Sunday, December 29, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
December 26, Thursday
The day after Christmas in Bethlehem, Mary & Joseph were asking, "Well, that was really something; what do we do now?"
Over at Kos, some diary complaining about what some right wing pastor said, I comment: "One of my Christmas traditions is not to let this kind of crap bother me until after Three Kings Day. It'll still be there."
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Mary's Back Story
We view the Christmas story & the Nativity from a perspective long after the crucifixion & Resurrection events. We know what happens to Jesus, what he does, & the growing movement established in his name. Who is telling this story? Jesus never told it. Paul, through whom we learn the earliest beliefs & practices of the movement, apparently was unaware of it. Perhaps someone who heard Mary herself tell it?
It begins with Mary witnessing the worst possible thing that could happen to any mother: The public, painful, gruesome, unjust execution of her son. Roman law prohibits open displays of grief at executions; if you weep & wail, you yourself could end up on a cross. We ask, How is she able to endure the unendurable? & that is the question the authors of the Christmas narrative answer for us with wonderful insight into the characters of Mary & Joseph, the faith & courage of this extraordinarily ordinary couple. We especially learn Mary's heart.
When Jesus is born in the stable, only Mary & Joseph, Elizabeth & Zacharias, nearby shepherds who saw angels singing, plus some presumably Zoroastrian astrologers still enroute have any inkling of what is transpiring. Franciscan types are permitted to believe the local animals were also informed in their own fashion.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
"The Tropicana will take the slot machines and table games, while Caesars will get the 800-plus-room hotel. Neither has any interest in operating the business in Atlantic City's now diminished market."
From the start I thought there was something deeply flawed in how gambling was brought to AC. Over time, I wondered why Vegas increasingly reminded me of Atlantic City more than Atlantic City did. Ah, that was the flaw.
Nobody had a vision of how to combine the successful self-contained casino resort concept with the open front gambling hall arcades of downtown Vegas (which were failing) & the entertainment value of the Diving Horse, & crazy sights like Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon shouting "Woo Woo" from the roof of a restaurant, & of course what people love about Jersey from shows like the Sopranos & Boardwalk Empire. To this day people in the Peterstown section of Elizabeth pretend there's no Mafia. It's now part of their tradition. They're expected to act like that. But AC was never that way. AC lost its backdrop of sin & cheap thrills. You went to an island. What you did there really could stay there.
It did work like the Monopoly game for a long time. Whenever a failing casino went up for sale, another corporation or billionaire mogul bought it. Mohican Sun now operates Resorts. A brand new casino was opened a few years ago & was failing from the start, as just about everyone expected. This sale is truly ominous. What can you do with an 800 room hotel & no casino? Warehouse it. For what & for when?
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
The President's "vacation"
Friday, December 20, 2013
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Complete Recordings of Blind Willie Johnson (Audio 2CD)
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Song of the Metropolitan Man
When I win the Power Ball you won't see me no more.
Gonna change my name & live in a doublewide down the shore.
Send checks to poor poets, signed "Dante By The Sea."
Send checks to poor poets, signed "Dante By The Sea."
Delivered by a three-legged mutt, answers only to me.
My only luxury will be a Nash Metropolitan.
A 1959 Blue convertible Metropolitan.
Wherever I drive, they'll shout, "There goes the Metropolitan Man!".
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Nobody Told Me the Air Was Bad
The kind of gritty poem with a point Dave likes. But I see sketches for three poems or stories; about highways, growing up near two railroads, & going to work with my Dad on Saturdays at a company near a landmark prison. I probably read this as a short monologue on my radio show. I never announced I was reading a poem.
Monday, December 16, 2013
He loved beautiful women & flashy cars, married a former & drove a latter. We rarely saw him. When he visited, usually unannounced, he draped himself in tire snow chains from the garage & banged on the windows as "Mr. Clanky Chains," which threw us four siblings into hysteria although we knew it was him. He knew parlor tricks. Nana, my dad & mom adored him. Nana had raised Buddy & his older brother Jim, her late sister's kids. So they were more like young uncles to us.
Buddy was the one fellow in my family who looked totally Irish, with dark hair, bushy eyebrows & piercing eyes. He was the only one in the family considered to have the gift of blarney. Most Irish love blarney, knowing it's mainly bullcrap wrapped in flattery & persuasiveness. You enjoy blarney by surrendering to it.
When Buddy died, I noticed my parents were unable to grieve together. Their marriage was over. I walked around the corner & sat on the steps of the Methodist Church, looking up at the winter stars, wishing I was in Atlantic City with my grandmother, I believed I could be a comfort to her.
Next day, in boys health class, when the story had appeared on the front page of the Elizabeth Daily Journal, old Coach Herm Shaw devoted the entire class to his memories of the Dorney Brothers. Coach Shaw, a kind man, did that for me. I never forgot it. When Coach died many years later, I sent a note to his wife, Dorothy, also a teacher, remembering the day. She was pleased to receive the note.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Atlantic City NJ
Friday, December 13, 2013
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Thursday, December 05, 2013
When we think of Nelson Mandela, he is usually smiling (a trait he shares with Bishop Tutu & Mahatma Gandhi). It isn't the pasted smile of a celebrity or the smile of someone intending to deceive you. It is the smile of a man more accustomed to smiling than frowning. Despite the great trials he had endured. His smile reached people before his words did. It communicated his irrepressible hope.