August 15th, 2006


New Species Introduced?

From the What the Heck? department:

penelopecat told me that she looked outside to see what sort of critter was making a racket in her yard, and that it was a black squirrel. I said there's no such thing. She said yes, there are two in her yard, and sent a link about Black Squirrels.

So, I read the links and did more research besides. OK, so Black Squirrels exist, but only in eastern Canada, the Midwest of the U.S. and "rarely seen as far west as Nebraska". I said it again: There's no such thing as black squirrels in San Jose, California.

She borrowed my camera, and took the photo you see to the right.

Now, I can't imagine squirrels naturally migrating over the Rockies, so... how the heck did a couple of Black Squirrels get to her yard in San Jose? and does the Fish & Wildlife Commission (or whoever) know about this? Is that who I should call to ask about it?

2006 Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival!

I took more videos than stills with my new digital camera, and have put up these which I hope you will look at and see why I enjoy this music so much!

Excerpts and stills of assorted performers

Patrick Aranda's comedy song I Wanna Be a Rap Star

Frederick Hodges' updated version of the 1925 hit Masculine Women! Feminine Men!

Janet Klein at her best, with Patrick Aranda on the "sexually frustrated" trombone

This festival marked the first time that someone knew my music before knowing me. After helping Andrew Barrett direct Frederick Hodges to the famous "Skunk Hollow" -- a Victorian home where many of us sleep, and where the pianos are played into the wee hours -- Frederick finally asked my name. His response to hearing it was, "Are you the same Ron O'Dell who wrote the Mad Scientist Rag?" Turns out that one of his music students is Rosemary Hallum, the pianist who played that rag at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival & Institute in Italy last year. I didn't get a chance to show him any of my other music or give him my web site URL to hear them, though. Perhaps at the West Coast Ragtime Festival this November...

The entire town unfortunately was suffering from an infestation of flies this year. After Andrew accidentally knocked the sheet music off the piano while trying to shoo flies away as he played, I thought that there should be a Flyswatter Rag if there isn't already. It would feature stoptime breaks where the pianist would swat at the air, and occasionally slap the keys or his own face. Whether I actually write such a thing, we shall see... I need to check the Ragtime Compendium -- an Excel spreadsheet online that lists every ragtime composition known to Man (and even to Tom Brier) -- to see if the title has been used yet.