December 2005

Matthew Flinders' Cat by Bryce Courtenay. Recommended.
Helped make an otherwise unexceptional week more interesting

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'Tis the season ... and the wretched Earworm knows it all too well. This year's favorites thus far are "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland". Sigh.

A nice Christmas present from the cafe at the Dark Corner, though. Starting with the Christmas weekend, they will be closed until January 4th. After all those luxurious mornings of sleeping late, I'll have to work hard to re-discipline myself on the fourth.

Before, at last, yielding to the returning tradewinds the Kona weather served up a grand finale for its too-long visit. Even a tornado in the south central part of the island. In town we just had a massive two-hour thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning and torrential rain. Benches at the mall which are usually sheltered weren't, and I got fairly damp before finding a dry place. Mostly dry, anyway.

Verdi's Falstaff isn't one of my favorites but I did listen to the broadcast from the Houston Grand Opera on Saturday. And Prairie Home Companion broadcast from New York City with Renée Fleming as a guest. Listened to it twice, on both Saturday and the Sunday repeat. The weaker Public Radio seems to be having transmitter problems because the signal has been faint or impossible, but fortunately that didn't begin until Monday.

It was good to get the foodstamps allowance. I didn't get a letter this year about any increase, didn't keep a close enough watch on the amount carried over (not much) and the amount left after my first purchase from the new largesse. If there was an increase, it wasn't much, which seems odd considering the upcoming four percent SocSec jump.

I'm bored with all the holiday stuff, as usual. Bring on January 2nd.

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All I want is a room somewhere,
far away from the cold night air,
with one enormous chair,
oh, wouldn't it be luverly.


When Lerner and Loewe wrote their wonderful My Fair Lady they probably had no thought in mind of creating an anthem for the homeless, but they surely did it.

Of course, not all homeless folks would go along with the lines
someone's head resting on my knee
warm and tender as he can be

I would. And the owner of the head I have in mind made one of his peculiar, brief visits to the Dark Corner, a post-pipe visit. Had I seen Angelo? No, I hadn't. Had he seen Angelo? No reply, but he was clearly itching to find Angelo, no doubt hoping to share more of the pipe. He kept looking around, as if Angelo might appear. I did mention that I had never seen Angelo there. After no more than fifteen minutes, the Sleeptalker just walked away without saying anything more. Like I said, peculiar.

Another of the long-time characters of the Tales has vanished. The Queen Mum hasn't been seen at the mall for a week now. Well, she was surely in her seventies and the homeless life isn't a very sound blueprint for longevity, so I wouldn't be surprised if she is gone for good. I do miss seeing her in the early morning hours, though.

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Last day of school, 2005. Mark, the new Bad Boy, came to bid me happy holidays and a temporary farewell the day before. He's flying off to spend the winter break with his family in that difficult-to-spell state known as CT.

Actually, Mark probably isn't a "Bad Boy" at all, but any young man who spends time with me earns the badge. He's working on his doctorate at UH-Manoa so is older than I at first guessed, must be early twenties. Very handsome and interestingly intelligent. He initially approached me at my early morning reading spot, asked to buy a cigarette. Of course, I gave him one and declined any payment. He sat with me as he smoked, which surprised me. And it became a routine, once or twice a week.

The holidays and the winter break will mean a severe reduction in online time, three weekends at least with none at all. I'll have to increase my search for reading material.

Although the official beginning to winter is still a few days away, it has arrived and the temperature dropped sharply. People in the early morning at the mall were complaining about how cold it was. I'll have to switch to the layered look next week, with two tee shirts, plus my sleeping shirt which even now is staying on until mid-morning and going back on just before sunset. Hardly a nuisance considering what poor Felix is donning to cope with New Hampshire winter. His most recent letter telling me what he wears in bed to stay warm made me feel burdened.

Another Bad Boy, the Cherub, appeared via email. A totally enigmatic, brief one which I confess made no sense to me at all. It was good to hear from him, though. He's as surreal as the Dutchman.

In this difficult financial time, it was a welcome relief to see the supermarket offer Steel Reserve at a special price of $2.34. I think it might be a mistake, because the price label says $3.25. I've no intention of pointing out the discrepancy. On the other hand, Long's jumped its price from $2.76 to $4.22!! They lost a beer customer.

A letter from the social worker informed me that foodstamps had indeed not been increased this year, will go down from $77 to $70 in January due to the increase in SocSec. A few less milk+pie breakfasts.

Deck the halls ....

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It's worse than I'd anticipated. On the two holiday weekends, Hamilton will be closed Sat-Sun-Mon and on Sat-Sun the following weekend. Oh well, life goes on without online life. Crank up the book budget.

A fine performance of Rigoletto opened the 75th anniversary season of broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. Seventy-five years, and I've been a steady listener for more than fifty except for the times when I was out of the country and (at least then) the broadcasts weren't available. I don't, alas, have high hopes for next Saturday and the premiere of the new opera based on Dreiser's An American Tragedy. I've not yet heard a 21st century opera worth listening to.

The mall has been an utter madhouse. Fortunately, the sunset area is on the fringe and although more active than usual is still relatively peaceful compared to the rest of the place. And most fortunately, the canned music doesn't extend to that area. If it did, I'd have to find a new sunset spot.

It's going to close completely on Christmas Day including, no doubt, the toilets. Let us be grateful for the university campus. Helen R did suggest going to the movies, taking advantage of their toilets, etc. She, alas, is flying home to Kauai for the holiday, so I'd be on my own. Unless, of course, a certain person makes an appearance before then and can be invited.

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Oh, I am enjoying these lazy mornings, not having to worry about vacating my nest by 4:30.

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Goodbye, 2005.

If you are remembered at all, it will be for war and natural disasters.

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january 2006
the tales