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Radio Les The Landlady

The Burglar Song

Image: The Burglar Frog

The Burglar Frog
Taken July 29, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ruby has this motion sensor frog ornament in her breezeway. I don’t like the thing, because I forget that it’s there, and every time I go to visit her it croaks at me and scares the shit out of me.

Every single time.

I once asked her why she had the horrid thing, and she laughed and said, “To warn me if a burglar tries to get in.”

Since then, I’ve always referred to it as “The Burglar Frog”. It would scare a burglar away, too; I’m certain of it.

I was over there in the wee hours of the night (possibly yesterday?), and we were sitting there having our coffee and working the crossword puzzle when the Burglar Frog “went off”. I waited for a knock on the door, but none came.

“Is someone here…?” I asked Ruby.

“Why?” she wanted to know.

“Your frog just croaked,” I replied.

“Huh. I never even heard it,” Ruby said, getting up and going toward the door. “I must have a burglar.”

I didn’t particularly like hearing that and got up to try and beat her to the door. I was over there later than usual, since my sleeping patterns have all been blown to hell. It was after midnight, and although Ruby is a night owl, the idea of her answering her door to a burglar kind of made the heebie-jeebies start in me.

She still managed to get to the door first, though, because she made me pause when she called back to me, “Remind me to sing you The Burglar Song….”

We discovered no burglar… the frog was playing tricks on us. I still wanted to hear The Burglar Song, though, whatever that was, and when Ruby sang it to me, I immediately wanted to know if she would let me record it and post it here.

She agreed.

I was a little surprised at how readily she agreed. I think she’s starting to enjoy the notoriety of being my Blog Star, such as it is. Just in case she changed her mind, though, I booted it home to get the recorder (encountering no burglars), and booted it back in less than three minutes. I love living this close to her… 🙂

I powered up the recorder and she started to sing. Half-way through the song, she realized she’d left out a verse.

Take 2: She got half-way through again, and had herself a coughing jag.

Take 3: She got half-way through, and suddenly couldn’t remember one of the verses.

Take 4: Success!

I came home, not in the least bit sleepy and decided to write this post…

And my F-ing computer told me there was no room for the audio file. I said my Dad’s Magic Word about then, I think.

I spent the rest of the night backing up old photos and video and clearing space on the hard-drive.

Later, having slept for most of the day, I was back at Ruby’s for more coffee and a fresh crossword.

“Did I sing to the internet?” she wanted to know.

I had to tell her that, no, I hadn’t got the post written, nor the photo ‘shopped, nor the audio edited.

“Oh,” she said, sounding disappointed. “Do you still have your thingamajig in your pocket?”

I pulled out my recorder, wondering what she was going to sing for me this time…

“I was hoping I could hear myself,” she said, and I obligingly pushed the ‘play’ button…

Whereupon, Ruby discovered that she’d left out an entire verse during Take 4. Again.

She said that just wouldn’t do, and after dictating to me the first line of every verse on her notepad, so she’d have something to jog her memory, she proceeded to sing the song again perfectly, without ever looking at her cheat sheet.

Give it a listen – it’s funny as hell. I’ve provided the lyrics below the player link, if you have any trouble with Ruby’s Canuckian accent (this means you, CardioGirl).

The Burglar Song – Ruby Daniel
Click it! Click it!


The Burglar Song

I’ll tell you a story of a burglar bold
Who went to rob a house.
He opened a window, and then crept in
As quiet as a mouse.

He looked around for a place to hide
‘Til the folks were all asleep.
And then, said he, with vehmeny,
“I’ll take a quiet sleep.”

So under the bed the burglar crept,
He crept up close to the wall.
He didn’t know it was an old maid’s room,
Or he’d never have had the gall.

He thought of the money that he would steal,
While under the bed he lay.
At 9 o’clock, he saw a sight
That made his hair turn gray.

At 9 o’clock the old maid came home.
“I am so tired,” she said.
She thought that all was well that night,
So she didn’t look under the bed.

She took out her teeth, her big glass eye,
And the hair all off of her head.
The burglar, he had forty fits,
While he watched from under the bed.

From under the bed, the burglar crept.
He was a total wreck.
The old maid wasn’t asleep at all,
And she grabbed him by the neck.

She didn’t holler, or shout, or yell.
She was as cool as a clam.
She only said, “The Saints be praised!
At last, I’ve got a man!”

From under the pillow, she drew out a gun,
And to the burglar she said,
“Young man, if you don’t marry me,
I’ll blow off the top of your head.”

She held him firmly by the neck.
He hadn’t a chance to scoot.
He looked at the gun and the big glass eye,
And said, “Madam, hurry and shoot.”

Categories
R.I.P. Real Life Video...

The Loudest Man I Ever Slept With…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZFxo5yloUQ&hl=en&fs=1&]
Insomnia by Cat

I took this video in May, when Sheikh was still sleeping above my head.

Not very long ago, he was his usual fat and fluffy self, but then became boney and light as air in a few short weeks. He eventually stopped eating altogether. He hid out most of the time, and what kept me awake during that time was not his snoring, but my nerves, while I tried to search him out, hoping not to find him dead under the stairs or the couch.

“He’s old, though,” I thought. “It may soon be time…”

Monday, he stopped drinking water. By 5 am Tuesday morning, he was gone. I wish now that I could say I’d just found him dead, having gone to sleep and stayed that way. The way he did die was hard to watch – he was in pain, a lot of pain, I think, and I have a huge amount of guilt over not getting him to a vet in time to either heal him of whatever caused this, or to save him from a such a hard death.

Sheikh
“Sheikh”
?-July 23, 2009
R.I.P.

He was wonderful company for the last few years. I’m really going to miss him…

We took him out to The Dog-Lady’s farm to bury him. On the way there, I told The Evil Hypnotist that no way were we getting another cat. I don’t want to get attached to any more pets. No. Way.

Ky was upset: The Patchouli-Cat has never been alone… she will miss Sheikh, too… she needs another cat for company….

No. Way.

When we got there, I opened my door to step out, and five large dogs piled into the van. I was trying to get them out when they noticed the box with Sheikh in it. It was really odd to watch them. They obviously realized that whatever was in that box was dead, and I would have expected them to try to get into it, but they didn’t. They got very quiet, sniffed at the box, and one by one (by one, by one, by one) they all filed back out the driver’s door.

By the time I got over to Ky, she was sitting in a lawn-chair, cuddling a teeny-tiny black kitten.

Well, shit.

I said, “No. Way.

She said, “Please…?”

I said, “No. Way.

She said, “Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase?!”

I looked at The Dog-Lady, and said, “Help me, would you?”

And The Dog-Lady looked back at me and replied, “Hey, you owe me. I took your dog.”

Shetbag.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVW1CtJN9J0&hl=en&fs=1&]
For the record, I am not attached to this little monster. Not.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “This is How You Remind Me” – Nickleback

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Real Life Video...

Gangsta Geese

This video was taken in Clergue Park almost three years ago. Those of you familiar with the visage of The Evil Hypnotist as a teen may enjoy the journey back. She was not quite 12 when she was nearly eaten by these monsters.

And yes. I sic’ed ’em on her. I make no apology. It was me or her.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Andy, You’re a Star” – The Killers

Categories
Oh Mother...! The Father Chronicles

65 Years Ago Today, My Dad Wrote This:

A Letter from Overseas-1944
A Letter from Overseas-1944
Taken June 18, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

In three days’ time, my father will have been dead for a year. I have a hard time believing that.

Sometimes, it feels as if he’s been gone forever. Other times, I hang up the phone mid-dial, when I remember that he won’t be there to answer whatever question I wanted to ask him – usually about World War II.

I didn’t ask him enough questions…

A while ago, I wrote here that I was going to publish all the letters Dad wrote home to my mom. I’ve since had the chance to read them, and truthfully (surprisingly), they don’t make great blog-fodder.

Instead, I will publish just this one – which my mother has given to me to keep, as it seems to have just a little bit of everything in it. It’s very strange to read my father’s words while he was courting my mother (while my mother was courting somebody else – gasp…!); he sure was a tease – I can just hear his voice when I read this.

Anyhoo… I’ve kept the syntax the way he wrote it – some sentences may need to be read twice to get the proper gist – but I’ve taken the liberty of breaking things up into paragraphs. I guess paper was at a premium, and he didn’t want to waste it.

He was training in England when he wrote this.

 

July 19, 1944
#1 C.O.R.V. C.A.O.S.

Dear Teacher –

I received your letter and pictures to-night so here goes for a start at least. I don’t know when I’ll finish this.

Say how do you manage those pictures anyway? That ‘close up’ of you alone looks like Dorothy Lamour. They were all very good and Thanks a million for sending them. Now I’ll have something to spend my spare moments at gazing.

There was a buzz bomb went over a few minutes ago and of all the jobs I had to doing. By the time I realized what it was and got outside it had gone past.

I thought it was a squadron of our own planes until it was right above us – one of the fellows here has had his camera ready for a couple of weeks intending to get a picture of one but they seem to be too fast.

They make a terrific noise and fly very low and fast. It is only a few seconds from the time you first hear them until they are gone out of hearing and at night look like a ball of fire in the sky.

This place seems to be charmed or something. There has been any number of them went over but none have taken a notion to stop here yet. The closest were a mile or so away and just shake the windows and doors.

Well I wouldn’t mind if I could get a couple of weeks leave on the Island now. I can imagine the nice weather you would be having there. I am kind of disgusted with the weather over here. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the winter and summer.

We had a few weeks nice weather the last of March and since it has been raining about three parts of the time. The fogs are beginning to start now & also the blackouts again.

I wouldn’t mind so much but through what nice weather there was we weren’t allowed any leave and by the time this course is over the fog will be so thick we’ll have to carry a shovel with us to make a way for us. Of course that shovel would be handy to have along for the B.S. too wouldn’t it?

This is a sort of gloomy letter I guess it’s the army blues.

I hear they are going to give the 7 day leaves soon (I hope. I have 16 days coming now). They have already lifted the ban on train travel & the 20 mile limit. Before we had to ride on the buses or hitchhike as the trains were supposed to be reserved for the evacuees. I guess all the small towns are filled with them now.

Bill (Ahem…* Sorry to interrupt: Bill is my mother’s brother) thinks England is O’K. eh? To tell the truth I like it a lot better than Canada too as far as army life goes. I’d sooner be in Canada just for the sake of being in my own country though.

The stuff isn’t rationed as much now as it was. We can get most of the things you can in Canada but only in small amounts and they use you more like a human than an animal.

With the odd bomb around and France not far away you’d be surprised the difference it makes to the N.C.O.’s & officers. There are very few A.W.L’s here. Fellows that were always away in Canada never think of going loose here.

For one thing there really isn’t anything to go on the loose for like Canada. No means of travel and no place to go or stay or eat if you did go.

Say I hope you don’t get tired of reading this monotonous thing supposed to be a letter and throw it away before you finish.

I had a letter from Edith, my sister-in-law last week. You should see some of the queer English expressions but I’m getting used to them. I suppose if I’m over here another year I’ll be completely “Limetized”. There is a Limey camp right near us and we see quite a few of them often.

Did you know Jack MacMillan from Cockburn Island? I met him in the canteen last week. He is here on an A.F.V. course. I had quite a chat with him. It almost seemed like going home.

Well I haven’t been out of camp for a month now. I think I’ll go on a “bender” at the wet canteen and then settle down for the duration of the course and get ready for trade test Bay. It is only 4 weeks away now. It’s nearly three months since I came here and it only seems about three weeks.

By the way don’t let Eiro tickle you too much (I HOPE). It makes me nervous and I’d hate to have to tell the instructor some day what is wrong with me. ha. ha.

Let me know how your pictures of you and Helen and you and Helen and you and you and Helen, turned out eh? If I were you I would move my shorts around and get all sunburned the same. That would feel too much like shaving only one side of your face (Of course I’m not you though).

How are you and the cows getting along in the mornings?

Well I guess I’ll close as there isn’t anything else I can think of. In fact there was nothing to write about in the first place: Write soon & long.

Love Matt.
XXXXXX
XXXXX

(over)

I’m getting so I can almost start an argument with myself eh?

A Doctor in Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee was called to examine the young wife of an elderly, deaf mountaineer. “Your wife is pregnant” he told her husband.

Mountaineer, hand behind his ear, queried, “eh”?

The doctor shouted, “I said your wife is pregnant.”

“Eh?”

Finally the doctor screamed, “Your wife is going to have a baby.”

The man walked to the edge of the porch, spat out a mouthful of tobacco juice, and drawled, “I ain’t a bit surprised. She’s had every opportunity.”

Excuse the writing. It is slightly worse than usual as there is a poker game going on, on the next bunk & every once in awhile somebody just has to step back & shake my bunk.

I would dearly love to know what “job” it was that my dad was doing when that buzz bomb went over. I don’t know if he started writing the next sentence without realizing he hadn’t finished the last, or if it was something a little embarrassing and he didn’t want to say. Perhaps, he was in the latrine…?

My mother still remembers writing to him about that sunburn she got, from laying for too long in one position. And how her father used to give the girls holy hell for going out in public wearing shorts. He thought it was shameful.

And I guess one might have to be a man to figure out how shaving one side of your face might feel the same… does shaving hurt like sunburn?! I wanna know.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – Meatloaf

Categories
R.I.P.

“And That’s the Way It Was…”

Walter Cronkite
R.I.P. Walter Cronkite
1916-2009

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid The Father Chronicles

Elbow Grease

Elbow Grease
Can’t you just smell the testosterone?
Taken July 8, 2009 with Kodak DX7440

My father had a quirky sense of humour. More than anything, at least it seemed to me as a child, he liked to get one over on me. Especially if there were witnesses. And every time he conned me, I fell for it.

Every single time.

When I was oh, maybe 9 years old, I remember sitting in his attached garage watching him do something or other while visiting with somebody or other.

They were trying to get something off of something else. Or on to something else. These details are hazy to me all these years later, most likely because of the psychological damage done to me that afternoon.

I see the funny side of this.

Now.

Way back then, though… Actually, I can still feel my stomach shrivel up a little bit at this memory.

And then I laugh, because it really was funny.

Whatever my dad and… ummm… let’s call him “Dave”… were trying to do, it wasn’t working out the way they wanted it to… These two big strong men couldn’t get whatever-it-was on or off whatever-the-other-thing was, and my dad was getting pissed off. He was starting to cuss under his breath.

I waited, anticipating the ultimate in my father’s pissed-off-ed-ness to culminate in his utterance of the ultimate of swear words.

“You….. C***T.”

He rarely got that upset, but when he did, that’s the word he would invoke to make whatever he wanted to happen, well… happen.

He never raised his voice when he said it. He said it like he would tell the dog to sit. There was command in his voice, but he would say it as if he knew without a doubt that the command would be followed, and the command was generally followed immediately.

I grew up knowing that “C***T” was a Magic Word.

My dad never said it to people or animals. This Magic Word was reserved for uncooperative inanimate objects only: the car that wouldn’t start, the window that wouldn’t open, or the thingamajig that wouldn’t come off of the whozawhatsit.

And it almost always worked, like, well… Magic.

Not that day, though.

Dave finally said, “Matt, ya gotta put some elbow grease into it.”

And my dad laughed and replied, “I’m all out of elbow grease, Dave – used it up on the lawnmower last weekend.”

And then he turned to me, dug into his pocket, and came up with a $2 bill…

“Hey, Diddly-Doo. Run on down to Western Tire and pick me up a can of elbow grease.”

And I fell for it.

Down I walked to the Western Tire, and marched up to the counter. I presented the money to the proprietor, and asked for a can of elbow grease for my dad.

I don’t know how that guy kept a straight face, but he did. He told me he was sorry, but he’d run out. He didn’t expect to have any back in for another week. Hoped he wasn’t inconveniencing my father too much.

None the wiser, I went back home and told my dad the Western Tire was all out of elbow grease. I couldn’t figure out why that was so funny. I didn’t care much, either, because my dad told me to go ahead and keep that $2 bill, to compensate me for my trip.

It wasn’t until we were all at the supper table that I discovered I’d been had. My dad told the story to my mom, laughing to beat the band. My Brother the Trespasser had to leave the table, he was laughing that hard.

Mom gave Dad holy hell for making me go downtown and embarrass myself. Up to that point, I hadn’t known enough to be embarrassed, but the more my Mom told him off, the more I wanted to crawl under the table. I think she might have been more embarrassed to have birthed such an idiot, than the idiot was to realize that you can’t buy elbow grease at the Western Tire store.

I don’t think I ever had the nerve to walk into the Western Tire ever again. It’s no longer there, now, but if it was, I still wouldn’t go in.

I’m sure the owner would laugh and ask me if I needed elbow grease.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Poppies” – Marcy Playground

Categories
It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Little Bits of Stupid Oh Mother...! Short Fiction The Father Chronicles

My Mom is a Biker-Chick…

Maude on her Hog
Maude on her Hog
Photo copyright either My Brother the Trespasser or My Sister Tootie
(Maude can’t remember who was standing behind the camera…)

I drove down to Teeny-Tiny Town today, having had no sleep since… well, I’m not certain when, but I’ve been writing – really writing – for real writing, so No Sleep Disease isn’t exactly a bad thing. This time.

On the way down, I saw a small plane tipped over on the four-lane median strip, surrounded by a single fire truck and a couple of cop cars. I thought I might be hallucinating at first, but then remembered that if that was the case, my imagination would have turned it into an airliner. I ought maybe check the news to be certain (I assume a plane landing on the highway might be considered news around here, anyway), but I think it’s safe to say I actually saw what I think I saw.

I think.

Lemme check…

….

….

Yup. It’s good to know I’m not completely nuts. Ahem…*

When I got to Teeny-Tiny Town, though, and saw that photo of my mother in leathers on a motorcycle… well…. that was something I was pretty certain was all in my own mind.

Until she started to laugh, and told me the story…

Seems My Brother the Trespasser (or maybe it was a nephew – I’ve had no sleep, and my mom can’t remember…) bought himself a new ride this past spring, and went down to show it off to my mom and my sister, who were both suitably impressed. Mom was so impressed, in fact, that she told one of the aides in the Nursing Home that it was her hog.

I don’t know why, but the aide didn’t believe her!

Mom said she would prove it, and got the Trespasser/Nephew/Whoever to fit her up, put her on the bike to pose, and then had [somebody] get a couple of copies of this pic printed up. The aide displays her copy on her fridge at home. I stole the other copy, to show you all how cool my mom is…

Look real close now… she’s not pointing at you. She’s giving you the finger (yeah, yeah, she’s flipping the bird backwards – give the ol’ lady a break – she’s 85).

Dad-gravestone-before-mom-diedWe had a visit to the graveyard (my dad’s monument is finally in place – his boat, sailing off into the sunset lasered into it somehow – he would have been right impressed, I think – and it’s an odd kind of comfort to see that boat on there, sailing away…), and went out for lunch before I sneaked off back home, pilfered photo safely tucked away.

On the way back, I saw an upside down tractor-trailer in the ditch, which my brain turned into a crash-landed Borg ship for a minute. The lack of armed militia tipped me back into the real world soon enough, but not before a whole ‘nother story clicked into place, waiting for me to start writing when the current project is put to bed.

Which is where I’ll be going… once I’ve pecked out a few more scenes.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Graceland” – Paul Simon

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid

Hopefully, You’re Not One of the Lost Ones…

countryshare
“John…? Do you know where you are, John…?”
(A quote from my long ago radio-play)

Over 60% of my visitors live in the U.S., whereas, surprisingly (at least to me, anyway), only 11% reside in my own country.

What really saddens me, though, is that nearly 10% of my readers don’t have a clue where they are…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Gives You Hell” – The All-American Rejects

Categories
Other People's Stories...

The Accidental Fisherman

Muddy-Fish
Muddy by the Water

I have this buddy who is an incredible cook and a hot-shit photographer. My kid is very partial to him, because he spoils her with pickles. She calls him “Muddy”, and I think he’s rather partial to her, as well, because whenever we walk into his restaurant, he has a bowlful of pickles up on the chute before we even get to the table.

As it happens, Muddy’s restaurant is one of Ruby’s favourites, and that’s where she took us out for dinner the other night (Ruby is very partial to my kid, too – I only got to tag along because I have the wheels).

Once we had our bellies crammed full of comfort food (and pickles), I noticed Muddy had snuck out the back, so I followed him out to smoke cigarettes and talk (Photo)shop…

He had just come back from a fishing trip, although he doesn’t fish. At all. Has no interest in fishing whatsoever. When his pals go off a-fishin’, Muddy tags along with his camera…

This particular trip, nobody was having any luck. The fish weren’t biting. At all. The Muddy-Buddies were disgusted. So much so, that they decided to all wander off on a hike, trusting Muddy to watch the gear. Muddy figured he could handle this, although he only knows the business end of a fishing rod because it’s generally the one pointing at the water.

Muddy wanted duck pictures, anyway, so he was happy to “watch” the gear…

The ducks weren’t cooperating any more than the fish that day. They kept swimming so that the fishing rods, propped up against the rocks on the shore, lines still in the water, were between themselves and Muddy’s camera.

Muddy was determined to get his shot, however, and he finally decided to get rid of the rods….

Of course, this was not a matter of just picking up a rod and moving it. No… Muddy had to figure out how to unlock the reel and wind the line in first – which he managed – he’s fairly bright. Easy-peasy.

What he didn’t expect, while reeling in the line, was to nearly have the rod yanked out of his hands. Yup. The non-fishing photographer/cook caught himself a fish. Illegally, too, considering he didn’t have a fishing license.

He got around that one, though, by throwing it back – after yelling at one of his buddies to come back and take a picture first. I’m not sure how he convinced the guy to take the shot and not just throw the camera in the water; he was that mad that Muddy had caught a fish by accident when the rest of them couldn’t pull it off for trying…

I was rather impressed, though, and talked him into letting me have the picture… and posting it… and telling the story. Thankfully, he agreed to it all, ‘cuz I was tapped, story-wise.

I might actually have to go back to writing my own, if this keeps up.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Trumpets” – Flipsyde