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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Random Prompt #298: What is your favorite work of art?

Random Prompt #298: What is your favorite work of art?
    Looking up and to the right from my desk chair, near the door frame, I have a painting of the iconic 1949 Herman Leonard photograph of Ella Fitzgerald at Club Downbeat in New York City with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman looking on from a front row table. I had been trying to buy a print of this photo for a long time, but everywhere I looked it was temporarily out of stock, which prompted my fabulous, multi-talented daughter, Madeline to do this painting for me and it’s my favorite...for several reasons.
    I grew up in a quasi-jazz house in the 60's and 70's, That is to say the background noise in our house was the jazz my parents listened to on the local public radio station WBFO 88.7 or the long defunct WADV 106.5. Today, 88.7 is public affairs NPR and 106.5 is new country and plays endless sagas about faux cowboys drinking beer on the back of pickup trucks. While WBFO played it pretty straight, WADV had personality with Buffalo Broadcast Hall of Famer, Fred Klestine spinning a unique jazz blend and wishing everyone a salubrious day. Or you could hear Bernie Sandler’s Big Band program playing Count Basie and Bennie Goodman. As great as they were, Basie and Goodman, didn't excite the imagination of my generation and in no way could compete with the coolness of The Beatles and Bowie. But, by osmosis I must have gotten them because by the late 70’s my attitudes toward jazz started to change when I heard stuff by Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. through my friend the Doctor, who was and is, always a step ahead of everyone else.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Big Wayne Wants To Know What They're Doing Up There?

    Built on thirty bricks and his wife’s homemade, Sriracha soaked, mac-n-cheese, twenty-eight-year vet, Big Wayne is the bearish anchor of the A-Belt. As the morning sort begins he stands with gloved hands looking up the moving conveyor belt with a certain amount of dread at his co-workers at the top of the line engage in conversation. As the packages roll down and start to assemble in front of Big Wayne you can hear him audibly sigh as he looks at the packages. Just like yesterday, just like every day, many of the packages from Amazon, Walmart and Verizon were missed by the still talking and
flitting about co-workers up the belt. Big Wayne picks up the missed packages, goes past the already struggling guy pulling the mall truck and mutters to nobody in particular, “What are they doing up there?”
    Setting the packages on the steel gearbox enclosure halfway up the belt, he spreads his arms in disbelief and yells to his still talking his co-workers, “Hey, the weekend’s over, it’s sort time,” Having their conversation interrupted they give Big Wayne a funny look before resuming their conversation.
    Returning to his position he finds still more packages that aren’t his spinning against the blocking bar at the end of the belt. Exiting the big 700 that carries the mall freight, the mall guy says, “Might be a long morning, looks like Toys R Us is getting a bulker.”
    Big Wayne responds to this information with an exasperated eye roll as he removes his and 217’s and 218’s freight from the belt. After the mall guy and Big Wayne get caught up the freight momentarily thins out, just as late starter Donna (218) arrives at her truck. Having seen the printout of her stops Big Wayne gives her the rundown and reminds her about the crazy pit bull at 323 Aurora, which is getting their monthly “Direct Signature,” medication today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Random Prompt#299

Random Prompt #299
Have you ever spoken up when you saw something going on that was wrong? Were you scared? What ended up happening?

    When I read the topic sentence for #299 my mind immediately jumped not to a time I spoke up, but to a time that I didn’t speak up. My middle daughter Caroline was maybe ten years old playing on a town softball team and was eternally stuck in right field. There were older girls on the team and some travel players getting a little extra work in this less competitive league including the coach’s daughter. Caroline had endured this same scenario on the previous year’s team: stuck forever in right field while the travel girls and the coach’s daughter pitched and played infield. Bored to tears at the lack of action in right field she would start to play with the dirt at the edge of the infield or would twirl around with outstretched arms like a helicopter. I would encourage her to keep her head in the game and she tried, but she was ten and stuck softball’s version of purgatory. Who could begrudge her this lack of attention? Youth sports coach, that’s who.
     Neither Caroline or I can remember if she asked the coach if she could play a position other than right field or if he just took it upon himself after she was lost in an extended daydream, but between innings in a game that they were hopelessly winning the coach, in front of her teammates, teammates parents and the whole town softball community, imitated her helicopter routine. This is a man of fifty plus years spinning around with outstretched arms telling a ten year she can’t play second base if she going spin around like a helicopter.