Monday, May 30, 2016

Justice SOCIETY of America - 5-30-16 - Since DC might...

While I may rail against DC's crappy movies...their TV shows are pretty fun.

It's been said the Justice Society of America will appear in next seasons Legends of Tomorrow and sure enough in the last scene in the season one finally we got a glimpse of Hourman.  AND with Jay Garrick's Flash being introduced in The Flash's season two finale...I'm pretty dang excited.

For those out there not steeped in comic book lore, The Justice Society of America was the precursor to the Justice LEAGUE that you're probably more familiar with.

In fact, they are the precursor to every dang super hero team and even super hero team up EVER!

They the shit!!

Here's a Jeffy take on them.

Round the table there are the charter members:  The Atom, The Sandman, The Spectre, The Flash, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern and Hourman.  Working clockwise in the rear:  Wonder Woman, The Red Tornado, Dr. Mid-Nite, Superman, Starman, Black Canary, Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt, Wildcat, Mr. Terrific, Batman and Johnny Thunder.

I Love these guys (and girls).

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"I Ride an Old Paint..." - 5-27-16 - A Carousel for Missoula

Well school's about to let out for the season and that means that summer is truly upon us.  Which of course means "A Carousel for Missoula" will be expanding it's operating hours, opening it's concession stand (mmmmmmmmm shaved ices!) and kids will be letting out happy squeals of joy.

3rd in my irregular series of the horsies here at ACFM, here's almost every one's favorite.


"Paint" is the unique horse "adopted" by Irene and Larry Pirnie.  Larry Pirnie is a local western artist based here in Missoula.  In his paintings, he uses ever changing eclectic bright colors to show the energy of a running, wild horse and that's why Paint stands out so well.  Pink and blue and red and orange and green and lavender and yellow, you'll note that Paint also has no saddle.  Paint is a wild horse.  And kids and adults all love to ride free on her.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Guitar Psychologist - 5-26-16

Little change in Unca Jeffy's personal life.  My therapist is retiring/moving on.  I have a new one all set up and I'm looking forward at a different perspective on things, but I will miss my old guy.  

Dave A. is about 70 and has worked most of his psychological career through the military and through the VA.  He's a big believer in musical therapy.  You see, listening to music does wonders in the brain.  It lights up a lot of different areas that sometimes don't get used and fires off all kinds of endorphins and dopamines and feel good things that fight depression, and especially serotonin.  A regular dosage of serotonin keeps Jeffy happy and not sad.

Well, PLAYING music fires up even MORE areas of the brain and gets even MORE juices flowing.  When you play music your brains dealing with math, motor skills, language skills, all kinds of creative areas light up and on and on and on.

Turns out that when you play music (an instrument, not just an mp3), your brain becomes wayyyyyyyyyyyy too busy to ever dwell on nonsense that makes you mad or sad.  It just gets to do it's job, and that makes it happy.

So sessions with Dave A. have pretty much for the most part consisted of me sitting in his office one day every fortnight and playing guitar and singing him some songs.

And it's really helped.

This reminds me of a doctor I once had working on me in urgent care that prescribed candy to alleviate a calcium deposit I had formed in my salivary gland.

These are GOOD doctors.

I'll miss Dave A.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"I'm With Stupid" - 5-25-16 - A Fester Faceplant Joint

Quick one today!

A quick doodle I did the other day for my old buddy Mark Knox (Fester Faceplant to you).

I can't explain much more though.  Top secret stuff.

Now I'm off to a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally long day at work.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Squirrels on Mars - 5-24-16 - Meeting Missoula @ Open Mic

I met a couple of new guys on the old open ic circuit here in my new hometown of Missoula.  A couple of guys in their early 20's, Sean and Colby.  They play as a band called
Squirrels on Mars.  Their FaceBook page describes them as just a couple of sensitive guys who like Faith Hill.

That's a really horrible likeness of Sean, but DAMN did I nail Colby.

Sean plays guitar and sings and Colby plays drums and harmonizes.  At open mics Colby usually plays bass (easier to tote around) and they sound great.  I got to see them at the Imagine Nation Brewing Co. where they keep a drum kit set up and got to hear them in full gear.

A couple of really nice guys who have some really great songs.  Stuff like the one about "life going on and on...and on and on and on...and on and on" and my favorite sing along of theirs "I Like Being Unemployed".

Solid stuff.

This is a really talented town that seems to attract even more talent.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Caterwauling! It's still in style - 5-23-16

Yesterday morning I got a text from my friend Debbie, here's what it said.

"Good morning.  A cat decided to sing a broken hearted love song outside my window last night.  Some cat chick gave him a LOT to sing about.  He went on and on and on." 

So with all the empathy I could muster I stopped laughing.

Then I drew this.

It does my heart good to know that certain stereotypical comedic principals are still in place in the real world and sometimes life can be just as absurd as an old Warner Brothers cartoon.  Like...


or heck, even a Warner Brothers live action sequence by Busby Berkely.  Like...

Keep up your caterwauling!

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A New Song and Writing More - 5-19-16

Last night I again hit the open mic road.  Wednesday's a good one with The Starving Artist Cafe at 6 and The VFW at 9.

I did a nod to Guy Clark (who died on Tuesday) at "Starving Artist.  I did "Black Diamond Strings", "The Cape", "Dublin Blues" and "Stuff That Works".  That made me happy.

Then I headed up to the VFW and did my own stuff.  I haven't written a new song in years, but just this Monday I did.  There's a place here in Missoula called The Oxford Saloon and it's a great place, too.  The diviest of dive bars with the greasiest of cheeseburgers and breakfasts and a long history which includes selling booze and gambling during some times in our country's history when those things weren't really allowed.

It's always struck me odd, that this place shared a name with one of the finest institutes of higher education in the world.  Then as I got older, it dawned on me, just how many smart people I've met at  the Oxford.

So I wrote a song for all of them.  There's a few lines being flubbed here, but you'll get the idea.

It's been a hit at the couple places I've sung it.  Makes me want to write more. 

It's like a lyric sketchbook.  So it counts.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Justice League of America - 5-18-16 - Since DC won't...

People seemed to enjoy my "Jeffy cartoon take..." on the superheroes from the movie "Captain America Civil War".

Marvel has done a really solid job of bringing their characters to the silver screen over the course of 13 movies in 8 years.  DC however....

In the same time frame they've done 2.  Both of them reeked to high heaven.

They've so far starred 2 of their characters (Superman, Batman), featured 1 (Wonder Woman) and cameoed 2 (Flash, Aquaman).

Step on the gas, DC.

So since they're never going to get around to making a good Justice League movie (they are doing a movie, it just won't be good) I thought I'd cartoon me up a version of my own.

To be fair, DC does a kick-ass job with it's animated forays and it's TV versions of these heroes currently on CW/CBS have been lots of fun.

I'll point out that while they've onnly brought 3 of their heroes to the big screen, no less than 8 pictured here have appeared full-bore on their TV shows (Red Tornado, Hawkman, J'onn J'onzz, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Flash and the Atom), 1 has appeared from a distance, in silhouette and mentioned often (Superman) and at least TWO more have at least been alluded to (Green Lantern, Elongated Man).

Seriously, DC.  Pull the trigger on the movies.

Talk to you soon.

Pictured: (top row) Red Tornado, Green Lantern, Hawkman, J'onn J'onzz, Friestorm.
(bottom row) Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, Superman, Elongated Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, Zatanna, The Flash, The Atom.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Guy Clark dies at 74 - 5-17-16

Guy Clark died today.

Guy Clark was one of my top 5 favorite songwriters of all time.

This is not a happy day.

I'll miss you, Guy.  Say hello to Townes and Suzanna.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Meeting Missoula Flathead Lake Brewing Co. - 5-16-16 - Chuckdawg and the Wake for Paul

Meeting Missoula installment 562A.

Proving NO ONE sits alone in this town.


A few weeks ago after grabbing a quick bite to eat, I noticed The Flathead Lake Brewing Co. was right next door with a tap room on the 2nd floor above the crowded restaurant.  So I says to myself, "Self?" I says, "What say we go nurse a beer and see how good they make it and stare out that 2nd story window while we do it?".  I agreed with myself and headed on over.

I didn't go inside the restaurant to find the way up because right next to the patio was an external door leading to a flight of stairs.  So ups I goes.

The staircase is long, narrow and steep with just drywall walls with a light coat of paint on them.  They reminded me of a staircase I had gone up in a bad place in Tijuana once.  When I got to the 2nd floor landing, it was just that.  The landing.  The hallway that should lead to the 2nd floor was boarded up.

I thought that maybe the sign downstairs was old and the tap room was really on the 3rd floor, so I turned past the ATM that was there in the bare hall and went up the next flight of stairs.

At the top of these was a little room off to the side with a tiny bar, about 15 people, a toddler, a dog and a sectional couch.  Tables at the other end by the windows I had seen from the street and a few more people on the balcony.  I went in.

Standing at the bar I was behind a woman ordering Moscow Mules for her husband and herself.  I thought "How strange.  A brewery tap room with a full bar?".  This was clue number 3 that I ignore.  Or maybe 4 or 5, I ost track.  The woman turned around, seemed stunned that she didn't recognize me, stuck out her hand and said, "Hi, I'm Susan."  I introduced myself and then ordered a beer.

I got my beer and went to the opposite side of the room by the windows to take a look at my new hometown from a different angle and a guy holding a tall boy can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer came up to my table and introduced himself.

"Hi!  I'm Chuckdawg!".  I said, "Nice to meet you Chuck.".  He came back with a smile and said, "No.  Chuckdawg.  All one word.".  I smiled and asked, "Not even a hyphen?".  He said, "Not even a hyphen", and sat down across from me.

He asked how I knew Paul, then all of the tiny clues that I was in the wrong place came crashing into my feeble brain.  I asked if this was a private party?  His face went blank and his eyes got wide and said, "Yeah.  This is for my friend Paul.  He committed suicide last week."

Good move Jeff.

I apologized and stood, explained my confusion and said I should leave.  He replied, "Well, you probably don't WANT to be here.  It's a wake.".


"Unless you'd like me to tell you about my friend Paul.".

I smiled and sat back down and said that I would very much like to hear about his friend.

He explained how he had grown up with Paul and they were always good friends, but a couple years ago Paul started acting differently.  He became confrontational and violent, wanting to fight every time he saw Chuckdawg.  Chuckdawg eventually estranged himself from Paul and hadn't been in contact with him for 2 years.  In fact, though he knew all the others in the room, he hadn't talked to them for as long.

I realized that Chuckdawg was at a friends wake whom he didn't really know anymore with a bunch of people that he used to know, but didn't anymore.  And he just wanted to talk about his friend.

And I was in the wrong place at the right time to listen.

Somewhere in the middle of his story-telling, Chuckdawg drunkenly meandered off mid-sentence and wandered out onto the balcony with some people he used to know and started up the conversation with them.  I ducked out.

It was a good day.

No one sits alone in this town.

Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meeting Missoula @ Open Mic - 5-13-16 - Michael the Left Handed Hippie


I missed my favorite 2 open mic nights this week!

Monday at The Imagine Nation Brewing Co. was pre-empted for a bands CD release party, to that was out and then I missed Wednesdays at The Starving Artist Cafe because (not blaming this guy, I am a fan) Bernie Sanders blew into town for a rally about 100 yards from where I work, so I took the bus and couldn't make it to the cafe on time.

Luckily, I've met lots of cool people at these and have plenty of blog fodder even if I miss one.

This is Michael.

Michael was one of the first people I met at my first outing at The Eagles Aerie (1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, if you're keeping track at home) and he's always been a happy friendly guy.  Writes all of his own stuff from passionate love songs where he sings "Your love is like a canyon" to the one about that "Mother fucking dog" that bit his finger that one time.  I see him most often at Imagine Nation lately though.  Always good to see him.

He has that unsettling habit of playing left handed.  I guess he can't help it.  ;)

Sometimes wearing his hair in a "man-bun" or "top-knot" I like him anyway.  

Talk to you soon. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dragons are Perennials - 5-12-16 - A Carousel for Missoula

So I have this gig down at "A Carousel for Missoula" here in my new hometown.  I've mentioned briefly before that it's a beautiful old carousel with some updates that make it a real community type dealy,

The original innards and structure of the carousel are from 1918.  Refurbished, repainted, remachined, retooled by volunteers.  Carvers were trained in the art of making carousel horses, and each and every one is hand carved and hand painted.  Each horse was "adopted" by a company or a family here in Missoula, who each got to design their own horse.  Each horse is laden with images and objects that mean something specifically to the adopters, so every horse is COMPLETELY unique and a true work of art.

There are 2 carriages, 37 horses and 1 dragon on the carousel.

1 dragon.

Which nearly EVERY kid from 2-60 wants to ride.

Kids still love dragons.

And they're right to.  Dragons are pretty cool.

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Avengers DIS-Assemble! - 5-11-16

Man Oh Man!

I saw that there "Captain America Civil War" on Saturday.


Comic Book Super Hero Fan Nerd-vana!!

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meeting Missoula @ Open Mic - 5-10-16 - Richard of the Dozen String Slide Guitar

More folks I've met at Open Mics.

Richard.  The guy with the dozen-string slide guitar.

Richard may be the first person I met at one of the music open mics I hit.  It was at The Fraternal Order of the Eagles,  Aerie #32.  They do open mic every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month and it was my first try at getting up at embarrassing myself.

Richard got up with a Dobro and a slide on his finger, said something like, "I just moved here, so pardon my accent." and then knocked me out with  his playing.

I had to get up after him.  Sheesh.

At the end of my set though, he came up to me, shook my hand and said how much he liked my stuff.

Missoula.  Home of REALLY talented musicians, and not a A-hole in the bunch.

The next open mic two weeks later he showed up with a slide on his finger again, but this time he had his 12 string guitar with him.


Good thing he's such a nice guy or I'd hate him.  As nice and friendly a guy as he is talented.  Maybe more so.

I've seen Richard all over the place now.  The Eagles, Imagine Nation Brewery, The Starving Artist Cafe and even The Ole Beck VFW Post 209.

One time he actually brought a 4 string cigar box guitar.

One time he brought a case full of harmonicas and a flute, just hoping to jam with somebody else.

This is a great town.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Comedy Open Mic - 5-9-16 - The Union Club

I've spent the last few months here in Missoula, hitting open mic nights and singing and playing and all around having a good time.  I recently had a new challenge though.

My sister's husband's brother's niece in law twice removed I guess, is involved in a comedy troupe here in town, and was hosting a comedy open mic last Thursday.  Cinco De Mayo...big party night.  Lot's of people out.  At the Union Club...big party bar.  Lot's of people.

She hadn't come to see me in my music open mics, but remembers a few time in my sister's back yard when my nephew and I would whup out our guitars and sing a few raunchy and funny songs, so she assumed that that's all I did.

My stuff at the music open mics is often funny.  But only because you don't expect it to be.

At a comedy night, people are expecting it, and daring you.

It's a whole different ball game.

It went pretty good though.  And I'm glad Krysta afforded me the challenge.

At music nights, you are given a certain number of songs you can do (2 or 3) or they give you a time limit (20-30 minutes)  At comedy night I had 3-4 minutes.  3-4 minutes to get up there, let the audience know who I was, set up my POV, set up the jokes and then tell them.

It was a blur, but I remember them laughing.  It was good.

I remembered the old Fozzie Bear axiom of show business, "Make it louder.  And funnier." and applied it to my usual shtick.  I just made it louder and funnier.

Talk to you soon.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Meeting Missoula, Oxford Edition part 326A - 5-5-16 - Night Shift Dave!

I stopped into the Oxford last Sunday about 4:30 for a little break and met this fella here.

I suppose I'm lucky to have met him at all.  Seems he works the night shift 12 am to 8 am, "swamping" the Ox.  He had only come out in the daylight because he "Just needed to see what people looked like.".  Hazzards of night shift work.

It's probably why he struck up a conversation with me.  Probably not to hear what I might have to say or to discuss whatever hot topic was in the news, but to see if his voice worked and if he could form sentences.  :)

So we talked.

Seems that DAve had lived in Southern California for about 30 years, too (a running theme?) and worked as a carpenter in the movie/TV industry.  He was hired as an assistant on the first season of "Tales From the Crypt", and by season 3 he was in charge.  "Every set you saw on that show from then on was built by me." he proudly says.  "I'd get these orders for these weird sets and would OK them without even knowing where I'd get the materials for them." he winked,  "But you can get anything in LA."

"Everybody loved me in LA.  Those plastic, fake people you hear about?  They're everywhere, and that's why people liked me.  I was the only 'real' person they knew."

He seemed just as proud of his job swamping the 60 year old saloon.  "Tonight's my big night.  11 hours.  And I'll WORK 11 hours, too.  No 1/2 hour breaks for lunch...I nibble a little and keep working.  I don't mind though, the owner's my friend and she needs help."

"11 hours is NOTHING!  I spent the last few years building bridges.  There's no LIGHT work when you're building bridges.  You work straight through and work hard."

He finished his beer and stepped out into the sunlight.  It was going to be daylight for another 3-4 hours and he'd sleep for another 3-4 hours past that before his 11 hour shift.

Naw, that ain't workin'.  THAT's the way you do it.  You play the guitar on the MTV.

THAT ain't workin'.  THAT's the way you do it.  Get your money for nothin' and your chicks for free.

Talk to you later.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Meeting Missoula, Oxford Edition part 718B - 5-4-16 - Ric the Englishman Drummer

If you could make a living by meeting people in my new hometown of Missoula, I'd take the job.  Problem is, you can't help but meet them, so everybody'd have the job.

If I could
Then I would
Make money doing something that I love I'd thank my lucky stars above
If I could just get by meeting Missoulians
Than I would just get by meeting Missoulians
Put food on the table
Pay the money to the landlord
Buy some workin' clothes
But,  I ain't makin' money meeting people like I'm paid at the factory

"If I Could" paraphrased from the Tim Carroll song.

Here comes one now!

This is Ric.  R-I-C-no K.  Ric's from England originally, but now Ric's from Missoula.

I met Ric on a Sunday afternoon excursion to The Oxford Saloon.  He was in a heated (read: passionate) discussion about movies.  They were talking about their favorite films and relating the stories told and artistic turns taken, but like so many they were getting bogged down.  In trying to describe themes and stories, they would say "this actor so and so" did this or that, in a way so the other could follow along, but they had horrible memories for actors names.

"In 'Deliverance' that guy...that pretty boy...he was know...'Bandit'!" when trying to remember Burt Reynolds name, for example.

The problem with that is, and the reason I find frustration in it, is people then get into a trivia game of trying to name everything that Burt Reynolds was in and the point to the tellers story is lost.

Because someone in the crowd remembers seeing Burt in "Evening Shade" doesn't propel the story of "Deliverance along in the least. 

Suddenly there's no real conversation.  Just list making.

My brain lives on lists.  It's easy for me.  So at a certain point I tried to help.

"One of the greatest under-rated movies of all time was, 'Harry and Tonto'!  It know that guy...Honeymooners guy..."


Then of course I had to apologize and explain why I had interrupted them.  I wanted to hear what he had to say about "Harry and Tonto" not play 20 questions.

He smiled and told me that he appreciated the help and understanding.

Ric and I got to talking, it turns out he had spent about 30 years in Southern California, too.  He was a drummer and lived in Venice Beach and played gigs all over the southland.  

Then one day he heard about Missoula.

I explained that I had spent 30 years there as well, but I already new about this place.  But one day I decided, "You know?  Enough bullshit.  Maybe I'll go have a beer at The Ox."

Ric smiled at me, gave me a fist bump and picked up his pool cue.  He said, "Excuse me.  I have to go to 'work'."

Then he said, "If you ever need a drummer, give me a call.  I'm the most professional THIS town.  I like to hit things.  It's my job."

Then I drank my beer and left.

Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Meeting Missoula at Open Mic - 5-3-16 - The Starving Artist and Ruth!

Howdy all.  I've been exploring a little more of my new hometown of Missoula of late and meeting lots of folks.

I almost said "folks with stories to tell" and it's true that all these people probably do have great stories to tell on themselves, they just don't come out and tell you.

It's Montana, you've gotta listen if you want to hear.

I've been performing (playing guitar and singing) at a bunch of open mics around town.  There's a slew of them.  Imagine Nation brewing Co. on Monday, Stage 112 on Tuesday, Starving Artist Cafe and the Ole Beck Post of the VFW on Wednesday, "The Eagles Lodge and The Broadway on Thursday and a running competition one at The Badlander that I still haven't checked out.  And probably a few more.

Lots of creative community spaces.  Lots of talented and creative people filling them.

This is Ruth.

Ruth is an attractive woman somewhere in her mid 40's I'd say.  I've met her a few times at The Starving Artist Cafe open mic.  She usually brings along a friend who plays guitar while she sings.  This past week, her friend was out of town so she was there by herself.  She told me, "You're about to find out why my friend is the guitar player." in a way of telling me she wasn't very good.  Then she got on stage.

The Starving Artist allows 3 songs.  Ruth's first 2 were great, her guitar playing was nothing to be ashamed of, it was solid rhythm and carried her voice perfectly.  Then her guitar shyness took over.  In fact, it took her to a place I think that would have had most of us WAY more afraid than flubbing a chord change or 2 on a guitar.  She put the guitar down and pulled out a pitch pipe (the kind your 3rd grade music teacher used) and commenced singing A Capella.  She sang "Moon River".  

How a person who's nervous and insecure sings A Capella in the first place is beyond me.  And THEN to take on a Henry Mancini song???

By the time she got to the line about "My huckleberry friend", she had me in a puddle.

Missoula's got some surprises out there.  And you don't have to look that hard to find them.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thieves and Their Mothers - 5-2-16 - Aesop's Fables

Going through my sketchbook,  found one last Aesop Fable doodle I had done.  

Last meaning, for my first time running through them.  I don't think I'm finished with this yet.

This one was left aside because it's a harder one to take I think for some.  And one that I did because I think one of the interesting things about these fables, as they were written over the course of 1,000 years and edited, abridges and altered as years went by to fit whatever social morays were in place at the time, is that even the ones that seem a little out of place or harsh still hold a lot of truth.

"The Young Thief and His Mother"

One day a young thief was caught stealing some valuables from a wealthy family.  Upon investigation, it was learned that the lad had a long history of thievery (lots of "priors" as they say) and so was sentenced to imprisonment and death.  At the gallows he asked a last request to be able to speak to his dear Mother, and the request was granted.  He begged his Mother to please come close to him, for what he had to say he wanted to whisper in her ear.  His Mother obligingly leaned in so that her ear was within an inch of the doomed boys mouth, at which point the young thief pulled a Mike Tyson on her and clamped down with his teeth with all his might on her ear and ripped it from her head.  The attending priest asked the boy why he had done such a thing.  He replied that, "When I was a very small boy I would steal very petty things, quite small indeed, and when I would bring these trinkets home and offer them to my Mother as gifts she did not ever scold me.  She would instead laugh and say that they would not be missed and then covet those gifts.  As I grew older and more daring and at the encouragement of my dear sweet Mother, I stole larger and more valuable things until at last you see me before you.  I would not have become what I have become and landed here at death's door if it had not been for her and I wished to punish her.".  The priest looked at the poor bloody old woman and said, "He's right you know, the Lord hath said,...


"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he shall not depart therefrom."

Rough on poor Mom, but probably true.

Talk to you soon.