Thursday, January 31, 2008

Midweek updates

Below: got this in an email from our homie Robert Conti yesterday.

Robert's signature guitar series (click the image to enlarge). If you're not familiar with this cat and his domination of the chops market, check this out (from NAMM in 2001):

Yikes! Just search "Robert Conti" on YouTube and you'll find a bunch of amazing clips.

Below, Ronnie Foster and his "Funk's Way" ensemble throws down again tonight at The Ice House.

Ronnie also now appears nightly at the Salute Lounge in the new Palazzo with the thrilling guitarist John Wedemeyer. As I posted earlier, this is a very cool venue everyone should try to get out and support. The band is kickin'! BTW- John renamed the band from "Side Guys" to "The Other Side."



I heard an NPR segment a while back wherein the guest was talking about the physiological impacts of fasting. Fasting, as most of us know, has long been a component of many religious traditions, but, in addition to its putative spiritual aspects, it turns out to have some pretty significant biological benefits as well -- observed in routine moderation. The guest noted that
  • fasting more than a day at a time tends to be counterproductive, triggering subrosa "famine-alert" bodily reactions that tend to impel the storing of more fat and the degradation of muscle tissue, whereas;

  • routinely fasting for 24 hours [1] gives the pancreas a beneficial rest while concomitantly [2] reducing your innate Jones for sugars.
I found that all very interesting (if I can find a podcast of that NPR segment, I'll post it) When I was in high school (1960 - 1964, back prior to indoor plumbing), I weighed about 167 by the time I was a junior and senior (absurdly serving as the varsity football center, getting my ass kicked every week), a weight I pretty much retained until I hit about 30. While I've never been obese, my weight did get up as high as 191 (I think the period of omeletes and beer had a bit to do with that), which is too high for being 5'10" in height.

Even after I became a majorly insane gym rat (2-3 hrs of full-court 3-5 days a week, plus weights), I could not seem to get down below 182 or so. I pined for breaking 180, which, frustratingly, didn't seem likely to ever again happen.

In the wake of hearing this NPR piece, Cheryl and I decided to start doing a 24 hour fast once a week. We usually do it from supper to supper either starting Tuesday or Wednesday.

Been doing that for four weeks now. The other day I stepped off the scale at 175, LOL!

  • Try to not have to go to the grocery store during the day you're fasting, haha. Yesterday we decided to make chili and a salad for supper, but were out of stuff, so I went to Smith's to get things. That was stressful; temptation barking out from every shelf.

  • Maybe "breakfast-to-breakfast" would work better. We may switch.

  • Chug some Perrier or Pellegrino during the day. Beyond the beneficial pure hydration, the gassiness helps (me, anyway) douse any emergent pangs.
Cooking supper last night was also stressful, e.g., when I make salads I usually nibble as I cut and chop. 'Ut-ut-uhhhhh, yer waitin' till 6:30, BG...'

BTW- I used ground bison in the chili this time. That stuff is way cool. Not crapped up with hormones, very low fat content, and also not shot up with water (to sneakily improve the profit margin). In fact, when you brown it, you gotta put some olive oil in the skillet (I use cast iron), or it'll just stick hard right to the pan.

I also used 3 kinds of chili powder, and always add dark red kidney beans to the pintos and peeled tomatoes. A dash of garlic salt, and a bit of dried onion flakes as well.

It was pretty yummy. We were ready to eat, too. Agony to smell that aroma as it simmered for two hours.


My Grandson Keenan ( was ranked 43rd in the nation in the Boys' 12 and under division in the U.S. Tennis Association when he was 12. He's now 13 and in 8th grade. He made his junior high basketball team. They started him at center during their first home game (he's #45).

He's 5'9" tall (not the tallest on the team) and is a great young athlete, a perfect gentleman, and an A student (and loves Santa Fe). This was during their initial home game Jan 29th, and below is a clip of him scoring his first bucket of the season.

GO, Keebo!!!

Here's a link to some tennis clips from fall 2006. We are all so proud of this kid.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jan 28th gig, welcome, back Fat City Horns!

It was an awesome night! Fat City Horns came back with a joyful vengeance (they came to the gig straight from a Bette Midler show rehearsal at Caesar's). Jamie stalled on starting until Jerry could get in from the Wayne Brady show. When Jerry arrived and introduced the return of Danny, Gil, Nathan, Jerry Merra, Phil and Rob, the place erupted in a roar of grateful applause and shouting.

Then, bam! -- slammin' right into South America Sojourn, one of my favorites among their instrumental pieces (from the 2005 double CD). Sonny was all over the mix right from the first bar. What a way to start. Oh, yeah...

Let's get right to some pics from the evening, and I'll add some thoughts along the way.

The Fat City Horns are happy to be home and back in the Santa Fe saddle!

Above, Dave throws down. His new original tunes -- e.g., "Salvation," "What'cha Gonna Do With That Greazy Thing?" and "Si Te Vas" (OMG!) -- are so fine, man. (And he always graciously helps me pronto with my dumbass Finale questions.)

Below, another great Johnson & Johnson night in the Santa Fe sandbox.

Below, Jerry singing "Si Te Vas." That tune knocks me over and gives me chills, man.

Below, Rob Mader, captain of The Fat City Horns (and principal author / webmaster of the new Fat City Horns website at wailin' like Lenny Pickett.

BTW: the old FCH website at (the one I bought for them and put up) still works; it simply now re-directs to Rob's work. We decided to keep the old site, because that's where I now will park the podcasts and other mp3 and graphics files (and when you hit it, you get an embedded excerpt from Nathan's "Come With Me"). Also, don't forget, FCH has a MySpace page (which I also set up and continue to administer for them) at

Below, Gabriel eyes me warily. "What you doin' up here, Gringo?..." Below that, our thundering Pepe Jimenez.

Below, the Santa Fe Nuke Plant Rochon Westmoreland!

Rochon and I talked after the gig about a website for him. No problem, bro'. We will do this ASAP. I'll take care of it. Stay tuned.

Below, Jam-IEEEEE!!! BTW, check out some of the beautiful original songs on Jamie's MySpace.

Phil Wigfall!!! More Cowbell, Please! (Great stuff on Phil's MySpace as well, BTW.)

Below, Jerry Fink of the Las Vegas Sun came to do a piece on The Fat City Horns (thanks, Jerry!), and brought along one of their photographers to give me another case of anxiety-producing Lense Envy.

Me and my weenie little yesterday's news four-year-old 3.2 megapixel Fuji, man...

Below, Earth, Wind, and Fire alum David Romero jumped up to jam on "System of Survival."

Also, sittin' in to bring the house down on "System of Survival" was Major League Bad Boy Sonny Emory (click his name to read his rap sheet!)

Sonny is now in the Bette Midler show band along with our Fat City Horns. BTW, last night after the show I had the great fortune to meet and speak with Bette's Musical Director, the eminent Bette Sussman.

Click her name to check out her website. Delightful person. Welcome to our town. We are so glad to have you all here (also, I must mention that Bette Midler's equally Bad Boy bassist Tom Barney was in the House last night).

Here's a clip of Sonny Emory soloing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1997:

POSTSCRIPT: a YouTube clip containing The Fat City Horns appearing with Bette yesterday on Oprah will probably be uploaded shortly (someone else is already on it, I will keep checking).

1:18 pm UPDATE: Here it is, Bette and our 6 Bad Boys yesterday on Oprah. Fabulous.

LOL! See also


Struggling with unhappiness / dissatisfaction? Don't take these,

take these.

And, then chase 'em down with one of these:

You are healed.


[ Caption: 'Dude, don't Bogart the roach clip!' ]

Pot vending machines take root in Los Angeles
Machines distribute the drug to people with cards authorizing use

LOS ANGELES (AP/MSNBC) - The city that popularized the fast food drive-thru has a new innovation: 24-hour medical marijuana vending machines.

Patients suffering from chronic pain, loss of appetite and other ailments that marijuana is said to alleviate can get their pot with a dose of convenience at the Herbal Nutrition Center, where a large machine will dole out the drug around the clock.

"Convenient access, lower prices, safety, anonymity," inventor and owner Vincent Mehdizadeh said, extolling the benefits of the machine...

LOL! I can just hear the Leno jokes already. Of course, the DEA takes a majorly dim view of this.

Much more important that people in extremis continue to suffer in the continuing service of political mendacity. My Sissy smoked a little pot episodically when she was sick. Her doctors knew it (but turned mildly skeptical blind eyes). Sissy even had a scrip for Marinol Rx'd by her oncologist. It didn't do squat, but the pot worked -- helped her significantly to withstand the horrors of her chemo and radiation.

BTW- click here for my grad thesis rant on "Drug testing policy environment and history" if you're interested.
Bad BobbyG. Below, a bit of snarky dubiety from the Epilog of my thesis:
...Las Vegas is the surveillance capital of the known universe, and drug testing in the casino industry is a given. The leading clinical lab here runs frequent large newspaper ads extolling the virtues of its drug screening operation. One ad repeatedly and breathlessly claimed: "If you’re not pre-employment drug testing, you’re hiring the rejects of those companies that do!" No matter that credible evidence supporting such a blanket assertion is nowhere to be found.

Ironies go unnoticed: Caesar’s Palace touts its highly visible RIAH® hair drug test policy while its huge billboard out front promotes the most recent return engagement of the “Doobie Brothers.”

Of course the fans flocking to the performances nearly all recall what the 60’s slang term "doobie" refers to, and, although I’ve not been to one of their shows at Caesar’s, I’ll bet there are usually periodic wafts of a certain pungent smell in the air...


Monday, January 28, 2008

January 28th, The Fat City Horns return!

In the wake of their intense Bette Midler Show rehearsal stint, the guys are back onstage in The Lounge at The Palms tonight! Gonna be a great night. BTW: The fabulous new Fat City Horns website is now online. Enjoy.

OK, we just watched Oprah (saved it on Tivo, too). 29 minutes in, Bette Midler does a tune from her upcoming show with the full orchestra behind her -- featuring our Fat City Horns all sparkly-tuxed out and dancin' for real in a line out front of the rest of the band right behind Bette and her three singer/dancers. It was a slammin' on-fire up-tempo swing thing. The horn chart has "Nathan Tanouye" written all over it. The entire band is killer. At the end of the tune, the Fat City Horns step foward to partially surround Bette and her dancers in a semicircle. Our cats are no mere "sidemen," they're gonna be an integral part of her show! That is just too cool (Bette's press release for the show here).

Wow. We gotta YouTube that Oprah thing.

From Oprah's website:
The Divine Miss M and her Harlettes hit the Oprah stage for a sneak peek of her new Las Vegas show with a performance of the song "Big Noise From Winnetka."

"Caesar's Palace will never be the same," Bette says. "And to all those who have accused me of being tacky, too much and over the top—you ain't seen nothing yet."

UPDATE: Bette interview with Charlie Rose:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

John Wedemeyer, Ronnie Foster, Tim Scott, and Jimmy Keegan at Salute in the Palazzo

We went to check out our dear friend Ronnie Foster at the Palazzo last night. Update: actually, as noted by a commentor, it's actually guitarist John Wedemeyer's band. My Bad. I wish I'd have known that prior to first posting this stuff. Groan...

Beautiful lounge in The Palazzo ("Salute"), nice stage lighting and sound (they have a cat doin' front of house from a booth). Below, a pic of the lounge from the L.A. Times.

Place is extremely comfortable, and the drink prices are reasonable for an A-List Strip venue. Major props to manager Paul Vella for going with live music rather than DJ canned sound.

We were struck by how easy it was to get there. Head east on Spring Mountain Road from the 15, cross LV Blvd, hang your first right, down into the (free) parking garage, two quick lefts into P3, plenty of parking close by the elevators. The lounge is right by the Jersey Boys Show theater, so just follow the signs.

This new lineup includes the awesome Tim Scott on bass and vocals and the unreal John Wedemeyer on guitar (Todd Smith was subbing on drums last night for regular cat Jimmy Keegan). They call the band "Side Guys."

BTW, I dig the goatee, Ronnie. Also BTW, folks, Ronnie still does Thursday nights at The Ice House with his A-List lineup known as "Funk's Way".

Tim is solid as granite, a veteran who plays his ass off and sings awesome blues. John -- what can I say? -- this cat has gotta be the tastiest guitarist I ever heard. He's the Drew Zingg of blues, hands-down. And he's far more than just a blues cat (dude went all Wes Montgomery on us at one point during a beautiful jazz ballad). His chops are blazing and his motivic sense is simply beautiful to experience. I am not kidding; you gotta hear him if you've yet to. We had not yet met. He was hip to the blog, but this was our first face-to-face. Delightful person. That smile (below) exudes from his music, big-time.

Yeah, man. John, I got three words for ya: Solo CD, bro'. Please! (CD cover pic right there for ya, LOL!) Same for you, Ronnie (Ronnie and I have already had that discussion).

OK, they're gonna be at Salute at least 5 nights a week ongoing now, so please do show up and support this lounge and these fine players.

FYI from Dave Siefkes:

Another FYI:

Tomorrow we launch a new Fat City Horns website that Rob has been working on. Wait till you see this puppy. Rob has done an awesome job on it. Also, recall that our beloved Fat City Horns first unit will be back with the band at The Palms tomorrow night.

I expect to see them dance.



(AP) -- His back resting comfortably against her chest, Hector nestles his massive canine head into Leslie Nuccio's shoulder, high-fiving pit bull paws against human hands.

The big dog -- 52 pounds -- is social, people-focused, happy now, it seems, wearing a rhinestone collar in his new home in sunny California.

But as Hector sits up, deep scars stand out on his chest, and his eyes are imploring.

Hector ought to be dead, Nuccio knows -- killed in a staged fight, executed for not winning or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as "kennel trash," unsuited to any kind of normal life.

Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet.

After the hell of a fighting ring, he has reached a heaven of sorts: saved by a series of unlikely breaks, transported thousands of miles, along with other dogs rescued with him, and now nurtured by Nuccio, her roommate, Danielle White, and their three other dogs.

The animals barrel around the house, with 4-year-old Hector leading the puppy-like antics -- stealth underwear grabs from the laundry basket, dashes across the living room, food heists from the coffee table -- until it's "love time" and he decelerates and engulfs the women in a hug.

"I wish he could let us know what happened to him," says Nuccio, the big tan dog's foster mother.

But what she does know is this: Hector has come a long way since he was trapped in the horrors of Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels...

...Weekly "canine good citizen" classes are correcting his social ineptitude. And he's taking cues on good manners from patient Pandora, a female pit bull mix who's queen of the household's dogs. Once Hector graduates, he'll take classes to become a certified therapy dog, helping at nursing homes and the like.

For now, he's learning the simple pleasures of a blanket at bedtime, a peanut butter-filled chew toy, even classical music.

"I put on Yo-Yo Ma one day and he cocked his head, laid down and listened to the cello next to the speaker," Nuccio said. "He's turning out to be a man of high class and culture."

Lotta these dogs are now up at Best Friends in southern Utah.


- Lucie