September 30, 2014

Autumn leaves a sign of levity?

The Autumn Leaves

The falling leaves
Drift by my window
The falling leaves
Of red and gold

I see your lips
The summer kisses
The sunburned hands
I used to hold

Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I'll hear
Old winter's song

But I miss you most of all
My dear
When autumn leaves
Start to fall

Since you went away
The days grow long
And soon I'll hear
Old winter's song

But I miss you most of all
My dear
When autumn leaves
Start to fall

Fall is here. You can hear the leaves rustling, you can see the leaves hustling.  A leaf becomes leaves.
Becomes leavings.  Remains of the day.   A new leaf is a new start.  A leaf in the table is what makes the table larger and longer and helps us to invite more people to enjoy the feast of Harvest.

All of these words coming from similar roots.  Leaves, leaving, leavings, left out, left over, leftovers, levity.   Levain.  Leaven.  Leavening.  That which helps us to rise, a fermentation that creates gas, escaping, as gas always does.

Maybe the monkeys didn't go to heaven.  Maybe they went to leaven.  Rising up, transforming from a solid first, to a liquid, then to a gas, rise leaven.   The "proof" is in the pudding, but really the proof is in the leavening.   Once a baker, always a baker.

Another week goes by and we say goodbye once again to another friend.  The only thing that is certain is being left behind.  You will always be left behind, until that day when you leave everyone behind yourself.  Transforming from a solid, to a liquid, then gas, rising, escaping, one way out.  No take backs.

Take a Leave.  Have a time out.  Levon wears his war wounds like a crown. And he shall be Levon.
Calls his child Jesus, cuz he likes the name.

I love the song Autumn Leaves.   Especially when sung by Bing Crosby.  When he hits the part of the song where he sings "Old Winter's Song," I get chills.  Because seasons change and so do I.

September 16, 2014

Who do we hate this week?

Who do we hate this week?
People ask me Dense what is the secret to your 35 year marriage, and I always say:
1: Lower your expectations.
2: Have a sense of humor.
3: Who do we hate this week?  And people always shrug and say what?  This is hardest rule to accept, but the strongest of the three.   This rule is the secret of the common enemy.  A common enemy brings people together.

Who do we hate this week?
In my Province the teacher's union and the government have been fighting since June.  June 1968.
I have no clue, but like all great fights, this one has roots, it has legs, and encompasses generations.
Everyone hates the Government and most people hate teachers (kidding!!!!).  But.....

Who do we hate this week?
Even Joey Shithead jumped into the teapot with his tweet that has the audacity to suggest the Teacher's Union should compromise and get back to work.  This sentiment from the guy who wrote General Strike.
Poor Joe. He has taken a lot of heat this week.  Do I think he cares? Not really.  I don't care if he cares, he would probably say it is all a bunch of shit.  And this is guy who knows shit.   Except he didn't elaborate so everyone got to guess what he really thinks.  This is a guy who wants to be a politician.

Who do we hate this week?
Today it was announced that the two parties have come to an agreement.  Great.  The kids get to go back to school.  The Teacher's Union Leader is on the radio where we cannot see the mullet and mustache, going on about "no concessions were given by the teachers."
Was going 4 months without a pay cheque a concession the Teachers made to their union?  What about the  students who were graduating last year, still in a state of administrative mystery?  Or did he mean that no one was selling soda pop, hot dogs or popcorn?  I did hear that during the negotiations someone sent for a TV, and a large screen was brought in.  Huh?

Who do we hate this week?

Without exception almost everyone hates our perky little Premier, Christy Clark, who sends her single parented kid to a private school; I don't suppose Boy Clark has missed any Luncheables as his school has been open the whole time.  Now that the strike is over, (hey wait the teachers still have to mark it, but I understand it was primarily multiple choice- no essay questions allowed), the burning question is what can fill the hate vacuum on social media?

Who do we hate this week?
Obama, Israel, stupid white people with guns?  Easy targets one and all.

Who do we hate this week?
U2 seems to be on everybody's shit list. Why?  Do we really need a reason?  Bono and the Edge , who after all these years still hide behind their ridiculous pseudonyms.  Who do they think they are?
Dense Milt?
Can we just get over EGO and admit what really is on our minds?  Is Beyonce pregnant -yet, do you think that Miley Cyrus is a bigger influence than Elizabeth Warren?  The internet is blazing with people who are pissed off at U2 and pissed off at Apple.  For what we ask?  Because they gave everyone a free album, Songs of Innocence.  What is the problem?  Erase it if it really offends you.  Don't listen if you want.  But have you listened?

I did.

I kinda like it.  Dense Milt is going out on a fence here and saying that he kinda likes U2's new record.
I have to be careful here because we are all one tweet away from having the internet hate you.
It starts off with what sounds like a song for hockey games.  You mean like U2's Still Can't Find what I'm Looking For, or the Ramones Judy is a Brat.   Who would have thought the Ramones would all be dead and being blasted from every major sporting event.
The lead track is The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).  You heard it here.  Bono is giving tribute to the Ramones.   And it is kinda catchy.  "We were young, we were dumb".
The most beautiful sound he ever heard was the Ramones?  Or a hockey chant?
Every Breaking Wave starts out like the Police song.  Except it is U2 song.  I can feel my brain melting and my intelligence quotient dropping.  Christ these guys can write catchy melodies and lyrics that suggest something of import is being said, but upon inspection-POOF!  Gone.  What was the Police song?  Who cares.  Doo-doo-doo-doo.
Song three of the Songs of Innocence references Barbara Ann and Beach Boys.  Bono in a sandbox singing about California.  Except wait- there's more.  There are parenthese There is no end to love parenthese.  Whooah-Oooh!   There is no end to love.  Or Hate.

Who do we hate this week?

Morning Yet To Come

I hear the voices on the radio
and hit the snooze button
Fifteen minutes later the alarm jars-
I shut it off
Time for dreams to disappear and day to begin:
Legs swing from bed to floor

Although inside the house my wife and daughter are sleeping,
There is now sound all around me
Outside, I hear traffic flows in waves
onward toward Kingsway, a trolley slows,
braking the silence, gasping for air
Metal squeals mixed with refrigerator hum.

I grab the dogs and leave the apartment

The dogs pause, and shuffle by the elevator door
Maisy, my monsterous terrier moans
There is another dog, the new black puppy, and it is coming up the elevator
Maisy continues to agitate, writhing on her leash
until the elevator door opens and the new black dog leaves.

As we walk out on the street, the sun is rising
I hear birds, I see a cat, I see a man
He wears headphones
He is oblivious to the symphony around him
What is he listening to?

As we walk up the street I see  a crow on the ground next to the curb
He turns his head his beak opening but no sounds that I can hear
He is dying.

Maisy wants to know what is up with the fallen crow.
This is strange because there seems to be an understanding
between black dogs and the crows
This agreement was made in secret many years ago

The other birds,  the cats and definitely all the squirrels
did not sign on to this agreement.

It is always open season on cats, squirrels and any other bird
but the crows, they are ignored.
The black dogs do not engage with the crows.

The crow on the curb is dying.
Above, I  hear another crow
Is he singing the blues?  Does he even know about the fallen crow?
Higher above, a seagull circles and screams like Tippi Hedren
Cue the aviary woodwind section, as the smallest bird is trilling like a piccolo

There are many sounds in the morning
I do not have time to mourn the fallen crow.
There are more sounds and more morning yet to come.

September 2, 2014

Teach your children well. Their father’s hell did slowly go by.

You, who are on the road must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a good bye.
Teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of the tender years can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams, the one they fix, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

I did not go to kindergarten.  You had to be Catholic to go to kindergarten in my town.

Grade one was Mrs. Lake- tall, kind. My mother sent there with measles.

Grade two was Mrs. Wright- Dennis will not need penmanship- he will have a secretary.

Grade three was Miss Haynes- silver hair battle axe to be feared.  Was actually very nice, except when I was caught with my brother’s Playboy calendar.

Grade four we got Miss Alleman- Large woman for a young lad in a new town.

Grade five my first male teacher Mr. Cokely- read beautifully Jack London’s Call of the Wild.  I remember his short sleeve white shirt and narrow black tie.  Also he was a sadist, arranging the children’s desk in order of perceived intelligence.  I was in the second seat, behind Sally Odd.  He was also the first teacher to send me to the library to read, which is what they did when having to teach down to the class medium.  My band teacher was Hampton Wines.  Great name.

Grade six a cigarette smoking lady named Mrs. Birkland- We knew that when we got to grade seven the older boys would call us homos.  We didn’t know what that was. Mrs. Birkland told us that it was not good to make fun of homosexuals. They were just people who want to be loved like you.  There was a special class for the kids who were mentally retarded, autistic etc.  This was the first year for that. 

Grade seven was year one of Junior High and more than one teacher.  My favorite teacher was Mr. Green.  He greased his hair, wore the short sleeve white shirts, but talk us about politics.  Band with Mr. Iles, Choral with Mr. Marin.  When Mr. Marin left the school to sell real estate, the girls sang To Sir with Love, and cried.

Grade eight was a joint social studies and environmental science class.  Also a funny science teacher name Mr. Hamm.  He would say the chirds are burping, and I resemble that remark, and other corny lines I have since made my own.

Grade nine we had Miss Yule.  She was hot.  Can’t even remember what she taught.  Miss Donaldson taught Oceanography where we dissected sharks. That made the hall smell bad for a week.

Grade ten was my first year of high school in the US and Canada.   I went to Aloha for about a month.
It was a modern school without bells.  We moved back to Canada.  Not just anywhere in Canada.  West Vancouver in those days was a pseudo British hell, where teachers like Mr. Donaldson stormed around and hit kids with his ruler.  Mr. Callow, who later was dismissed for incompetence, taught me the important lesson in politics and history- follow the money.  
Mr. Callow was also called Bonehead. One day, the kids next to me threw a desk out the window of the fourth story of Hillside Secondary.  Our English teacher was a German lady who had her back turned and did not notice a desk going out the window.   Mr. Callow had the room below. He came upstairs and bursting into the room,  demanded to know what had happened and who was responsible for throwing a desk out the window.  The German English teacher, whose name escapes me, said," Dennis- did you see a desk go out the window? "  Not wanting to be fink in my new school, where I was already ostracized as "the American",  I replied no, I did not.  
She said, "Well Mr. Callow, there you have it.  A desk did not go out the window, because my students do not lie. " 

Most useful class I ever took was Typing 10 with Mr. Taylor, the Vice Principal.  I got a C+, my lowest grade in school, but learned the most valuable skills.

Grade eleven we moved to Steveston, home of the Packers and whose principal was Dal Richards brother. 
On my first day to school,  I was walking along Steveston Highway, and go splashed by a giant wave. I was soaked from head to toe.   Memorable teachers included Vern Simpson, the graphics teacher.  He was the sculpter  that did Gassy Jask in Gastown.  Also Mr. Clarke, our Drama teacher.  I was either the star actor or a drama suck, depending on which side of the Jocks, Greasers, or Nerds you were on.  
We also had a math teacher, Mr. Kagetsu, who wrote his name on the board.  Ka- Get- Su.  Then he wrote, HARD WORK MAKES A HAPPY PERSON.   We laughed, but he may have had the last laugh.

Grade twelve more wasting of time, plotting against the jocks, who go so tired of our upstaging of the teacher in History, that they threw a desk at me.  Our group was split up and transferred to a different time period.   Ms. Morris (now they were Ms) was the art teacher and English teacher.  She basically said, go to the library and read for the semester, you are going to get an A anyway.  Write me a book report every week.  I played Charly in Flowers for Algernon, beginning a long career of playing morons who turn into geniuses and back again.  

Teachers were very important.  The good ones even more important.  And there were many good ones.
I would have to say that teachers and education was one of the more influential forces in my life.

I was never influenced positively by any politician, except perhaps Jessica Van der Veen for her performance in the lawyers meeting with Starbucks on behalf of the Manhattan Co-op. We walked into this board room of leather and rosewood, and she placed a cassette player with attached microphone on the table.   "You don't mind if I record this , do you?"   
The Vice President of Starbucks ( who was trying to get seating in the courtyard of the Manhattan) was nonplussed.  He stammered.  He relented.  And in the end, we triumphed.   
I asked Jessica if she got it all down.  
She said, there never was a tape in the machine.