Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Exploding Laptop Batteries

This was bound to happen.

"If you can't fix your problems at least make some money off of them"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bluegrass Musician's Thoughts

The mandolin player is taking a lead and thinking, "Dang'it I am hot tonight. My fingers are flyin' and I ain't missed a note. I am Go-od!"

The banjo player is thinking, "Would you look at that honey in the front row! She keeps lookin' at me. Oh ya!"

The guitar player is thinking, "Man I wish the mando player would just give it up, what a putz!"

The bass player is thinking, "Gee...Dee...Gee...Dee...Gee...Dee..."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bumper Sticker

Print it out and put it on your car.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jazz Musicians

A Study of Jazz Musicians from jazz pianist Bill Anschell

The Musicians

While a jazz artist may claim to have a "unique voice" on his instrument, sociological analysis tells us otherwise. In reality, jazz players are simply the embodiment of instrumental archetypes. Jam sessions, then, are the playing-out of archetypal conflicts. Jazz "standards" performed at the sessions make up the script. Over time, an epic play is realized. Here are the characters:

Piano: Pianists are intellectuals and know-it-alls. They studied theory, harmony and composition in college. Most are riddled with self-doubt. They are usually bald. They should have big hands, but often don’t. They were social rejects as adolescents. They go home after the gig and play with toy soldiers. Pianists have a special love-hate relationship with singers. If you talk to the piano player during a break, he will condescend.

Bass: Bassists are not terribly smart. The best bassists come to terms with their limitations by playing simple lines and rarely soloing. During the better musical moments, a bassist will pull his strings hard and grunt like an animal. Bass players are built big, with paws for hands, and they are always bent over awkwardly. If you talk to the bassist during a break, you will not be able to tell whether or not he’s listening.

Drums: Drummers are radical. Specific personalities vary, but are always extreme. A drummer might be the funniest person in the world, or the most psychotic, or the smelliest. Drummers are uneasy because of the many jokes about them, most of which stem from the fact that they aren’t really musicians. Pianists are particularly successful at making drummers feel bad. Most drummers are highly excitable; when excited, they play louder. If you decide to talk to the drummer during a break, be careful not to sneak up on him.

Saxophone: Saxophonists think they are the most important players on stage. Consequently, they are temperamental and territorial. They know all the Coltrane and Bird licks but have their own sound, a mixture of Coltrane and Bird. They take exceptionally long solos, which reach a peak half way through and then just don’t stop. They practice quietly but audibly while other people are trying to play. They are obsessed. Saxophonists sleep with their instruments, forget to shower, and are mangy. If you talk to a saxophonist during a break, you will hear a lot of excuses about his reeds.

Trumpet: Trumpet players are image-conscious and walk with a swagger. They are often former college linebackers. Trumpet players are very attractive to women, despite the strange indentation on their lips. Many of them sing; misguided critics then compare them to either Louis Armstrong or Chet Baker depending whether they’re black or white. (I.H.: Arrive at the session early, and you may get to witness the special trumpet game. The rules are: play as loud and as high as possible. The winner is the one who plays loudest and highest. Caution: It is loud and high.) If you talk to a trumpet player during a break, he might confess that his favorite player is Maynard Ferguson, the merciless God of loud-high trumpeting.

Guitar: Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep inside they want to be rock stars, but they’re old and overweight. In protest, they wear their hair long, prowl for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud. Guitarists hate piano players because they can hit ten notes at once, but guitarists make up for it by playing as fast as they can. The more a guitarist drinks, the higher he turns his amp. Then the drummer starts to play harder, and the trumpeter dips into his loud/high arsenal. Suddenly, the saxophonist’s universe crumbles, because he is no longer the most important player on stage. He packs up his horn, nicks his best reed in haste, and storms out of the room. The pianist struggles to suppress a laugh. If you talk to a guitarist during the break he’ll ask intimate questions about your 14-year-old sister.

Vocals: Vocalists are whimsical creations of the all-powerful jazz gods. They are placed in sessions to test musicians’ capacity for suffering. They are not of the jazz world, but enter it surrepticiously. Example: A young woman is playing minor roles in college musical theater. One day, a misguided campus newspaper critic describes her singing as "...jazzy." Voila! A star is born! Quickly she learns "My Funny Valentine," "Summertime," and "Route 66." Her training complete, she embarks on a campaign of session terrorism. Musicians flee from the bandstand as she approaches. Those who must remain feel the full fury of the jazz universe (see "The Vocalist" below). I.H.: The vocalist will try to seduce you - and the rest of the audience - by making eye contact, acknowledging your presence, even talking to you between tunes. DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP! Look away, your distaste obvious. Otherwise the musicians will avoid you during their breaks. Incidentally, if you talk to a vocalist during a break, she will introduce you to her "manager."

Trombone: The trombone is known for its pleading, voice-like quality. "Listen," it seems to say in the male tenor range, "Why won’t anybody hire me for a gig?" Trombonists like to play fast, because their notes become indistinguishable and thus immune to criticism. Most trombonists played trumpet in their early years, then decided they didn’t want to walk around with a strange indentation on their lips. Now they hate trumpet players, who somehow get all the women despite this disfigurement. Trombonists are usually tall and lean, with forlorn faces. They don’t eat much. They have to be very friendly, because nobody really needs a trombonist. Talk to a trombonist during a break and he’ll ask you for a gig, try to sell you insurance, or offer to mow your lawn.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Peggy's Funeral

My cousin Peggy passed away on Monday. She was a very young 62 year old lady. She left behind a beautiful daughter and two grandchildren and many, many friends. I went to her funeral last night and came away puzzled.

Peggy was a very special person. She was one of those folks that seemed to be blessed in all ways. She was beautiful, extremely intelligent (she had a PHD), she had several different enviable careers throughout her life and she had made a great life for herself and her daughter. She was married several times and divorced early in life and spent most of her days as a single mom and eventually a grandmother. She was a breast cancer survivor. From her obituary I thought that was what did her in. However she had a heart attack and passed on suddenly.

She was my cousin on Mom’s side of the family. Her father had died at 54 from the effects of non-filtered Camels. My Mom had married a hardworking grocery store owner. Mom’s brother, Uncle Clyde, Peggy's dad was a suit & tie kind of guy and I think he forgot his roots. He seemed somewhat snobbish when my family was around. Her mother Aunt Margaret was tall and very Southern. She was an elementary school teacher and taught my wife in the 2nd grade. She was nice but very imposing. Subsequently I was never real close to Peggy. But I certainly admired her. We went to the same high school. Peggy stood out and was respected by all.

She got her undergraduate degree and married. She and her husband joined the Peace Corp. These were the Viet Nam War years. After the Peace Corp, she went back and got several graduate degrees, went to work at a school, became pregnant, divorced and continued her education and career. I sort of lost track of her at this time.

When I go to most funerals, I expect to see the deceased with family and friends gathered, crying, hugging and reminiscing among the flowers. Peggy’s funeral was different. Peggy had been cremated and her remains were in a small decorative wooden box on a table. I supposed that I am accustomed to having one last look and give one last good-bye to my relatives and friends that have passed on.

In my careers I have done physical labor and white collar jobs. Most of my friends have similar life experiences. Peggy’s friends seemed to be a mix of old hippies that cleaned up nicely and the “education” crowd from various universities and colleges where she had worked. The only person among them that seemed visibly shaken was Peggy’s daughter, who was still obviously in shock. The Irish in me is a little more emotional than the folks that I met last night.

Peggy’s life touched and influenced many besides her immediate family. She brightened the world while she was here and left it a little better place than before she arrived.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pluto Is Downsized

I never thought that I would see this day. Pluto has lost it's status as a planet in our solar system. Read on:

Prague, Czechloslavakia A.P.

After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is and isn't a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.

Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings, urged those who might be "quite disappointed" to look on the bright side.

"It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist," she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.

"Many more Plutos wait to be discovered," added Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "However we because of standards and practices we have made our decision to downsize Pluto."

The decision by the prestigious international group spells out the basic tests that celestial objects will have to meet before they can be considered for admission to the elite cosmic club.

For now, membership will be restricted to the eight "classical" planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's

A spokesman for the group stated, "All future Pluto activity will be outsourced to Neptune as soon as administratively feasible."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

School Jingles

Beckfield College has a great commercial and a great jingle.

“We’re Beckfield College,
What do you want out of life?”

“It has a great beat and is dance able. I’d give it a 10 Dick”
(You’d have to remember American Bandstand for that allusion)

Why don’t most universities have a school jingle?

“Come to Harvard, our school is great
and our professors are top rate”

“Yale is the school for you
We have skull and crossbones too”

“You ought to go to MIT
for your engineer degree”

They could run these on FOX affiliates late at night after the Girls Gone Wild commercials.

I’d bet they would generate a lot of interest.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The High School Reunion

The high school reunion is coming up. I’m not sure what it is about high school that remains so important to us throughout our lives that we have to go back and relive it every five or ten years. It was four years of bad complexions, lack of self esteem, peer pressure and confusion. We were put into a learning factory with a handful of adults that had spent way too much time with children. We were divided into social stratas with each group getting it’s own set of miniature castanets so they could have their own little “clicks.”

I’ve been to all the reunions and the people that come have evolved from sullen and conceited kids into personable and caring human beings. Age and life do that to you. It’s an occasion to see who got fat and bald or who hooked up with whom. We can also swap stories about the young’uns that we raised that are possibly still sullen and conceited and suffer from bad complexions, poor self esteem, the weight of peer pressure and confusion.

Miss Bessy Mae Moochoh - 11th Grade History

Monday, August 21, 2006

The World's Shortest Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there lived a princess in an enchanted kingdom.

She met a handsome prince and was going to marry him rule alongside him in his kingdom. However the prince never showed up for the wedding. So she and her friends had a great time anyway

And she lived alone for the rest of her life and never had to clean her apartment or pick up after the prince or wash his dirty clothes, listen to him snore or wipe off the toilet seat. She could go wherever she wanted and do as she pleased. And she lived happily ever after.

Today's Groaner

I asked my piano tuner, an old German fellow named Siegfreid Oppernockerty, to come back and retune my piano since he missed the black keys and he said

"No! For you Oppernockerty only tunes once!"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

When I was 22 years old I was playing music in a duo with a very good friend named Kent. We had been invited to play at Indiana University and Kent and I spent the weekend there at the home of one of Kent's friends. His friend was an archeology professor. We stayed Friday and Saturday and played both nights and left for home on Sunday.

I had been on vacation that entire week. By the time I arrived at my apartment I was itching all over my body. I broke out in a rash. I slept on the couch so I would not infect my pregnant wife. I was miserable. I had to call into work the next day. My doctor was out of town. The fellow that was replacing him didn't have a clue, said he didn't know what my trouble was and hoped that I would please leave so I wouldn't give him leprosy. The next day I went to a dermatologist. I had contracted scabies, a nasy parasite that burrows under the skin. The first thing I thought of was the professor's house. His sofa covering was made from woven saddle bags that were used on donkeys. He had brought these back from Egypt where he had made tracings of the art on the walls of the pyramids.

As I lay in my misery on my own sofa I had the radio on softly. They played this strange, strange song over and over.

Well, I dreamed I saw the knights
In armor coming,
Saying something about a queen.
There were peasants singing and
Drummers drumming
And the archer split the tree.
There was a fanfare blowing
To the sun
That was floating on the breeze.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.
Look at Mother Nature on the run
In the nineteen seventies.

I was lying in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eyes.
I was hoping for replacement
When the sun burst thru the sky.
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like getting high.
I was thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.
Thinking about what a
Friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver
Space ships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun,
There were children crying
And colors flying
All around the chosen ones.
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun.
They were flying Mother Nature's
Silver seed to a new home in the sun.
Flying Mother Nature's
Silver seed to a new home.

The song is After The Gold Rush by Neil Young. Mr. Young says it was based on a science fiction screenplay by Dean Stockwell and Herb Berman. The accapella version I heard was done by a British group called Prelude.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Like An Angry Woman

I love this song.

Through miles of sand and bleached white dirt
They shambled on till their ankles hurt.
The buzzards sailed high overhead
Ridin’ on currents of thick, hot dread.

And the sun burned their hearts like an angry woman,
It scorched their souls like an angry woman,
Oh, like an angry woman.

And then out of the west blew a breeze of luck
Eighteen wheels on a big black truck.
An angel of mercy what was wrapped in steel
With an unwashed man stinkin’ up behind the wheel.

And the road stretched on like an angry woman,
And the cab smelled like french fries like an angry woman,
Phew…an angry woman.
What’s that smell?

The sun dropped low down in the sky
Like a pair of pants on an urban guy.
Their stomachs cried out with a rumbling roar
Till they just purt’ near couldn’t walk no more.

They tried to eat a cactus like an angry woman,
And scorpions chased them down like an angry woman,
... an angry woman.

He drove fast
He drove far
He busted them dunes in his big ol’ car.
The buzzards fled at the sight of him
At the sight of the one they call Grim.

They went over the speed limit like an angry woman,
They caused property damage like an angry woman,
Oh man,
Just like an angry woman.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dog Biscuits

When Mikey and Lukie the ethnically diverse poodles are good boys, I always like to give them a nice treat.

And I reach for Milkbone Brand Dog Biscuits. They love 'em!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign

That way Alice, that way!

Oh, you mean your other right!

Message Received!

Check it out Fido!

Enough Said!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Why Is This Newsworthy? A Zoogby Update

A few weeks ago I mentioned Zoogby International, which is a polling company. The following article was released to the press today. I am scratching my noggin trying to think of a reason other than showing the stupidity of Americans as a premise for the article.

(New York Reuters) - Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Snow White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday.

According to the poll by Zogby International, commissioned by the makers of a new online game on pop culture called "Gold Rush," 57 percent of Americans could identify J.K. Rowling's fictional boy wizard as Harry Potter, while only 50 percent could name the British prime minister, Tony Blair.

The pollsters spoke to 1,213 people across the United States. The results had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Just over 60 percent of respondents were able to name Bart as Homer's son on the television show "The Simpsons," while only 20.5 percent were able to name one of the ancient Greek poet Homer's epic poems, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey."

Asked what planet Superman was from, 60 percent named the fictional planet Krypton, while only 37 percent knew that Mercury is the planet closest to the sun.

Respondents were far more familiar with the Three Stooges -- Larry, Curly and Moe -- than the three branches of the U.S. government -- judicial, executive and legislative. Seventy-four percent identified the former, 42 percent the latter.
Twice as many people (23 percent) were able to identify the most recent winner of the television talent show "American Idol," Taylor Hicks, as were able to name the Supreme Court Justice confirmed in January 2006, Samuel Alito (11 percent).

Thank you Mr. Zoogby. We may be idiots, but we are smart enough to not have to live under a theocracy.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Last week two dozen bad fellows of the Muslim faith were arrested and jailed for plotting to put explosive devices on British airplanes that were headed to the United States. We all watched with mouths agape at the devastation caused on September 11 of 2001. Prior to that airliners had exploded over many, many places including Lockerby Scotland because some group of hate-filled radicals hate us and seek to destroy us.

We are now imposed on when we travel. We have to remove our shoes because some fool planted a bomb in his shoe. We have to open our carry-ons and have them inspected for liquid medicine, fingernail clippers, cell phones, contact lens solution and perfume so we do not become food for carrions. We are patted down by strangers at airports because of evil fools. Welcome to the Twenty-First Century. Flying is dangerous.

With the advent of drive-bys, freeway killers and car-jacking it is no longer safe to drive over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.

Taking a historical look-back, several passenger ships, most notably the Lusitania were bombed due to similar circumstances. Although the fools had different reasons, they dropped out of the same bag of mixed nuts. So the early Twentieth Century was just as scary.

What about the Nineteenth Century? Train robberies brought about the Pinkerton Detective Agency. They were more than old guys with a flashlight and a badge back then. Stage Coaches were uncomfortable and some should have had targets painted on them. The USA hated the CSA (this is still the case in some states) so we cannot blame foreign adversaries.

The Eighteenth Century saw more aquatic terror by piracy and countries that could not stand the sight of their neighboring countries. Land travel was prone to highwaymen.

All this leads me to the conclusion that it is better to stay home, sit on my front porch and enjoy the company of a peaceful cigar a good book and the company of some chirppies.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Abraham, Hillary And George*

*With apologies to Mr. Dion D.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bust Of Hillary

This week some sculptor unveiled a bust of Hillary Clinton.

It was rather annoying. Because of this state's high ethical standards I covered up the naughty bits.

This gives me the jibblies!

A Record Of My Past

You probably didn't know that ol' Boudinot once was in a band.

Yessir we made this record.

Side A

Side B
I found this in my closet. I'd almost forgotten about it.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Islamic Fascists

According to an Associated Press report, officials say most of the suspects arrested in an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners are believed to be British Muslims, at least some of Pakistani ancestry.

Accounts leaked by investigators described a plan, just days away from being carried out, that would have used liquid explosives to bring down ten planes in a nearly simultaneous strike.

A federal law enforcement official in Washington says that at least one martyrdom tape was found during ongoing raids across England on Thursday. Such a tape, as well as the scheme to strike a range of targets at roughly the same time, is an earmark of al-Qaida. President Bush said the foiled plot is a reminder that America "is at war with Islamic fascists."

Officials with the Washington, DC-based Council of American-Islamic Relations are worried that such language used to described the suspects could spark a "religious war." The group takes issue with President Bush's statement that "his nation is at war with Islamic fascism," saying that it "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community."

The group's executive director says Muslims do not link Christianity to fascists or terrorists, and he would like the same courtesy extended to Islam, which he calls a "religion of peace."

Islamic -Main Entry: Is•lam
Pronunciation: is-'läm, iz-, -'lam, 'is-", 'iz-"
Function: noun
Etymology: Arabic islAm submission (to the will of God)
1 : the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet
2 a : the civilization erected upon Islamic faith b : the group of modern nations in which Islam is the dominant religion

Fascist - Main Entry: fas•cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Islamic and Fascist are two different words. Perhaps the majority of Muslims are peaceful. In regard to recent issues they seem to be keeping a low profile. This group of terrorists, according to Mr. Webster, are indeed Islamic Fascists.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Childs View Of History - Part Ten - Our Modern Century

In the early 1900s, everything was illegal. World War I happened. People drove old cars called "Tin Lizards." The first car was invented by Harrison Ford. Ford also discovered the assembly line.

The 20th century started in 1920.

The women in the 1920s wore miniskirts called "flappers" and the men wore little round hats. Everybody went to a bar called the Speakeasy. It was called that because it was the only place you could speak about things and not get arrested. Sometimes the bars got raided by special police called the Gestapo, or G-Men.

In the 1920s people listened to singers like Frank Sinatra, Fat Domino, and The Beatles. Cars, telephones, television and movie theaters were all invented in the 1920s.

In the 1920s women finally got the right to bare shoulders. Women got the right to vote but it didn't really do any good. In the 1920s women burned their bras, went to protest marches, and smoked cigarettes in public.

The 1930s are also called the Roaring 20s. In the Roaring 20s, people used slang expressions like "groovy," "far out," and "it's raining cats and dogs."

In the 1930s the stock market crashed. People who were in the stock market or standing right outside when it crashed got hurt very bad or even killed. People were jumping out of windows trying to get away from the stock market crash. After the stock market crashed, everybody got very depressed.

In the 1940s there were a lot of things that happened in our world, with prehistoric dinosaurs. There were a lot of knocking down buildings by prehistoric dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were harmful creatures in the 1940s. On television shows from the 1940s you will sometimes see dinosaurs walking on buildings and making loud noises.

World War II is also known as the Vietnam War. The Vietnam war started in 1942 when North Korea bombed Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor was a famous blues singer. Vietnam happened in Europe. Vietnam started when Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt was President. Vietnam was an important time in history because we gained control of China.

In the 1950s, Rodent Nickson was President. He was a good looking man, slick hair, good dental records. Sure, he had a little big nose and chubby squirrely cheeks, but hey, who doesn't?

Nickson got in trouble for making tapes of people without telling them. This was called Watergate. Nickson said he didn't have anything to do with it. He said he was somewhere else playing checkers. Nickson was making a lot of speeches trying to get people to believe him but all he was really trying to do was get re-elected. Nobody believed Nickson. He was defeated under a landslide by Robert F. Eisenhower.

Peter Pan came out in 1955. Peter Pan was an actor. He was in lots of plays. He always wore a green suit.

In the 1960s, John F. Kennedy landed on the moon. Color was invented in the 1960s. The Civil War ended in the 1960s.

The hippies were trying to stop the war so they invented the peace sign. The hippies were called that because they had hair down to their hips. They all rode motorcycles, wore sunglasses, took their shoes off, and carried signs around.

The most exciting thing was probably Woodstock. All the hippies got together and slept in their cars, smoked grass, made love, and grew long hair. Woodstock lasted for several months, but then it rained and everybody got drafted or had to go home.

The 1960s wasn't all war and partying. The 60s also brought changes in slang, like "Slip me some skin," "Peace," and "I'm a happenin' cat."

In 1969, John F. Kennedy got shot in his car and drove off a bridge. John F. Kennedy was shot by Richard Nixon. Kennedy was assinated by a guy from the Texas Suppository.

In 1972 they stopped making '57 Chevys. In the 1970s Jimmy Carter pardoned Nixon for whatever he did.

In the 1980s Ronald Reagan seized power. Ronald Reagan made lots of movies when he was President of California. Everyone voted for Reagan because he was an actor. Some people want to put Ronald Reagan's head on that mountain because he's just as old and important as any of those other dudes up there. Ronald Reagan isn't dead, but some people really like him anyway.

History is important because if it wasn't there, all the history teachers would be out of a job, and we have enough unemployment as it is. We should all be grateful to our forefathers for giving us a past and a future.