Tag Archives: Bob Dylan

Let’s Talk About Taking a Knee

One thing I’ve never been accused of is shying away from an argument – and judging by my six siblings (four brothers and two sisters) it’s a family trait.

However, I got some advice from a fellow author a few years back about engaging in hot-button arguments on social media. His tip was simple, and it made perfect sense…

To paraphrase; If you argue something really controversial you run the risk of alienating potential readers.

This was (is) good advice for an author trying really hard to increase his fan base – so I heeded his advice. Regardless of the topic (and let’s face it…there have been some whoppers on social media in the past few years) I kept my distance. I posted cute pictures of puppies, funny memes, useless trivia and the occasional “save the shark” comment – but I steered clear of the big three – religion, sex and politics.

Until now.

I just can’t keep quiet anymore…

One of the prime directives issued by my mother when I was growing up was to treat people the way I wanted to be treated.

Simply put…respect people…ALL people.

As a white male I have been very fortunate to have avoided being mistreated because of my ethnicity. This does not mean that I don’t know it happens to others. It offends me greatly that people of color are treated as “less thans” in this country. The fact that I do not engage in racism is very little comfort when I see it happening every day.

America is supposed to be the place where “all men are created equal” and where there is “liberty and justice for all”, but it really doesn’t work that way…does it?

What makes it worse is when minorities attempt to protest the fact (that’s right – it’s a fact) that they are victimized – white America gets highly offended.

The most recent example is the whole “take a knee” protest.

It started (as most protests do) with one man choosing to make a statement.

He didn’t go out and shoot up a church or fill a car with explosives and drive it into a building or assassinate a political figure…he did it by sitting down quietly during the playing of the national anthem before a football game. When asked why he was not standing and “honoring America” he said that (paraphrasing again) he wouldn’t stand for the anthem until people acknowledged the poor treatment of blacks in America. Eventually he was told by an Army veteran (who happened to be white) who sympathized with his cause that it might be better to kneel rather than sit. So kneel he did.

He was black balled (interesting phrase, don’t you think?) almost immediately.

Labeled as a treasonous, spoiled millionaire.

And why?

Because he wanted to start a dialogue about the way law enforcement treats minorities in this country.

Unfortunately, the only thing people wanted to talk about was his “disrespect for the flag”.

This, to me, is the saddest, and most ironic point in the entire debate…

A man exercises his Constitutionally Protected Right of Free Speech and Peaceful Protest and he is vilified because he is “disrespecting the flag”, and by extension, the men and women who fought to give him that very right.

It’s a conundrum, wrapped in a paradox, inside an oxymoron.

Edmund Burke once said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

 

So – with that in mind, I want to go on record as saying I am taking a knee (albeit a symbolic one) to show my support for those who are only asking to be heard.

I accept that I may lose current readers and also potential ones.

So be it.

The optimist in me says I might make some new ones in the process…so I got that going for me.

If you are reading this and I have offended you, it was not my intent…I am merely saying there is a bigger issue here that is being swept under the rug in the name of patriotism…

…let’s talk about that.

 

As always – thank you for reading.

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The Great Baseball-Movie Dialogue Debate

In the short (5 1/2 years) time I’ve been calling myself a writer I’ve met many other writers. Some in person, some in cyberspace – and the variety of opinions I’ve seen and heard from them on how to write is fascinating.

Literally as many attitudes as authors.

Naturally I have mine – and I’m not usually shy about sharing them (ipso facto, this blog).

One of my writer friends, Steve Boone, bass player for the 60s rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful, recently shared his thoughts on a speech given by Bob Dylan at the MusiCares Awards . Another writer friend, Becky Pourchot, took a piece of the speech and shared it on facebook, citing how applicable it is (or at least should be) to writers.

dylan

The portion of Dylan’s speech that appealed to her was this;

“Last thing I thought of was who cared about what song I was writing. I was just writing them. I didn’t think I was doing anything different. I thought I was just extending the line. Maybe a little bit unruly, but I was just elaborating on situations. Maybe hard to pin down, but so what? A lot of people are hard to pin down and you’ve just got to bear it. In a sense everything evened itself out.”

She followed Dylan’s quote with this thought of her own – “This is a key element when we write, I think. I often worry ‘Are people going to get this?’ It’s tempting to think about market, audience. Write for you and everything will follow.”

She then cited a movie quote that I use quite often, from the classic baseball movie “Field of Dreams”…

“If you build it, they will come.”

dreams

It’s true – I say that all the time in reference to writing and marketing.

When I say it my point is usually more to the marketing aspect of writing than the actual writing, as in – put yourself out there, build a brand and relentlessly market that brand. Convince the book buying public that you are something worthy of their time – and money.

Since I’m writing this post on my lunch break at work and NOT from the deck of my yacht, my marketing strategies are not exactly the stuff of legend, however I still believe that in today’s cyber-society it is completely possible to create interest in your brand with aggressive marketing.

It has worked for me in the sense that many more people know my name today than did in 2009 when my first novel was released.

So – yes…by all means build it – and they will come.

The difference between my use of the phrase and Becky’s perception of my use of it is this;

In her comment she implied that the phrase gives writers license to write what they feel, without regard for whether it is “acceptable” in the market. Be true to your writing spirit and, if your heart is pure, the audience will find you.

It sounds good in theory, but I’m afraid she misunderstood my interpretation of the quote, so, in order to clear things up I’m going to resort to a quote from Bull Durham – another great baseball movie.

In the movie, veteran catcher Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) is charged with taking young, brash and arrogant rookie Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) and giving him a little maturity before he is promoted to “the show” (the big leagues).

In one scene, Crash points out to Nuke that his (Nuke’s) shower shoes have fungus on them. Nuke is annoyed that Crash is interrupting his massage with such trivialities, and confused about why it matters, to which Crash replies…

“…you’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win twenty (games) in the show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes, and the press will think you’re colorful. Until you win twenty in the show, however, it means you’re a slob.”

shower shoes

The look on Nuke’s face after the lecture is priceless, and if you’ve never seen the movie your life has a serious void…but I digress.

My point is this…

Yes, writers should write from the heart and they should be true to their spirit, however, this is not license to write crap and tell yourself the only reason it isn’t selling is because it hasn’t found its audience yet.

The truth of the matter is, you are writing to sell your work – whether you admit it or not (here are my thoughts about that). Logic (and the laws of economics) dictates that if you want to sell something you must create something of interest to the buyer(s).

I hate to burst your bubble, Dorothy, but you write for the audience first – and yourself second.

Once you sell a million books you can publish your grocery list and people will think it’s literature. Until you sell a million books, however, it just means you have no talent.

Nuke

Call me a sellout, call me insincere, call me a traitor to the craft, but I am not afraid to admit that if there were no hope of selling another book, I would stop writing…because as much as I love writing, I put too much effort into it – too much of myself – to give it away in the hope that maybe it will eventually be discovered.

So, go ahead, write for yourself…in the meantime, don’t give up your day job.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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It Was Much More Than an Interview – It Could Save a Life

On Friday August 1, 2014 I had the pleasure of interviewing Mickey Jones on my radio show (as I warned you about here).

If you don’t know who Mickey Jones is – look here. If you don’t know about my radio program on 97.3  The Surf – look here.

Anyway – about the interview…

Just prior to calling him, I played the song Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers to get the listening audience primed – since Mickey was the drummer on that track.

secret agent manI called Mickey and we exchanged pleasantries off-air while the song played. Mind you – Mickey couldn’t hear the song so he had no idea what the audience was hearing.

When the song finished I brought our mics up and welcomed Mickey to the show, telling him that we had just played Secret Agent Man.

“That’s a good song,” he said. “Let me tell you a story about that song…”

He launched into a story about the making of Secret Agent Man, which led to another story about Johnny Rivers, which led to a story about touring England with the Rolling Stones as their opening act, which led to a story about John Lennon telling Mickey he hoped the Ed Sullivan show would be seen in California, which led to…

Well – you get it.

We talked about his book That Would Be Me (a must read for music lovers) and his work-in-progress I’m That Guy which will chronicle his acting career. Mickey is a born story-teller so neither of these books will disappoint.

That Would Be MeNinety minutes after we began I had to interrupt him in the middle of a story about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He sounded disappointed that he had to stop. I really think he felt as though he was just getting started!

Judging by the response from the listeners I should have let him keep going.

Talking with Mickey is like having a conversation with your best friend – the one you haven’t seen in a while, but as soon as you get together it’s like you just spoke yesterday.

Shortly before we wrapped things up I let a cat out of the bag. I revealed a bit of a secret on the air that Mickey doesn’t talk about.

As far as he knew it was just another interview about rock-and-roll, and he was fine with that, but there was a more important message I wanted to get out.

Quite simply – Mickey needs a kidney.

When I first met him in 2011 he had found a donor and things were looking good. Unfortunately, complications arose and the donor was told, for her own health reasons, that she could not donate. In the meantime, Mickey had been removed from the waiting list for reasons I am not sure of.

The would-be donor (we’ll call her Lark) asked me if we could interview Mickey and get the word out about Mickey’s need for a kidney. Like Mickey, Lark is also an incredibly self-less person and even though she can’t donate her kidney she has taken it upon herself to help find another donor.

I announced it on-air without giving Mickey any advance warning and he was immediately choked up with gratitude (although he tried to blame it on his allergies!).

Tim on the air

On the air talking to Mickey Jones on WQFB 97.3 The Surf – flaglerbeachradio.com

Here’s the thing that struck me the most; Mickey spends a great deal of his time and energy traveling the country, and sometimes the world, to participate and lend his support to charities – especially charities aimed at helping children. (click here to see one of the charities Mickey supports – where he and I first met)

Putting his own health issues aside, he selflessly devotes himself to causes that will help others…but when I reached out to my listening audience for help, he was so overwhelmed that he was left speechless for a few seconds – something that doesn’t happen too often!

The bottom line is this…Mickey’s chances of finding a kidney increase greatly every time somebody hears about his situation – so spreading the word is the first, and biggest step.

You can help greatly simply by sharing or reblogging this post.

share this

Finally – Anybody interested in learning about donating a kidney can contact:

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

If your last name begins with A-K, call Jessica at 310-423-8463

If your last name begins with L-Z, call Enrique at 310-423-8463

It is very important to tell them you wish to be tested to donate to Mickey Jones

If you missed the interview don’t worry, I will be posting a link to an encore presentation very soon.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Big News! I’m Going to be Interviewing That Guy! (you know…that guy)

Imagine you’re on Jeopardy… Final Jeopardy

The final Jeopardy category is “Entertainers” and you’re feeling pretty confident so you wager the whole enchilada.

And the answer is: The man who played drums for Johnny Rivers, Trini Lopez, Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, Bob Dylan and The Band?

You should know this, but… I don't know

He has also been in 30 movies including Total Recall, Tin Cup, Vacation and Sling Blade.

You really should know this…

He has appeared in almost 40 television series such as M*A*S*H, Baywatch and Northern Exposure.

He’s had recurring roles in Home Improvement and Justified.

This should be easy…

Not only has he been in dozens of TV commercials…one of his commercials holds the record as the longest running commercial in television history.

The music starts playing and you start sweating as you draw a complete blank.

You’d think with a resume like that he’d be a household name.

Aaaannnnd – time’s up.

The name we were looking for is Mickey Jones.

Mickey

I see by that look on your face that you think a mistake has been made. Surely with a list of accomplishments so impressive the name would be instantly recognizable.

Mickey Jones?

Wasn’t he one of the Monkees?

Sorry – but there has been no mistake…

Mickey Jones is the quintessential “best kept secret in the entertainment industry.”

Mickey began his musical career in the late 50’s and it ran through 1976, at which time he changed his focus to acting and is still at it.

So now you’re wondering why I’m quizzing you on this guy.

Long story short…I will have the honor of interviewing Mickey on my radio show on Friday, August 1.

Mickey with Ann Margaret

And how did I land an interview with a living legend?

I met Mickey a couple of years ago when he was the celebrity guest on a charity motorcycle run/golf tournament. During the golf tournament I got to drive him around in the cart. For four hours I heard stories about Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Ann Margaret, David Bowie, Tim Allen, and Chevy Chase – and he hadn’t even scratched the surface of his experiences.  Mickey Tool Time

For me – a guy from a small town in Rhode Island – it was an amazing weekend, and best of all, Mickey is a genuinely nice guy.

Not once in two days did this guy act above anybody.

To an outside observer he would have looked like just another biker hanging out with his buddies.

So there you have it…tune in to Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers on Friday August, 1 at 7:00 p.m. EST and check it out.

The interview will be broadcast live on 97.3 FM – The Surf as well as over the internet on www.flaglerbeachradio.com.

In the meantime – if you have any questions for Mickey, leave them in the comments section below and I’ll try to work them into the spot.

The First Edition

By the way…all of the stories I heard in the golf cart, along with dozens more, can be found in Mickey’s book, appropriately titled That Would Be Me.

I’ve read it – and it’s great.

The title of the book, he told me, comes from his standard reply to people who approach him daily and say “Hey, aren’t you that guy…”

Mickey doesn’t mind that people don’t know him by name – he never did anything for the fame or the glory. He did it because he loved doing it. He always felt like the luckiest guy in the world to have the opportunity to do the things he did!

That Would Be Me

I hope you can tune in, Mickey is always happy to make new friends!

As always – thank you for reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Mickey golf cart

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