Poor Biff’s Almanac: Clearing Out the Backlog
Caution! Long, rambling post ahead! Please have a spotter.
It has been a while since I posted anything on here. You may pick only one from the following excuses. (Please don’t be greedy.)
- I’ve been too busy.
- I’ve had nothing to write about.
- My carpel tunnel syndrome flared up (an old caber-tossing injury)
- I’ve been out of town attending Banjo-Con
- I have been unbelievably lazy (even more than usual)
- My lethargy biorhythm was in phase with my apathy biorhythm and there was a resonance in my indifference biorhythm
But I’m here now and I’m willing to give this thing another shot if you are. After all, what do we have to lose, except a few minutes of our lives?
The Weather Report
It was a good weekend. It rained over three inches in a span of about ten hours from Friday night into Saturday. This dropped the average daytime temperature from 100 (~38 C) down to the low 80s (~28 C). That is about as close as one can get to heaven in Texas in the summertime. As an added bonus, it was too wet to mow the yard afterwards. That was like winning the bi-fecta (rain + no mowing).
One Man’s Trash
On Saturday I went estate sale-ing. (Hey … I said it was too wet to mow, not too wet to go to estate sales!) I found a few things that qualified as “finds”. I found some children’s books (including “Stuart Little” from the 60s that I think may be first editions. At about 25 cents a pop, I was willing to take a chance. I found a CD of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for a buck. It’s hard to believe that I’ve never owned this on CD, since I’m as avid a fan of Pink Floyd as ever longed for a giant inflatable pig. I do, however have it on vinyl. Little good that does me. I don’t have a turntable mounted in my car.
But the find of the day was a print of the Mary Petty painting that appeared on the October 20 1962 edition of the New Yorker. The print itself is copyrighted 1962, so I think it is from that era. I didn’t know what it was when I saw it since it did not have any of the New Yorker tagging on it. It just looked like a print of a painting and I liked it a lot, so I bought it. I haggled the haggard owner down to a mere eight dollars. The frame that I need to buy for it will cost much, much more than that.
The above is not an direct image of the print I bought. It’s just something I found on the Internet. Image is copyright 1962 by Mary Petty.
Book ’em, Biffo
As if sifting through other people’s belongings were not enough fun, I also went to Half Price Books (HPB) on Sunday. I didn’t really intend to buy anything; I was just killing some time. However, for me to say I didn’t intend to buy anything when going to HPB is like jumping in a lake and saying “I did not intend to get wet.” I am never so weak as when I got into HPB. I ended up buying William Faulkner’s Snopes trilogy (The Hamlet, The Town, & The Mansion) in paperback. I read The Mansion many decades ago when I was in high school and it didn’t make much sense to me at the time, but then I found out much later that it was the final book in a trilogy and that explained my confusion. Not that Faulkner has ever written a hard-to-understand novel before. Anyway, I’m going to give it another chance. I don’t usually buy used paperbacks since they don’t age well, but the Faulkner estate keeps the prices of his new books so high that I have been forced to buy pre-loved versions of them.
I also found a paperback version of Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novel, “Busman’s Honeymoon“. I love Dorothy Sayers’ writing and especially her Lord Peter Wimsey novels. As I stated above, I don’t usually buy used paperbacks, but this particular book looks like it just rolled off the presses yesterday even though it was printed in the 90s. It was a steal at $3 (even though I have the receipt).
I also browsed through the clearance CDs and came away with a handful of finds (each for about $2).
- The Rippingtons (featuring Russ Freeman) — Black Diamond
- John Jarvis — Pure Contours
- John Jarvis — Whatever Works
- Dave Koz – Off the Beaten Path
- Nelson Rangell — Playing for Keeps
- David Benoit — Full Circle
- The Bangles — Everything
- Peter White — Caravan of Dreams
That last CD was such a fantastic find for me that I was nearly beside myself with excitement. For those of you who don’t know, Peter White is best known for his multi-decade collaboration with Al Stewart (of “Year of the Cat” fame). He is also a helluva guitarist in his own right and has lent his considerable talents to a huge variety of artists, such as Basia. But the reason I was so excited was because not only do I love Peter’s music, but he wrote the song “Caravan of Dreams” about a club I used to go to in Fort Worth all the time back in the late 80s and early 90s. Ah, man! The Caravan of Dreams was the best venue ever! It was a very small, very intimate club. I remember one time (wavy flash-back graphics go here) … I had never been there before, but I heard on the radio that Kirk Whalum was going to appear there during his “The Promise” tour, so I bought tickets on the phone (this was before the internet). I got there and handed my ticket to the hostess and asked her where my seat was and she said, “Anywhere you want.” I could hardly believe it! I got a table right by the stage and so when Kirk came out and started playing I was like 4 feet away from him! I had the same experience when Acoustic Alchemy played there. Acoustic Alchemy also honored Caravan of Dreams in a song called “Reference Point”
So, yes, Peter White liked Caravan of Dreams enough that he wrote a song about it. I only wish I could have seen him perform that song at that venue. That would have been beyond awesome. Damn! I miss that place.
Okay, that’s about all I have for now. I could ramble on, but frankly this thing has gone on long enough. I have probably lost half of my readers, who have rambled off to find something to eat or to re-hydrate or just to shake their heads and say, “What the hell was all that about?”
For those of you who stuck it out this far, I humbly thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-hydrate.