Thursday, June 30, 2005
Some Johnny Horton Anybody?
Slappy is Jebus.... or is that Regular Daddy ...... went on stage very close to our appointed time and worked up three Heritage Festival tunes that needed the work. We led off with Born to Run and followed that up with Locomotive Breath. That tune always seems to turn heads and I'm really not sure why. We do a pretty stripped down version of it, but whatever we're doing seems to be working. I really gotta get that harp solo down, though. That's all it really needs at this point. Finished up with Monty Python's The Universe Song which went pretty well even if TSA sort of forgot how it goes. We played that a little when we started playing together, but hadn't given it many plays in the last six months. It'll get there by Monday, I have no doubt.
We figured we were done, but joined Uncle Bill and Mike on stage for a few tunes at the end of the night. Playing with Bill is always a blast. It's always an odd mix of Beatles and country tunes. The Man Who Shot LIberty Valance? Yeah, Bill plays it and it's a friggin blast! Wanna hear some Johnny Horton? How 'bout The Battle of New Orleans? Part of me can't believe I'm playing along to stuff like that, another part of me wants to do it for the next couple of hours. I can't explain it, but it always leaves a big smile on my face. Sort of like I remember sex being......
Monday, June 27, 2005
Just Who is Evil
And it's not fair on the other side either. Calling the Democrats Communists isn't acurate. It isn't nice, it isn't necessary and it isn't productive. Post WWI Germany fell under fascism under the guise of the National Socialist party (Nazis) led by Adolph Hitler. The fascism practiced by Germany in those years falls to the extreme right of the political spectrum, and while it's true that the Republican party occupies an area right of center in the same spectrum there is no comparison. Likewise, post WWI Russian fell into Communism under (among others) Josef Stalin. Communism occupies the extrem left of the political spectrum, and while the Democrats fall left of center on that same spectrum, there is no comparison. In truth, todays Democratic party has much more in common with the Republican party than it has with Communism. The same is ture of the Republicans who have more in common with the Democrats than they do with any fascist political movement.
Perversly, the Nazis and the Russian Communists of the 30's and 40's, though about as far apart as possible politically, have one thing in common. They were led by evil. Hitler was evil, Stalin was evil. Both caused the deaths of millions, not just because of the war they caused, but because they actively killed their own citizens. Think about that for a moment. No matter how much you dislike a Republican or Democrat in office today, do they advocate the death of citizens? Don't use the abortion argument on me. No politician on the left is saying that unborn babies have to be killed. Nobody is advocating the rounding up of pregnant women and forcing them to have abortions, like Jews, Gypsy's and homosexuals were rounded up and killed by Nazis and Russian Communists.
We had a judge named Greer from Florida in the news recently. He ruled that a feeding tube could be removed from a brain dead woman. People called Judge Greer evil, he was kicked out of his church, he received death threats, a man was arrested for putting a $50,000 "bounty" on Judge Greer. In my own church, a pastor preached that he wished God would strike Judge Greer dead. Judge Greer did not kill Teri Schiavo, Teri Schiavo was already dead, her body just hadn't figured that out yet, probably because her brain had been dead for 14 years. Did Judge Greer deserve to be labelled as evil when all he did was uphold the law, when all he did was follow the existing law of the land allowing her legal guardian to make the decision if she shoud be kept alive or not?
Today in Wichita, Kansas a man named Dennis Rader calmly plead guilty to the brutal killings of 10 people, giving quite a few details that I'm still not comfortable thinking about. He will go to jail, most likely forever but since his crimes were commited when Kansas did not have the death penalty, he will live.
So I ask you who is evil, Judge Greer or the BTK Strangler? Will Pastor Thomas Beaverson of Zion Lutheran Church in Rapid City, South Dakota preach this Sunday his wishes that Dennis Rader be struck dead by God since the State of Kansas won't kill him? I don't know because I won't be there, I decided I couldn't go back to that church.
Is Dennis Rader receiving death threats? Is some whack job offering $50,000 to anyone who kills the BTK Strangler? Has Dennis Rader been kicked out of his Lutheran Church?
All I'm saying is be careful throwing around hurtful terms. Maybe my standard of 'evil' is high, but from what I've read, Judge Greer is a credit to our society. Comparing him to pure social malevolence, using the same term for both men cheapens the term. There is true evil out there people, we got a peak inside of an evil mind today. Remember that the next time you want to call someone evil.
"Look Big Daddy, It's Regular Daddy"
I want to go down on record as saying that I like the name Slappy is Jebus even if the explanation of the name is ridiculously long. But tonight the name Regular Daddy came up. Crap! Why didn't we think of that before. Why couldn't the program director at KEVN -TV have scheduled Simpsons episode 4F20 "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase" for sometime before that fateful night at Boston's where, over a few too many Leine's Big Butt Doppelbocks we decided on Slappy is Jebus? Regular Daddy, it just pops! It would rock, plus we could start out every show with this sound clip. How many bands can say they're introduced by Ralph Wiggum? None, that's how many, not a single one. Ahhh, what're ya gonna do......
Started out tonight's show at Cheers with two of the new ones. Did Born to Run which will be perfect once we get the beginnng together and followed that up with Locomotive Breath. That will also be perfect when 1.) I learn my damn harmonica solo and 2.) TSA doesn't break any strings. It was the low E which on that particular song is the most important string. With Uncle Bill lending his new Taylor to TSA we were able to go on with the show doing You Don't Love Me Anymore and finishing up with Vibrator Dependent. Maybe those last two were flipped around. I'll have to send my $4 to Cheers to get the official transcript. Geez, if I'd have just paid more attention I'd be $4 richer.....
All in all it looks like the Heritage Festival tunes are coming together. I sang Locomotive Breath to myself all day long to learn it. I'm sure the neighbors will be pleased to know I've got it down. This whole week I'll be singing Mojo Nixon's The Story of One Chord. The neighbors will want to shoot me by Wednesday, I'm sure. The only song I'm a little unsure of at this point is The Universe Song as we haven't worked that one in front of a crowd in quite a while. I'm doing a lot more on harp on it than it the past, too, so I need to work on that. Still, I know it, TSA knows it and we have done it before, so there's not too much to worry about. Oh, a couple of tunes need some tweaks, we need to solidify the ending on Treat Me Like a Dog, but it's mostly fine tuning. I'm really pleased at how the set list came together. I'm to the point that I don't want to drop anything if we don't have to. Even if that means no talking on stage. This is Slappy is Jebus, there will be some talking on stage, there's no getting around it. We will have to drop the juggling and close-up magic portions of the show, but it's supposed to be about the music, so they can go.
So good night and good luck to you, be you a Slapp-O-Holic or a Jebunite.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
BOJ Hits 700
Which leads me to another point. Dave, TSA's roommate printed out this photo from BOJ News Service and hung it at his place of work. When he returned (after lunch? I'm not sure, that's why I'm a blogger and not a reporter) it was taken down. He asked the recptionist who took it down and she said she had by someone's request. Controversy, cool! He said someone had complained saying "Hey man, that's not a real billboard." Now I realize that this guy saw the photo out of the context of BOJ News Service so I'll cut him some slack, but still there's only one answer to a statement like that. DUH!!!!! Yeah, those bastards in Abilene, they realy want to put the screws to Rapid City, you know the long rivalry and all. It's been going on for so long that no one remembers why we're fighting anymore. Actually I say the same thing every time I read Doonesbury. "No way, dude! The Presidnt didn't really say that!"
Not that I'm comparing myself to Gary Trudeau or even former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (though I do know all the Prime Ministers in order...), but I have to assume that the audience has a little bit of intelligence. If that guy and others like him don't get it, well the site isn't for him. It's the "Dennis Miller Ratio" in action. I like to think that more than one person out of twenty will get what I do, but if that's all it is, then I'll make stuff for that one guy. And bless you for enjoying it.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Heritage Festival Set List
It sounds nice and sweet, but is just plain goofy. We'll just jump straight into it without any explanation. It's a good indication of what will be happening over the next hour
A great fun song that hopefully I'll be able to get TSA to sing a verse (or two) on.
It looks like early on we're trying to fool people into thinking we're somewhat serious musicians. The last verse of this song should dispel any notion of that.
TSA thought we'd sound good doing this song. He was right. I'd also like to point out that we're twelve minutes into the show when we start this song, and it's the first thing we'll do that isn't some kind of joke.
All right, back to the whackiness. A song comparing my relationship troubles to the adventures of a cartoon canine. Silly, as we often say on stage, "This is a true story."
The start of the blues section of our show. One of the first SIJ tunes as it was one I knew and could teach to TSA pretty easily as we scrambled for material early on.
Hot Damn! Now we're talkin'! One of the coolest songs ever written and with a wealth of verses floating around out there, I never know exactly how I'm going to do this song any time we do it.
Since we can't do our other Mojo Nixon song at this show, this should be fun. This is also about as 'edgy' as we'll be getting at this show.
I wrote this song for a young lady I was dating, actually having a car accident while trying to write a verse of it. TSA really turned this into something special with his twelve-string work. I suck as a songwriter, but he bails me out time and time again.
Again, something TSA though we would sound good doing. Again he's right.
The only problem with this song is that someone will invariably want to sing on it. Oh, well.
One of ten songs proven to clinically turn you gay if herd on the radio. Thankfully this is a live performance, everyone is safe.
A song I always wanted to do in 957, but it just never worked out. TSA learned it in about 5 minutes and after that it became a SIJ staple.
An acoustic version of the Springsteen classic and the newest SIJ tune. I really like the way this sounds going into the big finale.
Am I the only one who see's the irony of doing a Mojo Nixon song in the middle of a song called Got My Mojo Workin'? This song is so cool. If we get people to sing along, it'll be even that much cooler.
There it is. And now the fine print:
set list subject to change
objects on stage may appear closer than they actually are
if for any reason you are dissatisfied, please return unused portion of performance for a full refund
"Alright! It's 'Slappy is Jebus'!"
My parents are from South Dakota, though their families are from the eastern half of the state. Our other retired friend are from the midwest mostly, but none of them are from the general area. They retired here because they like the area and there's a base nearby. That makes it possible for them to take advantage of there benefits. Ellsworth has a good hospital, comissary and base exchange, all things that the retirees can take advantage of. These befits have drastically eroded over the past 20 years, but it's still a good deal for a retiree to live near an active military post.
My dad's birthday is on Veteran's Day, and seeing the parade a town this size puts on for his birthday is amazing. I know that any citizen can be patriotic, but you haven't seen patriotism until you've seen it practiced by a group of vets. "Practiced" isn't the right word, vets have it down, they don't need any more practice. It's a pretty special thing to see.
This would be a poorer community if the veterans weren't here. Generally they're civic minded folks. Yes the Elks and other communtiy service clubs sponsor scout troops and the like, but so do all of the Vets's organizations. And a lot of these guys are pulling double duty, active in community organizations as well as one or more Veteran's organizations. I'd sure like to see them stay around. I hope they do.
Also on Wednesday I hung out in a bar with my sister and a friend. It's been a while since I've done that without getting up to play music at some point during the evening. But Dunn Bros. was right around the corner and it was Wednesday so maybe it does count.
Dunn Bros. was insane on Wednesday. That open mic is getting so insane. Every week I see someone I've never seen before who impresses the hell out of me. This week it was a high school age girl whose guitar playing was adequate (which is to say much better than my guitar playing) but had an amazing voice. It was also her first time on stage so she was really nervous. I love to see that, not to make fun, but to see a person overcome something that's really difficult, to see them become more confident while they're sitting there. Maybe she'll never play in front of people again. Maybe she'll get adicted to it. You never can tell.
Slappy is Jebus did an abbreviated set. As the place was quite busy, everybody did an abbreviated set. The plan had been to do Springsteen's Born to Run which we're working up for the Heritage Festival, but the energy of the crowd made us change to our plans and do our Muddy Waters songs instead, Rollin' & Tumblin' and Got My Mojo Workin' instead. While we were setting up I over heard a group of high school age kids say, "Alright! It's Slappy is Jebus!" We hadn't even been introduced yet and we were recognized, and by an age group that isn't really our core demographic. I asked how they knew us, and they said that they were in Dunn Bros. last Wednesday and that we're their second favorites. Their favorite was Willy Grigg, and I can certainly live with being second to Willy.
We played our Muddy Waters tunes, the crowd seemed to be into it which is always nice. Now, my sister and parents were there leading the crowd, but when the crowd started responding to my "Got My Mojo Workin'" line with one of their own, well, that's just pretty damn cool.
I'm playing at the Chophouse with Mike Reardon tonight. We'll be joined by a former guitar student of his, Eric on guitar. We got together and worked up some tunes last night and will probably get together some more this afternoon. The plan is to play outside at the Chophouse if the weather cooperates. After days of 90 degree heat and 90% humidity (I thought I moved away from Minnesota, damn it!), I'm not going to complain about the cool and cloudy weather today, but I'd sure like those clouds to burn off by tonight.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Own It, Play It
While working in Vermillion, there wasn't a music store, so buying a new harp meant driving to Sioux Falls. If I was going to drive to Sioux Falls I usually tried to make a day of it. I'd hit the liquor store and buy a 750ml of Jim Beam, drop by the cigar shop and buy four H. Uppman coronas (for just $10! What the hell happened to the price of cigars in the last ten years?) and hit the downtown music store for a new harp. I'm sure this is just a way the music store would screw me, but since Hohner Harmonicas are made in Germany, the clerk would do a conversion of the price from Deutsch Marks to U.S. Dollars for me and then ask for payment. For a while that conversion was costing me a little extra. I've never run into another music store that did the same thing.
Still, I was just a guy who owned a harmonica. During that time, though, I wrote my first songs while working overnights at South Dakota Public TV. And being in the building alone gave me the opportunity to play as loudly as I wanted. I actually started developing some skills during this time. I wasn't a musician by any stretch of the imagination, but I could play a little.
In about 1999 while living in California, a friend asked me if I wanted to go to Guitar Center with him because they were "having a BIG sale" (I later learned that Guitar Center had a BIG sale every other week). He wanted to buy a guitar and thought I might find the store fun. I went along not really wanting to get anything, but, not really interested in guitars, I asked a guy at the counter if I could try out one of those "Green Bullet" microphones. He got it out for me and I blew a few moments. People around the store turned to look. My friend later told me that he told the salesman who was helping him, "Oh yeah, he'll be buying that!" He was right. For the first time when I played a harmonica, I sounded something like the recordings of guys like Little Walter and Junior Wells. Up to that point I just figured I was doing something wrong. Something as silly as a microphone showed me that I could actually play a little. I bought the Bullet and a little Pig Nose battery powered amp and started playing a little more seriously.
After moving back to South Dakota, I started playing open mics. I met a couple of guys named Andy (JB & TSA) and we started playing together at Patient 957. I'll admit it, when I started playing with the Andys I really didn't have any idea what I was doing. When people ask me how long I've been playing harmonica, I usually reference back to that day in January of 2004 when I walked into Cheers on a Sunday night. That's when I really started playing. That's when my education began.
I guess it's coming along OK. I got this from local musician Willy Grigg, some one who I have a huge amount of respect for as a musician. I laughed my ass off. After that I got a call from another fine musician, Mike Reardon, asking me if I wanted to sit in with him on Friday night at the Canyon Lake Chophouse. I still think of myself as just a guy who owns a harmonica. I usually refute any efforts to identify me as a musician, but it's getting to the point that I can't deny it anymore.
....what will my parents think.....
Monday, June 20, 2005
Enjoy Your Vacation in Cuba, Ewink!
The previous post's title came from a song by JB called Asian Bukkake Girl (written by JB outside of a coffee shop in Vegas, Ewink and NEVER performed by P957, mom). Seems that JB has actually settled down a little and is involved with an Indian woman. "Not a South Dakota Indian," he reportedly exclaimed to Joe Buckholz, "an Indian Indian!" Brian (who really needs a needs a nickname) made the Sub-Asian Bukkake Girl comment after a beer or two last night. Haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Seems someone commented on TSA's Blog as Asian-Bukaki-Girl. Hmmm, wonder who that could be...... Thanks for keeping in touch, JB!
Sub-Asian Bukkake Girl
And I guess the Slappy is Jebus boys proved it again tonight. I think we started our set at Cheers with a little bit of an attitude. We've been practicing wholesome material, stuff that would do well with the audience at the Heritage Festival, stuff that won't cause the family oriented crowd to run us out of town with pitchforks and torches. Cheers, now Cheers is a different story. There aren't too many kids in Cheers at 9pm on a Sunday night, so we opened up with the two most notable songs we had to drop out of our Heritage Festival set list, Vibrator Dependent and Two Condoms. Vibrator Dependent starts right in with the whackiness in the very first line, so people know what they're in for. Women are raising glasses to me as I sing, a group at a back table chuckling at every line. Follwoing that up with Two Condoms works because it almost seems like it's serious for half of a verse (my absolute maximum of being able to be serious in a song I wrote), but then starts being whacky again. We followed that up with Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus, more silliness then we went into Weird Al's You Don't Love Me Anymore. I'm starting to enjoy introing this song as serious, the sweet harp solo setting the mood, selling the seriousness until we get to the line, "that night you made it with the whole hockey team." It's fun to watch the reactions, people not believing what they just heard, then it's "You used to think I was nice, now you tell all your friends that I'm the anti-christ." After that I sing it every bit as sincere, but nobody's buying it, they know it's just stupid. For Slappy is Jebus, stupid is good. We finished with our only "serious" song of the night, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. It's sort of the opposite of You Don't Love Me Anymore, TSA with his Weekly World News "Ten Songs that Will Turn You Gay" intro. It's goofy, people are expecting goofy, they want goofy, but I play a mellow harp intro and sing the first verse sweetly, then it's all 957-style. It's played seriously, but in a style you wouldn't expect.
I'm lucky enough to play music with TSA, not only is he a fine musician, but he gets humor. Not just joke telling, but timing and presentation. He gets why things are funny and is willing to fine tune them for the biggest giggle. I don't think either of us will ever blow people away with our musical talent, but we'll get folks to giggle. We'll work hard for that giggle, but we'll get it. That's all I'm looking for.
It was great to see Brian at Cheers tonight, he joined us on I Will Survive. Every bit as important was the table conversation he provided. This blog's title is from a comment he made. I told him I'd use it tonight and typed it less than two minutes after I walked back in the door. If Joe Buckholz had shown to Cheers tonight, he, TSA, Brian and I were going to perform Anti Love Song together. If JB comes back to visit this summer, we decided it would be cool to play together once. The one 957 reunion was short Brian as he was in an "undisclosed location" at the time. JB was just trying to get some girl to sleep with him. No offense to JB, but it's a cooler and more 957-ish story that it didn't work. Still it was fun to play together again and I think a full reunion would be a lot of fun.
Went geocaching with my dad and sister today. Mom was along, but she stayed at the car. If you've never geocached, check it out, it's a lot of fun. There's even a geocaching link on this very site! Hit two caches in the Strato Bowl area, Strato Cache II and Just a Quarter Mile More that were relatively easy and the views of the Strato Bowl and Spring Creek Canyon were amazing. We didn't see any wildlife other than some turkey buzzards riding thermals above the canyon but they were fascinating enough. The final cache, Boulder Hill Fire Lookout may have been the toughest cache I've done. A tangle of boulders on the way to a 200 foot climb. There was a relatively small area where the cache could have been hidden, but the boulders provided inumberable hiding places. Never mind that my 66 year old father beat me up the mountain, but as I was sitting there, completely beat, unable to think straight from fatigue and ready to give up, he found the cache. Uh, I let him find it, it was Fathers' Day after all.....
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Too Much Music?
So last week we got together at the coumpound and worked up a set list. Just off the top of our head we figured we'd need 20 tunes. A lot of the stuff we do runs right around 2 minutes, so we figured that 20 tunes would be about right. And our experience with playing live has told us that we tend to play songs faster live. A 957 show in Spearfish, that we thought we had timed out right had all three sets running about 15 minutes short of an hour. Lord I played some long solos that night, TSA leaning in and screaming "Again!" as I played. I'm not the most inventive soloist, but I did actually learn to do it pretty well that night. I'd rather not have to improvise quite so much again.
At this point I don't think I'll have to. We played each song last night and timed them all seperately. Just playing time, the set list timed out to an hour and seven minutes. Sounds like 20 songs is a few too many! As we went through each song on the list and decided what to cut, we dropped 4 tunes: The Guess Who's American Woman, Tom Jones' It's Not Unusual, Rick Erstin's (no one reading this will know who that is) Don't Do It and my own Beer is the Answer. The first two cuts cause me a little trouble as in our bio I listed The Guess Who and Tom Jones as bands we cover. Additionally, the bio lists me on vocals/harmonica/kazoo. American Woman is the only kazoo song we're doing at the Heritage Festival. I'll have to work it in someplace else, I guess.
Reasoning for each cut:
Timing out all of the songs was an enlightening experience. We always new that The Brian Wilson was long and some versions we did with Mike R. ended up over seven and a half minutes, but the one we did last night came in at exactly six minutes. I guess we can't blame the long versions on Mike anymore. A new song, Springsteen's Born to Run came in at five minutes. I've been doing that song solo for a long time and never imagined it was that long. The new version of Got My Mojo Workin' came in at exactly seven minutes. I want to time the old version just to see how much time we would save by doing it like that. It's something we could change on the fly and save a minute or so if we were that long. The song will never be dropped as it's our big finish.
We pretty much built our set list around ending with Mojo and opening with Weird Al's You Don't Love Me Anymore. That gave us a strong opener and a strong closer. After that it was just filling in the slots in between. Playing all of the songs in order last night revealed no major "train wrecks." The only possible change I can see in the set list at this point is moving Plastic Jesus to later in the show since we can vary the length of it by adding or dropping verses. After discussing that, we decided we really like it second in the show, after somehting that sounds serious like You Don't Love Me Anymore.
I'm sure we'll fiddle with the set list some more in the next two weeks. I'll post a copy of the tentative list as soon as I get it.
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Thursday, June 16, 2005
The main point of contention in this case was Michael Schiavo, husband of Teri (yes, I know he was living with another woman and had kids with her - his wife was in a "persistent vegitative state" for 14 years!), who had decided that it was pointless to keep Teri alive. He contended that it was her wish that she not be kept alive in this state, that she had told him so. As her legal guardian, Michael Schiavo asked that she be allowed to die. This was the basis of Judge Greer's decision to allow the removal of the feeding tube.
On the other side of the case was Teri's family. They were fighting for the life of their daughter, and though I disagree with their reasoning and methods, I cannot fault them for wanting to continue the life of their daughter. They offered to take over the care of Teri if Michael Schiavo would not. Remember, Judge Greer had only ordered that the feeding tube could be removed, not, as I've seen it reported, that it must. Teri's family was offering to take on the financial burden of continuing Teri's life. Very noble, and I certainly aplaud them for it.
Michael Schiavo refused. He was the legal guardian and asked that the feeding tube be removed. This always confused me. If Teri's family was willing to take on the financial burden of keeping her alive, why should he care if the feeding tube were removed or not?
During the media circus, stories surfaced that Teri was in her condition because of a beating administered by Michael Schiavo. That he got doctors to diagnose her to be in a condition much worse than she actually was. That he refused to allow her to undergo therapy that would improve her condition. You see, he had nearly killed her, if he allowed her to live at this point she may come out of her obviously mis-diagnosed persistent vegitative state, testify that Michael Schiavo had beaten her into her condition and send Michael to prison for a long time. This is a bad man, after all, he's living out of wedlock with the mother of two of his kids.
If true, could this story have been the reason Michael Schiavo wouldn't allow Teri's family to continue to care for her? Yes. Frankly, the sources of the above stroy were a bit dubious, but if true, Michael could have conceivably wanted Teri dead and actually convinced the courts (knowingly or unknowingly) to help him to that end.
Of course another possibility is that Michael was telling the truth when he said Teri didn't want to be alive like this. Allowing the family to care for her would have been against her wishes. Teri's wishes were all Michael Schiavo had left of her.
Teri Schiavo's autopsy report was released yesterday. It revealed that her state had not been misdiagnosed, that she was most likely blind and incapable of communication. Further, her brain actually sustained damage from lack of use over the past 14 years and was incapable of recovery. This is how Teri Schiavo would be living today if her family had somehow been allowed to take control and reinsert her feeding tube. This is how Teri Schiavo would have been "living" until the day of her inevitable future death, years into the future.
The autopsy also revealed no evidence of trauma. Teri Schiavo had received no beating that put her in her unfortnate condition. Michael Schiavo didn't have to hide from that.
Which leads me to the conclusion that Michael Schiavo's decisions were based on the wishes of his wife.
And we all played political footbal with this woman's condition for weeks. We should all be ashamed.
Meanwhile Judge Greer has been kicked out of his church for ordering the death of Teri Schiavo, and receives death threats daily form people who, I guess respect life so much that they're willing to kill for it.
Closer to home, Douglas Jungemann can no longer attend his church after a Lutheran minister, preaching about the Schiavo case, wished God would strike Judge Greer dead. Nobody else in the congregation seemed to have a problem with that.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Proof That The Simpsons is the Smartest Show on TV
Another favorite show of mine is Jeopardy!, a show I was lucky enough to be on in September of 2003. When you find out your going to be on Jeopardy! a lot of things go through your mind. When I received the phone call, the first thing I thought was "this phone call is worth a minimum of $1000!" Another thing I thought of was that I was going to get to meet someone who was depicted on an episodeof The Simpsons, Alex Trebek was in episode 5F07 Miracle on Evergreen Terrace.
Little did I realize that a Simpsons episode would actually provide me with a correct Jeopardy! response. More interestingly it was something I didn't really know, but something that was referenced in an episode. In episode 8F13 Homer at the Bat, Barney is having an argument with Wade Boggs in Moe's over the greatest Prime Minister in England's history, Lord Palmerstone or Pitt the Elder. Now I know nothing of Pitt the Elder other than he was a great Prime Minister of England. But in the category "Williams" on my Jeopardy! show, the clue "The Great Commoner" & "The British Cicero" were nicknames of this "elder" statesman appeared. Thank heaven's for an argument in Moe's (in which "Wade Boggs lay unconcious on the barroom tile..."), it allowed me to reason out the correct response before anyone else.
It happened again on Jeopardy! today. A clue asked for the common name of a Latin translation of the Bible by St. Jerome. I was able to get "Vulgate" from a reference to it in 3F01 Home Sweet Home- Diddily- Dum- Doodily. None of the contestents came up with the proper response. I would have. Maybe they need to get their noses out of the almanacs and watch more Simpsons. I don't think there's a single TV show that I get more little bits of knowledge from. I've always said that The Simpsons is incredibly intelligently written. Here's proof.
And let's see how many correct responses you get from Everybody Loves Raymond references.....
Author's Note - On Wednesday, 15 June, Jeopardy! had a clue that showed a graphic of "Comic Book Guy" requiring contestents to "name" him (though they provided the misinformation that we don't know his name - it was revealed this season).
All I have to say is:
"Worst Clue Ever!"
Monday, June 13, 2005
WARNING: The Following May Still Be Offensive to Some Readers
Remembering it vividly, I don't recall there being any sort of "content flag" warning viewers that the show dealt with a controversial topic. The Simpson running a content flag before an episode? Episode 4F11 contained frank discussions of homosexuality. I know, I know, it's pretty silly to think that an animated comedy would need to warn people about topics to be discussed.
Flash forward eight years to 20 February 2005 and the original airning of Simpsons episode GABF04 "There's Something About Marrying" (no synopsis available at The Simpsons Archive) when, for the first time in my recolection, a Simpsons episode was preceeded by a content flag.
I guess I didn't realize how much our society has changed in the last eight years. "Homer Phobia" dealt with Homer's discomfort over an acquaintance's homosexuality and his desire that Bart reamin strait. "There's Something About Marrying" dealt with the same sex marriage between one of Homer's sisters-in-law (I can never keep Patty and Selma straight - er - differentiated....) and another woman who, ironically, turned out to be a man. Eight years ago it was apparently OK to talk about homosexuality in a cartoon sitcom, today, we have to be warned about it.
I guess I'm OK with a content flag, I mean I'd rather see a content flag than not see a program that might be "offensive" to someone. And I'm all about respecting people's rights, if that kind of thing bothers you, then you shouldn't watch it, so I guess it's only fair to "warn" people when something offensive might come on their TV.
Still, a content flag is a choice by a broadcaster, and in a way an indictment of the content of the program. But who's to say what someone might be offended by. When I was getting divorced there was a show on ABC about a law firm that dealt in divorce cases. There wasn't an announcement stating that those going through a divorce might be offended by the content of the show. Hell, I'm offended by 90% of the crap that airs nightly on The O'Reilly Factor, but no content flag has ever aired before it.
I don't think the morals of the average person have changed as much in the last eight years as the propensity of "offended" people to file lawsuits or complain to the FCC. Now with the FCC so much more likely to hand out fines we'll undoubtedly be seeing more content flags.
For more of my thoughts on this subject, see my post WARNING: The Following My Be Offensive to Some Readers. It actually deals with my thoughts when "There's Something About Marrying" originally aired and has a great commnt by fellow blogger Ewink who didn't work with me when "Homer Phobia" originally aired, but did soon after.
Frankly I just choose not to use my name. It's no big secret who I am, if you really want to find out who I am, it's simple enough, just check some of the links. I even used my name in a post of a letter I wrote to two Lutheran ministers, figuring if it was fair to use their names, it was only fair to use my own.
Now anyone who wants to know who I am need only look at this photo. I'm one of those guys.
The photo is a bit of promotion for Slappy is Jebus' July 4th show at the Heritage Festival in Rapid City. Sometimes I think I have at least as much fun with the promotion as I do with the actual playing. I guess we need more gigs so I can have lots and lots of fun with promotion!
GF1 to SIJ: "You Guys Suck!"
Being a smaller open mic, we got to play quite a bit longer than we do at Cheers or Dunn Bros. That was nice because we're ramping up for the Heritage Festival show and are working in some new tunes. We did get Me & Julio in but the rest were mostly tunes we'd been doing. And, being in a bar, we didn't pass up the opportunity to play Two Condoms and Vibrator Dependent, both of which got the bar patrons to look away from the NASCAR on the TV for a second or two. A major feat on a Sunday afternoon in Piedmont. All in all a good time was had, primarily by the performers, and that's what's really important.
I figured that we'd skip Cheers tonight, but TSA had talked Cheers manager (and SMB girlfriend) Terry out of an oversized Bud Lite guitar pick POS (point of sale) item. He'd joked about taking one off of the wall last week when Terry said she had one at home and would bring it in. Sure enough, as Shawn and Gary were hauling in the gear for the open mic, one of Shawns trips included a giant guitar pick. How cool is that. I still thought it would be cool to steal the other one from the bar, but didn't out of respect for the management. Also it wouldn't fit in my harp bag.
We played relatively early tonight, a waitress asked to hear Plastic Jesus so we lead off with that, following that up with Vibrator Dependent because a different waitress thought we were a band she had seen at Paddy O'Neils doing a song about masturbation. Well, it wasn't us, but we do a song about masturbation, so what the hell. Me & Julio came next, and is really coming along. I've got it down pat, vocals and harp and TSA is as in the pocket as ever. It's pretty guitar driven and he really is right there on it. We planned to finish up with Got My Mojo Workin' with the added twist of Mojo Nixon's The Story of One Chord in the middle. It worked, but it can be much better. This is all on me, as I'm the one who really needs to learn the words here. I'll get it by the 4th, no problem. Shawn decided we should do one more. Now Mojo trashes my voice, but I'm learning to deal with it. TSA decided on The Brian Wilson. That was a good choice as it's the song I use my voice most on, and it was good to see what I was capable of after Mojo. I could tell I wasn't 100%, but my guess is that most of the audience couldn't. I guess I've already done all of the damage to my voice I'm going to with that growl thing.
Had a bar patron come up to us afterwards and compliment us on Plastic Jesus. He was sitting at the bar (what a surprise) when we were playing but had moved to a table and had gone up to the stage to retrieve his fabulous prize when he dropped by our table. It used to make me very uncomfortable when people would approach us after we played. They generally have nice things to say, but I'm not the best at taking compliments. That I'm getting pretty good at taking compliments says a little bit about our music, and that really makes me happy. Anyway, this guy knew he had heard Plastic Jesus before and wondered if we had written it. I explained that it was a public domain song, but that we had written two of the verses performed, and that he had probably heard it in the movie Cool Hand Luke. He agreed that he had probably heard it there then had some nice things to say about us. Even though our performance started with Gary yelling "You guys suck!" this was nice way to end it. And in Gary's defense, in 957 we liked it when people yelled "You guys suck!" And thanks to Josh for attempting to defend our honor, but it's Gary, and we really dig Gary.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Keep it in the Family
Boy was Ernie Banks hardcore. We played two tonight, poker games that is. Ernie Banks undoubtedly took some drubbings in double headers in his career but always came back for more. I get a feeling of what that must have felt like tonight as the first poker game went so quickly that we decided to play another. I did my part to make it go quickly, even though I wasn't the first out, a family member was, and only by a few hands. Six handed Texas Hold Them done in less than two hours. I should mention that Tim was the winner, ending up in a showdown with Corrin.
Let's play two. TSA's roomie Dave showed up for the second game. A seven handed Texas Grasp Those game didn't last a whole lot longer than the first game. This time I was the first out, though a family member did not follow by too many hands. Surprise, surprise, Tim and Corrin ended up in the showdown again, Corrin getting her revenge this time.
So there's two photos of winners' stuff this week. In case there's any confusion, the Hooter's bottle opener is a possession of Tim's. I just wanted to clear that up.
I guess it's time for me to spring for that Doyle Brunson how to play poker book I saw at Border's on Tuesday night.......
Thursday, June 09, 2005
News Flash: Slappy is Jebus Debuts New Song
So the new songs was Paul Simon's Me & Julio, which actually went over pretty well. I had been walking around the apartment all day singing it so that I would remember the words when we actually did it. Since we followed a nonsense poet (not a value judgement, he just did poems that didn't use real words) I really wasn't to worried about not making sense as it turned out. Still, I was able to tell the little story that is in the song even if I don't know what the story is actually about. We followed that up with Howlin' Wolf's Who's Been Talkin'. I've heard the original now, but I learned that song from Robert Cray's first album. Wolf did it in sort of a rhumba/blues style, Cray did it as a straight up blues ballad. I like both versions, but having heard the Cray version much more than the original, I'll keep doing it. Ironically, I threw my little Howlin' Wolf/Muddy Waters growl into Me & Julio but have never tried to throw it into the one Wolf song we do. We finished up with You Don't Love Me Anymore, which I finally attributed to the songwriter, Sir Allen Yankovich. He was knighted, wasn't he? Anyway, that song is really turning into something. It really fits well into what TSA and I do in general.
I attempted to play You Don't Love Me Anymore the previous night at Border's. I cound't remember the second chord. Actually, I couldn't remember any of the chords after that first C. I really owe a lot to TSA's great 12 String playing, and it's good that I fall on my face occasionally to help me remember that. I screwed up the end of Plastic Jesus at Border's as well. It really helps me remember that Slappy is Jebus is an ensemble. We are truely greater than the sum of our parts. I do some things, TSA does some things, nobody is really going to notice either of us if we're on our own, but together, well, that's something different entirely.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
At a station in Rapid City we would run 1 minute and 2 minute spots paid for by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you know, the Mormons. Subject matter aside, master control operators love 1 and 2 minute spots. Commercial breaks are usually two minutes long, getting to fill that whole time period with just one tape always made that break a lot easier. So when the phone rang at the master control board during a break containing one of these spots, I was actually able to answer it.
An angry Lutheran minister was on the other end. He wanted me to dump out of the LDS spot since he didn't believe that the Book of Mormon was "another testemant of Jesus Christ." I informed him that I couldn't do that and he started to preach to me. I didn't bother to tell him that, as a fellow Lutheran, I completely agreed with him, that would have only made him angrier, I'm guessing. Now, years later with a different view of a a particular Lutheran minister, he may have wanted God to strike me dead for "not believing " the same thing as him.
In any case, there are jobs you're going to do in your life where you have to do things that you don't particularly agree with. To use TV master control as an example again, I have had to run lots of TV ads for political candidates with views I didn't particularly agree with, I had to do it, though. I worked at one facility whose biggest client was Busch Brewing. I love beer, but I hate what those folks in St. Louis are doing to it. Then again, Mich, Mich Lite and Mich Ultra advertised specials for those beers on posters promoting a Patient 957 show at Cheers. Did it bother me? Hell yes! Did I ask the management to take down all the posters touting crappy beer? Had I done that I believe Patient 957 would have been looking for another place to play that night.
I thought about all of this while watching NBC Nightly News last night (yes, I sometimes get my news from the MSM, Sibby). There was a story about a pharmacist who refused to fill legal prescriptions for not only "The Morning After" pill, but for any contraceptives. He didn't believe in contraception of any kind, so he wouldn't fill those scripts. Now I'm never going to be that guy who fights against abortion. I don't like it, I wish it didn't happen, I would do anything I could to prevent any woman I was involved with not to have one but, in the end, I can never have one and therefore don't really think it's my business to deny it to a woman who feels it's nescessary. My problem with "The Morning After" pill is that is essentially an abortion, but we don't treat it that way. So I can understand the pharmacist's resistance to filling for a prescription for it. Hell, I can understand a pharmacist's resistance to filling any contraceptive prescription.
But it's his job.
That may sound a little crass, but it's true. As a pharmacist, you are liscensed by the government. Contraceptives are legal in this country, women have to undergo physical examinations before they are prescribed. A pharmacist who is given a prescription for a contraceptive can be assured that the prescription is legal and safe for the patient. The pharmacist should fill it regardless of his personal beliefs. But a few pharmacists are making trouble and California is being forced to create laws to force them to do their jobs. I've never been one who thought that more legislation is the answer, but in this case it has to be done.
This pharmacist is circumventing the law, essentially taking the law into his own hands. He's a vigilante pharmacist, his belief system doesn't agree with the law of the land, so he takes the law into his own hands. It's the same reasoning that leads to lynchings: "God hates gays (blacks - catholics - etc), so it's OK to kill them, screw the law of the land!" We have laws in this country for a reason. If you don't believe in contraception, then get a group together and try to change the law.
And good luck to you.
Monday, June 06, 2005
A Horrifying Situation
Most people think of Snopes.com as an entertainment site. I use it as my personal "bullshit detector." If something shows up in my In Box, I check it out on Snopes. Usually stuff is a hoax, but sometimes you run into something real. I found the following today at http://www.snopes.com/business/redeem/subway.asp
Today I went to my local SUBWAY franchise, and was horriied to discover that they will no longer be doing the SUBWAY CLUB stamp program. The cashier at the store told me it was because some kids in California had stolen a roll of stamps and tried to sell it on eBay. He showed me a small in store display that explained that they would no longer be issuing stamps and would honor existing stamps until June 30th, 2005.
Turns out that this is true. I find it hard to imagine someone would go through that much trouble to get a free sub sandwich. Apparently there's also conterfeiting of the stamps going on as well.
So it's true, and yes I find it mildly disturbing. But the thing that really made me notice this was that the original message contains the phrase (I) was horriied to discover that they will no longer be doing the SUBWAY CLUB stamp program. "Horrified?" How the hell is anyone horrified that they will no longer be able to get a free sub sanwich, a free SUBWAY sub sandwich at that?
To the people who stole the stamps and are counterfeiting the stamps, I say, "Buy your own damn sandwich!" Then again, to the person who is horrified that the SUBWAY CLUB promotion is going away, I say "Buy your own damn sandwich!" Here's a case where I actually side a little more with the criminal. The criminals in this case stole or counterfeited stamps, that involved some know-how, some cunning to do that. The person who is horrified that they can't get a free sandwich, well, they're just an idiot. And it's not like SUBWAY is pulling the rug out from under anyone, the stamps will be honered through September of this year. Unless you go to SUBWAY as infrequently as me, you're not going to get "cheated" out of your free sandwich.
...actually, a SUBWAY Santa Fe Chicken sub sounds pretty good right now. Gotta go......
Play the Fanfare - Slappy is Jebus Returns to Cheers
After the appropriate hellos and the apologies/explanations/"no, we weren't mad at you, Shawn" 's were out of the way it was nice to just enjoy some coffee, talk to That One Guy, bitch about the lack of nachos and simply be the anti-hecklers that TSA and I love to be. Tim and Corrin made a showing, so we fanagled our way into playing early. There was a pretty good crowd, so it wasn't quite the hardship it has been to play so early in the past.
We opened with You Don't Love Me Anymore, which is turning into a strong opener. We'll probably open the Heritage Festival with it as it shows some actual musicianship, but more importantly really highlights the abject goofiness that is Slappy is Jebus. Followed that up with Plastic Jesus, an actual Plastic Jesus making an appearance on stage, no MonyP, not the Kevin Smith signed "Buddy Christ" you got me for my birthday, I'm too nervous to take that out of the house, quite possibly my favorite possesion. It was Vibrator Dependent after that, we were going to do it anyway, but we told the guys at the bar that we were doing it for them. Gotta keep the guys at the bar happy, they're our bread and butter. We finished with a stong rendition of Got My Mojo Workin'. This song may soon go through some changes as we're considering adding distortion pedal to the harp and doing a little something different in the middle instead of Bo Diddley's (not George Thourohgood's) Who Do You Love. I like it like it is, but I'm always looking to do something different. It's turned into our show ender, and will most likely be the finale during our Heritage Festival show.
After playing it was beer. I stopped drinking beer before I play quite a while ago, I found myself forgetting a lot of words and other things if I drank first. I think it was a good move, though I really, really like beer. Had a couple of tall glasses of the finest beer brewed in Kansas City (with a twist of lemon - wonder what that could be....) and later joined Brian on stage to sing back-up on Dead Sexy Old Lady. I like that song, but two things made me join Brian on stage, to get away from the annoying woman who accused me of cheating on my wife when I was married (how the hell do you know what I was doin then, you were like 6 years old or something) and more likely because of the two tall Boulevards that went down like water earlier. This gets to antother reason that I don't drink before I play - I lose all sense of the volume of my voice apparently. Sorry folks, but it was a lot of fun. And thanks to Brian for trumping Vibrator Dependent!
Seems Pretty Obvious, Doesn't It?
Which Family Guy character are you?
Special thanks to Ewink, who is a Peter.....that didn't sound right..... you know what I mean......
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Two Davids Aren't Better Than One
In any case, I did make a good showing tonight, making it all the way to the final two against TIM. I don't think I ever had the chip lead on him when it was just him and me. TIM played a great game, though what I'll remember is getting beat, pushing in all my chips while playing Got My Mojo Workin', hands full of cards, playing harp in the neck rack. My guess is that's never been seen in the history in (somewhat) competetive poker. Let's see Phil Ivey or Doyle Brunson play Hold 'Em while playing harp. OK, Johnny Chan once beat Chris Moneymaker while playing a Koto (Japanese stringed instrument) with his feet, but he's a real pro, I'm just some schmuck who owns a deck of cards.
Lots of memorable stuff during the game tonight, though the alcohol dulled some of the memories. The one thing I will remember is the reference to 'Gaymosabe' who I believe was the Indian, er, Native American in the Village People. I'm sure there were other good things too, but I'm too busy eating Cheetos (though not in the Ghetto) to remember any of them.
TIM, you again win all of the fake money. I hope it will all fit in your wallet. And I hope nobody steals your identity from the picture attached to this post.......
Friday, June 03, 2005
This Week's Song #2 is a new version of last week's This Week's Song, the Gloria Gaynor disco tune I Will Survive. I really love performing this song and was excited that Ken got a recording of it so I could post it here last week. But after listening to it I was a little disspointed, I was suffering a little bit of chest congestion so my voice wasn't completely there. This week I was in much better voice, and as much as I wanted to post You Don't Love Me Anymore I couldn't ignore this version of I Will Survive. Then I realized that it's my blog and I make the rules. Essentially, there aren't any rules, if I want two This Week's Songs, I can have them, damn it! So that's what I did.
In other blog news, BOJ News Service is off an running, making a bit of a splash among SD political Blogs. And it's received some interesting hits, my favorite from someone using the U.S. House of Representatives internet system (linked from Mt. Blogmore). Did you enjoy the pic, Ms. Herseth?
Also, BOJ News Service received a notice from Todd Epp's SD Watch Blog. I emailed Todd a photo responding to Todd's wondering how Sen. Thune lost the President's ear. He offered $25 (to charity) to anyone who could help him find the President's ear. I was able to come up with a photo in about 30 minutes, Todd posted it and added a BOJ News Service link to SD Watch. He also had some nice things to say about BOJ News Service and was happy to send $25 to a worthy veteran's cause.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Actually we kicked off our set with Weird Al'sYou Don't Love Me Anymore, then TSA gave a really long intro to I Will Survive. Let me just say that it sounds a whole lot better with TSA playing guitar instead of me. Glad I only had to concentrate on harp and vocals tonight. And Andy's strings didn't run into the mic stand even once! That's why he's a pro. We finished up with Rollin' & Tumblin' and I got to throw in a Mojo Nixon verse for good measure. Plastic Jesus is a lot like Rollin' & Tumblin' in that there are a lot of verses floating around out there. When we do it, I really mix it up, and we've played it enough times that I don't have to decide which verses I'm going to sing any time we perform it. Plastic Jesus is supposed to be like that, but we always do the same verses in the same order. When I say 'we' I really mean me, I'm the guy singing, so I need to mix it up more. That's something I need to work on.
Short one tonight as "South Park" is on and it's an episode I've only seen one time before.