Tuesday, August 31, 2010

hoping that the train is on time

Three songs to listen to on You Tube:

"End of The Line" - The Traveling Willburys

"One Toke Over The Line" - Brewer & Shipley

"Lawyers, Guns and Money" - Warren Zevon

Two and a half years ago I was so excited because the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" was coming out: when Tom Hanks (as Charlie Wilson) meets with pres. of Pakistan (set, 1980, approx.) the "Congressman Charlie Wilson" character promises, with SINCERE (and routine) intonation, the "thoughts and prayers" of the people of the something-or-other congressional district in Texas.

The Pakistani president is like, "thoughts and prayers..." -- and with that particular and peculiar accent that sounds like they're always grinning tightly, ear-to-ear, when they talk: "We need airplanes, guns, and money!"

I thought, "Where have I heard that before?"
and -- turns out Mr. Zevon's song was "lawyers" not "airplanes." But -- close enough.


Monday, August 30, 2010

beg my pardon

weekend poem:

"Music Mix-Up // Fooled By Jazz"
Listening to the
rustle / roar / sigh
of a windy
(and sparkly bright)
had mental laugh,
Realizing --
last night
playing Paris Washboard
(all instrumental)
CD, checked Song "5" --
oh Yes!
"How Long Has
This Been
Going On?"
I know that one! --
Love that one!
number 5 was
"Keepin' Out Of
Now" -- I had,
put Paris Washboard
CD into
"Dave Grusin,
The Gershwin
Connection" CD case,
Washboard case was
piece of junk,
and -- never listen,
Grusin --
SO --
that Music
from earlier times,
I don't --
Like it, don't
Know it.
(Also thought
"Thou Swell" was
"Our Love Is
Here To Stay,"
for TWO reasons --
1, "Our Love" listed
on Grusin case-cover,
AND both
"Love" and "Swell"
are on the Natalie
Cole "Unforgettable" CD,
so I've heard
those 2 songs
close together,
many times...)
Am clueless.
Wonderful sound, though.
Sparkly, like today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

good space

A positive sense of being.

That's all I got, tonight.
That's all I need.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Honey you got a letter from the White House

My co-worker who received a letter from the president brought the letter in yesterday. I made a copy of it.

It is signed, "Sincerely, Barack Obama"

"Thank you for writing me..."etc.

"I appreciate hearing from you."

"I take seriously your opinions and respect your point of view on this important matter. Please know that your concerns will be on my mind in the days ahead."

I particularly liked those parts, but the whole letter was good.

He mentioned the website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

The stationary is a really thick, strong piece of paper. Only three things printed on it, and centered at the top --

first, the Presidential seal (it isn't ink on paper -- it's dents -- an imprint, in the paper, like when you have something notarized).

Then the words, "THE WHITE HOUSE"

then the word, "WASHINGTON" -- in smaller letters.

Very clean and understated.

The date was typed in the center of the page, before the salutation. (I was taught that with a business letter the date was either over to the right-hand column, or at the left, right above their name, address, and "Dear so-and-so." The Maintenance Supervisor pointed out, "He's the president, he can put the date anywhere he wants to." True.)

My co-worker's husband was surprised when he picked up the mail: "Honey, you got a letter from -- the White House... - ?"


Monday, August 23, 2010

mr. postman, look and see

A co-worker I'll call Worker #7 received a letter from President Obama.

(I am really happy, and quite gratified, in several ways....)

Worker #7 had what I thought was a good idea for a way to prevent deaths in mining accidents. It was some sort of engineering concept, sort of -- beyond me, I would not have thought of it -- but it sounded like it had merit.

She had the idea a year or two ago, when there was a mining accident in the news. Then in April of this year when the Upper Big Branch thing happened, I encouraged her to write a letter to our congressional delegation, describing her idea -- if it has merit, it could be incorporated into federal safety regulations.

# 7 was skeptical: she doesn't vote, and is not in the habit of participating in this fashion.
Why is it important to me that people do this kind of stuff?
A. You never know where the next big idea is going to come from.
B. Individuals should feel / know that their ideas are important and could have merit and usefulness.
C. Government should listen. (If all they ever get are fake letters from special interest groups and death threats, that hurts communication; they're bound to stop listening. You gotta put something positive in there.)

[Want to digress for only a moment -- to illustrate Item "A": I was on the phone once with a governor-elect -- I said the members of the association I represented had several ideas to offer him, to try to solve a particular funding problem. He said he had already had meetings with some people and they had thought of everything.

* * * *
Does that leave you as cold as it left me?
They had already thought of everything.
It is enough to make you laugh, isn't it? Out loud, I said something like, "Okay," and then kept talking around toward another position to try to get something done, and inside my mind I was thinking, "Man, there's a level of arrogance to which I'm not yet accustomed."]

The way I got around #7's skepticism was, I typed up her idea in a letter and asked her to edit it, then did a final copy, and copies of it which she then agreed to sign. (Did my enthusiasm catch on, with my co-worker? Or did she only want to "get me off her back" as they say? Don't know.)

We sent copies of the letter to our own congressional delegation, one or two West Virginia people, and copied the White House.

And #7 told me upon my arrival at work today, that she had received a letter from the president. (I couldn't believe she did not have the letter with her -- I can't wait to read it tomorrow!!!)

The fact that it took four months before a letter came back, tells me that some people on the president's team really read that letter and considered the ideas in it.

Worker #7 may still not vote, but if she and people in her family consider voting someday, it might be partly because they got a good impression because the president (or some of his people) considered her ideas, and valued her opinion.
You know, it's like -- if they ever do vote, this effort didn't hurt, & may have helped, in that direction.

Plus they will tell their friends and more people will have a positive idea of democracy, and their part in it.

(Perhaps this is Voting Obsession, Part 2.)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

mindless; vote anyway

A great article in yesterday's (or Tue.) New York Times
about the U.S. Senate
"The Mirthless Senate"
or something...
It was such a good article, with some interesting comments from readers, also:
was going to print it & give to a guy where I work,
who does not vote,

and then realized -- the article really doesn't
support my argument that Voting is a worthwhile thing to do;
it discusses "mindless obstructionism" etc.
and actually
workplace guy could use whole article as
support for his position that Voting is a waste of time
because politicians act so stupid

Gotta get better at supporting my own point...!
Except, if can't convince someone to vote,
still Enthusiasm won't let me Not-share the good article.

Don't really want to Convince -- want them to see it for themselves;
I want it to be their idea.
My hairstylist says Voting or Not-Voting is generational.
She says people my age vote, and people younger than me have a much higher percentage who do not vote.
Is this true?


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If you think I'm happy, you're right

"Six Days On The Road"

a classic country song
it's so good --
(I'm for making it our national anthem!)
[am sleep deprived at moment -- that's the kind of cause I get behind when I'm like this...]
go on You Tube
and listen to "Six Days" renditions by --
Red Sovine, for an Early Classic sound -- smooth (move over Sinatra)
Dave Dudley -- who himself looks like a truck driver / style: story-telling / expressiveness, engaging "mugging" to live audience
Sawyer Brown -- hammerin' country rock
The Planets (March 1977) -- it's "piano-centric", believe it or not -!

there are others...one by Flying Burrito Brothers, one by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons, one by a Phil Gibson (workman-like vocals, but the assertive, intricate instrumentals make you feel like you've been danced with, when you listen)


Monday, August 16, 2010

music groove island mind

Bob Marley.
music from You Tube
What a groove
What a trip

art of living

A major influence on my thinking, as an adult, is the writing of Alexandra Stoddard.
In Daring To Be Yourself, she wrote the following --
Playing with flowers is a great form of meditation, and time spent experimenting with vases and stem lengths should never be rushed. Think of the time as a spiritual experience and savor the creative act of rearrangement. Let your eye judge. If something doesn't sing, begin again. Our most usual mistake is to select too big a vase; then the flowers look dwarfed and skimpy. Far better to have them exuberantly spreading out in all directions than looking restricted and rigid in the wrong vase. Even a clear drinking glass can contain quite a substantial bouquet. Just because the flowers you buy have long stems doesn't mean they wouldn't be far more attractive cut short and sassy.

Mrs. Eleanor McMillen Brown arranged flowers in wide-mouthed vases and often massed the same flower in a vase, her favorite being anemones. The repetition of shape builds impact and the variety of colors from red to fuchsia to purple and white makes it a lush statement. You can do the same with a variety of jonquils, roses or tulips. Edouard Manet painted the flowers that his friends brought him at his deathbed. I suspect he arranged and rearranged these bouquets to suit his artistic sensitivity. There is an exquisite book entitled The Last Flowers of Manet by Andrew Forge and Robert Gordon, about his last flower bouquets, which is utterly delightful.
[From Daring To Be
Yourself, by Alexandra
Stoddard, 1990 / Avon
Books, New York,
New York]
How much time do I spend in my life arranging or painting flowers, or reading books about the topic? Not so much. But I like to read those two paragraphs.
Think maybe humans need to be reminded of beauty, in life, just like we need to be reminded about God and religion.
"If it doesn't sing, begin again."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gonna try with a little help from my friernds

Amazed and overwhelmed (in good way):

Have 1000 pages on my novel, titled "Wondering About The Questions Of My Time."
TWO comments on yesterday's blog post; it's an honor, thanks!
My blog reminded Phil (in Wales) of an old Gregory Peck movie --
I'm -- very pleased; if my blog is going to remind anyone of anything, it should be an old movie.
"Here's looking at you, kid."
Found a website called "The Cook Report" -- political reporting, nonpartisan, it says; will try it.

(Stories in news about Barnes & Noble up for sale, e books & kindle, whatever, supposed to be death of reading / publishing / etc. and here I'm writing a book -- should bum out, I suppose, but not: am I the owner of a bookstore or publishing company? Let them worry about themselves; my book's not even done yet; I'll cross that bridge when I'm dangling off the side of it holding on with one hand...)


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Money changes everything


And I was thinking presidents who have Serious Money behind them
have a whole other dimension of power
which goes with the Money.

The person with Mammoth Wealth
has a machine, an apparatus, a whole big Thing backing him up.

You don't even have to spend any of the money, a lot of the time, I think -- just Having It, and people Knowing You Have It
confers upon you a certain influence.

The politician who has Serious Wealth has the added advantage that many people he encounters will --
1. want to please him
2. want to be associated with him, and
3. be extremely reluctant to tick him off.

It's like a whole big -- clod -- of Power and Influence, without having spent a dime.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the Common Denominator

Regarding the theory:

Three things said by Kennedys which I noticed, and really liked:

1. when Ted Kennedy asked that his brother Robert be remembered as "a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war & tried to stop it."

2. In a speech (I think) it was Robert Kennedy who said the phrase "...make gentle the life of this world." [after noting millions spent on weapons rather than improvements for human life], and

3. The day Martin Luther King was killed, Bobby Kennedy, campaigning, was advised not to go out and speak in front of a group -- a largely black, urban audience (Detroit, maybe?) and he went out anyway & spoke and called for "love," on top of having already requested understanding and calm, whatever else -- I'll find the quote another day.

On top of asking people not to despair or let anger take over, he requested that they "love" -- it was more like how a pastor would speak rather than a politician, or anybody else...asking for love on such an angry, shocked, and disappointing day seemed a little "over the top" to me - ! - but in a good way. Nervy.

And somehow those three quotes (or versions of them) were floating around in my memory and for some reason I thought of assassinations -- I know why, was watching Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary and there was film footage from Dealey Plaza -- I'm fascinated, yet hate seeing that, at the same time, when he's alive and smiling, you can't watch that without having different thoughts and reactions tumbling on top of each other, jumping ahead because you know too well what's going to happen, what already happened, and you don't want to know but you cannot help but know.

And anyway -- seeing that, being reminded, + thinking of those three quotes which seem uplifting to me, somehow those thoughts meshed together and gave me the theory of presidents who have both Ideals and Money.

According to my list, only two had both -- George H.W. Bush (the dad) and John Kennedy. Bush was done after one term; Kennedy was taken out.

And the piece to the puzzle that makes me think, the factor they have in common is that combination of having both Strong Ideals and Money.
Because if you look at it that way -- make the combination of Ideals And Money the common denominator, then Robert Kennedy gets pulled into it too. The thing he doesn't have in common with Bush Sr. and JFK is, being president. But the thing he does have in common with the other two is Ideals & Money (+ his campaign to be president).

The Money component: 2 things.
1. Most of the presidents listed, I typed "Money-no." Of course, didn't mean I think these guys are, or were, strapped for cash or something. But you know, they don't have Serious Wealth.
2. I'm not talking about a notion that a president is going to take his own personal wealth and just start spending large amounts of it to personally cure the world's problems -- rather, I'm referring to the Power that Money allows a person -- the politician, or whatever, and his apparatus (his posse, whatever ya got...) if there is someone who --

a. understands the Leverage the Money/Power allows
b. is Interested; and
c. has the Will to apply it.

Joseph Kennedy.
Have a nice day.

There's a lot of Money floating around, and we got plenty of presidents, but only three guys had that particular Power-Combination propelling them in public life -- George H.W. Bush, a president, John F. Kennedy, a president, and Robert F. Kennedy, a candidate for the presidency. Bush's vote was split with Perot in '92, to remove him from office; both Kennedy brothers assassinated. Right before our eyes. On camera.

[space of silence for thought]

don't ask me not to wonder about this ...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

money, ideals, and a slip

Saturday morning I thought of this --
either in bed when I was waking up (without alarm clock, just waking up)
or maybe later, when cleaning,
not sure when.

Wrote the theory in the Writing Practice Notebook and listed out exhibits.

Theory: the reason why John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were murdered is because they could have made things better because they had the unique combination of --
The Ideals
The Money.

(Was thinking, no other recent president had both.) Ex. A (starting, present, and working back):

Obama: Ideals-yes, Money-no
George W. Bush: Ideals-no, Money-yes
Clinton: Ideals-some, Money-no
George H.W. Bush: Ideals-sort of, Money-yes
(and NOTE: OUT after one term)
Reagan: Ideals-yes, Money-no
Carter: Ideals-yes, Money-no
Ford: Ideals-maybe, Money-no
Nixon: Ideals-no, Money-no
Johnson: Ideals-yes, Money-no
John F. Kennedy: Ideals-yes, Money-yes.

The only yes-yes you got is John F. Kennedy.
(The only other qualified yes-yes is Robert Kennedy -- but, never president -- they weren't even going to let him get in....)
An almost-yes-yes is George Herbert Walker Bush (1988-1992) -- "kinder and gentler", "thousand points of light" -- yeah, they made sure he was out after one term. (Enter Perot.)

I'm not even a fan of "conspiracy" theories for their own sake, or to get carried away with them, on the other hand to simply discount ALL conspiracy theories is to bury one's head in the sand --things don't just happen by accident when big money/power at stake -- you and I may not have a plan but somebody does. Surely.

(Above when I typed "bury one's head in the sand" the first time, I slipped and had a "typo" -- I actually typed "bury one's head in the sane" --
was that a "Freudian slip"?
Do I want to bury my head in the "sane" to keep out the "insane" of the lurid and mean chatter which they try to sell us as "news" these days?)

Gotta love those Freudian slips.
(If it is only from the waist down, then it is a Freudian half-slip.)


Monday, August 9, 2010

"It's the humidity"

a poem
written Saturday evening

"It's the Humidity"

The warm wet
blanket of a
summer evening,
"(my mother would say, "They're not really locusts [the neighbor girl's term] -- they're cicadas.")
Their clattering
chorus --
Recollections of
childhood -- Summers
-- hitting the ball
a fire outside
paper plates
a marshmallow
On the pointed end of a stick
Whittled by Dad,
some by me,
supervised &
The Cat with
her own agenda,
Weaving in from the tall grass,
Satisfied with her perimeter-check,

Intent on returning
to the area
where her humans
are gathered.

Relatives & friends,
Grown-up talk,
outdoor chairs --
light metal;
Space exploration,
Nixon, war,
today's society,
juicy hamburgers,
carrots & celery --
cool on a plate.

Later --
in the dark, the blink -- ON,
off, On
of fireflies
("lightning bugs")
and far-flung
in the velvet black.


Friday, August 6, 2010

maybe i'm amazed

Yesterday -- was thinking, here, that people don't care much about pain if it isn't their own.

Our state legislators who voted down the "medical marijuana" legislation were thinking of pain -- their own, at the next election, when their opponent would beat them to death with "he / she voted in favor of smoking pot!" blah blah blah.

But it isn't always true: there are people who
see wrong and try to right it,
see suffering and try to heal it,
see war and try to stop it.

was in pain

and then
things improved


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hello 'Mary Jane'

Thinking about marijuana made me think of the slang term for it, "mary jane" --
Thinking about "mary jane" made me think of the song,
"Hello Mary Lou"
which I imagined was sung by the Everly Brothers
You Tube teaches me that -- No,
it's the STATLER Brothers who sing "Hello Mary Lou."

Good song.
When I was a teenager my dad told me that soldiers during World War II called reefer "mary jane."
I rarely think about marijuana; I don't smoke it; (tried it once, as a teenager, & found myself underwhelmed.)
As an adult, I don't have a desire or a need to do stuff that's against the law, so that's not a part of my life. And nobody I know personally does it. That I know of.
It's like zebras: it exists in the world, but not really in my sphere of immediate experience.

someone told me that someone they worked with was drug tested at work and then -- I don't know -- subjected to some kind of consequences (don't know -- didn't ask -- for Heaven's sake - !) because supposedly there was evidence the person had smoked pot.
I said, automatically, "Smoking it at work?"
"No, at home."
And the only thing I could think of was, "Whatever someone's doing on their own time, in their own home, is truly -- (pardon me), but -- NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

It seems to me.

If an employer, or a boss, or whomever, was going to make a policy of interrogating / intimidating employees in the workplace based on their own judgment of something the person may purportedly be doing on their own time, at home -- that seems like a slippery slope toward some sort of un-American type of policy, or behavior.

This is a free country and each person belongs to him- or herself.
What if you smoke pot (on your own time) and your employer wants to criticize you for it?
What if you look at pornography (on your own time) and your employer wants to criticize you for it?
What if you smoke regular tobacco (on your own time) and your employer wants to criticize you for it?
What if you have premarital sex and your employer wants to criticize you for it?
What if you hit your spouse and your employer doesn't like it?
What if your employer doesn't like
the books you read
the music you listen to
the candidates you vote for
the church you attend
the charities and causes you support?

I could go on and on.
(Come to think of it, I --[a Bob Newhart hesitation] -- I have!)

Pointing out the sins and weaknesses of Other People is such a transparent way to --
a) get the Focus off of one's own sins and weaknesses; and
b) get "Power," the quick-and-dirty way.

It goes back to my philosophy that in today's world there is way too much Picking On People.

And furthermore, maybe marijuana should be legalized. I don't know. Most of the time, don't care. But I watched our state legislature, more than once, kill a bill to legalize the use of marijuana to ease the pain and suffering of people who have glaucoma.

I feel like, when you get a bill handed to you like that, it's like being given a lovely piece of Italian pastry, on a silver platter. Yay, you! And just eat it, and enjoy. A bill like that is a way to easily participate in alleviating pain. And you can do it.
Nothing there but cause for celebration.

And you know what our state legislature did?
Voted it down.
It was more important to them to appear conservative (like that's a problem) and to be anti-hippie, or whatever. Most of them are old enough, they're still fighting what Pres. Obama and others have called "the culture wars" of the sixties & seventies...it was MORE IMPORTANT to them to maintain that image than to help people who are in pain.

It was a sad, sad display.
Maybe pain doesn't mean much to people if it isn't their own pain.

Here's a recipe:
More Compassion
Less Picking-On-People
More Dignity, and None-Of-My-Business.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

you got the cure

on You Tube
to Bobby McFerrin
sing these two songs:
"Don't Worry, Be Happy" and
"Good Lovin'
He combines musical talent (genius?) with sly wit, exuberant humor, and inspired elegance.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

...just like they said they would

The annual Motorcycle Rally
in Sturgis, South Dakota
has Bob Dylan
playing at the Buffalo Chip Campground
August 10.

Thought about going; changed mind. 800,000 people between me and the stage.
I've been fortunate to see Dylan in some wonderful small venues, 1999 to 2006...this year, will just keep checking You Tube and see what gets posted, by those enthusiastic bikers with camcorders and cell phones....

"Rainy Day Women #12 and 35."
How much should I bet he's going to play that one, at the Buffalo Chip?

"...They'll stone you when you're tryin' to be so good.
They'll stone you just like they said they would.
They'll stone you if you want to go home,
They'll stone you when you're left all alone. ..."

This is just a guess.
An educated guess.

They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to make a buck--
They'll stone you & then they'll say good luck...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Calling Bob Newhart

It could be a case for Bob Newhart:

The place where I work, two parking lots: one tight, the other even tighter, it seems. Both great places to practice Defensive Driving to the max.

Last week two in one day: $2500 worth of damage to a parked pickup; and another car appeared to have swooped in and parked with its front bumper practically "up the ass" (pardon that) of the parked vehicle before it.

All this nonsense is preventable. I was energized to write a memo -- dished out copies of it, in the relative quiet of evening hours -- was on a roll, I suppose -- Barack Obama's lucky he didn't get a copy of it.

Home, 10:30pm -- changed clothes, Fleetwood Mac's "Fleetwood Mac" CD playing, then a fast-walk in the humid darkness: and was thinking our parking lot incidents would fit right in with a comedy routine Bob Newhart used to do.

I think it was on a comedy album called "The Button-down World of Bob Newhart," or something like that -- his humor evolved from his persona: the uptight (or, "buttoned-down") WASPy guy with deadpan face and voice.

[His classic:
Other Guy: "What idiot suggested that?!"
Bob Newhart: "That--uh--that, that -- would be me."]

Trademark: hesitation, the stutters, the -- uh -- uh -- the hesitation. And the listening to the other person on the phone, while the audience tries to guess....That -- that -- that would be it.

And his Driving Instructor routine -- he's teaching the "lady driver": (imagine, they used to make jokes about 'women drivers.' It's like a different century.
It WAS different century, come to think of it....)
He's the instructor, giving the woman driving lessons, and he's on the phone:
"What happened?"
(Silence, while he listens.)
"But -- but ma'am. Ninety miles an hour?"
(Pause, while he listens.)
"In your driveway ??!!"

He could totally do that routine about our parking lot.
"But sir -- ninety miles an hour?"
"In, in -- the parking lot ??!!"