Sunday, December 17, 2017

Santa Lives In My Neighborhood

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Something is chewing, maybe a mouse;
Stumble down the hallway, the morning break is took,
Heating the coffee, out the window he looks;
The parking lot is empty, where did they go?
‘Twas the week before Christmas, so he thinks that he knows;
Yawning and scratching, should he take another nap,
While all the neighbors, are out buying that crap;
When out on the yard, there arose such a clatter,
Time to roll out, don’t worry about your bladder;
Climbing aboard his pony, he flew like a flash,
To the Tummy Temple he rode, to spend all his cash;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, so that everybody knows,
‘Twas to buy needless stuff, and spend all your dough;
When what to wondering eyes should appear,
But a women in a fur coat, asking the butcher for rein-deer;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and what would you do,
To celebrate this time of year, and enjoy the wazoo;
Flying the skies for adventure, JD and his main squeeze,
Are celebrating the season, drinking wine, eating pasta and cheese;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and the pace it quickens,
Glazed faces wander the aisles, gathering all the fixings;
There was a time, when one quick trip to the mall!
Would pack up the car, and that would be all;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and as much as we try,
Cannot resist online shopping, waiting drones in the sky;
Office parties will be different, all the mischievous news,
Don’t drink, keep hands in your pockets and your eyes on your shoes;
Will the latest surprise, be a new phone,
Unless you place a call or a text or a tweet, and no one’s at home;
Our consumption for material worth, will abound,
To be stacked in basements and attics and in closets until found;
Then shipped off to junk yards, thrift stores, the homeless downtown,
or sent to the dump graveyard to be covered in ground;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, every year it comes back,
To cause stress and remorse, and a pain in the back;
The fat boy is happy, this time of the year,
Repetitive music, grape with a bowl full of cheer;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and what should he do,
No lights or big plans, not even a clue;
There are no big passions and wants, or even a beef,
No tree or decorations, or toys or a wreath;
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Santa lives here,
Just watching some football, and drinking a beer;
11 months of the year, he does not fit in,
Not styled like a yuppie, which must be a sin;
A hobo, a vagrant, part of the deadheads,
He’s sure his furry neighbors, are all well fed;
His routine is a ritual, his habits routine,
Quiet unobtrusive, but one calls him mean;
Most smile when they see him, as he rides by,
Some of even wave, and some just say “Hi!”
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and the children will stare,
They better be nice, cause ole Nicolas is there;
For that is the reason, for the children’s delight,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Waking Exhausted

Sleep is a fleeting mistress to me. I can get tired or stay up late but then after two or three hours of unconsciousness, I awake. I have to get up and wander around for a while reading or having a snack before attempting to nod off again.
Perhaps it is the radio I keep playing thorough the night to hide the sounds of an old house but my mind won’t shut down. A word or a phrase or some distant thought will start creating a story of memories or adventures I’ve never experienced.
When I do finally fade away into the dark space of dreams they have their own story. I have similar places and some familiar faces but the strangers are as real as you and me and while the conversations are mute the thoughts get across.
Some mornings I wake up in panic and some mornings I want to go back to see the end of the story.
I also know my sleeping patterns are not the best. I need a chilled room and no tucked in covers because my legs have to twist and shake and dance in the sleeping process. Many mornings the sheet has disappeared under the bed and the comforter is in a knot.
I also snore. I’ve heard the complaints but they don’t know where I am when the lights go out. I also grind my teeth. It seems when I finally pass out I don’t move and wake with my body sore from being in one solitary position for an hour or two.
Maybe I should buy a new bed? Turn the radio off and hope the ghost pacing the hall doesn’t get me? Take those pharmaceuticals that will knock me out more than the 12-beers?
After two or three hour naps and the sun comes up and the radio changes from classical music to news, I drag my body out of the frustrations of seeking rest.
No matter how much I work or play or ride or stay immobile, there will be the same experience of trying to relax because the brain won’t shut off.
I guess when it does I can have the permanent sleep. Wonder what kind of dreams we will have then?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Tis' The Season For Giving

What does that mean?
Not that many years ago gifts were handmade or cooked and the recipient only got one and appreciated the effort and amount of time to prepare such a one-of-a-kind present.  Gifts were cherished and put in a position of warmth and care continuing with stories past down for generations (except the pies. The were just eaten up with a burp ‘thank you’.) Today the retail merchandising has convinced you to spend whatever you can put on a credit card items of questionable worth or need to follow the season’s requirements of ‘Mo’ Is Better’. They will even deliver everything to your doorstep like last night dinner. Oh the joy of consumption.
Handwritten letters and cards reminding the person addressed to be a secret message of familiarity and emotion. Now, a quick email or a emoji will suffice. Better yet, just find some meme of someone else’s’ thought and post that for all your friends. That’s the ticket.
Plants and greenery, while making you look Planet Friendly, just requires maintenance and might kill the cat if it chews on it. Clothing (unless handmade) can be questionable. See the reaction of little Johnny when he rips open the paper hoping for the latest version of “Duty of Killing” only to find a 3-pack of tighty-whities. Thanks Santa.
Jewelry and fragrance is always a quick sell but if you get the wrong color or scent, you are doomed. You were not paying attention and it cost you a bundle.
So now days, people are talking about giving a donation in the name of the receiver. A check written to a charity in your name is your gift. How swell is that? How about we go out on Christmas day in the freezing cold and plant a tree. Are you getting that Christmas feeling yet? Come on down to the soup kitchen and sloop trays of gruel to people who sleep under bridges. Kids are having a good time now.
The kids have already had to be put through singing corny old songs in the cold wearing sheets and being pinched by every old person who is a long forgotten aunt or uncle who only shows up for the free grub. This is the season to reward the little brats with toys in hopes they will like you for another year anticipating more gift instead of plotting killing you in your sleep.
Try and remember kids create their personality to others by their possessions. Who wants to hang around someone who got nothing? You got recognition to the Nature Society or the American Health Association with a certificate for your generous donation. Swell. Sally got some new stuff and we are all going over there and play with them until they break.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Our latest disaster is brought to you by…

Fake News. Or Alt-journalism.
We all hear it and read it and talk about it and maybe, just maybe, some of it is true? The mainstay established journalist presentation has turned into entertainment and the Internet is flooded with opinions and questionable videos.
So what do you believe?
Well before there were newspapers or radio or television or even Google, there was (and is) the word of mouth.
Who knows more about family than Aunt Fanny? She has all the dirt on cousins and second cousins and cousins once removed and people you’d never heard have. My neighbor Jen has the 811 on all the goings on in the neighborhood so I don’t need to research the people who live in the same area. There was always one person who would give you the skinny about anyone and everyone around the water cooler at work. Every Sunday the preacher would inform all of the happy unions and the sad illnesses of those who attend. The newspapers are obligated to list the daily body count and for a fee will even post a picture of the dearly departed. The guy cutting his grass across the street can give a play-by-play of his favorite teams and who made the bad calls. In high school, seems everyone knows everything about everybody even though the network is not that good and it is mostly speculation and perception.
What is the best source of news?
Gossip! The best source for up-to-date worthy news is gossip. As the rock man said, “You see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear.” Everything is faked or everything is true. You decide.
The bookmark sites reaffirm what we want to believe and strengthen our opinions (bias). With enough links to fact or fiction, there is proof of diligent research, just like footnotes to confirm our resources. It was on Wikipedia so it must be true?
Everyday new disclosures and exposures are reveled like the Kennedy assassination where we find that it was Jackie who fired the fatal shot and then climbed out to give the secret service guy the gun. Of course, if you want to believe, anything can become fact and enlarged and manipulated by our vivid imagination.
If your interpretation of the presentation called “News” does not correspond with another’s, then a disagreement or even an argument can ensue. Welcome to the family discussions over the holidays.
Ye Ole Newspapers separated what people requested for “News” into sections that could share and passed about for enjoyable and informative reading.
The main “News” section held the important stuff like politics, robberies, business, blah-blah-blah and more boring stuff only father would read. Besides after all the ink dried and was trucked and thrown on your doorstep the information was already a week old.
The “Editorial” page was the publisher’s page to state his or her opinion on various topics. These pages were to sway the reader to follow an established, well-educated and knowledgeable thought and believe; yet indulge in a bias. Think of it as “Intellectual Advertising” or propaganda.
Then there was the “Women’s” page. That right gals, you had your own section of the newspaper full of recipes and sewing ideas and fashion trends and of course the society page to announce whose daughter came out and which family was having a gala affair at their estate. Gossip? Sure there was a ‘tell-all’ columnist who had the scoop on the dirt. Fact checking and footnotes were not obtainable. The bonus to the retailers was to put advertisements for the latest blender or refrigerator or fashionable garment to create envy.
OK fellas, here comes the “Sports” page. No upright American male could possibly go without checking the daily box scores of his favorite team? Though the numbers could have been from a previous radio report, the newspaper had in-depth observation of how the team and manager and fans interacted. Gossip? There are stories about your favorite NASCAR driver or quarterback but they are press copies of resumes. Still every page was surrounded with advertisements for tools or cars or liquor.
To end the fun were the ‘Classifieds’. Don’t know what the classification was for but here were pages of tiny type showing houses, tools, cars, and anything else people wanted to throw out for sale. There were even Yard Sales. As newspapers progress and limited the number of pages due to printing cost, obituaries were moved here. The legal obligation to announce a death was required but with a little couching a long list of the legacy of the dearly departed with a charge per word fee. Even death has a cost.
 As the information, true or not, floods our screens we can absorb it as reality. How could that video be false? How could that opinion from that sweet face confirmed by other good-looking folk not be true? If I hear it over and over then it must be real. Ripley’s ‘Believe or Not’?
Disclaimer: I am a news junkie. I check the Internet for that seems to be the fastest deliver of events but check various sources to confirm what I’m reading or watching is factual. I’m still cynical to question the ‘why’ factor. The same is with relationships. I have to rely on what I see and hear and experience to form my opinion. With time opinions can change but judgments are etched in stone.
Did you hear about ….?

Another Creepy Seasonal Tradition

I didn’t hear about this growing up. I was too interested into tearing paper to be disappointed by the socks and combs but there is this tradition where a little doll in a pointed hat and a red suit sits on shelves and bookcases around your house in December to see if you have been naughty or nice and report back to Santa.
First of all, it is December already. You’ve had eleven months to be naughty and this little guy shows up now to do an evaluation report to the Big Guy on how many toys or not to bring. Where was he in July?
Second, it is creepy to tell your kids there is this doll that is watching you and you will never know where he is. Pressure to behave for the reward of toys or a piece of coal.
Now I believe kids these days are used to surveillance. There are cameras everywhere and if you think you are getting away with something, check YouTube. Your kids know you are tracking their every movement and have all the knowledge to block your prying intrusions to their privacy. Kids know how to manipulate you silly parents to get what they want, when they want it.
Now if these little dolls could shoot heat rays when you curse or make some annoying sound that won’t stop when you don’t make up your bed, then I’d say get a dozen and put them around all year long. “Take the trash out or Santa’s Elf on the Shelf will give you the squirts.” Oh warning, don’t try to touch the Elf; which is electrically charged and will burn the crap out of your fingers.
I won’t even get into the tradition of the hardened fruitcake that is passed back and forth from family members like a football or the reason we spike eggnog with all the screaming kids running around or that strange habit of smooching under a sprig of poison ivy only once a year.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Spooky Santa

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Tis’ the season and I couldn’t avoid the obvious. With all the weird traditions at the end of the year like bringing foliage into the house, putting up boxes of bling, wearing ugly sweaters and sending cards to people we don’t know, we take our most precious processions (our children) to be fondled by some strange old man.
No, really, think about it from the kid’s point of view? It is bad enough as the adult unit responsible for the results of copulation to drag this unknowing but learning offspring to formalized education, accepted religion and association with other little people like yourself they call ‘family’ but every year when the weather starts getting chilly you drag us off to shopping centers but get mad when we get tired and meltdown. Like all other times you tempt us with candy and some toy that will break instead of listening to us.
This is the major temptation. Toys! Lots of Toys! And candy too!
This strange guy who is never spoken of until the end of the year will break into the house and bring lots of boxes wrapped in gaudy paper and bows under the evergreen hoping the dog won’t pee on them or the cat tear into the temptation before the sleepy kids can come downstairs to rip into rewards for being nice all year.
Now from what I remember from the Good Book, this season is suppose to be a celebration of a kid born in a barn. The marketing department just called and said they cannot make a profit off this story so another character needs to be created to sell the leftovers from a down year and get the books back into the black. How can a birthday create Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Local Store Saturday, Giving Tuesday….. What about Wednesday?
So there is this guy called Santa.
Story has it he lives up in the North Pole with Mrs. Clause, though no one ever sees her and a bunch of little midgets with pointed hats from the refugee tribe called Elves and some stinky deer. So this dude lives up in the ice and cold and all year makes an industry of toy manufacturing that even Mattel can’t match (don’t look at the real names for they are all in Chinese).
At the end of the calendar year, he wanders down from the cold to sit in a chair and have you offered your kids to sit on his lap and tell him secrets. They don’t know this guy. Why would they want to sit on his lap? Why choose this old dude in a red costume to be trusted with your kids?
This isn’t like the family reunions where you pressure your kids to hug Uncle Harry and when he starts rubbing his hands all over them you dismiss it, as he is just drunk. In this time of political correctness and moral reevaluation should we continue with this ancient tradition?
Let us take a look from the child’s point-of-view. This old guy with white whiskers and bad breathe who looks like those homeless hobos your parents tell you to avoid is now the most welcoming person on earth. Where is Santa on December 26?
To keep with the season, maybe Santa is God.
SHOCKED! Don’t be; think about it. This Santa guy is worshiped with relevance of a myth. He does kind of look like those old paintings of what is called the ‘All Mighty’. Besides, everywhere you look in December there is the omnipresent of Santa. He does seem to make magic with packages arriving under the tree faster than Amazon or UPS could deliver. Is he a super hero because he can train animals to fly?
Now take it one step further, if Santa is God wouldn’t you do anything possible to get your children to sit on his lap? The wait-line would get much longer. The Snow Princess in her slutty skirt and the snotty midget trying to take your photo couldn’t keep the peace so the public law enforcement would have to be called in and we all know where that will go.
Through all the work and effort and adulation of your children showered in excessive consumerism for one day doesn’t help you in July when Santa aren’t around.
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Mo’ Trouble at the Tummy Temple

Ah the season is here for stuffing…er, that is fine cuisine to feed the hungry during the holidays. No, you aren’t going to the shelters and feeding the homeless, instead you will present your best china loaded with enough grub to your family and friends to require checking with your plumber and getting additional air fresheners.
That means, of course, more trips to the Tummy Temple.
As a frequent flyer I am accustomed to the panic surges and the long wait lines so I try to use down times to avoid the crowds, but tis’ the season for wanton cooking and feasting and gorging and let us not forget the consumption of alcohol in various forms. It all requires ‘patience’ and I’m in no hurry so I watch the seasonal madness with glee.
Yet there seems to be trouble in the Kingdom of Nourishment. Every aisle is stacked high with pallets of boxes full of crackers, cereal, mac & cheese, cola, candy and other tempting items of delicious but they have to be put out on the shelves. Some person employed by the Temple for they will wear the uniform has to be assigned to stack and sort and register each item in its proper place for the parishioners to partake and fill their passing basket. 
Yet there are few assembling the riches of the Temple. Those who are putting out the cheese doodles and curly fries are overwhelmed by the chore at hand to distribute the pillars of human requirement for existence. The others, with minimal skills, have been ordered to the conveyor belts to keep the ever growing wait lines down as is a critical mission of the Temple.
On today’s venture onto the movie of life, the efforts show improvement but today it is meeting day and now the aisles are stuffed with people catching up and not attending to their squirming yard apes or the task at hand. This movie changes everyday and I stop occasionally (out of the way, of course) to take in the spectacle and enjoy how humanity hunts for food now. There is a cart loaded with sweet soda pushed by a rather large individual who can barely push it, another sniffs the melons but not the carrots, yet each curious creature is here for one purpose and I shouldn’t tally but get on my way to free up a cart and allow another individual to buy a ticket to this show. I speak to the stars of the show and must remember on December 25th the curtain comes down so stock up.
This is such a wonderful performance I’ll be back again for the matinee. Where is the popcorn?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Conversationalist

Spent some time with a friend the other day and was lost in conversation. This person is a writer and has a much better vocabulary than myself but I noticed how I enjoyed every sentence. Every word. It was a memorable time.
Not so much that the topics were any different than the usual gabber everyone has but the formation of the expression was like reading a good story over a graphic novel. The mouth was not just blowing air but assembling words into jewelry of the mind. Romance in each letter.
It is a treat to sit with a person who can make a brief conversation dessert. I’ll pick up the check.

Where did everybody go?

Sunny yet chilly day. Perfect fall day. The leafs have finally turned and would be hard to fathom that I’d racked and filled three supercans. Off to the Tummy Temple to clear my head and throat but what is this. Half of the newly paved parking lot is empty?
Where is everyone? I thought today would be the spectacular with the entire congregation battling over dead birds and cans of peaches. Wonder how many minutes it takes to thaw and cook a 25lb. bird in the microwave?
A woman gives me her now empty cart and I make her laugh. Thanks. The only folks I see are the guys who have been sent back to get that one last item while their mothers, sisters, wives, whatever’s are cooking and making a big mess in the kitchens. The gaze of deer in headlights prevail. Don’t worry about the difference in baking powder or soda. Whatever you pick up will be wrong and you’ll be right back here. The game won’t be on for hours and it is the method of getting you out of the way.
So today is the day of Thanksgiving except for the indigenous people. That means the Injuns to you uninformed. The question is: “What do you have to be Thankful for?”
For some it might be the wealth of worldly goods or the just the sign of mass consumption. For some it will be the warmth of family or animals. For some it will be their spiritual faith in the unknown. For some it will be the fear of another day of agony and pain.
Turn the tables and think this…. “What do you have to regret?”
Both questions might have the same answer?
Regret that second helping of mashed potatoes? You’ll never run off that jellyroll at the gym. Regret not saying what you meant but maybe thankful that it didn’t. Regret no one else will see this masterpiece of blooming mushrooms on the side of the road and the symmetry of fall colors and arrangements. Regret trying to cover up the lack of personal hygiene with some teenage fragrance trying to mask my stench. Regret those lines on your face. Regret the hair color change that didn’t come out of a bottle. Regret that third child. Regret that last drink. Regret bringing up the subject at the dinner table. Regret not having cranberry sauce at the tailgate cookout.
There are plenty of things we all regret but only one day to be Thank Full. It is a good excuse for over indulgence and gluttony before chasing the marketing bait.
Games on! Who wants to order pizza?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What will you do when the lights go out?

No, I don’t mean for the last time. No one knows what happens after that though there are lots of speculations.
What I’m talking about is what happened last night.
The lights flickered and I heard “Uh Oh” in that outside voice used in the dialect of speech when a baby falls down. Then everything went black.
Been spending evenings burning CDs and was on the last song of a triad when the lights went out. Sit still for a few minutes to see if someone somewhere out there in powerland will throw the switch but it doesn’t happen. Looking out the window all the neighbors are dark too. Still this is late so I’d expect their shades to be drawn but the alley light is also off. Wander down the hall and open the front door. All is dark there too. The sky is cloudy so it has a grey glow to it. There is power somewhere but just not here.
There was no sound of a crash or an explosion from a transformer, only the quick beep of the Fios battery kicking in. I could have turned around and gone back inside or even attempt to sleep but this horse I’m riding won’t allow that. It is rocking time in the dark silence.
I could pull out one of the battery operated electronic connection devices or even one of the wooden boxes with metal wire but tonight is for listening to the quiet. A light and the whoosh of a passing vehicle is an infrequent interruption to the glory of darkness. Now and then the rustle of leaves in the distance reminds me I’m visiting their territory and time.
Then, just like it left, the light is back. The party was over.
Don’t have any idea of the time and the neighbors may have slept through it only to find their clocks flashing.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Girl Next Door

The other day I was walking to the mailbox to check my bills and junk mail when I see this young girl carrying in a box next door. I don’t know much about the guy who lives next door other than he drives a big black truck and a motorcycle and has three other guys living in the house. They have a few parties on the back deck but end early enough so as not cause no trouble with the old folks. They have shared some rowdy parties with the couple on the other side but still keep their grass cut and play a rousing game of corn hole or Frisbee or volleyball until the aforementioned lands in my yard.
So who was this young blonde with her hair tied up carrying clothing storage boxes into the house? Is she one of the young ladies being plied with alcohol who decided to come back for more? Maybe she is his sister who just got divorced and needed a crash pad? Maybe she is a work associate going through a bad spell with drugs or a Russian spy going undercover? Maybe she is a madam for a homosexual brothel?
Who ever she is, she has a dog. A small dog that is pretty quiet so far so good. She also rakes the leaves. This could be a sign of a romantic redo? I know. A blind date turned into a 25-year marriage.
Winter is here so will have to wait for spring to see what influence she has on my unknown neighbor. Maybe the patter of little feet? Maybe a trade-in on the Harley for a mini-van? If she stays, how long will it be before they move and I will deal with another NEW neighbor?

Sunday, November 12, 2017


We seem to look back and remember, what if?

What happened in 1957?

• January 1 - An Irish Republican Army attack on the Brookeborough police barracks in Northern Ireland leads to the deaths of Seán South and Fergal O'Hanlon.

• January 3 – Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

• January 6 – Elvis Presley appears on The Ed Sullivan Show for the 3rd and final time. He is shown only from the waist up, even during the gospel segment, singing “Peace In The Valley”. Ed Sullivan describes Elvis thus: “This is a real decent, fine boy. We’ve never had a pleasanter experience on our show with a big name than we've had with you. You’re thoroughly all right.”

• January 10 – Harold Macmillan becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

• January 13 – Wham-o Company produces the first Frisbee.

• January 16 – The Cavern Club opens in Liverpool as a jazz club.

• January 20 - Dwight D. Eisenhower is privately sworn in for a second term as President of the United States.

• January 23 – Ku Klux Klan members force truck driver Willie Edwards to jump off a bridge into the Alabama River; he drowns as a result.

• February 4 - A coal gas explosion at the giant Bishop coal mine in Bishop, Virginia, kills 37 men.

• February 16 - Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal opens at cinema in Sweden.

• March 1 - Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat is published in the United States.

• March 4 – Standard & Poor’s first publishes the S&P 500 Index in the United States.

• March 7 – The United States Congress approves the Eisenhower Doctrine on assistance to threatened foreign regimes.

• March 8 – Egypt re-opens the Suez Canal.

• March 10 – Floodgates of The Dalles Dam are closed, inundating Celilo Falls and ancient Indian fisheries along the Columbia River in Oregon.

• March 13 - The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa and charges him with bribery.

• March 26 – 22-year-old Elvis Presley buys Graceland on 3734 Bellevue Boulevard for $100,000.00

• April – IBM sells the first compiler for the Fortran scientific programming language.

• May 15 - Operation Grapple: At Malden Island in the Pacific, Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb, which fails to detonate properly.

• May 22 – A 42,000-pound hydrogen bomb accidentally falls from a bomber near Albuquerque.

• June 1 – Three-year-old thoroughbred Gallant Man wins the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.

• June 9 – Broad Peak, in the China-Pakistan border, is first ascended.

• June 15 – Oklahoma celebrates its semi-centennial statehood. A brand new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere is buried in a time capsule (to be opened 50 years later on June 15, 2007).

• June 15 – Gallant Man wins the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in record time.

• June 20 – Toru Takemitsu’s Requiem for Strings is first performed, by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

• June 21 – John Diefenbaker becomes the 13th Prime Minister of Canada.

• June 25 – The United Church of Christ is formed in Cleveland, Ohio, by the merger of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.

• June 27 – Hurricane Audrey demolishes Cameron, Louisiana and killing 400 people.

• July - Hugh Everett III publishes the first scientifically founded many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

• July 6 – John Lennon and Paul McCartney first meet as teenagers at a garden fete at St. Peter's Church, Woolton, Liverpool, England, at which Lennon’s skiffle group, The Quarrymen, is playing, 3 years before forming The Beatles.

• July 9 – Elvis Presley’s ‘Loving You’ opens in theaters.

• July 11 – His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV becomes the 49th Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims at age 20. His grandfather Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan III appoints Prince Karim in his will.

• July 14 – Rawya Ateya takes her seat in the National Assembly of Egypt, thereby becoming the first female parliamentarian in the Arab world.

• July 16 – United States Marine Major John Glenn flies an F8U supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds, setting a new transcontinental speed record.

• July 25 – Tunisia becomes a republic, with Habib Bourguiba its first president.

• July 29 – The International Atomic Energy Agency is established.

• August 5 – American Bandstand, a local dance show produced by WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, joins the ABC Television Network.

• August 21 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces a 2-year suspension of nuclear testing.

• August 28 – United States Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) sets the record for the longest filibuster with his 24-hour, 18-minute speech railing against a civil rights bill.

• September 3 – The Wolfenden report on homosexuality is published in the United Kingdom.

• September 4 - African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–68): Little Rock Crisis – Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas calls out the National Guard of the United States to prevent African-American students from enrolling in Little Rock Central High School.

- The Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel on what the company proclaims as “E-Day”.

• September 5 – The first edition of Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘On the Road’ goes on sale in the United States.

• September 7 – NBC introduces an animated version of its famous “living color” peacock logo.

• September 9 - The Civil Rights Act of 1957 is enacted, establishing the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

• September 14 – ‘Have Gun – Will Travel’ premieres on CBS.

• September 21 – ‘Perry Mason’ premieres on CBS.

• September 24 - U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends federal troops to Arkansas to provide safe passage into Little Rock Central High School for the “Little Rock Nine”.

• September 26 – Leonard Bernstein’s musical ‘West Side Story’ makes its first appearance on Broadway and runs for 732 performances.

• September 29 – The Kyshtym disaster occurs at the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant in Russia.

• October - The Africanized bee is accidentally released in Brazil.

• October 4 - Space Age – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.

- The sitcom ‘Leave It to Beaver’ premieres on CBS in the United States.

• October 10 - U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, after he is refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.

- Ayn Rand's fourth, last and longest novel, ‘Atlas Shrugged’, is published in the United States.

• October 11 - The orbit of the last stage of the R-7 Semyorka rocket (carrying Sputnik I) is first successfully calculated on an IBM 704 computer by teams at The M.I.T. Computation Center and operation Moonwatch, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

• October 21 - The U.S. military sustains its first combat fatality in Vietnam, Army Capt. Hank Cramer of the 1st Special Forces Group.

• October 31 – Toyota begins exporting vehicles to the United States, beginning with the Toyota Crown and the Toyota Land Cruiser.

• November 1 - The first (westbound) tube of the Hampton Roads Bridge–Tunnel linking Norfolk and Hampton, Virginia opens at a cost of $44 million.

• November 3 – Sputnik program: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik 2, with the first animal to orbit the Earth (a dog named Laika) on board; there is no technology available to return it to Earth.

• November 7 – Cold War: In the United States, the Gaither Report calls for more American missiles and fallout shelters.

• November 8 – Film Jailhouse Rock opens across the U.S. to reach #3, and Elvis Presley continues to gain more notoriety.

• November 13 - Gordon Gould invents the laser.

• November 16 - U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower has a stroke.

• December 5 – All 326,000 Dutch nationals are expelled from Indonesia.

• December 6 – The first U.S. attempt to launch a satellite fails when the Vanguard rocket blows up on the launch pad.

• December 20 – The Boeing 707 airliner flies for the first time.

• December 22 – The CBS afternoon anthology series The Seven Lively Arts presents Tchaikovsky’s ballet ‘The Nutcracker’ on U.S. television for the first time, although heavily abridged.

• Date unknown - Three new neo-grotesque sans serif typefaces are released: Folio (designed by Konrad Bauer and Walter Baum), Neue Haas Grotesk (designed by Max Miedinger) and Univers (designed by Adrian Frutiger); all will be influential in the International Typographic Style of graphic design.

So who was born in 1957?

Katie Couric, Steve Harvey, Princess Caroline of Monaco, LeVar Burton, Spike Lee, Osama bin Laden, Sid Vicious, Scott Adams, Cindy Sheehan, Jon Lovitz, Melanie Griffith, Gloria Estefan, Peter Sellars, Bernie Mac, Caroline Kennedy, Andrew Cuomo, Donny Osmond, Ray Romano, Matt Lauer and my wife.

That may be speculation or folktale because I never saw a birth certificate. She told me 11/12/57 was the date and why would I dispute it? Without papers one can only believe. Besides she was adopted so it could have been July 3rd or December 27th but it doesn’t matter in this celebration.

For today, according to legend, she would have turned sixty years old.

Every decade change should be a memorable turn of life’s pages but some aren’t around to celebrate. Next year, Lord willing and the crick don’t rise; I’ll flip another page.

The whole idea of remembrance of birthdays for those who cannot attend the party is rather strange. It is all speculation of what John Lennon would be writing now or what would Mark Twain think about monument moment fuss or what would Jesus Christ say about all the mass murders?

On this day I will hold the thoughts that my wife didn’t enjoy the long train ride out West or enjoy the new windows and heat. She didn’t have to watch hours and hours of videos of people being slaughtered by bombs or guns or vehicles by people who look just like everyone else until they snap. She didn’t have the chance to sit in the newly screened porch and watch the harvest moon. She didn’t get to see the strange television persona who would tell celebrities to do awkward stunts and those who did not succeed to amuse him he fired, become the leader of the free world.

So the ‘what if’ day has come and I will celebrate what could have been or not with a slice of cheesecake and a glass of plum wine.

Happy Birthday!


July 4, 2009 (Saturday)

• The Cherokee County killer claims his fifth victim in South Carolina.

• Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, calls for the immediate release of two aid workers who were kidnapped in Sudan's Darfur region.

• Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali calls on homosexuals to “repent and be changed” and says the Church of England will not be “rolled over by culture”.

• North Korea test fires seven more missiles into the Sea of Japan.

• Torrential rain forces over 150,000 people from their homes, topples hundreds of houses and punches a hole in the spillway of a dam in southern China.

• The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is denied access to meet detained National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi while on a visit to Burma.

• 12 militants are killed in an air raid in northwestern Pakistan.

• Nine Chechen policeman are killed after their vehicle is attacked in neighboring Ingushetia, southern Russia.

• The Iranian state-owned newspaper Kayhan calls for Mir-Hossein Mousavi to stand trial.

• 35 people are arrested in Mazandran, northern Iran, during post-election protests.

• Serena Williams wins the women’s singles at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships after defeating her sister, Venus Williams.

• Three people die as a result of contracting swine flu in New Zealand, the country's first flu deaths.

Deaths in 2009

• Patrick McGoohan • Ricardo Montalbán • Andrew Wyeth • John Updike • Ingemar Johansson • James Whitmore • Marilyn Chambers • Bea Arthur • Jack Kemp • Dom DeLuise • David Carradine • Farrah Fawcett • Michael Jackson • Karl Malden • Allen Klein • Robert McNamara • Walter Cronkite • Eunice Kennedy Shriver • Les Paul • Ted Kennedy • Patrick Swayze • Henry Gibson • Mary Travers • Gene Barry • Heather McIver Leftwich

… that is the way it was.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Sixty-nine years are 820 months or 25,185 days. Sixty-nine years are 604,440 hours, give or take daylight savings time. How much was accomplished or how much of that time was wasted will be the job of some data manager or gravedigger.
The sun came up and the clouds cleared and the day broke to chilly and breezy weather. Another milestone had been met. Morning ride was brisk noticing how many leaves have turned in one week. Time to start making piles like in my younger years since the city doesn’t want to pick them up now. There is a freeze warning tonight so Mommy Nature I don’t mind putting on long johns in November if you just keep the sunshine coming. An afternoon rides to get lunch and avoid the backward driving. Great sandwich with lots of onions so both ends will be blasting all night. As the sun fades will retire indoors to cake and ice cream (no hats or noisemakers) and await another day. That is how life goes on.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Do You Dream?

I do.
Don’t remember scary dreams of the youth or many other dreams but I had one last night I will share with you.
I don’t have dreams of flying or falling but through the years I realize I have dreams of conflict. Trying to solve some problem in a large building or an industrial setting.
That was not what last nights dream was about.
I try to figure out what did I eat or drink or when did I go to bed or what was I reading or listening to before sleep to create such an illusion of reality.
Some say dreams are the mind trying to sort out the problems of the day to prepare for tomorrow. I believe that. Some say dreams are the mind’s attempt to justify the inner self that cannot be discussed with others. I believe that. Some say a dream is the soul communicating with the body. That could be but I’m not totally sold on that one.
So what I can remember I went to bed about the same time as usual. I’d been reading stuff on the new threads (duh) and scrolling over pictures of puppies and flowers and avoiding political nonsense. I unlinked a group that was somewhat interesting discussions on guitars but was overwhelming my timeline. I had a friend request from some beauty but on closer review had nothing in common or in this case, no information at all so I reported it as spam and shut down the computer.
It normally takes me two or three minutes for the radio sound to become muffled in my own snoring and twitches and leg shakes. Usually at around 3AM I awake for a bathroom break, a cup of coffee and another review of the wondrous world of the Internet to see if anyone has reported the world has ended before I go back to the eternal sleep.
Last night was a bit different.
I did wake up at the regular time but didn’t want to leave the dream.
Let me detail the situation I found myself in. A large white beach house feeling rather Victorian but rustic that was full of people that I believed were family. A comfortable yet somewhat stressful situation to be in due to all the people but I was at the beach. Everyone is dressed in formal attire and shuffling around to tables lined in hallways for some dining occasion. There was much commotion and chattering but I never hear any language or understand any statements. Talking is not necessary when the dream is all about atmosphere.
I feel pressured to pace down the hallways and back again as if waiting for something or looking for something.
The time period seems in the 1940s from the gowns and the hairdos.
A sailor walks up some open steps into this crowd. He is wearing one of those white sailor hats but his striped shirt is torn and looks dishevel. He seems dazed and confused and perhaps bruised. Several of the women gather him up and move him into a back room all the time chattering unintelligently. A group of men stand in a circle after the event smoking their cigars and pointing to the entrance of this new member as if evaluating what cause the action and apparent results to the sailor.
Then there was this girl.
How do I describe this without sounding like a pedophile? There was this innocent face, no smile but an interesting look leaning against the rail on the deck with the ocean in the background. She was dressed in casual beachwear as not old enough to be wearing one of the fancy formal gowns and not young enough to be wearing the kids attire as they ran around in their antics to entertain the adults.
There are those people in life that attract attention and this was one of those magnet moments. There was nothing said but just the companionship felt right. Somehow we felt like two strangers in a sea of confusion. Her calm smile and demeanor offered an opportunity to feel at ease in what otherwise was a family logistical nightmare. She gave me an unrequested surprise kiss drew back and smiled.
Again, no words had been spoken (I never talk in my dreams) but the feeling was right.
I was drawn away by some assignment from an elder and the moment ended.
When I turned back she was gone.
Ok all you perverts putting a Lolita spin on this dream; forget it. All you romantics trying to image a sensitive romantic tryst, you are all wrong because this is my dream.
More crowded hallways and endless wandering lead me to this next scene. A women/girl in a red dress (yes, I dream in color) standing very rigid was staring at me. Was this the same girl? She looked so different? I tried to remember the previous face but it seemed a collection of many images composited from memories.
The magnetism took over and we were kissing. I could smell her perfume and taste her lips and tongue. Her skin was as silky as her dress. It was like one of those 80s MTV videos with lights and dancers all surrounding a still moment in time (I think I know where that comes from but I’ll have to refer to my shrink).
By the way, this was a wonderful dream and ‘no’ I didn’t wet the bed.
Then I woke up.
I closed my eyes again but I couldn’t go back.
I got up and checked my empty email box while the images spun in my head. Who was that girl? Where was I? What about the sailor? These are thoughts that create books and movies.
It was still dark and I had some more nighty-night to perform so I climbed back under the covers hoping to go back and return but that is not how dreams work.
Finally awake to the point of physical motion but with a smile on my face of a brief astral projection adventure. Whoever you are out there maybe we will meet again?
Second star on the right, straight until morning.