December 31, 2010

Seeing Beauty

I have been told I see things always brightly, that I see the beauty in everything. If you read my tales, almost all are filled with bliss and hope. Even the saddest ones are bereft of cynicism. I think this is true. I am hopeful, even when my day is low.

I have known difficult days, but what I see... what I wish you and everyone could see, is not just the light shining at the end of the tunnel, but how wonderful the tunnel is.


I wish the world was this way. Around us all are people who like to point out the bad news. Nihilism's populist messengers are in abundance. Political discussion is often about how awful so-and-so is. Complaints about friends and employers are found more easily than rainy days after a car wash. Woe is me. We'll never make it. We're doomed.

We cheer for the failure of our enemy more than for the success of our hero. 

Spray your life free of this.

My writing is mostly about observation. Every sense squints to know what's in front, whether a color, a sound, a scent, a texture or a taste. The bigness or smallness of any of it, or how they combine. The beauty is always there, and doesn't need dusting off. I try to see it, and try to write it down.

Never ignore true hardship. See the beauty in the lonely, the homeless and those in need. Give them hope, give them a hand.  And point them toward beautiful, hopeful days.

A new year. Help it be a happier, hopeful one.

December 24, 2010

Señor Don Gato (with Video, Music and Lyrics)

Senor Don GatoFew songs I sang while yet still a young prince in Brockeimia were as passionate as this sad love song. A cat reads a love letter, falls, dies, but finds new life thanks to his equal passion of fish.

My heart still breaks... meow meow meow... when I listen.

Señor Don Gato



Señor Don Gato was a cat,
Meow
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
Meow
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow
Where the reading light was better,
Meow, meow, meow
T'was a love note for Don Gato.

How he adored the lady cat,
Meow
Who was fluffy, white, and nice and fat.
Meow
There was not a sweeter kitty
Meow, meow, meow
In the country or the city
Meow, meow, meow
And she said she'd wed Don Gato.

Oh, Don Gato jumped so merrily,
Meow
He fell off the roof and broke his knee.
Ow!
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow
And his little solar plexus,
Meow, meow, meow
 "Ay carramba!" cried Don Gato.

Well the doctors all came on the run,
Meow
Just to see if something could be done.
Meow
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow
How to save Señor Don Gato.

But in spite of everything they tried,
Meow
Poor Señor Don Gato up and died.
Meow
Oh it wasn't very merry,
Meow, meow, meow
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow
For the ending of Don Gato.

As the funeral passed the market square,
Meow
Such a smell of fish was in the air.
Meow
Though the funeral was slated,
Meow, meow, meow
He became re-animated,
Meow, meow, meow
He came back to life Don Gato.

Christmas Comes at The Best Time of the Year

What time is best for Christmas? What day was Christ born? December 25, 0000? April 4, 0004? September 23, -0006? Today is as good as any day. All days are good for anyone seeking the real answers.

The meaning of Christmas is simple: Celebrate Christ, and to do so, live the life He asks of us. That is all. Not the rest of "the real meaning of Christmas," which is misconstrued as warmth, and friendly bliss. Bad? No, but not the point of Christmas.

That's all. A sermonette in a blog usually filled with vignettes and sentimental tales of romance. The truest romance is not found in this blog. At my most profound, I am the most weak, and when I am the most weak is when He is strongest.

As I say in a less important blog, "Christmas is not just for retailers. It used to be known as a celebration by Christians in anticipation of Jesus Christ, both as a child, but also, as symbolic as they also currently are waiting his second coming."

Merry Christmas. Enjoy the frivolity, and the depth, but most of all, enjoy the grace endowed by the Christ child.

(reposted from 2007).

December 23, 2010

Sing Along With Brockeim: Elizabeth Barrett Browning parody

How Do I Read Thee?
severe apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning
read the original


How do I read thee? Let me count the ways.
I read thee from the first and last and mid
My eyes can reach, where pages are not hid
For the ends of books show ideal grace.
I read thee through the pleasure of story’s pace
Most urgent need, by cheap fluorescent light.
I read thee freely, tho’ men strive to ban my right.
I read thee surely, as fervent as I turn a page.
I read thee with aggression put to use
In my old books, like poets, like Byron, like Keats.
I read thee with a mind I beg not to lose
Poets, my lost saints. I read of thee verbal feats,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but read thee better after death.


Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote some of the most passionate poetry about her love for her husband, writer Robert Browning. Her style is not confused or hindered by poetics. Browning brought her simple heart to the page, guided by her brilliant intellect.

Reading good books is like love. There is passion beginning and ending the relationship. Unlike love, all books must end, but with each page turn, we consume and linger and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy my adaptation of Browning's most famous, most parodied poem.

--Brockeim

Steve Landesberg, You Were One of My Favorites

Barney Miller: The Complete Third SeasonSteve Landesberg died December 20. He wasn't the most famous comic, but he was a favorite for me. He had Bill Maher's humorous sensibilities without the political chip on his shoulder. His deft ability to cast innuendo without being salacious, hateful or bitter amazes me as I plow through old clips on YouTube.

I mostly knew him from his character Dietrich on Barney Miller. He was a strong secondary personality on the show, but never insignificant.

Class, wit, intelligence, all in one. Maher, as far as I see it, took notes from Landesberg while growing up, which is probably why I find Maher occasionally funny.



Search Amazon.com for Bill Maher

December 19, 2010

To His Coy Mistress - Andrew Marvell

Alert readers of my review of Timex's Easy Reader watch recognized the allusion to Andrew Marvell's famous poem, "To His Coy Mistress." The poem itself is at once scandalous, romantic, foolish, rich with relationship and lack of relationship.

To His Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Ganges' side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

TIMEX Easy Reader Watch - World Enough, and Time

A classic style, with classic lines and curves, and leather to band it all underside enlivens time as if it were the first sun rising. Timex brings in this watch what time once was: a simple and pure marking of moment to moment.

This watch has no internet connection. It has no date feature. Triathlons and moontrips are not recommended while wearing this watch. But this watch, in giving you time, will bring you the world.

Wear this watch with your best suit, with a sharp white shirt and, if the weather is chilly, wear a plain plaid wool scarf. With a silver-hued frame and rich black leather strap, you will notice heads turning, wishing they wore this fundamental accessory. Traditional ensembles are timeless, and will lift you above the less dapper, less dashing dancers at the dinner ball.

When she sees you, that love of your life yet unmet, know what time it is. She'll want to know, and you will be prepared. As you provide the time, she'll provide her name. Always know the time, and you'll always know her name. Forget the time, and she may leave without notice.

Take her hand with your right hand. Your watch is worn on the left. The Easy Reader model has large digits, and only takes a glance to know how long you have for the ferry, for the sunset, and for the moon to rise. Your love will grow without hurry.

If things get late, have no worry. Indiglo lighting will illuminate the face with a swift press of the button.

If, by owning and wearing an Easy Reader Timex watch, you are able to share with her your time, know that when tomorrow comes, she'll give you the time of day.


December 14, 2010

The Lunchbreak Reader - Singalong With Brockeim - parody of Carl Sandburg's "Fog"

The Lunchbreak Reader
(severe apologies to Carl Sandburg)
by Brockeim


The reader comes
for a little book treat.
He sits looking
over shoulder and shelf
on long lunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg was an everyday man with poetic tendencies. Whether he was describing Chicago as hog-butcher to the world or the nature of fog, he, like his contemporary, Robert Frost, met readers where they were at.

"Fog" is a delightful poem, using simple imagery. There aren't a lot of words, and the image, at first look, isn't very complex. However, like a haiku poem, there is far more than just the description of the movement of misty air. Fog leaves the natural and becomes surreal and ethereal, but always anchored to the familiar reality we all know.

In my parody, I evoke none of Sandburg's greatness. It is about the corporate office reader, the one who slips in quietly to the lunchroom and sits in sits in the corner reading John Grisham, Stephen King or Jerry Jenkins. He's even been known to pick up an Oprah Book Club title. He could as easily be reading these books in a factory or fast food restaurant. It doesn't matter. But he is the reader who loves to read. Work just gets in the way of finishing books more quickly.

How does he read? With stealth... not because he is hiding, but because he does not want to miss a word. Lunchbreaks are over in a chapter or two, and the library wants the book back in two weeks. The reader might have friends, but that doesn't matter to him at this time. Instead, he sits in that corner, away from anyone who might disturb him, from whomever might slow him down from finding out whodunit.

His lunches probably last longer than they should, and I'm sure he knows it. What can he do? Good books do not tell the whole story in 20 pages, but in 500 pages. There is only one way to get to the last page, and that is by squeezing in every moment of reading he can.

I hope you enjoy my parody.

December 13, 2010

Tasty But Not Overpowering Coffee Candy, Fit for a Picnic

I unwrapped a piece of United Coffee Candy while Nancy and I sat for an afternoon in a park. Dulcet, yet strong flavors filled my imagination as we cleared the branches for our blanket. The candy's metallic maroon wrapper soon lay tossed in a pocket, or a bag, who knows where?

A mid-city stream during a quiet picnic can be as cacophonous as a mid-state river. Rapids, wind, gulls all called out to each other as autumn began its march through the wane of summer. Undeterred, Nancy and I read the poetry of the day: our own, and that found in an old professor's reading list. Many hums and other murmurs of agreement brought us through a dozen pages and an hour of reading.

We asked, "Is that a complex form or does it just organically resonate mellifluously?"

Not all questions can be answered while distracted by the pleasant confluence of her eyes, the falling leaves and the coffee candy. All blended into a gentle sweetness: to see, to smell, to taste.

Now, three months later, I find the wrapper in my satchel, and the stream rushes just as hard. The gulls are gone, but the poetry remains. May your bag of United Coffee Candy reach as deeply, taste as complex, and remind you of poems read on a bank.

--Brockeim

For Coffee Lovers and Grievers of Juliet: review Chantal Ceramic 20-Ounce Ring Mug, Semi-Gloss Garden Green, Set of 4

My Chantal ceramic mug brought more pleasure than most men have known, and, may, if all is right in your heart, bring to you such as well.

Tresses, none had she. She wore only a sweet drink inside that she gave when I pressed my lips to hers. The blondest or darkest coffee, or the cool caress of filtered water is what we most often shared. But on those saddest nights when the moon was farthest, between the time of sun's setting and rising, she took within whiskey or brandy.

One night in June, when the night is shortest, she took too much, then, gave too much. As I read, I sipped, and, this night, I read long, deep into Romeo and Juliet, and raged at their great loss. When Juliet cried, "O happy dagger!" I flung my kind cup from clasped fingers to the wooden floor.

My lovely cup (there was none more so) broke into three large pieces, with shards of ceramic shining like teardrops all around. What was once smooth and inviting was now sharp and angry, unwilling in all regards. All because of the drink, and because of the childish, foolish passion of Juliet, and because I, on a lonely night, sought Shakespeare and cognac to fill my cup.

Buy a set of the Chantal Ceramic 20-Ounce Ring Mugs, and pour your coffee frequently, but, for your reading, choose instead Mark Twain, not the bard.

--Brockeim

December 12, 2010

Protects Filet Mignons and My Heart - Ziploc Freezer Bags Reviewed

Ziploc Freezer Bag, Quart Value Pack, 40-Count (Pack of 3)

I only needed two bags. You'll find 40 in this pack. I used the other 38 for more pedestrian purposes.

In my freezer now, just as has been for two years, are two 6 oz. cuts of filet mignon. They are seasoned. Some garlic, onion, ground pepper (I ground it myself), and the smallest speckle of salt. That's all.

Soon, I will unzip my Ziploc Freezer Bags to reveal two filets, and she and I will dine, shadowed by glimmering candles brightened against her eyes, increased by her smile.

My grill was hot with pecan wood, smoldering and smoking, waiting. She said she would here at 7:00 p.m. It was a Friday night, and when 7:00 passed, I guessed traffic slowed her down. When 8:00 passed, I thought she mistook the time. When 9:00 passed, I believe she wrote down Saturday instead of Friday. When Saturday passed, I knew she would come by next Friday.

A week, a month, two years have passed. She'll call. I'll be ready. A bottle of Bordeaux is in my cabinet, below where two glasses sit prepared. Plates and silverware are on the table all shined and dusted, candles stand in their holders wanting to burn, and I sit poised by the phone and computer expecting her to call or IM.

The other 38 bags, all used in these last two years, went into work as fresh keepers of pretzels, storage of loose rubber bands, and sandwich carriers on my way to work. None have as noble or as urgent employment as those protecting my two filets and my heart.

Ziploc Freezer Bags

Brockeim's Reviews on amazon.com

December 02, 2010

Amazon Reviewing Report: Millions Higher

Looks like I'm back in the gutter. Fame is fleeting.

December 2
Customer Reviews: 115
New Reviewer Rank: 7,420,986
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,120
Helpful Votes: 920
Amazon.com $50 Gift Card (0109)

If you haven't yet explored my humor site, please do. And, if an Amazon gift card would get your Christmas shopping done, see the links above and below, or, just start shopping at Amazon. Free stuff in there if you look around, like The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree mp3.

November 13
Customer Reviews: 113
New Reviewer Rank: 60,742
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,165
Helpful Votes: 916

November 3
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 73,273
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,157
Helpful Votes: 911

October 15
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 94,917
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,250
Helpful Votes: 905

October 1 
Customer Reviews: 109
New Reviewer Rank: 310,062
Classic Reviewer Rank: 5,300
Helpful Votes: 900

Amazon.com $50 Gift Card
Amazon.com $25 Gift Card - Box of 50 Cards

Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed

December 01, 2010