Bob Dylan

don’t think twice it’s all right

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

Two Saturday mornings ago I was sitting down eating breakfast, at a local restaurant, with my cousin Larry and his wife Rose. My plate had a picture of a bluejay in its design. It was so enchanting I quite regretted having to pour so much syrup over the fine illustration. I knew there was no way the ink could run, but it would still spoil the pristine appearance of it all. It was quite a lovely meal other than that one unfortunate problem. When we eventually went back to their house, on my way up the front stoop, I couldn’t help noticing that a neighbor of theirs was hanging around their mailbox with his dog, who, he pointed out, was named Bob.

“Bob?!”, I spontaneously blurted out. “What in the hell kind of name is that for a dog?”

“Isn’t it the most interesting name?” he replied.

“Dude, surely you jest.”

“I quite think it fits him so well.”

Our confrontation went on for several minutes until I finally gave up on this seemingly pointless episode. I was especially stunned when he explained that Bob is an avid Dylan fan.


just my imagination running away from me

Assuming my imaginary friend is still alive today, he’s probably quite an even much wiser and imaginative fellow now than he was then. As a kid I lived in a neighborhood in Jackson Heights where a third of the families spoke only Italian and another third spoke only Spanish. My friend used to drive me crazy by rambling on at me constantly in Spanish and Italian. He was a good guy but he could be quite the wise ass. I’m sure he’s probably about the same now in many ways, a perfect gentleman with a colorful twist.  I hope for his sake he didn’t fall in with the wrong imaginary crowd, drinking, partying and carousing until all hours of the night. Maybe he ended up shacking up with some imaginary floozy whom he met at an imaginary singles bar. Perhaps they formed an imaginary band and have spent the entire time since then cruising up and down Route 81 on an old broken down imaginary Greyhound bus, playing Grateful Dead and Dylan songs in exchange for chump change at imaginary saloons, greasy spoons and dives. I’ll bet they dress and behave quite stylishly. If I ever get a chance to meet him again in person, would he even be willing to talk to me or might I strike him as too much of a square?

frankenstein opens pandora’s box










As nice as all of mankind’s technological advances are, having given us all sorts of extra ease and convenience, I still like a lot of things better when done the old fashioned way, by real people under ordinary circumstances.    Ever since I was only a little kid, I’ve always enjoyed home made food better than anything frozen or processed.    This is especially true of pastries, baked goods, and desserts in general.   I can remember having made quite a few comments, as a kid, about how home made apple pie tastes so much better than the kind they sell in stores.     I’ve always really liked hand made clothes much better than the kind they make in factories too.    That’s a lot to ask of life though.    Mass produced clothes are usually very nice and much more affordable than those that are individually made.    Music is another world in which I shun excessive technological influence.   I’m not like those fans in the middle 1960’s who abandoned Bob Dylan because he played an electric instrument.   I like a little innovation but please don’t overdo it.

I just recently read something in the New Oxford Review about the current trend toward trying to eradicate penmanship, and to keep people communicating by way of social network media like Facebook and Twitter.    Instead of teaching kids how to write in cursive, liberals in the world of education are now trying to phase it out, explaining that we now live in a world of keyboards and touch pads and that the need for the ability to write is supposedly an anachronism.    The article’s author argues, and I wholeheartedly agree, that each individual’s penmanship, unlike his printing, has his distinctive and unique personality in it and the same thing can’t be said for the printed or typed word.       Food that is processed is a counterfeit of the real thing.   So is manufactured clothing.    Artificial communication, though, is the absolute worst of all because it will inevitably irrevocably destroy all interpersonal relationhips and mankind’s sense of community.  







old clyde

“Hi I bet you folks are wondering why I gathered you all here today. My name is Clyde and I have quite a fanciful tale to tell. Long ago, Bob Dylan and several other folk singers and groups sang a very important song about quite a pivotal incident in my life. Maybe you all even know ‘Froggie Went a’ Courtin'”. That was how Clyde the Frog introduced his tale of boundless joy and woe to all who were willing to listen to him. Long ago he got his very heart and soul stolen forever by Miss Mouse, whose beloved uncle was Mr. Rat. Always the raconteur, old Clyde, to this very day, enjoys regaling folks with the tale of how he fell for the girl of his dreams and all the misadventures that thereafter ensued. The really old folks over in Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where Clyde was born and raised, remember to this very day his uppity antics. “Well let me tell you,” said one old couple, “that there ‘Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County’ was nothing compared to old Clyde! Twain shoulda seen our Clyde in his day!” That part of Pennsylvania is quite the mountainous region but Clyde, according to local ages-old legend and folklore, could most certainly handle it quite well. He could hike, climb, swim and do just about anything. Local folks swear he was a World War I flying ace under Black Jack Pershing. Clyde’s such a big star in northeastern Pennsylvania that each year, without fail, on July 3, there’s a big parade to commemorate his exploits in the 1878 Battle of Wyoming against the Iroquois Indian Raiders. Folks march all the way from the American Legion post in Dupont to the Public Square in Wilkes Barre in old Clyde’s honor on this magnificent occasion. Unfortunately because of old age, Clyde’s been getting a bit cantankerous and set in his ways these days. Folks around here are all still quite proud to know him though. He’s the ultimate inspiration to one and all.

the music man


Because I was born in September of 1959, the first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 1960’s.    Musically and otherwise the 1960’s have made quite an indelible mark upon my lifetime.    My childhood was filled with all sorts of musical influences.    I was four and a half years old when the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.    To this day they’re still undeniably my absolute favorites.     That era was known for musical variety shows like “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour “, and “The Dean Martin Show”, among several others.     As a kid I was always smitten with the sounds of  songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown”,   Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525”, and  Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.    Whenever I’d go to a doctor’s office I’d keep obsessing over songs like Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” and Mason Williams’   “Classical Gas”,  among others that were played in waiting rooms.    The folk, jazz, country and other musical styles of that era have always been quite a major love of my life.    Although I’ve never been even the least bit willing to humor the liberals, I’ve even  always  thoroughly enjoyed the protest songs of that era.     Along with all that I made sure I joined the glee club at my grammar school, St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, as soon as I was old enough.    Brother Edmond and Brother James, of the De la Salle Christian Brothers, taught us all the then-current popular songs as well as Christmas and Easter songs and show tunes.   Brother James played the guitar quite well and Brother Edmond, with his fine baritone voice, sang an exceptional version of “Edelweiss(Blossom of Snow)”  from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.     I even took guitar lessons for a while at one of the local public schools, P.S. 127.    My parents were always quite happy to humor my sister and me about our tastes in music.   They enjoyed country music, Edith Piaf and other standards they grew up with so that widened my horizons even more.     Eventually the 1960′ s became the 1970’s.   That era started out fairly well with  Carole King’s “Tapestry” as well as James Taylor, Led Zeppelin and a few other holdovers from the 1960’s.    Eventually, though, disco started to become popular.   My teenage years saw the rise of tacky styles in music and dress.    There were good singers and bands too, though, like the Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Grand Funk and a few others.    In my imagination, though, gone forever were the days when everything musical was perfect.    Even most of  the then-current music I listened to generally tended to be the latest album by someone like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin (a variation of the Yardbirds).    I had become such a musical snob and purist.    I continuously picked fights with all the kids in school, as well as the public school kids, defending my claim that even in the best of 1970’s music, there was something missing compared to that of the previous decade.      Unfortunately I’ve never been terribly comptetent musically.   My strengths seem to lie more in writing and story telling.    Maybe that’s why I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 1960’s.     It was an era that included songs like Joan Baez’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving”, based on a poem by Lord Byron, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” , based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, and Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind”, based on a Christina Rossetti poem.       The music I grew up with has profoundly influenced both my adult musical tastes and even my entire life in general.    Although the singers and musicians of my early days could never possibly get me to agree with their liberal political and social agenda, they’ve most certainly shaped my imagination and given me ideas and interest which I may never have otherwise gotten.

our band

I have several relatives who play musical instruments.   My brother in law Steve, a music teacher, plays several instruments and so do my nephews Michael and Sam.   We could invite my cousin the Ronald, who plays the trumpet, as well as a few other musician cousins, to join us.    My cousins Gary and Lanfranco even play the accordion.    I  , a guitarist, have always been obsessively smitten with the music of the 1960’s and the Beatles have always been my very favorites.  Lately I’ve been learning to play Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice , It’s All Right” and “Tangled Up In Blue”,  John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero”,  and the Yardbirds’  “For Your Love”.   Several cousins of mine especially enjoy the Who,  Steve is very knowledgeable about jazz and classical music, and the Ronald’s son Rich (aka Italo) can really keep us abreast of all the currently popular styles because he’s worked with pop music for all his adult life.   With his connections he can be very helpful in getting us jobs and publicity.     Knowing how obnoxious and pushy each of us has always tended to be, naturally there will be some inevitable tension among us.   Because we’ve all known each other for such an exceptionally long time, though, at least there won’t be any of the problems that always arise with people who are complete newcomers to each other’s lives.    By now we all know each other’s shortcomings, tastes, weird ideas and attitude problems.     Another problem would be distance.    We don’t all live in the same place so we should have to go to a lot of trouble to make plans, only on special occasions, to get together.   Naturally some of us enjoy the kinds of music which others can’t stand so  that can really like to trouble.     Well over twenty years ago, my cousin Vinnie and I tried to play Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” and the Allman Brothers’  “Ramblin’ Man” together.   Perhaps we can all get together to see how those song sound with the addition of accordion and trumpet.  As far as I can see each band has its own distinctive persona.    Ours would be awfully seriously difficult to explain or to understand.