Late Summer Sunbeams

 

The nineteen take flight; on repurposed aircraft,
“Just following orders.” Their droned mantra, daft.
To first punch the time clock; and, next, go berserk?
They must ho-hum the mindset, “All in a days work.”

What darkness sours their souls? What pisses them off?
Why make light of sweet life; disparage and scoff?
To so flippantly flip off the heart of humanity,
Is the height of inanity; and utter insanity,
Indeed, such ‘tudes fly; in the face of all reason,
No kind soul should be subject; to an open season.

The nineteen now wage their cold-blooded attack,
Storm the four cockpits; to wrest and hijack,
New vectors veer off each craft; the one-way trip track,
Twin towered, five-sided strikes! Our world taken aback!

What darkness sours their souls? What pisses them off?
Why make light of sweet life; disparage and scoff?
To so flippantly flip off the heart of humanity,
Is the height of inanity; and utter insanity,
Indeed, such ‘tudes fly; in the face of all reason,
No kind soul should be subject; to an open season.

Nearly three grand, grand innocents; now see the light,
They earn and test their new wings; promptly take flight,
Late summer’s sunbeams now guide them; on day nine eleven,
They disembark at the gate, which gleams brightly in heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Walk on the Mild Side

 

Earlier on this day… around mid afternoon… it suddenly dawned on me that, grocery wise, I was ill prepared in the event of another terrorist attack… one that’d coincide with tomorrow’s 9/11 anniversary.

Now, at the risk of you deeming me a mad as a hatter conspiracy theorist, check out the following…

THEORY #1: I would not put it past mad-dog Donald Trump to be up to no good. Considering how he’s been hobnobbing with the Taliban, wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall? Be eavesdropping on all of their chatter? Or a bug on the phone? Have they been colluding / plotting to raise hell, tomorrow? Such a horrific distraction certainly would take the heat off Donny… e.g., that would definitely sabotage U.S. House Democrats’ efforts to investigate (maybe even impeach) him.

THEORY #2: Even if that’s not the case, we are still talking about Donny, the keeper of nuclear launch codes. Is he ready to rumble? To meltdown mentally? To meltdown globally? Don’t think he’s that stupid and/or insane? Guess again. He actually believes firing off nukes into the eyes of a hurricanes can break them up! YIKES… uh I mean Oops! Let’s not piss the fake prez off too much. We’d be ill-advised to remind him of what an ass he’s been making of himself… i.e., by (still) insisting that his fairy tale about Dorian hitting Alabama was / is true.

THEORY #3: Even if scenario-wise it’s none of the above, Donny could still “have the last laugh”. That tempestuous, Tyrant-o-saurus Rex could still easily roll up the world with one of his Tweetstorms, too.

Anyway… let’s try to dismiss the theories about how the Trumpster may’ve been spending HIS Tuesday afternoon and get back to MY actual Tuesday p.m., instead. With my bread supply insufficient relative to my goodly stash of peanut butter and strawberry jam it was off to the supermarket. Weather-wise, the conditions had been so sunshiny warm and pleasant, I decided to hoof it.

The best part of walking is that, unlike driving, the mind is free to wander. All along the way, I found myself fondly reminiscing about this day back in 2001… the last day of normalcy… not only for Americans but for all the good people of planet Earth. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder. Might even this post 9/11 “new normalcy”, which we’ve all been enduring for nearly two decades, also be up for grabs? Could it, too, suddenly, come tumbling down… wind up a smoldering, rubble strewn, emotional Ground Zero? After all, armed to the teeth, lone wolf terrorists… both domestic and international… could still be afoot.

Since no one really ever knows, for sure, where and when a terrorist attack will erupt, I did feel the first wave of relief while the cashier rang up my purchase of bananas and three loaves of bread. It felt even better to finally be out the door and homeward bound.

Of course, am I really home free? True, there had been no macroscopic assaults, but what about WMD of the microscopic variety? If so, the symptoms won’t show up right away.

That duly noted… as I now type these words… all does appear to be well. I had already refueled my car late last week and with my provisions now adequately restocked, all that’s left is our awaiting what, hopefully, will remain tomorrow’s serene, solemn and spiritual service to pay our respects to all the good people we lost on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal is a dish best served…

 

Quite some time ago, lyricist / vocalist / guitarist John Prine sang of a breakfast table confrontation. I now yield the virtual microphone to let him deliver the blow by blow details…

When I woke up this morning, things were lookin’ bad
Seem like total silence was the only friend I had
Bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down… and won
And it was twelve o’clock before I realized
That I was havin’ no fun

Considering that early Seventies era… some psychoactive drugs may’ve also been IN THE MIX… however… let’s not digress…

It’d be fair to say that… just as is true with many of you… ol’ J.P. shares a dislike for oatmeal.

My response…

You guys don’t know what you’re missing. I consume a bowlful… sometimes two… daily. And I don’t spice it up, either. NOPE… no brown sugar and cinnamon… not even salt. The only needed additive is the virtue known as patience.

You see… had Prine’s stare-down match lasted… oh… say… five minutes… he could’ve easily conquered / totally enjoyed consuming his enemy… and benefited nutritionally, too.

“The Big Secret”…

Oatmeal’s flavor is not fully discernible
while you are consuming it piping hot.

In other words…

Oatmeal is a dish best served… pleasantly warm.

 

 

 

 

Fanfare for the Common (________ please fill in the blank)

 

Headline Options: male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

 

Throughout the United States and Canada, today is Labor Day. Spanning our world, we find a similar holiday… International Workers’ Day… which folks, typically, celebrate each May 1st.

Regardless of when / if we celebrate… Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man is appropriate music for this post.

Why a song about the common man?

Well… seeing how the wealthy get unduly mollycoddled, yearlong, that’s why I felt it vital to counteract this with a selection that’s working poor / middle class specific on Labor Day.

But, is not that song title simply, too damned sexist?

Yep, yer damned tootin’ it is! But, Copland did compose his masterpiece way back in the far more sexist days of 1942. I mean, what more could we expect… WELL… uh… other than his having scored (scored with) an empowering / rallying of the human spirit anthem. Hmm… all in all… not a bad trade off, right?

Anyway, this is why I now dedicate two versions of Fanfare… the symphonic blog topper AND rocked up blog ender… to the world of industrious, uncommon commoners. And let’s make no mistake about it… we are UNCOMMON in every positive connotation of that word. Be our status active worker, semiretired or retired… the vast majority of us know fully well what it’s like to toil away at low paying, bereft of benefits jobs… and far worse yet… oft while tirelessly offering our loyalty to unappreciative, tyrannical bosses.

GRANTED… the well heeled, high financiers do clutch (too tightly) at the purse-strings linked to commerce / job creation.

HOWEVER… were it not for the workers of the world, who REALLY DO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN… the big biz high and mighty would, literally, be chowing down on their figurative dough… bread… LETTUCE!

On this Labor Day… be they our past or present bosses… to suitably honor the suits / remind ourselves of OUR importance… let’s offer up a rather nontraditional toast.

Before digging into our picnic / dining room table salad bowls, let’s hoist our salad dressing bottles / cruets skyward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cathedral Bells Toll For A More Equitable World

During this very month of August, back in 1619, two slave ships transported more than 30 African women and men from the area now known as Angola. Once they arrived in North America, they were promptly sold into servitude when bereft of conscience, English colonists paid for them with food and supplies.

On this very Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EDT, Washington National Cathedral’s Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith plans to ring their 12-ton Bourdon Funeral Bell. Said he…

“400 years after the first slaves were brought to this continent against their will, we ring it to both honor and recognize their strength in the face of injustice and dehumanization, and to work toward a better, more just and more equitable world moving forward.”

From my perspective, I deem it necessary to expand this memorial… to honor… to never forget… the estimated 600,000 more slaves who followed them… as well as the the 37+ Million African-Americans who, even today, in ways both subtle and flagrant, have never been, truly, fully liberated… have never, actually, achieved racial parity.

Other American houses of worship, nationwide, also plan to ring their bells today… and as my local NPR radio affiliate reports… some of them plan to extend Rev. Hollerith’s duration from one minute to four. In other words…

1 minute = 100 years / 4 minutes = 400 years

On a technical note: The above video’s total time = 19:28. That breaks down in this manner…

0:00 thru 4:02 = bells / 4:02 to 15:25 = songs / 15:25 thru 19:28 = more bells (4 more minutes)

How long you choose to listen and meditate is a decision I totally leave up to you. I am posting this video some two hours earlier than the 3:00 p.m. designated start time because I know it will take time for folks to find my site.

My parting sentiment…

The denial of human dignity, freedom and equality was… still is… and shall forever be a crime against humanity.

 

 

 

My Brother’s Keeper

 

FULL DISCLOSURE: My being only a casual reader of the Bible, I’ve never deemed it a page turner worthy of a cover to cover read. Admittedly, my interpretations of scripture can stray unto paths less “traveled” by the major league, professional theologians.

Nevertheless… hopefully… you and I can still lace up our athletic footwear and… upon tying all of the required double knots… go for a walk through life. I think you’ll find our journey enjoyable be the road you’re upon secular, devout or somewhere in the middle. So… are you with me?

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” is rooted to the Biblical Story of two brothers… Cain and Abel… that very question attributable to the fratricidal sociopath, Cain, who uttered those words to God with a haughtiness and hostility that… well…

Let’s just say that had this involved a vengeful, small “g” god… such a deplorable attitude would’ve invited… at the very least… one hurled lightning bolt. Indeed, could we not envision such a PO’d deity gleefully training his glowering, evil eye’s “crosshairs” on “home plate”, winding up his throwing arm and delivering the perfect, strike-three-and-your out “pitch”? ZAP! Cain’s miserable hide reduced to a pile of smoldering ashes?

To help bring this “brother’s keeper” issue into better focus, let’s apply it to a more contemporary setting. It’s regrettable, but true, that we are facing down what has become our “What’s in it for me” society, where we’re discovering way too many individuals who… either unwittingly or willfully… are unleashing Cain’s arrogance and aggression.

Whatever happened to that sense of obligation to humanity? That eagerness to look out for the well-being of one another? That desire to keep each other out of harm’s way?

When we really think about it, aren’t nearly all of us living examples of how humanity’s very survival depends upon these vital to life, unifying attitudes? I know I’ve benefited from them. Indeed, when I had least expected it, one selfless soul had rushed to my rescue.

This all gets backdated to my early childhood, when I first met Danny. His being one year older hadn’t gotten in the way of our becoming best friends. Being next door neighbors, too, meant we could spend countless hours of quality playtime together. In essence, he had become my big brother, I, his little brother.

Of course, once my family had moved out of the neighborhood, everything changed… and not always for the better. You see, in the meantime… or maybe I should rephrase that to say… IN THE MEAN TIME… a handful of my public school system’s bullies were having a grand old time sadistically and mercilessly targeting me with their verbal abuse and physical assaults. They had totally demolished my sense of self-esteem… had literally driven me into abject, social isolation… demoralized me to the point where my already infrequent returns to my (one mile distant) old stomping grounds (to visit Danny) soon became non-existent. Had these bullies severed our brotherly bond, too? Only time would tell…

As one would expect, the passage of time didn’t diminish my tormentors “visits” with me. One day, with my streaming tears further fueling their viciousness and uproarious laughter… just as I was feeling that I could not possibly take it any longer… a raised authoritative, familiar voice began sternly ordering them all to stand down. Nope, it wasn’t the school principal or even a teacher taking charge.

It was none other than Danny!

Factoring in my distraught state of mind and my blurred with tears vision, I had almost deemed him a too-good-to-be-true apparition. I don’t know where he had found such bravery. His being outnumbered FOUR to ONE, I seriously doubt he could’ve stood his / my ground, had this actually come down to physical blows. Indeed, mere moments later, both Danny and I were saved by the bell… the ringing school bell… that had sent us all hurriedly scurrying off to our designated classrooms.

My biggest regret has always been how I had neglected to thank Danny, my big brother on two levels. For his [1] I’ve got your six schoolhouse corridor intervention and [2] imparting upon his little brother… by example, not by intent… his “I’m my brother’s keeper” sensibilities.

To keep all of this real… I do know there’s very little chance that Danny will ever read these words. In fact, he may no longer even be amongst the living. Even so, I’ll say this anyway…

My eternal gratitude to you, Daniel H.
Last known locale: Bremerton, Washington

 

 

 

 

The Very First Time I Felt Like a Father

 

Whenever my destinations involve malls, cineplexes, supermarkets, etc…. rain or shine… my car usually winds up in the parking lot periphery to [1] avoid dings and dents on fenders / doors, [2] force myself to get a bit of exercise and [3] ensure that, upon exiting my parking space, my automatic transmission can be shifted into D rather than R.

You see, some automotive “genius” had thoughtlessly designed my car’s rear end to stick up so high in the air that it’s nearly impossible for a backing up driver to always see short in stature passersby.

With that in mind, what now follows is my parking lot, pedestrian safety related tale… a narrative with both an unexpected twist and a far deeper message…

Not too long ago… as I was hoofing it inward bound to a Whole Foods market… while still too distant to rush to the rescue… I spotted / heard an exuberant little boy… probably no more than a four-year-old… who was rushing straight into the path of an oncoming SUV.

The distracted driver had totally missed seeing the stop sign and just kept on carelessly barreling down the service drive, which ran past the storefront. Noticing, too, who I assumed to be the tyke’s (also distracted) mommy, I did all I could possibly do under the circumstances. In my last ditch attempt to attract her attention… maybe even the boy’s, too… I yelled as loudly as I could, “WATCH OUT!” Suddenly looking up to see the impending disaster, she rushed towards her son and snatched him out of harm’s way… just in the nick of time!

As I did my grocery shopping that afternoon, I realized I would’ve reacted in the same manner regardless of the imperiled person’s age… but… that this had involved someone so young… well everything began to register on a personal level I had never even considered before.

During my entire life as a non-parent (sixty plus years)… this was the very first time that I had truly felt like a father. Having helped prevent a youngster’s serious injury… maybe even saving his life… only served to prove how the parental instinct is programmed into us all.

And that’s why I now make my heartfelt appeal to my countrywomen and men, who presently misdirect their parental instinct to protect a 73 year-old man-child rather than the immigrant children he bullies and abuses.

Looking out for the well-being of children upstages / upends politics! Hell, it even transcends religion. We are talking about pure, parental instinct, here. And, as my above story amply points out, one need not even be an actual parent to feel these feelings.

All I can say is if… at the “mere” thought of wailing, sobbing, crying immigrant children… you cannot feel the anguish in your heart… well… humanity just might be heading towards a metaphorical, group cardiac arrest.

A cynic might even begin to wonder if “the patient” is even worth saving. Let’s hope that such world-weariness won’t impede a sorely needed, long overdue, full, societal recovery.