Stumbling Forward – or Back?

I have always been puzzled by the title of Richard Farina’s book “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.” I must have been too much of an optimist to consider that anyone could actually have such a viewpoint. But lately it seems to have taken on some real meaning. Can anyone honestly keep up with the torrent of changes (and attendant uncertainties) coming from Washington?

Lest I be labeled as a merchant of chaos, please note that I am, indeed, still an optimist. I think anyone anywhere can always do something about his situation. The challenges I see are not limited to:

– The recent command change in Afganistan (and what do we mean by victory there?)

– The likelihood of new taxes next year

– Coast Guard interference with State efforts to clean up the oil leaking in the Gulf

– The Federal Government suing Arizona for trying to enforce Federal law

– The Federal Government taking over corporations and health care

I’m sure you know these just scratch the surface.

So what can we do in times of confusion?

I recently heard a fantastically able speaker, Pat Valtin talk on the subject of purposes. He was quoting the work of American philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard. The point that struck me is that if one is not following his basic purpose, then he will fill his life with all manner of problems to keep himself busy.

Translate this to the national level and I think you’ll have the reason for all the turmoil. Our leaders are not following the country’s basic purpose!

Now back to the personal level. If you are a songwriter (as I am) or if you are an artist, businessperson or would like to someday have your own business, a clear statement of your purpose is essential. You don’t want to copy our present leaders, do you?

In the next few weeks I will be chronicling my progress with a program based on the book “Music Success in Nine Weeks” by Ariel Hyatt. My wish for you is that you learn from my successes and failures as I discover and confirm which way is up in my own foray into the music business.

Care for a look? Here’s my status at present. First, my loving wife got me the book several months ago. I read it through and started on the first week exercise. As advised, I began writing down at least five things I’d accomplished each day, no matter how small. This was surprisingly beneficial. I recommend it as an exercise regardless of the remainder of the program.

Then I stopped. What? Yes. I just stopped. I was supposed to write down some goals and select six to work on. And I never did. So you see, this takes some perseverance just like anything else that’s worthwhile.

Tune in next week and see if I have resurrected myself or convinced myself that down really is up.

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Political Football, Anyone?

Have you heard enough about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Folks are lining up on various sides of this event to vent their dissatisfaction about some aspect of the situation. I use the word “folks” as our President Obama refers to the common people. Also involved in the discussion are some special categories of folks known as “government officials” and “businessmen.” My observation here is that these special classes are using the crisis to make themselves look good (or at least not so bad) and the remaining just-plain-folks just want the thing handled.

A cursory glance at a prominent Florida newspaper’s archives shows that a number of possible solutions have been floated (pun intended) including an idea to detonate massive explosives at the site of the damaged oil well. There is also some reference to possible plans for microbes to be used to eat and digest the oil. As presented in the articles, each of the proposals were thoroughly labeled as “outside the box” and none bore much hope for a solution.

What is missing in these articles is the documented fact that microbes have been used successfully in the past and have received endorsement from the Texas officials where these cleanups were done.

The following video shows how the present oil can be cleaned up very easily. How to stop the leak is another aspect that needs immediate address. Your comments are welcome.

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Backyard Chemist

First, who’s blogging?                                                                                                                      Second, why read it?                                                                                                                 Third, what is a backyard chemist?

Steve Dockendorf here.  Music composer and producer, educator, counselor.  Oh, and backyard chemist.  More on that later.

Residing in this body since 1951, I have been around long enough to observe some importances that may have otherwise escaped notice.  I believe that each of us has a unique viewpoint and something of value to offer.  If I can help you in any way, then this blog will have served its purpose.

Backyard Chemist is a term I coined to describe a being who creates things without having to ask permission.  “Backyard” implies do-it-yourself and “Chemist” stands for the creation of new things that could be of use.  For instance, I write music, play all the instruments, burn it onto CD or publish to iTunes.  Not too long ago people routinely made their own soap and their own bullets.  Now please don’t conclude that I am against outsourcing.  Where it makes sense to delegate, by all means, delegate.  I just like to know that I can take care of something myself if I need to.

So much for the introduction.  In the coming weeks I will be posting information and views that can stimulate your own creativity and independence.  Maybe you’re a backyard chemist, too.

To close this first brief post, I will relate something I read many years ago by a columnist named Martin Larson.  He stated that his mother advised him to arrange his life so that he had no need for the services of a doctor, a lawyer or a banker.  A tall order, yes.  But in my case, just grasping the thought that one might have the power to influence these factors gave me a level of hope and confidence that one would be hard pressed to find most anywhere else.

Steve Dockendorf, the Backyard Chemist

Hear my music at

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