Category: Holiday

Foxy Fawkes

Ah…Springtide. Tis April 13 and the birthday of England’s infamous would-be assassin, Guy Fawkes. That is spelled with an “awkes” because nothing can ever be easy around here. Happy Birthday, Guy! What should we do to celebrate? Shall we blow something up with gunpowder or is that too cliche?

Sometimes following tradition is the only thing one can do. You can’t always think up something exciting and new. It is a lot easier putting up a Christmas tree than researching an ancient Winter festival of pagan culture and convincing the family to sacrifice one of your own before a roaring bonfire in order to please the Gods of Hunt and Harvest.

My mother once tried roast goose instead of the regular Butterball for Christmas dinner. Waterfowl produces so much more fat, what a mess, and all dark meat, to boot. So much for a Boxing Day turkey sandwich. See what happens when established practice unravels?

Murdering your fellow countrymen as a means of social change is not really a break with English tradition but you could argue that the birthday boy’s plan was a radical departure from quietly poisoning your first cousin to advance your career.

What do you suppose Mr. Fawkes would have done had he been successful and the royal family had all gone up in smoke, scraps and jewelry? Being British, he likely would have carried on in the same way England had done for years prior since “carrying on” is what the Brits do and that was all or most of what Fawkes knew.

I am speculating, of course, my knowledge of British history is scant and I hate doing research, but I would be willing to bet Guy would have installed himself as some sort of “New” king. Then there would have been a civil war between Fawkes’ Catholics and the Protestants loyal to the old crown; he couldn’t have executed all them with one blast.

And there you have it: a break with tradition would have led to calamity that served as an impetus to return to tradition. That is, if Guy Fawkes had succeeded. Well, happy birthday to you old boy. At least you gave it a shot. Most people do not. If it is any consolation, remember the British still celebrate Guy Fawkes Night every November because it is a tradition and no one celebrates King James I day.

Leaf Blowers

The Season’s visage wears a scowl. 

Cold smoke moves on specter toes. 

Join the lonely wind in howl,

Chant the words in Winter’s prose.

It has been a long, cold winter but the worst has passed. February brings milder temperatures to South Texas. The only sign of the old frigid man is yellow grass, some bare tree branches and pruned crape myrtles. A sense of season is easily confused. Landscapes surrounding office buildings and cul de sacs alike are planted with invasive, perennials of implacable green. The display of chocolate hearts is replaced by chocolate rabbits beside a sale for sunscreen. The new line of patio furniture relaxes in cool umbrella shade, inviting a shopper to sit and consider the sale price on the laminated tag. Everyone should own a grill at least once in their life but no one really needs a leaf blower. Did Washington and Lincoln believe in one nation under God with liberty and justice and 30% off for all? Wait! Don’t buy that, put it back on the shelf. Save your money for a weekend getaway to Port Aransas. The seashore is enticing but beware the Ides of March and the college students who storm the beach in amphibious assaults like drunken Marines. Spring loves to tease but she is just around the corner. Open a bottle of wine and listen to Carmina Burana. You may have to turn the stereo up loud to be heard above the mating call of leaf blowers.

T for Texas

McGovern Centennial Gardens

I have moved to Texas, Houston, to be exact. After over 20 years in NYC I finally threw a dart at a map and headed west. “I loved the crime and the traffic but it just was NOT hot and humid enough,” as that old bon mot goes. The time was right to escape. The events of 2020 destroyed everything I liked about the city, I started feeling less and less safe and I didn’t want to be trapped under the rubble when the metropolis finally collapsed under its own weight.

In other news, I have a car for the first time in over 20 years, a condition that will only add to Houston’s vehicular congestion and another …er..um… imperfect motorist to a population already replete with drivers on the offensive. (At least when they aren’t busy backing into a parking spot – a peculiar Houston idiosyncrasy)

Galveston Beach

Things are refreshingly different here. For instance, the weather is mild. As of this post a good old fashioned nor’easter is dumping two feet of snow on my old home. Snow is only fun once a year, the first fall of the season, and then only if you are inside with no where to be and a drink in your hand. It is isn’t quite mild enough to perform my famous cannonball off the swimming pool high dive, however, although the clear blue of her undulating skin beckons. This amenity is another first. Access to a pool in Gotham required a steep membership fee and 6 a.m. lane reservations. Yawn.

It was not warm enough over the extended weekend in January to go plunging into the Gulf of Mexico but walks on Galveston beach and delicious Pier Beer in the warm sunshine was pleasant, indeed. Having this new car sure is handy for getting away for the weekend. Corpus Christi and San Antonio are next on the road trip list and beloved Lafayette and New Orleans have never been more accessible.

I am going to miss my friends. I am going to miss walking home from my favorite bars. I am going to miss my band Dixie Automatic. Yes, ironically enough I was in a New York band called Dixie Automatic. It was a good group and we always had a lot of fun together playing Country music for Yankee hipsters.

Below is a sample from a live show in NYC before they boarded the place up.

Honeymoon by Dixie Automatic

Two Little Devils

King Truelove Christmas Album

For several years my wife and I released a Christmas video for family and friends who are scattered all over the globe. I wrote the music for each and recorded the music in my home studio. We also filmed and produced the videos in our tiny apartment or on location in the wild streets of Queens.

“Two Little Devils at Christmas” is an exception. Way back in 2014 we wanted to do something slick so we hired a professional band, went into an actual recording studio and called in a film crew.

A lot of folks were disappointed that we didn’t have puppets but I was happy with the results. For the first time I didn’t have to worry about production, creating a blackout or being arrested for not having a permit.

We will return to the DYI format in 2021 if Christmas doesn’t get canceled but for now please enjoy living in the past with me for Auld Lang Syne. I’m the cute one playing the bass.