Saturday, February 28, 2009


Friday night free entertainment!

Last night Pat and I went to the local Senior Center after dinner to watch and listen to a jam session by the Washington (State) Old Time Fiddlers local branch. They do this twice a month here, on the 2nd and 4th Friday, although the 2nd Friday one is shorter in the music department as they also hold a business meeting first. This is kind of a practice session for them and they never know who all will show up to play, nor how many there will be in the audience. It was the second time for Pat and I and we've really enjoyed them both times.

I have a cousin in Sacramento, CA who plays a fiddle in a Blue Grass group. Ann & I were visiting them there over the 4th of July in 1995 when he hosted a bunch of musicians at a party at his home and we were part of it. Neither of us had ever followed that genre of music but we both enjoyed it and I find that Pat also enjoys Blue Grass. One of the guys that I walk with here in our park had told me about this group and we finally remembered to go listen to them last month. This month we had it on our schedule. There is a big week long show of Blue Grass music in a rural town not far from us and we could take the RV. Maybe.

They never know how many musicians will be there nor which ones it will be, and the same with the audience. It is a drop in kind of thing for both and goes from about 18:30 to 21:00 hours. Of course I have a few photos that I took and will post them here:

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Here are a few of the musicians and some of the audience. A large van that arrived from one of the local retirement centers brought a small bus load of their residents which swelled the attendance. I guess they are fairly regular attendees but were not there in January. Pat & I arrived early enough that we were seated in the third row but to the right of those in this photo.

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There are quite a few instruments represented. This photo shows a fiddle, harmonica and guitar- there were many of each but there are also some unusual things. One guy plays a washboard. Another plays a saw. With a violin bow (photo later.) A gal plays a little horse that she taps on a small wooden plank she sits on and it provides rhythm. Last month a guy had a galvanized steel wash tub that was upside down and had a single string attached to it's center that went to the top of a stick he held. It was plucked and gave rhythm. He seemed to be able to change it's sound by how much he pulled on the stick, making the string tighter or looser. There is a piano for certain songs. The daughter of this fiddle player in this photo also plays a fiddle, very well, but I understand that she cannot read music. Just hears something, then she can play it herself.

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This bass player was here this time but not in January. He stayed in one place as the bass would have been kind of hard to move around and I had a hard time getting a clear photo of him without someone from the audience or another musician getting between us. But this one came out pretty well.

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Here is a photo of some of the other musicians, including the saw player, sitting on the right. He also plays string instruments like a banjo and guitar. The washboard player is the guy in the cowboy hat sitting behind the guitar player in the center of the photo.

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Here's a closer view of the saw player. It provided a rather weird sound but it fit well with the other music. And he could actually carry a melody with it. It wasn't real loud so they had a microphone placed pretty close to it. I've heard of people playing a saw but this is the first time that I can remember actually seeing & hearing one played.

We will plan to go to these jam sessions on a pretty regular basis. I may even try using my camcorder to see if I can get something on tape along with the music. It is fun and the price is sure right. Free.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Greater Tuna

Yep, that is the name of the play we saw last Friday night at the local River Belle dinner theater. Greater Tuna. Tuna is a town in Texas with a population of something like 250. Here is the cover of the program:

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This is our third play to see there and it was very good. We are already planning to go to the next one called Drop Dead, Mar 20th to April 25th. They are presented only on Friday and Saturday nights. Our neighbors are going to go to this next one with us.Greater Tuna 01
Greater Tuna has only two actors who each play about ten different parts. Here is an early scene with the two starting out as newscasters on the local 225 watt radio station. They get about ten minutes into the news presentation when someone comes in to tell them they forgot to turn the main power switch on so they have not been broadcasting. See the main switch on the wall, set to "off"?

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I can't remember all of the characters names but I think this guy is the local Humane Society guy. He appears quite a bit during the play.

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This "lady" is the mother of a boy and twins, another boy and a girl. Most of the story kind of one way or another winds around these people.

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Here the Mother is with her daughter who is distraught over finding out that she has been turned down to be a cheer leader. Again. And it is her senior year so this is the last chance. And she has been turned down six other times before. Her twin brother is upset with her because she keeps trying to get into his jeans and splitting the seams on them as she is too big to fit.

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The Mother is being interviewed by a big city reporter for information about her committee that is trying to get certain books removed from the school libraries. Like the dictionary. It has some bad words in it, you know.

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Here the Mother is making a point to the interviewer. I just managed to catch a view of her between the silhouettes of two others in the audience who were in front of us.

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Both characters were expressive but this one was amazing in the looks he/she could get. I can't remember for sure just what this phone call was about but you would hear both sides of them as the other phone was on the other side of the stage.

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The Mother and another lady have gone to the funeral parlor to view the body of the Judge who died recently. He was quite a bad fellow it seems and they went mainly because they wanted to see him before his journey down to Hell was to begin.

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The Daughter in rare form.

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I think this fellow is the Father. We didn't see him much, twice and both times with his fiddle. He really can't play the fiddle. But he thinks that he can.

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The Reverend of the local church who is behind the ladies committee to ban all of the bad books, along with the Chairwoman of the committee. Quite the talker and of course he has a very high opinion of himself.

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The local Sheriff along with the older brother. The Judge had sent the older brother off to reform school in his youth for some pretty minor thing. Now later in the Judge's life, the older brother manages to inject some air bubbles into his blood system which is probably the reason he died. But no one except the older brother knows that.

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The younger brother. He is worried because his friend who is with the Humane Society has talked him into taking another dog, "Yippee." Yippee is so named because he barks all of the time. And the younger brother, who loves dogs, already has a herd of ten. Now eleven. Mother won't be happy.

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The two actors taking their final bows at the end of the play. I've done a very poor job here of trying to explain the play. There is a lot going on but it was very good to watch. Those actors were amazing. They played so many roles but never mixed up any lines. If you get the chance to go see Greater Tuna, do it.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Sam, the Koala

I have been exchanging email with Meow, a blogger friend from Melbourne, Australia, about the terrible fires they are having near there. This morning our local newspaper had a photo of a fire fighter there named David Tree who was sharing water from a bottle with a small Koala bear he found in some of the burned out areas. Meow sent me some other photos of other Koala's and a link to a U-Tube clip (5 min 42 sec) from a New Zealand TV station where they show a part of the clip of David and the Koala, who has been named Sam but then turned out to be female so I guess she is Samantha, and an interview the news anchor did with the firefighter. It is fascinating and well worth looking at. Here is a link to that clip on U-Tube.

Meow's blog is linked on my Blogroll, the one at the bottom, but she hasn't been keeping it up very faithfully, I guess she's been more active on Facebook than here.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Will Blogrolling come back?

I guess I have been tardy at updating things on my blog. Today I decided it was time to update some addresses that I have in my Blogroll, so tried to log onto their site. It seems they have taken it offline to change to a newer version and it sounds like it has been that way for a couple of months or longer. I don't know when or if it will come back, nor if it will be as a free service as in the past. Perhaps it is time for me to move to something different.

So, I am asking other Bloggers what are you using to list your contacts on your blog, in a form that allows those reading your blog to click on the listings and be taken there? I use Blogger so it does need to work there as I really don't want to try to change to another system at this point. Any suggestions?

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009


50 years ago today

50 years ago I was 15 years old and a fan of the new "Rock 'N Roll" music. One of my favorites was Buddy Holly, a guy only seven years older than me but already becoming famous in the music world, or at least in my music world. There isn't much about death that comes home to roost when you are 15, but that day one of those rare things happened. Very early that morning Buddy Holly, along with two other budding Rock 'N Rollers, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper, along with the 21 year old pilot of their chartered airplane, were killed when that plane crashed in an Iowa corn field just after takeoff. A few years later singer Don McLean released a song called, "American Pie," in which he came up with the phrase, "the day the music died." This was in reference to that plane crash and the deaths of these three early Rock 'N Rollers.

Much has been written over the years about these deaths and the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa where the last performance of these three occurred the evening of February 2nd. There was a large get together with some famous people last night to remember these three. I've done some looking online today and one of the nicest remembrances that I've found is in the Des Moines Register newspaper. It is a video that has been setup to play online and takes about 8 minutes and then there is a lot of other material there on their site to view, if interested. As long as you have a broad band connection, go check this video. It is great.

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