Thursday, January 10, 2019

50-50

Think about the times
You won. 
And the times 
You lost.

What was the difference?

Did it matter the nature of the game?

Were you confident?

Did you win big?

Have you lost big?

What is winning?

Winning and losing are not routinely 
Cut and dry, or black and white:
Fine lines outbid absolutes.

Mostly, our lives linger in the shadows,
On the border of where
Expectation and Hope rub shoulders,
Neither is out of reach or is accessible.

Bummer, isn’t it?

That most of life is a series of 50-50 balls and calls.
Those moments that can go either way,
And maybe the deciding factor,
As it is with most endeavors,
Is your attitude.

Here’s a convenience store
Psychology test.

You have half a bottle of an expensive beverage,
Or maybe just a beverage hard to find,
Or that you simply crave.
Whatever.

Is it half full?
Or half empty?

Be honest with yourself.

Half-full is one way to accept and deal with the world.
Half-empty is another.

Are you an optimist?
Are you a pessimist?

Why?

And why not?

Do you believe in the power
Of positive thinking?

Or is it fool's gold —
A fake pearl in front of an actual swine.

When you shoot, putt, aim, steer, roll or seduce,
Do you have an image of success?

Is reality pre-destined?

Does free will exist? 
Where can you rent it?

Ha.

One thing i do know is
that process is the result.

Each process is a universe,
A life and arc of its own.

As The Who would say:

I'm singing this note 'cause it fits in well
With the chords I'm playing
I can't pretend there's any meaning here
Or in the things I'm saying
But I'm in tune
Right in tune
I'm in tune
And I'm gonna tune
Right in on you
Right in on you
Right in on you


Monday, December 31, 2018

Running Away With Me Again


Timing is everything, 
Particularly in dreams.

Each of us is a sponge:
Absorbing, capturing, wiping away;
Then rinsing with exercise,
Or a shower,
Or a confession
To remove the stains.

Ah, but they remain

Until we sleep.
Then, and not as often
As one might like,
The vast cavern
That holds secrets
Hidden to the heart
Pulls back the curtain
In patterns and scenes that
Redefine measured random.

Or maybe it’s just my imagination —
Running away with me again.

Sometimes the path
Is paved with billboards
Offering options,
Portals with levers.
Which century?
What location?
What does it mean
That we have this choice?

The future lurks with the past:
Just out of touch.
Slouching near a street light
With a 40s smoke
And a Raymond Chandler sneer,
Someone who resembles Robert Mitchum
Inhales the vision
Of a sultry beacon
In a skin-clutching, 
Flaming dahlia number
Perhaps two sizes small
And about a hundred times too perfect.

He offers her a light, and she replies
with Camel-influenced resonance,
"It's going to be a bumpy night."

Some say they trust in the universe.
Others find comfort in ideals.
History sheds some light,
But not everyone reads these days.

Around the corner
It’s 1969.
A couple in tie-dyed bell bottoms and
Wild hair wave at a kid on a scooter
With an iPhone 10 who
Gets a text from his grandparents,
Hippies from way back when.

Just whose imagination
Was running away again?

Hip-hop Hamilton
Might be
Cultured Stones,
Which might be
The Marx Brothers
On Wall Street.

Whatever gets you through
Makes you more complete.
Peanut butter finds chocolate;
Basil embraces ginger.
But where is Mary Ann?
Still on the island,
Working the phones
Screening calls from 8 zillion guys
Somewhere on the path from junior high
To a motel room with purpose.

Bigger pictures
Come in widescreen,
As do the fantasies
Of the moment.
The clock ticks toward
A brand new year;
A brand new start.
Maybe one that finds
Truth and ethics back in favor;
Maybe one that
Pulls an abrupt halt
To this reign of charlatan terror.
Can I get an amen?

Or is it just my imagination —
Running away with me again?










Wednesday, December 26, 2018

So, you want to be a rock and roll star

Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time and learn how to play
And when your hair's combed right and your pants fit tight
It's gonna be all right


Advice from The Byrds, as snarky today as it was in 1967. The point being is that while becoming a music sensation might be considered simple, nothing could be more distant from the truth. And truth, these days, is up for grabs, and thus when one has the chance to observe honesty, to breathe it, to enjoy it, allow it to resonate, well ... don't think twice.

The evolution of a young person to rock stardom is one of the many themes that fuel SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY, a show that Ruth (my wife) and I witnessed Christmas night, 2018, courtesy of Netflix.

We were mesmerized. Uncommonly so actually ... for two hours and thirty-some minutes that we didn't move, didn't make a sound, as if to not disturb the performance.

Envy does not come close to the emotion I have about those who witnessed Springsteen's show live in the theatre. Where I would have had the option to clap, tap my foot to music familiar yet quite often deeper, more resonant versions of that familiar, and laugh, and most certainly acknowledge the need to wipe my eyes from time to time to time to time.

I'm certain those in attendance began the evening with anticipation of the tangibly sublime, but soon were transported into the rarest of realms — a shared journey into the mystic.

Even those of us who witnessed this performance via TV, it was clear we were in the company of a legendary performer, one who has crafted a sellable, enduring product and yet remained so true to himself. At first I felt guilty about the cynicism, a default response engendered from the past two long years in the war on facts, compassion and ethics. Still stinging from the latest of the current administration's self-inflicted world-wide disasters, I did not want what I sensed were budding Norman Rockwell sensations to beam me from the grim malaise of now and into a far better place.

But as Bruce Springsteen shared his life's path, skepticism fell by the wayside, and I believed what I felt to be true actually was true. I know Springsteen was not seeking absolution, but what transpired arrived at the intersection of where memory lane embraces confession.

Springsteen's profound love for his parents, Clarence Clemmons, Patty Scialfa, and ultimately his life becomes a tangible force that elevates as it transfixes.

It is remarkable.

If you are already a Netflix subscriber, the "cost" of admission is free ... all that will be taken is time, but even that is at a discount as I'm certain the 153 minutes are the most limber and energetic 153 minutes one can choose to encounter.

Below are three reviews, one dated early in the run, one near the end, and one about the recording.

Consider all of this the water. Up to you if you drink.







Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Back In The U.S.S.R. (Don't know how lucky you are, boy)




This is not shocking. Most reasonable people look at Trump and see him for what he is ... a con-man, career criminal, who opens his mouth or uses his thumbs for one purpose — to sell an idea, that is more often than not a lie.

The pathetic, and again not shocking aspect of this, is how many of Trump's supporters either don't care that their hero is a dissembling crook or don't know because they have one source of media — FOX NEWS.  

Fox News has long been a cheerleader for the GOP. But with Trump, that organization has veered from the sidelines and into the game itself. Sean Hannity, for instance, might as well have a desk in the White House. Every time the phrase "fake news" is used, those muttering those words are trying to reassure their base that the "lies" that such organizations as The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, and The New Yorker are revealing in their daily, non-stop stories about the corruption of Trump, his family, and ultimately, his enablers in Congress, such as notably Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham,  that those stories are not true.

But reasonable people see the picture for what it is.

Trump defends the Saudi prince, and the first question, considering the evidence compiled, is why.

MONEY.

Meanwhile, the GOP continues its Icarus-fall from reality because it has been torched by an Orange Sun. Climate change, immigration insensitivity and brutality, voter fraud, guns, racist demonstrations,  and highly questionable tax breaks are just a few of the ploys that these enablers have endorsed. They will do anything and everything to keep power.

Trump's ties to authoritarian louts, such as Putin, Kim Jong-un and Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud are not just appalling; they are the symptoms, if not acts, of treason.

So to paraphrase a time-worn query:


ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU. 

ASK WHICH COUNTRY IS YOUR DADDY.

Friday, October 12, 2018

This Constant Storm

This constant storm
Crashes on my beach,
Abuses my soul, keeps
Dreams out of reach.

Swirling sand akin
To verbal abuse.
No one’s seeking
Any form of excuse.

Those on the left;
Those on the right:
Nuking the middle
With hate and spite.

Pounding the good book
With bias and greed;
It’s God’s will that
The innocent bleed.

Man, what kind of creed
Can do these things?
And folks still wonder
Why caged birds sing.

This constant storm
Keeps coming and coming.
Waves of anger,
Waves of despair,
Waves of methane
Killing the air.

Some say all’s well
with the atmospshere;
Yet the Arctic is melting,
Smog refuses to clear.

Pretty soon
No alien in space
Is gonna come here.

Why visit a planet
That can’t decide
Between fact tellers
And those who lied?

Alternative truth?
The universe is grinning:
“Those folks on Earth
Can't fathom losing from winning.”


Meanwhile entitled
Good Ole Boys
Keep spouting,
“Wham bam
Thank you mam
Grab that pussy
Cause I can!”

This constant storm
Is a huge harpoon
coming from every direction:
The only barrier
Is the coming election.

So quit whining
And cussing:
That’s no antidote;
Instead, bide your time
And by all means vote

A hundred times
If that’s what it takes
To turn this tide
Toward a more gentle norm
And remove the threat
Of this constant storm ... 

                                         This time.

                                                           For awhile.











Saturday, September 29, 2018

They Went To Paris, Part 2

Earlier in the week, I shared remarkably optimistic lyrics for The Ryder Cup, which concludes this morning, if you are reading this on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018.

Team USA did get off to a great start in the morning session of fourball (all four players play their own ball, if you are not familiar with the Ryder Cup format), but all hell shook loose in the foursome session, where two players use one ball, hitting alternate shots. This is a tough format. Very, very, very tough in the best of conditions.

The Euros won all four matches in foursomes, the first time they'd swept USA in that format, and seized a 5-3 lead after Friday's two sessions.

Saturday's two sessions were just as horrid for Team USA, which managed to win 3 points , 1 in fourball, 2 in foursomes, while the Euros again claimed 5.

This Ryder Cup is being played on a course outside Paris, France. It is one of the regular European Tour venues. The Euro team, thus, knows the course, having accumulated some 250 or more rounds on that layout.

Team USA had eight rounds of experience.

The Euros, as host team, get to set the course up.  Thomas Bjorn, the Euro captain, let the rough grow. Think Gabby Hayes at Woodstock. Think wheat fields. Corn as high as elephant's eye.

Why?

Because the Euros have a bunch of players who drive the ball straight, while one of the key strengths of team USA was how far some of its players can hit the ball. Usually, it comes down to putts to decide team competition. Bjorn cut to the chase by making hitting the fairway an equal component, and considering how the Americans have performed, the deciding component.

The feed for this blog sends new posts out at 6 a.m. This will arrive in your email about the time singles play begins. Europe leads, 10-6. There will be 12 singles matches. Because USA won the last Ryder Cup, they need 14 points to retain the Cup. The Euros need 14 1/2.

The Euros, obviously, are in great shape.

Match play can be fantastic theatre. Even if you don't care or know much about golf, you might find observing what pressure can do to be of interest.

My prediction for the outcome returns to to the Jimmy Buffett song, HE WENT TO PARIS.

Today, I suspect another rewrite is in order. This one is not long.

They went to Paris
Looking for answers
To questions that bothered them so.

And failed.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

They Went To Paris

(with sincere apologies to Jimmy Buffett).

They went to Paris
Looking for answers
To questions that bothered them so.

They were impressive,
Seasoned, yet quite aggressive:
Savin' the world on their own.
When they missed those summer breezes.
They leaned on French wines and cheeses,
But nothing put their ambition at bay.
They kept their resolve,
Determined  to evolve,
Seizing 6 points the very first day.

On and on it went:
Some of it perfect,
Some of it boresome.
What’s the difference
between fourball and foresome?

Yet none of the antics
of full-throttle romantics
Could keep this team at bay.
A hard-earned infusion
and a heart-felt transfusion
Turned harsh rival into prey.

One in particular
Had arrived in style
Exuding savvy and warm guile.
His body had been battered,
His whole world had been shattered,
Yet still he managed to smile.

Because he’d been
through the fire
and taken his life higher
With patience and persistence.
So it just goes to show
No matter how harsh the blow
You can still go the distance.

Without improving their lies
They claimed the Ryder prize,
Then jetted to the Bahamas
Where they finished the plan
By strolling on sand
In red, white & blue pajamas.

Yeah, they went to Paris
Lookin' for answers to questions

That bothered them so.