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knock your halo all over me
"why'd you change the channel?"
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not just justin:

thanks cyborganic


through this episode:

as our host eats his way through nebraska!

gapes at an octogenarian orchestra!

stutters through a christian grace!

and learns the sordid truth
about the time old people spend alone:

all this awaits you as continues:

my bowel movement rate shoots up to twice a day
i went here to search for bacon and eggs pix and i found this:

Bacon, and eggs?
# 11 in my search!

when i'm in nebraska. it has been the usual orgy of steak, pie, chicken fried steak, and the ideal american breakfast; if there is such a thing, it lives on in the american midwest. we ate at the Range cafe, where one egg is still 60 cents. the first morning i ordered the farmer/rancher special - one 12" pancake, two eggs, bacon sausage or ham, hash browns and toast. it is the most fresh eggs and the best bacon you will ever eat in your life. i've thought the unassailable quality of the bacon was due to freshness, but jim believes that it has more to do with the care given to smoking the meat. the next morning i deviated from the ideal - i had biscuits and gravy with two eggs and toast. still scrumdelicious!

of the 535 towns in Nebraska, 500 of them have populations under 2000 people.

we stayed in Bassett, pop 739, where my grandparents taught school and my mom, uncle and aunt marilyn mostly grew up. There was a motel, without a name. We stayed there, next to the King Cone.

old time delia the occasion was delia's 90th birthday
for three days, we visited my grandparents in the town of Stuart (pop 640), at the Parkside Manor Rest Home. most of the people there sit in wheeled chair contraptions, restrained or supported by nylon straps. mouths agape and eyes closed in the large central room - there's a TV blaring frenetic taco bell cartoons, seemingly aimed at children, and in the other corner, there's a large plexiglass box with beautiful little birdies chirping and fluttering between the two available branches. i think it made amy contemplate her mortality.

friday, they threw their monthly birthday party for everyone born that interval. for entertainment they had the "Golden Ears Kitchen Band from Atkinson." there were kazoos, tambourines and triangles, led by a conductor (a far distant cousin of mine) waving a pasta straining spoon (or later, an accordian).

the dozen or so members of the band, mostly aged females but for one odd middle aged man, they played merry if uneven tunes, over the lively key-tickling of vesta mitchell.

vesta seemed to be a sort of a maverick, often speeding ahead of the band and cracking jokes. instead of her usual piano, she was stuck using a casio type electronic keyboard. somehow she became stuck in percussion mode and i stepped up to help the old ladies figure out the interface. after proving myself useful in that capacity (earning a wink from the elderly ms. mitchell) she asked me to bring the music stand closer to her piano. i wasn't able to shift its position, and she replied, "that's okay, I don't read the music anyways" and winked again.

they shared songs like

  • your cheatin' heart
  • the key is in the mailbox (come on in)
  • down the river of golden dreams
  • old spinning wheel
  • waltz across texas
  • beer barrell polka
  • when the saints go marching in
  • amy really liked the washboard ensemble

    stupid funk band photo it was absolutely astonishing - i was torn between scorning this most purely amateur and prehaps insulting presentation of mismatched misfit musicians creaking out meager tunes, and realizing that it was a perfect energization of the audience through a permeable and informal band comprised of familiars and community members. what did i expect? a professional steve miller cover band to entertain these old folks? maybe in 40 years. but now, these old folks were perfectly enlivened by kazoos and triangles plodding everforward over vesta mitchell's lively but uneven piano.

    gazing over the concert was really the most psychedlic thing - a nattily dressed old gal with a 16 inch beehive hairdo beating on the golden painted washbasin drum or the three ladies playing long horned kazoos festooned with coloured feathers. for some songs ("Waltz Across Texas") they had a pair of elderly ladies in red skirts embraced in a waltz across the front of the band while the rest homies sat slack jawed gazing intently just above the heads of the band or straight into their laps.

    some folks did keep a beat, with their feet! and the setting was so informal, any reaction you had was a part of the performance. it was nice to finally realize that all of my musical taste development aside, i was watching music at it's most basic - using rhythm and melody to encourage participatory good feelings.

    the scene was so surreal, it reminded me i ingested hallucinogenic drugs visiting nebraska. this time i realized drugs was silly - adding a frenzied psychedelic fringe to this scene is like putting salt on mcdonald's french fries. it wasn't just this performance - most of life is strange and beautiful, without the drugs.

    recently a drug education officer read my notes on drugtaking and started up a correspondence between us. perhaps i'll secure her permission to share it here someday.

    i was asked to give grace more than once at a family dinner and i found myself readily invoking the words of my grandparents - in the context of no preparation, having forgotten that i am expected to commune some spirit between us all i invoked the kind heavenly father, even begging him to forgive us our sins and finally save us , these things i asked in jesus name and for his sake (whoa!). saying exactly what grandma and grandpa said to open meals in my yoot made for solid padding on my otherwise loose riffing on family gathering love and blessings in the presence of so many octo and neuvegrenarians.

    jim and lori is his matured smartalec manner, jim asked me if i feel any different now that i've asked forgiveness, and i reflected - that stuff did have some heft to it, more from familiarity, inhabiting the speech of my grandparents, rather then heft from feeling devine presence wiping my slate clean or hoping "he" would

    i've mostly conducted my spirituality as a kind of simple channelling of nearly tangible energy - tangible in those times i feel like john spencer and my blues explodes. that's the peak of any grace, when the love and joy i feel around my propels the platitudes out my mouth with such a seamless and exultant quality, i come to feel that i have almost done justice to the love i feel around me. it's quite an exciting feeling really - i am honoured that my family enjoys it enough to remind me to keep up with it at family occasions. i guess it stems in part from tradition;

    which reminds me, i saw my great-uncle elmer allyn and his wife alma, just celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary, and i said,

    you guys have had a lifelong conversation going!

    she replied
    well now we sit in the living room, each of us has their own easy chair,
    we have the tv on, one person starts falling asleep, then the other one falls asleep.

    he added:
    then one person wakes up, changes the channel, and the other one wakes up and says, "why'd you change the channel?"

    15 august
    8 august

    justin hoo?