Homeward Bound - Miami

It's almost the end of another year. Another trip around the sun for the planet earth if you happen to follow the gregorian calendar. This is what my City looks like today....

In the image below, is how my City looked like four years ago. Less cranes....

Tonight I'll sing my songs again, I'll play the game and pretend. But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity. Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me. Homeward bound, I wish I was, Homeward bound, Home where my thought's escaping, Home where my music's playing, Home where my love lies waiting Silently for me. Silently for me.


Son of a Sun of a Sunflower


Here Comes the Sunflower


James Brown - 1933 - 2006 -- Rest in Peace Godfather


Cooking the Lechon - My Way

Yes Infidels, there are those who need a caja china, I use an old trusty Weber. (granted, this only works when you're cooking 8-10 piece). This Lechon rocked. One of the best I ever had..... a cross between the Cuban Lechon and the Texas BBQ....I took the Lechon to notches unknown to human kind. I used a lot of hickory smoke chips to give the pig a nice smoky flavor to compliment my homemade mojo marinade.
Have a Merry Christmas Infidels!

Feliz Noche Buena


Buon Natale Agli Infideli

Have your marinated your lechon? Hurry up, time is running out and Santi Clo will soon be here.

Waiting for Santi Clo in Hialeah


The 1st Day of Winter and it's 78 Degrees in South Florida

Yes Infidels. It's 78 degrees here in South Florida on the first day of the Winter Solstice which passed about a few hours ago. Brrr, really chilly down here. Makes you want to drink an icde cold coke with the Polar Bears huh? Looks like heat and rain this weekend; what a great way to spend Noche Buena. With a poncho and rain boots. Santi clo will have to put the roof up on his sleigh or else all the toys will get soaked.

Ciao belli i brutti.

Take Me Away to Pepperland

Once upon a time…or maybe twice, there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland – a place where happiness and music reigned supreme. But all that was threatened when the terrible Blue Meanies declared war and sent in their army led by a menacing Flying Glove to destroy all that was good. In the end, Pepperland was saved when John turned the Glove into Love and sang All You Need is Love.

To Boldly Go Where No Santi Clo Has Gone Before

Yes Infidels. Chrisma is only 9 days away. Folks wonder how Santi Clo manages to get presents to all the kids around the world in one night. The answer is easy folks. It's called "warp drive." Santi Clo has been known to have installed warp drive on his sleigh a long time ago which enables him to get the job done before he gets the job done. (Relativity theory folks). So aheah warp factor one Prancer, Dancer, Comit, Cupid, Zulu, Uhura, Donner, & Chekov. And again, he doesn't do the chiminey thing. That's old school. He uses transporters to beam the presents into people's houses. How else would he get the presents into condos? With a pass key? The Condo Commandos would have him arrested for Breaking and Entering. It's all computerized now a days for Santi Clo. In fact, he keeps busy with Ms. Santi Clo on his trip. Her name is Mari Clo, and her image is shown below.

Ciao folks and behave!
Happy Friday Infidels. I finish this hectic week with a photo of the sunrise over Florida Bay in the Florida Everglades. And to take this one step further into the world of "what if?", let us ponder "what if" William Blake had written his poetry in the Florida Everglades rather than in England. Pretty interesting concept huh? Well, away we go.... have a great weekend....

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In the Everglades’ pleasant land.


We Got Everything But Snow Here in Miami

© 2002 by Michael A. Pancier
This is a photo of Miami's Bayfront Park during Christmas time in 2002. I don't know why they stopped putting up this holiday village out there. My kid loved it and it provided nice photo ops along the bay. I've been trying to find some equally nice photo ops ever since but with no success. Maybe I'll take a photo of the inflatable Frosty along the Loop Road in the Everglades.
In the Meantime, I'll offer you some more Parrothead lyrics from the Jimmy Buffett collection:


Christmas in the Caribbean
Snowbirds fill the air
Christmas in the Caribbean
Lots of presents everywhere
We don't live in a hurry
Send away for mistletoe
Christmas in the Caribbean
We got everything but snow.

Lights are glowing in the palm trees
Stockings hanging from mast
Santa's riding on a dolphin
Don't you want to make it
Don't you want to make it last.

Sun-tanned children sleeping
Hoping Santa will come through
Christmas morning boy they're leaping
Oh, it's Bubba's Birthday
Mr Buffett's birthday too!

Christmas in the Caribbean
Snowbirds fill the air
Christmas in the Caribbean
Lots of presents everywhere
We don't live in a hurry
Send away for mistletoe
Christmas in the Caribbean
We got everything but snow.

La Descarga

Greetings infidels. Only 13 days until Christmas and 12 days until Santi Clo packs up his 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible and goes around town delivering toys to all the good girls and boys. Good ole Santi Clo after his everning sojourn, then puts away the winter clothes, packs some swim trunks, and heads out to the Dominican Republic and the Carribean. Wouldn't you? Right now, it's minus twelve in the North Pole, and that's quite cold, especially for an old guy like Santi Clo.
My sources indicate that Santi Clo is planning to spend a few days on the beach in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. While there, he may see some local street musicians having a descarga (jam session) such as the one I documented here in the 1980's.
My sources also tell me that Santi Clo is packing with him a case of Bacardi's Havana Club Puerto Rican rum. So until next time, this is the parrothead photographer signing off.

Christmas Island

Happy Monday infidels....how about some Holiday music of a different genre....

Let's get away from sleigh bells,
let's get away from snow
Let's make a break some Christmas, Dear,
I know the place to go

How'd ya like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ya like to spend the holiday away across the sea?
How'd ya like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?
How'd ya like to hang a stocking on a great big coconut tree?

How'd ya like to stay up late, like the islanders do?
Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe.

If you ever spend Christmas on Christmas Island
You will never stray for everyday
Your Christmas dreams come true.

How'd ya like to stay up late like the islanders do?
Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe

If you ever spend Christmas on Christmas Island
You will never stray, for everyday
Your Christmas dreams come true
On Christmas Island your dreams come true.

It was 26 Years Ago Today . . .

Time flies fellow infidels. It was 26 years ago today, a day that will live in the infamy of rock and roll. I was 15. It was a Monday night. I was in my bedroom at my parent's house listening to the Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. It was blacked out and we could not see the game on TV. Since Mondays were my mom's day off, it was the night she always had guests over and a dinner party of some sort. On many of those occasions, I would shut myself into my room and into my own little world. I was sitting on the floor and was reading some magazines while listening to the game.
A phone call arrives. It was my friend Kevin who called me and told me, "Dude, they shot Lennon." I was kind of confused there for a moment, and said, "What? Who got shot?" He then told me, "Someone shot John Lennon." I was in a state of disbelief and told my friend that I would talk to him later. I had to hear it for myself. Shortly thereafter, a break in comes in on the radio (WIOD 610) from the news service announcing that former Beatle John Lennon had been assassinated in New York City by some nut job. I changed the station to the rock station at the time, WSHE 103.5 FM and they were broadcasting news reports. I stormed into the middle of the dinner party and yelled "Somebody just fucking killed John Lennon" and I walked back into my room. Not even noticing the disruption to the dinner party of folks who really did not care that much. I was a huge Beatle fan you see and a big John Lennon fan too. I had started collecting Beatle records at that time since the sixth grade. I had them all. The albums, the 45's, magazines, posters, songbooks. I knew all the songs on the guitar and piano. I had always hoped for a reunion, but now that was history as was an incredible songwriter.
That night, they started playing Beatle songs 24/7. I slept with the radio on and heard Beatle songs in my dreams that night. The next morning, I pulled out an old t-shirt of time with the Sgt. Pepper cover on it. I wore it with a black arm band to school the next day.
Interesting that at 15, John seemed so old. Looking back in time now as a pirate at 41, I realize heck no, he was young, but what he accomplished in his 20's and 30's alone, is amazing to consider. Recording Sgt. Pepper at 27 years old. Writing Strawberry Fields at 27.
John was an idealist and clearly not meant for the times that he lived. He was living a utopian ideal which cannot exist in reality. But he did give people some great music and some great lyrics.
Everybody always raves about his song "Imagine" being his magnum opus. To me though, it was this little short song on his first solo album that I found to be one of his best works. It is simply entitiled "Love."

Love is real , real is love
Love is feeling , feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved
Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved
Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
we can be
Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved.

Have a great weekend infidels.

The Weather is Here, I Wish you were Beautiful

Yes folks, you can't beat our weather here in South Florida this time of year, especially if you are a parrot or an Austrailian Lori. Well, if you are human, you probably like it too unless you're some sort of ingrate. However, most infidels dig it here. I dig it here. The Lori in this picture digs it here.
This Lori has holiday colors too. Isn't that something. Christmas in the South Florida sun. We have everything but snow.

Breasts and Butterflies

Happy Monday infidels. Rather than my essays on the degeneration of popular music, I offer you some light hearted fare. Breasts and Butterflies.

Spent a few hours at Butterfly World in Coconut Creek yesterday. Been a while since I've gone shooting. Interesting thing about butterflies, like humans, they are attracted to certain scents. In the butterfly, the scents mean flowers which to them mean food. Since many perfumes are created from various flowers and herbals, while attracting other humans, in this case, perhaps a human of the male species, the lady's perform also attracted this butterfly who somehow felt he would get a snack. Well as George Carlin once said, yeah, he did get a snack in this case. The lady kept walking around butterfly world with a butterfly on her chest. She was a young Russian girl it appeared. I had not noticed until an Orthodox Jewish man who was also enjoying Butterfly World came to me and told me that I had to take a picture of the butterfly on the woman's chest. I know some photographers have no shame and would have gone up to her and asked. But for me, I felt a little strange going up to a strange young woman and saying, "Excuse me Miss, but I can take a picture of your chest?" Somehow, I felt I'd get slapped or arrested. So rather than that, here I go with the big Canon telephoto zoom and pretend to shoot a hummingbird, but rather, I captured the image above. One shot only, it had to be perfect. No one noticed. I got the shot. And life goes on.

So ladies, if you ever do visit butterfly world, if you don't mind the butterflies sticking to you like glue, then back off on the perfume. Of course if you don't mind it, then pile it on, and make sure there's a camera handy.

That's all for now. Ciao from the Underworld!

Try to Remember the First of December

Greetings infidels. Today is the 1st day of December. The year is almost over and another trip around the sun begins. We will end the week with my last installments on the death of popular music in the 21st century. I will again show you via contrast, the lyrics of some contemporary songs with some from yesteryear. Again, in all other fields, be it science or medicine, as the years go by, there are advances in those areas. Progress is made. In our history, one saw the advances in literature, art, and music. Compare a Gregorian chant to a Beethoven Symphony. Compare a 12th century painting to one of the 18th and 19th century and then to the modernist paintings of the 20th century. While different, each period shows its genius. Now let's look at popular music in the 20th and 21st century. The popular song evolved into works of art in different genres: the great American Songbook (Gershwin, Porter, Arlen, Rodgers and Hart, etc.) and into Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock, and Pop. Being on the bottom of the artistic pyramid, popular music evolved from the 1950's through the 1970's. Melodies were important. And to some writers, the lyrics became important too. Some lyrics could be simple, such as a Hank Williams song, or deep such as a Hal David or Beatle or Paul Simon lyric. So with this as a base, one would think that here today in the 21st century, the art of composition would have evolved further. Sadly, it has not. It has degenerated into a filthy, abysmally ignorant cesspool of noise and tawdry vulgarities. While this is more prevalent in popular music, as compared to country music, but as you will see, country music has suffered too. It is not the country music of yesteryear. There is some great stuff out there, but it is being flooded with mediocrity.
Since I mentioned country, let's start with these 2 examples from Hank Williams. While some may think of him as some hillbilly, his lyrics were quite powerful, even in their simplicity. For example, in "I'm so Lonesome", these lyrics make you feel that loneliness and makes you want to down a few whiskeys. Pay close attention to the line about the robin. Pretty powerful stuff from a drinking cowboy:

Hear the lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live
I’m so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry

Now in "Your Cheating Heart", Hank lays it out on the line but never gets tawdry or outright lowlife. Check this out:



Now let's contrast the lyrics by Hank Williams with the lyrics of the number one country song this week "Before He Cheats" by Carrie "American Idol" Underwood. The Underwood song also talks about someone cheating (popular subject in country music), but in this song, there's a violent low-life twist which is being glorified:
"Right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleach blonde tramp,
and she's probably getting frisky...right now,
he's probably buying her some fruity little drink
cause she can't shoot whiskey...

Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool-stick,
showing her how to shoot a combo...
And he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side of his pretty little suped up 4 wheel drive,
carved my name into his leather seats...
I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, slashed a hole in all 4 tires...
Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats."
Really deep stuff no? This is what is glorified. Now, let's take a look at the number 2 pop song this week, which also deals with the same subject, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". Frankly, this song is not only vulgar, it has racially derogatory words which emasculate proper English grammer:
"Everything you own in the box to the left
In the closet that's my stuff - Yes
If I bought it nigga please don't touch
And keep talking that mess, that's fine
But could you walk and talk at the same time
And It's my mine name that is on that Jag
So remove your bags let me call you a cab.
So go ahead and get gone
And call up on that chick and see if she is home
Oops, I bet ya thought that I didn't know
What did you think I was putting you out for?
Cause you was untrue
Rolling her around in the car that I bought you
Baby you dropped them keys hurry up before your taxi leaves
Standing in the front yard telling me
How I am such a fool - Talking about
How I'll never ever find a man like you
You got me twisted."
Now in contrast, let me show you an example of what well written lyrics when combined with well written music can produce. I present the song Alfie by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. The music is outstanding, and the lyrics make you think: something that the above contemporary examples do not:
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give?
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
Then I guess its wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
And you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.
Once again, today's contemporary society and its music thrives on the dumbing down of the culture. Rather than make people think, it glorifies stupidity, lousy English, violence, and the dehumanization of love and life.
In the meantime, have a great weekend folks. I'm signing off from the insomniac cafe.