November 20, 2003

Attention, Aspiring Musicians.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:17 pm

It’s cool to be a musician. Musicians get to play in bands, hang out with other musicians, drink copious amounts of booze, and meet groupies. Musicians get invited to lots of parties, and they are always the center of attention.

You probably have always wanted to a musician. Admit it.

The problem is that some people just don’t seem to pack the gear to play musical instruments. When it comes to playing string instruments, they are all thumbs, and trying to play wind instruments produces sounds that attract various forms of wildlife in heat.

Are you completely out of luck?

Hell no. Buy a theremin.

The theremin (a representative picture appears above), possibly the first electronic instrument, was invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist named Lev Termen, who later changed his name to Leon Theremin.

Besides looking like no other instrument, the theremin is unique in that it is played without being touched. Two antennas protrude from the theremin – one controlling pitch, and the other controlling volume. As a hand approaches the vertical antenna, the pitch gets higher. Approaching the horizontal antenna makes the volume softer. Because there is no physical contact with the instrument, playing the theremin requires precise skill and perfect pitch. Link

Don’t let that “precise skill” and “perfect pitch” stuff dissuade you. All you have to do is wave your arms around the theremin and you’re a damned musician. Within five minutes, you’ll be playing spooky music – the wooooo wooooo wooooo stuff that you heard in the outer space movies from the 1950’s. Let see some guy with a Fender Strat match that!

Theremins come in all shapes and sizes, as can be seen in the theremin photo gallery, and you’ll look way cool playing it, as you can see in this video clip of a theremin guy gettin’ down and getting’ funky.

Still not convinced? Take a listen to Clara Rockmore, universally considered to be the best theremin player of all time, make that baby sing. You can also hear more here.

How can you learn more about theremins? No problemo. There is a wealth of information about theremins here, here and here.

So, if you’re sick of always being in the audience and not on the stage, get yourself a theremin, and join the Theremin Enthusiasts Club International. Be sure to bring your “axe” to the next house party you attend, and drop a few subtle hints like, “”Hi, Tom. I didn’t realize that my theremin was in the car. I’m afraid someone might steal it. Would it be OK if I brought it inside, just for safekeeping?” Or, “Yeah, that global warming thing is really a bitch. Hey, speaking of the earth, did you ever see that movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still?’ As it happens my theremin is in the next room!”

Rock on, Dude.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:54 pm

Who’s the sickest son of a bitch fairest of them all?

November 19, 2003

Blogger Needs Help.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:39 pm

Better Living Through Blogging needs help from someone who knows MT. It looks like he needs much more than duct tape, so I can’t help him. Hopefully, someone can come to his aid.


New Jersey Gasoline Tax Hike.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:02 pm

New Jersey’s lame duck legislature is talking about raising New Jersey’s gasoline tax an additional fifteen cents per gallon. DynamoBuzz has the story. This comes on the heels of our having recently been treated to an increase in cigarette taxes and a shitload of additional hidden tax increases fees to the tune of $600 million.

New Jersey and Spendocrats – perfect together.


Paris Hilton.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:53 pm

Will someone please wake me when her fifteen minutes is up.

Enlistment Bonus.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:20 pm

This one is dedicated to Sgt. Hook, who once did a stint as an Army recruiter.

While talking to a potential recruit, the military recruiter said, “Exactly what kind of job are you looking for in the military?”

The high school kid said, “I’m looking for something with an enlistment bonus of about $20,000, where I won’t have to work too hard, and won’t have to deploy overseas.

The recruiter said, “Well, what if I could hook you up with a skill that allowed you to come straight in as an E-7, where you’ll only work weekdays, and you can have the base of your choice and stay there as long as you want?”

The young recruit sat up straight and said, “Wow! Are you kidding?”

The recruiter replied, “Yeah, but you started it.”

Thanks to my friend Brian, the Air Force Vet.

November 18, 2003

High School “Wisdom.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 8:39 pm

Back when I was in high school, I always found myself in the “accelerated” English classes. Seeing as how I was surrounded with all the “smart” kids, I have to assume that the school employed some rational basis to select students for these classes. In my case, it had to be my standardized test scores that landed me in this academically high-powered group, for I was the ultimate underachiever in high school. I was way too busy playing in a band, being a fraternity president (we had them in high school), hanging out, and thinking of goofy stuff to be bothered with things like homework.

I recall one occasion when the teacher, apparently seeking to tap into the well of creativity that she believed the class to have, gave us an assignment to write a poem and to be prepared to read it to the class the following day. I treated this much like I treated the assignments from my other classes. I simply did not do it, figuring that luck, or divine inspiration would carry me through the next day.

When the next day rolled around, I showed up for class wondering how I would finesse not having done my homework. The teacher (a wonderful woman, I might add) began to call names of students to read their poems. And, read them they did.

It was apparent that all the other students had spent a considerable amount of time on the assignment. Most wrote poems about love, relationships and nature. Some wrote poems that rhymed, while others wrote meandering free verse, the meaning of which eluded me then, and often eludes me now.

The teacher was working her way through the seating chart, and there were only two or three more poems to be read before I would be called on. What to do?

Not being able to dream up a credible excuse for not having done the asignment (I pretty much had used them all up), I took pen in hand and composed a poem, then and there. I finished it at the very second that the teacher called my name. I seem to recall that the student who recited just before me had read a long poem about a springtime walk through the woods, which the teacher loved. Damn!

I took a deep breath and strode to the front of the classroom. I put my sheet of three-hole-punched loose leaf paper on the lectern, and recited the following:

There once was a girl named Sue
who resembled a moth-eaten gnu.
She had a long nose
that hung twixt her toes,
and varicose veins made it blue

The teacher was not amused.

I like to think that she lacked a keen eye for literary genius.

November 17, 2003

Where’s Bill?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:20 pm

Remember back in 2001 when Bill Clinton made a big news splash by deciding to locate his offices on 125th Street in Harlem? Sure you do. The media gushed. Charles Rangel gushed when he introduced his pal Bill at the Harlem welcoming ceremonies as “the last president we ever had that was elected.” Bill gushed too: “Now I feel like I’m home,” he told the cheering audience. He went on to bullshit tell the crowd about how, as a student, he would “walk down 125th Street, all the way west. And people would come up and ask me what I was doing here. And I said, `I don’t know,’ I just liked it. I felt at home.”

Clinton’s choice of Harlem for his offices moved columnist DeWayne Wickham to say that Clinton’s presence will be “a boon to Harlem.” He went even further:

It will bring to this long-ignored corner of New York City a flood of powerful white politicians who will have a vested interest in improving the lives of the people in Bill Clinton’s adopted neighborhood — and ignite a second Harlem Renaissance.

Mr. Wickham, you’ve been had.

If there is to be a “second Harlem Renaissance,” it sure as hell won’t be due to Bill’s presence in the neighborhood, because as Country Store points out, he is hardly ever there. This is not the first time his absence has been noted, but then, as now, there are plenty of people who are more than willing to give him a pass.

As you may recall, he chose Harlem as the location for his offices when a firestorm erupted over his first choice for office space in pricey midtown Manhattan that would have cost the taxpayers $800,000 per year. His Harlem digs will cost the taxpayers a mere $354,000 per year over the course of a ten-year lease.

We’ve all been had … again.

November 16, 2003


Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 3:50 pm

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has aggressively opposed the appointment of Janice Rogers Brown, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, to a judgeship on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

There is no dispute that Justice Brown is a “colored person.” There is also no dispute that moving from the California State Courts to the D.C. Circuit constitutes an “advancement.” So how can an organization that, by its own name, purports to stand for the advancement of colored people be so vehemently opposed to Justice Brown’s judicial appointment? [/rhetorical question]

Perhaps, in the interest of candor, the organization should change its name to the “National Association for the Advancement of Some Colored People” (NAASCP). Or, given the statements of the likes of Julian Bond or Kweisi Mfume, the organization should consider calling itself the “National Organization for the Advancement of Very Liberal Colored People” (NAAVLCP).

The opposition to Justice Brown is ugly.

The Black Commentator has referred to her as “Clarence Thomas in a Fright Wig,” and has depicted her in this manner (along with equally odious depictions of Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice).

I guess that sort of thing gets a pass, if it appears in the Black Commentator.

One wonders how long it will take for the NAACP and the Black Commentator to get around to calling Justice Brown a “Neanderthal.”

November 15, 2003

More Linkage.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:00 pm

My plan for today is to add a few links to Mr. Blogroll, then spend a bit of time reading – a book. I’ll probably lurk around a bit later.

With that, I give you the following excellent blogs:

Dax Montana. This is another southern guy who resonates very well with this born and bred Jersey Yankee. I gotta figure out how to get a slug of that Georgia brandy. Just Damn! Today he has written a hard rending post about his long friendship with his three-legged dog. Dog owners will get it.

Tasty Manatees. My first exposure to this site was this excellent post, and I have been a regular ever since. Blogging from the nation’s capital, Ryan scores regular political bullseyes.

Trying to Grok. The author, Sarah, is a military spouse, living in Germany. She writes passionately about the military, politics and things in general. She has done a wonderful job telling the individual stories of many of our military personnel who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am now one of her regulars.

Go forth and read.

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