I’ll Be Watching You

photo by E. Herd, World Trade Center subway station)

These eyes greet you as you exit
There is another pair at the top
of the stairs

These eyes

The right one has a larger iris
almost squinting, drooping
tired of too much

The left one is
more focused,
alert and cold

Tired Big Brother
Tired Big Sister
tired of spies


Bernie – Too Sexy for His Fur

Bernie cover modelBernie 2Bernie 3

This is Bernie, whom many of you have already heard about. He is the latest member of our “pride.” We adopted him through S.T.A.R.T. (Save the Animals Rescue Team) in New Jersey. He was at a pound in Paterson–apparently his owner had died–and brought to PetSmart in Paramus for adoption. He resided there for about two months: everyone loved him but they were concerned about his weight–24 pounds. I guess that made him hard to adopt, and the fact he wasn’t a kitten; he’s five years old. We are keeping him on the lower calorie food he was accustomed to eating, Hill Science Diet “Perfect Weight.” He seems to have lost some weight, mainly from being uncaged and playing with the other cats and going up and down the stairs.  I also think he was depressed, but he isn’t showing any signs of that now. All good!

As you can see he is quite the looker and loves to pose for a photograph. This song is in honor of Bernie. He’s too sexy for his fur, wouldn’t you agree?

The Ballad of Donald Trump

Trump flag

(photo: nj.com. This is Joseph Hornick’s house. He has litigated to keep this flag in front of his home.)

(The folllowing is based on “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd”)

Attend the tale of Donald Trump
His skin was orange, his hands were small
He turned people to zombies with a glance
who never thereafter lived free again
He trod a path that few have trod
Did Donald Trump
The demon rich fuck of America

He kept hotels all over town
with fancy clients and good renown
And what if none of their souls were saved?
They went to their maker rather depraved
by Donald
by Donald Trump
The demon rich fuck of America

Wave your gold bars high, Donald!
Hold them to the skies!
Freely flows the blood of those who moralize

His needs were great, his rooms were grand
Three foreign wives, five children fair
posh towers, golf courses, Taj Mahal
hosting beauty pageants, reality show
for spending he deserved a nod
did Donald Trump

The demon rich fuck of America

Ostentatious, Donald was
Loud, narcissistic and mean, he was
Back of his smile, under his word
Donald heard voices that nobody heard

Donald boasted and Donald bragged
Like a perfect machine, he ran
Donald was brash, Donald was vulgar
Donald would blink and rats would scuttle

Donald! Donald! Donald! Donald!

Attend the tale of Donald Trump
He served a dark and greedy god
What happened, then, well, that’s the play
And he wouldn’t want us to give it away
Not Donald
Not Donald Trump
The demon rich fuck of Amer-ica

The Eagle

The eagle – symbol of our country, bird of prey,  majestic creature praised in song.

The best news of the day is the birth of the first eaglet to the bald eagle couple nicknamed “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” whose nest is in a tulip poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.

The First Lady is keeping baby #1 warm and awaiting the birth of her second eaglet.

You can check out the webcam here.  From time to time you’ll see eaglet #1 waddle around when Mom takes a nesting break.

Among the songs written about this illustrious bird are “The Egg” from the musical 1776 that I saw on Broadway as a kid:

Another song is “The Eagle and the Hawk” by John Denver. This one gives me goose bumps. Loved John Denver, saw him in concert with my parents (yes, I did) back in the day.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Spring Fling

Magnificent day today! After my morning doctor’s appointment I had the impish inclination to  play hooky and go gamboling through Union Square Park, so elated was I at the conjurings of spring.

It brought to mind the Shakespearean ditty, “It Was a Lover and his Lass,” and a favorite song I performed in a cabaret concert many years ago, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.”

Here is a rendering  of that tune by perhaps my favorite singer of all time, the late Sarah Vaughan:


Karen Carpenter

Young Karen Carpenter
played the drums,
sang the blues,
even if we
didn’t know it
It’s yesterday
once more

Her oversized heart
gave out at 32
but her angel voice
still lives

A childhood
idol to me
I starved
myself too
but not because of her

We all have
our reasons

Music schmaltzy?
I guess to some
but for
a kid like me
it was hopeful,
and true

Top of the World

Rainy Days and Mondays

We’ve Only just begun
to live . . .

Close to You






One Thing Leads to Another

I woke up with “One Thing Leads to Another” in my brain, and it’s still in there.  Another brainworm unwanted, “unbidden,” as the late Dr. Oliver Sacks would say.

The oddest part about this particular brainworm is that I never knew the lyrics, except for the chorus,

Do what they say
Say what they mean
One thing leads to another

Having googled the lyrics, I realize that I didn’t have that part right. It’s actually:

Why don’t they do what they say?
Say what they mean
You tell me something wrong
I know I listen too long but then
One thing leads to another
Yeah, yeah

How mortifying.

In my defense, it is kind of a nonsense song.  Here is the opening verse, in case you’re interested:

The deception with tact
Just what are you trying to say?
You’ve got a blank face, which irritates
Communicate, pull out your party piece

Any ideas?
Okay, I get that the person is lying but not in a mean way, and that a blank face (poker face?) can be irritating if you’re trying to understand what someone is thinking or feeling. But what exactly is a “party piece?”

Here’s another:

If this is up and I’m up, but you’re running out of sight
You’ve seen your name on the walls
And when one little bump leads to shock, miss a beat
You run for cover and there’s heat

Line 1:  He’s up (literally or figuratively), maybe in a plane or helicopter, and the person he was with is running away, falling out of the plane or no longer in view?

Line 2: “Name on the walls” could be that the person is a dictator or a celebrity or someone famous, yeah.

Line 3: “One little bump leads to shock,” could mean a hit on the head renders the person unconscious or brings about amnesia and a beat in the song is missed?

Line 4:  The person runs for cover because he/she is afraid and he/she runs into a hot furnace or lake of lava, or he/she’s on a beach, or he/she is a fugitive from the law and/or the cops are chasing him/her.  Hmm.

The song seems to be about miscommunication.  Yes, that’s it.

If you have any interpretations or insights (profound or not), please feel free to chime in.





The Tender Trap

Get this song out of my head! Try as I might, it won’t let me be.

You see a pair of laughing eyes,
and suddenly you’re sighing sighs.
You’re thinkin’ nothing’s wrong
You string along
Boy, then snap
Those eyes, those sighs,
They’re part of the tender trap.

I watched part of The Tender Trap starring Debbie Reynolds and Frank Sinatra on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) on Sunday. A romantic comedy/musical from 1955, not earth-shattering, no profound message. Now I can’t get the theme song out of my head.

Neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks would refer to this phenomenon as a “brainworm” or “earworm” (I prefer the former).

Here’s what Dr. Sacks has to say on these “worms”:

Earworms, or brainworms, may start as very meaningful, but they become mechanically repetitive. One is then seeing helpless loop activity in the brain, which resembles seizure activity.

Advertisers are wicked specialists in the production or earworms. So much music is designed to be manipulative—film scores, advertisements, theme songs. I think it’s a perverse use of music. 

Composer Jimmy Van Heusen and lyricist Sammy Cahn, you have a lot to answer for here. Your cute little ditty is driving me nuts! Well, they’re both deceased, so I can’t exactly call them to task on this.

Have any of you been plagued by brainworms? If so, which songs or jingles have wriggled their way into your gray matter?

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

Once a week or so, I treat myself to a real cup of coffee in the morning. By “real,” I mean non-office coffee, not that there’s anything wrong with it: it’s Green Mountain coffee in Keurig cups and it’s not bad. But I really enjoy the coffee at Au Bon Pain, better than at Starbucks or any other local coffee café. Better still, it’s conveniently located in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, right before the glass doors leading to the subway. Only a couple other commuters graced the Pain today—must be due to Holy Week—so no pushing and shoving or waiting to grab your package of sweetener or pitcher of milk product to complete the morning elixir.

While I was carefully mixing my ambrosial brew, I overheard one of the baristas (not sure if it’s correct to call Pain cashiers baristas since they don’t whip up exotic brews) say, “I’m sick of this song. Every morning, over and over, the same thing.”

“Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma was wafting through unseen speakers.

She was talking to her customer. “I wish they would play something else, or I could hook up my iPod.”

The customer seemed sympathetic, nodding.

She continued, “Yeah, it’s like ‘beautiful morning, beautiful morning’ over and over. It drives me nuts, and it’s on a loop, repeating itself with the same other songs. Dang.”

Her customer said, “Yeah, that must get tiresome.”

I started to feel a bit nostalgic, thinking how much I still enjoyed the song, even though it wasn’t being sung by Gordon MacRae, who played Curly in the 1955 film. It’s always his voice I hear when I think of Oklahoma.

I can see how it might become insufferable to hear the same songs piping in over and over again at your place of work, or anywhere, for that matter. Then I kind of envied her for being able to listen to music at work. In any event, it’s been a fine morning so far.

Say Something

Fourteen year old child protégé Jackie Evancho and Cheyenne Jackson are singing “Say Something”  on PBS, a taping of the concert “Awakening” at Longwood Gardens.

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

Now she’s singing “Open Fields of Grace,” the voice of an angel. The music transports me. Transported is where I want to stay.

Tired of the usual, the mundane. Take me to that fantasy garden on stage where she sings “Take Me There.” That’s where I want to be.

I just returned from a visit with mom, cut short by her unkindness. I will no longer stay when she is abusive and unkind.

The visit started out okay. We drank chai tea and ate Choco Leibniz cookies, her favorites. We took a spin around the floor.

Gina was shrieking in the dining room, “Leave her alone! Get out of here.”

James, one of the nurses, said, “She does this morning, noon and night. Our hands are tied,” and he motioned with his hands.

“I know, nothing you can do,” I said, as Mom and I wheeled by.

Ronald wheeled by, eating a chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles. She said, “I don’t like him. He’s an old fart.”

As I listen to Jackie Evancho, I think of how Mom and I used to sing together. She had the voice of an angel. Where did that Mom go? I miss her.

“Do you want to go to the concert upstairs?” I asked.

“Not really,” she said. Why didn’t I listen?

“Come on, Mom. We’ll only stay a little while.”

“Whatever you say,” she said.

Jackie is singing Bono’s “With or Without You,” the most heartfelt version I’ve ever heard. She smiles after each song, and says, “Thank you.”

She’s being interviewed and asked what she thinks her purpose is, and she says, with all the bad things happening in the world, she thinks it’s to make people happy and give them a release. She’s so unaffected, respectful and humble. How refreshing.

Mom and I arrive at the concert in the Music Cares Salon. “Do you want to go in?” I say.

“No,” she says, a scowl in her voice. “I want to watch ER.”

“Okay,” and we head back upstairs and return to her room.

Raymond enters her room. “I can’t make it in,” he says.

Mom is blocking him with her wheelchair. “Don’t let him in, he’s been bad.”

“Okay. Raymond, do you want a cookie?” I say.

“Yes,” he says, and I hand him one. He nibbles the chocolate off the edges of the cookie greedily.

“He’s been bad. He soiled himself and smeared it all over someone else’s room,” Mom said.


Jackie is singing Ave Maria. I’m tearing up.

“I don’t want him in here.” She turns around and sees him.

“Raymond, she wants you to go out. I’m sorry,” I say to him.

He shuffles to the door, confused, cookie in hand.

I feel bad for him. Mom used to say how much she liked him.

“I’m all alone,” Mom says. “Nobody cares about me.”

“I’m here, Mom.”

“You’re never here.”

“I can only come on the weekend. I have a full-time job.”

“Why do you have to work full-time? I give you money from my social security check and food stamps.” She is getting angry.

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do. I give you money every month.”

“No you don’t.” I have forgotten the Alzheimer’s rule: always say “yes, and,” as I learned in my improv training. I’m angry now.

“You’re all alone, you don’t need that money.”

“Whatever you say, Mom.”

“You have no idea what it’s like.” She is glaring at me.

“Okay, Mom. You obviously don’t want me here.” I pack up my stuff.

“Go ahead. You don’t want to be here anyway.”

“Whatever you say, Mom,” I say, as I head to the door. She doesn’t turn to look at me.

I tell James, “She’s being a real bitch, so I’m leaving.”

He nods and says, “Your mom’s been very combative in the morning. She doesn’t want to get dressed or out of bed. She fights and curses at the aides.”

“What can I do?”

“The doctor’s thinking of giving her something to calm her down in the morning.”

“Okay, let me know what I can do.”

“Have a good night,” I say.

“You too,” he says, smiling kindly.

Jackie twirls in her gorgeous white gown with pink vines climbing up and down it, raising her arms, bowing graciously as the audience applauds. Big smile on her sweet, bright face.