Monthly Archives: April 2013

True Blues

I listen to KNON a lot. Partially, because I’m the President of the Board of Directors and mostly because I like the music we play (pledge drive coming up in May – get your online pledges in early!) In fact, I’m President because I like what we play.

So, when I was coming home from my check-up this morning, I had KNON on the radio. Gregg Smith’s Blues Review, to be specific. (Every Friday, nine until noon. Heeeey.)

We play a lot of blues, and the longer you listen, the more you realize pretty much all blues is about sex, unless someone just died in the song. I was listening to someone moaning about not riding in his girl’s automobile this morning and after a couple of verses, I realized “He’s not really talking about her car.” Well, duh.

I’m sitting at a stop light, and I had just had this realization, and I thought “Blues artists can make anything into a sexual euphemism.”

There’s a basic blues premise “I don’t want to be your ——–, baby.” where the blank turns out to be the song’s specific euphemism for some sexual organ. That’s when I heard “I don’t want to be your pastrami, baby” in my head (yes, I probably should see someone about that.)

Then, a flash. Who’s ever written a blues song about a deli?

I thought, “There would have to be a verse about pastrami and rye bread. What else? A pickle. How could a pickle sound dirty?”

I know you love dill pickles.
But don’t you grab my pickle spear.
My woman said that ain’t kosher,
You better not come ’round here.

That came to me almost as it was written. Same with the verse about pastrami. Other than not being able to find a rhyme for “rugelach” or “knish”, the song almost wrote itself. Based on the quality of the final work, it did write itself, because that way, I won’t get blamed for it.

Inspiration strikes in truly bizarre ways at truly random times.


So, beyond half-way through National Poetry Writing Month, and I’ve still managed to write something every day. In fact, today’s entry was written yesterday evening, so I’m a day ahead. I suppose it’s true that the more you use something, the easier it gets to use. This is as far as I have ever gotten in a multi-day challenge to be creative.

I still can’t rhyme to save my life,
Which caused the family untold strife.

My poetry is formless (sometimes meaningless) – let’s face it, there aren’t many rules for poetry, so if you say it’s a poem, it is. Still, I’m hoping the quality has improved over the month, although that’s probably questionable.

What have I learned?

  • I can write something every day as long as it doesn’t have to be good.
  • Something will inspire me every day, even if it was annoying.
  • Poems that mention Rocky the Chihuahua get more hits than anything.
  • Blind John Ellsworth may have a book when this is all done.

A long, long time ago, two kids sat in a room with plastic electric-look guitars and sang along to Beatles records. One became a musician. One did not. Listen to Jim’s records. Read my poetry. It all worked out for the best, don’t you think?



I’ve never been able to understand people who think any deceased person can immediately be replaced with a dog. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent twelve years in and around animal rescue, but the worst possible gift for anyone is a living being that requires constant care and feeding. It is the gift that keeps on costing. (I have five dogs. I love my dogs. The costs never end.)

A pet as a gift makes no sense any time, much less as a distraction from grieving. A pet is a living being with a unique set of needs and a unique personality. It is not a fashion accessory. A pet owner makes a commitment to a pet to care for him for his lifetime. This should not be a commitment by proxy. It should not be an arranged marriage,

Pet owners require the ability to find their pets. Hopefully, this will happen at their local rescue. The human-pet bond is a magical thing, but it cannot be forced or assumed. If you’ve decided to adopt, go to your local Adopt-a-Pet and meet the pets. If your dog is there, you will recognize him. If he’s not, try again the next week. Your dog is waiting for you. However, your friend’s surprise pet is not.

You can divorce a hastily-chosen spouse. You can’t divorce a pet. Divorcing a pet means leaving him at the shelter – which depending on his age, size and breed could be a death sentence.

The next time one of your friends is widowed or divorced or dumped, just drop off another person of the proper sex and age and say “Here’s your new partner. You have to clean him and feed him, but I’m sure you’ll get along fine. Forever.” If you think that seems insane, why would you do it with a dog?


Having a challenge apparently makes me write everyday even if some of it is probably crap. OK, most of it is crap. However, it does seem to make me pay more attention to the scraps of thoughts that randomly pop into my head. How else would you explain producing what sounds like a Civil War piece out of the Spousal Unit resigning from a game of Words with Friends when she was in the lead?

(Go see Blind John Ellsworth’s “The Battle of Virginia”. The last stanza was written first.)

Yu almost made it

Wasn’t there an unwritten rule that you don’t talk about a possible no-hitter in progress? Did nobody tell the press? ESPN had a no-hitter watch on their crawl. Sheesh.

8 2/3rds of a perfect game. Unfortunately, it’s like winning 4/5ths of the lottery. You have to close it out. You have to get them all. Still…

111 pitches and only one Yu Darvish probably wants back. I guess that’s why a pitcher that plays good defense is such a find. Has anybody found one?

Still, an amazing outing and a win. Wins count, no matter how many hits you give up.

Next time, for sure.

There’s a National Poetry Writing Month?

So, there’s a National Novel Writing Month (NaNoMo) which I knew about. I’ve actually been on the mailing list for years, but while I have the first paragraph of my novel done, I’ve never progressed beyond that. Sad. I restart every year. It’s a fictional biography based on my life. Apparently, I haven’t done enough interesting to get beyond the first paragraph.

Today, I found out April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo.) One poem a day for a month. That, perhaps, I can do. Especially since it doesn’t have to be a good poem.

A poem is either a song without music, or it’s prose that isn’t very prose-like. How hard can that be?

While some poems have rules (like sonnets and haiku), most don’t. In fact, you can call almost anything a poem, since there don’t appear to be any poem police anywhere.

So, follow Blind John Ellsworth this month and see if I can actually produce a poem a day. It should be interesting. One is done. How hard can the rest be?