Sunday, November 29, 2015


 Bosco is the star of my story
but not the hero

I've often said that I never have to fabricate stories for my blog because fact is more interesting (and stranger) than fiction. I have a prime example to tell today.

Come to think of it, my entire life has been filled with bizarre stories. I am either the unfortunate victim of an irreversible evil curse, or I was simply created for the amusement of the Gods.

It's never my deliberate intention to drag out stories to agonizing lengths, but I probably will. Please bear with me. 

I've had a hectic weekend, bordering on rotten. Despite living here for a year (I moved in on Thanksgiving, 2014) I'm still very unsettled. There's a heckuva lot of work yet to be done and I'm extraordinarily slow at tackling it. Life in the wilderness is wonderful, but MUCH more trouble than my city-boy mentality ever imagined. I also have health issues that I never mention in my blog (it's extremely unbecoming to bitch)
and....I'll admit it.....
living with three feisty cats in a small place ain't easy.'s where my bizarre story begins.

I felt really rotten last night. Couldn't sleep. Pent-up stress eventually induced an anxiety attack (nothing new - - anxiety and I are roommates).

Cut to the chase, Jon.

Okay, I crawled into bed somewhere around dawn. Bosco (my male cat) always sleeps on my bed. No problem. When Bosco's not sleeping, he loves to sit atop the tall chest of drawers next to my bed. It's his favorite place to be.

His habitual way of accessing his favorite perch is to leap onto the headboard of my bed and then jump up onto the chest of drawers. He always does this gracefully and effortlessly.

 Bosco and his big ass

This morning he encountered a problem. Major malfunction. 

I had just drifted off to sleep when Bosco attempted his Nijinsky leap. He missed the headboard and landed directly (and I mean DIRECTLY) on my face. He panicked, tried to scramble, and crashed into my face again.

I initially didn't know what hit me - but I literally saw stars and birdies. It was like a knockout punch in the third round. Bosco is very heavy and his claws are razor sharp. He ravaged the entire left side of my face with his claws.

One of his paws gouged my left eye and I truly thought he ripped my eyeball out.

I stumbled to the bathroom, trembling and scared witless to look in the mirror.
Bosco did one helluva number on me.
The entire left side of my face was covered in blood. Blood was in my left eye and oozing from my mustache.

It took over half an hour for me to staunch the blood and assess the damage. My eye was okay but there are two vicious cuts a fraction from it - one above and one in the corner.

All in all, I have seven (count 'em) nasty gashes on the left side of my face. I look like the loser in a barroom brawl. My face hurts and burns but at least I still have my eye.

Holy shit - - it will take some time to heal.   

I wasn't angry with Bosco because he didn't intend to do it. He was actually as shocked and surprised as I was. Bosco is a very gentle and timid cat. He simply lost his footing (perhaps he needs glasses?).

I'm always amazed at how big and heavy Bosco is. I had him (and Scruffy) since they were first born - and both kittens were so frail and sickly that I doubted they would live. 

Hopefully this bizarre and ugly incident will never repeat itself. Perhaps I should wear a hockey goalie mask when I'm sleeping.

 Here's Bosco when he was a tiny sickly tyke in Texas. Ironically, he's standing on my bed headboard - - the same one where he attempted to make his flying leap this morning.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015


The beginning of the end of another year. These ends come too quickly, too frequently, and I regard them with a sense of gloom and dread that never previously infiltrated my private Decembers. I feel ancient and worn out far beyond my years.

These feelings are only a passing melancholy, inspired by the burden of recent unkind years that chewed me up, spit me out, and left only remnants of what I used to be.

When I blog, I'm merely talking to myself with nobody else in mind. Seeing evidence of my private thoughts in print is often disconcerting.

The above photo was taken early yesterday afternoon, outside my back door, and is in color. The monochromatic bleakness of it is starkly representative of this time of year: the sun has drifted so far south that the forest is rendered nearly colorless.

Yesterday (Friday) was unseasonably warm and overcast. The sun burned feebly in the hazy distance like a wayward moon. I loved the surrealistic atmosphere and wandered in the woods, savoring a gentle mellowness that won't last.

Echoes of music haunted my mind - specifically the first movement of Rachmaninov's Fourth Concerto, and more specifically that intoxicating, brief theme that emerges at Tempo come prima (alle Breve).......only hardcore pianists will know what I'm referring to.

I used to have the full score of this concerto, but it was one of many, many things lost by the movers when I came to TN. I won't elaborate about this now, it's too painful...... 

I studied this concerto in my youth, in California, but never performed it publicly. It evokes some of the happiest times in my life, when I was deeply and passionately in love.

Music - for just about everyone, I suppose - has the powerful ability to resurrect memories. 
I could mention Rachmaninov's Etudes Tableaux, op.39 - particularly #5 in E-flat minor - but I don't want to become boring.

Jon, boring? Not a chance.

I was so busy doing things on Thanksgiving Day that I decided not to cook. I had my holiday dinner on Friday instead. It was delicious and I still have leftovers for today.

The holiday season has officially begun.

What's the deal with Black Friday? Who the hell named it that? Isn't it racist? Where are all the protesters and riots? Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?

Black Friday is another inane American invention to designate the beginning of the holiday shopping season. I think it sounds extremely depressing and foreboding......
....but if it was called White Friday it would spark protests and can't win.
How about calling it Happy Friday? Or, Pathetic Fools Spending All Their Money on a Pagan Holiday Friday?

Just a thought.   

  There is still some color obstinately lingering in the forest, if you bother to search for it. Neither black, nor white....but rather a pleasing smattering of subtle sienna and burnt orange.

It is presently dawn on Saturday and I haven't been to bed yet. I'm going to catch an hour or three of shuteye before starting my day. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


(photo by Jon)

Thanksgiving is the time of year when tradition dictates that we should be greatful for our bounties and give thanks for our blessings. As a hardcore pessimist and a relentlessly dire realist, I've always found it incredibly difficult to acknowledge the bright side of life. I'd go so far as to maintain that anyone who is in a perpetual state of smiling bliss is a jackass.

Wow, Jon, you've singlehandedly managed to put a major damper on the entire Thanksgiving experience.

Let me put it this way:
My often dour disposition would have driven the Pilgrims to suicide or murder.

Do us a favor, Jon. Take a deep breath, put on a happy face, and tell us all the pluses in your life.

Hey, Kemo Sabe - - I haven't had a happy face since Howdy Doody was on prime time TV. You've proposed a tough request, but I'll give it a shot:

Since I'm spending Thanksgiving alone, I won't have to cook an elaborate meal for a bunch of annoying guests.

Since I no longer have a TV, I won't be subjected to the intolerable Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

Since I'm now isolated here in the Tennessee wilderness, I won't have to worry about my Texas neighbors throwing another deafeningly loud four-day-marathon Mariachi Thanksgiving drug party. And I won't have 50 screaming kids playing a 12 hour game of football on my front lawn.

Those are definite reasons to be thankful. Got any more?

Yesterday my cousin Nancy gave me a USB computer keyboard for my ailing laptop. Consequently I can actually type freely again without having to worry about the broken "I" key.

I should mention that my friend Linda offered to send me a keyboard, but I didn't want her to go through the trouble.

I'm thankful for kind people.

Way to go, Jon! You've proven that you have a heart and a soul after all!

Actually, I sold my soul to Lucifer during an after-hours reefer party in a back room at the Drake Theater in Hollywood 30 years ago - - but that's another story for another time.

You tend to baffle and bewilder, Jon.

That's only part of my charm.

Now, how about the minuses? What are the things that irk you?

Hey, I'm still wearing my damn happy face. If I ever listed the things that irk me, it would take several weeks, at least, and my three (or is it four) blog readers would perish from boredom.

What will your Thanksgiving be like, Jon?

It should be delightful, since I usually love my own company. There are occasions when I've considered killing the three cats, but this devious inclination tends to subside when my Prozac doses are increased.

You're joking, aren't you?

Yea. I'm still wearing my happy face.

Have you decided what you'll be eating on Thanksgiving?

Holidays and traditions irk the hell out of me. I have a turkey but I'm saving it for future culinary enjoyment.
I'll be eating roast chicken, with wild rice, green beans, cranberries, and rolls. And I just might bake pumpkin bread.

Sounds delicious.

Save the flattery. You're not invited.

No, I was not a passenger on the Mayflower

Saturday, November 21, 2015


as you read this post you'll probably notice that my text size and font style inexplicably keep changing. This has been happening to my blog for weeks, and so far everything I've tried to correct it has failed.

Also, the "I" key cap on my laptop keyboard is still broken and I have to go through a slow and painstaking process to insert an "i" into my words. 

Both of these problems have made typing so agonizng and frustrating that I no longer enjoy blogging. It's very diffcult to maintain my chain of thought while constantly struggling to eradicate these annoyances. I'm seriously considering abandoning my blog because of it.
Anyway, here's my latest post:

I indulged in one of my greatest passions last night. This is where your wicked imaginations should go into overdrive.

Opera! Not quite as good as sex, but a satisfying facsimile. I watched an entire performance of Die Walkure - a duration exceeding three hours. I was emotionally and spiritually transported to the realms of Valhalla, where I could easily reside forever.

Yea, I know - the subject of opera is a sure way to repel my three readers (bitter sarcasm inserted here), but allow me to vent for a glorious moment.

Wagner's artistic musical imagination and sheer genius for drama is beyond superb. Wotan's Farewell and the Magic Fire Music are so sublimely beautiful that the emotion overwhelms me.

Magic Fire Music on a very frosty November night. What could be better?

My personal favorite Brunnhilde?
Gwyneth Jones. I love her.
And Wotan?
Tough choice. James Morris and Donald McIntyre.

There. That wasn't so bad, was it? Now for a change of subject.

My previous blog post  All About Thanksgiving was written two years ago and posted on my old blog Lone Star Concerto. After reading it again, it's not quite as funny as I initially thought (I have a feeling that you agree.....)
but I still think it's good. 
And it's damn true.

 View from one of my bedroom windows

I'll be spending it home alone, with the three pesky cats. I bought a turkey but think I'll save it for December. Why have turkey on Thanksgiving just because tradition dictates it? I might have roast chicken and stuffing. Haven't really decided yet.

Actually, I love turkey - - could eat it once a week, at least. And I always make homemade soup from the leftovers. Smoked turkeys are the very best, but they're expensive. 

I also make homemade pumpkin bread, pudding, and pie. Yea, I can cook.....I'm not just another pretty face.....I love anything with pumpkin in it.
I remember the delicious Mexican pumpkin candy I used to get as a kid on Olvera Street in Los Angeles.

What I like best about the holiday season is the festive atmosphere and the good food. I was never into family gatherings and all the faux unity and kissy kissy crap. Why bother to fake it once a year?

This undoubtedly stems from my parents. They had the most turbulent marriage in history and were complete opposites, but they fully agreed on one thing: they never liked holidays, parties, or inane social gatherings. 
The fact that we lived thousands of miles away from most of our relatives was another factor. We never had to worry about being involved in all the family holiday crap.

So what's happening here on the mountain? Beautiful days, but the temperature is supposed to drop to 15 degrees tomorrow night.(yes, 15 degrees Fahrenheit)I'm sure as hell not looking forward to it. I had to crawl under the house again today to check some things. Didn't scare me half as much as it did the first time. Emerged covered in dirt and cobwebs.

It's presently 3:00 p.m. - getting dark, rainy, windy, and cold. I'm going to make dinner and a cup of tea.




Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Bravo, the French authorities for taking swift action against the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The architect of the attacks - Abdelhamid Abaaoud - was killed. Over 400 raids were made, with over 25 arrests.

If this terrorist situation had happened here in America, it would have taken years for authorities to plan the raids, and a few more years to carry them out. The arrested suspects would be held in prison for years, where they would be granted limitless consultations with the best lawyers in the country. The trial would undoubtedly drag out for another year. And, of course, several of the female jurors would fall in love with the defendant.

If anyone was found guilty, they would be housed in the most posh prison available, given royal treatment with every amenity, and allowed the endless possibility of appeals, retrials, and leniency for good behavior.

The American "justice" system wouldn't want to offend anyone, or discriminate, or insult. Our esteemed leader Barry Hussein would do everything possible to appease his Muslim brothers. 

The American government and politicians have their heads so far up their asses that suffocation is inevitable. And so do the voters......

That's my honest opinion (with slight exaggerations, of course). Your positive responses to my "Paris" post have emboldened me. 
Well, that and a few cans of beer....... 

 The wind stripped the leaves from the trees

Wild, wicked winds last night. The worst winds I've seen since I left Texas. The only good aspect is that the wind here is clean and pure. The West Texas winds were ladened with dust and dirt. And they never subsided. Never.

Rainy day, perpetual rain. Dank, dark, soggy, and gloomy. At least the wind has stopped. The days are pathetically short. It gets dark by 4:30.

The "I" key cap is still off on my laptop keyboard - - and now the inner mechanism (whatever) broke. This makes typing absolute agony. I'm always a very quick typist. Now, it takes me forever to type. And I have to go back again and again to painstakingly add the missing "I" in every word (by using a pencil to pound the "I" key into submission). I've repeatedly tried to fix it but nothing works. Nothing.

Have you ever attempted to replace a three-prong cord with a four-prong cord on a clothes dryer? It took me several frickin' days. Hooking up the wires is no problem. Trying to access them from the tiny "window" in the back of the machine is a nightmare. My fingers would cramp and I kept dropping the screws behind the panel. The back panel on an old Amana can't be removed, so every dropped screw was lost forever.

 Several days of agony

I have a helluva lot more problems besides laptop keyboards and clothes dryers, but I'll be a gentleman and spare you. I've been in a dour mood lately.

Actually, it's a lovely time of year (despite rain and wind) - and an exciting time, in anticipation of the holidays. I plan to write some things about Thanksgiving, despite this cursed keyboard.

By the way -
Bosco begged me to share this photo with you. It was taken last night with my cell phone (which explains the poor quality).


 my other blog:
Cabinet of Curious Treasures