Thursday, December 28, 2006


The sheep were getting nervous. It was almost time for their annual shearing, and the thought of humans armed with razors made them quake in their pens.

It was especially hard for the younger ones. They had no experience with having their coat ripped from them, and the thought filled them with dread.

The day arrived. Trucks pulled up to the farm, and all the sheep were herded into the back.

One little ewe was especially nervous. “Where are we going? What are they going to do to us?” she bleated.

“Don’t worry,” said a friend. “An older sheep told me this happens every year. They may take us down the road to a big farm and herd us into a pen. But when the time comes, they won’t take you or me.”

“Why?” said the little one.

“Because we’re black sheep. No one wants our wool. Our coat isn’t as versatile as white sheep’s wool, which can be dyed all sorts of colors. They may put us all together now, but we’ll never get the razor treatment!”

Thus reassured, the little one began to relax.

Sure enough, when they arrived at the farm, the sheep were corralled into a big holding pen. One by one, each white sheep was led to the shearers. And each returned -- shivering, buzzcut and unhappy.

Then an odd thing happened. The remaining two black sheep were taken to the shearers, and in a violent 20 seconds, ZZZZZZZIPPPP, each was ripped of her fleece!

The little one was despondent. “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” she cried. “They don’t even like black sheep! They don’t use our wool! Why would they do this?”

Ruefully, her ovine friend turned to her and said, “Aw, honey,
Lambs like us – maybe we were shorn for fun.”

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A Little Known Story from Abbey Road

Back in 1968 when the Beatles were recording The White Album, George Harrison and Eric Clapton were engaged in friendly competition on a number of fronts. One was for the attentions of George's (and later Eric's) wife Pattie. The other was for collecting high-end exemplars of the British automotive industry: Rolls Royces, Jaguars, Aston Martins, and the like. Since George was one of the wealthiest Britons in the world at the time, and Eric was still a relatively unknown Yardbird (although known to some London graffiti artists as a deity), they realized that something would be necessary to level the playing field. It was decided that George's handicap would be to purchase cars previously owned by celebrities. Hitler's Rolls Royce, Princess Margaret's Jaguar, Ian Fleming's Aston Martin, and so on.

George was particularly keen on a luxurious British car that had once been owned by a controversial American talk show host. He drove this one to the recording studio nearly every day. He had it rigged up with particularly nice speakers, and he often listened to playbacks of demo tapes through them, to see whether the tracks would be radio-friendly. To avoid having to tromp back and forth between the car and the studio, he and engineer George Martin figured out a system where Beatle George could communicate to the recording booth by tapping on the car horn, in a sort of simplified version of morse code.

The lads had invited Eric to play a solo on one of the tracks for their new double-album. But he was completely bewildered by the novel recording techniques being used. He was much more comfortable with the set-'em-up-and-let-'er-rip studio approach used by the old Chicago bluesmen. The Beatles, meanwhile, were infatuated with the post-Sgt. Pepper possibilities that the studio had to offer. Clapton's ability to adjust to the new methods wasn't helped by all of the psychedelics, narcotics, and alcohol that everyone was using at the time. Sometimes he was just plain addled.

Clapton was having a particularly hard day when the time came to record his solo. No matter when he started his solo, someone would complain that he was doing it at the wrong time. Or when he got into the groove, he would just keep wailing past the chorus and into the verse where the vocals were to return. Clapton was getting irritated at the whole thing. Harrison joked at his friend's discomfort. It was so easy, he said, he could direct the whole operation from the carpark. Clapton told Harrison to quit playing around. "Look," he said, "just give me a signal to start and stop the solo. When am I supposed to play?"

George explained: "While my Jack Paar Bentley beeps."

Bobby D's family shame

Ya know, things weren't always so good for the Dylans. There was a time when Bob's career was in a rut. And Jakob had yet to score as a Wallflower.

In fact, prior to his musical successes, young Jakob caused his famous pop an awful lot of grief by getting mixed up in local sex scandals. For reasons known only to his therapist, Jakob was an irrepressible exhibitionist. Given any excuse to do so, he'd reveal himself in public places.

None of which would have bothered Daddy Dylan all that much if it weren't for the fact that Jakob hung with various crowds of ne'er-do-wells who encouraged his outlandish, sinful public displays. And for reasons known only to Bob's therapist (though probably connected to his own religious fickleness), the group of Jakob's "friends" who most irked his Dad were an amateur company of Shakespearean actors sponsored by the Hillel House at a nearby college. When Jakob got naked with the Hell's Angels at a local pool hall, Bob was almost amused. When Jakob and a group of renegade Hare Krishnas mooned travellers at LAX, Bob was a bit disturbed, but hardly angry.

But when Jakob felt inspired to "augment" one of his thespian friends' performances with a long, smoldering strip tease demonstrating just "how beauteous mankind is" and what sort of "goodly creatures" populate this "brave new world," Bob was livid. Unfortunately for him, however, Jakob's impromptu display was a popular addition to the Bard's play, and the troupe asked him if he'd be willing to join the cast on a regular basis.

Jakob was thrilled, of course....but Bob was less than pleased. And when the company attempted to restage the play with Jakob letting it all hang out in the final scene, Bob arranged to have the local cops shut the show down for lewd and indecent behavior.

The press, of course, were all over the bust, and were especially eager to chronicle Bob's role in tipping the vice squad off. When a reporter from Rolling Stone showed up to ask Bob why he'd ratted out his own son to the cops, however, he angrily shot back: "'Cause he fuckin' tried a slow peel with the Tempest Jews again!"

Directions to the Concert

I heard that one of my favorite mid-1970's pop-metal bands was on tour and I wanted to attend. The flashing lights, outrageous costumes, and inventive facial make-up would be a sight to behold. But it turned out the tour was limited to venues in the state of Florida. A friend got a ticket and invited me to attend their upcoming show at Disney World. I was reluctant, since airfare to Florida is pretty expensive. My friend, exasperated, said:

"If you want to see Kiss, then you go to Kissimmee, too!"

What Is This Blog About?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, all because of bad puns where the punch line is centered around the lyrics of some piece of popular music.