On a day that his fans and those close to Glen knew was coming, Glen Campbell passed away quietly today in a Tennessee long-term care facility for Alzheimer’s patients. Glen Campbell was one of those voices that transcended all music genres and put smiles in people’s hearts.
With the help of his talented kids in the band, in 2012 he played his final live concert in none other than Napa, California to an adoring crowd at the Uptown Theater.
In 2014 Glen Released the Movie “I’ll Be Me” which chronicled his battle with Alzheimer’s and a behind the scenes look at his farewell tour. Below is the trailer.
And here is an excerpt from this inspirational film. His vulnerability and courage in fighting it head on are amazing. “I kept going into the kitchen and then forgetting what I came in there for. So I solved the problem; I stopped going into the kitchen!
The Alzheimer’s Association has said what Glen is doing is unprecedented and his humble courage has been an inspiration to both families and patients of the dreaded disease.
Glen began his career dropping out of high school at 14 and eventually becoming a great studio musician in Los Angeles playing for some of the great performers in the music industry like Waylon Jennings, Elvis Pressley, The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash. He broke out in 1967 winning 4 Grammy’s.
Included in his legion of fans are The Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and President Bill Clinton. Tom Petty once said, “Glen’s songs really weren’t hip enough for the 60’s but then you’d listen to how good they were and how great he played and you soon loved it.”
Not everything was peaches and cream for Glen. There were public battles with drugs and alcohol along with arrests and the ups and downs of the music industry. He was front page fodder with his controversial cocaine induced relationship with Tanya Tucker who was 22 years his junior. He had a variety show from 1969 to 1972 but that was cancelled. He had 3 failed marriages until he got clean during his 4th marriage with his present wife Kim. He ended up having 8 kids.
It was hard to let go of Glen even during his worst times. His personality, kindness and charm were hard to let go of. A writer on his variety show; future star Steve Martin; said that Glen was fun and easy going and never took himself too seriously. “He was up for anything and he was so much fun to work with”, said Martin.
In 2011 Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. As a way to say goodbye to his fans and to tell them that was going to be ok through this journey, he went on tour. In a People magazine interview, Glen and his 4th wife Kim said that they wanted to come out and talk about the Alzheimer’s so fans would not be alarmed when he occasionally forgot words or lost his place in a song. With social media and online publications, they did not want rumors of drugs or alcohol to tarnish his new good name. Below are some amazing performances with Glen and many of the giants in the music industry that are sadly gone as well.
Here is Glen Campbell on the Johnny Carson show in 1985.
Glen Campbell talking about the loss of his good friend John Denver.
John Denver and Glen Campbell singing on John’s Variety Show in 1977.
Elvis Presley and Glen Campbell sing a duet.
Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash just having fun.
A goodbye interview with Glen Campbell and his wife and daughter.
I would like to thank Glen’s social media team who have always been so kind to me whenever I brought Glen’s name up online. They have been very supportive and pro active with all of his fans and they are a reflection of his fighting spirit and positive attitude. I hope that even with Glen being gone, that they work harder than ever to help his fans celebrate his talents and his life.
And finally thanks to Glen and his family for their kindness, truthfulness and vulnerability. Glen’s music will live on forever and the bond between he and his fans will never be broken because of the way you handled this terrible situation. Rest in Peace Glen. And thanks for sharing so much.
On a cool winter day about 5 years ago, I had to make a house call to Mr. S (no name for healthcare privacy). Mr. S was in his late 60’s and he was not doing well. He had just lost his wife. He was getting ready to move back east to live with his daughter with the hopes his grandchildren could spark life into him.
As I sat in his home with his daughter, they got me a snack and I gave Mr. S a breathing treatment. He was a small, frail Japanese man who was obviously in a lot of emotional pain to go along with his poor health. He barely spoke.
I looked around the room to see if there was something I could talk to him about to try and cheer him up; an old salesman’s trick. His bookshelf was filled with books mostly in Japanese, the country he grew up in. About 25 years ago his company asked him to move to America to work for their San Francisco Bay Area branch and he agreed.
I looked and saw some wrestling magazines. He saw that I was reading them and all of a sudden a wry smile came to Mr. S and he took the nebulizer out of his mouth and said, HUSS, HUSS!
I smiled and asked his daughter what the heck that meant and she said that her father was a big wrestling fan and that was Bruiser Brody’s famous yell when he entered the ring. Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen were his favorite wrestlers. He slowly began to open up and he began to talk about Bruiser and Stan’s amazing entrances and their great skill. Wrestling in Japan in those days was very serious business and the respectful fans of the orient had an amazing passion for it. He said that his family and friends often went to the matches together and he was very fond of those memories.
We sat and talked for a couple of hours. I had to come back the next day so I went home and went on Youtube. I looked at every video I could on Bruiser Brody and I ordered the book “Brody; The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling’s Rebel” on Amazon. It was written by his wife Barbara, and Wrestling Promoter and friend Larry Matysik. Once I saw Bruiser Brody’s first entrance in Japan, my mouth was wide open. Here they were playing Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song and he’s swinging a chain over his head while fans and ring workers alike ran for their lives. I thought, “my God this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” I was a huge wrestling fan back in the day but I long since dumped it since it became the after school special type product of today. I was not into sports entertainment; I liked wrestling.
(below is a great Facebook group honoring Bruiser Brody)
I stayed up for hours probably watching nearly 50 more videos on Frank Goodish, AKA Bruiser Brody. The next day I went to Mr. S’s again and showed he and his daughter the Youtube videos, both in English and Japanese. He was euphoric! He wouldn’t stop talking saying that he was even at a few of the matches we watched. I stayed for hours and listened to them laugh and have an amazing time reminiscing about the “intelligent monster” and the amazing fun their family had going to the matches.
When I left, Mr. S grabbed both of my hands and bowed saying he was so glad that I came by. His daughter gave me some snacks to take home and thanked me as well. I wished them well in their move and told them to get a hold of me if they needed anything. That night I ate the snacks and drank Guinness watching Youtube videos of Frank doing leap frogs, drop kicks, and his classic move where standing still he would bring his leg straight up and smash his opponents face. My jaw dropped. I never saw anything like it. To end it he jumped high in the air and busted his opponent with a knee.
The Myth of Bruiser Brody:
Frank Goodish was the greatest Independent Wrestler of all time and one of the greats period. He was a spiritual, complicated man, and the stories of him are of legend. From his physicality and his “stiff” or “strong style” form of wrestling, to him carrying cans of tuna and green beans on the road. He was mostly loved by wrestlers and hated by promoters. I heard many positive and sometimes negative things about him but I had to find the truth.
I first watched several matches with him and Stan Hansen. It didn’t matter if the opponents were the Funk’s or whoever else, Stan and Frank ran through them like buzz saws. There wasn’t a wasted movement and they were like a tidal wave. They just kept coming. After every tag team match their opponents looked like they were about ready to pass out from exhaustion, while Stan and Frank looked like they were out for a Sunday morning stroll. These guys were like machines that never tired. I always thought the Road Warriors or a younger Steiner Brothers were the best tag teams ever, but Stan and Bruiser Brody are the best in my mind. I’ll bring them to the ring against anyone in history and smile while doing it.
I also heard negative stories about Frank. I wanted to know the truth and let’s face it; other than politics, there is no arena with more lies and falsehoods than the wrestling business. It seemed that few really knew the truth or wanted to know it for that matter. I took about 6 months to devour anything on Bruiser Brody so I could answer these questions.
I’ve seen various online articles saying what a huge steroid user Bruiser Brody was, especially from younger wrestling fans and writers. Well that is false. Bruiser did use steroids for a short time in the late 70’s when they were NOT illegal and they didn’t know the long term ramifications of their use. Well Frank found out quickly they made him very sick.
On a trip home from Japan Larry Matysik explains in his book that Frank crumpled and collapsed on the airplane saying that he thought he was dying. The doctors didn’t have a definitive answer to his illness but Frank did. He felt that steroids were destroying his body so he stopped cold turkey in 1979. He never used steroids again and he was never that ill. What’s funny is that in the book the promotional posters of his upcoming match was a photo of him recovering in the hospital.
The Lex Luger “no sell” incident:
Boy does Brody get destroyed online for this one. At the time Lex Luger was still learning how to wrestle but he had that amazing physique that was becoming a big deal in the steroid era of the 80’s. Not even 2 years into his career, he was given a steel cage match with Bruiser Brody. It was hard for wrestlers to watch because Luger had the reputation for being pretty self-absorbed and some thought his push was not fair.
Bobby Heenan explained that Luger went up to Brody and started telling him how the match should be played out. Several others have said that Bruiser told promoters that he was not going to put up with any of Luger’s bulls**t. Heenan explained that Brody said nothing but it was obvious he was pretty upset. He told Luger they would just call the match in the ring. When he went into the ring Brody never “sold” (acted like he was hurt by punches) and the match was uncomfortable to watch as Brody did nothing. Luger looked like he legitimately got scared and left the ring; quickly; and immediately left the arena. This story has also been backed up in interviews and podcast’s by the referee of the match, Bill Alfonso. When Bruiser said nothing about it, the media and fans said Bruiser was just being a selfish jerk. The problem was though that Luger was terrible at selling; and that’s if he sold at all; and Bruiser did not tolerate anyone that was disrespectful to him or who didn’t sell to him. To tell a legend like Frank how the match was going to go was extremely disrespectful in his mind.
MANY wrestling fans go by rumors and do little research. That’s why I hate going on some social media sites and articles that say Brody was a jerk and was selfish. I looked up Brody’s matches (site seen above) during this career. It doesn’t have all of his matches but most of them. There is a pattern. Bruiser lost only to people that were on his level. He even lost to Brian Blair once when he was leaving a territory and no offense to Brian but does anyone think Brian could beat Brody? Brody lost to the likes of Baba, Bruno Sammartino, Dick the Bruiser, Big John Stud, Paul Orndorff, Ted Dibiase, & Abdullah the Butcher just to name a few. They all have one thing in common; IT’S BELIEVABLE they could beat him. Brody is a HUGE draw world-wide and if he’s losing all the time, you lose that big draw, especially in Japan! How many times did Hulk Hogan lose? Not many. Why? Because he had full control over his matches AND if he lost more often, it would kill his character. Brody knew if he kept up his huge persona and didn’t lose, the fans kept coming.
Many said Frank was loved by wrestlers but hated by promoters. Jim Cornette once said that most promoters whose territories were doing good back in the day were millionaires, and they weren’t exactly givers. In one story he told, after seeing Jerry Jarrett’s amazing mansion at a party, Memphis icon Jerry Lawler demanded more of a stake in the Memphis territory profits from him. Cornette said, “the promoters usually took the sacks of money and threw it into the air. What stuck to the ceiling was given to the boys and what came down was there’s. And that was after their unique counting techniques”.
Bruiser knew what he was worth and he had power. Everywhere he went he packed the houses and he made a ton of money for a lot of people. He had power and of course he used it. Few other wrestlers were as popular as he was or had the courage to stand up to promoters like he did.
It cracks me up that when corporations or companies wield that power, no one says a word. If the little guy tries to wield some power though, they are selfish. NFL teams rarely honor a players contract, many times cutting players before their contract runs out. No one says a word. If a player is playing fantastic and wants a raise though, fans tell the player to honor the contract and stop being greedy. In wrestling, WWE is a billion dollar company who has corporate jets and helicopters and buses, but they still can’t “afford” to pay $800/month to give their wrestlers healthcare?
I heard a few podcasts from wrestlers that ripped on Brody for being selfish by not losing matches or selling. Are you kidding me? I just watched matches where Rick Rude, Blackjack Mulligan, Abdullah the Butcher, The Funks and Von Erich’s and many others were kicking the crap out of Frank. Problem is it’s easier to take in rumors than do some research. Time also enhances these rumors. Funny how after ripping on Brody they all would add, “but I knew when Brody was around we made a lot more money because he was such a huge draw”. Steve Austin often clashed with WWE about the direction of his character. Once he just went home. No one today says he’s selfish. Frank was just way ahead of his time.
If Brody was so nasty to deal with, why were the promoters lined up to get him to come wrestle and why were wrestlers glad that he was around? Because he made them more money! Also, why did he get along with other promoters like Baba, Sam Muchnick and Larry Matysik? The reason was that they were fair and professional and they paid him properly.
The stories of Frank’s kindness haven’t exactly hit the front pages either because he didn’t promote that part of himself. That was just who he was. Some celebs and athletes need cameras around any time they do anything nice, but not Frank. He loved kids and they loved him, and he was very gracious to his fans. He supported many wrestlers and taught them the ropes. As long as you respected him and the business, and you sold for him when needed, you were cool. Disrespect him or the business and it could get ugly quick. There are stories in the Larry Matysik’s book where Frank helped out the underdog wrestler who he could help get over. In some matches that he won, he also at times let the other wrestler beat the heck out of him to help get him over too. He was far from an angel though. He could bully you if you were on his bad side that is for sure. Isn’t that attitude what most promoters have? Was he looking out for himself? Sure he was. I’m not naïve. But, in reality he was so popular that if he was on top, everyone got paid. Just like iconic names like Hogan, Flair and Andre, few wrestlers at the time could draw world wide like Frank could.
Spring forward 2 years. I saw the daughter of Mr. S at the Corte Madera, Ca Safeway. We were both excited to see each other. She sadly told me that her father had died recently and she was selling his house. She saw that I was upset about that but she smiled and said don’t be sad at all. “My father and our family appreciated you lighting a fire inside him. He loved wrestling so much and he and his friends reconnected. He watched so many matches on the internet and was so happy to regain memories that he cherished. My children also helped so much. His last two years were very happy.”
That night I was relieved and glad to hear Mr. S had some happy times and was out of pain. I thought of him running to Bruiser with his wife and friends like kids as Brody entered the ring, and I laughed out loud. Bruiser Brody was still making people smile and touching lives almost 30 years after he’s passed. And for a new fan like me, I found out that Frank Goodish; one of the greatest wrestlers of all time; was also a great man in and out of the ring. This is something that his wife Barbara and his son Geoff; along with loyal fans from around the world; have already known for a very long time. HUSS, HUSS!
The Oakland Raiders lost another link to their storied past when AFL historian Todd Tobias announced on Twitter that Raider great defensive back Dave Grayson had passed away at the age of 78. No cause of death was given at this time.
Dave played for Oakland between 1965-1970. He played for the Dallas Texans/Chiefs before that, and was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. Grayson was an undrafted free agent out of the University of Oregon.
Al Davis Traded for CB Dave Grayson in 1965 (he traded him for future actor Fred “The Hammer” Williamson) from the Chiefs and then traded for Willie Brown from Denver in 1967. This allowed the Raiders to play the physical bump and run style that has been a trademark of the team for years.
When NFL and former Cowboys personnel guru Gil Brandt was asked who were the 4 best cornerbacks in Dallas history his first 3 were not a shock. Mel Renfro, Herb Adderly & Deion Sanders. “I also include Dave Grayson. He didn’t play with the Cowboys but he’s so good I’m including him.”
Dave Grayson went undrafted because at 5’ 10” and 185 pounds, he was dubbed too small by many NFL experts including Cowboys coach Tom Landry after the Cowboys briefly signed him and then let him go. Gil Brandt liked him a lot and told the upstart AFL team the Dallas Texans (eventually the Kansas City Chiefs) to give him a shot. Grayson was a key cog in the KC return game and at defensive back. Grayson was fast and a ball hawk, something the Chiefs coaches loved.
Grayson held the AFL record for the longest interception return for a touchdown at 99 yards against the New York Titans in 1961. Dave made many other key plays for the Chiefs including his famous interception off of Houston QB George Blanda in the Texans epic double overtime win in the 1962 AFL Championship game.
For the Raiders he was a great player both in the regular season and in the post season. He ended up with 48 total interceptions with an amazing 933 return yards after his interceptions. His best year was in 1968 where he had 10 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery. He was also a quality top 10 kick return man as well.
Other career highlights:
-48 career interceptions with an amazing 19.4 yard return average
-25.4 kick off return average
-6 time AFL all-star
-4 time First team All Pro
-2 time AFL Champion
-Voted on the AFL all time team
-Career interception leader in the AFL
The Greatest Defense Nobody Knows About:
Dave was a part of the amazing Oakland defense called the 11 angry men. This defense is one of the greatest of all time that never gets their due.
In the amazing 1967 season, the Raiders had an astounding 67 sacks & 30 interceptions. Teams averaged 3 turnovers a game against the Raiders. This was also only in a 14 game season. The record for sacks is held by the 1984 Chicago Bears at 72, and with almost a 5 sacks per game average, it’s pretty safe to say that the Raiders would have eclipsed that record fairly easily in 16 games.
Even with only 14 games, the Raiders STILL hold the record for causing the most yards lost while an opponent passes. This record is now 50 years old.
Another record that stands is that the Raiders lead the league in sacks for 3 straight years. Another 5 decade old record. Oakland also has the all time record for leading the league in sacks at 5. That’s how great they were. The offense always gets the publicity but even in their Super Bowl wins and in the 1960’s, getting pressure on the QB was paramount to the Raiders success. Offense puts butts in the seats and gets all of the publicity, but defense wins championships.
(Below are the all time stats for sacks by a team; many records are held by the Oakland Raiders)
With the likes of Ken Davidson and Tom Keating leading the way the Raiders had a huge and ferocious defense. The names of the past are a who’s who of Raider lore. Two more underrated DB’s in Rodger Bird, Kent McCloughan and Warren Powers were teamed up with Howie Williams, Dave Grayson and Willie Brown.
Charger receiver Lance Alworth catches pass against the Raiders Dave Grayson and Nemiah Wilson. 1969 Photo Ron Riesterer
Dan Conners played MLB while Bill Laskey & Gus Otto shored the outside positions. Dan Birdwell and Ike Lassiter, Carleton Oats and Art Thoms; so many proud names of the past that helped the Raiders to unreal records in the 1960’s. From 1967-69 the Raiders were a ridiculous 37-4-1, the best record in football.
Hall of Fame:
I’ve written at length about the biases of the NFL Hall of Fame and why some are not in the hall. There are many that should be in the hall of fame (i.e. Cliff Branch) and I’ve written about them below. I’m glad that more people are agreeing with me.
One of the great biases with NFL historians, is their turning their noses up at the AFL saying how it was no where near as good as the NFL. In the beginning days I totally agree. As time went on though, that myth was changed when the Jets beat the heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl 3. More than a few people feel the Raiders and the Chiefs of the 1960’s had more talent and speed than the aging Green Bay Packers but they were overwhelmed in the Super Bowls against a mythical team with the greatest football coach of all time and an aura and mental toughness and a refusal to make mistakes.
It’s a shame that only 3 all time AFL defensive players are in the NFL HOF. There are others that deserve it and I think Dave Grayson is one of them. With his speed and ball hawking skills, he made big plays at big times and he’s never received the credit he deserved, much like the great Raider defenses of the day.
I hope that others will join me in giving appreciation for this great Chief and Raider player. Another forgotten icon of the AFL and NFL who should never be forgotten.
For me the internet has been a blessing and a curse. In my previous article (found above), you can see the nightmares that I’ve endured being naïve about my internet activity. From dating, to business to every day life; the internet is like riding down the Amazon river. It’s beautiful but there are a lot of things around you that can hurt you. One of the dangers are the internet Trolls. These trolls can hover around the internet like Dementors in the Harry Potter series hovering overhead just waiting to be offended or angered.
What a Troll IS and ISN’T:
Society has changed a lot. People in general are much less into facts or what is really happening. Some people in general are much more insecure as well. They are into their own biases and want to be around those that feed that bias. They don’t want to debate; they want to hear what they want to hear and they want to be followed. That’s why people watch certain news channels. Preaching to the choir.
Television producers have seen how the new generation LOVES drama. Reality shows; even though they are staged (I know some reality show participants and all of them say this) some people treat them like they are fact. Will anyone watch a show of kind people loving one another? No way. They want fighting, arrogance, selfishness, yelling and insanity. Usually the nastiest people are the most popular. Well, that is the desire of an internet troll; to create drama and feed off of it.
A troll is someone that goes onto forums or social media posts and likes to stir it up anyway they can. Most go way off topic and they try to entice others to challenge them. They want chaos, anger, dramatics and any other kind of conflict. They are outraged at pretty much everything people say, and they have the victim mentality. They want to ruin reputations and are often wrong but never in doubt.
Not everyone is a troll. Some call people a troll if they don’t agree with them. That’s NOT a troll. If someone brings up facts or a reason why they disagree with a person without saying something offensive, they are not trolling. They are debating and disagreeing. There is a huge difference. Some people just like the sound of their own voice and spew nonsense and then get mad when people call them out on it. They are not being trolled.
I experience this on Youtube all the time. Some of the insane conspiracy theory videos from people like Alex Jones and others are scary. Like the crazy idea that all of these mass shootings are staged and faked. Or that lizards and shape shifters are living among us and they are marrying regular people to become a part of our society to take it over. Some of you are shaking your head and smiling but what’s not funny is that they have THOUSANDS of followers, and they believe these are facts. Some will even post photos saying here is the person that supposedly died in a mass shooting and they are now married with kids so the shooting was fake.
I went on one of the videos forums and all I asked is where is the proof? I said, “so all of these families are acting and not really grieving? All of these funerals are fake?”
OMG you would have thought I killed puppies. Literally dozens of people started attacking me. They ripped me to shreds, found my email and began to pummel me with “proof”. I literally had to block several dozen people. In this case I was not being a troll. I wanted to know why they thought like they did. Instead of sending real facts, they attacked me. Insecure people tend to do that.
How to Handle Facebook Trolls:
Facebook is used more by middle aged people than the younger generation. It’s a different type of animal. When I go on Facebook I know I’m going to see the same posts from the same people pretty much every day. The political posts will be extremely close minded and based mostly on biased opinion. Even though some adults are still learning and evolving like you should, for the most part a middle aged person is NOT going to change their mind on things. Thus it’s pointless debating them. If the person is open minded and will think about things, then it’s fun to debate. For the most part though, I try to avoid political comments all together. It’s also sad to like people and then find out how extreme and bad their points of views are on politics or society.
To combat trolls, personally I would stay away from political comment unless you like wars. Trolls love political posts and you will almost for sure be attacked. If you are, just stop commenting. If they email you or try to egg you on, just ignore or even block them. If you are still going to post, then remember that just because someone disagrees doesn’t mean they are attacking you.
I remember one lady from Texas (always Texas) started emailing me on Facebook every morning telling me what posts she liked and didn’t like. She would also leave comments in my posts. She then started to demand I take some of my posts down or she’d report me to Facebook. Huh? She was a friend’s mom so I didn’t want to block her but I finally had to. She once demanded I take a dog’s photo down because a dog had once attacked her cat and that it was inappropriate.
Another important part is some employers SCOUR Facebook to see comments on their employees. I know many HR people and don’t think for a second that this isn’t happening. I know one guy that was flat out told that his sexual posts on Facebook were the reasons he didn’t get a job. Don’t be naïve.
How to Handle Twitter Trolls:
Twitter is fun. It is more hip and used by the younger generation a lot. Usually half of the top 10 trends on Twitter are based on young people’s topics.
That being said, you have to be careful on Twitter. Before you get the hang of Twitter, start slow. Be positive in your comments and don’t be too confrontational. If someone says something really stupid or crazy, it’s not a rule that you have to respond. People with big ego’s or who love to give their opinion all the time can struggle on Twitter.
Remember trolls want to get a rise out of you; they want you to get mad. The key to Twitter? NEVER get mad. I never tweet something when I’m really emotional or angry. I remember posting something on a kid that had cancer. A troll literally started laughing saying one less ^^^%%. The child was an American but they were of Mexican descent. All of a sudden the troll flooded my post with anti-Hispanic tweets that were extremely racist while calling himself a patriot. I didn’t battle him. I said, get some help; good luck to you; and in 30 seconds I blocked him. He got my message and now he can never see or react to my posts. No 20 minute battle; no anger; no stress. Just get some help and that’s it. So if a troll tries to hijack your post, don’t argue; don’t stress; and don’t battle! JUST BLOCK.
How to Handle Sexual Trolls:
This is a tough one because so many young women are addicted to the attention they get from strangers when they post photos of themselves or “selfies”. I know one middle aged woman who is really pretty and she posts photos of herself just about every post. Not all attention is good.
Read the news and you will see some of the most horrendous things done to young women these days. It’s scary how perverted so many people are, especially young men. Sexual assault is a huge problem in our country and so is sexual trolling. There have been many deaths and assaults where the first meeting was on social media.
My friend had his college aged daughter do a video for his business explaining an accounting program that she had set up for him. They put it on Youtube because other companies had asked her to, because she really explained it well. Bad idea. His daughter isn’t a vixen, but she’s cute and did the pervs come out. By the time they handled the problem, he counted over 189 sexual comments written by men on her video; 99% young men. They didn’t care about this program, the just saw a cute girl. Some were EXTREMELY vulgar.
He asked me what to do. I said turn in the real sick posters to Youtube and block the comments sections. People can still see the video and you don’t have to worry about all of the nasty comments below. If it’s on Instagram, do the same thing. Block, Block and Block. Don’t be afraid to turn people into the site either if they are very aggressive. It’s unacceptable to be that nasty. That’s why I tell some young women to be more secure in yourself as a person in real life, and don’t rely on pervert strangers liking your looks for your confidence.
How to Handle a Super Troll:
I got a super troll on my Twitter account last year that wouldn’t let up. He trolled many of my posts. I would block him and then he’d make another account. He finally made an account that said @Ihatejimjax. Now to be honest I think it’s kind of funny but what wasn’t funny is that his 36 followers were being fueled by him. The lies that were spread were of legend. He then asked for the followers to find out where I lived. That was it. I contacted Twitter; gave them all his accounts, and tweets and they deleted his URL from twitter and closed all of his accounts.
If you take care of trolls early, then you will have little issues with them. Blocking or ignoring are your best tools. Debating is fine but fighting with people that just want turmoil and drama is counter productive and a waste of time. Don’t be a victim; be pro active and if people are harassing you, then erase them from your social media life. If you follow this advice, worrying about trolls will be a thing of the past.
I’d like to thank all of the families associated with YukonMen who have shown me nothing but patience and kindness in our interactions. I hope that all who read this will support them in all of their projects and passions, including Stan’s amazing book above!
I hope that everyone that has enjoyed the show and read my articles will feel the great sense of family that these fine people show us week after week. I hope that it also teaches us that even though we all have different backgrounds, races and beliefs, what truly makes us a great nation is the respect and sense of kindness that we show one another. We all count, and our importance in our families and social circles are most felt when we are giving of ourselves unconditionally with a pure heart and an open mind.
Jim Jax: What is the coldest temperature you’ve been in and what did it physically feel like?
The coldest temperature recorded in Tanana was -76 F on January 27, 1989. From my memory I have experienced -60 F in the month of January. I was getting ready to drive somewhere in my car and it would not start even though it was plugged in. I didn’t want to push the car’s limit so I just let it sit until it warmed up and then the car started. My friend didn’t turn his car off, and just let it run for a whole week. Yes, even during the night, because he knew it wouldn’t start again if he turned it off.
I walked outside to take an iPhone picture of the frozen frosted trees and my phone immediately shut off and froze. It physically starts to cause pain and your skin starts to hurt and you run back inside. I basically wear ski pants for the entire month of January even when I’m inside because I like to dress up and keep myself warm. During this time you don’t go outside often unless you really have to, like to go get water from the Laundromat. You spend a lot of time inside with friends and family when it’s this cold.
Jim Jax: How difficult was it to go from living in Alaska and then all of a sudden being in the public eye?
I don’t consider myself being in the public eye; now Joey and Stan; my brother and dad are more in the public eye. When my dad leaves Tanana and goes to any city, he constantly has people coming up to him wanting a picture or just to meet the Yukon Man. If someone knows who I am, I’ll say “wow you must be a very big fan”. My name Zuray is more recognizable than my face, which is completely okay with me though. For example, if I go to the post office and they see my name on the mail they know who I am and usually ask “how’s your dad doing?” or “I love Joey”. I kind of got scared during season 1 of YukonMen. I remember going on my Facebook and I had 500 friend requests in just a couple days. It kind of scared me and I ended up deleting my Facebook for 3 years or more. But I love when people come up to me and talk to me about my family or the show. I’m always friendly and open to conversation.
Jim Jax: What part of your life living in Alaska isn’t shown on the show?
So much isn’t on the show, we do a lot of cool fun things as a family and with friends. However it shouldn’t be on TV, because it wouldn’t be entertaining or shocking enough. I’m presently a student. I have been a water treatment operator for the past three years. I am an activist for subsistence hunting & fishing and attend meetings about the health of the salmon run on the Yukon River, I’ll be going to Canada soon to learn about the salmon communities on the upper Yukon River. I am a member of the Tanana Traditional Dance group where we wear our native regalia and sing traditional Athabascan songs. It was filmed a couple times but never went on the episodes, which is fine. I totally get that the viewers want to see guns and wild game.
Jim Jax: I’ve enjoyed watching your brother mature on the show; what type of relationship do you have with him?
Joey and I are very close. We are two years and two days apart in age, so we spent a lot of time growing up side by side together. I sometimes say when he is happy I’m happy and when he is sad I’m sad. We always text and keep up with happenings in each other’s lives. We have similar personalities, beliefs and political views so sometimes I’ll just speak to him about frustrating things and we back each other up because we think the same.
As children I was the boss, but as adults he has acted like an older brother to me and even corrected some mistakes I’ve made. Once he even heard I was dating a certain person and put a stop to it because he didn’t believe the person deserved me and I’m thanking him now. Joey is courageous and I learned this through hard times in our family. Sometimes I will keep my mouth shut and not tell people to be better because I don’t like confrontation, but if Joey loves you, he will tell you to be better and to stop bad habits, be a better parent, and to me that’s courage.
He will also stick up for himself or his family at any time. He has taught me to be stronger and not just hide in the dark when things get hard.
It seems like many people in the show have very deep relationships with their family. It must feel good knowing what a familial bond you have especially in times of trouble and need. I’m a very independent person and I like to spend time by myself, but I need my family and I appreciate their support & love.
My parents did a lot of things to keep us close. A simple thing was, we always ate dinner together sitting down at the table every night. It takes a lot of work to make any relationship or family unit work though. It’s not always perfect and we have disagreements but work through them. Another way we stay close is communication. We are always contacting each other to see how everything is going and we tell each other I love you. I’m very grateful for my family and I have to remind myself to not take them for granted. In Tanana, everyone belongs to a family, and if you don’t have a family, someone will adopt you into their family.
Jim Jax: What would you like people to know about you that isn’t portrayed on the show?
That I’m a happy fun outgoing person who loves to laugh with my family and make jokes. We are not constantly in turmoil and pain. Yes it’s a hard life, but it’s also healthy and a lifestyle we choose to live. I’m really excited for summer because we all head up to camp and in the morning we make a huge pancake breakfast while talking about our ancestor’s oral history and traditions. We will work all day and then eat a big salad from our many gardens and a salmon dinner, usually grilled by Joey.
Jim Jax: What are some of your future aspirations?
I haven’t filmed a lot because I’ve been going to school and working. I’ve been very focused on my goals. It didn’t happen over night and its been many years of staying motivated and I want to continue reaching my goals. I recently got a great job that will allow me to be in Tanana more so that’s really exciting. I want to repair our fish camp, because a lot of things are aging. I also want to build a huge kitchen shack, and eventually build my own house in Tanana. I feel like it’s been so much hard work to get where I am today and now I just want to start enjoying life, doing things that make me happy. I want to do things like buying a four wheeler, boat & motor and spending time on the river and mountains. Some hobbies/aspirations I am interested in is film and continue concentration of the health of the salmon run in the rivers.
Jim Jax: What are you most proud of in regards to your family being on Yukon Men.
When this show first came out there was a lot of backlash and jealousy. I even told my dad that I didn’t want to associate myself with the name, but we learned to not let that bother us and just kept working & filming. When people come up to me and tell me “your dad is my hero” or “you’re brother is an amazing young man who takes care of his family”, it almost brings me to tears because everyone is seeing what I’ve seen all my life. I’m so proud to be their sister/daughter. So I’m most proud of the strong family values that people can see because it’s something we work hard on to have.
Part 2 will be released next Friday. Thank you so much for reading! Please like & Share & Subscribe to follow my articles here as well as my Twitter!
Last week during an interview I did on a Podcast, someone asked me what I thought of today’s television shows. I told them I didn’t watch much television anymore due to the lack of quality, but that I did like a handful of shows. Of course one of those was Yukon Men on the Discovery Channel.
I wrote about Stan (above) and I so have enjoyed him showing his points of view and his talents. The two people though that interested me was Stan’s wife Kathleen and his daughter Kate. Most of us growing up know that the grunt work often is done by our fathers, but the glue to the families are usually the mom’s. Kathleen is the glue of the Zuray’s plus being an Alaskan woman, she is a tireless worker as well. She is not a big fan of all of the attention or fame and I respect that. As most of us can attest, Kathleen is the classic mother who’s strength and heart solidify what a great family is all about. Another person has shown that same kind of familial spirit that solidifies and guides Alaskan families such as the Zuray’s and that person is Kathleen & Stan’s daughter Kate. In the few times that we get to see her, Kate has shown that same kind of passion for family. Her maturity and kind nature was easy to see. I asked if Kate would do an interview with me and she graciously accepted. Here is part 1. I hope you enjoy her comments as much as I have.
Jim Jax: What are your first memories as a child growing up in Alaska?
One of my first memories was during winter time being bundled in a sleeping bag very early in the morning before daylight. My dad put a long cardboard box in his dog sled, where I would lay there for hours while we drove 40 miles to my dad’s trapping cabin. I would sleep and then wake up and I could hear the dogs mushing while my dad whistled or hummed a song. I feel like I was a good passenger.
Jim Jax: As a kid was there ever a chance that you thought what it would be like to live somewhere else?
Being hidden from the world, I didn’t know we were a poor family living in a small village. I was happy with my family and life as it was. When I became 12 years old I began watching music videos and MTV and I learned quickly that we were very different from people in the lower 48 states. The fast busy lifestyle wasn’t very desirable to me as a child, but I think I was mostly attracted to the ocean and sea life, so living near the warm ocean was desirable to me.
Jim Jax: As you got older did you ever think of leaving Alaska?
Yes! I was like, “I’m out of here!” I felt so ready to leave the village life behind and explore the world. I wanted to move to NYC or LA; typical small town dreams; I would talk all the time about how I was going to leave. I did live in Hawaii and Boise Idaho for a short time, but what I learned while living out of Alaska was that I’m actually a family person and it’s hard for me to leave them. I didn’t know how much I needed my families support. Also, people in Alaska are very nice and genuine people who would help you out if you needed it. It’s a great state to live in and I also missed the big green mountainside.
Jim Jax: As a teen how with a small population, how hard is it to socialize or date?
In Tanana or any small village, you have the same classmates from preschool to 12th grade. My classmates were more siblings to me and we would even argue like siblings. You didn’t want to date your classmate you’ve known since preschool. You almost have to be strategic and take advantage of your time when you traveled to other villages or cities. There was no going to the mall and accidentally meeting the love of your life. A good example was my cousin. She had no romantic prospects in Tanana. She is related to most everyone so she moved to Fairbanks in order to find a boyfriend which is really common for people here. It was just like Charlie Wright who went to the next village to find a girlfriend. As far as socializing and dating for me, I was able to become more social and meet new people once I went to the University of Alaska.
Jim Jax: What was the scariest event you experienced so far in Alaska?
My brother Joey was a wild kid. Once at fish camp, he built plane wings that attached to his back and jumped off a cliff to fly. So there were those scary moments when someone would get hurt and were 40 miles away from the nearest clinic. Once at camp, I was maybe 10 years old when a spooked dog bit my dad’s wrist which tore off his skin and he started bleeding heavily. I remember thinking can I drive the boat? What if he dies and it’s just Joey and I with no help. If you get seriously injured out in rural Alaska it would take half a day to get to a doctor. Afterwards my dad Stan taught me what to do if he died suddenly and it was just us kids alone. He taught me how to grab the rifle, and fire three shots at the bank of the river, and hopefully a nearby fish camp would hear the shots and then come help us. I remember he made me load the gun then unload the gun over and over until I got it right.
Jim Jax: You help your dad out with some of his social media activities; what are some of the things that you do to help him?
He handles his Facebook all by himself. I’ve never helped with that. I do help him with his twitter and Instagram pages though, and recently we have been making some YouTube videos. He has been making YouTube videos for years all by himself. All of the pictures we post from his social media, he actually took himself. He reads every single tweet or message and comment that is sent to him. With Twitter I’ll make sure the YukonMen promos are retweeted or sent out. Instagram was iffy and I wasn’t sure if I should make him a page. However what I learned is we get more likes and comments on IG than Twitter so I want to put more focus into that. I assist him, give him tips, sometimes he’ll call me and we will just discuss social media, Twitter vs. Facebook and how the fans/followers differ. It’s really fascinating to us and we have seen changes and tried to adapt to those demands.
We put a lot of effort and thought into what we post and we genuinely love the connections we make with people. I still talk to people that followed me on Twitter from season one. We remember people and even have become legitimate friends. One time I got a twitter message from a women asking to meet me for lunch. I was really hesitant but just went for it and it was one of the most fun lunch dates I’ve ever had. We talked and laughed the whole time! She and her husband & kids moved to Alaska for a better job and life. I would call her my friend today and I’m excited for them when they visit Tanana. This winter I made a few Youtube videos with my dad, and it was so much fun. We filmed for hours one day and it was just a blast! I really loved it and I hope to continue making videos. Maybe I’ll even be in some!
Jim Jax: You don’t see your mom much on Yukon Men; what type of a person is she?
She’s the strongest women I know, and so beautiful. She just wants her family to be happy and healthy. She doesn’t want fame or attention, but I think she’s so funny and makes everyone feel welcomed. If I introduced her to my friends she would hug them and welcome them to the family. Filming can be so awkward especially when you don’t know what they want from you. She doesn’t get that everyone wants to meet Stan’s wife and get to know her. She’s like “I support you filming but I’ll stay behind the lens”. She is an excellent salmon cutter, and puts so much work into it. At fish camp she’ll cut fish from morning till midnight, it will be dark and I’m getting cold watching her work, and we just have to force her to finish up for the day. Filming isn’t for everyone and you just have to respect that.
Part 2 will be released next Friday. Thank you so much for reading! Please like & Share!
Here is PART 2 of my interview with Yukon Men star Stan Zuray. Please follow Stan on social media, and buy his book (the link is above) on Amazon. It’s amazing and gives an insight into his journey through life into Alaska. (below is the link to Part 1)
Stan Zuray: I ‘d have to say after some thought that I’m most proud of the possibility that I may have done more good than harm to people and things I have come across in life. On a more specific note I’d have to say most proud of our kids who are now adults.
Jim Jax: Did you ever think in your life you would touch so many people as you have on the show?
Stan Zuray: I never considered that ever. Even when it was happening it only seemed like a fleeting possibility. I try to recognize it as a good chance to do something right as I can, and not get to high on it. There is that saying (and I fully believe) what goes up can and will come down even easier.
Jim Jax: When you are out on a hunt or other excursion, do you sleep and eat with the crew? do they eat the same food? Sleep in the same cabin/tent?
Stan Zuray: Yes, Just like being out with any other friend. It’s no different. Very few shows are made like ours and the relationship between crew and cast is extremely close. There is no big production stuff; just real quality tv with a good touch of drama to make good compelling viewing.
Jim Jax: I like the honesty of many of the Alaskan shows; as you’ve said, the network has to spice it up a bit for television; was there anything that you have said no to or insisted on changing a scene?
Stan Zuray: We aren’t the editors at all but the crew and production guys do rely on us to say yes and no all the time. We are the ones who know what we are doing. Also sometimes there are understandings of what we did in a scene and we have to straighten people out all the time so it doesn’t get explained by the narrator the wrong way. It’s important to get it right.
Jim Jax: What aspects of your life in Alaska would you like to talk about that the show didn’t cover.
Stan Zuray: Probably the side of our existence where we really don’t worry about life all the time (but that might be boring). The other thing that is real hard to show on TV; but I would think is cool; is how hard some things really are. Many of the best dramatic moments don’t come close at all to showing true harsh reality of things. Like how do you “show” 40 below and a full day of hard travel/trapping. It’s easy to show that wolf in the trap but it’s not easy to show the great work that it takes to get to that point.
Jim Jax: We all feel the wear and tear to our bodies as we get older, are you ever fearful that you will not be able to do all you want to do and would you ever leave Tanana?
Stan Zuray: I Got it all figured out. I Just got an operation to a worn out knee (motorcycle crash, bear bite etc.) made worse because of all the no snow this winter and rough ground. So I’ll keep fixing those things till I really mess myself up and then I have to quit. I’ll enjoy some lazy time till it gets boring and then I’ll entertain ideas without much concern. You never know, it may not even get that far. I might not make it through one of them wind storms someday. My mother used to sing “Whatever will be will be” all the time while working and I do it to my dogs.
Jim Jax: I read where thousands are now trying to live off of the grid around the U.S. and leaving their city lifestyles. Many are failing miserably and losing everything they have. What advice would you give them in regards to preparations and even if they should do it or not?
Stan Zuray: First thought is maybe losing everything is just on the path to finding something of more value. There are no guarantees but you need to keep trying because it can be done.
Also every step towards civilization insulates you from the crueler realities of nature. Each step you give up puts you closer to what animals feel all the time. You might confuse failure with that “being one with nature” you have been looking for. Maybe it is not for some. You have to soul search maybe. There is a reason we have built the civilizations we have as people. Wish I could help more.
Jim Jax: You and Joey got most of the attention but Kate and your wife are obviously huge parts of your life. I really enjoyed Kate. She was tough, sweet, caring and very responsible. Alaska is a special place and creates special people. I want to interview her in the future; what would you like people to know about Kate?
SZ – Kate is a loving, strong-minded, hard-working, accomplished woman. I am proud of her. We will get her on some time. She’d love to talk I’m sure. She helps me do my YouTube videos and social media organization. She is my manager.
Jim Jax: Have you heard of Dick Proenneke? He was the man who the documentary “Alone in the Wilderness” was about.
He was a videographer, carpenter/wood craftsman, and bush pilot. He lived at Twin Lakes (west of Anchorage) for almost 30 years; mostly alone. He was the one that got me into loving Alaska. Explain your emotions when you are in the wilderness and things are going great with hunting, trapping, fishing and you seem one with the land.
Stan Zuray: Hunting, fishing, and trapping when done as a job are just like any other job. Most of it is often a lot of hard work, or steady work with problems along the way or things that don’t go as smoothly as one would like. Then one day the trails are not to blown in and the injured dogs are over their sore muscles and I’m feeling okay and everything is clicking along well including a good catch of fur. Those are the days we live for. I think it’s like climbing mountains. A lot of work and every now and then you make another peak. The only thing is it never ends. There is always another day and that’s not a problem at all.
Jim Jax: Many have called you MacGyver. You always seem to get things to work and people are still talking about the franken truck. In the states people just buy a new item but in Alaska you have to make things work. What is your favorite Stan Zuray MacGuyver story?
Stan Zuray: When we run fish wheels we use this big fence thing we call a lead to direct fish into the catching baskets. Some are small but we use monster leads that no way can be manhandled much. When I first started fishing around people on the Yukon River I had one of these leads flip on its belly on the wrong side. Eventually I figured an easy way to get it set in the current again using the current to do it. Fast forward years and one day on my wheel with another elder fisherman I flipped my lead again and he almost came unglued and said “Oh no! I’m so sorry. I’ll go get everyone and we’ll help you winch it out of the water and flip in on its side manually on the beach.” (they are huge, water soaked, heavy things). I said no big deal and I used the current and showed him how to do it. He said he’s been running wheels all over Alaska for many years and he’d never seen anyone do it like that. Now everyone does it like that! We all think up of ideas though. Our lives are an accumulation of all those who thought up good ways to do things. This one was cool though because it saved everyone so much time.
Jim Jax: Decades from now, how would you like to be remembered?
Stan Zuray: As someone who did a little more good in his life than he did harm.
Jim Jax: One thing that frustrates me with Networks is their lack of communication on whether shows are cancelled or renewed.
Have they contacted you about doing another season or told you that the show will be cancelled? What is your feeling on whether there will be another season.
Stan Zuray: We seem to be doing a little better than some years. We never know though and will never know until right when we get picked to run again or get cancelled. In all fairness to the Networks I don’t think they know much more about the future of the show than us. The TV world is brutal and competitive and unsure. Whatever will be will be.
Jim Jax: If the show is cancelled, what would you like to say to the fans of Yukon Men.
Stan Zuray: We will still be here living and putting out good pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube about the life. We are not going anywhere even if someone else may.
Jim Jax: What is the best way for people to connect with you Stan.
Stan Zuray: Facebook is maybe the best. I rarely miss any comments made to my Facebook posts in the few days after I posted. I try to answer all questions I can. On Twitter I read every one but because of the shortness allowed don’t try to answer often. I don’t check YouTube as much but I do answer all of the comments eventually. All media gets put aside for days or more when traveling so it’s all off and on.