Catchin’ Up (Or Down)

I damn near got myself into a traffic collision today because I was driving at the blazing speed of 8mph (It’d be interesting to get pulled over for this one with the cop asking “Do u have ANY idea of how fast you were going? Me: I dunno, seven?”) which caused me to spin out on my downhill right turn comin’ off a stop sign.  You may be asking yourself, “Jimmy why r u boring us with a story about an accident that never happened?”  I’ll tell you why.  I hadda semi-trailer boss/teacher who instructed me at one point to assume that everyone else on the road is an idiot and therefore can’t be trusted. Normally solid advice but in this case the person driving the oncoming vehicle was going slowly enough as well and also had the wherewithal to swerve around me. I wish I knew who that was cuz I wanna buy ’em a steak dinner.

Chuck’s column about Daoud Shaw was so well written and poignant that I recommend every visitor read it. We call it “One in a Million”

Moving right along, I actually watched the Oscar awards in hopes that someone would say something bat s@%t crazy. Didn’t work out that way but it was amusing that some very low-level celebrity tried to steal Frances McDormand’s “Best Actress” award for 2017.  The guy got busted for it and is now up on felony theft charges.  This reminds me of a story from a few years ago where Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had his Super Bowl rings stolen from his home. Why would anybody do this considering they’re now involved in a felony grand larceny?  Yes, I’ve heard of international thieves who steal valuable diamonds, ancient treasures and artistic masterpieces before but who can they show them to? Who can they sell them to? What satisfaction can be gotten that’s worth the risk of a 12 year prison term?

I was confronted recently with clamshell packaging almost resulting in a wound you’d normally associate with a mountain climber’s fall or suicide attempter (NO DAMMIT! I was just trying to open a package!!) Why can’t they make these things easier to deal with?

Luckily, all the news isn’t negative insomuch as I just learned about a new phenomonon called “Drunken Shopping” (Thank you God) which apparently involves people getting blasted, buying a bunch of stuff they don’t want or isn’t the right size or color when they eventually sober up and then humbly bring the object back the next day demanding a refund as tho it was the store’s fault. If anyone’s looking for a candidate for a new Olympic sport I believe we’ve just hit gold here.

Imagine the announcers play-calling: “Ilsa from Poland has exhibited exquisite form here with her irrational demands for a refund putting the Polish team solidly in the lead!!”

“Juanita from Guatemala has just gone down in aisle ten!!! She looked like she had control of her shopping cart but we’ll hafta go to Paula down on the field for her take on this stunning development!!!”

(Paula) It doesn’t look good here, Jim. Stumbling in a sideways fashion is bad enough but a full-on falldown will take her and her team out of medal contention.”

“Here comes Team USA!!! The sweater choices and sizes have been solid and sensible so far but OH NO!!! Megan just puked on one of the garments costing them valuable style points!!”

I swear to God that I could do this all day.

Thanks for reading and do be sure to hit for great content about music, comedy and current events.

Oh yes.




One In A Million

Daoud Shaw. An Appreciation. I first had the pleasure of meeting Daoud back in the spring of 2000. I was in a Philly area band called Third Level and we decided that we wanted to record our first (and only) album entitled, “Altered Horizons”. Our guitarist had a friend who had recorded at this little studio out in Andorra on the edge of Philly. So after a couple of introductory phone calls and e-mails, we set up our first recording session. Prior to recording, I did a little research on the owner/producer of this little studio called Radioactive Productions. The guy’s name was Daoud Shaw. I didn’t know the name, but the resume leaped off the page. He played with Van Morrison, he was the original drummer in the SNL band, he toured with Etta James (and by extension, the Rolling Stones), he was in the Jerry Garcia Band and on and on and on it went. I can fully admit this now. I was unbelievably, off the charts intimidated at the prospect of recording with this guy and a little worried that he might be an egotistical jerk. Then I met him. I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life. Daoud was as genuine and as kind and as sweet a person as I have ever known.  We all immediately felt right at home. Literally. We were in his home. He was always so welcoming. That studio was so comfortable and Daoud was the main reason why.

Over the next 6 years, we recorded a number of projects with Daoud. My favorite times in the studio were the times in between takes. When we would all just talk. Daoud would offer (almost always correctly) advice on how to make the song better or different or more appealing. We would be sitting there like little kids asking him about all of the famous people he had met and worked with. There was never and I mean NEVER, a hint of “Look at me and who I know” about Daoud. He was so incredibly humble and so incredibly sweet. Instead of hearing wild stories about Mick and Keith, we would hear fantastic little stories about him going out cymbal shopping with Charlie Watts. Or about the days up in Woodstock, NY when he was recording the “His Band And The Street Choir” album with Van Morrison. Or about when he recorded a ton of TV commercial jingles out in LA.  I learned SO much about the recording process from Daoud. Playing music is an art. Recording music is a science. And Daoud was a mad scientist in that little studio. He helped us create things we never thought possible. I remember one late Friday night where we had laid down an acoustic track that just featured vocals and acoustic guitar. We all agreed that something else was needed. That something was Daoud. He (again, 100% correctly) suggested some light percussion. Well, when you’re in the presence of one of the world’s greatest percussionists, it would be foolish not to at least ask him to play. He didn’t want to. Not out of ego or anything like that. “This is your project”, he kept gently telling us. It might have been the late hour, or maybe he was just tired of us all whining at him, but he finally agreed. He played the shakers and the triangle and, best of all, he let me run the board. I was in heaven. I got to watch the master at work (he played brilliantly) and I got to be the apprentice to the mad scientist. It’s a cherished memory that will stay with me forever.

I think the thing I loved most about knowing Daoud laid beyond the studio. He was, at his core and in his soul, a wonderful, peaceful, funny, beautiful person. During breaks, we would hang outside of his house and just talk. And laugh. Lots of laughter. We wouldn’t talk about music. Just about life. He was so fascinating to listen to. I think I enjoyed those times outside more than when we were inside recording. Daoud was a uniquely special person. I fought back tears this morning when I learned of his passing. But for as long as I’m allowed to stay on this earth, I will be eternally happy that our paths crossed and that I got to know Daoud as well as I did and that I got to consider him a friend.

Rest in Peace, my friend. And Make A Joyful Noise.


Random Thoughts Part II

True story.  35 years ago I hadda supermarket job stocking shelves when one day while I was stacking canned green beans a guy comes along claiming he was the original Jolly Green Giant.  His wife/significant other reassured me that this was true but I wasn’t buying it although I nodded at ’em as though I was.  Can u blame me? How many people do u come across in life who claim to be the f#%@ing Jolly Green Giant???

Secondly, we’ve hadda few hits from Canada recently and I feel the need to give ’em a shout-out.  Yep, the next time anyone in the U.S. decides to call u a bunch of backwoods, syrup-slurpin, seal clubbin’ yahoos, rest assured I’ve got yer back.  Despite the many complex and almost desperate issues going on with the Mexican border these days it’s reassuring to know that NO ONE (not even Donald Trump) is planning to build a wall between the USA and Canada.  Why u ask?  The Canucks would rather freeze to death than associate with us and recipricuosly Americans aren’t that much interested in our northern neighbor seeing as we can freeze OUR asses off just fine in New Hampshire, Montana and Alaska when necessary.

The New England Patriots have suddenly decided to get all spooky again. NEVER count out Tom Brady. The Pats/Raiders and Eagles/Cowboys games are gonna be good watching this weekend.

Just a few thoughts and until next time keep a cold one in the cooler for me.



We’ll Take the Bill Now Waiter

I love progress, I really do.  It’s gotten so dysfunctionally slick that instead of just getting an e-mail showing what I owe on my cable bill I receive a full-on, condescending video of what I owe with audio notes explaining how I got into this mess in the first place.

Being a forward-thinkin guy, I’d like to recommend the next step in our world of progress by suggesting that my cable provider invent a cartoon character called “Billy: Your Friendly Bill Explainin’ Squirrel” wherein Billy would explain to us how idiotic and self-indulgent it was to order “Wanda Does Walla Walla” in a moment of weakness last month, resulting in a “very reasonable” charge of $17.99 per viewing.  Billy could then step into the next phase of the billing process where he resolves absolutely none of our questions in the billing and tax phase of our bill to the point of imparting in an appropriately high, squeaky voice “HAHA!!! F*&# YOU and I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA!! or “GET A LIFE GOOMBAH!

Still, I have high hopes for our theoretical friend. Being cute and fuzzy can really take u a long way in this world, much like the Terrier outside my window who figures it sound thinking to bark his ASS off at 2:30 in the morning. Getting back to Billy, I’d like to see his lovability used as a force for positive change bringing love, peace, goodwill, free love, opioids and all the other fun stuff that modern society provides us.

To be honest, all I’ve been doing in the preceding paragraphs is running interference while waiting for Chuck’s response to this e-mail:

Me: “1st off, I went to Nick’s for a beef combo and gravy fries today cuz I just couldn’t take it anymore after 3 months of introverted denial (Evil demon on left shoulder: “get Nick’s roast beest w/gravy fries Jim, Chuck would WANT u to do it” while the angel on my right shoulder is saying “No, no it’s a sign of betrayal!”

Guess which side won.  Having just driven 8 hours up and 8 hours back to and between a wedding in Provincetown, MA I’da thought that a good post or two would be easy money, but no dice. As my sister so eloquently put it “I can’t believe we got thru that incident-free.”  (My family’s weddings usually qualify as some kinda spectacle that’d make the Cirque du Soleil jealous.)

Having noted all this I’ll take ANYTHING in the way of ideas for a post (it’s been a while, man.) including your scientific opinion on the preservation of mastodon fossils.  Lacking that, I’ll post this e-mail and WHATEVER thoughts on the subject of wooly mammoths as u may  be so kind as to impart.”

As fun and wonderful a writer Chuck is he can also be a surly, recalcitrant bastard when he wants to be. Fear not, for I shall harass him when/where necessary. This is my solemn promise to u.

Oh, Tom Petty died last week as most of us know by now.  One person fancied him an equivalent American songwriter equal to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (allow me to throw in John Lee Hooker) in a statement I’ll never disagree with. Once again lemme see if I can git this video goin’ (it always seems to be a challenge) If not, listen to The Travelling Wilburys “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” on your own.  You’ll be glad u did.

Stay safe and be strong.






Time to swim against the current a little. I know at this time of year, most parents are overjoyed that the kids are heading back to school. Not this parent. I love all of the things that the girls and I do all summer long. I love being outside with them. I love game nights that start at 9 o’clock at night. I love heading to the local park to shoot hoops with them. I love taking them to baseball games. I love hitting the beach with them. I love attending outdoor concerts with them. But, mostly, I love the freedom that summer allows. Childhood races by at blinding speed, and childhood summers race by even faster. I, for one, am in no hurry to see them end.


Yep, I have those memories too although I’ve hadda adjust mine to “stay the %#&* outta jail”.

Walter Becker of Steely Dan recently passed away so lemme see if I can hook you up with a good number here (below). Becker w/b the guy playing bass and singing in the background by the drum kit. He and singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen pioneered a lot of the music we hear today and yes, that’s Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar for you Doobie Brothers fans.



Gimmee a T for Texas

I originally wrote this piece prior to the devastating hurricane and ensuing flooding that our friends and countrymen/women down in Texas/Louisiana now have to contend with.

I guess we all’ve found about where to donate but I’d like to recommend some others if it suits ya:

Actor and Philly native Kevin Hart opened his heart, wallet and a website for donations at

Next, there’s always the good ol’ Red Cross at

Here’s the intended post:

As I dragged my sorry ass out of bed one morning last week, clicked on the TV, slumped in my slightly stinky, cockeyed yet noble comfy chair and reacquainted myself of the surroundings here at The Ponderosa I became aware of a news story whereby ESPN allowed itself to reassign a perfectly good and talented man from broadcasting the upcoming football game between the University of Virginia and William & Mary University. All because his name is Robert Lee (see link here…

Thru a series of rhetorical questions, historical quotes and sensible thinking I shall now attempt to make some sense of this…

First off, here’s a pretty good profile of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (from 1856, 5 years prior to the Civil War) in a letter to his wife and his attitude towards slavery…

“… In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.”

— Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856


From Wikipedia I found this ( “Lee inherited a number of slaves with Arlington House.[12] He proved not to be a very good slave master.[12] He tried kindness and refused to use torture. But the slaves knew their freedom had been granted them in the will and refused to work.[12] Lee wanted to grant them their freedom but needed them to help him see out the work at Arlington House.[12] Personally, Lee hated slavery calling it an “evil” to both blacks and whites.[12] But he tought (sic) it had to be ended gradually or the economy of the South would wikt:collapse. (sic)[12] But Lee did agree with other Southerners thinking that blacks were inferior. He believed God would work out the problem in his own time.[12] Lee, like Thomas Jefferson had mixed feelings about slavery.[12] ”

Considering the momentous issues of that time period, four years of war resulting in over half a million casualties, half the nation thrust into poverty, the resulting Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement plus our current struggle over which monuments come down and which remain, I got a question…

How does Robert Lee, ESPN broadcaster, get dragged into this? Are there people who can’t tell the strategically, tactically brilliant yet clearly morally conflicted Confederate general from a modern day guy who calls football games? Besides that, there’s gotta be a million guys walking around with the name “Bob Lee”.  Are there really people who would demand that others with a similar name be subject to a lifetime of social semi-banishment?  Now how about other Confederate leaders names? Apparently they’re less offensive insomuch as they tend to be less monumented and therefore less well known. That’d mean we also have to shun anyone currently named Jeff Davis, Tom Jackson, Al Johnston, Jim Longstreet, Dan Hill, Harry Heth, Joe Johnston, Bill Pender, Bill Rhodes, Dick Ewell, Ike Trimble, Jim Kemper and Dick Garnett among many others.

What I’m getting at is simple enough.  How far do we want to take this?  As far as I know, any community in the USA can erect or take down monuments at it’s own discretion.  While we ALL have the right to freely assemble and exercise our right to free speech at such an action, that community is also entitled to be free from violent activities under both state and federal law.

One more thing.  The National Civil War battlefield parks (Gettysburg, Antietam, Spotsylvania, etc…oh, and wonderful places to visit btw) host voluminous amounts of statues and monuments, so that we can learn about American history and teach our kids about how this country got to where it is and hopefully inspire them to meet the ideals that we always aspire to. Do we tear them down too?  Luckily, the history has already been made as Lincoln said:

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. ”

In short, we can do what we want but the the land won’t forget.  Like Edmund Burke once said “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”

Sorry to be preachy.  It’s normally not the way I like to write but sometimes things need to be put back in the prism of history.

What I’ve written here is no reflection on anybody on this blog but me.  It’s just the way I think sometimes and I take full responsibility for it.