Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life in an autumn garden...

Once again it seems I have let time fritter away. Not that fritters were involved, mind you. Fritters are fried balls of dough stuffed with anything from apples to a cornmeal mixture. Now I'm wondering how the idiomatic expression got started. The oldest reference I just found with a quick internet glance was in a Dickens novel. At times like this I can't make up my mind if the internet is a blessing or a curse. Just a few years ago I would have to drag out the Oxford English Dictionary, get out the special magnifying lens.... in other words, depending on the day and mood, I'd probably just move on and continue writing. Now I can look it up through several online sources within seconds. Hmmm, it never occurred to me before, but the internet may be an ADD nirvana dream.
It has been a few years since Monarch butterflies visited the garden. There used to be so many of them.
Yesterday I was stunned to see three of them at once. I hope they are making a comeback.
Life has once again been careening mildly out of control. In attempting to write the paragraph above I fielded two phone calls. It isn't even 8:30 in the morning. It is, however, a morning with a gloriously slow rain, the kind that leaves a slick shine to roadways and autumn leaves; the kind that has a delicate hint of mist peeking through the yellow orange green that provides a perfect visual accompaniment to sipping coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate, or an aged single malt scotch, or....).

The wet discourages any thoughts of doing further work to shut down the gardens. I've spent most of my time working on Solar Hill's beds. I'm the sort of gardener who won't cut down the peony over there because its leaves turn a crimson that illuminates the light blue asters or a view of the broken bench propped up with rocks, which is currently framed by the fruit hanging from that Japanese dogwood and the turning colors of a stewartia.

I never got the time to post my radio show from October the 3rd, so this post will be another twofer. Let's get that one out of the way right now. That show played a couple of songs welcoming the arrival of autumn, and that day's birthday of lyricist Johnny Burke. Then the old Philco's tuning dial was spun a few times as it centered on October the 3rd, 1945 for The Spotlight Bands show, which that night featured Artie Shaw. We also put a few nickels in the jukebox that month.

In my own defense, I should note that my excuses for not posting also include dealing with the problems and affairs of the all volunteer community radio station I manage. The past couple of weeks have been particularly vexing. With over 60 DJs of varying age, egos, and temperament, anything which happens on our floor is automatically blamed on us. There were a few problems with our landlord. Somehow, an original bannister in a 150 year old historic office building was broken. As one of our shows had a live band (which generated a very late night noise complaint from someone working in an office space underneath of our studio) we were blamed - the musicians must have done it. It seemed logical. Until I found out that the musicians were two skinny young guys whose entire equipment consisted of a banjo and a guitar. Last Thursday was our non-profit's annual meeting (and potluck). I should point out that I'm the President of the Board; and that I dislike most meetings for no other particular reason than that I've been to one too many between my days toiling in the fields of Mammon and places like the radio station (which used to be run by its DJs, but is now run by the non-profit's Board). There was a new edition of our print schedule to get ready and send off to the shop to coincide with our on-air fundraising week. There was Windows 10. And Mercury retrograde. There was one period not so long ago when I wasn't running the station or  the Board. Over that year and a half, there were almost no meetings to attend. It was wonderful.

The garden year is nearly over, yet the colors and unexpected pairings are as distracting as Spring.

The last two weeks also saw a few adventures with my neighbor. I live in a building which has one wing where the apartments are, well, apart. There are two of us with studios whose entrance is off of a balcony in the back. My immediate neighbor is a troubled young man in his 20's. Since he moved in a couple of months ago, he's been a fairly constant source of aggravation. At the beginning of last week, he had another episode. It started with a lot of yelling and screaming of vulgar words and less than appealing terminology. He was throwing out someone he was letting live there, almost broke the front balcony's railing throwing out the roommates mattress and clothing, etc. A short time later the ex-roommate threatened to kill him. So did the women who live upstairs. I should point out that we both live on the 2nd floor of a two story building, and there was only one voice yelling and screaming. This young fellow has no telephone and uses mine to call the hospital when he's messed up his meds, or the police when someone is threatening him. There were a couple of days of the police coming, and slowly calming him down to the point that he would go with them. Then wherever they took him inexplicably let him go. He showed up at 2 am and proceeded to have a physical fight with someone on our building's front lawn, but he was the only person out there. At 3:30am he finally called the police (using my phone). He was home within 6 hours or so. He is not getting the help he needs. All of the police know him, and say he is much better than he used to be.

Well, I've rambled on quite a bit; the length of this post will soon rival an Epistle to the Ephesians. In todays world of electronic social communications, anything longer than a few sentences seems antisocial as it is too long for anyone to read. No wonder the music of today is mostly a beat with incomprehensible lyrics; few seem to have an attention span capable of comprehending the lyrics to a 3 minute song. It's music for an ADD world.

Which bring us to Saturday's show (October 10th) which played a few for Columbus Day, fall foliage, and the birthdays of singer Lee Wiley, composer Vernon Duke, bandleader and songwriter Johnny Green, and the wonderful Red McKenize. Mr. McKenize, one of the early jazz practitioners, used to play the comb - with a sheet of paper over it to modulate the sound. He was also a vocal artist who could make an ordinary piece into an art song. Not that he sang ordinary pieces.

As always, I hope any listeners enjoy the show(s).

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