November 17, 2018

Waiting For The Bar To Open

It’s late in the morning and how pathetic it is that you’re standing outside in the cold shuffling from foot to foot to stay warm while you’re waiting for the bar to open...I predict that the bartender will open the door at 11 a.m. and he does...but it’s not clairvoyance, it’s just that I’ve been there so often...when he does open up, it’s with a wry smile if anything at all; you’re back again...sometimes you are greeted with indifference but you’re used to that by now...he doesn’t even thank you for helping to keep him employed all these years...he doesn’t even bother to ask what your having because he knows all you’re having is a bad day mixed with the usual...so you throw out the first pitch and the game begins...sure, you could go to the liquor store, they open at 10...but sometimes you just feel like having a good barstool underneath you and sharing time with people who have got it bad like you being around whether you actually make an effort to talk to them or not...maybe you’ll hear a story that makes you laugh, or makes you cry...or makes you something...or sometimes you just don’t care at all...you stare at the bottom of your glass and the world just goes by man and it don’t care whether you’re an active part of it or not...it just goes and goes and keeps going...it’s not waiting for you to jump on...I look around and see the usual crowd...the lawyer who is well known in town coming in early for his usual liquid lunch...the middle aged woman with too much makeup on and wearing a dress that’s a little too tight, and heels that are a little too high...she must plan on going clubbing later I guess...she smiles and laughs a little too easy but she usually draws a crowd of desperate men...then there’s a couple of other guys who look like you do...people who look like the sun never shined on them...it’d be nice if the place ever fixed the little TV in the corner...it used to get a crappy picture when it worked, but now it hasn’t worked for some time...kinda like you...life’s been indifferent to you from day one...you are tapped out in the bank of life, you have nothing to deposit, you’re not earning interest from anyone or anything and you have nothing to withdraw; so on this morning you find your usual seat and begin the process...a glass of the good stuff or the bad stuff, whatever, one at a time until you move on the next haunt...pretty soon, it’s the afternoon and you wander over to the old man’s bar in town where they got cheap beer and a lot of old guys whose wives won’t let them drink at home evidently...they yell at the ballgame on television and talk about the old days...and then the early evening you slip over to the steelworkers’ lounge where the working men come in to blow off some steam, and blow some of their paychecks...or at least some of them work...some of them sit in a cubicle all day and pretend to...then before you know it, it’s starting to get late already, although for you, it got late a long time ago...the bartenders all know your name or at least recognize you; they know what you drink, they watch you slide downhill without so much as sticking out a hand to catch you...what do they care?...you try to justify it all somehow...you tell yourself that surely the sages or old had some tough times too...maybe Buddha or Lao-Tzu or Jesus hung around waiting for the bar to open before they made it big...it just isn’t your fault, you’re sure of that.

November 15, 2018

Motel on State Road 27


 Image result for state road 27 sign

I was driving from Miami to Chicago on one of my wanderings in, oh I don’t know one year in late September maybe, but it was unseasonably pleasant when I started my trip...I got a late start and was in no particular hurry to get there and it was about four or five in the afternoon when I felt a little tired and not wanting to drive into the night, I decided to stop at a little hotel somewhere close to Ocala, Florida that was flashing VACANCY to me in big pink neon letters...Ocala is horse country and I don’t know much else about it except that I got an old girlfriend who lives there but our lives had long ago went separate ways...hers on a shady lane with giant oak trees and a picket fence in the yard and 2 ½ kids...mine on a long dead end road full of potholes...so there wasn’t any thought on my part of some sentimental reunion...this wasn’t one of those kind of trips...the hotel was one of those old style motels that they built hundreds if not thousands of in Florida in the 50’s and 60’s…a simple two story with a wraparound balcony on the second floor, covered with a worn indoor/outdoor carpet that was worn clear through in some places, and an outdoor swimming pool...this is where the snowbirds must have gathered every year throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s...like the swallows in San Capistrano...this hotel had six different colored doors, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, and a color I guess you could call tan...I got a red doored room on the second floor overlooking the pool...I didn’t feel like going out for some food and the motel didn’t have a restaurant, so I decided tonight would be junk food night which is kind of my own tradition I started years ago...I went down to the vending machines which looked like Senator Joe McCarthy might have abused and I got a Hershey bar, a Snickers, and a Milky Way...then some regular potato chips, some barbecue chips and something else that I can’t remember now...I took them back to the room and laid on the bed and began the feast...I turned on the TV and the Red Sox and Yankees game was on from Fenway...this was before ESPN and I don’t have any idea why they were showing it on a Florida station but I watched it while I ate and downed a couple of Coke’s...not the healthiest meal ever but a good one...I looked out the window and some other guests had dragged the desk chair outside their room to sit on the balcony...I opened the door and there was a nice breeze blowing so I pulled my chair out there and sat down for a while enjoying the North Florida evening...there were occasional cars and trucks passing by on U.S. 41...it was a great night...I still had the game on and could hear it...the Sox had blown the game open...I went back in the room to grab a candy bar and when I came back out, there were two sixteen-ish girls in bikinis down by the pool, which I mentioned was directly in front of my second story perch...they were looking like they were going to jump in...they looked up at me and then sat down on the plastic chaise lounges poolside...if I was 16, I would have been down there in a heartbeat just to say hi...but I’m no longer 16...that chapter in my book has been written and it’s no longer in print...I was just enjoying the breeze and passing the time watching the traffic go by when I noticed them looking up at me again...I didn’t want to be the creepy old man, not that I was that old yet, but I didn’t want to be the guy that was ‘staring’ at them (which I wasn’t)...so I reluctantly pulled my chair back inside my room and shut the door divorcing myself from the nice evening air...the game was almost over now...I heard a big splash and glanced out the window and saw the girls had jumped into the twinkling cool blueness of the pool under a sun that was sinking in the pale amber sky...I guess they were waiting for me to leave...I sighed the sigh of someone resigned to my fate, drew the curtains, fell under a hypnotic spell performed by the old swirly wallpaper and fell asleep.

November 13, 2018

Coincidences

Coincidence is what we call something when there are things that are sometimes related that happen in a way that can’t be explained…a coincidence by definition is when two unlikely activities share similarities...a lot of times these things are related in some manner, or maybe they aren’t, and if you think about it, it can be kind of spooky…why do these things happen like that?...there are a lot of examples of coincidence...there’s the story of a misguided soul who was vandalizing a cemetery, running amok amidst the moonlight after midnight, knocking over headstones and then...tripping over a foot stone and bashing their head against a tree and being killed...after identifying the body, authorities were stunned when they found that the foot stone the vandal tripped over causing his demise was inscribed with the vandal’s birthdate on it...there was a case of identical twins who lived in the countryside of England, who were both killed in separate car accidents within minutes of each other...on different roads...within a mile of each other...then there’s the strange coincidence of the sinking of the Titanic which mirrored a book written 14 years earlier about a fictional ship called the Titan...and there were many stunning similarities between fact and fiction...have you heard about the car that was involved in the assassination that started World War I?...the one that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was riding in when he was shot?...the license plate number on the car was A 111 118...the coincidence here lies in the fact that World War I ended on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918...11-11-18 and perhaps the A stood for armistice?...or the coincidence of the American Civil War starting in the backyard of a Virginia farmer named Wilmer McLean in a battle known as the First Battle of Bull Run...McLean moved his family away from there to avoid them being in the middle of the fighting...how coincidental was it that General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General Grant which all but ended the war took place in the front room of...Wilmer McLean who had moved to Appomattox, Virginia...or the writer Mark Twain being born the day after an appearance of Halley’s Comet, and dying 75 years later when the comet again had appeared in the sky just the day before his death...one of my own brushes with coincidence was that I visited both New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. just two months before the terror attack on 9/11 in which the twin towers in NYC were destroyed and the Pentagon in D.C. was damaged.

November 11, 2018

Clair De Lune and the Movies

Wondering the other day how many times the song ‘Clair De Lune’ has been used in movies...Clair De Lune means ‘light of the moon’ in French in case you didn’t know...I didn’t until I looked it up...you’ll recognize the opening notes even if you don’t know the name...Plung Pling Plong/ Plung Plung Plung Plong Plong Plong...I remember hearing it quite a few times in films...usually for dramatic effect...yeah, that’s kind of random but the reason I bring this up...a rainy Saturday night and I was trying to read some book stressing the importance of beat writing in society and how it revolutionized everything!!!...well, not everything Mr. Author...God, I hate when people overstate their importance or the importance of something else which don’t mean diddly...I was in the study or the drawing room or whatever it is when my wife was in the bedroom watching some movie, she’ll watch about any movie they’ve ever made...and all of them are “good” in her opinion...like when she drags me to the cheap movie shows...thank god for my iphone and headphones...all of a sudden there was a burst of noise...BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM with what sounded like people screaming for their lives and cars racing around with squealing tires and more screaming and maybe a few more BAM BAMS thrown in for good measure, and then I heard Clair De Lune...seemed like an odd song to have playing at that time considering what else I heard, but I’m not a Hollywood director...it just took me 3 times to spell Hollywood right...always thought of going out to Hollywood to make movies but I never had the guts...I don’t know much about making them but there’s thousands of people out there now who don’t know how to make movies either, so I don’t think one more would make any difference...I’m sure I could make ones that were better than the crap they’re putting out now…it seems to me that once they got rid of the Hays code which was a type of censorship enforced beginning in 1934 and lasting for about twenty years, movies have gone downhill into the sewer...almost any movie now has some unnecessary language or scenes to appeal to the ‘cool kids’ or to let the director or writer flaunt it...the code wasn’t perfect, some of it was silly, but it prevented the kind of trash that gets made today...even some coming attractions have gotten questionable...at least to me...it’s anything goes with filmmaking these days...do anything, say anything...but just because you can doesn’t mean that you should...but it’s all in the name of art and the first amendment or some such thing...rant over...anyway, back to Clair De Lune...always liked it...Kathia Buniatishvili does a great version of it on YouTube…the song was written by Debussy who also wrote the great song ‘Prelude To An Afternoon With A Faun’...saw a Japanese film once that had ‘Clair de Lune’ in it, but I can’t remember what the name of the film was...an ex-executive had to take a job as a janitor at a mall to survive after being let go by his company and he felt ashamed and tried to keep it a secret from his family...some of us know how that feels...but eventually he decides that if he’s going to be a janitor, he’s going to be the best damn janitor he can be...you know...that mindset...think I’m going to go listen to Clair De Lune.

Clair De Lune by Kathia Buniatishvili 

November 9, 2018

The Great War


One thing after another led to another and then that resulted in neat little formations, dressed in their finest, the brave and the proud, marching and singing patriotic songs as their shiny black boots clopped down the street to the rhythmic pounding of the drums that shook the ground and the street and everybody standing by it, drums rum-tumming everywhere and songs were sung and confetti thrown...kisses and flowers from the young girls and women smiling and lining the curbs...how exciting!...the soldiers...they were well rehearsed for opening night or so they and their directors thought...the play put on for the benefit of kings and queens and kaisers and dukes and tsars...it's always the young who die for the old...the poor who die for the rich…once all the actors took their place on the stage of the European theatre...the curtain of reality was raised followed by a dreadful downpour of hot steel...whistle BOOM! whistle BOOM! whistle BOOM! BOOM! KA-BOOM!...mind numbing thunder that never seemed to end...they laid, prayed, slayed, and above all stayed...DON’T GIVE AN INCH!” they were told... “They shall not pass…”, trenches full of water and mud, mud, mud, and more mud...mud and blood...blood that ran cold, blood that wanted to run away...writers, artists, bakers, farmers...dead bodies and pieces of bodies lining the walls of the five or six foot deep hell they had dug for themselves...small parcels of land won then lost then won and lost once more, then a long stalemate...attacks, counter-attacks, counter-counter-attacks...over the top...letters sent back home saying all is well, often arriving after the sender had already been slaughtered...The Battle of the Somme, The Marne, The Battle of Chateau-Thierry, Verdun, and ten thousand others...commanding officers with whiskey breath and no imagination following the orders of Generals named Disregard, Confusion, Carelessness, Stupidity and Indifference...the whistle of death whispering in the soldiers ears trying to seduce them into a long goodnight, they looked up and saw horses in trees like some kind of surreal exhibit in an art gallery with no exit, just room after room of the same horror on display...over there, over there...many never made it back, about 10 million give or take a few, oh well, as Stalin said one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic...an entire generation nearly wiped out...masses of Johnnys who didn’t come marching home again...heroes perhaps but dead heroes nonetheless and if you’re dead it don’t matter that much what you were because you’re still dead...accolades don’t do you any good...the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year of 1918 couldn’t and didn’t come soon enough for so many innocents who caught one in the heart, or a piece of shrapnel to the head...others did come back but didn’t really come back...their minds were twisted like the barbed wire that spread out over no man’s land...their bodies looking like something out of a cubist painting by Picasso or Braque...what did you do in the war daddy?...and when all that insanity was over, the world shouted NEVER AGAIN! and tried to forget the whole bloody mess, but the second act would begin after a brief intermission.

World War I song Over There