Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mysteries of the Velvet Fog

Do you have a question that you wish you could go back in time and ask a relative who has passed away? Perhaps you had an Uncle who Marched on Washington or a Mother who gave a child up for a adoption prior to your birth. But due to missed opportunities, time, and the inadequacy of words to phrase the simple question of "Why?" we never found out the answer to important choices in our loved one's lives.

My mother, her sister (my aunt), and I have all been plagued by one of those questions since the passing of my grandfather nearly fifteen years ago. 

My grandfather was a person who never spoke an ill word about any person. I remember him as being having a smile presented to any person from any walk of life. But there was one person that he hated more than anyone we could ever imagine, a man that raised a uniquely high level of bile, piss, and foam in his mouth and we never found out why.

My Grandpa hated the "Velvet Fog," Mel Tormé.

My mother and I learned of this loathing about year prior to my Grandfather's death. We were watching the news in from my Grandpa's upstate New York apartment when it was announced that Tormé would be doing a series of shows in New York City. Upon hearing this announcement, Grandpa started grumbling and then shouted, "God I hate that goddamn son of a bitch." My mother and I too shocked to respond started laughing.

Of course we didn't think to ask the question "Why?" And to this day, we regret that decision.
As a kid growing up in the 80s, I knew of Mel Torme as a running gag from Night Court, single-handedly the best slap-stick-court-room-drama to air on television. 

Watching Night Court, I learned the importance of the Judicial Branch of Government, Justice Never sleeps (apparently court continues 24-hours-a-day in New York City), and that 509-B involves explosion of poultry...

Enough about Night Court...

To this day my impression of Mel Tormé is a mixed bag of comic relief with a great singing voice who my Grandpa (whom I loved dearly) hates more than satan himself.

So I speculate…

I like to imagine that sometime during the 1950s, somewhere in the Catskills, my Grandfather is out driving along the rode when a New York City hot shot singer shows up speeding down the road in a fancy car and tries to race. The Racer is Tormé and he's a bastard.


My Grandfather ventures into the city on one of the few rare jaunts that he takes there. Granted, he's a blue collar worker and going to the city is a big expense. While there he walks into a bar and meets some young snob--turns out to be…Tormé and he's a real bastard.


Well basically all the stories end with Tormé being not the comic relief, the smooth crooner, or anything else, he's just some SOB bastard that my grandfather described in that one blurt of emotions.

In my mind I picture a fight. I picture my grandfather having to be pulled off of Tormé--both men going there separate ways, vowing never to speak of the event again

But this is mere speculation.

And I am always wondering why Tormé is a son of a bitch.

Monday, June 10, 2013


So the Wonderful World of Clutter has no real shame any more…If it had shame, or dignity, it probably disappeared long, long ago when it decided to focus on taxidermy, strange pictures of museum exhibits, and sex education manuals from ages ago. Or when it was recently criticized for making fun of a mural that looked like Michael Jackson…or making fun of Esperanto Speakers…or Furries…or…well whatever comes to mind.  

Today, the WWoC decided to take a view of the Men of Billings through the skewed lens of Admittedly, being an individual with a profile on this site, it was a comparison of the competition. Was I worthy competitor in the ever changing landscape of…Ahem…insert onomatopoetic interlude…Bababbuuuuummmmm….ONLINE DATING???


For this regions standards…perhaps not.  As I measured up to the local men of Billings, I realize I lack certain Key Words to have a manly Billings profile. Such words include:
Laid Back; Fishing; Hunting; Country; Business; Video Games

For example quoting some of the local men found online without revealing user names we find gems like this:

I spend a lot of time thinking about Why lyfe can be so easy at times but then again can be some of the hardest things we deal wit

Other people have very specific requests they seek:

You should message me if The last one is kind of limiting... I'd like to find a nymphomaniac supermodel with slight sadomasicistic tendencies.

The men here have many special talents:

I’m really good at Im really good at procastenating, kissin, teasing, back massages , reading aloud, watching tv , problem solving, tantlizing foreplay ohh this can go on forever.

These gents however are quite honest:

The most private thing I’m willing to admit i have a high sex drive. its been a reason for past relationships ending. i want it to be known that though i do have a high sex drive the relationship will not just be about sex. if i tell a woman i love her i truly mean it

Needless to say, the online dating scene, with myself included, leaves a great deal to be desired in this town. I include myself, because I find I am no more sought than the numerous men who pose shirtless in front of bathroom mirrors, taking pictures with their camera phones as they stand in vulnerable to the world illuminated with the warm glow of 60 watt lights. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

On Naming a Cat "John Day"

As an Oregonian, certain town names ring out as specifically distinctive to our landscape and history. John Day is one of those places.

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This central Oregon town known for Fossil Beds, was named after a fur trapper who spanned the continent as part of the Astor Party. He was once  a contemporary of Daniel Boone and noted as a vital and healthy man…that is until his venture to Oregon. Legend has it that John Day went insane during the trip.

While he was an experienced trapper, the people he travelled with had no clue of what they were doing. The party ran out of food, members drowned in rivers, basically everything that could go wrong on a venture to Astoria, the eastern outpost of the era, could go wrong. This apparently drove him over the edge. He attempted suicide, became violently mentally unstable, was given provisions by the Native Americans of the area to survive. Some accounts say he was robbed by the natives of everything. He even wrecked his canoes and lost all his gear. Basically, he had a really bad time.

Needless to say, his hard luck exploits became legend and so they named a town and a river after this failed adventurer.

He ranks up there with the likes of  other icons of the Pacific Northwest such as David Douglass, famous horticulturalist of whom we named the Douglass fir, who died in Hawai'i after falling into a pit trap and was crushed by a bull. Or maybe Tanya Harding…Who is still alive but had a failed venture in figure skating due to an inept husband.

Oregon is filled with lovable losers.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Found Objects: Seeing Eye Cat

Within my new home was a box of old magazine and newspaper clippings. Basically collage fodder for future craft projects. But this one clipping caught my attention.

Needless to say, it was a ridiculously cute story and one that verifies that the "cat meme" stretches long before the advent of the internet.

Oh, and I will finally be getting a kitten of my own. I'm thinking of naming him or her Melville. After one of Billings more colorful historical figures.

More ephemera to come in the next few days...

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Monday, May 6, 2013

As I Prepare for More Regular Posts...

Just a simple word of advice from out friendly vintage advertisers of eons ago…

Yes, the Wonderful World of Clutter will be back up in running soon and in full swing. But in the meantime, don't you wish we had more advertisements like this in our magazines?

So much fun...
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Return of the Wonderful World of Clutter! Announcements, Questions, and Seafood Lovers in YOU!

Dear Readers,

For some unforeseen circumstances, the Wonderful World of Clutter had been on an extremely long hiatus for the past six months. But that is hopefully ending now. Why now? Well, why not now.

Let's start a bulleted list:

  • The Wonderful World of Clutter now has a new home in Billings, Montana. And before you gasp, I am here to say that BILLINGS ROCKS!!! Yes, Rimrocks in fact. But that is a different story. I will present a sub-bulletted list of why Billings is Awesome:
    • It has a candy store that sells Moxie, which even in Portland is hard to find.
    • People are friendlier than in Bozeman.
    • There is an Indian Restaurant with a lunch buffet.
    • The next major point deserves its own category so I will give a bullet to it all of its own.
  • Billings has a RED LOBSTER! That's right, ALL YOU CAN EAT SHRIMPS BABY. You see, I have this plan…When I meet that nice left-leaning rancher's daughter out here in Montana, I'm gonna take her to Red Lobster and buy her a Mai Tai and tell her she can have all the shrimps she wants. Because that's how you treat the ladies nice in Billings…with endless shrimps. I've eaten at this Red Lobster and the cheesy biscuits are damned awesome and when you've spent ten hours driving through the state, which is what you end up doing in Montana on occasion, you want to treat yourself to some fine fresh-frozen seafood. Bozeman doesn't have a Red Lobster…And it breaks my heart that Missoula doesn't have one. But because Billings does, BILLINGS ROCKS!
  • Nightly Karaoke and the Crystal…BILLINGS ROCKS.
  • Someplace in Billings is payed me to move here…BILLINGS Definitely ROCKS.
So there is my short list of why Billings Montana is awesome. I still love Missoula, and it will be the home away from home in this state. And my heart will always yearn to be back in PDX. But right now, I am discovering the Billings scene. 

So onto blog news. I doubt many people read this thing any more, but I am planning a new video portion of the Wonderful World of Clutter entitled, "Adequate Answers for Everyday Questions." This relies on you the reader to contribute. If you have a common question that no one can answer, I want to help. Feel free to post your questions to this blog, and I will try to come up with some type of adequate response. By no means to I guarantee accuracy, I just guarantee adequacy. 

I will try to respond within a few days of questions being received. 

The Wonderful World of Clutter appreciates your patronage…

Thank you for continuing to read.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seal Rock You Like A Hurricane.

One of my absolute road signs in Oregon is in the coastal town of Seal Rock. With little more to say about it I present a picture of me standing in front of that sign...Please note, I have been sick and also refuse to look amused in photographs.