Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Somebody has too much time on his hands, and for once I'm glad...



Hey! Another Bush Baddy Bites the dust! Tom Ridge takes his stupid fucking color rating back to wherever he was governor.

What a stupid idea that was: Let's treat Americans like KINDERGARTNERS!


I had a pretty good show at Fiddlers Dream the other night. My friend Tom Anderson was in from Virginia, so he came, my pals Pete and Donna came, and the place was full...

...for the first act. (I was second.)

No matter. The place made about 300 bucks and I made about 20 in tips...


Last Saturday we went over to Shirley and Tom's place and watched the most recent Harry Potter DVD on the BIIIIIIIIIG screen. We also ate chocolate and drank Bailey's Irish Creme, or something that tasted like it.


I'll believe it when I see it but it appears my old fantasy girlfriend, Kate Bush, is due to release an album in March. This will be 11 YEARS since her last one.

If it's less than an hour long she's gonna have some 'splainin' to do...


I thought up a great thing to gripe about in my blog last weekend; sadly, I've forgotten what it was...


Monday, November 22, 2004

Such are the hazards of internet radio: I found out that www.radiofreephoenix.com was down last night for a considerable length of time, including the time set aside for my show, "Zappa Universe." So, last night's show will air NEXT Sunday at 6 p.m. Which is fine; it gives both me and Andy Olson (the station's owner and editor) a week off.

A listener sent me the coolest thing: the soundtrack of a TV commercial that Frank Zappa wrote back in the 60s for Remington Electric Razors. I'd never heard it before. It'll be on the show eventually...

A lot of people don't know this, but Zappa actually won a CLIO award for music he wrote for a nasal spray commercial. Or was it cough drops? I'll have to go look...it was eventually released on a compilation CD after Frank died.

I wonder what kind of weird commercials we would have eventually seen had Zappa gone into advertising full time...


Thursday, November 18, 2004

I have a funny idea but I need the cooperation of everybody who has a credit card and about $15 worth of space on it.

Normally I don't like practical jokes but this would be really interesting. Because this isn't really a joke. Well, yes it is, but no matter.

Here's what we do:

Pick an album -- something obscure, very "niche" or "cult-status" like "Song Cycle" by Van Dyke Parks or "12 Songs" By Randy Newman or something by a very little-known, avant-garde composer who's still living. In other words, an album that critics have always liked and most people (except weirdos like me) have avoided like the plague because you couldn't dance to it.

Then on an appointed day, you get as many people as you can -- a hundred, two, three -- to order that album from Amazon.

Sell them out.

Amazon will suddenly think, "what the hell is this? Shit, we need to order more Van Dyke Parks!" The album will suddenly become a "hot seller." They might even get press out of it! Amazon will put it on their online best seller list, and then they'll back order thousands of copies, and when most people listen to the sound samples, they'll realize the music is a little too "weird" for them, and they won't buy it, and Amazon will be stuck scratching their heads.

If I could get five, six hundred people to do this, we could pull the wool over Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CDUniverse and Walmart all at the same time. All while making a deserving musician a little extra pocket change.

(We can't do this with MY album, because CDBaby only has seven left.)

Is this brilliant or what? Are you in? Let me know!


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

There are plenty of sex tutorials on line. Most of them are, as you would imagine, or as you have seen, rather clinical and straightforward.

However, a friend of mine sent me this link. It's the first tutorial I've ever seen written as a work of fiction, and it's not only educational, and imaginative, it's absolutely hilarious:



Boy, the Suns looked good last night. Didn't fall apart after blowing the big lead, kept on playing hard, won the game. Woo Hoo.


About a year ago, it suddenly occurred to me that I was an adult and if I wanted to, and I paid attention, I could occasionally have a beer with dinner.

So now, while my usual imbibement (?) is Diet Coke, I will sometimes, like an adult, say to the garcon: "GOT ANY BEEEEAH?"

I have discovered some fine ones. I'm a dark beer guy. There's one I get at the Paper Heart whenever I play there that costs too much and I can't remember its name but it's really good.

When we eat out and I want a beer, I'm usually stuck with a beer that corresponds with the cuisine; I won't buy a Budweiser in an Asian restauarant, for example; spoils the mood.

Problem is, I'm beginning to think that if the beer isn't made in America or Europe, it's just not very good.

I now know why people stick limes into Mexican beers. It's to give them some TASTE.

Japanese beers, while they're okay, tend to be a bit salty to me. Also, they're served in sizes that lightweights like me could live on for DAYS.

There's one medium dark beer out there that I'm starting to enjoy immensely -- it's called -- I kid you not....


Hey, I didn't name it, I just like it.

Not enough to buy a six-pack but I do like it.

Certain foods go well with beer; others don't. Plain and simple. Sushi: yes. Burgers: No (I'll take a diet coke with my hamburger any day of the week.)

Your milage may vary.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Last week, after what seems like years of hearing about the damn thing, an IKEA store opened up in Tempe.

For those of you who may be reading this and don't know what that is, or for those who've been creating traffic jams in Tempe just from trying to see what the hell it is, let me help.

I went to an IKEA in Virginia this summer because I had to pee.

Brace yourself -- this may ruin it for you, but...


Phew. Sorry. I just don't give a rat's ass.

They don't even have the balls to run their European commercials over here. I won't go there until they air the spot where the middle-aged woman, wearing little more than thigh-high shitwalker boots and brandishing a pitchfork, chases her husband around the house. He's naked except for a piggy mask, and he's squealing like a pig. Their daughter and her boyfriend walk in on them and catch them. The parents start laughing, and over the faces of the startled teens, a super appears: "Time to move out? IKEA."

You will NEVER see this ad over here. So I will never go to IKEA.

Unless they start selling guitars. But they won't because it'll be that crappy, shitty-sounding Korean Samick stuff.


I have friends who are suffering from bad cases of GAS:
Guitar Acquisition Syndrome.
Just last thursday a guy comes in to Fidds with a brand new Takoma with the flat-finish top and acoustic hole on the upper right side of the body instead of in the center. I asked him why he bought it and he said, "I just had to."

This man has GAS.

I guess that means I have BIAS: Bizarre Instrument Acquisition Syndrome.
I certainly do.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

This just in... (I'm sorry, but I find irony funny)

WHITMAN, Massachusetts (AP) -- An 80-year-old veteran of World War II was killed Thursday morning when a van backed over him as he prepared to march in a Veterans Day parade.

Reminds me of a line from Woody Allen's "Don't Drink The Water":

"Two world wars without a scratch, and I get shot by a caterer."


God, Bob Dylan is a good songwriter.

I'm sitting here listening to internet radio (radiofreephoenix.com) and they're playing "Some of Tom Thumb's Blues," which has always been one of my favorites because it's Dylan at his poetic best:

Well you're lost in the rain in Juarez
And it's Easter time, too
When gravity fails and negativity
don't pull you through
Don't put on any airs when you're down on
Rue Morgue Avenue
They got some hungry women there and man
they make a mess outta you.

What a great song.


I have decided that if anyone ever again asks me to intercede in a gripe they have against somebody else, I'm going to tell them to fuck off. I seem only able to open entirely new cans of worms because I feel the need to point out to the complainer that they're probably just one side of a story and probably partially to blame for whatever the problem is.

You'd think people would see that.


Damn that Paramount.

They just released both Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields Box Sets. This is the first time Fields' feature movies have EVER been on DVD and the Marx Bros movies are their first four. Gotta get 'em.


My friend Jean Anderson sent me a new action figure for my act: Pope Innocent III.
I already have the joke for it.

Which reminds me, I'm playing Fiddlers Dream on Thanksgiving Friday. Y'all come.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Jan and I went to see Neil Innes last night.

He was freakin' hilarious.

He was totally acoustic.

His act reminded me of me.

But funnier.

The audience was a good mix of people who knew him from the Bonzo Dog Band (smallest group), to people who knew him from his work with the Pythons (biggest group) and people who came to hear Rutles songs (almost nearly as big a group as the Python group).

The sheer numbers of us who knew the Rutles tunes, well enough to sing BACKGROUND for Neil, was truly amazing.

Two tried and true lines that never fail to get a laugh:

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it's wonderful to be."


"My career truly spans."

OF COURSE he sang "Brave Sir Robin." So did we all.

The stories he told about the Pythons were sidesplitting.

If he shows up in your municipality, you NEED to go see Neil Innes. I haven't felt that good after a show in years.


I'm really impressed with the Phoenix Suns coming out at 4-0 to start the season. If they win tonight, they'll tie their best starting record when they went 5-0 in 1986 before losing a game...

...and then finished 36-46 for the year. A good start does not a good team make. But these guys appear to be for real.


It's getting harder to find touring folk acts that might be enticed to come play at Fiddlers' Dream. Thing is, we're smoll. But, the audience usually buys more stuff (CDs, T-shirts, etc.) than the performer anticipates so they always make money.

We're knocking around various names; I like to get established, nay, LEGENDARY names in if possible. Thing is, most of the legends are dead. That makes them cheap but rather unreliable. They never show. The living ones can cost too much. We all want Janis Ian. But she's still too bankable.

About 3 years ago I booked Dave Van Ronk into Fidd's. I had no idea that it was going to be his second-to-last show ever. But it was. And even though he was clearly in pain, and suffering from what he thought was colitis but which turned out to be last-stage colon cancer, he was still fantastic.

I want my legends healthy from now on. When I suggested we book Tom Chapin this year, my first thought was to ask about his health. (He's fine and he was great.)

Hell, if I'd known, we could have booked Neil Innes.


Monday, November 08, 2004

I don't go to too many concerts anymore. My ears can't take it; I already have problems with "cocktail ear" situations where there's a lot going on. I find myself frequently asking folks to repeat themselves.

Nevertheless, tomorrow night Jan and I are going to a concert. I don't think it'll be too loud but it'll be lots of fun, and it's someone I've admired ever since I first saw him pretending to play the lute and singing about Brave Sir Robin:

Yes, Neil Innes is coming to Phoenix. Tomorrow night at the Rhythm Room. He's covering the scope of his career; from the Bonzo Dog Band to his role as the "seventh Python" and his songs for "The Rutles," where of course he played "Ron Nasty."

This is gonna be fun. And since Neil's songs are all kind of bright and poppy, I doubt it'll be too loud.


I went to TusCon over the weekend and it was fun! It wasn't all that big but there was stuff to do, we participants got lots of free books, Barry Bard was handing out condoms and foam rubber sperm in a promotion for the movie "Seed of Chucky," (easily the tackiest promotion EVER) and I gave a massage demo that was attended by exactly ONE person who wasn't related to me,but she did take diligent notes.


My premier episode of "Zappa Universe" appeared on radiofreephoenix.com last night and it sounded pretty good, I thought. On first listen I leaned rather heavy on instrumental pieces so maybe this week I'll play closer attention to mixing it up.

We are already being mentioned on a Hungarian Zappa site.


My family held my birthday party yesterday and they even invited me! I got lots of DVDs, a video game, books and socks! (I'm really excited about the socks, now that we own a dog.)

So who's the first schmuck to roll in Bush's next cabinet? I think Ashcroft's days are numbered, as are Rumsfeld's; apparently he's sick. And I bet Cheney doesn't last more than two years.


Another sign that the apocalypse is nigh: The Suns, the Sun Devils and even the CARDINALS all won their games over the weekend. The Suns are 3-0 in the early season; they look MIGHTY good. Especially as compared to last year, when GRADE SCHOOL teams could beat them.


Friday, November 05, 2004

This just in: Three days after the fact, President Bush has won Iowa.

And he can have it.


Why do people give a rat's ass about murder trials like Scott Peterson's? Who cares?
I have a real problem with people who become famous for no other reason than they were murdered or they are suspected of being a murderer.

No one cares.


Just a reminder: "Zappa Universe" premiers at 6p.m. mountain time on www.radiofreephoenix.com -- do check it out!


Who do you think will be the first to go in Bush's cabinet? Can I volunteer John Asshole -- er, Ashcroft? The moment he's dumped I want to be the guy to pull the curtain off of the justice statue's breast. What an ass.


I read somewhere that what got all the conservatives out in the vital states on Tuesday was that nearly all of them had "gay marriage" propositions on the ballot, and all of them were worded in such a way that they sounded as if they were abolishing homosexuality itself.
So of course, the conservatives came out in droves.


I wonder what would happen if America could take one single month of "no censorship." Say, do, wear or not wear whatever you want on TV for an entire month. Would everybody get bored? Would they still want to watch reality shows?

Which reminds me -- why DO people watch reality shows? Is their reality not enough reality? I thought TV was supposed to be an escape.

The only reality show you SHOULD be watching is "Drawn Together," the first and probably last animated reality series. The premiere was a hoot and I understand this week's (which I have yet to watch) makes last week's look like an episode of "Barney."


I'm off to Tucson for TUs-Con, their science fiction convention. For the second straight year, I'm doing a massage demo. Unless I'm stopped by conservatives who insist I do an "encouraging pat on the back" demo.

God I hope not...


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thankfully, there aren't too many rules set on internet radio.

Which is why I'm now the host of a show!

Tune in to radiofreephoenix.com this Sunday at 6 p.m. Mountain for the first installment of "Zappa Universe," an hour-long, weekly show dedicated to Frank Zappa and his music.

I clicked on the station today and heard my promo for the show! That was cool. I used to be a disc jockey and it's been years since I heard myself talk like that.

If you're really into Zappa and you have stuff that you know would make my EARS drool, send it to me.


Fiddlers Dream needs a roof. We had to do all of our shows last week in the Quaker meeting house because two Thursdays of rain and wind did a number on the main Fidd's location. I'm not going tonight (I'm headed for Nancy's to rehearse a gig we have next month) but this is probably a good night not to go, anyway.

Last week, we sponsored a highly attended, more-than-sold-out show by a guy named Mack Bailey, which was touted in all of the promo material as a John Denver tribute. In two hours, the guy played ONE John Denver song. Another one of the guys in the group, Jon Sommers, is the author of "Thank God I'm A Country Boy." He performed that. And that was it.

We've been getting an earful. Not our fault, though. Certainly not MY fault--I was far, far away, watching my wife dance.


This weekend, we're headed for TusCon. I'm on four panels. All of them at at night between 9-midnight so I don't know how much MUSIC I'll get to play this weekend, but it should be fun anyway.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

What I want to know is, why have an election if nothing's going to change? It did look good there for a while, though.

You know who I really feel sorry for in Presidential elections? The Libertarian guy. I've always figured that the Libertarian guy is the guy you vote for when you can't in your right mind vote for either of the front runners. This sort of puts a pall on whatever the guy stands for.

Personally, I know a few actual Libertarians and I've done some reading and the party's platform is, at least as I see it, as close to anarchy as anything I've ever seen.

I go to a lot of science fiction conventions and they seem to attract a large number of Libertarians--or at least people who think they support the libertarian ticket. What I think they really support is the Libertarians' hands-off policy regarding gun ownership. That's all well and good, just keep them outa my house.

I do think, though that if you were to listen to everything the Libs stand for, you'd probably not agree with all that much of it. Or maybe you would.

Just to give you an idea of how "out there' these people can appear to be, when Frank Zappa was considering running for president (his prostate cancer killed that, and Frank), the Libertarian party approached him to be their candidate in 1990. At first, he thought it would be a good idea until he got acquainted with the party agenda, then he decided they were to subversive even for him.

Still, it's always good to see that Libertarian guy on the ticket. He's like the team that plays the Harlem Globetrotters every night. You know he's not gonna win but you can't blame him for trying.


Speaking of conventions, I'm going to TusCon this weekend. I'm doing four panels (including a return of my massage demo, which went over really well last year). That's four more than I'm ever asked to do at sci-fi conventions here in town. Ah well.


I will never be elected President. Here's why: In the first semester of my college days, I was walking along with a couple of friends of mine at NAU when a guy with a clipboard came up and asked if we would sign a petition to get the Communist Party's candidate onto the Presidential ballot in Arizona. My friends declined but I figured, why the hell not? I'm not gonna vote for him, he's not gonna win, but anyone can run for president no matter how jaded and misdirected they are. So I signed it.

(In case you're wondering, the guy DID get his name on, but in case you didn't hear, he didn't win. Jimmy Carter did.)

Now I KNOW, that somewhere in some folder in some file in some office in some city somewhere, that fucking petition is just WAITING for me to announce my candidacy to ANYTHING. Then my opponent will accuse me of being a COMMUNIST SYMPATHISER! Then he'll pay Karl Marx to rise from the dead and declare me a Pinko! On live TV! And how DARE you even think about electing a COMMIE to be the city's first elected dog shit picker-upper!

See? Beware of what you did in your youth. I'm still having guilt pangs over the single hit of marijuana I took in a study hall at Brookfield Central High, from a makeshift pipe made out of a Bic Pen. (It didn't work immediately so I swore off the stuff forever.)

Only thing worse than a pinko commie commission of poop scooping is a STONED pinko commie poop scoop commissioner...


That's a great name for a band: "Poop Scoop Commissioner..."


I'm 47 now. That means that I'm officially "Pushing 50." Still not a grey hair on my head. My eyebrows, however, wish to differ.

I find it hard to believe it's been 30 years since I was in high school, 26 years since I met my wife, and 24 years since John Lennon's last autograph. Shit, WOODSTOCK was 35 years ago! All those young people in that movie are either older parents or grandparents now.

I was actually in New York the weekend of Woodstock--but on the other side of the state. We were visiting friends in Buffalo and the TV that weekend was wall-to-wall coverage of the traffic jam and shots of the crowd. All of the older girls at the home where we were staying were making noise about driving up there, but when they heard they wouldn't get anywhere close, they decided not to. Personally, I would have gone if they had. I was three months short of 12 years old. I was groovy. I was "into" the 60s music scene as much as a kid with a paper route could be. Like, "wow," man.

"Woodstock" is one of my favorite movies, by the way. But you have to know how -- and where-- to watch it. Woodstock was best viewed at Drive-in movie theatres, its music condensed to come out of a mono speaker about the size of your hand. It seemed to play almost bi-weekly at the Cactus Drive In during the mid-70s. My friends and I saw it a lot.

In a way it was my pre-cursor to "Rocky Horror." There were rituals you did at different times in the movie, like poke fun at Wavy Gravy, and mimic Arlo Guthrie when he says, "New York State Thruway is CLOSED, Maaaaan!"

"Woddstock" suffers from not having any drive-in-size screens to see it on anymore. When Ten Years After comes on and plays that version of "I'm going home" that lasts for about a week, you had time to pee, go to the snack bar, wait for your friend to smoke a cigarette, schmooze with girls, etc. etc. And you were still back in time to see the hippie girl talk about how she didn't know how she was gonna get home.

And of course, the classic "Port-o-San" scene. Love that. Nothing like seeing a guy clean out a Porta-john on a 60-foot movie screen.


Kerry just conceded. Well, Buck Fush.


Monday, November 01, 2004

The night before last I had this vivid dream that my friend Nancy Freeman was walking through our house, naked, looking for breath mints.

I have no idea.

I used to be the editor of a restaurant magazine. Regardless, since I haven't been an editor of said magazine for nearly two years now, my e-mail is still flooded with press releases I can't use. I continue to get them for purely business reasons but every so often I get one that raises questions. Or amuses me. Or both.

Case in point:

(This one was in my e-mail this morning)

34 Year Veteran of Ft. Wayne Arby’s Restaurant Honored for having the

Longest Tenure at 2004 Arby’s Worldwide Franchise Convention

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (November 1, 2004) – Deb Kuhn, Team Member at a Ft. Wayne Arby’s restaurant, was honored at the 2004 Arby’s Worldwide Franchise Convention for having the longest tenure in the entire Arby’s system at 34 years. Arby’s, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, presented Kuhn with a plaque and a Rolex Watch.

Kuhn, who was born in New Haven, Ind. and attended Southside High School, began her career at Arby’s in February of 1971. She enjoyed her first 10 years at the Arby’s on Rudisill Blvd., before moving to another Ft. Wayne Arby’s for six years. Kuhn has spent the last 18 years at the Arby’s located at 3524 E. State Blvd., in Ft. Wayne. Kuhn currently works back line and food prep.

According to Doug Benham, President and CEO of Arby’s, LLC, Kuhn has excelled in many areas throughout her career. “Deb’s commitment to Arby’s is truly inspirational. She has been a valued team member for over three decades. It makes everyone’s job easier knowing that you can rely on someone like Deb.”   

Okay, stop.

First of all, never mind that the math is wrong in the article, unless they're just ASSUMING she's gonna still be there in '05. (Seems like a pretty safe bet.)

It's one thing to want to get a job when you're in high school; that's what places like Arby's are for. (I never did this, but then if I hadn't had the steady swing shift job mopping blood off the ER floor at John C. Lincoln hospital, I might have.)

But at some point, if you work there long enough, you would hope to move on with your life. Or at least get PROMOTED.

I don't know what a "promotion" is at Arby's. Do you move from front counter to fries? Do you get to make sandwiches without a valid food handler's card? What?

Certainly, sooner or later you'd want something MORE. All this woman has attained in 34 years of working at ARBYs is she's a fucking SANDWICH MAKER!

She should be PRESIDENT OF ARBY's by now! Hell, former president and Owner-emeritus or something!

And after 34 years, her hourly wage must be like $1,000 an hour. So why doesn't she use some of that money and BUY A FUCKING ARBY's FRANCHISE? She's already AT the convention, fer chrissakes. Hell, they should GIVE her a franchise.

One thing's for sure. She accidentally drops that Rolex in the deep fryer and there'll be hell to pay.


Remember...tomorrow's my birthday. I want a new President. And a new Sheriff. And I want those stupid Paul Babbit/Rick Renzi ads off my TV.

At least I know one of those will come true...

Go vote. No excuses.


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