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Conversations with me, No. 8
Email highlights, ca. January 1998

Dedicated to the proposition that every thought that's ever been thunk may be of use or interest to someone . . .

>While on this sad topic, it occurred to me to ask if the case 
>of the little girl who was killed in the Las Vegas casino rest room...

I remember that very disturbing case, and no one that I know of has even
mentioned it.  A lot of my online friends are still discussing the JonBenet
Ramsey case, recent revelations of the similarities in style of the Christmas
greeting this year and the stun gun video have heated it up again.  I'm
afraid the poor little Las Vegas girl is all but forgotten.

I went to a Beatle Convention in Philly with friends a couple years
ago and saw Cynthia Lennon and actually got to chat with her a few minutes
about wildflowers and her place in Isle of Man.  She mentioned that she's
still close to Patty Boyd-Harrison-Clapton from the old days, and I asked her
when Patty was going to write a book.  She answered, "NEVER!"  She seemed like
a very nice charming English lady, I liked her immediately.

ME: Subject: honorifics [Washington Times opinion column]

Hi Deborah [Simmons], 

I enjoyed your article today.  I agree there is way too much 
rudeness nowadays and agree with most of the examples you gave.  

I disagree on honorifics, though.  I believe they're good for nothing 
and cause confusion and trouble.  If there was a time when it was 
considered rude to call a person by his first name, it's a simple 
matter of declaring a new rule: 

    It shall henceforth be considered the ultimate in respect 
    and politeness to address a person by his first name.  

About the above greeting, it's not any sort of a jab - 
even after reading your article, I honestly don't know how you would 
like a stranger to address you.  Still, nice article.

THEE: Subject: All my friends are boppin' the blues

I am distressed about yesterday's passing of Carl Perkins.  Richard 
Harrington partially redeemed himself for numerous sins in the past 
with his well-written tribute in today's "Post."

We had intended to go to the Sunday concert after I read a 
piece about it in the "Post."  Your message merely reemphasized the 
event's status as a potential happening.  We did go and were slightly 
disappointed.  Firstly, we arrived too late for the discussion part 
and I'm sorry we did.  I think we missed seeing Mitch Miller.  As for 
the concert, we enjoyed the John Cage piece, which featured a woman 
playing records on a turntable on stage and two men doing the same at 
turntables in the audience.  We thought it could be louder.  I slept 
through the second piece, and don't remember who wrote it.  The third 
piece, a Ravel, was nice enough.  Alas, the intemission was so long 
that the show extended past 6 p.m. and we had to leave before the 
finale, the Elvis impersonators.  Today's "Post" has a review of the 
concert and doesn't mention the Elvis piece, so I'm wondering if they 
even did it.  I also wonder if Mitch Miller was there.  Thus, we 
didn't get all we expected.

THEE: I read the "Times" radio column yesterday.  Hself was ahead of the 
trend in that she's been boycotting the morning WHFS DJ for a couple 
of weeks now.  She heard his first show, in which he railed against 
D.C. residents, and he later played some goofy country song that went 
something like, "I wish I was a lesbian instead of a hetero."  Hself 
wondered, "If he wants to play some lesbian music, why can't he just 
play Phranc?"

THEE: It's not final yet, but we could be having another "big event" 
with the club.  How about a re-creation of that first concert in the 
Washington Coliseum?  I'm trying to get the Invasion to play a benefit 
concert in which they would play the same setlist with some of the same 
choreography/dialogue that the Beatles did on 2/11/64.  I've already got a 
commitment from Russ Lease to bring the original drumskin (for exhibit 
only) plus I'll get local D.C. rock & roll historian, Bob Embree to talk 
about that first concert.

ME: re: scrabble game

Hself and I were running neck and neck and I knew I was going down the 
tubes because I had a Q from the very first draw that I could never 
unload.  I figured Hself would go out and I would eat my Q.  Well, 
when their racks were down to 4 letters, they started claiming they 
couldn't go.  That was hard to believe because the board had plenty 
of available vowels *and* consonants.  I was saving Q I T just in 
case somebody played a U in the open.  (I knew they had some, because 
they both made plays with U's - which I could have used! - that had to 
come off because they were no good.  (Hself tried NEURO; Hself, VUE.)
Hself eventually played a U for UP.  So, it goes around and everybody 
passes and the game stops and they show their racks and lo and behold 
they *do* in fact have a bunch of amazing garbage.  Hself had U V K K, 
Hself had U V V.  Three Vs! Two Ks! And they both had U's while I'm sitting 
there with Q I T!  Anyhow, since Hself didn't go out, that saved 
the day for me - my 20 point lead survived.  

ME: Do I understand that you have an Upwords game, 
but not the rule sheet?  I don't have the game myself, but 
I've had a very good time with it in the past.  I asked a friend 
to refresh my memory on the scoring.  

Each cube (is that what they're called) is worth 1 point.  

If a word is all on the first level, you double the score for that word.  

(That rule encourages spreading out some befoer before going up.)

If a word has a cube above the first level, you count a point per 
cube - *including* all the cubes which are covered up.  

It's like scrabble in that if you make more than one word, you 
score them separately, and add them all up.  

The rules said that the Qu cube is worth a bonus of an extra 2 points 
IF the word formed is all on the first level.  

I hope that helps.

ME: Subject: hang the deejay....

Glad to hear that somebody else has at least some problems with 
WHFS deejays.  Based on some recent discussions, I was highly 
concerned.  I'd be hard pressed to name anything on earth more 
consistently revolting - and I know it ain't me...

Th Point, that's the kid's video with a Nilsson soundtrack?  Whether 
it is or isn't, I've never seen it and have always been vague on it.  

Had a chance to invite a Times writer to my honorifics web page 
after reading an article on the subject a couple of days ago.  The 
writer bemoaned their decline.  

Good game at scrabble last night.  I ate Q I T.  Hself ate V V U.  
Hself ate V K K U.  I was waiting for their Us.

THEE: Subject: Clinton 

There is to be no mention of Bill Clinton in this message.  Oh, OK. 
I'm mad at him.  I was amused, however, that the "Times" missed the scoop.

ME: Sorry to hear about the problems with Imthejason - you guys seemed 
to hit it off so well in the interview.  As long as I live, I'll 
never figure out why people are so intent on taking the fun out 
of things for other people.

There was some sort of big feud between WHFS and DC101 down here 
over the new Pearl Jam album.  I guess you know about that?

ME: Subject: Robert B. Reich on the Web.

Dear Mr. Reich, 

I've always wanted to invite you to a web page of mine which 
immortalizes you.  If it seems at all mean-spirited, it's 
precisely in keeping with what you deserve.  Stop on by 
when you have a chance:
  [now ]

Feel free to sign my guest book, too.  Thanks!

THEE: I did hear about the DC101/WHFS feud...we listen to WHFS at work 
in the afternoon.  WHFS played a lot of the new YIELD album--ignoring
Epic--and claimed that DC101 SAID they had the new album--but never
played any of it.  I've heard WHFS call DC101 "Feces 101".  Oh, there is 
a Pearl Jam billboard on 395 coming into Baltimore...near the Raven stadium.

ME: Regarding Bob Dylan, did I mention a WMUC deejay telling a very nice 
story about an encounter with Bobby.  He asked him where he got 
all those old folk songs, and Dylan was pleasant and loquacious 
(probably wrong spelling *and* usage).  If I understood right, 
there is *an* album out there - from the 40s, maybe earlier - that 
had 'em all.

Regarding H6R, I'd watch out for the line "I never engaged in this 
kinda thing before."

Regarding BC [president], not only do I not want to hear anything about it, 
I feel like giving up news completely.  When my subscription runs 
out, instead of moving over to electronic news, maybe I'll just 
wash my hands of it all.  I know people have done that and carried 
on just fine - if not better.

THEE: Hself just got a weird phone call.

"We are taking a poll," said the caller.  "Can the president survive?"

"Who's 'we'?"  Hself asked.

"The press," was the mysterious answer.  Hself rang off immediately. 
It's a town on edge today, Donald.  Let me interpret the huge headline
on the "Washington Post" front page:  "It's the weekend, so not much 
happened in this story."

ME: I've put up a new Beatles page on my site - a tour 
de force in Beatles research (but what do I know.)  
Anyhow, when you've got a few free hours (haha), click on
    [now ]

See yas. 

Don/Donald (depending)
P.S. Ok, Hself, it's not Pearl Jam - but I still swear that first 
Pearl Jam song I heard ("Clearly I remember...") uses the backing track 
from the Beatles' Rain.

ME: Hope everything's going good.  It's been the mildest winter ever 
down here (according to my memory banks.)

ME: If you want to make any use of the material in my new Beatles page 
in the DMC newsletter - feel free.  How about a scholarly study on the 
social impact of the Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones from primary sources?  haha.  

When you stop by, make sure I show you my Mahoney Brothers record.

ME: I got a weird one on my anwering machine today, too.  Some man from 
College Park Honda left his name and number and asked me to call back.  
Did I win a new car do you think?  I've never gotten a phone solicitation 
from a car dealer before.  

A spin through Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited verified my memory - overall, 
it's one of the lowpoints in my Dylan ouvre.  There are a bunch of 
long monotonous songs on that one.  (Was Dylan the first rapper?)  Maybe 
the most painful for me (except Percy's Song) is that one about "up 
on housing project hill".  That was a real problem spot on Greatest Hits 
Vol. 2.

THEE: Pearl Jam sings part of the Beatles "Rain" on one of their Oakland concerts...
11/18/97 I think.  I have the audio boot.  AND on their new album YIELD,
ALL THOSE YESTERDAYS  sounds TOTALLY like something from Sergeant
Pepper!!  All the critical reviews mention this Beatle sound.  Tubas, etc.

THEE: re: Washington Guitar Society (WGS) meeting.  

Don mentioned some disappointment with what happened at the meeting 
but we haven't had a chance to discuss it.  I suppose I had great
expectations of "accomplishing" something, don't know what now.  From my 
perspective, I was able to articulate my ideas for possible directions for 
the WGS but I think everyone had different notions.  Mostly (again, from my 
perspective), I think it was good that folks articulated their own ideas.  Some 
specific items were addressed, on which we want to take action: (1) getting some
resolution on acquiring non-profit status (or dropping incorporation altogether)
and (2) getting a clear method for distributing the newsletter in bulk, so as to
relieve you of some of this responsibility.  On the later, we're going to work 
on a list of folks to whom we'll mail out bulk copies of the newsletter (schools
& music stores).  Don figures we can send packs of around 15 for $1.24 postage. 
Another good idea was for John to ask, at meetings, for volunteers for specific 
tasks--such as someone who might want to establish a website, or help with 
distribution, etc.  As you've mentioned before, we rarely get volunteers by 
posting a request in the newsletter.  I'd also like to see more volunteers 
writing for the newsletter, to get a variety of voices & opinions.  All in all 
it was good to spend some time with the new folks.  

THEE: You know, your assessment of "Highway 61 Revisited" does not 
correspond with "Rolling Stone's," which bestowed the full five on the 
LP.  Alas, I must agree.  Maybe I approached it with negative vibes; I 
told Hself that my secret to enjoying Dylan is to NOT read his liner 
notes.  I still like, uh, "ITaltoL,ITaTtC," though.

See you this evening.  No need to set up both speakers.  I think 
the album of the day is in mono.

ME: So far, I've gotten one enthusiastic accolade from the beatles group 
regarding my yobyalp page.  

  "A monumental undertaking... historically important...  Good job, man!"  

I'm not used to such talk.  (Did I mention the daggers that were drawn due 
to my tablature articles?  Hself's was just the *beginning*...)

ME: Subject: featured page

Hi Dmitri, 

I'm still trying to get consideration for my site as a featured 
page.  There are some good things there.

I *did* receive nationwide coverage in the 1996 presidential campaign...

THEE: From: (Dmitri Smirenski)
Subject: Re: featured page

Are you sure this is the right page?  The link goes to a text-only page,
which rules out featured-page status.  While it is an interesting page,
featured pages are the best of the best.  While they have to have a lot of
original content, must be updated frequently and must seem inviting to the
general public, it also has to be visually appealing.

Please let me know if this is a right page.  If it is, then I would
recommend that you spice it up and then try again.  I'm sure that with a
little work it could be a featured page.

Dmitri S. Smirenski
Geocities Capitol Hill Liaison

ME: re: Washington Guitar Society

First comment is, why weren't these matters nailed when we were all together?
Regarding objectives, I tried to verbalize my vision of monthly  guitar 
parties where guitar people do guitar things - mainly playing with and 
for each other.  There was no expressed agreement with this, but neither 
was there disagreement or any alternative visions presented.

About decisions, I'll propose again - simple majority vote of all 
interested parties.  Bylaws, shmylaws . . .

Again, I plead for letting dead dogs lie.  Former members who want to 
rejoin know where we are.  

About the next meeting, I would propose a longer wait than just a few 
weeks.  If we  meet at too short of intervals, it won't be clear whether 
new ideas don't work because they haven't had a chance, 
or because there's a problem (or because not much constructive came out 
of the previous meeting.)  It might make sense, though, to time bimonthly
meetings just before newsletter production.

THEE: As for guitarist bios and photos, I think this is important.  We must
support live performances and professional performers.  These people dedicate
their lives to our instrument and deserve recognition.  They certainly don't
always get the money they deserve, so any little bit we can do to promote
careers is important.  That's how I feel.  I do agree that sometimes the
newsletter is bio heavy and the only thing that is offered in contrast are
Don's contributions.  More variety should certainly be encouraged.

There are three main things that I think the WGS needs.

1)  A business phone number with a listing in the yellow pages.  If there was
a phone number for people to call, I think membership would grow dramatically
and easily cover the cost of the phone bill.  There should be an answering
service of some kind giving information about the guitar society.

2) A web page.  I was inspired by Don's web page devoted to tab.  He is
evidently posting his thoughts for free.  I personally would like to see more
graphics and have something nice like the Baltimore Society,  but whatever we
are able to do, we should do.

3) An e-mail person.  I have been serving this role.  I'm often getting and
responding to e-mail concerning information for the WGS.  I would like to step
out of this role.  I'd like to see someone who would be willing to respond to
information seekers.  Typically, someone will write to me asking about the
WGS.  I tell them a bit about our activities and ask for a mailing address so
I can send them a newsletter.  We've actually gotten several new members this

THEE: Subject: The Booza-Choba Twist

Our album of the night was a fine one.  Now I've moved on to 
Astrud Gilberto/Walter Wanderley Trio's "A Certain Smile-A Certain Sadness."  
It's good but doesn't have that air of the unusual that Bob Harrington had.

Speaking of our Bob, I found no references to him on the web.

An odd technical glitch caused me to be a day late with this 
message.  I forwarded your message to work yesterday morning but it 
didn't get here until after I left.  It took about 12 hours to make it 
down the street.  I sent it again this morning and that version has 
not yet shown up.

THEE: Your Beatles newspaper page is awesome!  I just read it...all.  
(One note, you have the quote:  "52 Beatle recors.")  I want to start a 
publication called "Gaynorfan."  I need to see that footage!

THEE: This is the Year of the Tiger case you did not SNAKE.
1953--year of the Snake.  1950--year of the TIGER.  My motto--"I win"...
so, yeah, I'm special!!!  Glad you noticed =)

ME: One thing I have to say is how dumb I think that business of Eve 
[mitochondrial dna] is (was).  What was presented in the media was such 
nonsense that there was absolutely no reason to suspect the researchers 
themselves knew what they were talking about.  And it took *3 years* or so 
for other members of the scientific community to come forward and say, 
you know, this is really stupid.  

ME: I have another Beatles page ready to go.  It's a 
slightly revamped article that's been lying around for years after being 
rejected by all the most-respected Beatle zines, boohoo :~( .  That 
emoticon works best if your tilde ~ is placed at the top of the 
character space.  I think computer makers have changed that in recent 

Quickie bio: Hself is a first cousin of mine.  I was gabbing about the 'net 
at Thanksgiving and she got interested.  The next thing I know, she's 
e-mailing and chatting and bopping around the web like an old pro.  
It took me *6 months* to choke out my first email!

ME: Regarding "structure", I really liked Hself's words: "common sense 
and everyday propriety."  That, combined with simple majority 
rules - and the skies the limit!  Sez me.

The Washington Guitar Society is already a good thing, so there's no 
reason to let myself get so upset or impatient if improvements take 
a time.  I can't help wondering, though, why we aren't bursting at the 
seams.  It's such a good thing for guitarists at every level - and 
practically free!  

ME: Recors is correct, if you know what I mean, BUT... thanks for making 
me double check - it was 900, not 90, Beatle cards for dumping rite 
on the poor columnist's head.  Whew, that would have gone years without 
correction, if not forever.  

Booza choba - that's a masterpiece.  But what percentage of the population 
do you think could get it?  [Even I don't, fully, at this later date.]

Bob Harrington brings to mind Les Kinsolving - the man who interviewed 
me on Baltimore talk radio.  He was a famous religious figure in the 
'60s.  I stumbled on a fairly big spread on him in an old Life.  

THEE: I'm sending you an audio bootleg of the Oakland 11/18/97 PJ concert--
where they sang RAIN after Daughter (Eddie usually tacks on something
after this song).   The sound  isn't great--remember, someone brought
a little tape recorder into the huge Oakland Rolling Stone thing...and the
audience is screaming all around.

Oh, I also included a song I recorded at Hershey Park a couple years ago...
essence of Puff Daddy...

THEE: What percentage would get "Booza-Choba?"  Donald, that was tailored 
just for you personally, an audience of one.  I care not if anyone 
else gets it.

This morning, Howard Stern featured Monica Lewinsky (it might not 
really have been her) singing "I Want to Use My Mouth" to the tune of 
"IWtHYH."  You'll probably be relieved to learn that I only got the 
last 15 seconds for you.

Just to make my world a little colder, Hself and I have adopted the 
slogan "Pearl Jam is Hootie."  Comments?

THEE: Subject: Wonders de web

Right after I composed my last message to you, I did a search for 
Mitzi Gaynor on the web!  I haven't found any photos yet, but I did 
find something you need to file somewhere!  It's from a 1996 interview 
with Bill Murray:
  First adolescent pop crush?
  "Mitzi Gaynor! You know that big 'Ed Sullivan Show' when he had the 
  Beatles? Mitzi Gaynor came on, and she was wearing this low-cut dress, 
  and she bent over, and she had OILED BREASTS! I wasn't part of this 
  industry then -- I was only 9 -- but even so, I'm sitting there and 
  I'm aware that Mitzi Gaynor has just pulled off the biggest upstage in 
  history. She has 20 million people saying 'Ay, caramba!' I didn't know 
  her work then, 'South Pacific' and all the shows, but...."
  Ever meet her?
  "I'd LOVE to meet her. I'd love to work with her. She's still got 
  it. I know she does. I KNOW she's still got it."
  -- Roy Blount Jr., "Why would a sweet, elephant-loving guy like 
  Bill Murray tip over a man in a wheelchair?"
  Men's Journal, August 1996 

ME: I used HotBot to find 429 matches on "bob harrington".  Hie thyself 
on over to

Is Pearl Jam = Hootie an insult, I guess?  I am baffled about PJ.  
I thought they were BIG, but they didn't show up in that top 100 
survey you copied - and it had entries for every act in the current 
top 20.  

The Bize/Schickele [Joan Baez] album is pretty darn good.  Laurie Anderson had 
nothing on this act.  


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Helpful keywords not in the main text: Hself = generic name, male or female (Himself, Herself). H6R = highway 61 revisited. ITaltoL,ITaTtC = It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry.

Parents, if you're considering tutoring or supplemental education for your child, you may be interested in my observations on Kumon.