How to Confront and Think your way through a Decision

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Happy Fourth

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Happy Place

In May I went to my happy place.  Everyone has one.  The place where you recharge the batteries and go back into the world ready to face the challenges and rigors.  For me that place is Asilomar.  The place is magic.  People arrive attached to their cell phones and within 24 hours, they are smiling, walking the paths, saying hello to strangers and chatting over meals without a phone in sight unless someone is crude enough to call those who wish to be undisturbed.

The cabins are spread over 107 acres.  They range in age from 1913 to recent places erected to fit comfortably with the style. Originally founded as a YMCA as a leadership camp, it is now an official California state park with protections to keep its very special character.  Just down the road is all the bustle of Monterey, Cannery Row,  whale watching and a world-famous aquarium.  Outside your window a wild deer and her fawn.

When at Asilomar, you move slowly and quietly as necessary.  She knows she is safe here, but she is for viewing only.  Because of building placement, even large groups there for conferences may not be aware of the crowds except in meeting rooms or when gathering for meals at Crocker Hall (the food is really good basic fare).

Just a suggestion unless you are part of a major group, it is a good idea to book well in advance.  They fill in rooms with people such as myself, but they go fast particularly in the very busy Summer season.  Otherwise you might be told to “Go Fly A Kite”.  If you have a room, you will.

Sometimes visits don’t go well.  In my case a sudden emergency illness.  But, hey, this is the Happy Place.  Call the desk and all will be well.  They are prepared for virtually every emergency.  Two days in the hospital and I was back as Asilomar with every need attended to … It meant leaving a day early, but next year …

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We May Need A Musical

Back in the early 90s I wrote the following mixing current events with the musicals of the 50’s and 60’s to compare them to the current events of the time.  I’m handing out lollipops to anyone who can name all the musicals and events referenced.  Extra points for naming the man on the left.

Today, reading back over it, I find it interesting that not much has changed, certainly not for the better.

AND THEN I WROTE

I wrote a line under the influence of wine about
what was then and when I felt more myself than now.
How love is lost to be recaptured when boy meets girl
in a whirl of 50’s, when we all believed in ever after.
Stories had endings of a happy note and scripts were rote
based on Cinderella and Charming.

Virgins were alarming
when filled with the next generation.
But now we do it by ourselves as if impregnated by elves
or Dopey or Doc – A tick upon the clock, to be or not to be.
These are the decisions made once laid by Charming
or his friends.

It lends itself to small ideals
One feels that yesterday was best.
Lest all things come to an end, the video store will
lend you a happy ending.

I was born when flags were waving, saving the world from whatever.
We never saw what was to come
when we were numb from caring, when Astaire and Rogers
would be bothered but sharing the latest stock report
or a wart on democracy was the thing.
Woodstock, Beatles and now Forbes and Liz can spend
a fortune on their balloons or toons and Roger Rabbit are the fad.

Without brass bands we sit to watch garbage sent
to outer space.
That’s the only place left undefiled,
untouched by human hands.
I want a little Rooney and Garland, Andy and his girl,
a simpler place to face the world left by them to us.
Why the fuss? when we all think the same and blame
is laid to rest on what is left of Berlin’s wall.
I lag behind the general mind of Penn and Madonna
I want something more for me and the poor
who ask, “Why Not?”, but that’s an echo of long ago

for a generation born when the world was worth saving
where a nightingale sang in Barkley Square, but
now there’s Cher when I would rather have Minnelli.
Silly, but I like brides for every brother and
other things like wings on my monkeys, who weren’t on backs.
We lack the ability to see things as they used to be before the
Baby Boom and zoom lenses on Japanese cameras.

I love Baryshnikov and Brodsky – All those who
left and might go back to see home again
Is it a sin to wish for open borders.
Help If you remember the songs of that time when
friends were friends and ends were what we hoped for
more than suburbia and cars in every garage.
A collage of then and now when we can begin
again to sing in the rain and listen to a
Carmichael skylark or just double park on New York streets.

What sweets await
those with good memories who actually
believe in dancing on ceilings and feelings
that Brigadoon just might come again in
something other than revival

Let’s put on our silk stockings and Porter, you
ought to pay attention to rhyme and time that
doesn’t come again when funny girls were
whirls of life, because we all were Kidds
Michael and otherwise.

Still Fosse is a soft spot in the pajama game of fame and
all that jazz. But Gigi, how close we stand
on land made shaky by Middle East and Debakey
and we can’t even get the heart transplanted into tomorrow.

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A Discovery Made Too Late

Recently while channel surfing I heard a voice.  It was an absolutely pure tenor and I only caught the end of the piece about a soon to be released documentary and the name of the singer:  Gurrumul.   From there it was the usual search through Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Wiki, and You Tube to find out more.  It is staggering how much more there was to find regarding a man whose name I had never heard before.  Unfortunately, Geoffrey Gurrumul has left this world, but in his passing he left some amazing music and the 10,000 year history of his people in sound.

While the documentary has been released, I can’t find an outlet or date in my area, but there are already 100% critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes so I look forward to it in my local art house.

Celebrated by audiences at home and abroad, indigenous artist Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was one of the most important and acclaimed voices to ever come out of Australia. Blind from birth, he found purpose and meaning through songs and music inspired by his community and country on Elcho Island in far North East Arnhem Land. Living a traditional Yolngu life, his breakthrough album ‘Gurrumul’ brought him to a crossroads as audiences and artists around the world began to embrace his music.

In the meantime, his albums are available on Amazon and several songs are on YouTube.  Enjoy the beautiful voice gone too soon of Gurrumul singing “I Was Born Blind” with a sound that teaches others to see and “Bapa” to prove you don’t need the lyrics to understand the meaning of the words:

 

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