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Friday, September 30, 2011

You've always been. . .

. . . ahead of me
One fact that I
In my infinite wisdom
Could not always see
But in the end you always convinced me
Things aren't always
What they appear
The things I've always looked for

Once long ago before we met
I thought I could
Single-handedly make the
Spinning world go away
Just like some king
from back in those bygone days
But I was wrong
I don't belong
Inside this category

Seemed to be
At the time to me
To my advantage
Missing why
Not knowing
When to try
To start believing
In my
Very own
Self
Determination

Sometimes at night
When I'm alone
The solitude
And the quiet can bring out
All the worst in my head
But now it seems that isn't so big or bad
I've learned a thing
Or maybe two
And just ahead
There's
Always
You

ALWAYS YOU (from "Put A Finger On It")
©2006 Raymond M. Jozwiak
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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Can you explain. . .

. . . the meaning of this bumper sticker:

"GOD BLESS OUR SOLDIERS ESPECIALLY OUR SNIPERS"
My first thought is the same as Lt. Dan's first thought below. But Lt. Dan obviously gave it much more benefit of doubt than I.

Following is from a blog called, "The Diary of Lt. Dan"
". . . this whole "God Bless Our Troops" thing. Bumperstickers abound that contain some version of this sentiment. I saw one today that said "God Bless Our Troops. Especially Our Snipers." When I saw that I thought, "What a wierd thing to wish for." And then I started thinking about how it was meant. The obvious and ugliest meaning is the "Bless them that they can kill a lot of our enemies from far away without being noticed so they can come back home safe." To me, that doesn't seem like something God would be particularly fond of, since the poor sap at the business end of the .50 is one of His children, too.

Another meaning I thought of was "Bless them so that they will be safe, since my son is a sniper and I don't want him to die." This version seems to be more allong the lines of what God might be interested in, since it is about saving life, rather than taking it. However, the sniper in question is at war, and is out to kill other people, so in a larger sense, him getting killed is (while tragic) only fair. You can hardly be a soldier who does his job and expect the soldiers on the other side to not do theirs, now can you?

The last meaning I thought of was this one, but I doubt highly that this is what the author of the bumper sticker meant: "Bless our snipers so that they won't be able to find any enemies to kill from any kind of distance, since all of the enemy soldiers will have laid their weapons down and made peace so that we don't have to kill anyone anymore so everyone can go home to their families and live happy, peaceful, productive lives." Now that is a sentiment I think God would be completely on board with. . . "

Although I cannot agree with the concept of a theistic, invasive "God", I like the Lt.'s sentiments. But then, Lt. Dan is more highly evolved than many earthlings.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things are getting HAIRY. . .

. . . Perry!!

From MSNBC . . .
'The first lady of Texas was asked after the event to clarify her comments on the latest debate saying that her husband is not “polished” like some 2012 candidates.

“Gov. Romney has been running for president for four or five years, and that was my husband’s third debate,” she told reporters. “I think [Perry] would tell you that the other night was not his best performance. But he is only going to get better, and I think part of the attacks had something to do with it. I think when you have seven arrows being shot at you -- and you are the one person in the middle -- a 30-second rebuttal doesn’t give you much time.”'

PERFORMANCE???


http://youtu.be/xqOMuR5Z530


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A good friend . . .

. . . of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. Like so many others, it began with a persistent pain in one place, source of which could not be identified. When it finally was identified, the cancer had metastasized to the lungs. In any case, this person is responding well to chemotherapy at this writing.

At the workplace of my friend, the staff has decided to hold a 'raffle' to assist with medical expenses. Tickets are $1.00 each, or 6 tickets for $5.00. Prizes of 1st place $250, 2nd $100 and 3rd $50 will be distributed with the remainder going to my friend. The explanatory memo concluded with, "Please be as generous as you can, and be reminded that, there but for the grace of God go you or I."

The tribal closing remark infuriated me. It implies to me that there is a 'God' who chose my friend to inflict cancer (punishment?) upon. And this 'God', in 'his' infinite wisdom and choice of my friend is 'merciful'(???) in NOT inflicting it upon ME and the author of the memo??? What could my good friend have done to piss this 'God' off so royally? Is this a 'God' of which YOU would want to have any part??? A theistic ‘God’ possessing such worthless ‘grace’, to me simply does not exist.

I prefer the consciousness of thinkers such as John Shelby Spong, Ernest Holmes, John A.T. Robinson and other more intellectually discriminating folks who view 'God' not as a theistic "man with a beard on a throne in a heaven", but instead as the ground of all being. This view of ‘God', though unbeknownst to the author of the 'raffle' memo, is precisely the thing that prompts her to help our friend in the first place. I can only wish that we didn't resort to primitive, tribal cliches in matters of life, death and God.




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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The saga continues. . .

. . . Keith, our guitarist and one of the founding members, had by this time decided to leave the band, an event that was somewhat bittersweet in that at time we sometimes longed for a guitarist with a different style. But he certainly had many good points, was reliable and, not infrequently, added musicality. Jeff had oft-times mentioned his seminary-educated, guitar-playing brother Jay who was also a founding member of a different music-playing organization of much loftier goal and intent (in my opinion, as I hardly wrote anything at the time and greatly admired local, original musicians for their chutzpah) called OHO. The name, now a brand, was an acronym incorporating the last names of three of the other founders, but failed to include Jay's. [I always thought they should have been called GOHO.] Jeff indicated that Jay would be interested in joining our combo in order to make some money because then, as now, local, original musicians weren't reaping great sums playing their own compositions. I had no inkling at the time that this event would influence my music, work ethic, and the better part of my life, but it has. And I would be willing to wager that Jay has had that affect on many other people as well.




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Sunday, September 25, 2011

If you're in . . .

. . . the Frederick, MD area tonight,September 26, 2011. . .
Enjoy Yourself at The Monday Night Songwriters Showcase
This Week Featuring
David LaFleur
plus
piano prelude by Ray Jozwiak (Gonzo Piano) Three-song cameos by Laurie Marie – all the way from San Antonio, Simone Sattler, F.A.M.E. president and multi-instrumentalist) Rick Hill, AND showcase regulars, including poet John Holly, Tomy Wright and Todd C. Walker and possibly an appearance by Mister Ron Goad

Monday Night Songwriters Showcaseat Brewer's Alley Restaurant & Brewery(take the elevator on the right to the 2nd floor) 124 North Market Street Frederick, MD 21701
Telephone: 301-631-0089 Fax: 301-631-1874
http://www.brewers-alley.com/




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Unavoidable, that's what it is. . .

The fifth definition of 'politics' at http://www.merriam-webster.com is, "the total complex of relations between people living in society" of which I believe many people are not aware. The preceding four all involve government and governing. I don't know the chronology of the development of the word, but it seems to me that the former probably foreshadowed the latter and the subsequent evolution of the workings of government, specifically in view the behaviors of members of the legislative and executive branches of our government since the administration of Ronald Reagan, have been adversely affected by the mere presence of the phenomenon defined in the former definition, and that's a shame.

In pondering this, I recall a conversation with a friend recently about the probability of the re-election of our current president for a second term. Be clear that my perception is that the man is by no means perfect. He most certainly has made some mistakes. I do not agree with everything he has done but in most cases, I understand why he has done them. But as my friend said and with which I agree, beneath it all, the president is a 'principle-driven' individual. And with regard to the question of his, as some perceive, unlikely re-election, I offer you the following by author Derrick Dickey. . .


The New York Times declared, “Thomas E. Dewey’s Election as President is a Foregone Conclusion.” Top pollsters predicted a Dewey win, as did leading national political writers. In fact, with the exception of Truman, everyone else was certain Dewey would be elected. Months before the election, Life ran a cover of a picture of Dewey with a caption that read, “The Next President of the United States.” Headline after headline screamed Dewey as President.

Truman, for his part, appeared to be running a campaign more against the Eightieth Congress than against Dewey. Truman presented a proposal to the Congress in February before the election that would guarantee the rights of blacks. This created conflict among the Democratic Party. At the convention, all of the Mississippi and half of the Alabama delegates walked out, for a total of 35, when Truman was praised for his “courageous stand on civil rights.” This lead to the split of the Party and the emergence of the Dixiecrats. South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond ran on the Party’s ticket. The Dixiecrats hoped to cause enough split in order to throw the election into the House, and therefore the South could prevent a civil-rights supporter from being elected. Many within the party were dissatisfied with Truman’s running mate, Senate Majority Leader Alben W. Barkley. Once again, there was defection, which lead to the announcement of Henry Wallace and running mate Senator Glen Taylor (ID-Dem.) on the Progressive ticket. New York Times stated, “The [Democratic] Party might as well immediately concede the election to Dewey and save the wear and tear of campaigning.” With so much discontent going on within the party, the media hounded on the latest polls. A Gallup poll in 1948 reported that only 36% of the people thought that Truman was doing a good job as President. The nation was discontented with high taxes, rising cost of living, labor strife, and the Cold War that was brought on with the end of World War II.

Truman needed to turn the direction of the election around quickly. He revealed he would call the Congress back on July 26, just a few months shy of the election, to ask for legislation to slow rising prices, aid for education, a national health plan, civil rights legislation, public power, and cheap electricity. The media charged Truman with using cheap politics. Truman responded, “What that worst Eightieth Congress does in its special session will be the test. The American people will decide on the rest.”

While Truman was personable and feisty, Dewey appeared stuffy. The media referred to him as “the only man they knew who could strut sitting down.” Richard Rovere, of New Yorker, said, “he comes out like a man who has been mounted on casters and given a tremendous shove from behind” at rallies. He ended sentences with “period”, and was fond of phrases such as “Oh, Lord” and “Good Gracious.” With Truman behind in the polls, and public discontent with Truman, the Dewey campaign was laid-back and mild. Dewey’s running mate, Earl Warren, got so frustrated with the low-key campaign, that he commented to the media, “I wish just once I could call somebody an S.O.B.!”

Dewey had numerous faux pas in the campaign. At one stop, Dewey commented that it was nice to see so many children, and that they should be lucky he got them a day off from school. One kid yelled, “It’s Saturday.” At another speech in Illinois, Dewey was speaking from the rear platform of a train, which started backing up. No one was injured, but Dewey declared, the engineer “should probably be shot at sunrise, but we’ll let him off this time since no one was hurt.” Truman took full advantage of this, and announced that there were great train crews all across the nation, “they are all Democrats. Dewey objects to having engineers back up. He doesn’t mention that under that great engineer, Hoover, we backed up into the worst depression in history.”

Not only did the Truman campaign take full advantage of Dewey’s low-key campaign, but also the Democrats lack of funds. The party was often so low on funds that the President was cut off during the middle of his speeches. Louis Johnson, his fund-raiser, let the networks cut him off mid-speech to dramatize the financial plight. Once, when a station manager told him unless he coughed up more money, the President would be cut off, Jack Redding told him to, “Cut him off on a high note,” and in a loud voice stated, “The networks won’t let the President of the United States finish his speech!” This brought reporters running, stories in the newspapers the next day, and tons of indignant letters to the editors, as well as contributions to the Party.

As the election wore on, Truman gained the following of the people. While the press discounted him up to the end, the polls showed that the voters were starting to come around. Truman was still trailing Dewey, but he had closed the gap. The media refused to acknowledge it. Roper declared in September that he had such faith in his previous polls, that he would not issue a new one. As the reports filtered in the night of the election, Truman was ahead in the popular votes, but the newscasters still believed Truman did not have a chance.

The Election of 1948 had many milestones. The Republican Convention of 1948 was the first ever to be televised. The Truman upset caused pollsters, such as Gallup, Roper, and Crossley, to investigate where they went wrong. Columnists, reporters, and editorial writers blamed themselves for relying too much on the polls. Marquis Childs, a columnist, wrote, “We were wrong, all of us, completely and entirely, the commentators, the political editors, the politicians-except for Harry S. Truman, and no one believed him. The fatal flaw was the reliance on the public opinion polls.”

The legend of “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!” was born. Harry S. Truman had fought the media, the commentators, and everyone else, and won the election. One of the most famous pictures is of Truman holding the Chicago Daily Tribune, with a headline that reads, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” The 1948 Election shows the agenda of the media, how it conflicts with that of the American people. In his final campaign speech, Truman said, “The smart boys say we can’t win. They tried to bluff us with a propaganda blitz, but we called their bluff, we told the people the truth. And the people are with us. The tide is rolling. All over the country. I have seen it in the people’s faces. The people are going to win this election.




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Friday, September 23, 2011

Where it's at is here with you. . .

. . . Where it's at is here with you. . .

I've never been one to follow trends. I won't be with the crowd when they round the bend. But I'll be with you until the very end cause, where it's at is here with you. Fancy parties leave me cold and drained. Discos crowds and posturing in vain only feeds some silly appetite unnamed. Where it's at is here with you.

I don't want to see the moon. Fly to Paris May or June. I just want a one-way-fare to any place where you'll be there.

I don't need gold or precious things; fancy clothes or even diamond rings. I only need the thrill that being with you brings. Where it's at is here with you. For fame or power I have no desire. I don't crave acceptance or to be admired. I'm just happy sitting with you by the fire. Where it's at is here with you.

I don't want to see the moon. Fly to Paris May or June. I just want a one-way-fare to any place where you'll be there.

HERE WITH YOU
©1998 Raymond M. Jozwiak


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I have never been. . .

. . . good at any sport. PERIOD.

Expanding upon that, nor have I ever been any good at anything remotely competitive. For some reason competition always brings out the worst in me. I'm not sure if it involves some type of pressure, subconscious or otherwise or if in truth, I am just plain lousy at EVERYTHING. And this unique distinction of being the world's worst everything translates to cards. [and pool, bowling, tiddlywinks, jacks, old maid, hopscotch, marbles, you name it) or any type of card game, if I apply myself enough to learn it, is always a total disaster for me. And in addition, I shuffle and deal cards like I'm from Mars. Wait a minute, I'll bet even beings from Mars are better at cards (and competition) than me!

This accounts for my reluctance to enter songwriting competitions. Although in this area, I do feel that I possess some semblance of talent, if you will. And since all of my compositions are my 'children', I love them and I view them for what they are with all their warts but with their good qualities shining through.





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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shame. . .

. . . on US. The American way!!!????? DEMOCRACY????!!!!!


Was this Really the RIGHT thing to do?????

Rest in piece Mr. Troy Davis.

Can we live with ourselves after this????

And me, here in Texas. The capital punishment capital of the world.

I am ashamed of my species.

Someone yesterday posted: "He is not set to die, he is set to be killed. There's a difference. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"."



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Monday, September 19, 2011

Come again. . .

. . . House Speaker John Boehner says, "This administration's insistence on raising taxes on job creators and its reluctance to take the steps necessary to strengthen our entitlement programs are the reasons the president and I were not able to reach an agreement previously, and it is evident today that these barriers remain."

So why the f*#k aren't Boehner's "job creators" creating jobs RIGHT NOW while there are no additional taxes imposed upon them??? WHY???

Sorry. These people just PISS ME OFF!!!!!




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Goin' to Houston. . .

Well It's lonesome in this ol' town everybody puts me down
I'm a face without a name just a walking in the rain
Going back to Houston Houston Houston

I got holes in both of my shoes well I'm a walking case of the blues
Saw a dollar yesterday but the wind blew it away
Going back to Houston Houston Houston

I haven't eaten in about a week I'm so hungry when I walk I squeak
Nobody calls me friend it's sad the shape I'm in
Going back to Houston Houston Houston
Going back to Houston Houston Houston

I got a girl waitin' there for me well at least she said she'd be
I got a home and big warm bed and a feather pillow for my head
Going back to Houston Houston Houston

Well it's lonesome in this ol' town...
I'm a face without a name just a walking in the rain
Going back to Houston Houston Houston
Going back to Houston Houston Houston

©1965 Lee Hazelwood





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Do we really deserve. . .

. . . all those years of retirement? Speaking for myself and only myself. . .
HELL YES!!!!

Now that I am fast approaching retirement age, and considering my particular circumstances, I believe I, and I would never criticize anyone else who believes they, deserve retirement. However, I (unlike most of my right-bent co-earthlings) believe that paying my fair share of taxes (ahhh, the "T" word!) in order to finance certain things required by a civilized (that may be the key word) society.

But anyway, this article was particularly thought-provoking.

By Allison Linn
http://lifeinc.today.com/
"We know the Great Recession has prompted some people to delay retirement because they can no longer afford it, even as it has forced others into an early retirement.

The nation’s budget crunch also has raised the question of whether we need to increase the age at which people can start collecting full Social Security benefits. The idea is that would make up for the fact that people are living longer and Social Security is becoming harder to pay for.

Unless you’re Warren Buffett, it’s probably not thrilling to consider the possibility of spending your golden years at the office instead of the beach. But a commentary this week from the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute is raising an interesting question: Do we really deserve all those years of retirement?

The article's author, Christopher Conover, notes Americans are now spending a far bigger chunk of their lives in retirement than ever before, and questions whether that’s an entitlement we can still afford.

In 1900, he notes, a 20-year-old man could expect to work for 90 percent of his remaining life. In 2004, he could expect to work 65 percent of his remaining life.

Conover has no clear answer. Working longer may be better for financing things like Social Security, but it also could come at a cost to quality of life. . . "




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Saturday, September 17, 2011

What do I know. . .

. . . about happiness
Do I possess
Some kind of
Key to things that
No one else can see

Just as far back
As my memory goes
Sometimes it seemed
I was alone
Only my point of view
And me

As I reflect
Some disconnect
Could be afflicting me
Am I just one
Under the sun
Or am I quite Unique

Others speak out
Very easily
No fear about
Who may get hurt
By words so
Hastily dispensed

For some reason
I step back away
I hesitate
To be so cold
As to presume
Some insight gained

As I reflect
Some disconnect
Could be afflicting me
Am I just one
Under the sun
Or am I quite Unique

UNIQUE
©2006 Raymond M. Jozwiak


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Friday, September 16, 2011

Barack Obama wants. . .

. . . to have dinner with me.

You see, the subject of his email was: "Raymond, can we meet for dinner?"

But you know what? As I read on, I realized that he was asking me for money. Well certainly a lot of people ask me for money. I'm sure lots of folks ask you for money too. But there's something tawdry about this proposal.

Don't get me wrong. I like Barack Obama. I think he is a decent, principled man trying to do what is best for his country. He is a politician though. That part I don't like as much, but he must act the politician in order to be successful; and to be elected (or as presently, re-elected).

But back to dinner; it's one thing to ask someone to dinner. But to ask for money just for the pleasure of my company at dinner, well, it makes me feel . . . cheap.





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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let's all get 'raptured up'. . .

. . . paraphrasing a hitherto, unnamed blogger, but real nonetheless. (Is this like being 'ratcheted up'?)

"I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for this world and my church. I love my church. It's something I can always look forward to. I can't wait to go to heaven. I wish there was some way to get everybody saved and then just go. I'm tired of this world. . . [Same guy. Apparently not well-adjusted.]

“I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate, she told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.” [Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann exhibiting a bit of gullibility.)

"Like so many of life’s varieties of experience, the novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don’t so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it’s time to be on my way. No, it’s the snickering that gets me down. . . What do I hope for? If not a cure, then a remission. And what do I want back? In the most beautiful apposition of two of the simplest words in our language: the freedom of speech." (Christopher Hitchens, journalist, author, philosopher, recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.)

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail… There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark” (Stephen Hawking, educator, scientist, author)

"The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst." [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality?)




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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If only. . .

. . . or should I ask "when only"?

The New York Times
Sept. 13, 2011
". . . A year ago, when chemotherapy stopped working against his leukemia, William Ludwig signed up to be the first patient treated in a bold experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ludwig, then 65, a retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, N.J., felt his life draining away and thought he had nothing to lose.

Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors — and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins.

At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst.

A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia.

A number of research groups have been trying to do this, but the T-cells they engineered could not accomplish all the tasks. As a result, the cells’ ability to fight tumors has generally been temporary.

The University of Pennsylvania team seems to have hit all the targets at once. Inside the patients, the T-cells modified by the researchers multiplied to 1,000 to 10,000 times the number infused, wiped out the cancer and then gradually diminished, leaving a population of “memory” cells that can quickly proliferate again if needed.

The researchers said they were not sure which parts of their strategy made it work — special cell-culturing techniques, the use of H.I.V.-1 to carry new genes into the T-cells, or the particular pieces of DNA that they selected to reprogram the T-cells. . ."

Hell of a thing, don't you think?!





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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So "Doc", I say. . .

". . . I know I don't usually act like this during my checkup but man, life is too short to go to every doctor's appointment all nervous and anxious because let's face it man, who wants to go to a doctor's appointment anyway. And besides, this is so much more fun. I mean, I'm actually looking forward to that finger thing you do now. I only hope it's as good for you as it is for me."

If this was a movie, the expositional scenes would have endeared you to me and I'd be just so goldarned lovable that this drunk scene at the doctor's office would only evoke either sympathy or at the very least, understanding since my life has been so milktoastedly mundane and I am searching for meaning and intellectual fulfillment.

But in real life, who in their right mind would go to their semi-annual physical in a state of inebriation???




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"Old friends. . .

. . . sat on their park bench like bookends . . . A newspaper blowin' through the grass. . ."

Digital technology and the resultant social media sites have made it easier than ever to become reacquainted with old friends, at least if your old friends are computer savvy and inclined to take advantage of these developments, a qualification used by people my age because there are in fact many of us WHO, unfortunately, are not and/or do not care to become computer savvy.

Anyway, I am trying to contact some old friends and plan to meet with one unique, dynamic, upstanding citizen from my early college days (neither of us is, by the way, anywhere near 70, as in the song) working at the school's radio station toward what I'd hoped would be a career in broadcast media. He was the news director at the station which was actually more than an on-campus, closed-circuit operation. It was a community station which continued to grow long after our departure from its staff and continues today as Baltimore's premiere classical music station. The station at the time aired a variety of music, talk and news shows and I was actually (as Porky Pig said) a r-r-radio annannannann, a r-r-radio annannannann, a DISC JOCKEY. My friend went on to establish, and continues today, a successful career in the communication arts and sciences.

Happily though, my experience at that college radio station was my initial and comprehensive introduction to jazz, an influence which once exerted has never been, nor will ever be, absent from my system and my music. And now, better late than never, I continue working towards achieving a modest and personal level of 'success' in playing my music for you.





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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Music, fun and more . . .

Music, fun, abundant work and money were ours. Good times, as they now say. Our repertoire had evolved and developed during this period to include Bungle in the Jungle, You're So Vain, Games People Play (Jethro Tull, Carly Simon and The Spinners respectively). But then, in what seemed to be a not very long time later, Bruce (our drummer) resigned (abdicated his drum throne?). My sister, who at the time worked for the state, had become acquainted with a young man at the office who, in addition to charming all the ladies there (including her), was a drummer. Not only was he a drummer, he was a drummer who was receptive to the idea of joining our little musical organization. His name was Jeff.

Jeff 'auditioned' and was quite impressive on a technical level; at least to our plebeian musical sensibilities of the time. Not to slight Jeff's ability to be sure. He had a powerful touch, yet not without the ability to sensitively accompany a slow ballad. While not subtle, his drumming was strong, steady (relatively) and something of a departure from his predecessor. While we missed Bruce both personally and musically, we welcomed Jeff and enjoyed the markedly different rhythm keeper and dynamic, debonaire character that had become our drummer. Not only was Jeff a Ladykiller, he was such a charismatic personality that I suspected he could quite possibly be bi-polar. I more than the other members of the band began spending additional amounts of personal time with Jeff enjoying his captivating stories, his outrageous personality, his knowledge and appreciation of musical styles. Jeff and I visited many and varied drinking and eating places after gigs and I'd found that not only had the band acquired a fine new drummer, I had found a fun and fascinating new friend.




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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Everybody wants to be a star. . .

. . . ain't it the truth? Well, maybe not exactly.

I would not summarize my situation as such. I've certainly met my share of guitar-playing-vocalizing-pour-my-hear-out-singer-songwriters in my time. Many times hearing them makes me want to, like them, sing my own vocal compositions while accompanying myself on guitar. But then I stop myself. Of the GPVPMHOSSs I've encountered, many were actually very good; others- not so. Then of course, viewing things objectively, of just about all of them I can say some good things, meaning only that all of them have talents of one sort or another. But to be a really great singer/songwriter, many things have to gel to make them a 'star'. Many truly great S/Ss have not or will not become stars due to mere bad luck.

I have concluded awhile back that while I find my writing to be particularly strong, lyrically and musically, I lack the vocal delivery skills necessary to be a real, badass S/S. But I do have great confidence in my skills as a writer and instrumental music performer, and producer - may I say without sounding excessively egoistic. So therefore, I feel this is the artist I must market.

And now, as I am no youngster, I know without a doubt, that I must make my music to the point that some may call music my obsession. But obsession or not, music is the one thing in life that brings me such pleasure, not only in the act of producing sounds themselves, but communicating something of myself to others in these sounds.

'Success' is relative, to be sure. In one way, I have achieved a certain 'success' already in that I know well who I am musically and what I must do. In this fact I take great comfort and find much satisfaction. Irrespective of adulation, notoriety or monetary reward, I can and will continue to do this until I can do it no more.





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Friday, September 9, 2011

That Obama. . .

. . . first he causes a recession and he gets us deep in debt. Then he won't make any jobs and NOW THIS. . .

from
msnbc.com news services
updated 9/9/2011 2:36:54 PM ET 2011-09-09

"Bank of America is considering cutting at least 10 percent of its work force as part of a massive restructuring, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal said that officials at the Charlotte, N.C., bank have discussed cutting 40,000 employees, or 14 percent of the bank’s 288,000 total staff. Bloomberg put the job cuts at about 10 percent. They each cited people that were not identified by name. . ."

The bank recently sold $5 billion of preferred stock to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and also agreed to sell half its stake in a Chinese bank. Bank of America is also trying to sell a large portion of its mortgage business, the newspaper said.

The Journal said that most of the job cuts are expected to be made on its consumer side. It got rid of 63 unprofitable branches between April and June and said it plans to close 750 of its nearly 6,000 locations in the next several years. . . "

. . . I'm sure republicans will eventually (if not already) regale their gullible constituency with tales of how the president caused the earthquake and brought on a hurricane in the same week before having the nerve to make it rain for 5 days straight in the eastern part of the country. [And I'm sure they won't mention the paychecks, perks, stock options and bonuses the B of A execs will take when this is over.]





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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Love Is Strange. . .

. . . as is Life and Death, which shortly following the anniversary of his birth, brings us to. . . Buddy Holly!

from Celebritology
Posted at 01:03 PM ET, 09/08/2011
Buddy Holly honored with star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photos)
By Sarah Anne Hughes

"Buddy Holly received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Wednesday, on what would have been the musician’s 75th birthday.

On hand for the dedication ceremony were Phil Everly (of the Everly Brothers), Holly’s wife, Maria Elena Holly, and Gary Busey. The actor played the singer in the biopic “The Buddy Holly Story” and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for the role.

Holly, who along with the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens died in a plane crash at age 22, is now the 2,447th celebrity to be honored with a star.

That same evening, Stevie Nicks, Chris Isaak and other musicians performed in a tribute concert at the Music Box Theater. . . "

Just listen . . .




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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Three charts in an email. . .

. . . each one seeking happiness . . . well, I ain't no Sinatra, but. . .

From Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law
Monday 29 August 2011
by: Dave Johnson, Campaign for America's Future | Op-Ed
http://www.truth-out.org/three-charts-email-your-right-wing-brother-law/1314626142

Couldn't reproduce the charts here (you can see them by copying-and-pasting the hyperlink above to your browser), but Dave Johnson advocates something in which I believe very strongly, FACTS!

The chart shows Bush increased spending 88%; Obama increased spending 7.2% and Johnson says says, "Government spending increased dramatically under Bush. It has not increased much under Obama. Note that this chart does not reflect any spending cuts resulting from deficit-cutting deals."

"Deficits
Bush-Obama Deficit Chart
Notes, this chart includes Clinton's last budget year ($128 billion surplus) for comparison." Bush, $1.4 trillion deficit. Obama, $1.2 trillion and headed downward.

"The Stimulus and Jobs
Bush-Obama-Jobs-Chart
In this chart, the RED lines on the left side -- the ones that keep doing DOWN -- show what happened to jobs under the policies of Bush and the Republicans. We were losing lots and lots of jobs every month, and it was getting worse and worse. The BLUE lines -- the ones that just go UP -- show what happened to jobs when the stimulus was in effect. We stopped losing jobs and started gaining jobs, and it was getting better and better. The leveling off on the right side of the chart shows what happened as the stimulus started to wind down: job creation leveled off at too low a level.

It looks a lot like the stimulus reversed what was going on before the stimulus.
Conclusion: THE STIMULUS WORKED BUT WAS NOT ENOUGH!

More False Things
These are just three of the false things that everyone "knows." Some others are (click through): Obama bailed out the banks, businesses will hire if they get tax cuts, health care reform cost $1 trillion, Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme or is "going broke", government spending "takes money out of the economy."

Why This Matters
These things really matter. We all want to fix the terrible problems the country has. But it is so important to know just what the problems are before you decide how to fix them. Otherwise the things you do to try to solve those problems might just make them worse. If you get tricked into thinking that Obama has made things worse and that we should go back to what we were doing before Obama -- tax cuts for the rich, giving giant corporations and Wall Street everything they want -- when those are the things that caused the problems in the first place, then we will be in real trouble."




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That GREED thing again. . .

. . . it comes back, over and over. Something to it?
YE - AH!!!!

By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
The New York Times
updated 8/31/2011 5:12:26 AM ET 2011-08-31T09:12:26

"At least 25 top United States companies paid more to their chief executives in 2010 than they did to the federal government in taxes, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The companies — which include household names like eBay, Boeing, General Electric (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal, which is jointly owned by Comcast Corp. and General Electric) and Verizon — averaged $1.9 billion each in profits, according to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal-leaning research group. But a variety of shelters, loopholes and tax reduction strategies allowed the companies to average more than $400 million each in tax benefits — which can be taken as a refund or used as write-off against earnings in future years.

The chief executives of those companies were paid an average of more than $16 million a year, the study found, a figure substantially higher than the $10.8 million average for all companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.

The financial data in the report was taken from the companies’ regulatory filings, which can differ from what is actually filed on a corporate tax return. Even in a year when a company claims an overall tax benefit, it may pay some cash taxes while accumulating credits that can be redeemed in future years. For instance, General Electric reported a federal tax benefit of more than $3 billion in 2010, but company officials said they still expected to pay a small amount of cash taxes.

The authors of the study, which examined the regulatory filings of the 100 companies with the best-paid chief executives, said that their findings suggested that current United States policy was rewarding tax avoidance rather than innovation.

“We have no evidence that C.E.O.’s are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises,” the study concluded. “On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.”

The study comes at a time when business leaders have been lobbying for a cut in corporate taxes and Congress and the Obama administration are considering an overhaul of the tax code to reduce the federal budget deficit.

'Repatriation holiday'
Many business leaders say that the top corporate statutory rate of 35 percent, which is higher than any country except Japan, is hobbling the economy and making it difficult for domestic companies to compete with overseas rivals. A coalition led by high-technology companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers have been pushing for a “repatriation holiday,” which would let them bring as much as $1 trillion in foreign profits back to the United States at substantially reduced rates.

But the Obama administration has said it will consider lowering the corporate rate only if Congress agrees to eliminate enough loopholes and tax subsidies to pay for any drop in revenue. Many policy experts estimate that the United States could lower its corporate rate to the high 20s if it eliminated the maze of tax breaks that favor specific industries and investors. . ."




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Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Main Attraction. . .

Every hair on your head has got to be in place for the camera. Every place you happen to be the people stare. But you are not the main attraction. You are not the main attraction. You are not the main attraction. But oh how you wanted to be.

Don't equate each little thing that happened in the past to the present. Don't expect each person to see the things you see 'cause you are not the main attraction. You are not the main attraction. You are not the main attraction. But oh how you wanted to be.

Do you ever think of anyone else? Does concern come crossing your mind. There's enough conceit under your own belt to last a lifetime.

If your dreams should ever come true, I'll see that spiteful face on the cover of a tabloid where the headline reads, "She wants to be. . . be. . . nothing but the main attraction." Nothing but the main attraction. You are not the main attraction. But oh how you wanted to be. But oh how you wanted to be.

MAIN ATTRACTION (from "CRITIC'S CHOICE")
©2005 Raymond M. Jozwiak


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Mental cobwebs, misspellings and regeneration. . .

Granted, I did and DO love playing music. Make no mistake. And the band REFLECTION did, as does any living, growing thing, EVOLVE. First our guitarist Keith moved to another band, an earthshaking experience for the drummer Bruce and myself at the time. We were just getting musically comfortable with ourselves as a unit and finding a fair amount of work. I don't now for the life of me remember how did it, but our drummer Bruce and I connected with Eddie (saxophones and flute), Rick (trumpet) and Rick H. (guitar). Since one out of two Ricks and Eddie were music students at the local university, our approach to music became a bit more academic with the use of arrangements, charts, some jazz inflections and the addition of some newer, current songs; even one or two by Chicago- one of my favorites. I was doubling as an occasional substitute in Keith's new band and working on arrangements and trying to secure gigs with REFLECTION at the same time. (It's good to be in demand!)

Again, mental cobwebs prevent my accurate recollection, but it seems that Bruce, Keith and I reunited and the academic incarnation of REFLECTION complete with horn section came to an end. After utilizing the services of various reedmen, including Bruce's brother Charles, we expanded our original trio into a quartet with the addition of a permanent saxophonist/vocalist named Greg, with newly revitalized energy. At this time we thought our regeneration would be more thorough with a name changed and finally settled upon the catchy moniker FUL TREATMENT (yes, ONE 'L') which accurately captured our ability to navigate the crosscurrents of musical genre and essentially play ANYTHING that ANYBODY wanted. This gloriously selfless intention was more true in theory than in practice, but our intentions were sincere, particularly at the start, although that facet of our existence did deteriorate somewhat in time.




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Saturday, September 3, 2011

War criminal? . . .

. . . how many OTHERS are there out there Mr. Rumsfeld???

from msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 8/31/2011 5:11:31 AM ET 2011-08-31T09:11:31

"Dick Cheney was "president for all practical purposes" during George W. Bush's first term in office and "fears being tried as a war criminal," according to Colin Powell's chief of staff during his time as secretary of state.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has known Cheney for decades, told ABC News that Cheney was a "very vindictive person." "I simply don't recognize Mr. Cheney anymore," he added.

In his memoir, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," which was released Tuesday, Cheney claimed Powell had undermined Bush, by criticizing policy to people outside the administration. Cheney told NBC News that the book would see "heads exploding all over Washington."

Speaking to CBS Sunday, Powell accused Cheney of taking "cheap shots" at him.
In the ABC interview, Wilkerson suggested Cheney was adopting a tough stance in an attempt to forestall criticism or even prosecution.

"What really sort of got my attention was this way in which he characterized it (the memoir): it's going to 'cause heads to explode,'" Wilkerson said. "That's quite a visual. And in fact, it's the kind of headline I would expect to come out of a gossip columnist, or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It's not the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former vice president of the United States of America.

"I think he's just trying to, one, assert himself so he's not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him," he added.

"He's developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as 'exploding heads all over Washington' because that's the way someone who's decided he's not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let's get out in front of everybody, let's act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him," Wilkerson added. . ."

I think the former administration failed to answer MANY questions after the events of 9/11/2001. . .




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