Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Michael Levy: The Lyre of Hermes


I've spent a lot of time lately posting the musings of my brother, Michael Thiele, I've neglected the doings of Michael Levy, promoter of ancient music and virtuoso of the ancient lyre. Here is a recent announcement from Michael Levy:


New album out:

https://open.spotify.com/album/75Cg2jZCI0iCM7AseeHx1B?si=r3ujnd4bSr2K36HA7sHKxA

Originally released as a short EP length album in 2015, in August 2023, I decided to re-record in higher quality, extended length arrangements of all of the original tracks & 4 new additional tracks for this full LP album length re-release. 

 

As well as Spotify, the album can also be streamed on Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon & a host of other major digital music platforms. 

Studio quality audio, complete with a PDF booklet of the detailed album notes is available from Bandcamp:

https://michaellevy.bandcamp.com/album/the-lyre-of-hermes

  

Michael Levy: Amen Dunes


I've spent a lot of time lately posting the musings of my brother, Michael Thiele, I've neglected the doings of Michael Levy, promoter of ancient music and virtuoso of the ancient lyre. Here is a recent announcement from Michael Levy:

I am really excited to announce that Damon McMahon of Amen Dunes, is featuring my lyre music in his new album! 

Amen Dunes is the musical project formed by American singer-songwriter and musician Damon McMahon in 2006. 


A new recording of my original viral YouTube arrangement for solo lyre of the Bronze Age Hurrian Hymn Text H6 (circa 1,400 BCE - the oldest notated melody in history!) will feature in a track in the new album "Death Jokes" by Amen Dunes - out on 10th May!! 


I was contacted by Damon McMahon's record company back in 2022 - who requested a bespoke re-recording, as near as possible to the audio from my original, 'live from my spare room' (10,000,000 plus views!) version of my 2008 YouTube arrangement of the 3,400 year old Hurrian Hymn.

The dreamy mood Damon McMahon manages to conjure with his music serendipitously matches my own solo lyre recording projects - never having even heard of Amen Dunes here in the UK, I have since fallen in love with the wonderfully experimental, fuzzy textures he uses as a the background layers to his songs, many of which all feature beautifully elegant melodic lines & many of which are also modal in character.

As far I so far know, the clip of my lyre music will come at the tail end or last song of this album of original songs by Damon McMahon, who releases contemporary music under Amen Dunes. No matter how brief the loop of my lyre music in whatever specific track it eventually features on Damon's new album, this amazing cross-over of musical genres the first real small step I have come in attaining my dream, of making the lyre 'mainstream'!


Michael Levy: Musica Lyra


I've spent a lot of time lately posting the musings of my brother, Michael Thiele, I've neglected the doings of Michael Levy, promoter of ancient music and virtuoso of the ancient lyre. Here is a recent announcement from Michael Levy:

Now available from all major digital music platforms, I am delighted to announce the release on all the usual digital music platforms today of my antidote to the chaos of the modern world. “Música Lyra" - an ancient Roman-themed album inspired by themes from stoic philosophy. Here is Spotify album link:

https://spotify.link/djKwY2RXTBb

The album explores through music, the turbulent emotions of unresolved desires, grief, regrets, longings & sorrows which can cloud the positivity of life, which though endurance of the human spirit & the focus of stoic meditation, can be overcome, until the ultimate stoic ideal of “Amor Fati” - developing a love of fate, no matter what obstacles we may encounter during the brief enigma of our conscious experience of life.

As I have no record company, I literally solely rely on the support of my much valued listeners in order to ‘get my music out there’ to new sets of potentially receptive  ears - if any of you are able to kindly share news of the album's release across social media & include tracks in new Spotify playlists & post album reviews on platforms such as iTunes or Amazon, this would be greatly appreciated.

As a taster of the album, please find attached track 2, ‘Pluviam Frigus (Cold Rain)' - enjoy!

 

Monday, July 15, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Silverthorne


I haven't had much time to do blog writing these days, as anyone who wanders onto this page will quickly notice. My brother Michael is a heck of a lot more prolific with the writing these days than I am. He travels all over the country selling hardwood drums and playable furniture at high-end art fairs. He's got stuff to talk about, so he's up and I'm not. Maybe that's for the best? Anyway, here's the newest from Michael Thiele, Hardwood Music craftsman. 


Sunday, July 14
Silverthorne

This morning I sauntered into a bagel shop with onyx counters. Onyx! I wondered what the bagel was going to set me back. I looked at the counter, glasslike and hard. Two centimeters (3/4” or so), not three - not the thick stuff. I rapped my knuckle on it to see if it rang. It did. Something in me flipped. I was holding my ceramic coffee cup from the Museum of the American Arts And Crafts Movement, which I visited this winter in St Petersburg, Florida. Don’t ask why but I suddenly wondered if I could set the cup on this counter so gently that it would make no audible sound. I tried.

My first and second and third attempts failed in different degrees. I stood back and thought about it. Seemed like I needed to make perfect slow motion contact to pull it off. I had already established two rules: No part of my hand could come into contact with the counter first, thus deadening the sound. Also, I couldn’t touch just the edge of the cup first and then lay the rest of it down. Same deal - deadens the sound. Some random lady was walking in the door in that moment. She apparently spotted me, now stooping down to see the contact points at eye level.

None of this was any of her business, of course, but she walked over and engaged.

“What are you doing.” Her words actually stunned my private moment. I hesitated, rising from my task.

“Who wants to know?” I couldn’t think of anything else to say. She laughed.

“It’s just that that’s such a strange thing to see.” 

“Are you here for a bagel?” Thought I could change the focus.

“I am. Just tell me what you’re up to.” I told her. She gave me the strangest look apparently trying to put some version of two and two together then shook her head slightly, side to side, and walked off. Not another word. No, “thanks for the heads up.” Thankfully.

Are no moments private anymore?


Later…..

 

 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Grand junction, Just Now


I haven't had much time to do blog writing these days, as anyone who wanders onto this page will quickly notice. My brother Michael is a heck of a lot more prolific with the writing these days than I am. He travels all over the country selling hardwood drums and playable furniture at high-end art fairs. He's got stuff to talk about, so he's up and I'm not. Maybe that's for the best? Anyway, here's the newest from Michael Thiele, Hardwood Music craftsman.


July 10 
Grand Junction
Just now……..

She has an anteater’s snout. I haven’t spotted her tongue. Don’t want to. I am behind her at the gas pumps at Sam’s Club. Waiting. And, obviously, watching. How could I not, I ask. That nose may be blocking something I need to see. I’ll never know. It is not one fashioned by Geppetto and she is no marionette. Seems to be singing to herself. Must, I think, be nice. The nose is much more Cyrrano-esque, from the original drawing, but sans the bump and downturn mid-schnozz. 

I’m not making fun of this lady, trust me. I’ve just never seen a nose like that on a human. Seen some odd ones for sure. I used to bowl with a guy who had cauliflower nose - lumpy as hell and red and large. Fit his head well. Large and blocky itself and topped off with marine-cut red hair. I have no idea if he’s still among the living. He was a serious drinker. Not beer. Hard stuff. 

Another friend, an Italian named Sal, was cultivating a rainforest of boar bristle in his nostrils and was having to constantly clip it. Rubbed it frequently for some reason. Super nice guy. Maybe the thing just tickled or itched all the time. Didn’t feel bad for him, though. He was far more the ladies’ man than I. Maybe he was snorting lines of freeze dried Rogaine. Whatever………

So this lady in front of me at the pumps………..nice lips but I can’t see how one would go about kissing them without suffering an eye bruise. Perpendicular, I guess, but that just seems weird. See how this is affecting me? Why the hell do I care about these things? There are eight islands at this station. Eight. The odds that I’d even be having this conversation with myself are only 12 1/2 percent. Think I’ll just pretend I was in a different line.

Later

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Grand Junction Food Poisoning



I haven't had much time to do blog writing these days, as anyone who wanders onto this page will quickly notice. My brother Michael is a heck of a lot more prolific with the writing these days than I am. He travels all over the country selling hardwood drums and playable furniture at high-end art fairs. He's got stuff to talk about, so he's up and I'm not. Maybe that's for the best? Anyway, here's the newest from Michael Thiele, Hardwood Music craftsman.


July 9
Grand Junction
Food Poisoning


I am perplexed
Who got to my chicken
And made it suck?
Who got to my belly
And turned it to funk?

Minding my own business
Like I always do
Taking a little break between shows
Shining up my sneakers
For the upcoming event

The chicken salad looked good
Just sitting there and calling my name
“Psst,” it said. Hey you……
Come over here and bite me”
Shoulda known better
Who talks like that?

Puke sucks
Especially on a Monday
Most other days too
And why do they call it “The Runs.”
We all know what it is

So I’m looking for the witch doctor
The guy with the voodoo pins
Who stuck em in my salad doll
And turned my evening all fowl
He better watch out

I’m not vindictive
I don’t get mad and I don’t get even
But true as hell
Like an oil soaked two by four
Guaranteed not to bend, crack
Peel, splinter or warp
I will balance this, trust me
Someone will pay

Better today……

  

Friday, June 28, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Stinkbug



Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts. 


June 27
Stinkbug

Dude, there you are again
In my shop, my studio
I thought we talked about this
I told you to move on
Even worked it out in your words
Now you don’t speak buglish anymore?

You thought I wouldn’t notice?
Think again, butthead
I saw your tracks in the sawdust
Followed them, so don’t look surprised
For an interloper you lack the sneak
You really think you can thumb your nose at me?

The other day I took my air hose, remember?
And launched you through the air
Beyond the van and onto the gravel
You did that flip thing 
And marched right back
You are a glutton for punishment 

When I got down on one knee
To yell at you (your hearing sucks)
You stuck your butt up in the air
And let out that bug fart
No wonder you have no friends
What if I did that to you?

You need to get a life
Get on down to the brain bank
And take out a loan
Or better yet dig a hole
And hang out for a while 

A permanent while 

Michael's Chronicles: Today


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts. 


Today, June 26
Flagstaff - At the studio

I awoke this morning
To a sky gray and pregnant
Weeping soft tears of joy
Tip tap tip tap all around

The wind is light
Not even a breeze
As it tickles the prairie grass 
Now brown and withering

It is June and even in Flag
Everything that grows is thirsty
Ourselves included
Respite from summer’s kitchen

I can’t see the peaks 
Through this wet, silver curtain
And I am glad for this moment
Happy to be present and aware

This has stopped me in my tracks
Called my attention to matters
Of far greater consequence
Than the daily grind of material pursuit

There is time for all that needs me
All that requires my attention and effort
But for now I will stand in stillness
While away my sweet time, and listen

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: Clouds


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts


Clouds

Clouds?
Yeah, I watch em 
And why not?
They are vagrants just like I
And shape shifters

Adjustments are made
Change embraced
I admire their quiet strength
In the face of adversity
I am a witness

I have seen them collide
With mountains high and powerful
Unmoving, standing their ground
And change course, floating gracefully
Up and over and away

They have much to say
Of who we are
Who we can be
Reminders of the beauty and satisfaction
Of self determination

When I am frozen
With fear or anxiety or mindlessness
I look up and watch
The steady beating heart
Of that which lives in the moment

Clouds?
Yeah I watch em 
And why not?
Why not?

Michael's Chronicle: June 20


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


June 20

Take it with you everywhere
You know what I mean
The thing you trust and lean on
Yourself

Your money may have a bad day
A really bad one
But remember this:
You are not your money

Perhaps your motor will blow today
Couldn’t get much worse, huh?
But, you know something?
You are not your motor

I know, I know
Bad days suck
Don’t get sucked in. Don’t participate.
They can suck just fine without your help

Stuff is just stuff, you know?
Happens all the time
It may try to eat you alive
Stay off the menu

Save your emotions
Don’t waste them on material matters
Someone you know 
May need your love or empathy

Don’t shun adversity. Honor it.
Hold it close to your chest.
Perhaps it alone will teach you
What you need to know. Listen.

You are like everyone else
Who ever visited this life
Find time to smile
Be kind. Enjoy the ride

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: June 18


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


June 18

I wish there were a brook
Outside my window
Babbling my spirit
To some contemplative place

Perhaps a light breeze
Rustling the leaves
Would be kind to my ears
And take me to ground

There is a feeling
Much larger than peace
Urging our attention……
Screaming in its quiet way

Daily life
Mother of myopia
Dragging our minds
To Sturm und Drang

I will indulge myself
At least once a day
In acts of introspection
A self guided tour

I will take myself
To a place of babbling brooks
And rustling leaves
I will be their source

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Cincinnati Too


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


Cincinnati too (two)

Forgot staying other Red Roofs Inn while Cincinnati show doing as well. Signage at this office on top desk warning of not obey properly message by manage staff. Thankful warning notice or mistake made trying registration cause no harm with me being not guilty these exact insurrections (may have spell wrong) Finding it best be good citizen these instance. Getting good sleep no noisy.

Later…….




Friday, June 14, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: Steaming in Salina


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


June 13
Steaming in Salina

Fuck weather. I don’t have words for what’s going on here today in Salina, Kansas, as I’m setting up for this weekend’s show - the Smoky Hill River Festival. I actually thought about slitting my throat but if it’s too hot to bleed out what’s the point? When the mosquito that lands on your arm looks up in a moment of abject pathos because he lacks the energy to bite you, well……need I say more? 

Brutal hot is the opposite of brutal cold but actually the same. I live at seven thousand feet and on a bitter cold day one knows just how bad it can get because he can’t hear what the guy two feet away is saying unless he’s a lip reader. It’s not the wind or anything like that. It’s just that his words are breaking off in the cold and falling on the ground before they reach your ears. Brutal cold.

Back to sweltering heat. I grew up largely in the desert so I’m good up to maybe a hundred forty degrees, give or take. Dry heat. We don’t do humidity in the parts of Arizona where I’ve spent most of my life. In fact, if it’s found on or near your property you’re going to be ticketed upon first offense and maybe jailed for a day the second time around. You’ll get the picture, trust me. Remember, we don’t mind sweating. We just don’t like our sweat sweating. As I’ve said before sweat squared is wrong.

I’ve had people tell me, “heat is heat, man. Hot is hot.” False. Flat out false. The lungs aren’t meant to be steamed. They prefer to work. I know it’s all relative. Those who’ve grown up in the Midwest and Deep South are used to it. If you grew up as the only guy living on the atoll in the Pacific, two or three feels like a crowd. Familiarity sells. I’ve seen the ants and beetles griping today. Do you think there’s a reason for that?

I’ll get through it but don’t try to talk to me. I’m not in a good mood.

Later…..

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Needing a Wal Mart


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


Monday, Jan 10
Needing a Wal Mart

How difficult is it to know where you are? How tedious? Doesn’t seem too much to keep track of if you ask me. I called a motel the other night to ask what exit to take off of the main highway to get there. The front desk clerk said he couldn’t really tell me - he “just works there.” Okay, I asked, how does he get there? Does he drive? Does he walk? Does someone drop him off? Does he live there and never leave.? Perhaps he is beamed down daily and back up from the Starship Enterprise? (No, I didn’t ask that last one).

The real answer is he takes a bus. A bus, huh? How does he know where to get off, I thought. So I asked him. His answer made all the sense in the world (just not this world). His precise words were, “I just get off at the same place every day.” What bus does this guy ride, Heresy One?

I hate the phrase, “it’s a sign of the times.” I refuse to make myself generalize that way when things like this happen. I knew what was coming next from the guy who didn’t know how he got to where he is and thus couldn’t tell me how to come join him. 

“Just Google it on your phone.” When I hear this response after the opening conversation I just described, all matter of facty and such, it always comes across as “you idiot - anyone knows that’s just what you do.” The tone of his comment convinced me that he was genuinely wondering what cucumber I had just popped out of. I felt no need to disclose that I was the scheduled keynote speaker at the Luddite International Conference this year. Again, the questions were, where are you and how do I get there? The motel turned out to be just one block off the aforementioned state highway.

“Well,” I said, is there anyone else there who could give me directions?” He went away. A short time later a woman showed up on the phone. The first words from her mouth were, “just use your GPS.” How helpful. Sign of the times. She also wasn’t sure how to get there, not being able to understand where I was coming from because she “only knows street names, not highway numbers.”

In the end, I found the place. Would it not be a reasonable idea to post a little piece of paper on the wall at the front desk on which might be stated simple directions to the property when coming from either the north or south on the main highway to the motel, one block away? Or maybe a directive on the website stating, “don’t call.”

Yes, I like most people, can navigate the website enough to get directions. Sometimes I’d just like to hear a voice. It would warm my spirit and jack my confidence that someone would actually know where he is.

Later…..

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Chicago


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


Jan 8
Chicago

Strange dreams are, well, strange. I am traveling around to shows again, this sequence being Cincinnati, the Chicago area and Salina, Kansas. Last night my mind went on its own little road trip, and I was but a passenger - an observer. This time it was largely unsettling.

To be sure, I dream. A lot. Occasionally they are frightening, but rarely. Just as rare are the times I wake up laughing hysterically. Most of the time the dreams trip the light fantastic or are simply absurd. It is common for characters I don’t know to engage me in conversations from which I cannot wait to extract myself - stupid conversations in which they proceed to argue with me or about pure nonsense. One of those was the opener last night.

I was standing around on the concourse of some amorphous place when I heard a little whirring sound. I looked down to see an eight inch long mason jar chugging by on wheels. Just a jar and wheels. No motor or other source of propulsion. I watched. A voice off to my left asked me, “What do you make of that?” I responded, “I don’t know. Ask someone else,” sensing that I was about to get sucked into one of those conversational abysses I mentioned earlier. But, as always, he wouldn’t go away. I sighed. “Why me?” came to mind.

“How is that possible?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I quipped. “Ask someone else.”

“Yeah, but there’s no motor. Who’s doing that?”

“I don’t care. Go away.” 

“No need to get testy, man. Let’s figure it out.”

“No, I’m busy” (which I obviously was not). “It’s probably not even happening.”

That did the trick. The jar and the guy both disappeared. Thank Dog! They say entire dreams happen in seconds, no matter how detailed. This was probably a micro-second. Now I could get back to sleep.

Not so fast. The second dream showed up. Strange, but not particularly annoying or disturbing. I found myself at a mini mart on the west end of Flagstaff, where I live. It was nighttime. I followed a farmer-looking guy out of the store to his mid-eighties forest green Chevy pickup. He got in and started the engine. I opened the passenger door and climbed in next to him. He seemed unaware of my presence, put it in gear, and headed down Milton. He made the bend at the tracks just before Humphreys and continued east. Nothing was said between us. Down around Switzer Canyon, near the Smiths supermarket, he let me out. I was hoping he would take me all the way to my destination but realized I didn’t know where that was.

“What do you do?” he asked as I got out. I told him I was an artist who traveled the country doing art shows. He said, “Where’re you coming from now?” I said, “Phoenix. I was helping a friend roof his house.” Asphalt shingles were protruding out of a backpack I was carrying but had never noticed before this moment. He waved and drove off. That was it.

I found myself standing, inexplicably, next to a pickup I haven’t driven for years because the motor is blown. It sits in front of my workshop out in Doney Park. But there it is, transported out of thin air, next to me near the Smiths. I am nonplussed.
I go back to sleep. Later on, dream three shows up.


I am now standing on the gravel lot at a Truckstop somewhere I don’t recognize when what drives up is a well-used work van that has been sawed in half right down the middle, front to back. Obviously it rolls around on only two wheels, both on the same side. The driver, who for reasons that mystify me, is a person I actually once met. His girlfriend (or perhaps lover) is perched on a plywood bump out halfway back behind the guy. There has been installed a bubble window next to her out of which she has a view.

The steering wheel is at the right front, European style, in line with the two wheels. Logic would dictate that the mason jar, which didn’t show up in this dream even as a referent, was a more stable ride though less occupant friendly. To be fair, the mason jar car could have not hauled all the used and salvaged plumbing pipes perched upon racks behind the van driver. Some were coated here and there with carelessly splashed house paint.

The driver jumped out of the van followed by the woman, he dressed like an air conditioning repairman in a dirty monkey suit and she looking like she was headed to a dance. Odd scene. He said “Hi, Michael.” I returned the greeting. We chatted for a while about nothing and I eventually determined that I had met him in some past time at a party at daughter Sarah’s home. Really. The woman never talked but stroked his forearm idly as he spoke. He never offered to give me a ride to wherever I was going. The two of them ultimately piled back into that peculiar vehicle, she returning to her beltless plywood bench and he to the driver’s seat. They waved as they drove off in a cloud of dust.

When I arose this morning to remembrances of these dreams I found them in some way unsettling. Writing of them has cleared that cloud. Dream analysts are said to be able to explain these things to us. Personally, I don’t see it and as I told the guy who harassed me in the mason jar with wheels dream, I don’t care. Thought I’d just share them.

Later……..

 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Cincinnati


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


May 30
Cincinnati
5:15 a.m.

Thrump 

No, I’m not referring to Orange Sphincter Man - the ex “You’re fired” guy. Note the time. I was sleeping - as in used to be. Past tense is appropriate here because it’s obviously not true at the moment. The motel in which I’m staying this time doesn’t have particularly thin walls. It’s not a Motel 6, known for having merely “room dividers,” but a purportedly better one. So much for claims. “Clean,” yeah. But “Quiet?” Not so much.

If you’ve been following my travels (travails?”) you are probably thinking I’m going to whine again. I am. I don’t choose my neighbors at these places. But sometimes I think they choose me. For all the wrong reasons. I love loud music, televisions and yelling people who don’t mind sharing their discontent with one another in shrill mode. But only when I can’t hear them. 

I didn’t request a sound proof room, but a bit of spacing would have been appreciated. Given that this is a property with nearly one hundred rooms one would think that the fifteen or so guests currently present could have been housed with a measure of space between them. But no. “Nesting” seemed more appropriate to the vicars of room assignment. 

So, 5:15 a.m. the television in the room next door is messaging me that it’s time to wake up. I don’t use alarm clocks or ask for wake up calls, both of which I find offensive. I simply set my brain to the task when I go to bed the night before, which works just fine thank you. Last night I set it for 7:30 this morning. So much for good intentions. 

When I called the front desk for the third time the clerk said he’d rang my neighbor several times but gotten no answer. Our rooms are at most fifty yards from the front office. I have suggested that perhaps he could walk over and knock on the neighbor’s door. Friendly style, know what I mean? Timid, he said he’d check with the manager when he comes in at 9 a.m. this doesn’t resonate with me. Think I’ll just get up. And yes, I’m whining here.

Later……..

Monday, May 27, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: May 25


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


May 25
At the studio
On the mountain

Cool air is
Well, cool
It likes me
The feeling is mutual

Night breeze, downhill
Morning breeze, uphill
But always, the breeze
Open your windows

Shed no tear 
For the heat
The summer day is hers
Even on my mountain

But on this mountain
Day and night, hot and cool
Engage in a time share
Summer is gracious this way

Woke up with a smile on my skin
Took it for a walk
No traffic here
It hangs out in town

Greeted the prairie dogs
Standing at attention
Denizens of the tunnel
Cool earth works too

Thank something for this
Your God, your luck……whatever
There are worse ways
To start the day

Cool air is
Well, cool
It likes me
The feeling is mutual

Friday, May 10, 2024

Michael's Chronicle: Springfield, MO


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


May 8
Springfield, Mo

Hammers and Coin Ops

Curious heading, huh? Appropriate though. So let’s get at it.

Before talking about my latest travel indignity let me provide some important information of which the reader may not be aware. The hammer was first invented, according to archeologists, in about 30,000 B.C. - give or take. The coin operated washing machine was introduced to the world by Harry Greenwald of New York in 1957. (I would say God Rest His Soul but I’m not feeling that way at this moment). So, this question: who’s been around longer?

I travel for a living. I’m a sweet smelling guy so I don’t whiff myself too often. I shower once a week at least when I am alone (which is most of the time) and not exhibiting at a show. My clothes on the other hand take it upon themselves to get dirty and attract some stank (stank def: primordial stink) independent of my efforts. I throw them in bags and piles and grace them every eight or ten days with a detergent spiked drowning at my current motel or a laundromat. Concessions to inanimate objects.

I arrived at the Red Roof Inn in Springfield, Mo. last night, took my first shower in a few days and read the email from my ripening clothing, sequestered for the last week in a cardboard box. The message was simple: “How about a wash and tumble.” Reasonable request. The front desk confirmed the presence of a guest laundry and offered change for their usage, along with one single-load box of Cheer. Made me feel cheerful the same way a Snickers bar makes me chuckle. Thank you product-naming gods.

Six quarters - buck and a half. Cheap for a wash load these days. Same price for the dryer. Things were smelling rosey already. Detergent in the tub, as instructed. Clothing next. Push the coin carrier forward, listen to the quarters drop and slide back. Not so fast.

The coin carrier dropped nothing. Simply jammed in the “in” position. Trapped my money in the housing surrounding the coin drop box. I squinted, muttered minor expletives and grabbed the coin slide. Gently pushing and pulling at first - “teasing it - cajoling. I stood back, staring at it and sending it psychic encouragement. At that moment I noticed that the coin slider was gashed and marred, its chrome finish somewhat tortured. The light bulb in my brain popped on. This inanimate object had messed with humans in the past and they had messed back. To my right on a folding table tucked mostly under a coin detergent dispenser protruded the handles of what proved to be a large set of channel locks. Brighter light. The coin slider was sticking all the time and rather than replace it or the machine, management had left the means for unwedging it. Thus the badly marred coin slider. I bought in and picked up the channel locks.

No sale, that, despite a lot of jerking, twisting and yanking. The slider had new gashes. I went to the desk clerk and reported the problem. She rolled her eyes. She’d heard it all before and cursed management under her breath. Back to the guest laundry we went. I watched her take a turn with the channel locks, to no avail. She told me to come back later - she’d call someone.

Hours later, when I returned to the motel after my errands, the coin slider had been released and my clothes lay in the bottom of the tub washed and spun. I placed them in the dryer, inserted my six quarters and pushed the slider. Nowhere. Literally. It budged not a scintilla of an inch. Forget the channel locks. My mind flipped straight to hammers. I searched the internet for the nearest House of Hammers outlet. No luck. But alas, their competitor, “Hammer Kingdom,” had a branch nearby.

I wish such places really existed in moments like this. They’re the only place I’d go. Specialty house. Hammer for any problem or occasion. I wanted a coin-op slider adjuster. I envisioned a retired ex body builder standing behind the counter with football sized biceps adorned with a large tattoo originally depicting a pretty girl's face but now distorted badly by wrinkles and looking for all the world like an elephant’s butt cheeks. They say we improve with age. All things are relative, now, aren’t they? The guy would possess a growl of a voice essentially farted off of vocal cords ravaged stiff by years of smoking filter free cigarettes and exhausted by yelling at his wife. (Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, here.) Anyway, a man’s man. He’d have the right hammer.

From this dark space I returned eventually. I asked the new desk clerk if I could use the motel’s commercial dryer since the housekeeping staff had already gone home for the day. She was kind enough to allow it. No need after all for Hammer Kingdom. I did my breathing exercises.

Later…..

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Early A.M., May 7



Michal Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


Early A.M. May 7
Springfield, Mo.

Tornadoes in the area
Don’t need a lift off
Quite content
With imagining flight
Dreams are good that way

Angry sky
Lighting up the place
Like a mad scientist’s lab
Rumbling. Are the gods bowling?
Or is thunder a real thing

Google phone need not alert me
Already getting the message
Tornado said to sound like freight train
Prefer the snoring human next door
Bad, yes, but nothing like steel on tracks

Maybe I’ll just run water in the tub
Watch it swirl down the drain
Same motion less damage
Category five drain suck
Leave the roof intact

Gonna ditch these thoughts
Sleep aids they are not
Pointless counting sheep, though
Tap tap, tap tap, tap tap
The rain will screw up my count

Later…………..

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Michael's Chronicles: Pewter Cloud Cover


Michael Thiele is a woodsmith who makes musical instruments and playable furniture. He spends most of his life either in the shop or out on the road buying wood and selling his work at craft shows. In recent years, his travels have begun to inspire his own writing, so he sends me his thoughts.


Pewter Cloud Cover


Pewter cloud cover
Winter, but not
The light is all wrong
May light, not January

Wish I could wiggle a finger
Make it go away
Never took the wizardry class
Scheduling conflict

Perhaps if I simply stare at it
My attitude will be noticed
No penalty for wishful thinking
On the other hand delusion
Likely a horse of a different color

Why am I carping
About May weather?
Think I’ll just hold out
For June