Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I Promise to Play More Guitar

Someday I'll learn that if I'm going to play guitar in front of people I should do the following things: 1) Cut My Fingernails 2) Practice. It was sort of interesting playing at Border's tonight. Not only have I not played guitar in front of people in a long time, I also haven't played a lot of guitar lately. Oh well, I've always done better under pressure.

As usual at Border's I started off with I Know All The Presidents in Order. I was wearing the Jeopardy! t-shirt, so it only seemed fitting. A couple of people in the bookstore came over just to see what the hell I was doing. They smiled the whole time as I named all of the Presidents - in order. They even stuck around to watch me play I Will Survive, as I was joined by bass player and former desert island resident Brian Sharp, who, by the way, is formerly of Patient 957. This went well enough except that I kept hitting the guitar strings on the mic stand which made quite an interseting sound. I continued doing that through Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus. Hey, when the host of an open mic requests a certain song, you play it, mister! That song is moving into the "apropriate" category, I'm even thinking we could play it at the Heritage Festival this summer. The same couple who liked I Know All The Presidents in Order really seemed to enjoy Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus, I hope they see TSA and I do that sometime, not that Brian wasn't a fine addition on the bass, but I'm a poor substitute for TSA on the guitar, and why shouldn't I be, I'm playing with six less strings. Finished up with a couple of Springsteen covers Born to Run and Altlantic City. These are songs that I really like playing, and my stark, untalented guitar playing really seems to work on them. Actually, I really like Born to Run as the harp and guitar parts really work well together.

I helped Brian out with Starin' At My Ceiling during his set, with Joe on guitar. That song just keeps getting better every time I hear it. It'd probably even be better without me playing harp on it and just singing, but I'll eventually fall into something that works on harp in that song.

It was a good crowd and I got to see a number of players that I don't normally get to see. Marshall from Wall was in attendence with his Mountain Dulicmer. What a cool sound! It's such a nice background thing, it just makes me want to engage in quiet conversation and drink coffee, both of which I did during Marshall's set.

Ryan Holzer came down and did a couple of tunes at the end of the night. Previously I registered my jealousy at his harmonica playing, and while I remain jealous, I found out that he's moving to NYC at the end of the summer to pursue a music career. Now that's the kind of guy to be jealous of! I am never moving anywhere to pursue a music career. Well maybe to Box Elder to be closer to shows at Charley's Lounge if Mr. Microphone can somehow come through for the Slappy is Jebus boys.


Monday, May 30, 2005


5 Best Ever

I just read an article about the Denver Broncos' questionable off-season acquistitions (Clarrett, Dayne, Cleveland linemen, et al). It was an interesting read even if I didn't agree with every assertion. One of the big points of the article was how stupid Denver was for signing Jerry Rice. The author admitted Rice's past greatness but questions if he has anything left or his usefullness at this point in his career. As a Bronco fan, I have my own questions, but I'll leave it up to Rice to prove himself in camp. If he's willing to compete for a job, doesn't expect to be handed one (at all indications are that he's willing to work), then I think it's a harmless move.

The thing about this article that really got me thinking was the assertion that Rice is the greatest player to ever put on pads. It's hard to argue with, he's joining a Bronocs team whose all time leading receiver is current player Rod Smith with just over 700 receptions. Rice has over twice that many catches. The numbers are staggering, but numbers are weird. I've only been watcing football since the late 1970's, a day when a great receiver might finish the year with 60 catches, guys routinely double that number in a season now. Rice has played in a pass happy era in which teams play a 16 game schedule. Numbers can show you a lot, but really are only valid within an era. Comparing Lynn Swann's numbers to Jerry Rice's is a joke. Swann was a very dangerous receiver in his day, but over his career caught about 20% of the passes Rice has in his career.

It did get me to thinking, who are the greatest players I've ever seen. I have to have seen them, so I can't say Bronco Nagurski is the best player ever, even though an old timer might be able to make a convincing arguement. Numbers can be used, but they aren't the be-all, end-all arguement. Besides, some positions don't generate important numbers. No, this list is simply from my observations, players I watched play and thought were great football players. My top 5:

Walter Payton Running Back - Chicago Bears I read that, if he had wanted, Payton could have been an All-Pro at almost any position on the football field. He's the greatest player I ever saw because he could do it all. He was fast, quick and powerful, I've never seen another runner with his all-around running skills. Plus he was a fantastic receiver and blocker, probably the best running back at those skills during his era.

Jerry Rice Wide Receiver - San Francisico, Oakland, Seattle, Denver I am not slighting Rice at all by placing him second to Payton, in fact I think it's a huge compliment to put any WR this high. Rice is terribly dangerous on any type of route, a threat to go all the way from any spot on the field. Even if he lacked the speed of the real burners in the league, Rice's hands and route running more than made up for it. And he was fast enough, something I usually say about defenders, but was so fitting for Rice. He wouldn't beat you to the end zone by 20 yards, but it's still only worth 6 points no matter how much you beat your man by.

Earl Campbell Running Back - Houston, New Orleans Jim Brown retired from football the year I was born, but during my senior year in high school, he was considering a comeback. He was that feared when he played that even 18 years later people thought he could still be great. Campbell had the same impact on a game as Brown, they were two players who effected a game by simply wearing the uniform. Campbell was a punishing, battering ram runner with impressive speed. He joined a good Houston Oilers team in 1978 and immediately turned them into Super Bowl contenders. Even Walter Payton couldn't do that to Bears teams by himself. Payton was a better all around RB, but Campbell was the guy you wanted when you just needed to poiund the ball at your opponent. That, in the end, was his undoing. He was most likely over-used by coach Bum Phillips and his career, though great, was relatively short.

Lawrence Taylor Linebacker - New York Giants This is the toughest pick for me. I had a huge problem when Taylor went into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, since he was suspended for a season for drug use. One year of his career, he was completley useless, not because of an injury or poor play, but because of a bad decision he made. Still, he was the greatest defensive player I've ever seen. He was surrounded, most of his career, by great defenders. Even so, offenses always had to account for Taylor on every down. It's very seldom that a player has to be game-planned around. Any offensive coordinator who didn't design his game plan around Lawrence Taylor was in for a long afternoon. He was the most amazing pass rusher in NFL history, and one of the top 10 run defenders as well.

John Elway Quarterback - Denver Broncos This won't seem fair since I'm a Bronco fan, but in all truth, I've always tried to temper my enthusiasm for Elway. Growing up I always said the Roger Staubach and Dan Fouts were the best QB's I ever saw, Staubach for his situational awareness, Fouts for his ability to win with sub-par talent around him. Elway had both of those traits. I'm sure I'll hear from Joe Montana fans, but look at the three teams Montana took to Super Bowls and compare them to the first three teams Elway took to Super Bowls. Elway got three teams to the Super Bowl based almost entirely on his talent. He won two Super Bowls with fantastic teams around him, proving the importance of team work in the utimate team sport. Even at that, I only rate him ahead of Montana by the slimest of margins.

That's my top 5, the best football players, in my opinion, that I've ever seen. I'm sure everyone elese's list will differ from mine, and that's fine. Feel free to disagree, I do allow comments........


Sunday, May 29, 2005


BOJ News Service

The Globex Corporation is proud to announce the launch of BOJ News Service, your one stop for the important news of the day.

In all seriousness, the Globex Corporation Newsletter was created as a personal blog, a place where I could write about the day to day crap going on in my life. Over time, it's become a lot of other things, most notably a place where I could post my political "Blog-toons." And while I generally enjoy utterly confusing people, I thought that splitting off my political buffoonery (which I'm certain is misspelled) onto its own site was logical. Plus now when I make a "newsy" looking blog-toon and attribute to BOJ New Service, I'm no longer lying! Hope the MSM picks up some of my idiocy!

Author's Note - TSA has joined the BOJ News Service team. Look for Mr. Welvrig's blogtoons next to my own!

CEO of The Globex Corporation
President of BOJ News Service


Some Day, I'll Actually Learn to Play This Game

Erica's Shoes
Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
I know about 1000 things were suggested for the title of this blog, but I've been drinking and I'll be damned if I can remember a one of them....

Some day, I swear I'll learn how to play poker, but until then I'll enjoy blogging about the exploits of those who play much better than me. Once again I was first out, David (my nephew) followed close behind, proving that our clan probably wasn't meant to play the game for even the fakest of monies.

It was TSA and gal-pal Erica in the finals tonight. I had gone so far as to take a picture of the the jerky TSA forced Tim and Corrin to buy as I was most certain that he would take Erica out in short order. Somehow, Erica just kept getting cards and won the whole deal. That's right, Erica, all of the fake money is yours, and the bragging rights that go with it. Enjoy, because I'm sure I'll be coming on strong next week, maybe I'll even get knocked out second or something.

In all seriousness, a great game by Erica tonight. She walks home (well, I believe she drove) with all of the fake money, and the corresponding bragging rights. She's Queen for the week! Then again, it all ends next Saturday at 6pm. Still, enjoy it until then, Erica!


Friday, May 27, 2005


This Week's Song

No offense to Mike Reardon, but I have changed This Week's Song a little early. The main reason is that Ken got the tunes up early on Acrossroads this week. Thanks a ton Ken! Everyone, stop reading this and go immediately to Ken's Acrossroads Site. Don't worry, I'll be here when you get back. No, really, take your time, head out to acrossroads.com, you'll be glad you did!

Besides Ken getting the new tunes up so soon, the other reason for changing the tune is that Mike and I have done Like a Rolling Stone many times before, most of them better than we did that night a couple of weeks ago. So kudos to Ken, apologies to Mike and on to the discussions about This Week's Song. Have I mentioned that you should check out acrossroads.com? Just trying to cover all of the bases.

So this week's song (what, no hyperlink?!? how will I ever find it?!?) is the Gloria Gaynor disco hit I Will Surviveas played by local acoustic musicians Slappy is Jebus. The first time I saw JB down at the Cheers open mic, he played this song. The first really good recording of a Patient 957 song we ever go was of I Will Survive from a performance at the Knight's Cellar open mic in Spearfish. It was the one song that people really loved when we played a gig at Knight's Cellar last August (the bachelorette party girls just loved it!) and people really seemed to love it when TSA, Mike and I played it at Knight's Cellar last Saturday night. It was also the only song I played with JB after the breakup of P957, running into him at an open mic in Piedmont. It's the only full band P957 song that Slappy is Jebus does today.

While doing songs like Anti-Love Song or Gleemonex would be fun, TSA and I could never pull them off, I could argue that even though Anti-Love Song is a great song, JB doesn't pull it off well today. I Will Survive, one of just a few covers that we did with 957 is a good choice for keeping that sound alive. While I'd like to tell you that I'm doing something original with this song, it's really JB's version. Oh, I'm singing it a full step higher, and I've been trying to add the gravely voiced thing I do in Mojo, but it's essentially the same thing. And truth be known, I liked the constant harmonica under the vocals, something that's tough to pull of while I'm singing. Oh well, it's still a great song, and we do it in a really fun way. I hope you enjoy it!



Delayed Response to Open Mic and Other Stuff

One of the staples of this blog has become my chonicling of the goings on (mostly mine) at open mics. Didn't get to that on Wednesday night as I was pissed about seeing a "Red Carpet" show for the American Idol finale. Man, that still boggles my mind. Why the hell should I care who shows up to the finale of a relity TV show? And I know a lot of people will say "just change the channel!" Believe me, I did, just like I do any time an awards show comes on. I know that it's only my opinion that this kind of TV is C.R.A.P., but I'd just like everyone to look at how stupid it is.

I wrote a post last night about/against an idiot family member who pulled something unbelievably stupid endangering another family member. While everything I wrote is true (in the sense that everything I wrote about awards shows was true) I don't feel that it's really nescesary to air our family's dirty laundry in this forum. I did post it and it was up overnight. If you saw it, I make absolutely no apologies. What this person did and has done with their life is nearly unforgiveable. If things don't change and change quickly I'll post it again, it's saved as a draft and I can recall it at any moment.

So with apolgies to those who have been waiting about my open mic escapades for the past two days, here goes. I showed up at Dunn Bros. at about 6:45 Wednesday. I help Mike set up when I can and we usually do some songs together during the first slot. As this show has grown, Mike has found it nescessary to limit performers to 15 minutes, making a sign-up sheet with time slots that musicians can choose. Mike takes 7:00-7:15 (the first slot) and gives TSA and I 9:00-9:15 (the last slot), that leaves six other slots that musicians can fill as they arrive. So when I arrived at 6:45 on Wednesday, 5 of those slots were filled. Even before the open mic started, there were some guys sitting there who forgot to sign up and a pair of musicians who showed up. So before the open mic started, it was over booked. Add to that that about 5 groups of musicians showed up between 7:00 and 8:30 and you'll get an idea of what this is starting to turn into. Mike is really good about giving everyone a chance to play. The list is not set in stone and shuffling has been known to occur. I've never seen anyone who wanted to play not get a chance to play unless it was their choice. Mike really does a fantastic job handling this show, but I'm starting to wonder if the Dunn Bros. employees are going to get pissed at us for staying open after the regular closing time.

All of that said, Mike and I got a late start and limited ourselves to just two tunes Behind Blue Eyes and The Rolling Stones' Ruby Tuesday. I'm suffering through a little chest congestion right now, so my harmonies weren't as good as they were on Saturday night, but it was still pretty good. All of the regulars showed up after us, Joe Buckholz, Just Cal, Aaron Voss, Nate and Shawn (excellent once again!) and newcomer Ryan Holzer who is really pissing me off with his superior harmonica playing. Damn, he can play that thing. Joe Buckholz refered to him as "Steve Thorpe, but young and hip." My apologies to Steve, though I'm sure Joe meant it as a compliment to Ryan and meant no disrespect to Steve. And in Joe's defense, Ryan is just a bit younger than Steve. My jealousy aside, I hope Ryan keeps showing up to area open mics. He's new to the area and it's a great way to meet people.

Slappy is Jebus actually took the stage at our appointed time, which is rare enough. We were suppposed to do just two songs and had no idea what we were going to do when we got up there. I suggested Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus since it went over pretty well a couple of weeks ago. While playing that, I thought how we hadn't done I Will Survive in quite a while, so that was second. That always gets a reaction out of folks, and Mike was kind enough to join us on base. We finished up with Treat Me Like a Dog which keeps getting better. If we actually practiced it, it would probably turn into a nice little song. That would require effort, though, and we are probably the laziest band in the market. What're ya gonna do....


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Council for the Reduction of Awards Presentations (C.R.A.P.)

Damn I hate awards shows! Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against people being rewarded for excellence, particularly by their peers. I hate the actual programs themselves, the Emmys telecast or the Oscars. TV and movies are two things that are pretty dear to my heart, I like to know what was selected as Best Picture or Outstanding Actor in a Mini-Series, but I find I save myself a whole lot of time if I just read it in the paper the next day. The shows are horrible, overblown pieces of crap that I can't believe anybody tunes in to watch.

They've turned into a battle of who can say or wear or do the most outrageous thing, particularly now that MTV has gotten involved in the awards show biz. It wouldn't be so bad, except that the MTV mentality is to actually encourage people to say or wear or do the most outrageous thing.

That lead to the "Red Carpet" shows. Who the hell watches this crap? I was just flipping through the channels and saw a "Red Carpet" show for tonight's American Idol finale. Granted, I don't give a damn about American Idol, so it's beyond my intellectual capacity to understand why anyone would watch a show dedicated to who shows up to the American Idol finale and what they wore.

So what would I suggest we do before TV is overtaken by awards shows? Well I'm glad you asked. First, I would force all awards shows to take place on the medium that they're celebrating. The Emmys would be on Television, but the Oscars would have to be filmed and released to movie theaters. The Grammys would be on CD, you could buy it at your local Tower Records. Even more specifically, the Daytime Emmys would have to be on TV during the daytime. Don't waste my time giving Doctor Phil an award when I'd rather be watching George Lopez. OK, I've never watched George Lopez, but you get the idea.

Second, one awards show per medium. The Grammys, the American Music awards and that over-hyped MTV music awards piece of crap will have to find a way to get rid of the other two. That's the rule, one per medium. And no more of this Latin Grammys crap. The Grammys celebrate music, all music. Latin music shouldn't get it's own show any more that Balkan Folk music should. Latin music gets a catagory on the Grammys like every other type of music.

Finally, just like High Schools around the country, awards show attendees will have to wear uniforms. All of the rationale for having high school kids wear uniforms apply to celebrities and, more importantly, wanna-be celebrities. The best thing about this course of action is that it'd do away with the "Red Carpet" shows once and for all.

So write your congressman, or do what I do, don't watch this crap!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


"I'll Take Substitute Teachers For $1600, Alex"

Got a couple of days of subbing in this week. Interestingly spent yesterday subbing in the library at the high school, a job that I applied for but it went to the daughter of the school board president. What a coincidence! Anyway, did that and got a marriage proposal out of it. Well, a conditional marraige proposal, as the woman making it qualified with "...if I weren't already married....." That was before I told her I could cook. That usually makes women weak in the knees anyway. The proposal came after I exhibited my cleaning and organizational skills. Librarians, the weirdest things get them going.....

Then today, I was subbing in PE at the middle school. The kids were playing dodge ball, and if I didn't know better, I'd swear that the other PE teacher was hitting on me. I felt something was going on shorthly after she told me about her soon-to-be ex-husband. OK, I've never been good at picking up signals, usually missing them entirely, not realizing a woman is interested in me until she's naked on my lap, so this is probably just the opposite, meaning if I ended up naked on her lap she'd probably call the cops. In any case, I can apparently sub for middle school PE anytime I want next year.

Another really cool thing happened in PE. I had all of the kids check in with me and I marked them present on a sheet I had on a clipboard. One kid came up and stated his name, "Tyler Stewart" (not really his name, though close, and the name of the drummer from Barenaked Ladies) then remembered I had been on Jeopardy! and added, "I mean, who is Tyler Stewart." I didn't make any big deal about it, but let him know that I appreciated his quick wit. If there were a Wit and Sarcasm class at the middle school, well, I'd be on the faculty and that kid would be my star pupil.


Sunday, May 22, 2005


Knight's Cellar - Nine Months Later

A little over nine months ago, I was lugging equipment into Knight's Cellar in Spearfish for a show with the now defunct Patient 957. As I helped Mike and TSA set up in the same venue tonight, it was hard not to think back to that day last summer. My first thought was of a little incident, and though it didn't spell an end for P957, it was definitely an indication of problems we were having as a band at the time, problems that would come to a head about a month later.

But I don't want to give the indication that playing at Knight's Cellar tonight was full of bad memories. On the contrary, it brought back many good memories, and though many of those memories were good at the expense of JB, most were just of how fun it was to make music, even if you didn't always enjoy the company of all the people you were making music with.

TSA and I sat in with Mike Reardon in Spearfish tonight. I enjoy playing with TSA and I enjoy playing with MIke. The three of us together are really something special, though. I really get the best of everything when we play together. I get to just play harp and sing backups for Mike, which as I've stated many times before is really all I want to do, and I get to be out front on songs like Mojo and Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus. Really, it's a perfect situation for me, I get to do something I'm really good at and get to do something that I'm getting better at. I'm never going to be that singer that people just have to hear, but I do OK. And backup singers and instrumentalists are a dime a dozen. Truthfully, either would probably get old. Getting to do both really makes things fresh.

Mike took the first set solo, calling me up to do a couple of tunes at the end. Fun stuff, really just playing harp and doing some limited backups until we launched into the Stones' Ruby Tuesday. We've only been playing that song for a couple of days now, but the harmonies have gotten really tight. So tight that Mike wanted to do the song again in the third set. I gladly agreed.

Second set is where we got to have some real fun. After leading off the set with me forgetting how to play Buffalo Springfield's For What it's Worth we settled in for some real fun. Hotel California gets just a little bit better everytime we play it. TSA's rhythm guitar is really coming along and if we play it more as a trio, I think it would get really strong. Mike even switched to bass for the end of the set for songs like Brian Wilson, I Will Survive and Got My Mojo Workin'. My voice trashed by the final song, TSA and I had a beer or two.

Mike again started the third set as TSA and I discussed songs we wished we'd done. At that point we sort of decided to hijack the final set. Once Mike called us back to the stage, we took over, playing the planned Two Condoms and the unplanned Vibrator Dependent and Rollin' & Tumblin'. All went over pretty well. We did a lot of songs that most of the people in attendence had never heard, but the audience seemed appreciative. OK, dirty material will generally work on a bar crowd, but it still feels good when it does work.

That, of course makes me wonder what we're going to do for the Heritage Festival. I know we won't be able to get away with Two Condoms at such a family oriented event. Hopefully the wackiness of Slappy is Jebus will survive as we clean it up a little bit. I'm sure we can attract attention even with a clean show, the main problem is coming up with an hour of material. I don't think 20 minutes of music and 40 minutes of amusing stories is going to cut it......


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Ken Jones, Where Are You?

Just a short note about tonight's open mic. Good lord there were a lot of folks tonight, and some excellent new talent showed up. And while I'm not too much into the poetry, tonight's poets were an amazing bunch. I loved them all. Great stuff!

TSA and I got on really late, like after the time Dunn Bros. normally closes. Still there were quite a few folks there, so it was really cool. Lead off with I Will Survive primarily because I heard it on the radio this week. Thanks to Cody for totally bothcing the cool lighting cue. Hey, he was cleaning so it's cool. Dimming the lights for us was his idea anyway, it's not like we were trying to lump any more work onto the guy.

We followed that up with Got My Mojo Workin' but with a little twist. We've been adding a little bit of Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love into the middle of it for a while and TSA suggested dropping something else in there. Neither of us thought of anything either. But we've also been talking about doing Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual so I suggested we try that. It sounded pretty cool in the back room, but not the greatest in front of people. Ah, we gave it a shot. I still think it could work, but it would involve effort on our parts. We're not the best at effort.

Finished up with Wyle E. Coyote Blues because I want to get really comfortable with that tune. It's getting there and was perfect tonight. So you think you'll be able to check Acrossroads.com and call me a dirty liar, don't you. Well, Ken Jones was a no show tonight, so as far as you know, the song was perfect.

I hear he was "lying in bed, just like Brian Wilson did" but that could be spurious information.....


Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Help Me Waste My Time

I just got a new Blogtoon posted on Mt. Blogmore. That's right folks, I'm a Blogmorite, whatever the hell that means. Actually, it's a pretty cool forum for political discussion, and while I make the occasional post in response to a topic, I much prefer doing my little graphic stuff. Prime moderator and Rapid City Journal columnist Bill Harlan likes to use my toons to start discussions. It was coincidental that he wanted to do this topic and I sent him a toon. I suppose about 65% of the stuff I send him gets used on Blogmore, which is pretty good if you ask me. I've got no graphics experience and other than having an active sense of humor, no experience in the world of political satire. Yet literally dozens (hey, I'm not delluding myself here) of people see my work on a semi-regular basis. Now if I can just figure out a way to get paid for it.........

Which is a major problem in my life right now. I do lots of stuff, I'm a pretty busy guy, but very little of it provides any remuneration. And how much of this kind of stuff can I really put on a resume? If I volunteered at a library, potential employers would respect that. Posting cartoons on a political site, playing and helping out at open mics? Let's just say that nobody seems to give a damn. Soon I'll have a song I wroteon local radio, probably anyway. And what exactly will that get me? It'll be a cool thing to tell people, but that's about as far as it will go.

This is how I look at stuff when I'm feeling a little down. I have to remember that all of these things I do, I do for myself. I do it so others can get a little enjoyment, but mostly it's for me. I'd go crazy if I thought it was all a waste of time. And truthfully it's not. I know that, I just have trouble getting past that sometimes.


Monday, May 16, 2005


This Week's Song

Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
I was really hoping that this week's song would be the Slappy is Jebus' version of the Mojo Nixon classic Vibrator Dependent, but, alas, Ken Jones had reservations about it and didn't put it on his Acrossroads Music site. Believe me, I can understand that. We have no such reservations here at the Globex Corporation Newsletter, however, and if I obtain a copy of it, I'll find a way to get it on the blog.

So it's one Mojo song for another. This week's song is Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus, a song of mistaken identity. Ever been so drunk you thought you saw God? There is a guy who comes to the Cheers open mic who I think looks a little like Jesus, so it's not inconceivable that it could happen to me there.

TSA and I started playing this song, written by Mojo Nixon and the late Country Dick Montana, when Andy lent me a Jello Biafra/Mojo Nixon CD. Listening to the album that night, I first heard Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus and wanted to do it right away. I started writing out the chords over a couple of beers and had it in about half an hour. I sent the chords on to TSA and we started playing it together. Our open mic sets at Cheers used to be so long that JB would have to take a bathroom break in the middle, TSA and I would fill the time with a couple of songs. Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus was one of those, along with Rollin' & Tumblin' and Two Condoms. When we started gigging, they became part of the show, TSA, Brian and I would do a couple of songs at the start of one of the sets. It was a nice change of pace, and people seemed to like it.

So when Andy and I started playing together, those were the 3 songs that we knew right away. Soon we added Brian Wilson and a couple of others, before we knew it, Slappy is Jebus was an act.

I'll keep working on getting a copy of Vibrator Dependent, until then, enjoy this week's offering.


Sunday, May 15, 2005


"Thanks for Losing Your Fake Shirt...."

A Totally Staged Photo
Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
I swear, I don't even know how to play the game of poker anymore. Once again I was first out, geez, that gets really old after a while. Once again, I didn't win a single hand, though I nearly split a pot that would have been worth 6 chips when I was in for two to begin with. I'm glad I didn't, a hand where you finish up 4 lousy chips isn't really a win.

TSA played a good game tonight, down quite a bit to newcomer Jill who we threatened not to allow to play again if she won. Last time a newcomer showed up for the Official Poker Game of the Globex Corporation Newsletter, he won and was banned for life from future events. Well, maybe not banned, he just hasn't showed up again. Anyway, Jill had a nice chip lead on Andy going into head to head. He effectively chiped away at her lead finally challenging her to go all in, and since she had to get up early, she went for it. The photo to your right and up a little shows TSA's hand as near as we can remember it. Also, that's the beer he was drinking along with all the fake money that he can spend on all of the pretend things his 3-time poker winning heart desires. Three-time winner? That's right, TSA is the first. In a related story, none of the other males in our game have managed to win more than once. What's up with that?

I really need to get to bed.....


Friday, May 13, 2005


Act of Nature and an Act of Congress

I woke up yesterday to the aftermath of nine inches of heavy snow. I took a little drive yesterday to see how many trees were felled by the wet clinging snow. There were quite a few down in my neighborhood, though the trees behind my apartement where the deer hang out seemed to do OK. I don't know if the hillside prevented them from taking all of the snowfall, or just exactly what the reason was.

But I live in Rapid City, South Dakota. Nine inches of snow on the ground yesterday morning, almost none today. That's right folks, a snowstom one day, and right now it's 52 degrees. The snow is almost completely gone except for shaded areas. The weather here never ceases to amaze me. I could go into the meteorlogical "whys," but that would be boring. Living on the leeward side of a mountain range is always interesting, weather-wise, and the fact that the Black Hills only stretch about 150 miles north to south makes are interesting weather patterns here even more localized. You don't have to travel too far east of here to run into country that is practically a desert, yet, in normal years, we have plenty of moisture in our little corner of the world. Even though nine inches of snow one day only to have it gone the next isn't particularly rare here, it still amazes me every time I see it happen.

I'm helping a friend take broken branches out of her yard in a little while. I just helped her take a bunch of branches out of her yard a few weeks ago, those came down on purpose. I don't know how much was left to fall into her yard, but I'm always glad to help out.

We had a real live media circus here with the Base Realighnment And Closure recomendations relased this morning. Brac (not the guy from the old Space Ghost cartoon) recomended closing Ellsworth AFB which is just a little east of here. Rapid City has spent a lot of money trying to save Ellsworth, as an issue, it was used to defeat the sitting minority leader in the Senate. You knew it was going to turn into a media circus, and there's nothing I like beeter than watching a media circus. When live events like this happen, I always flip channels and see what all the stations are doing. At 8:30 there was the announcement by the Under-Secretary of Defense (not important enough for Rumsfeld?) which was carried by all of the local stations (except KOTA, I guess Regis & Kelly gets them HUGE ratings) plus CNN and MSNBC, Fox News carried some of it but dumped out pretty quickly. When they opened the floor to questions, the local stations all broke away to a press event at the base where the base commander would make an announcement. That is except for KOTA who were still running Regis & Kelly. There was a little time before the base commander arrived, so the stations had their reporters blather on about stuff they really don't know much about. Now that's entertainment! There were also some really stupid comments by Jon Wilson of KELO. I used to work with Jon Wilson, and he's every bit as stupid as he sounds. How does someone that unintelligent (and unable to show up for work on time when I worked with him) continue to have a job?

When the base commander finally arrived he went straight to the podium and started speaking. KOTA had just finished up Regis & Kelly and were starting The View. Hey, nobody wants to miss The View, economic impact to the region be damned! Watching the commander's speech on one of the other channels I saw a hand appear at the bottom of the frame with a microphone in it. The microphone was then layed on the podium during the speech. The microphone's markings identified it as belonging to KOTA. I switched over to KOTA quickly, and sure enough, they finally broke into The View with a special report.

So did this event catch KOTA off-guard, is it that simple? Did they not know that the Brac report was being released today? Did they not know that the base commander would be speaking after the announcement, one way or the other? I'm not in the media, and I knew it. It was all anybody was talking about around here, how could they miss it? KOTA carried less than ten minutes of the speech then went back to The View. This wouldn't bother me so much except that they chose not to carry the entire speech because they didn't want viewers to miss Regis & Kelly and The View. Is their news judgement really that bad?

Well, all I know for sure is that Jon Wilson is an idiot. I hope the rest of the folks out there picked up on it.....


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


My Subaru Kicks Ass!!!!!

The Subaru
Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
I've made a lot of bad decisions in my life. As I've stated before, given the option between two choices, I will undoubtedly choose the wrong one. It happened on Jeopardy! when I narrowed down the year of the Chernobyl nuclear accident to 1985 or 1986. I chose '85. TSA will be happy to let you know it was '86. Even if it isn't really relevant to the conversation, he'll bring up the fact that Chernobyl was in 1986. Serves me right for missing ONE question on the best game show in television history, I guess.

I was left with a choice of vehicles to buy when my 1991 Mercury Tracer was totaled after catching on fire FOR THE SECOND TIME in 1996. I was pretty much set on a Volkswagen Jetta, but after I accepted a price quoted by a salesman, he wouldn't go through with it. He wouldn't go through with it. Does that make any sense, he quoted me a price, I accepted, he said no! Out of priciple, I decided not to deal with that dealership anymore.

Eventually, I dropped by the Subaru dealership and drove a '96 Impreza Outback Sport. I really liked the car, but it was a little spendier than I would have liked. The saleswoman wasn't overly motivated to sell as she had already sold 3 Subarus that month. When I finally got them down to a price a little more than 10% under sticker price, I pulled the string. It was still just a little bit more than I wanted to spend, but unlike most of the decisions I've made in my life, I have never regretted this one for a moment.

I can probably count the problems I've had with this car on one hand. The most amusing was the opossum that built a nest on the intake manifold and chewed through an electrical harnass. That chewing caused some trouble with the ignition system for a couple of days, but it was an easy fix. Unfortunately, acts of marsupial weren't covered under the warranty. Every other problem with this car has been.

And it's been a joy to drive. It has full time 4 wheel drive and is just a little overpowered, so it doesn't get the best gas mileage, just under 30 highway, but I knew that going in. The major plus has been the handling. This car has a wide stance and is relatively low to the ground. That, coupled with the 4WD makes it unbelievable stable.

I no longer fear bad weather. Granted I'm a good driver in poor conditions, but this car gets around magnificently. I had this car out in southern California for the better part of 4 years, so I forgot how well it handles in the snow.

I got reminded tonight. We had freezing rain and sleet when I left for the open mic at 6:30 tonight. It was a little hairy getting down the hill, but I simply shifted down and crawled down the hill. No incident to report on the way to Dunn Bros. tonight.

This is the part of the blog where I talk about the open mic itself. If you want to hear more about the best car I've ever had, skip this paragraph and the next. I played with Mike and Eric a little at the beginning of the show. I tried to do a little Norwegian Wood with the guys on harmonica but I didn't really make it work. Also did You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Walk on the Ocean and finished up with Hotel California. I also did a couple of songs with Mike later and a couple of songs with Angel during her set.

TSA had a little trouble getting to the show from work, and most people had vacated by the time we got on stage. No problem, we just got to do some of the questionable material. We opened with Vibrator Dependent and followed that with Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus which we were going to play anyway, but Suzy requested it and who are we to say no. Mike then requested Wyle E. Coyote Blues which we played as good as we've ever played it.

While TSA and I were helping Mike tear down, Andy got a call from his roommate saying that a tree had fallen across the road to his house. You see, we got at least two inches of heavy, wet snow from the time the open mic until we started tearing down. It was a little bit of a strain on the trees. In fact, there were quite a few trees down on the trip to Casa de TSA. I offered to drive since he wasn't going to get his car all the way home anyway.

TSA left his car at Dunn Bros. and we headed out. No particular problems were encounted getting to his house. I was able to get most of the way down the dead end street he lives on, all the way to the fallen tree. I had to back out a ways to find a spot to turn around. Then it was back to the main road. He had warned me that entering that road can be tricky in bad weather since it's on quite a slope. No problem for the Subaru! As I drove through Rapid City, I was passing lots of stalled cars, cars unable to negotiate hills. I live on a hill about 200 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. I passed a couple of cars that were left by their owners, unable to make the hill. I had absolutely no problem. I have never felt so superior while driving a vehicle.

The only thing my Subaru couldn't do tonight was get me into my garage. If I hadn't had to stop to open the garage door, I may have made it. And maybe not, there's a downspout on that corner of the garage and it gets really slick when water comes out of there and freezes. Still, the Subaru got me all the way home without incident. Getting in the garage would have been great, but since there won't be any school tomorrow, I don't have to worry about scrapping the ice of my windshield in the morning.

I picked a good one when I picked my Subaru. If I only had the same luck with women......


Author's Note - Officially, our little storm brought us 9 inches of very wet snow. I don't know what any of that means as far as the drought that we're suffering through here, but it sure has to help. I was driving that Subaru through close to nine inches of snow last night! What a car!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Best Ever?

I posted a couple of months ago about the death of Johnny Carson. He'll always be the King of Talk Show hosts, if for no other reason than he defined the format. Yeah, Steve Allen did some really groundbreaking stuff on Tonight before Carson got the show, but Johnny turned it into what it is now.

So I'm watching Letterman tonight, and they're tossing things off the side of the Ed Sullivan Theater (that's actually more Steve Allen than Johnny Carson). They're preparing to throw a 14 umbrellas over the side when Kenny the stagehand remarks, "It's really cool, it's like The Sound of Music or somethin'...." My guess is that Kenny confused his Julie Andrews movies, meaning to reference Mary Poppins, but what the hell, Dave goes with it. They drop the umbrellas over the side of the building and they float softly to the street below. In the background, Paul Schaffer is playing the theme to The Sound of Music. Brilliant!

If Carson was the King of Talk Show hosts, then who is the greatest second banana in Talk Show history? Ed McMahon did a lot to define the role working with Carson, but I used to think the best was Andy Richter, Conan's sidekick in the early days of that show. I remember watching that first week of Conan (Barenaked Ladies were on and they played Brian Wilson pre-dating Slappy is Jebus by a couple of years). I remember liking the show, enjoying Conan's obviously trepidation, but thinking Andy Richter was the real star. Andy was great making fun of Conan and himself. These were two guys who had never done real TV before and they looked like two guys who were scared out of their wits, but having the time of their lives. In short, they looked like the rest of us would probably look if we got our own national TV show.

They grew together, turning into an excellent comedy team, Andy being intregal to desk pieces in a way that Ed McMahon never was. Frankly I thought he was the best second banana in Talk Show history. I still respect his work with Conan, but after a couple of poor sit-coms, I'm afraid Mr. Richter is going to end up like Shelly Long after Cheers, the punchline to a joke about leaving a show to soon.

So watching Letterman tonight and hearing Paul Schaffer effortlessly weave unexpected musical comedy into a comedy piece, I started to realize how difficult a job he does and how well he does it every night. He's not just the musical director for Late Night, he's also the second banana. The job he does musically has always been brilliant, but with experience as a cast member of SNL, he's able to add a comic sense that no other talk show bandleader has ever been able to accomplish. So he's really doing two jobs when looked at through the Johnny Carson talk show prism, but he's blended them into one. He gets to make smart-ass comments and be a smart-ass musically.

Listen to the music in the show. Except into and out of commercial breaks, Schaffer always has a reason for playing a song. Whether playing a guest to the desk or playing music following the Top 10 list, there's a reason he chose a particular song. It may just be a theme from a movie the guest was in, but usually it's a little deeper than that. One of my favorites was when he played on actor Leslie Nielsen with Groovin' by The Lovin' Spoonful. This is a little obscure, but the song contains the line "That would be exstasy - You and me endlessly..." Apparently when the song was popular, the line was misheard by many as "That would be exstasy - You and me and Leslie...." Kevin Eubanks is a fine musician, but you don't get that kind of high quality comedy out of him.

Schaffer's best musical joke, in my opinion, was after a Top 10 List about the so called "Sperm Doctor", a doctor at a fertility clinic who was impregnating patients with his own sperm. After the List, Paul played the Sam & Dave soul classic Hold On, I'm Comin'. Absolute genius, and just one of the many reasons that Paul Schaffer is the best second banana in talk show history.

William B. Williams and "Hey Now!" Hank Kingsley excepted.......


Monday, May 09, 2005


Pull My Finger

Pull My Finger
Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
I'm sure it came from watching too much Mystery Science Theater 3000 and being a single uncle, but man I love the "Pull My Finger Gag." It's not so much that I love doing it, though if I could fart on command there would be no stopping me. No, I like just eluding to the gag. Eluding isn't quite right, I'm right out there with it. Heaven forbid I ever find a photo in which someone is extending a finger. But the photo doesn't even have to be extended for me to make the joke. God bless Adobe and their fantastic product, Photoshop.

I did a photo a couple of weeks ago and posted it on Mt. Blogmore. It was of the photo you probably saw on all of the news programs, President Bush walking hand in hand with the Saudi Crown Prince. OK, when I see a photo like that, I'm doing something to it. I played up the gay angle. Hey, it was a choice.

Later, another poster, 25 Cent, suggested I do the "Pull My Finger Gag." Damn it! How did I miss that?!? I guess too many Gannon Guckhert photos had me going in a different direction. I hate missing the obvious, though.

My pledge to you, the loyal readers of the Globex Corporation Newsletter is that whenever a politician is seen pointing for no particular reason, I will use my Photoshop skills to insert cartoon style bubbles and do some variation of the "Pull My Finger" gag.


Sunday, May 08, 2005


Wind Blows in Western South Dakota, Film at Eleven.....

Mother's Day wasn't a complete bust, but we did have to change our plans quite a bit. The plan was to do some geocaching. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a little outdoor activity where you use a GPS unit to find a hidden cache of, well, it's essentially just junk. Still, it's a lot of fun. I had found a couple of caches we could do in Canyon Lake park, so we could have a picnic lunch, then do some caches. It rained today, and living in an area that's in the seventh year of a drought, nobody is complaining about the rain. So instead of a picnic lunch, it was lunch at my mom's. I had planned for this, having printed out directions for a cache in their neighborhood. If it wasn't raining too bad, we could do that cache after lunch. Well, that didn't work out so well either. It stopped raining, the sun even came out a little, it was warm enough that we could have found that cache, even with me in shorts. But the wind was blowing like, well being mother's day it was blowing like a mother. So we sat around and played cards instead. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon, though my luck at cards with my family is no better than my luck at the official poker game of the Globex Corporation Newsletter. Actually, my luck with them is probably even worse. Playing poker in the Saturday night game, I occasionally win a hand, I even won all the fake money once. Against my family, playing poker, I have never won a single hand!!! Not that I'm angry about that or anything......

Open mic was OK. TSA and I practiced a little after poker last night, so we were a little more on than usual. We were going to start with Mojo Nixon's Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus, but Shawn wanted to hear some kazoo, so we did Vibrator Dependent instead. That's even funnier because during the course of the evening, I won a 9 volt battery - don't ask. Then it was two "Blind Orange" Julius originals, Treat Me Like a Dog and Wyle E. Coyote Blues. We finished up with Got My Mojo Workin'. I still have a voice, so my first thought is that I didn't do it right, but I thought we sounded pretty good on it.

The rest of the show went pretty good. I didn't stay long as I don't know if I'm working tomorrow. If I know I have to work, it's easier to get going in the morning than if they call me and wake me in the morning. That getting woken thing don't do me very good (if you're going to use poor grammar, then just butcher it). We'll see if I get a call in the morning. Here's hoping I do.....



Big Winner!

The Shoes of Poker Winner TIM

Originally uploaded by Blind Orange Julius.
Three weeks off, and you'd swear I forgot how to play poker. OK, I did OK early, but didn't really disguise what I was doing very well. All in when I've got a big hand. What the hell was I thinking?

Tonight's big winner was Tim. Since Tim was the only regular not to win, I'm happy for him. I knew he'd win some time, so it's not really much of a surprise. Still, it ended up head to head against Corrin, who didn't cut him any slack at all. Good for her, and I was starting to think she was going to take him. I was out of the room when the whole final hand thing was played. I was also pretty drunk, so who knows if I'd have figured out what was going on even if I was there.

Still, I congradulate Tim on his finally taking home all of the fake money. Don't spend it all in one imaginary place!


Saturday, May 07, 2005


"So What Do You Guys Call Yourselves?"

The Chophouse was a blast last night. I had a long day at school, helping dad around the yard a little bit than delivering people to town, so I barely had time to make supper, read the email and return a few phone calls before I headed out to join Mike. It was a pretty slow night, nice enough that many of the bar patrons were sitting outside, unable to interact with us. That was OK as we still managed to have a lot of fun. Nature provided a pretty good show as well, a thunderstorm was brewing over the hill, lightning flashing in the distance. It was quite the spectacle, and something Mike and I had a hard time competing with, so, frankly, we didn't.

Ran into a couple folks from the school. One teacher I've subbed for a bunch of times, who used to work with my mom when they both worked in the elementary school was giving me hell before she even knew who I was. After she figured out who I was she was shocked. Not too many folks I work with know how I spend my nights and weekends. It's not that I'm ashamed or anything, I just don't talk about myself very much, this blog excepted. Also ran into a high school gym teacher, a classmate of mine in high school while I was fumbling my way through a harmonica solo on a song that I rarely play on. Oh well, you can't impress all of the people all of the time.

Mike and I started tearing down a little after 10:30. The Chophouse isn't really a bar and restaurant in the traditional sense. They primarily do catering and are open for special events, opening on Friday nights only. Catering and special events pay the bills, their Friday nights really don't. That said, a large group of locals came in at about 10:30, looking for a place to drink and listen to music. I inherently hate to dissapoint people, but the manager wasn't going to keep the bar open and we'd already been paid for the night. If he'd have stayed open and Mike had wanted to, I'd have played a little while longer. The board was still up, I would have just needed to put the speakers back on the stands and plug them in. Oh, well.

This Week's Song is from Wednesday at Dunn Bros., so the first thing I have to say is welcome back Ken Jones. I hope marriage is treating you well. The song is Treat Me Like a Dog. I wrote this in 1993, sort of for my first girlfriend after my divorce (well, I wasn't actually completely divorced yet, but that's a different story), and sort of because of something that was said at my 10 year high school reunion. I also had a car accident while working out some of the lyrics. The details of that are pretty funny, but I won't go into them now. TSA and I were struggling for a fourth song for the Songwriter's Invitational and I suggested this song. I had played it a couple of times solo, but it never had any meat to it. TSA added the guitar part after listening to me muddle through the song once on guitar. Suddenly it had life and we played it that night. It still needs some work. I've got to do a little better harp part and we need to practice the ending to get it right (that's mostly me, I'm following - or am supposed to be following Andy), but it's coming along. I think it's one we'll be adding to sets in the future. And wait till I pull out some of the alternate verses. Probably not a Dunn Bros......


Friday, May 06, 2005


The "Chosen One"

I always respected the Cleveland Browns. Granted, that was mostly the real Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Browns that Art Modell moved to Baltimore and now calls the Ravens. Anyway, they were generally a pretty good team. Even when they weren't, their fans were really into the whole football thing. Cleveland fans understood the game and where rabid about their team. Enthusiasm goes a long way with me, and Browns fans were always enthusiastic.

The Denver Broncos beat them in 3 out of 4 AFC Championship games in the late 80's and early 90's to go to the Super Bowl (and get beaten 3 times). As a Broncos fan, I was happy to see the Broncos win, as a football fan, I always felt for the fans in Cleveland. Those were good teams, beaten in back to back years by John Elway's "The Drive" and Earnest Byner's "The Fumble." Two games, one decided by an improbable series of plays, the other decided by one play. Cleveland deserved better.

Kellen Winslow was also a well known foe of the Denver Broncos. Having played college ball at Missouri, he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers at the height of Don Coryell's "Air Coryell" offense. Led by QB Dan Fouts, those teams were dangerous, a threat to score on any down in any situation. At wideout they had Charlie Joyner and John Jefferson who was later replaced by Wes Chandler from the Saints. Two great receivers. When the Chargers drafted Winslow, they instantly got the best Tight End in football. Winslow was an animal, big and fast with excellent hands. OK, not the best blocker, but the Chargers didn't run the ball much anyway.

But most of all he played with heart. Anyone who saw his performance in the double overtime playoff game aginst the Dolphins would never question Winslow's heart. Winslow caught passes in the Miami heat, ran deep patterns, had to be helped of the field on two occassions, not from injury, but from pure exhaustion. Yet he returned to catch passes in overtime and even blocked a field goal to keep the game alive for the Chargers. The greatest TE in NFL history on specila teams? Yup, that was Winslow throwing his body around, doing whatever it took to keep his team alive.

Kellen Winslow has a son who plays football for the Cleveland Browns. Maybe. I guess. Someday. You would think that with the respect I have for the Cleveland Browns franchise and the respect I have for Kellen Winslow that I would have something nice to say about Kellen Winslow Jr.. Nope. Not a thing. While in college at Miami (Miami players in the NFL, that's a whole other issue to be discussed later) he cursed out a reporter in the locker room after a gameand told the reporter that he was in a war. A war!?! Pat Tillman quit a high paying NFL career to actually fight in a war. A real war, Kellen, where people die, people like Pat Tillman. You were never in a war, you never will be in a war. You don't have to, you make a ton of money. Well, Pat Tillman did to. I guess he's a man and you're not. Strike one.

Kellen Winslow Jr. held out for more money when selected in the NFL draft last year. Hey, I've got no trouble with someone wanting more money, that's the American way. Problem is, he wanted more money than was being offered to the number one pick. You see, he's the "Chosen One." No really, I heard someone say he was the "Chosen One." Who said that again? Right, it was Kellen Winslow Jr.. Could Kellen Winslow Jr. turn out to be the best player in last year's draft, the best player in the NFL? You bet he could! I'll defend him if that turns out to be the case, if he actually proves himself to be that kind of good in the NFL. Until then.... Strike two.

The problem is that Kellen Winslow Jr. didn't really get the chance to prove himself last season, getting injured in the third game of the season. Five catches doesn't prove much, son. Now it's starting to look like Kellen Winslow Jr. won't play any games this season. Five catches in two seasons for the "Chosen One." Hardly the best player in the NFL, not even close to being the most productive in his draft class.

Why's he going to miss the season? Motorcycle accident. Hey, motorcycles are dangerous. As someone who doesn't ride, but lives in an area where we have a couple hundred thousand bikers come through in the summer, I see how dangerous it is. I'm not a militant anti-biker, I like those who ride, we all need to do a better job seeing bikers on the road. A motorcycle accident is a horrible thing. That is unless you were doing something stupid at the time. I was flipping through the channels last night and saw security camera footage from the Cleveland Browns practice facility. An idiot was zipping around a parking lot, turning sharp, braking hard, accelerating quickly. Reportedly it was Kellen Winslow Jr. right before his crash. The only credit I will give this man is that he wasn't riding like that on the street. At least we don't have any video of that yet. The "Chosen One" hit a curb and damaged his knee. Preliminarily, it looks like a torn ACL. That would be another season lost for the "Chosen One." Strike three.

Big NFL contracts, like the one Kellen Winslow Jr. signed, usually contain provisions that the player not engage in dangerous activities, like sky-diving or riding motorcycles. Getting caught engaging in those activities can result in a player losing his signing bonus. We have video of someone not just riding a motorcycle (which is not inherently dangerous) but riding it recklessly. If that's not grounds for losing his bonus, I don't know what is. Oh, he got paid for those two games last season, and he'll most likely get paid for no games this season, but an NFL contract is not guarenteed, the Browns can cut the "Chosen One" at any time and not pay the rest of his contract.

Career in peril? Could be. Exactly what was he chosen to be, a bad example?


Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Where'd That Twang Come From?

Tonight's open mic was interesting for me to say the least. I started out playing with Mike at the beginning of the night. I'll probably need to check acrossroads to remember exactly what we played, but among the songs we played were Neil Young's Heart of Gold, The Who's Behind Blue Eyes and Toad the Wet Sprocket's Walk on the Ocean. Joe Buckholz was next and he asked me if I'd join him on the Patient 957 classic Anti-Love Song. This is a song I hadn't played in well over six months unless we played it for our one time reunion (we probably did). Joe does it a little different than JB did, but it turned out OK, I guess. The weirdest thing was that a group of folks in a booth near the back was singing along. Apparently they had learned it from the JB version and not the P957 version, but it was still pretty cool. I hope they like how my harmonica part went better than JB's 'air harp' version.

Later I sat in with Mike and bass player Amy who I met when Mike and I played in Hot Springs. We did Hotel California. Mike does it more like the band The Gypsy Kings than the original Eagles version, and I like the change. Tonight's version was even faster, Amy thumping away on bass and adding vocals. We really need to add TSA's twelve string sound and give Amy a mic. I thing it could sound really great. My vocal harmonies are coming along, and I'm finally starting to feel comfortable playing harp to the strange chord progression.

When TSA and I finally played, we did our two newest songs, Wyle E. Coyote Blues & Treat Me Like a Dog, and finished up with the Brian Wilson since Ken was back from his honeymoon. "I'm lyin' in bed, just like Ken Jones did......"

Gloria had come up from Hot Springs. She said she's written a female response verse to Two Condoms. MonyP had sent me one a long time ago, but I lost it. I didn't see Gloria's yet either, but she has my email address. Gloria also paid me a compliment that is bigger than she probably thinks it was. She said my voice reminded her of Clint Black. Now, I'm not a big country fan, but I enjoy any music that's done well. Clint Black has always been one of my favorite country artists. Hearing myself on recordings, I've been quite surprised at the twang in my voice. I assure you it's natural, I've never actualy tried to do that. I have no idea where it comes from, but I'm trying to work with it. Hearing someone say that I remind them of Clint is quite flattering to me. On top of that, Clint Black is one of my favorite harmonica players. Funny how things work out sometimes.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Water Bottle

I lost a water bottle somewhere in my apartment. To most people, that wouldn't be a big deal, but you don't understand, this is me, I don't lose things. On the rare occasion when I do lose something it's really troubling to me, and I just can't let it go.

I lost a driver's license when I was in college. I suppose I remember it for a lot of reasons, not just because it's the only time I ever lost my driver's license, even for an hour or two. The address on that license was 2 1/2 E. Main St., Vermillion, SD. It was important because it was the first driver's license I ever had that didn't have my parents' address on it. On top of that, I only had it for a couple of months before I lost it. I replaced it while I was home one summer, living with my parents, so once again it had their address on it.

I lost a really cool leather hat that 2C bought me for Christmas on year. Since we broke up less than two months after Christmas and stuff like that bothers me, I put the hat back in it's box and decided I'd get it out again when I was ready. I moved to Iowa a few months after that. I'm pretty sure the hat got into the U-Haul for that trip, but I can't be sure. All I know is that I don't specifically remember loading it into my Dad's truck when I moved to Rapid City 14 months later. I never did find it and have no idea what became of it.

So I have lost a thing or two here and there, but it's rare enough that misplaced items are the exception rather than the rule. For the rest of my family that's really not the case. I have never lost a set of keys. That's a weekly occurance for my neice. Actually for both of my neices, and my nephew, and their mother. I often wonder how I can be related to them. My mom loses stuff, she misplaced a check this weekend, but she's old, that's to be expected. She may have lost the check at my sister's house which would mean that she will never find it again.

My sister's house is a mess all the time. Same thing with both of her kids that don't live at home. Geez, I wonder if that's why they lose stuff all of the time. Me, I like to keep a pretty neat house. I don't mean to sound sanctimonious, the room I'm in right now is a mess, boxes are everywhere and there's papers on the floor. It's just one room, though. I'll admit, if that water bottle is in here, I won't find it until I move.

Then again, it's just a water bottle. It even has a little bit of a leak in it and if you squeeze it you get wet. But it's the second bottle in my two bottle rotation. The "lovely parting gift" Jeopardy! water bottle bats lead off, always in the fridge, ready when I need a drink while sitting at the computer. The leaky USSB bottle is there as well, ready when I need that second bottle while ol' Jeopardy! is chillin' in the fridge. Oh, there's two other bottles in there as well, but they're seldom used, I rarely need to go three or four deep on the water bottles. But I am a creature of habit, it's always Jeopardy! first, followed by USSB. But now my whole rotation is screwed up. Someone's going to have to step up, whether it be the collapsable Qwest bottle or the silver one that came with my bike. Well, I'm sure it will all sort itself out.....


Author's note. Hey, I found the water bottle shortly after posting. I was looking in my fridge to check on yeast supplies when I looked on a shelf where I would never put USSB, and there it was. You know, this was really starting to bother me a bit.....

Monday, May 02, 2005


And On Top of Everything Else, There Was an Open Mic

OK, first off, I don't know if the Cheers open mic starts at 7pm or 8pm anymore. The signs still all say 7, it says 7 in the paper, but last week SMB announced it would be at 8, and the last two weeks it started at 8. Even when we did actually start at 7 we sometimes didn't get going until 8. Shawn's a musician, he doesn't completely grasp the concept of time. Hey, it happens, I can deal with it, no biggie.

So I showed up at 8 last night (I'm a realist) to find TSA sitting at our table with Corrin, Tim and Uncle Bill Brown. Our table somehow always turns out to be the place to be. SMB and GF1 dropped by to discuss Bill's missing PA. Apparently Bill's OK with that, he has two (sometimes three....). Geez! Anyway all evidence points to Shawn's little brother having it, but nobody really knows for sure. Hope it turns up.

My folks showed up for their first Sunday night open mic. My aunt and uncle were there as well having come from east river (it's a SD term) for my neice's confirmation. I told them it would get a little raunchy, Cheers ain't church. Playing coffee shops always make TSA and I just itch to play the less appropriate material. Josh thought he was being subversive when he dared us to play Vibrator Dependent and Two Condoms with my parents in the audience. Hell, that was the plan all along. We even opened with them. We did settle down and get serious with the Brian Wilson and thought we were finishing up with American Woman (a rare two kazoo song night!). But Shawn wasn't around to stop us so we quickly launched into Got My Mojo Workin'. Brian joined us for the last two, having played both of them with us in 957.

I did point out before playing Two Condoms that my mom had met the woman I wrote it about. At their table afterward (hey, they couldn't sit at the cool table) mom tried to figure out just who it was. She narrowed it down to girlfriends of mine she'd met, actually adding in a young lady I never dated but that she had met. She first guessed 5-55, which is horrible because she used to work with 5-55. I'm sure she left the bar certain that the song was about the ex-wife, never realizing that 2C is the one who had two kids by the time she was 18. I wonder if the song about a skanky girlfriend is about the woman I dated all through college or the one who had a kid when she was 15. Mom is a little slow on the uptake sometimes.

Yeah, on top of everything else yesterday there was an open mic. I salvaged a good portion of my sanity by attending.



It's Just 90 Minutes

April 14th, 1991 was a Sunday. I remember it vividly as I spent that morning at the Minnehaha County Country Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. KDLT-TV had just promoted their Assignment Editor to News Director and he was making sweeping changes in the news department. He scheduled a brunch that morning followed by a meeting about the changes that were going to made in the station's newscasts. Being director of the weekend newscasts as well as being heavily involved in shows three days a week, I was told that it was imperative that I be there, that missing it would reflect poorly on me. In short, this 'optional' meeting was anything but, my supervisor made it clear that I was expected to be there.

The brunch was first class. I've always thought that those stations where a chef cooks you an omlette to order are about the coolest thing ever. I remember that they had really good bagels and real, honest-to-goodness, lox. Remember, this was Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a good bagel was tough to come by and I had never even seen real lox before, having discovered the joys of a good bagel just a few years before. Yet, I had no desire to be there.

My supervisor had made it clear that I was expected to be there when I walked into his office and asked for the day off. My sister, who lived just south of Omaha had given birth to her third child, my second niece, a few days before. I don't remember exactly why, but they had scheduled the baptism for just ten days after her birth. This brunch and meeting were going to make it impossible for me to attend. I had attended her other two childrens' baptisms and wanted to be there. It simply wasn't going to happen and I was heartbroken. To make matters worse, the meeting was utter bullshit. There was no reason for me to be there. No production aspects of the new direction of news were even discussed. It was a complete waste of my time.

Today that niece was confirmed. Yet another load of bullshit almost made it impossible for me to attend. I had attended the confirmations of the other two kids and was being torn up by the possibility not to be able to attend today. I struggled with my decision for a couple of weeks. I had vowed to never step foot into that church again, but that would mean missing this event. But 14 years ago I had missed this child's baptism, I simply couldn't bring myself to miss another important even in this girl's life.

I wrote letters to the pastors of the church, explaining what I thought they had done wrong, why I hadn't been attending church, and why I would return one last time for this event. I felt this a nescessary step, as I really didn't want to be bothered, to be asked how I was and to be smiled at by people who claim to have respect for all life yet openly asked God to strike a judge dead. As inexcusable as I find this, I couldn't miss my neice's confirmation. As physically ill as it made me to walk into the church today, I knew I needed to be there. While I hated being there, I knew I was doing the right thing. I can't let bullshit keep me from important family functions. I always regretted not telling my supervisor at KDLT, an asshole named Wes DesJardins, to piss off and drive to Omaha that morning 14 years ago. I feel a lot better about telling Thomas Beaverson that he's a hate monger and that I don't want to attend his church anymore, but that I'm going to attend one last time for this important day in my neice's life.

So how'd it go? I felt horrible walking into the church, I certainly didn't want to be there. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes, not wanting to spend a second longer in the church than I absolutely had to. I was actually a little surprised that there was a seat saved for me, and I took a seat on the aisle. This caused a bit of an intersting incident as one of the ushers asked if I could help out with the offering. Apparently my response of "not on your life" wasn't understood and a terse "no" had to be offered to make my lack of interest in such activity clear.

I couldn't bring myself to sing. This in a church where I once sang and played harmonica with the Praise Team. I couldn't find any joy in singing and found myself sitting there silently. Worse, the congregation sang a song called God Loves Life, I have no doubt that he does, and was deeply saddened that this congregation that claims to respect all life in song apparently condones the wishes that Judge George Greer of the Florida probate court be struck dead by God.

Two of the Confirmands passed out, one vomitted. If you think I take any joy in this you're wrong. This was a big and important day for them, to be embarassed in such a way is tough for a 14 year old. Fourteen year olds are resilient, at least I hope they are. I hope every one of these kids is strong in their faith. I hope every one of them truely loves life, and doesn't just sing songs about it. For those involved in those incidents, I hope they remember the importance of the day, and not just the unfortunate incidents.

I took communion. That was probably the hardest thing of all. Of all the struggles I had with this event in the weeks before it, the thought of whether or not to take communion hadn't occured to me. I hadn't intended to take communion, but then the confirmands were asked, "Do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the divine Word, to be fathful in the use of God's Word and Sacraments, which are His means of grace, and in faith, word, and action to remain true to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death?" I was asked a similar question at their age. I haven't always remained true to that promise, but I've tried. Refusing to take communion because I had a problem with the man offering it wouldn't have been right.

But I prayed. I prayed that God would show me the proper way in this. Waiting in line for communion, I parayed for the congregation, that God would show them the way, that God would show Pastor Beaverson the proper way. I think I did the right thing by taking communion, I hope I did. Some day I'm sure I'll find out.

My nephew's wife needed to get out to my sister's and check on dinner while the confirmands had their pictures taken. I gladly drove her, looking for any excuse to get out of the church, to avoid talking to anybody lest I speak my mind about my disgust at the congregation for allowing hate to be preached in God's house.

I've had uncounted 90 minute periods in my life. The one from 11:00am to 12:30pm was one of the most difficult. It was very hard for me to be there, but I was. For my neice.


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