Saturday, December 17, 2011

Otis Day and the Knights, 1985 by Dess Dermondy

Otis Day and the Knights, 1985 by Dess Dermondy






Fall 1985, Otis Day and the Knights were on tour and a large tour at that.



Jeff, a long time school friend and trusted comrade had a mission to pursue. I don’t mention his last name for I believe he is in-line to become a police chief in a town near you. Walking along the road in down town Lexington, MA, Jeff pulled over to talk to me. He reserved a U-haul rental truck 21 footer, I believe and the mission at hand was to travel to the University of Massachusetts to see Otis perform in his glory. The price for accommodations (the back of the U-Haul) and beverage (the cheapest beer available by keg) $20 complete. I immediately signed up. The road trip was sold out inside an hour. We meet early on Saturday morning at 9:00am sharp. We all quickly piled into the back at 9:00am, I do not recall how many of us there were but it was around 10. University of Massachusetts (U-Mass) was referred to at the time as Zoo Mass and for good reason (later explained). The back of the box truck was dark for there was no lighting available. Only trace amounts of light coming from the outline of the rolled up back door. If you have ever been on Space Mountain down in Walt Disney Land in Florida, this is close to the sensation that you experienced. Completely dark with un-anticipated swings. Halfway to the Zoo, Weebs (nick name) announced that his throat was “parched” and preceded to tap one of the kegs. No one argued and we all joined in passing plastic cups to all guests and forming a line to the left around the inside the van. Upon arrival at Zoo Mass 1/8th of the keg was one the box truck floor. Pulling into the parking lot at the campus, Weebs investigated how much beer was consumed during the journey. More damage than we realized had occurred, the keg was empty. Jeff had enough of driving at this point and commissioned one of the guests to seek out another keg at a local vendor. The van returned in no time. We piled back into the back and formed a line to the right, leaving the back door open and parked.

A third through this keg it was decided to patrol the campus. Driving around campus the students were donating furniture, roadside. The next school year was beginning and furniture was being tossed into the trash, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. We gathered lamps, a sleep sofa, padded living room chair and nick knacks. The festivities on Campus were at an all time high complete with bomb-fires on the front lawns…Otis was on the way to deliver the goods. As late afternoon was passing anticipation of Otis’ arriving the next afternoon was mounting. The show had sold out months earlier. Several years earlier Otis and the knights did a cameo appearance in a film that all critics hailed as a flop. The film was and still is a smash hit. The name of the film: Animal House, starring John Belushi, Karen Allen, and Tom Hulce. Zoo Mass picked up were the movie left off. Students were traveling from all corners of the United States to study: women, beer and to perfect the art of parting. At the time the school had one hell of a repetition. During the evening we traveled from party to party introducing ourselves to the students. We were guests on campus and well liked. Not a campus cop was insight. Half way into the night several U-Haul guests had passed out in the back of the van. We secured their bodies as so not to roll out the back of the van while traveling. We had been well received by the students to a point that they were phoning head to other students to inform them of our arrival. We were soon being greeted on the front lawns. A good time to be had by all.

A roomer had fired up that Otis and his Posse had arrived in down town Amherst. Upon hearing this Jeff gathered all conscious guest to get back in the van and we set off to see if this roomer was valid. Somewhere downtown Amherst the van slowed down and stopped. Blue flashing light was coming through the cracks of the roll-up van door, not good it was obviously the cops. We quiet down to a low roar. Out of nowhere the back door flung open. The local Chief of Amherst had enough experience with law enforcement to know that a moving traveling around down town at midnight was enough reason, as far as he was concerned, to pull over and check out what the “why” part of it was. He had a large black flash light that part timed as a billy club. Once he put his sights on what was going down in the back of the van, he turned around and then turned back facing us and shouted “GET THIS F##**’N VAN INTO THIS PARKING LOT, NOW.”

He wasn’t polite about it. There was way too much paper work involved to hall us in and being the Chief of Police, he was apparently short handed as far as staff is concerned.

With out complaining Jeff pulled into the parking lot, jumped out of the drivers seat to chat with the Chief. The Chief further explained that if he seen this vans on the road again tonight that he would arrest us all. We agreed to his demands, it sounded as if he meant it. Jeff assured the cop that we would be in full compliance with his orders. Some of the van guests were able to sleep, personally I do not remember sleeping and if I did it was a brief nap.

By 10am the next morning all guests had awaken. We set off for Campus. It was still a bit early for the show but crowds of concertgoers were arriving in droves. The field in front of the stage was soon filled with a sea of heads. The crowd over flowed into the adjacent parking lot. Folks with out tickets were showing up. Ambulances were coming and going with a wide variety of wounded. Again I do not remember seeing much in the way of law enforcement but paramedics were abundant. This was the mid-eighties and we, as a society, were still in the dark ages with plenty of violence if that’s what you seeked. Violence has never been my cup of tea and I stayed clear.

Otis’s daughter (I believe her name, Delite) had a smash hit on the radio and she was the first performer to hit the stage. I remember her sounding fantastic thanks to the person running the soundboard. The soundboard was dialed in perfectly. She was well received by the crowd and exited the stage with a very wide smile.

With a relaxing brake between sets the paramedics caught up with the wounded. Newspapers reported several broken bones, bloody noses; dozens of bruised egos and one stabbing. Otis and his Posse stormed the stage, the crowd erupted. Personally I was stone straight having my fill of drinking the night before.

At that time I believe Otis was in his early forties. You younger folks would consider this age being the end of the road it wasn’t , Otis was in his prime and possibly at the height of his career in entertainment. On this day Otis was working the crowd and that large chrome microphone. I remember his performance vividly. Over the years some shows I remember and some I have completely forgotten this one stuck. He held that microphone like the Queens jewels and no one was going to steal it from him. Prior to the film being released Otis had a mildly successful career until Animal House was release this propelled him into the limelight. He was completely enjoining it and it showed during this performance. There is a real possibility that Otis was at the height of his career according to the amount of people that showed up at this concert there were thousands. All corners of that stage had been worked over by Otis and the Knights. He exited the set with a tremendous roar from the crowd, a day I and many thousands of others have never forgotten.

I have heard on the radio and other media outlets trash Otis as some kind of one hit wonder. Claiming he made a career out of one song, first lets get the facts straight Otis Day and the Knights had several hits as far radio airplay is concerned. One hit wonder is bullshit. This particular guest on a radio talk show is a piece of shit for talking like this. Some radio talk show host feel some psychological need to bad mouth every thing and every body they can to falsely promote their bullshit to fame. This type of daily negativity gets old real fast…

Otis and the Knights rode the wave of fame for years. That one song he so much wanted was his to keep. Thousands upon thousands of people who have seen Otis perform will confirm that Otis is a great entertainer. Otis Day and the Knights hit the stage with the jewels that shined loud and long for all to see. That one song that so many musician seek was his; not you, not me, not anybody was going to take it from him.
Creative Commons Copyright by
Dess Dermondy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dinner Bell

Dinner Bell






Uncommon valley, an area that is well hidden from common roads. The road leading to it is an undisruptive type of road, dirt built as to not give away to folks passing by of its existence. Living up here in the mountains there are many places of the same nature that I consider rewards for choosing the good life. The uncommon valley has become one of my well kept secrets and adds years to ones life. Many mental health “experts” charge thousands of dollars to offer answers to peace of mind that the valley has to offer for free of charge. Some of the locals refer to this part of northeast as Gods country. Believing that there is truth to that statement is to see for your self. Driving down a tall, purposely kept dirt, hill that is heavily lined with thick brush and trees, I enter into a small well-hidden valley. It opens up with out any warning with green fields lined with mountains, which encase the fields and several simple homes within. I would like to mention the name of the mountains but prefer to let the hunt begin. At one time the fields must have produced an income for the folks who once lived there. Evidence supports this statement with barns and rusty old farm equipment that now line the over grown fields. The oil soaked barns, dark and brown, are not in use as they once were but now available to artist paintings. Fortunately not been torn down and have taken on a new meaning. Once a storage area never quite big enough, now a relaxing image.

In the middle of the fields stand three oddly placed trees. I say oddly because it makes no sense to a casual eye on why they are there. Probably placed there to shade the farmer at midday, as he would take a break in the field rather than traveling to the house. The intriguing part to the trees is the unexplained stonewall. Round gray boulders stacked four high above the ground and most likely three to four stones below the ground. They run past the trees by ten feet on either side. There is no logical explanation for its existence for I sat for several hours trying to explain in logic why they are there. It is possible that this farmer held a local degree in mental health. While setting up this lively hood for his family he, with out question had a rime and reason for the placement of the stonewall, just at this current writing it goes unexplained. Maybe some one in his family could explain better by simply looking at what he saw.

Looking at the trees you slowly begin to notice that the branches are pointing in a southeasterly direction. The winds of time coming down off the mountains have formed this branch direction over many years. The trees elected not to fight the Mother Nature yet incorporate her in how they grow. Standing fifty to sixty feet high I would guess that they are 100 plus years old. Branches gracefully swaying in the breeze a though of love comes to mind for there is no question that love has hung around the trunks on sunny days. Local teens daydream during school hours about returning home to meet among the branches. Surly many hundreds of curious smiles accompanied with curious glances have meet under the branches. Long summer days made short by mothers who decided for “no apparent reason” to have dinner two hours earlier than normal. Perhaps instinctively knowing to sound the alarm of the triangular dinner bell. Two mothers on opposite sides of the valley coincidentally make an evening arrive early. One father, hearing the dinner bell, enters the kitchen having day of common patterns and predictable moves abruptly cut short. Entering the kitchen and scrunching his eyebrows, looks around the kitchen with out asking any questions, looking for evidence to why his day has been cut short. He knows better than to question his wife’s decision for he has learned well in the past. She looks at him briefly and tells him to “sit, dinner is ready.”

Several hundred yards past the trees lay the mountains. They rise up, not that high but high enough to make you bend your neck to see the tree less tops. Covered with lush greens. Much rain has fallen recently and the foliage has taken full advantage of this. They have multiplied their growth to hide any evidence of ground beneath it. The clouds roll down from the northwesterly direction and gather steam. Tending to bounce off the mountains in search of a path of least resistance. While bouncing they reform into different shapes and forms of indescribable blotters. The trees continually point in the direction that they must follow. The clouds agree but show some resistance to a known of the valley, that a path has already been chosen for them.

While I was enjoying the scenery, I relit a cig stashed in my leather jacket. Noticing a chipmunk scurrying across the dirt road, apparently busy taking care of her home. She jumps on top of a rock to get a birds eye view, in search of her mate. You see, the male species can conveniently lose focus on what we need to do when it comes to home chores. Commonly coming up with reasons of better things to do that will benefit our families and becoming quite good at it. “My dear, I have money to be made elsewhere” he states. She is not disturbed by his answer only content. The rain starts to fall again and I must go.

It is a beautiful part of town and when I do not feel well I visit it to get that pleasant feeling again. That feeling… that it is good to be alive.

Creative Commons Copyright by
Dess Dermondy

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Grandfather, gramps, and that ghost in the car

My Grandfather MacDonald holds a special place in my heart. Grand parents should hold a spot in every ones heart. To this day I miss him. Many times I think of the Christmas tree that they had year after year. A simple tree, silver in color, with colorful ordenments. At times I would poke at the ornaments and watch them twirl with all the colors of the rainbow shinning by reflection from the moon outside the window. Colorful wrappings covering presents. I would stare at that tree for long periods of time and enjoy its simple pleasure. A warm feeling always came to me. During these times the apartment would be filled with all the delights, fruits, and bowls of nuts and the scent of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.


I would visit my Grandfather and Grandmother mostly on weekends. Gramps was manager and maintenance of the apartment buildings located in Waltham Massachusetts. He took care of them 7 days a week and on occasion we would travel to his home away from work in Kingston, MA. Gramps put me to work while visiting in a way to relieve some of the energy that a young man can have and would also put some much needed cash in my pocket. One of the many chores was to take out the trash, dozens of bags at a time. Tend to the boilers in the basement and mechanical and electrical equipment in need of repairs. The main job I had was to vacuum the hallways of all the buildings; there are 4 buildings with several floors in 2 of them. One other task was to walk a dog of one of the tenants in the building, an easy task. A small poodle type of dog, I am not sure of the breed. The dog was a single woman who I vaguely remember but do remember having a crush on her. I do remember her being a beautiful woman. When vacuuming the halls I would take much pride in making sure all areas were clean to my Grandfathers liking. I guess I was looking for his approval in which he always gave positive statements. In the morning he would wake up early and I would be waiting for him to come out of their bedroom. Making coffee was his first priority, the percolator type you rarely see today. A bulb on top in which you could see through. You could see the coffee percolating. Two pieces of toast, lightly brown in color. Lightly buttered to flavor. Always, I waited for him to bite into his toast first. Gramps had white hair that he combed with the same black comb that always laid on the bathroom sink. A few swipes with the comb and his hair would be set for the day. I would stand at the doorway in awe of my Grandfather. I guess this was with the same passion a son would to his father. My father was long gone so my Grandfather took his place in stature. With thick black rimmed glasses in which I rarely seen off his face. He would sit in the same morning chair with me waiting for the daily chores to begin.

The truck he used maintaining the properties was incredibly interesting for a young kid. The truck was a mess. The dashboard was torn open to reveal the mechanism that controlled the windshield wipers. Every now and then during rainstorms the wiper mechanism would hang up. Gramps would reach in like a surgeon and maneuver the levers to get the mechanism to function. Gramps was constantly grinding the gears of the transmission while shifting. Apparently the transmission on the truck was a bit tricky to function. Jumper cables were stored behind the seat and used often. I remember in the bank parking lot on several occasions him asking passer byers and friends for a jump start. The furthest I remember him traveling in this truck was to the dump located across town. As much trouble as this truck gave my Grandfather, he never traded her for a new one or newer one for that matter.



Gramps didn’t have many friends that I knew of and had few acquaintances. The people he did talk to were always the same people. I would recognize them and there were few.

One particular day of interest gramps and I were loading trash in the back of the old pick-up truck when a screech of wheels came around the corner of the parking lot. The timing of this car was in time with us exiting the building. To a haul not 15 feet from the building exit and the driver’s door swung open before the car came to a complete halt. A man I have never seen before jumped out with an expression of complete panic on his face. Being from the projects I knew when it was time to leave, a time just to watch and a time to duck. This was a time to not move and just watch, dropping the bag I held, I waited. My grandfather walked slowly to the man who stood at the car. He started to plead with gramps. I could not hear what was being said yet the man was slapping the back of his right hand onto the palm of his left with plenty of words in between. Half bent over and veins protruding the skin on his face. Gramps grabbed the man with one hand and pulled him further away from where I was standing, I watch my grandfather intensely and ready to back him up. Gramps said little with short statements, with an expressionless face. The man obviously was in trouble of some kind. He appeared to thank my grandfather several times by grabbing my grandfather’s hand and shaking it vigorously. Jumping back in his car, this was still running, and slammed the gear selector in reverse. He accelerated out of sight. Gramps walked to me slowly with his head down. When he came to a short distance from me he rose his head and looked at my eyes waiting for me ask what was going on. I looked back at gramps and asked him like the friend he is “what’s wrong.” More worried about my grandfather than this unknown. Gramps began to tell me: “he is a federal witness in a murder trial and that there are two guys after him, there’s nothing I can do.” And something about a shot gun. I never seen or heard about that ghost in the car again. Back in the seventies if you were marked by organized crime you instantly had no friends and it was just a matter of time before you were found and then gone.

The interesting part, I did not make the connection back then, is years later a high school friend who’s grandfather is named MacDonald was one of the ten most wanted by the FBI. We would get quite a chuckle by visiting the local police department and seeing his picture on the poster yet that weekend we were getting home made wine off of him. (I recently read a book by a retired FBI agent who claims this was not his wine but made by a member of the Winter Hill Gang). All the FBI had to do was simple follow a couple of teenagers and they had their man, Joseph MacDonald family relation to gramps. Recently Howie Carr of Boston radio fame wrote a book on Hit Men; in there I believe I will find out what went on with that ghost in the car. Today there is a file in the offices of the FBI on McGrath which is my born name, I’ve seen it. They keep track of family members for only one reason and that is you can go either way, criminally or law abiding, it’s in your blood. The FBI really never intended on finding MacDonald. Eventually they took him down at Penn Station in New York for the theatrics of it all. What they don’t mention is that Joseph MacDonald led a long life and was convicted at the age of eighty. Much corruption existed back in the early eighties during the agent, Connelly days of the FBI. Anyone who reads the newspapers even on occasion will remember the headlines during the nineties when the corruption was exposed.

The wine in question was kick ass. It gave me serious hang over that even at a young age kept me in bed until noon. Kept in a thick green bottle with lots of grape skin inside. The taste was harsh. The cost was free.

Creative Commons Copyright by
 Dess Dermondy

Monday, October 24, 2011

General Electric comes to bat

Many opinion makers and others have been talking about the lack of jobs in this country. I believe everybody knows by now that there is a significant shortage of jobs. We do not need to be told that jobs are an issue, we know that. What is in question is how to fix or reverse a trend in motion. The answer lies with the Regan Administration tactics against foreign motorcycle companies flooding the US with their motorcycles. In the early 80’s the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company was on a path of bankruptcy. Executives and former owners of the company got together to buy the company back from AMF. The problem was several. The company had quality control problems mounting and the floodgate was open for foreign motorcycles. Retooling of the company as far as making a better product was conclusive with the managers as possible. This would take large amounts of cash and backing by investment houses. Both achievable. What the executives needed was support from the US Government. The support they requested and received was as follows. Foreign Motorcycle companies were flooding the market with alarming numbers just to bring their [product to the masses and it was working. They made no money on the motorcycles them selves but on accessories and parts. The motive worked and was putting the only American made motorcycle out of business in short order. They devised a business plan with the help of the Reagan Administration to levy heavy import tariffs against foreign motorcycle manufactures. Sense these manufactures were willing to sell their product for less than retail value the government levied these taxes to make up the difference. This put their motorcycle prices in line with Harley Davidson. This saved an American icon. The details are many but the system worked.




Today we as US workers are faced with the same problem. Manufacturing has all but ceased in this country. The problem is US companies and foreign companies have their products made mostly in China. The products cost the same or a bit less when these same products were produced in the US. The solution to manufacturing job loss lies with the workable Reagan Administration tax levy to bring the importation of products in line with US made products (if you can find any). I personally would like it to start with General Electrics Solar Energy manufacturing unit. GE came up to bat for the US worker recently by building these wafers in the US. They could have easily and more profitably made them overseas, they decided against it. If the US government were truly supportive of the US worker it would levy heavy taxes against any and all imported products to the US. To encourage a new view for US manufacturing. The details would be many. This would cost some to the US population but would bring back manufacturing back to this country and put people back to work. Foreign countries pay their employees 10 cents on the dollar for their workers. Levy heavy import taxes to bring pay rates inline with US workers. If this foreign government raises worker pay, lower import taxes inline with pay hikes. You achieve two fold: manufacturing back to the US, Humanitarian support of grossly under paid workers in foreign countries.                                                             Creative Commons Copyright by
Dess Dermondy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The reason why cigeretts are located behind the counter, 1971

I watch TV from time to time to catch up on the news of the world. Recently I have lost interest in television for a variety of reason I not particularly interested in discussing. 80% of channels on cable are useless and boring. Having no TV is mostly ok but at times I miss it. One day while watching TV, a commercial promoting teaching a child to be honest. The boy, at the age of 6, ripped off a model airplane from a local store. The father had the boy, rightfully, return the airplane back and apologize to the owner. The owner greeted the incident with a smile for the boy who was being honest. This is the proper way to teach a child rather than becoming mad and yelling at the child for something that he wanted but apparently afraid to ask for. Maybe the boy was petrified to ask for the toy as history may indicate. The parent was dressed to appear to be able to afford such a small gift. These small gifts can and will leave a memory that will last a life time, think of your memories of minor yet rewarding incidents.


At the age of 6 I was living in the Prospect Hill Projects located in Waltham Massachusetts. At that time the projects were all I knew and I knew more than most kids twice my age, some good some bad. On occasion we (the group that I hung with all project kids) would venture out side the walls of the project fence to a local store (I forget the name but it was located next to A&P Supermarket). Bernie who is approximately 3 years older than most of us, led the group by default (his age gave him seniority). “Hay lets head for the store to pick up some things.” The things were always the same, candy, cigarettes, rubber bands and (yes) hairpins. Keeping in mind we were only 6 years of age. Those of you who have children in this age bracket try to in vision them doing this, I have a son and could never imagine him doing what I have done (the enviourement in which you live in can and will have a dramatic affect on you). We did not devise a plan on who would be located where when we entered the store or positions. We simply knew what to do. Bernie would normally be the “pick” but on occasion this would change by direction of a clerk who would start to ask questions to some one else. When Bernie was the “pick” he would fire up a conversation with the closest clerk in order to distract her from our positions. It work each and every time. In the sixties and early seventies cigarettes were located out in front of the counter and not behind the counter. They were easy pickings. Candy, always on the list, was second to be heisted the prime targets were root bear barrels and hot balls. Yes hairpins and rubber bands were third. This is referred to as the Old lady style. The u shaped hairpin made of thin steel. The hairpins fit nicely around the rubber bands and we used them as projectiles against cars. All this thieving was accomplished inside three minuets, we were that good. With pockets full of dividable goods we would head out of the store and back to common ground. Cigarettes use to be located in front of the counter and were easy for the taking if you had a good story to tell the clerk. One to two packs each, which totaled a large number. Candy removed by the hand full later to be divided up somewhat equally. Bernie always managed to end up with more than the rest of us. The strong arm of the group, we never complained. We never giggled and act like it was a big deal like we have never done it before. Back in those days when you were poor you had nothing but one pair of cheap sneaks and the privileged had a bicycle. Cigarettes are now located behind the counter, starting with this store which was most likely one of the first to move the cigs for we removed them illegally in large numbers. The tally at the end of the night was far from where it should have been. Between us under 10 year olds and the teenage crowd heisted the A&P (which is long gone bankrupted) for steaks and other goodies used for barbeques later in the evening fueled by alcohol and lord knows what else. The store we heisted later required (with a posted sign) that children under the age of 15 be accompanied by adults. This ruined some of our weekends for a short time there after.

Back to the hairpins. Hairpins and rubber bands are a volatile combination. Dividing these up somewhat equally we would head for the local bushes. When cars would pass we opened fired…dink dink dink of the steel panels of cars and trucks. On occasion brakes would lock up and screeching of tires rang out. Followed by reverse lights coming on. The folks in the cars never got out to chase us for we were long gone by that time. This was one of our greatest adventures on weekends.

As far as cigarettes go we never really inhaled them and at the time cigarettes were in vogue (I wish I never started smoking). Simple puffs on them, sell them or trade them off for firecrackers. I don’t believe we knew how to inhale them. I look at my son today and can never picture him even remotely doing this in any way, remember the enviourment in which we live in can have a dramatic affect on you. My mother to this day doesn’t like the idea of the fact that my 2 brothers and me grew up in the projects but interestingly some the funniest stories she tells come directly from the project error of our life. This story telling would normally come around chrismess time after 2 glasses of wine. One that is told from year to year is the one of the stolen radio from her car. A 1973 Chevy Nova. The radio was stolen the night before and my mother phoned the local police to assist the desk Sargent in the investigation of the stolen radio. After explaining the situation the desk Sargent responded “can’t you people handle this” referring to neighbors. Ask any retired cop from this era and they will confirm that the police never went inside the projects with out massive back ups. Apparently it was a rough place to venture, I never seen it. Living there was no concern about safety or walking around the projects as long as you were from there. If you weren’t from there you better have a good reason to be there and if it was trouble you were looking for it was trouble you found. Many were sent home with there tail between their legs. Looking back I do not recall ever seeing some one who was not from there.

Back to Brandeis. Going to Brandeis was a blast. The students took us everywhere by bus car or by foot. We rarely stayed put at the school we simple were too much to handle. At one time in my life I knew just about every corner of that Campus. Hanging out around students was interesting yet we were probably a pain in the butt to them for we had plenty of questions to ask of them. Makes it difficult to study when you have a runny nose kid 2 feet from you asking non-stop questions. The Gold fishpond located at near the entrance to the school has plenty of Gold fish. They are trapped in a small man made circle of stone and always hungry. You could cast to one side of the pond with a good cast of the fishing rod. The fish were easy pickings. A large in circumference security guard would chase us from time to time but never made it past 20 yards in foot pursuit. He received plenty of heckling while attempting to chase us. One of the most memorable things of Bradeis is the over night camping we did on rear occasions.

One of the and probably the most biggest tree forts you would have come across we built. Located a good 30 feet in the air with plenty of head room between the fort and the ground to cause serious damage if one fell. It was 3 stories high and took a week for the maintenance department of Waltham to disassemble it. It was amazing that we were left alone to build it in the first place.

My friends and me backed each other up in the project right or wrong the details of any conflict would be worked out later. We were project kids and viewed by many as being out castes because we never had money. In those days being poor was a crime and we were felons. If you picked on one us you picked on all of us. We surrounded you and made you very aware that you were not going to win. We were left alone most of the time by using this tactic and very rarely got in a fight.

Creative Comons copyright by
Dess Dermondy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wall Street Greed!?

Current conditions are chaotic on the cold pavement surrounding the institutions that fuel the economy. An up rising by folks who are attacking and exposing the greed machine on Wall Street. This voice has been rising for some time now. With Hedge Funds initiating the call for anger several running. The Hedge Funds have been moving the markets in the direction they chose. This direction has had zero consideration for the technical’s or market conditions. Simply put there has been reasoning for market moving in the north direction. The economy has been shot for some time now with no apparent relief in the near future. It has been greed fueled. Over the summer a small percentage of Executives in a large Institution were caught scamming their own clients out of millions headed up by RUBIN. Most folks do not recognize this name but he is the brother to one worth noting and worked with the FBI. The founders of this Investment Institution shall greet these greed monsters upon arrival.

News papers now head line the occupation of over 100 cities in the USA. This has brought awareness to the machine. What does need to be said is that a majority of folks working in Wall Street are not apart of the Machine. Like most Associations they are being dragged in the cesspool with a small percentage of greed. This has happened to many groups and association in the past of this country. I recently wrote a play identifying this. The two groups mentioned in the play really could be any group in existence. They are two of the most widely known. Well how does it feel Wall Street, what goes around comes around…

Currently I am employed with a very large retailer in New Hampshire and the country for that matter. This position is temporary in support of the up coming Christmas season. The company is an extremely well run company and leader in the retail market. So much so a leader, that you came easily predict the retail out look for the rest of the retail market based on their forecast.  This week end we were asked not to come in due to unexpected slow sales. It’s the week end shift and I enjoy working it. It allows me 4 days off. Let me say with out theory that this is a gauge to the retail out look for the season…slow sales. Slow sales translate into down economy. If they are not selling nobody is. Or not to the volume of expectations. This slowness will eventually drop the DOW.

Lately the US government has been releasing information in tune with drops of the DOW. Artificially stopping a correction in the markets that needs to happen now. This is just prolonging the inedible. As the Market drops and heads for Bear territory they release news that will and has bumped the Market up. Why do they continually do this, well supposedly to support the President? Wrong folks what will happen is the Market will drop during re-election time and used as a tool to oust Obama.

What is being over looked by the Head line releasers is a healthy correction in the Market, regardless of the 20% technical which is dated. Pull back a 3 year chart of the DOW to expose a wide “W” formation. This formation to complete its path to 8500 needs to happen. It simply is healthy and many investors are on the side lines waiting for the pattern to form and “trade out.” This is in parallel with a forest that burns to the ground. At first, the reaction is of devastation but long term effects are well documented. The recovery of the forest is healthier that it has ever been. The fire wipes out over growth and unhealthy accumulation that retards strong growth. Case in point is in Canada. Their tree farms are groomed to produce 1st class lumber. The rebound from the “W” pattern will relax investors for it is health to form and the DOW will never return to that level of 8500.
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 Dess Dermondy

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer of 2009

I woke up this morning feeling rugged and tired. I popped a sleeping pill (doctor prescribed) the night before to help me dream away the problems I'm having. My life has become completely unmanageable and I'm trying to fight it. Being organized has always been trouble for me and lastly it has become worse than usual. Crawling out from the back seat of my Mercury sable, which has become my "home away from home." The Mercury is not running properly and I have borrowed a car to help pay the bills, bills that are continually mounting. On this morning the sun finally shone it self. Lately it had been hiding behind dark pillows of clouds for several weeks and counting. When it has shone, there has been a constant threat of thundering rain. My eyes are sensitive to light and today there was a need for shades. My choice of color...rose. Pulling up to my favorite fuel pit, to pick up a fix of java. For some odd reason I feeling came over me that a new life is coming. I do not have a dime in my pockets and was given a free pass with the clerk due to frequency of visits. This ensured my return as a loyal customer. Entering the bathroom, I splashed cool water on my face to help wake up. While washing the stench of stale cigs on my hands sickens me.


Downing the coffee, I rolled into the parking lot of the local delivery of bad news, USPS. Today I have a feeling of good news for the sun has been shinning for several days and the continual rain appears to have ceased. A single letter was in my mailbox, Carroll County Court is on the return address. Sliding my finger through the flap to reveal its contents. I have just received court ordered therapy. Evaluations are not immiscible in court but these types of orders help the local economy (mental heath industry is thriving up here). No Dale Bozzio you are not alone. Reversing direction mentally, I dialed the owner of the car that is on loan to me; on a cell phone that contains way too many drop down menu's and is driving me nuts. Foreign governments can make use of these phones as torturering devises. The language used in the operating system is completely foreign to me and many others I'm sure. Having visions of eggheads sitting in cubical pounding away on computer keyboards thinking the rest of the world is in tune with their train of thought. Many of the words used in the menus I needed to look up in the dictionary to decipher the meaning. Us common folk have no idea what they are referring to (an example of this would be when resizing a picture they use the word attributes, most of us use the wording-resize-). Jen answers the phone on the copper line; they have both copper and wireless phone connections. She is the aunt to my son. Lovely women with kind words to say to most but not all (she has the potential of a viper). She has past the point of no return, the age of fifty, always tending to the yard and managing her husbands business. With out her he would tumble into an unorganized world of chaos. A yard colored with purples, reds

and yellows along the walkway to their home, greeting prospecting clients. Briefly mentioning the latest round of court orders, I asked if she is a preferred provider to Blue Cross/ Blue Shield (alternative methods of therapy are accepted in Supreme Court). She replied "no but I do accept Master Card or Visa." "Very good, charge it."

The car on loan is a 1985 Chevrolet Corvette, a very soothing Zen. Color: black on gray and is a favorite combination of mine. The Chevrolet Corvette is capable of "pulling off" any color of the rainbow (including yellow) and has this appearance that a good day is coming. Seat position is low to the ground and well-worn condition, a sign of many productive therapy sessions. Dropping my right hand over the gear selector, depressing the safety switch with my palm and dropping it into Drive. I theorize that the safety switch is built into the gear selector to thwart any children seeking therapy. Cases of children (inspiring to become mechanical engineers) are rumored to have jumped into Vettes with sticks. One child depressing the safety switch with the sticks while the other slamming the selector downward until forward motion is achieved. The Corvette is equipped with the classic, proven 350 cubic inch tuned for performance. Capable of tremendous forward thrust in short order.

The Corvette learches forward, slightly downward and to the right as the gears of the transmission mesh together indicating she is ready to begin a productive day of therapy. My first stop in my preplanned travels is the Carroll County House of Correction. My future ex-wife called me asking to sign her out of trouble. When arriving at the "house of pain," in hopes of hearing about a benign situation gone haywire with the help of an antagonizing mouth, I asked the constable "what happened now." He informed me that he is not obligated to say but that she will remain in protective custody until further notice. Hearing these words I mumbled "its over." Turning on my heals and exiting the house of pain it dawned on me that my marriage was officially over. I'm ready for a new life.

Creative Commons Copyright by
Dess Dermondy

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kick Start Morning

             While darkness still exists and no movement around the home is heard, its time to move and move quickly. To awake anyone at this time in the morning would ruin my selfish thoughts. The bike awaits outside in the still morning air and has not been started for six days now. Slowly becoming a memory of a summer gone by. Work has been relentlessly calling, weekends have become part of the working week, enough is enough. Today is the break out day. A pocket full of hundreds is all that's needed. You can keep your GPS systems for they only get in the way of the mission, getting lost on my bike. No need to leave letters of intent, they will only be lies. Personally Am a bad lier so why bother. Slowly and softly oping the door to exit my home. The familiar squeak from the door hinge sounds a quite alarm. This hinge will need oiling in the near future. Shutting the door it clicks into locked position. Today there is no need to check for my keys because I do not plan to return anytime today or the following. I worry about that later, the mission is at hand. A simple note explaining what I am up to is all I left. Pulling back the cover that keeps the rain from decaying chrome, what little chrome I have.
           Personally I do not like chrome, it only starts to rust and decay as soon as you install it. Preferring instead polished aluminum. The reasoning is that aluminum you can re shine at a latter date. Chrome, unless it is the expensive variety (triple chrome) is not worth it. To pay for triple chrome you can expect to pay a premium. There is a fellow on the "West Coast" who charges more than a premium and gets away with it. Triple chrome is very expensive and hard to come by with the stringent EPA regulations, so why bother with it. Nobody will say directly that chrome doesn't look good. It does look good but trying to maintain it on a road bike is near impossible. Bikes that are carried in covered trailers have a better chance of maintaining polished chrome. Never mind that argument," wheres the throttle."
           Leaning the bike to the left with the handle bars kicked to the left, grabbing the throttle with the right hand, several preliminary twists to prime the cylinders. two quick twists is all she needs. Kicking the motor over several times with the ignition in the off position. Bring the front cylinder to or near top dead center. This will be indicated by the kicker being harder to push through its cycle. once top dead center is established, one more twist of the throttle. Flick the ignition on. Stand straight up on the kick starter and with full force drop down on the kicker. In the morning (first start), the motor will on occasion give just a cough. Re prime and kick through again, she will fire with ignition properly timed, it has no choice.
          Ending the last sentience with "will start" is an intriguing phrase. Most "junk boxes' wont start. A pan head or other similar older motors need to be rebuilt properly first, key word is, properly. Areas that are neglected on the motor will affect ignition timing, namely the timing gears. There are a series of gears and bushings located in the timing cover that are commonly over looked and they affect timing, it is called "accumulative error." With compression, (good) fuel and the ignition times properly the motor has no choice but to fire if it does not then there is some position of this that is "off." Notice that I cover my ass with the use of the word "properly."Another area of concern is the distributor. There is potential for gear lash in the shaft. When considering rebuilding an older motor there is real potential for cost to rise vertically in short order. A new top end is not a motor rebuild. Owning older bikes is not for everyone unless mechanically inclined or have a bank account flush with funds. Mechanically inclined is enough as long as you are willing to talk to folks that know and are willing to listen. over the years I have asked many questions to Ace mechanics who usually are willing to answer your questions and then elaborate on other areas of concern. Keep picking at there brain if you are able to catch them when hey are willing to give information (timing is everything on this one). Next thing you know several hours have pasted and your walking away with valuable information to apply to your bike. Most shop manuals do not tell how to rebuild a motor and the many areas of concern. these manuals assume you are a trained mechanic.
            Where was I. Maintain idle while the motor warms to operating temperature. Off I go to get lost on my bike.
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Dess Dermondy

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dess Dermondy: Dess Dermondy: What Steven Tyler, I and others are...

Do not give me a hard time about the lyrics that I write. I am simply an interrupter or translator to what is going around me in your society. You have an interest in my lyrics or songs. What is your interpretation. Did I upset you because I invoke memories you care not to remember. Did I bring thoughts that you care not to think because is truly your desire. Your interest in my songs are fuel to the fire. As long as it invokes thoughts I shall continue. It is not me but you that these songs are written, for I see it daily. purity is not achievable nor should it be sought. For if you seek it it will consume you. Your perfect life is not true, it is in my songs due not get upset with me for it is you. To continue to bring definitions would end your imagination. Remember i am simple a Knight, some good some bad just like you.DessDermondy

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fouling Sport            On a rec...

, 03814 On a recent Sunday afternoon the cell phone started buzzing on my soon to be shut off phone. Clicking the flap open and stating “ya,” it is Walter, Walter is my soon be to be ex-brother in-law. The call had an air of confusion, I started to sit straight up in my seat as if this was going to help me tune into the conversation better. “Looking for puppies…Sportster,” is what came over the wireless airwaves. Up here in the Mt Washington Valley, the signal of a cell bounces off mountains and hills to make conversation, out of norm, difficult to understand. Sitting straight up in my seat I yelled back “calm down man, what’s the deal.” “I just bought a 1970 Sportster” he replied. I pulled over in a shallow ditch on the side of the road that had better reception and slammed the gear selector in park. The conversation jolted me with surprise. Walter, not having much experience in riding road bikes not to mention a 900cc vibrating Sportster equipped with a spark plug eliminator Super B carburetor built by S&S some 30 years earlier, had just called to inform me of this purchase.
Walter managed to follow in the tracks that I made earlier in the day. During an earlier recent tour of the Ossipee Valley with nothing better to do than drive around dreaming of a trophy wife and what would I do if cash were plentiful? I came across the same Sportster. The bike was apparently involved in a panic sale. Priced at half true value. Stopping twice to have a good look at her. First time was to get a better look at the price that was spray painted on a piece of wood, fuzzy at best. Positioning my glasses in front of my eyeballs, I realized it was not a fuzzy blurred mistake, but a short sale. Second time was just to have another look. It was an affordable rig for most folks but my bank account, being negative, stated that there is not enough cash on hand to purchase this machine myself at this time. I talked briefly with the seller to check and make sure it wasn’t a clerical error with regard to the price. The price was correct and I chock it off as another missed deal. These types of deals you need cash in hand to make immediate purchase. I had none. Walter has plenty, he came across the bike and negotiated a deal that required him to drive to the bank and hand the cash over, in which the sell agreed. Not quite sure what he had just purchased; he commissioned me to have a better look. Jumper cables were dragged out from the back shed; we had drained the battery trying to start the bike. Fortunately it does have an electric start other wise the three of us would have been wiped out trying to pump it to life. When she fired, that familiar sound of a deep thump rang out that only a Harley Davidson Motorcycle is capable making. Harley once tried to patent the sound but was denied by the USCO. That deep thump indicated that compression was at a norm. Super B carburetors were fine back in the day but currently are completely out dated. Some folks refer to this model carburetor as a toilet bowl, referring to its fuel flushing capabilities. This particular specimen was in dire need of a rebuild, if short on cash. Most, these days are tossed into the nearest trashcan and forgotten about.
After a thorough look over I informed Walter that it appeared all the bike needed was an updated carburetor. It sounded fantastic as far as probability of running well with minimal time spent on mechanics. We started off to his home and I wound the throttle to Full Wide Open. The bike fell apart. At three quarters and WFO the bike lost forward momentum. There was also a bit of clanking coming from the front cylinder. The prayer is push rod trouble and not connecting rod nightmares. Rounding the final curve in route to Willies house the bike shut down. “We almost made it,” I yelled to Wally who was driving in his work van. At first it seemed as though it was electrical trouble due to the abrupt shut down of the motor. Most, but not all, mechanical failures will give warning. We were able to restart the bike but only had one lung functional (gas fouled plug). The carburetor was flushing fuel into the cylinders without throttling. It made it to Wallies shed on one lung with plenty of time in the day to make pocket money.
Looking the over carefully the classic lines that designers incorporated into the early Sportsters became evident. Some of those classic lines are making a come back. Visit your local Harley dealer and take a close look at the Sportster line-up. The cast-in the cam cover-housing name of Sportster is straight from the original Sportsters’. Some folks might be upset with Harley in rehashing the early look of the Sportster but it is working. A glance at the stock price is evidence. The Harley Davidson Sportsters’ are attractive like never before. The all black model is one that is particularly attractive to me.
Walter and I headed for the local dealer several days later to purchase a new carburetor. The fellow tending the counter announced the price, which is a bit pricey for my neighborhood. Hoping to save him money I began negotiations. My intent was to buy the carburetor minus the backing plate and air cleaner. Reusing the existing one. Completely complicating the negotiation with a confusing explanation of what I was trying to do, the clerk handed me the parts catalog. Not being in tuned with these parts manuals, I informed the clerk that I had forgotten my reading glasses and was becoming dizzy looking at the manual. He gave me an odd look and turned to Walter for some sanity. He told Walter he was willing to shave a $100 off the price for the complete kit in an apparent attempt to rid of me. Hearing this, I nodded to Walter in agreement with the clerk and wandered off to have a look at the XR1200.
The carburetor took a mare three days to arrive. Installation was immediate. The clanking of steel on steel turned out to be a simple adjustment to the front cylinder exhaust pushrod. After installing the carb and tighten of bolts a test ride was now at hand. Pulling out of the driveway and heading west the Sportster was ready for action. Rolling the throttle to increase RPM and forward motion, that familiar rhythmic sound that only a Harley could produce, came to life. Running up through the gears until fourth gear was reached. The only bad deal to the early Sportsters’ is that the transmission needed one more gear, fifth. The bike had minimal issues.
What started out as a test drive turned into an all day adventure. After several hours of roaming around I could feel the heat from the motor on my inner thigh. It was rumored that the top-end of the motor had been rebuilt. With fresh steel parts installed the motor needed to run cool. Deciding to pull over at a relaxing spot and take a look at the bike for any missing parts that might have vibrated off. The smell of an air-cooled motor running at 250 degrees is distinctive. The smell of heated gas and oil encased in aluminum awakens most motorcycle enthusiasts. Looking the bike over, while relaxing on a laid down tree taken out by a recent Tornado, I noticed the heat waves rising above the motor. The heat waves distorted the scenery behind the bike. This is a good indicator that the tempiture of the motor was well past 250-degree mark. Waiting for the motor to cool down took some time. When the heat waves were not evident any more I brushed my hand over the valve cover to check the tempiture. At 120 degrees I find that you can hold your hand on aluminum or steel for that mater, for several seconds or longer depending on your tolerance for heat. It was time to remount. My desire to ride again has come back to life.
Creative Commons copyright by
Dess Dermondy


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