Thursday, September 29, 2005



Another cool open mic at Dunn Bros. last night. My favorite part of the night is quickly becoming after 9:30pm, when TSA and I finally take the stage, some of the crowd lingering as Dunn Bros. employees clean up around them. I suppose it goes back to the 957 days when, as much as anything, we wanted to annoy people. Well, we didn't want to annoy people, it just sort of turned out that way. Anyway, I always get the feeling that we're annoying the Dunn Bros. employees, keeping them there longer than they want until Josh or one of the other employees stops what they're doing and just watches us for a while. I know that musically we'll never be able to grab a whole bunch of people, but I've always found great satisfaction in reaching one person at a time. Probably not the most efficient way of doing things as a musician, or even a "musician," but reahing people is ultimately the goal - after having a good time yourself, of course.

Last night's open mic was blessed by the pressece of Tony DuBois. If you live in Rapid City (or western South Dakota, for that matter) and you haven't seen Tony, do yourself a favor, get out and see him. The first time I saw Tony he was playing alto sax, to a certain degree I think Andy and I were just being nice when we asked him to play with us. Tony is blind and autistic, but Tony was given a musical gift and I thank him and his mother for working to share it with other people. He's probably the most amazing musician I've ever seen, knowing an absolutely staggering number of tunes. That would be fine, that would simply indicate an amazing memory, but I've seen Tony improvise. His abilities in the jazz are something to be seen. I improvise poorly and work damn hard at it. Tony imporvises effortlessly and it's absolutely amazing.

Mike and Jon Clark got to play with Tony last night. I hope it has the same effect on them that it did on me. For me it was a very humbling experience. I like my brain, I'm proud of it, I think it can get me through anything that I get myself into. Basically, my brain works pretty much the way God intended it to and everything seems to be hooked up right. When I run into people who aren't as intelligent as me, I tend to put them down or think less of them. I feel superior. You can be stronger or faster or better looking than me and I could give less than a damn, as long as I'm smarter, I'm superior. I don't feel superior to Tony at all. He has a type of talent I'll never have. I could practice 20 hours a day and I'd never develope what he has musically. And he just has it. I'm not saying he hasn't worked on his craft, I'm sure he has, he's obviously listened to a lot of music, he's obviously played a lot of music, but he was given something that I will never have. Humbling and a pleasure to see or be a part of. Check your local listings for his shows (I wish I had them in front of me) but you can also catch him at Borders open mic on Saturday night (where you could also pick up a copy of the book him mom wrote about Tony) and Sunday night at Cheers where I'll definitely be this week.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Supreme Overlord

After the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing a lot of stuff came out about "militias" and domestic terrorists. I found a lot of this stuff really interesting, not because I agreed with them or anything but because it's always interesting to see how a twisted mind works. There seemed to be one reoccurring theme in most of the things I read, that the government thought we had too much freedom and was trying to figure out ways to take our personal freedoms from us.

One of the big things that concerned them was that in the time of an emergency the government was set up in such a way that they thought too much power was given to FEMA. FEMA, from their point of view, was the oppressive government waiting in the wings for control, that once an emergency was declared, FEMA would become the de facto government of the United States, a control that it would never relinquish, becoing the actual government of a new country in which it's citizens didn't enjoy any of the freedoms we have today.

I thought this stuff was all a big load of crap, of course, but can understand how deluded people could be concerned about one section of the government being given complete control. Our government is built on a system of checks and balances that prevent any branch from becoming too powerful. Giving that up, even in a time of national crisis seems un-american. Then came the "Patriot Act." OK, maybe this wasn't so far fetched, a lot of our personal freedoms were cut back a little. Still, the only noticable effect of the "Patriot Act" I ran into was have to jump through some more hoops than usual to open a checking account when I moved to Rapid City. Hardly an oppressive governemnt or the beginnings of totalitarianism. And nobody took my guns from me..

It's laugable now that anyone could have ever thought that FEMA, of all federal agencies, would be the ones to becoeme the oppressive shadow government. Overthrow the country? Hell, they couldn't get all of their assets into place for a disaster we knew was coming They couldn't prepare for a disaster, they couldn't manage a disaster in an area that is geographically a pretty small part of the country. If FEMA couldn't control the southern portions of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, how the hell would they ever control the whole country? FEMA proved they were just a bunch of screw-ups.

And until a few weeks ago they were led by Mike Brown. MIKE BROWN!!!! A lot of stuff came out about Mike Brown following Hurricane Katrina and his absolute mishandling of the situation, about how he wasn't qualified to head a federal agency in charge of emergency management. We all saw his resume, it was pretty obvious he wasn't qualified to be the head of FEMA, but the same resume also shows he really wasn't qualified to be in charge of an agency that was going to become the new governement. MIke Brown supreme overlord of the reformed United States? Get real!

Unless, of course, secret government weather experiments finally bore fruit, a killer hurricane was unleashed on the gulf coast and FEMA was sent in to deliberately foul up relief efforts. Yeah, Mike Brown was set up by the real secret director of FEMA to look like a boob, to make FEMA look like a bunch of boobs so that the militias would no longer suspect FEMA's true, sinister agenda, since the militias were just too close to the truth.....

I promise to never watch The X-Files again.


Monday, September 26, 2005


Monday is Positive Day

When I look over past posts on this here little blog, I realize that a good number of them are pretty negative. It all seems to be about things that annoy me. I'll admit that as a writer that's when I seem to do my best work. And let's face it, I'm ever going to stop bitching about stuff that pisses me off, but maybe, just maybe picking one day a week and only writing positive things will be good for my soul. On the other hand, it could also have the effect of turning the following day into Mega-Bitch Tuesdays. I'll probably be staying up until 12:01am just so I can unload. But what the hell, let's give it a try.

Hey, poker on Saturday night was a blast, I even somehow won a game despite the truely heroic quantity of Jim Beam I conusmed. That certainly is a fine Bourbon (positive day). I managed to win one, like I said, but everyone's play was fantastic (positive day), everyone at the table quite capable of playing this silly game on the poressional level (positive day).

In all seriousness, Andy's poker table is fantastic giving a real Vegas quality to our game. Now if we can just get hot chicks to bring us free drinks while we play..... The black felt (it's not actually felt, what is it?) looks great and certainly adds to my enjoyment of the game.

TSA and I even managed to get a tune or two in after the game. We've got a new one that we've been wroking on that could end up sounding really cool. And Thursday night I realized that there's not just the obvious lyrical joke in the song, but a much more subtle musical joke. It only took my 13 years to get that joke, too. Reminds me of the band The Tubes, I didn't get the true meaning of their songs Sushi Girl and Tip of My Tongue for about 10 years. But hey, that's OK (positive day), being slow on the uptake just accentuates the reaction when you finally get a joke that you heard over 10 years ago.

Golly, didn't the Minnesota Vikings look fantastic yesterday adequetly coached (positive day only goes so far) by fine human being Mike Tice? It was even nice the way they let a team they were completely outclassing for the first 30 minutes outplay them in the second half, the Saints losing their home stadium to Hurricane Katrina and what-not. Yep, fine job folks, especially you Mr. Tice.

Thanks to 49ers QB Tim Rattay for playing a good game. As starting QB for my fantasy football team, the Box Elder BRACs it's great that you had positive points this week. Actually he had more points in our league than All-World QB Donovan F. McNabb who was thrown up against me this week. Also, I need to thank my fantastic stble of RB's, I only wish I could start you all - really. Thanks to afore mentioned Mike Tice for starting Mewelde Moore, allowing him to have a big game therby complicating my RB situation even more.

Have a fantabulous sun-shiny day!


Saturday, September 24, 2005


Things Learned in Bars

Based on actual scientific evidence gathered at the
Canyon Lake Chophouse, 23 September 2005
Last night's performance at the Canyon Lake Chophouse followed a day of teaching high school band. When I say teaching, I mean staying the hell out of the way as the kids did what needed to be done. There was a pep rally at the high school and even though the director was gone, the band pretty much ran itself. I couldn't have been happier with the way things turned out. Pretty cool as it all turned out.

After a load of laundry at the folks' house, it was off to the Chophouse to help Mike set up. We got the show going shortly after 7pm and I must say I thought we sounded pretty good. There was a wedding recpeption upstairs and apparently they provided no entertainment of their own as the whole party ended up downstairs just before the start of the second set. Normally I would think that was pretty cool but this was an absolute white trash wedding. I know that white trashtends to be a derisive term, but I don't really mean it as such, just a description of the attendees to give you, the reader, an accurate idea of the type of people I'm talking about.

I don't ever mind people making requests, and I'll do my damndest to play something requested even if I only know half of the requested song. Then again, if you ask for a country song, Mike and I aren't going to know it. If you ask for another country song we're not going to know that one either. If you then rattle off the names of 15 of your favorite country artists asking if we know any songs by them, well, a pattern sesms to be emerging: Mike and Doug don't know any country songs. If you wanted country music at your wedding reception, you should have hired a country band. If you had a number of songs you wanted to hear at your wedding reception, you should have hired a band yourself instead of relying on whoever happened to be playing at the place you decided to have your reception.

That aside, Mike tried to keep 'em happy, the bride had been in bands and the two of them came up with Proud Mary which the bride sang remarkably. Mike said he hadn't played the song in about 20 years, so all in all it went pretty well. Even without a wedding reception I think the place would have been pretty busy. Coupled with the party going on, the Chophouse was packed and loud. Most of the time we couldn't hear ourselves all that well. While the first set went well, the next two were probably not nearly as good, though I can't really tell since I couldn't hear a whole lot.

After the show as we were packing up a table that was with the wedding party was having a heated discussion. I was carrying lots of stuff out to the car so I only caught parts of it, though it seemed to be a discussion on who was the better band, Bon Jovi or The Guess Who. Even though the participants in the discussion were pretty drunk, I actually thought about the subject matter: New Jersey's Bon Jovi, a pretty big deal in the 80's playing a pretty distinctive style of rock and roll vs. Canada's The Guess Who of such musical gems as These Eyes and American Woman (sans kazoo). I'd side with The Guess Who, but a valid arguement could be made that Bon Jovi was a better or "rockin' - er" or more influential band than The Guess Who. Both really were second tier rock bands, bands with some success and quite a few memorable songs.

The next time I came in for another load to take back out to the car I caught a little more of the argument. I was mistaken, in wasn't Bon Jovi vs. The Guess Who, it was Bon Jovi vs. The Who! I think Jon Bon Jovi's own mother would agree that The Who was a better band than Bon Jovi, but nothing would stop this drunken woman. "The Who sucks! They suck!" That was about the exent of her arguement. Wait, I forgot "Bon Jovi is sooo great!"

I left the bar without the issue being resolved by the particpants. As far as I know, the discussion could still be gong on. Given the depth of the debate, I suppose that tells you more about the participants than the subject matter.


Thursday, September 22, 2005


If You'd Have Seen Her, You'd Know Why She Had a Bad Back....

I've been recognized before for playing music. Some high school age kids came into Dunn Bros. one night, saw Andy and I and wanted to know where the other guy was. They had seen us a Patient 957 and I was a little sad to tell them that P957 was no more. P957 had only played one venue that guys that age could have seen us, but these guys had, and better yet remembered and liked us.

Last night I stopped into Paddy O'Neil's to catch a little Abby SomeWhat, the ASO acoustic side project consisting of Shawn and whoever else in the band can make it to a show. With GF1 out of town it was Josh and Bill Brown with Shawn last night. OK, Bill isn't in ASO, but he's such a great guy that why wouldn't you have him play with you. Plus he has the very best toys. Anyway, I went over to talk to Willy Grigg at the set break and a guy sitting with Willy looked at me and said "Slappy is Jebus!" I really wasn't expecting that, but it was pretty cool to be recognized for something that I just do for fun.

I think I also got recognized once by a woman in the clinic who was there for a bad back. I'm not sure because she was stooped over and obviously in a lot of pain but she seemed to know who I was. TSA has the coolest getting recognized story though as, while stopped at a red light, a driver in the other lane honked, motioned for Andy to roll down his window then shouted "Brain Candy!" Damn, why can't something cool like that happen to me? My luck, I'd be at a funeral or some other somber event and someone would shout "Two Condoms!" But you take what you can get, I guess.

Decent open mic at Dunn Bros. last night. Slow at first, but it picked up as the night wore on. Why that place doesn't stay open until 11 or midnight as people are always walking in at about 9:30 with a guitar and wanting to play. Then again, most people are walking out at about the same time. Anyway got to see a lot of the same old faces, plus Cheers vet and B-1 pilot Ivan Vian (the anagram lover's guitar player). TSA and I closed it down once again, starting off with Locomotive Breath, a song which I somehow have forgotten a verse and a half of. I got it back today in the shower, but still, it's a cool song that we should really be doing more. We follwed that up with Who's Been Talkin' and finished with Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus. The final song is turning into our Cobra Commander, as it's our most controversial, eliciting a strongly worded email to the Heritage Festival management. WOOO Controvery! Of course a strongly worded email is not comparisson to a very real fear for your bodily safety. Make fun of a cartoon character and old vets want to kill you, sing a song about mistaking someone for Jesus in a bar and vendors complain. Yeah, I think we'll stick with the religious material if for no other reason than our personal safety.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005



I like to think there's a special
place in hell for scum like this
Two slime-balls who graduated from New Orleans' Loyola University Law School, Andrew Vicknair and Harold Ehrenberg, have filed the logo to your right with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apparently they want to market alcoholic beverages under the Katrina name.

Lord knows I have no problem with alcoholic beverages and I am aware that there is a well known drink in New Orleans called a Hurricane. But nobody owns the term Hurricane. These guys want to copyright Katrina so they can make money off of it. They filed their paperwork on 4 September, while people were suffering and dying in the flooded city. I guess there's nothing quite so satisfying as stepping over dead bodies to make your fortune.

If good taste won't stop these people, I hope the U.S. Government will. I have little faith that this will happen as the U.S. Government has done nothing to stop the gouging that the oil companies are doing to the american public. I just heard that to justify the near $3.00 gas that you and I are paying, a barrell of crude oil would have to be selling for $75. Crude closed today at just over $60 a barrell. I understand that a lot of differnt products are refined from crude oil and that what products come from a barrell of crude will change depending on the time of the year. Still we are getting taken, and we are getting taken by big oil because lots of people died.

In my opinion there is nothing lower than a person who will profit off of tragedy. Whether you're trying to copyright the term Katrina or charging the public too much for a gallon of gas, you are the lowest of the low.


Saturday, September 17, 2005


I Cry for Hollywood

It's a start, I guess....
I did not go to one movie this summer and while you'd think that'd make me a horrible person to comment on this, I think it makes me the perfect person to comment on the summer movie season. I won't comment on the content of any movie as, like I said, I didn't see any of them, but I will comment on what made the summer crappy movi-wise. In a word: remakes.

Good lord, are there any original ideas in Hollywood? The whole summer was just one remake after another. Every year someone tries to remake something, soometimes it's a good idea, sometimes it's something that no one gave a damn about in the first place. The Dukes of Hazzard? The TV show was a piece of crap, why would I spent 8 bucks to see something I didn't like in the first place? Bewitched? Sorry I just wasn't a big fan.

Then there's the remakes of "classics." I put "classics" in quotations because it's hard to characterize Bad News Bears as a classic, yet it was a fine little movie in the 70's. It was what it was. Bad News Bears 2005 edition had, I would guess, an advertising budget that was greater than the production cost of the original. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a classic, though, and while I have a huge amount of respect for Tim Burton (I've nearly forgiven him for Planet of the Apes) and Johnny Depp, It's pretty dangerous to fiddle with a movie that is remembered so fondly. Actually, of all of this summer's movies, Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the one I looked forward to most. The original had a very subtle underlying sinister attitude and I was curious to see how Tim Burton would deal with that.

And then of course there were sequels. The final installment of the Star Wars saga was looked forward to by millions of movie goers this summer. Since the first five movies of the franchise averaged out to be above average movies, the anticipation, I think, was warrented. The there was The Transporter 2. There was a Transporter 1? I guess I missed it. Seriously I was aware of The Transporter, I just wasn't aware of legions of hardcore Transporter fans marching on Hollywood and demanding a sequel. So now we're making sequels of movies that nobody cared about the first time around.

And that's my biggest bitch about this summer's movie season, the whining. Hollywood is whining that they aren't making any money. I've heard tons of reasons (literally, I weighed them) for the sagging box office numbers. Not once did I hear anything like,"We ran out of good ideas about 10 years ago and have been churning out crap since then, the public finally caught on." This is a hell of a lot closer to the truth than blaming box office numbers on the economy.

I'm sure there are still good movies coming out of Hollywood and elsewhere, but movie execs have simply been betting on the wrong horses. I understand how difficult it must be to decide what the public is going to want, especially considering the long process of making a movie. I understand that all of the Hollywood movie execs didn't get together a couple of years ago and agree that Summer 2005 would be the Summer of Remakes. They're in competition with each other and occassionally come up with competing ideas (Asteroid vs. Deep Impact or Volcano vs. Dante's Peak) but the movie making process can't be done in complete secret. If an exec hears that competing studios are producting remakes of Dukes of Hazzard, Willy Wonka and the Chocoalate Factory, Bad News Bears, Bewitched, Batman, Fantastic Four, The Longest Yard, and War of the Worlds, why the hell would he green-light yet another?

By the way, Hollywood's "dissapointing" summer at the box office, it was merely the fourth highest grossing summer ever....


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Harmless Hi-Jinx

I don't want this to come out the wrong way, but this was something I really appreciated and wanted to share with people who may read this blog but not the one I'm referencing. Long story short, TSA has, for some time now, been overcharged for the beers he's been buying at the Sunday night Cheers open mic. One of the reasons that TSA and I get along so well is that we're both "stand-up" guys. I like to think that if either of us says something that you can take it to the bank. That's the way Andy has always been as long as I've known him and I like to think I can say the same thing about myself. So if Andy says he's had four beers in an evening, then by God, he's had four beers. If you ask me how many he had, I'll tell you that I don't know because he's a big boy and I don't feel the need to monitor his alcohol content. I don't say that because I don't believe him, I say that because it's the truth, I didn't count the number of beers he drank. That said, he had four beers because he said he had four beers, I have no reason not to believe that.

TSA decided not to return to Cheers. I fully support that decision. I assure you it's not about the money. If it were about the money, TSA would have returned to Cheers the last two weeks just to use up the "drink chips" the manager gave him to make up for pervious times he'd been overcharged. And it would be a couple of weeks of drinks as he's been overcharged more than a few times. TSA's problem, as I see it, is with the bartender on duty for those overcharings. She seemed to think he was trying to run some sort of scam on her to get free drinks. If you know Andy, you know that's simply impossible.

Today Shawn wrote this in his blog:

And, to Doug and Andy:  Please come back and let's work SomeThing out ALL can comfortably "live" with.  IT's just not cool to NOT have YOU guys THERE.  Maybe, just maybe, YOU'd both be happier being with YOUR Sunday family, and "things" can be adjusted and worked in and out.  I know THEY can, because I used to be the smartest cat on my block.  YOU both have been missed, and please give some thought to a reCONSIDERation and ForgiveNess PayMent plan.  I'll help.

I don't know what to say other than that I'm touched by the kind words. At the risk of pissing off a number of people who I know care for me, the way I've lived my life has made that sort of sentiment pretty rare in my life. I've always been able to just move on and leave stuff in the past, so having someone reach out to me is pretty unexpected. In March I left something in my life behind, something decidedly more important than a silly open mic, and no one reached out, they were just content to let me go. Part of that is me, I tend to cause people to not want me back.

A company I worked for a few years ago owned a skybox at the Target Center in Minneapolis. As a perk for employees who worked large amounts of overtime (and I was the King) they provided two tickets to the box for a Timberwolves game. My nephew and I (he was 16 at the time) got to attend a 'Wolves/Sacramento Kings game with all of the food and drink that goes with such a venue. It was really cool and we had a great time.

The company got sold about a year later, the owners wanted to do the same thing for us the next year and provided the box for one game. Again, tickets were given to employees who worked large amounts of overtime, again I qualified, though only one ticket was given. Another difference was the game selected to give us tickets to was only a week out. Working evenings, it was always hard for me to work out things like this. I had enough time off saved up, but my supervisors didn't want to give it to me on such short notice. It was also hard for me to trade shifts with anyone on such short notice.

So here I was with a ticket to a luxury box, but unable to take the time off to use it. Quite the dilema. I solved it in a pretty unorthodox fashion, I told my supervisors that if they didn't somehow work out time off for me to attend this game that I'd take my Target Center luxury box ticket downtown and give it to a homeless person. I was immedately given the time off.

I propose TSA do something similar. I don't know how many "drink chips" he's in possession of, but giving one each to a corresponding number of homeless people could liven up a Saturday night at one of my former favorite watering hole. Good thing they're not mine to give away......



Bush Takes Responsibility for Federal Response to Katrina

On 10 September 2001 I was on vacation in Las Vegas. It was a good day and an even better evening. I had a sizable sum of money on the Broncos/Giants Monday night game, the only time I have ever bet on my favorite football team and by far the largest wager I've ever made. I met a young lady in the Hard Rock sports book and with the Broncos well ahead and covering the spread, we retired to my room for most of the second half. I finally turned the TV back on to see Ed McCaffery break his leg. Later that evening and well into the morning of 11 September 2001, I was at the Hard Rock's blackjack tables, having a pretty good night. At about 3am Pacific time I went to bed, nearly a thousand dollars richer, the money not the only reason for the big smile on my face.

We all know what happened about the time I went to bed, an event that changed all of our lives, something that's touched all Americans in some way. I spent the next couple of days in Vegas, watching a lot of TV hoping against all hope that living people would be pulled from the twisted wreckage of the World Trade Center. I was on vacation but I kept up with the news as much as I could, in fact, it was sort of hard to get away from.

When the second Iraq war started, I was again on vacation, spending a weekend in Deadwood with 5-55, the first time we'd really gotten to spend any time with each other after having met the previous Christmas. I'll admit that I didn't turn on the TV too much that weekend, having many other activities planned, but I made it a point to catch some news here and there, just so I would have an idea of what's going on in the world. I wasn't compltely up to speed on the war during that weekend, but I had a pretty good idea of what was going on.

My point is, other than letting people know that occasionally women don't find me to be total ass, even though I was on vacation for two of the bigger news events of the last five years, I made it a point to keep myself abreast of what was going on in the world.

I just heard a story on NBC & MSNBC that President Bush wasn't really aware of what was going on in New Orleans because he was on vacation. He didn't become truely aware of the gravity of the New Orleans situation until he viewed a DVD of news reports that his staff had prepared for him. The President has access to every agency in the government, he can get briefings from any of them at any time. He has a staff that prepares daily briefings of the important events of the day, nationally and internationally. I'll admit that I'm a bit of a news junkie, so having access to information like that would be quite exciting to me. The President didn't seem to want to hear any of that, he first became aware of how bad things were in New Orleans when he saw news reports that I, a private citizen, had seen days earlier.

Today President Bush took responsibility for the slow federal response to this disaster. I applaud him for that, for standing up and being a man, even as the right-wing radio nut jobs try to shift blame from the President. I'll actually want to listen to a little Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity tomorrow to see if they change their tunes any.

But the important thing is that the President said, essentially, that he was at fault for the slow response. I know that one man can't be totally responsible, Mike Brown had the decency to resign yesterday, others will undoubtedly follow. Others are at fault and I hope they are strong enuogh to stnd up and take what's coming to them. I hope the President is too.


Monday, September 12, 2005


Tell Me Where Your Mommy Buys Your Clothes and Then I'll Dress Like You

I figured something out this week, if you want people to look at your website, particularly if it's RSS indexed on other people's political blogs, it's probably a good idea to update them occasionally. I hadn't added anything new to BOJ News Service in 10 whole days and the numbers really suffered. OK, when you get right down to it, nothing is really at stake with BOJ News Service. I don't have any advertising and it doesn't make me any money. Apprently it doesn't impress potential employers enough to have the common decency to even acknowledge my existence. When you get right down to it, it's really just a colossal waste of my time. Don't get me wrong, my recent lack of updates has nothing to do with the pointlessness of the site, hell, I love pointlessness. My recent lack of updates has more to do with school having started up again and the fact that the major news story of the the day, hurricane Katrina and the totally screwed up relief effort, just isn't that funny.

I estimate that every posting on BOJ News Service takes about an hour, depending on the type of post is it is. A simple post that is just a balloon caption may take considerably less time, though I still have to find exactly the right photo that I'm looking for. Sometimes a political photo will just strike me as funny and I'll come up with something to do with it. Special thanks to President Bush for taking so many goofy photos. More thanks to every press photographer who insits to snap a photo every time a politico points at something, my legions of "Pull My Finger" fans thank you....

Busy week last week as I spent two days with eighth graders then an additional two days with ninth graders. I must point out that it's the boys in each of those groups that, for the most part, thend to be the problem. There's hardly anything sweeter than a ninth grade girl , they're so much more mature than their male counterparts. The boys still haven't figured out why they're in school, though some of them may actually figure it out before they graduate (or don't). I spent my Saturday as a line judge for volleyball. That was actually a lot of fun, they paid me way too much for the amount of actual work invovled and they even fed me. If they're not careful, I may do that again. Got a free meal out of my parents when after that, so all in all it was a good day.

In news closer to home (this is the part of the blog where I bitch about some unimportant aspect of my life) the washing machine on my floor has been on the blink since sometime on Saturday, the only action taken by the management has been to put a sign on it that it's out of order. Thanks, you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie. None of that has stopped me from doing three loads of laundry today, tying up every machine in the building. If they don't see the need to fix the machine on my floor, I don't see the need to be courteous to those on uneffected floors. Plus, I have to carry my clothes down a couple of flights of steps. OK, I'll try to be at lease a little courteous. Bitching complete, it's time to go down to first floor and carry my cmpleted wash to the dryer on third floor.


Friday, September 09, 2005


Don't Take the Chance

I wrote about Jerry Rice's retirement in a previous post, but in the last couple of days, something else came up about Rice, the NFL and his retirement that I'd like to touch on.

Jerry Rice was the greatest wide receiver in the history of football. His numbers are staggering, but we'll soon be retiring lots of WR's with staggering numbers due to the importance of passing in football today. While Rice's numbers alone are, and will continue to be good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, it was the way he played the game that made him one of the all time greats. If you needed a big play, you turned to Jerry Rice. As great as Rice was in the regular season, he was even greater in the playoffs, truly one of the great "big game" receivers of all time.

I'm not going to say anything bad about Jerry Rice, as far as I'm concerned he's everything a football player should be. Rice played most of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, and while he was still a great receiver by the time he moved on to Oakland, he will always be remembered as a 'Niner. Rice retired from football, though, as a Denver Bronco. Rice thought it would be cool if he retired as a San Francisco 49er. I think it would be cool too.

This is not without precident. A player will sign a contract with the team he was best known as playing for and then retire, thus retiring as a member of the team they are most associated with. It's a pointless gesture, but I always though it a nice one. Off the top of my head I can remember former 'Niners Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott as well as former Bronco Steve Atwater doing this

The difference with Rice is when he chose to retire. Rice went through an entire pre-season, waited until all teams cut down to their final rosters before making his decision to retire. The 'Niners could still sign Jerry Rice to a contract so that he could retire as a member of that team, but since the rosters are already set, the 'Niners would have to cut a current player to make room for Rice. It is my understanding that the player cut to make room for Rice would then be available to any team who wanted him through the waiver process. OK, the 'Niners will be one of the worst teams again this year and chances are that no one will want the 53rd best player on the worst team in football, but still, the 'Niners don't want to expose one of their players in this manner and have no plans to do this. The NFL as an organization has always been fantical about rules, they don't bend them for any reason. In my opinion, the NFL should make a one time exception to this rule for Jerry Rice because, well, because he's Jerry Rice.

That said, I don't think the NFL will do that. Some of you will think that it's dumb for the 'Niners not to cut a player to resign Rice for an incredibly short period of time. To those people I offer the following. In 2000, the New England Patriots drafted two Quarterbacks. Their starter was Drew Bledsoe, a QB who had led them to the Super Bowl a few years earlier. Their second string QB was a Huard (Brock or Damon, I forget which one), not a stellar QB, but a guy with some experience who was physically and stylistically similar to Bledsoe. One of the rookie QB's was Kansas State's Michael Bishop. Bishop was an option style QB with a strong arm. He was a project, a guy who was fast and shifty. It was pretty clear that Bishop wasn't the type of quarterback that would be able to help the Patriots in 2000, but with an intersting set of physical skills, he was a guy the Patriots chose to keep around and work with.

In a move that is almost unheard of in the game today, the Patriots chose to keep a fourth QB on their roster, a kid who had split time as a starter at the University of Michigan. He really hadn't garnered much interest while playing at Michigan, but the Pats drafted him, he showed promise and they decided to keep him around. I don't recall him playing a down for the Patriots that season.

Let's assume for a moment that some great player from the Patriots past had moved on to another team but wanted to return to the Patriots, sign with them and retire, exactly like Jerry Rice wants to do now. Let's say that the Patriots decided to cut one of their players to re-sign this former great for a day. If I were a coach looking at my roster looking for a player to cut, the person who would stick out would be a fourth string quarterback, perhaps he'd be the one to cut, to make this kind gesture to a former player.

If that fourth string QB had been cut by the New England Patriots in 2000, a player by the name of Tom Brady would have been available to every team in the NFL. Granted, Tom Brady was available to every team in the NFL in the draft that year, but he would have been made available to every team one more time.

You've chosen your team, San Francisco, as much as Jerry Rice deserves a nice gesture, don't let a potentially great player get away.



Bush: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"

At least "Brownie" always
looked good on TV
Mike Brown is the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a job he took over after serving as FEMA's deputy director. One would hope that the director of the federal agency in charge of managing men and materials during a disaster would have some experience in the field. FEMA's website says that Brown worked as an "assistant city manager with emergency services oversight" for the city of Edmund Oklahoma. The White house says Brown oversaw Edmund's emergency services division.

It seems "Brownie's" bio was a bit overstated. Apparently, Brown was little more than an intern in his pervious emergency management experience. That experience for a city of 70,000 would be a great place for a college student who desired a public service career in emergency management to start off. Everyone needs to start somewhere, Edmund is as good as any place for a college student to learn the ropes of that career. The way it usually works is that if you do good in a job like that, you move up to a bigger one, then a bigger one and so on until you reach the level that fits your abilities. Mike Brown went from intern duties, to legal-counsel for FEMA to director of FEMA. Seems like there's a few steps missing there.

Maybe Mike Brown was exceptionally talented, so much so that he was actually running the huge emergency management show they had down in Edmund. You know, some kind of "Wunderkind" who was so outstanding at his job that he attracted the attention of the entire emergency management field. Brown's immediate superior, Edmund City Manager Bill Dashner had this to say about Mike Brown:

"Mike used to handle a lot of details. Every now and again I'd ask him to write me a speech. He was very loyal. He was always on time. He always had on a suit and a starched white shirt."

Glowing review. He wrote some speeches, he was loyal, on time and dressed nicely. The kind of review that's going to skyrocket you to the top. If those are the requirements to be FEMA director then I'd like to forward some of my performance reviews to the agency. Strike that, there isn't one mention of a startched shirt in any of them.

We were all shocked by the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, appalled by the inadequet response as people, trapped in New Orleans for days looted, many just to obtain food and water for survival. It's not so shocking the way things turned out considering that the man at the top had no experience.


Thursday, September 08, 2005


Eighth Graders, Open Mics and Ninth Grade Boys

I'm really not getting to this as much as I should. I feel like some sort of deadbeat net-dad. I could throw out tons and tons of excuses, but where is that going to get us? Nowhere, that's where. No, I just have to buckle down and try to do the right thing, or the write thing as it were. What exactly is the right thing in my case. Inane comments about the world around me I guess. I try to do it in some logical fashion, using grammar and syntax, I gerneraly try to use words that we're all familiar with, primarily in English aber Ich kann auf Deutsch auch schreiben. OK, I promise never to do that again.

I spent all day yesterday with eighth graders, gasp, eighth graders and really needed to let my mind loose for a little bit. Open mic is always a good way to do that. I tend to censor myself quite a bit, but different environments call for different levels of self-censorship. Musically, we'll pick different songs to play in a bar than we would in a coffee shop. That's pretty obvious, but I tend to tone down my somewhat regular salty language in most social situation. This blog is a good example. My language is generally not as clean as it is here, though you'll still see to occasionally (and most certainly gratuitus) hell, damn or fuck. In everyday life my speech is littered with those terms, it's just the way I talk. I turn that off in social situations, but I have to really watch myself with middle school students. High school students aren't a problem with me, other than the swearing, I can talk like I usually do. When I teach middle school I really clean it up. My mom would be quite proud!

But sometimes I just need to let the explatives fly. When Andy and I were working up our set list for the Heritage Festival we tried very hard to make it a family friendly show. We dropped a number of songs that we didn't think were appropriate for an all ages show. Two Condoms was the big one to go, but we tried to keep it clean besides that, too. We still managed to offend with Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus, but that had more to do with an up tight individual. Yes ma'am, Jesus had a drop of alcohol from time to time, his blood is actually wine! In all seriousness, he realized the importance of alcohol in social situations, he turned water into wine at a wedding he went to.

After the Heritage Festival, all I wanted to do were dirty songs. I did Two Condoms and Vibrator Dependent everytime I got the chance. Freeing, but in the end it was it's own trap. We caught ourselves doing the same songs over and over again just because we could.

So last night I realized that we hadn't played Plastic Jesus in a long time. I'm really not sure why, we just hadn't. I suggested it to TSA when he showed last night and he was all for it. I forgot the words to one of the verses, you know, the one Andy usually sings, but other than that it went pretty well. We followed that up with The Brian Wilson (note: from this point forward BNL's Brian Wilson will be known as The Brian Wilson when Andy and I perform it - update your logbooks accordingly) which we also hadn't played in a long time. Again, I don't know why, it's something that just kind of happened. We haven't even done it enough recently to throw in any of the alternate intros. Those are fun, but you have to play the song a lot of times for that to work. We finished up with Wyle E. Coyote Blues which always goes over better than I think it should. I pretty much wrote it in a car at a time when I really didn't know what I was doing musically, I mean even less than now. It's a cute song but awfully simple. I suppose that's my songwriting mantra.

It's ninth grade science today and tomorrow. Nobody has gotten on my nerves yet today, but I'm sure that will happen at some point. Those of you lucky enough not to have to spend time with more than one ninth grade boy at a time should count your blessings. One is fine, even two can be OK. Three or more is taking your sanity into your own hands.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Jerry Rice

Thanks Jerry
Johnny Unitas ended his career with the San Diego Chargers, Joe Namath ended his with the Rams (they used to play in Los Angeles) and threw the last pass of his career to Doug Plank. Doug Plank played for the Chicago Bears.

I don't know how much Jerry Rice had left when he signed with the Denver Broncos this past off-season. I knew he wouldn't be a starter, but number 3 receiver was definitely a possibility. The Broncos definitely could use a third receiver with their receiving corps so thin after their top 2. Some grumbled that they didn't want to see a Jerry Rice of diminished skills playing with yet another team. As far as I'm concerned Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver the game has ever known, has earned the right to do (or not to do) anything he wants on the football field. If Jerry Rice, who is still better than about 40% of the receivers in football is happy helping a team by playing limited time, then Jerry Rice can do that.

On the other hand if Jerry Rice doesn't want to be in a situation where he may be inactive for some games, where even if he is active he may not play or ever see a ball thrown his way, well, Jerry Rice has earned that too. It would be easy for me, as a Broncos fan, to be mad at Jerry Rice. I saw so much potential with him in this offense, so much potential for him to help young receivers like Ashley Leile and Darius Watts, to be a mentor, to be an example of how hard work, and Jerry was an exceptionally hard worker, can pay off.

It wasn't meant to be, and I have no ill feelings for Jerry Rice. In a way, got the best of both worlds. I got to see one of the all time greats wearing a Broncos uniform (even if that #19 did look weird), but I didn't have to see him languish on the bench, or worse, play lackluster football. He won't go out like Namath or Unitas.

I get to remember Jerry Rice as one of the greatest football players of all time. Even if his last games were played as a Seahawk, he was a useful member of the Seahawks, a number 3 receiver, and his last game was a playoff game. He deserved a better send off (the great ones almost always do exception: Bronco QB John Elway who was Super Bowl MVP in his last game). He wasn't assured of a better send off in Denver, he was almost assured a worse send off. Thanks for hanging them up now Jerry. And Thanks for everything you've done for the game since you started playing it.


Sunday, September 04, 2005


I Knew This Was Coming

Here's a fun game. I'll provide two quotes about the devastation along the gulf coast by hurricane Katrina. One was made by the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi led al Qaeda arm in Iraq, the other by the pastor of a Christian congregation from New Orleans, try to decide which is which:

The wrath of the All-powerful fell upon the nation of oppressors. Their dead are in the thousands and their losses are in the billions.

New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now

Whether you call him Allah or Yaweh, God is pissed at America and has taken it out on New Orleans, answering the paryers of either Muslim extremeist terrorists or right wing Christian whack jobs. In either case lots of people are dead. Or, and stick with me on this, maybe a naturally occuring tropical wave pattern blew off of the west coast of africa, blown along to the west by the trade winds and picked up energy from the warm waters of the Atlantic ocean, rotation began due to the Coriolis effect and was able to continue to strenghthen due to the relatively smooth surface over which it travelled for thousands of miles in its developement, somewhat weakened by the traveling accross Florida but again picked up strength as it entered the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico and eventually made landfall just to the east of New Orleans. I know, it sounds crazy, must be God answering the prayers of one extremist group or another.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


An End to the Wickedness

The Greek language has a number of words for our English word 'love.' Culturally, they see a difference in the love between a mother and child and the love between husband and wife. I always liked that they made those kinds of distinctions as I think we throw the term around with too much abandon. McDonald's has the advertising line, I'm Lovin' It. I suppose it's harmless, but I think it cheapens the term a little bit. There are true loved ones in my life, any affection I may have for a fast food chain pales by comparison. It's not even the same emotion. The Greeks were really onto something here.

The Greek language has the term Agape for its strongest type of love. Agape is the love that God has for us. My understanding is that a mere mortal is not capable of Agape, such is the love our creator has for us. I can appreciate that idea, and only wish we made the same kind of distinctions in our language.

I came upon a quote over at Clean Cut Kid last night and clicked on the link provided in his article. The following is from Rev. Bill Shanks as quoted on a website called Agape Press:

"New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now. God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again."

The content of Rev. Shanks' quote offends me. He seems to be taking joy that those who don't believe the same thing as him are now dead or homeless. Nice guy. While the quote offends me, the fact that it appears on a website called Agape Press troubles me even more. While I have some problem with our use of the English term love, I am utterly disgusted that the term Agape would be in any way associated with such a hate filled diatribe.

I made a post on BOJ News Service yesterday. Like all good ideas I have, I had this one in the shower. I started thinking what a right wing Christian whack job would think of the devistation in New Orleans. I chose my favorite right wing Christian whack job, Pat Robertson, to be my subject. This was a difficult post for me to make because I don't want to be seen as making light of the horrible situation on the gulf coast. In fact, I considered not making the post at all, figuring no one would be STUPID enough to delight in the death and displacement of thousands of people. That even if someone felt that way that they wouldn't say it out loud. That if they said it out loud, no one would be UNCARING enough to actually print it. As usual, someone from the Christian right came through with an outrageous statement that shows them for what they truely are.

I know nothing of Agape Press other than this one article. I actually enjoyed the first half of the article, a man seeing divine intervention even in the face of loosing all of his belongings. That's an example of a kind of faith that I wish I had, and it makes me look at what I think is a crappy horrible life and realize that I'm not nearly thankful enough to the one who provides it all. Printing Rev. Shanks' unbelievable comments is, however, unforgivable.

Rev. Shanks is not correct. My guess is that most of those things he mentioned are still going on inside New Orleans as there are still people trapped there. He'll be correct soon enough, though, as everyone will be removed from the city or dead. At that point all of the wickedness will be gone from New Orleans. So will all the Christians. That shouldmake Rev. Shanks happy.


Friday, September 02, 2005



I don't have a huge connection to any place I live or have lived. My family is here which is why I am here. If something came along tomorrow that took me away I'd have some regrets, proably for the first time in my life, but I'd be able to pull myself away from the life I've built myself in Rapid City South Dakota. My dad was in the military and we moved a lot when I was younger, even if we did settle down here when at the end of my second grade year. Maybe that's where I got it from, I've averaged a different residence every 18 months of my life. In the four years between 1996 and 1999 I split three of those years by living in two different states in each of them. I just don't have a strong connection to places.

So if I talk to someone from Atlanta Georgia, it's hard for me to imagine how they can still be angry at Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. In 1864 after a campaign to take the city of Atlanta during the Civil War, Sherman ordered the city burned to the ground. More than one hundred forty years later, people whose roots run deep in Atlanta are still pissed. Sherman's name is cursed to this very day.

Our nation is, in many ways, much closer than it has ever been. Mass media make large news events part of our shared national memory. I was in Las Vegas during the attacks of 11 September 2001, but the distance didn't cause the events of that day to be ineffectual to me. I sat in a hotel room for hours watching rescue efforts, watching hours of news reports, hours of speculation about what had happened and what the days in the future would bring. You could see it effect the other tourists, most of who were stranded as there was no air travel. The sports book at the Hard Rock, crammed with people not watching a game, but watching the news.

I was pissed off. Part of that was because I was with a group of veterans, old men who were going crazy because there was nothing they could do, there wasn't even a clearly defined enemy if they could have done anything. We all wanted vengence and as a name came out of the chaos, Osama bin Laden, I prayed for that vengence. I'm not particularly proud of that, but it's true.

I didn't pay much attention to Huricane Katrina as it barrelled down on the Gulf coast. I noticed that it made a last second change in direction, sparing New Orleans. I was aware of the precarious situation that the Crescent city was in, being below sea level and bordering the ocean. I had read what could happen to that fine city if it were hit by a strong storm. But the storm had veered, everything was going to be OK.

As I saw the first pictures of a flooded New Orleans, it became clear to me how bad things were going to be. I've hear New Orleans described as a "bath tub," except that once the water got in there, there was no plug to pull to allow all of the water to drain away. Even before I heard any reports of the human cost, I began to imagine how bad it was. I heard one estimate that 300,000 people were left in the city as the flooding began. That's an unbelievable number of people forced to find higher ground, or climb to rooftops, or grasp to floating debris, or to simply drown.

I began to think these things on Monday. I'm not trained in emergency management, I have no expertise, but I could tell lots of people were going to die if they didn't get help immediately. There is a federal agency, a Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose job is to prepare for events like the aftermath of this horrible storm. When any meaningul help for those thousands of people trapped in this city didn't begin to arrive until today, well, then there's a problem. And I don't just mean that lots of people are going to die, I mean that lots of heads are going to roll.

A couple hundred miles away, residents of Atlanta still curse the name of William Tecumseh Sherman. Those who survive the tragedy in New Orleans, and their progeny will curse the name of George W, Bush.


Thursday, September 01, 2005


Search Results

I'm watching you...... Sorry, I didn't mean to freak you out, but I get little bits of information about the people who visit my blogs from a stat counting website. Don't worry, it's not much, but I can tell things like the site I was linked to from, which is nice as I like to return the courtesy to people who are swell enough to link to me. I can tell where the viewer is from with certain restrictions, though use of national ISP's like MSN or AOL really screw that up. AOL, for instance, lists the viewer as being from Brooklyn New York no matter where they're actually logging in from.

Those are the two things I look at most. Knowing where viewers were linked from is handy so that I can return the favor, but also so I can get an idea of what those viewers want. That's particularly cool for BOJ News Service since I'm dealing with humor. It gives me an idea of what is working humor-wise and what isn't. BOJ News Service is pretty trial and error particularly on subject matter.

Knowing the location of viewers is handy as well. BOJ News Service's concept was to be a South Dakota Graphic Political Blog. It's not that I don't want to get hits from out of state, but I wanted to make content that was interesting to South Dakotans. A particular post got on some national political blogs which got me a ton of hits over a two day period, but I was ultimately unsatisfied by those out of state hits as they weren't the people I was trying to reach.

So those are the useful things I get from I get other stuff too, one of my favorites is "Keyword Analysis," the words people type into a search engine that bring up one of my blogs as a result. Being graphic in nature, BOJ News Service doesn't generate a whole lot of search engine hits, though a while back a search of "Katherine Harris Photos" on Google would provide a link to BOJ News Service, and in the #4 position. I love the fact that someone doing research on Katherine Harris' Senate run, maybe a young newspaper reporter in Florida, looking for photos of the state's secretary of state would stumble upon this.

I'm not an idiot, I realize that a pretty good percentage of people who see this blog get here completely by accident. I actually love that, I love playing music for people I've never met and I love the opportunity to be read by people who don't know me. I check out the "Keyword Analysis" for the Globex Corporation Newsletter from time to time. Since I don't actually pay for Stat Counter's service, it only keeps the information from my last 100 hits. So, from the last 100 hits on the Globex Corporation Newsletter, here are my top search results with my explanation/rationalization for them:

Thomas Beaverson #8 Google - I've written a number of posts about Pastor Beaverson. In a Palm Sunday sermon, he expressed his wish that God would strike dead Judge George Greer (the Florida probate judge who ruled in the Schiavo case). I guess it's because Pastor Beaverson respects all life so much that he would want Greer dead.... or something..... I guess..... I'm confused. I'm not sure why anyone else would be looking for info on Pastor Tom, but I hope they read my posts.

Globex Driving School #6 MSN - I don't know if there is a driving school with the name of 'Globex' but that would seem to be the only explanation. See, this is the kind of stuff I love, person types something into a search engine, gets a completely non-relevent result but reads it anyway. My fault for using the words "driving" and "class" in a post on a blog with "Globex" in it's name. I hope that person had a good time here......

Array Unspecified Technorati - Technorati is a search engine that specifically searches blogs and lists most recent uses of a term. This is a strange one because they are to posts about John Thune (US Senator R-SD) and Aaron Voss (local guitarist and good guy). Head scratcher, and what the hell do you think you'll find if you search by one pretty common word?

Song: President's in Order #8 Yahoo - I do a song called I Know All the Presidents in Order, in fact I played it last night at an open mic. This hit was somewhat useful since I've been trying to track down the band that originaly did this song so I could credit them when I play it. Unfortunately there was another song of this type in the 20's that kids used to learn the names of the presidents. I still haven't found the song I'm looking for.

Mike Tice Jokes #1 Yahoo - Mike Tice is the (in my opinion, poor) coach of the Minnesota Vikings. I had been writing this blog for 3 days when I wrote a post about Mike Tice. In my links section there is a link called "harp player jokes." The two have nothing to do with each other, but they brought in a reader. Nice to see you.....

Willy Grigg Way down the list Google - Willy is a musician, not a 'musician' like me. He's a guy a know pretty well and we play a lot of the same open mics. Since I blog about the open mic scene a lot, someone looking for him will stumble upon my site. I'll try to say nice stuff from now on....

sturgis rally week 2005 blogs #45 Yahoo - I wrote some stuff about the Sturgis Motorcycle classic. For the record, I don't hate the rally and agree that it's great for the local economy. Some people are just assholes....

rhodes scholarship and blog #73 Yahoo - A friend from college received a Rhodes Scholarship. I was lamenting the fact that some grades aren't nescessarily a good indicator of intelligence, not in his case, but in many cases. Uh, my grades were less than spectacular.....

Bill Collectors + How to make a successful call Unspecified Yahoo - Man, some people have no idea how to search efficiently.

"everybody is on crack" lyrics #9 Google - I can only assume that someone was looking for lyrics to the song Everybody is on Crack by DVDA, the band consisting of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The song is listed on my top 100 most listened to songs on my mp3 player.

Globex #10 MSN - Hey, it's the name of my blog.

Globex Corporation #5 Yahoo - Ditto previous entry.

So there you have it. Her's how people have accidentally found me. I just realized that this is really going to screw up my ability to track keywords as people can use these links to artificially increase certain keywords. Curses! Global Domination will have to wait a couple more weeks....


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The Bert Convey
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