4.30.2020 – some who make world worse

Some who make world worse
don’t take day off. How can I?
Light up the darkness

Today’s haiku is adapted from a quote from Bob Marley.

Mr. Marley said, “The people that are trying to make the world worse never take a day off, why should I. Light up the darkness.”

According to Wikipedia, On 3 December 1976, two days before “Smile Jamaica”, a free concert organised by the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in an attempt to ease tension between two warring political groups, Marley, his wife, and manager Don Taylor were wounded in an assault by unknown gunmen inside Marley’s home. Taylor and Marley’s wife sustained serious injuries but later made full recoveries. Bob Marley received minor wounds in the chest and arm. The attempt on his life was thought to have been politically motivated, as many felt the concert was really a support rally for Manley. Nonetheless, the concert proceeded, and an injured Marley performed as scheduled, two days after the attempt. When asked why, Marley responded, “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?”

4.29.2020 – reality so

reality so
subtle that it is more real
than reality

I used to have a rule.

I refused to work somewhere unless there was one other person in the building who knew who Alfred Stieglitz was.

This changed from a rule to a hope.

Then it changed to a wish.

I will ask co-workers from time to time if they had ever heard of Alfred Stieglitz.

I try to stay away from mentioning his wife, Georgia O’Keefe.

I do this for two reasons.

One is that I want the person to really be acquainted with Stieglitz for himself and not for his wife.

The other is that I am afraid that I would be doubly disappointed if the person had not heard of Georgia O’Keeffe.

But there it is.

I was thinking of Mr. Steiglitz today.

It was raining here is Georgia and the streets and rain slicked and wet.

When I see rain slicked, wet streets I think of the photograph, A Wet Day on the Boulevard, Paris – 1894 taken by Mr. Steiglitz.

The rain and the wet in the photograph are more real than real.

A subtle reality more real than reality.

It was Mr. Steiglitz who said, “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

Beyond photograph, in this covid impacted life, reality itself has become so distant, so subtle that I begin to doubt reality.

How did this happen.

Maybe it’s more real in black and white.

Wikipedia says, “Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary.”

Well, what if I can only imagine reality.

Does that make it less real?

Look at the photograph again.

Then look at again,

Truly, in this photograph, there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.

4.28.2020 – there are decades when

there are decades when
nothing happens, there are weeks
when decades happen

I am quoting Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or as he was better known, Vladimir Lenin.

So what?

Later on I will also be quoting Marx.

ANYWAY . . .

I have aged 10 years in the couple of months.

I say that as the last couple of months have lasted 10 years.

Or is it that the last couple of months seem like one long day.

If it has been one long day, a month of these days would be years long.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November,
all the rest have thirty-one
Except for April which has 8000

Groucho Marx once said, “My favorite poem is the one that starts ‘Thirty Days Hath September…’ because it actually means something

I have no idea what he would say about any of this but I am sure it would be funny.

Most likely he would have said, “It’s quitting time in New York.”

Mr. Groucho did say “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.

That would suit me fine right now.

If I listen to Mr. Marx and Mr. Lenin, and if I have just that one day, today.

Then I am going to be happy in it.

That that day is lasting forever is not such a bad thing.

4.27.2020 – Abnormal normal

Abnormal normal
so much no longer the same
so few months ago

What to do when expectation for the ordinary is expect that nothing is ordinary.

When the the normal is abnormal.

Lucky for this country people of great expectations used to show up as Presidents.

Abraham Lincoln, who said at Gettysburg, ‘The World will little note what we say here.”

I mention that to make the point that Mr. Lincoln could be wrong.

But he knew change when it saw it.

Change when he saw it coming.

Change when he was in the midst of it.

Change when he was orchestrating it.

When change was the norm.

On December 1, 1862, in his message to Congress;

The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion.

As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.

We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

We — even we here — hold the power, and bear the responsibility.

How would the country do when faced with the abnormality of war?

Mr. Lincoln warned, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

How shall the county handle the Corona Crisis.

Nobly save?

Meanly lose?

4.26.2020 – uncertainty cheats

uncertainty cheats
concentration, attention
stress accumulates

Reading today in The Guardian in the article, We live in stressful times, a perfect moment to try to turn off and tune out, Nosheen Iqbal writes:

The zapping of our concentration and attention spans may seem anecdotal, but there is substantial neuroscience to explain it. Living through a pandemic plugged with sadness, fear and uncertainty is a mind soup designed to tip us off balance. Rationally, I know this. Studies have shown time and again that the impact of stress on the brain robs it of its ability to process information, retain it and focus. Be it big-picture worries or everyday life adjustments, stress accumulates.







Any answers for any of these?











I watched Dr. James Merritt this morning from the church we attend here in Georgia.

Dr. Merritt answered the “who” question.

He said, “When you don’t know what God is doing, remember WHO God is.”

I was quick to pass this off as once again as Christian’s we are to focus on Eternity.

Christ provides us with Eternity.

Isn’t that enough even with faced with the uncertainty of every day life?

Isn’t that enough when finances are messed up.

Well, yes.

Isn’t that enough when toilet paper runs low?

Well, yes.

Isn’t that enough when uncertainty is every where.

Well, yes, but.


But when money runs low, when toilet paper runs out, when uncertainty manages to steam roll every other emotion, the promise of Eternity, and this sounds so shallow, can be pretty thin gruel.

I get it, but up against the daily dose of stress, Eternity can seem a long way off.

Then Dr. Merritt threw me for a loop and hit one for six out of the park.

Because Dr. Merritt didn’t turn to the New Testament and the promise of salvation to make his point.

Dr. Merritt went to the Old Testament and the much un-read book of Habakkuk.

Dr. Merritt focused on Chapter 3 verses 17-18, Habakkuk prays,

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Uncertainty in everyday life, Old Testament style.

No crops.

No sheep.

No cattle,

What, where, why, how?

Not sure.


The answer to Who, is God.

And when the money runs low and there are no crops/

When the toilet papers runs out and there are no sheep.

When uncertainty hangs on every other question.

And I will remember who God is.

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Bring on that uncertainty.

It don’t stand no chance.

4.25.2020 – defense of thinking

defense of thinking
extremely stupid deep thoughts

allowed to do so

In this morning’s Guardian, Hadley Freeman writes, “For this reason, I would argue very strongly in defence of thinking, talking and writing about extremely stupid stuff that has nothing to do with the current hellishness.

She was writing about all the things people are doing during this stay-at-home period.

She commented on coronactivities.

I love that word and I am going to embrace it.

Ms. Hadley was referring to learning to bake bread or reading (or attempting to read) Finnegan’s Wake.

Which calls to mind an anecdote that I cannot place right now but someone (maybe William Shirer?) who said he could never get through Finnegan’s Wake but by chance he was somewhere where James Joyce was doing a reading of the book.

The man wrote that the text came alive when read in a Irish accent and phrasing.

But I digress.

I also have never opened a copy of Finnegan’s Wake.


In defence or defense (depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean you are on – I love how my spell check throws out defence) of thinking extremely stupid deep thoughts, let me say this.


I am allowed to do so.

Browse pages of cowboy boots I will never order and wouldn’t wear if I did.

But I can imagine it.

Reread old books for the fun of it.

I looked up Double Trouble for Rupert and Triple Trouble for Rupert on archive.org.

Books I haven’t thought about in 50 years.

They are still worth the time.

I log on to the website for the Desoto Beach Hotel on Tybee just to watch the live beach cam.

I plan to be there on my 60th birthday this summer.

I plan to get up and watch the sunrise out of the Atlantic Ocean.

What has that to do with social distancing?

Will that help locate toilet paper?

Will it help pay or provide for all the out of work barbers?

Will it hurry along my stimulous check?

Not much, nope, nope and nope.

But I get to spend my time planning.

I am reminded of the scene in the movie Amadeus where it is suggest to Mozart that his choice of source material is not what it should be.

“Surely you can choose more elevated themes,” says the Baron Von Swieten.

“Elevated? What does that mean? Elevated! Come on now, be honest. Wouldn’t you all rather listen to your hairdressers than Hercules? Or Horatius? Or Orpheus? All those old bores.” replies a flustered Mozart.

I am spending my stay at home thinking extremely stupid deep thoughts.

Nothing against the corornactivies.

I think it is great folks are cooking and eating and reading.

Going back to Ms. Hadley, “This isn’t just about giving yourself a break from thinking about the coronavirus, although God knows we could all do with one. You cannot read dystopian headlines all day without collapsing in on yourself like a dying star. Instead, it’s about giving yourself permission to still be a human being.”

Permission to still be a human being.


As Mr. Joyce writes in Finnegans Wake, to “Make me feel good in the moontime.

4.22.2020 – enjoy life’s banquet

Enjoy life’s banquet
adventure in consciousness
At that table? Eat!

This adventure has, at times, been a frightening.

Stand in line for well over an hour to say hello.

You don’t need an appetite to eat.

Vitality and appetite are softer and less dark.

Conquer the blues, but you can’t.

You just can’t.

It’s unsettling and I am temperamentally unsuited in a really big way.



Allowed to rest quietly and wait for strength to return.

Sit at the table, full of sweet and short-lived happiness and well-being.

A simple thing my mother taught me.

4.23.2020 – have the right to speak

have the right to speak
just as much right to not listen

exercise all rights

Watching TV with my wife last night, she said she found it hard to believe that you could have two networks report the same news, the same facts, and yet, with entirely different stories and opinions.

She turned to me and asked, “was it always like that?”

‘No, no way,” I was quick to respond.

TV was regarded as much too powerful a medium to allow editorializing.

I said remember how whenever Howard K. Smith or John Chancellor had something to say and the word, “COMMENTARY”, would be superimposed across the bottom of the screen.

Now TV News follows the rule laid down by Charles Foster Kane in the movie, Citizen Kane, when he said, “If the headline is big enough, the news is big enough.”

In age of 24 hour news, something has to fill those 24 hours.

Some how the news has to be big enough fill all those hours.

Or at least the voices and the talking heads.

I think of that monologue of Jeff Daniels in the HBO Series, The Newsroom, when he says, “We waged wars on poverty, not on poor people.

We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chest.

We built great, big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists AND the world’s greatest economy.

We reached for the stars, acted like men.

We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it. It didn’t make us feel inferior.

We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy.

We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed … by great men, men who were revered.

Informed by people.

Great people,

People who were revered.

Cronkite, Chancellor and Edward R. Murrow types.

But along with the people who kept us informed, the audience was informed.

The audience cared.

The audience had influence.

After Walter Cronkite summed up his trip to Vietnam at the end of his CBS Special Report, Report from Vietnam: Who, What, When, Where, Why? with a rare editorial report (Feburary 27, 1968) and he said the war was unwinnable.

According to legend and the historical record, President Lyndon Johnson watched the program and said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

LBJ knew if he lost Middle America, he lost.

He announced he would not seek re-election within weeks of the show.

There is so much noise.

To quote the Grinch, “Its the Noise! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!”

I understand this is America.

This is the land of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

This is the land where “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.”

There is no law, no amendment, nothing that says, I have to listen.

I have a remote control and I use it!

4-22-2020 – control alt delete

control alt delete
where are the keyboard shortcuts
to reboot my day

I love United States Space History.

The Right Stuff.

Project Mercury.

Balloon trip to the edge of the world.


One of the young technicians wrote of those days something along the line of, “We drank the wine at the rate they poured it.”

In my own small way, this was what it was like at the dawn of the WWW era.

Some folks refer to it as the wild wild west.

It was GREAT and I miss it, but I digress.

Back to the space race.

I love those stories of Neil Armstrong’s first words getting messed up by intereference.

I love how Gus Grissom wanted to name his second spacecraft, ‘[The Unsinkable] Molly Brown.

This after his first space craft sank after splash down.

NASA tried to hold the line and told Grissom that Molly Brown wasn’t appropriate.

Grissom said fine and that he would paint TITANIC on the side of his spacecraft.

NASA gave in but afterwards changed the policy of naming the capsules.

Possibly my favorite story is the one about 24 year old John Aaron and Apollo 12.

The gist of the story is that when launched, Apollo 12 was struck by lightning.

The power surge knocked out most of the data being sent back from Apollo to Mission Control in Houston as well as the data systems on the Apollo 12 spacecraft.

Mission Control watched the rocket go up and the data numbers go wacky.

What NASA saw on their screens.

They were about to abort the mission when John Aaron says over the communications circuit, “Try SCE to Aux and back.”

According both to legend and to the records (written and audio recording), just about everyone in Mission Control and on Apollo 12 said, “What is that?” or words to that effect.

Except for Lunar Module Pilot, Alan Bean.

Alan Bean had taken part in a simulation a year before with the self same John Aaron.

Bean reached out to the spacecraft control panel, located the SCE switch and set it to AUX and back.

The numbers being sent to Houston and the systems on the spacecraft came back online.

The mission continued.

John Aaron, age 24, was described as a steelyeyed missile man.

He had witnessed this problem on that simulation with Alan Bean one year before.

As he himself described it, by chance he was one the simulation at the time.

By chance he saw the error.

By chance he puzzled out why it happened.

And by chance his shift was in Mission Control during the Apollo 12 launch.

John Aaron was at a communications station when the lighting hit and he opened up his mic and said, “reboot”.

Of course he said it the language of the day and for his equipment.

“Set SCE to AUX”

Today he might say, “Hit CTRL ALT DELETE and reboot.”

Looked death in the eye.

Steely Eyed Missile Man.

It could be done back then in 1969.

I can hit all those keys on my computer today.

I can turn any of my so-called devices off and on.

Why can’t I reboot my day?

Where are those buttons located?

John Aaron – Steely Eyed Missile Man (circled)

4.21.2020 – my heart’s memory

my heart’s memory,
to endure, magnifies good
eliminates bad

Adapted from, “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez.

It called to mind this letter written in 1880 by Confederate Veteran, Sergeant Berry Benson of Georgia.

He wrote, “In time, even death itself might be abolished; who knows but it may be given to us after this life to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up soon to answer the morning role call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patter of the long roll summons to battle.

Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day?

And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise, and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say, Did it not seem real?

Was it not as in the old days?

Was it not as in the old days?

I did not fight my way through the Civil War they way Sergeant Benson did (and he had quite the adventure and ended up the model for the Civil War Monument in downtown Augusta, Georgia) but I am sure that is NOT as it was in the old days.

Magnify the good.

Eliminate the bad.


I am also reminded of a story told by the George Plimpton in the book Mad Ducks and Bears, his sequel to Paper Lion.

Mr. Plimpton described Alex Karras tellng a story about how Karras had got back at Bobby Layne for the years of hazing Karras endured when Layne was quarterback for the Detroit Lions.

Later in the book, Mr. Plimpton ran into Bobby Layne and Plimpton asked Layne about the details of the Karras story.

Layne listened and shook his head.

“Never happened,” said Layne.

Plimpton wrote that Layne looked down for a second then looked back up, caught Plimpton right in the eye with his look,

He grinned.

“Besides, why would I want to remember anything like that for anyway?”