Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I just read where Desmond Dekker died the other day.

You may not remember the name but I bet you remember his one big hit in the states,
"Israelites." It was the first big reggae hit in the US.

What was most interesting about it was that you probably couldn't understand a word of it, even though it was a song about the downtrodden poor in Jamaica at the time, just trying to make ends meet. Dekker compares himself to the Israelites of old, who were in the same boat. A very Rastafarian thing to do:

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor, poor me
The Israelite.

My wife and my kid, dem pack up an-a leave me
Darling she said, I was yours to receive
Poor poor me
The Israelite.

Shirt dem a tear-up, trousers a-go
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
Poor poor me
The Israelite.

After a storm there must be a calm
You catch me on your farm you sound an alarm
Poor poor me
The Israelite.

Of course, due to Dekker's thick Jamaican patois, thousands of kids from coast to coast misheard these words for years. Some of the best misheard lyrics from this song include:

Sold out to every monk and beefhead...

Darling cheesehead, I was yards too greasy...

After a star there must be a comet...

And I'm sure you have yours. Feel free to contribute!


Today is my son Adam's 21st Birthday. Happy Birthday, Adam!
Have a beer! I'll buy!


Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I am of the opinion that most people with opinions on things like the war can't possibly as extreme as they sound. There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and what's really happening.

I have long wondered why there are no talk radio shows that compare everything to arrive at a comfortable middle ground.

Maybe that doesn't make good radio.

But it sure makes good music and video, at least in this case:


Ian Rhett is a San Francisco-based musician who's totally against the war. Thing is though, he has a younger sister in the Marines. That's all I need to say. Check out this video/song and I bet that regardless where you stand, this video will choke you up, even though it's firmly planted in that odd "middle" I was talking about.



I am a card collector. Not Magic cards or stuff like that but I like to collect sets. I have all the Robert Crumb collector sets, for example, of Blues singers and Jazz performers and even his collection of Musette (French Sidewalk Musician) cards. I have the National Lampoon collection, a variety of oddball limited collections and all kinds of stuff.

This all started when I was a kid. I collected baseball cards. Which my mom dutifully tossed, year after year after year. So instead of being one of those guys on ebay asking 800 bucks for a Willie Mays card, I'm stuck with my memories.

But every year, I still buy at least one package of the current Topps cards, just to see what they look like.

They don't put bubble gum in there anymore. Too expensive, plus collectors were complaining that the cornstarch and oil in the bubble gum was wrecking the quality of the card it sat upon. Jeez.

But I always buy a pack, because if you're a designer for Topps, you have to come up with something new EVERY DAMN YEAR.

Not that you can't borrow elements from year's past. But here's what this year's cards look like:

It's not really obvious from this picture, but these cards are SHINY. That's a SILVER team name and a SILVER player name, all on thick, glossy card stock. The colors are, for the most part, extremely bright and enhanced.

But the REAL design sense is on the back. I couldn't find a picture on the internet of the back of a Topps card, but these babies have color accents in a variety of possibilites: Purple, red, yellow, blue, green and a kind of red that Crayola used to call "Indian Red." (Apologies to you Native Americans but I don't know what they renamed it.) Each team gets its own accent color, which I suppose might make it easier to pull out entire teams if you grouped all your cards that way.

Plus, they've brought back the little cartoon drawings that have appeared periodically since the 50s -- you know the ones, with a factoid attached, usually but not always about the player on the front of the card.

My opinion of this year's design on a scale of 1-10:

Design: 6 for the front, 8 for the back.
Collictibility: 4. I don't think I'll be buying any more. The silver glare is a turn off for me.
Chances that this design will become buried in my brain like the 1960s Topps Cards that I collected with all my heart and soul, cards that I can STILL explain to you at the drop of a hat, like the fact that the 1969 cards had the player's name in a little colored circle on the front, and the team name blazing across the card bottom in big yellow letters: 0.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I have to show you this car that I mentioned below. Here it is with Kara, the decorator/driver of the car.
Very neat, eh?



Last Saturday's Violet Wing Reunion show was so unbelievably cool they should've charged money.

Dave Frankus, the band's "leader," really put together a neat show, and I got to open it!

In this first picture, you can see where I'm obviously trying to remember what I'm going to do next.

I guess I did okay, 'cause the 75 or so people in the audience gave me a standing ovation at the end of my set. That was a first.

Later on, the band had me come out and sing one more song with them: "Louie Louie." That was fun!

There were go-go girls, too! One of them actually took the time to borrow a Volkswagen Beetle and put multi-colored tape flowers all over it, with a shag steering wheel cover and fake joints in the front seat (they had rosemary in them), and parked it in front of the Mesa Women's Center! Very cool.

It's fun having creative friends. A good time was had by all.


Friday, May 19, 2006


I haven't been played on Dr. Demento yet with the new CD, but Dave Tanny, a guy in San Diego, has an internet radio show called the Dementia Top 20, where listeners to his station, DFSX, at http://www.dfsxradio.com/ , vote for every song.

One of my tunes, "Everybody Wanna Sound Like Nirvana," popped on the list a couple of weeks ago at #14 and this weekend, I'm #7. I presume the show airs periodically all weekend, but I really don't know. All I do know is my Mac can't play Live 365.com, which is where Dave's show emanates from.

But it's fun to know I'm getting played!



In what could be the oddest gig of my life, tomorrow (Saturday) I'm the opening act for a reunion concert of a band that was quite popular here in the Phoenix area back in 1968. They were called the Violet Wing, and my buddy Dave Frankus (who you bellydancing, SCA-type people might better know as Edric Aziz, hand drummer extraordinaire) was the lead guitarist.

Well, Dave got this idea to round up all the band members he could find after 37 years of being apart, and have a reunion concert. But do it REALLY 60s, with sexy Go Go Girls and cages and an opening act...

...which will be me, doing 60s songs. (I'll probably sneak my song "Baby Boomer" in there too.)

The band's original singer is dead, so they're bringing in a guy, who they're calling "Claude Nine," who played in yet another band around at the time. He should be fine.

But they want ME to sing Louie Louie with them, so that should be different.

Also playing will be a group from San Diego called Bongo Billy and the Resonators.

I have no idea.

If you want to see this, and you should, it's tomorrow night at the Mesa Women's Center, 200 N. Macdonald in Mesa. I start the show at 7. I will also be the Emcee. I think it's free but Dave told me that if he does charge, it'll be a quarter. 'Cause that was the cover charge in '68...

(By the way, I said "sexy go-go girls," which means women who weren't even being THOUGHT ABOUT back in 1968.
At the rehearsal a couple weeks ago, Dave passed around the band's playlist, all classic rock songs and told the girls to pick the songs that they wanted to dance to. All but two of them (there will be between 7 and 12, depending on who actually shows up) had no freakin' idea what any of the songs were. )


Thursday, May 18, 2006


The Phoenix folk music community lost one of its true originals yesterday. Dick Charland was a magnetic, hilarious performer who had been playing folk music around the Valley literally since the folk boom of the late '50s and early '60s. He had incredible stage presence and a perpetual smile on his face. I don't think he was capable of doing a "serious" folk song, so he always kept it light. Always self-deprecating to the point of hilarity, sometimes disgusting (his version of Tom Lehrer's "Folk Song" {rickety tickety tin} was an absolute highlight of his shows), he was ever funny and entertaining.

I shared the bill with Dick a few times at Fiddler's Dream, and I absolutely loved it. Because I knew, if I was lucky enough to follow him, that he was going to leave me with a room full of smiling, happy people. A FULL room of smiling, happy people. That makes a fellow funny entertainer's job so much easier.

I hope you got the chance to see Dick before he passed. Even more so, I hope you got to know him. But if not, just know that a very special light has gone out on the folk music stages of Phoenix. And we're all gonna miss him.


Monday, May 15, 2006


The U.S. has officially lifted sanctions against Libya, so you know what that means: They're gonna have to play up what little tourism possibilities they have! They need a catchy slogan and I'm here to help!

LIBYA: Enjoy 1,200 miles of Mediterranean coastline in a burka!

Bring your fibia, your tibia and the rest o'ya to Libya!

LIBYA: Getting our asses kicked since 500 B.C.E.!

F**K Chad! Libya Rules!

Libya: It's pure Khaddafi-ness!

Libya: Visit the Roman ruins! Hell, it's ALL ruins! Just come!

Libya is for Lovyrs

I await your call, Muamar.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I played a bar gig last Saturday. Not too smoky, but it was early. Which also meant it was not too lucrative. People weren't drunk enough yet. Nevertheless it went well. I think I have a semi-regular gig there if I ever have an open Saturday again.

However, after my slot I left to return to the science fiction convention we were attending last weekend and found out that the only entrance to the hotel was blocked off due to someone having the AUDACITY to DIE right in front of the hotel entrance by smacking his motorcycle at 80 mph into a car making a legal left-hand turn. This in turn closed the road for SIX HOURS.
I got back in in time to pick up the family and go home.

Oh well.


If you owe the Feds money on your income tax, they sure take their time cashing your check. They just cashed mine yesterday. I mailed it a month ago. If they don't really need my 270 bucks, why don't they just let me keep it?


Thursday, May 04, 2006


I love acting troupes that take it to the street and surprise people. Check this out -- absolutely hilarious.



Last Saturday my wife's dance troupe played a bar called Big Daddy's at Union Hills and the Freeway. It was fun! I asked that talent booker what I had to do to get booked there and she said she needed to see me play. So I went to a comedy open mic at another bar on Monday. As a result I will be doing anywhere from 5-15 minutes at 8:00 p.m. this Saturday at Big Daddy's, opening for a freak show called Karn Evil. If you're going, show up for me and keep yelling, MORE! MORE!


Monday, May 01, 2006


I got played on the radio yesterday! Two songs! And I didn't hear it!

Holley King, of KBSZ radio in Wickenburg, has a show on Sundays called "Rock-a-Billy & Beyond." She told me she was going to play two songs but neglected to tell me which ones. I can only guess at this point, but I'll venture to say "You Share Her Name" was one of them. Hopefully she'll eventually post the show on her blogsite for listening and I can find out but if any of you happened to hear it, let me know!

The show actually has lots of listeners via internet feed, so who knows? Did YOU hear it?



Okay, just to get you all caught (choked, gagged? ) up:

Due to the practice of force-feeding geese and ducks to make their livers huge, Chicago has put a ban on serving foie gras in restaurants.

Or as it's known in other circles, goose paté. Duck liver sausage. Honkenquacken Braunschweiger. (Okay, I made that one up but that's what it is.)

Of course, Chicago's restaurateurs, who've been creatively killing their customers with Quackwurst for years, ARE FIGHTING BACK WITH STERN WORDS. To wit:

CHICAGO, April 28, 2006 – The Windy City Professional Culinarians chapter of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) today issued a statement opposing the ban of sales of foie gras in Chicago, passed April 26 by the City Council.

“This latest move by the city of Chicago belittles diners by telling them they’re not intelligent enough to make their own decisions,” said Michael Garbin, CEC, AAC, president of the chefs association and executive chef of the 127-year-old Union League Club of Chicago. “As with any free-market enterprise, the dining-out public has the power to make its opinion known to restaurants by voting with its wallet. Chicago’s City Council has effectively trampled on one’s capability to decide where to dine by eliminating a choice. Chicago is the greatest restaurant city in the Midwest, and this is a tremendous letdown to residents and visitors who expect sophistication and great food.”

----- This from a city that's best known for hot dogs and pizza. Read on...

Unlike Chicago’s recent smoking-ban legislation, Garbin said, “The ban on foie gras is
the result of uninformed decision-makers listening to a select few who don’t have all
the facts at hand. The fact that consumption of this delicacy is a personal issue for every diner was irresponsibly attacked by city aldermen with the fervor of a public-health issue.”

----- I'll buy that. I don't eat veal 'cause I know what they do to get it. Back to the story...

Garbin, who said he speaks for his entire association of 235 professional chefs, cooks and culinary- and baking-arts students who work or train in the city and outlying suburbs, ...

----- except for Cleon Washington at Cleon's Soul Food and Duck Paté Patisserie, because NO ONE speaks for Cleon but CLEON! And don't you forget it, Mutha*****r--

...added that he agrees with comments by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley that the city has far more pressing concerns on its plate than the outlawing of liver from goose and duck.

---- "ON ITS PLATE"???? I love it...

“The City Council appears to be focused on a trivial issue of what is appropriate for the dining public when safety in our communities, education for our children, and jobs and revenues for our city are being ignored,” Garbin said.

---- I dunno, I think it makes sense. If the city's leaders eat too much mallard mush, their arteries will clog. They'll die and there'll be NO ONE TO LEAD US! CHAOS WILL REIGN! OH, FORTUNA!" --

John Draz, CEC, CCE, vice president of Windy City Professional Culinarians and research chef for Ed Miniat, Inc., a meat processor in Homewood, Ill., echoed Garbin by pointing out the ban on foie gras coincided with the release of data indicating Chicago’s convention business is heading south and west to other metropolitan cities.

---- "Let's not hold the convention in Chicago, sir. They eat goose guts."

Draz also predicted more hassles on the horizon for Chicago’s chefs,

---- Like having to wash their hands--

...saying the foie-gras ban sets precedent that could lead to prohibition of other foods. “Will we soon see a ban on beef, veal or other poultry because animal-rights activists consider industrial livestock practices not to their liking? Recent initiatives such as "Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass..."

---- Now, THERE'S a song title----

...from the National Environmental Trust and Chefs Collaborative’s moratorium on swordfish are good examples of how the market and industry can be effective in changing dining habits without legislation.”

Well, anyway, if you wanna eat goose goo in Chicagoo, you don't have long to goo -- er, go. Get up there NOW. Goober.


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