Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The few who live forever .... a re-run

Maybe, there never was or will be time for us

(Editor's Note: As I wrote on December 10, I planned to post a piece between Christmas Day and New Year's Day and, in fact, already had written it. But, instead, I now find myself re-printing this "story told in column form" from October 23, 2009, five years and two months ago today. I re-read it after noticing that someone had looked at it a few days ago. What struck me was the similarity between it and the words I had planned on running next week; they are like two sides of a coin. I felt a compelling urge to re-post this piece -- for its second appearance -- right now. I probably will run "the other" in a few days -- or, I might not. Moody guy, am I, and my mood is like the swirls and eddies and shifting currents of a swiftly moving river. [Uffff .... I can close my eyes and it is like I can feel/sense myself once again swimming in such a stream, in deep water, with currents and temperatures varying between the surface and a few feet below .... warm on the surface; icy cold below .... the river is me and I am the river and, perhaps, a few of you are able to understand what I am saying if you have experienced such a swim or have a good imagination {possibly, it is an allegory of emerging into the world during birth ?? }] .... anyway, it is Christmas in two days and I wish you a merry, joyous, peaceful few moments and successful swimming, no matter where you do it .... see you later .... next year, I think. By the way, I am on the road, not far from home, in a town named Rochester, Minnesota .... I sort of like it here and thought I would be here a few days .... not so .... I will be on the move again tomorrow, as it turns out .... )
Somewhere in time
(Originally published October 23, 2009)

I have fallen from beyond the sky,
And risen from the bottom of the sea;
Where else can I go, what else can I be?

I have given life, I have taken life,
And kept my life when all others have died;
What else is left to do, what else can be tried?

I have known brilliance, I have enjoyed beauty,
And scattered all the Muse with my sullen glance;
Who else might I find, who else is worth the chance?

I have flown upon visions, both in day and night,
And studied long to understand this endless chase;
When will it come to pass, when will I glimpse her face?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I wanna know, have you ever ....

Will the real Fram please stand up. You probably can guess I was struggling to find something to use as an illustration for this post. This was the second idea, and I am not going to try for a third. Actually, it sort of reminds me of some of the posts I was creating when I first arrived on the sea of blogs in 2009. I think I must have been looser back then, although I always have been accused of being overly serious. Anyway .... you will note the common theme to the gentlemen situated at the four corners of the illustration: They all are smoking. It is unclear whether or not the gentleman in the center is also puffing away on a cigarette or a cigar. Getting straight to the point (finally), it was on this date -- December 10, 1997 -- that I lit up and smoked my last cigarette, which is sort of the subject of this post.

With or without us

I once was pretty proud of myself for being able to stop smoking. It was three to four packs of cigarettes a day for me -- Salems and Camel straights. Most days, a cigar or two entered the mix and what would life be without a pipe and the scent of aromatic smoke drifting in the den? I once figured out that I was smoking about fifty minutes out of every hour I was awake during an average twenty-four hour period. As you might suspect with an attitude like mine, I pretty much decided when and where I would smoke and, for whatever reason, got away with it. (My smile, no doubt.)

Today marks seventeen years since I stopped. I did it "cold turkey." It was mind over matter; nothing more, nothing less. (To be honest, I actually was amazed that I made it, but I am hesitant to admit that part of the story.)

Anyway, it no longer seems like a big deal; does not even seem especially important. Life is change. Constant change, perpetual change, never-ending change. A few weeks ago, I wrote in a post or in a comment or somewhere that I cannot understand how anyone can live in the same town or work at the same job for an entire adult lifetime. The same, I came to realize at some point, is true of smoking. I did it. I enjoyed it -- especially some cigars -- then, I quit. Smoking came and went, and that is what life is -- people and places and things coming and going. Probably more so for me than for most. (At least, I admit it.)

Tell me why I would want to read the same book over and over ad infinitum or watch the same film over and over or listen to the same song over and over year after year? So, why would I want to stare at the same four walls in the same house forever and ever -- or, smoke cigarettes day-in and day-out for as long as I am alive?

Some things are easier to let go of than other things. Some things we have no choice whether we let go or not. Life goes on, with us or without us; with or without people, places and things which once were central in our lives.

Well, it might not make sense to everyone, but it makes sense to me. Cigarettes? They were fun while they lasted. Seventeen years ago today it became time to move along without them ....

Now, for the music, baby

A young lady known as Smareis has introduced me to a few Brazilian singers and bands. A few days ago, she gave me a link to a Def Leppard song named, "Love Bites," as performed by a Brazilian band which calls itself Yahoo. I think it is a fantastic rendition, especially when considering it is a live performance and not a studio cut.

I think this cover is superior to the original Def Leppard version, and I am posting it today along with Yahoo's rendition of a Queen song entitled, "Love of My Life," and a real old piece, "Love Hurts," originally recorded by the Everly Brothers (ex-Marines, incidentally) in 1960, but made "big time" by Nazareth in 1975.

One of the three pieces here by Yahoo is sung in the national language of Brazil, Portuguese, and the other two in English. I assume most of you can recognize the difference. (Yes-s-s-s, I am being sarcastic .... I cannot help myself, he says with a shy grin.)

So, here is some cool music, by my definition, to help me observe seventeen years of still hanging out, but without that cool-guy-cigarette-guy look .... you know .... like Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca."

By the way, barring the unforeseen, I plan to post next during the mystical, magical, mysterious week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Due to the capricious nature of life -- which sometimes sends you where it will rather than where you would wish to be -- I will be gone much of the time between now and then .... in the meanwhile, Merry Christmas and ho/ho/ho ....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

View from a passenger window at 82 mph

Not great, but not bad for shooting with a Blackberry through the passenger side window at 82 miles-per-hour and still climbing. Agree? The photograph, I mean. This ski area is known as Buck Hill and has existed as long as I can remember. The shot was taken at 10:04 a.m. last Tuesday as I was "headin' out" on an interstate highway. It was a cold/cold/cold day, which might explain why there was only one, lone skier on the slope. Do you see him? The last "rugged individualist," possibly, in what once was a nation created and built by this manner of character. Sarcasm aside and moving right along, I returned home Friday evening after being absent four days, and realized I have been gone from home eleven days during the past thirty-three. I do believe I am getting restless again.

Just a reminder

It was seventy-three years ago today that Japan launched surprise attacks against the United States at its naval base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii, and at other outposts in the Far East. It seems to me the U.S. has been under attack a great deal of the time since Sunday, December 7, 1941 -- the most notable, perhaps, the one by Islamic extremists at the World Trade Center complex on September 11, 2001.

But, from my point of view, the most disturbing and troublesome attacks are coming not from outside U.S. borders, rather, they are originating from dedicated leftists (i.e. socialists and communists or sympathizers, and anarchists) and immature students who simply do not realize what an easy and beneficial existence they have, especially when compared to the generations of their parents and their grandparents.

I think I was fortunate to live as a child in the presence of grandparents who had experienced The Great Depression. I think I have been fortunate to have known Marines and "soldats" from the World War II era, to the Korean War, to the Vietnam War and through the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. People such as these have given me two things in particular: A sense of self-confident, independence and the understanding than no one and no government owes me a thing.

Loving and studying history is another ingredient to form my philosophy, and I believe that is the "missing link" in the formulation of beliefs among many (too many) people: They have no real sense of what came before them. To paraphrase a well-worn cliché: Countless people in generations before our time here on Earth have suffered and died so we, who live today, can utter our petty grievances and live in relative peace and harmony among family and friends.

No individual, no government or system of government can ever be perfect, and when systemic failures are found, change and reform are accomplished by dedication and hard, honest work, not by shouting down those who disagree or by looting or by burning. Those who shout down and loot and burn are the cowards among us, the weakest among us, the most selfish among us, the destroyers among us, the haters among us, the delusional among us.

So, look in the mirror .... who are you, which are you, what are you ??

For whatever reason

I recently mentioned to someone that I have been on a Def Leppard kick .... just as I was on a Guns 'n' Roses kick not long ago .... and, undoubtedly, just as I will move along to another band in a few weeks. I do not like the Def Leppard lead singer's voice (and, do not even know his name), but I love the overall sound of the band. Much of the time, "the voice" is overpowered by the music, which suits me just fine. I also am sort of simpatico with the lyrics in this piece. Sound + words = neat song .... for me, for whatever reason ....

Something special ....