Thursday, December 31, 2015

Many Thanks

As this here blog wraps up another year, I want to thank regular readers and part-time lurkers. Total views now approach half a million. I'm flattered you have stuck around for what can only be truthfully called a miasma of ranting and pondering spanning now, nine years . . .

That's Mr. Natural up there, courtesy of Mr. J. Crumb. Not the mudflap version, but it's been years since those days in Tunica.

Happiest of New Years to all. An update on my continuing adventures, next week.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Day in a Birdcage


Local culture comes in all forms - social, dietary, linguistic, artistic . . . You name it, there are variations from continent to country to region, state, district and even neighborhoods. In Florida, and I assume in other tropical areas, there exists an architectural and cultural anomaly called "the birdcage." An open air, screened area, typically on the back of a house and often facing the golf course, lake or manicured yard.

Here in The Villages, the majority of the homes are built with an attached lanai or Florida room. The design begs for and the other thousands of homes almost demand that new owners add their own birdcage. And since there are half a dozen or more contractors specializing in the task.



My brother and sister-in-law made the caging move since I was here last year. Now there is an additional 400 square feet of indoor/outdoor living space. Most days are now under 80 degrees (a mere 70 when we shot these photos).I often spend part of each day writing under the birdcage.



The azaleas and hibiscus are in bloom. An occasional bird lands in the palm tree, driving the cats into near apoplexy. Rain does fall here quite often but it's only a few steps from the screened cage to the sheltered lanai area, which does get humid but not moist.

There's a book or at least a poem here somewhere.

A Caged Life

A Day in the Cage

Why Does the Caged Bird Write?



Here's hoping all is well in your corner of the world.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Long Ago But Not So Very Far Away


Forty-eight years ago this week, I had an Arlo Guthrie day at the old weathered Fort Wayne in Detroit. It was there I failed my draft physical and became ineligible to join the young men and women of my generation in Vietnam. To those who served, those who did not return and those who never were again. I offer these musical thoughts from John Prine.

You can listen along here.

Sam Stone came home,
To the wife and family
After serving in the conflict overseas.
And the time that he served,
Had shattered all his nerves,
And left a little shrapnel in his knees.
But the morphine eased the pain,
And the grass grew round his brain,
And gave him all the confidence he lacked,
With a purple heart and a monkey on his back.
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
Sam Stone's welcome home
Didn't last too long.
He went to work when he'd spent his last dime
And soon he took to stealing
When he got that empty feeling
For a hundred dollar habit without overtime.
And the gold roared through his veins
Like a thousand railroad trains,
And eased his mind in the hours that he chose,
While the kids ran around wearin' other peoples' clothes...
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.
Sam Stone was alone
When he popped his last balloon,
Climbing walls while sitting in a chair.
Well, he played his last request,
While the room smelled just like death,
With an overdose hovering in the air.
But life had lost it's fun,
There was nothing to be done,
But trade his house that he bought on the GI bill,
For a flag-draped casket on a local hero's hill.
There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.


Friday, December 04, 2015