Sunday, November 30, 2008


Some of you people get snow. We have to settle for light displays.

Last night we went out to Glendale Park for their annual Glendale Glitters light show. After doing this for several years in a row now, I realize why these things exist:

State Fair vendors need to have something to do when the State Fair is over.

There were, however, lots of lights and live entertainment.
as you can see.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Very few of you will find this even REMOTELY as interesting as I do, but if you play the guitar and you like the Beatles, this article is fascinating. It answers something I always wondered about (although I always contended it was Fadd9, and as it turns out I was kinda right):



It is raining. Something to be thankful for the day before Thanksgiving.


In the last couple of days, it seems like everyone I know has suddenly discovered Facebook. Everybody seems hell-bent on getting their faces on every conceivable thing: Myspace, facebook, twitter, nitter, spitter, shitter, whatever.

Think of all the things available to us now -- not ALL great or necessary -- that we didn't have even 20 years ago. This is why I wish you could bring people back from the past -- just to show them what their bright ideas ultimately wrought.

Da Vinci deserves to see the helicopter. Jules Verne and H. G. Wells deserve to see the Space Shuttle -- hell, even RIDE in it.

John Lennon should have lived long enough to hear Nirvana. (Think about it. There is not much space between Lennon's plaintive "Mother" and Cobain's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." )

And I wish every son of a bitch who ever even CONSIDERED lynching a person over the color of their skin could be dragged out of their graves to see who our next president is.

That would be something.


Happy Thanksgiving, or as an old friend of mine up in Oregon is fond of saying: "EAT DEAD BIRD!"


Friday, November 21, 2008


Sometimes, programmers don't pay attention to what they're doing.

Right now, at AOL.com, in their little list of news teasers, is a headline:

"College Student Commits Suicide Live on Webcam"

Unfortunately, at the moment, this is not linked to the correct article. When you click the link, the headline you see -- and I am NOT making this up -- is:

"Remains Identified as Copernicus"


Since Janice reads books at the speed of light, some months ago she polished off the entire "Twilight Series" of vampire books in about 20 minutes in a Borders near our house. (She didn't finish the last one; she dismissed it as "even shittier than the first three.")

Nevertheless she was interested in seeing the movie that came out today, so we caught a matinee of "Twilight" with a bunch of women older than we were.

Knowing nothing about the book, I can say it's the most expensive made-for-TV movie I've ever seen. Except it wasn't on TV. It was in a movie theater.

By the way, if you live in -- or you have ever been to -- the Pacific Northwest and you see this movie, you're going to notice the biggest scenery assumption of all time. Please don't ask me to set this up, but take my word for it. There's a baseball game scene in this movie that's supposed to take place in Washington state. It is played directly in front of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

Which of course, is in Oregon. The director, I guess, assumed that most people wouldn't notice.

Girl meets boy. Boy meets girl. Boy is vampire. Girl isn't. Girl also isn't interesting. Neither is boy.

Movie would be better if SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED. This is the first vampire movie I've ever seen where I wasn't scared even once.

All vampire movies fall apart at some point, and they're usually pretty bad. But if I had to be locked in a room in hell for eternity and I had to watch one vampire movie over and over, it would be "The Hunger," for two reasons:

1.: Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon have sex with each other, and appear to be enjoying it. I know I did.

2.: David Bowie plays a blood-starved vampire who kills a victim ( a violin student who's come over for lessons) in one of the coldest, most desperate and disturbing scenes I think I've ever seen.

If the whole movie was as good as those two scenes, we'd all have seen it by now.

If you do Netflix it, just be warned -- it falls apart. I used to know a guy who was a vampire movie expert. After I watched "The Hunger," I called to complain about what a train wreck it was and he said, "If you'd have called me BEFORE you watched it I could have saved you two valuable hours. But isn't that sex scene great?"


My garden is finally emitting vegetables.

A couple days ago one of the nifty softball-sized white and purple eggplants I was growing was ready to be picked. So I did. Then last night I chopped it up, put it in a pan with some onions and olive oil and, as Andy Griffith is fond of saying about Ritz crackers, Mmmmmmmm...MM! Good Eggplant.

I have Japanese cabbage about a week away from harvesting and collards for the lizard about two weeks away. And radishes. ALWAYS radishes. You can THINK about radish seeds and somewhere a radish will pop up. They're easy.

Tonight (Saturday , since it's late Friday and none of you will read this until it is, indeed Saturday) I am playing as part of a comedy show called "The Dirty Show" at Club Mardi Gras, 8040 E. McDowell. Please come out and support me and it. I get paid for this one and the more people who show up, the more I get! And right now I need it!


Sunday, November 16, 2008


Word has it that Sir Paul is lobbying Ringo and the wives of the other two Beatles for permission to pad their coffers even more with the release of "Electric Carnival," a 14-minute piece of avant-garde music put together by the Beatles for an electric music presentation around 1967. It was only played once.

Avant-garde music is nothing new to McCartney. Working with London DJ Youth, he has put out two albums of ambient experimental music under the name "The Fireman," with a third due at the end of the month.

But I have a feeling this has a LOT to do with his recent separation from half of his money...


The New Times printed some pix of me online nine months ago and I didn't even know it until I found them by mistake today...

These are from a gig I played on Valentine's day.

Next up: Club Mardi Gras this coming Saturday!


Thursday, November 13, 2008


With the recent passing of Jimmy Carl Black, and then the passing this week of both Miriam Makeba and Mitch Mitchell of the Jimi Hendrix experience, I think it's safe enough to officially say that, as boomers, we have reached a milestone.

The people we grew up listening to have stopped dying of road diseases, like drug O.D.s, sexual misadventures and alcohol.

They are now passing from our midst due to old-people complications: diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, the ever-nebulous "natural causes" and even Alzheimer's.

I often wondered how long it would take before the latter way to go -- through no fault of one's own -- would outnumber the no-holds-barred, sex drugs and rock and roll way.

At least Makeba went as she predicted she would -- singing. And Mitchell died shortly after playing a show.

The last 60s icon to go from misadventure would have to be Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers, who o.d.'d in '03 on cocaine at age 63.

Yet Keith Richards rocks on! How do you explain that?


If Mitch Mitchell's death proves anything, it's this: Open for the Monkees and you won't live very long.

I don't have another gig until the 22nd. Long sigh of relief...


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My friend Chuck Sigars had this on his blog, and while I wholeheartedly recommend you read his blog EVERY DAY (www.chucksigars.com), I got the you tube addy for this to present to you here. I don't have any idea who this is but it's brilliant and it probably took a couple takes.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Tonight's gig at the Trunk Space was a real trip. I had a great audience who laughed, clapped and sang along with my stuff. And you could add all of their ages up and they probably wouldn't add up to mine.

A great guitar/banjo/autoharp duet called Starlings played first. I followed, and then the Guest of Honor for the night, Harvey Sid Fisher, played next, backed by local band Haunted Cologne.

Then up came the amazing -- and amazingly talented -- Cockalorum from Tucson, who all played in costume. To wit:

The drummer was dressed like Gandalf. I tried to upload his photo but it won't take.

The band even brought its own dance team. First, there was this brightly dressed superhero fellow (whose name escapes me, sorry)...

...and the delightful Hayley, who aside from being a very pleasant conversationalist, is quite definitely in the running for "Cutest Person on the Planet..."


Monday, November 10, 2008


Nov 11th internet

I'm opening for this guy at the Trunk Space tomorrow night. SHOW UP -- This should be interesting.

A little about Harvey (off his website):

Thanks to a nationwide network of oddity collectors, some underground records and videos have practically become urban folklore--the infamous Troggs session bootleg, for example, or the Tube Bar tapes of prank calls. Add to this list a flabbergasting LP called Astrology Songs, recorded about a decade ago by a macrobiotic California golfer named Harvey Sid Fisher.

The one word that aptly describes Astrology Songs is "unforgettable." To cash in on the astrology craze of the mid-1980s, Fisher wrote songs for every sign in the Zodiac and decided to warble them himself. The idea sounds crass enough to sell, especially to Californians. The album is a whole other story. On record, over backing tracks suitable for karaoke, Fisher resembles nothing so much as the lounge singer Bill Murray used to play on Saturday Night Live, socking across his swingin' tunes with the infernal perkiness of a cruise director.

Fisher's belief in the power of the stars may be questionable, but there's no doubting his sincerity on record, baby. "I am, I am, I am the Ram," belts the singer in solidarity with Aries. The showstopper, though, is Fisher's paean to Taurus the bull, whom he commemorates with a chipper, "Talkin' 'bout the bully-bull-bull!" When videos for the songs began airing in 1989 on public-access TV in Los Angeles, Astrology Songs became a cult sensation. Fisher's tapes even turned up on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, thus cementing his notoriety.

The show goes on promptly at 8 with the group Starlings. My buddies in Haunted Cologne will follow, then me at about 8:30, then Harvey. You'll be on your way home by 9:30 tops, unless you want to hang around for the post-show band, Cockalorum.

Admission is $6. The Trunk Space is on Grand, just north of the 15th Ave/Grand/Roosevelt traffic light. Show up, show up, show up!


I played two gigs on Saturday night, one on both sides of the Valley. Lots of people but only one person I actually knew.

Where the heck are you people?

You really shoulda been at the Big Fish. You missed an ACT. I had the unenviable task of following a band called The Spider Hole. These guys are the real deal. I guess the best way to describe them is theatrical horror-rock. They know exactly what they're doing and they're VERY, VERY good. Their lead singer hops around the stage like a cross between Alice Cooper and Dwight Frye. Hilarious!


It rained HARD here yesterday afternoon. Hail, even. It's the first time it's rained here in months, causing my son to say: "Obama was right! CHANGE!"


Joke from my friend Pete: A minister, a priest, a rabbi, a horse, a dog and a duck walk into a bar.
The bartender says, "GET THE HELL OUTA HERE!"


Thursday, November 06, 2008


In this week's New Times (at least on line; haven't seen the paper yet):


And here's the poster:

But WAIT: Before then, I have TWO gigs this Saturday:

Grand Avenue Tavern at 7 and this one at 11:30 -- Yay! Another poster!

These are both desperate attempts by me to get more people to show up for my gigs. Especially in bars. Even though Trunk Space isn't a bar...

Come see me sometime in the next week!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008


While we were all watching history last night, we were obviously not told about one of the truly IMPORTANT developments taking place around the country:

Greyhound racing is now a crime in Massachusetts.

That's right: in 2010 you will no longer be able to put $2.00 on Fido in the fifth in our country's first settlement.
However, you WILL be able to smoke marijuana.

Yep, they decriminalized pot, but made dog racing illegal.

Were these people STONED?

Meanwhile, people here in AZ were smart enough NOT to adopt a referendum that would have made no-shows at voting booths equivalent to a "No" vote.

However, we somehow decided it was necessary to outlaw gay marriage in Arizona, even though it's ALREADY ILLEGAL HERE.

What's next -- a referendum to outlaw robbery -- AGAIN?

Last night I told my wife that I think it would be fun to try and get a proposition on the ballot that's so trickily worded that it sounds like the best thing since sliced bread, but actually succeeds in prohibiting people from doing something vital; like prohibiting the use of public restrooms for defecating and urinating, but at the same time allowing live music. Or a referendum that prohibits churches from being used as houses of worship, but allows them to sell liquor without a license.

And I bet people would actually vote for it...


I went to an open mic last night and when I came home (listening to McCain's concession speech on the radio) I walked in to find our hedge clippers predominantly displayed on the top of our iguana cage. Janice had put them there. When I asked about it, she said:

"The Bushes have officially been PRUNED!"


We saw history last night, people. Didn't that make you feel GOOD?

Didn't you wish that Dr. King, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and -- as my wife pointed out -- Abraham Lincoln -- could have been brought back just to see this?


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Cindy McCain Claims She�s �Just Like Any Other Female Human�

Once you watch this, watch it again, but read the crawl at the bottom.


I was having lunch with a friend the other day and he brought up an interesting hypothetical question:

Say, for a minute, that McCain wins. He's so excited that at the celebration party, he develops an aneurysm and his brain explodes. He dies. What chance does Sarah Palin have of being named the next President by the electoral college? They can literally name anybody they want.

Even YOU.



If you haven't already voted, and you're not planning on voting today, THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH YOU. How could you not want to be part of history?


I saw Hilary Clinton this morning at the polls in NY. She looks weather beaten. Just RUNNING for president takes a lot out of you, I guess.


Go, Al Franken!


Monday, November 03, 2008


JIMMY CARL BLACK 1938 - 2008

Those of you who are Zappa fans like me know all about JCB.

He was the drummer in a bar band called the Soul Giants in the early 60s when they needed a guitar player. The guy who answered the call was a rather entrepreneurial and independent soul named Frank Zappa. Zappa persuaded the band that they needed to stop playing "Louie Louie" and "Wooly Bully" and play original stuff -- HIS stuff.

The rest is history. Black was Zappa's drummer in the Mothers of Invention from 1966 to 1970. He was known for his odd sense of humor, his great love of beer, and two expressions that became part of Zappa lore: "Hi, boys and girls, I'm Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the Group" and "When are we gonna get paid?"

After leaving the mothers, he continued to work with Zappa occasionally; theirs was a real love-hate relationship. He played Lonesome Cowboy Burt in Zappa's movie "200 Motels," and then, about 10 years later, appeared on Zappa's "You Are What You Is" album, singing the hilarious tune, "Harder Than Your Husband."

In later years, he toured extensively with the Grandmothers, a touring band of former Mothers of Invention whose membership changed pretty much with every tour. Earlier in the decade, he contracted leukemia. He beat it, but later picked up a case of lung cancer, which is what took him on Sunday.

I met Jimmy Carl in 2000 along with fellow Grandmothers Don Preston and Bunk Gardner at the Rhythm Room. He was as funny and genuine as I'd been told he was, and of course, after the show I was one of many to buy him a beer.

Black married a German woman and moved to Germany shortly after Bush II was elected. He swore he'd never come back to the US while Bush was in power and I don't believe he ever did (I could be wrong about that).

Black released quite a lot of music on his own; I'm putting together a tribute show for my "Zappa Universe Program" that will hopefully air soon.


Speaking of gigs, and when am I going to get paid, this Saturday I have TWO gigs! I'll be at the Grand Avenue Tavern at 7 p.m., and then I'll be in Tempe at the Big Fish Pub at ll:30! Come see me!


If you haven't already voted (like me), and you don't go out and vote tomorrow, you are hereby FORBIDDEN to discuss how bad/good/indifferent things are under the new regime until four years from now and you actually go out and VOTE. So VOTE.

I can recite all of the presidents in order. Can you? This upcoming administration will be the 11th of my lifetime (Ike, JFK, LBJ, Tricky, Jerry, Jimmy, Ronnie, King George I, Clinton, King George II and whoever wins tomorrow). My dad's dad lived to see the administrations of Cleveland (the second time, he was born in the election year of 1896) through Carter. That's 16 presidents!


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