12 years have passed since the death of Frank Zappa and it still seems that I'm just getting adjusted to him being gone. That I was able to meet and talk with him, for a few brief moments, will always remain a highlight of my life. The anniversary of his death comes at a time of quiet reflection for me about many things, including whether or not I want to continue to live and work in the increasingly oppressive and warlike nannyacracy that is the USA. I often wonder what Frank would have to say about all of the tyranny and lies that comprise so much of postmodern life. Who are the brain police indeed?
It all got me to thinking about who my heroes are and why. I believe we should draw sustenance, hope and inspiration from them, with which to develop the courage and strength to carry on creatively, with love in our hearts. My heroes mainly give me strength.
So here's to you Frank for the thrills and the laughs your music gave me, helping inspire a lonely kid trapped in a totally whacked out family in the suburban wasteland. Your wit and wicked merriment opened a huge door.
To Mort Sahl for making the truth seem so insanely funny. I met Mort when I was 18 years old at Charlies Place in Georgetown after a show. I told him that he gave me hope and he replied back "Hope---that's a big word kid". Mort, I understand that now.
To H.L. Mencken for being able to say what everyone else was thinking but would never dare give voice to. Thanks for the big words and even bigger context your writing gave me about the wider universe that lay just beyond the bounds of conventional wisdom and received opinion. You helped free me up at an early age to interpret the world in a way that built knowledge and wisdom into my young impressionable skull full of mush.
I'd like to say thanks to all of my heroes, great and small, for helping point the way towards the enlightened life of courage and love.