RIP Charlie Watts

August 24, 2021 –  One of my earliest memories of music was when my parents played, Get Off Of My Cloud, by The Rolling Stones. I was probably five years old and I just started dancing and running around the room and yelling the chorus (I’m pretty sure my older brother was doing the same thing). Thinking back, I heard the chorus perhaps once and that was all the invitation I needed to yell it out as I jumped around. The feelings their song unleashed in me were so strong and exciting. It was pure exhiliration! It was the opposite of sadness. It was definitely not sadness.

I was scrolling through Instagram and noticed the photo of Charlie Watts on Rolling Stone Magazine’s feed.  Even though the famous magazine isn’t named for Charlie Watts’ band I don’t think I would want to hear the news of Charlie’s passing from anywhere else. But, it still hit me hard. There was real sadness and I was not the least bit surprised, even though Charlie had made it to the grand old age of 80.

screenshot made by Julian Gude of his instagram feed showing Rolling Stone Magazine article announcing death of Charlie Watts death at 80 years old on August 24, 2021
Charlie Watts dead at 80 – June 2, 1941 – August 24, 2021


Their headline used the right word to describe him — the ‘inimitable’ Charlie Watts.

The last time The Stones played together on tour was right here in South Florida during their August 30, 2019 concert at Hard Rock Stadium where they managed to sell 40,768 tickets and pull in almost ten million dollars for a good night’s work. The concert was supposed to be the following evening but the impending hurricane caused the last-minute date change. Charlie was 78 years old at the time. 

There’s no denying The Rolling Stones’ place in musical history and Charlie created the time for their band – always the epitome of cool and a good beat. As my opening story notes, I loved the Stones from the first time I heard them. The Stones for me at that time were part of my American experience and so were already deeply embedded in my earliest childhood memories. After moving to Australia in 1976 I got the version of The Stones where they were part of the home team. Home team as in, they were an English band playing in a place colonized by the English and highly populated by immigrants from the U.K. Immigrants that had come up in the same place and time as The Stones. It wasn’t that Stones fandom was more intense, but it was understood from an additional perspective, one that added another layer to the band. Tattoo You dropped in 1981 when I lived in Perth and it was a full scale sensation. There was Charlie behind the drums making time with his fantastic style and his trademark expression – a straight-face, occasionally bordering on an impishly demure smile (his first appearance in the Start me up video and that smile comes in around 1:12). I can remember both of my parents smiling at Charlie’s appearance in the Start me up video. Sure, Mick was everywhere as usual, and even more so, but Charlie was still Charlie and somehow getting noticed without ever trying or getting much screen time. Charlie was there doing his own thing, at once separate but still holding everything down at the same time. I could tell me parents liked Charlie and I bloody liked Charlie too. We all noticed him. I think everyone else did too. 

People remember MTV as among the first places they saw music videos but for me it was the weekly music TV show Countdown helmed by Molly Meldrum during the 70’s and 80’s. Molly was always hosting what seemed to be the biggest party in town when he interviewed guest bands or introduced their latest music video. Countdown and all of the shows like it around the world, along with every radio station, and indeed every stereo, played Start me up like we’d never get another Stones song again. It was fair thinking at the time. When interviewers asked the Stones in those days if they thought they’d still be making music in the 1980’s the band often expressed their genuine surprise to still be playing. It turned out that Charlie and his bandmates had more music in them than anyone could possibly imagine.

What Charlie and his boys did was truly unbelievable. They basically said, we’re gonna play now, you can’t stop us, turn it up, join the fun, or fuck off. That’s rock ‘n’ roll man — and Charlie Watts provided the beat to it.

RIP Charie Watts, you absolute bloody legend! Thank you for the music.

~ julian

“Roll Me Away” Bob Seger – A Dedication for Max

Max and Charlie depart from West Palm Beach on their way to Seattle on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 19:47.

I was talking with Max on the phone today and I noticed that he hasn’t given himself credit for what a badass move he made last month when he up and moved across the country from Florida to Seattle. It’s really easy to miss the goodness in things we do. Our brains are wired to focus on the dangers, the risks, the downsides. All that shit obscures the view of what we’ve accomplished already and the possibilities of what can be.

I thought about what Max has already shown to himself and all of us in our family (and we’re all damn proud of him). I told Max I thought perhaps he didn’t realize what agency he’s demonstrated and all the agency he still has at his disposal (agency, as in the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices).

I thought of a song that speaks to the heart of the agency that Max has found. It’s from a guy who is so damn full of agency you’d think he’d have been earning gold records after his first couple of years on the scene. But, it took ten years of some of the hardest gigging before Bob Seger had even one national hit that went beyond Detroit and the state lines of Michigan. Famously, he was drawing 80,000 person crowds in Detroit at his concerts while in the next state he could barely fill a 1,000 seat venue. How does that happen? Well, he sure as hell didn’t have the Internet.

Seger’s real breakout album was 1976’s, Live Bullet. It went on to sell six million copies in the US. Live Bullet would eventually be cited as one of the greatest live albums of all time. Seger’s peak of success (the mid-’70s thru mid ’80s) didn’t come until he’d been a touring monster for 16 years. And even then, Seger tells how they never got a national opening act gig for a full tour until 1976 when KISS asked them to tour with them thru the U.S. (KISS was almost at peak velocity at this point and were a megaband in a decade known for the biggest mega bands of all time.)

Seger’s lyrics in this song are perfect as an anthem for standing up and doing something with your life. It doesn’t hurt that Seger’s piano and the band strike the perfect melody and harmony for action. It’s there from the first line…

Took a look down a westbound road,
right away I made my choice

In my experience, you only realize that kind of clarity when you’ve slogged through a lot of bad stuff. You want out and you’ll pay the price to get there. Yet, the journey is full of surprises and ups and downs. It’s a lot of downs. And as Seger eases into the end of the opening verse the notes of his piano shift to summon a sparkling hope while the lyrics hammer down an iron-willed resolve (around 00:30 of the song) where he sings:

Took a bead on the northern plains
and just rolled that power on.

The lyrics and melody are a perfect blend of inspiration and perspiration.

After that, the band starts to come in and at 00:42 they drop into the kind of groove where you put the song on repeat and magically the car starts to eat up the planes of the midwest when you’re driving to Seattle with your brother. Or, another time in the future when you do it all on your own and you know at the end of that journey you own that damn road.

Reality isn’t ever too far away in this tale. The hard parts are really what makes you root for this guy in the song just like we’re rooting for Max. The hard parts are what makes the victories sweet.

I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
and I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right

This song chronicles a real-life story that plays out every day as an act of personal heroism. It’s Max’s story, currently in progress. I don’t know if he knows he’s the hero yet but he most definitely is. Not the version of heroism that we’re fed at the movies. Heroes in the real world take chances like packing up all their shit, leaving behind what’s known and comforting, and heading out on the road on your Harley or in your Honda. Too right.

Put your good headphones on and crank this up, Max. When you get through this song you’ll see he’s talking about a journey you’ve already begun. In some places, it’s almost literally the journey you’ve just begun! You could go east, you could go west, it’s all up to you to decide. You crossed the continental divide with Charlie on Sunday, March 21st, 2021 just shy of one month ago. Look at what you’ve already done.

Keep a lookout for that hawk, she’s really out there too if you look hard enough.

Stood alone on a mountain top,
starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go east, I could go west,
it was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin’

Max, John, Julian, Julia, Charlie, and Hashbrown, huddle around as Max and Charlie are about to depart West Palm for the next chapter.

Full lyrics

“Roll Me Away” Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band 1982

Took a look down a westbound road,
right away I made my choice
Headed out to my big two-wheeler,
I was tired of my own voice
Took a bead on the northern plains
and just rolled that power on

Twelve hours out of Mackinaw City
stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
and I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing,
I knew what she was thinkin’

Roll, roll me away,
won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
and I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word,
we just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight

We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free

Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone

Stood alone on a mountain top,
starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go east, I could go west,
it was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin’

Roll, roll me away,
I’m gonna roll me away tonight
Gotta keep rollin, gotta keep ridin’,
keep searchin’ till I find what’s right
And as the sunset faded
I spoke to the faintest first starlight
And I said next time
Next time
We’ll get it right

For John, on your Fifteenth

Wherever you may wander
Go with your eyes wide
Your mouth still
Your ears quiet
Your heart true
Always in the knowledge
That home is in your heart
Where you may return anytime
To always find
Your Mother
Your Father
Rooting you on
Praying for you
In this place
You are always whole
Always perfect
Just as you are

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) Goes Dark December 15, 2017


Did you get an email like this?

“Dear AIM user,

We see that you’ve used AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) in the past, so we wanted to let you know that AIM will be discontinued and will no longer work as of December 15, 2017. “

That made me think back.

It’s the end of an era for people who were using the Internet in its earliest days. AIM was the beginning of the mass use of persistent online presence and communication. Texting was for geeks and initially, IM was as well. But that changed fast with Instant Messaging becoming popular in a way that texting wouldn’t for years.

How many services do you use today with built-in presence and chat? It’s so ubiquitous we no longer think of it.

But, it wasn’t that long ago that everything was different.


Robert Benchley quote on the genius ways we avoid work

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screenshot of Robert Benchley quote Chicago Tribune February 2 1930 How to Get Things Done One Week in the Life of a Writing Man with masthead and data appearing on
How to Get Things Done – One Week in the Life of a Writing Man. – Robert Benchley. The Chicago Tribune February 2, 1930.

“Anyone Can Do Any Amount of Work, Provided It Isn’t the Work He Is Supposed To Be Doing At That Moment.” – Robert Benchley

Robert Benchley was an American humorist (September 15, 1889 – November 21, 1945) most noted as a newspaper and magazine columnist for publications like The New Yorker.

In a 1930 article appearing in The Chicago Tribune, Benchley wrote a piece with a title seemingly ripped from today’s productivity-obsessed headlines, “How to Get Things Done – One Week in the Life of a Writing Man.”

It was in this article that one of Benchley’s more popular quotes first appeared, a quote that is the sole purpose of this post. Well, the actual purpose I have for publishing this quote is to illustrate my own genius in avoiding the work I am supposed to be doing at this very moment.

~ julian

Marcel Proust quote

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Marcel Proust

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
-Marcel Proust

photo: Serkan GÖktay

Saving Constraints

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I am addicted to choice
and allergic to constraints,
but choice is my poison
and constraints my elixir.

-Julian E. Gude

About: I was thinking about focus and how constraints and containers are the saviors of creative and analytical work. For example, how a book is a container for a story or a deadline is a constraint for a project. Without constraints, we have endless choice and nothing ever gets done. I jotted this thought down a couple of years ago and came across it while looking for something else in the 11,045 other notes I have in Evernote.



Two Wolves

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An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

Author Unknown
(possibly a Cherokee parable, and going back probably at least to the 1950’s in print – but unconfirmable

Via Pearls of Wisdom


I first heard the parable of the Two Wolves on an excellent Podcast (iTunes) called The One You Feed.  The One You Feed is a weekly podcast created and produced by Eric Zimmer and Chris Forbes that explores various topics related to creating a life worth living by interviewing respected authors, researchers, teachers, mental health professionals, spiritual gurus & other thought leaders about their particular areas of expertise. You can donate to their show on Patreon.

You can donate to their show on Patreon » Here

Visit The One You Feed website » Here

~ julian


The Backfire Effect

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An excerpt from Matthew Inman published May 3, 2017 of The Oatmeal on the backfire effect (full cartoon) inspired by author and podcaster David McRaney’s three-part podcast series on The Backfire Effect.

The Backfire Effect

It’s getting harder to find factual information these days. But even when you do get the facts, you’re far from out of the woods. If the new facts challenge your deepest convictions, your brain can double-down on your existing beliefs and reject the facts. It’s a psychological phenomenon known as the backfire effect.

When we come across things on social media and the web these days, we’re all on high alert for propaganda, manipulation, “fake news,” and outright lies. It’s easy to fall into a blanket rejection of alternative viewpoints. And that’s a failure. We owe it to ourselves to deal with reality, even when it’s inconvenient and makes us uncomfortable.

If you’re interested in learning more about the backfire effect, listen to the podcast series linked below from David McRaney, of the You Are Not So Smart podcast.

Here’s more on the backfire effect from David McRaney.

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

Matthew Inman recently published one of his trademark Oatmeal cartoons on the backfire effect. As I was laughing my way through Matthew’s cartoon I was thinking about the aforementioned You Are Not So Smart (YANSS) blog, book, and podcast series, from David McRaney. McRaney’s work is where I first learned about the backfire effect. After finishing the cartoon, I noticed that Matt credited David’s work as inspiration for his cartoon.

Matthew’s cartoon on the backfire effect is up to his normal high standards and well worth the three minutes it will take you to scroll through it while you lie to yourself about when you’re going to finish your next project.

McRaney’s reporting on the backfire effect (along with his other work on bias and fallacies) is approachable and provides insight into the latest understanding and research on psychology and neuroscience. His journalistic roots ensure that his citations and the experts he interviews are first-class.

McRaney recorded a three-part series on The Backfire Effect that built on his excellent article on the topic. The podcast series is a great listen.

  1. Podcast 093 – The Backfire Effect – Part One
  2. Podcast 094 – The Backfire Effect – Part Two
  3. Podcast 095 – The Backfire Effect – Part Three

If you want to get right to the point about how you can best compensate for the backfire effect listen to his third episode, How to fight back against the backfire effect.

And good luck, we’re all going to need luck, more fact checking, and a healthy dose of self-awareness if we’re going to make it through the next few years.

~ julian

Thomas Edison Quotes

handwritten cards with thomas edison quote by julian gude
photo: Julian Gude

“When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.”

– Thomas Edison