Monday, May 30, 2022

No guitars at a guitar show? Nobody does that!

I WENT TO a guitar show recently and when I went in the door to the huge convention center, a security guard stopped me and pointed to a metal detector.

"I'm sorry sir. No guitars allowed inside the guitar show," he said. 


"I know. I know," the guard said. "But you can't be too careful with drop-tuning maniacs and guys who pick with their pinky finger."

I went through the detector and walked into the hall and was amazed to see row after row of empty tables and guitars with no strings. Most of the vendors looked pissed. I checked my ticket - I paid $89 to get in and there was nothing to see or play or drool over. 

So I went up to the information table. A guy with a man bun and shirt that said "PLUCK YOU" was behind the table. He gave me a harried look and held up his hand.

"Stop" he said. "I know what you want to ask. You want to ask why no guitars are allowed in a guitar show. It's a safety thing. Plus you know who is giving a speech here in half an hour and we can't have somebody playing Stairway and causing a stampede before he arrives."

I looked around. The place was packed. Nobody seemed upset about not bringing a guitar or being able to see or play a guitar.

"It's the times we live in," the man behind the table said. "It's all those bleeding heart liberals and their idealism about harmonics and inverted diminished chords. They've ruined it all for us. They want to take away our rights to own guitars. So we have to be more careful."

"I want my money back," I said.

"Sorry. No refunds," he said. "But here. Take a complimentary E string for your troubles."

I walked into the middle of the room to look at a Cort acoustic with no strings. "This is nuts," I said out loud. There were about 20 people around me. "This is like an NRA convention where guns aren't allowed."

Silence instantly enveloped the room. The thousand-yard stares were aimed at me and fingers pointed. Finally, a woman said, "That could never happen." And everybody in the hall erupted in laughter.

Silly me, I thought. I walked to the exit. I was going to miss a famous guitar player give a speech but not play his guitar. There was a long line forming to get in, and my head was spinning as I left.

Thoughts and prayers to everybody attending a guitar show with no guitars. It's the least I can do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Don't leave us hanging, Mr. Lewin

TO: Jonathan Lewin

FROM: Rodney Hart

RE: Quincy Police Department Chief of Police.


Don't take this job. You will regret it. If you take it, you'll be miserable because you'll be working for an ignorant and petty man who happens to be the current mayor of our city.

You were offered the job nine days ago. You have yet to say yes or no. I think you've been doing your homework. I think you've been reading stories like this one and this one. I'm willing to bet you are wondering what kind of hornet's nest you are entering.

I like you, Mr. Lewin. You came off very well at the public forum nearly two weeks ago. Yes, you are from Chicago and you don't know squat about Quincy or what we are all about. But a fresh set of eyes is sometimes a good thing. I want you to know if you do take the job, I'll be among the first to congratulate you and welcome you to Quincy.

To say the mayor has bungled this whole thing is like saying gas prices are too high. But unlike gas prices, where we have little control, we might be able to do something about our mayor. We can certainly make him a one term mayor. Let us worry about that. You have better things to do with your life, Mr. Lewin.

This mayor has made the lives of QPD brass miserable from the day he took office. He's convinced the department is in shambles. He says he gets complaints all the time. But he has yet to produce one shred of credible public evidence about the complaints about the department. He and Mike Farha, an inept alderman, keep talking about all these problems at QPD. Then show us the proof, mayor. 

The mayor and the aldermen have succumbed to the one thing you should never do when you are a decision-maker - they believe the 1 percent of the people making 99 percent of the noise. And it's made a mockery of this search. Why bother going to the police department and talking to all of the officers and staff when you can believe the Kool-Aid coming from just down the street from your office? I'll tell you more about that whole deal later, if you want.

I will also say Adam Yates, one of the three finalists, is one of my best friends. So this is biased and completely one-sided. Believe what you will. But you yourself know how qualified Adam is, and I think you were impressed with him.

The mayor torpedoed Adam and the other candidate, Shannon Pilkington. He stacked the deck with ridiculous and inappropriate stakeholder selections. The two people he picked as stakeholders had no business deciding who was going to be chief, none. Why there wasn't somebody from a social services or criminal justice background in the stakeholders is beyond me. They are the ones who gain or lose the most in this deal.

The mayor has angered and baffled the Police and Fire Commissioners. These are good people who have made good decisions for many years. Make sure you read the story about Steve Meckes I linked above. Enough said.

Whatever you do, Mr. Lewin, you need to make up your mind now. Quit leaving us hanging while one of the most important jobs in the city hangs in the balance. If you want the job, take it. We'll welcome you and the mayor and his ego are all yours to deal with - good luck.

Or turn it down so we can move on. Thank you for your interest in our city and our department. I hope most of this has been a positive experience, and I'm sorry it dragged on so long. 


Rodney Hart

Monday, May 2, 2022

We are Retiring

SHERYL AND I are officially announcing our retirement and the closing of Second String Music. Our planned closing date is the end of June.

Why? It's just time. It's been 11 years and a great amount of fun. We've enjoyed working with all of our customers. But the pandemic took a toll on us, as has the Memorial Bridge being closed again this year. We are both ready to move on to our next adventures.

I will continue to give guitar lessons. Where and how many remains to be seen.

Starting today, everything in the store is 25 percent off. EVERYTHING. You have no excuse now if you've had your eye on one of our guitars or keyboards. They will not last long so we suggest you make your way down to Fifth and Maine sooner than later. 

 Books, drum gear and mallets are 30 percent off due to how many we need to sell before June 30.

We'll reminisce later about the store and all the crazy times we've had later. For now, it's time to make one last big push and leave on a good note/

Again, Sheryl and I thank everybody for helping us succeed. It's been a great ride!