Reaction to Chase Holfelder

In the holiday season we are inundated with scores of Christmas carol covers. While I enjoyed listening to them, and have found some truly beautiful ones, it struck me how many of them are essentially the same.

And then I found a video by a YouTuber I discovered about 5 months ago, Chase Holfelder. Chase, besides having a great voice, brings a unique quality to his covers in that he takes songs originally written in major keys and sings them in minor.

This simple change can have some startling effects. This is nowhere more apparent than in this cover of a pop song. I recommend you listen to it, this Christmas carol cover, and this before reading my poem.

Major to Minor

When girls wanting fun
turns from a nerve-scraping
narcissistic
joy ride
into a heart-clenching
haunted
cry for help

When holiday cheer
takes into account
the acknowledgment
of a hard road ahead
without sullying
the season

When patriotism
and the hope
for a better land
are not opposites
but the cry of the same
mournful voice

A simple change creates
beauty that
brings me back
every time my restless soul
needs a soundtrack

Reaction to @Mark_Sheppard’s diabetes.no campaign

When I decided to write a reaction poem about one of my favorite celebrities of the moment, Mark Sheppard, I ran into a problem. I realized that most of what I wanted to say was already in my poem I’m a Fan of a Fan inspired in part by Wil Wheaton.

So, while I still include some personal references to things I admire about him, I decided to shift the focus to the anti-diabetes campaign he is doing with his son called diabetes.no. I encourage anyone reading this to check it out. Not only is it a worthy cause but you also get a cool shirt. Win, win.

diabetes.no

I’ve seen what disease can do to children
And their parents.
Fractured marriages are not uncommon.
Cleanly severed ones are.
I’ll run the risk of double negatives
To tell you I’m in love.
Not with a character, or an idol,
An image, or even a man,
But with the hope
That there is a time
When teaching your nine-year-old
To give the finger
Is good parenting,
When tweeting your ex’s Facebook post
About your split
Shows awe-inspiring respect,
And when declaring you’ve never played a villain
Is still true after 42 episodes
As the King of Hell.
More importantly,
I’m in love with the idea
That building a place
Where kids forced into war
Can meet fellow soldiers,
And stop being soldiers,
Is just as important
As furnishing them with the weapons
They need to fight.

Reaction to Supernatural

“Supernatural Season 8 Finale and it’s Consequences” or “They Way it is with Everything”

how do you come back from the worst possible decision you could have made?

you start of by ignoring it and hoping no one noticed
you acknowledge it slowly, imply some retconned excuses
you cling to shroud of metafiction

all of the above have been tried
all are cliché
all will fail

until you make us accept that mistakes can be made
and regretted
and forgiven
and gotten past
without ever being undone

Reaction to a TV legend

Often, when I can’t read, write, or watch TV because of eye surgery recovery or headaches, I find I’m able to relax by listening to old radio shows. I’m thankful for all the internet archives that make this possible. I also like to listen to interviews of actors from that era. My poem today is inspired by one of those interviews. I only list the subject’s name in the tags so you can get to know this man as I did: little by little.

Archived: A Legend

A character on a radio show
triggers my nostalgic brain
Where do I know that voice?
I sift through clues that lead me to
an interview of an old man
telling his story

Scottish born
Canadian raised
American by trade

A sick child
listened to Benny and Cantor on the radio
practiced voices, wrote skits
to take his mother’s mind off
her sick child

Brought coffee to the man he wanted to be
every day until he ran out of money
but when the man realized the coffee boy didn’t work for him
he hired him on the spot

Wrote skits for a radio show
received as brilliant
but the actors complained
we can’t do all these crazy voices
“I’ll do it,” said the boy
soon the show was named after him
because all the good names were taken

A bombed guest spot in America
with jokes he didn’t understand
somehow led to a whirlwind of American engagements
radio spots, another regular show, and movies
the show won Emmys the first year
praise the second year
and head scratches the third
they were running out of ideas

One of his movies had lions
so he thought “There’s an idea for my next show”
bring on the animals
rehearsal with camel, bulldog, panther, and tiger went well
but they didn’t account for a live audience
ended up with a stage full of camel dung and a very unhappy boom man
who had his job taken by a panther and a tiger clamped to his butt

When the work seemed to dry up
he decided to head across the pond
home for good, or so he thought,
until someone told him George Burns was looking for him
so he went to see a man about a horse
only this horse could talk
and became his friend
and put him into the homes of Americans coast to coast

Later, he put his voice to work
tapping into the talents he forged
as a little boy in his sick bed
a farming smurf and a scrooge of a duck
highlighting his range from New England grumpy to Scottish aristocracy
making himself known to a whole new generation of children

As the interview comes to an end, I find myself
amazed at the life of a man who just wanted to work
wondering how I never knew
that Mr. Ed’s Wilber was Disney’s Scrooge McDuck
and thankful to the people who thought
preserving his story was important