Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Xmas 2006 Pics (a)

A couple more Xmas pics to close out 2006. I'm not saying our three dogs are spoiled rotten, but they each have their own Christmas stocking. Alas, the concept of "each dog opens his own stocking" is lost upon them.

More Xmas 2006 Pics (b)

Jason, Whitney, and Preacher came over and opened presents with us on Christmas morning.

More Xmas 2006 Pics (c)

A nice photo of Jason and Preacher. Preacher is a huge pit/lab mix, but he's a lover, not a fighter. He wandered in to the towing company a year ago, bedraggled and cut up from apparently coming out on the losing end of a dogfight. He thinks his new life with Jason and Whitney is much better.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas at the Ludwigs -2006 (a)

2006 Christmas Day festivities at our house. 14 people and four dogs. The kids were extremely well-behaved the entire day. The dogs were reasonably well-behaved, except for Huxley and Jynx who got into a rip-roaring fight while opening their gifts, leaving a gash in Liz's arm.

Christmas at the Ludwigs -2006 (b)

Many thanks to everyone who came. Special kudos to all the cooks; the food was excellent! Lots more pics available. If I get ambitious, I'll post them on a stand-alone blog; but don't hold your breath. BTW, in the above pic, Bill is NOT poking his eyes out on the candles in the centerpiece. :-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

This week I read...

Rating : B- . A sequel in a prequel to Frank Herbert's "Dune" Trilogy. Written by his son Brian, and Kevin Anderson. Tell me, how do two authors write one story? Does one of them write the nouns, and the other one the verbs? Methinks Brian Herbert is here mostly so the family name is on the cover. As in any prequel, the main raison d'etre for this book is to line up everything for the original Dune episode. But the basic plot is the overused "humans versus machines" line. Gee, where have we seen that before? Terminator, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and so on. Is it now politically incorrect to slay any living beings? Can't anyone come up with a storyline that doesn't involve the evils of Artificial Intelligence? Literature-wise, this is "Dune Lite". Which is not necessarily a bad thing. "Dune" was an awesome book, but "Dune Messiah" and "Children Of Dune" were each a new level of tediousness and obscurity compared to their predecessors. Reading "CoD" was (for me at least) more of a labor than a pleasure. This decline in quality seems to be inherent in Trilogies. "Clan of the Cave Bear" is a masterpiece, interweaving a captivating storyline with a bunch of great archaeology. But its sequels go downhill quickly. "Valley of Horses" slowed to a crawl, and "The Mammoth Hunters" is nothing more than a 600-page Harlequin Romance set in caveman times. Pee-Yoo! And don't even get me started about Robert Jordan's "Dragon Reborn" series. We're on what, Book 11 now? And the plot hasn't progressed one bit since about Book 5. (But I will still buy and read the newest one - out just in time for Christmas). But back to Dune Battle of Corrin. Overall, it keeps one's interest despite the trite storyline. Papa Herbert's chapter-beginning quotes are better (and of course, more esoteric), but at least there's less mysticism and more action in DBoC. And none of the characters (including the Bots) are the essence of pure evil and/or pure good. So we'll give it a B-, and go dust-off and re-read Dune.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tribute To John Bolton

The promised song. Dedicated to that paragon of diplomacy and tact, and to be sung to the tune of "(The Wreck of) The Sloop John B", Beach Boys-style. "Oh I am the dupe John B, The preznit appointed me, Around UN Plaza I did roam; Spewing my spite, Prepared for a fight, (oh yeah) But I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all jeer, Call me a loser and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. All the UN, they hate my guts, They think I'm an ignorant putz, Cuz I wanna pack up their bags and send them all home; Dubya, I tried, Please don't cast me aside, (oh no) I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all jeer, Call me a butt-hole and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. Well the Congress got in a funk, They said the preznit's strategy stunk, Cuz he gave me the job after all of them had gone home; Senator Reid, He says I'll never succeed (oh no), I feel I screwed up, I wanna go home. So hoist up old John B's rear, See how the people all cheer, Call me a whack-job and more, let me go home; I wanna go home, Why don't you let me go home (oh yeah) This is the worst trip I've ever been on. (Repeat chorus)

UN Reaction

How the UN felt about my song to John Bolton...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Preparations (01)

Decorating for Christmas is divided 50:50 at our house. Liz spends 50 hours (literally) making sure that every square foot of the house (plus the back porch) has some sort of holiday decor. And I spend 50 minutes putting up a couple strands of lights outside on the front of the house, in "minimalist" fashion. The weeklong (for Liz) ritual ends with the putting up of the Christmas tree. Jason comes over and helps her decorate it. And Jynx stays out of the way (kinda) by staking out his territory under the tree.

Christmas Preparations (02)

And Honeybee and Huxley provide moral support by watching the tree-decorating from the nearby rocking chair.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bye Bye Bolton...

Another bozo leaves the Dubnutz regime. John Bolton stands out as a shining pile of sh*t even among all the other turd blossoms (Rove, Cheney, Wolfowicz, etc.). Dubnutz sent this idiot to the UN by means of some crafty maneuvering, knowing that even the Republican congress had serious misgivings about him. Now, with the Democrats coming to power in January, there's no chance at all that Bolton will ever get approved. We'll dedicate a song to this right-wing nut job. I'll post it shortly; I've still got a couple rhyming schemes to smooth out. The song I'm tweaking is... well, it should be obvious. Let's just say its a tune that both the Beach Boys and The Kingston Trio covered. Bye bye, Bolton. You won't be missed.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Culture Weekend

Most of the time, when I come into contact with culture, I treat it with penicillin until it goes away. But this past weekend, we actually (and willfully) went to see a play - a musical no less - at the Orpheum Theater. It was quite good. Of course, it helped that we had killer seats (Thanks, John & Jeri!) - 2nd Row, Center Stage. I could've spit into the orchestra pit, but Liz told me not to. No photography was allowed, so the above playbill cover will have to do. I won't rate it, because I'm prejudiced against musicals in general; to the point of where I sometimes embarrass Jason & Liz. This coming Friday, we're going to see André Rieu. More culture. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This weekend I watched...

The Lakehouse, starring Sandra Bullock & Keanu Reeves. We'll give this movie **** (out of 10*). It loses 5 stars automatically, cuz it's a chick-flick. But beyond that, one has to admit, it is rather entertaining. Bullock & Reeves make a good, romantic pair. Guys, the movie will suck you in at the beginning, due to the time anomaly of Keanu living in 2004, and Bullock living in 2006. Alas, just as you settle onto the couch, it becomes clear this is going to be long on the romance, and short on action and scientific curiosity. Of course, since I'm a time-traveler myself, I can tell you that the movie's depiction of this is not the way time/space-folding actually works. The cosmic builders do NOT put wormholes in mailboxes. My advice - watch this movie with your wife or GF (but not both at the same time) to score brownie points. It'll certainly hold your attention better than Under A Tuscan Sun or Love Story.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

This Week I Converted...

Another Classical Piano LP that I haven't seen available anywhere as a CD. Sergei Rachmaninov's "The Ampico Recordings - Volume 2". The tracks were originally recorded between 1919 and 1929 as "piano roll recordings". Decca then re-issued them on vinyl in 1979 and again in 1985. This is the 4th classical piano LP I've converted, and the best of the bunch so far. I don't know if I'm developing an ear for this genre, or if I'm just getting luckier each time. FWIW, the four artists I've converted & listened to thus far are : 01. Ignace Paderewski o2. Vladimir Horowitz 03. Russell Sherman 04. Sergei Rachmaninov I've been asked to convert another dozen or so classical piano albums, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Holidaze!

Happy Thanksgiving to all you turkeys out there! This decoration was given to us by the new lady on the cul-de-sac. Ostensibly, it was just a friendly, neighborly introduction. But between the lines, there was a bit of "I want you to have your own planet when you get to heaven" tripe. Sorry lady, I'm not into holy underwear. Still, it's a cute use of a pineapple, doncha think?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Catalina Island Blog !!

At long last, the pics of the Catalina Island Surprise Birthday Bash are up on a blog. You can see them at Or you can click on the "See my complete profile" link at the top of this blog, scroll down to the bottom, and click on the link there. A couple comments to those new to blogs. If you want to see a bigger version of any pic, just put your cursor on it (it should change into a white hand), and left-click. Also, please feel free to leave comments. Bloggers love them. The comment box is formatted to where anyone can write one. But if you choose the "anonymous" setting, please sign your name at the end of your comment so I know who visited the site. There is a "letter verification" box for all comments. This is to confound the computerized spam machines, not to make life difficult for you. Just type them in the box when you're done writing your comment. That's about it. For the record, I wasn't along for the bash, so some of my comments just might be made-up. Also, I may have gotten some of the names wrong; I apologize to any and all if I did.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ode to Ted Haggard

My my, another right-wing, gay-bashing, holier-than-thou televangelist gets exposed as a hypocrite and a liar. How do people fall for this malarkey? Oh well, we'll do him honor with a poem. Ted, this one's for you, sweet-cakes.
A fine tele-preacher named Haggard
Did meth with a gay till he staggered
He denied it at first
Then confessed with a burst
"I just wanna be Jimmy Swaggart!"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another Terlist! Jobs for RumDumb!!

Dear Donnie. I heard you resigned today. Which is a nice way of saying they canned your butt. I'm sure you will have a lot more free time on your hands, and given your limited IQ, you probably won't know what to do. Here's a couple things I've come up with. 01. Enlist. I'm sure you're aching to know what the troops in Iraq really think of you. What better way to find out than to enlist and volunteer for duty there? You'll get to see parts of Iraq you've never seen before - like places outside the Green Zone. Try not to get hit by friendly fire. 02. Become a guest commentator of Faux News. They'll love you there. They think (and I use that term loosely) just like you. 03. Become a contestant on Fear Factor. Oh, I have a great idea for this. Rummy gets water-boarded! After all, you don't think its torture - just a bit of discomfort. Let's see how you do. Try not to giggle when they're doing it to you. 04. Take some Night Classes. Maybe Criminal Justice 101. But something like Public Speaking 102 is a good choice too. See next suggestion. 05. Become a recluse. Because there's a lot of people that are going to want to question you. Under oath. Like the Senate. And the House. And the World Court. If you disappear, maybe they'll forget about you. But I doubt it. They'd all like for you to explain the above photo. In American Law, someone who aids a murderer carry out his killings is equally guilty. All for now, Rummy. No need to thank me. It was my pleasure.

Monday, November 06, 2006

27th Anniversary (a)

We celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary this past weekend. It was technically last Friday, but we knew we'd be too tired to go out then, so we went out Saturday night instead.

27th Anniversary (b)

Liz found this swanky (for Arizona) place in Tempe. On 7th Street, one block east of Mill Avenue.

27th Anniversary (c)

Almost all the tables were outside, which makes for a pleasant ambiance in early November. But I don't think I'd want to be there in the summer.

27th Anniversary (d)

Most of the entrées were $22-$26. For the two of us, plus an appetizer (fresh fruits, cheeses, and crackers), one bottle of wine, and 20% tip; the tab came to $130. Definitely a special-occasion only place, but we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Electronic Voting

It is estimated that 1/3 of the voting next Tuesday will be done electronically. This is dangerous, since the Repugnicans in power are fearing the worst, and this regime has shown that they're perfectly comfortable with doing unethical and illegal things like vote-fixing. Liz and I have opted for early voting by mail for years, so it doesn't really affect us. Various companies and individuals have demonstrated that skewing the electronic results is remarkably easy. Diebold, the maker of the electronic voting machines, claims that's just hogwash, without any evidence to disprove the hackers. And of course, the unasked question is : What if someone within Diebold wants to skew the results? Without a paper trail, about the only way to know if Diebold is compromising the votes is when Exit Polls don't match up with the "count". Curiously, this happened two years ago in some very critical Ohio precincts, when the fate of the Presidency came down to that state. Even more curious, there are several initiatives out there right now, demanding that those taking Exit Polls not be allowed within 100 feet of the polling places. Essentially, this destroys the integrity of the Exit Poll. One has to wonder why anyone would want to work so hard to do this. Go vote next Tuesday! It's time for a regime change, and it starts by removing the lackeys in Congress who have allowed Dubnutz to take away our constitutional rights. And pay close attention to how the Exit Polls and the "Count" correlate. Especially late in the night in some of the "up for grabs" districts.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I hope you spent the night in an oak grove, celebrating Samhain.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Catalina Island (Preview)

Pics of the Catalina Island shindig coming soon!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mash-Up Madness

Mash-Ups (sometimes one word : "Mashups") are a new musical art-form phenomenon. In a nutshell, the artist takes tracks from two separate bands and re-mixes two songs (one from each album) together, thus "mashing them up". If you go to and search for "Mashup" you'll find they carry 2 or 3 CD's in this genre. However, the most-famous mash-up is a combination of The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. An aspiring musician / techno-geek named Clayton Counts re-mixed the songs from these two albums, and distributed a few copies among his friends. He even got a couple radio interviews and one or two mentions in music magazines, due to this new art-form. The tracks are interesting, but unimpressive. By Clay's own admission, he did the whole job in about an hour. This isn't serious music; it's something you'll listen to for about 5 minutes when totally drunk (or otherwise) and say, "Weird. Now can we listen to actual songs?" However, that's not the way the goons at EMI Music (Capitol Records) saw it. They have brought suit against Clayton, wanting not only mega-$$$ for "lost revenue", but also demanding the identities and IP addresses of everyone to whom Clay sent a copy. Clay, being an aspiring musician, isn't worried about the money. EMI can take every cent he has, and it still wouldn't make it out of small-claims court. But he is refusing to turn over the names & IP addresses to the jerks at EMI. Support Clay and his fight against the EMI bastards! Boycott EMI and Capitol Records! You can google "Beachles" and/or "Clayton Counts" to read the full story and see what else you can do in this matter. The claim of "lost revenue" is bogus. This is "art" at best; "techno-geekery" at worst and the actions by EMI are nothing more than malicious bullying for no reason.

Monday, October 23, 2006

This Week I Converted...

Russell Sherman is a concert pianist of minor renown. He's famous enough to show up when you Google his name; but he's not big enough to be found in Wikipedia (yet). This LP was in somewhat bad shape. Lots of scratches had to be removed, many of them major. To boot, one Intermezzo on Side B had to be scrapped because it constantly skipped forward. Not much can be done about that. The old "penny on the tone-arm didn't work this time. That being said, we'll give this album ***** **½ (out of 10*). I like him better than Paderewski and Rubinstein. For the record (pun intended), Paganini wrote the original music; Brahms wrote variations of Paganini's themes; and Russell Sherman gives you his interpretations of Brahms' variations. Confused? Me too. Still, I haven't found this disc in CD form anywhere, so it was neat to bring this music back to life.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Jury Duty - US District Court

Yes, the Federal court wants Yours Truly to do his civic duty this month. Everyone should serve once on a jury, in order to build one's confidence in the judicial system. Ah, but I did this about 8 years ago. A monumentally boring 3-week (!!) 'breach of contract' civil case. So this time I was determined to do my best NOT to be picked. My (first) date to appear was this past Wednesday. The case might have proved interesting - (attempted) distribution of the sacred weed. And I was #10 on the jury list, which meant I'd be on the jury unless I did something to make them not want to take a chance on me. Which I did. This time, I used the "autistic psycho" posture. I simply stared at the wall across the room from me, refused to laugh when everyone else did (there were lots of opportunities for this), and answered the qualifying questions like I was giving a deposition. Flat monotone, with a minimum of details. (But no lies). It worked like a charm. They passed over me in favor of a bunch of schoolteacher types. Everyone was happy. The only catch is, I'm still 'on call' for the rest of the month, and have to call in every weekend to see if I have to report a second time. FWIW, the last time (the breach of contract case), I adopted a "know-it-all" posture, figuring one side or the other wouldn't want me and my (supposed) knowledge on the jury. Wrong strategy. The lady beside me took a "total idiot" posture and wasn't picked. I lost three work weeks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A TerPoem

This is for all my friends and colleagues who bought the Repuglicans "Contract With America" bullcrap. Holy Foley was a perv, Holy Foley had some nerve, Holy Foley wasn't wholly holy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Kate Wolf : Weaver of Visions (Anthology) ***** ***½ (out of 10*) A fabulously-talented folksinger and songwriter who died before her time in 1986 of leukemia. KW is in the same genre as, and influenced Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris. In fact, you'll find a KW song, "Across The Great Divide" on Nanci's "Other Voices" album. Unfortunately, she never had a commercial hit, which makes finding used LP's and/or new CD's by her very difficult. But Amazon has a decent selection, and her family has a website at Anthology is a double-CD, with a nice cross-section of (early) acoustic stuff, live tracks, and (later) bluegrass-picking songs. The music is honest and straightforward; but it's the lyrics that will stay with you. And if you're from Arizona, listen to the words of "Old Jerome", and you'll find that its about the ghost-town up by Cottonwood.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Yeah, the image above is "Volume 1". But actually I'm converting "Volume 5" from LP to CD for a friend, and there's no image available of this out-of-print album. This is classical piano. Paderewski playing Chopin, Debussy, Brahms, etc. Originally recorded in 1930, and then issued on an LP in 1981. The LP is in bad shape, and there's a noticeable "hiss" throughout the tracks. But I've figured out a way to remove the hiss, which makes my homemade CD of better quality than the LP. Paderewski is a fascinating person. In addition to being perhaps the most successful pianist ever, he was a leader in Poland's post-WW1 independence movement, and was her first Premier. Google him for more details. We'll give the album ***** ** (out of 10*), mostly because of the poor quality of the recording. If classical music from a lone piano isn't your schtick, then you won't like this. And although Paderewski misses a note here and there, it is a historical treat to hear the music of a long-dead (he passed away in 1941) genius.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

NCAA Football - Week 1 (Monster Cupcakes)

Week 1 NCAA football means one thing - big-name schools bringing in "cupcakes" to get kicked around in exchange for a lucrative payday. Most of the cupcakes rolled over and played dead (excuse the mixed metaphor) , but there were a few that forgot the script.
The winner of this year's "Monster Cupcake" award. A Big Sky school goes into Colorado and whomps the Buffalos. The "Honorable Mentions" include...
As mentioned below, it was 14-14 after three quarters. Don't look for the Sun Devils to make this a year-after-year rivalry.
Oklahoma narrowly avoids an opening-week upset for the 2nd straight year. Not a good sign for Sooner fans.
Yeah I know, Army sucks again. But they should at least be able to beat Arkansas State.
Lehigh is a traditional doormat football team, but they have been good (relatively) the past couple seasons. Alas, this year it looks like its "back to tradition".

Friday, September 01, 2006

ASU 35 - NAU 14

NCAA football has started! #24 Arizona State won by a convincing score of 35-14 over Division II-A Northern Arizona. So why are we worried? Well first of all, NAU was only 3-8 last year. Hardly a powerhouse even in their own conference. Second of all, the problem areas for ASU last year - scoring defense, the defensice secondary, and the rushing game (particularly the short-yardage rushing) all looked bad in this game. After three quarters, it was 14-14. Hardly a statement-game by ASU. Most bizarre play was by NAU. On 4th-and-27, from their own 2-yard line, they elected to run a fake punt. It gained two yards. ASU then took over, first and goal, at the 4 yard line. And after 4 rushes, they still hadn't scored. Against NAU. What's going to happen whern we play USC?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ACLU comes thru for you !!

Sadly, this pretty much sums up Dubya's attitude towards your Constitutional rights as an American citizen. The #1 watchdog defender of you and your rights is the ACLU. Join today and get involved!

Monday, August 21, 2006

This Weekend We Saw...

Pirates Of The Caribbean 2 Rating : ***** **½ (out of 10*) If you liked POTC1, you'll like this sequel. Same humor, same action, same characters. Plus a couple new ones - Davey Jones, Will's father, a voodoo queen, etc. There's a couple of new protagonists - the English commander chasing Jack Sparrow is more evil, and less humorous. There's too much sailing back and forth, but that was true of POTC1 as well. So what's not to like? Well, essentially there's no plot and no conclusion. This movie exists to force you to go see POTC3, presumably next year. There is absolutely nothing resolved here. Still, you get your money's worth, both in entertainment, and sheer length of the film. And the popcorn was good, too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Back From Portland!

5 lovely days of gray clouds and cool temperatures. And a great guide and navigator (hi Donna!) to show us the sights. Plus one killer waterfalls. More pics to follow.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The (Revised) World Cup Winner Will Be...

Well my longshot, The Netherlands, tanked. We can whine about 16 yellows and four reds, but the bottom line is - the Dutch never played with any energy and emotion. So now its France vs. Italy. And we'll go with - FRANCE 1, ITALY 0. In the first overtime. Hey, anyone who can beat Brazil (and outplay them too) gets my vote.

Ludwig Family Pix

All vintage Ludwig family pictures have been moved to their own blogsite at New ones will be added as I get them scanned. Generally, they'll be there for about 30 days. Any information on them, especially of the "who - what - where - when - why" variety, is appreciated.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The World Cup Winner will be...

The World Cup starts tomorrow!! That's "football" for everyone outside of the USA and "soccer" for us Yanks. Who will win it all? Well, the best team in the world is Brazil, and the host country always does well, which is Germany. So we'll go with those two to make it to the Semifinals along with Italy and the Netherlands. The USA (over-rated) won't make it out of the first round. And France is too old, so they might make it to the 2nd round, but not to the semi's. And the winner will be... The Netherlands! What the heck, they're a fun team to watch. No thought of defense; just attack, attack, attack. Kinda like the Phoenix Suns. And no, I haven't looked at the detailed pairing, so if this foursome isn't mathematically possible, don't give me any grief. Others with a good chance to be there at the end : England (only if Wayne Rooney recovers miraculously quickly from his injury), and Argentina. But South American teams don't win World Cups in Europe (not even Pelé's teams), so Holland it is.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This Weekend I Watched...

Eye Of The Beholder Rating : (out of 10*) There is a reason this was going for $5 in the bargain bin. It's a stinker. We'll give it 1* for Ashley Judd showing a little T&A; and a half-star for a promising beginning that sucked me into watching the whole movie. It was all downhill after that. Those who liked this flic say if you watch it 3 or 4 times, then it gets very good. Yeah yeah. They said that about Pulp Fiction, which is what this movie reminds me of. Folks, if you have to watch a movie 3 or 4 times to get something out of it, IT'S A PIECE OF CRAP! The plot stagnates, the ending royally blows, and none of the loose ends are tied up. Watch this at your own folly; but don't blame me if you come away feeling like you were cheated out of two quality hours of your life.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The debut of Darkness Dear Boy!!

The DDB coming-out gig. Playing to a packed house at Hollywood Alley. UPDATE : Additional pics now available at a sister blog. Access it by clicking on "View My Complete Profile" (at the upper left of this blog, then scrolling to the bottom of the profile) or this link :

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Darkness Dear Boy - Friday Night !!

Pigeon has evolved into Darkness Dear Boy. Their first gig is this coming Friday, 26 May, at Hollywood Alley, 2610 West Baseline Road, Mesa Arizona. That's one block east of the 101. They start at 8:30 PM. Be there or be sqaure.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Terlist : 5 New Things I Learned When 'Almost' Going To A Wolfmother Concert

Wolfmother was in town the other night. At a small dive called "The Clubhouse Venue" in Tempe. On a weeknight, but at a reasonable hour. For $12. I thought I'd go down, hear a few songs, snap a few jpegs, and be home and in bed by the 10 o'clock news. Wrong-o.


01. There is no such thing as a "seat" at a small-time rock concert in a small-time venue. Except at the bar, and those obviously aren't reserved seats. You can stand. You can pogo. You can mosh. You can do the twist. You can whatever. Except sit. 02. Just because no other band is listed, doesn't mean there is no other band. "(Something-or-other) Parchment" opened for WM. Normally, that's okay. But it was Tuesday night, 7:00 PM, and I didn't particularly want to stay up half the night. So a surprise warm-up band was bad news. 03. Just because the promo says the concert will start at 7:00 PM, doesn't mean the concert will start at 7:00 PM. In fact, the doors weren't even open at 7:00 PM. In fact, the doors weren't even open at 7:30 PM. So you stood in an unmoving line outside. In 100°F weather. But it's a DRY heat. 04. Just because it's a small-time band trying to become famous, doesn't mean you can take pictures. Indeed, around 7:30, a goon walked outside and in a loud voice announced, "THERE VILL BE NO PHOTOS ALLOWED! VE VILL CONFISCATE ANY AND ALL CAMERAS THAT VE FIND!" Folks, the invention of the cell-phone camera makes this stupid policy outdated. What are they gonna do, confiscate all cell-phones too?! Dear WolfMother, you can use all the publicity you can get. Even amateurish photos on a blog. 05. Stick to "oldie" concerts, such as Don Williams @ The Celebrity Theater. We saw him last fall. Photos were allowed; they simply asked that you not use flash. And of course, at the Celebrity, you all have seats, and they're all GOOD SEATS. So at 7:30 PM, realizing that WolfMother wasn't even gonna start playing until 9:00 PM at the earliest, I gave the goon the finger, said 'screw this concert', and went home. Ah well, at least I hadn't shelled out my $12 yet.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Barclay James Harvest : "Everyone Is Everybody Else" (1974) ***** **** (out of 10*). Actually I've been listening to all sorts of BJH albums. From the mid 70's thru the mid-80's. They went thru some significant changes. Mid-70's BJH is good prog rock. Great guitar licks, superb anti-war lyrics, coupled with some very nice instrumental arrangements. EIEE and their live album from the same year are perfect examples of this. In the late 70's they morphed into a "Poor Man's Moody Blues". Less progressive, less rock, but still passably okay. The lyrics-writing remained outstanding. In the early 80's they morphed again, this time to a "Steely Dan" wannabee band. Yuck!! Steely Dan is one of my five most overrated bands of all time. A wannabee SD band is even worse. The downward spiral continues into the mid-80's when albums like Victims Of Circumstance make them sound like a lounge band. Somebody fire their manager, please! BJH is still around today. But like the Strawbs, trying to find any of their recent albums is next to impossible. Stick with their 1970's releases. They're fantastic!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Blackmore's Night - Village Lanterne (2006) ***** ***** (out of 10*) The trouble with most Renaissance-style music is that it gets quite samey after about 10 minutes. Not so here. Ritchie Blackmore and Candice Night have mixed in some pop, some folk, some blues, and some old 'Deep Purple' and 'Rainbow' guitar. But the core of this CD is Medieval music. In this age when any amateur can become the next "Idol", it is refreshing to hear an accomplished singer and a guitar virtuoso strut their stuff. Oh, and the lyrics and arrangements are also awesome. Every track is a masterpiece.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Phoenix Pride Parade

Went to see this last weekend. Very fun, very bizarre. Got a whole bunch of great pics, which I'll post on a separate blog, so check back in a couple days. 04/08/06 UPDATE : The Pride Parade blog is up and running! You can click on this link : or else get to it thru the "View My Complete Profile" link at the upper-left of this blog and then scroll down to the bottom of the profile. No, this is not a 'coming out' thing by me. Nor by Liz. Yes, I am a strong proponent of gay rights.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

This Weekend I Saw...

V for Vendetta. Rating : ***** ***** (out of 10*). If you like books/movies such as Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World and 1984, you're going to love this movie. It's set in London, but has major relevance to the USA as well. No reason to give away anything about the plot, except to say there's one scene where you get to see my favorite painting - 'The Betrothal of the Arnolfini'. If you aren't familiar with this masterpiece, see my final Photoshop project (below). I really can't think of anything wrong with this movie. And you can be pretty certain that Tony Bliar and Dubnutz don't want you to see this one. Oh yeah, 'Pirates of the Caribbean 2' is coming out this summer. It'll probably be the next movie I go see in a theater.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

Massive Attack : "Mezzanine". (1998) Rating : ***** *½ (out of 10*) The group (and album) that spawned a new music genre : "Trip Hop". Nice, moody, carefully-arranged tracks. The third cut, "Teardrop", was deservedly featured on a recent Cold Case episode. However, the mixing leaves a bit to be desired. Sometimes the music volume is just too low. So you crank it up, only to be blasted when the music switches into a louder mode. The vocals are similarly up-&-down. Still, this is definitely an album worth listening to. To quote Jason, "Good from beginning to end".

Thursday, March 09, 2006

This Week I'm Listening To...

EPICA : THE PHANTOM AGONY. Rating : ***** *** (out of 10*) Another fine European Goth Metal band, this time out of Holland. Yeah, there's the standard female lead singer, and the grunting male vocalist. But what makes this band worth listening to is their excellent operatic arrangements. If you like Within Temptation, Nightwish, and Ashtar (and Ashtar and Epica played at least one venue together last year); you'll love Epica. Tell your folks that you're finally getting into Opera.