Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wait! There It Is Two Blahgs Down!

Wait! There it is two blahgs down!

Pricess Gets Carded, The Rabbi Gets New Hips and The Canaries Sing and Dance

Holy Mother of God! I just finished writing a fascinating and informative blahg to describe the above title and it was dumped into cyberspace by some cyber banshee!

Pricess Gets Carded, The Rabbi Gets New Hips and The Canaries Sing and Dance

Princess got carded for liquor today! She's only 16 years old!

We were at Trader Joe's and amongst the tofu and organic muffins in the basket was a bottle of Coppola Shiraz that I placed there because it looked pretty tasty. So the checker is checking us out and I hand my money card to Princess so she can do all the money biz while I stand there looking at the Airborne anti-cold drops. The checker says to Princess "Are you the purchaser of this wine?" And Princess sorta giggles a bit and the checker gives her a mini-stinkeye. Princess looks to me for help and I say "Hell no. That's my moneycard." Sheesh! I was standing right there. Did she truly think that Princess was going to buy a bottle of wine? I should of said she was buying it for me.

Anways, Princess likes Australian Merlots.

Albie's dad, the Rabbi, went in for surgery today in a hospital on the coast.. He had some hips replaced and it looked to be a bit risky because the Rabbi is 92 years old. We were all concerned.

But Albie called and said everything went well and the Rabbi is being very crabby and hard to manage in his post-op condition. I told Albie "Wait 'til he eats the food!"

I may cruise down to the beach and have lunch with him at Bonehead's later this week.

The Canaries, Billy (me), Brother Atom Bomb, and Donita Curioso got our ukes together last night and worked on a song called "Tweedledee" by LaVerne Baker. It has a Big Mama Thornton kinda feel to it with some semi-complicated do wop biz in the background. Lotsa rhythm going on too. Ms. Curioso found the song and she sings the beejabbers out of it. A little polishing and it will be bitchin' and twitchin' time. I get steamy just thinking about it.

God Bless the human who invented the cowbell.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Anniversary # ?

I don't remember when we were married. Between 20 and 25 years ago. And we practiced for about 7 years prior for good luck. I guess you have to add that on.

Viv and I were married at Eden Lutheran Church in Rio Nada California. Both our families have a history there. My Ma and Pa were married there. It's a stately brick church sitting on a bluff overlooking the Tequesquite Arroyo across from Mt. Rubidoux. It was built with sweat and blood by a bunch of Swedes in the early 50's. Working men not to long off the boat. It has a beautiful stained glass window that catches the sun at the perfect angle every afternoon. There is a Fellowship Hall, about 3,000 square feet, just west of the Sanctuary that was built by the same Swedes one Saturday afternoon, I've heard. We Canarys did a uke concert for the 150 year anniversary of the church.

In the late 60's, someone broke into the Sanctuary and torched it. They also broke the left pinky finger from the statue of Jesus at the alter. The Swedes cleaned up the mess and repaired the place. The pinky was replaced but now it's an inch or so too long.

When Viv and I went in for our marriage interview with the Pastor, he called me a cradle robber. Viv is 6 years younger. We giggled at that.

The wedding was on the cheap. The Church was 50 bucks with a limit of 50 people. The friends that we couldn't invite showed up anyway. And there were a few. What I remember most clearly about the wedding is Viv's dad coming down the aisle. He was very ill and he walked the whole way. And, of course, I'll never forget Viv. She was wearing a cream-colored wedding dress with matching high laced ankle boots with heels. She got the dress at Harris' for another 50 bucks. She fixed it up (She was a theatrical costumer for awhile) and her hair was all spikey. She looked wonderful. She still does.

What I remember most about the ceremony is that the Preacher's vestments had little felt balls all over them.

The reception was held at our old house on Grenbriar St. We bought a cake (At $90 bucks, the biggest expense) from Simple Simon's just after it opened. It was a two-story rasberry chocolate thing with Ionic columns that were sorta leaning to one side. We had a bunch of beer and some baked beans. There might have been some barbecue involved. The stereo did not survive.

It was the clearest, warmest January night ever and we danced until morning 'neath the full moon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pine, Sauce, Crab

Think of one word than can be added to each of the three words in the title to form three different compound words.

Rain Reign Rein

It's raining again. I hate it. I wish there was a law that said "rain only at night". Or that the rain would have to maintain a 36 inch perimeter around me that would follow me around wherever I go so as to keep me dry.

I know there's a drought. I lived in Santa Barbara during the great drought of '78. I know the routine. I take short showers, water my lawn sparingly, and sometimes I don't flush when I whiz (Well, not so often, really).

I was going to rent the basement of a house up on Milpas near McConnell's and I said to my friends "What if it rains?"

They said "It NEVER rains in Santa Barbara!"

That winter it rained like a mofo gigante! There was a front page picture in the Santa Barbara News-Suppress of the poor coed who rented the place. She was standing in that basement up to her knees in water.

It coulda been me!

Instead, I spent the winter dressed in garbage bag raincoat riding my seatless bike all over Isla Vista during the deluge. I swear I was pruney for three months.

Some old hippie even went so far as to begin construction of an ark out near the teepee village. He's probably still living there.

This storm may be his last big chance.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Australian Boys

Princess and I did the MLK Walk-a-Thon today here in Rio Nada. The Beechwood crowd came along as well. The walk starts at the park across from the Baptist church up on the Eastside and runs down MLK Blvd. to Main St. and then up 7th St. to the Muni. Lotsa food and speechifyin and 5 rock bands. Probably about a three + mile walk. We all ended up at Farmer Boy. Too late for the Breakfast Burrito tho. Bummer.

The Beechwood crowd had two teens from Australia with them. They were exchange students for a week. Two excellent kids. Witty, personable and engaging. And they talked funny. Last night there was a barbecue in their honor and we sat around and sang with some guitars and ukes. Taught them a few Woodie Guthrie songs and we all made an attempt at Waltzing Mathilda with minimal success. One of the Aussie kids had a great voice. They're flying back to the homeland tonight.

All good gifts to Donita and family, whose courage, wisdom and compassion will surely see them through their trying times. xo.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Uke Man Cometh

I received, finally, both of the EBay ukes in the mail. Sheesh! It took along, long time for them to get here. One was a concert uke circa 1950. The concert was deformed. It had a crack from the sound hole all the way thru the lower bout. It was warped and twisted and for about $200 bucks we could make it playable. Ell at the Folk Music Center suggested I plant a staghorn fern in it and hang it outside somewhere. I may.

The banjolele is much more interesting. It's basically a hunk of wood. With a coupla screws in it. I'm gonna try to gouge out some of the wood along the circumference of the body in the back to create a little more resonance. I'm gonna use a popsicle stick for the bridge. It will play someday soon.

Who knows what happened to the Woodchuck Ukesters appearance on LA Today? They told us we'd be on Tuesday and today is Saturday. A kid at school did tell me her sister saw me on TV, but I suspect that someone is confused. I don't think it's been aired yet.

One of the Ukesters was writing something in class and he wanted to read it out loud. When he reads, he always reads like an Orson Wells radio show and it's always about aliens and monsters and space stuff. So he reads his title (He's a nine year-old) in his Wellian way: "It Came From Uranus!" and there is about 5 seconds of silence and a girl in the back says to herself "Your anus?" and the class goe slap happy, laughing like crazy. I tried to convince them it wasn't funny, but it didn't work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oily Bozo and the Cross-eyed Polar Bear

Here's a reason not to vote for Mitt Romney (as if ya needed one). Him and his Michigan win and that stoopid polar bear cub in Germany caused the Woodchuck Ukesters to be bumped from the Today in LA show. It now appears that the Ukesters will be on KNBC Channel 4 on Thursday, Jan. 17, 'tween 6 and 7 AM.

The entire nation got up early to see the Ukesters and are treated, instead, to some oily right-wing bozo no-no and a cross-eyed polar bear from Germany who's mother tried to eat him.

This is what Western Civilization has been reduced to.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Zen Koan

What is the sound of one ukulele arriving?

Woodchuck Ukesters Conquer All Creation

The Ukesters will appear on KNBC Channel 4 out of LA tomorrow morning, Jan. 16, between 6 and 7 AM. Check the KNBC website if you live out of town. It may be there. Keyword: Ukulele.

The taping this morning was slick, quick and witty. And after last nites triumphant concert at the Rio Nada School Bored Meeting, the world, nay, the universe, is our big honkin' oyster-doyster. What a tour it's been. Two concerts in 12 hours, from one end of town to the other, we deserve a Mr. Misty.

The Ukesters have conquered all Creation, and not a dime to show for it.

But we did get some cool free T-Shirts that said "We Got Blisters on our Fingers!"

Happy Birthday Charo!

The Rio Nada local newspaper has been a piece of fish wrap since it was purchased from the local owner by a big Texas concern. And I can prove it:

1. They cancelled Mr. Boffo.
2. They support Humpty Smirky Bush.
3. They no longer keep us up to date on the local mayhem.
4. The obituaries are impossible to figure out.

Lately, they've added a new feature that is mildly amusing, but I'm not sure why.
It's a little box in the corner that has the birthdays of different celebs, some living, some dead.
It's sorta fun to compare these dates with your own B-Day to see where you stand in the Grand Scheme of Geological Time.

But today they went too far. They listed Charo as being born in 1951! That makes me one year younger than Charo! Never! This can't be true! Anyone who knows who Charo is will no doubt find this an outrage of the greatest proportion! Charo is at least 81.! She's older than her birthday!

First Larryland and now this.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Las Pilitas en Escondido

Bro Atom Bomb and myself, with a notion in our fuzzy heads to go green, took a cruise down the ol' 215/15 to Las Pilitas Nursery. Las Pil is a native plants nursery about 3 miles north of Lawrence Welk Village (where I got my Actors Equity card years ago) on the old 395 Highway. The address is in Escondido, but the place is in the middle of nowhere. The closest "town" is Rainbow, which is near the I-15 Border Patrol checkpoint. There is also a Las Pil near San Luis Obispo somewhere.

We got off the I-15 at Gopher Canyon and turned south to Larry Land to see what was playing at the theatre and to see if I knew anyone in the cast and, of course, to whiz.

Yikes!! The show was a Liberace tribute! A one man show! We left the theatre.

Having completed step one of our Larry Land adventure, we set out to complete step two: the whiz. And, oh did we.

Then something awful happened. As we were walking thru the shops and eateries of Larry Land, it dawned on us that we fit in. We looked like everyone else! We were now old enough to be a Larry Land target clientel!

I don't have to tell you that we got in that car and amscrayed outta there as fast as we could before someone tried to sell us a condo! Hell if I'm gonna be a Larry Land demographic!

So down Old 395 we went in search of native plants. Las Pil's a great place. Tons of stuff you won't find anywhere but California and not a pesticide to be seen. I bought a Salvia and three bushy things and Bro bought what I do not know. But it's for his hill and the chihuahua next door. Something with lotsa thorns and I think it's poisonous, too, I hope.

On the way home we saw where the Fallbrook Fire had been last month. It is unbelievable the damage done to the hills on either side of I-15 and equally unbelievable to see buildings that had been saved. We didn't see any structure damage. But there was a lot in other areas.

Safely back in Rio Nada, we found ourselves at an Irish pub that served curry and Cobb Salads, is run by a guy named Eduardo and owned by MacDonald's. But we did have a real Irish waitress named Laura and we were surrounded by the younger generation.

And after all, Bro and I remain unwaveringly hep.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ukes From Afar, Hair on Fire, Broken Windows and Curry

Viv taught me to use EBay the other day. Bad idea. I've got two ukuleles arriving by mail any moment now.

One is a Hopf bass(?) uke arriving by way of Oklahoma and the other is this seismo old A. Schoenhut banjolele from Florida. The banjolele reminds me of the Terry Mead banjo/uke I bought in Cayucas last summer. The design is vaguely similar. It looks like a frying pan or a campfire popcorn popper.

I'm so tired of waiting for them. It's been 11 days.

The Woodchuck Children's Youth Orchestra will be playing their first gig at the Rio Nada School Board meeting this Monday. They will be busting their chops on "This Land is Your Land" and be making a strong argument for the restoration of the arts in schools by their very presence. The kids play like their hair is on fire. Not bad for a bunch of nine year olds.

And we found out this morning that KNBC TV News out of L.A. is coming out on Tuesday to do a feature on the Orch. We will be singing and laughing and I will be witty when asked goofy questions. Should be on in the afternoon, PST. Consult your local cable listings. Look for Paul Moyer. Or Fritz Coleman.

We will be bigger than the Beatles. Or Iz.

Princess took some fine photos of a car that drove through the window of a local Quizno's. Driver thought it was a drive through. I'll post them when I learn how.

I could use a big bowl of curry right about now.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dogs, Ukes and a Tiny Cheerleader

This morning Dil Dog killed a chihuahua that wandered on to the grounds of the estate. The second chihuahua kill in 10 days by the same dog and for the same reasons. That has to be a record. Mommas don't let your chihuahuas out and about. Dilly seems to have lost a little of his mind since a seizure a few weeks back.

Today was the first meeting of the Riverside Ukulele Liberation Front in the year 2008. 4 or 5 of the veterans showed up as well as some old friends not seen for awhile. The afternoon was
low key but fun. There's some disease going around that makes you sound like Mom's Mabley if you get it. So the turnout was light. And the Mabley's were many. The new girl from Redlands played a neato version of "Landslide" (she was the most accomplished player today) as her 4 year old daughter walked around and stuck cool little stickers on each of our hands. I got a tiny cheerleader. At last.

Tonight it's pouring rain and the dogs smell funnier because of it.

And Obama is double digits ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

You are probably wondering why there is a photo of a fishing boat just to the right of this blahg. I shot this picture while on the aforementioned whirlwind tour of Central California. The boat is in Morro Bay. It is called the Billy Boy, as written on its prow. Can't see it can ya. I swear it is the Billy Boy. If you need proof, it's parked very close to that big honkin' rock. Across the street from the French bakery place. Just south of those two gigante smoke stacks. What are those for, anyway? And who in their right mind would ever climb that little ladder?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Back to the Blahg

It's been just over a year since I posted in this space. I inadvertantly clicked on a setting that changed everything I wrote or read on my Blah-g into Swedish. For the last twelve months I have been studying the language. Finally I've arrived at Chapter 12 "Feefter Ufter Blahgshtat Oofter Doofter", which explains how to change everything back. I am returned to the mother tongue at long last.

The Past Year in a Nutshell:

1. Liam Canary bought a Fender Telecaster and a '72 VW Hatchback within a week of each other.
What's left to do?

2. Princess Canary was in a production of High School Musical which sold more tickets than Elton John did when he performed at the same venue some 30 years ago. She was that good!

3. I appeared as the Innkeeper in my 27th production of Man of La Mancha. The only La Mancha role I have yet to appear in is Aldonza.

4. Brother Atom Bomb of Destruction and I have formed the Rio Nada Ukulele Liberation Front (RULF). Watta joyful noise.

5. We now have four dogs: Shiva, Dil, Moka Lotion, and Zombie Battaram.

6. Mother Canary has moved to a shiny new assisted living joint run by Romanians. The food is much better than the Tower.

7. I have been blessed more than once by a Rabbi for the mitzvahs that I have done.

8. I have lost track of Gelsang Rak Ma, a Buddhist nun Vivage and I were meditating with.

9. I saw Patti Smith in Santa Cruz with Albie, the Rabbi's son, after a whirlwind auto tour of Central California during which I visited Annie Yak near the Zaca Fire and bought a beautiful Terry Meade ukulele in Cayucas from an angry/funny/friendly ex-surfer guy whose cousin I went to school with, coincidentally. The ex-surfer guy was angry at his landlord and moved his whole uke shop to Morro Bay. Rightly so.

10. Albie and I ate at a great restaurant called" Boneheads" in Lake Forest, near Laguna Beach.

My 2008 wish is that all my friends would come live with me and we would eat every night at a round wooden table and when we were finished we would grab our ukes and play and sing until the moon disappears in the west.