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Pointy Bird on Google Memory, ScienceTim on guitars

[Blogger on vacation, boodlers have the run of the place. Hilarity ensues.]

Google Memory

By Pointy Bird (a lurker)

Watching the World Cup final (pre-headbutt), the appearance of Italian player Luca Toni brought several things to mind:

1. Only having heard his name spoken by the announcers, I thought his LAST name was Lucatoni, which also sounds like a delicious type of pasta. But then, so does spermaceti. (Scholars are still looking for Herman Melville's lost recipe for spermaceti carbonara.)

2. "Luca" was the name of an overly amorous Italian I met at a nightclub while studying abroad in Dublin (let's say I was studying step dancing and Guinness). Wouldn't that be a much cooler story if I had met Luca Toni, overly amorous world-class soccer player, while at a nightclub in Dublin while studying abroad?

3. What if it WAS Luca Toni?

4. Nope, he's too tall.

5. Google Memory!

(Go ahead. "6. Huh?")

Just picture it: you're trying to remember that high school classmate, that picnic by the lake a few years ago, but you can barely remember what high school you went to. Just type in "Joe Smith" and see what Google Memory can find in your brain! Google Memory that ex and remember every romantic moment, every charming foible, and the exact moment when the foibles stopped being charming. Look at mental snapshots of that favorite beach your family went to every summer. Find that snappy comeback you had ten minutes too late for the class bully. The possibilities are only as limited as your cerebral cortex!

With Google Memory, I could figure out what exactly little Luca shouted seductively in my ear in that Dublin nightclub, and realize I missed the perfect opportunity to make him go away with a well-placed head butt.

Guitar lessons

By ScienceTim

Had my first guitar lesson recently. My teacher, a cheerful guy in a Hawaiian shirt, hit me with the big question: "What kind of guitar do you want to play?" Devious villain. Straight to the core of my existential torment. What kind of guitar should I play? What kind of guitarist should I be? Studious classical purist? Freewheeling freaky folkie? Or the Big One: rock and roll guitar hero?

I panicked, and went for classical. It sounds serious-minded and professional. Noble, yet deferential to my forebears. Music for brown-nosing.

No matter what style guitar I come to play, careful observation has revealed one thing: all serious guitarists of the classical, folkie, or heroic types, all have pretty long hair. Bluesmen may have a crew cut or be bald, but I just don't feel qualified to play the blues. My baby has not done left me, nor is she doing me wrong. She has confirmed this. Therefore, I've been growing my hair. Samson-like, my hair will be my strength. I hope I don't meet any duplicitous hot babe Philistines, though; it could create problems. Not that all Philistines are duplicitous , or hot babes, you understand. Just a subset. Anyway, my wife would totally freak. She might take back her guitar.

I'm not expecting instant results, of course. It may take upwards of three or four lessons before I get a paying gig. I'm confident on the subject of vibrating strings and so forth, since I've got a PhD in physics. I just need to work out

some minutiae of frets, rhythm, musicality. Stuff like that.

Unfortunately, I discovered in my lesson that the MSM (Main Stream Musicians) have created obstacles to the musical development of scientifically-oriented persons like myself. My teacher insisted on terms like "notes," and "clefs," and "staffs" (staves?), and on and on. Every Good Boy Deserves Favor. Empty Garbage Before Dead Freaks (good thing I didn't choose freewheeling freaky folkie!). Evil Greedy Bastards Devour Finances. Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes. Half notes with dots to make them one-and-a-half length. A note named G, and another note named G, and more notes named G, but they're not the same note, or maybe they are, but they're not the same tone. Perhaps that's why there aren't more physicist/virtuosos except, of course, for super-genius guys like Einstein (violin), Planck (violin and piano), or Boltzmann (polka accordion). Feynman had his bongos. The technical record shows that Oppenheimer often played harmonica during late nights at the uranium separator, irritating Leo Szilard (zither) to no end. Those guys were several cuts above the ordinary, however.

This system is absurdly antique for modern times. Apparently, the MSM are not aware that we live in a digital era. I plan to employ a logarithmic system, with decibels and magnitudes and so forth. Something that makes sense. It will be a pain to translate music from the old-fashioned notation into something better. It might be better just to compose a lot of new stuff. Either way, that's the sort of struggle that I'm willing to undertake, for you, my eventually loyal and richly-paying fans. Look for my first album, coming out any day now. I'll let you know which musical genre it's filed under, as soon as I discover what style I'll play, which depends on how long my hair will grow.

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 21, 2006; 6:10 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: CowTown and RD Padouk: Handy Guys
Next: From the Archives: Weighty Summer Reading


Good luck with all that, SciTim. I'll buy your album. I won't understand it, but I'll buy it.

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2006 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Staves??? Long hair??? Plucking a string-ed instrument?? SciTim just needs some breeches and a tunic, methinks...

*gratuitous Warner Bros. cartoon flashback*

AHA! En Garde! Dodge! Parry! Spin! Thrust!! *WHACK*

Hmmm, sumtin' amiss here... *reviewing* Aha, en garde, dodge, parry, spin, thrust. *whack* Ah, got it!!

AHAAA!! En Garde! Dodge! Parry! Spin! *SPLASH*


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2006 7:39 AM | Report abuse

PointyBird - I love the idea of google memory. Although I am afraid that I would spend so much time "surfing" through certain college weekends that I would never get any work done.

SciTim: I play the piano and agree that MSM have developed their own secret writing. I tried once to "improve" it, but just ended up making it worse. I encourage you to keep up with the guitar. There seems to be some intellectual synergy between science and music. Since you are clearly so good at the former, I am sure you will be great at the latter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | July 21, 2006 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I've never been able to read music to save my life...

Played the piano and trombone by ear, memorizing the melody. Worked OK until I got to "Flight of the Bumblebee."


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2006 7:51 AM | Report abuse

It's not just Google we've come to expect in life, but also Tivo.

Don't you want to rewind real life a few seconds sometimes when you miss something someone said or catch something out of the corner of your eye?

Where's that darn << button?

Posted by: TBG | July 21, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I would love Google memory, I used to have a great memory and still do in some ways but age is beginning to cause little pauses, short term memory lapses.

TBG instant replay would be good, so would fast forward, in my case hit the fast forward button and my packing/move would be do.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

SCC move would be done

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Hi there, Pointy Bird!

I was watching the World Cup final with my family (Forza Italy!), and when the announcers said "Luca Toni", we all looked at each other and said "Luca Brazi". And riffed for 5 minutes on "may their first child be a masculine child." Fortunately, none of us brought up that old Suzanne Vega song.

SciTim, I am the world's worst guitarist, naturally self taught. I have three or four lying around, a couple of acoustics and a black Gibson SG I bought new 20 years ago (when I had Peter Frampton-class hair, I should add). Haven't touched any of them so far this century. If you do decide to experiment with electric blues or plain old three chord rock, you're welcome to borrow the Gibson.

But what the girls *really* dig are Flamenco players. This gives you an excuse to live as a starving artist in Southern Spain for awhile to learn at the feet of the Masters and Pay Yer Dues. Girls find that Romantic, too.

Note: U2 started playing original music because they didn't have the skills to do covers.

Why not play styles that reflect your hair length as it changes (and challenge you as an Artist)? First, shave your head and do a punk album, then a blues set while your hair is shorter (though Steven Segal is playing blues in his ponytail, isn't he?), Classical and Flamenco while your hair's sholuder length, then 80's throwback Metal in full Hair Band regalia (I want an autographed pic of you in the fishnet stockings, the kabuki makeup, and a gravity-defying meter-wide Aqua Net halo), a reggae album with your hair in dreadlocks, and finally Psychedelic Jam when you've reached Cousin It stage. Look, I've just planned out your career.


Posted by: bc | July 21, 2006 8:37 AM | Report abuse

bc you weren't kidding when you said you plan things out. :)

SciTim good luck with the guitar.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 8:44 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I'm pretty sure Einstein and Feynman only took up music 'cause of the girls.

Max Planck rubs a thumb and a forefinger in front of Mudge and asks "Know what this is?"

Mudge replies, "You, playing the world's smallest violin."

Max says, "Ja, it's just my Length."



Posted by: bc | July 21, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Pointy, thanks for the scoop on Google Memory. There are still some places on the web I'm afraid to go...


You may want to reconsider the joy of the blues. Evabuddy got dem blues boy. You'll jes be gettin' it right by the time you ARE bald. And you only have to learn a couple of chord progressions and move up and down to get into different keys to start off.

Of course the best part is you can drink while you play right from the start, and make up silly blues lyrics if you're not sad. You know, like the "Meltin' Ice Cream Blues".

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

(the Wirty filter is picking on me, so i'll try this in pieces)

Part One:

SciTim... congrats on picking up the guitar. Now you can join the rest of us who get our money for nuttin' and our chicks for free (still haven't figured out where the money line starts or where they hide the chicks, but i'll let you know).

And yes... the hair is a requisite accessory if you want anyone to take you seriously as a player. I've been to quite a few open stages where guys who are obviously accountants wonder why everyone laughs when they play CSN&Y's "Ohio". You should also look into growing a beard. I've personally gone for the ZZ Top approach. I'm currently at the Taliban stage of facial hair length, but I expect to reach the Santa Claus level in time for Christmas.

As for music stylings, I wholeheartedly recommend an eclectic approach. Learn it all, play it all. It's all good.

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

That I remember the band period at all is a travesty to my ears. The eldest is a truly brilliant guitarist, and the youngest is ok. Though I do enjoy listening to them play , I do not remember the 'band' period with anything like fondness. Nor do my neighbours.

For the future when your hair is really really long, you may want to get the science spouse some fitted earplugs,

I think what I really need is google forget, the convenient modlue only please. I'd like to keep remembering the important stuff, like all the things I know about doilies.

Posted by: dr | July 21, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

(Wirty filter circumvention in progress...)

Since we're on the subject (and since it's nearly the end of the month and my website has hardly dented it's alloted bandwidth usage for the month), here are some tunes I recorded a few years ago -- pre-homeowner, pre-fatherhood -- for your and the Boodle's listening enjoyment....

First up is "Loch Lommond", a crazy little Irish tune inspired by a Scottish body of water (and a bottle of Jamesons)...

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, "Taliban stage of facial hair length". I will never ever be able to look at the news again, without laughing.

Posted by: dr | July 21, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

(Wirty filter circumvention in progress... so far, so good)

Followed by "Feast of Souls", a classical-ish flamenco-ish tune that starts out very somber, then goes crazy for a while, then leaves you hanging on a cliff...

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

(stupid razzrmazzrfthr filter...)

Next we have "Dance of the Dragonflies", a nice quiet new-agey kind of tune...

For the record (pardon the pun), all of these are my own tunes released under a Creative Commons license, so no worries about the copyright police knocking down your door for downloading them.

Also, all the tunes are one-track (split for stereo effect) recorded in a single take (no overdubs or "punch-ins") of just me playing an electrified acoustic guitar. The only editing was for equalization and stuff (which, unfortunately, is *still* not very consistent between tunes).

More to follow...

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, that was wonderful really enjoyed it, as did my ten year old daughter, she can running into the kitchen to see what the music was, thought someone was playing the guitar in the kitchen.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

martooni, they are wonderful. They will be downloaded, if that's ok with you.

Posted by: dr | July 21, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Seems like there are quite a few on the boodle who play instruments, perhaps you need to organize a boodle band.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Dang it, Error, you triggered a tune cootie.

A blues tune involving Ice Cream, from the 1978 album "Van Halen".

Ice Cream Man (Van Halen)

(Dedicate one to the ladies...)
Now summertime's here babe,
need somethin' to keep you cool
Ah now summertime's here babe,
need somethin' to keep you cool
Better look out now though,
Dave's got somethin' for you
Tell ya what it is
I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
Oh my my, I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
See now all my flavors are
guaranteed to satisfy

Hold on a second baby

I got good lemonade, ah, dixie cups
All flavors and push ups too
I'm your ice cream man, baby,
stop me when I'm passin' by
See now all my flavors are
guaranteed to satisfy
Hold on, one more
Well, I'm usually passin' by
just about eleven o'clock
uh huh, I never stop,
I'm usually passin' by,
just around eleven o'clock
And if you let me cool you one time, you'll be my regular stop
All right boys

I got good lemonade, ah, dixie cups
All flavors and push ups too
I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
See now all my flavors are
guaranteed to satisfy
Yes I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
They say all my flavors are
guaranteed to satisfy
Ah, one time
I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
I'm your ice cream man,
stop me when I'm passin' by
They say all my flavors are
guaranteed to satisfy
One time, boys
I'm your ice cream man
I'm your ice cream man
Ah my, my, my
All my flavors are guarantee-eheee-hee-eheeheee- ee - ee ee eee-d
to satis-uh-fy

SciTim, I'm sure Eddie's one- and two-handed hammer-on techniques are taught in the first week of guitar class these days. Everybody's doing it, why shouldn't *you*?


Posted by: bc | July 21, 2006 10:09 AM | Report abuse

(still circumventing...)

Here we have "Tricky", an ode to the guitar magic of Michael Hedges...

And here's "Delta Blue" (the title is self-explanatory)...

one final tune and I promise to sit on my hands...

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Martooni, this is quite good. You take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Youngstown before ya...

Posted by: silvertongue | July 21, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

okay... this is it for now...

And we wrap it all up with "Verge", proof that a long-haired dude with an acoustic guitar and access to four hundred tons of studio effects can do some pretty crazy shlt that rivals Pink Floyd...

If it weren't for that durned filter, I could have done this all in one fell swoop. Maybe it doesn't like too many links in a post?

Anyway, hope you all enjoy the free toonage. If any of you happen to work for a record company, feel free to send an A&R rep with a checkbook.

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The best ice cream song I know is by Tom Waits. This is more like dirty blues, SciTim, there ain't no need to have yer baby leave ya to sing along.

Ice Cream Man
Tom Waits
I'll be clickin' by your house about two forty-five
Sidewalk sundae strawberry surprise,
I got a cherry popsicle right on time
A big stick, mama, that'll blow your mind

'Cause I'm the ice cream man, I'm a one-man band
I'm the ice cream man, honey, I'll be good to you.

Baby, missed me in the alley, baby, don't you fret
Come back around and don't forget,
When you're tired and you're hungry and you want something cool,
Got something better than a swimming pool

'Cause I'm the ice cream man, I'm a one-man band
I'm the ice cream man, honey, I'll be good to you.

See me coming, you ain't got no change
Don't worry baby, it can be arranged:
Show me you can smile, baby just for me
Fix you with a drumstick, I'll do it for free

'Cause I'm the ice cream man, I'm a one-man band
I'm the ice cream man, honey, I'll be good to you.

Posted by: silvertongue | July 21, 2006 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I am so glad I am home today and not at work so I can listen to your music martooni, Delta Blue is so haunting but in a good way.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Martooni, fyi, there is a two-link limit per post. Them's da rules we gotta play by, bad as they are.

You've given me a lot to look forward to, 'cause I'm going to wait till I get home to listen to the music.

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Nice stuff, martooni.

Any time I tried any of those harmonics tricks you use in "Tricky" and others, it sounded like I inadvertently whanged the fretboard against a mike stand.

Not so easy to do when you're doing Pete Townsend-class windmills.


Posted by: bc | July 21, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, dmd. Haunting was the feeling I was after.

I played that tune (and some others like it) one night about 10 years ago at a local club where I was literally the only white guy in the joint. Remember that scene in "Animal House" where the white kids walk into the bar and everything just stopped? It was "jam night", and the host was this old black dude about four days older than dirt playing a Hammond B-3 organ. Imagine long-haired hippie boy showing up with an acoustic guitar. Anyway, I knew his drummer (who vouched for me) and got up on stage and played solo. Afterwards, the old guy (he went by the name "Stage"), pulled me aside and said in that classic gravelly bluesman voice, "Son... you got da blues bad... when yo mamma die?" I said "two years ago last week" and he said "You done her proud". Best compliment I've ever had. And I was always welcome in that club ever since.

And man could that dude play. He was all of 5-foot tall and they had to literally walk him up to his seat, but when he got those keys under his fingertips he was like a turbo-charged teenager. Amazing player. He died a few years ago and I had the opportunity to play at a benefit jam they held in his honor. What an honor it was.

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 10:38 AM | Report abuse

martooni, hope your bandwidth is still cool by the time I get home.

Ah, I love Tom Waits!

"Emotional Weather Report":
".. with tornado watches issued shortly before noon Sunday for the areas including the western regions of my mental health..."

"Diamonds on the Windshield":
"It's rainin' diamonds on the windshield, I got '57 Buick with a busted convertible top and a bottle a hard liquor on me"...

And of course "Step Right Up":
"Tired of being the life of the party
Change your shorts
Change your life
Change your life!
Change into a nine year old Hindu boy
Get rid of your wife!"

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Started out in elementary school on the flute. Moved to the cello in jr. high. Pretty much gave up playing anything after high school. Bought a cheap classical guitar while I was in the Navy after being really impressed with the talent of some of the other swabbies. Messed around with it for a couple of years, but eventually gave to a friend's younger brother who looked like he might have some talent. One of those guys in the Navy had a Martin 12-string that had a truly amazing sound.

Posted by: ebtnut | July 21, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes Martooni I remember that scene in Animal House - a classic. Its funny when I was listening to it, I pictured someone playing it at the gravesite, just didn't want to mention it as I thought it was perhaps just me and what is going on with my mom that made me think of it. I love the way it is both sad and reassuring at the same time, I will remember it in the weeks to come, my life is somewhat ghoulish these days planning a funeral for someone who is still alive, it is the reality we face and not a good feeling, but your song will help.

Thank you

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

dmd, sorry to hear that you are in the middle of a sad stretch. Please know that we're thinking about you and your family.

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Great guest kit, SciTim. My inability to play any instrument is a great regret. I note that Eric Clapton has short hair (now), but he's Eric Clapton.

Also to you, Pointy Bird. You'll have to come out of the woodwork now!

martooni, that's great stuff. Thanks for sharing that.

Finally, bc, that Ice Cream song is surprisingly long written out, isn't it? I confess I always fast forwarded through that one and also "Jamie's Cryin'"

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 21, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

>My baby has not done left me, nor
>is she doing me wrong.

Inspiring me to shuffle through the ipod... "Just Can't Seem to Get The Blues", Rev. Billy C. Wirtz' album "Confessions of a Hillbilly Love God", includes the following....

I got home not long ago
There was a note tacked on the door
It said- I'm GONE
But I'll be right back
Just had to run down to the store
She got home ten minutes later
And I said "Woman, where you been!"
And then I said "Please, don't go! You gotta help me girl!"
She said, "Just shut up and help me bring the groceries in."
People, life can be frustrating
When you're just, just not born to lose
The Gypsy woman- gave me my money back
And said, "Son, I just don't think you're gonna get the blues."

Posted by: Les | July 21, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

ScienceTim, you're an inspiration. Good luck with the the lessons.

Thanks for the tunes, martooni, and the 'toon, Scottynuke.

I played violin so badly in elementary school that they switched me to viola so I could screech at a lower pitch. I can't remember if I quit voluntarily or was pressured into it. Then in high school I took up the guitar (didn't everyone?) and learned the chords to "Stairway to Heaven" and not much else. Gave that up for good when a friend of mine sold my guitar at a moving sale, unbeknownst to me.

So now I have a saxophone. If I ever get around to learning how to play it, I'll audition for the boodle band.

Posted by: ac in sj | July 21, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Enjoyed all the tunes, Martooni. Thanks.

Error, my favorite Tom Waits line (from among many) comes from Nighthawks at the Diner (the album that opens with Emotional Weather Report). Leading into the immortal "Eggs and Sausage" he's rambling about the food, and describes how his veal cutlet gets up off the plate and starts beat on the cup of coffee. The coffee wasn't strong enough to defend itself...

Posted by: silvertongue | July 21, 2006 11:00 AM | Report abuse

>So now I have a saxophone.

ac, now you need to find a bridge to play on. Extra points if it's foggy and very late. I played alto in high school, but I'm longing for a nice soprano. Oh what the heck, credit cards aren't real money, right? Right?

>The coffee wasn't strong enough to defend itself...
heh, I see I'm going be burning the iPod battery down today with old Tom!

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm "outed" as a lurker now, so I figure I better start boodling. (Though I think I should have thought a little more about my handle, seeing as "Pointy" will be a likely nickname. Like my skull, my father would say.) Great kit, ScienceTim, and martooni, those links are wonderful. Piano was my instrument of choice for a while, but I gave it up and started singing instead. So if the boodle band needs a backup singer, count me in - particularly if we can fit in some Temptations-style choreography.

Posted by: Pointy Bird | July 21, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

That's some weak coffee, then.

Is there a Google Extra Senses out there yet? I'd like to be plugged into the sonar of a bat or a dolphin for a few minutes.

SciTim, if you play blues about mistakes in life, you could call 'em "guiltar blues"

Instead of "My baby done me wrong" you'd sing something like this:

(very rough draft)

It's I done you wrong baby
I forgot to pick up the milk
Baby don't sulk, we gotta leave
House's going back to the bank
I bet our mortage payment on the lottery
And baby I'm so sorry but we lost
Statistics done kicked me in the crotch and the numbers stomped me down flat
Baby, I know I done you wrong
I don't deserve you baby
But be true and let me pawn your ring
Baby?.... Baby? (guiltar solo)

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Error - how about a nice contrabass saxophone?

Posted by: ac in sj | July 21, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, everyone. More than happy to share -- what good's a tune if nobody gets to hear it?

Posted by: martooni | July 21, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, here's as close as I can think of to have to sense what it is like to be a dolphin. It is a small submarine that travels in a dolphin like manner, if you look at the link you will understand. Found this site awhile ago and it amused me.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

-Thanks DMD.

Does it have a blowhole? I'm acutely claustrophobic under water, so probably being an cyberdolphin isn't for me ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

>Error - how about a nice contrabass saxophone?

Good grief! I'll have to check that out when I get home, must be an awesome sound. But I go the old Oberheim when I want that kind of sound.

For me I'm going the other way. It's a lot easier to carry a straight soprano or flute. Jethro Tull influence ya know.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Les: I used to hang out with the Rockin' Rev when I was in grad school in Harrisonburg. He is a truly unique person. Anong my favourites are Inbred, She's Such a Man, and the entire Dead Elvis thing. Aat the time he was his own road crew and went from gig to gig in a black Checker Marathon. What a hoot.

Pointy: Great kit. I'm always curious about what googling can do. I never considered it as a mnemonic device.

SciTim: Kudos to you also for a great kit. I have been hacking away at guitar since I turned eighteen (I know what I want...). Can't read a lick of music, so everything I know is by ear and has been memorized during the times when no one else is around to hear me. I have an old Epiphone jumbo with beautiful MOP inlays in the neck and a MOP epiphone labal in the headstoch, and another MOP inlay in the pick guard. It has the Kalamazoo, Michigan label in it, and I have a feeling that it might be worth someting. A friend of mine in Charlotte did some work on it and it is a joy to play. My ohter box is a Martin that my dear wife gave to me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It has a spruce top that is worth the smell alone when the case is opened. When I hack, I take turns pretending to be on stage with my guitar heroes, Neil, Weir, Richards, and Duane Allman. Great solace is drawn from my time with my instruments.

Slyness: What are the arrangements for the Carolina's BPH? I must apologize for not back skimming to see if you have already replied.

dmd: Keep your chin up...our thoughts are with you.

Posted by: jack | July 21, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

(Busy googling my memory for something to say)

That kind of thing already exists-- it's called a diary. Keep it on a PC or a disk, or a blog, and voila, you have your memories that are searchable by keyword. Disadvantage: plenty of man-hours putting down your memories (and photos), possible breaches of privacy, etc.

Advantage: the whole world can't just google your love life. Which beats being a movie star.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

jack, no final plans yet. I haven't heard back from TBG yet on when they will actually arrive. Will let you know. Sounds like Sunday evening may be best for you. Yes? No?

Posted by: slyness | July 21, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Off-topic, but related to Max Planck and his violin?

Published: July 21, 2006
Researchers in Germany said Thursday that they planned to collaborate with an American company in an effort to reconstruct the genome of Neanderthals, the archaic human species that occupied Europe from 300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago until being displaced by modern humans.

Long a forlorn hope, the sequencing, or decoding, of Neanderthal DNA suddenly seems possible because of a combination of analytic work on ancient DNA by Svante Paabo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a new method of DNA sequencing developed by a Connecticut company, 454 Life Sciences.

The initial genome to be decoded comes from 45,000-year-old Neanderthal bones found in Croatia, though bones from other sites may be analyzed later. Because the genome must be kept in constant repair and starts to break up immediately after the death of the cell, the material surviving in Neanderthal bones exists in tiny fragments 100 or so DNA units in length. As it happens, this is just the length that works best with the 454 machine, which is also able to decode vast amounts of DNA at low cost.

Recovery of the Neanderthal genome, in whole or in part, would be invaluable for reconstructing many events in human prehistory and evolution. It would help address such questions as whether Neanderthals and humans interbred, whether the archaic humans had an articulate form of language, how the Neanderthal brain was constructed, if they had light or dark skin, and the total size of the Neanderthal population.

***I wonder what Neanderthal music sounded like? I remember the night in fourth grade that I cried when I couldn't pull the bow fast enough across the strings of my hand-me-down violin to play quarter notes. Looking forward to that first album, Tim! Mar-tune-y, enjoyed the listen!

Posted by: Loomis | July 21, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I think Neanderthal music would probably sound a lot like any attempt I would make on an instrument.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Neanderthal music brings to mind the old Disney cartoon "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom."

Posted by: ac in sj | July 21, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I played cello in sixth grade but never practiced and gave it up going into seventh. Then my mom got me a cheap classical guitar, but I didn't know a thing about guitars, and the plastic (or nylon, see I really don't know) strings made me think it was a giant ukulele. I could never master chords so I gave it up. Then when grandma died we got her piano, and I got pretty good at the chords and the melodies, but never at the same time. I own a recorder (English flute?), and I always wondered how you could play any real songs on it when it only had nine notes. So I gave that up. Find out years later that by modifying the intensity of air through the instument or covering the hole on the underside half way you get a lot more notes (forget how many). So I get out the recorder and give it another go, but give up in frustration as apparently I do not have the patience to practice when I could be reading or watching a movie.

I'm hopeless when it comes to languages (other than English), and playing a musical instrument.

Sorry if I've bored you all to tears. I guess I'll go for a walk now.

Posted by: omni | July 21, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

forgot all about the chromatic harmonica I got for a birthday once. if you know anything about harmonicas you know that chromatics are not for blues playing. And no I never practiced on that thing either.

Posted by: omni | July 21, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl, I am *mortified* at how long "Ice Cream Man" came out in the Boodle.

All, please accept my apologies.


Posted by: bc | July 21, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse


Welcome, welcome!! What better way to announce yourself than with a Kit??? The union collection box is over on the table next to 'Mudge's glasses. $2.50 a quarter, or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first.


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

>SonofCarl, I am *mortified* at how long "Ice Cream Man" came out in the Boodle.

Yeah bc, but I found it on my iPod where it was much better. The cadence doesn't come out in writing.

Hey omni, how's that Mac treating you?

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Pointy Bird, welcome to the Boodle! Your handle reminds me that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was back in the news today (Google it: I don't have the link handy.)

Martooni, thank you for sharing your music. It is helping me through a stressful Friday here in my office/cube.

I took guitar lessons at a local music store when I was in high school. The teacher asked me that same question: what kind of guitar do you want to play? I had no hesitation. I wanted to play the kind of guitar John Denver did. I knew I'd never play like James Taylor. The teacher was a young man with suitably long hair. He started me out on Bach and easy Spanish classical stuff. I was like, excuse me, did you not hear my answer to The Question? And he assured me that this is how John Denver started. Well, I practiced and studied and got pretty good at scales and some of those beginner classical tunes he taught. But before I graduated to strumming and finger-picking, the day came when I showed up for my lesson and was told that my teacher had not been heard from and nobody knew anything about it. End of lessons. Tim, I hope your experience turns out better than mine did.

There is a guitar at my house now but I haven't played it in a long time.

Posted by: kbertocci | July 21, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the G family will be available for a Charlotte-area BPH on Sunday evening, August 13 (Sat would probably work, too).

Jack.. if you (or anyone else in that area) would like to communicate directly with slyness and me about it you can write to me at boodler at mac dot com.

Posted by: TBG | July 21, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE my Mac mini. The book I got isn't much help at the moment as it keeps telling me to do things I can't cause I haven't got a Mac keyboard. I plan to rectify that next week. I think I can afford $29.99. I'm keeping my chipmunk though (that's a cordless mouse).

Posted by: omni | July 21, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

>I plan to rectify that next week.

Try it out in the store, I am not at all happy with the one I got. Very mushy keys.

But having the correct key faces is, well, key.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

one thing that bugs me a little bit is the mouse wheel doesn't work the I like and I haven't bothered to see if I can change the properties. what i'm used to is turning it a single click scrolls the page three lines, but now it barely moves the page and I have to turn the thing really fast to get any real motion.

Posted by: omni | July 21, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

the word 'way' belongs in that sentence somewhere...

Posted by: omni | July 21, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

martooni -- Thanks from me, too. Good stuff!

ac in sj, I had to sigh along with my chuckle at at your description of your pressured switch to viola. If they just wouldn't push weaker violinists toward the viola, maybe we'd get a little respect for once. (Don't believe that violists are an oppressed minority? go ahead, google "viola joke"!) Ah, the bitterness that sticks around from childhood. Tempered with some great viola section camaraderie, though.

My solo playing has never done much for me, but being a part of that great big orchestra sound, that can give me shivers. Gotta find me an orchestra again.

So I'm up for joining the boodle band if you want a rusty, classically trained violist. Sounds like the instrumentation will be something like the family group we got together to play at my grandparents' 60th anniversary. My cousin on bass clarinet, at the end: "ooh, ooh, I won! I finished first!"

Posted by: bia | July 21, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I believe there is a fairly extensive set of System Preferences for the mouse and keyboard. It took me awhile to realize the Mighty Mouse would do right and left buttons but I had to press way up on the front.

Posted by: Error Flynn | July 21, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, SciTim, everybody can find their source of the blues, you just have to look around.

Apologies to Muddy Waters ("Cold Up North")

It's so cold in space, that a probe can hardly fly
Well it's so cold in space, it's so hard to make this program fly
Now you know our fundin's goin' down south, lettin' this opportunity pass on by

Well I know my gov'mint, don't know what shape NASA's in
Yeah I know my gov'mint, she don't know what shape NASA's in
Now you know I ain't had enough fundin', Senator you know I ain't got no friend

Mmm... (hums two lines)
Now you know I ain't had enough fundin', Senator you know I ain't got no friend

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 21, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

*&%#@$*&%$#, SofC, your 1:52 beat me by about 5 minutes. (But kudos, anyway.) I was goin' down that same path, too, throwing in some stuff about Methane and Titan. But you got there first.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | July 21, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Nice parody. Too bad "Rocket" instead of "friend" wouldn't scan ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

my musical history boils down to the compulsory grammar school voilin experiment (still remember playing "hot cross buns") followed by short recorder and flute experiments, followed by a ~6 year piano experiment that at least taught me how to read music decently and occasional appearances in choirs. choirs are great because you can lip-sync when you don't know the words. faking it, however, doesn't work so well at piano recitals.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 21, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Tim, good luck. I've never met a guitar person that wasn't fun.

Martooni, great stuff. Talented! Apparently we have more in common that VW vans and a software career.

I played viola starting in the 4th grade and felt slighted because the violins got the better parts, but the orchestra teacher conned me into it, probably since I wasn't "dainty".

When I was in 7th grade, I saw a talent show where the guys pretty much pounded on the guitars and turned up the distortion. One guy even played with his teeth. I didn't see (or hear) much talent there, but the crowd went crazy. My viola instantly turned into a sissy instrument and I immediately went out and bought an electric guitar with my paper route money. It's a Peavey T60, sits in the livingroom next to the Master's Chair. I played it this morning.

I tell my 9 year old, that anytime he wants to learn guitar, I'm ready to teach him. I've garenteed him that if he practices a half hour a day, he could get good enough that the girls will throw their clothes at him just to hear him play.

I want to do a little street musicianship someday. I just have to get up enough nerve and order a pair of those dark glasses that blind persons wear.

Here are a few guitar hints:
Check out if you want to learn a song. you can download any song in MIDI format and there are tools to decode the voices, print out the written music, ect... I programmed my own tools so I could learn the notes, slow down the song to play along, repeat the difficults parts over and over... It's a must do for any guitarist.

also, if you smoke a little pot now and then while you practise, it substancially accelerates your skill level. But that's cheating!

Posted by: Pat | July 21, 2006 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I got a B in music once-- I was reading in the back of the class the whole year (and it wasn't music). That probably was a thank-you for not trying to create din and thus inflicting further pain on her ears.

I never understood why I had to be in the class if they wouldn't even give me stuff I could play by touch, like the drums.

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

You don't have to wear dark glasses, Pat-- you could always perform in rose-colored glasses. I think that'd be better showmanship ;).

Posted by: Wilbrod | July 21, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Pat, I hope you get your nerve up, one of the few things I miss about working in downtown Toronto, was the musicians in the subway stations. A cellist and violinist played weekly at the station I exited at, most mornings I would start the walk to work with Pachobels Canon it was a great way to start the day. Each station had a different kind of music.

Posted by: dmd | July 21, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

dmd... you seem to be living my life of two years ago. I just hope that you, too, can look back and remember the good parts of what you are going through now. They are there, I'm sure.

For me it was sitting in the hospice at Mom's bedside with all of my sisters every day for a week. We hadn't spent that much time together since we were little. We cherished it during that week and I know that Mom knew she had brought us all together.

It was also the funny parts: although it is ghoulish to plan a funeral for someone who is still alive, you've got to admit there's something funny about trying to get the "pre-need discount." I don't know; that still cracks us all up. The worst part was not being able to tell Mom that we got "such a deal."

Remember that the funeral will be for the people who haven't seen your mom in a while (especially while she's been sick) and you'll find that they will be the ones who will need comforting. You and your family have already grieved and accepted what's happened.

And when it's all done, you'll go home and sigh and come down and you won't believe what just happened to you. Let your kids take care of you and remember above all that to laugh at this point will feel so good.

I know some people thought we were heartless, but laughing in the face of this horrible time is what will help get you all through it--it certainly did for us.

My daughter was also 10; my son was 15 and the first place he ever drove to with his fresh learner's permit was to see visit his grandmother for the last time. This was the woman who had helped raise him--my parents watched my kids when I was at work. The first place he went when he got his driver's license nine months later was the cemetery.

Anyway... I'm so sorry that you're going through this right now. It really, really sucks. I'm glad you've got the boodle to help you a little bit and remember that we all care about you and will help you in any way we can.


Posted by: TBG | July 21, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

looks like we've got a very strong guitar section in the boodle band and some real viola potential.

sci-tim, go with the music you really like - better odds of keeping it up that way.

martooni, i'm still catching up on the music links, but so far, excellent.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 21, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Pointy Bird, welcome and thanks for the imaginative kit. I like the idea. Does Pointy Bird have any connection with the Steve Martin poem (. . . bird, pointy pointy, anoint my head, nointy nointy)? It's one of our favorites.

ScienceTim, also congratulations on the kit and taking up a musical instrument. I'm always supportive of adults learning -- it's not too late, SonofCarl -- unless of course they prove to be truly talentless. There are people who will tell you anyone can sing. Those people lie.

I've been playing piano by ear since I can remember, and I didn't ever actually learn to read music -- just understood it somehow by the time I formally started lessons at 7. In grade school I added drums and bells and had a lovely time until marching band. Although I was short and small, the boys got the cool drums and I was slated for the glockenspiel, almost as big as I was, because "girls play bells". I quit. Soon after that I started formal voice training. In high school I taught myself guitar, poorly, but well enough that I could fool people into thinking I could play while I was singing. I'm only now trying to actually learn it, sneaking looks at the Boy's books while he takes lessons. Along the way I acquired a great piano, a couple of acoustic guitars, a recorder, a harmonica, and two autoharps. We also have the Boy's small acoustic guitar, Ivansdad's electric bass, the Boy's small electronic keyboard (he used to drool on it & short it out as a baby), and a Native American flute. We like to play music. Remember, the point isn't how good you are, it is how much fun you have. At least among your circle of close and forgiving family and friends.

Posted by: Ivansmom | July 21, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the many welcomes! Ivansmom, yes, it is indeed from that poem, one of my favorites, too. I'm glad someone recognized it.

Posted by: Pointy Bird | July 21, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

my last post seems like a bit of a booo. sorry about that. dmd, my thoughts are with you. (reminder to self: hit refresh button more often.)

well, happy weekend everyone.

p.s. there appears to be a new kit - something from the ja archives.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | July 21, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Mudge, there's room for everybody - post it!

ivansmom qualifies:
>unless of course they prove to be truly talentless

Aye, there's the rub.

Posted by: SonofCarl | July 21, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse


Saw a comic strip a couple days ago --

Two chihuahuas walking down the aisle, and one of the witnesses says to the other,

"Oh, I love Tacobel's Canon."


Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, new Kit! :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | July 21, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

A recent theory indicates that strongly right or left handed people should play keyboard (the hands think independently, and one can actually play the Internationale while the other is being Fascist). I suspect those strongly-handed people can also type better than me. Weakly-handed people whose hands are always trying to do the same thing should stick to string instruments. As if I ever wanted to try.

Anyhow, here's the webpage of Portland State University guitar god and composer Brian Johanson.
Despite his fondness for electric guitar, the good professor just doesn't have the hair.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | July 21, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I have NO TIME to even SCAN this BOODLE. Drat, damn, fie! Pointy Bird, Welcome and Thank You! ScienceTim, great kit. I picked up a guitar in 1971 and played heavily until 1986, when I got married. My ancient Yamaha acoustic sits forlornly in a corner of my room. My cherry Gibson SG Special is long, long gone, "borrowed" by a friend. At least one of my daughters plays occasionally.
'Ta, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend.

Posted by: CowTown | July 21, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think that pointy bird is pretty snazzy

Posted by: feshog | July 21, 2006 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, that's amzing and rocking. Wanna download it, if that's ok with

Posted by: Jonathan | July 25, 2006 1:42 AM | Report abuse

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