Happy Belated Groundhogs Day
Volume 4, Issue 1 - March 16, 2000
Yeah, I know, I dropped out of sight for a few months. I even missed wishing you all a Merry Millenium, not to mention my favorite American holiday which falls every February 2nd - Groundhogs Day. So, a belated Happy 2000 to you all, and a nose-wiggle in honor of Groundhogs Day.
For the curious overseas contingent: nose-wiggling is a quaint American custom and is how we all greet each other on Groundhogs Day. This is to commemorate the humble groundhog coming out of his burrow at the end of the winter. As legend has it, if it’s sunny out and he sees his shadow, he gets scared, darts back inside and that means we’re destined for 6 more weeks of winter; on the other hand if it’s cloudy he roams around munching on sprouts and buds, wiggling his nose all the while, and we’re supposedly destined for an early spring.
So, remember, next February 2nd (I’ll try to remind you) be sure to walk around wiggling your nose at friends and passersby. If they’re from America or on my email list they’ll be sure to offer a nose-wiggle right back.
O.K., O.K. The colonists are rolling on the floor at this slight embellishment. I was just kidding about the nose-wiggling; the rest is absolutely true – really!
In the spirit of equal time, next month, I’ll fill my countrymen in on the equally quaint British custom of ‘Burning the Guy’: This is a family event celebrated by burning some poor stuffed dummy in effigy, in the backyard. Heartwarming stuff. A slight improvement over beheading. Well, maybe not.
Anyway, I realize it’s already a while back, but we had a wonderful Millennium New Years, celebrated with close friends and family. And, as I know many of you did, we breathed a collective sigh of relief when a few minutes after midnight, after watching the bejeweled ball drop in NY’s Time Square, we knew that the millennium had been ushered in peacefully, free of international terrorism and cataclysmic nuclear Y2K disasters. Of course it was at that moment that Sam crept stealthily under the TV table and ripped the electric plug out of the wall plunging Time Square and the TV screen into darkness.
“Uh, oh.” We thought, as images of impending Y2K disaster flashed before our eyes, that is, until we noticed Sam’s feet sticking out from under the TV set.
It was a proud moment.
So, the reason I haven’t written in a while is because at the very end of December I started production on a custom video-game job for a Children’s Museum in the Midwest – the Healthworks Children’s Museum of South Bend, Indiana, which meant I spent the next 6 weeks in non-stop production, designing, illustrating, animating, programming and producing music and sound f/x for a cool InVideo game entitled, “Virus InVaders”. For a sample of the game screen, visit the PHOTOS section of my website http://deanfriedman.com ,
then, goto More Cool Stuff and scroll down to the bottom of the page. The project was great fun but on a ridiculously tight deadline, which meant I didn’t come up for air until a few weeks ago. So, if you ever happen to find yourself a few hours from Chicago, be sure and check it out. It’s very neat and has proven to be a huge hit with the kids.
We’re starting to get glimpses of spring, here in the northeast - buds swelling on the trees, crocuses popping up out of the ground. I’ve been mornings in the backyard trying to get rid of some of the brush and brambles and finding the occasional lost pocket-knife, empty whiskey
bottle and broken bowling ball. I can’t imagine how a broken bowling ball wound up in our backyard but there it was. Actually, that reminds me of another local legend. I’m not making this one up, either. According to some folks, the sound of thunder actually comes from a community of dwarves that live in the Catskill Mountains (we live at the foothills).
Apparently they like to bowl ten-pins and whenever you hear a thunder clap, it’s because one of them bowled a strike. At least that’s what my mom (mum) told me when I was little. This is the same bunch of diminutive fellows that partied with ol’ Rip Van Winkle, you know, the guy who
lay down to sleep for 40 winks and woke up 20 years later with a long white beard.
So, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the broken bowling ball I found in my backyard might have come from…
Well, you never know.
I haven’t forgotten about the music. I’m in the process of putting my studio back together again to do some recording soon. By the way, I keep getting email from many of you asking about sheet music and tablature for my songs and I know I’m taking forever producing it. Fortunately, two diligent subscribers, Martin Phee and David Clement-Horton, got fed up waiting for me to get around to it and have starting doing some of their own chord
charts and tabs of the tunes. I can’t vouch for 100% accuracy, but they’re pretty close and if you want to check ‘em out, you can find chords for songs like Ariel, Lydia, Lucky Stars, etc… at Martin’s site http://www.phee.demon.co.uk/friedman_chords.htm and tab for Company and chords for Hey Larry at http://deanfriedman.com/charts/tabcompany1.html and
http://deanfriedman.com/charts/chheylarry.html respectively. Eventually, I’ll try and organize a proper area for uploading charts and tabs like this. For now, though, thanks, Martin and David, for taking the time to work these songs out. And yes, one of these days, I will, finally, produce a songbook (it’s a big job).
What else? Well, you know, a zillion things: life, work, family, livestock, bootlegging moonshine in the backyard still… Actually, that reminds me, I just read a beautiful little book recommended to me by my good friend Julian, entitled, ‘The Education of Little Tree.’ by Forrest Carter (A Zia Book). Forrest Carter wrote another book on which the movie ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ was based. ‘The Education of Little Tree’ is his autobiography, which tells the true story of his being orphaned at five, then raised by his Cherokee grandparents in the Chattanooga Mountains of Tennessee, early in the 1900’s. It’s told from the child’s point
of view and is really a special book about those things that are truly important in life. I felt good for days after reading it. Try looking for it at your local library, and if you have no luck there, you can always get it online at one of the internet bookstores like, amazon.com. I promise you’ll enjoy it.
Here’s something for Westchester locals: Starting the first
week in April, I’m going to be conducting two different music classes. One is a ‘Songwriting Workshop’ (a teen session and an adult session). The other is a loosely organized ‘Jam Session’ (also a teen session
and an adult session). They’ll both be held at the Putnam Music Center on Rt. 6 in Mahopac. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, . If you’d like some more info on the classes, just go to:
http://deanfriedman.com/rock/rrindex.htm I’m looking forward to it, as I’ve always enjoyed the teaching I’ve done in the past, and it should be fun.
Well, I should start wrapping this up, or it’ll be summer before I send it out. I’m sorry that I don’t have any confirmed dates scheduled – neither US nor UK – but I am having discussions and will let you know as soon as they’re booked. As always, I appreciate the email and postings in the chat area. I try to answer as much as I can but as the list grows, I do fall
behind. So, hi and thanks to Joe and his family who have patiently held on to my guitar amp.
Thanks, Oscar , for getting my stuff played on Dutch radio. Welcome to America, Kara (and keep that Instamatic handy). Andy, hope you had an easy trip back across the pond and that Debbie’s feeling great while you await the new arrival. Oh, and a hearty congratulations/mazeltov to David, Ursula, Jamie and Bethan on the birth of Lydia Ann.
I’ve still got plenty of CD’s strewn about my office just waiting to be shipped to the far corners of the globe. Also, if you’re up late some night, bored, with nothing to do, drop into the CHAT section of the website and read what your fellow listeners are up to.
Oh, and one last thing: I’ve just finished designing a cool new website for
a very dear friend of mine, Michele Bernhardt. The site is http://innerworldmedia.com . I’ve known Michele since
we were both teenagers and I was playing in my first wedding band. It’s
hard to describe her in a few words, except to say that she is very cool and a special person. Among many other amazing things, Michele is a well respected intuitive/psychic/astrologer and does readings for
all those rich and famous celebs you’re always reading about in magazines. She even does monthly columns for Bloomberg Radio and several different style and fashion magazines. I tease her when she starts warning me about my planetary aspects and conjunctions, but even though we have slightly different views on astonomy, astrology, physics, cause & effect and destiny, I always have immense respect for her innate goodness, wisdom and intuition. So, do me a small favor and take a few minutes to visit her site.
It just went up, so she hasn’t had many visitors yet. Post a message to her Message Center and tell her what you think; I know she’ll be surprised to get lots of messages from around the world. And be sure and check out the game I developed in the ‘Word Magic’ section of her site. It’s pretty cool. (you’ll need the Macromedia FLASH plug in (version 4). Just go
Well, I guess that’s all for now. Take care of yourselves. Keep in touch. Enjoy the millennium.
Thanks for listening and see you soon.
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