All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Monday, 27 October 2008

Add Some Music To Your Day

I've changed the Seeqpod music play list in the right hand column with what I believe is a more representative sample of the kind of stuff I like to listen to. In doing so, I've included two of my all time favourite pieces of Classical Musical, namely the intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana as well as Clair de Lune, which I really wish I could play on piano. I did try learning it years ago but gave up the ghost after the first few bars. I remember falling in love with Cavalleria the minute I heard it so elegiacally interwoven into the fight scenes of Raging Bull.

To start things off, I've added Stan Getz's magical Desafinado. If you're staying here for a while, do keep listening and I think you'll hear quite an eclectic choice of pieces.

I would recommend that you use Internet Explorer if you wish to listen to the player as it doesn't seem to work as well in either Firefox or Google Chrome (I can't vouch for the Opera browser or any others because I tend to stick with the three I've mentioned).

I discovered the Mamas and Papas' Safe In My Garden on a tape compilation years ago and really loved the harmonies. I also wanted to prove that I can listen to and enjoy music which has nary a Beatle anywhere in the vicinity.

The title of this blog echoes the wonderful Brian Wilson song on the Beach Boys' Sunflower album, which is a lovely piece of work.

Now You Know

Once upon a time in a place overrun with monkeys, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for R100 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at R100 and as supply started to diminish, they became harder to catch, so the villagers stopped their effort.

The man then announced that he would now pay R200 for each one. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. But soon the supply diminished even further and they were ever harder to catch, so people started going back to their farms and forgot about monkey catching.

The man increased his price to R250 each and the supply of monkeys became so sparse that it was an effort to even see a monkey, much less catch one.

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys for R500! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on his behalf.

While the man was away the assistant told the villagers. 'Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has bought. I will sell them to you at R350 each and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for R500 each.'

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys. They never saw the man nor his assistant again and once again there were monkeys everywhere.

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.

Ahmadinejad's Illness

I've just read a promising news report that states Pres. Ahmadinejad is ill. Perhaps he is suffering from radiation fallout, brought about by all those visits to the Iranian nuclear facilities...

Let's hope he really remembers those trips, for all of the wrong reasons.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

A Short Story

Blue


I don't know what made Jeff different from all of the other guys. I mean, he was ordinary looking wasn't he?

Blue eyes, angular chin, slicked back black hair and about 5'7 tall. He could have been anybody.
But he wasn't.

He was Jeff. The very same Jeff who saved my life.
The very same Jeff.

That was by and by and the night of the accident seemed like an ongoing echo that makes it way around the canyon. Never ceasing to leave a little imprint of itself in every crag. Jeff.

I suppose I should have known that Jeff would be the one who'd be there when I needed help. The others seemed friendly enough but not the kind of companionship that you know will hang on to you when the ropey sinews of life are fraying at the edges.

It was an accident that could so easily happen and consequently did. Jeff was there though. He gripped my arm as I hung hypnotised by fear over the edge of the cliff. Not looking up or down, just hoping that someone would be there to allow me the luxury of being still alive at 10.43, a mere six minutes away.

Of course Pete did the usual thing and stood there. Frozen. Blocked.
Jack tried to coax me out of my stance but managed very little, his thin voice overwhelmed by the terror of the moment. Susan looked at me with that kind of glare you never want to see again. The type that tells you everything you've ever done has come to naught.

The blue sky melded into the silhouette of the Parker that floated tantalisingly near to the rock. If only I could just reach out and grab the Winter 2003 model, I'd be safe.

The blue sky.

Where did he learn to balance his weight like that? I know that I'd never taught him that trick. I thought he'd learned everything from me, certainly through the idolising look he used to give me when we were walking through the glen. It wasn't in any way sexual. Well, I don't think it was. It was the younger man trying to glean what he could from the old codger that always led the way, irrespective of how useful he was in so doing.

I remember floating - yes, it must have been that sort of motion - because the next thing I knew was resting my back against the rock. Next to the sapling. A new sprout perched so precariously close to the edge. Yet unafraid. Unafraid.

And then Jeff signalled the way and we followed, because I'd finally learned that to lead properly, you have to follow, irrespective of how difficult that challenge may be.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Hadassah

It wasn't a particularly cold day. In fact, the sun was out and I was in a buoyant mood as I made my way up North End Road to the Royal Free Hospital.

I was about to become a daddy for the very first time.

I didn't know what "daddyhood" would be like. I was certainly too young be a "father" and so fatherhood was out of the question. It was to be the "daddyhood" that I wanted to experience.

It's been a long journey and maybe I've migrated a little more towards the father bit but today, the baby I was going to meet turned eleven years old and she's everything I wanted her to be. And then some.

Hadassah is smart, sassy, serious and special. The Shabbat, that very first shabbat, she also sparkled and she's never stopped shining.

I could go on, but I guess you probably know where I'm coming from.

Happy birthday kid - with infinite love from your daddy who hopes he means so much more than just a mere "father".

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Aches and Pains, But Here I Am

Greetings fellow humanoids. I'm back and I've been through the wars (or so it seems).

If I haven't written for a while, I've got good reason. To be brutally honest (and that's probably the best way to be), I've been to hell and back vis a vis my corpus. First of all, I had a rotten end to Yom Kippur, where my head shuddered its way through the final Neilah prayer and figuratively begged me to have something to eat and drink as soon as I was able.

The thumping headache dissipated just in time for me to put a muscle in my neck into severe spasm, the result being that an osteopath was consulted and I couldn't move my head properly for almost a week. If that weren't enough fun (did I use the word "fun"?), I've had to contend with unending Yom Tov, which is not such an issue....except that I feel somewhat discombobulated, something that I'm not too keen on being.

Deep sigh.

Well, here I am. Fighting my way through the personal wars and looking forward to some normality re-entering my rather fragile frame of mind - and for that matter, body.

Shabbat has gone out, we have a 48 hour reprieve until the next batch of feel-goods rush us into our cultural domain....a fractured week followed by yet another Shabbat and then peace....half term, which, believe it or not, it couldn't be coming at a more welcome time.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Why Are They Attacking My Car?

I'm not one of those people who takes much pride in the car they drive. For me, an automobile is only about one thing - functionality. If it gets me to where I want to go and back, I'm happy.

That said, I am absolutely perplexed as to why my little Ford Fiesta seems to bear the brunt of so many mindless attacks.

Let me explain.

Shortly after I came into possession of this very unassuming car, a bunch of mindless joyriders decided to use our road for their criminal activities and hit a number of cars, including mine. I was pretty pissed off about it, but not enough to shell out £200 to have the panel fixed.
Attack #1

Then, in my last school, one of the students felt the need to scrape his key along a number of cars, with of course mine included. Attack #2 (in the school car park). After a summer of phone conversations with the Police, I decided not to press charges, because I don't want to be responsible for his being landed with a criminal record. He can arrange that for himself without my assistance.

Just before the end of the summer term, the sister of one of the teachers in my present school backed up into my car and caused more damage. Attack #3 (in the school car park).

You'd think that my car had some sort of death wish wouldn't you?

So how do you expect me to feel when I find out yesterday that a student who was having a temper tantrum decided to take his fury out on a car (guess whose?) and kicked my wing-mirror into oblivion? Attack #4 (and yet again in a school car park).

I mean, what the hell!

Why do these people keep on battering my car? What in heaven's name could it have done to deserve this treatment. I don't know whether to laugh or cry but one thing I do know is that my poor little Fiesta, the car that drove me to Liverpool and back deserves better.

I hate to think what will happen in Attack #5 whenever it takes place.

Maybe if I bet on this eventuality, I might win enough money to pay for the all the damage caused in the previous four beatings.