December 17, 2014

Something to keep in mind as you do your holiday shopping

The Wiz is right. Simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. The Hymn of Acxiom by Vienna Teng.

You can read the lyrics here, or read them as they appear on the video.

Here's a crowd-sourced version.

In other news, check out Vienna Tang's other stuff.

December 16, 2014

Long live Mr. Bennet

Happy 239th birthday, Jane Austen. #MrBennetRules!

I had the privilege of championing the cause of Mr. Bennet for an international audience on the BBC World Book Club radio show in January 2013. I come on the scene at 10:00.

And, for your dining and dancing pleasure, a sampling of the interaction between Mr and Mrs Bennet.

December 11, 2014

Surfin' Bird

Somehow I missed this in 1963. #ItsNeverTooLate #OnActualTV #AmericanBandstand

December 10, 2014

Putting the Em in Emily

Happy 184th Birthday Emily Dickinson.

I suspect that Ms. Dickinson was called Emily because of her obsession with the em dash. Or was it the other way around?

December 8, 2014

Misty Mountain Wonderland

More Christmas goodness. The Woman hates this song, but it's one of my favorites. #FlemingAndJohn #ZepAndFred #BabyBabyBabyDoYouLikeIt?

December 7, 2014

Have a Wunderfool Christmas

Here's a Christmas song you may not have heard before for your dining and dancing pleasure.

Download the full album for free.

As you watch movies this Christmas

Don't forget that Alfalfa in "Our Gang" = Guy who opens the gym/pool floor in "It's a Wonderful Life" = Freckle-faced Haynes the dog-faced boy in "White Christmas."


First sighting at 0:40.

Freckle-faced Haynes the dog-faced boy

October 4, 2014

The novelist as a sports star

Sometimes, late at night on the deck, I will write a particularly tasty passage and wish I had somebody to read it to right then. I’ll even read it back to myself out loud and say, “Now that’s some good writing, right there. Top shelf!”

Blake Atwood reminded me of this Monty Python sketch, one of my favorites.

I have often reflected on how weird it is for some professions to not only be done as thousands or millions of people watch (sports, music, acting) but even weirder that some are subjected to endless analysis and discussion.

Consider the pre-game/post-game shows for football and other sports. These things occur before/after every single game for the entire season, hours and hours spent dissecting every player and play, their past performance, their future prospects. The only other profession that comes close is the politician.

Imagine if we did the same thing for musicians. What if every stop on a rock star’s tour was televised, with instant replays of especially tasty passages, and post-concert analysis of the bands performance were dissected and analyzed, compared to the last ten concerts, and compared to stats and abilities of the other national rock stars in their conference or league?

This video spoofs that kind of thing for novelists.

September 25, 2014

Jamming with Julie and Buddy Miller in 1982

I finally got around to digitizing a box of old cassettes and found this little gem recorded with Julie and Buddy Miller. It's not a great song. In fact, it's unequivocally lame, but on this night 32 years ago it was my newest effort. I like to think my songwriting has improved since then.

In 1981, Julie Griffin left her band in NY and returned to Waco, TX, where I met her through a common friend. When my band played a gig at the fair, Julie played 3 songs to open for us.

Several months later, Buddy Miller came down to Texas looking for his lead singer and girlfriend. In January of 1982, Julie and Buddy invited my family over for dinner and afterward we broke out the guitars and swapped songs. I hit record on a jambox before we started.

I don't have the rights to post the recordings of their material, which included How Could You Say No, but I can post one of the songs I wrote that they sat in on, Julie singing background vocals with my wife, and Buddy playing lead guitar.

And also the fun part—some interaction from the Number One Son on the front end.

September 7, 2014

Y59 R 130C B03 27038

Then the lights on the ceiling fan went out and somebody had to figure it out, so I pulled the light kit off. No apparent problem. I called in The Helpful Neighbor, who has a tester and, more importantly, the brains to use it. We determined that power was coming into the unit.

The puzzler is that there is very little that can fail in this system. The only thing between the wall switch and the light bulbs is wire and a $3 pull switch, and the switch tested just fine.

After an inordinate amount of troubleshooting, The Helpful Neighbor noticed a component about half the size of my little fingernail buried among the wires. We speculated on its purpose, since you don’t really need electronics to run a light. I suggested that it was planted by the NSA to spy on us.

Before we bypassed it to see if it was the point of failure, I decided to Google ‘y59 r 130c b03 27038’ to make sure we wouldn't regret it. It took us several minutes to recover from reading the link at the top of the search results.