Father’s Day Low Rider, Part 1

All I want for Father’s Day 2018

Referenced by Father’s Day Feelin’ Groovy, Part 2

Low Rider, by War, 1975, from the album, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” — Learned and performed by my family, to be recorded and uploaded to YouTube.com. This is what I want for Father’s Day.

That’s My Boy, on Bass!

Tonight, I taught the bass part to my son, 28, while his fiance listened to a recorded book in the back room. Little does she know that she has already been recruited as the woodwind soloist on her flute. Eli picked up the basic groove on his Peavey bass with self-wrought, custom aluminum pick guard. He alternated between listening to War’s recording, and me playing just the bass line on my Yamaha. I thought it would be easier to learn this song by ear, with its multiple syncopated rhythms*, than trying to read its TAB. A bit tricky for Eli, since TAB is more his comfort zone. After a bit, he had the groove down well enough for me to start tapping out the cowbell part on djembe (since we don’t yet have a cowbell). At the end, WE SOUNDED MARVELOUS! I don’t think Eli really heard it, but we did. The rhythmic interplay between those two parts form the heart of the song and they are magical, even in the hands of [am·a·teurs], playing together for the first time. I was feeling it. Yah, mon!

The Family von Player

The band’s temporary working name is The Family von Player, with members:

Eli, on bass and lead vocals
Christina (stage name: CC), backup vocals and solo flute
Paul, on harmonica
Sasha, on piano/djembe/vocals
Susan on cowbell/vocals


*The core rhythms:

| 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + |
| 1 +   +   +   +   +   + 7 + 8 + | bass line rhythm (same, throughout)
|                                 |
| 1   2 + 3   4 + 5   6 +   + 8 + | cowbell rhythm (varies slightly)

More for Father’s Day: haiku to dad

Family Night

Dad’s Log 2018/04/22 23:00
Clearwater, Florida

Eli’s 28th Birthday-Eve / Family Night
with the board game: “Would You Rather?”

I spent the afternoon with Eli at the Reload Shooting Range in Tarpon Springs. Eli kept bringing out fresh clips from his ammo box. His AR rifle was such a joy to shoot, that we just couldn’t stop. It made me decide to get more magazines to reduce reloading on-site. We also shot his stainless .22 cal, 9 chamber revolver with white grips. #BADASS, according to a fellow shooter. Eli had attempted to use this weapon to dispatch with a possum a week or so ago, but missed. This had caused him to worry that the gun itself might have some accuracy weakness. We discovered this worry to be unfounded at the range, as the pistol produced some nicely tight groupings. #NotTheGun

Eli is a much better shot than me, as is his sister, Sasha. I need to take Sasha shooting more. She surpassed my shooting skills in her first outing at Shoot Straight, and in the yard with pellet/BB guns. And she seems to like shooting. Maybe I will get myself and her active in the Civilian Marksmanship Program after I observe next week’s CMP event at the Sarasota Military Academy.

Eli’s official Birthday Dinner was Shrimp Pesto Pasta, with steamed broccoli, diced cherry tomatoes, and chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Delicious, although as always, there is Never enough pesto. I got a little testy when Susan came into the kitchen at the last minute, as all the pieces and timing were coming together, suggesting that some of the pesto should be used to moisten the pasta. #DoNotMessWithMyPesto She was right about the pasta,though.

We had a great time playing the board game, “Would You Rather?“, with some really great laughs. After the final round of questions, we were discussing Eli’s written school success stories*, which, for many, many years were just this: “It was good. I learned a lot.” Christina then revealed that, “For the first few years of our relationship, Eli’s verbal enthusiasm often did not go beyond, ‘It is good.’ He would get enthused about things, but verbally didn’t go beyond, ‘Good.'” Probably more true earlier than it is now, she said, but he would often tell her, “I like you. You are good.” Susan had an incredibly good laugh at this. I have not seen her laugh so thoroughly in a very long time; so hard as to make it hard to catch her breath. Sasha and Christina described her laughter as “goose laughing,” and Susan laughed all the harder for us laughing at her laughing. Good times.

Another question/answer of note was, “Would you rather be able to A. Rewind, or B. Fast-forward time?” Susan’s answer was A. Rewind. She said, “There were two men I would not have had sex with.”

“Sorry, Dad. Sorry, Sasha. You and I would not have been born.” Eli joked. While I, her husband, was more than half certain I was actually on that list, all joking aside. But fortunately, she assured me later, I needn’t have worried. #NotOnTheList #Phew

*At most of Eli’s many Applied Scholastics private schools, each grade, subject and lesson was followed by an exam and a “required” success story. Each student was expected to express what he had gotten out of the course, grade, subject or lesson.


Dream Melodies


ADDENDUM to The Moment of Before

In one of this morning’s dreams, I was sitting with my family enjoying a concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater Florida. On stage was a glockenspiel, a musician playing an interesting melody on it, and our seats. We were that close. The music did not last for more than a few bars because I awoke from the dream with a start, banging my hand into the bed frame. As in The Moment of Before, it took me a moment to reconcile multiple realities with my identity.

“What was that? Where am I? Ah, yes. Bed. Dream. Self. Home. Sunrise. Family – rapidly, pretty much in that order.

I was suddenly awake and the music had stopped the instant my left hand contacted the 2×6 pine board of my bed frame, before the “Moment of Before” rec·on·cil·i·a·tion process had even begun.


Who mans the projector playing the images of our dreams? Why did the music stop so instantly? Who controls the switch? Are the only two settings, [ Dream | Real ]? Why can there be multiple seats my dream’s theater, but one-and-only-one viewer in the theater of my mind? Who occupies That “seat” for which the dreams are played? Why did the music stop? My mind sought fit to record the content of this dream in conscious memory, and although I do not recall the melody being played this time, I have had other dreams with musical melodies that I continued to hum after awaking. Who truly deserves credit for composing such music?


Why Not Smoke Marijuana?

Way back in the Seventies,
I smoked the Marijuana,
and way back in the Seventies,
I learned Algebra, Geometry, and Trig.

Not much later, in the Eighties, I had moved on to Calc,
and though I loved the Calculus, it squashed me like a bug,
as my mind was still quite fuzzy on the Trigonometry.
I can still recall the day I smoked at lunch and then went back to school.
I can still recall the day I sat in Trig and missed the SINEs, completely,
fuzzy-headed, as I was.

And so, I failed the Calc, because my skills in Trig were weak,
and at that point, no tutoring from Truth* could catch me up,
for I had started way too late,
and for no man Calc class waits.

Who knows what careers I could have found in Math,
the studies that I could have done, and discoveries I missed?
But luckily I found the Database and the Code,
some other ways to work the slight of logic by my hand.
So, all was not completely lost, although not all was well.

But look! The Database has vector math, was I asleep then, too? Perhaps.
Was sixteen-year-old Me so brash to throw away a thing
that would one day seem so presioius to the fifty-something Me?

How would he have seen me?
What would I tell my then-self, now?
I guess I’d just say this:
“There’s a substantial price to pay, and yes, I do mean damage.”
“It is real and it is lasting,”
“while the ‘feeling’ that you get from smoking is illusionary dullness,”
“and is doing you no good.”
“Look hard at what it’s doing to your accuracy of thought,”
“to your keen discerning curiosity and especially ambition.”
“Say, ‘Good Bye.’ to these dear friend, at least, that is, in part.”

With all the wisdom hindsight gives, this is what I’d say.
But would I even listen? I don’t know, for sure;
but given who is speaking, I believe that I just might.
Yes, perhaps I might, and that slight chance
is just the reason that I need to write.

Paul Guernsey Player

*Truth Stevens, a fellow Principia College student who valiantly tutored me in math when I was well past the point where tutoring would raise my grade. Thanks for trying, Truth! I should have come to you sooner, but asking for help always felt like cheating.



The Moment of Before

Dad’s Log 2018/04/18

Who am I?

Woke up this morning from such a thorough sleep that I did not know who I was;
no clues from my surroundings; an empty slate for which to write my life on. Before it all came rushing back, the dawn, the birds, my blanket, and the day, the day of week, where I go to work, all my family in the rooms next door.

But at that moment, that brief, brief moment, when I did not know who I was, who was I?

I eventually got up, pulled on some clothes, brushed my teeth and put the kettle on for tea. I started hearing in my head the song that I had played the day before. And though I do enjoy the song, this is not who I am, but just the mantle that I wear. Because, for just a moment, I was none of this.

The Moment of Before

Before pushing back the blankets of the night,
and pulling on the trousers of my day,
just before the calling of the birds outside,
I knew not who I was.

I had first to wrap about myself the mantle of my life,
the fully woven fabric of time and space and memory,
of meaning and of effort,
of duty and agreements made…
to mask my truest self behind the thick and musty mask of this identity.

For in that moment, that brief, brief Moment of Before,
I was myself, a potential force so pure,
so stunningly simple, and oh, so free.

Paul Guernsey Player

The beauty of this poem is, to me, not the fleeting joy (not at all the right word – keep coming back to “potential”) of the experience that it describes, but the realization that the Moment of Before did not actually end. It still continues. Deep beneath the mask of this life is Life, itself. The Silent Calm of Being, the pure potential of becoming anyone and anything that you or I desire is always there. Reach into it, and breathe, dip into this unfathomable well and drink.

Unstoppable we are.

Addendum: Dream Melodies


Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.

“Mom, I have to go to the bathroom.”
“Better go, then.”

I was out in our spacious back yard with mom as she hung laundry on the line to dry. It would be a long trip for a little guy like me to trudge all the way back up to the house, down the hallway, and into the bathroom. I was now up to the task, though, apparently. Alice Guernsey must have answered me this way a hundred times before I understood that I did not need to ask for permission. I am certain she had instructed me to let her know whenever I needed to go – wise words for potty training. Did she then tell me at some point that I need not ask each time, or did she still want to know?
As parents, Susan and I were keenly interested in when and how often our children went, well past the point when they were going on their own. We used this information to suggest a bathroom trip, if one was due, to determine if they were getting enough water, if they were eating well, etc., down to detecting the color, consistency and buoyancy of the child’s stool. We raised, “Better go, then.” to an art form.

The God of Lost and Misplaced Bits

There must be a god of lost and misplaced bits. When you send a document to the printer and it doesn’t print, or when you send an email and it never arrives, where do those messages end up? All those countless documents are composed of even more countless bits of zero or one. Someone went to all the effort to ever so carefully set each of them. All that care and intention in sending them on their way must have an effect. It empowers the god that must receive and destroy them. Otherwise, the ocean canyons would already be half filled with them. They would be slowing down the internet, messing up traffic signal timing and causing all kinds of other problems. Pray that someone has a shrine.


The Guern