Thursday, March 31, 2005

New Feature

In my eternal attempts to add more "interesting" stuff to this site, I've added a little poll section in the sidebar. I'm going to try to come up with a new poll question each week. It might be something serious, but probably not. It might have something to do with my blog, or maybe one of yours. I might even have a popularity contest among my favorite Blogger World friends. Except LBB. I'd want to keep it competitive! And if it bombs, I'll get rid of it.

As with all polls, there's going to be some margin of error. In this one, I'd guess somewhere around ±90 points. Feel free to check it out. Vote early, vote often!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Burger King/Stephen King

041006_BurgerKing poltergeist2 f3_1_b

I've mentioned this in an earlier post, but it just seems to get weirder. Is anyone at all creeped out by the Burger King ads these days? In particular--the oversized head of the BK mascot? Straight out of a Stephen King novel! The whole look is that of a demon-possessed clown. Sort of like the one in "Poltergeist", or the ventriloquist's dummy in "Magic". No change in facial expression. You're just waiting for the point in the ad where he pulls out a machete and whacks off someone's finger (and tosses it into Wendy's chili pot). Whatever happened to the gentler times of "Have it your way...."?


Now that BK has rolled out their latest offering in breakfast gluttony (the Enormous Omelet Sandwich--730 calories & 47 g. of fat!), they've got their newest commercials. And they all feature the creepy King. At the end of one commercial, it shows the King outside a house trying to look through the blinds in a window. Another one has the King on the living room floor, rolling around with the family dog after delivering breakfast, and enjoying it a bit too much. These commercials are a follow-up to the one where a guy rolls over in bed and is face-to-mask with the creepy King (see above).

I don't know why the BK marketing people think that we'll all flock to them after seeing these commercials. The one with Hootie (and it apparently is Hootie!) is just disturbing, and these latest ones make my skin crawl. Creepy, creepy, creepy. Unless, of course, Stephen King is actually involved, in which case, the commercials are great!! But they still won't make me go there...

Monday, March 28, 2005


Easter has come and gone, and it was pretty good. Alot of sibling/family time together. Our family will get together for just about any reason to have dinner, drink beer and just be together. I feel lucky in that regard. Who'da thunk that my bratty little sisters would turn out so cool? It took years, mind you, but we're all pretty close. It helps that the whole family, except for one sister, lives in Helena. Mom & Dad are at the tail end of their 3 months of Hawaiian vacation, so they missed out, but we went on without them.

It dawned on me last night that I usually come home, full from Easter dinner, and watch the rest of "The Ten Commandments" on TV.
Lo and behold--no one was televising it last night! Somewhere in my upbringing, I got hooked on all those epic Charlton Heston religious-ish movies: "Julius Caesar", "Ben Hur", "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "The Agony and The Ecstacy", and perhaps the best--"The Planet of the Apes". Of course, I have the DVD of "Commandments", but it's not quite the same as watching it with all the commercials interrupting it. So I watched two other distinctly different Easter movies:

I watched "Passion" when it first came out last year, and in spite of the violence, blood and gore, I thought it was a well made movie. It certainly gave us a view that most of us never imagined. Even without subtitles, you pretty much knew who the characters were, thanks to years and years of Sunday school, Bible studies or whatever. After watching it at home on DVD, I found that the blood and violence wasn't as shocking as in the theater. Perhaps due to the relative size of the screens. Maybe because I knew what was coming. In any case, it still comes off as a pretty good movie.

So I followed that with the 1973 DVD of "Jesus Christ Superstar" (there's a 2001 version that's not quite as good). Many of us who grew up in the early 70's could sing every lyric of every song off that original double LP. I remember when my mother bought it and brought it home in 1971. She had volunteered to teach a religious ed class that year, and was going to somehow use the recording in her class. I was in the 8th grade at the time, and was well into my dorkiness. I remember being very apprehensive about the whole thing, and knew that Mom was going to go straight to Hell for blasphemy or something. The whole rock music/Jesus/"Superstar" thing just didn't sit right with my Catholic upbringing. Especially the word "Superstar". The song "Superstar" was just hitting the AM airwaves (the Carpenters' version of the Leon Russell song--like I said, dorkiness had set in). I somehow thought that using Jesus and Superstar in the same title was some sort of play on the Carpenters' version. Again, like I said--DORK! But once I listened to it, I was hooked. Since that time, I've collected about 6 different versions of the opera (yes, dorky)--Broadway, movie soundtrack, London, 20th Anniv., etc. Even a version where the Indigo Girls play Jesus and Mary Magdalene, with Atlanta-area musicians contributing (pretty good, actually). But none of them are quite as good as the first one.

I had the joy about 7 years ago to conduct the pit orchestra for this (though I would have also loved playing the bass guitar--yes, I also play that) and also had the role of King Herod (yes, I can sing & dance, too!). I can honestly say that "Superstar" was a major influence on my music throughout my life. But after watching "Passion" the first time, I sort of felt that "Superstar" came up a bit trivial. And I haven't watched it in well over a year.

I'm happy to say that after watching them back to back, "Superstar" holds its own quite well. Same story, different telling. And even though they're over 30 years old, the "Superstar" movie and original recording can stand up to anything out there. There's a comfort of knowing the thing inside and out, and I just might have to make it a part of my regular Easter routine. Sorry, Chuck.... Unless I decide to watch all three during Easter weekend!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

"He is not here: for he is risen..."
    Matthew 28:6

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dumping Grounds - Again

I'm re-posting one of my earliest blog subjects, because the same situation arose yesterday, and I'm too lazy to come up with a fresh post. Very few things piss me off, but this is one of them that does:

    Back when I was growing up, I remember very clearly the day that I was riding in the car with my mother, going to the store or coming back from my grandparents house, or some such thing. It was memorable because I got to ride in the front seat, and my sisters were in back. These were the days when the typical family had only one car, and wives/moms were expected to stay at home with the kids, while the husband/father took the car to work. Whenever the kids got to be in the car, it was usually a family affair, and the parents would be in front, and me and my cootie sisters were in the back. But on this day, for whatever reason, Mom was driving, Dad wasn't with us, and I was in the front seat.

    At some point during this ride, I rolled down the window and casually tossed out some sort of litter. I don't remember if it was something small or something large, but it didn't matter. All of a sudden, my mother stops the car, and in a moment I won't likely ever forget, ripped me a new one about the sins of littering. With the car stopped in the middle of the street, and traffic trying to get by, she made me get out and pick up whatever it was. My sisters, after the initial shock had worn off, took great glee in the fact that my butt had been royally chewed! That's all it ever took. Never again, in the next 4 decades, have I ever tossed litter out of a car window.

    I bring this up now, because of a disturbing trend I've seen over the past couple of years. And it happened again this afternoon. A carload of kids (apparently from a multi-car family!) was stopped at the light across the intersection from me. Someone in the back seat rolled down their window, and tossed out a full bag of empty McDonald's remnants. Didn't even bother looking around to see if someone was watching, in case it was something they shouldn't be doing. Then someone from the front seat hands him another one to toss! The light turns green, and I don't even move. They pass by me, without the slightest hint that they might have done something remotely wrong!

    Now I'm generally the first one in line to defend the maturity of teenagers today. I've seen plenty of them getting the short end of the stick, just because of their age. But at what point did the youth of today figure out that it's OK to just dump out their garbage in the middle of the street?? Between my mother, and that hokey public service announcement of the Indian chief crying over the smog, litter and pollution, the thought of littering hasn't crossed my mind since that fateful day so, so many years ago. Have we raised a full generation or two of parents who don't teach their kids anymore? I can't imagine a parent of my age allowing their children (or grandchildren) to do such a thing!

    God bless my mother for teaching me things at a young age. This is just one of the many things she did well for me in my life. She still made a mistake by not forcing me to take piano lessons, but that's a subject for a future discussion...

Friday, March 25, 2005


It appears that most of us have seen the light and are using Haloscan. Hooray for us! But I've noticed one thing. Not one of us has used the Trackback feature. Do any of us feel the need for it? Do any of us know how to use it? Is there a blog out there to teach us? Or someone older and wiser than the rest of us? PLEASE! We need help!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!

Stole this from another blog. With apologies to my right-leaning bloggerfriends, this is just too damned funny not to share!

And now, for something completely different....
By John Cleese

To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise." You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary." Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed." There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005. You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day."

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Knat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine." This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Thank you for your co-operation.

New Blog

I'm going to try something different. I'd love to share some photos--more than what I want to put in this blog, but not enough to bother opening an online album with Flickr or Ofoto. Sooooo......

I'm starting another blog--"Pictures From the Back Row" (catchy title, huh?). I'll throw in pics of Montana, friends, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, some old, some new. I might even try to keep it interesting! I'll keep a link over in the sidebar, and I'll try to let you know when I put something new in over there.



Found kind of an interesting site. Montage-a-Google. It basically does an image search for any word you put in, and will build a montage of those images. It's got a couple of advanced options, but I can't tell if you can save the montage. That would be sort of cool.

But beware. For those of you who are looking for an array of boobs or other hoo-haws, you'll most likely be disappointed. The pictures Google finds tend to be on the clinical side. A bit of a shock if you've never seen those types of pictures. But if you put in something like "trombone", you get a nice collection of pics.

I don't know if it serves any purpose than to waste time, but we can all use something like that.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Pics from Butte

I know you've been waiting for some pictures of Butte on St. Patrick's Day, so here you go!

These first ones were taken at the M & M Bar. The M & M had been open 24/7 for something like 113 years, and they never--not once--ever locked their doors in all that time. It was closed down about two years ago as part of bankruptcy proceedings. It was purchased, brought up to code, and opened on the 15th, just in time for St. Pat's!

Here's the crowd at 4:20 PM.DSCF1718.JPG
And this is the webcam/monitor that captured it all...
That I stayed in front of for 20 minutes, even though no one saw me....
This is the crowd outside the M & M.
Not the biggest crowd of the day--that would have been around noon.

No pictures of us playing. Not much of a crowd all night. We played at the Red Lion Inn, which was booked full of college kids for the night. Yep, lot's of fornicatin' going on that night. Well, if they weren't too drunk to get it up. Anyway, the Red Lion had their shuttle van taking people uptown (where the M & M is) all night, and bringing back precious few of them. So no one really stuck around to listen to us. Until the Edmonton Police Pipes & Drums came by. They brought a crowd in at around 11:00. They played, then stayed to dance, since they were staying there too.

This is the view from the back of In Cahoots, looking out over the dance floor, where they played for about 10 minutes.DSCF1735.JPG
Another view of the Pipes & Drums.
Yes, the guy with the bass drum is that tall. Had to be at least 6'9", maybe 7'!

And finally--me & my friend Mike at O'Toole's at 8:30 AM, with a couple of beers and a couple of shots already in us! We've been accused of being brothers. I don't know if that's good for either of us!

All in all, it was a great time! I got to see the guys from Got to see a catfight in the alley behind the M & M with about 100 people watching. I got to see guys peeing behind dumpsters. Got to see a girl peeing in the middle of another alley. Got to see a guy puking next to a truck, and not miss a beat with his conversation on the cell phone (there's a picture of that on!). I'm just sorry I missed the parade!

But wait until next year--it falls on a Friday!!

The Baton

I totally missed the passing of the baton. T passed the following along to me awhile back and I didn't even know it! Hope she doesn't hold it against me! This is one of those "get to know your blogger" things--music is the subject. I fully doubt that many of you will recognize many of the titles, but if you're desperate to know what they sound like, let me know and I'll get you a file.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer
    487 files. All genres--classical, rock, jazz, country. No rap though!
2. The last CD purchased
    "The Story of My Life" - Deana Carter
3. The last song listened to before reading this post
    "Patrick Meets the Brickbats" - Jerry Douglas (the dobro player featured with Alison Krauss + Union Station)
4. 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you
    OK, this one takes some effort. Most of these will be important because of how they have affected my future impressions of music, not because they were "our songs" from some ill-fated junior high romance. In no particular order:

    • "Amie" - Pure Prairie League. One of my earliest "favorite" songs. Great acoustic sound, fantastic harmonies. Also helped with my relationships that I had with a couple of different "Amy"s.
    • "Finale" from The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky - Tomita. First time I heard this was on a live YES album (Yessongs). They used it as the pre-concert music as they come on stage. This hit me for two reasons. One, Tomita made his mark by taking classical music and performing them with a wide array of synthesizers. Very groundbreaking in the day. And I was fascinated by that stuff. Secondly, the music is spectacular--the harmonic structure, the change of meter, the magnificent grandeur of the piece. It was the first piece of classical music that absolutely reached out and grabbed me and made me go out and purchase my first orchestral LP. I've had the pleasure of performing this piece of music a couple of times, and it's still as magical now as it was then!
    • "Down To the Nightclub" - Tower of Power. My first exposure to real funk music. Never had I heard a horn section so tight. Honkin' bari sax, screamin' trumpets, and the incredible pairing of David Garibaldi on drums and Rocco Prestia (who would look more at home with Jimmy Buffet!) on bass. There is no one who can lay down a funk beat like those two!
    • "Clea" - Matrix IX. Matrix IX (later, just Matrix) was a jazz fusion band (for lack of a better term) from Wisconsin, I believe. Six horns, big rhythm section--many of their members are currently well-respected educators at various universities. They were very big on the college jazz tour circuit in the late 70s. Their fusion was more like jazz/classical/rock. This song is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard. No real lyrics--just some wonderful sounds. I actually arranged this for orchestra, which worked very nicely, but doesn't live up to the original. Unfortunately, none of the old Matrix albums are available on CD, but I just won this particular LP on eBay in mint condition, so the digitizing will have to begin soon!
    • "Clair de Lune" by Debussy. Originally written for piano, it's been rewritten for full orchestra by a couple of people. I've always liked the music, but I heard an orchestral version used in the movie "The Right Stuff" during the scenes between the fan dancer in Texas and the shots of Chuck Yeager flying, and I was hooked. The climax of the piece will give you chills (like a good climax should....).

    Just for good measure, and without explanation, here are five more "favorite songs":
    • "I Wanna Be Like You" - from the Disney movie The Jungle Book
    • "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana by Orff
    • "Moonlight Serenade" - Glenn Miller Band
    • "Choose Something Like A Star" from Frostiana by Randall Thompson
    • "Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor" - Chuck Mangione

Sorry this was a long one! I now pass the baton on to Lizabeth, Rachel, Kamey, Nicolle, Julie & Kim (but only if you haven't done it already--can't remember who else's I've seen!).

Friday, March 18, 2005


Yes, I survived Butte! And the entire day. Not even the slightest bit hungover, thank you. Just really tired. It could be old age, or the fact that I didn't get to bed until well after 3 AM. I'm a little disappointed that no one mentioned that they saw me on the webcam at the M & M. I fought to get front and center, and parked my ass there for about 20 minutes. Obviously no one was looking for me--I'm not loved....

I've got pictures and stories, but I'm also swamped with symphony rehearsals and a concert Sat. night, so I won't get to that until probably Sunday. Hope all of you celebrated safely!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Well, the day has started! Drink count so far: 2 shots of Jameson's whiskey, 3 green beers, and 1 Guinness Stout. All by 8:45 AM. Here's the crew that started when the doors opened at O'Toole's:

Dave & MIke (the guys waving in the picture) are the guys I met up with down there. I don't know anyone else in the picture, but does it really matter?

My plans for the day have changed somewhat. The 5" of snow we were supposed to get last night didn't happen, but the roads are still sort of slick, and it's not going to get any better as I head to Butte. So alcohol consumption will be put on hold until I get to Butte, and even then, it's going to be far less than prior years. Damn that whole maturity/old age thing!

I'll be taking as many pictures as I can down there, and let you guys see the best. I've already heard from Lizabeth. She's not going to be able to make it over, which is a bummer. I'm hoping to be at the M & M at around 4:30, so look for me on their webcam (see previous post). I'll make my way towards the bar, so hopefully I'll be right in front. I'll be the one wearing green!

Corned beef and cabbage is calling, so I'm outta here--have a great day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

M & M Bar Webcam

Go here to check out the webcam at the M & M Bar in uptown Butte. There's no place like it on St. Patrick's Day! I'll be sure to wave when I stop by! Look for the gang from Outdoor Drunks too!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Big Brother's Watching!

Found this great site. You can check out satellite photos of the entire US. And if you live in an urban area, you can zoom in right down to your bike in the driveway. You can search by address, or by town. Zoom in and out. Very cool, and if you're the distrusting type, just a little scary!

Look Out Butte!

Got some good news today! I came home and had a voice message waiting for me. There was a change of plea in the trial scheduled for Thursday, so a jury isn't needed. I've got the day to myself!!
    8:00 AM--green beer and shots at O'Toole's
    11:00 AM--corned beef & cabbage (and green beer) at Bert & Ernie's
    12:00 PM--take a little nap to sober up a little bit....
    3:00 PM--head to Butte
    4:00 PM--hit the Irish Times & the M & M in Butte (beers)
    5:00 PM--set up equipment at Red Lion (H2O for the rest of the night)
    7:00 PM--In Cahoots w/the Mob Rules Horns celebrate St. Patrick's Day!
    11:00 PM--Last dance (thank people for extra beer I might have had)
    12:00 AM--Head back to Helena after tear-down (more H20)
    12:30 AM--Stop @ Town Pump in Boulder for burritos (MMMmmm..)
    1:00 AM--Home, Sweet Home

Anyone who might be around are invited to join me!

Monday, March 14, 2005


Hey--I just noticed that I'm 17,500 days old today! How does that translate into dog years?

Wacky Weather II

This is a similar picture as the last post. For as nice as it was last week, I have to say that I sort of like this. It's not windy, it's not too cold, and most of it melts pretty quickly.

I'm actually posting this for Rachel, to remind her that she'd rather be back in Oahu!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Wacky Weather

Yesterday we tied the all-time high for the day with a temperature of 69 degrees. I went out and had dinner and alot of beer, but was home at around 11:00. It was still in the high 40s. I get up this morning at 7:00 to this:


Granted, alot of it melted away today, and the expected snow for the next couple of days won't last long, but it's disconcerting to be running around in shorts and a t-shirt one day (in MT, in March), then have to hope that the snow plows have cleaned up the streets the next.

On a plus side--this snow was incredibly wet. Superb for snowmen, snow forts, snowballs, etc. Alot of fun was being had today!

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Ants Go Marching One By One....

I was horrified, and slightly entertained, when I read this. It's the story of a retired postal worker who died in a Florida nursing home where he was recuperating from surgery. Early on July 26th, 2001, his bed was swarmed by hundreds of fire ants that proceeded to make a meal of him. He later died due to shock from ant poisoning. His family was just awarded almost $2 million.

The disturbing part about this story is that it happened in the U.S.! One would probably not be surprised to hear about something like this happening in another part of the world. Like Texas, maybe. Wouldn't the sight of an army of ants raise some alarms with someone at the nursing home? And why just attack this one guy? I can't imagine that ants would be terribly choosy. Once they broke into the nursing home, they'd have their pick of victims!

If I were a swarm of fire ants, I don't believe I'd attack a nursing home. Just let me nibble on some young bikini-clad thing down on the beach.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Gearing up for another round of rehearsals for a symphony concert next weekend, along with all the personnel hassles that come along with it, so I don't want to rack my brain for something witty. That takes work, ya know!

Stole this from another blog. Seems harmless enough, and I don't have to think too hard. Feel free to steal it!
FAVORITE RELATIVE: My sister Tori. Or Mom & Dad. It's a toss-up.
FAVORITE PLACE: Augusta National Golf Club. Never been there, but I'm guessing it's what Heaven looks like. Or Lake Coeur d'Alene, ID.
FAVORITE BOOK: I don't read, so I'd have to go with the Bible.
FAVORITE NAMES: Cathryn, Michelle.
FAVORITE SMELL: Lilac or roses.
FAVORITE BAND: Alison Krauss & Union Station.
FAVORITE MUSICIAN (OTHER): Buddy Rich or Diana Krall.
FAVORITE DOG: Skosh (family pet in the 80s).
FAVORITE BEER: Kokanee, Alaskan Winter Ale, Killian's.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT ME: Relatively friendly personality.
FAVORITE CITIES: Seattle, Portland, Coeur d'Alene, ID.
FAVORITE PIERCING: One that a friend has that I have never seen, I will probably never see, but I know exists.
FAVORITE GRADE: Every year of grad school.
FAVORITE STATE: Other than Montana, northern Idaho.
FAVORITE CAR: Ferrari, red.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Currently, Law & Order SVU.
I'D RATHER BE: a back-up musician for Jimmy Buffett.

Hell. That was harder than I thought! Now steal it and impress us!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Chris LeDoux

Just read with some sadness about the death of Chris LeDoux from complications of liver cancer at the age of 56. He was a rodeo cowboy, a country singer, and all-around good guy who got a late start in the music business. In these days when rap artists are going to prison or getting shot, and aging rock stars (and not-so-aging rock stars) are ODing on whatever drug cocktail they're currently experimenting with, and pop star wannabes are "earning" fortunes by getting sluttier and not bothering to learn to lip-synch well, it's sad to hear that a regular guy who didn't try to impress anyone with anything but his songs and his talent had to be taken by something as hideous as cancer. Rest in peace, Chris.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Outdoor Drunks

It's interesting to see that all the bloggers I read (including me) sort of took the weekend off. I'll assume that it's because we all turned off our computers and enjoyed the big, bad, wonderful world out there. Or we were all brain dead and had nothing to write. Well, now it's a new week, so let's get to it!

After my rant last week about jury duty and St. Patrick's Day, I thought I'd look to see what sort of publicity In Cahoots might be getting for our gig. I stumbled on a wonderful site about St. Patrick's Day in It's got a great page that sort of condenses the day and expectations. Where to go, what to do, what you'll see, etc., etc. And links to previous years, bars, ratings, and other bits of interest. It appears that it's a group of friends who hit all the big party gatherings in southwest Montana, and get pictures of the festivities. St. Patrick's Day in Butte, Rockin' the Rockies concerts, road trips, concerts--you name it, they're there! Be sure to check out the entire site. They look like they're living a beer commercial--everyone happy, smiling, etc. Just friends out having a good time!

I find myself a little envious of these people. I partied just fine when I was their age--took the pictures, organized the trips. But there's no way I could do that anymore. I just don't have the stamina. Call it old age, call it maturity--whatever the reason, I doubt I could keep up. Ah, to be young again....

Friday, March 04, 2005


OK. Fine. I'll do the Montana one. Though I find it interesting that it's a far shorter list than anyone else's! Who do I complain to about that?

  • You get passed when you are driving seventy five. (Usually by David Letterman!)
  • The rodeo is the social event of the year. (Every county has at least one/year.)
  • You tell North Dakota jokes. (And it's so easy!)
  • The pickup trucks all have two rifles and two big dogs. (Rifles inside, dogs outside.)
  • People you don't know smile and say "Howdy." (Or "Cold enough for ya?")
  • Bumper stickers are about guns, horses or chewing tobacco. (Or "Save the Blackfoot". Lots of environmental ones.)
  • The only people wearing white shirts are out of town Lawyers. (Or Mormon missionaries.)
  • Someone says manure spreader and you know it isn't the local congressman. (Yep.)
  • When the car in front of you is weaving, you suspect a farmer instead of a drunk. (It's still legal to drink and drive in MT!)
  • You can actually pronounce the City's name Glasgow (Glasgo) without calling it Glascow. (Just like Moscow, ID.)
  • Maps and gloves are kept in your vehicles "jockey box". (And a flask.)
  • You can choose plastic bags or a paper sacks for your groceries. (Or bring your own!)
  • You have 10 favorite recipes for Elk meat. (And another 3-4 for bear meat.)
  • You can write a check at McDonald's for 2 Big Macs and fries. (Credit cards, too!)
  • The most effective mosquito repellent is a shotgun. (Wrong. There is no effective mosquito repellent.)
  • The major county fund-raiser isn't bingo - it's sausage making. (Nope. It's 50/50 drawings.)
  • You attend a formal event in your best clothes, your finest jewelry, and your Sorels. (The governor wears jeans to formal events.)

Monkey Wrench

I have a brain made of Swiss cheese. Lots of holes in it. Hence the reason that I write everything down. Messages, phone numbers, weekly/monthly schedules, etc. Though I often act spontaneously, that's within the framework of being very organized with my time. Sad as it is, I already know some things I'll be doing well into 2006. That's the nature of being a musician. Knowing whether or not you're available for various performances. I like that aspect of my life, and I often get frustrated by those who don't know what they're doing next week. But this isn't about them...

I have been looking forward to spending St. Patrick's Day in Butte, MT (commonly known as Butte, America). Montana, and especially Butte, has a huge and important Irish influence in its history. Even though my last name is of Czech heritage, my mother's side of the family is chock full o' Milligans and O'Hearns and other good Irish ancestry. So I celebrate the day. And NO ONE--not Chicago, not Boston, not NYC, not even Dublin--celebrates the day quite the way they do in Butte! I've been looking forward to this year's festivities, mainly because we've got a gig there that night (see "Leaving the Back Row" in my sidebar). And there's a parade that I've both watched and participated in over the years. And there's a bit of beer drinking. And singing. And corned beef & cabbage. I generally have the first (8:00 AM) green beer out of the tap at O'Toole's in Helena, maybe a shot or two of Jameson's Irish Whiskey, and then head to Butte. Occasionally, I've had to actually work on that day, rather than go to Butte, so my O'Toole's stay isn't as long as I'd like. But as you can tell, it's always been a great day to look forward to. Add to that the possibility this year of getting to meet Lizabeth and her boy down in Butte, it's been a highly anticipated date on my calendar.

So I grab my mail today, and find a letter from Helena Justice Court. I don't even have to open it to know what it's going to say. I can feel it in my bones. When I open it to confirm the worst, there it was in black and white--I'm to report for jury duty at 8:45 AM on Thursday, March 17th. Happy St. Freakin' Patrick's Day! For those of you new to this blog, go here to read about my prior jury duty experience from January. I doubt that this will be anything that will make me miss the gig in the evening--it's less than an hour to Butte. But the parade will definitely be out. Unless I have a repeat of the last time, where the defendant didn't bother to show. I now have decisions to make. Should I dress in my finest greenery, or would that be considered biased against a non-Irish defendant? Should I just go in and declare the defendant guilty because they've thrown a monkey wrench into my day that I've been planning on for weeks? And the most important decision--how many green beers and shots can I have at O'Toole's before showing up to court?

Finally, a grammatical question--which is more correct? Freakin' or Friggin'? Or are they interchangeable?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Nashville Star

I'm flipping through channels, waiting for something decent to come on, and I end up watching "Nashville Star". Not something I would normally watch (I'm proud to say that I've never watched one second of "American Idol"). But, gosh darn it, Leann Rimes caught my eye....

On an unrelated historical note, I was front row center at one of her concerts about a year and a half ago. Got pictures, the autograph, and the eternal gratitude of the young lady I took to the concert. The girl has more talent than any of those wannabes in pop music, and her head screwed on a whole lot better! Now back to Nashville Star....

I only caught the last 20 minutes or so, but there was plenty to ponder. Primary question--if you're in Nashville, and you're producing a show called "Nashville Star", which is a show to find the next country superstar, why would you choose Bret Michaels as one of the judges? You remember Bret Michaels--not the wrestler, but the lead singer for the 90's heavy metal hair pop group Poison? Now I'm not putting down him or Poison--I admit that I like alot of their music. But couldn't they get Vince Gill or George Strait or Willie Nelson? Hell, even the guy who sings that deep bass voice with the Oak Ridge Boys would be a better choice. Someone who at least looks good in a cowboy hat!

The other thing that got me wondering--what was Burger King thinking when they came up with their latest commercial? The one with the Hootie (of the Blowfish) lookalike, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and the children of the cast of "Hee-Haw". Big hooters, long legs, and sexual innuendo all over the place. All to sell their tender crispy chicken cheddar ranch bacon double whatever. Have it your way--gotta love it!

Finally, I got to see the girl who ran offstage with no explanation. I'm assuming that having a NATIONAL TELEVISION AUDIENCE finally got to her, and she had to go toss her cookies. She showed up for the final curtain call, with a big smile on her face. A good puke will generally do that for you!