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WEiRd WeDneSDaY, April 23, 2014

April 23rd, 2014 No comments

Why oh why are Wednesdays so weird? Here are a couple reasons… headlines for today’s stories. City discards millions of gallons of water because somebody peed in the reservoir. Online dating service fiasco… date steals flat screen TV and dog. Gun tattoo gets SWAT team treatment. Man checks in with cops to see if he is wanted for anything. He is. And then there is the guy taking his 7 year old to school and along the way gets in a fight with a pedestrian and hits two different women with his car. It’s weird, folks. It’s true. It’s Wednesday at www.bolognabrain.com. What else were you expecting?

John Paul Stevens has some good ideas

April 22nd, 2014 No comments

Most Supreme Court Justices are pretty quiet while they are on the bench.  It is usually after they retire that you get inside their head.  Retired Justice John Paul Stevens has just released his second book as he turns 94.  In the book, Stevens recommends 6 changes to the Constitution.  Pretty bold for someone who made a career upholding the one in its current form.

Among the 6 recommended changes, Stevens discusses changing gun laws and election financing.  This is certainly bold and new ground as we see a court that seems to be out of touch in the era of 5-4 decisions.

While the controversy can’t be ignored, it is a positive step to see great minds chiming in.  Perhaps it takes someone who has retired to take on such weighty issues.  I know the gun lobby will not be happy with the recommendations but it is time to have a serious talk about gun rights.

Election financing is essential to where our country is headed and the health of our republic.  After the last two big election financing decisions from the court, I am scared to think where we are headed and frankly the only way out is with a amendment.

It is a shame that only after someone’s career is over, that they will deal with such important and controversial issues.

Much ado about nothing

April 21st, 2014 No comments

By now I am guessing you heard the story about the Pennsylvania high school senior who, while Miss America was visiting his school, asked her to go with him to the prom. The school had warned him they thought it was inappropriate so they suspended him for 3 days.

The school defended its position saying “It is not our practice to discipline a student for asking someone – even Miss America – to a school dance, however, it is our practice to set expectations for student behavior, to communicate those expectations and rules to students and families and to ensure those rules are followed within our schools.”

It seems a little harsh to me. I was 18 once… forty-five years ago, and I remember saying and doing stupid things. Hell, I did something stupid yesterday. There are moments I think stupidity has defined my life. But that’s another story.

Miss America, Nina Davulari, contacted Central York High School and asked them to reconsider the punishment. Asking celebrities to prom has become fashionable in the last few years and some notable personalities have accepted. That list would include Demi Lovato, Brook Shields, Rihanna, Brandy and Justin Bieber. I’m no fan of Biebs, but he deserves props for this one. He couldn’t make the prom, but later invited the young lady who invited him, and her sister, to accompany him to the Billboard Awards. Methinks that might have been cooler than the high school prom.

My advice to the school, “Lighten up.” Here in Broward last week an honor student stabbed another kid. There are worse things going on than asking one of the most beautiful women in the world to accompany you to prom. Focus on what is important. Help fix the problems in our schools and our society, not by punishing a pretty good kid, but by identifying and eradicating the real, underlying issues, which, by the way, do not include ignoring some dean of boys instruction to not proffer and invitation to prom to the reigning Miss America.

My biggest problem with this kid is his name is Patrick Farves. How does he pronounce that? There is a former NFL quarterback with the name Favre who pronounces it “FARV.” I have never understood how you could put the “R” before the “V.” I could accept Fav-reh. I would be ok with a pronunciation similar to “favor.” But, sorry, FARV just doesn’t work for me with a spelling of FAVRE.

So anyway, good luck. I hope your grades don’t suffer due to your 3 day, in-school, suspension. I hope it doesn’t affect your chances at a scholarship. Maybe it will enhance your profile with some universities. Ya got hutzpah kid. Stand out from the crowd, and if you’re being run out of town, get in front and make it look like a parade.

Good Friday Feel Good Friday April 18, 2014

April 18th, 2014 No comments

I may not me the most spiritual guy in the world, but I do seem to find great joy in life’s small gifts.

In my new life I am slowly building new habits while continuing to embrace many of the old ones. I still start my day with the newspaper. My delivery person hangs it on my door knob. I find that every morning now I open the door, get my paper, step out on to the catwalk and welcome the day, spending a few minutes following the leisurely drift of clouds and watching the sky getting brighter by the moment. If the temperature is cool I go back inside, turn off the AC and open the windows.
I have enjoyed fresh air in my new home more than anywhere I’ve lived for quite a few years. It seems like the air conditioning seldom was turned off and I am re-discovering how much I like the fresh air. I get plenty of that on the tennis court, but allowing the ocean breeze to course through my new home adds a fresh dimension to my life; one I am finding I very welcome.

In a way, I suppose, it’s a variation of the old “Stop and smell the roses.” adage. We live such busy lives it seems there is little time to appreciate the little things in life. Often, they may be the most precious moments we can experience.

I am wondering what other small wonders I will come across. Fresh air and flowers are capable of adding pleasant diversions. But then again so does red licorice.

It’s Good Friday. Sunday is Easter. I hope your weekend is filled with fresh air, spring flowers, joy and a renewed since of importance and relevance. Feel good. I do.

Don’t worry – Be happy

April 17th, 2014 1 comment

If you are a news junkie, you may be tempted to think the world has gone mad.  If you turn on the television you get non-stop coverage of the Kansas shootings, dead babies in Utah, and the trial of the Blade-runner among other current tragedies.  But before you pine for the good old days, think back for just a moment.  Growing up, we had Charlie Manson and the Olympic tragedy.  We had riots and protests and, through it all, I felt pretty safe in my little corner of the world.

Violent crime is no higher today, in most places, than the good old days.  However, today the media covers these events continuously.  I have even noticed commercials for the local weather are filled with scenes from weather emergencies.  Other commercials are filled with medical emergencies so you will ask your doctor to put you on this or that prescription.

Before we all rush inside and bar the doors and windows, don’t panic.  I agree we certainly could have a better society but we don’t live in a scene from a Mad Max movie.  Maybe it is time to take a collective breath, work on the things we can change and not fear the world around us.

WEiRd WeDneSDaY, April 16, 2014

April 16th, 2014 No comments

Bolongabrain.com welcomes aficionados if strange/stupid news stories to Weird Wednesday. Today we offer tales of cops dressing as Amish women, giant gummy bear sex toys, bullies and septuagenarian flautists playing in elementary school bands. If that’s not enough, catch the stories of waste treatment plant weddings, bullies and Russia’s plans to annex the moon. We’ve said it before and it is still true… you can’t make this stuff up. Enjoy…

Scrabble

April 15th, 2014 No comments

I don’t play a lot of online games. Seeing how addicted my friends and family became, I never got in to Candy Crush. There was the one about Farms a couple years ago. Obviously, if I don’t recall the name, I never played. There seems to be a new “Diversion of the Week, every week. Sorry, I’m out.

I do have my games though. I play backgammon at FIBS, have a serious addiction to the Solitaire spinoff, Freecell, (not sure if that one qualifies as an online game) and I play Scrabble. I know there are friends who have the Scrabble habit worse than me, but I usually have about four games going on all the time.

When I first started playing Scrabble online, I was an impatient player, feeling like I was sitting across the board from my opponent, saying “OK… your turn. Play already.” Since then my patience factor has kicked in and I am now used to sometimes going a couple days at a time without playing a word on this game or that. Of course, there are other opponents who play quickly, like me. I guess they have no life either and have nothing better to do than sit at the computer and when the Icon lights up, drop everything and start re-arranging letters.

The great thing about Scrabble is sometimes it’s not about the word, but where you place it. I have learned defense is often more important than points. Get a couple extra points while setting your opponent up for a triple word score can be devastating over the course of a game. I often settle for fewer points in lieu of giving up strategic position. For many years I never understood that tactic. Now I do.

One of my saving graces is my vocabulary. As a lifelong, avid reader and writer, I do possess an extensive vocabulary and it often pays off in the game.

One walks a fine line choosing points or position, but it’s all part of the game. That ideal works in other parts of our lives, too. Think about it. It’s almost like immediate gratification as opposed to decisions whose benefits may not be revealed until later. Things that make you go hmmmmmm.

Chances are, I will never get in to one of those games where you can purchase extra lives or energy pills. That kind of addiction could have a devastating effect on my bank account. I do have an addictive personality, and I understand that.

As difficult as I sometimes find it, restraint is necessary and important.

Restraint. That may need to be the subject of my next post.

Open mic nights

April 13th, 2014 No comments

After nearly 50 years as a professional musician, 40 of those in Fort Lauderdale, last night I hosted my first Open Mic night. All things considered, I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

The number of players who attended was a little disappointing, but the quality level was high. First we had a young lady from England who played contemporary covers on ukulele and sang great. Her name was Morgan, which I also liked very much. It reminded me of that pirate move with Geena Davis.

I played a bit more and one of the regulars for the Thursday showcase showed up. Sam P. He plays the hell out of a beautiful Martin guitar and after several covers and originals; he closed with an acoustic version of Hendrix’s The Wind Cries Mary. It was a show stopper. It helped that a number of his friends came in to support him. All in all, it was a fun night.

Mrs Murphy’s Pub (and Italian Restaurant) is a great acoustic music room. The low ceiling and a design that keeps sound from bouncing around like a ball bearing in a boxcar, make for a friendly, intimate room for musicians. Over the last 40 years I have played there numerous times as ownership changed, and it has always been a particular fave. A lot of my friends enjoy it as much as I do, and it was refreshing to see so many of them turn out to support the event.

So, first time out of the chute for this Open Mic experience, I have to feel positive and I look forward to more of these nights and showcasing talent that deserves to be heard.

It’s Friday, I’m tired but satisfied about the results of last night, so that makes me a pretty happy boy. And that’s what Feel Good Friday is all about.

50 years later, it’s still A Small World

April 10th, 2014 No comments

Disney is celebrating the 50th anniversary of It’s a Small World this week, and today they are organizing a worldwide sing-a-long of the song.

I remember going to Disney world as a child, and I remember going to Disney World with my kids. I actually remember going to Disney world once with a bunch of my adult friends and it may have been the best visit of them all. If I could only remember what we did. The truth is, taking my daughters, Jessica and Emily was the best, even though Jessie was scared of the characters in those big costumes. Chip & Dale were really freaking her out.

My thought today, though, is if it’s such a small world why can’t we all get along better? The Disney ideal of peace, joy, happiness, love and laughter just doesn’t seem to play out on a global scale.

Stabbings in schools, wars, invasions, Ebola outbreaks, so many guns and so many angry people make me remember Rodney King, the man who was beaten by LA cops years ago, who later asked “Why can’t we all just get along?” I’ve quoted him before, but it is a question that bears repeating until we all make the effort to do exactly that. Get along.

We don’t all need to be friends. But a smile goes a lot further than a raised middle finger, and flowers instead of bullets reminds me of my hippie days back in the 60’s when our cry was “Make love, not war.”

Yes, it is a smaller world; you can be anywhere on this planet faster than anyone would have believed 50 years ago. But when it comes to acts of humanity, respect and concern for others, we still have a long way to go.

WEiRd WeDneSDaY, April 9, 2014

April 9th, 2014 No comments

If you enjoy stories of the insanity surrounding us every day… we’ve got news for you. Our cornucopia of comedy today includes stories of jilted lovers putting rats in the new girlfriends house, a lady complaining to the cops because her dealer sold her bad “weed” and a Mississippi school district with weird sex education classes. If you’re hungry for more, get the story of the DUI arrest where the perp was wearing a t-shirt proclaiming he was “Drunk as sh*t” or the story of the movie theater that canceled a screening of Noah… due to flooding. It’s all here, friends, on Bolognabrain’ Weird Wednesday.

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