Talk & talk

Today was a pretty good day. My wife’s parents are staying with us for a while, and my parents also came for the weekend. A snugly full house for a night, which was fine…we have the space. Today my wife went to a baby shower (by herself!), and the grandmas were entertaining the toddler, so I got to sit and talk with the fathers — my dad and my father-in-law. We talked about guns and shooting for close to an hour and a half. It was wonderful. I so rarely get to just talk to someone without them looking at me as Pastor — and doubly so for men. Either people are trying to avoid talking to me at any length, or they’re seeking me out to spill their problems and burden me with them. Both are kind of a downer, in their own ways, and men especially aren’t that eager to talk to the pastor (because, after all, pastors are neither fish nor fowl — most people seem to regard them as falling in between men & women, almost like a third sex. That would be a post in itself….) At any rate, it was great to just sit and talk about something other than church stuff for a while, with a couple of guys who weren’t looking at me to be Pastor. It’s such a simple, ordinary thing to describe, but I cannot exaggerate the effect it had on my morale. Not often do I get to be simply a man (albeit a young man) among men…just a man among men.

The other awesome thing today came from our seven-month old little girl. Gram had brought her in and set her on the floor. I watched them for a moment to see if she needed anything, then turned back to the conversation. I heard a small, high voice say, “Hi, Dad,” but I thought it was Gram so I ignored it — until she said, “The baby just said that.” I stopped and looked at her, trying to absorb this amazing information. My seven-month-old daughter, the one who just learned to crawl last week, had verbally greeted me, and in an understandable way. Unbelievable. The high point to this daddy’s day. You might not believe me, but I have witnesses. Of course I love my daughters (and my wife, for that matter), but I don’t always get to hear it like that — especially not from a seven-month-old infant. Hearing her say, “Hi, Dad,” draws my love and attention to her all the more. I find myself looking at her with more concentration, waiting to see what she’ll say next. (It’s not out of the question; her older sister read the word pizza aloud to me from a printed sign, with no pictures attached to it, at 8 months. We seem to have verbal children.) What a beautiful baby.

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Coffee, calisthenics, and cool hits

Today’s shaping up to be a good day. I made an exquisite pot of coffee today — real top-shelf stuff, Volcano Roast (or as I prefer to think of it, Volcano Roast!) and just-opened Maxwell House. Superior stuff. Just as a mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems, I’m a machine for turning black coffee and sunflower seeds into the written word — torrents of it. Got to read on the deck again this morning — a treat, as the girls don’t always sleep in the AM & I’m not always awake enough to read. The stars aligned, or something, and I got to read about a quarter of my Stephen King novel.

I also did 70 Hindu pushups today, along with 70 Hindu squats, 30 full-length situps, 4X12 leg lift & holds, and the neck exercises. I felt like a beast when I was done. I’m definitely starting to see results, so even if nobody says anything or notices, I still think it’s good. I’ll keep doing them because I’ve seen too many lose what they should have had in strength & flexibility over time. Won’t be me…at least I intend it not to be.

And to top it all off, my other blog had 301 hits yesterday, as opposed to 25-30 on a regular day. That’s a lot! I have no idea why, but I’m glad. It’s nice to see that happen once in a while. So now it’s on to a few more crucial pieces of writing I’m under the gun on, and we’ll see from there. And going to a picnic too.

I feel like a world beater right now. We’ll see what the afternoon and evening hold! Deo gratias —

A Window into The World of …

If I were to record an album, I’d want the cover to look like “The World of Nat King Cole”: three of me in front of a bare concrete parking garage wall, with “THIS WAY OUT” painted behind me as a sign. It instantly says a lot, some of it contradictory: it’s fun, it’s wistful, it’s regretful, it’s sorrowful, it’s a touch desperate or angry. I like it.

Plus he’s dressed sharp. Skinny tie, shiny shined shoes, and dark single-breasted suits with skinny lapels — you can’t go wrong. (Actually, that’s a lot like how I look some of the time.) His posture and body language say a lot too. In the farthest right Nat, he looks like he’s about to ask a bit brusquely if you’re coming with him — like it’s 2:30 am and the night’s just getting started. About to walk out from under the glow of the single sodium lamp into a dark night full of stars and streetlights, glowing cigarette ends and deep shadows. A regular Twilight Singer. He looks like he’s waiting for someone, but she didn’t come. What happens to that great coat he has slung over his arm? The hat is also a nice touch — which also disappears.

Ordinarily I’m not crazy about sans-serif fonts, but here the typeface works, because it looks vintage — Rat-Pack-ish, or Ocean’s 11 (the first one, the original, the good one, with Sinatra — not the remakes, which were fine but not Sinatra & Dean Martin. I mean, c’mon…) I also like the colors that subtly separate the title — it’s a nice touch. It’s not overpowering, but it still catches your attention. It reminds you of a time when everybody smoked like chimneys and nobody noticed (or cared, if they did connect the dots) that lung cancer was carrying most of them off, and when the drinks were real men’s cocktails, never watered down — martinis and manhattans, or just whisky, instead of peppermint pattys and Smirnoff alcoh-pop. (Nowadays it’s hard to get a decent drink, and even harder to find someone decent to drink it with. I have to read private-eye novels to imagine the kind of company I’d like to have when I imbibe. Have I mentioned what a sorry-ass, enervated, effeminatized, corporate plastic world full of fakes and simulacra we live in?)

Sometimes musings like this post tell you more about the author than what the author’s (ostensibly) writing about. That may or may not be the case here…I guess you’d have to know me to find out. (And who does, these days?) I’ll say this much: the guy in that picture doesn’t look like he has a bad back, a four-day headache (from the weather, for cryin’ out sakes, not the hooch — what a pansy reason), a bunch of obligations he can’t seem to find time to get to, any paralysis, neurosis, or hangups from same, or any problems finding solace and companionship with the fairer sex. He looks like he knows where he’s going, at least to start, and if that doesn’t work out he’s got a backup plan, and if that goes to hell he knows he can freelance — calm, confident, and cool as a freshly shaken martini frosting your glass. Not without resources, and damn hard to surprise. That alone might make a guy want to be him, as they say around here. Maybe if I ever record that covers album I’ll use this, or maybe I’ll just concentrate on being the kind of man I want to be — and to blue blazes with what anybody else thinks.

 

Groundation Chant

To guess by the songs I post on here, you’d think I was a metalhead/classic rock fan. Which I am, but my tastes are broader than that. As a small sampling to prove this to you, here’s a reggae song. Groundation is a newer band (relatively, in my knowledge of reggae; all my points of reference arrived to me via The Clash, so that’s a little while ago), but they’re the real deal. This song has a very, dare I say, reverential vibe. The swirling, repeated guitar lick is hypnotic, the backing percussion is simple, and the rib-thudding bass usually associated with reggae isn’t here — but it still works great. Listen while smoking something, or looking at a picture of a tropical beach if that’s more your thing. Makes me wish I was back in Maui. Enjoy.