Community Garden

Garden as though you will live forever. ~ William Kent


I was watering our community garden this year and wondering at the lush green happiness that the three plots have provided. This is our first year for the garden and the joy it has brought the community far exceeds that of the people who have planted and tilled the land.

Before the garden was there, there were just weeds and not pretty ones at that. The narrow strip that defines our community common area now houses a little library, a picnic table, and the garden. Behind that is the Natural Growth Protection Area that the state mandates.

CommunityGarden2018This year our small part of this garden has yielded over 20 zucchini squashes, over 20 tomatoes, and hundreds, nay thousands of wild flowers. Two different kinds of corn are close to being harvested. I liked that the corn was truly a case of “knee high by July”.

It was an interesting engineering project to bring water to the garden. But I ended up just running a long hose to the raised sprinkler. That seems to work along with a mechanical (vice electric) timer at the spigot.

Where we didn’t plant vegetables I planted wild flowers with abandon. The came up plentiful and in so many colors changing as the season progresses.

WildFlowers WildFlower2018b WildFlower2018

My wife has done most of the work and I put in the white picket fence for her to keep the local kids honest. Not bad for the first year if’n you as me.

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Saxophone Lamp

“It’s hard to throw away history. It was like you were throwing away a part of yourself.”  ~ Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

It happened during a theater pit job, I was schlepping 4 instruments and we had precious little real estate to plant the instruments. I returned from a break to find my soprano sax laying on the ground. I was devastated. And the tech told me it would cost more to repair the instrument than it was worth.


So I asked my very handy wife if she could make a lamp out of it. She loves crafts and researched the project. It took her longer to gather the materials than it did to build this beautiful lamp.


First she bought a lamp kit from a local craft store. That included the socket and cord. DSCF1191Then she made the base in her shop. That made the unit functional. She then looked for a lamp shade that would work in my office/library. One it was together I took some pictures to celebrate the finished product. My granddaughter, Amber, loves it. And it has turned out to generate more conversations than I would have imagined. There are so many people would want to make one of these and are actually quite please to discover that it isn’t that hard to accomplish.

In a society that generates so much trash, it can be nice to fine a way to use material that would otherwise go to the landfill.

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Selmer Reference 54 Limited Edition Hummingbird

From a recent for sale ad: A rare alto from 2005, … this limited edition saxophone commemorates the 50th anniversary of the passing of Charlie “Bird” Parker and features an iconic hummingbird engraving on the bell. The Reference 54 series was designed to capture the tone of the much sought after Mark VI saxophones, with this series known especially for projection and a powerful sound. ~ MusicMedic

I saw this ad and thought I would put some information out there because there were so many conflicting reports from some people. Here I will concentrate on the ‘Limited Edition’ alto sax as I own one but by clicking on the links in this article you can find out more about the other alto and tenor saxes in the Selmer ‘bird’ release.

DSCF3813  accessory  P1000498

Coming first in 2005, the Hummingbird series was only available as a Reference 54 alto sax. (Later bird releases included the tenor sax.) The standard and limited models both featured honey gold lacquer (similar to the traditional tenor Reference 36 color). Approximately 300 of the standard were made for the USA market, and only about 70 of the limited model. ~ Sax Org Museum

Here is the Selmer Ad that came out (click on picture for bigger picture):

image  image  image  image

I really like the limited edition better because of the darker lacquer and the extra engravings. If you have one of these and wonder if it is a limited looking at the neck engraving is one of the best ways to tell. It looks like this:

neck1  neck2

The neck of the other (not limited version) doesn’t have this engraving. I love my very special instrument and it is my primary alto sax ride.

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I found one of my fav band teachers, Mr. Robert Lake

Still following him.

Robert Lake

The Bis Key Chronicles

There are at least two of my favorite stories to tell about growing up in the mid-west and being a sax player. One is when the Urbandale, IA middle school teacher picked a jazzy song for the eighth graders. The song was Henry Mancini’s “Mr Lucky”. There were two of us sitting in the first chair saxophone position. So without preparation, Mr. Phil Hartman had us play the solo all alone.

I couldn’t read very well and still struggle with sight-reading to this day. But fortunately the girl got to play first. She, like Barb who I play with now-a-days, (hey, I mean play sax with) was a pretty good sight reader. So she played the solo straight and did an… okay job. I was so nervous that when I played the same solo, I started shaking uncontrollably. I was mortified but I had been taught to always, always, play on. “If you quit…

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Swing Dance, this is why …

There are many kinds of dances, but all those requiring the participation of the two sexes have two characteristics in common: they are conspicuously innocent, and warmly loved by the vicious. ~ Ambrose Bierce

We, and my we I mean my swing band, love our dancers. When they show up, the gig seems that much more worthy. Every eye is upon them, celebrating the skill and sensuous nature of their moves.


These two showed up for a charity gig that we were playing for. It’s our annual Jumpin’ Jive to Thrive event and boy howdy can these folks dance.


Note the Zoot suit, you heard me … a ZOOT SUIT RIOT! Photo credit to our band photographer and former lead alto sax Mark Gladding. Enjoy.

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Little Free Library Arsonist ~ March 2018

LittleFreeLibraryFireTravis: Some fucking hooligans torched the community library box. The tree looks damaged too.

David: Call the Sheriff’s Office. Arson is a felony.

Sally: Oh no!!

Lacresha: What a bunch of degenerates

Mike: Did they get caught? I saw the Sheriff there.

Star: I just walked over what a mess! Here’s hoping you can get them–arson is a scary deal. The punks that did this need to be locked up grr!!! I am so angry, hope Jim had a camera on the side of his house…

Simi: This just makes me sad!

Travis: FYI, we saw it coming home. It looked like it had been lit not more than 15-20 minuets before we arrived. I called 911 and stayed to talk with FD. Gave my info in case they had questions.

Star: Thank you so much Travis.

LibraryBurntDown2018Jim: Wow, and I was at a charity gig for kid programs tonight. Suzy will be sad too. I will clean it up tomorrow.

Jim: It will take me some time to see if my cameras saw anything.

This video is of two fellows who walked by our house ~2 minutes before the fire was started and then walked by again after the fire department and crowds dispersed. Anyone recognize them? The walk might be distinctive to those who know them? Please do not share these pictures until we get more info.

Facebook will not allow me to share the vid … here’s a picture. If you think you know them, the picture is much clearing on my screen and you can view the video for walking style.Manage

Image may contain: night and indoor

Travis: That’s me and my friend.

Jim: You got there just before the big light flash. Thanks for letting us know. That’s why I didn’t want to put this out there before we figured out what’s goin on. I didn’t get any other people by my house, so they went the other way.

(Travis was dressed up for ComCon.)

Jim: All cleaned up.

Image may contain: tree, plant, grass, outdoor and nature

Michelle: This is horrible!

Sally: Thank you for doing this.
We were out of town all day at a memorial service in SF ( Marin County) We flew down for the day and just got home. We would like to help in any way we can.

Jim: One of the neighbors said that if we don’t rebuild, the bad guys win?


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Frank Ticheli ~ An American Elegy

From Frank’s FB page: When I composed An American Elegy in response to the Columbine Shooting tragedy, I thought it would be a singular episode, or at least a rare one, in our nation’s history. Sadly, I am constantly reminded how wrong I was.

image(click link to hear song behind your read) Nothing will improve until more lawmakers find the humility to admit that the Constitution was not inspired by God, but written by mere mortals doing the best they could without benefit of a crystal ball. Those same mortals saw this themselves, thereby permitting amendments to the Constitution. In other words, they possessed a humility and wisdom that many current lawmakers seem to lack.

Current lawmakers also need to let go of the fear that tighter gun legislation equals removal of all guns. (I am from the rural south and grew up with guns; got my first rifle at age 10, owned several, went hunting all through my childhood.) In fact, common sense gun legislation may very well save the second amendment.

Finally, our lawmakers need to find the strength to compromise and the courage to act, even if it means losing their NRA donations and their seats in Congress. This may not happen in my lifetime. But I have hope that my children’s generation will show more wisdom than my small-minded generation of lawmakers has managed to muster.
An American Elegy has been performed frequently in response to mass shootings occurring since Columbine. I had no idea that could ever happen. I am sad about a cultural situation that makes it so.

#MassShootings #FireThePoliticians #ProtectOurChildren

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