Jul 212011

A Monster Bio

     Once upon a time when wishing still helped and when kings and queens still mattered, there lived a great and terrible monster. He was green and furry and ferocious and he lived under a bridge and would sometimes eat people who tried to cross.

Telford is in no way related to that monster.

Telford was born into a small family of monsters living in a small log cabin on a small street in lower Manhattan. The small part of it. His father drove the short bus and his mother took in a little washing to help make ends meet. Most people thought a monster from that part of town would never amount to much, but Telford was never one to think small.

Telford dreamed of one day leaving Manhattan and setting out for the city. The big city. It wasn’t that he wasn’t fond of his rural roots or the pastoral setting in which he grew up… he just dreamed of something more. But he knew he would have to have a way to get there, and so he saved up his allowance and bought a bicycle.

He could never have dreamed how far that bicycle would carry him.

One day while out riding his bicycle, he met a fellow cyclist with whom he became fast friends. This other cyclist was to have a major impact on the young Telford’s life, because it was none other than Bob Roll, famed bicycle racer and power player on the international racing scene. Under Bob’s capable tutelage, Telford soon found himself at the front of the pro peloton and became the first monster to win the Tour de France (Muppet Division) on a bicycle with training wheels.

Though Telford found himself at the top of the game, he decided to leave professional racing. Those were dark days for cycling; the Count von Count doping scandal* [“Von! Von vunderful injection! Tvoo! Tvoo vunderful injections! Ha-ha-ha-ha!”] was casting a shadow over bicycle racing and transforming it into an environment that had no appeal to young Telford.

Telford made the decision to leave that life behind him. He enrolled in the prestigious Sesame Street School of Art, Business, and the Number Three where he majored in Theater Arts and had a minor in the letter O.

College was a special time for Telford. He met his first true love, Cameron Diaz, while they were both theater students. Though their romance was short lived, it was filled with passion and to this day Diaz will tell you that she has never met a finer monster. **

After college, Telford returned briefly to his parents homestead. The old log cabin seemed somehow smaller. The bus his father drove seemed even shorter. But most of all, old Manhattan itself seemed somehow to have shrunk. Telford decided it was time to move on.

Packing his few belongings and kissing his mother goodbye, Telford left Manhattan forever and set out for a new life and a new adventure in the bustling metropolis of Kansas City.

Today, Telford pursues a vigorous work schedule packed with speaking engagements, storytellings, lectures, product endorsements, and the occasional acting gig. Though busy, Telford wouldn’t trade his life for anything.


* Count von Count was of course later cleared of all alleged wrongdoing when it was proven than French racing officials were deliberately tampering with testing samples in an effort to besmirch the good name of such a prominent and non-French competitor.

** The two remain friends today and will frequently get together for dinner or drinks when they find themselves working on a project in the same city.

Jul 212011

I am quoting the following bit from a really interesting e-mail written by Lisa Davis about early music that was printed in the latest Chiff & Fipple newsletter: “There is a Middle-Ages tune called “Song of the Ass” (as in donkey!), and it was associated with the mid-winter celebration of Carnival. You can imagine all the ribald revelers drinking and being merry, and some chap gets the dubious honor of being the Ass (donkey!) and starts cavorting to this tune.”

It is my understanding that this particular festival was condemned by the Church as pagan and banned. However, banning something doesn’t always mean it goes away.

The fellow mentioned above who was nominated the “ass” would cavort around wearing a pair of big, floppy donkey ears as a hat. This tradition of floppy donkey ears and cavorting continues even today, and you’ve seen it… in the traditional jester’s hat. Those floppy things on the hat evolved directly from the donkey ears worn by the ass all those years ago.

Jul 142011

A teacher was reading the story of the Three Little Pigs to her class.

She came to the part of the story where first pig was trying to gather the building materials for his home.

She read. ‘And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said: ‘Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?’

The teacher paused then asked the class: ‘And what do you think the man said?’

One little boy raised his hand and said very matter-of-factly…

‘I think the man would have said – ‘Well, I’ll be ******!! A talking pig!’

Jul 142011

Hi, Just wanted to say thanks for your great site with the tin whistle music – it’s helping my learning along no end.

Hope you don’ think I’m being rude pointing out that the tune your calling The Bonnie Lass of Fife-O (http://fullbodyburn.com/?page_id=275) should be The Bonnie Lass of Fyvie – Fyvie is a small town in the north east of Scotland, which is where the story is set

Thanks again for a great site

best wishes

Hi, Colin:I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you about Fyvie and it’s famous Bonnie Lass. I’ve been away for awhile and answering e-mail kept getting put off. You are absolutely correct, of course, about the name of Fyvie. Am I to understand that you are from Scotland, or just very good at geography? Scotland is one place that I would dearly love to visit, and preferably in the style of a prominent American author who goes there to write so he can find a little peace and quiet. Also, I believe, the Scotch is more affordable there… although I understand the bourbon is a bit more pricey.

I think the reason it is called Fife-O in this part of the world (at least, among the musicians with whom I typically associate) is because the phonetic meaning is more important half a world away than the geographic meaning. It’s like calling the Eerie Canal the Ear-aye-ee Canal so you can rhyme it with say-lie-ors, I suppose.What to call songs with titles that vary geographically is always a dilemma for me. In this case, I deferred to the CD on which I first heard the song using the reasoning that if it had been recorded under that title, it could be written down under that title, also. Nevertheless, I will make a note (for geographical exactness) in the song description. And, I will sincerely hope that the good people of Fyvie do not hold it against me. But, just in case, if I am every fortunate enough to go there I shall go under an assumed name.

Richard Gross,
            is not going to Scotland as Igor Stamburninov;
we just happen to look a lot alike.

Jul 142011

When I got out of bed this today right at the crack of noon – an unholy early hour for getting out of bed, I’m sure you’ll agree – and stumbled into the kitchen, hoping to score a slice of leftover pizza for breakfast, you can no doubt imagine my delight when I discovered the remains of a bag of peanut butter cookies. These were the Oreo style of sandwich cookies with a crunchy cookie on each side of a sweet peanut butter filling. Mmm.

Of course, my first instinct was to shout “COOKIES!!!!!” and make “om-nom-nom-nom” noises while I devoured them with reckless abandon. However, I fought back my baser urges and decided to approach them with somewhat more refinement.

I decided first of all that they would be eminently more enjoyable if they were double-wides instead of single-wides. I love the whole “Double Stuff” meme, but it has yet to catch on with Garden Faire generic cookies. So, I was forced to re-engineer.

I carefully removed the top from one cookie, leaving the stuffing on the second half. I ate the first cookie top – waste not want not – and then performed the same operation on a second cookie.

Once the second cookie was in two parts, I ate the bottom half – the half with the cookie and the stuffing – and then carefully attached the top half to the bottom half of the first cookie. Then I stepped back to admire my handiwork….

And discovered that I had just recreated a single-stuff cookie.


I ate the wrong half of the second cookie and only recreated a regular cookie, but now with mismatched halves. It isn’t easy conducting a successful cookie surgery when you’re forced to get out of bed that early in the afternoon.


Jul 132011

This is the popular Irish tune and the American lyrics. You can also find the Irish (or, at least, Clancy) lyrics to this tune with a little searching. They’re the ones that go “I’ll go to some hollow in this country; ten gallons of wash I can go on a spree.”

Download Here: Moonshiner (in Bm) which is a lot like D (PDF)