Saturday, December 31, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 2001

As we close out 2011 today, I hearken back to 2001 and my "technology upgrade." Now that I was working for HP and had come over to the land of PC (personal computing, aka Windows), I was firmly ensconced in the hottest of technology trends; digital cameras and home photo printing.

When Jeri and I had traveled to Maui the year before, I had taken the leap and purchased a $300 1 MP HP digital camera. That's ONE megapixel, my friends! You pay for being an early adopter. I also found an online bargain and "only" paid $100 for a 128 MB compact flash card (which today wouldn't be good enough to put in a cereal box as a prize.)

I have no regrets about any of this, just recounting history. It enabled us to share our travel adventures with many (pre-Facebook, of course) and take a lot more pictures on the fly. Several years later, it fed into the scrapbooking craze as one could easily sort pictures and only print the best at home. Such was the fun I had at HP, teaching salespeople and customers about all of the life enriching possibilities.

This year's trip into NYC for the Rockefeller Center tree, store windows and Radio City Christmas show turned into fodder for the annual poem. Many beautiful shots of lights and trees were also taken at Longwood Gardens in PA.  I was able to turn the shots into a video for the first time and narrate my own work. This was burned onto a CD and sent out as my "card." for the year. I would get even more ambitious in the years to come.

The tone of the poem continued to be "see and embrace the oneness," and I was appreciative of the inspiration on how to express this.

Love to you all. Be safe tonight. Happy and healthy!

Christmas 2001
Richard Perrotti

One late winter’s night, I basked in the light
of the world famous big city tree.
The crowds had all flown; I was nearly alone
as I stood ‘neath its limbs broodingly.

So many come here from far and from near.
I wondered, what is it they seek?
It’s beautiful, I know but then, even so!
Its not like this tree can speak!

As I pondered this thought and the feelings it brought
a branch bent down, nary a whelp.
And as if out of space shone a light in my face
distinctly saying, “I can help.”

I looked in amaze at the bulb in my gaze,
As it spoke in a voice colored blue.
Twinkling, it said, “Some light I can shed.
I’ve but one simple question for you.”

It asked, “Can you see? Do you appreciate me,
as my light sets your eyes all aflame?
If you appreciate one, the wonder’s begun!
For the one and the all are the same.

The flow you can’t see that animates me,
flows through us all without end.
The spirit’s the same, regardless of name.
I hope that this helps you, my friend.”

If a bulb can but smile, it did for a while
as the limb slowly rose to the start.
It had started to snow, reflecting the glow
And I felt it illumine my heart.

This magnificent sight, colorful chorus of light,
Can never be dimmed or dulled.
For the splendor of this tree is nothing more, I now see
than the beauty of one little bulb.

December 2001 (note the events of the 22nd & 27th and the changes they wrought):
1st - Captain Bill Compton brings Trans World Airlines Flight 220, an MD-83, into St. Louis International Airport bringing to an end 76 years of TWA operations following TWA’s purchase by American Airlines.
2nd - Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
6th - The Canadian province of Newfoundland is renamed Newfoundland and Labrador.
11th - The People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.
13th - the Indian Parliament Sansad is attacked by terrorists. 15 people are killed, including all the terrorists.
15th - The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.
19th - A record high barometric pressure of 1085.6 hPa (32.06 inHg) is recorded at Tosontsengel, Khövsgöl Province, Mongolia.
19th - Argentine economic crisis: December 2001 riots - Riots erupt in Buenos Aires after Domingo Cavallo's corralito measures restrict the withdrawal of cash from bank deposits.
20th - Argentine economic crisis: President of Argentina Fernando de la Rúa is forced out of office.
22nd - Burhanuddin Rabbani, political leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance, hands over power in Afghanistan to the interim government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
22nd - Richard Reid attempts to destroy a passenger airliner by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes aboard American Airlines Flight 63.
27th - The People's Republic of China is granted permanent normal trade relations with the United States.
29th - Mesa Redonda shopping center fire, Lima, Peru, at least 291 killed.

Friday, December 30, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 2000

The year 2000;  twelve incredible months. I could write an entire book about that year but just to summarize, I finally understood that there simply are no such things as "endings." The "little death" of selling our home, a finalized divorce and being essentially penniless overlapped with a new apartment that I should not have been able to rent, a telemarketing job that led to being employed by HP, meeting someone just as the marriage was ending (and we are still a committed couple almost twelve years later) and a miraculous, highly dramatic two-week trip to Maui with her all in twelve months (and I'm leaving much out.)

The cliche reads "As one door closes, another opens." As it happens, all that you need be is present and aware. Doesn't sound like much to ask, does it? Yet without a doubt, sometimes it's the most difficult thing to do.

This year began a new path with the project, one that has continued to this day; story poems. It has really taught me to "pay attention" as the initial note of the yearly theme can come from anywhere. It has served me well and I am most appreciative.

Christmas 2000
Richard Perrotti

“Faithful friends who are dear to us.
Gather near to us once more…”

The story so similar, each and every Christmastime,
As our memories get jogged yet again.
Old sorrows and joys go peeling like bells
While running though our holiday regimen.

Dusty old boxes come out once again,
While tradition takes from center stage.
And the present departs in the blink of an eye
As the past we swiftly reengage.

The scene so familiar, I wondered aloud,
“Is there anything new to celebrate?
Or are we merely condemned to rehash the past
While doing our best to compensate?”

No man is an island, no question goes unanswered,
I discovered in a most surprising way.
For a sidewalk Santa, who was standing nearby,
Overheard my anguished passion play.

Red clad and white bearded, he walked up to me,
Smiled and gently sniffed.
Five little words were all that he said:
“Everything, son, is a gift.”

He patted my shoulder, walked back to his post
Like a heavenly sent diplomat.
And like old Ebenezer, I now understood
Why “the present” is called simply that.

I’d simply forgotten that our attention is love
And that we each play our part perfectly.
I headed for home with a grateful heart
And a promise to share generously.

December 2000 (when "that election" ended):
12th - The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore
13th - The "Texas 7" escape from the John Connally Unit near Kenedy, Texas and go on a robbery spree, during which police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot and killed.
13th - American Vice President Al Gore delivers his concession speech effectively ending his hopes of becoming the 43rd President of the United States.
19th - The Leninist Guerrilla Units wing of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist attack a Nationalist Movement Party office in Istanbul, killing one person and injuring three.
22nd - Pop singer Madonna and film director Guy Ritchie marry in Scotland
24th - The Texas 7 hold up a sports store in Irving, Texas. Police officer Aubrey Hawkins is shot during the robbery.
28th - U.S. retail giant Montgomery Ward announces it is going out of business after 128 years.
30th - Rizal Day Bombings: A series of bombs explode in various places in Metro Manila, Philippines within a span of a few hours, killing 22 and injuring about a hundred.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: 1999

The end of the century and the beckoning of the new millennium. The end of my old life also was on the horizon. Under sad, depressing emotions and harsh economics, we had decided to divorce. The question that remained as everything sped towards that conclusion was whether we would be able to sell the house, pay of all debts and survive the process in the upcoming year.

I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. That includes almost physically dying twice in my younger days. I didn't know if I would make it. Regardless, the end of the year called for another poem and the theme presented itself as straightforward as any ever had.

Can you sense that all is well? Do you believe that all is well?

The spiritual work continued, requiring a leap of faith. It came down to choice, as it always does and always will.

Christmas 1999
Richard Perrotti

Evergreen’s fresh and fragrant cachet,
The eggnog smells rather “potent.”
Sweet aroma of cookies wafting about,
One could say that Christmas is scent.

E-commerce, malls and the one “perfect gift.”
Constant tracking of all monies spent.
Credit cards flying and still we keep buying,
And Christmas is driven by cents.

Holiday cards, letters, packages galore;
“Seasons Greetings” they all represent.
Descend like an avalanche that flows through the mail,
Simply Christmas, delivered and sent.

A cacophony of carols, the twinkling of lights,
The holiday meals succulence,
The ripping of wrapping, the breaking of bows;
Seems Christmas is all about sense.

In quieter moments, withdrawn from the clamor,
We ponder, “How did this all begin?”
Memories awaken of innocence and light
And we access the Christmas within.

The Christmas within simply makes no “sense,”
Sights and sounds are not part of the plan.
It cannot be touched nor tasted nor smelled.
But feel it? You most certainly can.

It’s choosing to “see,” to trust, to believe
That All Is inherently Well.
That thought being borne, each bright Christmas morn
Will Peace and Love foretell.

December 1999; the 20th century expires:
2nd - The United Kingdom devolves political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.
3rd - NASA loses radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander moments before the spacecraft enters the Martian atmosphere.
7th - The RIAA files a lawsuit against the Napster file-sharing client, on charges of copyright infringement.
17th - The United Nations General Assembly passes resolution 54/134 designating November 25 as the annual International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women.
18th - NASA launches into orbit the Terra platform carrying five Earth Observation instruments, including ASTER, CERES, MISR, MODIS and MOPITT.
20th - Portugal returns Macau to China
21st - The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.
22nd - The Spanish Civil Guard finds near Calatayud (Zaragoza) another van loaded by ETA with 750 kg of explosives (see related event on December 21, 1999).
26th - Severe weather in France kills over 100 people and causes extensive damage to property, trees and the French national power grid (see Lothar).
28th - Saparmurat Niyazov is proclaimed President for Life in Turkmenistan.
31st - Control of Panama Canal reverts to Panama
31st - Boris Yeltsin resigns as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: 1998

By this year, everything that I had sown was now coming to harvest. This was the year that my wife knew just how mad, sad, distraught and crazed I was and all of the insane things that I was doing to escape how bad I was feeling. This period is the "how low can you go?" phase; I learned that even when you think you've hit bottom, don't imagine it can't get worse.

I was praying for a sign as I continued to do a semblance of the work necessary to keep myself afloat. I started to embrace meditation more fully and take any job, no matter how menial, that would get me going again. The poem is a metaphor for the sign that I was looking for. In the most unexpected of ways, I did receive one but didn't recognize it as such for quite some time afterwards.

People have asked me how I could continue doing these poems under such circumstances and have them turn out as well as they did. I think it's part of a gift to me, demonstrating that if I reach for connection, it will be shown. That is a comforting thought, especially as things eventually began to turn towards "the light."

Christmas 1998
Richard Perrotti

The radio blared as I sat in the car,
“It’s a traffic gridlock alert day.
The tree lighting’s got it all tied up for miles,
The streets are in total disarray.”

Why did I bother? What does this all mean?
I asked as I sat at the wheel
Playing these mindless holiday patterns
Again, seemed to border unreal.

Around me, the faces appeared quite a sight;
Some frantic, some angry, some serene
Like countless passengers floated away
By an endless sea of evergreen.

I needed a sign… I prayed for a sign
That the season’s true spirit remained.
And as I drew close to surrender,
The message appeared unrestrained.

I asked for a sign, and a sign it was,
Literal, simple and definitive.
The cars crept by as it sat on the corner,
Saying but one word… “Give.”

Propped by the side of a red metal pot,
The word seemed to burn in my mind.
How can one give when there seems nothing left?
The answer blazed swiftly behind.

Be kind to yourself; think good of yourself,
The most precious and wonderful gift.
In raising the love that your feel for yourself,
The world you begin to uplift.

This one simple thought brought a smile to my heart
as the traffic began to release.
And as the pace started to quicken again,
I silently wished them all peace.

December 1998 roll call:
1st - Exxon announces a $73.7 billion USD deal to buy Mobil, thus creating Exxon-Mobil, the world's largest company.
4th - The Unity Module, the second module of the International Space Station, is launched.
6th - JC Penney Golf Classic
6th - Hugo Chávez Frías, Venezuelan military and politician, is elected President of Venezuela.
8th - Tadjena massacre: 81 people are killed by armed groups in Algeria.
11th - Thai Airways Airbus A310-200 crashes near Surat Thani Airport, killing 101
16th - Iraq disarmament crisis: Operation Desert Fox - The United States and United Kingdom bomb targets in Iraq.
19th - Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives forwards articles I and III of impeachment against President Bill Clinton to the Senate.
20th - Wendy's Three-Tour Golf Challenge
26th - Iraq announces its intention to fire upon U.S. and British warplanes that patrol the northern and southern no-fly zones.
26th - Severe gales over Ireland, northern England, and southern Scotland cause widespread disruption and widespread power outages in Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.
29th - Leaders of the Khmer Rouge apologize for the 1970s genocide in Cambodia that claimed over 1 million.
31st - US movie box office hits record $6.24 billion for year
31st - Exchange rates between the euro and legacy currencies in the Eurozone become fixed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: 1997

In 1997, I was starting to lose myself. I left my job voluntarily under the guise of making a go of running my own business. Even then, I had to know that it would have been an impossibility but it didn't matter. I was lost. I was in the process of a total life destruction over a two-year span that would end my marriage, many friendships, financial security... let's see, have I left anything out?

As I was "dying" to the life that I had known, I was still doing intense spiritual work, attempting to heal what felt impossible to heal. As I read this poem, the feelings of what was coursing through my mind and heart were captured in this analogy of a man as a tree. I find it ironic that I took the green symbol of the season and was able to adapt it to fit the process I was in the teeth of.

Christmas 1997
Richard Perrotti

In splendor, enchantment and twinkling lights,
A beautiful Christmas memory’s born.
Worlds away, at harvesting time,
the tree was cut quite early one morn.

Magical, memorable, this holiday scene
With our centerpiece tree all decked out in glory.
But an incredible tale lies hidden within,
The harvesting cut revealing the story.

Not all history is written in books;
A seedling is planted and nurtured along.
Recording the seasons and conditions within,
Adding on layers, it grows tall and strong.

Reflecting all wounds in gashes and knots,
The growth rings continue to lay out the chart.
And though the tree broadens and stretches to sky
The seedling still beats at the evergreen’s heart.

So what do you see when you look at this tree,
What it is, or what it became?
The answer reflects the wisdom within,
For men are like trees, the process the same.

A child is born in innocence and love
In a world that will weather him some.
He covers his wounds, he stretches to sky
And we comments on what he’s become.

His titles like ornaments, the money like stars,
More prizes and presents to win.
But must we cut down this man at the knees
To discover the child within?

As a tree must layer, a man must shed some
To discover, remember and heal
The seedling, the child, the love deep inside
For that is all which is real.

December 1997 notables:
1st - GS Warrior guard Latrell Sprewell, attacks his coach P J Carlesimo
1st - Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Davenport IA on KORB 93.5 FM
1st - Westinghouse formally changes its name to CBS
2nd - MCI Center opens in Wash DC, Wizards vs SuperSonics
3rd - "1776," opens at Gershwin Theater NYC
3rd - Golden State Warrior guard Latrell Sprewell, four-year, $32 million, contract terminated for attacking his coach P J Carlesimo
4th - "Diary of Anne Frank," opens at Music Box Theater NYC
4th - NBA suspends Latrell Sprewell for 1 year for attacking his coach
5th - 1st Game at Wash Capitals' MCI Center vs Fla Panthers
5th - STS 87 (Columbia 24) lands
7th - Amy Fruhwirth & Clarence Rose win LPGA J C Penney Classic
8th - 8th Billboard Music Awards: LeAnn Rimes & Spice Girls win
11th - "Sunshine Boys," opens at Lyceum Theater NYC
11th - Fed judge orders Microsoft not to bundle IE4 in Windows
11th - The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change opens for signature.
12th - Carlos the Jackal, "professional revolutionary" goes on trial in Paris
12th - Florida releases Alex Arias, the last original Marlin
12th - Japanese train builders (Maglev) claim world speed record at 332 MPH
12th - Red Sox sign Pedro Martinez to record 6 year $69 million contract
12th - SWAT team shoots John E Armstrong in Fla, freeing 2 young hostages
12th - TWA 800 hearings end
12th - Fed judge sentences Autumn Jackson, who claims to be Bill Cosby's daughter, to 26 months for trying to extort $40 million from him
13th - 63rd Heisman Trophy Award: Charles Woodson, Michigan (CB)
14th - "View From the Bridge," opens at Criterion Theater NYC
14th - Diners Club Senior Golf Match
14th - Juli Inkster & Dottie Pepper win LPGA Diners Club Matches
14th - Phoenix Coyote Mike Gartner is 5th NHLer to score 700 goals
15th - SF 49ers retire Joe Montana's #16
16th - President Clinton names his Labrador retriever, "Buddy"
18th - HTML 4.0 is published by the World Wide Web Consortium.
19th - MTV drops video "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy
21st - Detroit Lions Barry Sanders is 3rd to run for 2,000 yards in a season
21st - Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown, knocked unconscious in game
21st - Lexus Senior Golf Challenge
21st - Wendy's Three-Tour Senior Golf Challenges
21st - Wendy's Three-Tour LPGA Challenge
22nd - Hunter Tylo awarded $4 million in Melrose Place breach of contract
22nd - Merck baldness pill for men approved by FDA
22nd - Nancy Kerrigan & Tonya Harding pre-record a show to air on FOX on Feb 5
22nd - Acteal massacre: Attendees at a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists for indigenous causes in the small village of Acteal in the Mexican state of Chiapas are massacred by paramilitary forces.
23rd - Chic Bull coach Phil Jackson is quickest to reach 500 wins (682 games)
23rd - Colo Avalanche Jari Kurri is 8th NHLer to score 600 career goals
23rd - Terry Nichols found guilty of manslaughter in Oklahoma bombing
23rd - US Agriculture Dept estimates it costs $149,820 to raise a child to 18
23rd - Woody Allen, 62 weds Soon-Yi Previn 27, adopted daughter of Mia Farrow
24th - 1st time a Channukah candle is officially lit in Vatican City
24th - The Sid El-Antri massacre (or Sidi Lamri) in Algeria kills 50-100 people.
24th - The Dominican Republic becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
25th - For 1st time US movie box office receipts pass $6 billion
25th - Jerry Seinfeld says this is the final season of his TV show
26th - The Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat explodes, creating a small tsunami offshore.
27th - Protestant paramilitary leader Billy Wright is assassinated in Northern Ireland.
28th - Sting beats Hollywood Hogan for WCW Championship
29th - Carquest Bowl 8: Georgia Tech beats West Virginia, 35-30
29th - Hong Kong begins slaughtering all its chickens to prevent bird flu
29th - Orville Lynn Majors, 36, arrested for many deaths under his care
29th - Russia signs agreement to build a $3B nuclear power plant in China
30th - An abandoned building collapses on NY's 42nd St, no one hurt
30th - In the worst incident in Algeria's insurgency, the Wilaya of Relizane massacres, 400 people are killed from four villages.
31st - Intel cuts price of Pentium II-233 MHz from $401 to $268
31st - Marv Levy, retires as coach of Buffalo Bills
31st - Microsoft buys Hotmail E-mail service
31st - More Swedes died than were born in 1997, 1st time since 1809
31st - Orlando Hernandez, half-brother of pitcher Livan, defects from Cuba
31st - S Afr & US surgeons separate Zambian Siamese twins joined at the head

Monday, December 26, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: 1996

This poem is a marker to me in the middle of astounding changes. This will represent a high point, no doubt, in a year where a major "hole in my soul" was addressed.

As I have written before, my father and I were estranged (to put it mildly) since 1977; we're talking two decades. The unfortunate event that precipitated the shift was the death of my younger brother and only sibling at 36 years old during 1996. My mother was devastated. My father and his family were there at the services and the sorrow and tension was as thick as you might imagine. Somehow, we all got through it all (although it took additional years of of my mother's life.)

I chose to attempt a reparation with my father. To say that I had to choose between darkness and fear is an accurate statement. I did all in my power to evaporate the fear and somehow, it worked. A letter led to a meeting and the start of healing that continues to this day. I'm traveling to Florida tomorrow to spend four days with him.

The poem is again all about conscious choice and celebrating the journey. It remains the single most important theme to me today. For someone who was "destination focused," the move to embrace the journey is more important and precious than I can express.

I'm making tonight's entry on a netbook so I can continue during my Florida trip. Let's see if all goes well.

Christmas 1996
Richard Perrotti

Through a child’s eye, the world looms so large
Filled with wondrous, magical sights.
The child, now grown, has a quite different view,
So how can both visions be right?

We live in a place of illusion
That tends to our own beck and call.
It allows us to see things however we choose
And perceive them to be great or small.

The power of that choice is stupendous
As you shape your world by that view.
So consider in this holiday season
That your Christmas is a reflection of you.

You’ll find no light by examining darkness
Regardless of old thoughts you employ.
To truly share the joy of this season,
You must first let yourself feels that joy.

View your life from a state of abundance
Filled with love, praise and gratitude.
Perceive that you are deprived of nothing
And bless the world with that attitude.

The great sign of Christmas is a wondrous star,
Blazing bright in the night sky so deep.
Spread its light with the love, praise and gratitude you sow
And amaze at the world you will reap.

December 1996; 3 years to the Millennium:
1st - 85th Davis Cup: France beats Sweden in Malmo (3-2)
1st - Lance Klusener takes 8-64 in debut Test Cricket to trounce India
4th - 7th Billboard Music Awards
4th - NASA's 1st Mars rover launched from Cape Canaveral
4th - Orlando Magic tie NBA record of fewest ponts scored since inception of 24 second clock losing to Cleveland Cavalier, 84-57
5th - "Dreams & Nightmares," opens at Martin Beck Theater NYC
5th - Players union approves new collective bargaining agreement
5th - Portland's Jermaine O'Neal, 18, becomes youngest NBA player
6th - Mashonaland defeat England in first-class tour match
7th - Space Shuttle STS 80 (Columbia 21), lands
8th - "God Said, Ha!" closes at Lyceum Theater NYC after 22 performances
8th - Donna Andrews & Mike Hulbert win LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
10th - Rwandan Genocide: Military advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General and head of the Military Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of the United Nations Maurice Baril recommends that the UN multi-national forces in Zaire stand down.
12th - Assassination attempt on Uday (Iraqi's heir to Sadam Hussain)
12th - Marlins sign their 6th free-agent since Nov 22, Moises Alou
13th - Free agent Roger Clemens signs with Toronto Blue Jays
13th - Kofi Annan is elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
14th - 12th Soap Opera Digest Awards
14th - 62nd Heisman Trophy Award: Danny Wuerffel, Florida (QB)
15th - Dottie Pepper & Juli Inkster win LPGA Diner's Club Golf Matches
15th - Jim Colbert & Bob Murphy wins Diner's Club Senior PGA Golf Matches
15th - Tom Lehman & Duffy Waldoff wins Diner's Club PGA Golf Matches
18th - Start of 1st Test Cricket match between Zimbabwe & England
18th - TV industry execs agree to adopt a ratings system
18th - The Oakland, California school board passes a resolution officially declaring "Ebonics" a language or dialect.
19th - "Once Upon a Matress," opens at Broadhurst NYC for 187 performances
21st - Pakistan all out 67 to lose to Tasmania by an inning
22nd - Steelers' Kordell Stewart runs quarterback record 80 yds for TD
22nd - Wendy's Three Tour Golf Challenge
22nd - Zimbabwe & England draw Bulawayo Test Cricket with Eng need 1 to win
23rd - 4 women ordained priests in Jamaica, 1st in 330-year Anglican history
26th - Start of the largest strike in South Korean history.
26th - The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification goes into force.
26th - Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey is found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's home in Boulder, Colorado.
27th - Carquest Bowl 7: Miami beats Virginia, 31-21
27th - Taliban forces retake the strategic Bagram air base which solidifies their buffer zone around Kabul.
28th - India all out for 66 at Durban after making 100 in cricket 1st inning
29th - "Dreams & Nightmares" closes at Martin Beck Theater NYC
29th - "Skylight" closes at Royale Theater NYC after
29th - "Taking Sides" closes at Atkinson Theater NYC
30th - Proposed budget cuts by Benjamin Netanyahu spark protests from 250,000 workers who shut down services across Israel.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

34 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 1995

Again, no "outside" history in this poem but a comment on trying to remember to look within and reclaim what was and is always there. That was the practice I was going through as I wrote these simple, straightforward thoughts in verse.

This was the year that for my 39th birthday, I traveled to Nepal and Tibet for three weeks in April. I could not have done so without the incredible support of my wife because the trip was very expensive. As it turned out, over the next five years we would learn just how expensive it really was to us. It literally changed my life.

At this time I was also trying extremely hard to build a business (Amway) with the help of mentors. Talk about energetically pulling oneself in two opposite directions! I was all-in and the drama potential was set on max. It would tear me asunder in very short order; I understood that I did not understand during these years. But I kept on trying.

On this Christmas 2011, may we all remember who we really are and enjoy it here/now. That is a gift the world will utilize well.

Christmas 1995
Richard Perrotti

I don’t know who you were as a child
Nor the feelings this time of year brings.
But let’s awaken the innocent memories
As we look for the Christmas within.

We come to this world in perfection
Bringing with us all that we need.
But as our life story is written
That memory starts to recede.

We wear our complications and drama
Like a tired, old shop-worn regimen.
But it’s time to reclaim your true power
And simply choose to choose once again.

See it captured in the eyes of your children
Or in kindness randomly practiced today.
The love deep inside of us awakens
And increases when given away.

The Christmas within is so simple.
It’s traveling back to the start.
See the world and all that surrounds you
From the richness of an abundant heart.

December 1995; 5 years to the Millennium:
2nd - 17th ACE Cable Awards
3rd - "Company" closes at Criterion Theater NYC after 68 performances
3rd - "Holiday" opens at Circle in Sq Theater NYC for 49 performances
3rd - 84th Davis Cup: USA beats Russia in Moscow (3-2)
3rd - Beth Daniels/Davis Love III wins LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
3rd - Jack Russell takes 11 catches in Test Cricket v South Africa, a record
3rd - Naeem Akhtar takes 10-28 for Rawalpindi B against Peshawar
3rd - Northwestern South Carolina begins using new area code 864
4th - Atherton (185*) bats for 643 minutes to save Johannesburg Test
5th - The Sri Lankan government announces the conquest of Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
6th - 6th Billboard Music Awards
6th - Michael Jackson collapses will rehearsing for an HBO special
7th - NBA settles strike of referees, refs to return on Dec 12
7th - US space probe Galileo begins orbiting Jupiter
9th - 61st Heisman Trophy Award: Eddie George, Ohio State (RB)
10th - 1st meeting of NBA expansion teams, Raptors beat Grizzlies 93-81
10th - Kelly Robbins & Tammie Green wins LPGA Diner's Club Golf Matches
10th - Michael Slater scores 219 v Sri Lanka at the WACA
10th - Muralitharan takes 2-224 in Australian innings of 5-617
10th - Ricky Ponting makes 96 on Test Cricket debut (Aust v Sri Lanka, WACA)
10th - Worst snowstorm in Buffalo history, 37.9" in 24 hours (Starting Dec 9 at 7 PM, breaks previous record of 25.3" in 1982
11th - Thomas O Hicks buys NHL Dallas Stars for $84 million
12th - CBC announces Radio Canada International service to end on March 31
12th - Israeli PM Shimon Peres address both house of US congress
12th - NBA referees return to work after striking
12th - Amendment to make it illegal to physically desecrate the flag turned down by senate 63-36 (need 2/3 vote)
13th - Christopher Reeves released from physical rehab center
13th - US Federal Court votes that Cable companies must carry local stations
14th - "Les Miserables" opens at Cable Hall, Helsinki
14th - AIDS patient Jeff Getty recieves baboon bone marrow transplant
14th - Yugoslav Wars: The Dayton Agreement is signed in Paris by leaders of various governments.
15th - Playboy goes back on sale after 36 year ban in Ireland
15th - The European Communities Court of Justice hands down the "Bosman ruling", giving EU footballers the right to a free transfer at the end of their contracts, with the provision that they are transferring from one UEFA Federation to another.
17th - "School after Scandal" closes at Lyceum Theater NYC after 23 perfs
19th - Queen Elizabeth askes Prince Charles & Diana to divorce
20th - "Paul Roebson" opens at Longacre Theater NYC for 14 performances
20th - American Flight 965 crashes in Columbia, 159 die, 5 survive
20th - NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.
21st - Martina Ertl of Germany wins her 3rd giant slalom world cup
21st - SF Giants announce plans to build a new stadium to open in 2000
21st - The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
22nd - David Cone signs $19.5 million 3 year contract with NY Yankees
26th - Muttiah Muralitharan no-balled for throwing (SL v Aust, MCG)
26th - Paul Adams becomes S Afr's youngest Test Cricket player, 18 yrs 340 ds
27th - Boon completes his 21st Test Cricket century (110 v SL, MCG)
30th - Carquest Bowl 6: North Carolina beats Arkansas, 20-10
30th - The lowest ever United Kingdom temperature of -27.2°C was recorded at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands. This equalled the record set at Braemar, Aberdeenshire on February 11, 1895 and January 10, 1982.
31st - "Danny Gans on Broadway" closes at Neil Simon NYC
31st - "Having Our Say" closes at Booth Theater NYC after 308 performances
31st - "Heiress" closes at Cort Theater NYC after 340 performances
31st - "Paul Roebson" closes at Longacre Theater NYC after 14 performances
31st - "Racing Demon" closes at Vivian Beaumont Theater NYC after 48 perfs
31st - "Tempest" closes at Broadhurst Theater NYC after 71 performances
31st - 62nd Sugar Bowl: Virginia Tech beats Texas
31st - Cartoonist Bill Watterson ends his "Calvin & Hobbes" comic strip
31st - Matthew Elliott scores separate cricket century same day for Victoria

34 Years of Christmas Poems: Christmas 1994

I said as I started this project that in looking backwards at these poems, I would do my best to remember what was going on and share that with you. As we hit the halfway point, the seventeenth poem, I realize that for me the decade of the '90s represented the best and worst of everything in my life. Once you choose to "dive deep" and discover what you are really all about, both treasures and horrors will emerge. The challenge then is to remember that you have the power to focus on what you choose to keep alive and let the other wither away.

As I read this poem, that all came back to me in a flash. No one can be harder on me than me. The quest for a sublime "perfectionism" is, in my opinion, a fierce and terrible judgement that will manifest in every facet of one's life with high drama as an indicator. I was in a whirl, looking for ways to ease up on myself and only succeeding in small increments. I see now that this was a start; I don't know if I saw it as such back then.

One other note; this poem was done on our new Mac Quadra 640. We got it and a 16" monitor at a "reduced price" of about $3,000, right before Steve Jobs returned and made that Mac utterly antiquated in less than a year with his (better) decisions. (I just finished his biography and recalled the pain I felt less than eight months after we purchased this when Apple went to the Power PC chips.) I said, drama shows up in all sorts of ways!

May you all enjoy the comfort of home tonight on Christmas eve. That home is built from within. Love to you all.

Christmas 1994
Richard Perrotti

The rush is on, the frantic pace,
Bringing with it exhaustion and doubt.
It’s so easy for us to simply overlook
What this season is really about.

We pursue surrealistic perfection,
A “Currier & Ives/Hallmark” facsimile.
And if we miss this impossible target,
We beat ourselves up endlessly.

“What will they think about the presents?
Do the lights look just right from above?
And what if my cards don’t get there on time?”
These thoughts reflect fear, not love.

We hold ourselves up to these standards,
So rigid and unwilling to bend.
Guaranteeing us stress, strain and worry
And locking out joy in the end.

You see, what isn’t love is always fear
For nothing else can it be.
And if that thought angers or scares you,
Which are you embracing readily?

Love truly is kind and gentle,
Asking nothing in return from the start.
Make everything you do an act of love
And feel love expand in your heart.

“I almost forgot this thought this year.
Thanks for your patience, kindness and support.”

December 1994 Notables:
1st - 3 Seattle Seahawks injured in a car accident
1st - Cindy Crawford & Richard Gere announce they are seperating
1st - Ernesto Zedillo innaugrated as president of Mexico
1st - PTL leader Jim Bakker released from jail
1st - Rober Schumanns 2nd Symphony premieres in London
2nd - "Cobb" premieres
2nd - Achille Lauro (Willem Ruys) sinks off the coast of Somalia
2nd - Andrew Lloyd Webber admitted to the hospital for ulcer treatment
2nd - Jury finds Heidi Fleiss guilty of running a call girl ring
4th - "Angels in America-Perestroika" closes at W Kerr NYC after 216 perfs
4th - "Angels in America-Millennium Approach" closes at Kerr after 367 perfs
4th - 83rd Davis Cup: Sweden beats Russia in Moscow (4-1)
4th - Marta Figueras-Dottie/Brad Bryant wins LPGA J C Penney Golf Classic
6th - Maltese Falcon auctioned for $398,590
6th - Orange County Calif files for bankruptcy
6th - Warner Brothers announces a 5th TV network to begin on Jan 11, 1995
7th - 5th Billboard Music Awards
7th - Radio personality Howard Stern talks a man out of attempting suicide
8th - "What's Wrong With this Picture?" opens at Circle in Sq NYC for 12 per
8th - Darryl Strawberry indicted on tax evasion charges
8th - Fire in cinema in Karamay China, 310 killed
9th - 5m meteor 1994 XM1 passes within 100,000 km of Earth
9th - Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders resigns after masturbation comments
10th - 60th Heisman Trophy Award: Rashaan Salaam, Colorado (RB)
10th - European Campaign against Racism "All different, All equal" begins
10th - Nobel prize awarded to Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres & Yasser Arafat
11th - Kelly Robbins & Tammie Green wins LPGA Diner's Club Golf Matches
11th - Russian troops pull inside Tsjetsjenie
13th - American Eagle commuter plane crashes in NC, killing 15
15th - "Tuna Christmas" opens at Booth Theater NYC for 20 performances
15th - John Bruton becomes Ireland's premier
15th - Liberia militia kills 48 inhabitants of Monrovia
15th - Palau becomes a member of the UN.
16th - Davy Jones (Monkees), charged with DWI
17th - KLM's last DC-10 goes out of service
18th - "Comedy Tonight" opens at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC for 8 performances
18th - "What's Wrong With this Pic?" closes at Circle in Sq NYC after 12 perf
18th - Darryl Strawberry pleads not guilty on tax evasion charges
18th - General Hospital stars Kristina Malandro & Jack Wagner wed
18th - Norman, Couples & Azinger wins LPGA Wendy's 3-Tour Golf Challenge
18th - Socialist Party (ex-communist) wins Bulgaria parliamentary election
19th - Rolls-Royce announces its future cars will feature V12 engine which will be produced by BMW.
21st - Bomb goes off on #4 train on Fulton Street NYC
22nd - "Christmas Carol" opens at Richard Rodgers Theater NYC for 18 perfs
22nd - Italian government of Berlusconi resigns
23rd - Baseball owners impose salary cap, fiercely opposed by players
24th - 4 Moslem fundamentalists capture Air France pilot in Algiers
25th - "Comedy Tonight" closes at Lunt-Fontanne Theater NYC after 8 perfs
26th - Actor Jason Hervey (22) weds Kelley Patricia O'Neill (27)
26th - French commando's terminate Air France hijacking in Marseille
26th - President Clinton's brother Roger Clinton (37) weds 8-mo pregnant Molly Nartin (25)
28th - Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart) weds Leticia Finley
28th - Boon completes his 20th Test Cricket century (131 v Eng, MCG)
28th - Tammy Wynette admitted to the hospital with bile duct infection
29th - B737-400 flies into a mountain at Edremit East Turkey, 54 killed
29th - Bangladesh government of Zia resigns
29th - Billionaire J Paul Getty Jr marries Victoria Holdsworth on Barbados
29th - Last Dutch electro-magnetic telephone exchange shuts down
29th - Shane Warne takes a hat-trick v England at cricket MCG
31st - 1st snowless December in Baltimore Maryland
31st - Anti Apartheid Group of Netherlands (AABN) disbands
31st - This date is skipped altogether in Kiribati as the Phoenix Islands and Line Islands change time zones from UTC-11 to UTC+13 and UTC-10 to UTC+14, respectively.