Monday, April 22, 2019

Gold I Have Seen

On the Periodic Table of earth elements, gold is found in the middle of pack, at number 79. So while the shining yellow metal is just another lump or two in the great planetary array of substances, it is, and has always been, coveted and collected by us humans.
Gold has a curious effect on us. Through the ages, people have assigned many meanings and uses for the lustrous stuff.
I have seen gold on a few occasions in my life.  Like most folks, I am fascinated with the sight of it.  Here are a few pics of the bright metal I have collected. While pondering what gold represents, I made a list. For what it’s worth, here’s my take on what gold means to us.

~~~Gold as Wonder
Amazing how . . . ?

~~~Gold as Beauty

~~~Gold as Value

~~~Gold as Religious Ceremony
An altar in a Catholic Church in Rome

~~~Gold as Authority
This gold-tipped mast and dome is seen at the top of San Francisco City Hall.

~~~Gold as Power
In this room, the last emperor of the Hapsburg empire, Karl I of Austria, renounced all claims of royal authority over nations and empire. The renunciation took place November 11, 1918, the last day of World War I.
World War had begun in 1914 after his uncle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo, Serbia, which was at that time a part of the Hapsburg Austrian empire.
From that point and time in history, the many families, dynasties, kingdoms, and empires of royal authority who have ruled the world for so long . . . began their slow, modern slipping into mere ceremony, and —many would say—irrelevance.
This room in the Schonbrunn palace, near Vienna, is now property of the Republic of Austria.

~~~Gold as Precious
a golden moment of precious repose, reflection and contemplation

~~~Gold as Fidelity
Good as gold. . . in our case, 39 years and continuing.

~~~Gold as Heaven
“. . . and the street of that city was pure gold.”  (Revelation 21:21)
I haven’t seen this one yet, but one day I will, thanks to Jesus, who was resurrected after being nailed to a cross.

Thursday, April 18, 2019


there’s gold in them thar hills,
somewhere up near sutter’s mill:
them’s words that sparked the great gold rush,
and set us up us for the great golden push
California be the place you gotta go
so we loaded up our siri for sausalito
cruisin’ somewhere o’er the rainbow
where gentle dwellers come and go
speaking what makes their property ’ssesments grow
them gatlins said all the gold that’s there
be locked in some bank in beverly here where
somebody else will that precious stuff share
but hey
this is what i say
whatever stuff upon your dreams do thrive
whatever you do to keep that dream alive
whether you track with ferlinghetti
or train your sights on images of getty
keep that california dreamin alive
lest u get waylaid in some hotel california dive
where some say there’s alchemic gold
in that stuff that owsley sold
cuz when you wish upon a star
makes no difference where you are
whether u b goin’ to surf city surf city
or lookin for dem hollywood pretty
maybe try to hawk you little ditty
in tinsel town jez be twitty
cuz it be a factory town you know
they crankin up th’dream factory fo’ show
and when you wish to sight a star
makes no diff'n where you are
Cal the place you oughta go
so we loaded up the boat for sausalito
where weather underground stars did go
then caught light of day in law’n’order show
while light falls apart in a little room
like Alice with some kind of ‘shroom
on stanyan street
if you catch by beat,
where gentle dwellers come n go
speaking softly of how property ’ssesments grow
yeah demmie residents come and go
speak’n of what makes dem property ‘ssessments grow
but this i know
it may be all for show
okie from muskogee said
California or bust or ’til i’m dead
but whether u  b muskogee okie
yes i know i b get’n lit'bit hokey
or if'n  you b some smart silicon geek
u got to admit dat state is pretty sleek
been California dreamin’ all this week!
though you know i aint no freak
oh what fools’gold these mortals seek
u gotta believe it I know
and i be tellin you fo’ sho’
as so i been told
dem streets be wired wit gold
though i now be gettn’ somewhat old:
all that glitters is not gold
what stuff our dreams are made of, or so i’m told
may the bird of paradise eclipse  your deepest woes
in the land of gold'n dreams and shows
here in California.
Don't say I didn't warn ya.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


In chapter 18 of King of Soul, we encounter one exploration of how music arises from human life.
In the year 1969, Professor Victor Komienko explains to his Music Appreciation class how a certain kind of music may arise:
“The University is the Defender of  high standards in all of the arts; music is no exception. In the slings and arrows of outrageous  intrusion, the best standards of the ages are maintained at the Conservatory, or as we have here, the University. This is a college where the fundamentals of performance are passed on to the next generation of musicians, and where time-tested principles of effective composition are taught. At the same time, the Conservatory—or  University—retains and extends those foundations, so that appropriately innovative works can be brought forth.” Dr. Komienko looked up to the top row of the auditorium; he surveyed his class purposefully from the top row down. The baton in his hand tapped out a quick little rhythm on the podium.
        “Do you have any questions so far?”
        Teddy, halfway up the center aisle, raised his hand.
        “Mr. Scher, of course you would have a question.”
        “How do you feel about electrified instruments?”
        “You are asking about electric guitars?”
        “Yes, sir.”
        “As you know, electric guitars have a high profile in contemporary popular music. As for their use in the classical legacy, we have not yet seen it. I will say, however, there is an indirect influence insofar as some of the big jazz bands of the 1930’s, such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway.  The electric guitar, used primarily as a rhythm instrument, has become a standard part of their jazz arrangements.
        “George Gershwin has included in some of his compositions rhythms and melodic figures that originate with the Negro music, which has been brought over, as we know, from Africa. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is the most notable example of this influence. The sound of the electric guitar itself, as an instrument, has not yet been heard to any extent that I know of.
        “Traditionally, the guitar, unamplified as an acoustic instrument, has found an honorable place in the classical repertoire, most notably in the works of Spanish composers such as Segovia, and  Rodrigo.”
        Teddy Scher raised his hand again.
        “Yes?” Dr. Komienko responded, with a slightly disconcerted tone.
        “Have you heard that the London Symphony has performed with the Moody Blues?”
        “I have heard that they have done that. I have not heard any of the recordings. Thank you, Mr. Scher, for bringing that to my attention. We must, however, move forward with our syllabus now. Today, we will listen to a selection from the Italian Baroque period, Vivaldi’s Summer movement of the Four Seasons.
        “The composer wrote notes to communicate to the orchestra the character of the music. In this case, Vivaldi had written a poem, which included the image of a shepherd boy being frightened by the fury of a thunderstorm. Vivaldi evokes, in the music, the fearsome effect of that storm. Additionally, he wrote at the top of this score—the piece you are about to hear—this musical instruction: Tempo Impetuoso. What does that tell you? Let’s listen to it, and perhaps  we will comprehend just what the composer was indicating by the use of that descriptor, Impetuoso. I do believe, Mr. Scher, that you will agree with me after hearing it, that, in some ways, Antonio Vivaldi was a forerunner of the rock music genre, which is driven, in its 20-th century heart, by that”—the professor raised his hands, indicating quotation marks with his fingers—“electric guitar you mention.”
       “Of course, there were no electric guitars in Vivaldi’s day. However, in this case—the piece you are about to hear—I believe that same impetuous spirit of a present-day  lead guitarist was resident in a virtuoso  solo violinist of that day, whoever he might have been at the time.
       “The violin concerto—commonly  called  Le Quattro Stagioni, or the Four Seasons—was originally named by Vivaldi, in 1725, as Il Cimento dell’ Armonia e dell’ Invenzione , or translated, The Contest of Harmony and Invention. Perhaps, as you listen to this selection from it, you can surmise why the composer considered this work to represent a contest—or a sort of dual—between conventional notions of what music should be, as opposed to what music is as it is created and performed by the impetuous innovator—in this case, the soloist. Such  is the perennial contest, from age to age, between art that is generally acknowledged as appropriate and new art that is thought to be too disruptive.
        “Now listen, and hear if you can, , the composer’s prescient gleaning of what music might become two and a half centuries later.  Arnold, please roll the tape. . .”
You will find one demonstration of this phenomenon here: 

King of Soul

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Authoritarian Ducks

“Friends, humans, snackers, give us some treats!”

When the dark Duck of the South is floating on the pond,
and the greens, wings and flings of Spring respond,
observe  with me now the ducks as they cavort,
and I’ll tell thee a tale of a different sort.

As I did chance upon this lovely pond of the Queen city,
methinks I encountered two green-headed ducks, quite pretty.
As I did watch them they made likewise to observe me
and they noticed me munching on some cracker delicacy.

They commenced to approach my pondside perch quite boldly
and did by their quickened quacks begin to entreat me
for some morsels of my whole wheat crackers
‘cause I had landed there as a pondside snacker.

No sooner had I tossed them a tidbit or two
than two others like them waggled over to get some too.
But as the newcomers did paddle their approach
the first two judged their entrance as a fowl reproach.

Thus ducks one and two did confront their mallard cousins
and assail them with quackish protests by the dozen.
I beheld as these first two wiggled wildly their duckish butts,
chasing away the offending intruders with quackerish cuts.

As I am a human with tendencies to taxonomy,
methoughts I’d take note these behaviors of birdbrain ferocity,
as their hubris did remind me of the ancient imperial city
where bullies intimidate their kin with fierce intensity.


Methinks these bossy birds are of the bullish Roman variety,
having no tolerance for taxish quacks from the Euro birdbrainery.
Like their Hungarian cousins doing their own territorial hustles,
these haughty ducks harass their meddling cousins back to Paris or Brussels.

“Friends, humans, snackers, toss us some snacks!”
those bold ducks had demanded—them greedy green hacks, 
as if . . . "don’t waste your snacks on those lingering slackers.”
So I gathered my crackers and took leave of those quackers.

Monday, April 1, 2019

DNA the best Way

The dispensation of DNA
is best when it’s done in an orderly way.
What’s needed is that any man who so yearns
should direct his emissions in loving terms
to the same loving recipient every time:
all his kids have the same mama on down the line.

So let the ladder of life, the DNA
be distributed in a family way.
From the itinerant visionary

to the coding contemporary,


counsel the loopy adventurer with his genital arrow
to find motherly love in the strait and narrow.

So the resulting kids will grow up right,
and not be left in a social services plight.
You may think I’m old-fashioned in this,
but ’tis not a principle to flippantly dismiss:
The distribution of our precious DNA
is bestly dispensed in the family way.

Now if you guys think that I'm not cool,
well I AM cool, y'all. . . and no April fool!