June 15, 2010

This Woman is a Jackass.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 12:01 am

Just listen to this maroon. According to her (Don’t call her Ma’am), carbon dioxide poses a grave national security threat and will put our troops in harm’s way. Carbon farookin’ dioxide! The stuff we exhale, the stuff that makes soda fizz, and the stuff that plants need to live.

If there is a God, this jerk will be sent packing in November.

June 13, 2010

Pickin’ in the Pinelands.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:43 pm

Last night, I did something I’ve wanted to for quite some time, which was to check out the Albert Music Hall and see if I could do a bit of pickin’ there.

As you can see from the website, the place has become a cultural institution in New Jersey. I had been to the old location many years ago, before it burned down. Back then, I went into the theater to see the show, which I enjoyed very much. However; what intrigued me most about the place was the musical action that was taking place in the parking lot. People playing all sorts of instruments (mostly stringed) clustered in groups and just played and sang for themselves and anyone who felt like watching – and many did.

The spontaneous parking lot “concerts” became part of the tradition, so when the new building was built, a “Pickin’ Shed” and a porch were included for those who show up with instruments and want to play (there are photos on the website).

So, I decided to give it a shot. I put my guitar (not the Gibson) in the trunk and headed over there to see how the pickin’ thing works. When I arrived, there were already about ten people playing in the Pickin’ Shed. Not knowing the “rules” (e.g.Was some minimal level of competence required? Does it cost anything? Do you need someone’s permission?), I asked one of the peeps, “Can anyone play?”

Answer: “Sure.”

With that, I took the guitar from the gig bag, watched people’s hands to see the key of the song everyone was playing and started right in. There were about a half-dozen guitar players, a couple mandolin players, a guy playing the dobro, a guy way older than I playing harmonica and even a guy keeping time with brushes on a share drum. After playing about ten songs, the guy who seemed to be the main guy looked in my direction and said, “The fella over there in the green shirt strumming that guitar… [i.e. me] … Would you like to sing one?”

Of course, I did not refuse. I sang one and then sang another couple tunes over the next few hours. I learned that players and spectators come in and out all night. Later in the evening, an absolutely amazing fiddle player showed up. He was kind of a goofy, happy guy who had no problem doing a bit of a crazy dance while he played. Truth is, I heard him play some serious stuff outside the shed, and I’m convinced that he must be an accomplished violinist who does the “fiddle” thing for shits and giggles.

I closed out the night by moving to the porch to play. It is my impression that the porch is where more serious players seem to congregate. The guy playing banjo was great. I just stayed on the fringe doing my damndest to keep up with the rapid-fire chord changes in bluegrass tunes I had never heard before.

My fingers are sore today, but it was a great way to spend Saturday night. Hell, I may well become one of the “regulars.”

Note: Be sure to click on the Video link on the website for background on the Albert Music Hall. You can also see the video by clicking here.

June 11, 2010

Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:20 pm

Would there be any doubt that the minute I saw this on a shelf at the Mondo Liquor Store, I would immediately place a bottle in my already-loaded shopping cart?

Let me answer that for you.

Absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

After letting it nestle in my freezer for a few hours, I removed the well-frosted bottle and poured a generous helping over clear ice. Damn, it’s good.

It’s pretty simple. If you like sweet tea (I thank my southern pals for introducing me to that), and if you like bourbon, you’ll love Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon.

I just finished one, and it tastes like another. Cheers!

June 10, 2010

More than Just Cuchi-Cuchi.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:15 pm

Charo, who, to most people, is best known for wearing sparse, sequined outfits, shaking her ass and saying “Cuchi-Cuchi,” has another talent, which is quite remarkable. Samples of other songs are here.

From the Anchoress, via reader, Dick.

June 9, 2010

The One’s Kickable Asses.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:37 pm

Now that The One has identified himself as an ass kicker, I got to thinking about just whose asses might he actually be capable of kicking.

Elton John

Kieth Richards

Helen Thomas


Olive Oyl


Amy Winehouse

Taco Bell Dog

Bunny Rabbit


June 8, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:22 pm

As many of you know, I am not a gadget guy. I have never used an ATM, and when I watch television, it is an RCA that is probably thirty years old. I suppose my crowning achievement to date is that I can store and retrieve telephone numbers in my cell phone and put a destination in my GPS. I’m also pretty good with a blow dryer.

As part of the long process of relocating to the House By The Parkway (South), I now have a flat screen HD TV (not the one that is roughly the size of the JumboTron – that will come a bit later, after the purchase of a suitably sized entertainment center), with a DVD player and a DVR. I also have a remote control unit that looks much like the control panel on the space shuttle. Figuring it all out is giving me the vapors.

I figured out how to turn on the TV, pop up the Guide and change channels. Not a bad start. I was watching a program on the History Channel when I realized that, at that same time, there was a program on the Discovery Channel that I would like see as well. No problemo. After all, I now have a DVR. After more than a little bit of searching around on the mondo remote, I saw the button that was marked “My DVR.” I figured, “Yo, this is ‘my DVR,’” so took a deep breath and went for it.

A message immediately popped up on the screen that said something like, “THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE STORAGE DISC. Blah blah blah.” What it was really saying was, “This is your DVR speaking. I can tell you are a techno-asshole, and I shall mock you and torment you, and I shall not cooperate with you.”

Now you can see why I don’t use ATMs. If I were to use an ATM, I would push the buttons on the damned thing and it would say, “Money? You want me to hand you money? Surely you jest. Asshole.”

Oh, did I mention that we also have new telephones? Indeed we do.

The instruction book looks like the Manhattan phone directory. Just the table of contents runs about a dozen pages. For example, you can make a cell phone call from your home phone (Why?); you can take a cell phone call on your home phone (Why?); you can stick your cell phone directory into the memory of the home phone (Might make sense but actually doing it is about as complicated as a moonshot); you can put a cell phone call on hold while you take a regular call, and you can conference in a shitload of people. I’ll bet it has a feature that will wipe your heiney if you hold it next to your ass and press “*wipe.”

If I seem crabby, it’s because I’ll be spending the next few weeks buried in instruction manuals.

June 7, 2010

Caught in the Crossfire.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:25 pm

Actually, I’m Caught in Teh Lazy.

I’ve been groundpounding with an iPod, which takes my mind away from the time I customarily use to think about goofy stuff to write. The upside is that I have been listening to tunes I haven’t listened to in quite a while, such as this from the great Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Here is the MTV-type video.

Here he is playing it live.

He was amazing, and died way too young. When I was at a blogmeet in Austin in 2006 a bunch of us did the pilgrimage to see the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue, the existence of which provides additional proof that Texans have their shit together.

June 6, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 2:29 pm






Sixty-six years ago today, American, British and Canadian forces stormed those beaches in Normandy while airborne and glider troops were dropped behind enemy lines, 156,000 troops in total.

Everything was on the line that day.

Success was far from certain, but failure was not an option.

June 4, 2010

“That Damned Halapeena…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:40 pm

I was doing this morning’s groundpound while plugged into my iPod. I can do that at the House By The Parkway (South) without seriously risking being turned into road pizza. My iPod contains a little over three-thousand songs, all of which were taken from my CDs. I listened many of the CDs long ago, or I only may have listened to them once or twice. As such, putting the iPod on Shuffle often produces some terrific “surprises.”

This song done by Bonnie Raitt was today’s surprise and has become today’s earworm. This is not the Bonnie Raitt version on my iPod, as this is a duet with Alison Krauss. No matter, I get a huge kick out of the song and Alison Krauss’ fiddle and background singing is good.

As much as I can’t stand Bonnie Raitt’s mindless politics, when it comes to singing and guitar playing, she is just too good to ignore.

June 3, 2010

My Beloved Gibson is Back.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:10 pm

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Beloved Gibson was delivered to a relative’s house the day we arrived in Florida, and I have been itching to see it since then.

Here is a photo of the box in which it was returned. Apparently, the UPS guy delivering it said, “Somebody’s got a new toy. If he doesn’t want it, I’ll take it.”

I opened the box and examined my case. Gibson cautions that sometimes cases can be scratched while in their hands. The case looked as good as ever. In fact, I was never happier to see it. Here are top and side views of the case. I like to think that the big, orange “T” on the case (bought after the first blogmeet at Eric’s) might have gotten the guitar a little bit of special attention from the Gibson folks in Nashville.

I then feasted my eyes on the guitar itself. In addition to doing the repairs on the cracks in the body (and, as it turns out, in one of the braces), cleaning and setting up the fretboard and bridge, they cleaned it all up. Beautiful! Here are two views of the guitar and a close up of the headstock (all taken with a cell phone camera). Beautiful.

I then sat down and tuned it up (guitars are shipped with slack strings) and WOW! It plays like a dream and sounds as good as the day I bought it more than 45 years ago. No, it actually sounds better now, because the wood has aged all those years.

I take my hat off to the Gibson luthiers. They did a wonderful job. It was worth the money and worth the wait. Oh, and I also learned from the Gibson folks that the actual model name of the guitar is a “Southern Jumbo.” Go figure. Back when I bought it, all I knew about the model name was that it was the “Model I Could Afford.”

Excuse me; I’ve got a bit of playin’ to do.

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