Although I’ve never heard of this show, evidently from the UK, I’d like to see more of it. Very clever and a ton of fun!
Thanks to my friend John Dunne in Dublin for the video.
Although I’ve never heard of this show, evidently from the UK, I’d like to see more of it. Very clever and a ton of fun!
Thanks to my friend John Dunne in Dublin for the video.
I love this. Celebrating and singing with seemingly half of Dublin in the wee hours of Monday, after winning on Sunday evening. This is what I love about the Irish. Everybody’s invited, everybody’s included. Everybody even gets to pass the cup around!
This is the first time the Open has been played on the island of Ireland since 1951. For an Irishman to win it is just enormous.
The song they’re singing is called “Low Lies The Field Of Athenry.” It’s about a prisoner about to be deported to Australia under the hated English rule.
Thanks to my friend John Dunne in Dublin for this video.
One of the tools I teach in my LaughterJam Humor Workshop is an easy way to have more fun with people all day long: Try not to give a serious answer to any question that doesn’t require it.
Since few of us are quick enough to come up with funny quips in the heat or heart of the moment, it’s a good idea – and a lot of fun – to practice and prepare. Which really just means: playtime!
So how do we do that?
Well, there are certain questions we get asked all the time, like:
So if we can have just a few funny answers in our back pocket, ready to unleash, we can usually give ourselves and others a moment of fun, and frequently laughter.
Long-time readers might remember a contest we had years ago for answers to the question “How are you?” or “How ya doing?” We got a bunch of hilarious responses, and I’ve even used a few of ‘em in the above mentioned workshop.
So now I’d like to see what you come up with for “What do you do?” This is the kind of question we get asked at parties, PTA meetings, group therapy sessions, on airplanes, and in county holding cells. In other words, fairly often. And there’s very rarely a need to answer it seriously.
To have fun answering this, there are a couple of ways to go. One is to make up completely ridiculous replies from scratch, and the other is to do a comedic rewrite of what you actually do, or used to do, or how you spend your time now if you’re retired.
Examples of the former: What do you do?
Examples of the latter, in this case things I, Greg, do: What do you do?
So Here’s A Contest – With Prizes!
Big fun for everyone. Here are the rules:
Winners 4 through 10: a choice of one of my 6 CDs or my book, Atilla The Gate Agent.
Winners 1 through 3: 4 of my CDs, plus my book, plus an Analog Brain In A Digital World t-shirt (sizes L, XL, and XXL)
* If more than one person enters with the same or very similar answers, the first one to submit it is considered the entrant.
Okay! Dive In. Get Silly. Give It A Shot.
This is a chance to explore the humorous emanations of your own imagination, and see what kind of silliness is lurking in there. You never know what you’ll come up with until you give yourself permission to be playful.
I’ll announce the winners in the next newsletter (you can sign up here) and in a future blog post right here. The contest is for newsletter subscribers only, so you must be a subscriber to win.
NOTE: I might possibly use your answer(s) in future workshops and writings (giving you full credit if you desire), and your entry is your permission for me to do so.
NOTE: If you’ve never commented on this blog before, your entry will have to be approved by me before it shows up, but it will be in the queue and will be approved. Thanks for your patience!
© 2019 Greg Tamblyn
Thanks for checking out my Jewels of Ireland Private Luxury Tour, hosted by me, Greg Tamblyn, N.C.W., along with Ireland specialists Hammond Tours.
If Ireland isn’t already your favorite country in Europe, it very well could be after this tour.
Ireland has everything: neolithic stone circles and dolmens, Celtic history and culture, spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, terrific food, beautiful small towns and villages, stunning abbeys and castles, fascinating ruins, and absolutely fantastic music. (Heck, even amazing wool sweaters.) And much more, all of which we’ll explore and enjoy.
But none of these is the main attraction.
The main attraction is the Irish people. You know that saying about the Irish gift of gab? It’s real. The Irish are a nation of poets, songwriters and storytellers. Seemingly all of them can entertain you for hours with a stream of anecdotes and clever expressions. Maya Angelou famously said “People will forget what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.” The Irish have always made me feel more than welcome.
If you’ve never traveled with me, we’re positive, open-minded explorers who enjoy new experiences and new horizons. We enjoy getting to know each other, and the new people and places we visit. We make time for connecting with each other. Whenever possible, we sing, and tell jokes and stories. I’ll have my guitar along, and share as many songs and stories as you can stand.
Our one basic rule is: No Whining.
Everything is material for good stories!
THE QUICK FACTS
When: October 10-22, 2019 (13 days, including travel). We depart the US on October 10, then arrive and begin our tour on the morning of October 11. October weather is usually mild, daytime in the 60s, nights in the high 40s. Think: Layers!
Where: Ireland, North and South
Who: Hammond Tours (specializing in Ireland)
What: The Jewels of Ireland, Luxury Private Coach, 4-Star Hotels including one night in Dublin Clonarf Castle
How Much: $3,099 plus airfare *
How Many: We need 20 travelers to get this (amazing!) price.
IMPORTANT: Based on the amount of interest already received, we may reach this number quickly. Please make your deposit as soon as you can fully commit!
* I did not find a better price for a tour like this anywhere online. I interviewed twelve (12!) tour companies over three months until I negotiated this great deal with Hammond Tours.
Hammond Tours specializes in luxury tours and customized travel to Ireland, Britain and Scotland. With 35+ years of personal experience in Ireland travel, they’ve earned hundreds of accolades from even the most discerning travelers. Reviews: https://eendorsements.com/company/hammond-tours
* Our tour is 100% customized. This is not a package tour. I worked with Farah at Hammond Tours on details and specifics for places I know you’ll love, enjoy, remember, and want to come back to. I’m very proud of this itinerary. I think it’s uniquely special, memorable, and fun.
View your complete day-by-day itinerary with photos below.
* Single room supplement is $989. NOTE: Our hotels are really nice. All double rooms have a king (for couples) or two doubles (for roommates). Bring a friend! You’ll probably have more fun anyway!
If you like, we can to introduce you to a potential roommate. Here’s how it works: when you call to make your deposit, let Hammond know you would like a roommate. Hammond will send you the name and email address of a potential roommate (and send her yours) for you to contact and see if you’d like to room together.
You can see links to photos of each hotel, its guest rooms and common rooms, below the itinerary.
* Airfare options are many and flexible. The tour company has arranged a group airfare rate (minimum 10 people): $875 from Newark, plus airfare from your departure city. Or you can arrange your own. Or use miles. (Airport to Hotel transfers are included with group airfare.)
June 1 Update: Currently Aer Lingus is having a nice fare sale. Check it out.
* I won’t be taking advantage of the group airfare because I’m going over early to prepare. But I encourage you to check it out with Farah.
* Physicality: This is not a strenuous tour, but there will be some walking involved. If you don’t feel up to a specific bit of walking, there is almost always an alternative place for you to have an easier stroll, or just sit and people watch, or pop into a pub.
3 WAYS TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE:
The deposit is $250. PLEASE only make your deposit if you are committed to joining us. If for some reason we don’t reach 20 passengers by the end of May, your deposit will be refunded in full, no penalty. Final payment is due by July 11.
TRAVEL and CANCELLATION PROTECTION
Travel protection is highly recommended. Depending on what kind you get, it can cover you for almost any reason you need to cancel, plus unforeseen emergencies, medical, baggage, etc.
We recommend you contact one of the companies below to assess what is best policy for your individual needs, as there are so many choices. Some require buying it within a certain period of tendering a reservation to cover preexisting conditions. Because there are so many choices and caveats we prefer to send you directly to the source.
Make sure you compare what is actually covered in different policies!
Hammond Tours (866-486-8772) can probably answer specific questions better than I can, but feel free to call me any time at 816-756-0069. If you get the voice mail, just leave your name, number, and I’ll get back to you asap. Or you can always email.
THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST!
I’ll do everything I can to make sure you have the most wonderful, memorable adventure imaginable. If you’ve ever dreamed about going to Ireland, I hope you’ll join me on this colorful, magical Irish tour.
Feel free to leave your comments in the Comment Box at bottom. All questions will be answered. If you’ve never commented on this blog before, your comment will have to be approved (by me) before it is posted. But it will be, as soon as I can.
We’ve included all breakfasts and two dinners: a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner. It’s way more fun – and much cheaper – to explore the local pubs and restaurants than to arrange dinner for a large group in the hotels. Plus, it keeps the tour price down.
Also, in every town or city there will be ample opportunity to see the best local musicians on any given night.*
* Yes, this happens in pubs.
** There is no smoking allowed in Irish pubs.
Day 1, October 11, Friday: Dublin
Morning arrival at Dublin Airport where after clearing customs we’ll meet our wonderful Irish Driver Guide and be transferred to Dublin. It is here we visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then onto the Epic Emigration Museum. Time for some more sightseeing in Dublin. We then make our way to the Guinness Brewery for a tour. It is then onto our hotel for check in and freshening up before our Welcome Dinner. Overnight and dinner at The Mont Clare Hotel.
Day 2, October 12, Saturday: Dublin
After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am. We experience the three Dublins: Viking Dublin, Georgian Dublin and Modern Dublin in this full day contemporary tour. From her humble beginnings as a Viking trading port to a walled medieval city and then-in a glorious century of expansion –to an elegant Georgian Metropolis with wide streets, gracious squares and great houses, neatly bordered by its two canals. This includes a visit to the priceless Book of Kells at Trinity College, we visit the Jameson Distillery, nestling in the heart of Old Dublin on the site of the original distillery, with its origins dating back to the year 1780. Other inside visits subject to tour length. Overnight at The Mont Clare Hotel.
Day 3, October 13, Sunday: Dublin-Glendalough-Kilkenny-Cork
After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am We drive through Dublin and head south. We continue through County Wicklow here if time permits a stop at Glendalough is suggested. This is the 6th century monastic home of St. Kevin surrounded by beautiful mountains and gardens where once again time has stood still. We continue to the Medieval City of Kilkenny, where we enjoy an optional visit The Kilkenny Castle which has been completely refurbished in recent years. The impressive Victorian building was erected in the mid-19th century when it served as a home to the Hackett family. We then make our way to Cork City, where we have plenty of time to explore the English Markets. Overnight at The Imperial Hotel Cork.
Day 4, October 14, Monday: Cork–Blarney–Clonakilty-Skibbereeen-Bantry-Glengarriff-Kenmare- Killarney
After breakfast we are met by our Driver/Guide in the lobby of our hotel @ 9:00 am. We then make our way to Blarney Castle. Time to visit (optional) the Blarney Stone and the Blarney Woolen Mills. We then make our way south and travel along the breathtaking coast of Ireland, some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. We travel through Clonakilty where castles dot the shores of the bay and The Catholic Church is a fine example of gothic architecture. Next stop is Skibbereen. Skibbereen is rightly known as the capital of West Cork. It is the “hub” from which the many “sparkling jewels” of the area can be reached. Bantry sits at the head of one of Ireland’s most beautiful bays with a harbor that reaches right into the town center. We then head to Glengarriff. Located in the sheltered harbor of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, in Southwest Ireland, Garnish Island is a small island of 37 acres known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of great beauty. Its sheltered position nurtures luxuriant Mediterranean flowers such as fuchsia and arbutus. It is then on to Kenmare. Known as Ceann Mara (Head of The Sea) by the ancients. Our journey makes its way to vibrant Killarney. Overnight and Dinner at The Killarney International Hotel.
Day 5, October 15, Tuesday: Dingle
After breakfast we depart Killarney for the Dingle Peninsula. The journey begins with some of the most magnificent scenery in all of Ireland. The little town of Dingle is straight out of a story book. The fishing boats in the harbor and tiny brightly painted pubs portray a time that has continued to stand still. The population of 1500 people and only 52 pubs are ready to welcome you this afternoon. Worth the wait is the native seafood chowder served up at lunch time with freshly baked brown bread. We continue on to Slea Head. Along the way, we will see bee hive style huts, originally inhabited by 12th century monks, which overlook the rugged Blasket Islands. The awe-inspiring beauty of this particular area is unmatched. There is no other landscape in Europe. Overnight at The Killarney International Hotel.
After a full Irish breakfast, we depart Killarney and head to Newmarket stopping along the way at the Cliffs of Moher. We take a tour of Ireland’s stony place – the Burren (Bhoireann). It is home to rare alpine plants, delicate wonders that grow in the thin soil and crevices – gentians, orchids and maidenhair ferns amongst others. The survival of both alpine and Mediterranean plants in this unusual habitat continues to arouse and to delight its visitors. The Burren contains dozens of megalithic tombs, Celtic crosses and a ruined Cistercian Abbey dating from the 12th century, Corcomroe. You can find villages abandoned since famine times and green roads on which you can walk for miles without ever seeing a car. Continue on and gaze at the majestic awe of the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs, a spectacular natural phenomenon, rise 660 feet above the Atlantic. O’Brien’s Tower is the best location from which to view the Cliffs. From this vantage point one can see the Aran Islands as well as The Twelve Pins and the Maum Turk Mountains to the north in Connemara. As you depart, you’ll travel through the little village of Liscannor and just across the bay, you’ll see the beautiful seaside village and golfers’ mecca, Lahinch. We then make our way to Galway for our overnight. Overnight at The Meyrick Hotel Galway.
Day 7, October 17, Thursday: Connemara Peninsula
After breakfast we meet our driver guide in the lobby of the hotel at 930 am. Before stopping in Clifton there might be an interest in Dan O’Hara’s Farm. The farm models pre-famine Conditions and cleverly reconstructs ancient dwellings and fortifications. The grounds also hold a megalithic tomb and a dolmen. Connemara, (Conmaicnemara – the tribe of Cormac by the sea), white sand beaches, dark bogs and tall jagged mountains make this one of the most scenic and unspoiled areas in the country. Wild and rugged, in some places here, Gaelic remains the only spoken language. We travel first to Clifden, (An Clochan). Founded in the early 19th century by John D’Arcy, it retains much of its Georgian architecture. Placed at the head of a broad Atlantic Bay and nestled below the Twelve Bens, the town is blessed by its beautiful setting. Known as the capital of Connemara, Clifden is a lively location full of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafe?s. From here travel the Sky Road, an exhilarating circular drive west of Clifden. Leave the town and as you pass the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel (on your left) turn and look beyond the hotel and back towards Clifden. The 12 Bens provide a wonderful backdrop to the town and along with the two church spires give Clifden its distinctive skyline. Further along the road is a gateway leading to the ruins of the old D’Arcy mansion, Clifden Castle. These ruins overlook the sea and can be reached by going on a ten-minute walk down a farm track. Once a Gothic Mansion, the D’Arcy’s lived here until 1850 when the estate was sold to the Eyre Family who lived here at intervals until the castle fell into ruin in the early 20th century. Along the high road you will pass the ruins of the old coastguard station (on your left) and, as the road rises, there are breathtaking views of the islands (Inishturk and Turbot), and the surrounding coastline. At the summit of the Sky Road peninsula there is a car park. As you descend and continue the road you will eventually, along Streamstown Bay, there is a Connemara Marble quarry. Heading north along the coast, Kylemore Abbey will be next. This extraordinary neo-gothic abbey looms at the base of the hill at Kylemore Lake. The highlight is the recently restored Gothic chapel, a cathedral in miniature with a plain, simple cemetery on one side and a lavish Victorian garden on the other. This is another often-photographed vista from Ireland. Ireland’s only fjiord looms next at the Harbor. Overnight at The Meyrick Hotel Galway.
Day 8 October 18 Friday: Galway-Sligo-Donegal
After breakfast we depart Galway and travel to Sligo where famous author William Butler Yeats is buried. It is onto Donegal. The town is set in a valley girdled by Barnesmore Mountains and Donegal Bay and overlooking the town can be seen the remains of several earthen forts. Today, Donegal Town is the center of activity for South County Donegal. The town center, known as “The Diamond” is where the Killybegs, Ballyshannon and Ballybofey Roads converge and it is here that you are likely to meet almost anybody; usually with a smile on their face and a few ready words. Overnight at The Central Hotel Donegal.
Day 9, October 19, Saturday: Donegal-Westport-Derry-Belfast
After breakfast we make our way to Westport. Westport enjoys the designation as one of Ireland’s Heritage Towns. It is situated in the shadow of Croagh Patrick, overlooking Clew Bay. One of the few planned towns in the Country, Westport was designed in the 18th Century by James Wyatt. It has become one of Ireland’s established tourism centers, with many outstanding features, most notably the beautiful tree lined boulevard known as The Mall, running parallel to the Carrowbeg River. We then continue onto Derry. To really experience Derry’s history, we stroll along the parapet walkways as we do the “Walled in City Tour”. The history of this area and the fact that Derry is one of the last fully intact walled in cities left in all of Europe makes this a must for every visitor. We then make our way to Belfast, where you take a tour of the famed Titanic Museum. Overnight at The Jury’s Hotel Belfast
Day 10, October 20, Sunday: Belfast-Glens of Antrim-Giant’s Causeway-Belfast
Today we experience one of Ireland’s magnificent scenic routes. The Coast Road takes us through the Nine Glens of Antrim, which offers wonderful views of mountains, valleys and the coastline. Our first stop is the oldest licensed distillery in the world, Bushmills, where we savor a sample of this renowned amber liquid. We then travel the coast to visit the Giant’s Causeway. This impressive area of hexagonal columns was formed over 60 million years ago by cooling lava. Legend also has it that the Giant’s Causeway was built by the ancient giant, Fionn Mac Cumhail. We then return to Belfast via Ballymena. Overnight at The Jury’s Hotel Belfast.
Day 11, October 21, Monday: Belfast-Dublin
After Breakfast depart Belfast and travel south. Stop firstly at Monasterboice a famed monastic site. The Boyne Valley will be your next stop with a visit to Knowth. Knowth is a 5,000-year-old Neolithic passage tomb. This spectacular site, older than the pyramids of Egypt, consists of two long passages to an inner chamber, entirely made of stone, and constructed so well that they are accessible 5,000 years later. The passages are designed so that the inner chamber is lit by the sunrise on a few specific days of the year. After this you can enjoy some leisure time in Malahide. We continue to Clontarf Castle. Farewell dinner and entertainment tonight by our host, Greg Tamblyn. Overnight and Farewell dinner at The Clontarf Castle Hotel Dublin.
Day 12, October 22, Tuesday: Cavan-Dublin Airport
This morning we meet our professional Irish Driver Guide and are transferred to Dublin Airport for our flight home. We bid our driver farewell who has become like a member of our family. In true Irish tradition, we wish you a “safe home.”
This application is for copying, printing, filling out, and mailing. You can’t use it to register online. For that you need to go to the special page for our tour. Once there, click on “Place Deposit.”
Please reserve _____ seat(s) on your October 11-22, 2019
I enclose a deposit of $ _________ ($250.00 per person) Deposit Due: ASAP to hold seats FINAL PAYMENT DUE: July 11, 2019
Name (as on passport) ________________________________D.O.B.________________
Companion Name: ___________________________________ D.O.B.________________
Address: ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
Tel: (home): _______________(work): ________Email: ________________________________
Room Type: Twin (2 Beds) _____Double (1 Bed): __________
Single Supplement: $989.00 _________YES
GROUP AIR FROM NYC: $875.00 _____YES_____NO (must know with initial reservation. Group air based on minimum 10 Participants
Cancellation Insurance per Person: Contact www.travelguard.com
We Accept Visa, MasterCard & American Express. No service charges
TOUR IS BASED ON MINIMUM 20 PARTICPANTS AIRFARE IS NOT GUARANTEED UNTIL PACKAGE IS PAID IN FULL (Make Check Payable to Hammond Tours)
Send check and application to:
34 Wedgewood Lane
Voorheesville, NY 12186
TEL: 866-486-8772 (TOLL FREE)
Click Below for Hammond Tours Reviews:
• Cancellation Penalties: (LAND) if written cancellation is received by Hammond Tour 90 Days or less prior to departure- a 100% cancellation penalty fee applies. We strongly recommend Travel Cancellation & Interruption Insurance. Please contact www.travelguard.com to purchase insurance. Any circumstances of a personal nature other than the are not covered. Please note, Hammond Tours and Seaside Shadows are not responsible for any loss, damages or injuries that may happen while on the tour.
Another little note. In all our trips around the world to places like Machu Picchu, the Great Wall, Uluru in the Outback, Tibetan monasteries, sacred sites in France, and others, I have never felt the “energy” of a place. But in Ireland, I do. I can’t explain that. It’s just palpable. It’s a cool feeling.
Feel free to leave your comments in the Comment Box at bottom. All questions will be answered. If you’ve never commented on this blog before, your comment will have to be approved (by me) before it is posted. But it will be, as soon as I can. Patience, Grasshopper. Thank you.
© 2019 Greg Tamblyn
In This Issue:
“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle
“A good time to laugh is when you can.” – Jessamyn West
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells.” – Dr. Seuss
Here in The U.S. of Stress, we get so busy we frequently forget to have fun. Or we put it off. Sometimes we even feel guilty, because we’re supposed to be “working.” We can’t help it. It’s that Puritan cultural DNA we’ve inherited.
H. L. Mencken said that Puritanism is:
“The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”
So we can all benefit from humor breaks during the day, and as the above quotes attest, even a little bit can go a long way.
What are some good ways to do that? Read on, Grasshopper…
LaughterJam Humor Workshop
This is the name of a new playshop I’ve created for 2019, which I’ll be offering at many of my appearances. Part One (of 3) is what I call The Humor Antenna, or Mirthful Mindfulness, or Mindful Mirthfulness.*
* NOTE: this does not require any WORK.
It’s simply about making a decision every day to be on the lookout for the weird, wild, wacky, and wonderful. Then if possible, collect it and share it:
Humor is an attitude, like gratitude, compassion, forgiveness. It can be cultivated and developed. It’s a mindset, and one of the very best ways to get more humor into our lives is to just pay attention.
It shows up all the time in unexpected quips or malapropisms, funny signs, creative t-shirts, strange product labels, awkward headlines, kid and pet antics. You might even find it in the slogan of a famous and very large Chinese Buddhist Temple in greater Los Angeles:
So we simply pay attention, find the funny, and if possible, capture it and share it. If you have a smartphone, it’s easy. You can file your funny photos and videos. You can write down funny thoughts and quips (yours or others’) on your notes app. After awhile, it’s surprising how much Hahaha you’ve hoarded.
Use it for the amusement of your own personal self when you’re stuck in line. Inflict it on other people when you see their eyes glazing over. Because you collect the funny, they will start to see you as funny. If they don’t already.
And YOU will have changed the way you see the world every day!
All the above photos were taken on a trip to LA a couple of weeks ago. I returned home to find that somebody had installed this in our neighborhood traffic circle:
(It’s true, every neighborhood roundabout needs a giant banana)
Feel free to send me any original humor that shows up for you. I’ll try to feature it in future newsletters, and also on my JokeQuote site. Giving you the proper credit, of course.
Join Me In Ireland This October
Happy to report I’m in super-fun talks with a fabulous tour company, putting the finishing touches on what looks to be a fantastic itinerary of the Old Sod. This is mostly a tour for folks who would love to explore the highest highlights (figuratively) of the whole island, including Northern Ireland.
As of now it looks like a 13-14 day tour, departing October 10. (So you’ll be back in plenty of time for Halloween.) And if you’re alert, with all of your Christmas shopping finished! Hope to announce it within a week or so, and I’ll have a lot more info for you then.
Please keep your eye on your inbox. There’s been a lot of interest in this tour, so you’ll want to sign up as soon as you can commit.
MilkSnort! Seems To Be A Hit
I’m getting great feedback so far about MilkSnort! The Joke party Game from you early adopters – thank you!
If you haven’t tried it yet - (why not??) – you could be in for some great laughs and a ton of fun. Makes a terrific gift. You can bring it to the party and everybody gets to enjoy it right now! Check it out here.
Upcoming Appearance Schedule
Here’s what’s currently confirmed. Many more venues – especially in Colorado, California, and Texas, are awaiting firm dates. Many of these dates will be offering the LaughterJam Humor Workshop, in addition to other fun stuff.
For locations, times, content, and tickets, always please go to my Calendar:
Mar 28-31: Posi Music Awards and Festival, Tampa FL
* I’ll be presenting the LaughterJam Humor Workshop
Apr 7: Indianapolis IN
Apr 14, 15: Naperville IL
Apr 22-26: Council Grove Conference, KS (private event)
May 5: (on hold for N California venue)
May 19: Bloomington IN
Oct 10: Ireland Adventure Tour
Nov 9,10: Torrington CT
Nov 11: Cape Cod, MA
Dec 1: Albuquerque NM
Dec 8: Manhattan KS
Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!
I’m exploring THREE different destinations for a 2019 group tour. Please let me know if any of these floats your boat. You can leave feedback in the Comment section at the bottom. Thanks!
“Morocco travel enthralls even the most experienced adventurer. Tradition infuses its labyrinthine medinas, overflowing with centuries-old customs and the colorful bounty of the Earth. Village oases seem to rise from the desert, mirage-like. And the mighty Sahara, a timeless sea of sand, stretches to infinity.
In our O.A.T. small group, we’ll truly get to know the people of Morocco, experience their traditions, and taste the secrets of their flavorful cuisine. We’ll cross paths with nomads in remote stretches of desert, be welcomed in by locals for home-cooked meals and unforgettable conversation, and discover the beauty of Moroccan mosques—including Casablanca’s remarkable Hassan II. Along the way, we’ll enjoy intimate stays in authentic riads—Moroccon homes converted into elegant, ornately-tiled hotels with open-air, Andalusian-style courtyards.
All the while, we’ll benefit from the expertise of our local O.A.T. Trip Leader who will share invaluable knowledge and insight along the way. Plus, to get a true feel for the mighty Sahara that has so decisively shaped this culture, we’ll camp under its starry skies in a tented camp for two nights—and even explore by camel.” Click here for all info.
“Majestic elephants congregate around a waterhole in the depths of the wilderness … members of a village near Hwange National Park welcome your small group … the spray of Victoria Falls roars in the distance … you and your travel companions exchange stories around a fire under a star-filled African sky. In the morning, you wake to the birdsong emanating from nearby acacia trees—and begin another day on the safari of your dreams.
On our Ultimate Africa safari, we’ll experience small lodges and tented camps; game-viewing drives and guided safari walks with our sharp-eyed Trip Leaders and expert, naturalist driver-guides; individual interactions in remote villages due to our small group size; a rhino tracking excursion (January-March and November-December departures); and flights via bush plane over the legendary African landscape. From world-famous Chobe National Park to the majestic Okavango Delta, and big game to local cultures—this safari has it all.” Click here for all info.
“Truly a journey of discovery exploring and learning about all the best parts of Ireland, the 14-day Driftwood vacation is a breath-taking and fascinating tour of Ireland. We will take you to some of Ireland’s best-known tourist destinations like the Blarney Stone, the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. And because our groups and vehicles are smaller, we will also take you right away from the beaten track and show you our favourite hidden corners of this beautiful, charming, mysterious land.”
Note: this will be a customized 14 day tour of their standard 11 day tour. I’ve requested that it be expanded for us to have even more time in some special places, and a more leisurely pace. Click here for more info.
Let me know of your interest in the Comment box. If you’ve never commented on my blog, you’ll get a “waiting for approval” message, but it won’t take long. Thanks.
I hope my tongue in prune juice smothers
If I belittle dogs and mothers.
- Ogden Nash
God could not be everywhere, so he invented mothers.
- Yiddish Proverb
My own personal mother was frugal, and proud of it. When I was a kid she refused to buy us raisin bran. She bought raisins and bran flakes, and told us to go make our own.
When I went off to college, she sewed my name tag into every piece of clothing I owned, including all my socks. And some of the tags were visible above the shoe line.
* Even then, knowing nothing about obsession, this seemed a bit obsessive. But I’m sure it came from her 1930s depression-era upbringing.
She could sew anything. She even sewed my 6-year-old brother’s head back together in the bathroom after he fell through a floor at a construction site and hit his head on a rock. She was a doctor, so I guess that was legal.
She had a sense of humor, too. One morning when I was little, she got up and made pancakes. It was very unusual for her to have time to cook breakfast for us, so this was special. Well, the pancakes were actually pieces of round cloth, coated with pancake batter. So after they were cooked, sitting on our plates covered with syrup and ready to eat, we could NOT cut them.
Turns out it was it was April Fools Day. Good one, Mom.
Back in the ’50s, she was a guest on the TV show “What’s My Line?” The panelists guessed she was a doctor fairly quickly, but not what kind.
If you’d like to see the show, it’s on youtube. You can skip ahead to 10:50 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing:
Signing in to that show on the blackboard was the ONLY time I ever remember her having legible handwriting. (She was a doctor!) When I was in college she used to write me letters on the back of surgery schedules. The surgery schedules were more interesting, and a lot easier to read.
She was talented in many ways, actually. Great singer, gourmet cook (when she had time), gardener, and as mentioned, could sew like a pro. Also liked to bring home jokes. She heard a lot of those in surgery.
But she was not an easy mom. As I said, she was frugal. She was also strict, a perfectionist (majored in English grammar), and did not have much time for nurturing. Then in middle age she became a dedicated alcoholic, and never got into recovery.
This Mothers Day finds her two months short of her 95th birthday. About six years ago she developed dementia. The good side of dementia is she’s forgotten all about drinking. She’s been sober for 6 years and doesn’t know it.
She’s more fun now. She’s become very loving and appreciative in her current state.
Amazingly, she still has her sense of humor. When I tell her a joke, she knows if it’s funny or not. She also loves to sing along to old songs and remembers an uncanny number of lyrics. She still sings on key and can do harmony too. It’s all still there in her brain somewhere.
So as soon as I finish this, I’m headed over there to sing a few songs with her, and give her a shoulder rub. Who knows, maybe this is her last Mothers Day.
She wasn’t an easy mother, but she gave me life and a lot more, and I’m grateful.
Big Thanks to all of you mothers!
And as always, thanks for reading.
© 2018 Greg Tamblyn
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To understand the mystery of Psychic Jay Bell, we need to go back in time for a brief setting of the story, which finds me delivering singing telegrams, frequently dressed as a Flasher. It was the most fun job I ever had working for somebody else.
These moments of musical misbehavior mostly occurred at a workplace, a restaurant, or a party. But sometimes it got more scenic. One time I delivered a telegram at the ballpark in front of 30,000 Royals fans. Another time to a newlywed couple in bed on their first night together. Once even to a bachelorette party of a dozen or so naked young ladies at a backyard swimming pool. (Sorry, that’s a whole other story.)
Why This Job?
I had graduated from college, tried graduate school, tried various corporate sales jobs, tried a few other kinds of jobs (geologist, planetarium lecturer), and basically done everything I could to avoid attempting my one true but very risky passion: writing songs and singing them for a living.
Eventually in my mid-twenties I came to grips with the fact that I was going to have to give music a shot and see what happened.
There were a few problems with this.
First, I knew I wasn’t a very good songwriter. I wanted to be good, but I didn’t know how to be good, or even if I could in fact ever be good. I could tell that most of the songs I was writing were somewhat cheesy.
Secondly, I knew I could sing okay, but I was only an average guitar player. How much better would I have to get?
Finally, I had crippling, brutal, abject stage fright. I realized that if I was going to write songs, I might at some point have to play them for real, live, actual people. So I HAD to get over my terror of that.
Time To Face Your Fear, Bub
I finally cobbled together some courage and auditioned to perform on a weekend in the basement of a local club. Incredibly, somehow, I got the job. Despite my fright, I was now contracted to show up and “entertain” people for four hours, two nights in a row.
It turned out to be less and less scary as I got rolling, and then actually kind of fun. As you may have noticed, a lot of people in bars are not paying close attention to the singer. Many of the ones that are paying attention have consumed a quantity of distilled spirits that make the entertainer sound better – and funnier – than he or she actually is.
I guess it worked okay because the club hired me to come back in a month. I began auditioning at other bars, and sort of a career was born.
As I transitioned to making money performing in clubs, I needed another flexible, dependable income. Ergo, singing telegrams. It was easy, fun, paid well, and I could work when I wanted to.
Psychic Jay Bell
While I drove around all day amusing myself delivering frequently risqué telegrams to the unsuspecting ladies of Kansas City, I would listen to the radio in my old beater of a car. It only had an AM radio, so usually I tuned in to a talk show hosted by a goofy local personality named Mike Murphy.
Murphy’s show was about anything and everything, almost always with a heavy dose of humor. One of his occasional guests was another character named Psychic Jay Bell.
Psychic Jay Bell was, as you might suspect, a psychic. People would call the station with their questions, and Psychic Jay Bell would answer them with confidence bordering on arrogance. He did not suffer fools, and he was not a touchy-feely kind of guy. More like a drill sergeant. So callers had to be ready for the straight dope, at least as he saw it, and never sugar coated.
I found this highly entertaining.
One day I had an hour between telegrams and stopped for some groceries. As I got back in the car to drive home, I flipped on the radio and there was Psychic Jay Bell, enlightening the callers of Kansas City with his typical bravado. I listened for a few minutes until I got home, then shut off the car and took my food inside to put away.
Five minutes later I was ready to leave for my next telegram, but there was a problem. I couldn’t find my car keys. I looked in the car, on the front walk, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, but they were nowhere. It was crazy. I’d only been home five minutes and only been in two rooms. In a mild panic, I realized there was only one thing to do.
I Called The Radio Station
I told them I wanted to talk to Psychic Jay Bell. They said hold on, you’re next.
In a minute, Mike Murphy and Psychic Jay Bell came on the line and said, “Greg from Kansas City, you’re on the air. What’s your question?”
I said, “I can’t find my car keys.”
There was a split second of silence, then they cracked up. They were howling. Loud guffaws. They thought this was hilarious. Then they said, “No really, what’s your question?”
I said, “I’m not kidding. I’m late for an appointment and I can’t find my keys.”
Psychic Jay Bell said, “For crying out loud. You really can’t find your car keys?”
“Nope,” I said.
“Oh, Brother. Okay, wait a second.”
There was silence for a few seconds, then Psychic Jay Bell announced, “Your keys are in the bottom of a brown paper sack.”
My eyes flew open as I looked across the kitchen at the grocery sack on the counter.
“Hold on,” I said, and went to look.
There in the bottom of the grocery bag were my keys. I couldn’t believe it. How did they drop in there without me hearing them?
I went back to the phone and said, “You’re right! They were in my grocery bag!”
Psychic Jay Bell said, “Of course I’m right. That was easy. Surely you got a better question than that.”
I thought for a minute, then said. “Okay, well, I’m trying to decide about my career. Whether to go for it as a professional songwriter, and maybe singer. It’s a tough road and I just don’t know if I’m good enough. No guarantees. I might waste a lot of years and get nowhere. Any thoughts about that?”
Psychic Jay Bell thought about that for what seemed like a long time.
Finally he said, “Yes, that’s actually your best path. But you’re going to have to be patient. You’ll have to work hard, pay your dues. If you do, eventually you’ll do well, even win some awards. But it’s going to take some time. So don’t be in a hurry.”
Well, that sounded mostly good. I knew he could have been pulling my chain, except that his schtick was that he didn’t really do that. Lots of times I heard him tell people what they didn’t want to hear.
Then he went on to say, “You’ll have your best success with story songs, like Harry Chapin writes. Listen to some Harry Chapin and see what I’m talking about.”
The fact that he got specific about the kinds of songs was interesting for a couple of reasons. I felt it gave him a bit more credibility, but also it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I was not a huge fan of story songs, and although I definitely respected Harry Chapin, I wouldn’t have called myself a fan.
But I filed that away in my brain because it was so specific.
Okay, Fast Forward To Today
Between then and now were some decades of hard work and dues paying: leaving the bars behind, moving to Nashville, starting all over, learning how to write better songs, leaving Nashville years later for the Big Unknown, and starting all over again. But everything has, in fact, pretty much worked out the way he said it would eventually.
I have won some songwriting awards, and a couple of those have even been for story songs. I ended up writing more of them than I ever thought I would, especially humorous ones.
This past February at the EmPower Posi (short for “Positive”) Music Awards, I was honored with The Grace Note Award for Lifetime Achievement in Positive Music. (Awarded by Unity Worldwide Ministries.)
I guess Lifetime Achievement means you’ve been doing something for long enough that people notice. And when your peers want to give you something like this, it definitely does feel like validation. I deeply appreciate that people got together and decided to honor me. I am truly grateful for it. Kind of blown away, actually.
But It Made Me Realize Something
As lovely as it is to be recognized with an award (and it’s very, very nice), I’m aware that I’m a hundred times more grateful to YOU.
I see you at concerts and other events (sometimes after lots of years!), I read your newsletter comments and emails, and sometimes we have contests or other kinds of participatory stuff. I get a huge kick out of your stories, your feedback, your comments, your ideas, and your jokes. I honestly can’t tell you how much I value this, and I never take it for granted. Without you I have no idea what I’d be doing.
As Big Bill Broonzy famously said, “Thank you, thank you, and thank you again.”
So Here’s A Question
Did Psychic Jay Bell actually see the future? Or did he help me create it?
Honestly, I don’t know and can’t say. And I’m not sure it matters. Maybe both. The truth is I was already pretty close to going for it, at least for awhile. So maybe I would have done everything I did anyway.
But this is also true:
Whether he meant to or not, Psychic Jay Bell gave me a big dose of encouragement. And we all need a boatload of that. I probably needed it more than anybody.
So here’s the deal
I invite you to think about someone in your life who has given you encouragement that meant a lot. Maybe that got you over a hump. Maybe that you didn’t or couldn’t get anywhere else. Really, seriously, think about it. Right now.
Then, if possible, call them up and thank them.
Then think about the people in your life – especially (but not only) kids – who could use some encouragement. And call them up too!
And finally, if you happen to know whatever happened to Psychic Jay Bell, I’d really like to find out. (You can comment below.)
© 2018 Greg Tamblyn
If you’ve never commented here before, your comment will have to be approved by your friendly neighborhood musical lafologist (me) before it appears, but it will. Honest.
This fun little verse was written by Joanne Pope, a long-time family friend, now in her nineties. She and my mother have been good friends since they were in college together, something like 70 years. Because Joanne didn’t have a daughter, she was especially close to my sister Claudia, who recently passed on. The two of them are in the photo at the bottom.
This poem is obviously Joanne’s take on the more famous one about wearing purple. I suspect one of the reasons Joanne wanted me to have it is because Claudia didn’t get the chance to be old.
Thank you Jody.
When I get old
I’m going to wear red
And live on Chocolate
And read in bed
And have six olives
In my martini
And smoke cigars
In my bikini
And learn to ski
Without a care
And wear fake nails
And dye my hair
I’ll have flamingos
In my front lawn
And play old records
And dance till dawn
I’ll win at bridge
And know each card
And raid the fridge
And cook with lard!
I’ll never listen
Just talk instead
When I get old
And I wear red!
© 1999 Joanne Pope
Thanks for checking out this potential artwork for a single song release of Jesus Was A Bachelor.
Whatever piece I end up choosing will have the same wording – song title and my name – so please don’t focus on those differences. I’m mainly interested in the art and the font.
Let me know if any of them stands out, or makes you want to hear the song, or gives you a chuckle, etc. And if you don’t like any of them, don’t be shy. You won’t hurt my feelings!
Cast your vote in the comment box at the bottom, and your comments are welcome. (If you have never commented on my blog before, yours will have to be approved by me before it shows up, but it will be, usually soon.)