perfectly normal dream

dreams, funny, Yakima No Comments »

I had a perfectly normal dream just now. Nothing special, unusual or funny about it whatsoever.

* * * * *

I’m my present adult age, and I’m riding my bike around Eisenhower High School in Yakima, looking for either an English teacher or a football coach because I’ve recently enrolled there. My friends B and C are riding around with me. No one seems to be on campus, but there are these two older guys who are trying to get in too, so they join our little group. We see a secretary through the window, but once we realize that there are no faculty members on campus, the two other guys go their separate ways.

B, C and I ride to the parking lot and see a personalized curb that says, “Don ‘Five Pumps’ Smith” (referring to the number of ‘pumps’ before he had an orgasm) on it in red, white and blue.  His last name isn’t really Smith, but I’m obscuring it because it’s someone—not a friend, incidentally—from my real-life high school class.  Anyway, the three of us laugh at it and continue to ride around. Before long, a blue and white Chevrolet four-wheel-drive pickup pulls into the space, and we ride over to investigate. Donnie ‘Smith’ opens the door, jumps out, and reaches back in to turn off the engine.

“We were wondering whose spot that was,” I say. By way of a response, he removes the gas cap and an extremely loud song starts playing. He replaces the gas cap, which stops the music, but the key is still in the ignition, so that makes a different loud noise. He reaches into the truck, removes the keys from the ignition, puts them in his pocket, and turns back to the three of us.

“What’re you guys doing at the school?” he asks.

“I’m enrolling here to play football,” I tell him, which in real life I never did, outside of our neighborhood.

“Can he do it?” Donnie asks my friend J, who suddenly appears behind me.

“I don’t know,” J says.

“How many goals have you scored?” Donnie asks me. I don’t know why he’s suddenly asking me about soccer rather than football, so I don’t say anything. A somewhat awkward silence follows.

“Well,” J pipes up, “he may not be very strong, but he can go up the middle.”

This bizarre answer seems to satisfy Donnie, who asks J, “Yeah, but how many goals has he scored? Hey, you guys want a ride?” We drop our bikes and eagerly jump in the back of his truck. “I heard your CD,” Donnie says, and I didn’t think you guys’d be into this.” He climbs in, starts the truck, and drives away with us in the back. In less than two minutes’ time, we’re out of town and barreling down a steep, wooded fire road at around seventy miles per hour. The truck is so heavy, and the suspension so high, that the ride is completely smooth, no matter what huge rocks or potholes we encounter along the way. A railroad trestle that crosses over the road forces us to stop and get out of the truck, so we climb up the trestle to continue our journey and find out where the tracks lead. We run along the tracks until they meet with the dirt road again, at which point we climb back down and continue on foot, since we ditched the truck and left our bikes.

We jog along the road until we come to a green and white one-story ranch house next to the point at which the road suddenly comes to a dead end. There are no signs or anything, the road just stops. A woman walks out of the house, talking on a land-line phone attached to the end of a very stretched handset cable. She covers the receiver with her hand and yells to us, in a Southern accent, “Y’all had plenty of warning this was a dead end.”

“We didn’t, actually,” I tell her. “Sorry about that.”

“Well, you might as well come in,” she says. “Y’all want something to eat? I was just having dinner.”

Each of the four of us mumbles his own variation on the theme of, “Well, sure, but we don’t want to put you out,” as she leads us, single-file, to the kitchen and says,”Y’all can figure out some way to pay me later.”

We aren’t quite sure what she means by that, and B and I exchange furtive glances after a quick search of our empty pockets. We slowly file into the kitchen, and I say I need to wash my hands. The woman instantly passes me a bottle of dish soap. I squirt some in my hand and pass the bottle back to her. I reach to turn on the faucet and notice that both sinks are full; one with a dirty pan and the other with hot grease a foot deep, in which are cooking a bunch of fried chicken, some potatoes and carrots, and some doughnuts underneath. I turn to B and say, “This is gonna be amazing,” then turn back to the woman and ask, “Wow, you use real oil to deep-fry all this stuff?”

“That’s right,” she replies. We all stare aimlessly at the sink full of food for a while, and that’s when I wake up.

eight seconds

blogging, funny, true, Yakima 1 Comment »

When I was in sixth grade, one of the crazes in that myopic little world was for everyone in the class to have a small stuffed Garfield doll.  Guys had them, girls had them, everybody had them.  We didn’t play with them, per se, the thing was just to have one in your desk.  Incidentally, my mom told me a few months ago that with the release of the new Garfield movie, the little stuffed dolls were becoming a craze with kids again, thirty years later.   I never saw THAT one coming.

A more universal craze of the time was the Rubik’s Cube, a maddening brain teaser of a toy that took the country, and indeed the world, by storm when it was released in 1980.  You know, one of these:

I was hooked on it too, and even bought a book on how to solve it.  You start by solving one side, then another, and it all sort of comes into place that way.  The book was full of these arcane strings of formulas with acronyms like, “F L U2 R2”, which stand for Front, Left, Upper 2, Right 2, etc.  Some people just gave in and pulled their cubes apart in order to ‘solve’ them, and some people pulled the stickers off and moved them into place, which I think would be a prohibitive amount of work, and it would make the stickers look crappy once they were back on.  But I digress.

I learned to solve the Cube in record speed.  When they would have national competitions on TV, like this one, from the show That’s Incredible. . .

. . .I would always beat them ‘by a large margin’, as my brother used to say.  I wondered how they got to be on TV and everything, when it took them an eternity—like forty-five seconds!—to solve it.  My hat’s off to you if you sat through that entire piece of crap video, by the way.  The episode of the show is staggeringly boring, and the video ends before we even get to find out who wins the contest.  What a letdown!

The world record for solving the Cube was seven seconds, and I could only whittle my time down to around eight.  When I was in New Hampshire visiting my grandparents, one of their neighbors, upon meeting the eleven-year-old me, handed over his scrambled Rubik’s Cube and said, “If you can solve this, you’re a better man than I am.”  Little did he know what he was in for.  I whipped it around and handed it back to him a few seconds later, completely solved.  He gave me a stunned look, and was actually a bit angry and petulant about the whole thing—although he tried to hide it—which I found hilarious.  I got the feeling he didn’t particularly care for kids, and he wanted to give me something to keep me occupied and out of the way of the adults.  I had my secret skill, however, which foiled his little plan.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was telling a friend about this story on the phone today and afterwards said, “This is probably a blog story.”

“It’s totally a blog story,” he replied.  “You should call it ‘Eight Seconds.’  You can start it like this.”  He lowered his voice in imitation of a melodramatic TV announcer.  “Eight seconds.  That’s not the length of time I can stay on a bull, or the amount of time before I have an orgasm, that’s how long it took me to solve the Rubik’s Cube.”

We both laughed, and then he had to get off the phone and return to work, as did I.  I liked his suggestion for the name, but I obviously took some liberty with (i.e., completely disregarded) his other suggestions.

In the interest of even more disclosure (is that possible, after proclaiming the last disclosure ‘full’?), unlike my skill at playing Ms. Pac-Man, which hasn’t ever really dwindled over the intervening decades, my ability to solve the Cube has completely evaporated.  Sad, I know, but it’s the kind of skill you have to use, or else you lose.  I might still have my old Cube in a box somewhere at one of my parents’ houses.  Amazing how little of that childhood stuff actually survived, and also amazing are the things we adults WISH had survived.  My brother and I do still have a bunch of our original Star Wars action figures, and my little Yoda one is the mascot for my recording projects, to remind me and the people working with me, “Do, or do not; there is no ‘try.’ ”  More than anything, I wish I had my collection of toy cars.  I have a couple of them, but most of them got given away, or lost, or given to Goodwill, or just. . .vanished.  I also wish I had my collection of cassettes from childhood through high school.  My brother and I made tons of cassettes in which we acted out skits, or made up songs, or just recorded ourselves talking and playing with our friends, being our dorky selves.  Those are my favorites.  I still have a couple of them, but we made tons, and they don’t seem to have survived.  The ones that have survived are worthy of their own separate blog entries.

By way of the television industry calls a ‘teaser,’ I’ll tell you that my favorite of the tapes, which has been safely stored away from almost thirty years until I recently copied it onto my computer and digitized the audio, is entitled, “One in a Million,” and it’s quite possibly the best thing ever.  If my brother will agree to it, I’ll write the story out and post the audio on here.  If he doesn’t, then I’ll have to just tell the story minus the audio, which will still be entertaining.

There is more to come.

best of BFS&T, 2011 edition

beautiful, blogging, funny, sad, true No Comments »

This post has been a long time coming.  I was in Seattle for a week or so over Christmas, and then I was house- and pet-sitting for a couple of friends, which was really fun but those two things kept me away from my computer and blogging possibilities for almost three weeks.  I did manage to capture a funny video of two of the cats doing what is lovingly referred to by their owners as Le Suck Fest.  It starts innocently enough with these two cute sisters grooming each other, but then it quickly escalates into them essentially making out.  I’ve had cats my whole life, and I’ve never seen that before.

Isn’t that adorable and strange?  (Adorable & Strange. . .hmmm.  I think I sense a new blog in my future!)  I wish I had made a video of the cats at feeding time, because the three of them instantaneously transform from lovable balls of fluff into whirling little hurricanes, and that happens at every single meal.  Love ’em.

Anyway, on to the Best Of.  I love doing these each year, since it gives us the chance to revisit some of the things that may have receded into the shadows.  Some of them are a bit on the lengthy side, as you can imagine, so grab a snack and your beverage of choice, and enjoy the most beautiful, the funniest, the saddest, and the truest entries from this past year.


calling all sausage packers

fifth and sixth

mountains and molehills


one in a million

How was YOUR day?

one in a million, part two

How do you say ‘dopamine’ in Chinese?

the pillow incident

Enigma  –  Enigma and Otis  –  Enigma and Fire


Monty Python Day

World Accordion Day

more than just a halo

they’re not for me

a strange evening

homemade Pac-Man

the cloths of heaven


As always, thank you for reading, and for sticking with this crazy blog thing into its fifth year of existence.  There is more to come.










happy birthday

beautiful, blogging, funny, sad, true No Comments »

Well, huzzah.

Beautiful, Funny, Sad & True is celebrating its fifth anniversary today, and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for sticking around and reading.  I realize that updates and stories have been a little sporadic around here lately; I’m working on rectifying that situation.  Five years is a long time to keep a blog.  Actually, including the previous incarnations of BFS&T on Blogger and that other social network, it’s been more like eight years, which is a bit mind-boggling.

Here are some updates I can provide you with, and I’ll divide them into the quadrants that create the name of this place.

beautiful:  My friend and I started writing and recording an album together a year ago, and it’s getting very close to completion.  We’re aiming for a release date this spring.  We’re thrilled to finally have a bassist (who also plays a number of other instruments) on board with us, and an excellent drummer is in the works as well.  Exciting times!

funny:  I could split hairs and wonder if this means funny/strange or funny/ha-ha, but either way I’m at a bit of a loss on this one.   Well, okay, here’s a little joke.

JOHN:  Ask me if I’m a truck.

PAUL:  Are you a truck?

JOHN:  No.

Ha ha.  Don’t worry if you don’t get it; there’s really nothing to get.  It’s just absurdist, and you either like it or you don’t.  I happen to like it.

sad:  Holidays are tough.  I tend to get the blues around this time every year.  It’s not seasonal affect disorder, I just find myself ruminating a lot about the things in my life (or even in myself) that are missing or lacking.  That’s about all I’ll say on the subject here, but I thought I’d let you know that’s what I’m dealing with at the moment.

true:  I went to visit my dad a couple of weeks ago, and came home with two big boxes of LP records.  Almost all of them are classical, and many are the same ones that I grew up listening to.  Some I know by heart, like the Glenn Gould piano recordings and Bach organ recordings, while others are ones I wasn’t familiar with back then but am totally interested in now.  There were a few surprises in there, too, like Johnny Cash’s greatest hits (from the 1960’s! and a couple of Moody Blues and Chet Atkins records that I doubt have ever been listened to.  I certainly don’t remember hearing that stuff in our house when I was growing up.  Certainly am glad to have them now, though.  I’m totally looking forward to plowing through all of them and giving them the attention they deserve.

So that’s what’s happening on this Very Special day.  Here’s to another five years!



the cloths of heaven

funny, music, Yakima No Comments »

When I was in high school, one of my friends had a reputation for being a prankster. Sometimes I found myself guilty by association, and sometimes I was an actual accomplice. He went through a phase during which he liked to find pictures of nude or scantily clad women and post them in friends’ lockers or Pee-Chee folders, so that when the person would open the folder, he’d have a little surprise waiting for him.

He actually got in a bit of trouble when he did that to a girl in our choir. The girl had red hair, you see, and so did the girl in the picture, and the picture was exceptionally lewd, so the girl reported my friend to the teacher. By way of a reprimand, the teacher famously told him, “Now, I like to look at a Playboy every now and then—“, which still makes us laugh, even all these years later. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, my friend thinks that was a cruel thing to have done to the girl, and if he could do things differently, he would. He also has daughters now, and that tends to make people grow up real quick, as well as to make them much more sympathetic to the tribulations that girls often experience in school.

Back then, however, the picture prank was something he did somewhat regularly. Once, he went to the library and found a National Geographic magazine with a story about Tahiti, which was full of half-naked women, so he pulled out a page and kept it for his own nefarious purposes. We sat next to each other in choir class, which meant that we shared a music folder. On that fateful day, when we sang the song “The Cloths of Heaven,” I opened the music and found the picture of a half-naked Tahitian woman. Ha ha. Then, when we finished the song, we put the music and the picture back into the folder, never to be looked at again, since the two of us learned and memorized music faster than most people. I only mention that fact because it’s apropos to the story. We had the song memorized from that day on, so we didn’t use the music anymore.

Three or four months later, our choir drove to a college an hour or so away, in order to participate in a somewhat prestigious regional music festival. I don’t remember much about the trip, to be quite honest with you (it’s been almost twenty-five years now), but I do remember that we did well enough during the afternoon performance to qualify for the finals later that evening, and one of the songs we performed was “The Cloths of Heaven.” At some point between the afternoon show and the finals, a couple of people came up to my friend and me, saying, “That wasn’t funny, you guys,” or, “Not cool.” We were mystified, and had no idea what they were referring to.

That night at the finals, it was our choir’s turn to take the stage. We filed onto the risers in our robes and awaited the announcer, who walked out a moment later. “Interesting story about this next choir,” the announcer told the audience of several hundred. He explained to them that the judges got quite a shock when they opened the music for “The Cloths of Heaven” and found a picture of a half-naked Tahitian woman inside. Our choir director was unaware that this had happened, but he had no doubt about who was to blame for this disgrace. He glared furiously at the two of us as we realized what had happened and tried unsuccessfully to suppress our giggles. Our surprised choirmates turned to each other, saying, “Who did that?” and others turned to us and asked, “Was it you guys?” as the entire audience erupted into laughter.

Our director was really angry, and after our performance he pulled my friend and me aside into a rehearsal room. He was convinced that we had done it on purpose, to prank the festival. We had to explain to him that no, this was just a private thing, and that we hadn’t used the music for months. We’d long since forgotten about the Tahitian. Out of the seventy numbered music folders our choir used, each one of which contained one or two copies of “The Cloths of Heaven” (our folder had two, one for each of us), the teacher’s aide had unluckily grabbed OUR numbered folder, and THAT copy, to turn in to the judges. I don’t think the director believed us at first, but eventually he had to admit that the circumstances were pretty funny, and we got off with a Well, Don’t Do It Again.

Oh, and our choir won the competition, by the way, so there you go. Apparently, sex sells.