Goodbye, Rip Torn

Rip Torn’s portrayal of Patches O’Houlihan in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story was the funniest thing I had ever seen back in 2004.

To this day, when the going gets rough, my father and I often remind each other, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”

In the next few days I’ll re-watch Dodgeball, The Beastmaster and, God forgive me, Freddy Got Fingered.

NOTE: before anybody writes me an angry letter about Freddy Got Fingered, the film is supposed to be terrible. Bad. Not good. Unwatchable. Offensive. Sick. Twisted. Weird. Absurd. Does not work or play well with others. That is the point. The film’s humor stems from the fact that some studio handed Tom Green cash to literally throw away is the actual comedy. The film itself is the joke. The gross-out on-screen hijinx is only there to confound unwary viewers.

Thank’s for the laughs, Rip. Godspeed.

Good Movie Day: Killer Klowns From Outer Space

The Internet has, for the most part, made art predictable. Movies are either Disney cookie cutter nonsense, or have been so spoiled that we know everything about the plot before we see the film.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is still weird and surprising over thirty years since its release. It’s a cheesy 80’s horror flick, but the creature design is top-notch and the monsters are never over-explained. It works on more levels than you would expect from a movie about aliens that look like clowns.

Keep an eye out for the invisible car scene, as it is being driven by my banjo-playing friend Mike Martinez!

Bad Movie Day: Horror Express

Another accidental gem of a B movie with an outstanding cast. Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas star in this absurd horror/science fiction mashup.

The plot is straight out of Doctor Who. A monster is found frozen in the ice, gets loaded on a train, thaws out and starts sucking on brains. Like most films of this sort from the 1970’s, we have model trains, a soundtrack with weird whistling and Telly Savalas shows up at a random point dressed like a Cossack.

The crazy thing about this movie is that is manages to be a lot of fun.

Like Ten Pounds of Manure in a Five Pound Sack

I took last week off so I could focus on writing, but I got sick on Monday morning – and I have been sick as a dog ever since.

Two trips to the emergency room later I am starting to get my strength back.

Dear Old Dad and I are making a road trip to one of the places Amy and I used to visit. I have been trying to get out with my camera for way too long. I want to see the snow geese while they are sill on the Eastern Shore!

Now I am going to watch a terrible movie with Pooka. My calico companion has been by my side all through my illness, sleeping happily on my pillow.

I should be back to work early next week.

God bless,

Ten Thousand Harmonicas?!

It’s been a long day for me. I woke up at 0-dark-thirty with a hideous migraine.

Thankfully, Dear Old Dad picked up more of my migraine medicine and Pooka has been glued to my side. Right about now I just feel like I have been run over by a truck hauling pig manure – and that’s a big improvement from this morning.

While I am laying low today. Dear Old Dad is busy scheduling banjo lessons and mom is working on her web site.  

I do have one cool bit of news to share! YouTube sent me a notice that my beginner harmonica lesson has passed ten thousand views! Wow!

I guess I have to add harmonica to my upcoming slate of workshops!

I am going to curl up with Pooka and a cheesy movie. Something really wonderfully grotesquely bad like Project Metalbeast, The Gian Claw or Head.

Have a great weekend!
God bless,

5,000,000 And Counting

Last night we reached another milestone when we passed five million views on YouTube.

Five million plays on YouTube. The number boggles the mind.

Our top ten most popular videos:

Some of our shared experiences on YouTube have been life-altering.

Other YouTube moments were . . . welll . . .

Through it all we have been sharing a message of love, joy, simplicity and creativity. 

Here’s to the next five million views! And the millions after that!

God bless

Do Banjos Dream of Monster Sheep?

When I was a kid my father and I used to watch monster movies. As I grew older I loved the genre for nostalgia, but then discovered that B movies are the perfect breeding ground for the Taoist happy accident.

For example, no amount of trying could create a movie as weird as Plan 9 From Outer Space intentionally. The cast and crew were trying as hard as they could to make a great scary movie – and in doing so accidentally made one of the funniest bad movies ever made.

Bad movies and folk music don’t often mix, but tonight I was watching Godmonster of Indian Flats (1972) for the first time and, captain! There be banjos!

Godmonster of Indian Flats banjo scene

Banjo players from Godmonster of Indian Flats

Godmonster of Indian Flats is not for everybody, but it is a surprisingly well made satire on the evils of modern society or some such blather. I am still a little too freaked out from this movie to have an opinion – but it has banjos and mutant upright monster sheep! How bad-good pr good-bad can it be?

Yet Another Milestone

We passed fourteen thousand subscribers on YouTube.

Right now the official numbers at this moment for the channel are 4,801,058
views and 14,002 subscribers.

We are still growing, learning and sharing the joy of folk music together. With each new video and each new subscriber we take another step closer to my goal of making the art of frailing banjo universal and accessible to all!