Thursday, March 15, 2018


Do I think it's boring? Hell, no - but I didn't want to say it's fantastic and risk sounding conceited.

*   *   *

One of the problems I've always had as a pianist was an intense fear of performing. I had no doubts about my talent or capability - but I had an intense terror of making a mistake or having memory failure. 

Whenever I gave a public performance, my main goal was to get through it alive and with as few mistakes as possible.

My performance fears were compounded whenever I was being recorded or videotaped. Press a Record button anywhere near me and I instantly freeze.

With an over-sensitive musical ear and a strong penchant for being self-critical, I can always hear flaws when I listen to my recordings. My recorded performances are never (or seldom) relaxed. I always seem to be pressing forward merely to get to the end.

In all honesty, however, I usually manage to do a reasonably good job in dangerous (pianistically speaking) situations. I have never edited or dubbed my recordings, like some musicians do. What you hear is exactly how it was performed. Flaws and all.

What's my point?
No point, really. Perhaps - in some strange, neurotic, roundabout way - I'm praising my recordings and realizing that I wasn't half as bad as I imagined.

I recently found this recording that I made in California when I was twenty. The audio quality isn't the greatest, but I managed to transfer the old tape to an mp3 file.

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso op. 14 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847).
Mendelssohn wrote this piece when he was about 18 years old. 

Fair warning: it's over 7 minutes long.
Have a shot of whiskey before listening.

I posted this on Soundcloud because I wasn't in the mood to make a video for YouTube.

Monday, March 12, 2018


 The recent damnable but inevitable clock change took me by surprise this time around. I had completely forgotten about it.

Fortunately, I was prepared. I refused to turn my clocks back an hour last fall - - so consequently I didn't have to turn them ahead this time.

Springing an hour ahead means that we lost an hour, doesn't it? Hell, if I subtracted all the precious hours I lost in my life (for one reason or another) I'd be timeless.
Ponder that for awhile. It might get profound.

I've been under such an enormous amount of stress lately (for endlessly complicated reasons that I won't go into) that I've been plagued with panic attacks and dizzy spells. Nothing new here. I've suffered from similar anxieties my entire life.

Last Friday morning, when I first got out of bed, I was seized by a combination dizzy spell and panic attack - which was compounded by the fact that I  didn't have my glasses or contact lenses, so I couldn't see a damn thing.

I unceremoniously crashed into a bookcase and everything came tumbling down: cheap Chinese vases, brass trinkets from India.....and, of course, books. A ton (or so it seemed) of dust-covered books that I hadn't read in years.

I was hit in the head with the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. 
Lying there dazed amongst the clutter, I decided that it could have been worse. I could have been clobbered by Ayn Rand or Dostoevsky.

Fortunately nothing was broken - - except my pride...and perhaps my will to live.
The three cats gathered 'round and looked surprised.

As if my poor excuse for a life wasn't tainted with enough problems, the almost-springlike weather has vanished and winter has returned with a vengeance. Howling winds, bitter cold, ice, and a semblance of snow.

I desperately needed to get to my mailbox this morning. The accumulating ice, frozen mud, impenetrable slush, and falling snow made it impossible to use the car.
So I walked. As usual. It was frigid and beyond miserable. By the time I crawled back up the mountain to my shack, I was nearly frozen and on the verge of passing out.

Safely (??) back inside, I suddenly realized that I couldn't feel my feet. I pried my muddy boots off carefully, hoping that a collection of frozen toes wouldn't tumble out.
They didn't.

In the muddled void of my shivering contemplation (whatever that means), I realized that losing an hour might not be a bad thing after all. It will bring me an hour closer to July, when hopefully the ice will thaw out.

A view this morning from my back porch.

I'm way behind in reading blogs lately. But I'm thinking of you. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018


I'm having a rotten weekend - sandwiched between a generally rotten existence.
Things have been going so badly that there are times when I simply shut down, mentally and physically, and refuse to cope. 

This has nothing to do with cats or mice or life here in the wilderness. It has to do with all the unpleasant personal crap that I seldom write about in my blog.

Heck, I'm here to entertain - - not to horrify.
Uttered with grim sarcasm.

Sometimes remembering is a satisfying avenue of escape. Warm memories of distant times. That's why I chose this video, which I made about a year or two ago.

I love this song. It's generally known as Remember, but the original title is Willow - written by Richard Buckner.

This version is sung by Richard Buckner and Patty Griffin and was used in the 2008 movie Dream Boy.

As always, video is best viewed full screen. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


You're very fortunate that I haven't had time to write a post about the recent Oscars.

I hear a collective sigh of relief.

But I might sometime in the near future.

Groans of abject disgust.

Until then, I'll continue to brighten your lives with the intensely boring subjects that I've rehashed countless times before: sunsets, cats, and life in the harsh and unforgiving wilderness.

After a few glorious days of beautifully mild weather, winter decided to return and bite Tennessee in the ass. At least in my area.

A rude, cold wind started blowing yesterday at sunset - drastically dropping the temperature and inspiring snow flurries after midnight.

The sunset was so impressive that I grabbed my El Cheapo camera and ran out onto the front porch to capture the lovely scene while it was still ripe. 
Unbeknownst to me, Bosco and Scruffy (the cats) came out, too. 

After I took the photos, Bosco obediently came back inside (like he always does) and Scruffy went down the front steps and disappeared (like she always does).

She was gone all night - when the temperature was dangerously low and the frigid wind shrieked. To make matters worse, she has a bad cold with coughs, sneezes, and ample snot.

The last time Scruffy pulled this disappearing act she took refuge under the house. My only consolation was that she would do this again. Nevertheless, I worried all night and kept going outside to call her.

At the cold crack of dawn I went out again and kept shouting "SCRUFFY!!!"
so loud that it reverberated in Kentucky.
Finally, the wayward feline came out from under the back porch.

Nothing's better than a happy ending.


Post script:
A special thanks to my cousin Nancy who drove all the way over here on Monday to check up on me because neither of my phones were working.

Here are some sunset photos from last evening: