Seducing The Muse. …more like a desperate plea.

Did you miss me? Well I missed you too!

Sorry for my absence. I promise I have a good excuse though. Well, it’s mostly a good excuse. I’ve been fighting the forces of evil with a couple of groovy friends, a stoner, and a talking dog. What? What do you mean you don’t believe me? Yeah, well it sounded good in my head.

The truth is rather boring. I’ve been having technical difficulties.

The good news is that, after scrimping and saving, and doing more research than an undergrad studying for his finals, I bought a new laptop. Yay!

The bad news is that, a few hours after finishing the final draft of “What’s Going On“, my wandering rant about race in America, my two month old laptop got the dreaded ‘blue screen’.– NOOO! Not my baby! — Needless to say I was heartbroken. Fortunately, the remedy was relatively painless. Customer service could not have handled the situation better. The woman on the phone was able to remotely diagnose the trouble. I sent the laptop to the Texas care center on the Friday before Labor Day and received it back ten days later.

Yeah. I was surprised too.

The whole reason for the laptop was to encourage me to write more. I’m one of those people that have ideas flying through my head all day long but the moment I sit down in front of the computer… nothing. Then there’s the issue of my grammar, which needs improvement. I live in constant fear of the run-on sentence so I tend to drop commas every few words in the hope that a few land in their proper place.– Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. — The point is that I wanted to start putting thoughts to paper (screen?) and thought a laptop might make it a little easier.

In high school I loved creative writing. Of course, in high school, I had English teachers who gave us direction and deadlines and… Dickens! — Sorry. Then in tech school I got to let my imagination run free. Tech school was essentially an introduction to communications. We covered the basics of radio and television. The idea was to give you enough knowledge that upon graduation you could easily find an interning position or continue your education. My dream was editing for television so that’s where I focused my energy. My specialty was short subjects. I wrote a lot of commercials. My magnum opus was a hidden camera short where I pranked our instructor. The poor guy was the target of much of our humor. He was a good sport though. He never asked us to compromise our creativity, no matter how ill conceived our ideas. Our world would be a much better place if we had more teachers like Ed Gannon.

There’s truth to the old adage, “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it”.

It’s been a long while since I’ve had to engage my imagination on a regular basis. I’ve been so preoccupied with writing big and brilliant that I forgot a few basic rules. Write, write what you know, write some more and, for God’s sake, Keep It Simple Stupid! — KISS for short.

So, for me, the trick is to try to get in the habit of writing again. That’s what this meandering mess is: an exercise to get the juices flowing, an attempt to seduce my elusive muse, to just write whatever pops into my head at this particular moment. — Even if it means boring you all to death. 😉

Advertisements

To Facebook or Not To Facebook

…or, Does this selfie make my ego look fat? 😛

By next month I will have been on Twitter for four years. Four years of absurd puns and double entendres, interrupted by the occasional political rant. It’s so easy to get caught up in righteous indignation that sometimes I forget why I joined twitter in the first place. — For the record, I joined twitter so I could send suggestive tweets to Craig Ferguson‘s Late Late Show. To my knowledge, he’s never read any of my tweets on air. 😦

Since 2010, I’ve joined Tumblr, I tried Blogspot (which I’ve neglected for almost two years), and somehow managed to acquire two G+ accounts. Though I only use one of them.

I chose twitter because it fit well with my personality. Facebook presents itself as this ever-growing community of “friends”. Twitter makes no such claims. On Twitter, people follow one another. No commitment is required. — unless you find yourself immersed in a hilarious hashtag game. ( anyone?) I’ve established some interesting connections on twitter. I’ve even gone so far as to exchange my real contact information with a few of them. But those connections are very casual and fluid. Something about Facebook scares me. For one thing, I’m a bit shy around people that I don’t know. Then there’s the difficulty I have reaching out to people. I find it nearly impossible to make the first move. It’s a wonder I’m in a relationship. — Now there’s a good story I’ll save for another time.– Just because the interactions happen online, rather than in person, doesn’t make them any easier.

So, Facebook.

I DO have a Facebook account. I created it last year after my Acer tablet crashed. My tablet was a year past warranty so contacting Acer through their website was impossible. After trolling through some of the android forums, I learned that this was a common issue with Acer’s Iconia A500. Several forum posters claimed to have had good results after contacting Acer through Facebook. So I created a Facebook account, Acer fixed my tablet, and I’ve been ignoring Facebook ever since.

But why?

Well, the short answer is privacy. I’ve tried very hard to maintain a certain degree of online anonymity. The last thing I want is to have all that disappear because of some piece of wayward information that gets leaked. Sure, if you dig far enough you will discover that my true identity is Bruce Wayne and then I will have to kill you. But, for the most part, I’m very happy being an anonymous entity.

Then there’s Facebook’s intrusiveness. We’ve all read the stories. People’s accounts have been hacked. Private information was collected and sold. Everything you post, tag, or like, every single mouse click, is tracked and sold to marketing companies. This happens on every site you visit but, for some reason, Facebook gets all the press.

Maybe it’s because of ALL THOSE DAMNED PERSONAL QUESTIONS!

God help you if you intentionally leave some information blank! Facebook does not like blank fields. They take it as a personal failure if you don;t answer some of their questions. I’m still being pestered with “You haven’t finished filling out your profile information!”, “Where did you go to high school?”, and “HEY! You forgot to tell us your blood type!”, notifications every time I log on. Okay. That last one was fake but Jeeze! Give it a rest! Maybe I don’t want to give you my mother’s maiden name. :\

There’s also the issue of time. I barely have enough time to keep up with WordPress. When I created ADignorantium.Wordpress, I promised myself that I would try to publish at least one post a week. If I can’t even do that, what makes me think I’m going to keep up with Facebook?

So here I am.

I changed my Facebook header to match my WordPress and Twitter headers. One must be consistent. Maybe that will encourage me to play around with Facebook. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like it.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, and G+, subscribe to my YouTube channel, pin me on Pintre...wait! I don’t have a Pintrest account! And oh, yeah… if you friend me on Facebook it might take me a little while to get back to you. 😛

One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show

…or, How a 2:AM distraction became an obsession.

I have been in a foul mood all winter. It hasn’t helped that Mother Nature also seems to have been in a pissed off mood. Seriously. It’s almost May and we’re still dealing with temperatures as low as 30°F a few nights this week. Will someone please make Ma Nature a cup of espresso or something?

When I’m in a foul mood, I tend to stay away from people. It’s a lot better that way. Otherwise I wind up snapping at folks for no reason. It’s not pretty. Like so many others, when I’m in a bad mood I turn to music. What usually works for me is Pink Floyd’s The Wall (1979). For some reason, the Waters, Gilmore, Mason and Wright classic has a way with working out my aggression. It’s amazingly therapeutic. But I couldn’t seem to shake it this time. The winter was brutal. I still have a cold that just-won’t-go-away. On top of everything, cancer took three close friends within a two month period. It’s essentially why I haven’t been writing very much. Three funerals in such a short amount of time sends me right back to the early 90s, when everyone I knew was dying. I sat at my keyboard on more than one occasion to try to express the feeling of loss, but it was too overwhelming. I’d start a draft but then lose focus, which is what this post is about to do if I don’t guide it back to the point. 😉

On a mindless surf though YouTube, I stumbled onto Bette Midler’s cover of ‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’ (Rose Marie McCoy, Charlie Singleton) It’s an old favorite. In this video, she’s performing it at the 1998 Billboard Awards.

It’s a fun song. Bette’s Studio version is better but, as with all of Bette’s live performances, there’s something about the attitude she projects on stage that brings a song to life. I guess it’s the same for most singers.

Because Bette Midler is a vocalist, she’s introduced me to many great artists. I’m always searching for the original singer of composer of any particular song she might have made popular. So of course I wanted to know the who, what, where, and maybe even the why of One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show. The earliest version that I was aware of is the one made famous by the truly wonderful Big Maybelle.

Truly, Big Maybelle doesn’t get the attention she deserves.

My appetite whetted, I wanted to know more. Who was this Rose Marie McCoy? Did she record a version of One Monkey?  So… I checked everyone’s favorite source of misinformation, Wikipedia!

According to the Wiki page, One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show was “recorded by Stick McGhee and His Buddies in 1950, credited to McGhee, released on an Atlantic Records in 1951″

Hmmm… It’s not at all like Big Mabelle’s version. It’s good in it’s own right, but where Big Maybelle’s classic is about a woman tellin’ her man, “Buh bye! Don’t let the door hit ya on your way out!”, Stick McGhee’s version is about making your way through life without letting things get in your way. The themes are similar, but… Now I was on a mission.

According to Wiki “…another version was recorded by Joe Tex in 1965. In 1966 it was covered by The Animals.”

Here’s Joe Tex…

…and here’s The Animals.

It’s hard to choose between the two. I can see the appeal of The Animals but I like the rawness of Joe Tex. The most glaring thing so far is that now there are three completely different versions of this song.

But wait, there’s more!

“In 1972 the all-girl group Honey Cone took its altogether different version to number five on the R&B singles chart” – Wiki 

Here is Honey Cone on the Sonny Bono Show

If those funky outfits aren’t enough, there’s a coked up DISCO version by Jessie Rogers. I’ll spare you. If you really want to hear it, you’ll have to click the link. I think it’s a little too peppy, If you ask me. 😐

So, what does the phrase “One monkey don’t stop no show” really mean? To me it’s fairly obvious. It’s another way of saying “Life will go on” or “This too, shall pass”. But could there be more? One could find himself deeply entangled within the interwebs, searching for a deeper meaning, but I gave it a go.

Curiosity killed the cat. …and kept this blogger up all night.

In their wordpress post, Yeah, But do you know what that song is actually about? #1 The guys at Old School Record Review put it perfectly. They wrote in part, ““one monkey don’t stop no show” is a perfect lyric for pop music because it shares so much in common with the music itself. It is ambiguous, emotional, catchy and supports introspection and interpretation.” They’re right, of course. Music is art and art is open to interpretation.

But what’s all this have to do with my pissy mood?

Haven’t you figured it out yet? Winter is over. We’re almost halfway through spring. Love and I are shopping for new plants for the tiny patch of concrete behind our tiny South Philly home.  With spring comes a new chapter. Hopefully a little brighter than the last, but it’s new. Life goes on.

PS: You really should navigate on over over to Old School Record Reviews and see what they’re up to. They did and excellent job exploring the meaning of One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show lyric. I would have abandoned it here had it not been so essential to the point I was trying to reach.

Bonus Track! Here’s Bette’s Studio version, just for fun. 🙂

.

EXTRA BONUS!

Pink Floyd The Wall (Full Album) 😀

 

My Inner Nerd Is Screaming With Delight!

I am in awe of brilliance and PBS Idea Channel host Michael Rugnetta is nothing if not brilliant.

The most recent installment of this delightfully mind blowing mind candy centers around the concepts of reality, fact, and fiction.

In part one, he uses War of the Worlds as a means to illustrate how fiction exists within our collective consciousness.

In part two, he continues the exercise using Harry Potter.

Is anyone else as turned on as I am right now? 😛

 

Warm Wishes For 2014

I wanted to write something clever and enlightening for this post. Lines like, “Good Riddance!” and “”Don’t let the ‘Auld’ hit you in the ‘Lang Syne’ on your way out!” came to mind. But every year has it’s highs and lows. The worst part was losing people with whom I’d become close.

I never intended to get so personally involved with people on the internet. Honestly, what a pleasant surprise.

As I look back on 2013, I have to acknowledge the incredible people who have crossed my path and made my life a little more interesting and a lot more fun. I am especially grateful for the friendships and connections I’ve made through twitter, tumblr, and of course, wordpress.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year’s eve, and that 2014 brings much happiness into everyone’s lives.

Happy New Year!

The Unsung Heroes of the American Workforce

I posted this to Tumblr the other day, and thought it worthy of a re-post here.

A Labor Day PSA:

The next time you go to a bar, a restaurant, or any other service oriented place of business, please remember to leave a decent tip.

TIPS = To Insure Proper Service

People in the service industry work hard to make sure you have a pleasant experience. They’ve got to keep a smile on their faces even with rude customers.

They are not slaves. Please don’t treat them as such.

The way you treat service personnel will be reflected back to you. If you treat your waiter or bartender with kindness, their gratitude will be evident. As a bartender, I periodically sent complimentary drinks to good customers. The bad ones were often made to wait.

Remember also that there are some things beyond your waiter’s control.

Your waiter is your advocate, and does everything in his/her power to bring you what you ordered. Don’t punish your waiter because the kitchen made a mistake.

Finally. If you don’t have enough money to leave a tip, stay home.

Never, ever stiff your wait staff. If the service is bad, take the waiter aside and calmly explain. Believe me, they do want to know if there was a problem so they can correct it. If you blow your cool, it will be YOU who is wrong. They can refuse you future service.

For more on Tipping, see CNN Money

Waste Not, Want Not…

You may have seen my recent lament about cleaning the refrigerator

“Just cleaned my fridge. Something creepy just escaped. It ran out the door, screaming something about invading Cleveland”

Among the items buried in the back of the freezer was a thick tuna steak, which we bought about six months ago to make Orange Chipotle Seared Tuna. It’s a great recipe. I highly recommend it.

Whenever I find good quality fish at a good price, I buy extra and freeze it. Of course, I do run the risk of forgetting those bargains as they make their way to the back of the freezer.

So here I was with this slightly freezer burned piece of tuna that I really didn’t want to throw away.

How could I save it?

Searching the interwebs, I found several recipes for Olive Oil Poached Tuna. 

I added the poached tuna to whatever veggies I found in the fridge, topped it with shaved Parmesan, and made this, rather satisfying salad…

Diner2

The tuna turned out great! The salad was delicious!