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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Only YOU can compost to save the earth. So what are you waiting for? Oh, I get it.

 Kid Joke: Young boy asks mom, "Didn't you tell me that from dust we are made and to dust
we shall return?"

"Yes dear."
"Well, then, under my bed someone is either coming or going."

Pete Seeger
 Pete Seeger, American folk singer, song writer and social activist, died in 2014 and it could have been him under the bed. Not really, but theoretically. (Stay with me here.)

Of the many grand songs, lyrics and causes he stood for, one of my favorites, with words by Lee Hays,  is this little take on a kid's bed time prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep... " It was the twist he on the remaining words in a composition he called "In Dead Ernest."

Now I lay me down to sleep.
If I should die before I wake
all my bone and sinew take
Put them in the compost pile
To decompose a little while.

Worms, water, sun will have their way.
Returning me to common clay
All that I am will feed the trees
And little fishes in the  seas.

When radishes and corn you munch,
You may be having me for lunch
And then excrete me with a grin
Chortling, "There goes Lee again."

Twill be my happiest destiny
To die and live eternally.

Get the picture?  I kinda' like it. Who wouldn't want to be part of a tree or flowers or food to feed the hungry. Sure, it's a small thing now, but the idea of having your body composted--that is buried just wrapped in a sheet or blanket (or nothing if that's you) has a following that is gaining ground (pun intended.)  And for some societies... and people going back to Adam and Eve, this has God's sanction.

The state of Washington (a top recycling state that fines residents if they don't recycle or if the do it incorrectly) may be the first to make composting human remains  legal, though the practice is done discretely by more and more. So why?

Sorry undertakers, but what happens in a standard burial in a casket encased in a metal box is costly and wasteful--still favorite by most--though cremation is gaining ground, which sounds a little like an oxymoron in this context.  Caveat: Who am I to judge?

In my community, glass is no longer accepted as recyclable, and as you can see, a practical emergency.  Glass has proven more expensive to haul, though we are trying to fix that.Too many of the "haves' don't have a place for all the glass necessities of life.

I have attended a few burials of late where ashes are blended with the soil, scattered in the woods or golf courses or oceans, though that is not true composting. Word has it that Jimmy Hoffa may be the saint of involuntary human composting in the foundation a 
football stadium in New Jersey. 

So remember the motto: Be a Tree. Compost! You may get more than you bargained for. You could
even be a whole library to forever keep people happy!

Friday, January 25, 2019


What is wrong with us? Why are we always mad? 

Road rage incidents have increased 600% since 2006 and 8 million of us have admitted that they have played a part. Much of that is extreme "one on one" by many who... ahem... lead rather normal-seeming lives but are quick to rise to the challenge when finding a cause.

If you have an ear for the news, shootings of every kind are prevalent and on the increase. Every 'stranger' is suspicious. Politics are discussed with boxing gloves, either figuratively or literally. Approval of our Congress is in the low 20-percentages and neither political party has a majority approval.

President Trump gained traction when he negatively implied. "What have you got to lose?" We didn't accept that the answer was "Everything it took us in 240 years to achieve." (ed.note: It was the implication that we were already, colloquially, 'in the toilet' that I find problematic... the saying's context and premis.)

Bah! Humbug!
If Scrooge were alive, he would say "Bah! Humbug! And he'd be right. Out of season, but right.

Ya'know, I haven't had the feeling that I could pat Congress on the back for much lately but, I find that body remarkable--though disagreement runs deep--that cordiality among members with different beliefs, is formally decent, if rigid at times. I guess the closer you are tot he action, the more you appreciate that it is a human being on the other side too.

Seems many of us forgot that... or are too crude to care.

The reality is that,--by a VAST MAJORITY--we are incredible, caring people, willing to help our neighbor when asked or needed. The stories of good run deep, but they are not the news makers. Sadly, it is the minority that most affects the feelings of the world we live in. We are, it is written,
 "... the land of the free, and the home of the brave." We should proudly live up to our heritage more often.

Oh,and one more very important fact we should dwell on most heavily... we are the richest, freest, luckiest-by-circumstance country in the world. I think we should act like it. You do know the ones who gave the most to get us where we are today, don't you? The natural native Americans crowded beyond belief by us, the immigrants--with and without papers--who all helped build  this place. We were... and are... the people at the gate!

Monday, January 21, 2019

HORTON HEARS A WHO is my favorite Dr.Seuss movie, not only fun to watch but it is based on a true story you won't believe.

Horton Hears A Who is Theodore Geisel's most poignant book/movie. Even if you have seen the movie (or read the book to your children) you should watch it again because Dr. Seuss (as he is known) was much more than an entertainer of children. He was a sage.

As an author, he was rejected by publishers 29 times before his first of 49 books, And I Think I saw it on Mulberry Street, which was published in 1936. Horton Hears A Who, published in 1954, is based on a true story--only perceived in his time without evidence--as you will see.

Remember how that story goes? 

A speck of dust on a clover leaf is dislodged by the wind and drifts leisurely  over a lagoon in the jungle where Horton, an eccentric, nature loving  elephant is taking an afternoon dip. As the windblown speck wafts past Horton, he hears a tiny 'yelp' and believes it came from that speck of dust. He scrambles to catch the leaf before it hits the water.

He discovers that the tiny speck houses the microscopic city of Whoville and all it's inhabitants, including Mayor Ned McDodd and wife Sally and 96 daughters (don't ask... it's a cartoon, right?) whose names all begin with the letter H and his only only son, JoJo, who is destined, against his will, to be the next mayor, as Horton learns.

Horton continues to carry the cloverleaf causing the microscopic town of Whoville to experience earthquakes and weather changes that they can't explain. Sadly, the animals in Horton's jungle think Horton is either lying or delusional and that there is no Whoville. Horton is asked to stop talking so foolishly. Of course, Horton becomes more adament that Whoville exists and needs help.

All of Whoville are distressed, convinced their world will be destroyed. There are attempts by Whoville residents to be heard and believed but their efforts to signal others all fail.

It gets ugly in Horton's world as all the animals try to get him to stop. Finally, Vlad, the vulture, learns where Horton has hidden the clover leaf, steals it and drops it into a vast field of clover leafs.

Horton is mortified and desperately tries to find Whoville among all the clover leafs, going through every one of them until, on exactly the 3,000,000th clover, he finds it.

The animals all cage Horton and make him watch as the speck of dust on the clover leaf known as Whoville, is dropped into a vat of boiling liquid to settle the issue once and for all.

With all the drama that is happening in Whoville and the realization that Horton and all the residents on the clover leaf have failed, JoJo blows his horn, an instrument he was forbidden to use if he were to become mayor, AND IS HEARD by all the animals. At the last second, Vlad flies to intercept the leaf just before it is destroyed.

The story is rich in characters, both on Whoville's clover leaf and in the Jungle to play this drama play out to the last possible second. And what movie have you seen lately that stars Jim Carrey. Steve Corelle. Carol Burnett, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Seth Rogan, Jena Fisher, Jonah Hill, Charles Osgood and more? Horton Hears A Who scored 79 on Rotten Tomatoes, but you must see it yourself to fully enjoy.  It is a melodramatic nail-biter that will have you on the edge of your seat (except that I have perhaps, spoiled the ending.) It still feels good.

So now, what's this true story it tells?

Well, take a look t this:

This is an actual photo of our Earth and Moon taken from 71 million miles away. NO, NOT THE BIG WHITE ROUND THING IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER, that little teensy dot near the lower left... and the even tinier dot, if you can see it, is our moon!

So friends, We are Whoville, our earth is the clover leaf and only God knows if we can make a noise loud enough to be heard to save ourselves. So who's the big shot now? We're not even the 'flick of a finger.' Will we ever learn that we control nothing but ourselves and often, not even that.

*Nice Going D. Seuss. You've don it again and it took us 38 years years after your death to snap the picture,

* the large white object is Bennu, an asteroid only 27 miles distant from the rocket we sent into orbit around the asteroid. Some feat, yea? Now all we have to do is continue to evolve in a peaceful way instead of learning the technology to destroy ourselves with a push of a button. In the meanwhile, couldn't we be nicer to one another for a greater reason?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? I can do a lot better than that. Top this!

Perhaps you don't know what Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is. 

A little background: In 1984, actor Kevin Bacon made Footloose, a very popular movie with the youth of the day and still a television rerun from time to time. He was just 24 then and has since proven himself as a good actor and a talented musician, but more than that, he has acquired a touch of cult power as he is likeable and has maintained a youthful vigor through the years. See for yourself: Here's the last dance scene of the movie.

Incidentally, if you haven't seen Footloose twice or more, or are looking for a movie to entertain your children who have no idea what 1984 looked like in a small town, with a very satisfying ending, show them Footloose and enjoy it yourself again. ( It is suitable for youth as I recall but check the rating to be sure.)

 Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was a parlor game that evolved on the theory that everyone on this earth is connected to everyone else by no more that six people or less. For example, I am connected to Sister Theresa by only one person... my mom met Sister Theresa when she was on a special visit to the United States. And because of that connection, I was connected to the Pope of the time by only two people... and thus I am connected to some of the most high profile leaders of the world and of course, to everyone any of them knew. So you could say, I am well connected.

But Here's something that is somewhat mind-boggling. I am also connected to someone born in 1818... 201 years ago. And thus connected to any number of people who lived after that. Hmm, surely Abe Lincoln but I don't know the number..

My friend Ray Lambert is 98 and as sharp a person in mind and body as you will ever expect to meet at that age. His dad lived to the age of 102. So that alone means I can go back 200 years to find the ties I probably have. And you can too. kind of mind boggling isn't it?

Ray Lambert
But that's not all. You must know more about Ray Lambert and why I am proud to say I am a friend, even more than him just being a wonderful person. Ray is  a World War II veteran who served in the U.S. Army as a medic. In his service, he is a hero of the highest level. Through many ground battles, Ray also made three treacherous water landings during his service, the last being D Day on the beaches of Normandy, June 6, 1944--an epic battle that was the theme of Tom Hanks' movie, Saving Private Ryan. The Allies suffered 209,000 wounded, missing or killed at Normandy.

Ray was in the first wave on Omaha Beach that morning. His LST suffered enormous casualties but Ray was on that beach administering to all he could reach having been wounded three times himself before he could not continue. Here is a brief snippet of Ray telling about a man shot in the head as he was tending to his other wounds.  I guarantee it will bring a renewed respect for those who fought and died for our freedom.

So, fact is, we are all connected by this thin tether to almost everyone else on earth and many more going  back to the beginning of time. We may be seven billion and counting but if we think we are the big shots, just take a look at all the stars in our sky and remember, that is only a billionth of the universe. If we continue to battle to the end, then theoretically there will be only ONE.... and it won't be you or me.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Depression and the like: An awful discovery of what some have to fight all their lives

To be alone in a crowd is the 
loneliest feeling 
in the world.

Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects a temporary lack of contact with other humans.

I had that experience when recovering from my eye surgery last month. The repair of a macular hole in my right eye required me to be in a 'face down' position for most of a full week. (That's me with my head face-down and a tumbler of coffee with a glass--not paper--straw while watching television with the help of a special mirror reflecting every commercial so I don't miss anything important.

IT REALLY SUCKS though--the position, not the straw thing. I did get a few rest breaks, like eating big-person style. but still had to sleep on my stomach and look at my shoes when standing, walking or riding in a car.

I did create a blog post with laptop screen on my legs and keyboard in full accordion-playing position, but really, this is not what you want to do unless you have no choice, The
means however, justify the end as the hole in my macula was pushed back to its normal seeing position by the magic gas inserted in the space between the cornea and its covering. (Oh, the gas required me to wear a green medical bracelet warning anyone that I could NOT fly or drive across mountains or my head would explode (my euphenism for possible blindness as the bubble would expand.)

The feeling of not being part or any crowd, family or social happening is surprisingly uneasy, and this was just a temporary thing for me. You can have a conversation but you are talking to the floor while someone speaking to you has nothing but a balding head as a target. And you don't hear as well either. (Note to the dating: don't try this at home or some intimate restaurant outing.)

It does make you realize how crippling not being part of any social network is. It is a lonely, negative feeling. And to think that there are literally millions of people who, for other reasons most likely, aren't in the world around them. It is a depressive state that happens to humans and animals from monkeys to mice and more.

It gives some rationale to a courtesy that should be more common... a nod, greeting or smile to any passerby could be their miracle for the day. And while I know this is not a cure, I can say any smile makes someone better, even if it is just the you. 

So two takeaways for me: smile more, don't have a macular hole and don't be depressed. We can only control one of those actions but hey, if you are a major league baseball player, one out of three hits could put you in the Hall of Fame. Be a Hall of Famer. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

SNL has lasted 43 years... and continuing. Why? Here's the real reason.

Saturday Night Live aired for the first time on October 11, 1975 and is now in its 44 year and counting. SNL has proven itself to be a lot of things to a lot of people...  and it remains today the most poignant show ever on television.

poingnat, adjective,, evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret, "a poignant reminder of the passing of time." Synonyms: touching, moving. sad, affecting, etc. AND FUNNY, sometimes... or not.

If you think much hasn't changed since 1975, you are probably eight years old, but just imagine, we didn't even have the internet, for God's sake! And Pong was the TV game that had us all agog at how far we had come.

Times change so fast with no way to to socially feel then from now unless we look backward. 

SNL has the only format that, for 43 years and continuing, keeps us current, lampooning life of the moment. It's not funny if it's not current.  SNL has skewered every president since Ford and many of them  and other important figures of the day have even made cameos and more to ride with the jokes and skits. Sarah Palin was there with Tina Fey and Barack Obama appeared several times. If you haven't seen Kate McKinnon do Hilary Clinton at the piano playing and singing Hallelujah just days after she lost the Presidency, (no matter what your politics) that was poignantly perfect.

SNL has had its tender moments to help us reflect, like days after 9/11 and other momentous happenings. John McCain has been on numerous times and even hosted once in 2002 and in memoriam, SNL replayed many of those bits.

It is the timely humor that often gives us a grounding of who we are and where we are at the moment. And if we ca't laugh at ourselves, then we are in even worse shape today than it actually feels.

SNL often does political humor from all sides and occasionally uses material that touches the edges but that's what happens when you go at life with few limitations. We are sometimes irreverent and over the borderline ourselves as a people. There is no "hands off" in life as we have plainly seen these past few years.

There have been 151 "regulars" on the show since John Belushi's time and a large number of "Not
ready for prime time" supporting them. There have been more than 850 skits not counting the fabled "News" segments, all about us.

Lorne Michael at Emmy time
Lorne Michael has been the head genius from day one,44 years ago. He must be to pull an incredible
different kind of cast nd writers week after week to produce every show "live," not counting the reruns and various repeat  combinations.

How hard it must be to do that over time with every year bringing updated ideas to production and hold an ever changing audience of fans... and non-fans as well. 

I actually saw a show a number of years back and was amazed as how it all came together.

But, like it or not, SNL is the only one of all in the public domain that has occupied this poignant stage for 43 years and counting. It's a poingnat lampoon of who we are and where we are by a brassy, funny, evolving cast that makes a living pretending to be us, figuratively, with our cloths off.

Here's to the watchers who can laugh. I truly wish there were more who could laugh more often. But it's hard to laugh when you are mad. 

Want more? GO HERE and enjoy.