Thursday, July 29, 2004

If urine is sterile, then why are the deodorizing discs, or "cakes," as they call them, which go in urinals, also disinfectants?

And if a janitor has to unwrap and drop one of those things into the urinal anyway, and he touches the disk with his hands, isn't he, in a sense, infecting the disinfectant, at least until the outer layer of the "cake" is dissolved?

Some of them get around that with the rather humorous "deodorizer disk in a net," a whole plastic apparatus that sits with the deodorizer imprisoned inside like it did something wrong. I hate those. You have to consciously not pee on them or it sprays back in all directions all over your pants.

You women don't have to worry about this stuff! Us guys have to worry about all sorts of stuff when all we're trying to do is take a piss.

I don't know why I'm suddenly pondering this but there you go.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Somebody sent me this and I think it's funny enough to post here...

Since September 11, 2001, Americans and Canadians have come together as
never before in our generation. We have banded together to overcome
tremendous adversity. We have weathered direct attacks on our own soil,
wars overseas, corporate/government scandal, layoffs, unemployment,
stock price plunges, droughts, fires, mad cow, SARS, high gasoline
prices, and a myriad of economic and physical disasters both great and
small. But now, we must come together once again to overcome our
greatest challenge yet.

Hundreds of Professional Hockey players in our very own nation are going
to be locked out, living at well below the seven-figure salary level.
And as if that weren't bad enough they could be deprived of their life
giving pay for several months, possibly longer, as a result of the
upcoming lockout situation. But you can help!

For only $20,835 a month, about $694.50 a day(that's less than the cost
a large screen projection TV) you can help an NHL player remain
economically viable during his time of need. Your contribution by no
means solves the problem as it barely covers the annual minimum salary,
but it's a start, and every little bit will help!

Although $700 may not seem like a lot of money to you, to a hockey
player it could mean the difference between spending the lockout golfing
in Florida or on a Mediterranean cruise. For you, seven hundred dollars
is nothing more than a month's rent, half a mortgage payment, or a month
of medical insurance, but to a hockey player, $700 will partially
replace his daily salary.

Your commitment of less than $700 a day will enable a player to buy that
home entertainment center, trade in the year-old Lexus for a new
Ferrari, or enjoy a weekend in Rio.


Each month, you will receive a complete financial report on the player
you sponsor. Detailed information about his stocks, bonds, 401(k), real
estate, and other investment holdings will be mailed to your home. Plus,
upon signing up for this program, you will receive an unsigned photo of
the player lounging during the lockout on a beach somewhere in the
Caribbean (for a signed photo, please include an additional $150).
Put the photo on your refrigerator to remind you of other peoples'


Your NHL player will be told that he has a SPECIAL FRIEND who just wants
to help in a time of need. Although the player won't know your name, he
will be able to make collect calls to your home via a special operator
in case additional funds are needed for unforeseen expenses.


I would like to sponsor a locked out NHL player. My preference is (check

[ ] Forward [ ] Defenseman [ ] Goaltender [ ] Entire team

(Please call our 900 number to ask for the cost of a specific team - $10
per minute)

[ ] Jaromir Jagr (Higher cost: $32,000 per day)

Please charge the account listed below $694.50 per day for the duration
of the lockout. Please send me a picture of the player I have sponsored,
along with an Jaromir Jagr 2001 Income Statement and my very own Bob
Goodenow (Executive Director of the NHLPA player's Union) pin to wear
proudly on my hat (include $80 for hat).

Your Name: _______________________

Telephone Number: _______________________

Account Number: _______________________ Exp.Date:_______

[ ] MasterCard [ ] Visa [ ] American Express [ ] Other

Signature: _______________________

Alternate card (when the primary card exceeds its credit limit):

Account Number: _______________________ Exp.Date:_______

[ ] MasterCard [ ] Visa [ ] American Express [ ] Other


Is this THE most pointless Democratic convention ever held? We KNOW who's running.You could mail this one in.

The Republicans shouldn't even bother to HOLD their convention.They're running Bush for re-election! We know that.

It's just an excuse to get drunk, I say.


Friday, July 23, 2004

I like my political satire even-steven. You pick on one, you gotta pick on the other. It's only fair. Even if one is a certified wing-nut.

Ergo: www.jibjab.com

Go there. Click where it says to. Laugh. Have a nice weekend!


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

WalMart is run by a bunch of hypocritical noodniks.

Wanna know how I know? I don't care. I'm going to tell you anyway.

If you go to a WalMart, and you're shopping for CDs, you may notice that you can't buy the "un-edited" versions of many CDs if an "edited" version also exists. In fact, WalMart frequently FORCES the creation of such discs in order to allow them to be sold in the hallowed temple of Sam.

Well, this policy apparently doesn't carry over to their internet site.

I recently purchased, from their site, at a great price, too, the 3-disc epic "Electromagnetic Steamboat," by the Fugs. It's Rhino Handmade's compilation of all of the Albums the Fugs released on Warner/Reprise during the late 60s, and contains such wonderful songs (uncut!) as "Wide Wide River":

River of shit
River of shit
Roll on, Roll on,
River of shit.

And who can forget "The Divine Toe, Part 2?"

As I see you
Standing in a sable robe
And your breasts that launched a thousand rounds
You twirl through the night
Your mons veneris
Shines like Chichen Itza
In the jungle dawn
I get...

Or my absolute favorite Fugs song, the hilarious Belle of Avenue A, a pseudo-country truckin' ballad about a horny truck driver who drives to the dive of his favorite hippie prostitute, where they do all kinds of bizarre things until he finally falls asleep in a bathtub of Mazola Oil, "in her loving arms," and she passes the time by "drilling herself with an onyx-handled tapir snout!'

Yes, folks, Walmart is no different than the fabled old spinster who screams about pornography her whole life,and then, when she dies, they find cases of the stuff in her house. You just have to know where to look...


I am a member of the board of Fiddler's Dream, a very popular non-profit folk music organization that does business out of a coffeehouse on the property of the Friends (Quakers) Meeting House here in Phoenix.

Recently, for reasons that can best be explained in one sentence -- namely: Some people don't like other people on the board -- Our board president of many years stepped down, and without going into details, resigned somewhat messily, treading on a lot of toes and opening a few cans of worms just for the heck of it.

In the midst of all this, rumors started moving through the folk music community, spurned on by a mysterious letter writer who pilfered the mailing list of the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, and put out a series of lies regarding Fidd's, members of the Fiddlers' Dream board, false hearsay regarding plans for refurbishing the stage, and tons more bad stuff.

Our new President, Nia Maxwell, is doing a bangup job trying to nip this shit in the bud.

However, obviously there are a bunch of people out there who are hearing nasty stuff about Fiddlers' Dream that simply isn't true. If you attend shows or play at Fidd's at all, and you're reading this, and you hear ANYTHING about "what's going on at Fiddlers' Dream," please tell these people to get ahold of me, or any of the current board members.

Out of the problems, however, have come some interesting letters. We recently got one from somebody who "used to play" at Fidd's but stopped when he felt that most of the talent who plays there is "not worth paying for." From the tone of the letter, this appears to mean "Not as good as he perceives himself to be."

For the record, I have a lot of clout in picking who plays at Fidds, at least when it comes to people we're not familiar with. I run the Thursday night open stage, and if I'm continually blown away by somebody 2-3 weeks in a row, then they're going to be asked to book time.

Sure, some people call, get booked and we don't know them from Adam. But that's what happens when you have to book 24 acts a month. And in the immortal words of Super Chicken, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.

I've said it a lot of times and I'll say it again. We don't guarantee audiences at Fiddlers' Dream. We just give you a place to bring people. If you don't bring the audience, we can't guarantee anyone will show up.

That said, it was nice to see a full house last Saturday when I played with Dick Charland and Ian McPherson. It was obvious that all three of us had done some promotion and it worked.


Friday, July 16, 2004

Hey, I forgot--I started this blog to remind people of my gigs!

Tomorrow night (Saturday the 17th) I'll be at Fiddler's Dream, 17th St. and Glendale, at 8 p.m.! Also on the docket are Dick Charland and Ian McPherson so it should be a fun night!

See you, I hope!


Well, with the help of my pals Nancy Freeman and Pat Connors I was able to figure out how to add a link. However, I have a message to the people who run Blogger about what a pain in the ass it is to change things here:


I'm a MUSICIAN WITH A CAVEMAN MENTALITY FOR COMPUTERS. All I or anybody should have to do to add a link is push a button that says "ADD A LINK, YOU FUCKING NEANDERTHAL."

Honestly. How any of that html stuff makes sense to you computer types is beyond me. I barely know how to turn my Mac on. Hell, I still haven't figured out how to use one of my acoustic guitar/mic amplifiers.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

This is a question for other people on Blogger: How do you people add all those links? I can't do shit. I click that "Edit me" thing and it tells me to go fuck myself.

What are you supposed to do?


Isabel Sanford was 86 when she died? And still working! Man oh man. I should look that good when I'm 50. So long, Weezy...

Am I just a paranoid anti-republican, or does all this talk about "postponing" the election kind of scare everything you've ever eaten out of you, too?

That said, I don't like the idea of the Phillippines pulling out of Iraq just to save a guy. It gives the assholes who are kidnapping average joes an argument to kidnap somebody else.

Of course, maybe the Phillippines have a point. I knew lots of guys in high school whose dads fought in the Phillippines during WW2. To a MAN, every one of them had brought home pictures of Phillippine insurgents holding the heads of fellow Phillippinos who had conspired with the Japanese. (Or, they'd be holding the heads of Japanese soldiers that they'd collected themselves.) So they know all about how grotesque beheading is. You certainly don't want a countryman splattered all over Al Jazeera. Still. If you feed a fire, it's harder to put it out.

I'm listening to an oldies feed on the internet right now and they're playing the version of "Let it Be" known as the "singles" version, which had Harrison's guitar solo more prominent than it is on the album version. Where the heck did they get a digital version of that?

Anybody remember Wayne Cochrane? He was this tall, white-haired rocker in the mid-60s from Florida who Jackie Gleason "discovered" (I use the term loosely) in a bar one night while drinking people under the table. Cochrane's performance style was to the guitar was Jerry Lee Lewis's was to the piano. Gleason used to have him on his show a lot and I can remember being riveted by the guy.

He was rather talented; in fact, he wrote the song "Last Kiss" (Oh where or where can my baby be/the Lord Took Her Away From me...etc.) that J Frank Wilson had a hit with in '64 and Pearl Jam recently had a hit with as well. But he disappeared when his 15 minutes were up.

Other than that I know he had a "spiritual awakening" (meaning, he pooped out to Jesus) some years back, I can't find anything on this guy on the internet. His performances on Gleason were amazing. Whatever happened to this guy?

Just rambling today...


Friday, July 09, 2004

Right now I am listening to what in my humble opinion may be the best debut album by a teenager to come out since, wow...Kate Bush's "The Kick Inside." It's called "Get Away From Me," it's by a 19-year-old New Yawkah named Nellie McKay (pronounced Mc-KYE) and to say this album is a surprise is not even coming CLOSE.

Critics have called her everything from "Doris Day meets Eminem" to "A walking White Album". McKay says her big inspiration is the Supremes, but that's one of the few inspirations I DON'T hear here. Personally I think she sounds at times (epsecially on her jazzier songs) like Astrud Gilberto.

People this talented scare the shit out of me. Looking at her promo material online it says she won a prestigious songwriting award with the first song she ever WROTE.

And get this--this is a DOUBLE CD. Who was the last act with the chutzpah to debut with a double album--the Mothers? 38 years ago? One can only hope that she isn't blowing the whole wad with this album.

It's produced by Geoff Emerick, too! (For those of you who aren't into music trivia, Mr. Emerick was the engineer on some obscure albums called Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band, The White Album and Abbey Road.) Great sound, REAL musicians (no programmed crap), and if you look around, a two-for-one price in the stores. On top of everything, the cover design is a scream--sort of a retro-to-the-early-60's look.

It's not perfect but it's really damn good. Go buy this. Really.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Call it musician's insecurity, or whathaveyou, but it's always nice when you're away from your core audience to know that what you do works regardless of where you are.

A couple of weeks ago, during my family's trip to Virginia, I played an open mic in Richmond in a bar called Potter's. Not Harry Potter's, just Potter's. My friend and host Tom Anderson drove me there, which was an experience in itself. Here's why:

Ever heard the old sarcastic adage, "the shortest distance between two points is always under construction?" This explains the entire Richmond area. The bar I wanted to play at really wasn't all that far from Tom's house but due to road construction we had to drive to what seemed like fucking Florida to get there.
(I appreciate it, Tommy boy.)

But we did, I signed up, and everything was cool. I got to hear five or six of the locals, and then I got up on stage and did a four-song version of my "act."
The fact that several of the attendees were slightly inebriated probably helped, but I "had" these guys. I was particularly interested to see if one of my songs, "Sun City Sinners," would work in a place where there aren't retirement communities, and it did. So that's DEFINITELY on the next CD.

When I was done the hostess of the open mic said to me, "hell, I could listen to you all night!" Another good sign. Several people asked if I had just moved there and were genuinely disappointed when I said no, I'm outa here on Saturday.

I did meet a very nice fellow who used to live in Tucson, though, as well as another guy who I swear told me his name was Dead Fox Poe. At least I think that's what he said. Nothing like having parents with a sense of humor, I guess...

Also while we were in VA, we went to Virginia Beach one day. Aside from seeing two schools of dolphins heading north not 75 feet off the shoreline, it was your basic beach, with too many souvenir shops and chain restaurants along the main drag, and weird rules posted in the bathrooms to ward off perverts, I guess. One of those rules was NO CHANGING CLOTHES. So, if you're not staying at one of the overly priced hotels painting the Virginia coastline, where is someone supposed to change into, say, beach attire? I asked someone. The answer? "Oh, just ignore the sign and change in the bathroom." I just decided to punt and sit on the beach in my clothes, since it was cloudy out and I really didn't wanna get wet. The boys changed in the bathroom, no problem.

How unexciting is Virginia Beach? I took three pictures there and none of them were on the beach. One of them was a graphic road sign that means "No Cursing."
I swear to God.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Spent the last weekend at Westercon science fiction convention, which was held this year at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park.

It was probably the least-attended Westercon I've ever been to. I don't think the total membership reached 800, and usually, these things pull in well over a thousand people.

However, there were some interesting panels, an excellent Mexican restaurant right behind my hotel room (Thank GOD; the prices in the restaurant at the hotel were stupid), and the Filk attendees (for those of you who don't know what that is, Filk is sci-fi-based folk music) were plentiful and from many places.

On the down side, the Wigwam's nightly room price ($100+) probably scared a bunch of people away, as did the fact that everybody knows Phoenix is a hell hole in July. Which may explain why places like Portland and Seattle host Westercon every couple of years and I think the last time Phoenix did it was about 16 years ago.

There wasn't even the usual amount of scantily-clad jailbait running around. Very subdued, this con was.

The maquerade contest was pretty good, though.

We did learn something from this convention, though; our dog has gone to his last convention. Everybody likes Dweezil, but he can't be left alone, which means I spent a goodly amount of time walking around with the dog, which left me out of some panels and concerts I wanted to go to. Such is life. You live, you learn, you miss panels.

I did put on a concert on Sunday morning and was quite surprised by the decent turnout. Thanks to all who came!


Thursday, July 01, 2004

Heading back down the interstate from Charlottsville (where my "Colonial Geek Tour" took place) toward Richmond, I was attracted by two signs. One alerted me to an "Aboriginal Art Museum."

Funny, I had no idea Virginia had aborigines. I had to go. Was it aboriginal art in the form of "Native American" aborigines, or was it really aboriginal art? I had to know.

I found the museum; it's in a cul de sac and is located in an old mansion (very cool!) now owned by the University of Virginia. And the artwork inside is indeed South Seas aboriginal art, collected and stored by two Virginians, one dead (who did most of the go-and-get-it collecting) and one living (who bought the dead guy's stuff and combined it with his own healthy collection).

So the museum was on a residential street; it was free, and by the time I got there, it was closed. No matter. It wasn't locked so I went in. I wandered around for about 30 minutes, left a buck in the donation box and went on my way.

Back on the freeway, I see a sign for a turnoff to Orange, VA.

Orange, VA. Wait a minute, that's where JAMES MADISON'S house, Montpelier, is!
GOTTA go see this.

You see, if you seen my act then you know that James Madison and I go WAAAY back; maybe five, six years now. His action figure (yes, there's a James Madison Action Figure) plays prominently in my act. Gets huge laughs. Plus, he was an early president, he wrote the Constitution, and his wife was a babe.

Not bad for a guy who was 5'1" in his boots.

So I left the freeway and headed north for Orange. Driving through the rain (on a road called, appropriately enough, the James Madison Highway) I am nonetheless treated to some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. Rolling hills, bored cattle, you get the idea.

I finally get to Orange and for some reason I miss the painfully obvious signs pointing the way to Montpelier. However, there is a James Madison museum in town, and the lady there points me in the right direction.

And I thought James Monroe had a spread.

The grounds of Montpelier are HUGE. You buy your admission at the gift shop across the street, then you drive over to the entrance where a guard waves you through--provided there isn't someone coming the other way, trying to get out. (It's a one-lane entrance-exit.)

The road leads to an ample parking lot. Signs point to things in all directions; I headed for the orientation room, where they show you a powerpoint show; but it had just ended so I latched on to the last tour of the day.

I was warned at the gift shop that Montpelier was going through a bit of a restoration phase. They weren't kidding.

The familiar four pillars known to historical geeks like me as the front of James Madison's house were still there, but the stairway leading up to the front door was gone; both of the extended wings that Madison added to the home (the service wing, to the right and the so-called "Dolley wing," to the left) were covered in construction platforms and a steady sound of drilling and pounding could be heard.

The tourguide apologized that the house wasn't open for tours yet (Hardhat tours start on July 3) but she did allow us to go into one room in the basement, which was accessible from the front and apparently sturdy enough to allow non-hard-hat visits. That room alone was neat enough; it meant that I actually got into the house.

This restoration is due to the fact that the home's immediately previous owners, the Du Pont family, had bought the home in the 1920s and done a lot of work to it. They added new rooms and sections on to the home, which are now being removed to bring the home back to the size and design of how it looked when the Madisons actually lived there.

(The home has only been in public ownership since 1983; I didn't know that.)

The Duponts also added two horse race tracks to the property, which are still there and very beautiful. In the back of Montpelier are some amazing gardens which I much enjoyed wandering through. This led to a temporary home for most of the Madison goodies, now stored in a temporary location for the public to see.

Before I left, I stopped at the family cemetery to see James and Dolley's stones. Interesting. Jefferson's stone is locked behind a huge iron gate. Monroe, as I mentioned yesterday, is encased in a cast iron cage in downtown Richmond to protect the public from his zombie ways. But Madison and his wife are separated from the rest of the family cemetery by a simple, waist-high iron fence. Several people have left American flags at the grave, so they apparently don't mind if you hop the rather pointless fence. I didn't; there wasn't really any point.

That done, I hopped back in the car, went back across the street to the gift shop, picked up a shirt (they didn't have the action figures!) and I was on my way back to Richmond, just in time to meet up with my friend and host Tom Anderson at a live outdoor concert by George Thorogood. Can anyone possibly have a more "American" day than that?


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