Monday, June 18, 2018

whole lotta love...

the summer solstice is almost upon us...we are in the twilight of spring...a season ripe with celebrating earth...and our mothers...our fathers...and often the memory thereof...of the hopeful new beginnings of June weddings...joyful endings with graduations...and the outdoor concert season...there I found myself praying to the weather gods two nights last week...praying for dry weather so I would not schvitz under a cheap rain poncho...and the weather gods listened...I will talk about the two concerts in reverse...Dead & Company at Citi Field on Friday...this my first time seeing this incarnation of the infamous Grateful Dead, a band that played in the background my life essentially...I vividly remember many fellow students in the spring of '79 at Binghamton who did see them...the concert where someone tripping on acid, most likely, fell over the rail and later died...the story becoming more discussed than the setlist...flash forward to last Friday, a gorgeous night in Queens...and I tried embracing the experience of songs that had no beginning, or end...some I knew, some I didn't...I enjoyed the first set...found the jams of the second too long, too indulgent...musical masturbation...yeah, maybe I'm not a Deadhead...last Wednesday...Forest Hills Stadium...Robert Plant...oh, Lord, this was the bucket list item I waited a long time for...I admire him as an artist...pushing the envelope...trying new partnerships...new musicians...for many it is a disappointment that he refuses to reunite with Page and Jones and head out for that longed for Led Zeppelin reunion...but I get it...and he does too...he heard the faithful and sprinkled in old Zeppelin tunes...so that the gray roots, receding hairlines, extra pounds and aching bones we all shared Wednesday night faded away...in the encore, with that first note of "Whole Lotta Love" I swore I saw a rock god...lustrous golden curls, vest and bell bottoms...wailing against time in its infinite cruelty...oh, Mr. Plant...ramble on any time you want...

Thursday, May 31, 2018

twit or tweet

I first thought of titling this blog entry, we will have grace...haha...but in this world of immediacy...we are in twitter hell...I really think that everyone should be forced to write a tweet...pen and paper...let it sit for an hour...then read it and wonder if it's still that little gem you think you've crafted...ah, Roseanne...the woman...the show...but here's a somewhat relevant aside about the need to "reboot" every show that met the dust, yet somehow, we yearn for once more...the world...our world changes faster than our own perceptions grasp...what was daring and dear to us over twenty years ago does not necessarily "fit" moving forward...Roseanne, the show, the writing...in its original incarnation was at times brilliant and revelatory...and at times, lazy...I watched some of the reboot...in terms of writing, it seemed more the latter...Roseanne, the woman...her show ended its first run in 1997...think back...there were no IPhones, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram...just the chance of winding up in a gossip column with overheard conversation...or a public misstep on a late night show...or for Roseanne, just a horrific clip of a mocking rendition of the National Anthem...ah...how would that play now in our incendiary culture?...but here's the basic truth...the first discussion show be about the tweet in and of itself...not to compare it to rogue and ruthless tweets, or on-air conversations of others...because if we can't agree on the ugliness of the first, we will never get to the table to discuss the second...until that time, I hope for the grace that an open heart can give...and for a serious pause before we all race off that ledge...

Saturday, May 5, 2018

whoa, ah, mercy, mercy me....

oh, things ain't what they used to be...how sad that Marvin Gaye's lyrics still stand so many decades later...but for me, when I hear that song, it is not the sadness and dismay of pollution rotting Mother Earth that I hear...it is the ocean waters of Brooklyn...it is the cry of vendors, "get your knishes here...ice cream here...coca cola"...it is the cry of mothers warning their kids not to wade too deep...it's the songs blasting from transistor radios...and I smell Coppertone, and sand and sea...I cannot tell you why...but it is good...it is more than good to go back to that time and space...where for a few brief hours the world and it's violence were buried in a sand castle...my worries thinking about that first day of middle school a few short weeks away swept out in the waters off Coney Island...and so, last week...turning up the A/C as we slipped from winter to summer in a spring minute...Marvin came on the radio...and I smiled...and turned it loud...and forgot about every news story...twitter feed...and a daunting and boring to do list...I cranked that song up and I was eleven again...burying my brother in the sand...giggling and freckling and not giving a shit about any of it...still tasting that chocolate fudgesicle in the corners of my lips...no worries about what it would do to my hips...there is magic in the music...ah, mercy, mercy me...sometimes memories are just what you used to be...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

whoever saves one life saves the world entire....

Yom HaShoah...in April, sandwiched between days of wet snow and trees aching to bloom...this day begs remembrance...the time of oratory from survivors at libraries, community centers, school and temples is dwindling...the survivors aging out of a world so violent it begs their testimony...and Jews...our assimilation complete in so many ways...and then, once again, we are targeted, scapegoated...often enabled by complacency and reluctance...sin of omission or commission?...the irony that our children now study  abroad in cities where so many of our people were rounded up like cattle...their memory crushed under the wheels of putrid train cars teeming with our brothers and sisters...it is so much easier to forget...the pain of history is often soul crushing...for me it is not a choice...an option...it is a necessary mitzvah...for people I did not know...relatives reduced to a Yahrzeit candle...to affirm that the Holocaust is not just a paragraph skimmed in a text book...to memorize for question #42 on some ridiculous standardized test...it is a chapter from the dark history of my people...of all people...for the sorrow...the guilt...for looking at the ugliness that is man...we remember...for what was lost...we remember...but mostly, as Anne Frank said so eloquently, "look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness"...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tee (time) for the Tillerson

I am exhausted...we are approaching 14 months of this presidency and I have lost track...who's on first?...the latest casualty in the White House revolving door...the dinosaur, T-Rex...and then we all smack ourselves lamenting the firing of an oil executive...to be replaced with Pompeo...not Ellen Pompeo, of "Grey's Anatomy" fame...no, Mike Pompeo, of CIA fame...if that is anything worthy of fame these days...I mean, I hear CIA...and I'm thinking of my pals on "Homeland"...Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes...and I'm getting wrinkles as my face contorts following the newest season...because "Homeland" always seems to be one step ahead of the curve...and if it is, and you don't watch it...well, don't watch it...it is all too real, and you'll never stop throwing up!...and I am jumping all over the place...but I am just following the lead from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue...because the hiring, the firing...the tweeting..this is really elevating distraction to an art form, isn't it?...something to think about jumping the snow piles for green beer this weekend...but someone please tell Pompeo not to unpack so quickly...he's gonna need more than the luck of the Irish!...

Monday, February 26, 2018

Paws, and reflect...

it would be the ultimate sin of a writer searching for greatness...to sprinkle cliches into a piece...but such is the sin of grief, and I sprinkle this freely...my cat, Donut, passed away yesterday...he was 15, would have been 16 this May...and he was adopted at the age of 5 months from a shelter...and so goes the expression we attribute to all rescue pets...did we rescue Donut, or did he rescue us?...I do remember vividly how painfully nervous he was when we brought him home...until I set the table for dinner that first night, and without hesitation, he hopped onto our fourth chair...so, this was the way it's going to be, I thought inside...much like a story Lauren wrote in elementary school...Donut was our "human cat"...as we poured over old photos last night, I had to smile...remembering the antics of kittenhood...and one episode in particular...an episode of "Friends" on our television...Joey and Chandler at the foosball table...Donut's emerald eyes zeroing in...and the high jump against the screen, paws attacking that foosball table in earnest...ironically, repeats of "Friends" late at night would be his joy, burrowing into his blanket on Lauren's bed...a strange affection for Matt LeBlanc's voice...which prompted us to call him at 11pm..."Donut, the Joey show is on"...he endured so many health issues...which has prompted me to attribute 99 lives to his story...and when it seemed his time on the 16th...he defied all odds and was home the next day...allowing us another week with our furry boy...part of me will always think he did this for us...struggled so hard to repay the love we showered on him all those years...I don't know how I feel about this "Rainbow Bridge"...but I'll tell you what I do know...when my Donut passed to a better place...and saw all those beautiful cats and dogs and other pets...he probably said, "no way"...and detoured through another door...where he would be welcomed by my Dad, who never got to meet him...my Dad would say, "Donut, that wasn't very nice of you to scratch your Grandma like that!"...and Donut would smile, and tilt his head and stare back...and Dad's frown would turn upwards...a warm smile...then he'd pet Donut's head and say..."We've got some catching up to do...but first...a tuna sandwich"...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Guns and roses...

World Trade Center, 1993...Oklahoma City, 1995...Columbine, 1999...9/11 2001...Sandy Hook, 2012...and last week, Parkland...Valentine's Day...Ash Wednesday...literally, ashes to ashes...this blog is not a line in the sand...that has been drawn most eloquently by hollow-eyed teenagers bloodily thrust into adulthood in Florida last week...this blog is more a reflection and genuine pause in despair...how does this country overcome our collective PTSD inflicted by tragedy after tragedy?...because all responses...the ones I carry deep in my heart on one side...and the ones I often cannot fathom on the other...are both generated by a deep sense of fear and rage and hopelessness...for every technological advance since that first WTC attack, we have regressed as a people...technological advances have slowly but surely erased genuine human interaction...so, we use generalized terms...our mission du jour is to eradicate bullying...you do realize as each of you reads this...perhaps from my Facebook post...that for all of you with children in school, or who have graduated out...while some of you may have witnessed the cruelty of bullying in the new social media age...your children, or relatives...some of you have also been parents to the bully...it's statistics...I've watched school districts pat themselves on the back for their bullying programs and assemblies...yet, I know how they mishandled and backed off from putting teeth into platitudes for years...we do not really appreciate, nor do we want to, the deteriorating mental health of our youth...we do not understand the depth of hurt to be hung out to dry on social media platforms...we can't if we did not grow up with it...if we are not part of generation "thunder thumb"...but we do despair of it...so how do we move forward?....disarming the dangerous is a no-brainer...at least in my brain...I don't want to take away your gun...but current laws and restrictions are not working and it's time for Washington to roll up it's shirt sleeves and work quickly...and then...and then...Parkland...we really need to look how this young man got so far-gone...how each arm of the adult community failed him...this is painful...this is not easy...it's time to put the phones down a little...to realize that the most perfect rose has thorns...and get to work...