Okie-Dokie! There we all were, each of us minding our own business, enjoying the possibility Covid was on its way out and starting to feel just a little less anxiety about the future. But, no! A dumb-ass, with way too much time on his hands, Vladimir Hitler, decided to destroy a neighboring country! You’ve heard about this, right? So here we are, tossed back into the pit of despair, consumed by worry for the people of Ukraine and, generally, pretty pissed-off that our moment of relief was thoroughly gutted. Are you with me? Is this also how you feel? I’m sure it is. Man, what a difference a month makes. You know, all these “smart leaders” want to go backward. That seems to be a common theme with insecure jerks who have autocratic tendencies. They’re nostalgia freaks, trying to restore some lost grandeur. Look at Mussolini. He wanted to “Make Italy Great Again” and return to the days of the mighty Roman Empire, with fearless devoted warriors. Mussolini said he was the only one who could “fix” things. Sound familiar? The same with Hitler. The same with Stalin. The same with Qaddafi. The same with Pol Pot. And the same with Putin; convince the uneducated/ignorant folks, who are easily manipulated, that moving toward the past, rather than the future, is good. You know, if someone starts talking about restoring the values of the good ol’ days, run as fast as you can the other direction. On a positive note, most ego-driven dictators meet disappointing, if not horrifically grisly ends. Dictators and Autocrats suck at history!
To no one’s surprise, I’ve been feeding a beautiful stray/feral Siamese cat behind the Brave Combo World Headquarters in downtown Denton, for about eight months. She’s been showing up almost nightly, around 10 pm, and I always have food for her. And often she will come if I call. But I can’t get within five or six feet of her. She growls and hisses. But she also gets pregnant and she was growing larger by the day. So, the pressure has been on to catch her and, ultimately, have her spayed, of course. I’ve been enticing her inside on occasion and she’s been following my lead, as I’ve moved the food further and further in. So, one night, she was more trusting than usual and I lured her in enough to get behind her and shut the door. This was it! There was now a quite wild, as in “not tame” probably pregnant, cat, who, I was pretty sure, had no idea what a litter box was, trapped in the office.
Now what? She freaked out and I stood there and wondered what the future held. It wasn’t long before I found out. 24 hours later, there were five cats in the office. The cat I trapped, who I call Skitty (Siamese kitty), and her four newborn babies, three Siamese kittens, and one not-quite-developed orange sorta kitten, not moving. It was obviously never alive and one of the living, crying babies we also noticed, was not with the other two. Skitty did not want us there, so we respectfully left her alone to take care of business, realizing she had just given birth before we walked in, but returned shortly to check on things and noticed that lone kitten was still alone and not moving. I quickly scooped it and the dead blob kitty out, without getting slashed, and it was still alive but very cold. So, Jane, my wife, stayed at the office and warmed the kitty while I rushed to Petco for some formula and a nursing bottle. I made it back in record time and the kitty started eating and responding, flexing her paws and becoming more animated. We immediately took her home and set her up in a warm space and started feeding her every couple of hours. She was doing really well. Our hopes were high. Until they weren’t. She only lasted about ten hours, then curled up and died. Just like that. A very sad and dark moment. But we decided Skitty had rejected her for a reason and made our peace with it, figuring she knew more than we did. Shortly after that we went back to the office and heard two kittens crying, which we thought was a good sign, but we could not find Skitty and one of the kittens was wedged in an awkward space and looked as if it could not move. The other was free but crying. After searching the office, we found Skitty under a chair, not concerned about her wailing babies. So we thought this was normal, freed the trapped kitten without touching it and made sure they were both on something soft, turned up the heat, and left, sure that Skitty would get back to them. We stayed away an hour, came back, and found her with the kittens, which was a relief, but one was behind her, while the other was nursing. But they were all together. I think you know where this is going. We left for a short while and when we returned it was clear that Skitty was, indeed, rejecting another one. Again we scooped it up, took it home, tried to get it warm, but it was too late this time. Another perfect-looking Siamese kitten was dead. There was just one left, which seemed to be in very good shape. But, again, on coming back, found that baby by itself, crying its head off and it had worked its way to a cold part of the floor. Without hesitation, we grabbed it and took it home. And right away found someone at the Denton Animal Shelter willing and eager to take it and start what care was needed. We were and are confident the little fighter will make it. Other than that, it’s been a crushing few days. Now it’s usually just me and a wild, scared Skitty in the office. How long does it take for the Stockholm Syndrome to kick in? Of course, she’s also peeing and pooping somewhere and I’m guardedly optimistic she’s using a big nature center I set up for her. I’ve had luck with this before, acclimating an outdoor cat to a littler box, but this is mucho challenging. She hasn’t destroyed much yet, except for everything I had in the big window at the front of the office. She wants out and three of her newborns are now buried in the flowerbed by our catio (cat patio). Okay, enough about this. It’s an active situation, as they say.
The re-release of GIRL, the album we recorded with Tiny Tim, twenty-five years ago is happening on Record Store Day, April 23, 2022. Double album! Pink vinyl! New photos and notes! Very few pressed!
Normal gigs are starting to peek at us from around the corner, so be sure to watch our itinerary often. As well, we might just decide to live-stream something with not much notice, so stay Brave Combo aware.
During the pandemic I spent lots of lonely hours learning how to make primitive videos, mainly with my phone or iMovie, on my desktop. I already had a pretty good camera, so I didn’t have to buy a bunch of new gear, which would have been super hard to find anyway, with the supply chain issues. At the same time, we’ve been slowly wrapping up a whole new album of stuff. Covid put the brakes on it, just as we working on the final few mixes. So, now everything is happening at once and I have made or am making videos for each new song. As well, I have about 25-30 more videos I plan to share with you over the next few months. Two videos a week for however long it takes to post them all and promote them. Let’s call it something like THE BRAVE COMBO 2022 VIDEO SERIES. Or maybe CARL’S BIG WASTE OF TIME. Whatever, working on videos is a good way to relax, while worrying about having a wild animal trapped in my office. Here you go! Enjoy!
1) “Il N’Y A Pas D’Amour Heureux – I was in high school when I first heard this song by the famous French singer, Francois Hardy. She’d covered the original by the composer, Georges Brassens, and had a hit, in Europe, at least. I’ve listened to it ever since. I couldn’t find any English versions, so I wrote my own, from a literal translation. Danny O’Brien (trumpet) and Matt Thompson (drums) also played fabulously, on this recording.
2) “Hungarian Dance #11 by Johannes Brahms – Brahms hung out with Hungarian Gypsies and wrote songs, based on melodies and rhythms he heard them play. One of his most famous compositions, “Hungarian Dance #5,” is well-known to everyone. You’ve heard it a million times. This is a sorta cha-cha rendition. Danny O’Brien, again, contributes some fantastic and haunting trumpet.
That’s all for now, folks. I’m sure you’re relieved. Try to not be depressed about all of the depressing things going on, like the sad/mad cat stuck in my office, and remember that the future has not been written. Now, have a snack!