Friday, September 13, 2019

Recorded posts & Sonnet 23

A great friend suggested I record items on the blog. Fantastic idea.
Here is my favorite sonnet, recording below:

Sonnet 23

As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharg’d with burthen of mine own love’s might.
O! let my looks be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express’d.
O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mack & Sam

(Forgive me, Townes)

Living on the edge my friend
Is gonna haunt your aching dreams.
But you keep on keeping on
Till your breath is hard as kerosene.
Mack B was not the only son,
But the favorite one it seemed;
As the fan base began to cry
When Mack left for a brand new team.

All the pundits say,
Carolina had seen its best day.
UNC's a hoops and soccer school:
Football's just a trunk of woes.
Why did UNC let
Mack slip away?
Out of blindness I suppose.

Sam wasn't alive
For Mack's first UNC run.
But he trusted
What Mack had done;
And when the time was right
Sam chose the Heels.
Can't fathom how he feels.

Two games in,
And both were grinners.
Lots of chicken, lots of dinners.
Sinners to saints,
Losers to winners.

Tell me again
How Mack's too old;
A lie as stale
As it is cold.
Here's one that's right on the nose:

Mack is back
And he must have known
All along that Sam's the Man.
No big shock, don't you suppose?

The poets tell how Miami fell;
Now they're staying in a cheap hotel.
Kenan's quiet, the Canes are cold.
So the story ends we're told.
UNC has answered prayers, it's true;
Those boys did what Mack said to do.

All the pundits say
They knew it would happen that way:
Mack comes back
As if he'd never been away.

What happens next?
Kind of hard to say.
But one thing for sure:
The Heels will come to play.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Mack IS Back

UNC 24, South Carolina 20.

What a second half.

What a win. The kind of win that has eluded UNC football since goal posts were invented.

As Mack told the team in the locker room before the game:



Friday, August 30, 2019

Bull's Eye

To mutter, even to oneself, that we live in a strange time defines being present.

What do we have if we can't hope, or dream, or even dream about hope?

What exactly do we want?


Nothing gets to the point quicker than when one thinks or behaves with clarity. Exactly is an adverb. But it is an adverb pumped up, an adverb as close to a verb as a word might be that is nonetheless saddled with the bulky baggage of an LY.

One needs to be wary of adverbs. And adjectives. The world of motion thrives with nouns and verbs as its fuel. Adverbs and adjectives get in the way of that flow. Avoid them.

Forget the passive, embrace the aggressive.

To do. Or not.

Up to you.

There's an ancient story about Burt Reynolds when he was working in the TV series GUNSMOKE. Spencer Tracy, whom Reynolds idolized (for great reason) happened to be working on a film on a nearby set. Day after day, when he could get away from his own job, Reynolds went to Tracy's realm to watch the man work. Tracy caught wind of this, and one day on set, they met.

As the legend goes, Tracy asked, "What is it that you want to do in Hollywood?"

Reynolds said, "Act."

Tracy replied, "Don't let them catch you at it."

In regard to Tracy in performance, when he listened, he LISTENED. Watch him in any of his films, notably INHERIT THE WIND, where in one courtroom scene with his back to the camera, as dialogue occurred, he used his left shoulder to register receipt. Stunning.

The process of making a film, with its constant starts, restarts, and short flurries of performance has a partner in focus with golf, particularly golf at the highest level, which requires sporadic attention, but when that moment comes, it requires TOTAL COMMITMENT.

To that end, one of the great sages of golf wisdom and practice — or any hand-eye endeavor that demands finite repetition that must be enhanced with relaxation — Harvey Penick stands tall.

Penick began his golf career as a caddie, then a player, before turning to his life's work— teaching. During his lengthy tenure at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas  (Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite were among his throng of pupils), Penick kept detailed notes of little nuggets, clues, and tips in a red notebook. Eventually, someone had the brilliant idea of turning Harvey's notebook into a published text. And not shockingly, the first Penick work is titled HARVEY PENICK'S LITTLE RED BOOK.

It is one of those books that dissects a form so clearly and simply that its many lessons can be applied to other endeavors, such as, for instance, acting.

To my mind HARVEY PENICK'S LITTLE RED BOOK is the marketing title. The content title, however, occurs on page 45, with the nugget heading: TAKE DEAD AIM.

Consider this excerpt:

When my student Betsy Rawls was in a playoff for the U.S. Open Women's Championship, I sent her a one-sentence telegram.

It said, "Take dead aim."

Betsy won the playoff.

For golfers who might not understand Texas talk, let me put the advice in the telegram a different way: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in your life at that moment. Shut out all other thoughts other than picking a target and taking dead aim at it. 

This is a good way to calm the nerves.

Clarity of purpose when exact yields centered focus. Some might call that state of being THE ZONE, which happens at times in any endeavor where performance and precision become perfect partners.

How do we get into the zone? How do we stay there? And why would we ever leave a state of mind and body where we dart across the universe like a shooting star and yet do so in slow motion?

Most important: how do we get back?

The wisdom of another sage provides a path: Declan Donnellan's fascinating text, THE ACTOR AND THE TARGET,  cracks a mental whip with lightning bolts of clarity.

Do you remember the iconic scene of Robin Hood showing up at an archery contest, and the villain hits the center of the target. And Robin Hood follows by splitting that arrow?

That arrow splitting gives exact vibrant meaning.

Donnellan says:

1. There is always a target.
2. The target exists outside and at a measurable distance.
3. The target exists before you need it.
4. The target is always specific.
5. The target is always transforming.
6. The target is active.

One way of digesting these pearls is to acknowledge that clarity of purpose is constant, that the source of that clarity is elusive and changing, and that when we define the new source of clarity, we have pinpointed our next target, which like life (and dominoes), keeps tumbling, tumbling, tumbling.

Don't let them catch you at it.
Take dead aim.
You are what you see.
Bull's Eye.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

"Old Macky Is Back In Town"

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight

You know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there's never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Lies a body just oozin' life, eek
And someone's sneakin' 'round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There's a tugboat, huh, huh, down by the river don'tcha know
Where a cement bag's just a-drooppin' on down
Oh, that cement is just, it's there for the weight, dear
Five'll get ya ten, old Macky's back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky's back in town

Look out, old Macky's back

Now that, perhaps, memories of Bobby Darin, or a lanky villain with a shiny blade in a theatre classic have meandered toward the present, and while the band packs up to head to another gig: the college football question of the week, if not all of autumn, for UNC fans:  how will Mack Brown, his staff, and his team fare this season?

For me, it's difficult to have a "reasonable" prediction without the decades of turmoil-disappointment-frustration factor.

I expect one abysmal skull drugging: Clemson.

Mercer looms as the sure thing. She's going to spend the night.

The rest?  A variety of teases and squeezes, some that might even as Tom Petty would say, "Breakdown. Go ahead and give it to me."

Reality screams have you not paid attention?

Well, I have. 

Last season had as much to do with fitness and confidence in the fourth quarter as it did with our players being overmatched. An agonizing, predictable fade in the fourth quarter that led all observers to see the writing before the wall was up, With Ellliott we knew there would be no miracle drive, and that the defense would fall apart, try as it might — to its credit, effort was never the issue. Fatigue, fear and fate formed a season-long caucus that ran the show for UNC when it counted.

Even the one instance Elliott delivered with the perfect pass in the final period against Virginia Tech, a fumble in the end zone turned an upset into another devastating, mind-numbing defeat.

Failure and success: "It's a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning," as Jimmy Buffett once remarked.

Based on nothing but what Mack and his staff accomplished elsewhere before coming to UNC, the recruiting the past few months, the changes with fitness, how camp was run and there were no injuries, even how the QB sweepstakes was handled — realists might say quickly that Mack was likely to go with the horse that he brought. Perhaps  — But using only what the staff has done, it is difficult to not succumb to hope for a surprise or two as in games won. 

It's a funny thing about confidence. You can't buy it. You can lose it much easier than find it. But should that surprise victory come early ...who knows. As Chi Chi Rodriquez once admitted, "The more I practice, the luckier I get." Confidence can be a tool, particularly confidence that evolved and eventually became deserved. Doubt is the biggest enemy at this point. 

That, and reality.

Howell certainly has potential. Perhaps the team does, too. 

A good news snippet materialized yesterday with the NCAA's decision (finally) to declare the Auburn transfer eligible to play this season.

Optics has become one of those buzz words that is already flirting with cliche (as is unpack), but what does UNC need to keep going forward and not meander or step back?

1. Have to compete every game for 60 minutes. That's a given.
2.Other than Clemson, keep the hope of victory alive as long as time permits. Perhaps even grabbing one or two of those nail trimmers that Fed could never win.
3. That even the most cynical observers admit the team made substantial progress during the season. For me that's Optics 101. The team has to be perceived as evolving upward.

My cousin played for Jim Hickey. My habit has been to anticipate each game with a win as the goal, and during that game, to maintain that hope until reality demands a shift in view. That won't change.

I am excited for Saturday. So much unknown. And, for me, perhaps too much hope/expectation.

But as of today, Mack and Company are undefeated. 

Oh, to have that be true when dawn smiles Sunday.

One can almost hear ....

Look out, old Macky's back.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Seeking Employment

As it happened,
A wandering soul in need of focus
Did what anyone out of work
Would do: He checked the want ads.

Ah ha.

Other World Enterprise
Night Position
(Some fun involved)
Algonquin Hotel
Room 304.
See Mr. O.

Mr. O?

That’s interesting.

At the appointed hour,
He arrived, new suit and shoes,
And a different cut to his hair:
A bit longer than in the past.

A gruff, wheezing matron,
A cross between librarian and prison warden,
Occupied a mammoth desk
With mountains of paper.
She glanced up and barked, “Name?”

“Well, that depends.”

The wheezer grimaced.

“I see. You’re either an idiot or a comic.”

That stung.

“How about both?”

Wheezer muttered, “How about we call you Mr. X?”

“I get it. A chalk talk. Mr. O and Mr X. Get it? Xs and Os!”

Wheezer grimaced again in a different key. Apparently, she had a catalogue.
Some grimaces were brief. Others a bit more Russian novel as in desperate for a paragraph.

“How did you hear about this position?”

“Actually, I read about it in Whaddyagonnado Now?"

“That rag? Surprised we placed an ad there, but as the song says, one man’s ceiling—"

“Is another man’s attic?”

Wheezer’s eyes almost twinkled. For her that was a belly laugh. A real hip shaker. Earth moving. Carol King. The whole bit.

“Previous experience?”


Yes, what?

“Yes. i’ve had some experience.”

Wheezer snapped a pencil in half.

“Tell me whatever you want," Wheezer said. "Try to amuse me."

“My friends know me as Robin. I love hockey. Well, I did love hockey. I worked in a circus with the animals. One of the magicians said I had potential. I met a wizard who needed an assistant, and he taught me a few spells. I moved to New Orleans and discovered mojo and that snakes are not to be trusted. At one point I thought i fell in love. But it was not to be. She was mortal, and I was far from it. Did some freelance with a band of angels, but I hated the costumes. Worked the Catskills in the after after hours clubs. Worked in advertising. Helped name a soft drink."

Wheezer studied Robin a moment.


"Well, it wasn't Tab."

"Ha," Wheezer said. "Good one."

"This is a tough house."

Wheezer shrugged, "Wait till you meet Mr. O."

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Be A Sucker

I’m a sucker
For Hoosiers’ Jimmy
When he says “I’ll make it.”
And he does.

Yeah, it’s Hollywood
By way of John R. Tunis
And Clair Bee.

Chip Hilton
And MJ
Had their day.

I’m a sucker
For that moment
That brings a team together.
After bad weather.

I’m a sucker
For that

And to that,
Like The Dude,
I will

The message

Find out
For certain
if it’s real;

Is it
Actually yours?
Or are you

The big decision.



Be a sucker