30 June 2009

There's No There There

La Bufadora, Baja

There is a famous quote by Gertrude Stein about Oakland, "There is no there there". Most people think she was insulting the city, but that isn't what it means. After spending many years in Paris, Stein had returned for a short visit to her home town. Everything that she had known as a child was either changed or gone. Thus: "There is no there there." The place of her memory no longer existed.

Unless you have never left home, you have had the experience of unexpected change over time. The farther you are removed in years, the more changes there are likely to be, until what you knew seems to no longer exist. I tell you this because when I write about The Baja, I am writing about the place that existed before 1975. Just looking online today for information, I know my mental pictures are no longer accurate and the place I knew has disappeared.

The first images in my memory are from 1948 through 1952 and are second hand from "What We Did On Our Vacation" slides of my uncle and his diving companions with the fish they had viewed or speared off of La Paz in the years following WW II. They were fishermen and divers visiting a place that you can now only find in reading Steinbeck's "The Log from the Sea of Cortez". In a child's mind, combine those pictures with stories of dusty streets, small family run vacation houses, the fish and whales plus stories of the kamikazi cab driver and the imagination was stirred. This was The Baja of youth - A place I had to go someday. Through the early years, there would be trips on my uncle's fishing boat out of San Pedro down the coast to Ensenada, or car trips with parents to Del Mar race track near San Diego with the shopping trip over the border into Tijuana.

Parrot Fish

Del Mar Race Track

I never went to the bull fights, but you could hear the cheers of the crowds from the markets surrounding El Toreo de Tijuana (Now torn down). These were always day time trips because even then, Tijuana could be dangerous after dark if you weren't careful because of crazy drunks, strip clubs, and other sinful activities, but it was not yet a place of extreme grinding poverty cheek by jowl with luxury beach front high rise hotels coupled with drug gangs and violence. You could safely stroll most streets or go to Caesar's Hotel on Avenida Revolucion to have a caesar salad tossed at your table where the salad itself was invented by the owner Caesar Cardini. What happened after dark was not seen by young eyes that had been safely returned to San Diego before sun down.

El Toreo de Tijuana

Tijuana Market

Those trips to TJ happened about once a year in the safe company of theoretically responsible relatives. Then came the summer when Miss Goody Two Shoes had just had it up to where with her delinquent family and still thanks her lucky stars that there is or at least was once honor among thieves, because I ran away from home. Now if a perfectly behaved, totally responsible, fifteen year old, straight A student who always does exactly what everyone expects, and never ever disappoints decides to hoof it out of the nearest exit, you have to know they leave a forwarding address and phone number so no one will worry should it actually cross their minds to worry.

So out the door I went headed for a rented house in Hollywood belonging to the friend of a friend and Oh the sights I saw ............ Gypsies, tramps, and thieves plus a hooker or two thrown in for good measure plus a trip down to TJ on the back of a motorcycle in a three piece leather outfit pointing out my over 18 "sister" on the bike ahead at the border crossing for my first drink of alcohol and a visit to the inside of one of those infamous clubs. (Yes everything you ever heard about them is true). My guardian angel got a three month workout to make up for not having to keep her eye on me for the previous 15 years.

That I not only made it back home in one piece but was actually returned home at the end of the summer still as goody two shoes as when I left is a tribute to a lady who had had a much rougher life starting at a similar age when her leaving home had not turned out as well. Well her and the bowie knife she kept under the driver's seat of a car that had a hole in the floor to view the road and a lack of reliable brakes to make it down Micheltorena. I tried to find a view of Micheltorena that ends at Sunset Boulevard to give you an idea of just how imperative it was that there be no cross traffic as the sudden right turn into a gas station for the purchase of more brake fluid was always an iffy proposition. Unfortunately, the camera people of the world seem to have decided that Micheltorena looking down was an invitation to instantaneous vertigo. If you ever get to the area, it has now been the recipient (victim?) of all sorts of civic upgrading, but the hill and the street are still there. Have fun looking down.

Just for Travis: Yes It's All True. :-)

28 June 2009

Rock On

This IKONOS satellite image of Ayers Rock was collected Jan. 17, 2004. Ayers Rock is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 280 miles southwest of Alice Springs, Australia. It is the world's largest monolith, an Aboriginal sacred site and Australia's most famous natural landmark.

This is the view as you approach Ayers Rock ( Uluru) from the desert. The link above will take you to a site with the full history and explanation of the myths or the dreamtime when the rock was created.

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by Manic Monday Headquarters for other participants.

25 June 2009

Once Upon A Time

Recently, I vaguely mentioned in passing a small incident from my checkered past, and there has been a demand for the particulars.

Was I in a place where there was a growing field of alfalfa? Yes, I was. Was there a fenced enclosure of alfalfa to prevent incursion by the neighboring bovines? Yes, there was. Did this fenced enclosure prevent an adventurous bovine from entering the alfalfa field and munching on same? No. It definitely did not. Did I innocently, rousing from a dream of sleep look out the window and notice said bovine meandering through the alfalfa? Why yes I did. Did I leap from the bed clothed only in my skin while inserting feet into boots proceed to chase the bovine back to where it belonged? Why, yes I did (and proud of myself I was).

Now for the rest of the story.

Once upon a time (Don't all the best stories start that way), I was recently divorced. It was a much more innocent age and I had gotten married ten years before when good boys married good girls who happened to find themselves bearing the next generation of "premature" infants.

It was 1972 and I had a job with a firm in Los Angeles that had a property down in Mexico. Once a month I had to drive from Los Angeles to Ensenada to deliver funds to the property caretaker. It didn't hurt that this caretaker was a handsome Canadian. One thing led to another and for the next three years I ended up diving off yachts in Ensenada harbor, meeting child star expatriates, being cartooned in Hussongs, and generally racking up more Hemmingwayesque memories than any life really needs.

I would love to destroy the romantic images right about now with the exploding refrigerator that burned off eyebrows or being expected to kill and pluck chickens or the rattle snakes wrapped around cans in the pantry, but they were just inconveniences. It really was a wine fueled, kerosene lamp lit dream time with a man who serenaded me with another Canadian bard:

It wasn't forever, but it was what I needed to recover and come out into the unfamiliar real world, and for the majority of the time on the rancho I was comepletely nude except for boots necessary to keep you from the hazard of stepping on unfriendly reptiles. We only donned clothes to go into town.

So I saw the cow munching. I leaped out of bed into my altogether and into my boots. I stormed out of the adobe to put my shoulder into the ass of a stubborn cow to encourage it back where it belonged, and later that day, the Canadian and I clad only in boots and work gloves pounded the fence posts that the cow had crushed back to where those posts belonged.

It is unfortunate that in the almost 40 years since that the cruise lines have discovered Ensenada harbor. It is sad that Hussongs no longer has a time from Monday to Thursday when you can play chess and dominoes with folks from the boats and has now become nothing but a drunken tourist trap on the weekends. I am so sorry that the Baja from Rosarita to Bufadores is nothing more than cheek by jowl tract homes.

There really was ... once upon a time in a land far far away a special place that will never come again ... Once Upon A Time

As to what happened after "happily ever after". Why it wasn't of course. The Canadian returned to Canada. I returned to Los Angeles and, believe it or not, met the "Great Love" in 1976 when the fireworks weren't just for the bicentennial. For both of them a wonderful song:

Didn't We Almost Have It All

Michael Jackson - RIP

24 June 2009

Doggone Good Commercial

People who advertise anything would probably hate me if they knew I existed. Advertising of any kind simply has no effect on me. In fact it is almost the opposite. If you advertise, I want nothing to do with you. Other than known brands from my childhood, word of mouth or personal discovery of a package that intrigues me, I don't buy anything.

Now that being known, I love GOOD commercials. My all time favorite is "Herding Cats".

Now could I tell you what they are advertising ten seconds after watching ... Nope! Just doesn't register, but I love those cat herders. I tried to find another commercial from many years ago with a beautiful voiceover singing the lovely opera aria, "O Mio Bambbino Caro" while a woman in a long flowing gown ran down a flight of stairs. Couldn't find it since I have no idea what they were advertising but whoever they were, the commercial stopped me in my tracks to watch and enjoy.

The latest entry in the products I will never buy whose commercial makes me perk up my ears to listen features an enamored Jack Russel terrier, a french song, and a singer that I had never heard before named Rosi Golan who speaks French, English, & Hebrew. So maybe the commercial did work. I just may buy a Golan CD. But like puppies everywhere, I may be perking up my ears whenever the commercial is played.

21 June 2009

Pop Goes The Weasel

The Nursery Rhyme "Pop Goes The Weasel" refers to pawning. A weasel is a coat from Cockney rhyming slang (weasel and stoat for coat) and to "pop" is to pawn. It was traditional for even poor people to own a suit, which they wore as their 'Sunday Best'. When times were hard or they needed drinking money for the "Eagle", they would pawn their suit, or coat, and claim it back before Sunday. Hence the term " Pop goes the Weasel"

There are several versions of this famous nursery rhyme. Here is one of my favorites:

All around the cobbler's bench
The monkey chased the weasel,
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread
A penny for a needle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

A half a pound of tuppenny rice,
A half a pound of treacle.
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Up and down the London road,
In and out of the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.I

I've no time to plead and pine,
I've no time to wheedle,
Kiss me quick and then I'm gone
Pop! Goes the weasel.

Back in 1961 Anthony Newley did a jazzed up version of this children's favorite and this video features the history as well:

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by Manic Monday Headquarters for other participants.

20 June 2009

Midsummer Dreams

A Midsummer Night's Dream is an early romantic comedy by William Shakespeare that may have been written for the wedding of a noble couple. It was suggested by "The Knight's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and written around 1594 to 1596.

You can read a full summary of all the goings on and mixed up contretemps involving four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors overseen by the Duke of Athens, Theseus, the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta, and with the fairies who inhabit a moonlit forest. Central to all the magic is the King of the fairies, Oberon, and his mischief maker agent, Puck.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

The Celts figured a day from sundown to sundown. Not having access to an astronomical calendar, a set date for Midsummer began on sundown of June 23 and lasted until sundown on June 24. This was the date of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Our modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that ‘summer begins’ on the solstice. According to the old folk calendar, summer begins on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1), with the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking midsummer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter.

For a modern reference this year, the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere begins on June 21, 2009 at 1:45 A.M. EDT

Summer Solstice Fun Facts

* Pagans called the Midsummer moon the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice.

* Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when couples would leap through the flames, believing their crops would grow as high as the couples were able to jump.

* Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called 'chase-devil', which is known today as St. John's Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.

And just to get you in the mood for more romance: The Corrs with "Haste To The Wedding"

17 June 2009

Happy Birthday Igor

Google had one of its great logos today wishing Igor Stravinsky a happy birthday. It's nice to know they pay attention to such things when most computerized, geeky hearts would flutter at the mention of "Firebird", they might not mean the ballet. This time they were saluting what happens when you put together a beautiful ballerina with a great piece of choreography set to a work of genius.

“In Russian folklore the Firebird is a miraculous bird. When she sings, her song can heal the sick and return vision to the blind.
In a dense and mysterious forest, Prince Ivan is hunting when he sees the glittering Firebird and attempts to capture her. Imprisoned by the young prince, she bargains for her freedom in exchange for a magic feather so that he can summon her in time of danger. When Ivan and his princess are threatened by the evil wizard Kostchei, he calls for the Firebird to appear. After destroying the wizard’s powers forever, the Firebird brings peace to the forest in a final lullaby as she flutters out of view.”

16 June 2009

Passing It Along - Coffee Filters

I found this lovely list of things you can do with Coffee filters ..who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for almost nothing.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China, Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. Soaks out all the grease.

14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers.”

14 June 2009

Manic Monday - Shower

The first time I heard "Sweet Baby James", I was permanently ensconced in the James Taylor fan club, even if "Steamroller Blues" on the same album made me wince a little every time I heard the lyrics (well I was only in my early 20s and it was a different era). The link above will tell you about all his struggles with depression and self commitment to a mental hospital. His heroin addiction has been recounted often, along with his Marital problems with Carly Simon followed by divorce, recovery and remarriage. He has now seemingly reached an age and peaceful acceptance with his life. Through it all, at every stage, there was the poetry and music.

If somewhere along the line, you got stuck back with Fire and Rain, then it is time for a visit to his website to hear selections from his latest album, "Covers" and check out tour dates or just to catch up on the albums of the last 40 plus years.

So how does this all fit in with this week's Manic Monday? One of the older songs with a fitting message from 1976's "In The Pocket" album: Shower The People

Welcome to another Manic Monday with Morgen. Don't forget to cruise by MM HQ at the Manic Monday blog. Today's theme is Shine.

13 June 2009

Where's Waldo

Waldo isn't here, but darn near everyone else of importance is. This is the image you will find at People of Influence where you can run your mouse over each person to identify them and if you like click and go to their Wiki Page. It is totally neat. You didn't have anything to do for the next several hours did you?

09 June 2009

Happy Birthday Cole

If you love American Standards or you love musical theater or you just love great wit and humor, this is a day for celebration. Cole Porter would have been 118. If life were truly fair, he would still be around being brilliant, witty, charming and creative. Since he's not, we have to settle for the genius he left behind.

If you aren't familiar with the man or his music (Does anyone like that exist?), you can go to Cole Wide Web for just about anything and everything you might want to know. There are any number of biographies written about him available on Amazon, and the movie De-Lovely starring Kevin Kline as Cole and Ashley Judd as Linda is quite well done and really focuses on the music even more than the man. It also has the plus of hearing John Barrowman singing Night and Day. John has since gone on to do a CD, John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter, but no need to stop there since virtually every performer with vocal chords has at one time or another sung Porter.

I'll let you go to You Tube to play all the delovely love songs and dance away the night in a fond embrace to Begin the Beguine. For now, one of my favorite "witty" songs:

Well Did You Evah from High Society, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby

And as the perfect end to everything:

Everytime We Say Goodbye, Natalie Cole

07 June 2009

Manic Monday - That's Why They Call Me Shine

My first thought with this word was Dooley Wilson as "Sam" singing "That's Why They Call Me Shine" in the uncut movie Casablanca. It is a fun uptempo song that also happens to be loaded with racial stereotypes. When cut for television, the editors cut many of Sam's musical numbers, but even when they keep some, this is the song that always goes away. When you watch Dooley Wilson, he seems to be having a ball singing it which has always struck me as a little odd, and I wanted to know the history of the song. There was a major surprise waiting for me. It turns out there is a whole introduction that is not included in the movie that is directly connected to the 1900 race riots in New York City.

The lyrics were written in 1910 by Cecil Mack who co-founded what was likely the first black owned musical publishing company in New York. The music was by Ford Dabney, a black band leader and long time associate of James Reese Europe. Among the most noted early performers of the song were George Walker and Bert Williams who were probably the most famous black vaudevillians of their day.

It seems there was a real Samuel Johson who was attacked in the riots. The intro lyric that refers to "Pipe The Shine" is a reference to beatings during the riots. Without the intro as originally written, the song appears to be an insult to African Americans when it was actually written to lessen the pain of the name calling and claiming a dignity not afforded to them at the time. The "recorded by" list of the song is virtually every great black performer from 1910 to today as well as some of the best of the white blues performers who took it on as a jazz anthem.

So let's all sing along with a lesson learned. When things are very, very bad, we can all find a reason to


When I was born they christened me plain Samuel Johnson Brown
But I hadn't grown so very big, 'fore some folks in this town
Had changed it 'round to "Sambo"; I was "Rastus" to a few
Then "Chocolate Drop" was added by some others that I knew
And then to cap the climax, I was strolling down the line
When someone shouted, "Fellas, hey! Come on and pipe the shine!"
But I don't care a bit. Here's how I figure it:

(Lew Brown / Ford Dabney / Cecil Mack)

Recorded by: Harry Allen; Dave Apollon; Louis Armstrong; Sidney Bechet; Acker Bilk; Ruby Braff; Jim Buchmann; Albert Burbank; Chazz Cats; Rosemary Clooney; Al Cohn Quintet; Ken Collyer; Roy Cooder; Billy Cotton & his Band; Bing Crosby; Putney Dandridge; Chris Daniels; Eddie Daniels; Wild Bill Davidson; Dolly Dawn; Barrett Deems; Vic Dickenson; Diz Disley; Roy Eldridge; Les Elgart; Herb Ellis; Lars Erstrand; Eureka Brass Band; Ella Fitzgerald; Chris Florey; Pete Fountain; Four Bales of Cotton; Stan Getz; Nat Gonella; Benny Goodman; Stephane Grappelli; Scott Hamilton; Pat Hawes; Milt Hinton; Art Hodes; Hot Club USA; Hot Strings; Dick Hyman Group; Harry James; Bunk Johnson; Freddy Johnson; Louis Jordan; Mikole E. Kaar; Janet Klein; Frankie Laine; Tim Laughlin; Harry Levine & his Strictly from Dixie Jazz Band; Wingy Manone; Gary Miller; The Mills Brothers; Moreno; Moss & Jacobs; Jimmy Noone; Kid Ory; Poker Dots; Louis Prima; Quintet of the Hot Club of France; Django Reinhardt; Kermit Ruffins; Eric Schneider; Boyd Senter; Frank Sinatra; Willie "The Lion" Smith;Southern Jazz; Jesse Stafford; Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orch.;Ralph Sutton; Swedish Jazz Kings; Jack Teagarden; Rene Thomas; Bill Trujillo; Joe Venuti; Chick Webb & his Orch.; White Lightnin' Washboard Band.
 Cause my hair is curly
Just because my teeth are pearly
Just because I always wear a smile
Like to dress up in the latest style
Cause I'm glad I'm livin'
I take these troubles all with a smile
Just because my color's shady,
That's the difference, maybe, why they call me

Shine, sway your blues'ies.
Why don't you shine?
Start with your shoes'ies.
Shine each place up, make it look like new.
Shine your face up,
I want to see you wear a smile or two.
Why don't you shine your these and thoseies?
You'll find everything gonna turn out right fine
Folks will shine up to ya'
Everybody's gonna howdy doody do-ya'
You'll make the whole world shine

Oh chocolate drop, that's me...
Cause my hair is curly, (man's got curly hair)
Now just because my teeth are pearly, (also got pearly teeth)
Just because I always wear a smile, (oh keep on smiling)
Like to dress us, babe, in the latest style.
Cause I'm glad I'm livin'
I take these troubles all with a smile
Now just because my color's shady (you's a shady baby)
That's the difference, maybe, why they call me...

Shine away your blues'ies
Shine, start with your shoes'ies
You'll make the whole world shine

So here are two versions of a great song performed by two of the greatest: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Tony Awards Tonight

06 June 2009

D-Day Tradition

Lieutenant George Acres: Monty, that parachute that didn't open... Suppose we were to drop a fellow out of a plane over enemy territory, with papers on him saying we were going to invade Greece, and his parachute didn't open. The Germans would find him dead, and the papers, and "Aha," they'd say, "Look at this. Officer with secret papers, parachute didn't open... they're going to invade Greece."

Lieutenant Commander Ewen Montagu: Do we tell the man who jumps that the parachute doesn't work, or is it a sort of practical joke that he finds out on the way down?

Some people watch "The Longest Day" on D-Day. It's a great movie, but today, I will watch "The Man Who Never Was". It is a somewhat fictionalized but excellent movie about "Operation Mincemeat", the British deception that made the invasion of Scicily a success by drawing away German troops. Take the time to read the story because it is more fascinating than even a movie as good as this with excellent acting by Clifton Webb and Gloria Grahame can make it.

Last night I dreamed a deadly dream
Beyond the Isle of Skye
I saw a dead man win a fight
And I think that man was I.

Operation Jedburgh

Below, is the prayer heard by Americans on D-Day uttered by their President, Franklin Roosevelt

Behind the scenes there was a remarkable operation to prevent German troops from reaching Normandy: Operation Jedburgh. To this day, the actions, heroics, and sacrifices made by the Jedburgh men and women who parachuted behind enemy lines are still unknown to the majority of people. If you like war, espionage, and mystery, you can follow up by reading "Operation Jedburgh: D-Day and America's First Shadow War".

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.


04 June 2009

Let's All Sing Like The Birdies Sing

I'm not under 40. I don't own a blackberry. You can't circle the globe with my circle of friends all needing to stay instantaneously in touch. So why sit down at a desk in front of a PC in order to tweet on Twitter? The answer is simple, you can make it do anything you want it to do and block out anything you don't want. You select the people and organizations you want to follow and you go to one page to find short communications from newsy to newsworthy that often have links to longer pieces, blogs, or other people and events of interest. If someone starts to bore you ... stop following. Someone makes your blood pressure rise ... block them. You can follow few or many (warning too many and you will defeat the fast and friendly nature of the beast). If friends are around at the same or prearranged times you can have a real time conversation much better than instant messaging.

You quickly discover the people who can convey a thought in a sentence. Two favorites: Senator Claire McCaskill. She says her children taught her how to tweet well and it shows. Anna Marie Cox just makes you smile. It may be an illusion, but this lady appears to go through life at a breakneck speed and most of the time having a ball doing it.

Let the pundits go on about "social networking" and is it or isn't it a fad. They do like to blather on to fill time and my time is valuable, which is the real reason I tweet: All the blogs, news, politicos, and mags that I would have to visit individually to check out are all on one page, letting me know if it is worth the effort. My favorite bloggers are telling me the subject of their latest blog as well as what is going on in their day.

Two of my favorite bloggers seem to have caught the bug as well. Shelly Tucker and Jessica the Rock Chick pop up every now and then. Twitter does away with distance in much the same way that direct dial must have done for the telephone.

So check out the little blue bird at Twitter and sing out.

Let's all sing like the birdies sing,
Tweet, tweet tweet, tweet tweet.
Let's all sing like the birdies sing,
Sweet, sweet sweet, sweet sweet.
Let's all warble like nightingales,
Give your throat a treat.
Take your time from the birds,
Now you all know the words,
Tweet, tweet tweet, tweet tweet.