Archive for December, 2015

What’s a year anyway?

December 31, 2015

What’s in a year anyway?

a revolution to some better day?

A year by any other name would smell as sweet

as any minute on this NewYear street.

Earth zips ’round the sun one more time;

every minute some fool commits a crime.

This planet never gets to the center of things;

it’s all bound up in orbital strings.

Mother earth spins, burning

as Father sky is yearning.

Buds come, flowers grow,

blooms die, seeds go

to the ground:                                          0

World goes round.

What else is new?

And what will we do

when east meets west

and worst trumps best?

So what’s in a year anyway?

A week, a month, a moment, a day?

A year by any other name would smell as sweet

as any minute on this NewYear street.

Alas! What light from yonder window breaks?

It is the east; the world awaits.

Another year, another fear!

An older man sheds a younger tear.

Cry, thou beloved world!

Fly, here’s another year unfurled;

mayhem runs rampant in the streets:

while terror o’ertakes,  reason retreats!

Is there any hope for all this mess?

Could be, would be my guess.

But we might as well,

you know–what the hell–

try and catch the wind,

lest the best gets crucified again.

Rise, rise above it all!

Glass half-Full

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Bon Voyage for Joey and Maria

December 24, 2015

Joey was really in love with Maria, so it didn’t matter so much to him that she was carrying someone else’s baby. He intended to marry her anyway and raise the child as his own. Blinded by love, he was ready to do anything to protect her. Her face was always in his mind, in his dreams. Whenever they were together, he felt himself to be a true man. Whenever they were apart, he felt himself even more, a man. That meant something–something very precious, very strong, and very. . . ancient, as if they had been together since the dawn of time. In spite of all the trouble and displacement of their immediate circumstances, he felt more a man now than ever before in his life.

What is a man anyway? Someone who takes responsibilities for his own action.

But to take responsibility for someone else’s carelessness? That’s crazy, especially if it requires a lifelong commitment to some other man’s kid.

It wasn’t like he could explain why he was willing to do anything for her. She had told him the whole terrible truth about what had happened–how she had gotten pregnant unexpectedly after making some poor choices.  He had known her far longer than the guy who had inflicted this condition on her.

But it was more than a condition that had taken hold of Maria. It was a child.

Nothing about that loser mattered now anyway. It was all water under the bridge.

They had left Izmir two days ago. Now, Joey and Maria were stepping onto an overcrowded boat to depart Lesbos. Two sketchy-looking characters were up on the deck, acting like they owned the place, rudely waving their herd of misfits through while checking each one’s ticket to make sure they had paid. No freeloaders. The two goons had already turned several off the boat, provoking loud protests from those rejected travelers–protests that were shouted loudly to no avail.

Joey felt secure in one thing; he had paid dearly for their two tickets. It had cost him more than half of everything he had managed to bring with them.

As the goon waved him and Maria through, he felt great relief.

He looked at Maria’s face. She was still smiling. It had been days since he had seen her smile. Suddenly, everything was worth the trouble and the pain of whatever the hell they were getting into now, whatever new phase. As they stumbled, then walked, around the stern, and to the other side of the boat. There was an open space at the side. He gently placed his had on her back, just above her perfect derriere, and urged her with a tender guidance to rest for a moment at the railing. This was, after all, a very special moment–one they had talked about for weeks. Now they were here at last, on the boat, bound for Athens.

He looked out seaward, across the bright-on-dark horizon, at the deep blue sea. Soon they would be skimming o’er the waves. Some time tomorrow, they would arrive in Athens and find the place that Gabe had told him about. If they could get there, surely their troubles would be over, at least for awhile.

After surveying that long-expected horizon for a few moments, he looked again at Maria’s face. The smile had morphed into what seemed a painful expression. But there was still a smile, somehow, beneath the pain. That’s what he loved about her. Now he couldn’t resist the urge, and there was no need to anyway. He bent down and laid a a long, wet kiss on her lips; she responded in a way that made him long for a place of their own. But this intimacy could only go on for so long here in this place, on this boat amongst all these straggly people, and then. . .

Then he looked out to the Aegean again, and his mind began to, in spite of itself, jump to the next phase–whatever that might be. He was hoping there would be room for them at the inn.

Smoke

The Ambiguous Shirking Syndrome

December 20, 2015

It started with like.

“I was like, watching this show, and this guy was trying to, like, jump on a trampoline, but it wasn’t a trampoline; it was, like, a stack of foam rubber cushions with whipped cream all over it and there were these other people standing around trying to, like, keeping him from falling, to keep him from. . .”

In the above example, we see that the incredible versatility of the the like filler-phoneme phenomenon has rendered that little word weary and wornout from overuse, and so a linguatic trainer was sent  in to give, like, a break; they sent in two second-stringers to replace him. Like was, like, the only filler word ever, who it took two other words to replace him–he was that famous–and so the trainer sent in you know. . .

“and these other people standing around are trying to, you know, trying to keep him from falling off the stack of foam rubber pads. They were supposed to keep his feet from touching the ground because if his feet touched the ground then he would be, you know, eliminated and they would vote him off the show or, you know, something like that. It was so funny–how he was trying to keep his feet up on the pads so his feet wouldn’t touch the ground. But some of the people that were supposed to help him started licking the whipped cream off of him just for, you know, a joke or something and so finally while this one weird guy was like getting into the whipped cream thing and he wasn’t paying attention and so the guy’s feet touched the ground and the facilitator blew the whistle and everything stopped and all  the people were laughing except for him because he was, you know, out of the game and he could never come back. It was sad in a way but it was, you know. . .”

Now the meteoric rise of another Celebrity utteral excloratory filler has, within our lifetime, added yet another star-quality persona to the filler-phoneme phenom:

“. . .kinda funny. It was sad in a way, but it was kinda funny.”

This slangified stripped-down contraction of the classic “kind of”  adjectivo-preppisitionative filler has really taken over. I mean, it went viral a couple years ago, gettin’ a thousand hits a minute because its like, you know, well who wants to go to all that trouble and say “kind of” when you can just blurt out kinda whatever you’re feeling at the time or whatever floats your boat, or maybe you can’t think of the right word because, well, you know. . .

whatever. That’s another one: whatever.  Absolute epitome of the ambiguous shirking syndrome. Perfect example of an ASS.

But I digress. . . You can call it whatever you want. Fuhgedaboudit. I mean, it’s all over the map with this stuff. But it IS, you know, a class thing. I mean . . . you won’t hear the elite saying it. No way Hozay. Their philler-phoneme of choice is:

sort of

This euphemistic philler-phoneme is a highly favored linguatic device among journalists and talking heads who don’t have all their ducks in row, which is to say, they, sort of don’t have all their facts.  Or else maybe they just don’t want to appear to, sort of make value judgements that aren’t politically correct or something like that. An example from a recent talking heads discussion could be:

“These extremists were posting their gruesome executions online and the videos would immediately go viral, and people didn’t know what to make of it because it was, like, unprecedented.  I  mean, nothing like this has ever happened before. People in the West were getting sort of freaked about it.”

They might even be worse than them fundamentalist right-to-lifers who are so OCD about preventing infanticide. Or maybe they’re like them wild-eyed IRA guys in Belfast back to their old tricks, or the new IRA guys who want to value of their IRAs and 401-Ks.

Actually, history is full of this kind of thing. It’s called the depravity of Man. The difference just now is that this video-promoted beheading practice–in all it’s full-blown barbarism–has gone viral online. And this development is . . . sort of, a bad sign of what may be coming. There could be, like, trouble or something.

Some of the talking heads were recently talking about this viral video beheading phenomenon, and the fatal terrorist shootups in Paris and San Bernadino, and wherever else this type of jihadic atrocity is about to happen. The journalists were trying to decide among themselves what the correct nomenclature would be, whether the shooters and head-choppers should be called terrorists, or political extremists or jihdists or. . .and these people all claim to be . . . sort of, Islamic, but that doesn’t, of course, make them Islamic terrorists. So you can see what the problem is here.

What to call them.  And our dedicated, professional infomatic journalistic commentators are addressing the problem. For more about this, tune into News at 11.

 In signing off from this edition of the Linguatic Report, I’ll leave you with our Definition of the Week. This week’s word is:

um

Um is a filler-phoneme word that sharpens and clarifies the classically hesitant, filler adverb, uh, which has for many decades been in common use. Found most frequently among academics and well-informed opinionators such as Noam Chomsky or Barak Obama, this very concise, procrastinative filler excloratory is solidly packed with a well-understood but unspoken message, the content of which is:

I’m not finished with my very weighty proclamation yet, so you other members of the panel and you students and so forth who are hanging on my every word please don’t interrupt me until I’m done speaking this important next word, which is, um. . . this never should have been what is has become.

Be that as it may, and that said. . .  that’s the history of the world for you. Never should have been what is has become. Nevertheless there it is . . . whatever you call it. If it was a snake, the damn would have bit you already. Ask Churchill or Eisenhower about it.

But they’re not answering the phone.

Smoke

A Question of Forsythia

December 19, 2015

The Question?

(by inspiration of William Blake’s poem Tyger Tyger, Joyce Kilmer’s poem Trees,  and also

by instigation:  Tom Ashbrook’s On Point radio show December 17 2015)

Forsythia

Flower, oh flower, blooming bright

right now, in December– can this be right?

What dreadful global warming scenario

bringeth forth thy blooming forsythia show?

Seeing thou art burst forth in such unseasonable way,

does this portend some looming climate change fray?

Tell me, as thou doest spring forth in this untimely glee,

did we who spew the carbon sprout thee?

Forsythia’s answer:

I think that I shall never see

a human so clueless and careless as thee.

The world is fouled by fools like you,

but only God can explain what the hell you do.

Glass Chimera

Incentives for Development instead of Dependency

December 13, 2015

I’ve been working for the last six years as a maintenance man in an apartment complex that houses 92 households.

You know as well as I do that it is not easy to get up and go to a job five days out of every week that goes by, and to do this week after week, month after month, year after year.

Now for an old guy like me, age 64, while approaching that precipice called “retirement” and considering how/when such an arrangement may take shape, it has been difficult lately.

I’ve been struggling with a few issues, both public and private, pertaining to this job that has occupied 40 hours of my time every week for the last six years.

The apartment complex in which I maintain all this stuff–toilets, faucets, sinks, drains, light fixtures, electrical outlets, water heaters, doors, windows, cabinets, floors, stairways, interiors, exteriors, dumpsters, trash, smoke-filled rooms. . .this apartment community is a public housing arrangement in which rents are subsidized, according to need and income, through funds that have been provided through taxpayer money.

I confess that one problem I have had lately comes from wondering why I have to do all this work, when many tenants don’t seem to have much to occupy their time. I mean, everybody has a TV and that’s okay.

I don’t really want to elude my responsibilities as an employed person. But I do believe that if there is, among the hundred+ residents here, a good person who is willing to take on some responsibility to do some necessary work. . .that person should be allowed to contribute some of their time and effort toward making the community facilities cleaner and more operative.

But I cannot expect this type of help from tenants.

I am, you know, the employee, while they are the tenants. I am the worker; they are the recipients of my services.

And I have, during previous periods of my life, benefited from some college-level training in education. Accordingly, I would like to take opportunities now and then to teach others, especially children, to do for themselves instead of me the Maintenance guy doing all of it.

A year or two ago, a good thing happened in this complex where I work. A helpful tenant who lives here took it upon himself to help me in cleaning one of our two laundry rooms. I was pleased to have his participation, especially since I have a steady stream of vacancies to deal with–vacancies that require painting, cleaning and repairs. There should be more people in the world who are like this good citizen who has volunteered to help make the community in which he lives, in which I work, a better place.

Nevertheless, I was informed that it was not his place to do so. Because he is, after all, the tenant, while I am the employee.

In other instances during my six years, tenants have been compelled to uproot plants–decorative and vegetable– that they had planted in the mulched sterile areas around the buildings. Because it was against the rules. Management is supposed to do all that, and make those decisions, etc. And this place is subsidized by the USDA. The A stands for Agriculture. Fed-approved agriculture of course, not tenant-planted agriculture.

I told a friend of mine recently that if I had a million bucks I’d buy the whole dam place and then let the tenants have their own community garden instead of these useless ornamental shrubs and mulch, and I’d turn my maintenance job over to a tenant committee where they could divvy out the work as it arises, and be compensated accordingly with rent credit or benefits or cash.

Well, my struggle with these issues was punctuated this Sunday morning with some other inputs about this type of situation.

I was listening in on Listening In, which is an online audio program that is provided weekly by World Magazine, of which I am a subscriber.

  http://www.worldmag.com/player.php?podcast/7467

In this recorded discussion, I heard host Warren Smith interviewing guest Jennifer Marshall, who represents the Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity of the Heritage Foundation. They were conducting a fresh discussion about a tired old topic, welfare reform.

Jennifer was explaining the outcome of a recent forum at Heritage, the purpose of which was to help people escape poverty.

She mentioned that the major welfare reform of 1996 had been successful in reducing welfare loads and reducing child poverty. But only one program was dealt with. She further stated what needs to happen is reform of–not just cash welfare program– but food stamps, public housing and other programs. And then she made this statement:

“The incentives right now are structured toward dependence; let’s get them structured toward moving people back to independence, back to flourishing in their communities.”

And I thought, she may have a good point there. But I don’t know what I could do about it.

Life goes on.

In other news, its a beautiful, sunny day here in the Blue Ridge.

Have a nice day, and a satisfyingly productive week.

Glass half-Full

We Boomers wil have a Choice to make.

December 12, 2015

Well, the boys came marching home from Germany and France,

and the bomb had made a blast in Hiroshima,

We were driving brand new cars;

we were waving stars and bars,

and everywhere was another factory.

Back in in 1953, cruising with Dwight E,

Elvis sang the white-boy blues,

McCarthy looking under every bush.

In the home of the brave and the free, rolling on prosperity

and all the kids were going off to school.

Ten years down the road. . .

another dream had come and gone

and the power of one gun had made itself known. Then,

back in 1964, big Lyndon opened the door

for civil rights, and a bloody Asian war:

Young men on pork chop hill; young women on the pill;

at home they said don’t kill, get a psychedelic

thrill.

But the dreams of a Woodstock nation

were just an imagination

when the boys came trudging home in ’73.

And it’s hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and it’s hi hi hey!, seeking light in the night of day,

but the dreams of a Woodstock nation

were just an imagination

when the boys came trudging home in ’73.

Well, it just don’t pay to sob.

Guess I’ll get myself a job

selling leisure suits or maybe real estate.

I’m not moving very fast,

just waiting in line for gas

and Johnny Carson gives me all my news.

Back in 1976, overcoming dirty tricks,

some were moving back to the sticks.

Some were looking for a fix.

Ayatollahs on the rise,

sulfur dioxide in the skies,

and the System makes the man that’s got his own.

They say an elephant don’t forget.

Let’s play another set.

There’s always another ghost on PacMan’s trail.

Don’t let this boom go stale.

Let’s find an airline for sale!

or pop another tape in the VCR.

Back in 1989, we’re living on borrowed time,

getting lost in subtle sin

eating oat bran at the gym.

But there’s an empty place inside,

and I was wondering why

thèse vanities don’t suit.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

And its hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and its hi hi hey, seeking light in the night of day.

Yeah, there’s an empty place inside

and I was wondering why

thèse vanities don’t suit.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

Put on your Sarajevo, Mogadishu, Kalashnikov and Columbine

shoes,

for the way is treacherous with ruts and rocks.

Yeah, we figured our digits out

before that Y2K could spoil our rout,

but that 9/11 call was in the cards.

Did you consider the question of heaven

before the wreck of ’97?

Will you hear the trumpet call from the Ancient

of Days?

Our way is littered with freaks and fads,

from Baghdad through our mouse pads

as the reaper swings his steely scythe across

our wicked ways.

And its hey hey! ho–is there anybody home?

and its hi hi hey, seeking light in the night of day.

Its a dangerous world outside

and I was wondering why;

this world don’t give a hoot.

I’m going back to the Gospel truth.

Listen to it:

Boomer’s Choice © ℗ Carey Rowland 2004

Music and Books

A King’s prayer

December 11, 2015

Oh God, how my adversaries have increased!

Many are rising up against me.

Many are saying of my soul, “there is no deliverance for him in God.”

I’m just thinking about this, and praying.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from his holy mountain.

I’m just thinking about this, and praying.

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

I will not be afraid, even if ten thousands of people have set themselves all around me.

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!

For you have slapped all my enemies in the face. You strike the wicked people.

I know this: salvation comes from you, Lord.

Your blessing be upon your people!.

Man isn’t fixing this.

December 5, 2015

Man isn’t fixing this either.

The notion that human beings can fix everything is the oldest fallacy in the world.

Now somebody please tell Uncle Bernie and and aunt Hillary, along with all the other thousands of dhimmi Demo talking heads with their hot air gun-control prescriptions.

And don’t knock me for praying about it.

From the tower of Babel to the hanging gardens of Babyl, all the way through this present haranguing buzz-babble of ubiquitous blusterers, and even going back through multi-generational empires piled upon historical detritus as high as the sky on Ozymandian hubris, and even up to our present era, etcetera etcetera, including but not limited to the decline of Ozzy & Harriet, the historical significance of which is accentuated by the onslaught of Ozzy Ozburn biting heads off bats out of hell, up to and including the misdeeds of previous generations, such as the rebellious Nazi rabble who tried to take over in 1923–with their beer hall putsch– all the way through the rubble of post-Hitler Berlin, then the uncovered abuses of Birkenau, Dresden overkill, and as earlier reprobates would demonstrate– Antiochus, Nero, Torqamada, Ted Bundy, Richard Speck, Jeffrey Dahmer, Diem, Lee Oswald, Jack Ruby, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Moham Atta,  including previous perpetrators who administered the long archipelago of Stalinist gulags– all this malingering madness strung out upon the ages of Man like a profusion of Abu Ghraib grab bags, or an indictment in a Chicago murder trial– you can count em on both hands in a New York minute, while even now more roundtheclok news erupts from San Bernadino, reporting on those unforeseen blind-sided developmental shortfalls that could not–in fact never could have–anticipated the true motives, intent, and depraved behavior of an American-born homo jihadicus and his wife gone ballistic.

This bloody business will cease when Birnam Wood doth move against Dunsinane, and Democrats take control of Guns in the game.

Them that want to fix this game–they know not how to aim.

Ask Maximilien Robespierre about how to fix the human problem. Or if you can’t get a hold him, find the Das Kapital guy and get his take on it.

After Monsieur Marx thought people could fix the capitalist world by inciting revolution, through which the workers of the world could violently take control of agriculture, industry, government and pretty much every other damned thing–after that,  things did not work out as planned. Stalin’s manipulations of the emerging Soviet system degenerated by purge and dirge irretrievably and almost undetectably into the imprisoned depravity of human gaggery and thus gulagery.

And if that was not bad enough, the hole damn slippery slope desecration was exacerbated–yea, I say unto thee even enabled– by the ascendancy of say-it-aint-so Joe’s dachau-developing doppelganger aka the little Austrian corporal with the ratty moustache who was running around giving orders like he owns the place.

Whatever became of all those great German and Russian minds–those baton-wielding maestros, beautiful ballerinas–Goethe, Schiller, Tolstoy, Tchaikovsky et al?

Thrown under the bus, trampled under the tank.

Along came the Communists and the Nazis, marching around giving orders like they own the place.

Such is the arc of history.

Now it’s the Jihadis and the Climate-bangers. Both of them wanting to take control of everything that happens. Micromanage the world.

The arc of history–21st century version.

And they make fun of us religious for wanting to build an Ark?

The Climate-bangers said, in Kyoto and Copenhagen, in Lima and Paris, there’ll be melting icecaps, rising tides, floods in low places, in a Global Warming apocalypse.

An Ark to float over the arc of history–that’s what I’m looking for. Or if not an Ark, a train.

In spite of all our peoples’ best intentions, things fall apart, and rarely work out as planned. Then before you know what’s coming down, unforeseen demagogix he come along, summoning up the latent will to power so he can trump all the incompetence and failures and fallacies of the inconstant human heart-soul-mind with his bullishitting hype, convincing everybody that under his direction they can fix everything that’s going wrong. By deceitful demagoguery he takes control, a la Mussolini, Mao, or Mengele, or even that misguided misfit Joe McCarthy,  for that matter.

And that includes you Bernie. You’re just as deluded as the Donald, but coming from the other extreme.

Bernie the yin, Donald the yang.

Man will not be fixing this, nor woman. You got that Hillary?

Checks and balances–if we can keep them– of a tri-part government might help a little.

Don’t knock me for praying about this. There’s a star in the night sky and I’m setting my sights on it.

Glass half-Full