Happy Belated Groundhogs Day

Volume 7, Issue 1 - February 10, 2003


Hi Friends,

A Happy belated Ground Hogs Day to you all. I don't know, but it just
seems to me that, with all the sad stuff that keeps making
headlines, recently, a totally frivolous and oddball celebration,
featuring a near-sighted, chubby rodent with psychic powers, is probably
very appropriate.

For those of you on the other side of the pond, unfamiliar with this
curious American celebration, here's Groundhog's Day in a nutshell: As
tradition goes... if the groundhog emerges from his underground den and
sees his own shadow, he'll dart back into his hole, in fear, which means
it will be another 6 weeks until spring weather arrives. If, instead,
it's gray and cloudy, with no sun or shadow to startle him, it means
we'll enjoy an early spring. Wait, there's more...

The groundhog responsible for this forecasting fete is a bucktoothed
fuzzball named Punxsutawney Phil who lives in his cozy burrow in the
town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Every February 2nd, a group of local
officials, dressed in penguin suits (tuxedos, not actual penguin
costumes - now, that would be 'odd') awaken Phil from his peaceful
slumber, whereupon Phil whispers his weather prediction into the ear of
the head official, who then announces it to the anxiously-awaiting
crowd. These results are then broadcast instantaneously via
international newsmedia to all four (or five) corners of the globe. This
is a very serious business with professional reputations and vast
fortunes at stake. Crops and entire agricultural industries are at risk.
A lot is riding on the shoulders of this furry little guy. And for what
reward? A hole in the ground and a bowlfull of lettuce for a snack.
Maybe a carrot or two.

So, now maybe you'll have a clearer understanding of our national psyche
and why we do the things we do. (It doesn't explain everything, I know.)

But enough about groundhogs. I'm sure the UK/Ireland contingent is
getting bored of hearing all about this backyard critter. So...

Let's discuss hedgehogs, instead. There are plenty of hedgehogs on the
other side of the pond. And, apparently, unlike groundhogs who live in
the ground, hedgehogs live in a hedge. They are covered in spines like a
small porcupine and can roll up into a ball, like a pincushion, when
they feel threatened, which is often as they don't see very well.

One of the most famous hedgehogs of all time is Sonic the Hedgehog. But,
unlike Sonic, most hedgehogs don't go around wearing white gloves
and running shoes.

We don't have any hedgehogs in America. We don't need them, because we
have plenty of porcupines. We also have skunks, too many if you ask me.
At least too many living in a log in our backyard. Loudon Wainwright III
wrote a great song about a skunk entitled, 'Dead Skunk in the Middle of
the Road.' The Beatles, of course, wrote a classic song about a Racoon
named Rocky. And the duo, Captain and Tennille had a huge hit with the
unlikely, Muskrat Love.

As a point of interest, here are some of the actual lyrics to Muskrat

"...And now he's ticklin' her fancy Rubbin' her toes
Muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes
As they wriggle, and Sue starts to giggle

And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed
Singin' and jingin' the jango
Floatin' like the heavens above
It looks like muskrat love La da da da da ... "

(And I get teased for my lyrics.)

This proves that you can write a song about almost anything, which
brings me to the reason for this email.

I've already started working on writing new tunes for the New Next CD, and I'm always looking around for topics for songs. So, it occurred to me: Seeing as you're the folks who are funding it in the first place and going to be listening to it in the second place, I figured, hey, maybe you'd like to come up with some song ideas?

So, here goes: Anyone feeling adventurous and creative, feel free to
send me a few song topics or ideas for songs you'd like to hear on the
next album. Now, this is just an experiment, mind you. And please don't
be insulted if I don't use any of the suggestions at all. But I am kinda curious as to what you'll all come up with and what common themes crop up. For legal purposes, I need to ask that you PLEASE refrain from sending actual lyrics. Although it would be kinda funny if everyone on my email list filed a class action lawsuit against me, the artist, for copyright infringement! (Now, don't get any ideas...)

And, by the way, while we're on the subject of the New Next CD, I should point out that there are still more than a few of you (actually, more than a few thousand of you) that have still not pre-ordered this musical
masterpiece-to-be, which, as you see,  I'm still in the process of
writing. I am busy, every day, working on it, though. And seeing as
you'll be playing such an instrumental role in it's creation, you really
ought to consider pre-ORDERING your very own signed and numbered limited
edition copy, NOW! CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Now, I know some of you are scratching your heads right about now,
wondering, 'Dean, is this any way to get a record made?'

Good question.

The answer: Who knows?!

Meanwhile, I'm definitely enjoying the process. I hope you are too.

Be well, everybody.  I should have some tentative tour info for you in
the next email.

Take care and talk to you soon.



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