Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Is A Spenserian Year

At Long Last~~The 39th Made It
We are no other than a moving row 
Of Magic Shadow-shapes that come and go 
Round with the Sun-illumined Lantern held 
In Midnight by the Master of the Show; 
~~Omar Khayyam, The Rubaiyat
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Mirabile dictum, this is the thirty-ninth year that I greeted the changing of the calendar year in the Western Hemisphere.  For consecutive eleven of those thirty-nine years I was a resident in Manhattan.  For non-consecutive ten of those years Times Square was on my commuting route to work.  But what I found amazing was that for the first time this year I watched on TV’s Fox News Channel the New Year’s Eve midnight ball drop in Times Square.

It is amazing because in New York it is considered a landmark event.  On a number of occasions I was part of the crowd gathered to witness the event.  In all such other occasions I was somehow distracted and missed the main event entirely.  That I actually had the energy this year to focus on the drop itself was as eloquent an expression as any of how far I have slowed down in my old age.  It did not help that as readers of this blog may have noticed a good deal of 2013 was spent playing some sort of hopscotch from one health care provider to another.

It amused me somehow that I found it amazing than sad.  Ordinarily, I would have been shocked and saddened that I seemed to be eager and willing to “go gentle into that good night.”  The chutzpah to brave the telltale relics of the ruins of time seemed definitely missing from my arsenal.  That there was no hint of rage in my reaction should have been alarming.  It has been noteworthy, nevertheless that there was more of a curious wishful thinking than detached resignation.

The telecast itself had a sixty-second countdown.  Throughout this interval, the ball was shown to change to various colors as it traversed its downward trajectory.  It was at the thirty-second mark that my wishful thinking actually kicked in.  I found myself asking: what if the ball just stops without reaching the ground?  Would it mean that gravity actually had temporarily malfunctioned, or an anomalous kink was discovered in the time continuum? How would the crowd react to it? 

It’s amazing how much diverse thoughts can occur in a time span of thirty seconds.  So much of our imagination is invested away into futility.

Lo and behold none of my what-if scenarios materialized.  The unexpected did not disrupt reality.  I ended up greeting the New Year invoking a few choice admonitions of the poet:

[. . .]
All such vain Monuments of earthly Mass,
Devour'd of Time, in time to nought do pass.
[. . .]
So unto Heaven let your high Mind aspire,
And loath this Dross of sinful World's Desire.
~~Edmund Spenser, Ruines of Time

This would, for the record, make the year 2014 decidedly Spenserian for me.  There is no telling whether such is good, bad, indifferent, or otherwise.  Let the chips fall as they may.  We’ll adequately deal with them somehow.


  1. New Year’s Day unfolded quite in its “usual suspects” routine normal way: I posted this blog before daylight and went to bed. I woke up for my usual mug of coffee though I’m still waiting for my Keurig K Cups adjustable shots. In the meantime the Folgers instant power should do the trick to start the year 2014.
    Then the normal day can begin. With old reruns of The Honeymooners on WPIX Channel 11 in the background, I started singing along with Frankie on this, one of my very favorites, playlist: {NB: just click on PlayAll}
    It’s quite a party and a way to get started. I have been doing it for a few consecutive years. I came across only one glitch so far. The “My Way” video won’t get out of mute mode so I had to skip it. Now I’m on 42/44 “The Unreachable Star” and just about ready for lunch.
    What a start it has been. My lovely wife has not been upset with me yet. She is busy calling Krakow for now.

  2. Three of the thirty-nine New Year’s Eves were spent outside of New York State as follows (in reverse order):

    2010~~On board the cruise ship Disney Magic [] somewhere in the vicinity of Cast Away Island in the Bahamas;

    1991~~At the Wyndham resort in Montego Bay Jamaica for my wedding and second honeymoon on my third (and current) marriage inclusive of a week of golf and swimming; and

    1988~~In San Diego La Jolla Sheraton inclusive of a week of golf at Torey Pines then host to the PGA Tour’s E.F. Hutton open.

  3. I’m happy to report I fixed the “My Way” video member of the Frankie playlist by replacing it with one that has not been muted due to copyright infringement. So here it goes now in 4/44 instead of 13/44: