21st Century Fairy Tales

Being a staunch traditionalist, I shall begin my tale in that most time-honored fashion…

Once upon a time, in the sleepy little County of *****, there lived a cranky old buzzard with a new truck.

One night, his truck sent him an email. Trucks can do that now. We must be living in the 21st century.

The email said “my rear tires are quite low in pressure, do something!”. Now these tires were not just filled with any old run-of-the-mill air. No sir. These tires had special air, which went by the name of Nitrogen. Nitrogen was quite proud of being nitrogen, and didn’t much care when common folk mentioned that regular old run-of-the-mill air was 78% nitrogen to begin with. This nitrogen liked to remind people that it was pure, unadulterated nitrogen, and that messy old oxygen was neither needed nor wanted.

So anyway, Mr Old Buzzard shook his head at the idea of a truck emailing him, and the following morning he rose out of bed, threw on his go-to-town clothes and went to get some nitrogen for his poor tires. Imagine Mr Old Buzzard’s surprise when the first tire service business he stopped at responded with “What? Niter Gen? Is that a Japanese tire? We don’t carry them, but maybe I can order some.” Mr Old Buzzard thanked them and then drove to another tire business. The response was different but not exactly better. They didn’t have nitrogen either, but they knew about how a lot of new vehicles were coming with nitrogen filled tires, but they were…. unconvinced of the benefits of this highfalutin’ special air and offered to top Mr Old Buzzard off with regular old run-of-the-mill air, but Mr Old Buzzard had read somewhere on the internets that it was best practice not to add regular old run-of-the-mill air to a tire full of nitrogen because REASONS.

So Mr Old Buzzard drove to the local GMC Honda dealership, which just happened to be owned by the brother of the man that Mr Old Buzzard had bought his truck from. Mr Old Buzzard walked into the service department, removed his hat and asked the young lady at the service desk (lady at the service desk? We MUST be living in the 21st century) if they could fill up a low tire with nitrogen. She smiled and said they had no nitrogen and before she could continue, an old service geezer from across the way cackled “Nitrogen? Ha! Some dealers are putting that stuff in new tires, and they will be happy to fill them up for you. Be sure you have your wallet when you go.” Mr Old Buzzard turned to old service geezer and said “Yes, they do”. Mr Old Buzzard pointed at his truck that was parked out front and continued “That truck right there has nitrogen in the tires, and it came from the brother of the fellow that owns this place”.

Old service geezer suddenly got very busy at his desk while loudly stating for all to hear “Different business all together, they got nothing to do with us!”. Mr Old Buzzard watched old service geezer for a few moments to see if he had anything else to add, then turned back to the young lady at the service desk. “Do you know of anyone in ***** County that would have nitrogen available to pump up a low tire?”, he asked. The young lady at the service desk named both tire stores that Mr Old Buzzard had already visited, so Mr Old Buzzard thanked the young lady at the service desk for her time. She did tell Mr Old Buzzard that regular old run-of-the-mill air could be used to fill the tires up. Mr Old Buzzard thanked the young lady at the service desk again and walked out to his truck.

Mr Old Buzzard really did not want to drive to the next village over to pump up a tire, but at this point he figured maybe a phone call to the place he had bought the truck from was in order. So Mr Old Buzzard pulled into a large convenience store/gas station parking lot and told his truck to call *** Chevrolet (wait a minute… you can tell a truck to make a phone call?!?) and he ended up talking to Heather in the service department (woman in the service depart…, ah, you’ve heard this before). Mr Old Buzzard asked Heather if she knew of any place in ***** County that could fill up a low tire with nitrogen. Heather did not know of any place in ***** County that could do that. Mr Old Buzzard then asked Heather if *** Chevrolet had nitrogen (here comes the good part of the story, so pay attention) and Heather said “Yes, we have it, it’s $20 per tire to fill.”

There was a long silence wherein Mr Old Buzzard had many thoughts, none of which shall be discussed here. Twenty dollars. Per tire.

Mr Old Buzzard finally told Heather he thought that was just a bit out of line, he wasn’t holding Heather responsible for that bit of (here, the reader may choose between words such as “robbery”, “larceny”, “greed”, “scam”, etc) customer service policy, but Mr Old Buzzard did add that he sure did wish he had known about the Nitrogen Charge and its total lack of availability ANYWHERE other than *** Chevrolet. From Heather’s quiet response that one could use regular old run-of-the-mill air to inflate the tire, Mr Old Buzzard formed an idea that possibly Heather may well have had this conversation before.

So Mr Old Buzzard thanked Heather for her time and ended the call. He saw a coin operated regular old run-of-the-mill air machine in the same parking lot he was already in, so he drove over to it and got out of his truck. A hand-lettered sign was taped to the face of the regular old run-of-the-mill air machine. It stated that the people that worked inside the convenience store had no connection with, no responsibility for, or anything else under the sun to do with the regular old run-of-the-mill air machine. If it didn’t work at all, if it worked wrong, if it made your crops wither and die, you needed to call the 800 number on the machine, all sales final, no refunds. It also said $1.50 in quarters, do not run over hose.

Mr Old Buzzard drove right down to the local Ace Hardware and bought an air compressor, which will be fully paid for the 5th time he puts air into one of those tires.

The end.

You Fuckers are NOT helping me.

Now look here. I have ASKED for help and exactly none of you people have intervened in any way, shape or form. No one has hidden my wallet, no one has cut up my credit cards, no one has even sent me a strongly worded telegram. Hell, one of you (and I won’t mention any names, but her initials are Cocoa Black) even told me to get whatever I wanted.

So there’s this guy I ran across about a year ago, his name is John Backlund and he is an industrial designer with a taste for retro and the Jetsons. You can already tell I’m fucked, can’t you? John has designed a number of guitars which are figuratively “out-of-this-world”. They are very colorful, visually distinctive and look exactly like what George Jetson, his wife Jane, daughter Judy and his boy Elroy would play, assuming the Jetsons did a Partridge Family act and played gigs at Spacely Sprockets.

Backlund GuitarsOne of John’s designs really caught my attention; it was his “Marz 6” guitar. I knew it existed because it was in his family photo of the design prototypes he owns.

Backlund Prototypes

The Marz 6 is that golden beauty that is the 2nd from left upright guitar on the sofa. I contacted Mr Buckland and told him of my interest in his guitar and he responded very promptly, but not with any good news. He explained that the Marz 6 in the picture had been built for him by a Dutch luthier and it was the only existing Marz 6 in the galaxy. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement, but I thanked Mr Backlund for his time and told him I would be interested in purchasing one should he ever sell the design to a manufacturer. You know what’s coming next.

On December 20th, John announced that Eastwood Guitars would be manufacturing a few of his designs. The Marz 6 was not listed among them on the Eastwood site, but John had posted on a guitar forum that the Marz 6 was going to be produced. I sent Eastwood a query on the subject and applied some serious search-fu and lo, a true Christmas Miracle occurred. The Marz 6 has a separate pre-order page not linked to the rest of John’s guitars, Eastwood is accepting deposits for Marz 6’s in various colors and for a mere two hunnit dollah you can nail down the color of your choice with anticipated delivery in April of  2018. TAKE MY MONEY NOW!

I advised John I had mine on order and he thanked me and advised… well, his exacts words were “Thank you! You’ll be getting what will probably always be quite a rare guitar. Of course, I would like to be wrong about this, but I would be surprised if more than fifty to seventy-five Marz 6 guitars will ever be built.”

So dear reader(s), thanks for nothing in helping me to stop buying guitars. Not that anything short of shooting me in the noggin would have stopped me from getting this one. The badass is just WAY too strong to resist.

That time of year

The annual madness that we refer to as “The Holidays” is here. Endure, my friends, endure.

In the meantime:

Flour Pouer

The plot, much like the gravy, thickens.

There are signs of old acquaintances sticking their heads up out of the holes they have been hiding in. I gird my loins in anticipation of battles to come. Having failed to resurrect the ghost of sites past, it appears they have engaged in a re-branding of sorts and have chosen a most unlikely place (or three) to reappear.

An interesting bit of history to be filed under “What Might Have Been”: As some/all of the reader(s) of this blog know, at one time I was utilized as on-air talent by RadioRockCafe (hereinafter referred to as RRC). I was very much the red haired step-child while I was there, but I was there, nonetheless. When the owners of RRC first acquired the blogtv.ca domain, they debated engaging in a GoFundMe or some similar internet-based means of raising funds. I asked the male third of the RRC beast a very direct question – how much do you need? I was rather un-gently rebuffed and told that this was information I did not need to know. Sigh.

Okay, backup and try again, and ignore the pigheaded stubbornness demonstrated by French Canadians.

Okay, it is more than $20,000? No.
Is it more that $15,000? No.
Is it more than $10,000? It is less than $10,000 (and wouldn’t it have been easier to have just told me that up front?).

On hearing that less than ten thousand dollars needed to be raised, I said something to the effect of “doitdoitdoitdoit”. If Steven Jones could raise in excess of 14K given his reputation, the RRC guys should have easily been able to do 10K.

Within a small number of days of this conversation (and by small, I am talking 48 to 72 hours) I was no longer associated with RRC. This was very fortunate timing for me, as I was going to “prime the donation pump” by dropping $1,000 into the till to get the ball rolling. And if push had come to shove, I could have just underwritten the whole goddamned thing.

Being only human, I dare not lie and say I don’t enjoy the schadenfreude that the entire blogtv.ca debacle has generated. I had my concerns that the beast that was RRC was getting into bed with a person of very, very questionable character, but the excitement of bringing blogtv back from the grave overwhelmed my sense of caution and I was quite close to doing something colossally stupid. It is abundantly apparent from this distance that the entire blogtv.ca project was doomed from day one. I know many people had their hopes raised that their “paradise of the internet” was going to be restored to them (trust me on this much, it would NOT have been the same, given the people involved), but as Thomas Wolfe noted almost 100 years ago, you can’t go home again.