Thursday, April 28, 2016

BEER RANT




Hold onto your bras and jockstraps, I'm ready to do another Beer Rant and it could get very rough.

I'm not implying that any of you wear bras and jockstraps at the same time - - I'm merely assuming that some of you wear bras.....and some of you wear jockstraps.......
......and, of course, I'm sure that some of you don't wear anything at all (like me). Which makes holding on difficult.

So, what exactly is a Beer Rant, Jon, and why would you want to have one?

I'm glad you asked.
A Beer Rant is when I've ingested so many beers that I become bold enough to abandon all blogging etiquette - - and suddenly have the courage to say EXACTLY what I want, without worrying about who the hell I'm going to offend. 

It's a great feeling of freedom - - a release from the raw fear of critical chastisement.

You don't have any critics, Jon. You're too perfect.

Being perfect draws critics like flies on a buffalo booger. They're usually the invisible lurkers who never bother to comment. They despise my blog but read it with a masochistic fervor, gleefully hating every word (like that twerp from Montana - you know who I'm talking about).
They're also probably taking notes so they can write their own bestsellers. But it will never work. They can try to copy me but they can't think like me.

You're dangerously obsessed with this whole blog thing, Jon. It's like an ugly psychological flaw.

The root of it all is my low self-esteem.
I only have 32 frickin' "followers". Do you know how humiliating that is?
Hell. David Berkowitz has more followers than that.
I know of bloggers who died five years ago who still have more followers than that.  

Problem is, I seem to attract people who prefer to admire (tolerate?) me secretly, but don't want to be publicly acknowledged with associating with me. 

Uh - who's David Berkowitz?

Look him up. That's what Google is for. 


Change of subject 

I had a very rude awakening this morning. Remember Bosco's flying leap? Happened a few months ago when he accidentally landed on my face when I was sleeping and rendered my intriguing features into a hideous bloody pulp.
Well, he struck again this morning.


I was snugly ensconced in Dreamland, when Bosco jumped onto the bed and landed directly on my.....Family Jewels. Almost busted my balls.

(my shrieks were heard in Puerto Rico)

Good heavens, Jon! Were you seriously hurt?

Let me put it this way:
I can now sing the role of the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.

Think about that for awhile. It will eventually get funny.

 Bosco
always ready to pounce

I had to drive to town today, which explains why I ingested so many beers. Alcohol is a buffer between my inherent cowardice and the terrifyingly perilous mountain road.  

I had to go today for two reasons:

1. I was out of cat litter, cat food, milk, bread, and toilet paper. 

2. This was an extremely rare dry day. The weather forecast is predicting rain for the rest of the week and for the next six months. That's the usual Tennessee prediction.

The only place wetter than Tennessee is South Vietnam in the monsoon season.
And Chris Christie's armpits.

I also had to buy insecticide today. I always get the 10 gallon Industrial Peruvian Jungle brand. It'll last me about two weeks. 

The drive into town always confirms something that I surmised for a long time: woman drivers are FAR more aggressive than men. The genders have become askew. It's alarming.
  
Askew?

There are two distinct kinds of drivers on the long and winding road that goes from my homestead into town:

1. Extremely impulsive, impatient women who almost always drive SUVs - -  one hand on the steering wheel - - the other hand clutching a cell phone or a cigarette. Tailgating at 85 mph. Riding two inches from my bumper (or my car's bumper). 

2. Extremely passive, lethargic men who always seem to drive a truck - - and are always directly ahead of me on the 50 mile stretch of a No Passing single-lane road. Going 10 mph. Today the truck driver in front of me was going 8 mph. I was almost ready to get out of my car and help push him.

When women get behind the wheel they develop Penis Power.

When men get behind the wheel they become Pussies.

Is this rant getting too boring?

You couldn't be boring if you tried, Jon.
But this drunken stupor of yours is inadvertently revealing a deeply-rooted hidden hangup: you seem to resent powerful women. Is that possibly the reason you don't like Hillary? 




Hey, I love powerful women. I just don't like despicable, abrasive, annoying, shrill, lying, cheating, fake, egotistical, insincere, bone-chillingly unbearable ones.

You'd better get used to the fact that she's going to be our next President, Jon.

I have no doubt. All the stupid assholes who voted for our first Muslim president will be voting for our first grandma president.

There goes your 32 "followers", Jon. Within half an hour it will be down to 3. Or 4 if you're lucky.
Now, admit it. Won't it be thrilling to finally have a woman in the Oval Office?

We've already had women in the Oval Office. They were giving blow jobs to Bill. 

I'll have you know that Hillary has been compared to Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Face the facts, Kemo Sabe - the only thing Hillary and Eleanor have in common is orthopedic shoes. 

You're truly unbecoming when you're drunk! Your hideous side is showing.

Yea, and your crazy side is showing. 
I'll be sober tomorrow. You'll be crazy the rest of your life.

I stole that line from W.C.Fields. I figured it was a fairly plausible way to end this post.
And very possibly my blogging career.



Check out the Headless Queen on my photo blog:
http://cabinetofcurioustreasures.blogspot.com  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

AN ALMOST FATAL ATTRACTION





Note: this is a re-post from my old blog Lone Star Concerto
 
When I was studying music in college, I practically lived in practice rooms. I practiced the piano several hours a day - - while also balancing a frenzy of rehearsals with orchestras, chamber groups, and soloists. As if this wasn't enough, I was also a student piano teacher for several semesters. To say that my musical life was full would be an understatement.

One of my piano teachers was a former Julliard professor named Raymond Jones. His wife also taught at the college. My practice room was adjacent to her classroom and she would often chide me for practicing too loudly. Bursting into the practice room in a breathless fluster, she'd demand me to "play quietly" and admonish me for "seriously disrupting" her class.

On good days Mrs. Jones always acted a bit peculiar. On bad days she was downright bizarre. Eventually it was discovered that she had a brain tumor, which she succumbed to within a year.

Fortunately, my playing didn't annoy everyone. Curious people often stopped by the practice room to hear me play. One of these music aficionados was a young woman named Linda, who was the niece of actor Tyrone Power. She would share stories about her famous uncle and show me family photos. Linda had a small baby who contracted pneumonia and she dropped out of college to care for him. I never saw her again.

Another admirer who frequented my practice room was an attractive "girl" named Janice. She was studying singing and had a decent voice. I knew that Janice was smitten by my irresistible charm (hey, what can I say?) but I didn't initially realize just how serious she was.

One afternoon I drove her to her tennis lesson. She assumed that this innocuous gesture meant I was interested. Despite the fact that I gave no encouragement, her admiration for me increased.

A short time later, a fluke of fate tossed us together again. Janice was giving a solo singing recital at the college. At nearly the very last minute, her accompanist cancelled for some emergency that I can't recall. Major panic ensued and a very flustered professor accosted me, asking (begging) me to take over as pianist.

I (reluctantly) acquiesced and was immediately handed a pile of music manuscripts. The concert was to start in less than half an hour. I had never seen any of the music before and had never previously accompanied Janice anywhere except to the damn tennis lesson.

The only preparation that I had came from a bottle of whiskey that I kept stashed under the front seat of my car. I took several generous swigs for courage.

I made my way to the stage and sat at the grand piano. Janice began singing. I began sight-reading and faking my way through the likes of Purcell, Brahms, and Vaughn Williams. Incredibly, the concert went off without a noticeable hitch. I was lauded for involuntarily saving the day. In a surge of effusive romanticism, Janice assumed I was her hero. She was enamored. We'd made beautiful music together!



After our haphazard musical debut she began following me everywhere like a homeless puppy. Constantly calling me, sending scented notes, eventually sending daily letters of endearment (this was before the advent of email). Her enthrallment escalated into stalking the living hell out of me.

I was admittedly sweet and charming back then (you'd never know it now, would you?). And I was not only congenial, but also easy. To some extent I might have possibly slightly encouraged the girl's rapture. Inadvertently, of course.

Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about being stalked for long. It all came to a surprisingly abrupt end one afternoon at the college.

It happened in the main auditorium. During a rehearsal with the college chamber orchestra. I was the harpsichordist for a performance of Handel's oratorio Samson. We were in the middle of the overture.

Suddenly one of the auditorium doors burst open. A burly-looking guy in Army fatigues stormed in and strutted right up to the harpsichord. I could hardly believe what was happening but I could definitely smell his wrath.

His shouting reverberated throughout the room with perfect acoustics and his message was like a venomous bite.

"You better stop screwing with my wife!" he shouted at me. He didn't actually say "screwing". He was a little more graphic.

"What?" I was in the advanced stages of shock.

"Janice is my wife, you bastard! If you go near her again I'll kill you! I mean it!"

I believed him.

I'm actually politely paraphrasing what he said. I can't remember the exact words, but the killing part was permanently etched in my mind.

Holy shit.

As the irate Army dude haughtily huffed out of the room, I could hear a collective gasp from the orchestra. Nobody knew what to do. I tried to gather my shredded wits.

"Next time we rehearse, I'll wear a bullet-proof vest."

It was all I could think of saying. It didn't generate much laughter.

I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that Janice was married. She sure as hell never bothered to tell me. I later learned that her husband had been stationed in Georgia and was home on leave. I have no clue how he found out about me.

So, you're all asking the Big Question: did Janice and I ever have sex?
Hey, I seldom kiss and tell.....and why the hell should I spill it all for free in a public blog? Wait until I publish my memoirs. You'll get your money's worth.

I will say that in those glorious days of my California youth I often attracted drama and generated sexual tension. I'm not bragging or being "self-absorbed" (as my blog critics enjoy pointing out). I'm merely telling the truth.

I was always an equal-opportunity offender.

One time, at the L.A. Music Center, two gay guys had a horrendous very public fight over me during the intermission at a performance of Carmen. No lie. But that's another story for another time.
Maybe some day I'll get soused and be in a generous enough mood to tell it.

Sweet youth......sweeter memories.....

     

Sunday, April 24, 2016

MOONLIGHT MADNESS




The moon is full, or almost full, or just past being full. I used to know all the progressions of the lunar phases during my astronomical phase. Lately I'm in my "know nothing" phase.

One thing that's common knowledge: weird things happen during the spell of a full moon. When I lived in the city, the full moon yielded a marked increase in robberies, murders, and other unpleasant incidents involving unhinged individuals.

Here in the Tennessee mountain wilderness, the night of the full moon seems to inspire increased activity in the nocturnal residents of the forest: more bands of marauding coyotes and roving packs of wild dogs. Some of them (coyotes? dogs?) were howling unnervingly close to my bedroom window late last night. Owls in flight were screeching and hooting with unusual enthusiasm. I even heard squealing bats.

I'm very used to the sounds of nature at night, but last night the surplus of sounds was almost alarming. Even my trio of cats displayed unusual degrees of nervousness.



Early this evening, just after moonrise, I was sitting at the kitchen table in the company of this laptop. I suddenly hear very loud slurping sounds coming from outside near the back porch.

My cat Scratch happened to be outside (against my better judgement - but she's persistent). Scratch doesn't slurp and is never loud. This slurping sound was mega. I figured it was either a leaking pipe.....or a stegosaurus. And I wasn't in the mood to deal with either.

I reluctantly got up and looked out the kitchen window. There by the porch was the biggest dog I ever saw, drinking from a bucket of rain water. This canine was startlingly big. Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey big. It looked like a cross between a great dane and an Appaloosa horse.

My first concern was my cat Scratch - who could very possibly have already been eaten. The rainwater might be serving as a chaser to wash her down. 

The dog saw me through the window and started to growl. Not a good sign. I'm an innocent entity out here in Nowhereland. Animal Control wouldn't come if I reported a herd of buffalo.

Worst of all, I have a huge uncovered kitchen window - just two feet above the floor - with only a thin sheet of glass separating me from the forest. The dog can see every inch of me. If he jumped through the glass I'd be history.

All of my cats enjoy sitting on a wooden box and looking out the kitchen window. If they were there now, they'd be instant targets for the dog. I quickly locked Scruffy and Bosco in a bedroom.

I seldom panic easily, but my heart was pounding at the bizarre thought that the dog might never leave. What if he decides to take up permanent residence here?
And where the hell is Scratch? Hopefully in a tree - - and not mincemeat stuck between Rover's teeth..

Is this story getting too long? I'm enjoying writing it, and I know you're enjoying reading it - -  even you miserable critics who hate my blog.

The monster dog hung around for at least an hour. I couldn't do anything but wait it out. Finally I didn't see him. I opened the back door a crack and called "Kitzee!" (that's what Scratch answers to). In half a minute, Scratch appeared and darted in the door faster than I ever saw the old gal go. She was in one piece and still had her tail.

I breathed a Big Sigh of relief (capitalized for emphasis). I haven't seen the dog since.

I blame the full moon for the bizarre incident. I'm keeping the cats indoors.

I'm suddenly starting to feel unusually hairy...and realized that I haven't shaved in days. A beard is growing. My chest hair seems to be thickening.

Hirtsuism?
Impending lycanthropy?? 

Who the hell knows. I feel like howling.


All the moon photos were taken in my back yard a few nights ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

PLEASE DON'T GO



Please don't go!
Well, actually I don't care if you go. But I hope you'll stay long enough to watch my latest video. It's a tribute to Marlene Dietrich, singing Bitte Geh Nicht Fort (Please Don't Go).

This song is originally titled Ne Me Quitte Pas (Don't Leave Me) and was written in 1959 by Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel. It was a lament for his girlfriend Suzanne Gabriello (Zizou) who left him. Zizou was pregnant.

 Jacques Brel

Brel denied being the father of the baby. Zizou eventually had an abortion. Later, Jacques Brel said that Ne Me Quitte Pas was never intended as a love song, but rather as "a hymn to the cowardice of men."

Marlene Dietrich sings it in German - and in my humble opinion her rendition is far superior to Brel's. Dietrich recorded it several times, and it's impossible to choose a favorite  (actually, I've heard this song by numerous other singers and none of them impressed me).

I was initially never a big Dietrich fan. I thought her talent was minimal and she was over-rated. When I was in my late teens I discovered some of her recordings and my harsh opinion softened immensely. She was a mesmerizing singer and a superb cabaret performer.



I first saw Der Blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) in one of those artsy Los Angeles movie revival houses. Perhaps my disdain for Dietrich was perpetuated by the fact that in Engel she was not only a mediocre actress but also a heartless bitch. 

When I was around 18 or 19 I saw the 1947 flick The Golden Earrings (with Dietrich and Ray Milland) on the late show. The Hungarian theme won my heart, and Dietrich admittedly made one helluva intriguing gypsy.

I also like the exotic intrigue of Morocco (1930) and Shanghai Express (1932). Director Josef von Sternberg didn't exactly discover Dietrich (as he claimed) but he certainly did invent her.

So what about my video?
It's a humble tribute to the essence of Marlene Dietrich - singing one of my favorite songs. To perpetuate the "mood", I've set it against the backdrop of a rainy night.....

Cheers, Jon 

video best viewed full screen 

 

Friday, April 15, 2016

BLOSSOMS AND BROADCASTS




Persistent frosts shocked the blossoms, made them reconsider their early appearance, and finally eradicated them forever. All the pink and purple blossoms shriveled and died.

A few brave white blossoms (nothing racist here) battled the harsh elements and survived. I ventured outside today and did some photographic documentation - just to confirm the fact that spring exists.

White blossoms, plenty of weeds, and a surplus of dandelions or - as Bert Lahr would say - Dandy Lions!



And warmer temperatures! It hit 70 degrees today (that's Fahrenheit, for those of you in Outer Mongolia).

Me? I'm hanging on by a thin thread. The shrieks you heard this morning were my own - - as I tried to pry myself out of bed with agonizing back pain. Ruptured disk, sciatica, fractured spine. Whatever. I shrieked and stumbled. And crawled. While the cats watched in dismay. And probable amusement.

I know - never begin a sentence with a conjunction. Hey, give me some slack - - I'm on a roll. And I'm still able to maintain a semblance of humor despite the pain. That's talent.
Or insanity.



Broadcasts?
Have you ever tried to listen to the radio in rural Tennessee? I no longer have TV (thank Gawd), so radio is my only link to the outside world.

Here in the mountains I get....
static.......and more static......
sandwiched between Gospel hymns.....and Hillbilly music.
Bible thumping and clog dancing. That's it.

Before ruffling your feathers, let me say (in innocent defense) that I have nothing against religion. I'm all for it. I just think that perhaps 150 gospel stations in a row with no alternatives is a bit too much 
Praise the Lord!

But, there is salvation for my corrupt soul. I only live about five miles from Kentucky and I've discovered a classical music station from the University of Kentucky. Rarer than hen's teeth. Late at night it comes in clear.
What could be better than spending the night in bed with Shostakovich?

Don't answer that.

Before I depart (not literally), here's another radio thing that irks me:

In a peculiar attempt to brighten the mornings, one local radio station spends about an hour reading the obituaries. I kid you not.
Hell, there must be more deaths here than in the Golan Heights.

Not only are the obituaries read - all of the surviving relatives are listed. And I mean all.

Granny Gerty Mae is survived by her first husband Walter Lee Clumpant, her third husband Buster Breeton Mae

her fifteen children - - Edna Doisey Mae, Lucy Doozey Mae, Jenny Deen Mae, Bobbie Bart Mae, Billy Bob Mae, Horatio Leighorn Mae, Fanny Lyn Kneewart, Buster Bubba Mae, Molly Doolittle Dunlap, Minnie Sue Matterson, Ernie Clyde Mae, Jimmy John Mae, Frieda June Humpmyer, and Homer Smith Clumpant,

and fifty-seven grandchildren

thirty-two great-grandchildren

and fourteen great-great-grandchildren

and four hundred and ninety-six assorted siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and unaccounted distant relatives.

Donations for the funeral can be sent to the Praise Our Lord for Moonshine Baptist Church.

Aren't you glad you read my blog? You couldn't find this kind of entertainment elsewhere.

While you're at it, check out my other blog:

Cabinet of Curious Treasures