Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obit For An Old Friend

London Times Obituary:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned, but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses and criminals received better treatment than their victims.Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home, and the burglar could then sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement by the Court.Common

Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

He is survived by his four stepbrothers: I Know My Rights; I Want It Now; Someone Else Is To Blame; and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended Common Sense's funeral because so few realized he was gone.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Round Pear-Shaped Tones - Notes For Guitar Players

I often have total strangers come up to me off the street and say, "MarcO how is it that you coax such dulcet tones from your guitar."

Their statements always brings to mind what Chet Atkins once said when a man walked up to him and exclaimed,
"That guitar sure sounds pretty".

Upon hearing that Mr. Atkins set the guitar up against a chair and said,
" 'how's it soundin' now?"

But I digress. The secret to my sound is not the fact that I have played guitar for 43 years. No sir. Constant daily practice has nothing to do with anything.

Look at Guitar Hero. Folks that spend $199 or so for Guitar Hero are overnight experts. Heavens no, practice and talent all are moot. The quality of your guitar means nothing. The secret lies in the pedal board.

What is a pedal board you ask? Well next time you watch your favorite guitar slinger take a second to look down at his or her feet and you will see little boxes all lined up that enable the guitarist not only to play, but sound magical.Without them they would sound pretty much like...well like

So like the masked magician who reveals all of magic's secrets, I will reveal my secret pedal board to all that check out my blog.

I know it's difficult to see what each pedal
does, so for the curious I have pictured each
individual pedal.

The first is the Distortoshreddomatic. It's
possibly the most important box for
today's guitarists. This one is a classic from

a run of the units with a misspelling. I cannot
image what price it would go for on Ebay.

The next is my Kazoo Tone. It captures that classic 1960's tone of songs like Winchester Cathedral, Palisades Park
and Wild Thing.

I would hate to be the guitarist caught without the Mistake Suppressor. This covers a whole lot of what we guitar players call issues and automatically corrects them in real time. It's sort of like the voice correction software that all of today's singers use.

This pedal reminds me of another Chet Atkins story. He taped over the word reverb on his amplifier and wrote the word TALENT on the tape. This pedal brings Chet's humor to life. It's the Talent Simulator. You all just gotta' get one.

Finally I bought this pedal manufactured by the White Company. It's a compression unit called The Trash Compactor. It tightens up the guitar's sound into one neat little compressed and compacted package. Whatever you put into to it comes out tight and sweet and smelling like a rose.

So now that the secret is out, let's just keep it to ourselves...OK? Not everyone needs to know about the Pedalboard. S'hhhh.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wiener Nation

Dr. Michael Savage PHD is the host of a popular conservative network radio talk show called the Savage Nation.

The man has a lead an incredibly diverse life as a social worker, biologist, botanist, world traveler and doctor of nutritional ethnomedicine (whatever that is?), author of best selling books under his pseudonym and many tomes under his given name.

He has been friends with such liberal people as Timothy Leary, Allan Ginsberg, Stephen Schwartz and yet his conservative views and dialogue have brought him prominence with the Right side of the isle. Although his roots are from conservative Russian Judaism, he professes no religion and his books are sold in Christian bookstores.

Occasionally I listen to his radio diatribe. I agree with much of his view points, yet sometimes his acerbic and acid-like remarks can be hurtful, unnecessary and however well meaning are at times just plain stupid.

He began his radio career by submitting a mock talk show demo tape to a San Francisco radio station and was given a fill-in job. Later a competing radio station recognized his quality and hired him for a full time program. His network radio talk show draws in up to 10 million listeners each day.

His fascination of a 19Th century sailor, Charlie Savage, that first brought firearms to Fiji provided his radio pseudonym.

His views can be summed up by three words, Borders, Language and Culture.
He believes America needs to maintain and protect it's borders and evict all who are here through illegal means.

He believes English to be the language of American and that all Americans who live and work in the USA should use English. Likewise all USA citizens should be proud of our culture and all newcomers should adapt to the US culture.

I admire the man for his accomplishments. I agree with some of his viewpoints.

But I have to ask the question that no one else has dared to pose.

Would his talk show be as popular if it were called The Wiener Nation?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nothing Really Changes, Everything Remains The Same

By Steve Kemme and Jennifer Baker of the Cincinnati Enquirer October 20, 2008

BLUE ASH – An 89-year-old woman arrested for not giving neighborhood children their football.

"That's my only way of getting through to these children," Edna Jester said. "I'll give it back to them later, but not right now."Jester was arrested and charged with petty theft after she took the ball and refused to give it back, Blue Ash police said. Word of her arrest has touched off national news interest in the case.

Officers were called about 6:30 p.m. Thursday to her home by one of the children’s fathers, Blue Ash Police Capt. James Schaffer said.

The football apparently was thrown into Jester’s yard, and it wasn’t the first time, he said. The issue has been an ongoing dispute in the neighborhood.

This brings to my mind a tale of my youth.

It was 1957 when my parents bought their home. Our next door neighbors were a grumpy elderly couple, Fred and Mildred Ulmer. They suffered from obsessive compulsive lawn disorder. Three or four times a week on every spring and summer evening Fred would get out his tiny electric lawn mower and have a go at the grass. Mildred would sit in one of their old metal lawn chairs surveying his work like a prison sentry and bark orders if the old boy missed a spot. Mowing with such a small mower was not an easy feat as they had a double lot at the corner of the subdivisions block. But the grass on their lawn was comparable to a golf course green. It was short, bright green and plush. It was like walking on plush carpet.

They had installed a wire fence to mark out the division between our yard and theirs. Upon our arrival it was made clear to my parents the Ulmers did not like children and did not want our nasty little sneaker clad feet on their precious grass.

When you are five years old the world seems huge. My backyard was massive. Well I thought so but it was relatively tiny. But it was my Crosley Field, Dodge City, Soldier Field and Normandy Beach. As the new kid on the block with a sizeable back yard, I attracted some friends that were ready to play cowboy, army, dodge ball or baseball. Inevitably one of the balls would go over the fence between my home into the Ulmer’s well-kept manicured back lawn.

The fence did not have a gate between the houses. The fence merely ended and was only put in place as a line of demarcation to declare to us kids No Trespassing. But my ball was in their yard. What a dilemma!

So one of us kids, would keep both eyes open and look out to see if old lady Ulmer was watching. If we didn’t see her or Fred then I would make a mad dash around the fence, grab the ball and retreat to safe ground. However many times she would come out scolding us for daring to cross the threshold into Der Kinder Verbotin territory. Many times words would occur between the Ulmers and my folks over the retrieving of the balls. I do not recall that they ever kept the ball without returning it. Although I am surprised they did not take that action. The police were never called.

This week’s news from the Queen City of Cincinnati, which is usually bad or stupid and gives our fair city the reputation it deserves, regarding the 89 year old granny bring back the same control problem. Her land was her own and a No Kids Zone. The neighborhood young’uns kicked the football into her yard one too many times and she held the ball. The referee cried foul. No actually it was one of the fathers. As you can read instead of settling it in a civil way the police and said, “Book ‘em Dano.”

A wise magistrate dismissed the charges as another idiot move by the city. The football was returned. Charlie Brown can once again attempt to kick.

We get older, technology improves but life is the same ol’, same ol’. 51 years later and we see that nothing really changes does it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear...

"Put me in a money market fund"

People all over the world are panicked and moving their money to a safe haven much like they did back in 1929 when people pulled money out of the banks and stuffed it in their matteress.

The trouble is that when people pull money out of the stock market, which depends on selling shares of stock, and put it in a money market the share price of stocks plummets, which leaves less capital for the companies that are selling shares.

Of course there are bonds, which a company, municipality or government uses to borrow money with a promise of repayment. But folks are scared of bonds too.
I do not know what to think.

The talking heads on TV don't make the situation any better.

Ol' FDR was right when he said,
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself..."

That explains it to a T. Everyone is getting out of the the market due to their fear of fear.

Monday, October 06, 2008

It's Art, It's Art and all of the critics agree, agree

Once upon a time, when Maplethorpe trauma invaded Cincinnati, I sent in a song to my radio hero Gary Burbank. I had arranged it on my synthesizer with a sort of oomp-pah German horn section background. It was essentially a reworking of My Bonny and the chorus was the title of today's blog. So sing along...

Which brings me to what I really wanted to discuss That is visual art. Paintings, etchings, that sort of thing. My wife and I recently were watching a show on PBS that offered an indepth look at some ancient painter and why he painted what he painted, what his thoughts were even down to how his brush strokes were applied.

Yesterday I visited my brother and his family. They are wonderful people and sure I love being with my family. Like all families there are some quirks. One nameless relative seems to enjoy dwelling on knowledge and travels, which gets expounded on during most visits. A very sweet person though. This week's discussion was regarding an artist named John Stobbard, a popular artist that did maritime paintings.

Because I am not one to be a smart ass, I kept my mouth shut. But today I will enlighten all and prove that I am equally versed in the arts by expounding on my knowledge of one of the worlds most famous men that took brush to an easel, A man who knew exactly how to mix burnt umber with titanium white. This would be non other than Causius Marcus Collidge.

Known to all as simply "Cash" he was a self taught artist that rose to fame drawing cartoons for newspapers and furthered his career by sketching comic backgrounds for carnivals. You know the kind of standup boards that have a hole where you can stick your head in and so you can take a nice photo of you being a muscle man with your buxom sweetie hanging on your shoulder.

However what C.M. Collidge is best noted for is the 16 paintings he created for the Brown & Bigelow Cigar Company. These are known as Dogs Playing Poker.

Laugh if you will, you can have your John Stobart, you can have your Thomas Kinkade. In 2005 two of the original by C.M. Collidge called A Bold Bluff and Waterloo were auctioned off for $549,000.

It's art, it's art and all of the critics agree, agree.

It's art, it's are and all of the critics agree.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

'Herd This One About A Cow?

The follow story is from the October 1st Cincinnati Enquirer and was written by Jennifer Baker. It is just too unbelievable to not include in my blog.

MIDDLETOWN OHIO - A 32-year-old woman was sentenced to a month in the Middletown Jail Monday after she was arrested and charged with chasing children, blocking traffic and yelling at police -
all while wearing a cow costume.

Michele Allen pleaded guilty Monday in Middletown Municipal Court to one count of disorderly conduct, court officials said.

Middletown police said she chased children in the 3100 block of Wilbraham Road and urinated on a neighbor's porch Saturday night. An officer ordered her to go home and stay there.

About 11 p.m., police were called to the 2400 block of North Verity Avenue after receiving a report that a woman in a cow costume was blocking traffic.

Allen had alcohol on her breath, slurred her words, was belligerent and swore at the officer, a report states