Thursday, November 16, 2017

Stranger things in the backyard

WE JUST GOT done watching Stranger Things. I liked it because the main characters are geeks and nerds, so I can relate. The story requires you to suspend belief and logic. It’s based in the mid-80s so there’s awesome and awful songs as the soundtrack. And lights flicker. A lot.

The other night we were binge-watching our way through the second season when we hit pause and I stepped outside with the dogs for a minute. Sure enough, the light above the back door of our neighbor’s house flickered on and off four or five times. It happened again last night when we got home late from the store and running errands.

This wouldn’t be so strange, except our beloved neighbor, Don, passed away last month after living in the house for 60 years. I think the light is motion sensitive, so maybe it was the wind, or a critter by the back door, or a loose light bulb.

Or maybe it was Don saying hello and wondering how he was going to get the backyard leaves picked up.

Nah. I don’t believe in that ghost stuff. It’s too strange, and there’s an explanation for everything.

Right. Now, about the light in my mancave doing the same thing .....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Electric Co. scams

TWO YOUNG MEN from Ameren Illinois were just in the store and are downtown today to warn businesses about scammers pretending to be utilities.

Not a month goes by that somebody doesn’t walk in and ask to see our electric bill. The answer is a polite but firm “no.” I’m sure you are legit and I’m sure you will save us a lot of money, but we are good to go, thank you very much.

This is a brilliant PR move by Ameren. All the major media outlets were down here to do stories. Look! Ameren is warning us about bad guys! It makes them look good and you can’t blame them a bit. When I was a reporter Ameren was one of the best companies to deal with when it came to PR, and they know how to play the game.

When it comes to scammers, it’s like locking your car or front door - a little common sense goes a long way. If somebody calls you and promises you the moon, asks you for immediate payment or your debit card number, it’s obvious something ain’t right. Be smart and always be on guard for people trying to take you for a ride.

In other words, keep the lights on. It’s what you pay the power company to do.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rare Gretsch find

A FEW MONTHS ago I bought a 1968 Gretsch Cutter. It’s a long story but let’s just say we got a good deal, and Sheryl worked her usual magic to fix it up and get it playable after it sat unused for many years. It’s a single pickup hollow body with all original hardware and it sounds like a choir.

It’s missing the pick guard, and it has the original owner’s Social Security number etched into the back plate. It has a tone unlike any guitar I have ever played and I’m taking it to gigs.

We’ve named her “Stella” after the original owner. We put light gauge strings on her, and she had some intonation issues - shoot, we are about the same age and I have intonation issues too. She’d go out of tune quickly and I’d fight all night to lock her in.

Steve Rees looked her over last weekend and suggested thicker strings. I wondered if the old girl could handle them, but Steve was right as usual, and the tone is even purer coming from the aged wood and chambered body. Stella is staying in tune and I can’t wait to play her more with Cori Lyssy and solo shows, and this Saturday at our store party.

The older the better!

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's party time ... already!

HARD TO BELIEVE Thanksgiving and Christmas are sneaking up on us. It can only mean one thing - store party!

Saturday, Nov. 18 at Second String Music from open to close, we'll be celebrating the arrival of the season and give a toast to our good friend Pat Cornwell, who passed away about this time in 2010.

Raffle on 11/18
We've had various musical entertainment at this party over the years. This time we'll have a jam session starting around 1p.m. and an open mic event starting at 3 p.m. Come in and have a great time showing off your talent or just hanging out at the coolest music store in the tri-states area.

We will have food and libations and plenty of holiday cheer, and a store special or two. The famous raffle item is really cool ... an Ibanez miKro Guitar in Walnut Sunburst (with a gig bag) and a Fender Frontman 10 watt practice amp.

Sheryl and I even bought a new Charlie Brown Christmas tree, three of them, actually. They are small and we put one on a table in our living room - we'll see if it survives Josey The Huntress and our dogs. The other two will go in the store, though I refuse to decorate until the day after Thanksgiving. Maybe we should have a party that day, too.

Anyway, store party! There's no better way to get ready for the season.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sean Hannity - ICK

I rarely watch ignorant scumbags like Sean Hannity. My head hurts enough just watching the local news and trying to find middle ground. Hannity can say what he wants and if you swallow it up, we’ll rock on, that’s your problem.

I listened carefully to his statements about the Alabama guy. They. Were. Horrifying.

Then came his apology, which was even more horrifying. You make up your own mind.

Screw you, you pontificating hypocrite. You talk out of the side of you mouth and you spew hatred and ignorance at every turn. You just clearly said a grown man groped a 14 year old because she agreed it was okay. The swamp and sewer of Washington hates Roy Moore so they are making a big deal of this little thing. Then you blamed the lazy media for taking it out of context.

I was a full time member of the media, and I’m tired of us getting blamed for everything. This time I couldn’t be quiet.

Let me know what he says next. I won’t bother watching or listening to an idiot like Hannity ever again.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Don’t leave your keys in the car

THERE WAS A misleading WGEM story this week story about car thefts. The station stated that Quincy “residents” are claiming the Quincy Police Department told them they don’t have the resources to investigate car thefts.

First, the story only quoted one person making the claim. I know this person. I like her. But she later admitted her claim wasn’t entirely accurate. People used to call me with wild accusations all the time, and I would always do homework before jumping in too deep.

One other person was interviewed. She made no claims about QPD. She was upset her vehicle was stolen from her driveway. I don’t blame her. 

Look. A dirt ball is a dirt ball. And I don’t know the specifics of the case. But let this be a friendly reminder to lock your car doors and take your keys with you. I'm not even sure why that has to be told to anyone.

KHQA had a story this morning of a similar nature, and quoted a Keokuk police officer telling people to take “the extra step” of not leaving keys in the car. Really? Are people that lazy? 


Sheryl’s nephew is living with us. He warms up his car every morning before going to work, while he is inside the house. He will come out one morning to find it gone,  and I won’t feel a bit sorry for him.

It’s the world we live in, folks.