Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Too many funerals

    My friend from high school Paul Lacoste died a week ago and the funeral was today. Apparently he had skipped a year somewhere along the line and was more than a year younger than the rest of us, something I never knew. We had never been extremely close, but we got along. He dated my high school girlfriend after she broke up with me, but it was all perfectly amicable. I never held it against either of them. (I was going to college 600 miles away at the time.)
    In more recent days, he had trouble. His marriage broke up and he was living in a men's shelter, then a Motel 6. One infers that drinking was involved. Because we're of the same political orientation, he expressed an interest in Drinking Liberally and made sporadic efforts to come to a meeting, but only made it to one, about a month ago. He seemed unmoored, adrift, in disarray. He also seemed that way on Facebook, often responding in ways that didn't strictly speaking make sense. He did not, however, seem on the verge of doing anything drastic.
    I don't know what happened; I may never know. He may have drunk himself to death or committed suicide more directly. The only thing clear from the pastor's homily is that it wasn't natural causes. He said that Paul had never recovered from his mother's death in 2000 nor from his father's hospitalization and incapacitation in 2010. ("Boy I heard that!" I couldn't help thinking.) About the only difference between me and him is that I have a sense of humor, not in the "Boy is he funny!" sense but in the sense of finding all aspects of life both absurd and humorous. Long may it wave.
    Being in a Roman Catholic church was no weirder nor less weird than it was when I was in one regularly. I wish they would have gone easier with the incense, though. It was neat to see altar girls, which I doubt we had back in the day. And it was cool to learn that "How Great Thou Art" is a little older than I thought, and the hillbillies in question were from a different set of hills. Insert your favorite Swedish Chef joke here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

His brother John

    When I was a little fellow, I was very taken with Bob Dylan's "Watching the River Flow" and especially the piano work. I asked my brother (not sure now which brother) who was playing it, and he said that it was Bob Dylan's brother John. Now this was a pretty shrewd answer. I'm not sure that all little kids worship all with their own first name nor that all little kids believe everything they are told, but I did and I did and in I think that in my heart of hearts I believed this until maybe a week ago.
    What brought it to mind was hearing a cover which my song identification app said was by Ben Waters on a tribute CD to Ian Stewart. Naturally I took this to mean that the piano part had been played by Ian Stewart and that the mystery was solved. Nothing like that simple! Turns out that the song was on the tribute record because Stewart had been quoted as saying that the song was the only decent thing that Dylan had ever done. And the part was actually played by Leon Russell. As he was already famous as the leader of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and a major contributor to the Concerts for Bangladesh, both of which I knew about (I wasn't THAT damn little) and would be famouser a year later for "Tightrope," I think I could have handled the actual personnel information. But then, we didn't have Wikipedia back then, did we? Excuse me, I have to go looking for John Zimmerman piano records...

Monday, August 31, 2015

"What was funny?"

    Paul and I were at the Goodwill on St. Andrews Road, but I was wandering about by myself. We noticed on the drive over some unbelievably threatening looking clouds and shortly after we got in the car, they let loose like crazy. This sometimes can lead to a good deal of crazy in otherwise somewhat stable people. Anyway, that's my excuse.
    I was looking at the artworks when I saw a whiteboard with the words "Safety tip" at the top and a cartoon of a gopher in a toolbelt to the right. I just fell over. A couple of ladies nearby each asked me what was so funny. To tell the truth, I just think it's inherently funny. Heck, the gopher in a toolbelt is inherently funny. I did tell them what I was thinking, which was that I wanted to get a Sharpie and write, "NEVER give a toolbelt to a gopher!" (i.e., as a safety tip). I don't think they believed me; I bet they still want to hear what the REALLY funny thing I was thinking was!
    I later learned that the gopher is a member of the Wonder Pets, apparently big with the preschool set. I am assured that I can hate someone forever just by following his suggestion that I look up and listen to the Wonder Pet theme, but I couldn't handle that much responsibility. Maybe a Wikipedia hunt is in order, though.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"This would help!"

    My total at Aldi was $10.29. I was counting out the four pennies and handing over the quarter when I realized that I was still holding the ten in my left hand. "This would help!" I said, handing it over. Now THAT isn't senile dementia. Decades ago, whatever it was, if it went into my left hand, it disappeared. I have literally looked all over for objects I was holding (one at a time, mind you) in my left hand. It's when the stuff in my right hand goes out of sight and out of mind that I will be worried. Anyway, the checker was amused.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The perils of virtuosity

    Virtuosity may or may not have been a word as of this morning, but it is now. Floyd Cramer was a piano player, most prominent in the '50s and '60s, a father of the Nashville Sound and generally considered to be a virtuoso. I had heard of him and saw one of his Best of records at a thrift store for a dollar and decided to take the plunge. (The fact that I had him confused with Les Paul had nothing to do with this decision.) The tunes were selected (oh sorry, it's 2015; the record was curated) by Paul Williams, a fellow who took a lot of unfortunate acting gigs in the '70s, but who also wrote Evergreen and Out In The Country, so no bozo.
    Still, maybe another curator might have been better. This is a pretty bad record. Or it sounds that way now. Floyd originated (I think) a lot of the little figures and effects that became popular and then run into the ground in Nashville later. Think Charlie Rich. In fact, listening to the record and since then, I can't stop thinking about Charlie Rich. Those little piano figures probably weren't twee when Floyd did them. Hell, they probably weren't twee when Charlie did them on Behind Closed Doors. It was more a problem with it getting played a few million times. One grows tired.
    Anyway, if you ever come across a rockin' Floyd Cramer record, send it my way. I did like his Flip Flop and Bop. (Paul Williams did pick one good one! Oh wait, to be fair to Paul, he was the producer of the compilation. Somebody else curated. Sorry about that, Mr. Williams!) But if you come across The Essential Floyd Cramer, unless you like Muzak, pass on by. Flip Flop and Bop is one of only two cuts on the record recorded during the '50s. That's it; I'm a '50s Cramer aficionado!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Post quick!

    Ow! This morning, I was perusing Facebook, minding my own business, when Firefox announced that a new update was ready and downloaded and did I want to install it? Innocently, I chose yes, and have been away the rest of the morning. Instead of restarting like it usually does, Firefox just vanished. It was gone from the computer. I tried a System Restore, then two more but it stayed gone. The last one though was so far back that Avast wanted to be updated and wanted the computer restarted first. With that, I at least had my Firefox shortcuts back... but they still didn't work.
    This not being my first rodeo, I searched the computer very thoroughly and found a Firefox download from two years (and 16 versions) ago. Then I downloaded the update and disabled Avast to be on the safe side. This time worked. So I'm back again. Miss me?
    Side item (NOW): to complain to Mozilla, I had to set up a Help account at their website. To post my question, I had to give them my email and then confirm it. To do that, I needed Firefox. Hey, didn't that work great? So lucky I could figure a solution for myself!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Your pals AT&T

    When Dad was still living, I went to the power company (SC E&G) and tried to change his billing address such that bills would come to me. They made it sound like such a living hell that I just said bump this, and to this day pick up the bill at Margaret's. It made me a little jaded towards utilities.
    Today I set out to change his landline's billing address, since William apparently is still using it. I went to the AT&T office building where I would pay my bills back during the previous millennium, but they aren't too customer-friendly anymore. In short, it's a fortress. I found that there are AT&T stores all over, though they're mainly for wireless. However, it was the only possibility that I could see so I tried one.
    Boy do I feel like a doof! AT&T doesn't care if you're living, dead or undead so long as you pay. I was expecting to have to show the will, the death certificate, my appointment as whatever I'm appointed as, etc. The guy just got on the phone and talked to the billing people and changed the address. Meaning that I could have done the same. But hell, how was I to know? It was pretty fun to tell the truth. It was also funny that I couldn't actually pay the bill there. Anyway, not with a check. I felt so darned twentieth century again!