Monday, December 24, 2012

Parents Say the Darnedest Things?

A few hours ago, my dad and I were undertaking the potentially futile mission of buying a gallon of milk at a little before 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and the usual places were all showing as closed...

DAD: Oh, look--that gas station has a convenience store. Maybe they have milk..
ME: They might, but you'll pay out the wazoo for it if they do.
DAD: That's OK, we'll check anyway. And I'm bringing my wazoo in with me when we go.
ME: To pay out of?
DAD: That's right.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not That I Thought It Was Going to Happen in the First Place...

but I'm glad I made it through my dentist's appointment today without the Apocalypse taking place.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Little Light Driving

Now that I've finally had some time off, I've been able to enjoy one of my favorite holiday traditions: Going out to see some of the amazing light displays that are found all over the DFW area. That means it's also time for Kev's Annual Lights Post, where I run down a list of my favorites:
  • Deerfield in Plano: For my money (which pretty much involves only the gas to get there), this is the best all-around neighborhood in the area for lights. It has a wide variety of streets that are easy to traverse once you've done it a few times, most of the neighborhood participates (there were fewer "Scrooge" houses this year than before), and now it features the Zephries house on Old Pond Drive, which now has 104,000 lights synchronized to music. There's also the Gordon Lights on Quincy at the north end of the subdivision that has a very nicely-synchronized display, and this year, they've really outdone themselves. (Both the aforementioned houses also serve as drop-off points for various charities, so, if the spirit moves you, bring a new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or a non-perishable food item for the North Texas Food Bank to the Zephries display, or cash/gift cards for Operation Homefront to the Gordon display.) The carriage and limo rides make this area an even bigger attraction, and I've always thought it would be cool to park nearby and do a walking tour like many of the neighbors do. (When I went on Tuesday night, the weather wasn't really cooperating at first, but I got there after the rain had stopped and made it through the area pretty efficiently, missing only the Zephries house. Hats off to the other homeowners for keeping everything on well past ten.

  • Frisco Square: Over the past several years, Frisco has become one of the top attractions in the area, with even more lights to its amazing display from last year (among the highlights for me are the lights that go across the two main buildings, which totally surrounds the viewer with light). As before, everything is synchronized to music, which can be heard either from a low-powered FM radio broadcast or from speakers near the buildings.
    And if you make it to Frisco, be sure and drive a few miles east to see the Trykoski house, where the designer of the Frisco Square lights calls home. This year, they have 85,000 lights in their display, which is also synchronized to music. (And I probably don't need to point out that nearly all of the displays with synced music include the song that's become the unofficial theme of such things: "Wizards in Winter" from this CD by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I think the entire genre started with Carson Williams in Ohio, whose display became the subject of a beer commercial a few years ago.) Incidentally, the Trykoskis are collecting canned goods for Frisco Family Services.

  • SpringPark in Garland/Richardson: The classic neighborhood of mostly cul-de-sacs, each with a different theme. Among my favorites are the displays on Silver Maple and Buckethorn, as well as the continuous train motif along Lake Shore Drive, and Debra Court was again full of win this year with its "12 Days of Redneck Christmas" theme (though they should have gone in reverse order like the song does; you'd have to drive on the wrong side of the road to sync with the song. Quite a few of the streets were more sparsely lit this year, which has been a trend for a while now; I wonder if I was just there on a night when a lot of people were on vacation.(Speaking of SpringPark, I got a kick out of a sign in front of one house in the area: SOY TO THE WORLD. GO VEGAN!)

  • Interlochen in Arlington: I haven't been here in a few years (though I'll try this year, as it's been extended through Dec. 31), but this neighborhood is unique in that several streets back up to a large canal, so the backyards as well as the fronts are decorated. This area is not too far from Six Flags, and, like the amusement park, there are signs along Randol Mill Road listing estimated times until you get to the lights. I need to make this one again soon.

  • There are also two houses in Rowlett worth seeing: One on Dogwood Trail that's all done up in neon (evidently, the homeowner also owns a neon sign company) and the Belcher house on Faulkner Drive; there's also a perennial favorite in Carrollton on Timberline at High Sierra that always goes all out, even decorating the garage as a Santa's Workshop.

  • New to the list this year are a couple of houses in Woodbridge North in Sachse (off Ranch Rd. between SH 78 and Dewitt/McCreary). One house was particularly decked out--the whole house and yard covered in lights, various flashing things...the only thing lacking was the music; I bet this display would have been really cool synced to "Wizards in Winter."
    The house next door, much more modestly decorated, included a big red illuminated arrow pointing to the decked-out house, with one simple word: DITTO."
As always, if I've missed anything, please let me know in the comment section. I'm a big fan of Christmas lights, so I'd always be interested in seeing something new.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things, Sometimes Completely at Random

The subject of the All-State Jazz Band came up this morning, and a student pointed out that she might go down to San Antonio to hear them in February...

ME: Oh, that's cool. Their concert is right before the Community College All-State Jazz Band.
KID: They have a Community College All-State Jazz Band too?
ME: They sure do; one of my students made it this year.
KID: That's so cute!
ME: Cute??
KID: I mean cool. That's so cool.

(I was finally able to discern that she had been saying everything was "cute" all weekend, so it wasn't as if she was dissing our two-year schools or anything like that...)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About My Holiday Travel Plans

This one, a beginner who started at my house over the summer, was wondering what happened over the break...

KID: So over Christmas, do we have lessons at your house again, or do we just not have lessons?
ME: Probably no lessons, because I'll be traveling on your lesson day during both of those weeks.
KID: You'll be traveling to China!
ME: Ha--why China? So I can buy toys from right where they're made?
KID: You're gonna teach the Chinese kids to play saxophone, so they can entertain themselves.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One, Two...

In all likelihood, only my jazz musician friends will get this one...

So if today, 12/12/12, is National Soundcheck Day (think about it), will 12/12/34 be National Jamey Aebersold Day?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Weekend Practice Habits

Now that contest solos are being selected, we're going over them for the first time...which doesn't mean it's supposed to be *their* first time.

ME: So you got to look at this over the weekend?
KID: I did.
ME: Ok, then let's see where you are with it at the moment.
KID: (gets look of horror on face) By myself?
ME: Oh, I see--so when you said you looked at it, you meant you literally just looked at it; you didn't actually practice it.
KID: Yes.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Unusual Instrrumentations

Yesterday, I was helping a student find a saxophone trio, which falls under the Texas UIL classification of a "miscellaneous woodwind ensemble." Some of the groupings are a bit unusual (example: flute, oboe, bassoon, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax, horn), and the kid was amazed that such ensembles even exist...

KID: That's just so weird! It's like eating a banana with ketchup.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Texas Geography

While exchanging the usual how-was-your-Thanksgiving pleasantries on the way to the practice wing this morning, the following conversation took place:

KID: So did you get to go anywhere?
ME: Yeah, I went to Sugar Land. And that's a real city, not a kids' amusement park.
KID: Oh, I've heard of that. It's on the way to Lubbock, right?
ME: Only if you're really lost.

Cool, Story, Bro...Literally

I found a heartwarming story today while surfing the web: Kids meet as friends and then discover that they're actually brothers.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

They Were Targeting Unsuspecting Customers

I own a red polo, and I do all my grocery shopping at Target. Needless to say, I don't wear the former when doing the latter (never mind that the employees wear T-shirts now, not polos). But it's funny to see people pretending to work there and customers falling for it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just Enjoyed a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner...

...of oysters, Belgian waffles, and bacon.

(As well as turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, etc. We are at the neighborhood country club, where those first three items were part of the buffet. I had to try them, just because...)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Instructors

After I did a quick warmup (that was fairly note-y and range-y) upon arrival at my last school of the day, the sixth-grader I was teaching said, "Wow, that's like the Michael Jackson of saxophone!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Holiday Music, and Their Directors Respond in Kind

KID: I don't understand why we're playing sixth-grade music.
DIRECTOR: "Sleigh Ride" is not sixth-grade music, unless your sixth-grade director was an idiot...which is possible.

(After that the director and i were imagining "Sleigh Ride" as played by sixth-graders: I noted how slow it would be if played in whole notes, while he pictured a beginner's attempt to play the "real" version: "OK buddy, more air.")

Friday, November 09, 2012

Kids Respond to the Darnedest Things?

My fellow saxophone teachers will definitely get a kick out of this: At the end of the first page of high school All-Region Étude 1, there's a measure of triplets that are all articulated "tongue one, slur two."
One kid was having trouble with that articulation this entire time, until a weird thought hit me: "Say 'tortilla' four times. Now play the measure while thinking that." The kid nailed it!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Own Abilities

Right off the bat this morning, the first student mis-counted the first note of the first étude we played.

ME: Hang on--you don't want to miss your very first note. How long is that note supposed to be?
KID: Three beats.
ME: And how long did you play it?
KID: Two beats.
ME: And why did you do that?
KID: Because I'm stupid!

(We both had a good laugh over that one...)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Kids Still Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Symbols

Forgot to post this yesterday: A beginner had his first "line" from the book that actually lasted more than a single line in the book; as often happens, he stopped at the end of the first line.

ME: So how do you know you're not done when you get to the end of the first line? What's missing?
KID (points to double bar): Black thing!
ME: What's the black thing called?
KID: Black thing!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Fashion

Behold the following exchange in the hallway;

GIRL 1: Oh, I love your shirt!
GIRL 2: Me too! I love it!
GIRL 3 (the wearer of said shirt): This? I hate this shirt!
(...a brief pause while some figures out the obvious follow-up...)
GIRL 2: So why are you wearing it?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Own Clumsiness

This morning, I had a bari player whack the doorway with his horn on his way into the practice room, followed shortly thereafter by his chair, and then me (in the funnybone--what a misnomer!). After I yowled a bit, we had the following exchange:

ME; A little clumsy today, you say?
KID: Well, at least it wasn't a tuba!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bandmates Say the Darnedest Things

My friends at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will get a kick out of this one: Yesterday morning between church services, I was talking with another member of the worship band about why I was out of town the previous two Sundays...

ME: And this past Sunday, I helped put on a concert in Belton.
BANDMATE: Belton? Is that even in Texas?

You Know It's Going To Be An Unusual Day...

...when you ask the first student of the day to play a scale, and he offers up C# Locrian. (This student has not yet studied the modes, mind you; he just decided it would be a good idea to put two sharps in his C major scale, one of them being the root.)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Hard Key Signatures

Yet another freshman was lamenting the Ferling étude in five flats that's part of this year's all-state music, and I reminded him that the reason it was in Db and not C# was because Ferling was an oboist, and they like flats a lot more than we do.

KID: I think I'm somewhat racist against flats.
ME: That's a prejudice that is perfectly OK to have.
KID: Or would that be "notist"?
ME: Accidentalist? Keyist?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

These Guys Were Unified, To Say the Least

Ever since the announcement of Pat Metheny's latest project, the Unity Band (with saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Ben Williams, and longtime Metheny sideman Antonio Sanchez on drums), expectations have run high. The release of the group's debut recording this summer certainly lived up to expectations, but the true icing on the cake would be seeing the band in live performance, and those of us in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area had that opportunity last night at the House of Blues.

I hadn't gotten to see Pat live since March of '08, when even a late snowfall couldn't keep me from making it to Bass Hall in Ft. Worth to catch his newest trio (featuring bassist Christian McBride and Sanchez on drums). As I wrote then,
When Pat Metheny plays his hollow-body guitar, it's as if all is right with the world. His sound is immediately recognizable, and it projects a warmth and optimism like no other (as I've said before, it's reflective of his Midwest upbringing--like a drive through the country on a perfect Sunday afternoon).
And just like last time, the show started with Pat alone onstage, playing his unusual 42-string Pikasso guitar (and getting all kinds of cool sounds from same). As the rest of the guys entered the stage, the unusual four-necked instrument was also used on the opener, "Come and See." The show was off and running, and from that point, we were in for two hours of wonderful music.

As might be expected from a band with a single recording under its belt, the vast majority of tunes came from that album...but as might be expected at a Metheny show, the man has a vast back catalog, and he's not shy about rearranging things from Pat Metheny Group records, his solo work, or even collaboration with other artists in new and interesting ways. So it almost wasn't a surprise when, around halfway through the show, the band broke out with the classic tune "James," from 1982's Offramp. Though originally recorded with a piano and no saxophone, it sounded fresh and completely natural in this new version.

One personal highlight of the night was when some large cabinets in the back, virtually unnoticeable if one wasn't looking for them, were unveiled, revealing them to be a small part of the Orchestrion that was used on the 2010 album and tour of the same name--one of the few times I've had to miss him on tour. It was very enjoyable getting to see this thing in action; as I said, it was a scaled-down version of the instrument (which uses Pat's guitar to trigger various keyboard sounds and percussion instruments), but it was amazing to watch it in action (and I really liked the flashing lights that went off whenever a certain instrument made a sound). While one piece on the new CD utilized the orchestrion, it was a pleasant surprise to see it at this show.

Another highlight would follow, as Pat took the time to play duets with each of his bandmates. For Potter, it was Miles Davis' "Solar" with both of them soloing at breakneck speed. Williams joined the guitarist for a lively rendition of Ornette Coleman's "Turnaround," and I'm not sure of the title of the duet with Sanchez--who's always tasty and very fun to watch--but it was definitely fast and furious.

The main portion of the concert ended with the foursome's one recorded tune that was worthy of doing so--the album's closer, "Breakdealer." But pretty much everyone in attendance knew that the show wasn't done. I was trying to figure out what in the back catalog might serve as an encore; "The First Circle" was out, but I wondered if something even older like "Are You Going With Me?" was in the cards.  Sure enough, they fired up the orchestrion and had at it, with Potter getting a nice turn on alto flute.

Still, the audience clamored for more, and Pat happily obliged, returning to the stage for a solo acoustic number. As the beginning lines of "Phase Dance" from the PMG's debut album started to ring out, I was happy...even as it started to morph into a not-6/8 version of "Minuano." He gave us a few more tunes in that manner--the closest he'll ever come to a "greatest hits' medley," no doubt--and concluded the show to raucous applause.

My only quibble all evening was that Chris Potter was so low in the mix--in marked contrast to the recording, where he's quite up front. I've heard that the same thing happened in Austin the night before, so it wasn't just a "the rock guys at House of Blues don't know how to mic a jazz band" thing. Still, even that couldn't mar a stellar performance by four amazing musicians--all leaders in their own right (even relative newcomer Williams released his Concord Jazz debut in 2011)--who came together as one during a most memorable evening. I can't wait for the sequel...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Adult Privileges

One of my eighth graders was "redshirted" by his parents when he started school, and he lamented the fact that he was old enough to be in high school now, but was stuck in middle school, where it was "boring." I tried to get him to look at the bright side...

ME: But just think of all the things you'll be able to do all year as an 18-year-old senior that most other kids can't do: Vote, buy lottery tickets...
KID: Ride the flying pig!
ME: Wait, what--there's a flying pig somewhere?
KID: Mm-hmm.
ME: And you have to be 18 to ride it?
KID: Yup.

Big Kids Say the Darnedest Things

One of my college students is a senior citizen, and this week at his lesson. we were reviewing chord/scale relationships...
ME: So the first chord of this tune is E minor 7. Which mode goes with that chord?
BIG KID: Dorian.
ME: And how does Dorian work?
BIG KID: Pretty good!

(We both had a good laugh over that one...)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Famous Composers

A quick discussion took place this morning about how music used to be written in manuscript, and how a lot of it was rather messy...

ME: I don't know if you've ever seen a picture of a Beethoven manuscript, but they're amazingly sloppy.
KID: Well, yeah, but wasn't he blind?
ME: No, he was deaf.
KID: Oh, I thought he was born blind and deaf.
ME: You might be confusing him with Helen Keller. But Beethoven had cooler hair.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Accidentals

Now that Region Jazz tryouts are over, the kids who aren't taping for State get to dive into the concert All-Region music, so the subject of the double sharp comes up again...

ME: So what does a sharp do to a note...and I want a better answer than "makes it sharper."
KID: Crap! That's what I was gonna say.
ME: You can give me a better answer than that. A sharp makes a note...
KID: Higher?
ME: Right. By how much?
KID: Twenty cents!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maintenance Guys Say the Darnedest Things

As my student and I were headed into the practice room at the beginning of class, a guy with a big box of A/C filters said, "Do you mind if i change out your filter real quick? I don't want to disturb y'all's li'l session or anything."

I've heard private lessons called many things (including "tutorials" and--ugh--"privates"), but that's the first time I've heard one referred to as a "li'l session." (Would my college lessons be called "big sessions" because they last an hour?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Order of Lessons

I thought that one particular eighth-grader would want to go first as he did the week before, but he deferred to the seventh-grader next to him.

ME: So why don't you want to go first?
KID: If I go now, I don't go now.
(That statement left me so puzzled that I didn't have a reply.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

KIds Say the Darnedest Things When Their Horns Don't Work

This morning, one of them was having squeaking problems; he looked at his octave key (which can sometimes get bent and not close properly) and asked, "Should this key be more closed-minded?" I assured him that it should remain open to as many differing viewpoints as possible.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It May Be a Great Name for a Lake (and a Rock Song), But My House Will Not Become a "Possum Kingdom"

Last night, there was a mystery afoot at Casa de Kev...

Yesterday morning, when I went into the kitchen, I noticed that a couple of kitchen towels were on the floor, and the little scrubber brush that usually sits above the sink was in the sink; a few of the plastic cups on my counter had also been knocked over. I wondered if we'd had a very small earthquake overnight; i didn't think anything could have run into the house, because I'm too far back from the street and on an elevation.

Those things were a minor annoyance at worst, but I was even more annoyed that the vent duct on my dryer (which I was about to use) was disconnected from the wall, and it took me quite a while to reattach it. But once I got that done, all was well and I left for teaching.

Upon my arrival at home last night, there was no further sign of mayhem in my kitchen, save for one thing: The carafe portion of my coffeemaker, which was drying separately on the counter when I left, was sitting in the middle of the floor! It was unbroken, mind you, but on the floor...and I doubt that it got there on its own power.

So my next-door neighbor and I came to the conclusion that it had to be a critter in the house--maybe a squirrel or large rat, something strong enough to knock the coffee carafe off the counter. And to tie yesterday morning's two events together, it had likely gotten in through the dryer vent...which was, at that moment, preventing its exit.

But a fairly thorough search of the house turned up no sign of a critter, nor had I seen the usual things that accompany such a thing (things chewed up, droppings, etc.). My plan was to leave some things randomly placed on the kitchen counter to see if there was a repeat performance, and I wasn't sure how well I would sleep...

But wait--there's more! The critter was spotted. I found it behind my washer, and appeared to be either a ginormous rat or a possum (the nose made it look like the latter). It was closed up in my laundry room as I threw out suggestions to my friends who were up late on Facebook, and the consensus was to call animal control, who we (correctly) assumed answered their phones 24/7 and dealt with after-hours emergencies.

And just like that, the "siege" was over. The Animal Control guy came in, ducked behind the washer, and carried the possum out of the house by the tail with his gloved hand. I could finally sleep in peace!

(And later today, I'll make sure that the outside of my dryer vent--which opens up into the neighbor's yard--is properly covered.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Obvious

This beginner was having trouble with puffy cheeks, as beginners often do...

ME: So have you gotten to practice in front of a mirror, like we talked about over the summer?
KID: Umm, my horn hasn't been home yet.
ME: You haven't practiced at home at all?
KID: I haven't really figured out how to take my horn home yet.
ME: Figured it out? What do you mean?
KID: Do I come get it after school?
ME: Yeah; you don't have to carry it around to all your classes or anything.
KID: Ooooohhhh...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Auto-Correct Says the Darnedest Things

I was typing out an email this morning and accidentally spelled "yesterday" as "yestetday." When I did that, auto-correct's word suggestion was "redhead terse." I think auto-correct must have been smokin' some auto-crack this morning...

Where Were You...

...eleven years ago, when you heard the news? My story, which is repeated almost unchanged ever year, follows:
I was on a break from teaching, like every Tuesday, and actually spent the time of the attacks in blissful ignorance at a nearby Starbucks. I had CD's on in my car instead of the radio, so I totally missed the news on both the way over and the way back. I did hear someone listening to a radio on the Starbucks patio and they were talking about "the second plane," but it didn't register with me at all. (It amazed me later that nobody walked inside and told us about it.) When I got back to the school, the flute teacher stopped me in the hallway and asked me if all my students were being pulled out of school (evidently hers were). I said, "No, why?" and she told me what had happened. I spent the rest of the day like everyone else, in shocked, depressed amazement, catching the news when I could. There I was, not even two weeks into being a homeowner, and the world suddenly felt so different. It added to the pall cast over everything when I found out that the sister of a girl I graduated from high school with was on Flight 93, the one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. (I know that there have been quite a few lists of names read aloud today, so let me share hers: Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. May she rest in peace...)

The whole thing felt so surreal; how could anyone hate us that much? The concept of the suicide hijacking was unprecedented as well (before that, hijackers just usually wanted to go to Cuba, and that's why airline personnel were taught to cooperate with them rather than try to subdue them).

I know there are still terrorist plots being hatched, and people capable of carrying them out...but I hope nothing like this ever happens on U.S. soil again. Or anywhere, for that matter.

For those who may be new to reading this blog since then, I'll invite you to share your recollections in the comments to this post.

As I've said for several years now, I hope nobody tires of talking about this every once in a while, because if we stop talking, we might forget, and this is a day that need not be forgotten anytime soon.
And it blows my mind that, if I asked some of my current students about that fateful day, their answers would be "I was an infant/toddler at the time."
May we never forget...

Friday, September 07, 2012

KIds Say the Darnedest Things About Exotic Diseases...

...and sometimes the teacher responds in kind.  Yesterday morning, the kid I was about to teach was staring at himself in the mirror and fretting over a pimple he hadn't seen before...

KID: Aaaaaah! Where did this come from? I probably have some awful disease.
ME: Yeah, you've probably contracted West Nile. [feigning sad face] It's been nice knowing you...
KID: Yeah, and by now, it's changed into swine flu.
ME: Right...because you were just standing outside, and a pig came up and bit you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Unusual Accidentals

The All-Region music for saxophones this year has some double sharps in it, and most of the freshmen haven't seen then before...
ME: So this sign is called a double sharp. Do you know what a double sharp does to a note?
KID: Makes it even sharper?
ME (laughs): Well, that's not a wrong answer, but I'd like more details. So by how much does a single sharp raise a note?
KID: Umm...
ME: I'll give you a hint--it raises it by a half...
KID: A half note!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Band in General

Kids say the darnedest things about band in general. I was helping an alto player who was just switched to tenor with his new concert pitch transpositions, and he was having a little trouble...

ME: Just think for a second. You're in school now, so you're supposed to start thinking again.
KID: Yeah, but not in this class!

The New School Year Has Begun, and Kids Are Already Saying the Darnedest Things

Today, a beginner who started with me about a month ago was learning some new low notes...

ME: So if you take the F that you're fingering now and add one more finger, you have...?
KID: An E! just like on recorder!
ME: That's right! And what would you get if you added one more finger?
KID: An H?
ME: No, there's no such note as H. But look what we've been doing: We started with a G, and then we keep going one letter earlier in the alphabet. So what comes before E in the alphabet?
KID: I got's an I.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Bach Compositions

The marching show music for one of my high schools includes a famous one by J.S. Bach, the name of which the kid was trying to remember...

ME: Don't forget, this comes from a famous piece by Bach; you could look it up and listen to it if you want.
KID: Oh yeah I remember--it's called, Veronica...
ME: Toccata...
KID: Right! Toccata and Feud.
ME: Fugue.

(Come to think of it, "Vodka and Feud" might be a good name for a country song.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More from the Department of Redundancy Department

I passed a truck today that had "FedEx Express" painted on the side. Since FedEx is short for Federal Express, wouldn't that mean this truck was Federal Express Express? (That's almost as good of a redundancy as entering your "PIN number" at an "ATM machine"--especially if you use the cash you receive to pay for the "SAT test.")

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Alternative Modes of Transportation

As the first kid I taught today was going out the door, I noticed that the car which was picking him up was very lengthy...

ME: that a limo?
KID: Yup.
ME: Why are you getting picked up in a limo?
KID: We got nothin' else.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Hard Key Signatures

Upon seeing that one of this year's All-Region sax etudes is in Db major, one kid said, "Wow, this key fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Instrument Makers

KID: So who came up with the fingering system for the saxophone, anyway?
ME: Well, that would be the inventor of the instrument, Adolphe Sax.
(Obligatory "Adolf? As in Hitler?" question from kid follows, as does my discussion of how Sax was Belgian and spelled his first name differently.)
ME: He basically tried to improve upon the fingering system of the clarinet...which makes sense, because legend has it that his father invented the bass clarinet.
KID: What was his father's name?
ME: I have no idea.
KID: Was it Mr. Clarinet?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things at the End of Camp

As I visited each sectional rehearsal of my band this afternoon, one of my trumpet players had an interesting goodbye message for me: "Don't get hit by an airplane!" I assured her that I would try to avoid such things...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When Wearing Superhero Costumes

A kid at camp spent the entire day dressed as Batman, and we crossed paths at the beginning of the day...

ME: Nice costume. But I bet it's tough to wear that today, considering how hot it is outside.
KID: That's why I'm in here.

(Oh, and Batman apparently plays the trombone. Who knew?)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Music History

The subject of Bach came up when we were working on a section of a high school marching show for next fall...

KID: You said that Bach only wrote for piano, because the saxophone wasn't invented yet, right?
ME: Actually, the piano wasn't even invented until partway through Bach's lifetime.
KID: Really? So what kinds of instruments were alive in Bach's time?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Singing

This beginner was playing low F for the first time, and I was showing him how to make an "AH" sound to open the throat...

ME: (plays low F)
KID: (sings along with me and matches my pitch almost perfectly)
ME: Good! That was a real good job of singing .
KID: Really? I could get a job singing?
ME: Ha, that's not what I said; I'll let the American Idol judges make that decision. I said you did a *good* job of singing.
MOM (in living room): (laughs)
KID: Aww man, I thought you said I could get a job singing!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Reeds

It's always funny to see the looks on the faces of brand-new beginners as they wet a reed for the first time...

ME: So what do you think--the reed doesn't taste too good, does it?
KID: It tastes like a mouse ate some wood, then spitted it out and gave it to someone else to try.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Sharps

Today, the subject for this eighth-grader was E-sharp, and we started by discussing the effect of sharps in the first place...

ME: So what does a sharp do to a note?  And I want a more detailed answer than "it makes it sharper."
KID: Aww man, that's what I was gonna say!
ME: No, I want a little more detail than that. So again, what does a sharp do to a note?
KID: Makes it louder?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

It's Summer, But Kids Still Say the Darnedest Things

This one was learning the Region Jazz etudes for the first time...

ME: This next tune is called a ballad. Do you know what a ballad is?
KID: Something you vote with?

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Class of 2012

It's graduation day for the two high schools where I teach! Congrats to Tyler, Tyler, Tyler and Tyler (lol)...along with Alex, Bobby, Brad, Cailey, Cameron, Connor and Drew. Some of you I only taught for a short time, while others were with me all seven years of secondary school. I"m happy that many of you will continue to play in college, but no matter what, I hope that music will continue to be an important part of your lives.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why Music Matters, Beautifully Stated

There have been plenty of essays written in the past several decades about why music (and by extension, music education) is so important, and this is a great addition to the collection.  It's by Karl Paulnack, Director of the Music Division of the Boston Conservatory, and it comes from a welcome address that he gave to freshman students in 2004. (How have I gone this long without running across this address before now?)  Here's one of the money quotes, in my opinion:
[...]I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds.
Read the whole thing; it's worth your time. And if you're in an area where the schools are considering cutting back on fine arts classes, please share this with the people who are pondering such an awful decision.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Calendar, Part 2

I was going over intervals with a student today, and, as frequently happens, he thought the next interval after "major seventh" was "perfect eighth."  He was of course embarrassed that he didn't realize it was also called an octave, since there's a key on the saxophone with that name...

KID: Oh, right...oct- as in octagon.
ME: Yup, and octopus.  And the eighth month of the year used to be October, just like SEPT-ember was the seventh month, and November and December were the ninth and tenth.
KID: But wait--that's only ten months!
ME: Right...until the Romans got hold of the calendar and added two months named after their most famous Caesars.
KID: (thinks for a second) So what would that be...May?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Dictators

The subject of Fidel Castro came up, and we discussed the urban legend of how he had supposedly been rejected by an American baseball team, and how history would have been different if he had made that team...

ME (sportscaster voice): And Castro hits a bomb to center field....oh my; that really WAS a bomb to center field!
KID: And he yells, "Praise Allah!"
ME: Umm, I'm pretty sure Castro isn't Muslim.
KID: That's what he wants you to think...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Thinga About the Calendar

Yesterday, the subject of our late school start (public schools in Texas can't start before the week containing August 21) came up:

ME: Back before that law was passed, some schools started as early as August 1, which pushed marching band back into the middle of July.
KID: Yay--right when it's snowing.
ME: Wait--what do you mean, snowing? In July?
KID: Yeah, it snowed. Remember? Not this year, but the year before that.
ME: It doesn't snow in July here; I think you mean January.
KID: *facepalm*

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Rhythmic Subdivisions

Kids say the darnedest things about rhythmic subdivisions...

ME: How many sixteenth notes go into a half note?
KID: Lots?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

So You Say That the Rest of School Could Learn from Jazz Band? OK, I'm LIstening...

A Facebook friend linked to a very interesting article in Psychology Today where the author, William Klemm (a neuroscience professor at Texas A&M) suggests that the one subject in school that's really doing things well is...jazz band.
Hearing such wonderful music from children raised a nagging question. Why can’t kids master complicated science, math, language arts, or social studies? Why does everybody struggle so mightily to get kids to pass simple-minded government-mandated tests in academic subjects? And then it hit me. Jazz-band teachers do the right things in teaching that other teachers need to learn how to do. Two things are essential in teaching, the professionalism of the teacher and the motivation of the students. Most school jazz programs provide both. Sad to say, this is not so true of traditional curriculum.
Read the whole thing; it's definitely worth your time. And feel free to hit the comment button to continue the discussion if you wish.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things, Even When Occasionally Crossing the Line

This one came at the beginning of a lesson this morning...

KID: So...what's new? How are the wife and kids?
ME: The kids are hopefully nonexistent, and the wife and I are still trying to meet for the first time.
KID: So, no sperm bank donations, then?
ME: Wow--that's perhaps the most awkward lesson comment ever...
KID: Really?
ME: Maybe. And you know this is going on Facebook. You can even read it in a month! [He's a senior.] Along with all the other crazy stuff my students say.
KID (laughing): I'm not sure that I want to...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When They Take Your Questions Too Literally

The high school audition music was passed out at the end of last week, so I'm hearing kids on it for the first time today...

ME: So have you had a chance to look at this yet?
KID (hesitating, sheepish grin): Yeah.
ME: So do you mean you actually practiced it, or did you just simply look at it--"Hey, look: Notes on paper!"?
KID: Looked at it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Nearby States

I was discussing tomorrow's jazz trip with one this morning...

ME: This may seem early, but tomorrow at this time, I'll be on a bus, headed to Wichita, Kansas for a jazz festival.
KID: So you're going to go play jazz with corn?
ME: No, there's a perfectly good festival out there.
KID: So you'll have the most teeth of anyone there?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Missing Items

One kid at a middle school who had evidently lost a pair of glasses was asking the director if he'd found any...

DIRECTOR (holding up a pair) Are these yours?
KID: I don't know; I can't see.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Sheet Music

This one came into his lesson empty-handed, and I asked him why...

ME: Didn't I pass out something to you last week?
KID: Yeah, but it was for jazz.
ME: So that means what, that you have it memorized? OK...1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4...

Friday, April 13, 2012


Tonight, I'm in the thick of preparing for a big concert that takes place tomorrow, but I would be remiss if I didn't pause for a moment at this time to reflect on the third anniversary of my accident, the entire story of which may be found here (go to the Older Posts link at the bottom of the page, then again to the bottom of that page to a post from 2009 called "An Interesting Day," and then skim at will). As I just said on Facebook, while the ensuing recovery was definitely a challenge, I'm grateful for the things I learned at the time and the friends and family who helped me along the way.

As for now, the knee hardly bothers me at all, save for a little piece of excess cartilage near the scar that seems to have hardened into a bony knot and precludes me from kneeling on that knee (so yes, it looks like I'm Tebowing if I have to do that on a hard surface) and the occasional twinge when the weather gets really, really cold. Three years ago, I had no idea what the immediate or long-term future would hold, but it seems to have gotten back to normal in relatively short order.

Big Kids Say the Darnedest Things

In one of my college jazz combo rehearsals yesterday, we were tuning the horns, and one of them, a retiree in his 70s, was just a little sharp, so I told him to pull out his mouthpiece just a "micro-hair." He reached back to his nearly bald head and plucked something out, saying "Here you go--a micro-hair!"

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Just a quick note to mark my ninth anniversary of blogging. While I certainly haven't gotten things completely figured out with regard to proper maintenance of this blog in the era of Facebook and Twitter, it's still in my long-term plans to keep this thing alive and viable. If nothing else, it will continue to be a collection of "Facebook's Greatest Hits" (the Kids Say the Darnedest Things and Playing This Week in the Kevmobile series), as well as longer-form things that don't fit as well on the social networks, such as essays, CD and concert reviews, and so on.

For those of you who visit here regularly (or even irregularly), thanks for stopping by; I'll try to always make it worth your while.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Bad Penmanship (Mine in Particular)

As I entered a student's check in the ledger and endorsed it, he took note of my, umm, "unique" signature...

KID: (laughs)
ME: Like my signature, do you?
KID: It's like a jazz signature.
ME: Oh yeah?
KID: Yeah. If jazz had a signature, it would be that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When They Mis-hear Instructions

A band director related this tale from yesterday:

DIRECTOR: If you're working the fundraiser this weekend, you'll need to wear a white, collared shirt.
KID: Huh? A white-colored shirt?

Monday, April 09, 2012

Kids Spell Things in the Darnedest Ways

Some middle schoolers were asked to mark their music with the names of the instruments that were playing the same parts that they were. On one kid's page, he was playing alongside the "cleranets'" for a while; he was later joined by the "fluts" and the "obous."

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Less Familiar Musical Terms

Today, a student and I were playing a duet with appoggiaturas in it...

ME: Oops--what happened there; did you just lose count for a second?
KID: Nah, I was just confused by the Impostor Zero.
ME: You mean appoggiatura? Impostor Zero sounds like an anti-hero in a comic book.
KID: You know what I meant. This is going on Facebook, isn't it?
ME: You know it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Food, Part 2

Somehow, the subject of restaurants came up this morning...

KID: I want to go try that new place that's coming to Rockwall--Four Man, I think it's called?
ME: You mean Five Guys?
KID: Yeah, I knew it was some sort of male thing.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Obvious, Part 2

Kids say the darnedest things about the obvious, even if it isn't actually obvious to them.
KID (headed toward our lesson): Hang on a minute; I have to go get my neckstrap.
ME: Umm,'re already wearing it.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things, and Sometimes They End Up Being True

ME: Now, this piece is marked Andante. Do you know what that means?
KID: Yeah, it's someone's name.
ME: Someone's name? As in, "Hey, how are you? I'm Andante Jones."?
KID: There's a kid in my class named Andante.
ME: Really now...
KID: He's from Romania.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About All KInds of Stuff

My future stand-up comedian was in rare form yesterday...

ME (looking over comment sheet from solo and ensemble): Ahh, I see a few things we've talked about in lessons before.
KID: Don't judge me!
ME: Nah, that's Mr. (name of judge)'s job.
KID: You may have won the war, but you lost the battle!
ME: Wait...that works out in my favor.
KID: Oh yeah? Just wait--I'm gonna send you to Cuba while Castro is still alive, and it's a dictatorship, and we'll see how you survive without any peanut butter!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Distractions

This one tried to put a repeat sign at the end of the first line of a two-line exercise...

ME: Wait--why did you try to repeat that part?
KID: I dunno. I guess I was distracted.
ME: What was distracting you?
KID: The pencil.
ME (looking at my pencil on the stand): The pencil? So if I move this pencil, all your problems will be solved?
KID: Maybe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coaches Say the Darnedest Things

Texas Tech football coach Tommy Tuberville, in this morning's paper: "We are going to have the opportunity to host probably three top-10 teams at Jones AT&T Stadium, and I don't think any other school in the country can say that."

Well, yeah, other school will likely be hosting any games at your stadium...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A Simple Solution to Copyright Issues in Music Education

Today was Solo and Ensemble Contest for my high school students, and, as I noted on Facebook, I had to "rescue" quite a number of people who forgot the original copy of their solos or the score to their ensembles. (A bit of background to anyone who was never a school musician: The performer has to furnish a clean, original copy of the solo or the score to the ensemble, with no markings other than the measures numbered [or as many kids accidentally say, "the numbers measured"], and disqualification will result from not doing so. I tend to carry my entire selection of originals in my trunk on contest day in order to solve last-minute crises as described above.)

Among the comments to that post were several from my former boss from my days of moonlighting in the retail print music industry, and, as one might expect, he advocates for following the law to the letter--i.e. that the student should be using an original edition of the solo from Day One (what usually happens in practice is that the student practices off a photocopy until the order for the original comes in, and plays off that copy if he/she does not perform the solo from memory). He also correctly states that the one student who simply never ordered an original needs to do so before proceeding to the next level of competition, which is not until Memorial Day weekend. And then he asked me why a photocopy should ever be used in the first place. A band parent also commented on the thread, noting that the issue should first be taken up with the band directors.

This spawned a fairly long discussion from me, which is reproduced in its entirety here:
1) First of all, while I agree that it would be ideal if everyone had the original of the solo right away, I'm not sure that this is a realistic situation in light of the way that the contests are scheduled. In my region, All-Region is always the first weekend in December, and Solo & Ensemble is always the first weekend in February. Many of my students are so busy with All-Region that they don't even pick their solos until the week afterwards, and the possible lag time on an order (as well as Christmas break closings by most publishers) might leave the student with only a month to practice the solo if they had to wait until it was ordered.

2) Beyond that, I'm not sure that the "only using the original, never a photocopy" scenario is realistic unless every student performs the solo from memory, which simply is not the case with many younger, less-advanced students. Besides that, the original has to stay "clean" for the judge with no markings other than having the measures numbered. To perfectly realize [my former boss's] scenario would require buying TWO originals, and that's simply not something that parents are going to get on board with anytime soon. (To cite an extreme example on my instrument, the alto sax solo Tableaux de Provence comes in at an eye-popping $44 this year.)

Again, others are welcome to disagree, but to me, owning the original and making a "practice copy" is no different than owning a CD and ripping it on your computer to put on your iPod. Even the RIAA, for all its greediness, doesn't expect someone to buy a distinct mp3 copy of a CD he/she already owns just to listen to it on another device.

[The band parent who commented] is of course correct that the band directors likely bend farther from the letter of the law than we private teachers do, but I see both sides of this issue. One can't realistically expect directors to pass out originals to 16-year-olds until said 16-year-olds suddenly become 100% responsible caretakers of same. (I'll pause a moment while every parent reading this thread collapses in a fit of laughter.) The odds of a student leaving music at home or at school on the morning of UIL [the big concert and sight-reading contest here in Texas] are too great, and that would punish an entire ensemble, not just the irresponsible student.

But check this out: I'm not just writing about problems without offering a solution--one that would make both the students/parents/directors AND the music publishers/retail outlets happy if done properly.

The big problem at hand is that the publishing industry--like most content providers--is operating under an outdated and severely flawed business model, mostly by limiting itself to preexisting physical copies of the published material. With virtually everything able to be saved as a PDF, the entire process could be streamlined in this manner:

1) Retail music stores could serve as the gatekeepers for the publishers' "print on demand" capabilities. (We would assume that not all publishers would be interested in dealing with retail customers on a regular basis, so the music stores would not lose this element of their business.) This means that the 16-year-old COULD lose a part on the morning of UIL without tanking the entire band's performance, because the director would have a license to purchase a replacement part right then and there, printable on his/her own computer.

2) Make everything available as an individual part--in other words, if the publishers don't want students making practice copies of their solos (even though I still think this is OK under the "put a copy on your iPod" scenario I described earlier), then include two copies of the solo in the set to begin with. The price might be a tad higher in this case, but not nearly as much as it would be if the student had to buy two distinct originals of the solo (which also means buying two piano parts, which is completely unnecessary).

3) The ability of publishers to archive their entire catalogs on PDFs would also mean that there would be no reason for a piece of music to ever go "permanently out of print." {Former boss], you may correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole reason that happens in the first place is that a piece doesn't sell enough to justify keeping physical copies in the inventory, but if it's reduced to a small file on a hard drive, this scenario is rendered moot; those items that don't sell well can be printed on demand only, which will increase the sales of that item in the long run (even if it's only 5 or 10 a year, that's 5 or 10 more than the zero copies that would be sold if the item went POP).

(This last one is a soapbox issue for me right now, as one of my students didn't get to play his solo this year because it went POP sometime between last summer, when the PML [the prescribed music list for competitions in Texas] was revised, and now.)
And as if on cue, someone else on Facebook who wasn't involved in the discussion posted this article, which, although it deals with the movie industry, also touches on the flawed distribution model of only providing physical copies of media on the content providers' terms, the consumers' needs notwithstanding.

I'd love to hear other opinions on this outside the scope of my Facebook friends, so feel free to chime in with your comments.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Celebrities

I use the first two notes of the National Anthem as an example of the dotted eighth/sixteenth note rhythm, and we got on a tangent about how some amateur renditions of the Anthem are less than successful...

ME: Yeah, some of them are kinda bad.
KID: Well, not everyone can be the next Julia Roberts.
ME: Can she even sing?
KID: Wait--that's a real person? I thought I just made that up!

(I quickly went to Wikipedia to produce a picture of Ms. Roberts, and the kid said she looked somewhat familiar.)

The same kid had one more take on national anthems. I mentioned that ours was particularly difficult to sing, compared to, say, Canada's...

KID (sings): O Canada...I hate your bacon!
ME: (laughs) You don't like Canadian bacon?
KID: It's...just...ham. Why do they call it bacon when it's just ham?

If this kid goes into stand-up comedy later in life, this blog might get a lot more readers...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fans of the Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Rejoice!

It turns out that, before Svensson's untimely passing in '08, the group had one more album's worth of music in the can...and it's about to be released:
Nearly four years after their demise following the tragic death of pianist and composer Esbjörn Svensson in a diving accident in June 2008 a new EST studio album, 301, is set for release on 30 March on the ACT label.

[...][T]heir appetite to continually evolve and experiment saw the trio’s final album, Leucocyte, recorded in 301 Studios, Sydney Australia just prior to Svensson’s death, become their most radical departure yet. In addition to the released album nine hours of music were tracked at the Leucocyte sessions and it was Esbjörn’s initial plan to edit it down to a double album, or release two consecutive albums. In the circumstances following his death it was decided to release it just the single album.

In November 2011 after both recording solo albums and touring, bassist Dan Berglund and drummer Magnus Östrom decided to revisit the sessions and together with their sound and recording engineer Åke Linton, whose electronics played a key part in these recordings, decided to edit the remaining material.
This is great news. I can't wait!

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Dead Composers

This one was playing a Bach minuet and adding some, umm, artistic license...

ME: You keep trying to put an F# in there.
KID: I know. I like that F#!
ME: Yeah, but Bach didn't, or he would've put one there. And he may be dead, but you don't want a German ghost haunting you.
KID: Good thing I'm German...
ME: But you still wouldn't want a ghost with a powdered wig coming in your room...
KID: Yeah, I know, 'cause I just washed my bed!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Footwear

Today, I was wearing my TOMS shoes to school, and a kid noticed:

KID: I've always wanted a pair of those. How do they feel?
ME: They're amazing.
KID: Like a potato?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wait..Haven't We Heard This Story Before?

A story of note from the business world last week involved a global beverage company buying out a smaller competitor in order to avoid name brand confusion, even though many people believed the smaller company's product to be superior to that of the giant one. And while you may say, "Wait--we've talked about this already," hang on; I'm not talking about Dr Pepper at the moment, but Budweiser:
Anheuser-Bush InBev NV (ABI.BT), the world's biggest brewer, has acquired the rights to some Budweiser brand trademarks in Europe by striking a deal with a small Czech brewer, marking a small step forward in a long-running legal battle for global use of the Budweiser brand.
While I never sampled the smaller Budweiser that was bought out last week, my parents brought me some Budvar Budweiser--the last remaining barrier to Anheuser-Busch's exclusive ownership of the name--from a trip to the Czech Republic, and it's a far better beer than the one from St. Louis could ever dream of being.

I sure would like to see David beat Goliath in the corporate world again sometime...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The End of a Legend...and for No Good Reason

I can't tell you how upset I was to read this a few moments ago. From the Facebook group called "Support Dublin Dr Pepper" comes this horrible news:
As some of you may have noticed I had pulled this page for the past few weeks. I was asked to do so by the people at The Dublin Dr Pepper bottling company, as they were in negotiations with Dr Pepper/Snapple Corp/Cadbury. In lieu of the outcome of the court case I feel that it is time to open the page back up.

It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you the results of the case. A true Texas tradition has died. As of five o'clock central time The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Co and Dublin Dr Pepper are no more. Dr Pepper/Snapple/Cadbury Companies won their case against our small bottler and have closed the plant in Dublin. They have graciously allowed the new museum and soda shop to remain open, but they will only be able to serve regular Dr Pepper sweetened with sugar; not the original recipe we all love.

I know that all of you will be affected by this outcome, but I can't even imagine the devastating affect it will have on my small town. I vow to NEVER buy a product made by any of these companies and pray that you will let them know exactly how you feel. As always, there is contact information on the Info page. Please pray for all of the newly unemployed Dublin bottler employees, and for Dublin, Texas.

Thank you for all of your support!
Corporate greed at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. I'll savor my last few sixers of Dublins that I bought the last time I was in Stephenville last month, but after that, I guess my weekly DP at Chick-fil-A will change over to something else; I'm not supporting this corporation in any way, shape or form.

UPDATE: More information can be found here; this article makes it appear that they settled, and Dublin probably caved a bit to avoid having the full corporate legal hammer fall on them. It still sucks, no matter how you slice it.

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Holidays (the sequel)

Back in October, a Monday kid was lamenting the fact that the next Monday holiday wasn't until MLK Day next week. This week, he was confronted with the fact that the holiday is almost upon us...

ME: I'll see you in two weeks. That holiday you've been longing for is next week.
KID: Next week is spring break???