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Welcome to ‘A Bird’s Eye View’

     Yes, you’re in the right place; you don’t have a virus; well, maybe you do, but that’s a whole different subject.  This is Morning News in Verse and you are either receiving this in your email (thank you subscribers, we love you) or are getting it through Facebook (we love you too, but it’s more like a puppy love).  Due to an increasingly diminishing number of requests, we’ve made a decision to change our format from mostly verse and some prose to mostly prose and some verse.  Our number of ‘hits’ tell us that it’s what you would prefer as well.

     We’ll still make fun of the Headlines, Money, Sports and Life, but only occasionally; rather, we’ll proffer samples of ‘A Bird’s Eye View’ of life-observations.  Sometimes our observations will be from the road, usually the one less traveled, and sometimes they will be from just around the corner.  Sometimes we’ll write about insignificant, Andy Rooney-kinds of things and other times we’ll offer observations on this process of growing older, but not necessarily up.

So let’s start with our new name, ‘A Bird’s Eye View’; it is, of course, a play on words of the name Sparrow, but it also has some family history to it.  In 1940 our parents moved to Novato, a small, northern California town, where our father, Jack (yes, Jack Sparrow, but no relation to Johnny Depp) bought the Novato Advance, a local, weekly newspaper, and at 26 became the youngest newspaper publisher in California.  It was truly a ‘Mom and Pop’ business – our dad hand-set the type and operated the printing presses while our mom, who could also operate a pretty mean linotype machine, attended the town meetings to gather the local gossip, or news as she called it.  She also spiced up the paper by chronicling the comings and goings of Novato’s social elite, such as they were.  Those familiar with small town newspapers know what we’re talking about.  Jim and Mabel Cranston were visited on Sunday by Mabel’s sister, Iris from Ukiah; she brought an apple pie – Jim had seconds.  Our mother originally called her column, A Little Bird Told Me and later changed it to A Bird’s Eye View.  When we recently asked her about why she changed the name, she first said, “Who are you two?”  At 93, we forgave her for not remembering the details of a newspaper column from nearly 70 years ago.  Our theory is this: etymologically speaking, ‘A Little Bird Told Me’ sounds like second-hand information, like we’re not sure if this is true, but we heard from someone that yadda, yadda, yadda. ‘A Bird’s Eye View’, on the other hand, seems to suggest more of a first-hand, optimum perspective of things.  Our mother could neither confirm nor deny our theory.

However the name came about, we’ve decided that it’s ours and we’re bringing it out of retirement.  We hope you enjoy our new direction.

SLIME, AND SLIME AGAIN

Headlines:  We’re going to need a bigger jar of Purell.

They’ve discovered that the meat in our schools has “pink slime”,

And slimy ex-governor “Blago” is finally in jail for his crimes.

But the biggest “yuck” of all goes to Afghan prez Karzai,

“Untrustworthy slime ball” is too good for this guy.

Money:  March:  the lowest productivity month of the year.

The market is going up; mortgage rates are on the rise,

But all we care about is our office pool size.

Everyone is studying brackets, sizing up who’s #1,

It’s finally March Madness, which mean no work is being done.

Sports:  And to continue the theme…

Sure, Peyton is making all the stops, looking for a team,

And Tiger’s nursing his Achilles to keep alive his Master’s dream.

But it’s Kentucky who has to worry and hope that things don’t go awry,

For now they have to overcome the dreaded “jinx” from S.I.

Life:  It’s All Over Except the Shouting

That juggernaut, “American Idol”, has begun its 11th season,

And maybe we’re just cranky but it’s a bit “off” for some reason.

Some contestants are okay, a couple sing like they’re from Heaven,

But why do most decide to turn one note into seven?

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STILL DIGGING FOR THE GOOD NEWS

Headlines: Time to Stick Our Heads in the Sand

Rogue solder in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s enraged;

Massacres In Syria – this whole world’s an ugly stage.

But on this Tuesday morning, let’s not the bad news chase;

Let’s focus on the things that put a smile upon our face.

Money: Just What We Needed – Longer Days

We’ve made it through that weekend where we had to change our clocks,

And now we are just days away from the Vernal Equinox.

When Spring begins in earnest and the sun is beaming stronger,

When our nights are getting warmer and our days are lighter longer.

Sports: Tiger’s Having Another Hissy Fit

College basketball’s ‘Big Dance’ gets started off this week,

While Peyton’s on a US tour, a new football team to seek.

And Tiger keeps on swearing and after bad shots bangs his club;

It seems that the ‘new Tiger’ is more like a tiger cub.

Life: Whatever You Eat . . . It’s Bad For You.

In looking for some good news about things to drink and eat,

We didn’t find much solace for those who eat red meat.

But veggies contain pesticides and mercury’s in our fish,

So this evening try some raw nuts and a gourmet tofu dish

 Bon Appetite!

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WHERE AM I?

Headlines:  We knew those “duck and cover” drills would pay off.

As if we didn’t have enough on our minds these days,

Solar storms are wreaking havoc in new and critical ways.

Navigation systems may go down, power grids may take a hit,

Which means we may hear the GPS lady get confused and say “Oh, Shit!”

Money:  We’re going to work on that “beer belly” girdle.

Forbes is out this week with their annual billionaire list,

Gates, Slim, Buffet…you all get the gist.

But the newest club member invented the shapewear, Spanx,

Who knew that squeezing fat would result in billions in the bank?

Sports:  The Stanford Band should be part of the deal.

Irsay says “it’s not about the money” but we all know it is,

He’s got his eye on Andrew Luck, the Stanford QB whiz.

But Peyton Manning is a class act, who has done the Colts fans proud,

We wish all football players were so articulately endowed.

Life:  One smart cookie.

The Girl Scouts of America were founded 100 years ago,

By a quirky, childless woman by the name of Juliette Low.

Hilary Clinton and Barbara Walters are among those who did their stints,

But the greatest Girl Scout triumph? Those addicting, darn Thin Mints!

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Thank you, Sis!

by Bob Sparrow

First and foremost, thank you Sis for last week’s wonderfully written tribute that touched my heart.  I feel so very fortunate that you are not just family, you are a true friend.

Those who have lost someone very close know that for a period of time, the world just isn’t quite right; days seem a little cloudier, the music is a little flat; things are just out of rhyme.  Which, for someone tasked to put some topical, humorous rhymes together, is problematic. For example, reading the HEADLINES this week all I get is:

      The word came in a ‘Rush’, when he called that girl a slut;                                                   He passed up a really good chance to keep his pie hole shut.

Ok, it’s not out of rhyme, but it’s not out of Shakespeare either.  There’s just no good stories about MONEY these days:

   They have nets around the top floors of the ‘sweat shops’ in China                                       To catch the workers when they jump, so they don’t miss a day of work.

See, out of rhyme.  SPORTS – you’d think it would be easy with all that’s going on.

Waiting for March Madness, waiting for Baseball, waiting for the Masters                            Waiting for Danica Patrick to beat the boys.

See, now I’m writing about NASCAR, for crying out loud, ya’ll.  And LIFE?  It sucks right now, but it will get better, and so will my rhymes.

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TRIBUTE TO A FRIENDSHIP

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Normally we post on Tuesdays and Fridays but this week is not a normal week.  Today my brother Bob has the heavy burden of delivering the eulogy at the funeral of his best friend, Don Klapperich.  So as friends and family gather today to mourn Don, I want to pay tribute to a very special friendship.

While so many of us have let childhood friendships lapse into occasional emails or Christmas cards, Bob and Don maintained a close bond for 53 years.   They first met in 1959 when they were juniors in high school. They struck up an immediate friendship, connected by a love of music, sports and good humor.  This was the era of folk music – the Kingston Trio, Limelighters, etc. – so Bob and Don started playing guitar and singing.  They dubbed themselves “The Neverly Brothers”.  They actually were darn good; they could play, sing and banter with the best of them.

Over the years they got several paying gigs and more importantly for us, they entertained our family, turning every gathering into a joyous sing-along party.  Somewhere along the line Don insisted on drinking rum and Coke, but only if it was cheap rum and diet Coke.  He dubbed that drink “the Klapper” and many a family gathering has resulted in too many Klappers!

They stayed in touch all through college and afterwards, when they both joined the Navy.  Don was a fighter pilot and served four tours of duty in Viet Nam.  He stayed in the Navy for 20 years and retired as a Lt. Commander.  After leaving active service, Don worked overseas as a fighter pilot instructor before finally retiring to San Antonio a few years ago.  Bob, after his Navy stint was over, elected to teach and then joined the business world and was very successful in the mortgage business in California

I give this background because what is amazing about their story is that their bond of friendship never faltered.  No matter the distance in their residence or hectic pace of their lives, they still found time for one another.  This is not to suggest that they never disagreed.  They held very different political views and had some lively discussions over the years.  But their opinions never got in the way of their friendship.

They saw each other through marriage, divorce, re-marriage, children and finally grandchildren.  They shared all of life’s experiences together, as close as two people could be without being related.  Of course, being friends with Don was, let’s just say, “interesting”.  He was a cross between a steely-eyed jet pilot and John Belushi.

In the early 1980’s the three of us were out for dinner and Don decided he was going to teach me how to properly eat a hamburger.  He took a huge bite out of the burger, threw his head back, mouth agape, picked up the plastic mustard and ketchup containers, and squirted them directly into his mouth.  As you might imagine, it got the attention of the wait staff, not to mention the other diners.  This was one of the milder things he ever did.  He was always brilliant, at times socially inept, but always a true friend.

Don never went to any high school reunions but last September, for their 50th, Don agreed to attend with Bob and reunite The Neverly Brothers.  They sang and entertained the crowd, not knowing that it was the last time that two great friends, doing what they do best, would be together.  Thankfully it was taped and put on YouTube for posterity.

I recently received an email that said, “Treat your friends well, for you never know when God is going to want them back”.  It is certainly understandable that God would want Don back – for good humor, good music and maybe even a “Klapper”.

Rest in peace, Don.  And to Bob: my heart aches for you today but just know that you were the best friend that anyone could possibly have.

WHY CAN’T POLITICIANS TAKE A CUE FROM “THE ACTOR”?

Headlines:  Don’t worry, Joe, we’re all nodding off.

Well, we’re getting closer to casting the Republican primary vote,

Romney or Santorum? One’s the victor, one’s the goat.

As for Obama, he is confident, even with Biden as his Veep,

His only worry will be during speeches – hoping Joe doesn’t fall asleep.

Money:  When in doubt, blame the Baby Boomers.

The Dow is doing well; housing seems to be rebounding,

But now three experts give dire predictions which are a bit confounding.

Mostly our troubles come from retiring Baby Boomers and the global debt,

So just when we thought we could relax, we learn our gains will be offset.

Sports:  The Lakers play the Heat on Sunday – watch the rematch.

Kobe Bryant was on fire during the All-Star game,

Breaking Jordan’s scoring record, which brought him much acclaim.

But unfortunately Kobe’s nose was broken by a player from the Heat,

Which saved Vanessa from having to do it, for him being such a cheat.

Life:  Joan Rivers was jealous of Billy’s tuck and roll.

The Oscars were predictable, even with Crystal manning the show,

The question on our minds was who had more nips – him or JLo?

Our favorite was Chris Rock, who really was quite funny,

Skewering actors for “working hard” and making so much money.

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Show Me The Money

Headlines: The Free Throws Were Not Free

While Republicans were busy debating, and trying to raise some more cash,

Obama was looking to the NBA to increase his campaigning stash.

Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban and a slew of other stars were there for Obama’s little speech

Just a small gathering of the elite, who paid thirty thousand . . . each!

Money: This Gives Me Gas

Why the sudden rise in gas? you inquire, it’s up past the four dollar mark.

The experts have tried to figure out why, but they say that they’re still in the dark.

Production is up and consumption is down, is this really just some kind of scam?

Well yes, they’re raising the prices of gas, simply because they can.

Sports: The 11th Commandment

Brady Quinn finally got some attention, for speaking his mind in GQ

And making some comments on Tebow, which caused quite a hullabaloo.

Now Brady is down at the training camp, packing up all of his gear,

Because he took Tebow’s name in vain, he probably won’t be there next year.

Life: What, No Who, Will You Be Wearing?

This Sunday the Oscars will be handed out, in resplendent style we’re sure.

Joan Rivers, Red Carpet, and ‘Who designed that?’, we’ll simply have to endure.

We’ll enjoy Billy Crystal taking shots at the stars, in his tux he will dance and he’ll sing,

And not for the first time a film might be honored that just doesn’t say anything.

 

 

 

GUNS AND ROSES: THE CHINESE EDITION

Headlines:  Is that a bulge in your purse or are you happy to see me?

The latest trend, it seems, is women owning guns,

They’re buying up firearms and ammo by the tons.

Some are shooting for the pleasure and some for their protection,

And some want to meet a man and find their “firing” connection.

 Money:  How do you say “strike” in Mandarin?

Wal-Mart is acquiring a Chinese shopping giant,

Hoping that their shoppers will become low-price reliant.

Meanwhile Apple has its hand full with its Foxconn dive,

No doubt that these two firms will spawn a Chinese union drive.

Sports:  Be afraid, be very afraid.

Jeremy Lin is denouncing the latest rumor hype,

Says he’s not dating Kim Kardashian, that she’s just not his type.

He may just be a bit naïve, laying his emotions out so bare,

‘Cause he’s a sports star in the spotlight – and she is so there.

Life:  A cautionary tale.

Whitney Houston “went home” in an elaborate celebration,

With singing and testimonies that were three hours in duration.

At the same time SNL announced Lindsay Lohan soon will host,

We’re hoping she’ll sober up and take advice from Whitney’s ghost.

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THIS WILL HELP BRING YOU DOWN FROM YOUR VALENTINE CHOCOLATE HIGH

Headlines: Apparently Before ‘The Pill’ There Was Aspirin

Contraception’s become a political football that was bouncing around on the ground,

When Andrea Mitchell, wanted someone to address it, and here is the person she found.

A colorful backer of Santorum is he, Foster Friess (yes, that’s pronounced ‘Freeze’);

Who said, “Back in my day they just used an aspirin, the gals put it between their two knees”

Money: Another Wise Investment By Our Government

Clean-energy company, Solyndra, which we now know didn’t have a clue,

Got a half-billion loan from the government, without telling them what they could do.

They raved all about their technology to make energy plentiful and green,

And now they have gone out of business, I guess we’re the only ones that got cleaned

Sports: The ‘Showdown’ At Pebble

Mickelson and Woods at last played together on Sunday at famed Pebble Beach.

They both trailed the leader by just a few strokes, so the prize was still in their reach.

Phil hit all the fairways and dropped all his puts and ended up winning it all;

While Tiger looked more like a whipped pussy cat, who was left choking on a hair ball.

 Life: Someone Like You?  Not That I’ve Ever Heard

We usually rag on the rich and the famous; it’s so easy to carp and to gripe,

But it seems for the most part, this year’s Grammys show, finally lived up to the hype.

Adele was clearly the star of the show with six Grammys tucked under her wing;

So British, so cheeky, so funny, so real, and Wow can she ever sing!

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