Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ask me no questions, and I will tell you ....

Street of Dreams

I heard the sound of voices in the night
Spellbound there was someone calling
I looked around no one was in sight
Pulled down I just kept on falling
I've seen this place before
You were standing by my side
I've seen your face before tonight
Maybe I just see what I want it to be
I know it's a mystery
Do you remember me on a street of dreams
Running through my memory
On the street of dreams
There you stood a distant memory
So good like we never parted
Said to myself I knew you'd set me free
And here we are right back where we started

Something's come over me
And I don't know what to feel
Maybe this fantasy is real
Now I know I see what I want it to be
But it's still a mystery
Do you remember me on the street of dreams
Running through my memory
On the street of dreams
You are on every face I see
On the street of dreams

.... guitars, guitars, guitars ....

Something's come over me
And I don't know what to feel
Maybe this fantasy is real
Now I know I see what I want it to be
But it's still a mystery

Do you remember me on the street of dreams
Running through my memory
On the street of dreams
You are on every face I see
On the street of dreams
Tell me have you always been
On the street of dreams
Will we ever meet again my friend
On the street of dreams
Do you know just what it meant to be
On the street of dreams
Never know just who you'll see do you
On the street of dreams
You can be who you want to be oh yeah
On the street of dreams
I can hear you calling me
I can feel you haunting me
Haunting me

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nobody tells me where to go, baby

Just to be perfectly honest, I feel compelled to admit that I did not take this photograph, but it portrays the view I see two or three times a week these days. It is the Minneapolis skyline as seen as the land rises from the Minnesota River valley. A bit further down the road, the Minnesota runs into the Mississippi River and is on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. The actual view appears more distant than this, the photo obviously having been taken with a telephoto lens. It was shot a mile or two from where I currently am hanging out .... I mean, where I currently am living.

He was born with a laugh on his lips

I have been on fire in recent days. It began with a melancholy mood and emerged with a sense of enough thinking, enough wondering, enough contemplating -- enough, enough, enough .... it is time for jumping off on another run.

Those (very) few of you who come around here to read my rambling posts know that one of the things I occasionally have bragged/complained about is that I had done everything there was to do in life in basic form and in one way or another by the time I had reached age twenty-five. After that point, it (meaning life) simply has been repetition and variation. Well, whatever you might think, that is Actual Fram.

Anyway, I am beginning to get annoyed with myself. There has to be at least one thing I have missed; one thing forgotten; one thing overlooked. If not something actually new, at least a new variation, a new twist, a new turn in the road. To make a long story a short story or part of a story or .... yes, I hear you .... I am going to drift away from the sea of blogs again for a few weeks or a few months or ....

I might make an appearance at your blog and leave a comment at your post now and then, but I will not be writing any posts here for a while.

If you have a suggestion of what I might do (he says, as did Scaramouche, with a smile on his face and a sense that the world was mad), do not hesitate but to mention it here in a comment. By the way, I have been both to heaven (some might call it nirvana) and to hell, so it is not necessary to suggest either of them as a prospective destination in which you might wish me to arrive. (Nobody tells me where to go, to paraphrase the words R.E.M. once sang.)

Finally, as I commented to the neighbor across the street today, I am not sure it is a good thing or a bad thing to live ten minutes away from an international airport. But, I suppose, time will provide us with something to do and a place to go. It always has and always will. Later ....

Why not ??

Finally .... I (too ??) frequently write about my two former wives in my posts, but I never once have brought up the word "children." Well, as any reasonably intelligent person might assume, two former wives might mean some children. There are, and I cannot help myself but to mention that my youngest daughter made her first jump yesterday. Jump = sky dive. She did it in Colorado, so I did not witness it, which probably is for the best. You might not guess it, but I worry -- a lot -- although never about myself.

Way to go, baby girl ....

Does music follow dreams or ....

White Bear was wandering around our blog the other day and discovered this song accompanying one of our previous posts. "I want to use it again," the little nuisance commanded.

The song -- "What Is and What Should Never Be" -- originally is from what I would label a seventies band, Led Zeppelin, and is played here by Jimmy Page with what I would label a nineties band, the Black Crowes. Page is another of the guitar masters from his generation and a founding member of Led Zeppelin.

In hard rock songs such as this, it often is difficult to understand the lyrics, so, I am doing something I have not done for a long time -- printing them here in their entirety along with the performance piece.

Perhaps, it is needless to say, but these words are part of White Bear's dreams -- and, sometimes, enter my mind, too.

Anyway, we dedicate it to SHE, who knows SHE is SHE ....

"What Is And What Should Never Be"

And if I say to you tomorrow. Take my hand, child, come with me.
It's to a castle I will take you, where what's to be, they say will be.

Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away, leave today, way up high in the sky.
But the wind won't blow, you really shouldn't go, it only goes to show
That you will be mine, by takin' our time.

And if you say to me tomorrow, oh what fun it all would be.
Then what's to stop us, pretty baby. But What Is And What Should Never Be.

So if you wake up with the sunrise, and all your dreams are still as new,
And happiness is what you need so bad, girl, the answer lies with you.

Oh the wind wont blow and we really shouldn't go and it only goes to show.
Catch the wind, we're gonna see it spin, we're gonna...sail, little girl
do do do, bop bop a do-oh, my my my my my my yeah.
Everybody I know seems to know me well
but they're never gonna know that I move like hell

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thoughts from an aimlessly wandering mind

It has not been unusual for me to include a photograph of my current "work station" with a post. Here we go again. This is my outdoor station, in a screened patio, one of two I am now using. An indoor station, obviously, is the other. I might run a photo of it on another day. There is not much to this station because thunderstorms with high winds and fierce rains are common in Minnesota during the summer months. I would rather not have too much here to pick up and carry as I run for cover should a storm erupt. Anyway, visualize me sitting before the laptop computer, sipping wine, listening to music and typing away, and you might also then be able to imagine all my secrets.

Does art follow life or ....

Not that I ever have been on speaking terms with Oscar Wilde, but one of his "notions" drifted through my mind a few days ago when I was visiting the blog of another. The concept was this: Does art follow life or does life follow art?

For centuries after the classical Greek writers, it generally was accepted that the purpose of art is to serve as a model for such things as truth and beauty. "Mimesis," therefore, became the accepted premise that art would imitate life; art follows life in the pursuit of truth and beauty.

Then, along came Oscar, who declared the opposite was true. Writing in an essay entitled, "The Decay of Lying," Wilde said this: "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life."

Wilde said the self-conscious aim of life is to find expression (certainly an idea with which most of us who are engaged upon the sea of blogs would agree), and art offers a means to express and to realize that expression.

He added that life and the natural world are not actually what we perceive them to be, but what artists have taught us to believe they are -- in effect, sold us, convinced us, to accept what often is opposed to our innate instincts. Poets and painters were the chief architects of this deception. An example: To be in the midst of a raging storm in a dark and threatening forest ordinarily would not be a pleasant experience. However, the artist or the poet could portray the situation to be wonderful and beautiful -- and, convince us that it actually is just that. 

Explaining this in my own terms, I have always believed that art is the creation of beauty. (I could be wrong.) And, even accepting reality and acknowledging that different people have different concepts of beauty, I find it difficult, for instance, to comprehend how anyone can see a trace of beauty in a Picasso painting. (You disagree? Oh, well.) For this reason, I accept Wilde and believe that life imitates art, and I wave goodbye to the mimesis of the ancient Greeks.

Oh, yes. Back to speaking terms with Oscar. Quite impossible, you see, as he lived and died nearly a century before my time.

For a long while, too, he could not speak to me from the grave as so many others have through their writing. Wilde, you see, was among those I ignored for a number of years because I despised him as a man. But, in the end, he has been among those who taught me another lesson: You can despise a man for his lifestyle, but still respect him for the power of his intellect.

On the path to infinity

For today, ladies and gentleman, the prince among bears has selected two versions of a combination of two songs by the band Journey: "Feeling That Way" and "Anytime," which were among the pieces to appear on an album called "Infinity" thirty-three years ago.

(When I was in my twenties, I thought I would die at age thirty-three. Since I did not, my assumption now is that I will die at some other double-digit age at some point along the line. [At least, I do not recall dying then. Tell me if I actually did but failed to notice, will you?] Sorry. Getting silly again.)

First, is a version which shows the lyrics -- for those who are interested in music as poetry. Last, is a version which shows the band in a live performance -- for anyone who likes to see the faces behind the music.

The lead singer is Steve Perry, while Gregg Rolie is doing his share of the vocals from behind the keyboards. The guitar work is nice, but nothing to write home about.

I do not know about you, but these two songs bring me to a sort of emotional high whenever I hear them. They form about as powerful a ballad as any performed during an era of magnificent voices singing beautiful expressions of love. White Bear says he thinks it is cool stuff.

Friday, July 8, 2011

To marry or not to marry

All right. This is it. Home for the next few months. Three bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, full basement and double garage. It is a very typical Minnesota, suburban, ranch-style house built in the early 1970s when common sense still dictated the American housing market. Not the biggest, not the fanciest, but as the old saying goes: At least it is bought and paid for. Now, all that remains to be discovered is how long I can last before I am again off on my wandering ways. So far, so good.

July is the month of anniversaries

Among the things I am good at are remembering dates: Birthdays, anniversaries, historical events of major significance, to name some of the most common. I always have been a detail person, which is why I was a pretty good reporter and policy analyst.

So, it is no surprise to me that I have been thinking about tomorrow's date for the past few weeks. Tomorrow, July 9, is the anniversary of the finalization of my second divorce. The next day, July 10, is the anniversary of the wedding for that same marriage. How many people do you know who were married an exact, precise number of years before their divorce? Not so many years, so many months, so many weeks .... but, only so many years -- period. Only me, I would wager.

To make things even stranger (??), the weddings and the finalizations of the divorces for both of my marriages have been in July. Do you understand why I might be a bit superstitious?

Long before I married for the first time, I got the notion in my mind that I was destined to have three wives (not at the same time, mind you), and that the first two marriages would end in divorce. My assumption was that I would die while married to wife No. 3 and leave her a widow. It could be that the events in my marital existence are sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who can say? I would not argue very strenuously against that being a possibility.

Since my second divorce, I have been contemplating whether or not I should insist on a July wedding with Mrs. Fram No. 3. If so, my next assumption is that I would then die sometime during the month of July, with only the exact date left to be determined.  Sort of predestination. Yes, I am being slightly silly, but I enjoy thinking about obscure odds and random chances at times.

Anyway, as a final thought, this means, I guess, today being July 8, anyone who wishes to marry me only has twenty-four days to "win me over" before July 2011 has passed into the history books. Otherwise, the potential bride will have to wait until July 2012 for her next opportunity.

Maybe, it is time for me to return to school and learn something practical to occupy that portion of my brain now occupied by fanciful speculation -- either that, or to start thinking about places for a honeymoon. Teasing .... I am just teasing .... sort of ....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

To dream or not to dream

I was outside working. Honestly. It has been a busy few weeks for me. Then, I made the mistake of walking by White Bear who was up to his usual antics -- lounging about, reading, watching Wild West films, sitting under the shade of our own magical "guardian tree," drinking my liquors and wearing my watches. Well, what can I say? The little rascal told me to take his photograph again. "No one has seen me for weeks!" he exclaimed. "I am sure they miss me. Go get 'our' camera." So, here he is, White Bear, on the evening of July 6, 2011. He picked the music for this post, too. He said although we have used this song with its utterly fantastic guitar work in the past in a live, onstage version, he thought it would blend in with our mood and would fit in with this post and our next one, which are related, although it might not seem that way to a casual observer.

 Reoccuring dreams .... one more time

Reoccuring dreams are fascinating, to me, and I sometimes write about mine. Right now is another "sometime."

In my most recent, I am driving my Suburban along a lakeshore. There are familiar landmarks here and there, but, essentially, it seems like a place unknown to me. There are homes along much of the shoreline, but as I round a ninety-degree curve, I arrive at an open area several yards in length. I pull in and park, facing the lake. As I shut off the engine and look out over the lake, I glance in the rear-view mirror and see a blue, pickup truck come round the bend and continue on down the road. There, the dream fades away.

I had this same dream a number of times when, abruptly, several nights ago, the blue, pickup truck turns in beside me and parks. The dream ends. A few nights later, the same thing occurred, but, this time, rather than park next to me, the blue pickup continues on and cautiously proceeds over and down a steep but passable incline, and continues a short distance to the actual waterline of the lake. Here, endeth the dream -- slowly and calmly.

Then, last night, the blue, pickup truck stops to the side and the front of me, blocking my view of the lake. I spend a few moments debating whether or not I should get out of my Suburban and confront the driver of the blue pickup about his rudeness.

You know me. (You do, do you not?) There is no reason for self-debate. I would confront the devil himself if he blocked my view of a lake. I exit my Suburban and walk to the driver's side of the blue, pickup truck. The window is up. All I see is a reflection in the glass as I rap on it. The window stays up. I rap again. Nothing happens. I lean down and move next to the glass so I can see beyond the reflection and into the blue pickup. It is empty. No one is inside of it; no one had been driving it.

This startled me very, very much. I awoke with a literal leap into the air -- shuddering, sweating, wondering where I was at and why no one was with me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It may be time for a night on the town

There might not be a Polish restaurant in my new neighborhood, but a bowl of Russian Borscht is only a hop, skip and a jump down the road. I am eager to try the cuisine, but, remember, I do not like to eat out alone. Hint, hint ....

Borscht & homemade vodka

Well, I am safely ensconced in my new digs in metropolitan Minnesota, as the mystical and magical Sherlock Holmes might describe my immediate state of affairs. I will call it Saint Paul when mentioning it here. How long I will be here also relies to a degree on mystical and magical circumstances. Probably, for a few months.

Less than two days after my arrival, I asked a young lady if she knew of any Polish restaurants in the neighborhood. No, she replied, but there is a Russian one just down the road. "If you order a vodka, they give it to you in a water glass filled to the top," she laughed.

Actually, from the reviews I read about "Nina's" after learning of it, most people seem to think of it as a bar that serves food. Here are a few paragraphs from a professional newspaper reviewer:

"The decor is faux garden mixed with low-rent disco, unaffected and guileless. No focus group has been anywhere near the dining room, and we love that. Formerly known as the Russian Tavern, Nina's is still a gathering place for the area's Russian immigrants ....

"Combine tomatoes, pickles, peppers and onions, chop and mix them with a light dressing and you'll have the unusual and pungent Caucasian salad.

"For dinner, the goulash was a clear winner, with big savory chunks of beef in a thick gravy. And the purported favorite of Mikhail Gorbachev, chicken stuffed with pepper jack cheese, was also filling and tasty.

"Peasant-style ravioli is a fabulous baked dish, invented in-house, with cheese and plenty of mushrooms in a cream sauce atop beef ravioli.

"Beef stroganoff, a Russian staple, here is a plate of overcooked meat and mushrooms atop poorly cooked noodles. We ordered the frog's legs, so you don't have to. They have little flavor other than their white wine sauce.

"Borscht should be available once local beets are in the markets, and the pea soup and chicken soup are perfectly good, though we like our soup served hotter."

And, here is a customer comment: "It's a great little neighborhood hole in the wall joint and the food is super cheap and she makes the best Borscht.”

And another: "Best local dive bar ever. Amazing homemade vodka."

And another: "An interesting place with an interesting mix of patrons and decent Russian dishes."

Make you hungry? This sounds like a "dive" with potential to me, and I am eager make a run to Nina's. Want to join me?

Ted might not leave the stage

I have been listenting to so much music by/from Ted Nugent the past week that I decided I would toss another piece into the mix. Like most guitar men of the rock and roll era, Nugent played with a few bands. One was called Damn Yankees and here, in my not so humble opinion, is one of the group's neater songs: "High Enough."

Nugent has a brief guitar solo toward the end of the piece. The vocals are performed by Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades. Drummer Michael Cartellone was the fourth member of the band.

By the way, I just learned today that Nugent and Derek St. Holmes will be performing in the Twin Cities next month. Maybe, dinner at Nina's followed by an evening of rock. Maybe .... and if we would be lucky, Nugent might stay on the stage and keep right on playing after the concert has "officially" ended, as he often has been known to do.

Something special ....