Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kaua'i Reefs

Looking south from Kapaa-5 minutes before I snapped this, it was raining.

PhD (Piled High and Deep)

One of our Northern New England regional treasures is Maine humorist Joe Perham. Here is one of his best stories-best to right-click and save this as an mp3 and listen later (or "latah", as Joe might say)

New Pacific War Monument Proposed

"The Bush administration is taking steps to create a new kind of national monument encompassing Pearl Harbor and other World War II sites in the Pacific.

If the president declares a Pacific war monument, it will require rethinking the concept of how monuments are organized. Unlike land-based national monuments or the relatively new Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument — 139,800 square miles of ocean waters and coral reefs around the archipelago northwest of Hawaii’s main islands — the areas in the monument being contemplated are not contiguous."

Official Island Bird

This one lives in Kokee.

Bill Tapia In Concert

A review of last night's concert at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel starring 100 year young ukulele legend Bill Tapia. It's the last show before "Big Pink" shuts down for a 6 month renovation project:

"I opened The Royal Hawaiian hotel, and now here I am closing it, too," Tapia said to a roar of approval from the crowd.

"Rocking The Boat"

This looks like a terrific music DVD-it's a documentary filmed on one of Delbert McClinton's annual music cruises, and features such stellar musicians as NRBQ's Big Al Anderson and Cajun air compressor maniac Wayne Toups. Kinky Friedman also shows up:

"Rocking the Boat is an award winning music documentary feature that stars: Delbert McClinton, Marcia Ball, Rodney Crowell, Teresa James, Stephen Bruton, Big Al Anderson, Wayne Toups, Paul Thorn, Mingo Fishtrap, Jimmy Hall, Tommy Castro and Terry Allen. Jeff Steele, Chris Stapleton, and Buddy Miller are icing on the cake. "

More info:

Overnight Guitar Fest

The Last of the Steam Powered Trains

What happens when 30 grown men spend 10 years playing with model trains...

"Steam enthusiasm is certainly not unique to Britain, but there are more clubs and preservation societies here than anywhere else.

Perhaps because we invented the mighty steam engine, its power is engraved upon our psyche. But it's still all very odd."

Stax of Wax

I used to subscribe to a newspaper called GOLDMINE, which specialized in vintage music, especially buying and selling old records. Sadly, there were just too many ads, and many in typeface too small to read. And of course, if I bought every record I saw for sale, I would be in Radio Prison.

Well, Goldmine has returned. Read allaboutit here...

And then voyage to the new home:

Saturday Music Digest

Yet another music fest..Salmon Aid

Savoy Brown sighting...

Paul Simon's buds Ladysmith Black Mombazo are still around

Utah hosts a trombone festival...


Music in your car

And a new book claims that Bobby Dylan's motorcycle crash in the mid 1960s never happened?

We Win

“It’s gonna be fantastic” - Celtics coach Doc Rivers

As if us New England sports fans don't have enough trouble, what with the Red Sox winning the World Series last fall and the football Patriots winning every game except the big one this past season, the Boston Celtics have just advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987.

What makes this even more amazing is that their record last season was nothing to write home about. They were 24-58.

Speaking of writing home, here's the rather stuffy New York Times take on the game:

Say Goodnight, Dick (The Sequel)

Man alive.

As a memorial to the death of "Laugh-In' co-host Dick Martin, Phil at the Probe! music blog has a massive tribute out, with no less than 23 different mp3 downloads of songs with some connection to the show.

There are a cluster of "Sock It To Me" tunes, as well as a batch of "Here Comes De Judge" renditions, plus Tiny Tim's "Tip Toe Thru the Tulips", You Bet Your Bippy, and Very Interesting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

We Travel the Spaceways

Descent of the Phoenix
Credit: MRO-HiRISE, NASA, JPL, Univ. Arizona

Wow! Look in the lower left corner...

In this sweeping view, the 10 kilometer-wide crater Heimdall lies on the north polar plains of Mars. But the bright spot highlighted in the inset is the Phoenix lander parachuting toward the surface.

The amazing picture was captured on May 25th by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Though the lander looks like it might be dropping straight into Heimdall, it is really descending about 20 kilometers in front of the crater, in the foreground of the scene.

The orbiter was 760 kilometers away from Phoenix when picture was taken, at an altitude of 310 kilometers. Subsequently the orbiter's camera was also able to image the lander on the surface. The parachute attached to the backshell and the heat shield were identified in the image, scattered nearby. Of course, the Phoenix lander itself is now returning much closer views of its landing site as it prepares to dig into the Martian surface.

Friday Gecko

Western Swing Pops Across the Pond

Ray Benson, the only musician I have ever slammed a club door into on two separate occasions, is taking his band Asleep at the Wheel to Europe for their first tour over there since 2004. Here's the schedule:

Friday, July 11
Bauska, Latvia
10th International Country Music Festival

Saturday, July 12
Newark, Nottingham United Kingdom
Americana International 2008

Sunday, July 13
Sarnico, Italy
Andar per Musica Festival

Saturday, July 19
Beckenried, Switzerland
14th Zentralschweizer Country Aplen

Monday, July 21
Untermeitengen, Germany
Four Corners

Tuesday, July 22
San Javier, Spain
XII International Jazz Festival

Bo Django!

The latest musical project from certified nice person and hot fiddle player David LaFlamme is "Bo Django", a group dedicated to the great Gypsy guitarist Django Rheinhardt. David was the co-founder of the original Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, and then achieved notoriety with "It's A Beautiful Day" in the late 1960s. A few of us saw him and his band play at New Hampshire's Loon Mountain in the early 1990s. They opened for another not-too-shabby fiddler, the late "Hillbilly Jazzer" Vassar Clements. Vassar called him "Danny LaFlamme" all night, and during his set David regaled us all with the story of how he got stranded in a barn by an angry moose.

"Bo Django, an exciting new musical group, plays the fiery music created in the 1930s and ‘40s by legendary French Gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, and carried on today largely by European Gypsies and non-Gypsies alike."

More at David's website, including some tasty mp3 samples! The info is in the left frame at the very bottom (I hate frames). Linda is also in the band on (what else?) vocals.

4th of July in Kailua

Since 1946, our old hometown of Kailua has staged a 4th of July Parade. This year is no different:

Flivver Sighting

Seen on NH Route 104 in Meredith. The sign on the back says "Chrome Won't Get You Home"

Rabbit Hash's Mayor RIP

"RABBIT HASH, Ky. -- The dog mayor of Rabbit Hash has passed away.

The Rabbit Hash General Store confirmed Thursday that Junior Cochran died two days before his 13th birthday, Cincinnati television station WLWT reported."

Story here:

And Hizzoner had his own web page:

International Festival of Canoes Underway

she-ma-BOO- koo-row

Recording engineer "Doc" Smith just vacationed on Kaua'i, and discovered that he and his sister-in-law both like ukulele shred-master Jake Shimabukuro. More here:

Friday Musical Digest

Boston's Aimee Mann has a new album and tour...

Dubai changes from a business to a music mecca-,0,1367511.story

Woodstock fest gets a museum:

A Cadillac crashes into the Hot Rod Music Store in Illinois:,0,1540893.story

Memphis Music Foundation to open new resource center...

Amazon to stream soon:

And an interview with Peter Rowan, who turns up his onstage volume MUCH too loud! My ears are still ringing.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Surf's Up!

I took this shot on Poipu Beach, Kentucky Derby Day 2003.

Preserving Oahu's Endangered Plants

The Army to the rescue!

RIP "Gazoo"

LOS ANGELES, California -- Comic actor Harvey Korman has died at 81, according to the UCLA Medical Center.

Polo Returns to Governors Isle

"It is believed to be the first polo match played on the island in nearly 70 years..."

55 Years Ago Today...

These two smiling faces became the first climbers to reach the summit of the world's tallest mountain.

Hawaiian Music in...New Zealand?

An interview with Kiwi lap steel player Jim Carter, who played the instrument on a classic NZ song called "Blue Smoke" in 1949. Now 89 years young, he still plays the lap steel daily:

A New Arts Scene on Governors Island

"It is a critical part of our mission to open up the island to more and more of the public," the president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, the body that manages most of the island, Leslie Koch, said. "We think the arts are essential for that."

Walkin' Around

"Chris Damitio, author of Rough Living: An Urban Survival Manual and resident of Manoa has completed his walk around the perimeter of Oahu. On the journey he slept on beaches, met people from all over the island, and had his life threatened by security guards working for Lost near Haleiwa.

Damitio left Manoa on Monday, May 19, 2008 and traveled south through Waikiki, across the South Shore, then up the Windward Side, across the North Shore, down the Leeward Coast, across the Ewa Plains and finally back to Manoa on the evening of Monday, May 26."

Why did he do it?

Thursday Music Digest

Jazzman worries about music education

Music as a pain killer

London's coolest music scenes,26058,23766283-5009000,00.html

Oh no, it's the Osmonds!

New Easy Music Creator 10 from Roxio

Late Supremes singer's sister wants to dig up her body

And Sir Paul has a new squeeze?

BBC DJ John Peel Honored

I used to listen to John Peel's BBC music show all the time-he was legendary for playing totally obscure stuff. We lost him a couple of years ago...

"Music industry legends paid tribute to the late John Peel, at the John Peel World Cup Football Competition in Liverpool.

Peter Hooton of The Farm said he thought the late Radio 1 DJ would've been "embarrassed" by all the fuss.

He said: "He'd probably be a bit embarrassed by all this because he didn't like this type of fuss made of things. He always used to criticise people when he said 'oh they're friends of the famous dead', which is a great title for a group - but we're doing it because we just wanna remember him."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The World's Happiest Instrument

"They’re not your grandfather’s ukuleles! People of all ages are pulling the little four-string beauties out of stuffy attics and jumbled closets, trying to figure out what to do with these relics of a bygone era. Well, it turns out the era is coming right back at us."

A New USS Missouri

"A non-profit organization has been created to help raise funds for the ship and crew of the USS Missouri - a new attack submarine that is expected to be commissioned in 2010.

This submarine will be the fifth US ship using the name of this state. The last ship to bear the name USS Missouri was the battleship that now rests adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii"

Concert of the Century

"Friday May 30, 2008 at 7.30pm the world's oldest professional ukulele player Bill Tapia will perform in the Monarch Room of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki. Tapia turned 100 at the turn of this year."

"Mayberry" Gets a New Resident

"The woman who played Thelma Lou on "The Andy Griffith Show" moved more than 2,100 miles to Mount Airy - Griffith's hometown and one of the inspirations for the fictional Mayberry."

RIP Sandy Courage

"Alexander (Sandy) Courage, composer of the original Star Trek theme and an Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated arranger for TV and movies, died May 15 at the Sunrise assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 88 and had been in declining health since 2005.

Courage's fanfare for the Starship Enterprise, written in 1965 for the first of two Star Trek pilots, was heard throughout the three original seasons of the show and has been reprised in all of the Trek feature films and several of the TV series, especially Star Trek: The Next Generation in the 1980s and '90s.

Courage's eight-note brass signature for the Enterprise may be the single best-known fanfare in the world. When told that more people know it than know Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, Courage – in his typically self-deprecating fashion – said that must surely be an exaggeration."

Big Island Movie Tour

The original "Indiana Jones" movie was filmed in part on Kaua'i, but the new one wasn't-the Big Island was used to simulate Peru.

American Folk Festival

Another offshoot of the National Folk Festival after it left their city takes place in Bangor Maine, 2 hours north of Portland. The American Folk Festival runs for 3 days in late August.

Son of Lowell

The Lowell (MA) Folk Festival, which is now in its (I think) 22nd year, grew out of the National Folk Festival, which rotates among various cities in the US for 3 years in each place. This year, the National is in Butte, MT.

For the past 3 years, the National was in Richmond, VA, and now the folks down there are pulling a Lowell and keeping it going. For their first effort, they have already snagged some major talent, including Hawaii's own Ledward Kaapana and Mike Kaawa, BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet, and Texas honky-tonker Dale Watson (all of who have also in the past showed up at Lowell).


And their official site:

Guitar Fest?


And Some "Non-Traditional" Hawaiian Music...

"Hawaiian music has evolved like most things on islands do — slowly - and with its own nuances. Bringing a new breed of rock and roll, punk, rockabilly to the mainland are The Hell Caminos, Hawaii’s first band to capture these genres and bring them together."

Keali'i Reichel on Blu-Ray

"This is Hawaiian music at its best, and in Blu-ray the concert is stunning."

Wednesday Musical Digest

A chat with Afrobeat drum pioneer Tony Allen

J & R Music in New York teams up with Digital Downtown for the annual SummerFest Tech Expo

The Beaches International Jazz Festival in Toronto turns 20

"Battle of the Bands" used to be a 1960s music term, now it's a computer game: Rating? "Mediocre"

Monks chant their way into the Top 10 in England:

Queen and Paul Rodgers add additional tour dates-

And yet another music fest, the Red Bank (New Jersey) Jazz and Blues Festival

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Female Kaena Point Albatrosses Shacking Up

XM Radio Needs Money-For Baseball

"When XM Satellite Radio signed its 8-year deal with Major League Baseball, part of the terms included an annual payment of $60 million plus a $120 million escrow account. XM now faces a serious hurdle - the surety bond for the $120 million expires June 30, and XM has replaced that bond by using $57.5 million in available cash and taking out a $62.5 million loan."

Plumber's Helper Needed in Space

"The international space station's lone toilet is broken, leaving the crew with almost nowhere to go. So NASA may order an in-orbit plumbing service call when space shuttle Discovery visits next week.

Until then, the three-man crew will have to make do with a jury-rigged system when they need to urinate.

While one of the crew was using the Russian-made toilet last week, the toilet motor fan stopped working, according to NASA. Since then, the liquid waste gathering part of the toilet has been working on-and-off. Fortunately, the solid waste collecting part is functioning normally. Russian officials don't know the cause of the problem and the crew has been unable to fix it."

Mt. Washington Hotel Gets an Addition

"The 106-year-old, 200-room hotel is in the process of building the first addition ever — a $25-million job headed up by Hutter Construction of New Ipswich, N.H."

Speaking of the Grand Canyon...

"A small robot has scaled a 1,739-foot (530-meter) high cliff of the Grand Canyon in a demonstration of the power of the world's longest-lasting battery."

And a new free shuttle starts next week to the South Rim. This will hopefully reduce car traffic:

Don't Try This at Home

"This is the heart-stopping moment a photographer leapt between two rocky outcrops over the Grand Canyon. Just minutes earlier the unknown man had been sunbathing on a rock column and even downed a six-pack of beer."'s-death-defying-leap.html

Sue Me, Sue You Blues

Rappers Kanye, Method Man, Redman and Common are all being sued by the daughter of the late jazz saxophonist Joe Farrell, for sampling his music without permission.

"Giant Leap" Floats Away

"NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - French adventurer Michel Fournier's latest quest for a brace of world altitude and skydiving records ended at 5:06 a.m. today when his helium balloon surged into the sky without him, twisting and bobbing like a massive jellyfish as it rose into the blue prairie sky."

UPDATE: Apparently an explosive bolt prematurely detonated, probably caused by static electricity. Fournier is going to try again, most likely in August.

Link includes video of the balloon leaving without him...

RIP Composer Earle Hagen

"Earle H. Hagen, the Emmy Award-winning television composer who wrote the memorable theme music for “The Andy Griffith Show," “The Dick Van Dyke Show," “I Spy" and other classic TV programs, has died. He was 88.

Hagen, who composed the jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne" and was a former big-band trombonist for Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble, died Monday night at his home in Rancho Mirage, said his wife, Laura. He had been ill for several months.",0,1794901.story

Many don't know that Hagen also was the guy doing the whistling. And most folks are unaware that the Griffith show theme also had lyrics:


Well now, take down your fishing pole
and meet me at the fishing hole
We may not get a bite all day,
but don’t you rush away

What a great place to rest your bones
and mighty fine for skipping stones
You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade
a-setting in the shade

Whether it’s hot,
whether it’s cool
Oh, what a spot
for whistling like a fool

What a fine day to take a stroll
and wind up at the fishing hole
I can’t think of a better way
to pass the time of day

We’ll have no need to call the roll
when we get to the fishing hole
They’ll be you, me, and old dog, trey
to do the time away

If we don’t hook a perch or bass
we’ll cool our toes in dewy grass
Or else pull up a weed to chaw
and maybe sit and jaw

Hanging around,
taking our ease
Watching that hound
a-scratching at his fleas

I’m gonna take down my fishing pole
and meet you at the fishing hole
I can’t think of a better way
to pass the time of day

E Mālama i ke Kai Ocean Awareness Festival

"Now in its 10th year, the E Mālama i ke Kai Ocean Awareness Festival continues to expand, as its organizers pursue new and fun ways to connect Hawaiÿi's residents, particularly keiki, with the ocean and Hawaiian culture."

No RC Cola?

"GALESBURG, Ill. -- Police in Galesburg say a homeless man is spending the holiday weekend in jail after allegedly attacking an 84-year-old man with a box of Moon Pies.",moonpie052608.article

Kailua Beach Traffic Jam

Waiting for the signs telling people where to go to kiteboard, windsurf, etc.

Honolulu Monorail Update

Adding a stop at the airport will add a cool $350 million to the price tag...

Tuesday Music Digest

Napster going after iTunes

New book goes after Courtney Love:

Great name for a band-"The Little Ones"

More on Steve Tyler's problems

Music Month in New Zealand

Billy Joe Royal sighting:

And remembering country music legend Jimmy Rodgers, who died 75 years ago

Monday, May 26, 2008

RIP Jimmy McGriff

A couple of friends and I had a front row table to see Jimmy live at Sculler's in Boston in 2005. He was one of the greatest jazz organists around.

"Longtime jazz and blues organist Jimmy McGriff, known for the 1960s recordings of "I've Got a Woman" and "All About My Girl," has died. He was 72.

McGriff's death on Saturday from multiple sclerosis was confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday by his wife, Margaret McGriff."

Jimmy at work:

Walking to New Orleans

I've been trying to find a video of a great show British musician Jools Holland (Squeeze) did in 1984 for years-it's called "Walking to New Orleans" and documents his journey to Louisiana in search of great local music.

So far, no luck-but here's a youtube clip of a portion of the show:

A Little "Night Music"

"Night Music" was a great late night music show from the 1980s-90s that was carried by some NBC stations. Here's some examples of their music.

Whey to Go!

"GLOUCESTER, England (AFP) - Fearless thrill-seekers on Monday flipped, slipped, somersaulted and tumbled down a suicidally steep slope in western England to try to catch a giant runaway circle of cheese.

The cheese rolling event at Coopers Hill is one of Britain's more unusual annual events and is not for the faint-hearted but it was made even more perilous this year by torrential rain that turned the course into a mudbath. "

Pictures and story here:

"Looks Like a Big Fried Egg!"

"HOUSTON -- Federal officials are working to find out just what happened in the sky over Houston this morning.

Continental Flight 1544 was 11 miles east of Bush Intercontinental Airport after takeoff this morning, when the pilot called the tower to report an object near the plane.

The FAA confirms the report to the tower and that an investigation is underway. The Houston area Joint Terrorism Task Force has also investigating the report a FBI spokeswoman confirmed.

There are no details yet what the object could have been."

RIP To a Master Drum Maker

"William Kua Mo’o Helelani Kealoha Kapuni, 61, died after a long illness with his wife Victoria bedside. A Kahuna Lakai Pahu, or master drum maker, Kapuni was to appear in the Maui Canoe Festival this week with a drum he built for the occasion. The drum will instead ride a float in the parade, alone, the drum maker’s version of the riderless horse."

More From Mars

The Mars Phoenix Lander parachutes down to Mars on Sunday, in this image captured by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona )

Record Free-Fall Postponed

"NORTH BATTLEFORD, Saskatchewan - A French skydiver who hoped to make history by jumping from the stratosphere above Canada postponed his plans today because of wind conditions."

More details:

Michel Fournier has his own website which details the mission-here's the English version:

Preserving Hawaiian Land

An op-ed:

Train News From Japan

"KINOKAWA, Japan (AFP) - In times of need, Japanese say they can even ask the cat for help. In this town in western Japan, people look to Tama, a nine-year-old cat working as master of an unmanned train station.

The tortoiseshell coloured creature, born and raised at Kishi Station on the provincial Kishigawa Line, wears a formal uniform cap of Wakayama Electric Railway and calmly watches passing passengers who greet her."

"Looks Tasty!"

A guy eats a 72 ounce steak (and a salad) in 9 minutes:

Moon Rocket Pioneer Dies

"Ernst Stuhlinger, one of the last surviving members of the German rocket team that in Huntsville developed NASA's first moon rockets, died Sunday. He was 94.

"He was one of the giants in the early days of space travel," said Ed Buckbee, who was a NASA public affairs officer and spokesman for the rocket team during the 1960s.

Stuhlinger was born in 1913 in the small German village of Niederrimbach. He graduated in 1936 from Tubingen University, where he studied under Hans Geiger, developer of the Geiger Counter."

more here:

Memorial Day Music Digest

RIP to Nigerian music star Sonny Okusun

Battle of the jug bands in California:

Sony updates its entry level in car audio system

Sir Paul receives an honorary degree from Yale

Review of the Sonoma Jazz Fest in California

On this Memorial Day, at least one WW 2 era musician is still playing:

And the Country Thunder music fest in Texas has been scrapped at the last minute-

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mars Photos Arrive

Early picture...more here:

Lyrics For Mars


Early Sunday mornin’, the preacher gave his warnin’
Said you’d better get down and pray.
You better listen to me mister, and you listen sister,
We’re gettin’ close to that great day.

You better listen to the teachin’ of the Good Book I’m preachin’
Said that men would fly like birds.
But brother do you hear me, these things scare me,
I don’t know how to put it in words.

You’d better stop them scientists from re-searchin’
‘Cause they done gone too far.
They got these boys flyin’ faster than sound,
And the whole world’s in a war.

Man that atomic energy sure scares me,
‘Cause if it will do what they claim,
You better start thinkin’ ‘bout savin’ your soul,
Or Sam Johnson ain’t my name!

Just a plain bomb is bad but that A-bomb is worse,
And they done named that H-bomb well.
Thousand times stronger than that A-bomb is,
And it’s gonna blow us all to - kingdom come!

Now I’m not tryin’ to scare you, I’m just statin’ facts
They said they’d build man-made stars.
But that’s a job I’m gonna leave to the Lord,
And I ain’t got no business on Mars.

You’d better stop them scientists from re-searchin’
‘Cause they done gone too far.
They got these boys flyin’ faster than sound,
They got the whole world in a war.

Man that atomic energy sure scares me,
‘Cause if it will do what they claim,
You better start thinkin’ ‘bout savin’ your soul,
Or Sam Johnson ain’t my name!

Now I’m thankful for the drugs that kills the bugs,
The mosquitos, and the mice and the fleas.
Instead of us tryin’ to get up to Mars,
We better get down on our knees!

And thank the good Lord for the world we have,
And in closin’ I got this to say:
If God intended we should go to Mars
Why’d He put it so far away?

You better stop them scientists from re-searchin’
‘Cause they done gone too far.
They got these boys flyin’ faster than sound,
They got the whole world in a war.

Man that atomic energy sure scares me,
‘Cause if it will do what they claim,
You better start thinkin’ ‘bout savin’ your soul,
Or Sam Johnson ain’t my name!

You think I’m kiddin”?
Sam Johnson ain’t my name!

Billy Hughes and his Rhythm Buckeroos [1953]

We Travel the Spaceways

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — NASA's Phoenix spacecraft has successfully landed near Mars' north pole for a 90-day digging mission.

Mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory celebrated after the Phoenix Mars Lander signaled back that it had survived Sunday's fiery entry.

Got Snow?

"PINKHAM NOTCH, N.H. (AP) - Hikers headed to the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont for the Memorial Day weekend and the traditional start of the summer season could find something they might not have been expecting: winter."

Current trail conditions:

Rap on youtube

No, not rap music-some video of the late Hawaiian comedian Rap Reiplinger has appeared on youtube.

Big Island Pakalolo Program Nixed

"The Hawaii County Council has rejected a state and federally funded marijuana eradication program."

Strike Up the Band

As I was taking a picture of the "new" Randall Hall in New Hampton Saturday, the huge 18-wheeler for the Boston Crusaders rolled into town as seen above. Every year they spend several weeks at New Hampton School to practice before going on tour. When conditions are right, they are even audible up here on Saddle Hill, which is 3 miles east and 500 feet higher than where they are playing!

This is one of the major drum and bugle corps in the United States, and they travel over 10,000 miles each year on tour. This year they will roam as far west as Wisconsin and will also be down in Texas and Louisiana among other places.

New Randall Hall Update

The steel work is moving along nicely...

And here's the link to my blog of the demolition of the "old" Randall Hall:

Planting Time

At the "Dirty Worm" greenhouse, New Hampton NH...

"Say Goodnight, Dick"

Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as "Sock it to me!" has died. He was 86.

Sunday Music Digest

Eddy Arnold died a couple of weeks ago, but is back on the country charts

RIP to South African gospel musician Vuyo Mokoena

Philip Glass sighting

Review-Plant and Krauss play Wembley Stadium

Another RIP... a true original, folk singer Utah Phillips

Teaching musicians how to count their money

And on this Memorial Day Weekend, a story about buglers

Landscape Picture of the Day

Sugar cane city.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"We're Glad You Made It!"

(logo credit PP)

Firesign Theatre's Phil Proctor, also known as Edith Bunker's nephew Wendell from a memorable episode of "All in the Family", has a new episode of his Planet Proctor blog out...

The Archie Bunker episode in question:

And Procmer's numerous credits

Slide Zone

"Some musicologists suggest that Hawaiian music was the greatest influence in popularizing slide guitar. This was about the time (early thirties) when steel bodied guitars were becoming available.

This music was played in "slack-key" or an open tuning as it is called today. The guitar is tuned to an "open" or major chord, such as a Gmajor or Dmajor. There are many variations in these tunings, but most tunes are played in one of the three main open tunings."

A Poet Turns 67

Happy birthday, Bobby!

Gone Fishin'

One of the best-kept local secrets around central New Hampshire is New Hampton's Sky Pond, which is a fly fishing paradise. A fisherman from up north recently paid a visit:

The Great Leap

48 years ago, Joe Kittinger (shown above) jumped out of a gondola at 102,000 feet above sea level, and fell to earth. Monday, another guy will try and beat his record.

"He has spent two decades and nearly $20 million in a quest to fly to the upper reaches of the atmosphere with a helium balloon, just so he can jump back to earth again. Now, Michel Fournier says, he is ready at last."

A look back at Kittinger's jump:

Polynesian Festival Underway

On the island of Kaua'i...

Journey to the Red Planet

"After a journey of 10-months and more than 400 million miles, Phoenix is set to arrive at the Red Planet just before 8 p.m. EDT this Sunday, beginning its study of water and possible conditions for life in the Martian arctic."

"Tastes Yucky!"

Every May we get a Mama bear and cubs visiting us in the back yard. This one thought the rake might be tasty...

Blockbuster Baseball Trade

"McALLEN, Texas - During three years in the low minors, John Odom never really made a name for himself.

That sure changed this week - he's the guy the Calgary Vipers traded for a bunch of bats. "I don't really care," he said Friday. "It'll make a better story if I make it to the big leagues."

For now, Odom is headed to the Laredo Broncos of the United League.

They got him Tuesday from Calgary of the Golden Baseball League for a most unlikely price: 10 Prairie Sticks Maple Bats, double-dipped black, 34-inch, C243 style"

Hawaiian Music Digest

A couple of new releases reviewed, including a new workout on ukulele by Ohta and Ho:

And a free Father's Day concert by John Cruz:

Saturday's Music Digest

Review of some funny guys-Flight of the Conchords

Trouble at New Hampshire's Portsmouth Music Hall

Phish sighting

Record industry denies cyber-spying

Restoring New Orleans' Louis Armstrong Park

Eurovision Song Contest time

Shades of Blue Oyster Cult-looking for the next Cowbell Hero

And Denny's restaurants improve their late-night music mix-tasty!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Got Firesign?

The 4 or 5 Crazy Guys better known as Firesign Theatre are promising some new releases with long-unheard stuff from the archives, but are missing some material. If anyone has some stuff, read on! They may even pay ya.

Old Blue Eyes Goes Mo-Fi

Well-known audiophile music-presser Mo-Fi Sound Labs will be issuing two classic Sinatra albums on CD next month. A preview of one of them:

The Return of City Park

New Orleans' City Park is on its way back almost 3 years after Hurricane Katrina...

go! May Be Gone...

MESA Air, parent company of Hawaii inter-island airline go!, is warning it may declare bankruptcy...

Maui Harbor Plans Scaled Back

No one is complaining.

Don't Go Near The Water

"Sun screen lotions used by beach-going tourists worldwide are a major cause of coral bleaching, according to a new study commissioned by the European Commission.

In experiments, the cream-based ultra-violet (UV) filters -- used to protect skin from the harmful effects of sun exposure -- caused bleaching of coral reefs even in small quantities, the study found."

Stormy Jupiter

Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Wong, I. de Pater (UC Berkeley), et al.

"The first images of Jupiter since it came out from behind the sun show that the turbulence and storms that have plagued the planet for the past two years continue."

Hawaiian Airlines Increasing Airfares/Fuel Charges

Claude Rains could not be reached for comment.


Rancher in Texas arrested for selling vodka with a twist.

Kau Kau! Time For Eat

I chowed down on this classic plate lunch from Sueoka's Market Snack Shop, in Old Koloa Town. That's Teri-beef, chicken, 2 scoops rice, 1 scoop potato-mac salad. Less than $4...


A nice tribute to Iz from recording engineer "Doc" Smith

Don't Go Near the Water

Swimming around Manhattan (and Governors Island)

Friday Musical Digest

Best weekly music from the UK

Mobile Ultra memory cards from SanDisk

Saxophone Summit pays tribute to Michael Brecker

Kanye West sued over jazz samples in his music. He used to live on Governors Island, by the way!

Not too often we hear about a recall of musical instruments...

Daughter of Christian singer dies in freak accident:,0,7701300.story

And The Edge organizes a memorabilia fest

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rocket #9

Warren, NH, June 11, 2007

Fixing a Hole

Interesting tidbit on this day in Brooklyn history:

"One of the big gripes in Brooklyn in 1914 was that the dirt and rocks excavated in the subway construction that year was taken to Governors Island, where it was used to enlarge the island’s grounds, when it could have better been used in Brooklyn to level off areas of the city that were too hilly."

"Walk This Way?"

A lot of music fans don't know that Aerosmith started out right here in New Hampshire-they are known as"The Bad Boys From Boston", but actually began in Sunapee, which is just west of the capitol city of Concord. Steve Tyler and Joe Perry spent their summers at Lake Sunapee, where bassist Tom Hamilton lived year-round. After they eventually drifted together, they went thru a name change or two before becoming Aerosmith. They played at a local venue called The Barn.

Trivia: a friend and I saw the band's first "big" gig, in the Spring of 1976, when they opened in Boston for a drunken Ray Davies and The Kinks. 19 years later, some other friends and I saw Tyler sit in-on drums!- with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, which on that tour included the late John Entwistle on bass, Grand Funk's Mark Farner on guitar, and the late Billy Preston on organ.

Sad story here:

"Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, a poster boy for rock 'n' roll decadence in the 1970s, has entered a Los Angeles rehab facility after two decades as a passionate advocate of sobriety, according to an report..."

Tomato Road Trip Update #4

Arrival on Saddle Hill: 5:05 PM EDT. It took the package longer to travel the last 20 miles than for the total flight time from Oregon to Manchester.

On the left, two "Pineapple" heirlooms, and on the right, "Russian Black".

The size and quality of these plants is far superior to the tomato plants from our local nursery! That says a lot...

Top 10 Free Attractions

"Two popular Hawaii sights have been named to a list of the top 10 free attractions in the United States.

Waimea Canyon on Kauai was No. 3 on the list of free attractions. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Honolulu was No. 6.

The Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas topped the list, followed by Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va."

Another Music Fest

The lineup for the 2nd Annual Louisiana Cajun & Zydeco Festival in New Orleans has been announced:

Best Beaches in US Named

A beach in Florida, Caladesi Island, is #1, according to the new ratings from "Dr. Beach". Number 2 is Hanalei Beach on Kaua'i. Hamoa Beach on Mau'i came in at #7.

I took this picture of Hanalei Beach on Lei Day in 2003.

VOG Damage

A new committee will explore possible volcanic smog damage in Hawaii:

The Incredible Shrinking New York City

A geographer has determined that the Big Apple is 17 square miles smaller than previously calculated.

Brooklyn shrank the most. Brooklyn borough President Marty Markowitz's reaction? “Now is clearly the time to annex Governors Island,” he said. “In the meantime, maybe I should get one of these sophisticated measuring devices to use as my scale at home — I might find out I’ve lost more weight than I thought.”

More calculations here:

Music Digest for Thursday

Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters to honor The Who

The Beatles on the Tom Snyder "Tomorrow" Show-now on DVD

A look at the Qatar Symphony

A Canadian punk band is investigated by the Mounties

A crawfish and music fest in Texas. Tasty!

Review of a new Nokia Bluetooth headset:

And the Ohio Senate wants to give fake "name" bands the hook

Tomato Road Trip Update #3


My tomato plants left Louisville at 4:06 AM this morning, and instead of trucking as in years past from Kentucky to Massachusetts, they were put on a UPS jet, arriving at MHT (Manchester NH) at 5:59 AM. They left MHT at 6:37, arrived at UPS in Laconia at 7:45, and are now on their way to Saddle Hill.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All in the Family

The Brown family of Maui in concert:

Continuing Education

Attend a free class at M.I.T. by going online! Course 16.72, "Air Traffic Control", looks interesting...

How Coffee Changed the World

The bean with the buzz...

It's About Time...

"The Associated Press reports that the major US carriers, desperate for any idea that will conserve fuel, are cutting flying speeds on some routes.

Jetblue claims that extending each of its flight by two minutes saved $13.6 million last year. Southwest Airlines, despite a fuel hedging program in place that leaves it in better shape than most of its competitors, will save $2 million a year by adding one to three minutes to each of its flights."

A Star Explodes

Credit: NASA/Swift Science Team/Stefan Immler

"While peering at her computer screen four months ago, astronomer Alicia Soderberg expected to see the small glowing smudge of a month-old supernova. But what she and her colleague saw instead was a strange, extremely bright, five-minute burst of X-rays.

With that observation, they became the first astronomers to catch a star in the act of exploding.

"For years we have dreamed of seeing a star just as it was exploding, but actually finding one is a once-in-a-lifetime, event," said Soderberg, a Hubble and Carnegie Princeton Fellow at Princeton University."

Don't Fly This!


"The airport serving the southern coastal city of Kristiansand wasn't among those hit by Norway's recent airport strike, but it was nonetheless disrupted on Tuesday – by a moose running along the runway."

Tomato Road Trip Update #2

1:07 PM EDT

Tomatoes have arrived in Louisville. From here, as I recall from years past, they truck it the rest of the way, which will take them to the final UPS staging area in Chelmsford MA by Thursday afternoon...

Tomato Road Trip Update #1

My tomato plants left the nursery in Springfield, OR Tuesday evening at 6:53 PM local time, and arrived in Portland OR at 12:40 AM this morning.

After more processing, the UPS plane took off at 6:10 AM local time, or 9:10 AM Eastern. As I recall, they fly non-stop to, Louisville!

Owl City

Here on Saddle Hill the barred owls have been partying all night lately-what a racket!

Here's what they look (and sound) like:

Smart Bird!

"TOKYO - When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help."

New York City Waterfall Art Update

More on the project, which will include four giant man-made waterfalls:

Hawaiian Music Mini-Digest

Not a daily feature, maybe a weekly one...

It's Waikiki Hula Fest time:

And some school kids got free ukuleles and a visit from slack key man John Cruz...

VOG May Return to Hawaii

Wednesday Music Digest

FUSE tv on cable will telecast the Bonnaroo Festival in June

Yamaha rolls out a new "digital music instrument"

Joe Cocker sighting

Sir Paul McCartney wants a "celebratory" funeral

Pink Floyd wins Sweden's Polar Music Prize

Samsung introduces a "personal trainer phone"

And there are Led Zeppelin Canada dates rumored:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Last Call at Magnolias

A followup to the impending end of Magnolias Southern Cuisine, in Cambridge MA. Here's the e-mail we got this morning:

"Dear friends,

After more than 23 years of cooking every meal- first at The Cajun Yankee, now at Magnolias -it is time to put away my cast iron skillet and hang up my trusty spatula. It is time to retire. On June 14th Magnolias will close our doors. Please come by for one last meal and allow us to show our appreciation for your many years of faithful patronage and to say goodbye.

Thanks for everything,
Chef John Silberman"

A friend of mine just got back from a meal there-his report:

"Magnolias was packed with suicidal diners tonight. They were taking calls for reservations of 10-12 people for the rest of the week, each with a message. "Tell John I'm going to kill him when I get there ..."

Here's John's farewell "Festival" menu:

Crab & Shrimp Festival May 20- June 14


Grilled Shrimp- Skewered with Black Mission Figs presented over Arugula dressed with Black Currant Sauce $ 8.95

Fresh Louisiana lump Crabmeat surrounded by Bloody Mary salsa, Hearts of Palm and Avocado, dressed with Lime Vinaigrette $ 8.95

Crab & Shrimp Combination Plate Maryland steamed Jonah Crab claws, with drawn butter Crispy fried Blue Crab fingers, with Garlic mayo New Orleans - Shrimp Remoulade$ 10.95


Famous New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp Sautéed shell-on in aromatic blend of Garlic, Rosemary & homemade Worcestershire sauce. Served with rice & mixed vegetables $19.95

Blackened Rainbow Trout Topped with sautéed fresh Lump Crabmeat and Shrimp$ 18.95

Crab Combination Plate: Crispy-fried Soft Shell Crab, honey-marinated Crab Fingers, Maryland Crab Cakes, steamed Jonah Crab Claws and Crab Imperial$ 23.95

International Festival of Canoes

Coming to Maui-looks like fun.

Tomato Road Trip

An annual rite of heirloom tomato plants from Territorial Seed in Oregon are about ready to begin their cross-country journey to Saddle Hill. TS offers varieties that are unavailable here in New Hampshire, and their nursery is located at exactly 1,000 feet above sea level, the same elevation as my garden. They are shipped UPS 3 Day Select, which means that they will be arriving Friday. In all my years of buying plants from TS, I have only had two die on me.

This year I ordered a much smaller shipment than in years past-only 3 plants. Two of these are my longtime fave "Pineapple", and this year I am also trying a "Russian Black", reputed to be very sweet.

They should be loaded onto a truck on their way to Portland OR airport any time now, and then will journey thru the southern US, before being put on a UPS 18 wheeler for the journey to NH. I will be tracking their progress over the next 3 days...

Here's their website:

For My Norwegian Relatives...

Ice Flow Alone Explains Why Fjords Are Cut So Deep

Ground School?

Training for the Mile High Club, no doubt...

"HARRISBURG, Pa. - An airline pilot was found hiding behind a shed wearing only flip-flops and a wristwatch as a nighttime romp in the woods with a flight attendant ended with both under arrest, police said.";_ylt=Amt7dpiw6HLUQCDTb8zlslME1vAI

Cheap Eats in NY City

The $175 burger. Fries are extra.

"The burger, created by chef and co-owner Kevin O'Connell, seeks to justify its price with a Kobe beef patty, lots of black truffles, seared foie gras, aged Gruyere cheese, wild mushrooms and flecks of gold leaf on a brioche bun."

And the Winners Are:

Hawaii Magazine's Derek Paiva picks his choice for the 8 best movies filmed in Hawaii. 5 of the 8 were filmed on Kaua'i, and many of the filming sites for those can be visited by taking the Hawaii Movie Tour.

And here's the link to Hawaii Movie Tours in Kapaa. Nice to see that our 2003 tour guide, Marty Mills (who hails from Lowell, MA no less!) is now
"Senior Narrator".

Cancer Survivor Pitches No-Hitter

24 year young Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lester, who last fall pitched and won the deciding game of the 2007 World Series, pitched the first complete game of his career last night, and it was a no-hitter. It was the first no-hitter by a Sox lefthand pitcher since Mel Parnell did it in 1956!

Lester talks to the press after the game:

"Words can't describe it right now"

The Paradoxes of Paradise

A thoughtful essay by a Canadian college history teacher, on the pros and cons of living in the 50th State:

Buying Agricultural Land as an Investment

"As part of the continuing green movement, consumers are showing an increased interest in agriculturally-focused real estate ..."

Such a Deal!

Buy a 1 square inch piece of land in any of the 50 states for only $3.95. You can't do anything with it, but you don't have to pay property taxes!

Colonizing the World by Boat?

Could be, could be!

Tuesday Music Digest

Napster starts selling mp3s

The hills AREN'T alive with the sound of music

Sleepless in Austin:

David Bowie is working on a musical for the stage...

Download a file that says Play_mp3.exe? Don't run it!

Music listeners still prefer radio over mp3s and CDs?

And in Britain, it's "No Noise Week"

Monday, May 19, 2008