Monday, October 22, 2018

Sunday family lunch adventures

WE HAD A great birthday celebration with Sheryl's father on Sunday at Tony's Too. I like her dad and have always gotten along with him so I was all about going out for a good meal and the company.

Sheryl's sister, Susan, drove in from Farmer City (near Champaign) and her other sister Stephanie came, as did her two sons. Add a girlfriend, spouses, friends and a grandkid, and we had 11 people crammed into a big booth. I suggested we get another table but was shot down "because then we can't visit." I suppose that's the point.

I always get a charge out of Sheryl tormenting her father, who is very conservative and leans hard right. "Just vote D dad and everyone at this table for that matter," was the first thing out of Sheryl's mouth.

We gave him the new Bob Woodward book "Fear" (a fascinating read), and his eyebrows went up when he saw it.

"Trump says I shouldn't read it because it's full of lies," her father said. The irony hung like a foggy morning mist but I stifled a laugh and kept quiet, though I felt like crawling under the table, because I knew what was coming next.

"Well, then don't read it. You DO respect Bob Woodward, right?" Sheryl said.

"Well, I do like to see both sides," her dad said, staring the other way. His wife Gloria just watched on, wide-eyed at the exchange.

Cards and gifts were give to him from all around the table and lots of laughs were enjoyed as we visited The server did an excellent job dealing with people arriving late and taking the orders, and the food was decent. Then it came time to pay the bill. "Can you give us individual tickets?" Susan asked the server.

I jumped in and said it wasn't necessary - it's enough work just getting 11 orders right and making sure everybody is happy. I asked her to bring one bill. "Well, I don't have cash so I'll have to write a check," Susan said. "Write it to me, no problem," Sheryl said with a wave. "Rodney and I were paying for Dad and Gloria anyway. I brought a ton of cash."
While we wait for a new one, photo is from earlier this year.

It's the world we live in today, I guess. You don't bring cash so you don't spend it. Susan wrote a check and Sheryl figured out the bill and gathered cash from the others, and it all worked out.

It was nap time so we all got ready to leave. The lobby has a fireplace that requires the family to do a photo shoot so Sheryl gamely stayed awake long enough for the pictures, and to give hugs to all her nephews and the great nephew. She probably enjoyed that part the most even though she grumbled about it being nap time a lot.

We were both exhausted when we got home and I napped through the thrilling conclusion to the Bears-Patriots game. But we both made it through another family gathering and everybody seemed to be happy, so we called it a successful afternoon.

Can't wait to do it again. I think. Right.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tribute to Chickenman

WE WERE SADDENED to hear about the passing of Dave Comer, AKA the Chickenman. Dave was a legendary part of the Quincy Gems baseball family and battled cancer for many years.
Our friend and Second String Music Hall of Famer Ted Holt came in a few days ago with a Fender acoustic guitar. It belonged to Dave, who is related to Ted's wife, Libby. It was given to Ted, who thought it be better to donate it to Six String Heroes.

It's more than just a thoughtful gesture. A veteran is going to get the guitar free of charge and get six free lessons, and who knows ... it might just lead to playing and experiencing the therapeutic power of music.

Peace to Dave and his family, and thank you to Ted for his thoughtful donation. We all strive to make this world a better place, and the guitar will go to a good home.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Thank you, Superintendent!

QUINCY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Superintendent Roy Webb came to Second String Music yesterday, and we had a great talk. Sheryl called him earlier in the day because we wanted him to get accurate information about our business. We are local, we are proud to support Quincy Public Schools and all of our area schools, and we care about our community.

Some think otherwise. They are wrong.

We are not endorsed by any local school system. We offer affordable band instruments, sales and services. You have choices, whether it's at the retail level or online. We compete and we strive to be the best we can be. Pretty basic.

My daughter was a Blue Devil and is now a professor of music at Western Illinois, and her experience with the Quincy music program was awesome. It helped mold her into what she is today.

Roy didn't have to come down during his busy day and talk to us in person, but he did and he listened. Sheryl and I are beyond impressed and grateful.

The superintendent of schools is a difficult job. I had sympathy for Roy's predecessors, the ones who had to deal with interesting school board members and thorny issues. I have great respect for anybody who serves on a school board, a thankless but crucial job. Remember all the controversy a few years back? A effective school board is one that stays out of the headlines and gets the job done, and that's been happening during a time of new school buildings and never-ending funding challenges.

Roy also had a tremendous letter to the editor the other day about the Fab 5 visit. It's good to see somebody taking responsibility and setting standards for being all-inclusive.

By the way ... my Monday post has now exceeded 24,000 page views. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Thank you, Mr. Webb, for your service and dedication to your job as superintendent.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Store closed Saturday, but we're still rocking

SECOND STRING MUSIC will be closed this Saturday, Oct. 20. The Tin Dusters are downtown and take over the streets, so there's no way to get close to our store. We've found they don't really spend money in a business like ours, but they do support other retailers and we understand the event is good for Quincy, so we are fine with it.

So, we'll take a well-deserved break. That doesn't mean we won't rock and roll!

The Cheeseburgers are playing a really fun show Saturday starting at about 1 p.m. in the Quincy University Stadium parking lot. Our friends at Wine On Broadway are putting this on and will have all kinds of great craft beer, and the Butcher Block will be cooking up a storm. QU takes on Missouri S&T at 5 p.m. and we'll be rocking the tailgate party in the north lot. We did this a few years ago in the pouring rain and still had a blast, and it's supposed to be 60 and sunny Saturday, so no excuses - come out and get Cheesey before the Hawks play!

Saturday night, Cori Lyssy and I are playing at the Red Light Bar & Grill just across from Second String Music in the old Granite Bank building. We start at 8 and we can't wait to get in there and play in a beautiful acoustic setting. The restaurant owners are awesome people and have done a ton of work revamping the space - if you've been in there, please pay them a visit. I had the $1 tacos yesterday for lunch and they were really good.

Whatever you do this weekend, take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and be safe out there. October is a great time to rock and roll!

Enjoy this photo of Angus making sure Bobbe at State Street Bank knows where the treats are hidden. He is shameless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fleetwood Mac tickets for sale

A FRIEND BOUGHT tickets to see Fleetwood Mac in St. Louis this Saturday, but now he's decided to not go. They are for sale, two of them, in section 106 of the Enterprise Center. They are awesome seats, and he paid a lot of money for them.

Face value, the tickets are worth $340 for the pair. That's $170 each. Would you pay that much to see a revamped Fleetwood Mac? He is asking for a lot less, and you can track me down at the store (217- 223-8008) if you are interested.

Who doesn't love Fleetwood Mac? Who didn't own Rumours? Dude, you didn't live in the suburbs unless you owned and wore out your Rumours records. Actually, the first FM album with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham is my favorite, one great song after another.

Buckingham was "sacked" earlier this year and has sued, saying he's lost $14 million because he isn't touring with them. It wouldn't be Fleetwood Mac if there wasn't drama. Is it FM without Buckingham? They won't be doing Big Love, that's for sure.

He's been replaced by Mike Campbell, the incredible guitar player for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Crowded House veteran Neil Finn. Reviews are mixed, but the die-hards still love them and I give them credit for still going - they aren't spring chickens anymore.

Neither am I, and I'm still playing. Granted, it's not for thousands in a big hockey rink, but The Cheeseburgers are still going and still love what we do.

It's still Fleetwood Mac, as the set list from their recent show in Des Moines indicates.  If you wanna go, let me know.

The Chain 
Little Lies 
Second Hand News 
Say You Love Me 
Black Magic Woman 
I Got You (Split Enz) 
Tell Me All The Things You Do 
World Turning 
Oh Well 
Don't Dream It's Over (Crowded House) 
Isn't It Midnight 
Monday Morning 
You Make Loving Fun 
Gold Dust Woman 
Go Your Own Way 

Footnote: Yesterdays blog about @JVN and the Queer Eye crew in Quincy has officially become my most read with more than 23,222 page views in the past 48 hours. Let's keep progress moving forward!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ignorant Christianity and the Fab 5

SHERYL AND I were excited about guys from the Netflix show "Queer Eye" being in town last week. Second String Music had a small part in helping with the visit. Queer Eye is a show about five men who transform the way people look, feel and act. It's hysterically funny and touching. One of the five guys is from Quincy, and they were in town to "redo" one of our local school music teachers.

Then we read a letter to the editor from a bigoted homophobic person that calls himself a pastor, and it just turns our stomach.

You can read it here if you want. It's from an alleged pastor of an alleged church in Quincy, complaining about how we are leading our school children astray with people who practice immoral behaviors. The Queer Eye guys are gay. They were in our schools last week doing workshops. The pastor isn't happy about Quincy rolling out the welcome mat for such people. (Sheryl's response to this was a strangely coherent string of cuss words that I can't quote in this blog. Use your imagination.)

There might not be anything more dangerous than a person leading other persons and cloaking themselves in ignorance while beating their Biblical chests.

I'm a Christian, or, more accurately, a failed Christian. Aren't we all? I grew up the son of a pastor in a very conservation Christian Reformed environment, Christian schools, the works. I was heavily involved with a Quincy church for  many years, and I'm back playing guitar on Sunday mornings at another church in town.

But I've developed much more of a world view in recent years. I'm tired of people using Christianity as a line in the sand, a way to divide instead of unite.

I am glad the Queer Eye guys were in town. Sheryl and I eagerly await the episode, which should air next year.

Before it rained yesterday, I mowed the lawn. I stepped in dog poop. So I scrapped it off my shoe and kept mowing.

You know something, alleged pastor? I'm scrapping your narrow-minded and ignorant letter off my mind like I scrape dog shit off my shoe. Only your shit smells worse and doesn't go away.

While the rest of Quincy grows and changes, we will hopefully counteract this backward hatred spewed in this small town. We need progress, not backsliding.

Peace, love, joy and I'm proud to be from Quincy, home of one of the Queer Eye guys!