Are YOU a Success or SUCKCESS?


Elton 75


I wanna be a rock star like Elton John!


This is what the insistent voice in my head whispered over and over to me when I was 16.

I listened to John’s Yellow Brick Road album like it held my very own magic pathway to riches and fame. Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies, beyond the Yellow Brick Roooooad….

Crazy! Of course I had NO idea what this meant in real life day-in and day-out terms. NADA!

Even today, I don’t truly know what it would have meant. And just imagine all that nose candy.

But even still, Elton was an inspiration to me.

Are you an aficionado aka sucker of motivational and inspirational music, books, memes, and talks?

If so, you’ve landed at the right place today…

And full disclosure here:  I AM the biggest “sucker” out there for this kinda stuff.

I constantly play Inspector Clouseau, seeking out the motivating tools (those that make some sense) that make me jump up and down inside like a puppy at your front door when you come home from a tiring day at the office. Woof!

It’s probably why I’m so goal-oriented, reaching towards the stars with the assistance of talented, spirited others.

I spent a pretty significant portion of my younger days pondering my so-called “achievement and success”. You too? Good, I’m not alone.

Over the years I’ve leaned heavily on real-life successful motivators (like them or not in today’s world) such as Lance Armstrong, Melinda and Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Elton John, Aaron Sorkin, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Wayne Gretzky, Sheryl Sandberg, Michelle Obama, Carole King, Harry Chapin. The list trundles on and on.

But the reason I’m even thinking about what I’m thinking about this week is because of a single word I read in a small motivational book by a young fella, Austin Kleon, titled, KEEP GOING.

keep going book


Kleon brought me this clever word that makes so much sense…. in talking about success, he insets the letter K, spelling the word SUCKCESS.

Of course, success can mean a million different things physical, material, and spiritual – you have your own unique definition of the word –  but for many here, at least in North America…

Success= Riches and Fame


It begins day one in kindergarten when the teacher stands towering before you like God and asks what you want to be as a big person, the real underlying question being:

How will you become rich and/or famous?


WAIT… what’s this? Mommy said I was coming here to play games with other kids…

So what’s “suckcess”?

Kleon describes it as:

Suckcess is success on somebody else’s terms, or undeserved success, when something that sucks becomes successful, or when success starts to suck.”


The question we might be best asking ourselves? Is the success I’m looking and hoping for an exhilarating airplane journey or a suffocating cage?

It’s a simple question with a difficult and life-changing answer… if you follow the correct trail.

Does the endorphin rush I’m looking for come from what I truly love to do – an internal drive – or is it the push from someone else’s voice or wish for me?

My Dad wanted me to become a doctor one day. He would glow when he mentioned to the neighbours that his son was thinking about medical school. The reflected prestige was intoxicating. I get it.

My father would have been exhilarated, but I would have been crushed in a vice of someone else’s choosing.

Lucky for me, I was uncharacteristically self-aware enough to know that while I was interested in the notion, I wasn’t willing to make the lifetime of sacrifices needed to make that success goal possible.

Nope! That would have spelled SUCKCESS for me.


bad success

I’ve been writing this weekly blog journal as the Man On The Fringe for more than 8 years now. WOW!

Now if my definition of success was to gather a million or more weekly readers, or to amass Jeff Besos-sized sums of money from my writing… well, I botched it totally on those measures of success.

Here’s a little insider secret. Each day, my blog readership generally lands in the range of about 40-60 views.  Some days a little higher, some a little lower. That isn’t remotely successful by almost any blog writer’s dream of success. And money? Don’t interrupt my laughter please…

And yet.

This blog is a big success in my own little mind because it allows me the gift of spending a few focussed hours every week thinking and sifting and measuring the ideas and thoughts that are important to me.

It’s a morsel of mind discipline the way you might derive yours from regular yoga practice, or the New York Times Crossword, or Sudoku, or catching flies with chopsticks (thank you Mr. Miyagi)

Every week, I find myself in my writing. I come across surprises constantly. So, to my thinking… YES, Virginia, this is SUCCESS.

Returning to my teenage roots and becoming a musical success through fame and fortune… well… that was never realized, at least not in the way I was thinking at the time.

The consistently successful musical artists out there pay a huge personal price on a daily basis. Loss of anonymity, constant pressure to promote, multiple hours of performance multiple nights each week. Do I really want to play Hey Jude or Fire and Rain 300,000 times in my life?

Any “success” I found in fame and fortune in the world of music would have been realized at a cost I was not willing to happily pay.

Money… fame… misery… honestly, it does sound kind of appealing (not the misery part), but… The end result? For me? SUCKCESS.

I choose to write this blog on my terms (although I thank you for reading too!). I choose to write songs that have meaning to me (and I thank you again if you choose to listen and find some meaning in my tunes for yourself).

My version of success has no “k” in the middle…

My Yellow Brick Road to success doesn’t mean I have to fly far away to Kansas on a whirlwind.



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restaurant table

A little more Idea Sex this week. In song form…

Summer and sex go together like… gin and tonic… or hugs and kisses.

I’ll explain this more in just a minute.

While working my early “retirement” job as a bartender at a local Greek restaurant a few years back, I spotted a cute young couple, nervously fumbling through a date night.

The early evening began awkwardly; I could clearly see the initial discomfort. But, as the alcoholic drinks I prepared for them settled in, a transformation sprang up as they slowly loosened and were able to more easily “be themselves”.

They were obviously attracted to each other, but needed that little helping hand of liquid relaxation to get past the early stiffness.

Two hours later, the pair strolled out arm-in-arm and in full precoital flush. I felt like Yentl the Shadchan (Matchmaker) Bartender.

I told you this cute little romance story in a blog post way back on June 26, 2016.

So, back to Idea Sex.

Take that blog post I wrote and then mix with…  remember that kind of crass but-oh-so-fun song from 1975, Third Rate Romance by the Amazing Rhythm Aces?

What a great cheesy line the late Russell Smith sings out: “… third rate romance, low rent rendezvous“.


She said, “You don’t look like my type
But I guess you’ll do”
Third rate romance
Low rent rendezvous
And he said, “I’ll even tell you that I love you
If you want me to”
Third rate romance
Low rent rendezvous”


Anyway, I’ve taken these 2 ideas, a real budding romance and the lyric conversation of Third Rate Romance and concocted my own set of young romance story lyrics.

Light and fun… summer music…

date night


by Larry Green

At a small table by the window
he ordered his first glass of pluck
shyly she said, “I’d like the pineapple coconut mojito”
the bracer a friend had suggested for luck
they both needed some quick libation
she’d worried about what she should wear
barely legal they got carded
skittishly fiddled the ends of her dark auburn hair
and felt the searing eyes of nearby watchers
’til finally they ordered some food to share

For a time it seemed mighty awkward,
they hemmed and they hawed a lot
nibbled at some dips and some pitas
her mind wandering, his voice drowned in a fog
he said, “I think I like margaritas, do you?”
she giggled, he fumbled over the salt shaker
until the courage drinks set before them
and the third sip hit like an icebreaker
boldly he reached for her hand, nails painted sky blue
calling out “two more please…” to the waiter


With each glass of romance
pinot gris and ouzo flowing
her beauty carves a razor’s edge
then she smiles, “I like your eyes”,
the line unfurls, unmasks the guise
sweet perfume blooms at sunrise

Dirty martini ran smooth down his throat
she said and he said, flowing like silk on their skin
he inched his way forward inhaling her scent
she echoed his move stroked a finger ‘cross his chin
this Romeo tingled fiery at the memory of when
at 16 he’d touched a breast, head in a spin
but only through the gauze of a bra
this Juliet wiggled with the flirt, the warm teasing swim
the gap verging closer and closer
keenly aware of the hot breathy twinge

They barely noticed the sun slide behind the Okanagan hill
summer candle’s caress lit their freshly flushed faces
she pushed closer and fiddled with his collar
two hearts pulsing with drink and desire
he worried over the protection in his pocket,
and would the wrinkling give him away
she uncrossed her soft tanned legs
felt shivers as his hand brushed lightly on her thigh
just a final kiss of glass rims and
the feast is ended, the setting of the die


With each glass of romance
pinot gris and ouzo flowing
her beauty a razor’s edge
then she smiles, “I like your eyes”,
the line unfurls unmasks the guise
sweet perfume blooms at sunrise

dinner wine

The Flight of Wisdom to the Centre of the Universe and Back…

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Centre of the universe

Please fasten your seatbelt. Your adventure begins…

When you’re a really little kid, you’re the Centre of the Universe.

You can do anything you want, and Mommy will still wipe your messy bottom and call you the BEST and CUTEST, right?

You are golden stardust, a Princess or Prince.

This is the perfect time of life to make your hit-list and murder anyone you hate and walk away with an impish smile. You have a short-term Get Out of Jail Free card. Congratulations!

Time and timing are everything… yes…

Time is a beautiful gift that’s lost on the young and naive.

Time is forever. Time has no bounds or borders.

But we mortal humans do.

No one tells you this but… for the next 40, 50, 60, 100 years… you’re just a tiny dot of a planet surrounded by infinity and black holes.

It’s a f*&%ing shocker when all that golddust sloughs off and responsibility is in your own hands. No one will wipe your bottom anymore. What’s with that?

Nobody will offer to shave your face in the morning, or insert a tampon on your behalf (if they do, get out your can of bear spray).

You’re adrift in a world of others who are also tiny planets. Try killing someone now – even accidentally – and you’re sporting a stylish orange jumpsuit before you can say Dead Man Walking.

The “adrift” shock wears off, evolving into a sense of independent power when you feel your muscles grow strong and agile and energetic. Your mind absorbs and synthesizes and swells like an empty sponge in a full bathtub.

Like the universe, you expand and expand and learn incalculable facts and lessons until after a long period of decades and trial, you begin to understand the meaning of the word wisdom.

Wisdom’s not a mere jumble of letters in a dictionary anymore, but something that is earned and real. You’re now a Guardian of the Universe. Congratulations again!


Time, which has always been an endless renewable resource, somehow sheds its disguise and begins to have real meaning too. You can almost touch it and gaze at it with wonderment, and perhaps… even a germination of fear.

Wonderment because important stuff (physical, emotional, spiritual) can only be acquired through the passage of time, and fear because time soon becomes an hourglass of diminishing sand.

And one day… one day… hopefully far off in the future…. your universe slowly and then more rapidly, begins to draw back, picking up speed, and shrinks.

Days are passed searching for reading glasses and keys and removing body hair that surely no caring god would ever inflict on his/her/their worst enemy.

Little owies become daily companions, like a hot morning latte.

Seriously, in my younger days, when some wise senior said “life is pain” I thought it was metaphorical; not, like, “everything from the neck down is arthritis and joint replacements.”

If you’re fortunate, your ability to shave yourself, and slip on your own absorption pads, will last until you’ve squeezed the last droplets of time from the sponge, the final grains of sand from the hourglass. This is my wish for me and for you.

Now, with the wisdom – the mystical treasure you finally possess – you see yourself slipping back into a time and space where once again, you’re the Centre of the Universe. Congratulations on completion of your roundtrip adventure.

All that wisdom sits proudly on a revered library shelf in your head, waiting for an inquisitive young mind seeking guidance in their daily challenges.

A young mind that knows what it is to be the Centre of the Universe, and is heading out on the great journey to the stars building their own bookshelf of wisdom.

wisdom bookshelf 2


The Most Sane Thing Is To Say Goodbye to Patriotism…


Patriot missile

Patriot is a real missile and a metaphoric word of mass destruction

Bloody Hell!

I’m tired of looking into the same sun and getting my eyes burned.

I’m not Catholic so I’ll confess it here… I listen to far too much CNN.

It’s an anti-Trump thing and a nasty addiction. Someday I’ll go back to cocaine and chocolate-coated popcorn.

Now it might not be cable news per se, but I hear the word patriot bandied about a lot.

Uh-oh…. it’s coming up…. yup… here it comes… Rant time… here goes…

I have a few pet peeves, and the word PATRIOT is on my Top Ten list.


… person who loves their country, and, if necessary, will fight for it.


You hear Patriot, I hear Polarizing.

Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Patriotism sets up a ME vs YOU scenario. Good witch vs Bad witch. You are or you aren’t.

good vs bad witch

Patriotism is a rebel statue that implies separation under the guise of unity.

Patriotism suggests that if you reject anything emanating from “the other” (gun control, abortion, BLM, LGBTQ rights, gender equity, socialized medicine, etc etc) side of the ideological fence, then YOU are not a patriot.

Patriotism is a patriarchal word. Men make fists and pound desks and shout aloud.

Women understand. How many women use the word patriotism? Most women play games where everyone wins: no losers, fewer battles, fewer monuments and statues to war “heroes”.

Do we call the (former) Dixie Chicks unpatriotic because they reject a war? Is kneeling during an anthem as bad as mixing pickles and peanut butter on your sandwich? Is protesting an oil pipeline a sign of unpatriotism or … perhaps… just an expression of a firm belief?

Oscar Wilde – Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

Patriot has become a bitter wedge that divides.

A wedge and a wall that separates the good guys from the bad guys.

Is building walls the answer to our global problems?

A hungry person in Sudan, or Syria, or… even in my own town, is a hungry person in my eyes, regardless of borders or continent.


The answer to the question is not segregation and a simpleminded it’s your problem, deal with it.

Did we learn anything from segregating black children into ghetto schools and backs of buses? Or hijacking indigenous kids into residential schools?

The world is so interconnected now that I wonder how we can continue to look at the sun and not get burned.

We all need to be ready to do what we can to think of doing the stuff that is necessary and restorative.

It’s difficult, complicated and messy – change of action and thought always is – but compassionate human minds can and do find answers. It’s the reason humans are still walking this planet.

Can we agree to find a kinder, gentler solution without resorting to “patriotism”?

It’s not a big answer, but a tiny step forward…

Every year we add a host of new words to our lexicon. Social isolation and COVID will be a part of our dictionaries next year.

Language evolves and the strong and meaningful survive. Patriot is a word that has lost its usefulness in the earthbound web of humanity.

Run up the global United Nations flag of inclusivity and equality.

Patriot(ism) … It’s time to set it on a boat and push it away into a gentle sea along with my other pet peeve words moderation and retirement.


Post Script: I’m a slow learner… after writing all of the above, while looking up the definition for PATRIOT in the Oxford English Dictionary, I found this:

“2017 – Oxford University Press have confirmed that the word ‘patriot’ will no longer feature in future editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. 

The words ‘patriotic’ and ‘patriotism’ will also be removed, due to concerns that they have become synonymous with racial hatred and xenophobic buffoonery.”

Fishermen preparing for fishing