Archive for the ‘Beginnings’ Category

My Mom’s Blog

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, in remembrance of you on this day!

Just a photo or two or three and some music to honor my Mom, that’s all.

A few notes about the music and photos. My Mom was buried in Liberty, Texas. I was able to honor her with a visit in 2015. The bird is the Varied Thrush. It represents my beautiful Mom, because I couldn’t find a good picture of her to share with you. The music is totally random but music that I thought was appropriate to express my feelings about her. The Glen Miller piece was from her era. He died in 1944. She died in 1964. Listen at your leisure to the music as I did when I was putting this together.

It was good to visit Mom's grave.

It was good to visit Mom’s grave.

Glenn Miller: Big Band (swing)
Stevie Wonder: You are the Sunshine of My Life
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky
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Varied Thrush

Lion King soundtrack: The Circle of Life
Vangelis: The Tao of Love

I miss you, Mom!

Welcome to 2017

January 7, 2017

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True to form, I’m six days late getting this new blog done – oh, by the way, Happy New Year!

“I’m your Uncle Ernie, and I welcome you to Tommy’s Holiday Camp . . . never mind the weather, when you come to Tommy’s, the holiday’s forever! WELCOME!!!” (excerpt from Tommy)

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The Who: Tommy’s Holiday Camp

A Musical Interlude

If you have headphones, you might want to use them.

I guess the inspiration for this bit of creativity would be receiving a Christmas gift from my wife, who is a very creative gift giver – a turntable. The size of a small suitcase and portable enough to take over to family or friends’ gatherings so that we can bore them with music almost half a century old. In this box of records – vinyl LPs, what a concept – was music that I had not listened to in a long, long time, and quite a variety.

The Who: Overture, Tommy

Just to name a few oldies but goodies

Tommy was released in two versions, the original version that I’m including and a second version that was produced with the London Symphony. I didn’t find that one, although it’s probably out there. I had a lot of classical LPs in the box, including some Bach and Vivaldi played by Julian Bream and George Malcom. I put that one on when I got up this morning. Some real oddities like Firesign Theatre (Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him) and The Monkees. Actually, the Monkees aren’t an oddity, I remember taking my daughter to see them perform in Dallas, Texas in the 80’s. Also in the box are some lesser known jazz groups like Weather Report and Chick Corea and some of my favorites, a 4-record album Wings Over America (Paul McCartney) and Chicago (of course).

The Who: Pinball Wizard, Tommy

Millennials vs. Boomers Defined

The blog idea that struck me was exploring musical taste according to generations or age groups. I thought I should include music from my generation (Boomer) and also Millennials. Obviously the first problem was what music I should include. Not exactly sure why I chose to focus on Tommy for Boomer music, but it was always a favorite.

In doing some research I found a site, cheezburger.com, just scroll down under Beyoncé to the long list of music (pardon all the ads and other distractions). Interesting to note how much “Boomer” music is listed in first 20 of the “top 500” songs.

OK, just for the record “Millennials” were born in 1982 up to 20 years or so after, “Boomers” were born 1946 to 1964.  I consider myself a Boomer (sounds cool) although technically I’m in the Greatest Generation because I was born in 1945. Those born before 1946 are referred to as the “Greatest Generation” (according to Tom Brokaw). Someone dubbed Millennials as “the next great generation”, no argument there, just ask a Millennial. Sorry for getting down in the weeds, time to get back to music and pictures.

A Few Pictures

No surprise I’m including some new Rufous-sided Towhee pictures, but also a few other bird species. The doves I don’t see that often, but they’re beautiful, as are the Flickers.

The Who: Sparks, Tommy

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You Thought I’d Forget, Eh!

OK, I was totally non-plussed to decide on my “Millennial” music, but here it is. I found a couple of versions of Rachel Platten’s song, “Fight Song” and decided I liked the acoustic version better.  I think you’ll like the music no matter  how old you are.

Rachel Slatten: Fight Song

A Pictorial and a Musical Finish

One long song by The Who and one photo of my son and I looking west, think of it (symbolically) as a sunset. By the way, there are absolutely no political reasons for my choosing the last Tommy song.

The Who: We’re Not Gonna Take It, Tommy
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Dad and Son

A quote to start the new year:

Bill Vaughn
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Click here for more BrainyQuotes to pick and choose from.

It’s a New Year – 2016 (Woohoo!)

January 3, 2016

We made it through another one, eh! Just some thoughts to make you think about the year ahead.

Quote: Be kind to even unkind people; they need it the most. (Quoted from a friend I see at the gym)

Steely Dan – Do It Again (live version)
Picture: it’s just for shock value, yes, it is someone’s hand. (unknown source)

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One of my daily rituals is reading Daily Word (a Unity publication). The reading for January 1 in the January/February 2016 booklet is titled: “Fresh Start: I behold and delight in a fresh start.” The daily readings always have a Bible verse at the bottom of the page. For January 1, the verse was from Exodus 12:2, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.” In this passage, the Lord is addressing Moses and Aaron in Egypt.

Quoting from the same January 1 reading, “The new year stretches before me like a blank canvas. What kind of life shall I paint this year?”

Anyway, here’s the link if you want to subscribe to the magazine. It’s a good way to start your day.

Daily Word web site

In parting, a few word pictures to describe a calendar, one of the many that nonprofits send to me because I’ve donated money to them, or they want me to donate money to them. The calendar I’m looking at is from the Nature Conservancy. The photos and layout are impressive.

Picture a zebra with those wonderful black and white stripes – is it a white animal with black stripes or a black animal with white stripes? The zebra is standing in a field surrounded by pink flowers that are in soft focus. There is a white bird perched on the animal’s back, a cattle egret. This is the photo for April. It was taken in South Africa.

March and September are photos taken in Oregon, my favorite state. Colors in the March photo are predominantly green with the tree foliage and the moss growing on the rocks in and around the waterfall which is bright white. It’s a very peaceful picture. The picture was taken in Silver Falls State Park not far from Portland. September’s photo was taken in central Oregon and shows a cliff mesa in the background with yellow wildflowers in the foreground. The pictures and descriptions in the calendar serve to remind us of how wonderful nature is and that we are a part of nature.

I’ll finish with a few Rufous pictures, not taken by me, but they’re good ones.

Next: Not sure yet, but I’m working on some things.

The Start

March 26, 2013

The red-tailed hawk soared overhead, a mere 20 feet, so close the runner could nearly count the individual feathers at the end of his wings. It was a wonderful sight to see as he ran down the country road. Oblivious to any cars that might have been on the road at that early hour on a Sunday morning, he stared up at the raptor for what seemed like a long time, hardly missing a step. The sight of the hawk deepened the enjoyment of the run immensely, although he was less than an hour into it, with well over an hour left before he completed the circuit. Long distance running can be lonesome and tedious, but only if you forget to appreciate the experience.

So what’s the point of it all — this striving for physical attainment, running marathons? Is it a good thing to want to achieve, to be the best and to win? Is it OK not to win, if you do your best and just finish? What if you don’t finish? If you knew that you would be no better than second in every race or event or whatever (competing for a job, running for a political office), would you still give it your best effort all the time?

Even champions, who know they are the best, must have doubts going into their competition, but for champions losing is not an option. I think the average person usually does not go into an endeavor with a no-lose attitude, although they may hope for a victory.

What is this blog about and why should anyone read it? It’s about struggles and victories, usually more of the former than the latter. But you know, in the end it doesn’t matter — as that old saying goes, “it’s not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game”. Let me tell you about my experiences in playing the game.

Just a passing comment on the “Rufous” thing. You may have seen the picture of the bird that I posted. I love birds; they are very interesting and efficient creatures. They live out the year wearing the same clothes, fluffing their feathers in the winter to hold in the warmth, etc., etc. They don’t need to hit the malls to upgrade their wardrobes. If they lose feathers, they just grow them back. I like the Rufous-sided Towhee a lot. It resembles a Robin, but is smaller and more animated. It has those wonderful bright red eyes and the white specks on its plumage. I always think of it as the Julia Roberts or Brad Pitt of the bird species, similar but much more noticeable than a Robin. However, they are a bit reclusive and prefer to hang out in the underbrush. When I spot a Rufous, I think of it as a good sign, that it’s going to be a very good day. I guess if there is a message here, it would be that you sometimes have to look for the good things in life.

What’s It About?

March 26, 2013

Life

This is my blog – I am a writer living in the USA. This is more of a literary attempt at finding a common thread about living, based on my journalling, from new stories that I’m working on, and from my dusty manuscripts written years ago. Hopefully, this blog will provide food for thought about your life. In my blog posts you will see a fair number of quotations – I love quotations.

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: ‘Wow, what a ride’.”

In my English classes in college I read a lot, in fact copious amounts of writing, different genres and styles, from Beowulf to Kurt Vonnegut, who at the time (70’s) had practically a cult following – at least my book-bound friends thought he was a very good read.

I remember that certain styles earned certain novels the label “episodic”, the reason being there was no coherent thread to the story line, just vignettes that weren’t always directly related to each other or in sequence. You may ask, how does that apply to this literary effort, which also has vignettes (I like to call them snapshots)? Strictly speaking, it’s not “fiction” because I’ve drawn from life in talking to people and writing about our conversations and about reflections from my own life. I think of it more thematic than episodic – themes such as avocations, occupational stagnation, fear of change, running, photography, and bridges are interlaced throughout. Hopefully you will be able to relate to some of it.

What Was the Question?

I thought early on that I should set the tone for this literary effort by posing questions to put it all in a frame of reference, I guess to make sure it would be a worthwhile reading experience. Questions like:

Do famous and successful people always love their work?

Would you rather be happy or successful if you had the choice?

Why are some “darn lucky” or have the Midas touch, sailing through life, while others struggle their whole lives just to survive?

Why do many or most people hate Mondays and love Fridays?

OK, you get the idea. I guess using this approach would make it a thematic piece with specific threads of thought throughout and this might guarantee that you got “the message”. However, I have to mention that one very famous writer who has written about the art of writing suggests that you NOT include themes in your books. So, I will leave it up to the reader to glean whatever tidbits about life that they can from reading this work. In my opinion and most importantly, people are people, and they are what make this story.

As promised or forewarned (barely started and here is the second quote), try this excellent quote from Nelson Demille’s book Up Country (the bolding in the quote is mine):

“The journey home is never a direct route – it is in fact always circuitous and somewhere along the way we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination and that the people we meet along the way will be the traveling companions of our memories forever.”

City Slickers

I’m a movie buff so you may see little sketches or metaphors drawn from movies. This one is more or less word for word from “City Slickers”. The scene is with Jack Palance (Curly) and Billy Crystal (Mitch) talking – they’re in the middle of a cattle drive and somehow got into a philosophical discussion about life.

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
Mitch: No, what?
Curly: (He holds up one finger.) This
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: Just one thing.
Mitch: What’s the one thing?
Curly: That’s what you’ve got to figure out.

The Time is Now

I originally titled this as a chapter, “Fourteen Minutes”, with the idea that I would pose the question, what would you do if you suddenly discovered that you only had 14 minutes to live? The number 14 isn’t important, it could have been 23 minutes, or 3 days, or a month. I had read a book by Daniel Wolk titled The Time is Now. In his book, Wolk presents thought provoking ideas about life, time, relationships, and the Cicada complex (more on that later).

Because I live in the Pacific Northwest (or “Northwet”) – it’s raining as I write this, waiting to catch the MAX (light rail) into Portland – I thought of titling this part, “Just Do It”, but then I realized that I might upset the Nike corporate folks because I borrowed their tag line.
In racing to finish this chapter with 6 minutes left, I need to finish on a note of substance and that is, “don’t be like the Cicada living for 4 years underground only to move up through layers of dirt, hatch, and die within 3 or 4 months”.


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