Tears for Bill Evans: An Ode

February 27, 2017

I don’t know why it is
The music so much like a kiss
Close your eyes and enter bliss
Surrendering all to enter this
Wonderful realm of warm caresses
Muted color, how it dances
Hoping it can never end
But then.

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Tongue In Cheek Optimism

February 18, 2017

I am optimistic that we are in for a very interesting next four years.
I am optimistic that even though one political party may at the present control/influence all three branches of government at least one will attempt to hold in check any of the others if they tilt just a little too far towards batshit crazy.
I am optimistic that if I am wrong about number two then we should all get our hand baskets ready and don our best flame-retardant casual wear.
I am optimistic that eventually, we will all have at least one friend who will have the loving courage to point out that our own current course of action might better be rethought and remain the friend that helps to pick up the pieces after we ignore their advice.
I am optimistic that people with brains and the capacity to use them for more than their own advancement and comfort will one day come to the fore. At least before it is too late.
I am equally optimistic that I may never live to see that day but for those who do, you enjoy your better life.
I am optimistic that one day we will all be able to laugh at our shortcomings, learn from them and change ourselves for the better.
I am guardedly optimistic that we can eradicate ignorance without resorting to killing every last stupid person on the earth. Besides, where would we end up burying them all?
This knave will now curb thine own tongue but stopping my fingers from pounding letters/words from my keyboard is another matter indeed.

Gee, I Didn’t Know That

February 17, 2017

While preparing a new post a little while ago I came to the point where I had to decide which of two words would I wanted to use to make my point. So, like any person who would want their readers to see ideas expressed as succinctly as possible I looked it up. Well, I actually “googled it”, which in this digital age produces the same result.

Much to my surprise, there was no difference, degree of sameness or better of the two words to use. I had long thought one of these two words would be the correct one in the sense that I wanted to use it. Lo and behold, one of those two words in my vocabulary does not even exist in the English language.

Of the two words, “input” and “imput”, imput is not a word at all. The Google search of the two words together led me to the opinion that the “m and p” together are easier to say than “n and p”, something about “m and p” being similarly made sounds by both lips. There is a word for that but if you are interested enough I think you can take the time to look it up yourself. You can impute, you can impugn, you can be impure, but you can not imput, you can only input.

I guess you can teach an old dog new syntax.

The Things I Miss the Most

February 14, 2017

My birthday follows on the heels of Valentine’s Day. This year, deemed to be an exceptionally more significant anniversary, my 70th, by one sister, it was suggested that instead of the usual sibling house gathering with pizza, wings and a homemade cake of choice we should all gather at a local restaurant for the festivities. The cake would still be homemade, carrot with cream cheese frosting, thank you very much. Pie, almost any type except pumpkin, would be equally acceptable, but cake goes farther even though I am unaware at this point in time just who will show up, it will probably be just the usual suspects. Seeing that the suggested restaurant happens to serve a particularly excellent type of French Fries, I am sure I can build a meal around that that I will enjoy, so I acquiesced, maybe a little too quickly. I am hoping no one noticed. Also, no attendees will be expecting to do the dishes. Always a plus.
Presents are something that both Valentine’s Day and birthdays have in common even though one’s selection maybe a little more heartfelt than the others. Not being, at least in my viewpoint, a particularly close family it is always a struggle to find a meaningful gift for any occasion. I always have to ask another of my siblings just what the remainder of them could possibly want and even they come up wanting.
When in doubt go to the source is always good advice. So when I was asked what I would like for my birthday, I had to ponder for a moment. There are many items on my Amazon Wish List that I would like but could live without and that is why they are on a wish list. At times such as these, my wants tend more to the intrinsic and very few stores do indeed stock such items.
This being, as I have mentioned before, a significant anniversary and with the U.S. Actuarial Tables in mind, I told her, “I would like to fall in love one last time.”

Not an unreasonable wish, but one none the less I will be making when blowing out a multitude of candles.

There are very few things in life that are so conclusively true. We invariably fall back on death and taxes.
Every politician seems to be working on the taxes bit, either trying their best to make them as little as possible or actually raising them enough to pay for the things that benefit society instead of putting it all on the National Debt Credit Card.
There is probably a small number of scientists and doctors, mad or not, working on the aging thing, but I imagine that by the time they come up with anything remotely promising I will have aged beyond the point of wanting to remain in the physical condition that I will then be. Now if they can also reverse the aging process, that may be something I could consider. Sort of like a video game do-over.
So everything else seems to be destined to fall into the category of opinion. Granted there are some areas of knowledge that have a such a preponderance factual research to back them up that you could almost quite safely say that these were truths/facts and move them out of the realm of opinion. But then there is always someone who believes that you can’t say with 100% assurance that this is the case. As a matter of fact, they can usually offer an alternative idea which is nothing more than fanciful speculation. In other words, their opinion. This is the point where were it not for the law and the punishment for breaking these laws you would like to introduce said person to one of the truly inevitable things in life. And baby, it ain’t taxes.
And that is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Exercise

February 8, 2017

I hear that if you do not keep moving you’re either going to be dead or dead already. I have enjoyed exercise in the past when I was trying to get healthy after a couple decades of smoking and the not too occasional battle with the demon rum. Well, not exactly rum but if you drink enough alcohol based drinks, even if it is only beer, for an overly extended amount of time your body does get used to it and your brain does also and eventually it will develop into a lifestyle problem. I did feel better, after a time, but usually after the exercise was over. Oh yes, and of course by eliminating the bad habits.

I still like to keep moving even though my aging body is curtailing many of the activities that I used to love to do. If I run eventually my knees wish that I had stuck to walking. If I cycle my neck wishes that I had stuck to walking. With the advent of the Winter season, I still like to cross-country ski which, depending on how much snow piled up overnight, is much like walking except that you have a long pair of thin boards attached to your feet and long poles attached to your hands. Your heart and breathing rates are easily accelerated in a short time but usually not to the point of any debilitating pain and you actually become used to it. Until you fall down.

Now, like many, I have put on a few pounds since my 1965 high school graduation. Coupled with slightly atrophied musculature and the fact that I am exercising just below the threshold of being out of breath and the aforementioned cross-country ski equipment, my first action, after berating myself for being so stupid to have put myself in this situation in the first place, is to think just how difficult, not to mention slightly exhausting, it is going to be to try and right myself.

After, what seems to be an interminable amount of time and effort I am finally rid of the equipment and it is far easier to get to the standing position. I am lucky my cross-country skiing area is the now snow-covered corn fields across the street from where I live. Not feeling like donning all the equip again to make it back to my home, I make the short trek on foot in the not too deep snow. It takes a long time for my body to recover to its sitting at my computer norms.
This mishap has not soured me on further winter exercises or even eliminating the cross-country skiing altogether just awakened me a little to the limitations that aging puts on myself and my activities and learning to put myself in these tenuous situations less often by just planning a little better.

Opine Revisited

February 7, 2017

There are probably, and I say probably because I just do not care to think that long and hard so early in the morning, many things that I take for granted. Just what and why these things are is a mystery, at the moment, to me. It could be nature, it could nurture and of course, it could be something totally different of which I am, at the moment, ignorant. I am, of course, assuming(ass, u, me, we all know this definition)everyone knows the difference between ignorant and stupid. If not educate yourself and look it up, I am not a teacher and this is what I do when I try to use words that I think I know what they mean and upon investigation find out that either I was correct, sort of correct or totally off base. Granted that I usually use the Internet to find my answers, I have to be equally vigilant that what I find is fact or fiction. As I do often, I am wandering further astray from my original thought. Opinion.
Now and again I question my own just for the reason that, if I stop and ponder it a bit I begin to wonder just where it came from and upon what foundations is it built. When in doubt turn to someone whose judgment and/or opinion, and there is a difference between the two, again look it up, on a specific topic you trust. At the moment I can think of only one living person, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
If you have ever listened to, on radio or podcast, or watched on television, or had the opportunity to see him in person I can only imagine that noone could argue that Mr. Tyson does not, in the true sense of the word, have a unique cosmic view.
In his most recent National Geographic Channel Start Talk show he summarized, quite elegantly, I believe, the various types of opinion. While you may not agree with most of the views of his main guest, Bill Maher, it is well worth wading through, or just fast forward, just for the conclusion of the show. If it does not give you pause for thought then, well, we both may be lost.
At least that is my opinion.

Yup. Everybody has one. No not the only hole in our body that can not be seen in a bathroom vanity mirror, at least not unless you are still young and supple and very inventive. Opinions.

Now, where they come from is another matter. I imagine that you have spent much of your formative years being bombarded by the opinions of parents, relatives, school mates and even, maybe, a street ranting crazy person occasionally. All of those people, in turn, did much the same as you growing up. And now that you are old/experienced enough, it is time to make up your own mind about things. Beware, lest there be dragons.

It can not be a factually proven that anyone takes the time to examine where all or any of their opinions have come from or whether or not there exists any truth/fact basis for these opinions. Some of them are so ingrained in our psyches that we actually have a physical gut feeling whenever a current thought, word or deed brings such opinions to the fore. Usually, it is very difficult, but not impossible, to stop this runaway train of thought. The scar tissue on your tongue, if you have any, is proof of this but tempers more often than not win out.

Changing one’s opinion, because of new facts is quite difficult, frowned upon and considered a sign of untrustworthiness  in political circles, unless, of course self serving expediency dictates. The electorate seems to have short attention spans but Twitter, Twitter never ever seems to forget or forgive.

So, the next time you casually utter, in public, or write for posting on the Internet, something that piques someone else’s sensibilities you may be in for an unexpected debate, a Trumpesque tweet reply or just the sound of teeth biting tongue. Everyone has one and they are hardly ever the same and if you think you are the smartest person in the room, there are probably just as many others who think the same thing.

I know I can usually only speak for myself when it comes to having a short memory. I tend to blame it on either the fact that I most probably am not paying that close attention to what may be going on around me or that I may be entering the realm of some kind of age-related memory disorder. Of course, those two reasons may also be connected but as of yet I have not been tested and my primary care physician insists that I do not really want to know. That decision is still solely left up to me and I have not yet figured out what I want to do. This in itself may be related to the two issues above. There seems to be a Catch-22 issue involved.
I am also not much in the public eye and have very few close friends so the number of avenues able to be used to remind me of past positions is limited. Even with the very few close friends and family members, I think that people are very reluctant to remind us unless there is a point to be made or an advantage to be gained. In either case, most just do not want to get involved.
Politicians on the other hand always seem to glom onto the limelight of the 24-hour news cycle cameras for both of the above reasons. Do they forget that what is recorded in this technological day and age is digital, broadcast endlessly and shared on social media to the point of exhaustion? And I might add much more easily retrievable than just from someone else’s recollections.
So when someone steps before a camera and/or microphone to feign disgust at the latest outrage being perpetrated, it is somewhat, if not totally scurrilous, that not too long ago you just might have been standing before these same cameras doing just the same thing.
Sir, you have a lot of balls and a much worse memory than my own. And we have it all recorded in digital memory.