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What if the Republicans were a TV series?


Back to the Radio…

I just got into the WSHC (89.7) studio and I’m setting up for my 11 – 1 show. Given the Shepherdstown Street festival combined with the number of trees that came down in the storm last night, getting in here took longer than I expected.

Elly did the driving, since I am banned from doing it for at least six months (assuming I have no more seizures.) It’s another hot day out but the studio is AC’d and relatively comfortable.

If you are outside of our area you can listen on the web at

Sitting over at Mellow Moods…

John Case was still away, so I did the morning radio show alone and unprepared… but it went OK. Now I’m over at the Mood for post-show coffee and talking with local friends who hang out here.

Can’t tell what the weather will be like for the rest of the day. It’s nice out now, but there are some dark clouds rolling over and it is a little windy… if we have rain later in the day I won’t be surprised.

Shepherdstown is setting up for an active weekend. Tomorrow is Eastern Panhandle Earth Day at Morgans Grove Park all afternoon and into the evening. There is the Really, Really Free yard sale on The Wall on German Street both Saturday and Sunday. And, of course, I have my regular WSHC show, Talk To Me, tomorrow from 11 AM to 1:00 PM.

Elly is doing a lot of different things today and, I guess, for the rest of the weekend, so I’m pretty much on my own. We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Working on “Lefty”

Hopefully, we are getting closer to John Case finishing his first draft of the adaptation of Odets’ “Waiting for Lefty” we have committed to. My job will then be revisions and adding the music to it.

We’re updating it to get closer to the current day/ current protests of the Occupy Movement.

Sometime this summer we’ll audition,cast and perform it at The Folly on it’s great outdoor stage:

I haven’t had a chance to direct anything since 2009, so this is going to be fun for me… get me up off my butt and back into action.

Plastic People

Here’s a Saturday Morning of Zappadan piece:


Zappadan Starts TODAY!

In our coverage of Zappadan, we begin on the anniversary of Frank Zappa’s death, Dec. 4th, and we’ll proceed to the date of his birth, Dec. 21. We’ll be working sort of backwards, so we’re going to begin with Frank’s son, Dweezil, and his band playing one of his father’s numbers: Black Napkins.

Also… here’s Dweezil’s upcoming schedule for those of you wanting to hear him live.

Hello Friends,
We’ve been busy making touring plans for 2012. In the past the early part of the year has been downtime for us but not next year! We are happy to announce a special run of dates in February that take us up and down the west coast of California as well as a brief visit to Arizona. We’re excited to be playing some new cities on this tour and look forward to making the shows memorable for all of you.

         Fri  10-Feb-12   San Luis Obispo, CA   SLO Brew
         Sat 11-Feb-12 San Diego, CA  House Of Blues
         Sun 12-Feb-12 Tucson, AZ   Rialto Theatre
         Tue 14-Feb-12 Anaheim, CA   House Of Blues
        Wed 15-Feb-12 Santa Cruz, CA   Rio Theatre                                                                    
           Thu 16-Feb-12 Napa, CA   Uptown Theatre
         Fri 17-Feb-12 Chico, CA   El Rey Theater
         Sat 18-Feb-12 Sacramento, CA   Crest Theatre

In our continuing effort to present the variety and depth within Frank’s musical compositions we are planning to premier more new material on this tour. More 60’s, 70’s and 80’s FZ! Of course we still have a good amount of the well known classics we’re ready to whip out as well!
Please keep an eye open and an ear tuned for other special announcements about additional dates, new projects and music that is coming soon as well! If we are able to do everything on our list, 2012 is going to be a very busy year for us and a good year to provide the “World’s Finest Optional Entertainment”!

See you on the road very soon!


BTW: interesting fact about Dweezil c/o Wikipedia:

Dweezil’s registered birth name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa.[4] The hospital at which he was born refused to register him under the name Dweezil, so Frank listed the names of several musician friends. “Dweezil” was a nickname coined by Frank for an oddly-curled pinky-toe of Gail’s. At five years old, Dweezil learned that his legal name was different, and he insisted on having his nickname become his legal name. Gail and Frank hired an attorney and soon the name Dweezil was official.

Tuesday Morning in Shepherdstown…

Election today.

I’m not thrilled with either candidate, but I am upset with the dirty campaign Maloney and his crowd have run… so I am voting for Tomlinson.

CATF has announced the dates of the 2012 Season:

Hey… only 10 months away! Plan now!

I’ve been instructed to play no more show music on my radio show. It seems students don’t like it (too educational compared to really awful Rap that fills many afternoons). Yeah, it disturbs me, especially since Shepherd has a great Music Department that has produced wonderful musicals over the years. I guess their program doesn’t need support from WSHC radio.

If you, like me, miss having this on our local radio station, let them know at

I guess I’m REALLY feeling older…

Al Thomas

Last night was Al Thomas’ Birthday Party over at the Folly, the wonderful timber frame performance area he built some years ago on Bradley Sanders’ property, surrounded by talking areas and wood benches and what’s left of Al’s giant trebuchet (which he says he’s going to put back together one of these days.)

Al turned 60 this week, which makes him 5 years younger than me and a person with so much more energy and personality, able to carry on discussions with anyone and loved by everyone, that I am totally jealous.

Elly and Bud were also at the party with me ( Bud stayed there till 1:00 AM… 1:00 AM!… when his mother picked him up and the party was still going on.) We got there around quarter past five and after 2 1/2 hours I was exhausted, so I talked Elly into going home (she was going to a 10PM showing of “Paris Texas” at the Opera House with her friend Joan anyway), where I went to bed (I had been up since 4:30 in the morning and could barely keep awake.

The music was great, the food was terrific and beer and wine flowed freely. By the time I left there were easily 100 people there… from folks my age and older to the youngest of children running around and speeding through crowds on bikes… and Elly said when she picked up Bud cars will still arriving as others were leaving. How folks close to my age can keep going so far into the night is more than I can understand.

My son says I’m not “social” and that’s probably true (Elly agrees), but I think part of it is that I can never think of things to talk about unless someone else and I are involved in the same project, and I can’t remember most names… even of people I’ve met only a day or so ago. I am so embarrassed about my inability to remember names and how it makes it hard for me to introduce people to my wife and son or others, that I avoid doing it… or I do “one way” introductions, hoping the person whose name I can’t remember coughs it up when saying “nice to meet you.”

As I get older, I’m losing my memory of other things, too… events, movies I’ve seen, etc. … and my energy level is dropping like a bag of stones from a bridge. I’m having more and more trouble losing weight as I get more and more sedentary. I only sleep in 90 minute chunks, so I’m up and down all night. If it were not for this blog, my podcast, and co-hosting for John Case on the Friday morning radio show, I would probably be in a coma.

I can’t figure out who I am at this point in life. Perhaps working on the Carnival project for August at the Folly will help me see who I am (and someday I’d like to direct some theatre again… there are so many pieces I want to do and no one, so far, interested in having me do them.

At least it is Sunday and I can nap the afternoon away.

Anyhow… Happy Birthday, Al. You are one of the people whose names I CAN remember and who I really enjoy talking with.

We’re off to Morgan’s Grove Market… but the weather looks chancy…

Elly and I are volunteering for Peter Corum today over at the Market. He has to leave early, so we’re going to help out n the afternoon getting all those veggies sold and just keeping things moving.

Instead of it’s usual 9 – 12 hours, we’re joining the Farm Day celebrations locally and saying open all day. I had hoped the overnight thunderstorms would have gotten all the rain out of the sky, but the Weather Bureau is calling for a 30% chance of rain today, with the biggest chance this afternoon. The clouds are pretty thick as well… not sure we’ll see any sun.

But the Market goes on Rain or Shine… so if you are in the neighborhood, come on by and you’ll get groceries, crafts, snacks, live music (starts at 10) and more… and you can take a look at the Sustainable Shepherdstown Community Garden (where the corn is now has high as an elephant’s knee). Elly is still signing people up for the few remaining plots… very inexpensive (provides for water and deer security).

My podcast goes live at 10 AM…

Working on it now…hope you will tune in… if you can’t it will be available all week at the BlogTalkRadio site:

Posted in Word from Bill | Edit

If you want to call in during the live show, the number is 1 (661) 554-9186.

My new podcast is at 10 AM… I’m getting ready.

Image representing Blog Talk Radio as depicted...

Having missed my time yesterday on my birthday because I was playing my new Canjo and ignoring time and the world, I am now ready to get it on today… actually in just over an hour.

Hope you will tune in… if you can’t it will be available all week at the BlogTalkRadio site:

Posted in Word from Bill | Edit

If you want to call in during the live show, the number is 1 (661) 554-9186.

Sorry, friends…Podcast moved to tomorrow morning at 10 AM

Wouldn’t you know that, given my birthday and all, I’d get caught up in cards and messages…and the great present I got from my wife and dogs (just the thing I wanted, in fact)… a 1-string Canjo! (the picture is just an explanation… my canjo is a Budweiser can with a dark maple neck. I love it!)

We’ll have the Podcast tomorrow morning, May 25th at 10 AM. Maybe I’ll play the Canjo for you (I’m learning Tom Dooley.)

If you want to call in during the show, call 1 (661) 554-9186

Posted in Word from Bill | Edit

Today at 3:00 PM on

Coming up at 3:00 PM Today… Sign on to my weekly radio version of Under the LobsterScope (sorry I missed the regular Tuesday Morning schedule).

Here’s my podcast for today on BlogTalkRadio:

Still learning how to do this right… and this was my first time with a guest over the telephone. My biggest problem was the couple of seconds delay between asking questions and getting answers, so the guest and I kept stepping on each other.

I also had a music opening, which did not work… I’ll have to find out why… there are however 2 clicks in empty time when I thought I was turning the music on. Oh well, as I said last week, it will get better (just as this week was better than last week.)

To hear today’s show, with poet Tom Donlin reading his fine work, click here:

My thanks to Tom Donlin for being my guest this morning.

Today was my first UTL Podcast…

This morning at 10AM, the Under The LobsterScope half-hour podcast went live for the first time. I admit it was AWFUL, not AWESOME… but this was my first time.

It will get better, though. When it gets really good I’ll submit it to iTunes which will make it much easier for you to pick up.

Come back next Tuesday (and every Tuesday) at 10 AM and hear the improvements. Call in if you want to.

Meanwhile: you can click on my name or picture below and play the “On Demand” recording of this morning’s Podcast.

– Bill

Listen to internet radio with BillTchakirides on Blog Talk Radio

btw: I’d appreciate comments (or e-mail if you want to click on the mailbox) and suggestions from you. Listeners always know more than producers.

Wasn’t Yesterday Nice? A family get together.

Bud and Rachel

Yesterday, Elly and I drove down to Leesburg, VA, which was in the midst of an outdoor flower festival… packed with people… where we met our son, Bud, and his fiancee, Rachel, plus My daughter Penny, her three boys and Rachel’s son (and Penny’s mother) to have lunch at Lightfoot.

Penny and 4 boys!

Lightfoot is a favorite restaurant of both Bud and Penny… Elly and I ate there once before (with Bud, I think).

The weather was lovely… the rain is gone for awhile after soaking our Saturday down, and it was warm. On the Courthouse lawn there was music and kids playing Frisbee and other older people (like me) just sitting around.

N. King Street, which is one of the main drags of Leesburg, was filled with tents and merchants an shoppers and people just walking and having a good time.

However, today is Monday and the regular world starts up again.

Sorry to double up, but I have another obituary… Margaret Whiting Dies at 86

Margaret Whiting, a songwriter’s daughter who as a bright-eyed teenage singer captivated wartime America and then went on to a long, acclaimed career recording hit songs and performing in nightclubs and on television, died on Monday of natural causes at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, N.J. She was 86.

Margaret Whiting with Jack Wrangler

During the last years of her life she was married to former porn star and later producer, 20 years her junior, Jack Wrangler, who I went to Northwestern with when he was known as Jack Stillman. Jack died in 2009 with emphysema.

In her singing career “It Might as Well Be Spring,”  a Rodgers & Hammerstein tune from the musical “State Fair,” became a signature for her. In 1948 alone Margaret Whiting had three major hits: “A Tree in the Meadow,” “Now Is the Hour” and “Far Away Places.” A duet with Mercer, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (by Frank Loesser), lasted 19 weeks on the Billboard chart in 1949. Her nine duets with the country star Jimmy Wakely, from 1949 to 1951, were sensations, particularly “Slippin’ Around.” She released albums into the late 1950s with Capitol Records, then switched to the Dot and Verve labels, but returned to Capitol and recorded her last big hit, “The Wheel of Hurt,” in 1966.

Whiting and her younger sister, Barbara, who died in 2004,  starred in “Those Whiting Girls,” a 1950s television series about college coeds.

“Son Of Mr. Green Genes” performed by the original Mothers… Paris 1968

I ran this one last year and it was one of the most clicked on posts.

A couple of notes:

Ian Underwood does the brilliant baritone sax solo… much better than the solo on Hot Rats.

Look at the cover picture at the beginning of this piece… That’s Jimi Hendrix second from the right… live and in person.

A little more on Zappa and Hendrix (from

Zappa and Hendrix

Sat in with the Mothers Of Invention while they were in New York. It was FZ that first introduced Hendrix to the “Wah Wah” effect pedal.

FZ recalls seeing Hendrix at the Cafe Au Go Go:

“I thought Hendrix was great. But the very first time I saw him perform, I had the incredible misfortune of sitting close to him at the Au Go Go in New York City and he had a whole stack of Marshalls. I was right in front of it. I was physically ill. I couldn’t get out; it was so packed, I couldn’t escape. And although it was great, I didn’t see how anybody could inflict that kind of volume on himself, let alone other people. That particular show he ended by taking the guitar and impaling it in the low ceiling of the club. Just walked away and left it squealing.”

–”Zappa’s Inferno, Guitar World” (April 1987)

” Hendrix is one of the most revolutionary figures in today’s pop culture, musically and sociologically. Hendrix’s music is very interesting. The sound… is extremely symbolic: orgasmic grunts, tortured squeals, lascivous moans, electric disasters and innumerable other audial curiosities are delivered to the sense mechanisms of the audience at an extremely high decibel level. In a live performance environment, it is impossible to merely listen to what the Hendrix group does… it eats you alive.”

–”Zappa, quoted in a Life Magazine interview, The Oracle Has It All Psyched Out, 1968, from Kevin Courrier, “Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa“, ECW Press, 2002, page 145

“Some of the really good things that Hendrix did was the earliest stuff, when he was just ripping and brutal. “Manic Depression” was my favorite Jimi Hendrix song. The more experimental it got, the less interesting and the thinner it got.”

At the 1968 Miami festival Hendrix presented Zappa with the remains of his guitar. Zappa would subsequently rebuild the guitar and perform with it throughout the 1970’s. In 2002 Dweezil put the guitar up for auction, hoping it would make one million dollars, but it failed to sell.

On the 9th day of Zappadan my true love gave to me NUTRITIOUSNESS, DELICIOUSNESS and WORTHLESSNESS.

And a Zappa quote for the day:

Interviewer: “So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?”
FZ: “You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”

Frank performs Black Napkins on the Mike Douglas Show in 1976…

You don’t think of a lot of Frank Zappa on pure middle-class television, but here he is doing one of the great guitar solos on Mike Douglas’ afternoon housewife spurt (it’s obviously not The Mothers in backup… or any of his other regulars):

Wondering about the Friday Morning Winners and Losers Show and its audience.

I’m wondering how many people listen to John Case and me on Friday mornings on WSHC 89.7 FM on Friday Mornings. We get phone calls from the same four people and this morning we had a friend of John’s wife in the studio who listens on line from the Detroit, MI, area… but other than these, I’d sure like to know what the actual number of listeners comes to… and what kinds of things they wish we would talk about.

Right now we talk about Progressive and/or Liberal politics, we talk about poetry and local theater, and we talk about Jefferson County, WV, in general. The music we play is mostly blues (except when John takes the day off and I play more to the Zappa end of the spectrum) in between discussions and phone calls. If people would like to hear more of the same, or would rather hear different stuff, it would be nice to know.

Just curious.

Joan Sutherland, Dead at 83

The great soprano Joan Sutherland has died. Born in Australia, Ms. Sutherland made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1961 and continued entertaining audiences there for four decades.

Anthony Tommasini in the NY Times pointed out:

Ms. Sutherland’s singing was founded on astonishing technique. Her voice was evenly produced throughout an enormous range, from a low G to effortless flights above high C. She could spin lyrical phrases with elegant legato, subtle colorings and expressive nuances. Her sound was warm, vibrant and resonant, without any forcing. Indeed, her voice was so naturally large that at the start of her career Ms. Sutherland seemed destined to become a Wagnerian dramatic soprano.

Following her first professional performances, in 1948, during a decade of steady growth and intensive training, Ms. Sutherland developed incomparable facility for fast runs, elaborate roulades and impeccable trills. She did not compromise the passagework, as many do, by glossing over scurrying runs, but sang almost every note fully.

Her death at her home in Switzerland was confirmed by her close friend the mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne.

I need an entertainment for the early afternoon…

The last couple of days with McChrystal and increased oil spill reaching Pensacola, FL, and starting my nominal “retirement” (first Social Security payment came yesterday), I have been increasingly depressed.

Then I discovered “Zombie Pirates in Love” by Tom Smith and I’m full of bubbly hope again!

Like that?

Here are the lyrics:
You’ve heard of Captain Blackbeard,
How he had a dozen wives,
Well, we’ve got something more weird,
And it’s surely changed our lives.
You may not think us gentle or kind,
But we’re all gallant swains,
We admire a lady for her mind,
Or more precisely her BRAINZ!

Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love,
We used to be normal buccaneers
Till those lights came from above,
Our ship met a glowing fog one night,
And we came out with an appetite
For human flesh, if it’s Miss Right…
Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love.

We’ve got that rakish swagger,
And we’ve got that roguish charm,
We’ve got that bug-eyed stagger,
And we’ve got somebody’s arm.
Now, you may think you’re faster
Than a zombie on a boat
But all we need’s a pastor
And you’re Mrs. Undead Cutthroat.

Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love,
We may be dead, but we’ll be wed
When pushing comes to shove,
Come on, me beauty, take a chance
On eternal love and true romance,
At the wedding we’ll do the Thriller dance….
Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love.

Our honeymoon will be a terror
Of connubial bliss
For no bride’s mother can prepare her
For a night like this,
In matrimony holy
Our bones will groan and creak
And if we both chew slowly
We could make it last all week.

So let’s hear all the cannons roar and
Let’s all celebrate.
Raise the Jolly Roger, Corman,
I’ve acquired a mate.
You’ll be my wife long after life,
You’ll always have my heart,
We’ll keep love fresh with living flesh
Until we fall apart.

Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love,
We’ll roam the sea eternally,
My rotting turtle dove,
It’s not the life you might have had,
But zombie pirating ain’t all bad,
And I can’t wait to eat — meet! your mom and dad —
Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love.
Zombie pirates in love, yo ho!
Zombie pirates in love.
Yo, ho, yo, ho, we’re zombie pirates in love!

Now back to my radio show prep.

Lena Horne dies at 92

The world faces some Stormy Weather this morning with the report of Lena Horne’s death in NYC at age 92. The first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio, her race kept her from becoming a major film star in the 40’s, although she was on an MGM contract and was placed into musical after musical doing single numbers.

Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood. In the 1950s, due to the Red Scare and her progressive political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood. She continued to work in Television, nightclubs and on Broadway… and as a recording artist until 1998.

Her big stardom came as a result of WWII, as she stated:

“The whole thing that made me a star was the war. Of course the black guys couldn’t put Betty Grable’s picture in their footlockers. But they could put mine.”

Here she is singing the title song in the 1943 film Stormy Weather:

Actress, singer, civil rights activist… Lena Horne helped change America and she will be missed.

Snark Opening Last Night… not as bad as I expected…

… in fact pretty good (my wife, son, daughter and grandkids back me up on this… and at least three of them have no trouble telling me what they REALLY think.)

I had a couple of problems… the tempo of the show was a little off and the Butcher dropped a line that he had dropped in rehearsals (but I found a way to prevent it from happening tonite… I think) and the set pieces weren’t placed correctly for the last scene… but these are easy notes. Joe Jurand, the Board President, made a long fund raising speech at the beginning of the evening… something you really shouldn’t do with an audience full of kids. They just don’t give a damn about getting a plaque on a donated wall for three years… they want to see a show.

I think I will put Eddy’s Walrus & Carpenter Oratorio on AFTER the Snark tonite, since a.) younger kids can go home if they are now too tired to watch (an 8 PM curtain is awfully late for 7- and 8-year-olds) and b.) Eddy will be here tonite to discuss the piece with music lovers and c.) this actually slows down the audience before Snark and I can’t let that happen.

So tonite is night two of The Hunting Of The Snark. There are tickets available (tomorrow’s matinee is a sellout to a major church group) and then more available for next weekend. If you are in the area come by and see it. Bring the kids… they’ll have a lot of fun.

Rap with Keynes and Hayek… here is some Morning Economic Entertainment.

In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there’s a “boom and bust” cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.

Get the full lyrics, story and free download of the song in high quality MP3 and AAC files at:

Plus, to see and hear more from the stars of Fear the Boom and Bust, Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, visit their site:

Music was produced by Jack Bradley at Blackboard3 Music and Sound Design. It was composed and performed by Richard Royston Jacobs.