Help Me Choose My Song Art

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.)


Number 1:

Jesus-Bachelor-Cover2Number 2:

Jesus-Was-A-Bachelor4Number 3:

Jesus-Was-A-Bachelor7Number 4:

Bride at wedding in the church

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7.99 CD Sale

This coming Thursday and Friday (Nov 30, Dec 1) you can order as many copies as you like of The Shootout At The I’m OK, You’re OK Corral and Art From The Heart for only $7.99 plus postage.
* Prefer digital mp3 downloads? You can also download them at that price any time this week.
The Shootout contains 6 comedy songs and 5 heartfelt ones:
  • The Shootout At The I’m OK, You’re OK Corral
  • Just A Little Soul Hanging Out In Space – (Posi Award Winner)
  • They Know
  • I Have A Tendency For Codependency
  • A 21st Century Kind Of Guy
  • I Drink, Therefore I Am
  • Love Will Come Around – (Posi Award Winner)
  • Unconditional Love (The Story Of Evy) – (Posi Award Nominee)
  • It’s Never To Late To Have A Happy Childhood
  • You Can’t Blame The Wreck On The Train
  • Have A Little Faith
Art From The Heart has 3 humor songs and 6 heartfelt tunes, including an 8 minute version of the Heart of the Mother chant:
  • The Night I Left My Body
  • Underachievers Anonymous
  • Leftovers (Are Better Left Alone)
  • I Think Of God As A Poet
  • What We Want From Other People
  • Angels
  • Stand Like Mountain, Move Like Water – (Posi Award Nominee)
  • So Much Love – (Posi Award Nominee)
  • Heart Of The Mother – (Posi Award Winner)
You can preview these albums online at the links above, but CDs must be ordered by phone directly from me here at the world headquarters. Credit cards and mailed checks are accepted.
* Obviously, digital mp3s are different. You can download them directly from the links above (CD Baby) all week through Friday for $7.99.
Also available:
  • My other 5 CDs – ($13 or $22 plus postage)
  • My book, Atilla The Gate Agent – ($10 plus postage)
  • Analog Brain In A Digital World t-shirts – ($20 or $22 plus postage)
I’ll tell you my favorite Christmas joke. Tell me what you’d like, I’ll calculate the postage and take your credit card over the phone. (Or you can mail a check, but it’ll take a bit longer.)
The office number is 816-756-0069. 10 AM central to 8 PM. Thursday and Friday. If you get the voice mail, leave a message. It just means I’m on with somebody else, and I’ll call you back asap.
I look forward to hearing from you, and Happy Holidays!
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Monsters In The Bedroom

A few decades ago I inhabited a creaky old house I’d bought as a fixer-upper. Except for a squirrel that sometimes gnawed its way into the attic, I lived there alone. The house always felt a little strange to me, but I chalked that up to age (the house) and imagination (me).

One night, however, I awoke in the wee dark hours, filled with terror, staring at the ceiling. I was wide awake but unable to move. I had no control over my limbs, my mouth, my breathing, anything.

More frighteningly, I sensed a foreboding, malevolent presence in the room. I felt it moving around me and above me, ominously close. I could not move, could not speak, and was scared witless. I had no idea what was happening. But I could tell I was awake. Definitely not dreaming.

I lay there paralyzed, completely freaked out for something like 30 minutes.

Eventually – somehow – I fell back to sleep. When I woke up hours later it was daylight and I could move my body. The “presence” was gone, but still vivid in my mind. Hormones on high alert. No idea what happened.

I called a friend.

I told my friend about it, and he offered this helpful advice: “Get the hell out of there as quick as you can and never go back. Never spend another night in that house.”

Right. Thanks.

I’m not the bravest guy in the world. I’ve never been a fan of zombies, vampires, or any of that creepy undead, supernatural stuff. Horror movies frightened the hell out of me when I was a kid. I never saw The Exorcist. Was never even tempted.

But whatever this was, real or imagined, I just couldn’t let myself give in to it. In the safety of daylight, it just seemed silly. So I did nothing. Just tried to forget it.

Then, two weeks later…

It happened again. Everything was the same, except worse because I was awake longer. Maybe an hour and a half. Still unable to move or speak. Still in the presence of what felt like evil. Still terrified. Afraid to close my eyes, afraid to keep them open.

The next day I called my friend again. He offered to let me move in with him. I was tempted.

Another two weeks went by. Again, I woke up in the dark, paralyzed and terrorized. I lay awake for hours, unable to move. It felt like a devil in the room with me.

The next day I wondered if I needed medical help. Or spiritual help. Or a realtor.

Then, for some reason I never understood, that was the end of it. Whatever was going on simply stopped.

* A couple of years later that house caught fire and burned down. The fire marshal and the insurance investigator agreed that it was a “wiring problem,” but they could never figure out how or where it started.

All these years since, I’ve wondered what the hell was going on with me and that old house. The mystery of it has always bugged me.

And now I know exactly what happened.

I’ve been listening to the audio version of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery. It’s by Sam Kean, who writes readable, enjoyable books about science.

Right there smack dab in chapter one, he describes exactly what I went through. He explains how it happens to lots of people. He tells how some of them lay awake for hours in sheer terror.  He reports that many of them are convinced they have a demon sitting on their chest. One Korean War veteran describes it as more frightening than anything he experienced in battle.

So what is it?

It’s called Sleep Paralysis.

To put it simply, when we go to sleep the brain kind of divides into three parts. One part regulates breathing, heart rate, etc. Another part handles the dreaming and unconsciousness. And the third part basically relaxes our body into near paralysis, so we don’t act out our dreams in bed and inflict bodily harm on ourselves (or a companion) fighting dream dragons or flying to Neverland with Peter Pan.

But sometimes one of these brain parts wakes up by itself. It’s not supposed to, but it can. So if the dreaming part of our brain wakes up and the “relaxed into paralysis” part doesn’t, we have an episode exactly like what I went through. Wide awake, but unable to move. And sometimes it feels like there’s a monster in the room.

But it happens – for physiological reasons he describes in the book – only when we sleep on our back. Like I did those three nights.

Kean speculates: it’s easy to understand how people experiencing sleep paralysis, especially before humans knew much about the brain and/or sleep, could come to believe in demons and possession. And how it could also – in more recent times – lead to feeling visited or even “kidnapped” by aliens, like in the book Communion.

* Not stating an opinion here about the reality of demons, UFOs or alien encounters. Just reporting what Kean says.

If you’re still with me, I’m sure you can imagine how satisfying it is to have this bizarre, terrifying experience explained simply, even all these years later.

And on a lighter note…

Sometimes in sleep paralysis only part of the body stays “paralyzed.” One morning in that old house the telephone woke me up. I rolled out of bed not realizing my legs were completely asleep. I did a full-frontal, arms windmilling, face plant onto the carpet. Had to drag myself over to the phone. But I was laughing.

If you’ve had your own version of sleep paralysis, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave your reply below, so we can all read it. Thanks.

If you’ve never commented here before, your comment will have to be approved by me before it shows up. But as long as it’s not hateful or just plain wacko, it will. Thanks.

© 2017 Greg Tamblyn

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Friends, Lovers, Fellow Travelers,

Thanks for checking out our Beautiful Ecuador, South to North Tour (January 11), with optional extensions cruising the Galapagos (January 21).

I challenge you to read our day-by-day itinerary and not be reaching for your passport! (But you might want to read the rest of this post before you click over there.)

Cotopaxi, the world’s highest active volcano:

Galapagos Green Sea Turtle:

Here’s the skinny:

I’ve spent the last several weeks working with Jenna at Adventure-Life Tours to create a custom tour that includes the best of just about everything Ecuador has to offer:

  • Historic, charming cities
  • Ancient Inca ruins
  • Breathtaking national parks
  • Multiple fascinating ecosystems
  • The world’s highest active volcano
  • Colorful native markets
  • Local culinary specialties
  • Lodging in quaint hotels and historic haciendas
  • A spectacular mountain train ride
  • and more…

The tour continues with optional extensions of 4 days or 8 days cruising the Galapagos. We’re offering two extensions simply to give you flexibility. But everyone who extends can be together for the first 4 days, so our camaraderie continues.

The Galapagos (as if you didn’t know) are the isolated and now protected islands that inspired Charles Darwin to form his theory of evolution. You can expect to see a wide variety of birds, tortoises, sea turtles, sea lions, colorful fish, and much more. You can snorkel as much as you like. We’ll be in the company of professional guides the entire time. We’ll be cruising in twin boats with comfortable cabins and all meals included.

It’s going to be so fun.

Why Adventure-Life Tours?

Adventure-Life Tours is the company we traveled with to Peru and Machu Picchu several years ago.  They’re a first-class tour company with excellent personalized service. They are known for their unique itineraries and exceptional guides. And Ecuador is one of their specialties. I’m thrilled to be working with them again.

Ecuador’s World-Famous Otovalo Market, filled with handmade native crafts:

Galapagos sea lions:

Before you pop over to our Adventure Life website for our full itinerary, more photos, maps, and more, here are the answers to your important questions:

  • We need a minimum of 10 travelers (including me) to make the trip happen.
  • The price for 10-13 travelers for the Ecuador portion is $2,495, plus airfare. If we get 14 or more, the price starts dropping. (Details at the tour website.)
  • This price includes all transfers, all transport within Ecuador, most meals (and several special meals), a full-time guide, and more.
  • If you’d like a single room, the single supplement is $500. (Tours like this are usually more fun with a friend anyway.)
  • The Galapagos extensions start at $1,660 plus airfare from Ecuador. The price depends on your choice of cabins, and whether you choose the 4-day or 8-day extension. (All of these details are at the links below.)
  • We have about six weeks to confirm 10 travelers, till Nov. 2.
  • Feel free to invite friends who you feel would be a good fit for our positive group of spiritual explorers.
  • Deposit is $400. Full payment is due November 2.
  • If for some reason we don’t have 10 travelers by November 2, all payments are refunded.
  • To confirm your space, or for any questions, please call Jenna at Adventure-Life on her direct line: 406-541-2678. If she can’t answer, just leave a message and she’ll get back to you as soon as she can.
  • Jenna is delightful, and will delightfully answer any and all of your questions. She can explain the cabin choices for the Galapagos Cruises, and help you with airfare if you’d like her to.
  • Before you call Jenna, please explore our tour website (link below).

NOTE: The faster we confirm 10 travelers, the sooner we can book our airfare. Don’t dawdle!

If you’ve never traveled with me before, 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!

Check Out The Tour Website

Jenna has put together a special website just for us. You’ll see a menu for:

  • Overview
  • Full itinerary
  • Accommodations (the Haciendas look amazing)
  • Maps
  • Dates and Prices
  • and more

The links to the 4-day and 8-day Galapagos extensions are at the bottom of the Full Itinerary page.

Please explore all the pages. Click on the photos to enlarge them and read captions.

Feel free to get in touch with me or Jenna if you have questions.

I hope you’ll join us on this adventure to Ecuador and The Galapagos!

Shoot me an email after you sign up so I know you’re on board. :)

Overview page – click here

Full Itinerary Page – click here

Feel free to leave comments and questions below.

The Devil’s Nose Train Ride:

One of Ecuador’s Stunning National Parks:

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When Irish Eyes Are Chasing The Eclipse

A couple of years ago my friend John Dunne from Dublin (Ireland, not Ohio) emailed me and said he was coming to the US for the solar eclipse.

Naturally I replied, “What solar eclipse?”

I know what you’re thinking: “Greg, you’re an astronomy buff. You write songs     about atoms and stars. You even worked in a planetarium. How could you not know there was a solar eclipse coming to the USA?”

Well, two years ago I didn’t. Like most people, I was busy watching the Royals win the World Series, then watching the Republican Primaries undergo a political eclipse which brought a vast and dangerous darkness to the people and the planet. But I digress.

Ahead of the Curve

Somehow John knew all about the solar event, which surprised the heck out of me. We’d met many years ago working the same resort in the Caribbean. Since then he’s been a financial planner, and if he ever said anything about an interest in science or astronomy, he must have said it quietly, in ancient Irish, after several pints, in a noisy pub. Because I didn’t hear it.

Anyway, he announced his intentions, and I was thrilled. I checked out the eclipse path. It ran from coast to coast. And incredibly, just an hour north of my home in Kansas City.

Meanwhile, John was busy researching weather patterns, the jet stream, El Niño, butterfly wings flapping in the Amazon, and potential Acts of God at sites all across the US to determine the best place to watch.

I told him I’d meet them wherever he wanted, but if they came to Kansas City to watch, they could stay with me for free. And we could eat barbecue. And they could meet my dog.

The point is, John really wanted to witness this eclipse, and – eventually – he decided to come to Kansas City to see it. This delighted me no end, but also added a bit of pressure. Ireland was a long way to come from (plus a lot of money) for a three-minute event, so we darn sure better see it.

So I dove headlong into my own extensive research. I found several small cities and towns along the path of totality within reasonable driving distance, in case we had to be flexible and mobile for the weather.

Three Wise People Bearing Gifts

Friday night before the eclipse, John, his wife Alison, and teenage daughter Elizabeth landed in the Heartland. On Saturday we exchanged gifts, toured the city, went to a museum, visited a farmers market, ate barbecue, and took in a Royals game on bobblehead night. (I now have extra Kevin Appier bobbleheads if you need one.)

Sunday morning we did the jazz brunch at a well known jazz club:

The club was packed with locals and out of town folks in town for the eclipse. A jazz duo was playing personalized songs for the out-of-towners, like New York New York, I Left My Heart In San Francisco, Dixie, and even the University of Nebraska Fight Song.*

* The University of Nebraska Fight Song is not a jazz tune.

I felt it was my duty to let the band know there were people in the audience from a far away place called Ireland. The band (actually the duo) were duly impressed. Really? Ireland? How wonderful! We must sing an Irish folk song! We must sing Danny Boy!

So of course they did.

Synchronicity Or What?

Meanwhile, back at our table, we were approached by a Leprechaun. Or at least a guy who looked like he was auditioning for the part. He was a sweet older gentleman, short, stoop shouldered, wizened, with white hair and a cryptic smile. His name was Mickey.

He let us know he was an American of Irish heritage. He was a former airline pilot who had spent many nights in Ireland on layovers. He loved the country and the people. He would be most delighted and honored if we would come to his 25 acres out in the country to watch the eclipse. Right in the path of totality. With a swimming pool. He would even cook for us on his outdoor grill. I could bring my dog. We could avoid the crowds and the traffic. It would be perfect.

This seemed like a sign from God. We said yes.

Catch 22 and 23

The problem was that in his little corner of the universe, the weather forecast looked iffy. But the ladies (John’s wife and daughter) really loved the swimming pool option, I loved the “bring your dog” option, and Mickey was so nice, we decided to chance it.

We got up before dawn. Checked the weather again – still iffy – and headed north, several hours early. We stopped for breakfast at a Burger King (nothing is too good for my Irish friends), and made it to Mickey’s by 9am.

To say that Mickey’s Country Estate was a disappointment is like saying Trump has a slight tweeting problem. The pool was dirty. The house was dirty. Everything looked like it had been eclipsed about 40 years ago. Mickey, God bless him, was way past being able to care for it all. There was no way the gals (or the guys, for that matter) were going anywhere near that pool. Probably not even my dog. Personally, I found myself wondering what kind of life forms might be growing under the hood of the outdoor grill.

As for the weather, it had been mostly nice all morning, with only wispy clouds. But a friend called, said he was driving in our direction, and was caught in a hellacious storm.

After an hour at Mickey’s place the clouds were getting thick.

Since nothing in our surroundings, above or below, was appealing enough to make us stay, and since the weather forecasts looked better to the east, John and I decided that the four of us needed to make a break for it.

On The Road Again

Let me just say this was not a universally popular decision. The idea of riding in the car for a couple more hours just to see a three-minute event was not entirely appealing to the ladies in the party. (And to be fair, they had the dubious pleasure of riding in the back seat with my dog.) To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled about driving two or three more hours on minimal sleep myself, but I felt we had to chance it. I did not want John to come all the way from Ireland after all his painstaking research and miss this thing. I certainly didn’t want him thinking he should have gone to Casper Wyoming.

They don’t even have baseball. OR barbecue.

So we set out to retrace our path for 30 miles, then turn eastward towards Boonville or Columbia. If everything went well, we could be there in a little over two hours, with plenty of time to spare before the big event.

Unfortunately – and unknowingly – we were driving directly into the teeth of that storm.

Whether To Weather It

It was a nasty storm. Truly nasty. Heavy lightning, brutal thunder. Rain so thick at times you couldn’t see the cars in front of you. Ten or fifteen miles per hour on the interstate, tops.

As bad as it was, however, I’ve driven though lots of storms like that. It’s not scary to me, just tiring and annoying. But my Irish friends, especially the ladies in the back seat, were – to put it mildly – having a new experience. Not exactly the “dream vacation” variety. Not at all what they signed up for. Quite frankly it was freaking them out. If a banshee had landed on the car and screamed in our faces, it would not have frightened them any more.

Not that I blame them. But it was kind of a tense time there for about an hour.

Out Of The Storm, Into The Jam

When we finally made it through the storm and turned east, I-70 was crammed with cars full of people who’d evidently had the same brilliant idea we’d had. The rain had lessened, but there were wrecks, cops, tow trucks, and enough slow-moving vehicles to fill a medium sized lunar crater.

We moped along at about 20 mph for another hour, all the while noticing that 25 or so miles to the south was a lot of blue sky. That was away from the path of totality, but at least under a clear sky we might be able to see something.

Finally in frustration, we turned off that soggy, sloggy Interstate and headed south on state road 13 to Warrensburg, home of the University of Central Missouri Fighting Mules and Jennies, who have been national champions in some sport or another but I can’t remember what.

In Warrensburg, we learned we were just outside the zone of total totality, and to get back in it we needed to head east several more miles, ideally to Sedalia, home of the Missouri State Fair. Also a former girlfriend of mine named Jane who as I recall was really into tanning. Which presumably would not work during a solar eclipse.

So it was back in the car for another half hour. By 12:45 we’d had all the highway we could take. We were right on the edge of the clouds. It looked like we should stop now if we wanted to see anything.

Knobby Hobby

We pulled off at a dot on the map called Knob Noster, home of the Whiteman Air Force Base freaky-looking stealth bombers. (Fortunately, Trump did not have them cruising overhead on eclipse day.) Just off the highway there was a Casey’s General Store with a strip of grass in front. A few people were already sitting there waiting for the big show. We parked, got out the blankets, refreshments, and eclipse glasses. We looked up.

It had already begun! The sun was about one third covered, even through the wispy clouds. Smashing! But as we watched, incredibly, almost like magic, the clouds overhead politely moved off to the northeast. We had a clear blue sky.

We gaped at the unobstructed dark moon as it gently, gracefully took center stage from the sun. The cardboard eclipse filters I bought for my binoculars worked perfectly. So beautiful. Then came the diamond ring. Glasses off. The corona! Venus to the right. Darkness with a 360 degree sunset. Woo!

We had 57 seconds of totality. Not as much as if we’d been farther north or east, but it was enough. And more importantly, Irish eyes were smiling.


Just about then I remembered something that’s always astonished me:

On this planet we only have one moon. That’s unusual.

In proportion to its planet, it’s the largest moon in the solar system. Very unusual.

And somehow, it just happens to be the Exact. Perfect. Size. to precisely eclipse our sun.

Isn’t that just a little bit mind-blowing?

© 2017 Greg Tamblyn

Feel free to comment below. If you’ve never commented before on this blog, your comment will have to be approved by the Head Fred (me) before it shows up, but it will be. Patience, grasshopper. Thanks.

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Comical Kiwi Land

A Few Funnier Photos from our New Zealand group tour

Anywhere you travel in the world, you can find some local version of deep-fried dough:

No idea what a golden hippo is doing in New Zealand:

“Going green” over here means kiwi juice for breakfast:

Is this the right way?

Appeals on wheels:

Lunch menu out in the country:

There are many wild pigs in New Zealand:

Tough choice: the Prestige or the Affordable?  (And why is the Prestige smaller?)

The lovely, tall, athletic, Maori lady on the left is our Waka (war canoe) paddling instructor. She also plays roller derby professionally and quite obviously likes to dress distinctively. (The lovely lady on the right is Juanita Potter, one of our group.)

Good fit!  Bookstore T-shirt modeled by Rev. Heidi:

Gay marriage has been legal in NZ since 2013. One of our tour guides, Heather, and her happy partner Louise, sporting another cool shirt:

Jeremy Clarkson is a Brit known for spouting some outrageous stuff, usually tongue in cheek. (These Kiwis really like quotes on their cars):

And their t-shirts get right to the point:

JUST EAT IT?  Had to find out what a “GLUTER-FREE” cookie tastes like:

JUST EAT IT!  Very proud of their lamb over here:

Not what it looks like!  The sheep just got a haircut!

Making friends with a sheared sheep:

Sheep selfie:

“What are you looking at? So it’s a sheep farm. So what?”

JUST EAT IT!  Mexican restaurant. Possible dig at you-know-who:

JUST EAT IT!  This sign does NOT make me want to shop here:

Do they flush with hot water?  Restrooms in geothermal country:

Interesting choice:

Tolkien fans: the Queenstown airport is the Middle of Middle Earth!

All photos © 2017 Greg Tamblyn

We had a great time down under over yonder. New Zealand is a fun country, and probably the most consistently scenic place on the planet. I highly recommend going there with Overseas Adventure Travel. Let me know if you wanna go, and I’ll get you some coupons for a $100 discount.

Feel free to leave a comment below. If you’ve never previously commented on this blog, your comment will have to be approved before it posts, but it will be.


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Jumping Off A Perfectly Good Bridge (+ video)

I wasn’t intending to jump off this bridge. Even though lots of other people were doing it.

I could hear my mom’s voice in my head: “Just because other people jump off a bridge doesn’t mean you have to do it too, now does it?”

Um…no, Mom, I guess not.

As you probably know, bungee jumping is a high-adrenaline recreational activity designed to prove to yourself that you are fearless and to prove to your friends that you’re crazy. The idea is to pretend for an instant that you’re one of those brave, graceful Acapulco cliff divers, without ever having to actually master the skill.

You dive off a bridge (or cliff, or whatever), usually over water, and before you splatter like a ripe guava on the rocks below, or sink like a granite tombstone into the icy depths, an elastic cord slows you to a stop, then gently bounces you around for awhile as you scream with ecstasy in the realization that you’re still alive.

The whole thing lasts about 20 seconds: five for the fall and another 15 for the bouncing and screaming. So it’s not any kind of extended thrill like, say, skydiving. Or paragliding. Or being on the Jamaican bobsled team. Or watching Kellyanne Conway being sucked into the Bardo.

But the idea of voluntarily launching yourself off a (perfectly good) bridge and trusting that somehow these wise-cracking guys taking your money and strapping you into a harness actually know what they’re doing, that they have in fact tested the bungee cord and not purchased it that morning at the New Zealand Walmart, that they have calculated the exact physics of this jump – your own personal leap of faith and brush with eternity – carefully enough that you won’t somehow get maimed or killed and wind up on youtube as a Darwin award, is a bit scary for most of us.

Well the truth is, I wasn’t as scared as I could have been. Once I got up there on the bridge, they kept putting people in front of me. They say they do this so the bungee guys don’t have to keep adjusting the weights too much from jumper to jumper. But they don’t tell you beforehand that this could happen, or that you might be waiting as much as AN HOUR up there in your harness in the hot sun.

So by the time it was finally MY TURN, I was a little cranky, which probably distracted me from being scared. Also they make you take off your glasses. And without ‘em, I couldn’t clearly see how far down it was (pretty far) which also mitigated my fear somewhat. In addition, by this time I had witnessed a dozen or so jumps, and it becomes obvious that these guys pretty much have this down to a science.

So one part of your brain is telling you it’s not all that risky.

Still, when you’re standing up there on the edge of time and space, looking down at a rushing turquoise river about a mile or so below you, and it’s time to surrender, head-first, to the unrelenting Newtonian forces of gravity and momentum, you realize that – just like sometimes people actually do win the lottery – there is in fact a chance something could go horribly wrong. Then another part of your brain pipes up in a loud voice: This might be a bad decision. This might be the last one you’ll ever make.

For a moment there, your hormones are in full fight or flight. You can’t help it.

But you know you can’t back out. Not like the girl in front of you who stood on the edge for five minutes, trembling in fear, and who finally retreated in tears. Not when your group of travel friends (and especially the other male in the group – Mark Lofgren) have ponied up the juice for you to do this, and they have been waiting over an hour in the hot sun to watch and film you.*

* And besides, Mark has jumped already. Half an hour ago!

So you look out, you look around, you look down. You notice it’s all extraordinarily beautiful. You think:

This valley, this river, these onlookers: are they the last sights I’ll ever see?

I wish I had my glasses on so I could take it all in a little better.

Then again, maybe it’s better I don’t.

What’s the name of that movie where they keep saying, ‘Today is a good day to die’?

At this point you know there’s nothing you can do but fall forward, arms out wide like Jesus on the cross. Hopefully a graceful swan dive, just like when you were a kid on the diving team. Over the edge you go. So easy. Just fall forward.

There’s a rush of adrenaline as your brain and body process the fact that you are actually falling toward a river 150 feet below you. There’s a brief feeling of wow, this is cool!

It lasts exactly three seconds.

Just about the time you’re getting into full pleasure mode, you feel the brakes come on. The bungee grabs your feet.

Already? So fast? That’s it?

You’re still diving toward the water, but slower now. And as you reach the river your hands – now over your head in dive position – briefly enter the water (but not your whole head like they promised).

Then you bounce back up like a human yo yo, a human pogo stick, a human trampoline. A human metaphor, returning from the valley of doom.

And you realize the bouncing is really the best part, because it lasts longer than the fall, and you’re actually bouncing fairly high. Also because you’re relatively certain that you’re not going to die anymore.

That’s a good feeling.

VIDEO: More fun in full-screen. :)

NOTES: I want to thank Mark Lofgren and my merry group of travelers for donating the bungee fee, which is not cheap. I am reasonably confident they were honestly trying to give me a thrill, and not kill me or anything. Also thanks to the lovely Shirley Smith for purchasing the company’s video of my jump for me. Much gratitude also to my fabulous, long-time friend Marya Corneli for the great slo-mo footage in the video above, shot on her phone, and my favorite part of the vid because you really see the perspective.

I cannot in good conscience recommend the A.J. Hackett Bungy Jump near Queenstown, NZ. The people there are nice, friendly, and they do seem competent. But the jump is way overpriced, should include the video in the price, and they should do a better job of letting you know there could be a long wait at the top.

Feel free to leave a comment or feedback below. If you’ve never commented on my blog before, there will be a time lag for your comment to be approved. Thanks for your patience, grasshoppers.

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Contest: Artwork Needed For Single Song Release!

I’m happy to report that “Jesus Was A Bachelor” is a finalist for an EmPower Posi Music Award. (Winners announced in February.) Also, the response to the free download for my subscribers a couple of months ago was kind of overwhelming…

So I’ve decided to release it as a single, and in order to do that I need a piece of cover art. Something about the size and shape of a CD cover. If you have some art / design skills and wanna take a crack at it, I’d love to see what you come up with!

The winner will receive either (your choice) $100 in cash, or $250 worth of my CDs, books, t-shirts for holiday gift giving. The deadline for submission is Dec. 13.

Attitude-wise, it’s a comedy song with an important message. So the art should reflect that in some way. It should be eye-catching, not too complicated, and include this text somewhere:

Jesus Was A Bachelor
Greg Tamblyn
A comedy song about marriage…with a twist

If you’d like to hear the song again, you can do that here:

To enter, just email me and attach your jpeg or pdf file.

Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome

Two quick stories illustrating two different aspects of the phenomenon I like to call Blurt-itis. (Something I’m quite familiar with.)

1.  Recently I boarded a plane and was getting settled in my window seat. As other folks were boarding, I looked up and caught the eye of a woman coming down the aisle. She had evidently been to my concert the night before, and recognized me.

She gave me a big smile, and without realizing what she was saying, she blurted out, “You were so great last night!”

Everybody within earshot looked up at her and started laughing.

The poor gal turned a bright shade of ripe tomato.

And me?

Well, I felt pretty good about it. :)


2.  A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was a novice entertainer paying my dues performing in bars. I’d just gotten hired by a very popular club for their Friday night slot. Biggest night of the week. Very crowded. Since I was relatively new at this, I felt some pressure to do a great job, and tried hard to interact with the crowd and be funny.

Midway through the evening, four people came in – two men and two women. They sat down at the only available table, about 20 feet away from me. The spotlight was bright so I couldn’t see them well, but I could see that one couple looked a generation older than the other couple.

I welcomed them, as was my custom, and asked what they were up to on this fine Friday evening. The older woman answered that they were celebrating their son’s birthday, and pointed to the younger man.

Now this younger man was a bit rough looking. He had a lumberjack-type shirt on, longish dark hair and a beard. I couldn’t see him well with the bright light in my face, but from where I was on the stage, he looked about 40. I looked at him and said, “Happy Birthday! What’s your name?”

He told me, “Howard.” I sang happy birthday to Howard, and the bar crowd joined in.

Then I asked him, “How old are you, Howard?”

He told me, “25.”

Here’s where it gets tricky. Sometimes when you’re playing to a crowd, or a particular person in the crowd, you can tease them a little bit. Most people enjoy this – they like the attention – if you can make it fun for them. The tricky part is you can’t push too hard or get too personal. It’s a fine line. You have to know where it is, and have the rapport skills to pull it off.

But on this night, at this time in my life, I didn’t.

I looked at this young man, and without thinking about it, said something like, “Twenty-five! Man, it’s been a rough life, hasn’t it! You look about 40! What the heck have you been doing to yourself?”

He laughed, and everybody else laughed.

I started into another song, and then it hit me. I knew exactly what I’d done. I knew exactly why this young man looked older than his years. I felt so ashamed, so embarrassed, that my throat got dry and I could barely finish the song. I told the audience I was taking a break. I put my guitar down and walked down off the little stage.

I got to the bottom step and came face to face with the older man at Howard’s table.

He looked at me and said, “Thanks for singing Happy Birthday to Howard. He’s our special son.”

I looked back at him. “I know,” I said. “I just realized that.”

But it was too late.

Big career lesson.

© 2016 Greg Tamblyn

Feel free to share your own Blurt-itis stories, funny or otherwise, in the Comments Box. If you’ve never commented here before, your comment will have to be approved by me before it posts, but it will. Thanks.

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Thanks for checking out New Zealand Natural Wonders North and South, hosted by me, Greg, your friendly neighborhood musical lafologist.

This page is for a second tour to begin immediately after the first one ends. The first one filled up in 6 days (!) and some folks were disappointed not to get in. All the particulars for this 2nd tour are below – it’s identical to the first tour except for the dates.

UPDATE: As of November 17, we have space for 3 merry travelers, including (amazingly) two single rooms. If you’d like to join us, please don’t hesitate to call OAT and sign up. You MUST mention my group number. Please see below for info.

New Zealand is a spectacularly fun and beautiful place that almost everyone wants to visit, but sadly, few people take the time.

What You Can Expect:

  1. Incredible unspoiled scenery. These are some of the most diverse environments on earth, from beaches and rainforests, to mountains, lakes, glaciers and even volcanoes. Many of these different natural features can be visited on the same day.
  2. The people. New Zealanders are naturally warm and friendly, and are particularly hospitable to tourists. Every New Zealander I’ve ever met became an instant friend. They all seem to be great people, with a wonderful attitude about life.
  3. Fantastic climate. Although there are four distinct seasons in New Zealand there are not the extremes of hot and cold to be found in most other countries.
  4. Culture. New Zealand was inhabited by the local native people, the Maori, before the arrival of the Europeans in the 1700s. New Zealand today is a fascinating blend of cultures who mingle and thrive in a peaceful yet vibrant society.
  5. Safety. Crime is low in New Zealand and as a tourist you are unlikely to encounter problems. Furthermore, there are virtually no lethal creatures among New Zealand’s wildlife, so you can explore without concern for being bitten or eaten!
  6. Sheep. Not that this is a reason to go, but it brings up an interesting question. New Zealand has something like 40 million sheep. How did they ever stay awake to count them?
  7. Politics. The next US President will be sworn in sometime in late January. Depending on who you voted for, you may feel like getting away for awhile. (Okay that’s a joke. Don’t worry, we don’t get political on my trips.)

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.


When: Feb 16 – March 4, 2017 (16 days, including travel)
Where: New Zealand, both large islands
Who: Overseas Adventure Travel (5 star rating)
What: New Zealand Natural Wonders North and South

How Many: Our group is limited to 16 travelers, including me.

Why Now:

  • Unforgettable adventure, incredible photos, videos, and memories to last a lifetime
  • The dollar is strong
  • February is summer in New Zealand

How Much: $4,895 plus airfare *

* There is no surcharge for single rooms. But the number of single rooms is limited to 5. First come, first served. (Bringing a friend is usually more fun anyway.)

* I did not find a better price for a tour like this anywhere online. And OAT has a “Best Price Guarantee.” If you find a better price for a comparable tour, OAT will match it.

* Airfare options are many and flexible. The tour company will be happy to arrange airfare, or let you get your own, or even let you compare their best price with whatever you can find.

Videos, Detailed Itinerary, FAQs

This is the best travel company website I’ve seen. Watch videos of the exact same tour, the guides, see maps of the itinerary, read reviews, and get a day-by-day account of our activities. You can get all your questions answered about food, lodging, packing, and almost anything else you can think of by clicking the tabs on the left.

Note: the price quoted on the website says “starting from $4,295.” That’s $600 less than our tour, because the tour is priced differently in different seasons. That lower price is for a tour in the winter, when it’s COLD. (You don’t want that!)

Here’s the website:

When you officially sign up with OAT, all you need is a $350 deposit to reserve your space.


Call OAT at this number: 800-597-2452, option 2.
When you make your reservation, mention “Service Code” G7-26633. (This points the agent to the GREG TAMBLYN’S NEW ZEALAND GROUP.)


Travel protection is highly recommended. It covers you for almost any reason you need to cancel, unforeseen emergencies, medical, baggage, etc.

- OAT has it, or you can obtain your own.
- Some credit cards have travel protection included, so check with your credit card company.
- Also, another travel insurance company has been highly recommended to me from a fellow group host. Their prices are a bit lower, but it’s not as comprehensive:

Make sure you compare what is actually covered in different policies!


Overseas Adventure Travel can probably answer specific questions better than I can, but feel free to call me any time: 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.


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 New Zealand, I hope you’ll join me on this trip of a lifetime.

- Greg

Feel free to leave your comments below. 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, as soon as I can. I will reply to all comments.

Posted in UP | 27 Comments