Bacon, Eggs, and Catapults

Do you ever have what you think is a million dollar idea a la Kramer on Seinfeld? Occasionally, I think I do. (Ironically, I’ve been listening to Pink Floyd’s “Time” which features the lyric “plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.”) I think it’s the follow-through phase where I run into problems. Here’s one of my ideas which will probably never come to fruition, but I think it’s a good one. It’s a short book entitled “The Yin and Yang of Trivia.”

The basic idea is a list of two things which are normally associated with one another, but are hard to remember the difference between them. Here are some examples:

alligators vs. crocodiles

jam vs. jelly

hook vs. slice

port vs. starboard

freeway vs. interstate

Vermont vs. New Hampshire

Maybe the last one is a stretch, but they look pretty similar on the map. Geography has always been my worst subject. Is it important to know the difference between these things in everyday life? Probably not, that’s what makes it trivia. I would love some more suggestions for this concept.

Another random idea I have is not unlike the As-Seen-On-TV Bacon Bowl. (That’s a pretty awesome idea. Was there ONE PERSON who was the driving force behind it? Was it a team? Now, THAT’S a great trivia question.) My idea is to create an all-purpose utensil made entirely out of bacon. In my mind, bacon goes hand in hand with eggs — usually scrambled. If you’re going to enjoy some thick, juicy bacon strips, you might as well be practical about it. It would be like a bacon “Spork” — another great idea. I’m not sure what catchy name to call it…. The Bacon-ator? Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger would endorse it. It could rival the George Foreman Grill. Does the idea of less utensils to wash win over some people alone? Maybe the next phase of edible bacon-ware should be a catapult. It would take a little more assembly, but the Baco-pult or Bacon-pult has a wonderful ring to it. I mean, why shouldn’t you think about catapulting scrambled eggs into your mouth?

Obviously, some foods make better projectiles than others: jelly beans, popcorn, Sprees. Any sort of small pellet shaped food could work. Protective eye wear would be required, but it could be packaged with a napkin or apron made out of a Fruit Roll Up to keep with the whole edible kitchenware idea. The possibilities are endless! Bars could even catapult Jell-O shots.

So those are a couple of my ideas. As previously stated, they will most likely come to naught, but it’s fun to think about them.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

I Dreamed I Saw St. Sasquatch

In an effort to ward off “corona-tation” (the condition of vegetating in front of the TV while trying to avoid coronavirus), a friend of mine and I went for a stroll in the park Sunday afternoon. The weather was relatively mild with little wind. I would guess we walked maybe two miles on the county park trail when, all of a sudden, a moment of intense panic came over me. I had my wallet and keys in my pockets, but NO CELL PHONE!! I knew I brought it with me because I had just taken a pic of an unusual-looking-yet-artistic frog tree. My friend took my keys to the car to try calling from her phone while I trekked back in what can only be described as an angry Sherlock Holmes mode. I checked all along the trail, but it was nowhere to be found. The trail basically came to a dead end at a parks maintenance hub with dump trucks and junk like that. I thought that it HAD to be where it fell out of my pocket, but I had no such luck.

Next, I stopped along the trail where my friend showed me what “polk salad” looks like. (We had just watched “Ford vs. Ferrari” the previous night and they played parts of the song “Polk Salad Annie” throughout the film.) I’m sure I still couldn’t identify “polk salad” if it was right in front of me. Nevertheless, I was trying to “Keep Calm and Carry On” when I remembered a spot where I veered off the beaten path to skip a stone in the nearby lake. And there it was. My less than a month old cell phone in the blue protective case was lying face down in the grass with the little light glowing. It still had a charge and it still worked!! As I picked it up, I saw my friend dutifully tried to call me 26 times. Then I thought I saw something move in the distance.

I heard a faint noise and then saw something I couldn’t believe — It was a real, live Bigfoot or Sasquatch. I couldn’t believe my eyes! My jaw was probably on the ground. It was tall and hairy, but the hair on top of its head was pulled into a sort of top knot thing like Gene Simmons from KISS. What was even MORE shocking was it spoke to me.

Sasquatch: Look, I shouldn’t be talking to you, but I heard you make a remark about lake monsters so you seemed pretty cool to me. Don’t even think about asking me for a selfie either.

Author: (Gulp.) Ummm, no problem. I just wanted to find my phone. I didn’t know you guys could talk.

Sasquatch: Humans and their phones! Yeah, there’s plenty of things we can do. We’re not like those barking Wookies in the Star Wars movies. We just like to keep to ourselves.

Author: Yeah, I can relate. You’ve seen Star Wars?

Sasquatch: The first three. My “kind” think Lucas is pretty typical of humans. Innovative, but greedy. I mean how many “pre-quels” do we need anyway? Don’t get me started on the merchandising.

Author: Yeah, I hear you. Sorry, I’m a little freaked out….

Sasquatch: It’s cool. Who’s been trying to call you anyway? Let me guess…CVS Pharmacy?

Author: (Nervously laughing). Well they do call a lot, but my friend was helping me look for the phone. You guys are into movies?

Sasquatch: Yeah, it’s an interesting glimpse into your culture. Some are better than others.

Author: How do you stay so hidden? I mean, I can’t believe this is happening, but it’s daylight and you’re just out in the open…

Sasquatch: Have you seen “Predator”?

Author: Yes.

Sasquatch: Another good example…The first one was good. The spider-faced dude was creative, and Arnold was, too… but HOW MANY stinking sequels do you really need? Anyway, most of the time we have that sort of super camouflage force-field thing. You know what I mean?

Author: Yeah, that makes sense. Great blue herons have some serious camouflage, too. They’re large birds, but they just blend right into the background. I guess it’s like that.

Sasquatch: Yeah, herons are cool.

Author: So.. what’s your favorite movie?

Sasquatch: The Big Lebowski.

Author: Really? I love that movie.

Sasquatch: Somebody just left a bootleg VHS copy of it out by cousin’s place. I also found Bob Dylan’s “John Wesley Harding” on cassette out there. My cousin is one of those publicity hounds. You know that whole MoMo the Monster thing?

Author: Yeah, I remember that. I was just a kid then.

Sasquatch: Your media people are about as bad as ours. What kind of a name is MoMo? Pretty stupid. Anyway, I gotta get going, but I’m glad you found your phone. You’re lucky to have a friend who will call 26 times to help you and harass everyone walking down the path about your cell phone.

Author: Yeah, you’re right. Man, I can’t believe this is happening! You have media outlets?

Sasquatch: We do. They leave a lot to be desired. You know you’re also lucky you didn’t leave that empty energy drink can out here either. Looks like you were thinking about it.

Author: You saw that? Yeah, I was pissed at myself for losing the phone.

Sasquatch: Dude, it’s only a phone. I gotta jet.

Author: You’re right. Hey, are you guys affected by the virus?

Sasquatch: Not like you guys are, but you’re gonna be fine.

Author: Yeah?

Sasquatch: Yeah. Just tell them Sasquatch told you so. I’m sure that will go over. Peace!

…and just like that he vanished back into the woods, and I guess his camouflage force field. I still had so many questions… Why the Gene Simmons styled top knot? I mean, is he a KISS fan, too? What does he think about their merchandising? They have their own Sasquatch Media Network? Do they have digital? I mean he kept talking about cassettes and VHS tapes. I gotta say he wasn’t what I expected, but it was definitely cool. I wonder if I ‘ll see him again…St. Sasquatch, The Patron Saint of Cell Phones Lost in the Woods.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

Dick, Dunst, & Williams

Ahhh, the glories of streaming TV. I can’t remember exactly where or when I become aware of the Nixon administration-themed comedy “Dick”, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams star as two teenage girls who bake some delicious (albeit pot infused) cookies called “Hello Dollies” and, somehow stumble their way into the White House. They not only become the official White House dog walkers for President Nixon’s dog “Checkers”, but start rubbing elbows with staffers like Henry Kissinger, Bob Haldeman, John Dean, and G. Gordon Liddy.

As you might imagine, the Watergate scandal is also a big part of the film and its punchlines. Kirsten Dunst plays a giddy high schooler extremely well and her partner in crime Michelle Williams is hilarious, too. For example, there’s a scene where Williams’ character develops a crush on Nixon and decides to sing “I Honestly Love You” (made famous by Olivia Newton-John) onto his infamous reel to reel tape recorder in the oval office. There are a couple of songs I associate with the film. One is Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.”

Other musicians/bands featured in the film include David Essex, Yes, Bread, and more. As for the film itself, reporters Woodward and Bernstein are played by the likes of Will Ferrell and Bruce McCulloch. Other comedic actors involved are Dave Foley, Jim Breuer, and Harry Shearer. Teri Garr sneaks into the cast as a housewife and mother. Even Ryan Reynolds makes an appearance. Nixon is played by Dan Hedaya (Nick Tortelli on Cheers). If the cast and the music aren’t reason enough to check it out, the 70s outfits are pretty damn groovy. “Dick” was directed by Andrew Fleming.

Till next time keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

The Colorful and The Freaky

I don’t know what it is about certain lights and colors (or the combination of them), but I just like them. I never really buy or display Christmas lights, for example, but I enjoy looking at them. Once in awhile I’ll see something that catches my eye and think, “This is how the world should look ALL OF THE TIME.” Sound crazy? I don’t know if I explain it, but I’ll try.

For example, my friend was riding shotgun while I was driving down the street. It was nighttime so it was dark outside. As I drove down this particular street (which I’ve done numerous times), I noticed some sort of flashing lights (LEDs?) illuminating a car wash. I just said, “Man that’s awesome!” Maybe it’s the stark contrast of the bright lights and the darkness or the vivid colors themselves. I don’t know. I’ve always enjoyed a lot of the psychedelic art to come out of the Sixties, but am far from a hippie or a “doper” to use my cop friends’ terminology. The pop art of Roy Lichtenstein is up my alley. I had a pop art phone app on my old iPhone and enjoyed trying different color schemes with random pictures.

Just to clarify, I like looking at and experiencing color. I don’t dress like a middle-aged, male version of “Rainbow Brite.” I recently saw a segment with Conan O’Brien in Japan and his visit took him into a very colorful section of Tokyo.

The description of this video is a “kawaii makeover in Harajuku.” Not really my thing. Maybe I’ll just do this. I’m going to list some examples of things I like. Please feel free to weigh in on whether they’re psychedelic, colorific, freaky, or just plain weird. Maybe I’ll start a roadside attraction with all of them:

  1. Lava lamps: They’re colorful and freaky. Good combo of both.
  2. Ocean in a bottle: This is sort of like a DIY lava lamp. I made one in about 8th grade. The downside is they’re highly flammable.
  3. Blacklights: I’ve never owned one, but this a good example of the colorful and the freaky as well. My cousins had one when I was kid. I can’t remember which posters they had.
  4. Fish aquariums: OK, they don’t always explode with color, but some do. I’m also fascinated by GloFish. I’m sure PETA disapproves. Are they genetically altered to glow in the dark? Betta fish are pretty colorful, too.
  5. Assorted children’s toys: Spirograph is definitely psychedelic. Lite Brite is pretty wicked, too. Is there a way to combine the two? Hmm.
  6. Ferrofluid: Most of the time, this stuff is black and it’s kept inside a glass case. You move it around with a high powered magnet. I think you can find different colors, but you may have to look pretty hard. It’s on my bucket list.
  7. Animation: Bugs Bunny isn’t too freaky, but Yellow Submarine is a pretty good example of explosive, vivid color. They might be edged out by the “hookah smoking caterpillar” of Alice in Wonderland/White Rabbit fame.

8. Claymation: I don’t think I’ve really seen a psychedelic instance of this, but it is colorful. The Peter Gabriel video for “Sledgehammer” is a good example of its potential.

9. Tibetan Sand Mandalas: Definitely have vivid colors, but a little less wind-and-sneeze-proof for my liking.

10. Thermochromic stuff: Sounds fancy, huh? This is like mood rings or coffee mugs that change color due to heat. Very freaky.

There are plenty of other examples/choices…a favorite album cover (Sgt. Pepper is pretty good), sugar skulls (definitely freaky and definitely colorful). I remember a scene in the comedy called “Best in Show” where this couple worships color. I haven’t gone that far. The world isn’t always colorful, but I enjoy it when it is.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

R.I.M. Vol. 2 – Random Irish Music

Still more Random Irish Music? Yes, there will be more! I’m not 100% sure, but I would guess I discovered this song and this particular version on an old record. Most likely I found it at a branch of the St. Louis County Public Library. The tune called “Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade” is also known as “The Splintered Shillelagah.” He must have been a real badass to be called a “dashing young blade.” Great line. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a folk song like that with your name in the title?

YouTube never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t know if I’d be able to find this version by Ellen Stekert, but there it is. Another song associated with Ireland is one I heard at home. I’m pretty sure my grandfather had the Bing Crosby album “Shillelaghs and Shamrocks” on vinyl. This a fun, politically incorrect novelty song and this one about MRS. Murphy is no Civil War ballad.

Years later, in the VCR era, I taped a really good A & E documentary. It was about Van Morrison and it was called “One Irish Rover.” My favorite part was Van’s acoustic jam with Bob Dylan.

I’m not convinced Dylan had all of the lyrics down, but it’s great anyway. They also did versions of “Crazy Love” and “Foreign Window.” I’ll have to see if there are other blog-worthy tunes from the same documentary. It will be hard to top dashing young blades and Bing Crosby, but there could be R.I.M. Vol. 3!

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

R.I.M. Vol. 1- Random Irish Music

It’s ironic — Planet Earth is draped in the Corona Virus pandemic, but in a few days I still think many Irish and non-Irish alike with break out the green beer and party. Unfortunately, they cancelled most of the parades here, but I think people will rise to the occasion anyway. This got me thinking about Irish Music throughout the ages. I’m not expert, but I’ve encountered some good songs during my time.

One of my favorites is by a band called The Waterboys. If I remember correctly, I came across this during my college radio days in the late 80s. “Fisherman’s Blues” was the title cut on this 1988 release and is my personal favorite of theirs.

I actually still have a dubbed copy of this on cassette. I must have checked out the 33 RPM record from my local library. On the same album, The Waterboys also have a cover of Van Morrison’s “Sweet Thing” and a one minute version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”

Waterboys band member/violinist Steve Wickham also played on the original studio version of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” I’ve never been an enormous fan of fellow Irish band U2, but I like a handful of their songs. Ironically, my favorite of theirs is sung by guitarist “The Edge” and not lead singer “Bono.” “Van Diemen’s Land ” opened their film “Rattle and Hum.”

It’s really a powerful combo of music and film. If this song sounds eerily familiar, that’s because the melody is a variation of traditional song called “The Water Is Wide” — a great song in its own right. It’s been recorded by about half a billion different musicians and used in various movie soundtracks like everything from “The Bounty” to “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” Getting back to U2’s take on it, the story is apparently about John Boyle O’Reilly. He was an Irish dude who led an uprising and was sent off to Australia. He probably also drank a lot of green beer, too. More R.I.M. to follow!

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

(Hypothetical) Funeral Songs

Have you ever thought about what songs you’d want to have at your own funeral? It’s a morbid idea, but it still begs the question. I should preface this by saying I have absolutely no intention of “checking out early”, but I’ve had more than one conversation about the music with a good friend of mine. I assume songs in the popular vernacular aren’t normally played in these conditions for fear the connection may “taint” them in some way. Bollocks!

I have some ideas on this matter. When I was a teenager my previously mentioned friend and I bantered back and forth about it. Which is a better choice? “My Sweet Lord” or “Let It Be.” Both are obviously nods to the songwriting of Beatles George Harrison and Paul McCartney. They both have spiritual themes of healing in them, but maybe those are too obvious. ( Not to mention Harrison was sued over the whole “My Sweet Lord” vs. “He’s So Fine” thing.) Plus, I think there’s an acoustic demo of the John Lennon-penned “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Further, if your song choice IS a widely known one which version do you choose — and, why?

One prime example is the tune “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” I would absolutely have to choose The Animals’ version. I’m a big fan of British rock and feel like they captured something of immense power and sentiment on this recording.

Others may disagree or even prefer the Nina Simone version. For me, this song is like a person summing him/herself up by saying, “I’m not perfect, but my intentions ARE good.” That speaks to me.

Another contender for me is the traditional folk song “Shenandoah” also known as “Across the Wide Missouri.” Why? Well, I’m a Missouri native and, to me, Dave Alvin’s version on his “Public Domain” album is amazing. As for the state song, “The Missouri Waltz”, I don’t even think I’d know it if I heard it.

Others may write this off as just another old, sad song, but I would wholeheartedly disagree with that. The guitar solo is great, too. You can read what you want into the lyrics about the river as a journey for a funeral setting.

My list wouldn’t be complete without something from Bob Dylan. He recorded a version of “Shenandoah” which doesn’t do it for me, but also recorded any number of other traditional songs. Then, of course, his catalog includes A LOT of material. For my money, “Forever Young” is the best one for a funeral. I prefer the demo version on his Biography box set. I think this one is close to it.

Does it matter if the deceased isn’t young? I don’t think so. The song is really quite prayer or wish-like.

“May you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every rung

And may you stay Forever Young.”

Forever Young was also the name of a music store where I bought some of my first guitar books.

Till next time, Keep your Mojo on the Horizon.

Non-Grunge 90s Rock

The Nineties…do you get a bad taste in your mouth when someone mentions this decade? It wasn’t all bad, but it seems pretty easy to be a hater. It was all about Seattle. You know, Starbucks, grunge, whale watching, and those type of things. Neil Young and his resplendent flannel couldn’t have been any more hip — or is it hipper? (Personally, I was a big fan Neil’s before the whole “Godfather of Grunge” thing. ) What was I doing in the Nineties? I spent some time and money at St. Louis Riverport Amphitheater and Busch Stadium trying to see as many legendary rockers who were doing their alleged-farewell tours — The Who, The Stones. I also saw Ringo Starr a couple of times as well. I even saw Neil Young on an acoustic tour.

Despite the whole grunge thing, there were some contemporary bands getting radio airplay on Album Oriented Rock (A.O.R.) stations. The band “Cry of Love” out of North Carolina had a couple of hits in the early 90s including one called “Peace Pipe.”

I always liked this song and their other hit “Bad Thing.” I did an internship at A.O.R. radio station in St. Louis around this time and wound up with Cry of Love’s album “Brother” on cassette — it also featured a K-SHE 95 sticker and station mascot “Sweet Meat” the sunglasses wearing pig. Pretty cool, huh? Cry of Love’s lead singer with the big bluesy voice was named Kelly Holland.

Around the same time (circa. 1993), K-SHE was also playing a bluesy rock song by another Southern band called “Brother Cane.”

“Got No Shame” is a great, frantic piece of rock n roll. Besides the wailing harmonica in it, I always liked the line “I found shelter, Helter Skelter”. Damon Johnson was the lead singer on this one. Many members of both bands went on to play with some other well-known bands/artists like The Black Crowes, Thin Lizzy, Sheryl Crow and more.

Are both bands considered “Southern Rock” because they’re from the South? I don’t know. I’m just grateful they threw some bluesy vocals and rockin’ music into all of that flannel.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

Kiss + Doors = Pearl Jam

Somewhere along the way I heard the expression about all art being imitation — it might have been Greek philosopher Plato. In any event, I found an interesting case of this while researching the guitar style and solos of Ace Frehley. A little background first.

Frehley is, of course, best known for his role as lead guitarist of KISS — and also for having the coolest on stage persona/costume in the band: The Spaceman. (Everyone else in the band was doing black and white kabuki-styled makeup, but he went with silver and white, coupled with a self-proclaimed Flash Gordon influence, but I digress. )

Die-hard KISS fans know Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were in a band called “Wicked Lester” before auditioning drummer Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to form KISS. One thing I recently learned is the KISS song entitled “She” was actually a composition from the Wicked Lester days. One WL version features a very groovy flute solo.

A few years later, KISS released the tune (written by Simmons and WL guitarist Stephen Coronel) on the album “Dressed to Kill.”

After looking on Wikipedia, I found out Ace Frehley listed The Doors’ tune “Five to One” as an influence on his take on “She.” Thank the nimble fingers of Robby Krieger! Fast forward a decade or so and Pearl Jam references the lick again in “Alive.”

No word on what inspired Krieger’s lick in “Five to One”, but Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready is apparently a big KISS/Ace Frehley fan so all is well. The real question is, if you put all of those band names together, what would be the best combo?

Wicked Pearl? Wicked Jam? Wicked Kiss? Wicked Doors? Kiss Jam? Door Jam (ha ha!)? Door Kiss?Door Wicked? Lester Pearl? Pearl Lester? Lester Doors? Pearl Doors? Kiss Lester? Lester Jam? Jam Lester? Jam Wicked?

Lester Pearl Kisses Wicked Doors? The possibilities are endless!

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

Superstore Run for Printer Ink

OK, I can admit I’m a bit of a procrastinator…not on everything, but on most things. This morning, I found myself out of black printer ink — again. (Naturally, I tried to milk the remaining ink from an old cartridge, but was denied.) This meant venturing out to my local superstore in the snowy weather. Unlike most people, I take the weather conditions into account when I drive. I’m actually aware of the fact that rain and/or snow, and/or a wintery mix can have an impact on driving and braking conditions. It was a relatively painless journey to the store at 6:45 am. ( I could have waited for the “office superstore” to open at 7:30 am, but I was done procrastinating.) Little did I know, the journey would raise some questions about man vs. machine in today’s U.S. of A.

Upon arrival, there were a couple of folks using mini-plows to clear the massive parking lot. I don’t know why, but for some reason, the 24/7 superstore only keeps one of its two sets of doors open during certain hours so I didn’t park in my usual spot. I made it to the electronics or “entertainment” department where the extremely valuable printer ink is kept behind lock and key. (Sub question: Is it possible one of the three wise men should have brought printer ink to Baby Jesus? I mean, do they keep the frankincense and myrrh under lock and key as well or is it near the Flintstone vitamins?) Unfortunately, there were no superstore employees in electronics. I was being denied my black printer ink cartridge after my wintery trek! I noticed superstore employees near the large metallic doors at the back of the store. Apparently, there must be a shift change at 7 am because employees were coming and going. A yellow vested lady told me “someone will be out shortly.” As I waited, I questioned my superstore trek at this point.

I decided to stand near the “entertainment” command post where they keep the cash registers and card scanners. The screen on the card scanner read “press for assistance” so I did. Nothing changed. Then another employee saw me and told me he’d “get someone from electronics.” I pressed it again. Finally, a third employee spotted me and took the initiative to visit the forbidden zone behind the large metallic doors. She emerged with a set of keys to free the printer ink from its vault. It’s a weird little lock on a large glass case, but the two of us persevered and the 245 XL ink cartridge was mine. Naturally, I had to take it to the self-scanning registers.

This raises the question…Have “the machines have taken over” a la The Terminator, etc. ? I mean the printer is the machine who started all of this. How long till it can just refill itself? Can’t it just spring legs or wheels and refill itself or maybe transform into a drone and fly there? Would using the superstore app have helped in this situation? I never use it because my cell phone is so dated it won’t work with any of those. You gotta love procrastination! In the meantime, I think someone should invent a little cow which holds your emergency ink cartridges. That way you can pull the extra cartridge right out of its udder.

Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!