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

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.