/|\ (uh-buv) — Thought I’d put up a title which is a bunch more non-applicable than that, following, which nails this post down, correctly, succinctly?, honestly, as UNevent(not)full June, or … untitled, miscellaneous, amoeba farts, nada gwan I hasn’t posted … Continue reading
At about 10 a.m. on a recent Toosday d(e)riving home, the thought popped into my head that this day is starting out to be
THE DRUNCKEST DAY, EVER.
(or perturbation/malformation of some sort of mental process
(or maybe an un-process))
bubbled up into my mind after
a couple beers
(and a cannabis gummy) – all of which I did not ingest until after I discovered my wife’s car could go from 60 to 0 mph in less than 200 feet, on an icy road.
On the icy Interstate.
Alongside a semi-truck.
I was returning from an overnight in Denver visiting family, and though it was later April, it had snowed the night before and temperatures were still below freezing. I was passing a semi, with another car (or two?) nearby, on a 2-lane each-direction section of I-70 a bit west of Idaho Springs. The highway surface was, due to the temp, a bit icy and a little slushy. I was driving what seemed to be a prudent 60 mph or so, tho’ the limit was 75. My/our collection of vehicles rounded a corner and a mere 200 feet or so ahead (less than a football field) there were two stopped cars. One was in the left lane, as if parked, with a man standing nearby. The other was perpendicular to the road, less than 100-feet closer than the other vehicle, nose against the right guard rail. I am probably not a “wise septuagenarian” but fortunately I am not prone to slam on the brakes, and, instead, started the slow gradual pumping. There was a few-second span of time in which part of me realized that things might not “go well”. Amazingly, my car slid to a stop mere feet from the car parked in the left lane. More amazingly, the other three vehicles somehow maneuvered around the right-lane perpendicular car and the one I was stopped at, and the man I had seen earlier must have jumped over the median wall or the guard-rail.
Well … I started-up relatively quickly, because, obviously, the alternative was to soon become a highly-probable highway-mishap-statistic. As I type this, it’s been about a week and I wonder what “badness” may have later happened because of the two stationary vehicles in that more-than-slightly-dangerous location.
I drove on, slowly at first, gradually speeding up back to 60 mph, and as I passed the semi from before, the driver looked over, gave me a thumb’s-up while doing the “what the f- ?” shrug with his shoulders. I signaled a thumbs-up back at him and continued on in a bit of a daze.
I presume your “ordinary everyday Amerikin Hero dude” would spend the rest of the day doing, well, “something special and heroic” after such an incident. Walking the dogs at the local animal shelter, picking up trash in the park, feeding the orphans and/or homeless – something useful for the benefit of mankind and the environment. I am not such a person. I decided to start drinking beer.
You’ll be glad to know that in spite of the possibility of continuing on into The Drunckest Day, Ever, I side-stepped the process after those two beers (and cannabis gummy) – waiting ‘til I got home to achieve, no, not T D D, E, but a mildly intoxicated remainder of the day.
3/15/2019 = 1/1/1970. Yes, in this (my particular) case, each date marks the beginning of the seventies.
So the ‘sixty-ten’ decade(nce) beginnzzz …
I don’t believe I’ve ever been as apprehensive, almost to the point of DREADING, the arrival of another chronological milestone. Millstone. At age 69&1/2 during hockey, I was knocked to the ice and while lying there Drew skated up, leaned over to look me in the eye and asked, “How old are you?”
“One half of 139” I promptly answered. He looked briefly puzzled, and skated away without helping me up. (Drew is usually a really nice guy but my answer must have thrown him off).
After 139/2 I continued to watch the months, then weeks count down. I was 69.75 years old, then 69.9, and it seemed the last couple of weeks crept by, so slowly that time almost stopped. Slowly … sliding … into the wall of the Glacier of Doom. As I type this a month has passed and now it seems time is racing by, perhaps spiraling out of control, until … when/whatever.
I don’t consider myself to be a pessimist (berleave it oar else, I is mostly OPT!imystical) – but when I retired (¿hazzit been 3 years awlreddee?) I reflected upon the ‘stages of life.’ –>
You’re born, growing-up, under the care of your family, going to school, learning whatever,
leave school, and … you’re responsible for yourself – under no-one else’s care – in the work-force, with your family, until …
you retire. What next?
You’re going to die!
Just recently I considered another, not-so-depressing, stage. How about if one (me, for example) could insert another “stage” between “retirement” and “death”? Something like the Search for Magnificence, or … becoming (much more) wonderful than you ever thought possible, or … Well, you get it, right? Something which would at least seem to be another growing and viable stage, as opposed to just waiting to die. I might let you know how this goes. But at the rate I seem to be going, probably not.
Thinking back to each decade of decadence (or, in the earlier years, aspiring to magnificence before it was obvious that there is a relation between “decade” and “decay”):
I remember: age 10. I told my mom that I felt the number “10” being carved (not painfully) into my heart. I still have the electric alarm-clock which was my birthday present then. Yeah, nostalgia and sentimentality …
20? don’t remember! Probably ‘cause 21 is more significant so 20 don’t matter, much.
As well as 30 — huh? What? Could be I was about to be laid-off from one job and looking for another. Such stuff at that time of life usually takes precedence over pretty much anything else.
40 was to be a party, Betty got sick (chickenpox!) and we had to cancel.
Then, at 50 we had a medium-sized party here at our house, my slightly-older friend from Boulder, John V Fleming, came over. I recently ran across some pictures of me and my nephew whose birthday was at about the same time, my parents and JVFleming, and of my younger brother – whose birthday was/is 4 days earlier.
My most-prior decade (60) was over-shadowed (fortunately) by getting re-hired by my previous employer after about a year off. And a promotion besides! And now (the seventieth) …
I underwent my bi-annual physical @ the Dr.’s the day before, and, mostly un-related to the supposedly good news about my physical condition, I’m diagnosed with shingles! I was given a prescription and after taking 3 pills a day for a week, the symptoms were worse! Could the pharmacist have given me ‘medication’ which exacerbates the symptoms, instead of cures? But, fortunately, after a few more daze the symptoms have subsided, and the flu has taken over. Oh: Dr. G went over my “blood-draw numbers” and concluded that for someone my age, who has just come down with shingles, and whose diet seems to mostly consist of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and ice cream, the numbers were very good.
Moab. The day after my birthday. I hadn’t participated in the spring Canyonlands (running) races for 25 years! I figured I had a reasonable chance to “win the age group” in the 5-mile race. If one lives long enough, out-lasting (so to speak) most everyone else, you might win just by merely showing up. The last “age group win” I had in a somewhat major race was in a 5k in Bend, Oregon a couple years back. I was the only one in the 65-69 category. Whoopee …
Doing the Moab thing was also a “good switch-up/out” to one of my increasingly-ingrained post-retirement bad habits (sleeping-in later and later): getting up at 3:30 a.m.! THAT by itself helps put the rest of the day into a trance/dream-scape. And it was. Pitch-dark driving the 115-some miles there, and I was surprised at the relative lack of traffic. During my prior experiences of going to this race there was a noticeable mini-convoy of race-bound traffic coming from Junction and points beyond.
I didn’t exactly win for the 70&beyond crowd. Karen “Blondie” Vucich, from Vail, whose birthday was 6 daze before mine, was 4th or 5th woman, 17th over-all (of 300+ participants) and A MINUTE PER MILE faster than me! But I was fastest male in the age category. An acquaintance of mine, Tom Ela, tried to cheer me up and put things in perspective. “You were the first ‘regular’ (non-super-human) finisher in your age group,” he said.
Our son, also named Tom. Maybe Betty shamed him into it, but he came over (he lives not exactly close) and somewhat gamely “put up with” hangin’ with the oldies for the weekend (¿why do I feel compelled to substitute ‘weakened’?) He accompanied us to dinner at mom’s friend Debbie’s house – after which most of us played music (or something we hoped resembled music) – Tom even tapped on the drums some, and made a couple song requests. And then we played a really weird card game, not like “your usual card game” (I’ll try to think of the name. Deb doesn’t want to play it again – it’s that weird.)
A couple weakweeks after turning 70, after the “high point” of being the 2nd-fastest 70-year-young @ the Canyonlands 5-mile, I’ve been sick for ALL of the time since. Shingles. Gout (I had a painful almost-being-unable-to-walk episode right after I returned from Moab. A gout pill + aspirin made THAT go away). The “crud” – probably a bad cold. And ennui and weltschmerz, a constant background to the ongoing drama of my so-called life.
Surviving my first sixty-ten hockey game – Wednesday March 27 – granted, there are at least three other 70+year-olds who participate but they all “play out.” They can actually skate and handle the puck. That’s why I just stand in front of the goal and, hopefully, block many shots just by being there. Woody Allen once postulated that “90% of life is just showing up.” Before the game, I was leery and more-apprehensive than usual ‘cause the “crud” (flu?) was still lingering. The previous week I called the arena to say that I wasn’t able to come ‘cause I was REALLY sick then. So, I figured I’m half-sick, so I’ll play half the game. Fifteen guys (darn, we often have some women) showed up to play, and they’d rather have a goalie (preferably two), no matter how bad, than none at all. I was the only goalie, so I played three-fourths the game. And soaked in the tub, glass of whiskey in hand, afterwards. (I would have soaked in the hot tub, but due to the shingles (‘shitgles’) wasn’t supposed to be in any water which ostensibly could have infected anyone else.
I have been doing (sometimes trying but not succeeding) a head-stand as part of my daily exercise regimen. My anticipation of the enigma or more-like stigma of 70-ness made me think that I would not be able to do that anymore, but I still can. Stand on my head. For how much longer?
And another thing, left unsaid.
And so, unless the “magnificence phase” manages to manifest, we continue the stumbull down along the path to increasing oblivion …
The Purple-Assed-Baboon Blues Band briefly occupied a very small, unremarkable, and thus, almost completely forgettable niche in the Boulder (Colorawdough) music scene in the early 1970’s. The PABBB shared the stage with groups and individuals you may have actually heard of – John Fahey, Flash Cadillac, Tommy Bolin (then with “Energy”, and not with Zephyr (his previous band, nor James Gang later)), and could have opened for Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks.* We (yes, I was a member) also played (not necessarily “with” but either before or after or sometimes during) with several groups and individuals who, like the PABBB, have been relegated to the seemingly-almost-infinite back-tidewaters of anonymity.
Banned ? Naah h h h …
Whence originated the group name? A friend of mine, Tom Trask, in describing his frequent circumstances of alacrity, alarm, and, mostly, paranoia, would sometimes say that purple-assed baboons were the cause. That, he said, was a line from the book Naked Lunch (William Burroughs). Bill B, in his rambling narrative, thought he glimpsed the P-A B’s a time or three. Hmmm. I read N L a long time ago, and fortunately don’t remember more than 99% of it, including the P-A Bs. It was also Tom who would say that he was suffering from, had a diagnosable case of, “the blues” – the P-A B Blues. A real bad case of the blues. (More? on Tom T, laterrrr).**
The PABBB was … not so much ‘formed’ as coalesced sometime during 1970. Maybe the so-called formation occurred a year or two later, who cares? Picture (whether or not “if you will”) a bunch of counter-culture disaffected youths, poverty-stricken by design, sharing many similar inclinations (and, of course, dis-inclinations) hanging together. Seeing as how many counter-culture “heroes” were musicians, we aspired (and even if we weren’t exactly “aspiring”, perhaps it was sheer mimicry, which at the time we would have denied) and if not exactly earnest, went through the motions to, if not become, perhaps merely to emulate. That may be over-thinking it. Formation/coalescing of the PABBB did not involve much, if any, thinking. However, then, and was the case for much of my life, I and those with whom I associate, would rather entertain than be entertained. We’d rather “do” than be done to. (Granted, since retirement I’ve spent (and, yes, I know, will continue to spend) a lot of time being watched by “the tube.” So there’s less “doing” as I’ve aged, and more-and-seemingly-more “being subjected to”.) I digress …
The acknowledged leader and main-honcho was Cliff Athey (who often was known as Carngorn Cadaver) and the usual suspects, or cast of characters, were myself (known as The Rabid-Transient), Kevin Justice (just plain “Slum”), John Russell (“Huzz”), Erik Meyer (often known as “Dildo”), Shawn Perry (usually just “Shawn”), and Gary Adney (we never did come up with an alias which stuck). Now that I reflect on it (whatever “it” is, or was), Shawn was sometimes known as George Gorph (from Gorph Gorge, Georgia) and when Shawn was George G. I was Sherman O’Shaugnessy (Mr. Gorph’s side-kick). Like they say about “the hits” – in our case the aliases just kept on coming.
In-and-out of this collective rotated, or perhaps just oozed, the less-than-regular participants who(m) usually were anyone unfortunate enough to be hangin’ with the regulars. My brother (Ricardo Cabeza), John V Fleming, Roy A Johnson, Jeff Timms, Gary’s friend Woods, and even Richard (“Dick” in those daze) Olson. There were no girls nor women dumb nor crazy enough to have either considered nor been considered. Too bad. We deafeningly could have used the occasional tug of “reining in”.
Richard Olson, in retrospect, was probably a pseudo-pspiritual/ritual inspiration for the PABBB. Ever the mystic, an order-of-magnitude weirder than the next-weirdest of any of us, he was a painter and would often sign a completed work “D E O” – yes, Latin for “God” as he hadn’t become Richard yet, still a “Dick”, hence Dick E(dward, his middull name), Olson.***
I suppose you (or anyone) could imagine … the later ‘60’s and into the 70’s in a town like Boulder? The town was positively rampant with ‘counter-culture’ antics and such – and, in retrospect, may have always been and always will be. Anyhow, most everyone I knew then was frequently ‘under the influence’ and often, when under the influence, we’d try to be musicians. NOT being “under the influence” was a detriment, somehow. Yes, we thought we were so much better than we actually were due to “the influence.”
No, we were also NOT the standard 3 or so guitars with a trap-set drummer.
Saxophones, a trombone, conga drums, garage-door steel spring and sometimes other instruments were part of the repertoire. Especially kazoos. Kazoos were so endemic that one day, when driving us on an errand, Huzz patted his shirt pocket to check for something, realized he had no kazoo therein, looked briefly flummoxed, recovered, and proclaimed that this was “the kazoo-less adventure with the maniac at the wheel.” Kazoos cost only about 25¢ then and we endeavored to have a continual supply.
Oh-kay … what did we play? ‘Spontaneous situational’ is what I’d call whatever it was we were doing. Carngorn would try to get us “organized.” But usually everyone playing at once was mere chaos. “Usually”? Almost always. Discordant cacophony. ‘Organized’ meant that someone would do something really obvious, such as Huzz playing his saxophone upside down, which would indicate that we’d switch to the next song.
Once we organized an opening act to our otherwise opening act. “Jay & The American.” (Yes, this was a spoof on a real band playing nation-wide in those daze – Jay & The Americans). I, being Jay, was Jay, Shawn (resplendent in hard-hat with red/white/&blue flag shirt) was “the American,” and John Fleming was ‘nobody’ – as his job was just to blow up balloons. I played the balloon – letting the escaping air make squeaking sounds into the microphone. John would hand me the next inflated balloon and go to work on providing the next. Shawn accompanied by scraping a spoon across a garage-door steel-spring (like playing a “guiro”). While I was focusing the escaping-balloon-air squeaking into the mike, Shawn provided percussion and croaked statements usually with the words “Atlantic City.”
What few pseudo-organized songs (or “pieces”) we tried to play were mostly … um, ‘composed’ may not be an accurate word, but come-up-with by Carngorn. (I’ve got the) “Charlie Manson Hippie-Murder Fear” was a favorite. Dark, yes. And “Down in the West Texas Panhandle my Oil-Well Dried Up” which did have a semblance of rhythm – actual melodies as such were practically non-existent when we were playing. And we knew most the words to all the Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention songs. THAT gave us a lot more ammunition, so to speak, when doing a show.
And … we weren’t always the PABBB. We’d change our name! Herb Coffee & the TV Trio was an occasional moniker. Pharleigh Phitt & the Crystal-City Combo. Carngorn came up with “Horse Hangie” spur-of-the-moment when it was obvious at Tulagi’s open-mike night they didn’t want to endure the PABBB again. Carngorn said the name occurred to him while defecating just prior. And “next up … Horse Hangie”!
In actuality, as I so far have emphasized, during those daze we rarely were (real musicians) but we didn’t care and enjoyed trying to play music anyway. We all believed we were beholden to The Mothers of Invention. Most (all?) their early albums seemed to be mostly cacophony, occasionally coalescing into something structured, then cacophony, then … And I believe I remember/speak for all of us when I say that we thought there was a (remote) chance we too, would become as (in)famous as the Mothers …
John Fahey was at the time, very-well-known – for his extended guitar-solos, taking a melody and playing with it (so to speak) in interesting intricate fashions. My friends and I owned some of his albums. Anyhow, after the PABBB played before Mr. F came on, the rest of my ‘mates left shortly thereafter. I, alone among the PABBB, stayed to listen to his entire performance. At his intermission, he went off-stage, mostly to avoid the more-avid fans who would certainly try his patience. I happened to be in the same area, and I think we both decided to go out on the balcony at the same time for some “fresh air.” Cold, fresh air. It was the middle of winter, and the temp could have been well below freezing. We talked a while, rambled on, mostly. The semblance of conversation changed to outright free-associating about nothing and everything when we discovered that the door was locked from the inside, and no other way in nor down. So, we continued our rambling ”free-association” … until the Tulagi’s staff, looking for Mr. Fahey to play his second set, opened the porch door on a hunch, since they had looked everywhere else, and we stumbled in from out of the cold. It took about 15 minutes while playing before his fingers thawed out enough to exhibit his usual seamless flowing instrumentals.
*Chuck Morris, manager/operator/head honcho of Tulagi’s (music club on The Hill) called the day of DH&THL’s show at his club to ask if we could, on such short notice, show up and be the opening-act. I was the only one of us in town that day. And, sadly, declined. Frequently since then I thought that, if given such a chance again, I would have said “Yes!” and gone out to round up whoever I could coerce to be the band. Didn’t matter if they could actually play an instrument or not — none of us really could (at that time) anyway. See “Jay & The American”.
**Tom Trask. I knew him from middle- and high-school, and we both ended up in Boulder as University students. I dropped out, as did he. I was ‘exploring’, experimenting? experiencing the world of psychedelia – greatly hastening my departure from the world of academia. Tom was experiencing that realm more so than I, in fact, he was so heavily into it that he served as a warning sign to the rest of us. “Don’t go there.” He became a heroin addict, hence the “frequent circumstances of alacrity, alarm, and paranoia” – involving, I suppose, the part which purple-posteriored baboons would play in his life.
***Look up (‘google’) “Richard Olson artist New Mexico” – use same search terms on Facebook. He has definitely “made it” with his art, whereas the PABBB regulars, well… didn’t, and haven’t. Gary A. and I have tried, and continue to try to be viable musicians – however Erik “Bamboo Coyote” Meyer definitely has “made it” as a musician. ‘google’ Tropical Coyotes, Ft. Collins, CO.
Christmas Day (2018) we were hosts to our entire family. Not a large gathering, but both our kids, and both our grand-kids, plus son-in-law. Daughter Rachel, Tom’s Dog Koda, and Tom amblin’ up “Copper Mine” Road, up and north of … Continue reading
Our version of the Sphinx (our sfynxz) contemplates whatever it is, or possibly (and probably more profound and significant) what isn’t. Being a cat, he is probably NOT considering such ideas as this quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Hymn … Continue reading
Not too long ago (Awe-gust 2018) our friend Sue arranged for a bunch of her friends to take the … MORROW POINT BOAT TOUR. Betty and I have lived (livid?) in west Colorawdough for 40+ years and though this location … Continue reading
About a month ago, the country-hicks from the ‘high’ desert journeyed to NYC to attend the wedding of our niece. Below — Betty to left, and Eric Nathan (father of the bride) looking dapper and apparently rehearsing his part in … Continue reading
Summer. Later summer — usually forest-fire season. Adds color to the sunrises, and ~ A view of The Mesa (the W. Colorawdough Grand Mesa) on a clear(er) day — some months ago! Since then … One can stare directly at … Continue reading
Recently (late Jewell-eye 2018) Betty & Rosco Betunada flew to Manhattan (NYC) to attend the wedding of their niece, Sarah. Betty (center) dives right in to re-acquainting with friends and family we hadn’t seen in a while. We were engaged … Continue reading