Monday, April 25, 2016

MSP to LAS

With Jerry and Tom, heading back to Las Vegas, my escape from reality place...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

at the thai restaurant tonight

For once, a fortune cookie connected with the thoughts that have been noodling through my brain --

"Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself."

It's coming and I'll tell you about it when it happens, but I needed to hear that, even if it just comes for a fortune-cookie factory...

Friday, April 22, 2016

the treasury does its history lesson

The U.S. Treasury this week announced that it was making a change, starting in 2020, to the 20-dollar bill.  For many years, the image of Andrew Jackson, President of the U.S. from 1829 to 1837, has appeared on the bill.  He is to be replaced by Harriet Tubman, former slave and active abolitionist  hero from before and during the U.S. Civil War.

Some (e.g., Trump) would call this "political correctness", but the irony is outstanding.  Here is an African-American woman who risked her life many times to help slaves get to freedom (the "Underground Railroad")  taking the place of a man who actually owned slaves.

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase "presidents that owned slaves" and found the list.  There were twelve U.S. Presidents that owned slaves.  George Washington ("the Father of Our Country") owned more than 300 slaves and did not free them during his lifetime.

Amazing.  And this was only a couple hundred years ago.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

a local prince who happened to love purple

It may have been a big story today across the country and across the world, but here in the Twin Cities it was the number one conversation of shock and grief.  Prince, local music icon going back to his prime in the 1980s, died suddenly this morning at age 57.  He was the guy who wanted to "party like it's 1999" when 1999 was far off in the future.  He put Minneapolis and the "Minneapolis Sound" on the musical map and kept Minneapolis as his base of operations and his life.

Appropriately, it's been raining here all day today, but the rain isn't purple.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

one way to end a career

It's not often that I have one of those dreams that go on and on for what seems like hours and is in reality probably just a few minutes, and it's not often that I remember a whole lot of detail about my dreams... But I had one of those on-and-on ones last night, and I remember bits and pieces of it...

It's one segment of the dream that I recall vividly.

In it, I was a concert pianist, playing before a large audience.  The piece I was playing:  Piano Concerto No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saens, one of Saint-Saens' most popular works.

If you happen to know that particular Piano Concerto, you know that it has three movements:  an andante, an allegro, and a presto.

So there I am, playing the piano beautifully (obviously a dream), the audience is getting into it, and then I reach the end of the second movement... and stop.  I stand up to take my bows.

Now this was no run-of-the-mill audience.  They knew their Saint-Saens, and they knew that this beautiful piano concerto had three movements and that the third movement was the wild climax and that I had skipped it.

So there I stood like a fool, alone on the stage.  There was a smattering of polite clapping -- obviously not the Saint-Saens fans.

Most of the rest of the dream was about how I had destroyed my concert-pianist career by skipping that movement.  I don't think I cared very much.

I woke up this morning, got out my vinyl recording of the 2nd Piano Concerto (Earl Wild on the piano), and listened to the whole thing.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

when 15 april isn't 15 april

Sometimes, deadlines control...

April 15th -- generally the date when tax returns are due -- has been a controlling deadline for me for the past 38 years, and, while my involvement is much less now than it used to be, this past week was crazy busy with last-minute client stuff...

April 18th (tomorrow) -- is this year's tax deadline because of Emancipation Day in Washington, DC, which means that since April 15th fell on a Friday, it coincides with the legal holiday in DC, which somehow means that it couldn't be the IRS deadline.  Don't ask me to explain that, I'm done with the topic.

Anyway, I'm done with all of it.  Get away from the desk, get away from the computer.

*****

Grass is green, the buds in the trees are out ahead of time, the yard is beckoning.... or the garden center.



Monday, April 11, 2016

is it time for ice cream yet?

This might be the first time I ever blogged on my iPhone, so who knows what auto-correct and my fat-fingered mistyping will do to it.

I just finished eating a tough overpriced bratwurst sandwich while sitting here at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis watching basketball-- our Minnesota Timberwolves playing horribly (so far) against the Houston Rockets.  Across the street it was baseball, the Minnesota Twins just had their chilly home opener and are now 0-7, their worst season start in franchise history.

Meanwhile, across town in downtown St. Paul, hockey playoffs start soon, and the Minnesota Wild somehow made it into the playoffs even though they lost their last five games.

And now you are up to date on the state of Twin Cities professional sports.  And typing this nonsense on an iPhone isn't easy.  Remind me not to do it again.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

going to hellenium

My son Jon, the would-be horticulturalist, dropped by today to plant three new additions to my front garden, all helleniums (hellenia?).  Jon is major fan of the hellenium, a beautiful and versatile perennial.  He had me plant several last year, and they turned out great -- for instance, here was how one of them looked mid-summer 2015:


Thanks, Jon.... Looking forward to seeing how this year's bunch turn out.  Try the hellenium, readers, if you can find any!  It's spring!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

stall thrills

The latest pretend crisis in the right-wing political world is the transgender "which-bathroom-to-use?" thing.  These idiots that are proposing and sometimes passing the "biological gender" laws seem to be implying that men are going to dress in drag just to be able to be in the stall next to a woman as she pees.  I mean, really??  In a world of real anxieties and problems, these are the fears that some legislators fantasize about?

A sidenote:  Europeans often get a kick out of American use of the word "bathroom" -- when there are no bath options in sight -- just so that the more graphic word "toilet" can be avoided.

Friday, April 8, 2016

when good friends move away

They move away, and you realize you didn't spend enough time with them when they were here...

And they come back to town for a three-day visit, and they have a lot of friends to see, and you are on their list of people to see... and it will briefly seem like they never left...

See you tonight, Jamie and Alan.... 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

that twangy stuff

As I was driving around, I had the Willie Nelson station on my Sirius satellite radio.  It might surprise you that I would ever listen to a country-music station, but I do flip by there now and then, partly because it's amusing, partly because I'm off and on reading Willie Nelson's autobiography (amusing in the extreme), partly because the old "classic" twangy country music from the '50s and the '60s is a thousand times better than current "country" music, which, let's face it, is pretty obnoxious.

Today and yesterday, though, the station is focusing on Merle Haggard, the country-music icon (what is the definition of "icon"?) who died yesterday on his 79th birthday.  I knew little of Merle Haggard, whose main irritation to me was his 1969 hit song, "Okie From Muskogee"...

We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee;
We don't take no trips on LSD
We don't burn no draft cards down on Main Street;
We like livin' right, and bein' free.

etc., etc., etc..

That irritation came partly from being stationed in the Army (against my will), where everybody in my ranks was either a drunk or a pothead, and the potheads happened to be more interesting,... It was a difficult anti-Establishment period in our history, and Merle was there to irritate some of us...

But listening to this Willie Nelson station tribute to Merle Haggard's sometimes sad, personal music has made re-think some of this... I raise my drink to you, Merle, and may you find peace always.  We're all in this together, and we all share much.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

eight is enough -- or maybe way too much

Being about the same age as Hillary and Trump and a few years younger than Bernie, I gotta say that the one good thing to say about this goofy and stupid election season is that AGE is rarely being mentioned.  The effect of that open-mindedness (?) on me personally is to let me know that I might still have a few good productive years left in me, and, whatever I do, it should be a whole lot less strenuous than being President of the U.S.  Have you ever seen photos of past Presidents that compare what they looked like on Day 1 of their Presidency to how they looked eight years later?  Check it out sometime, or find a photo of how President Obama looked when he was first elected.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

giving the finger to north carolina, mississippi and the other 'religious liberty [a/k/a religious bigotry]' states


And let me remind you -- or tell you in case you didn't already know -- that these people are the same ones that used to cobble together unrelated Bible verses to preach why it was "Biblical" and in accordance with their "religious beliefs" to discriminate against and refuse to serve African-Americans.

Monday, April 4, 2016

'take me out...

to the ball game...'

Well, don't take me too often.  I mean, baseball generally has about much action as watching paint dry, but the season has started, it's April, and there is something comforting about knowing that it's there, even though I don't have the patience or spare time to sit through much of it.  "Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if I never get back..."