Sunday, November 16, 2014

SONGS THAT TELL A STORY #10: "The Four Seasons Of Life" by NARVEL FELTS, 1963



Albie's Note:  According to everything I can find about it out on-line, this ballad was first recorded by Rockabilly legend Narvel "the Marvel" in 1963, but this is the version I have always loved, recorded live for the above album much later, sometime in the '70s, I believe.  I had this old LIVE album on Cassette and this song brings back all kinds of memories of my younger days in the 1980s and my '73 Chevy pick-up.  I especially like this version because of the introduction, where Narvel [born November 11, 1938 and still touring!] tells of "the strange mood" that came over him when he came to write this unusual song about family, life and death, and this intro serves to give the whole thing a certain strange-- almost eerie-- poignancy. 

Hear for yourself:





THE FOUR SEASONS OF LIFE

Deep in the night a baby cries
Little does he understand that before he knows it he'll be a man
In the spring a young man's fancy turns to love
In treetops high he sees the mating of the dove
Then he finds her somehow, somewhere, and with one kiss a love they share
This is the first season of life


In the summer he gives her a wedding band
As hot wind blows they walk together through the sand
Then they have a family, first comes one then two then three
This is the second season of life


Then comes autumn the green leaves turn to gold
Their two daughters have husbands their son takes a wife
Their grandchildren have reached number nine
This is the third season of life


In the winter an old man's hair has turned to snow
His dreams are gone with the cold north wind that blows
For she is gone and he's alone soon he must go where she has gone
This is the last season of life




 
"Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
 
JAMES 4:14
 
PEACE

Saturday, November 15, 2014

POETRY BREAK #22: "THE QUIET JOYS OF BROTHERHOOD" by Richard Farina, 1966



Albie's Note: The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood is a beautiful poem by the late, GREAT novelist/folk singer/iconoclast and genius Richard Fariña  (March 8, 1937 – April 30, 1966)  which he set musically to the public domain melody of the ancient Irish air My Lagan Love. His widow Mimi Fariña (born Margarita Mimi Baez, April 30, 1945 – July 18, 2001) sang it in 1968 on the final Richard and Mimi Fariña album Memories [a long time fave of Albie's] , two full years after Richard's untimely death in a motorcycle crash.

I loved that old album like few others, and always loved this particular poem.   I have long considered Farina the TRUE 'last of the Beats' because in many ways he was the last gasp of that strange sensibility... at once joyous and poetic yet darkly acknowledging of the "American Weirdness."

Here is Mimi's great rendition of one of Richard's true poetic classics. I am no leftie, but Brotherhood is a really good thing to sing about.

Amen.




Where gentle tides go rolling by
Along the salt-sea strand
The colors blend and roll as one
Together in the sand
And often do the winds entwine
To send their distant call
The quiet joys of brotherhood
When love is lord of all

Where oat and wheat together rise
Along the common ground
The mare and stallion light and dark
Have thunder in their sound
The rainbow sign, the blended flood
Still have my heart enthralled
The quiet joys of brotherhood
When love is lord of all

But men have come to plow the tides
The oat lies on the ground
I hear their fires in the field
They drive the stallion down
The roses bleed, both light and dark
The winds do seldom call
The running sands recall the time
When love was lord of all





 
PEACE


 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #33: "It Ain't Me, Babe, " Sayaka Alessandra sings Bob Dylan, 2010


Albie's Note: I always like to listen to this young gal form Sicily, the amazing Japanese/Italian amateur [recently turned professional]  SAYAKA ALESSANDRA.   Her taste in songs is marvelous, strongly leaning toward the Country/Rockabilly side of the spectrum, but at the same time, full of wonderful surprises too.  

Here, in a video posted back in 2010 she does Bob Dylan's great paean to "bad relationships" in a way that I think might actually top both the TURTLES' and JOHNNY CASH's hit versions from the 60s.

"It Ain't Me, Babe."   Indeed.


IT AINT ME, BABE
Written by Bob Dylan

Go ’way from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I’m not the one you want, babe
I’m not the one you need
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I’m not the one you want, babe
I will only let you down
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you an’ more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

Go melt back into the night, babe
Everything inside is made of stone
There’s nothing in here moving
An’ anyway I’m not alone
You say you’re lookin' for someone
Who’ll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
An’ to come each time you call
A lover for your life an’ nothing more
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe



See more at Sayaka's Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJVseQRrohzvXKtkdUbWWog


 
 
PEACE
 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

RANGER AL's WESTERN COMIX THEATRE #8: RED RYDER from DELL Comics, 1943

Albie's Note:  Here was Red Ryder, the single most popular western comic strip of all time, adapted-- in 1943 AD--  to fit the relatively new novelty called "comic magazines." 

While in some ways it doesn't hold up well [the sidekick Little Beaver is a somewhat uncomfortable stereotype, for example]  I can actually, totally, see the appeal.   Real life ranchman and artist Fred Harman [February 9, 1902 - January 2, 1982] created a wildly unrealistic white hat hero-- then drew him with such virile action and western vigor that it's actually pretty easy to see how the kids loved ol' Double R!

This episode ends kind of abruptly but I think it's because these were reprints from an on-going daily continuity.

In any case, bad guys had best beware... Red-headed Justice is riding hard!

You betchum!













 
PEACE
 

Friday, October 10, 2014

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX # 32: "My Own kind Of Hat" by ROSIE FLORES, 1994


Albie's Note: One of all-time favorite albums remains the obscure tribute record Tulare Dust: A Songwriters' Tribute To Merle Haggard from the HIGHTONE record label originally put out in 1994.  This collection of familiar and obscure Haggard songs re-interpreted by alt-rock stalwarts [there was an all-star-country tribute album full of big names the same year but it wasn't nearly as good] contained some truly beautiful music and I really liked Hag being re-interpreted by younger but still respectful artists. 

Also, I always loved this particular song-- a true Libertarian anthem-- originally a top ten country hit found on Hag's great 1979 album SERVING 190 PROOF.  I remember there was a story at the time that the song came from an experience when Merle was at a photo session for an album cover and arrived in a Fedora.  The photographer handed over a Stetson and said to Hag:

"I think the label would rather have me shoot you in a cowboy hat."

To which the Okie philosopher replied "I'll wear my own kind of hat, thank you." 

True or not, it's a great story.... and the song is even greater. 

Here is the version I like best from San Antonio rockabilly legend Rosie Flores.

Wear your own lids, folks!   Amen.


MY OWN KIND OF HAT
Words and Music by Merle Haggard
Cowboys and outlaws, right guys and southpaws,
Good dogs and all kinds of cats.
Dirt roads and white lines and all kinds of stop signs,
But I stand right here where I'm at,
'Cause I wear My Own Kind Of Hat.

There's two kind of lovers and two kind of brothers,
And two kind of babies to hold.
There's two kind of cherries and two kind of fairies,
And two kind of mothers I'm told, and told

Cowboys and outlaws, right guys and southpaws,
Good dogs and all kinds of cats.
Dirt roads and white lines and all kinds of stop signs,
But I stand right here where I'm at,
'Cause I wear My Own Kind Of Hat.

There's two kind of brothers and two kind of lovers,
And two kind of babies to hold.
There's two kind of cherries and two kind of fairies,
And two kind of mothers I'm told, and told

Cowboys and outlaws, right guys and southpaws,
Good dogs and all kinds of cats.
Dirt roads and white lines and all kinds of stop signs,
But I stand right here where I'm at,
'Cause I wear My Own Kind Of Hat.




PEACE

Thursday, October 9, 2014

COOL STUFF FROM LIBRARY BOOKS # 34: Spurgeon ON CHRISTIAN UNITY!


"UNITY BRINGS BLESSING"

By C. H. Spurgeon
[From THE TREASURY OF DAVID]


"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
"It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
"As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore"
(Psa. 133:1-3)

 
The Beauty of Unity
"Behold." It is a wonder seldom seen, therefore behold it! It may be seen, for it is the characteristic of real saints – therefore fail not to inspect it! It is well worthy of admiration; pause and gaze upon it! It will charm you into imitation, therefore note it well! God looks on with approval, therefore consider it with attention. "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" No one can tell the exceeding excellence of such a condition; and so the Psalmist uses the word "how" twice – Behold how good! and how pleasant! He does not attempt to measure either the good or the pleasure, but invites us to behold for ourselves. The combination of the two adjectives "good" and "pleasant," is more remarkable than the conjunction of two stars of the first magnitude: for a thing to be "good" is good, but for it also to be pleasant is better. All men love pleasant things, and yet it frequently happens that the pleasure is evil; but here the condition is as good as it is pleasant, as pleasant as it is good, for the same "how" is set before each qualifying word.
For brethren according to the flesh to dwell together is not always wise; for experience teaches that they are better a little apart, and it is shameful for them to dwell together in disunion. They had much better part in peace like Abraham and Lot, than dwell together in envy like Joseph’s brothers. When brethren can and do dwell together in unity, then is their communion worthy to be gazed upon and sung of in holy psalmody. Such sights ought often to be seen among those who are near of kin, for they are brethren, and therefore should be united in heart and aim; they dwell together, and it is for their mutual comfort that there should be no strife; and yet how many families are rent by fierce feuds, and exhibit a spectacle which is neither good nor pleasant!
As to brethren in spirit, they ought to dwell together in church fellowship, and in that fellowship one essential matter is unity. We can dispense with uniformity if we possess unity: oneness of life, truth, and way; oneness in Christ Jesus; oneness of object and spirit – these we must have, or our assemblies will be synagogues of contention rather than churches of Christ. The closer the unity the better; for the more of the good and the pleasant there will be. Since we are imperfect beings, somewhat of the evil and the unpleasant is sure to intrude; but this will readily be neutralized and easily ejected by the true love of the saints, if it really exists.

Christian unity is good in itself, good for ourselves, good for the brethren, good for our converts, good for the outside world; and for certain it is pleasant; for a loving heart must have pleasure and give pleasure in associating with others of like nature. A church united for years in earnest service of the Lord is a well of goodness and joy to all those who dwell round about it.
The Blessings of Unity

"It is like the precious ointment upon the head." In order that we may the better behold brotherly unity David gives us a resemblance, so that as in a glass we may perceive its blessedness. It has a sweet perfume about it, comparable to that precious ointment with which the first high priest was anointed at his ordination.
It is a holy thing, and so again is like the oil of consecration which was to be used only in the Lord’s service. What a sacred thing must brotherly love be when it can be likened to an oil which must never be poured on any man but on the Lord’s high priest alone!
It is a diffusive thing: being poured on his head the fragrant oil flowed down upon Aaron’s head, and thence dropped upon his garments till the utmost hem was anointed therewith; and even so doth brotherly love extend its benign power and bless all who are beneath its influence. Hearty concord brings a benediction upon all concerned; its goodness and pleasure are shared in by the lowliest members of the household; even the servants are the better and the happier because of the lovely unity among the members of the family.
It has a special use about it; for as by the anointing oil Aaron was set apart for the special service of Jehovah, even so those who dwell in love are the better fitted to glorify God in His church.
 
The Lord is not likely to use for His glory those who are devoid of love; they lack the anointing needful to make them priests unto the Lord.
" That ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard." This is a chief point of comparison, that as the oil did not remain confined to the place where it first fell, but flowed down the high priest’s hair and bedewed his beard, even so brotherly love descending from the head distils and descends, anointing as it runs, and perfuming all it lights upon.
"That went down to the skirts of his garments." Once set in motion it would not cease from flowing. It might seem as if it were better not to smear his garments with oil, but the sacred unguent could not be restrained, it flowed over his holy robes; even thus does brotherly love not only flow over the hearts upon which it was first poured out, and descend to those who are an inferior part of the mystical body of Christ, but it runs where it is not sought for, asking neither leave nor license to make its way. Christian affection knows no limits of parish, nation, sect or age.
Is the man a believer in Christ? Then he is in the one body, and I must yield him an abiding love!
 
Is he one of the poorest, one of the least spiritual, one of the least lovable? Then he is as the skirts of the garment, and my heart’s love must fall even upon him.
 
Brotherly love comes from the head, but falls to the feet. Its way is downward. It "ran down," and it "went down": love for the brethren condescends to men of low estate, it is not puffed up, but is lowly and meek. This is no small part of its excellence: oil would not anoint if it did not flow down, neither would brotherly love diffuse its blessing if it did not descend.

The Bounty of Unity


"As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion." From the loftier mountains the moisture appears to be wafted to the lesser hills: the dews of Hermon fall on Zion. The Alpine Lebanon ministers to the minor elevation of the city of David; and so does brotherly love descend from higher to the lower, refreshing and enlivening in its course. Holy concord is as dew, mysteriously blessed, full of life and growth for all plants of grace. It brings with it so much benediction that it is as no common dew, but as that of Hermon which is specially copious, and far-reaching.
O for more of this rare virtue! Not the love which comes and goes, but that which dwells; not that spirit which separates and secludes, but that which dwells together; not that mind which is all for debate and difference, but that which dwells together in unity. Never shall we know the full power of the anointing till we are of one heart and of one spirit; never will the sacred dew of the spirit descend in all its fulness till we are perfectly joined together in the same mind; never will the covenanted and commanded blessing come forth from the Lord our God till once again we shall have "one Lord, one faith, one baptism."
 
Lord, lead us into this most precious spiritual unity, for Thy Son’s sake. Amen.
 

    
 
PEACE
 

Monday, October 6, 2014

POETRY BREAK #21: "A VAGABOND SONG" by Bliss Carman, 1896

 
"A WALK IN THE COUNTRY" Norman Rockwell, 1935


Albie's Note:  This little lyric, from the  second book of Canadian poet Bliss Carman's  VAGABONDIA trilogy: More Songs from Vagabondia [1896], was once a widely quoted popular favorite  in the both the USA and the poet's native country.   It's a poem I always think of when October rolls around.... there truly is something in autumn that makes that adventuruous spirit awaken.   Enjoy this classic from the poet Louis Untermeyer celebreated for "the heartiness, the gypsy jollity, the rush of high spirits, that conquered" through his verse.

 


A Vagabond Song

1861-1929



There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood --
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.


 



PEACE

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #31: GYPSY BLOOD by Mason Ruffner, 1987

 
 
 
Albie's Note:   "There Is something in October sets the Gypsy Blood astir..." 

More rockin' American music form the late, great '80's!  This was blues/rockabilly artist's Mason Ruffner's Biggest hit... it got a lot of mainstream rock play and made the country top 50 as well.   Produced by the great Dave Edmunds  a bit after he produced major hits by by Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stray Cats, it's an awesome tune about that wanderin' spirit.  Enjoy!
 
 

GYPSY BLOOD


Lord knows I was born a gypsy

My heart can steal you blind

I got my hand on my suitcase

Lots of travelin' on my mind

Yeah, it's that blood yeah, that gypsy blood

That carries me far from my love

My spirit flies just like a dove

I got that gypsy blood

I know that there ain’t nothin’

There’s nothin’ like a woman’s touch

But love just burns me like fire

Love is costin' me too much

Must be that blood, must be that gypsy blood

That carries me far from my love

My spirit flies just like a dove

I got that gypsy blood

Do you wanta ride along with me, baby?

Well, I'm on the run

Well, I'm restless and I'm weary

I’m gonna shoot my gun!

Take me out there on that highway

Let the wind blow in my face

If I fall by the wayside

Somebody else can take my place

Yeah, it's that blood yeah, that gypsy blood

That carries me far from my love

My spirit flies just like a dove

I got that gypsy blood


 
PEACE
 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #30: "Crazy Over You" by FOSTER AND LLOYD, 1987



Albie's Note:   Time again for some good ol' American Rockabilly, God love it!!   This was one of my fave pick-up truck cruisin' songs when it came out and I believe I still have the beat-up old cassette somewhere.   Country music in the 1980s was wonderful:  the radio was just full of surprises!   How else can you explain a song like this hitting the top of the Country Charts in ol' ' 87?

Anyway, put your cat clothes on for this classic:

CRAZY OVER YOU
Written by RADNEY FOSTER AND BILL LLOYD

Can't you tell, by the spell that I'm under
This fella's wonderin' if you'll let me get next to you
Is there a chance of gettin' through?
Well you never seem to notice me, no matter what I do
And everybody in town knows I'm crazy over you

It's fo' sho', there's no cure for your kisses?
Doctor says this is the last thing I'll ever do
My heart'll break right in two
Well you never seem to notice me, no matter what I do
And everybody in town knows I'm crazy over you

Everybody knows that I've been after you girl
Come on, sweet baby, let's give it a whirl
Give it up, darlin', I'll make you all mine
And we can be together lovin' all the time

Can't you tell, by the spell that I'm under
This fella's wonderin' if you'll let me get next to you
Is there a chance of gettin' through?
Well you never seem to notice me, no matter what I do
And everybody in town knows I'm crazy over you

You turn your pretty head away, I'm acting like a fool
And everybody in town knows I'm crazy over you!!



BONUS:   Here's a vid of the fellas rockin' it today.... Way cool, junior :)
 

 
PEACE

Saturday, July 26, 2014

HYMN TIME #16: "The Circuit Riding Preacher" by Tim Spencer

 
Albie's Note:  I love this old tribute to frontier preachers written and sung by former SONS OF THE PIONEERS singer Tim Spencer.  (July 13, 1908 – April 26, 1974)  

The circuit riding preacher [usually a Methodist, but there were Baptist and Presbyterian "circuits" as well] was a frontier figure that has never really been given his due.  But that's OK... eternity will bear out his great contribution to this great country.

Two really good books that touch on the subject are BIBLE IN POCKET, GUN IN HAND by Ross Phares and SOUNDING FORTH THE TRUMPET by Peter Marshall and David Manuel.  The latter book contains a chapter entitled "On The Stretch For God,"  which is the best thing I have ever read about the circuit riders.

Also highly recommended is the fact based 1977 film SHEFFEY which gets my vote as the greatest Christian movie ever filmed.

In any case enjoy this old time Cowboy gospel classic:





THE CIRCUIT RIDING PREACHER

Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on
His truth is marching on
His truth is marching on
 
The circuit ridin' preacher used to ride across the land
With a rife on his saddle and a Bible in his hand
He told the prairie people all about the promised land
As he went ridin' singin' down the trail

Leaning leaning safe and secure from all alarms
Leaning leaning leaning on the ever lasting arms

The circuit ridin' preacher travelled thru the mire and mud
Told about the firey furnace and of Noah and the flood
He preached the way to heaven was by water and the blood
As he went riding singing down the
trail

There is power power wonder working power in the precious blood of the lamb
There is power power wonder working power in the precious blood of the lamb

His rifle may be rusted as it hangs upon the wall
And his Bible old and dusty may be never read at all
But until the resurrection when we hear the trumpet call...

his TRUTH will ride along!
 
Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
Glory glory hallelujah glory glory hallelujah
His truth is marching on
His truth is marching on
His truth is marching on




"Whatever may be said of this peculiar man and his eccentricities,  he was a man who walked with and knew his God.  The brilliance of his itinerant ministry lit up the dark hollows, valleys and mountaintops of early Appalachia and  covered and filled them with the glorious light of the Gospel of Jesus ChristHell shook when he came to town.  He died in peace with God and man, and all who knew him revere his memory.  His mantle of ministry did not fall to the ground when he died.  Elijah's mantle fell upon Elisha at Elijah's departure.  Sheffey's mantle has been kept on hold until an  Elisha Generation would come along and pick it up.  That generation has come.  It is time to pick up this fallen mantle and finish what this old circuit rider started long ago!"


Description of Robert S. Sheffey from the book A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory by David Emmons Johnston, 1906

 
 
 
 
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?"
--ROMANS 10:14
 
PEACE
 

Monday, July 7, 2014

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #29: "Gimme Some" by TEX RITTER, 1964



Albie's Note:  This novelty song was a minor C and W chart hit for legendary cowboy singer Tex Ritter in 1964, the year I was born.  It's a goofy, gloriously honest look at fleshly temptation and man's struggles therewith.  The background chorus just kills me!  Heh heh...

I am amazed this wasn't a bigger hit for ol' Tex.  Enjoy:


 
 
Beer and whiskey, whiskey and beer,
Makes your head start aching, makes your eyes unclear;
Makes you waste your money, turns you blind and dumb.
Gimme some.

Strong tobacco, cigarette smoke,
What a dirty habit, makes you nearly choke!
Fills your lungs with poison, makes your brain go
numb.
Gimme some.
 
[CHORUS]
Will I ever get smart? I doubt it.
Tell me something's bad and I can't live without it.

Pretty women, blue-eyed or brown,
How they drive you crazy, how they drag you down;
Soon they're fat and happy, you're a worn-out bum.
Gimme some,
Gimme some.

Bread and gravy, chicken chow mein,
Too much fancy eating only brings you pain,
Doctor says "Hold on there, not another crumb!"
Gimme some.

Dice and poker, blackjack and dice,
Start to win a little, get to feelin' nice!
Bet it all and roll 'em, "Snake eyes, sorry, chum."
Gimme some.

Will I ever get smart? I doubt it.
Tell me something's bad and I can't live without it.

Pretty women, blue-eyed or brown,
How they drive you crazy, how they drag you down;
Soon they're fat and happy, you're a worn-out bum.
Gimme some,
Gimme some.
Gimme some.
Gimme some.
 

PEACE


Monday, June 16, 2014

POETRY BREAK #20 [Father's Day Edition]: "ONLY A DAD" by Edgar A. Guest, 1916

Only a Dad

By Edgar Albert Guest

1881–1959



      
Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916


Albie's Note:   That's an unpecedented 2 in a row from Mr. Guest, but I couldn't resist on Dad's Day!  I actually had a Dad like this [only his brood was SEVEN!]... If I could BE this good a Dad as well...
Well, that would be the thing, wouldn't it? 

 

PEACE 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

POETRY BREAK #19: "Speaking Of Greenberg" by EDGAR A. GUEST, 1934


Albie's Note: OK, friends... if you know me at all you probably know at least TWO things-- amongst others-- about me:  I love old time Baseball, and I am an ardent "Christian Zionist."  

It's rare that those 2 passions come together but they do in today's "POETRY BREAK," as under-valued American poet Edgar Guest brings us a great American Poem about the first Jewish baseball Hall-Of-Famer and all around hero Henry Benjamin "Hank" Greenberg (January 1, 1911 – September 4, 1986), [nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," "Hankus Pankus" or "The Hebrew Hammer."]

The occasion for this poem is summarized nicely by WIKIPEDIA:


Late in the 1934 season, [Greenberg] announced that he would not play on September 10, which was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, or on September 19, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Fans grumbled, "Rosh Hashanah comes every year but the Tigers haven't won the pennant since 1909."

Greenberg did considerable soul-searching, and discussed the matter with his rabbi; finally he relented and agreed to play on Rosh Hashanah, but stuck with his decision not to play on Yom Kippur. Dramatically, Greenberg hit two home runs in a 2–1 Tigers victory over Boston on Rosh Hashanah. The next day's Detroit Free Press ran the Hebrew lettering for "Happy New Year" across its front page.

Columnist and poet Edgar A. Guest expressed the general opinion in a poem titled "Speaking of Greenberg," in which he used the Irish (and thus Catholic) names Murphy and Mulroney. The poem ends with the lines "We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat / But he's true to his religion—and I honor him for that."

And so I am proud to reprint it here, as it originally appeared across the country's newspapers in October 1934:


SPEAKING OF GREENBERG

by Edgar A. Guest


The Irish didn't like it when they heard of Greenberg's fame
For they thought a good first baseman should possess an Irish name;
And the Murphys and Mulrooneys said they never dreamed they'd see
A Jewish boy from Bronxville out where Casey used to be.
In the early days of April not a Dugan tipped his hat
Or prayed to see a "double" when Hank Greenberg came to bat.

In July the Irish wondered where he'd ever learned to play.
"He makes me think of Casey!" Old Man Murphy dared to say;
And with fifty-seven doubles and a score of homers made
The respect they had for Greenberg was being openly displayed.
But on the Jewish New Year when Hank Greenberg came to bat
And made two home runs off Pitcher Rhodes—they cheered like mad for that.

Came Yom Kippur—holy fast day world-wide over to the Jew—
And Hank Greenberg to his teaching and the old tradition true
Spent the day among his people and he didn't come to play.
Said Murphy to Mulrooney, "We shall lose the game today!
We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat,
But he's true to his religion—and I honor him for that!"


Edgar Albert Guest 


PEACE

Saturday, May 24, 2014

R.I.P. "COMMUNITY," 2009-2014... I'll truly miss you!


There was once, at the very beginning, a sense in which this show had-- well, let us say... at least a bare working context of actual reality.  It would still have been watchable, even good in that form... but thankfully, the whole project went wildly off the rails and fast... even well before that first quirky season ended.

The original premise? It was pretty simple, really.

A cocky lawyer is disbarred when it is discovered he had no real bachelor's degree, and he has no choice but to enroll at a local Community College to procure one.  Even the college in those early episodes was something similar to a real JC-- and of course there's a strangeness to all higher learning campuses in today's USA that could reasonably sustain a hip, satirical, comedic look at one.  

Instead of this, however, COMMUNITY-- the sitcom brain-child of some geeky genius guy named Dan Harmon-- chose to be a hip, satirical, comedic look at... well... at Television itself, at story conceits in general, really at everything from metaphysics and religion and science fiction,  to the strange appeal of ersatz "barely-foods" like chicken fingers, and ersatz "barley-tropes" like zombie apocalypses.

In retrospect, it had to end sometime, and now is probably that time.  Looking back, the whole show-- from season one to season five-- and I was watching the very first night it premiered-- has a nice kind of completeness to it.   Recently, I watched that pilot episode again as a syndicated replay.  Although it didn't have the insanity of the later episodes it was actually a perfect starter.  At one point, the lawyer Jeff Winger's old friend Duncan, now a washed-up junior college professor, tells Jeff:

"What you have now, my friend, is a second chance at an honest life."  

And, amazingly, this truly serves as the overall thematic arc of the entire series:  a cynic-- who borders being a sociopath-- is forced to make and maintain friends with his own dysfunctional and irritating community-at-hand.

Now, don't get me wrong... there was always  a sense in which that whole thing was the usual annoyingly heavy-handed allegory about human collectivism [even the title was significantly suggestive of that favorite Hollywood theme about  a deeper and mystical "socialism within us all"-- usually stuff that sends this old libertarian scrambling-- I mean SCRAMBLING-- for the remote control!]  

But what set COMMUNITY apart-- at least for me-- were two things:

1.  An amazing ensemble cast of truly gifted comedic actors [comedians are one thing, actors are another... the talented hybrid of both is a MUCH rarer thing than we often realize.]

2.  A team of writers who often actually succeeded in doing what is usually only claimed:  creating scripts that are new takes and truly unique in the history of the American sit-com.

This combination gave us stuff like the legendary "Time-line" episode [don't even ask how many times my kids and I have watched this one]; the 2-- count them-- 2 Dungeons & Dragons episodes [amazing textured entertainment even to a guy who never even thought of playing an RPG-- and I confess I kinda want to now!];  the Law & Order episode ["Need I remind you, gentlemen, this is NOT a court of law!"]; and the list goes on and on. 

COMMUNITY famously had one of those "loyal cult followings" that literally saved it from cancelation about 4 times.  Although I never joined any campaign to save it or sent any emails on its behalf, I am truly thankful for all those fellow geeks that did.

One thing's for sure:   Thursday nights will never be quite the same again.
 
EXCELSIOR!
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WELL I MADE IT TO FIVE-0! [and I don't mean Hawaii!]



Yep it was May 14, 1964-- 16th Israeli Independence day-- the day I first came to America... :) 


50 years!  It's a doggone half century!  to be honest, I feel pretty much the same as I have most of my adult life... 'cept I need to drop some weight! 


I prayed for wisdom a lot when younger.   Now it seems like what wisdom I got came with a price in this mortal life. 

Still, I can NOT complain!  Life is good and God is Great!


PEACE

Psalms 90:12 
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.