Life in a Blender at Joe’s Pub

After some 30 years, Life in a Blender keeps whirling

The new album Happy Enough is very good and very Blender

And their set at Joe’s Pub in the New York Public Theater was well attended and greatly received.

Granted they may be an acquired taste. And the shows may be a bit rough-edged when it comes to tightness and the vocals and strings all being in tune, over the years since front man Don Rauf moved to Seattle, so that they do not get much in the way rehearsal or gigging to stay honed and sharp.

But the current line up of Life in a Blender has been together over 20 years. And their many fans are more than happy enough to sing along to the old favorites and soak up the new songs imparted with gusto from the quirky, cathartic perspective from inside the Blender.

It was heck, recalls former child

Fredrick Cobb my great grandfather

My Maternal Great Grandfather – before and after

Born in Maine, educated at Harvard, Fredrick Cobb practiced law in Brooklyn Heights into his 90s.

He was well along in years when my grandmother was born, and she herself married late in life and my mother was her youngest. So a couple of generations reaches way back.

But it is nothing like the grandsons of Present John Tyler, who served in White House from 1841 to 1845. President Tyler was born in 1790 and two of his grandsons are still alive today. He was 63 when he had a child who then had a child when he was 75. Now that is reaching back!


The New Pound Coin No Laughing Matter?

“I’m not a fan of the new Pound coin. But then again, I hate all change”

That just won Best Joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

I did not even know about the new Pound coin, or that my small hoard of Pound coins will no longer be legal tender come October. But tis true.

Give Humor a Chance

Humor has been hard to find in modern times

But Tina Fey allowed me to laugh again

I wrote this off the cuff at 1 AM in response to a Facebook post of the Playboy article deciding that Tina Fey’s comic editorial on SNL was some sort of reverse psychology ridiculing elite white Americans for binge eating rather than doing something about Trump and racism….
I disagree. I do not think she was mocking them or non-violence at all.
She was not mocking people who were not going out to empower the morons doing the racist rallies. AT ALL. (Did anyone bother to listen to what she was actually saying about and too Trump and Ann Coulter and Paul Ryan?)
I gained like 12 pounds between the election and New Years, drinking like a fish and eating comfort food. I related entirely to what she was saying as she stuffed her face with cake.
It was REAL. It IS how millions of people found ways to medicate themselves through things they had absolutely no power to confront or do anything about.
How exactly was her comic advocating of “sheet caking” any different than John and Yoko saying people should have sex for Peace or cut their hair for Peace? As if a bed-in or cutting hair could do anything to bring about Peace.
The point is to do ANYTHING that will help you cope with the insane horrific reality without resorting to violence or giving into the bait to give Trump or his supporters or the neo-nazi morons a platform to suggest their views and their agenda are in any way valid and worthy of spotlights and the center of attention.
People may find empowerment in what happened in Boston, since no one was killed. Well good for them. Everyone needs to find their own way to “resist.” Some will say change must be accomplished by any means necessary, others will not.
Tina Fey is far too intelligent and shrewd to condemn people for doing whatever it takes to keep sane during such insane times. It was one of the few pieces of comedy that actually allowed me to laugh at the circumstances – because I saw myself in them – since the election of that clueless putz that has turned our government over to the very people who want to destroy it from within. And that took some doing
Give Humor a Chance

Another Fabulous Martinfest

Debuting Fat’s Waller’s Brand New Suit at the 16th Martinfest

It was great fun to be back on stage with the Paul Ukena Trio in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, trying out new (for us) tunes

And I am looking forward to our returning to rehearsing and gigging in New York City this coming Autumn.

It was a new official hotel for the five nights that the Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum gather in Eastern PA to celebrate Martin guitars, made in Nazareth by one of America’s oldest family businesses, with new guest artists and many first time attendees. But there many of the old guard there to keep up traditions, even as they forged new ones.

You can read more about this very special event HERE in the article that I wrote after a previous Martinfest.

The Desert Spoon

 Siempre Sotol makes the Desert Spoon extra exotic

My idea of a mixed drink is scotch and soda, but how could a Spoon resist trying a Spoon, created by the mixologist at the Tinderbox in Flagstaff, AZ.

Desert Spoon made with Siepre Sotol

The primary spirit is not well known outside of Mexico, or in it for that matter.

It is the distillation of the wild sotol plant, and can be favorably  compared to Mescal, as it is smoky and spicy when sampled straight from the bottle.

Tinderbox recipe for a Desert Spoon with Sotol

Huevos de Los Dioses

“The Best Huevos Rancheros You’ll Ever Eat”

Thus Nashville songwriter Jim Wolf on the Huevos Rancheros at MartAnne’s of Flagstaff, Arizona

Not that I needed telling. I have been making a point of having their Huevos Rancheros since I first started visiting my brother in Flagstaff in a previous century.

I normally prefer this dish with red sauce, but there is no doubt that, even with the change in location and the death of the much-beloved cook, MartAnne’s still makes the Grand Canyon of Huevos Rancheros.


MartAnne's Huevo Rancheros before


MartAnne's Huevo Rancheros after

OK, the Grand Canyon isn’t something one can finish off in one sitting.

The Grand Canyon of Huevos Rancheros

But the metaphor remains valid, as both are pretty awesome.


Sam Shepard Remembered

Many others will better say what Sam Shepard meant to the American Theater of his youth, and to films he later appeared in as a centered and unhurried actor. I can only speak to what he was to the theater of my youth, by quoting a friend who accompanied the news of Shepard’s death with the words, “In drama school we all wanted to be Sam.”

The only Shepard piece I directed was Action, in 1992, the one-act play that can find it focal point easily enough in its title. Perhaps his most Beckett-like work, it is always worth seeking out to see how various casts or individual actors explore its compact yet expansive possibilities.

On the Fourth of July in 1996, I was walking down a sun-scorched Avenue of the Americas, around 45th Street, when I was stopped by a traffic light, when I had my only in-person encounter with Shepard.

Having forgotten my sunglasses, I was looking down to keep the rays out of my eyes, as I rummaged my pockets for a light for my cigarette, when a glowing butt dropped right next to my foot, which was then squashed by an old but well-cared-for cowboy boot.

“Gotta light?” I said, before looking up into the creased, scrutinous squint of those solid, penetrating eyes.

He paused for a moment, and when I did not make anything of him other than wanting his help, he produced a Zippo lighter, and flipped it open while igniting the wick in one fluid motion.

He lit my cigarette as the walk light lit, and I said, “You’re taller than I thought you’d be.”

His creases deepened a bit and I thanked him for the light as we went our separate ways. And now he has gone the way of us all in the end.

I still think fondly of the monologue he wrote for Cowboys #2 extolling the many virtues of breakfast, almost every time I slice into some glistening sunny side up eggs. And I guess I always shall.

The New York Times Notice of Shepard’s Passing