Wednesday, March 30, 2016

CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT




Listen to them, the children of the night.
What music they make!

Dracula
Bram Stoker

I've been nocturnal for as long as I can remember - - and when I try to sleep, I'm a hopeless insomniac.

Hungarian heritage? Possible vampirism?? It's undoubtedly something in my blood (no Dracula puns intended). Some people rise and shine with the morning sun. I don't feel alive until after dark. I'm never fully awake until midnight. I dread daybreak.

So where am I going with this subject?
Absolutely nowhere. It simply crossed my mind tonight, during a several-hours-long battle with insomnia.

I went to bed extremely early tonight - which means before midnight. My Big Plan (capitalized for emphasis) was to drive to town. This wasn't intended to be a pleasure excursion, but rather a necessary one. I need a new vacuum cleaner. Pronto.

The more I tried to sleep, the more I turned and tossed. The more I tossed and turned, the wider awake I became. The wider awake I became, the more I dreaded the agonizing prospect of piloting those excruciatingly endless winding mountain roads.

My back hurts, Big Time. I also have a monumental kink in my neck (had it for days). Probably should buy new pillows, along with the vacuum cleaner. 

Bosco was hogging all the covers. No need for alarm. Bosco's a cat. Not a lover. (just thought I'd clear that up in case you were in doubt)

Come to think of it, I probably did have a lover named Bosco somewhere along the line - - long ago during my reckless whiskey and hashish days..... Or was that Bozo?
(sometimes I like to throw in an unexpected punch, just to knock my critics for a loop) 

An owl was emitting spooky Halloweenish hoots near my bedroom window. At least I think it was an owl....

I finally got up, went into the kitchen, made a sandwich and a cup of coffee. At 3:00 a.m. 
Caffeine is the last thing I need. I'm already wired for sound.

At around 4:00 a pack of coyotes wandered in from the forest just behind the house - howling, yelping, growling, shrieking with demonic enthusiasm. 

There were a lot of them, much more than usual, and they came very close to my back door. I turned on the back porch light. When they finally moved to a safer distance, I stepped outside to have a look. They were already just a murky blur in the darkness.

When the coyotes are very close in large numbers, their presence is blood-curdling - - not to mention goose bump inducing - - but I love the excitement. There's an intoxicating satisfaction about being alone in the wilderness at night. It lends romance to nocturnality and intrigue to insomnia.

Spell Check informs me that nocturnality doesn't exist. I say bullshit! Look in the dictionary. Spel czech iz rong!!

So, where was I?

It's nearly dawn now and I'm still not sleepy. My Big Plan for Wednesday has been thwarted by insomnia. I can't go on Thursday, due to predicted Big Storms (capitalized for emphasis). The vacuum cleaner will have to wait. And I have no regrets.

I'm going back to bed.


Afterthought:
This crappy post probably shouldn't have been written. If you'd rather see pictures, check out my two previous posts.

 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

THIS ONE WON'T TAKE MUCH EFFORT




Well, Jon, what do you think your blog readers want to see for Easter?

Me - - hanging from the nearest tree. Kinda like Judas Iscariot.

Besides that.

They sure as hell don't want to absorb anything wordy or thoughtful, like my Good Friday post. It scared the jeeters out of them (there are many times when I scare myself, but that's beside the point). Many thanks Geo, for the only comment!

My readers obviously prefer mindless, inane fluff. Like beer-induced rants. Or boring photos.

Did you drink any beer lately, Jon?

No, I'm still recovering from last Wednesday. 

I'll post some inane photos. 
I wanted to take some Easter Sunday pictures of the blossoms, but there's so damn much frost at night that the blossoms are fading fast. Half of them are on respirators. They might not survive until Easter.
It's warm and sunny here during the day, but after dark the temperature plummets to minus 40. Almost.

Against my better judgement, here are an assortment of Easter-themed photos, most of which were taken a few years ago in Texas. My long-time blog readers will remember them and silently groan. 

FIRST, these are the few surviving blossoms on my property. I took these pics today (Saturday): 

 




SECOND - here are some pics I took when I lived in Texas:

  My cat Scratch devouring the Easter tulips


 


 I still have that antique pitcher - it's one of the few things the movers didn't break or lose



Scratch
encountering the Easter Bunny 

 The Easter Bunny
encountering a tumbleweed in the back yard

C


Chocolate cream-filled Easter cakes that I made myself (I can bake - - I'm not just another pretty face)

 I think these are called orange stars -
they're fairly popular in West TX during Easter



Don't laugh - he looks pretty damn good for being 105...... 
(hell, I feel 105)

 


Some vintage Easter graphics on my other blog:
http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com  

 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

IT'S ONLY THE BEER TALKING




I'm in a dangerously foul mood and I'm plied with beer. This is fair warning. I'm ready for a rumble.

I don't think "rumble" has been in anyone's vocabulary for fifty years, but what the hell.

And if any of you blog critics still think I'm writing too much about myself, buzz off and go read a boring blog. There are plenty of hausfraus out there blogging about recipes for lemon chiffon pies. Go find one.

The term "buzz off" hasn't been used since Cher was married to Sonny. Which has nothing to do with my age.

I was going to write more Easter crap but I'm not in the mood. I'll save it for later - when I'm feeling mellow and saccharine......

....which might not be for a few months.

So why are you in a foul mood, Jon?

Actually, I'm always in a foul mood but I'm adept at covering it up. When I'm plied with beer my Faux Happy Face dissolves and my evil alter ego comes to the surface. Ready to snap, bite, and rip to shreds.

I forced myself to drive into town this morning. Only because I haven't gone shopping in a month and I was out of everything. Including litter and chow for the damn trio of felines.

Scratch, Scruffy, and Bosco.

Today is Wednesday and - for some secret hillbilly reason that I've never been able to figure out - the banks and all public offices close at noon here on Wednesdays.

So, I had to get my ass in gear and race down the mountainside before noon in order to go to the bank. And I had to pile all my trash in the car to take to the dump. There's no trash pickup here in the boonies and it's an incredible inconvenience.

After all this time I still have NEVER gotten used to the long, winding, perilous, unnerving, harrowing, annoying, incredibly dangerous ride into town.
Did I mention harrowing?

It doesn't get any easier - in fact it gets worse. But I'm used to the curves, and they get smoother and more entertaining after I've ingested a few beers.

And the first person who lectures me on the reasons not to drink and drive is going to get bitch-slapped with my dirty hanky.



I've always lived dangerously and I have no doubt that I'll die that way. Only I'll die a lot sooner here in this freaking cursed wilderness.

I spent 200 bucks on groceries and didn't get half of what I needed. The worst part of shopping is when I arrive home. I live on a steep incline (to put it very mildly). When I park the car it's on an extreme slant. It takes all my strength to shove open the door and crawl out. Then I have to unload all of the groceries and haul them up another very steep slope to the back door.

All the while I'm hauling, I'm slipping and sliding on mud, fighting wasps bees and flies, and getting bombarded with gnats that get wedged in my contact lenses and go in my mouth.

Why do the gnats go in your mouth, Jon?

Because I'm so frickin' out of breath that I'm panting like Rin Tin Tin. My nose is clogged from allergies and sinuses. If I didn't breathe through my mouth, I'd suffocate. And when I breathe through my mouth, the gnats go in.

Why did you ever move to the mountain wilderness if you don't like it, Jon?  

I moved here to get away from bastards like you who ask too many questions.

Actually I love it here. I just hate all the inconveniences. 

It's suppose to rain all day tomorrow, so I'm glad I ventured to town today.

This has been one helluva gloomy post, Jon. Do you have anything positive to say?

Yea - all my critics are presently reading other blogs about how to make lemon chiffon pies. So I don't have to worry about them bitching about my blog.

and

I'm sure as hell glad I only have cats instead of children. My poor cousin Nancy ....how shall I say this tactfully?.... is presently in....a Family Crises Mode....

and

All the spring blossoms have survived the recent frosts. I've posted some recent photos for your visual delight.

now

I'm gonna take a nap. The effects of the alcohol will eventually wear off and I'll be back to my sweet, cute, sexy, interesting, irresistible self. 

I just threw that in to piss off my critics. 


 Blossoms this morning -
they survived the frost! 

  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

EASTER BUNNY UNDERGOES ANALYSIS

Is it only my warped imagination, or do vintage Easter photos have a slightly creepy quality about them?

(I don't know if all of these photos are exactly "vintage", but what the heck - they're B&W)
 

 A consultation with Dr. Freud:
too much stress from dealing with kids and candy....

 Hare Habit

Unexpected Bunny Visit

 Funny Bunny

 Holy Shit!!
I hope that's only a carrot in his lap.... 

 Superman
vs
Puny Bunny 


Hare Sandwich

No Escape
or, Hare Sandwich Two






The Bonnet Bunny,
or the Hatter Hare
( I'm not in the mood to think up funny captions today - if you can do better, make them up yourself)
 

The Egg and I ?

Lolita, Easter Style

Friendly Bugsie
(the look on this kid's face says it all)

 It's Easter!
It's Halloween!
It's Easter!
It's Halloween!
It's......
 
 WTF?
The Bunny of Death??

...sometimes even I can't figure them out.....
Hell hath no fury like a rabbit scorned

 After the Slaughter


 Jilted?


 Chocolate Addiction


Can I keep him?

 Macabre Bunny Revue

Just a friendly reminder 


Thursday, March 17, 2016

MUSICAL INTERLUDE



Wait a minute! Don't run away! This is going to be painless. Or almost painless.

I was initially going to write something in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but suddenly realized that I'm not Irish. 

Then I was going to write an ode to welcome spring.....but I saw that the local weather forecast is predicting a frost (yes, a frost) for the first day of spring.

So, what's left?
I resorted to digging through my old YouTube videos and resurrecting a few musical selections for your torture  enjoyment.

These are two old rehearsal tapes, recorded in my Texas music studio. I simply propped a camcorder up on a bookcase above the piano and hoped for the best. I was out of practice and way past my California prime, so don't expect anything spectacular.

Some of my long-time readers have already seen these videos. I'm rehashing them for people who haven't seen them. 

Note:
Make sure your volume is turned DOWN. YouTube tends to go full blast.






Video #1
Rustle of Spring  Op.33 No.3
by Christian Sinding (1856-1941)

Video #2
Clair de Lune, from the Bergamasque Suite
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)   

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RAINBOW AFTERNOON





"Don't you just love those rainy afternoons in New Orleans when an hour isn't just an hour - but a little piece of eternity dropped into your hands - and who knows what to do with it?"

I'm saying that with my best Blanche DuBois southern accent
and I'm in a state of delectable melancholy, perpetuated by a rain-soaked afternoon in which I am selfishly languishing, accompanied by a cozy cup of steaming tea and the contented purring of several lazy cats.

Occasionally I resort to cheap theatrical tactics, in order to annoy my critics. 

Rainy afternoons were made to indulge in languishing, and today I made the most of it. The temperatures are mild, the cold bite of winter is a thing of the past. Everything outside is sprouting green and some of the trees are almost starting to bloom. I'm slowly but surely emerging from my seasonal cocoon.

I'll never get used to the infuriating clock change - which is one of the most ridiculous and annoying inconveniences ever inflicted upon mankind. It serves no discernible purpose. 

In early evening the rain stopped, the clouds parted, and a spectacular rainbow appeared in the golden light of the setting sun.

 
I pulled on my boots, grabbed my El Cheapo camera and ran outside to capture the spectacle for posterity. The rainbow was already fading over the house.  I happened to see the tail of it glowing beyond the trees in the meadow by the cow field.

Despite the mud and the strong possibility of falling on my ass (again), I bounded over to the meadow and managed to snap a few pictures before it disappeared.


 


 Unfortunately, there was no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow (believe me, I looked).



My other blog:
http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A PLAUSIBLE RESOLUTION TO THE MYSTERY


 Everett Ruess



Note: this is a continuation of my previous post

I've been thinking about the scope of Everett Ruess's wanderlust adventures and the many possibilities of danger that they presented. It's almost inconceivable that someone so young (and inexperienced) would even attempt such an epic journey, let alone do it with surprising expertise and undeterred enthusiasm.

The places where he traveled are the most desolate and perilous areas in the country - formidable to access even now, with the aid of modern technology and conveniences. I can only imagine the complete isolation and extreme vulnerability of a boy alone, armed with little more than stoic determination.

Ruess with his dog Curly


I've been to many of the places where he traveled (this is not a boast, merely a fact): the Mohave Desert, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park in Utah, the Colorado and New Mexico mountains. Anyone who has experienced these overwhelming wonders of nature firsthand can fully understand how they inspired such an obsessive rapture and enchantment in Ruess.

The great tragedy of his disappearance at age twenty almost seems an appropriate end to his short saga. It enhances the allure and intensifies the romance. In a hauntingly unnerving way, it almost seems that this is how he would have envisioned his final exit: immortalized in eternal youth and perpetual mystery.



This was a very roundabout way of getting to my point - - the grim reality of what really happened to Everett Ruess. My amature armchair deductions have completely ruled out suicide. He loved life far too much. An accident would be a much more plausible assumption, despite the fact that he was extremely competent and self-reliant. I have always tended to believe that perhaps something much more sinister was involved, and the other night I stumbled upon some startlingly reasonable proof.

The theory of murder has always been a possibility, and information uncovered by novelist C. Joseph Greaves (also known as Chuck Greaves) makes the theory very probable. In 2012, Greaves published an historical novel entitled Hard Twisted.(click title for link). It is a fictionalized account of the real-life psychopathic murderer James Clinton Palmer, who happened to be living in the area of southern Utah where Everett Ruess disappeared. Author Greaves' research yields reasonable evidence that Ruess and murderer Palmer might have crossed paths.

In 1934, shortly after being released from Leavensworth Penitentiary in Kansas, James Clinton Palmer went to Oklahoma. There he befriended a man named Dillard Garrett and his thirteen-year-old daughter Lucile. Palmer killed and decapitated Garrett and kidnapped Lucile, forcing her to be his child bride. He took the girl to Utah and they settled in a very remote area called John's Canyon. Palmer found work as a sheep herder and eventually murdered (and decapitated) two more people - a retired sheriff and his grandson.

 The site at John's Canyon where murderer James Clinton Palmer lived with his kidnapped child bride Lucile Lottie Garrett

Everett Ruess was last seen in Escalante, Utah, before he disappeared in November, 1934. Escalante is about 40 miles away from John's Canyon, where murderer James Clinton Palmer was. Recently discovered evidence indicates that Ruess traveled east after leaving Escalante and was in the vicinity of John's Canyon.

Everett Ruess often referred to himself as"Nemo" (Latin for "no man"). One of his trademarks during his travels was to carve the name Nemo into stone at various locations where he had been. He carved the graffito "Nemo 1934" at an Anasazi ruin near Escalante, Utah, shortly before he disappeared.

 Near Escalante, Utah

In 1984, a previously unknown "Nemo 1934" etching by Reuss was discovered in Grand Gulch, north of the San Juan River - which was less than ten miles from where murderer Palmer was living with his kidnapped child bride.

Recent studies have confirmed that the "Nemo" etching at Grand Gulch is authentic, and definitely written by Everett Ruess. Due to this discovery Reuss was assumed to have been headed towards John's Canyon, where he would have almost certainly encountered the dugout homestead of Palmer.

It's only a theory that Everett Ruess was murdered, but this newly-uncovered information is strong enough evidence to be seriously considered.

by Jon V.
(copyright 2016)

Postscript:
James Clinton Palmer was eventually apprehended and sentenced to 99 years. He died in prison in 1969. Lucile Garrett was prosecuted for "associating with a known criminal" and sent to a girl's reform school until she was 21. She died in 1991.



Excerpts from writings by Everett Ruess:

At evening I would go out into the glade and climb high above the river to the base of the cliff. I would gather scarlet flowers and come down when the stars gleamed softly. Sighing winds would eddy down the canyon, swaying the tree tops. Then the leaves would cease their trembling; only the sound of rippling water would continue, and the spirit of peace and somnolence would pervade and the red embers of my fire one by one turned black and shadows deepened into a gently surging slumber.


Always I shall be one who loves the wilderness:
Swaggers and softly creeps between the mountain peaks;
I shall listen long to the sea’s brave music;
I shall sing my song above the shriek of desert winds.

When I go I leave no trace.
The beauty of the country is becoming a part of me.
Now the aspen trunks are tall and white in the moonlight.
A wind croons in the pines, The mountain sleeps.


Alone, I shoulder the sky,
And hurl my defiance
And shout the song of
the conqueror
To the four winds,
Earth, sea, sun, moon, and stars.
I LIVE!