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THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE – The Song

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blessing curse

INTO Week Six of isolation here and now we’re disinfecting our outer AND … by gonzo suggestion from the top… inner… surfaces.

It’s like a Shakespearean tragi-comedy, except we can’t spit out our words like dramatic stage actors for fear of an impending manslaughter charge. No aerosols please!

Last week I mused about our collective situation of isolation and suggested some ideas that might help deal with our fresh new world. I quoted singer Garth Brooks who noted that everything we want comes with both a blessing and a curse.

The words stuck in my head like a *yum* peanut butter and banana sandwich does to the roof of my mouth.

Blessing AND Curse.

garth

Neither you nor I know what our world will look like in a year, there are too many moving and interactive parts for any rational assessment. This is the scientist in me speaking. My inner Bill Gates. We need rational thinkers like Bill and Melinda.

But with all of these unknowns… the artist, the creative me … holds onto a desire to think also in loftier terms, more emotional terms. It’s our artists – the musicians, the writers, the painters – that give us hope and joy in difficult times. We need artists as much as we need scientists.

And so I’m finding a bit more time in my days to write more prose, more song.

Yes, we’re on a ride folks.

And since the peanut butter phrase Blessing and Curse stuck with me I’m using it once again this week, this time in poetry and song form.

I hate cliches, but I’ll stoop now.

Be Humble. Be Kind. Stay Safe.

69465831 - young man composing the song with guitar on table with tea cup

 

THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE

by Larry Green

Little ones chase that coin
the one rolling down the street
towards the gutter or the drain
your two hands reach to grab and save
both mamas pull the chain

Last month I sipped sweet coffee from your cup
stopped in narrow grocery aisles and chatted
you pass me by at distance now
wild-eyed like something rabid
can we resurrect the sacred cow

CHORUS
Flip the hands, see the change
litter scattered in the desert whirling
shrink from shadows watch the afterbirths
there’s beauty and there’s hurting
Fill me up don’t leave me empty
The blessing and the curse

Stash your voice inside your house
Strike x’s through your plans
Bake bread to soothe your troubled soul
Muse about the coulds and shoulda-haves
Search blind and madly fill the holes

Alone now but are you lonely
put the Tanqueray away
this fog confines but stars abound in space
bright neon light will shine again
we’ll leave our separate places

Next year I hope we meet once more
unlock the chains and hug the children
I’ll touch your shoulder when you’re shaking
Wipe the tears with ungloved hands
we’ll walk the road untaken

CHORUS
Flip the hands, see the change
litter scattered in the desert whirling
shrink from shadows watch the afterbirths
there’s beauty and there’s hurting
Fill me up don’t leave me empty
The blessing and the curse

stars on beach

 

The Blessing And The Curse … COVID-19 Version

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blessings-curses

Quick… TRIVIA Quiz…

What are the names of the 7 von Trapp family children in the movie THE SOUND OF MUSIC? (Don’t cheat… answers may be found at the end of this post).

The Sound of Music (or to be really silly in these dark COVID times… it might be renamed The Sound of Mucous) has been a recurring theme in this house for the past few weeks. If you’ve never heard of or never *NOOOOO* seen the movie, this might be a good time for you to sign out of this post… just sayin’…

Since the oncoming rushing train we’ve labelled COVID-19 was introduced to us in the last couple of months, the entire world has had this sci-fi common experience of physical isolation, but definitely NOT social isolation.

This isn’t your great grandparents’ version of the Spanish Flu… *drum roll* … introducing the INTERNET! Have you heard of it?

The planet has adapted in many many ways to keeping our hands and expelled body fluids away from each other.

The friendly exchange of our body’s bacterial and viral biome with others has been our way of communicating, connecting and bonding with our family, friends and acquaintances for millennia.

Shake my hand, hug me, cheek buss, bum pat (SLAP… OK, this one is long out of bounds!)…

STOP! Do Not Touch! Anyone! Anything!

It’s tough and it can be slightly embarrassing or uncomfortable. It’s just plain weird to turn a lifetimes’ social learning and flip it on its head.

Which brings me back to The Sound of Music.

Early on in this isolation period, our family began a weekly Zoom get-together on Monday nights to have a Pub Trivia Night in Canada.

It’s a weekly chance to remind me why I didn’t get selected to join the Jeopardy TV family despite challenging the “Contestant Test”.

Physical isolation YES… Social Isolation NO…

In week one of our Zoom sessions, we posited the final BONUS question to our physically-distanced kids and partners: What are the names of the 7 Von Trapp family children in the movie THE SOUND OF MUSIC?

Despite some close attempts, no one quite accomplished the task successfully.

Then, once again, in week 4 of the family Zoom nights, our daughter posed the same question. And again, no one quite jumped over the high bar.

Furthering this Sound of Music theme that has been stuck in my little head… I finished up my online tutoring session with my Syrian friend this week by asking him to listen to a YouTube version of Julie Andrews and the 7 von Trapp children singing… My Favourite Things.

His homework quest was to listen to the spirited song and then write down all of the favourite things that Julie (ie Maria) and the children list in song. The good news is that he managed fine although he found Julie Andrews British accent a bit “dawwwnting”.

 

Our favourite things have changed now that COVID-19 has taken and taken.

We all have a sense of what we’ve given up during this enforced “Lent-of-Sorts”. There are myriads of sadnesses and laments over what and who has been lost.

My mind wanders this way and that… I was watching a TV documentary about country singer Garth Brooks last week. He calmly stared into the camera, slowly flipping his hands back and forth, and said, “Everything you want has a blessing and a curse…”

… and this led me to the Idea Sex concept of this week’s blog… to combine COVID-19 and My Favourite Things¬† (the curse and the blessing)…¬† granted, an odd combination… but folks… you’re dealing with an odd mind here… so….

… here goes…

These Are A Few of My 8 Favourite Things

COVID-19 Version

1. This one is easy … and clever too. The Coronavirus version of DO-RE-MI

 

2. Music. The needed push for me to quit procrastinating and spend some time not only playing and practising guitar (this is easy), but also the time to sweat through songwriting sessions (this is NOT easy!). Developing unique and interesting melodies is akin to running the half marathon for me… intense and exhausting but ultimately exhilarating. Does this sound more like a happy ending than a songwriting session?

3. Garden. Setting up a new low-water use irrigation system for the garden. The old 1990’s underground sprinklers are fabulous for soaking huge areas in huge quantities in water… but this is so 20th century thinking. Drippers and micro-sprayers use a fraction of the water and accomplish the goal of keeping everything lush, colourful and beautiful, just like my own peacock’s feathers (right, in your head Larry!)

4. Exercise. Re-discovering my self-motivation exercise gene. For many years, I’ve relied on spin classes, boot camp classes, yoga classes, organized runs etc, to get me out the door and sweating. Now I wake up (and it’s almost light now at 5 am!) and begin my own motivational self-talk session that eventually results in a salty sweat-stained set of shorts and T-shirt. Then I get out of bed. My beer and bread belly has only increased – you can’t see me, right? – marginally!

5. Cooking. Working harder and with more enthusiasm to broaden my ethnic cooking horizon. For many years, I’ve routinely alternated the style of cuisine I prepare… Indian, Italian, German, Moroccan, Thai, Peruvian, North American, and so on, you get it. My quest now is to expand on these ethnic directions by adding new dishes into the mix. Wanna try my Pad Thai Pizza, Prime Rib Ceviche, or Schnitzel Tajine?

6. Vegging. Yes, oodles of time where there are multitudes of streaming shows that entice and seduce like creamy smooth chocolate. My favourite indulgence recently is the Netflix mini-series UNORTHODOX… or is it Gossip Girl? shhhhh… Recent credible research suggests that binge-watching produces a surge of IgG and IgM antibodies biologically active against… absolutely nothing.

7. Soul Searching. Having an intense internal conversation with my inner voices and demons where I play Trevor Noah or Jimmy Kimmel to myself. I earnestly ask myself all the questions I’ve always wanted answered: Why does Mom love my brother more? If I’m so GD handsome, how come no one ever asked me to pose for Playgirl magazine? Should I sue Keith Urban for plagiarizing my voice?

8. Toes. Yes, rediscovering long distant body parts is great fun and refreshes me on things like simple arithmetic (how many are there again?) and also … just what have my piggies been doing all these years since childhood? And why is my toe jam more like toe peanut butter? So many intriguing questions… so much time.

Thank you COVID-19. And finally …

*The von Trapp childrens’ names?

  • Liesl
  • Friedrich
  • Louisa
  • Kurt
  • Brigitta
  • Marta
  • Gretl
beefcake fav things

HOT? Maybe… but Definitely NOT on MY list!

 

 

 

So What’s Sexier Than This?

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bread sex

There’s titillating sex bubbling and rising in your kitchen.

I hope. But maybe not. I’ll tell you why in just a minute.

Look at that picture above.

It caused a controversy about 40 years ago, almost as if Hugh Hefner had splayed a *blush* buck-naked Centrefold Playmate across your child’s Grade 1 Reader.

Look closely again, what do you think? If you see (and maybe smell) the delicious sight and wafting aroma of freshly-baked bread just pulled from the oven… well… I’m applauding your Victorian mores and approach to life.

Jane Austen has taught you well.

But maybe… just maybe… like so many of the time this was published (I was an avid reader of Harrowsmith magazine in the early 1980’s), you look a bit more deeply and visualize a young, heaving-bosomed lass with a sexually-charged come-hither look and signs of post-coital flush in her cheeks – and is that truly a loaf of steaming bread cupped lovingly in her hands? – well… now you’re COOKING!

Soon, a flood of complaint letters got dumped on the doorstep of the humble Canadian publisher … “how dare you put such filth on the cover of a magazine that arrives in our mailbox for all the children to see… not even wrapped in kraft paper for modesty. Unfettered pornography!

hidden porn

Ah yes… we all know that sex sells. I’ll bet this was the magazine’s bestselling edition ever.

Now in today’s soc-iso world, it’s not only sex that sells (porn sites are overloaded… I’m told!)… but to my unprepared surprise, so does YEAST. Seductive whor’ish yeast.

SCENE: Inside local supermarket, weekday morning, 8 am….. only busy parking lot within 20 kilometres (OK, the Cannabis Store was doing alright too).

While other delicate shoppers socially-distanced-crammed into the toilet paper, sanitizer, and face mask aisles (there’s a face mask aisle?)…

… I cleverly, devilishly … snuck away to the far reaches of the store and the baking section where I knew no one … no one… would be congregating, much less mobbing.

I just needed to grab a small jar of yeast for my pizza doughs, cinnamon buns, hot cross buns, and the occasional loaf of bread I feel inspired to muck up … routine stuff I do on any given week ever… dum de dum…

Perfect… no congregation, no crowd, no throngs …

Holy Cabbage Patch Dolls!!! …

NO YEAST! WTF!

Four more supermarket stores later (I know… why was I not in an isolation chamber at home?)… and the same Sci-Fi story…

YEAST… SOLD RIGHT OUT!

empty shelf

I had naively figured that with all this isolation, much more yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to us lab nerds) would be irritatingly ensconced in the below-the-waist internal workings of overrun ladies locked away with laid-off lads and their overcharged libidos (a bit of liberal blog fibbing here, the yeast normally found in vaginal itch is of the Candida variety).

There could easily be a foreseeable glut of baby bellies in 9 months under these circumstances… the COVID KIDS… but “bread bellies”? Where are all the gluten-free crowds now?

The global and local ripples of the CORONAVIRUS are and will be felt in countless areas that no one would have ever dreamed. The school bell has decisively rung and the next classroom we enter in life will be quite different.

And sadly too, perhaps one day in the not-too-distant future, counselling office waiting rooms will be overfilled with adolescents and young adults… searching for ways of coping with their childhood traumas – the sweat-drenched nightmares of days and weeks spent with no homemade breads or buns, the heartfelt sorrow-soaked memory of their mother’s and father’s faces as they tell their young charges that because of the Great Yeast Famine, there will be no cinnamon buns today, and maybe not tomorrow or next week either.

The good news ending here (for me at least, it’s all about ME, right?) comes when I spotted my wife running out the front doors of a local WalMart store… jumping up and down, arms raised in a V of jubilation… a small jar of Fleischmann’s “fungal gold” clenched in each hand… START THE CAR!

Have I mentioned my charitable side lately? I would never stoop to hawking tiny envelopes of yeast to you online at exorbitant prices… no Sirree!

But I can offer a special deal to you on a 6-pack of my delicious Hot Cross Buns this Easter weekend at the low low price of just $69.69 (any subliminal sexual message there is in your dirty little mind).

More yummy fun than finding your happy ending while ogling the cover of Harrowsmith mag…

*apologies to the hordes of English teachers and other language buffs for the endless run-on sentences in today’s post. Difficult times bring on disastrous grammar gaffes.

buns bunny

 

 

 

 

 

 

THESE SONGS I LIVE – The Song

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Songs in Head

Quick!

What song is playing in your head right now?

It might be a commercial ditty… it might be the last thing you heard before you woke from a warm and fuzzy dream… it might be the anthem of your existence.

I don’t know. Only you do.

I have to guess that nearly every one of us on this planet has a musical score that runs through our head on a daily basis.

If you list for me the 10 most frequent songs you hear inside yourself over time, I’d bet that I can give a pretty fair description of who you are and what is important to you in your life.

Think about this. What songs do you hear within regularly? Does it tell you something about yourself?

Here are just a few of my inner life repeats: In My Room (Beach Boys), Your Song and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John), Music and Fire and Rain (James Taylor), Hello It’s Me (Todd Rundgren), First Day in August (Carole King), If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot), Bartender (Lady Antebellum), Hotel California (Eagles), Canon in D (Pachelbel), Smile (Charlie Chaplin).

One of my greater goals in life is to write a unique and memorable song that stands alongside the ones that rest in others’ heads because it carries a meaning that is universal and heartfelt.

A song that describes me, but also describes you in a way that has a visceral way of showing that we all have a connection.

Sure, it’s an ego thing, but it’s also a “meaning of life” thing.

Once I desired writing a novel that would survive my last breath and be readable beyond the vanity press. Ha!

book writing

Nice try Larry. I’ve had the vision of harsh truthful reality (even without hallucinogens) tell me that this isn’t where I can leave a mark that lingers.

But I still have a minuscule hope in hell of making something musically that meets the test. Or at least I’ll keep trying.

Sorry Yoda, but I’ll just keep trying.

While this incomplete song still needs another verse or two, this week’s musical journey captures a tiny bit of what I’m talking about above:

THESE SONGS I LIVE

by Larry Green

The songs I live in darkness
play at night on slow repeat
distant days I smelled the diesel
saw the smokestack belch the heat
til the morning sunrise
vagrant winds come set me to my feet

Bitter chill bites the basement window
words come from a separate shelf
sweet winsome faces at my door
something different I had those days to sell
selfish tunes that struck a minor chord
mirror image indelibly dark but ignored

CHORUS

These songs I live again
if every person has a book or two
if every bench holds a spot for you
every camera has a pic you knew
and hopeful bedtime stories replay
the songs that tell me who
I am

To be the greatest dancer
scribble lines that never fly
I’m just a raindrop in a pail
a lonely star up in the sky
sometimes an empty house
grasping words in ink that slowly hides

If you could hear my life in song
while you sat inside my head and listened
Those steady words of Paul, Carole and James
like bible quotes on signs positioned
at hockey games
Would you see the world any different?

BRIDGE

One day I’ll reconcile and smile
I can’t outrun the train

CHORUS

These songs I live again
if every person has a book or two
if every bench holds a spot for you
every camera has a pic you knew
hopeful bedtime stories replay
the songs that tell me who
I am

king me