Monday, February 25, 2008

Just about everything I do...

…is done with the thought in mind that I might milk whatever it is - in writing, put it in NOTES, maybe embellish what happened (or didn’t, or even sometimes it is necessary to, ah, shall we say, un-embellish to make ME more palatable; remember, essentially NFTD is by, for & about me me me, - while thee, alas Lad/Lassie, are a necessary secondary…but thanx for being there…how’s that for self-serving gratitude…) to make whatever it was readable; everything going on in my life is a literary device…

…it makes it difficult to love someone and be getting along just fine together all lovey-dovey and happyhappyhappy (boring) - knowing that the inevitable heartache ahead (…one practically swoons for it in yearning anticipation…) will make long suffering a good read – it used to make me wish something along the lines of ‘…how can I soliloquize if you won’t leave or throw me out' – which sooner or later always happened; only a matter of time and bingo!

…here I am again, left with a heart broken and tears like a waterfall flow…abject sorrow 24-7, ahhh, perfect…who could ask for anything more lugubrious?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It went something like this...

…the great Bob Colson, lead singer of The Bob Colson Band, one of the finest bands the world has never known fronted by a voice that knew no equal and was the kind of voice comes along once in a 100 years – had a heart as big as a house; and a heartbreaking voice; Bob Colson’s singular voice could have you crying and dancing at the same time…

…the Bob Colson Band cut its teeth in hard core venues like Whittington’s, The Village, Oscar’s, White Sands, a whole bunch of venues, playing four nights a week to a packed house back in the days when there were no enforced limits on much of anything so the place often went nuts, figuratively and literally.

…often on the off-nights Bob Colson and the band – originally I think it was Bob Colson, Jimmy Kane, Charlie Huntington, Joe Perry, John Finzar and Cliff Maddix – would do pro bono work in the state prisons – on one such occasion in the Big House @ Walpole, now known as Cedar Junction, in the middle of a tune that was rockin’ the whole joint, one of the inmates shanked another and within minutes the place went from very dangerous to VERY dangerous – the alarm system then was not sirens and whistles but rather tape-recorded shotgun blasts played at eardrum-shattering decibel levels and cops were racing everywhere trying to protect The BC Band and its guests from harm as the melee became a riot…

…another time at a concert for one of the Division of Youth Services detention facilities, in Taunton MA I think, on a tour of the place we saw a young black kid naked in a cell and shackled to the floor…we only got in this deep at this place – you weren’t allowed where we were - because Carmen worked here and we knew Carmen so he gave us the inside tour and Bob asked what the kid had done to deserve that and I forget what it was but he was gonna be there awhile, so Bob started talking to the kid and telling him what The BC Band was doing here and the kid said he could sing too so Bob asked Carmen could he sing with him & Carmen unshackled him helped him dress and that young man sang a very sad and soulful song of life in jail…

…in another place with the help of Linda Rooney – speaking of voices which come along only once in a hundred years – at an insane asylum cum school for the insane, the Wrentham State School in which Bedlam lived and hell on earth presented itself no matter where you looked…Linda sang so beautifully that the inmate/patients at first were stunned into a deafening silence as palpable as a conch held to the ear and when she hit that high note in 'Me & Bobby McGee' the place erupted into a shrieking, howling mass of approbation from these poor people who had never heard music before other than Muzak…

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sakis, The Plaka, Athinai, Athens - 1965

...listening to Gay Meyers and her sad songs, and to a huge black dude
Thelonius Monk-ing his way across Europe slapping a big upright bass (I know, I know, Monk played piano, but this guy looked like Thelonius Monk and was certainly cut from the same be-bop cloth) in the dim-red lit, step-down-into cafe in the heart of Athens, The Plaka, a few steps removed from The Acropolis and as such Saki's was an international attraction, many languages every nite...lots of beautiful people - men, women, other.

Cinzano Vermouth all the rage - left you in a daze too after a night of swilling it and Tuborg, eating souvlaki, black bread, olive oil and feta with
tomatoes, much laughter and staggering funnily into the warren of alleys
called streets until there it was: Eekosee threea Othos Panos, 23 PanStreet
dba Our First Home, a tiny room with a broken window (but looking out on the
mountain across town down which one night streamed thousands of pilgrims with
torches held aloft, looking for all the world like undulating lava with feet)
with a mattress on the cold floor, but home is where your heart is and it was
in that room then and is in that room now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dateline: Kosovo, Independence Day 2008

…on a more tentatively positive note, I salute from afar the brave people of Kosovo with a Stout, a shout and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as loud as it will go…it is a day for rejoicing - but it could well spell disaster too, for the Serbians can be a nasty lot and in collusion with the Russians will try to undermine the declaration and if that doesn’t work it would be no surprise to see Russian tanks clanking down the streets of Pristina vis a vis Budapest 1956 as the Serbs and the Ruskies slaughter the poor bastards…it won’t be the 1st time…meanwhile, Salut!

Be resolute in the face of adversity…I don’t know how that translates with a gun pointed at your head…do your best…the answer lies within…for not entirely altruistic reasons I toast you again and again and again, good people of Kosovo!

Muggins is my name and Cribbage is my game...

…and I win 90 per cent of the time…
Well, 53.253% of the time, according to my chief opponent, which is this computer with a built-in cribbage game and more statistics than baseball, to which I can say without fear of redress, (or of getting punched-out were it not an, ahem, gentleman’s game…) “Why, you double-dealing son of a bitch! Where’d you get that %$#@&!$ card from?”

When first I discovered I had this Medieval game on my computer I got beat a lot, 2/3rds of the time and more, in lots of a 100. I couldn’t take it, I was solitary & morose, a loser, my self-worth diminished before my tired eyes.

So I started playing best out of three series instead and for some reason I’m way ahead. Now I understand the lassitude, the ennui, which I figure was the end result of the mental stress & strain of this form of intellectual exercise and, yes, physical exercise too, for up and down the room stride I before pitching the next card; it is not a decision to be taken lightly – you could get ‘Fifteen-two’d’ right into another defeat, not a pretty sight, and also it is good for vocal training as I shout & hector and badger & taunt my worthy opponent, this accursed Dell Omniplex 560,the anti-Christ. More about that later…)

I’ve yet to catch it making an error in scoring or anything else, it seems to be the real thing and there are a nearly endless myriad of combinations, are there not? How many different configurations of cards must there be with 52 cards? I suppose the number is actually not infinite being as there are numbers at both ends…what would it be, 52 to the 52nd power is the number of possibilities? I never got past basic arithmetic so I don’t know the answer but it’s a lot, and I’ve yet to see two games alike…(merely finite myself how would I ever remember?) & don’t forget changing the suit is the same thing as changing the number so the possibilities go on…

It’s a very old game is cribbage, I said Medieval and so be it having been put together most thinkingly by one Sir John Suckling – yes poor guy, that was his name and probably how the game came peripherally to be invented as he sat brooding in his lonely stone tower afraid to go out because the neighbor kids called him ‘Piggy’ and said he ‘sucked’: enter cribbage, like about 1542 or something like that?

Is that Medieval or do we have to go back to the Magna Carta for Medieval, anyway a long time ago, and nothing about the game has changed since then except then you played with five cards now you play with six.

...thus ends your cribbage tutorial, something like that…

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The scummiest of the scum...

…are those no good cloven-hoofed Saudis who try to pass themselves off as friends of ours when in fact they would slit our collective throat in a heartbeat if we weren’t buying their black gold; make no mistake about it, the dirtbag King Abdullah is a sleazeball pig of the lowest order like his cousin Ibn Saud before him…if he didn’t have oil nobody would have anything to do with the unctuous bastard; he’d be hungry and sitting in a pup tent in the desert waiting for some Bedouin to shoot him at the well. Be good if someone did just that.

…we are talking about a country which is about to chop the head off a woman who was gang-raped, and another woman who cast a witchcraft spell on some towelheaded Saudi dude...…

…we are talking about a Stone-Age country ruled by 2000 cousins on camels from whence came the cutthroats who attacked us on 9-11, that much is indisputable. In response we bomb Baghdad…Baghdad? Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and (aside from its own people) the rest of the world had nothing to fear from them…

..Saudi Arabia is the biggest enemy America has and Dubya entertains the king at his Crawford ranch. George W. Bush claims to have seen Putin’s soul through the eyes, other than dollar signs what on earth does he see in King Abdullah’s bloodshot eyes? You're known by the company you keep, not good credentials for either of these losers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From NFTD 20th Century Archives...

THERE'S A CERTAIN STATE I'D LIKE TO RESIDE IN... not a state like Kansas or Utah both of which I've been in and have no desire to return to, no not a state state; I mean a state of euphoria, and actually it is a state somewhere more exactly between euphoria and misery so as not to lean too heavily on either (or be leaned on by; are you with me?)

It would be foolish to hope for a life full of fun and laughter without the occasional tear but too much of either probably drive you nuts - we've all had a taste of both and the fun side is better but life must be leavened by reality from time to time so now and then somebody's got to kick the bucket or lose their job and/or family to get a proper perspective, even a fender bender will do it, like ruin your day - 'O shit! I forgot to put the parking brake on!' - a reminder life is not just good times.

I'm assuming here that as a more or less faithful NFTD reader you know that I can only go on in this vein for so long and then I'll forget whatever it was I was going on about and we'll move on to bigger and perhaps better things to discuss, like maybe this beautiful Chopin piece I'm listening to Phillipe Entremont play.

Phillipe Entremont...

Actually it is on the lower end of the scale I was previously discussing
that Phillipe Entremont fits in because as a young man in Boston 46 years ago I recall hearing him at Symphony Hall and he was something of a young star if not exactly a prodigy and today, ah he's nearly an old man, dead maybe, so while the memory of Symphony Hall is pleasant and offers up a certain nostalgia, the here and now of it is kind of depressing because he's old and I'm getting old, but...

George Dawson out in Nassau County says I have no franchise on old yet and of course he's right. He's a octogenarian and as such may lay claim to old more readily than I - he claims to be a 'certified old curmudgeon' so I cut the guy a wide swath - you been around eighty years you DO have a sense what life is about.

I say it is much ado about nothing, but he may know something I don't.

So okay what was I going on about?

O yeah, fun and misery, the usual fare of "...NOTES..."

Well, I'm (o)zoned out this ayem and as usual forgot what I was going to say, lucky you or we might have been off on a long boring tangential diatribe (speaking of much ado about nothing...)

Friday, February 8, 2008

I've decided to quit writing "Notes From The Dump"

…as soon as I’ve used up all the words I know, so you’re stuck with me for awhile longer which is a good thing for me Dear Reader because I tell you unconditionally and absolutely that I’d be lost without you! If there were no you to turn to I wouldn’t know what to do…I hardly do anyway.

…in youth, if I recall, there was no end to this, there were lots of tomorrows plenty of future nothin’ to worry about - when in fact there are no tomorrows nor future and plenty to sweat…we each have to learn to minimize our solo plight through life because no matter how many people you surround yourself with, you’re on your own; you are not just imagining it, it is you against the world…

…you, Dear Reader, are my doppelganger, the other me, the man/woman I might’ve been; lots of people read “…NOTES…”, indeed thousands around the world, but it is you I am talking to…from here in East Eden to the hills of San Francisco to the Bering Strait to Singapore to Budapest, Paris, Prague and beyond - it is you I’ve always sought.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Of the 1000 or so paintings...

...I've done, precious few of them have been great but there have been numerous fortuitous artistic accidents I've had and so among the total there are several standouts, lots that are very good, all of them at least cute, and none no-good, because if they're no good I paint 'em over and start anew.

Several of them are very beautiful, beyond description I say - even if I did do them. They will be hard to eclipse; I may have already painted my masterpiece and don't know it. They are marvelous to behold some of them.

`Yes, yes they are,' Hartley used to say, Hartley the kindly tavern owner who ended up owning 26 of my paintings which in those days I traded more or less for drinks & tips and Ole George Hartley he ended up with a passel of them and used to tell me that it was `...nothing personal but the quicker you die the sooner these paintings will be worth enough to make up for your outrageous drinking habits on the house...' - a sentiment while I agreed with it in principle, was too close to home to really applaud.

Only a very few of the really great artists make it to the public eye; some of the best paintings I ever saw in one place were at an art show once in the Acworth Silsby Library some years ago; ya doesn't has to go to the Met to see world-class art, or hear world-class music, read first rate literature or bake bread for cryin' out loud. Our little community is heavy with talent.

Grudgingly, and only because of the accolades and approbation of the masses urging me on, I include myself...I'm an artistic guy, intelligent, witty, cosmopolitan, modest and a bit of a rogue and so on - but right now?

Lemme tell you...right now I'd trade it all for a six pack of Guinness...I kid you not. I need a drink. Sometimes you WANT a drink and others, you need one.


...has been lived in a somnambulant daze, that trying to recall some periods of it is impossible and if anything only serves to make it murkier still. Like I know I was in Waterbury visiting with Albee at some of his relatives and it was Thanksgiving or some holiday and I was so smitten by this adorable young girl sitting across from me that I just couldn't stand it any longer; my heart was breaking. I excused myself from the table as though to be right back, like I'd forgotten something outside in Albee's car and I walked out the door and kept going, never went back never saw any of those people again and I know they thought I was strange but this I think stayed with them, and I?

All I recall is being very cold and drunk and otherwise fucked up and stumbling along in the blustery Vermont hills late at night in hopes of a ride which apparently I got because here I still am somewhere else 15 years a way the entire 15-year gap has been still another long daze, and not to make too fine a point of it but all of life in general I may say is hazy in recall, sometimes making more of something than it was, or less, tailoring the memory to suit the needs of today. A minor justification here, an alteration there, shade the truth a little and things don't look so bad in retrospect after all...revisionist history at home, 101...


Speechless...well wordless anyway, if you can believe a verbose guy like me can't think of anything to write. Sometimes I worry that about the time I hit my stride you'll tire of me and send me sailing into the trash unread and all my consternation over being unable to write will have been for naught.


...behind the walls life goes on, I see, as in this letter I receive the other day from an inmate of X prison who sent along part of his rap sheet, to wit, a conduct report in which said inmate was reported to have tried in vain to smuggle in drugs to the prison in cans, well I'll let the report spell it out:

`While corrections officer LeClair was x-raying a food box sent to inmate (X) #172-849-1-c-115, he observed five cans that had odd shapes inside of them. Upon further investigation after opening 4 of the 5 cans, aone oz. balloon containing marijuana was found in each can. The 5th can was opened and it was found to have about 100 valium, 90 xanax, 9 grams of powdered cocaine & 7.8 grams of crack cocaine...'

Seems the guests of the state got nabbed in the act as two of these inmates are ratted out by high tech surveillance and both now doing solitary for quite a spell, plus an additional sentence tacked on to their already long stretches.

Crime doesn't pay. O sure you can make a few nervous bucks for a few years doing things outside the law but sooner or later it'll come home to haunt you and you could end up in Marion or Mansfield, Fishkill, Comstock or Rahway...

Mercy, mercy, mercy I would hate to do time! The noise is never-ending, 26 radios are tuned to 26 stations, all loud; the food sucks, your cellmate is a huge brute going to slap you around, the screws hate you, noise, noise, noise no end to the noise....aaahhhhaaarrrGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I wouldn't make a good convict. (`So therefore judge I ask you to set me free...I'm just not the kind of fellow who would do well in prison and I'd appreciate, your honor, the ankle bracelet and a spell of mandatory confinement to home, I'm sure will be sufficient punishment; I've learned my lesson you can believe THAT!...' Thin voice quavering, knees trembling, bowels turn to water, heart in throat etc.



`What's that you say your honor!? Eight years in the state prison!'

It's scary enough a scenario to make me behave almost.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

In Memory It Is Bitter Cold...

…and the steep, treacherous slope before me beckons; with a rush of adrenalin I run as fast as I can then fall, jumping headlong on the back of my American Flyer sled and racing down the thrilling hill, a rooster tail of snow following, the daringest devil on the block…in reality as I stand here now on the crest of Lawson’s Hill it was but a slight incline, viewed by the passing of six decades, but then, ahhh, then, then when there was a full life ahead…every challenge was met head-on Dude, out of the way I’m headed up! Now it’s sort of come full circle because as sure as I am that it is 2008, a moment ago when I was thinking of those wintry days 60 years ago when I was five, I was there Dude…I mean I was in this chair 2008, yes, but it was also 1948 and I was five…and I was there on Lawson’s Hill…random memories popup, there’s no pop-up blocker on the brain, or is there?

Anyway, probably not that healthy to hang out on Memory Lane. But what else is there? I mean Dude the future is not uncertain the end is very clear and not bright, the present – that here and now we all strived to attain – is here and now alright and, not to put too fine a point on it, isn’t all it was cracked up to be, I mean man at this instant…whoaaa…now hold on here just a doggone minute…I had to rethink this, I was going to burst out in anger and whine and cry like a baby at my personal plight and our universal plight but in fact, including everything past and present, the here and now is okay on a personal level – it’s not like I didn’t know the score…but universally with wars and famine and strife, poverty and crime, with shifting populations and rising tempers along with rising temperatures, the world is fomenting and foaming at the mouth, someone/something has got to come along pretty quick to bear a hand, get us out of this…

Friday, February 1, 2008

Excerpts from your ever-lovin' e-mails...much obliged...

Hi Terry; hope all's well.....I'm looking at the list of people you're sending this to...I can't believe I'm included on this august list. Of all the folks on the list there is at least one you can be certain reads every word of NOTES as I've done for nearly twenty years. take care, and *keep writing 'em*! Hoot

Terry; great stuff as always...I can't help but have a stout with you as I read it;)...misfortune hasn't changed your writing much although there are moments when something new seems to be there....your feelings I mean, seem more intense now, coming out in your writing....cuz I've mainly thought of you as an intellect heretofore......

NFTD is a great personal treasure for me Terry. Long may you run with it. Hoot

…once again magnificent, even more so. Susan Mueller

…had to write again as I just got off phone with Kathi and we were visiting about reading the Notes. Then we got laughing so hard about the one (just before this one I think) about the Desitin/Desenex tale!! YIKES !! And, of course Gogi would certainly have been horrified at the story. Altho' perhaps not as when Butch turned 50 she had Jeanie take a photo (from the back)of Gogi standing on her head....NAKED !! Yup, no word of a lie !! Should've kept that one but I think I eventually threw it away !! It wasn't a photo one puts in a frame, in an album, or in a wallet !!

From Peter Diamondstone

I've been trying for a few days to find your address and finally found an old hard copy of "Notes."
So tonite, the 18th, we are 50th anniversary partying at the River Garden at the foot of High St. at its intersection with Main Brattleboro. It's pot luck. No gifts acceptable other than your presence which would be a great gift. Bring some copies of Notes so people get to know you and your writing.
Your admirer, Peter

…thanks for sending me what u wrote. it was very thoughtful of you. you write very well. well i will talk to you later…take care

Terry Ward - is that really you??? You will probably never remember me but I will never forget you! My name was Karen Hamilton. (Now it is Karen McNamara) I used to hang around the Colson Band many years ago and like you, I had wheels so often would transport some of them ( or all of them) to gigs. I remember sitting in a bar in Norton - maybe the village? - I used to drink a lot - I was at the bar sitting with you and you said "WAR IS OBSCENE" I believed you then and I believe you now. In college I had to analyze our peer group and I remember identifying you as a socio-emotional leader - whatever the fuck that is. It appeared to me that the only immoral thing that was unacceptable to our group was maybe stealing from a friend - or hurting each other intentionally. I did a lot of drugs then too. Anyway I thought of you when I went to DC a few weeks ago to protest the war - wondered if you were there - if figured you would be in spirit anyhow.

So today I live in the White Mountains. I have been hearing about NOTES FROM THE DUMP for a long time... like years......and still haven't been hooked up to be informed. I guess that is why I'm writing you today. Hootie just emailed me. (he still owns my old Gibson) I still have Frank Smith's old Hummingbird) I'm trying to get Hoot to go to Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in NY this summer. Great time of camping and music with LOTS of other folks. I go every year.

I would also be very interested to know if you are selling any art??? I'm not a rich lady but I am looking for something original. Are you by any chance the same Terry Ward who posted some incredible photography online?? I want a subscription to Notes From the Dump Please. Do you accept Paypal?? Let me know please. Sorry if this is too many questions for a Sunday morning. I feel like a puppy dog bouncing around. – Karen

You're a very kind and thoughtful man. I don't mean this as a put-down in any way, but my literary standards are hardly 'severe'; AND I alternate between enjoying, appreciating, and being frightened by your posts…Thanks for sending 'em. Take care of yourself. - Kathleen Taylor

NOTES FROM THE DUMP ranges from terrible to brilliant…John Tuthill