Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why I Live In California Instead of Montana

Montana in July (notice snowflakes falling):

California on Christmas Day (notice bare feet and bright sunlight):

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You can never get too much Ventures Xmas music!

Pardon the audio hiccup in the beginning....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Seasonable Greetings

We'd like to thank Maureen Peters (winner of the "Best Peasant" award)for providing another cool image to post! This is a scan of the Xmas card* that she picked out for me. Quite appropriate for a wish-you-were-here kinda guy.

Happy Holidays !!

*original image created by Pam Bliss

Thursday, December 10, 2009


(Pete Townshend Afficionado)

Note the King Crimson "Discipline" album t-shirt:
"Discipline is never an end in itself, only a means to an end"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Not What I Was Looking For

Somewhere in the bowels/nether reaches of my 35mm archives is a photo of the famed "Carter X-Jump" taken at Utah's Goblin Valley State Park.  Taken at night even--with yours truly wearing a pair of neon-green swimtrunks (received earlier in the day as a birthday present).

Too bad I couldn't find it. I promise to keep looking, though. Meanwhile, enjoy this photo of a family of mountain goats browsing in the scree near Glacier National Park's Logan Pass. (Going To The Sun Road can be seen in the background.)

ps: Please excuse the lousy photoshopping
of the peaks in the background. I was trying
to get a bit more contrast in the sky, but it 
didn't quite work out the way I intended.

Monday, November 30, 2009

SURF'S UP! (but watch that first wave!)

Lighthouse Point, Santa Cruz, 11/29/09

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday O.B. Turkey, who/wherever you are

Whoever O.B. is (was?), someone thought enough of him to send regards on the Giants scoreboard. From the evidence presented here, not many were on hand to wish O.B. well. Photo taken at Candlestick Park sometime in the mid-seventies. (Although box scores are available online, TSG is too lazy to determine the exact date.)

While we're on the subject, I suppose it's appropriate today to salute the uneaten (inedible?) turkeys free ranging in America's forests and fields. And campgrounds.
Happy Thanksgiving!

PS: since we're talking Turkey and Major League sports (we are?) TSG is pleased to announce:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What do Walter Lantz and Quercus lobata have in common?


Why, it's Melanerpes formicivorus, of course!

None other than the Acorn Woodpecker. Commonly described as a "woodland clown" because of it's red head, looping flight pattern, and raucous call, the avian inspiration for the famous cartoon character  is a familiar bird to hikers in California's Oak Savannas.

Here we see W.W. portrayed at Walter Lantz field in Lee Vining, California, along with photographic evidence of an acorn woodpecker "granary" seen at Coyote Lake Regional Park, east of Gilroy.

TSG would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the diminutive little guys who provide so much enjoyment to our outings in the foothills of the Golden State.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Steve Martin @ Disneyland, July 1956

Continuing our somewhat unplanned string of posts about show-biz/musical personalities, TSG presents this  grainy screen capture for your consideration. 

TSG came across this image after discovering archive.org, a website devoted to "...offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format."  One of their collections features home movies, and one of the more popular selections is a 34-minute homespun documentary of a family that won a trip to Disneyland.

Back in 1956, Robbins Barstow and his family entered a contest sponsored by 3M, and won a week-long trip to the newly-opened Magic Kingdom. The resulting amateur travelogue was uploaded 40 years later and subsequently chosen as an addition to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. Here's a link to the archive.org webpage for the movie:  http://www.archive.org/details/barstow_disneyland_dream_1956

Shortly after receiving this honor, Mr. Barstow got a letter Steve Martin with the following revelation...

“At age eleven I worked at Disneyland. I sold guidebooks at the park from 1956 to about 1958. I am as positive as one can be that I appear about 20:20 into your film, low in the frame, dressed in a top hat, vest, and striped pink shirt, moving from left to right, holding a guidebook out for sale.”

 And so, TSG is happy to pass the revelation on to our readers, along with a chance to relive--if just for a few minutes--those golden days of yesteryear.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last week's Christian Rock Concert

On Wednesday, October 21st, TSG attended a gig by the well-known Christian Rocker, Vincent Furnier. This diary entry was about to go to press when late-breaking news supplanted it. Just as well, really. Considering the upcoming quasi-holiday, it's probably more appropriate to post it this week. See what you think:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

TSG Interviews Pete Townshend ...again! (aka: Another Scoop)

As readers may or may not be aware, TSG's nom de blog comes from the time Pete granted an interview to a message board that I frequent (virtually-speaking, that is).   TheShout.net is one of several forums that spung up when Pete's "official" board got shut down because posters couldn't behave themselves.  In my experience, The Shout is unique in that people with differing points of view can actually get along.  Trolls are unheard of.  The moderator has somehow gathered a bunch of "civilized" Who geeks together and created an online community in the best sense of the word.

Anywho, back in the early days of 2007, Pete was conducting media interviews soley by email, and posting them as diary entries on his web site. In a playful mood-- or possibly influenced by reruns of Kung Fu-- he began framing the Q&A sessions as discussions with "The Wise One".  One day TSG put forth a propositon that The Shout should collect some questions and request an interview for themselves. After a brief correspondence with Pete's personal assistant, Nicola Joss, we were allowed to submit the questions...with no promise that our interview request would be granted.

Long story short, within a day, a new diary entry appeared, entitled "Shouting Grasshoppers". The rest was history.  Until today that is, when history repeated itself.  Below is the transcript of my interview with Pete, eleven questions inspired by the members of The Shout.


1. A question about your your artistic decisions and judgments when it
comes to songwriting: What alternatives - if any - are considered? How much
exploration (e.g. demos, narratives, day dreams) are made before a decision
is made?(e.g. choosing to use a guitar or a piano or a ukulele - or ...)

This question made me stop and think. It's actually a question I have to ask myself sometimes. If you imagine I'm about to leave my home for a while, and I want to travel with the equipment and tools that would allow me to compose whatever might come into my head, I must try to work out what would be the minimal kit. Minimal always turns out to be the wrong word. I'd like a grand piano, an array of guitars, lots of electronic toys like drum boxes and fancy new keyboards, and reliable old workhorses like old tape machines and stuff. I need a massive truck.

I'm better off working at home where I have all these things.

I can do a lot with pencil and paper. I suppose I could make an album with pencil and paper and one guitar, and some tiny little recording gizmo they make these days. But composing for me has become a way of amusing myself as a bloke I suppose, rather than as an artist, and so my home studio has become like a toy train-set. I started this when I was about 18, and now I am 64, and several of the items in my first home studio train-set are still included.

You can see already that before I even try to make artistic decisions I try to create a good working environment for myself, especially one that will make me want to go to work every day. Imogen Heap just released a very intriguing record, with all kinds of electronic tricks combined with harmonic and lyrical invention, and if you go to her website you can see that she built herself a home recording studio that was incredibly orderly, focussed and powerful in order to pull it off. My approach is quite disorderly, and increasingly - as I get older - slow. I might need to do an Immie (as the girl is known to her fans) and tidy my kitchen.

So once I have my pencil and paper, my guitar, my grand piano and my train-set, funnily enough I walk away from them. I do this by going on tour, or going sailing, or walking with my dogs, or watching endless DVDs or reading crime novels or philosophy. I also try to meet new people if I can. I am not very sociable, but I genuinely love all kinds of people and find stories that are useful for songs in almost everyone I meet.

Then, as you suggest, I will start to gather ideas from life, dreams, day-dreams and wistful memories. Some of my best work, and the work Who fans often find most engaging and then releasing, comes from rage or anger - or frustration. I have to be very careful about trying to tap into this in me because I am addictive and compulsive and anger can often be the trigger to self-destructive behaviour. Even so, I do tap into it and it brings scope to my work that surprises me. A couple of early examples are MY GENERATION and WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN, both of which were written about quite mundane personal things that had happened to me, that made me angry, but that fans received with a much broader and much more profound message.

Today, to answer your question with regard to my process and method in the studio, I have a song I am working on that has 'fallen under my fingers' in three forms. Firstly, I have what I call a 'lyric guide' that was included in the script for FLOSS. This is a kind of scattergun brainstorm onto paper of thoughts and ideas that I think should be in the song. The song in question is sung by an old lady who is horrified to find that her husband, dying of cancer, is in a mixed-sex ward of a local hospital. This is loosely based on something that happened to my mother Betty when she was hospitalised in Ealing near her home for a broken hip a few years ago. So on the page - a few lines - is something like this: Maud: No one is safe here. No one gets well here. And there is a lot more of this. Short sentences thrown onto the page to evoke the mood I am trying to convey, and express the outrage the old lady is feeling. Then what happens is I tidy that brainstorm a little, and include it in the script. Then, as I work through the story , reading it occasionally to refresh it, I might pick up a guitar and try to sing the lines. Recently, holding a small body Martin guitar that was tuned to an E chord, I found some music that fitted. However, it was a little folky, it sounded a bit Bob Dylan in some ways (Like MAN IN A PURPLE DRESS I think). So I turned to my Korg Oasys keyboard and found a string sound, with some built-in pre-programmed chords that also fit beautifully, and so today I am trying to combine the two - guitar and strings.

By the way, the Korg Oasys is a perfect instrument for a composer although it is very complex. Stephen Kay designed a music generator system for Korg called KARMA, and I always find it inspiring and useful. The KARMA system is included in other Korg keyboards that are less expensive than the Korg Oasys. IT"S NOT ENOUGH used a Korg Karma keyboard pattern that Rachel Fuller found and elaborated. I wrote words around it.

So far then, for old Maud, I have a song that has no drum track, no bass and no Gibson SG guitar. So Who fans hoping for that Live At Leeds sound will be left wanting. In fact, back in those days, in the studio, I never wanted to create basic tracks using electric guitar, I wanted to use acoustic usually. But Kit Lambert always persuaded me to use electric to drive the band along. Acoustic might be added later as a decoration rather than a fundamental. As I took over production, Who music (and most of my solo music) started life in the studio with acoustic guitar, piano or some kind of electronic synthesiser or organ track.

I sometimes set out to record a song that evokes the early Who sound, and it usually ends up sounding a little cliché. I am missing Moon and Entwistle. I have a very simple chord system - unique though it once was it is common now. I could get away with it when I could rely on John and Keith to add their amazingly powerful but still decorative touches.

2. Over the years, you've hinted at being somewhat of a "foodie";
commenting about a delicious meal somewhere, shopping for wine for coq au
vin, etc. Who does the cooking in your house? (And, do you have any favorite

Nice question, but for some reason I don't feel inclined to tackle it at length just now. Just had steak and vegetables for lunch while watching the TV news about Swine Flu vaccination here in the UK.

3. You have lived in London your whole life. What does the city mean to

It's home I suppose. Reading this some of you will say: 'Here he goes, harping on about the war again!'. The London I grew up in was smashed to pieces. There was bomb damage everywhere, and rebuilding was furious. I know the same was true in Europe and Japan and other countries hit by the war, but London is where I grew up. When I got my guitar at 11 years old I felt that I'd found my shovel - so to speak. I could take part at last. London is also a fulcrum between the USA and Europe musically speaking. That made it a good place to be when the function of pop music changed in the late '50s. You could see both sides, the old music from Europe, and the new music (or the way the old European music was being refashioned by ex-pats) from the USA.

4. On stage, you've worn everything from a boiler suit to Prada...any
comments on the evolution of your stage "costume"?

The boiler suit was a Billy Bragg-Angus Young style protest against psychedelia. Partly blue collar, partly a piss-take. It was defiance. Prior to that I had loved the Mod look, and still do. So I suppose I have now drifted back to a leaner, cleaner line. Like most people in pop the period that embarrasses me the most is the New Romantic period. But at the time I loved dressing like a pirate and wearing headbands. I like to be warm on stage, but I like to breathe. Roger likes to work without air-conditioning. So I have rolled out stretchy t-shirts and lightweight jeans to compensate. I feel happier in a suit, but if it's Prada the buttons fall off.

5. Do you have any particular memories about the Deep End project? Working
with Dave Gilmour, being a big band leader, etc?

You know, I still don't quite understand why I didn't take that band forward. It was such a good band for me, and although I didn't play electric guitar, I did find a way of performing that I enjoyed with musicians who could literally play anything I put in front of them. I was fearful of going back on the road. I suppose that I was still in recoil from a very harrowing stint of Who touring that ended with events like Cincinnati and feeling like we were supporting the Clash at Shea Stadium. I tried to create a new band around the Who using the Deep End format for the 25th Anniversary 1989 tour, but although it worked really well for some songs, it was overkill for most of the early Who catalogue (apart from maybe I CAN SEE FOR MILES that needs a lot of vocalists.) I was trying to protect my hearing as well. I remember the whole time fondly, and with amazement. Sometimes I look back and I can't work out how I managed to pull off certain things. This is one of them. Dave Gilmour deserves a special mention really. He is such a cool guy, and one of the very people in the world I have ever co-written songs with, albeit each of us working separately.

6. How do you feel about your celebrity these days? Is being recognized by
fans (or paparazzi) a burden?

It's a joy, always. I rarely get paps. I don't get any trouble from fans, I am treated with affection always. It makes the whole world seem like a village in which I am the local Diego Rivera or something. I have been with other celebrities sometimes and their experience is not always like mine. They sometimes get hassles. I seem to just get affection. I'm really lucky. On the other side of the coin, I often stop to talk to people who I think I know who don't know me. I am good at remembering faces, so I imagine I have seen them somewhere before. But so many people look like other people, it can backfire quite badly. There is one aspect of celebrity that stings. Imagine this: two people are walking towards you. One of them recognises you, and you brace yourself to smile like Prince Charles. As they pass the one who doesn't recognise you says to the other: "I don't care who he is, he looks like a creep to me". So celebrity can bring you down to earth as well as pump you up. As in this example, both can happen at once.

7. You've toured and made appearances all over the world--but it seems that
you've mostly seen airports, limos, backstage dressing rooms, and hotel
rooms. Is there anywhere you'd like to visit simply as a tourist?

Everywhere. But it won't happen now. When my friend Barney travelled with me he got me out and about a bit. I have travelled too much I think to be a tourist now, but my son came with me to Australia last trip and we made a bit of an effort. When you have concerts there really isn't enough emotional space to think about anything else. India is a place I've been twice as a tourist, and I spend a lot of time in France as a tourist. They are both extraordinary.

8. Did you ever have the urge to collaborate with someone on another album,
ala "Rough Mix"?

In the shower yesterday I was thinking that it would be good fun to make a record with some old superstar or other. It was such a great notion that I've forgotten who it was. Ronnie Lane was my best friend at the time of Rough mIx. Now if I want to collaborate I want to do it with Roger. I trust him completely.

9.. Any feelings one way or another about the passing of Michael Jackson?

Yes. I got friendly with him in 1982 and I liked him. He was not a pop genius. He was a very experienced and hard working artist and song-writer. A trooper. He was supported by some great people of course. However, he had that strange quality that all the really huge pop figures of recent years seem to have: he had a hole in his soul that he invited his audience to fill. He made unconditional space for us, and I think that's why we were all so shocked to be suddenly blocked out when his huge success and later legal troubles began. He had no option but to isolate I think, but it spelled the end.

10. At this point in life, could you stop performing and never feel the need
to get up on stage again?

Yes. I could have stopped performing as far back as 1962 without a hint of regret. I am art school boy really. I'd be happy with an exhibition every few years. I am not a natural performer. I don't get much out of it. I am quite detached, quite functional. I rarely get 'high' on stage. I rarely enter what musicians call 'the zone'. I think maybe I simply don't play well enough (according to my own standards not yours) to feel that high. However, recently, in the shows since John's death, I have found some spiritual fulfilment from performing that is new to me. Sadly, it isn't equal to the fulfilment that I get from composing, so I will always feel torn. What's strange is that I am obviously so good at performing. I really can't work out why, or how. I sincerely wish I enjoyed it. It would make my life perfect.

Bonus question, just for fun (with apologies to James Lipton): What is your
favorite curse word?

"Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it!" There have to be three repeats to give this overused expression its sting. This is what I say when I have lost my car keys or iPhone or something life-threatening like that. When I am less pissed off I might say the very British "Oh! Bugger!". What I should really say is: "I am extremely annoyed at my inability to keep track of something as simple as a mobile phone and a set of car keys. These items are vital to me. Why can't I simply place them somewhere secure, and remember where I've put them. I really am a total fool sometimes. I'm exasperated with myself. Oh! And by the way, you're being no help." Seems to me "fuck it x 3" is simpler, quicker, and says it all. "Oh! Bugger" in the English idiom suggests you have slumped in a chair and given up the search.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

San Jose home decor, then and now

One of the unintended (?) consequences of the recent Baja scan-a-thon was a bit of nostalgia about TSG's former haunts. In his zeal to digitally archive images from nearly forty years ago, SGP probably had no idea that a needlepoint by Gloria Carter--hanging in the background of a photo of a BB recording session--still graced a residence in the Silicon Valley 'burbs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What has 8 legs and 2 fluffy tails?

Spiderlamb, Spiderlamb,
Can't do nothing a spider can 

In a case, behind glass 
Won't be eatin' any grass
Look out! Here comes the Spiderlamb.
Is he baaaad? Listen bud—
He's got sawdust instead of blood.
Can he swing from a thread?
No, but check out the 2-faced head!
Hey there! Here sits the Spiderlamb.

Spiderlamb, Spiderlamb,
Creepy neighborhood Spiderlamb.

Wealth and fame, not a chance—

Octo-legs, but can’t even dance,
You know,
People freak when they see him,
On display -- Laws museum*,
That’s where you'll find Spiderlamb!

*Laws Railroad Museum
On Highway 6
East of Bishop, Ca.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

T.T.T. (a T.T.T.)

NOTE: Thanks once again to blogger.com's shitty interface, this post leaves one whole helluvalot to be desired.  But, since we're headed out on a 4-day road trip, there's no time to fix the damn thing. Perhaps we'll find time later, but until then readers are stuck with this (to our mind) unacceptable excuse for an entry.

Sheffield, Tasmania: "Town of Murals", "Gateway to Cradle Mountain", and (one time/former? TSG cannot find a contemporary listing) home of The Tiger's Tale.

Using the same technology that brought Jurassic Park to life (well, sort of),  this Tasmanian tourist trap enchants (enchanted?) visitors with a decidedly low-tech--but delightfully home-spun--animated vaudeville story.

Featuring a outhouse-bound rancher, an engaging Tassie Tiger, and a spunky, death-defying, debating chicken, this down under roadside attraction was a highlight of our visit to the island state of Oz.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Something Completely Different


In this day and age, running into a mediæval peasant is a rare thing; Running into a Best Peasant is even less likely.  However, we at TSG are proud to say we ran into one just the other day...had dinner with 'em, in fact. Our long-lime coworker and friend Maureen Peters happened to be in the right place at the right time at a performance of Spamalot at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theater. We know she wouldn't appreciate it if we posted a photo of her getting the coveted trophy (she looks a bit unnerved in the pic, actually), but we're happy to  to show off her souvenir to our readers. And it is a great relief to know that she wasn't turned into a newt.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just Desserts (sp)

While we're on the subject, allow me to display two more recent acquisitions. They were purchased over Labor Day Weekend at "The Great American Stamp Expo"--for a mere $.50 each! Most of the merchandise on hand at the Expo was primarily of interest to the philatelically-inclined, but these examples were sans postage. Both items required 1¢ postage, so TSG's best guess is that they were originally in circulation sometime during the late 40s to mid-50s.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Postcard from a homesick Goldendaler

Here we have a note home from Harold and Mabel...enjoying The Jewel of America's Finest City, but ready to head north to where their hearts are. TSG found this item quite intriguing because it was sent from our hometown (in 1958, no less!) As a matter of fact, the La Jolla Palms Hotel (now sporting the Holiday Inn Express label) is located a scant .9 miles from where TSG "popped out", as it were. Imagine our delight when we encountered this postal artifact in the gift shoppe of the Presby Mansion Museum!

Who knows whatever became of Harold, Mabel, or Roy--but TSG thanks them for the pleasure of a "small world" moment during the summer of aught nine.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The X-Files

So, we wonder...is it ethical to steal an image from another website if the image is of you?

We at TSG say "absolutely!"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunrise at Stonehenge...sort of

TSG did not encounter any banshees, demons, dew drops crying, or cats meowing during our visit to this particular version of the famous Salisbury landmark. Some readers may recognize this roadside attraction from recently-received postcards...they will know what the Sam Hill is going on here. Or maybe not.

PS: There were no correct answers to the
query posed in our last post, so no prizes
will be forthcoming. Better luck next time!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Redundant Bigs

Another in the series of TSG's Penny Leavings
Guess the location from the inscrutable title
Prizes may or may not be involved

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Enyoy this cool video while we unpack

Thanks to youtuber CappyNJ for creating this homage to the coolest guy you've ever seen (not to mention former next door neighbor of Keith Moon!)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hotter Than Heck

Dateline: PNW. Northern California, Oregon and Washington suffer the ravages of the most intense heatwave in history. Nice time to take a roadtrip in that area. Envisioned as primarily a camping expedition, the triple-digits have driven TSG into the air-conditioned bliss of nationwide lodging providers. I guess that's why Holiday Inn Express Priority Club Points were invented. Oh well, to quote another KISS song, "You've gotta live like your on vacation!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A tale of two Tommys

What the Dickens? How strange is it that two local productions of the old (ok, 17-year old) warhorse would have simultaneous runs in the same city? Well, truth is stranger than theater, and your intrepid reviewer made his inaugural visit to both houses, a week and less than a mile apart.

The City Lights version was really a bare bones affair, in an intimate, 108-seat venue. With a Union Jack backdrop on a minimalist stage, the cast was less than a couple of dozen. The standout of the evening was Isaac Benelli's "old" Tommy. He had a very athletic stage presence and handled the vocal duties with aplomb. However, the band left much to be desired--a weak performance punctuated by cringe-inducing bum notes throughout the show. Overall, the TSG assesment? Not bad.

What a difference a week made! The Children's Musical Theater production was more in the spirit of the original that TSG attended at the La Jolla Playhouse back in 1992. (which went on to Broadway and Tony recognition)

Despite the impression lent by the photo here, the opening night show played to a nearly full house. The atmosphere was completely different from the laid-back sense of "having seen it all before" crowd at City Lights. The patrons at the Montgomery Theater were excited to be there, and there was a definite buzz in the air.

TSG wasn't sure what to expect, but the under-18 cast put on one helluva show. It's a bit unfair to compare the two productions, but the CMT show stood head and shoulders above the version I saw the week before. The cast was uniformly excellent, and the orchestra was GOOD and LOUD. The staging effects were excellent, with the requisite rear projections, trap door appearances/disappearances, video feeds, and kaleidoscopic wardrobe changes facilitated by sliding screens. The TSG assessment: FANTASTIC!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Noble Pronghorn

(Note: TSG had multiple difficulties with the format and layout of this post. Our apologies if it displays in a haphazard manner in your particular browser)

As we enter the traditional Summer road trip and beer-drinking season, TSG's thoughts hearken back to journeys of yore and the attendant encounters with local wildlife.

One of the creatures that always quickens the heartbeat when sighted is the iconic western ungulate, Antilocapra americana.

There's no mistaking the distinctive horns (famously shared with the rare Lepus alleni hybrid), or the white rump that one is most likely to see as the Pronghorn flashes away across the sagebrush. Clocked at nearly 90kph in a sprint, TSG once had the thrill of being paced by a Prongy along a dirt road near Factory Bluff, Utah. The adult male ran parallel to the road, easily matching our vehicle's 40 miles an hour. Then in a burst, the magnificent animal veered off and was gone in a cloud of dust.

The antelope that frequent the campgrounds at Flaming Gorge NRA aren't quite as skittish as their free-range brethren. Seen here at Lucerne Valley, a doe and her fawn were quite at home grazing in the grass and ambling along the loop roads.

So let us raise a glass of our favorite beverage--in this case, Big Sky IPA--and toast the noble pronghorn. Symbol of the west, wide open spaces, speed and freedom to run to the distant horizon. Cheers!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Forest Service issues whitewater warning!

Summer rafting used to mean hours of carefree fun on the river. No longer. Word has gone out to vacationers across the land that their floating frivolity might just come to a tragic end.

It seems that the exotic pet trade in America--long blamed for alligators in the sewers of New York--has another life-threatening consequence. Thoughtless owners of once-cute baby sharks and hippos have been releasing their grown-up, no-longer-cuddly pets into the nation's rivers and streams.

The horrible repercussions
of their careless actions
are illustrated here.
These shocking images
bring to mind the movie
slogan from the summer of 1978,
"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water..."

Well, Mr. and Mrs. America,
it AIN'T safe, so watch your rear ends out there.

Saturday, July 4, 2009



Someone once said you can put lipstick on a pig...someone famous, I think. The question is, can you still make that little oinker run? As we see here, the answer is definitely yes, and the result brings joy to thousands of fair-goers every summer. Including yours truly.

By the way, I did not make up the name "All Alaskan Racing Pigs"--that IS the outfit's real name!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Lance? In France

Or perhaps more accurately, at this writing, in the Principality of Monaco, awaiting the start of his 12th Tour.
Go Team Astana!

Incidentally, this photo taken whilst on a (ultimately futile) sweatshirt search* with the aforementioned Fudd. TSG was glad that we could bookend his heat-treated visit to the ole stomping grounds with a couple of forays to more temperate climes.

*TSG travel tip: When you're on vacation,
if an article of clothing catches your eye,
get it right then! If you decide to wait and
come back for it later, it will
no longer be available in your size
or the color that you want.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


(as usual, click on photo for larger image)

Here, together for no good reason: we see the erstwhile tourist killing time, waiting for Sushi Groove (across the street) to open, along with a couple specimens of the family Nepidae that I encountered at Bear Gulch Reservoir in Pinnacles National Monument.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 15, 2009


Never one to pass up the chance to win a Stratocaster autographed by Pete, I dug out the the very first video I ever filmed with my GE 1CVC4030E. That camera/recorder ended up being a pain to carry around--not to mention I got tired of being behind the camera instead of in front of it. (I ended up selling it to the hapless George Allen--despite my impassioned disclaimer regarding the system's drawbacks--too bad for you, George!)

Anywho, when I slipped the 25 year-old VHS tape into my player, it was immediately eaten and mangled almost beyond recovery. After multiple repair attempts, I was able to salvage some of the footage and edited this brief clip for submission to thewho.com's "Windmill Contest".

Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


(a.k.a. TSG checks out some rock stuff in 'frisco)
This weekend, the walls of the "Granite Lady" hosted
more than 100
posters, photos and videos
from the Bill Graham archives,

now well known as "Wolfgang's Vault"

Gripes were heard about the quality of the reproductions.
However, they probably wouldn't have allowed photography
of the originals, so I had no complaints.

Link to more images from the field trip

Friday, June 5, 2009


Because I had such a hard time uploading a decent-sized photo of Greg Parker's Supercharged Horseless Stagecoach, I decided to forego telling the story of my encounter with the former owner of Barstow's A-1 Towing. Maybe someday I'll have a bit more patience. Until then, you'll have to be content with my mini-King collection.