Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is George Harrison’s beautiful “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:

Cirque du soleil’s interpretation.

And here’s Carlos Santana’s lovely rendition:

When someone asks me “Who is your favorite Beatle”, I tell them the Beatles are my favorite Beatle. But deep down I know that is not true. It’s George I saw in concert. It’s George whose albums I bought. It’s George I listened to in The Traveling Wilburys with his buds, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

Sure, I listen to John when I want to let my intellectual and political side out. I listen to Paul if I go dancing. I listen to Ringo just for the fun of it. But it’s George that most appeals to me. Especially the post-Beatles George. Among my DVDs, I have the “Concert for George”, performed one year after George’s death by many of his friends including his best bud, Eric Clapton.

“While my Guitar Gently Weeps” is among my all-time Beatles favs. It tops the list that includes “Norwegian Wood”, “Help”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “You’re Gonna Lose that Girl”, “Nowhere Man”, “Michelle”, “Lady Madonna”, “Girl”, “Things We Said Today”, “I Feel Fine”, “Get Back”, “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, “A Day in the Life”, “She’s Leaving Home” and “Fool on the Hill”.


Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 17: Ballroom Dancing

In the previous episode, Lady P.P. confronted Smythie Smathers with a knife. S.S. revealed that he arrived from the future in a DeLorean. He was pursuing of Mata Hari. That did not let him off the hook-ski.

That evening our heroine wandered into the ship’s only ballroom alone. So far, it was an interesting voyage. She had found her womanhood, and she was bound and determined not to lose it again.

Soon Alexandria, that mysterious city built by the Great, would be in sight. First Istanbul, then the S. S. Twit, and it had been two weeks since she had slept under clean sheets. Nothing brought a smile to a rich American girl’s lips more than clean sheets. Maybe she might find them there.

A short man wearing a monocle approached her. “Pipsqueak Pimplesquat at your service.” Mr. Monocle clicked his heels together, saluted, and offered, “Madame, would you care to dance the light fantastic?”

“I do believe I will,” Marye agreed to his proposal. “But don’t get too friendly. I am not an easy lay-di.”

“I assure you that I am a gentleman,” he said, offering her his arm. He took her into his arms. They moved onto the dance floor, the dashing German dashing across the floor with the lovely young American widow with lots of moolah and a title.

On the stage before the orchestra stood the world famous Tootles “The Tootler” Tootle Lou. She crooned her song, “The tub may be sinking but the water’s fine.” Everyone watched the couple move body to body over the floor, ooh-ing and ah-ing their admiration. Then the band went into a ragtime swing. The couple did the do, dancing the Doodlebug.

Suddenly, from the ship’s crow’s nest, a sailor called, “Iceberg! Iceberg!”

This stunned everyone. The ship was in the Mediterranean. There shouldn’t be an iceberg anywhere near the Mediterranean. Panic set in.The voyagers didn’t know what else to do, except panic. It was a lesson they’d learned many times over. The Dancing Panic of 1518. The Penis Panic of 1843. The Wall Street Panics of 1873 and 1893. If it was good enough for dancing, penises and Wall Street, why not on board the S. S. Twit?

They were doing what the Wall Street rag, “Rooster Tooth”, suggested in a twenty-first century incarnation. They were “People Acting Normal in Crazy-Ass Situations.” The passengers and the crew ran hither and thither, thither and hither aboard the ship.

The sailor in his crow’s nest called, “Just kidding, folks. No iceberg.”

But it was too late.

Next Week: The Return of Quills

A Monday Xtra: Why Kindle is so Kindle-licious

I appreciate that many of you prefer physical books. But I have come to enjoy eBooks as well. The reason I am posting this is not to say eBooks are preferable to physical books. If you are reading, you are awesome. I am writing this simply to state that both have strengths and weaknesses.

So here are fourteen reasons I am happy with eBooks.

1. Convenience. I am one of those peeps who carry a book everywhere. I read them at lunch. I read them standing in line at the grocery store. Some books are too heavy to carry around. They can be thick and cumbersome. Not so with an eBook. The size and the weight are the same whether I have one eBook or fifty on my Kindle.

2. Reading at lunch. I have not found a place holder that would hold different sized books in place while I ate.

3. Reading faster. I am a slow reader. When I first got my Kindle, I immediately read five books on it. Then I read a physical book. An interesting thing happened. My reading speed increased. My reading speed increased to about 1/3 faster than previously.

4. I often read more than one book at a time. I can easily switch from Emma doing her matchmaking to Miss Marple solving a mystery to James Bond going after Goldfinger, then return to Emma and her new boyfriend.

5. The Kindle and other eReaders are designed to make reading easy on your eyes.

6. I don’t need to look for large print books. If it is on Kindle, I can adjust the font size and the margins.

7. Out-of-print books and books I could not find previously are now available.

8. Easy access to a dictionary. I click on a word in an eBook and the definition pops up.

9. eBooks are often less expensive.

10. For a writer, an eBook is a great way to send your work out into the world initially. Once a writer has built a readership, then that writer has some negotiating power.

11. For a publisher, an eBook is an opportunity to find out if a writer will have a readership. Before heavily investing in print costs.

12. Publishers can easily correct mistakes without having to create a new edition. Even reference book editors make mistakes or facts change. For instance, it could be that astronauts discover the world is truly flat or half round and flat on the bottom. Updating the facts in eBooks are as simple as upgrading to accommodate that information.

13. If you are upset over poor formatting by established publishers, I am too. I also get upset over some publishers throwing together physical books and having them fall apart after one or two reads.

14. And I have all that shelf space I used for books now available for other things like DVDs, plastic flowers, etc. I know I have way too many et ceteras. My closet is bursting with them.

Disclosure: Amazon did not make any contribution to me for these words.

The Nature Walk

Elgar was always surprised when, only a few feet away from the highway, there was nature. Trees, a river and deer. At least once a month, he drove up to this end of the island, parked and walked into what he considered a painting. A landscape. Here it was autumn and nature was doing her nature thing as always. This was the last visit he was to make in a long time. If ever. The next Saturday he was getting married, then they were moving out west to California. He would miss all this. It was his little secret. He hadn’t even told Louise. He wondered why that was. Was he hedging his bets? Didn’t he think the marriage would last. He hoped it would.

It was quiet on the lake. He looked out and watched a fish jump. The birds sang their last songs as they prepared to fly south for the winter. The trees unburdened themselves of their leaves. It was going to be a good day for a walk among the trees. He felt like Thoreau must have felt walking the Maine woods.

As he sauntered along, he pulled out his sketch book. He wasn’t much of a draftsman but he always made out what was on the paper. He had what must have been hundreds of these pads. He saw a bird peeping down through the leaves, watching him. He stood still, very still. Only his fingers moved with the pencil. The bird seemed to be saying his goodbye too. He felt sad for them both. His eyes did not take their focus off the bird. A long time ago he learned to let his hand draw what he was seeing while he watched the subject. He smiled, thinking about that.

When was he going to show Louise all his drawings and tell her of his nature walks? He felt guilty. It wasn’t that he hadn’t tried. Every time he went to tell her something else came up. Should couples have secrets from one another? He wasn’t thinking of adultery or anything like that. He was thinking of something like his nature walk.

The thing was that he spent most of his time in the rough and tumble world of business. Managing a store was a 24/7 job and he had bought into the bargain. If he had not had these occasional excursions he couldn’t have survived it. He thought about the move. It was to the company’s headquarters to take over a division. It would be quite a bit more money. Louise liked the idea of moving out west. She had wanted to live in California for a long time. And he was sure there were places like this one out there. Well, maybe not like this one but natural places.

Jack loved the city. Its hustle and bustle. The people. But this was where he came to refill his tank. There came a point when he just felt drained. He remembered reading a book about John Muir. How he spent much of his time in the wilderness. Theodore Roosevelt got away from his political life and went out to Wyoming. These were great men who did great things. Now all the great ones did was go play golf. That was no way to relax. When he played golf, he became very competitive.

He finished his drawing, saluted the bird, and moved on. He saw a large rock and went over to it and sat down. He reached into the canvas pack at his waist and pulled out a paper bag of sandwiches. They were peanut butter. He uncapped his canteen and drank a swig of water. Sitting there, his teeth tearing into a sandwich, he realized what a happy man he was. And how fortunate. He had a great job. He had Louise. He had his health. He had enough money to live on and raise a family. So why was he feeling such trepidation. Why?

He remembered the first time he saw Louise. A friend had invited him to her recital. Afterward he walked over, and in his own quiet way, he congratulated her on her playing and her choice of music. He thoroughly enjoyed it. Then she surprised him, “Would you like to get a cup of coffee sometime?” He surprised himself. “How about now. I mean, after you’re done here.” She thought about his offer. “Why not,” she answered. “I just have a few more people to see, then we can go.”

The crowd thinned out, she picked up her purse, and she walked over to him. “I’m ready.”

They spent a couple of hours with that coffee. They talked about the weather and the stock market. She was an analyst. They talked politics. She was a conservative. He was a liberal. Neither of them were very political. They voted but they didn’t attend rallies or campaign for a candidate.

After three, four dates, they had sex. It was good sex. Not great but good. They enjoyed each other’s company. They went to the opera. She was into the opera. They went to baseball games. He was into baseball. It had taken six months to date eight times. His schedule didn’t make it easy. Though he enjoyed his work, it left little time for a personal life. That was the reason for the move to California. When he was offered it, he called Louise and asked her what she thought.

“You would definitely have more us time,” she said. “I’d like that a lot.”

The next time they went out, he proposed marriage. He was surprised that she said yes, But she had.

A deer watched him from a distance behind some trees. He finished his sandwich and slipped his pad and pencil into his hand. Slowly he sketched, trying not to scare the deer. The deer seemed to understand that she was in no danger.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: I am a human being

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is the movie, “The Elephant Man” (1980):

“I am not an animal. I am a human being.” These are the words of John Merrick (John Hurt). He is so deformed he becomes known as the Elephant Man. He is a side show freak when Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkns), a surgeon at London Hospital, discovers him. David Lynch’s film is the story of Merrick and Treves’ friendship.

“I am not an animal. I am a human being.” Mistreated most of his life, Merrick blossoms under the care of Treves. Treves discovers that despite his deformity Merrick holds no enmity toward any one. It turns out that he is quite intelligent and kind. Unbelievably kind and gentle.

“I am not an animal. I am a human being.” With his life, John Merrick teaches that it is not appearance that matters. It is the person inside. When the curtain of cruelty and unkindness is ripped away, John Merrick’s light shines brightly.

“I am not an animal. I am a human being.” As Merrick comes out of his shell, Treves is changed as well. Merrick gives Treves his soul back.

“My life is full. I know that I am loved.” These too are John Merrick’s words. “The Elephant Man” is a masterpiece and a tribute to the humanity that was John Merrick.