Monday, June 09, 2008

Follow the yellow brick road....

I'm going to be moving my blog over to the wordpress site, but I'll be keeping these as well and maybe make a decision which I like better down the road. But in the meantime my new blog site is "" check it out, I'm still trying to develop it to be a little more "zippy" that this one. Let me know what you think, hit comments and tell me.

Mr. Guinness

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Workin' our way into slavery,...again!

Sorry,but it's getting real ugly out there,...real ugly. I live in a community, nay strike "community", make it a "vacation Mecca" this area was an unblemished diamond, a vision of all things perfect in a seaside vacation Nirvana, sugar white sands, teal waters gently lapping the shore, brilliant sunshine endlessly, know all the "Beach Nirvana" things you could imagine. And they came, me too, to get a piece of it, to enjoy and reap all the human pleasures possible from it, and being the nature of beings of the human variety,...ultimately destroy it with greed, and the other epic fallacy of man, power!
The "little" beach cottages and places just grew, and grew, and grew. Not only in size and cost, but amenities and the "WTF" of overkill. For example why not have an 8 foot by 10 foot swimming pool put on the fourth floor roof with clear glass walls overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, and those sugar white sands and teal water? And of course private elevators in every three story, three bedroom home, and not less than one, and yes in some cases two, 42" plasma TV's in every room of the house!
If you remember that old, probably turn of the 19th century tune, "by the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea, you and me, you and me, oh how happy we'll be.",....well that was the theme song around here, money flowed like the legends of the golden rivers of El Dorado, every other building was a Super Market sized furniture store, with "Interior Decorators" hovering in herds like used car salesmen. Cheap, ugly (OK, my opinion, I'll call it "beach primative") stuff everywhere, and selling for HUGE amounts. My little "cottage" increased in value by over 400% in four years! My weekly grocery bill went from $60 a week to $150 per week, a "quick bite to eat" went from $25 for the wife and I to $60 to $80! Oh and by the way NO the paycheck did not rise at the same rates. We were slowly, albeit fast, working our way back into slavery as middle class sliding major league to leveraged upper lower class,....and all we were doing was getting up going to work and trying to pay the bills!
2004 and 2005 the entire area was beseiged by Hurricanes, 27 in one year as a matter of fact. It did not put a damper on things overall, but sure scareed the shit out of those of us whose whiole lives were tied up here. Tourists sort of took a break, developers and builders kept slapping up places, real estate agents all had either brand new Mercedes or HUGE SUV's and a "yippy" little dog or two under thier arm at all times. Full four color magazines were popping up everywhere, soiree's were the rage, wine auctions for charity netted hundreds of thousands, "Coastal Casual" reigned supreme, and the "by the sea, by the sea" tune was running like an old 33 1/3rpm record being turned up to 78rpm. (Told you I was old, many of you ever see 45rpm's or 78 rpm's?)
It was like watching the tornado images or Hurricane images, swirling vortexes spinning faster and faster, more and more out of control, more and more unstable,....but unlike a Hurricane or Tornado it did not "slam" ashore, or "totally devastate" an area, just sort of came along and started to eat the area alive, one bite at a time.

Gotta go to work now, but tomorrow we'll do the devouring of a commiunity and the REAL nature of "ugly and cranky folks"

A Follow up on "meeting the enemy and them is us!"

The decline and fall of the middle class way of life,...alas!
America is truly the land of opportunity, at least it was a hundred years ago. But in the last fifty yearswe have allowed our government, through our elected officials, to "fast track" us back into slavery. No, it's not the slavery we all studied in school, it's a new and even more insideous form of slavery, and it's called "liberal conservative emasculation".
Oh, it's still true that you can achieve instant success, even hard work success, but every day the real fact of life is that "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer." Let's look at the development of our country and see what's been happening,..shall we?
In the American Revolution we fought to set up a government and country to seperate us from the tyranny and injustices we saw to exist in the British Colonial Rule. The granting of vast quantities of land and title toa few, with the ability to levy taxation without representation, and , via that control control the masses and maintain a repressed society living in poverty and squalor. Our noble victory that brought about our Constitution andBill of Rights set us on the course to be the great experiment, where anyone could rise from the lowest level oflife, to the greatest. We saw the vision, and the value of public education, the magic of entreprenuerial thinking that turned "daydreams" into reality and progress for our entire society. A fair opportunity for so many, albeit there were many, many less then to avail themselves of these opportunities than there are now.
We moved forward from 1776, we struggled, we fought, but we endured. The Great Civil War of the 1860's which almost rent this noble experiment into shreds came upon us, and yet, despite the bloodshed. the idealogical differences. the corruption, and the greed, we endured still, and continued limping ahead as our wounds began to heal.
After the Civil War we saw a new trend, an immigration of people to this country like never before. They too wanted to be part of our noble experiment. At first they were welcomed, then ignored, and then finally they were flat out discriminated against in ways that today are almost beyond our comprehension. But in spite of it all we kept moving ahead,...moving forward as a society.
As the 19th century continued along there emerged a new voice, the voice of labor unions, or the "guilds" of Europe. They found in the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, the mandate to empower the principles sought fromthose documents from thier very inception. Life,..Liberty,..and the pursuit of happiness for a mankind of equal beings. They came into existence simply becasue the great growth of our country had reached the point that the rich were, again, getting richer, while the poorwere indeed getting poorer. Out of the unions came a completely new and unheard of strata of society. Something no other country has now or ever in the past risen to accomplish, it was the Great American working Middle Class. Those not gifted with great minds, lacking access to a superior education, lacking the skills to understand and live within, or amongst the "political cosmos", and the "silver spoon" of life. Only by the sweat of thier brow, the labor of thier hands, and the weight of hard work on thier backs could they even hope to move up into this new strata of success reserved for the wealthy and attain the pot of gold painted by the Constitution and Bill of Rights that lay at the end of the rainbow. But could they?
World War I intervened, and a gratefull nation of people went forth to give thier livesto contuinue the great experiment. When they got home from Flanders Fields, and the trenches and poison gases they found the rich were getting even more rich again, while the poorfar poorer. Fate intervened and the "Depression" of the late 20's and early 30's brought both the rich and the poor to thier knees,... and the first instance of the fatal "government virus" was visibly at hand.
While necessary to stop the depression and put the country back on it's feet, both economically and psychologically, far ranging legislation was passed, which in the long term would do more to hurt our country than any enemy, foe or invader could have ever inflicted upon us. In fact it would bring us to our knees again in the 21st century, and that is where we are now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

P.S. - Pogo was right!

"We have met the enemy and them is us!"

"When I was seventeen, was a very good year......"

Well you get the idea, yes sir (and ladies) from the lips of ol' blue eyes himself, newest face to grace a United States Postage Stamp,...Frank Sinatra. Aaaahhhh but when you get to be my age it's not a song, but a "trigger" of my own "very good years".
Got home last evening, went to the mailbox (one of life's little pleasures!) and lo and behold there was a new issue of the quarterly magazine my old highschool puts out. The school opened in 1957 as an all boys Catholic "Prep" High School. ("Prep" means it's sole mission was to prepare boys for College. It was named Catholic Memorial High School, and my folks enrolled me in the second class the following year, 1958. Well as most of you know I went to college for a little while after high school, quit, went to work for a couple years, and finally joined the Navy for four years, got married, had children, and decided to go back to school nights for the next six years to get my degree. (Bio in 50 words or less, ..ho-hum!)
Anyhow I sat down with my glass of Jacobs Creek Shiraz and started thumbing through it. (Flashback coming,...standby!) Until about three or four years ago I simply went on with my life, and the school it's life, but one "dark and stormy night, as the rain was driven against the panes of glass" (little melodrama to set the stage) I "googled" the old high school, and there it was! As I drilled down into the pages I found one of those "Where are you now?" links. Being dark and stormy outside I decided to fill it in and hit send. Next morning was a reply from the Web Guru letting me know I was now on the Alumni list, the mailing list and the quarterly magazine list. Then the donation pledge stuff, the "48th" re-union stuff etc. etc. all started coming. Now the magazine I enjoyed getting looking up my old classmates etc. Seeing what had become of all those guys I knew 40 some odd years ago in the "acne age". I must say, quite a collection of sucessful folks in fact. One the Mayor of Boston, a truck load of lawyers, priests, insurance guys, doctors , dentists etc. The class clown of my class was now on the Board of Directors of the School and three of his sons have already been through the school and graduated! The new athletic complex was an old quarry when I went there, the Gym is now named after the schools first athletic director, former Chicago White Sox Baseball player, AND New York Knick's Basketball player, and MY old Phys Ed teacher, "Push ups, not roll abouts, put your muscle into it!"
But unfortunately as you age the road begins to end for many, particularly classmates, people you ate, partied, played ball, or otherwise got to know in depth over the four years of high school. And I guess there is sort of a morbid curiosity, and even a sort of sick "made the cut again" smugness when your names not there. (Love Robin Williams comment on death, "It's God's way of saying, your tables ready now sir")
When you read thier names in the "In Memorium" section you see the skinny kid that never had his tie on right, or the "jock" who pushed the skinny kid around after school. You see the "wiseass" who as soon as school was out would run outside and defiantly comb his hair back into a "DA" ("duck's ass" to 50's and 60's folks, a sort of statement of "attitude") The guys all hanging out at "Maria's" sub shop with Maria at at least three hundred pounds propped on a stool behind the cash register with the same expressionless look, knowing the school bell would go off soon and she was done for the day. "Joe" her husband, toothless, always in the same old grey sweater and beat to shit fedora, weighing in at no more than 100 lbs, making the subs, wrapping them and shoving them down the counter to Maria whose dulcid "Two Dollars" was the end of the line. We must have broke records in terms of the number of kids we could squeeze into a 15 foot by 12 foot "Sub shop". It was either that or the dreaded "Cafeteria food".
Long way around memory lane but I'm still on this side of the grass, but looks as if about 50% of my old classmates aren't with us any more. (sigh)
And now back to reality..............Life is great, people are fantastic, and business is super! (Can't think of any other convienent lies to tell at this moment.
So I leave you for this blog issue with the thought of the day. Why is it the choices get more difficult as you get older, seems like this "wisdom" shit is grossly over-rated, and when you think you finally got it all together,'re outta here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Luke,...I need to borrow your light saber!"

Yes boys and girls it's time to suit up, don the armor, sharpen the knives, be sure the powder is dry, and...of course, borrow Luke Sky Walker's light saber. Why you ask? Because to day is the day I've deigned to take on the mightiest foe on the face of our planet, the very essense of blue evil, the Darth Vader of the dark side,.....Microsoft!
Yup, that's right, and it all began innocently enough. I had just finished my 2007 income taxes, was please and printed out a copy to review, shut down and settled back for a triumphant glass of a good Shiraz and a review. "Perfect!" I muttered after a while, set the forms all down and smiled. But just like a good wine, as Ernest and Julio Gallo once said, "we shall file no taxes before it's time."
So a month or so later, actually April 15th, or "Christmas for the IRS", I get up early, fire up the old Dell Dimension, kick back with a dark roasted blend of Arabica coffee beans ground and steeped in hot water, and await the sacred icon screen. I reach over to the mouse, slide it skillfully and swiftly to the "TurboTax 2007" icon and expertly "double click". The hour glass begins to spin, and I'm scant seconds away from my treasure, a final copy of my tax returns to drop in the mail before the midnight deadline of today.
Then there is oh so small and almost impreceptible flash of light, and a screen pops up that says simply, "Turbo Tax 2007 has encountered a fatal error and can not continue." It refers me to thier web site, so I go there and find layer after layer og "geekspeak" that translated means "Yo, bubba, done got into a big shit storm here!" Then I saw a "click here to download instructions to correct the situation",..and BAM, I mashed the button. The printer whirrred, the motor came on and dragged the paper over the drum, dry, microscopic particles of "black stuff" being fused onto the page and oput it comes.
They looked simple enough, "go to the "add/remove programthingy, remove a thing called "Frameworks.NET.2", download a new copy from the evil empire, load it, run it , and simply restart the tax program" (Shoot, I can at least do this shit!). Then I read the next line, ..."and if that doesn't work" and there were two more pages of do this, do that, and then another "and if that doesn't work", etc. etc.etc.
(Thank God Microsoft is not in the medical field, picture this, remove the heart from the body, carefully inspect it, turn it around 180 degrees and reinstall, then apply the high voltage paddles,.... and if that does not work..." you get the idea.)
Well fix one failed. I told the damn machine to remove the programthingy once I found it,(just like the pictures showed me), but alass it chunks, it grinds, it crawls on it's belly like a reptile,...then "pop" another screen saying, "We're sorry, we can not complete the removal process you requested and will notify Microsoft of the problem for you and then shut down". Well Whoopty Freakin' Do Dah, Thanks.
Option two doesn't even let me get that far before it croaks!So I try the other three or four "if that doesn't work then try.." options and none of them do. Well I gotta run out make copies of the marked up preliminary tax returns I had been reviewing, get them in the mail, and now back to the problem.
Now I notice I can't forward any e-mails with movie, or "wav" files on to my other friends, and about half way into start up all the little icons "blink out" and poof, then they are back.
So today I flew my trusty terminal rightinto the mouth of the beast, and down to the download files, looking for an answer. I found a relatively non-descript little 66 meg upgrade download called "XP Service Pak 3.0". I remember seeing 2.0 or 2.1 on my machine, but not 3.0. For the past month and a half every time I go to shut down it tells me I have automatic updates to install, and I say ok, and it chuncks and grinds and always does the same thing "Automatic Upgrade failed to execute, please try again, we will notify Microsoft of this problem, here to send" well I'm tired of it you hear me Bill (as in Gates), I'm tired of it!! So I push the download and install for the Service pak 3.0. I skipped right over all the disclaimers, all the "click here to insure your computer can hanlde it" buttons, all the flags, and then it tells me go take a shower, shave have lunch and come back in an hour or two! So I did.
Where else does a guy go when his mental strength has been sucked from his body and his defenses are at an all time low? Of Course to the Home Depot "Super store" , building supplies everything, and not a piece of "soft goods" i.e. clothes, shoes etc., computer stuff, or any of that. Just tons of "stuff" to build with! (Fortunately I got over that phase of my time here on earth doing that stuff, so it's harmless for me to be there.
Being a good dooby, I said to the wife, "Hey Honey, wanna go to Home Depot, we could always look for a new Vanity top for the bathroom?" (During one of our Hurricanes a few years ago the candle on the vanity top spilled hot wax all over it and burned and bubbled the top in several places. I'm a guy, just put a glass over the bully section and a vitamin bottle on the burned marks, no one will know!)
Now it looks like this little excursion is going to cost us about $4,000 for a vanity top,AND then a new Granite kitchen countertop, sinks, faucets, etc. etc. etc.
Moral of this day so far? A) If you marry a carpenters daughter you can't go wrong taking her to Victoria's Secret, but for God's sake never to a Super Building Supplies place. B) after the third "which color do you like, the Solarium Gold splatter, or the black victorian granite variation?" You stand tall, look her straight in the eye and say, "Happy Mothers Day Honey, you pick,...I'm going to the Barbeque section." (sigh)
But the 'puter seems to be healthy again so I guess I beat the evil empire. One out of two ain't bad. Time to go to Buster's, I think I got enough left for a couple of pints!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Once upon a time,...before the internet."

For those of you who follow my blog, you'll notice the last one I got a reply from "Sims". So who is this guy, why is he commenting,( like I really wish the rest of you would), and now the "Great Sims" is revealed!
Long ago in a far off galaxy, I dumped a "shitload" of my own money into developing the largest Country Western Night Club north of Washington D.C.(actually in a state known by it's motto "Live Free or Die". With a 3000 square foot dance floor, seating for over 900, and a motif of an old Cowboy western downtown and the dance floor being the street through town, complete with the stage being the "Opry House", 100 year old windows being the Lawyers office, the Bank, etc. and the entrance being through an old 4foot by 8 foot window opening, on to a "porch" from the local hotel, with a "grand Stairway" down to the street,.....well it was a "hot shit place". (To this day I am profoundly in awe at the numerous women who had the logo of my club tattooed on them. It was a really sexy stitched cowboy boot with a pointy toe and a single red rose laying across the toe. Thank you to my wife who designed it from a Sears and Roebuck catalog boot and a free hand Rose.)
Anyhow, as usual, I deviate. "The Great Sims" owned a cleaning company and I hired him to clean my club every night. BUT during the day he and I (both being EARLY Apple freaks!) used to kibitz. He'd come to my place and we'd play on this "newborn" called the Internet, in 1992 and 1993. (Interesting side note we actually got on by "corrupting" a University employee to give us student ID's and an acess code) So we played almost every day, then he'd disappear to run his night business, and I'd put on my cowboy boots, big ass belt buckle and jeans, and run mine.
We passed afternoons back then wondering what if we registered "", and, and even, but at $75 per name, and neither of us with a real pot to piss in, we passed with a sigh.
Sims was one of the great ones who hung in there with me to the very last shot of the gun and the drop of the gavel into bankruptcy. After that Sims hired me, I cleaned office buildings and 132 toilets a night, to put food on the table and pay my bills, Sims never ever rubbed my face in it that my "company" owed his company almost $5,000, and for that I am eternally grateful. Every once in your life someone comes along who REALLY fills the definition of the word "friend", and Sims is one of them!
Sims, for his "shy" nature, was also a huge adventurer, hence a year or so later after I got back on my feet and was managing a computer store, (Apple, is there any other "maximus" computer made?), Sims and I kept communications open. (Someday I'll write about the self righteous alcohol "nazi's" and thier "20 questions to determine if you are an alcoholic. Remember them Sims?)
But one day after I moved to Florida, I got an e-mail from Sims, he'd left the country, gone to a little Island in the Mediterranean, hooked up with a woman we both knew, and was having the time of his life. That was about 1999,.....and guess what? He's still there, and everyonce in a while "pops" in on my blog and leaves a "pithy" comment. (Do you think "pithy" is a little heavy Sims?)
But I have to say Sims is one of those folks that if we ran into each other tomorrow morning it would be real hugs (sorry Sims it's a new millenium!), a couple of pints of Guinness, and several more hours and ten's of pints of Guinness as we caught up, long into the "dawn's early light"!
Sims is that "real best friend" that eludes most people in thier entire life time.
Mr. Guinness
P.S. Sims, I still haven't hit the lottery, but when I do I'm coming over there, have a few pints, and then we are off to Ireland, to find a friendly pub that appreciates good Irish Pub music,...and of course the master,Dylan!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Why do I feel like I'm getting old,!

Been a real "Nantucket sleigh ride" this month. ("Nantucket sleigh ride" is a term dating back to the 1800's. When a whaling crew harpooned the whale it was hang on and pray. The whale dragged the little 16 foot or so dory all around the ocean, until he eventually died from loss of blood, but history had it that it was 100 times wilder than the worst amusement park ride you can ever think of, and all you can do is hang on for dear life!)
Anyway, work is still a pain in the ass, I'm getting farther and farther behind, picked up a new asociation of 195 homes, and they are certifiably crazy to the bone, at least the ones in charge on the Board of Directors.(Presidents husband gets in a physical "altercation" with a neighbor caught on video tape by the cameras on the gate, (both in thier 60's!), they have an annual meeting with more lawyers than the US Supreme Court, and each one exploring new BIZZARE legal thingies. "I want all the ballots disqualified", and "all the proxies are null and void", and one guy on a soap box rapping on about "why can't we all just get along?", and me? Well I have to keep this trainwreck on the tracks and moving forward. (Strategy? Buy $1,000 worth of BBQ with all the fixin's, set it up on tables below the meeting room by the pool with the windows open, time it for 90 minutes after this circus begins, and sit back)
Comments begin having more saliva, and the tastebuds are vibrating into new levels of frenzy, then someone stands up and says, "look let's just move this along we've all got other things to do (EAT,EAT,EAT!)"
Is there a motion to adjourn? (Loud raucous bunch of mumbling as they head for the door like Pavlov's dogs,....Yup I'll take that as a duly made motion, seconded and voted unanimously! (Aaaaah only 364 days til this circus is back in town!)
Go home, have a pint or two, and pack for a course I have to take in Orlando,Florida at Disney World on "managing meeting and elections" At $225 a night, $495 for the course, I sure as shit am not spending another $600 to fly there and back, I'll drive it, only $80 in gas each way and 7 hours of "windshield time" each way, aaaaah but the peace and quiet of some new age music in the CD player, as the commercial says "Priceless!" Oh shit, the tires are a tad smooth, make that another $600 for four new tires and a front end alignment! (But the good news was I was tooling the whole way at 80 miles an hour with no "shimmy" or vibrations! Set a new land speed record from my house to Disney World 6 hours flat!)
The course was a two day thing, so I figured I'd stay Sunday night, Monday Night, Tuesday night and head out Wednesday morning for the drive back. As luck would have it there were only 7 of us in the class we covered everything in one day, and all I had to do was show up tueday morning at 8am, take the final test (35 minutes) and BAM, "On the road again!" So I canceled tuesday nights stay and headed back.
My boss is calling twice a day in a panic with the old "what do you do about this?", and "what do you do about that?" (Ain't it nice to be missed?) But when I get back he tells me he can't afford to hire an Aministrative Assisstant for me just yet. But he volunteers be act as my Administrative Assisstant until he can. (That's rich!! Can you imagine the owner of the firm taking notes for me, mailing our flyers, handling important calls ("Someone's dog shit on my lawn you need to do something about it!", or the old "Those landscapers are ruining my azealas you need to come out here and show them how to prune them properly." (Quick aside: Lady, you're talking to a city boy if it's green you mow it, and I don't know an 'Azeala' from a Tulip, so you sure as hell don't want me showing anyone how to prune or your precious 'Azealas' will be the same height as your lawn, your trees, and what's left of you fancy flower beds. Nothin' personal just "horticulteral Evil run wild")
So I'm back up to my belly button in paperwork, a bunch of folks who need to find a life, and a two hundred pound anchor sitting in my gut all day long. (Guess we won't be giving up drinking this month!)
But is that fair to me, my wife, and my cat? I'm awake at 3 a.m. flipping and flopping in the bed, running through "To Do" lists mentally unable to go back to sleep, waking up the wife, rolling onto the cat (man are they quick!) Gotta find a solution. I did a little math and my Accounts constitute almost $140,000 of the annual revenue and $150,000 of the grief. Help,....I need a solution here.
By the by, it's Saturday, including my two days of drive time this week, the 20th straight day I'm going to have to go to work. This is really begining to suck!
Well off to work, I'll write some more tomorrow.
I love my job, and what I do, I just hate having to put up with mutant alien life forms who, in thier volunteer capacity, are emminently sure they can do my job far better that I, and that the proper way to pronounce "Professional Association Manager" is "GO-PHER"
Well I'm making your life easier cause I got all the "whackos" of the world cornered here, so enjoy your day.
(Sorry this sounds like a rant, but it beats me going out and shooting some son of a bitch becasue they want me to show 30 Mexican landscapers who don't speak English how to trim "Azealas", which by the way is no where in my employment cont5ract nor our firms management contract. And when they are made aware of that the reply is, "I don't care you work for us and you will do what we tell you to do, or you and your firm won't be working here long."
"Ooooops! Did my Grey Poupon spill all over your frock? How careless of me! I do hope you can get it out. (He,He,He, He, you sad excuse for a human being!)

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Something new for me,..but I love it.
Having been born and brought up Roman Catholic there are certain things you can not miss out on. Like all the ceremonies, all the mystical formats and "pomp and Circumstance", the heirarchy of seminarians, priest, monsignors, bishops, arch-bishops, cardinals, and of course Pope. Now don't get me wrong here, but I want more out of a spiritual moment than the 63 years of what I've gotten thus far, and it is definately not longer, more "sermonizing", or joining one of the other ministries or committees in my local church.
If I seem to go a little deep in this blog, just write it off to me sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, full blown head cold, not up to par, or whatever else you care to call it but read on, and please let me know your opinion as well.

One of the single most things that gave me a "shot" of spitiuality was what is called "Gregorian Chant" this was a type of Latin song style invented, (Oops! let's be correct here!)chosen and dictated as the official choice of Christian music by Pope Gregory "the Great" (590-614 AD). The reason? It was slow, did not have a "zippy tune" or "catchy refrain" and was more like a "drone" in a big empty building. (Of course this was when the whole of Christianity was Roman Catholic, almost 1000 years before Martin Luthor posted his thesis on the doors of the Wittennburg Cathedral!)
Now having gone to 12 years of Catholic school I got my fair share of Gregorian Chant in Latin. (Can't say I understood the words, but if you miss a note Sr. Mary whatever was there with her pitchpipe and ruler to be sure you got it right next time. But I deviate.
My wife who is in this local "ecumenical chior", came home a couple of moths ago and announced her chior was going to do a "Taize" type concert, (and of course my attendance was compulsory, as usual) So as she headed off to all the practices I had a bit of spare time and looked up this "Taize" stuff on Google, went to thier web site and started reading through it.
At first glance it was a sort of non-denominational, almost Catholic kind of monastary sort of experiance at someplace called Taize, about four hours outside Paris. The thing that impressed me as I read was it's basic simplicity, the HUGE numbers of young people who walked, rode, and any other way they could just to go there. Not just German's French, Italian, but African, Bolivian, Phillipino, Korean and Australian, and just about every other corner of the world. This was peeking my interest. (If today's youth see's a value then there is definately something worth looking into there.) I also noticed Pope John Paul the 23rd dropped by a few times himself! (That was impressive as well, as Popes have better things to do than check out little "communes" around the world.)
There was a basic explanation that what they "provided" was a SIMPLE method of knowing God. Chant was the basis, not long and complex, but simple and repetative and brief. In all different languages they chanted, then there was a reading of a couple of sentances from the Bible, then another chant, then silence for as long as you cared to stay and "talk to God, one on one". The average service took less than 10 minutes! But the sheer noumber of people was amazing. The Bible verse was read aloud in at least four different languages, one right after the other. Sounded "cool"! I started listening to some of the other chants they had on the website in MP3 format and enjoyed them as well. Then came the concert!
As I entered this local church where they always had these ecumenical concerts, I noticed the chior was not in it's usual place up front on a sort of "stage", but they were scattered all over the church in the pews! (First thought they were trying to do some last minute learning of the parts in silence. OK so I jumped to conclusions.) The lights were dimmed and there were a lot of lit candles all over the place. I glanced at the watch, (they better get up and get to the choir loft or something there is less than a minute til it starts,....but they didn't move.) Then I noticed the chior Director come in and sit down at her piano at the BACK of the church. She started playing a little tune, and the chior just began siiging from where they were. IT was outstanding, after a couple of short (no more than two minutes each) chants, the local minister stepped up to the microphone and of course my cynical mind thinks "Okay here we go lot's of sermon coming up) Less than 15 second later he finishes and sits down! Then the Choir does another chant, again short ones, and then the chior director announces there will be a period of silence for contemplation. After what seemed like an hour (my cynical mental clock, it was probably no more than five minutes of silence. The choir started another chant, and repeated the entire sequence of chant, reading, and silence. This time I got into the whole thing. The simple chant echoed in my mind, the one sentance reading also rattled around with the chant, and I found I loved the silence. I could really concentrate on the words of the reading, and becasue it was so short it had meaning, the chant helped me relax and open myself to other than my troubles, and my world, and you know what? It was spiritual!
I stayed there almost twenty minutes AFTER the "concert" ended, just thinking and relaxing "talking" to God. I really think He listens to us, I really think He cares, but the bottom line (again the cynical business guy in me)is He expects us to talk to Him.
If you are interested go to "",.....enjoy!