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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Take Four



Well, that's the swinginest version of Take Five I've heard since breakfast. It's like the third-best version of the song except all the ones that are better. It's performed by the Mighty Typhoons. They appear to be a wedding band from Amsterdam that wish they were half as cool as my two sons.


I think the MIghty Typhoons did manage to get halfway to being as cool as Unorganized Hancock, which is more than most can claim. The drummer was only 10 when they made this video, and he has a tie that adjusts on his neck using a zipper. It's hard to compete with zipper-tie awesomeness.

Fun fact: I've ridden in about 75 percent of the non-dragster cars in this video, including the T-Bird and the Corvette convertibles.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Days of Ruddy Noses


That's Rocky Gresset and some guy that owns a dog house playing a Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer song.

Funny to think of what becomes a jazz standard. The Days of Wine and Roses was pretty predictable, but lots of other less predictable things make it into Real Books, or Fake Books, or whatever they call the bootleg books of songs that might be needed on a General Business bandstand.

I'm not in the business anymore, but I notice things. The Beatles have a bunch of things that trad jazz bands don't turn their nose up at anymore. Stevie Wonder songs, quite a bit, too. It's Not Easy Being Green, originally sung by Kermit the Frog is another one you might not see coming. Hell, Wichita Lineman gets murdered by naugahyde-and-well-drink assassins as often as Autumn Leaves. Honestly, would you expect My Favorite Things to become a jazz standard? I would, but I'm strange.

A good song is a cupcake, not a wedding cake. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

Building a Wattle and Daub Shelter for Dummies



Of course "For Dummies" is my idea of a joke. Despite what you've heard, no one was allowed to be a dummy when shelter like this was in vogue. If you can afford to have a smartphone in your pocket, you're allowed to be as dumb as you please. You can believe almost anything about the natural or intellectual world and get away with it. You can think panthers are cute and cuddly if you want,  or that living in a state of nature is a lark, or commendable in some way.

I'm more from the Rose Sayer school of philosophy: Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above. 

The only mistake this fellow made that I noticed was using wattle to reinforce the smoke shelf in his little chimney. The people he's copying would have gotten a flat stone from the river for that, and then continued on up the chimney with daub. The temperature right at the smoke shelf in a chimney goes way above 1000 degrees. The wood inside the daub will first become pyrolized, and then ignite at very low temperatures if the daub fails. He could have made a  bow drill to chafe his sticks to make a fire faster, but I subtract only style points for that. 

I'll let you in on a dirty little secret: Your wood-framed home isn't really much more complicated than this hut. If your house is 100 years old or so, the interior walls are wooden lath with plaster applied to it. The plaster is a form of daub, and it's keyed into the wattle -- the lath -- by smooshing it through the cracks, same as this. Gypsum drywall has replaced wattle and daub for interior surfaces, but it's still basically the same crap. Gypsum is just a fancy kind of dried mud, and the paper faces of the drywall sheets are the wattle, even made out of the same stuff -- they're just ground up and reconstituted into paper.

Only pole barns are made by putting vertical members into holes in the ground to frame walls now, but the fellow's little platform bed is basically the first floor framing in a regular house, designed to get you up off the dirt in the "cellar." Almost all roofing shingles work in the same way as his leaves and bark, simply overlapping the row below it to shed water. I've nailed shingles over skip sheathing in the same way. If you split boards out of logs you could put clapboards on that shed and it would be at home in any number of cul-de-sacs I could mention, waiting for the vinyl siding salesman to come along. If the fellow with the uneven tan and all the bug bites had made bricks instead of pottery with that mud, even the wolf couldn't blow his little shelter down.

I'm often amazed at how little the average person knows about they house they live in. It's a very simple machine, really. All the complexity that's been added to it has generally made it worse. Although I like window screens a great deal, I must admit.

(Thanks to reader, commenter, and stalwart supporter of Unorganized Hancock Chasmatic for sending that one along)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Bone Shaker. The Bike, I Mean


You keep that up, dude, you won't be able to stop a pig in a ginnel. 

Barnes!
Who's the Brit cycling ninny
That's a sex machine to all the hinny?
(Barnes!)
You're damn right
Who is the man
That would risk a dunch for a Black and Tan?
(Barnes!)
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's dibble all about?
(Barnes!)
Right on
You see this cat Barnes is a workyticket
(Shut your mouth)
But I'm talkin' about Barnes
(Then we can dig it)
He's a antwacky man
And no one understands him but a gadgie
(Martin Barnes)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Had It Been Another Day I Might Have Looked the Other Way


Unorganized Hancock playing the Beatles I've Just Seen a Face.

The imp drummer drops his stick at 0:30. If I didn't tell you, would you have noticed? He never falters. Never hesitates. He reaches for another and keeps going. He's not wearing his jacket, which means this is from the end of the show. He'd been going like that for an hour and a half already. His hands are sweaty and his little arms are tired.

The Heir bangs that tune out like a pro. That's a dumb thing to say on my part. He is a pro, I guess. Or would be, if there was a place to be a pro at. He does a lot of singing in one night. In a larger band, someone else takes a turn. All he has to help him is a twelve-year-old drummer. He must be a Wallenda. If you miss, there is nothing much to catch you. 

The boys are performing at the 4th of July festivites here in Rumford, Maine.


[Update: Many thanks to Kathleen M. from Connecticut for her constant support of our boys via our tipjar. It is much appreciated]

[Up-Update: Many thanks to Bob B. from Chicago for his generous support of my boys using the tipjar. He's a longtime friend of Sippican Cottage, and says he might visit someday. I advise coming in the summer, Bob. It's really pleasant, and it sometimes lasts for a whole week]

[Further Update: Many thanks to Kurt H. from Ohio for his generous hit on the boys' PayPal button. It is very much appreciated.]

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Read The Rumford Meteor Before the Pixels Go Bad


A neighbor of mine named Aubuchon Connery publishes a newspaper all about Maine called The Rumford Meteor. It's a daisy.

The Rumford Meteor is full of interesting facts. The fact that the facts ain't factual never puts him off the scent. He seems to get to the facts no matter where you bury them. He'll dig through a ton of manure to get a turnip, that boy. He's as honest as the day is long. You can tell from his handshake, which is firm, and smells a bit like turnip, and something else I can't quite put my finger on. No matter. That boy's not half bad I tell you what.

When we see Aubuchon commuting home from the Meteor office to his yurt on his recumbent bicycle, we always water the soup and invite him in to join us for dinner. He's deuced quiet, that boy. Doesn't like to talk about himself. You could tell he had a sad tale to tell, and one day when the soup ran out, he mentioned how he ended up all alone in this world.

Every year Aubuchon and his wife, Large Marge, would go to the East Lebanon County Agricultural Fair, Tractor Pull, and Fashion Show. He'd look at the tractors and inquire from the owners how much they thought each was worth, and where exactly they kept them at night. I've always found Aubuchon to be very solicitous in such matters; it's a sign of his innate goodness, I think, to worry over other people's possessions like they were his own.

While he was doing that, Large Marge would go to the fashion show to see what kind of waders were in that year, and to see if her Craftsman lingerie had come in by mail order yet. Then Aubuchon and Marge would get in a terrible row, I tell you what. Every year it was the same thing. There was a man with a cropduster biplane with two seats, and he sold rides for $5, and every year, Aubuchon wanted that ride so bad he would have sold a kidney for it if he had one that worked. Marge said, "NO!," every year, and for the same reason each time. "Five dollars is five dollars, Aubuchon," and that was that. It was logic as impenetrable as Doomsday, and there was no hammer lane around it. "Five dollars is five dollars!" can't be reasoned with, and it can't be bargained with.

After five or ten years of hearing Aubuchon plead and Marge say, "Five dollars is five dollars," the pilot of that crop duster felt sad for Aubuchon and saw an opening with Large Marge. That woman had a prodigious piehole, and he knew it. He made them an offer.

"I'll tell you what. You two take the ride together, and if you can both keep absolutely silent for the whole trip, I'll give you the ride for free. If either of you say a word, you pay me five dollars."

Marge jumped at the chance, but Aubuchon looked cagey about the whole deal. Still, it was his only chance, and he took it. That pilot sat up front with the joystick and the dials, and Large Marge and Aubuchon packed themselves in the back seat like peas and carrots I tell you what. That pilot had a black heart and an empty wallet, and he was determined to get that five dollars. He took them up to treetop level, and gave them what for. He did barrel rolls, outside loops, and tickled the tops of the blue spruces with the landing gear. Not a peep. He upped the ante. He choked the engine into a stall, and plummeted toward the earth like a stone until he got nervous, and then pulled out. Not a whimper. He knew he'd been bested.

They landed, and the pilot fiddled with the knobs and whatnot that pilots fiddle with. Aubuchon was standing next to the plane, and tapped him on the elbow.

"Thanks for the ride. It was everything I'd hoped it would be."
"How did your wife like it?"
"Well, I don't know. She fell out about a half way through."
"SHE FELL OUT? WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SOMETHING?"
"Mister, like Marge always said, five dollars is five dollars."

Read the Rumford Meteor. Do it for Marge