Thursday, October 31, 2013


A few weeks back, I’m sitting at the computer in my bedroom, watching it rain through the slats in the window blind on a lazy Saturday evening. Suddenly, I realize its a Buddy Whittington Show tonight up at Broncos.
Allright! Rock and Roll night!
So into the shower I hop. Washwashscrubscrubshampooshampoo when I find that I am out of clean towels!
Oh well, it’s a lovely rainy day, we will just drip dry.

So here I am, flopping around the apartment bare-beamed and buck naked. I go back to the computer, check Facebook, leave one of my famous enlightened well thought out intelligent and funny comments, and then skip into the kitchen for a turkey sandwich. I go back to the computer, in all my full naked glory, eating my sandwich and note, through the slats in the blind, that it is no longer raining. The street lights flicker on as evening falls and people are walking their dogs, and Heather from two doors is taking out her trash, and here comes little Ramon and his buddy Jesse with a football. The weird people across the way are pulling junk off the porch, taking it to their car, and bringing junk from their car and setting it on their porch. Its just what they do, 24 hours a day. I don’t think they ever sleep…
So I stand at the computer, eating my sandwich and surf the net a little, and notice after a time its pitch dark now, and drip has turned to dry. That means its time to get dressed.

Into the closet I go, and whats this? Oh, all my old family photos! So I stand there in the closet, looking at my great Aunt Thelma in her graduation gown, and a few pics of mom and dad at Yellowstone, and here’s my brother, his plebe year at West Point. But what to wear? It took a few moments to decide on my favorite flowerdy shirt from Target, 12.99,  and a pair of jeans.

Now afoot and lighthearted, out the door to my car, and just as I am about to climb in I notice through the blinds in my window that I have left my closet light on.
I can see in my closet. 
Through the blinds.
The angle is perfect, if the idea is for the blinds not to, you know, obstruct ones vision into my apartment.
I can see everything in my bedroom, the book on the desk right next to the computer, the empty milk glass,  my chair is back lit like  the stage at a YES concert, and for the last hour I have been bouncing around my apartment, naked as a Jaybird, and obviously half the apartment complex now knows everything there is to know about me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

"You get Laid Lot in This Business"

My ex-wife and I, we get along pretty good for an old divorced couple. But she likes to remind of the time we worked at the hotel together, and I found her and several waitpersons eating off a Queen Mary loaded up with leftover buffet food. She likes to give me a really withering look and remind me how I came over there and took HER plate from her hands, and dumped it in the trash can and ran everybody off from eating this leftover food, making sure to chastise HER especially the whole time.
All that food was basically destined for the dumpster anyway.

I remind her that it was "the rules" that no one eat off the the Queens, and the reason I picked her out to snatch the plate from was to make sure no one thought I might be playing favorites.
"No one ever did" she assures me, which nowadays cuts to the bone.

Anyway, while I'm telling her this, there is a spot in the back of my mind that cant quite square the fact that I was being an asshole under the guise of just doing my job. I was really kind of going out of my way to be one too. I never saw the Executive Chef run off everyone from perfectly good food.
Shoot no, he had assholes like me to do it for him I guess, but the fact was no one really cared and it happened all the time. Shit, thinking back,it should have been in the policy as part of the benefit package, right between Health Care and "You get Laid Lot in This Business".

At the same time this was happening, all this unauthorized munching going on, the General Manager would be downstairs explaining to the Banquet Chef that the employee meal down in the cafeteria was the most important meal he would prepare that day.

I'm really glad I'm not a Chef anymore. I do miss it so.

Friday, October 18, 2013


“I'll tell you something of the forbidden horrors she led me into - something of the age-old horrors that even now are festering in out-of-the-way corners with a few monstrous priests to keep them alive. Some people know things about the universe that nobody ought to know, and can do things that nobody ought to be able to do.” 
― H.P. LovecraftThe Thing on the Doorstep

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


“These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
The Weight of Glory” CS Lewis

"The only people opposed to escape are the jailers"

C.S. Lewis

Friday, October 11, 2013


The standoff and finger pointing in Washington reminds me of Picasso and his painting “Guernica”. The painting depicted the Nazi bombing of the Spanish city Guernica in Picassos own inimitable style. It was painted in like 1938.
Anyway, as the story goes, when the Nazis raided Picasso's Paris apartment in 1941, they found a copy of the now famous painting.
The SS Officer shook it at Pablo, screaming “Who? Who did this?”
Picasso looked at the officer and said “You. You did this”.
I never quite got Picasso's art, but I get the shit out of that answer.
A man that eloquent deserves another look.

It was later done as a huge Mural.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


When I think of Forrest Hardwood, I think of back in 1973 when I was arranging entertainment for the Valentines Dance at Bedford Methodist Church. Forrest was the manager for the band "Aftermath", which featured Loren  on guitar, Sara  on Keyboards, and John on drums. I cant remember the bass player, because Aftermath seemed to always be looking for a bass player, they even let ME tryout one time for bass player. It didn’t take very long for them to see that I didn’t really know anything about playing the base, but they were pretty good sports about it.

Anyway, I made arrangements with Forrest for Aftermath to be the band at Fellowship Hall on February 14th 1973. Forrest pulled a contract out from under his shirt, and I signed it; One Hundred Dollars for a night of music at Bedford Methodist!

I only knew Forrest from our English Class where he was pretty good at torturing poor old Mrs.  Weathers. Mrs. Weathers was the blue haired relic tht tried to teach English to a bunch of 15 year old hoodlums. Forrest kept her in tears pretty much, and I figured if he was as good at managing a band as he was at being a horrible student, everything was going to be ok.

I met Forrest and Aftermath an hour early so they could get set up. Part of their pay also included Valentines Dinner in Fellowship Hall and after dinner, I followed them outside to “get ready” for the music.
I was shocked to find that “get ready”  meant that Forrest would pull a few pre-rolled joints from his shirt pocket and fire them up, right there on the steps in the back outside of Fellowship Hall, while the Methodist Youth Fellowship grades 7 through 12 waited for the band to take the stage.
I tried to protest.
Forrest, wearing a big floppy hippy hat and wearing Mott the Hoople sunglasses,  assured me  they couldn’t play without it, and that in fact it was in the contract, which he again produced from under his shirt, and showed me the line in Section 5, Part 3, which read:
3)Band gets a toke before the show.  

What could I do? 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


I applied at a Pappadeaux a few years back, the last time we were headed towards an economic collapse.
The manager asked what my qualifications were.
“I was a chef for 25 years” I told him.
He was a fresh faced 26 year old punk as far as I could tell.
“Well, how does that qualify you for being a waiter?” he asked.
“Have you ever wrestled an alligator?” I said.
I got that crazy Jack Nicholson look on my face and told him:
“Well, I have. Wrestled him, killed him, cleaned him, cooked him, and served him up with a glass of white wine and a nice Remoulade.”
His eyes were like saucers.
“OK then...” he said, but they never called me back.

Best interview I ever had.


Monday, October 07, 2013


Our highly skilled and intelligent staff is eagerly waiting to serve you.

Saturday, October 05, 2013


At my grandmothers house in Grandview Texas hung a tapestry I was fascinated with since I was a little boy. I would stand in the hallway, gazing at it, imagining Ali Baba, or the 1001 Nights, or Xanadu, where Kubla  Khan did decree a stately pleasure dome. I always told my grandmother that I wanted it.
Here is a picture of it.

The size of this piece is 60" by 20"
Click on the image for a larger view

She finally gave it to me in the 1980s. Then about the year 2000, it was stolen from me. It had a huge sentimental value and I recently started looking on Ebay to find one to replace it. It took a while, and I got screwed on one attempt (click here) but I found the one pictured above and bought it. I sent the lady I purchased it from a message and told her how pleased I was to have found it and asked if she knew much about it.

She sent a reply back that she didn’t really know much about the piece. Then she says: "I see by your shipping address you live in Texas. I grew up in a little town named Grandview and knew some Renfro's. Are they any relation?"

Man, that just about blew my mind. I told her the tapestry I was buying from her was to replace the missing one that had belonged to my grandmother Renfro, and that yes, it it had to be the very same grandmother Renfro who lived in Grandview Texas.  As the story unfolds all the way, this woman selling me the tapestry actually lived right across the street from them!
How uncanny is that?
It gave me the chills.  

She was a few years older than me. We never crossed paths somehow. Partly because she said her parents always told her to “leave the Renfro’s alone, they are old and don’t want a bunch of kids around”.
So the story of my tapestry appears to have come full circle. Its got to be the greatest EBay story ever told.The one I bought pictured above is in very good condition compared to the one I lost. The colors tend to fade on these old textiles, but the one I bought still looks good.

If you followed the link above, you would know there is a little more to this story. Having bought this tapestry, I now have two of what I guess to be a set of four. Here is the tapestry I bought at an antique store 30 years ago that is part of the overall scene. I just need two more of the larger pieces to have the complete set. When I do, it will be like finding all 4 decoder rings in a box of Lucky Charms. A portal may open, transporting me toXanadu and its pleasure dome of earthly delights, where virgins wait eagerly for my arrival, and I shall feed on honeydew, and drink the milk of paradise, and there will be dancing, and dancing, and dancing.

The size of this piece is 48" by 34"

" A damsel with a dulcimer
   In a vision once I saw:
   It was an Abyssinian maid
   And on her dulcimer she played,
   Singing of Mount Abora.
   Could I revive within me
   Her symphony and song,
   To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."

Friday, October 04, 2013


"We will pass through the American patrols, past their sonar nets, and lay off their largest city, and listen to their rock and roll... while we conduct missile drills"
Captain Ramius, Hunt for Red October

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


The first time I saw her,
Everything in my head went quiet.
All the ticks, all the constantly refreshing images just disappeared.
When you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.

Even in bed, I’m thinking:
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.
Did I lock the doors? Yes.
Did I wash my hands? Yes.

But when I saw her, the only thing I could think about was the hairpin curve of her lips. 
Or the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek—
the eyelash on her cheek.
I knew I had to talk to her.

I asked her out six times in thirty seconds.
She said yes after the third one, but none of them felt right, so I had to keep going.
On our first date, I spent more time organizing my meal by color than I did eating it, or talking to her.
But she loved it.
She loved that I had to kiss her goodbye sixteen times or twenty-four times at different times of the day.
She loved that it took me forever to walk home because there are lots of cracks on our sidewalk.
When we moved in together, she said she felt safe, like no one would ever rob us because I definitely locked the door eighteen times.

I’d always watch her mouth when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked—
when she talked; when she said she loved me, her mouth would curl up at the edges.

At night, she’d lay in bed and watch me turn all the lights off.. And on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off, and on, and off.
She’d close her eyes and imagine that the days and nights were passing in front of her. But then…

She said I was taking up too much of her time.
That I couldn’t kiss her goodbye so much because I was making her late for work.
When she said she loved me, her mouth was a straight line.
When I stopped in front of a crack in the sidewalk, she just kept walking.
And last week she started sleeping at her mother’s place.

She told me that she shouldn’t have let me get so attached to her; that this whole thing was a mistake, but.
How can it be a mistake that I don’t have to wash my hands after I touch her?
Love is not a mistake, and it’s killing me that she can run away from this and I just can’t.

I can’t go out and find someone new because I always think of her.
Usually, when I obsess over things, I see germs sneaking into my skin.
I see myself crushed by an endless succession of cars.
And she was the first beautiful thing I ever got stuck on.

I want to wake up every morning thinking about the way she holds her steering wheel.
How she turns shower knobs like she’s opening a safe.
How she blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out candles—
blows out—

Now, I just think about who else is kissing her.
I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once—he doesn’t care if it’s perfect.
I want her back so bad,
I leave the door unlocked.
I leave the lights on.

OCD, Neil Hilborn