micropoem for the day: before you know it

So we’ve unpacked our resolutions. The ones we stored in the attic. We weren’t up to them in 2018. We’re going to be better in 2019 and go after them like gang busters. We’re giving up smoking. We’re going on that diet. We’re giving up sweets. We’re going to eat healthier. Read more books. Watch less TV. Get that degree. Save more money. Break off that bad relationship. Make up with that sister or brother we haven’t talked to in years. Change jobs. Go in for that promotion. Ask for that raise. Get out of the house more. Be a nicer person. Find true love come hell or high water. You name and we’re doing it. So help us, God. But first…

Soon the Auld Lang Syne
countdown and midnight ball drop
champagne and a kiss


The museum was lit for the night. Mostly it was dark but the exhibits were spotlighted. The statue stood before Jeff, the security guard. Otherworldly like an angel, she was a goddess. Athena, all draped in white, her arms raised, her head neither bending nor looking up but straight ahead. Athena, mistress of Athens, the goddess who had given Zeus a headache, then crashed out of his head. Virgin, unlike the slut Aphrodite. Womanly with her small breasts. Athena who had always been Jeff’s favorite. The statue was almost alive.

Jeff turned away from the statue. Then he heard a voice, “She’s not so much.”

He looked where the voice had come from. There was no one there. Then it spoke again, “I tell you that if I’ve seen her once I’ve seen her a hundred times. And there’s nothing to admire. Really.”

A woman, at least seven feet tall, appeared before him. She twirled around in what was a transparent dress. “What do you think?”

Jeff’s legs gave way and he managed to sit down on one of the museum’s benches. To say he was overcome would be a misstatement.

She looked down at him and smiled. “Well, what do you think, big boy?”

Jeff closed his eyes and opened them again. Not once, but several times. If he told anyone about this, not only would his security guard job be gone. They’d put him in the loony bin. This is what he got for drinking all that coffee. His mother kept warning him.

He felt the woman’s hand on his face.

“Oh, come now. I’m not that bad,” she said, then laughed. “Of course not.”

“W-w-w-ho are you?” Jeff stuttered out.

The woman backed away and straightened herself. “Who do you think?”

“Well, tell him,” a voice from behind Jeff spoke. It was motherly and deep.

Jeff hesitated, then looked. His jaw dropped. This woman was at least eight feet tall.

“I will,” the first woman said as she reached over and turned his head back toward her. She was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen. His lust was overcoming the awe. “See. He already knows that I am Aphrodite.” She leaned forward and kissed his mouth. It was so deep he almost exploded. “The goddess of love.”

“Aw right. Let’s get this over with. Cut the nonsense and tell him.” It was the statue of Athena. She was alive. She stepped down from the pedestal.

“Just hold your horses,” Aphrodite said. “And let him take it all in. It’s not everyday we get to meet a mortal. And, Hera, good choice.” Aphrodite winked at him. “Such a handsome fellow I could just eat him up.”

“None of that,” Hera said. “Tell him.”

“Okay,” Aphrodite said. Then she said to Jeff. “We need you to judge a little contest. Which of the three of us makes the best impression. Sort of like Miss Universe, only without the swimsuits. The winner of the contest gets a golden apple. And you will be rewarded handsomely.”

Like so many others before him, and so many who came after, Jeff was pretty darned sure he did not want to get into this. He vaguely remembered the last guy who judged such a contest had started a war. A bad one. So Jeff dropped his head into his hands, resisting the offer, hoping the women would just go away. Yes, that’s it. Just go away. Then he started praying.

“Now, now,” Aphrodite said, rubbing her hands in his hair. “Nobody’s going to come and rescue you. This is your big moment. And I want you to think about this. If you choose me, you can have any woman in the world. Just think of it. Any woman in the world. Movie stars. Models. That cute girl you’ve been gushing over. Choose me and they’re yours.”

That got Jeff’s attention. That, and the erotic moves Aphrodite’s hands were doing to his face. How could any ordinary mortal resist those hands?

Athena stepped down from her pedestal, walked over to Jeff, pushed Aphrodite out of her way, and pressed the palms of her hands on to his bald head. His head felt warm from her touch.

“Now don’t you feel smarter?” Athena asked.

Jeff nodded. “Actually I do.”

“If you choose me, you’re going to be smarter than Einstein. And you do know that women love a smart man.”

A lightning bolt struck the floor beside Athena.

“Oops, you missed again, Hera,” Athena laughed. “Maybe Artemis can give you some lessons.”

Hera raised her arm to throw a second thunderbolt.

Athena stopped her by saying, “I wouldn’t do that. You know how mad Dad gets when someone else tries to use his thunderbolts.”

Hera rushed over, her fists ready to sock Athena, but she held her temper. Athena was smart. Hera never knew what trick she’d come up with.

“Oh, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. And he’s too busy right now to find out about a missing thunderbolt or two. He’s out chasing that Europa or giving a swan song to Leda.” Then she turned to Jeff. “You choose me you won’t need to be sexy or smart. You’ll be powerful. Powerful enough to stop whole armies.”

Aphrodite was in no mood to loose. “Nothing like a good woman.”

“Right,” Hera said. “Look what happened to Julius Caesar when he took up with that Mae West of a Cleopatra. He ended up et-tu-ing all over the place.”

Athena put in her two cents. “And Romeo ended up stabbing himself. Just because Juliet couldn’t wake up when the alarm clock went off.”

“How ’bout that Henry VIII,” Hera said. “I told him to stay away from Anne Boleyn. Did he listen? No. Miss Boleyn shook her booty and Henry went all ga-ga. And Josephine cost Napoleon to loose at Waterloo.”

Bling! an arrow sailed by Jeff’s head. He turned and saw an auburn-haired woman in a short white dress. She carried the largest bow he’d ever seen and a quiver of arrows. She pulled a second arrow from her quiver and notched it against the bow string.

Hera yelled, “Now, Artemis, quit that.”

“Scared you, didn’t I?”

Artemis smiled, rested her bow against her leg, and approached Jeff and the goddesses.

“You know you three are a bunch of trouble makers,” the huntress said. Then to Jeff, “Let’s go fishing. You like fishing, don’t you?”

Jeff thought about it for a few minutes. If he was irresistible to women, he’d have them fighting over him all the time. Just look how Solomon turned out. He ended up with seven hundred wives. That’s way too many for one man.

As for smarts, he knew a kid who was so smart that they drafted him. He became the head of some bigwig program and was always complaining how the government wouldn’t leave him alone. And who would want all that power? Everybody would hate you.

No, fishing sounded like a real good idea.

He stood up and said to Artemis, “Let’s go fishing.”

Walking away from the three, Artemis at his side, Jeff heard her promise, “I’ll teach you some usable skills. Like how to live off the grid. Won’t that be nice? You do know this internet thing isn’t going to last.”

Hera turned to her competitors. “We’ve got to do something about her. This is the third time this week.”

“Fourth,” Athena corrected her.

“Don’t give me any of your smart mouth. I said the third, and it’s the third.”

Athena shook her head. “You’re just going to have to learn how to count.”

Aphrodite stamped her foot. “Would you two just shut up.”


Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Music: Gloomy Winter

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 Music Spotlight is Dougie Maclean’s recording of “Gloomy Winter Noo Awa“:

Dougie Maclean is a well-known Scottish performer and composer. His album, “Tribute,” honors the three great Scottish poets/musicians of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Robert Burns we have all heard of. He’s Scotland’s national poet. But Niel Gow and Robert Tannahill, not so much. Unless we were a Scot. At least, not until Dougie Maclean’s album.

Of all the songs on the “Tribute” album, I love “Gloomy Winter” the best. The song is deeply moving. And the words, ah, the words. Here’s a poet who knows and loves his countryside. Here’s a poet who brings that countryside to reflect his loss.

As the year passes us onward into a new year, this is a good one to remember all those who have passed on.

And here’s another one from Dougie Maclean I am wishing ye at the end of 2018:

Near 500 Words: Treat Yourself to a Year of Wonder in 2019

Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day By Day by Clemency Burton-Hill Published by Harper-Collins 2018

I came to “classical” music late. It was the early 1980s and I was dissatisfied with much of the music I was hearing. I’d loved rock ‘n’ roll and I’d loved folk music. There wasn’t much coming round the bend that I cared for.

In the past, I had avoided “classical” music the way I avoided Shakespeare. Like the plague. The fans of “classical” music drove me away by their devotion to this artist or that artist playing this composer or that composer. So-and-so had mastered Chopin but Such-and-such couldn’t play Shostakovich worth a hill of dirt. Only they wouldn’t say, “Hill of dirt.” What did I know about “classical” music other than I had heard it as the soundtrack of cartoons I grew up with?

Then I found myself being drawn to the Philips series “Set Your Life to Music” and CDs like “Bach for Breakfast,” “Baroque at Bathtime” and “Beethoven for Book Lovers.” They seemed to be saying, “Try this. It won’t hurt.” It was a way into the music without being scared off. The more of the CDs I listened to the more I liked the music. I ended up purchasing something like ten CDs from the series. This led me to a series of Adagio CDs put out by Decca that included “Baroque Adagios,” “Romantic Adagios,” and “Mozart’s Adagios”

During this time, I also saw Milos Forman’s film of “Amadeus.” Though it’s a fictional take on the life of Mozart, it humanizes the great man and took him out of the clouds and brought him down to earth where the rest of us mortals live. The best part of the movie was the soundtrack. The music was intertwined into the film to make the music accessible. Then I found a book that was helpful. The Vintage Guide to Classical Music: An Indispensable Guide for Understanding and Enjoying Classical Music by Jan Swafford was an excellent field guide.

This journey led me to find wonderful musicians, playing some of the most beautiful music ever produced by mortals: Joshua Bell, Carol Rosenberger and Barbara Bonney’s performance of Schubert’s Lieder. When John Adams’ “On the Transmigration of Souls” honoring the 9/11 victims was released, I purchased it and was deeply moved by Adams’ tribute.

Recently I was in Barnes and Noble and rummaging among the books on music when my eyes stumbled upon Year of Wonder by the musician, columnist and novelist Clemency Burton-Hill. Each day of the year she gives a suggested composition. The suggestions range from the earliest compositions to the most recent. Even if you have a background in “classical” music, you might just find some surprises. If you don’t have the background, this is wonderful way to expose yourself to some great music.

If there’s one thing I learned about “classical” music, it is this. “Classical” music is like rock ‘n’ roll or country or rap or jazz or whatever music we listen to. There are those pieces of music I am going to love and there are those I won’t care for.

So dip your toes into the river we call “classical” music and try it. You  might just find some pieces you’ll like, and maybe even love. Make 2019 a year of wonder.

Here’s today’s selection:





Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A Christmas Movie

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 Movie is “Brother Orchid” (1940):

It’s getting harder and harder to find a good Christmas movie to recommend. All the usual suspects have been seen so many times.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”? Ain’t that the one Jimmy Stewart gets to see all those reruns of scenes from his life. “White Christmas”? Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye get to dance and sing. Love their dancing and singing but it’s time to take a break.

“A Christmas Story”? Okay, the kid doesn’t shoot his eye out. “The Polar Express”? I wasn’t that bowled over with Tom Hanks as a cartoon character. “How the Grinch stole Christmas”? Too much like real life this year. “Elf”? Will Farrell isn’t my cup of coffee. Or tea either.

“Home Alone”? Seems that’s the “Die Hard” of kids’ movies. “A Christmas Carol”? Way too many Scrooges for me. ‘Course there’s always “Bad Santa” “The Santa Clause” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Seen about one hundred fifty-five and a half times or less.

So I went searching through the vault and found this one. It’s got Edward G. Robinson as the mob boss. He’s been so good at mobbing he decides it’s time he took a respite. He’s off to Europe and culture.

He leaves his girl, Ann Sothern, back in the states. And, oh yeah, he’s leaving his second-in- command in charge, Humphrey Bogart, in charge of the piggy bank.

“Take good care of things till I get back,” he orders.

Right. I’ve seen Bogie in too many tough guy movies from the thirties to know that he’s going to hand the goodies back over to his ex-boss. And, for good measure, he’ll take charge of the girl as well.

Edward G. returns with all sorts of class and culture. And what do you know. He finds himself on the run. Where to hide out? Where to hide out? In a monastery, of course.

Little does he know that his wise guy is going to turn into a truly wise man.