Playing in the E Major Leagues

Shortly after awakening, I found myself greeting the dawn of the new day seated at the piano. In a Lennon / McCartney mood, my mini recital… performed before a backyard audience of birds and bunnies… began with All My Loving.

Unexpectedly… along about mid-piece… I began wandering off onto the musical road less traveled… i.e., by transitioning an excerpt from another E Major, Fab Four composition… and then another and another and another… at which point, I “brought it all home” by polishing off the All My Loving selection.

Medley Working Titles:
A 5-Movement Fab-4 Mini Symphony in E Major
The Beatles in E Major

Total Tracking / “Travel” Time:
5 minutes

Lennon / McCartney Compositions:
All My Loving
Nowhere Man
With a Little Help From My Friends
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Please Please Me

My Gratitude and Kudos to:
YouTube Piano Virtuoso Ryan(692)

Seeing how I had made this all come together so effortlessly, I began to suspect that my playing All My Loving just prior to last night’s golden slumbers had been of great help. It’s now my belief that… at some point during one of last night’s REM stages… I wound up experimenting with the juxtapositions of these five compositions… perhaps even playing out these abridged passages and perfecting their transition points on the keyboard of the subconscious mind.

Hence, my heightened belief in the positive power of creative dreaming.

While my own application of this phenomenon has been music-specific, there’s little doubt in my mind that what we all learn, while playing upon the REM field of dreams, can be applied, more generally, to many other areas of our lives.

“So long ago”, the late John Lennon, in his song, #9 Dream, lyrically posed two questions. Based on last night’s experience, I believe my answers to be valid…

“Was it in a dream?” My emphatic YES!
“Was it just a dream?” NOPE! There’s no such thing as “just a dream”!

 

 

 

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The Grammatical and Political Passive Voice

Let’s kick off this post by first defining terminology / going grammatical…

Passive Voice: “A form or set of forms of a verb in which the subject undergoes the action of the verb (e.g. They were killed as opposed to the active form He killed them).”

In other words… speaking, writing and even blogging passively tends to imply a timid, noncommittal state of mind. It is to wimp out. This could even be interpreted thusly…

“Somebody is forcing me to say this.”
“I don’t really shive-a-git!”

Let’s now apply our discussion to the actual sentence structure of a 35 word count passage excised from a Donald Trump speech.

Space/Time: Washington DC’s White House Diplomatic Room  / August 5, 2019
Subject Matter: This past weekend’s domestic terrorist attacks in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

Said the reined in by a teleprompter, deadpanning Donny…

“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”

To Monday Morning Quarterback this (OK… technically it’s actually Tuesday): Owing to Donny’s [1] slow burn delivery of passive grammar (tantamount to blurting out, “Somebody is forcing me to say this!”) and [2] his stiff, sniffing, squinty-eyed demeanor / body language, one has to wonder…

[1] Just how much more grammatically and politically passive could he have gotten?
[2] Could we ever expect anyone who either cannot or chooses not to speak in the active voice to actively defeat racism, bigotry, and white supremacy?

A real president… i.e., one who possesses clarity of mind, amity / charity of heart and purity of soul would be able to effortlessly raise his active voice to say…

“I flat-out condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. I fully acknowledge that my own past words and deeds have both played a role in promoting these sinister ideologies and the abject hatred that warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul of my homeland… of our world. Hate has no place anywhere within a civilized society and it is my heartfelt hope that everyone… throughout America and our world… can and will find the desire… within their heads and hearts… to follow my lead… so we can join together to forever wipe the scourge of hatred off the face of the Earth.”

The difference between a fake and genuine leader oft, respectively, can be measured by the discernible difference between the passive and active voice he speaks in.

 

 

 

 

Life’s Tear-Stained Paths Converge

 

I was fifty-nine years younger on this day in 1960… my age still measured in single digits. This had been “The Day” where I learnt… first hand… how separation anxiety can hit home… really hard.

The setting involved the early a.m. Greyhound bus terminal, when / where life’s unsmiling, emotionally charged events just kept on unraveling exponentially. With my dad and three-years-older sister standing at my side, with mom seated behind the bus’s thick, tinted safety-glass pane… we traded off our countless good-bye waves and blown kisses. About to embark on her 1,287km / 800mi road trip, by journey’s end, mom would be tending to a somber family matter.

Oh, how I had wished we all could’ve traveled as a family, but, due to my dad’s low-paying public school teacher job, he could not afford the three extra bus tickets… even with two of them being sold at the kiddie, half-fare rate.

With my mind zoning out to the night before… I began replaying the scene where we had just returned from our routine, weekly grocery shopping trip… bags in hand. While dad was unlocking the backdoor, we could already hear our hardwired, landline telephone ringing “off the hook”. Mom rushed in, ahead of us, to field what turned out to be a long-distance call.

In that pre-direct-dial / operator assisted era (“eons” before super-glued to our ears cell phones had become commonplace) such a call was rare, seldom just for the fun of it and (more often than not) the harbinger of bad news.

In this instance, mom’s sister spoke of what had started out as an idyllic, daylong, fun family outing spent at their lakefront cottage… of how everything had gone into panic mode when my grandma had gone M.I.A…. of how their frantic scouring of the woods had reached the end upon discovering her lifeless body laying amidst the blueberry patch, which she’d been harvesting.

With the bus’s diesel engine now roaring to life, the driver shifted into gear and pulled out from the station. The three of us moved outside to watch until mom’s bus, seemingly, vanished into thin air. It was now time for dad to drive us back home… a mere 12.87km / 8mi. Once inside the family car, my tears were now free to stream down my no longer “brave” public face.

Truth be told… I wasn’t even crying that much over the death of my grandma. Having only “met her” as a newborn, I guess you could say that I never really knew her at all.

Well… all the way home and for the entire afternoon leading up to suppertime, no matter how many times my dad and sister reassured me that mom would be back home in a couple of weeks, I was fully convinced that I’d never see her again.

And even though my father and sibling did, eventually, prove me wrong… nonetheless… that long ago separation anxiety still haunts me and can still evoke welled up tears.

If only I could successfully imprint my experience within the alleged mind of my homeland’s alleged prez. Might he then learn… second hand… perhaps for the first time ever in his life… how separation anxiety can hit home really hard? Might he then be able to separate the word “Zero” from his Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy? Might he then feel empathy… my total empathy… for the U.S. / Mexican border crossing / asylum seeking families who he’s been so ruthlessly and callously abusing for political gain?

 

 

 

 

To Be or Not To Be Bellicose… That Raises Questions

 

Forgive my tardiness… but… even now… three days later… it’s still too damned early to determine what the capricious, Trumpster’s Iranian stance could devolve into. For someone who adamantly maintains his admin remains “cocked and loaded”, devolve is not too strong a word.

So… would the fake prez ever reverse the reversal of his decision to attack? All any subsequent flip-flop would require is his being [1] goaded by one of his psychotic, crackpot, chickenhawk, going for the jugular advisors or [2] branded a wimp by a similarly programmed FOX talking head. At that point the (alleged) prezzy could easily go ballistic… in more ways than one.

Once consumed by such end-stage outrage, it’d be damned near impossible for him to ever wrap his warped mind around the far gutsier, diplomatic, presidential brains over brawn approach.

Let’s get dead serious. If… and that’s a YUGE IF… the Trumpster’s narrative has even been truthful, he had been a scant ten minutes shy of provoking and embroiling the U.S. in yet another splattered red blood / spilt red ink, no-win, endless war… or worse.

Let’s momentarily don our backseat headshrinker thinking caps. Developmentally speaking, it would take a toddler to be oblivious to the fact that retaliatory attacks [1] intrinsically involve collateral damage and [2] rarely, if ever, accomplish anything other than triggering the vicious cycle of ever-escalating, deadlier counterattacks… or worse.

Taken at face value, the Toddler-In-Chief MIGHT BE commended for what appears to be his sudden growing / wising up. Just-in-the-nick-of-time, he had a “well duh” epiphany… i.e., the loss of human life is disproportionate punishment for Iran’s destruction of an unmanned drone.

But, even that offers up little reason to be liberal with our praise. There still are unanswered questions, such as…

• Would not the Trumpster’s team of eager-beaver, sociopathic advisors… just to hard sell carnage to their boss… have proudly / giddily trotted out their PowerPoint charts / pie-charts, graphs and print-outs emblazoned with red, ginormous font, storyboard / page-topping death toll stats?

• Would not that self proclaimed “stable genius” have been sufficiently brilliant to understand the deadly ramifications PRIOR to ordering such an attack?

• Why did he / his advisors ever even consider such overkill in the first place?

• Might there be another factor in play?

Seeing how fact checking has recently exposed the fake prezzy’s 10,000th lie… his pathetic whoppers backdating to his unsubstantiated, Election Day fraud allegations and inflated, Inauguration Day crowd size estimates… why would we not find his “To Be or Not To Be Bellicose” Iranian account suspect… or to translate this into Trump-speak… “FAKE NEWS”?

The regrettable truth, fake news can also heighten world tensions… which could easily, eventually mushroom… in more ways than one.

Ergo… as for that aforementioned possibility of awarding a commendation to #45?

FORGET IT!

 

 

 

The Right To Choose: An Evolution? A Revolution?

 

SCENARIO #1 ~ Most intelligent, compassionate folks would have no problem in agreeing that women must have the right to choose… especially when [1] problem pregnancies can involve literal life or death issues for moms-to-be and/or their babies and [2] conceptions can result from non-consensual acts and/or too closely related genetic mergers. Under such tragic, emotionally devastating circumstances, there must be ZERO tolerance for inept, incompetent, ignorant, opportunistic politicians attempting to intrude into what should be the sacrosanct, private, doctor / patient relationship. However…

SCENARIO #2 ~ Even the most enlightened and empathetic of us do start to feel qualms… especially when many other sought-after abortions can be tantamount to an ill-conceived, alternative form of birth control. While there’s no “normal” adult alive who hasn’t experienced that biochemically induced state of mindlessness… been prodded by overactive glands that are egging on recklessness… still one wonders… why some guys find it so hard to muster up a bit of self-control? If a couple cannot even prepare to prevent parenthood… i.e, go on a condom run… just how prepared will they be… oh… say… nine months later? Will their unplanned, unwanted children be unloved and undisciplined? What kind of grown-ups will they become? Will they even be grown-ups in every sense of that hyphenated word? Will they even be able to act kind?

CLEARLY… Scenario #2 is less clear-cut. While… under current conditions… a woman confronted by such a problem pregnancy still must be able to assert her right to choose… CLEARLY… the man could’ve done much more to prevent lighting that 9-month time-bomb fuse and… CLEARLY… humankind can and must do better in the future. And the sooner the better.

Growing up involves far more than gender-specific endocrine glands. Our brains must rule over our bodies and not vice versa. OK, I can already, almost hear the naysayers. “Such an attitudinal shift would likely take multiple generations to complete”… you scoff? “A Herculean Task”… you tsk-tsk?

Even though those are valid points, this does not make them excuses for our not trying. Why can’t we bravely usher in a new era of lifelong, no-nonsense, age-appropriate sex education? We need a Sexual Prime Directive where all biological adults wind up fully understanding that [1] sex makes babies and [2] if one desires the former but not the latter, then consistent usage of reliable birth control becomes a nonnegotiable! For those who find themselves saying, “Well duh… who didn’t know that?” go to the head of the class.

Governments would be both wise and money ahead… were contraception not only readily available but also affordable, perhaps, even totally free of charge! When compared to national welfare programs designed to financially assist impoverished moms and dads, government subsidized birth control might even be deemed a bargain!

To those quick to point out that vending machines loaded with “The Pill” and prophylactics could only encourage rampant promiscuity and result in a raging STD pandemic… I now ask… minus the protection… is that not what we’ve already got?

While such a retort may sound like defeatism, there is some pragmatism in the mix, too. Lest we forget, barrier methods of contraception provide barriers to disease, too. Additionally, might it even be argued that a more responsible, less repressed society would “breed” fewer perverts and predators? Might there even be a bit of truth to / a practical application of that Sixties era hippie mantra, “Make Love Not War”? Given a choice between a worldwide orgy and a worldwide nuclear war, which would you consider the lesser of two evils?

While portions of that above paragraph do sound, perhaps, a tad over the top, there is an undercurrent of truth, too.

Naturally, living life in moderation is the phrase that really pays. And more to the point… both love and respect must factor prominently into the big picture.

If we can establish a society where unprotected sex is virtually unheard of, then, with very few exceptions, only those who want babies will be procreating. Beyond that…

Governments would be both wise and money ahead, too… in ensuring that raising children would also become far more affordable. That… in itself… could help substantially reduce the demand for abortion… i.e., when fretting, prospective parents would no longer ditto agreement to this all too common, forlorn sentiment…

“Honey, we simply cannot afford another mouth to feed.”

Working towards that new beginning, each nation would need to establish a stable economy where even the entry level, full time workers would be earning a living wage… enjoying a pay level that’d even allow either the new mommy or daddy to become a stay-at-home parent until their child becomes a preschooler / kindergartner. Maybe even beyond that point?

Of course, even an improved society could never, fully liberate itself of unplanned pregnancies. True, it’s far too easy for me… a man who can never experience pregnancy… who has never even fathered any children… to say this… but maybe… just maybe my proposed, futuristic, attitudinal shift towards unequivocal male and female sexual responsibility could be inclusive of a woman’s new, enhanced right to choose… i.e., to choose going the adoption route rather than opt-in to abortion?

Do all of these changes sound too idealistic to ever become reality? Should I re-categorize this post as fiction? Let me know what you’re thinking and feeling in the comment section below…

 

 

Bully For You? Bull $#!+

 

For an unbearably long time, my homeland’s K-12 schools… and their worldwide equivalents… have been the breeding grounds / training camp sites for bullies. Considering how the inter-generational cycle of abuse tends to kick in (pun intended), what becomes of the once-upon-a-time abused when they become… oh… say… today’s public / private school staffers? Well… in that capacity / incapacity… they oft either practically wink their approval at each new crop of bully bastards… or turn a blind eye to them.

It’s almost as if some educators’ measure of “scholastic achievement” focuses upon how effectively bullies can irreparably scar their victims (both emotionally and physically). Hmmm… instead of the failing grade bullies deserve, do they award them with an A+? Is extra credit assessed if the victims need [1] hospitalization… [2] a shrink… [3] a visit from the undertaker?

Adding insult to the victim injuries… on the rare instances where a tormented student does strike back… almost invariably… school personnel punish ONLY the retaliator (to the further delight of each bully). Hell… were school staffers’ favoritism any more blatant, the playground and hall monitors would be charging admission to the bullies’ verbal and physical attacks.

Perhaps such assessments are too cynical? Too harsh?

Let’s be fair here. Let’s look at this from the teacher’s side of the desk. Many underpaid educators are so overworked and over-stressed, it’s inevitable that they’d become nose-blind to the bully stench… to the point where the victims start falling through the cracks.

And, when victims’ only remaining options boil down to fight or flight… especially if it’s the latter… that’s when further damage kicks in (again, pun intended). Once these kids start feigning illness to avoid going to school… this all but guarantees both academic and developmental stunting / stagnation.

Let’s consider what happens once abused, stunted students eventually enter… no… strike that… DON’T enter grown-up society…

Social isolation… their learned response… to varying degrees… becomes their way of life. Such deep-down emotional stains don’t fade with time, either. And most assuredly, that’s no way to go through life! Hell… that’s not life at all!

Long Sigh….

I’m certain there are hundreds of thousands of bullying victims spanning our entire globe… each one waking up each new day wondering…

“Who might I have become… how much further ahead in life might I have gone… had insensitive school personnel heard my literal cries for help… had they come to my defense instead of enabling my tormentors’ indefensible, socially unacceptable behavior?”

How can I be so certain? Well… did you notice that above blockquote’s beginning / ending punctuation?

That’s me talking. That’s the very question I’ve been asking myself for the past 50+ years!

 

 

A Political Pat on the Back(side)

The above video, amply demonstrating how a narcissist desperately hungers for applause, also serves as the rationale behind U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent strategy to stand up to that unreasonable, un-presidential prez.

As one of the few, effective adult leaders left within America’s dysfunctional government, she takes her responsibilities seriously… fully understands the Constitutional system of checks and balances / the separation of powers and her role in implementing and maintaining these vital to democracy functions.

Bottom line… she’s keenly aware that someone has to finally get tough and say “NO!” to the ersatz prez who… concurrently… is an out of touch with reality, spoiled rotten, temper tantrum throwing man-child AND an out of touch with reality, spoiled rotten, temper tantrum throwing terrorist.

In either capacity, he’s been holding 800,000 furloughed government workers hostage.

Think about it… just because he’s being denied HIS WALL, he’s denying these federal employees their lives and livelihoods… plunging these hardworking, decent, innocent bystanders and their loved ones into financial ruin.

Indeed, he’s been adamantly vowing that the government shutdown will go on FOREVER unless / until he’s allowed to piss away over $5 BILLION taxpayer dollars for HIS BORDER WALL… even though that same sum of money could be far better spent on more practical, logistically effective homeland security measures. If he really possesses the business acumen he claims he does, one would think… at the very least… he’d be on board with getting more bang for his bucks.

Were Pelosi to back down now, the fake prez would resort to routinely shutting down the government in the future… as in… each and every time someone would justifiably attempt to rein him in. Her decision to inform him that he won’t be allowed to deliver his State of the Union address until he reopens the government was / is a stroke of genius. This is SOOOO akin to a mother disciplining a misbehaving child.

That infant’s initial, all too predicable protestations over such discipline had NOTHING to do with a prez who actually cares about America and has EVERYTHING to do with a narcissist, who has become crestfallen at the mere notion of not hearing his robotic, sycophantic, Republican congressional cronies bleating / roaring out their on cue, (sincere?) hurrahs… dispensing their (heartfelt?) affection / adulation / applause.

Oh… sure… for awhile the fake prez pretended that [1] the Pelosi snub wasn’t all that big a deal to him, [2] he’d show mean ol’ Nancy that he doesn’t need her at all and [3] he could deliver his speech in any venue in America.

Yet… obviously… even he didn’t / doesn’t buy into this. Hence… he has now caved.

My bet is the more that man-child stews over this… the longer he goes sans the applause he aches for… the better the chances are that he’ll capitulate further.

Just how could anyone who has reached the ripe old age of seventy-two still be so childish? That he’s so obviously turned out rotten certainly does point to a lack of good parenting during his formative years. We can only hope that Pelosi’s “tough love” punish him when he’s bad, pat him on the back when he’s good type of “parenting” is not too late.

In a different, less enlightened, earlier era… he’d have been taken out to the woodshed where that “pat on his back” would’ve been applied to his backside.