Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Series of Dreams

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”   Genesis 37: 5-7

Look, everybody has dreams.

I'm not talking about "I have a dream of winning the lottery" or "I dream of owning my own business". I'm talking about ZZZZ-induced  REM fueled dreams. I'm talking about dreams where you wake up and go "whoa, what was that about?". I 'm talking about dreams where you tell your wife about it and she just looks at you with that look that conveys this one subtle message: You are a moron.

As everybody knows, dreams must mean something. There are plenty of people to help you interpret your dreams. For example, in the Aisling A-Z Dream Dictionary, it gives you an interpretation of the symbols of your dreams.

For example, if you happen to dream about feces ( or "poop" to you Trump voters out there), it means " there are problems with your colon".  Hey, it is on the Internet, so you can't argue with it.
I just happened upon the meaning of bare bosoms in dreams. Not that I have dreams about bare bosoms. At least not now. Maybe when I was thirty-five.  It says "Breasts symbolize nurturing in dreams. For example, if a friend has exposed breasts in a dream it is a request for you to use your nurturing / leadership abilities in social settings."

This is going to come in handy when I tell my wife about the dream I had about, oh, just to pick a name out of the sky, Nicole Kidman, and she was topless. It simply means Nicole wants me to use my nurturing/ leadership skills in social settings.  Thanks, Nicole!

In fact, I've had a lot of celebrities in my dreams. My dream world is a regular US Weekly.

One time, I dreamed about Urkel from the 90's television show, Family Matters. We were walking up the steps going into a house for a party. That's it. I think I asked Urkel if he knew anybody at the party.  Not sure why I had a dream about Urkel, because, let's face it, he was one of the more annoying figures of the 90's along with Janet Reno and whomever came out with the "Macarena" song.

My interpretation was this: even though I did not make good grades in high school, I knew a lot of people that did and I probably would have hung around Urkel if he had gone to Wheeler in the mid-70's.

On a little more serious note, I've had two vivid dreams about Bob Dylan. Whenever one of my parents would die, Bob would show up in a dream, unannounced. In true Bob fashion, I didn't understand anything he said, but I knew it was probably important. In the dream after Old Man Manis died, Bob was sitting up in a tree, talking to me about something real deep, but I couldn't understand it.  Just like a couple of his concerts I've attended.

The celebrity dream that caused a lot of discussion around Manis Manor is the one I had about Jane Seymour.

Yes, I admit it. Like many male baby boomers, I have a crush on Jane Seymour. I don't quite know what it is, but there is just something about her I've always found attractive. Maybe it's because she's good looking.

The dream was this. I took Jane Seymour to a basketball game at East Cobb Junior High School. I was in 8th grade in the dream. Jane was starring in "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman".   It was a big game, packed house, and we went up in the stands.

I could hear everybody in my class saying "Hey Manis" and "Manis", but they were pronouncing it like they did back then:  "May-Nus" (you have to remember-this is The South).  They were impressed with my date. Even the cool kids like my friend Craig, who probably did go out with Jane Seymour a couple of times.

Jane wore yellow sweater. We sat together and watched the game. That was the dream. No big make out session with Jane Seymour. She kept her clothes on. I guess there was no one she wanted me to use my leadership/nurturing skills on.

When I told my wife about the dream, she said, "Yellow?!".  She promptly showed me a picture she had found: my prom picture.  My date wore a yellow dress.

On it says this about the color yellow in dreams:

"Yellow is a color with various meanings, usually either positive or negative depending on the context of it being used in the dream. On the positive side it can mean innocence, hope, happiness, and lightheartedness - to have a "sunny disposition". On the negative side it can mean indecision, cowardliness, or sickness. Pay careful attention to how the dream made you feel to understand the meaning of the color yellow in your dreams."

With that in mind, I think I can say on the positive side that the color yellow in this dream means my happiness was taking a major TV star to a basketball game at my junior high school.

Other than that, I haven't the slightest idea what my Jane Seymour dream meant.  My wife says it means that Jane Seymour is "my woman".  She also said something about medicine and needing to increase my dosage. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Plastic Flute

In case you didn't know, I've been writing a couple of books this past year.

One book was something I've had in the can for a long time, sort of like Harper Lee, except I'm no Harper Lee. It also doesn't touch on significant existential themes unless you count jokes about moms jumping up and down when a nine year old hits a home run as meaningful.

The second book is a little more personal; it is about my life in the 70's at Wheeler High School.  I expect Ryan Gosling to play me in the movie.

At the time I went to Wheeler, it was THE school in Cobb County. Wheeler was in East Cobb, and cousin, East Cobb was a-booming back then.

It was interesting writing about my life back then because unlike most people, I just went to school and came home.  I wasn't in any clubs. My grades were not good. I was too small for sports. I've always wondered why I was like that.

Then one day it hit me.

In sixth grade it was announced that we would be having "band" practice. This is when the high school and junior high school band teachers went to the elementary schools and tried to teach the kids how to play a recorder, which is a black plastic flute.

Like everyone else, I received my flute and went to "band" class.

Okay, I will admit one thing. I was eleven years old. I really did not grasp the significance of playing a plastic flute.

I will admit something else. I probably did band class so I could get out of my other classes. I'm pretty sure my friends were a part of it too.

First class. The band teacher gave this home work: Practice on your recorder.

A week goes by before the second class. I practiced on my recorder for maybe two minutes, total. That's being generous.

Second class. The band teacher catches me talking to another student during class. I stopped talking. The class ends and the band teacher gives the same home work as before. Again, I might have picked up the flute to look at it.

Third class. The band teacher is going over the scale. The band teacher points at me as I am mouthing the notes and says I'm just "following the class" and "doesn't really know it". Okay. You got me, Sherlock.

 The class ends. The band teacher wants to see me after class.

The band teacher has me sit down. The band teacher sighs.  The band teacher looks at me and says, "You know, some people can do things and some people can't do things. You can't do this. Please give me your flute."   I give the band teacher my flute.

As I look over this incident, I can honestly say this: that band teacher really sucks.

For one thing, and I cannot over emphasize this, I was ELEVEN years old. On top of that, I was an ELEVEN year old BOY.  Eleven year old boys are not known for their ability to follow instructions no matter if it was 1971 or 2016.

It is just an awful thing to tell a child they simply don't have what it takes to play a plastic flute. I'm still not sure what it takes to play a plastic flute.

I'm not sure if the band teacher wanted me to protest it and then come in the next week playing like crazy. Maybe that was it. However, even though I was a smart aleck kid, I was compliant and if an adult told me I couldn't do something, it made sense to me that I couldn't do it.

So, a door was closed to me- I couldn't even be a band nerd. It was closed by an adult, that had observed me for, maybe, three hours total.

That's just the way it was back then. Adults threw kids in a box and that's where you were expected to stay.

By the way, there are tons of my contemporaries who worship this teacher. That's okay. Maybe I was the one kid that he made a mistake with, I don't know.  I'm glad nobody else had my experience.

I'm not going to lie. Five years later in high school I was not thinking, "Man, that teacher kept me from band".  I didn't obsesses over it. Still, I've wonder if this was in the back of my mind: I can't even play a plastic flute.

Last week, my high school celebrated its 50th year of existence. I saw a lot of people I haven't seen in over thirty-five years.  I ran into one of best teachers ever, Roger Hines. He was the most challenging teacher I had at Wheeler. I wrote a paper for him once. Somehow, I made a 92 on it.  I wonder what would have happened if he told me some people can write and others can't.

I probably wouldn't have written a blog for seven years or be coming out with a couple of books.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Reagan vs Trump

It has been a little difficult this election cycle.

A lot of people-and I do mean a lot of people-that I like are big supporters of Donald Trump.

This is difficult for me because I basically see Trump as an insincere jerk with a big touch of douche in him. His appeal is totally lost on me.

Some people see a strong leader. I see a dope with a big mouth. Some people see a business genius. I see a relentless self promoter who's as sincere as a lap dance and wrong about as many times as he is right.

But one of the things that has bothered me is the comparison some have made between Trump and Ronald Reagan. Craig Shirley, who worked in Reagan's campaigns said, "In the '60s and '70s he(Reagan) was often derided by the eastern elites, by academia, by the establishment of the Republican party. He was considered the George Wallace of the Republican party, a grade B actor with premature orange hair."   

Yeah, but...

Reagan:  He was born in poverty.

Trump:    He was born very rich.

Reagan:   He worked his way up the Hollywood ladder on his own.

Trump:    He proudly tells audiences that he started out with a mere "million dollar loan" from his dad.

Reagan:   Started out as a Roosevelt/Truman Democrat but left the party in 1962. He said,"I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."  Basically, he began his shift in the 50's when he was a spokesman for General Electric.

Trump:     May/may not have been a Democrat or Republican. Not sure. He's given a lot of money to Democrats over the years. He says he's changed his position on several issues. He's been pro/anti abortion, pro/anti second amendment.  His basic theme is everyone is stupid except for him and he's the only one that can make "good deals" to make America "win".

Reagan:    Believed in The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.

Trump:      Believes the last Republican President should have been impeached. Believed the party's nominee in 2008, John McCain, a Vietnam POW, was not a "war hero". Trump said he liked people that "weren't captured" and that McCain's experience was "irrelevant."   Trump called the last Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, "a dope".  He made derisive personal comments about Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and just about every other Republican not named Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie, or Sarah Palin.

Reagan:    Gave great speeches. "A Time For Choosing".  The Fortieth Anniversary of D-Day. "Mr. Gorbachev: Tear Down This Wall". The remarks on The Shuttle Disaster.  "A shining city on a hill".

Trump:      Most of his speeches seem off the cuff.  Spends a lot of time talking about polls. "Really amazing". "Totally unbelievable".  Says "I" and "Me" about four hundred times more than President Obama, the previous winner of the "I'm The Messiah You've Heard So Much About" award.

Reagan:     Two marriages. The first marriage died due to irreconcilable differences. The second marriage lasted over fifty years.

Trump:       Three marriages, trading in the old one for a newer model. The current Mrs. Trump has posed nude making her the first potential First Lady to ever appear naked in a magazine.

Reagan:      Memorable debate performance-"Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Trump:        Memorable debate performance- felt the need to defend the size of his penis.

Reagan:       Had the support of all of the conservative infrastructure including The National Review  and George Will.

Trump:        Does not have the support of conservative intellectuals. He has the considerable support from a lot of radio talk show hosts and Ann Coulter.

I could go on and on. All I can say is Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan.