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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                             www.artistinsane.com

Welcome To The June
Issue of Mil Mania!

       Volume 3, Issue 5 June 2007


Music Mayhem    

As noted in the December 2005 edition of Mil Mania, I continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on www.artistinsane.com. However, I now also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist:


Dave Rounsaville — If
you read last month’s
“Molly Madvises” col-
umn you’re aware of
Mil Mania sub-
scriber’s pre-teen crush
on The Monkees’ Davy
and the fact a budding genuine love of music played a part in that attraction. 
     Well, the truth is, I had a pre-teen crush on a musician myself.  But he wasn’t someone famous or a mere icon to be worshipped from afar.  He was the contributor of the recollections about my dad featured in this month’s “Temporary Insanity” column — and a great family friend.  And, like the reader noted above, my appreciation for him even at that early age was more than an infatuation; it, too was founded in an appreciation for the music he shared and the true artist behind it. 

     I’d never heard the official term “house concert” when I first started hearing his work.  But, without payment of any kind beyond a meal and an evening with our family, he graced us for hours with his versatile guitar playing and the varied colors of his innately beautiful (and beautifully developed) voice.  And, I do mean hours — truly I think we redefined the term “making one sing for his supper”!

     Sure, there were the usual heart flutters of a young girl involved in these evenings for me...in fact, my mom had a photo she’d taken during one of his performances blown up into a 3x4 ft. poster, which he subsequently autographed and which long occupied a place of honor on my bedroom wall.  But there were also countless cassette-recordings of the great music he shared which likewise long occupied my portable tape player — because the art he created was indeed every bit as fantastic to me as the artist himself.

     Of course, that was many years ago, and much maturity and change has taken place for all of us in the interim.  And, as happens by virtue of life’s busyness, I lost any form of regular touch with Dave for a time period so embarrassingly long it makes me squirm (even more than the memory of not wanting to wash my face for days after he once kissed me on the cheek).  When I wrote about my dad last year, however, he responded with the comments I shared in the July ‘06 issue, and indeed it was a joy to reconnect.  The one comment I didn’t share there was his memory of those dinners and evenings of music, about which he said… “You guys made me feel like a 'Star'!”  My response was… “indeed you always were a star in our house...and ever remain one in my book”.  Still true.

     After all, like begets liking and talented people enjoy other talented people...in other words, the fact my (as Dave described him and I, too believe) “genius” dad valued him so highly — high enough to bring him home for dinner — speaks for itself.  Yup, there’s no question “Charlie” knew his stuff!

     To add just a bit about Dave’s work, I think his own words on the topic most perfectly sum it up…“I...love to 'interpret' and cover material already out there...there's so much in the 'Americana' genre as well as old hymns too... To perform the songs that touch people is one of the greatest joys of my life and, to live my life through song gives people a glimpse of the person I am.”

     To learn more, check out his performance schedule, photos, CD’s etc., visit his website at www.daverounsaville.com.


P.S.  The guitar you hear me playing for the song “Will” on my myspace page was bought (back during the days described above) by my parents on Dave’s recommendation...just one  more testament to his enduring musical influence. 




Third Eye Blind is taking a break in June as noted last month.  They resume a limited performance schedule in July.

Brian Fitzpatrick
had a couple comments on his section of the May issue of Mil Mania.  Here’s what he had to say… “Love what you said in the newsletter [about The Underpass]… Thanks for posting that article! Awesome of you to do!” 

     As I responded, truly it was my pleasure.  And, this month it’s my pleasure to offer a link to yet another fantastic article...this one a well deserved bit of praise about Brian’s work at the West Milford venue Big John’s Pub.  Click Here.  Also, both articles are linked to the new Brian Fitzpatrick Press Page just added to my website.   I look forward to more reviews for inclusion there in the days ahead.

     Lastly, be sure to keep an eye on Brian’s myspace page for his tour schedule, which currently notes select days in July and August — sure to garner great reviews themselves!  I very much hope to be at one of these shows so watch for a review page on my website and announcement of that here in the next issue.



Michael McDermott recently performed a private party at Davenports in Chicago.  And if you weren’t on the guestlist (I wasn’t either, so that’s not gloating... BUT — Mil Mania subscribers are everywhere!!!) you can check out the setlist here.  What’s more he has a very full tour schedule of (public) shows over the summer.  Go to myspace.com or the official Michael McDermott website for more details.
     In other news, the 6th Annual Michael McDermott Birthday Celebration will indeed be kicking off in early July.  I don’t yet have a target date, however, for arrival of this object (once finished) as Michael will be performing in England during late August.  So, the celebration will either need to be several days early or several days late...I’ll make a web page with additional info, including an accordingly adjusted submission deadline as soon as I know more myself.
     More info is also forthcoming with regard to CD release parties for the new album — yes, that term is plural as special shows to mark the occasion are planned for both Chicago and Philadelphia.
     In other “words” lots more “noise from” the Michael McDermott world is coming soon.  Check the
New Madness page of artistinsane.com for (particularly b’day project) updates in the days ahead.
P.S.  This just in: you can now pre-order hard copies of the CD


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Ravings of a Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of www.artistinsane.com, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.


Looking For Kitty  Prior to running across this film on cable recently, I read somewhere that Ed Burns made it to prove one could still create a worthwhile feature in New York City on a severely limited budget...although I’m not sure whether that intent was aimed at inspiring would-be filmmakers or challenging the ever more “blockbuster”/ “sure-thing” mentality of Hollywood.  Whatever the reasoning, I felt utterly confident that as yet another vehicle in which he served as writer, director and star I would recognize his artistic touch, and immediately feel myself on familiar (and welcome) ground.   

     I was in for a surprise.

     Part of Burns charm in the prior films I’ve seen is, well, his charm.  He almost invariably exudes a comforting, and comfortable, ordinary guy friendliness that makes him seem approachable...despite an ever-present streak of darkly ironic wit.  As this piece opens, however, I know I’m looking at Ed Burns, but can’t help feeling confused...and, I admit, a bit disappointed when the character he’s far too adeptly inhabiting is someone I don’t recognize at all...and am not in the least convinced I’ll eventually care that much about. 
     One need only stick with the story for a matter of minutes, however, until we see a softer side of this at first “untouchable” private detective.  And, while it may seem cold to rejoice at a protagonist’s tears, I’ll freely confess I watched them with a smile of relief, thinking, “Oh yeah, there’s a relationship here.  This really is an Ed Burns movie after all.” 

     And, a relationship there is — several, in fact…although the film primarily revolves around one not involving Burns’ character (Jack), but that of a client named Abe, a devoted high school sports coach who hires Jack to find his “missing” wife.  It quickly becomes evident that there’s more to her disappearance than it at first might seem, but there’s really no mystery here.  Rather, the journey the two embark on to track her down becomes not so much about finding her as a search for each’s own identity, and the relationship crossroads they and various other characters introduced throughout the film are facing throughout the “search”.  Beautifully laced with metaphor — for example, the emotionally closed Jack appears in nearly every scene wearing a heavy winter coat, while the far more open Abe is visiting New York City in winter with only a light nylon jacket — ultimately, the film offers a very true-to-Burns slice of life into a half-dozen relationships with a wonderful economy of writing that allows each to be fully revealed without ever seeming to break away at all from the main narrative. 

     Particularly of note is a performance by Saturday Night Live’s Rachel Dratch.  Playing a barfly who hits on Abe, she makes one feel for her throughout even her most overt sexual advances by emanating an underlying pain and pathos that prevent her from becoming either a caricature or believable as thoughtlessly promiscuous.  And, she thereby provides yet another glimpse into the ways different people deal with loneliness as well as the consequences of one of these choices.

     Like much of Burns’ other work, this is a quiet internal piece in which not much “action” is included.  With that in mind, it’s surely not a film for the lover of bold adventure.  If you’re bold enough to venture into the minefields and other risks of true love, however, whether or not you enjoy this film might just come down to what you’re looking for.  As for me, it’s a short, bittersweet tale I’m very grateful to have found.  Give it a look yourself and see if you don’t agree.



As I’ve also seen the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore vehicle, Music and Lyrics recently, you can read a review of that on my website’s movie page very soon.  Check there for it shortly!


                                    If you missed the announcement in
December 2006 issue, as per the prece-
                          dent set by
Dear Abby which syndicated
MOLLY           column retained that title when passing to its
                          originator’s daughter , so this column will retain the name of its  originator now that
Molly has passed on.  The “madvice” currently offered herein, therefore, is that of Keela, one of the “noisy neighbors” Molly spoke of frequently — and who you may have already met via the photo collection taken during her pregnancy and in the weeks after her fifteen babies were born.  Needless to say, with that kind of experience, Keela, like Molly, knows a bit about life as learned by her adventures as a rodent single mom.  Also like Molly, she has a strong mind of her own with much rat wisdom to share.  I hope you’ll enjoy her commentary both now and in the months to come. 


E-mail your “Molly Madvises” questions to mil@ artistinsane.com and I’ll pass them on to Keela.  Thanks!


That said, on to this month’s question...


Dear Keela,

     From reading your column, I realize that you are sensitive to and in tune to how us humans hum.  And I would credit that to the loving upbringing you receive from your adopted parents.  With that in mind, I have something for you to run with.  Today was a day that didn't seem right from almost its start.  After thoroughly enjoying my Frango chocolate mint coffee (ask your mom about "Frango love" — it grabs one upon first taste and never lets go), I went about my usual morning routine.  I realized a feeling of annoyance starting to drape on my shoulders and it wasn't long before it hung even heavier.  I turned as cranky as a brown bear that returned to his den only to discover the stash of honey he’d fancied the whole way home had disappeared.  I couldn't understand why I felt like this.  Yesterday was a fine day.  At its end, I thought today would be the same.  I grumbled my way into work, and then about mid-morning took an unexpected phone call from a former coworker who let it all loose.  She had an issue with me that needed to be resolved and feared it would rumple our relationship. I gave her that resolve with no discord created between us.  I went back to my project at hand and suddenly realized that my cloak of hostility had fallen to the floor!  Just like that. 

     I suppose my curiosity here is in regards to intuition.  We all know that we girls are more in tune to it than the other half.  Anyway, I'm thinking that on a deeper level I knew this interaction was coming but didn't know how to get over my growling the morning away.   What would you do in a situation like this, in order to get yourself in a better mind frame?  Growl it out, find who stole your honey and give them a whipping with your tail, or simply look for a new sweet stash?


                                                                       Un-bear-ably Curious


Dear Un-bear,


     I don’t know if I have the answers to your questions on  “into-wishin’”...but I can tell you that if anybody stole my stash of honey they’d be “wishin” they hadn’t!  Yes, I would be whipping my tail, and grinding my teeth and squealing “E!” Let it “GO” at the top of my lungs.    You know how I love food — especially of the sweet variety!. 

     And, yes, my mom has told me about the candy and other delicacies called “Frango” — one of my adopted aunts in the Midwest introduced the mints to her...then another sent the most beautiful speckled eggs at Easter — and I think she would squeal for anyone to let her stash of it “GO”, too, if it was missing.  As a matter of fact, it’s one of the only treats she won’t share with me...because it’s something called chalk — no, choc-o-lit (I know that’s almost it), and she says that’s not supposed to be good for dogs, so maybe not rats, either.  But, I really think she’s just so passion-fruit about it she doesn’t want to give up even a bite!!!  Nah, I’m just kidding.  Mom always shares the very best treats with me when she can.  And, we usually like the exact same things, which works out really well for me!

     Back to your questions, though, I think how you deal with some dreaded situation you know is coming depends a lot on your personality...or, as I see it, rat-ionale.  Because the thing is, you really don’t know what’s coming.  And, that’s the thing you’re “into-wishin” you could find out before it happens.  You only know you’ve got this uneasy feeling that makes your whiskers twitch and your tail swish and you have no idea  if things are going to turn out worse than you might hope or better than you expect.  And, the next thing you know, sometimes you wind up cranky as a bear who’s had his honey stolen — which might not be the most helpful mindset, incidentally, for dealing with a problem that needs to be handled diplo-rat-ically.  Or worse, you end up in an Elvis that ties your tongue (and the rest of you) up in knots!  And, we’ve already talked about how hard those situations are to get out of. 

     Maybe the trick is to turn those situations of fear and anxiety from things we dread “into wishin” we might deal with them fairly and squarely when they arrive.  Maybe we should even try really hard to focus on the “fore-sight “as something we “look forward” to...like we get “into wishin” for Christmas or a big bowl of sweet potatoes or a spoonful of ice cream.  After all, it’s been proved time and again that some of the things we think are most likely to break us make us instead...make us very happy, that is.   Like fixing the problem with that other hu-woman made you.  Like coming home from the pet store made me...and like Molly’s looking forward to better things awaiting her by jumping on Dad’s hand than they would have staying there under that mailbox made her.   Only you and I didn’t know anything good awaited us.  And I’ll sure admit it’s always been a puzzle how it seems like Molly did.  It kinda puts me in mind of Mom reading to me once that (the you can’t smell it or touch it or taste it thing called) “faith is the…” let me think... “substance of ...things hoped for...and the…” oh yes... “certainty of things not seen.”    Maybe that’s a little off the track of “into wishin” but I guess I think of it because Molly turned “wishin into” belief better things were on the way….which sounds a lot like faith to me.  And, she was right! 

     Of course, you’re right, too, when you say the “other half” seems a bit less in tune to all this worry and “wishin” stuff than you and me.  But that’s not to say anything bad about hu-mens in any way.  The thing is, you might say the whole issue comes down to being prepared.  And, just like different sports I’ve seen on TV show different hu-men and hu-women preparing for them in different ways, maybe the way males and females of all species prepare for what might be difficult or scary real-life situations is just different.  For example, you already know I can get scared and lose my focus and not really be all that prepared at all when that “into wishin” thing starts my whiskers twitching.  But not one of my boys handles things that way at all.  In fact, my Clancy never gets rat-tled by what lies ahead.  I think he must have a lot of faith.  And, since the way he prepares for pretty much every situation that comes along is by relaxing completely (you should see the positions he can fall asleep in!), one thing I know he has a lot of is something a rodent single mom seldom “sees” — REST!

     Of course, maybe we should both take a lesson from him and enjoy more naps instead of tying ourselves up in knots.  So my madvice is give a little relaxation a try (come to think of it, it seemed to always work for Molly, too).  Just maybe, you’ll find yourself more often feeling like a teddy bear than a grizzly.   And, of course, if that works for you, by all means let me know!

     Thanks for writing, and as always, keep those letter coming!





                       Molly Madvises 

         (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








Comments from Mil Mania readers
             on the May issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

“Congrats on another fine edition …been thinking a lot about “passion-fruit” lately!  Also, I have to say that I had such a great time with the "RAT-tle-a-tat-tats" in your May edition -- and Ruth and Noah's videos.  Smiles and laughs all the way here.  And do you ever have some posers there.  Make sure you keep getting their "good side" now!”



“Very funny wrestling match! [video on the page linked to the Mother’s Day Spotlight] You are definitely armed and digital!”  


“I loved it. Keep ‘em coming.”



And, from a first-time listener to the music on my myspace page:

“...was writing [about another topic]...but then I heard you sing....it’s fantastic… ‘How We Become’....is awesome... whoa...”


     If you’ve been a subscriber for a while now you probably recall that last June I commemorated Father’s Day by writing a piece in this column introducing my dad, “Charlie”.  For those new to Mil Mania, however, you may want to go back to that issue for a bit of background to the thoughts on that topic shared herein.
     In any case, some may also recall that in the
next issue’s “comments” section I posted a response to my article received from a man who worked under my dad for a number of years, and who through this business relationship became a lifelong family friend as well.  
     Realizing that the dynamic of a boss/office co-worker is very different from that of a father and daughter, I therefore decided to ask this friend for a few more recollections from his perspective that I might use to help my readers get to know my dad a bit better as Father’s Day came upon us once again. 
     And, he was very quick to oblige, soon sending me a wonderfully free-form remembrance, along with the following words…
     “Thanks for asking me to write about your Dad...My piece on [him] is sure unique...like him...be anxious to have your input & 'take on it'... more stuff will come to mind I'm sure...we worked together 12 years (seems like 90!)...maybe it can be a traditional 'thing'…
    You know, there is a resemblance between you two...he really was proud!”
That said, I should introduce this gentleman to you before you read more of his thoughts.  However, if you’ve read this month’s “Music Mayhem” column at left, you’ve already met him — and know that he not only became an honorary member of our family through his work with my dad, but also as a gifted musician truly worthy of the “Featured Artist” spot he occupies therein.  In addition he is an avid model airplane enthusiast, which is the “World Championship” activity noted in the essay below.
     So, with that introduction here’s what Dave had to share about my dad  for this “Father’s Day”...

“Charlie: Memories

     A misunderstood genius...an amazingly quick mind...sometimes not the most diplomatic demeanor...good sense of humor maybe slightly oft kilter...Fiery, Passionate, Expert in his field… A Man who made a HUGE impact in my life…

     Always Loyal & True to 'his boys', the guys who reported to him in his packaging engineering group...and of course we returned the Loyalty...and 'barbs' when needed, too.  For me personally, Charlie gave me a sense of self and guided my career in a marvelous way...a bit unorthodox...but effective!  He gave me increased responsibility and with that came increased belief in myself.  Again, the most amazing thing about the man was how he looked out for you, credited you with success...even if it was HIS idea!  I have NEVER known a quality like that in a person.  He was more than Fair in Every Way.  Like the time he gave me 'compensatory' time off to finish my World Championship model because Dick Lippincott & I had worked two weeks in Memphis...!!  He also gave me extra vacation time two years later when I represented the good Ol' USA in Bulgaria as a member or our Olympic Team! Charlie said "you'll make it up...just keep a record for yourself" It's alright!

     We said "goodbye" [on a fall] Monday evening I think at UPenn Hospital...Le Roy Brown, Dick Lippincott & myself…seems a long time ago in time but not in my memory...

     I think I knew how special those years were with Charlie but like most things, taken for granted as we live it....I had gotten to know his family very well from my dinner invitations...Son Chuck wanted to know all about the '60's music & was an avid Beatles fan, daughter Mil & wife Corrine LOVED my music & recorded most every song I played I think.  Armed with just my Martin 6 string, I would serenade the 'gang' till the wee hours trying out new material.  Corrine's dad was a country guitar player and seemed to enjoy my different finger picking style.  I even got a fine Augie Lo Prinzi guitar at Corrine's request for him later...not a Martin, but close.

     Did you know Charlie & Corrine came to my VERY first musical performance... at the Daniel K. Reading school, I believe?... part of a benefit for MS.  So many performances over my [many] years, it's hard to get all the details right.

     Charlie's Memorial Service was very moving.  I sang "Amazing Grace" with my Martin 12 string...a powerful moment for me!  I remember LeRoy saying at the viewing what a waste of a great brain! "Dave, if only we could harness that knowledge somehow"!  'Charlie's Boys' all were in shock for quite some time after his passing...he left quite a legacy, though, and raised the bar pretty high for us all to follow...and I like to think we did pretty well eventually!

     There you have it for awhile...there is more to tell but perhaps another time. All I can say is I am VERY Blessed to have known him. As my life is winding down I see this amazing thread of how my work, art, music & hobbies have all blended together to make such a full life...and Charlie and his family were such a big part of 'my time'.

     Thank You, Mil”
                                                                            Dave Rounsaville


     Thank you, Dave, for your sharing of these memories and your friendship.  They are very much appreciated.

     Given it is “Father’s Day”, I think it only appropriate I make this column a wee bit longer by adding a little additional insight from the perspective of a daughter.  That said, I’d like to share a few more recollections of my own, scattered though they may be, and limited by the limited time and childhood perspective during which they were experienced.  Actually, one of these might as easily come under the “Pet Peeves and Paranoia” heading that sometimes occupies this space, as my dad claimed to be not at all a cat lover.  So, you can imagine how thrilled he was when my mom brought in this little white-and-tortoise- marked kitten that came crying to our doorstep one afternoon while he was at work.  (And, if you’ve read last year’s piece — or Dave’s comments from then or now — you also know a bit about my dad’s “fiery” nature and the fear his ire could inspire.)  We already had a dog — a standard French Poodle named Mimi who he was fine with.  But, for whatever reason, our pet population was understood to begin and end with her.
     As a result, he first demanded we not keep the kitten...although he remained strangely vague on just what alternative to explore.   And, in the days that followed he grumbled and groused at its presence, taking no part in the naming process (wherein my detective-story-loving brother prevailed with the moniker “Sherlock”), and steadfastly ignoring my (mom-aided) efforts to make him my “doll-baby” by dressing him in diapers and clothes.  Hmm...guess my tendency to dress up pet rats isn’t exactly new or out of character for me, come to think of it.  And, indeed, Sherlock proved to be quite the odd character for putting up with, even inviting, such “torture”. 
     I don’t remember how long it took or how the acceptance process progressed precisely, but I do recall that when Sherlock (who was hugely non-social when there were “strangers” around) came out to join the family while Dave was playing at our house one night, my dad actually acknowledged him (yes, the cat) warmly and can even be heard talking to him on one of the aforementioned tapes of these evenings.   And, of course, he went on to become “Charlie’s” beloved and special “younger son”.
     As Dave noted above, “Charlie” could be difficult, indeed “maddening” at times.  But, when you’d won him over, his loyalty was beyond compare and the experience of spending time with him unforgettable...apparently even if you just happened to be — a cat.  Maybe that explains where I come by my conviction it’s the spirit of an individual that’s to be treasured, regardless the body (i.e. species) such may inhabit.
     Ironically, Sherlock passed away only about a month after my dad...and I’ve never fully decided whether that was really the mere “coincidence” it seemed.  Who’s to say that just as love is eternal so too  perhaps companionship might not also transcends worlds.   With that in mind, I’ll admit I’ve always wondered if Sherlock may have left to join my dad, making his corner of Heaven feel a little more like home. 
     Sure, you can call me crazy.  But given my gene pool, I assure you... I’m okay with that.

     With a bit of space left, I’ll share just one more quick memory that offers some insight into the juxtaposition of order and chaos that can somehow add up to organization and inexplicably great levels of productivity — and which I’m sure psychologists would have a field day with in explaining the inner workings of my dad.  I remember visiting his workplace on occasion and walking past the neat and sparsely furnished offices of various colleagues.  And, I remember that over Dave’s desk was a large image of the Peanuts’ character Snoopy he’d painted or drawn.  Clearly this represented his artistic nature as I expect the décor of the other workers represented their off-duty personas to some degree.  My dad’s office, however, was filled with filing cabinets, books, papers, and generally so much work-related “stuff” that it seemed one should have been issued a map for negotiating the maze to his desk (along with a hard hat) before entering.   Suddenly it made sense to me why he so enjoyed that old W.C. Fields movie in which Fields is playing a banker or some such official named Wolfinger.  And why, when his desk was opened the shower of papers, etc. that unleashed its fury on any unsuspecting bystander proved so hilarious...especially since Fields noted he used the “famous Wolfinger filing system” and in fact knew where everything was.  Because, somehow, in his office, so did my dad. 
     What’s more, I have to confess that also offers a bit of insight into this “artist insane” as it’s another aspect of my dad’s nature I inherited.  What does it mean?  Beats me.  But here’s hoping it has something to do with “genius”.
     In any case, that’s the explanation I’ve adopted — and I’m sticking to it!
     Happy Father’s Day!






















Temporary Insanity








"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured.  The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.”

                                             Robert Heinlein

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

                                             Henry David




                                               So, here we are again
                                        — and it’s not even the
                                       end of the month (or
                                       beginning of the next)!!!
                                       No, for once I’ve actually
                                       made my self-imposed
                                       mid-month deadline. 
                                       And, the reason for this
                                       doubly concerted effort
                                       is with Father’s Day
                                       being celebrated at that time (today, in fact, as I’m writing this) I very much wanted the feature surrounding this holiday to be available before it’s faded too far into history.  
     What’s more, I’ve had a bit of help in honoring my own dad by someone who knew him well, and having imposed a deadline on him it hardly seems fair to not make my own!  In any case, you can read more about that in the “Temporary Insanity” column. —
and the “Featured Artist” section of “Music Mayhem” below.
     Of course, there are also many other areas
of madness to explore...including both a movie
review here and one linked from my website.  There’s also more “madvice” from Keela, a new chapter in the story of Joshua Gray, and various other tidbits to explore.  This month’s “Nutshell” quotes I found particularly interesting...especially as they’re both by authors for whom I bear no fondness in terms of overall bodies of work...in fact, having written a re-
search paper on Thoreau in high school, I learned his self-imposed isolation in the woods was punctuated by frequent visits to raid his mom’s cookie jar not two miles away.  If indeed that’s true it kind of puts a damper on one’s admiration for his profound “discoveries” via “solitude”.  Clearly he did unearth one
great discovery, however...the meaning of  hypocrisy.
     Be that as it may, even a phony can make a real statement once in a while.  And, I think both those quoted are worth repeating here.

     As always, thanks for reading.  And, enjoy!   


               Newsletter Spotlight               

As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall. While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the weeks after the funeral…(you can catch up on prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),     Chapter 15  “Release”




     Josh woke up in the hospital with only one thought on his mind — the awareness he woke up.  And, that was a circumstance for which he was infinitely grateful.  Of course, he was also aware of a pounding headache and throbbing pain in his left forearm  Recalling the events that had led him here as they gradually returned, neither of these prompted much puzzlement.  What did, however, was the unmistakable frown on Tommy’s face, as he stared down at Josh from the end of the bed.   Assuming he must be frustrated that Josh’s unexpected  trip here was messing up the afternoon’s performance at the festival for all of them, Josh tried to find something appropriate to say.  Unfortunately, his tongue felt like it had grown about twelve sizes...apparently a side effect of some medication.  At least, for once he knew the cause wasn’t alcohol.  Finally, he managed to eke out,
     “I’m sorry...”

     “Man, you got that right,” Tommy snorted back at him.  “You’re a sorry piece of —.”  Fighting for control, he stopped, rubbed a hand across his forehead, and drew a deep breath.  Stunned, Josh stared at him helplessly, the feeling creeping up his spine there was some major item of information he’d missed.  Before he could come up with any answers — either for his own questions or in response to the verbal barrage he’d just endured, Tommy went on… “Look, I know I should try to be more understanding or supportive or whatever the hell it is somebody like you is supposed to need.  But, Je—s, Josh, you’ve got to get it together.  What was it they kept Julie — a month or something like that?  The first time she tried to kill herself?  We’ve got a week of shows ahead of us and —.”

     His brain suddenly began whirring so fast his tongue had no choice but to  keep up.

     “You can’t be serious.  What —”

     “What ‘what’?  You think I’m joking here?  You went through all this sh— with her. You know how it works.  You —”

     “No, Tommy, you don’t get it.  I didn’t try anything.  It was an accident. I —”

     “Yo — Earth to Josh — did you forget who you’re talking to or what?  Let me spell things out for you, ‘cause obviously you’re not hearing me.  I’ve been there for all the sh— you’ve been pulling for the last month or six weeks or the six years that it feels like and I really don’t want to listen to a bunch of lies and lame excuses now.”  Pointing toward the nurses station and the specter of doctors beyond, his voice became faster and even more insistent. “But whatever the frig happened you’d better convince them it was an accident or it’s suicide for all of us.  We’re done.  No more record contract.  No more nothing.  You’ve finished us.”

     “No — Tommy, you’re not hearing me.  It’s the truth.  I was getting out of the shower.  The floor was wet.  I slipped.”

     “No, you slit.  That’s all I know.  That’s all anybody here’s gonna care about as soon as they discover you’re conversant.

     “No — man, it was an accident.  You could fit that whole bathroom under the bed.  I just — ”

     Tommy scoffed.  “You can write all these inspired lyrics and that’s the best story you can come up with now?”  He rubs a hand across his forehead again.  “I don’t know what I was thinking...trying to believe we could salvage something from this.” He starts pacing across the room.  “Chris was gonna cover for you at the festival.  He knows the songs.  He knows all of us, how we work together.  We really thought we could pull it off — even without  a keyboard player because I’m here when I’m supposed to be there an hour ago —”

     “Tommy. Dude — hello.”  Josh put up his hand in an effort to forcibly halt the freight train the mad conductor before him was driving straight over a non-existent cliff.  “Slow down.  Just SHUT UP and listen for a minute.  Okay?”

     Shaking his head in exasperation, and with expectations clearly in the basement, Tommy shoved his hands in his pockets and cooled to a low boil.  So newly returned to the world of the living, the situation was taking its toll on Josh, but he had to fight for this.  If they went down because of his fall, at least he had to make it known the decision lay with a dark act of Fate, not an act of some dark cloud lining Joshua Gray. 
     However, Tommy was right about events leading up to this non-event — which it was from an intent perspective, anyway.  And, what was he fighting for in convincing “them” of his “innocence” in the first place?  His “freedom”, sure.  But what did that even mean at this point?  For years he’d sought the financial and artistic “freedom” he thought a record deal would provide.  And, much of his time lately had been spent fighting for freedom
from the record deal he’d “won”.  He definitely didn’t want to spend the next month or who knew how long wasting time in a psych ward talking about the reasons he hadn’t done anything...the irony of which was, indeed having not done anything fully described his real crime since Julie’s death...the real reasons for which he didn’t need a professional to tell him he hadn’t yet sorted out.

     And, worst of all, even though this  “incident” — which suddenly made him understand Julie’s always sarcastic use of that term — could change everything for all of them, nothing had really changed at all for him.  Yeah, he’d felt better about life for a while this morning, but he still didn’t have any more clear cut answers regarding what he wanted tomorrow than he’d had the last time he sought avoidance from these in the depths of a Jack Daniels bottle.  He was still far from wanting to go record the album in New York and beyond that he had no idea as to what he might want more.

     One thing, however, he knew he didn’t want.  And that was to close his options once and for all...which staying in this hospital one minute more than absolutely necessary was certain to achieve.  With that in mind, it hardly seemed wise to share his ongoing reservations about most other aspects of his life with the longtime friend, sometimes enemy and now much needed ally standing before him, a man who’d already been pushed far too close to the edge of sanity today. 

     “Tommy,” he said at last.  “I swear I’m not lying to you about this.  But we’ll work everything else out later.  Right now, I’ve got to get out of here.”

     “And, I think I’m gonna need your help.”








Text Box:   I’ve been invited to contribute work to the “Rat-a-tat-Chat”, quarterly publication of....

The next edition comes out in the fall so watch for more news on that in a future issue.


















Yes, that’s
my dad, Charlie… who you can read more about in the “Temporary Insanity” column at right. 

             Happy Father’s Day!

Text Box:           As always, feel free to drop 
                  by my “space” at