Saturday, August 30, 2014

Google Is Very Wise Indeed

Google is very wise indeed.

In the right-hand column of YouTube where I found this video, it suggested that I'd be interested in viewing Marilyn Manson debating Bill O'Reilly.

This is what I'm talkin' 'bout. That there. That's genius. It's inspired. Google knows me better than I know myself. See, I thought I wanted to hear about the process of the creation  of a song I admire. It was just a bonus to see Lyle Lovett bang it out naked on a weird minor league TED Talk stage.

But Google knows things. Astonishing things. Ask the people that run it. They know everything about everything important, and that's just the people that work there. They make the Genius Bar look like the short bus. Their thingie that searches the Intertunnel knows even more. It knows everything. It looks right into your soul every time you go lookin' for something. It knows why you mistyped that gerund, even if you don't. It knows that you're just being oblique. So it's a Slavic Bride you're in the market for. Slavonic Dances is just a ruse to fool the fellow sitting next to you at the grimy public library computer terminal, isn't it? Google knows.

I had no idea I wanted to see Marilyn Manson debate Bill O'Reilly. I still don't, but I must. Google said so.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Built A Birdhouse

I built a birdhouse. They said the birds would not come.

They said it was all wrong. They said that I was all wrong. They said they were experts. They said the birds would not come.

That is not what birds like, they said. Birds don't like that. Birds aren't like that. Birds don't want that. The birds will not come.

Everyone knows the birds will not come but you. Everyone knows that everyone but you knows that the birds won't come. We laugh at you because we know the birds won't come but you don't. Everyone does.

You put the birdhouse on a post that no one wants. It was out for the trash and you took it. No one will want that post. Everyone knows that no one will want that post. We replaced that post with a really good pressure treated post that everyone but you knows is good and better. Why don't you know what everyone knows? We know that you know and still don't know and that makes it much worse. You stubbornly refuse to know that the post is no good and the birdhouse won't work and the birds won't come. If you'd only cooperate and know what everyone knows you wouldn't be in such trouble all the time. You wouldn't waste all your time making a birdhouse that the birds won't like and put it on top of a post no one wants.
Dear God; reading this reassures those of us that
remember the goodness of our past is not gone.
It lives in a corner of western Maine...reading this
brings to mind "Granger" speaking in the closing
pages of Fahrenheit 451: "...we'll turn around and
walk upstream. They'll be needing us up that way."

Any other words I could write would fail me; I
hold tight to your writing when thoughts of
mine, joyful or dark, rule the paths of inner
contemplation. Hold tight the wonders of your
spouse and heirs.  -Delaware Dave

But the birds came anyway.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Good Chemistry

I see the dead hand of dad on that young fellow's video. Not a signature. Brush strokes or something.

My little son is importunate. He starts his pleasant little harangue the minute his eyes pop open. I heard him, bang on seven this morning, begin the little burble of narration he keeps for his life. It's Sunday and the sun is out and the world is his oyster again today.

I'd been awake for a couple hours. I'd left the windows open in my office last night and so I was outdoors instantly. The sun rose gently over my textual exertions. There cannot be a sweeter place to be than western Maine staring down a sunny day knocking on June's door.

I went up to his world, filled with talking sponges and grinning dinosaurs and the Google Earth carpet of a cartoon town.

Dad, I want you to help me make a video with Bionicles and muzzle flashes and space ships and galactic battles and dancing robots and talking animals and it won't be hard because we can do it in 4 fps so the camera won't die of no battery and the moviemaker won't crash and mom says you have to work all day today and tomorrow and the day after and even more days so I'll wait until you don't have to make furniture one day but don't make me wait too long because I'm impatient.

There is no quality time. There is no such thing as quality time. There is only time. Time is teflon and adjectives and adverbs just slide right off it. It cannot be condensed, or frozen, or hoarded, or distilled, or saved for later, or borrowed and paid back.

You don't have any story that anyone wants to see, son.

What is a good story?

It doesn't matter what it's about. It just needs to make people want to keep reading it, or hearing it, or seeing it. People need to feel differently when they're done. That's all.

I don't know any stories like that.

You are a story like that. Everybody is a story like that. You're a little boy. What happens to a little boy?

I don't know.

Of course you know. It's whatever you want. What's in the bowl there in the kitchen?


You eat the banana. What do you become?

A monkey!

That's a story. There's an apple. What do you become?

I don't know!

You have to think of something. That's all.

(A hint of tears) I don't know!

Of course you do. Don't be sad or you'll spoil your story.

Johnny Appleseed!

Mom puts honey on your waffle.

A grizzly bear! Then there's cheese and I'm a mouse! Another mouse comes and I'm a cat! Another cat comes and I'm a dog!

And when you're all done, you're a boy again. That's a story. It's slightly better than every book you've gotten from the library for a year.

And then he went out back and rode his bike in a circle because his father lied, and his time has adjectives all over it, and under it, and all around it. The adjectives are stacked like cordwood outside the door.

And so Dad has his story too.

[First offered in 2012, rerun with comments intact]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spahn And Sain And Pray For Rain

When I was still in the gas station renovation business, I got a call from a project manager for a petro company. He wanted to meet at a defunct station they'd taken over from some independent gone tits up.

I met him there. He was younger than I -- though I was still quite young -- and more earnest about his job than I was, which is saying something. The place was gone to seed, the bowsprit of the triangular canopy rusting overhead, the blockhouse building looking a more like Paul Bunyan's buttsprung ottoman than a concrete block bunker. The glass in the overhead doors was painted white --the winding sheet of commerce --and the concrete and pavement was spidered to bits.

The fellow asked me if I'd ever been there before. I told him I'd been there on the day it opened in 1967 but never since. He laughed and thought I was joking, but I wasn't. I lived about five miles from there for sixteen years, and remembered the day it was opened quite clearly. I kept the remembrance to myself.

My father liked the baseball game. He was a  Braves fan, when they were still in Boston, and then a Sox fan. I think he actually loved the Braves, but considered the Red Sox a kind of mail-order bride he couldn't afford to return. I think it's because his father took him to Braves games.
First we'll use Spahn
then we'll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.
My father worked at a bank, and they lent money to all the ballplayers --well, all the profligate and deadbeat ones, anyway -- and he was often tasked with trying to collect it. We used to go to Fenway Park from time to time, though it was pretty far away, and we'd sit directly behind the catcher, maybe ten rows back. The tickets were always free. Nobody went to Red Sox games back then. They'd stunk for decades.

The park was dirty and run down, and so were the players. I've never understood people that say Fenway Park is beautiful. It looks like Joe Stalin designed it and inebriated people that didn't like Boston very much built it. Some people have a problem with all the advertising all over it now, but believe me, back in the day it was unremittingly green and it was much, much uglier, because you could really see it. The advertising is like planting vines on an ugly overpass. It helps a little.

The overhead doors at the gas station were open that warm day we went to the opening. There were strings of triangle flags snapping smartly in the breeze, the place was a new penny, and there were a half-dozen or so Red Sox players sitting at card tables in the open doorways. They dutifully autographed 8-1/2 by 11 black and white photos of themselves and smiled, at least until my dad and I showed up and then they smiled at me and then got kind of straight-lipped for my dad, and haltingly offered, without being asked, that the restaurant wasn't doing so good right now Buddy but they'd catch up on their loan pretty quick, you betcha. He was off duty and didn't care but such is life.

I think I remember Jerry Adair, maybe, Rico Petrocelli and George Scott, and forget who else. Lord knows what happened to the promo pictures. I had ten billion dollars-worth of baseball cards back then, and they're gone, too. No one kept such things. Pro athletes were able to earn a living without working so they were exotic, but that's about it. In my youth only little children and the odd addled adult would plaster their lives with the memorabilia of an athletic team. Baseball cards and autographs were fun, and so, worthless. You can't be both.

But my Dad -- he loved the baseball game. My mind drifts back to the game wafting out of the crummy AM transistor radio on a lazy summer afternoon while my father mowed the nasty brown patch of grass he kept in front of our house. We'd sit together occasionally for a short moment in the shade of the big pine on cheap lawnchairs made from aluminum tubing and nasty fibrous strapping that cut into your legs.

Ken Coleman's voice would wash over us, the polyglot names of the batters would come in their turn, and Dad would wordlessly give me a sip of his beer right from the cold, steel can.

I wonder if my own sons will ever remember anything so fondly about me as that.

[Note: First offered in 2012]

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Bad Workman Quarrels With His Tools

This video is something on the order of five years old at this point. That's a century in Intertunnel years. Seemed topical today, after yesterday's extravaganza. It has the production values of a porno made by the  Department of Agriculture, but we're not curing cancer here; it'll do.

I've never ascribed to the old saw: A bad workman quarrels with his tools. I've always thought Bierce had it right: A bad workman quarrels with the man who calls him that.

Left to my own devices when writing, I'd make James Joyce look like Erma Bombeck. I feel an obligation to the reader on these here Intertunnels to tone it down a skosh, and not be so obscure about everything I'm talking about. I could stop writing using expressions that are meant to be spoken aloud in the head, for instance. I could stop making references to Wodehouse in blogposts about roofing. I could explain myself to the last jot and tittle. Hell, I could explain why I'm writing this paragraph right now.

I can use words like hammers, and be paid for it. I do. But I won't do it here. If you don't know what it says I can't help you. Well, I won't help you.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Don't Know Who Umphrey's McGee Is...

...but I'd rather listen to them play Hey Nineteen than listen to Steely Dan play it now. It's painful to hear Donald Fagen croak out these songs. He never could sing, but it really didn't matter back in the day. He and Becker wrote these wonderful things, and you understood why he couldn't entrust them to anyone else to perform properly. Sorry, but now you can't trust yourself.

Sooner or later it's not your turn anymore. People take your place. You may not like it, but it's the way of the world. You could be like Ray Kurzweil, self-absorbed and dreaming of paying bemused men in lab coats to Ted Williams your noggin after you shuffle off this mortal coil, but you're wasting your time. Believe me, Ray, no matter how much money you pay those guys to Birds Eye your head, they'll get high after lunch and accidentally kick out the plug while they're playing hacky sack, plug it back in when they sober up and realize what they've done, and when they finally defrost you and sew your head on a used Japanese sex doll with a Pentium chip where your heart used to go, you'll be about as useful as a Kardashian. Young people take your place in the lineup eventually, and you can go with it, or just turn into an old guy telling anyone that's willing to listen that you really used to be sumfin'. And Ray, you have no idea how to hit a curve ball, so your frozen head will be completely useless anyway.

Elderly people should command respect for what they've accomplished. That's different than trying to play T Ball when you're forty. Young people are a barrel of beer, and old people are a fine liqueur -- if they're smart enough to keep distilling their whole life. The world needs mugs of beer and vitality, the same as it needs a digestif after a moveable feast. Serving them at the wrong time ruins the effect.

In a weird sort of a way, performing Hey Nineteen is low-level work. It should be left to the young grunts. Donald Fagen should be running a record company or writing or something, instead of dragging his elderly ass all over the landscape making gargling sounds about feeling old when he was thirty years younger than he is now.

If you're old and reading this, if it makes you feel any better, I'd be willing to get up a lynch mob of geriatrics to beat some sense into the cameraman, just so we can keep our hand in. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Like Watching Alphonse Mucha Do An Underpainting: Tim Pierce

The Intertunnel can be wonderful if you let it. It's full of drivel and orthographically-challenged cats, of course; but 1/10 of one percent of it is amazing, and 1/10 of one percent of the Interwebs is more than any human can make use of anyway.

This genial fellow is named Tim Pierce. He has a dedicated website in addition to his YouTube page where I found this video. His webpage will be a big hit, I'm sure of it. I don't know Tim, but he did me a favor once without trying to, and maybe someday I'll get to return it.

You've never met Tim Pierce either, but you can know exactly who he is without knowing him. He's played on so many records that have come out of every speaker on earth at one time or another that you couldn't have avoided him if you tried. I don't know why you would try. He plays pretty good, don't you think?

Someone sets up a camera and you get to watch records being made. It's possible to simply find this interesting for its own sake, or plain entertaining, but if you were trying to find out about the music industry in a serious way, this is like a graduate school lecture. What one man can do, another man can do, as they say, but first you have to know what the other man did.

I've always liked people who have one foot planted in art and the other in commerce. All my favorite visual artists from the last century or so are illustrators. I'd rather look at Leyendecker ads all day than Picasso for five minutes.

Snobs believe participating in commerce as an artist dilutes your art. I might point out that Leyendecker devoted only half his time to commerce, and half to art. His customers showed up at his door with a briefcase full of commerce because they knew he had the art they coveted but couldn't produce if they had a million years to try. A "pure" artist like Picasso devoted one hundred percent of his time to commerce, if you ask me. Self-promotion is not art. It's an art, but it's not art.

People that should know better tell me that John Singer Sargent wasn't a real painter because he painted portraits for money. Filthy lucre. Me, I just stood in front of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw once, and I swear that dead broad was looking right out of the painting at me.

I'm a barbarian, and I refer to her as "Spiro Agnew with Lockjaw," but even a barbarian knew that the Roman Empire was better than the village of huts he lived in. That's why he wanted to sack Rome. Duh.

Tim Pierce straddles the line between art and commerce. He'll play on your record for money. Unlike so many of his brethren, he at least supplies some real art if you supply the commerce. Everyone else just cashes the checks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Going Out Of Business, Music Industry Style

This video is accompanied by a Going Out Of Business sign on its YouTube page:
On the eve of this milestone release, Belleruche announced that they are saying farewell, or at least, "see you in a bit"; the close-knit trio have decided to pursue individual creative and personal avenues after eight hardworking, exhilarating and globetrotting years of Belleruche.

I remember there was a furniture store in the little town I grew up in. It had a going out of business sign in the window in big, block letters. It was painted on.

Me? I prefer my Minor Swing to be played by actual minors, thanks. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

One Note Piano; One Note Samba; Whatever

I love, love, love the presenter. He's got radio teeth. He doesn't cotton to those Beatles fellows with their three chords and layaway guitars. It's a big bus, dude. Plenty of room for everyone. Even a dentist or two.

I sat closer than that to Milt Jackson once. If you've never sat right in front of a real vibraphone, you're missing out. It doesn't emit sound, exactly; it sprays audio champagne all over the place.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How To Make An Animated GIF From A YouTube Video

Well, if you don't want to get anything done today, go on over to and make animated GIFs automagically with just a little work. It's fairly easy to get a loop going because you can change the length from one to ten seconds.
  • Go to
  • Paste the URL from any YouTube video in the box. Remember to turn off "Share with playlist starting from current video" before you copy the URL
  • Select the Start Time by dragging the cursor wherever you like. It will automatically start from wherever you put it, and you can drag it all around until you get what you're aiming for
  • Adjust the length of the animated GIF from 1 to 10 seconds to make it loop the way you want
  • You can give it a title if you like
  • Hit "Create gif"
  • Right click on the GIF and copy it to your desktop. If you have an Apple, do Apple things, and may God have mercy on your soul.
  • If you're new to animated GIFs, they just lie there like a prom date until you open them in a browser like Firefox or whatever. 

I can pretty much guarantee that even though it's Sunday morning that the servers will be melting, and the Intertunnel will be awash with moderately amusing animated gifs until everyone's sick of them and the fellows that wrote the few lines of code that it takes to make this happen will be chiseled into the Interweb's Mount Rushmore, and nothing of value will be produced, or lost.

[If you're new around here, the animated GIFs are of my sons, also known as Unorganized Hancock]

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Anybody Can Tell You To Listen To Supremes Records

Who's going to remind you to listen to Dorothy Moore records? Who can you turn to, in this world of pain and mizzry?

I'm here for you. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

General Business

I don't know if they call it that anymore.

General business, I mean.  That's what they called it when I was younger. I don't know if that was peculiar to New England, either. It sure was peculiar, though.

If you had an agent, he'd call it General Business. It's a General Business job, he'd say. That's what was said. You understood immediately what was required.

You made twice as much as bar band wages. You had to fish through the back of the closet for clothes you think you have. They're the haberdasher's version of a stray cat. They're at your house, but you're not sure where they came from, and you're not even sure that you actually own them.

Chicken and shells. Chicken and shells. Chicken and shells. A bridesmaid or two. General Business.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

If You Make Things, You Are My Brother: The Tailor

Sometimes things are only different. Other times they are plain worse.

Fish don't know they're swimming in water. Even people, who are at least 14 percent smarter than fish I've known, don't think much about the air around them while they're passing through it. Culture is a form of atmosphere. You pass through it, but it yields so easily that you ignore its effects. Then one day there's a hurricane, or a drought, and you notice it all of a sudden. No one thinks about the Interstate Highway System as a concept while they're driving on it. Well, no one but me, I gather.

If you like novelty, you can easily be persuaded that plain worse is better. If you dislike novelty, you can easily be convinced that anything novel is plain worse. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a world with only these two types of people, and it's driving me to distraction.

Friday, August 08, 2014

'Playing The Blues With Four Hands With Margrethe' Isn't A Euphemism, But It Should Be

It's not possible not to have a crush on Blossom Dearie.

I've never played the blues with four hands with Margrethe. I have worn Irish handcuffs, though. I've also played the Irish banjo. I've thrown Irish confetti. I've worn the Irish suitcoat. I've never doled out Irish sunglasses, however.

Also sprach Sippican:

A Voice That Would Scarcely Reach The Second Story Of A Dollhouse
Peel Me A Grape

Thursday, August 07, 2014

If You Make Things, You Are My Brother: Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead makes... things.

Things like that have a name, of course. They're automata. It's the basis for the word automaton. There's a very long tradition of making things that do things without doing anything. They're just meant to capture the imagination in an ingenious way. Mission accomplished.

Keith Newstead

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Song A Robin Sings Through Years Of Endless Springs

The sumac has gone golden and crimson already. There was no summer. There was a hint of June in August, smothered in its cradle. The tree swallows have come and gone a second year. They set up housekeeping again in the birdhouse the experts say won't work. It is funny to never be the expert. Everything I say has to be true or else. An expert can say what he pleases.

The weather came weeks ago with Sturm und Drang like I've never seen and tore the landscape to bits. The hair on my arms stood at attention when the bolts landed, and there was a misdirected freight train outside the kitchen window. It blew out the windows and it rained indoors until we sat the little fellow on a chair in the center of the house, the last redoubt. We watched trees like battleship masts give up their ghosts and fly by the window like Dorothy's relatives. I went from place to place in my house like a captain in a sub beset by depth charges, wondering if it could hold. It couldn't. The next day I found window glass forty-five feet from where it belonged, returned to its long-lost brethren among the sand. The place I work was made a shambles while the very walls of the house inhaled and exhaled like a bellows.

I wondered for a moment about a dread God that would take everything, even from those who have nothing, then snapped out of it immediately when I saw the little face in the chair in the center of the house, reading a book with a flashlight.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

That Boy Is The One

 He just sort of appeared there. I never saw any motion; any coming or going.

I must admit, he shook me a little. He was sitting in the pouting chair. That's what we called the battered settle by the door where we'd sit and smoke and think a bit about what we were doing. Collect your thoughts.

"When in doubt, sweep the floor," my boss would say. I didn't understand that fully, then. I thought I was his inferior, and it was all I was good for. But I'd see him doing it, so that couldn't be it. Even one as dumb as me understood after a while. He was up against it, somehow. Joint wouldn't pull tight. Glue pot gone cold unexpectedly. A dull blade splintering an edge. Something. He'd sweep like an automaton, and I'd see him turning it over in his mind. Then I understood.

The boss was worms and forgotten. The pouting chair was my place to sort it out. The sun would sneak in the door, open a crack; the sheriff of a breeze would evict my smoke after a while; and I watched the motes of dust drifting through the beam like krill in the sea. The grain ran out. The board had a shake. The wane would rob two inches off the sound edge. Something. It would always come to you --what to do-- in the chair.

God, that little round face there in the chair. He couldn't be more than ten. Strike that. The little heathens in the street always looked years younger than they were. They might be a race of giants sent by our Creator to rule over us all, but who would know? They'd never eaten two meals in the same day.

He sat there all day and said nothing. He didn't even sniffle. It was as if we had a bargain, unsaid; he didn't move and I pretended not to notice him. I'd pull off a prodigious curl with jack plane, and wonder if he saw it. Can he pay attention at all? I couldn't look at him, it would ruin it.

He sat there for four hours, and never moved or spoke. When I got there the next day, he was sitting there again. That boy. That boy is the one.

[Note: I wrote this seven years ago, and didn't publish it for some very good reason, I'll just bet]

Monday, August 04, 2014

We Had Everything Before Us, We Had Nothing Before Us, We Were All Going Direct To Heaven

Pop knew everybody. Didn't have a dime but took me everywhere. We'd pull up to the Garden parking lot in our old beater. No hope. It was full when I was born, and now I'm in grammar school. I cringed until the face leans out of the booth and it's his nephew in there. Right over there, Uncle Buddy. Where the players park.

You couldn't buy a ticket with money. The Garden would thrum with excitement and no one would miss it for filthy lucre. Pop had four. Conjured them like a wizard at work because the boss was already wearing white shoes for the season and wouldn't sweat in a seat in that hellhole when he could be on the Vineyard. Pop says he'll sit behind the pole and stare at the big rusty rivets but I'd always end up there because I fit.

Uncle Smokey would come and puff his Tiparillos and jape with Dad and I was in the company of men and stood in awe like at the foot of marble Lincolns.

There was weather inside there. Cumulus clouds of smoke would meet the smog from the drunken exhalations and clash with the cold front coming up from Bobby Orr's ice under the rickety parquet wood floor.

Then we'd stand and the floor was lost to me, nothing but the boles of men in an endless forest swaying in the breeze of excitement.

I'd kill ten innocent men to go back there for ten minutes.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Gypsy

Unexplained Carousel

A strange and foreign place lost in a reverie and you walk nowhere or anywhere and think nothing. You're prepared to see any sort of wonder or gape like an imbecile at the most mundane thing because it's news to you. Wogs or supermen or ghosts or something live here. And the stone is not just stone but hard stone and your foot wears it away like Caesar and Michelangelo and Savonarola and all the nobodies did. You look like you belong here but you don't. You walk and you look at everyone and everything and here you're the child who can't even ask for what you want and don't know what anything is for and everyone is your friend and a stranger all at once and you are in in their thrall.

Then there's this carousel in the middle of nowhere if this is nowhere how would I know with no one on it and it's just there with no hint of a reason for it there are no children. There it is a world spinning empty. It doesn't belong there and you don't belong there and you stand there accusing one another of nothing. It serves only to remind you that your children are out of sight across an ocean and you weep for yourself and you weep for a whole goddamn continent that sent its children across an ocean never to return.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

How To Play The Bass. Lesson One: Don't Play The Bass, You Idiot, Play Something Else

[Editor's Note: Written in December of 2008 and never used, then recycled twice. Not sure why]
Author's Note: Don't ask me; I just write the stuff. There is no editor]

Play That Fonkee Music, White Boy

I (used to) play the electric bass. It's not a bass guitar, although everyone calls it that. There actually is an instrument called a "bass guitar." It has six strings and is tuned lower than a regular guitar, but it's not a bass. A bass is that doghouse with the four strings. The electric kind hangs on your neck and gives you a bad back (left side), deafness, and a couple hundred bucks a night for as many nights as you'll show up, because every other person in the world is an unemployed guitar player. Own a bass and you'll always work.

That's what my brother told me all those years ago. He actually knows how to play the thing properly. Everything I learned about it he taught me in one afternoon in his freezing cold, decidedly downscale apartment in Providence RI. I never had to learn anything other than what he taught me that day, and I've forgot half of that, and I could still work every night if I wanted to. I don't. No one owns one, shows up, and plays bass -- instead of monkeying around like the guitar player they wish they were on the wrong part of the neck.

But you need bass lessons, and I'm busy and don't know how to play, and my brother's busy and in lives in LA, so we're stuck with YouTube. I'll teach you everything you need to know, right now.

The Blues Is A Chair. Sit On It First

You have to play the blues first. It's easy. Just shut the hell up and never venture past the fifth fret. There are only three chords, and if you play with John Lee Hooker he's not even interested in all three of those; I did, and he wasn't. Muddy Waters will show you how:

That's the first song I played for money three days after my lesson. I stunk, but everybody else did too, but they practiced so they had no excuse. The audience was drunk, what difference did it make?

Movin' On Up To Interstellar Blues

You can actually practice, and you can hang all sorts of musical drapes on that framework. Like Miles Davis' friend Paul Chambers. This song is a mere bagatelle; hell, two or three cloned kids can play it.

Next Up: Gigging At Bob's Country Bunker

But you're a hack whitebread dude. You gotta eat too. Duck Dunn will show you the way to play in barbands where the all the fights are merry and the dancing is violent:

This Is Where Those Tuba Lessons In Fourth Grade Really Pay Off

Nuffin' to it. But what if you want to play pop music? Well, it's really just tuba parts from the music hall. Macca gets it.

He sings OK, too. Remember, no matter how bad you sing, make sure there's a microphone in front of you or you'll make less money than the other guys. Even Ringo figured that out eventually.

Now It's Time To Join The Chest Hair Club For Men

But you need rock music, too. The thudding kind, not the Beatles kind. You only need to learn one song --any song-- by any one of a dozen bands with guys that go to Chest Hair Club for Men. Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd; makes no nevermind. This is as good as any:

At The Session, They Said Play Like James Jamerson. So I Left

If you want to play like a real bass player, you'll have to devote your life to figuring out what the hell got into James Jamerson to make him play like that on all those Motown records. Good luck. How Einstein came up with the special theory of relativity is an easier poser.

Got all that? Me neither. I used to try to play like 10 percent of that and had to sing over it, too. The seizures are getting better, now.

Reggae: The Audience Is Blitzed, They'll Never Notice If You Don't Play On The One

Reggae bass playing is easy. Just play like James Jamerson, only backwards.

I Know What Boys Like. I Know What Guys Want. And I Don't Care

But you've got to learn one lesson, and learn it fast: Girls don't want any of that. They want to dance, and they don't want it too sophisticated. This was the National Anthem of girls in a tube top right up to the present day: Easy, too. The song, I mean:

See, even Helen Reddy will have an extra sloe gin fizz and get jiggy when that's going on.

Now You're Ready To Enter The Leo Fender Memorial Couch Surfing Pageant

There you have it. You're qualified to make a crummy living from 8 PM to 3 AM three nights a week and two weddings a month. Hope your girlfriend has a comfortable couch.

What's that? Country music? Which country? Our country? Don't bother. There's only two notes, and neither is all that compelling.

Friday, August 01, 2014


Casey Klahn is my friend. 

Well, I think he is. My friend, that is. I never met him. Can he be my friend if I never met him? I don't know the rules. I knew the rules for having friends when Nixon was President. You remember Nixon, surely. He didn't have any friends. But I did. They'd come over and we'd play Battleship or Stratego. We'd go down to the baseball field and mow the knee-high grass, pushing a mower with the handle at eye level the whole time. We never bothered mowing right field because there weren't enough of us to have a right fielder, so it was an out anyway. You can never have enough friends.

Maybe Casey is an elaborate hoax being played on me. He says he lives in Oregon or Washington or Vancouver or one of those places with moss on the roof shingles instead of snow. An elaborate ruse would feature a person who claimed to be from a place no one goes, so you'd never find out. But by that criteria, I might be an elaborate ruse. I might have found those Beatles-playing kids on Fiverr and buy furniture on Ebay and steal a buncha text from Mark Twain and paste is on the Intertunnel to fool the unwary. Once they were suckered in, BAM, I'd have 'em, and, and, and...

Well, I don't know exactly what I'd do. But it would be George Smiley-grade shite, levels on levels, no one knowing who's who or what's what until the letter opener slips between your tenth and ninth ribs and you gasp: It's you!

But to get back to my imaginary friend, Casey Klahn, he sent me this video, like, two months ago and I'm just posting it today because I'm so far in a hole right now I can hear Chinese mumbling and I need something that doesn't require me to write 326 words into this editor.