Monday, November 30, 2009

"Ben Dover"

Back in the mid-1970's while working at the front desk of the oceanfront "Soundings Motel" in Dennis Port on Cape Cod there used to be a woman named Eileen that also was working at the front desk. During that time there was a night security man named "Mack" that was an older gentleman and covered the 11:00 pm to 7:00 am shift.

One night I was talking with Mack and told him that I worked with Eileen and that her last name was "Dover". I also told him that her husband's name was Benjamin. Yes,Ben Dover and Eileen Dover. Mack thought that was funny and I'm not sure to this day if I got him to believe this especially as I told him that Ben Dover's best friend was named C. Howwit Fields. C. Howwit was also friendly with Eileen and they were often viewed as inseparable. Ben Dover, Eileen Dover, and C. Howwit Fields were quite a trio.

Galactic Funk (Wikki Wikki Wikki Wikki)

YouTube - Newcleus - Jam On Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song) They don't make many songs like this these days; not with the current popularity of "Rap" and a"Hippity Hop Hip Hop". Gone I guess are the days of "Galactic Funk" as displayed in this You Tube rendition of "Newcleus" (click on the link) of "Jam On Revenge (The Wikki -Wikki Song)".
Take a chance and listen to the syncopated beat of this 1983 tune from these "Alvin and the Chipmunks" sound alikes. Bet you can't do this "Wikki-Wikki-Wikki-Wikki (pause) Wikki-Wikki-Wikki-Wikki ". See if you can hear the references to "Fantasy Island" and also the "Sugar Hill Gang" in this cosmic funktastic song.

In 1983, the cooks at "The Captain's Clambake Emporium" on Cape Cod used to sing this song when I was around as my name is "Rick" or "Ricky" and if Barbara Walters were saying my name it would sound like "Wikki". Get down,get funky, "Wikki-Wikki-Wikki-Wikki."

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Whirled Peas"

Baby Kenzi (6 months) celebrated her first Thanksgiving meal and is shown here with "Grandma" at the big table having her chair tucked in by "Father Steve". Kenzi wasn't in the mood for turkey and stuffing that day but she did try some "whirled peas". She seemed to like the peas and I understand that they were the first peas she has ever tried. Kenzi ended up with a green moustache as she ate her peas.
Later Kenzi took a nap and I'm sure that she probably was thinking about the peas she ate and probably "visualized whirled peas" as she slept.
Maybe some day everyone will "visualize whirled peas". We all should "Give peas a chance."

"Great Pond Beaver"

Here's a photo taken on Thanksgiving at the Great Pond State Park in Simsbury, Connecticut of a beaver hut. I didn't see any beavers that day but in past years I used to see them. I like beavers but it is probably not a good idea to pet them. I can remember seeing some beavers swimming under the ice during the winter and for a time the beavers were felling quite a few trees in the woods surrounding this pond. I don't know if the the beavers were inside their hut having Thanksgiving dinner when I walked by or maybe they were watching the parades and football games. I know that they never miss an episode of "Leave It To Beaver".

"Great Pond on a Cloudy,Misty, Thanksgiving Day"

Here is a photo of "Great Pond" on a cloudy ,misty ,Thanksgiving day. I walked around the pond and for some reason I always seem to walk around this pond in a clockwise direction; rarely if ever counter clockwise although in high school as a freshman and sophomore I would always run around the track in a counter clockwise direction for some reason.

"Big Laurel"

In Great Pond State Park in Simsbury, Connecticut there are some of the biggest mountain laurel bushes I have ever seen in my life. These wild shrubs are about fifteen to twenty feet high. I took this picture while hiking around Great Pond this Thanksgiving day.I used to walk around Great Pond quite often when I lived in Simsbury and would also go ice skating there in the winter. Maybe these mountain laurel plants have reached their maximum height as I remember these same shrubs being the same height over thirty years ago. I guess " trees (and shrubs) don't grow to the sky."

Lighthouse in Connecticut

Here is a shot of a lighthouse in Connecticut at my parent's front yard. This lighthouse is a beacon through the night as it protects people and cars from crashing and stumbling into the stone wall. So far it has done an excellent job as neither car nor person has run into the wall.

"Words to Live By"

Having just returned from a Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's home in Connecticut it is always nice to renew our family ties and remember our family motto "Vincit Qui Patitur". As seen in this picture, our motto and coat of arms for the "Shaw" name is displayed from the days of yore when knights pledged their allegiance to their king and the noble traits of chivalry, courage, honesty, and valor were honored among men.
Yes, our family strives to live by these words "Vincit Qui Patitur" to this very day as these words still ring true in modern society.
"Vincit Qui Patitur", for now and forever more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

YouTube - Storming the Dome

YouTube - Storming the Dome Congrats UCONN Huskies football team on your overtime win at Notre Dame this weekend before more than eighty thousand people and on NBC national television. UCONN Coach Randy Edsall called this victory the biggest win for Connecticut football of their relatively short history as a Division 1-A program. For those of you who didn't watch the game click on the You Tube link created by "Santini 35".

When I was at UCONN in the mid-1970's Connecticut was a soccer powerhouse in the NCAA and the soccer games seemed to draw more fans than the football games. Now UCONN is starting to make a name for itself nationally in football to go along with their high calibre men and women basketball programs, along with soccer and polo. Next year UCONN is scheduled to play Michigan and I believe Tennessee as well; both among the top ranked football programs in the country.

UCONN "stuck with it" against Notre Dame and clinched the victory. Throughout this year UCONN has lost a few close games after leading late in the game but this game they were able to prevail. The game ball was dedicated to the family of Jasper Howard (Number "6") who was murdered on the Connecticut campus after a dance when he tried to break up a fight and was allegedly stabbed to death by and off campus visitor.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"People Have Called Me"

Everyone is given a name when they were born but throughout life many people get called different names by other people. For example here are a few of the "names" or "nick names" if you will that I've been called throughout my life (and this excludes adjectives or words like "moron", "jerk", and various swear words that most of us hear describing ourselves from someone else from time to time.) Richard Ashley Shaw, Richard A. Shaw,Rick, Richard, Ricky,Rich, Red, Dick, Rickashaw, Rickshaw, Rick O'Shea, Riccochet, Ritchie, Stomper, Simsbury Slim, Pizzazz, Johnny G.,Slimsbury,Funky Rick, Mister,Mr. Shaw,
Mr. Rickshaw, Mr. Rick,Shaw,Captain,Ranger Rick, Fella, Young man,You, Next, and Dick Shaw to name a few. What names have you been called during your life?

I have a brother "Steve" who is known as "Bert"'

Most of the names I've been called I haven't minded too much although I'm not a fan of "Dick". So please don't call me "Dick". Also, don't call me "Late for dinner".

Friday, November 20, 2009

"The World Was Not Her Oyster"

I used to play volleyball on a coed league team called the "Mudsharks" every Friday night during the Fall, Winter , and Spring at a health club known at the time as the "Norseman". We would have fun playing volleyball and then afterward usually go out to one of the local Cape Cod "watering holes" and get some ice water as well as a beer or two (or maybe three).

As well as frequenting the local bars, from time to time there would be parties held by and attended by members of the volleyball league. One memorable party was held at "Maria D's" house one New Years Eve. The theme of this party besides being New Year's Eve was to make your own hats. I made a hat that looked like a shark that night and "Craig", one of the "Mudshark" team mates, took a picture of me wearing my shark hat and later made this picture into a photo button that he passed out to the members of the team.

"Bob", one of the league members, was an oyster farmer and he brought some fresh oysters to the party for people to have some raw oysters. Now, not everybody I guess is a fan of raw oysters. Me, I like them. "Maria D." was not a fan of the oyster. Everyone at the party was teasing Maria for not liking oysters and someone offered "Maria D." twenty dollars if she would put a raw oyster in her mouth and slither and swallow one of these ocean delicacies down her throat. Well, "Maria D." put an oyster in her mouth but then she couldn't swallow the oyster. We were cheering "Maria D." on for her to swallow the oyster but she started to make gagging noises as if she were going to "throw up". "Craig" tried to help "Maria D." swallow this oyster as he started to massage her throat kind of like a "little bird" and said, "Come on Maria, just swallow, you can do it!". But alas, "Maria D." couldn't swallow the oyster and didn't earn the twenty dollars. She was close but "no cigar" or in this case, no oyster. For "Maria D." that night; "the world was not her oyster."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"I Want to BE (or play) GOD"

Yes, I want to be (or play)GOD. Somebody has to do it; so why not me? What am I talking about? Well, if the health plan passes congress and becomes the law of the land then certain medical conditions and procedures which currently are decided with the patient and their doctor will have to be evaluated by a government bureaucrat who will decide and prioritise who will be allowed the required treatments and who will be denied them based on a cost and benefit analysis of the treatments versus other people who also require medical treatment. Talk about power to decide who will live and die; this is the ultimate job to play or be GOD. This job would be similar to being an emperor in ancient Rome, Italy where the emperor would give a "thumbs up" and let a gladiator live, or a "thumbs down" and sentence this gladiator to death.

With socialized medicine I guess that you have to believe the underlying premise that every human is an asset to the State. A determination must then be made based upon limited resources of the health care system who can most benefit the State and society based upon skill level, age, and remaining productive years of life of the patient and who should be sent to "the back of the line" if the patient is deemed too old, non-productive, or the required treatment too expensive versus the expected productivity gains of treating that person.

I want to apply to be "gatekeeper" (and Godlike) in making these decisions. I'm sure these jobs will pay well with great pension and vacation benefits as well as a first class health plan as I'm sure that these federal employees won't subject themselves to the same requirements and health system as the rest of us. If I'm not hired to play GOD, I wouldn't mind applying to help administer the required paperwork for prosecuting and putting in jail the people who refuse to purchase health insurance under the new proposed regulations.

In the Mel Brooks movie "The History of the World Part I" ; Mel plays a king and says "It's good to be king". With the new proposed health care plan one could say of the regulators, "It's good to be GOD". I want to be that GOD.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Don't Ride the White Horse"

YouTube - Laid Back - White Horse Here's a song from the 1980's by the Danish group "Laid Back" called "Don't Ride the White Horse" (Click the You Tube link). Me, I've never ridden a white horse. Actually I've only ridden one live horse in my life but I've ridden many carousel horses. It was the early 1980's and I was in Phoenix, Arizona attending a "National Tour Association" national convention and on one of the free afternoons a group of us went to the Marriott Camelback Mountain resort in nearby Scottsdale where they had horses available to ride along the nearby Camelback mountain. I found it amusing that they asked how much horseback riding experience each of us had as it turned out that the horseback ride was more like a mule train up the mountain. My horse was a brown colored horse named "Brandy" and there really wasn't much horsemanship required as these horses knew where they were going so it was kind of like riding a horse on "cruise control" in a car. There weren't any white horses or white ponies to ride that day so I did follow the advise of this song and didn't ride the white horse or even the white pony.

Now, in this song, believe it or not there is a term you may have heard of in English class in school called a "metaphor". A "metaphor" is a symbol for something else. For example in this song "white horse" actually represents the drug heroin and "white pony" represents "cocaine". And the song is telling you if you must take a white powder; stay off the heroin and use cocaine instead. Now I'm not saying you should use either drug myself; but this is the advise given in the song. Other "metaphorical" drug related songs include "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the "Beatles".

One phrase in this song I have always remembered besides "don't ride the white horse"; is when the song says in a low voice, "If you want to be rich, you've got to be a ...." with the word unsaid in this video being "bitch". Rich........bitch.

So, If you want to ride, you should do what I did, ride "Brandy" or "Beer" perhaps.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"Obama Who Mao Mao"

YouTube - The Rivingtons - Papa Oom Mow Mow President Obama is over in China after visiting Japan where he bowed down to the "Emperor of Japan" something that no American president has done in the past although President Bill Clinton gave a slight "head bob" if I remember correctly during his time as president but he didn't do the deep bend that President Obama did with "The Emperor". President Obama is quite a bit taller than "The Emperor" so maybe he felt by deeply bowing he could shake hands and look "The Emperor" in the eye. Or, maybe President Obama is a big "Star Wars" fan especially perhaps of the film character "Darth Vader" as I do recall a scene in one of the "Star Wars" movies where "Darth Vader" and "The Emperor" are together and "Darth Vader" is bowing to "The Emperor" and saying "Yes, (deep breath, deep breath) my master."

This song by "The Rivertons" "Papa Oom Mow Mow" (Click on the You Tube link) reminds me a little bit of President Obama's China trip. Apparently some of the Chinese vendors have printed up t-shirts which say "Obama Mao" and are selling them at the present time. Probably this "Rivertons" song could be modified by slightly changing the chorus lyrics to something like "Obama Who Mao Mao, Obama Who Mao Mao Mao, ..... Obama Who? Mao Mao, Obama Who Mao Mao Mao".

After all, "Birds of a feather flock together." One of President Obama's appointees or advisers, (or one of his Czars), I can't remember exactly who recently said that her two most influential people in her life as far as outlook and philosophy were "Mother Theresa and Mao Ze Tung". Mother Theresa lived a selfless life of service with the poor of Calcutta, India but Chairman Mao was responsible for at least 70 million deaths during his "cultural revolution".

Obama Obama Obama Who? (Mao Mao).

"Milli Vanilli Would Be Jealous"

YouTube - in the jungle (the lion sleeps tonight) "Milli Vanilli" would be jealous. I'm sure they appreciate a good "lip sync" song as they used to "lip sync" themselves and got caught at it as you may recall. "Milli Vanilli" apparently was all "style" and no "substance" which of course is similar to a lot of current "pop" musical acts that really can't sing worth many a lick but can dance and prance and look good. As the saying goes or something like this anyway; "Its better to look good than to be good."

Check out this lipsyncing duo from the Phillipines on this You Tube video song link of the famous "oldie but goodie", "In the Jungle (the Lion Sleeps Tonight). I think they do a pretty good job and at least they aren't trying to pass off their efforts as "the real deal".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"I'm A Virtual Farmer"

Yes, I'm a virtual farmer (at Facebook's Farmville that is.) If you have the urge to grow crops, tend farm animals, visit neighboring farms, purchase farm equipment, and construct farm buildings all from the comfort of your home sitting on your couch; then maybe you too can become a "virtual farmer". You get all the benefits of a real farm without the backbreaking work of shoveling manure,milking cows, and harvesting crops as you earn "coins" for your virtual efforts. I find it funny at "Farmville" that the cows "Moo", the sheep "Baaa", the cats "Meow", the pigs "Oink, Oink" the chickens "Cluck,Cluck" Cluck", and all these animals randomly move from time to time so you have to put them in a corral or get them back to where you want them as they all seem to have a mind of their own; just like "real" animals.

I'm relatively new to this virtual farming but some of my neighboring farmers such as "Farmer James", "Farmer Julianne", "Farmer Judy" and "Farmer Eranne" among others have quite the well planned farms with cow barns, little ponds, tractors, and all sorts of things. Me, I'll have to work my farm harder for a while to earn enough "coin" to afford these items.

One of my relatives had a "real" farm in Suffield, Connecticut and we used to go to "Miller's farm" each Fourth of July holiday while growing up in Simsbury, Connecticut for the annual "Shaw family picnic". On many a year there were it seemed about one hundred people there; a lot of my cousins, aunts and uncles, and we would have a cookout along with swimming in their outdoor pool. One of the memorable items at the cookout was "pigs in a blanket" which is made by taking a small roll and filling this roll with cheese then wrapping a strip of bacon around the outside of the roll and pushing a toothpick through the roll to keep the bacon strip on the roll then putting the "pigs in a blanket" on the charcoal grill to cook. A very tasty treat and I'm sure very good for you with the bacon and cheese and all.

Fred Miller and his wife Dorothy had approximately one hundred fifty Holstein milk cows on their real farm and they had to milk them twice a day. They picked the times of four o'clock in the afternoon and four o'clock in the morning. I guess that they sure practiced the maxim "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"; as to me four o'clock in the morning is pretty early to get up each day seven days a week. Of course maybe they stayed up each night past four in the morning, milked the cows, then went to sleep all morning and afternoon and then woke up in time for the four o' clock afternoon milk schedule with the hours of a "rock star" but I tend to doubt that. The Miller's had a few large red barns and I remember the shiny stainless steel milk holding tanks as my cousin Roger and I among others would watch the milk shoot through clear tubes from the milk pumping machines attached to the cows as the holding tanks filled up with fresh milk.

Yes, I'm a "virtual farmer". This is less work than a real farm but a fun way to get an idea of what a "real life" farmer does on the farm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The "Local Loco Poco Concerto"

YouTube - Poco - Rose Of Cimarron I remember well "The local loco Poco Concerto" held in the back of Simsbury High School back in either 1969 or 1970. Also appearing that Summer evening was a band called "Ten Wheel Drive" featuring lead singer Genya Ravan who had a booming voice similar to Janis Joplin. "Ten Wheel Drive" had a sound similar to the groups "Chicago" and "Blood,Sweat and Tears" with a "horn section"


The evening of this concert I went with a few of my high school friends including Paul, Bill, and Greg among others. There was a large snow fence around the back of Simsbury High School and this fence even encircled the soccer field in back of the school. Just like at "Woodstock" though; people started streaming from out of the woods in back of the soccer field and climbing over this fence as well as tearing down the fence. After a while just like at "Woodstock" there was an announcement that it would now be a free concert so my friends and I just walked through the front entrance without having to pay.

Check out the You Tube link of "Poco" singing "Rose of Cimarron". "Poco" started in 1968 following the break-up of "Buffalo Springfield" with founding members Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Rusty Young, and George Grantham. "Poco" was considered an innovative band in combining "country" and "rock" influences. "Poco" had a sound that later seemed to influence the "Eagles" band with their multi-layered harmonies and with "Poco" member Timothy B. Schmit later joining the "Eagles". Some of the "Poco" songs include "Pickin' Up the Pieces", "Kind Woman", "A Good Feelin' to Know", "Rose of Cimarron", and "Heart of the Night".

At the concert there was almost a "mini riot" as the local police became involved in a skirmish with some of the concert crowd and there
were reports of the police being spit upon as well as being hit by some in the crowd as well as the police hitting some of the concert attendees.

"Poco" is still around with various personnel changes over the years and have released a total of 51 albums. That "Poco" is still around after all these years is "A Good Feelin' to Know".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Barak "Burning Man" Obama

Interesting sculpture as seen today in this Reuters photo also noted on the "Drudge Report" entitled "Burning Man Obama" by Chinese artist Liu Bolin which supposedly represents President Obama's influence on the world today according to the news article.
Art is said to be subjective in nature. What does the artist mean by his statement? Is President Obama going to spontaneously burst into flames? Is President Obama the Devil incarnate? Is President Obama on the verge of setting the world on fire? Did President Obama decide to imitate the Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire during the Vietnam War era? Does this sculpture represent a cleansing through fire of ridding the world of the outdated (in the artist's opinion) policies and mindset of past politicians?
I don't know. What do you think this sculpture means? Is this sculpture a symbol of hope and change or a foreshadowing of a future cataclysm? What say you?

"Firesign Theater "Nick Danger, Third Eye"

YouTube - Nick Danger Part 1 Ever listen to "Firesign Theater"? Some of my high school friends and I used to listen to them back in the early 1970's and spout some of the memorable lines to each other such as "What kind of fool do you take me for?... First class", and" You might have seen me at the drugstore drinking chocolate malteds and giving away free high schools." Ever hear the "Firesign Theater" adventures of "Porgy Tirebiter" who went to "Malcolm X John Lennon High School"? If you used to listen to "Firesign Theater" what are your favorite memorable phrases? Click on the You Tube link to hear part of an adventure with "Nick Danger, Third Eye".

Monday, November 9, 2009

"It's Winter Time" with Frankenstein

YouTube - Edgar Winter Group - Frankenstein Remember this song? If so or if not, click on the You Tube link to see the Edgar Winter group play "Frankenstein" and see Edgar play multi-instruments including the drums, saxophone, guitar, synthesizer, portable organ; almost everything but the kitchen sink. That's one talented Dude Man.

WYCHMERE HARBOR (Hey!!, Where ya goin"?)

This past Saturday on a warm Fall afternoon I took a photo of Wychmere Harbor from the Rt. 28 overlook in Harwichport. When I first arrived on Cape Cod during the Summer of 1976 Wychmere Harbor was the home of the famous "Thompson's Clam bar Restaurant" located on this harbor side setting to the right in this picture. Click on the above title as a link to hear the famous "Clam bar jingle" prevalent on the radio at that time. This dockside restaurant would serve as many as two thousand dinners a day if my memory serves me correctly. Families enjoyed this location and so did the seagulls as they would come right up to the restaurant deck and beg for food. A couple of my roommates that Summer worked at Thompson's and told me that they had a computerized schedule that would assign waiters and waitresses to different sections for their different shifts so as to make it fair for everyone who worked there to have an equal opportunity to have the same amount of tables in the "prime clam bar locations". Computers weren't that common in 1976 so this restaurant was at the cutting edge of computer technology for the time.

Thompson's Clam Bar was open until 1990 when the restaurant, "Snow Inn" and "Wychmere Harbor Club" were sold and today operate as a private club. Working at the Soundings motel in Dennisport even almost twenty years after this restaurant closed I would occasionally have motel guests ask for directions to Thompson's Clam Bar. I later met "Charlie" who was the general manager of the "Clam bar" during its "heyday".

"Hey!!, Where ya goin'?...I'm going to Thompson's Clam Bar cuz' that's where the tastiest clams are."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Herring River

Here's a shot today from the Herring River bridge in West Harwich, Mass on Cape Cod near the Cape Cod Irish Pub. Herring river runs from the Harwich conservation ponds to the north down to Nantucket Sound (the ocean). Each spring the herring come up from the ocean to the Harwich conservation area to spawn. They used to allow people to net these fish which can be eaten but are also used as bait fish for stripped bass fish. However, people were taking so many herring that they are currently banning taking herring during their annual run as the number of herring was getting depleted.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"I'm A BIG Penny Pincher"

Yes, sometimes I'm a big penny pincher. If you don't believe me just look at this picture and you will see me pinching a large cent which was minted in 1854; exactly 100 years before I was born. I wonder what tales this coin could tell if it could talk about the days before the Civil War. I wonder whose pocket or purse this coin hung out in and how many different people owned this coin before me.
You have probably heard the expression "A penny for your thoughts". Well, with this big penny your thoughts should be big as well such as "How are we going to stop this global cooling?". Or, "How is the government going to "fix" health care without rationing treatments and long waits such as found in Canada and England?" Maybe with health care they can clone a bunch of full grown doctors with all the necessary experience as there won't be enough doctors otherwise.
Back in 1854 this penny probably bought at least a loaf of bread or maybe even a meal. Today our little Lincoln pennies although they aren't worthless they definitely are worth less in buying power to this large cent.
This big penny was given to me by my Dad's Uncle Ernest Welcome Shaw. Thank-you Ernest Welcome!

Monday, November 2, 2009

YouTube - Dead Can Dance - The Carnival Is Over

YouTube - Dead Can Dance - The Carnival Is Over Here is a video of the song "The Carnival Is Over" from "Dead Can Dance". I thought that this group had the most appropriate name of any group with the possible exception of "The Grateful Dead" for "El Dia De Los Muertos" (Day of the Dead) as celebrated each November 2nd in Mexico.

Happy "Dia de los Muertos"

Happy "Dia de los Muertos" everybody! El Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead) is celebrated every November 2nd (all souls day) in Mexico as a day when everyone goes to the cemetery with food and drink for the deceased and communicate with the dead by telling funny stories about these people of events that happened when these people were alive.

You know, cemeteries are a popular place......... (people are dying to get in.)

"High School Haiku"

Back in the early 1970's I was in a "Far Eastern Studies" course at Simsbury High School in Simsbury, Connecticut which was taught by Mr. Cararini. With a name like mine (Rickshaw) I probably felt it was a sign to investigate the mysteries of the oriental culture. I've always liked Chinese food and even tonight for my birthday dinner at "Clancy's "restaurant in Dennisport on Cape Cod I ordered the "Asian Medley" entree.

One day in class back then Mr. Cararini read a short poem known as a "haiku" and asked the class from which country did this poem originate and why did we answer his question the way we did? This short poem spoke of the mountains and the sea among other things. One of my classmates said something like "I think this poem is about China because China borders the China Sea and there are mountains in China." Mr. Cararini responded, "Yes, that is true but India and Japan also have exposure to the Sea and also have mountains. " A few other fellow students also gave their answers and explanations only to be reminded that all three of the major "Far Eastern" countries also had the same attributes.

I raised my hand and said, " Does the form of the poem itself belong only to one of the countries?" Mr. Cararini liked this answer as this in fact was was distinguished the "haiku" form of poetry between the "Far Eastern" countries. "Haiku" is from Japan and is comprised of three lines of five seven and then five sound units called "on" which are similar to syllables.

As an example of Haiku taken from "Wikopedia" of a Basho classic consider the following:

the first cold shower
even the monkey seems to want
a little coat of straw

Here's a "Haiku" I just composed:

Darkness arrives soon
as the Sun rests longer with
the new winter nightfall

Apparently the teachers talk amongst themselves in the faculty lounge or wherever as the next year I had a different "social studies" teacher and he said to me, "Oh, you are the one in Mr. Cararini's class who figured out the riddle of the "Haiku" question."

"My Stubborn Car Companion"

These "GPS" devises are somewhat amazing in my opinion as you
generally just have to put in the street address of where you want to travel to and within a few seconds your trip is all planned out for you and off you go. Not only does in this case my "Garmin GPS" tell me where to go but it also calculates the distance between every turn along the way and give a contour map of streets you pass by as well as rivers, ponds, lakes, green wooded areas and warns you ahead of time where to turn next.
Most of the time this devise is quite accurate. However there are some times when this devise is wrong but I can't get this "GPS" to admit it. For example, in Dennisport on Cape Cod where I live there are a couple of ways to reach my house. This devise always insists that I travel a certain route to go home even though it is a longer way. I always choose to ignore the instruction on directions given in this case and the female voice keeps telling me "Please drive the highlighted route!" I in turn talk back to my "stubborn car companion" and say "No, that's stupid, that way is longer and takes more time!"
Does the "Garmin voice lady back down and say "Oh, sorry, my bad, you live right around the corner and I will defer to your judgement on this "? No, the "Garmin lady" ever stubborn keeps repeating "Please drive the highlighted route!" and doesn't even seem to listen to anything I tell her.
Other times though the "Garmin lady" will back down and announce in a somewhat irritated voice tone "recalculating" and then adjust the route to reflect whatever route I have started to travel. But other times as mentioned above; "Garmin lady" won't back down or recalculate.
A few times I have heard the "Garmin lady" announce "arriving at your destination (wherever I had selected to travel to) and I'm facing an empty lot full of trees instead of the home address I was looking for. The reason for this as I learned one day in Wellfleet ,Massachusetts when inspecting a home located in the Cape Cod National Seashore area; is that the home I was looking for was elevated above this empty lot and not visible from the road level of my car.
This "Garmin Lady" also only plots a route based on going in a forward direction as I learned this past Saturday when I went from one home inspection to the next. The directions said to take a right , then a right, then a right , then another right and then a left. Apparently, I was about ten feet from the road where I was supposed to turn from and as I relied on the "GPS" instead on just looking up and noticing that the street I was looking for was right in front of me the whole time I did a half mile "squared circle" before turning on to the street I was looking for the whole time.
So, all in all I'm quite happy with my "Garmin lady" and the advise she gives me but I guess like any relationship sometimes you have to work out differences in opinion.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Back when I was in high school is Simsbury, Connecticut I used to play percussion instruments in the high school band. Playing percussion instruments whether the snare drum, base drum, cymbals, wood block, triangle, tambourine, to name a few you mostly have to have a good sense of rhythm as well as to play at the appropriate sound level as the song and the band conductor required. During the early 1970's we had a sophisticated tape recording machine with boom microphones which was used to record the various band concerts performed throughout each year. This equipment was state of the art for the times as this time period preceded the digital age.

One concert, I think it was a Christmas concert, I remember quite well. During one of the songs I had to play a pair of cymbals and crash them together at the proper time during part of the louder portion of the song. I remember performing on cue during this part of the song and then I placed the cymbals on an empty chair next to me in the back of the stage area as the percussion section is always at the back of the band. This song then proceeded through a quieter portion where the string section and woodwind sections were featured. Apparently I didn't put the cymbals down on the empty chair the proper way as all of a sudden during this quiet part of the song the cymbals fell off of the chair and on to the stage with a loud "CRASH, SMASH" which definitely wasn't part of the plan for the song composer or the band conductor. This "cymbalism" on my part was recorded for posterity on our fancy recording machine. OOPS!

"Like Tears in Rain"

YouTube - BLADE RUNNER - I've seen things My favorite science fiction movie is "Blade Runner" directed by Ridley Scott back in 1982 and starring Harrison, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. "Replicants", manufactured to perform dangerous tasks in the "off world" colonies are indistinguishable from humans. Following an uprising in the "off world" colonies, replicants of the "Nexus 6" series are banned from Earth and are hunted down for termination by specialist police called "blade runners". The "replicants" are programmed for a limited lifespan of about four years in this futuristic setting of November 2019 and a group return to Earth to try to get their creator at the "Tyrell Corporation" to extend their lifespan.

In this YouTube clip, Rutger Hauer, as the leader of the "replicant" group gives his last thoughts at the end of his lifespan and how all his memories and experiences will vanish with his death like "tears in rain". Recently on there was a list of the best 100 science fiction movies of all time. Being a fan of the movie "Blade Runner" I was curious as to whether this movie would be on the list and if so where it would be ranked. I went through the whole list which was presented in reverse order and was surprised that I didn't see "Blade Runner". I finally got to "Number 1" on this list and lo and behold there it was.

Based on the Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" this movie was one of the first to be released in the "DVD" format. Other notable actors in the movie included Daryl Hannah, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmett Walsh,and William Sanderson.

Have you seen this movie? If so, what are your thoughts?

"Hitting the High Notes"

YouTube - Sigur Ros - glosoli - reykjavík concert Here's a video of the Icelandic band "Sigur Ros" performing live outdoors in Reykjavik, Iceland the song "Glosoli" (click the YouTube link). From what I understand, the lead singer, Jonsi Birgisson, with the exceptional falsetto singing style sings with made up words that convey an ethereal mood to the music. I learned of the band from "Annie" who worked with me at the Soundings motel this past season on Cape Cod. Notice that the guitar players are playing with gloves on so it must have been cold that Summer in Iceland. Also, notice the lead singer playing his guitar with a violin bow and that the drummer plays the whole song on cymbals.

I wonder if there was a contest between "Tiny Tim" of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" fame and Jonsi Birgisson who could sing the highest notes? What do you think? What's your favorite Icelandic based band?