Saturday, May 10, 2014


A most Happy Mother’s Day to you all, to all you mothers.  I know the origin of Mother’s Day, do you?  The internet is wonderful – if you googled a Wikipedia entry for “Mothers Day” you’d be there quick as a link.  If you want the origin, this is where you’ll end up:  
This is perhaps the most primary reason I love the internet.  Someone talks about anything you can think of.  Or they think about anything you can talk about.  It’s an invisible ocean.  Any question can be answered or echoed – okay, not any but almost any.  I wonder how to fix something, look it up, and someone will have just figured out how to fix one.  

But I’ll tell you – one of the simplest requests I’ve asked has always been denied.  I have never found One of these things.  No one has one to sell.  Yet we all know this object – we have all heard the story. It’s a familiar thing, one we can picture in our minds.  Every person I’ve asked has answered in the affirmative (though some needed to focus a little first).  Do you know what an Aladdin’s lamp is?  What it looks like, or what you think it looks like? 
Here we go:
You get the idea; they were brass whale-oil lamps.  In a certain shape.  I wanted to buy one – hopefully an old one – but they all turned out to be miniatures, incense holders or whatever – none were the foot-long, simple, soldered household items of long ago, which I loved and wanted to get.  I liked the way their magic was hidden beneath a humble appearance. 
That was over a decade ago.  Everyone knows what they are, but you can’t find one on the internet.  Prove me wrong - fine.  I’m just saying.  If you do find one, I’ll bet they haven’t been available long.  I’ve searched many times.  I mean, I don’t spend every day searching for that – I search for an average of twenty other things.  Roughly.  The news, the weather, my mail, and I have Facebook friends.  I also have real friends.  Some are both.  They say real friends will help you move.  One of my Facebook friends actually helped me move this last year.  (Thank you, Kevin.)  Other friends helped too.  Let me buy you all a drink!  You know who you are…

I just got a call from a young man with a heavy Indian accent, telling me he was calling about my Windows computer.  He said mine was very badly infected, and that he would help me.  I had heard about this scam, so I finally answered a few questions.  Are you in front of the computer?  Yes.  Is the computer on?  Don’t you know?  Silence.  Off-script.  Then he said my computer was badly infected, that he was a support person from Microsoft and I should follow his instructions.  I said, you’re going to tell me what to do on my computer?  He said yes.  I said, I’m sorry, I have to get back to something, but you have a nice day and thanks.  He sputtered and dug into his bag of tricks as I hung up.  Poor guy.  Needs a new job.

Today I walked in the sun on Church Street, walked through the farmers market on their first outside day since last Fall, did my laundry, cleaned things up, cleared things up, took a walk by the Lakefront and casually interacted with strangers briefly, stared into the glare of the sun on the lake.  No trees have leaves yet, so on a clear day like this, the sky is extra bright and unhindered.  And it was 75 degrees.  By dawn it is to descend to 50.  I enjoy the lake breeze, when it blows.  (What else is it going to do?)

AND now for my previous blog-piece, being published now.  We are going back in time!  Which reminds me of the wonderful last line of The Great Gatsby.  You book people, especially those with a sense of humor, please read William Kotzwinkle’s The Midnight Examiner, or Queen of Swords, or The Fan Man.  Three fine and funny, wise novels.  Great literature is to be shared, like great food.  Which reminds me – check the supper!
It’s okay.


Wouldn’t it be great if I could meet the person in South Korea who reads my blog? No, wait – it’s probably Robert.  Good old Robert who I worked with in the 2010 census, who now lives in South Korea.  [I can’t tell you about the Census because there’s a federal law – we signed something when we took the job – essentially, we weren’t to disclose anything we did to anyone, ever. (Yes, it was only boring stuff.)   But I do think I can say I knew Robert.]  So what the hell – Hi Robert!   Thanks for reading my blorg.  You young genius, you.

(Maybe he’ll read this one too.) Now who were all those Ukrainians…I guess if this blog ever gained a large audience they’d be all over the place. (That’s obvious, eh? They couldn’t all stand in one spot.)

Quite a gig last night! Yes, “First Mondays at the Monkey House” happened on 5/5, just as predicted and proposed. Trevor Ayer and Chris True, two singer-songwriters (a few covers also) who were good, Dennis Willmott (and I helped him play the blues!), and a young trio, The Trackside Incident, playing modernist country. And me, on acoustic and totally fuzzed-out acoustic (can you still call it acoustic after it goes through a pedal that makes it sound like a Marshall amp?). Every one of those acts wanted to go on earlier rather than later, so I had to go last – but – I knew the audience would be smaller by then (it being a Monday), so I did one song before Trevor, before Dennis, before Chris, and before the Incident. Thus, I got to be heard at my own gig by more folks stopping in and wandering out. More than would have heard me if I just played last, you dig? I was glad to have a way to do that.

As for attendance - I’d say that some possible attendees were folks who’d just heard, seen, and drank their way through dozens of bands over the course of three days or so. (I could never blame them for being home, on their faces, as I plan to be myself tonight. Early to bed, so that I can early rise.) Because the weekend preceding, Thursday through Sunday, contained Winooski’s “Waking Windows Festival”. Yes, the waking windows festival, and I’m sure it meant something when they named it that. It may have been right under my nose, who knows? I only saw a bit of it on Saturday afternoon – I didn’t want to pay $20 to see 108 bands (good luck) playing at 7 different venues in town (a small town, too!) over the course of four days. I had to get ready for my gig on Monday.

I did see a few bands, and say hello to friends (Hi Bill) and meet new ones who had usually just played when I met them…I got to hang out on a lot of sidewalks. I heard a lot of music – it was like a radio dial, going from venue to venue – the music carried way into the street. One stage was on the street itself (a side-street, thank goodness). I talked with people, didn’t really say much, wasn’t very close to the bands (or inside the clubs, as I said) but my voice was shot the whole next day! Amazing. Talking over those bands…can’t handle it anymore.

We had a few dozen people, some in at times and out at other times (those dang cigarettes!)  I can remember so clearly the time before cigarettes were demonized and exiled. I hope people are healthier or something now – it was nicer when people could smoke inside bars. Especially if the club or bar had a high ceiling!

The lake is so beautiful now – it’s a sunny day. Wouldst I were not blasted and jet-lagged from last night, so I could have seen even more of it. I got almost six hours of sleep afterward, but most of my day has been partly out of focus. I got to take a nice walk on the waterfront after a surprise brunch with my brothers, niece and grand-nephew. That was a few blocks from here, in a pastry shop I rarely go. (I just happen to prefer a few other pastry shops in the neighborhood. Best one closed last year though, darn.) Didn’t have to drive anywhere – a definite plus. Took some lovely pictures, tried new settings on my new (used) camera. All is well.