MarsEarth

Old world wisdom, new world insight – poems, poetry, philosophy, dreams, commentary, ideas


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HOPE is not a four-letter word

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

“Allegory of hope” Francesco Guardi  1747

In speaking English or learning to speak it, there are some idiomatic phrases which take on certain meanings.

Expressions and exclamations are usually formed when certain words become more commonly used by active groups or pockets of society.

This makes the language more useful and in some cases more colorful and expressive.

More people are then very willing to use a new expression in regular conversation because it is helpful in conveying the meaning of something important.

The subject of much contemplation this summer I am concentrating on is hope
Hope is defined as “the feeling that what is wanted – can be had.
Also, it can mean that what is wanted will turn out for the best.”

What is it about hope that causes us to feel optimistic?

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 3

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Is there such a thing as an ultimate sacrifice? There are many stories in Earth history that detail the struggle of one man and also of one woman. These epic heroes are against the odds of success. They are in some sort of peril, facing overwhelming forces or powers. Usually there is little energy left in the tank – so they act through pure adrenaline. They are committed to an ideal which is often retold as the salvation of those left behind. These fighters take the battle to the enemy or opposing force. They attack with purpose. They counterattack with precision. They often win the battle or the war. We back at home celebrate their victories and anniversaries, but remember the lost. When our heroes lose, they lose it all. They lose their future, their reward, and in one final indignity, their lives seem to be silently snuffed out. Is this the ultimate sacrifice which a hero can give for the good of those she/ he loved? Is more lost when they die for what they believed in?

In some sense we all lose when any loved one perishes in our place. They take on the responsibility of protecting our rights and way of life.  It is the fighting men and women of our nation’s military who appear to be the larger-than-life subject matter in a particular song from Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP). This group is American heavy metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada. Formed in 2005, the band says that their name comes from the Kung Fu genre film “The Five Fingers of Death” (1972).  As I understand it 5FDP  originally consisted of vocalist Ivan Moody, guitarist Zoltan Bathory, guitarist Caleb Andrew Bingham, bassist Matt Snell, and drummer Jeremy Spencer in 2005. Caleb was replaced by guitarist Darrell Roberts one year later. Then in 2009 he was replaced by Jason Hook. By 2010 bassist Matt Snell split from the band and Chris Kael took up the position. With all the talent coming and going, it’s a wonder that the foundation members did not seek out some type of separation counseling. Is what we see happening on the outside of a person explain the pain going on inside that person’s mind?

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American History Month – featuring some not so famous Black Americans

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Turn on the TV and you will see iconic images of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being used to sell automobiles. Seriously? This is what we as a society must guard against –  having well established heroes being used as economic pawns on the boob tube. So, how do we do this? Write letters? Protest on the Mall in Washington, D.C.? Make demands on social media and get millions of hits with a YouTube video? Remember the purpose of the last video you watched? Me neither.

The BEST way and the EASIEST way to solve this dilemma is to remember. We need to REMEMBER who we are! Yes. The purpose of every commemorative is to recall the good, and the bad, and then some more good (if possible). Every day is American History Day in the USA. Somebody is usually tinkering with something that moves us a little closer to “smarter” or “richer” or “cooler.”

I want to consider February my AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH which just happens to feature Black American citizens. The people I have commemorated here are heroic because of the determination that they showed against society, against naysayers, against a rigid system that tells US we should value things and not people.  Here is my list of genuine role models.

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – # 5

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Is there any significant difference between longing, yearning, and pining. Each word gives a feeling of separation, emptiness, incompleteness or even loss. Why do Humans have such feelings and dreams and fears? These emotions often propel us into that place where being away from a loved one can invoke physical pain. Is it because we were designed this way? Was it a set of learned combinations?

Human societies must have suffered a lot in order to teach the next generation to be mindful of  sadness. We still glorify pain and loss in our stories and songs today. When was the first time these words were ever spoken: “I miss you” ? We may have uttered this phrase aloud after reading a letter from someone far away. Or, we could have longed, yearned, and pined for a loved one after discovering that they were undergoing a difficult trial or some extreme hardship.

Our best artists use musical instruments to generate vibrations mimicking groans that excite the brain. These sounds invite use to relive our valuable memories. Mellow tones for self-awareness and high shrill vibrations for self-preservation. Distinctive melodies cause us to feel both joy and pain. David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright of Pink Floyd the progressive rock band constantly were constantly perfecting a combination of sounds to evoke emotion. This was evident in the group’s ninth studio album “Wish You Were Here.” It was released in the UK on the Harvest Record label, and on Columbia Records in the USA. Neither company could keep up with the public’s demand for the it. The saddest song on the record asked the most questions.

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #12

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Who is the one to say ‘this is how it is’ in a relationship ?  You or me? Eventually we will decide which one of us is going to be the leader. When dealing with feelings, it is true that one person loves more than the other.  That does not mean love is not worth the price we pay. But, we all know Human beings take advantage of this position in order to tease (both meanly and playfully), to critique and even to humiliate. It gets worse when the proverbial pot is calling the kettle black.

The American rock band Staind is made up of Aaron Lewis – lead vocals, Mike Mushok – lead guitar, Johnny April – bass, and Jon Wysocki – drums.  The four formed in 1995 and cut their first album in 1996. Near the end of Year 2000 they were cutting their third album, “Break the Cycle  in a network of  studios from LA to New York City to Miami, Florida. While the band was known for lyrics that were angry and depressing, it was cutting its teeth in a new metal and post-grunge style that expressed the difficulties of relationships. One song in particular highlighted what it feels like when the misgivings of a cruel lover are finally exposed.

The easiest thing to do is to criticize another person. It happens every day on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and every other overly social web that invites comment and controversy. Among our friends we talk about it at work, we engage in it behind the wheel, and raise our voices to our world’s leadership, especially those who lack leadership. What should our attitude be when the one closest to us breaks our hearts with hurtful words and hipocrisy?

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Hands of time

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

I see these once tanned hands.
Lots of wrinkly skin around the knuckles.
This means — must have been ready to bend into a new shape at the clinch of a fist.

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The Saddest Songs of Rock and Roll – #20

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

Holidays used to be about family and friends.  Every business except a few gas stations would close down so that we could be contemplative. This was the time for focusing on faith and the less fortunate. Most holidays are still big travel intervals. Years ago it was because relatives would go back home to visit their parents. These days we are encouraged to stay at home instead of going away to see family. To have a ‘stay-cation’ and populate the malls. To make money. To get into debt. There is no real cheer on this present path.

Christmas and Chanukkah usually occur about the same time each year. Mostly in December.  The stress of getting ready for this season is particularly intensified when our hopes run high in the event we can visit with a special person in the family.  All those anxieties can be relieved when that travelling person finally graces our door. That can be the most appreciated gift of all. Just having someone who wants to be with you is a treasure. American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown understood this when he was inspired to write a song about this holiday season. He even put out an entire album called “Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs” in 1960. This particular song he co-wrote with Gene Redd.

The song’s popularity got only as far as #76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and only in its second year, 1961. But radio fans new a hit when they heard it and the song reappeared on the Top 40 Singles charts every December for nine years in a row. It finally hit the #1 spot in 1972. The lyrics beg the question of how long it might take for that loved one to appear.

But not until 1978 when the rock band Eagles covered the track, did the song regain its popularity. The band released it as an A side  holiday single. This rendition was the first Christmas song since Roy Orbison’sPretty Paper” in 1963 to have made it into the Top 20.  When Don Henley (drums/vocals), Glenn Frey (piano, backing vocals), Don Felder (lead guitar) and Joe Walsh (guitar, backing vocals) released the song, they had Timothy B. Schmit on bass (who replaced founding member Randy Meisner).  Their version made it to the #18 spot in the U.S.  It also was a Top 40 hit in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and New Zealand.

Why is it so important to reconnect with family? Is it primal or something we have learned to do? Why do we feel the need to connect with others, even when it is not a holiday or special occasion?

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