Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lay Down Your head to You Are Not Alone 
One person finds a shoulder to cry on 
One person does not find a shoulder to cry on 

Lay Down Your Head (sonnet)

Lay down your head beside its afterglow
And marvel at the things we left behind
For here and up ahead we are consigned
All else now forms a backdrop of our show
Lay down your head by world which we defined
Its truth is hidden deep within our flow
A beauty only we may come to know
A vision only our own fate assigned
The world may shout why didn’t you do more
And shine their golden medals in our face
The reasons for it all is hard to trace
Some words some other person might have said
So different is life which we have lead
Lay down your head our dream of all before 

Things are over and all that is left are the comforting song of this sonnet. This looks like an English sonnet but the couplets do not follow the standard format. The couplets turn into a round. Other than this, the sonnet follows the usual two part format, The first half (the quatrains) is an attempt to comfort. The second half (the couplets) covers a reason. 

Val was a professional friend. I was the photographer for her dance troupe. She was my singer. Val was also a member of the Crew, Arlene and I hung out with in the disco days. When the disco days were quickly winding to an end,Val took it very hard. With disco dying, her dance troupe (disco oriented) had no future. All of my songs were for night clubs which were closing. Add to this, she was going through a divorce. She was in a bad place. Val focused on the success and happiness of all those around her. In her eyes, she was a complete failure. Arlene and I accepted disco was over, All we had to offer Val was shoulders to cry on and memories of an unbelievable time. Arlene and I were going through changes of our own. I wish I could say that we helped Val. About this time Japan was drawing talented American girls to work in their nightclubs, not as strippers but as singers and dancers. Val became one of these. (For those concerned about Val: She never remarried. She never achieved the success that she dreamed of. She did become a choreographer for "Beach Blanket Babylon". Now in her gold years, Val remains a parlor singer, with enough of a following to keep her working.)

Sound familiar? Everything is going real good. Then suddenly things change. Change for the worse. All our dreams are shattered. I certainly can. Many can. Countless are those who have met this bitter storm and have just given up. But why? It is not our place to say or to judge. And when we pick up the pieces of a broken life, be gentle and listen. It is easy for me to say don't give up. I had a very lucky life. Many successful authors, speakers and professionals make a lot of money telling others how to be successful, don't give up. But that is their job. The truth is we are all different. Our situations are different. There is good luck and there is bad luck. Here we are. And here is where it all starts. One gift that the human species enjoys, is the gift to adjust. If life knocks us down; pick ourselves up and dusk ourselves off. If we can dust ourselves off, we can see what awaits us are the next corner. Life is a wonder. This is our life. All that is expected of us is to do the best that we can. Do the best we can and Enjoy.

Here to guide us on: Secret Garden "Simply You" 

Life is precious 

According to Emory University,  each year, 34,598 people die by suicide, an average of 94 completed suicides every day. More people die by suicide (34,598) than by homicide (18,361) in the United States. Suicide is the eleventh-leading cause of death across all ages. To celebrate her birthday and to remind us how important life is Rachel Levin, of Rclbeauty101, has put together a special video. 
Help is only a phone call away. "You Are Not Alone" 

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A single rose can be my garden... 
a single friend, my world. 
Leo Buscaglia


Friday, February 24, 2017

Tomorrow to This Went Wrong 
One person who can wait until tomorrow 
Another person who wants thing right now 

Tomorrow (Italian sonnet)

Tomorrow he built castles in the sky
The dreams of children with no cause to weep
The hope of homeless comfort they might reap
The hearts of mothers never need to cry
Tomorrow he made neighbors make amends
They worked together to improve the school
Tomorrow he formed volunteering pool
Where mistrust sprouted now would bloom in friends
Tomorrow he will go to city hall
To show his fellows how to use their voice
Tomorrow he will help his church rejoice
Tomorrow he will coach some kids at ball
Tomorrow he will a park clean-up head
Tomorrow he will drive old folk to store
Tomorrow he will do all this and more
Tomorrow came and sadly he was dead

A man with great plans for tomorrow is the echo of this Italian sonnet. An Italian sonnet Is just like a Shakespearean sonnet except instead of finishing with a rhyming couplet it ends with a quatrain. In this sonnet, as time ticks by as "tomorrow" begins one more line of each quatrain. 

In Masonry the "line on officers" is a lesson in life (especially the top three spots). One of the lessons is: We only have this time. Make the most of it before it is over. This is the story of my biggest masonic failures. After I completed the line of officers, I became a personal officer's coach. One of my students was a man named Allen (Al). As far as memorizing, he was as good as most. His big challenge became apparent when he reached the top three positions. Al had these big dreams. When he was Junior Warden. he was going to do this and he was going to do that. When his year was over, he hadn't accomplished any of his dreams. Well, there is always next year. As Senior Warden, Al was going to do this and that again plus some more. I suggested he cut his goals down a bit. Al enjoyed himself, but at the end of the year he accomplished nothing. There was next year. Al was elected Master. I went over with him that this was his last year on the line. I told him to write down one thing that he really wanted to accomplish and put it in an envelope.  It was a sleeper year. Al was the first Master in over twenty years to not add a single thing to make the Lodge a better place. Al opened the envelope and saw what he wrote. Al left the Lodge but continued to pay his dues. After many years, he was all but forgotten, Al returned to the Lodge. He was in his uniform. At dinner he related his tale. For all his life he saw himself a failure. After failing the Lodge and the people who trusted him, his eyes were opened. Before it was too late, he made many sacrifices and work very hard for one goal. His dream of being a captain of a ship. Al is a Captain for the Red and White Fleet (a day cruise ship). 

One doesn't have to a Mason to be a part of this truth. There is only so much time. Many people waste away this time in talk, wishing, and idle dreaming. Not accomplishing anything solid. Try to imagine watching TV all day. There really are people like that. Even worse, there are people who do not attempt to pursue even one of their dreams. So sad. So real. There is only so much time available to us. Time is precious. Time is given to us to pursue our dreams. To turn our dreams into reality. To make our time here worth something. Yes, there is much that we can't do. Let us focus on what we can do. We can do so much more. So much more to make us satisfied. Us satisfied, not others. We are the ones that look back at how we used our time. Even more: I believe after we have realized a level of self satisfaction, it is human nature to assist others. To reach out. How important it is that we use our time wisely. Believe, know that we can accomplish our dreams. And as we do, Enjoy.

How about some inspirational music: Leonard Bernstein "make Our Garden Grow" 

Some people's dreams are satisfied at a drive-thru 

There are a few claimants for the first fast food eatery to feature a true drive-thru, but In-N-Out Burger’s first restaurant, with its intercom ordering system and its lack of both inside seating and outside parking was likely the first to offer the complete drive-thru package. Fast food drive-thrus have been around for many years, still common errors happen. Here to share some of those errors with us is Liza Koshy. 
Perhaps we can relte to some of these. "THIS WENT WRONG!! DRIVE THRU WITH LIZA!" 

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Follow your dreams and use your 
natural-born talents and skills 
to make this a better world for tomorrow. 
Paul Watson

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Lady On The Hill to Grant is a Huge Klutz Idiot 
A lady is waiting for some change in her life 
An office klutz brings some change to his coworker's lives 

The Lady On The Hill (English sonnet) 

You see her waiting there upon a hill
She’s waiting for her time to come along
To bring some special meaning to her song
Her last unshattered dream left to fulfill
She wanders where her life had gone so wrong
Through echoes of another person’s will
With reason which will never leave her still
One wonders how she ever got this strong
Each day she’s there reminder of a plight
Awaiting in some shadows which were hewn
A simple turn removes her from our sight
And perhaps this night won’t bring the moon
There as she greets this last and dying light
A stranger walks her way humming a tune 

A lady waiting for some meaning in her life becomes the song of this English sonnet. As most English sonnets this one is has two parts. The first part (the quatrains) is a lady's background. The second part (the couplets) covers what happened to her. The ending leaves it to the reader's imagination to dream what happened to the lady. 

In the 70's a lot of Arlene's friend's got married. Arlene went to a Catholic school. She stayed in touch with many of her classmates. Getting married is just what we did. It was a "thing".  This poem was inspired by her friend Evelyn (Eve). Eve had a real thing with numbers. She met her boyfriend in college. They were married just after college and both landed a job. They were both gifted accountants. So gifted that they were able to put a down payment on a home after year. We used to enjoy dinners together and the girls used to go out. One weekend there was a concert at the Legion  of Honor. The girls decided to make a day of it and leave us boys behind. No one is sure what happened that day. Eve started acting strange. The dinners stopped. Neither Arlene nor I saw Eve or her husband anymore.We heard, from Arlene's friends they got a divorce. There was a rumor going around that Eve was hanging around the Legion of Honor. The last we heard of Eve, she had lost her job. Years later, when Arlene and I were walking on Fishermen's Wharf. there was a street artist. One of those people who draws your portrait. It was Eve. Without giving away too much, Eve told Arlene, "I found myself." (The sonnet plays out to a happy ending.) 

Sometimes life imposes on some people a set path. In Eve's case: Her parents wanted her to be an accountant. What would we do if our child was gifted in numbers? All of Eve's friends were getting married. When I worked at Chevron, we got people to buy our products. In today's world big business know us better than most know themselves. Our government scares us into giving up our freedoms. The media successfully draws us this way and that, selling us a new version of the " truth" everyday. How important it is that we stay in touch with that one person who is truly important. This is our life. It is us who we have to satisfy first. How can we make other happy if we are not happy? We; not "them". Are we satisfied? What do we believe? What is our truth? Find that true you and Enjoy. 

Here's a person who has found himself: Stan Getz "Lonely Day" 

Everyone has those awkward days - but none like this 

Accident-proneness, also known as clumsiness, is the conception that some people might have predisposition, or that they might be more likely to suffer accidents, such as car crashes and industrial injuries, than other people. The subject is still being studied actively. Research into accident-proneness is of great interest in safety engineering. This might be interesting, but is a bit boring Boring compared to a video by College Humor.
College Humor found that an accident prone person might be beneficial to an office environment. "Grant is a Huge Klutz Idiot"

If you enjoyed this video press this link to The Sexy Coupon Book (Hot Date)

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To be yourself in a world that is constantly 
trying to make you something else is 
the greatest accomplishment. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, February 20, 2017

In The Dark to The Great Train Robbery 
How the world changed for two lovers 
How the world changed for two train robbers 

In The Dark (changing poem) 

Twas in the dark they searched for it
Some missing clue that didn’t fit
A truth their minds could not admit
But to their eyes they must submit
A love like theirs no storm could split
A candlelight was always lit
A troubled day would end near bed
But on this bed now questions sit
The legend of their love so spread
Their kisses even time acquit
Imagination thrilled each head
But here and now all that has flit
By dreams like theirs such hopes were fed
Each memory young hearts commit
It was for them moonlight was shed
But even starlight now turns red
Now every dream is teardrop shred
There were no words and none were said
Into tomorrow they soon fled
But not with him his love was dead 

As a life changes for these lovers so does this changing poem. This is an example of a changing poem. In a changing poem something changes from the beginning to the end. As this poem goes on, the rhyme sound changes. 

In my soccer coaching days Saint Gabriel Catholic School asked me to coach for them. This meant this Lutheran had to attend Catholic mass every once in a while. It was here I found out that Jim was a deacon of the church, Jim was my neighbor from across the street. His involvement with the church was unknown to me, even though Jim and his wife were close neighbors to Arlene and I. They were close neighbors to almost everyone on the block. What made them so popular was their affection for one another. Though they were both in their golden years, they were proof that love is ageless. It was not uncommon to see them hand in hand enjoying a walk or sharing an ice cream sundae at the parlor or enjoying coffee and a donut at the donut shop or the endless delights lovers do. To be like them was the dream of every couple in the neighborhood. Little did we know she was sick. News got out she had died. No one knew what happen to Jim. The church sent someone to take care of Jim's house. All that they would say was that he was being taken care of. After several months Jim returned home. He had Alzheimer's. 

Here was a life. It is easy to say, "How sad." Based on our value system, it maybe sad. But in another world, there were two lovers. Who is to say that seeing them together did't cause changes in others? Becoming a deacon in the church meant that someone did something; Something more. We are not all President of the United States or a movie star. More importantly; We are we. Try convincing a mother that her baby is not important. But is being important a part of an unreal value system? What about living this life? Living this life to the fullest. Living this life to our satisfaction. I don't truly know. I too am a product of this value system. But my eyes are beginning to open. Many eyes are beginning to open.  And tomorrow what will they see? Until then Enjoy. 

This call for some reflection music: Patrick Ugwu "Spanish Lament" 

Let's steal a laugh 

The Great Train Robbery was actually the robbery of £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London in the early hours of Thursday, 8 August 1963, at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn, near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England. This is is bigger than anything we read about in the old west. To drive this point home here are the folks of Studio C. 
Home if we live in a funny farm. "The Great Train Robbery" 

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Love doesn't make the world go round. 
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
Franklin P. Jones 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Hour to Best Elevator Music 
An hour's tune carries a lover on 
An elevator's tune causes its passengers to carry on 

The Hour (Shakespearean sonnet) 

What is the hour now passing though my head
A fleeting thought whose whispers shout to me
Forget all things and follow me instead
Waylay all doubts of how things ought to be
And from its shadows lights excite my way
My eyes add lies this dream could not explain
As if the needs of reason didn’t stray
To parlors where the need of things abstain
Don’t leave me comes the echo of the moon
It spreads its beam for me across the sky
Some other heart gave magic to its tune
Some other heart would have to say goodbye
For me and now this hour’s hold leads me on
To live its kiss before its time is gone 

A tune, an hour that pierces a lover's darkness fills this Shakespearean sonnet. Love, that dominates most Shakespearean sonnets, is approached differently in this sonnet. Keep in mind it is the lover's mind expressing itself. Feelings take on words. 

The poem is a bit dramatic. I loved my job. It was more like play than work. There would come those moments when imagination would become reality. These moments were highly stressful. On the home front, Arlene and I were generally that couple, that everyone wanted to be like. "Into every life some rain must fall." The same was true on Arlene's and my home front. Challenges would confront me when the stress of work met the rainstorms at home. Shadows would befall me. Shadows that would even temper reality. Through my darkest hour rang a distant tune. It was a tune that was more important than anything else. It was a tune that didn't solve any problems, rather its beauty gave me the light see one more morning. Call it magic. Call it Arlene. Call it love. In  the darkness it sang to me. 
With a life like mine, I can't help but believe that there is something more to carry us through. Something as simple as a warm cup of tea, or the magic of a melody roaming through the darkness of a lost soul; A look in a lover's eyes or a piece pf inspiration in a book. Or maybe a variety of things. We are all individuals and our brains work slightly differently; So do those things that keep us going, those things that keep us holding on, our hopes. Obviously, it is to negative's advantage to drown these things out, which explains why sometimes we are out of touch with this light that we all carry. But I believe it is always there. I believe it is in us all. We are all special. We are all meant to succeed. This is our life, This is our blessing; So Enjoy. 

If we can't hear it, close our eyes and listen: Bliss Wish U Were Here" 

Tired of the same old elevator music 

Elevator music, more commonly known as Muzak, came to use in the 1922 with original purpose to calm the fearful passengers who used the elevators for the first time. Rudy Mancuso and crew bring us some elevator music of a completely different sort. 
Odds are, we're not ready for this. "BEST ELEVATOR MUSIC | Rudy Mancuso" 

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In order to succeed, we must 
first believe that we can. 
Nikos Kazantzakis


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Morning's Greeting to The Sexy Coupon Book 
Each morning he gives his love a gift 
One special night she gives her love a gift 

Morning’s Greeting (English sonnet) 

Each morning’s greeting there within her eyes
The endless hope there written in her smile
An air of wonderment she can beguile
I love her more than I can realize
Each day begins to find us here awhile
Remembering the dreams with lasting sighs
Those were the days that never had goodbyes
Those were the days when we would set the style
Each morning’s greeting beauty so profound
There never was a season for a frown
Each day begins to find you still around
And once again in love’s abyss I drown
And then before a teardrop makes a sound
I kiss your face and put your picture down 

An unexpected ending makes this English sonnet. As with most English sonnets, this one is divided into two parts. Part one (the quatrains) presents a lover's morning and day. Part two (the couplets) is a condensed version of part one, plus the surprise ending. 

Arlene was gone. Her mourning lasted days. There were hundreds of cards and letters to respond to. It was a very unreal time. I was a complete wreck. Friends and family took care of me during this troubling period. They cooked my meals. They saw to my laundry. They took me out and did other things to distract me. For a time some even slept at my house. In the beginning. my house was like a train station. There were so many people stopping by; and the phone calls... Most of these were handled by someone else. Eventually I was able to manage on my own. Except for one idiosyncrasy. I had several large pictures of Arlene. I put these up in every room of the house. I would talk to these pictures as if Arlene was alive. My daughter, Robin, caught me. Through my associates, she got me the help I needed.  Arlene was now those wonderful memories. All those pictures were converted to one nice picture that I kept on a chest of drawers by my bed. 

Losing someone close to us is a difficult reality. It is so horrible, few think about it until it is too late. I have performed 147 from 1999 to 2010, and I can share this: No one, not a single person handles loss the same. I noticed that individuals who enjoyed a rich relationship were generally better off, after the initial shock. We live in a world of change. Not only people. but places and things leave us. Even youth leaves us. How important it is that we enjoy, make the most of everything, every moment. We could give away a part of our life (to negatives), or we can be positive and constructive. Constructive because we build memories. Positive memories, to carry us through the storms of life. The more wonderful and positive the moments, we make the harsher can be the storms we can glide though. Our positive memories are our strength. They are our light through the darkness. So live, love, be positive and Enjoy.

Let's enjoy a positive memory: Everly Brothers "All I Have to Do Is Dream" (David Monk) 

What did you get for Valentine's 

The State of California produces 60% of American roses, but most roses sold on Valentine's Day in the U.S. are imported from South America. Love coupon books were also very popular gifts, especially from ladies to their men. Love coupons are a form of voluntary IOU or promissory notes between people in love that contains a promise from one of the partners in a relationship to engage in a romantic activity at a time in the future. 
College Humor has captured a love coupon book of a different sort. "The Sexy Coupon Book (Hot Date)" 

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Death is not the greatest loss in life. 
The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. 
Norman Cousins


Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Bitter Spice to When It's Just The Dudes At Home 
A father who didn't have enough time for his son 
A father who may have a little too much time with his son 

The Bitter Spice (Shakespearean sonnet) 

My son I weave a tale about a man
Someone who used his time to do his best
Who tried to always answer yes I can
Tomorrow there’d be time enough to rest
There always seemed to be a world of need
Another soul whose hands stretched out toward me
Another cry for help which I did heed
How many dreams did I help to set free
Yet as the father reached out toward his son
He was aware of who had paid the price
So many sought his help except for one
And here it was the bitterest of spice
My son I leave to this now full grown lad
Who turned politely said I love you dad

A father opens up to his son in this Shakespearean sonnet. Typically Shakespearean sonnets are about love. This is not a hard and fast rule. Here is example of using a Shakespearean sonnet to paint a picture of a different type. 

This was not going to happen to me. When Arlene and I became parents, we had slightly different ideas about our relationship as parents.Arlene believed, we had make some time, every once in awhile, for ourselves. I believed that our kids needed all our attention, until they were old enough. When Peter and Robin were babies, Arlene and I shared in all the necessities (changing diapers, feeding, cleaning and the rest). Weekends and holidays were for taking the kids out and about. Both of our kids went to preschool, but I taught them reading and math. Peter was reading by his forth birthday. Robin was more socially gifted. She took to music, until cooking and food caught her interest. Peter was a straight A student. Arlene and I were very involved with our kids' schooling, school and homework. Neither Arlene nor I ever struck our kids. Both Peter and Robin were volunteers at the San Francisco Zoo. Both went to martial arts school to learn how to defend themselves. They were both active in sports. One of Peter's science projects made it to the state finals. Peter was accepted into Lowell High School, the top high school in the city. He worked very hard. So hard that Arlene and I decided to let up a little on Robin. Lowell was so hard that Peter had to give up the extracurricular actives we all enjoyed in our high school days, like dating. I felt really bad for Peter. I wanted to put him in a regular school. Peter wanted to see his hardships through. Both Peter and Robin are now successful adults. Peter is going for his Phd in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, all expenses paid. Robin is a successful chef. She was recognized as one of the Bay Area's top ten up and coming chefs by Zagat (a restaurant rating service). Robin was on an episode of "Cutthroat Kitchen". Neither Peter or Robin is in a relationship. I see no grandchildren in my future.

Parenting, I can tell people this with confidence: I'm not certain if I knew what I was doing. My whole family gave up so much to get where we are. Being a parent,for me, was hard (and fun). Perhaps Arlene and I could have, should have made a moment or two for ourselves. But from here it is all hindsight. Most of my charity work was with the youth. I did observe this: Parenting was different. I mean different in all aspects of different (experience, life styles, culture, expenses and on and on). Two individuals (sometimes one) are blessed with another individual, who is an open sieve in search of knowledge. Soon this individual brings home a world to deal with. Then there are the memories that come alive. "When I was their age." Then they become adults. (That's another story.) For those of us who made it, there are the smiles.To everyone else, there is my sister. She had no time for her son. She had to work to make ends meet. Her son became a fireman to make his mother proud and to show her that he loved her. (It all works out.) Parenting is part of life. Life is a wonder; So Enjoy.

Back to the sonnet: Harry Chapin "Cat's in the Cradle" 

Here's a baby who likes Michael Jackson 

The U.S. Census reports that 32% of married fathers (approximately 7 million dads) are “a regular source of care for their children under age 15, up from 26% from 2002.” The U.S. Census defines “regular care of children” as an arrangement that is consistent at least one day per week. Adam Ballard is one of those dads. What do these two do when all the work is done? 
Here is Miles Ballard performing "Beat It". "When It's Just The Dudes At Home" 

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We never know the love of a parent 
till we become parents ourselves. 
Henry Ward Beecher