Finding my New Year’s Resolution with the help of Philip Appleman, my friend Becky, and Monty Python!

Earlier today as I was casting about for a New Year’s resolution, I came upon Philip Appleman’s poem New Year’s Resolution. The segment beginning “Resolved: this year” seemed good, instructive:

Resolved: this year

I’m going to break my losing streak,

I’m going to stay alert, reach out,

speak when not spoken to,

read the minds of people in the streets.

I’m going to practice every day,

stay in training, and be moderate

in all things…

(From:  “New Year’s Resolution,” by Philip Appleman, in New and Selected Poems,1996)

Later today I discovered that my dear and long-standing friend, Becky, closed her thoughtful and fun-to-read New Year’s Eve blog post with Monty Python’s “Galaxy Song”.  The song invites us to put our lives in perspective, just as this time of year does, as well: “So remember when you’re feeling small and insecure / how amazingly unlikely is your birth…” How perfect is that?

Check out this version of the Galaxy Song to learn some astronomy (in less than three minutes) and to be reminded that our trip through the Universe is completely wild and fast. See if this doesn’t make you want to get out there and experience it all.

Happy New Year to you. May 2014 be truly memorable-in-a-good-way and personally meaningful.

“The Dog Song” by Nellie McKay “…find yourself a hound and make that doggie proud”

THE DOG SONG
by Nellie McKay

I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

My life was lonely and blue
Yeah I was sad as a sailor
I was an angry ‘un too then there was you
Appeared, when I was entangled

With youth, and fear, and nerves
Jingle jangled vermouth and beer
Were gettin’ me mangled up

But then I looked in your eyes
And I was no more a failure
You looked so wacky and wise
And I said, Lord I’m happy

‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your
Hatin’ and your doubt and I don’t care
What the politicians spout

If you need a companion
Well just go right to the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about

My life was tragic and sad
I was the archetypal loser
I was a pageant gone bad

Then there was you on time
And wagging your tail
In the cutest mime
And you was in jail

I said woof, be mine
And you gave a wail
And then I was no longer alone
And I was no more a boozer

We’ll make the happiest home
And I said Lord I’m happy
‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog

I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song, strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your
Hatin’ and your doubt and I don’t care
What the politicians spout

If you need a companion
Why just go on by the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud

‘Cause that’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about

That’s what it’s all abow, wow, wow
That’s what it’s all about
(Pant, pant, pant, pant, pant)
Good dog

Nellie McKay – The Dog Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Beluga whale in a tank douses little boy

Do you get the feeling that the beluga whale may not be happy about being held in a tiny tank ogled by humans day-in and day-out? As Colin Baird, a former orca trainer, said about killer whales, “I think everyone has a better understanding of the natural world, and the intelligence and social infrastructure of these amazing animals — and that concrete pools are not a place for them to be.” That applies to beluga whales, too.

For an even-handed, level-headed view of killer whales held in captivity, see the documentary Blackfish, which “traces a 39-year history of killer whales in captivity leading up to the 2010 killing of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau by the 12,000-pound orca, Tilikum.”

May whales everywhere thrive and increase. May they find safe, fertile waters untrammeled by humans through which to swim their daily rounds. May those places remain uncharted…

“It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.

Damian Aspinall’s Gorilla Encounter: In a language beyond words, transcending differences and the limits of time

A story rich with elements of myth: A man raises a baby gorilla then releases him into the wild. He returns to the jungle five years later to search for his gorilla-friend. A wise woman warns him: the gorilla is big now and has attacked twice—you may not be safe. Be careful.

With his human brother, the man travels up and down a wide river coursing through the jungle, calling to his old friend, his gorilla-brother. Suddenly, out of the dense foliage steps a stunning gorilla. The two share a greeting ritual. The gorilla looks deep into the man’s eyes and holds the man as if he never wants to let go. They communicate in a language older, more complete and meaningful than words.

The time to separate arrives. The two hearts seem to beat as one, their bond transcending their differences, untouched by the limits of time.