Monday, July 31, 2006

Chorizo makes a run for it at Miller Park

The Famous Racing Sausages that liven up the party at Milwaukee Brewers games got a new amigo Saturday when Chorizo (aka "El Picante") joined the meaty pack.

Check the CBS News site for a great picture of Chorizo (and an Associated Press story with more sausage jokes than you can slather with spicy mustard). The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lays out Chorizo's competition in a pregame piece; WTMJ's post-game wrap-up reports that Chorizo came in third out of five (see video). Finally, sports blog Deadspin posts some color commentary and a fan video of the race.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

'Pizza' becomes 'elastic loaves' in Iran

Nobody's holding up Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a symbol of international sanity, but his move to ban foreign words like "pizza," "chat" and "cabin" sounds crazy enough to be part of a CIA psy-ops campaign to paint him as a loon. Not too impossible a mission, apparently.

'Conger cuddling' takes a hit

They have some strange ways of having a good time across the pond, and "conger cuddling" -- described by The Sun as "a kind of human skittles" involving a giant dead eel -- is certainly off the bizarre-o charts.

But now the time-honored tradition is getting a less-than-satisfying makeover after a "killjoy protester" called conger cuddling disrespectful to the dead fish. Organizers of the charity event in Lyme Regis (a coastal resort about 155 miles southwest of London) used a mooring buoy this time around, and are considering having a plastic eel made, the BBC reports.

"We decided that it really wasn't worth upsetting anybody by going ahead with using a dead conger," said Andrew Kaye, spokesman for the Lyme Regis lifeboat crews that have raised money with the event for more than 30 years. "But it's a dead conger, for Pete's sake. I shouldn't think the conger could care one way or another."

Kaye told the Associated Press that the lone activist threatened to film the contest and cause a media meltdown. Looks like that happened anyway: Authorative journal Practical Fishkeeping weighs in on the matter, but The Guardian has the best description of the event:

"The rules of the game are simple. One team stands on a set of 6-inch-high wooden blocks, in effect turning themselves into human skittles. Members of a second team swing a dead conger eel -- around 5 feet long is thought to be the most effective size -- attached to a piece of rope at the human skittles. Whoever can stay on for the longest wins. The eels can be heavy but serious injuries are rare."

P.S. Did you know a young eel is called an "elver"? News to me.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Will the real Midwest please stand up?

Dig Meghann Marco's fairly hilarious regional riff, "States I Refuse to Acknowledge as Midwestern." Most of TDA's members hail from the real Midwest, and we spend a fair amount of time touring middle America every summer, so I guess we know a thing or two about a Midwestern thing or two.

Does your soy sauce taste a little shaggy?

You might want to eat your breakfast (lunch?) before immersing yourself in this fun Friday reading on the mystery ingredient in a certain cheap Chinese soy sauce.

(Via Beyond the Beyond)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ever see Accordion Tribe?

Stefan Schwietert's 2004 documentary about a gang of five squeezeboxers touring Europe sounds interesting. Accordion Tribe plays tonight as part of UC Berkeley's I Hear Music: Global Rhythms on Screen series.

TDA, of course, won't be sitting in an air-conditioned theater. We'll be sweating it out in Anderson, Calif., at the Mosquito Serenade. Predicted high temp: 112 degrees. Hope the beeswax doesn't melt.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pass the Pixy Stix and wax lips

This site is so sweeeeeeeeeet. No, really. Candy You Ate as a Kid packs a nostalgia punch just like flashback food site Hometown Favorites. You can shop for tooth-destroying sweets by name or go for a huge, four-pound assortment pack (just pick your favorite candy-coated decade).

P.S The number for phone orders is priceless: 1-866-WAX-LIPS.

Greatest meatball on Earth?

TheGreatestMeatball.Com makes a pretty bold statement. And, while I'd love to test-drive them, at $100 a dozen I'm unlikely to ever get the chance.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Skeeters flyin' and burgers fryin'

Is the California heat wave too much for Anderson's famed bloodsuckers? We'll find out Wednesday, July 26, when Those Darn Accordions plays the Mosquito Serenade.

Temperatures threaten to top 100 degrees that day and, while California skeeters don't seem to grow as big as the legendary, sparrow-size monsters in Wisconsin's Northwoods, I know from experience that Anderson's winged leeches can be persistent. Let's hope the accordions don't melt.

With any luck, the Golden State's heat wave will have retreated -- but not by too much -- in time for Saturday's second-annual Rock 'n' Roll BBQ at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. The Electric Boogie Dawgz put the show together, and there will be plenty of steamin' rock (courtesy of The Golden Gods, Count Dante, Badstrip, Wifey, The Devil's Own and of course the EBDz) along with cheap burgers and dogs.

If any mosquitoes make the show, I'm guessing the alcohol content of any blood they ingest will prove lethal.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Julz A poaches on 'squeezebox rock' turf

"Brooklyn bellow-blaster" Julz A has a new EP called Squeeze Rock, according to the Asbury Park Press, which calls him a "composer, accordionist, percussionist, rapper and vocalist." Gonna have to check into this.

P.S. What is the Rock Accordion Summit of Providence 2005 that Julz A played? More homework.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Accordion camp operates in our backyard

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh / Here I am at Camp Squeezebox-a.

OK, so maybe that's not the makings of a hit song. But it's possible that Bay Area musician Joe Smiell has a keeper on his hands when he brings the Galla-Rini Accordion Camp to Dominican University in San Rafael, Calif., next week. More than 50 musicians from around the world will participate in the camp, which has been held in Oregon and San Diego in previous years, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I want to play Cornfest!

The Bay City Times news story makes the Michigan festival sound like a slam-dunk for TDA: "This year's 36th annual Auburn Cornfest offers an earful of entertainment including rock, comedy, polka and more."

Geez, that sounds like us in a nutshell (or a silk-lined husk). The lineup -- featuring U.P. goofball legends Da Yoopers, Jedi Mind Trip and a polka/variety show by The Pulse -- looks really promising. And Paul's got impeccable Michigan credentials (heck, he's vacationing there right now and possibly even on his way to Cornfest).

Maybe next year.

P.S. The Pulse's Kelly Grocholski even hosts a polka radio show called Polka Bandstand USA on WGDN FM out of Gladwin, Mich., according to the article.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quotable quotes (including a squeezebox zinger)

Need a quick hit of wit? This amusing editorial from The Black Hills Pioneer serves up some choice one-liners, including a tidbit from Ted Nugent and this squeezebox-related chestnut from pundit Jed Babbin:

"Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless, noisy baggage behind."

Bottle RFIDs: ultimate high-tech buzzkill?

Here's something that's just not right: A Miami company is perfecting the use of RFID technology to track a bartender's every pour, from the angle the bottle is tilted to the amount of booze dispensed.

"The software converts the tilt into an estimated volume, and the conversion is automatically perfected based on the history of each bottle; hence it becomes more accurate over time and adapts to each bartender's habits. When the bottle is empty, our sensor knows it and the software readjusts the historical pours of each bottle to the known volume of the bottle," Beverage Metrics CEO David Teller tells eWeek. "Our system reconciles pours to ring-ups and recipes and automatically decides what is a long pour that should be changed to two pours (and) when to combine short pours in sequence."

Wonder if the system will also monitor the shrinking pile in the tip jar as this invasive technology takes its toll on the barkeep-tippler relationship?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Enjoy America's best road food

Some bands grouse about the difficulty of finding good food on the road. But not Those Darn Accordions: This is a band that likes to eat, and we view every meal as an opportunity.'s list of the top 20 American food items lists some of the country's culinary highlights. Sadly, I can only say I've enjoyed one: frozen custard in Milwaukee (from both Leon's and Kopp's). Some of the others, like Italian beef in Chicago, I've enjoyed with my bandmates, but not from the establishments listed. I think it's time TDA makes the other 19 items on the list a sort of "to do" list.

Rise of the 'cuculoupes'

A Louisiana couple's garden produced a genetic wonder they're calling a "cuculoupe," a yard-long hybrid fruit (or is it a vegetable?) with "hard, waxy, yellow skin with thick ridges running lengthwise from its pointed ends past a thickened middle," according to a report in the The Courier.

Tim Dusenbery made the discovery after a trip to the garden. "I told Karen, 'We got something strange going on in there,'" he said. "We thought they sold us the wrong seeds."

You'll have to register with the Houma, La., paper's website to get the full story and a picture of the monster produce. Or you can read the Associated Press version on Yahoo.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Tiny TDA tour ends with a sprinkle

Many thanks to the hundreds of folks who made it out to the last show of our mini-tour in Schaumburg, Ill. Sorry we had to pack it in (and pack it up) so quickly when it started raining at the end of our normal set. To all the people chanting, "One more song! One more song!" ... thanks for asking, and sorry we couldn't risk it. Those accordion bellows are made of paper, and can be quickly ruined by a little rain. The amps and whatnot also can get destroyed (and dangerous) when wet.

Thanks to everyone who caught one of our shows in Illinois or Wisconsin (and bonus points to those who made multiple performances). Hope to see you all when we we make it back to the Midwest in September!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Blast off! Tour season is under way

Last night's show at the Abbey Pub in Chicago was a lot of fun (for us, anyway). The Polkaholics opened the night with a rousing set of rockin' polka, in spite of bass player Jolly James Wallace's thrown-out back. "We're usually more animated," he said after the show. How could that be?

Associates in the West Coast Polka Mafia (from Polkacide, the Mad Maggies and Big Lou's Polka Casserole) had warned me about what a great bunch of guys the Polkaholics are, but nothing prepared me for a band with songs like "Beer, Broads and Brats" and "Beer: Breakfast of Champions." Unfortunately, I failed to make it to their merch table, so I guess it's time to order online.

A couple of accordions crapped out at the Abbey, but, hey, it's the start of the tour (and we travel with spares). Tonight it's Waterfest in Oshkosh (b'gosh), opening for David Lee Roth and Starship. Onward and upward!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Now that's a funny looking accordion

Check the top picture and the caption on the Toledo Blade site. Journalism's hard. Really it is. (Cool story about Tex-Mex player Jesse Ponce, though!)

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Those Darn Accordions on your Cell Phone?

Hey, Impress your friends and confuse your enemies. has 2 TDA tunes available for ring tone downloads. Just go to and search for Those Darn Accordions. If you have a Sprint phone you can also download directly to your cell.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Get 'em while they're hot!

July 6 is your last day to snatch up tickets to TDA's first-ever show at Turner Hall in Monroe, Wis., according to The Monroe Times. We're really looking forward to playing this unique venue ...

Squeezin' with the devil

When we open for David Lee Roth on July 6 at Waterfest in Oshkosh, Wis., it looks like we'll be treated to a full-bore blast from the Van Halen past. Check out the David Lee Roth Band set list -- it's rich with the songs that make up the summer soundtrack to my misspent youth. Can't wait!