Monthly Archives: August 2010

If God is omnipotent, how’s come the Bible don’t read the same in both directions?

Answer: Maybe He didn’t have my mind in mind. In my daily walk with Moses and the Blood of the Golden Calf, I key-in my spiritual GPS way-points by  one thing and one alone; the message has gotta either rhyme, or even better yet, be, like LEVEL.Well, here, let me sing it to you-uns.

1967. I was leading a psychedelic band, playing covers and originals. Sky-Blue-Pink. I was proud of the name. If anybody still has one of our business cards I’ll pay dearly.
Anyway, hitch-hiking to Pittsburgh in the late-November frozen tundra on Rt 22, all the better to get an early copy of Magical Mystery Tour, I was picked up by a big trucker. Ok, a little guy in a big truck. Turned out he owned the company; a  hundred-or-so semi-trailers plying the Mid-Atlantic. And his daughter had been at one of our concerts and had raved about the light-show.
The ‘light-show’, if anyone’s interested, was two sheets of glass, vegetable oil, food-colouring, and a giant overhead-projector we ‘borrowed’ from the AV guy, with a silent promise not to ‘out’ him to the school administration.
At any rate, the trucking magnate was heavily financing the Altoona Symphony Orchestra; for tax write-off or whatever motive. And he asked me to do a light-show for an up-coming concert, somewhere between Everett and Holidaysburg. In the cab, that is. The concert was in State College, PA, and for $140, money in those days, I showed up ready, with my keyboardist’s sister as able assistant.
We’d done our homework together, charting out the moves for Ravel’s Bolero , pink and blue tension building bar by bar. Musical tension, that is.
And here’s where the story, the epiphany starts… or ends. All set up in the hall, I had only to quickly find a place to pee first, and then let the music begin. But before you could say: “Where’s a nice hippy find a bathroom around here?” my patron-trucker approached our station with a grim look upon his face.
“Kettle-drums? You can do kettle-drums?”
“Sure.” I told him. “Percussion’s a trip, man.”
“No, can you fill in? The fellow who’s supposed to play ’em flipped his car out on 522 and we’re on in ten minutes.” His look said ‘Help me Jesus!’ and I needed only to quickly reasure my girl-friday that she could handle the light-show, throw on a  uniform which felt like it was made of Kevlar, grab my mallets, and sorta feel comfortable with my place in the rear of the orchestra, there only inches from the back-drop curtain.
    Of course the first selection was Handel’s Water Music. Just what I needed! The score had me tacet
for a couple thousand measures, and no one saw me slide under the curtain, hope against hope that there was a back-stage bathroom. No luck. There wasn’t. Not a pot to piss in, so to speak. I re-emerged, to the visible relief of the conductor, but quite un-relieved in the final-urinalysis department. Figured I could hold it, even through Respighi’s ‘Fountains of Rome(!). What is this, a sick joke, God?
Somewhere in the beginning of the Bolero I admitted defeat. Slipping back under the curtain, I frantically tore off my bullet-proof suit-jacket, then my tee-shirt, and gracefully(?) pissed the shirt full and running over. Something told me it was preferable to a puddle on the floor. Tossing the shirt, I re-dressed and appeared as if by magic right on cue. Boom, Boom, Doom, Boom Bolero. Ole!  Hell, I can play tympani in my sleep. We got a nice ovation, Ravel was happy, Altoonians satisfied, my love-interest assistant proud of herself, and the conductor grateful and wielding a check. Happy ending, except for history’s first ‘wet-tee-shirt’ backstage. Somehow I couldn’t
finesse retrieving it. Probably lying there to this day.
It was God’s Will. Now I’m sure.
Only last night, did I realize the divine inspiration:
DOOM. TYMPANI. And I’m IN A ‘P’ MY ‘T-‘ MOOD.
Dog works in mysterious ways, sometimes after-the-fact. And yeah, a true story. Otherwise they’d spell tympani different…

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White House issues firm statement on Doggerel

I’m so lucky. I have two Presidents; Shimon Peres, who proves that if you’re lucky, you get smarter every year, even unto dotage, and Barack Hussein Obama, off to a shaky but brave start despite the ankle-biters. A bonus is that I can pledge allegiances  to all three mono-theistic religions(?).
     Be all that as it may, I was thrilled to hear the Oval office come out unambiguously Tuesday morning in support of doggerel’s inclusion under the First Amendment Right of Free Speech. An un-named aide clarified his point hours later, citing but paraphrasing Voltaire “I disagree with infantile rhyme and meter, but I shall die a million deaths defending its right to be published, at least on back-water web-sites like Xanga, and bearing in mind ‘sensitivity’ to the wishes of the vast majority who’ve given their lives defending blank verse.”
Background: The press conference was prompted by mounting pressure on the Obama Administration to rename the ‘Joyce Kilmer Service Area’, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey just 35 miles southeast of Ground Zero, after someone other than the Catholic doggerel-ist and  ‘male bearer of a woman’s name’.
His untimely death on the battlefield during World War I not-withstanding, critics on AM radio across the country have questioned the propriety of   “‘Iambic Pentameter.?…and  at a time when the nation is still in mourning?” to quote one vocal foe. Asked what poetic form would in fact be a fitting memorial to the fallen, this spokesman for the right-wing “Obama; come clean about your shoe size!” action-group could only mention sonnets and haikus as also in bad taste, being ‘a foot in the door for ‘foreign influences’, and adding that ..“Kilmer was mysteriously ‘somewhere in France’ when his nation needed him”.
     One hopes that the elected leader of the free world will stand firm in his wise poetic policies like a mighty oak. The challenges are daunting: pecked by wood-peckers, pissed upon by running dogs, and having his acorns held up for microscopic scrutiny, he needs the support of fair souls worldwide.


And here is my small, legal for now, contribution to the heated debate. 

So this is how we write a Poem
The final word’s your home-sweet-home
You make a list of words which rhyme
And then the step: (which does take time)

First pin them to the styrofoam
Assess ’em with a fine-toothed comb
A land-bridge spanning Nome and Rome?
A tome lost in the Astrodome?

Dig deeply in the English loam
You’ll find the missing chromosome
Or not… Then even Saint Jerome
can’t help you. ‘May God bless this poem


Wu: Maybe you ought to state your point less obscurely?
Me: Where’s the fun in that; either for me or for the wise reader?
Wu: You know, say like, ‘It’s a parody of the unnecessary debate on the (sic) ‘Al Qaida Centre’ in Manhattan, only using doggerel as a substitute, and a fitting one at that’.
Me: Or an excuse to print a poem I just wrote, which explains how I write ’em.
Wu: Or a way to distinguish between readers who needed this spoiler and those who didn’t?
Me: Ah, now you’re getting warm, Wuzie. But how do you ever know the difference.
Wu: You just know… sometimes. It’s subtle. The cost of (trying to be) clever.
Me: Hey, what’s with the ‘trying to be’? That’s like changing the sign to read “Solberg ‘claims to be‘ the King of the Jews”
Wu:
Idk. Might as well be modest, especially since you have so much to be modest about…

Papillo High-anxiety and other Quandaries

1) Due to a heavy work schedule, the Management of Solberg Lepidopteral Services, Ltd has
regrettably been forced to adopt the following policy change:
Butterflies not emerging from their chrysalis by 7:00 AM local time (Jerusalem Daylight Time/ GMT+3 will ‘NOT‘  receive fruit-cup.
You will be released to the wide world between 11AM and 4 PM as our schedule permits, and no excuses will be accepted. Thank you for your understanding/ Johnny the Big Nurse

2) Meteor, schmeteor! I don’t wanna hear it; ‘Wow, what an impressive shower!” By me it was a drip, to be charitable. Five toothpicks-in-the eyeballs-hours up on the roof, under perfect ‘seeing’ conditions, and I counted seven(7) Sears’ ‘Good’®  meteors. With the time I’m losing today, Friday, because I feel dead tired, they cost me approx 100 shekels apiece, not including sales-tax (15%) Never again. ‘Fall, mountains, just don’t fall on me’ (J. Hendrix)
3) At least I wrote a couple ditties while waiting for goddamn Godot.
Bust One

Took a bath on the meteor shower…/ We
Paid in advance for the show/ She
Saw six or seven an hour../ then said:
“Pleiades, Honey, let’s go.”

Bust Two

I’m touched by the busts of Pam-and-her-son
They both are a charm in the night
A toss-up which one is more wondersome
I think it’s the one on the right

At which point I began to lash out at innocent classical musician/bystanders:

Bust Three
I’m choppin’ the head off-of Chopin
It’s ‘De-capitation or bust
Impossible Polanaise showman?
Meet ‘Hatchet in C sharp, ‘non sust’

My fingers will never recover
There’s parts, gotta play with your nose(!)
Say ‘bye’ to your mother-slash-lover
I’ll remember to mail her a rose

4) Thence to Tomato Death:

You can clearly see that I have red ones and green ones, on the same plant, What, they individually get a signal from outer space? The disease is a virus, Verticilium, my best guess. Invisible to the nekkid-eye (I looked last night sans-external raiment). The virus itself is unwittingly spread by a hard-to-see white-fly. It mutates every year, in reaction to Man’s efforts to kill it. Ha, another million years and it’ll be walking on all four and have a Xanga
site, complete with embarrassing grammar. Devolution. Every living being survives, seemingly, on
the death of some other competing also-ran. I have no idea whether my betrothed tomatoes chose ‘Death B-4 Dishonour’. Believe me, I’d intended to lovingly plant their seeds. But that’s water over the Solanis Dam. Next month I’ll invest in ‘resistant’ seeds, barring that I myself should succumb to a virus, god forbid *spits*

5) These cats are now grown-ups. I’ve done my job. The hours they increasingly spend breaking everything I own could be spent outside catching mice. I’ll see to that before sun-down.
 
Wait: Mice with viruses? Oops, ok, another week here in Heaven I’ll grant you-uns guys, but that’s the limit.  I only have one un-broken coffee-cup left.

A pleasant weekend… (and notice I didn’t mention ‘Positive’ even once, not in so many words.)



Wu: Nobody say anything about your poems. Sad.
Me: “Forgive them, for they know not what they be not doin'”
Wu: Wow. Christ-like. How many cheeks you got left, btw?
Me: No, seriously, Scarlet Moth’s delicious phrase ‘Praise without Merit’ has never been more apt. The scourge historically of the fully-fledged intellectual: to see someone  get 157 (sic) ‘Your Awesome’s. For a jumble of meaningless un-rhymed and un-rhythmed swill. I’ve seen poorly-bagged stool-specimens at old-folks homes that were more attractive. What ya gonna do?
Wu: ‘Things are different today/ I hear every mother say/ Don’t you realize, it’s hard to write a poem?’
Me: I do work hard to create little feats. And without any mother’s little helpers. Oh well.
Wu: So give up on Xanga. Go to Poets-dot-com?
Me: Nah. The virus is in everybody’s eggs. I’ll stick with ‘our’ son-of-a-bitch for now.
Wu: Wow, Jesus, Mick Jagger, Everett Dirksen, Fire-sign Theatre, did I miss anybody?


A couple Pictures, each worth 1/1000th of a word.

Yes I dreamed I became stupid again last night. Too much reading Top Blogs and musing on ‘There but for Fortune go I’. I guess my Inna-kinna™ (inner child) wants to know what it would feel like to click ‘Submit’ on a post titled: “Its alwas been their, your just not use to it yet; My worse Xanga Nightmare.”
Anyway, I’z in the hobby butterfly-rearing bizness. Every morning another dozen goddamn yellow flying-machines what I gotta help ’em dry their new wings and take flight. ‘Think globular, act loco,’, that’s the
mantra, right? It’s working. Even the brain-dead in my neighborhood are stopping me on the street lately to ask “How’s come the joint is like, full of butterflies these past few weeks?” I shrug. It’s a secret.

Meanwhile roofs need built.
You’ll need to scope out the job-site:

Stock tools and basic foodstuffs:

And a small dependable car you put gas in every month or so. (At $8 a gallon)

So far, I have most of the rafters in place: Update as soon as it’s finished.

Oh, and you’ll need a bloke with an IDF Golani hat and a willingness to suffer in 100 degree heat and 100%
humidity. (Best bet, hire someone who really needs the cash.)

All the while, my tomatoes gaily acquire ‘The Blight’. A virus, spread by Whiteflies, which routinely destroys
whole fields here and, I suspect, in other parts of the world. It’s an open question whether carrying ten
gallons of water in buckets every day for two months will pay off in the end. Recipes for green tomatos,
anyone?


Wu: Wait, I didn’t get to listen to the song from the last post yet…
Me: It’s there whenever you get a chance. I’d be thrilled. That’s why I uploaded it. Already got two nice
compliments. That’s more than on an off night at the Dew Drop Inn.

Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues (ok, my face is red..)

Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit the details behind this recording. Here’s the story:
    I worked for a year or so with a nice local band in Central PA just before I moved for good to Israel. Think we might’ve made all of $1000/man in the whole career. Anyway, this song was brought in by the singer/lead guitarist. He might have mentioned that it was ‘by Robin Ford’, I don’t know, I was too busy packing to ask. He played it once through on guitar, I grabbed the chords by ear and that was it. I was on Hammond B-3 and various other keyboards, and we put it on a demo-tape I recorded for our ‘orchestra’. The demo might’ve been what got us a gig at the Dew-Drop Inn in Hellam, I never asked.
I loved the chords to the point where I took home the master and added five(5) horn parts. Never told anybody about it. So I just recently found the cassette in a box of letters from my Mom.
In those days there was no Internet, and so only today do I discover the real deal: that it was written by Duke Ellington, recorded by Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaugh, Ella Fitzgerald, and who know who else.
Duh, this is the stuff a grown man is supposed to know. *blushes in 12 keys*
I might have mentioned here spending an hour or so once at the piano with Duke Ellington. We had time to kill before a show and he was writing a new song. I remember his pony-tail, but more, the exquisite humility and concentration in the ‘now’. He asked me to play the theme he was working on, after he ran it through once. I used my own chords, and watched him smile, smirk, then smile at every change. Still not sure what he thought, but I certainly knew I was in the presence of an evolved soul, fame being well beside the point.
Enough text. Listen to the song, it’s short and sweet. And rest in peace, Mr Ellington. I didn’t know it was one of yours.

How to be a less-bitter butter-batter baiter

     I scan the Top Blogs list every day or so. Finger on the pulse, you know. Watching my own blood-pressure rise. At times putting my finger down my throat. The horror.
Yes, there are some well-written posts on the list. I’ve got to believe…
Somehow my belief-system doesn’t contain room for stuff like this:

 
Intrigued, and wondering if the  errors  in just the first few lines were an ironic joke, I made the mistake of reading the entry.
Yes it was a bit of a joke, but not intended. So full of misspellings, grammatical embarrassments, and word-choice gaffes that an editor would need to live next to Walmart to keep enough red-ink pens handy.
Then I made my second mistake. Ok, I seriously tried to be tactful in my comment,  mixing concrete suggestions with  compliments on what there was to praise.
Just read his(?) Reply. And now, for my efforts I’m a ‘Total Asshole’. Funny, I never knew, but maybe my mirror is out of date. The youngster did admit that advising writers to be ‘reprehensible’ might have been an error. He claimed to have learned the word’s meaning from an un-trustworthy buddy. Then went on to replace it with ‘apprehensible’. (I’d suggested ‘comprehensible’, but no deal.)
I should have been more ‘apprehensive’ about my drive to fix the world, one blog at a time. From now on I may just let sleeping blogs lie, or lay, or whatevs.. My Dad’s advice. I forgot it for a moment.

And so my new Refrigerator-magnet Question to myself:
“Have you learned your lesson, moron… more-or-less?”



Wu: A bit rough on the guy, no?
Me: Not really. A post purporting to teach writing ought to abide by a higher standard than, say, a caption for your new puppy-pix.
Wu: Still, it’s so unlike you to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Me: Temporary insanity, I guess. Won’t happen again. Definateley.
Wu: Did you mean ‘Defiantly’?
Me: Who cares? Defecately, Decaffeinately. It’s (Its?) only Xanga.