Monday, February 27, 2012

Last chance clearance: The Adventures of Myke Phoenix

When Myke Phoenix Quarterly #1 arrives on Thursday, March 1, the original 2008 book The Adventures of Myke Phoenix will be retired. For these final few days, the book has been discounted to an astonishing price of $7.46 plus shipping.

Inside these pages you will find the original versions of the stories "Our Best Hope: The Origin of Myke Phoenix" (#1), "The Prince of the World" (#2), "The Strange Ultimatum of Quincy Quakenbos" (#3), "The World's Nicest Bad Guy" (#5), and "Ghosts" (not currently slated for publication in the Myke Phoenix monthly emagazine). Admittedly, the revisions to these tales are relatively minor – not even rising to the level of Greedo shooting first – but this is your last opportunity to own the Myke Phoenix stories as they first emerged from my little brain back around 1990.

Now, Myke Phoenix Quarterly #1 and its successor editions will be an awesome experience, but as Myke Phoenix becomes a worldwide phenomenon during the 21st century's second decade, wouldn't it be fun to own what will soon be the rare collectible book where it all started?

Click here for your last chance to buy the original Adventures of Myke Phoenix. Offer absolutely ends after Feb. 29, 2012.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Uncle Warren's Attic #68

"I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny. You've come to fight as free men... and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom?"

One thing you could do is spend a half-hour plunking around in my Attic with me ... I've got a couple of big hits before they were big hits, Les Paul making a guitar sound like a trapeze, and the inspiration for Betty Boop among other intriguing odds and ends.

Click on the pod icon or this link to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #68.

Among the goodies you'll find inside:

• Vintage ads for Pall Mall, Camel and Carnation Instant Breakfast
• "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" by Jerry Lee Lewis - before Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
• "In the Mood" by Edgar Hayes - before Glenn Miller
• "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" by Les Paul
•  "I Want to Be Bad" by Helen Kane
• "Giggling Gertie" by Vaughn de Leath
• "Campus Crawl" by Jimmy Tolson

What are you waiting for??

Click on the pod icon or this link to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #68.

And as always, if you'd rather have your computer or other electronic toy do all the work for you, just subscribe to the weekly podcast here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Here Comes The Sun' lost guitar solo found again

A fascinating visit with Beatles producer George Martin, his son Giles Martin and Dhana Harrison (son of the quiet Beatle) tinkering around the mixing board with the original tracks of "Here Comes the Sun."

"Suddenly Dhani opens the channel with the 'lost solo guitar.' And now, with the master track in the background, you can hear how it sounds in music."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Coming Sunday, a 68th trip to the Attic

Beginning with my little computer buddies taking on Braveheart, we'll sweep into a couple of familiar tunes before they were famous, Les Paul on a flying trapeze, Betty Boop and another song or two calling out from between the grooves of ancient 78 rpm records.

In short, it’s another typical mix of old shtuff without rhyme or reason, just as you’ve come to expect here. You'll find it right here when you wake up Sunday morning, or it'll already be inside your favorite electronic toy if you subscribe now.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know - Walk Off the Earth

This is fun to listen to and fun to watch. That must be why it has (at the time of this posting) in excess of 58.6 million views.

Here's the band's website.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Uncle Warren's Attic #67

We twist the radio dial, move past a vintage episode of The Shadow, and settle into a rendition of "Dearest" by George Slater and his Harmonizers - yep, it sure sounds like another episode of Uncle Warren's Attic!

As promised, another week begins and here is another venture into old stuff that otherwise would just gather dust in my Attic.

Click on the podcast symbol or this link right here to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #67.

Here's your roadmap:
"Dearest" - George Slater and his Harmonizers from The Road to Ruin
"Seems Like Old Times" - theme song by w.p. bluhm
Revelation of the contest answer from UWA #66
Vintage ad for Schaefer beer
Promo for Myke Phoenix, a free monthly superhero emagazine
"Ain't Nobody's Business What I Do" - Beverly White from Killer Diller
"Texas and Pacific" - Louis Jordan with his Tympany Five from Reet, Petite and Gone
Vintage ad for Robert Burns cigars
"Red Wing" - Esmereldy and her Novelty Band
"Now He Tells Me" - King Cole Trio (Killer Diller)
"Flick's Tongue" - the classic radio anecdote by Jean Shepherd

Click on the podcast symbol or this link right here to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #67.

Remember you can have your Attic visit delivered automatically by subscribing to the RSS feed. I also have joined the 21st century and set up a Facebook page - "Like" the podcast and check back there and here for updates. Oh, and I wouldn't be hurt if you let your friends know what a fun little podcast we have here. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Good show comin' overnight

The best part about collecting an Attic full of shtuff is finding things you collected some time ago but never got around to looking at or listening to. This weekend's show features some of that.

Major sources are a couple of movies from a collection of 50 public-domain films called "Classic Musicals." Now, when you pay 20 cents a film, you can't expect loving film restoration and world-class audio, but the good shtuff shines. I think the show turned out nicely.

And it doesn't hurt that the show also includes an old radio story that has been dramatized in one of my favorite movies of all time. (If you were paying attention a couple of months ago, you can probably guess which one.)

Speaking of guesses, the audience for Uncle Warren's Attic #66 has been surprisingly gratifying for a podcast that took a 13-month hiatus, but I've never encountered such shyness in the ranks. As of Saturday morning still no one has answered the clearly obvious question of the common bond linking four songs in the show. The answer is revealed in the already-recorded #67, which will appear online at 2:01 a.m. CST on Sunday. So be one of three listeners to email me now with those answers and win those valuable prizes – or else, I'll save them for a rainy day.

And I do mean rainy – have you heard about the weather in Wisconsin? February feels like April. It has most of us believing in (and celebrating) global warming.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The joy of punctuation

I've got nothing to say, but it's OK. Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!

Meaning: I have nothing to say, but that's alright. It's a good morning anyway.

I've got nothing to say but it's OK. Good morning! Good Morning! Good morning!

Meaning: The only thing I have to say is that it's OK. And that's good!

Commas rule.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Myke Phoenix #2: Prince of the World

The leader of a postage-stamp principality has an insane plan that involves a bold assassination and ruling the world, and only Myke Phoenix can stop him!

Here, as promised on the ides of February, is the second edition of the online adventures of Myke Phoenix.

And on Page 52 learn about my revised plans for a collectible paperback edition!

Click on the cover art to download Myke Phoenix #2 directly, or go to the Myke Phoenix blog to read the magazine online.

Monday, February 13, 2012

U.W. at the Grammys

First off, I'm still waiting for three people to tell me what four songs in UWA #66 have in common, which means either it was a tougher question than I thought, or that signed copies of two of my books wasn't enough of an enticement to get people to enter. This is just by way of letting the rest of you know it's not too late.

What? You haven't listened to the show yet? well, download/listen to it here, fer cryin out loud!

Sunday night was the Grammy Awards, and for the first time (I believe) ever, Red and I watched/listened to the whole thing. Five highlights for me:

1. Six guitarists in mortal combat trading leads in the classic Beatles finale "The End." I always believed that Abbey Road is almost flawless except perhaps that the full-tilt rocker at, err, the end was too short. Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison trading leads was great, just not long enough. Sunday night, twice as many guitarists going about six rounds each exchanging two-measure solos was priceless. Best moment in the best moment: Joe Walsh sneaking in a tease of the immortal "Funk 49."

2. The Civil Wars' one-minute contribution – joyful harmonies, fun banter. Wow, who are those two?

3. The Foo Fighters' passionate defense of making music with musical instruments, not computers, which was the only acceptance speech that seemed to be cut off. Interesting!

4. A stunned Taylor Swift taking in the rousing standing ovation for her crisp performance of "Mean," turning to the person next to her and mouthing, "Ow, wow!" It felt like Sally Field realizing we like her.

5. Best new act recipient Justin Vernon of Bon Iver also talked about the joy of making music and gave a shout-out to Eau Claire, Wis. Gotta love that!

There were some lowlights, too – I definitely had a few "I'll never get those four minutes back!" moments – but the times when the music won out came often enough that I was glad we took the time. As Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters put it so well, "Long live rock 'n' roll!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Uncle Warren's Attic #66

Flame on! After more than 13 months of podcast silence, we trundle back up to the Attic and dust off my eclectic collection of aural stash. Here are ads for Remco's Fascination and the Witch Doctor Head Shrinker's Kit. Over there are a couple of my late mom's favorite songs, and right here is the easiest contest in contest history.

Yep, here's your chance to win signed copies of my immortal tomes A Scream of Consciousness and Refuse to be Afraid. All you have to do is be one of the first three people to email me with what four songs have in common.

Click on the "pod" symbol or right here on this link to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #66.

If you missed the first 65 shows, well, UWA is about a half-hour a week of shtuff I've accumulated over a lifetime of being a packrat. I have piles of old radio recordings; records that turn at all three speeds, especially 78 rpm; remnants of ancient newscasts; memorable movie and TV clips ... you get the picture. You'll also be subjected to an occasional dramatic reading, homemade recordings of songs, and tales told out of the time machine that is my aging brain.

Now that I'm back on the bicycle, it's my goal to stay on it. Come back here every Sunday for a new podcast - or what the heck, let your electronic device(s) do that work for you and subscribe to the RSS feed. We'll be here together as long as we're still having fun.

Click on the "pod" symbol or right here on this link to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #66.

Here's your show notes for Uncle Warren's Attic #66 ...

Introduction and theme - "Seems Like Old Times" by w.p. bluhm
Vintage ad: Remco's Fascination
* "Gee" - The Crows
* "The Old Master Painter" - Vaughn Monroe
* "You Are My Sunshine" - Jimmy Davis
* "I Wanna Be Around" - John Cale & Jools Holland
"Smile" - Sunny Gale
Vintage ad: The Witch Doctor Head Shrinker's Kit
"Happy Talk" - w.p. bluhm
"26 Second Song" - Shel Silverstein

Click on the "pod" symbol or right here on this link to hear/download Uncle Warren's Attic #66.

* Updated Feb. 19 to include the four songs that were part of the contest. Sorry folks, the contest is over. The answer: They're all part of the legendary Brian Wilson/Beach Boys SMiLE project. Give a listen in Uncle Warren's Attic #67.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Almost the moment we've been waiting for

The scaffolding is coming down, the curtain is about to rise, and a new episode of Uncle Warren's Attic will pop online in a matter of hours. Are you prepared for the big moment?

Your computer and/or favorite electronic toy will be, if you simply subscribe to the UW Attic RSS feed. That's all you need to do to receive the podcast every time it's posted, which starting this week will be first thing Sunday morning.

Everyone here in the Attic is bubbling over with anxious anticipation. We hope you'll love it, or at least like it enough to subscribe and keep coming back, or at least enough to come back for more next Sunday. See you soon!

Friday, February 10, 2012

About this week's prizes

Click here to learn more
Sunday's episode of the Uncle Warren's Attic podcast features a contest - be one of the first three listeners to identify what these four songs have in common and win signed copies of my last two books. It occurs to me you might want to know what you're going to win.

A Scream of Consciousness (the one with our golden retriever Willow reveling in the moment on the cover) is a collection of essays about about becoming alive, getting in touch with God and the universe, and embracing the here and now – here, and now.

Refuse to be Afraid is another collection of essays, this one about dealing with fear. It seems everyone from politicians to pharmaceutical companies want you to be so afraid that you'll willingly buy what they're selling, no matter the cost. The message here: Refuse to be Afraid. Free yourself. Dream.
Click here to learn more

My best friend whom I've never met, Wally Conger, and I chatted together after the release of each book, talking about the themes but also roaming far afield to subjects like zombies and such. If you'd like to hear those conversations, Wally has them available in handy-dandy form - just click here for A Scream of Consciousness and here for Refuse to be Afraid.

And you'll probably want to explore Wally's site while you're at it. There's quite a lot of good stuff there.

Then check in Sunday for the re-debut of Uncle Warren's Attic and tell me what the four songs in the contest have in common. I suspect you'll have a suspicion 10 seconds into the first song and you'll be able to predict what the fourth song is, so get your guess to me asap.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

UW spins a classic: 'All Summer Long'

Listening to the "All Summer Long" album - it's simply amazing how much 1964 changed the musical landscape, mainly due to two bands whose names started The Bea ...

I had never heard the whole album all the way through; it wasn't one that was in my collection. I didn't buy albums when I was 11 years old - yumpin yiminy, they cost almost $3 each! - and I had the mistaken impression that the early Beach Boys singles, not the albums, were their important contributions.

To be sure, the singles on this album are the immortal gems - "I Get Around" may be the most perfect single pop music recording of 1964, and yes I do know I'm placing it above all that Beatles stuff, the Four Seasons at their prime and my beloved "(Just Like) Romeo and Juliet" - and "Little Honda," "Wendy" and the title track "All Summer Long" are all here.

But here are 12 little bits of musical magic, assembled at a time when the average record album was an afterthought - the band's hits with a few covers thrown in to fill out the package. "We'll Run Away," "Girls On the Beach," "Drive-In," "Don't Back Down" - whoa. Those may not be staples of Oldies Radio, but they are beautiful little tunes with imaginative chord changes and soaring harmonies that weren't quite like anything else being done at the time.

Maybe it all changed when the Fab Four crossed the Atlantic - or maybe pop music began to change when the Wilson boys and their cousins started exploring the possibilities.

P.S. T-minus 3 days and counting to the relaunch of Uncle Warren's Attic.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Audio promo for Uncle Warren's Attic reboot

Hi folks, I'm Uncle Warren Bluhm and, well, welcome to my Attic!

The show returns Sunday - learn more by clicking the Pod logo!

Monday, February 06, 2012

I choose whimsy

I see and hear the cranky and dyspeptic political tones, philosophical arguments dressed up as a battle between good and evil, and I have seen and heard enough.

"There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys, there's only you and me and we just disagree," the poet sang.

And yet the demagogues behind the curtains conjure images of battlegrounds. We don't just disagree; you are the embodiment of evil walking on Earth. If your kind keeps/retains power, then the rest of us die.

Hogwash. I say again, hogwash. Pay no attention to the demagogues behind the curtains.

My freedom is not dependent upon someone holding or being ejected from office, and neither is yours. Human beings are born to freedom, not granted liberty by benevolent rulers. What part of "endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights" is so hard to understand?

We have a choice to stew in our own bile – or in bile provided for us by willing political toadies – or to live our lives freely, joyfully and in celebration.

You may follow the path to fear and loathing and the infestation of imaginary hobgoblins. I choose whimsy.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Prepping for the podcast reboot

The first new episode of Uncle Warren's Attic is scheduled to arrive Feb. 12. Is your podcatcher of choice ready?

You can access the whole run - all the way back to the legendary Imaginary Bomb series that started my podcasting career, through the reading of "Wildflower Man" and the various episodes of UW Attic - by subscribing to the podcast's RSS feed. One popular option is to subscribe via iTunes.

You'll also be able to download 'em one at a time here, but what if you forget? Subscribe and never miss a show. 

The first few shows include such legendary artists as George Slater & his Harmonizers, Warren G. Harding, and Esmereldy & Her Novelty Band. How can you resist? Subscribe now!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Audio promo for Myke Phoenix

While revving up the new Attic studio, I whipped together this little ad for the new Myke Phoenix free monthly emagazine. Listen to the promo, then click on the cover art to download your very own copy.

What do you think? Leave comments below or email me.

If the embedded audio player doesn't work, try this.