Monday, November 23, 2009

Goodbye...for good.

The man in this picture is world-famous guitarist Joe Satriani. Mr. Satriani is, as of today, the proud owner of my vintage 1960 Fender Stratocaster.

I got an email this afternoon from Chris, the owner of Real Guitars in San Francisco where my Strat has been residing on consignment for about 2 months. He told me that he had received a serious offer on the guitar and did I want to accept it. "By the way, it's a famous person." "Am I allowed to know who it is?" "Yeah, it's Joe Satriani". It was a couple of thousand less than I had hoped for so I called my little brother Rob for his opinion. He echoed what Chris had said... that with the economy and specifically the vintage guitar market down, it would probably be good to take the deal. So I did... and I am glad.

Rob headed over to Real and was there while Satriani was paying for my guitar and two others. He told Joe, "Take care of that guitar... I learned to play on it!" "Oh, this is your guitar?", Satriani asked. "No, it's my brother's. He let me use it when I was in high school." "Well," Joe said, "I will only play good notes on it!" Rob does big time audio-visual for events, conventions, concerts, etc. in the bay area so he is used to hanging with celebrities. So when I asked if he had gotten his autograph, he said, "No, I'm not like that!" "Well, I AM like that!", I said. I would have loved to have had an autograph with a nice note like, "Thanks for the great guitar... Joe Satriani". Oh, well.

I thought I would be sort of melancholy when the sale was eventually made but knowing that it went to a guy like that, I'm OK. Now, will I see my Strat on stage in Satriani concert footage in the future? Not likely. He has a contract with Ibanez to promote his "Joe Satriani Signature Model" so I think that will always be in his hands when the cameras are on. Maybe he will record with my guitar, display it, who knows? All the same, you can bet that I will look carefully at every inch of Satriani concert video I come across from now on, just in case.

Thanks again to my brother Rob for his freely-given help, advice and support. And now, goodbye for good, old girl. You are in good hands.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Goodbye old friend

Here is the best way I can describe the feeling I had yesterday as my workday was ending... Do you remember when you were a teenager and were out way after curfew? You couldn't go home because you know it would be very unpleasant. But you couldn't stay out either and you were kind of sick to your stomach. I didn't want to come home because the night before I had packed my old friend, a 1961 Fender Stratocaster to ship it to a guitar store in San Francisco. It is going there to be consigned and eventually, sold. It is a valuable instrument and we are in a position to have to liquidate an asset or two to address some debt. Life happens.

I got home, looked at the box, puttered around the house, looked at the box, played with Ellena, looked at the box, got something to eat, looked at the box... You get the idea. So finally I put it in the back of the pickup and drove it to the UPS store.

I bought it at Whittier Music in California for $275. I have been telling myself ever since I decided to sell it, "It's just a thing..." But it was much tougher than I realized it would be to let it go after 34 years. I really very seldom played it and I have always said that it is way too good a guitar for my skill level. I felt OK when I got home though. I am sure I'll feel another twinge of pain when SF calls to say they have an offer. But I know that ultimately I will be grateful for the cash the sale will bring in to be able to do what we need to do.

My kids overall have been pretty supportive. They had hoped that I would keep it until my death at which time they could fight over who gets or sell it and split the proceeds. But they understand that things change. And at some point in the future, I can easily buy another electric guitar for a few hundred bucks if needs be.

My bay-area brother Rob has been great as a middle man facilitating this project, partly in just helping me stay calm!

So, goodbye old friend. Thanks for providing so much pleasure, fun and a little income over the years. I hope you find a home where someone will appreciate you and enjoy playing music with you. I will miss you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"... on the shoulders of giants..."

I have some thoughts today after watching the Michael Jackson memorial on TV this morning. Overall I thought it was well and tastefully done. The tributes were touching, sweet and appropriate. The one low point in my opinion was the speech given by the Reverend Al Sharpton, self-appointed, self-anointed blowhard. He claimed that Michael was "... the Jackie Robinson of entertainment" and that Michael had opened the doors of the entertainment world for African-Americans. Hogwash. He also intimated that because of MJ, Barack Obama was able to be elected president! Outrageous!

As I have said many times, I was, am, and will always be a fan of Michael. He was twice inducted in the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a brilliant writer, arranger, singer, dancer, producer. He was an innovator and his influence on popular music is undeniable. He was a generous philanthropist. Yes, he was strange, eccentric even a little weird. He was acquitted of every child abuse/molestation charge ever brought against him. And the family that he "paid off" rather than go to court already had a history of trying to extort celebrities.

So back to Sharpton's claim... Here are the names of only a few black pioneers who I believe really did open the doors he spoke of: Billie Holliday, Count Basie, Louie Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Wilson Pickett, Jackie Wilson, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, James Brown (whose dance moves Michael nicked in great detail when he was a little boy), Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, even Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson. I believe Michael himself would agree and freely admit that he stood on the shoulders of these greats and that perhaps rather they opened the doors for him! I will miss him; all music lovers will.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Language acquisition

As a language guy I love to observe all types of language acquisition, especially our beautiful granddaughter, Ellena. The other day at our house she wanted something. She took me into the kitchen and said she wanted a "pockable". I told her I didn't know what that was and asked her to repeat it. She said again, "pockable". I still didn't get it so she tried a new tactic. She said, "Pockable, up high, Papa's house!" She wanted a Popsicle from our freezer. I was amazed at how she persisted to make me understand by expanding her pronunciation of the word to including specific location. You can't tell me this girl is not very bright!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Papa's birthday

I had a great birthday on June 5th. It happened that Wendy's husband Chad had a business meeting in Tucson and Wendy was able to come visit also. It was fun to have them in town. We went over to Carlie and Trevor's for a BBQ on Saturday and on Sunday I invited everybody over for dinner (thank you, Costco lasagna!). Pat was already at Tina's but Carlie and Trevor with Ellena, Scott and Sarah (and her step-dad Gordon), friends Brandy and David and their 2 boys, and of course Rachel and I were all there. We had cake and ice cream and they all chipped in and got me a new Ipod! I was surprised. Mine was stolen in February when we were burglarized. So I took it to Illinois and Jon helped me download a bunch of songs (now I have nearly 800). Rachel and I pulled out to head for the airport in Mesa the next morning at 3AM! Fun and busy weekend.


Pat, Rachel and I just returned from a wonderful visit to Illinois to see Tina, Jon and our grandkids. We did so many activities. Some highlights were a trip to a FABULOUS children's museum in Normal, Ill. A day trip to Arthur (Amish country) where we saw horse-drawn buggies, had a cherry phosphate and got drenched in the rain (the weather while we were there was very mild if a bit humid). We saw the movie "Up" (I recommend it). We spent an afternoon at their local water park complete with water slide and lazy river. We played board games, cards, Wii, rode bikes, saw fireflies, read books, ate frozen custard, barbecued, shopped... In fact, we had to pack light to be able to fit all the material (for quilts and blankets) and the clothes for Ellena that we had to bring back. It was ver fun. And they will be coming out to visit this Christmas. Hooray!

Old school phone use...

Here are some of my musings about current cellular communication as compared to what my generation grew up with...
These are phrases that you never overheard someone say while on the phone back in the strictly "land line" days: 1. "I'll just text you." 2. "I'll look it up on the web." 3. (From the person dialing to the person answering): "Where are you?" 4. (Heard after dialing a local number): "Oh, I'm on vacation in Florida." 4. "Hold it, someone's clicking in." 5. "Oh, it's Mike. I'll call you back." 6. "I'm over on my minutes." 7. "Just send me the picture." 8. "Smile..!" And finally, 10. "I gotta go. I'm down to one bar."
Feel free to add any of your own!


On summer nights at our house, we see a LOT of geckos. Mostly they hang out on the outside of our kitchen window screen (also the ceiling of our entryway). They wait for the bugs to light that are attracted by the light from the inside and then POUNCE! The amazing things are how many bugs they can eat at a "sitting" and how fast they can move.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Yesterday was a long, lazy day and it was great! We had no church meetings to attend as it was our churches annual General Conference which can be seen on cable and satellite channels. Pat made cinnamon rolls and Scott and Sarah came over (twice!) and also Carlie, Trevor and baby Ellena. We laid around and nibbled on stuff all day while we watched conference, movies and played the Wii. I never even took a shower, just laid around in sweats.
I was feeling full and sort of gross. And guys my age many times have the problem of a slowly-expanding waistline anyway. So I commented to no one in particular, "Man, I have seen Big and Tall shops. Pretty soon I will have to start shopping at the "Short and Fat" stores. To which Rachel replied, "You're not that short..."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hot Air Balloons

My little writer is at it again... (Lest you think he is the class clown, he isn't, he just has an incredible funny bone!) I asked the class to write about what they would see if they were up in a hot air balloon. I got "I see a bird, cat, dog, car, pool" the usual stuff. I.H. cracked me up again. He wrote:

If I went in a hot air balloon I wod (would) see a pawr (power) lin (line). I wod (would) get elechcuoodid (electrocuted) woch (which) I loct (looked) like this moning (morning).

I complimented him on being such a good writer. He said he likes to write funny things. I told him I like to read his funny things. Stay tuned, more to come!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Leprechaun Wishes

I had my Kindergartners write today if they caught a leprechaun, what would they ask him for? A wish or a pot of gold and how they would use it. One boy with a 4th grade sister, said: "If I caught a leprechaun I would ask for a wish. I would say, Leprechaun, can you make my sister play with me?" If that wasn't enough, his picture showed him asking the question, and the leprechaun and his sister both saying NO!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A calcium-rich couplet

Most of us have seen the little sentimental sayings written on the inside of Dove chocolate foil wrappers. To me they are syrupy at best and insipid at worst (I know I should try to be more sensitive and less cynical!). So yesterday I read one and a line came to me to make it into a couplet. You will have to indulge me but I made myself laugh with this one. Here is the Dove line: "Laugh until your heart overflows." to which I add: "...Or until the milk comes out your nose!" Maybe I read too much Dave Barry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

" Camelot"

There is a line from the title song of the wonderful Broadway show. "Camelot" that says, "The rain may never fall till after sundown..." And so it was last Saturday, February 7th for our daughter Wendy's wedding here in Tucson. The ceremony and reception were held in the backyard of our dear friends Tracey and Susan Collett. A winter storm complete with cold temperatures, wind and rain was predicted for Saturday afternoon/evening. But still we dutifully set up tables, tablecloths, chairs, centerpieces and everything and the day turned out to be beautiful and almost balmy. The short ceremony conducted by our bishop Blake Isaacson was sweet and touching. The food arrived on time and was plentiful. Lots of friends and family were there including all five of our children. The payoff was that Wendy commented to her mom that everything was "just perfect" several times during and after the event. That made all the work from hauling and setting up chairs and tables, setting them, mixing lemon and limeade, washing dishes and more worthwhile. Wendy seemed very happy as did Chad, her new husband. They are honeymooning in Tulum, Mexico and will head back home soon to start their life together in Seattle. A royal wedding indeed, worthy of Camelot!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Sunbeams part ll

Today in our Sunbeam class (4 year olds) at church Pat was teaching a lesson about prayer. To begin she showed the class a picture of a little girl, eyes closed, hands folded kneeling by her bed. Wanting to illustrate where we can pray, she asked, "What is this little girl doing?" A chorus of voices answered, "She is saying a prayer!" "And where is she?", Pat asked. One of our twins looked at the picture then at Pat and said, "She's right there!" Well, she was right there... I love this calling!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our New President

As everyone knows, this is a historic day. Barack Obama, our first president of African-American ancestry has been sworn in. It is no secret to friends and family that I did not support nor vote for Mr. Obama. I do not believe he is the right man for the job nor do I think he is ready or experienced enough. But none of that matters now. He has the job, ready or not! And unlike many opponents to George W. Bush, I will not say, "He's not MY president." He is my president, duly elected and I sincerely wish him all the best... for the sake of my children and grandchildren and for the sake of all Americans. He is coming into this position in a troubled time and he will need support to help meet the challenges. So I will support him in the areas where I agree and oppose him in those where I don't. How marvelous to live in this fine and free country and to presence the peaceful transfer of power. Godspeed to you sir. -David Bertoglio