Monday, August 29, 2005


ANCHORMAN: Well, Hurricane Katrina is headed straight for New Orleans and parts beyond. It's a level 4 hurricane, meaning it could literally strip the skin off your body. For more on that, here's our cub reporter who we send into ridiculous situations like this because she's too scared, inexperienced and stupid to say no, Tina Schlub. What's it like out there, Tina?

TINA (barely audible above the howling wind, Tina, who only owns one good set of clothes, which she bought with her first paycheck and is wearing in spite of the horrible weather, is already soaking wet): Well, Bill, Katrina has, as you can see, definitely come inland, with winds of up to 150 miles an hour, and enough rain to give everyone in this town an enema, ten times over.

(A drowned horse floats by in the background)

As you can see, because I lost the F*&^ing poker game in the newsroom this morning, I'm standing in about 4 and a half feet of water, waste material and unearthed corpses, because New Orleans is UNDER sea level and I'm the poor schmuck who has to stand here and say unbelievably predictable things, like it's F*&^^NG RAINING! LIKE YOU COULDN'T FIGURE THAT OUT BY STICKING YOUR DAMN CAJUN HEADS OUT THE G*(^^_AMN WINDOW! God, I should've gone to medical school...


Do people just not remember "Walking on Sunshine," or have I missed the obvious joke to do a hurricane report showing the rough waves at the beach and put up a super that says "Katrina and the Waves?"

Two days till my vacation starts. 3 days till I'm in Atlanta. Woo Hoo!


Thursday, August 25, 2005



Now I know, the next time I'm in San Francisco, where I can get that damn sheep.

Do inflatable androids dream of inflatable sheep?


I feel so used

Somebody in Arizona is selling their copy of my CD on Amazon.

This marks the first and only time that my CD has ever appeared on Amazon.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.


Sure was great to see our ol' pal Tom Anderson and his kids, Ian and Ellen, the other night. (Wife Jean stayed home in VA, as her mom was visiting.) He used to live here with the wife and kids but a better job called so they high-tailed it to the far east. Virginia, not China.

Anyway, Ian is in full growth-spurt mode and Ellen's grown a bit too. Won't be long before all of my kids and Tom's kids are taller than me.

It was very important we see the Andersons because we're not going to see them again until next Thursday at DragonCon in Atlanta. And we miss them so.


God lordy Jeezus we're busy. We have something to do every weekend in September. This is putting a cramp on getting my CD done but it'll be done when it's done.


We put down the deposit on Alwun House for our 25th Anniversary party next year, which means we can now start planning and conniving. Connive, connive, connive.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Vassar Clements died last week.

That doesn't mean much to a lot of you I'm sure but suffice to say he was one of the world's best -- maybe THE best--fiddler who ever lived.

He appeared on over 2,000 albums.

He could play anything -- bluegrass, blues, jazz, rock, you name it. The classical section of the CD store might be the only place where you wouldn't find an album with Vassar on it, and I imagine I'm probaby wrong about that.

He appeard on countless must-have albums. Three you should go to Amazon and buy right now:

"Will The Circle Be Unbroken" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band;
"Aereo-Plain" by John Hartford;
"Old and In the Way," by Old and In the Way.

Vassar even shows up in the lyrics to one of my own songs: "Fiddle and Banjo Crap."

I have Vassar's autograph on a Holiday Inn cocktail napkin. I got it because my parents came up to visit me in Flagstaff one weekend and they stayed at the Holiday Inn. I met them there for breakfast one Saturday, as it happens, the night after a Vassar Clements show at a local bar. As luck would have it, there we were, eating breakfast when into the restaurant walks Vassar and his band. I quickly asked my dad for a pen and went over and got his autograph, which he was happy to give to me.

Clements was amazing live. I hope you got to see him. If not, I have something on you.


Not that I plan to sell it, but thinking about Vassar's autograph got me thinking about all the autographs I've gotten and LOST. And how much those autographs could get me on E-bay now if I'd only known about such things when I was younger.


The program from the dinner thrown for Bob Uecker when the Milwaukee Brewers hired him to announce their games in 1971 (Bob continues to be their announcer to this day). On the dais that night, and among the people who autographed my program that night, were (among others): Uecker, Bud Selig, then the owner of the Brewers, now the commissioner of MLB, and Ferguson Jenkins, who of course ended up becoming a Hall of Famer.


Dwight Eisenhower.

When I was about 12 my Aunt Peg gave me some certificate she got for some kind of volunteer work that she did in the 1950s. She got to go meet the president, who presented the certificate, which was signed by him. I had this thing in a frame, and knew exactly where it was until the day we moved to Arizona from Wisconsin, after which I NEVER SAW IT AGAIN.

I hope whoever stole it lost it before HE found out about E-bay.


Baseball: Billy Williams (Cubs Hall of Famer), Earl Weaver, Rollie Fingers (A's/Brewers HOF'er; GOD I'm an idiot);


Eddie Mathews, Dick Van Patten, Harry Chapin.


Vassar Clements, John McEuen, Members of the band Lindisfarne, Franklin Pierce, Leon Redbone, Laurie Anderson, Bo Diddley (twice!) Richard Thompson, William Hanna and Joe Barbera, and THREE MEMBERS OF THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: Don Preston, Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner (but alas, no Zappa);

And Penn and Teller. They are no longer sticky. Looooong story.....

I'm going to DragonCon next week and Roger Dean, who produced some of the best album covers for some of the most overblown piece-of-shit bands of all time (read: Yes and Asia), will be there. I'll probably plunk down the dough to get a poster with his autograph on it 'cause I really like his artwork.

I'm also figuring that since most of the people are going to this con to meet the Weasley twins from Harry Potter and the cast of FIrefly, there won't be a big line to meet Roger Dean.

For Roger's sake, I hope I'm wrong.


Friday, August 19, 2005


Go to this blog and scroll down to the star wars...or Star War?
(It's the Chinese-to-English translation of the dialog. I'm still hurting.)



Have a nice weekend!


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I went skinny dipping last Saturday. Hooray! We were at an annual party of a group of friends and it was nice to see that the bulk of the people who did dive in also doffed their duds.

That's kind of the best thing about social nudism; nobody gives a rat's hiney how old you are, what kind of shape you're in, etc. It's just fun to be naked in a pool. That doesn't change ever.

Especially when you're trying to pelt people with beachballs.

Or inflatable sharks.

Or inflatable chairs.

Aw hell, you had to be there.


Is it close enough to mention that I'll be playing the Peoria Library Auditorium on Monday, August 29?
If it isn't then it's WAAAY too soon to mention my gig with Nancy Freeman at Fiddler's Dream in late September, and SOOOOO early to mention that I sent in my application for the Prescott folk festival the first week of October. So I won't.


Once I get back from vacation I plan to finish my CD but real and honest like. Gotta get on the stick here.
I'm getting tired of the songs and I need to be able to look forward to playing them for the next couple years while I sell CDs.



Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I don't have much time today but I read this quote from one of my favorite theologians (yes, I have a favorite theologian):

`We are a space-age people. We know if
Jesus went straight up, he didn't go to
heaven. He went into orbit.'
John Shelby Spong, former Episcopal

I highly recommend that everybody read Spong's books, particularly one called "Why Christianity Must Change Or Die." It's great, and even if you're an agnostic weenie like me, you'll find yourself yelling YES! YES! at things he says in that book.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


In the ongoing botanical freak show that is the flower boxes in my back yard, next to the schizophrenic corn that came out of a pepper pod (or so it seems -- see below, and thanks to all who've commented), I am now fascinated by the basil I have growing in the box next to the corn and pepper.

I planted seeds from one bag of basil, and have produced several healthy plants. However, while both are clearly basil, they are different varieties. One produces a kind of rounded, billowy leaf, and the other a flatter, smaller-sized leaf.

I tasted both of them and they have a slightly different taste to them.

Again, all the basil seeds I planted came out of the same bag.

Now I know that in the world of seed factories, it's probably possible that the mentally-challenged person they use to scoop stray seeds into open basil bags could have made a boo boo. But if you've ever bought basil (honestly, I had no intention of alliterating so much) seeds, you know that you can't just buy "Basil." Well, you can, but if you do you're not trying hard enough.

Basils, apparently, are like fine wine. The object is to find a basil that tastes nothing like basil but in fact "reminds" you of other things. You know how prissy wine bozos will slosh a bunch of bordeaux or pinot or escargot and then spit it out and say, "This wine has a fine apricot flourish, with hints of cow chip and turpentine?"

Well, it's apparently the same with basil. There's Cinnamon Basil. Mint Basil. Licorice Basil. Sweet Basil. Basic Basil. Basil Rathbone.

The point is, each variety of basil tastes a little different.

This morning, I sampled both basils in my box. (Now THAT's a euphemism I have to remember.)
I found the rounded one to be a bit strong, heady, with a faint hint of, oh, what is that flavor...oh yeah, BASIL.

The flatter one, however, did indeed smack of licorice and that pesky BASIL FLAVOR that seems to pervade these silly plants.

I picked two more leaves, one from each plant and headed inside to get Janice to do a taste test. She was sitting on the couch reading the paper.

I held out the two leaves to show her the difference in their shape, which she took note of.

Then, I said: "Taste these, and tell me which one you like better."

The problem is, another being in the room did not understand that "Taste These" was a suggestion to my wife.

I'm speaking of course of our dog, Dweezil.

In a split second, Dweezil leapt on to the couch and in mid-air, ripped half of the billowy basil from my left hand and greedily munched away at it. We all started laughing and I, dumbstruck, kept holding the leaves out, so Dweezil sampled the other one.

Then he looked up and smiled at me like "Can I have the rest of that?"

Well, what was I to do? I did what any good dog owner would do.

I asked Dweezil which one he liked best. He just stared at me, as if to say, "It's edible and tasty, dumbshit. What else is there to know?"

Our household was now erupting in laughter as the Dweez grabbed the rest of the leaves from my fingers and chowed down.

I told Jan to sneak out back later and try the basil. I can only hope that Dweezil doesn't equate the green growy things in the back yard the munchy leafy stuff he had today, but that remains to be seen.

Or eaten.


Sunday, August 07, 2005


This is corn, right?

The reason that I'm asking is, I PLANTED pepper seeds.

That's a Scotch bonnet plant growing somewhat unperturbed under the CORN,
which is growing from the exact spot where I saw my son break open a red pepper pod and
plant a bunch of red pepper seeds.

If any of you have corn experience, can you tell me this:

If I trim the corn leaves to allow the scotch bonnet to get more sun, will that hurt my
chances of getting corn?

If the Scotch Bonnet sprouts peppers, which would come after flowering, and the flowers happen
at about the time the corn starts to silk, and pollen gets on the corn, will I get KILLER HEAT CORN?

Will the Burbank society write me up in their journals as a botanist extraordinaire?

Can corn even GROW in Arizona?

Why is this happening to me?

Your comments are welcome.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Okay, Experiment
Number Two.

I'm having fun with this.

Or should I say



Thursday, August 04, 2005

Is this Bold?

And is this not?

I learned how to do this at Nancy Freeman's tonight.


I need to see.

WOW! It Worked!

Sort of. It still won't let me make the type any bigger (Nan lent me a book which should help with that) but this is a start! And apparently I have to use AOL of all things to access the HTML option. Which is bizarre on so many levels you can't even imagine.

Thank you Nancy! Anything else you want to trade for a massage, lemme know!


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

For those of you reading this outside the Phoenix area, I need to say that MONSOON season -- misnamed as it is -- is here.


We got 2+ inches of rain in our neighborhood last night, which both entertained and scared the bejesus out of various members of our household.

We also discovered things in the rain that were only that much more of an annoyance because it was raining like a sumbitch.

To wit:

1. The Krispy Kreme Donut store near our house has closed. Why was this annoying you ask, when it was raining, and if you know me, you know that I'm really not that much of a fan of Krispy Kreme Donuts in the first place so why was I trying to buy them?

Sit down and stop throwing things at me and I'll explain.

Yesterday was Jan's birthday. (Happy Birthday to Jan!) Anyway, it being Tuesday, she had a class, I had to take the boys birthday shopping and we all ended up back at the still-dry house in a still-dry neighborhood at about nine something.

Presents were presented and then Brendan said, "hey, there's no cake!" Which was true. You don't buy women cakes unless they say they want one, 'cause hey, it's cake. And they're women. And since we don't pay attention to anything they say, the chance of us screwing up by BUYING a cake before they ask for one as a friendly gesture is a sure invitation to have silver candlesticks thrown at your head for being so inconsiderate when you KNOW she's on a diet ( actually, ladies, we don't, regardless of how many times you've said so), so you can just shovethatcakeupyourasshereletmehelp...

But anyway, Jan says, "Yeah, It's my birthday! I need cake! Or some kind of cakey substance! Why don't you guys go get some Kripy Kr..."

Adam and Brendan bolted out the door before Jan could finish with "...eme."

I follow them out to the car. The wind is suddenly blowing now. Hard. No rain but it's cool out. I get in the car. We head for the KK. I get a block from the house and the rain starts. BOOOOOM goes thunder, FLASH goes the sky, PATTAPATTAPATTAPATTA etc. goes the rain.

I pull up to the Krispy Kreme and the lights are not only out but the SIGN is gone. Not a good sign to have no sign. So I have to drive to a Circle K about 2 miles away to get Krispy Kreme donuts. Which I do.

We pull out the oars and row the van home.


Have I told you we have a dog?

A smart, funny, entertaining. loyal, noble-looking, loud-barking, Welsh Corgi of a dog named Dweezil.

The Welsh Corgi: A noble breed; bred to herd cattle; to run under their charges and nip at their heels and get them to go where their master wants them to go. Dogs bred to withstand the harsh, wet and rainy climes of Wales. A breed that has, over time, evolved to produce at least one product of the species who, equipped with all this noble breeding, instinct, talent and fast thinking, turns magically into an unbelievable chickenshit when so much as a raindrop falls in the front yard.

EXHIBIT A: Our dog, Dweezil.

The Dweez was NOT enjoying this much-needed present from the water gods. As a matter of fact, as the thunder got louder, and the lightning got brighter, and the rains got stronger, our Noble Welsh protector of the herd did what he figured any dog of his fine standing and upbringing would do.

Did he stand proudly at the front door to protect us from the impending thumping outside?


Did he run from room to room to try and figure out what the big noise was in an effort to save us all from the big scary monsther that was making all the noise?


Trembling like a scared mouse and panting about a thousand beats per minute, he ran under our bed and played dead.
I guess he figured "well, if this is it, I'm going to be comfortable."

Dweezil plays the best dead of any dog I've ever seen. I even tried to get him to get up and get over it and he just LAID THERE.

You can't imagine how happy I am to know that if Dweezil is ever home alone during a rainstorm and someone breaks in to rob the place, he'll be more than happy to rip the guy to shreds provided he gets under the bed with him and plays dead.

Here, Dweezil. Have a donut.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Last Saturday night, I went up to Fiddler's Dream to catch some Haris Blackwood's show (with musical friends). Haris is a long-time singer, songwriter and supporter of Fiddler's Dream, who moved up to Portland a few years ago with her partner, Donna. (Thanks to Canada, they are now married.) Some of the best musicians and songwriters in town call Haris a friend so the place was packed with talented people and stuffed to the gills with audience.

It was my first real chance to see Jim "Trooper" Pipkin, a guy I'd heard about for years with his own army of local fans and boy was I not disappointed. This guy is the real thing. Moving material, good choice of songs, man oh man.

All the other people who played were no slouches, either. Haris even let me play a couple and fortunately I remembered all the words.

That's what's neat about the folk music community here; everybody kinda supports each other because let's face it: it may not be a dying art form but it's a fading one, and the only way we're going to keep it alive is to remember the rest of us are out there.

Or something like that.


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