A Radio Good Night

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.

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The graveyard shift,

That’s what they call it

The graveyard shift,

a place where

they bury the dead

and other undesirables.

In radio

And other lonely places

The graveyard shift,

Creeps on.

 

Midnight to six am

Where people drift

When there is no place left to go.

For me, it was my voice, my opinions

and my music that was my shovel.

Losing myself in thoughts

Alone in the middle of the night.

Ideas and music flowed like wine

And I lost all track of time.

 

Then the phone would ring

Oh no, not a ring!

You can’t have things ringing

in the “On Air studio.”

A red flashing light

Endlessly flashing, flashing, flashing,

Becoming a scream

Refusing to be ignored

Answer me

Answer me, answer me

Phone call

Phone call.

 

And so many flashes later

I answer.

The voice said

My name is Tobey

Would you play a song for me?

 

A wonderful world happens after midnight

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.

So, do the strange

and deranged.

a cross-section of life begins to drift

In and out

On the graveyard shift.

 

The musicians finishing up their gigs

Dropping by because

Where do you go after two am?

When there is no place to go but home

And home is no place to go.

 

We had that in common

The night people

and me.

And I tried to

Keep us glad to be

night people.

It mostly worked.

 

Tobey was neither a lonely heart

Nor a musician

Just a night soul on a quest for tomorrows meaning

And yesterday’s reasons

A late-night spirit who came to listen

Not just to the show

But to this lonely gravedigger

And then she listened some more

More about this lonely

drifting voice in the dark.

 Me, both the ringmaster and the clown. 

 

And through so many passages

Of my life, she came to listen

Again, and then

again.

Helping me through the

The long nights of the emotional soul

The journey from one growing old

To growing older.

 

Dreading the dimming of the light.

Cursing the flickering flame

fading in the middle of another night.

And years later

She came and cared again

 

I guess I never really let her know

How much she had my life

A possible dream

There on the graveyard shift.

A clear and moving stream.

Pushing time along

her memory will go with me

 

Thank you for all that could have been

And for what was

Good night Tobey.

Woody the Lion and Me, A St. Paddys Day tale

It’s the eve of St. Paddy’s Day 2018, in the most Irish town in America, Boston, and what better day to have an eve (small e) on than a Friday depending on the Eve (capital E) any day could be a fine one. And so, I have decided to tell you a story, an Irish story it’s one of many I have but this one happens to be true, pass the bottle, please. I was sitting in the game room occasionally known as the conference room of a radio station one day as we drank a few beers hit a few shots of Jack Daniels back and smoked a few illegals and no not aliens. We were talking about nationalities. It seems everyone had a bit of Irish on them this day even a guy named Feinberg (I used an alias for him) So finally after a few more beer and shots it was my turn to tell my nationality, pass the bottle, please. I started with the strongest two and that was as far as I got. I was never able to add and a little of this and little of that nationality. There was a guy there with thick long red hair and a bushy red beard, a very Irish lad indeed named O’Rourke (I made that name up for him, I think), pass the bottle, please. O’Rourke looked a lot like the original cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz. So finally, the bottle and my turn rolled around, time for me to lay claim to my birthrights and I began to proudly announce that I was half, wait, before I get to that did I tell you that Feinberg, not their real name looked a lot like Woody Allen, and I didn’t make that up or  what O’Rourke looked like, don’t reread if you forgotten he looked like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.  So, my turn. Yes, my turn to drink, toke and talk, if I still could? And of course I can, I’m a highly rained Ofessional Brewdcaster. And if you have read and followed me this far I’ll bet you’re saying this better be worth it, well it’s not you can stop now.

So here we are, Woody the Lion and Me on the eve of March 17, which is supposedly the day of St. Patrick’s death.  I’ve never been sure why we celebrate that, dying doesn’t sound like party time to me. And now it’s my turn to proclaim my DNA results, I am, I said proudly part Irish and part Cherokee Indian. At this, Woody felt faint as the lion stood up with red hair and red beard and eyes ablaze and said, “My God man you’re an alcoholic looking for a place to happen”. To which I replied, and I found it, pass the bottle, please.

 

Memories

I’ve had a theory for a long time that as years pass and we look back on our personal history and at the people and events that have come and gone in our lives, we develop something I call compressed remembrance. It’s a feeling that something that occurred many years before happened only yesterday. Time collapses and years become weeks, weeks become days, and days seem like only hours.

On Friday, November 22, 1963, I was in history class, and it seems surreal that I would have been in history class on a date that will be read about for hundreds of years. I have no idea what I was thinking about before the news was delivered to the classroom. I probably had my mind on the upcoming Thanksgiving football game and practice after class. I’m sure I was not listening to Mrs. Loffler drone on about the Magna Carta or the Louisiana Purchase. I don’t remember the names of most of my high school teachers and fewer names of my college professors, but I remember Mrs. Loffler because she was there that day. That was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  I can still hear how her voice changed as she gave some brief explanation and told us that school would be ending early.  I remember feeling very detached from whatever new reality was taking place and annoyed that whatever this event was had suddenly disrupted my well-planned afternoon and weekend.

Quickly now it’s 21 years later, November 23, 1984. I’m no longer living on Staten Island, a naive teenager dreaming of gridiron glory. I’ve resisted a war, lived in the mountains of West Virginia, and been to prison. I’m back in radio and living in Boston. The Boston College Eagles are playing the University of Miami. There are 28 seconds left in the game, and Miami is leading 45 to 40 when some too-small-to-play quarterback guy named Doug Flutie dropped back and let what became known as the “Hail Mary” touchdown pass take flight. It traveled 48 yards, taking what seemed like forever to go that distance and reach its target, Gerard Phelan, and gave the football Eagles a 47-45 victory. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Fast forward. It’s now 2017, and I am watching what will be remembered as the greatest Super Bowl ever played. My granddaughter is about to become the same age I was on November 22, 1962: Sixteen, a magical age full of hopes and dreams but also fear. She was born into a time when the world seems to teeter constantly on the brink of disaster. I’m watching a man named Tom Brady who is leading the New England Patriots to a mind-blowing come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons. No team in history has ever come from 21 points behind to win a Super Bowl, but in the last quarter New England tied the game and went on to win in the first Super Bowl overtime in history. I saw people laughing and cheering and watched, even if only for a twinkling, the cares and troubles of their everyday lives dissolve away. I was proud of my city of Boston as they danced in the streets, not one-act of violence and no arrests. I have a few more years to keep that memory.

We live in a world where smiles and good times are difficult to come by, and we don’t have many years in a lifetime to make memories. I read somewhere that someday we will only be a memory to someone, and we should do our best to make sure it’s a good one. Trust me, I’m dancing as fast as I can.

 

Random Thoughts from Rambling Harbor

The trivia question for this week is, Who was the first president to call his residence in Washington, D.C., “The White House,” and what was it called before that?

Like many people, I’m still reeling from the election results. In last week’s blog, I toyed with the idea of putting an end to writing about politics, at least for a while. This is one of those times when I have so many thoughts running through my head it’s impossible to grab just one long enough to write about it. If I were to put my feelings in a traffic reporter’s jargon (and I did spend the last 5 years of my “live” radio career as a traffic and news reporter), it would sound something like this: There is a major backup through the gray matter causing residual delays into the heart zone, which is bringing the on-and-off arteries to a near stop. So what follows is a short list of random thoughts.

Random thought #1: Megyn Kelly is too good to be real. She has it all: She’s extremely intelligent, shows a lot of strength, and gives me the impression she is a really good, honest person, not to mention absolutely gorgeous. No wonder Donald Trump is afraid of her. I saw her interview with Anderson Cooper the other night, and while I am not easily impressed by media people, I was very impressed with her.

Random thought #2: Sarah Palin is on “The Donald’s” list for Interior Secretary. Really! The U.S. Department of the Interior uses sound science (notice the words sound science) to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, honors our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, and advocates for America’s island communities. This is the same Sarah Palin who as Republican vice presidential nominee used the expression “Drill, baby, drill!” and didn’t know the address of the White House. If she gets the job, I wonder if they will call her Madam Shotgun Momma Secretary?

Random thought #3: I have heard a lot of talk about what would happen if Donald Trump was ousted. What if the majority of voters got their wish and the Electoral College voted as “unfaithful voters,” which they can do, and declared Hillary Clinton the president?  All hell would break loose! Well, it’s breaking loose anyway as Trump’s manic minions run wild with racial insults, harassment, and violence and in their warped minds think they have the blessings of the commander-in-chief.

Random thought #4: Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, is doing new ads for Foot Locker, and the one I saw is really good. He goes into a controlled tirade about how questions and suspicions get blown out of proportion and become rumors that become investigations. He really digs into a deeper part of himself, and you can feel his emotions. It is very clear that he is ripping “Deflategate” apart, and his passion is so real I think he must have gone to the Lee Strasberg School of Method Acting.

Random thought #5: I don’t want to think anymore.

On the shores of Rambling Harbor, I will have the answer to the trivia question and as always some rock and roll news and history. I hope you’ll join me there.

SAD Winter

The trivia question for this week is, What Beatles sad song became their 20th and last number-one song in the United States? This was in June 1970 and was the last single they released as a group.

This is not just about me. I’m fortunate enough to have a relatively mild form of what is commonly referred to as SAD. SAD—seasonal affective disorder—is also known as winter depression or winter blues, but it can happen to some people in summer. it’s a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms, usually at the same time each year and most commonly in the winter. From 4 to 6 percent have winter depression and another 10 to 20 percent have mild SAD. SAD is four times more common in women than in men. Although some children and teenagers get SAD, it usually doesn’t start in people younger than age 20. Your chance of getting SAD goes down as you get older. If you know someone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder, try to understand that it is recognized as a legitimate form of depression and that when dealing with those who do suffer from it, it’s real. I worked with a woman once who had it to such a degree that she would start crying at any given moment for no apparent reason. Thankfully, I am not that bad.

September begins the moody season for me, although some people who know me would say my moody season is every season, just different to some measure, and I guess I would have to agree. I would add, however, that my moods take a definite uptick in spring as my hope does spring eternal, at least until mid- to late-August when I realize September is lurking just around the corner. If September comes, can winter be far behind?

Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder. SAD’s prevalence in the U.S. also varies with geography and increases as you go further north, ranging from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.9 percent in Alaska.  A lot of causes have been proposed, and one study looked at whether some people could be predisposed to SAD based on personality traits such as high levels of neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, and avoidance-oriented coping disorders.

I love watching football. I played football from around the age of 8 through college. Until the last two years of my college days, I lived in a cold climate, and I sometimes wonder if my love of the game and my desire to smash into another human being “hell bent for leather,” as my old football coach use to say (and in those days it was leather) had anything to do with my general disagreeableness in winter. I wonder if I had lived in Florida, would I have preferred croquet or perhaps dashing about the green lawn in my tennis shorts under the palm trees for a bit of badminton perhaps.

At this very moment, I could probably program an entire 4 hours of radio music with nothing but sad tunes such as Elton John’s “Sad Songs (Say So Much).”

I’ll have a little more on SAD, some rock and roll news and history, and the answer to the trivia question in the podcast. I hope you join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.

 

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The Poet, Not the Politician. Please Pass the Idiom.

I have also decided that you cannot make a political essayist out of a poet, at least not a happy poet. I have spent the last few months primarily writing about politics and particularly

Connors and Brooksby farms S3ptember 2015 020 goatMy mother regularly used the expression you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, an expression I’m sure most of us have heard in one form or another. Its general meaning is that you can’t make something good out of something bad.

I’ve been thinking about idioms lately and where that particular one originated and discovered there’s a lot of conjecturing as to just where it did begin. The range is someplace between the devil and the deep blue sea, from the dying words of Hamlet to the Reverend Jonathan Swift in 1801, but an English satirist named Stephen Gosson seems to have made a like statement centuries earlier in The Ephemerides of Phialo in 1579. But one thing I do know for certain is that my mother used it time and time again. Usually, when I wanted something better than what I had.

I have also decided that you cannot make a political essayist out of a poet, at least not a happy poet. I have spent the last few months primarily writing about politics and particularly about my disdain for and fear of Donald Trump who might possibly become president of our country. To be perfectly clear about this, I have in no way tried to make a silk purse out of him and would never insult a pig by any comparison.

In my attempt to convey how I feel about this demon who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, I have all but lost track of who I am. I am a person with a proclivity for poetry, prose, poems, promulgation, and apparently alliteration, and that seems to make me happy as a clam. (If you’re wondering why clams are happy, this may shed some light on that. The original version is “as happy as a clam at high water.” Hide tide is when clams are free from predators.)

My politics are similar to my religion. I consider myself a spiritual person but almost never go to church, but I pay attention and I do pray. I consider myself a political person but never campaign for anyone, but I pay attention and I do vote.

In last week’s podcast, I had a meltdown. As I said then, I was sick of self-obsessing about Donald Trump, and it was true then and it rings truer now. I also realize that mostly I am preaching to the choir because most of my readers already agree with me and the ones who don’t have left me high and dry. (The phrase “preaching to the choir” probably had its origin as “preaching to the converted,” first cited in the works of John Stuart Mill. He used the phrase in An Examination of Sir W. Hamilton’s Philosophy, 1867.)

Now as we approach the eleventh hour of the political process, I have decided to let sleeping dogs lie and return to the poetry, prose, music-loving, storytelling person I am and have my blogs and podcast be what I have always intended them to be, informative and fun. I hope and pray and will vote that Donald Trump is here today and gone tomorrow.

On the shores of Rambling Harbor, there will be a few more idle thoughts on one thing or another and some rock and roll history, but of course, that’s not carved in stone. I hope you’ll join me there.This way to the shores of Rambling Harbor

Copyright © 2016 Daniel (Dan) Sanders. All rights