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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Be Safe

2010 was good in many ways, new beginnings and projects.

And it sucked.

Here's to a better 2011. You get a free Funions shirt if you watch the entire video, Moon's last performance the best band ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Terrible, Ohio State

Let's get one thing straight. I don't like Ohio State. I think they cheat all the time. Yes, they win. I just hope the whole going to class thing doesn't get in the way of winning football games.

So five players get caught doing really stupid stuff, blatant rules violations, and they get suspended for a bunch of games next year, but they can all play in the bowl game?


Me and my boy DOB are gonna go knock off a local store. Even though we know it's wrong. Then we are going on vacation with the money we've taken. Don't worry, we'll serve our sentence after we get back, only, we don't have to come back. You really think Terrible Pryor is coming back?

I'm rooting hard for Arkansas, even though their coach is a promise-breaker himself.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Christmas bliss cause I'm not traveling

Here's to hoping the two Big Sisters make it to North Carolina. Having been through Travel Hell enough myself, all I can do is pray.

Post-Christmas happiness to everybody. I'm off to get my skate on.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Christmas

Merry Christmas, everybody. It's snowing on Christmas Eve morning in the Q-Town, perfect to set the mood.

Be safe!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Radio Luv

So I've been doing radio with the WGEM guys and it's been a lot of fun. Today we talked about stolen cars, top stories of the year and schtuff.

Click here for the link.

Thursday, I will be singing my homemade Christmas Carols live at Studio H, 7:50 a.m. on 105.9 FM. I think it streams live on the Web, too.

Fun fun fun .....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Year of music ...

This has certainly been an eventful year when it comes to the music stuff, and 2011 holds a lot of promise.

Said goodbye to The Funions, which was very hard to do. Having a blast with the Cheeseburgers and learning something new every single time we play. Already we are booking shows into next August! So it will continue to be busy.

The biggest thing I've learned to to keep the goofing around to a minimum and to really try and play better, and to be ready from song to song, to bang them out one after the other.

So ... we'll be cranking them out again in the new year, make sure you come see us!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jamming with Pat

So Sunday we had the second day of the Pat Cornwell benefit at Turner Hall, and it was HUGE.

Click here for my Whig blog.

I got up with a couple of guys and sang "Roadhouse Blues" and it was just like being back at Vegas Music in the practice room. Can you legally have that much fun?

The last time I stood on that stage was April 3, when The Funions played at the Fielder CD release party. Pat was behind us on drums. Reasonable Doubt opened Sunday's show and several of those guys were also on that Turner Hall stage for the first time since Pat passed away last month.

I swear to the Good Lord Above that Pat was with us on that stage again.

Also, I have a new favorite band in town, Deuce Coup. Here's a clip from a show they did last summer ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Busy December Saturday

Gittin Cheesey tonight in Palmyra for a private party. They tell me it's a wild and crazy time. I am recovering from a nasty bought with death so it's just the ticket!

My heart will at Turner Hall for Pat Cornwell's benefit. I'll be there Sunday all day.

This morning Paul Lester and I are playing Christmas songs and assorted ear-inflictions for developmentally disabled adults, their parents and caregivers. Paul plays the fiddle, mandolin and guitar and is one of the coolest guys around, so it should be fun!

Cheeseburgers have lined up another January gig, and we've booked shows into next June, so it's promising to be a busy year dripping from the bun. Hold the pickle!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Gretchen who?

Gretchen Wilson was in Quincy this past weekend. About 1,000 people apparently paid $40 each, more for VIP seats, to see her and two other acts.

Hey. Gretchen Wilson is huge in country music right now. If you are a fan, great. I did laugh, however, at the gal at work today who said, "What? Gretchen Wilson was in town? How come I didn't know about this? I love her!" She works at the paper and but apparently doesn't read the paper, one of them there deals.

I'm not a fan, but I understand the appeal. Her horrendous "Red Neck Woman" resonates with many, I would think.

Apparently she also played Saturday night at the Dot Foods Christmas party at the OLC. I laughed again when I saw a Facebook entry from a Dot Foods employee — "I'd rather have a Christmas bonus."

I guess the bottom line is that we had a big-name act and a decent crowd at the Oakley-Lindsay Center.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Blind Pig Tonight

Really looking forward to the Cheeseburgers gig at the Blind Pig tonight, 8-ish, just $3 at the door.

We don't play in Quincy proper that much so it's always fun. Last night at Spring Street some folks said they'd seen the band play about a year ago, but much has changed so we encouraged them to come out.

The challenge at the Blind Pig, 12th and Lind, is cramming all the sound equipment on the stage. We are setting up this afternoon and we'll get it figured out — our drummer, Kirk Gribbler, lives for this kind of thing.

The bar is small, so get there early. Be nice to Shey Fey at the door too!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TSO rules!

Off this week and getting too much stuff done. Stop it!

Listening to Night Castle by Trans Siberian Orchestra, a present from Bob and Anne Mays. Incredible music and great stuff, turn it up while decorating the tree ...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pastor Gas

Sometimes you need a laugh and it comes from an unsuspecting source.

Why is passing gas so funny?

This guy, Robert Tilton, was described as "corrupt" and "creepy" by a friend. Amen!

Friday, November 26, 2010

One last toast for Pat

Visitation tonight for Pat Cornwell. Before, we gathered to give him one last toast. If you are on Facebook, click here. Thanks so much to Jessica Cate from The Whig and The Local Q for recording our tribute to Pat.

Funeral tomorrow, one last ride to Big Neck .... see you on the other side, Pat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Closer to 50

Thanks to everybody who sent Facebook birthday wishes yesterday. Facebook is an amazing thing. It's good because it's easy communication. It's bad because blogs get less attention.

My brother says I need to start rounding down, not up. That way, I'll be 29 forever.

Have I told you lately that Roger Daltrey is an amazing human being? Click here for more, and I could not agree more.

Have a great Turkey Day tomorrow and be safe!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Song stuck in my head

Sometimes when it won't leave your brain it's not a bad thing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Farewell, Pat Cornwell

Pat Cornwell died at home Saturday night, surrounded by family, ready for the ride.

Shey Fey and I went to see him Saturday morning. His wife, Mary Ann, said she thought he would pass sometime during the day. His body was shutting down and he was ready for the ride, as he told his wife.

Anger is beginning to seep in now. Two months ago Pat appeared to be fine. Cancer spread like wildfire after a tumor was discovered in his brain, and watching him go down was unbelievable.

Pat played drums in The Funions and many other bands for years. He was a friend to all musicians, a big-hearted man who could never say no when it came to helping out at a charity event. The last show we played with Pat on drums was at Quanada's big benefit at Backwaters in April — the second straight year Pat donated a PA and spent a ton of hours setting it up and taking it down.

We had riotous practices in the back of Vegas Music. I will remember smoking stogies on the back porch and the feeling we got when we learned a new song, one he'd played a million times but new to us.

Shey Fey would come with us and fix Pat's computer, play with Lucky Cat and even cleaned the bathroom in the back (medal of valor in the mail).

Long may you run, Pat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gittin busy

Coming up on a busy stretch for The Cheeseburgers.

We start Saturday night with a show at Adams Trading Post. Adams, Ill., is just south of Quincy Regional Airport. We played there a few months ago and it was a lot of fun, good people who are into having a good time! We have learned a song just for them .... darlin'.

On Dec. 4 we are playing at the Blind Pig in Quincy. We are really excited about this show because we haven't played much in Quincy itself, and the Blind Pig is an awesome venue. WARNING: Get there early, it's not that big of a place and I think we'll have a good crowd.

On Dec. 11 we play for a private Christmas party in Palmyra. On Dec. 12 I will be at the Pat Cornwell benefit, not playing but perhaps helping out and just hanging out.

We also have a couple of Deadly Weapons shows coming up and they are always fun, too.

Tis the season for music!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

He's not a savage twit at all ...

My "guitar god" hero, the best ever .... Nigel Tufnel, talking about Joe Satriani.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

First of all, I am not sure where John Hodge's hand is. He is at the far right. I think it is resting on the stage. I think.

Secondly, the thing I will remember most about our Halloween costume party gig last Saturday night at the Terstriep farm near Payson was at 1 a.m., a nun wandered on the stage, grabbed the microphone from Burt and started singing "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America." There were still a boatload of people there and they all joined in. Sort of.

The last time I heard such a stirring rendition was at a tea party rally. But I digress.

It might just be illegal to have so much fun ....

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Legendary Manager

I interviewed Sparky Anderson several times and came away awed by the experience each time.

Rest in peace, Sparky.

More here.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Political signs I can relate to ....

Will have a report later about Saturday's wedding and subsequent Cheeseburger Halloween gig at the Payson farm. I'm still trying to process it all. Getting home at 4 in the morning does that you.

In the meantime, make sure you vote Tuesday. Don't know if you read about the rally by Jon Stewart and Stephen Cobert the other day, but here's a link with the best signs. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Opening Song

Crazy weekend looms .... Halloween weddings, huge party Saturday night, preparation for Woodland tours Sunday.

Burt and I are having an argument as to who gets to sing this song as our new opening Cheeseburgers number. Gooey!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Keeping The Peace. Sort of ....

So I come home from work today and I'm putting the scooter in the garage when I hear my neighbor across the alley screaming, and I mean he is bellowing at the top of his lungs, at the young guy who lives next to him.

Turns out Upset Neighbor, who will now be referred to as Clueless, is mad at Other Neighbor for running across his lawn with his truck. You know, the beautifully kept, manicured, weed-free Calftown lawn our neighborhood is famous for. NOT.

So Other Neighbor is screaming back and bitching about Clueless' three yippy dogs that don't shut up.

So I close the garage door, walk across the alley, and Clueless' mother comes out and tells her son to shut up too. After more expletives are hurled back and forth, I finally got in Clueless' face and told him to back off and go inside, because he'd made his point and wasn't doing anybody any good being, well, Clueless.

To his credit, Clueless went back inside, cursing the whole time until he shut the back door.

Other Neighbor was sheepish. "I cut it too close when I pulled in," he said. He seemed embarrassed about the whole thing. I just told him to have a little consideration and to keep in mind some people can't help being Clueless.

And that was that. No bulletproof vest needed. Just another day in The Hood.

HOLY CRAP fire trucks just flew down the street .....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Didn't Know I Knew Ya

Reading a fascinating book by Ruth Deters of Quincy, who lives in the old Dr. Nelson house east of town not far from Lowe's and the newer strip malls out there.

Dr. David Nelson was a prominent physician and pastor who settled in Quincy and was a huge abolitionist. Ruth's book is about how she found out her home was a key station on the Underground Railroad, and it's littered with famous names and great stories about yesteryear.

Dr. Nelson and several family members are buried at Woodland. I had no idea. The girls and I walk right by him almost every day. So today we took a good look at his time-washed stone and it's so cool to get some insight into the fascinating souls now at rest.

Shey Fey and I are tour guides at the Nov. 1 Woodland tour.

From the Gardner Museum website ....

The 20th Annual Woodland Cemetery Tour hosted by the Gardner Museum will be held Monday, November 1 beginning at 4 p.m. Advance reservations and payment are required for tours leaving every half hour. Please call the museum at 224-6873 for available times. The tour usually sells out, but it is possible that some space may become available because of cancellations. Those wishing to attend after the tour is sold out are encouraged to stand by in case someone does not show up.

Participants are to meet at the cemetery’s new building entrance at 5th between Adams and Monroe Streets. The building has public restrooms available year round.

Early participants will be able to tour the cemetery in the natural light. Those attending later will be using lanterns and flashlights. Warm cider and donuts are available for participants.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes with good traction and to bring a flashlight. Cost of the tour is $7 for non-members and $2 for members of the museum. Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult, the fee for children 12 and under is $5. For additional information call the museum at 217-224-6873.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Great Weekend. Not.

So I would tell you all about this great weekend and all the stuff going on and how it will be so nice to relax and enjoy it.

But I have to work.

So I won't.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moon Prostate River

So normally I keep it pretty lite on the site .... this is different.

I am urging all of my friends and colleagues to get checked for prostate cancer. It's in my family and I have no choice, being on the closer side of 50 from 45. A friend was recently diagnosed and I cannot stress enough the importance of catching it early.

So I'm at the doctor this morning and of course the world is coming to an end, from dead bodies being identified to traffic stops by ATMs.

This didn't happen to me, but I couldn't resist ....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back With Da Boyz

Hope you can join us Friday night at the Quincy Art Center's big event to raise funds for school music programs. It's called Artoberfest and it will be a blast, more info here.

Hanging out with Rock A. Bye and Abe Lincoln Inghram for Deadly Weapons acoustic set from 6:30-9. Hopefully the weather holds and we'll be right outside the Art Center at 1515 Maine.

On Saturday I'm playing at the nuptials of Matt Schuckman and Michelle Clement, late afternoon outside at the Villa Kathrine in Quincy. Attempting to learn The Beatles "I Will." Geesh, what a great song!

Still trying to recover from a tremendous Cheeseburgers gig at the Flying Inn. This afternoon at Woodland, Bella bowled me over and I can hardly walk again after barely recovering from being hardly able to walk.

Big dumb dog - loud and obnoxious!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Dreaming of sleep

— Me and sleep aren't getting along very well tonight. This morning. Whatever.

— Prayers to Big Cousin Matthew in North Carolina, hopefully he's going home today after surgery. Get better dangit!

— Big Cheeseburgers show tonight at the Flying Inn. Looking forward to playing outside and hopefully getting a crowd.

— Also hopefully will have a voice after screaming during the Michigan-Michigan State game. Go Blue!

— Sammy Fund weekend, the best fundraising event in the Q-Town. The walk is (gasp) in a few hours this morning, golf tournament tomorrow. We are blessed with awesome weather this year.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

All I Want Is You

I have to play at a couple of weddings coming up and I'm thinking about doing this song ...

As usual, the live version is waaaaayyyy better than the recorded song.


You say you want
Diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want
Your story to remain untold

But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

You say you'll give me
A highway with no one on it
Treasure just to look upon it
All the riches in the night

You say you'll give me
Eyes in a moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbour in the tempest
But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

You say you want
Your love to work out right
To last with me through the night

You say you want
Diamonds on a ring of gold
Your story to remain untold
Your love not to grow cold

All the promises we break
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

You...all I want is...
You...all I want is...
You...all I want is...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Da Truth

Tell it like it really is, would ya? Please? Bet this job gets lots of resumes.

Yesterday was the first Saturday in forever with nothing major going on, except for the Mutt Strut in the morning (Bella did not destroy anything and Lu calmly took it all in). So, to make sure the day didn't go to waste, I watched nine college football games, four at once in the evening. Denard for Heisman, BTW.

On Friday night we went to see The Room and I pulled hammy from laughing so hard, more here. I highly recommend that you never watch this movie, or are intoxicated and with a bunch of loud and witty people when you do. If you do.

On Friday night the 6-2 sophomore came home with two of her oboe buddies for a master class and to watch a concert Saturday night. I get home at 2 a.m. to find her and her friends in a bed watching a horror movie on a lap top and cackling with horrified delight. Ah. Youth. A beautiful thing ....

On deck: An awesome Cheeseburgers show at the Flying Inn, Michigan vs. Michigan State, and our favorite event of the fall, the Sammy Fund walk and golf tournament. HUGE!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

14 years

Today is the 14th anniversary of my first day at The Whig.

Don't pinch yourself cause it doesn't fly by, it hyper-spaces by.

What I remember about that time is having a proper sendoff by my buddy Wilx in Grand Rapids, he was a little green the next morning but I was more experienced in the matter. I remember the long drive, somehow getting around Chicago, the rest stop just south of Pontiac, listening to a Cubs-Cardinals game and thinking how awful and arrogant Mike Shannon was as an announcer.

The day I arrived in Quincy, a Saturday, there was a huge karting race around the downtown area and I couldn't get close to my temporary quarters. Let's just say it was a downtown "hotel." Let's just say it was the longest 40 days and 40 nights of my life staying there.

I remember taking the bridge to Missouri and thinking, "Wow, I'm in Missouri." I remember going to South Park and then walking up South 12th Street to see our new digs in Southern View. And feeling blue I couldn't move in for more than a month.

I have little memory of my first day at The Whig as sports editor, other than I think I was introduced to some coaches and administrators right off the bat. I do remember walking past the Branding Iron at 5 a.m. that first week and seeing all the graveyard guys with their Buds.

I think one of the first lunch places was The Scoreboard. I think. I do remember covering a volleyball match at Culver-Stockton that first week, and going to Hannibal for a football game that first Friday night.

Geesh. Fourteen years ago?

How can that be?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pat Is Recovering

Pat Cornwell, owner of Vegas Music and drummer for many local bands, had a brain tumor surgically removed today at Blessing Hospital in Quincy.

Pat has been very good to many musicians in this area. Now it's our turn to keep him and his family in our prayers.

Things look good after surgery, doctors are hopeful, the family relieved and still hoping for the best. Pat was awake and answering questions this afternoon after surgery. The tumor was the size of a ping pong ball!

He wasn't feeling well for about a month and was having issues with his balance. He went to the FastMed Saturday and they told him to go to the ER, but he had a Reasonable Doubt gig and nothing would keep him from playing Saturday night.

So he went Sunday and they found it pretty quickly.

Thank God for skilled surgeons like Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Morris. Thank God for the skilled nurses and staff, for taking care of Pat.

The family wants to keep it low key for now but word has spread and I'm sure many people will be checking in on Pat and his progress.

If I know the stubborn old drummer, he'll be back behind the kit in good time!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back With The News

OK. I'm back. I couldn't resist ...

"We all know that crap is king." - Don Henley

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hi Ate Us

Going on blog hiatus for a while. I'll keep the Cheeseburgers schedule updated and pop in once in a while, maybe do more Facebook stuff, and there's always the Whig blog, which I try to update every day.

It's been real, Q-Town.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Be Careful What You Say

I think Web Warriors need to be very careful what they say.

Especially when they are being sentenced for a felony in a few days.

Thank you, drive through.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Five is right out

When somebody makes me mad, I call for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

And it works every time. As long as I count to five ... uh, three ....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

No Mo Paper

Shey Fey has been after me forever to get with the times and pay my bills online.

It's hard to let go of the old check in the envelope thing.

A while back we went to direct deposit and one person in the entire building held out. This person insists on getting the check printed and put in their hands. They feel better about it.

Now I'm beginning to think this person needs to get with the times.

DANG IT - point the finger, and three point back at you ....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bret Who?

Look. I am not a big Bret Michaels fan. I never really liked Poison. I accidently watched half of a Rock of Love reality show and almost threw up.

Michaels is in Quincy tonight and tomorrow for shows at Backwaters. Good for him and good for Quincy. If you are a fan, go and enjoy, let me know how it went.

I'm seeing some people getting giddy about it, like the president himself is here, and I'd like to say something but if it blows up their bubble, well, I ain't gonna burst it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lake Michigan cure, The Grove and all kinds of other stuff

If you sit on the beach and watch the sunset, like this one on my uncle's Lake Michigan beach near Saugatuck, it will fix whatever ails you.

A great time up north. Thanks to my long-time buddy David Wilkins and family, Susan helped me write an "emergency vacation" column Monday morning. Enjoyed playing The Meadows at Grand Valley State University, tough track and thank goodness I left a few bullets so it can remember me ...

Camped at Orchard Beach State Park near Manistee. Reminded me of Hoffmaster a bit. My cousin Roland and family were across the road and we are thinking of doing Ludington State Park next summer.

The beach was glorious, the water 75 and clear, and the lemonade was great.

On Thursday night I was sitting in my campground when an older guy named Doug came by with an acoustic guitar. He's 70 and from Indiana, up to do some fishing by himself for a few days. This is where music breaks boundaries, because Doug and I played songs for more than two hours. He used to be a country music drummer and I've never had so much fun strumming along to Jimmy Reaves and Peter, Paul and Mary songs. Plus he writes his own tunes, it was just a blast trading stories and songs. He had open heart surgery not long ago and is vowing to put a song about the experience on YouTube, we'll be looking for it!

At 11 the park ranger informed us we had to stop playing, even though it wasn't that loud ... rules is rules, I guess. Do I get a merit badge for being told to stop playing?

Drove nine hours home yesterday to check out Rusty Wright at Blues In The Park. The storm at 5 p.m. undoubtedly kept some people away, but all it did was delay things a few minutes and cool it down, perfect night in the park. This guy and his band blew everybody away and John Hodge and I about fell off our chairs when he nailed a Robin Trower song near the end. I'm sure the K of C kept the crowd down too, but to me there was no question what was the better time last night.

BTW, you can either brave the masses (and that's not a bad thing) or you can come to The Grove tonight for the new Cheeseburgers first Quincy show since revamping the lineup. Come on out and we'll hoot and holler too!

And wish me luck as I recover from vacation ....

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacation after vacation

Back from the Lake Michigan beaches. God, it was glorious. Thank You.

Stories and maybe a few pics coming.

HUGE show tomorrow night at The Grove Inn. This will be the first Quincy show for the revamped Cheeseburgers.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday morning thunderstorms

Tell me there is anything better than waking up to the sound of a thunderstorm rolling off Lake Michigan.

I'll walk the beach in the rain any day ...

Good luck to Shey Fey today. I am a fortunate man.

Click here for the press conference after the final game last week conducted by H-W Sports Editor Don O'Brien. Thanks to Mattt "Young Skywalker" Hopf for the video luv.

Still store this morning from all the jumping around and craziness at the Whispering Oaks Camp Ground in Mendon Saturday night. The Cheeseburgers are beginning to hit their stride as a band. Better check us out Saturday night at The Grove, our first show in town with the new lineup. As always, We Are Not Responsible For Our Own Behavior.

Gotta go listen to the rain ....

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Run, Camping

Kelly Wilson is with a team running from Quincy to Peoria for St. Jude Children's Hospital. She's posting regular updates on my Herald-Whig blog here, very cool stuff, go Kelly go!

Went down to the Quincy Boat Club last night and saw the Horndogs open for a young band called Trifecta. The Dogs were there usual funky selves. Drummer Kevin Vandament has a great new slogan for the Cheeseburgers next round of shows - "Hold The Pickle Tour."

Trifecta was really interesting, three young guys playing acoustic instruments and doing songs from America to Pearl Jam. Not sure if the venue was the right place for them but I thought they were different and really busted themselves to entertain.

There will be no busting tonight at the campground. The guys tell John Hodge and I it's a blast. Bring the bug spray and your own beverages and we'll have a marvelous time!

And ... heading north tomorrow for some Lake Michigan respite. I feel like a big balloon with the air slowly leaking out!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Last Game, New Baby, Vacation Looms

Last ever slow pitch softball game tonight at Upper Moorman Park. That's the text of my farewell speech.

One more day. I can survive one more day, one more day .... Lake Michigan beach on the brain.

Meet my new addition to the family here. Bought her at Time To Play Music in Quincy. Chris matched the Musician's Friend price and took care of me, in fact, you might be surprised what your local store can do, so give them a chance before going online.

We are fortunate to have two good music stores in Vegas and Time To Play. I support both as much as I can. Yes, I've gotten stuff off the Internet, but only because it wasn't available here.

Support your local guys!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Night Is Hot And Black As Ink

Going outside is like walking through soup. I hate this typical Quincy summer weather, 120 in the shade, 99 percent humidity ... you just never really get used to it. Worked on the lawn the last two nights and probably lost 20 pounds.

Trying to think of songs to cool off and came up with this classic Who tune from Quadrophenia ...

This is from their December 1982 show in Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, the final show on their supposed Farewell Tour. Right. I do remember being in my room on Rosewood, a high school loser in his senior year, I think there was a dance or something at school but I stayed home and taped this show since it was broadcast live on WLAV.

The band is tired and burned out from many nights on the road but Daltrey gives it his best. Love, love, LOVE this song, Quadrophenia is one of the great underrated albums of all time.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keith Richards unveils new Calftown fence

OK. My Saturday morning just got bettter (see previous post).

Keith is a great guy ....

No More BK

There are summer Saturday mornings when a greasy breakfast sandwich is not just an idea, it has to happen.

So this morning I hop on the scooter and go to the Burger King at Seventh and Broadway. I walk in and there is nobody in the place, save for a guy in the back eating breakfast and reading his paper. I yell and nobody, and I mean nobody, is there.

So I get back on the scooter and pull to the back and the two employees are standing there smoking.

Congrats, BK. You lost my business for good. Too bad, I liked the place a lot because it was usually quiet and you never had to wait long.

There might be reasons for that.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'm home for lunch today and turn on ESPN Classic, and they are showing a Christmas Day 1970 NBA game between Atlanta and Phoenix.

ESPN Classic needs to do more of this instead of showing the dumb bowling and poker shows. For Phoenix, Connie Hawkins is tearing it up in the second half until Mendy Rudolph calls him for his fourth foul. For Atlanta, Pistol Pete Maravich has the high socks with the shorty shorts and he shoots it every chance he gets.

The scorer's table is just that - a table. The players are sitting in metal folding chairs. Keith Jackson is the announcer and the graphics are hilariously huge, with the score flashing once every five minutes.

And ... no obnoxious music or PA announcers annoying the crowd.

I vote for more of this. If they can dig up some old NHL games, well ... I'd be hooked.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hot and Rainy Music Nights

Weekend started with a band with a tremendous Blues In The Park show by Laurie Morvan. This gal is an incredible guitar player, singer and her band is superb - loved the gal she sang with, the harmonies were awesome. Easily the best Blues In The Park band ever! If you thought it was too hot and didn't come out, man, you missed out.

The Tappe boys did sound and did a great job. A few weeks ago there was another act and I heard people grumbling about the sound - well, geesh, ask for a refund (free shows hoser). The sound many times depends on the band and making sure nobody is cranked to 11. The mix in the park Friday was clear and you could hear each part of band perfectly.

We don't sit right in front, though some people prefer it. Off to the side it's not nearly as loud and actually easier to pick out the band instruments and vocals.

Last night the Cheeseburgers played the Hancock County Fair in Augusta and it was easily our tightest show so far. Despite the fact it was raining sideways on our way up there (at one point we saw water running uphill from a culvert, I am not making it up) we had no issues since we were under a big picnic type roof. The rain probably kept people away but the crowd was decent and they were waaaaayyyy into it, especially after beer-30 came and kept coming.

Snapped a string on each of my electric and my acoustic guitars. Now THAT's a good gig.

We have a young guy named Brian who is our roadie/sound guy/string fixer, and he's the bomb. To start the fourth set he dresses up as Angus Young and plays a mean guitar on "Dirty Deeds" you have to see to believe ...

Anyway, getting better and still having more fun than should be allowed ....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Improvement - Fence me in UPDATED

So Shey Fey decides last week we are going to replace 52 feet of 6-foot wood fence in the backyard.

The old stuff was rotting and starting to fall apart. We have the hot tub right against that section and once more big storm, well, we'd all be falling apart.

We bought six sections of fence at Lowes. They wanted $500 plus to install it. GEESH. Racket city!

So we tore the old pieces down last week with her nephew, Brant, helping. Then Brant's big brother came by and dug the post holes (unfortunately a couple of them were in the wrong places). Rev. Dirk was here early in the week and he helped Shey Fey dig three new ones and measure the post holes correctly.

This morning we hauled the sections and leaned them against the posts, now we are waiting for Keith Richards (you'll see some of the old fence) to show up and give me a guitar lesson and lend us his electric drill.

Home improvement sucks. But it's almost done. And Shey Fey hasn't killed me. Yet.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Stupid fence is in. It's vertically challenged. But so am I. At least it was only 120 in the shade when we finished ....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rain and Fences

Putting in a new fence. The Rev. Dirk is here from Lew-ville, he had to help Shey Fey dig a few holes Monday morning before the rain.

Then it looked like this.

I wish fences, especially big heavy wooden fences, could install themselves ....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Help me I'm melting ....

Yeeeeeeshh ... 120 heat index. In the shade. Even Lu and Bella could only do one leg around Woodland tonight. Had to dunk em in the South Park pond (where the freshwater comes in, not the icky green slime parts).

"NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER." Bad TV on a hot night, too hot to go outside.

I'm in Burger withdrawal, and no Weapons around, either ...

I hate Internet banking. Or banks that can't make Internet banking easy.

I'm ready for college football NOW.

I'm hearing that a Burger is playing at the St. Francis picnic this weekend. Gotta work. Crap.

Aha! Billy The Exterminator is on. Buh bye ....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Setting Stuff On Fire Is Fun!

If you don't believe me .... well, you just don't understand.

What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Don't Cry

C'mon. Dare you not to cry when you watch the Abba clip here.

See you at Blues In The District tonight!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Farewell, Probie

Bob Probert died yesterday. Not a big story around here. Back in Michigan and Chicago, well, huge.

Click here for more.

Bob Probert was a feared hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. He was a rare combination of goon and goal-scorer. When he and Stevie Yzerman helped the Wings back to hockey respectability in the late 80s, he was all the rage.

His demons halted his career for a while but he always seemed to come back. In the early 1990s, he came up to Alpena, Mich., where I was the sports editor for the local paper, and played in charity golf and softball events.

I remember being completely intimidated by him, but all he did was talk with fans, sip water while his teammates hit the beer, scratch his sunburned nose and generally charm everybody in town.

Somewhere I have a newspaper that he signed. Can't believe that's creeping up on 20 years ago.

There was no middle ground with Probie. And it's a sad day for hockey fans, in general.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

It's the flight and landing that counts

What I learned a long time ago about playing in bands is that the takeoff is important, but it's the flight and the landing that really count.

Friday night in Hannibal, we had some sound system issues. You know what? It happens. My wireless guitar setup was acting up on the first couple of songs, the main speakers shorted out and we sort of stumbled through the beginning of the set.

I can actually hear myself sing in the Cheeseburgers, now I gottta work on the guitar monitor mix. All in good time, inner monitors and other things will come.

After a little bit we hit our groove and had the place rocking. Remember - we are NOT responsible for our behavior! These mud volleyball people are nuts .... Click here if you are on Facebook for pics.

This whole recovery after playing for four hours things is still taking some used too. In my short acceptance speach, I would like to thank the academy, Ibuprofen and my hot tub.

A couple of weeks off after three straight weekend shows, then back at it toward the end of the month.

You can't legally have this much fun, can you?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Muddy Start (updated with links!)

The annual media mud volleyball challenge Thursday night kicked off yet another exhaustive weekend of activities. That's me, getting taped up before our matches by team captain Tommy VanNess, while Rev. Ryan Reed waits his turn. More Shey Fey pics here.

Classic H-W slide show here, more blog love here.

The Herald-Whig let a TV station win this year. But I got to shower with Rajah Maples. Let me explain ....

The mud volleyball pits are right by the levee in downtown Hannibal, part of Tom Sawyer days, and thousands flock to the area for the weekend tournament. This year we let KHQA win because we dominated last year and felt sorry for them.

We weren't able to jump into the Mississippi River to "clean off" like last year, so we used the community spigots on the north end of the pits. Rajah, I love you. Even if you serve like Chris Duerr.

Ever sink your feet into three feet of gooey Mississippi River mud? Bud Light Lime really helps take the edge off. That's all I'm saying.

We are right back at the Y Men's Pavillion by the courts tonight for a Cheeseburger show, 7 bells sharp and it's gonna be HUGE. Predawn Hour plays right up the street starting a few hours later. I've been told the bring the A game cause it's a big party.

Thankfully we have Saturday to recover at the O'Brien annual 3rd of July party, and Sunday fireworks with mom and dad Mays at Spring Lake. I'll need a vacation from my time off AGAIN.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Normally I don't mix Whig bidness with this blog, but I'm proud of our latest Heroes section, published in Sunday's edition.

We focused on the men and women from our area who served in the military. Their stories are incredible. I don't think this country has an appreciation of what our guys went through in Fallujah, Iraq, in early 2004. I didn't, until interviewing several of them.

I was asked to put together music for the slide show, click here. It's actually a combination of a couple of other songs previously recorded, but I thought it worked pretty well.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting Better

Playing with a new band is a blast but it's not as easy as one might think.

Most of the songs are familiar but every band plays em different. I thought it would take a few shows to get into a groove, but Jeff VK says it could take five or six, and he is right.

The good thing is we jumped right in with three shows in a row, by Hannibal next Friday we'll be a ton better than when we started.

Lotsa fun in Mendon last night, love the street dancers and the energy. Now if I could only remember all those pesky words to the songs ....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sippin' time

Tell me there's anything better than sipping coffee and recovering from Blues In the District on the back porch before the heat of the day hits.

Well ...

— Walking the girls at Woodland comes close.

— So does devouring a greasy breakfast sandwich.

— So does the prospect of finishing a John Sanford "Prey" novel.

— And, of course, naps and maybe a dip in the Burger pool to get ready for tonight's big show in Mendon.

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lotsa stuff

As always, a jam-packed weekend awaits. Check out What To Do In Quincy on Facebook if you need proof.

Hope to see you at Blues In The District Friday night. Saturday is the second revamped Cheeseburgers show in Mendon as part of the town festival. Apparently a huge crowd of party-hungry classic rock fans is expected, hopefully we can deliver. Outdoors under the stars, weather hot but rain-free, perfect end of June event!

Sunday ..... pffff. The couch and the remote equal the cure.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I finally did it. Took a piece of me away to do it.

I gave up the OldsmoBuick of Doom.

Traded her in. She was sad. Much more later ...

Now proudly residing in Calftown ... The Impaler! Three years old, gleaming with just 20,000 miles, with a remote starter, windows that work, a gas gauge that works, everything that works!

Lotsa luv to Chris Quinn out at Shottenkirk for hooking me up with the new ride. Chris was professional, patient and worked with us to get a great deal, I highly recommend him if you are looking for a new car.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Name or New Blog?

Tonight is the debut of the new-look Cheeseburgers in Marcelline, outside of Down On The Corner, 8:30 sharp.

We are new-look because we have sesame seeds in the buns now.

Had a suggestion to change the name of this blog, but once a Funion, always a Funion, I say.

Considering doing a separate Cheeseburgers blog as well.

Nervous about the debut. I'm sure it will be fine, though I think it will take a few shows to hit our stride, we play the next three weekends which will help. I have to pay a little more attention to minor details like, oh, I don't know — PLAYING THE RIGHT FREAKING CHORDS and remembering the words. You know, minor stuff.

As for what I am doing to get ready for the big gig, well, the photo of me and Bella The Destroyer says it all ....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dreamin' of a Lake Michigan beach ....

My Uncle Peter lives near Holland, Mich. Every year I try to take some time off and hang out on his beach for a few days. It's a little slice of private heaven, a great place to just get away and not worry about anything.

If there's anything better than falling asleep to the sound of waves hitting the beach ....

Anyway, at top is a picture of his two grandsons, Josh and Drew, hitting the 40-degree lake a while back. The water is much warmer now!

So. I am patiently waiting for August to roll around.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


It ain't all bad. Maybe the newspaper bidness will survive after all.

Click here for more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Name?

With all due respect to UMR, I'm not sure I will change the name of this blog. However, new suggestions are welcome. And I appreciate the kind words.

Being back at work after a week off is not much fun.

There. I feel better.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do

The Funions are on hiatus. They are not dead.

But they will not be playing. Maybe for a while.

I didn't think this would be all that tough to do. I am joining another band. I am now a Cheeseburger. A Cheeseburger! Kirk Gribler, Burt Shackleton, Jeff VanKanegan, John Hodge. A really fun band that has played shows with the Funions. A while back they called and said they were going in a new direction. Would I be interested?

It's very different, being a Cheeseburger. I show up and play. They have gigs lined up, a place to practice, and it's a blast, I am enjoying it. The new songs (for me) are challenging but familiar, and this band is tight, really good musicians who can play. Our first show is June 19 in Marcelline, Down On The Corner, outside.

But it's hard to let go of The Funions. Dr. Mark Brei, Rev. Scott Snider, myself and Josh Kattleman started the band at First Union exactly 10 years ago. Is that possible? I can still see Joanne Bier and Biz McConnell, rocking out at the first service.

Many have come and gone from that original worship band incarnation — Devin Cashman and Jack Inghram were in on it. We used First and Union to make up Funions. We played one great show in the church parking lot and one bad show. We always had fun, even if nobody showed up, or if people complained after Easter Sunday about us playing that evil rock and roll in church.

Josh and I recorded the first CD at Copper Mine in 2001. For a while we treaded water. We did another CD with Jim Bier on guitar but only played once with him. Then Justin Busen on drums and David Steggeman on guitar joined and those were the best of times .... we wrote a lot of what became Just Pretending in Justin's basement on Monday nights, jamming away as his mom listened upstairs.

I wish we could have kept that lineup together, we had a few incredible shows with Justin and David. The photo at the top of the page was taken at the old cafe at the Crossing Church, our first show with Justin and David, and I can still remember the awesome feeling of playing original songs and having the small crowd get it.

Larry Flavell came along and we recorded Just Pretending at Copper Mine, some really good stuff. The Funions sort of morphed into a classic rock cover band, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you want to play.

Chris Cornwell was a huge part of the band for many years, as the amazing drummer for Just Pretending and Is this Appropriate, later on guitar. His father, Pat Cornwell, owns Vegas Music and we had some insanely fun times practicing in the back room.

I apologize to Adam Yates, The Might One, who joined last year. Adam is a musical talent who can play keyboards, drums, harmonica, sing ... He really got into it and made us a lot better. Our last show was at the the old firing range May 22 to celebrate him being promoted to Sgt. Yates and it was an awesome time. I hurt him when I said I was taking a break from The Funions, and I felt like crap afterwards.

Adam? I am sorry. You are talented and need to play. We can make that happen, perhaps on a mellower scale.

Dr. Brei, who I love like a brother and who refused to let the band die on numerous occasions, deserves all the credit. He was there for me during difficult personal times. Funions for life, Mark. Always.

To Jack Inghram and Rock A. Bye Johnny B, all the best. Jack's saxophone is the common denominator at all shows. Doesn't matter if you are a metal gear head or a classical music lover, the sax lures you in and makes you want to jump every single time. JB has provided guidance and kept me level-headed during tough times.

The Funions are not dead. Just resting. I know we will back. I promised a friend we'd be playing at her wedding next summer and will honor that promise, if she will still have the band play.

On to other things, not better things.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

I called a foul on Rick Mahorn

Just back from a wild and whacky trip to Northern Michigan, Metro Detroit, and all points between. Above is a photo of me, famous Detroit Pistons Bad Boy Rick Mahorn and Macker Maniac Tom Cole. I called a foul on Mr. Mahorn. More on that later.

We left Friday afternoon for Traverse City and everything that could go wrong did. It started with terrible traffic around Springfield. The classic "Let's block off an entire lane of interstate highway for no reason" snarled things for about half an hour.

Traffic was bad on I-80/94 so we decided to cut around through Kankakee. It was all good until it started raining sideways, and we couldn't see two feet in front of. We get to the sprawling metropolis of Momence, and there's a freight train backing up traffic for miles.

We ditch the line and head north up Ill. 1 and after bullheadedly refusing to get a map, I finally stop. Permission granted to Shey Fey for shooting me at this point ... anyway we go through Merrillville and of course hit every red light in the history of the world.

We get around Chicago and north of Grand Rapids and by now it's late, really late, as in, we are more than two hours behind schedule. Then it starts raining sideways again near Cadillac.

We went through Buckley at about 2:30 a.m. Not many people can say that. Shey Fey says, "Is there anything north of this place? WHERE THE HECK ARE WE?"

So of course after several wrong turns we finally find the hotel in Traverse City, and there's some sort of nightclub in the hotel and several wedding rehearsal parties and drunk people milling around all over the place. The gal at the counter says, "Oh, your room is above the lounge and the band plays until 2 a.m. tomorrow, sorry about that."

I was too tired to care. The next thing I remember I was parking next to the tournament site about three hours later with no idea where or who I was. Going through three time zones and getting lost in Indiana twice does that to you.

Gus was awesome on Saturday with classic Northern Michigan weather, cool and misty in the morning, sunny and breezy in the afternoon, more mist later in the day. Small tournament but really nice people, highlighted by Rick Mahorn appearing as a guest of major sponsor Great Wolf Lodge.

Mahorn was a member of the infamous Detroit Pistons Bad Boys teams of the late 80s and early 90s, and has the NBA championship rings to prove it. That was a long time ago, because Big Rick doesn't move as well anymore. In fact, Rick doesn't move at all.

We had his team play on Dream Court Saturday and Tom Cole did play by play and at one point I though maybe Mr. Mahorn was going to strangle poor Tom when he said, "Isiah can't help you now Rick. JORDAN RULES! JORDAN RULES!"

Then I call a foul on Mr. Mahorn and he glared at me but fortunately I can still run.

All in good fun, I assure you.

Shey Fey said the band kept her awake for a while Saturday night but after about 9 p.m. I don't remember anything.

Sunday was cool and breezy and misty again, and unfortunately it rained hard near the end of the afternoon, but we got done and lived to tell about it.

Great trip east to Pontiac and Auburn Hills to see family. I am very proud of Kaylee Sullivan!

On the way home last night Shey Fey again interjected sanity and we stayed in Michigan City, in a new hotel by the new Culver's. HUGE. Don't tell anybody in Quincy.

Thanks to Sarah for watching the dogs, Bella and Lucy were overjoyed to see us and were very well cared for.

No more Michigan adventures. Well, at least not until August ....

Friday, June 04, 2010

Another one bites the dust

Stunning revelation here about a local blogger who is not a local but used to be a local.

Heading to Traverse City today to work for Gus. LOOONNNGGGG drive.

Next week I will have some major news about music stuff.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Recovery after Gus

That's me and the legendary Scott (Gus Macker) McNeal at Saturday morning's opening ceremonies. Gus made his 20th consecutive trip to Quincy this weekend, the longest running Gus Macker tournament in the country to my knowledge, and it was a blast as usual.

Scott got the keys to the city from Mayor John Spring and was genuinely humbled. He is one of the most fascinating, high energy and downright positive men I have ever met. He's like a windup toy that never runs out of the juice, an incredible human being.

You are always going to hear the stories about mad parents, kids who misbehave, etc. I saw very little of it and I was all over the place Sunday afternoon after a great two days on Dream Court. Thanks to Don O'Brien and Bill Shuler for helping with announcing games, and SheyFey for being an awesome Dream Court Rally Monkey.

On Sunday afternoon I jumped right into the fray and officiated the championship game on Red A, the youngest division, and these little guys flinging up jumpers on the 8-foot basket were tremendous. It was chaos and actually the biggest issue was an older brother of one of the players who thought he was Bobby Knight. Bobby and I had a little chat near the end of the game. Bobby sat down and didn't say much after that.

On Dream Court the only issue we had was a Quincy High vs. Quincy Notre Dame matchup of macho freshmen and sophomores. You know, you really don't impress me by talking smack after making a basket, or whacking wildly as your man blows past you for a layup. It's the first time I can remember having to come off the stage while doing play by play to officiate and calm things down.

I know they are good kids, but they watch a little too much And 1.

But after that all I saw was great effort and people having a blast. I went down to a 11-12 boys court near the end of the day and officiated a few games and they were a joy to watch and hang out with.

Gus, you were great, as usual. We go to Traverse City this weekend, first time I've been back there since my Alpena News days, and it will be awesome again.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The other guys

It's funny when a guy who claims he doesn't care what the competition does then says with authority what he thinks about the competition.

Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gus Is Just Around The Corner

Don't think we'll need the jackets and sweatshirts this weekend when Gus rolls in for the 20th anniversary of being in Quincy.

Having the Macker crew over in Calftown on Saturday night for staff dinner. It's forced us to clean the house and yard. Which is a good thing.

Come hang out with us this weekend at Fifth and Maine's Dream Court. It's .... dreamy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Firing Range Fun

To celebrate The Might One's promotion, we had a party for 60 or so of our closest friends at the old firing range on South 12th Saturday night.


Last night was about the most fun you could have. Playing music should be about having a good time and connecting with your audience no matter what the setting.

You know it's been a good gig when ...

— You bust a guitar string and give it to TMO's grandmother-in-law and she says she's going to start a line of Funions jewelry.

— You can't get out of bed a few hours after you get home. Stupid bleeping back .... Shawn Irvine, here I come Monday morning.

— Officer RosenYates threatens to use handcuffs if you don't participate in bombing the country of Yager. As in, Yager Meiser. I believe it's an island in the Bahamas somewhere.

— You get a request to play "Wipeout" and try to figure it out and then forget to play it anyway.

— You look at all the stuff you have to put away after the gig and suddenly realize, "Wait! We can come back tomorrow!"

— SheyFey and Dirk Jr. are still up at 2 a.m.

— The Queen of Aldo Blvd., Gor Jus MB, sings "Knocking On Heaven's Door" with the band (see the photo up top) and the place comes unglued.

— The amazing Jack Inghram blows everybody away with his sax and TMO's arms threaten to fall off after the last set.

— The gal who just sang "Brown Eyed Girl" with the band looks at you and says "What? You are the neighbor guy? The one WITH THE DOGS?"

— CK just wants to rock and roll all night and it's HUGE!

— TMO sings "Faithfully" and there isn't a dry eye in the place. Well. Maybe that was from some of Quincy's finest and flying debris in the bar area. Just a rumor.

Good grief, what a great time.

Of course this morning I'm trying to clear the cobwebs when reality strikes hard and reminds us it's a big cruel world out there ... click here.

The Funions will be off for a while to regroup. We are thinking about doing a Pub Crawl in July, will keep you posted.

Where's that tube of Ben Gay, anyway?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let's Go

Summer is starting up, though you'd never know it with all the Calftown people building arks because of the rain ....

Big party tomorrow night for TMO, who adds a stripe and is large and in charge. Congrats Might One!

One week away from Gus Macker in Quincy, one of my favorite weekends of the year. Other cities on the tour this year for Dirk Jr Dream Court are Traverse City, Sheyboygan Wis., Racine Wis. and Lafayette, Ind.

I have no time for a screwed up back. NONE.

Did anybody go see the Kentucky Headhunters last night?

SheyFey's things to do Facebook page continues to rock ....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Things To Do In Quincy

SheyFey got mad there were only a few people at Can Jam Sunday at Turner Hall.

So she decided to do something about it.

She has started a Facebook site called Things To Do In Quincy. What's she found is that there are a lot of things to do, and apparently a lot of people interested in things to do.

Two days after starting it, she has more than 130 people in the group.

Attta girl!

And NEVER say there's nothing to do. You just have to know where to look.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Balance At The Pig

Local band The Balance played last night at the Blind Pig.

Love the Blind Pig. It's cozy, for sure. In fact, that's the posted limit on number of people you can have in the main room. It's a good thing nobody called the fire department last night because they might have had a few more than 80.

Some of you probably caught the irony in that last sentence. It's great that the guys took over the building and are steadily building a successful business, and I wish them nothing but the best of luck. I would love it if The Funions could play a show there.

The Balance is a really good classic rock cover band. Steve Buckman is the keyboard player and is the bomb. I like the fact they didn't play at ear-splitting volume, a sign of seasoned musicians in the band. Some of the songs they played were awesome (Spooky, Feels Like The First Time, Life In The Fast Lane). Of course they stole a bunch of Funions songs but we will forgive them for that.

It was packed at 8 p.m. when they started and the crowd was their age (experienced, not old!). There were a couple of birthday and anniversary parties so everybody was in a good mood and they were starting to move by the time we left around 9:30.

Speaking of The Funions, we are celebrating TMO's promotion with a little bash this Saturday. We are also working on a couple of really cool ideas for the summer, and may be playing at a wedding reception in July.

And .... congrats to Emily CSI and Steve on their engagement, and The Funions will be in the house in June 2011 for sure!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rodent and Squirrel Control

So this afternoon after another day of chronicling misery, I take the girls to Woodland for a long walk.

We park at the main entrance, go south to the Mausoleum, head behind the Civil War monument, walk up the path from the City Vault, head to the far north end.

Bella and Lucy then get excited by the Sarah Denman grave. They corner a squirrel, and it momentarily escapes by jumping on top of a big tree stump.

Then, inexplicably, it makes a run for a nearby tree, and doesn't make it.

Bella and Lucy, of course, have a ball playing with the petrified animal, tossing it in the air and shaking it in their mouths.

The poor thing gets away and starts climing up a tree, gets about four feet up, then freezes and does the classic horse ARRRRUMPH from Animal House.

And it drops dead on the spot, landing on the ground with a thud.

Yesterday they caught a mole at Woodland and really, that's a good thing, because moles rip up the ground and are disgusting animals.

I feel a little bit worse about the squirrel. Bella and Lucy are gentle and friendly around people, but get them around those small furry creatures and they go crazy.

Maybe we'll call the caretaker and ask him if he wants to hire Bella and Lucy as squirrel and rodent control officers.

P.S. no stuffed animals were harmed in the photo on top. Well, that's a lie. The stuffing was ripped out and strewn all over the place. But nature is cruel and that's the way it is.

Monday, May 10, 2010

International Monty Python Day

Today is International Monty Python Day. I've been putting Monty Python lines on my Facebook status to celebrate.

When I got a job in the Grand Canyon some 100 years ago, my friend Curtis sent me a tape of two Monty Python albums. I laughed until I cried listening to that tape a million times.

"I'd like to have an argument please."

No you don't ....

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Let sleeping dogs lay, er, lie, er, just leave them alone

This is a SheyFey cell phone photo of Bella passed out on the couch this afternoon. She was snoring loudly and enjoying a peaceful Calftown Saturday.

I would make fun of her but I was snoring even louder and likely drooling on the other living room couch. As this is a family-friendly blog, no photos will be shown or small children might start crying.

Ahhhh .... quiet Saturday afternoons. HUGE.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Dam! Big Film

Ahhhhh .... Friday night in the Q-town after a loooonnnngggg work week.

Little happy hour in the hot tub, some Hy-Vee pizza, the Big Dam Film Festival tonight.

Bella did NOT climb up the counter to devour the pizza.

Life is good ....

Monday, May 03, 2010

Miss ya mom ....

It's amazing how you can remember where you were and what you were doing during significant events.

I was interviewing a meth addict in the Adams County Probation Department five years ago today when my mom died. I was in a courtroom covering the sentencing when Phil Carlson of The Whig walked into the courtroom with a message from my brother in Arizona.

I called him from the State's Attorney's office. He told me. I fell on my knees.

I remember walking down Jail Alley and blubbering like a fool. I wrote a horrible story about a bad person. And I went home, and I don't remember much more.

I miss my mother. Every day. She had a great ride for 65 years, but she was retiring from teaching school and looked forward to traveling and spending more time with her grandkids.

My mother was always so dang happy, even when life smacked her upside the head and was really cruel to her.

I can still hear her voice, sing-songing hello on the phone.

I miss her so much. But today I was determined to be happy, for her.

For the most part, it was a good day.

Miss you mom. You are in a better place. I will see you there some day, with any luck.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday morning and my back hurts

— Personally, I think the president should stay in Washington, never get out, and just run the country from his office. Or his man cave, if he has wireless.

— Somebody asked if I was going to write a column about this "tea party business." I said, "What are you talking about?"

— Dogwood Weekend, and I have to work. I'm covering the tricycle races Saturday because they are HUGE.

— Sadly, Trinity does not have a float and the band won't be playing tomorrow. We'll give somebody else a chance to win best float.

— The former Herald-Whig Demons softball team made its return to the diamond Thursday night, click here. You know you are getting old when you score from first and are still tired two innings later.

— As noted on my Facebook status, I caught a pop up and now my back hurts.

— Two words for you. HOT TUB. And one more — GLORIOUS.

— Congrats to The Mighty One on his well deserved promotion. He will be playing drums for The Funions at his party May 22. It's his party and he can cry if he wants to dangit.

— Be safe this weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dangerous Old Lady Dogs

Recovering from the president's visit ....

Walked the dogs this morning and they wouldn't go back across the street. So I called Obama's Riot Police. The dogs didn't like it and claimed they were being persecuted, and Lucy is a Grandmother and Old Lady Dog, so I don't blame them.

But they listened and went back across the street, and everything turned out fine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Up in Fort Madison, Iowa today for President Obama's visit.

Click here for The Whig's blog about the next two days.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Burt Shackleton Is a Vampire

Great time at Rock Against Rape last night, check out SheyFey's pics for more on Facebook here.

As you can see in the above photo, Cheeseburgers singer, keyboardist, sax player and guitarist Burt Shackleton (he also does windows) has an orb on his head. He said he doesn't show up in photos because he thinks he's a vampire.

Well. ORB. HUGE. Maybe we should call Ghost Hunters. Or an exorcist. Go see Burt tonight at Brix, perhaps his fangs will be out. I hope he doesn't bite me in the neck.

Thanks to Sondi at Backwaters, all the bands that donated their time, Quanada, Pat and Warren from Vegas Music for doing sound, everybody who ever lived.

I really liked The Sharrows (top photo), who opened the show. They are two gals from Griggsville who can really sing. It's heartening to see young people playing their own music, and I hope these gals continue to play and make music as much as possible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Show Friday!

Thanks to Jessica Martin at The Whig for helping us promote Rock Against Rape, click here for the story.

Also thanks to Dennis Oliver and Y-101 and Mary Griffith at WTAD for letting us talk about the event on the radio.

It's gonna be great!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gus Was Great As Usual

Fun fun fun with Gus .... Sunday was awesome, better weather, better Dream Court games, just better.

That's me with my Macker girls, Meg on the left and Knee Cap on the right. Surrounded by greatness, in America's University, no wonder I cried right after this photo was taken!

Took 8 1/2 hours to fly home with the cruise on 75 (except for select spots around Chicago, especially after the Tri-State Tollway where ISP was lurking).

Feel like a truck ran me over, normal the day after working for Gus. Next up - Quincy!

Got a shot for my poison ivy today, right where the sun don't shine. HUUUGGGGEEEE.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some Stuff Still The Same ....

So I'm in Mount Pleasant working for Gus and it's going to be reaaallllyyy cold tomorrow, but we'll survive.

I loved my college years here at Central and miss this place a lot. I drove into town this morning and couldn't believe how much stuff was on the west end of M-20 coming in.

My old house on Belknap is still there. Walked around campus and noticed the library that looks like a toaster was gone, replaced by a huger version. All kinds of new buildings. Geesh!

But Anspach Hall is still here, and Moore Hall looks really good with the CM Life newspaper offices.

We are doing the tournament in front of Finch Fieldhouse, where I played intramurals. I just figured out I started at Central TWENTY FIVE FREAKING YEARS AGO this fall. God, do I feel old.

Went back to Freddy's for dinner, met my old soccer buddy Kenny Mac for a brew at The Bird, which is twice as big and still a great bar. We used to go there for the free peanuts and cheap beverages, and guess what? It hasn't changed.

I think coming back keeps you young.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RAR Lineup

We are doing radio promos for April 23rd's Rock Against Rape Show. Tuesday at 7:40 a.m. we are on Y-101 with Dennis Oliver and Jeff Dorsey, big local music supporters. Wednesday we are doing the Mary Griffith Show at 9:40 a.m on WTAD.

Here's The Lineup .... Backwaters, $7, all ages!

6 p.m. - The Sharrows
7 p.m. - Cheeks McGee
8 p.m. - The Cheeseburgers
9:15 p.m. - The Funions
10:30 - Fielder

It's gonna be huuuuuuugggggeeee .....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big Brother & the Holding Co., Gus at CMU

Interviewed Sam Andrew today from Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin's original band. BBHC is in Quincy Saturday. I respect Sam and the other original members, still rocking after all these years.

Wish I was in town to see them play, but I'm fleeing north to work for Gus in, SOB, the place where I spent the best 12 years of my life, America's University, CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY. It's gonna be great! I haven't spent a weekend in Mount Pleasant in at least 17, 18 years. We used to have the CMU Fantasy Baseball League draft every year and those were always great weekends.

The thing about working for Gus is that we laugh too much to not have a fun, even though it's a lot of work and a long weekend. The drive home Sunday night won't be fun, either.

All worth it though!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Had a good question this morning at church from a guy who wanted to know where I get ideas for my stories.

It's a constant struggle when you write two columns a week, which might not sound like much, but with all the other things going on it can be tough to come up with a good topic.

I simply don't have enough time to just hang out and find out about the good stuff. And a column is only as good as the subject matter. I've written a lot of bad columns simply because the topic was lame.

So ... always looking for inspiration. Fortunately this week I have a couple of possibilities. That doesn't mean it will be a good column — but getting the idea is often main hurdle.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rock Against Rape

Next up for The Funions is our second annual Rock Against Rape benefit for Quanada on Friday, April 23. Cheeks McGee, The Cheeseburgers and Fielder join us at Backwaters. We had blast last year and hope it goes well again.

I still think our last show at Turner Hall was one of our best. We'll see what the guys want to do, though I have a feeling we'll really be showcasing Jack and Rock A. Bye.

It'll be fun!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Squished Toad

Today Shey Fey made a grisly discovery when putting the tarp back on the hot tub — a squished toad.

The toad, which I have named Oscar, never had a chance. It was likely smushed when we flipped the lid over to get in on Friday night or Saturday morning. It was rainy and the tarp was wet, a perfect place for Oscar to hang out.

Until he got squished.

You can sort of see the imprint in the photo above. If it doesn't look like a squished toad (Squished Toad is a great name for a band, by the way), tough. It is.

Just don't call PETA on us.

Farewell, Oscar The Squished Toad. We didn't know you until you were compacted to death. Now you are ribbitting with the rest of your toad brothers and sisters in that great tadpole in the sky.

And all we have is a mark on our hot tub lid to remember you by.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Recovery on Easter

Wow did we have fun at Turner Hall Saturday at the Fielder CD Release party.

Couldn't stay late, but people were streaming in all night and the place was jammed to the rafters by the end of the night.

Thanks to Brant, our newest Funions roadie!

Here's a press conference with Logan Kammerer of Fielder after we got done playing. Next time we'll take it outside so the audio is better.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Music Everywhere

Really looking forward to playing at Turner Hall tomorrow at 5 p.m. for the Fielder CD release party. We only have 45 minutes but will make the most of it.

Mark is unavailable so we are borrowing Alex Tappe of Fielder to play bass. We've have a couple of practices and he picked it up right away, even the three or four original songs we are doing. Chris Cornwell will be playing guitar with us too. Might even have a few surprises during our set!

Tons of great music this weekend. A good Detroit band at The Club, country show for the firefighters at QJHS, as always click here for the rundown.

Get out and support live and local music!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Funions To Open For U2 This Summer. Really. Honest.

After considerable negotiations and angst, The Funions have decided to accept the offer of opening for U2 this summer during the Irish band's HUGE summer tour in the U.S.

"Bono said it was OK to bring the dogs. He's a huge border collie fan anyway so it's all working out," Shey Fey said. "And, uh, The Edge is SEXY."

"I think it's great because this will be the first time me and my keyboard won't be hidden behind a big stack of guitar amps," Mighty One said.

"I'll play because my daughter is taking over the family law practice and it's about dang time," sax player Jack Inghram said.

"This means Warren will be in charge of Vegas Music for the summer," drummer Pat Cornwall said. "Oh BLEEP."

"I'll play, but only if U2 will let us jam before and after the show," Rock A. Bye said. "I can show The Edge a thing or two on slide guitar."

I am declining to comment since the two lawyers in the band have advised me against making any statements that may torpedo our big chance.

Thank you ....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A dog and her beer

This is for UDN Dave, who inspired me to blog about beer. UDN Dave needs to get off his ass and blog about beer more often. Just my opinion.

I was in Hy-Vee the other day and bought a six-pack of New Belgium's Mighty Arrow Pale Ale. Yum! New Belgium makes Fat Tire and other awesome beers.

On the label description, it says: "This is our brewed tribute to Arrow, Kim's Aussie/border collie mix who ran "literally" New Belgium for 12 years. When she wasn't patrolling the brewery grounds, she was famous for her office visits. She never met a tummy rub she didn't like. Atta girl Arrow!"

So here is to Arrow and our own Aussie/border collie, Lucy Belle, the best dog ever and Queen of Calftown. Cheers!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Miller Time Rocked

Long work weeks mean long anticipated weekends, which are way too short ....

— Saw an awesome band called The Millers last night at John Wood Community College. First of all, the Mary Ellen Orr Auditorium is a fantastic place to see a show. Secondly, there were maybe 150 people there and that's a shame. It always amazes me how a few of the local blues guys in town bitch and moan about nobody supporting live music, yet when an event like this is put on, it doesn't get much of a crowd. Oh well .... the people who were there gave the band two standing ovations and I've never heard a harmonica player like LD Miller, he was mind-boggling good. It appeared the band of three brothers had a good time playing for us, and I hope JWCC books more shows in the auditorium.

— For your complete WrestleMania 26 breakdown, click here. We are starting to have some fun with the Herald-Whig blogs and I'll be very interested to see what kind of traffic develops.

— Anybody left in your NCAA pool? I have Butler going to the Final Four and will likely win the Hart Family Challenge of Doom if Butler wins today.

— Had an invite to play golf at 8 this morning and invoked the infamous Don Crim "55 Degree" rule. When DC was the sports editor at The Whig many years ago, he wouldn't cover a spring sports event unless the temperature was over 55 degrees. I'll play golf if it's a little cooler than that, but not when the mercury is struggling to get out of the 40s and rain is on the way. Hey - at least it's not snowing, and it's supposed to be 70 degrees by next weekend.

— Good luck to Herald-Whig copy editor Kevin Murphy, who leaves today after six years at the paper. We'll miss his Page 1 design skills and calmness under deadline pressure. Good luck, Murph!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fielder Press Conference

We had to hire extra security, but we finally got some of the guys from Fielder to do a press conference promoting the HUGE show April 3 at Turner Hall. Lucky The Cat also makes an appearance ... as usual, big props to producer, camera operator, key grip and teleprompter Shey Fey for all her help ....