Friday, July 28, 2006

My Fridays Are Like Mondays

My Friday is like your Monday. My Fridays Are Like Mondays--MFAL Mondays. I wonder how many people feel that way? An occupational preference. Entertainers, hospitality workers, bar tenders, resort workers, traffic cops, ER workers. But I remember what Fridays were like before I retired to my second career. So happy Friday to you or Monday as the case may be.

My typical Fridays are Yoga, workout, guitar lessons and a gig. This is the Florida off season so no gig on this particular Friday. I am however enjoying the company of fellow blogger Michael Manning for a few hours.

Saturday is another workout, guitar lessons and company. My pal Carie Pigeon is coming for dinner before her gig at Stir the Soul. We'll be joined by fans/Friends/students. Party a bit and go to Carie's gig. Carie is going to be on my next CD. Love her voice. We keep talking about working on some material to perform together. But Carie now has a day job. But this is something I really want to do.

So here is a funny video from my pal Andy Martello out in Chicago. Watch him eat fire in this one. No, I'm not talking about Tex-Mex. And the link should take you to some more of his amusing videos.

My pal Golfwidow is posting some very amusing podcasts here.

My pal Deni Bonet is teaming with Sharron Glassman to post a podcast here.

I have lots of great pals on the web. If you're reading this, you're one of them and I thank you for hanging in during my dry spell.

posted by Bud @ 11:06 AM
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Everybody, Jump

Don't you hate it when years after you had a unique idea, you read that it has gained some degree of acceptance? But you, of course, are not given credit for it. I know I'm not the only one this happens to. It happens to me a lot. I'm not sure what that means. I appear to be way ahead of my time in some instances and as crazy as some other people at other times.

I will tell you that in the early seventies, I wanted to write multi media "books" so that the reader/viewer/listener could get video and audio images off the page. Yesterday's post about the memory spot proves that is now available technology. It'll interface with your iPod or cell phone. Nobody would listen to me in the seventies. Of course I was talking to the wrong people and the micro chip hadn't been invented yet. But I saw we were going in that direction. I'm gonna have to consult my old diaries to see what else I may have predicted and forgot about.

I do remember asking fifth graders to imagine what would happen if every creature on the planet jumped and landed at the same time. They looked at me like I must have been smoking something. A few asked if they could have some. Nobody ever offered an answer to that question. I just asked it to try to get them to expand their thinking past the housing project or development they lived in. Now, of course, it's an international proposition that is debunked by some and supported by others. I'll have to see if any of my former students are behind this.

It leads me to believe that ideas are a form of energy. They are always there, can't be destroyed and just float through the cosmos until they are picked up and used by somebody. If they land at the right time on a noisy person, then they get heard. But there is apparently nothing new under the ozone holes. My co-writer, Kathy Feeney has been telling me that for years. When she has an idea while she's running cross country and then forgets it by the time she gets back to her dorm room, she just shrugs it off. She says, "It'll be carried off in the wind for somebody else to use." She is clearly someone who doesn't care to make her living by writing. The rest of us should put our antennae up and catch this stuff, though.

Blog memes are annoying as hell to me but I must admit that when I force myself to read them, I usually discover some nugget of universal truth. I still can't bring myself to participate. It's my tendency to have no favorites, keep a large chunk of me to myself, assume that most people really don't care what I think about mundane stuff, and of course I always blame my own poor memory for not coming up with the stuff a meme is asking for. I can't remember the name of the movie I watched last night or who was singing that song on the radio yesterday. Or my own damn lyrics, half the time. It's the brain damage from a fall in my early youth. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. But that fall also may have opened the door to the future just a crack. Or shown me a key hole to peek through. When I care to peek.

You care to share anything you think you thought of first that somebody else capitalized on? Think about it this weekend and get back to me. Or keep it to yourself and publish it in a different form.

posted by Bud @ 6:25 PM
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fiction Becomes Reality

In still another example of science fiction becoming fact, an HP inventor has come up with something called a Memory Spot. A very powerful chip with a transmitter that can be read by your cell phone or other readers. They innocuously suggest putting it in a photograph to make it talk to you. The article also mentions using it for other terrific things I support. Audio and or video samples on the outside of CD/DVD packages to give you samples. Resumes embedded on business cards. That sort of thing. All good so far.

Stretch your imagination a bit now. If you don't think letting NSA tap your phones is a bad thing, then you certainly won't mind if you are implanted at birth with a memory spot so you can be found anyplace you are. That'd be terrific if you were lost while spelunking, or your lifeboat drifted off from the pack. But stay out of places where rival opinions are discussed if you want to keep off the watch list. It all depends, of course, on who is in power. Today's squeaky clean republican could be tomorrows possible terrorist. It's all in the definition of who's in power, isn't it?

Having been photographed and labeled during an anti Vietnam war rally in 1968, only to have that information flashed back at me in a dispute over teaching performance (in a catholic school no less) two years later taught me to be careful what you say to whom and where you say it. So this doesn't strike me a being too alarmist at all. I've been a victim of the low tech example. Watch it come up as a tag-on item in some legislation like stem cell research. It doesn't matter what side you're on or who you vote for. Power swings back and forth in this country. That is until the government gets the power/technology to prevent it from swinging anymore. Electronic monitoring and blackmail being powerful enough to accomplish that. Remember the black lists by the McCarthy types in the 50's. No? Too Young? Read about it here.

Maybe this new technology will only serve to annoy us with advertising. You and your chip passing in front of a scanner billboard that flashes personalized ads at you based on your known preferences and purchases. I know I saw something like that in a sci fi movie but can't recall which one. It's not at all impossible or unlikely given what the American commercial tendency is today. That's obnoxious enough but we are so heading right there. Think of how embarrassing if yo recently bought something like, oh, a sex toy and a billboard on the street flashed you and ad for even more coital wonders as you walked past. If it didn't use your name you might get by with some sort of diversionary move like when you let a fart slip in public. You know, like holding your nose and pointing to somebody else.

Totally spontaneous unedited lyric:

Memory Spot

Memory spot, memory spot
Shows the Gov'ment everything you got

I've been implanted and scanned
I'm known by the Man
To be a vegetarian
A real contrarian

He can read my chip
So I best not slip
Attend an opposition rally
Appear on the wrong tally

I got a memory spot
It's worse than crotch rot
Labels me socially sick
And I can't scratch it in public
Memory spot, memory spot
Shows the Gov'ment everything you got

I SO don't want to be writing protest songs. You think I'm missing anything here? What other uses can you dream up for the Memory spot?

I much rather see some Star Trek tech like that the Transporter Beam, the Tricorder and that cool microwave thing where you just punch in any meal and it delivers. But I need the no fat version. I don't care if Flabby is in.

posted by Bud @ 8:05 AM
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Friday, July 14, 2006

Stranger Things Are Happening

Early Television had its moments. We only had three stations and they went off by about midnight or earlier. So it didn't have as much opportunity to suck as badly as it does today. It did have it's suckier moments, however. I was not particularly fond of Red Buttons who passed away yesterday. He was a likable enough guy but didn't knock me out even at the tender age of 6 or 7. I didn't really follow his career when he became a serious actor, winning an oscar, or a much sought after roast dinner guest. I do remember only one bit he did. A completely goofy song which had the words,"Ho ho, he, ha ha, strange things are happening." Then I think he went on to quote some bit of strange news with a punch line of his own. So it's ironic that I learned of his death on Fark.com, a site that could easily use the Ho Ho He He song, if it wasn't so lame.

Some of the the strange things that Fark reported just yesterday are:

An eleven year old boy committed an armed burglary with a sword, stealing even more swords. Which action adventure films will be sued over this, I wonder?


A street performer in Bissbe Arizona was arrested for loitering and begging. His act was to have his cat balance on his dog while his mouse balanced on the cat. Interesting that balance has become a crime.

A woman in Jacksonville, Florida, near where I used to have a condo, was roughed up and had her lips crazy glued by the ex girlfriend of her fiance. She was ordered by the assailant to leave the fiance. Making people believe stuff by force is becoming a tradition. There is a strong precedent in history. Nothing strange about it.

Flabby guys are in. I can't wait to tell my trainer. I'll then take her out to a Mexican restaurant and order us a combo dinner for five. Extra cheese, please. A little more flan and fried ice cream too.

A police dog ran over a women in a pick up truck. No punch line needed.

And a chicken has laid an egg with the word "Allah" inscribed on it. What did I tell you about balance?

Britney Spears now rents out K-Fed for $20,000. No word on how much she charges to rent herself out.

Even stranger things are happening these days, Red. There's no Ho Ho He He about it.

Have a splendid weekend, everybody.

posted by Bud @ 6:01 AM
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hurricane Bud?

Living in the land of hurricanes, I naturally have mixed emotions about having a hurricane with my name on it. Even though it's in another ocean going the opposite way from landfall. It's ironic how the National Weather Service finds it okay to call a storm Bud but the nuns who taught me refused to call me anything but my baptismal name. A name I don't even want to mention here. A name that conjures up all the bad sounds I've ever heard. Especially those emitted by a bevy of heartless nuns. Among other things, one told me I was too stupid to learn to play an instrument. Another told me I couldn't sing. But another one, I actually liked, told me to love my enemies. Because Jesus told her to. That makes her AND Jesus a couple of extremists in today's political climate.

So I won't wish for Hurricane Bud to stir up the lives or even the corpses of those nuns. They made me who I am today: a rebellious, anti-religious, totally irreverent, and therefore outrageously happy man. With a hurricane named after him. Or at least with the same name. Not the one they called me in school. Which I still cannot utter without the taste of bile and partially digested vitamins in the back of my mouth. Don't want to ruin a good cup of coffee.

Once hurricane season starts I start checking this site to see if anything is brewing in our overheated ocean. I check it several times a day. When it declares there is indeed something blowing, I start checking this site every six hours to find out if I have to look for higher ground. Higher ground in Florida being either a landfill or Georgia. It is at times like that during which the irony of ironies hits me: I moved here for the weather. I still like my choice. Snow, cold (anything below 70), freezing rain and just too damn much rain are things that piss me off the most in life.

Where some people become disagreeable, nasty and even violent in hot weather. I have that tendency when I have to wear layers. Down here I have dress shorts and dress t-shirts. Anything longer is in a corner of my closet and will go north with me should the necessity arise. You can adapt to where you live or get the hell out. I'm sticking until the ice caps melt.

posted by Bud @ 6:56 AM
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Friday, July 07, 2006

Time and Manners are Relative

One year to the day after we signed the first check to the architect to have our studio addition built, they started pouring the cement slab. We refer to that as Florida time. They say they will start putting up block Wednesday. We've come to recognize that as a very relative term. There are lots of Wednesdays ahead of us. A life time of them. And that is still no guarantee that it will actually happen on a Wednesday. It could be any day that ends with "day." Because they don't lay block at night. Cathy was reluctant to take pictures of them pouring cement because she felt she would be intruding. And that logic is the subject of today's discussion.

Many of us are afraid to intrude or be offensive or even ask a question or make a statement to someone who is already in your space and you are paying them. Or even somebody else who is rude or offensive in some way. You know you've been there. Unless you are already programed to be the rude one and people have to decide what to do about you.

This subject has come up before in some of the blogs I've read. I'm not quite sure what triggers this kind of non response. Many of us were brought up to be polite. Some of us are pathological about it. Like apologizing to a mugger for bleeding on them. Those of us who have worked in any kind of public service, anything from hospitality to teaching are actually programed to be polite no matter what. It's part of the job description. So when we have workers in our homes, we tend to be very empathetic. Some people take this to the point the absurd. "Oh don't worry about your tar footprints, that's an old carpet anyway." That sort of thing.

Cathy is very empathetic and kind by nature. She has to be positive she is right before she confronts anybody. It's really a hoot then when she gets irate. I love to hear her giving somebody hell on the phone when she feels she is justified over some business dealing. This is a woman who, before we got together, was afraid to call out for pizza. She credits me for her change although, I'm not sure how that happened unless I pissed her off so mightily, she found her voice. At other times she complains in detail to me about some transgression she perceives by some family member or another. I'm glad she doesn't usually lay that on the offender as it's usually some congenital tendency that will not be changed no matter what.

But what about people who are out and out obnoxious and rude? There are books written on how to deal with them. There are advice columns whose existence is justified by people like that. One excellent of book is called The Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defense, by Suzette Haden Elgin. I find this very powerful. Good skills to know. Or Google Verbal Self Defense and you'll have many things to choose from, including A Complete Idiot's Guide. That whole series, Complete Idiots, is like a Cliff's Notes for adults, isn't it? But do people read much anymore? Has TV taken over to the point that we've lost touch with reality? I don't watch TV but is it true that "reality shows" are about as close to reality as a high school play? If TV is where we are getting our sense of manners, we could be in deep doo doo.

These are the things I will ponder this weekend. Hope yours goes well.

posted by Bud @ 11:35 AM
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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Thankful Without the Bang

pirate 1 My Independence Day gig will be memorable for various oddities. Punta Gorda, Florida is the landfall of Hurricane Charlie two years ago. It's about 30 miles south of Venice, where I live. So the damaging part of that storm missed us by 15 miles. My song Jacob's Hurricane, was written while watching the storm tear up that area on the Weather Channel. They've recovered for the most part and the waterfront area is booming. Harpoon Harry's is a fun and diverse restaurant, on the end of their Fisherman's Village wharf. It sticks out into Charlotte Harbor. They threw a big bash for the Fourth. Contests and giveaways galore, a live band inside and me outside on the "Pirate Ship." The gig was 1 to 4 but I knew I'd have a set-up nightmare so I arrived almost two hours early. As it turned out I could have used another thirty minutes.

pirate 2 You can't park near the place unless you drive a motor cycle or have disabled plates. I unloaded in front of the motorcycles and tried to figure out how to move the bikes ever so little without dropping them. I needed to put some speaker stands there. Not knowing the protocol, I very tentatively moved a couple forward. Later I would have to ask a few bikers to take their beer off my speakers. So much for protocol. Then I hauled all my equipment up two flights of stairs to the pirate ship. I had a lot of extra equipment so I could drive the big speakers and still have my Bose system up on the "poop deck." I had to make a lot of noise to attract people into my end of the pier. So I also brought a drum machine. All of this required an extra mixer and an extra PA Amp. Most of this stuff would have to stay out of my reach as I had to play on the bow.

pirate 3 I'm not afraid of heights. I do have a healthy respect for handling electronics in the rain and, of course, lightning. So there was no safety railing as promised and I was okay with that, I'm not afraid of falling. Summer in Florida means that there is always lightning someplace late in the afternoon. So you could say I was concerned about being hit by lightning AND falling. Splatting like a broiled sausage on the pavement below. Bikers driving over me to get out of the rain. I arranged my equipment so that I could pull a tarp over most of it if it rained. The part I was closest to, however, was four feet above this. So my Taylor and I, my mic, drum machine, music stand and my vocal processor would be in peril in a sudden downpour, another typical Florida event. There may be lots of sunshine but "partly cloudy" means one of those dark ones can open up and blow in your direction. So I was a half hour from show time and hadn't yet thought of music. That's when I discovered the electrical outlets were not working up my way.

The scene inside the restaurant, a floor below me, was chaotic . The harbor area was chaotic with races and other activities I couldn't figure out. Some naked guys swam by at one point. A boater was swimming back to his boat with a case of beer suspended over his head. Hundreds of boats were jockeying for position to see the fireworks in about, oh, nine hours. And they were already smashed. People were crowding my area for a good view of the harbor. Loitering on the stairs as I tried to repeatedly find the manager to beg for power. An hour later, they gave up on conventional methods, like finding a circuit breaker, and ran me a very long extension chord from who knows where. Some other municipality as far as I know. Just another conductor of lightning energy should the conditions arise. I started a half hour late with no sound check.

From all indications, I was good. People were giving me the thumbs up all day and taking my picture. At one point a guy named Dean from the inside band, Slick Willy, came up and told me I was drowning them out. I was very apologetic before I realized he was just messing with me. We had a good laugh. He was a very funny guy. I decided right way he was a drummer. I was right, of course. Drummers usually make themselves obvious to me. I mean that in a good way. My daughter married a drummer.

The wind picked up considerably as I was packing up my equipment. I covered everything with tarps. and grabbed my guitars and took off for the parking lot. I was very lucky to catch the shuttle that ran me to my car about a mile away. I loaded the stuff downstairs around a catering service that was already setting up my patio space for the next event. I tried mightily not to knock the Sterno and steam tables over in my haste to get the hell out of there before the storm. Not sure I was at fault for the crash I heard as I disappeared down the stairs. Crossing the harbor ten minutes later, I watched the rain back in the direction from which I just escaped.

I hadn't eaten since ten in the morning and realized that adrenaline is my favorite drug. And I can make it under the right conditions. The right conditions often looking like a large scale pain in the ass.

My week is still very busy but not of the adreniline producing kind of activity. I hope your holiday was fun and the week ahead is not too trying.

posted by Bud @ 6:57 AM
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