“The Supremes Have A Number One Hit!” Musings From The Cactus Patch


Photo courtesy of Jill Biden

The Supreme Court, also affectionately known as “The Supremes,” has a “number one hit” with their upholding of the second amendment, which is part of our constitution. Six judges voted to uphold and three voted against, which means they are against upholding the constitution, the main document they are supposed to protect and follow. It will be illuminating to see how the court acts on other issues coming next week. I’m anticipating Diana Ross throwing a hissy-fit.

The liberal and radical left will naturally set social media on fire and organize protests peppered with violence. What a glorious sight it will be to see hundreds of little college-educated snowflakes running down the street with their hair ablaze. I can’t wait.

The Biden White House is telling the peasants to purchase a $60,000+ electric vehicle and stop complaining about $5+ a gallon gas.” This comes from Karine Jean-Pierre, the young, highly educated, and perfect black-lesbian-immigrant-press secretary. For a change, she had to answer some tough questions from the reporters and folded like a cheap Walmart lawn chair. Her usual response to anything of substance is; “gaze upon my black lesbian perfection, I am an African goddess.” Yes, she might be all of those, but she is also a total moron. Infrastructure to support electric vehicles is still two to three decades away.

Did anyone notice good ole’ Lester Holt on NBC news last night? He was interviewing someone and he used the term “circle back” with the guest. Come on Lester, you are better than that.

“The Cactus Patch Is On The Road Again”


Photo from Texas Monthly

Since last Sunday, we have been in the high-altitude lovely village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. If it weren’t for visiting Texans, like us, this town wouldn’t exist. Every business owner seems to be an expatriate.

As of April 1st, New Mexico allows recreational sales and use of Marijuana. The evil weed is now legal for anyone 21 years and older. Up until the 1st, it was by medical card only, which could be purchased online for a small price. I had no idea the folks in New Mexico were such potheads. Then I was reminded that everyone that comes to Ruidoso is from Texas, so I guess that makes us cowboys the potheads.

So MoMo, my wife, and I are thinking maybe a gummy or two to help us sleep. Why not? We’ve earned the right by being old and living with constant pain. We stop at one of the five Pot Stores in Ruidoso.

A nice period adobe building hidden among the pines is painted a garish Weed green. Nothing like curb appeal to draw customers in.

The perky little “Pot-arista” led us, through a secret triple bolted door into the main shop where all the goodies are displayed in well-lit sterile display cases. I feel better already knowing that all health regulations are met.

We are the oldest folks in the shop and feel out of place and on the verge of embarrassment. The employees are in their twenties and seem unusually happy. My wife asks our Potarista about a gummy specifically for sleep and relaxation.

“Oh, it all makes you chill and sleep like a baby” she replies. “I take a bit in the morning, then some at noon, then more in the evening, and then a toke around bedtime,” she says.

It’s obvious the girl is stoned all damn day and this is the only job that she can perform while high.

I tell her we are from Texas, we’re old as if she didn’t notice, and we want a gummy to help us with the pain and sleepy time. She brightens up and exclaims, “we have a new gummy, just in from Austin, it’s called Willie Nelsons Head, you’re gonna love it. Willie has the best stuff you know.”

She brings us a small box printed like the Texas flag. Inside are a dozen little gummies shaped like Willie Nelson’s head. The realism is uncanny. The skin tone on the wrinkly face, the pig-tails, and that scallywag glint in the tiny eyes. It’s also a bit creepy. It comes with a CD of his greatest hits, so I’m all in.

Once in the car, I pop in the cd, and ” On The Road Again” plays. We each eat a Willie gummy, put the car in gear, adjust our sunglasses, and head for who knows where.

“Spotify Don’t Need Him Around Anyhow”


“Hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” Lynard Skinnard had it right, and neither does the eastern or the western man. Sliding into rock and roll obscurity is a pitiful state. Joni Mitchell, one of my favorite singers from ” back in the day,” has joined the “has-been” wagon supporting old Neil. She’s been on that trip for a while now. Together, she and Neil can enjoy swooshing downward until they hit the pile of crap at the bottom of the celebrity slide. Eventually, everyone in rock music gets to ride it.

Old Neil was never one of my favorites. He can’t sing for squat and possesses a thirteen-year-old valley girl’s whiney, tinny voice. So, it’s puzzling why Crosby, Stills, and Nash asked him to be in their supergroup. Those three guys could sing like hashed out angels, so Young must have been there for his guitar chops and fancy fringed leather jackets.

Joe Rogan is the new big deal in town. A new age sheriff with lots of tats and a six-gun on each hip. He’s as cool as Clint Eastwood and has the literacy jive of Jack Kerouac. He calls it as it is and doesn’t coat anything with honey.

So, Joe Rogan is the guy that Neil Young and Joni Mitchell always protested against way back in their hippie-dippy days, and Biden, who is the personification of “the man holding them down,” with his kings’ scroll of mandates, is their new golden calf. Go figure that crazy town crap out. They canceled themselves.

What Is Christmas Without Charlie Brown?


Since I don’t subscribe to expensive cable television anymore, and my wimpy HD antenna receives only when it feels like it, I missed the annual telecast of Charlie Browns Christmas show.

Actually, there are only two parts I like; when they are dancing to ” Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi and when Linus recites his Christmas speech under the spotlight. The rest is also fun, but those two scenes make the show. Now I’m bummed because I missed it, and the networks along with Disney, who owns the rights, so they show it once a year and don’t let anyone know when, until the last minute. Sort of like Cong-television. Pop-up entertainment.

“Hey Hey I’m A Monkee”


It appears that Mike Nesmith, formerly of the Monkees, made a more significant impact on our culture than anyone imagined. It’s said that he invented the music video format and country-rock, two massive contributions to our video and audiophile obsessed society. He was a fellow Texan, so he gets a 10 in my book for that alone. Mickey Dolenz, the remaining Monkee, will most likely hang it up and enjoy the renewed interest in his former band and maybe make a few bucks. God Bless ole’ Mike Nesmith, and may he keep playing music in his heavenly venue.

I was a fan of the show; how could a teenager in 1966 not be? Rock music, comedy, and a groundbreaking video music format were the perfect show for that time. I played in a rock band, so I felt the show was made for us musicians. The public had no idea that the boys didn’t play their music. Super Beatle amplifiers, Gretsch guitars, and drums, a Vox Continental organ, top-of-the-line gear, and these guys were as famous as the Fabs or any of the English bands.

I don’t recall when I discovered the band was not a real band, but only four funny guys. It wasn’t a devastating blow, but it pissed me off that the television producers had put one over on young people. Don Kirshner likely leaked the truth when he was fired from the show as a music producer. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote the tunes, and the famous Wrecking Crew provided great music. We were duped, but it was a good duping.

My younger sister was a huge fan, so she and I attended a Monkees live show in 1967. They were playing their own instruments and were rumored to be quite good by then. The show was at Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, Texas, the best venue for a large crowd but terrible acoustics for music. The crowd was teenage or younger boys and girls, their mothers, and guys like me bringing a sibling too young to drive.

The warm-up act, a local band, Kenny And the Kasuals, put on a solid show. The promoters and the Monkees were likely afraid of being outplayed. As it turns out, they were, but the crowd was there to see the Monkees, not a local act, so it went unnoticed.

When the Monkees took the stage, the screaming began. I could hardly hear their first two songs. Mike Nesmith was playing a 12 string Gretsch guitar and couldn’t keep the beast in tune, so like any good musician, he proceeded to tune up for ten minutes. All music stopped. The crowd grew restless, and folks started to leave. No music and three Monkees standing around smiling and waving at the attendees did not make a good show. He got his instrument tuned, and the music proceeded, but the excitement in the room was gone. The band did an encore, performing “Last Train To Clarksville,” and the show ended. It wasn’t the Beatles, but my sister saw the Monkees live, so it was a good night.

A Chicken And 88 Keys


Photo by; Colonel Sanders

Marjorie Mae has a dozen chickens living on her small farm on the outskirts of San Angelo, Texas. Normal Texas folks don’t think much of chickens except when they eat their eggs or have a piece of it fried or baked. Marjorie Mae is different; she treats her chickens like real folks; all of her fowl have first names and are somewhat educated.

Gilda, Ruby, Tootie, Francis, Lucille, Ethel, Jessie, Rea, Poochie, Piddle, Bebe, and Poteet. Call any one of them by their given name, and they come running like a spotted pup. She rather prides herself on being the keeper of educated farm fowl. She isn’t sure about the depth of their education, but they seem smarter than most run-of-the-mill barnyard chickens.

One day, walking by her barn on the way to the chicken coops to gather eggs, she hears piano music. She instantly recognizes the out-of-tune sound of her ancient broken-down upright piano that’s been stored there for ten years. Unfortunately, her husband Wilfred doesn’t play, so she figures a hobo or possibly an escaped felon from the prison farm must be hiding in her barn, twinkling the ivories. She grabs a 20 gauge from the house and marches off to confront the interloper.

As she gets closer, she realizes this is not some rube pecking around on her piano, but an educated musician, like herself, that knows their way around the 88 keys. So she slows her advance to a near stop to listen a bit more. She can’t be sure, but that sounds like Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 in B minor, but the piano is old and out of tune, so it could be anything short of a barn cat walking on the keyboard.

When she reaches the barn door, the music stops, then starts again. The beautiful haunting notes of Moon River float from within the dark depths. Whoever this trespasser is, she wants to meet them and have a bite of lunch at her kitchen table; hobo or felon, she opens the sliding door and enters the barn.

Thirty steps to the center of the barn, behind the frozen-up Ford tractor, is her dust-covered piano. The tarp cover is haphazardly thrown to one side. In the low light of the barn, she can’t see anyone, yet the playing continues. Finally, the culprit is discovered when she gets within five feet of the piano.

Her Sussex Speckled Hen, Rea, is standing on the keyboard, pecking the keys with her beak and both feet. Not the corny huckster trick pecking you see the chicken at the county fair playing on the toy piano for a quarter, but calculated and coordinated movements that are producing beautiful music. The first thing that comes to her mind is, “I’m going to be rich.”

I’m into the second week of my month-long summer visit to my grandparent’s farm in Santa Anna, Texas. It’s a hot night, and everyone is sitting on the covered front porch drinking sweet iced tea and Pearl beer. My two uncles, Jay and Bill, are visiting for a few days from Fort Worth and are putting the finishing touches on a case of beer they bought this morning at the Dino station. July is beer drinking season around here. It’s considered a main food group but must be served iced-cold to gain the nutritional value from the barley and hops.

Bill gets up from his chair and reaches into the Coleman cooler, extracting another Pearl; he uses his feed store church key and a pen knife to pop the cap. Then, looking out over the Santa Anna mountain, he says to no one in particular, ” I heard this morning there’s a piano-playing chicken over by San Angelo.” Uncle Jay, his brother, immediately replies, ” bull-shit, there ain’t no such thing as a piano-playing chicken. I bet you twenty dollars it’s a can of crap.”

The two brothers are the biggest storytellers and liars in Southwest Texas and will bet on anything. The more far-fetched and unbelievable, the better. Uncle Bill says we are leaving for San Angelo in the morning. I’m excited about this one.

After getting directions from the feed store and a man standing on a street corner, we head towards the farm of Miss Marjorie Mae. She is already a local celebrity and is the gossip fodder of the town. We arrive at her farm around 10 AM.

Marjorie answers her screen door, and uncle Jay states that we are here to see the piano-playing chicken. She says, ” it’s ten bucks a carload and I can’t promise you she will be a play’in if there are eggs to lay, she will most likely be doing that first; she’s a chicken you know.”

We are led to the barn, the door is opened, and there, glistening in the sunlight is a hand-polished upright piano. A silver candelabra and swirled glass vase of fresh flowers rest on top. Marjorie collects the ten bucks from uncle Bill. Jay pokes him in the ribs and whispers, “this is all bull-shit so you might as well pay me now. ”

Marjorie emerges from the barn carrying a fat Sussex Speckled Hen. This chicken is downright gorgeous for a barnyard critter. Its feathers are fluffed up into a fuzzball, and its toenails are painted bright red. A gold nametag hangs around the fowl’s neck. I can tell my uncles are duly impressed, as I am.

The hen is placed on the keyboard and immediately launches into a jive-inspired rendition of Glen Miller’s” In The Mood.” Finishing that tune, she plays a classical number and then goes right into ” Moon River, ” closing with the theme from ” A Summer Place.” My uncles are tapping their feet and laughing like deranged mental patients. Finally, the hen hops down from the keyboard and struts back into the barn; the show is over.

Uncle Bill thanks the lady for her hospitality. As we leave, he asks her name. She replies, “Marjorie Mae Mancini.” Bill inquires if the chicken has a name. She says, “oh yes, that’s Hen-Rea Mancini.” I kid you not.

Singers From ABBA Join Nuns For Repentance


The two lead singers from the Swedish pop group ABBA have joined the Order of The Norwiegen Viking Sisterhood.

Maya Sharona, the Europen field reporter for NPR, spoke with the two singers in a Trollandia coffee shop recently.

Agatha Faltskog and Anni Frid Lyngstad, now in their 70s, said they couldn’t deal with the shame any longer because their band alone, was responsible for extending Disco music another 10 years when it should have died a natural death in 1975. They plan to stay at the nunnery for 3 years serving repentance for their sin. The two male members remarked that their former wives looked very hot in their new outfits.

” The Oprah Loves Adele for One Night Only”


Just two girls talking here

My wife and I managed to sit through the Oprah adores Adele show. Nice touch using the observatory as the backdrop. The smoggy sunset never looked more lovely. The beautiful lawless city of Angels twinkling in the valley below. I wonder, did they edit out the sounds of gunshots drifting up from the city proper? Most likely they couldn’t be heard because of Adele’s screeching. The Hollywood celebs attending are numb to such things. I did notice many of the stars were drinking to the point of sloshiness.

Chef Ramsey, the wonder boy of the food world, appeared nervous and looking for a way to exit, he had cooking to do. Many of the anointed ones were in disguise wearing baseball caps, and sunglasses, at night no less. I thought I spied John Lennon on the back row but then realized if he was to come back from the other side, it wouldn’t be for this show.

Did the Hollywood contingent pay a ridiculous amount for a seat, or were they free gratis from Queen Oprah? Was that Snoop Dog coordinating the valet parking?

At one point, when the screeching reached devastating levels, I expected to see the ghost of Pavarotti float onto the stage to give her Adele’ness a singing lesson or three.

The woman possesses a beautiful voice; so why does she feel the need to scream and wail to the point the lyric is lost? Every song is written in a minor key that gives it the feeling of a funeral dirge. Each song sounds the same; sad, sad, and then more sadness.

So she got herself divorced and lost 100 pounds and stopped drinking wine and eating real food while hiding out in one of her many mansions in an attempt to find herself. We’ve all been there. Right?

Is it worth an entire album to tell us about her daily routine, lack of control, and what a good mummy she is? Sounds like Adele is blowing smoke up her own proper British backside.

“Wavey Gravy Bitch Slaps Austin”


Wavey Gravy

The organizers of the SXSW Music Festival thought it would be a great throwback piece of nostalgia to invite the infamous Wavey Gravy of Woodstock fame to speak at one of their Hipster symposiums during festival week.

Mr. Gravy, while giving a book signing at the “University of Woke Texas” bookshop, had a few choice words for his admirers. His new book, ” How I Survived The Brown Acid and Made A Million,” is a New York Times bestseller and attracted a crowd that stretched around the block. Everyone in Austin thinks they are a retro-hippie.

Maya Sharona, head reporter for SXSW News caught up with Wavey as he was returning from the men’s room.

” Mr. Gravey,” she asked, microphone inches from Waveys face, ” can you give your loyal throwback fans in Austin some advice on how to get through the destruction of humanity, the scourge of oil pollution that is changing our climate, killing Polar Bears and Tiddy Wink minnows, turning women into men and men into newts, and is destroying our universe while rendering all highly educated females infertile and unable to return to work because we can’t afford a Prius ?” No shit, she was dead-out serious.

Wavey thought for a moment, took a swig of his Mylanta Antacid Margarita, lit a joint, checked the time on his Rolex, scratched his balls, cleaned his ears with a bandana and spit, hocked a snot ball, farted, and said to Ms. Sharona, ” take the Brown Acid kid, it did wonders for us at Woodstock.”

“Sargent Yorks Lovely Beatnick Bongo Band”


The Bongo Band at The Hip Hereford. Sargent ( Sal ) York in Stripped shirt

In 1957 there was a coffee house and Beatnik hangout in downtown Fort Worth, Texas called “The Hip Hereford,” named in honor of the owner’s prized champion bull.

Sargent ( Salvatore )Tulane York was related to the legendary war hero, Sargent York, on his fathers’ side of the family, thus his naming after his famous cousin.

Growing up on a vast cattle ranch outside of Weatherford Texas, Salvatore wanted one thing; to be a singing cowboy, like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and maybe Tex Ritter.

All-day, every day, from the time he could sit a saddle, Salvatore sat on his shetland pony, “Giblet,” playing a plastic ukulele while singing “Home On The Range” and “Oh Susana.” This behavior went on for years, and his parents finally gave up on the little savant, letting him ride the range singing his two-song songbook to the cattle and the critters. At times, his parents forgot to call him in for supper, or when it rained, and little Salvatore would make camp with the doggies, showing up a few days later as if nothing strange had happened.

When Salvatore turned 17, he began going by his family name of Sargent. It made him feel dignified and a little important. He and a few boys from school formed a little guitar and fiddle band and began playing around Parker County. Chicken fights, church fundraisers, and intermission at the Cowtown Drive Inn were about the only gigs they could get. They knew four songs and were hard to listen to. They called themselves ” The Parker Valley Ranch Boys.” They met Buddy Holley once and asked for his advice. He told them to stay the hell away from him and his Crickets and to get a real job.

The band didn’t work out, so Sargent decided he would try being a Beatnik. It didn’t take talent or an education, both of which he had none of, so he figured he could make it work.

He opened the first Beatnik-type coffee house in Fort Worth near the Majestic Theater. He gave the guitar and fiddle band one more shot but it didn’t fit the atmosphere. He had another idea that would work. Why even have music! Just have a few guys playing bongo drums while people speak or recite poetry. How cool is that? No messy music or instruments, just the gentle beat of the soothing bongo to accentuate the moment.

The picture above is the first incarnation of “Sargent Yorks Lovely Beatnik Bongo Band,” onstage at The Hip Hereford. Sargent York, the band leader, is the dude in the middle wearing the striped shirt.

Word got out about how cool and hip the place was, and soon every performer around wanted to be seen there. Elvis Presley was at Fort Hood serving his time in the Army, so he would come up on Saturday nights and sing a few tunes. Jack Ruby ( yes, that one ) would bring Candy Barr, the famous stripper to do her show, and Lyndon B.Johnson and Lady Bird would stop by to shake a few hands and recite the latest bill he was introducing in the senate. Lady Bird would give gardening advice. Brother Dave Gardner, the famous comedian made a few appearances, as did Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Phylis Diller, Jonny Carson, Alvin, and The Chipmunks, Soupy Sales, and Rabbi Schmolie and his singing dog, Moses.

The place rocked on for another year, then when interest waned, Sargent closed the doors and went to Greenwich Village to become a folk singer.

The rumor that floated around for years, even into the mid-60s, was that some English musician was vacationing in Texas and caught a few acts at the Hip Hereford. He dug the name of the house bongo band and later passed it along to some of his blokes over on Abbey Road. Who knows, it could have happened?

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