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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Closings and Endings

R.a.n.t. of week 05/18/14
Life is about continual change, so life is always changing. Much like a kaleidoscope. A poet once wrote;

Colours shifting, changing.
For a moment here.
In a moment gone.'

There are two aspects of change. One is when something new begins, but the other is when something ends. Sometimes the change (or end) is drastic, like the loss of a loved one. But usually, the change is something small or mundane (to most people). If you are like me, even the ending of a TV show or departure of a favourite character can be sad. I'll admit, I used to watch ER quite regularly, and when Dr. Green left the series I had something in my eye which caused it to tear. Seriously, THAT'S what it was. Just something in my eye. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Of course at the time I had no idea his 'wife' was going to become River Song or I wouldn't have minded his departure, just so she could move on.

Other times, a location you love comes to a close. Years ago, there was a 24 hour coffee shop on Milwaukee's North/East side. My friends and I went there quite often. A few of my friends would frequent the place and play chess till the wee hours of the night. We all loved that place, but it eventually went out of business. So I had to find a new place for coffee. I tried a few till I found one on Highland called, Highland Park Pies & Cafe. It was owned by an older lady but she informed me she had just sold the place to a lovely young coffee barista. So 'Birdies' (as it was renamed) then became my new place. I'd go quite often before work and do a little writing, or just chill out listening to the smooth jazz they played. In the Winter, they had a fireplace and Sarah (the owner) would ask if I'd like to have it lit. Always I'd agree. Usually I'd be there by myself but a few times I convinced someone to stop by. My sister, my dad, my friend Ray or my friend Mike would show up from time to time. I'd also see Terry, a family friend, there quite frequently. Then things began to change. The place didn't play jazzy music any more and I started to bring my own music. Gradually, I was there less and less. When Sarah remarried, she too was there less and less. Just a few short months ago, another friend of mine, Sandi, visited the place and told me how much she despised it because the service was slow. Stopping in with another friend they simply ordered coffee and sandwiches and waited a half hour. They were very upset and that was disappointing for me to hear. The place that had once been one of my favourite places to visit now had people complaining about it. The speculation is perhaps the family that owned it was just getting tired of running it. That may be true, because shortly after the place was closed. I've had to add Birdie's to that list of places I now miss.

 In other words: Sorry for the inconvenience, but Birdie's is closed. PERMANENTLY!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

R.a.n.t. of week 05/11/14
I could sit at home and watch a baseball game on TV. Sit in the comfort of my own recliner with perhaps Taco Bell nachos, a bag of peanuts purchased from the local store and an ice cold Guinness, what could be finer? But what about seeing the game live? That would be finer. Being in the crowd when a home-run is hit! That would be finer. The fresh air, the excitement, going with a group of friends, a chance to sing 'Roll Out the Barrel', these are all great reasons to go to a game. So why don't I go more often? Typically I go to one or two games a year and that's about it. The biggest reason is I simply can't afford it.

Prices - At the Game:
Ticket - $ 25.00
Parking - $ 10.00
2 Mediocre Beers - $ 16.00
2 Hot Dogs - $ 9.00
Nachos - $ 5.50
Total - $ 65.50

That's a pricey trip to the ball field! Sure, the price may fluctuate depending on whatever professional park you go to, and assuming during the course of three hours you consume the food listed. But remember, these prices are for one person alone. Add children, add more money. Even if you cut back by what you take into the park, kids may hound you for mementos of the day. Key chains, mascot figurines, T-shirts, jerseys, whatever. So yes, the price may change drastically. But the point is......
Adjusted price - $ 50.00 to $150.00

Prices - At home:
Ticket - Free
Parking - Free
2 Quality Beers - $ 4.50 (average price)
2 Hot Dogs - $ 2.00
Nachos - $ 3.50 (from Taco Bell)
Total - $ 10.00

And if you are like me, you are not watching the game alone. I tend to invite my friends over when I want to watch a game. If you have friends like my friends, one may bring over a couple six packs for everyone to share, another may bring a large bag of peanuts and just about everyone chips in for beer. Sometimes I end up with more beer in my fridge than what I began with, and left over pizza or chips. I almost make money hosting my own ball game.
Adjusted price - $ Free to free with more beer in my fridge.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Throwing In The Towel

R.a.n.t. for week of 05/04/14
There are many times I believe what I'm doing, may be pointless. If something is pointless, why continue with it? The problem is, many people feel the same way, and not only because they feel it's pointless. What I mean is, some people give up quickly on something others may fight for. Me? I'm not a person that gives up easily. I'm stubborn and I believe in the adage, 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. I've discussed before how I'm learning a new language. It's a daunting task, and at times I feel like giving up. But so far, I have not. Nor do I believe I shall in the foreseeable future. Then there is my writing. In some ways, maybe I've given up a little. When I was younger, I had the dream of becoming a published author or a magazine columnist. I've never really pursued that, so it seems I may have given up on that aspect of my writing. I've just come to think, for the most part, my writing won't be appreciated by the masses. Even when it comes to something as simple as a poem or a r.a.n.t., I can't even get most of my friends to stop and take a look. If something isn't handed out on a silver platter, (some random, anonymous, inspiration saying) it's not worth looking into. But I do have a few loyal people who read, and for that I'm grateful. But I'm not ranting about readership today. You see, that has never affected my writing. A crazy person, is a person who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Well, I'm not expecting to suddenly be a well known writer. I write because I 'AM' a writer, whether people like it or not. So I'm not expecting a different result. I write for fun, and my own enjoyment. And if I motivate, encourage or entertain others along the way, fantastic.

So what am I writing about? Back to the people described above, it's always annoyed me some people give up way to easily. Try one thing, doesn't turn out the way expected, and suddenly the project, interest or task is placed on the back-burner. Suppose you prized a valuable gem (be that a hobby, a friend, even a belief). But others didn't like it or thought it was worthless. You still KNOW the value of what you have, but because others are telling you it's worthless, you decide to give it up. No, they have not convinced you it's garbage, but you give it up because it's easier to do so. That's what I find annoying. Sometimes, you have to do something for you and you alone. It may be convenient or easy to give in to peer pressure or to stop doing what you enjoy, but some times you have to fight for what you want. You can't give in just because someone tells you to. You really have to look at what you have and decide for yourself. Is what you have truly valuable? Is it really precious and worthwhile? If so, why give up on it then? Because when you give up and give in just for the sake of other people, you are selling yourself short. How sad and pointless is that?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Holding Hands

When I was just a little boy,
my father held my hand.
That always made me feel so grand.

He worked so hard for many years,
I was provided for.
Something I was oft to ignore.

As years went on and I grew up,
I thought I knew it all.
Must've been like talking to a wall.

He always told me what to do,
tried to correct my way
I tried hard not to disobey.

Later, I moved out on my own,
continued with my life.
I had a job and then a wife.

Now I had children of my own.
When they weren't acting nice,
I often asked dad for his advice.

When I had an other problem,
I knew just who to see.
Whatever he told me, I would agree.

And then we were just hanging out,
to watch a Packer game.
Good friends is what we became.

My family then received the news,
my dad was getting sick.
His health declined then, very quick.

No longer did he have his strength,
I wished he'd be all right.
But slowly he did lose his fight.

I cried the day he passed away,
I'm sure you'll understand.
But I was there to hold his hand.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Walk On By

Standing here with such good news,
Why would anyone dare refuse?
Just because we try to preach,
you scoff and resent what we teach.
I see you as you walk on by,
looking down or into the sky.
You ignore us as you walk away,
averting eyes from the display.
Some may wish that we were dead,
but other Witnesses would be here instead.
We try to show a better life,
be a better child, husband or wife.
Yes, all of us are badly flawed,
So read the council from Jehovah God.
You would learn if you took a look,
what's really taught in each bible book.
If with this worlds pain you disagree,
then go on, take one. Yes, they're free.
You can learn to, on God rely.
Or will you simply, walk on by?


Monday, April 28, 2014

Pride of Madeira

I think when next I take a trip.
Outside my land.
I'd like to see an island strip.

Madeira is so lovely.
Travel and see,
an amazing shrub of beauty

With purple flowers in a cone;
I find this grand.
Yet some feel it is over-grown.

Australia thinks it's just a weed.
Perish the thought.
A viewpoint I shall not concede.

It's loved by every bird and bee,
butterflies too.
Adored and loved, of course, by me.


Thank you Rachel for the use of your photo.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


R.a.n.t. of week 04/27/14
Before I begin my r.a.n.t. for the week, let me check the date.

Yep, just as I remembered. The year is 2014, not 1984. I just wonder if all of my friends are aware of this. I've always followed along with technology. To be honest, I'd be lost without it. Does that make me a techno-nerd? Or just trying to remain connected? With all the sophisticated technology available, I'm surprised certain people don't wish to take advantage of it. Recently, one of my friends was irritated (and rightly so) when he was not informed about an event taking place to which many others were aware of.

Was the event posted to twitter, Instagram, Facebook or G+? No, it was not. Well, I may have actually said something about it on Facebook, but the "official" invite wasn't posted there. For the record, I do try to understand when a person doesn't want to get involved in various social media sites such as Facebook. Their worries may be well-founded, information posted there may one day be used against them, especially if they are ever hacked. But, in most cases, you only get 'out' of something, what you put 'in'. If you are not sharing personal photos, phone numbers and addresses, what's the harm? The benefit I see is keeping in contact with as many of your friends as possible. But I digress.

Back to my friend, we were talking about him not being informed of an event. As for the 'official' plans, they were 'group texted' to everyone. However, my friend doesn't even do text messages. As odd as that is, I have another friend who doesn't even use email. If the person isn't personally called or talked to face to face, they will have no idea what is going on. Granted, I can see the appeal of receiving a person phone call, or a visit from a friend when they have news To be honest, I love when friends stop over or call, it just doesn't happen often. But the downside of a personal phone call or visit is it takes time. If I have a party I'm planning and I know everyone receives texts, are on Facebook or has an email account, I'm more prone to going that route than going the following way:

dial 555-1516 - Hi this is John, leave a message.
2 minutes later
dial 555-4815 - "Jack, I'm calling to.... what? Yea, I heard about your trip......
35 minutes later
dial 867-5309 - "Jenny, I'm having a party. We're going to have a good time, so I thought I'd give you a call. The date is....
6 minutes later
dial 555-4223 - "May I speak with Charlie please?........ Hey, how you doing? I'm calling to invite......
21 minutes later......

So an hour has elapsed and I've reached only three of my friends and left a phone message with one. Should I call that one person back later to make sure they got the message? Yea, probably. I supposed if I want to get fancy about it and still take a lot of time, I can write out party invitations and request r.s.v.p's so they will be responsible for letting me know. Or, maybe I could do this.

Text (John) 555-1516, (Jack) 555-4815, (Jenny) 867-5309, (Charlie) 555-4223, (Kate) 555-1542, (Ben) 555-1648, (Michael) 555-8423 "Hey all, having a party on the 23rd, you're all invited. Let me know if you can make it.
5 minutes later

No, I'm not saying everyone MUST or SHOULD get involved in social media. Neither am I saying everyone NEEDS to have text messages equipped. I understand why people might not want to do that. All I'm saying is, it's so much faster and fun. So, even though I won't hold this against someone, I may still r.a.n.t. about it a little bit.