Monday, December 29, 2008

But he never saw a train

I was thinking about the our third president, Mr. Jefferson, and all the amazing things that happened during his life time. Born in 1743, he lived in well into the 19th Century, passing away July 4th 1826, 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. A lot of folks talk about the genius of Jefferson, but when you look at historical time lines and juxtapose them against Jefferson's Ideas and inventions, Jefferson comes across as a bit of a bumpkin, for while he was imagining and east-west water route to the west coast through a land populated by Woolly Mammoths and camels, the Europeans were engaged in an industrial revolution. Were Jefferson more scientifically inclined, he might have brought the machines of industry to the south balancing out the agrarian nature of the place and perhaps preventing the Civil War. Instead Mr. Jefferson spent time reading Scripture and deciding what words Christ had actually said. Jefferson was not particularly religious in an evangelical sense, however; he was a big fan of the historical Jesus as a living and moral man. A paradox that jumps out at me is the fact that Jefferson had great respect for Native Americans but seemed perfectly at ease with keeping African slaves. Go figure. So even though Jefferson said it did not bother him if his neighbor had one God or 20 he was not much good for the Negros and if he had paid more attention to that we would have had plenty of Black Presidents by now and I wouldn't have to be so worried about some nut killing Obama or had to go through civil rights thing while I was so impressionable. Oh well, that's life.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Their Names and horse's ages

The first time I ever heard Galway Races done where I could understand the lyrics, was way back in the Newport years. Those days, and the good they carried, are frozen in a block of memory so crystal clear that I can take little sips at any time and never ripple it's surface or cause a distortion to it's truth. I suppose that right this minute the thoughts of people I'll never meet are whirling like atoms around my happy mote that still haunts the streets of the old town, and I worry that death may come and cause a collision that will flash for an instant and my shiny bits of time will flush down a small black hole and disappear with a soft "pop". I've had other bright moments you see and were they to flop into another dimension with out me it might be less than a heavenly sort of thing. So, I am thinking about the Newport Days and hearing my first Celtic fusion band. The were called JSD for Jim, Sean and Des, but they were a five piece and were booked into a local club to warm them up for their first US tour. Oh Lord how they blew us away and what with Newport having and actual Irish section-The 5th Ward-where Gaelic was spoken, by Tuesday night the bar was full to bursting. Looking back I fear the group were probably disappointed as they traveled because I doubt they received such response and support in other cities. I'll leave that to find it's own truth, and just touch on pulling an all nighter with the boys at their hotel. We drank Scotch and I explained blues, while they told me why the Beatles "Black Bird" was special to anyone from "The North" and in the end, I traded my Cowboy Shirt for a pair of elevated boots. As I stumbled home in the dawn not so much the worse for drink but more from unfamiliar footwear, I knew for a brief instant that some connection had been forged and though I would never see those people again I would know them forever. That brings me back to my fear that death may destroy all my bright memories in a mini black hole and leave me a drift with my sins. Doesn't seem fair at the moment. I guess will have to maintain my grip on good memories and if we do fly down some cosmic drain maybe they will burst open as a new reality and I will have another chance. Wouldn't that be cool?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Circle in a square

About 100 years ago I drove my sporty Corvair to New York City to play folk songs in Washington Square. This was done on a Sunday and many other musicians were about it as well. While Washington Sq. is indeed that, the performances were done about the circular wall of the empty fountain's pool.
It was pretty large and you could easily find a spot far enough from the other pickers to afford you a little bubble for your music and it would be just fine, unless some Spade with a horn came bopping by and temporarily broke it. A Spade used to be a hip name for an African American; certainly cooler than A Club. Anyway, in those days it was important to identify people
with some sort of modifier. I think it had to do with smoking pot or something. I should mention that this guy Mike had come with me. Mike claimed to have lived in Greenwich Village before and was certain he could find us a spot to crash. (sleep) I was not too sure about Mikes ability to pimp my musical talent for room and board, but he was full of big talk and we were in New York on a Sunny Sunday and I had a D-18 with new strings.
I set up on the wall and started to play some guitar features in the style of Lester Flatt. People gathered and seemed to like the music. I sang Carter Family tunes that Joan Baez had made popular but I had known for many years and since I was shy and sort of country, they stayed to listen. At least they did until Mike came back and started working the crowd. I should mention that I was like 17 years old and Mike was 18. For some reason he had gained the attributes of Norman Mailer and Earnest Hemingway in that he was a fast talking he-man sort of guy and pretty much the opposite of the free spirit hippie movement that was starting to happen. I had made some friends while playing but once they got a load of Mike, they found pressing engagements elsewhere. Listening to Mike was a weird trip anyway. He claimed to have hitched cross country and back while writing a novel. Unfortunately the novel was lost when some guy who had given him a ride ditched him out in the desert at a gas station, taking the the nearly finished manuscript and the rest of Mike's stuff and tooling off down the two lane with the goods. All this plus the fact Michael claimed to have actually lived in the "Village" should have made him about 25 instead of 18. On the other hand, Mike was one of those Italian kids who start shaving at 12 and he was in fact a fairly tough kid. I figured that from a safety stand point it was probably wise not to ditch him even if he was queering my social progress with women who might like country folk singers and had apartments. I got tired of playing and went for a walk. About 3 pm on the big circle, I came upon David Grisman and some guys playing bluegrass. They had a big crowd and I figured I could fit in due to me being an actual VA. picker and them all being from up north and Jewish besides. Well I got my 18 out of his box and started to strum along. I was having a swell time until some chick taps me on the shoulder and tells me I'm playing out of time. I wasn't, but that old time rythm I used sounds different than your regular flat picking since you pick a bass note with your thumb then brush the chord then do a little strum as well. Never the less, it killed my buzz and left me feeling unhip and hungry. Mike was on my nerves too. He kept up this rap like "There's where I used to take my laundry, I wonder if they still have my shirts?" You got to remember, I was in High School with this dude, so I have to wonder when exactly was he able to pull off his young Hemingway/Keroac years? Some folks just try too hard. In later years, I ran into Mike off and on. Last time was in some bar. The years had piled on him enough to support his stories, but I knew that his marriage had failed and he was selling office furnature. I don't know about you, but to me, at least, some people you know just seem grown up their whole lives. Hell I remember kids from my grade school who looked like little old ladies or men and I bet now that they are little old ladies and men they look just the same. Well, I'm going to leave myself in NYC and just say that we got home OK. Maybe, if I had not had Big Mike, I might have found some direction and friends. They way things worked out I went back and played music in the studios and through the years I did have some high times in the music game and I'm still about. It's just another day I remember.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Texino's Christmas etymology # 46-The humbug

To be fair, Humbug is as Christmas as, "Fa la la la la".
Fact is it's a fine term which can be brought to bare in any conversation and should be used far more often in daily use it being a noun meaning deceptive or false behavior. Perhaps President Bush is one. Of course the use of Humbug we hear the most at Christmas is "Bah, Humbug" which, of course is just a Dickensian term for "Bull shit." Actually the act of calling something a humbug is a pejorative as to it being false, a scam or fraud. It that light it seems to fit Christmas to a "T". Therefore the proper way to discern the meaning of "Bah, Humbug" would be, "Bah, It is a Humbug or perhaps "It (Christmas) is a confounded hum buggery that drives the foolish classes into debt from pure sentimental rubbish!" It should be remembered of course that the merchants depicted in the writings of Chas. Dickens were not of the retail class and therefore had no real interest in promoting the season as such, due to it still having a sense of the Pagan right of seasonal passage attached to it and the gifts given were often symbolic as well as frivolous amusement. It is quite important that we notice that aside from the "God Bless us, everyone" spoken
by the deformed and possibly retarded "Tiny Tim" Cratchett there is a definite lack of Christan religion in Dickens story. In fact, Tim's call "God bless us, every one", could easily be an entreaty for every God to bless us. Using that theory, then it certainly would not be safe for Ebenezer Scrooge to enter the slums and visit the Cratchett home. No, a small raise in salary and a new coal scuttle would be appropriate there. After all, Scrooge had family he could share his awakened kindness with, people of his own social standing Therefore, the only version of the Dickens Carol that is believable is the one in which the near sited Mr. Magoo plays the role of the scrooge character. Magoo has proven through the years that he can enter any situation that would be certain death to others and escape unharmed. Plus he is funny and in no way is he a Humbug. Now getting back to the lesson. A Humbug is something false; a scam. Saying "Humbug" or "Ba, Humbug" is similar to saying bullshit in a nicer way. Also to prevent the story of A Christmas Carol
becoming an allegory of good humor a common decency, remember that Mr. Magoo is in it an impressive number of times.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Selling Apples

I grew up hearing about the Great Depression. You have probably heard about it too. Well we are sort of heading for another extended financial disappointment as we speak and, so far, the main difference I have detected between then and now is a distinct lack of financiers jumping off tall buildings and spattering them selves all over Wall Street. I think that was pretty common back in 1929 because these guys had let down their clients or couldn't make margin calls, the sort of stuff that honorable men couldn't face. Well today, these same sort of men and now women as well, are just walking away from these huge failures and some are taking big bonus checks with them. Failed banks are taking big handouts from the Feds and stashing the cash while hitting their consumer credit customers up like loan sharks.
Back in the depression years people worried about losing their homes and going to the "Poor House." I don't think they have poor houses any longer but people are still fixing to lose their homes. Makes me wonder where they go. Me, I have a fairly decent sized car. Another icon of the Depression, besides bankers leaping to their deaths, is the picture of guys selling apples. Now with the things the way they are, I think a person would have to sell a lot of apples to make an eating wage. I don't know where you can get a deal on any apple fruit, but I could lay my hands on some Tangerines for free. Thing is, if I went down the street to try and sell them, I'd get busted for vending food without a permit from the heath department or a vendors license which they won't grant in this town. Bottom line I sell tangerines or, apples I go to jail. I might get some press out of it, but I am not doing this for kicks or to get my name in the paper. I would just like to make some eating money. I could eat apples and all that but I have the cats and the dog to feed too. I can't even play my mandolin on the street for tips. That's against the law too.
This is ridiculous ! You might say, hey Texino, get a job! Well, I am disabled and I can only make a certain amount of $ above what social security pays and I make that fixing computers. Hard Times my friends. The shame of it all is someone always has it worse There is always the guy pushing the trashcan at the end of the parade. His job is to pick up the horse shit, most parades have it. When you think of it, horse poop doesn't look so bad. It almost looks packaged. Some lumps of dirt with some straw woven in. The town near by depends on the horse business and there are a score or so horses clopping about every day. They used to have a guy go around with some trash cans. Low end of the totem and all, but I would do that kind of work rather than sell apples. When I was a kid up in VA. A man would come around each year at strawberry time. There were two men actually. One drove a black pickup with wooden slope roof over the racks of fat red berries in the bed and a big "clock face" scale swinging from side to side hanging off the rear. That man drove the truck really slowly while his partner, a black man with a jumbo voice, would call out "Strawberries" a block or two in front.
Soon, a woman would come out and the voice man would wait for the truck and while he did, more women from the big houses or the back kitchens would Snow down on the big voiced black man with the jolly charm and an impromptu fruit market would take root for a bit and then move off. I could lie in bed on a Summer's morning and hear the strawberry man coming like some slow parade. You'd hear his music and then forget it till it came back a little closer and then fade and then return. His voice was ghostly in the way the bumps and drags in a haunted house can stay at the edge of your audio range but rarely challenge you directly. That is to say the strawberry was only real when you realized "Strawberries" was a question and answered the role call by going out side and saying "Here!' Now that's a bit like apple selling and a step up in respect to street sweeper. But wait! You can't sell fruit like that now, too many cars, and as far as horse shit sweeper the horses wear a canvas construction to catch the droppings. Talk about being SOL. Well, we will just have to get a hand on the situation and make some new low end employments for the new year. Watch this space for more.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An unwelcome drift

I have been attacked by the mail box. No, it is not a crush of Christmas cards.
It seems that my electronic bank thought it would be a great joke if they held up the delivery of two credit card bills by one day. The credit cards in question took this error with such umbrage that they upped my % rate by 21% making it right around 30% rather than the 9% it had been and, by doing this they created finance charges which put me over the limit and now rather than owe a combined payment of $98 it's like $700. I suspect they are using the new math but I can't prove it. Now the point of this is to advise you not to do this your self because those credit card people are laying for the tardy individual and even a prudent mariner like myself can strike their iron clad reef of unreasonable rules. I tell you when I speak to these people it is like hearing a Dada piece done in Esperanto. Since many of you never talk to the actual Texino, you may not realize that I have the devil of a time making my self understood. Therefore when I try to discuss my situation, I am taken as a fool or at best senile and the credit devils employ a demeaning sort of small child talk. This drives me mad and after on of these sessions it is not uncommon fo me to take leave of my emotions and fall very far into dark depression. I am starting to wonder just how far you can drop before you automaticly die of shame and dispair. I have considered this option from the standpoint of the British; "For Gods sake old man, just be done with it and let the rest of us real chaps keep the home fires burning and all that." Right now their adive seems very reasonable . On the other hand, there must be a good reason for us breaking away from the crown in the first place. I'll probably give the suicide this a pass and try to work it out some other way. Thats what the prudent mariner would do. So long as you can trust your ship you will weather most storms.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


See that girl? Her name is Flash Bathory and she's dead at 19 years old. No one seems to no what happened to her other than she died in her sleep.
Now dying in your sleep is a decent way to go, providing it is your sleep and not brought on by some sort of central nervous system depressant that makes you forget to breathe. Flash passed back in September, in Texas. Now I'm fairly sure that Texas is a state were you can find out stuff like cause of death in public records. Problem is, I am pretty certain that Flash is not this girl's given name and Bathory is a common name of choice among the Shred Metal community due to the legend of Countess Elisabet Bathory of Hungry, aka The Blood Countess. Seems the her highness liked to torture people and was from some place in the Dracula part of the empire. If you go to You Tube, you can hear Flash play her guitar. Thing is she is playing the same song in every video. She has some nice licks, but if you understand how shred guitar is played or you are a player yourself, you might not be as impressed as some people seem to be. You ought to check it out an see if you can spot the component parts. I bet you can. Still, I think Flash had potential. So damn young too. If you look at her stuff from the NAMM convention of 07 she is all baby fat (and playing the same song) while this year she dyed her hair really red and started to get a shape. (but not a new tune for the NAMM show) Friends post online about how she was always jogging and eating health food or vegan. I think some music people thought she might break out and become a force on guitar. Unfortunately , she was not advanced enough to go into that gang of young genius that claims, Robert Johnson or Jimi Hendrix or D'jango, Christian and the rest. She should have put off the death for at least 5 years because it would not hurt to have a girl guitar hero.
I went to Flash's web site. It was well done and spiked with hope. Even though her family had put up a notice about her death, it didn't cover up the buttons to check her calender, buy her CD, go to "Myspace" or leave her a message. All that stuff, ready and waiting, but the clicks go nowhere at all. Why am I writing about Flash Bathory? I'd never heard of her until I saw a notice of her passing in an advertisement put out by the guitar company whose product she endorsed. Not a real well known outfit either. Well when it comes to sudden or tragic death, I'm drawn to a quote from a Terry Pratchett story that goes "Man isn't dead as long as his name gets mentioned." Although as I get older the litany of names gets longer, I do my best to mention the ones who may have vanished but need to stay alive in someones heart. You probably do it too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Esperanto sprewing flea wrangler

Recently I was over to Sam Marley's Fat Alley. I was just hanging out. In case you don't know about Sam's, it's a kind of 24 hour news stand that's lots bigger on the inside than the outside. Like a Tardis but larger outside. Anyway, the thing moves around by teleportation and it's got lots of cool stuff to do inside. For instance, there is a underground railroad terminal which is used primarily by zombies who need to travel unnoticed and there are some traditionalist black people who use it to summer in Canada.
While I was there, an Esperanto club was holding a congress of some sort and for entertainment, they had brought in a Flea Circus. Now I thought perhaps I'd learn some Esperanto because I don't speak many languages other than Spanish, German, Russian, Farsi, Chinese, Vietnamese and Gaelic. When I heard the people shout "estas pulo cirko " well I was really glad I had come. Mi neniam ..isis viditan pulon cirkon, so I was anxious to see one in action. Now there are two types of Flea Circus. One uses fleas and the other uses little magnets because puloj estas tre malgranda estas facile tromp homoj kun etaj magnetoj en ilia pozicio. Works every time. Still some cirko use puloj and harness them with tiny gold wire. They will pull little chariots and kick little soccer balls. The balls are soaked in oil of camphor and fleas don't like it so they will kick it away. (the fleas are held in place)
ial la ideo de pulo cirko alportas min la willies, but I got used to it and I'd say I'm a pretty decent Flea Skinner now.
Otherwise, things are pretty quiet at Sam's. He makes a ton of money selling dope to movie stars and cigarettes to kids. Plus being able to teleport zombies
all over keeps him in good with the spooky folks. I'll tell you one thing. There is a room in that place that must be 100' long and it has racks down both sides that hold those aluminun briefcases; the kind you always see full of money in the movies. Anyway, those racks are full of those cases 10 high and 10 across and they just keep going and they are full of money. In case anyone has notions on that cash? Well Sam's nephew Zombie Bob Marley hangs out in that room with a big bad shotgun and Zombio Bob frapos vin dise kaj manįi viajn cerbojn en Jamaika Minuto. I think you can follow words like "Mangi" and "Cerbojn" (Eat Brains) See Esperanto is easy and fun. Truth be said here, I am not too sorry to leave those fleas, although I did learn quite a bit about the flea circus world.
I am trying to play some music but I am limited to nylon strings right now. That's OK. I like the sound. I can do some mandolin as well because the strings are close set. Those steel string acoustics, I'm fixing to sell them cause I just can't work the strings any more. That's me for now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Too Old To Drive?

OK folks. It happened just the other day. I was driving in some manner or other that caused a younger person to pull around me and stare right at me with the very same look I have given others for years. The name of the look is, "Too Old To Drive" or "T.O.T.D" or sometimes just "Tot" Well anyway, I got that look and I did not care for it because I am not too old to drive. How do I know? Well, first off. When a man gets too old to drive two things happen. First, he gets really short and second his ears grow large. Now if you look at the pictures above you will see that in the one on the left, I am signing an autograph for the Center of the Chinese Woman's Olympic basket ball squad who at 7' 2" is pretty tall for a girl. Anyway, you can plainly see from this picture that even at the advanced age of 61, I still stand a good 8' and some, plus my ears are perfectly normal in size (see close up)

Now some of you must be saying, "I know old Texino and I've never realized he was a giant!" Well that's OK my friends, I can make my self seem small so as not to frighten people and to just fit in. Sometimes though, like other animals, I have to make my self seem bigger to scare off adversaries. At times like that I can puff up and get my hair to stand up straight like eraser head and spew large amounts of ready mix cement from my mouth. I don't know how I do that, but it's enough to scare most people and if it doesn't I can always start pulling sheet rock from under the back of my shirt and nail it up with my bare hands. If you were to be walking around some place and come upon what seemed to be an impromptu Home Depot demonstration outside of a bar, its safe to say I probably had a run in with some guys there. I find that a good show of construction technique can calm the most violent men right down. If not, I can just tear them to bits. Like bugs. Little bugs with bright cotton clothes.
Well that's it for now, I just wanted to put your minds to rest over this driving issue. That kid's damn lucky I didn't make a paper weight out of him. Too old to drive my foot.

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Today is when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Now that is 68 years ago. As a young man, I am always hearing where everyone was and what was everyone doing on that day so famous. And everyone said "Remember Pearl Harbor!" in a voice of certain emotions that you know they are not forgetting it at all. Well now, add up 68 years to the age of most of the people whose memories were once the clearest and you will see not but the old looking at the framed and dear departed. I think that they all know someone or more frozen there forever young.

Texino missing

Hello this is Sam Marley from Fat Alley. I'm still dealing drugs to the stars and running an underground railway station for zombies on the move, plus a few ultra traditional Blacks who can't admit slavery is in the bag. Doesn't matter to me anyway. You got your "ticket" you can ride all the way to the northern terminus. I hear that place is a hollow tree up in Canada by a cross road. They have a store that sells spaghetti with banana parts, chicken fried chicken, and you can catch a bus there too. I should mention, as a matter of public safety, that if you see a shabby looking person eating a big helping of pasta with red sauce and bananas, then you are watching a Zombie dinning out. Just remember, that Zombie would really rather be eating your brains close by the thrill of bashing your head to get them. Dealing with Zombies is a tricky business. Me, I am lucky because, my cousin Bob is one and he is still very popular in the music business. Texino deals with all manner of Zombies, Loupes Garoux , witches, Vampires and what have you and no one messes with him. All that aside, the boy has gone missing. While it has been rumored Texino may be involved in a love pentagon there are those who claim the composit genius has not made boom boom with a lady for years. Sources close to "the truest and most loyal friend a person could ever hope to find" say that he has recently been upset and feeling as "useless as a Nordic Trak™ exercise device." Long time neighbor"Mrs. Parkhurst" reports that she noticed "The Texino" slouching around the "hood" and when she asked, "Where are you going?" he replied "Crazy, want to go?" OK. I have business.
Hope Texino comes back. I'll miss him, if he don't. You come see me at The Fat Alley some time––– Sam