Saturday, December 31, 2016

To Be a Kid Again

My wife and I promised our boys we'd take them ice skating this New Year's Eve and we made good on it. I haven't been on skates in ages and the sum total of times I have can be counted on one hand.

My youngest son is a big three, which means he's closer to four and he was unfazed when I laced up his tiny skates. He walked with a purpose to the edge of the rink, but when he stepped on the ice, his confidence shattered. His feet went in different directions like a foal outside a barn and he screamed from the top of his lungs for me to get him out of there. Problem was, I couldn't.

He held my hand as I clutched the wall and the two of us spiraled our way forward with the other skaters. At times, he would clutch me as if he was hanging off a cliff. Then a young girl came by and asked me if my son was learning how to balance. She couldn't have been much older than six. She told him to keep his legs straight, bend his knees, and walk like a penguin. I don't think he heard her over his tears, but I followed her instructions and echoed them as we made our way.

About halfway through, my lower back started barking like a hound dog in pursuit of a fox. My son's pleas to turn around became my own. We did an about-face and before we got too far, the young girl skated over to us and told us we had to go in the same direction as everybody else. Of course she was right, that know-it-all.

We pushed on. Salvation lay on the other side of the rink, but to make it, we'd have to cut across the ice without the safety of the wall. My son sensed the gravity of the situation and squirmed like a puppy before its first dunk in the bathtub. We glided in slow motion toward our destination. When we made it, I praised him for being brave and asked him if he wanted to go around again. He looked at me like I was crazy. He couldn't wait to get his skates off.

On the way home, he and his older brother were filled with song and laughter before they fell into a deep sleep.

I've never made a New Year's resolution I intended to keep and today is no different. I did realize something, though. After I made it around the ice rink with my three-year-old, we watched the other skaters and I felt exhilarated. Memories of my first skate flooded back to me along with the realization that decades later, I'm no better at it than I was then, but boy, did I have fun. Simply being with my kid, doing what he wanted to do, made me feel like a kid again. I may have a different answer later tonight when the ball drops and that familiar question is raised in song: Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Grab your kid by the hand and see for yourself.




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Billy Joel Plays 33rd Show at Madison Square Garden

You can tell Billy Joel enjoys what he does for a living. From the moment he walks on stage, the room shrinks and the audience feels like they're sitting in his living room. These days, that living room happens to be Madison Square Garden.

He called his 33rd show at MSG, the "Halloween" show, and peppered his fans with the themes from Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Addams Family and Jaws along with a raucous snippet of "The Monster Mash" amidst "The River of Dreams."

While "You May Be Right" on any "Long Night" with the "Piano Man," I was thrilled when "The Downeaster Alexa" won the "toss up" over "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." Ya-ya-ya-oh! Strong Island in the house!

I brought my "Uptown Girl" to the show for our ninth wedding anniversary as she's wanted to see Billy Joel for "The Longest Time" and, well, "She's Always a Woman" to me.

We embraced our "New York State of Mind" as Billy Joel propped up a skull with Shakespearean flare before taking us on a tour of "Leningrad" and "Vienna" and then stopping for a pina colada at Trader Vic's with Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London."

"The Entertainer" has played songs throughout "My Life" from "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" to when I was "Movin' Out," his classics are akin to Beethoven's "Joy" and "Nessun Dorma" by Giacomo Puccini.

Billy Joel opened his encore with guitar in hand reminding us that "We Didn't Start the Fire" while twirling his microphone stand like a baton before the King of Queens, Kevin James, who shouted "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me!"

We all left the show smiling and satisfied as if we had just finished our dessert on Thanksgiving. We were all in the mood for a melody and our "Piano Man" had us feeling alright.   

Billy Joel at Madison Square Gardern.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Body

Elle Macpherson aka "The Body"
The body is a source of sheer delight and immense disappointment. It is unique to each of us. It can be sculpted and it can change its shape without warning. We are its master and its victim.

Elle Macpherson was known as "The Body" after hers graced the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue again and again, meanwhile Jesse "The Body" Ventura used his on the battlefield, the wrestling ring, and the political arena.

The body of a newborn begins its journey to the body of an octogenarian. The intricate systems of the body keep it moving from start to finish, through shrieks of agony and pulsating electric shocks from the embrace of a lover.

It appears in scripture and in strip malls. It's in our work. It is the one thing you know best and hardly at all. We stare at it in the mirror and we stare at other versions on the beach or in the gym. At times, we covet it like a jewel.

Jesse "The Body" Ventura
Artists opine about the beauty of a body in masculine and feminine form. Scientists dissect it. Athletes push it to the limits. You and I touch it and sometimes invite others to do so as well. A pat on the back, a handshake, a different kind of shake, an embrace, a violent push. We adorn armor to protect it. We chose clothes that flatter its shape and keep it warm and safe from the elements. We shield it from the sun and bask in its rays. We manufacture a prosthetic to replace a piece that was once there or perhaps never at all.

The body is a tool to lay, move, gather, cook, hold, hit, drive, jump, stand, run ...

The body is sexy. The curves of a woman in clothes that cling or nothing at all. The broad shoulders of a man drawing the letter V at a tapered waist. The body seeks other bodies to reproduce more and more bodies.

For those whose body has been dormant, push it. For those whose body has been sore, heal it. For those whose body draws attention, flaunt it. For those whose body is healthy, appreciate it. For those whose body won't agree, convince it. For those whose body has been laid to rest, may it rest in peace.

    -0-

/EDITOR'S NOTE: "The Body" was written by request for DELve Mag . It is syndicated here by its author, Weird Long Beard Press/

Friday, August 12, 2016

Working Man Blues

When that odd day comes
and I'm finally out of debt
I shall sit in a soft chair and
light up a cigarette
I will enjoy a good smoke
then I'll let out a sigh as
I think of all the days worked
and the time gone by
The bills will be paid
my stomach well fed
I'll watch some TV
before I go to bed
and dream of all the things I have
and those I should get
and in no time at all
I'll be back in debt.

                                  Aug. 24, 1997

Other poems:

Mourn the Slain

The Words

Confidence

The Good Outweighs the Bad Fifty-Fifty

Bluff




Friday, July 29, 2016

Ireland Baldwin Treats Us to a Lady Picture Show on the Heels of Dylan Penn

Far from a rude, thoughtless little pig, Ireland Baldwin will appear in a "some like it hot" portfolio by Arthur Belebeau in the number 11 issue of Treats! Magazine on the 4" heels of Dylan Penn who appeared in the number seven issue. Seven or 11 is quite a come out roll for the luscious pair who continue their ascendancy and are no longer a secretCheck it out:


Ireland Baldwin, Treats! Magazine, Issue 11.

Ireland Baldwin, Treats! Magazine, Issue 11.

Ireland Baldwin, Treats! Magazine, Issue 11.

Ireland Baldwin, Treats! Magazine, Issue 11.




Friday, July 08, 2016

Mourn the Slain

Mourn the slain
of every color and domain
Oppose the violent and profane
and wisdom of the criminally insane
Violence begets violence, there ain't no gain
Tyrannical politics fanning the flame
No common decency to ease the pain
Just surging hatred toward fellow man
In the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave
Nobody's right unless someone is wrong
Each one of us deciding who does belong
Not a different tribe or religion
Blindness stands in way of our Founders' vision
that we are endowed by our Creator
Who sent forth a lover, not a hater
Who stood only as tall as the smallest one
and told us to love each and everyone
But we keep trucking a different lane
At speeds too fast to mourn the slain
and foot too heavy to hit the break
and a fury too blind to see our mistake