Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jesus, Mary and Joseph Attacked By Wild Dogs!

Yesterday when Lovely Wife got home from the grocery store and I went out to help her get the stuff from the car, all four poodles made a mad dash past me out into The Forbidden Zone, otherwise known as the front yard.

For the first few seconds they were just running and jumping in the nirvana of just being out there instead of the back yard, but then Rosie and Lilly noticed intruders in our front yard that were not there the last time they got to run around the front yard.

The only thing that separates us from Ebeneezer Scrooge is the fact that we have a three piece plastic nativity scene in the front yard.

Rosie and Lilly, after the first taste of freedom had died down, noticed the unsuspecting Joseph, Mary, and the Jesus/manger module just sitting there like STRANGERS.

Of course, we don't have normal poodles, ours are vicious attack miniatures. Don't let the curly hair and otherwise cutie-pie looks fool you, they mean business Buster!

Rosie and Lilly ran over and while Rosie barked, growled and snapped at Joseph, Lilly did the same on the other side to Mary.

It was a classic pincer maneuver that General George S. Patton would have been proud of.

Thankfully the Jesus/manger module was left alone, and Joseph and Mary wisely stood perfectly still, probably from extreme fright, but still, it was the right thing to do.

Since the three intruders just sat there like bumps on a pickle, our lap dogs highly trained attack/guard dogs finally realized that this family was no threat and came running quickly inside due to the promise of a bite of cheese.

But for a minute or so there, the Holy Family was in dire straights, but tragedy was finally averted.

For this year anyway.

This is Rosie;

and this is Lilly.

Is it any wonder that those poor people were scared stiff when these two brutes went after them?

Have a Merry Christmas everyone! And watch out for marauding poodles.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve, 2007

The Christmas Spirit finally descended upon me today. (That's Younger Brother and Me there. Dig my paisley shirt and my bangs. I think this was 1972)

Lovely Wife went into work today at our church and helped them prepare for tonight's service. Since she left there, she's been at the store buying a few last minute things for tomorrow's Christmas dinner.

We're having Roast Beast, just like the Whos down in Whoville.

The lamps that she wanted for Christmas arrived via UPS in the nick of time. (no pun intended)

I was able to get them out and wrap the two boxes and put them in an out of the way place to add to the suspense. (That's Big Brother and Me on our new bikes in 1970)

When she asks if UPS has shown up yet, I just tell her that the UPS guys usually show up at our home in the late afternoon. That's a true statement, and it allows me to avoid telling her that for once UPS showed up at noon and that her lamps are already wrapped and over beyond the love seat and pretty much out of the line of sight, unless you happen to walk that far into the room.

So all the presents for this year are here and wrapped, except for the dog's toys that she is getting at the store.

The roast beef dinner is bought by now and probably on the way home. I'm watching for her out the window as I type this. (No Christmas is complete without taking a gander at this old pic of Big Sis with her new Bobby Sherman album. Yes, THE Bobby Sherman.)

We're having Louisiana Christmas weather in Florida this year, it's 64F(18C) and raining slowly right now. Almost exactly like many Christmases of my childhood.

I hope that all y'all have a merry, safe, fun, and blessed Christmas this year.

God Bless all of you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday December 23, 2007

I don't really have any new stuff that's worth posting, so I went back through some of my old stuff, just looking and came up with some nice, pretty Florida-ey shots.

Any of y'all dealing with snow and cold might appreciate them about now.

We're hitting 78-80 degrees every day, with mostly sunshine so I don't think we'll even have semi-cool weather for Christmas. (Darn that evil George Bush and his administration's policies that caused Hurricane Katrina and this hot weather! At least we'll have dramatically higher sea levels soon, us Floridians will drown and be out of our misery. I know this because Al Gore says that's what will happen.)

I love these amazing looking and incredibly twisted trees in front of these folks' house.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Aimless Ramble #944

'Cause if there's one thing I'm good at, it's aimlessness.

This is turning out to be one of those Christmas seasons that I seem so dead inside; as in not "feeling" all Christmasy. They happen from time to time, and this is one of them.

I've long suspected that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, where the short days wreak havoc with my emotions. In my case I tend to be robbed of my emotions. We watched the TNT version of A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge the other night, one of my all-time favorite movies, and I didn't get all teary-eyed even once and I didn't get all fired up about straightening my life out with all kinds of positive self-talk like I usually do when I watch it. That may be a big yawn for y'all, but that's a warning sign for me that something's amiss.

On a related note, I found and hope to buy pretty soon, one of those alarm clocks that gradually lights up over 30 minutes and reaches full brightness as the time for the alarm to sound. I have a tough time waking up, and maybe that'll help.

I would also try one of those full-spectrum lights that you sit under for helping with bad attitudes due to the shortened days, but those things are, like, $250. A little too steep for me. But I like the idea of it. Maybe I should just get in a comfy chair and go sit outside a while each day. I walk around outside at work most days, just to have a break, but that hasn't helped my attitude any.

What I really need is a spine transplant.

Whenever I take some of my pain medicine and am at home, I'm all of a sudden in a good mood and joking and laughing. The other day Lovely Wife remarked about me acting like my old, silly self, but I had to fess up and an tell her that I had taken some medicine and that she'd caught me in that short window of opportunity where I was barely hurting and could feel and act normal.

It's times like those that bring home to me just how life changing chronic pain is.

I'm supposed to go see a pain specialist in January, and he's a guru at placing TENS units into the spinal cavity, or also he does morphine pumps that are internal and release small doses of the morphine right at the site of the pain.

Only problem is, that I really hate to take the step of having a morphine pump installed into my back. Any narcotic stops being as effective the more you use it, so I'm always walking a tightrope with my Lortab, which works wonders for me short term, and I know that switching to morphine is a big step.

I have a couple of weeks to think and pray about it, but I'm already nervous because it's as if by having set up the appointment with the pain specialist, that I've already taken a turn down a long and difficult road. The whole idea of a pain specialist is to get pain relief, but…

Sudden Swerve!

We've done most of our Christmas shopping. It's a really lean Christmas for us financially.

The girls are grown, more or less, and the things they tend to want now are specific books and DVDs so the lion's share of the shopping was done online at Amazon.com.

Lovely Wife has been wanting some arts and crafts style lamps to go with the furniture we bought this year, and the other day she found some she liked that were on sale for a great price, so I ordered a couple of those for her. They are due to arrive on Christmas Eve, so we'll see if that actually happens and therefore gives her a "big" gift to open this Christmas.

I have a Gibson Les Paul Studio electric guitar that I bought used from a friend at work several years ago. He had made some changes to the electronics, which I then changed back to be more like original, but in all that changing, some of the pieces-parts don't work all the time. It's no big deal, I just play the guitar at home, but just knowing it's easily fixed, but not fixed, bothers me.

So for Christmas this year I ordered "from Santa" all new parts for the switches and the four volume and tone controls. As an electrical engineer I find it impossible to go the easy route, so I simply waited until I could order the parts I needed to really do a job on the electronics. The changes I plan to make are ridiculous, but will allow me to get several different sounds from the guitar as opposed to simply leaving it how it works from the factory.

Yeah, I know that's as boring as watching paint dry, but it's exciting to me. Normally, guitar electronics are easy to work with, so I'm going to try to rig up my own version of Jimmy Page's customized Les Paul he used during his Led Zeppelin years. (My wiring will be a variation of this diagram) If I get the electonics switched out with the new stuff, and my wiring system works like I plan, and if there are no parts left over (always a possibility with me) I'll have had hours of fun and a more reliable and more versatile Les Paul to boot.

I'm also getting a set of locking tuners (those things in the picture up top that you twist to tune the guitar), because this guitar goes out of tune pretty easily and I think a set of high quality tuners will help.

The latter half of next week should be pretty loud around the Masters' home if my nefarious plans for my Les Paul work out, because I'll then have to crank my amplifier to 11 to test the guitar out properly. Rock on!

We live such exciting lives around here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Law of Unintended Consequences

For those who believe that petroleum is evil, and that ethanol provides an exciting and more ecologically pleasing alternative to gasoline produced from crude oil, you ought to read this:
U.S. corn boom has downside for Gulf

By HENRY C. JACKSON, Associated Press Writer Mon Dec 17, 4:02 PM ET

JEFFERSON, Iowa - Because of rising demand for ethanol, American farmers are growing more corn than at any time since World War II. And sea life in the Gulf of Mexico is paying the price.

The nation's corn crop is fertilized with millions of pounds of nitrogen-based fertilizer. And when that nitrogen runs off fields in Corn Belt states, it makes its way to the Mississippi River and eventually pours into the Gulf, where it contributes to a growing "dead zone" — a 7,900-square-mile patch so depleted of oxygen that fish, crabs and shrimp suffocate.

We have more crude oil in US territory than we could possibly extract and burn in 100 years and environmentalists put up such a fuss when any attempt at drilling is put forth that the oil companies neither drill in these places nor create new refinement facilities.

We now have the technology to extract oil from shale for example, and there are massive KNOWN deposits within the lower 48 states that they are not drilling for.

THAT's why we're paying $3.00+ per gallon of gas, not because of OPEC.

Our own US citizens are why gas prices are so high; it's not because of greedy oil companies, but radical environmentalism.

I don't want to destroy the environment, but at the same time, there has to be a bit of balance.

No new refineries in over 20 years? Can't drill in many locations where there is know to be oil?

That's not balance, that's stupidity.

As a counterpoint to all of that nastiness, here's one of my all-time favorite photos of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Weather Channel Says

According to the Weather Channel (and we know they're never wrong) it's only supposed to get up to about 65F (18C) in this here part of Florida today.

Now we really know how them folks up north feel with their cold weather and snow and whatnot since we're in the midst of a cold snap ourselves.

So we'll be prayin' for y'all, since we're in the same boat, so to speak.

Sunny and 65 degrees for the high, I had to think for a spell this morning, trying to decide whether to wear a long sleeved or short sleeved shirt.

I went with the short sleeves because when it gets cold like this the knuckleheads at work freak out and crank up the heater and those of us with lots of "natural insulation" almost suffocate.

Plus, it's been so long since I've worn a long sleeved shirt, I'm not sure I have one that isn't coated with dust that I could wear to work.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday December 16, 2007

Leaving 99 lyrics by Audio Adrenaline

I'm lost and broken all alone on this road
The wheels keep turning but the feeling is gone
when I fear I'm on my own
You remind me i am not alone

when You say..

I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you

It's dark and lonely and the path is unclear
Can't move my feet because I'm frozen with fear
then you say, my child, my child
i am always here, i'm at your side

I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you

you're never too far down
I promise you'll be found,
i'll reach into the mud,
the miry clay
pursue you to the end,
like a faithful friend,
nothing in this world,
can keep me away,

I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you...
to find you..

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I've been robbed of a positive attitude by chronic back pain. Lortab is my friend right now.

I very much appreciate everyone's visits and comments. I'll get back around to you as I can, but again, thank you for visiting.

That last photo up there is a place where Lovely Wife and I have sat and watched more than a few incredible sunsets in the 11 years we've been here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ti-i-i-ime Is On My Side

It's news like this that helps keep me from buying the man-made global warming hype.

I've gone on record numerous times here talking about how, if the global warming alarmists really believed that man was causing global warming that they'd live like it; that they would live a life that has little impact on nature. But I see, time after time, those who are shouting the loudest about man's undeniable negative impact on the earth's average temperature flying in private jets, and living in massive masions that consume many times the energy of a normal citizen, so I discount their global warming cries because if they really believed in what they say, they'd live differently. They would be examples, instead, they live do as I say, not as I do, lives.

Ticks me off, to say the least.

One of the things that global warming alarmists rail on about is the melting ice sheets in Greenland. I don't deny that they are melting, satellite photos from over the years show it to be so, but I personally believe it's due to natural cycles of the world's average temperature rising and falling.
Magma May Be Melting Greenland Ice
Andrea Thompson
LiveScience Staff Writer
LiveScience.com Thu Dec 13, 8:10 AM ET

SAN FRANCISCO—Global warming may not be the only thing melting Greenland. Scientists have found at least one natural magma hotspot under the Arctic island that could be pitching in.

...clues to a new natural contribution to the melt arose when scientists discovered a thin spot in the Earth’s crust under the northeast corner of the Greenland Ice Sheet where heat from Earth’s insides could seep through, ...

Seems like every time people get their undies in a wad about something like this, and then folks take a hard look at the situation, other factors are shown to be involved.

Where global warming alarmists immediately jumped on the melting of Greenland's ice as proof of man's folly in regards to the environment, other things like a thin spot in the earth's crust eventually show up.

Now tell me, what do you think has more possibility to melt ice like that, man's impact via cars, passenger jets, priviate jets with rich environmentalists on them, or untold amounts of 3000 degree molten rock under a thin spot in the earth's crust?

Time is not on the side of those who make a living from global warming like the carbon offset sellers and those whose power and position are based on preaching about man made global warming. Seems as time goes by, more and more of their dire predictions fail to come true, or like this new discovery, other, more sensible reasons for warming in certain areas eventually appears.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There Are Still Brave Heroes Around

Matthew Murray entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs this past Sunday loaded for bear.

"Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, said Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Colorado Springs Police Department."

An ex-police officer from Minneapolis, Jeanne Assam, was a volunteer security guard at the massive church. She was licensed in Colorado to carry a gun, and did so at the church during her security details. She would attend one service, then volunteer as security for other services after that.

It's a good thing she did.

The nutjob happened to enter the church near where Jeanne was located, and after initially hiding, until she saw what the situation was, she rose and confronted Murray, and shot and killed him.

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."

"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."

They estimate that there were 7,000 people at the church at that time.

There's no telling how many people's lives were saved by her quick actions.

Here's an article from a Denver ABC station.

Also, there has already been an autopsy on Murray, and they've determined that although Jeanne Assam shot him several times, his death was by his own hand. After she shot him down, he administered the killing shot himself.

He had apparently shot several people earlier at Youth With a Mission, and came to this church later.

Fortunately Miss Assam was there because two other security guards were there with guns drawn but wouldn't shoot, so Miss Assam yelled for him to surrender and walked toward Murray while he fired three times at her, missing. Her return fire hit Murray several times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Kind of News I Like to Read About Most:

Voyager 2 finds solar system's shape is 'dented'

The two space probes, Voyager I and Voyager II were sent out in 1977.

That's 30 years ago, and in 1979 the first Star Trek movie used Voyager as the main plot point.

That's how long those things have been sailing through our solar system.

Voyager II is making the news because it has reached the edge of our solar system and found condition a bit different (much cooler) than they thought, and a bit strange too (there's a dent in the edge where our sun's solar wind meets interstellar space).

Truly, it's news that geeks love to read about.

Way, way, WAY cooler than Paris Hilton and almost as cool as Led Zeppelin reforming for that London show yesterday (that I sadly was unable to attend).

Monday, December 10, 2007


In the mornings I tend to listen to a local talk radio station. They are always covering and discussing things happening in Brevard County, where I live. (Am I boring or what?)

But some mornings, I don't want to hear people talk and I switch around trying to find a music station that is actually playing music instead of their annoying morning guys and gals yakking.

One day last week I had turned to try to find some music on a classic rock station and after a Rush song (Tom Sawyer, if you care) their morning people came on and had a girl on the streets in Orlando asking people simple questions, a la Jay Leno.

The question the radio station girl was asking was this, "During what years was Adolph Hitler alive?"

I'm thinking that nobody could possibly be very far off on this. I wasn't sure of his birth date, but I estimated 1890 and that he died in 1945. I knew that he and his wife had killed themselves as Russians were storming his area of Berlin.

One guy said, "I think he was born in the 1890s and died in... 1956, yeah, 1956."

Wow. 1956? Why 1956?

But the answer of the next person she asked killed me.

A lady answered "I'm not sure when he was born, probably around 1900. But I was a History major, and I'm positive he died in the 1960s because Kennedy was President when Hitler died."

I actually LOLed out loud right there in my car.

An honest to goodness LOL. Seriously, where did she major in history? I want to be sure to never take any classes at whatever college she went to.

Maybe my Louisiana public school upbringing was better than I thought.

I hope a bunch of that lady's friends heard her on the radio that day. She deserved some serious being made fun of.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday December 9, 2007

All I have this week is a hodge-podge selection of my old 35mm slides.

This is a neat view of a waterfall within Petit Jeanne State Park in Arkansas.

In December of 1982 there was some serious flooding in northeast Louisiana. One day I went down to where they were filling and placing sand bags to try to save some houses from flooding. This is a soldier in the cab of a Louisiana National Guard truck.

Sand bags were added to a small levee behind a row of houses near a swamp. The water was slowly rising and they were able to keep water out of most of the homes. A lot of back breaking work went on here.

I've posted various pics of my then future In-Law's flowers and plants. Here's one of my own Sainted Mother's caladiums. (caladia? caladii?)

Here's one of Sainted Mother's purdy flars.

I thought the center petals of the flower looked like a mouth or beak, so I added a couple of eyes to make it look more like a face. I know it's lame.

Have a good Sunday folks!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Snark About Man-Made Global Warming

I do not believe that man is causing global warming as Nobel Peace Prize Winner Al "The Goracle" Gore and his cohorts claim.

If I believe that, say, my overspending causes negative bank balances, then I do what is necessary to control myself and make sure my spending is less than what I deposit into the bank.


But there are way too many people who are now making their livings now off of convincing others that man is causing global warming. They preach the dangers of man-made global warming and that we must all take certain steps to avoid our doom, yet none of those global warming alarmists live by those same rules they ask us mere mortals to live by.

If they TRULY believed in what they say about man-made global warming, they'd show it by the way they live, but they don't.

Check out this article, titled: Hot Air Emitted by Climate Summit Equals 20,000 Cars

I won't even bother to quote some of the article because the title of it alone should tell you most of what you need to know.

But they do say in the article that the representatives from the various countries headed to this climate conference in Indonesia have pledged to plant trees and/or to buy carbon offsets to make up for their huge carbon footprints in flying to Indonesia and back.

Yeah, right.

Planting trees is always cool in my book, but if you actually believe that there is such a thing as a carbon offset that does anything at all to benefit anyone but people like Al "The Goracle" Gore who just happens to co-own a firm where suckers can soothe their aching souls by buying carbon offsets from them, you're pretty dumb.

Typical "do as I say, not as I do" hiposcrisy from the Church of Global Warming.

By the way, I'm sure the folks in North Dakota, Maine, and Chicago are wondering when this whole global warming thing is going to hit them like the record snows they had this week.

(Today's Snark About Man-Made Global Warming was brought to you by the letters J, A, and M, and by the number 3.141592653589793238462643383, Pi to 27 places. 'Cause Pi is cool and useful and stuff.)

I tell y'all what, proof of the silliness of this whole thing drops right in my lap before I can even post the above post.

Eco-friendly kangaroo farts could help global warming

Is that funny or what?

Will the cow farts destroy the earth like the U.N. says, or will civilization be snatched from the jaws of the apocalypse by kangaroo farts?

Only time will tell.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'm Proud of My Home Town

Monroe, Louisiana hits the AP News wires.

Man sentenced in bizarre diagnosing scam
Wed Dec 5, 9:54 PM ET

MONROE, La. - A man was sentenced to more than four years in prison for bilking friends and family out of more than $800,000 by convincing them that his wife was a government agent who could arrange to have their medical problems diagnosed by satellite imaging.

Brent Eric Finley, 38, of Rayville, was sentenced in federal court in Monroe to serve 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. His wife, Stacey Finley, was sentenced in August to spend 63 months in prison and both are ordered to jointly pay restitution in the amount of $873,786.94.

I have to hand it to the Finleys, when they wanted to scam some folks they came up with a doozy.

I've never been one to be overly impressed with my own intellect, especially after working around the guys I work with that are truly brilliant, but I'd like to think that I would have been smart enough to have not been hoodwinked by this scam.

I mean, I've read all kinds of spy novels and science fiction where the CIA is almost god-like in their abilities, but I personally don't think the CIA can find it's own butt using both hands.

I'm so proud of Louisiana, we've got Huey Long, David Duke, Ray Nagin, and now Mr. and Mrs. Finley in our comical list of famous folks from there.

If I were a good enough blogger, maybe I could be right up there with them all.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mitt Romney

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has basically been pressured into giving a speech on his Mormon faith. (That's Mitt there saying, "Mormons are A-OK!")

Here's an article about it on CNN.

Mitt seems to be a fairly centrist guy in my book, though all the current crop of Republicans claim to be conservative.

But everywhere he goes, and in every interview I've ever seen with him, Mr. Romney is asked about his Mormon faith as if he has two heads and needs to explain what it's like to be two-headed.

I do not believe many of the same things that my Mormon friends do about theology, but come on people, give the man a break!

Democratic Senator Harry Reid has been a powerful man in Washington, D.C. for decades and I've never once heard him asked about his Mormon faith.

Being the type of lightning-quick intellect that can only be produced in Louisiana public schools, I can only come up with one reason that this is happening with Mitt Romney and not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

Most "journalists" don't have enough sense to realize their own bias in that they demand that a Republican Mormon explain his beliefs in a public speech because his political views differ from theirs and somehow the Mormon thing scares them; while on the other hand, Senator Reid has proven himself a world-class yes man for whatever the Democratic Party believes at any given moment and is therefore "safe" despite his claim to be a Mormon like Mitt Romney.

And then people turn around and look at you with a totally serious face and wonder how we can believe that the majority of the mainstream media in this country are biased toward liberal/Democratic Party views.

I don't believe for one second his speech has anything to do with reducing the fears of possible Republican voters but that this is to hopefully shut up the reporters' incessant questioning of his faith so that he can then talk about something else on the campaign trail.

But that's just my own opinion.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

US Teens Lag Behind In Science And Math

A news article on Yahoo proclaims that "US teens lag behind in science and math."

Apparently American school kids scored lower in math and science than kids in 23 other countries.

Come on people!

That's not fair. This is America.

Math and science don't matter at all here.

American schools care about being number one in giving out condoms, birth control pills and making sure that teen girls can get abortions without having to tell their parents.

That math and science stuff is over rated.

Heck, math and science are hard to do!

We just want our kids to have sex without consequences and not have to think very hard.

It takes hours per day to learn calculus and chemistry; time that is better spent playing Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft.

This is America, where people can make "documentaries" whose facts have bigger holes than the Titanic and still win Nobel Peace Prizes.

Don't need nunna dat math and science junk here.

We're doing alright just as we are.

Who really cares if America's kids are dumb as a box of rocks.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Guitars for Geeks

Go to any rock concert and you'll find the guitar geeks standing in front of where the guitar player of their favorite band will be standing.

It's important that you get there early and stake a claim as close to the guitarist's position as possible, yet outside the mosh pit.

Moshers don't care about the concert, they just want to show off their bruises later to their friends.

The bassist ususally has bass geeks camping out where he will be playing.

For example, for a King's X concert, you'd want to stand in front of the the right side of the stage (from the perspective of facing the stage) to be able to watch Ty Tabor play during the concert. If you're a bass player, you'd want to stand on the left to watch Dug, King's X's bassist/singer perform.

If you're just there to listen, then any good spot will do, but as a sucky guitar player, I like to watch guitarist's hands during a concert.

By far my favorite guitar tones come from a combination of a Gibson Les Paul guitar playing through a Marshall Amplifier. Pure magic.

If you watch what happens during a concert, you'll see that guitar and bass players ususally use any time that the singer talks to the audience to retune their instruments. Especially during a rock concert, they tend to play harder and thus knock the strings out of tune over the course of a few songs.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, upsets fellow band members like somone's instrument being out of tune, so they take advantage of down time when the singer is yakking at the audience to retune.

Guitarists also many times play certain songs in what are known as alternate tunings. Standard guitar tuning, from big E to little E is E-A-D-G-B-E.

But if you want to have a deeper, darker sound from your guitar, you might tune as C-G-C-F-A-D, like Brad Noah, my favorite guitarist from the band Disciple.

If you see a guitarist take his guitar off and someone hand him a different one to play during a concert, that typically means that the upcoming song is one he will play in an alternate tuning. (unless he broke a string)

Anyhoo, Gibson USA has recently announced that this week, on December 7, they will release for sale a guitar that tunes itself, called the Robot Guitar.

Now this isn't a totally new concept, there have been various after-market modifications that one could pay to have installed into their guitar at a huge price in years past, but none that came standard on a production model guitar.

The machine heads, or tuners, at the head of the guitar have little servo motors in them. At the bridge end of the guitar are sensors for each of the six strings.

You tell the guitar that you want to retune and then strum the strings and a microprocessor decides which strings to retune using the servo motors in the machine heads.

The guitar has several popular alternate tunings programmed into it already, and has the capability for the user to custom program in tunings.

So a band memeber playing the Robot Guitar, still a Les Paul despite the new and smart hardware, can save time in a concert and just let the guitar tune itself instead of worrying about taking as much time as would normally take.

The guitar also intonates itself, if you know what that is. Intonation is setting up the adjustable parameters of the guitar strings such that the guitar plays in tune at every point up and down the guitar's neck. The Robot Guitar does this for you too.

Pretty neat in my book.

My Les Paul doesn't have this feature, it was made in the mid 1990s, so I'll just have to keep using my ear or electronic tuner to get back in tune after rocking out.

I've been reading about this Les Paul Robot Guitar as it's debut approaches and thought I would share my excitement.

Some day this technology will trickle down to cheaper guitars. I hope so anyway.

The first ones they are selling with the automatic tuning and intonation list price at $2499, which should translate into a street price of about $1700. A little too steep for me right now.

Here's the link again to Gibson's web site regarding this nifty guitar: Gibson Les Paul Robot Guitar.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Brrr! December 1st

It's supposed to be partly cloudy and 81F/27C here today.

Might just have to lay in a supply of Lortab and go wandering and take some photos.

This photo was taken at a marina on Crane Creek in Melbourne, Florida.