So playing the trombone wasn't getting me in enough trouble?
|I need someplace to write down the often confusing thoughts that enter my mind, while my stories give voice to the characters that wander through periodically, this is the place for my voice. Join me if you wish, comment if you wish, all are welcomed and appreciated.|
|When I was a little guy, no wait I'm still a little guy, I meant when I was younger, I enjoyed wandering through woods and forests. Actually, I still do. Very often I would get so preoccupied with the sights and sounds of my journey that I'd lose track of my path. That was wonderful for discovery, but annoying when it was time for lunch.
A trick that I found was to remember the Down/Listen Advice. The principle is based on the fact that most civilization forms in valleys, so to find the valley you head — down. This will also very often lead you to a road or stream, that's the listening part. You can hear a road before you'll see it, likewise for a stream.
I have found my way out of the trees quite often using this advice.
I have never really minded getting a bit lost, whether hiking or driving. Sometimes the best adventures start with being lost!
...I'm only the trombone player!
|Today is National Home Brew Day. Or, maybe yesterday was? No matter, I going off on a different tangent altogether.
On assignment to find and procure new sources of refreshment for "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" , I stumbled upon this little tidbit of useless information.
Did you know there is a giant cloud of alcohol drifting in space? I mean a really giant cloud, 400 quintillion liters of huge.
quin·til·lion. a cardinal number represented in the U.S. by 1 followed by 18 zeros, and in Great Britain by 1 followed by 30 zeros.
Great, another question. Why does Great Britain need more zeros? This is why I never get anything done!
Just to put that number in perspective; "everyone (Earth's total population) would need to consume 300 thousand liters of alcohol daily for a billion years."
Aside from the fact that much imbibing would be inherently unhealthy, said alcohol itself isn't really the pleasant drinking kind, more the anti-freeze, windshield washer fluid kind (methanol). Not to mention that the cloud it forms also contains other deadly chemicals.
You might ask, why is this even important? If we can't drink it, why did we even bother looking for it?
"Alcohol is also an organic substance, an integral part of living organisms. Barry Turner of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory claims that these alcohol clouds can “help us better understand how life can evolve in the universe”."
But the cloud also proves that the Universe has a sense of humor.
"The cloud contains ethyl formate, an ester that gives a raspberry flavor and, as astronomers say, it smells like rum. Therefore, it seems that these cosmic spirits may have a taste and aroma similar to raspberry rum."
So, I can't drink it, but it smells like I'd want to.
|As Robert Waltz said today, there's a Day for everything, I might add that very often it's because somebody is trying to make a buck or two.
So today is "National Men Make Dinner Day". I'm willing to wager that many of the men here make dinner, maybe not every day, but more often than to make a big deal out of it. I think men cooking is normal! I enjoy cooking, I find it relaxing. I learned to cook early, after watching my Father and Brother nearly starve to death, because my Mother was late getting home from an American Legion Auxiliary luncheon. The first meal I cooked was not fancy, or gourmet by any means; hot dogs, beans, and french fries, but it astounded both of the other two males in the household. You have to understand, on a camping trip, these two chefs thought that you added a can of water to Chef Boyardee's canned spaghetti, like it was a can of Campbell's Condensed Soup.
A byproduct of my newfound cooking skills, I was now considered camping trip-worthy.
Now, Lenore and I tend to split the cooking, the ratio varies with the seasons; During the Spring and Summer (BBQ season) more of it falls on me. In the winter she does a bit more than I do.
However, the other night I made a new (for us) dish, and it came out pretty well! We had chicken breasts stuffed with asparagus, mozzarella, and shallots. very simple seasonings, salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and Italian seasoning.
It must have been okay because I have permission to "make it again".
|Sadly, I have to reflect on the passing of Momma Mary Candiano, Lenore's Mom passed quietly at home, surrounded by family, just as she wished. Thankfully, Mary passed with little suffering or pain.
The biggest blessing was that Mary had left very detailed instructions regarding her care, what she found acceptable, and what she didn't want. The lesson here is; Everyone should do that, we don't want to face that day possibly, but doing so now will make our caregivers' lives much easier when the time comes.
Her passing leaves a vast empty spot in Lenore's and my life, much of our time was spent with her in the last years. She will be missed, mourned for, and grieved over. But, as Lenore pointed out several times in recent days, that is not what Momma would have wanted, and if we don't move on with our lives, I'm pretty sure she will make her displeasure known in some way. At any rate, there will be empty moments, sad memories, and tears in times to come.
My one regret in this is that Mary didn't live to see Lenore and I married, circumstances conspired to prevent that, with dates being pushed off for varied reasons. That will, of course, be rectified in due time. We have to the estate to settle, but Mary stipulated that Lenore has several years to do so, thankfully, no rush there.
We are both sad Mary is gone, happy that she didn't linger and suffer. We will both miss her, her sly humor, the wonderful food she used to cook, and her sage advice. Mary was one of a kind, God Bless and Keep Her.
|Posting from my phone, so please excuse both the brevity and typos.
We were forced to take my MIL to the hospital, she was getting weak, unable to eat, and dehydrated.
Unfortunately, a scan of her abdomen revealed masses on her liver. The doctors suspect that the masses are metastatic cancers that have spread from somewhere else.
Lenore and her siblings, after speaking with Momma's doctors have decided to forego any further intrusive testing. Aside from the fact that the tests themselves might prove fatal, it's almost a foregone conclusion that she wouldn't tolerate the treatment required. Nor would it really provide a livable extension of her life.
Mary was a strong lady, she lived a wonderful 97 years, and saw the birth of grand children and great grand children.
Please keep Mary and Lenore in your prayers.
|Bad. No worse than Bad. This Was BAD!!
There I was only halfway through my Easter gig when the alarms started going off. Flashing lights, screamin' klaxons, and bunnies running everywhere!
How in the name of my fluffy little butt could this happen?
"What do you mean we're out of candy" My nose was twitching wildly.
"It's a supply chain issue sir—"
"Supply chain, I'm the flippin' Easter Bunny!" My ears felt burning hot. "I am the supply chain—"
"It's Texas, Sir." The hare in front of me with a pink clipboard stammered. "They umm, closed the borders and ummm, lots of trunks are just sitting there—"
"What the carrot cake? We gotta do something about this—
"I contacted him, Sir."
"Him?" My nose twitched even harder. "Just who is Him?"
"Your cousin Pubby, Sir"
"Pubby!" Almost snorted a jelly bean through my nose. "Why in all that's chocolate-covered would you call that loopy little lepus?"
"He knows people, Sir"
"Oh my bushy tail, you aren't telling me we're getting that alcohol swilling monkey involved—"
"I'm afraid we had to, Chief." Tapping a carrot-shaped pen against his two cute little buck teeth. "We needed his contacts."
"That's it, this is the worst Easter ever," I moaned, "kids are going to stop believing in me for sure—
"No Sir!" Smiling for the first time as he touched the Bluetooth dongle in his ear. "It appears the crisis is averted, we've managed to secure the help of the greatest, most successful on-time shipping expert in the world."
"Oh, bunny pellets." My head in my hands. "Who did that crazy monkey hook us up with? As if I really want to know. And, what the name of chocolate bunny ears is this gonna cost me?"
"We got a great rate Boss, actually a trade-off—"
"Yeah we get emergency, expediated delivery service, and all we have to do is provide one million chocolate reindeer for delivery next December."
I felt my ears droop. "I am never gonna live this down ..."
Author's Note ▼
|In October of 1962, the first big news story I can remember happened, The Cuban Missile Crisis and the subsequent blockade of Cuban ports by the United States Navy. The Soviet Union, then led by Nikita Khrushchev, began assembling Nuclear ballistic missiles on Cuba. To counter the threat, The United States blockaded Cuban ports to prevent the arrival of additional troops and missile parts. For thirteen days, the United State and the Soviet Union were on the brink of war.
The situation ended peacefully when an agreement was worked out in back-channel negotiations between Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and Soviet advisor, Anatoly Dobrynin. The missiles were removed from Cuba after a public pledge by the US not to invade Cuba, and the secret agreement to remove US missiles from Turkey.
At least that was the official story, it wasn't until I stumbled across an old notebook full of monkey scribbles that I learned the real story!
It all started back in September of '62, Andre was just a teenage monkey, hanging out in a banana grove. He didn't have a care in the world, there were plenty of bananas to be had, he had a brand new kazoo and all was right in the world. Then it happened, Andre's dad decided it was time Andre got his first job. Andre didn't like it one bit, it interfered with his kazoo lessons, but Dad was adamant. So off to work he went. His first week went well, better than he expected work to be. His boss was great, the bar was a neat place to work, and he discovered vodka. The band even let him sit in on kazoo once in a while. It was all a young monkey could ask for in a first job.
Then in late September Andre noticed a change in the bar, swaggering men, wearing checkered shirts took over, almost forcing the usual crowd out some nights. The men often cleaned out the stock of wadka, much to Andre's chagrin, he was really starting to develop a taste for vodka. He resented the men in checkered shirts. He also suspected there were up to something naughty since they kept going back to their boats and hiding during the day.
Always a suspicious monkey, Andre decided to let a cousin who lived in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo know, Andre's cousin agreed that these guys were hinky and he kicked it up the line to PINCUS (Primate in Charge US), who in turn notified his counterpart in the hooman government.
Here's where the facts get fagazzi, it seems that the negotiations between the two governments weren't going well. Even attempts at end-runs by hooman President's brother were stalling. PINCUS realized drastic and unprecedented steps had to be taken to stop the hoomans from upsetting the banana barge.
He arranged contact between Andre and a doggie named Pushinka . Pushinka had a very fine pedigree, she was the daughter of a Russian Cosmonaut named Strelka and was very respected in the Soviet Union. She had even gotten away with eating one of Nikita's shoes while he addressed the United Nations.
Andre and Pushinka stayed up for thirteen straight nights, drinking Wadka and Baykal and eating banana pirozhkis. They actually had an agreement hammered out on Day Two, but were having so much fun drinking and eating, they forgot to tell anyone for eleven days.
When news of the agreement reached Moscow and Washington, hooman leaders knew they needed to take credit, keep the negotiations secret. So they concocted a cover story that stands up until now.
But now You know the truth!!
We all know what happened to Andre, and his rise to ownership of the Banana Bar. But in case you are wondering about Pushinka, she was secretly sent to the White House, to serve as unofficial Ambassador, she settled in nicely and was rumored to have had an affair with a Welsh Terrier named Charlie, who was rumored to be an unofficial Ambassador from the UK.
|Lilli 🧿 ☕ The Coffee Elf runs a nifty forum "Question of the Day!" , and today question sort of jived with a blog post I have been thinking of doing.
The Question Today: "What are some things that you wished people knew about you?"
My question is where to start?
Let's go all the way back to "I'm Only the Trombone Player", which happened in 4th grade when I was nine years old. We were lucky enough to have a great music program, with wonderful teachers. We were allowed to choose our weapons of choice. Did I choose something cool like drums or sax or trumpet? Nope, I chose trombone, an instrument whose popularity, even then, was fading. I never practiced as much as I should have, sports like Little League and Soccer got in the way, but I stuck with it, my parents bought me a horn and I kind of felt obligated not to quit.
Along comes Junior High/Middle School and I'm still playing the trombone. But, now scholastic sports enters the picture. I was always a little guy, speedy for my size. Think of me as a little roadster (the car thing), quick and maneuverable, way too small for American Football, but well suited for Soccer (the rest of the World's Football).
Long story short, I had a great time playing Soccer, I loved my coach, and when he said a great way to stay in shape for soccer would be to join his wrestling squad I signed up. Turns out I was perfect for that also. Most teams didn't have a wrestler as small as me. So my matches were an automatic win for the team. The drawback was that to practice, I always had to wrestle above my weight. Disaster struck at a practice. While wrestling someone heavier than me and in a position where he was in control and on top of me, I tried to muscle my way out of the ride. The result was the tearing of most of the ligaments in my right foot. No More Little Roadster and no phys ed for the rest of the year.
So there I was in study hall instead of the gym when Mr. Carraras, my band teacher came along;
"What are you doing in study hall?" He asked.
"I can't go to gym for the rest of the year because I hurt—
"Well, this is a waste of time. Come with me." He walked up to the front table, where the study hall proctor sat.
Pointing at me. "He'll be in the band room from now on."
The study hall teacher passed him a clipboard, Mr. C signed off on something, and I was trapped in the band room for life. My foot never healed well enough to play sports again, still have occasional pain and a bit of a limp at times. But, I found a new home.
And that's how I became "Only the Trombone Player"
Playing the trombone provided many great experiences. I played, starting way back in fourth grade at five worlds fairs, marched at Disney World, and played at a pro football (American), and started playing professionally, all before I graduated from public school. In my Junior year of High School, I was told to grow a mustache to look older so that I would be able to play in bars I wasn't old enough to drink in.
During that High School period, I was also officially labeled as a Student Dissident. There was a problem with budget cuts and teacher reassignments. The music students didn't like the cuts, organized and led protests. Somebody who shall remain nameless led a sit-in at the District Administration Building, which forced a meeting with the school board. We won—and the Grumpy Leprechaun was born. And, it's still in my permanent record.
I have been lucky to have played in almost every musical genre and setting. I have played wedding bands (first professional gigs), Big Bands/Jazz Ensemble, Symphony Orchestras, Opera Orchestras (boring for a trombonist), toured with a Country Western Band, Semi-Pro Off-Broadway Productions. I played on two different cruise ships (really boring). I was fired by Bobby Rydell (the whole horn section, we looked too young), but Karma bit Mr. Rydell when he was forced to hire the same horn section a year later to cover for his horns at a country fair.
I have been privileged to have taught some wonderful students, many of whom have gone on to become fine musicians and teachers themselves. Some entered Military service units, such as the Air Force's Airmen of Note, among others. Others are teaching in various parts of the United States and one even taught as far away as Singapore.
I mentioned the Grumpy Leprechaun up there. He the guy that shows up when I have to be an administrator. He has to say no a lot more often than he'd like to;
"I'd like to buy a new keyboard for the Jazz Ensemble."
"Do you have any money left in your budget code?" Grumpy asked.
"No, but I was hoping—"
"Then you already know the answer. Right?"
Teacher walks away dejectedly.
Then Pubby shows up;
"Ya know boss they really could use a new key—
"He spent all of his money already, go away Silly Rabbit."
"Yeah, but the old one starting to sound like—
"Watch it Rabbit, you know how I feel about bad language in the Music Wing."
Not to be deterred Pubby continues. "Well, couldn't the keyboard be used somewhere else too, maybe share the cost?"
And along comes Anon-Y-Monkey;
"So, if my calculations are right, and we take a little bit from the band, a bit from the choir, and a touch from Graduation, we're only about $250 short, we can swing—
"Wait, what are you saying?" I ask getting alarmed.
It's only $250 bananas." Wiggling his eyebrows. "We can swing that can't we?"
Lil' Lime Squeeze and A Guavé Tortuga, the two musicians of the group, nod at me from the corner of the room;
"Ya Mon." A cloud of fragrant herbal smoke surrounds Lil' Lime Squeeze's head. "We can't have the kiddies playin' on inferior instruments now."
I give up and give in, they beat me again.
Oh! By The Way; They prefer to be called facets of my personality, not figments of my imagination.
|So as part of my super-secret, undercover, very temporary, "I even have to wear a suit" assignment, I am doing a series of interviews.
The candidates are all current college students, who are interviewing either to do long-term observations of teachers currently teaching or prospective Student Teachers, who will actually join current teachers and teach classes next semester.
In short, they are all candidates for entry into the teaching profession.
Now, I realize this isn't a real job interview, and I realize that we are talking about students here.
But, there are some tips you need to follow;
The first tip applies universally to almost every job interview.
Dress for the Job You Want.
Shredded jeans and a tee-shirt are never appropriate for a job interview for any professional position.
An outfit you'd wear for a night out clubbing is also not appropriate. If it makes the custodian faint, it isn't appropriate.
If you need to, Shave! Comb your hair! Make an effort to look like you weren't on an all-night bender last night.
Yes, all three showed up this morning.
Next, bring a resume or curriculum vitae, even if it only covers your High School/College career.
Why? Because I'm more interested in hearing HOW you answer questions than the actual answer. It will be easier on you if I'm asking questions you (hopefully) already know the answers to.
If you tell me your favorite hobby is reading, expect me to ask which book you read last for pleasure.
Cooking, what's your favorite recipe?
I want to hear you formulate a cogent, clear answer.
Please don't make me resort to:
If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
Bring A Pen!!
You are entering the big leagues now, you shouldn't need to borrow a pen to write things down or fill things out. And you will have to do both.
Prepare questions you will ask me in advance.
The questions don't have to be profound or even profession-related. Just show me you thought about the interview BEFORE you got here.
Where do I park?
Is there a place on-site to eat/buy lunch?
I have classes in the evening, will I ever have to miss them to perform duties here?
Unless you bring some for all of us, please don't bring food or drink into the interviewer's office. A water bottle is fine, a dry nervous mouth is a problem for everyone.
Practice your handshake or nowadays, your fist bump. Only offer it if the interviewer offers it first.
Remember, I'm just as nervous and eager to make a good impression as you are. I just have more practice at not showing it than you do.
|If you subscribe to the rodent theory of weather prediction, today's Groundhog prognostications were at best a mixed bag.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. So, according to this resident of Pennsylvania, we're in for 6 more weeks of winter. Of course, Phil has an accuracy rate of 40%. Which might be as good as any other meteorologist.
Now here on Long Island, we have not one, but two, weather-predicting rodents. Holtsville Hal, from the easterly end of our fair island is calling for an early Spring (Go, Hal). Alas, Malverne Mel, who resides in our west end predicted six additional weeks of Winter.
So it looks like the long Winter vote has it. In past years we might have gotten a fourth vote from the rodent also known as Mel. He lived in Milltown, New Jersey. Unfortunately, Milltown Mel has suffered the heartbreak of too many failed predictions, he decided to cross over the rainbow bridge just before being made to prognosticate another year.
I wonder what other communities have their own groundhogs, peering around corners, looking for their shadows? Does yours? The trinket below gives a little history behind Ground Hogs Day.
The 1993 Bill Murry feature, Groundhog Day, had Murry's character trapped in a time loop, which made it more SciFi, than RomCom, at least in my eyes. The TV show Stargate SG-1 did a similar show "Window of Opportunity" in 2000. It's the sixth episode from season 4, if you'd like to check it out, it is available on Amazon Prime and Hulu. (I think).
Previous to the film, the repetition Murry's character experiences wasn't associated with Groundhog Day, which came later. after the movie. The film itself gives no explanation for the repetition, even though there was one in the script's first draft. Stephanie's Curse , which she casts on Phil, the curse scene was deleted in the second draft.
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