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!"