DCS: david l. lander

David L. Lander teamed up with his college pal Michael McKean to form the irreverent comedy troupe The Credibility Gap. The ensemble also included LA radio personality Richard Beebe and comedian Harry Shearer. David and Harry Shearer performed an updated twist on the classic Abbott & Costello “Who’s on First?” bit substituting rock band names for ball players.

David later appeared in small roles in sitcoms and did cartoon voices, including a dead-on imitation of Jerry Lewis for the 1970 animated series Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down? David and Michael also performed as two dimwitted pals in a musical revue. They released a musical comedy album in 1979 that featured their friend Christopher Guest on guitar. Guest was credited as “Nigel Tufnel,” a name he would reuse in the rock-doc spoof This is Spinal Tap.

David was cast in small parts in several high-profile films, including an announcer in A League of Their Own and lending his voice to a villainous weasel in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He reprised the role for on-ride dialogue used in the Roger Rabbit attraction in Disneyland.

David was a life-long baseball fan and, for a time, served as a talent scout for the Anaheim Angels and the Seattle Mariners. He was also a part owner of a minor league team, nervously witnessing a no-hitter pitched by future great Luis Tiant from the dugout.

In 1984, David was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He didn’t make it public for another 15 years. In 2002, he released his autobiography chronicling his varied career and the effect the disease had on his life. He sadly lost his battle with MS in December 2020 at the age of 73. By all accounts, David was praised as “one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet.”

Oh…. and he was Squiggy.

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inktober52: books

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we wish you a happy something or other

My annual Christmas music compilation is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at ge.tt for a limited time. This year, it’s a whopping 91 minutes of pure Christmas cacophony sure to ruin your holiday before your relatives do. Why not take the risk? After all, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? Hey, there may even be a song or two that you can actually tolerate. (No guarantees.)

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DCS: james harris

Ugandan Giant

James Harris was born into hard times in 1950s Mississippi. His father was shot to death during a back alley craps game. Young James became a sharecropper to help support his family. Soon, he turned to petty burglary. Local police told him to leave town before big trouble came his way. James understood that when police told you “leave town,” you had better obey or you’ll wind up dead.

James moved to Florida where he picked fruit and drove trucks. His truck driving brought him to Michigan and a chance meeting with popular professional wrestler Bobo Brazil. James began training with Brazil’s friend “Tiny” Tim Hampton. The two continued their training sessions after a move to Arkansas to avoid the snowy Michigan weather.

James made his professional wrestling debut in 1978 as “Sugar Bear Harris.” He used several different pseudonyms before adopting the persona of a wildman from Africa named “Kamala,” complete with body painting (inspired by a Frank Frazetta illustration) and a backstory of being a bodyguard for the president of Uganda. As Kamala, James was encouraged to employ an unorthodox “brawling” style of wresting. He grew to become a popular character in the ring – the guy fans “loved to hate.” He eventually signed with the mighty WWE at the insistence of colleague Andre the Giant. Kamala stayed with the WWE for a short time, defeated in the ring by Andre the Giant in November 1984. He made sporadic reappearances with the organization over the next several years.

In 2011, James had his left leg amputated due to the effects of diabetes and hypertension. Less than six months later, his right leg was amputated, as well. He collected a small disability check and sold handmade furniture to make ends meet. In 2016, he was part of a class action suit filed against the WWE claiming that the company concealed the risks of brain injuries from wrestlers. The case was eventually dismissed with no liability placed on the WWE.

In 2017, James underwent life-saving surgery to remove fluid from his heart and lungs. He was placed on life-support and slowly recovered. However, in 2020, still in poor health, James succumbed to complications related to COVID-19. He was 70 years old.

Coincidentally, one day after James Harris’s passing, presidential candidate Joe Biden selected Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 Presidential election. A “Google Search” for “Kamala Harris” would yield mixed and somewhat surprising results.

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we wish you a happy something or other

My annual Christmas music compilation is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at ge.tt for a limited time. This year, it’s a whopping 91 minutes of pure Christmas cacophony sure to ruin your holiday before your relatives do. Why not take the risk? After all, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? Hey, there may even be a song or two that you can actually tolerate. (No guarantees.)

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happy holidays from JPiC 2020

It’s that time again… whether you like it or not.

My annual Christmas music compilation is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD at ge.tt for a limited time. This year, it’s a whopping 91 minutes of pure Christmas cacophony sure to ruin your holiday before your relatives do. Why not take the risk? After all, it’s free, so what have you got to lose? Hey, there may even be a song or two that you can actually tolerate. (No guarantees.)

You get twenty-nine eclectic Christmas selections featuring a hand-picked mix (from my hands) of songs from artists you love, artists you hate, artists you never heard of and artists you hope you’ll never hear from again. (Just a little warning… some of these songs contain words that’ll put you on Santa’s “Naughty List,” so please exercise caution when listening around those little, easily corruptible members of the Christmas-celebrating family.) These holiday tunes run the gamut from weird to really weird to excruciating — plus there’s a custom, full-color cover with track listings – all for you and all for FREE! (That’s right! FREE!)

Just click the download link below (or ask your grandchildren how to do it) and you’ll be on your way to minimal holiday fun.

(Please contact me if you have trouble with the download.)

we wish you a happy something or other

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DCS: brent mydland

In 1978, Brent Mydland joined Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir on a side project called Bobby and the Midnites. Brent offered the band backing vocals along with his keyboard playing. Just a year later, Brent was invited to join the Grateful Dead as the replacement for the departing Keith Godchaux. Brent was a welcome shot-in-the-arm for the venerable jam band, bringing new life with his gravelly vocals and innovative keyboard prowess. While Keith Godchaux insisted on playing a traditional piano onstage, Brent was open to experimentation. He played a wide variety of keyboards, including Minimoogs, synthesizers, sequencers, MIDI systems and the Hammond B-3 organ, of which the band purchased three after he joined. He worked closely with sound technician Bob Bralove in crafting an electronic sound library that was unique to the band. Brent was also an accomplished songwriter and many of his compositions were added to the band’s repertoire. Some of Brent’s songs appeared on Dead studio albums with the keyboardist taking lead vocals. In concert, he was the “go-to” vocalist for the Dead’s covers of “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Hey Jude.” He even wrote an additional verse for Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” a Grateful Dead show staple.

Brent was a member of the Grateful Dead for over a decade, the longest tenure of any of the band’s keyboard players. However, he always had a feeling of being “the new guy” among fans, as well as in the eyes of his fellow band members.

Brent died on July 26, 1990 just three days after completing the Grateful Dead’s Summer Tour. A coroner’s report revealed lethal levels of morphine and cocaine in his blood, a mixture commonly referred to as a “speedball.” Brent was just 37 years old.

The Grateful Dead began their 1990 Fall Tour in Richfield, Ohio on September 7, just two months after Brent’s death. It was their first show with Vince Welnick on keyboards.

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