Sweatbox Blues In South Florida

Green Oasis Illusion Find Cool Breeze In Mind
With Skin Drenched in Sweat In Sun Torrid Felt Grind
No Signs of Juice Power Slows Life To Plain Bore
As Victims Mark Time Until Power Restore

Your Home Or In Mine Lets Chat Closely For News
Pole Conveys Converge To Ease Desperate Blues
Let Us Count Ice Cubes In Hopeful Plot Dream
Set Free From Self Anger In One Mighty Scream

Wide Swaths Bring Land Chaos Routines Run Amok
Gain Eyes For New Wisdom Quit Passing The Buck
Be Kind To New Homeless Give Aged Your Time
To Ease Them From Lonely Seems Surely Sublime

Gaze Trees Felled By Wind Brings Fresh Notice Of Space
Time’s Hourglass Runs Down You Survive With New Face
Extreme Acts Of Nature Fear End Of Life’s Rope
Global Warming Reigns True We Must Broaden Our Scope

 

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A True Test For Dare-Devil Dave

You expect a rational human would comply with orders to evacuate their beachfront home on an exposed, barrier island lying directly in the path of a hurricane monster. Yet our dubious hero in this account saw himself as no ordinary human and did not fear such catastrophic outcomes. No one it seemed could envision then that this self proclaimed purveyor of doom could be taught a cruel lesson of mortality as the approaching stormr drew closer to the densely populated portions of South Florida coastline.

“Dare-Devil Dave, as his condo neighbors called him, never liked the attention of others. He had lived his secluded life as a lonely hermit, now, rarely showing his face, to surrounding residents in this beachfront high-rise. Unemployed for two years since the state government layoffs abruptly ended his career as a lifeguard, Dave seemed downright adamant that the government or anyone else for that matter could ever be trusted by him again. He would merely scoff at the throngs of evacuees nervously heading off the island today and assume his role as the “Lone Ranger” of his beloved, sandy turf tomorrow.

On Sunday morning, the initial squalls of the hurricane approached ominously from the south. Being unfazed that these storms would soon intensify to category 5 status, Dare -Devil Dave ventured out to the end of his favorite fishing jetty to watch the encroaching storm. Chugging his morning beer, he soon grew drowsy. As the alcohol began to take effect, his glossy eyes could not focus well nor could he maintain his normal balance on the jagged rocks below.

With heavy crosswinds from an approaching gale now awakening Dave from his idle stupor, he now frantically set his sights on returning to the jetty shore. Misjudging his distance and direction back to the beach now, he would be blown by a sudden gust tragically into the foamy darkness below. As he flailed helplessly in the wind blown surf, this misguided beachcomber would soon find his watery grave tragically alone.

Our victim’s fatal flaw in this story was clear. He failed to see that human beings are inferior adversaries in facing raw forces of nature. The approaching arrival of dangerous Hurricane Irma this week tests the egos of those who are similarly blinded to become wandering fools in extreme hurricane conditions. Take a beach walk, feel the pelting rain, and listen to the fierce wind whistle but be mindful that the risk of experiencing this storm’s wrath up close for you might mean your own life disaster might soon come to pass.

 

Hurricane Fury Hits Home Quickly

Extreme weather warnings linger in my mind today as South Florida faces the prospect of catastrophic Hurricane Irma coming ashore this Friday. When I taught in the stressful atmosphere of urban, public schools, such a major storm would bring great relief to me in the anticipation that classes would be closed for days. In fact, life seemed much simpler during these “trying times” as I concentrated on the mere essentials of food, shelter, and family communication at home. How secure I always felt then that our solidly built condominium seemed secure from wind destruction and our storm shutters protected our family safely from flying glass and debris.

Yet, as I drive around my community today, I note how little can be done to withstand a major, hurricane strike in “So Flo.” I thus observe many locations where damaging winds could propel loose coconuts, flimsy signs, and patio clutter through the air like Nolan Ryan fastballs in the height of a storm’s wrath. I note also how canals and lakes, already overflowing from summer deluges, invite “wave-hell” flooding in low-lying areas. In addition, so many electric power lines hang flimsily along major roads to interact opposingly with brittle, tree branches, dangerously invading each other’s designated space.

I guess it paid off well to be a teacher who spent almost his entire working life planning for every contingency of daily crisis in the classroom. As I never waited to have ample, classroom supplies available to me at all times, it would only be second nature for me to stock up on essential hurricane supplies this week. Realizing that a power outage in my classroom required a more assertive approach to handling behavioral problems with my easily distracted students, I also would seem well prepared to handle the “trapped like a rat” conditions in my home to as I wait out the storm passage and destructive aftermath patiently.

As our country seems so divided today by angry -isms in our perplexing political climate, oddly enough, hurricanes have always provided me with evidence that our community can find new will to peacefully co-exist amidst such tragedy. Anonymous neighbors suddenly bond over sheltered sites to park their car or discuss cheapest locations to buy gas. Hammer and nail banging alerts nearby residents to take proper precautions in covering their windows and doors. Stray dogs and cats suddenly disappear from the street and are taken indoors by concerned residents.

Listen to the wind roar suddenly as this passing freight train arrives in the blackness of night. Gaze intently at the slow drip of your lighted candle as you appreciate its brightness as a welcome respite from your loss of electrical power. Most of all, savor the much needed sleep needed to re-energize your mind/body in peak form as you soon face the uncertain wrath of destructive silence next morning.

 

Find True Fortune a la Inner Vegas

A Sprinkling of Neon Raises Hopes of Rich Winnings
As Masses Give Trust In Chance Unlikely Spinnings
No Matter Such Fortune Seems Risky At Best
These Pockets Fill Coins To Find Money Greed Quest

High Stakes In Crowd Rush Where Cash Moves Through Many
Yet Wiser Spark Thrills Without Spending A Penny
When Wealth Grips Attention To Win By Obsess
Sublime Can Find Awe As More Worthy Possess

Gape Dazzling Displays Of Botanical Bliss
In Bellagio Galleries In Nature Draws Kiss
Find Coldness or Hotness The Choice Does Not Matter
As Long As Your Silence Shuns Monkey Mind Chatter

This Desert Oasis Makes Fertile In Mind
This Day Finds No Need To Be More Wined And Dined
Find Fantasies Of Sweetness Gain Smiles Abound
Dream More Of Pure Beauty Like Sight, Smell, And Sound

When You Consider Our Efforts To Master Our Plot
Know That True Happiness Can’t Ever Be Bought
While Casinos Of Greed Amass Riches To Gain
True Fortune In Vegas Knows Ego Contain

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This Canyon Takes My Breath Away

My wife and I have gazed in awe at the magnificent crags and crevices of the Grand Canyon several times on our western road trips in recent years. In addition to providing endless panoramas for landscape photography, the utter humility of standing amidst such natural grandeur creates an emotional stirring in our inner souls. A revisit to the South Rim in late August, in the company of my wife’s father, thus gave us the opportunity to celebrate his 91st birthday in a truly spectacular way.

Devising a strategy to make this western vacation as convenient as possible for our finicky and sometimes cranky guest, we opted to book two, leisurely nights in a simple motor inn along the Route 66 corridor in popular Flagstaff, Arizona. We could then day trip the less than 100 miles distance to the canyon easily from there. After enduring 100 degrees + temperatures in the previous, Las Vegas leg of our trip , the cooler confines of Flagstaff, lying at over 7,000 feet elevation, would definitely be a welcome sight for all. One of our favorite western diners, “The Place” was located within walking distance of our motel as well. Think gigantic biscuits plus interesting, Route 66 memorabilia and you might understand what makes this cafe a worthy visit.

Over the years in our visits to this grand abyss, we have witnessed an extraordinary number of unexpected splendors there. A slow moving snowstorm, on one occasion, formed on the opposite North Rim and slowly encroached on the canyon as we gazed in awe at the pristine beauty of snowflakes silently falling in the distance. A rare sighting of a California condor effortlessly gliding toward its favorite rocky perch during another visit became a motivation to take birdwatching more seriously. A last glint of sunlight shining on the rim as we hiked in evening dusk once revealed startling glimpses of the raging Colorado River between steep cliff sides in the deep depths of the canyon.

To be honest, such serendipitous moments of the Grand Canyon were merely obtained through pure luck on our brief and tightly scheduled visits to the canyon in the past. So it seemed particularly rewarding that our resolve to slow down our pace to accommodate our elderly guest enabled us to relax more and thus take higher quality pictures. Several examples immediately come to mind. Riding the crowded tram ride once seemed a violation of our rugged travel independence to hike to various overlooks. Yet on on this latest visit, we enjoyed new perspectives of the canyon via the park bus shuttle with minimal, physical exertion. Furthermore, our leisurely lunch at the Market Cafe, distanced us from the crowded throngs of tourists so we could appreciate the close, family time together. Taking more time to gaze over the Mather Point vista, as well, enabled us to observe in more detail the stunning shades of color/shadow in the surrounding topography.

Sadly, the Grand Canyon was our final stop on this whirlwind summer vacation as we concluded our latest road trip with an uneventful drive through the Mojave Desert back to Las Vegas. In honor of my father in law’s  91st birthday, we treated him to a lavish Italian dinner at Carmines at Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops. As we awaited our midnight flight back to South Florida, I uploaded a spectacular photo of Grand Canyon as the newest screensaver on my iPhone. As I return home to witness my country so divided by -isms today, be assured that this image will be a positive mind distraction for me amidst such daily turmoil.

 

 

 

 

I Cannot Argue In Nature Presence

My inspirations for this poem took place in my wife and I’s car travel through Coastal California, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon in the past two weeks. Accompanied by my ninety one year old father in law, we both faced the challenge of making the trip as simple as possible for him. Amidst the challenge of playing tour guide/peacemaker for our distinguished yet fussy guest, I savored those slow times of solitude on this somewhat hectic trip. This poem reflects my appreciation of those silent moments.

To judge right or wrong leaves a trail of tension
As blind egos can clash to create daily dissension
In storm clouds of doubt never cease calls for clamor
When rivals make enemies with anger struck hammer

Let us find reason to explore slower pace
As deserts seek silence in vast open space
Breathe deeply sea air to find no need for scorn
Find trails to calm judgment through fogginess morn

Savor gold bridge cross in enveloping glow
Lose sight of your ego search deep depths of know
What’s good ground for seagulls you search for intently
While ponder a manner to treat all more gently

Lonely crag visions weather eons of existence
Pity the waste of man’s violent persistence
Laugh with the otter as you wander near shore
Think less of imperfect but enjoy your life more.

In our quest to grow inward as we travel far and near
One can conquer an urge to spread ferocity of fear
As sun kisses moon in eclipse of fair equal
Future treks dim swelled heads in a similar sequel

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Make The Marlins Better

I recently read with excitement that the Miami Marlins finally completed the sale of their baseball team to refreshingly new ownership.This latest transition during their 25th anniversary season does not shock me give the team’s recent failures to win consistently on the field Being a lifetime baseball fan who truly loves watching the game in person, I immediately thought of some spirited innovations to inspire a new, winning era of Marlins baseball.

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1. Ditch the contorted sculpture presence beyond centerfield that reminds me of a Medusa snake alluring victims to their death every time a Miami home run takes place.

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2. Eliminate the excessive sales billboards around the rim of the stadium. Bring back the out of town scoreboard so I can fill in the agonizingly slow time between pitches by watching the performance of my other favorite teams.

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3. Change the name from Marlins Park for attracting a wider demographic audience to the comforting environs of this park. Some top of the head options” include: “Tropical Paradise Park Beach Party Place, Serenity For Seniors Arena and of course Mother Ship Landing.

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4. Energize the lineup call on the “Jumbotron” scoreboard before each home game with a DJ spin. 1st batter – “Yo Miami- – “Give it up for #1 – my main man…2nd batter -” You won’t believe your eyes meet…” 3rd batter – “Cmon man, put your hands together for…” 4th batter – “Show me some some love for…”

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5. Rethink the concept of the Bobblehead Museum at the Park as a more visible commodity. Place giant Bobblehead figures of new,part time owners Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan at all park entry gates to lessen the anger of fan security inconveniences.

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6. Replace the tawdry “Clevelander Club”beyond left field with a family friendly venue. I don’t see the need in bringing small children to a baseball game to watch a stag show of men hanging out after work to watch scantily clad dancers seductively entertain them.

7. If I decide to use my ticket to become a “designated driver” , offer me something healthier than a Diet Coke as an enticement to use this service.

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8. Open the retractable ceiling during games more often. I enjoy watching exotic birds fly in and around the park when the action gets boring.

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9.Use more discretion in live video screening of fans throughout the ballpark (i.e. Kiss Cams and Salsa Dance theatrics). There are enough baseball attendees who preoccupy their time spent at the ballpark by taking selfies of themselves on their mobile phones already. Watching the game itself should be the main focus.

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10. Allow unlimited mascot therapy sessions with fans between innings in cases of “blowout” losses. Hugging and high-fiving can provide a jolt of positive energy to those in a funk because their team has no way to win that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Realities Fill USF Roundup

What made the 2017, University of South Florida “Freshman Round Up” successful last weekend ? It appears that the USF Broward Alumni Chapter had succeeded again in providing an open discussion forum for addressing the many challenges USF freshmen would likely face in their inaugural term in college. As a retired professor and active member of this chapter, I thus embraced my role to engage twenty five, prospective college students and their families in friendly conversation about college success strategies learned from my instructional past.

IMG_8738I imagine the majority of these aspiring, young adults felt comfortable in the tropical confines of swaying palm trees, an expansive swimming pool and open refreshment bar at this beautiful, suburban residence today. As each student arrived for check- in today, I also figured that interest in today’s event would heighten upon being greeted warmly by ushers and given a souveneir-filled, goodie bag as they entered the house. I also reasoned that the presence of close family nearby would provide emotional support to help them network socially.

While this casual setting invited a “cool” vibe of friends, food and fun, I knew, however, knew from my academic past that any failure by these college entrants to embrace the high academic expectations set by the USF classroom experience and this roundup today could gravitate into something entirely more unsettling. I thus posed the following question to several of them today: How would you stay focused to learn in a lecture hall situation when burdened by outside distractions and professor criticism of your academic performance? Take a look at an excerpt from a recent film, “The Gambler ” for some thought provoking insight regarding the student/professor relationship when a college classroom goes awry.

How fortunate that I observed many of these new USF enrollees acted with sincere enthusiasm about their upcoming college experience. On a personal level, I also enjoyed speaking with these students one- to-one- today without feeling the pressure of grading them as their professor in the classroom. As a bird seeks refuge in a freshly made nest, these aspiring scholars must assume responsibility to likewise learn strategies to feel “right at home” in the tough world of high achieving academia.

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New Tests Of Travel Awareness

Epiphanies of spontaneous self-insight tend to rule my life at short notice at times. Thus, I was unprepared for the rush of pure emotion that settled over me as I watched an inspiring film,” The Bucket List”, this week. Picture two critically ill, elderly men lying helplessly in a hospital bed facing terminal illness who devise a unique, itinerary to enjoy life while they can in the face of their dire medical prognosis. Imagine that completing their jointly agreed travel agenda in essence helps bond them together as trusting friends in the final days remaining of their lives.

Thankfully, neither my wife or I face such an immediate medical crisis. Nonetheless, I experienced an emotional revelation about “what determines happiness” by watching the featured characters in this movie experience their last days traveling as trusted friends in this film. Such insight thus led me to reassess my own psyche about traveling in greater fulfillment with my wife in our independent travel. Previously , I had blogged about five destinations that aroused my OWN curiosity for future travel: https://onstageformyselfnow.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/immersions-in-wanderlust/
Do these places reflect my current travel interests? Why have most items on the list remained unfulfilled? Have I caved into the egoistic desires of myself to the exclusion of my wife’s needs for future travel? What places provide an ideal match for meeting our united “wanderlust” desires? What travel goals would sustain continuance of our happy marriage? Such questions give reason to present my new travel bucket list as an expression of our shared values and their logical connection to specific places that we aspire to visit. I thus present my “bucket list” plan for pursuing independent travel as follows:

1. Enhance Spiritual Understanding
a. Practice yoga at monastery or spiritual retreat setting in India or Nepal.
b. Deepen our understanding of our shared Jewish religious heritage with guided tour of Israel
c. Appreciate the meditative silence of nature in day trips to Western U.S. National Parks

2. Downsize Materialistic Travel Needs
a. Turn off all digital devices and pack less on upcoming cruises to and from Europe
b. Work parttime for summer season in Lake District of Yellowstone National Park
c. Share one meal entree in restaurants to save money/reduce calories on upcoming American road trips.
d. Use digital apps for determining location/sightseeing in lieu of bulky travel guides

3. Spend “Quality Time” With Distant Friends
a. Tour Edmonton, Canada with past India trip friend
b. Hike in Boise, Idaho vicinity with past condo neighbor
c. Walk along the seashore in California Bay Area with past Alaska trip friend
d. Read poetry in Lincoln Nebraska with past condo neighbor
e. Attend famous jazz festival in Montreal, Canada with online, animal chat friend
f. Eat a leisurely meal with British friends at a London pub during one week apartment visit

4. Restore Faith In American Democracy
a. Tour National Presidential Centers – Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama
b. Visit the iconic battlefields of “The Civil War” in Virginia
c. Speak to a political representative of progressive causes in Washington D.C.
d. Feel the strong presence of “playing for one’s country” by attending a football game on our upcoming European vacation.

5. Relive Mellow Spirit Of  The Late 1960s
a. Use online music sources to find locations of classic rock concerts to attend on upcoming road trips
b. Engage in a Beatles history tour during one week apartment stay in London
c. Engage in political demonstrations to support progressive causes before upcoming election in selected American cities.
d. Enjoy a daytime, Major League Baseball game to solidify old friendships

6. Appreciate The Amenities Of Natural Environment
a. Get lost in the jungle along Amazon River cruise in South America
b. Cruise the mountainous coastline of Chile on South America cruise
c. Hike surrounding forests during two-week apartment stay in Seattle, Washington vicinity
d. Safari along the Okavango Delta in Botswana , Africa to observe diversity of wildlife present at dawn

The Circus Of Fools Preview

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Boys and Girls:

Welcome to “The Maddest Show on Earth.” You are about to see some of the most spectacular feats of hostile action that have ever been performed on stage. Tonight’s performance entitled “Obedient Awesome” promises a shocking evening of unforgettable entertainment. Witness our main attraction, ” The Ringmaster of Rage” direct sensational acts of meanful cruelty that will take your breath away. As your senses come alive from such mayhem, do not be fooled by his court jester disguise. If you trust him today, you do so at your own risk.

Please note that the ghastly scenes that you have chosen to witness tonight are no illusion. Trust your very eyes when unsuspecting volunteers build our “Ringmaster” a border wall live on stage. Be assured that you will  be bamboozled at the “edge of your seats” as our participants undergo waterboarding torture onstage to reveal their most embarrassing secrets. Many of you will scream as our unwitting victims stand motionless as our angry host orders his loyal son to aim his beloved handgun at each of them for target practice amusement. You will feel chills upon hearing again the famous phrase, “Get um outta here.” Feverish boos and catcalls will rise throughout the theater as our tyrannical taskmaster orders his followers to pose as “bouncers” to remove any disbelievers in the audience from the venue.

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As you await tonight’s performance, enjoy the challenge of matching wits with our raging star as he prowls the audience to find easy victims for his masterful performance. Avoid his ominous stare as he passes by your seat. Refrain from any urge to take notice when he attempts to insult nearby families. Do not dare laugh at his crude jokes of derision.

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I would urge you to purchase a personalized memento of tonight’s “hellish”experience in the gift shop and check out our artist’s top selling book, ” The Art Of Playing The Fool.” You can also enjoy his reality star presence online as he takes twice daily “potshots” at your favorite celebrities on Twitter. Note that bookings for live performances will be limited this summer as our circus hero leisurely  unwinds by playing golf on weekends.