Thursday, July 24, 2014

Excellence ...




Two of the world's best ukulele players together onstage, backed by a majorly-good cellist ...

Neighbors and Dogs


I did a post a year and a half or so ago about a neighbor who has more dog than he can handle. The problem has gotten worse; the old couple who owns the dog,  Zeus, can't collect him when he escapes, and he has become more menacing to passersby when he gets loose.

He fear-barks at people when they try to catch him and get him home, gets snappish, and sooner or later, he is going to bite somebody.

I don't know how often it happens, but it does so often enough that the closer neighbors are all aware of it. My wife and I notice mostly when we are walking our own critters and Zeus comes to harass them. 

Happened yesterday, and it is going to happen again. One of the closer neighbors and I managed to spook Zeus back into the house. 

The elderly woman is, according to the neighbors to whom I've talked, fairly far along in Alzheimer's. She will open the front door and Zeus will streak past her, and if somebody notices, they will try to shoo him home.

The old fellow is gimpy, and on top of trying to care for his ailing spouse, the dog is just too much. The man stands there calling him, yelling "Bad dog!" and berating his wife for opening the door, none of which help. 

What can we do about it? Apparently, nothing. The next door neighbors have called senior services and animal control, and legally, there's not much either can do. Several of us have offered to walk the dog to tire him out, but the old boy isn't having any of that. There aren't any grounds to have the dog removed because he hasn't bitten anybody. 

Yet.

Eventually, Zeus will chomp on somebody's hand when they try to corral him, or get hit by a car when he darts into the street without looking. Animal control can step in if he bites, but it seems as if there should be something else we can do. I feel for the old couple. And the dog, who isn't living a very happy life, either ...

Monday, July 21, 2014

La Musica!


At the acoustic jam Saturday last, which, because the usual show runner had a gig elsewhere, I wound up leading, one of the players brought a nifty little recorder and captured some of our songs. Here's a SoundCloud link to "Woke Up Dead Blues," written by Yours Truly, and led by same.

Given that we were in a big pub and only the lead singer's voice and instrument were amplified–well, save for the bass player and one kid who brought an electric guitar and the keyboard players–the little mikes picked up the solos pretty well.

How the session works is, a leader gets up, writes the chords on a white board, then starts it off. S/he sings a verse or two, then anybody who wants to take a lead does a solo, then it goes back to the singer. 

We had a pretty good group of singers this time, though my version of "Little Egypt" was flat in a couple of spots when I lost my chord and had to scramble to find it ...

The songs are a little rough in places, it's a bunch of folks who only play together twice a month, if that, and different songs, but there are places where it doesn't sound too bad ...

Here's a partial list of what we did and a link to 'em, various singers, whose names I still don't know. (Michael did the recording, and led several of the songs, and posts on SoundCloud under SgtKashim:

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Set List


Just because ....

July Set List:

Here Comes the Sun - instrumental
Dock of the Bay
Stand By Me
Hallelujah
Yesterday
In My Life
Hey, Jude
Brown-eyed Girl
Little Egypt
Let It Be



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ashokan Sort of Farewell



I've been working on learning "Ashokan Farewell," by Jay Unger, as a solo instrumental on the ukulele. 

Haven't gotten there yet, but I am making progress, albeit slowly so. So I figured to spur myself on, I'd post the only vid I could manage of it that wasn't a complete wreck.

Even so, the sound is crappy, there are squeaks and squeals, and all like that. Usual excuses here.

I used to could play this piece on the guitar, after a fashion, and I thought I'd try to bring it across. It was from El McMeen's transcription in his book on Dropped-D guitar, so to keep the fingering anywhere close, I had to change the key to G. Then figure out how to lose the two bass guitar strings and still have some bottom. I think I mostly have the arrangement down, now it's just a matter of actually learning how to play the sucker. And to get past red-light fever when the camera goes on, which is always cause for immediate flubbery and a fast ride to clam-city ...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Statistic


I started this blog eight years ago, plus about three days. The intent, was, as much as anything, to have a convenient place to work on a journal, and to eventually start mining whatever got laid down and to use it for books and whatnot.

That's worked out; I have several non-fiction eBooks that have mostly come from these page, to various degrees of success. And a lot of other material I can access for research or odd bits hither and yon ...

I'm not making entries lately as often as I did a year or two back. Other things have arisen, but I'm still here.

Never figured it would set the world on fire, but sometime in the next few days, the hits will top a million.

Actually, it already passed that, since I didn't keep a counter on the thing for a while, then I had to switch to a different one, and the counters used different criteria, but hey, there you go ...

Tejano Conflict Cover


Got the cover art for the final book in the Cutter's Wars series. That's Gunny.

Book is due out, I think, in January, 2015.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Milestone/Millstone ...


Only one letter is different in the two words in the title, but it makes them significantly unlike.

The millstone was a large and heavy thing used for crushing grain into meal or flour.

A milestone is a marker at that distance from another point, often another such stone.

In the case of the former, it has sometimes come to mean a thing that drags one down, the proverbial weight hung around one's neck, say.

Milestones metaphorically show accomplishment. Passed another one along the road of life, which could be good or bad, depending.

Getting rid of one might help you reach another ...

Did that yesterday. Got up at the electric blues jam at The Lehrer, stood in front of the mike, and led a couple songs. Never played the uke standing in public before. Hadn't intended to, was just going to drop round and listen, but I took the uke along, just in case. Got coaxed into it, and while I skipped a verse in one song, there were enough instrumental breaks nobody missed it. Voice was okay, even managed to get that blues rasp when I wanted it.

Another long-carried millstone put down and a milestone reached. At this rate, Carnegie Hall won't take more than another fifty or sixty years ...

Monday, June 09, 2014

Party On, Garth


Party for an old friend, me playing the original song  "Mold ..."


I

I used to be so young and free, hard to believe I know/
                   
Now I can’t get it up, and it’s harder yet to go (to the bathroom)
   
My hair is gray, my faced is lined, my arches they are shot/
                                       
My hearing’s gone, my brain is dead, my belly’s gone to pot.

CHORUS:

God, I’m old / Sit down in my wheelchair and get rolled/

Wrap me in a blanket ‘cause I’m cold / 

spray me down, I’m all covered up with mold.

II

I used to party all night long, and labor all next day/

Now I’m sleeping while I work, and sleeping while I play/

The women all would smile at me whenever I would pass/

Now the women look at me and all they do is laugh (at my figure)


(CHORUS)

III

I used to eat my meat half raw, and chew it all to bits/

Now I’m droolin’ in my soup, and it gives me the fits/

My back is tired, my butt is tired, my pecker, it’s tired too/

My options are all running out, there’s one thing left to do 

(euthanasia)


(CHORUS)