Back To The Birds


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I have to admit, I was surprised at the reaction—or lack thereof—to my last posting regarding the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the follow-up statement by Florida Senator Marco Rubio. I rarely get into politics and big fight issues like gun control on my blog, but I was motivated to do so by two factors:  first, the horrendous tragedy at the Parkland school this time was really really close to home and, second, Marco Rubio’s comments were hideous.

 The response after four days was one “like” and one supportive comment. I’ve posted pictures of birds that got much more response. That says something about my writing or my readers. I am not sure which or if it’s a combo of both. It does, however, give me pause as to whether or not I should find something else to do with my time other than writing.

Come to think of it, according to the stats kept by my blog publisher, one of the most popular postings on my blog was published over five years ago. Guess what it was about? Yep….birds. So here’s a redo.  Oh, and oddly enough, the last sentence was not added on…it’s actually how the original piece ended…..and one spoiler note for your attention…nobody gets shot.

THIS BLOG’S FOR THE BIRDS…Posted onby

I never stop appreciating the little postage-stamp size of property my house sits on here in South Florida.  There is enough wildlife in my little backyard to keep a naturalist happy for years.  There are many people who have no backyard at all, and many more who have one with only views of trash cans and a parking lot.  My camera is always nearby and today I will share some of my pictures from my backyard and you will soon see why I am blessed.  BTW, you may already know this, but if you click on each picture they should grow nice and large.

About thirty feet from the small patio along the back of my house there is a canal.  There are many canals in the area, part of an irrigation system built back in the 1940’s, I believe.  I’m told they all draw water from a huge lake in the middle of the state in addition to sources all along the famous Florida Everglades.  The canal has more to offer than I ever imagined when we first moved in.  Lots more.  This waterway environment draws hundreds of exotic birds and other creatures.  Yes, we actually do have an occasional alligator swim by, but not often.  In 16 years I’ve seen only two.

The most prevalent species in the neighborhood is the Muscovy duck.  They are easily identified by the splattering of red wart-like “carbuncles” that surround their beaks and eyes.  They spend more time on land than in the water, especially if you choose to give them bread.  Then, they will hang around forever.  This is not advisable unless you like having to clean off the patio every day.  There are other smaller, brownish ducks that I haven’t learned about yet.  There are no Mallards in this area.  Male Muscovy ducks are quite frisky and their mating process is incestuous and barbaric.  The male will insist on getting on top of the female, preferably in the water, and then he will poke her head down under the water and keep it there until he is done with her.  She, meanwhile, struggles to free herself.  I always fear the female will drown….but I don’t suppose ducks drown.

Muscovy DucksFranklin

ibis

We have a lot of Ibis, famous around here as the mascot for the University of Miami Hurricanes.  They are fun to watch eat since it’s a long way from their beak’s tip to inside their throat.  You rarely get one Ibis at a time…one may arrive, but look for another twenty or so not far behind.  Ibis, right.

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The Wood Stork is one of the larger birds we see often.  They will smack their beaks together and it actually sounds like two pieces of wood slapping.  They are quite brazen.  For several weeks we had one come up and peck on the door every morning wanting his breakfast.  We’ve had Ibis do the same.  The Wood Storks stand a couple feet tall.  I don’t think they deliver babies though.

Wood Stork, left.

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We have a lot of Tri-colored Herons (above).  They are not very large, much smaller than the big Blue Herons that grace us with their majesty only once in awhile.

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Moorhens (left) are another small breed that usually consist of two parents and 4-5 little ones.  They are black except for a very bring red “wedge” atop their beak and between their eyes.  It looks like a bright shiny slab of red plastic.

greategreThe most majestic bird we commonly have is the Great Egret (right).  These are the traditional Florida white birds often seen in tourist pictures and at art shops.  They are very skittish, unless there are baby ducks in the area.  Then they have no trouble zooming right in and scoffing one up for lunch.  It is brutal to watch—and hear—since the little one is carried off still chirping loudly while held tightly in the Egret’s beak.  This is why the Muscovy ducks have so many ducklings.  The attrition rates is crazy.  It is not uncommon to see a new mother with a dozen babies on Monday and by Friday, after the Great Egrets have spotted them, she is lucky to have one or two left.

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And then, there is the Egyptian Goose (above).  These usually travel in pairs.  Our pair just had babies two weeks ago.  Some have not made it, but the Geese are much more aggressive at fending off predators than the Muscovy ducks.  They are beautiful birds with brown and beige tones with dark green and bright white feathers underneath.  They have distinct circles around their eyes and a black smudge on their chest.  The male makes a hissing sound.  The female, however, honks loudly and repetitively for hours and hours until you want to throw a stone at her and scare her off.

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A little less tropical and pretty much common in many locations is the Blue Jay (right).  I put peanuts out for the squirrels and the Blue Jays will beat them to most of the supply.  They are beautiful birds but a bit noisy and nasty.

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The Limpkin (left) is another noisy bird.  They usually travel by two’s.  When you see only one, it won’t be long before he starts calling for his mate.  He wails outrageously loud and I’m sure it can be heard a good mile or more away.  I don’t think his mate likes it, however, because she always shows up rather quickly, maybe just to shut him up.

See, I told you I am blessed.  These are just a handful of all the creatures just out my back door.  And, they stop by regularly for me to see.  I don’t need a ticket and the popcorn is only a few feet away.  I thought it would be a nice break from my usual ranting to have a blog that’s for the birds.   I have come to appreciate them a lot.  I am grateful I have had the opportunity to witness their little lives coming and going in such a rudimentary fashion.  They bring a  cherished tranquility each day that offsets much of the human-made havoc that unfolds in the newscast every evening.

About Marc Kuhn

I am a retired radio exec. I’ve worked at major stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. That was then. This is now: I’ve published seven books and this blog thingy. Need to know more? Really? Okay, I bare/bear all at http://marckuhn.com The other links are for the websites of each of the books I’ve written. I’ve been busy! Hope you’ll stop by and check them out. Thanks for your interest!

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WELL BEYOND THE WAKE-UP CALL


­­My blog is taking a bit of a turn in a direction that was never intended. When I began this writing journey over 450 postings ago, I was motivated, admittedly, to use the blog to support the promotion and—hopefully—the sale of my books.   That never happened. But I have kept the blog going because I enjoy doing it and there are a handful of people who regularly offer positive feedback and encouragement.

It has never been my intention to use my space here to attempt to persuade people to think a certain way or do a certain thing. That changes today. I will continue to be an average writer of pieces that offer humor, general observations and personal reactions to thing that we all experience in everyday life…and, of course, let’s not forget the silly poetic efforts that appear from time to time. All that will continue. But added now will be postings in which I will offer opinion and calls to action.

I am 73 years old this May. I cannot run for office or carry much weight in helping to guide my community, let alone this great nation. I can, however, at least express my ­opinion when I feel strongly that things must change and maybe, just maybe, I will convince someone to make a better choice when it comes to electing our representatives or voting on a ballot issue. Indeed, that is the intention of today’s posting.

Just a few miles north from where I live is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of Wednesday’s horrific shooting during which 17 young people were slaughtered. I can offer no more than anyone else my complete sympathy for the families who lost their children…and for the community that is faced with recovering from this tragedy and all that will involve. This latest incident is not a new experience for the citizens of this country.  And that is what needs to be addressed.

We have a terrible time in this country reacting to the concept of “enough is enough.” We almost become robotic in our adaptability to react and accept just about anything, even abhorrent behavior.   Every time we have a terrible incident, such as the shootings yesterday, we cry, we pray, we debate gun control and mental illness…and then we move on, accomplishing nothing that will help deal with the problem. That function is the responsibility of our elected representatives. In the past, and it even seems again today, they choose to do nothing in a country where it has been proven that the majority of citizens favor tighter control on gun purchases, the banning of assault weapons and greater support to our mental health facilities. These are things that most Americans want. They are things that most American politicians do not support. Why? Mostly because they receive funding and favors from the likes of the National Rifle Association. Without these they may not get reelected, a goal that seems to permeate the mindset of the majority of our elected officials these days vs. serving the country and the needs of its citizens.

Case in point—and now is the time I ask you to listen up! Here is a direct quote from Florida Senator Marco Rubio this morning after he was asked if now is not the time for something to be done about this epidemic of mass shootings in America. The Senator responded:

“It’s not. People don’t know how this happened, who this person is, what motivated him, how did he get the weapon that he used for this attack. I think it’s important to know all that before you jump to conclusions that there’s some law to pass that could have prevented this.”

Mr. Rubio is not a stupid man all the time. I have seen him when he is quite articulate. But for his statement this morning, how much more information and, more importantly, how many more children must be killed, before he is prepared enough to get beyond discussing and researching and move to implementing ways that will make it more difficult for a deranged person to purchase an assault weapon? Is that so incredibly hard to grasp? It has nothing to do with 2nd Amendment rights and has everything to do with sensibility. Senator Rubio received a substantial amount in campaign contributions from the NRA and its affiliates. Were any of the lives of 17 children killed yesterday worth any of those dollars?

The point is: It is time for US to act. This means that it is time for Senator Rubio to be voted out of office. It really is that simple. He does not represent us. Unfortunately, that cannot happen for a few more years until his current term runs out, but it should be active on all our to-do lists. Voting in people who will represent our interests is our responsibility and it’s time more of us accept it. We owe that much to those who risked their lives to found this great nation of, by and for the people…and now we especially owe it to our children.

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THE INJUSTICE OF A MILITARY PARADE


I am an angry American. I have never been this angry about my country’s leadership. When will this madness stop? When will we all come to our senses? Have we lost all direction; have we given up on what is right and what is wrong? I have never used my blog for this strong a statement and I hope I do not regret it.

When I was a little boy times were a lot different from today. World War II ended as I began. I was too young, by months, to be an official Baby Boomer and born too late to qualify for Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation. So I was designated a member of the Silent Generation. It was a throw-in label to which no one, including history, paid much mind let alone any tribute. We were the cold war kids; the ones in first grade who hid safely under our desks (what comedian Lewis Black refers to as kindling) in the event the Ruskies sent a nuclear-armed missile into our schoolyard.

The war was still very much on the minds of people as I toddled through the late 1940s and youngster’d the 1950’s. Back then, Memorial Day was not crassly designated for picnics and car sales. Not at all. Too many of our nation’s best had been killed in the war and grief was still very fresh. In fact, as I remember it, Memorial Day was a pretty solemn flag-drapped day to memorialize those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure presidents and prime ministers prevailed over dictators and tyrants.

One vision I strongly remember was the front-page photographs of my Weekly Reader during the first week of May every year. Pictured was the military parade in Moscow on May Day. There were the same poses every year. One of the wall above Lenin’s Grave from where Nikita Khrushchev and his buddies viewed their big parade. The other shots always featured goose-stepping soldiers, lots of statuesque missiles and long-snouted tanks. It was a huge display of military might.

No event like the Soviet Union’s May Day parade was ever held in America, at least to the vast extent the Russians would display their deadly power. No, instead we followed the Teddy Roosevelt’s decorum. We spoke softly and kept our big sticks back behind the silo doors. Besides, we didn’t need to prove anything to anybody…we already had.

Marching goose-steppers and rows of rolling artillery were always perceived as the toys played with by the bad guys—the bullies who needed to feed their ego and show off their highly pressed olive-drab linen and polished gunmetal so the rest of the world would be fearfully forewarned of their military superiority.

I was just a kid. I didn’t give it much thought other than it was always the countries America didn’t like that chose to have such parades. America, on the contrary, hung flags and lots of them. If we marched, it was with high-stepping drum majors leading peppy bands that played songs by John Phillip Sousa while enthusiastic young ladies kept time with pulsating pompoms. Indeed, our parades were always fun, entertaining …celebratory of good times and good things. If anything were “mighty” it was the feeling of pride of living in the greatest county on earth.   If we needed to show off our strength and fortitude we had John Wayne. What else would you possibly want!

But to hold a military parade with brigade after brigade of marching gun-toting soldiers and miles of rolling tanks and missiles and caissons, all with the intent of showing off to the world how big and strong, how impenetrable and massive, how formidable and deadly…how arrogant one’s country can be…well, that is for what Thomas Paine called the “summer soldier and sunshine patriot,” the would-be warriors and dim-witted demagogues. It is not for America. We honor our military, past and present, with more sophistication and dignity. We do not need them to be used as propaganda to bolster the braggadocio of our leaders. That’s belittling and beneath their great honor. Americans should be outraged. I for once will abandon my silent generation and stand up and shout: Mr. President, if you need to embellish your ego or prove your misguided machismo to the world, please, please do not commit the injustice of using one of our nation’s greatest assets to claim your narcissistic worth.

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ODE TO THE CELL PHONE


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It amazes me how cell phones have become the norm.

To me they’re nothing more than the perfect storm.

Nope, cell phones and me, we find it hard to get along.

Everything I attempt to do on them comes out wrong.

It seems more difficult than before just to keep up.

Every time I think I’ve got it, my files go corrupt.

All this new technology comes to me at too fast a rate.

There was a time I was savvy and was always up to date.

I’d be first with the newest rage, the latest state of the art.

Nowadays I’m totally lost even before I start.

When my phone rings, I’m never sure exactly what to do.

Last time I pushed this, touched that and squeezed it too.

I hear the tone when I get a message so I know it’s there,

But I never get to read it despite looking for it everywhere.

There’s no consistency and nothing’s intuitive that I can dig.

Which reminds me, whatever happened to WYSIWYG?

Another day with my old phone would’ve driven me to booze.

So I got a new one they said would be so much easier to use.

Well they were wrong. It’s even worse than the one before.

Somehow I see myself eventually chucking it out the door.

You can have all these techy new phones; they’re just not my thing.

If you ask me I’d rather go back to using two cans and a string!

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FACING FACEBOOK


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I will preface this posting by saying I think Facebook is one of the “star elements” in these early years of the Internet.  It has given everyday folks like you and me a place to come chat, exchange ideas and information, meet other people and basically have a free, free-wheeling communications channel with the world.  How much you choose to participate is totally up to you.  Facebook, overall, is great BUT….

Every once in a while l get this false sense of responsibility that because I have a “Marc Kuhn Author” page on Facebook I should make its appearance worthy and representative of my impeccable standards…after all, it does represent me and the books I have written. Usually, this sensation of angst gnaws at me for a day or so. Then, I discard it and move on with my life, my Facebook page left in the cyber dust to fend for itself.

Here’s the problem: Either the nerdy techy designers at FB have no idea how to set up a web page and make it intuitive for users to input their materials, or my senility has eaten away at two/thirds of my brain and I should not even be allowed to cross the street by myself let along attempt to understand the ways of Facebook.

I have tried several times to neatin’ up my Facebook author page, at least making an effort to have it appear presentable. But every time—evvvvvvery time—that I attempt to do this, I get this incredibly compulsive need to rush off to the Fort Lauderdale Airport, purchase a one-way ticket to New York, board a plane and immediately upon my arrival at LaGuardia I grab a cab to the Empire State Building. There, I make my way up to the highest observation platform, climb over whatever barrier it has and then take the giant leap into the air and enjoy my descent to the final spat on the sidewalk below. Thank you Facebook.

Now, as if I am not desperate enough, my overseers at Facebook notified me that if  don’t show some activity on my author page they will assume I have abandoned the space and will turn it over to a consortium of chimpanzees. So, recently I bit the petunia and spent time attempting to make sense of a page that FB has purposely made confusing, disjointed and dysfunctional just because they like it when I talk about booking a trip to the Big Apple.

True, I was able to accomplish the placement of some new materials on the page, but not always exactly where I want them or at the size I prefer. There’s also some redundancy that I couldn’t figure out how to do away with without doing away with everything…there is no such thing as picking and choosing on FB. Oh yeah, they added a few items too that I don’t want added, but whatever FB wants, it seems to get. Thank you FB.

What happens next, my dear friends and associates, is not my doing. You may or may not be pestered to hell by FB to come look at my new page. I have tried to take measures to ensure this does not happen but with FB anything is possible. Their main tactic in getting you to see changes I have made to my page will be to annoy the crap out of you with pictures from my page and constant beggings to go see it. I apologize. I regret you may have to go through this.  With luck, it is unlikely that my little FB page will be much of a nuisance to you, if at all, but I can help you deal with any frustration you may experience…I know just the right observation deck on the Empire State Building. In the meantime, if you are the least bit curious about the page all you have to do is search “marc kuhn author” and it should open for all to see.

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A NAME TO BE KNOWN


On January 9th 2012, I posted a piece on my blog titled, “Passion, Writing and Taylor Swift” (it’s in the archives on the lower right). It was still early in Taylor Swift’s career given her prolific history since, but I was already a big fan then even though I am waaaaaay outside her primary demographic target.

What I like about Taylor Swift is that she isn’t one of those one-phrase song writers, you know, where there’s usually a short phrase like “baby oh baby oh baby” repeated a gazillion times between maybe one or two other lyrics. No, Taylor is a full-lyric song writer who has honed her skills since being a young unknown bed-top guitar strummer with dreams of being a rock star. Well, her dreams came true and she continues to be a wise and savvy artist who keeps up with the times, changes with them and usually marches a step or two ahead. The release of her latest album, Reputation, is just another case in point.

Now if you don’t care for Taylor Swift or her music, at least give her some credit for being one of the better showbiz people representing our country. For years, Taylor Swift has given away thousands (probably millions by now) to individuals in need, victims of natural disasters and endless others suffering some fate or another. Her generosity is unquestionable.

So now, being the risk-taker that I am, I will make note of another new artist I’ve been keeping up with for a year or two now. Again, she is even more so out of the audience my age assigns me to, but music can change your seat faster than a Broadway bribe. She is, in fact, an even younger singer than Taylor was when popularity hit. The every-singer’s judge, Simon Cowel, has crowned this newbie, quote, “the next Taylor Swift.” I agree.

graceukaGrace Vanderwaal is the young lady’s name. She just celebrated her 14th birthday. At 12 she was America’s Got Talent winner where she dazzled both the audience and judges with a self-authored song called I Don’t Know my Name, accompanied by her rudimentary strumming on a ukulele of all instruments. Well, if you go to youtube.com you can’t help but know her name now as you can watch how fast and furious this young walk-on has turned pro with all the poise and style of a seasoned hit-maker…which she will no doubt will be.

Yes, her voice is a bit crackly at times and her “can’t-help-myself” bouncing around to the music will eventfully live up to her name…but this girl has it all. I just hope all hasn’t come too quickly for her to handle it. But whether it’s a good painting, a compelling love story or a dramatic movie, don’t you just love good art when it’s so much in your face you simply have to stop everything , watch and enjoy the moment. Grace Vanderwaal knows how to make you do that.

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THE LOLLIPOP STORY


Colorful spiral lollipop isolated on white

As some of you familiar with my blog may know, I am near publishing a collection of my mother’s writings.   One last-minute suggestion from a good friend was to include in the book some brief personal remembrances of her by the grandchildren and me. I have since recreated three incidences my mother and I shared.  I decided to post one of them here.  It is not a happy remembrance, not at all, but I think I lucked out when I consider how devastating it must be for a young child who has to live through his parent’s divorce.  So, in that respect, my story ain’t so bad after all…

My parents were a pretty compatible duo. They were married a little over 43 years when my father died. In most of that time that I was around I can hardly remember any kind of serious dispute between them.  I think my mother would have liked my father to be a bit more assertive and my father would have welcomed a little less of that from my mother.

I recall only once witnessing a serious divide between them, so serious I still remember the horror I felt as the dispute played out. I had to be about six or seven years old. I do not know what the issue was. They did a pretty good job of keeping it hidden, except for one highly unusual and unsettling circumstance. That was revealed one Saturday morning to my brother and me by our mother. She explained that she and my father could not come to agreement over something and she felt it best if she were to leave. WHAT!

I actually have no recollection of how I reacted other than I still distinctively recall this horrible feeling engulfing my entire body. It was part fear, part sadness and part everything else on the menu that feeling upset includes. But I do not remember acting out in any way. I think I was numb or maybe even in shock.

Mom explained that my father was off running an errand of some sort and that she was going to take my brother and me to this popular shopping area where we used to go to just about every weekend. There were no malls back then, just sections of the city where store-lined streets were clustered. It would be there that she would say goodbye and leave my brother and me on this one corner where my father would arrive shortly to pick us up and take us home…but only after Mom had gone her separate way.

Any other details of the day are beyond me. I cannot remember them or I do not wish to. It was the end of the world for me and I felt nothing but fear and a horrible sadness that I would never see my mother again. I must have been really traumatized by all this and I am sure you think my parents where frightfully inappropriate in handling the situation.   Perhaps so, but despite the fact that I never discussed the event—ever—with anyone except maybe my wife, I must have gotten over it because there are far too too many loving memories of my parents and the four of us as a family, that this was simply an anomaly, a bad hiccup.

Mom was true to her word. She kissed us each goodbye on a street corner, and my brother and I watched her walk off as we dutifully stayed put, waiting for our father to arrive. That took only seconds so he had to have been close, probably watching over us. He told us the car was parked up the street and we began walking that way—the same direction my mother had taken. I kept hoping we would catch up with her. But that wasn’t necessary because there she was, walking back toward us, looking at my brother and me and holding out a lollipop in each hand for us. While my brother and I unwrapped our goody my father took my mother’s arm and the four of us walked up the street, got into the car and went home.

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ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER BALL


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Today is January 1st, my annual day of reflection. It usually takes only a minute or so of shallow thought. I don’t even sit in my thinking chair. The reflection this year is the same as last. It’s not the most desirable, but it’s probably the most natural. Hold that thought.

It has always been an annual tradition to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve. Never missed it. When I was dating Rosemarie we’d usually go out somewhere, but somehow we always arranged to be in front of a TV at midnight.

I have notoriously bragged for many years that I even know who preceded Dick Clark as host of the annual mob scene from Times Squares. But this year it took me a day or two to remember the name…but that’s part of the “natural” mentioned above. His name, by the way, was Ben Grauer, a long-time personality on NBC radio back in the day when most folks kept a radio on almost 24/7. Anyway, Ben would do the standup bit from Times Square each year throughout the 60’s. He was the featured midnight element of the Jonny Carson show (and Jack Paar before him) every December 31st until Dick Clark took over, rockin’ it in the 70’s.

When you grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, launched your career in the 70’s and attempted to make it and your family expand and flourish throughout the 80’s and 90’s and into the next century, each year becomes more and more a remarkable benchmark. When I read Orwell’s 1984 in high school, that year was so distant in my future it was hard to accept when it actually arrived the night I watched the ball drop in its honor. That said, you can just imagine how difficult and daunting it is to realize that today marks the beginning of the year 2018 and I am here, no longer working, but alive and kicking, if even with a bad leg.

Those earlier New Years Eves were fun, encouraging and optimistic. It was easy counting UP.   But somewhere, sometime along the way, more recently, all that changed. Suddenly the timetable reversed itself and it now seems that each New Years Eve I count DOWN…it’s a whole new direction. Encouragement and optimism have become more challenging as the number of doctor visits, the variety of pills and the spread of pain all continue to expand. This is the reality for just about everyone my age. Not everyone handles it in the same way. I am open-mined about it and still see the glass of water with which I take my pills as half full.

So last night, I watched  the ball descend once more as yet another generation, now hosted with Dick Clark’s successor, Ryan Seacrest, rang in the New Year. I counted down the ten digits with everyone else and watched 2018 light up and begin its reign. 2018…WOW! And then, the reflection—the one I said that is not so desirable, but ever so natural…is this my last ball, or do I get another one to watch next year?

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BITTER BITTER


Thermometer on snow shows low temperatures under zero. Low temperatures in degrees Celsius and fahrenheit. Cold winter weather twenty under zero

It was cold. How cold? It makes no matter how cold once it reaches a certain depth. You feel it in your bones. Your blood thickens to syrup and your cheek bones, never really felt before, now tingle with pin-like punctures and your brain begins to sense doom.

So, where to begin? Rosemarie and I have been away for the holidays. We went to the middle of Pennsylvania to visit our niece’s family for Christmas and then it was off to Philadelphia to spend a few days with good friends. The only negative was the weather. After living in Florida for several decades, your blood begins to thin. Temperatures below 50 degrees now feel much colder than you remember. If you have chosen to suddenly transition from a tropical to an arctic environment, great surges of insanity pulsate throughout your mind. Confucius say: Floridians who venture north in the winter suffer brain freeze. True, we must have been brain dead to travel to the American hinterlands in the wintry month of December.

It was a grand display of opulence put on at my niece’s house. Their family room was the scene Christmas morning as ten of us whipped up a frenzy of gift giving. This is how it looked just before the morning massacre commenced. Afterwards it was a site of mass destruction.

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Did I mention it was bitter cold? Yes, bitter, bitter cold…like in the teens. You have to feel that kind of temperature on your cheeks to really get an appreciation of exactly how horrible it is. I sense that once you reach this depth of natural cruelty there is little more distinction between the teens and any degrees colder. I am sure it gets worse even though it is hard for me to imagine what that would be like.

It is almost laughable how you can board a plane in Philadelphia where it is 25 degrees, fly south to Fort Lauderdale in 2 1/2 hours, and then get off the plane where it is a balmy 78 .

We had a very enjoyable time seeing friends and relatives this Christmas holiday. Now we are home and it’s back to the routine…back to warm.  Guess where I’m staying? That’s right: Put!

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Christmas Lyrics


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I was listening to Christmas music this morning when I suddenly realized it takes on a whole new meaning this year…or maybe non-meaning. Here are some lyrics I picked out that sort of ‘splain all this.

 Lyric #1: I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me…

Well, this year you’re going to have a long wait. For the first time in my life I won’t be home for Christmas. Actually Christmas this year may be a little more like Christmas. Christmas in South Florida is usually hot and sunny. We will be in Pennsylvania where it should be cold and maybe even snowy.

Lyric #2: Deck the Halls with boughs of holly, fa-la-la-la-la-la-la…

Nope, we are not decking the halls this year. We wont’ be here. So, there is really no need for me to go nuts and string lights and garland everywhere. I suppose I could have shown you a picture of the house from last year, but showing Christmas past for Christmas present, well that’s sort of like fake xmas. We’ll be staying at our niece’s house where, knowing her, the halls will be decked along with everything else from the basement to the top of the chimney.

Lyric #3: Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches…

It kind of sad. The Christmas tree stand on the shelf in the garage will remain on the shelf this year. There is no tree and hence the stand will have no gifts around it come Christmas morning.   Talk about being left standing….

Lyric #4: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…

This is silly, actually. See, we never ever ever roast chestnuts and Jack Frost never ever ever comes to South Florida. I am sure we will meet up with him this year.

Lyric #5: We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar…

‘Tis partially true. King Marc and Queen Rosemarie will traverse afar as Pennsylvania. That’s a little over a thousand miles. And, oh yes, we will be bearing gifts for everyone there. We make an excellent royal couple.

Lyric #6: Said the little lamb to the Shepard boy, do you hear what I hear?

Well this sure hits home. One early Christmas gift Rosemarie got a few weeks back was a pair of hearing aids. This should seriously reduce the number of times I hear “what?” throughout the day. Boy does that get frustrating.   It took me over a year to finally raise the volume by which I talk to her and now she keeps tellin’ I’m yelling…well yeah! This is a new frustration because she doesn’t have her gear in her ear all the time. So I will say something innocent, like “Hey, wanna mess around?” and she’ll either act like she doesn’t hear me or tell me screaming demands will get me nowhere. Go figure.

 And finally, Lyric #7: We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Okay, now this is the first one that makes sense because it expresses exactly what Rosemarie and I wish to extend to all our friends and family…and maybe even some enemies here and there!  And, guess what–I dug up last year’s tree anyway…it’s still holding up and hasn’t dropped a needle!

xmastree16-2

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