The Year Was 1977

Yes, that was a lifetime ago. I’ll bet some of you reading this were not alive. There may even a possibility that your parents weren’t around then.

My best friend from my junior year of high school, even until now, is Maurice (I’ll leave the last names out to protect the guilty). Maurice and I, or Mo as he goes by now (which is funny since I have a niece named Melissa that also goes by Mo – guess it’s a unisex thing), used to sit and dream big dreams. And we were very seldom under the influence of anything other than, to quote Zonker Harris of “Doonesbury”, “Just getting high on life and America”.  Oh, you probably don’t know anything of “Doonesbury”, here’s a quick tutorial.

One of our dreams was to open a gym in Austin Texas. Mo was very much into bodybuilding, me not so much. When I left for basic training, October of 1976, I stood 5′ 10″ tall and weighed 119 lbs provided I had eaten a large meal beforehand. Mo, on the other hand, stood about 6′ 2″, and had to weigh about 225, maybe 250. And it was all solid muscle. My niece’s little girlfriends (we’re talking 8th graders here, and we are both around 20), loved it when Mo came to the house to visit. Much fawning and adoration went his way.

But to get back to the story. We made up a corporation “The Body Shop” that would be the parent company of all our other businesses. He would have his gym, and I would have my music recording studio and publishing company. Of course, none of this ever happened, nor did we really expect it too. It was just a way to waste time during the day before going out to drink.

Our only other pastime was “The Great Search For The Blue Nehi”. But that’ll be another post. (And Frodo has nothing on our search).

This weekend, instead of going to the St. Augustine Celtic Music Festival like we had planned, instead Wifey® and I cleaned out the closet of what used to my home office. It’s now the bedroom our granddaughter-the-younger. She is 6 years old, so I guess it’s about time we cleaned it out so she has a place to hang her dresses. Of course, my Awia quadrophonic reel-to-reel tape deck, my dual cassette dubbing deck, my turntable and my 4 channel mixing board are still in the closet, simply because I have no other place to put them. I still need to find a place for all my old music books.

I’m sure you’re asking “just where is this story going”? Well, this something I found while cleaning out the closest, buried in the middle of my music books as well.


I know this very hard to read.. transcription to follow

Some notes: Mo has always liked to try out different names. In this note, he uses “Hezikiah”. He once tried to set up a “New Persona” using the name Merlyn Cully Cross, which he found in a book and was rather taken with. I think he only managed to get a library card with that name. I have had the nickname “Skeeter” for as long as I can remember. Also, there should be a “G Clef” (for you music people between the “Skeet” and “Music”, but apparently this WordPress editor doesn’t have that).

The transcription;

Recorded by “The Foolish Brothers Band” on the “Would You Believe This?” album: “Late For My Own Funeral”.

(c) 1977 SkeetMusic, rights for the world administered by S&H Music, Austin, Tx.

(P) 1977 S&H Music, a division of The Body Shop, Inc., Austin, Tx.

Note: Although this has been copyrighted in July of 1977 and recorded in August of 1977, as of August of 1979 it has not been released due to the fact that “The Foolish Brothers Band” cannot get a major recording company to finance their “Would You Believe This?” label.

The Foolish Brothers Band is (are);

Skeeter: Lead Vocals; Lead & Rhythm Electric Guitars; Acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars; Acoustic guitar body; Various & sundry things lying around the room that make noise; foul words.

Hezikiah: Background Vocals; Lead & Rhythm electic guitars; Acoustic 6 & 2 string guitars; Acoustic guitar body; Anything else lying about the room that makes noises; Dirty language

R.M; D.M; P.B; M.W; K.W; T.W; A.S; L.S; (“The Get Outtahere Choir”); funny little noises in the background

So there you have. A little piece of nostalgia from my misspent youth.  Hope you enjoyed this. I know finding this little scrap of paper gave me great joy, and hopefully, you got a kick out of it too.

And Mo, we definitely need to get together again real soon. Love ya man!


Main Street

Thursday night I didn’t feel like reading, I watch very little TV, and my favorite show, The X-Files Wifey® will not watch. But that’s okay, as I don’t like most of the shows she watches. So on nights like this, I usually put in my ear buds and blast my 60’s or 70’s music one level below “make your ears bleed”.  After years of playing bands, being a DJ, and all the Army days with lots of explosions and such, my ears are pretty much goners.


I know I’ve used this meme before, but I love it!

I was also very fond of the old JBL poster, “Blown Away”.



They made a second version of this where the gentleman catches the martini before it blows away. Great marketing.


But, I digress as usual. I was deep into about my 5th beer that night when one of my favorite songs of Bob Seger came on. Main Street. It reminded me of days long past when I used to frequent a little strip club. My best friend and I would go, have some beer, and watch the girls. I was so jealous that he could start up a conversation with any of the dancers, while I just drank my beer and said next to nothing. There really wasn’t any one girl in particular that caught my eye. I found them all very attractive, or maybe seductive would be a better word. We rarely stayed until closing time, so there was no standing and watching them leave like the song says. But the feeling is very close. And there was no way I could have asked any of the ladies “out on a date”, hell I could barely look them in the eye when they came around the table.Well, that’s my story.

Don’t know why I’m putting this out there, other than to play the video for the song again.  So here it is.



We’re supposed to go to a Gordon Lightfoot concert tonight. I realize that most of you have no idea who Gordon Lightfoot is. But if you’re a fan of ’60’s and ’70’s folk music like I am, then you know his music very well.

I’m hoping this will break me out of my funk. But only time will tell.  Maybe I’ll post a review of the concert tomorrow. If I feel up to it.

Here’s one of Gord’s best songs for you. And it was one of my dad’s favorite songs too.


P.S. Does anyone watch any of this videos I post?

A Review Of The Google Pixel 2XL And The Google Mini

My old LG5 was having major issues. It wouldn’t charge most of the time requiring me to keep it plugged in both at home and on my desk at work, texting would suddenly just not respond. The keyboard.. well I won’t go into all the problems I had with that.

So I ordered myself a Pixel 2XL directly from Google. I decided to by-pass by cell carrier, Verizon, for two reasons. First, by buying directly from Google I get the monthly security updates AND any OS updates long before big red will send them out. Second, no app bloat. The phone didn’t come loaded with all the usual Verizon apps that I never use anyway. Seriously, has anyone ever used the NFL Mobile app? So this is a much cleaner phone, and therefore runs much smoother.

I also opted for the 128GB model so I could download my Spotify playlists and not burn up data when I don’t have a Wi-Fi connection and want to play my music.

I have had this phone now for about two months, I do not have any case for it yet, nor does it have any screen protection. I really, really hope to have both of those issues remedied this weekend.

But here’s what I’ve learned in the first two months.

  • This screen is extremely sensitive. Since I don’t have a case, I keep it in my pocket most of the time. I’ll take it out and there will be 3 or 4 apps open, the texting app will have picked a random contact and is sending pure gibberish. I’m hoping a case (one that I can clip to my belt) and the “gorilla glass” type of screen protector will help alleviate these problems.
  • The “Google Assistant” isn’t all it’s hyped to be. I understand that this app is still “under development”,  but it still needs lots of work. I primarily use it while driving to be “hands-free”.  Many times (after I use the “catchphrase” either ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey Google’) nothing happens. Usually, the second time I call it, it answers. All you get is a musical tone to let you know it’s ready. The most common use, for me, is to text someone (usually Wifey®). So it’s “OK Google” (wait for music), “Send a text” (it will then ask “Who do you want to text?”), “Text <contact>” (You can simplify this by saying “Send a text to <contact>”, but that doesn’t always work. Last time I tried to do it that way, it started reading me the news and weather. I couldn’t figure how to stop that, so I had to wait for it to finish. If the contact has more than one phone number, you will be asked to pick which number to send it to.  This is good for folks that may have more than one cell phone, like myself (one business and one personal), but usually, it’s overkill. Let’s face it you can’t send a text message to a fax machine or a landline (who has a landline anymore anyway?). But more than that, when I’m in the middle of dictating a text and a new text come in, the assistant basically stops and the message will be displayed on top of everything, and it erases whatever I had already dictated. Very frustrating. And forget about asking it read incoming text messages. Most times it doesn’t respond at all, or when you can get it read a message and it asks you if you want to “Reply, Ignore, or go to the Next Message”. No matter how quick I say my answer (usually it’s Reply) or how long I wait, all it does it repeat my choices. I finally just have to wait it out and start all over again with the “Send A Text Message”.
  • I do like the GUI. Instead of the usual swiping right or left for screens (although it does have a Google News feed if you swipe to the left, and a user-configurable screen to the right), all apps are available by swiping up. And even more importantly, for me anyway, they are automagically arranged alphabetically. One thing I have hated from the days of my OG Droid was having to manually configure apps so I could find them. I love this feature.
  • This phone has an excellent camera. And not only that, pictures are automagically backed up to Google Photos (if you have an account). I also mine set to back up to my Amazon Prime Photos and even my Verizon Cloud. We’ve lost lots of photos before, don’t want that happening again.
  • I like the fingerprint option for unlocking (you can also set a 6 digit numeric pin). This also allows me to securely log into most of my banking and credit card apps. Saves me a lot of head scratching trying to remember what my damn passwords are.

On to the Google Mini.  I received my mini free.  Google sent it to me as a “gift” for buying the Pixel from them. I can understand why they gave it away, it’s pretty much useless to me.

One of the big things that Google touts for any of its home systems (the mini or Google Home) is the ability to control a “smart home”. Well, my house is more along the lines of a “Flintstone House”. We have absolutely nothing that can be voice controlled. And in all honesty, as an IT professional, I’m not sure I want a house like that. Hacking an IoT (Internet of Things) is pretty easy.

  • So, the main use of this mini is to play my Spotify playlist. Good thing I didn’t pay for it. This is something I can do (and much better) with either my phone or tablet. here’s the problem; As usual, you wake it up with the “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”. No problem there. To play my “combo” playlist (a test list I made on Spotify), you tell it “Play combo playlist”, it responds “playing Spotify playlist combo”. It will always start with the first song that was added to the playlist.  This playlist has just over 1500 songs, from about 30 artists. I would guess an average of 30 songs per artist. So it starts at the top of the list, in the order that the songs/artists were added. According to the instructions on Google to make the mini shuffle the songs, you will next tell the mini (after the required “OK Google”), “Shuffle the playlist”. It will respond, “OK, will shuffle the playlist after this track has finished”. Fair enough. You can next tell it (again after the required “OK Google”) “Skip this song”. This is supposed to make the mini pick a random song from there on out. But it doesn’t appear to work that way.
    • Let me explain it like this. Let’s say I had 5 artists, and each artist has 5 tracks on the playlist. We will call the artists, A, B, C, D, and E. The tracks we’ll call 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Simple enough. So when you start the playlist, it will always start on artist A, track 1. When you get it to skip command it will always go to artist B (which is the next artist added when the list was created) and track 1. Then it goes back to artist A and track 2, followed by artist B, track 2. And so on until it finishes artist A track 5, then it will go to artist C track 1 and so on.
    • So with a playlist of over 1500 songs, I’ve never gotten through the first 3 or 4 artists before I get frustrated and turn it off.
  • And that’s where the mini sits.  On my nightstand, with the mic turned off. Every now and then I hit it and it tells me the mic is turned off and how to turn it back off. I just look at it with contempt and tell it “Shut the hell up!”

Anyone else having issues with a Google Mini?  Leave me some suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong, please!


Hasten Down The Wind

So the other day I was either talking to Wifey® or texting with my brother about the song “Hasten Down the Wind”. It was written by Warren Zevon (one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musicians of all time. May he rest in peace) but Linda Ronstadt (without a doubt, one my of my “future wives” in my teenage years – I had posters of her on my bedroom walls) had a much bigger hit with the song.

Mr. Zevon included the song on his 1976 album “Warren Zevon”. Not the most original of names, but it’s not like he’s the only artist to name an album after himself. And just in case you’re unclear on this, there is no “White Album” by The Beatles. Its title is “The Beatles” no matter what that stupid cruise ship employee said. We should have won that contest. Ms. Ronstadt covered this song on her 7th solo album, “Hasten Down The Wind”, released also in 1976.

I did not hear of Mr. Zevon’s original until later, as he didn’t come into my stream of conscientiousness until his “Excitable Boy” album in 1978. It was with the help of Jackson Browne (another of my singer/songwriter/musician heroes) as the producer of the self-titled album the Mr. Zevon found a major record contract.

So anyway, here are the two songs for you. First up is Ms. Rondstadt’s cover, since that’s the one I heard first. Then will be Mr. Zevon’s original. And I have to say, I prefer Mr. Zevon’s over my lady Ms. Ronstadt. Yeah, weird I know.  But I think Linda’s cover is too smooth. She does have a very sweet voice, but I just don’t hear the raw emotion I hear in Warren’s original.

It’s nice to know that Linda has Don Henley (of The Eagles fame) singing backup, while Warren has Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers on backup vocals and David Lindley on slide guitar).

Listen to them both and give me your impressions;


And Warren’s;


I’ve Been Tagged!

My friend Kiersten over at Once Upon A Spine tagged me as part of the “Unique Blogger Award”. I have no idea what makes my blog unique, as it tends to meander its way around various subjects without ever really coming to any conclusions.

But anyway, first thanks for the tag Kiersten (and you folks should go read her blog. Some excellent books reviews that my Wifey® has found helpful.)

Here are the “rules”;

  • Share the link of the blogger that has shown you love by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing, nominate 8 – 13 people for the same award (not sure I know that many bloggers).
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Onto the questions I was asked!

First – If you were to choose a different topic/theme for your blog, what would it be?

Since this blog has no theme or topic (hence the name Random Ramblins’), this is a bit tough for me to answer. When I first thought of coming back into blogging I knew I was not going to go back to the old technology blog I had years ago. Things have changed so much, I couldn’t keep up with it. My next thought was something about faith and my struggles with mainstream Christianity and why I’ve left it. But that was boring. And lots of people can explain it better than I. Then I thought food, who doesn’t love food? I love to cook and eat, but then health issues got in the way and I’ve had to change everything there, so that went out the window. How about mental health? I do have Bipolar Disorder type 2, some anxiety and social issues, but compared to what I’m reading on other blogs, mine is rather mild, or maybe my meds are just working better I don’t know. But again, better things are being said already.

But what I’d really like to do is humor. Back in the day (as in pre bipolar meds) I had a knack for telling the right joke at the right time. I could cheer someone up (even when I was struggling) with just a little humor. I had a flair for what my Soon-To-Be-Wifey® called “Gonzo Journalism” (a term stolen from the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, one of my favorite authors of all time). But since I’ve been on the meds, it seems my creativity level, my Gonzo if you will, has left me.  Maybe the meds are doing too much, or not enough, I don’t know.  But humor is what I’m shooting for.

Second – If you could befriend any author in real life, who would you choose? Why?

Another difficult question mainly because I feel I could do better with a really good copy editor than with an author. Come on, you’ve tried to read some of my stuff and just had to shake your head because it made no sense what so ever. Between the typos and the left out words…

But to answer the question, finally, I would choose Dr. Bart D. Erhman. From his Facebook page (easier to copy and paste – still looking for an editor you know) – Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus, God’s Problem, Jesus, Interrupted and Forged. I have read many of his books and I think his reasoning for leaving the Christian faith very closely echoes my reasons. Find him here. A close runner-up would be Dr. Pete Enns. I don’t have all his details, but he is an Old Testament professor. Find him here. One more to add to list is Dr. Amy-Jill Levine. A Jew who teaches New Testament. Such an oxymoron that I love it, plus she has a great sense of humor. Alas, she has absolutely no web presence.

Third – What’s the weirdest blog post you’ve ever written?

A long time ago (thinking about 2002) I wrote a post on my original website about my somewhat dysfunctional family. Nothing out the ordinary, just questions like “How did you get mashed potatoes on the back of your head son?”.  That site is long gone now, couldn’t find it on the “Wayback Machine” either. So for this blog, I’ll have to go with News You Can Use…No Not Really.

Questions for my nominees:

  • What is the one subject you wish you knew more about? A course you wish you had taken even just a seminar or such? And why.
  • Anybody alive or dead you’d love to have dinner with, and what would you talk about?
  • And since I ask this every time I get to sit on an employment interview committee; Star Fleet Academy or The Vulcan Science Academy and why? You’d be surprised how many supposed IT Geeks don’t understand the question.

Now I have to nominate folks… I don’t have many followers so I’ll only add these;

Sorry I don’t have more to add, but feel free to join in even if you’re not listed.

And free feel to send along any cheap copy editors, Wifey® says she won’t do it anymore. Well not really, she just can’t do it while she’s at work, and then I’d probably forget to post anything by the time I got home and she could edit it for me.


P.S. Thanks again Kiersten!


Just after I posted New Favorite Band yesterday, news came of the passing of Dolores O’Riodan, the lead singer of the Irish band The Cranberries.

I have to admit, while I enjoyed their music, especially the unique qualities of Ms. O’Riodan’s voice I sadly, did not buy any of their albums. But as a fan of all things Celtic, I feel a great loss for not only the music world but the Celtic (especially the Irish) world.

Her untimely passing at the young age of 46m is a tragic loss. Since I all really know of their music are the radio hits (which is a failing on my part), here is “Linger”.  If only she could have lingered with us just a little longer.


New Favorite Band

So this past Saturday Wifey® and I, along with some friends (invited my brother too now that he lives in the area, but he had some lame excuse about moving trucks delivering furniture to his new house or something. Whatev’ bro) spent the day at the 41st Central Florida Scottish Highland Games. It was chillier than usual, right around 60° F. Not bad, but we prefer it a bit warmer.


The music lineup was as good as always, Albannach, Off Kilter, and Rathkeltair are some of our favorite Celtic/Rock bands.  But this year we had a newcomer. The Screaming Orphans. An all-girl band from Ireland that did everything from traditional Irish songs (in Gaelic and English), reels to get you dancing and some pop sounding tunes, easily on par with The Bangles or the Go-Gos. (Sorry if you’re not into their music – we enjoy it).

Here are two videos to showcase their talents.

First is the oft-covered “Whisky In The Jar”.  (Off Kilter closed out their first set with this song as well).

And then “500 Miles” another song that’s been covered many times.

They did do some original music as well, but due to all the loud drunks all around us, and the girl’s heavy Irish brogue I couldn’t get the names of the songs. Even though for once I was not on the drunk side during this festival. We estimate this is our 16th or 17th year attending.

Check them out on their webpage The Screaming Orphans. You’ll find links to their FaceBook and Twitter there as well! And everything they played was outstanding. Their vocals blend so well, it was simply amazing. Thank you ladies! We hope to see you at more of the Celtic festivals in our area.