Have A Good One…

Misha being cute

Thursday, 11:42pm
Reno, NV
You’ve got to be digging it while it’s happening, cuz it just might be a one-shot deal.”  (Frank Zappa)


Today, I want to say “Thanks” to all the wonderful people in my life.

And I hope you’re having a great holiday.

Sure, the airports are clogged with sneezing, coughing mobs enraged by delays and the prospect of being locked in a house with relatives they can’t stand for a week.

And yes, the politics of this country continue to crawl ever deeper down the rabbit hole leading to Bat-Shit Crazy Land.

And everywhere you look, greed and fear and suspicion lurk.

And yet… the world spins on, and if you can just let your mind settle for a few moments, the raw gorgeous beauty of everything can still take your breath away.

There’s a clever Chinese toast that carries both a curse and a blessing: “May you live in interesting times.”

As all wordsmiths know, that word “interesting” embraces both the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, of life.

Danger, excitement, and adventure.  The kind of events that will either kill you or make you stronger.

I’ve lived an interesting life.  Part of me would welcome a long restful period, where not much happened… but I know I’m ruined forever for enjoying too much calm.  I have a permanent jones now for the far end of the Feast table, where it’s raucous, noisy and unpredictable.

It’s where the truly interesting people gather.

So bring it on, World.  Heap on the chaos, the uncertainty, the upheaval and especially the occasional jolt of sheer mind-bending astonishment.

Just allow me a moment, here and there, to appreciate the ride.

To the folks still on the ride with me, have a great holiday: Michele, Stan, Diane, Kevin, Art, Bond, Joe, Mark, Donald, Pop, Sis, Scott, Jimbo, Garf, Harlan, Lo, 9, 5, JaMo, Brian, Rich, Jeff, Jon, Karen, Schrakmo, Ed, Tina, Jen, Mary, Bryn, Aidan, Where’s Shea?, Tod, Marge, Perry, Mike, Bob, Carrie, Cheryl, David, Robert, Brad, Jay, Steve, Bro, Alan, Renea, RB, Curt, Karl, CB, Bitchin’ Bob, Russ, Doc, Eunice, Tony, Magda, Mel, Wally, Christine, Michel, Sylvie, Brian, Duster, Smoky, Lovedog, and, heck,  you know who you are…

And to those already on the Next Big Ride… well, I’ll always keep a chair empty for y’all, cuz you’re missed and still appreciated: Gary, John, Kent, Bob, Rachel, Mom, and the rest.

To all of us: Hug your friends and family like you mean it.

Breathe deep, let go of the bullshit, and never stop appreciating the little joys of life.

Live with gusto, my friend.

And spread the love, will ya?

Stay frosty,


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  • Brian McLeod says:

    Thanks for creating some of the most insightful, inspired, and interesting blog comment-fests of 2009, John.

    You’re appreciated and admired…

    Merry Christmas,

    Brian McLeod
    Miami, Florida

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks, Brian. Cold down there? I spent one holiday with Halbert down in Miami Beach, on Ocean Blvd. It was… weird.
      If you squinted, though, the sand looked sorta like snow…

      • Brian McLeod says:

        It’s in the mid-80’s… LOL

        One of my two great life regrets is chickening out (or being too busy being busy, you decide) on seeking out Gary Halbert while he was here, (way) north of Jewfish Creek.

        The other is the same story with legendary producer, Tom Dowd… who I did get to meet but was too wimpy to attach myself to like a leech.

        Both gone now… along with whatever might have been. So goes reticence and procrastination.

        Now… to go down thread and reply to Bobby Martin from Zappa’s band (!!!).

        If this blog ruled before… it PWNS ALL now…

  • Mark Dresner says:

    Happy Holidays John.

    Looking forward to seeing you (plus the rest of the SWS – and especially David Deutsch) in San Diego at the end of January.

    By that time I’ll REALLY be ready for some warm weather and no snow!

    All the best,

    Mark Dresner

  • Hey John,
    It’s good to know that life is good for you.
    It’s not too shabby here either…
    Sorry to hear you’re snowed in while we’re sunned out down here in the South and look at it this way. In another six months or so things will reverse and change. Change is , after all the only constant in the Universe ( apart from Taxes of course )

    have a great festive season John and who knows when we’ll raise a glass to you

    Michael and the team

  • Dan Belick says:

    Hey there John,

    Thanks for the gift of a great Zappa quote, it reminds us to be aware and in the present moment. Tough as that is, it really is the only time we have! Merry Christmas to you and yours, I pray for peace on earth this holiday season, and for all our dreams to come true in the coming year.

    all the best,


  • Lois says:

    And may you always sit at end of the Feast table! Is there anywhere else to sit?

    Wishing you merriness and thanks for always bringing frostiness to your readers.



  • Gregory Peckary says:

    John, my guitar wants to kill yo’ mama for teasing me with a subject line like that. Weasels ripped my flesh.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hot Rats, indeed…

      • Gregory Peckary says:

        Debra Kadabra, say she’s a witch,
        shit-ass Charlotte, aint that a bitch?
        Debra Kadabra, haw that’s rich.
        June, a rancho granny,
        Shook her wrinkled fanny

        Shoes are too tight and pointed
        Ankles sorta puffin’ out
        Cause me to shout:

        Oh Debra Algebra Ebneezra Kadabra
        Witch goddess, witch goddess of Lankershim Boulevard.
        Cover my entire bodice, with Avon Cologna.

        And drive me to some relative’s house, in East L.A. (foogadah! ?)
        (Just till my skin clears up)
        Turn it to channel thirteen,
        and maybe watch the rubber tongue, when it comes out
        from the puffed, and flanulent Mexican rubbergoods mask.

        Next time they show the Brnokka
        Make me buy The Flosser.
        Make me grow brainiac fingers.
        But with more hair!
        (But with more hair)
        Make me kiss your turquoise jewelry.
        Emboss me.
        Rub the hot front part of my head,
        with rented unguents

        Give me bas relief!
        Cast your dancing spell my way
        I promise to go under it.
        If she casts a spell my way,
        I promise to go under it.
        If she casts a spell my way,
        I promise to go under it.

        Oh, hear this!

        Learn the pachuco hop, and let me twirl you!
        Learn the pachuco hop, and let me twirl you!
        Oh Debra Fauntleroy Magnesium Kadabra! Take me with you!
        Don’t you want any a these?

    • Mark L says:

      Fry up a “Burnt Wienie Sandwich” -Gawd, it’s a tasty little sucker!

  • Susie says:

    Hey John, Stan, and all JC blog readers:
    Here in Minnesota we’re in the thick of the storm (like lots of you) – for me, that means going out on errands around town just for the thrill of motoring through the slippery, snow-packed streets, hoping not to get buried in a snow bank.

    I’m looking for 2010 to be a really “interesting” year. Feels like the universe is going to come into alignment and lots of things will be popping (OK – that’s the esoteric way to say “I’ve been busting my butt, implementing until the wee hours, making some mistakes, but that focus is starting to get results” – which is really “interesting.” (Darn exciting, exhausting, exhilarating, too!)
    Thanks for all you taught me through the blog. Planning for the January seminar, too. Hope to meet a big old bunch of you there! Happy holidays to you all,
    PS: Hope to get a head start on my only New Year’s resolution: “Drink more!” By the way, I still keep your blog posting about “Goal Setting and the January 15th letter” on my computer desktop for review every couple months – especially when the going gets a little rough. Seriously great stuff. Thanks.

  • Robert says:

    Hey John,

    I was in Frank Zappa’s band for every tour from ’81 until he passed in ’93. Always good to see someone keeping his memory alive. Thanks! And have an “interesting” 2010.

    Robert Martin

    • John Carlton says:

      Wow, Robert. I saw Zappa at Stanford in ’80 (with Vai on guitar, I think), so just missed your stint.
      You must be loaded with stories, dude…
      The blimp! The blimp! (I know, that was Capt Beefheart, but Frank produced the album…)

  • Heidi Walter says:

    Very nice blog today. Short and sweet and to the point.

    A very joyous holiday to you and all you know.


  • Peter says:

    Well it looks like rain and flooding here in Sydney, according to those that forecast, not all summery and nice, still it was a great thought.

    A recent book review that I read.
    “No violence, no sex, no self conscious outbackery, the only complaint, the book is too short”
    ho ho ho
    Looks like you will stay frosty


  • Robert says:

    Oh yeah, stories galore. Steve Vai was in the band for my first two tours in ’81 and ’82. My favorite was ’88. Here’s a video from Barcelona in ’88 with me singing lead. The lyrics were changed to reflect a funny incident the night before. That happened quite as bit.



    • Brian McLeod says:

      Starstruck in the very best way, man!

      It’s extremely cool to “meet” you here on JC’s blog… and even cooler to listen to you sing the HELL out of Whipping Post!

      Mike Keneally, Chad Wackerman… oh man… what a BAND!


  • Greetings John, nice Zappa quote,

    got one of my own as i was learning to play guitar our nieghborhood friend went to he same high school as we all did a few years before in my case like 8 years previously but would come and hang out , bring his guitar and they would play ,

    one night i needed some help with some tuning as i was outside on the side porch where my friend lived i saw this longhair guy come over and asked me if i knew how to tune a guitar, me about age 8 said no that i just started to learn,

    he took my accustic and tuned it for me and then he taught me a finger exersize phrygian mode , this is what he said ” To find ways to explore you must first learn to ask” the guys name was Randy Rhodes.

    Till this day i still play some 30 years later and i never stopped exploring even with my online business, so thank you John Carlton.

    Happy Holidays to ou and to your family.

    God_bless you.
    – Best Regards- Thomas worst surfer on the planet

  • Sharyn says:

    Hey Mate, from sunny (a little overcast) Northern Beaches, Sydney Australia, merry Christmas to all our mates on the other side of the world, we send you love, joy and peace, cheers, Sharyn

  • frog says:

    Merry Christmas + Happy New Year It’s all a matter of prospective like a wise man once said ” Crowded elevator smell different to midget ” Bat Chain Puller

  • Romeo Blais says:

    Merry Christmas John, and don’t forget to take 2 tablets of “Airborne” before you board the plane, lol!

  • Colin says:

    Hot in Queensland, Australia just turned the Aircon on.
    2010 the kids are moving out, we are selling the house, I’m changing career after 23 years as Podiatrist and starting coffee roasting business with mad Italian, starting tai chi blog with old mate Erle Montaigue (real tai chi renegade), coming to America to Attend Superconference with Dan Kennedy and drive from Dallas to Maryland on Right (wrong) side of road to attend Tai chi workshop.
    Interesting times and my enduring side kick (wife) says please stop being so damn interesting.

    Love to you and yours from me and mine.

    Merry Christmas and bring on the New Year.

  • Mark L says:

    Hey Amigo,
    Thanks for letting me dog-pile into the Ken Kesey Bus that is SWS and Marketing Rebel. It’s been a road-trip like no other.
    By the way, folks… John is truly one of the most loyal and supportive people you could ever have in your life.
    Since I’m a one of the Sons of Cucamonga and had Frank’s father as a math teacher, I’ll quote Frank – who scared the hell out of me when I saw him live in 1968 with the GTO’s. It was controlled chaos at its very best.
    “Without deviation from the norm, ‘progress’ is not possible.” – Frank Zappa
    Rock on John…and watch out for that spring-loaded pup!

    • John Carlton says:

      Been a long ride, Marky, hasn’t it.
      Where are the GTO’s when you need ’em? Talk about doing art without a net…
      Well, anyway: Further.
      Let’s see what’s lurking at the next stop, shall we?

  • Hi John,
    Wishing you and yours a Blessed Merry Christmas,
    Peace, joy and, thinking of you in a snowbanked-toasty nuts,
    And a Happy New Year!

  • Karen says:

    Much love and the best wishes EVER for a wonderful holiday. You are a star JC and I am forever glad I know you.
    Take good care of you and stay warm (and I mean that with my whole heart and not the slightest smidgen of smugness… honestly!)
    Hugs K

    • John Carlton says:

      Thanks, Karen.
      Just watched “The World’s Fastest Indian” about Burt the Kiwi and his bike. Sure beat the black sheep movie…
      Hope you had a great holiday down there. Be well…

  • Always welcome at the end of our feasting table John …

    Thanks for the ever-interesting blog.

    And yes, I was sunburnt on the beach today in hot Queensland. Forgot my beer too dammit.

    Hope the snow abates quickly and stay safe to all our friends in the USA.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

  • Hey bro, thanks for the shout out, and for the tip to read Steinbecks “Travels With Charley”. And the words of encouragement to get me out on the road. It’s sure been a adventure!

    Webber and I were watching your Simple Writing System DVD’s today and cracked a smile when you talked about having so many animals at home and having to battle dog/cat hair on your clothes.

    Maybe one day Webber can come by and sniff their butts.

    • John Carlton says:

      I’m throwing toys for the terrier as we speak. Grrr, grrr…
      Where the hell are you, anyway? Last I heard, you’d just survived a blowout in East LA, and were clearing Redding on the way to P’town…
      Can’t wait to hear some of the stories you’re collecting…

      • I’m chillen in a RV Park in Fairview Oregon (it’s actually pretty nice minus the toe numbing cold). Once you plug in 50 amp power, it’s like living in a studio apartment on wheels. Not bad.

        The LA blowout sure was awesome. Lucky no one got hurt on that episode. Well, my wallet got a bit crushed but that’s okay. Nothing a pencil can’t fix. Pencil Money baby! Learned it from you. Thx man!

        • Kevin Rogers says:

          Ahhh, so John beat me to the Steinbeck reco, eh? I love that book. Right up there with “On The Road” for very different reasons. If I ever get a dog it’ll have to be a blue Standard Poodle.

          Enjoy your high-tech ‘Rocinante”.


  • Adil says:

    happy holidays guys. I have learned a lot about writing copy just from here.

    So in classic new years tradition. I am going to announce the resolution I will keep and achieve in 2010. Before the year of 2010 is up I will be a decent writer and finally get my hands on all of Carlton’s courses because they are pure gold.

    Have fun, remember the good times, learn from the bad and always keep smiling.


  • Kyle says:

    “Breathe deep, let go of the bullshit, and never stop appreciating the little joys of life.”

    Writer downer. =)

    Merry Christmas John. See you in ’10.

  • Vladimir says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for all in 2009.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New 2010 Year!

  • Fabio says:

    TX John. Your words paint and impressionist realism in my mind…if that’s possible. At least for me, it is…

  • Kevin Rogers says:

    Thanks for clearing me off a seat in the back here, John. Who knew any group of “marketers” could live like Pranksters. Even Hicks would be diggin’ this ride.

    Neil’s at the wheel and there’s nuthin’ to fear. Further indeed.


  • Gary says:

    It’s a time to sit back, let your brain do nothing and just enjoy the simple things. The deeper you can let yourself experience this the more refreshed you come out at the other end.
    Nothing great in the wordsmith category here, just simply enjoying life.
    Take care John…..and keep doing what you enjoy.

  • Well John,
    Thanks for the Holiday Greetings… Back to ya!

    Between the failed goals of years gone by, the real lack of enthusiasm when talkin’ to my bro-in-law about his failing business and all the ads I continue to get about all the ways to make 7 figures in just 90 days with the latest, revolutionary, ‘plug-n-play’ system, I’m ready for the new year.

    I gotta tell ‘ya, It’s still all about the weather…I woke up this morning and saw there’s a 100% chance of weather. Weather you like it or not, there’s always gonna be the weather. Weather you make it the best year of your life or not, 2010 will, no doubt, be a year full of weather…

    So, can we just stop talkin’ bout the weather?

    Happy New Year!

    Mitchell Dillman

  • Carrie says:

    What a lovely post John.
    Here’s to another exciting ‘living life with gusto’
    new year.
    Happy New Year!

  • Schrakmo says:

    Thanks for the new nickname and for introducing my son to rock with a real guitar. He is pushing out tunes that reach a few blocks away with his Christmas ‘distortion’ foot pedal thingy…

    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Schrakmo. I didn’t tell you about the next stage Jack’ll be submitting you to: Hosting garage bands, with really loud drums, which will have to repetitively go over songs until they’re ready to play in public.
      My house, when I was in high school, was the one hosting the weekend garage band rehearsals. The neighbors must have been grinding their teeth. God bless them, though, for putting up with it. The sixties were a noisy time…
      Anyway, hope you’re having a great holiday, J.

  • Under the Big W says:

    This is all so much bullshit…wow!

    • John Carlton says:

      Wishing people a good holiday is bullshit? That’s interesting.
      Dude, you’re outa line here. Get a handle on that incoherent rage cooking your brain. And don’t post again unless you use your real name.

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