Saturday, August 31, 2013

i wake up screaming

Not too many of you have slept with me, so you probably don't know that once in a while -- maybe once every couple months -- I have this recurring nightmare in which I am driving my car at a good speed on a busy freeway, and I suddenly lose my sight and feel myself careening off into the dark unknown, waiting for the deadly crash. I wake up screaming, maybe jumping out of bed -- shaking, heart pounding and a general mess.  Last night was one of those nights.  Takes a while to settle down after that.

Otherwise, generally, I'm a delight to sleep with.
Saw the new Woody Allen movie last night -- Blue Jasmine.  Cate Blanchett is great.  Remember her at Oscar time.
Tomorrow starts the month of September.  I want it to never end.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

the nearby diva

As people started trickling out of the bar to the Diana Ross concert across the street last night, I started having some regrets, or maybe it was the cocktails kicking in.  I said to Jerry that maybe we should have gone to see her after all.  After all, I hadn't seen her since 1967 -- Steel Pier, Atlantic City -- when she was still with the Supremes.  Back then, I was the ultimate Supremes fan, you know, and to some degree I still am.

But I admit that I'm still holding a grudge against Diana, for the way she treated the other Supremes, Flo and Mary, and, by extension, us the fans (A book I highly recommend:  "Dreamgirl:  My Life As A Supreme" by Mary Wilson).  So I went back to the cocktail and only had fleeting nostalgic interludes.
Yesterday, by the way, was a big anniversary:  50 years since the civil rights March on Washington, where MLK gave his "I have a dream" speech, 8/28/63.
Coincidence:  in our catch-up marathon of "Mad Men" (we are in Season 3), last night's episode took place during the week of that 1963 historic march.
I kissed Mary Wilson once, or did I already tell you that?  I have never kissed Diana Ross.  It's her loss.

Monday, August 26, 2013

view from the loveseat...

...when the temperatures are in the upper 90s and you don't feel like being anything but a couch potato....

Sunday, August 25, 2013

the surprising thing about netflix

Ok, I'm finally on my 30-day Netflix free trial, and I'm shocked at how few movies there are on Netflix.

BUT --  I also finally listened to those people who have been telling me all years that I would love the TV series "Mad Men"... So Netflix has come in handy.  Just finishing Season 2 (out of 7 so far!).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

august trivia

Here we are in the hot, humid "dog days" of August, so let's take a moment for some August trivia.

First, where did the term "dog days" come from?  Per Wikipedia:

The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the "Dog Star" because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term "Dog Days" was used earlier by the Greeks (see, e.g., Aristotle's Physics, 199a2).

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813.

OK, maybe that was more than you needed to know about Dog Days.

August was named for Caesar Augustus, 8 B.C.  (Do you ever wonder about the "B.C." thing?  Is that what their Hallmark calendars said, counting down the years to zero?).

Fast forward to August 1969 A.D.:  Woodstock, 400,000 baby-boomers peacefully sitting in the mud listening to music in between the rain storms.  Oh here's some Woodstock trivia:  The Beatles were invited to play at Woodstock, but John Lennon said No, unless Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band could also appear.  I'm thinking this may have been a hollow response, since the Beatles hadn't performed in public since 1966.

August 2013:  the NSA, chaos in Egypt, political nonsense in the U.S. Congress.... The Sea boiled and Wine turned sour.  No days of Peace and Love, at least none that I noticed.
Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

how leon used to look

I first started loving Leon Russell during his time with Joe Cocker -- early '70s, the Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour -- but he had been part of my life during the '60s too, I just didn't know it.  He composed or accompanied many of the '60s hits that I liked.

Until last night, I hadn't seen him perform in person in about 15 years.  His performance at the Dakota Jazz Club showed that he can still sound the same as he used to and play the piano like nobody else.  He's 71 now, is a bit limited physically, has had a Santa Claus-look for quite a while, but he's still cool and unique.

I even bought a Leon t-shirt -- why not? -- but the photo on it is Leon back in the early '70s, when a person might say he was in his prime.  But he is still performing 180 days out of the year, is still commanding audiences, so maybe his whole life is his prime.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

he could feel it slipping away

He was so determined to not sleep through the month of August, but he woke up and it was August 20th already.  He had even missed Aviation Day.

So the question he faced was whether to lament the lack of accomplishment of 20 days or try to live 31 days in the 11 that were left?

He's still undecided. And he doesn't know how many Augusts are left.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

linkedIn, maybe lockedOut

When it comes to technology and internet trends, I'm usually a couple years behind the rest of the world, and here I go again.  Yesterday I finally stopped ignoring requests and opened a LinkedIn profile (which everybody else did several years ago) and am gradually compiling some business "connections" (It was hard to invite prospective "connections" at first since I was starting with zero and didn't want to look unpopular with those first invitees).

And now with LinkedIn I have yet another sign-in password to remember.  It sort of scares me when I occasionally log in somewhere, am prompted for my password, and my mind draws a complete blank.  As I wander further into senility, I wonder if one day I'll have no password memory and I'll have to go back to dealing with people in person instead of on my iPad.

Monday, August 5, 2013

eventually the little guy made me nervous

Mary O. pointed out to me that there was a butterfly on the outside of my office window, just hanging there.

At first, we said, "How beautiful!"  But he just stayed there and stayed there, even when I tapped on the glass.

I started thinking, maybe it's a sign to me from somebody or something, maybe something positive.  But after he clung there for several hours, I had a fear that the poor thing was going to die there, and what the heck kind of sign would that be to me??

He finally was gone, and I'm hoping he just stopped by to have a nap and then flew away refreshed.  If instead he gave up the ghost and crashed to the sidewalk below, I don't want to know.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

the dandelion fountain at the park

Walked over to the park for the Loring Park Art Fair that's going on this weekend.  Beautiful day for an art fair.  Beautiful day to have a park nearby.

Friday, August 2, 2013

mid-summer sports update

Was baseball always this boring?  When I was a kid, I loved baseball.  My brothers and I used to collect baseball cards and had hundreds of them (and should have kept them until they became collector items), and I knew every player on every team.  Of course, there were only 16 teams then, maybe it was just easier.

Or maybe it's that the Minnesota Twins are exceptionally awful this year and are distorting my impressions.

I was given tickets to yesterday's Twins game vs. the Kansas City Royals, and the game was deadly dull (maybe unless you were a Royals fan).  The  best part of going to a Twins game is being in the stadium, which is very cool.  But by the end of the 7th inning, I had enjoyed the stadium and bratwursts and Jumbotrons enough for one day and left.  I look around as I leave and wonder how the season ticketholders manage to come back for as many as 80 home games without going postal.

The Twins record so far this season:  Won 45, Lost 60, and they are 15 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central.  And there is no hope of getting better than that this year.

The Philadelphia Phillies, my other team -- almost as pathetic:  Won 50, Lost 58, 13.5 games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East.

No more baseball talk this year.
Meanwhile, football teams are in training camp and pre-season games start any day now, the depressing part of that being that once football season starts, suddenly it's Christmas, and who can think about that?  Here's another depressing thought:  A month from now, the Minnesota State Fair will be wrapping up.  It will be Labor Day.

So, if somebody offers you Twins tickets this year, Just Say No.  Get away from your television.  Don't watch any more baseball or NFL pre-season games.  Go for a walk.  Go for a bike ride.  Think warm thoughts.  It's summer and it's fast.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

an unusual number of weddings for a thursday

For the past eight hours, as of 12:01 a.m., gay marriage has been legal here in Minnesota.  Over those hours, dozens of couples have already been married -- at the Minneapolis City Hall, at St. Paul's Como Conservatory, even at the wedding chapel at the Mall of America.  Celebrations went well into the early morning and are probably still going on.

I of course slept through most of that, but I celebrate the day anyway and offer congratulations to all the new brides and grooms.  I'm at the moment enjoying the photos on the StarTribune website and I see faces of people I know.  There's the senior pastor of my church.  He and Minneapolis Mayor Rybak officiated the first ceremony.  Then I see another man that I know well, marrying his partner of some 40 years, and looking overjoyed.

My concern is that, in the upcoming months, a lot of couples will tie the knot without from a legal standpoint thinking it all through, maybe to give the Michele Bachmanns of the world a poke in the eye or maybe just because "it's MY turn to have a party!" (which, let's face it, these days is why a lot of hetero couples get married).  They won't be able to file their tax returns the same anymore (which may be good or bad), and, if things don't work out, they don't just move out, they need to get a divorce.

For better or worse, for richer, for poorer, equality and liberty and life are what it's all about and for that this is good for all Minnesotans.  Some of them just don't realize that yet.