Monday, March 20, 2006

Westward Look

I survived a weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Actually it was a great time. I saw three different groups of friends and family I hadn't seen in ages.
I proved my resourcefulness at least once.
I caught a ballgame.
And the bad omen of starting the journey by driving away with to-be-returned DVDs on top of my car only manifested itself in a forgotten phone charger and a flat tire that fortuitously occurred mere blocks from a Discount Tire that had me on the road again in less than 45 minutes.
The return drive - the back way - was beautiful as usual and with the sun sinking as I sped through the northern suburbs, I stumbled on a road named Westward Look. I turned and drove along to a resort parking lot, where I captured the sunset you see below.
Today is the vernal equinox and it's been downright decent.

Equinox sunset

Equinox sunset
Originally uploaded by lionelfrailey.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Spring becomes Summer

(This form, rythym, style and all copped from one of my new favorite songs: The Trapeze Swinger)

Please remember me, leisurely
While you’re pacing in the kitchen
And light, window-paned, falls ‘cross your face
With the warmth of Mexico.
A trip two other lives took in love
Now seems faraway fiction.
In life, senses fail, love is bare
And all memory is stealthy.

Please remember me, as you sleep
In a land not seen in daylight.
My face, young again, as we met,
A swirl of colors never painted.
And as you walk, across the falls,
The clouds start raining blood like roses
You dropped in fear, feather-light
And tears washed my gifts away.

And please remember me, at nineteen,
Surprised at your affection –
A new friend, hesitant,
My dreams all wrapped around you
And despite freckled cheeks and nervous eyes,
I pretended I was cool.
We danced on your bed, in monsoon rain
And in the back of your old house.

Please remember me, across the street
Washing dishes in the café,
Your hair spiked and bleached, you call to me
“Baby let’s take off today…”
Your tanktop tan, and mischief eyes,
You were an artist with my time,
But, at summer’s end, your back to me
With downcast eyes on your doorstep.

So please, remember me, through whiskey –
Fleeting wisdom your new power
And your eyes, in soft light
Neon iris reflection.
The candle in your hand, a cigarette –
A burst of immortality.
But nothing’s free, not whiskey
Not your mind to forget me.

Please remember me, before you leave –
I was once your promised future
But now, my time has shrunk,
Like dried flowers on your dresser.
And when we meet again, a shoulder shrug,
Our eyes blind to recognize
The rebel youth, impatient truth
Devouring all we ever wanted.

And I’ll remember you, as I please,
Casting off all the danger
Of growing close, like as one –
Airport hugs lift off the ground.
So, when we talk, long-distance calls
All the strength I have is for you
Just as if our time had never stopped
And the spring’s becoming summer.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Masked and Anonymous

So, the Wildcats are teetering – at best. But the Suns are riding the NBA’s best winning streak and spring training is in full swing, so maybe it all evens out in my sports world.
Backup tournament favorites: UAB, because they have a guy named Squeaky Johnson; Gonzaga, for the NCAA’s Bravest Moustache; NAU (hopefully), for the pot-smokin’ brethren on the mountain; and SIU, for Spills’ one-time residence and the ridiculous notion of a small-town Midwestern school with an Egyptian dog for a mascot.
Actual tournament prediction: Connecticut, I ‘spose, because from what I’ve seen they really can suffocate teams. Just so long as it ain’t those pricks from Duke…
My days of giving Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt are officially over. I never really cared – my thoughts on steroids in baseball are complex and I’ve always considered Bonds primarily a fierce competitor, which he is.
As a sport, baseball has gone through so many evolutions that to set steroid use apart completely from everything else that has gone before it just misses the point. I don’t support steroids in any way, but I think their impact on the game is overstated. Until the 1980s, baseball players never even thought about lifting weights or training year round. And you better believe pitchers are every bit in the mix as much as the hitters. Steroids are another evolution in the game – though perhaps the most unfortunate one. I don’t think any records should be abandoned outright, just understood within the proper context.
My solution on steroids and performance-enhancing drugs and all the like is to institute one single standard. Ban everything, starting with the Olympic committee and running on down to every professional league in the world, and college athletics. Everyone should ban the same stuff, test the same way and to the greatest degree possible penalize athletes the same way for violations.
But to throw away all that’s been done in baseball’s “steroid era” seems to be extreme. It’s not a good thing and it must be corrected, but objectively it’s one of the evolutions of the game, just as variations in mound heights, segregated teams, relief pitching, athletic conditioning, expansion, night games and domes.

This crazy guy in Mesa frat-guy’d a sheep. And got caught red... handed.

So, during my mostly upheld, personally imposed ban on political writing in the last 16 months, our criminal president and his trigger-happy first mate sure have slid downhill, haven’t they? (Just thought I’d point that one out – and say how enjoyable some commentary on scandals 1 through whatever might have been. But I’m good like that, yo.)

Anybody heard any good records lately?

Live music season is slowly but surely returning here to the desert. My note page of dates and bands is mostly full and looking really incredible.

I’ve turned back to Masked and Anonymous a couple times lately, trying to burrow myself deeper into what even I will acknowledge is at first glance an absolutely nonsensical, really quite awful movie. But that’s certainly not the end of it. I keep finding pockets of brilliance in the allegory and the commentary. Basically, as I’ve told the Minions, it’s a feature length music video (with dialogue, a rough plot and at times allegorically heavy-handed characters) to a Dylan song that hasn’t been written yet. That doesn’t quite make sense, and neither does the movie, but to simply dismiss it as nonsense or a vanity project risks throwing away an awful lot of intriguing notions.