Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I'm with Her

PEOPLE ARE OFTEN surprised when they learn Sheryl works on guitars. In the early days customers, mostly men, would come in and ask if I was around so I could look at their guitar. This was motivation for her to get up to speed on guitar repair quickly.

Sheryl worked hard and learned quickly the ins and outs of routine guitar maintenance. She is not a guitar player, but she is a computer geek and she takes a more analytical approach to it, a huge advantage.

Yesterday a guy came in and was wondering about strings for his higher end guitar. He hemmed and hawed and admitted that he knew little about working on his guitars, even though he owned a lot of them. We explained his options and let him know something could be done for his baby. Finally he caved and let Sheryl restring it and do some intonation and action work on it.

She Devil by ESP/ltd guitars
He was surprised when she got done. "This is so much better," he said. "Wow. You cracked the code. You do great work!"

Sheryl just shrugged it off. She's been dealing with biased people who have preconceived notions about women in a music store for more than five years. In the beginning we felt that part of our challenge in business would come because she was running the place. It really was a concern early on but throughout the years we have held firm in our belief that musicians are open minded enough to give a gal a chance.

In this strange political year, with the possibility of a woman finally breaking though the presidential glass ceiling, we don't think it is too hard to imagine that women can do anything. Underestimating Sheryl is probably the least of my concerns though.

I'm with Her.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fast Eddie and Angus debate - not humanely

FAST EDDIE PROMISES cat nip for all when he's elected president. Since he thinks he won his debate with Angus The Young last night, it's just a matter of time.

While the rest of you were watching "Lies WRONG SNIFFLE  lies WRONG SNIFFLE lies and WRONG SNIFFLE lies," I watched Fast Eddie and Angus talk about the issues at Second String Music. They both agreed more than disagreed, such as cold weather means no more Outside People in the park and cat nip can be a beautiful thing, but not in moderation. (You can't OD on Nepetalacton, according to the fat cat.)

It stayed civil until the very end. Angus accused Eddie of being a pussy, which he is so that was rated as "True." Then Eddie accused Angus of being a mongrel, but he's not, he's a mutt, so that was rated as "Mostly False." Politico quickly pointed it out and all of the sudden social media started going wild. Fortunately cat and dog came to their respective senses, especially when Angus was threatened with a leash and Eddie was told he'd never get another treat again if he didn't behave.

Fast Eddie wants more sunny nap spots, cat treats three times a day (minimum) and Medicat to pay for any neuter/spay procedures. Angus is all about building a wall around Woodland Cemetery so no more moles can get in. When pointed out by moderator Les Nessman that moles dig under fences, Angus said "WRONG WRONG WRONG WOOF, sniffle" and dug up the carpet in protest.

I could bore you with the rest of the debate, which had a lot of barking, baying and meowing, but I don't want to talk about Trump and Clinton. The dog and cat behaved pretty well and stuck to the issues - Fast Eddie thinks free kitty litter is a right. Angus thinks going outside and taking care of bidness is the way to go.

After hearing about the Trump and Clinton debate (I didn't watch, my stomach isn't strong enough), I can say with confidence that Angus and Fast Eddie didn't act humanely at all in their debate. And that's the highest compliment we can pay them.

Monday, September 26, 2016

20 years

TWENTY YEARS AGO to the day I arrived in Quincy. Geesh, what I would say to that version of me now, two decades later ....

I was young and dumb, for sure. Those first few weeks were a blur, yet I still remember some stuff like it was yesterday. And it's staggering to think of what was and what is.

Quincy Newspapers Inc. put me up in the Hotel Quincy. It was ... an experience, 40 days and nights of my life I'm never getting back. But I didn't have to sleep on somebody else's couch or pay for a one-month apartment. I got used to the smells and stairs and interesting people coming and going at all hours.

I'd flown to Quincy for my interview at The Whig so it was my first time driving from Michigan. It seemed to take forever, and I-72 was one long and boring stretch of road. For some reason I distinctly remember listening to a Cubs-Cardinals game, and thinking how bad the Cardinals radio announcers were - some things never change.

I came in along Ill. 57 and it seemed .... industrial. Then I tried to park at the Hotel Quincy, but there was a huge carting race downtown and I couldn't get near the place. I finally grabbed a shopping cart (a shopping cart?) and used it to haul all my crap into the room.

My first night in town was Don Crim's 40th birthday party. I met nearly everybody I needed to meet right then and there. People made me feel at home right away. Wouldn't you know it - The Cheeseburgers are playing at Don's birthday party this Saturday. You do the math to figure out how old he is!

I'd walk to the office early in the morning, and it amazed me people were in the Branding Iron at Fifth and Hampshire at 5:30 a.m. Later, it didn't amaze me. I walked past the corner of Fifth and Maine four or five times a day, and I never in a million years thought I'd be a co-owner of a music store and building there.

I remember walking up Hampshire to catch a $1 movie at the Adams Theater. Now it's known as One Restaurant.

I remember driving to a Hannibal High School football game and thinking, "Holy crap, I'm in Missouri covering a football game."

Now I'm back at The Whig a couple of nights a week helping out in sports. There are a bunch of college kids taking calls and writing short stories, and the other night I met a new full-time reporter.

I want to scream at them and tell them to slow down and enjoy being young. These are the halycon days you can't get back, and you'll appreciate them more and more as the years go by.

Also, don't blink. Twenty years disappears like a flash.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Returning and keeping guitars

WE HAD A young man, a street musician, come into the store and buy some nice stuff a few weeks ago. I think he's 19 years old. We saw him playing in the street in Hannibal last weekend and he seems to be doing well. He's quit his job and he wants to play music. More power to him.

For Sale!
with custom case
Then this week he purchased a rather unique guitar, for about $300. "My mom is going to kill me," he said. Well, she didn't kill him. But she made him bring it back.

We have return policies, and it's a part of being in the retail business. We took the guitar back and it was all good. Then Sheryl said, "The next time you want to buy a guitar from us, we'll have to make sure your mother says it is okay."

This didn't sit well with the customer. But he seemed to get Sheryl's point.

Earlier in the week, one of my young guitar students bought a beautiful mahogany Breedlove. She thought about it for a long time, and it's going to be a birthday-Christmas present sort of thing. She is turning into an amazing guitar player and she loves playing, loves loves LOVES playing. So she and her parents finally pulled the trigger this week, and the Breedlove has found a new home.

A well made decision takes time. We love selling guitars and getting them into a good home. A permanent new home. And we couldn't be happier.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Grapes on the river

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, I will be at the Great River Grape Escape at Clat Adams Park. Second String Music is an official event sponsor and we can't wait to soak in the early-fall sunshine and enjoy a great time by the river. Nine local wineries will offer their wares and the live entertainment is stellar.

Saturday also features the End Of The World party east of town. There are some great musical acts at this event too, and there is no reason you can't make both if you are really into it.

As usual, there is way too much going on in Quincy and the surrounding area - The Cheeseburgers are even playing late Sunday afternoon in Hannibal at a private party. Take our advice and cram it all in - Monday is coming and there's nothing you can do about it, so you may as well be worn out when it gets here!

Great River Grape Escape Music
Saturday, Sept. 24
1 p.m. - Logan Kammerer
3 p.m. - Seth Wade and Mike Moore
5 p.m. - George Cate
Sunday, Sept. 25
1 p.m. - Johnny B & Friends

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Barbie Trump? No Thanks ....

SO DONALD TRUMP'S daughter is coming to Quincy next week, to raise money for the Republican party. Tickets are $100 a pop. Great! Count me in!


Can I see the river when I'm here next week?
I am not naive. I know how this political stuff works. Of course it's all about money! Let's bring in Barbie and a lot of people will shell out big bucks to see it. She won't say anything, but the newly-appointed Secret Service guys will look good.

Lest you think this is about bashing Republicans, it's not. I wouldn't do it if Hillary or Billary or Barack or Mrs. Barack showed up, either. And if I was still a reporter and forced to "cover" the event, I'd only go because I was ordered to go.

I hope Barbie has a great time in Quincy, gets to know the people, gets to see what the city is all about and what the issues are facing us in a Mississippi River town.

What? She's only going to be here for a few minutes?

Well, I hope it's worth it.