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Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Gift Of Music & Memories

 Yesterday, Al, Terry and I went up to Lakewood to check out the piano player at the Waterbury Tavern.  An old friend of mine from Stompin', Gerry Keating, sings there on Wednesday nights.  We each got to sing with the piano player.
His name is Michael and he is superb!!  One of the best guys I've ever sung with!  He's young too, maybe in his 40s if I had to venture a guess.  Lovely person!

I sang Embraceable You, I Don't Know Why, Fly Me To The Moon and Someone To Watch Over Me.  I cried during that one.  Michael followed me and also challenged me by modulating during a few of the songs.  Wow!

Gerry called another old friend, a guy I gigged with for years, Steve Samuel, and he came over with his clarinet. It was great to see him and hear him play.  He's a very fine reed player! He complimented me on my singing and said I had so much depth, command and emotion.  I did feel like saying I've been at this for a while so I would hope I'd improve!  But the words were indeed welcomed and I'm grateful for them.

I told him I had been learning the ukulele.  Long story short, he had an old uke that he had purloined from a school he taught (it had never been inventoried) and wanted me to have it.

Eulalie, Ka'mea, the baritone & Adelaide
Are you kidding?  Sure!  He doesn't play it and he's had it for years.  We went to his apartment and he hauled out a BARITONE ukulele!  Hell yeah!

So I brought her home to meet the other ukes.
Today I took her to Pekar Music and sadly, she's in really bad shape.  Her top is coming off, her bridge is coming unglued, the neck is warping and beginning to crack.  It would cost as much as buying a new baritone uke with a pickup as if would to fix her.  Even then it would be a temporary fix.  I was wondering about the bridge, frankly.  

So even though she can barely be played, she can hang on our wall, in a place of honor, remembering good times and a generous musician friend.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Yesterday's Medical Adventures

I don't know why I went to the damn ER with chest pains yesterday; nothing wrong with me other being a PITA! They admitted me which pissed me off to no end.
I'm home. All is well.  
I do have a heart, I saw it on the ultrasound and my stress test was actually good. I did 6 minutes with a bpi of 160 on a 10% incline at about 15 minute mile rate.  
A friend of mine, Terri, brought me a coloring book. (She was down in the ER with Kim, who had taken me to the ER earlier that day.)That coloring book made me laugh!  
"Here are colored pencils. It doesn't matter what color they are, you can't see them anyway!"
Weird set of circumstances: my room-mate had major health issues and last night I ended up holding her hand and comforting HER! LOL! Who-a thunk? This morning, she was bemoaning the fact that she felt so shitty. "Maybe it's the drugs."
"Uh, you mean the prescriptions you're on? Or something else?" (I'm such a Nosy Parker!)
"Yeah, it's probably the heroin."  
"How long have you been off of it?"
"About 21 days." Well, sh*t, Ya think??  I mean, I felt bad that she was in such a state with about six things wrong with her but when I found out she was an addict, my sympathy level as to why she was in such a state went down a few notches. OK, call me bad.
The first thing that came into my head was I wished Megan could have been there, with her mouth duct-taped shut to hear everything that was wrong with that lady. I doubt it would have made a difference.  
I was reassuring, that with her Higher Power's help, she could stay clean. I guess my first clue that something might not be all Kosher was that her husband was in jail. I didn't ask what for, of course.
I will say this; those nurses treated her exactly the same way they treated me; with kindness and compassion. So all that b.s. that Megan spouts about being treated like a second class citizen makes me doubt her statements and claims. My guess would be that Megan didn't shut the fk up and let the medical folks do their job; that she tried to quarter-back it all. Also, it makes me question highly as to WHY she feels the way she does and ends up in the ER to begin with. Now I think it's drugs that are the main culprits. Stupid, stupid, stupid girl.
The bottom line is I'm OK. It's all good. People are saying it was good that i went but I feel rather dopey for going in the first place.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Musical Palm-Slap To Head "Doe!!"

Musical/Musician Friends
From the "Doe!!" palm-slap to forehead department:
You want to sing something in the key of B (who does that, except crazy people?) and play it on the ukulele too? Then you look at the chords and think "Satan invented those."
Your first thought is "play it in A and capo it up two frets, right?" Ah, but you would be thinking like a guitar player (Todd, Laurie I'm talkin' to you!). The key of A (for jazzier stuff) is another horrendous key on the uke. C, F and G are your "friendly" keys!
Then (thank you Dan my teacher) you figure it out....tune the damn ukulele down a damn half-step. This is where my music theory failed me (I had help, thank you, Dan!). So for the first time, I tuned the uke to a different tuning. Instead of G. C. E. A it became Gb, B, Eb, Ab. I needed the keyboard for that. (Boris, you can stop laughing now, OK?)
And, voila! "Smile" in Madeleine Peyroux's key. I shall practice it and play it for you all.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Stuck In My Head


Did you ever get a song stuck in your head and try as you might, you could NOT get that sucker out? Pretty terrible and rather annoying, right? Now, multiply that by ten or more and you have "I'm Called Little Buttercup."

(“Gaaaaacckkkk!” Picture a cat hoarfing up a hair ball.  You get the picture.)

Let me preface this by admitting that I am NOT a G&S fan. (Gilbert and Sullivan, to the less initiated). The only play of theirs I like is “The Mikado,” and only once every twenty years. Yes, I understand their importance is the history of operetta/the beginning of musical theater. But I also understand Wagnar's place in opera too. It doesn't mean I like Wagnar unless Elmer Fudd is singing "Kill Da Wabbit" or, "Oh Bwunhilde, you're so wove-wy."

I digress.

Of all the antiquated stuff that G&S ever wrote, "I'm Called Little Buttercup" has to be my absolute LEAST favorite. I detest it. Having to sing/record it at the behest of an old friend, even in the Mrs. Miller-esque vein, really got my musical goat. Rather like a 19th century “Achy Breaky Heart.”  Primarily because it ain’t anywhere NEAR any key that I normally sing in. I’m an alto for those of you who haven’t heard me sing.  Ergo, what is a embarrassing vocal struggle becomes parody.

And as it turns out, after three hours of trying to record the damn thing (another aggravating, tear-inducing story entirely), it's probably not “good” enough. Most likely because, of course, the director of said play (where this is background music) wants it live.  Backstage, singing it live. Unpaid. Of course. The woman who was supposed to do this got sick.  I am sorry if she isn’t well enough to do this for however many weekends this play goes up, of course.  I hope it’s nothing serious, poor lady. But to my mind, singing this for free would MAKE me sick.

Thanks for nothing. Except for getting it stuck in my head. Stuck so badly that it echoed during my gig last night where I WAS getting paid to be on my game.

Although, to be fair, in a comic vein it just SCREAMS parody. It cries out for parody. It begs for it.
"I've snuff and tabacky and excellent jacky" just calls for "I'll give you a smacky and wacky tabacky," doesn't it?

"And excellent peppermint drops" begs for, "And excellent peppermint schnapps."  Perhaps I need to record a verbal parody, terribly sung.  No, I just want to get this sucker out of my head. Please, make it go away.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Rants 1, 2 and 3 From a Pedestrian's Point Of View

#1 Rant for today: To the two idiotic, cheap, selfish side-by-side neighbors on Graham Rd. between 9th and 13th, south side. Your driveways are not a luge run. People actually do WALK on that section of Graham Rd. How is it possible in a 3 mile stretch, you two are the only jerks who didn't shovel or salt your damn sidewalks and driveways? And don't rely on the sun to de-ice you; you'll get afternoon sun in about, oh, maybe April. I slid down your damn sidewalk and almost ended IN Graham Rd. Stupid butt-heads --- you are lucky I'm just banged up and bruised. I hope you can't get up your driveways! I hope somebody decides to go after your two sorry butts. It won't be me; I don't have the time. Thanks for nothing, you jack-wipes!
On a positive note, the trip was worth the fall. I found what I needed for our upcoming murder mystery Feb. 13-14th at Quail Hollow performed by 1MobInc

#2 Not everyone in your little universe drives a stinkin' car. Some folks walk or ride bikes.
#3 That little lever on the left hand side of your steering column is called a TURN SIGNAL. It's there for a reason. It's not for decoration. Start using the damn thing.
I'm tired of strangers, friends and loved ones who either don't use it at all or think it's kind a random, optional thing. "Oh, I'm in the left hand turn lane, therefore everyone should know I'm turning left." Right. The way people drive today, that's not a given! If I were Queen, I would make it a law that you have to use that thing AT THE TIME! Indicate, indicate, indicate where the heck you are going. It's lazy, inconsiderate people like you that get people like me killed or injured, whether we are on foot or on a bike.
Bring back Driver's Ed; it seems like the grown-ups need a refresher course.

On a note about Rant #1: Here's the deal and why I don't have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the 2 driveway people.
First of all, this is NE Ohio. We get snow and ice in the winter. Fact. It's not like it's some random weird weather occurrence as though we lived in Texas or someplace that does not get a lot of snow and/or ice.

Second: If you can't salt or shovel, and you go to church, put it out to the parish that you need help. If you have money, there are people who shovel and salt driveways in trucks. There are the Boy Scouts, Volunteers of America, and other orgs that will do stuff like that for shut-ins or the elderly. We don't live in some extremely rural area,like the northern pine woods of Maine or Alaska. We live in a CITY, ergo there are a ton or orgs to help out elderly or shut-ins with just this kind of stuff. And it's TWO driveways not one. One I get. Two I don't. The next person that falls there could sue these people and they could lose their houses. It just wasn't the sidewalk; that I get, kind of. Our city does not require you to salt your sidewalks. It was the whole driveway of both houses all the way down to the street. After I got up, I had to walk almost up to the houses themselves to avoid it. If that makes me an unsympathetic person, than so be it. Some truly elderly or disabled person that has to walk that way to catch a bus (and there is a bus stop about 100 yards down the street) or go the store will hurt themselves. I'm not worried about me. I'm tough; but somebody else could bust a hip.