It might even make everyone involved strive just a bit harder

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It’s tangential, but here’s a photo from St. Pauli, which makes me think of their years in Hamburg

 

Scrolling through Feckbook earlier this evening, I saw various people allude obliquely a murder that happened thirty-four years ago tonight. No-one bothered mentioning who’d been killed on the eighth of December in 1980. There was no need.

I wasn’t going to bother writing about it, because what more can be said about the all of it? Plenty of quiet thoughts about a world without him, and here we go through this once more every year.

So I was already off to bed, having already resolved not to say anything, and then I saw my friend Jeff Ely had posted this:

‘Vin Scelsa passed the news to the world on WNEW 34 years ago tonight, and then played “Jungleland”. I was on my houseboat in Cos Cob and immediately got in the car and drove to The Dakota.

“Outside the street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of a knife, they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland”‘

Well at that point, I had to fire the laptop back up and scrawl out a quick couple of thoughts here. The Bruce Springsteen quote is rather poignant in light of what happened that night, which was the disc jockey’s intention. If you don’t know that tune or haven’t heard it in a while, here’s an above-average performance of Jungleland:

Well, as long as I’m passing on Jeff’s memory of that night, I should interject where I was/what I was doing. Oh, did I mention being green with envy that he was able to hop in his car with the end of a bottle of bourbon and make his way to Central Park West  in something like an hour and a half? Well, there’s that.

Although I remember being upset the night that we heard the news, it was the next day in school that it really began to sink in. I was standing in the schoolyard a bit disgruntled that my fellow classmates didn’t seem remotely phased by what had happened the previous evening in Manhattan.

At the risk of sounding like the closing soliloquy of a Wonder Years episode, it really was one of the first times I remember being confronted with mortality. I’d certainly lost at least one grandparent and likely a few family pets had already met their untimely deaths for whatever reason. Yet, here was someone I didn’t personally know who was not only gone, but his absence shook me and alerted me deeply to how precious this whole damned thing truly is.

I know it sounds so cliche, but I’m going to write it anyway:

Hold your people close. Tell them how much they mean to you. Do it.

Be clear about it. It doesn’t hurt you, and it might even make everyone involved strive just a bit harder.

We are all God’s children. Don’t forget that shit.

photo by Johnny Nguyen/Special to The Oregonian

photo by Johnny Nguyen/Special to The Oregonian

Wasn’t going to blog about this topic, but this photo swayed me. Not going to get into what happened this week in Ferguson, Missouri and the maelstrom of Internet drama that followed. Enough has been said, and although I’m certain there’s much more that needs to be said, I’m not sure I’m the one to say it. Even if I were, I think I need more time to digest my thoughts. Although I can be rather transparent with my thoughts here, I’m careful with certain topics. This is definitely one of those.

However, there’s only goodness in the photo I’ve included above. Want to know the whole backstory story about the image? Well follow this link: Police officer and young demonstrator share hug during Ferguson rally in Portland. I’m careful about including sources, so check out the original. The photographer is Johnny Nguyen, and he’s @chambervisuals on instagram.

There’s not much more I need to add. The photo says most of what I’d like to express. We’ve got more in common than we sometimes remember. Hug your people a bit more tightly, will you?

Carolyn Wonderland said somewhere recently, ‘We are all God’s children. Don’t forget that shit.

That.

Creative Storytelling: Five Ideas

lahikmajoe:

Wow, I really like these ideas. While already employing some of them, I plan to incorporate even more. Thanks The Daily Post. Good stuff.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Itching to do something different on your blog? Want to tell a story in a new way? Here are five quick ideas:

Use pages and links in fresh ways.

The bear blogging at Hello, I am a bear shows how you can use the standard features on your blog — posts, pages, links — to experiment with digital stories. Consider “You are a bear,” which uses links and pages in a choose-your-own-adventure tale. In the story, you make decisions from the point of view of a bear. The blogger — er, bear — cleverly creates various paths and different endings depending on your actions.

Combine forces with someone else.

We love the writer-artist collaboration between Virginia-based blogger Shelley Sackier and Sweden-based cartoonist Robin Gott on Shelley’s blog, Peak Perspective.

Illustration by Robin Gott, "Give Me the Straight Dope," Peak Perspective

Illustration by Robin Gott, “Give Me the Straight Dope,” Peak Perspective

Shelley’s humor and strong voice and…

View original 472 more words

Paid in Guinea Pigs

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Here’s a book about the little sea pigs

For a long time, Elaine said that she would only be paid in Guineas. Because someone insisted that Guineas are not legal tender, she’s now accepting Guinea Pigs instead.

So, while we were chatting about it, I remembered that I had a book about Guinea Pigs in German. However, they don’t use that word – they’ve got their own German word for these animals.

They’re called Meerschweinchen, which directly translated ‘Meer‘ means ‘sea‘ and ‘Schweinchen‘ means ‘little pig‘. Weirdly enough, when Germans talk about these little furry mammals, they’re referring to them as ‘little sea pigs‘.

If you want to reimburse Elaine for any work she does for you, you’ll need to pay her in that currency.

Having cake and discussing which direction we’re all going

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Box of pastries…carbohydrates a plenty

Although I’ve got writing assignments and plenty of other obligations, I realised recently that I hadn’t been keeping the horde of my readers up to date on what’s going on hereabouts. For one thing, Elaine came to visit and we continued our Cake Across Europe tour that we began last year in Palermo.

Oh, here’s a collection of what I wrote about all of that:

Palermo Posts

And here’s some of what Elaine made from that trip

Nobody’s Perfect. Even me

Alone and existential in Palermo – What to do?

It seems that while everyone else is cutting carbohydrates out of their diets, Elaine and I go the other direction when we’re together. Plenty of my friends and acquaintances are toying with variations of high protein/low carb eating. Listening to those who’re obsessed with the Paleo Diet, many of our modern health problems are directly related to the effect sugar has on us. The argument goes that because carbs turn to sugar, we’re better off decreasing them as much as we can.

While I’m not going to wade into that debate here, and it’s a tangent I’m not prepared to go onto at this point anyway, I will concede that Elaine and my cake consumption is not the ideal health choice we could make. If I thought anyone was mad enough to actually look to either of us for nutrition advice, I’d include some sort of ‘Don’t try this at home, kids’ warning. Luckily, that’s not a concern.

Instead, the thrust of our week together was brainstorming and planning for how we’re going forward with our online presence. Because at our age, we’re sandwiched between the generations of people who didn’t have any of this technology and the digital natives who have grown up with it all around them, we’re in a position to have watched the good and bad that can be created in an online community.

People get bent out of shape because of something that was said in response to a post on Feckbook, and things can so easily escalate into name calling and blocking and genuine bad blood. We see the power of curating content and believe that our wall or stream on various platforms is like our virtual neighbourhood. So an ongoing topic between us is what to do when people get unruly on your page.

When it’s a genuine exchange of ideas, both and Elaine and I can overlook a bit of invective. A bit. However, when it turns to personal attacks, there’s an advantage in editing out the more cruel voices. Is that suppression of ideas? Censorship?

Yep, it is. It’s my wall. Go pollute your own space with your poison.

I’ve watched carefully over the years how major media sources deal with readers comments. When users still have some ability to stay anonymous, it seems there’s more inappropriate behaviour, but even people using their real names can be schmucks.

So, I’m curious what experiences you’ve had with this. Have you altered the settings on your blog or social media platforms where comments have to be approved first? Do you even bother with such thoughts? What’s your position on this? Don’t be shy.

Getting back outside

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Deep into the fantastic autumn we were promised, and now that the Oktoberfest is finally behind us we can get onto the real heart of the season.

For mid October we’re having a genuine heatwave in Munich. It’s too late to call it Indian Summer, I believe. It’s warm and gorgeous in the daytime and not much cooler at night: it’s an Autumn Wonderland.

There has been leaf kicking, as well as plenty of conversations about how this is the best time of year. I wouldn’t bother getting into a discussion about it if you disagree. If you prefer summertime, you’re simply on the other team.

Winter? Well, that way of thinking has its place. I’m always up for a long dog walk in the snow, and huddling up in front of a fire is an exquisite pastime. Everything’s in a sort of hibernation, which appeals to my desire to ruminate and reconsider all of the things.

What about springtime you ask. Hmmm, you could probably make a case for that most tempestuous of seasons. I’d even entertain your arguments to be clear, whereas I’d ignore whatever the summer and winter folk had to say.

Nevertheless, I still find my mind wandering back to the fall. When you know everything’s dying, but it’s so beautiful while it’s doing it. The feeling that this moment in time is so precious and so fleeting – it reminds me to savour the now.

In the back of my mind I know the long, dark nights are just round the corner. Impatient and grumpy travellers on public transport we’ve got to look forward to and the once white snow getting increasingly dirtier and mushier. We’re not there yet, but it’s definitely coming. Encroaching upon our cheery last gasp of warm wind.

Don’t get me wrong. Aside from writing about it here, I’m not thinking much about the cold. Too busy revelling in the red and then yellow and then golden leaves. Even scrawling it here is keeping me from getting back outside.

Ushering them out the door: don’t tell a Scot what to do

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Have been chatting with the Scots in my circle of friends, and it looks like they’re going to go with Independence. This has been building for a while…apparently the whole ‘We’d rather govern ourselves‘ thing isn’t a new concept up north.

The curious thing is that not so long ago I agreed with the pundits who seemed to believe that at the last minute those more inclined to tradition would scurry back over to the side of staying in the UK. It seemed only practical.

What happened exactly? Between then and now?

Well, it seems the folk responsible for convincing the Scottish to vote to stay in the UK have chosen a rather curious tactic. The Better Together campaign are employing a mix of scare tactics and condescending rhetoric that’s supposed to freak out Scottish voters.

Just in the last few days, the news has been a mix of:

Well, if you vote for Independence, you can’t continue using the Pound Sterling as your currency.

Oh, and joining the EU isn’t going to be as easy as you think.

And anyway, hasn’t it always been better when we’ve all stayed together.

Behave now and vote for the security that we’ve been providing you all along.

With just the right amount of fear mongering and condescension, it seems the people who wanted to keep Scotland in the fold have instead ushered them out the door.