A bit of great music from the very young Beatles and an apology.
I can’t do this. It’s a challenge I can’t meet. Maybe I just don’t want to. This is supposed to be a writing challenge. I have no idea how to write in single syllables. I’m doubt I ever did. I can’t even write my name in a single syllable. Or that of my husband.
So, enjoy the Beatles. It’s a song in as close to single syllables as I could find. We very recently watched “Hard Days Night,” and it was as much fun as the first time we saw it. Sing along why don’t you?
Way back in the dark ages, the third week in February (an otherwise dreary and neglected month) was designated National Brotherhood Week. As designated special weeks go, it was never a big hit with the general public. In the 1980s, it disappeared completely. Probably because it failed to sell greeting cards. Which is, I believe, the point of such created events.
The National Conference for Christians and Jews (NCCJ) came up with the idea of National Brotherhood Week in 1934. Given the current political climate, maybe we can agree more brotherhood year round would be an improvement. Sadly, we no longer have even that one, measly week.
February is now Black History Month which seems to mean movie channels run films featuring non-white stars. Unless you watch PBS or the History Channel where you might see a documentary or two.
The man who took it seriously — even in the old days — as he took all politics seriously, was Tom Lehrer. He taught math at Hahvid (Harvard, if you aren’t from around here). He didn’t write a lot of songs since he, till his dying day (which hasn’t occurred yet as he’s alive and living in California), thought of himself as a math teacher who wrote silly songs. Not as an entertainer.
Despite this unfair self-assessment, I’ve always felt Tom got this particular holiday dead to rights. Ya’ think?
He got a lot of stuff right. Check him out on YouTube. He only wrote about 50 songs and most of them are posted in some video or other. Me? I’ve got the CDs. (Remember CDs?)
When I read this comment, it was posted in regard to the YouTube video of President Barack Obama’s dedication speech at yesterday’s MLK Memorial. I was horrified :
“… the Republicans and Democrats hold hands behind your backs. It’s like pro wrestling, they act like they’re enemies in front of you but are good friends behind you. Why do you think they always agree on the key issues and have been seen many times spending time together, attending functions together, and even eating together. It is all a hoax to control the people. Research Obama’s evil policies he has instilled without the public knowledge. He will end life as you know, impeach this traitor!”
Is anyone really that naïve? It’s not his politics that appall me, though they are appalling. It’s his belief that people who disagree can’t be friends.
Of course they are friends. They work together, eat together and know each others’ wives and kids. They are human beings, not only politicians. Just as the district attorney, the defense attorneys and the judges are friends.
Does anyone really think otherwise? Why would they not be friends? They are not on opposing teams. Quite the opposite: everyone in Congress is on the same team. American. The good of the nation is what they are supposed to stand for, not their party and its politics. They represent us, but ultimately, they represent the country.
Does this person also think baseball or football players on opposing teams don’t socialize off the field? That our professional lives so dominate us we don’t also have personal lives?
To know there are so many people who hate so much they have lost touch with reality scares me more than anything else going on in this country.
Regardless, it’s a fine speech, no matter what your political persuasion may be. I have posted it so if you missed it, you can catch up.
We are all people first. We aren’t what we do or even what we believe. We aren’t Republicans, Democrats, Liberals or Conservatives. We are men and women, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Sisters and brothers. Friends. Above all else, human. There are — and ought to be — allegiances which supersede political labels. Too many people are too busy hating to remember tolerance, reconciliation and love.
Intolerance is the evil we must forever fight. It’s the cause of war, murder, genocide and cruelty. It has saturated all of history with blood. It’s the thing that is fundamentally wrong with the world.
“What else could go wrong? How much worse could things get?”
My husband and I have an agreement. NEVER say those lines. Ever. Never say them, don’t even think them.
No matter how bad things are, no matter how dark life looks, there is always something else that can go wrong. If you are alive, you are already money ahead. You could be not alive. Many were and no longer are.
A fair number of people I counted as friends and loved ones are long gone and many more are on that final leg of life’s journey, in the immortal words of Tom Lehrer “Soon we’ll all be sliding down that razor blade of life.” Ouch.
Yesterday, when I was deep in the miasma of self-pity … my least favorite place to be except in a hospital bed waking up to realize “Oh shit, this is going to be really bad …” I thought to myself, “Hell, you really ARE going to die.”
Then I said out loud. “Asshole. Of course you are going to die. Was there ever the least bit of doubt about it? It was never an “if.” We are all going to die. When and how remain the only questions, but that’s a journey we are all taking.”
None of the people I know have gone gently into that good night, if indeed it is a good night. No one has come back to tell me about it. I’ve been waiting for at least one of them to drop by and give me the word, let me in on the biggest secret of all. Is there anything after? Is there an after? And if there is … how and what is it?
Despite the ever-increasing number of close friends and family who have gone to there — wherever that may be — no one has reported back.
Yesterday, I was counting all the things that could go wrong that have not gone wrong yet. I could be dead instead of whining about how I might be dead. I could be living on the street instead of wondering how I will meet the next mortgage payment. The car, running fine, could stop working. The boiler could blow. The deck could collapse. The electrical system could fry.
More friends, more loved ones, could be sick, could die, could disappear. The television could stop working (no, not that, anything but that) or worse — be still my ailing heart — we could lose our high-speed Internet connection. Talk about a heart attack — that idea could do me in.
So what could go wrong? You think things couldn’t get worse?
They can go wronger and they can get worser. And given the shit-storm life is, it probably will. Go wronger. Get worser. So I should shut up and enjoy whatever there is to enjoy because … wow. You never know, right? Well, actually, you do know. You just don’t want to think about it. And I don’t blame you one little bit.
Tom Lehrer always cheers me up.
As a girl, I was an ardent Bonanza fan.and quite smitten with Pernell Roberts (Adam Cartwright). That was way back when he wore something that looked like hair. I found him very was sexy. And he sang.
He sang this song in the episode titled “The Wooing of Abigail Jones” on March 4,1962 (Season 3, Episode 24). The same song was used in two other episodes, but Pernell Roberts didn’t sing it, so I don’t count them.
For the past 50 years, I’ve been hearing this song in my head. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? Going on the theory that everything is on the Internet, I Googled it and it popped up. An additional search through YouTube produced the piece of video I wanted. Join me a musical trip down memory lane as we return to the Ponderosa.
Enjoy.. Maybe it’ll stick in your head too!
1 – Early one morning,
Just as the sun was rising,
I heard a young maid sing,
In the valley below.
2 – Chorus:
Oh, don’t deceive me,
Oh, never leave me,
How could you use
A poor maiden so?
3 – Remember the vows,
That you made to your Mary,
Remember the bow’r,
Where you vowed to be true.
4 – Oh Gay is the garland,
And fresh are the roses,
I’ve culled from the garden,
To place upon thy brow.
5 – Thus sang the poor maiden,
Her sorrows bewailing,
Thus sang the poor maid,
In the valley below.
I am a citizen of Israel. Actually, I’m a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. I didn’t seek Israel citizenship. I lived there almost 9 years and it was automatically conferred on me as it is on every Jew that comes to live there and stays more than 3 years. I have never seen any reason to renounce citizenship … if indeed that were possible and I’m not at all sure that it is … because given the way things are going around here, an Israeli passport could come in handy if I have to gather the family and make a run for it. Ironic, isn’t it that Israel looks safer sometimes than my peaceful little town in the Blackstone Valley?
I went to live in Israel at the end of 1978. There were a lot of reasons, almost all of which were personal, not political. My marriage was over. I wanted to get on with life. I had been raised by a mother with strong Zionist leanings and when I was 14, I had read “Exodus” (Leon Uris) so many times that the binding had disintegrated and I could recite long sections by heart. I had a wildly over-romanticized image of Israel gleaned from books and movies and Mom. But mostly, I wanted to get out of my safety zone and into the wider world. I yearned for culture shock. I wanted to live in another culture, another society. I was bored with Hempstead and my safe suburban life.
I got the excitement … minus the romance. It turned out that dancing the hora around a campfire at sunset was not exactly the way life would be. On many levels it was far more interesting than I dreamed. On other levels, it was so entirely different that it turned my head inside out.
Among the first things I learned living there was the international press does not accurately report news out of Israel. While some press is slanted favorably towards Israel, most is not. None of it is accurate, favorable or otherwise.
Israel, like every other place on earth, is not of one mind. It isn’t packed with citizens who walk and think in lock-step. If you know anything about Jewish culture, the very idea that millions of Jews could live together and actually agree on anything beyond a need to protect the country from enemies, would be laughable. Get three Jews in a room and I guarantee you’ll have at least 4 opinions. We are a contentious, opinionated people. If I had to describe my folks in two words, they would be “hungry (in the sense of food) and argumentative.” Get us together, feed us, let us fight for a while, eat some more, take a little nap, eat a little, fight a little … that’s heaven. Add a game (rummy? bridge? mah jong?) somewhere in the middle and you’ve got a perfect vacation.
We say about many things these days that “it’s complicated,” which really means that “the amount of time it would take me to explain this exceeds any real interest you have in the subject.” Where Israel is concerned, complicated doesn’t begin to cover it. Everyone owns a piece of righteousness. You are right. He is right. I am right. And we are all wrong.
As far as the current disorder goes, Israel, as the British ambassador in the YouTube clip explains, typically warns the civilian population to get out substantially in advance of any bombing. They have always done this. That the warnings are intentionally ignored in favor of making a political statement — despite loss of life — only says that the enemies of Israel love casualties because they can feed the numbers to an eager press corps. That most of the events taped for media are staged should not surprise anyone. As soon as camera crews show up, the extras line up offering to form an impressive mob. Some do it for cash, most do it for the fun of getting their pictures on television. Some are regulars and if you follow the footage, you’ll see the same faces show up in video after video.
I’d been living in Israel for a while, I myself realized I didn’t really know anything. All the opinions I had before I got there were consumed and turned inside-out by reality. It is very complicated. It is perfectly possible to agree with everyone and no one. There have been a lot of mistakes made all around. I tend, for obvious reasons, to believe in Israel. I believe it has a right to be there. I believe after thousands of years of persecution we deserve a little piece of earth to call home. The Arab world has more than enough room for every single person that needs a place. The only reason there remain any displaced people is to use them as a political tool.
So all the history notwithstanding, regardless of the wrongs and rights on both sides, suggesting that Israel give up being a nation is ludicrous. Suggesting it give up any more land is almost as ridiculous, something you would more easily understand if you have visited the country.
It’s so small. It’s miniscule, tiny, barely sufficient to house its existing population. It has no natural resources, not even water. No oil. Erratic rainfall in an arid zone. Crappy soil and not much of it. About the only things it has going for it is the determination of its people to survive, some really great beaches, a pretty impressive community of scientists and engineers. And tourism. It’s not a plummy sort of place, not the rich land of milk and honey suggested in the Old Testament.
But it’s the only place on earth where Jews can live by a Jewish calendar, where Jews don’t have to fend off Christmas, be dismissed as peripheral and unimportant because we aren’t a majority or even a large minority. There is one tiny piece of ground in this world where it’s okay to be a Jew and whatever else is going on, we need Israel. We need that safe place, even if it isn’t really so safe. Without it, we are back to being a people without roots and without our country.
That’s NOT okay.