Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tended Garden to Mog’s Christmas Calamity 
Ripples of Tankas run through our head 
As a cat prepares us for the Holiday Season 


Floating Flower (tanka) 

Endlessly floating
In circles it created
The flower lost sight
Of the shores which gave it birth
And the urge to go back home



Tended Garden (tanka) 

He tended his garden
And little else did he do
Seems a wasted life
But birds who found their Joy there
Spread it wherever they flew



Never Forgotten (tanka) 

Never forgotten
Are the blossoms of flowers
Dancing in gardens
Scented by tender kisses
Of the memories they made


Ripples (tanka) 

Upon a river
Coursing toward its destiny
There fell a flower
Which started endless ripples
Which are still felt in the rain


(A bonus tanka as a thank you for a great month. I have tried to put these tankas together with more than one meaning. Now it is up to you to breath life into them. And guess what. Your insight into these. You are right. - Let's dispel more misconceptions of that "secret" organisation. There are many speculations as to how old the fraternity is. Some even romanticize that Masons left messages on the stones of the pyramids of Egypt. One might also point to the bible as proof of how old the fraternity is (Matthew 6:1-34  is one example). These may or may not be true. But there were no hard facts until 1723, by the first Grand Lodge in London (which was formed in 1717)  who took minutes for the first time. There is no doubt that Freemasonry began before that. But how long? To make this discussion even more speculative, I'm from the school of Freemasonry who puts more energy into where we're going, than where we've been (considering of our past). It is enough to say, "We are old." Now, for those that found this a bit boring. Some believe Masonry is an all male organization. Type "women in Masonry" in your computer.)


Now that our minds are floating, let's go a little farther with: 
The Piano Guys ft Shweta Subram performing 
Swedish House Mafia "Don't You Worry Child" 

You're not ready for this 


Some believe that if you dream about a white cat, good luck will follow. Mog may prove this useless fact completely questionable. Mog is a cat in a series of children's books written by Judith Kerr. Mog is the star of Sainsbury’s 2015 Christmas Advertisement. Sainsbury's is the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom.  In the ad, Mog sets off a chain of unfortunate events which almost ruin Christmas for the Thomas family. Calamity, laughter, all leading to this. 
This is a "feel good" video. "Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas Advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas Calamity" 

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Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. 
Seize common occasions and make them great.
Orison Swett Marden


Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Brighter Morn to You Become An Aunt 
One person finds inspiration just beyond a window 
One person just became an aunt 

           author Bill Holland

The Brighter Morn (villanelle) 

If ever there’s a brighter morn to see
A world were all my children are alright
Then let the hope of change begin with me
-
I think back to that grand once used to be
And wonder in the sun of my delight
If ever there’s a brighter morn to see
-
But even in that distant memory
When yonder winds would wander in my sight
Then let the hope of change begin with me
-
And with each change came new complexity
Till at my window gazing coming night
If ever there’s a brighter morn to see
-
As things moved on I felt no longer free
Where was that one who said when things were bright
Then let the hope of change begin with me
-
Then from the hillsides voices filled with glee
Whose song an echo of a common plight
If ever there’s a brighter morn to see
Then let the hope of change begin with me


(It's been a while since we've seen a villanelle. A tale of person, who seems to have had a good past. For some reason all that changed. He wonders for a brighter day. In the distance he hears a familiar voice with the hope of fulfillment. - Bill Holland is a friend of mine. In respect to him, I will not go into his background. Suffice it to say, he went through some hard times, but found within himself the inspiration to make a positive change and become a successful author. We are all individuals. The curse of being individuals, in my opinion, is we all follow our own path to happiness and fulfillment. Some paths may be the same; some different; some similar or combinations thereof. On our unique ways, we have our own special hands, voices or whatever, to guide us on our ways. Some are blessed to have all they need "inside". For me, it was my light combined with the right people at the right time. Life can be truly amazing.)


Some inspiration to help us to see: Odetta and Boys Choir of Harlem 
"This Little Light of Mine" 

From enlightenment to becoming an aunt 


Probably the most famous aunt is Aunt Jemima, of breakfast pancake fame. The Quaker Oats Company first registered the Aunt Jemima trademark in April 1937. The controversial name and image of Aunt Jemima originally came from a minstrel shows of the time. Since we have stirred up the pot of stereotypes and controversy, let's go all out with an attack on aunts. To helps us on our tasteless, yet funny, path are the folks of College Humor. (If I'm going down, I'm taking them with me.) 
Note that this skit has a nice warning (or foreboding) for those engaged in stereotyping. "What Happens When You Become An Aunt" 

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I find hope in the darkest of days, 
and focus in the brightest. 
I do not judge the universe.
Dalai Lama 

Memorial Thoughts to Call to Arms 
A memorial for heroes live and fallen 
It is for your sacrifices we should all learn to take up arms 

               Enemies meet in famed 1914 truce 

Memorial Thoughts (English sonnet) 

Oh silent heroes shed a final tear
For those who have forgotten how to cry
And do not dare to know the reasons why
You paid this price to guard us from our fear
-
Behold the teardrops from a mother’s eye
Recalling seasons that have place them here
Still waiting for dark cloud to disappear
And for this cause no other sole must die
-
Have we so lightly laid aside the pain
Of heroes hiding helpless with a gun
-
In bringing home the memories of the slain
It’s there the dreams of torment have begun
-
So for their gallant deeds let us all strain
To make a friend of each and everyone


(Here is a somewhat different use of the "Special Effect" (surprise ending). The poem paints a picture of the horrors and nightmares our heroes have gone through. Then from the tear stained ground a strange flower emerges. - A former fencer and a person who enjoys war games is hardly a pacifist. I just, personally, think wars do not work. It seems to me, such a waste of lives and resources. I also believe the ones pulling the triggers are not the ones who start wars. Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or about 8% of recorded history. Imagine, what we could have achieved, had we not been so wasteful. I could give a lot of examples; but it very confusing that America has "all the money in the world" for armed conflict, but has empty pocketbooks when it comes to our schools. We can all think of ways our money could be better spent. Imagine, if America built, instead of destroyed (via war). What country, what people would kick us out if we were armed with food and buildings and the benefits of a good life. Will there be bad people? I don't know. But history seems to show that wars don't work. Our heroes deserve that their lives sacrifices weren't in vain. (Thank you for allowing me to rant,))


A song for our heroes: Bryan Adams "Solder Tribute" 

Imagine 


The Anglo-Zanzibar War was fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on August 27, 1896. The conflict lasted around 40 minutes, marking it as the shortest war in history. On January 15, 2014 Unilever, maker of AXE body products for men, in conjunction with Peace One Day came out with a controversial commercial The one minute ad was seen in over 50 counties and received over 3.3 million views on YouTube in the first week. The ad was so successful that September 21, 2014 was declared a "day of peace". 
With so much going for it, what made this commercial controversial? (This is the extended version.) "AXE Peace | Call to Arms (Official Extended Cut)" 

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Peace begins with a smile.
Mother Teresa 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

She’s Crying to Bears Killed One In Five People 
Only the rain knows why she's crying 
Only mathematics and bear know why these men are crying 



She’s Crying (lyrical poem) 

She’s crying She’s crying
In darkness relying
Sweet victim of lying
To cover her dying
-
Her fate she’s denying
She’s crying She’s crying
Pain’s sorrow applying
She’s crying She’s crying
-
She loved him so
How could she know
His hand he’d show
To make tears flow
-
She’s crying She’s crying
Her dreams are left flying
She’s past point of trying
More chances applying
-
What’s real she’s defying
She’s crying She’s crying
For truth left her sighing
She’s crying She’s crying
-
When love did go
How could he know
What soon would grow
From painful blow
-
She’s crying She’s crying
With horror allying
From sanity shying
To now she is vying
-
Her boyfriend now lying
She’s crying She’s crying
In blood he’s there dying
She’s crying She’s crying



(Some more words waiting for a song. If you are a song writer, looking for some lyrics, help yourself. To make your job easy, I've kept the beats real tight. Another example of "special effect". We are drawn into the misery of a woman losing the one she loves. It isn't till the end the whole darkness is revealed. - One of the worst Masonic funerals I have done was for a brother who died while defending his home and his family. The story was related to me by a family member. It seems, one night while sleeping, the wife heard the noise of someone trying to enter the house. The husband went for his shotgun as the wife called for the police. As the husband went outside he fired his gun, hoping to scare off the intruders. The wife, hearing the shots and not knowing who was firing, rushed to her husband's side. The intruders, instead of fleeing returned fire. The wife, rushing to her husband's side, saw him being shot down. This story was related to me less than an hour before I was to perform. It was a closed casket funeral.)


To capture some of the madness: 
The Swingle Singers performing Piazzolla "Libertango"

A good laugh might be in order - but let's not forget about the bear 


The first Teddy Bear, then called Bruins, showed signs of appearing on the scene when Margarete Steiff registered patents for 23 of her soft toy designs. It wasn't a Teddy Bear in a man's kitchen that started an uproar among a group of friends. It was a real bear! A real hungry bear. But fear not. Bears only kill 1 in 5 people. (Actually, only 61 people across North America since 1900. Our chances of being killed by a domestic dog, bees, or lightning are vastly greater; than being killed by a bear.) But for the sake of this video, let's go along with the 1 in 5 figure. 
The calm friend is obviously an accountant. "What If Bears Killed One In Five People?" 

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In three words I can sum up everything I know about life. 
It goes on.
Robert Frost 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Silence Of The Night to Pizza Rat Prank 
One man meets his fear in the silence of the night 
While others meet their fear in a pizza toting rat 


Silence Of The Night (English sonnet) 

I never knew the silence of the night
Its gripping ripping weight upon my soul
Each ticking of my heart can feel its toll
As countless waves of ever steal the light
-
As loom of empty nothing takes control
The shadows of some fear wait out of sight
What dark unknown will quench their appetite
What part of me will help to make them whole
-
And there I sit alone and so aware
So held by terror that I could not scream
-
I searched the darkness for some mercy there
As o’er my body silent creepings stream
-
I closed my eyes amid last gasp of air
Won’t someone please awake me from this dream


(Nothing special about this sonnet. Let me rant on the subject of the classic sonnets (as apposed to the modern sonnet) a bit. Most of the classical sonnets we see today are written in the Shakespearean style. I try to use the English sonnets as well as the Italian sonnet to show there were other popular forms of the classical sonnet styles to explore. Let me encourage our sonneteers to wander the broader world of sonnets. - When I got married, one of the first things I did was gain weight, a fact that my mother-in-law pointed out often. There was this person at work, Michael. When I saw his horrible life, I couldn't believe anyone would expose himself to such a lifestyle. Not only did he live in squalor, his partner was abusive. Coming to work was his only escape from his nightmare. So, how did we become friends, and what about my weight problem? Michael overheard me talking about losing weight and suggested we join the YMCA. I thought he was joking, so I said sure. One day, after work, Michael shows up at my house and so the adventure began. Twice a week Michael took me to the Y. I began to lose that unwanted weight/fat (not to mention getting a pretty good body) and Michael got some light from his hell. Even more... As we continued, Michael saw the positive effect he had on me. One night, after our workout, we went to a bar. Michael told me his situation and asked me to help him move. When I showed up at his apartment, I was moved to tears, partly because of "living" condition and partly because of the smell. When I met Michael's abuser, it was all I could do to control myself. Michael put himself in a better situation and became a chef. A man with a weight problem was the doorway from a man's nightmare. Michael, this was for you.)


I stumbled on a video for this theme: Medwyn Goodall "Behold the Darkness" 

And now fear of a funnier kind 


Studies show that rats succumb to peer-pressure, just like humans. Brown rats are prone to disregard personal experiences in order to copy the behavior of their peers. Think about this as we notice the women's legs in the following video. Pranskster and YouTuber Jesse M. Wellens, of Prank vs Prank, is loose on the streets of Philadelphia, armed with his mechanical rat carrying a slice of pizza. Besides laughs, what do you think will happen? 
I mean, what do you think will happen when Jesse's girlfriend sees this video and notices all the girls' legs. "PIZZA RAT PRANK!" 

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Fear cuts deeper than swords  
George R.R. Martin 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Whispering Flower to Man On The Moon 
What is the gift of a flower's whisper 
What is the gift of a child's vision 



Whispering Flower (story/poem)

A flower whispered to me
Upon a summer’s day
I thought that I was dreaming
Or that my wits did stray
But then again I heard it
A wonder I must say
-
What did it have to tell me
What gave its petals sound
The marvel of this moment
Would fairytales astound
As ear and heart I gave to
This beauty from the ground
-
Such mysteries expected
I thought would reach my ear
So much misunderstanding
I thought it would make clear
Yet I was struck by much more
At what I soon would hear
-
It asked of me to pick it
An act which spelled its end
I asked it for a reason
To which its tears would rend
I said please cast your sorrow
For you have found a friend
-
It sweetly beckoned of me
Please listen to my plea
A future is approaching
Which here I couldn’t see
So I plucked the flower’s wish
To spread its mystery
-
Suddenly I sensed a girl
A dream spun to my side
And there within gazing eyes
Was spark we couldn’t hide
Then as I gave her a gift
I knew why flower died


(Other than being a delightful love story, there is nothing special about this poem. Like this poem, there is nothing special about my poetry. What I do have going for me is variety. If one looks at some of the poems, in this Poetry and Viral Videos blog, one will pick up on the wide varieties of styles and ideas. One might also notice an air of many poets writing on today's social media. I have tried to share what I do in a poem as a way of giving back and a "thank you". - When I started to leave my days of being a "crazy teenager", I began to see how blessed my life was. A lesson from pastor David Wilkerson ("The Cross and the Switchblade"  fame), from decades earlier, came back to haunt me. I felt it was my duty to give back. Call it coincidence, at the same time Chevron started supporting United Way of the Bay Area. They needed volunteers and my hand went up. Strangely, as time went on, my volunteer work started to mesh with my life style and talents. Arlene turned me to our kid's schools and soccer coaching. As I continued, my efforts were inspirations for other volunteers. When I joined Freemasonry, I was a well seasoned volunteer. In the next 14 years I would be the flower of wonders (hardly of whispers). With an unbelievable life and all I have done, the only breeze that drifts through my mind is: Did I Do Enough.)


Let's add one more flower to all of this: Yanni "Song of the Flower" 

One more flower 


According to studies, over 52% of Americans believe Christmas celebrations should not start until late November. (December comes in second, with over 24%.) There are some Christmas celebrations that are fitting all year round. One of these are the Christmas ads of John Lewis. The John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned United Kingdom company which operates John Lewis department stores, Waitrose supermarkets and some other services. The 2015 John Lewis Christmas advertisement, "the Man on the Moon", is out. Out big time! Once again, the folks of John Lewis have shown what Christmas, the brotherhood of men should truly be about. 
What is wonderfully fascinating about thad is: the product John Lewis is selling. "John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 - #ManOnTheMoon" 



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No one is useless in this world 
who lightens the burdens of another 
Charles Dickens

Forever’s Dance to Basketball music with Globetrotters 
A couple joins to celebrate a life well lived 
A basketball team celebrates 90 great years 


Forever’s Dance (English sonnet) 

They joined again to celebrate their dance
He held her close as precious times before
As heartbeats’ rhythm washed upon their shore
And music lit a path to their romance
-
And there what splendors soft and tender soar
As realms of dreams are captured in their trance
Each motion turns of passion would enhance
Each sway a promise of yet one wish more
-
They danced to a lifetime starlight would kiss
They danced to the wonders dreams would employ
They danced to all dancing by their side
-
To dance in his arms escape and her bliss
A heaven sent gift this moment of Joy
Forever reliving before he died


(Well, there was an ending we didn't expect. To set up for this unexpected ending an ostinato begins at the end of the second quatrain ("Each"). The ostinato becomes more pronounced with the first triplet ("they danced"). Then, like a whisper, we are led to the unexpected. I use "dance" as a metaphor for life. In all our poems, I capitalize the "J" of Joy, because that was Arlene's middle name. - The girl, in the poem, is really me. Arlene is the person who died. Overall, Arlene and I had a storybook life/dance  together. Sure, I miss her, but we made great moments together, Moments greater than sadness. I stopped revisiting things Arlene and I enjoyed together. There is no need to, as Arlene and I followed our dreams, like that old couple walking home from school (again). Life had blessed me to transform the these moments into living memories. I have since remarried, but unfortunately have become seriously ill. One of side effects of my illness is: memories become very real. So I get to dance with Arlene through remarkable dreams, that were us.)


I lucked into this great video which goes well with this theme: Dance with Me Rumba 

Let's lighten the mood with another celebration 


On March 2, 1962, Philadelphia center Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in one game against New York. That is sill the most one player has ever scored in one professional basketball game. Talk about basketball legends. in my opinion, there is none greater than the Harlem Globetrotters. The Globetrotters are an exhibition basketball team that combines athleticism, theater, and comedy.  Legend has it (although a bit romantic) the team was organized in 1926 in Chicago's Savoy Ballroom. Most of the original players attended Wendell Phillips High School. Since then, they have played more than 20,000 exhibition games in 120 countries. To celebrate their upcoming 90th anniversary, the Harlem Globetrotters have teamed up with STOMP (a group currently on Broadway, New York, who use the body and ordinary objects to create a physical theater performance) to create this memorable video. 
With this video, the world says thank you for everything. "STOMP makes basketball music with Harlem Globetrotters" 

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Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life 
is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
Lanston Hughes