Archive for May, 2008

what goes around karma’s around?

May 31, 2008

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think earthquakes are caused by bad karma.  I mean, I’m sure Sharon Stone might be a fairly intelligent person, but when she said China’s recent earthquake woes were caused by their bad karma, you gotta wonder… does she really believe that?

I have heard what goes around comes around and I will agree with you there.  Generally the way you treat people is the way that people are going to treat you.  Of course there are always gonna be those that take full advantage of your generosity without reciprocation.  But then, do we really act in a kindly manner in hopes of being treated in kind?  If our motives are pure then the holding an account or keeping “score” should never cross our minds.  In other words… ‘I did this for you so I expect you will remember to do the same for me’ isn’t really generosity, it is an insurance policy.

It is always nice to be recognized for a good deed, when someone shows appreciation for the consideration you’ve shown it makes the endeavor that much sweeter.  But the joy that comes from within is immeasurable when your efforts are of an unselfish nature. 

We live in a society where it is getting harder and harder to determine what a person’s intentions are when they act with a little courtesy, and that is sad.  Nowadays we are suspicious of a friendly person with manners and yet condone the brash, rude or thankless one.  We seem to think we have to be “tough” while we are out in the world, put on a suit of armor and keep our guard up.  A ‘nobody’s gonna take advantage of me!’ attitude prevails.  Sometimes we react in such a way to a situation that giving thought to it a bit later on may well surprise us at the unflinching, calloused way we responded.

I had a guy buzz up to me on his bicycle the other day.  I don’t know why but I must have this look that I am an easy mark because I’ll meet up with some incredibly bold people asking me for money.  This man was middle aged and a bit ragged, but he had a bicycle so he was getting around all right.  He skids up next to me and says,

“Hey buddy, you got a couple of dollars so I can get something to eat?”

Now I used to panhandle for spare change and there is an art to it.  Back when Perry and I did it we dreamed up all kinds of excuses to break the ice.  ‘I need money to catch a bus,’ or ‘I’m just a few cents shy of a pack of cigarettes’, or, ‘my wallet got stolen and I’d like to get something to eat,’ these were all staples.  Sometimes we pulled a few whoppers out of the blue just to make it a little interesting.  But we didn’t try to cop a wad of dough in one fell swoop.  We weren’t bold or demanding, it just wasn’t good business.

“A couple of dollars?” I ask incredulously, “I have some spare change, but I don’t have dollars.”

“Okay, sure.” 

And I dole out what is in my pocket, less the memory stone that my sweetheart gave me that I always carry and the ’52 Lincoln head wheat penny that I was given in change and I try to hang on to.  He went his merry way, probably working on his next six pack of beer or a bottle of wine, but I didn’t care.  It is not too good to be judgemental, because people could always be that way with me.  I’d like to think that when my time comes people will remember that I had a generous spirit.  Not foolish enough to pull out my wallet and perhaps have a gun or knife pulled on me, but free enough in my thinking that there but for the grace of God go I.

Some of us have had the breaks, some have not.  Sometimes life can be cruel and unfair, we may have even been victimized and/or exploited.  There are circumstances where one moment a reaction would be prudent, another when one should refrain.  We whirl, tumble and collide with so many variables who’s to say where we might have been if we would have zigged where we ultimately zagged?

Early in my travels to and from Florida I would spend months in Iowa until the faint echos of snow would reverberate back and I would sojourn south.  Sometimes I would leave a job out of frustration and head back up north.  This happened perhaps a dozen times, back and forth over the years.  The last time I was in Iowa I had applied for a certain job and waited for a call to no avail.  Finally I gave up and returned to Florida, only to have my prospective employer call the day after I left.  I ended up staying in Florida, got married and raised a family, made a career.  But how close I had come to remaining in Iowa, staying there with the family I loved and the friends I had known is one of those questions that cannot be answered, only speculated on.  Was it good karma or bad that had me stay here or go there?

It fringes on the ridiculous to think that natural disasters are a result of bad karma.  Innocent lives are being effected or lost due to a government’s inaction?  Is that the way it works?  All these recent tornadoes in the mid-west are due to America’s bad karma?  What if you were a Democrat and didn’t vote for the current political administration?  What if you were a good practicing Christian?  Does God allow you to suffer under someone else’s bad karma?  What if you project bad karma yet the rest of the community prospers?

Sometimes bad things just happen.  It would be nice to think that if you are kind, thoughtful, honest, etc. that good things would always come to you, but life isn’t like that.  Even the Bible says that “time and unforseen circumstances befall us all.”

It is easy to sit back and claim that when hard luck strikes a certain person “deserved it” because of their “bad vibes.”  Maybe to a certain extent we do bring things upon ourselves because we are careless or unwise in our dealings.  It is possible that for the folly of a few the entire group as a whole suffers.  Sometimes we may be simply “reaping what we have sown.” 

But the fickle finger of fate points in all directions.  We should remember that when we point our finger at someone there are three pointing back at us.

peace.

 

Advertisements

double checking reality bounce

May 28, 2008

I’m not overly sensitive, honest.  Things that perturb me usually just roll of my back and I can take it in stride.  And I’m generally not a worrier.  Worry is interest on a debt never paid, as the saying goes.  But I like to think things through. 

If I’m going someplace new for dinner, especially if I’m meeting friends and I don’t want to be late, I might arrive early just so I have enough time in case I have difficulty finding it.  If it is an important date, say… I am receiving an award for an outstanding ability finally recognized or something equally serious as that, I might check the place out hours in advance.  I like to case the joint, acquaint myself with the exits and the decorum.  Sometimes I may even cohort with the staff and make an aquaintence early so as to have a little savvy with the service people later on. 

I may over  think a situation a little but nothing makes me angrier with myself then to find I should  have followed my instincts and didn’t.  So, no doubt like you… I like to double check,  perhaps to an excess.

I am in the process of applying for permanent residency in Canada.  Coming from the State of Florida, this might seem a little odd.  But I married my French-Canadian sweetheart and her circumstances won’t allow her to leave there to come here, so I must leave here and go there.  I imagine there will be a bit of a culture shock and some temperature adjustments but I can handle it.  (really, how cold could it get?  50? sheesh!)

Anyway, first up… get finger printed and checked out by the FBI.  Yep, somewhere up in Washington there is a color glossy folder with my fingerprints enshrined for prosperity.  I guess they have to make sure I’m not some sort of radical or hardened criminal, which is fine.  The only thing that made me nervous was the fact that since CSI and all those other programs started coming on television all kinds of scenarios popped into my fertile imagination.  Like maybe I was a sleep walking bandit, maybe my fingerprints were on some unsolved case from 20 years ago that I (remember: innocent until proven guilty) knew nothing about or things like that. 

But fear not.  My record was/is unblemished.  (except for that little run in with the law for disturbing the peace which happened years ago and was waay over stated…  I have witnesses!) 

So with one hurdle easily crossed I move on to the next requirement, a physical examination.  I have had several of those and needless to say… they ain’t fun.  In fact, I just had one recently and found out that I am in reasonably good health, which pleases me very much.  But for immigration purposes you must use one of their recommended doctors.  

After consulting the list there are only 4 offices in the State of Florida that they use and they are all on the lower east coast.  Living on the west coast of Florida they are nearly three hours away from me, but practically within walking distance of each other.  If I had lived in Tallahassee that would have amounted to nearly six hours of driving! (sigh) 

So I count my blessings and call for my appointment.  The lady takes my information and schedules me for the following Wednesday.  I am delighted because I had anticipated a much longer wait time, since they only do physical examinations for Canadian immigration one day a week.  (Wednesday)  I guess there aren’t that many people leaving Florida in favor of Canada.

Well, all was good.  I called my new bride and told her the good news.  The immigration process seems very daunting but already we have one major item down and another one nearly completed.  But then a thought occurred to me.

“You know, I didn’t ask them if I should fast before my examination.”

“You didn’t?  Usually they require that for a physical, don’t they?”

“Hmm… Yes, darn!  Oh well, I have enough time that I can call and double check before I go.”

“That would probably be good, just in case.”

“Yes!  I don’t want to go to all that trouble and then find I shouldn’t have eaten before I arrived.”

So with that settled I decide to call the office the first chance I get, which was today since yesterday was a holiday and tomorrow is the big thumbs up! (literally)  I call their office and just as the receptionist answers the phone I get one of these little panicky things, like when you are in school and you don’t wanna raise your hand and ask a question because you don’t want everyone else to think you are dense?  Anyway she gives the spiel about “it’s a beautiful day at such and such medical services, may I help you?”

Ah hem.  “Yes, ah… this is… ah, Kris Kristofferson and I have an appointment tomorrow for a physical examination for immigration purposes?  and I was wondering, do I need to fast prior to my arrival?”

Now this woman sounds like she is a cross between Peter Lorre and Natasha (of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame?  Boris Badenov’s slinky comrade?)  and I feel myself getting smaller as the conversation ensues.

“Meester Crease-off yur son, we vould have towld you if youd’ave needled to fast.” (she sounds a bit put off by my question)

“Yes, well… I have had physicals in the past and I just wanted to double check…”

“No no no… we vould have towwld you.” (you imbeseal!  leestin to whot I’ve towld you!)

” and I appreciate that, but I am coming from across the state…”

“Ve do das all the time Meester Crease-off yur son, view need not vworry.”  (ey yi yi! vot an eediot!)

“…and Wednesday is the day for Canadian immigration…”

“yas but we vould’ave towwld you.” (dumbkoff!  Fernando! Sylvester!  I’ve vwone of deese crazy Canuck wannabes on de line!)

“Okay, well… thank you… I guess I won’t worry about it then.” 

“Das right… not a pwoblem, ve do das thing all de time and ve vwould’ve towwld you if youd’ave needled too fast.”

It’s one of those times when you are glad you didn’t give your real name, but then you have to wonder… are all careful people treated this way?  I mean, it’s okay to try and get it right the first time, isn’t it?  No harm in trying?  A little bit of somethin’s better than a whole lot of nothin’?  Nothin’ ventured, nothin’ gained? 

Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free?

I mean… it’s good enough for me and Bobby McGee.

peace. 

 

 

Blogging for Dummies (what was Scarlett Johansson thinking?)

May 21, 2008

Not to insinuate that you are a dummy, but here are a few tips on keeping a blog interesting… at least interesting enough for you to keep pluggin’ away at it. 

1st.  Keep your sense of humor.  You are not going to convert anyone by being heavy handed.  That being said, what was Scarlett Johansson thinking?  I watched her music (?) video “Falling Down” and I have to say I don’t get it. 

I guess it all started way back in the times when successful singers decided what they really  wanted to be was an actor.  Al Jolson was the first, I think… in black face singing “Mammy…  how I love ya, how I love ya…”  Hmm… okay, it was a fresh media then.  Many times you couldn’t see the singing stars perform live so film was the next best thing.   Frank Sinatra had a hand in films and remarkably… was quite an actor,  he even got a few nominations and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “From Here to Eternity.”

The 50’s saw all kinds of teen idols making films and managing to sing a song or two.  Elvis was one that started out acting in “serious” films like “Wild in the Country.” That was before the idea of just doing musicals with a loosely based plot about boy meets girl and sings his way into her heart was founded.  (Which still works, by the way)  “Wise men saaay, only foools rush innn.  But I can’t help…. falling in looove with yooou…”  (see?)

On into the 60’s all kinds of Rock ‘N’ Roll bands made films, most notably… the Beatles.  They produced videos decades ahead of the MTV generation to appear in their stead on programs such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “American Bandstand.”  “A Hard Days Night” is now considered an art film.

Fast forward to the past few years and it is not uncommon for people the likes of Jennifer Lopez to not only be an “actor” but also a “recording artist.”  But you gotta wonder if it is really talent or celebrity that people are reacting to?  I mean, I heard John Wayne sing once and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

2nd.  Be objective.  Okay… that being said.  Scarlett is an up and coming star, very marketable right now and a sultry lookin’ babe.  But can she sing?  Possibly.  “Falling Down” is not what I would call great debut material, but that’s just me.  I watched the video and it was… without being judgemental here, a real (*yawn*) yawner.  If you are going to sway the public into believing you are not just another pretty face who yearns to be adored for her crooning ability, pick something that is going to knock our socks off.  Or at least run around in your underclothes like some of the other singers have been doing as of late.  (see Touch My Body video, courtesy of this blog)

3rd.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Not everyone is going to agree with you.  There may be millions of people out there that think Scarlett Johansson has the voice of an angel and you are full of crap.  Hey, a few years ago some guy made millions selling pet rocks, too.  The public (in a nutshell) is stupid.

4th.  Find your niche and stick with it.  Don’t go all over the map inserting short stories, poems, songs and screenplays if all people really want to read is something else, (like your crazy critiques, busted parodies or nonsensical ramblings about love) or someone else… for that matter.  They may have found you by accident and never want to darken your blogs door step again.

5th.  If all else fails… do a music video and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to display your mediocre talent in hopes that it will sell.  You can always fall back on being a sultry sex symbol. 

On a less serious note:  this is post #250 for AMRFP and it has been a blast for me.  May is AMRFP’s 2nd year anniversary and it has clocked nearly 24,000 hits ( and 17,059 spam comments, mostly porn…sigh) which averages to a bunch of people searching for something else and possibly being sent here by mistake.  Search engines…   

For that I apologize. 

Oh, I’ve included the talented Ms. Johansson’s (loved her in “The Horse Whisperer”) video for you to enjoy.  (scroll down)

Peace.       

Scarlett Johansson – Falling Down

May 21, 2008

Falling Down – Scarlett Johansson

possibly another Jennifer Lopez?

“Jawbone” George Bush and the Saudi Oil Shriek a.k.a. the Blame Game

May 16, 2008

Dang it, George!  Your “jawboning” with the Saudis didn’t accomplish crap.  Remember when you said our “friends at OPEC will have to open up the spigot a little?”  well phooey!  I guess you got left at the pump on that one, Saudi Arabia refused your request for the second time.  Some friends, eh?  Do you realize your “friends” have risen oil prices per barrel over a hundred dollars since you took office 8 years ago…  when oil was less than $28 a barrel?

.

C’mon everybody

I said let’s lay some blame

I think that ‘jawbone’ oughta rhyme

with little Georgie’s name.

He made friends with the Arabs

they made him a lot of dough

a banana fana fine amount

with a fee-fi-fo himself

.

sing it!

jawbone, jawbone bo-bawbone

banana fana fo fawbone

fee fi mo mawbone

jawbone.

.

Little Georgie tried

but the Saudis told him “no.”

we got all the money

now you are on your own.

with a fee-fi-mo.

.

sing it!

Georgie, Georgie, bo -beorgie

banana fana fo feorgie

need no mo meorgie

Georgie

.

when we get Obama

will the game still be the same?

with McCain or Clinton

are the Saudis still to blame?

.

sing it!

Bush!

Bush, Bush, bo-ush

banana fana fo fush

sat on his tush…

Bush.

.

Let’s do Obama!

Obama, Obama, bowl-a-rama

banana fana fo fama

gonna tell yo mama

Obama

.

Next is Clinton!

Clinton, Clinton, no-quitin’

banana fana fo flinton

left without tippin’

Clinton

.

Now McCain!

McCain, McCain, no-brain

banana fan fo fain

left out in rain

McCain

The Blaaame Gaaaame!

.

Can’t catch the riff?  Shirley Ellis appears below…

peace.

 

Shirley Ellis – The Name Game

May 16, 2008

Shirley Ellis – The Name Game

Bush, Bush, bo-ush
banana fana fo fush
sat on his tush
Bush

Creative Foreplay

May 16, 2008

Nope, sorry… this post is not a guide to better sex.  What I am referring to has to do with the writing process.  That creative urge… the point when the light bulb illuminates to full intensity and the thrilling prospect of an new idea graces my thought patterns like color in a black in white film.

At over 240 posts, it ain’t easy being freshly stimulated, motivated to the point of saying, “eureka!” and then joyfully assembling words into sentences that convey the theme.  Sometimes it can be down right difficult.  Your brain buzzes in a holding pattern and you frantically find yourself thinking, “nothing’s coming out!”

But of course, something always does.  Some entertainer will grab the headlines because she’s wrecked her car (again! how many times is that?  three? four?  … can you say, “basket case?”), some politician will say “57 states” (when really there is only 51*), or another disaster will make the news (in China, they don’t hardly have anything… except earthquakes) and I’ll think, “there you go” and merrily pound away at the keyboard.  It doesn’t take a lot; a word, a deed or a certain situation and I’m off like a dirty shirt.

Sometimes the idea doesn’t want to show itself completely; you have to nurse it along, coax it a little… create a pathway with breadcrumbs.  Other times it’ll crash into you, wake you in the middle of the night or just be one of those one sided arguments on “what I should have said…”

But lately it has been relatively easy, kinda like showing off your flashy new gizmo thingy… “What?  You don’t have one of these?  gee… that’s too bad” and getting all excited when you get that approving nod from the one you REALLY want to impress.  And of course… the one I want to impress most of all is you.

So where to begin… need to come up with a new idea here.  Let’s work on it together, shall we?  We’ll call this a collective effort, send me your vibes.   Okay… I’m concentrating… closing my eyes.  I’m in a dark tunnel, very dark and I’m walking…  I’m trying to recall…  I’m trying to… think (uh oh, dangerous ground)  I’m thinking of a number…  Hey, wait!  I can’t write about that! 

sheesh!

I was in a Home Depot this morning, gathering up some materials for a job I was going to later on.  Up and down several isles, the place isn’t as busy as it usually is.  I remind myself that the economy stinks right now.  (RECESSION – c’mon, George… say it)  I come up to one location where there are fasteners; nails, screws, bolts and nuts… that sort of thing.  There are a couple of men blocking the very section I want to be in.  

I can tell they are of Hispanic origin, they are speaking Spanish.  Politely I maneuver around them, either side of them, but I can’t reach what I want.  (drywall screws)  “Excuse me,” I say cheerfully.  I always felt that it is better to make it a request than a demand.  Some people say “excuse me” like it gives them a license to reach in front of your face and grab.  To me that is the same as blowing your horn just before the collision… pointless.  But these men respond favorably with a grunt and step aside.  I can tell they are nervous, possibly not understanding English (which is getting more and more common) or possibly frustrated that they can’t get help (hey, welcome to America!) to find what they need.

I get my little box of screws and make my way further down the isle in search of another item when I hear childish laughter.  I hear it again, identical to the first time.  A happy eruption of glee.  I turn in the direction of the two Hispanic men and one of them has reached for his phone.

Immediately I realize what has happened.  The man’s ringer had been made to sound like a child’s laughter, possibly his own child.  I’m not real astute on modern technology, I do enough to get by because I am basically a lazy brained individual.  But the guy with the telephone owner saw me turn to look around for the kid responsible for the sound and grinned at my reaction.  I grinned back, it was classic… the laughter of a child is universal. 

At that moment we were just two guys who reacted to something funny, and I was the brunt of the joke that only he and I knew.  We could have been at a Bar-B-Q in his back yard, or at the city park downtown, perhaps at the old school yard waiting for the bell to ring and the laughter of children wouldn’t have seemed out of place.

My children have grown up now but that sound takes me back to when their laughter was my reward, maybe I had done something right in my life.  I don’t know if the man had his own children, but he might have had brothers and sisters.  Surely that sound was not foreign to him… though at that point in time he was feeling a bit foreign perhaps, a little out of place.  He and his friend appeared lost in the menagerie of that warehouse looking for something to take with them at the start of their day and feeling some frustration over not finding it.  My case of minor confusion with a momentary comedic reaction may have eased his stress level for a bit, so it was worth it to me to appear the clown.

I imagined the guy telling his companion about it later and they both getting a chuckle over it.  I smiled at my folly as I exited the store and entered the parking lot.  It doesn’t take much to create a bond, just a bit of humility at the right moment and he was there to witness my slight gaffe.  A little humor at my expense, which didn’t cost me a dime.  

And me?  Well… the creative gods work in mysterious ways…  isn’t it all just foreplay?

post #247  (eureka!)

* I know it is 50 states and the District of Columbia, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention… Barack.

Peace.

 

 

 

They are dumbing down our Rock ‘n’ Roll!

May 10, 2008

Okay… the greatest recording artists of all time.  The Beatles, right?  Right… just checking.  Elvis ranks right up there.  One could argue that the Beatles had four individual members whereas there was/is only one Elvis.  In fact , early on the media called the Beatles “the four Elvis'” because of their remarkable popularity.  There was a time that the Beatles had 5 songs in succession ranking #5 up to #1.  A former #1 Beatles song would get knocked down in ranking by another Beatles song…  under four different record labels!  Unheard of before or since!

1.  Can’t Buy Me Love (Capitol Records)

2.  Twist and Shout (Tollie)

3.  She Loves You (Swan)

4.  I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Capitol Records)

5.  Please Please Me (Vee-Jay) 

So why am I bringing this up now?  Well, frankly I’m disappointed in a lot of the music these days and I have to wonder what the heck is going on?  We are lacking in something here.  I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about it.  How music from 40 years ago still resonates with young people.  Maybe not exclusively, but back when I was a teenager listening to my parents music was unheard of, almost like treason.  People would have checked my I. D. just to make sure I wasn’t a 40 something infiltrator if I’d been listening to Benny Goodman or Frank Sinatra.  So were we on to something back then when the Beatles and other rock ‘n’ roll bands reigned supreme?  Has rock reached it’s pinnacle?  It would appear so and I’ll tell you why…

Quietly, over the course of some 16 years, another artist is about to break the Beatles record of 20 #1 hits.  Right now she has tied with Elvis with her 19th #1.  Soon to be named the most popular recording artist in music recording history is…  is… …

(drum roll, please… horn section 20th Century Fox style,  Rocky theme… played backwards)  is….   is… 

Mariah Carey… whoo hoo! 

Huh?

Mariah Carey? 

I’m sorry, but from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll to the Fab Four to… Mariah Carey?  I can’t stand it…  and I’m not trying to minimize her accomplishments but… who buys this stuff?  Every picture I see of her is like she’s in the midst of some erotic dream… oh, so vulnerable and innocent yet still some sexual deviant to be longed for and desired.  yikes… what does that have to do with good music?  Oh, I know she has a 12 octave range but her oooo’s are a cross between a yodel and a screeching siren. 

Oh, you know… people dissed Elvis way back when, but you can’t deny his popularity is stronger than ever. Case in point… Elvis reached another milestone by being the only artist to have at least one #1 in the last 5 DECADES since the recent release of his greatest hits CD!  and the Beatles?  Their compilation of #1’s went platinum in a matter of days!

So who would be my choice?  Well, in as far as #1 records I couldn’t tell you but if it came to hits in general I don’t think you could deny Eric Clapton’s legacy.  After all, he’s got a rock ‘n’ roll heart.  In the past 40 years he has been a strong influence in the music industry, a multi-Grammy Award winner and has been placed in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame 3 different times.  (no other artist has done that)  Think about it:  Elvis=The Beatles=Clapton.  Or the Rolling Stones could reign on longevity alone.  But Mariah Carey?  Pah-leeze!   

I wonder if it isn’t all just a conspiracy, dumbing down our music.  I realize that there are many different outlets and more artists are getting air time than ever before.  I just worry that the message from rock ‘n’ roll will be blurred into some socially/politically correct form, sanitized and served up with a wink and an approving nod. This stuff is fluff.  I long for the days of socially redeeming commentary the likes of which have woefully fallen silent.  Is it media driven or do people just not care anymore?   

 There is some current stuff out there that I like and since I’ve been married (!) (blissfully married, I might add)  I have been exposed to some music that I have missed along the way and that is good.  Music sootheth the savage beast in me as long as there is a back beat you can’t lose it.  The times are indeed a-changin’ and perhaps rock ‘n’ roll has to grow up one day, but does it have to be during my lifetime? 

I imagine I’ll be a rockin’ grandpa at 78, or more delicately put… 18 with 60 years experience.

*

Peace.

Oh!  in all fairness I have included a Mariah Carey video for you to enjoy.  Her appeal cannot be denied, her talent immeasurable, her singing voice sublime.   Elvis=the Beatles=Mariah Carey.  Enjoy! 

P.S.  By way of comparison, an Eric Clapton video follows.

 

 

   

Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

May 10, 2008

Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Elvis=theBeatles=MariahCarey?

Eric Clapton – Layla (live)

May 10, 2008

Eric Clapton – Layla (live)

Elvis=theBeatles=Clapton… think about it.

peace.