Banjo Teachers and Presidents

I made the mistake of offering to help somebody on the Facebook clawhammer group.

I posted a couple of videos to illustrate some concepts. I knew one of the videos was controversial. It shows me playing a simple folk melody in three tunings.

Almost immediately after posting I was under attack. An anonymous jerk with no evidence of even owning a banjo started trashing Dear Old Dad and myself. Then a bunch of other jerks piled on. I walked away, but Dear Old Dad says they are still going at it.

A few hours ago, I turned off the computer and watched 47 Meters Down with my folks. Dear Old Dad is a certified scuba diver. His comments made the movie a lot of fun. Netflix is so much better than going to the theater.

After the movie Dear Old Dad was channel surfing. Several news reports popped up. Each anchor was discussing the running commentary on President Trump’s mental capacity.

I will admit that I take a jab when President Trump posts something goofy on Twitter. That said, a lot of the hate directed at him in the press reads close the mean crap the banjo community posts about me.

Donald Trump wasn’t supposed to win the election. Say what you will, but most the irrational hate directed at him is sour grapes over the election.

In a similar vein, Pat & Patrick Costello weren’t supposed to teach you how to play the banjo.

The good news is that none of the cruelty is evident at the Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat. When people are together in the real world it is easy to create harmony.

People say that none of the haters matter, but it does wear me down. This nastiness has been following us for over twenty years. I was planning to post a new workshop today, but my heart wasn’t in it.

It is difficult to present a smiling face into the same computer that spews hate at me

I am starting to think I should change my focus to more real-world workshops and events. The Internet is too cruel for banjo teachers and presidents.

Patrick’s Favorite Family-Friendly Horror Movies

Halloween is fast approaching. A lot of you may already know that I love scary movies. Here are a few of my favorite monster movies that manage to be scary without a lot of swearing, nudity and gore.

I added the IMDB link so that parents can check out the parents guide for each movie.

The Body Snatcher (1945)
Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi are mesmerizing in this Robert Louis Stevenson tale of grave robbers supplying doctors with cadavers for medical testing.


The Green Slime (1968)
Astronauts in cardboard spaceships fight slimy green monsters, but the story is actually pretty good. I love this movie!


The Thing From Another World (1951)
Space communists menace a north pole scientific outpost. This movie is a gem. The characters talk with snappy dialoge that makes you care about the people in danger.


Horror of Dracula (1958)
Christopher Lee is truly scary in this Hammer classic.


Duel (1971)
Truck driver messes with a commuter.


The Haunting (1963)
“Whose hand was I holding?”


Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Stretching the family-friendly concept here with a PG-13 title, but I love this movie. It’s about the most unlikely movie monster: killer klowns from outer space.


The Uninvited (1944)
“They call them the haunted shores, these stretches of Devonshire and Cornwall and Ireland which rear up against the westward ocean. Mists gather here… and sea fog… and eerie stories…”


Happy Halloween everybody!

God bless,
-Patrick