Archive for September, 2011

“Tough Cookie Truckin'”

September 20, 2011

“The mountains and the canyons start to tremble and shake — as the children of the sun begin — to awake.”

(Led Zeppelin –”Going to California” — 1971)

With “Occupy Wall Street!” dominating headlines as thousands rally nationwide and millions wonder why, I’ve been thinking about Cindy Sheehan all week long.

She’s one tough cookie.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard Cindy was coming to Oakhurst.

Of course, Oakhurst — being a CDP (“Census Designated Place”) with 2,829 souls — is a major metropolitan area compared to Crawford, Texas. Crawford had a rounded-up total of no more than 800 Texans, a trillion cattle and a monkey named George when Ms. Sheehan set up her antiwar camp outside his ranch and became a global phenomenon in August of 1995.

And so it was that The Positive Life Center on Golden Oak Drive was filled with folks –wall to wall — standing room only — for four solid hours on Sunday, August 28th. It was exciting, amazing and inspiring.

Four days later – on Thursday, Sept. 1st — a handful of demonstrators were met with police intimidation while performing a peaceful and legal occupation of a public sidewalk on Wall Street in New York. On September 17th, approximately 2,000 marched on the Financial District. Becoming a daily event, within a week the big city crowd count doubled -then doubled again.

Here in tiny Oakhurst, perhaps the most striking aspect of Cindy Sheehan’s visit was her ability to draw such an amazing assembly of truly cool people from our immediate mountain area on very short notice. The crowd almost seemed to have materialized out of nowhere, just as that handful of the dispossessed and foreclosed did a few days later on Wall Street. Ms. Sheehan was here concluding a ten day bus tour promoting “Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities” (REVCOM). This brief quote from Cindy at her website sums it up nicely:

“Recent events in the U.S., which amount to financial terrorism by the elite, have demonstrated that Democracy with a Capital D is officially DOA, and We the People can face a scary future assured that we will survive, because we can build communities that foster peace, health, the environment, and prosperity.”

Crazy hippie talk? Some sort of a wild anarchistic ‘60’s acid flashback? Doesn’t Cindy Sheehan realize it’s 2011 and the banks own us all?


From North Fork was the Friendship Circle of Grace Community Church, the Kern family with their Farm and School Garden, the North Fork Art Gallery, the Up Country Co-op, the Sustainable Forest and Committees Collaboration, Three Springs, The Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council, Cash Mob, the North Fork Studio and the intriguing North Fork Shares project.

Mariposa sent representatives from Mariposa Spirit, the Mariposa Peace Vigil and those from Mariposa involved in pursuing the continued development of electric cars, even as Cindy’s old bus parked across the street is bio fuel powered as an example to everyone but Rick Perry.

Oakhurst attendees included Full Circle Family Outreach, Judy DeRosa’s Creativity Circle, Marianna Burrett of Tend the Earth, Barney Berrier speaking on Alternative Energy, Peace Fresno, and legendary blues artist Jimmy Collier.

Cindy Sheehan sat and listened from start to finish, frequently nodding her head with enthusiastic endorsement and powerful affirmation. At the end of it all, she spoke.

Cindy told us of losing a son and her belief that the American Dream is long gone — if it ever was. She discussed the importance of true community, pleased that her presence had drawn so many kindred spirits. Espousing social justice and sustainable development, she challenged us to focus on the potentials of collective activity for common local good.

The Irish have a name for such a notion: “Sinn Fein” — “We Ourselves.”

I liked Cindy a lot. She’s very much for real. In this age of unbridled hyperbolic hysteria on the right and tragically compromised conviction on the left, Cindy Sheehan just keeps on truckin’.

As should all Patriotic Americans — “Together — more or less in line.” *

* “Truckin’” — The Grateful Dead — (1970)

“Rock & Roll”

September 12, 2011

In 1977, my mother, wife and four daughters spent one Saturday morning cleaning my apartment near WTAC as I slept on a couch. I didn’t actually live there most of the time, but was quite convincing in establishing a critical need for quiet – a separate space for creative efforts away from the distraction of family frenzy. It was also lovely having a party zone for entertaining countless friends and strangers at closing time, Propriety and common sense suggest no need for further elaboration. The fact is, however, that I actually did write a few things over the six months “Peter’s Play Pen” rocked and rollicked.

Thirty years later in 2007 following our move to Oakhurst, I uncovered five handwritten, single-spaced legal pads filled with fanciful froth, stashed away in an old cardboard box — forgotten like a buried beagle.

Here is the distillation of six months’ frolic:

“The embracement of Rock ‘n Roll music centers everything.

Although one can be locked into a situation or system which prohibits spiritual or philosophical extension beyond defined perimeters, enclosures exist even more to keep the unendorsed out than they do to preserve the approved. A willful decision to accept erroneously formulated notions as personal judgment is self-imposed confinement. You are your own jailer. The key to free is a single thought away. “

This I believe.

But in this world, people believe almost anything. Anything at all.

Blame it on the attraction of distraction. Hard answers aren’t easily found and it’s tempting to settle for not quite enough.

An ABC News Survey reports that 91% of Americans say they believe in God. That’s the right thing to do. It seems safe to conjecture that a similar percentage would condemn strangling orphans, eating hair or drinking Draino, while affirming Motherhood, Brotherhood and, for Social Progressives, Robin Hood. These things, if of lesser importance, enjoy similar propriety. Yet that of the most supreme relevance is least and last understood. Around the world, tens of millions have died for that of which they actually know next to nothing, “belief” placing a definable, perilous limitation on knowledge. Such universal martyrs have been on all sides, in all places, at all times – tragically ubiquitous.

Did you know we’ll all be naked in Heaven? That’s how Michelangelo saw things. Angels at all angles!

“My soul can find no staircase to heaven unless it be through earth’s loveliness” — Buonarroti Michelangelo- (1504)

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece in the Vatican heart of Roman Catholicism was a swirling, twirling batch of bare bodies, fig leaves added only in later times to spare the blushes of Catholic clergy. Buonarroti Michelangelo is generally considered the creator of the Renaissance, an era that followed the Middle Ages and preceded the Reformation, roughly the 14th through the 16th century. Its primary feature was the revival of intellectual exploration through the advancement of science.

Here’s e-mail from Michael Moore – whom I unleashed upon an unsuspecting public over Flint radio stations in the late ‘70’s.

“Peter! I just had this weird cool thought. I don’t think any of us realize just how momentous the whole time was and not just in the context of . “Oh, wow! That was “The ‘60’s!” — I honestly believe that historians and anthropologists will look at our time the way we look at The Renaissance and that these moments only occur every few hundred years.”

In the 40th Anniversary Edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, Michael elaborated:

“I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done if I hadn’t grown-up in an area that had such a vibrant and rebellious political and cultural scene. Everyone knows about Woodstock, but we had our own mini-Wood stock every Wednesday, every summer, just outside Flint. It was called Wild Wednesday. Thousands would show up. And out of that grew the protests. It wasn’t like, “Here’s the political thing.” It was all woven together. When you said Rock & Roll, it wasn’t just the music. You meant it as a way of life, as a coat of armor against everything that was coming at you. In my mind, there would be no “Roger & Me”, no “Fahrenheit 9/11” if I had not been one of thousands participating in those moments. And the millions who see my films carry that with them as well. They are there at Wild Wednesday too.”

I agree with my friend Mike, whose latest book, “Here Comes Trouble” is being released this week. He’ll be signing copies up in San Francisco tomorrow and Saturday (9/16 & 9/17) and down in LA next Tuesday (9/20.)

There’s more about Michael and Flint and Rock ‘n Roll through the years at

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

September 2, 2011


September 1, 2011

Peter C. Cavanaugh is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has just unveiled a complete Museum redesign that tells the story of rock and roll in a more linear fashion and updates all museum technology to state-of-the-art including the interactive kiosks On the Air: Rock and Roll and Radio. Mr. Cavanaugh and his impact on rock music are featured in this exhibit.

At the age of sixteen in 1957, Peter C. Cavanaugh enjoyed a fifty-eight percent total audience share on his hometown station — WNDR in Syracuse. He maintained unequaled market dominance for years over WTAC in Flint before leaving the airwaves to become President of the station in 1977. His book “Local DJ” tracks Cavanaugh’s radio adventures through time — as well as promoting and producing literally hundreds of early concerts with the likes of Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, Kiss and AC/DC.

As Executive Vice President of Reams Broadcasting, Peter ran a seven station radio group which included the top-rated Rock ‘n’ Roll stations in America — WWCK in Flint (Spring ‘84) and WIOT in Toledo (Winter ‘91). Mr. Cavanaugh is former Chairman of the NBC Source Board, President of the ABC Radio Affiliates Board and President of the Flint Area Advertising Federation. Peter lives in Oakhurst, California, with his wife, Eileen.

“Of all who had a major influence on me while growing up in the Midwest, none matched the audaciousness, tenacity and gonzo-like behavior of Peter Cavanaugh. He was more than just the rock ‘n roll guru who gave America its first encounters with The Who, Bob Seger and all the great Detroit bands (Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, MC5, etc.) He was the one who taught me how to go up against the powers-that-be and live to tell all. Thank you, Peter Cavanaugh, for saving a generation of Flint kids from the likes of Pat Boone” — Michael Moore

The On the Air: Rock and Roll and Radio kiosks are located in the Museum’s Ahmet Ertegun Hall in the Cities and Sounds gallery.