Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Big Life Events!

I admit to not being very industrious or inspired poetry-wise lately.  I know I'll get back on track soon, because writing an average of two or three poems a month is just not like me. Perhaps it's the distraction of "real life", which has brought me two big events in the last two months:

1. The birth of our first grandchild!  My son and daughter-in-law welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world on June 27th.  Since they only live about a mile away, it looks like we will be very much in her life for a while.  My wife has already stayed over for several nights to help out, and I think she's already bought the baby enough clothes to last at least six months.  This is going to be so much fun.

2. Our 40th anniversary, which we celebrated in the least likely place that anyone who knows us would think we'd want to go: Las Vegas.  But we had a ball!  We went to Graceland Chapel to renew our vows with "Elvis", which was both silly and moving - not only did we promise not to leave each other at "Heartbreak Hotel" and to be a "hunk-a hunk-a burnin' love", but we had "serious" vows, too, which made my bride start to cry.  Afterward, we went to the Venetian Casino Hotel for a delicious gourmet Italian dinner (even the salad was one of the best I've ever had) and took a romantic indoor gondola ride.  Our week was full of activities like a tour to the Grand Canyon, a short road trip to Hoover Dam, two great shows (Cirque de Soleil's "Beatles Love" and a Motown revue by an Australian vocal group called Human Nature), visits to the Mob Museum and two art exhibits in the casinos (National Geographic photos and Andy Warhol art), and a lot more.  We spent a total of 30 minutes actually gambling the whole week, but we came out ahead.  And we didn't try to cram something into every waking moment, so we had time to relax, sleep in, or do whatever we wanted.  We didn't even eat out all that much, taking advantage of the full kitchen in our timeshare unit at Hilton Grand Vacations, about a mile off the "strip".  Our only cause for concern was a large wildfire on the nearby mountain (we smelled the smoke one morning) - it didn't really threaten the city, except for maybe air quality, but it did keep us from visiting nearby Red Rock Canyon.  It was hot, of course (over 100 degrees most days) but the dry heat is no worse than 95 degrees and humid back in Jersey. All in all, we had a splendid time.

Baseball:  The less I say about the Phillies, the better. Suffice to say I don't expect to be watching them in the playoffs in the foreseeable future.  At least I have my fantasy team to distract me.

Music:  It's that time of year again - time for WXPN's Top 885 Countdown.  This year they're doing "Songs of the New Millennium" - the best songs from 2001 to the present.  It will be an interesting list, free of "classic rock" old chestnuts, though some classic-rock-era artists will surely sneak in (like Mssr. Springsteen).  I tried to compile a list of favorites, and narrowing it down to a top 10 was very tough. I know I've probably forgotten at least a couple of favorites here, but be that as it may, here's me "top 40" as it stands at the moment:

1. Adele: Rolling In The Deep
2. Coldplay: Clocks
3. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: Falling Slowly
4. Sufjan Stevens: Chicago
5. New Pornographers: Use It
6. Marah: Poor People
7.Richard Thompson: Dad's Gonna Kill Me
8.White Rabbits: Percussion Gun
9.The Decemberists: Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
10. Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal

11. The Black Keys: 10 a.m. Automatic
12. Spoon: Sister Jack
13. The Arcade Fire: Sprawl II
14. New Pornographers: The Bleeding Heart Show
15. The Hold Steady: Slapped Actress
16. Django Django: Default
17. The Shins: Phantom Limb
18. Phoenix: Lisztomania
19. Sam Roberts: With a Bullet
20. The Decemberists: The Rake's Song

21. Drive-by Truckers: This F***ing Job
22. Elbow: The Birds
23. Iron and Wine: Boy with a Coin
24. A.C. Newman: The Town Halo
25. Josh Ritter: Girl in the War
26. Feist: My Moon My Man
27. Gnarls Barkley: Crazy
28. Foster The People: Pumped Up Kicks
29. Animal Collective: Summertime Clothes
30. Of Monsters And Men: Little Talks

31. Elbow: Grounds For Divorce
32. Wilco: Art Of Almost
33. Bruce Springsteen: The Rising
34. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Dig, Lazarus, Dig!
35. Divine Fits: Would That Not Be Nice
36. Death Cab For Cutie: I Will Possess Your Heart
37. Spoon: Don't You Evah
38. Passion Pit: Sleepyhead
39. Wilco: Impossible Germany
40. The Decemberists: The Crane Wife 3

Poetry:  Okay, if you insist, here's a rather sentimental one I wrote for my new grandchild:

Baby girl,
just by dropping into our world
you’ve created a mom and dad,
three grandparents,
four uncles and an aunt.
The challenge will be
how to bring you up right
without spoiling you,
little apple of all our eyes.