Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hero cop guns for polka Grammy

Michigan police detective Mike Zawojsky calls his Grammy nomination a "once-in-a lifetime experience." His record, Solecktions, didn't take home the award for best polka album, but what a moonlighting success!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chile, here we come!

Suzanne and me, not TDA as a whole. We're heading for the land of lapis lazuli (ring a bell?) and Pisco. Wall of Wheeze updates may be infrequent -- but they may boast a certain international flavor. (And of course Paul could always remember his user name and password and step into the fray.)

We'll be on the lookout for accordions and other amusements. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

He ain't heavy, he's my fatty feline

A Chinese cat tips the scales at 33 pounds and boasts an impressive 31-inch waist. Guess it's the 6 pounds of chicken and pork it wolfs down each day. Looks kinda cute, actually.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

It's official: 'TDA' stands for 'Those Darn Accordions'

TDA alumna Patty zings in from Hawaii with this alphabet-soup update:

"Call me nerdy with a little extra time on my hands (not really), but I was on the Acronym Finder site looking up something and decided to look up TDA. The band wasn't listed so I submitted it and they added it! You're official now."

It's true. "TDA" now stands for "Those Darn Accordions." (And "The Dark Arts." And "Toonami Digital Arsenal.")

Thanks, Patty!

EBDz get some love from the Village Voice

Rock critic extraordinaire Chuck Eddy lumps that other band in with "obscure CD Baby treasures" in a Village Voice Eddytor's Dozen roundup of groups with a similar sound.

The Electric Boogie Dawgz definitely qualify as "even more obscure than the unknowns." Eddy labels the Boogie Dawgz sound "bar-band cowpunk boogiebilly." We'll drink to that!

Unlucky stiff gets parking tix in Peoria

A black Mercedes SUV was ticketed three times by meter weasels in Peoria, Ill., before a passer-by figured out that the car contained the dead body of a Decatur man.

The Peoria Journal Star delivers the scoop on the strange demise of Decatur contractor Michael T. Hudson, 46, who was reported missing on Feb. 6 and found dead three days later in the back seat of his ticket-laden vehicle.

Talk about adding insult to injury. What a way to go.

Gadgets that give me paws

Remember those rabbit-foot keychains that were supposed to bring good luck to everybody but the hapless hares?

These strange bandai cat paws probably deliver double the dose of happiness and whimsy. (Plus, no cats are harmed in the making of the weird Japanese keychain additions.)

Be sure to check out the bizarre drawings that explain what the cat paws can do to spice up your life.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Motorcyclist videotapes car crashing into her

It's every biker's nightmare -- suddenly you've got a car coming straight at you, and you've got absolutely nowhere to go. Anybody who spends any time on two wheels has considered the possibility, but this female motorcyclist managed to capture the unavoidable crash on videotape.

Dawn took quite a tumble, but she's OK. She even quotes the driver of the car as saying, "She hit me."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nice profile of Canada's Polka King

I haven't heard of Walter Ostanek, but the Canadian Polka King sounds like a nice guy, and this pre-Grammy profile tells a familiar tale: Polka's kinda fading away.

Lucky thing nobody bothered to tell that to Polkacide or Brave Combo or even The Mad Maggies. (And of course Jimmy Sturr, who bagged the polka Grammy this year -- his 15th -- knows the ol' 1-2 is still kickin'.)

Buckeye bowls a perfect 900

Talk about a bowling king: Lonnie Billiter Jr. rolled three perfect 300 games in a row Monday, and now he's the 10-pin star of a Cincinnati suburb.

He's so big the Cincinnati Post even wrote an editorial about his astonishing streak, but Billiter went back to work Tuesday night at Fairfield Lanes. (There's that famous Buckeye work ethic for ya).

Congrats, Lonnie!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sounds like love

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik brightens that recycling-bin-bound paper product daily. Today she unleashes a hilarious Valentine's Day edition of the fantastic Public Eavesdropping feature that regularly sparks her column.

Selected love-dovey highlights, overheard throughout the Bay Area:

"There was the standard drinking and flirting and ... a week or so later I was taking antibiotics."

"I was looking for someone for just a really good time, but then I peeked at his iTunes playlist. He'd be serious baggage."

"He can't be that gay, he got me pregnant."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Mad Maggies go crazy in Austin

Gotta catch a plane: The Mad Maggies play the Folk Alliance Conference in Austin, Texas, this weekend. Check the MM's gigs page for more info on show times. If you'll be in Tejas, drop on by!

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Happy birthday, Suzanne!

Wonder if she'll read this post?

Lewis, Cowboy and Festus say "have a happy -- we love you." (And don't pay no nevermind to those foul felines over at My Cat Hates You.)

Monday, February 6, 2006

You might be a jackass if ...

You've got an expletive tattooed where your eyebrows ought to be. Man it's an embarrassment of riches at The Smoking Gun today!

Would you flip off the cops in your mug shot?

I wouldn't. But this unrepentant sweetheart -- caught up in a sting operation at a series of Tampa, Florida, strip clubs -- proves to be made of much sterner stuff.

I don't frequent "gentlemen's clubs," so I don't know what the dancers typically look like. But, man, some of those working girls are a long way from the strippers in The Sopranos. (Which starts up again March 12!)

Give lobsters the claw

I love lobster. And I love arcade games.

But, odd as it seems, I might actually side with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on this one: The Love Maine Lobster Claw contraption lets gamers at seafood joints and bars plunk down $2 to use a three-pronged, mechanical grappling claw to try to pull a live lobster out of a tank of water.

It's like those games you see in Wal-Mart where people waste their money attempting to fish cheap-o stuffed animals out of a big plexiglas box. And, as you can imagine, PETA -- which doesn't think anybody should eat animals (or even delicious giant sea bugs) in the first place -- is protesting the lobster game.

"Turning animal cruelty into a game is absolutely hideous," said PETA spokeswoman Karin Robertson.

I guess I agree. I don't like to play with my food. In fact, I'd rather not cook my own lobsters or shuck my own oysters or any of that, given the choice. I'd rather go to Swan Oyster Depot, where they take all the work out of the whole thing.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Could be more wrong?

I see has updated its already erroneous listing for Lawnball. Now I'm listed as a "group member" -- kind of. (Actually, I'm listed as "Wallace Lewis.")

But no matter. How exciting this newfound fame is for me! The really amusing part is the "fact sheet" about me, the musician known as Wallace Lewis. I was born July 6, 1928, in Lincolnton, Ga., and I performed in bluegrass group The Lewis Family.

I suppose I could spend the rest of the weekend signing up to be a member of the site, then updating and correcting all the errors. But, really, just needs to go away. It gets my vote for lamest music site ever.

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Can karate experts keep pesky parrots at bay?

What do you do when you're in New Zealand and you want to hold a classic car rally? You hire martial arts experts to deal with "feathered terrorists" -- parrots known as Keas that display a destructive fondness for bright, shiny objects.

Remind us not to play any Kiwi accordion festivals, OK? Those birds would probably love to peck out a tune on an instrument made of chrome and mother-of-pearl, and we're still not fully recovered from taking the stage after the sheep-shearing competition at the Utah State fair.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Kentucky Derby tosses tradition to the wind

The late, great Hunter S. Thompson called the Kentucky Derby "decadent and depraved." Now I guess you can add "disgustingly corporate" to the list.

Now Thompson's hometown horse race will officially be called "the Kentucky Derby, presented by Yum Brands," according to The Washington Times.

Yum Brands are the people who bring us such top-shelf dining experiences as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC. (I think they're also the marketing geniuses who turned Col. Sanders into a jive-walking cartoon and took the "Kentucky Fried" outta what used to be the world's finest chicken chain. Or maybe that was one of Yum's corporate forefathers -- the company has changed identities more times than an al-Qaida scumbag.)

I know for sure that the only thing that should be yummy about the Kentucky Derby is the mint juleps.

When will the corporate marketing madness end? In Frisco, we've gone from Candlestick Park to something stupid I can' remember right now to Monster Park (which at least sounds kinda cool). And Pac Bell Park is now SBC Park. These sell-out suckers and the corporate bosses are ruining the sound of everything they can get their greedy little hands on.

Enough already! (At least until the advent of Those Darn Accordions, Powered by Anchor Steam.)

Buckwheat Zydeco is a right-hand man

Buckwheat Zydeco isn't the only accordion player who concentrates on playing the squeezebox's right-hand keys.

"When I play, I play the piano notes," he said in a recent interview. "I've played keyboards all my life. The accordion seems ... almost easy. But when you play the one with the 120 buttons -- man, that'll give you the blues!"

His latest album, Jackpot!, came out last summer, and now he's on the road. Never seen him, but I'm guessing he puts on a pretty good show.

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Is the world ready for "gangsta accordion" music?

Everybody who's been online probably knows about Gracenote, the giant music database that can fill in song titles and other information when you slap a disc in your CD drive.

But who knew such a thing as "gangsta accordion" music even existed?

Buried in an International Herald Tribune story about Gracenote, you'll find a reference to the bizarre musical hybrid:

Each song is assigned one of 1,600 microgenres, including hick-hop - hip-hop-influenced country - and gangsta accordion, a movement on the south side of Moscow, where about a dozen bands perform gangsta rap with an accordion as the lead instrument.

Google seems stumped -- I'd say this bears further investigation.