Complaint Corner: Why do I have to Pay for Music?

From the Austin Music People page on Facebook: Someone complained about an experience they had at an Austin music venue last night, and the club owner responded this morning.

PaidGig-NiceToEatHello [Owner], I was here on Saturday night, and we specifically chose your venue because of the statement in the FAQ section of your website that 99% of the time there is no cover. The website also stated that in the event of a cover, it would be publicized that a cover was in effect.

However, when we arrived at your venue we were informed there was a $5 cover charge, which went against everything that was written, and not even on your Facebook page did it state one was in effect. We were also informed there was nothing that could be done about this, and we had no option but to pay the cover charge or leave.

I am deeply disappointed in the false advertising on your website, and feel that you need to immediately fix this as it does nothing but cause disappointment in potential customers.

Please let me know how you plan to remedy this.

Hi [redacted], my name is Nathan Hill and I’m one of the owners here at The White Horse. I was forwarded your email concerning our cover charge last night. I apologize that it was not clearly stated there was a $5 cover, and we will be more vigilant in posting that info in the future.

“I will say however, that a $5 cover is the lowest cover charge you will find in Austin for a music venue on a Saturday night. Especially one that is providing the best country music talent in Texas. Our musicians are all career musicians, and though we try to minimize the cost on the customer as much as possible, and in order to keep our drink prices competitive in a very competitive city, we do sometimes have to ask the customer to help support the musicians through a cover charge.

At $5 you are paying an average of $.25 per hour per musician on a Saturday night. If you do not feel that is appropriate, or if you feel $5 is such an egregious affront to your better judgment, then maybe a place like The White Horse on the weekend is not a place for you. I would also not suggest visiting other fine establishments such as The Continental Club or Broken Spoke, as their cover with the same level of talent we provide is generally $12-15.

There is a growing concern in Austin for the ability for our musicians and artists to be able to afford to live here. We at The White Horse take that very seriously as our employees and owners are comprised of artists and musicians. We pay our bartenders a higher than minimum wage, we keep our prices lower than the competition, we pay the bands out of our own pockets most of the week, and we take chances on talent even if it means taking a loss on the night (and we do). So if $5 at the door to support live music, artists, and working musicians is too much to ask, then I would suggest fighting the stumbling hoards on dirty 6th for no cover and $2 shots. Or maybe visit us on a weekday and remember, there’s a tip jar for the band.

Thank you Nick from oh so many musicians.

Posted in Culture, Entertainment, In the news..., Music, My World | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Spiders: Care and Feeding of your Roommates

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” ~ William Blake

spiderScareI posted a funny picture on FB regarding spiders and a friend of mine said, “Spiders looking to our homes for winter refuge is a misconception. I only learned this a few years ago myself. Essentially, the spider activity you see is males looking for mates; it’s the only thing that drives a spider to wander around (wandering is dangerous!).

Indoor spiders placed outside (and any outdoor spiders that make it inside) are more than likely going to die very quickly. Indoor spiders have adapted to live in our homes, they spend their entire lives there; they aren’t adapted to living outdoors (and vice versa). And this from an arachnophobe..”

Then there was this: Myth: Spiders come indoors in the Fall that asserts:

This seemingly simple idea conceals many false assumptions. In reality, house spiders are usually not the same speciesas the yard or garden spiders outside the house.

“House spiders belong to a small number of species specially adapted for indoor conditions (constant climate, poor food supply, very poor water supply). Some house spider species have been living indoors at least since the days of the Roman Empire, and are seldom to be found outside, even in their native countries (usually Europe). Many of these species now live in houses worldwide, and most have been carried by commerce to more than one continent. Few are adapted to North American outdoor environments.”

Another very smart, funny and cute friend of mine noted:

“I heard that house spiders only want two things: food and sex. They’re not interested in anything else. Ever since I started looking at them like stoned freeloader roommates, I’ve been less afraid of them.”


I have to say, the last time there was a rather large spider in my house I grabbed it up and threw it outside. The chickens ate it before it even hit the ground! The indoor cats like to “play” with spiders too.

Posted in Education, Facebook, Humor, Myths | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Politics of Friends

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” ~  John F. Kennedy

PoliticsI was talking to a friend yesterday about the election and my fears, and the insanity when I realized I didn’t know her political beliefs. So I started to apologize about talking about a forbidden topic, … you know the big three: politics, sex and religion.

She said that she didn’t know who to vote for as she didn’t like either candidate to which I heaped on *way too much* advice. She was polite and didn’t add to the conversation. What I could have, should have said was that she is in the biggest group of voters this year, who are undecided. I could have said that we had great hopes for them to figure it out for the betterment of the US by putting a strong respected leader in the POTUS position.

My apologies dear friend, you are a better listener than I. Thank you for putting up with my ramblings.


Posted in My World, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Glasses, the Bane of My Life

“I can honestly say I love getting older. Then again, I never put my glasses on before looking in the mirror.” ~ Cherie Lunghi

glassesBoyI remember getting glasses in first grade. I had been chastised by my teacher because I didn’t want to try to color tiny little pictures. She actually grabbed my paper one time and marched me to the Kindergarten class to show my work and say something like, “Jimmy doesn’t like to do his work, look at this example.”

Oh sure, I took the eye test in first grade, they thought my sight was fine. But my parents got a call from one of our church members saying something like:

Observer: We just saw your kid run into a tree.

Parent: Oh, kids will be kids.

Observer: No, you don’t understand, he was looking right at it.

I hated glasses and for so many reasons. They were a pain. I lost them all the time, and my family couldn’t really afford them. I broke a lot of glasses, in elementary school we played hard. Keeping them clean was a real pain. But my eyesight was really bad, legally blind in one eye, so there you are.

AsherKindergartenGrad2016Now, I am used to glasses. I even went through a phase of wearing contacts, but my eyes are naturally dry, so that wasn’t a good thing to do. Turns out now I think glasses look cool. I mean, if you don’t have to wear them good on you. But they can be rather stylish. Oh, and seeing well is good too. <big smile>

My grandson has made wearing glasses cool. Here he is sporting some really nice specs. When I saw them they reminded me of Quest Love’s glasses that he wears when leading the Roots on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Fashion has always kinda liked the idea of glasses. They can be stylist, make a statement, and controversial. But I never understood *wanting* to wear glasses when you didn’t need to.

PurpleGlass      GlassesShock  GlassesKiss

As I get older, more and more people are wearing glasses as they age. They are becoming ubiquitous. And sometimes, wearing glasses can be made outright funny. For example, there are so many humorous pictures of animals wearing glasses.


The world of glasses related humor is vast. Consider this combination of the “blonde” and “glasses” joke.

A blonde guy goes to a local novelty shop and finds a pair of x-ray glasses. He checks them out, and isn’t fully convinced, but the store manager comes along and closes the deal.

On his way home, he puts on his new x-ray glasses and can’t believe his eyes. He sees everyone in the street naked. He takes them off for a moment, and everyone has their clothes on. He puts the glasses back on, and everyone is naked!

He rushes home and is eager to show his new toy to his wife, but he can’t find her. He goes up to the bedroom where he finds his wife and the mailman, naked in bed. He takes his glasses off, and the two are still naked. He puts them back on, and they’re still naked.

“Damn!” he says. “I just paid fifty bucks for these and they’re already broken!”

I’ll leave you with one last word of advice for your consideration. Never hit a man with glasses. Hit him with a baseball bat.

Posted in Humor, My World | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Chickens, oh my …

I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous – that is to say, it’s obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.  ~ Maya Angelou

Chicks2016This Spring we finally picked up four female chicken. There they are two Andalusian Blues and two Ameraucana. From left to right Pride, Sapphire, Cobalt, and Glory. Turns out Glory might be a rooster, we shall soon see.

We talked about it for a while, Suzy and I. We’d heard that chickens would keep insects at bay, chase away rats by eating everything in the backyard, fertilize and mow the yard for us and so much more. The book, A Chicken in Every Yard by Robert & Hannah Litt.

ChickenCoupOneOh goody, a project. Third big project for this summer 2016. So we purchased a coup. That was an adventure in itself. Suzy thought the first one was too small so we doubled it. Then I saw my neighbors and wanted one that we could walk into rather than kneeling down to change the water and such. We will be putting a new one together in August. One of our neighbors will get the old one. (Old as in 4 months old.)

Our little guys spent 6 weeks in the garage and now are so happy with the run of the backyard. They put themselves to bed (roost) every night around 7:30 PM and we lock the coup up to keep predators out. We let them out every morning around 7:30 AM. Glory (probably the guy rooster) crows in the morning to remind us. You can see a 30 sec video of them here:


My dad grew up with chickens in his backyard. When we told him that we often sit in the backyard, reading and such, that we love to watch the chickens. He said that he had never thought of sitting with the chickens in his parents backyard in Kansas. We are so happy with these pets that we will probably get 4 more next year.

PowerCleanerWe did buy a pressure cleaner to help us keep the chicken shit off of the patio. It is in keeping with our all electric or battery lawn toolage. No schlepping and storying fuel for us. It’s a very handy tool to have and I have some other plans for it too.

The chickens are inquisitive, happy to eat from our hands, run to us when we call them, and on occasion will follow us around the backyard. We hope to start getting eggs from them when they are old enough. The average we’ve been told is 2 to 3 a week per bird. Yum!

Posted in Hobbies, My World, Pets | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment


Taken from a conversation on the senseless killings by the police of black people and the coming revolution …

Tess: So Stanley, what’s next? I wasn’t around for the 60s but what is the final catalyst for a complete and thorough revolution? I’m asking one of the smartest and well versed guys I know…

Stanley: The only answers I know are the eternal ones: to eschew fear and anger, and work daily to spread love and understanding. I am saddened to see so many succumb to the fear and anger stuff, but have never-ending optimism that over time the love and understanding will win, since they are the only true path.

“When you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out”

Posted in Facebook, In the news..., Politics | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Summer uke Project ~ Take One

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…” ~ Susan Polis Schutz

Some years ago I was called upon to recommend a ukulele for some cute girls from my sister Deb’s in-law side of the family. I ended up buying a nice LU-21P pineapple uke made by Lanikai. You can get a cheaper one in soprano size, but I wanted mine a little larger.

Pineapple-shaped body top, back, and sides are of nato wood, which is similar to mahogany construction, with a smooth rosewood fingerboard and bridge. It has geared tuners for precise tuning. A binding adds the finishing touch to the top. The distinctive pineapple 14″ scale length is in-between soprano (13″) and concert (15″).

Lanikai ukuleles apparently have great playability, sound, and aesthetics at a price that made it a slam dunk for me. This ukulele is strung with Aquila Nylgut Strings.


So this summer I am going to try to learn my first song, memorize it, and make it the one I always play. I selected “The Cowboy Song” that I first heard on Joe vs. the Volcano.

It only has two chords so that’s a start.

The Cowboy Song

Joe vs. the Volcano

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse

by the Rio Grand[D7]ee

and all o’ them coyotes singing

in a prairie [G]symphony.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse

down by the Rio Grand[D7]ee

when I seen me a cowboy, cowboy, cowboy,

ridin’ toward [G]me.

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.

He was twirling his [G]guns

And he had a gui[D7]tar

And we sang us up a sweet old

song about love

Under the [G]stars

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.


The song was written by John Patrick Shanley for the movie Joe vs. the Volcano. The strum pattern is up to you. A simple “down down up down down up” would work nicely, or even “down up down up” is okay too.

Listen for the chord changes. They’re fairly obvious, and learning where they come in is part of learning to play. But here’s a hint… listen for the change on the last syllable at the end of every other line in the lyrics.

clip_image001 clip_image002

I called my brother Pete, the Luther to see if he had any easier chords to recommend for a beginner like me and he sagely said, give it time. He also recommended I learn this song next:

Right …

Posted in Music, Music Instruments, My World | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments