Southern Tour

So it was a crazy drive to Nashville. I’m down here in the hot, humid south-land to look, listen and choose some musical treats for the Bakersfield Community Concerts. We’re looking ahead to the 2016-17 season already. Our current season starts in October and is booked with eight wonderful acts until May. Then, October of 2016 we start with a new roster of talent I’m here to find.

I started out in Lafayette, Indiana, the birthplace of many famous Americans and some not so hot (like me). It was time for my high school reunion. Then a visit to my first business, my first love. McGuire Music and Sound in Lafayette, Indiana.

Is there any business cooler than a music store? Nope.

It was fun stopping in at the old office and taking a tour. Things are better than ever at the music shop. Let me show you around:

Then it was time to hop on the Interstate #65 and head to Nashville. One can’t get to Nashville without crossing the great/not-so-great state of Kentucky. The tourist attractions, that pop up in the first hour after crossing the Ohio River from Indiana to Kentucky, are mind-boggling. Something for the whole family.

First thing that hits you in the face (I hope not) is the Louisville Slugger Bat factory. The factory owned by Hillerich and Bradsby has a museum of famous bats. The kids will love the replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch home-run hitter. The replica stands 128 feet tall and weighs 68,000 pounds.Babe Ruth Bat







Then up the road a few minutes and it’s dad’s turn, kids. Sit in the car while we take a tour of the Jim Beam distillery.
Jim Beam

Then drive another few minutes and sit in the car again, kids, while dad takes a tour of Makers Mark…and maybe a few tasties.
Makers Mark





Now go another few minutes and its mom’s turn. Time to sneak into Fort Knox and count the bullion. The Federal Reserve says we have 147 ounces of gold bricks in there. Wanna bet?
Fort Knox1Fort Knox2





Now fun for the whole family. We drive another few minutes and it’s Dinosaur World. Wow!
Dinosaur World

No, it’s not Creation Museum where humans are riding dinosaurs. It’s totally out of the way on this trip and our kids are screwed up enough without lying some more to them.

Finally we arrive in Music City.

nashville 2

More later…

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Colliding Worlds

There are so many different versions of “us,” sometimes manifested in a single hour. We can be hurriedly fumbling with our cell phones while waiting on the barista, then see an old friend outside and our gestures, even our voice changes. Minutes later we fight off our angry-self when a crazy guy swerves in our lane. Another version of us appears when we become the forgetful spouse that only had one errand to remember, but didn’t.

It always feels like a collision of worlds when my wimpy spoiled dry-heat body gets off the airplane into a world of wet-heat. Yesterday, here in Indiana, the temperature and the humidity agreed. Both were 90. They have some kind of ‘heat index’ classification I never understood. The TV weather kid said something about it “feels like” a hundred and something. No it doesn’t feel like that at all. I’ve played golf in Death Valley and Phoenix when the temperature was 108 and never sweat a drop. What 90-90 feels like is being trapped with your clothes on in a small closet with a heat lamp turned to high.

The heat’s worth it when I get to spend time with my children and life-long friends. Another high school reunion. We have one every five years and it seems like the last one was a few months ago. Sure is wonderful to see all my ornery old friends. We prove the old adage… only the good die young. Some of my classmates have changed so much they didn’t recognize me.











I have to be a wimp to turn down a ticket to the NASCAR Indy race. The older I get more I notice fewer things are worth waiting in line for…or sweating for.

From Indiana I’m heading to Nashville for another week so I suppose I’ll get use to wearing wet shirts and feeling water trickling down my skin…everywhere.

My fun job in Nashville is to listen to a showcase of three dozen musical acts in one weekend. Hopefully I will come back to California with a list of excellent entertainers that our Bakersfield Community Concert group will enjoy in 2016 and 2017. I think our Concert Association is the greatest “deal” in the country. If you subscribe to our season of concerts you will enjoy Eight first class musical acts (country, jazz, pop, classical and in between) for the total price of Eighty Dollars.

So wish me luck in Nashville, I’ll try not to break any of their dumb Tennessee laws. In case you didn’t know, here are some of their laws still on the books:

1)  Participating in  a duel prohibits you from holding a public office.
2) Stealing a horse is punishable by hanging.
3) You can shoot game from a moving automobile, except whales.
4) Hollow logs may not be sold.
5) Crimes against Nature are prohibited.
6) More than eight women living together constitutes a brothel and is illegal.
7) It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
8) Giving or receiving oral sex is prohibited by law.

HOWEVER.…it is still LEGAL to gather and consume roadkill.
At least I won’t starve while I’m visiting.

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I’m Seeing Terrible Things!

It all started with this damn book I’m working on night and day. I finished the third rewrite a week ago and it still needs some attention.

My problem is one of my characters has PTSD and tries to cover up his hallucinations and visions with drinking. He almost kills himself when he’s piloting his plane into a Santa Ana wind storm in the mountains and sees a horrible face in the clouds that is talking and yelling at him. I worked on that hallucination a long time and even had dreams about it.

The morning after my dream there was Jesus in my toast. I knew that was pretty common…at least I’ve read about it, so I ate Jesus and forgot about it.
faces in things 10

Then I had to take my car to the car wash because Fidel Castro was staring at me on the trunk. Weird.

I’ve begun noticing faces everywhere…garbage cans, appliances, buildings.
faces in things5Faces-in-Things2

I read an article yesterday that said neurotic people were the most likely people to see faces in things. I’m not sure I’m neurotic.
faces in things 4

faces in thingsfaces in things 7

I’ve been told other people see faces in these images. I don’t see anything. Maybe you’re neurotic?

faces in things9

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In the Garden of Eden, Honey

Yeah, that’s what I thought I posted the first time. BUT…the Evil side of me came out.

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In The Garden Of Eden Honey

Forty Seven Years ago today, July 20, the first heavy-metal song to ever hit the charts appeared at #117. It would top out at Number Thirty.

In my opinion the song was stolen from Cream, the psychedelic power trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Their song, Sunshine of Your Love, was included on their 1967 album.

Rock music was going through one of its periodic changes in the late ‘60s. Heavy Metal music was taking over, but hadn’t reached the Billboard Charts until Iron Butterfly took the Cream riff, started it two beats later and went into the studio to record.

The producer for their LP was drunk and didn’t show up while the band was waiting to record. The recording engineer, Don Casale, told the band they needed to do a sound check while they waited for the producer to come through the door.

The band had this song (the copycat song) that Doug Ingle, singer, wanted to do. It had some places for guitar solos, organ solos and drum solos. So they took off playing and singing their new tune, In The Garden Of Eden.

The only problem was the singer was also drunk and high. He slurred the words. There is a boring silly guitar solo followed by a long weird drum solo that my kid could have copied when he was seven. Then the organ solo with the drums which consists of the organist basically playing different version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” The jam took seventeen minutes. They loved it. No producer showed up so they used the seventeen minute song as ONE SIDE of the album. Don Casale, the engineer, was also listed as the producer.

When they asked Doug Ingle what the name of the song was he said it just as he slurred it…In A Gadda Da Vida. That’s what they called it and the album.

When they re-released it in 1995, the liner notes stated that Doug Ingle had told their drummer, Ron Bushy the name of the song and Bush wrote down, in a gadda da vida. He showed it to Ingle. Ingle laughed and said, “Yeah man, that’s it.”

Whatever, in 1968 the seventeen minute tune was cut down to under three minutes, released as a single, and the rest is history.

In 2004, VH-1 named In a Gadda Da Vida as the 24th greatest heavy metal tune of all time. Really?

It’s kind of fun for your mouth to pretend you are really drunk and then lower your  voice in a growl and slur…”In A Garden of Eden.”

Yep, sounds like “in a gadda da vida.”

I bet you feel better about your week now that you know this shit.

Now for the few souls that just don’t feel like working at all today, here is the full seventeen minutes. I bet half of you give up before the horrible drum solo is over.

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St. John’s Water Dogs

When I hear people calling and talking to their dogs, the names I hear are amazing. I’m sure each owner has their reasons and stories behind the names they bestowed. But what about the actual breed name? Where did that come from?

Thanks to the friendly staff at Mental Floss I have uncovered the historical stories of some popular dog breed names.

Labrador Retriever

Strangely they originally came from Newfoundland. Fisherman perfected this wonderful breed they called the St. John’s water dog. These dogs were great swimmers that hit the water and hauled back the fishing nets to shore. Sometime in the early 19th century the Earl of Malmesbry discovered these dogs and brought them to his English estate and trained them to retrieve ducks he hunted. He referred to them as his Labrador dogs, even though he obtained them in Newfoundland. The name stuck.



These are the original “water dogs.” They were not the fancy proud dog we think of today, but a great swimming retriever of waterfowl. The German word “pudeln” means “to splash.” They became know there as “pudelhunds” or “water dogs.” We eventually evolved the word to Poodle.



Dog on green meadow. Beagle puppy walking

American Kennel Club traces the name back to the 16 century. These little hounds were associated with the French word “becquele” meaning “noisy person.” I’m sure they were called that from the constant howling during hunts.


Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso
This dog with the strangest name
has the simplest breed name origin. This dog was bred to be a watchdog in Tibetan palaces and monasteries. Bred in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, they added the Tibetan word for “bearded” which is Apso.


Jack Russel Terrier
Jack Russel

The human Jack Russel was from Dartmouth England, born in 1795. He was a hunter. While studying to become a clergyman he met a milkman who had a white terrier bitch named Trump. Thinking the little dog would make a great fox hound, he convinced the mailman to sell him the dog. Russell began breeding Trump and made a line of terriers that had great stamina and could hunt foxes all day. They also had courage and would dart into holes after game that slipped away.

Jack Russel also bred a separate breed, similar to the Jack Russel Terrier, but with longer legs. It is recognized as a separate breed and called the Parson Russel Terrier.
I guess old Jack graduated from clergyman school.



In the early 17th century this was a ferocious little breed, created to dig its way into a badger’s hole and do battle. A badger is also ferocious.  In German, “dachshund” means “badger dog.” So stop with the wiener dog jokes.


Cocker Spaniel
Cocker Spaniel

This great family dog goes way, way back to the 14th century. Believe it or not, they were bred as a gun dog. They were skilled in tracking woodcocks. Yes, that’s where they got the name “cockers.”



When I was a kid our next door neighbor had a Weimaraner. It scared me all the time. They have crazy eyes. Now decades later, my next door neighbor has two Weimaraners.  When I gently ask them to leave my yard they look at me like I’m on borrowed time. But, they are beautiful animals.
They are a recent breed of the 19th century. Supposedly Grand Duke Karl August of Weimar started selectively breeding hunting dogs with speed, courage and strong noses. He wanted them for wolves or wildcats.  The Duke’s fellow Weimar noblemen loved the breed and they also became popular bird dogs as well.

I saw a strange breed of dog last week. It was a Bulldog and Shitzu mix.

I guess it’s called Bullshit.

See ya next week!

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You Missed the BEST ONE, Guy

So did I.

Anyone who looks at me probably thinks…that guy knows a lot about food…and food knows a lot about him.

Sort of an older Guy Fieri, if you will.

The only difference between Guy and me is twenty seven years and twenty five million bucks. If he keeps packing the diner food away like he does he’ll pass me up in five years. (Weight not Bucks)

Guy did eight Bakersfield stops on his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show in the last few months. Right before he opened his own restaurant here…Johnny Garlics.

I have no qualms with the eight Bako places…they are all my favs.

I have plenty of favs up in the wine country, Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. But Guy and I both missed the “best of the best” diners in California. I finally discovered it last week…twice.

Welcome to the Fremont Diner.
Fremont Diner 1
The Fremont sits at the crossroads of Napa and Sonoma. Every morsel of food is made in house except the bread. It’s a breakfast and lunch stop that features organic fruits and vegetables, backyard eggs, free range chicken, grass fed beef…in other words the chef/owner, Chad Harris, takes healthy stuff and makes it taste unbelievably good, southern style.

When I first saw it I thought it was an abandoned Tastee-Freeze from my childhood.

Amy Fremont Diner

Inside there are just 25 seats with dozens of antique items like wooden Coke boxes, vintage pie cabinets and lots of rusted stuff.

4/24/2011: T6: PC: Chad Harris opened the Fremont Diner in Sonoma for breakfast and lunch so he could be home to pick up his kids from school.Fremont Diner 7

Outside there are over a dozen long picnic tables that can seat another ninety folks.Fremont Diner 4

On my first visit I had the finest smoked brisket and sausage sandwich I ever tasted. It was my second choice. I was able to taste my first choice on my second visit. The menu calls it “Nashville Style Spicy Chicken”…’so hot it will set a cheatin’ man straight.’  Of course I had it with waffles.

Other fantastic menu items:

Fresh oysters from nearby Drake Bay make up his “po-boy sandwich.
Fried green tomato sandwich with house-smoked bacon, lettuce and seasoned mayo on sourdough bread
A Zante grape salad with greens, bacon, toasted walnuts and blue cheese.
Stone-ground grits w/shrimp-sausage gravy, bacon, green onions.
House cured Pastrami on rye w/zucchini chow chow, vella asiago and remoulade served w/dill pickle potato salad.

One year ago, almost to the day, I was having fried chicken and other tasties in Savannah, Georgia at Paula Deen’s restaurant. I wish she could taste how great cooking with fresh ingredients without the butter and lard can taste. If you’re reading this Paula, it’s my treat.
Meet you at the Fremont Diner, Paula,  but don’t let their pickup truck come get you.

The driver is a little reckless.Fremont Truck Driver

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