Friday, March 25, 2011


 MAYBE YOU'LL BE THERE LYRICS By Sammy Gallop, Music Rube Bloom
Each time I see a crowd of people
Just like a fool I stop and stare
It's really not the proper thing to do 
But maybe you'll be there
I go out walking after midnight
Along the lonely thoroughfare
It's not the time or place
To look for you
But maybe you'll be there
You said your arms would always hold me
You said you lips were mine alone to kiss
Now after all those things you told me
How can it end like this
Someday if all my prayers are answered
I'll hear a footstep on the stair
With anxious heart
I'll hurry to the door
And maybe you'll
Be there

It seems like yesterday that they parted after spending what seemed like a lifetime together but it wasn't, it was more than a few years now. But he never got over her. There was something magical about her; something that could make him reach out of himself and grab for the heavens and touch the stars. When they first met her beauty stunned him. He never felt he could touch her in such a way that would lead to her being in his arms and loving him with the passion he felt for her. Wherever they went, be it to the beach, the movies, Broadway Plays or just having supper with a few drinks the place was always brighter, always seemed magical just because she was there. Her laughter made even the most raucous comedy pure and joyful. After a few years she reciprocated his love leading to a blissful joy filled with passion, love and living life to its fullest. Even their fights were out of the ordinary but paled in comparison to the make-up moments. Suddenly, little by little, she began to slip away from him. No matter how they tried he was losing his hold on her and she began to slip away. There were many years he tried to hold on to her but he came to the realization he had to let her go. She would never be the same if she stayed with him. When the time came for her to leave he didn't fight it. He let it happen. It was what she needed to become that magical person again. She had to leave. Down deep he thought he would handle this in the way he handled everything in his life that was distasteful; let it happen and put it aside , get on with his life. There were other people, other opportunities a chance at a new life for him as well. Try as he might nothing satisfied him, people and opportunities came and went but everything paled when compared to what he, they, once had.

He still leads an active life with what may seem to those he encounters as satisfying and fulfilling. There is much to do, many laughs to be had and many loves to satisfy his hungers. Yet when he is out on the town and he sees a crowd of people he stops and stares looking for the one person who could fill his emptiness hoping she might be there. Yet he knows she is gone and he must get on with his life, get over it, as many have told him. The particular thing is they don't know the food has become tasteless, the wine, vinegar and when he now reaches for the heavens he can barely get his hands above his head much less touch the stars.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Magical May Night In 1947

One May night in 1947, my father took me to see a Yankee ballgame in which Frank ( Spec) Shea, the successful rookie  was pitching against the Boston Red Soxs. This was the original Yankee Stadium built to hold over 74,00 people. This night there was 74,000 people in the stands and the place was rocking. The wheels started to come off Shea's cart in the fourth inning and the noise was quieting down. Suddenly the bases were loaded and the Yankee Manager, Bucky Harris, called in Joe Page, a lefty pitcher who had shown promise but little accomplishment, to face Rudy York, Boston's first baseman, a right handed slugger who had been traded from Detroit. Page got the count to three balls and no strikes. Harris, in the dugout, made the decision that if he allowed York to reach base he would yank Page and send him back to the minors. The crowd erupted with a roar as the next pitch was a fastball right down the middle for a strike. The following pitch was a strike and as the very ground shook with excitement Joe Page struck out Rudy York . From that point on Page was invincible and 7400 voices cheered every pitch excited not only because Page had turned the game around with his electric fastball but as if they knew that Joe Page and the Yankees were on their way to another championship. Joe Page won 14 games and saved 14 games that year as the Yanks went on to win the World Series, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, I think.

What a game! Under the stars on a hot Spring Night at Yankee Stadium that was going to live on as one of the great moments in the history of the Yanks and Baseball. AND I WAS THERE! There wasn't much TV back then and radio broadcast the game but I was there because my father took me. We left in the seventh inning to beat the crowd and my father had to get up early for work the next morning. As we boarded the Lexington Ave. Woodlawn El, I head the cheers for every pitch thrown for at least two stops away. The roar of the crowd, the excitement in the air, being there, just me and my father and 73,998 other people most of whom were fellow Yankee fans. This something I have carried in the echos of my mind when I get lost in the reveries of my youth.

Now however when I think of the magical night I have added the realization of just who my father was and how much he meant to me and our family. I can remember walking into the great stadium which was just across the street from a jail. Loads of people yelling and screaming and having raucous fun.  If I was alone I most certainly would have been somewhat cautious in this surrounding. Getting on the subways could have also been a frightening experience as the people shoved and pushed and fought for their spots. We New Yorkers must always have our space. Getting the hot dog and drink would have been something I would have never tried to negotiate on my own. However, I was with my father and he knew how to do everything. He also asserted himself in a quiet assuring way. Without realizing it at that age and downward I was comfortable with life because my father would protect us and take care of any problems that might arise, that my mother couldn't handle. Unfortunately, the process of growing up takes these feelings away from you. Parents no longer have that God like quality to comfort and take care of the problems we encounter. We, in many cases become that ever presence, ever protecting symbol to our children, I hope. But as we grew stronger and they grew weaker, we too grow weaker and our children grow stronger and so the cycle continues. But as I lose myself in my reveries, I enjoy returning to that state when not only I was younger but so were they.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Long Journey But Worthwhile!

I don't know where I am but I was really comfortable a while back but now it is getting a little crowded. Everytime I try to straighten out my leg or move my arm I feel resistance. But besides being a little cramped I do feel comfortable. I am nice and warm although I know I am immersed in a wet pool of something. I know I am attached to something by a rope which I feel is my lifeline yet I don't know why. In the beginning it was nice and quiet but lately I am feeling a ripple of explosions not lethal but somewhat odorous and becoming increasingly more frequent. I am feeling somewhat more pressure on my whole being like someone is probing me and I don't know why. Why can't it go back to the way it was with plenty of room where I could stretch out as much as I wanted and just lie around feeling warm and comfortable? I am getting the feeling that soon I am going to be moved out of here and even though it isn't as comfortable as it once was I really don't want to go. Yet it wasn't long ago that I felt being dropped from my upper room to this lower compartment. That's it. When I was dropped into the lower compartment was when I started feeling cramped, probed, smelling that odor and being just downright uncomfortable.  However, as uncomfortable I feel now that is only in comparison to how I felt being in the upper chamber. I don't want to get put anywhere else. I'm comfortable enough so I guess I'll get used to this place. Hey?! What's going on? I feel myself being moved along, turned upside down. There's a lot of noise I can't understand what is going on yet I am being propelled downward. I think there is an opening nearby. Boy is this a tough journey, much tougher than being dropped from the upper chamber. Hey, what the hell! It seems that I am being expelled from my lower chamber but where the hell am I going. There is something that looks like a wide opening, and I notice something that isn't all dark, it is bright. There is a lot of noise and some awful smells and a lot of big long bodies standing around. OOPS! Hey one of these big long things just hit me. I gotta let out a yell. Hey what the hell? They're cutting my rope like thing. Are they trying to kill me. Now they are using some warm stuff all over my body and I am yelling like hell. They've wrapped me up in something warm and gave me to this body that looks very tired but happy. Something conveyed to me through touch and her holding me close to her. Hey, she is soft and warm and nice. Somehow I get the feeling I won't need that rope anymore and she has a thing or two that will keep me satisfied. Boy am I tired. I'm going to try and not move and just enjoy her. I think I'm gonna' like it here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Life Long Lived

Out of the haze and fog of his ninety-nine year old mind he could barley hear them talking. "If he hangs on for another month he'll reach one hundred.", as if that is an accomplishment that is a reward for something you did instead of being lucky enough to inherit good genes and avoid getting run down by some idiot driving a run-away car. He could have opened his eyes but that would have tipped them off that he was awake, cognizant and he would have to pay attention to them; something he didn't really want to do. What he did want was another shot of morphine to ease the pain and let him drift into that realm which allowed him to relive the parts of his life he so missed. He let out a soft groan because he knew that it always got their attention and they'd give him another shot. It was called pain management. He would hear them talking, "If he'd only take care of himself he wouldn't be in this shape now.". This shape now meant a body full of cancer that gave him a constant pain like root canal without Novocaine. What the hell did they want? He was nine-nine and never had any-one stick their finger or a tube up his rectum. He never had to take that laxative that had you emptying your bowels for a day or two. He never had to have a catheter  stuck up his penis, that is until now and at least he escaped it all by 98%. Ninety-nine, long enough to live, now it was time to check out, and he beat the medical community by holding out. He always considered the modern Doctors alien to the old ones who made house calls and got to know you and at least seemed to really care if you felt pain or were frightened. Today they barely look at you while they prescribe  different treatments not really caring how invasive or embarrassing they were. Hell, he even refused chemo! Sure, try for a few years more while you puke up your guts and everyone can't wait for you to pass because just looking at you is like looking at their own mortality square in the eye.

They're giving him the shot, the morphine. The sounds are receding into an echo chamber into pitch blackness, sweet solitude where he can revisit parts of his life he misses so much. As he's receding into that bliss he notices a bright light out of the corner of his mind's eye but suddenly he's sixty years younger in his backyard yelling to his wife. "Where the hell is Sammy? I let him use the garage as a clubhouse and I find a bottle of Rum half empty trying to be hidden.". Things are jumbled and he is facing Sammy who tells him that he isn't really drinking, he just needs a shot when he comes home from high school to loosen up. Loud raucous laughter follows, and the scene fades into one where he is holding his wife in his arms and tasting her lovely red lips with their saliva mixing, the softness of her body is wonderful and he never wants to let go for being with her is really all he wants. Then everything morphs into the whole family being at the Bronx Zoo in the petting farm animals area. Gabriel was petting this Llama when the bird all of a sudden reached down and grabbed his hair and pulled. Gabe started to cry they all laughed which caused Gabe to run at him and start punching. His wife was waiting for an explosion from him knowing his temper and his insistence that his children respect him but instead he was doubled up in laughter as he marveled at Gabe's tenacity and spirit.

Images started to enfold one on top of the other and he saw himself with his daughter who was a premi, so tiny, looking at him every day from the incubator where she had to stay until she hit the required weight as he stopped by the hospital before going home. Then he saw her at home sucking her finger while she held onto his thumb. She was the first of his that he wasn't afraid to hold which seems strange sice she was the most fragile. Slowly the images began to fade and he was travelling through the darkness, yet there was this bright light that seemed to be in the distance.

He was back in the present time, ninety-nine and his whole body aching and his mind wishing for another shot of morphine. He could hear them talking. He guessed his children and some grandchildren were there waiting for him to make that final journey. God, they had gotten so old, even his grandchildren. He missed their youth so much. They had the aches and pains he once had and some were getting a little slow witted, hopefully not from advancing age. When they were young, when he and his wife were really relevant, when the world was young and every sunrise offered new opportunities and adventures, is what he wanted. Yet he knew that was what he had, it was good but never to be recaptured. It was time to move on. He let out a long groan and he got his shot of morphine and started to drift back to the times his mind kept in his special place for enjoyment.

As he drifted into darkness everything was black. He was frightened. Then he heard that beautiful voice he hadn't heard for more than a quarter of a century and he saw a glimmer of a light that started to get brighter as the voice became stronger, he wasn't sure if he was just drifting or it was really happening, but the voice said "We've been waiting for you and she wants to give you a big kiss."  

Further to My Polls Post

In case anyone doubts some of my rants about how Big Business and Politicians manage to rig the system so that we are pitted against one another while they abscond with the fruits of our labors here are a couple of links touching only touching on the subject. I didn't include the lobbying aspect as a perk for getting involved with politics. Click on the links then the address and enjoy. By the way if Banks actually paid the 35% tax bracket instead of only 11% then we wouldn't have to worry about private pensions or maybe even Social Security.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Polls And What They Don't Say!

If you've been watching cable news and the various pundits you get the impression that the present dilemma we find ourselves in as a nation regarding deficits and budget cuts are all about having to make cuts in programs that affect us and that we don't want because we are greedy. Somehow, the American public is portrayed as the "bad" guy and all these politicians are really the "good" guys. But nowhere do I see a Pol that asks the question "Would you accept cuts to Social Security if you saw the elite first taking some obvious cuts before?" In other words, would we common people accept cuts in our benefits if it was obvious that everyone in our community, business, executives, politicians, stock brokers, etc. would take some big hits to their position first.

Accepting the proposition that we as a country are in dire financial straits and have to put our house in order if we are to survive shouldn't we put a list up of who has the most and who can afford some "cuts"? Let us examine big business. When I was in the banking community it became obvious that many  never actually paid taxes that we didn't want to pay. Accounting rules allow business to show taxes due but IRS rules allow different standards as long as the differences are reconciled. This leads to "Deferred Taxes" on the Balance Sheet and these taxes are deferred as long as the business desires. Most large US Business pay little taxes despite what the Balance Sheet Shows. Of course this leads to greater profits which can be disbursed first to their executives and then to shareholders or speculators who play the stock market but lately provide very little domestic jobs. The companies and those who they enrich should be placed on the list to determine if proposed "cuts" should come from them. The last I heard the Bush tax cuts were extended and we are afraid of increasing taxes on business because of the sham of them paying "too high of a tax rate".

The defense budget appears to have waste according to Secretary Gates but the Republicans refuse to make any cuts that were suggested. Could it be that the towns and companies they represent are benefiting from this spending and then of course so are they personally? Maybe it is time to rethink the wars we are actively fighting and pull our troops home. By the way we have troops in Germany, Korea, all over the world just being stationed there to help their economies, it seems, since in most cases there really isn't a threat that is omnipresent as in the days of the cold war. Our presence could still be maintained but at a minimal cost.

I am suggesting that for once we prioritize according to who has the most and who who has the least examine what they have and how they obtained it and then look at ways revenue could be gotten though taxes and cut backs of benefits given. OMG am I talking about redistribution of wealth? Could be. We've gotten into this situation because we have redistributed our wealth from the very beginning. Adam Smith's invisible hand works in theory but in practice we've never really had free enterprise. The Robber Barons of old manipulated the laws and made millions by raping the poor paying little for millions of dollars, when millions meant something. The upper crust managed to control the politicians so that laws favored them and their business. Even wars became a profit center or why did you think President Eisenhower warned against the military-industrial complex? The wealth of this country has been redistributed to those in control and they mean to keep it while they try to push the middle class in to the poor class and the redistribution of wealth goes even more to them than they already have.

OK, here's what I am proposing. The Polls and the pundits who seem to be saying everybody wants cuts to cut the deficit and balance the budget but do not want any cuts that affect their benefits. should set up a list of what can be cut and taxed, in a list. Examine who can least afford these measures and set it  up in a descending manner with the cuts and taxes that can be done with the least amount of hurt down to the most hurt. Then institute the cuts and taxes and when the Business, executives, politicians, and their ilk take their cuts and taxes for once I will be ready to cut Social Security if by then it needs to be. Oh, and by the way, if President Johnson never had Social Security classified into the General Fund so the government couldn't raid it and leave useless paper, Social Security would still be OK today.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Bee Gees "I Started A Joke"

I started a joke
which started the whole world crying
But I didn't see
that the joke was on me, oh no

I started to cry
which started the whole world laughing
Oh if I'd only seen
that the joke was on me

I looked at the skies
running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
hurting my head
from things that I'd said

Till I finally died
which started the whole world living
Oh if I'd only seen
that the joke was on me

I looked at the skies
running my hands over my eyes
And I fell out of bed
hurting my head
from things that I'd said

Till I finally died
which started the whole world living
Oh if I'd only seen
that the joke was on me

This song written by The Bee Gees in 1968 has captured my imagination since I first heard it. The words jump off the page and makes me think but listening to the Bee Gees performance of it is a greater experience. The falsetto is like a whine of helplessness by a lost person or generation. It is beautiful in its hopelessness. There is a sense of loss that can never be recaptured. Yet I have to admit that despite my addiction to this song and its hidden truth it bemoans I really don't know what the hell they are talking or rather singing, about. Perhaps it was prophetic about their own lives.

Being part of "The Silent Generation" which gave birth to "The Baby Boomers" I experienced both the Beatniks and Hippies which I believed were only an older version of the Bohemian's. This song could be about lost generations. Jack Kerouac in his book talked of the Beat Generation yet in later years bemoaned the fact that what he envisioned as "Beat" was perverted and changed. Some time in the 1960's came the Hippie generation with the great gatherings in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco in 1967 and Woodstock, Sullivan County, New York Aug. 15-18, 1969.

All these movements wanted a peaceful, less constrained world which would lead to a freer more creative society. But these movements lost their way and were taken over by those who concentrated on communal living within a drug community while rejecting the basic tenants of the western world. Could "I Started A Joke" be lamenting the lost generations which have morphed into Gen X and Y who has spawned people who only ask "Where's mine?" without having to contribute anything to get "theirs". They just expected to have it handed to them.

Or could this song be applicable to any person? Let's say Charlie Sheen. Here is a guy who seemed to be a run-away train who is headed for disaster. He kept saying he is in control yet he seemed out of control affecting everyone and anyone who he touched. Look over the words of this song listed above, could it be moaning over a personal self destruction? Could they be talking about you? Could they be talking about me? Or is this just a creation of art which doesn't have to be talking about anything its creator thought but it inspires those who experience the art to greater thoughts and an inspired life? Whatever, it is a great song that gets my thoughts process working. Does it do that for you?


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