Feets and Feats

tmp_2290_4-21-2014_110059_-1My  wife seems to be having the beginning symptoms of dementia.   Thank God she’s not anywhere near a drooling, muttering creature that some might portray.  But she is also not the vivacious, dynamic administrator of a large social service organization; not the woman she used to be.
And I…   …   …I am not the man I used to be, without her.  Without her!!  The thought trickles down my mind like a sliver of ice on an blazingly hot desert afternoon.  My shoulder muscles wink together in migraine pain.  Emotional brain-freeze.  I laugh too much; to keep from…   …   …I won’t it say out loud, for fear of what you must already know I’m trying not to express.
We met in Brooklyn, NY, in 1957:  teen-age lovers who went through high school and college together; though continents apart she at East Los Angeles College, (which actually is located on Brooklyn Avenue) and I at Brooklyn College-City University of New York.  I don’t know how to live without her.  And she’s fading away.  Not that anybody notices.  But I notice.  And my daughters notice.
Now we live in a “retirement community” which is not meant to be a prison, but is a prison nonetheless.  A prison of broken people, too tired to die, but without the energy to fully live.
The situation is too complex to describe fully today.  But, little by little, I’ll describe it to you.  I’ll describe it to you from my wheelchair, from our little room, which I am now going to leave for a moment, and contemplate my new world; to see what new opportunities await me. If any!!   If you remember my story, I’ve been dead before (not metaphorically;  but ACTUALLY!!) so anything I now accomplish is a death-defying feat.  So “Feets; don’t fail me now”!!!

Fight Club For Poets

Like A Fight Cluber Swallowing His Mouth Guard; Poets Often Feint.

I am a man of many interests, I guess, and poetry has always been one; although I’ve never been known to take quill to claw.  [I usually just prick myself.]  Its the efficient economy of words that drives me.  Anyone can rhyme, but it takes a master to master rhythm, cadence, and implicated levels of meaning.

I was a sophomore at Brooklyn College in 1960 when I thrilled to John Ciardi‘s How Does Poem Mean.   My punster‘s mind knew I was only a rube.  But Robert Frost schooled me some.  Many promises later, I still take a dip in my inkwell, to drip, drip, drip my dribulations.  

e e cummings.  Willie Yates.  Coleridge‘s seabird.  Poe’s bird, too.  Do you know what I…   …   …”mean”?

For a month or two, given the vagaries of time and circumstance, I’ll forego politics.  Geraldo and O’Reilly, Marco and Mitt; be gone.  I have many other promises to keep, many snowy eve’s to ponder.

There are many finer poets than I.  But I am an accomplished “finder”.  A “compiler”.   Data bits, Google “hits”, and playing the hits on The Poem Parade.   A Make-Believe-Ballroom of Poetic Edification.

“Oh, I’m flying now”, the 11 year old boy sang to his Granco radio, late at night, when the adults were asleep.  Stories, stories, stories!

And maybe now:  I can write again!

Sorry.  Where was I?  Oh:  I was day-dreaming.

Fight club for poets!!  Yes; yes.

After a moment of inspiration; off again!!  This season’s T.D.D. starts with poetry and music.  Maybe it’ll make it make sense as I go along.  

Maybe not.

Who knows.

Who cares.

I’m having such fun.

 

I’m Leaving!! … … … …For A Vacation.

Either way… … …I’m outta here!!

Just too many things and too little time.  Computer woes, family discord, financial worries, annoying little tasks that MUST be done, life’s ordinary foibles.  And its been over 95 degrees for many days in a row.

Just wanted to let you know.

Hello??  Hello????”, Eyeore moaned, although he knew no one was ever listening, 

Waylon Reads My Mood

California High Rise

77 degrees in L.A. Sky is endlessssss!! Bright blue.

Tall, thin, Washington palms  swaying, isolated,  along the boulevard.   And me?  I’m singing “Good Time Charlie”.

—–

Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues is a song written and performed by Danny O’Keefe.

It first appeared on O’Keefe’s self-titled debut album in 1971. The following year he re-recorded it (with a slower, more downbeat arrangement) for his second album, O’Keefe; this version was also issued as a single, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

It was covered by numerous artists, including Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Mike Farris and Elvis Presley.

Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1943. O’Keefe’s musical career has spanned four decades from his early days playing in the Minnesota coffee houses to his present station in the Seattle area. He is still very active both in the recording studio and on stage.

Career

O’Keefe is best known for his only hit singleGood Time Charlie’s Got the Blues“, which was released in September 1972, and reached #9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and for “The Road”, covered by Jackson Browne on Running on Empty. “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” stayed on the Billboard chart for 14 weeks and sold a million copies.[1] The gramophone record‘s sales culminated in a gold disc issued by the R.I.A.A. in June 1973.[1]

O’Keefe’s unique lyrical style and haunting melodies earned him a reputation as an important songwriter of his genre.[2] With Bob Dylan he co-wrote the environmental movement anthem, “Well Well Well”.[3]

In concert with his music and through his organization The Songbird Foundation, O’Keefe has been active in the environmental field, helping to develop public awareness of the effect that indiscriminate coffee-growing techniques have on the songbird population.

O’Keefe’s songs have been covered by numerous musicians, including Jackson Browne (“The Road”), Elvis Presley, Judy Collins, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffett, Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, Cab Calloway, Mark-Almond, Andy Williams, and others; in Italy his song The Road has been covered by Ron (singer), with Italian lyrics written by Lucio Dalla (and titled Una città per cantare).

Discography

  • 1971 – Danny O’KeefeCotillion RecordsProduced by Ahmet Ertegün
  • 1972 – O’Keefe – Signpost/Atlantic Records – Produced by Arif Mardin. Contains the top-ten hit “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues”
  • 1973 – Breezy Stories – Atlantic Records – Produced by Arif Mardin. Contains the single “Angel Spread Your Wings”
  • 1975 – So Long Harry Truman – Atlantic Records – Produced by John Boylan. Contains the single “Quits”
  • 1977 – American RouletteWarner Bros. Records – Produced by John Court and Kenny Vance
  • 1979 – The O’Keefe FileWarner Bros. Records – Promotional CD containing songs from previous LPs
  • 1979 – The Global Blues – Warner Bros. Records – Produced by Jay Lewis and Danny O’Keefe
  • 1984 – The Day To Day – Coldwater Records – Produced by Mathew McCauley and Tony Peluso. Contained the singles “Along for the Ride” and “Someday”; both singles charted in the “20’s” in AC charts
  • 1989 – Redux – Beachwood/Chameleon Records – A re-release of The Day To Day with a new title and two new songs. Contained the singles “Along for the Ride” and “Someday”. VH1 played the video of “Along for the Ride”
  • 2000 – Runnin’ From the Devil – Miramar Records – January 25, 2000
  • 2000 – Danny’s Best 1970 – 2000Raven Records Australia – 2000
  • 2003 – Don’t Ask w/Bill Braun – Produced by Bill Braun. All songs written and performed by Danny O’Keefe and Bill Braun
  • 2008 – In Time – Bicamerical Songs – Produced by Mick Conley

References

  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 318. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ Nytimes.com
  3. ^ Billboard.com – Discography – Danny O’Keefe – Danny’s Best 1970-2000: Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues
And, from Songfacts.com:  This is the biggest hit that Danny O’Keefe performed. It struck a cord with restless young people who were stuck living dreary lives in dead-end small towns while their friends were moving away to better things. (thanks, Mike – santa barbara, CA)
There are two versions of this song. The first was released on Signpost Records (distributed by Atlantic), and the second was released on Rhino’s “Have A Nice Day” Series, CD #17. The second version is longer, with different wording at the beginning. (thanks, Frank Luna – Tucson, AZ)
This song that tells the tale of a man the good life left behind and who takes “pills to ease the pain.” In an interview with Mojo magazine July 2010 O’Keefe recalled the writing of this song: “It was very simple and got to the heart of the matter,” he said. “It was written in not much over an hour. I think I hoped that a country artist would cover the song, but it made reference to pills and those references were taboo for country singers then.”
O’Keefe told Mojo about the song’s lyrical content: “Maybe it was about hipsters drawn to the high life. I lived in interesting times and there was a lot of experimentation with every kind of drug. There were a lot of damages and strange intersections of lives that provided much grist for a young songwriter’s mill.”
O’Keefe on the song’s legacy: “The success of one’s dreams is always exhilarating. Elvis cut the song with the same group of musicians I had, so there was a pride in continuity, but I didn’t think he brought anything new to it. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate it more as part of the song’s great legacy.”
This was to be O’Keefe’s only hit but he is known for penning “The Road,” a song recorded by Jackson Browne on his 1977 album, Running On Empty.
—–

Fight Age Discrimination: The Old Nose, Knows.

May 30, 2012 5:00pm

‘Old People’s Odor’ Exists, but Not Unpleasant

Elderly people do emit a characteristic odor, but it turns out they might actually smell better than younger people, according to a new study published online in PLoS ONE.

Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that people could distinguish among the body odors of different age groups.

They asked 41 people to evaluate odors collected from the armpits of study participants from three different age groups –  people between the ages of 20 and 30;   between 45 and 55; and between 75 and 95.

The evaluators rated the odors from the younger groups as more unpleasant than the odors from the elderly participants, and they also found that the older people’s odors were less intense.  The evaluators could also determine that odors came from old people, but could not correctly attribute the odors from the other groups.

These findings, said co-author Johan Lundstrom, confirm the popular belief of an “old people smell.”

“We do have an old people odor, but when taken out of the popular context, it doesn’t smell as bad,” said Lundstrom.

The study also found that younger men smelled worse than younger women, but among the participants older than 75, men and women smelled pretty much the same.

It’s not clear exactly what’s behind the ability to discriminate between the age groups and the sexes, the authors wrote.

“An older study found that there is one chemical that varies with age, but we don’t know if that’s the chemical people are picking out,” Lundstrom said.

It’s also possible that the loss of testosterone, changes in the skin, changes in the sweat glands or a combination of these factors play a role in why the sexes don’t smell much different at older ages.

There may be an advantage to being able to discern the smell of old age among animals.

For example, the authors wrote, “older male insects have a higher reproductive success than their younger competitors,” and “reproductive success is a highly sought-after trait.”

The authors also believe it’s likely that had the evaluators been aware that the odors came from elderly people, they may have rated them as more unpleasant. [Hmm]

Future research, they continued, will focus on identifying the mechanism behind age-related body odor discrimination.

Tease And Sympathy

[Do I have to even say (sic)?]

My “hunt-and-peck” typing hand, the only utile one I have, the one with the carpel-tunneled wristband on it, has developed bone-spur, or arthritis, or a cyst on pointing finger.  Tests will tell.

Now you were told, many times, NOT to point!!  Look what you’ve done“, is coming back to point at me.

So, I will whine!!

POOR ME.  Poor, poor me.  I try so hard…and fate-just-keeps-throwing- roadblocks-on-my-path.  Whatever shall I do?

That’s enough.  Thanks!!

So I went and bought a new Mac Mini [ain’t it cute] and a Dragon Dictate  [bite your tongue-?] using a student discount card, surreptitiously  “borrowed” from A. Friend.

There’s a necessary learning curve in this endeavor.   A fatal flaw, I feel.  [from the AA Handbook…   …   …Alliterates Anonymous!]  And I’ll need to stop writing for awhile.  I have to learn to use this shit.  Which takes me away from you, my many readers.  Three, at last count!

Just do the math.  One hand, two computers, speaking haltingly to a headset, flicking between two Firefox windows, taxi-dog to dictionary/spell-check…   …   …WHOA…   …   …I’m whining!!

Awareness is a bitch, isn’t she!

Taxi Dog At Work

Taxi Dog At Work

A Comic’s ‘Whoa’s

I was going to call this post “My ‘Achilles Heel’ IS My Heel“.  I keep looking for the punch line in a life that is, for all of us, bitter/sweet.  But sometimes there’s real pathos.
I stop myself in mid-gallows-laughter.  Because I like the ‘Taxi Dog’ life I’ve created for myself.  Where everything can be overcome…   …   …some day, some day.  Deep in my heart, I do believe.
Some day.  But not this day. This day, I’m in real pain.  Physical and emotional.  First the physical.
During one of my many operations, I developed a bed-sore, a decubitus ulcer, on my heel, that pains me from time to time.  This is that time!!
Watch me as I rationalize.  It was really painful.  I was being treated at the UCLA Pain Management Center where they know the difference between ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ pain.  I was given Fentanyl [“…a potent synthetic opioid that is primarily used as an analgesic.”] and Oxycontin.  I weaned myself off them.  I Hate Being Dependent!!  And FUCK YOU!!!!, if you try to change my mind.
But this hurts.
I can get this taken care by Medicare‘s itinerant podiatrist in two weeks.  Cool.  Two weeks.
I question myself constantly.  One constant question is this:  Am I being brave?  Or just carrying a “brave cloak”, like Obi-Won Keno-be, with which he clouds men’s minds.  Am I an old desert hermit, or a Jedi Knight? A grouchy old man, or a hero?  A Taxi Dog, happy-go-lucky, happy-to-be- alive aphasic diarist, or a charlatan?
Tonight, I’m just an old, tired shepherd, looking for a place to sleep out of the rain.
And emotional…
My wife’s depression weighs on me.  Funny to tell you this now, when its finally lessening…   …   …slightly.  We grew up together from our teens.  Now, in our late 60’s, I’m feeling more and more free…   …   to express myself, learn, meet people, dance with life.  She also has worked, hard, at being a wife and mother,  mediator, adviser, friend to all, even her enemies.  Now, when she could be free, she binds herself with obligations and responsibilities.  So determined is she in her social role, she refuses to unencumber herself…   …   …a yells at me for encouraging her exploration.
This too will pass.  But for now…   …   …for now?  How many tomorrows are missed in fear of our todays.
And my dear and bestest friend, Fish, at heaven’s door with his new-found lady friend from Switzerland [of all places], is over-analyzing all the “good” in his life…   …   …and souring his opportunity to be loved.  Like him, and my wife, and probably myself, although its always difficult to see one’s “self”; we’re all trying to be the warrior in our lives.  [Maybe , in my wife’s case, its Princess Leah.]
Its Monday, May 14, 2012, 12:16 AM, in my life, and that’s whats in my mind.

My Old Home, Bought In 1983 …

http://rospobio.blogspot.com/
Print made by Andrew Young, Santa Cruz, CA, May 2011
…recently sold for about $950k. This video was made by the realtor.
Before My Stroke; My Home (circa 1985) [Click To See The Video Tour]
The back patio was a concrete slab.  I planted all the trees, shrubs, potted all the flowers and vines, had the deck built. There were 12 assorted rose bushes, unseen in this picture, well kept.  There have been several different owners since then, one of whom added the fountain.
While I have many more things to be thankful for, including my life, I still mourn the loss of that house, and the garden in which I spent many months and hours of constant joy, despite rose thorns, scratches, and insect bites.
This bittersweet remembrance, I share with you this evening.  I wish I could invite you to share the joy.

Theme Song For The Taxi Dog Life