Tuesday, May 31, 2016


First of all - before I launch into my post-Memorial Day rant - I want to thank the kind people who left comments on my previous post Death of a Soldier.
I wrote that essay long ago and have been posting it on my blog every Memorial Day for the past decade (almost).

It's one of my personal favorite "literary" efforts. Ironically, it is always the least-read post on my blog.

Okay, take a deep breath. We're going into Rant Mode. 


So how did I spend my Memorial Day weekend?

Wait a minute, Jon. Why did you change to a larger font?

So that you can actually READ this fricking post. I'm tired of visiting blogs that offer 10,000 word diatribes with a microscopic font. It assaults my eyes and pisses me off. When I write something, I want you to actually see it.  

We see it, Jon.

My Memorial Day weekend can be summed up in a few words: heat, wasps, weeds, spiders, mice, cats. Did I mention weeds?

Thanks to the perpetual rain (it rains here about 360 days a year) the weeds have assumed Twilight Zone dimensions. They are now nearly as tall as myself (I'm 6'1" without my boots) and far more obstinate (than myself). They have completely engulfed my house and are threatening to consume it.

The last time I was in town somebody suggested "Use Roundup on your weeds".
(Roundup is a popular weed killer here in the U.S.- - for those of you in the Hebrides).

Roundup, my ass!! (hence the title)

Hey, I'm in a forest, surrounded by wilderness acres. My weeds have taken on H.G.Wells proportions, with Amazon animosity (I'm not talking online shopping Amazon - - I'm talking jungle rain forest Amazon).

Roundup is for warts on potted petunias. I need plows and teams of horses, heavy trackers (as opposed to light ones), sickles, machetes, and Divine Intervention from God Almighty.

I've lately been spraying the weeds with a wicked mixture of bleach and salt.

And the first one of you prissy-pansy environmentalists who tells me I'm destroying the environment is going to  get a liberal shot of the bleach mixture right up your (you fill in the blank).

I used "liberal" just to annoy you.
You think Donald Trump is outspoken?
Just thank your booties that I'M not running for President. I'd make Trump look like Shirley Temple.

 a jungle jumble of weeds

Today I braved the humidity and jungle bugs to attack the weeds with a humongous pair of shears. 
I keep the shears outside and - just as I was about to pick them up - I saw a HUGE black spider on them. Having to kill it only intensified my misery.

Spiders and wasps are everywhere. The wasps are extremely aggressive and chase me as soon as I step outside. They wait by the door. The spiders pop up unexpectedly and scare the living Jeeters out of me.

I was in my bedroom late last night, reading (Russian history, in case you're curious). Suddenly -
I looked at the window and saw a huge black spider creeping in (must have been the other black spider's big brother).

Yes, I do have screens on my windows. But spiders ignore them.

I jumped up (not an easy task with my bad back) and ran outside on the back porch to get the bug spray (I accidentally left it out there).

By the time I got back to the bedroom - let's all say it together -

I looked everywhere, and then looked everywhere again. Where the hell did it go?? It probably crawled into my bed and is waiting there for me to go to sleep, so it can nest in my hair.  

About half an hour later (I'm still in a terrified sweat over the awol spider) my cat Scruffy runs in carrying a mouse by the tail. Holy shit! 

She drops the mouse and it quickly takes shelter behind a big chest of drawers.

I'm on my hands and knees, trying to coax the mouse out - while still glancing around everywhere in fear of the spider. While my back is still hurting.

After the passing duration of a delightful hour, I finally manage to trap the mouse in a cardboard mailing cylinder that I happened to have.

 mouse in cylinder

The mouse looked so cute that I didn't have the heart to kill him (I'm a sweetheart). I ventured outside at 3:00 am and dumped the hapless rodent in a nearby field.
He'll probably return to the house, but what the hell.  

And that, my friends, is only a fraction of what I did on Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


A birds eye view of the small California town where I went to high school

This is a continuation of my previous post, Strange Things in a Small Town.

My high school days were accentuated by the fact that I was an irredeemably hopeless nerd and mercilessly myopic.

There wasn't much I could do to counteract the nerdiness. I was two years younger than my classmates and it felt more like a dozen years. Vanity prevented me from wearing my glasses. I only utilized them when absolutely necessary. I wandered around blind during my entire high school years. I was a taller, skinnier, younger version of Mr. Magoo. I got contact lenses after I graduated and have been wearing them ever since (over 100 years, I think).

Graduation, age 16
without glasses.

The girl next door, Bonnie, was as near-sighted and vain as myself. She never wore her glasses either, and always walked around blind. We were made for each other.

We both had crushes on each other and were inseparable friends for years. I always figured I was going to marry Bonnie. I even planned our wedding: a casual affair on the beach - barefooted and in peasant attire, with renaissance music.

That was only a few short years before I went to Hollywood, lost my soul in the delightful purgatory of Babylon, and willingly got irretrievably corrupted by heathens.....(feel free to laugh - that was intended to be funny)

The small Southern California town where I went to high school was nestled in the rustic hills, but that seclusion didn't prevent it from being subjected to crime and strange happenings . It did, however, provide idyllic surroundings and yielded a generous share of good memories.

There were huge sprawling pepper trees and apathetic palm trees. Poinsettias grew wild around our house. There were fragrant roses everywhere. Our yard had apricot trees and in the spring the scent of blossoms was beyond heavenly. It always sent me into a romantic fervor.
I was cursed with romanticism at an early age.....

I walked everywhere, before I had a driver's license. To school, the library, the store, the post office, the dentist, my piano lessons. I was perpetually barefooted in the summer. 

This is the library that was my favorite haunt. It has since been torn down and a new, modern one was built.

The library was my special haunt. I spent more time there than anywhere else. I read countless books on a wide variety of subjects. I was obsessed with educating myself. I studied astronomy and navigation, history and art, elocution and etiquette, psychology - to name a few. I yearned to be polished, to metamorphose into a sort of Jay Gatsby.

One night, when the library was about to close, I noticed that a man was following me around the bookshelves. He was probably in his 40's and was wearing a bright purple shirt. Trust me, men didn't normally wear bright purple shirts in that small town when I was a kid.

When I went to the desk to check out my books, he was standing right next to me. As I exited the building, he was right behind me. He followed me to dark, creepy Ninth Street - which was my route home. I took off running, sprinting the long blocks like a hunted bunny. I didn't stop until I was safely in our front yard.

In my alarming innocence, it never occurred to me that the purple-clad man probably had sexual intentions. I thought he was a murderer.

Most of our neighbors in that small rural town were fantastic - - except the quirky ones in the rental houses. There was the Mexican murder (which I wrote about in my previous post). Then there were the Mexican prostitutes in one of the rentals. The police raided it one afternoon. Several half-clad Mexican men ran out the back door and down the alley.

Across the street from us, in yet another rental, was a woman named Margie. She had seven children and was a drug addict. She was extremely adept at mixing up potent potions. We'd hardly ever heard of drugs back then and didn't think too much of it. On summer nights, Bonnie and I used to spy on Margie's house with a pair of binoculars. Don't ask me why - - it was simply cheap entertainment. We'd mostly watch them eat dinner.

There was a small, very old Pentecostal church two blocks down the street. They'd often hold extremely enthusiastic revival meetings. Bonnie and I would walk over there, sit on the church steps, and listen to the singing, wailing, and theatrical saving of lost souls. Things would swell to a frantic crescendo and the drama was intoxicating. The entire church would shake.

My soul was annoyingly pure at that time and had yet to be in need of salvation. Later, it was beyond salvation.....

My family attended a different church. I remember the first time when vanity completely overtook me. I was sixteen and got a new Sunday outfit - - a snazzy double-breasted suit, a new shirt and tie, and new shoes. I was starting to be conscious of my looks - and I thought I looked hot.

I decided to give the suit a trial run at church. I got all dressed up, put on my new shoes, made sure my blonde hair was combed perfectly. And, of course, I didn't wear my glasses. I walked to church alone that morning, feeling more handsome than God should allow me to be.

Halfway there, I happened to walk under a large palm tree - unaware that pigeons were roosting in it, eagerly waiting for a passerby. I was rudely anointed with a liberal deposit of pigeon shit. It was all over my hair, my shoulder, and dripping down the front of my suit.

Immediately humbled and in dire need of purification, I hurried home. Washed my hair. Cleaned my suit. And cursed a lot. I had no doubt that God worked in strange ways.

The Blogger gremlins are at it again, rudely changing my font sizes and colors against my will. Excuse any visual inconsistencies....

Sunday, May 22, 2016


The small California town where I went
to high school was nestled among these hills.
It still looks about the same as I remembered it.

My family moved numerous times when I was a child in Southern California. We lived in Glendora, Covina, Pomona, Anaheim - then the Small Rural Town, and finally back to Anaheim again.

Between the ages of 13 to 18 we lived in a small rural town nestled in the rolling hills, halfway between Orange County and Riverside.

Why don't you tell us the name of the small rural town, Jon?

Hell, you already know too much about me. I have to maintain some semblance of privacy. Besides, I don't want anyone delving into my high school records. Even though they were damn good.

Those six years were probably the best years of my young life. The town had a very quaint atmosphere and a sense of normalcy prevailed. We knew nearly everyone and had lots of friends, our neighbors were fantastic. If it wasn't for my father's usual violence and complete dysfunction, things would have been perfect.

I loved my high school and still keep in touch with a few of my old school friends. I always walked to school, which was nearly three miles one way. Two of my friends had motorcycles and they occasionally gave me a ride. Frank Kastin who lived on my street, and a black guy named Kenny Johnson.

I was an absolute nerd back then - - hopelessly tall, pathetically skinny, painfully self-conscious, astoundingly naive, and annoyingly bespectacled. In retrospect, it's extremely amusing to imagine me riding around town on a motorcycle with a black dude.

So, what's strange about the small rural town, Jon?

You'd think a small rural town would be safe. Shortly after we first moved there, two big burly guys tried to break into our house in broad daylight. I was in the kitchen. They scaled the six-foot wall that enclosed our yard, came right into our screened-in patio, and tried to open the kitchen door. I pulled it shut and locked it, then yelled that I was going to call the police. They took off running and we never saw them again. I was thirteen at the time.

There was a Flasher in town. I had never personally seen him, but I'd heard plenty of stories. He had reportedly exposed himself to many unsuspecting strangers. Sometimes he was bold enough to knock on doors and flash his wares to whoever happened to answer. He was never caught.

There was the Wine Lady. At least that's what everyone called her. She was an alcoholic who wandered up and down the streets all day long while incessantly talking to herself. She often came past our house - - wildly gesticulating and having loud conversations with herself. At the time it seemed amusing. I didn't realize how pathetically serious it was.

I knew the Wine Lady's son Henry and his wife Sandy. They were nice, decent people who went to our church. Henry repeatedly tried to get help for his mother but to no avail. She was a hopeless cause.

A short block away from our house, on the corner, was a very old and tiny wooden house. It was occupied by an ancient lady known as Mrs. Brown. She was at least in her late 90's, possibly near 100. Mrs. Brown was  afraid to go to sleep at night, so she'd sit up all night long in a chair looking out the front window. One night she died in the chair. They found her stone cold dead, still staring out the window. Shortly afterwards the house was torn down. I rummaged through the remains and found some old newspapers from the first World War.

One summer night when I was fifteen, there was a murder only three houses down from where we lived. It was a rental house and we never knew exactly who lived there. On summer nights I very often sat outside on the curb in front of our house talking with friends.

On this particular night I was outside with two friends. Suddenly a loud argument interrupted the serenity of the evening. It was coming from the rental house. Two Mexican men came outside fighting. One stabbed the other with a butcher knife. He staggered, fell, and died on the sidewalk only a few yards away from us. It happened in an instant and we saw the whole thing. Later, we learned that they were fighting over a woman.

The large rusty blood stains remained on the sidewalk for a very long time. That autumn, every time I walked to school I'd cross the street before I got to the blood stains - - so I wouldn't have to walk on them.

Hey, I'm just getting warmed up. These are only a few of the strange things that happened in our small rural town.

And Linda - if you happen to be reading this, I love ya - because we share the memories.

Friday, May 20, 2016


In a valiant attempt to let you recover from my previous post (Bad Company), I'm offering some photos that I recently took.

It has been raining all week. Yesterday (Thursday) the rain clouds miraculously disappeared. The sky was pure blue, the sunshine was golden, and it was a glorious day. Alas, glory never lasts long. Today (Friday) it's pouring rain again.

Yesterday, I  thought I had let my cat Scratch outside. When I didn't see her for several hours I figured she might have gotten lost. Despite a busy schedule and a bad back, I went trekking through the woods to look for her. When I finally returned to the house - breathless, muddy, and bug-bitten - Scratch greeted me when I opened the door. She hadn't been out after all - - she was inside the whole while.
Damn those pesky cats. 

The day was so beautiful, that I decided to grab my El Cheapo camera and take some pictures on my property. I ventured back out into the woods. The sunlight was directly overhead, filtering dramatically through the leaves. These photos don't really do it justice.

 Here's Bosco relaxing

 I took this photo with my cell phone early this morning while lying in bed. Bosco and Scruffy are looking out the window at the fog.

Finally! Here are the woods!


Heck, I haven't seen so much green since I was in the Emerald City of Oz.
If the forest photos didn't turn you on, I'll be writing more about my turbulent past in future posts. 

check out my photo blog:
William Gedney and his Shirtless Men  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


 With respect to my innocent readers, I've done my best to edit and sanitize this story. The result is the Disney version...

I've heard somewhere that we're only as good as the company we keep. If that's true, I was more rotten than a three-week old avocado in my Southern California youth. The toxic array of colorful misfits that I consorted with is alarming. 

Phil was by no means the worst of the lot, but he was definitely the most intriguing. When I first met Phil he was fresh out of prison. Armed robbery and "assault". A reliable source informed (well actually warned) me that it was attempted murder. I didn't care. Who was I to judge motives? Whatever the charge, the prison stint left him with emotional scars. He'd been raped and beaten.

We were both the same age, twenty-three. Phil had the deceptive aura of an angel, enhanced by incredibly good looks: 6'3", blonde, sky blue eyes. He could charm the pants off anyone. Don't try to speculate. You'll hurt yourself.

He was charismatic, reckless, psychologically fragile. He could be tough and frightening, but also incredibly tender and intriguingly vulnerable. His sexual intensity was astounding.

Phil's radical mood swings were encouraged by copious amounts of marijuana. At the time - under his sublime influence - I also enthusiastically indulged. He had large stashes hidden everywhere (including in my car). I knew where he got it from, too. Phil's supplier was a very famous major league baseball player with the California Angels. I knew for certain, because I met him.

(I think the California Angels are now the Los Angeles Angels)

Besides committing crimes and smoking pot, Phil had a keen interest in photography and was good at it. He took some impressive photographs of me during one drug-enhanced afternoon. I have a few of the photos, but always wondered whatever happened to the rest. They're probably circulating on the Internet on some vintage porn site.

I'm jesting. Maybe. 


photo by Phil

I remember the first night I ever smoked grass. We were safely ensconced on the beach, in Long Beach, very near the permanently-docked Queen Mary. It was sunset and the sky was dazzling with the most spectacularly vivid colors. We got rocks and began throwing them at the rusting Queen, with annoyingly bad aim.

I still have a matchbook
from the infamous Green Café

One of our favorite hangouts was the Green Café on San Vicente in Hollywood. Unfortunately it's no longer in existence - - I think it's been replaced by a hoity-toity wine boutique.
At the time, the Green Café was a hot spot for the famous and infamous. We saw Cher there. And Raquel Welch. And Sal Mineo, not long before he was murdered. Sal was gay and everybody knew it.

 San Vicente Boulevard

One afternoon porn star Linda Lovelace was at the Green Café. This was at the height of her notoriety, a few years after filming Deep Throat. If the waiter hadn't told us who she was, we wouldn't have recognized her. She was sitting all alone - demurely dressed, eating a salad and sipping iced tea. I had seen the film Deep Throat, but Lovelace looked a little different with her clothes on.

 porn star Linda Lovelace

Vividly etched in my memory is the night Phil and I took a drive to the Orange County Hills. He assured me that the car was borrowed. In truth (I found out later) it was stolen. Phil's driver's license had been revoked and he didn't have a car - but that didn't stop him from driving.

We had been drinking Rainier Ale all night and then started smoking joints in the car. The Orange Hills were completely deserted. A moonless autumn night. Pitch black. We parked the car, smoked more weed, and.....well, let's leave some things to the imagination.

When we started driving again we were completely wasted. Phil's foot was alarmingly heavy on the gas pedal. We went faster and faster - laughing and screeching around dangerous curves. Despite our speed, my mind was suspended in blissful slow-motion.

Panic eventually came in a delayed blur. By then the car was speeding out of control. We smashed through a guard rail and plummeted down the side of a hill. If we weren't reinforced by the phantom airbag cushion of booze and grass, we probably would have been killed.

The car was a wreck. Dazed and bloody, we painfully crawled out of the car and climbed up the steep embankment.We walked (or limped) a couple of miles, and eventually managed to hitch a ride to civilization.

I'm drastically abbreviating the story, but this is a blog - not my memoir.

After many more turbulent adventures that I'd rather not share - and a few fantastic drug-induced fights, Phil and I parted ways. The last I heard he was back in prison. He was always afraid of his parole officer and terrified of failing the drug tests.

Phil, wherever you are today I hope you remember me fondly. We shared a helluva lot of interesting times.  


Post Script:
In the autobiography of Linda Lovelace, she claims that she was held against her will and forced into pornography. When Phil and I saw her at the Green Cafe, she was entirely alone and seemed very serene and relaxed. I don't claim to know any details about her life, I only know what we observed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I had lunch in town with my cousin yesterday. It was an extremely pleasant diversion, during which we exchanged horror stories about our present personal lives. It initially seemed to be a drawn, but soon it became clear that Nancy was the winner. She is a saint - far too good to everyone. And goodness will get you nowhere. Especially with the eternally ungrateful.

Enough said.

I'm on my way home from town. Piloting those perilously narrow, endlessly winding mountain roads that scare the living jeeters out of me.

as I'm maneuvering a particularly dangerous curve, a HUGE bright yellow school bus with glowing headlights appears, at breakneck speed, in my lane, headed directly for me!

I'm ascending. The bus is descending. It's a very narrow two-lane road. There's nowhere for me to go, except over a cliff.

I swerve sharply toward the cliff. The bus sort of swerves - grazing the side of the mountain. 
Somehow, we manage not to collide.

The bus bounds down the twisting road, leaving me in a cloud of fume-enhanced dust and in a state of  heart-flipping anxiety.

Why was the bastard driving so frickin' fast? Did he (she) have no regard for the safety of the parcel of brats he (she) was carrying?

The school buses always go insanely fast on these wicked mountain roads. On one previous occasion, a bus was tailing me so close that I had to pull aside to let the bastard go. In the winter, these Bratmobiles fairly race along the icy roads.

Big Question:
are the parents of these rugrats aware of the reckless bus drivers who are transporting their precious pint-sized cargo?
I think not.

Time to write an editorial for the local newspaper, Jon. 

I didn't want to waste an entire blog post about this crap, but it looks like I did. Fortunately, no matter what I write, I'm always extremely interesting.

(I just threw that in to antagonize my critics) 

For further antagonization (I just made that word up - - screw Spell Check) here are a few recent photos taken in my back yard.

Everything is intensely green from the ceaseless rain. Yes, it is still raining with no discernible end in sight. 

Cold nights. Two nights ago it got down to 35 degrees (that's Fahrenheit, for those of you in the Hebrides). Bosco slept under the covers with me (Bosco is a cat - for those of you unfamiliar with my blog).

The header photo is the meadow adjacent to my property, taken a few weeks ago. It's now so obscured by a screen of leaves that I have to crawl through a jungle to see it.

Glimpses of my back yard

 A cardinal. I've been trying to get photos of the magnificent hawks that reside near here, but so far they've been evasive.