You want ukuleles? We got ukuleles.

Shorty LongBob Guz was in Los Blues Guys toward the end. He was in the Terraplanes for much of its too-brief existence. Bob is an amazing rhythm guitarist. He has a singing voice that I’d kill to have, and is an all-around helluva guy. His wife Lyda is warm, bright, and gorgeous.

What in the hell, you may perhaps be asking, does this have to do with ukuleles?

It so happens that Bob is also in the world’s greatest ukulele band:

Shorty Long

Brad and I went out and saw them at a neat, funky, Austin bar (is there any other kind?) last year.

They were a revelation.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always a big ukulele music fan. But I am after that night. They seriously rocked. All of them are excellent musicians, and their singer, Mysterious John, is the distillation of all cabaret singers who ever lived.

I bought their album, ‘Taters’, and adore it. Bob is the spiffy-looking third guy from the left in the pic above, incidentally.

You can stream two of their songs for free at SoundClick.

Yeah, I know, you think I’m being hyperbolic. Listen to ‘Nancy From Nancy’, and you’ll be a convert, too.

They’re scheduled to play at the Hole in the Wall three times next month. If you live within flying distance of Austin, I heartily recommend that you make the effort to catch one of their gigs.

Pic credit: www.shortylong.com

Thankful: The Good, the Bad, the Odd

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The Good: Rupert Murdoch has pulled the egregious book-n’-TV-show “If I Did It”, featuring O.J. Simpson thumbing his nose at the world. Not, mind you, because it was in mind-numbingly bad taste, but because advertisers and TV stations were refusing to support it, and the backlash against the Murdoch organization threatened to cost money. So, no, this doesn’t argue a sudden up-welling of good taste on Murdoch’s part, but it does suggest that there are places the rest of the world just won’t go. No, I don’t think this constitutes censorship: if Murdoch (or Simpson, for that matter) are dead set on airing this important set of documents they can do so–but they’ve been warned that they’re unlikely to see a penny for it.

The Bad: my younger daughter hurt her knee at a synchronized skating try-out and is on crutches; I haven’t done any shopping for Thanksgiving (or Christmas!) yet; and there are tears in both the cushions of our livingroom couch, just in time for the Season of Guests. All of these things are amenable to improvement, but it’s first thing in the morning, the aforementioned YG has a middle-school tour today, and I’d really like to go back to bed rather than dealing. Oh, and I’m trying to sell my father’s house, a converted barn in the Berkshires, from 2,000+ miles away.

The Odd: from this morning’s paper, and Reuters news service, I learn that Yael Nezri, the current Miss Israel, has asked for, and recieved, permission not to carry her assault rifle during her military service; the rifle was bruising her legs, making it difficult for her to do photo shoots. Doubtless if confronted with the Enemy she will dazzle them into submission with her smile and her leggy goodness.

Among the many other things I am thankful for this week is the oddness of stories like that, and the humanity of my fellow beings. May you all have a perfectly serene and delicious Thursday.