1. NUN BUN SIGHTING
2. TIM KURTZWEIL: A SHORT BIO
3. NUN BUN LYRICS
4. INTERVIEW (A NUN-BUNCH OF QUESTIONS FOR A MISSING
5. A NUN-BUNCH OF RIDDLES (LARGELY DERIVED FROM INTERVIEW)
6. A NUN BUN CHRISTMAS (STYLED AFTER "TWAS THE NIGHT
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NUN BUN SIGHTING:
April 4, 2006: Tap Bierstein, an off-duty booze jockey out for a late-night snack, claims to have seen the Mother Teresa cinnamon roll on a counter stool next to Elvis at a Stevens Point, WI diner. The King was giving the saintly pastry tips on being an immortal cultural icon. The Nun Bun, in turn, told him how much she liked â€œIn the Ghettoâ€â€”and to drop a few pounds and stay off the pills.
TIM KURTZWEIL: A short bio
Hi. Iâ€™m a 47-year-old guy whoâ€™s been writing since the fourth grade. My earliest literary achievements, twenty- and thirty-page short stories like â€œThe Blue Ghost,â€ â€œThe Night of the Dream,â€ and â€œRun While You Can,â€ came complete with illustrations in the marginsâ€”well, okay, doodlesâ€”and helped me to pass the time when I stayed home sick from school.
I later studied both English and German, finally earning an MA in German literature from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. After playing music in the streets of Europe for a time, I took a job lecturing in the English department at the University of Regensburg in Bavaria--â€œHiâ€ to my former students and colleaguesâ€”-where I spent five enjoyable years.
Iâ€™ve been writing music all my adult life and am currently back in Nashville trying to make some connections in the business, as well as working to publish a number of children's stories and a large collection of word games. When the Nun Bun, about which you can read more below, was stolen last Christmas, my sister, who heard about it on MSNBCâ€™s â€œCountdown with Keith Olbermann,â€ emailed me and suggested I write a song about it. So I did. Here are the lyrics:
was it divine dough or the yeast of chance
or hocus-pocus that enhanced
a cinnamon roll to fit the mold of mother teresa
was it Godâ€™s hand or the cafÃ© staff
that touched our hearts and made us laugh (and)
feel we played a part and shared a piece of
nun bun sacred bakery how I miss your face
nun bun who could take thee from thy display case
nun bun saintly pastry soothe my aching soul
nun bun donâ€™t forsake me sweet little cinnamon roll
was it secular theft or religious heist
done for money or the love of Christ
that Christmas day they took away my holy mona lisa
like the stone rolled from the tomb of jesus
the front door lifted off its hinges
her varnished visage vanished / tell me did you see the
Born at Bongo Java / in a humble pan
Itâ€™s true you never met the Pope
but you knew the muffin man
Hereâ€™s the same story in a prose nutshell, which also appears on the CDâ€™s tray card:
In October of 1996 at the Bongo Java coffee shop in Nashville, TN, a cinnamon roll bearing a resemblance to Mother Teresa was baked into the world. Christened the â€œNun Bun,â€ this phenomenon garnered national media attention and saw visitors from all points of the globe for nearly a decade. Then, in the early hours of Christmas morning 2005, thieves unhinged the cafÃ©â€™s massive door and stole the Nun Bun from the display case where it lay on purple satin bedding. Nothing else was taken.
To these villains, still on the loose, I say, â€œO foul kinks in the mortal coil, unband your twisted souls and release the saintly pastry.â€ To the Nun Bun, whose whereabouts are unknown, I sing, â€œSacred bakery, how I miss your face!â€
Note: Truth be told, the cinnamon bun also looked like W. C. Fields and Jimmy Durante; it had quite a nose on it.
Following is a version of my interview with the Nun Bun that was published in the Nashville Scene in February.
A NUNBUNCH OF QUESTIONS FOR A MISSING CINNAMON ROLL
INT: Your recent appearances on national television have made you somewhat of a celebrity, Nun Bun. Have you gotten a lot of requests for interviews?
NB: Iâ€™m not exactly inunbundated with themâ€”perhaps because no one knows my whereabouts. I am, after all, currently kidnappedâ€”or worse.
INT: Indeed. Some people might wonder how I can be conducting this interview with you.
NB: A bit of a conunbundrum, it would seem, but the Baker bakes in mysterious ways.
INT: Well said. Youâ€™re quite articulate, and, for someone with a scrunched-up face and lips that appear to be shellacked shut, you speak very clearly.
NB: I was on the â€˜celebrity look-a-likeâ€™ cinnamon roll debate team in high school, and our coach was a stickler for enunbunciation.
INT: So Mother Teresa is not the only person of distinction immortalized in pastry?
NB: No. And itâ€™s worth noting that not all nun buns are nuns. Next to myself, the most famous nun bun in America is probably the Easter NunBunny, followed closely by the fabled lumberjack, Paul Nunbunyan. And itâ€™s not just cinnamon rolls that do celebrity â€˜face-savingâ€™ work. Iâ€™m sure Goetheâ€™s visage is preserved on a giant pretzel somewhere in Germany.
INT: You donâ€™t feel you have pride of place among them, feel you were chosen by God?
NB: Chosen to do what? Before being stolen, I lay on a bed of plush purple felt in a display case for nine years! I make day-old bakery look positively fresh. Look, when I was pulled out of the oven, there was a local press release, but no heavenly heralds trumpeted the Anunbunciation. Iâ€™m not here, after all, to bear the bun that saves the world. My aim is simply to point out that man does not live by bread alone. On the other hand, look where â€œLet them eat cake!â€ got Marie Antoinette. If white bread is bland, ultra-conservative fare, and cheesecake is over-the-top liberal excess, cinnamon rolls are unifying nutritional centrists. We just need to increase our numbers.
INT: Letâ€™s talk about that. Despite the recent cloning scandal in Korea, incredible progress is being made in the field. Can you imagine there ever being a vast army of cloned Nun Buns shipped out to feed the starving multitudes? Can we hope for a nun bun miracle on the scale of fishes and loaves?
NB: Whoâ€™s going to provide all the coffee? Seriously, though, I was the product either of divine dough or the yeast of chance. But with or without a heavenly starter, it took evolution billions of years to produce human beings. You canâ€™t just give a high-school student in the science lab some flour, sugar, eggs, and a nunbunsen burner and expect him or her to produce a chewy little homunculus like me.
INT: Wonder that you are, you nonetheless showed signs of aging right from the start. Even oven fresh, you looked like a woman in her eighties. Is there a place for someone born old in this eternally-thirty-something-centric culture?
NB: Well, itâ€™s clear that I wasnâ€™t destined to be a Playboy nunbunny. But beauty is only cinnamon deep. Letâ€™s not forget compassion and selflessness.
INT: Yet you sport a healthy layer of varnish. Isnâ€™t that vanity?
NB: â€œNunbunkum! Most women want to be allowed a little make-up once in a while.
INT: You donâ€™t see the spiritual and the physical as mutually exclusive?
NB: It would suggest more than a crumb of hypocrisy if a mouth-watering treat like a cinnamon roll were to renunbunciate worldly pleasures, wouldnâ€™t it?
INT: Does that extend to earthly humor? Do you know, for example, what Hamlet told the Mother Teresa cinnamon roll?
NB: Yes. â€œGet thee to a nunbunnery.â€ Nine years in a coffee shop nets you a lot of jokes.
INT: Of course, youâ€™re no longer in a coffee shop. And your theft wasnâ€™t a joke. Where are you, Nun Bun? Whoâ€™s got you, and how are you holding up?
NB: They closed the lid on my box when they abducted me, so Iâ€™m literally in the dark about my exact location. As for my state of mind, well, I was a nunbundle of nerves in the beginning, but Iâ€™ve come to accept the situation.
INT: Some say you were too easy a target, lying in an open box in an unlocked display case.
NB: Where should I have been keptâ€”in a reinforced-concrete nunbunker? No, I would rather be subjected to the wanton lawlessness of pranksters, greedy bums, or religious zealots than wall myself off from the rest of the world. I believe in a mix-and-mingle society.
INT: Is your heist likely to be solved? May we expect your safe return anytime soon?
NB: Thereâ€™s not exactly an anunbundance of evidence. And will I be back? Only if my captors relentâ€”or the Baker kneads me again.
I must confess, I got a bit crazy with the whole nun bun thing. Here, for your amusement, and derived to a large extent from the interview, is a
NUNBUNCH OF RIDDLES
Q: What does a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll call a particularly difficult problem?
A: A conunbundrum
Q: What do you call it when angels herald the coming of a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll?
A: The Anunbunciation
Q: What do you need to create a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll in a science lab?
A: A nunbunsen burner
Q: What do you call a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll in Hugh Hefnerâ€™s company?
A: A Playboy nunbunny
Q: Who is a Mother Teresa cinnamon rollâ€™s fathorite mythic American lumberjack?
A: Paul Nunbunyan
Q: What is a Mother Teresa cinnamon rollâ€™s favorite high-risk sport?
A: Nunbunji jumping
Q: How does a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll disavow a bad habit?
A: She renunbunciates it.
Q: What does a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll call â€˜claptrapâ€™?
Q: Who wrote the 17th-century religious work, â€œPastryâ€™s Progress,â€ whose protagonist is a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll?
A: John Nunbunyan
Q: What did Hamlet tell the Mother Teresa cinnamon roll in love with him?
A: â€œGet thee to a nunbunnery!â€
Q: What is a severely agitated Mother Teresa cinnamon roll?
A: A nunbundle of nerves
Q: Where does a Mother Teresa cinnamon roll hide during an Apocalypse?
A: In a nunbunker
And, last but not least, here's a poem about an imagined take on how the theft went down.
A NUN BUN CHRISTMAS
Twas Christmas morn in Bongo Java cafÃ©;
Not a coffee was stirringâ€”not a single au lait.
Washed were the tables, mopped were the floors,
Off were the lights and locked were the doors.
Nun Bun was nestled all snug in her box
With visions of feet wearing shoes and socks;
Nine long years of collecting dust
Had naturally filled her with wanderlust.
For years sheâ€™d observed the coming and going
Of coffee shop patrons without ever knowing
The pleasures of ambling and rambling through spaceâ€”
She lay on display in a plush purple case!
This cinnamon roll with her eye on the door,
Wishing to see just a little bit moreâ€”
How could she know that evil was lurking
To grant her that wish when no one was working.
I was not in a tree, I was not on the roof;
For nothing I say have I got any proof.
Since privy Iâ€™m not to the facts of the case,
Iâ€™ve made up my own to put in their place.
We might as well start with a hell-bent troll
With a heart made of ice and a cold-blooded goal:
To slip inside with eight helpers hasty
And snatch that sacrilegious pastry.
Claw Rover weâ€™ll call him, whose heart was a tumor
Of misguided morals and malignant humor.
More vapid than beagles his charges they came
To steal the Nun Bun when called to by name.
Now, Dastard! Now, Dullard! Now, Coward and Zilch!
On, Plunder! On, Purloin! On, Wheedle and Filch!
To the top of the porch! Now sneakily, grinches,
Libertyâ€™s door must be freed from its hinges!â€
And huffing and puffing, each pious pupil,
By dim light of conscience devoid of all scruple,
Guided by naught but a reverend awe
For God Almightyâ€”broke American law.
No cash was stolen, no bagels eaten;
Itâ€™s true no one was bound and beaten,
No artwork taken off the wall,
No cup or glass allowed to fall.
Hate speech wasnâ€™t chanted, fires werenâ€™t set;
Not a bug was plantedâ€”or itâ€™s not been found yet.
In fact, itâ€™s been said that like shoemakersâ€™ elves
They anal-compulsively neatened the shelves.
(But what should one think of the damage they did
To all of our rights when they lowered the lid
On the taut and tried visage of Mother Teresa
And carried her off like the Mona Lisa?)
â€œNow minions, make note,â€ mused Rover, mentoring,
â€œMorality may sometimes mean breaking and entering.
Still, nothing and no one is above the lawâ€”
Except God in heavenâ€”and the rule of Claw.â€
The pack of thieves cried â€œAmen!â€ andâ€”clunk!
Dumped little Nun Bun down in their trunk.
Good Claw bellowed, â€œWeâ€™ve set the world right!
Merry Christmas to allâ€”not Happy Holidays!â€”
and to all a good night.â€
Whether you yearn, like little Nun Bun
To travel before all your days are done
Or to save us from sin like Clawâ€”well, pray
Be careful YOU donâ€™t get carried away.
I hope you were able to find something to enjoy in all this. â€œThe Ballad of the Nun Bunâ€ is, of course, a novelty song, and so doesnâ€™t really represent my major direction in music; it was just a fun project. While I write everything from Woody Guthrie-esque stuff to rap, by way of country, bluegrass, pop, folk, and rock, I tend toward a more percussive version of Tracy Chapman.
Take care of yourselves, and thanks for reading/listening.
1. Ballad of the Nun Bun