Category Archives: Poetry

Tunes Tuesday: Ani Difranco

Ani Difranco is simply a poet who sings. Her lyrics are provocative and raw…and always real.

One of my favorite Difranco songs has been covered by other artists, but the words were penned by Difranco.

32 Flavors
Ani Difranco

squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some

and I’m beyond your peripheral vision
so you might want to turn your head
cause someday you’re going to get hungry
and eat most of the words you just said

both my parents taught me about good will
and I have done well by their names
just the kindness I’ve lavished on strangers
is more than I can explain

still there’s many who’ve turned out their porch lights
just so I would think they were not home
and hid in the dark of their windows
til I’d passed and left them alone

and god help you if you are an ugly girl
course too pretty is also your doom
cause everyone harbors a secret hatred
for the prettiest girl in the room

and god help you if you are a phoenix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying back

I’m not trying to give my life meaning
by demeaning you
and I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do

I’m not saying that I’m a saint
I just don’t want to live that way
no, I will never be a saint
but I will always say

squint your eyes and look closer
I’m not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some

And I’m beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cause someday you might find you’re starving
and eating all of the words you said

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVg7mtgEqGY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What do you think? What favorite song of yours has been covered by other bands? Do you usually prefer the original song or the remake?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Music, Poetry

Tunes Tuesday: Billy Joel

image

My entertainer

I drove my mom’s car from Baltimore to Colorado this weekend. To pass the time, I bought some cds at Target. Two of these cds were the Essential Bruce Springsteen and the Essential Billy Joel. My throat still hurts from singing.

I have heard this song a million times, but this time, it’s lyrics jumped out at me. Just brilliant. I love the 3:05 line and the can of beans.

This week, I bring you Billy Joel’s The Entertainer.

The Entertainer
Billy Joel

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.

Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts
But I know the game, 
You will forget my name,
And I won’t be here 
In another year,
If I don’t stay on the charts.

I am the entertainer,
And I’ve had to pay my price,
The things I did not know at first,
I learned by doin’ twice.
Ah, but still they come to haunt me,
Still they want their say.
So I’ve learned to dance 
With a hand in my pants,
And they rub my neck, 
And I write ’em a check,
And they go their merry way.

I am the entertainer,
Been all around the world.
I’ve played all kinds of palaces,
And laid all kinds of girls.
I can’t remember faces,
I don’t remember names.
Ah, but what the hell,
You know it’s just as well.
‘Cause after a while 
And a thousand miles,
It all becomes the same.

I am the entertainer,
I bring to you my songs.
I’d like to spend a day or two.
I can’t stay that long.
No, I’ve got to meet expenses.
I got to stay in line.
Gotta get those fees 
To the agencies.
And I’d love to stay, 
But there’s bills to pay,
So I just don’t have the time.

I am the entertainer,
I come to do my show.
You’ve heard my latest record,
It’s been on the radio.
Ah, it took me years to write it,
They were the best years of my life.
It was a beautiful song.
But it ran too long.
If you’re gonna have a hit,
You gotta make it fit–
So they cut it down to 3:05.

I am the entertainer,
The idol of my age.
I make all kinds of money,
When I go on the stage.
Ah, you’ve seen me in the papers,
I’ve been in the magazines.
But if I go cold, 
I won’t get sold.
I’ll get put in the back 
In the discount rack,
Like another can of beans.

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game, 
You will forget my name,
And I won’t be here 
In another year,
If I don’t stay on the charts

What do you think? Is there a song with lyrics that you didn’t notice until after listening many times?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

20 Comments

Filed under Music, Poetry

Tunes Tuesday: The Unicorn Song

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

For today’s Tunes Tuesday, I have chosen a whimsical song from my youth. I loved this song when I was little, probably for the simple reason that it is a song about a unicorn! What is better than that?

But now that I am grown, I see the depth in these lyrics much more clearly. I hope you will, too.

The Unicorn Song
Peter, Paul and Mary

When I was growing up my best friend was a unicorn
The others smiled at me and called me “crazy”
But I was not upset by knowing I did not conform
I always thought their seeing must be hazy.
The unicorn and I would while away the hours
Playing, dancing and romancing in the wild flowers
And we’d sing

(Chorus)
Seeing is believing in the things you see
Loving is believing in the ones you love.
Seeing is believing in the things you see
Loving is believing in the ones you love.

When I was seventeen my best friend was the Northern Star
The others asked why I was always dreaming
When I did not reply I found my thoughts were very far
Away from daily hurts and fears and scheming.
The Northern Star and I would share our dreams together
Laughing, sighing, sometimes crying, in all kinds of weather
and we’d sing

(Chorus)

And now that I am grown, my best friend lives inside of me
The others smile at me and call me “crazy”
But I am not upset, for long ago I found the key
I’ve always known their seeing must be hazy.
My friend inside and I would while away the hours
Playing, dancing and romancing in the wild flowers
And we’d sing

(Chorus X2)

What do you think? Are there any songs whose lyrics have changed for you with time? What are your favorite songs from your youth? Go ahead, sing it out, loud and proud!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

6 Comments

Filed under Music, Poetry

Tunes Tuesday: Les Miserables

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I had MLK day off yesterday and I finally went to see Les Mis. I will never forget the first time I saw the play years ago in DC. I had no expectations, but was absolutely blown away. It was love at first listen. So, of course I also enjoyed the movie.

There are so many important themes in this musical – the most powerful of all for me has to be Javert’s struggle to see shades of grey between good and evil.

But the theme of grinding poverty is pervasive in the story. While I was tempted to have Master of the House be this week’s Tunes Tuesday song because it always makes me giggle, I thought instead I would highlight one of the more meaningful and thoughtful songs, At the End of the Day.

At the End of the Day

Workers: At the end of the day you’re another day older
And that’s all you can say for the life of the poor
It’s a struggle, it’s a war
And there’s nothing that anyone’s giving
One more day, standing about, what is it for?
One day less to be living.
At the end of the day you’re another day colder
And the shirt on your back doesn’t keep out the chill
And the righteous hurry past
They don’t hear the little ones crying
And the winter is coming on fast, ready to kill
One day nearer to dying!
At the end of the day there’s another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that’ll break any second
There’s a hunger in the land
There’s a reckoning still to be reckoned
And there’s gonna be hell to pay
At the end of the day!

[The foreman and workers, including Fantine, emerge.]
Foreman:At the end of the day you get nothing for nothing
Sitting flat on your bum doesn’t buy any bread
Workers:There are children back at home
And the children have got to be fed
And you’re lucky to be in a job
And in a bed!
And we’re counting our blessings!

What do you think? Have you seen Les Mis? What did you think? What themes resonate most for you? What is your favorite musical?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Art, Economy, equality, Ethics, Income inequality, International, Love, Music, Poetry, Poverty, Relationships

Tunes Tuesday: Let it Be

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Happy New Year! I realize I am a little late with New Year’s greetings, but I just got back from my holiday vacation. Today’s Tunes Tuesday pick may not have the most poetic lyrics, but after having listened to this song hundreds of times, for some reason, I really heard the lyrics for the first time this past week.

Every year, like everyone else, I make New Year’s resolutions. They are rarely of the “I want to lose 10 pounds” variety – not because I couldn’t stand to lose ten pounds, but because I prefer to think more about what would help feed my soul in the upcoming year.

Past resolutions have included going to see more live music, spending more time with friends and family and spending more time on my own doing things that increase my contentment and joy.

As I look at this list of resolutions, I realize that they all speak to my desire to live more fully and appreciate people and things that are most important to me. This year’s resolution is no different.

I am a worrier – always have been, may always be. I come from a long line of accomplished worriers, especially on my Dad’s side of the family. If there were awards for worrying, we would have a cabinet full of trophies. But the truth is, worrying does not help anything. I know this to be the case, but nonetheless, I worry.

So, this year’s New Years resolution comes to me from the Beatles. There will be an answer – let it be. For this Tunes Tuesday, I present the Beatles’ Let It Be.

Let It Be
The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

What do you think? Do you make new years resolutions? What are your resolutions for 2013? Are there any songs whose lyrics speak to how you would like to live?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading and happy new year!!

26 Comments

Filed under Music, Poetry, Uncategorized

Tunes Tuesday: Same Auld Lang Syne

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy New Year from Buenos Aires! (Note: newsofthetimes.org will be taking a break for two weeks while I am off backpacking in Patagonia and taking LOTS of pictures!!!)

This song is the song that inspired my holiday Tunes Tuesdays – it has been a favorite tune for a long time. Can’t you just feel the awkwardness and the snow turn into rain?

Same Auld Lang Syne

Dan Fogelberg

Met my old lover in the
grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the
frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the
face at first
But then her eyes flew
open wide
She went to hug me and she
spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.
We took her groceries to the
checkout stand
The food was totalled up and
bagged
We stood there lost in our
embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.
We went to have ourselves
a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at
the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
She said she’d married her
an architect
Who kept her warm and safe
and dry
She would have liked to say she
loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie.
I said the years had been a
friend to her
And that her eyes were still
as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t
sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.
She said she saw me in the
record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was
heavenly
But the traveling was hell.
We drank a toast to
innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond
the emptiness
But neither one knew how.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another ‘auld lang syne’…
The beer was empty and our
tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was
back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make
my way back home
The snow turned into rain —

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sYu12PdqVI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

What do you think? What is your favorite wistful song about old times? How do you celebrate the new year?

30 Comments

Filed under Music, Poetry, Relationships, Uncategorized

New York Times annual list of 100 notable books

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The New York Times came out with their annual list of the100 most notable books of the year.

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What did you think of it? Do you refer to this list when looking for a good book? What makes a book notable to you?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

17 Comments

Filed under Art, Books, Culture, Poetry

Election Day Tunes Tuesday: James McMurtry

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s finally Election Day!! I know that many of us are ready for the political ads and phone calls to stop – I am too. But today is election day and every vote matters.

It looks like it might be difficult to vote this year in some areas, which I think is outrageous. But I hope people do what they need to do to vote and that we have a clean and clear outcome at the end of the day.

Elections matter. And there is a lot at stake.

We Can’t Make it Here
James McMurtry

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free

No one’s paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget’s stretched so thin
And there’s more comin’ home from the Mideast war
We can’t make it here anymore

That big ol’ building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can’t make it here anymore

See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They’re just gonna set there till they rot
‘Cause there’s nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There’s a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don’t come down here ‘less you’re looking to score
We can’t make it here anymore

The bar’s still open but man it’s slow
The tip jar’s light and the register’s low
The bartender don’t have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won’t pay for a roof, won’t pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can’t make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what’ll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it’s way too late to just say no
You can’t make it here anymore

Now I’m stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
‘Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can’t make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I’m in
Should I hate ’em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They’ve never known want, they’ll never know need
Their sh@# don’t stink and their kids won’t bleed
Their kids won’t bleed in the da$% little war
And we can’t make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let ’em eat jellybeans let ’em eat cake
Let ’em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can’t make it here anymore

And that’s how it is
That’s what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you’re listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why

In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That’s done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There’s rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can’t make it here anymore

What do you think? Have you voted? Did you have any problems voting? What do you think about the early voting challenges this year?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

23 Comments

Filed under Culture, Economy, equality, Ethics, Income inequality, Music, Peace, Poetry, Policy, Politcs, Poverty, Privatization, Role of Government, War

Tuesday Tunes: Everlast

Copyright JC Politi Photography
Sign and blanket found under a bridge in Boulder, Colorado, one of the wealthiest cities in the United States

Tuesday Tunes between now and election day will be focused on political and social issues that are relevant in the Presidential Campaign. This week, I bring you Everlast’s What It’s Like.

What It’s Like
Everlast

We’ve all seen a man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dread-locked, and full of mange
He asks the man for what he could spare, with shame in his eyes
“Get a job you f****** slob,” is all he replied
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues

Then you really might know what it’s like (what it’s like) 3x
Then you really might know what it’s like

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said, “Don’t worry about a thing, baby doll
I’m the man you’ve been dreaming of.”
But 3 months later he say he won’t date her or return her calls
And she swears, “God ****, If find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls.”
then she heads for the clinic and
she gets some static walking through the door
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner
and they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
’cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose

Then you REALLY might know what its like (what it’s like) 3x
then you really might know what its like

I’ve seen a rich man beg
I’ve seen a good man sin
I’ve seen a tough man cry
I’ve seen a loser win
And a sad man grin
I’ve heard an honest man lie
I’ve seen the good side of bad
And the downside of up
And everything between
I’ve licked the silver spoon
Drank from the golden cup
And smoked the finest green
I’ve stroked the daddies dimes at least a couple of times
before I broke they heart
You know where it ends, yo, it usually depends on where you start

this kid named Max
He used to get fat stacks out on the corner with drugs
He liked to hang out late
get s***-faced and keep the pace with thugs
Until late one night there was a big gun fight and Max lost his head
He pulled out his chrome.45, talked some s***, and wound up dead
Now his wife and his kids are caught in the midst of all of this pain
You know it crumbles that way
at least that’s what they say when you play the game
God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to lose

Then you really might know what it’s like…
Then you really might know what it’s like…
Then you really might know what it’s like…to have to lose.

What do you think? Why do we find it so easy to judge other people and their personal choices? Do you prefer your elected officials to be people who can relate to you or does that not matter to you? Why do we see so many things in black and white instead of recognizing shades of grey?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

39 Comments

Filed under Culture, Economy, equality, Ethics, Income inequality, Love, Music, Photography, Photos, Poetry, Policy, Politcs, Poverty, Role of Government, Stereotypes

Tunes Tuesday: You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one

Copyright JC Politi Photography

My Tunes Tuesday pick for today was simple. John Lennon’s “Imagine”, is meant to honor the Olympics where, every two years, nations from around the world come together to put on a glorious display of athleticism.

The Olympics are a beacon of hope. It gives me great hope that countries can set aside political differences and take time to celebrate top athletic talent, sending their most dedicated and passionate young athletes to compete as equals on the athletic field.

I am waxing poetic about the Olympics and I know that not everyone shares my view.

But it seems to me that when people around the world can finally see each other as people, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any of the other many things that define us, we will be able to come together to solve some of the world’s most complex problems.

We are not our nation’s politics. The Olympics is a great example of this simple fact.

What do you think? Do you think the Olympics have any lessons to teach us outside of the three weeks in which the athletes compete? What lessons do you see? Or do you think the Olympics are much ado about nothing?

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!

Imagine
By John Lennon

Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try
No people below us, above it’s only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do
No need to kill or die for and no religions too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing for the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
Take my hand and join us
And the world will live, will live as one

If you liked this you might also like:

Tunes Tuesday: I Want to Write Like Bob Dylan

Tunes Tuesday: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Tunes Tuesday: The Boss and The River

 

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Filed under Culture, International, Love, Music, Peace, Photography, Photos, Poetry, Politcs, Role of Government, travel, violence, War

Tuesday Tunes: I Want to Write Like Bob Dylan

I realize today is Wednesday, but I thought of this idea on Tuesday and am going to start a new series called Tuesday Tunes.

This theme was inspired by Mimi at Waiting for the Karma Truck, who is one of my favorite blogger friends. Over the past week, Mimi’s blog has helped me reconnect to music, which has held a special place in my heart over the years. Mimi, thank you for the inspiration!

I lived in Austin, Texas for four years in my mid-twenties. I fell in love with singer-songwriters and spent many evenings in my late twenties listening to live music, frequently by myself. Music is better than chocolate for me.

I have lost much of my connection to music and do not get to see as much as I would like these days.

I have decided that my 40s are going to be about reconnecting with my more creative side and I hope to make reconnecting to music a big part of this decade. This is what has led to this Tuesday Tunes series.

Some songwriters have a gift for making stories come alive on the page or in a song. Those are the songs I hope to share here, maybe on a weekly basis, maybe just when the feeling hits me.

For me, few songwriters can tell a story like Bob Dylan. I heard this song on the radio yesterday and it inspired this series. My very favorite lines:

And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you

What do you think?
What are some of your favorite songlines or lyrics? I may end up featuring your favorite song in a future post if you let me know which songs you love.

Murano, Italy
Copyright JC Politi Photography

Tangled Up In Blue
Bob Dylan

Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wond’ring if she’d changed it all
If her hair was still red

Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough

And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the East Coast
Lord knows I’ve paid some dues getting through
Tangled up in blue.

She was married when we first meet
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force

We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split it up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best

She turned around to look at me
As I was walking away
I heard her say over my shoulder
“We’ll meet again someday on the avenue”
Tangled up in blue.

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the ax just fell

So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where I happened to be employed
Working for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix

But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind and I just grew
Tangled up in blue.

She was working in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at her side of her face
In the spotlight so clear

And later on as the crowd thinned out
I’s just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me “Don’t I know your name ?”

I muttered something underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
Tangled up in blue.

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
“I thought you’d never say hello” she said
“You look like the silent type”

Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century

And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue

I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air

Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside

And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue.

So now I’m going back again
I got to get her somehow
All the people we used to know
They’re an illusion to me now

Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter’s wives
Don’t know how it all got started
I don’t what they’re doing with their lives

But me I’m still on the road
Heading for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
Tangled up in Blue.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.

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Filed under Culture, Music, Photography, Photos, Poetry, travel

Pies Across America: Happy Fourth of July!

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Today is the day; the day is finally here,
Time for grilled brats, and burgers and beer.
Running through sprinklers could be fun,
Especially when the thermometer reads one hundred and one!

A day to celebrate the independence of our nation,
But for most, just a much-needed vacation.
The middle of the summer when days are long,
The Star Spangled Banner sings an old familiar song.

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Laughing with friends, going for a swim,
Eating and drinking too much, the next day’s for the gym.
Swinging in a hammock, reading a good book,
Maybe going for a hike and sitting by a brook.

That’s the beauty of a day of rest, especially the 4th of July.
But really one of the best parts has to be the PIE!

Now that you are hungry, here is a great article about pies across America: American pie: slicing across the country

Happy 4th of July!

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Filed under comedy, Photos, Poetry

Weekly Travel Theme: Parks

Where’s My Backpack has offered another irresistible photo challenge. This week’s theme is Parks. As an outdoorsy type who lives in Colorado, I have a soft spot in the center of my heart reserved for parks, most specifically for national parks.

Nature’s

Amazing

Triumph

Inspiring

Observant

Notions

About

Life

 

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Peaceful

Awakening

Rejuvenated

Kingly

Spaces

Copyright JC Politi Photography

Copyright JC Politi Photography

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Filed under Culture, Peace, Photos, Poetry, Role of Government, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge

The Illuminating Blogger Award and Some Illuminating Quotes from the Alchemist

Earlier this week, In Blue kindly nominated me for the Illuminating Blogger Award. I love the Illuminating Blogger image, with a single candle flame burning brightly. Personally, when I stare at a candle for long enough, I find that I am usually illuminated in some way.

Thank you so much to In Blue for the nomination. If you have not checked out her blog yet, please do so. It is a true feast for the eyes and the soul.

The rules for this award are simple. I just need to tell one random thing about myself. One random thing that seems somewhat related to the Illuminating Blogger Award is that Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, is the first and only book I have ever read in one sitting. Many years ago, I read the first few pages of the book and realized I had found a jewel. I turned off my phone, sat on the floor and read straight through, start to finish.

Copyright JC Politi Photography

I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from this special book (which sits dog-eared and full of underlines on my bookshelf):

Everyone seems to have a clear idea about how other people should live their lives, but none about his or her own.

At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate – that ‘s the world’s greatest lie.

[A Personal Legend is] what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.

When a person really wants something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.

When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.

The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon.

We have to take advantage when luck is on our side, and do as much to help it as it’s doing to help us. It’s called the principle of favorability. Or beginner’s luck.

Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he never dreamed of when he first made the decision.

He had loved her before he even knew she existed.

Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way…That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst, just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.

What do you think? What is your Personal Legend? What books have you read in one sitting? What books do you return to again and again to read what you have underlined or dog-eared?

I would also like to pass this award along to some illuminating blogs. I have recently found most of these and have truly enjoyed their work. I hope you will take a moment to visit each of them:

Blogging on the Bright Side

Writing Your Destiny

Real Women’s Health

Make the World Better

The Quiet One in the Corner

Beyond PR

Truth Warrior

Postcard Intellect

Thank you again to In Blue for the nomination. I am truly honored. And thank you all for reading.

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Filed under Awards, Books, Culture, International, Peace, Photos, Poetry, travel

Romance in Paris: Why Do French Bookstores Continue to Thrive?

 

Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An article in the New York Times called “The French Still Flock to Bookstores” explores why, at a time when independent bookstores struggle in other parts of the world, they still flourish in France.

Reading the article transported me to a café in Paris where, by the way, I have never been. I could hear accordion music playing softly in the background as I read. And the topic of the article, the French romance with books, fit the theme.

I can’t help but feel a certain nostalgia and romance for what appears to be a dying breed, the written word on the page. I’ll admit that I have succumbed to the lure of the e-book for its convenience, especially when travelling; the ability to carry an entire library, which is lighter than a magazine, certainly has its appeal, but there is nothing like a book.

Just the smell of books, be they in the library or in a used book store or even brand new – there is something both hopeful and weighty about that smell. What will this book tell me? Will I be transported to another land? Or learn something new about places I inhabit every day? Books provide us with a cheap form of escape from daily life.

This article is about a love affair with books, and really, where better to have a love affair than Paris?  But it also explains the practical reasons that bookstores still thrive in France.

The French government has taken a special interest in preserving bookstores, providing grants to bookstore owners and subsidies for shopkeepers.

Most importantly, perhaps, they passed a law to prohibit electronic books from being sold dramatically below the publisher’s list price. This has likely done more to prop up bookstores than anything.

Photos Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My heart and my mind appear to be at war on this particular subject. In my heart, I am delighted to read that there is at least one place in the world where I can still wander from bookstore to bookstore in search of hidden treasures and ideas yet to be shared. I would buy a ticket to Paris today to do just that.

On a pragmatic level, however, I understand that e-books help reduce the environmental impact of books, as long as people don’t constantly upgrade their e-readers and create more electronic waste. If someone can tell me that physical books are more green than e-books, I would gladly change my perspective on this.

One green alternative is the model described in the article where once a month, on weekends, in Rue de Martyrs south of Montmartre, people bring old books and are welcome to take away books for free as long as they do not sell them.

Baltimore has a thriving organization called The Book Thing that allows people to do this every weekend. It was in the basement of an old Baltimore row house, but outgrew that space and had to find a bigger location. Who knew Baltimore was so chic?!

What do you think? How do you feel about the French government’s active role in preserving bookstores? What do you see as the future of books? If you are considering writing a book, or already have, did you print hard copies or just an e-book? Do you think that old bookstores will survive, but that they will become like vintage record stores or do you think there will always be a market for books? What will this mean for libraries?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading.

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Filed under Books, Culture, Economy, Education, International, Poetry, Policy, Politcs, Role of Government, Technology, travel