Travis McGee said, “Every day, no matter how you fight it, you learn a little more about yourself, and all most of it does is teach humility.” I remember the first time I read those words and thought to myself, “Yeah, right.” I still had the confident ignorance of youth going for me and I had no idea just how much I did not yet know. To be fair, I don’t know all that much now, but at least I am aware of just how much I have yet to learn. As Mark Twain once mused “Good judgment is the result of experience and experience is the result of bad judgement.” Well, I have a ton of experience, which has not necessarily translated into sound judgment. Call it a moral failing but there are some lessons I have not been able to learn, no matter how often life has tried to teach them to me. So in the hope that an old dog can still expand his repertoire of tricks, won’t you please join me as we stand and make the ever elusive, yet remarkably accessible, Bananakin Skywalker.
After a year of days running into each other, it seems like overkill to have this week of ice and snow. I already barely knew what month we were in and I awoke this morning to a grey, ashen sky over an endless sea of white to discover that it was Wednesday, and not just any Wednesday, but Ash Wednesday, which means I went right on through Mardi Gras without realizing it. To be fair, I should have known, mom had homemade King Cake at dinner Sunday, so I knew it was coming up, it just never really registered that it was upon us. I had planned to make a New Orleans classic, but that did not quite work out, so, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the Coco Bitter.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.” Do you understand these rights? Probably not. Most of us haven’t made a close study of them. Although the rights protected are enshrined in the Constitution, they were not formalized into the “Miranda Warning” that must be issued when you are taken into custody or interrogated until 1966. Turns out things work better when people are made aware of their rights. Seems like a better focus on civics curriculum and making sure that people actually understand our founding documents and the rights protected by them would be a great place to start. I bet that if more people bothered to read the instructions for our republic, we’d have less call to have to inform them of their rights, but I could be wrong. I often am. So, in the spirit of better understanding the national EULA, won’t you please join me now, as we stand and make the 5th Amendment.
One could argue that it is a historic day, as the second impeachment trial of the former president begins in the Capitol. You’d be right, of course. While that is certainly interesting, I don’t much care. I mean, I care more than many of the Senators present do, but not enough to dig into it, when there is something much more serious happening today. This is National Pizza Day. Admittedly, I do not hold with these manufactured holidays, possibly because I have been involved in helping to craft a few of them on the state and local level and I know their value. However, pizza. Yes, that is the crux of my entire defense. A defense at least as valid and stated far more succinctly than any other I have heard today. So, in the spirit of symbolic gestures full of sound and fury ultimately meaning nothing, well, nothing more than a full tummy, I invite you, honored members of the audience to join me now as we stand and make, The Godfather.
Last night, I got a video call from a dear friend who I had not spoken with in far too long. We caught up on the events of this crazily uneventful year. We marveled at how the kids and grandkids, in her case, have grown. We laughed about past adventures around the world, and began to plan, tentatively and optimistically, for the trips to come. It was a really nice surprise and made the whole family happy to get to see each other and chat and feel kinda normal for a little while. So, in the spirit of those old friends who keep you sane, won’t you join me as we stand and make, the Wildest Redhead.
OK, campers! Rise and shine and don’t forget your booties cause it’s cold out there today. It’s Groundhog Day, again. It seems like I should do something special in honor of this auspicious occasion. Obviously, by special, I mean a hip and timely reference to a film released 38 years ago. The whole movie is based on a situation that would drive a fella to drink, but there is only one interesting beverage in the whole thing and I feel like I would be ripping you off if I had you carefully craft a cocktail by pouring 2 ounces of sweet vermouth over ice and expressing a lemon peel. To be fair, that is an excellent thing to sip, there just isn’t a lot of craft in it. So, in honor of doing things till you get them right or till you learn a lesson or at least until you can move on, won’t you please join me as we stand and make, the Groundhog Intervention.
There are odd memories that percolate up from a misspent childhood and one of them involves this drink, a family friend that I did not trust and a lesson learned. It is funny the things you forget until some little trigger brings them back in full technicolor. The first sip of this drink tonight brought back an afternoon many moons ago, when I was younger than my son is now. So, with a nod to forgotten youth, won’t you pease join me now as we stand and make the Rusty Nail.
Some days you just want something simple. No muss, no fuss, as they say. Asked what he wanted in life, a friend of my father’s once said, “What every man wants, a peaceful existence.” That sounds pretty good today. I checked the news and things seem nice and boring. Well not quite boring, there are some possibly earth-shattering things going on in the market as a bunch of folks use reddit to turn the tables on hedge fund managers, showing just how ridiculous it is that “short selling” is even legal while also exposing just how much more equal some animals are than others in the eye of US finance law. If there was ever a house of cards that could use a burning down, well they may have found it. Me, I’m feeling like a coffee, maybe some acoustic music from a band only the cool kids have heard of, enjoyed on an old overstuffed sofa, with good friends and maybe a little poetry. So, won’t you please join me for a quiet evening as we stand and make the Coffee House.
It was a clear day, we were on the playground, playing handball or lounging under the shelter. We had the option of watching in Mrs. Cerniglia’s room, but a bunch of us would rather be outside, besides you could always see the smoke trail going up, which was cooler than watching on TV anyway. The launches had become fairly mundane, the only reason this one was being played in a classroom was because our teacher had been involved in the program, and had a vested interest. Not us though, we were outside in our Guess jeans and Swatches, listening to Mr. Mister cassettes on the Walkman. Looking off to the north we saw the smoke trailing into the sky and then it stopped, expanded, almost like a bloom opening, at that distance. We did not get it, and went back to gossiping about who liked who and whether Dave and Maddie were finally gonna do it. A bell rang and the loudspeaker instructed us to make our way to the cafetornasium, for a special assembly, where we learned that the bloom we had seen, was the Space Shuttle Challenger being lost. In the spirit of those who went before us, won’t you please join me, as we stand and make the Explorer Martini.
How much poetry do you get in your daily life? Seriously. Do you get the chance to read much poetry these days? Do you thrill to the imagined sound of the words flowing from the page when you see those rhyming couplets inset from the text or do you just sort of naturally gloss over those passages to get back to the meat of the narrative? I claim to enjoy poetry and will often take a few moments to read a bit, not everyday, but a couple of times a week. Not as much as I probably should, but I figure fewer than some and more than most. I can’t take too much at one sitting though. Not sure why. I can read non-fiction or novels for hours on end, but a quarter hour of poetry and I am mostly done in. Tonight is Robert Burn’s Night, a celebration of the National Bard of Scotland, so with him in mind, won’t you join me as we stan’ and ma’e, the Bobby Burns.