Old Time Banjo With Patrick and Dear Old Dad

I found a packaging sample from one of our most successful instructional video projects, Old Time Banjo With Patrick and Dear Old Dad.

We produced a lot of instructional videos between 2000 and 2003 with some of the best teachers in the business. I had no intention of ever teaching in front of a camera, so when we could not find a suitable frailing banjo teacher it was up to Dear Old Dad to do the job.

We were shocked at how popular this CD ROM workshop became. We tried to generate interest in our other titles, but people did not want fiddle or various guitar styles. They wanted old-time banjo. They wanted us playing and singing and having fun.

After this project we stopped publishing anything but our own videos. In 2003 I accidentally wrote The How and the Tao of Old Time Banjo and we never looked back.

Real Player is old and buggy technology, so we uploaded the video to YouTube. The tab is no longer available, but you can find all of the songs in my books and essays.

After all these years, not many teachers can come close to Dear Old Dad, and our little jam session at the end of part 8 still remains unique. It’s cool to have your work reach so many people for such a long time. I can’t wait to see what happens down the road when all of you start teaching!

Shitajiki Writing Board

After being forced to move most of my writing to pencil and paper I am always on the lookout for tools that make working in this fashion more enjoyable.

Shitajiki writing boards are one of those tools.

The idea is simple. A sheet of plastic you slide under the paper you are writing on to prevent marking or denting the pages underneath. As an added benefit, the writing board keeps me from digging my pencil deep into the paper, allowing me to write with a much lighter touch.

I started out using the Sun-Star Grid Shitajiki Writing Board – A4 from JetPens.com. It has worked really well.

Today I treated myself to a new writing board. The much thicker and heavier Kyoei Orions Soft Clear Shitajiki Writing Board – A4, again from JetPens.com. I am really impressed.

I also treated myself to some new erasers. I have been using a Uni Boxy Eraser and it is so nice I was sure that I would never find anything better. Well, the honking huge Sakura Foam Eraser W 300 is mistake-clearing nirvana.

On the pencil front, for me it’s a split decision between Mitsubishi 9850 pencils and the new Palomino Blackwing pencils. I have bought and been given boxes of both and I burn through them with equal speed.

Before you say, “Dude, they’re only pencils!” let me say that I tried some less expensive pencils. Dear Old Dad looked at the manuscript and asked me if I was using cheap pencils because he could hardly see what I was writing on the page. I wound up needing to re-write that chapter with my Mitsubishi and Blackwing pencils. Lesson learned.

Well, a thunderstorm is rolling over Crisfield, so I am starting to get a bad headache. I’m going to put on some Fats Waller, sharpen my pencils and get some writing done.

Goodnight and God bless,

Mature Content With Banjos

We got word from Patreon yesterday that, due to some of the language in my book-in-progress, our Patreon page has been marked as mature content. I am willing to bet that the Irish banjo molester did not help the situation.

When we started this book Dear Old Dad and I talked at great length about modifying the language and possibly editing out some of the, shall we say, impolite things that happened. It is not our intention to upset or offend anyone, but the guys who taught me had a way of saying things. Being from Philadelphia, so do we. The goal of the book is to tell what really happened, so we decided against modifying the language.

None of this changes anything. The book is still rolling out one handwritten chapter at a time, and working so closely with my dad once again is turning out to be an entire new adventure. How cool is that?

The Book Goes To Eleven!

The eleventh chapter of my book in progress has been scanned and uploaded. Whoo!

Patreon sponsors can download the pages here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/21002930

As you probably know by now, I am writing this book entirely by hand.

I am writing in pencil on legal pads because a neurological problem has made it difficult for me to type.

This download is a first draft with a quick edit. Dear Old Dad will edit it two more times before transcribing it all into Word.

We are numbering the chapters as they are written. They will probably appear in a different order in the finished book.

Once the book is finished we will make the ebook edition available to all our Patreon sponsors.

In this chapter we meet another guitar player who helped me put more of the puzzle pieces together.


I couldn’t sleep last night, so I sat down and finished the eleventh chapter of my book-in-progress.

Dear Old Dad will read it today or tomorrow. Then I will scan the handwritten pages and post them for our Patreon sponsors.

I have to admit, it feels good to continue making progress in spite of my recent health issues.

Basket Case

When I had surgery the other day I loaded up Dear old Dad’s Kindle with movies to keep him entertained while the doctors were working me over.

I am always loading up the Kindle with movies for dad. Films like The Four Feathers, The Man Who Would Be King, Zulu, Aliens – stuff like that.

Well, this time I included a sordid little bit of cinematic effluvium called Basket Case.

Dad is still mad at me.


I’m still sore from surgery. I  only only feel half as lousy as I did yesterday, so things are improving.

I am still getting used to sleeping next to the computer that sends my heart rate to the cardiologist every day. 

Easing myself back to work today. I have a fresh stack of legal pads and a new package of Mitsubishi  9850 pencils ready to go. I will be handing Dear Old Dad the next chapter from my book in progress soon.

I have not been leaving the house very often these days. With these strokes I have been having I can’t drive. I don’t mind walking, but I don’t have a phone to call for help if I get into trouble along Brick Kiln Road. With wireless being so crazy expensive I am looking into getting a good tablet with a simple data plan . I don’t need much, but several people have pointed out some new tablets that allow you  to write  with a stylus. That might be cool now that typing is difficult.

Pencils, paper, a big glass of iced tea and Pooka are waiting for me to get back to work. I hope you all have a nice weekend.

God bless,