Category Archives: music

…and Drift Away

Sometimes we need to get lost in the music of our lives and simply drift away.

My favorite baseball team won their division this year. And in the first round of the playoffs, well, they won the first game and lost the next two. They are not dead yet, but close… Will it be a matter of life and death for me? No. I have seen the Cardinals win the World Series four times in my life. I saw the Blues win their first Stanley Cup this year. I have even seen the hapless football Cardinals play in the Superbowl against the Steelers, and almost win, but lose in the final minute. Wow! I am fully satisfied. And my love has been requited. I can get lost in the song… and drift away.

Truthfully, I never thought that I would be able to teach again when I retired from the job I loved. Yet, the need for supplemental income was forcing me to work again. And as an Uber driver, I was risking my sanity and my life to make… well, not enough money. But now, I am going back to schools as a substitute teacher. The orientation for the CFBISD schools will be this coming Wednesday. And after I attend that, I can go back to classrooms and earn money by teaching, when I can. I don’t have to go in and work every day. I can pick and choose. So, times of illness are not a big whoop. Money worries are now dissolving a bit… and I can drift away.

In my writing quest, I have published all the books I identified as the ones I most needed to publish. I will soon be making the Kindle version of Sing Sad Songs free to click on and own via Amazon. I definitely have more stories to tell and more books in me, but if I died today, putting my stories out there in the world… I am satisfied with what I have already done. I am ready to let go, and get caught up in the never-ending song… and drift away.

So, what is this post actually saying? I love the song. And like the song says, the world out there is hard to live with. But if you give me the beat to free my soul… I can drift away. I am at peace. Life has been good.

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, humor, music, photo paffoonies

Bad Daze

We have been using Walmart’s restroom for an entire week now, including late-night trips. The toilet’s shut-off valve has exploded with water twice. My daughter lost her school ID badge and missed two days of school feeling terrible. She also dropped and shattered her favorite sculpture to make herself feel worse. I had a car accident on Friday. A fender-bump that didn’t damage my car, but made me almost go into shock with a sudden blood-sugar drop. Stress may kill me yet.

It is almost the worst streak of bad luck that I have ever had. It ranks second, maybe. Or possibly third.

But we will survive it. Bobby McFerrin will help;

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Filed under Depression, feeling sorry for myself, humor, music, Paffooney

Kid Music

There are a lot of kids out there in the world who are gifted with musical talent. I find that searching them out and listening to them on YouTube is a valid way to cure… or at least curtail depression.

Wow. Energy, creativity, charm… cuteness! Kids possess a magic power to never understand when something is impossible. Harnessing that power can take you all the way to the moon and back.

If you think I turned to this subject because I was feeling down and depressed this morning, well, you’d be right. But am I still depressed after filling up on this sort of kid music?

Not a chance. The world is a better place now because of their sweet music.

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Filed under battling depression, healing, kids, music

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

It is, of course, one of the most powerful, masterful, and best-known pieces of music ever written.

Mozart completed the “little serenade” in Vienna in 1787, but it wasn’t published until 1827, long after Mozart’s untimely death.

The Serenade is incorrectly translated into English as “A Little Night Music”. But this is and always has been the way I prefer to think of it. A creation of Mozart written shortly before he hopped aboard the ferryman’s boat and rode off into the eternal night. It is the artifact that proves the art of the master who even has the word “art” as a part of his name. A little music to play on after the master is gone to prove his universal connection to the great silent symphony that is everything in the universe singing silently together.

It is basically what I myself am laboring now to do. I have been dancing along the edge of the abyss of poverty, suffering, and death since I left my teaching job in 2014. I will soon be taking my own trip into night aboard the ferryman’s dreaded boat. And I feel the need to put my own art out there in novel and cartoon form before that happens.

I am not saying that I am a master on the level of a Mozart. My name is not Mickart. But I do have a “key’ in the name Mickey. And it will hopefully unlock something worthwhile for my family and all those I loved and leave behind me. And hopefully, it will provide a little night music to help soothe the next in line behind me at the ferryman’s dock.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, classical music, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, Hidden Kingdom, magic, metaphor, music, Paffooney

Chances Are…

Postable Paffoonies

Chances are… I could wear a foolish grin, like a Johnny Mathis Moon in the sky…

I could waltz… all alone in a dark room, never seizing on the chances to fly…

But there’s a time… meant to let the summer in…

And love songs… all make me wonder… Why?

Silly, I know.  But silly and surreal is how I go, how I deal with the time.  A song in my head leads to rhythm and metaphor and rhyme.  And it takes me from old winter and the waning of the moon… to the silly month of June… And my dancing shoes were never quite so spry.

Chances are… if you really read this, you will know I am depressed.

My life is all unfairly messed.

And I barely can get dressed…

To go tripping cross the floor, dancing awkwardly toward the door, ’cause I’m in need of so much more.

But in a poem I find it… the very reason that I rhymed it… like the crooning song that’s stuck in my old head…

I will catch it, and I’ll bind it, like a fool who hopes you’ll find it, and the treasure will be revealed before we’re dead…

Chances are… that you hear that silly tune, as it reels across the page in silent spread.  And the song will slowly stop, as I dance a final hop, and the answer is brightly shining in my head.

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Filed under Depression, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, healing, humor, magic, music, Paffooney, poetry

My Current Novel Project -Sing Sad Songs

Here is a sample chapter from my rough draft to give you an idea of how this nonsense is progressing.

Blue Dawn

Canto 25 – Wish Upon a Star

I honestly was just minding my own business.  The bar, I mean.  I was minding the bar.  Ugly Bill and his idiot child were talking to the FBI somewhere they didn’t bother to inform me about.  Orgus, Bill’s truck-driving uglier son was in the hospital.  And my brother Richard was home in front of the TV pretending to be sick or something.  It was just me, Captain Noah Dettbarn, and an amazing number of unwashed glasses in a business that hardly ever had customers enough to get multiple glasses dirty.

The Captain was busy with his one and only bottle for the day, probably thinking about the South Seas Islands where he used to go by cargo ship.  A place where palm trees swayed in the breeze and tropical girls danced in grass skirts with no tops on.  I envied his memories.  So much more colorful than small-town Iowa in October.  Why did it always seem to be October in Iowa, anyway?  Sweater weather and cold snaps and early frost.

But my regrets and glass-washing were interrupted by the whole gaggle of Norwall Pirates coming into the bar where they really weren’t supposed to be.

Billy was leading the way, followed by that danged Ricky kid.  I knew he would be back.  And Francois and little silent black kid and then the two girls, Mary and Val.

“Ricky wants to try the singing machine,” Billy said.  “Would that be okay? Please?”

I glared at them all.  “What have I got to lose?  The instruction book is on top of it.  And if Ricky breaks it, Ricky’s daddy the cop has to pay for it.”

Ricky grinned at me.  “You know he don’t have no money, right?”

So, like a flock of pigeons or a gaggle of geese they circled around the clunky Japanese squawker box and started chirping and arguing and other things that were hard to ignore.  I couldn’t help but notice how pretty young Valerie really was.  Even in baggy Fall clothes, she had a body and face that were going to take her far in life and going to break more than one heart.  I wondered if she was in any danger from the Teddy Bear Killer that Ugly Bill was going to help capture.  Of course, I knew the pervert only killed boys.  Still, I had to wonder.

“So that’s what you have to do,” Billy was explaining from the manual.  “And now all you have to do is pick one, put the number in, and sing.”

“I try first!” Sang out Ricky.

“Don’t you wanna let the deaf kid sing first?” I asked.  “I have never heard his voice.”

“Uncle Victor, you know he can’t speak except in sign language.”  Billy was glaring back at me.  That skinny little hairball on stick legs was trying to correct my social skills.  Nuts to that.  I ate a few more antacid tablets.

“That would be perfect for me,” I grumbled to myself.

“Here’s the one I want,” Ricky declared, “Steppenwolf, Born to be Wild.”

Billy helped him type in the right series of numbers, then the screeching began.

“Get your motor running…!” he bellowed like a moose during mating season.  “Head out on the highway…”

I regretted not buying earplugs when I bought the damned karaoke thingy.  I regretted it almost as much as not being on a South Sea island with girls in grass skirts and no tops.

“Looking for adventure…!”  I started fixating on counting the bar glasses on the counter behind me, anything but listening to that moose-mating noise pollution.  I also re-stacked the coasters and cleaned the peanut bowls.  I successfully refocused my attention to totally ignore Ricky destroying that song.

“Oh, gawd!  I only get twenty-five percent on that score?  I thought I sang better than that!”

“That was pretty awful, Rick,” Valerie said diplomatically.

Ricky looked angry, but everybody else was nodding agreement.  So, the kid gave up and pressed the microphone into Francois’s hand.  The French boy entered a code surprisingly quickly.

“When you wish upon a star…”

My beloved Jesus!  It was electrifyingly good right from the very first note.

“Makes no difference who you are…”

They were all listening with their mouths open.

“Anything your heart desires… will come to you…”

Even the Captain was listening.  I swear I saw tears in his old red eyes.

“If your heart is in your dreams… no request is too extreme…”

I couldn’t help but think about how depressed this kid had been since I brought him here.  He’d lost his whole family.  He’d been in the back seat of the car with them when they had died.  He’d been sleeping hour after hour at our house because he was too sad to do anything but dream.  And here he was putting his whole soul into a song about dreams and wishes and stars… and I… um… I was about to cry too when he hit that last long beautiful note.

The song ended, and everyone was stunned.  The machine put fireworks on the screen and scored him one hundred percent.

Francois spotlight 2

“Sing it again,” said Valerie, softly.  It was the only thing anyone could say.  And then he sang it again, just as amazingly beautiful as the first time.  And he scored one hundred again.  Everyone was sniffling or openly crying because it was so touching.  Especially pretty little Valerie who had lost her own father only a couple of years ago.  Her cheeks were dripping wet.

“Vicar, you gotta have him sing that again tonight,” said the Captain.  “People have got to hear that.  I mean… gawd dang!  That was amazing!  I gotta bring folks here to hear that.”

And I knew he was right.  That was not something we could afford to keep to ourselves.  That kid had real talent.

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Filed under clowns, humor, music, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

O Mio Babbino Caro

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This beautiful song, an operatic aria by Puccini, is from the comic opera Gianni Schicchi.  But, more important than that is what the song actually means in context.

In the opera, Gianni Schicchi is a con man intent on swindling a family out of their inheritance and knowing all along that he will be destined to go to hell when he dies.  The family is gathered for the reading of the rich man’s will, which is, because this is a comic opera, lost for the time being.  Their main concern is for the money, which rumor has it has all been willed to the church.  But one among them is actually worthy of inheriting the money, Rinuccio the son of the rich man’s cousin.  And, as luck would have it, as it always does in comedies, Rinuccio is the one who, during the manic and desperate search for the will, actually finds it.  And assuming he comes out well in the will, he secures a promise from his mother that if he inherits money, he can marry Schicchi’s beautiful daughter Laurretta whom he truly loves.

But when he reads the will, he is devastated.  The money all goes to a monastery.  He begs Schicchi to help him convince the family that he should marry Laurretta anyway.  This Gianni Schicchi tries and finds it harder than turning water into wine.  So Schicchi is about to give up when Lauretta finally speaks up for herself through the song,

O Mio Babbino Caro (My Beloved Father)

At this point Schicchi is moved by the beautiful song and even more beautiful love his daughter has surprised him with.  He not only agrees to help, but executes a bizarre plan, hiding the rich man’s body and pretending to be him come back to life to rewrite the will.  Now the will favors Rinuccio, and over the protests of the family, he inherits the money and marries his true love, Schicchi’s daughter.  The opera ends with Schicchi singing his case to the audience, telling them in song that going to hell is worth it to aid true love.

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And this, then, is the truth of O Mio Babbino Caro.

Love, expressed through the surprise of hidden talent suddenly revealed, is the most persuasive argument there is.

Whether it is the love in the music suddenly discovered in the overwhelming voice of a little girl like Jackie Evancho or Amira Willighagen, or the late great Maria Callas who also sang the role, or even the singer of Puccini’s greatest work who is yet to perform it and make silly old men like me weep for beauty’s sake, the song is the most persuasive argument there is in favor of true love.

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That is a thing I desperately want to capture in the novel I am writing now, Sing Sad Songs.  Love expressed in music.  Love that reverses loss.  Love that heals all things.  And Love that moves all people.  The love that is masterfully sung in O Mio Babbino Caro.

Francois spotlight

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Filed under art criticism, classical music, daughters, humor, music, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life