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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Holiday Message

The following passage just spontaneously wrote itself when I was writing about something else. I thought it was a good message for the holiday season so I'm re-posting it here:

I'm a WASP-born agnostic with zen leanings. I might be an honorary Catholic because my wife's family and so many of my friends have been Catholic. By that reasoning I might be an honorary Jew as well. And maybe an honorary black man. And I'm on my way to becoming an honorary east Indian and Mexican. If you hate me on sight for not being just like you, then stay the hell away from me. But I'll have a beer (or coffee) with anyone and everyone else. Most people are just people. Ignore the divisive media. United we stand.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I love motorcycling!

Today I took what will very likely be my last motorcycle ride for the year. It was also, possibly, the last ride of my life. (That last statement is truer for a leukemia patient like me than for the average rider. I'm doing well on that count but it's always touch and go.)

The day couldn't have been nicer. It was around 50 F and damp. In my cold weather gear I was snug and comfy and the big British twin LOVES damp cool weather. On days like this the Chrome Nun doesn't like to end the ride and neither do I. On my way home I kept turning down side roads and taking a longer and longer way home.

The Chrome Nun is a 2008 Triumph Bonneville T100, arguably the last truly great retro motorcycle. It's the last model year with real carbs. It also sports old-fashioned incandescent lights and mechanical gauges. It even has tall spoked wheels that require inner tubes. The only brake control and traction control are provided by the rider. The T100 version of the new Bonneville line is a 60s style motorcycle with 21st. century engineering and quality.

The Nun got her name because she's black and white and chrome all over and because in the hot months I take lots of early rides on Sundays which I refer to as "going to church." "The Chrome Nun" was a nickname that David Crosby gave to Grace Slick. Like her namesake, my motorcycle looks like a lady but is lots more fun than a lady.

Around Saint Louis, once the temps dropped below 60 F all the hogs disappeared. Below 50 F the sport bikes all disappeared. Then it was only me and a few BMW riders out risking ice patches. The BMWs were always newer models, probably equipped with heated handgrips. That means I won the prize for craziest winter rider. (The prize is really cold stiff hands.)

But in Northwest Indiana, I see very few BMWs. Instead, I'm joined on the road on cool days by hogriders. Any rider who can't wait for warm weather is a bro of mine. You'll hear me criticize hog-poseurs, fair weather riders who only ride to the bar to be seen with their fellow boys. But you'll never hear me criticize a true rider, no matter what he rides. Besides, some hogs are really @#$% cool!

On one of my last rides I went down to Cedar lake and rode all around the area. I saw a few real hogriders and a bar full of poseurs. Also, when I pulled over to check my phone for messages, I was passed by about a dozen youngsters on sport bikes. They were respectful and safe and several of them waved. They weren't in town on busy streets showing off like assholes, they were enjoying a ride in the country. That makes me feel good. 

It's noteworthy that my Bonneville gets respect from hogriders and sport bike riders alike. The two groups don't always extend the same courtesy to each other. I expect all real riders do. To me a real rider is someone who simply loves riding motorcycles, like I do. You don't have to be the fastest, loudest or most reckless in order to enjoy riding. Just seeing a nice motorcycle makes you feel good, and riding one makes you smile inside and out.

The Chrome Nun
click to enlarge

Saturday, November 25, 2017

UPDATE 11-25-2017

I'm still doing well and recovering slowly. Nothing new to report.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Update 10-21-2017

I'm much stronger and more coordinated than I was two months ago, but that's not saying much. I cut my small lawn yesterday with a self-propelled walk-behind mower and I'm not wiped out today, which is saying something. I intend to ride my motorcycle for awhile this afternoon. I have ridden to Cedar Lake and beyond so I'm ready for fall foliage anytime.

My weekly labs are mostly encouraging but some levels still lag. I'm deathly skinny and still bald but Mary says I move and act more like me all the time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Leukemia update 9-16-2017

I need to tell all my friends and family how the treatment is going but it's far more than a mouthful so I'm posting the update here and sending everyone the blog address.


On August 4th I started a week of killer chemo. On August 10th I received donor stem cells. I lost weight, my appetite and all my hair but I never felt truly horrible. And I gradually started feeling better, which continues to this day. My blood recovery was so rapid that I was released from the hospital before the end of the month, to everyone's surprise.

Since coming home I developed a weird looking skin rash that the stem cell doc thought was probably mild graft-host disease. An additional immuno-suppressant and prednisone effectively controlled the rash, supporting this theory. Doc says that an early mild case of graft-host disease is the best sign that the graft is working and that rejection will not become a major issue. It's far too early to pronounce me "cured" but so far every sign has been optimum.

If, over the next year, the graft thrives and they can ease me off of immuno-suppressants without major tissue rejection, I'll be considered cured and I should not have a recurrence of leukemia, indefinitely.

Also, if I have any other kinds of cancer cells in my body, the new white blood cells will probably eat them. This is a strange and wonderful benefit of stem cell marrow replacement. The new immune system's DNA is more distant from my mutated cells than my own DNA is, so the new white cells are more likely to recognize the mutations as foreign.

I'm strong enough to walk a block to the bike trail but not strong enough to walk to the nature area and back (1 mile round trip) without overdoing it. But if I keep recovering at this rate, I'll be there next month. I miss seeing the beavers. And the ever-changing wildflowers between home and the pond are magnificent.

Any day now I'll hear an "oodle oodle" sound and step outside to see a few thousand gigantic Sandhill Cranes overhead. My house sits directly in the center of a bottleneck in their annual migratory path. It's a truly breathtaking sight.

Just yesterday, after being home for two weeks, I finally smell enough like I used to that my best friend Henry the cat completely recognized and accepted me. He was all over me purring and rubbing and grabbing and nibbling. A couple of times he stopped, looked at the top of my head and patted it with one paw as if to say, "Dude, what the @#$% happened to your hair?"

The weather has been beautiful. The reeds are fully plumed and the sumac are turning red. I want so badly to ride my motorcycle down to Cedar Lake and the closest real hills to where I live. But it's too soon. I haven't even driven my car yet but I could for a short trip. I've started playing with my synthesizers again and that's a real pleasure.

Chemo made my vision too blurry to enjoy reading, but my vision has mostly recovered now. I still squint a lot and just from writing these few paragraphs my eyes are starting to ache.

I don't think there's anything else to report except that Mary has really shone through all this. It has all been truly too much but she took care of everything anyway.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Oops... Hello there!

I kind of forgot about this blog in all the "excitement."

In April I almost died. Since then I've been treated for AML leukemia and will receive a somewhat risky stem cell transplant about 12 days from now. After that I'll either get well or not.

But today is my 63rd birthday and I'm not worrying about it.

For my birthday and to help amuse me during my upcoming long hospital stay, I gifted myself a new Yamaha Reface DX synthesizer. It's a super convenient portable with speakers, effects and a rudimentary sequencer. I'll take my BR-600 recorder along in case I create something groovy.

If and when I come home I'll let you know how everything went.
Unless I forget again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Satellite 5

A couple of years ago I hosted Satellite 5, a synthesizer music show on After a couple of seasons I became too busy to continue the show. Later, ScrubRadio went off the air.

Since then, ScrubRadio has returned and I began to host another show. But times have changed. You can't expect listeners to "tune in" to a scheduled show anymore. People want to listen to shows when they want to listen to shows.

Podcasts are not the answer. Podcasts are recordings that are downloaded. That's fine for listeners but not so fine for musicians. Musicians are generally agreeable to having their music streamed, but they want to keep control of recordings of their music.

The answer is Streaming On Demand programming.

I have re-launched Satellite 5 as a music show that I can record whenever I feel like it and that listeners can stream whenever they feel like it. Contributing artists don't have to worry about recordings of their music being downloaded because the show is streaming-only.

As of this writing I have recorded six shows already and plan to record a new show each week.

Visit for playlists, show info and a link to the show archive, or go straight to the archive at