been this way. In college my favorite place to eat was Jerry's, a greasy, run down place with cheap food and low prices. In Washington D.C. after a night out there was a hamburger place that my friends and I loved to go to. It didn't look like much on the outside but the waitresses had sharp tongues to go with the great food. Here in Tulsa my favorite Mexican restaurant (Rio Verde) looks like a rundown joint on the outside and that I'd be the only gringo there but once you get inside the food is great and authentic and people from all races can be found.

I guess this all ties into my personality. I just have a preference for the simpler things and could care less for anything flashy. What's most important to me is not outward appearances but what's on the inside. I'm not out to impress anybody, I just feel that the best experiences in life for me are the simple ones and the best food is usually in the least likely places. Give my theory a chance, you might be surprised at what you find.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Mysterious Case Of The Vanishing Underwear

Last week after noticing I was running low on underwear and white socks I deduced that it was time to look in the laundry baskets. My wife had just done the laundry a few days before so there should have been a lot of both. What I didn't find had me worried. Where were the white clothes? What had had happened to them? The best my wife could figure was that someone had taken them accidentally or that she had left them (also accidentally). Against all hope we drove over to the laundromat to check but our fears were confirmed. They didn't have them.

If she left them I could see the laundromat throwing them out after a day or two. After all, they are not in the business of storing clothes for people. However if somebody took our clothes from the dryer "accidentally" why would they not bring them back to the laundromat? I know I would if I made such a monumentally dumb mistake. I may not know all of my wife's clothes but I know what most of them look like so in all likelihood I never could have even left the place without noticing I had something that wasn't mine. Some men though would just grab what was in the dryer and not give it a second thought.

That makes me then wonder if they were taken on purpose. If they were, what kind of a loser do you have to be to steal someone elses undergarments? I don't care how many times you wash them I don't want to wear somebody elses underwear. Yes it's all in the mind but to me underwear is personal, I don't share mine with anybody, I don't even like it if I have to borrow someone elses socks or t-shirt in emergency situations. Perhaps other people don't think of underwear as being intimate like I do. Besides, mine were all old, some were torn and some, well, let's just say they'd seen a lot of action.

What kind of a twisted mind would see those and think "I've got to have them!" Hopefully I'll never meet anybody who will share their deep, dark secret of how they just have to steal strangers underwear. If I do I don't know how I could keep the look of horror off of my face. It's too sick to think of. More than likely the person who could do such a thing was scarred for life at a very young age. Sorry, is my sarcasm showing?

So now we have to go out and replenish my stock of socks and underwear. Luckily I hadn't used most of my white t-shirts although I'm sure there are a few that will be missed. We still need to buy some new socks for our son as well. Since money is very tight in our household it's definitely a cost that could have been avoided but what can you you? We all make mistakes, like trusting people not to be thieves with our underwear. Now I just need to find some cool t-shirts that are inexpensive. Not an easy thing to do for someone in their early (okay late) forties who is super picky. I'll try and find a way to move on.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

These lyrics came to me today at work. I guess you could say it's something that's been stewing in my mind for a long time. While it is the nature of working 2nd shift to have people leave as soon as a day shift position opens it does get rather tiring. I guess after having it happen one too many times I decided to vent. However, f I didn't say this was the source of my angst would you have known from reading the words? Hopefully the answer is no. More than likely what brought this on was the way that I found out about the latest defection. The bomb was dropped as if I already knew all about it so I was totally shocked, and angered and pissed if you want to know the truth. Ah, but angst does help to make great or in this case so-so art.

Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

Another one exits
Another takes their place
Another spreads lies
Another welcomes the fake

Wolf in sheep’s clothing
Hiding your true self
Secret plans comes first
Desire gained by stealth

Who are you
Who are you

Too many names forgotten
Too many days gone by
Too many faded photographs
Too many memories died

Emotion’s burned out
Ambition buried in the pile
Karma might catch you
Add your name to the file

Who were you
Who were you

Better not to speak now
Better left unsaid
Better to go our own way
Better off dead

Now I know your purpose
It’s all in the game
Time to pay the toll
With it comes the blame

Who are we
Who are we

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Care To Prove You're Different?

I've always known I was different but in reality I am proof that God has a sense of humor. That is a bold statement but I can back it up with proof. If you look beyond my personality (which some might say is proof enough) and look at my physical side you will begin to see how true my statement is. First are my legs. I'm bowlegged and slew footed which together combines for a strange look.

Every time I had to do the sitting stretch during my time in the military I always had difficulty doing it in their prescribed manner. To do it you sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you with your feet pointing up. Then you simply lean forward and try to touch your toes or go even further if possible depending on your level of fitness.

It always seemed as if I should be able to reach a lot further than I actually was. Then it occurred to me that if I allowed my legs to lay in their normal state, that is legs stretched out and toes pointing outward with my feet horizontal, I would be able to fully stretch myself out and reach past my feet. It does look very abnormal when I sit that way but it's how I'm comfortable so I go with it.

About eight years ago or so I was taking an Aikido class and found out that my elbows are weird as well. We were doing a drill in which you have wrist control on your opponent and take them to the ground face first. There with their arm twisted you put the back of their hand against your chest and lean forward thereby locking it in with your hands free to wreak havoc if need be.

My partner for the exercise did everything properly only to have me simply pull my arm out. Convinced he was doing something wrong he said let's do it again. After many repetitions which all ended in the same manner he gave up and called our instructor over. The Instructor watched us perform the drill once again and then stated "Oh, Don's just put together weird" which is such a wonderful thing to hear.

He showed us how if you make a fist and put it on your hip with your elbow pointing outward then you can feel where the point of your elbow is. For most people it is in the middle but for weird people like me it's somewhere different, in my case it's on the outside. That was what was allowing me to pull my arm out but once armed with the knowledge that someone can do that you merely have to rotate the arm a little more in order to lock it out.

But wait. there's more. I can pop my ankles while standing although I'm pretty sure that's not so good for you. I used to be able to stretch my right hand out and turn it back and forth rapidly and it would produce a clicking sound but that went away in the last year. Then there's my snapping scapula which doesn't hurt and....well I could go on with more tales of my weirdness but I guess that's enough for now. It's all just proof that I am one weird put together dude, not that it wasn't apparent at first glance.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Episode 13 of Ten For Tuesday Podcast Is Ready

Lucky episode 13 of the best music podcast that I do, Ten For Tuesday, is now ready. Go to to listen, download or subscribe to via Itunes. Or just click on the player below. Don't I make it easy for you? After three weeks off I'm back for a musical attack that features music from the U.S., Australia, Italy and Canada. There's lot's of ska, music from the 80s, music from this year and music from somewhere in between. I put all of the songs on a playlist for my Ipod and then just hit shuffle. This is the way it came out:

The Snails - Young At Heart
Alejandro Escovedo - Man Of The World
Banda Bassotti - Guantanamera
The Expos - Dying Too Long
The Resignators - Offbeat Feeling
The Call - The Walls Came Down
Dear Enemy - Restless
Jesse Malin - All The Way From Moscow
The Jayhawks - Bad Time
Drivin' N' Cryin' - Whisper Tames The Lion

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Yet Another Crisis That Never Happened

It seems another deadline that never was has passed. Last week there was a lot of talk about a virus that had infected a large amount of computers. As I understand it you would be directed towards certain web addresses or not where you wanted to go. The FBI had been investigating the people behind it (there was a way to make money from it) and for a time had servers up that would allow you to be able to use your computer on the Internet. On Monday they decided to take the servers down meaning if infected you would lose your Internet browsing ability. It's all over my head as far as the details on how something like this works.

Anyway, the FBI was predicting tens of thousands of computers in the U.S. alone would be affected. Of course they wanted you to get your computer taken care of before they shut down the servers but what struck me was the media doom and gloom frenzy that followed. Much like the Y2K debacle that never materialized not much happened on Monday. The results were not earth shattering, no businesses were shut down, no home computer users went crazy (to my knowledge) after losing their browsing capability and no government offices were affected.

So basically it was a case of much ado over nothing which is what I felt would happen, uhh or not happen in this instance. It seems like this is occurring more and more these days. Somebody will report something and the media jumps all over it without so much as doing a smattering of fact checking. Before you know it people believe what they are told, after all, they saw it on t.v. or read it on the Internet so it must be true. This way stupidity keeps breeding stupidity no matter what the truth is.

Case in point, the Mayan calendar ending. Some person speculated that this meant the end of times even though there was nothing to back this theory up. The world would end (perhaps to start over) on December 21st, 2012. One after another the news services starting reporting this as if it were a fact. Never mind that there is a difference of at least several months in how we have adjusted time which means that date cannot be correct. There's just nothing else to back up this belief. Oh yeah, and since then more Mayan calendars have been found that refute this theory of them predicting the end of the world.

Whenever I hear this type of poorly researched garbage being trolled about in the media I take it with a grain of salt and keep on doing what I am doing. So far none of it has rung true to me, it all seems to be sensationalized manure and I instinctively disbelieve it. It just amazes me how much effort is put into disseminating false beliefs in an effort to stir people up and get better ratings. The days of objective, fact based news reporting by the mainstream news media are long gone, if they ever really existed. None of them care about getting it right, they just want a sexy, exciting story that gets their name bandied about. I guess all attention is good attention no matter how poorly they do their jobs. I'll just keep on disbelieving the majority of what they say and life will go on.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Time To Admit Who I Am

Okay I'll finally admit it. I am a veteran. There, I said it. It's not that I have been trying to hide the information or am ashamed of my service or anything like that. Quite the contrary, I am proud to have served almost eight full years in the United States Army including the Gulf War. I just don't see a need to advertise it. I've heard people call all service members, especially those who have gone to a war, heroes and I don't agree with that view at all. I was just a guy doing a job. That's as simple as it gets. I never saw combat and never was tested to see if my training would kick in or not. My specialty was personnel records which I ended up knowing quite well.

There was no altruistic thought behind joining nor no patriotic state of mind. Indeed, I simply joined the Army for a job. Tired of living a life that seemed to be going nowhere and not desiring to return to college where I was racking up debt after two and a half years (all without knowing what I wanted to major in) I instead chose to join up and perhaps see a bit of the world if I was lucky. My service first led me to a two year tour of Germany, then on to Ft Hood, Tx and the 1st Cavalry Division which in turn then sent me to Saudi Arabia. After we came back I re-upped for another hitch and went to Washington D.C. to be stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Along the way I had some experiences and met a lot of people, most of whom I've forgotten their names. That's what pictures are for I guess.

I learned a great deal about myself and started my baby steps of getting over my lifelong insecurities which seems to have rapidly accelerated in the last year. Still, there were some hard times mixed in there as well but if I'm being honest even though they sucked they've helped to make me who I am today. When I left the military I never tried to get any benefits nor draw upon what I had done to get anything extra for myself. As a matter of fact it wasn't until this last year before I even went to a local restaurant to get a reduced meal on veteran's day even though by all rights I deserve it. Once in seventeen years. Part of the problem with me was that I always lessened what I had done and been through.

Sure I had served over six months in the Gulf War but not in combat. I wasn't on the front lines but in the rear-division. The only Iraqi's I saw were two prisoners of war at a hospital where I was getting an xray for injuring my ankle in a basketball game. This was after the war was over. I never had to shoot anybody military or civilian, never threw a grenade into a building and never ever saw a scud missile. I was forced to march over to a medical tent and take shots of unknown origin which are not mentioned in my medical records. I did undergo a lot of uncertainty and fear about what could happen if one little thing went wrong on our front lines. There were difficult times spent in crowded tents under bad weather and adverse conditions. Then again, nobody forced me to sign my name on the contract. I just did my job and ended up with a chest full of medals for it.

So while I don't have any combat horror stories I do have stories to tell. You really learn about people (and yourself) when you are forced to live with them in cramped quarters and difficult conditions. Perhaps it's now time to start putting those lessons to good use. As I have stated even though I didn't see combat, even though I wasn't supposed to have my weapon loaded in guard duty (but I did) and even though I didn't shoot to kill (or at all) I can proudly say that I am a veteran. I served my country to the best of my ability and I suffered for some of it.  I just don't see the point going around trying to let everyone know what I've been through and done. After all, I know and I'm the one it matters to the most.

Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Yesterday I received a letter from my son’s pediatrician informing me that we were seriously overdue on a bill and if remittance were not made immediately not only would they take us to court but also he would cease to provide any future medical care. Did I mention that the bill was for five dollars and was four months old? Before I go any further let me say that I was unaware of this massive outstanding bill but that is no excuse. It is my responsibility to keep up what I owe and to be aware at all times and I clearly failed in that regard. However, does it make sense for a doctor (or his staff more likely) to think that taking this path is a good idea?

First it would cost money that you could not recoup to file a lawsuit against a patient or their representative. There are the lawyer’s fees, filing fees, court costs and so on. Even in small claims court filing a case like this would cost several hundred dollars at a minimum. All to win five dollars. By spending more money than you can hope to receive it doesn’t seem to take a great deal of brains to understand that this is a losing situation. Actually it seems like a colossal waste of time to me. Perhaps the message that it would send to other deadbeats like myself would be a larger victory that would make it worthwhile.

Second there is the damage that can be done to a reputation and business practice by sending very strongly worded letters in an attempt to force your will. Some people will take their business elsewhere because they don’t like being spoken to that way. Some will also tell every family member, friend, acquaintance, street person and enemy that they know not to use the services of that doctor because they are rude, insensitive, etc. They might even complain to a local news station about a lack of tact and understanding or file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

I didn’t do any of those things though. I simply went to the office and wrote them a check for five dollars. After all, even though it wasn’t intentional it was overdue and my fault. Plus I think the doctor is very good at what he does and would hate for my son to have to warm up to a new one because of my negligence. Instead of getting offended I chose to accept my shortcoming and learn a lesson from it. Okay, maybe I did get a little angry at first but I got over it quickly because I was in the wrong. The doctor certainly did nothing wrong and deserves his money. Here’s hoping that in the future I won’t repeat this behavior.
Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

I've Got The Scorching Hot Summer Grass Cutting Blues

I have a confession to make. I’m not a gardener nor have I ever claimed to be. Landscaping is not my thing and I really don’t care about keeping my lawn nice and trim at all times. Unfortunately my wife doesn’t share my feelings and she lets me know about it……..a lot. It can be a source of friction between us which as any married man knows is not a lot of fun. It’s not as if we need extra problems for our wives to focus on.

I wish I could get into it but gardening doesn’t do anything for me. I get no aesthetic pleasure from looking at plants and nothing at all from yardwork. Sure it’s good exercise and all (until you catch poison ivy that is) and yes I’m quite aware of the fact that I am out of shape and need exercise in the worst way. Still, if I can avoid doing it or can put it off I will and then happily spend my time inside in the air conditioning. I guess it’s a shortcoming that I’ll have to deal with.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I let the grass grow over a foot tall or anything, it’s just that the idea of trimming the grass every four or five days is not my idea of a good time, especially in this 100 degree plus weather that we’ve been having lately. Is it so wrong not to get excited over the prospect of getting down on hands and knees and trying to decipher plant from weed? If so then I am guilty as charged.

Now my wife enjoys gardening and if she could she would spend a lot of time with her plants and we’d probably have a good sized garden. As I’ve written before though she has Rheumatoid Arthritis and recently had her right knee replaced. The surgery went well and she has a lot more pain free movement but it has only been a few months and she can’t do as much as she’d like. Or should I say she tries to do it and then suffers the cost from overdoing it.

Sometimes my brain informs me that since my wife does like it to be that way and would do it if she could then I should make the effort to do something nice for her even though I don’t enjoy doing it. Whenever those thoughts occur I usually just sit in front of the computer and surf from blog to blog, page to page until those kinds of thoughts go away. No matter how hard she tries to force me to do it her way I resist. What can I say, I’m just as stubborn as she is sometimes.
Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Summer Heat Burns My Soul

The other day I did something completely out of character for myself. I took off my shirt while outside. Now it was in my back yard, however I did stay topless as I pushed my lawnmower around to the front of the house and in the garage. What’s the big deal you say? People take their shirts off all the time so what’s my problem? To start let me paint you a picture of what I look like. I’m 6’1” tall and go about 240 pounds on my leaner days. I am light skinned (my Irish, Scottish and English bloodlines win out over everything else for me), have freckles and am hairy. Add to that a lifelong image issue with my body (Americans seems to have this problem more than others) and there you have my reluctance to be seen shirtless even if it’s in my own yard. At least my body issues aren’t as bad as Kevin Smith’s who suffers from a much larger (pun intended) problem than I do. Please note this isn’t a dig on Smith at all, I terribly admire what he has accomplished in life and he has inspired me to start my own creative endeavors at long last. He has stated before that he doesn’t like taking off his shirt at the doctor’s office or even in front of his wife. At least I'm not that bad.

Basically what has led to this change in behavior is that my wife wants us to take a vacation to the beach but the only time available between our schedules and before our son goes back to school is towards the end of July. The closest beach for us to do this is in Galveston, Tx, about a nine hour drive away. So given my natural pale state plopping me into Galveston in late July means I will literally be red, sunburned to a crisp, unless I slaver zinc oxide on and wear long sleeved shirts and pants with a floppy sun hat at all times. Of course that endangers me to overheating myself on the beach and constantly sweating throughout the day so neither of those appear to be ideal working situations. My only other option now seems for me to go into the yard doing whatever work I can without wearing a shirt for about 30 minutes a day. Currently in Tulsa we are having 100 Plus degrees of weather and so far this week each and every day has been an Ozone Alert Day so I have to be very careful that I don’t overdo it. Today I even went over to a friend’s house and sat shirtless while our kids were in the pool. Very abnormal behavior for me but I do seem to be going through some life changes all for the better in the last year.

Perhaps by the time our vacation starts I will have been so sufficiently exposed to the sun that I won’t have many issues as long as I’m smart about what I’m doing. My wife won’t have any troubles at all. She is from Lima, Peru and has darker skin than I do. Thankfully our son is a mix of the two of us and while he’s not very dark skinned he’s not pale like his dear old dad and the more he gets outside the more tanned he seems to get. Being from Lima, my wife grew up going to the beach all through the summer but hasn’t been to one since she visited Atlantic City in the fall of 2002 when she was a freshly arrived vacationer to these shores. She ended up staying in the country but moved to Tulsa the following year where we met. Ten years is long enough and although it will be stretch financially and given my natural aversion to the sun, I’m willing to do it for the sake of our family. A family vacation has been long overdue and besides, I could stand having another go at some crawfish or alligator. That's one of the other changes I’ve undergone in the past year or so, I’m trying and enjoying food that I never would have touched in the past. Let’s just hope I make it back from all of this in one piece without too much burning.
Written and Published by Don Leach. May not be used without permission from the author.