Sunday, September 17, 2017

Me and J.K. Simmons get together on Wednesdays

After the crazy horror show that has been running the past few years, this year I've decided to bring some sense of joy back into my life. It was there all along, but the arsenal is increasing.

I bought the Rickenbacker 330 back in May to fulfill a dream I had, bought an little amp to go with it and the hobby has worked out. So much that I started taking lessons a couple of months ago with a highly qualified teacher who smacks me in the head when my finger placement is wrong. I need this, my training for the last 35 years of playing a guitar was nil. So here were are and I look forward to the half hour each week.

Also decided to get my beat up acoustic guitar, that I have had since the late eighties, a new set up. The folks at Guitar House Workshop fixed the bridge and nut, lowered the action and put new strings on. It's like I have a brand new guitar. It has never played so well, not even when new.

While this was happening I bought a better amp.

After that happened this happened.

It's a Hofner Verythin. Very cool Chinese made guitar with German origins. As its name says, it is very thin. I love how light it is and the thin neck. Sounds very versatile and takes the effects pedal well. I had never played one before purchase, so it was an unknown. But my wife said if I did not like it, I could always sell it.

I'm not selling it.

As far as my ability, some of it is going slow. It's hard for me to remember the note changes, and learning the tablature language is difficult for me. But there is improvement, and the fun is there.

Remember the fun people!

Because life is too short.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Tonight in parenting

I am very self conscious about my guitar playing. I think I suck and there is very little that would convince me otherwise. When my son was younger, I'd break out my acoustic and play it. He would come up to me and put his hand on the strings and mute them with a very earnest 'stop playing, Dad' look on his face.

My neighbors have noticed me playing back there. One of them told me his dad was quite the musician back in the day. Very versatile, played a lot of different instruments. I said I hoped it was not too loud. He said he could not really hear me play, but could see me. Is that a sign for me to crank it up?

Recently I had my acoustic fixed. It's been cleaned, restrung and had bridge and nut work done so it is a lot easier to play. It's like I have a brand new guitar, it never sounded this good before.

Tonight I was playing the electric in the back room when my Son wandered into the kitchen and looked toward me. I invited him back to sit, and he did. I played a bit on the guitar and he remained seated, whatever I was playing did not seem to be harming him or he would have left the room.

I put on some records as he's still listening to what I put on his iPad. Since he's been listening to I Want You Bad by NRBQ I put that on, and he sat and listened. Then I put the Left Banke on as he's still really enjoying Pretty Ballerina and seems to like She Will Call You Up Tonight.

Put a new one on for him. I know he likes the acoustic stuff so I put Mumford & Sons 'Sigh No More' on for him and he really reacted positively to it. He was listening intently, rocking front to back in the chair. Real connection. So I put it on his iPad while he was still in the back room. As he picked up his iPad to go upstairs I told him I put the Mumford & Sons on there for him.

I returned to the back room and about ten minutes later my wife came back to say she could hear Winter Winds coming from his room.

This kid amazes me.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

That Nobody's Poet Feeling

I’m not gay
I’m not a person of color
I’m not a member of any marginalized group.
I am the enemy.
I am an older, straight white male who is financially secure.
So, what do I have to offer at an open mic night when a solid majority of the work performed is about being out of the mainstream and oppressed?
I sit.
I listen.
Remain silent.
Try to learn.
Is that enough?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Really, do not vandalize cemeteries

My third Great-Grandfather, Joseph Plunkett served in the army with the Massachusetts Volunteers during The Civil War. His arm was either injured or blown off during the Battle of Petersburg and he was taken prisoner. He was freed during a prisoner exchange a couple of months later. I’m not certain what POW camp he was detained in, but it would not have been an easy place to be captive.

My Great-Uncle Eddie was killed in action on March 26th, 1945 while the U.S. Army crossed the Rhine River. He was 20 years old and his death had a profound impact on my family, especially that of my Grandfather who was 20 years older and looked after him almost like a son. He is buried in the St. Avold Cemetery in France because my Grandfather wanted him buried there with his buddies. I have not been there but I have photographs of the site that were taken by relatives who went to pay their respects to their Brother or their Uncle.

As you know I have a deep respect for cemeteries and the way we honor and remember our dead. I’ve also gained respect for how we honor our war dead. So when I saw that the Camp Chase cemetery, about a mile from my house, was vandalized last night, it disappointed me.

Camp Chase was a military camp in Columbus, during The Civil War it became a prisoner of war facility. Over 2,000 confederate soldiers lost their lives in the dirty, unsafe and medically primitive facility. Call it the Andersonville of the north.

I honor the gravesites of the war dead of the average soldier. Men who were often threatened by evil governments with death of their own families to enlist for a terrible cause. Win or lose, war is shit. Luckily my family was on the winning side of the wars. Yet, I do not hate Germans for killing my Great-Uncle as I suspect a terrified average 20 year old was probably the one who pulled the trigger in retreat.

The Camp Chase site is rather humble, not very well kept and in a non-vibrant part of Columbus. There is a stone that has an engraving of why the site is there and on top of an arch was a statue of a generic confederate soldier, with the inscription “Americans” underneath. That statue was taken down, after being up there for over 100 years, by vandals last night. I support that the meaning of the camp and it’s origins should be updated for our times. I do not agree that cemetery vandalism and desecration is the way to accomplish this.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The streets were full of slow moving cars

My son started school today and is technically in ninth grade. It's hard enough to let that try and sink in before realizing he will be fifteen in two weeks. He's growing taller, his feet are almost as big as mine and we're going out for new shoes this weekend.

The rest is still unknown.

Received a direct message a couple of days ago from a person who had never heard of Tom Lehrer before they came across my blog. The person was having a rough time of it recently and the discovery of his music really improved their mood. I was thanked profusely.

Glad that I could make a difference in a small, positive way. Something I thought about after a rough day in which I sat in traffic four about three and a half out of four hours straight then walked into a boisterous and loud restaurant when all I wanted was a tiny bit of peace and quiet. I plodded through, and my lovely wife did her best to improve my own stressed out ass.

Now if we all could try and make that much of a difference to better shit.

Monday, August 14, 2017

He must read this blog

Jeffrey Berman

(No subject)

Hi, I'm Jeffrey Berman. I write to you in good faith and hoping that you will understand the importance of my email. My decision to contact you is because I have been recently diagnosed with Cancer and the doctor said I have less than 8 weeks to live. I have decided to DONATE US$8,500,000 to you to promote charity works, children in need, the poor and to help the homeless.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

So, Guam

Tom Lehrer can provide the soundtrack to the end of the world.

Waving nuclear weapons like a phallus. Sad, sick men.