Professor Gadget Sax Quartet (PGSQ) 2017

This is one of my favorite gigs of the year, this year with Molly, Taylor, and Susan. There was a great turnout with over 100 in the audience, and the weather was perfect. (Update, the lock folk say calculated the audience at over 250! I knew there were a lot!)


Truth be known, I was not happy with my own performance this year. This was the tenth year we have performed at the Ballard Locks. But I love my co-conspirators. They were stellar.

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So here I am wondering if I’ll do it again next year. We’ll see.

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Don’t Coddle Our Children

Taken from an Internet post that has been making the rounds. I would love to attribute this composition if possible. Putting it here so that I can find it again.

HandsA young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview. The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked, “Have you received a scholarship for school?” The boy replied, “No”.

“Was your father who paid for your studies?” Yes,  the young man replied. Where does your father work? My father is a Blacksmith.”

The Director asked the young man to show him his hands. The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect. “Have you ever helped your parents at their job?” “No, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.”

The director said, “I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.” The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.

When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash his hands.
His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed his hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father’s hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.

This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his studies. The bruises on the hands were the price that his father paid for his education, his school activities, and his future.
After cleaning his father’s hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.

The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director. The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young man when He asked him, “Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?” The boy replied, “I washed my father’s hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop.”

“Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents, I would not be who I am today. By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping my family.”

The director said, “This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the hardship others go through to accomplish things, and a person who realizes that money is not his only goal in life. You are hired.”

A child that has been coddled, protected and given everything he or she wants, develops a mentality of “I have the right” and will always put himself or herself first, ignoring the efforts of parents, family and friends. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we helping to destroy our children?

You can give your child their own room in a big house, good food, a computer, tablet, cell phone, and a big screen TV, but when you’re washing the floor or painting a wall, children need to experience that too.

After eating, have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters. Let them fold laundry or cook with you, pull weeds or mow the lawn. You are not doing this because you are poor and can’t afford help. You are doing this because you love them and want them to understand certain things about life.

Children need to learn to appreciate the amount of effort it takes to do a job right. They need to experience the difficulties in life that people must overcome to be successful and they must learn about failure to be able to succeed.

Children must also learn how to work and play with others and that they will not always win, but they can always work harder to reach their goals. If they’ve done their best, then they can take pride in all the effort they put forth.

Life is about giving and serving and these qualities should be taught in our homes.

Posted in Family, Guides, teachers | Tagged | 2 Comments

Music: This is why we do it.

So many lovely bandee friends in this one. Fab trombone (Ron) and tenor sax (Ian Basques-Jellison) solos. And of course Robin Hilt killin’ it on the vocal. And me, well I just lovin’ the bari sax hits in this arrangement.

This band is a pick-up ensemble of people from three or more other bands. This is a charity show production to raise money for a local community arts program in a small town. Filling the band seats can be a challenge because it takes a lot of time to put on a show this good.

If you loved makin’ music as a kid, it’s never too late to return to the performance life. Suzy and I took a 28+ year break and now we’re back and lovin’ it. As I have said so many times, a two hour practice seems like 5 minutes to me.

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Predators at Casa du Glassa

Last night, I was reading out loud to Suzy some tales of raccoons killing chickens and ducks on some of the nearby chicken community sites. Usually we have more questions than answers.

  1. Were the chickens kept at night in a predator proof coop?
  2. Is the coop door closed at night?

raccoonIt was time to lock up the chickens and my dawg likes to accompany me when I do that. As I opened up the sliding glass door, there was a raccoon AND it was bigger than my dawg. Muttly is braver than smart and immediately chased it out of the yard. But we know that cornered the raccoon probably would have gutted the dawg in a new york minute. Gut check time.

The chickens were all in the rafters of our 8′ tall coop, but the raccoon could have easily reached them. Most likely Glory, our vociferous rooster would have made noise, but not likely soon enough for us to save all of them.

RaccoonPrintsWe are supposed to go to a farewell party for a good friend of mine at 6:30 PM tonight, but that is when we lock up the chickens! I am loath to trap for the raccoons because there are neighborhood dawgs who could be caught! I suppose I could enlist the aid of a neighbor, but geesh I hate to do that too. What to do, what to do …

Yup it’s research time:

Hunting, killing and trapping raccoons is permitted in most US states and most Canadian provinces, but transporting and relocating raccoons to other areas is often illegal. Please contact your local city, town, or county offices to determine what is and isn’t allowed in your specific area.

Anyone have any luck with coyote pee solutions?…/Coyote-Pee-Repels-Rats…

Lots of solutions mentioned here, electric fence might be a way to go? Lots of ideas here, anyone try electrified fences:

And here is a look at automatic doors:

And a nice instruction piece:

Note, pictures found on the Intrawebs. Did not want to post the graphic ones.

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Sax Quartet 2017

I am starting to put together this year’s sax quartet repertoire for our gig at Ballard Locks. It’s a labor of love that I’ve been doing for at least ten years now. My wife Suzy, Molly and I have been in all the performances and this year Taylor will be joining us on tenor sax.  Our group is called the Professor Gadget Sax Quartet.


We try to mix it up with selections from the pop, classical, and jazz genres. I must admit, I do have my favorite songs that seem to make the set list every year.

Besides the pure joy of playing with such stellar musicians, I have found that playing in a small ensemble improves both soloing and sectional work in other musical endeavors such as big bands and concert wind bands. In a group this size, you really have to be in tune and listen to all the parts to make it work. Everyone is a soloist.

If you attend the performance, you can expect to see anything from a soprillo to a bass sax. That’s a lot of hornage. We split our time with a flute choir and are surrounded by a park that includes a salmon run, an arboretum, and sometimes, vintage car shows.

Our show this year is at 2 PM, Saturday, July 1st as part of the Ballard Locks Outdoor Concert Series. Hope to see you there.

Posted in My World, Sax Quartet, Saxophone | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Happy World Naked Gardening Day!

NakedGardening Okay, so truth be known I have never gardened in the nude. It is really quite dangerous to do. No, really. Just imagine the potential insect bites, thorn or itch weed disasters, and oh yeah … the sharp tools. That said it kind has a nice ring to it, if only amongst friends. I mean *really* good friends.

World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike.According to NBC’s Today News, WNGD “has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff.

While it’s linked to a movement of nudists who promote wholesome and unashamed acceptance of the human body, the day is meant to be funny, lighthearted and non-political, founders say.”

Still, it’s a brisk 45 degrees this morning in the Northwest. So unless you like goose bumps, I’m guess most of us will forgo the festivities. I’ll leave with this nice article from Today:

NakedGardeningDaySo if people choose to participate in World Naked Gardening Day on May 14, are they allowed to wear gardening gloves?

How about Naked Hiking Day on June 21: Are hiking boots acceptable?

“Oh, there are no rules!” said Mark Storey, 52, a Seattle-area resident and the co-creator of World Naked Gardening Day. “If I’m gardening naked and if I need to have a hat on or shoes on, that’s fine. People are pretty rational about that stuff. This is not a religion.”

Established in 2005, World Naked Gardening Day has become an annual tradition that celebrates weeding, planting flowers and trimming hedges in the buff. While it’s linked to a movement of nudists who promote wholesome and unashamed acceptance of the human body, the day is meant to be funny, lighthearted and non-political, founders say.

“We figured that if people tried gardening naked once, they would smile,” said Storey, who came up with the idea for the day with his friend, Daniel Johnson. “Not only would they smile, but they’d see that nudity is actually a pleasant and inherently good thing. …

“It just feels kind of nice to be outside with no clothes on. It doesn’t matter what kind of body shape you have or how old you are.”

Read more …

Posted in Holiday, Nude, Pagan, Summer, Sun bathing | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Booking the Band Scam! Be Aware!

An Attempt At An Old-school Scam

From my good friend Helen’s blog dated  April 15, 2017:

In this day of phishing; spoofing; identity theft; salami slicing, spam; trojan horses; and a Scamseemingly endless supply of Nigerians who claim that they desperately need to get their money out of their home country, there seems to be no end to the lengths that some scammers will go to bilk you out of your money. Being good at spotting a con is more important than ever, since a scam is not always as obvious as one might think.

Old-time band vs. Old-school scam

I play in a big band called the Moonliters. Besides playing sax in the band, I also look after the website, and respond to the inquiries that the band gets through its contact page.

On March 20 we received an inquiry from someone with the email address This person wanted to know if we would be available to perform at a family reunion on May 5th from 2:00 – 7:00 pm. Apparently he was also going to use this medium (his word) to propose to his girlfriend Charllotte (no, I did not misspell that name). also wanted to know where we were located.

A few things about this email niggled at my brain. The most obvious was that there was an .au in his email. I took a look, and there is an Abbotsford in Australia, so I informed him that we were in Abbotsford, Canada (about a 45 minute commute outside of Vancouver). If he was looking for a band in Australia, he couldn’t afford us, but we would be happy to talk with him further if he wanted a swing band for a Vancouver, Canada venue.

He replied that he was indeed looking for a band in Vancouver, and that he was working with an event planner. The venue he chose—which shall remain nameless—is the newest, and arguably most exclusive event venue in the city. However, it hadn’t been booked yet, and wouldn’t be until a few days prior to the event itself. Again, this niggled at my brain, since normally any event venue is of course booked months in advance.

Since the show was to be during the day, we were going to have to find many subs if we were to do the show, since a great many of the members of The Moonliters are music teachers, or have other day jobs.

Read the rest!

This reminds me of the scams I get from “travel agencies” every year inviting us to perform on a cruise and then you find out you have to pay for the cruise. And then there are the Play in DC scams where you then have to pay for travel, hotel, and food. Um yeah … no. There is so many bad things happening out there.

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