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On Angels and Messengers

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Least Favorite Things

I recently had the good fortune to participate in a masterclass sponsored the Onondaga County Public Library and CNYJazz.  (Video to be posted here eventually.)  Encouraged by Larry L and a others who enjoyed my performance of "Dreams of a Lovestruck Biologist", I'm learning how to accompany myself on the guitar.  Here's a progress report: a rough recording of a song from
 "The Sound of Mortars".


"The Sound of Mortars"  is set in war-time Afghanistan.  Is there any other time in Afghanistan? It's about a beautiful double-agent,  "Madeeja" (played by Christiana Amanpour), and a lovable but bungling band of seven dwarf terrorists, who follow her everywhere.  Other songs include: The Sound of Mortars (Madeeja), How Do You Solve a Problem like Korea and Climb Every Mountain (both sung by Mother Hillary). and Invaded Twice (Ain't it nice), sung by Captain Von Laden,  joined by Madeeja and the boys, just before they escape the military occupation of their beloved, pulverized homeland.

The story is fiction, of course, based on fact that is reminiscent of earlier fiction based on earlier fact. The name of the war may be different, but the story's the same. Who knows? The fiction/fact cycle may even go back, war by war, to the Peloponnesian War, and the futile attempt by Sisyphus to escape over the mountains with his very large pet rock.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

What's the Fuss?

World in Turmoil

The world is in turmoil. 

So it seems.  On a global scale, nations are dealing with terrorism, disease, genocide, natural disasters and poverty.  On an individual level, it's the same -- people are struggling with their personal fears, health, mortality, physical security and finances.

How do I know this? 
My perception of everything that's happening in the world depends upon how I process electrical impulses in my brain.  Everything that I perceive, everything I've seen, heard or read about, plus everything that I conceive and that I believe, is electrical impulses in my brain.  All Creation ... the Present, Past and Future of the Universe and all that dwell within and beyond it, are merely electrical impulses in my brain.

Does it matter whether there is more to Reality than that? 

For practical purposes, everything has been reduced.  These electrical impulses are mine to do with as I please.  So, just for fun, I'll take my view of the world and stir in some fantasies and some memories. My vision of the future is imaginary, of course.  Memories are my perception of things that happened in the past, minus the details that I've forgotten, plus whatever I now imagine to have perceived at the time. Let's be honest, memories are (to some degree) imaginary.  The Truth is not naked.

So, it's all the same, huh?
When I recall the past or envision the future, it's all just electrical impulses ... like my perception of the present world in turmoil.  Everything is just electrical impulses in my brain.  
But wait! 
 Surely, my brain is not the true center of the Universe. I'm just a lowly pilgrim.  
So why, I humbly ask, is everybody making such a big fuss about my electrical impulses?

If you have an answer to this rhetorical question, I'd like to hear it. It will become another electrical impulse to be processed, then stored or forgotten, like the rest. Ho, Hum!  Of course, that's no excuse for you to be apathetic. I have mine. Go get your own.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Split-Rail Fence

PAIN is a fence -- 
     sometimes barbed-wire.
More often,
     a split-rail fence.
It can confine us,    

     if we succumb to it. 
We have choices, though:

Climb over it;  

      leap over it; 
          or pole-vault.  
Crawl under it.  

     Squeeze through it.  
Dismantle it. 
Balance on it.   
Find a gate; or build one.
Just ignore it, 

      run smack into it, 
      and get even more pain.
We always have choices.

Indecision is one of them.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

One More Night

When my ashes are entombed,
my soul will go into the Gloom
to feel the Burn
                    or see the Light.     

I asked the Keeper of the Gate,
"Do I really have to wait?"
 I want to learn.
                    She said, "Alright."

If you perceive a fuzzy glow,
then you will know that I went Home
but have returned
                    for one more night,
                    for one more night.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


At birth,
      we disembarked to a port-of-call
             full of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure.
We may view it as a furlough,
       as a life sentence of imprisonment in a body,
             or as an all-day pass at an amusement park.
When the Captain blows the whistle,
        we stop what we're doing, return to the ship
                     and sail on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Omniscience: a Paradox

Patience and Fortitude are the names of the two stone lions
that guard the entrance to the New York Public Library.
With the help of these guardians,
you can learn a lot -- but not everything.
For omniscience, you'll need a bigger library.

Somewhere in the Unified Field, there's a Cosmic Depository
that holds the answers to every question, including those that have yet to be asked.
Across that portal, two stone mallards squarely face one another.
With their help, there's no limit to how much you can learn.
Their names are Humility and Chutzpah.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life's a beach. Ain't it?

Life's a beach. Ain't it?

Adapted from a photo by Melissa Maynard Leger.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dreams of a Lovestruck Biologist

Years before John Denver wrote Annie's Song, I wrote a Biologist's Valentine Sonnet for my fiance'. She married me anyway ... and we spent a lifetime together. (There's a special place in heaven for that woman.) John Denver wasn't so fortunate -- Annie left him. Apparently, I'm a better lyricist than John. I recently set the poem to music and cleaned up the lyrics, a little. It's rated PG. I hope you like it. If you let Soundcloud continue, you'll hear some of my serious compositions:There Will Always Be Dragons to Slay (A Father's Lullaby); Ave Maria; and A Prayer for Guidance.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Vitruvian Man

Let's face it, nobody's perfect.
so, in response to Vitruvian Man by Leonardo DaVinci ...

...The Attention Deficit Compan humbly presents:  
Vitruvian Man With a Limp by Leonardo DaVinny

Friday, March 6, 2015


PRESS RELEASE --  March 6, 2015

To replace the sanctions imposed by the NCAA, the Syracuse University Athletic Department has proposed 10 alternatives, stating that it is unfair to punish current and future SU student-athletes for any "alleged" NCAA violations by their predecessors.   No admission of actual guilt is acknowledged.

(1)  Every Saturday during the off-season, Coach Boeheim shall be put under house arrest at Friendly's Family Restaurant,  forced to eat his favorite ice cream really fast, and wave his arms like an albatross until the brain-freeze subsides.  He will have do it again when he wins his 1000th game played only by eligible players.
(2)  Julie Boeheim, dressed in clothes bought off-the-rack, will be forced to watch the brain-freeze torture, while singing "Afternoon Delight" in Jim's ear, over and over.
(3)  All the "ineligible" players will be rounded up by Dog the Bounty Hunter and sent to Disneyland, where they will be sentenced to ride all day long through "It's a Small World" in a boat filled with a school chorus of tone-deaf, mouse-eared  children of Scientologists opposed to the measles vaccine.  The players will not get a bathroom break and they will miss the Parade!
(4)  Taco Bell will invoice any responsible ineligible players for the cost of all the tacos that were given away to fans after games in which they played.
(5)  The luxury SUVs provided to the "coaching staff"  by local auto dealerships will no longer be equipped with multi-disk CD players.
(6)  In lieu of Athletic Scholarships, all new recruits will have to settle for Academic Scholarships.
(7)  Bernie Fine will be declared ineligible for induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.  The same goes for John Thompson and Bobby Knight. Any prior induction shall be nullified.
(8) Some of the actual ingredients of Dome Dogs will be published in The Daily Orange.
(9) The 2016 SU Cheerleading Squad will not get new uniforms until ACC Conference play begins.
(10) In 2016, The SU Marching Band will not be allowed on "Jim Boeheim" Court to play "We Are The Champions".  They will only be allowed to play "Afternoon Delight" or "It's a Small World."