Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I liked this post from my Back In The USSR blog enough that I decided to copy it here to give it a potentially wider audience.

The Bible specifies certain categories of people who are blessed.

For example, in this (historically accurate) scene below, manufacturers of dairy products (the Cheesemakers) are given exalted status.

If it is true that Blessed Are The Idiots, then Arizona is blessed in abundance!

I've described some of the feeblemindedness inherent in the Arizona driver in a prior post, but today I want to focus on the Arizona drivers who have succumbed to that deadliest of the deadly sins, 


Yep-I am talking about self-absorbed Arizona idiots and their Vanity Plates.

As far as I can remember, this asinine craze started when Tom Selleck started driving a red Ferrari sporting this plate:

This plate breaks my first rule below. Can you guess why without reading ahead?

But this plate is not offensive, nor does it necessarily mean the driver is an idiot (just willing to settle).

Some plates are cool.

Remember this Seinfeld episode?

Some plates are truly stupid.

Maybe the driver is claiming not to be flatulent

First off, let's go with one of my favorites-those idiots who feel the need to remind me whose car it is they are driving. 

I used to see these plates in my old employer's parking garage:



News flash, morons-I know it's your Honda and your Lexis.

You know how I know?

You're driving it, dumb ass!

Appropriate plate for a Pinto...

Another favorite class of driver that is near and dear to my "wish I could shoot them" list are what George Carlin used to refer to as "church people."

Now I have nothing against the religious, but I do find that some of the rudest drivers in Arizona have bumper stickers that read "What Would Jesus Do?" or "WWJD?"

Well for starters, he probably wouldn't drive as arrogantly and rudely as you do!

But there are also the cluelessly pious, the truly most blessed of the simple-minded.

I've seen many vanity plates along these lines, but recently saw a Kia Rio sporting this gem:


Now let's remember for a moment that according to the Bible, it's all God-given, hence the concept of tithing-you give God back ten percent of what is his in the first place.

And if it's all God-given, you really don't need to tell me that God provided the blessings in your life that allowed you to buy the status symbol that is the Kia Rio.

But let's assume God truly did buy you, self-righteous arrogant doofus that you appear to be, a car.

Well God can pretty much afford any car He wants.

And He bought you an entry-level Kia.

What doess that say about what He thinks of you?

This is a cool idea for a plate

I miss the days when only wealthy people had vanity plates, and they were limited to their names.

So here I am with my Rules For Vanity Plates.

Rule # 1- If you have to put a number at the end of the plate, forget it-someone thought of it first, and you're a wannabe. That's why I don't have one, the two good ideas I had have been taken in all four states I have lived in.

Ladies-don't get this one unless you plan to back it up!

Rule # 2- Unless you're an incredibly sexy woman, don't get a plate with any variation on the word "sexy." 

It's false advertising. 

We men get all psyched up to see that sexy girl from the Hot Pockets commercial and see Miss Girl Next Door, and it's kind of a let down. Pun intended.

Rule # 3- If you are an incredibly sexy woman, and you get a plate with any variation on the word "sexy," you can't complain about any of the attention it draws. 

You have to smile and wave at all of the lewd rude comments, wolf whistles, stares, leers and gawks. You wanted it, you got it, suck it up. Again, pun intended.

Unless you're the CEO of Coca Cola or a cocaine dealer, this is just stupid.

Rule # 4- Guys, you gotta monitor what your lady puts on her vanity plate. 

Someday you're gonna borrow that ride, and there are few things as embarassing as a beefy trucker-looking guy getting out of a minivan that has "MOMSTAXI" on the tag. 

Or any variation of the word "sexy."

Rule # 5-  No cutesy nickname BS. If you're going to resort to that, just send me the $100 and shoot yourself. 

And guys, when she gets "Babe," or "Ci Ci" or something equally frilly, remember Rule # 4.

If you're old enough to drive, you're too old for this plate

Now, my rules over those decals that show the stick figures of the husband, wife, three kids, a dog and a cat are quite simple. 

What I'd like to put on my car, but with a couple of expletives inserted

Arizona being a state in which you can carry your firearm, I have made it legal to shoot those drivers no matter the season. 

Hope you opted for the bullet proof glass on that mini van. 

In closing, if you have to waste your money on a vanity plate, there are DO'S:

Simple....cool...this is acceptable


I have to hear "Booyah" far too often for my taste.
Please don't make me read it, too!

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Available in 3 versions:

Ltd. Deluxe Edition Box Set (Cologne DVD + 3 Tilburg audio CDs + Cologne BluRay + Bonus DVD)

Special Edition Digipak (3 Tilburg audio CDs + Cologne DVD)

BluRay (Cologne - 1 disc)

Friday, September 26, 2014

"At the end of the day,

you'll be lying in a suit of gray

At the end of the day, 

you'll be fine"

-Spock's Beard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

I was staying at the Marriott
With Jesus and John Wayne
I was waiting for a chariot
They were waiting for a train

The sky was full of carrion
"I'll take the mazuma"
Said Jesus to Marion
"That's the 3:10 to Yuma
My ride's here..."

The Houston sky was changeless
We galloped through bluebonnets
I was wrestling with an angel
You were working on a sonnet

You said, "I believe the seraphim
Will gather up my pinto
And carry us away, Jim
Across the San Jacinto
My ride's here..."

Shelley and Keats were out in the street
And even Lord Byron was leaving for Greece
While back at the Hilton, last but not least
Milton was holding his sides

Saying, "You bravos had better be ready to fight
Or we'll never get out of East Texas tonight
The trail is long and the river is wide
And my ride's here"

I was staying at the Westin
I was playing to a draw
When in walked Charlton Heston
With the Tablets of the Law

He said, "It's still the Greatest Story"
I said, "Man I'd like to stay
But I'm bound for glory
I'm on my way

My ride's here..."

Monday, September 15, 2014



At the risk of sounding like a broken record (pun intended), I have been losing interest in blogging over the last several months.

The last few BOTB posts had been scheduled quite a while ago, and I toyed with not participating this week (too much time in front of a computer at the office to want to spend more time in front of one at home), but I wanted to at least get a post here that would explain an absence.

Most of you reading post as part of a writing community, and gather support from each other-I pretty much do this for the helluvit, and as I have posted several times during this year, the thrill is waning.

It hit me this morning (I am typing this on Saturday the 13th), that this marks a year for my participation in BOTB, and I thought why mark the occasion with the song that kind of represents the beginning of a lifelong obsession with music?

So for what may be (I said may-it ain't just a woman's perogative to change her mind, so ne dis jamais jamais) a final BOTB entry, I'm going to take you back to where it all began.

As I have often said on these pages and in my comments to other BOTB participants, the first record I ever purchased was Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five

I am guessing it would have been sometime during the month of October 1971, as I had to save up my allowance for almost two months (I was still a few months away from lying about my age to take over a paper route from my friend), and the cartoon featuring the Jackson Five premiered on September 11, 1971*.

*Interesting trivia-thirty years later to the day, a (possibly government-sponsored) terrorist attack on NYC demolished one of my favorite CD haunts, J&R Music World (I had just been there the Saturday before).

The theme to the Jackson Five cartoon was actually a medley of different songs, but I did not know that yet.

That first album opens with the song "I Want You Back," which is, of course featured in the medley, but I remember my confusion over the difference.

I remember some cereal having plastic records on the back of the box, one of which may have been the theme-I had one or two of those and am sure I wore out the fragile grooves. 

I am not sure that that little tidbit is relevant to anyone but me, but hey, it's my keyboard-you could have skipped that paragraph if you wanted to.

Here, then, is that first track from that first record.

You now get to relive that moment with me....imagine yourself as a ten year old, slowly letting the needle fall on your new purchase...

That was 1971...as the decade wore on, while I never abandoned my love of the Motown sound, my taste branched out, and by 1979, I was a fan of the 'new wave' bands that cultivated the punk rock edge with (in my opinion) better musicianship and songwriting.

One of these artists was Graham Parker And The Rumor, accused of being an Elvis Costello clone by the press, even though they had two records on the shelves before Elvis went into the studio.

Their best selling and most critically acclaimed record was Squeezing Out Sparks, which featured the single "Local Girls."

In what was becoming a trend in the music business (to sell you both the album and the singles), the 45 featured a non-album cut and was housed in a picture sleeve.

I still have it-and here's what it looks like:

Mine shows a little more wear, however.

I did not know until I played the B-side that GP was covering the Jackson Five.

Here is how that one goes.

You know how this works.

Feel free to vote (or not) in the comments section.

And make sure you venture over to the other sites that are featuring this topic today:

The founders:

Far Away Series


Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

And those who came after:

Curious As A Cathy

Mike's Ramblings

The Creative Outlet of Stratplayer

The Sound Of One Hand Typing

Apologies if I missed anyone-I know Donna Hole was also participating but the link I had for her blog was no longer active. 

Anyone else I missed, what can I tell ya? 

I have a head like a sieve.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Started on the Far Away Series, and refined by the bloggers noted below, I've been somewhat of a wannabe player in the Battle Of The Bands blogfest, which happens on the first and fifteenth of each month. These guys are to blame for this foolishness:

Far Away Series


Tossing It Out

Your Daily Dose

The way it works is, I put up two versions of a song and you tell me which one you like better.

Simple right? If you look at past comments, some people agonize over this decision, but I'll let you in on a little clue.....there's no wrong answer! Whatever you like IS the right answer!

There's supposed to be a post in five days or so where I tally up the votes and disclose my preference, but I'm generally not motivated enough to do that second post. Plus, if you can sit infront of a computer, I am assuming you can count.

Sometimes, a cover song becomes more popular than the original-in fact, sometimes the original goes largely unheard and people assume that the cover is the original.

Not to pick on Rod Stewart again, but another song he covered was "Downtown Train" by Tom Waits.

Both Stephen T. McCarthy and I have sung Waits' praises as a songwriter, and he's put out some that rank him as one of the best.

His voice is an acquired taste, so he's more unknown as a songwriter than a performer, as the public has no idea who is behind the songs he's written that others turned into hits ("Old '55"-The Eagles, "Jersey Girl"- Bruce Springsteen, "Trampled Rose"-Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Long Way Home"-Norah Jones, "Temptation"-Diana Krall).

Me, I like Waits voice, at least on his output through the early eighties (through One From The Heart), after which both his voice and songwriting style seemed to become a "put-on" to be cool with the college crowd.

And while I also like Rod Stewart's voice, after his run of classic albums in the early seventies his choice of material became questionable-anyone else remember living through the pain of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?"

So let's compare Waits' original recording of "Downtown Train..."

...to Rod's cover:

By now, you know what to do and where to do it...if not, one of the other sites probably spells it out.

And once again, here is a bonus rendition, from the lovely Patty Smyth (formerly of Scandal)...