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Clockwise, from top left: Blackfriar's Theater in Staunton, VA, home of the American Shakespeare Center; National Cathedral in Guatemala City; church near Volin, SD; engraved stellae at ruins of Copan, Honduras; folk musicians in La Paz, Bolivia.

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  1. Casablanca
  2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  3. Raising Arizona
  4. Fargo
  5. Shawshank Redemption
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February 28, 2018 [LINK / comment]

First gig at Shenandoah Brewing

Last month, I started asking around different local establishments about the possibility of doing music shows, and scored a gig on February 17 with Shenandoah Brewing, located in downtown Staunton. (See their website.) I was hoping to follow up on the big success of my show at the Valley Smokehouse (see January 30 blog post), but a wintry weather forecast depressed the turnout. For most of the time that I played that evening (from 8:00 until 10:15 or so), there were about eight to ten people there. Fortunately, it was a friendly crowd, and they enjoyed what I played.

Seq-uenceGroupSong titleHarmonica? (key)
1Ozark Mountain DaredevilsStanding On The RockC
2Ozark Mountain DaredevilsLeatherwoodA
3Johnny CashI Walk the Line
4EaglesLyin' Eyes
5EaglesTequila SunriseG
6Bob DylanLike A Rolling StoneC
7Simon & GarfunkleMrs. Robinson
8BeatlesLove Me DoC
9Creedence Clearwater RevivalGreen River
10John FogertyThe Old Man Down the RoadE
11Neil YoungHarvest MoonG
12Neil YoungMy My, Hey HeyBb
13PocoHeart of the NightC
14Doobie BrothersLong Train RunningC
15John DenverTake Me Home, Country Roads
16BeatlesCome Together C
17John Cougar MellencampPink Houses
18Classics IVStormy
19Classics IVTracesD
20Andrew ClemBetter Left UnsaidG
2110 CCI'm Not In Love
22Pink FloydBreathe In the AirA
23Pink FloydUs and Them
24Bob SegerTurn the PageG
25Gin BlossomsFound Out About You
26Ozark Mountain DaredevilsIf You Wanna Get To HeavenF *
27Tom PettyHere Comes My Girl

Some more folks came in about ten minutes after I finished, so I offered to play one more song for them. They requested a Tom Petty song, so I played "Here Comes My Girl," which they appreciated. Then I sat down to enjoy a pint of ale and had a nice chat with the bartender, Simon, who hails from Great Britain and once worked as a roadie in the British rock group The Jam. (See He also met Sir Paul McCartney once, introduced by a mutual friend. That's pretty amazing. Shenandoah Brewing has a great atmosphere, and I look forward to playing there again -- hopefully soon!

Shenandoah Brewing stage

The stage at Shenandoah Brewing, with the various musical decorations on the wall in back. On the left, wearing the black beret, is Chapman, the proprietor.

In contrast to my January 20 show at the Valley Smokehouse, which has its own big P.A. system, this time I had to use my own amplifier / P.A. system. As you can see, it is highly portable, and looks like a fat suitcase. I can set the whole thing up (including microphone and speaker stands) in about 15-20 minutes. On this particular night, unfortunately, I had to lug all of my equipment from the garage where my car was parked, almost a block away.

Fender Passport PA system

My Fender Passport P.A. system, all packed up.

Much more open mic music

After missing a week, I had a great time at the Queen City Brewing open mic event on the final Wednesday night of January (the 31st). It was just Fritz Horisk, Kimball Swanson, and me, so we each had to do extra songs, and we really rose to the occasion. I played a song by the 70s group Badfinger for the first time, so I told the tragic story about the guy who wrote most of their songs, Pete Ham. He committed suicide after realizing that his group had been ripped off in their contract with the record company. Here's the full set list:

NOTE: ( # ) indicates that I played the song with a harmonica.

The very next night (February 1), I played at the Barrenridge Vineyard open mic event for the first time since October 19, I believe. I jokingly told the host, Bill Harlow, "It's a miracle!" As usual, it was a big friendly crowd, at least 20 people. The first three songs I had just played the night before:

Back at Queen City Brewing on February 7, it was just Fritz Horisk, Brandon Cook, Den Fruman, and me, so once again we each had to do extra songs. The first song I played was "inspired" by Stormy Daniels, the porn star who allegedly accepted a large chunk of money to keep quiet about her alleged relationship with President Trump. There were six (or perhaps seven) songs altogether:

I missed Valentine's Day at Queen City Brewing, but played at Barrenridge Vineyard the very next night (February 15), accompanied by my lovely wife Jacqueline. There were more musicians this time, so I only played three songs:

I returned to Queen City Brewing a week later, on February 21. It was just Fritz Horisk, Kimball Swanson, Craig Austin (percussion), a new guy named Rourke, and me, so we each did eight songs. I played:

Tonight (February 28), there was some truly high-quality talent at Queen City Brewing, and in big numbers: Larry Ragland, Denny Ballard, Donna Ballard, me, Pasquale Dimeo, Matt Getsey and Craig Austin! My set consisted of:

Unfortunately, I didn't play the intro to "Cinderella" very cleanly, and likewise I missed some notes on the final song, "Susie Q." There's always room for improvement. But at least I pulled off the lead "guitar" part of "Take It Easy" (using the harmonica in public on that song for the first time) very well, and did just fine on "You Know Like I Know."

Major world languages

Language 2002
Chinese * 874 # 1,213
Spanish * 322 329
English * 341 328
Arabic ? 221
Hindi 366 # 182
Bengali 207 181
Portuguese 176 178
Russian * 167 144
Japanese 125 122
German 100 90

# : 2004 data for Chinese pertained only to Mandarin speakers, whereas data for Hindi speakers were defined more broadly.
Asterisks (*) denote the official languages of the United Nations, which also includes French (68 million speakers).

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I speak Spanish, some Portuguese, and have dabbled in German, French, Italian, Russian, Catalan, and Quechua.

Major world religions

Religion 2002
Christians 2,038 2,281
Muslims 1,226 1,553
Hindus 828 943
Chinese folk 389 454
Buddhists 364 463
Sikhs 24 24
Jews 14 15
Local, other 32 379
Non-religious 925 798

The obvious discontinuities in the last two lines of data are of uncertain origin.

SOURCE: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004 & 2012

I belong to the Episcopal Church and am annoyed at the recent polarization. According to a Theology quiz, I scored as a "Classical Liberal."

Ten Commandments

  1. Worship ONE God only
  2. No graven images
  3. No taking God's name in vain
  4. Keep Sabbath day holy
  5. Honor parents
  6. No stealing
  7. No murder
  8. No adultery
  9. No bearing false witness
  10. No coveting what others have

Seven deadly sins

  1. Pride
  2. Covetousness
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Gluttony
  6. Envy
  7. Sloth

Proverbs 6: 16-19

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies,
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Romans 12: 17, 21

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.

Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

Serenity Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr was a leading theologian of the mid-20th Century, and often wrote about foreign policy from a "Christian realist" perspective. From

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.