Tuesday, December 17, 2013

“He Ain’t Heavy, Father, He’s My B-B-B-B-B Gosh It’s Cold” -- Popcorn by The Colonel # 75

Epigraph: “It takes one to know one, and that works both ways.” --Alfred E. Neuman

“Luck is the residue of design and devotion.” --Tad Friend

Frank Sinatra founded Reprise Records, which he pronounced “REpreeze.”

Win Free Okra! Free Win Okra. Okra Win Free. Free Oprah Winfrey. Whatever.

There’s a dog-eat-dog world circling Sirius.

Every winter the Federal Reserve has a bond-purchasing cruise on the QE II.

Sign over novelist’s desk: “10 Days With No Contrived Coincidences to Further the Plot.”

Marxist aspiration: “The Living Shall Be Raised.”

Harvey Harbinger: The drink that makes you see the future.

My father made a Nativity scene in the living room fireplace every Christmas, but he bought a second, much smaller set, got rid of all the pieces but the infant, and put the smaller infant in the manger in place of the larger. He said, “The news that night was ‘Unto us is born a Savior,’ not ‘Palestinian woman gives birth to three-year-old.’” RIP, Dad (1910-1996).

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” is a Unitarian carol that never mentions Jesus.

Zen poem:

In spring, abundant flowers;
In autumn, a harvest moon;
In summer, a refreshing breeze;
In winter, snow.

If useless things do not hang in your mind,
Any season is a good season.

We tried to fire up our new snow blower on Sunday morning. It turned over but wouldn’t “catch.” We took our shovel and went to shovel the driveway by hand, asking the Colonel’s Lady to try starting the new blower. Fresh eyes, fresh brain, all that. A moment later, the thing started up. “What did you do?” we asked. “Oh, not much. It’s just that this little key here has to be turned to the ‘on.’ position.”

In New York recently we took a meal at a cafe called The Grey Dog. Days later, the results of an Internet search included “Grey Dog University.” That caught our eye, but the unthrilling truth was that The Grey Dog has several locations, one on University Place. 

The experience prompted this thought: as competition among colleges heats up to the melting point, school names will surely get zippier, and Chinese chains will get into the act: “Bright Future Internet College”; “Big Income University”; “Hundred Flowers School of Social Research.” “Grey Dog University” will seem dowdy by comparison.

Drinking buddies lament the loss of one of their own: “He’ll be McSorley missed.

Cosmetic surgery joke. One aging ladies’ man got so much “work” done that his face looks like a balloon with features drawn onto it with a Magic Marker. Now when he winks at a woman, his pants fall down.

The luck of having talent is not enough; one must also have a talent for luck. -Hector Berlioz, composer (1803-1869)

The quotation above is an example of “chiasmus,” or a-b-b-a arrangement of items: luck/talent/talent/luck. The name “chiasmus” comes from the Greek alphabet letter chi, which looks like an X. If you arrange the elements of a chiasmus on two lines, and draw lines from like element to like element, the result is a chi, or X:

Luck                      Talent
           x              x
x x
x x
            x                x
Talent                       Luck

Heraclitus said you can’t step in the same river twice. Parmenides said you can’t step in the same river once. Who's deeper?

Zillow.com is the one where you check on the market value of your house; Zappos.com is the one where you buy footwear. Don’t confuse them or you run the risk that (a) you will get bad information on the value of your footwear, and (b) someone will step on your house.

“No matter how many years you sit doing zazen [Zen meditation], you will never become anything special.” --Master Sawaki

“The irrationality of a thing is no argument against it, but rather a condition of its existence. Yet a casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith alone proves nothing.” --Fred Nietzsche

Nelson Mandela’s death reminds us that although he survived his great prison ordeal, not every imprisoned black man did. Eric Bogle wrote and sang “Singing the Spirit Home,” and the copyright is his (you can hear the song on YouTube).

They came for him in the morning,
an hour before dawning
The pale white moon was waning
in the African sky

The cell door flew wide open,
they stood looking at him
He saw no mercy in their hearts,
no pity in their eyes

As they took him and they bound him,
tied his trembling hands behind him
He felt his courage leave him,
his manhood disappear

His legs would not support him,
so from the cell they dragged him
He sobbed and screamed and cursed them
in his loneliness and fear

With faces closed and hidden
the white guards walked beside him
Indifferent to his pleading --
they'd been down this path before

But other eyes were watching,
other ears were listening
Other hearts beat with him
in his final desperate hour

From the darkness of that prison
came the sound of his brothers singing
Courage, their voices told him,
you do not walk alone

From their cells beyond the shadow
he heard their voices echo
As in love and pride and sorrow
they sang his spirit home

And their song of hope and freedom,
it rang inside that prison
It beat against the iron bars
and crashed against the stone

As in their fear and hate they hung him,
the last sound that filled his being
Was his brothers singing,
singing his spirit home:

"Courage, brother,
you do not walk alone
We shall walk with you
and sing your spirit home."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eric Bogle, great songwriter. Green Fields of France demonstrates the power of verse in song.