Friday, January 19, 2018

You can park within a block

OUR FRIENDS AT Krazy Cakes, located around the corner, posted a Facebook status the other day asking for input about the lack of parking. The businesses there are frustrated because it’s two-hour parking on Hampshire, but many of the employees (specifically at WGEM) seem to park on the street all day and suck up the open spots.

Hmm. Sounds familiar. We, of course, are infamous for our parking wars, and yesterday QPD wrote seven more tickets on Maine between Fifth and Sixth after Sheryl meticulously listed each vehicle, took a photo, and called the cops two hours later. They responded right away and took care of it, and we appreciate it.

There was a healthy debate on the Facebook post about parking, but the one thing that really irks me is when people say they won’t come down here because they can’t find a spot. Really? You aren’t going to support an amazing and small local business like Krazy Cakes because you have to walk a 1/2 a block to get in?

Try going to WalMart or any big box on Broadway, and see how close you can get. The perception is that you are close, while down here our doors are much smaller and you seem further away.

I guarantee 95 percent of the time you’ll get within a block of Second String Music. Ask us about our special valet parking or curb side delivery. And support your small and local businesses, the lifeblood of our local economy and great way of life in Quincy.

We seem to harp on this all the time but we ARE small business. We know how much your business means to all of us trying to serve our community by staying in our small businesses. We truly do appreciate your efforts to get here and shop local.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Family of immigrants

I COME FROM a family of immigrants. My father arrived as a young boy in Canada from the Netherlands. His father, a pastor, had six ok looking boys and a beautiful daughter (my favorite aunt!) and wife, and spoke little English when they set up shop in Ontario. They created a new life with many other Dutch immigrants.

Imagine that. A pastor coming from a shithole country like the Netherlands, not speaking the language, having his kids suck on the Canadian governments teat. And what a wild and unruly bunch of kids they were, not at all successful later in life. They didn’t become lawyers, pastors, inventors, painters, artists, philosophers, family men.

Wait. They did. See? They overcame their shithole roots. Those whacky Dutch.... always being conquered by their neighbors, letting soldiers wear long hair, and skating everywhere on frozen dikes. They must have horrible traffic there because I’m always reading about red lights in Amsterdam.

I was born in Philadelphia, PA, where my father was a seminary student. We moved a year later to Nova Scotia, then Montreal, then London, Ontario. My two brothers and sisters were born in Canada. My mother was a U.S. citizen.

In 1980, we moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. My father got a job with the Christian Reformed Church. The church helped with the move, and my father got me Canadian citizenship before we left. My adopted brother, Greg, had to get a green card, along with my dad, but because my mother was a U.S. citizen, my other siblings were already dual citizens and didn’t need one.

When we crossed the border at Port Huron, U.S. officials stopped us and told my father we couldn’t bring in our dented and ancient Dodge Dart because it didn’t have a catalytic converter. They told him to turn around and sell it in Canada. So my dad paced around, faked a couple of calls to a congressman, and finally said, “Well, you have seven of us here and we are sleeping on the benches until you let us in.”

They let us in and warned him he’d be fined if he didn’t fix the catalytic converter. My dad eventually got a letter stating as such, but our elected officials told him to ignore it. Good thing my sister rolled the stupid car and wrecked it a few years later, right?

I think my siblings are U.S. citizens automatically because my mother was one. At least I hope so. I don’t want them deported back to that shithole country called Canada.

My father eventually became a U.S. citizen. My adopted brother Greg, who died in 2002, never did, and probably never would have, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Unless he was still alive today, in our MAGA society. Is ICE deporting illegals from Canada?

I have dual citizenship. It’s recognized by Canada, but not the U.S. It doesn’t matter, because I have a U.S. passport. When I go to Canada, I just use my passport, not my Canadian papers, because it makes things easier.

Before you jump all over me for being another liberal fake news conspirator, let’s just say you can take the boy out of Holland and West Michigan and the Christian Reformed Church, but you can’t take the Dutch and West Michigan out of the boy. I’m as conservative as they come. I voted for Reagan and Bush. I don’t like people who are lazy and live off the government and bitch and moan, but never vote.

That being said, I’m from a family of immigrants. I’m proud to say so.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Roundabouts are cool

HANNIBAL IS PUTTING a roundabout by the hospital. This is newsworthy for several reasons. One, Hannibal is looking ahead and being progressive and will have a roundabout before we do in Quincy. Two, people will actually have to use their turn signals.

Basically a roundabout replaces the classic four-way intersection. You can only turn right and you must yield to oncoming traffic. Twice a year I travel to Wisconsin and they have roundabouts in Sheboygan and Oshkosh. They are pretty cool and they work, though it takes a bit to get used to.

Roundabouts get rid of traffic signals, a good thing, and they improve traffic flow. They are mostly used in high traffic areas, and they are not pedestrian friendly. Also, bike lanes in roundabouts are cool but would add to the initial confusion.

There are several places roundabouts would work in Quincy, specifically out on East Broadway, State Street anywhere east of 24th Street, and a few other places like John Wood Community College.

But here’s why they may never be approved in Quincy - we are a Rocking Chair community, and as long as you don’t rock back and forth too fast or too slow, things are fine. A roundabout would slow and speed up the rocking chair at the same time. Personally, I like many aspects of our Quincy rocking chairs, but sometimes I want to throw the damn thing away and try to wake people up.

I think a roundabout at Fifth and Maine would be fascinating. We could sit on the sidewalk and watch all the traffic inch around the intersection, and listen to drivers yell at each other, and help people in wheelchairs who get squashed by people in a hurry who don’t see them. Plus, all the motorized bicycles would have a field day dodging traffic.

Wait a second ... that already happens every day at Fifth and Maine. As my niece Erin likes to say, “Neber mind.”

I have no plans to visit Hannibal’s soon to be roundabout, but I applaud the city and the residents for being progressive and applying new ways to deal with traffic. And that’s a roundabout way of saying, “Good for you!”

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Q Fest goes back to original date

Q-FEST, ORIGINALLY known as MidSummer Arts Faire, is going back to the fourth weekend in June. This year it will be June 22-23-24 in Washington Park, and we at Second String Music could not be happier.

Last year it was at the beginning of June. Organizers changed the date, in part, because they thought the weather would be a little cooler. Turned out it was hot and humid as it normally is in Quincy in early June.

Q-Fest is also partnering with Blues In The District, and there will be another street dance party with live bands on Saturday night. Geesh. A stage right in front of our building with killer bands? I think we can live with that!

We are going to encourage the Q-Fest organizers to not close down Maine Street at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. Last year it stopped our normally busy Friday afternoon traffic in the store. It would be a huge problem for Blues in the District that night too. Hopefully they don't close the streets on Saturday either, though it will take time to setup stages and vendors. We have high hopes.

Hooray for downtown Quincy and again, what a great event and great time of year to have it in Washington Park. It’s gonna be another rocking summer down here!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Looking for music

ONCE AGAIN, I am in search of musical acts for various downtown Quincy events. These include the Concerts In The Plaza, Q Fest and Noon Blues shows in Washington Park. All of them are paid and the PA is provided.

Molly would rock the
accordian!


I am always looking for newer artists who want a good-paying gig without a ton of pressure. Most of these events are casual and the atmosphere is laid back, and there is no admission charge. These are probably not a good place to play your first gig, but I’ve thrown a few performers into the fire knowing they’d do fine.

Most of these are better for the solo or acoustic duo players. No tracks, please. You have to play, not do karaoke. For the Q Fest event I’ll consider a band if there isn’t too much setup involved, as we do have a good PA system and Garris Brown does an excellent job running it.

You can track me down on Facebook or call Second String Music at 217 223-8008. I’ve already started scheduling acts and the slots will fill up fast.

As always, please support live music, and show your appreciation for the many talented performers we have in our area!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Timing and being swamped

TIMING IS EVERYTHING, of course. Sheryl had to run some errands yesterday morning. Big storm coming, you know. Ice, sleet, snowmaggedon, empty bread and milk shelves, all that stuff.

I had a lesson at 10:30. The young man came in early. So I said, "Let's get started. It hasn't been busy in here in the mornings. We'll be fine."

You know what that means. Two minutes later a guy comes in wanting guitar lessons, info about guitars, pedals, strings, etc. Then a gal comes in and buys a guitar. Then another gal comes in with a Christmas Project guitar (she bought it somewhere, and it doesn't work, and now we are fixing it). Then two more guitar students show up because they want to get their lessons in early due to the pending snowmaggedon. Sheryl gets back and immediately starts putting out fires and consoling poor Angus, who was sitting by the door waiting patiently for her to return.

All part of the deal in a small retail business. I like being busy and running around with my head cut off, actually. And we still had a good lesson. Of course Sheryl had to fix all my screwups when she got back, but she's used to it and doesn't complain too loudly.

So this morning Sheryl has taken our new Jeep to get serviced for a minor issue. Angus is all out of sorts - he is not used to just me being here, and he's sitting by the front door with a confused look on his face, saying, "Where is my mooooommmmmm?"

I'm ready for the rush. Let's sell some guitars, cables, microphones, amps. Let's move some Fender basses, Ibanez electrics, Takamine 12-string acoustics. Let's go!

And .... cue the sound of birds chirping.

It's okay. Angus and I are ready.