Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Movie: Brokeback Mountain

"Brokeback Mountain" is a love story. It is as simple as that and perhaps that is what frightens the far right in this country. The story is not so much a revelation of how different homosexual love is, but how much alike we all are when it comes to love, how we all suffer, how fragmented and complex life is, and how difficult each day can sometimes be.

The story of Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) is told with subtle, grace and an elegance that rivals any love story. It is surrounded by the beautiful wilderness that is Wyoming, with that backdrop serving as a metaphor for the love Ennis and Jack share. With their sweet love comes rough terrain, elements beyond control, savage pulls, and hard work.

The story is a quiet tale done in deliberate fashion, devoid of gimmicks and caricature. Neither Jack or Ennis are fully noble or perfect. And their wives, played by Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams, are both complete with love, anger, frailty, and regret.

"Brokeback Mountain" is about love eternal and the struggles involved in finding and keeping it. The greatest obstacle to this love is often, as Jack says, "Never enough time. Never enough."

Heath Ledger will be in line for an Oscar nomination for his role in this movie and deservedly so. Any accolades that come to "Brokeback Mountain" will be merited. Even Ang Lee, as director, does a good job of staying out of the way, allowing the story and the scenario to reveal themselves as they wish.

The right wing can scream about "Brokeback Mountain" until they turn blue in the face. Perhaps it scares them for all of themselves they find in it. Perhaps it leaves them empty, longing for such passion. Regardless, "Brokeback Mountain" is a must see movie and a timeless tale of love and all that sometimes can come with it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Poem: Angel


It is in God’s merciful benevolence
Sent forth with an energetic vibrancy
Magnanimous gifts of divine creation

By expressions of absolute joyousness
Devoting love with encompassing passion
Beautiful nurturing provides sure safety

Wrapped tightly inside fabrics of God’s design
Bestowed with unmistakable blessedness
Textures holding a warmth and tenderest charm

A gentle ray of life-force sun permeates
Washing the inner self clean of any doubt
In the midst of an other-worldly sharing

And she soothes a weathered and tired spirit
And she speaks to aspects of life once missing
And she presents herself as unyielding love

I stand here with open arms, mind, soul, and heart

Copyright SGW 2005

Monday, November 28, 2005

Poem: Nightfall


Wind whispers softly over darkening terrain
Moments in time are forever the same
Leaves rustle gently within valleys below
Moon in the sky gives a slightest of glow
Mountains soon mask yet another day ending
Sounds of the forest are in multitude blending
Quietly breaking as the world falls to slumber
Nightfall repeated far too frequent to number

Copyright SGW 2003

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Springsteen - There is no one else

Bruce Springsteen brought his solo tour to the Meadowlands last night for a rousing two and a half hour performance that saw this generation's greatest poet rise to new heights of brilliance and inspiration. With just his guitar and harmonica, Springsteen opened with "Empty Sky," followed by a haunting, foot-stomping, echoed version of "Born in the USA" that left the audience speechless.

Throughout the show, the evening was about taking risks, going in new places with old friends and re-defining what was believed to be clearly laid out once before. What the crowd was left with was many old memories put into new lights that were equally important and rewarding.

Springsteen was on top of his game, mixing new songs from his "Devils and Dust" CD with old classics such as "Lost in the Flood," "Backstreets," "Promised Land," and the legendary "Thundercrack." The bare-boned "Johnny 99" found a new voice in an amplified and powerful rendition that gave the murderer of the story greater impact and tragedy. And Springsteen paid tribute to a Vietnam casualty from his youth who he recalled on a visit to Washington D.C. years ago in the song, "Wall."

Springsteen spoke vividly to the crowd about growing up with so many family members surrounding him (even displaying a child's drawing of a map of the area on posterboard) and also of now being a father wanting to give his own children the space to be individuals finding their own ways. He tied this message into "Jesus Was an Only Child," interrupting the song mid verse several times to further his story.

He also made reference to the current debate over evolution, and mocked the radicals in this country for their misplaced hostility toward science with a sly version of "Part Man, Part Monkey."

Bruce Springsteen came to the Meadowlands and reminded New Jersey and anyone who was listening why he is a musical and lyrical genius. As time passes, what Springsteen provides his audiences never diminishes, but instead grows within the collective bond of preacher and his congregation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Poem: Girl With A Pearl Earring

From the movie, I wrote this after first seeing the picture. After re-watching it last weekend, this poem seemed like a good choice for Poetic Leanings.

Girl With A Pearl Earring

Gentle contours of a cheek;
As shadows break lines crossing;
Curving neck gracefully bent.
A look over shouldered glance.
And here lies a work of art;
And all it can hold within;
Passions expounded in form;
Hides pleasures beyond canvas.
A thousand sheltered meanings,
Musings, thoughts, and emotions.
A work of art takes design;
With lock of hair slipping free;
Masking an all-knowing stare;
Unrevealed dreams and blessings;
Invoked by lustful sweeping;
The brush strokes with tender touch;
A girl with a pearl earring.

Copyright SGW 2004

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I am looking at my cat, Boo, differently today

I just read that there are people that are studying the marking habits of cats and exploring whether they are actually creating artistically. The cats are given canvasses and paint and, at times, do seem to be working with pattern and focus.

One cat painting sold for $19,000!! I swear to God!!

I keep offering Boo a brush and have pleaded with him to feel the inspiration, but he just looks at me funny and walks away.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Coming home to my beloved New Jersey

I have to say it - I can't wait to be back in New Jersey. I miss home. I miss Boo.

I miss real people. I miss substance. I miss normal hours of eating. I miss ... ok, no I don't miss that it rained for ten days up to my flight out and seems to be raining in NJ again! Shit, what's up with that!?

I miss my own bed. I miss the quiet. I miss my Angel.

I'm coming home soon; Saturday. I can't wait to be back where I belong. L.A. just ain't me.

Technology run amok!

I am not technologically illiterate by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am pretty good with the stuff. However, staying in my brother's condo here in L.A. has led me to believe that we have gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy over board on gadgetry.

His living room TV has four remotes and I can't get the set to go on. I hear sound, but no picture. The bedroom TV was working until the dog stepped on the remote. It took me ten minutes to get the channels to change again. I wanted to print something on his computer, so I turned the printer on. There's paper in the printer and the printer says all is well. Nothing is printing.

Oh, did I mention that in his downstairs lobby, you can't open the doors between the front desk and the elevator? They have to open it for you! I was pushing and pulling yesterday with no luck until the woman came back to the desk and freed me!


Movie: The Squid and the Whale

"The Squid and the Whale" is a smart independent film directed by Noah Baumbach, and starring Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney. It is the story of a troubled and breaking apart family. Daniels plays the struggling and superior father and once-respected writer who can barely make ends meet now. Linney is his suddenly successful novelist wife, who has long been left unsatisfied by her husband. As the family breaks apart, their two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline, must find their own way in dealing with their parents and their individual lives.

Both Daniels and Linney, who is brilliantly understated, put in excellent performances, but it is Kline, and his foul-mouth, beer drinking and sexual escapades that steals the movie at times.

"The Squid and the Whale" is smart and funny; sweet and frustrating. It probes the duality of loving, but also being self-absorbed, the caring about family, yet wanting nothing to do with the members at times and the coming to realize the imperfections of those around us and ourselves. It is true to a dysfunctional existence, and is willing to expose the human frailties and failings of the lead characters.

The ending is unexpected, but speaks the perfect message of realization and desire.

"The Squid and the Whale" is a movie worth seeing. After, it is a picture worthy of thought.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thinking about the weather

Katrina did not devastate New Orleans because of the culture of that city. Wilma is not beating down a path on Florida, as the handful of storms did last year, because that state made a mess of the 2000 election. Storms don't care about blue states or red states.

We have more major hurricanes, horrific tsunamis, much more severe weather patterns, increased snow and rain accumulation, and a warming of the planet that is far beyond safety levels because of mankind. We have abused this planet, mistreated it, shown it no respect or love, ignored its needs, looked at it as our own personal possession, and put ourselves above all the other life-forms of this world. For that Mother Nature has struck back with a vengeance and will continue to do so with increasing wrath.

Everything is connected. Like the story says, a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and it causes rain in New York. If we continue to screw up this planet, we insure our own destruction.

Remember that next time you litter, throw a cigarette out a car window, mindlessly kill animals, over-develop, drive an SUV, favor laws that allow for polluters to flourish, don't force alternative energy sources upon our society, and dump waste into a river. You are committing suicide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

L.A. - Lost Souls

After a few days in San Diego, I have returned to my brother's home in L.A. Maybe it is my perception of what the people are like here, as opposed to the reality, but I don't think so. It seems as if this is a city of lost souls who wish to be someone else. Everyone is an illusion or attempting to wear a mask here. It's all a show and all appears shallow and empty to me. I miss my east coast.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Poem: Silence

Silence, stillness, it is all the same. If you allow yourself to be an observer or a watcher, you see so much more at times then if you shove your own ideas or thoughts into the world. An expansion of self can take place by simply listening in the silence.


Filled with sounds
Channeling the world
Of energetic flow
And quiet awareness

Listening as birds chatter
Over a soothing ocean's beat
As gentle winds blow

Allowing life to breathe
With knowing lessons
Contained by subtlety

So much to hear

Copyright SGW 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Gay in L.A.

Here I am now, in California; first in L.A. with my brother and now in San Diego with him and his gay cadre of merry men in tights (Ok, that part is not so far-fetched.), and so far, I am able to report to the fundamentalists the world over, that I feel no symptoms of gayness overtaking me. It's amazing! I thought for sure that the gay mind control techniques they employ would break me down. Ha! I was worried about sharing a bar of soap in the shower with my brother. Nothing! To my girlfriend, I am safe - to this point - and remain firmly hetero.

Maybe the wingnuts in this country, who provide us all with an endless chatter on homosexuality, are simply of a small-mind, fearing what they do not understand, and what God has created. Hmm. Just a thought.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ambition is not chasing dollars

Yes, I am an accountant. I live a somewhat comfortable life. However, I have also maintained my artist's persona as a poet and have turned down countless opportunities to advance my accounting career. Why pass up the bigger bucks? Don't I want to be a Vice President or some other trifling title?

No, I do not, and for that some call be lacking in ambition. I believe I am loaded with ambition. I wish to save the world. I volunteer many hours to various causes. I create poetry that seems to touch many people. I seek out the energies of the world. I explore God, spirituality and nature. I am highly ambitious; just not in the sense of some others. I find their way to be missing out on life.

While reading Cynthia Yoder's, "Crazy Quilt: Pieces of a Mennonite Life," one paragraph caught my attention. I find it re-affirming of my view on ambition.

"In my work ethic book, the arts do not appear anywhere. My plan appeared under the 'selfish' heading and was cross-referenced under 'leech.' But I decided to close that book and put it on a shelf, where hopefully it would be eaten by worms and pooped out as psychic compost."

Newark Airport

In a word, NEWARK AIRPORT IS HELL!!!!! Ok, four words.

I live 45 minutes from the airport, so it is convenient. Of course, I could have driven to LA yesterday and gotten here sooner!

Continental pretty much runs the show in Newark, and they run it right into the ground! No one has a clue, customer service is as foreign to the airline as much as intelligence and compassion are foreign to George Bush.

After a 2 1/2 hour flight delay because of varying stories - weather, air traffic control, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire - we took off. I made it into LA at 1 AM Pacific Time. By the time I got to sleep, I had been up for 25 hours, but here I am now, the next morning, and I feel rested and am enjoying the sunny skies.

Still, a word to the wise - DON"T FLY OUT OF NEWARK OR ON CONTINENTAL. This is my third experience from hell in a row. Next time, maybe Philly.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I can't take one more friggin' ring!

When you are in a restaurant, eat.

When you are in the gym, exercise.

When you are in a movie theater, watch the movie.

When you are walking with a friend, talk to that person.

When you are at work, work (or at least, blog).

When you are at a sporting event, enjoy the game and eat a hot dog.

When you are at the beach, go for a swim.

Turn off your cell phones! I dare you. You might actually enjoy the moment for a change.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


My girlfriend's family makes homemade applesauce and I was the lucky beneficiary of some of this delicious effort. Yummy! Anyway, I am reminded of the first poem I learned way back when I was about ten years old. I do not recall the author or source.

There was an apple sitting on a railroad track feeling blue and cross
Around the bend came number ten, toot toot, applesauce!

Sunday, October 9, 2005

A Storyteller Extraordinaire

George Wirth is, without question, one of the best songwriters in New Jersey. Go read a mention on him here that includes the poem I wrote about him, "Storyteller." Also, he has a new CD out, "The Lights of Brigantine," that any lover of music should get. Go take a look at George's website to learn more.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Feeling Seinfeldian

A woman in my office was just saying how her daughter gets straight A's. Would students who are homosexual be more prone to getting gay A's?


It occurred to me today, as someone who devoutly believes in God, but subscribes to no religion, that I am missing out on holidays. This is not fair! With my Jewish friends having just had off for Rosh Hashanah and next week again for Yom Kippur, and with Christians always having Christmas and Easter, it somehow seems like I am coming up on the short end of the stick.

How to alleviate this problem. Hmm. Ok, well, I've got Festivus. I also celebrate a generic, December holiday season as I get into the spirit. But alas, we need more for those of us who are religionless. We need days we can take off from work and have sales in the malls.

What do you think? I am laying claim to Thanksgiving so that covers November. Something in the spring would be nice. Maybe an event in July or August, too. This requires more thought.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A Fork in the Road

I don't know who decided to use that term to describe the point where a path splits in two directions. More often than not, when you come to these alleged "forks in the road," does it really look like a fork? Not to me. I would say the splitting roads would be more accurately described as an "open scissor in the road" or a "check mark in the road."

From now on, if you get directions from me, these nuances will be accurately portrayed.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Poem: Lost

First off, mom, don't have a nutty. I just decided to post this poem today.

"Lost" is meant to be read as a frantic, manic run-on sentence. That's the mood of the piece. It was written, essentially, in one breath. The original had no corrections on it; the pen simply kept going.

One more interesting item about "Lost" is that it was written a week before I discovered the musician Sarah McLachlan and her semi-breakout CD, "Solace." The fifth song on that album? "Lost." I have been bonded to McLachlan ever since.


I am lost in this life
And I'm not sure what brings me this strife
Where did I go
How to find me ... I might not know
But I'm sure ... I was once here
Somewhere near
Yet now so far away
My life seems to stay
And it keeps me searching still
For the will to go on
When I doubt the man I've become
And I'm not one with myself
And the pain inside my soul
Keeps me from being whole
So I look deep within me
All I see
All that's there ... is a pain inside my heart
To the point I now start ... to doubt
Why I'm here
What this existence is about
So I cry in the night
For this life's nowhere in sight
Or within grasp
As I gasp ... for a breath of refreshing air
Or a break in my despair
So I resign myself to this
There is no joy or happiness.

Copyright SGW 1992


How come in the movies people always seem to fall when they are running in the woods? I have run in the woods a million times and have never fallen. No one I know has fallen either. What's up with that? Are people who write movie scripts klutzy doofuses?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Where is God in your life?

I saw that on a bumper sticker of a car this morning on the way to work. Appropriately, at least, it was not on the back of an SUV.

The ocean, a park, with my Little Brother, writing a check out for a charity, volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters or the American Cancer Society, helping out a friend who needs some money, going for a walk, writing poetry, listening to great music, being with nature, orca watching, Monticello, doing a good job, being a progressive, my family, my close friends, in a Reiki session, meditative dance, enjoying a big cup of coffee ice cream, thinking of my father, fighting injustice and intolerance with all my heart, nurturing the planet, and being madly in love with the most wonderful woman on the planet.

That's where God is in my life.

Monday, September 26, 2005

An artist that will leave you gasping in awe

Juanita Yoder is an amazing artist who has worked with fiber-reactive dyes on silk for fifteen years, along with drawing, watercolor and wearable art. Her work explores abstracted natural, celestial and human forms, and draws on her experiences, dreams and relationships, as well as her faith heritage.

Ok, that's what her resume says. It also mentions the many amazing exhibitions, commissions and collections to her name, such as:

Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, New Jersey; Commissions:
Two 25-foot (8 meter) paintings on silk, May 1999.
Two 25-foot (8 meter) paintings for the 250th anniversary of the founding of the University, June 1997.

Ward-Nasse Gallery, New York, New York: International Salon 1999-2000, "Unseen Realms" 1997, "Art Without Borders" 1997, "Naked: The Natural State of Being" 1997, "Myths, Milagros and Magic" 1996, "COLOR: The Divine Madness" 1996, International Salon 1995, Invitational exhibit 1995.

Commission by Princeton University Chapel for six paintings on silk, each 12' long by 3' wide, 2001.

Commission by Lawrenceville School, NJ for six suspended paintings on silk, and one altarcloth, 2004

What Juanita's website cannot fully convey is the spirited beauty her creations bring forth. Her work can move a person to tears. I have stood and admired her art in various locations and I find myself unable to look away. My eyes continue to find new and wonderful aspects in what she paints with every viewing and I am uplifted by the energetic vibrancy that Juanita's art emotes. While a lot of her work centers around religious institutions, there is no affiliation with any particular belief system required to connect to the passionate sentiments apparent in what Juanita brings to bare.

Juanita Yoder is a gift to any person or institution that loves not only fine art, but also the soulful experience that truly emotional creativity can provoke. Check out Juanita's work at her site and also contact her directly through the same.

Note: I put this on top again because you should go check her site out. Go! Now!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The wrong approach

It has been decided that in the future the baby will be thrown out with the bath water. Bad idea? So is slaughtering the bear population of New Jersey because humans have over-developed and can't find a way to properly co-exist with the wildlife of the area.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This song has been pertinent to me for over a decade and continues to send chills through my inner being. Written by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls

My cat just spent fifteen minutes in battle against his catnip mat. Now, having won the day, he is lying on it proudly.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Timely lyrics

This song has been pertinent to me for over a decade and continues to send chills through my inner being. Written by Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls in 1992, it strikes me as being all the more valid today in the disconnect and disinterest of those in power, but also in the reasons why the progressive voice of the masses must speak louder and louder and louder and ....

Let It Be Me

Sticks and stones
Battle zones
A single light bulb on a single thread for the black
Sirens wail
History fails
Rose-colored glass begins to age and crack
While the politicians shadowbox the power ring
In an endless split decision never solve anything
From a neighbor's distant land
I heard the strain of the common man

Let it be me (this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me,
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light

Well the world seems spent
And the president
Has no good idea of who the masses are
Well i'm one of them
And i'm among friends
Trying to see beyond the fences of our own backyard
I've seen kingdoms blow like ashes in the winds of change
But the power of truth is the fuel for the flame
So the darker the ages get
There's a stronger beacon yet

Let it be me (this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me,
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light

In the kind word you speak
In the turn of the cheek
When your vision stays clear
In the face of your fear

Then you see turning off a light switch is their only power
When we stand like spotlights in a mighty tower
All for one and one for all
Then we sing the common call

Let it be me (this is not a fighting song)
Let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong)
Let it be me,
If the world is night
Shine my life like a light

Emily Saliers 1992

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Poem: Games of Toss

Today would be my dad's 66th birthday. He died in 1992, but he carries on in my mind and in how I live my life. We were extremely close; best friends. We shared Rutgers' season tickets in basketball, coached youth sports together, spoke several times a day by phone, were openly affectionate, and just flat out enjoyed each other's company. The scene from "Field of Dreams," where Kevin Costner and his father have a catch, touches me, not because my dad and I ever needed a reconciliation, but because of what the game of catch meant to my father and I on a regular basis. For all its commonality, it was uniquely our own.

Games of Toss

A baseball glove sits
No more catches
And I miss you
Miss the games of toss.

No one throws me curves
Puts a righties’ mitt on backwards
And I miss that
Miss the games of toss.

I don’t throw now
Stopped finding release in the game
And I miss you
Miss the games of toss.

Wishing for one more time
Just back and forth like it was
And I miss that
Miss the games of toss
Miss them with you
Miss you.

Copyright SGW 1997

Footnote: My father had major league offers in his youth and, as a kid and as an adult, I heard countless stories that he was the best ballplayer in Brooklyn at the time. He had a curveball that would drop off the table, a knuckler that seemed to stop in mid-air and he could throw with both hands (hence the righties' mitt on the wrong hand). He switch-hit, too. I used to marvel at his swing because he reminded me in style of Willie Mays. Yes, he was that good.

Added to One Single Impression for Childhood Memories.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What a Mess!

Mark Messier retired from hockey this week after 25 years in the NHL. He leaves the sport with 6 Stanley Cup championships to his credit and a level of play that few have rivaled. He ends his career as the number two man in games played and points. More importantly, he steps down with his position as one of the greatest leaders in sports history.

Messier joined forces with Wayne Gretzky to win four cups with the Edmonton Oilers. Then, after Gretzky was traded, he took the Oilers to another cup that no one could have predicted. Finally, he did what many thought would never be possible; he brought a Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers.

The chants of "1940" ended with Mark Messier. After 54 years of disappointment, Messier brought the cup to New York. For that, he will always be remembered as "The Captain" in this area and few who are not Rangers' fans can appreciate his place. People who root for the New York Rangers are a unique bunch. The best comparison might be Chicago Cubs' fans. The fans here are diehards, completely loyal and unbelievably passionate for their team. Madison Square Garden rocks like few others places and there is nothing to match a "Let's Go Rangers" chant during the playoffs. When Mark Messier guaranteed victory against the New Jersey Devils in the semi-finals, it was his Herculean effort that insured he kept his promise. The victory that followed over the Vancouver Canucks was as sweet as can be for Rangers' fans and Messier celebrated as one of us.

Mark Messier was a gifted goal scorer, best known for his patented goals from the right wing while lifting his leg behind him and snapping a shot past the goaltender. He was a fierce checker and had blazing speed. Perhaps what he is best known for is his willfulness and leadership. You could measure the determination in his glare and he could carry a team through his unceasing desire.

Mark Messier will never be forgotten in New York and his place as the man who brought the Rangers the Stanley Cup will hold mythic remembrances for many years. Goodbye and thank you, Mess.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The great outdoors

I spent a lot of time over these passed two weekends outside. From hiking in Turkey Swamp Park to strolling about Ocean Grove to walks in my neighborhood to sitting on a bench in Palmer Square, I was among the best of the natural world and I marveled at its beauty in all shapes and sizes.

Often, when walking, I enjoy closing my eyes and listening to the sounds of the birds chirping and the breeze blowing. When I am near the ocean or along a lake in the Poconos sitting on a dock reading a book, I am blessed by the added sounds of the water, whether gently flowing on the lake or breaking as waves along the coastline.

In recent days, we have seen the worst that nature has to offer in Hurricane Katrina. It can be fierce and unforgiving at times and requires a vast amount of respect and even fear. And still, I love the natural world with all of my being.

It takes a different type of person to truly understand and appreciate the trees, grass, water, birds, and other living things in the way I do. The connectivity to the energies of all living things is a unique pleasure, and if you do not open your being to this flow, you miss it. Only if you allow yourself to become one with the world around you, can you honestly feel everything. In these sensations come peace, joy and calm.

With these feelings, comes a thankfulness that I am a progressive and environmentalist. We sometimes fail on the left in doing right by the world. Plans don't work and choices are wrong. We get side-tracked and distracted. However, the motivations are correct, the cause noble and the value placed on all things living as being our equals is part and parcel of being an environmentally-conscious progressive.

A focus on business at all costs, blind consumption of resources, superiority of self over all the so-called tools for disposal on this planet, and short-sightedness of thinking cannot be a part of anyone who claims to love the world we live in. Oh sure, a person can go on trips to parks and wander about in the natural world taking pictures. But if you love it, truly love it, you cannot turn around and be a party to its destruction.

I am proud to be a bleeding heart, for with each drop of blood comes a corresponding appreciation and love. My plans might not always be the best, those that I vote for will sometimes fail me and I cannot insure the interests of everything living will receive the attention deserved in every instance. However, my motivations are as pure as they can be and I can walk among the trees, birds, lakes, crickets, and other living things knowing that my goal is not to exhaust them or harm them, but to appreciate, respect and share in what they have to offer and receive.

Go sit in a field today if you can with your shoes off and feel the grass between your toes. Walk along the ocean and watch the waves break. Climb a mountain path and smell the cleaner air.

Close your eyes and listen to what the world has to say.

Those who show their love of the natural world as reflections of the policies and politics that they subscribe to, will understand me. Those who fight against this natural world are sadly missing the best that it can offer.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Meditative Dance

Where to begin in describing what meditative dance is? It is spiritual, enlightening, healing, impassioned, freeing, grounding, soothing, and expressive. That's as good a start as any.

A new person in my life goes often to a meditative dance workshop in Philadelphia on Friday nights. In order to experience something new and exciting, and also to better connect with this person, I took part in the workshop last night.

The meditative dance workshops take place on the second floor of a performing arts building in a somewhat large-sized dance studio. There are musicians playing live music along one wall - bongos, violin, and various other instruments that all seem to flow so neatly into each other. Also, there is a leader who uses spoken voice throughout the process.

On the dance floor, you find twenty or so people of various backgrounds and ages. Some are professional dancers and some are complete doofuses, like me. There are women and men. I would assume there are doctors, lawyers, cops, clerks, and entrepreneurs, too.

You begin by doing some stretching and relaxing on the floor. The spoken voice leads you through some initial meditative exercises, and slowly you end up on your feet, moving freely to the music and energies that flow from person to person. Over the course of the next two hours, you become almost completely unaware of self, in that all inhibitions are released. However, you also gain a level of self-consciousness on a most beautiful and rewarding level that is beyond explanation.

The workshop goes through several variances of form. I spent the early stages being within myself. I moved to the music and sounds and just flowed in whatever direction my arms, legs and body chose to move me. I was singular, yet each time a person passed me or brushed against me, a piece of energies interacted. Amazing!

Later, there was a more interactive portion, where you could end up with any partner, male or female, who you would exchange and connect with. Sometimes, you each moved in sync with the other. There was also portions where one person stood still and the second person moved in accordance to the first person's still form. The partners would switch roles.

Finally, this was followed by shadowing, where one person followed behind the other and did what the first was doing. Again, after some time, the rolls switched. And this then concluded with a passive-active form, where one person, with eyes closed moved to the directions of the second person through leading from the active person via gentle touch, with rolls switching back and forth.

I found the experience to be an overwhelming joy to the senses. It was organized chaos. It was safe and warm; spiritual and gentle. I was lost and found at the same time. Energies flowed at will. Expression was in abundance. The soul became interconnected with those around it and also came more sharply into focus with the inner self.

I completed the workshop in a place of all-consuming peace and tranquility. I felt alive, relaxed and healed, even to the point where my back and neck problems felt better. Also, my new acquaintance and I grew so much more closer to each other in the most intimate and introspective ways.

Meditative dance is an incredibly empowering and passionate experience. I was as free as a bird in the clouds for two hours. The sensations still linger with me today.

Friday, September 9, 2005

The subject is Springsteen

Only someone of the depth, brilliance and relevance of Bruce Springsteen could have a three day symposium with more than 150 academic papers submitted and over 325 people from eight countries attending. The man is a genius and a poet without equal.

You listening, Mrs. Shakes?!

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Movie: Maria Full of Grace

Maria Alvarez is a headstrong and bright 17-year old Columbian struggling to make ends meet while living with several generations of her family. She comes to a crossroads when she quits a low level, abusive job and needs to find work fast. She stumbles onto a drug cartel looking for women to be carriers of drugs to the U.S. It is a sure money-maker, but it comes with strings attached; immigration officials, dangerous drug dealers and the threat of death if one of the pouches Maria must swallow opens in her belly.

Maria's story is obviously one that a thousand Maria's have lived before. The risks and false allure of financial savior grabs women like Maria who are backed into a corner. Many have ended up dead, others have likely fallen into the abyss of the drug world.

Maria is portrayed brilliantly by Catalina Sandino Moreno. Moreno gives life to Maria's many strengths - intelligence, determination, endurance - and her weaknesses - naivete to the world and a stubbornness of a belief that she has all the answers. The story is disturbing, yet needs to be told. It is filled with despair and suffering, yet also hope from within the human spirit.

Maria Full of Grace comes off as almost a documentary on drug trafficking in that we seem to have been granted an actual window into a world it is doubtful many of us can ever understand. There are no one dimensional villains. The druglord is tender and firm at the same time. The U.S. dealers are violent and heartless, but also nothing more than young men who have gotten sucked into an evil system.

Maria is the one true hero in the story, but a flawed one, and it is the flaws of all the characters, intermingled with humanity, that make Maria Full of Grace so true to life.

Watching my cat

I was home for the better part of the evening the other night. Between watching a ballgame, talking on the phone, making dinner, and surfing about on the computer, I would periodically watch my cat, Boo. Granted, I've been watching my little furball for years now, but something struck me in this case.

Boo sleeps a lot. He lounges about most of the time. Every so often, he gets up a burst of energy, runs around the house and then plops down wherever and rests.

Boo almost seems presidential. Interestingly, he is black and white in appearance, much as the president is in thought. Hmmm.

Disclaimer: My cat is way cooler and too smart for this comparison, but the inherent leisureliness of a cat sure can strike you as being similar to our ever-vacationing president.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Something to know

Too often we find the need to be someone other than ourselves because we are afraid that who we are is not enough or it is misunderstood. Occasionally, life stumbles upon something, or someone, so real, that we are encouraged to be that which is of a highest existence, not because it is superior, but because it is us. When lucky enough to find such a wonderful place, savor it and seek it out over and over and over again. It is joyous in the moment, it is comforting in the trust and it is who we really are and wish to be.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Poem: Mommy's Song

Mommy’s Song

Mommy wants a happy piece
And mommy reads this site
Thinks I’m sad if words are blue
It’s not that black and white

Sometimes lines express a rage
Plus pain’s an artist’s tool
Mommy needs some chipper verse
Though happy writes less cool

Tends to fret between the lines
Implies much more intent
Visions shift to darkest dread
While Scott just needs to vent

Here it is your sunny rhyme
All life is blessed with joy
Mommy’s song has filled a page
From mommy’s "happy" boy

Copyright SGW 2005

Footnote: " " to mess with her just a bit more.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Poem: Lazy Summer

Lazy Summer

Lazy summer day down at Ocean Grove
Senses find the beach’d be a treasure trove
Listening for the sounds of the surf and gulls
Careful of the tide as it grips and pulls
Waves crack on the coastline from the Hurricane, Irene
Not the only storm these parts have known or seen

But me, I’m just a watcher
I’ll sit and play this role
Transcriber of the wonder
With subtle hyperbole

Wade into the water to a whole new world
Quiet ‘neath the current in my midst unfurled
Skim along the surface ‘till the shoreline drops
Horizon lies before me and it never stops
Sand cakes up my pockets as the sun beats down
Drying in the breeze while walking back to town
Sidewalks filled with lunchers and an ice cream stand
Little boy in chocolate from his foot to hand

But me, I’m just a watcher
I’ll sit and play this role
Transcriber of the wonder
With subtle hyperbole

Sitting with a cricket by a shade tree shield
Squirrels playing tag out in an open field
Gazing at the strollers as they come and go
All the pretty women with the suntanned glow
Top ten reasons Jesus betters drinking beer?
Give an ounce of thought he’d hold to wine more dear

But me, I’m just a watcher
I’ll sit and play this role
Transcriber of the wonder
With subtle hyperbole

Lazy summer Sunday in the afternoon
Rustling wisps of grass upon an old sand dune
Boats out in the distance gently sway and swing
Bi-plane in the sky with endless ads they bring
Sun begins to fade another day draws close
Feel the water flowing in between my toes

But me, I’m just a watcher
I’ll sit and play this role
Transcriber of the wonder
With subtle hyperbole

But me, I’m just a watcher
I’ll sit and play this role
Transcriber of the wonder
With subtle hyperbole

Copyright SGW 2005

Comment: Come on, Miami fan of this piece - drop me a note and send some love!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Poem: Remembrance


Absence is a gentle healer,
Erasing anguish with spent time.
Blows of inflicted suffering
Become absorbed in subtle grace,
And souls move on to renewal.

Lest safety become too assured,
Unexpected pains reappear;
Stabbing hard at a tender heart;
Confronting what was deemed long gone.

Shaped by a familiarity
The mind drifts to happier days;
Testaments of love forgotten.

Constant thought during sleepless nights
Finds lost moments that once sprung forth.

Remembrance leaves clouded visions.

Copyright SGW 2005

Friday, July 29, 2005

Poem: George Bush Is An Asshole

George Bush Is An Asshole

Corrupted regime is imbedded
In fabric of governmental design
Now we are stuck with an asshole
Unless he is forced to resign

He smirks and he grins from his pulpit
Mindless in directive and plan
When the nation was facing its terror
He revealed himself half of a man

Extremist and radically driven
Zealotry stems from his soul
Only when all can be conquered
Will he attain of his ultimate goal

Condemns and eschews moderation
He’s devoid of all ethical traits
What is not absolute to his favor
Is assigned with illogical hate

A legacy built upon ruin
Of people and programs destroyed
His time in the White House remembered
For the ruthless betrayals employed

Representing the worst in our nation
His minions a dastardly crew
All we can hope from the people
They’ll awaken to turn more states blue

ht SGW 2005

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Scott's Island

What we will need:

1. Electricity. No way we can go without internet access. Plus, if we leave this fucking mess to the idiots who voted for Bush, it will be fun to watch them suffer the consequences.
2. A good stereo and lots of CDs.
3. Writing pads and a bunch of pens. I can't do poetry on the computer.
4. A supply contract with Guinness.
5. Suntan lotion. I burn.
6. A barbecue. Nothing like a good burger to make everything seem better.
7. A computer. See #1.
8. 50,000 books. Smart people read, so the people left in the U.S. won't need them anyway.
9. Someone who is really handy; kind of our version of the "Professor."
10. A giant litter box for all our cats. Catherine can bring her dog, though, too.

Ok, who's with me? I can't take this shit anymore!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lance Armstrong: It's not about the bike

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows about my cancer story. One thing about cancer is that you immediately feel connected to other survivors; especially those who shared the same type of cancer. Lance Armstrong and I both had testicular cancer. His spread and mine did not, so he had a tougher road, but we still have the bond of survivorship.

Due to this connection, I have followed Lance's domination of cycling as closely as anyone. Today Lance completed his seventh consecutive triumphant run through the Tour de France. To Lance Armstrong I say, "Well done, well done."

By all rights, Armstrong should have died as his cancer spread to his lungs and brain. However, superb doctors and Lance's incredible will to live beat the disease and he returned to active cycling and became the greatest rider in tour history. More than that, Armstrong became the poster child of courage and a role model to anyone struggling to defeat illness. His strength and fortitude is the goal of every cancer patient and a connection to every survivor. He is our face; the symbol of victory over illness. Lance represents hope and unyielding determination.

As Lance Armstrong stands proudly in the yellow jersey that tells the world that he is the champion of champions in cycling, also wearing his yellow "Livestrong" bracelet on his wrist that has so become a part of our daily lives, he rides off into a life of other challenges and interests. No matter what, though, his legacy will endure forever as a survivor.

Friday, July 22, 2005

20 Great Things About New Jersey

1. Springsteen - Sorry, but no one has a rocker like the Boss, who is also just one of the guys. I have run into him several times and he will stop to chat. He frequents local businesses, too. Of course, the most important thing is that he is this generation's poet and voice, and speaks to New Jersey and America like nobody else can.

2. The Jersey Shore - From Sandy Hook to Cape May, the shore is fantastic. Forget all the problems of the late 80's, our coast is clean and fun. Whether you like baking in the sun, fishing, dining, or great music, there is no place like our shoreline.

3. The Music - Speaking of great music, and beyond Springsteen, New Jersey has some of the best rock and folk music in the country. Classic clubs like the Stone Pony and the Saint, and our many great coffeehouses are havens of top of the line music.

4. Ocean Grove - Visiting this quaint, little town is a pure joy. Again, that wonderful food and beach atmosphere, but combine it with 19th century nuances and an eclectic population that is found nowhere else.

5. The Pinelands - Despite business's attempts to eat into this area, it remains a pristine and beautiful home to nature and wildlife.


7. Jersey - Try abbreviating any other state and see if it sounds this cool.

8. Jenk's - In Point Pleasant; you've got the aquarium, a great club, good food, and a happening boardwalk.

9. Central Jersey - Publications consistently rank the Monmouth/Ocean County region as one of the best places to live in the country. Developing is taking its toll, but we still have open space and lots to offer. Plus, given the location, we get New York and Philly media.

10. Our parks system - The state is sprinkled with great parks in every region that offer fishing, camping, hiking, boating, and nature watching. My favorites are Turkey Swamp and Cheesequake.

11. Hoboken - Ok, so it takes a week and a half to park on the weekend, it is worth it. Tons of good restaurants and a cultural scene to match.

12. Our flea markets - Others states have these, too, I know, but just try Englishtown Flea Market and then talk to me.

13. The Papermill Playhouse - Shows the quality of Broadway at times and a lot less cost.

14. Everyone lives by an exit - No other place has its citizens describe where they live solely by what exit they live off on the Garden State Parkway.

15. Princeton - The campus is beautiful to walk through and the town is a mix of dining, shops, culture, curiosities.

16. Cape May - Great bed and breakfasts, whale watching and a calm that is unrivaled.

17. Our terminologies for invaders - Bennies and Shoobies, go home!

18. Newark Airport - It sucks so badly that Jersey folk appreciate vacations all the more, just for knowing we made it out of the freakin' airport!

19. Stuff Yer Face - There is nothing like a good boli. Of course, if you go to the original in New Brunswick, part of the experience is Thomas Sweet's Ice Cream for dessert next store.

20. The Garden State Art Center - A great place to hear music that is easily reached. It is an amphitheatre with lawn seats that only enhance the experience. Some of the best national acts perform there each summer.

Bonus Picks
21. Our boundary shape - Admit it, you think it's cool that our state looks like a man.

22. Diners - They are everywhere and they never close. There's nothing like a full meal at 2 A.M.

23. Jersey Freeze - In Freehold, they've got great lunches (especially the hot dogs and fries) and the ice cream hits the spot (Although Days in Ocean Grove is better).

G.D.'s influence Extra-Bonus Picks
24. Red Bank - The Count Basie Theater, the Clearview Cinema, The Jazz & Blues Festival, the Navesink River, and antiquing.

25. Golf Courses - Read the comments. I don't play, but the state has enough golf courses to spend a lifetime trying to play. Some of the best courses, including Baltusrol the home of this year's PGA.

26. Horses, horses everywhere - He's got me on this one. Read the comments.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

It's time to wake up ....

... on a Sunday morning when your dreams are completely freaking you out! I was doing laundries yesterday, so apparently my mind was stuck there.

I was having a dream that my washing machine was backed up with a half-full drum of water, white socks and wide-egg noodles. How the noodles got in there is beyond all comprehension. I am a lousy cook; in fact what I do in the kitchen is rarely described as cooking and Italians in particular would call me a blasphemer on one dish, but I can assure you that I know not to put pasta in my washing machine with the socks (or without the socks for that matter).

Anyway, I panicked and called mom. Again, we are still in the dream. Mom told me about a secret, reverse cycle that would clean it out. However, it went into effect on my dryer, which proceeded to fill with water and leak onto the carpet. Of course, I have no carpet in my laundry room, but now both washer and dryer were in my office, our Human Resources manager, who is a friend, was telling me I needed to report this to maintenance at once, and my boss was standing over my desk, oblivious, sorting through the mail and asking annoying questions.

I had, had enough at that point, so I woke up. I have that gift; if a dream is too much, I can just wake up. Anyway, any pseudo-psych peeps want to tell me I need to be committed?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Poem: The Next

The Next

Take this soul as you deem,
Beyond earthly limits;
Points reached through time’s retreat.

Discovering a peace
Built in exultation.
New dimensions with breadth.

Oh, Angel of Mercy!
Your arms warm and caress;
Guiding me, unafraid;
The willing passenger
As the next path revealed.

Joyful ascendency
Lifting to beginnings
Of eternal reward.

Copyright SGW 2005

Friday, July 8, 2005

Poem: Man On The Can

If any male reads this and wants to comment negatively, think twice, buddy; there's not a guy that does not read in the bathroom. Women; feel free to shake your heads.

Man on the Can

The moment comes at once to a head,
Where nature will invariably call,
Then off goes the male to the bathroom,
To read; this is true of us all.

We seemingly spend hours turning the pages,
Whether the papers or comics or mags,
Off on our porcelain study,
Long after nature’s call often lags.

I’m not sure why the toilet provides this,
For some reason it just seems some place ideal,
Twenty minute clips to peruse any article,
Is the least each American male will steal.

And it is funny to mention this also,
But sometimes there’s no reason to go,
We just wish to check out the latest in Newsweek,
And the bathroom’s the quietest place that we know.

Females never will get it,
“He went in there and now it’s an hour,”
The place just kind of provides us a haven,
That is beyond any rational power.

In the most dire and desperate of circumstances,
Even cereal boxes occasionally will do,
Medicine jars, shopping lists or pizza menus,
Long as there’s some words we can eagerly view.

I’ve long believed as an educational measure,
Toilets in classrooms rather than desks and a chair,
I guarantee every male would be hungry for knowledge,
Because the reading throne that they need would be there.

So, this is the American male,
Although I am now told it’s universally given,
Any man on the can it can be spoken,
To be reading, while sitting, is driven.

Copyright SGW 1997


My father died on July 8, 1992. It was a tremendous loss for me as he and I were extremely close. We coached youth baseball and basketball together, went to Rutgers games with shared season's tickets and spoke on the phone at least two or three times each day. He was a dad, but was more and more a buddy as I got older. If Mike Richter made a great save in a Rangers hockey game, my phone would ring instantly and it would be my dad yelling, "Did you see that!?"

My father taught me to be uncompromising in love, tenderness and emotion. We had a three squeeze hand grasp that our entire family shared. Each squeeze signified a word in the sentence "I Love You." I kissed him hello and goodbye as a teen in front of my friends (How many teen boys do you know who will do that!?). The night before he died, I stayed over my parents' home while my car was being repaired in a neighboring town. He was lying on the couch watching a ballgame. I was beside him with my head on his stomach. I was twenty-eight at the time.

Every kid on our block loved my dad. During our baseball games in the street, he would come out and play with us sometimes (My dad was offered major league contracts in his youth and was arguably the best baseball player of his generation growing up in Brooklyn. I have heard stories from countless people. It was a pisser having a catch with him as he would change the glove from his right to left hand and back every few minutes, being ambidextrous.). Other times, you would have to be on guard. Dad had a German Shepherd's bark down pat and he would sneak up behind you and pinch the back of your leg and have you jump out of your socks.

Dad had a generous heart second to none. As time has passed, I have discovered how many kids he subsidized to play sports in town. I already knew about the boys we would pile into our car so that they could get to practices and how much time he would spend writing newspaper accounts for the local paper so each kid could get a moment of glory. I have sat and listened to many of these children as adults now who credit my father for their becoming doctors or good parents themselves or not ending up in jail or dead.

Politically, he would go door to door for issues and causes that mattered. He was relentless when people needed his voice and support. He could talk a topic to death and would disappear for hours while chatting up someone he ran into at the local convenience store.

His death was an event on the scale of JFK passing, small town style. The funeral home required the largest police presence they had ever seen to handle traffic that day. The procession of cars driving to the graveyard stretched for miles. So many food baskets arrived at our home, that the owner of the shop stopped by to see who this person was. Our family being Jewish, a minyun of ten people was required to conduct the necessary prayers each day. We had a congregation that sounded like a fall temple service during the high holy days. The house was filled to capacity until late in the evening every day. The number of letters we received for months after was staggering.

In the years that have followed, I have discovered how much of my father I am becoming. My writing skills are drawn from him. My political and social conscience is his making. With each lost hair on the top of my head, each movement of my arms while talking on the phone and every subtle mannerism, I see him when I look in the mirror. I am proud of all of that.

I marvel at my poetry's development since he died and wonder who controls the pen as I sit and create a new piece. Dad never feared a public audience. I wish he could have seen me talk in front a thousand cancer survivors and their families during an American Cancer Society event or watched as I have performed countless times for people sitting at attention to my poetic musings.

I think he would be incredibly proud of this blog, too. Hell, I bet I would have to give him his own access so that he can be a writer here!

I don't generally feel sad on the anniversary of his passing. I have strong views on death. When a good ... really good ... person dies, I am happy for them. I see life as a test, and what comes after death to be the reward. When someone lives their life well, and does God's work to the best of their abilities, then in death they will reap the benefits of the goodness of their life. That is why I believe God is misspelled; it is missing an "o."

I am sad at times because I miss my father, but I am always happy for him. However, this weekend I felt an extra twinge of sorrow in missing him. I looked at my poetry, and the massiveness of its form today. I spent time with some musicians on Friday and Saturday that I think he would have loved as I do. I shared a couple of hours with the child I mentor each week. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt like having a catch ala "Field of Dreams," as he and I shared a few thousand times (He had a wicked curve and knuckler!).

It is moments like those above when I wish I had my father around. I want to share these times with him and show him who I have become ... him. I can't do that, although in a way I know he can still see and is proud.

I am left with one choice. I can keep attempting to live a life based on his example. I can do that, and I can share who he was/is with all of you.

Monday, July 4, 2005

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration represented the new states as follows:

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton


John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery


Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York

William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey

Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark


Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith,
George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross


Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean


Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton


George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina

William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton


Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Poem: Raining Words

Raining Words

Rain is a lyricist.

Drops of water falling
Into verse on worn wood;
Defined within puddles.

A pool encompasses
Ideas, as from heaven,
That soak and cleanse the soul;
Washing away life’s grime
Along a river flown,
Until a new shore reached.

In waiting patiently,
Another storm’s brewing;
New words, new drops, new rain.

Rain is a lyricist ...

Copyright SGW 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

This was not a movie I expected to enjoy and I am not going to give a full-blown review. However, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised.

The action sequences and main story are nothing special. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are a different story and there is genuine chemistry (sorry, Jennifer). The playful back and forth and the clever lines make for a very entertaining and funny movie. I laughed often and the general view from the other people in the theater seemed to be in agreement.

If you want to have a good time and enjoy the push and pull humor that Jolie and Pitt share, go see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." It is not high theater, but it is fun nonetheless.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's Springsteen and then everyone else

Bruce Springsteen is currently touring overseas and is particularly popular in Sweden. Catarina Oscarsson, press manager at Ema-Telstar, says:

"Two nights in a row (in the summer of 1985 tour), the E Street Band got 63,000 people dancing so hard that the foundations of the arena were seriously damaged. No other shows could be held at Ullevi for several years."

In part, this tells the story of Bruce Springsteen and his concert performances. The energy level is so high, the music so good, the power so strong, that it literally tears down the building.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Ten places I refuse to go

1. The White House. It is under currently criminal rule.
2. Yankee Stadium. As a professed Yankee hater, I cannot even go there to root against them.
3. Exxon-Mobil stations. Ever since Valdez.
4. Pizza Hut. I'm sorry, but that is not pizza to me. It looks and tastes like frozen pizza, which I find nasty. Blech!
5. The new strip mall around the corner from my house. We already have a giant foodstore, drug store, cleaners, coffeehouse, and bakery. Did we need a whole new set right next door?
6. Inside a home with big, killer dogs. They scare the shit out of me! My best friend had a German Shepherd that nearly tore me to shreds as a teenager, and I never went in his house again while that monster was alive.
7. The bathroom without reading materials. More on this in the coming days.
8. Anyplace that excludes other people based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender.
9. Chiropractors. One made my back significantly worse then it had been before and had the nerve to say, "Oops," when he did so. I have been warned by too many doctors to mention how what a chiropractor does is physiologically the opposite of what the spine should have done to it. I agree.
10. A Bush town hall meeting. Seeing as how you must sign an oath of allegiance, my hand is not capable of grasping a pen and writing my name next to anything that states support for a fascist buffoon who hates America.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Cinderella Man

"Cinderella Man" is a brilliant effort on the part of director Ron Howard. It is as simple as that! Howard has taken us back in time to an era of struggle and despair, and portrayed all of that, but also the unrelenting will of a man, and a family, to overcome. In the process, the man, Jim Braddock, a heavyweight fighter in the depression years, becomes the hope of an entire nation. Much as the horse Seabiscuit was a source of relief for millions of Americans, so, too, was Braddock and the dreams of those who followed his epic battle against champion Max Baer can be vividly felt in this movie.

The reality and dramatic flair of the fights scenes in "Cinderella Man" are superior, on par with those of "Raging Bull." Russell Crowe, as Jim Braddock, looks the part and shows legitimate boxing skill. Outside of the ring, Crowe brings a determination that combines with raw integrity and love of family that builds over the course of the film, climaxing in the final fight scene.

"Cinderella Man" allows others to shine as well. Paul Giamatti gives yet another solid and well placed performance as Joe Gould, Braddock's manager. Paddy Considine, who most will remember for a fine effort in "In America," brings a dark picture of how the times destroyed many Americans clearly into focus. He is tragic and sympathetic at once.

One of the best aspects of this film comes in its women. Both Renee Zellweger, as Mae Braddock, and Linda Kash, as Lucille Gould, are strong women who support their husbands, but are powerful individuals in their own right. They do what must be done, but they lead as much as follow.

Ron Howard deserves a great deal of credit for the imagery and honesty of "Cinderella Man." The camera work is gripping. The story comes off as sincere, and we feel lifted into the times as front row visitors to the events taking place. While the movie has the glorious Hollywood finale in place, Howard nonetheless allows the struggle and heartaches of the Great Depression to leave a lasting impression on the film. He shows us human frailty, dreams in conflict with life and the hardness of society, yet also has us believing and applauding courage and hope.

"Cinderella Man" is a timeless story that will touch everyone. It will be viewed over time in the same light as other brilliant boxing films such as "Raging Bull" and "Rocky," not because it is a film about fighting, but because it exhibits the human spirit with fullness and truth.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Red Molly 4 Song EP

Red Molly is comprised of Laurie MacAllister, Abbie Gardner and Carolann Solebello. The trio has joined forces to release a self-titled, 4 song EP that is a gift to the ears. Red Molly’s three angelic voices come together to form a harmonized, sweetness that is unmatched. Their sound is woven into simple arrangements that leave the listener enchanted and begging for more.Red Molly slides in and out of different musical genres in a way that makes it difficult to classify them. From Appalachia-based selections, such as the Susan Werner song, “Yellow House,” with MacAllister on lead vocals, to Gardner’s cleverly written and hauntingly played dobro on the country song “Long Island Cowboy,” the listener is left with beautiful harmonies and subtle musicianship. The robust bass of Solebello serves as the bedrock on each track, while her playful mandolin on “Long Island Cowboy” enhances the spirit and essence of that song.

On the traditional piece, “Darlin’ Corey,” Gardner displays a fiery lead vocal and a sly and mischievous dobro that combine with MacAllister’s banjo to offer up a performance that is alive and energetic.

Finally, on “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” an old standard, MacAllister is again on lead vocal, providing a longing touch that is both tender and moving. She is ably supported by wonderful harmonies from Gardner and Solebello.

All three members of Red Molly are strong, individual talents. However, as a unit they become something special, and this EP is a clear reflection of the unique blending of artistry that MacAllister, Gardner and Solebello put forth. About the only flaw one can find in Red Molly’s efforts on this 4 song EP? It is not a 10 song CD.

Poem: Brass Stand

Brass Stand

Downing Street Memo offers treasonous tale
Lies and deceptions in fullest portrayal
Agendas conceived through a misguided route
Hunger for power what it’s truly about
A leader’s betrayal of the people and nation
Manipulate "data" for the truth’s desecration
Reasons were given, though none of them real
Men lacking virtue are content to conceal
Recklessly foolish turned to suffering and dying
Spreading of freedom? Bullshit, they’re lying!
Where are the weapons or terrorist linking?
Contracts for cronies was all they were thinking
Wasted Iraq in a ruinous destruction
All’s been provided is contempt and obstruction
War was devised in a pre-measured planning
Flames of aggression fed with purposeful fanning
Evidence ample to impeach and convict
Crimes were committed that the press won’t depict
Abusive behavior of this fascist regime
Sacrificed values and a country’s esteem
Steps that were taken still demand an accounting
Neglect in reporting is increasingly mounting
To these men in the shadows any silence is golden
Masking the schemes onto which they’re beholden
When the media’s quiet in a note of compliance
Hope makes a stand in a Big Brass Alliance

Copyright SGW 2005

Sunday, June 5, 2005

So much talent can't be legal - Janey Todd

What can you say about singer/songwriter Janey Todd to do justice to her craftsmanship as a musician? If it were up to her, you would likely say nothing, as she eschews the spotlight and does not desire accolades.

At the same time, though, Todd is the consummate musician. A brilliant lyricist who writes what she lives and sees things with humor, sarcasm, biting force, and penetrating nuance, Todd gets to the heart of any topic she explores with unyielding conviction and intricate and unpredictable force. She is unassuming in style, almost to the point of going silent at times. Yet in that calm, is the strength of her message and voice; a voice that can be playful, imaginative and complex.

Todd's songs take no prisoners. She refuses to apologize for revealing the shortcomings of what she chooses to measure, including herself at times. In that, comes the greatest beauty of her work; uncompromising integrity.

Yet, while the above-written words seem to paint the picture of a cynic (a good artist must have a touch of cynicism within them), that would not be a fair appraisal of Janey Todd by any stretch of the imagination.

She appears to love being a musician, if being one can be on terms that are a comfortable fit. She has a kindness and peacefulness to her presence that is readily apparent when she performs. Friendly and a good soul, Janey Todd simply asks that you listen and enjoy as she plays. If you do, it will become obvious that she has much to teach you.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Final Chicago thoughts

As I have not seen a newspaper or watched much news while relaxing in the windy city, my readers have been forced to endure my Chicago postings of late. Here are my final thoughts on my visit to Chi-Town - two last words.

First, I was proofed before being served a beer! I love it!! I should remind you that I am a balding forty-one year old. Ok, so it is the law here. Can we pretend?

Second, I am just in from meeting the illustrious Mrs. Shakes and her husband, er, Mr. Shakes. I must say they are both engaging, witty and fun to be with, and were the perfect cap to a wonderful trip. Very cool to have made your official acquaintances, Shakes duo!