Tuesday, February 11, 2014


It is difficult to believe I have uncovered my father’s old Fraternity Paddle from his college days at Ohio State, out there in Columbus.  Omega Tau Delta?  1936 – folks, this nice sturdy flat oak paddle, still nicely finished (you won’t get splinters from this baby), is from 1936, and was no doubt used many times to whack swell brotherly guys on the ass – hard.  How many times did a typical frat guy get slammed with one of these oak paddles?  It’s 30” X 3 ½” X ½” and it has a tapered handle for a good grip.  I figure they all had to make their own, and burn their names (and the Fraternity symbols) into the wood.   Hope they had nice workbenches and vices.  Lots of filing, sanding, whittling and polishing right here.  (I know – I used to do all that working on furniture.)  It has a hole drilled near the top – it hung on a wall, or a door, or in a closet – probably had a leather lace through the hole.  I tell you - I can’t believe I saved this thing.  Amazing that He saved it.  It’s wonderful, or ridiculous, probably both.
I forgot – they All signed it – about 25 guys, first and last names.  They had to use a wood-burner too; there were no ballpoints in 1936.  One of my father’s college buddies was Irving Shulman, known by the guys as “Shmoonie”.  He wrote “The Amboy Dukes”, a popular 1947 novel of early teenage rebellion in the period just before Rock and Roll joined all those alienated kids into our image of the rebellious 1950s teenager.  It was a lurid mainstream book I associated with “The Blackboard Jungle”.  My dad didn’t have a copy, and though I do think he had read it, he never recommended it, and I still haven’t read it.  But now I want to.  So much to do, so little time...

          And now it’s a few days later.  It’s Tuesday, and I spent hours finding out I couldn’t get my taxes done yet.  Sigh. 
          Ever read Mr. X comics?  Great story.  The first four issues or so are the best cause they have Dean Motter and the Rodriquez brothers both!  Well, that may not mean much to some of you.  But it’s about a guy who never sleeps, and says “So much to do, so little time…”

          And now to publicize the show, advertise for entertainers, and post this.  Soon I’ll complete the posting of all my shows, up to #133, onto Youtube.  I have to put up about ten of them and then I’m done.
          I re-thank Bad Accent Music – Evzen! Karine! Brad! Jonah! Emma! Andy! And the sax player...
          Too many endings.

2-11-14 Tributes and Music News.

          I am constantly (regularly) astounded at my inability to see things the way others do: different things are obvious to them than those which are obvious to me. This goes along with a talent for original ideas; the ability to see things others don’t.  I endeavor to have this balance out my self-involved behavior – and what has been called a condescending air.  I have a gift (a eureka moment) or a skill (keeping at it until the idea works), but the inability to put folks at ease – being without tact - is no kind of skill, and an unwanted gift.



         This week brought more bad news.  One of our best loved actors passed away, and we are sad.  We agonize over it, then we get over it.  I can see his face right now.  I can see all his roles in turn, playing in a reel in my head.  I’m re-watching all his movies.  I miss him.


I did the first of “First Mondays with Charlie Messing and Friends” at The Monkey House, a rock and roll club with pool in Winooski, and no TV which is much more vital to atmosphere.  Pool is fine – people played pool at CBGBs.  They sure didn’t have a football game going on over the bartender’s head! I saw Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon or Christian Slater - one of those guys, playing pool low-key with a hat one night.  People left him alone; it was cool.
          They moved the stage to a much better spot, but they’re still setting it up – the monitors were a puzzle which eventually got solved, awkwardness in the speakers or the board, who knows.  But in a month I bet it will run more smoothly.  In a way, it was perfect, because I was reminded of the way I am at a gig – some things work and some don’t, puzzles are solved, time is taken.  Heads are scratched.  It was appropriate. 
I tried out different types of material on the crowd (okay, 20 people) to see their responses, paused a few more times (“the mids down a bit more”).  It’s a bit surreal when your heart wants to be in the music and instead it’s like a dream where you wander blindly, as if walking through sheets hung out to dry.  (Could anyone ever forget what it was like to walk through hanging, fresh dried laundry?)
So I wasn’t bad - some connected, but it should have been a walk in the park.   Everyone else seemed fine.  Some of the pool players could not drag their attention from the table – they were mid-season in a complex competition, so for them I was in the background – which was fine.  Though I felt as if I had a transparent quality, or a blurriness, I was well-received.
The band I’d invited showed up while I was playing. I sort of hoped they’d watch me play, but they had their minds full of getting all the equipment into the club, reasonably.  (Parking is tough there.)  I just wanted their attention because I’m selfish.  But I got some nice looks and smiles.  And later on I communicated a bit with Evzen, the guy who holds it all together, husband of the lovely lead singer, the man behind the songs and arrangements (I believe).  He and his charming wife Karine seem right away to be more used to French than to English, which is why their band is named “Bad Accent.”  I think it’s a really good name.  They’re good, and just getting started.  I was glad to give them what he called later “a live rehearsal.” 
[Andy Feltus, Drums; Jonah Salzman, Lead Guitar; Brad Olsen, Bass Guitar, Evzen Holas, Rhythm Guitar & Accordion, Emma Cook, Vocals; Karine Poulin, Vocals]  I think they want to be called Bad Accent Music.  They have a sign onstage.  I think “Music” is just extra, but what do I know.

I am recruiting for next month, for 3/3!