3.28.2020 – Where do homeless go

Where do homeless go
to stay home? Hoping, praying
for someone to care?

Every day heartaches grow a little stronger

I can’t stand this pain much longer

I walk in shadows, searching for light

Cold and alone, no comfort in sight

Hoping and praying for someone to care

Always moving and goin’ nowhere

I know I’ve got to find

Some kind of peace of mind

Thank you for dear, sweet Motown.

What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
Jimmy Ruffin – released on Motown Records’ Soul label in the summer of 1966.

As I walk this land with broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion

What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind

The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a-tumblin’ down
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger

I can’t stand this pain much longer
I walk in shadows searching for light
Cold and alone, no comfort in sight
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and goin’ nowhere
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?

I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Help me

I’m searching, though I don’t succeed
But someone look, there’s a growing need
Oh …

This version by Joan Osborne was recorded with the Funk Brothers for the Standing in the Shadows of Motown Documentary on the Funk Brothers – The unnamed musicians with the most grammy’s in record label history.

3.5.2020 – driving rain driving

driving rain driving
nothing delicious to it
dark that absorbs light

“There’s really something rather delicious about walking in the rain,” says Willie Keith walking in the rain in New York City in Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny

“You wouldn’t think so if you had do it,” says his girlfriend.

It started raining here in Georgia sometime in December or November.

In the last three months Georgia has had over 25 inches of rain.

50 inches of rain in a year is normal for Georgia.

The current 14 day outlook from today shows only 4 days without rain in the forecast.

That 50 inches per year average is more than Michigan’s 33 inches of rain but Michigan has 52 inches of snow.

Looking out at the rain is down right depressing.

Driving in it.

Driving in the rain.

Driving in the driving rain.

Operating a motor vehicle at speeds that should scare me over rain slicked pavement that not only takes away my ability to stop my vehicle but through some trick of physics, also absorbs the light right out of the air so I can’t see why I might need to stop my vehicle.

This is stupid.

This is scary.

It is scary that even though I know its stupid, I do it anyway.

It is stupid that I am not more scared.

Why do I do this?

Like the people in their accidents will say, “I never think it will happen to me.”

2.15.2020 – get your stuff, get out!

get your stuff, get out!
the ink is black, page is white
What … What year is this?

Three Dog Night released “Black and White” back in 1972.

I remember watching an animation drawn to fit the music on the Sonny and Cher show.

Turns out the song was first released in 1956 by (BIG SURPRISE), Pete Seeger.

Side note, if you follow this blog, Pete Seeger keeps popping up doesn’t he?

This week in Adairsville, GA, a landlord couple settled out of court for a discrimination lawsuit.

They kicked a renter out of a house they owned, knocking on the door and calling the renter a “n—– lover” and telling the renter she had two weeks to move out.

In a later conversation with the renter, the landlord said, ““I don’t want them in my property. Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t,” she said on the call, according to the lawsuit. “So just get your stuff and get out.”  

Understand these are not allegations.

This is what the landlord ADMITTED that they said in the settlement documents to avoid losing their other rental properties (which have now been registered under their kids names).

What had the renter done?

She had coworker’s family over for a play date.

The coworkers family is black.

You can read the story here, written by my good friend Jonathan Raymond at 11Alive.com.

It is 2020.

I have to so much to say boiling inside that the words are steaming out of my fingers but this is a family blog.

What ruler can I use to measure my feelings?

Again and again I am told I don’t live in the south, I live in Metro Atlanta.

They are not same place.

Our Church is a very healthy mix of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian and any one else out there.

Our Pastor, who grew up in the Atlanta area, has had churches here for the last 40 yeas and is a past President of the SBA, says there is no other church like ours in the area.

I find it hard to believe.

Or maybe I don’t want to believe it.

Maybe I believe it but I don’t want to accept it.

But when I read stories like this, I have to believe it.

People do feel and think like these landlords.

But I don’t have to accept it.

Color is skin deep.

Racism, still alive and well under the surface, goes all the way to the bone.

Black and White – Pete Seeger Lyrics from the album the album Love Songs for Friends & Foes (1956).

Oh, the ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
To read and write
And now a child can understand
This is the law of all the land
All the land

Chorus with child’s voice:
Oh, the ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
To read and write

Their robes were black, their heads were white
The schoolroom doors were closed so tight
Were closed up tight

Nine judges all, set down their names
To end the years and years of shame
Years of shame

Chorus with child’s voice:
Their robes were black, their heads were white
(Whistling the tune)

Oh, the slate is black, the chalk is white
The words stand out so clear and bright
So clear and bright

And now at last, we plainly see
The alphabet of liberty

Chorus with child’s voice:
Oh, the slate is black, the chalk is white
Together we learn to read and write
To read and write

Oh, a child is black, or a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight
What a beautiful sight

For very well, the whole world knows
That this is the way that freedom grows
Freedom grows

Chorus with child’s voice:
Oh, a child is black, or a child is white
(Whistling the tune)

Oh, the world is black, and the world is white
It turns by day and turns by night
It turns by night

It turns so each and every one
Can make his station in the sun
In the sun

Chorus with child’s voice:
Oh, the ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
To read and write
And now a child can understand
That this is the love of all the land
All the land

Chorus continued with child’s voice:
Oh, the ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
To read and write

Black & White -Three Dog Night Version

The ink is black
The page is white
Together we learn to read and write

A child is black
A child is white
A whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight

And now a child can understand
That this is the law of all the land
All the land

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and then by night

A child is black
A child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light
And now at last we plainly see
We’ll have a dance of liberty

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black
A child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight
A beautiful sight

The world is black
The world is white
It turns by day and the by night
A child id black
A child is white
Together they grow to see the light
To see the light

2.9.2020 – drive across seasons

drive across seasons
winter to spring back again
east west Atlanta

Woke up yesterday to a gray, cloudy but dry morning.

We had plans to go to Woodstock, Georgia, north of Atlanta, for a baby shower.

Ominously, son Lucas, who was hosting the party and texted everyone, “We are still on!”

30 minutes later he texted, “come at your own risk.”

By 8AM, here in Gwinnett County, north-east of Atlanta, it started to snow.

At first just a little, then a lot.

Wet heavy snow.

Brought back memories.

Lots of memories.

Discussions started about the party.

Go or no go?

For people born and raised in Michigan, driving in snow is no big deal.

Unless you happen to be in Atlanta.

There, no one else knows what to do.

There, roads are not cleared or salted.

There, roads are built without shoulders.

The 10 feet you might have available for a shoulder is turned into another, barely wider than a car, traffic lane.

There, roads are carved out of ridges, ravines and hollars with 20 foot steep drop offs on either side.

Winter, snowy weather car travel in the south is not designed to accommodate cars.

My solution was to go explore.

I needed gas in my car.

I said I would go get gas and make an assessment.

I was back in 10 minutes.

Got less than 1 mile from the house.

Cars were everywhere.

Even on the roads.

But everywhere else as well.

I pulled into the a driveway and turned around and felt lucky to get home.

“Nope, no way”, I announced when I walked in.

The party was postponed to Sunday.

My daughters in the city of Atlanta wondered if we were nuts or scaredy-cats.

They accepted the decision but sent photos of clear roads and no snow from just 10 miles away.

Later that same day, my wife and I had to take our son to downtown Atlanta.

This had been planned to be a part of our day after the party.

It was a very quick trip as by this time everyone was staying home.

It was around 2PM and the snow had stopped and was melting fast.

Driving out of Gwinnett County we soon left the snow behind.

By the time we got to our destination in East Midtown Atlanta, there wasn’t even a hint of snow and the roads were dry.

My wife and I passed the time in a cafe over Latte’s and Beignets and the sun poured through the windows of the cafe.

Driving home, we could see the edge of the storm front up ahead.

We left the sun behind and entered into the clouds and fog and cold and gray.

I felt like we had driven across the seasons in just 20 miles.

Somewhere I read that spring time advances 5 minutes or maybe it is a day for each degree north or something like that.

Trying the google and I can’t find the actually figure.

Earl Shaffer, the first person ever to walk the entire Appalachian Trail titled his book, “Walking With Spring

South to north, walking with spring, is one of the best lines of pure poetry I ever read.

We went west to east and left spring behind.

Winter, up north winter, has come for a time to North Georgia.

I don’t mind to visit winter, but I would not want to live there.

2.8.2020 – snow snow go away

snow, snow, go away
come again some other day
I don’t want TO play

In my brain is a quote from some character in some book somewhere.

It’s a quote from some rich guy who lived in a huge house.

The quote was, “101 rooms and I spend my day searching for the warmest one.”

I got nothing against snow.

Except for the way it is cold.

The way it piles up.

The way it needs to be shoveled.

The way it makes me slip and fall,

The way it makes my car slide and crash.

The way it turns gray and ugly.

Aside from those things and a couple hundred other things, I agree that it can be pretty.

Walking in a heavy thick falling snow is an incredible experience.

If I was a real poet or artist I might be able to describe the light of a full moon on freshly fallen snow.

Moon shadows!

But more than that, I want to be warm.


Bring it on!

String of 90 degree days from Memorial Day to Labor Day?

Sign me up!

Tshirts and shorts and warm breezes, WARM BREEZES, at the 4th of July fireworks?

That is my choice to celebrate independence.

I spent the first 50 years of my existence in West Michigan.

I have shoveled TONS of snow in my lifetime.

I pushed countless cars out of the snow.

I have removed wet socks innumerable due to snow and slush.

Went to bed last night with predictions of snow.

Woke this morning.

Prepared myself and looked out the window.

Flowering tree was blossoming in the back yard.

And no snow!

Celebrated with another cup of coffee and a plate of frozen Walmart waffles.

Here is to no snow!

UPDATE – in the words of the Sponge Bob narrator, 2 hours later ….



11AM – don’t need this

Oh well

2.4.2020 – Would pay to feel good!

Would pay to feel good!
Good feeling from kind words, acts.
What does that cost me?

One thing I always knew I wanted to avoid when I got older was taking pills.

I think of one episode of Gilligan’s Island where Thurston Howell III was left to manage his day without his wife.

He announced he had figured out his ‘pill schedule’ on his own.

He would just take one of each every hour.

Now I got pills for headaches.

Pills for body aches.

Pills for my heart to work better.

Pills to make my stomach fill better.

Pills to help my gut stop hurting.

Pills to help use the restroom.

Pills to avoid needing to use the restroom.

Pills to fill in the gaps of things I need in my diet that I don’t get in my diet.

And pills to help just feel good because I feel so bad when I think about all the pills I take.

I look in the cupboard and I think, “something went wrong here.”

I don’t expect to feel GREAT.

But, well, better, wouldn’t be bad.

Or just good.

And I realized something.

Recently I have received unexpected complimentary comments on, of all things, my haikus.

I almost find it hard to believe it myself.

One, that anyone might enjoy reading this blog makes me feel, for lack of a better word, good.

That anyone would take time out of their day to tell me just blows me away.

Not a pill, but just a few kind words.

It made me stop and think about the times I have made time to compliment someone.

Recently my wife and I had to be out at Hartsfield.

You know, the local airport here.

The world comes to Atlanta through Hartsfield.

The joke is when you die and go to heaven/hell you still have to change planes at Hartsfield.

One of the odd pleasures of living in Atlanta is that when you travel and you are flying back to Atlanta, you can tell your seatmate’s that you are flying into Hartsfield BECAUSE you live in Atlanta.

ANYWAY, I can’t remember why we were there, dropping someone off or picking someone up and we decided to get some coffee.

The Starbucks was jammed so we walked down the concourse to an IHOP and got coffee and sat at a table near the railing and watched the world walk by.

Several times the IHOP manager stopped by for refills.

He was friendly in a truly friendly way.

Asked why we were there.

Commented on the business and such.

Each time he stopped he had another friendly comment or chatted for a minute.

It wasn’t just us.

This young man WORKED that dining area.

Got extra plates or cups or refills for anyone who needed anything.

He got everyone to smile and if you know Hartsfield, that is one hard crowd.

I finally asked if his boss was around or supervisor or whatever because I wanted that person to know how impressive this guy was.

He laughed and said no, no one, not to worry, he was just doing his job.

But as we left, he approached us.

He apologized and didn’t want to bother us but there was a guy, if I was serious, that I could email.

And he handed me a business card.

I told him of course I would, I would be happy to, and I took the card and his pen and asked him for his name which I wrote on the card.

And we left.

Me wife looks at me with what we call the BERG STARE.

It’s a look that could stop an elephant or cause water to freeze.

All her sisters can do it.

My daughters and grand daughters have learned it as well.

“You better do it”, says my wife.

When we got home I got on my computer and opened up my work email

When I need to sound official I use my work email.

In Atlanta, an email from someone at WXIA TV – 11Alive is a little bit different than an email from mikesox at GMAIL.

And I related the story I just told.

I said I wanted this company to be aware of the great work of the young man at the airport.

I told them that from my point of view, working out there at Hartsfied, they had a great AMBASSADOR for both Atlanta and their company.

I hit send and I felt GOOD.

Better than I could feel from all those pills.

My wife asks me later, “Did you email that guy.”

I said, “YUP” and I felt even better.

Couple of days later I get an email back from the guy on the business card.

He was the VP of the chain that managed most of the restaurants at Hartsfield.

He thanked me.

He said it made him fell good that I would take the time to write such a note.

He said they didn’t get too many positive notes like that.

Now I felt good all over again.

Better than I could feel with all those pills.

A few days later I got an email from the young man.

That company had weekly staff meetings out at the airport and my email had been read out loud and then he was identified as the person in the email.

He thanked me.

He thanked me because we noticed he was doing a great job.

He thanked me for taking the time to write an email.

I felt good for a week.

I felt better than good.

I sure felt better than I could have from taking all those pills.

I wrote an email.

What did that cost me?

1.27.2020 – Wonderful new word!

Wonderful new word!
Soppressatta! At same time,
new pizza topping

Our youngest son has been auditioning for various summer dance programs.

All the auditions so far have been at the Atlanta Ballet studio in West Midtown, Atlanta.

The prize in this box of Cracker Jack is that my wife and I get a couple of hours to be downtown.

Not that we need an excuse to go downtown, but it helps.

Yesterday we went out for a late lunch.

We had stopped in at this spot for a cup of coffee last week and decided to go back and try the food.

The menu was filled with new words.

New words that I guessed were also new names for old foods much like Patagonian toothfish shows up on menus as Chilean Sea Bass.

Words like Muhammara, Chorizo, Guanciale and Boerewors.*

Yeah sure.

Like the old coach in the movie, The Natural, says to Robert Redford when they go out for Italian food, “You can’t pronounce it but it sure does eat good.”

One word stuck me.



Pronouced sop·pres·sa·ta, we had to ask the server what it was.

She smiles and says, ‘Its a fancy Italian sausage, like pepperoni.”

Sounded okay.

The pizza came with tomatoes, big leaves of basil and these paper thin, silver dollar sized slices of what I guessed was the Soppressatta.

Tasted great.

Just like soppressatta was supposed to taste.

At least to me it did.

In a way it was like the stories about the Connoisseur who samples a 200 year old bottle of supposed fine wine.

The Connoisseur  pronounces the wine as excellent but then not too many, if any people KNOW what a 200 year old bottle of fine wine is SUPPOSED to taste like.

I enjoyed the soppressatta.

I loved the word.


“So PRESS at ta”, I said out loud.

“So PRESS a ta Don Corleone”, I said out loud until my wife told me to shut up.

I had to get out the Google.

Ever have one of those moments where maybe you really did not want to know?

The Google reported that soppressatta is an Italian pressed sausage made with Pig’s head, tongue, belly and stomach.

I left it there.

I did not ask the server about the origins of their soppressatta.

When I thought about it for a bit I decided, so what?

It tasted great.

This place proclaims …

To the mindful, to the curious
to the brilliantly flawed.
To those seeking comfort, respite,
splendor, and sustenance…
The Bold Monk welcomes you.

Quite a statement for a restaurant.

If you decide to eat in a restaurant that makes such a statement, don’t ask what it is in the sausage.

Just eat it.

Seek the comfort.

Seek the respite.

Enjoy it when you find it.

*Muhammara – a thick pomegranate syrup, can be found at Middle Eastern markets
Chorizo – mixture of chopped pork meat, pork fat, salt, whole pepper grains, cinnamon, achiote
Guanciale – an Italian cured meat product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks
Boerewors– coarsely minced beef and spices

1.24.2020 – morning traffic woes

morning traffic woes
plenty of warnings, had to
see it for myself

The TV station where I work puts a lot of effort into their traffic reports.

All the local media invest heavily in traffic reporting.

Traffic problems consistently rank as the one universal issue that interest all voters in the Atlanta area.

I myself get traffic alert emails every day, through out the day.

I have two traffic apps on my handheld device.

This morning, like most mornings, I ignored all it.

Backed out of the garage and made sure my iPhone was on and connected to the car’s audio system so I could listen to an audio book.

I made my way over rainy streets to get to my entrance to i85 and the drive downtown.

At one point, I drive on a back road that parallels the freeway.

Through the leafless trees I noticed something odd.

The freeway was empty.

At 6AM this wasn’t, well, impossible but highly unlikely that no one else was out driving.

Further along the road I could make out the bridge and intersection where my entrance ramp was located.

Rarely had I seen so many flashing blue lights.

“This is not good,” I said to myself.

But maybe this is all just to the north of my entrance, I thought.

Maybe I can still get on the freeway.

I turned on to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.

Just ahead, cop cars lined the overpass and the entrance to I85 was blocked off.



I continued down Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road and switched the radio on in time to hear, “RED ALERT in GWINNETT COUNTY. I85 at Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road completely closed for an investigation of an accident …”

I switched off the radio and made a quick assessment of my situation.

Made a u turn and back tracked across the overpass.

I headed for the next freeway interchange at Old Peachtree and was on my way downtown without much more than a brief hiccup to my commute.

In fact, once on the freeway, with all the traffic north of me cut off, I had a very easy, if rainy drive.

I was shocked to see evidence that most of the morning traffic that I have to contend with on I85 seems to come from places further away from Atlanta than I am.

What could have been a commuting nightmare did not happen.

I am convinced that no app would have recommended I make the turn that I made.

Traffic for me, in that wonderful phrase that is the motto of traffic down here, was able to “KEEP MOVING.”

I had all the traffic tools available to me.

I had all the traffic warnings available to me.

I didn’t make use of any of them.

Here is the point.

Had I watched TV.

Had I listened to the Radio.

Had I read my emails.

Had I checked my apps.

I would still have made the same drive to my usual freeway entrance.

I would still have had to see the problem for myself.

It isn’t that I don’t believe the reporting.

But maybe, I just don’t trust it.

The reporting is, “passionate, but does not persuade,” to quote the Emperor in Amadeus.

I have had as many success stories using traffic tools as stories where I end up saying, WHY DID THEY DIRECT ME THERE?

As most of my issues with traffic are anxiety related, just knowing there are problems and why there are problems is the information I need.

Once I get going, I will let traffic do its worst.

And I will do my best.

1.20.2020 – MLK Birthday

MLK Birthday
come so far, so far to go
Shall we yet overcome?

I found myself in a one of those small vendor booths at an antique mall in Dahlonega, Georgia on MLK Day.

The booth was filled with Confederate flags, blankets, license plates, mugs and books.

Faceout upon faceout of books.

Books with titles like “IN THE HOUSE OF ABRAHAM-Was Lincoln Illegitimate?

A Tribute to Jefferson Davis.


Living Confederate Principles: A Heritage For All Time

Lots of arguments waiting to get started.

Arguing with folks whose minds were made up a long time ago.

Come far.

But so far to come.

Shall we yet overcome?

I am reminded of the lines from Mr. Sandburg’s poem, Grass.

What places is this?

Where are we now?

I am the grass ….

let me work.

Some day.

Grass by Carl Sandburg.

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.

Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work—
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we

I am the grass.
Let me work.

December 8 – Do you know a place?

Do you know a place?
Know the place by a person?
People, not places.

USAToday posted a photo gallery of “52 places Fodor’s Travel Go List says you should visit in 2020.”

I did click through the photos.

But I have to say none of the place made my list of ‘Go To Placs fo 2020″.

It wasn’t that the list included Albania, Medellin, and Rwanda (Rwanda???).

Or that the 1st place in the USA listed was Athens, Georgia.

I have no interest in these places.

I admit I am not a traveler.

Never had a passport.

Overall, looking at this list, I don’t know any one there.

When I think of places, I think of people.

Mitch Albom wrote today in The Detroit Free Press, “Have you ever known someone by the place you always saw them? Someone so delightful, they colored your view of the city or country where you met? If so, then you know the place is not the same when the face is gone.

Mitch writes a delightful column about, Margaret, a woman he knew in Ireland.

I hope she was real and not made up.

Mitch has done it before.

Sorry to be pithy but I remember.

As would have been said but in my college classes, his work has a suspect animus.


Family and friends.

Now I have friends who they themselves have friends and family in these exotic places.

I think that is great.

I have friends who DO love to travel and see new things or old things anew.

I think that is great.

But me?

Not a traveler.

And I don’t fell like I am missing anything.

Now if we are talking about travelling for the food.

I can understand that.

But I live Gwinnett County, Georgia.

All the world’s people have moved to Gwinnett.

The world’s food has come to me.

After getting coffee at a Guayoyo Coffee & Bakery, a Venezuelan Bakery which was next to the Indian Restaurant where we had lunch and deciding not to go across the street for Korean Chai, I thought, why do I need to travel?


All this and home of Waffle House.

Life is good.