The Adventures of Harrison and Human (Chapter-1)

 

I could’ve sworn someone had just spoken to me in a near whisper…

“Pssst… hey human!”

Perhaps this was a mere figment of my imagination? Oh… say… my erroneously assigning human syntax and phonics to what was… in actuality… a mere, momentary wind gust rustling a nearby lilac thicket’s leaves? Well… I had no sooner summarily dismissed this as such a phenomenon than the unseen speaker spoke again… this time with added conviction and decibels…

“Hey! Over here!”

My ears now properly attuned, they advised a 180 spin. Pivoting on my heels… lo and behold… there he was! And most assuredly, this was no ordinary, up-at-the-crack-of-dawn passerby… no jogger or nature walker was he.

Indeed, amidst the stray sunbeam lit, verdant field of clover, sat an up on his haunches, uncharacteristically unskittish rabbit… sporting a dapper, multiple gradations of brown, furry coat and tails. Uh… correction… let’s make those “tails” one, fluffy, grayish-white cottontail.

Even though I could not immediately reconcile the contradictory aural / visual sensory input, at hand… there could be no denying his presence. But a talking rabbit? NO… I would not… could not… “go there!”

Was I actually starting to sense his amusement, too? I could not be certain. What was for fur sure? Being at a distinct psychological disadvantage.

Transfixed and momentarily speechless were we… he… casually chewing on the clover leaves within his twitching whiskered mouth… I… desperately ISO any signs of the human responsible for those uttered, two, brief sentences. But, with no such person in the vicinity, I began wondering if straitjackets are custom tailored or only a one size fits all / off the rack prospect.  Just when I thought my jaw could not drop any further… said he… omg… SAID HE?

“Yes… it really IS just you and me.”

Was his accompanying chortled chorus to mock or reassure me?

I could only hunker down with my mind’s “this cannot possibly be happening” utter disbelief. My mind? What mind?

There just had to be some logical explanation! At stake, was my very WordPress screen-name, CommonSenseTom… which I realized could soon be rendered nonsensical. It was then that… not unlike a TM mantra… I began recursively reminding myself…

“Rabbits cannot talk! Rabbits cannot talk! Rabbits cannot talk!”

“Oh yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!”

… Mr. Rabbit’s reply clearly establishing that I had either, actually, vocalized my thoughts or he was a mind-reader, too. Quick as a bunny he added in a big voice inconsistent to his small, short stature… and with a New England accent, to boot…

“So sorry to get your wind up. Pleased to make your acquaintance Mr. Human. Allow me to introduce myself. Dr. Harrison Hare D-I-X. But do call me Harry… that sounds far less stuffy.”

“D-I-X? DIX as in Roman numerals? As in Harrison the 509th?”

“Hey… don’t look so shocked. A rabbit’s prolific nature is a fact of life… not some credulity contorting Urban Legend!”

Still doubting my sanity, while nonchalantly, softly humming the Jefferson Airplane’s classic rock tune, White Rabbit, I made a full 360 scan of the vicinity… this time ISO some cleverly hidden TV cameras. I was now actually entertaining the notion that I was EITHER getting punk’d OR some new network reality show had hired a dude to throw his voice rabbit-ward. Sensing that awkward silences could easily render the recorded “footage” unfit for cable, streaming, the airwaves, etc… that I could easily blow any chances for my big break into TV land fame and fortune… I decided to play along…

“Hey, Harry, has anybody ever told you your voice sounds just like John F. Kennedy’s?”

“No… but then again… I don’t normally talk with all that many humans. And speaking of talking… to whom do I have the pleasure of meeting on this balmy, late spring morn?”

“The name is Thomas BlogDonovich… no Roman numerals needed… and btw… Tom will suffice. I guess I’m glad to meet you, too.”

“Still unsure I’m really talking to you, huh?”

“Sure am… in fact your chosen word… balmy… likely better describes my mental state… uh… than this morn’s weather. I mean… a talking rabbit?”

“Not just A rabbit, friend Tom… ALL rabbits can talk!”

“So this is really happening and I’m not really losing it?”

“Tom… I assure you… this IS really happening! You must believe me, OK?

“I’m trying. I’m trying. But why… pray tell… have you chosen this particular time to break the ice? After all, we’ve been neighbors for nearly two decades.”

“The answer to your question IS you. You see, ever since late January`17 me and the Missus have found it damned near impossible to not overhear you constantly yelling back at your radio during NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered newscasts… namely… your name-calling and cussing… your calling out the deplorable words and deeds of THAT pathetic narcissistic horse’s ass.”

“Do you find that even remotely shocking?”

“No! Not at at all. It’s just that your excessively dwelling on that contemptible, corrupt creep is not healthy, my man. If you’d like, I do have my PhD in Psychology and am willing to talk you through these tough times… pro bono… you know… the same way liberal talk jockey Randi Rhodes counseled you, way back in 2004… the day after W got reelected.”

“You actually recall my long ago on air, nationwide conversation with Ms. Rhodes?”

“Sure do. And I really do want to help you.”

“But, not paying you just wouldn’t feel right.”

“Friend Tom, you haven’t been charging me… not even one penny… for the nearly 20 years my family and I have been grazing in your clover patch, either.”

“Touché… friend Harry… touché!”

Coming down from my momentary reverie about Ms. Rhodes… as well as still attempting to wrap my mind around this talking rabbit scenario did take a moment or two. And Harry did use that temporal opportunity to full advantage by chowing down another couple of mouthfuls of clover. Due to his nearly impeccable table manners he didn’t speak again until after his gulp and loud belch. Remember (ha ha) I did say, “nearly impeccable.”

“While rabbitkind is genuinely interested in your well-being, we must also keep our own best interests in mind. And, uppermost on the minds of every creature… great and small… is global environmental distress. It all boils down to this, Tom. Your survival in this hood IS our survival. Were you to ever leave us… perhaps even head for the hills ISO some hippie dippy commune… that’d mean a new property owner, here. And what would be the odds that he wouldn’t be a grass farmer who’s been brainwashed by the toxic chemicals spewing, lawn care industry?”

“And not even growing the type of grass he could harvest and hawk for profit.”

“Precisely!”

We both momentarily chuckled while slowly, horizontally swaying our heads in disbelief.

“Tom, the entire rabbit community deems your clover field a culinary sweet treat and rates your backyard a five star eatery. We would never, ever want some lawn farmer to poison it with weed killer.”

“The good news, Harry… I plan on staying put, right here, till fiscal / physical death do us part… whichever happens first. The bad news, naturally, is how our neighbors’ toxic “cocktails” of fertilizers / insecticides / herbicides / homicides respect neither my property lines nor anyone else’s. Worse yet, when they (ab)use products such as Roundup™ they may even be condemning both themselves and innocent bystanders to premature Cancerous DEATHS!

“Why oh why must so damned many humans be ISO the psychotically perfect, grass blades only lawn? And do take my word for it… such grass only biomes taste bad even before the nasty lawn chemical “salad dressing” gets poured on.”

“I know exactly what you’re talking about, too. Not too long ago, I purchased some broccoli, which tasted the way nasty lawn chemicals stink. With my first bite, I nearly puked.”

“TMI Tom… TMI!”

Just as another momentary wind gust rustles the nearby, lilac’s leaves, Harry looks at his tiny cell phone screen and exclaims…

‘To quote Alice’s white rabbit, ‘Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers! I’m late!’ I gotta hurry home.”

“Me too. And albeit way too belated, I now officially and warmly welcome you to the neighborhood.”

“Thank you. Are you now a bit more convinced that we can really converse?”

“Well… friend Harry… it’s not my talking to you that’s unbelievable, it’s your talking to me. I mean… this REALLY DID happen, right?”

“Yes… friend Tom… this REALLY DID happen.”

 

 

To be continued…

 

 

Memorial Day Meditations

Ever since the United States of America set forth on its march towards independence… some two and one half centuries ago… our servicemen and servicewomen have been selflessly and courageously fighting and dying while protecting and defending the downtrodden masses… securing the path to liberty and prosperity for both their freedom loving compatriots and other like-minded peoples spanning our globe.

While, by my very nature, I do favor pacifism, I know fully well that such an ideal must be tempered by pragmatism. As such, I know these truths to be self-evident…

[1] peace does not always come easily
[2] freedom is not always free of charge… and as such… and regrettably…
[3] soldier patriots oft wind up paying freedom’s hefty price tag with their very blood

It is with all such sentiments in mind that I now stand upon my native soil on this Memorial Day, to express my undying gratitude… to direct my civilian salute heavenward to these exemplary servicewomen and servicemen.

Oh, if only I could end this blog right here and now… but…

It is with all such sentiments in mind that I now must also issue warnings about a looming threat to freedom / peace… namely… the resurgence of grotesque white supremacy.

I would never want to see past battlefield victories to have been for naught… specifically those wars where our troops defeated America’s Confederacy and Germany’s Third Reich… respectively… emancipating the slaves and liberating the Jews.

There is an urgent need to uproot / eradicate the choking, poisonous vines of racism. Bad actors… to name but a few… Bashar al-Assad, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Donald J. Trump are all working overtime… independently and/or in collusion… to do their damnedest to suffocate life, liberty… joie de vivre itself… again.

Indeed, oppression can only thrive wherever and whenever a leader (such as DJT) is ignorant and/or ignoble… e.g., each and every time he…

[1] flips off Constitutionally stipulated congressional / judicial oversight / stacks the judicial deck
[2] stifles free speech / brands journalism fake news and journalists “enemies of the people”
[3] insulates himself with Orwellian sycophants who vomit forth putrid, “alternate facts”
[4] alienates / pisses off longstanding, honorable allies until they all despise him / the U.S.
[5] tears up mutually beneficial international treaties so no one will ever come to our aid again
[6] meets secretly with / sucks up to sworn enemies who deem him a patsy, not a pal
[7] welcomes / encourages foreign meddling into our free elections
[8] deems Nazis and Klansmen “fine people”
[9] erects walls, tears down bridges and wrests infants / children from their asylum seeking parents’ embraces
[10] makes war criminals his war heroes
[11] bosses around We The People who, in reality, are his bosses
[12] demands acceptance of his wretchedly unacceptable, patently offensive, avarice driven agenda
[13] conflates patriotism with blind loyalty, as in, exclusively to him

While I will always honor soldiers who’ve fought and died to secure a better life for us, would not each future Memorial Day service be even more meaningful were we to elect a new, honorable, mentally stable Commander-In-Chief who would ensure their long ago, hard-fought battle victories had not been in vain?

 

 

 

My apologies for this late posting. Internet magic cannot happen when connection problems block the path to the www.

Twinkle Twinkle Mega Star

Fancy experiencing a high tech, virtual encounter with a musical prodigy… courtesy of Al Gorithm and Otto Play… my humanizing nicknames for YouTube’s recommendation algorithm and autoplay tech.

Well, that’s precisely what had happened, recently, while viewing keyboardist extraordinaire Keith Emerson… best known for his legendary live and recorded performances with the rock ensemble ELP… an acronym representing the surnames of keyboardist Emerson, guitarist / vocalist Greg Lake and percussionist Carl Palmer.

On that fateful Friday evening, I had wandered off while this triumvirate was rapidly heading for yet another of their masterpiece concluding crescendos. It was while meandering back through the dimly lit corridor, that I could already hear the next video featuring a key, keyboard selection from yet another ELP classic… The Endless Enigma.

Imagine my jaw dropping, “Oh Wow” mouthed speechlessness upon re-seating myself at my computer and discovering that [1] Emerson was seated nowhere near his stock in trade, spectacular keyboard array and [2] this note for note perfection was being accomplished by a heretofore, unknown to me, keyboard virtuoso, Ms. Rachel Flowers…

Seeing this confident young woman’s nimble fingers so skillfully spanning the entire keyboard was as if she’d been possessed… in the very best of ways… by the spirit of the recently passed away Emerson…who just happens to be a hero of hers (and mine, too).

Imagine my teary eyed response upon later learning that Ms. Flowers had overcome some of life’s toughest challenges.

Those difficulties get backdated to December 21, 1993, the day she had made her grand entrance into our world… 15 weeks early and weighing a scant 0.595 kgs / 1 lb 5 oz. Then, 3 months later, yet another medical complication arose… Retinopathy of Prematurity… which denied Rachel her eyesight.

Her parents Dan and Jeanie did all they could to encourage their daughter to stay positive and make the most of her life. Her mom even introduced her (then) 2-year-old girl to the joys of music… seated her at their piano to teach her how to play her very first song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Rachel picked up on the melody quite quickly. Soon, her pitch perfect ear allowed her to recreate whatever songs she fancied. A keyboard star was born… and on the rise.

By age 4 1/2… younger than a kindergartner… Rachel began her formal training at Southern California Conservatory of Music where her studies included piano, music theory, ear training, music history, Braille music code, and adaptive computer music applications. [My thanks to Wikipedia for supplying Rachel’s biographical info]

And the rest… as they say… is Her-story. She’s accomplished so much in life that the easiest ways for us to learn more about her music, life and times is to type in her name to initiate both Internet and YouTube searches. BTW, do plan on finding veritable hours worth of inspirational reading and listening enjoyment.

The Rachel Flowers Story is all about the indomitable human spirit and living life to the fullest. She is the embodiment of those qualities. For proof, one look no further than seeing her ear to ear grin and jumping for joy while seated on the piano bench at the conclusion of many of her performances. Such reactions are as integral to her piano recitals as the music itself! Her happiness is our happiness!

One shudders upon the realization that, had she been born in an earlier era, she’d have been denied her chance at beating the nearly overwhelming medical odds… that we’d have been denied being eye and ear witnesses to the musical genius of Rachel Flowers… The Personification of Joy.

I cannot imagine a better way to wrap up this post than for us to express our appreciation…

Bravo Rachel! Encore! Encore! Encore!

 

 

 

A Month of Sundays ~ Sunday Song Series

Welcome to Week #37 of our Sunday Song Series. Prepare for a bit of intrigue not entirely of my own making.

This time, we’ll ALMOST be giving a listen to Don Henley’s composition… A Month of Sundays. While it’s a.k.a. CD bonus track #8 from his 1984 album, Building the Perfect Beast… apparently… in the vinyl LP format, there’d been insufficient room for inclusion of this lyrically noteworthy song.

It would appear that YouTube’s astronomically vast platform has insufficient room for inclusion of this song, too. They’ve successfully set up a barricade to our musical adventure with their terse advisory… “video blocked in country”.

Hence, that blog topper roadblock vid… for the moment… will be in lieu of our usual, featured, Sunday Song, recording artist.

One has to wonder how any of this can possibly be playing out… or more to the point… not playing out… especially when several other tracks from that exact same Beast album are readily available.

Further adding to feelings of incredulity is how that ACCESS DENIED status applies, too, to Henley’s live performance of A Month of Sundays at a decades ago, FarmAid benefit concert!

Perhaps, this inaccessibility issue does not exist in your neck of the worldly woods? If you feel so inclined, you could attempt your own YouTube search by utilizing the following copy and paste parameters…

don henley a month of sundays

As you may have guessed from my lengthy narrative, I don’t readily accept the prospect of 180 degree, musical detours OR winding up in the ditch… ergo… rather than simply moving on to some other recording artist’s Sunday Song. I’ve opted to do some fancy footwork.

That’s because… now more than ever… Mr. Henley’s lyrical message needs to be heard… or in lieu of that… at the very least… read.

His keen sensibilities… maybe even prescience… have allowed him to spot-on address the farmers’ plight… how they continue to be [1] screwed over by avaricious, usurious bankers, [2] unforgivably under-served by self-serving politicians and… as of late… [3] flat-out betrayed by and plunged into bankruptcy by a fraudulent, fake prez who’s been waging his ill-timed, ill-conceived, international trade war.

And all of that duly noted… let the fancy footwork now begin. Check out my patched together presentation of Don Henley’s A Month of Sundays… courtesy of [1] YouTuber Sean Cheek’s piano tutorial… no less… and [2] via a printout of Henley’s must read song lyrics.

Don Henley ~ A Month Of Sundays

A Sean Cheek Piano Tutorial

Songwriter: Don Henley
A Month of Sundays lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

I used to work for Harvester
I used to use my hands
I used to make the tractors and the combines that plowed and harvested
This great land
Now I see my handiwork on the block everywhere I turn
And I see the clouds ‘cross the weathered faces and I watch the harvest burn

I quit the plant in ’57
Had some time for farmin’ then
Banks back then was lendin’ money
The banker was the farmer’s friend
And I’ve seen dog days and dusty days;
Late spring snow and early fall sleet;
I’ve held the leather reins in my hands and felt the soft ground under my feet
Between the hot dry weather and the taxes, and the Cold War it’s been hard
To make ends meet
But I always kept the clothes on our backs;
I always put the shoes on our feet

My grandson, he comes home from college
He says, “We get the government we deserve.”
My son-in-law just shakes his head and says, “That little punk, he never
Had to serve.”
And I sit here in the shadow of the suburbs and look out across these
Empty fields
I sit here in earshot of the bypass and all night I listen to the rushin’
Of the wheels

The big boys, they all got computers; got incorporated, too
Me, I just know how to raise things
That was all I ever knew
Now, it all comes down to numbers
Now I’m glad that I have quit
Folks these days just don’t do nothin’ simply for the love of it

I went into town on the Fourth of July
Watched ’em parade past the Union Jack
Watched ’em break out the brass and beat on the drum
One step forward and two steps back
And I saw a sign on Easy Street, said, “Be Prepared to Stop.”
Pray for the independent, little man
I don’t see next year’s crop
And I sit here on the back porch in the twilight
And I hear the crickets hum
I sit and watch the lightning in the distance but the showers never come
I sit here and listen to the wind blow
I sit here and rub my hands
I sit here and listen to the clock strike, and I wonder when I’ll see my
Companion again

 

The fancy footwork is still afoot, folks… I really do feel bummed about not being able to actually provide Henley’s A Month of Sundays… ergo… I’m including the following clip where… although… strictly speaking… this is not a Sunday titled song… [1] there is similar, significant social commentary and [2] concerns for the well-being of the farmers of my homeland… indeed… our entire world… do get astutely addressed and echoed by another legendary singer/songwriter…

Tom Paxton ~ Early Snow

 

I now cordially invite you to click back here for our next Sunday Song… seven days from now…

 

 

 

 

 

Eschewing French Press Brewing

 

An Average Joe Jury-Rigs the Perfect Cup of Joe

 

Several mornings ago… for the 3rd time in 15 years… I broke my glass and metal framework French Press. Since it had been [1] far too early in the a.m. to hit my local mall ISO either an entirely new brewer (or… preferably… the replaceable, highly specialized glass beaker) and [2] this average joe’s breakfast could never be complete sans my usual cup of joe, I had to improvise.

My light bulb over the noggin moment… hauling out one of my 0.95 Liter / 1-Quart lidded saucepans, spooning out the coffee and then guesstimating (btw, correctly) how much boiling water to pour from my kettle, I was in biz.

15 minutes later… employing my rock steady hand and eagle eye, (ever so carefully) I poured…

Imagine my surprise when, by breakfast’s end, I discovered zero coffee grounds at the bottom of my mug! Indeed, in one mere morning, my jury-rigged java maker and cautiousness had succeeded where a poorly designed device had repeatedly failed for a decade and a half!

As is true for any run experiment… the question then became, was my success repeatable? Well… after many morns of groundless coffee, I know this to be grounds for eschewing French Press brewing.

Beyond that…

1. Is settling for / sticking with the unsatisfactory status quo… year in / year out… any way to go through life?

2. Considering how for eons, coffee consumers, worldwide, have been resorting to brewing methods involving methodologies and technologies even more complicated than that of a French Press, one has to wonder why we needlessly clutter our lives with contraptions and make so much extra work for ourselves?

3. Were we to truly apply ourselves, how many other areas of our lives could we successfully simplify?

 

 

 

Is he a tyrant?

 

Seeing how the vast majority of you (regardless of your political stripe) already know who “he” is without any need to mention him by name… REGRETTABLY… the answer to that titled blog query must be YES.

As with all tyrants, a miscreant / malfeasant, such as he, will not only prove himself impossible to live with but also impervious to either moral redemption or constitutional removal.

Is America screwed?

Sorry to say, in all likelihood, a reversal of the 1st 2 words of that 3 word followup question will provide us an answer.

 

 

 

 

Ashes to Ashes… StarDust to StarDust… May 21st BlogCast

My thoughts…

Ancient stardust are we, ashore oceans and shoals
Our love eternal, soars skyward, to departed souls
They live on in our hearts, we, too, feel their pure love
Interwoven with starlight, from the heavens above

 

PianistaItaliano covers Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust

Rob Steinberg covers Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock

Ms. Mitchell’s lyrical thoughts…

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden