Business as Usual – Part 1   Leave a comment

“Keep pressing home on him the ordinariness of things”
    — Screwtape’s advice to his nephew Wormwood

Intended to post this weeks ago, middle of May in fact, talking about one thing and another, the idea being to demonstrate “Business as Usual” is at best, like Purgatory, “a fond thing vainly imagined”*… and I guess it must be true, I got so sidetracked with the vagaries of living as one frequently does, that the post was tossed to one side, as it refused to gel … I wanted to talk about my real work as opposed to what’s supporting me which I’ll allude to as apocryphally as I can, whilst at the same time talk about stuff going on that was/is tangential to my life, but still a profound influence…

I rejoined Twitbook recently, solely to access a number of ex-military support agencies related to a claim I started 2 years ago with Veteran’s Affairs and have procrastinated on ever since… “Met” a number of old friends who I’ve not seen or heard from in about 30 years at least, one of whom was Sarah Jane Smith whom I met in Dr. Faust’s office when we were 16… we were both in the municipal schools’ music program so we sort-of knew each other’s faces.. First girl I ever fell in love with, and quite as Mad as a Hatter… Another friend from Twitbook whom I’ll call Gloin seems quite taken up with the latest smoke-and-mirrors business south of the border and vexed with the possibility that Donald could steal the show from our Hilary… Frankly I hope Donald gets it, for the simple reason it would serve them right.

And it’s not as if whoever is sitting in the White House is going to make any kind of a difference, even if they wanted to. Or that what we think or want here in The Great White North is even as much concern (likely “zero”) to  The Powers That Be as the wishes of the benighted slobs south of the 49th who think they live in the best country on earth, that voting in that election will accomplish something/means anything…


But clearly some people are determined not to get it: ( )

Sharon and Gus

A summary of my life’s experience with Sarah Jane Smith. I’m the one at the extreme left…

As a result of my experience with Sarah Jane Smith (same-old-same-old, really) and the adventures of Citizen Trump, started digging around the Internet a bit, and placed orders for books that aren’t in the library and which I want on my shelves anyway.

And about a week into my embryonic cogitations about all this came the Fort McMurray Fire and great long diatribes from various pundits about how it isn’t Global Warming and it’s all Big Government’s fault..

So trying to put all that together into one post was developing into an incoherent rambling overly-long mishmash… and I was only a quarter done…  Sorta like some of the blogs I  discovered in the process of trying to cobble all this up:

• and

• — Two closely related blogs which take entirely too long to say the world is run by evil people.

• et al in which I learned Simone de Beauvoir ain’t nearly the secular saint some make her out to be, which is fine, far as it goes, but a lot of this thicket of websites seems to devolve around misogyny and also rambles dreadfully.

• which deconstructs a lot of the notions I’ve been operating from for decades..

Ain’t gonna work. Gonna have to be several posts, somewhat linked and about a week, two weeks apart, some may take a lot longer than that, as I attempt to demonstrate, while getting distracted by psychology, psychoanalysis, choice, responsibility, the nature of good and evil, that it is not, and never has been for any of us, business as usual.

Whatever that may be..

*   *   *

The month of May started when my regular repair tech contacted me out of the blue; he’s going into semi-retirement, shutting up his store-front and working out of his house.. With less room, would I be interested in his old junk if I paid the shipping?

Would I be interested?

Thus by the middle of May I found myself possessed of a piccolo, 12 flutes, 4 oboes, 7 clarinets, 1 alto clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 soprano saxophones (one in C), 5 alto saxophones, 1 C melody saxophone, 3 tenor saxes, 1 baritone sax, and an “antique” (far as I can tell it dates from the 1940s) silver euphonium in varying states of decrepitude but many eminently fixable, all waiting to be made pretty again, all looking for new homes…

Now comes the fun part, and one of two major pre-occupiers for the last half of the year: Getting them listed and above all, sold. Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! Go the merry bells of my cash register… hopefully..Alto Clarinet

Shouldn’t look a gift horse in the teeth, but.. An alto clarinet? Why couldn’t it have been a basset horn? Everyone loves a basset horn, some say that’s what Mozart wrote his clarinet concerto for — as opposed to a basset clarinet, which ain’t the same thing at all at all… But no-one I’ve met has anything good to say about the alto clarinet, they don’t play in tune, they don’t sound like much.. What’s the real difference between a basset horn and an alto clarinet, far as I can tell? The former is in F.. The latter is in E♭..

That and the really crappy players from Middle School Band onwards are relegated to the alto clarinet where they can’t cause much harm… thus is born a reputation for poor quality on the part of the instrument…

Whatever.. Clean it up, repad it, see if I can flog it to some unsuspecting soul for $600.. I’m kidding myself; Hu Yu-Win tells me I’ll be lucky to get $300 for it. Case and mouthpiece included. Thus it shall adorn my wall… likely in perpetuity.

Still, a reasonable — a very reasonable — haul; one of the junked tenor saxes turned out to be a Keilwerth “Toneking” — and I found the neck and the two missing keys in the detritus; no case, but no big, get that overhauled and it should (touch wood) sell for something like a decent amount. And there was a Buffet A clarinet in the pile too; might make someone happy once it’s cleaned up and repadded.. And I’ve a decent (by the look of it) plastic oboe that was obviously an intermediate horn.. The tenon on the top joint’s broken, but.. figure out a way to fix it, clean it up,  and I’ve got an outdoor horn. Won’t be able to sell it tho’ — no brand mark on it anywhere and no serial number could I find, nothing but the rubrics “Made in France” on the bell… I think it’s a Paris Selmer…

*   *   *

And after putting away my haul, recording serial numbers and what-all else, all my reflections were put to one side over the next couple of weeks with the joys of working for a living, almost missed a rehearsal due to combat fatigue  …  Peep-Bo of The Three Little Maids called me 15 minutes into same… Ooops. Got there 40 minutes later. How absolutely mortifying. The job that supports me demands working all over the map (literally) any place, any time, any day or night … thus in a half-awake fog early one morning turning on the radio whilst doing escort duty and something about a fire in Ft. McMurray and “serve the bastards right” I thought sourly, remembering my 2 years of purgatory in that isolated Hellhole… but as the Blather on the Corpse continued, I began to gather this was no small bit of overblown hype, but Big News… as I began to sit up and pay attention, learned it was a massive, indeed horrendous conflagration, the forests around Ft. Mc. were going up like so much dry tinder, that the town was being evacuated… clearing all the residents out on that little two-lane highway to Edmonton would be a nightmare… ‘course, that was 2005 and the last time I was there and not nearly long enough ago. Possibly it’s been made a dual highway since then which would help a bit…

And thus you can deduce from my last paragraph, the lucid fugue state that seems to be my day-to-day existence… More hopefully shortly as I endeavor to pound it into readable coherence..

* Thomas Cranmer. And look what happened to him.


Posted June 8, 2016 by Capt. Roy Harkness in Uncategorized

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