You Might Be Famous When...

Sixties folk singer Arlo Guthrie said that you know you’re famous when your name turns up in crossword puzzles. Here is another clue that you might be famous.


Morning Summation

THE GOOD: Bob sings Mozart’s part in a performance of “Please Don’t Play Your Violin at Night.” (To the tune of Eine kleine Nachtmusik):

Please don’t play your violin at night.
Wolfgang go to bed, turn out the light!

But I must play my violin,
At night my violin;
Must be beneath my chin.
I love the music of the night
I won’t turn out the light.
Oh, I love music in the night.

But the music so late at night
Makes it quite hard to go to asleep, asleep.

But the music that I play at night is light.
Maybe you should try counting sheep!
Try counting sheep, it will help you sleep!

Sheep will never help me sleep!

You should try counting sheep!

No, sheep won’t help me sleep!
Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.

Sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep!

Sheep won’t help me sleep!
Won’t help me sleep!

THE BAD: Privacy

AND THE UGLY: Help me!!!


Blame Monty

It’s her fault that you have to deal with yet another meme.

1. Hum a jingle to which you know all the words:
I’m with Monty. If I know the words, why do I have to hum it? Anyway, here’s the jingle:

Meow meow meow meow,
Meow meow meow meow;
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow!
Meow meow meow meow,
Meow meow meow meow;
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow!
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow,
Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow;
Meow meow meow meow meow.

2. As a kid, you played a board game over and over. And you cheated, you little bastard. What was the game?
Cheat!? I didn’t cheat. I was smarter than the other kids and didn’t have to cheat! And it pissed me off when someone else did. I always ratted on them too. Bet I’m the egg-headed kid you all hated!

3. What is the name of the song that you’ve been singing the incorrect words all these years? What were you singing? What should you have been singing?
Monty and I have the same song. Cool! Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet. Here’s what I thought he said:

Wasted away in Margaritaville, searching for my outlaw shaker of salt.

But what he actually says is:

Wasted away in Margaritaville, searching for my long-lost shaker of salt.

4. What is the most embarrassing childhood story that your parents drag(ged) out just to fuck with you for their own private amusement?
My mother used to love to tell people about the time when I was five, and my uncle was wrestling with me. I kept saying I had to pee (tickling did that to me). He wouldn’t stop, and I hated being tickled, so I peed all over him.


Battling the Hydra

I used to say, “I feel like I’m standing outside a door that is just beginning to open.” I used to say, “My future is waiting for me and I’m going to chase it and pin it to the ground.” Lately I’m saying, “I feel like I’ve strapped myself to the railroad track and I can hear a whistle blowing.”

I don’t mind admitting that I’m scared. As my mother used to say, “I’m as nervous as a pregnant nun in church.” When you see the film, you’ll understand why. I can’t tell you right now, but you’ll see. I know that we’re “not supposed” to admit when we’re anxious about our dreams coming true, and I’m sure someone out there will take my vulnerability and try to slap me around with it somewhere down the line, but my job as a blogger/diarist is to be honest, so that’s what I’m doing.

Last night I had what was probably the worst panic attack I’ve ever experienced, but at least it was good for one thing. I now know how many tiles make up my bathroom floor. I’ve been working very hard at growing a thicker skin, but the truth is, although I’m a very strong person, I’m not at all tough. Years ago, my friend, Jacki said to me, “I finally figured you out. You’re like an egg. An egg is the strongest non man-made object in the world, but it’s also the most fragile.”

A 33° Freemason from my Lodge did an in-depth astrological reading on me in the winter of 2000. As we sat in his study, he looking over my chart and I fidgeting with a glass of cabernet, he suddenly spun around in his desk chair and asked, “Why in hell aren’t you famous!? You’re supposed to be famous! You have a chart that rivals figures like Gandhi, Mozart, the Beatles! What happened that made you so afraid to claim your birthright?”

As we spoke, he handed me a tiny figure of a hydra that was chiseled from stone and he told me to hold it. He then told me that I had a hydra to conquer, and that to do so, I had to get down into the swamp water with it; I could not fight it from above, nor from the shore. He said that I could not fight it alone because, for every head I cut off two more would grow back in its place; I needed someone to wait until I cut off a head, then they would jump in and cauterize it with a torch so that it couldn’t grow back.

Having studied my Greek mythology well through the years, I thought about this particular myth as he spoke, and wondered how it applied to me. Who, or what, was my hydra? If I was the Heracles in my myth, then who would be my Iolaus? Lynette? My Masonic Brother told me that, yes, Lynette, but many other people would come to help me with this beast.

I said to him, “Heracles wasn’t credited with killing the hydra though, because he needed other people to help him.” As soon as that came out of my mouth, I got it and we smiled at each other. “Always remember,” he said, “that your future is not your achievement only, but also the achievement of many people who will believe in you.”

I’ve pondered this myth a lot since that evening in 2000, but never has the wisdom of it—and the advice of my Brother—come home so clearly to me than during the past 24 hours. I’ve lopped off a lot of heads in the past and they’ve worn many faces. Some at first have appeared friendly and some were more honest in their acrimony, but the fiercest face—the one that frightens me the most—looks like me. Or rather, a face of mirror glass that reflects my fear back to me. That is the one that will take the most strength to slay. I’m working on it.


Maybe I Should Discontinue the Meds

Maybe this cold medication is getting to me. I have phrases running through my head like, “Jelly Lobsters”, “Welfare Spokes” and “Two-Plop Jalops”.

I only take them once every 24 hours. I promise.

I Need To See the Oracle

Tonight when I went upstairs to the family room to feed the fish, I heard the toilet in the adjoining bath running, running, running. We’ve been through this before. (Who hasn’t?) So I took the lid off and futzed around with the float, then flushed. Running…running…running… I futzed with it some more. Still running.

“Fart-knockin-piece-a-dad!” I growled. “I don’t feel like doing this!”...

Am I Not the Most Fortunate of Spouses?

While I sat writing my last couple of entries, Nettl was out getting groceries. Suddenly, she came in with a bag in her arms. “Guess what I got for yo-ou…” she teased. I turned and watched as she pulled out a six-pack of Trumer Pils (the only Austrian beer we can find here—thanks for the tip, Beau & Ville!) and a matching pilsner glass, manufactured by the brewery. And not merely an Austrian beer, but from the oldest brewery in Salzburg. She then informed me that she’s making dinner tonight, which will also be Austrian.

What a woman! I love you, Wanze!



Nettl (around noon): “Do you want me to get your cold meds?”
Me: “No. I just woke up, and I’m still feeling the wine from last night.”

Nettl (around 3:30): “Do you want me to get your cold meds now?”
Me: “No. They’ll just make me sleepy.”

Nettl: (around 10:00, standing over me with a glass of water, two little pills, and a stern demeanor): “You’re taking these and that’s the end of it. You’re not making this decision.”

Now I’m wide awake, but I admit I feel better.


Life After Remote

Our remote for the telly in our bedroom started going out last week. At first, the channels would go ’round and ’round when I simply wanted to go up to the next one. This would be nice for surfing, but it wouldn’t stop until I pulled the back off of the thing and took out one of the batteries. Of course, my first thought was that it was indeed the batteries going, so I put in new ones. It seemed to help for a few days...


A Morning Hodge-Podge

Last night Allen came over just after seven o’clock to watch Mozartballs for the first time. He also brought with him a bottle of champagne. (If you ever come to my house and bring a bottle of wine you’ll always be invited back.) After a little chit-chat with the family, he, Nettl and I retreated upstairs to the family room and sat back to watch the film. I was a little nervous about Allen seeing it. He’s professor of Musicology at OSU, so his opinion was very important to me. Well, he loved it and we sat around discussing it for hours afterward. Nettl went to bed at one, and Allen and I continued talking about music and drinking wine until four in the morning. Needless to say, I’m a wee bit hungover today, but I don’t care. I had a great time.

Oh, and I found out Allen still be here for the screening party.

Thanks to Bob, I now have “In Cars” by Gary Numan stuck in my head.

I think I need some tomato juice…


Morning Hodge-Podge

As if my constantly pecking on the PC keyboard, Nettl working on her historical fiction and Heather currently writing a fantasy novel aren’t enough, Nathan has now joined the flock of writers in our house. Yes, our long-haired skateboarding boy with the radiant, ornery smile has done something we never saw coming. He has written an essay that made it into the top 3 of his school and which is now eligible to go to the state competition and win some sizable bucks. The topic? Why Patriotism Is Vital In Today’s Society. (Can you tell we live in Oklahoma?) How’d he write something like that? After all, he lives in a household that isn’t particularly patriotic, not in the "My country right or wrong" sense. When I asked, he told me, “I didn’t know what to say because I’m not patriotic. I just wrote what they wanted to hear. I just wrote out a bunch of George Bush kinda bull shit.” Hm. Methinks we may have a budding White House press correspondent on our hands.


Hello Out There!

It has come to my attention that today kicks off National De-Lurking Week. If you’re a regular—or even an irregular—reader, then take a few seconds to say hi. You don’t have to leave your email address or web page, if you have one. Just a hello and a first name will do!

UPDATE Jan. 16th: Many thanks to all of you who de-lurked this week! That wasn’t so painful, was it? There’s still one more day for the rest of you


Pulse Point

At night when we sleep, Nettl and I like to be touching each other in some way. Usually it’s our feet, or one foot anyway. We like to cuddle, but that lasts only so long because we get too warm. Last night when I finally went to bed, one of her feet found one of mine, and as I lay there waiting to fall asleep, I could feel her pulse gently tapping against my own. At first they were out of sync, but as my heart rate relaxed our pulses began to find each other; they slowly became one pulse and it created a kind of music. Of course, I believe everything is music anyway, or at least I interpret everything musically. As I lay there observing this little miracle, I felt a surge of love for life fill me, and along with it a sense of perfect now-ness. Everything made perfect sense and all of my worries and concerns melted away. The Ram Das book, Be Here Now, came to my mind. I don’t know how long I lay there taking in the experience, but I fell asleep contented and carefree.

Now is really all we have; every second, every pulse, comes and goes. So many of these seem to slip past us unnoticed, and unremembered. I’ll carry those few moments I experienced last night in my memory for the rest of my life. Funny how miniscule pinholes of enlightenment open up to us once we just stop and live in the moment.

Don't Ask

This morning our 15 year-old daughter walked into your bedroom and asked, “What does Fleischhosen mean in English?”

"It's German for Meat Pants," I replied.

She shrugged. "That makes sense."

After she left, Nettl and I looked at each other and started laughing.

I have no idea.

Almost Instant Karma

While waxing metaphysical, I notice that I’ve been tagged. Lil Red got me back—I tagged her on Friday—now, I’m obliged to return the favor by telling you a few random facts about me. No number was specified, so I’ll give you ten.

  1. I have nothing whatsoever to do with money. Although (or maybe because) I was in accounting for 25 years, when Nettl and I got together I gave the finances to her. I simply hand her the checks and I have my debit card. That’s the extent of my financial involvement. She tells me what we have—or don’t have—and I act accordingly (I’m not a spender anymore, anyway). I’m much happier this way and my ulcers are all gone.
  2. I drum on everything around me. Tabletops, counters, sofa and chair arms—everything is either a drum head or a piano keyboard to my fingers. My feet constantly tap out rhythms, too.
  3. My head is full of music every second of the day and night. When I’m not “listening” to it, it sounds like when an orchestra tunes up before a concert. When I am listening to it, well, I call that composition because I have to work with it until I have something worth writing down.
  4. I have hydrophobia. When I was two, a kid pushed me into the deep end of a pool and my 8-month pregnant aunt jumped in to save me. I nearly drowned, and was taken to the hospital. Once, back in 1971 when I was high on ’shrooms, I spent all day in a pool (at Stephen Stills’ house in Laurel Canyon) in an attempt to “make friends” with water. I taught myself to swim that day, but I still don’t like being in water. Besides, I sunburn to a dangerous degree, so although I’m a native southern Californian, I’ve never fit that stereotype. No big loss to me.
  5. I have an online pen name that is an anagram of “Steph Waller”. No, I won’t tell you.
  6. I love to dance!
  7. I have a quick, hot temper, but I’ve learned to keep it in check—until I feel I’ve been taken for granted. Even then, I’ll take and take, and then I blow up with no warning, leaving people asking, “Where the hell did that come from?” I’m almost at that point now, in a couple of situations in my life.
  8. I’m a knee-jiggler.
  9. Inside, I stopped at about age 30. The older I get, the less my outside matches my inside.
  10. When I clean house, I always put my ELO Out of the Blue CD. Always have.



Well, tonight we began un-decorating our house. We’ll finish tomorrow. Christmas is over and it’s time to pack up the Baroque angels, the golden music instrument ornaments, and the gold glitter curly weird, and put them all back out in the garage. It’s always kind of sad, and the living room always looks a little bare when things are put back to normal, but we’ve decided to keep Yo-Yo (our Betta) and his tank back here in our bedroom. I like the way we watches me as I sit here at my computer.
Of course, this means that now I have to go out and take down the Christmas lights that I procrastinated putting up for so long...


Not Again...

I’d been asleep for only a little over three hours and was in the middle of a great jam session with George Harrison. We were really wailing together on our guitars. Then the phone rang and woke me up....

Geor3ge Made Me Do It

Guess I have to do this since Geor3ge from A College Gin Run put me on his “Seven People I Want to Join in Too” list...


What's Wrong With People?

Granted, the dry and unseasonably warm conditions have been major factors, but most, if not all of these fires were caused by carelessness and arson.

What’s wrong with people? I’ve seen people throw burning cigarette butts out of their pick-up truck windows. Being from California, where hefty fines and jail time control a lot of this, I was astonished when I first moved here.

People in Oklahoma litter like I’ve never seen anywhere else, and tossing burning cigarette butts out the window is insane, regardless of the weather conditions. And it doesn’t take an Einstein to know that you just don’t BBQ on a day when the winds are blowing 40 and 50 miles per hour and there's a statewide burn ban in place. And then there’s the arson thing. Are these @$$holes so needy of attention that they’ll set a fire when the state is already an inferno? What’s your point!?

The longer I’m on this planet, the less sense it makes to me.


Action Figures For the Rest of Us

At last, action figures you can be proud of. Want Oscar Wilde? Albert Einstein? Jane Austin? Jesus? Mozart? Get them here:



Uneventful & Nice

We did absolutely nothing last night for New Year’s Eve. Well, not exactly nothing. Nettl put out some munchies and we enjoyed a family evening. Nettl and I had a couple of glasses of champagne and we let the kids have some Asti Spumante. Well, not exactly a couple of glasses. Nettl had two, I think, and I had three or four. Mostly, we sat in the living room with music on, then around 11:00 we all came into our bedroom to watch “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve.” I swear that man is in league with Old Scratch. He looks great. Well, not exactly great. But he looks better than most people his age who’ve had a major stroke.

Today, Nettl and I enjoyed a “House Cat Day” lolling about on our bed watching the Iron Chef America marathon on Food TV. I made us a brunch and we had a couple of mimosas as we watched the New Year Concert from Vienna on OETA. Then we napped. While Nettl took Lauren to work I got a melodic idea that I wrote down.

I can hardly stand the excitement.

Actually, after the crazy holiday season we’ve finally come through, today was completely wonderful. Tomorrow I’ll be making some screen captures from the film. I need to ask Rhombus Media when (and if) I can upload them to the photo gallery and perhaps place one or two here.

Before uploading this entry I must say something about the Vienna concert. It was terrific! Sure, Strauss waltzes and polkas are fun to hear every year, but the bright light this year was Maestro Maiss Jansons. He was actually more fun than the concert itself. During the final cadence of the Eduard Strauss Telephone Polka, he did a schtick with his cell phone ringing. He stopped the orchestra while he struggled with the phone, then brought down the final note. The other highlight (for me, anyway) was the Joseph Lanner piece, “Die Mozartisten”, Walzer op. 196, that was played to usher in the Mozart Year. The last CD I bought of the New Year concert was in 1987, and that was because Kathleen Battle was the featured soloist. I’ll be buying this year’s. It was delightful.

New Year's Resolutions

I’m not one to make resolutions for every year that comes along because I know I’m too apt to let myself down. I think we too often relate resolutions to denying ourselves things we really enjoy. I’m a hedonist, I admit, and I’ve never been a believer in, “Life’s a bitch, and then you die.” I personally think life is what we make it — with a bit of crapola thrown in to keep things interesting and to keep us growing and evolving. But before I gallop into 2006 on a philosophical tirade, here are some resolutions I can live with:

  • Drink more water
  • Watch less television
  • Read more
  • Get over being middle-aged. It happens to everyone
  • Get over the few extra pounds middle-age has given me. Who really cares
  • Go to bed earlier and get up earlier
  • Get outside more
  • Take less crap from people
  • Make more music
  • Keep believing. Why stop now?

It's Officially Mozart Year 2006

Now that The Skull has been scientifically determined not to be Mozart’s, Mozart Year 2006 has officially begun. Some people think that is what the Birthday Boy might think of all the falderol, but personally, I believe he’d eat it up and still want more.

Happy Mozart Year!