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.




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.

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/

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.

Other poems:

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.




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.



Other poems:

Loss for Words

Loss for words
Planting grass seed for birds
Picking up doggie turds
Outside in the sun

Can not think
Ground needs a drink
Birds don't blink
Kids shrieking with fun

Pause to breathe ...
Birds starting to leave
Kids start to believe
New green grass will come.


Image courtesy of  Weird Long Beard Press.

Other poems:

Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight of Gotham Will Rise


The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
People of Gotham, have you lost your Vulcan minds? Mets fans, have you been infiltrated by front-runners who switch their allegiance as casually as they transfer from the 4-train to the 7-train? Have we collectively sunk into deep despair as we watch the villains pillage our city in the absence of its protector?

Indeed, we have.

We've seen the movie before. It was released in 2012, the very same year Matt Harvey first took the mound in Gotham Citi Field and gave the few who still believed, hope. He put the franchise on his shoulders and was invincible. He wrestled headlines and models away from the Yankees Captain and brought back a swagger reminiscent of his Hall of Fame predecessors Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza. He walked the tightrope and he did backflips on it with the snap of his cape before disappearing into the shadows to await the next arrival of would-be assassins from DC, Philly and The Bronx. If he let up just one run, the fat lady would sing in her operatic voice.

How many games have we watched where Matt Harvey was brilliant while his teammates flailed at the plate, unable to scratch out a base runner, let alone a run. As if the lack of offense wasn't enough, his teammates would crack under the pressure of a routine pop fly, a tailor-made double-play ground ball or a Little League throw from first place to home plate. Did he complain? No. He simply asked for the ball and another chance to take the hill and carry the gigantic load his teammates, his franchise and his city placed upon him.

Now, Atlas, it's time to shrug.

Matt Harvey of the New York Mets
The booing after the debacle against Washington and the swelling negativity from the Mets in their own broadcast booth has reached a fever pitch. Like the movie, the hero has become the villain and the city has turned its back on him. The chorus of boos bleeds into anarchy until the hero vanishes and begins to question himself and his ability. He retreats to the cave while the larger-than-life image thrust upon him is incinerated in the streets amidst mayhem and lawlessness. He wrestles with his own self doubt until he stares at himself in the mirror unvarnished. Then, like the Phoenix, he rises from the ashes with a fury, stronger, more powerful than ever before to save his city from itself.

Among the boos and the naysayers you'll find the You Gotta Believers. They'll be wearing a mustard splattered jersey with the top two buttons undone and the number 33 on their backs. They will gather behind their leader with the indomitable knowledge that giving him the ball when he extends his right hand is the same as Commissioner Gordon climbing to the top of police headquarters to send his signal over Gotham.




Who Is the Girl in the El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels by Karisma TV Ad?

Often times a long journey can lead you back to the beginning. Such was the case in my quest to uncover the model featured in the El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels by Karisma TV ad.
You know the one, she's wearing a white string bikini, leaning against a four-poster bed on a sandy beach, watching a man in blue boardshorts approach. It's a stunning ad, produced by Dorn Martell from Tinsley Advertising with original music by John Jay Martyn and Jimi Ruccolo on guitar. I uncovered all of these contributors, including the voice-over-artist, Jodi Krangle, in my search for the woman in the white bikini.

Katie Luddy for El Dorado Maroma

What prompted me to set sail on this odyssey? While the sensuous ad targeting the luxury traveler was the vehicle, the catalyst was as ancient as Helen of Troy, desire.

"I wish that was my butt," said my wife. 

"Me, too," I said. But whose butt is it?

A Google search led to countless other searches, taking apart the ad over and over again on YouTube, going through stacks of portfolios on Instagram of models featured under the #karismaexperience banner, all to no avail. The pursuit was maddening. I'd throw my hands up in disgust or pause due to waning battery power. If I was researching a cure for cancer, one might understand my being overzealous, but the owner of a perfect posterior? It was crazy.

Katie Luddy for El Dorado Maroma

I was beaten. My ego was bruised. I pressed on.

With many unsolved mysteries, one has to assemble evidence and weigh it against the known facts to draw a conclusion. Even when this occurs, the researcher is always haunted by a lingering doubt, how can I be sure?

My conclusion is that the woman in the white bikini is 27-year-old model Katie Luddy from Rochester, NY via Miami, FL. While I have written to Katie via comment on Instagram, I haven't heard back (I completely understand, there are a lot of creeps and weirdos online). And so, dear reader, I submit my evidence for you to see for yourself.

The long journey to uncover the woman in the white bikini has ended. It spanned several continents, multiple locations and many languages before leading me back to Katie Luddy, who, as it turns out, is a fellow alumnus of the University at Buffalo, where she studied architecture and design before moving to Miami to allow the world to study her own architecture and design.

Katie Luddy via Facebook from April 2014

After all of this toil and the satisfaction of a job-well-done from my wife, I could use a vacation.

If only I knew where to go.


Katie Luddy by Max Foto Sudios

Katie Luddy has the last laugh via Instagram
  





February Comes and Goes

February comes and goes
Where the days go noboby knows
March comes in like a hungry lion 
to eat President's Day leftovers nobody's buyin
Beware the Ides says Great Caesar's ghost
or was it a Hollywood Oscar host?
Easter risin like a cat on a spring
jumpin upon you like a sudden fling
Pollinating flowers into new born buds
Sittin on a cooler knockin back suds 
The days grow longer with nothing to do
The heat presses down on your frizzy hair-do
The leaves change and the air grows brisk
while Wall Street portfolios mitigate the risk
The holidays swirl and smack you like a tornado
New Year's Eve ball drops at midnight, wait though ...
I haven't had time to change my clothes
Another February comes and goes.

Dog at Greenwich Point Park, Conn. | Photo: Bob Luckey

Other poems:

Man Escapes Office Run by Zombies

NEW YORK, Jan. 31 -- A young man was rescued from a local business in Midtown yesterday that was run by brain-eating zombies.

"At first I didn't realize I was among the undead. There was not a lot of chit chat in the office and coworkers seemed to stare blankly at their screens all day. It was similar to my last job," he said.

The young man would see coworkers assemble and leave the office together around lunchtime, but only a few would return. These coworkers along with his managers often walked by him as if he was invisible.  
Image credit: Daniel Hollister | Flickr

"I said hello to one woman each day who was always standing by the coffee machine, although no coffee ever seemed to come out of it," he said. 

He reports the work was mindless and that his biggest challenge was remembering his Windows login. 

"When I'd struggle to remember my password, a crowd of coworkers would gather near my cubicle and grunt at one another, but once I logged in, they'd vanish," he said. 

It was when the young man had trouble with his login and called tech support that a coworker lunged at him from a nearby cubicle. 

"She was trying to bite me," he said

When he ran to human resources to report the incident, other coworkers poured out of meeting rooms and offices giving chase. When he got there, the administrators leaped across their desks firing employee manuals toward his head. He was able to duck down and exit through a nearby fire escape out to the street. 

"I thought the incident was strange, but I still wasn't sure if I had to report back the next day," he said.

After describing the scene to a friend, the young man alerted the authorities who discovered the office was a zombie lair. 

The NYPD held a press conference saying that zombies were hiring young, unsuspecting professionals to feed on their brains and incorporate them into their occult.

"Once the supply of new brains ran low, all hell broke loose," said Sergeant O'Leary.  He cautioned citizens that other zombie dens were likely in operation, luring new hires to join their "growing company."