Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pondering the P-250

I just spent 16 hours cleaning water out of my basement. That's what we do after heavy rains in the Mississippi River Valley. At times, the foundation was taking on water faster than my pump, my wet-vac, my wife and I could get rid of it.

Much of the time, I was thinking about something that struck me as wildly stupid when I was a seaman. We had to take military exams for promotion.They were like rating exams, except stupid, mindless and capable of being passed by a golden retriever. The question that best exemplified the idiocy of these tests ran continually through my mind. While I may be exaggerating slightly, the gist of the question was this:

What is the capacity of the P-250 pump?
A. 250 gallons per minute.
B. 25 teaspoons-full per century.
C. 37 miles per gallon.
D. One coupon per customer.

I've been laughing at that one for almost forty years, but I assure you I wasn't laughing last night.

No--I was wishing for a P-250 pump.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Zero Days a Week

The biggest metropolitan region near me, the Illinois/Iowa Quad Cities Area, has been selected a few times to host Navy Week. It's a big deal, highlighted by an air show by the Blue Angels and numerous live and broadcast performances by Navy Band Great Lakes.

I, and thousands of others, look forward to the excitement, the demonstrations, the visiting crews, the displays of weaponry, the vroom of the jets and the the beat of the music.

But not this year. Navy Week has been cancelled, not just here, but in cities across the country. The annual event that brings the Navy to landlocked cities is a victim of sequestration.

This is not the place to blame any certain party or faction for these across-the-board cutbacks. But it is appropriate, I think, to point out the futility of this forced cost-saving

Navy Weeks, like Navy bands, are investments. The expense of the events builds goodwill and support among the people who ultimately fund our national defense: the taxpayers.

Military musicians are taught from day one that public performances are more than just music. They are tools for building support. A military band is a visible bridges between the citizens and their armed services.

For years, Navy Weeks have proven the value of this kind of investment.

But when you take away the tools, you can't expect anyone to build bridges.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Former MU Mike Vax on Tour

Mike Vax has played with the U.S. Navy Show Band, the Stan Kenton Band and has led the Dukes of Dixieland and numerous groups under his own name.

He also leads the Stan Kenton Alumni Band, an ensemble of former members of that prestigious band who gather annually for a bus tour. This year's tour is now in progress with dates that include performances in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Delaware,Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, DC.

It's a jam-packed schedule, a different city every night, long drives between cities, musicians, sleep when and where you can get it.

Sound familiar?
Stan Kenton Alumni Band 2013 Tour
Columbus, OH
Fly in
Bus pick up @10:30pm
Oxford, OH
Miami Univ.of Ohio
501 East High Street
Oxford, OH 45056
Hamilton, OH
Hamilton High School
1165 Eaton Ave.,
Hamilton, OH 45013
Info: 513-887-4823
Centerville, OH
Cline Elementary School Auditorium
99 Virginia Ave.
Centerville, OH 45458
Info: 937-469-1783
Chillicothe, OH
Chillicothe High School
421 Yoctangee Parkway
Chillicothe, OH 45601
Columbus, OH
Capitol University
Jazz and World Music
Conservatory of Music
1 College and Main
Columbus, OH 43209
Info: 614-236-6285, x#1
Amsterdam, NY
Plaistow, NH
Timberlane Performing
Arts Center
40 Greenough Road
Plaistow, NH 03865
Info: 603-257-5257
Riverhead, NY
The Suffolk Theater
118 East Main Street
Riverhead, NY 11901
Info: 631-727-4343
Manassas, VA
Travel Day
Washington, DC
Blues Alley
1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington DC 2007
Info: 202-337-4141
Fredricksburg, VA
Riverbend High School
12301 Spotswood-Furnace Road
Fredricksburg, VA 22407
Info: 540-455-3104
Middletown, DE
Middletown High School
120 Silver Lake Road
Middletown, DE 19709
Edison, NJ
JP Stevens High School
855 Grove Ave.
Edison, NJ 08820
Info: 732-452-2808
Harrisburg, PA
Central PA Friends of Jazz
The Forum Theater
550 Walnut Street
Harrisburg, PA
Info: 717-540-1010
Pittsburgh, PA
International Airport