Friday, June 23, 2017

Another rock and roll weekend - GO

IT'S GORGEOUS DOWN here at Fifth and Maine, and we are ready for another rock and roll weekend. Start up the truck and let's go!

At 11:30 this morning, Blake Gardner plays for our Noon Blues show in Washington Park. Tonight's Blues In The District features Catfish Willie and starts at 5:30. After the show, continue your blues fix with the Matt Roberts Blues Band at The Club Tavern on North 10th.

Saturday night, The Cheeseburgers start our 2017 Summer Make America Cheesey Again Tour at the Party Cove in Monroe City, 8 bells is the kickoff. And Sunday at 2 p.m., Cori Lyssy and I return to our favorite Hannibal haunt, La Azotea, to hang out with April and the crew in the patio.

Sunday night I'll go to bed and hopefully wake up Tuesday or Wednesday, and let you know how it all went.

Time to Git Cheesey!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cars crashing into buildings

IN THE PAST WEEK and change we've had two major incidents involving vehicles striking buildings. One took place across Washington Park at Fourth and Hampshire. The alleged driver allegedly hit another vehicle and was allegedly being reckless when his van completely demolished the bottom floor. Allegedly he was impaired. Then he got out of jail the next morning, for some reason. He caused a ton of damage, frightened a bunch of people and displaced residents of the apartments above.

Look both ways before you .... enter your building?
I don't know the guy and I don't want to know the guy. I just hope he has a good lawyer and deep pockets. He's gonna need both. There's nothing alleged about that.

The other day two cars collided at 12th and Vermont and one smacked into a building on the corner. It happened at the same corner last summer.

A few winters ago a car got hit at our busy Fifth and Maine intersection, and had it not been for a pile of ice and snow, it may have hit our building. And I can't tell you how many times I've walked across the intersection with the light and had a vehicle turning left nearly hit me.

Then again, I'll thank the driver who stopped yesterday morning when my dogs got out of the store after they saw another dog across the street and got excited. That one is on me, and I'll do better.

During Q-Fest, Fifth and Maine was closed, but the intersection traffic lights kept working. Sheryl wondered if a drunk driver coming up the street would see the lights but not the barricades and just keep going. GUH.

You know the old saying - "If you don't like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk or out of your building!" Funny, I guess, but all too true.

Be careful out there, Q-Town.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cats and trees

OUR NEW CAT, Josie, is growing up. She is now wandering around the backyard, keeping an eye on things. Don't worry, she is fixed and she doesn't go far.

This morning she climbed our backyard tree and caused a fuss with birds who have a nest up there. Then a neighborhood stray cat poked his head over the fence to check things out, no doubt smelling the patch of catnip we have growing by the shed.

The dogs chased the stray off, though Josie was intrigued and made strange noises at the other cat. There's another cat from a few houses down and I think they are cat buddies. I imagine they go on cat play hunts and exchange cat gossip - "Dude, that catnip patch is beyond wow, me-
ow," neighbor cat says.

I think it's great that Josie is an outdoor cat. She is very good at helping Sheryl weed the garden and at patrolling the fence so nobody gets into her catnip. That she knows, anyway. She is also quite lazy and will wallow on the patio monitoring the backyard for hours.

Our friend Josh Brueck had a hilarious Facebook post the other day - Josh was trying to swat a moth and his cat simply nabbed it out of mid-air, ate it, and looked at Josh like it was no big deal. Same thing with Josie, who is really into bugs, birds, spiders and anything that crawls or moves.

Ah, the life of a cat, especially a cat who thinks she is a dog. Go get 'em, Josie!

Just don't drag it back into the house.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rain and German outhouse fertilizer = huge garden

WE FINALLY GOT some rain last week. I went out of town Friday to work for Gus Macker and came back Sunday night, and I couldn't believe how much our backyard garden sprung to life.

We have cucumber, egg plant, tomato, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and a bunch of other plants in there. We also have lots of grass and succulent weeds. Sheryl has started cleaning out the jungle and I helped a little bit last night until the bugs and Gus Macker recovery stopped me.

It's not THIS bad.
Sheryl is finding plants underneath the weeds. Last week she dug out a huge cucumber and it was delicious. The basil plants smell wonderful and it's just basically an out of control garden wonderland. She needs help weeding, volunteers??

We attribute the growth to rain, sun, good dirt and the fact the original outhouse hole is still in the garden. All these years later, that good German poop is working wonders, right? We still find lots of old toys, nails and pottery, too. Maybe we should call an archeologist or something.

Anyway, we're gonna have a lot of fresh produce. Healthy and delicious Calftown garden shtuff is a beautiful thing!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

More civility is just talk

ABOUT THE ONLY good thing to come out of yesterday's horrendous shooting in Alexandria was when Live With Kelly and Who? got pre-empted. Now people are calling for more civility and unity, which is usually the case in the wake of tragedy and evil intentions.

I'm all about it. Maybe we should have a baseball game between Rs and Ds every week. If they got along better, our government would be better.

I hate politics in general, mostly because politics means going to meetings and failing to compromise. At the state level, I think our government is a joke, a laughing stock, and I'm embarrassed to live in Illinois due to posturing and preening politicians who couldn't care less about us, the people.

It starts at the very top. It's not about disruption and treading water only on your side of the bay. It's about working with everybody. These are all high and mighty ideas and they sound great. But why is it once you slap an R or D on your chest, you are pretty much useless and you fall right into the same old trough of bipartisanship?

It makes me angry just to think about it, which is why I'm focusing on what the Capitol Police did and how it could have been a lot worse.

On Saturday, July 8, we are having an appreciation day for our local police, fire fighters and emergency responders. It will be in Washington Park starting early in the afternoon. We'll have more details soon, but let's just say it will be a big party and a way for all of us to give thanks to the guys and gals that protect us from so much danger.

So I'm not letting some POS from our state who nearly caused a horrific massacre bring me down. In fact, I'm not thinking about him at all after I write this. Pray for him and family if you want, but don't dwell on him or what he was doing.

United. We. Stand. And keep July 8 open to show your appreciation to those who keep us safe.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

EFB's new Listening Room

I REALLY LIKE what Ryan Christian and the Electric Fountain Brewing is doing with their Sixth and Hampshire space - turning it into an intimate acoustic venue.

EFB is having what they call a "listening room" show Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. They will have up to eight performers, each getting about 15 minutes, and original music will be encouraged. There is no PA system so it's really about playing, not hiding behind tracks or smoke and mirrors. This will take place inside the building.

I appreciated One Restaurant having an open mic on Thursday nights. It was a great chance for people not used to playing or even experienced musicians getting up to jam. However, many of the people who went to the open mic nights were there to socialize, not encourage the musicians. It was also a big stage in a big space and the feel sometimes got lost. This is no fault of the venue or the owners, Noi and Tenille, who were and continue to be great to our local musicians. One Restaurant is having success as an events venue and is handing over the open mic event to Electric Fountain.

I'm not sure an afternoon during the week is the best time, but EFB  wants to do it during regular business hours to gauge interest. I'm in lessons until 6 so I won't get a chance to check it out, but I'm hopeful they will extend it into an evening event at some point.

The original music is also a great idea. It would be fun to dig out the old Funions songs and try them out again - I had to fill in at the last second last Friday for our noon acoustic show in Washington Park and it was a blast playing a few originals. And why is it I can remember a song I made up 20 years ago but I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning? The way it works, I guess.

It won't have to be loud. There's no PA, so no "my voice sounds better with reverb" thing. It's just you and the air and the people in the space, and it doesn't get any more natural than that. I'm also looking forward to events in the "Treehouse" space in the back.

If you have time Thursday, I encourage you to check it out. Kudos to Ryan and EFB for supporting local music, and I hope it's the first of many successful events!