Musings on music, sports, life in general from Quincy, Illinois.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sun and Bowls

I'm watching the Sun Bowl on CBS and it's a beautiful thing.

First of all, the sun is always out during game. Always. El Paso must be a great place to live.

Secondly, it's knocking some really lousy mid-day shows off CBS airwaves. Millions of disgruntled housewives will not be getting their Oprah fix today and the rest of us mere mortals rejoice.

Many years ago I used to rest up for a night of New Year's celebrating by taking a big nap and watching this bowl game (men can do both at the same time).

Gotta love the college bowl season ....

Be safe tonight!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Digital Photos

This Digital camera ROCKS! 

Easy to use, small, easy to download pics ....

Just gotta get used to bringing it along - you never know when you might want to take a picture!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Downtown Smoke

Sad day for downtown Quincy .... click here and here.

The building is still standing, but it might not be for long.

Friday, December 26, 2008

No More Ice

There goes the ice as we climb into the 50s.

Oh well. Fun while it lasted. Above are the boys at the Niemann farm earlier this week.

Thanks for the photo, Lexi!

Maybe it will get cold again next month.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Best Christmas

Don't know about you, but I had one of the best Christmas day ever!

Among the gifts - a new digital camera, tremendous T-shirts from Grannie Annie and the Who DVD Live at Kilburn (more on this in later blogs after I watch it a few times). 

But the best part was spending Christmas with friends and family. Had a great time with the Collins brood and skating at Eastate Drive Lake!

At the Mays family gathering (I am Anne's "sixth son") Bob Mays talked about his brother Dick, a World War II pilot who perished 65 years ago in the English Channel. We walk past his grave site in Woodland all the time and I always say a silent prayer for Bob.

Without Dick and the many brave men and women who currently serve in our Armed Forces, we wouldn't be here.

Thank you.

Peace to all on Christmas night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tis The Season . . .

— For pond hockey. In Quincy. It's true!

— For bowl games. Good one last night. To you know what with Fat Charlie and the Biting Irish tonight.

— To say sorry. That wasn't very Christmas spirit like, was it? Notre Dumb does that to me.

— To get gifts. I got a Larry The Cable Guy Christmas CD today. I will listen to it tonight while watching others wrap.

— To pause, even if it's just for a minute.

— To remember family.

— To try and not break your neck walking two blocks in Calftown.

— To try and remember your friend while you walk across an icy parking lot.

— To try something new. The Funions will be doing it very soon.

— To be glad you don't live in Michigan.

— For being grateful for good health and friends.

— To wish everybody a very Merry Christmas, and good wishes for 2009. Be safe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I was out earlier today and now it's starting to rain .... be careful out there!

One of my favorite blogs is written by WGEM's Josh Houchins. Every Monday he updates WGEM's Stew, which isn't enough.

In his latest blog he bemoans a terrible cover version by one of this favorite bands.

Josh has a point. There are a lot of really bad cover songs out there. You have to balance the fine line between remaining faithful to the idea of the original but putting your own spin on it.

One of my favorite CDs is a U2 cover compilation. About half of them miss. The other half rock.

Just heard a version of The Pretender's 2,000 Miles, a classic Christmas song, by a female artist I didn't recognize. It actually sounded really good.

Then I heard this version and almost threw up, which is sad because the band in question has some good songs.

So be it. It's their take, and it either works for you or it doesn't.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rockin Cold Night

So we figured we'd do a show around Christmas just to get out and play . . . .

— Fielder is the best band in Quincy. Maybe the world. They just freaking rock. If you decided to stay home because it was too cold to venture out (and I don't blame you a bit) you missed perhaps one of their best shows ever.

— There were maybe 80 to 100 people at Turner Hall, about what we expected. By the end of the night there were about 25 left all standing in front of the stage going crazy. That's what a great band does, it delivers in front of a million people or 20 people. Logan and the boys played their hearts out as if it was the last night of a sold out tour.

— I know one young lass from Lake Orion, Mich., who is totally smitten with Fielder and is now their No. 1 fan. Funny how a lot of people say that after seeing them for the first time!

— The Funions played OK but we really missed Jack and Rock A. Bye. They make us unique among Quincy bands. The energy, however, was there.

— Been a long time since we've sung "Psycho With A Capital S" to Ginny and Co. ....

— Thanks to Chris and Mark at Turner Hall. Those guys deserve credit for keeping it a viable local music venue.

— Next up for The Funions is a birthday party at The Elks Jan. 3 and another show at the Elks Jan. 16. Got some stuff in the works for the spring World Parking Lot Tour, as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Too Night

Getting ready for our big show tonight at Turner Hall. We had practice last night and ran into our old drummer and guitar player, David Stegeman. He wound up pounding on Pat's kit and it was just like old times, a blast!

Hopefully the snow stays away tonight.

Jack and Rock A. Bye are unavailable so we may have a guest or two make an appearance. It will be a fun night!

Turner Hall, 936 Hampshire
7 p.m.
The Funions
$3 person, $5 a couple

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ice Ice Baby

Why anybody would be out tonight is beyond me ....

It's actually starting to warm up a hair. Streetlights and ice make strange shapes and shadows.

Watched The Dark Knight on video tonight and it was bizarre. It's rare such a long movie can entertain. And it was dark.

Don't forget - Funions at Turner Hall Saturday. For a complete list of Christmas shows, click here.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snow Day

Never ceases to amaze me when we get a little bit of snow here. Front page stories, panic in the streets, stores selling out of shovels and salt, bare milk counters ....

Geesh. It's just snow! This is just a good day in June where I come from.

We'll have much more on this story as it develops.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Thinking ....

— Happiness is going to ref Little Devils games and coming home to find your place scrubbed from head to toe by Shey Fey and Brown Eyed Girl. Already battling a nasty cold, it got even better getting high off of Pine Sol fumes.

— Happiness is doing three games wondering if the back will hold up and feeling really good when it's done. That's cause Westy carried me. Bet his back is sore today.

— Unhappiness is waking up the next morning. That's just being RFO, I guess.

— Much as love Blogvine, this site gives him a run for his money. We'll have more on this battle of local blogging giants as things develop.

— ESPN's "The Greatest Game Ever Played" was fascinating. The best part was when current players sat with the guys who played in that game 50 years ago and watched it together. Even in the spit-em-out world of pro sports, athletes today have much to be thankful for.

— Once in a while I think about putting something up here about Funions rules for comments. Instead, UMR took care of it for me.

— If you listen to a soaring oboe being played in a church, don't close your eyes because you might think you are in another place.

— Are you going to get anything done today? Good. Neither am I ...

— Actually that's not true because I'm taking the 6-1 senior post player to the Good News of Christmas HQ this afternoon to wrap presents. Do something for somebody else. It's the best gift you can give.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest Game

Saturday night on ESPN, the NFL title game from 1958 between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants will be shown.

This is considered THE game that got the NFL off and running into national prominence. ESPN has restored the video and even will show it in color.

Here's an awesome story about a key player who rarely gets mentioned when talking about the game.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Practice

The Funions had a really good practice tonight. We'll debut some new songs (for us) at the Dec. 20 show.

After practice much of the discussion was about why we play, the whole "pay for play" thing (sorry Illinois) and what songs to play, how much original stuff will go over, etc.

The bottom line is that we are still having a blast and this is the best bunch of guys yet to play in the band.

Really looking forward to seeing our friends in SevenD2 play with us ... rumor has it they have a one-time drummer helping them out.

We might have a minor lineup change or two as well .... we'll have more as this story develops.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Snow, College Football

Tough day to be from Illinois, don't you think?

Like I say about my job at The Whig - "You Can't Make It Up."

The older I get the more I don't like the cold weather. I wish it would just snow like crazy and we can get on with winter.

For all things college football, click here.

Some big shows coming up in the area over the holidays, we'll get you updated shortly and you can always check out Jessica's blog here for the latest.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Show Lineup

Saturday, Dec. 20
Turner Hall, 936 Hampshire,
Quincy IL
7 p.m.
St. Amy's
The Funions
All ages, tickets $5 at the door, bar open for 21 & over

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Show!

We've just booked Turner Hall for a big Christmas show.

Saturday, Dec. 20
7 p.m.
The Funions and others TBA.

By the way, Mike Provine continues to have the best blog in Quincy, but I'm thinking this one is getting to be a close second. More on this as it develops .... pfffffft.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

No Blues Here

Had a blast at the Blues game Friday night.

We took I-70 into downtown since the other route is closed. No major traffic issues, got to Union Station around 5, had a leisurely dinner and stroll, did some people watching.

Walked two blocks to ScottTrade Center and caught the warmups, which always fascinate me. The teams come out and it's sort of organized chaos, a continuing skating circle with pucks flying all over the place.

The arena was about 1/4th full just before game time, then maybe 3/5ths full for the game. We sat behind the Calgary goal in section 124, really good seats.

Watching hockey on TV does not give the game justice. When you have a view of the whole ice surface you can see the various strategies for dumping the puck in or trying to get it out of the defensive zone. If you've ever been on skates you'll really appreciate what tremendous athletes hockey players are, and they look so smooth and effortless gliding across the ice.

St. Louis played Calgary and watching Calgary's great player Jarome Iginla was a treat. Calgary likes to fling the puck back and forth across the rink, something you really can't appreciate with television. St. Louis played pretty well but they don't seem to have the creative offensive players, and the Flames scored three straight goals and won in overtime.

Note to Provine: Dion Phaneuf was in the penalty box twice .... go ahead and insert your own jokes here.

The good thing about going to a game is the live atmosphere, but that's the bad part too. Some drunk college kids were sitting behind us and were just loud and profane enough to be annoying but not really out of control.

It took us about 15 minutes of battling traffic to hit I-70 and we were home by 1 a.m.

I won't pay big bucks to see a professional sporting event, but if I get free or cheap tickets, I won't hesitate to go back to another game.

Friday, December 05, 2008


Going to St. Louis tonight to see the Blues with comp tickets. It's been a while since I've been to a game at ScottTrade.

Apparently because of construction the easiest way is to take 70 downtown.

Full report to follow ...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Practice makes .... noise

Being in a band is like playing on a sports team - you have to practice to be any good.

Actually, that's not true. Fielder never practices. Never. They just get up there and jam and it sounds great. That's a rare gift.

Warren and Jason from SevenD2 tell me they never practice either, but they play every weekend, and nothing beats actually playing in front of people.

But The Funions can't get away with that. And fortunately the band likes to practice, which hasn't always been true with previous incarnations.

What I've found is that if you are prepared and have stuff to work on, practice is more fun and you get more out of it. With this particular group of guys, the challenge is to find songs that work for us and that feel right.

I've brought great songs to practice but when the band plays them, they just fall flat. Then I've taken half-baked ideas and they've flourished, for whatever reason.

We are working on getting ready for a big birthday party show at The Elks Jan. 3, so tonight we learned four songs and polished up a few others. Practice is hard work but it's fun, and that's the way it should be with a band.

Then Mark, Pat and I went to the Paradise Bar at 10th and Hampshire to hoot and holler at Warren's open mic night and it was a blast ... until we broke poor Warren's PA. I just left and Pat was crawling around back of the mixing board trying to figure out what went wrong.

Maybe it was our playing ....

Monday, December 01, 2008

What's Your Name?

Snow + ice + cold = slippery roads. BE CAREFUL!

An elderly gent was invited to an old friend's home for dinner one evening. He was impressed by the way his buddy preceded every request to his wife with endearing terms such as: Honey, My Love, Darling, Sweetheart, Pumpkin, etc. The couple had been married almost 70 years and, clearly, they were still very much in love.

While the wife was in the kitchen, the man leaned over to his host and said, "I think it's wonderful that, after all these years, you still call your wife those loving pet names."

The old man hung his head.

"I have to tell you the truth," he said. "Her name slipped my mind about 10 years ago and I'm scared to death to ask her what it is!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

To everybody who went out yesterday to shop on Black Friday .... ARE YOU FREAKING NUTS?

Very proud of the QHS girls this morning, who battled a very good Morton team into overtime. No more getting crushed by 30, and the future of Blue Devils girls basketball really looks good.

More ghost hunting tonight at a downtown location.

One of these days I'll get a Saturday to watch college football. What? The regular season is almost over?

It's OK, bowl season is coming up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Random Thanksgiving thoughts

— Really enjoying the U2 box sets, especially the B-sides and various remixes. Some of the live songs on the October bonus disc are amazing .... as are the bizarre dance mixes off the War disc.

— Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Don't take for granted health, family and friendship.

— Speaking of friendship, UMR, we might have somebody in common here. Or maybe not.

— Being ignored is a terrible thing, n'est pas? Not being able to figure out why is even worse.

— Somebody asked why I took All The News That Fits off my links. Very simple - he (or she) doesn't blog enough. This person, a former employee of a major Quincy media outlet, has insightful and often searingly accurate criticism of local media. However, for every on target blog he (or she) does, there are a bunch of strange and seemingly pointless entries. This person doesn't live in Quincy, though still lives in the area, and has gone to great lengths to keep his (or her) identity secret. Good reason for that, I'm sure. The IP address out of the Macomb area is very interesting, however. I think I know who it is, but really, it doesn't matter and I won't spill the beans. Besides, it is his (or her) blog , and he (or she) can do whatever he (or she) wants.

— I am happy for Ball State, even though they got lucky against my Chippewas last week. It's a great story, from the depths of a mid-major conference to being unbeaten and possibly screwing up the BCS.

— Too many of you reading this are already preparing for Friday morning's cattle call, also known as Black Friday shopping. I had to write a story about this nine years ago and I am still in regular therapy to try and recover.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Drummer on the web

Craig Sparks, drummer for Trinity's praise band and U2.1, has a new Web site up here.

No practice this week for The Funions, as life itself with Thanksgiving gets in the way.

With Shey Fey's help (well actually she's doing all the work) I'm building a little floor rack for my Digitech, tuner and wireless receiver. Mark now has less wood cluttering up his basement and I'll keep stuff organized.

Got my eyes on a Crate half stack system. So ....

For sale: Really nice Crate 212 amp, $250 or best offer ....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All U2

Shey Fey gave me the box set of the first three U2 CDs. This is what happens when you officially Turn Old.

Also got the Red Rocks DVD, "Under A Blood Red Sky." All I'm gonna say about watching this in its entirety for the first time in 25 years is HOLY CRAP .... Uncle David Youngsma took me to Red Rocks last year, which gives me a greater appreciation.

I'm listening to the Boy album right now and going back in time to my college years, where I'd crank my battered boom box with a warped casette tape and get lost without doing homework.

Music has a way of stamping time, and taking you back.

Even on the liner notes the album "October" tends to get bashed but I think it's my favorite ... no particular reason. "Stranger In A Strange Land" still gives me goose bumps.

All three CDs come with bonus discs full of live recordings and strange B sides, awesome stuff, plus commentary from guitar player The Edge.

Many thanks to my surrogate mother and father, Bob and Anne Mays, who took us out to dinner last night. I am now able to open wine bottles with Bill Clinton. Don't ask .... or try to figure out how I crack nuts with Hillary.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bloggers And Trust

“For bloggers, it’s all about trust too: except weblogs are starting from zero, building their reputations from the ground up. Blog responsibly, and you’ll build a reputation for being a trusted news source. Don’t, and you won’t have a reputation to worry about.”
John Hiler
Microtent News

More fascinating analysis of everything blogging here.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Shows

The Funions have nothing planned until early January. We'd like to play once or twice over Christmas so we'll see if anything pops up. We do have some shows lined up in March and April already.

In the meantime, we will practice at Club Vegas and perhaps think about reviving the CD project.

Enjoyed the Sammy Fund gathering last night to thank volunteers and celebrate another amazing fundraising effort. Big thanks to Knap and Anne Knapheide, two genuine people who care.

Did not enjoy my Chippewas getting beat at home by Ball State. Ugh. They played in the snow, not the fog. Wonder if Gus has thawed out yet today ....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lid Lifter

The QHS girls basketball team starts the season tonight with a home game against Jacksonville. Click here for the official online site.

All home games this season are being played in the much smaller QHS Gym, as opposed to Blue Devil Gym at Baldwin.

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the girls deserve to play in a facility every bit as nice as the boys. It shouldn't matter what crowds you get or how the team is doing, it's about equal access. Three years ago I had a big QHS boys basketball booster tell me Quincy Public Schools was wasting electricity and resources by having the girls play at Baldwin (he also told me a certain center would never play on the girls varsity as a freshman, and he was wrong as always).

However, playing at the high school does have its advantages. Our team is not built on quickness, so the smaller court will help. We are lucky to get 100 people to a game and they'll make a lot more noise in the smaller gym.

The Whig sports guys say the volleyball team played at the high school gym and the atmosphere was tremendous.

My impression is that the girls don't really care that much about it - they just want to play. So I'm good with it and I really hope we have a better season.

Good luck Devils!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Fun times in Jacksonville Sunday night. Hit a deer on I-72 near Pittsfield, but we had Jack Inghram in the car with us so we were spared. Left a nasty streak on the side of the passenger door and dented the front right panel, but otherwise we escaped unscathed. Man, that sucker hit hard.

Good energy for the U2.1 event. Big thanks to Josh Carlson for running sound and to drummer Craig Sparks for keeping us together, we were a little ragged. The spirt and energy were there, however, and that's all that counts. We'll have some appearances announced early in 2009.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Very Funny

I don't read many of the local blogs but this one caught my eye and I laughed out loud ....

Friday, November 14, 2008


We are taking our U2.1 worship service on the road this Sunday, read more about it here.

It will be very interesting to see what kind of crowd and reaction we get. We've been carried by audience participation so far .... so let's go, Jacksonville!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Road Trip

Went up to DeKalb last night to watch YOUR Central Michigan University Chippewas nearly blow a three-touchdown lead before beating Northern Illinois in overtime.

Met up with Scott McNeal AKA Gus Macker and we had a blast hooting and hollering. I liked the old stadium, pretty simple layout but it has some atmosphere. There was this strange fog rolling in and I got texts saying it was hard to watch on TV. We sat on the 20 yard line in the front row right behind the CMU bench and at times we had trouble seeing through the mist too.

After the game the players sang the fight song for the several hundred Chippewa fans, and Gus and I ran around on the field like little kids ... more fun that you should be allowed to have!

I like going on solo road trips. It's good to sit in the car and think about life, sing along to the radio or iPod, all the while paying attention to the road. I took the new 336 around Macomb to get up there, and I hate I-88 — classic "let's block the left lane for seven miles while fixing two inches of road" construction, mad drivers, toll booths .... yechh. Took more than five hours. Took I-39 home to Bloomington and 1-72 around Springfield to get home, much better, 4 1/2 hours.

Getting home at 3:30 spiked on caffeine is surreal.

P.S. - apparently is back!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Respect for Vets

Please remember our veterans. Today is their day, but every day should be their day.

Here's an idea on how to honor them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Angry Monks

Holy encounters, Batman!

Nothing says Christianity like a bunch of angry monks ....

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Fun times in LaBelle last night. Best wishes to Lisa Wolter and her family as she battles ALS. The people were great and treated us well and it was a good experience. We were honored to be asked to play.

The best part came when Lisa's husband offered to auction off his mustache he'd wore since he was a teen. A bunch of people threw $210 into a pot and they shaved it off while we played "Play That Funky Music" with improvised lyrics.

One thing we all noticed right off the top was the smoke. Illinois law prohibits smoking in public places, and everybody in the band noticed it had been a long time since we've had to deal with it.

I don't care if people smoke, in fact I feel sorry for them for being gripped by such a nasty addiction. And I like to have a cigar once in a while too. But a room full of people smoking is the worst. And the funk settles into everything — my guitars, gig bag, stands, everything.

Smoke 'em if you get 'em, I guess.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ghost Hunting

Went looking for ghosts last night with Brother Ed, Travis Yates, Jim Lawrence and several Quincy University students at Woodland Cemetery's big mausoleum.

It was uneventful until near the end of our visit, when something strange took place. I'm thinking about writing a Whig column about it so I'll hold off for now, but I can say it was a very cool experience.

Woodland ghosts rock!

Friday, November 07, 2008

LaBelle Benefit

The Funions are playing Saturday night in LaBelle, Mo., for a benefit. Lisa Wolter of LaBelle was recently diagnosed with ALS and we want to wish her and her family all the best. Her brother is Tom Miller of Quincy.

We'll start shaking, rattling and rolling around 7 at Almost There, the bar on the north side of the road as you go through town just past the nursing home.

Also ... Prednisolone is wonderful! Had some diagnostics done on the back this week and we'll see what happens, still can't stand for very long, but there appears to be hope.

And .... happy birthday Shey Fey!

And ... ghost hunting tonight in Calftown.

And ... Veterans Day is Tuesday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Who 1977

The Who is releasing a DVD of the famous 1977 Kliburn show.

Some of the footage is used in The Kids Are Alright, the best rock and roll documentary ever made. Now the whole concert is available and I'd be intrigued, to say the least.

The Who is on the road again this fall and of course is nowhere near St. Louis or our area, so I'm passing.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post Election

I don't do posts about politics for many reasons. But this is different, the day after a historic election.

First of all, do NOT make assumptions about how I voted. Voting is a personal thing. If you are a D or R and want the world to know about what you stand for, good for you. I consider voting a right and privilege not to be taken for granted. I am not a Republican or Democrat, and I never vote for a straight party ticket.

The good thing about politics is the passion involved. The bad thing about politics is the passion involved.

I resented the comment in today's Whig from the woman who said "I can't believe people are this gullible" and blamed Obama winning on the media. Equally resented a number of Democrats who complained about an aspiring young R and a county board seat.

I listened to the candidates. I determined if there was media spin. I made informed decisions, and I consider myself blessed to live in the greatest country on earth.

And, to the imbecile who suggested we should all move to Canada after this presidential election .... I still have dual citizenship.

So go ahead and move. I'll warn my brethren to the north, eh?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Get Out And Vote

Pretty hectic at the voting establishments this morning.

Ah, Michigan Republicans at their finest right here.

Get out and vote, dang it!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Endorphins + Music = no pain

Amazing night once again at Union United. We didn't have quite as many people as our April U2charist service, but there was a large youth contingent and the energy level was sky-high, right from the first song.

A big thanks to Pat Cornwell who did sound for us, it was much better this time. We goofed up once or twice and I had a Spinal Tap moment when my wireless guitar rig quit working (dead battery) but the band was pretty tight - I'll give drummer Craig Sparks deserved credit for keeping us going, he's one of the best.

I felt great Thursday night setting up for Funions Elks show, didn't move anything heavy, careful when bending, etc. But Friday afternoon it was bad and I was wondering how it would go Friday night.

I sat for much of the show and discovered once we started playing, I either forgot about my back or something seemed to happen to make the stiffness go away.

The official Wikipedia explanation: Endorphins are endogenous opioid polypeptide compounds produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during strenuous exercise. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a sense of well-being. Endorphins work as "natural fever relievers" whose effects may be enhanced by other medications.

So Friday I behaved for the most part. Sitting makes me play the guitar better and the crowd was ready to dance and party so it worked out great.

Saturday was horrible, one of the worst days ever for my stupid back. Couldn't go on the Woodland Cemetery walking tour, couldn't make it up to Macomb to see Emily play in the district music competition, couldn't do anything. This was one of those golden late Indian Summer weekends and it killed me to not take advantage of it.

Sunday morning was better, plus we had some good music at Trinity UCC and a good service and that always helps.

Felt good setting up Sunday afternoon, and once we started playing Sunday night .... well, as I've often said, "I am not responsible and that was my stunt double."

So it's Monday morning and .... I can't move.

I'm taking the next medical steps this week and things will work out. They always do.

In the meantime ... Funions road trip this weekend, and we are taking U2charist on the road as well! More details coming ...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Getting Ready

The amazing BB King, still cranking it out and sounding better than ever ....

Geesh. If this doesn't get us ready for tonight, nothing will!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dance The Night Away

Last night was one of our best shows, and it's all because of you.

Fantastic crowd! Man, they were ready to party and have a good time. From the first song to the extended "third set," the dance floor was full and people seemed to really be enjoying themselves.

The Elks crowd tends to be a little more experienced, so we play a ton of groove songs people know — Mustang Sally, Doctor Doctor, Twist and Shout, etc. But when we bust into "Play That Funky Music" they really go nuts and it's a blast to watch from the stage.

People were actually showing up to see us play, as opposed to fleeing the premises (which is what happened in previous Elks shows). Bill Durst and the Elks folks were pleasantly surprised with the great Friday night crowd and we'll make plans to come back.

A big thanks to Warren Riley who filled in on guitar while Chris played his big show at Turner Hall with Fielder.

Elvis was HUGE ... you had to be there.

A word about endorphins ... it's amazing how you can crawl into a building and not even be able to stand up, but when the music starts, they kick in and it feels - so - good - unbelievably good.

Gonna need em tomorrow night at the U2charist service.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Woodland Ghosts?

Check this out, really cool spooky stuff from Woodland Cemetery ....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funions had a tree-mendous practice last night. Warren Riley from the band SevenD2 will be playing guitar with us Friday at the Elks since Chris has a big show with Fielder at Turner Hall the same night.

Warren says, "You guys have a fun band." 

Shout out for Keith Franx of the band Blue Healers. Keith broke his left wrist in a work accident earlier this week. Keith isn't the patient type so hopefully he'll hang in there and get better.

What are you going to be for Halloween? The band will hopefully be in costume if I can get Dr. Lou to help out.

Coming up ... ghost hunting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Music Weekend

So life itself has been getting in the way of all things music and blog related ... let's get caught up!

The Funions play Friday, Oct. 31, 7:30 to 10 p.m. at The Elks in Quincy. It's for members and guests and we encourage everybody to dress up for Halloween.

We are also playing Saturday, Nov. 8 in LaBelle, Mo., for a benefit, more details to come.

Sunday, Nov. 2, Union United Methodist Church in Quincy, 11th and State, 7 p.m., U2charist service. We are playing all kinds of awesome songs for this music-driven worship service. There is no charge. An offering will be taken for the church's mission trip to Liberia.

Playing with me in the band are Craig Sparks, drums; Jack Inghram, sax; Devin White, bass; Rev. Wally Carlson, guitar, and Megen Guthrie, percussion and keyboards. Sherry Renner may be joining us as well on vocals. Our first U2charist service was a huge success ... get there early if you want a good seat!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Female Troubles ....

Talk about getting into trouble with the wife ... or wives, in this case ....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Havermale Benefit

Greg Havermale of Quincy has Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer of the Lymphatic system. Here's info about a big benefit next Sunday ....

Backwaters, Sunday, Nov. 2, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Activities, live music, $1000 money machine raffle, silent auction, food, T-Shirt sales, door prizes.

Donations: Greg Havermale Benefit, C/O State Street Bank, 801 State, Quincy IL 62301

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sad Saturday

This was a tough one to wake up to this morning .....

Alice Cornwell funeral info here ....

Keith Franx is playing up at the Spirit Knob Winery this afternoon, hopefully it warms up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Prayers for Pat

Pat's mom died Wednesday. We'll update this post when we get visitation and funeral information.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

World What?

So it's 9:30 p.m. and I'm worn out from the day and I'm gazing blankly at the TV as the Rays are playing the Phillies in the World Series. 

I'm thinking, maybe this is the year I actually give a crap about the World Series. Especially since the Red Sox finally got beat.

But it's 9:30 and I can barely keep my eyes open and the game is only in the fifth inning.

Why should I keep watching?

This might be the lowest-rated World Series ever (quick, Cardinal fans, can you pick the worst one? I knew you could). Only true Philly and Rays fans and baseball purists care.

Then again, it's kind of cool to wake up and find out who won, like you are 7 years old again.

Where are you, Joe Carter? Miss you, Steve Rogers ....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Back Better

Thanks to Shawn Irvine, the back is much better.

I needed to hear from somebody who knows what he's talking about. No more hoops for a while, maybe for good, and I'm afraid my days with the H-W Demons softball team are done.

But ... it's OK. A week ago I hobbled into his office afraid I'd have to get a shot or MRI or something needlessly medical. We've worked on traction and stretching and it feels a ton better.

It's good, because we are nine days away from the big Halloween show and 11 days from the U2charist service. 

Prayers for Pat Cornwell and family. His mom is near the end and it's never easy, getting ready to say farewell.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cover Charges

Heard there were a couple of really good bands at Turner Hall last Friday.

Also heard the cover charge was $10, and the crowd was really small.

I salute the young man who promoted the show for all his hard work and effort, and I hope he doesn't get discouraged.

The painful lesson, as always, is this - $10 is too much for a rock show in Quincy, unless you are bringing in a huge name band.

I have this argument with people all the time but I've seen it first-hand at our shows and other shows. The less the cover charge, the more people will come to see you play. A young person doesn't mind forking over a couple of bucks to get into Turner Hall to see Fielder or Predawn Hour. A young person may or may not even have $10, but that's not the point - they simply won't spend it.

This isn't St. Louis. This isn't Chicago. This isn't Columbia or Springfield, either. It's Quincy, a unique and quirky place where national trends hit the bubble and bounce back. 

It's easy for me to say this because The Funions have never been about playing for the money anyway, and never will be. For younger bands, finances are crucial and go hand-in-hand with marketing and promotion, and I understand how tough it is.

By the way, our Elks show Halloween night is for Elks members and guests only .... and there's no cover charge. All Funions fans are invited! Just let me know you are coming.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Black Book

Watched the Paul Verhoeven movie "Black Book" which won the 2007 Academy Award for best foreign film. It's about the Dutch Resistance during World War II and very well done.

Verhoeven is never afraid of going over the top and he does it here — sometimes his gritty realism backfires. But I love the story of flawed heroes and villains you can't hate. Right and wrong means nothing when it comes to survival.

It also gives me more understanding about what my grandfather, Opa Hart, may have gone through as a Resistance leader in the Netherlands. 

How could you speak of such terrible things?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sammy, marching, yoga?

This is Sammy Fund weekend. The walk is tomorrow starting at Madison Park at 9, with the golf tournament and dinner Sunday. Easily the best charity event in Quincy. It's also Octoberfest with the big marching band parade at 2 p.m. and the competition at Flinn Stadium Saturday night. No rain please!

Somebody will be carrying my Crate amp around the next few weeks as we've added a Funions show in November (more details soon) and continue to get ready for the U2charist event.

I hate back braces, but they work. A ton of feedback from the last post .... yoga, anyone?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Back Out

Today I was told my days of playing basketball are very likely done.

I have a bulging disc in my back and I think I probably screwed it up for good in August when I played golf one day and in Gus Macker's Hall of Fame basketball deal the next day. 

I'm used to back pain when I'm a dumbass and overdo it, but this is different — it seizes up when I stand for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Yesterday I had to be on my feet for a couple of hours and I almost passed out the pain was so bad. At church last Sunday even when I was sitting down, it seized up near the end of the service and I was wondering if I was going to walk out of there unassisted.

So ... my chiropracter Shawn Irvine sat me down today and gave me the grim reality. 

No more hoops. Golf? Nope. Walking? Not a good idea right now.

Funny - I'm very good at laying around the doing nothing. But I'm not good when told that's all I should be doing.

I'm going through the anger and denial thing right now. Really ticking me off is the fact we've got some musical stuff happening and just picking up my equipment is also a no-no.

Getting old sucks.

I'm thinking about getting an MRI, but I don't have the big bucks to shell out (don't even get me started on health insurance because I might write something stupid and regret later).

There are some options and I believe my back will get better. In fact I had some traction therapy this morning with Dr. Irvine and it does feel better. I was on my feet for a while this afternoon and whether I'm just stubbornly refusing to feel pain or maybe it's healing, I didn't feel so bad.

Back off, bad back. I simply don't want to deal with you and reality right now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Practice

Got together tonight with Devon White and Craig Sparks to work on U2charist songs.

Practices are funny things. Last week The Funions really struggled while working on songs for our Oct. 31 Elks show. The energy didn't seem to be there and it was tough sledding, though ultimately we did get a lot done, and there's no such thing as a bad practice.

Tonight with Devon and Craig we were right on the from the start. Craig is one of the best drummers I've played with and Devon brings a lot of youth and enthusiasm to the bass, and it was so much fun cranking out these great songs.

This U2 thing should be great. The first one earlier this year was kind of an experiment and we were stunned and how amazing it turned out to be. Now the expectations are higher and God grants us favor and a Union United Methodist crowd eager for a great worship experience, it will be even better.

So don't forget, Sunday Nov. 2, 7 p.m., Union United Methodist at 11th and State.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayers for ....

— Mike McGrath and family. Mike lost his wife, Stacy, to cancer and the funeral is today. I coached YMCA basketball with Mike and he's one of the good guys.

— Mike and Abby Warneke, who are leaving First Union Congregational at the end of the year for Mike's new job with a church in Evansville, Ind. Huge loss at 12th and Maine, but good for Mike and Abby, new challenges await.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Get Out There!

Beautiful weather in the Q-Town .... tons of stuff to do.

The Lincoln-Douglas celebration is underway, check here for the schedule.

High school football tonight. Will probably endure QHS at Flinn Stadium for a half, probably be better to stay in the hood for QND's big game.

Blue Healers at Sawyers Creek in Hannibal tomorrow afternoon. Cory Wilkey tribute at Winter's West Wing at night. Good luck to the Flood guys tonight as they play a reunion show at Twilight Zone.

And ... massive college football overdose tomorrow.

Don't let the weekend get away!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Guitar Speak

Great stuff from BBC's "The Story of the Guitar" with The Edge of U2 on the role of a guitar player, technology, finding the right sound, many guitars ("Don't even look at that one"). Click here and here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Had a lot of fun participating in the Harlem Ambassadors charity basketball game at John Wood Community College Monday night.

There was a decent crowd for a weekday event, and the Toyota Tundras team, consisting of former area basketball standouts and local media, hammed it up big-time. Highlights included WGEM's Ben Marth making a 3-pointer and Don O'Brien of The Whig doing The Worm.

I commend the Kiwanis Club of Quincy for putting on the event and all their hard work.

The "game" lasted a little long, two hours and 15 minutes, and I think the crowd got a little worn out towards the end, but all in all it was a fun time. I've played in 10-plus of these and basketball isn't really the point - it's an entertainment event.

Again, thanks to the Kiwanis Club, which always does good things for Quincy.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Busy Weekend

Had to work this past weekend. The Monroe City Airport dedication Saturday morning was like Norman Rockwell painting and very interesting. After work Saturday night I caught a bit of The Blue Healers at The Club - Quincy's best band keeps getting better.

Enjoyed the Quincy University "Communiversity" band Sunday at North Campus. Many times these concerts kind of drag and have boring music, but not this one. It was well paced and you could tell the band enjoyed playing some interesting songs.

Then Devin White and I went to Craig Sparks' place and practiced for the U2charist service Nov. 2. Just like the first time, we clicked and this is going to another awesome service. We learned two U2 songs, Where The Streets Have No Name and The Saints Are Coming (an awesome song), it's good to have the guts of the band together on one page. The rest of the band will gather in two weeks to continue fleshing out the songs.

For this service we are doing three non-U2 songs and you'll be surprised when you hear them, let's just put it that way. Rev. Bob Morwell is going to Africa in January and the songs fit his theme. Get there early Nov. 2! Service starts at 7 p.m. at Union United Methodist, 11th and State.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Shaking Off Rust

The Funions had their first practice in a month Thursday night, and it showed.

It took a while to shake off the rust, but four or five songs into it we started clicking.

As Jay Driscoll, the former QU basketball player and coach, used to say: "It's just like falling off a bike."

You haven't lived until you've seen and heard Mark Brei sing "La Grange."

We'll be working on our Oct. 31 set list, introducing a few new songs.

Prayers for Pat Cornwell and family. His mom is near the end and it's not an easy time.

CD project, therefore, will probably be bumped back a little bit, but we're in no hurry and we'll get it started soon.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Mark and I put together a set list for our Elks show Halloween night. This is an older crowd but they definitely like to have a good time.

Chris will be doing double duty, playing guitar for us, then zipping over to Turner Hall to play drums for Fielder.

Blue Healers Saturday night at The Club.

CD project will be discussed shortly. We are in no hurry and I suspect we'll take our time. It would be nice to get it going ... but life itself happens, you know.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Happiness is ...

- Having a day off after working for Gus in another state.

- Driving a brand new Saturn rental care with XM Radio ... the comedy channels were really good and it made the drive to Lafayette go by faster. Also, I accidently pressed the OnStar button but the operator was cool when I told him it was by accident.

- Doing Dream Court games with Gus, more fun than should be allowed.

- Being a Cubs fan right now, if you are one.

- Watching Michigan somehow get a huge win in The Big House while sitting with ticked off Purdue fans in a Lafayette steakhouse.

- Hearing about YOUR Central Michigan University Chippewas somehow surviving another wacky MAC finish.

- A rainy Monday to get laundry done.

- A Calftown garage to turn the amp up. Preferably to 11.

- Not being a Rams fan, or a St. Louis Cardinals fan.

- A balky back finally starting to loosen up. FINALLY. There is nothing worse than tying to blow the whistle on a Macker youth court from Testosterone Hell and not being able to stand up.

- Trying to decipher a message from Tookie and finally just giving up without wondering just what he is babbling about again.

- A guitar student getting it.

- A Border Collie hiding in the bathroom during a thunderstorm. Well, it's not happy for her, just funny to me.

- Not being in the hospital.

- Watching the rain from the porch with a hot cup of coffee.

- Getting calls about the band and wondering if we're playing soon (we are, stay tuned).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Get Better Dangit

A big shout out to Shey Fey, who is battling The Bug. Get better dangit!

A long walk in Woodland last night with Brown Eyed Girl and it was beautiful. Maybe it was the tilt of the sun or something.

Predawn Hour plays a show tonight at Turner Hall. A long lost friend recently turned up for the singer and guitar player .... more in tomorrow's paper.

Kelly Wilson of The Whig is writing an awesome blog about living this week on just $25 for food. Our podmate, who is bigger than Charlie Weiss, spends $25 on lunch tips during the week. It's a good read so check it out.

Heading to Lafayette today for the last Gus Macker of the year. This is usually a good tournament, just wish it wasn't so far away.

Thinking about the national championship in California in two weeks too, but as usual there's too much going on around here.

Now this, friends, is assault with a deadly weapon. I'm thinking the gas chamber would be suitable punishment. This story really stinks and lends itself to a lot of bad jokes in passing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clay Who?

Somebody said something about Clay Aikens being gay and having a child.

Clay Who? Is he a painter or something?

Oh, wait .... wasn't he a cornerback for Notre Dame during the Gerry Faust dynasty era?

For some real dating advice from a real football guy, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, click here.

And Detroit Lions fans rejoice ....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quiet Month

Not much new with the band lately, we've missed the past few practices due to Life Itself, which gets in the way all the time ...

So, hope to start back up this week. Next Funions show is Oct. 31 at The Elks, guests and friends invited.

CD project hopefully starts early October.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Too Much Fun, Go MSU, Bad PA

Tons of people having waaaaaayyyyyy too much fun in Marcelline last night. Waaaaaayyyyy too much fun ....

Normally I sympathize with people who are having a tough time getting around .... and I am NOT a Michigan State fan, but yesterday was the exception.

The Chippewas lost for the third time in a year to Purdue. Ironically, I'm heading to Lafayette, Ind., this weekend for the final regular Gus Macker of 2008.

The marching band did a great job at the QHS football game Friday night. I did not stay for the second half because the PA guy drove me nuts.

Announce the ball carrier, the tackler, the down and the distance. DON'T give a gibberish play by play the whole game. DON'T "count down" the clock. DON'T make a fan bus announcement sound like the final seconds of a Super Bowl going into overtime.

There. I feel better ...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Saturday Night Party

Hope to see up in lovely Marcelline tomorrow night as Carl Thomas and the folks put on a rock and roll bash.

Beautiful night again for another Calftown garage sale, football games, grilling, etc.

Get out and enjoy it, there aren't that many left!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Car rock

The world's cutest niece, and the last of the Hart grandchildren, Erin Youngsma, in all her Labor Day Phoenix glory ...

In a few days Erin's cousin turns 17. I'm driving back from Macomb with her tonight listening to her iPod plugged into the car stereo and there was the strangest music playing .... a lot of it sounds like bands that want to be like Coldplay or Smashing Pumpkins.

Then "Baba O'Reilly" by The Who comes on, and a little later a live version of "Under Pressure" by Queen, with the last song before hitting home "Super Freak" by Rick James.

Your cousin rocks, Erin.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jamming with Logan

Enjoyed doing the PA at the Quincy High football game yesterday. Gotta give credit to the teams and officials, the game was played in the pouring rain and twice delayed because of lightning. There was some grumbling from fans when the game was delayed but the officials were only doing their jobs, and severe weather is nothing to mess around with.

Last night I'm home hanging with Em when I get a call from Logan Kammerer of Fielder. He's down at the North Side Boat Club and supposed to play with the band at the Callie Frese benefit .... but the band had issues and couldn't make it. So Shey Fey and I loaded up and headed down to Front Street.

It was a blast. Logan is an amazing acoustic guitar player and singer and has great songs. Geesh, more fun that you should be allowed to have!

Fielder plays tonight at the Jed's Brewhouse (18th and Chestnut) benefit, with Cheeks McGee and The Blue Healers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mud, ND-Michigan

There's a massive garage sale going on right now in the alley south of 11th and Monroe. Between airport gawking and garage sale observations, I have enough material for at least a month's worth of H-W columns.

Went to the QND game last night, stood in the mood by the end zones and sidelines, should have worn my West Quincy Levee galoshes.

Great game, tremendous win for the Raiders.

I'll be at the QHS game this afternoon. Not a big fan of Saturday high school football, but when you are playing at team from another time zone .... gotta do what you gotta do. You might not see me there, but you will definitely hear me!

Michigan vs. Notre Dame is at the same time, and the game is kind of flying under the radar because both teams are struggling. That makes it all the more of a crucial contest. Michigan turned its season around after an emphatic win last year.

I hate Notre Dame. To you-know-where with you, Charlie.

And, tonight, USC will dismantle Ohio State.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Time

The U2charist service is now scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 2. See previous post for more details.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More U2charist

The next U2charist service is Sunday, Nov. 2, at First Union United Methodist Church in Quincy, 7 p.m.

We'll be playing a few more songs and streamlining the service a little bit. Some local residents are heading to Liberia for a mission trip in January, and the theme will be missions no matter where you live or where you choose to serve.

We'll learn a few more U2 songs but we do have some really cool surprises lined up, some songs you'd never expect us to play in a church service, that's for sure!

Can't wait ....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Old (Young) Drummers

Got a call yesterday from former Funions drummer Justin Busen, doing well and going to school in Florida now.

Justin is living with his mother, Funions Hall of Famer Julie Lane, and playing drums with a buddy. They are hoping to recruit a bass player and singer and start playing.

It's hard to believe it's been four years since Mark and I hooked up with Justin and guitarist extraordinaire David Stegeman. Many of the songs eventually recorded two years later were started during Vermont Street basement jam sessions. We only played a few shows, sadly, including several incredible shows at The Hawks Nest, Turner Hall and the cafe inside The Crossing, now closed.

The young guys were a great influence on old farts like Mark and me. Well, me, maybe.

Continued success to Justin and his mother.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Healing In The Rain

The Blue Healers again rocked it out Saturday at Smoke On The River.

First of all, a big thanks to the Quincy Exchange Club for putting on the BBQ and utilizing our riverfront. It takes a ton of work and effort and the Exchange Club guys always pull it off, just like for Gus Macker.

The Cheeseburgers sounded really good at the Dock's outdoor stage in the afternoon. The Healerstook the stage and it started raining which kept the crowd down, but they guys still had fun and everybody who was there, wet or under the tents and porch roofs, did too.

Didn't stick around for Scott Boy Daniels .... if anybody saw them let me know how it was.

With the rain coming down, we bailed on the idea of going to The Grove to see Slick Woody, hope they had fun, inside or out.

Check out UMR's take on Oprah, the most dangerous woman in the world.

College football Saturdays ROCK. Now comes the Michigan-Notre Dame game, two struggling teams looking to make a statement.

And ... my Chips fell flat on their faces in Athens, but that's OK. Other MAC teams like Ohio and Miami did the conference proud.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Carl's Still Rocking

Carl Thomas called today and said his new band will be playing in Marceline Sept. 20.

Carl was the bass player for the Slink Rand Band, but apparently they had some issues and have called it quits.

Always thought Slink and the boys should have played classic blues and rock and roll, not the harder stuff they started doing, but to each his own. There's no denying Slink, Randy, Carl and the singers they went through could rock it out.

Anyway, Carl is now playing guitar in this band. Can't think of the name but we'll have more details soon.

Big music day Saturday, with Cheeseburgers and Blue Healers at the Smoke On The River event. They play at The Dock, Cheeseburgers at 3 and Healers at 6.

Slick Woody plays tomorrow night outdoors at The Grove Inn, another good time for sure, so get out there this weekend and enjoy!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Practice, Smells

Funions practice again was a blast tonight. We have seven or eight songs I think we can pull off right now for the CD project, plus a couple more we hope to learn.

Good to see Jason and Warren from SevenD2 or however they spell the name now ... the alphabet police arrested them recently I believe. They have a show at the Kix Club Sept. 20.

Late during practice we were starting a song when Pat stopped it and started gagging before sticking his head out an open window. The practice space at Vegas Music is fairly tight and it's never a good thing when gas is passed, especially the insidious SBD (silent but deadly) type.

Nobody is sure who passed the gas but it accusations were made it had something to do with the singer and guitar player who ate at the 18-Wheeler this evening after coming back from St. Louis. All lies! Unfortunately Jack Inghram was not at practice, but he'll be hired first thing tomorrow morning to defend the singer's honor.

Being falsely accused .... stinks!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Dirty Harry

A big welcome home tomorrow for Shey Fey, who had her Labor Day Weekend extended a few days, not by choice. Home Sweet Home tomorrow ....

I'm watching the Dirty Harry movies on AMC this week. The Enforcer is on right now and it's an amazing movie, they just don't make em like they used to. The soundtrack, the photography, the great Eastwood one-liners .... fun to watch!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fall Ahead

Back from AZ, where it wasn't 115 in the shade but just plain glorious.

Fall is here and I'm wondering where the summer went.

Time to get on the wagon again, more later.

Michigan might win five games this year. Might.

But low and behold, look who YOUR Central Michigan University Chippewas play Saturday - the No. 1 team in the country! They better not overlook LeFevour and Co. ... and unfortunately, they won't, because the 'Dawgs have one of the best coaches and staffs in the country.

Glad you are as fired up about going back to the office as I am ....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Off to PHX

Like Blogvine, I'm off for the next few days ....

I love packing for Phoenix. Five minutes and a small Gus Macker duffel bag later, I'm ready to roll.

The price of fame, or infamy, goes up all the time.

Jessica Martin's blog about how to arrange shows is a must-read for young bands. I put a comment on the post about sound systems.

Speaking of sound systems, The Funions worked hard on original material last night and it's starting to come together. We are planning on recording at Jack's Pillar Productions Studio beginning in about a month.

We finished the Quincy Park District softball season last night as well by, believe it or not, getting rained out. At least we got in 2 1/2 innings. I felt like the Bishop in Caddyshack, all the lightning and rain coming down and Carl Spackler saying "I don't think the heavy stuff is going to come down for another hour. I'd play."

Utah is in the Big House tomorrow. Repeat of the fiasco a year ago? Let's hope not.

But really, it's all good, especially because Michigan's real football team won its opener Thursday night. Dan Lefevour for Heismann!

Oh. By the way .... they beat Don O'Brien's Eastern Illinois Panthers. Just thought I'd mention that.

Have a safe and great Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Ten Memories

So I just got home to grab some lunch and I flip on the tube and the 2000 Orange Bowl is on the Big Ten Network.

I love the Big Ten Network.

I remember this game well because Michigan beat Alabama in overtime. Wish I could have been there to see Tookie turn blue in the face.

The night before I worked at The Whig doing turn of the decade stories. That day I remember going to church at Trinity and a great standing room only crowd at the service.

Then that night the Orange Bowl was on and it was a fantastic game. The family was up in Michigan for New Year's and I had the basement to myself and it was glorious.

I think I hid behind the couch during the overtimes ....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Useless Olympic Events

While catching bits and pieces of the Olympics it's been fun viewing different sports.

But they lost me today with something called rhythmic gymnastics and the preening synchronized swimming.

Wonder if anybody will stay up to watch the U.S. play for the gold medal in men's basketball ... game starts at 1:30 a.m.

Sure sign fall is near - QND football practice and Frank Cash on the PA during last night's Blue-Gold scrimmage.

And ... hearing the Heidelberg German Band all the way from South Park into Calftown.

Thinking about going to see the Jimmy Buffet thing tonight downtown ....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Music Scene

A music scene? In Quincy?

You bet.

Lots of good stuff this weekend, including Blues In The District Friday night (Reverend Raven) and the Jimmy Buffet tribute band Fins downtown Saturday. Don't forget about Germanfest Friday and Saturday at South Park with the Heidelberg German Band, a good time outfit if there ever was one.

Kudos also to Jessica Martin of The Herald-Whig and her new blog on the local music scene.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I put together an eight-song demo last night for The Funions. They've been recorded over the past few years on my home studio system.

It will be interesting to see what they think. I am hoping for maybe four or five to really shine when we tackle the band CD project.

They'll turn out much differently when the band does them. I remember I did a few demos for "Just Pretending" and they weren't very good, fortunately Chris and Mark rescued some songs and made them a ton better. But one song, "Gone," was better on the demo than the recorded Funions version, in my often wrong opinion.

We've played a few of these new songs during shows, like "Stay Strong" (about Frank Calkins) and "Who Hears You Tonight" (the band liked it and JB and Jack were really into the solos).

I'd like to get Pat to do more lead singing, and work on harmony vocals.

Chris is getting better and better in filling the guitar role. With Jack and JB, it will be very interesting to see what ideas we come up with how lead-heavy it will be. I am an average rhythm guitar player, it lets the other guys step up and shine.

I do the demos on my Boss home recording system. I think they are fine for what they are, demos and ideas, not necessarily finished or polished products. Wish I had the tenacity and knowledge to work the system better, especially with drum tracks and "squeezing" the sound, compressing it to make each instrument come out.

A great adventure awaits!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guitar Lessons

I'm starting guitar lessons with a new student and it's very interesting to hear motivation and inspiration for learning.

Most of my students have been younger. They pick it up in a hurry and quickly move on.

Right now I'm working with two students. One is a girl in junior high who is playing the bass and really rocks, she's at the point where we just basically play a few songs and she experiments.

My new student is a mom in her early 30s who has always wanted to play. She says she's always been frustrated when siblings try to teach her.

I taught myself and I'm living proof you don't need to be a musician to play an instrument. Certainly you want to play well, use good technique, learn your craft. The Funions have really good musicians, but our band is about energy and the vibe, not how well or perfectly we recreate a song.

So I'm looking forward to a new challenge with this gal and I think it will be fun. She wants to learn. She's already shown she can do it. It's up to her to see how far she can go — I'll get her started, and she can zoom from there.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Iron Eagle

Nothing is better than mindlessly watching the Olympics and Iron Eagle, one of the worst 80s movies ever, playing on AMC.

Catching my breath now because this is another busy weekend in the Q-town. Working the weekend shift for The Whig, Fielder tonight and Blue Healers tomorrow night at Turner Hall, the K of C BBQ, and Gus is in Macomb for a one-day tournament Saturday.

Wring me out Sunday morning ....

Good luck to Brown Eyed Girl on the big move today!

Also, more Macker staff bad dancing here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goony Beach Race

To see the Lake Michigan Goony Beach Race of Doom, click here.

I can still feel the water, taste the suds, the sun on my face and not a thing to worry about.

Not a thing.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back From The Beach

Thank me very much for bringing the beautiful Michigan summer weather back to Q-Town.

Made it back at about 2:30 this morning. An amazing four days in Belding working for Gus - it's all about family and making friends. I am now the proud owner of a Miss Elizabeth's Fan Club jersey and a Flying Knueppel Brothers T-shirt. HUGE ...

Did the PA in Belding and had a blast on the Front Porch, just beside the main stage, where I interviewed people and teams. Tom Cole and Bill Gorman, Macker legends, busted out into a "Forever" dance with Jennifer Elvis Pressley and it was so bad it was good.

We work hard but we have some "serious fun" as Shey Fey likes to put it.

Time to suck out all the Lake Michigan sand from the car, pay the bills and get back to life itself. Sigghhhhhh .....

Friday, August 08, 2008

Staff games

This morning we had the Gus Macker "Hall of Fame Classic" pickup games onsite in Belding. I actually got to play with one of the famous Kneuppel brothers, Klint. What an honor! I am terrible at basketball, what they call an all-airport player - looks good walking down the runway, can't take off.

At least my back hurts and I can't walk.

Tonight is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. It's great to get back here and see old friends and strike up new friendships.

Tournament starts tomorrow, on the downward side of vacation ....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Working For Gus

Scott and Mitch McNeal, the two brothers who started Gus Macker 35 years ago, are having a blow-out bash this weekend at the Belding, Mich., tournament.

At today's golf tournament at the gorgeous Candlestone in Belding, blasts from the past showed up and the laugher rolled through the course. They don't call this thing the "Macker Hacker" tournament because Tiger Woods is here ....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Never leaving the beach ...

It's 105 in Quincy?

Bwahahahahhahahahahaha ....

Except for sunshine, waves crashing into the beach, cool nights and my aunt Helen's awesome coffee, nothing to write home about from Lake Michigan.

So the big decision this morning has been made - a run into civilization to re-stock the cooler.

You'll find me in nowhere ... on a beach that time forgot.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

No More Dirk Harts In GR

My father announced Saturday he is selling his Grand Rapids condo and moving to Louisville.

We moved to Grand Rapids in the summer of 1980. My old friend David Wilkins reminded me last night of how my father and I came a few weeks before the actual big move from London, Ont., and cleaned up the house on Rosewood.

My father sold that house in the late 1980s and eventually bought the condo off of Breton just south of 44th. It was a good move for him and the condo retained value.

Now he's leaving, moving to the city where my sister Kathy lives.

Much has changed in 28 years. Five of the seven of us are left and are scattered around the country - Phoenix, Denver, Quincy, Louisville.

I now have no official attachment to GR, save my mother's grave site. Still have good friends, especially the Wilkins in Hudsonville, and my father's brother, Peter, who lives on Lake Michigan and whose beach I'm about to claim for a few days.

Here's to being home, wherever home is.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bee You Ta Full

Simply gorgeous in West Michigan ... the beach awaits tomorrow with family and good company on the way.

Golf with Rev. Dirk Friday, more golf with Hooterville Hoser today .... life is good.

Geesh do I LOVE vacation ...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Beach Time!

Counting down the last few hours.

I'll update once in a while but not that much.

Don't try to find me. If it's really necessary, go to Holland and take a left and go about 10 miles down the beach.

Also doing the GR thing and working for Gus in Belding next weekend.

Great meeting last night at the R&L Center. Let's see if the ball keeps rolling.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Funions Videos

A big thanks to Shey Fey for this video, "Just Pretending," from a recent Turner Hall show.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Three More Days

Bit of a dark and stormy night in the Q-town ....

Great feedback from the Friday night show.

Did not attend the Hannibal flood thing. I do know there was misommunication about the sound stuff from the beginning.

Gotta get through Wednesday ... gotta get through Wednesday .... gotta get through Wednesday ....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Slow Sunday

Thanks goodness for slow Sundays. Mental health is important too you know.

Huge fun hanging out at the 24th and Harrison hood last night. If the weather holds might have to see if the King will be in the pool this afternoon.

Yesterday I woke up twice to take naps and it was a beautiful thing.

Congrats to Wayne and Sherry! Wayne proposed at Sheridan last night at a cookout on the deck. Sherry is the MVP employee at the 18th and Broadway Sandwich Shop of Doom, she rocks! Maybe The Funions will play at the reception.

Four days until Dirk Junior's Most Excellent Michigan Beach/Belding Macker vacation begins. Vacation Brain is a terrible thing. Can't fight it much longer ....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What a blast

Just when you think you can't possibly have any more fun, just when you think you can't play any better, just when you think you've played the perfect gig .... you play again.

Crazy good times last night in the Oakley-Lindsay Center parking lot to celebrate the flood relief effort. All the bands were on - St. Amy's, Raised on Radio, Fielder - and The Funions were ON FIRE.

Burt Shackelton blew everybody away with sax solos from the heavens and the depths, great keyboards too. Pat and Mark were right there with the timing and Chris keeps getting more and more confident on guitar.

We unleashed some new songs and got a huge response. My favorite was Walking On The Moon by the Police, that caught a lot of people by surprise.

There were 400 to 500 people there I think. Hard to see from the stage .... Jeff Stroot jumped up and sang La Grange with us, making up for some guitar problems (stupid wireless).

Pat Cornwell, our fearless drummer and owner of Vegas Music, did sound and this was one of the few shows where I think it wasn't too loud and we could all hear from the stage. Pat is working all day today in Hannibal so he's a trooper .... gotta give him some love.

Big thanks to Chicken Man and Rob Ebbing from the OLC.

Now it's time for a little R&R, some stuff coming up perhaps later in August and September.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Copy, Storms, etc.

Utterly fascinating story here about the trickle down effect from newspaper demise ....

Spectacular storms last night. I have a beleaguered potted plant on the landing which appreciated the rain, that's for sure.

Hope you can make it out Friday night to the Oakley Lindsay Center for the free flood beach bash. It starts at 8 with St. Amy's, The Funions, Raised On Radio and Fielder. Slide on down from Blues In The Park and check it out!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Steamy in C-Paign

Heard Bluesfest was good and the after-party at The Club was amazing. Dave Chastain was in town and blew people away during a jam session ... no surprise there, Dave is one of all-time great guitar players, a true Illinois and Midwest legend.

Working for Gus in Champaign was .... hot. Sticky. Sweaty. A lot of fun. Gus and I did Dream Court games Saturday and mostly just laughed at ourselves. Sunday I was on my own and the teams, parents, officials, organizers, Champaign Park District, everybody was great.

The CPD organizes the event around West End Park and it ranks up there with one of the most beautiful settings for a Macker.

Only one case of idiots getting out of control, and later I might post on the distinctly urban feel of the tournament, much like Springfield, which I think is a great thing.

Nine more days and then it's vacation time .... these are the toughest days of all, I think, except for the day after you get back.

And ... big bash at the OLC Friday night!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hot hot hot

Steamy here in the Q-town ... I'm heading to Champaign to work for Gus. Have fun at Bluesfest, good luck especially to The Healers and Fielder. Albert Cummings, Saturday night's headliner, is amazing, so if you are in town make sure you catch him at Washington Park.

Catch The Blue Healers here from a recent Turner Hall performance

Excellent practice last night for the Funions. Lately the practices have turned into parties and there's nothing wrong with that. Last night we were more about working on songs and arrangements and we'll have five or six tunes to unleash at our July 25 flood party.

Be safe!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

St. Amy's

St. Amy's has been added to the July 25 show at the OLC parking lot to honor flood relief workers. Here's your chance to see three very talented young men.

I bought a new cell phone for my daughter and we've added texting. How do you punctuate using these dumb things?

Lots of good work going on near the back of Woodland Cemetery, in case you were wondering.

Lots of work going on at the Notre Dame High School baseball field. Looks like they've gone ahead and are planning to turn the field around so it faces north.

Downtown is ... dusty.

Albert Cummings returns to Quincy this weekend for Bluesfest. He was fantastic when he was here in 2004.

Unfortunately I have to work for Gus in Champaign. Well, not unfortunately ... Champaign will be cool because it's the first time for me and I've heard great things about it. But it's a bummer to miss the Bluesfest.

Ever get about two weeks away from going on vacation and just hit the wall?

Good. I'm not alone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dream Court Love

An interesting couple of days in Springfield working for Gus. We got hammered with a storm Saturday about 3:30 and halted play. The tournament organizers were worried but we weren't, not the first time Mother Nature has interfered, and we managed to get caught up today, games were done by 6:15 and we were on the road by 7.

Dream Court was a blast as usual. We had the Special Olympics guys and gals Saturday morning with Troy Boyer running the show and my favorite Gus Buster of all time, former professional wrestler Dave Conrad.

Today we brought a girls court over and finished up their bracket, then did the same for a boys bracket. It's amazing how well the parents behave when you stay positive and have Busters who blow the whistle. The Enforcer and The Duece did a great job, as did my scorekeeper extraordinaire, Panic.

Not to blow my own horn, but for Springfield Journal-Register coverage, click here and here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Beach Flood Bash

We are playing Friday, July 25 at the Oakley-Lindsay Center parking lot in a free four-band show to celebrate flood relief efforts.

No sand, thank goodness.

Click here for more info.

Raised On Radio and Fielder are the other confirmed bands, with one more TBA.

We'll have more info on the order and other stuff.

Heading to Springfield tonight for Gus, be back Sunday night with a report.

Hope the weather holds for the Blue Healers tonight at Washington Park. Be safe!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Springfield, Gus, etc.

I'll never judge anybody just by appearance again.

Getting ready for Gus in Springfield this weekend. You can always count on it being 120 in the shade around the Horace Mann building.

We have the Special Olympics guys on Dream Court Saturday morning and it's a blast. The Greenville (Mich.) crew will be in the house and it's always fun working with those guys.

It does mean I have to bolt Friday afternoon so I'll only be able to catch a bit of the Blue Healers, which bums me out.

Getting closer to making an announcement about a huge show near the end of the month.

Funions practice tonight at Vegas Party Central. Ooops. I mean Vegas Music ....

Monday, July 07, 2008


Tell me there's anything better than getting blasted by the sun while sitting in the pool with a lemonade. Or two.

Well. Maybe if it was on a Lake Michigan beach.

Therapy on Kingsridge is a beautiful thing.

Thank goodness the Julie furnace got cranked up. What would summer be like around here without it?

Funions practice Thursday. Blue Healers in the park Friday night, and the first of a busy Macker stretch starts this weekend in Springfield.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

80s Pool

Massive fun at Rocky Pool Ooza Saturday night. Keith and I looked at my watch and said, "It's after midnight?" Loved the 80s theme and we even played a few of the songs Rocky burned on a CD and gave out.

This was a total social gathering and we were the background music, and that's OK. It's just good to play. A new Dobro got a workout and we didn't scare anybody away. Even had some nice backup vocals too! Very, very, very nice backup vocals .....

Tookie and bride used their heads so I give them credit for making smart choices. Thank you Brown Eyed Girl for taking care of them!

Yesterday afternoon I found myself with nothing to do for the first time in .... in .... I don't even remember. So I woke up to take three naps, watched golf on TV and just generally enjoyed being a slug. This is the last weekend until September that will happen.

So ... keep being safe!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Rocky Pool Ozza

Getting ready tonight for Rocky Cola's big bash in the 24th and Payson Hood.

Great time last night with the Mays clan at Spring Lake. If you are playing No. 15 today and cut the corner too far left, you might want to ask about getting relief from ground under repair .... that is, burned ground under repair. Fireworks are too fun!

Please continue to have a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Upcoming Stuff

Tremendous practice again last night at Vegas Music. We learned seven, count 'em, SEVEN, new songs.

We have also formed a new dance troupe to perform during songs called The Funion Rings. You can't make it up ....

Big plans for a show later this month, stay tuned.

Even bigger plans for a potential Funions recording project with Jack's Pillar Productions studio. Gotta get writing ....

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Whatta Mess

I was in LaGrange, Mo., today. What a mess. It's going to take a long time but the one thing I've learned about those folks over there, they are a resilient bunch.

Funions practice tonight. Could have a major announcement concerning a show toward the end of July.

It will be nice to have a few days off for the July 4 holiday. Please be safe out there!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back To Normal?

Things are looking better on the Mississippi River.


Give it a couple of more days to be sure, and stay tuned because this could be a very long and hot couple of months.

Tookie went dry on the levee. Mush, goes his brain ...

Burton Gaar was really good during Blues In The District last night. Had to work and only caught a little bit, but they were smoking.

Two weeks and The Blue Healers play in the park.

Rocky Cola and his bride are preparing for Rockypolooza, featuring the Blue Funions. It will be a blast!

Once again there's information out there that The Funions are playing after a Gems game this week, but that's not going to happen. Still seeing if we can get in there after a game this summer.

Three cheers for Emily Powers. And a tip of the hat to Josh Rabe. Maybe we'll see him at the Pepsi Arena this winter during QU games at the table.

Thinking about a trip to Quincy Raceways, always fun to go at least once a summer.

My daughter's cell phone went dead. Congrats, dad — the one-year warranty just expired and it's only a couple of bills to replace. Bills with two zeros behind them. Yeesh.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dodging The Drops

So the past few days every time I looked at the Internet weather map all I saw was green and orange blasting its way toward us.

After Tuesday/Wednesday a.m. showers, it became apparent the Fabius River and other areas were in no shape to take more rain.

So this stuff comes at us and it makes you wonder how long these battered levees will hold and how much these people can take.

Somehow it missed us. We have a cell coming right at us right now and it's getting dark, but it's not that big and hopefully will blow through.

We played softball last night despite the nasty green mass heading right at us. Felt one or two drops of rain on the West Quincy levee at 3 a.m. despite the nasty green mass heading right at us. Thought I'd get wet crossing the bridge home at 5 a.m.

Fat raindrops are pelting the windows now. Rain here in Quincy is OK, but not good for the folks downstream.

Seems we are dodging the raindrops, the bullets.

Meanwhile, the latest You Can't Make It Up saga hits the front pages ....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Blogger, Same Old Weather

Let's welcome Keith Franx to the wonderful world of blogging!

Yesterday got better as it went along. Tons more rain looms. The guys were completely wiped out coming off the levy yesterday from the humidity, and it's back today. Tons more flood news at

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


No sleep overnight, too much rain and nasty weather. This can't be good for our levees.

I am afraid of what we'll find when dawn finally comes. It rained all freaking night.

I am pretty sure the north section of the West Quincy levee will be fine. Just how much rain dumped into the Fabius River and Durgen's Creek remains to be scene.

Fingers crossed ....

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Levee Adventures

For Monday's adventures in flood fighting, click here.

It's hammering down rain in Q-town at noon today. Pray, and I mean pray hard, the Fabius levee holds. Pray all the work done the past two weeks doesn't wash away.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fighting The Flood

This is how I spent my day today, and yes, that's me by the tractor. And those are my boots on the right.

Much more in The Whig tomorrow and on the Whig blog.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Healed by the blues

The Blue Healers have quickly become Quincy's best band.

Argue that point if you want. You can't argue they are The Funions favorite band.

Friday night at Turner Hall, before a small crowd, The Healers tore it up, down sideways and everywhere-ways. Nobody plays guitar like Ryan McSpadden. NOBODY. He is the best guitar player in Quincy and it's not even close. Everybody else is tied for last.

Well ... Keith Franx is a close second.

Helps to have a great bass player and singer in Bill Collins and Stan Jansen pounding the skins back there, too. Amazing musicians, great songs.

"Tied To The Whipping Post" and "Sweet Melissa" about made me cry ....

Do not miss these guys playing at Blues In The District July 11 and at the Bluesfest the week after.

I could say some things about the small crowd but that would be bitching and counterproductive. Many times there are good shows in Quincy and I don't go because of other commitments or stuff going on, so I understand.

But the next time a person comes up to me and complains about the local music scene, I'll ask where they were on Friday night, June 20, 2008, when The Blue Healers put on one of the best shows I have ever - EVER - seen.

They didn't care there were only 25 people left by the end of the night. They didn't care they got paid $10 a piece. They didn't care about anything except pouring their hearts out and leaving it all on the stage. And I do mean every last ounce.

I would like to thank everybody for coming out. It means a lot to us that you spent your Friday night at Turner Hall watching local music. Midnight Legend was really good in its debut as a band, and St. Amy's rocked it out in its unique and fun way.

I liked the energy The Funions had. If we did this every weekend we'd start getting there and I'd put my guys up against anybody.

Well. Except the Healers. After hearing Ryan tear through "Texas Flood" I'm embarrassed to even hold a guitar.

This is it for a while for The Funions, we'll be back in August or September. With six guys in the band and summer here, it's hard to find dates, but we'll crank it up again.

Also - Tookie dragged his tired and bug-bitten butt to Turner Hall after being on the levees all week and I don't forget people who make an effort to support local music.

Also - a huge thanks to Mark and Chris from Turner Hall, great guys who have a passion for keeping local music alive and well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Real Help

Yes, Tookie was on the West Quincy levee with "Coach Guns" and his crew. Yes, Tookie left a comment on yesterday's blog that, as usual, couldn't be deciphered by the CIA's finest intelligence agents.

But he was there, and he has been there, working his butt off.

By the way, I was eating pasta but I was only doing my job, if you read today's paper you'll see what I mean. And you can't say no to Ann Knapheide.

God bless everybody who is fighting this thing. I'm wearing my new sandbagging T shirt I bought at the OLC yesterday. Things have pretty much wrapped up over there.

Keith Franx and I had a lot of fun playing for a benefit last night. Then it was off to Upper Moorman Park where YOUR Quincy Herald-Whig Demons came back from a 12-run deficit to go 12-0.

Some guy tried to run me over at second base but everything was good.

Big show tonight, this will be the last time The Funions play for a while. Midnight Legend starts at 7 p.m., followed by St. Amy's, us and The Blue Healers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

National Love

NBC News began it's national coverage last night with a story from Quincy. The Today Show did another live shot. Tons of national media in town.

I was in West Quincy today, more coming up on my Whig Blog and, of course, at

Two Deadly Weapons playing tonight at a benefit, with the big show tomorrow night ready to go ....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The View


And, as always ... for more.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flood Flood Flood

Drove to Hannibal today and the flooding around Marblehead is just horrific. Somebody put up a sign which said — "Welcome to Lake Marblehead 2008 — No swimming or fishing."

The site of water covering hundreds and thousands of acres is ... is .... just hard to comprehend.

The levy seems to be holding on the Illinois side of the river crossing the bridge into Hannibal. Seems to be, anyway.

Bags continued to get filled in Quincy. Here's the very latest from West Quincy. Check out of course for more.

Good final practice last night at Vegas Music for the big Friday night show.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dirty Water

Why on earth would anybody want to wade into the Mississippi River floodwaters?


Life goes on as the waters rise. Latest reports are talking about Friday as the crest.

After talking to several national media outlets in recent weeks, I think the thing people who aren't from Quincy don't realize is how much we invest in protecting ourselves, and how much human emotion becomes a part of the story.

I got to see it for myself Saturday and Sunday at the OLC. Stop down there to see it for yourself, and bring a shovel, too.

Heard a rumor McCain is coming to Quincy to fill 21 sandbags. But it's a just a rumor. Still, being the good Web Warrior that I am, I'm spreading it around.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Floods, More Free Music

Keep your fingers crossed, Quincy. The next three days will tell the tale.

Some guy running for President was in town Saturday.

This is one thing you really need to be concerned about when it comes to the flooding.

Shey Fey and I will be at the O-L early this afternoon before watching the final round of the U.S. Open. We desperately need help with sandbags. If you can spare an hour or two ... please come down.

More great free music Saturday. I was a judge in the Colgate Country Showdown at Upper Moorman Park and it attracted a big crowd. Jack Inghram and Jim Phillips judged with me. Carrie Joy was the winner and clearly deserved it, this gal could make some noise in the bidness. I loved Nelsonville, two guys from NE Missouri who have a blast playing original songs. Charissa Mrowka took third but I thought both Brooke Rochelle and Caitlyn Stoeckley were better.

Each act did two songs. Madd Hoss Jackson was the backing band and Jim Jenning's guys did a fantastic job - many of the 10 acts did original songs and the band was right there all night.

Then it was off the Quincy Gems games to watch The Classics play after the final out. Check out the weekend games at QU Stadium because Rob Ebbing has booked bands for most of them - The Funions are still working on that - and it's awesome.

Ted Tappe, Kevin Vandament and Gary DeClue lead an amazing band. I love Gary's bass playing and voice, even if he does look like Buster Brown ... Ted is a great guitar player and Kevin amazing behind the drums.

Grab your shovel and we'll see you this afternoon!