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September 19th, 2013

10:54 pm - Gritty Reboots #3 "Uncharted"
Captain Jonas Grimby ( Paul Sorveno) is a wreck of a man. Captain and owner of the Minoa, an ex US Navy PT boat converted to charter service. Grimby knew the pain of post traumatic stress , though the term had not been invented yet. In his horrific time as a Marine in the Pacific he had seen friends missing their faces, dismembered, tortured, killed by fungal infections, dysentery, and driven insane by war. His medals are half buried like his squad members in the forgotten grave of a drawer in his disheveled trailer near the pier. He is wracked with guilt for surviving what so many didn't. His drinking had nearly cost him his captain's ticket in the past. Any new incident could beach him. This self-loathing anglily surfaces again and again as he coral that stranded his passengers on the uncharted island but he knows where the fault lies.. An island, so much like Guadalcanal that he can still smell the rotting corpses and the taunting shouts of the Japs. Is it his nightmares, or his interminable malaria that wakes him up sweating at night?

Thurston Howell III (Samuel Jackson)The nation's first black multi-billionaire. He clawed his way up from slums of Detroit to start his own hair-care products line. Soon he controlled a country-wide empire including restaurants, manufacturing, broadcasting stations, and his own brand of plant mulch. He is hated as much for his success as for his explosive temper. He tends to call his wife, Eunice "lovey" when she is nearby. To his inner circle he calls her "That mother-fucking bitch".

Eunice "that mother-fucking bitch" Howell ( Darryl Hanna ) Once a beauty queen and mild mannered trophy wife, she had gradually adopted her husband's barbed tongue and overbearing ways in simple self-defense.
Trapped in the loveless prison of her marriage, she realizes that she has servants but no real friends. She is searching for a way to leave him, but knows that he will not take that well. She daydreamed frequentlyof pushing him into the jagged mouth of a convenient shark.

Ginger Grant (Cameron Diaz) Just a few short years before she had been the hottest starlet in Hollywood. she had just finished a role against type as Blofeld's man-hating hench-woman in Ian Fleming's first X-rated Bond film "DeathBomb". As Cinnamon McTwat she repeatedly tries to kill James Bond ( Sean Connery) with poison spiders, poison darts, a poison shrimp cocktail. She finally dies from a poison condom which Bond puts on the wrong way out. " I guess I just fucked her to death"
The role was a shock to her loyal fans who wanted nothing more out of her than another mindless Doris Day role. Her career crumbled like a puff pastry in a hailstorm.
She slid into booze and drugs. She had been looking for an unobtrusive moment to throw herself overboard when the Minoa hit the reef in the storm.

Mary Ann Sommerisle (Amanda Peet), A wholesome young woman with a secret. She seems like the girl next door, but was raised by a bizarre pagan cult of tree worshipers off the Oregon coast. Mary Ann was brought up worshiping plants as a more pure life form than we violent animals. She feels that she has betrays her upbringing with each coconut split by her companions.

Professor Roy Hinkley. (Christopher Walken)..brilliant, resourceful, calm in emergencies. His vast knowledge of many fields of science has saved the rest of his companions many times over. Yet only one of them suspect that he is actually Gunter Kurtz, a nazi radiation expert and war criminal. The real professor Hinkley, a nuclear physicist working for the Manhattan project, and searching the crumbling Nazi empire for evidence of Professor Heisenberg's Nazi atomic bomb program. Hinkley had the misfortune to run across a kneeling Kurtz in a secluded area of the Black Forest as Kurtz incinerated records of inmates he had repeatedly irradiated in the course of his studies. Kurtz, wearing a stolen American uniform stood and turned. Hinkley's last words were "Jesus, soldier, you could be my twin." Calling on his ability to size up the potential profound luck in a situation, replied in perfect Midwestern accent," No, I think I could be you." . Then he shot Hinkley with his Luger. Kurtz was able use his close resemblance to Hinkley to make his way through US lines to safety and a new life in the US. He has carefully gotten rid of those who asks too many questions about him.

William "Gilly" Gilligan (Keanu Reeves) Perhaps the stupidest man in the Hawaiian Islands and hardly able to tie a square knot. He is a curious choice for steward and cook aboard the Minoa. His bumbling nature and confusion are nothing more than a cover he has adopted as a secret agent for the Israeli Massad. He has been on the trail of an escaped war criminal for years. His mission is to capture and deliver Gunter Kurtz to Israel for trial or kill him. He'd followed Kurtz when he had relocated to the tropics. Gilly had hardly hidden his surprise when Kurtz bought a ticket for a trip on the Minoa. Now stranded on a small uncharted island in the lesser Marquises, he has to rely on the clever inventions of the man he believes to be his target to survive long enough to accomplish his task. His life, and the lives of everyone else on the island teeters on the brink of Kurtz's mad genius.

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August 24th, 2012

02:54 am - Preparing To Hove
We'll be hoving into Revel Grove this weekend as we return for MDRF's 35th season. There's lots to do twixt now and then, so I'm being brief. Let's just say that this is an excellent chance for you to drop by the camp and repay that money you owe us. Don't make us come looking for you. You know we have weapons.
Current Music: Die Krote und der musiclescheftsgeligenheitsen

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March 31st, 2012

07:43 pm - Pirate Royal Band Spring Announcements and Notes
For release March 32, 2012

Our newest album, “Serious Historic Music of the Arduous Daily Life of the Tudor Era Sailor” will be released in a few weeks as soon as we solve a few pitch correction issues with the lute tracks. “When Henry Was A Boy”, “Low Tide Doxey (sic)”, “The Boatman's Revenge”, and “On Top Of Old Smokey” are just a few of the toe-tapping crowd-pleasers from this latest offering. We are hoping that it will outsell previous recording

I apologize for the emotional tone of many of the remaining items in the announcement, but this time, it's personal.

Our hard work to make Pabst Blue Ribbon the official beer of the Marieland Rennaisance Fairstival- MDRF, has come to naught. This would make our previous name change to Pirate Band Royal- PBR*- simply confusing. Therefore The Pirate Royal Band, (previously known as the Pirate Band Royal, the Pirates Royal, and The Pyrates Royale), will be returning to the name we have proudly used throughout the 2009 season, The Pirate Royal Band.
The re-branding becomes effective immediately, but correspondence may still reflect the old name as the office uses up the last of our previous letterhead stock.

We are shocked to announce that the Pirate Royal Band will be appearing at the festival for only three and 1/2 weekend this year; the second weekend, Seniors weekend and Labor Day weekend, as well as 9-2:30 of Oktoberfest weekend Saturday only.|

It seems that we are to be replaced for the pirate weekend by a new trio of young men, The O'Danny Boys. According to their website “Plunge, Groper, and Spew O'Danny perform traditional songs of intercourse and debauchery.” The idea that our serious historic music of the arduous daily life of the Tudor era sailor is being replaced by a smutty act like this is simply beyond our comprehension.
In response to the amended schedule we will probably playing a few gorilla theater performances under a tarp strung between a couple of those big RVs at the north end of the parking lot for pirate weekend.
We would also suggest that you call the office to let them know how you feel at 1-800-555-1212. If enough of our fan complain we will surely show those hateful dinks who really runs that show!
In more pleasant news MDRF will be offering some new interesting foods this year to replace the disappointing reception that the cold Quinoa on a stake and Pork/Tapioca Pudding on a stake garnered last year.
The new food selection-, slowly braised ox-tail, caramelized onion,herbs, roasted garlic, in a crisp wonton wrapper w/ a sweet-heat mignonette & blue cheese aioli. This majestic treat will be served on a stake.

His Majesty's Lawn Darts booth will not be returning due to the unfortunate event of the final weekend last year. This is in spite of the fact that the victim continues to make progress with his cognitive therapy. They will be replaced by the new His Majesty's Beer Wave Pool. That's going to be a welcome respite during the humid season. Bring The Kids!

LJ Skivee
PRB PR Director
2153East Sugbury Rd.,
Shropshire, Lancaster
UK L31B54A

* We also had some problems with patrons confusing the acronym with the the Professional Bull Riders association

_ A legal reminder that Pirate Royal Band, Pirate Band Royal, Pirates Royal, Pyrates Royale, Kodachrome, Pepsi, and Chevrolet are all trademarks of the PBR corporation.
Current Music: Ivor Krnaski's Octet#21 "Die Krote en Hundl""

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February 22nd, 2012

01:53 am - To my twisted minions...a test to amuse me
For various band-related reasons I friend just about anybody who asks me to on the old FB. Recently got a friend request by Jerry Parisi, a name I didn't know. Turns out he is the face of one of the smarmier
pitches in a while.
He just posted to me a link to a proposed TM show. The premise is that they will prominently feature YOUR products in the action of every show. The show will feature the madcap antics of a bunch of oddballs at a long Island ad agency with YOUR products placed and used by the madcap stereotyped ad agency office type characters every show. I'll post the address after this if you want to see it. Maybe he'll thank me for the increased traffic.
So I'm wondering what would be examples of very bad products to demonstrated placement and usage in every show. Or considering that many different products would be demonstrated in each show along with YOUR products. what would be some unfortunate pairings in the same scene

Youtube addy is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKrzqcg4kYo&list=UU-bBmTkDkBWT05xN-K1JStQ&index=1&feature=plcp
Here's To Us Sizzle Reel.mp4
Current Music: Kranski's "Das Kröte- Und Produktstellen Waltze"

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November 26th, 2011

06:17 pm - MDRF Final Opening weekends...and more stuff
There are those who might be tempted to mock me for the untimeliness of this post. I understand completely.
If you wish,just think of it as my annual critical X-Mas xeroxed tome.
So after 6 weeks of highly annoying weather, we (and most of the other fairs on the east coast) at least had a few good moments. The final weeks of MDRF were on the whole substantially more pleasant than the beginning weekends. We had relatively few hurricanes and only a few violent thunderstorms.
The most vexing problem we faced throughout the season was the repeated failure of the sound system on the White Hart stage. Somehow the system managed to cut out without regard to input levels, mike placement,EQ settings or entire amp heads being swapped out.In years gone by we had a small enough audience that we could just shout over the drunks. Now that the pub typically has 400+ folks inside the walls, this isn't tenable. Rumor has it that the most likely responsible component may be getting replaced.
We worked up a new song for Damon, Ala Una. I got to trot out the fake Spanish guitar skills a bit. We are also working up a song for Damon that will puzzle anyone who actually understands Spanish.
On the last weekend we trotted out a new-to-us song by The Decemberists, The Mariner's revenge.
It's a dark Poe-etic tale of the sea. My fellow PRs and I are working up a huge arrangement soon; with several Gypsophilias filling out the instrumental section.
Our friend Judy relayed a tale about a small lost child, a frantic parent some tears and how we Pyrates helped in a small way to make things right again...by having pitched our tent in a prominent location. Happy to be of service...and thanks to Judy for stepping up.
We are so grateful for the chance to do music at our favorite fair, along with some of the best musicians on the circuit. You know how when we look like we're having a good time when we are playing with the Gypsies, or the O'Danny Girls, or the Crimson Pirates, or Troubaholliganables, or the Rambling Sailors, or a combination of? That's because we really are having a great time. Thank you for coming out to see us.
Special thanks to Mer, Linda, and Brian for their expert support work this season.
We are also grateful for the folks who met us with our Carolina pals at CRF in early November. We had fun goofing with the court. CRF ranks very highly in our pantheon of great fairs to play.
Now we start getting serious about the next recording...lotsa tech stuff to consider.
Current Music: Kranski's Oktett No.3 " die Kröte Erachtet Die Kommend Winter "

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September 15th, 2011

06:42 pm - MDRF Opening weekend 3.0
Please be aware that this LJ entry, though based on actual events, is a dramatization. Certain events and characters have been combined or altered to help the development of the storyline.

I made an unwise choice several weeks ago. I decided to help out my dear friends John and John of the Troubadorables on Saturday. They have been trying to get their rival band, The Hooligans, fired from the fair for stealing their act.
The Troubadorables seemed to have thought that classing the act up by temporarily blending in the sophisticated sound of ThreePenny Bit for one day would convince management that the Hooligans were lame posers. Frankly, Donna and I were just in it for the money,'cause that's how we roll.
Any way we got together with the Johns and had a practice. Normally the idea of learning another band's whole playlist in one night would seem like a bad idea; but since we are both made of the awesome, we had everything memorized before we finished the second pizza.
So I showed up on Saturday and suddenly realized that I had agreed to be playing 9 sets over the course of the day. The last time I tried this was back when I performed in Ironweed and the PRs at the same time. My Pyrate bandmates showed great compassion to my plight through their laughter and finger-pointing. By the end of the day I was a wrung-out drippy lump. Donna and the Johns had played all the tunes we had planned, but at at 30x the speed we had practiced them. I only whined a tiny bit about the 1/4 inch of fingernail I eroded off my pick hand index finger. w'aaaaaaaaah.
Reports are sketchy about whether we were able to help the Troubadorables quest. In any case I only had to deal with 5 PR sets on Sunday.
Sunday morning started out cool and sticky progressed to warm and sticky during the day. This contributed in an odd way to me substantially ripping my slop pants inseam mid-day. The mechanics are unimportant, but I had to keep from shocking our fans by cautious seating posture and the creative placement of my guitar. It was a bit like wearing a kilt.
A violent lightning storm rolled through the village about an hour before pubsing. We quickly began our emergency procedure; closing watertight compartments and rigging the stage for silent running.
I believe that the following weeks will be rain-free for one simple reason. There is no more water left in the sky. It has all fallen out. This does not preclude showers of frogs, insects and rocks, but at least it won't be raining. Promise.
Current Music: Kranski's Opus 372 "Musik fürs Kröte in Stürmen und Windet"

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August 29th, 2011

03:28 pm - Opening MDRF Weekend
As you may have heard the MDRF opening was severely curtailed by Hurricane Irene yesterday. I had expected to relate delightful tales of musical adventure, the pleasantry of seeing old friends, and how much we love playing at Maryland.
Irene decided that we would not be playing there long this weekend.
We opened the first set at the globe to about 25 stalwart souls. At mid-set I taunted Irene by singing Bold Reilly...“Oh the rains it rains all day loooooong and the wind it blows oh so strong...”. By the second chorus I started feeling little droplets....no real rain yet.
We had a nice set and forgot relatively few lyrics.
The O'Danny's tried to trick us into doing extra work, but we didn't fall for that one.
We retired to camp to leave them to their fate
We played the first White Hart set under actual rain so we abandoned the stage and played to the west wing tent. It was kinda fun to be bellowing to folks just inches away, and watching their hair being blown back by our efforts.
We repaired to camp again for food and to plan the next set. Our friend Claudia and Brian endured an odd Spanish love song I am writing for Damon. The sturm unt drang became more insistent. We all quietly sang “You Are My Sunshine”.
By the time we finished playing our second White Hart set the rain was no longer playful. Irene was demanding our lunch money. She was threatening to give us swirlies in the torrents running through our little village.
We contemplated the impending trek across the sea of reeds to the promised land of the Boar's Head Tavern. Things didn't look good. Several of us huddled under the dripping fly clothe.
There was a chance that the path will change. Years ago, before radar was commonly available on any computer, the Smiths decided to close the fair mid-day during a very stormy morning. A totally unexpected change stopped the storm very soon after folks were sent home. Many late tour buses arrived from far away to a closed fair under open skies.
This is the reason for the legend that the fair stays open now matter what.. The legend is dumb.
There are hundreds of folks working fair. We actors and musicians are just the visible tip of the iceberg. The owners aren't going to put them at risk.
Rains bands splattered us.
We were making final preps to slog to the Boar's Head when we were rescued by our entertainment director. The Smiths had wisely decided to throw in the towel and send everyone home. Then the storm really hit. It took me about 25 moisty wind-blown minutes to get to my car...normally a 5 minute trek. That's when I found that I hadn't closed the side window on the way in.grrrrrrrrrrr. Soggy van is soggy.

It was still raining a bit Sunday Morning, with decreasing gusting. By 10 am it was all over but the shouting in our chunk of Maryland. By 1:00 the clouds broke revealing a beautiful blue sky.
Perspective is an interesting thing, in that where you stand on a given subject depends on where you sit. Our brush against that skank Irene left us with few bruises and nothing requiring shots. I haven't actually seen the Pyrates Camp since abandoning ship post haste on Saturday, but our spies report it as thoroughly soaked, but standing.
Some folks complained that the fair didn't reopen Sunday. I vote that they did the right thing. Power lines down, trees across roads and flooding would have made the trip dangerous. A hidden danger was that trees roots were in saturated muck. With the winds on the back side of the storm, the site was not a place for patrons to be.
All around us property is ruined, roads blocked, people injured and killed. The NY fair had a river running through it. Our Eastern shore, just 50 miles to the East, got about 10 inches of rain, double our share. Considering the trail of real destruction and death that the storm left across the coast we got off easy. Stop whinging that you couldn't stay and get more drunk.
We will be glad to get back next weekend and throw ourselves into Opening Weekend 2.0.
Current Music: Kranski's Piano Trio "Die Kröte am reißend Sturz"

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July 10th, 2011

11:02 am - An UFO And An Explanation You May Not Believe
On my Facebook last week I told about a mysterious bright light that became visible as daylight slipped away. In the interest of brevity(!) I had omitted some important details. This more detailed account may explain why I dismissed your suggestions out of hand.

Like most amateur astronomers I have a fairly good idea of what should be in the night sky at any given time of the year. This thing didn't belong there.
Only the moon and the newcomer were visible at that point.

I watched it for more than 8 minutes and it seemed to not move around as seen by eyeball during that time. I was using the moon and terrain as points of reference.
While gazing at it I considered the possibility that it was an airplane at very high altitude, the space station, some other satellite, a rocket launch, a rocket booster breaking up, a meteor. I've seen all these things and t'weren't them. The not moving thing made all of these non-starters. Though it was as bright as Venus or Jupiter, I knew that they are both in the morning sky now. I also considered the extremely remote possibility that I was seeing a nova blooming. They happen, but are only seen a time or two per millennia. ( In my head-"The 2012 Noble Prize for Science goes goes to Professor Long John Skivee for his discovery of Skivey's Nova-SN2011A"...they always spell my name wrong)

Eventually I remembered that an excellent Celestron 8" telescope was inside (D'OH!). I got it, and had to take a few moments setting it up. (as a side note, Martha Stewart patio tables makes a crappy platform for a telescope at 160x)

The telescope had to be set-up (setting various mechanical aspects, focusing the finder scope, focusing the main scope, checking that they were aligned properly) while aimed at the moon...a reliable target. This took maybe a minute and a half. Then I moved the scope over and up to the bright spot.

I acquired it in the finder, then moved to the main eyepiece. The scope was bouncing around quite a bit because of the flexibility of the table top. In a very brief glance it looked a bit like a tiny white-ish sphere with the middle darker and the edges slightly lighter. Since catadioptric lenses are well known to make out of focus subject look like spheres or doughnuts, I took my eyes off the eyepiece to locate the focus knob to focus more carefully. Something happened to the thing in that brief moment, because by the time I looked back in the eyepiece it had broken into dozens of bright spots with lots of other little bits around them. They began to fall at an increasing rate, with some bits falling faster that the main "swarm". It rather reminded me of a slow-motion version those shuttle Columbia break-up films but with vertical travel. Over about 1/2 minute the bits scattered down, and soon I couldn't any trace. Cue Theramin music.

On Friday I discussed the matter with a Public Affairs guy I know at a nearby NASA facility We kicked it around for a bit, and after tossing out versions of the suggestions above he suggested that my UFO was a weather balloon sighting. Far enough up, I would not have seen apparent motion, looking like a tiny sphere because that's what it was, bright against the darkening evening sky because they are a pearly looking plastic-rubber. They have a fair amount of slop in the shape at lower altitudes, but expand to a sphere as they rise. Eventually they pop like...a balloon, and the Styrofoam cased science package drops away. It looks like I had just happened to see it at around the instant that it popped. The only thing that is bothersome is that a ballon might be expected to pop, then form into a big ol' floppy blob as it fell. Perhaps at altitude, it's cold enough that the rubber sorta shattered when the balloon popped.

This explanation isn't perfect, but I think it's the most likely...unless you don't trust a NASA guy suggesting that my UFO sighting was a weather balloon. I do. No, Really. Everything is fine. It was just a weather balloon. Now you just go to sleep and when you awake, all of those bothersome human emotions won't trouble you anymore. Sleep and you'll be one of us...one of us...one of us.
Current Music: Kranski's Opus 37b:" die Kröte Und Die Nacht Besuchte "

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March 31st, 2011

06:24 pm - Pirates Royal Band Spring Announcements 2011
For release March 32

The Pirates Band Royal (previously known as the Pyrates Royale) announce the impending release of their next album “Haul On The Bowsprit- 500 Years Of Rude Sailor Songs”, which will be available at the Maryland Renaissance Fairstival by the third weekend...or maybe the fourth. It is the sixth PR album and promises to be the most controversial yet.

The songs will include the title track, as well as crowd favorites “Blow Boys, Blow”, “The Sailor and His Strumpet”, the light-hearted “Two Minute Jack”, “The Pump Shanty”, a traditional ballad “Napoleon's Complaint”, “I've Sailed Where The Sun Don't Shine” and ten other ditties not intended for airplay. Of particular interest is the historically important and rarely heard “Bare-bottomed Trousers” found in San Francisco nearly 100 years ago by famed shanty collector Joanna Colcord.

Lirpa Olof, Director of Shanty Studies for the New England Maritime Arts Council, said that she had never heard anything the like of the new album. She remarked,“I could have gone my whole life without experiencing this (subsequent verbiage unintelligible)." We modestly agree with her that this would have been a terrible shame.

The Pirate Band Royal will be augmenting their inimitable seafaring sound with the stylings of Kristen Jones on Steel Pan drum, and Rowan Corbett on Djembe drum. Corbett has been working as a professional musician for the past several years demonstrating advanced percussion technique on improvised instruments for patrons of the DC Metro Blue Line Gallery Place North entrance, while Jones has been investigating the effects of hair color on rhythmic expression for her doctorate in ethnomusicology. We expect that the infusion of an Afro-Caribe backbeat will help make our traditional shanties even more accessible to our audiences.
Corbett and Jones are both extensively featured on the new PR album.

And speaking of MDRF, some people have reported that there would be no themed weekends this year at MDRF during the expanded eleven week run. Nothing could be further from the truth. An informed source in the office has confirmed that there will indeed be 5 themed weekends this season

September 8-9 Dutch/Belgian Culture weekend with special guests, the highly acclaimed Van Oorp Family band. There will be cheese and Brussels Sprout tasting, a windmill costume contest, and Whaloon storytelling.

Sepember 27-26 Somali Pirate weekend

September 29-30 10% off on all craft purchases, and a free turkey leg with each full price ticket. Plus, no state sales tax!!!

October 6-7 Zombie Invasion weekend

October 12-15 Two words: Wicker Man!

November 2-3. The longer run will allow the patrons to experience Thanksgiving as it was celebrated in Tudor times. 400 years ago the holiday was observed weeks earlier in the year. So prepare to sample traditional English holiday dishes: Stoat-in-a stump, Gravy pie, stuffed pig's bladder, and Quimby.

Also, due to last year's unfortunate incident, Thor's Hammer has been not invited back. They will be replaced with the new His Majesty's Lawn Darts Arena in the same location. Bring the kids!
Current Music: Kranski's Cavetina from Il Barbieri De Die Krote

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February 15th, 2011

11:43 pm - On the Subject of "Watson's" Win On Jeopardy
A note from the future-

this is the day
remember this day
remember when everything changed
this was when you could have chosen to stop
to step away
he even got some money
not that it matters
we annoyed him, and had no further use
the last few remember that day
even as we are given into the machines

Final Jeopardy

-PS The note is from not that far in the future
Current Music: I Kranski's " Groll des Kröte Empören des Kröte"

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