Archive for June, 2006

Midnight

June 28, 2006

I would rather be a night person, I really would.  Getting up early is a chore and so against my routine that I even do it on the week-ends for fear that when Monday rolls around I won’t want to get up.  I know what you’re thinking and you might as well say it,  I have sold out.

There was a time when all my action really started after midnight, not by design but because of circumstance.  I was working the second shift and didn’t get off until 11 pm.  Now what bright, single, energetic 22 year old wants to go straight home and go to bed right after work, regardless of the time?  So, ‘ I loved the night life, I wanted to boogie on the disco ’round, yeah.’ But I enjoyed the night even earlier than that.  It had to do with my upbringing.

I remember when I was a kid my Mom used to take us (I’m not making this up) out to look for UFO’s.  And ofcourse, every UFO hunter knew that they only came out at night, well, not always… but the darkness made them easier to see… unless they were on stealth mode… or cloaked… or on Eastern time… but wait! I’m rambling.  The important thing is this, we were night people by nature.  We’d look up at the stars in awe, looking for guidance… looking for answers, looking for E.T.  We wouldn’t do these things in broad daylight because the bright sun light would blind us, and people would see how silly we were. 

I have to admit that there were some things happening in the heavens that we could not explain so we would concede the fact that it ‘must have been a UFO’.  Actually UFO sightings by us were fairly common, which was remarkable because we had no special training and didn’t live any where near Studio 54.  But sure enough, if something blazed acrossed the star studded sky and my Mom shrieked, “What was that?”  we’d have to agree that because we couldn’t tell what it was it had to be a UFO.  It was that simple.

We really didn’t follow any specific schedule, my Mom would be reading a book by Ron Hubbard or somebody like that and then get an incredible urge to go night driving, almost as if by divine inspiration.  (Which I would later realize was tele-communication)  She was a lightning rod of paranormal activity.  Ofcourse, our conversations were hushed and secretive, but we’d usually get around to asking one another what we would do if we actually were to have communication with an extraterrestrial.  (I don’t know what makes them EXTRA-terrestrial) But my Mom would tell us she would like to meet up with one and perhaps even go for a ride in their spaceship, which made us all feel she was very brave.  Curiously, she would always tell us not to speak to anyone else about her desire, sort of like a family secret.  I for one, never spoke of it to anyone, not out of fear of reprisals but because it was our special time and it bonded us in a spiritualien sort of way.

Funny, years later I still look at the night sky and wonder… I don’t see as many UFO’s as I used to.  I now recognize airplanes and satellites, planets and moons, wisps of clouds, cosmic gases,  also the constellations, meteors and revolving radio transients (which I think would be a great name for a rock band).  Perhaps the real mystery is gone, I can explain more than I could as a kid because I no longer accept the simple answer.  Or maybe the UFO pilots  have packed up and moved to another hemisphere. 

But I do know one thing that will never change.  While the night is clear and cool, when the sky is a quilt of glittering sequins,  I step out to re-acquaint myself with the marvels of the unknown and the secrets of the universe…  and I still miss my Mom.

Eleven Lords a-leaping

June 26, 2006

Okay, you got me.  It should be ‘eleven pipers piping, ten lords a-leaping’ but I just don’t get it.  What are lords leaping for anyway? and what does that have to do with gift giving, especially on Christmas?  If I were the lyricist I would have written it, ‘eleven lords a-leaping’  because it flows better with the L-L-L rather than “eleven pipers piping’, don’t you agree?  There isn’t much out there that rhymes with “eleven” other than “seven” or “heaven” or perhaps, “leaven” but who uses those words to discribe lords leaping?  It has to do with phonics, “eleven lords a-leaping” just sounds better.  I don’t know if it would be that much more difficult to store 11 lords than 10 so why not just go with the flow?

Funny songs about Christmas are not what everyone has on their minds at the end of June but while we are on the subject, do you realize there are only about 180 shopping days left til Xmas ’06?  Time surely flies.  I read today that most women will have their holiday shopping done by the end of October, while most men wait until the final few days prior to December 25th to even start THINKING about it.  Then we scurry around as if this holiday just crept in out of the blue and caught us un-awares.  ( If you scroll down to the “Cinco de Juno” entry you can rehash my feelings on holidays in general.)  Aren’t men silly?  I don’t know why we procrastinate the way we do, especially when we have all these constant reminders, like Christmas music in September (yes, it keeps getting earlier) and holiday sales right after Halloween… just in time for Christmas!  (Like it was going to be late!)  Men just have more important things on their minds, like football. 

You see, football never comes early enough and always ends too soon.  They should have patterned Christmas after football!  Men would eagerly anticipate that holiday like no other!  and if gift buying were equated to touchdowns can you imagine the enthusiasm?  what about football Christmas cheerleaders during the yuletide carols?  Ho ho hottie!  we could even have a football Christmas centerfold, an all football Christmas channel, football Christmas instant replay… FANTASY football Christmas!  Whoa! imagine the possibilities!  Come to think of it, why isn’t there a football Christmas Hall of Fame?  There could even be football Christmas themed team names, like the Memphis Mistletoes, the Elgin Eggnogs, or the Fruitville Fruitcakes.  Gosh, I’ll bet we could stretch this football Christmas thing clear past the Pro Bowl to the Spiked Punch Bowl!

Now you’re probably thinking I’m some sort of a heathen that doesn’t believe in the Almighty, which is simply not true.  (Hey, Notre Dame has a ‘touchdown’ Jesus!)  I’m just trying to make a case for the male populace that needs to see past the hype of the holiday and know it for what it really is, a boost for the sagging economy.  This may smack of sacrilege, but every year we hear reports about how the “final quarter” of the year’s business depends so heavily on holiday shopping.  If men were properly motivated each seasons end would be a boon to the industry rather than a crap shoot. 

Think about it… and then, ask a man,  I’ll bet if this year there was a football Christmas it would ensure his geniune interest… his spending would come unabated and often.  But if you didn’t get what you wanted this year there would always be the off season to make your case for the following year… and the holiday wouldn’t catch him by surprise, either. 

a perfect 10

June 22, 2006

You restore my faith in beauty.

(she stops like I’ve distracted her from something important)  What?

You restore my faith in beauty, I’d lost it for awhile but thanks to you I’ve found it again…

(she looks at me, amused)  Okay, so how did I do that?

Oh I dunno, I guess you just showed up.  The rest took care of itself,  it all kinda happened naturally.

(a sly smile now)  So… what do you intend to do about it?

Good question,  …I could say that I’d be content to observe you from afar…

( puzzled)  Could say?

Yeah, but that would be a lie…

(she laughs) Which part?

All of it… I could never be content observing you anywhere but here, next to me.

(she shakes her hair back from her eyes and looks directly into mine)  You’re  pretty confident, aren’t you?

No, I’m just like you are…

(her head pulls back slightly, like my words jolted her)  Just like me?  How’s that?

I’m afraid of what’s happened here, where it’s leading…

(she nods defiantly) You presume too much.  I’m not sure I like this… (she turns as if to go)

I know, I feel the same way.  It seems real familiar, though, …doesn’t it?

(she relaxes somewhat, looks out from behind the bar at the other patrons milling about… we are surrounded by dozens of pick-up lines but isolated by the moment,  she smiles again)  Maybe… just a little.

So tell me now, stay or go… this place is a cathedral and my soul must confess either way,  …it’s still true. 

(she pretends to be confused) What is?

You restore my faith in beauty.

(she leans in from across our boundary and kisses me tenderly) Stay awhile then… and thank you  (she pulls back seductively)  for saying it so eloquently…

My heart commands my words be true, they come easily where you’re concerned…

(she squeezes my hand… )

#9

June 22, 2006

The world is in a pretty nasty predicament.  We wonder if it can get any worse and then to our dismay it does.  Sometimes we think there is nothing we can do to change things and we are filled with dread, afraid to lay our heads down at night… perhaps worse is the fear of waking tomorrow.  It is so difficult to cope, we appear poised to continue making the same mistakes over again.  WWJD?

Yes, what would John do?  John Lennon, that is. 

It amazes me that the simpliest answers seem to elude us.  John would have protested, loud and long… possibly not leaving his bed for a week, maybe two.  Instant Karma.  I admired him for his stance on issues.  He never claimed to be anything more than ordinary, just working class but he had some powerful views and wasn’t shy about taking them to the public.  How do you suppose he’d be re-acting today?  No doubt he would be the first to tell us that we are heading down the same path we were some 30 odd years ago.  John would claim we hadn’t learnt our lessons, or maybe say we are letting government bureaucracts do our thinking for us.

John and Yoko sent acorns to world leaders, hoping they would be persuaded to nurture and grow life rather than seek to destroy it.  How cool, John believed in peace and thought the world was smart enough to deliver it.  I think we should relive John’s credo in our own day to day lives just to recapture the optimisim he had.  You know, we all shine on.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many celebs out there lending their voices to worthwhile causes.  Good, sincere people hoping to make a difference and offer hope to those in need.  Likewise John’s efforts were not ‘flavors of the month’ or pet projects… and like it or not, he didn’t require any more status than what he had already achieved.  But as an activist  John’s stature did grow though he downplayed his increased notoriety as an effort to belittle his efforts and sincerity.  John didn’t need any more fame, he wanted the rest of us to get with it.  Give peace a chance wasn’t just a slogan but a call for sanity.

Fear is a strong ally to motivation.  Watch the news, read the paper, check it out on the web.  We are being directed by the powers that be and fear is playing a large part into their tool of manipulation.  Take this brother may it serve you well.

John Lennon stepped out of the public view for a time,  content to watch the wheels go round and round.  Just when he was set to come roaring back into our lives his own life was cut short.  But if he were alive today I don’t think he’d be resting on his laurels.   WWJD?  Just try to imagine. 

pieces of eight

June 19, 2006

While thinking back on the future my past is never present, dwelling in the past leaves my future presence broached with guile. 

Money isn’t the root of all evil, I know this.  Not because I have a lot of money, but I know people that have a lot of money and they are not bad people.  I know people that do not have very much money and they are not evil either.  Suffice it to say that people are good or bad regardless of their financial statement but there are good people with money.  I like that in people, that they can have more money than me and still be good, because I’d sometimes like to think that their money corrupts them because they won’t give me some.  I know I deserve money, not just their money but money in general, but I have discovered something very disturbing about myself… I am not lucky.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not jinxed… I don’t walk around with a dark cloud over my head.  I don’t give off the vibe of ill tidings or bring people down on their luck further misery.  I’m just not lucky.  I don’t think most people are, otherwise we’d all be rich. 

I think I am your average good person… I work, pay bills, dream, and aspire, but still… I am not lucky.  I have been in situations when luck would come in pretty handy but still it eludes me, thumbs its nose at my quaint little episodes of wants, needs and desires then scurries off to find some wealthy, retired person to bless them with further good fortune instead.  But I am not jealous, I do not begrudge them their overflowing of monetary gain, their orgy of incorrigible cash, the padding of layers upon layers of insidious loot.  I am better than that.  So I have made it my resolve to treat people with money the same as everyone else. 

I read in the paper that our society has been more generous lately than ever before, what with giving to relief in Asia and Africa, hurricane victims and stuff like that, and it is a good feeling to know that when the chips are down… people come through, and it is not just people with money.  There are volunteers out there working that may not have a permanent home of their own.  School children are willing to donate time and effort, corporations are sponsoring relief drives, artists are offering their talent.  When I hear these things it restores my faith in humanity.  People are willing to give a piece of what they have for the betterment or recovery of someone else and that is a good thing. 

 But what does all this have to do with me not being lucky?

When I finally came to the conclusion that good fortune and glad tidings were not coming to me at the hands of something other than my own hard work, motivation and sheer gumption, things got easier.  Imagine just hanging out on the street corner waiting for my ship to come in and then realizing I was the captain of my own vessel!  It was a revelation to say the least.  It definately lightened my load and lowered my expectations because I know what my limits are when there is no luck involved. 

So I’m not singing the blues over my situation, it is a relief… really.  There are no pressures other than those we put upon ourselves and I have found peace knowing that I am not lucky. 

You may be, though…   but I’m not judging.

7-up

June 11, 2006

Seven seems to be a pretty lucky number for some folks, for others it means very little.  If you’ve done something up to 7 times, that is a pretty big deal, don’t you think?  Hmmm…  let’s examine that…

 Bob Seger had 7 albums out before he nailed the hit, “Night Moves” and went off into super stardom.  Now I’ve always liked Seger, but can you imagine 7 albums with little or no acclaim?  Then boom, a number one and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  On the other hand, the Moody Blues did 7 albums (now called the classic 7) and then did 7 more with several personnel changes in between.  I love the Moodies, but the classic 7 are their best collective efforts, each song blends perfectly into the next like nothing I have ever heard.  Their last of the classic 7 was appropriately titled, “7th Sojourn”.  That era, that visit was a brief one at best.  Bob Dylan’s seventh album, “Blonde On Blonde” signaled a change on the horizon in his musical style.  Pink Floyd had 7 albums that gave them a cult following of sorts, then delivered “Dark Side of the Moon”.  My favorite songwriter, Jesse Winchester spaced 7 years between his sixth and seventh albums.  (Then 11 years passed before the release of his 8th!  Haven’t figured that one out either.)  Even the Beatles 7th album, “Rubber Soul” paved the way for the ultimate rock album “Sgt. Pepper”.  What is it about the number 7?  Is it really lucky?  Or is it all just an amazing coincidence?

Let’s see, there are 7 days in the week, 7 wonders of the ancient world, 7 Dwarfs, 7 deadly sins, Popeye the sailor sailed the 7 seas, there were 7 brides for 7 brothers, there’s “Yeah, I’m the one they call the 7th son”, the Hootchie Cootchie Man was born “on the 7th hour, of the 7th day, on the 7th month, 7 doctors say…” he even had 7 hundred dollars and told you not to mess with him.  I wonder if he would have seemed quite as intimidating if he only had $699.50?  There was the Magnificent 7, the 7 Year Itch, the 7th Calvary, 7 Years in Tibet and the 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  Seven even has religious, mystic and astrological connotations.  Think 7th Heaven. 

December 7th, 1941… a date that will live in infamy.  But did you know that on that date 67 years earlier President Ulysses Grant in his sixth annual message to the House and Senate mentioned educating Japanese youth in America?  He also brought up the benefit of learning the Japanese language.  Talk about foresight.

A rainbow has 7 colors. 

Even as I write this 7th entry I realize it is the 7th day (Saturday) of the week!  And the disco favorite, “Saturday Night Fever” was realeased in ’77!  Yikes!  What is it about the number 7?  If you have any insight on this phenomenon, please let me know!

My uncle, the great inventor, came up with a soft drink that he called five up.  But try as he might the drink never took off.  Some time later he made some improvements and re-named it six up.  Unfortunately, he died shortly thereafter… never realizing how close he came to success… 

six pack abs

June 8, 2006

I need to exercise a bit more, I know this.  I keep promising myself that I’m going to get out there and hit the gym.  But I have a vacation coming up next week so I didn’t want to get all involved in cleaning up my act only to break down, revert back to the slob I was and then feel like a failure.  (Does any of this sound familiar?)  Mental atitude has a lot to do with how successful we are going to be in this life and I like thinking positive.  I imagine myself doing things in my sleek, shiny new body and it ain’t half bad.  You can do so much in your mind (if you put your mind to it) that with hardly more than a chair and a window to gaze out on you could become the president of the United States.  The potential is limitless.  I’ve imagined myself with Halle Berry and she ain’t half bad either.  Shucks, with little or no effort I could imagine all kinds of possibilities.

Experts tell us we should plan out our deeds in advance, working out all the details in our minds then when we actually attempt the feat it will go as if by rote.  Tell that to the bank robber doing 10-20 years.  Perhaps the experts spend too much time imagining their advice will be beneficial without actually putting their ideas into practice.  Remember not too long ago we were cautioned by the experts not to discipline our children and with what result?  Millions of brats roaming the world who won’t listen to, respond to or obey their parents.  Also we were told to encourage and nuture our children, use upbuilding speech and never scold or belittle them, praise their accomplishments, minimize their failures, etc.  Now we have a class of 20 somethings that can’t cope in the work force, who think they should be paid top dollar for minimal work and can’t understand why they aren’t appreciated more for just showing up.  (Hey Joe! Made it to work today!  A little late, but who am I to complain?   Did you get that report read yet?  No?  Oh well, just a critique of company policy on tardiness, who cares?  Good job!)

But what does this have to do with all the tea in China?  Well, believe it or not… they say tea is good for us, too.  So imagine if you will a bunch of fat, under-appreciated colonials dressed up like indians at the Boston Tea Party planning their dastardly deed mentally in advance.  Might go something like this…

1st colonial bank:  “Ugh! I think this tea tax is for the birds!  Lets pitch it over the side!”

2nd colonial penn insurance man:  “Are you insane?  Think of the liability!  Think of the pollution, we could be sued!”

3rd colonologist: “Think of Halle Berry!”

1st colonial bank: “What about taxation without representation?”

2nd colonial penn insurance man: “The English are only thinking of our well being, do you know about the anti-toxens in tea?  We could lose all this flab and have six pack abs.”

3rd colonologist:  “Yeah, and there’s nothing surer then death and taxes!  I’d rather think of Halle Berry!”

1st colonial bank:  “So we are agreed then, the tea must go?”

2nd colonial penn insurance man: ” I didn’t dress in this get up to go pitch tea in Boston Harbor, I’d rather think of Halle Berry, too.”

1st colonial bank:  “So much for our mother of freedom and the birth of democracy!”

3rd colonologist:  “Who’s she?”

cinco de juno

June 6, 2006

oops… missed another holiday.  Mexican Independence Day and Corona beer was last month.  Didn’t really forget because, well… not one I’m interested in.  As a matter of fact, these holidays are becoming a real nuisance to me.  I can understand post office workers needing time off for good behaviour.  (never know when one is on the edge) but do I need a date on the calendar to tell me when to buy flowers for my girl or gifts for my secretary, parents, kids, boss, newspaper boy, etc.?  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for remembering significant days in history.  I just think most of those holidays lose their significance due to merchandising and/or political correctness, which is a real shame.

What did any president of these United States have to do with me buying a television on sale?   Nothing, but there are Presidents Day sales galore.  I wonder if the father of our country, George Washington, would have watched the ‘Sopranos’ or ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?’  I can just imagine Abe Lincoln and his TiVo recording the ‘ “L” Word’ or ‘West Wing’.  (Did the White House have a west wing in 1865?) I think Martin Sheen did play ol’ Honest Abe once, so maybe that counts.

Honestly, I am not a scrooge, I like receiving gifts as much as the next guy.  I don’t need to be reminded I’m another year older, though.  Actually we should be obliged to giving gifts to those around that have put up with us for another year.  “Here ya go, Joe.  It’s my birthday and I knew you’d enjoy this.”  What a turn that would be.  We’d be able to declare how much others mean to us instead of waiting to receive something just because it is “our” day.  I wonder how generous we’d be if that were the tradition of birthday gift giving.  So if you’re about to celebrate your birthday, why not thank ol’ mom and dad with an appropriate, “thanks for my birthday, folks!” and give them a token  for your appreciation of life.  Might just make an impression. 

Ofcourse, 365 days is a long time to go without any sort of a holiday so I’d  nominate the following days to be set aside as worthy of note:

 Groundhog Day… a very funny film with Bill Murray.  Definately worth watching over, and over, and over…

Independence Day… another worthwhile film, if nothing more than for the special effects.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Day… not because of Christmas but because it is.

Halloween…. the first film is the best in my opinion, but then I enjoyed the Nightmare Before Christmas, too.

Tuesday Afternoon… because of the Moody Blues imortalization ( so it can’t be that bad )and you might have had a lousy Monday so it may be time for a holiday.

And now as I write this it is 6-6-6 instead of cinco de juno, sorry.  It doesn’t make me a son of satan or anything, I just forgot to post it in a timely manner.  I did, though, remember the Alamo.

for play

June 4, 2006

Sometimes I can’t decide which is better for me.  I enjoy my time off.  I can’t think of anything better than to be brewing a cup of tea and contemplating nothing all day.  Nothing inspires me more than the thought of nowhere to go.  It is perhaps what I look forward to most about my time off.  No pressure, you know?  Why do we put ourselves under so much stress?  I think we need to just sit back, relax and smell the napalm. 

 It is not that I don’t enjoy my work, and that is another thing.  People should enjoy what they are doing.  If they hate their job, can they really have the mind set for optimum performance?  It has to be debilitating to spend time somewhere that you loathe.  So I am fortunate there, I actually look forward to going to work and I think it should be a happy place for all of us.  (McDonalds not withstanding) After all, we spend about a third of our lives there, at least until retirement.  (a topic we may delve into later)

Now school, that is another matter entirely.  To be forced to learn certain subjects is beyond me.  If there is no interest in the subject it is extremely hard to fake it.  Enthusiasm is not a four letter word, nor is study… work is.  Learning should be fun, whatever the age.  When we pick the topic we are interested in, we excel.  Sometimes we have to work AT it, but the outcome is a happy one because we desire success.  Once the basic reading, writing and arithmatic is acheived I think there should be aptitude tests given each month to see if a child is really going in the direction of his/her intellect.  We are not the same and our education would be so much better if it weren’t years of disconnected, carbon copied learning.  We should be celebrating our unique qualities at a young age, that would make us happier, less stressful adults.

 So… I have wandered a bit, haven’t I?  Sorry.  We were talking about doing nothing and here I have created controversy.  I have undermined the entire structure of our academic and social structure.  You are now no doubt aghast… which is better than being a ghost.

But that is precisely my point.  Are we all about work or play?  We blend the two so that they complement one another. (or at least, that has been the proven formula)  If our time off is all about drinking binges and smoking dope on the week-end is it really conducive to looking, feeling and performing our best on Monday?  When our jobs/school is a grind all week long, is the week-end really going to be much different?  These things effect our entire outlook on life!

So for work or for play?  I say give equal emphasis to both… and do it with gusto! …which is better than ghost-o.