Thursday, December 18, 2003

I’m in the mood for Yahtzee

It’s been a long time. The founding of the movement has begun. It is not known why the fish are jumping into the bucket, but they continue to jump and leap and frolic like school tomatoes. My bucket is starting to overflow with fish. All types of fish. Red fish. Blue fish. There are even yellow fish, though they are all dead. By the time the fish had flown, they were already tomatoes. But for whatever reason, the yellow fish did indeed jump. Maybe I’ll contact my attorney.

If that wasn’t enough, the migraines have returned. Massive steel sledgehammers are pounding on the skull that is filled with egg yolks and San Marino spam. And not the good San Marino spam from Borgo Maggiore but the wax-like entrails from Chiesanuova. Marinus would not be pleased. And neither am I. Those damn fish keep a hopping. And my head keeps a throbbing. But where… and for what?

That question can be easily answered by consulting with my mystical orb. But not now. It’s time for dancing. The dancing of the wasps on the orchid-flavored cars. Wasps of fury. Wasps of dissent. They exist everywhere and within everyone. Only the wasps know. Afraid to embark upon the outside, I care not contemplate why my outlandishly, devilishly shallow lake is filled with so many colorful fish. Yahtzee time!

I am the 10-time World Champion of the Professional Yahtzee Coalition, or PYC as we call it. I know just how to shake the dice. I know which cubits to hold. I know which of the 13 rounds is the quadruple-straight round, and I know when to drop my three 1’s for the super wad. Yahtzee. My 1995 championship consisted of 6 yahtzees, which is a modern day record. I outscored my opponent, Ernest E. Ernesto by 537 points. The humiliation caused poor Ernest to retire that very day to his sheep farm in Manitoba.

Ernest unretired, not unlike the great Gloria Estefan, three years later and upset me in the 1999 South Africa Classic in one of the longest Yahtzee duels in modern history. We ended up tying eighteen consecutive times before I finally stumbled and settled on a first roll high quadruple-straight with a spare 5 when I should have bit the straight and gone balls out for the 5’s. The error caused me to lose my upper level rack, and ultimately the match. Ernest, as is his way, celebrated his return to the Yahtzee scene by embarking upon what can only be described as a dance voyage. The dance voyage lasted over 25 minutes, and culminated with Ernest naked except for a pair of fuzzy dice covering his genitalia, singing the Styx masterpiece "Lorelei" in Latin. Fortunately for Ernest E. Ernesto, and much to the consternation of Paul Tagliabue, celebration dances are not only welcomed in the PYC, but encouraged. Ernest received a $14,200 bonus for his dance voyage.

I was able to avenge that unfortunate defeat at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. I knew if Yahtzee was to remain an Olympic sport, I needed to make my assured victory as stunning as possible. I’m very arrogant when it comes to my Yahtzee capabilities. Ernest, as is his way, felt the same way. Ernest, however, was the media darling of the games. As the only representative of his native Andorra, Ernest was featured in many television features as the hero of the small European Principality. They even showed a parade held in his honor through the streets of Andorra La Vella. The townspeople created giant puppets shaped like Ernest for the occasion.

Due to his shocking comeback victory in the South Africa Classic, the media treated him as the favorite even though I had won all the other major events on the tour that year. Regardless, as an American, I was considered persona non grata during the games. Every time I picked up the dice flask, I was booed incessantly by the crowd. Australia, and as I later learned, the whole world was rallying around “poor Ernest” against the “evil American bohemiath Springtime Jones.” The BBC even did a piece on their Olympic’s coverage stating that the reason Ernest dropped off the Yahtzee radar for three years was because I had kidnapped and brainwashed him.

Unfazed, I struck back the only way I knew how, by kicking some ass, Yahtzee-style. I went through the entire opening round without losing one match. I was so cocky at one point that I allowed a super wad 6 to be ruled a 6-pack upper level rack. I beat the Canadian representative so badly in round three that he was catatonic for five hours and had to be rushed to a local hospital where he remained for four months.

After six days of heated preliminary matches, the medal rounds participants were finally decided. I was to battle Yolo Ulija of Rwanda in one semifinal match while Ernest went up against Fritz Schröeder of Germany in the other. I easily dispatched Yolo, but controversy filled the other match. Three times a French judge ruled that Fritz Schröeder had completed an illegal roll, which nullified two super wads and a full house. Ernest won the last match by one point due to the rulings. Fritz, and the entire German Yahtzee contingent walked out in protest and Yolo Ulija of Rwanda was awarded the Bronze medal by default.

The gold medal match was to occur the next day, but was delayed by an emergency meeting of the World Yahtzee Council to determine if the French judge’s actions were improper. The 15-hour, closed-door meeting yielded little results, and the gold medal match went on the next day. With the French judge conspicuously absent from the match, I had no trouble dispatching Ernest in a rather undignified manner. My margin of victory was so large that even the biased announcers had to concede my greatness. I don’t know if he finally felt the weight of Andorra on his shoulders or if he was just intimidated by my American flag tuxedo vest, my American flag jacket, my American flag pants, my American flag hat, my American flag tote bag, and my American flag face paint, but something got to him that day. He was powerless in the face of my all-mighty Yahtzee skills.

My celebration dance was short and sweet. I simply sang my favorite song, "Drinking My Blood Again" by The Yellow Jupiter Trilogy, then quietly exited stage left. The crowd gave a polite applause and also left.

Though only a demonstration game, Yahtzee was very popular among the natives and will no doubt be included in the 2004 Athens games, despite the anti-climactic final match. I can’t wait to once again wear the gold medal for my native United States, but first I must practice. And practice I will this weekend. “The Jewish/Muslim/Baptist Joint Religious Festival and Yahtzee Tournament” is being held in Dolomite, Alabama, and I don’t intend on losing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

December 16, 1773

230 years ago today, Nigel Jones gathered with 8,000 fellow Bostonians to hear Sam Adams reveal that Royal Governor Hutchinson had repeated his command not to allow the ships out of the harbor until all tea taxes were paid. Later that night, Nigel and his fellow Bostonians dressed in Mohawk Indian garb and raided the ships. All told they dumped 342 containers of tea into Boston Harbor.

The next morning, Nigel woke up early to bathe his horse. He strolled down to the harbor and saw many containers of tea still floating upon the water. Nigel sprinted to his tiny boat and rowed into the water. Using his giant oak oar, Nigel began smashing at the containers. His belief, and the belief shared by many of the patriots, was that if this little stunt was to work, all of the tea must be made unsalvageable.

Soon, other Bostonians noticed Nigel and realized what he was doing. They also hopped on whatever boats they could find, and helped him destroy the remaining tea. Later that morning after all the tea was destroyed, Sam Adams himself met with Nigel and gave him his deepest regards for a job well done. Nigel was greatly honored by Sam Adams taking notice of him and took great pride the rest of his life in boasting of his brush with glory.

I share this story because Nigel Jones was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, and I’d like for him to be remembered for his good deeds instead of his less honorable actions. On December 14, 1799, Nigel Jones broke into Mount Vernon to deliver an angrily worded letter accusing George Washington of looking at his horse Sven in a queer manner one time in 1793. Washington saw Jones skulking about on his balcony and collapsed. The violent fall ended the life of the former President and General. For many years, Nigel Jones was referred to as the man who killed George Washington. The incident lead to the Nigel Jones Act of 1801, which treated trespassing on a former-President’s property to complain about an imaginary incident as a Federal crime. The punishment for violation of the Nigel Jones Act of 1801 was the “drawing and quartering of the guilty party.” Oddly enough, the first and only person ever to violate the Nigel Jones Act of 1801 was Nigel Jones himself. In 1830, Nigel Jones broke into the estate of James Monroe to complain about the over-abundance of clouds in Buffalo, New York. Two months after the incident, Nigel Jones was drawn and quartered per the Nigel Jones Act of 1801.

Tonight, I will be dumping 342 containers of tea into Oakland Harbor to honor the memory of Nigel Jones.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Number #1

The cats sing!
Poo joo poo joo mew
A fow la fow reboo
Tara kara kasyy
We love you!

***Excerpt from "Theme from 'Mystical Cat Wonderland'"

On this very day back in 1982, I charted my first #1 song in Luxembourg. The song, “Theme from ‘Mystical Cat Wonderland’” was the result of a 71-hour jam session with my original band (Coop on harpsichord, Fang on tambourine, Little Shirley on bassoon and Homeless Pete on the banjo). The original version of the song clocked in at just under 38 minutes. It remains one of the very few songs I’ve allowed to be released in which I personally don’t play every single instrument. It just would have been impossible to duplicate the lightning in a bottle we caught during that fateful autumn weekend in Homeless Pete’s hollowed out Victorian in the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. Those three days represent the seventh, eighth and ninth most enjoyable days of my life. The sixth best day of my life was the day I met Jimmy Carter at an Arby’s in Wilmington, North Carolina. Normally, meeting an American President would warrant a higher ranking, but all President Carter wanted to talk about was peanuts and Jesus.

Anyway, when I was putting together the epic, octuple-sided “Mystical Cat Wonderland” album, I knew I had a hit that screamed out “Play me on the radio, now!” And so I took to the difficult task of editing down “The Theme” so it could be played on radio. Unfortunately, what was good for Springtime Jones was not good for the band. Fang vehemently disapproved of taking even one millisecond off the song. “The infidels don’t deserve to listen to anything less than the full song. If their attention span is too short for it, then they should choke on their own vomit,” he said. I told him that only the radio-edit would be shortened, but Fang, stubborn as usual, refused to give in.

“If the song is changed in any way, I’m out. I will not allow some coked-up, French looking radio douche in Minot, North Dakota have veto power over our art.” With that, Fang picked up his trademark two tambourines and stormed out. I went back to my many tape recorders and continued my editing. I finished the radio-edit a month later and sent it out. I didn’t have the heart to tell Fang what I had done. I didn’t have to. While hunting miscellaneous rodents, coincidentally, in Minot, North Dakota, Fang turned on the radio and heard “The Theme”. Fang proceeded to have a full-blown conniption fit and ended up going on a rampage through the small, plains town.

Fang’s first target was WHYT, the radio station that had played the song. He entered the building and began beating people with his trademark two tambourines, one in each hand. He was an unstoppable windmill of rage, slamming everyone in sight with his fists of musical fury. One of the secretaries who hid in a closet said that after Fang had rendered everyone in the building unconscious, he began to overturn file cabinets. He would then take the papers from the cabinets and eat them. After eating the papers, he would rip at the wall, tearing out whole pieces until the foundation beams were visible.

After eating and beating his way through the station, Fang’s voyage of rage continued into the town itself. Fang had stolen a listing of advertisers from the radio station and began vandalizing them one by one. All told, Fang hit seventeen different business establishments before disappearing into the fields surrounding Minot. The police finally found Fang three weeks later in the outfield bleachers of Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis. He had apparently created a small shelter in the abandoned stadium and was in the process of writing a rather lengthy manifesto. Said manifesto is currently in the possession of the FBI, who still to this day are trying to make sense of it.

This weekend, I will be traveling back to San Luis Obispo to play a live show at Homeless Pete’s hollowed out Victorian to commemorate the 21st anniversary of my first #1. Fang won’t be there. After his arrest in Minnesota, Fang was tried, and received a seven-year sentence for his part in the destruction of Minot, North Dakota. During his stay, Fang was able to record his one and only solo album “Symbolism is Stupid”. The tambourine-only album was a big hit in Yemen, but never quite caught on anywhere else. After he served his sentence out, Fang was immediately abducted by Federal Marshalls and placed in a maximum-security, Federal psychiatric ward under 100% surveillance. Fang’s manifesto apparently scared a lot of powerful people in Washington.

Juan will be playing in Fang’s place, which isn’t bad. I’ve just never performed “Theme from ‘Mystical Cat Wonderland’” without Fang before, so I’m a little nervous. I’m sure Fang won’t mind. I’ll be playing the whole thing, every millisecond. I’ve even gotten Radio du Luxembourg to play the unedited album version in Fang’s honor.

I often look back and wonder if I should have listened to Fang. If I had only listened to him, he wouldn’t be holed up 300 meters below the surface of the earth in an undisclosed location. I often wonder how the whirlwind Madagascar Tour of 1996 would be different, or if he could have come up with a proper ending to my as-yet-unpublished mystery cook book. Of course if I hadn’t let Fang go, Juan wouldn’t be playing with me. Strange is the way of life. Maybe, someday, when the FBI realizes that Fang’s manifesto is just his random observations on squirrels, he’ll be released and I’ll be able to put together the ultimate band, with two tambourine players, creating music that would make Gaia herself smile. One can dream, I guess.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The day they shot Balthazar Alzax’r

The day I’ll never forget. April 19, 1999. I was ice skating with my personal assistant Piquo up on a frozen lake just outside Nome, Alaska. We had been skating and arguing, coincidentally enough, over the meaning of one of Balthazar’s poems, “Free the Otters Not War?” I was always under the impression that it referred to Balthazar’s lifelong addiction to cleaning the windows of government buildings. Piquo thought it portrayed the way mankind always started wars instead of saving otters, which in my estimation is a far too literal reading of the piece.

Anyway, we walked back to the hut to have some warm cocoa. Juan, my tambourine player, greeted us in complete silence. He pointed to the television. Piquo and I were silent. All I can remember is CNN showing that famous shot over and over again where the first bullet completely severs his right arm, and the second bullet opens a gaping, softball-sized hole in what was formerly his face. It was hard to see such a great man go out that way. Even though he said he wanted to go out in a hail of bullets, nobody ever took him seriously.

I’ve never gone back and read any of his poems or viewed any of his films. It’s much too painful. I like to think of him the way he was in such classics as “The Illiterate Cowboy From South Africa Returns” and “Beware of Alternate Earth”.

In fact, I like to think of him as the character Rop he portrayed in that old movie. On quiet nights I can still hear Sir Barry Peters’ voice saying, "I don't think Rop lives here anymore. Maybe he's on the alternate Earth."

Maybe Balthazar Alzax’r is, too.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

The Jam Incident

The worst thing about people stealing your jam is that you'll never get to feed it to your cats and see the look in their eyes when they gobble down the delicious nectar of the Smucker’s Gods. That is why 'jams and jellies' theft must be punishable by a surgical procedure that would replace one's arms with their legs, and vice versa. From first person experience, the sixth saddest day of my life (June 12, 2000), was the day thieves broke into my sky blue Vanagon and stole three gallons of my favorite boysenberry & banana jam.

Despite popular opinion, boysenberry & banana jam is rather difficult to find. There are only two places on the North American continent where it is made, and to make matters worse, both men who make the earth-shattering jam are insane for various reasons.

One of the guys who makes it, Baron von Jellymaker, lives in a tiny paper mache shack in South Pass, Louisiana near the point that the mighty Mississippi River empties itself into the even mightier Gulf of Mexico. When he was just a little boy, Baron von Jellymaker witnessed both of his parents drown in a vat of peach jelly in his homeland of Fresno, California. After mourning for a reasonable period of time, the Baron vowed to rid the world of accidental jelly drownings. He began, in mid-1975, to concoct a formula for a jam that would suit such purposes. After seven years of back breaking labor, Baron von Jellymaker unveiled his creation at the 1982 Knoxville World’s Fair.

Unfortunately, the critics of the day were ill prepared for such a magnanimous creation and derided the Baron’s jam as a disgusting joke that, as one New York Times critic put it, “has the flavor of boiled blood and the consistency of mucus.” Needless to say, Baron von Jellymaker was devastated and vowed never to make his jam again. He hitchhiked south into Louisiana and built the shack he lives in today. I was able to visit him once back in 1988, to try to get a sample of the jam. He rejected my request by throwing a paper mache spear in my direction and calling me a “New York Pinko.” He threatened to have me castrated if I ever visited him again.

The other person that creates the jam is Sid Harrison. In 1980, Sid developed a nasty addiction to horse tranquilizers. While under the influence of said horse tranquilizers, Sid decided to mix the random fruit he had laying around the house. Sid blacked out for a few days and woke up to find that he had filled the gas tanks of his many cars with the mysterious mixture. When he finally figured out how to get the mixture out, he discovered that he had created boysenberry & banana jam. To his delight, the jam was one of the greatest tasting things he’d ever ingested.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty years, Sid Harrison is the inventor of the left-handed pencil. By mid-1987, his invention had sold over a billion units. Sid’s estimated worth on New Year’s Day, 1988 was around $75,000,000. This is important because Sid, aside from having a costly addiction to horse tranquilizers, also purchased a lot of cars, 646 to be exact.

Unfortunately for Sid, 1988 turned out to be an apocalyptic year. By New Years Day, 1989, Sid Harrison had been the subject of two class-action lawsuits related to his left-handed pencil. The first, by over 240,000 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers was quickly settled out of court for a very high, but also very undisclosed amount. The second lawsuit was filed on behalf of the NAARHP (National Association for the Advancement of Right-Handed People) charging discrimination. The second lawsuit sucked the remainder of Sid’s estate and left him with only his 646 jelly-filled cars and his heavily fortified compound in the Badlands of South Dakota.

Sid has spent the past 14 years in a drug-induced jelly stupor occasionally selling excess jam for money to buy protein tablets. He currently makes a variety of jams in the gas tanks of his cars, but has never duplicated his boysenberry-banana masterpiece. Because Sid’s diet consists solely of jelly, jam and protein tablets, his weight has ballooned to nearly 800 pounds. He has since hired a midget assistant to push him around in a large red wagon. In his spare time, Sid created a new religion revolving around jams, jellies, and other fruit preservatives. As part of his religion, Sid has stated:

“For all that wish, all may sample the sacred jam? Once! But beware. Once you have tasted the sweet nectar – Sid forbids. Never shall you taste it again.”
***excerpt from “The Holy Bible of Jam” Book of Huckleberry 7:10-14

The batch of jam that was stolen from my sky blue Vanagon that fateful June day was a batch I had purchased from Sid. Despite reading “The Holy Bible of Jam” cover to cover, I traveled back to South Dakota on November 18, 2000, and requested more jam. I genuflected as the Book of Strawberry instructs, and made my request to the Almighty Sid. Sid patiently heard me out. When I was finished speaking Sid said nothing. He pulled out of his breast pocket a shiny, silver whistle and called for his midget assistant, Tujo.

He pulled Tujo close and in a very quiet tone, he gave the following instructions to his longtime midget assistant:

"Remove this one from the premises. I will not stand for blasphemy.”

November 18, 2000 had just become the fifth saddest day of my life. Tujo walked up to me, grabbed my hand and escorted me out of the compound. I was so distraught that I abandoned my sky blue Vanagon and decided instead to walk home to San Francisco.

I guess at one point I’ll have to face my fear and visit the Baron again. He really is my only hope. In January, I will be playing a gig at the Bayou Shrimp Bar and Gun Club in Port Sulphur, Louisiana, which is just up the trail from the Baron’s shack, so maybe I’ll drop by again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Star Wars: Episode III

I met this guy yesterday in San Francisco near Mission Dolores Park. We started talking about the mayoral election when he mentioned he was George Lucas' personal assistant for the upcoming Star Wars film. I begged and cajoled him for details and he finally capitulated when I promised to play at his New Year's Eve Party next Monday. I promised not to tell anyone about what would happen, so don't tell anyone what you're about to read.

It will be revealed that Chewbacca is really the mother of Luke Skywalker. It will also be shown that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda lied when they told Luke that he and Leia were twins. Princess Leia is really a droid, created by Darth Vader to infiltrate the rebellion in a similar manner to Gargamel creating Smurfette to infilitrate Smurf Village.

An important character will return from the original trilogy, Dengar. He will be the Emperor's bodyguard and will personally slaughter all of the Jedi children during the purge. The last third of the movie will showcase a duel between Dengar and another returning character, Lando Calrissian. The duel will leave Dengar badly injured and will finally explain why he had all those bandages in The Empire Strikes Back.

C3PO and Jar Jar Binks will team up throughout the movie as Intergalactic Private Detectives, investigating a group of rogue Ewoks that steal a sacred Jawa text that may explain the mysterious origins of Yoda. Hilarious high jinks ensue until both are eventually slaughtered by Greedo. The Ewoks get away with the text, and ironically, it is destroyed in The Return of the Jedi by C3PO2, a clone of C3PO. Yes, the C3PO in the original trilogy is a clone.

Another lie that will be revealed: Anakin Skywalker dies in Episode III. In the movies opening scene, Anakin, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu and Boba Fett are loading crates onto a Jedi Dreadnaught bound for Hoth. All of a sudden a meteor screams through the air and crushes Anakin before he is able to conjure up his Force abilities to protect himself. Obi-Wan and Boba stop loading. Mace looks at them and says, "Strange is the way of the Force." Obi-Wan winks at Boba, and Anakin's death is never mentioned again. It turns out that Darth Vader actually is Lando's twin brother Grando Calrissian. Grando will be played by Noah Wyle.

Other revelations:

That's all the details my new friend would tell me. He informed me that George would literally disembowel anyone who divulged details of his latest opus then turned and sprinted at full speed up the hill towards Church Street. I guess this was to insure that no one heard his secret. The only problem is that he never told me where he lived, so now I have no clue where to go play for his party. Oh well. If it's truly important word will get back to me. Either way, I now know what will happen in Episode III.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Norton I, Emporer of the United States and Protector of Mexico

"At the peremtory request of a large majority of the citizens of these United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the past nine years and ten months of San Francisco, California, declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U.S., and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in the Musical Hall of this city on the 1st day of February next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity. "

September 17, 1859

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Juan the Tambourine Player

Every good performer needs a steady tambourine player. I believe it is one of the truisms of modern music. In order to protect the integrity of my gift to humanity, I play every instrument on my records. Considering the antiquated state of my recording equipment, this can be a little bit difficult, but not impossible. It just takes a lot of time and overdubs.

The problem with this is that when I perform my music live, there is no way I can play all the instruments. I tried once but was crushed by the cumulative mass of the many woodwinds, brass and percussive instruments I play. I blacked out and eventually awoke in a free clinic in Mobile, Alabama with three cracked ribs and a bizarre scar on my cheek. I believe I finally surrendered to the great void during a rather complex sousaphone/oboe duet in the middle of “Cat Wonderland, Part VIII.”

In order to perform my music live, I require a few select musicians to fill in the blanks. The most crucial piece to my ensemble, and the piece that never changes (after all, double-bass bassoon players are a dime a dozen) is the tambourine player, Juan.

A little about Juan. He stopped speaking in 1982 to protest what he called the “perfidious British invasion of the Falkland Islands.” Juan, a Filipino-American born in Costa Mesa, California, had no connection to either side of the mundane conflict, just got swept up in the fervor of the times. Juan eventually became a human shield and set out aboard a schooner for Stanley. Juan, ever resourceful, tied himself to a Photography Store with his shoelaces and began shouting out the slogans of the time. “Down with Maggie” and “The Whole World is Watching” were among his favorites.

The British, humorless as usual, arrested him almost immediately and held him at their Antarctic Research Station for the duration of the war, two weeks. Upon his release, Juan petitioned the UN to bring war crimes charges against Britain. After the entire assembly of nations laughed at him and refused his request, Juan called them all “a bunch of zionist pig-fuckers” and vowed to never speak again. The delegate from San Marino, who was involved in a scandal in 1979 in which he was coincidentally accused of being a “zionist pig-fucker” personally threw Juan out on the Manhattan streets. Some say this might be why San Marino is held in such high regard to this day, but I think it’s the high quality of their canned meat products.

Anyway, Juan roamed the Manhattan city streets, literally and figuratively, for years until one fateful day in 1985 when he wandered into “The Magic Yellow Pyramid”. “The Magic Yellow Pyramid” was the place I used to play every time I was in New York until I was banned in 1988 due to my controversial song “I Ate Princess Diana’s Nose”. Some people couldn’t understand satire if it bit them on the ass.

I was in the middle of a rather intense sousaphone solo when Juan silently walked up on to the stage, still wearing his “Falkland Islands War Human Shield” shirt. Juan picked up my indigo tambourine and just started jamming along. It was as if Gaia herself had ordained this moment as special in her infinite wisdom. All my fans know never to touch, or even glance at the indigo tambourine for more than three seconds. The sight of some random individual picking up the sacred object silenced the crowd. I, however, sensed the greatness of Juan and kept playing. Eventually the crowd realized Juan’s greatness and started cheering again. I think we did five encores that night.

After the show, we hung out with band and some of the people who follow my show from town to town. Juan pantomimed his exciting story for us. I immediately asked him to join me in my travelling band. He agreed, and to this day I use Juan on all my tours**.

**Due to various laws, codes, treaties and doctrines, Juan is forbidden entry to the following places: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, San Marino, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Seychelles, Argentina, Easter Island, and the City of Barstow, California.

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