Posts Tagged ‘Ramblings


the fate of marban


A sound that was gone before the mind could register it.
A short singular tone.
Missing the attack or delay of a bell or piano string.
No overtones.
A photon of sound.

marban tea cup

Then a dribble onto the counter top, showing a feint color of traditional English Breakfast tea. Coming from a break that has been there for almost 12 years, an old and friendly scar to me. It is no longer a surface break, the dribbles attest to its final maturity.

I reach for the Mark Twain cup and press it into service, swapping steeping tea and moving the seine full of tea to finish. Three minutes for proper tea is time to consider the future for the marban.

I am now a decider of fate. Power in my hands. I am like a god, to decide the future if one will be. Yet, I’ll miss all those cracks in the glaze. I’ve watched them grow over the years and appreciate the ‘character’ that emerged. Old age approaching in contrast to the modern graphic used by the mysterious marban. Located somewhere in Korea the bottom of it claims.

I can’t demote the soapstone pencil holder on the writing desk. That holder of pencils was designed for holding pencils, purchased to hold my pencils, still holds my pencils …. you don’t abandon such long term commitments. Yet I have to give up old marban and that was certainly long term, and satisfying, each time a properly hot tea. Some consistency is good.

No you can’t see the death crack, it’s on the back side, no need to glorify it or frighten the children. Nor will examining it resolve the issue of “what happens to marban now?” or how I will finally wield the power of my decision.

“Horns of a Dilemma?”, no, I don’t think that leaking elevates it to that plane.

“Situational Ethics?”, no, that involves deciding that making a decision that you know is wrong, but not wrong since considering the circumstances you’ve decided that you think it is justified to do the wrong thing.

No need to make being the god of marban fate that complex.

Perhaps it could hold pencils in the shop.

It is just a cup.


Waiting for godot? or valentine smith?

One day I stumbled into owning a motorcycle. I loved the bike but it was no fun on longer rides and it went too fast too quickly. Sensing death I sold it and bought my current ride. The clouds of impending death parted, the sun shined thru and I thought a motorcycle vacation would the thing to do.

..what? ..

Traveling on a bike is usually a solitary experience rather than with a troop of scouts or family, or a troupe of musicians in a van. It would be similar to a solo canoe trip in terms of serenity but with occasional exposure to the irrationality of people.

None of this is of importance to anyone, but … I made the not unusual mistake of opening my mouth one day amongst a group of riders and in no short amount of time someone had begun blogging about “The Rufus Method” as though it were the spiritual equivalent of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. All well and good as far as I’m concerned, but it’s obvious this blog is a series of posts that must build thru a crescendo of tension with a final and climactic ending. Thusly the posts did build intensity to a soft forte, third movement, and then, and then …


That’s right, nada, zip, zilch. So an attendant readership is forced to (metaphorically) zip their gumpy back in their pants and go home. Sheesh 🙂

Obviously, reports of Blogger Death are later found out to be exaggerated, the wheel of life still turns around, and things are as they are, so at some point in time the aborted subject will be completed in fantasticus fashion.

Anyway, I did take that vacation. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is major fun especially for a musician. I quickly developed some simple rules, not because they are GOOD RULES, but because they are good for me. No need to chisel these damned things into stones or debate them with burning bushes.

1. When I returned from that first trip I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. That was not supposed to be the result. I’ve finished many a long evening playing drums, and although tired I was not beat to death, there was a renewal of spirit. I have never again gone on “vacation’.

2. I am a bad tourist. I mean to do or to see something just to say you saw it seems kinda superficial in its intent. Other than that it’s like I have ADD or something. I can be bored in 10 minutes, easily. Don’t get me wrong, I do touristy things, but I have no idea when the mood will strike, so to plan for stuff is a waste of my time.

3. I generally dislike restaurants. I hate when the waiteress comes over 6 times to ask “Is Everything OK???”. I don’t like air conditioning so I LOVE eating outside, that’s one reason I like Mexico. I’ve been known to spend an hour searching out that hole in the wall place where locals eat.

4. Don’t look for adventure, it’s just like hookers, which are everywhere. I’ve never been anywhere you couldn’t stumble across a hooker 🙂 Same with adventure, or unexpected totally cool stuff. Like my second trip to our south coast. I skipped NOLA and stayed east of Ponchartrain and rolled into Pass Christian and asked about motel rooms; “Downtown is probably full up.” I found a room at a small place next door to the swank hotel. Next day I’m holding down the beach with a mega-Long Island Iced Tea soaking sun and sea breeze. The beach fills with babes in bikinis doing all sort of cute babe things, there’s even a few guys out there taking photos. Hmmm. The hotel next door is hosting the Miss America contest. You can work out the details from there.

5. Something is alive.

The weekend before my first trip I loaded up the bike with all my travel gear for a test ride. I went 30-40 miles and pulled into to the same Quick-Trip I always stopped at for the customary coffee and Dolly Madison powdered donuts. I caught a smile and then a nod from folks walking in and out from the pumps while I checked my travel bags. I went inside, got my stuff, and the clerk says “Where ya headed?”. I look up and “Memphis, to visit my brother” jumps out of my mouth.

“I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s a fun place” he says. I smile in response and add “It’s ok, but I always enjoy the scenery and people around here when I go thru”. He smiles and hands me my change, we trade ‘have a nice day’ and I go outside to enjoy the road food. There are more smiles and parking lot conversation with the patrons. I light a smoke while I have a nice chat with Rod Serling.

He explains what has transpired; something about the Cowboy Mystique .. riding off into the sunset and how it brings out a something in other people – a hope? an aspiration? a simple joy of the moment? “It could be many things, unique to each individual, but a common thread that sews us all together.” he says.

I rode home.


Animal Cannon

If you don’t mind I’ll give you some general info on the Animal Cannon hobby …

Early development work on the Cat Cannon

Early development work on the Cat Cannon

Hand weaponry should really be treated as a separate topic. If you think about it, Mouse Cannon might sound cool, but you can’t really strap a cannon on the hip, can ya?

Smaller animal shot is getting down into the more normal range of the ‘old style’ calibers. We fondly call’em a Mouse Pounder. The trusty old MP is actually a 62mm barrel and many of us have quite fancy holsters. I prefer the clamshell you mentioned. Shot is cheap and inside 100ft the MP is a devastating weapon.

‘Course you gotta raise your kids right, so you start them with the smallest caliber weaponry which is the Igun series. And before you ask, yes, Steve Jobs is a big fan of this class of target gun and he got the idea to name the Iphone from us.

Obviously Igun is short for Insect Gun which uses 17 thru 23mm shot, standard NATO stuff. (North American Terrestrial Ordnance). Yes, you can shoot inanimate stuff like stones or hunks of wood, but only social deviates do that. We uphold our cultural standards in the hobby and I teach my kids ‘right’, so we stick with the live NATO rounds.

Ya got yer 17-23 caliber class ‘Bug Baby’ in both rifle and handgun styles, a nice agile weapon and the rounds are free. Double dangerous though when loaded with grasshoppers. The legs really attack the target.

From there you got the ‘Beetle Bouncer’ at 38 caliber. Standard load here in Missouri is June Bugs or the brown night beetles. Ladies prefer this weapon as it’s small and comes with a wide range of iridescent shot.

There is that special class at 45mm, but this is primarily a show pistol as the shot is restricted to the Rhinoceros Beetle. A hot collectors item though, and “Beetle Blaster” draws them into the tent at cannon shows.

Above these sizes you “go mammalian”, as we say. Lot’s of diversity here, and there are loads of guys (and gals) that make custom weapons. The aforementioned Mouse Pounder is the most popular. I’ve moved up from the mini-mammal to my beloved cat-cannon. A great all purpose weapon, and if you don’t mind an ‘inside’ joke, we like to say that cat-ammo will keep you alive both in the chamber or the stew pot.

There’s lots of exciting new things on the ammo front, what with the advances in genetics the last few years. It’s an exciting time to be associated with this whole Animal Cannon hobby, and great for the kids too, what with the emphasis on the new science.

Sorry to chat on like this, but talking hobbies is fun. We can chat some more later.

Right now, I gotta go out back and “feed the ammo”.



I can see the white gown flowing upstream through the trees at the forest edge, so she is coming to visit .

A wafting, like a swan in flight, which can only be Apollonia.

A slightly frothy wave ripped from the ocean and come to wash upon my Aegean shore.

Come to see my sister Asherah no doubt, and toss me only the slightest nod as she enters.

Sending a few drops my way like a christening, when I want a baptism.

It’s embarrassing that a god can be shy.


Wanda’s Coconuts

There was a heavy beat to the tempo (like elephant steps) but the band has to play something while waiting for Mamba Jamba to take the stage. These dudes are hipster chimps, black berets and slick Ray-Bans. Think of ZZ Top.* Definite stoners just riffin’ to keep things lively, and yes, Jake (guitar player) is off trying to ‘make some time’ with Wanda so there’s lots of keyboard and marimba.

The birds, yes, birds do lots of percussion. Damned jungle, can’t keep them from it. Luckily they do have innate rhythm and compassion for any melody so they are always welcome to play along. It actually wouldn’t be the same without them.

They are however quite irreverent about endings. It must be a bird thing. It’s not just the fact that they don’t always stop when the music does, but they start doing crazy shit, weird chirps and clacks and hoots. Elmo has gotten to encouraging the frenzy. The drummer is supposed to stop the band, it’s his job, but he will often just keep thwacking at his drum kit, counter-punching what the birds toss out. It has turned into a crowd favorite. They begin hooting and clapping and dancing, then Elmo grins and thwacks all the harder, and the birds get more excited. Real party shit, but not today though.

Elmo the Chimp Drummer

Elmo Ozark, drummer for 'Round Wheels (Square Pegs)'

Today is not a festival meeting, this event was “called”. Not on the regular schedule. And the speakers so far have been, ah … edgy is the only word. All this because a foreign ruler is coming to visit.

Sounds like a reason to party but some of the head mucky-mucks are fearful. I’m not to worried though ’cause Mamba Jamba will probably set things right and send the fear-mongers packing. Most of us don’t believe what we are hearing from the ‘grapevine’, the negative vibes about this visitor. Surely it’s just rumbles in the jungle, ya know?

I’m looking forward to Mamba Jamba though. She seldom speaks anymore. Heck, she quit the jungle politics over 20 years ago, but she is THE AUTHORITY, no title needed. I don’t need to tell you that since we all know that’s what “Mamba Jamba” means in jungle slang.

Well, Jake is coming back and yes, he has one of Wanda’s coconuts. Wanda mixes up a great ju-ju and has one of the most popular drink stands at any festival. They’ll probably rip into one more tune before Mamba Jamba speaks, and then we party.

So let’s settle this visit from Alexander The Great and get on with life.

* These guys call themselves “Round Wheels Square Pegs” but they won’t explain what that means. We think it’s a type of ancient Voodoo saying? What is a wheel?


The Last Place You Look

“I can’t find it! I’ve looked everywhere!!!”, so Mom says “Where’d you leave it?”.

Deductive reasoning at its best, to look for something where it is rather than look for it where it is not, I never would have thought of that.

“Right.” I say, withholding the sarcasm.

Dad smiles but doesn’t speak since he knows and so do I.

I won’t continue to look for it once I’ve found it either.

Damn you, Sherlock Holmes.

Why is this?

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