Is Pay Cable TV Brainwashing Us?



Outlandish and unending commercials are embedded into our brains. But I have discovered a way to beat it.

Some of the pay television channels today are really something to be avoided, as rather sickening with their TV Brainwashing. In addition to paying for the services, we all are compelled to be totally saturated with carefully crafted commercials. How often we hear, “Call now,” or “You must act now,” or “Hurry, this sale will be over so don’t wait,” or “Operators are standing by,” or “Call in the next five minutes and we’ll double your order.” This all amounts to total TV Brainwashing by the agencies and companies who spend every minute of the day scientifically researching on how to hook you or con you, I should say. And don’t think for one minute that your sub-conscience hasn’t captured every word and has firmly embedded the product in your brain for later.

They promised little or no commercials back when

The advent of cable pay television was truly a welcome event when subscribers were assured that there would be little or no commercials to endure. The Internet is full of articles pertaining to TV Brainwashing techniques and ways of agencies and broadcasters manipulating and constantly storing of propaganda into your unwary brain to stimulate sales and more sales of stuff you don’t want nor need.

Half and half?

The Tampa Bay Times recently reported that there are no rules regulating the amount of airtime a television station or network — cable or otherwise — devotes to commercials, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spokesperson. One reporter there stated that he was watching a movie on Spike, and from 9:01 to 10:02 PM there were 30 minutes of commercials and 31 minutes of movie. At least the FCC restricts children’s programming to about 10.5 minutes of commercial matter per hour on weekends, and no more than 12 minutes of commercial matter per hour on weekdays. And that is bad enough, since the kids are also programmed to beg Mommy or Daddy

I recently clocked some programming on one cable network that amounted to almost the same time of half and half. Not fair. I should send a bill for the use of my time. Not knowing about the FCC report as above, and believing it was a rule to have about forty to forty-five minutes of program in an hour, I reported it to the FCC, and of course, there was no reply. Apparently the FCC is not interested in TV Brainwashing. I wonder who is?

Beating the bastards

But I have finally discovered a way to beat them in their game. I happen to subscribe to a service with a DVD recorder that is state of the art. It is actually recording a program when you first start watching and you see a red line showing the minutes since starting. You can rewind if you miss something or want an instant replay. If you tune to another channel it will generally start also recording there.  So if I am watching a one hour program, for instance, I will hit the record button and go to another channel that interests me and also start the record on that one. Or I might just tune in some good music and listen while taping the other program or programs. So what if I’m a few minutes behind?

Since I don’t have to be exactly in time with the programs, I let some time go by and then go to the top and play the program. As soon as the commercials start, usually eight or ten or so, I fast forward past all the commercials. Usually, depending on how long I wait to start watching, like fifteen minutes or so, I can avoid all the commercials, and skip all the intended brainwashing. Seasoned producers with their TV Brainwashing cleverly manipulate your brain into believing that you must have, or need, every single item presented. I sure don’t!

More about Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence

I know I have been promising to write more about Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. I will have some really great news about the latest events in my favor, but I had to stop and put all my efforts into releasing my new Holiday Extended Play CD. I am really proud of it and will have what I believe is some real good and unique holiday listening for all my fans. It will be called It’s December, and will be available on CD Baby and all of its outlets internationally. I’m really grateful for all the interest and many readers at Steve Hoffman’s Music forum and now the Japanese forum,  Simon & Garfunkel Web Forum at

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of my new It’ December CD.

it s december cd photo

The title, It’s December, is derived from my new song which may be s first that mentions and appreciates the different belief celebrations in December, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. My favorite line is, “And the prayers of one and all will be let there be peace.” Hopefully, that will happen. It even mentions snow and Auld Lang Syne.

There are a couple more surprises on the new CD that I will get into here when it is released in a couple days. Please stay tuned. More later.

A Great Event Is About To Happen In The Audio Industry


I’ve been so doggone busy with my Indiegogo Campaign that I have neglected to post any new posts. So let me just say that probably the most important words I can say here right now is to ask all my readers to support me in my campaign to promote my newly issued Patent on my Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform. After four years of frustrating times, some of which were told here, it finally came in February.






 John Fox enjoying a video game

And I’d like for you to be part of the team making the next big leap into the world of listening to music, movies and playing video games in 5.1.

This is my invitation to one and all to come aboard for a most exciting adventure. I need your help to promote my recently Patented miniature 5.1 surround sound listening system of loudspeaker placement.

First, if I reach my goal, I’ll be showing it at America’s largest Inventors Trade show, INPEX (Invention And New product Exposition) in June at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.



My Patent is based on my startling discovery that little loudspeakers can sound  the same at a few INCHES away, as they do at a few FEET away.

Hundreds of the biggest and best companies in the US will be at the Inpex Show, scouting to find, and take on new and unique inventions either by buying a patent outright or licensing to manufacture and sell. I will consider all ways.

You probably know that the costs for exhibiting in a high class trade show like this one can be very  high, and individuals, as well as companies, spend thousands to put their best foot forward.

Soon after the show, if we get the funds, I’ll introduce and demonstrate the invention to fellow recording engineers and mixers, audio enthusiasts, and speaker companies in Philadelphia, New York and Nashville. I’ll also be inviting the press.

I’ve included the budget at the Indiegogo site, and if we exceed that amount, I’ll just keep plugging away, and show in more places like Chicago and L.A., and maybe more, and try to get on national TV. And if we go way over, I might even consider starting a company to make and distribute the platforms.

If you make a pledge of any amount, you’ll be invited to one of the showings, and you can bring your favorite video game, music or movies to try it out, or just bring yourself.

We’ll mount an extensive press campaign to all the trades with our 600 word releases also going to at least 100,000 journalists, twice.

Thus, the newly Patented Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform





So, a movie, music or a game addict, and even we STUDIO engineers, can crank it up at 3 AM, and not bother the neighbors. But now, I really need you to make a PLEDGE.

It was hard to come up with perks and incentives related to my invention, so, I decided to offer some of the finest dining places in the country and some famous jazz, country, classical, and Irish music places as perks and here’s a few:

New York’s

21 Club

Four Seasons

Carnegie Deli


NY Philharmonic Orch. at Lincoln Center

Meehan’s Irish Pub in St. Augustine, FL

Philly’s Old Ship Moshulu Restaurant

Grand Ole Opry 

So, how did all of this come about?

I got the idea a few years ago when I was shooting my miniatures. I’m also a miniature craftsman and have made little working chandeliers, some of which are in museums.  was writing my book, The Fine Art of Photographing Miniatures, especially chandeliers and rooms, and how to make them look like they’re real and FULL size. I was setting up the lighting and the camera to shoot a colonial room my wife had built.


 Note that the camera is only inches away at that established eye level of about four inches (four feet) off the floor

Seeing as how the furniture and chandelier looked so real at only a few inches away, I wondered how little SPEAKERS might sound from inches away. So, I went to work experimenting, and my research revealed that the intensity of sound levels drops off in inches just like it does in feet, and in the same proportions. Acting the same as light does in its intensity, they both follow the Inverse Square Law. The Patent Examiners, after intensive searching “prior art” Patents, found that no one had ever come up with this idea and after four years, issued my Patent.

Thus, the newly Patented Miniaturized Loudspeaker Placement Platform.

So I am asking everyone who reads this to help me get to that important show, where I can shout it all out to those important companies and then on to the three big city demonstrations RECORDING PROFESSIONALS AND SPEAKER COMPANIES. And, with your much needed help, that right company will find us, and we’ll get the word out to everyone. Make a pledge and I’ll appreciate it, MORE than you’ll ever know. And if you can get to Pittsburgh, I will be getting a limited number of badges to see the show. If not at Pittsburgh, at least you’re invited to one of the demonstrations. Well, I hope to see you there.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my smart ass-istant “Buck” made the first pledge of a buck and wanted change for a five..


Wouldn’t keep his mouth shut


And he finally got “all wrapped up.”

 And now, he is one of the perks.



Having Fun Baiting 419 Scammers Now On LinkedIn

I just discovered a wonderful and fun way to pass a couple hours by way of a LinkedIn email I received from an obvious 419 Nigerian scammer. I couldn’t stop laughing at what I wrote to them. But  whatever you do, don’t believe a word of what I wrote to them. Somehow, they have managed to sneak into LinkedIn, with authentic looking credentials, friends, and business professionals, to make them look real. Of course, LinkedIn will be informed as well as the proper authorities. And I don’t mean to offend any religious person who may read this. But when anyone  lies and plays the religious card to steal, opens themselves to any and all means to expose them.

I’m sure that most of us have been a target of the well known scams offering millions of dollars to unwary recipients. The first time this happened to me, I was totally unaware of the game of these criminals and was sucked in by what appeared to be total honesty by “Abou,” who turned out to be the classic scammer working from the west coast of Africa. I was only sucked into paying for two long distance phone calls that probably rang up to money in his pocket. And when I was informed and was sent documents of proof of the shipment that the multi-millions in “cash” would be shipped in boxes, and  for me to pay to have them forwarded to me. Or the alternative was  to fly to Spain and collect the boxes with the cash, my further research made me catch on to their game. There would also be more fees for me to collect the “empty” boxes. And then I got calls and email wanting to know why I didn’t show up in Spain. They are experts at their game of crime and there are a million stories outlining their tactics of swindling millions from unwary folks.

So, a couple weeks ago I got this email through LinkedIn from “business” contact professional Anna Maria, with a look of total realness, and with 106 business contacts. Her profile was that  did “legal” work and I assumed she was another lawyer. And so, I accepted her as a contact to add to my 193 contacts. And then, talk about ingenuity and imagination, she sent me this, verbatim, punctuation and all:

“Greetings. I know that this letter may come to you as a surprise, I am Mrs. Anna Maria Agara from Italy. I am Philanthropists.and have been engaged in the building and establishment of humanitarian foundation Because of my present ill health I am currently in the hospital where I underwent treatment for lung cancer, and I am contacting you to donate the sum of $12.5 million USD with trust. this fund is meant for building of Orphanage Centers, less privileged widows and HIV/AIDS Victims in the society, ETC, in fulfillment of my late husband wishes.and you can invest this money in any where of your choice We have been married for many years without any child and the doctor confirmed to me that I will not live more than four months from now,that’s why i am taking this bold step donating this fund to you. Contact me on this my private email address: (—————), so that I can send you more information. Remain blessed, Mrs. Anna Maria Agara.”

She states that she is from Italy and that is the assumption. But whoa! Does this smell of 419 or what? She/he doesn’t know me from Adam and assumes (From my LinkedIn profile) in her writing that I am a good Christian? I then proceeded to ponder over what and how is she/he going to try to swindle money out of me now that she/he has the LinkedIn contact and my email address. Or, if I don’t play my cards right, will she/he get into my computer and get personal information or plant a virus if I piss her/him off? Her next email, while assuming I am a “good” Christian and she is trusting me, a stranger, went like this (note the same punctuation and typos):

“Beloved one in the Lord.I am Mrs Anna Maria Agara,  Am sorry to come into your privacy. I wantto hand over this noble project to you with trust.i have beendiagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defied all forms of medicaltreatment, right now, I have only about a few months to live and Iwant you to distribute my funds($12.5 MILLION US DOLLARS) to charitieshome as my promise to God.i have set aside 40% for you and your family. please i want you to stand as new beneficiary of my husband fund,and i will make sure that the bank transfer the money into your account,all the document is with my attorney Recently my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next four months due to cancer problem, though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my Condition, I decided to donate this fund to church or Better still a Christian individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein.”

Right! Usual story. And why would she choose me, a stranger over her “church” to administer millions? Am I that stupid? No! I’m supposed to give her my bank account numbers and guess what? And so, I searched the Internet search engines with these questions,  “how to play with scammers” and “playing 419 scammers at their own game.” I found these three websites,,, and

Those groups of people thrive on wearing the criminals down, wasting their time and spreading the word to the unknowing many about how to handle them. I was cracking up reading some of the baiting tactics. But wait until you read mine. If you are up for it, they all present good advice to wear the bastards down but warn not no to piss them off, threaten them or call them names, for fear of retaliation of sending you a virus, etc. Some were real gems, and so I started writing and composing some gems of my own. I took Mrs. Anna Maria’s cue of hers being a strong religious game when seeing her assumption that I am Christian, she wrote:

“I want you to use this money support churches, Orphanages, Research centers and widows propagating the Word of God and to ensure that the house of God is Maintained. The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that Giveth. I took this decision because I don,t have any child that Will inherit this Money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I Don,t want my Husbands money to be misused use by Unbelievers. I don,t want a Situation where this money will be used in an ungodly Manner,that is the Reason for taking this bold decision…”

She went on to ask for 1. Name; 2. Address; 3. Country 4. Phone; 5. Age;  6. occupation 7. Email

(And signed)
Yours in Christ,
Mrs Anna Maria Agara.

And so, how does she/he know if I am Christian or not? Well, I took the advice of the aforementioned baiting site and said that her lawyer and my lawyer should talk. And then came her Barrister Paul Jean with his crap. I sent him my lawyer’s 13 questions to answer which he ignored totally. After my second request to answer came his/her response with the phony documents. Remember that their emails are reproduced here exactly as they were sent, punctuation and grammar. Lawyers, with many years of study,  generally learn to speak and write properly :

(From: jopu jopu) Barrister Paul Jean
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 10:39 AM
Subject: Fwd: Attn Mr Don Meehan.

“Mr Don Meehan,
Feel free in this transaction, because every thing about this transaction is legal and reality, but this transaction must TOP SECRET, security reason.
One more thing, Mrs Anna Agara said you and i should not allow any body to be aware of the fund, because there husband family member need the fund, so keep this to your self alone, until the fund is to get.
Open attachment find death certificate including with deposit certificate of Mrs Anna Agara late husband documents.”


Note that is reads “English Version.” What other versions are there? I learned that English is the official language in Nigeria, so, why can’t they get it right when writing? Note that Anna Maria above in bold said she was from Italy. And the death is in Lome, Togo, (almost ten years ago) west coast of Africa, where Nigerian scams rule.



Note that it says:  “Original Copy?”  Deposited 14 years ago. American funds? Not Togo or Euro? NOTE COMMISSION ON TURNOVER – .5%  .5% OF 12.5 MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS = $60,000. I’ll bet the ranch that this is obviously to be paid by the turnover to the sucker. 14 years, not touched, no activity no interest paid etc.? Also, nothing here about Italy, and when I did a Google search for they returned:

Oops! Google Chrome could not find

(Barrister Paul Jean continued) “Bellow is message, which you will re-send to the bank headquarters through there E-MAIL ADDRESS <> immediately, because the bank headquarters is waiting for your response now. Bellow is message, which you will re-send to the bank headquarters through there E-MAIL ADDRESS <> immediately, because the bank headquarters is waiting for your response now.”

When I saw what was on the documents I wrote Mrs. Anna Maria, outdoing myself playing the “religious card and name dropping” I wrote this:

“In a dream last night I believe that I received alms from the Almighty in Heaven with a blessing and a message. I have received, on occasion, important revelations like this that prove to be true. And in this blessed moment it is a revelation that your life will be spared and that you will live a long life. I have great faith in Jesus that He will not increase your despair AND THAT YOU WILL LIVE TO BE 100.”

I went on to write: “Lastly, and most importantly, your Barrister attorney Mr. Paul Jean is without Christian Trust, inasmuch as he has sinned exceedingly against the most Holy Commandments by lying to me and has not answered important questions my attorney set forth regarding your late husband’s Trust. He is not of the Lord’s friends, but apparently a friend of Satan. And certain things have occurred to make me believe he is not on your side and is on the side of the relatives of your dead husband who are trying to take the fund from you for their own selfish purposes… I need someone who I can trust and I cannot at this point trust Mr. Barrister Paul Jean. If we are to continue with this transfer, I would prefer not to do business with Mr. Jean, since he has not been up front with me and he does not have my 100% trust…”

Note that I purposely misspelled the word Barrister once as Barraster. (As in Bare ass ter)

The next day I was almost falling on the floor laughing out loud when I pulled out all the stops and wrote this:

“Dear Mrs. Anna Mara Agara,

I am extending my forgiveness of Barrister Paul Jean and I will explain herein. I had a very heavy heart last evening after sending you the email yesterday. And so, I decided it was imperative to attend Confession to my dear priest friend, Monsignor Yehudi Houdini. He was the illegitimate son of one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century,  Yehudi Menuhin. Msgr. Houdini and I attended seminary together and were ordained to the priesthood together on May 31, 1970. He stayed on, but I left the priesthood after three years because I decided that the Lord needed me to perform my many talents doing His work assisting others out in the world. Monsignor Houdini (He likes to be called Yahoody) is probably one of the greatest cellists in the USA now, and he wears his hair, mustashe, and beard exactly like Jesus. We both play in the local symphony orchestra, and it is just an awesome Heavenly sight. And people come from miles away just to see what appears to be Jesus sitting there with utmost emotion, sometimes in tears, playing and praying every single note on his historic Andrea Amati cello from 1600. However it is disturbing to me and others that because of his age he must color his hair and beard to continue to look like Jesus and he is criticized for this.

“But to sit across from Monsignor Yehudi Houdini at Confession in a small darkly lit reconciliation room, you would think you were talking directly to Jesus and the chills usually run up and down my spine. The same prayerfulness and stature in the playing of the notes on the cello can be seen in Yehudi’s posture when his eyes meet mine in the reconciliation room. This is the ultimate God experience and gives the penitent an extra assurance that his sins are truly forgiven, and that he is in God’s hands. After saying the Penance given by Msgr. Yehudi of three Hail Marys, and the Monsignor’s instruction to trust the words of Barrister Paul Jean and ask his forgiveness, I felt a great burden lifted. Do you think the Barraster will accept my apology? By the way, the rumors are that the Monsignor will be appointed to Bishop in the near future and that he may one day be elected Pope.

“When I told Yehoodi of my dream and my apparent revelation, he reminded me that in all of history of revelations of Jesus and Mary at Fatima, Bayside, Medjugorje and lately at Oshkosh, Looneyville and Ding Dong, Texas, Fart, Virginia and Timbuktu on the African Coast, discernment of all these heavenly visions and apparitions must be discerned properly, since Satan comes in posing as Jesus and Mary. Msgr. Houdini warned me that the news to me in my dream about you, Anna Maria, being healed and living a long life could very well be Satan lying with his dirty tricks, and NOT Jesus. Therefore, he cautioned me not to believe this so quickly, and that you may, indeed, pass into His Heavenly Arms soon, as the doctor has predicted, in months or even days as Barrister Paul Jean has indicated to me. And further, he has directed me to extend to Barrister Paul Jean a token of forgiveness and that I should also return to converse with my trust in him, and not judge him.


‘As you know, priests are sworn to secrecy under the pain of mortal sin in the confessional and cannot reveal to anyone what is said in the confessional. And we know that secrecy with Mr. Agara’s Fund is of utmost importance because of Mr. Agara’s relatives wanting the money. Lastly, the Monsignor pleaded that I implore of you to have a priest come to your hospital bedside and deliver the Last Rites to insure your place in Heaven at God’s side where you belong. Also, please tell me the name and place of your hospital, as I would like to send you roses. And so, lets proceed with the Trust as soon as possible and I promise to do all that you have wished for.

Yours in Christ, Don Meehan ”

Like I said, don’t believe a word of what I wrote.

Oh for goodness sakes! She/he has ignored my last plea extending forgiveness to her/his Barrister (Baraster) lawyer and the next day has now sent the exact same original plea. I can’t wait to continue to play the religious card. Please stay tuned.

P.S. So, please  glance at the “official” Certificates and see if you can spot some phoniness. Please leave some comments on what you see and also spread the word about the criminals.  


Those were the days? Not quite but almost Some were Some weren’t

It was February 13, 1953 when the Fort McClellan, Alabama Special Services major met Dwight Malcolm and me  and took us to the Service Club to rehearse for the finals of the first Third Army Talent Contest. They had flown us from Camp Rucker, Alabama in probably the smallest plane they had. It was us and the pilot and Dwight’s marimba, without an inch to spare. There were people there from every Third Army camp to compete. The major pulled me aside and told me he had this colored fellow to play the piano that he had brought in off the field dressed in fatigues, dirty and looking very tired. He apologized, saying that he didn’t know how well he could play. He wanted me to let him know.

In those days we still had segregation just about everywhere. It even still existed in the Army, but never among musicians. And this fellow was blacker than black and referred to as “colored” in those days. So, with a bit of skepticism wondering about his musicianship, I indicated that my songs, showing my versatility, would be a medley of My Blue Heaven, and then into Mario Lanza’s Be My Love, and wind up with a swinging Bye Bye Blackbird. And I told him the keys for each song. I was taken aback when he nodded on each song and key I told him, as his fingers were flying over the keyboard. I set the tempo and he did an intro and I started to sing. My God, this guy was fabulous. And one has to play great piano to transpose keys like he did.

I was being accompanied by just about the greatest piano player I had ever heard. And before I could I give the thumbs up and a nod of approval, the major asked me what I thought? I gave the guy a grin, a wink and a nod then did a little take like I wasn’t so sure and said, “Oh, I guess he’ll do.” I still didn’t know who he was, but then, the major introduced us. “Private Don Meehan, say hello to Private Wynton Kelly.” Holy shit! There I was singing with one of the greatest jazz piano players in the world and the asshole major didn’t even know who he was. And I didn’t either until I heard his name. He’d been written up in just about every music magazine, and had played with Dizzy, Ella, Dinah, and every jazz great. After the Army he had great times playing with Miles Davis. And there we both were making about $50 a month private’s pay.

cropped-Wynton_Kelly_01 (1)

Jazz Great Wynton Kelly

The contest went well. Lucky Friday the 13th. And my jumping from crooning a swinging ballad to an operatic high tenor and then to a swinging Bye Bye Blackbird brought the house down. So, I won for the singing with one of the greatest jazz pianists, Wynton Kelly accompanying me. These were all pops and standards I was singing but the next day, Valentines Day, I would be flying to Nashville to record some of my country songs on my RCA Victor session one of which was That Long Long Road of Love. Yeah, it’s traditional from those days. Elvis discoverer Steve Sholes was producing and Chet Atkins leading the band of Nashville greats. There’ll be more on this later in another post.

Wynton and I went on to becoming great friends for the rest of our Army days and after, until his untimely death in 1971.  It was Commanding General A.R. Bolling’s decision to put a variety show together from those in the contest, to travel to all the Army bases. Our little caravan of several Army staff cars and a truck took us to all of them. As one of our guys described us, we were “the general’s pets,” and usually were treated first class in most all the camps we went to except one. Gordon Terry, described later as the best bluegrass fiddle player in the country came on board. By then country great Faron Young had joined our group. I’d play bass with our trio, and when I’d sing a country song with my guitar, Wynton would pick up the bass and play with our country band.


We all bunked together at our Fort McPherson, Georgia base, and were always in decent quarters all together at the various camps. After all, we were the general’s pets. We would be up quite late as usual, and also would sleep late as usual, and our commanding officer, a lieutenant, against regulations, most of the time, would bunk in with us at the various camps. However, at one camp they had put us in an isolated barracks to bunk, with the old sagging mattresses on two tiered bunks. It was reminiscent of basic training, whereas two or three sergeants and corporals came busting in at 5AM blowing whistles and demanding everyone line up at attention like you see in the movies. The sergeant almost flipped out seeing two “colored” boys between us, since integration had not been completely implemented in the Army yet. “Get dressed,” he yelled. “And get those colored boys out of here.”

Our lieutenant, stripped to his shorts was also a real sight standing there with us at the sergeant’s order, especially when he finally stepped forward to try to identify himself, but not before they began to rummage through our personal belongings. He quickly put on his uniform and flashed his gold lieutenant bar and suggested they talk alone. He told us later that he had to negotiate with the sergeant that neither would tell on the other for disobeying certain regulations. I.e., he wasn’t supposed to bunk with us enlisted men and most importantly, the sergeant was supposed to know who we were. (“The generals pets”)

We were on the road constantly between camps and had to stop for meals.  Remember, this was 1953 and we were in the Deep South traveling with a dozen white guys and two African Americans. Every time we had to stop for meals they would say that those “colored” boys would have to go around to the back and eat outside.

colored served in rear

And we all went around to the back with them.


colored dining roon rear


It was reminiscent of the stories of people like Sammy Davis Jr. and others in Las Vegas having to stay across town in boarding houses, and not being allowed to stay in the hotels where they were performing. We had to contend with this kind of garbage throughout the south. In November 1954, the Will Maston Trio featuring Sammy Davis, Jr. became the first African Americans offered complimentary room, board, drinks and access to a casino on The Strip at the Vegas Frontier, and a big $5,000 a week for the trio.

Picture twelve white guys and two blacks sitting on the ground at the back entrance of a restaurant, with plates, consuming a meal. They never expected the rest of us to join them. There was only one restaurant during all those months that set up a private closed dining room where we could all eat together. We all went to a pizza place in Augusta, Georgia once, where they weren’t allowed in and we finally had MP’s guarding us outside while we all sat on the MP and staff cars eating our pizza. And some of us have the nerve to repeat the phrase, “Those were the days?”

drinking fountain colored

Another post will be forthcoming about my earlier years of being born in, living, playing and singing, and having to deal with Deep South racial hatred.

Dick Van Dyke was doing an afternoon variety show on WSB in Atlanta in 1953 and I was booked on it to sing. By then, Wynton Kelly and I were like brothers with our music. I also played bass and with another jazz great, Harold Karabell on clarinet, we had the best little trio around. So, Wynton and I took a bus to the station, not a very good sight in the south for a white boy hanging out with a “colored” boy in the ‘50s. He had to go and sit in the back of the bus. If I had tried to sit with him I probably would have been arrested.

back of the bus

We didn’t know if it was Van Dyck or the producers who ordered that that (and using the “N”word)  could not appear on camera with me. What a bunch of shit. One of the greatest piano players in the world and he couldn’t be seen or even get a mention. And I felt like walking right out. But I knew that if I did, I’d probably be court-martial-ed.

Our Lieutenant almost put me on FECOM (Korea duty) when he threw me out of the show once for wearing the wrong jacket during a big outdoor concert and show in Atlanta. I just wanted to look good with my solo performance before thousands of people, but he charged me with disobeying an order. The only good thing about that came about when I met Barry Newman in the band. He and I teamed up for a Martin and Lewis type comedy routine at the service club. He later got big and became Petrocelli on TV. Strange that his bio said he was born in 1938. Let’s see, if I was 22 that would make him 13 or 14 at the time. That’s showbiz. You must be “young.” Good thing the lieutenant didn’t find out that we unhooked the odometer cable and drove one of the staff cars 250 miles from Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Myrtle Beach and back one time.

I guess I was just a natural born rebel rouser. At Christmas time that year, I was living in an apartment off post, and I put up some decorations in the upstairs window. I expressed some of my sentiments by painting a large representation of four choir boys singing and set up a speaker to play Christmas choir music outside. The painting consisted of one lone black boy and an oriental boy singing shoulder to shoulder with two white boys, and the wording,”Peace On Earth.” My sentiments won me the first prize for the best decorations, and I wasn’t court marshaled. By the way, our lieutenant was finally arrested and went to prison for stealing some wallets.

Those were the days? I just have to say that we did our best to make the most of them with our music.

The “Pepsi Pours it On” ‘60s campaign – Hats off to “Queen” Anne Phillips – Another overdub nut like me

Yeah, I guess that’s where I really learned it. Anne owned Stea-Phillips Studio in the old hotel next to Columbia Records at 799 Seventh Avenue. The Victoria. And she had a studio in her home in Jersey. She could overdub anything, anytime she felt like it, in her own places or her favorite others, like Bell Sound with Eddie Smith, Mira Sound with Brooks Arthur, and I guess I could name six or eight others. Anne was also the main singers contractor for groups for everyone, practically, who recorded. She also did one hell of a job composing, arranging and conducting, and was and is a great jazz singer.

There must have been at least a dozen or more singers working with Anne of which I was one. And there must have been all twelve or more of us called in on about the hottest July days of year in 1966 to back up Kate Smith on her Christmas Album It was hotter than hell when they had to turn the AC off when we recorded.

Our main group of four consisted of Anne, Jerry Keller, Trade Martin and me. We could sing anything written at sight. Her Queen Anne’s Lace Album” at HERE is available at CD Baby. We were joined on the album by two additional singers, Jerry Duane and Gene Steck. Several of Anne’s solo albums include the classic Born To Be Blue, and her most recent release, Ballet Time .

Anne had put me through a wringer, having to learn to sight sing anything written on a music sheet in any key. We were just like any good musician with an instrument. And then, with some additional coaching by Anne, I became one of the four of her main group. When she had more than one date booked, she would usually call on me to go and act as the leader according to AFTRA and SAG  rules. Anne was blessed, or rather cursed with perfect, or what is called absolute pitch. This meant that if a part was written in C, and the singer wanted to sing it down a half a step, the band would have to transpose it to the key of B with five sharps. And so would Anne. On the other hand, if they wanted it up a half step it would be in Db with five flats. The rest of us would just blissfully sight read, without a problem as if we were still in the key of C. But not Anne. She had to transpose.

Well, I get this call sometime in 1965 in the evening at the Columbia Studio, from Anne asking, “Can you do an imitation of Del Shannon?” “Sure, what’s up?” I said. During those times I had learned that you never turn down anything when it comes to a singing job. She explained that she was writing an arrangement for the Pepsi Cola “Come Alive“ campaign to sound like Del Shannon’s big hit, Handy Man in ’64. Frankly, I could imitate and sing like most anyone at that time, and I told her that I could do it. So I ran right out and bought the record and spent the rest of the night listening and copying his sound on his words, “I fix broken hearts, I know that I truly can Come-a, come-a , come-a Yeah, yeah, yeah Come-a, come-a, come-a”

So, we go into the studio the next day and Anne had assembled the best players and written a great rock arrangement that would sound identical to Del’s Handy Man. And there I was singing, “Come alive, Come-a come-a alive (from a high A and Bb twice), You’re in the Pepsi generation.” I thought it was for radio but learned later it was only a demo at AFTRA rates, and no radio play. But guess who did the TV commercial. You guessed it. Del Shannon, imitated me imitating him. I believe they may have just used the same music track and had him and the Royaltones overdub it. So he got the big bucks on that one. See it HERE.

Anne was arranger-conductor on some more for Pepsi, including the “Turtles” whom we also imitated, and then, they imitated us imitating them. Hear them HERE. She also did the “Four Tops.”

But the real big one came along later when I got a call from Anne to be at A&R studio the next morning for our own Pepsi commercial. Phil Ramone would be engineering, and a young(er) Jerry Bruckheimer at BBDO Adv. Agency producing. I was working days at Columbia at that time, and would have to call in with a sick day. The fact was that I had already called in because I had a bad case of laryngitis. So it wouldn’t be a lie. How in the hell am I going to do this? I thought. I could barely talk, much less sing, but here was one of my biggest breaks ever in show business. Since I had run out, I’d have to hurry to get some Megazones in the morning and eat them like candy to clear my throat.

My daily routine going to work at Columbia was to park my car in Long Island City and take the subway E train into Manhattan two stops to Fifth Avenue. On that day, even though my throat was a lot better, I would head on over to a certain drugstore on Broadway and buy up a load of “Megazones.” We singers would usually have some of these handy in case of throat problems. I didn’t. So, as the train approached the station, who did I see in the back of the last car but my studio boss? That’s right. We rode the same E Train those two stops every morning. There was no time to wait for another train so I hightailed it to the front end of the car, hoping he didn’t see me on the crowded standing only car. If I hadn’t gotten on and just stood there on the platform, he would have certainly seen me standing there, deepening the puzzle. Since he would usually get on the E train at the stop before mine, I would run into him often and we’d get off the train and walk a block to work together. If he had seen me and confronted me later, my excuse would have been that I was seeing a doctor in Manhattan. However, since we had to dress hip and young and Beatles like on most all of our dates, I don’t know how I would have explained my Beatle boots and my rock and roll outfit, if he had seen me and confronted me later. He didn’t. And I never really knew if he saw me or not.

So I got the Megazones and hurried to the A & R studio where about twenty or twenty-five musicians were setting up. A huge event. I was popping the powerful little lozenges one after another like candy, sucking away, trying to relax and numb my throat as much as possible. I almost fell over when I saw the parts. It was a first. We were to overdub three or four times, “Taste that beats the others cold, Pepsi pours it on…” Throat felt a lot better and I did it. I don’t know how but I did it, thanks to the Megazones. It was flying colors and I sang my ass off with all the others.  You can see and hear it HERE.   Another HERE. And just us and an MP3 HERE.   We did some more with different arrangements and keys later. We weren’t on camera, but we overdubbed and got paid double scale and double residuals with every play, and  residuals poured in for awhile.

And yes, it was played on the Super Bowl, a whole minute. Most unbelievable was hearing the cost of a one minute spot on the Super Bowl show was that year. When our Pepsi Pours It On one minute commercial  aired in 1967, it would have cost them $40,000 twice or $80,000.  See the yearly Super Bowl prices through the years at HERE.  This year, in 2013,  it would have cost them $8 million to run it, twice the $4 million for thirty seconds, almost two hundred times more than ’67 for the one minute.

Soon after that, one day while jaywalking across West 48th Street in New York heading for Manny’s Music Store to buy some strings, I was surprised by the loud honking of a horn coming at me, a big Rolls Royce. It was none other than Anne Phillips enjoying some of her newly earned singing wealth, also heading for Mannys. She deserved it, dammit, as one of the most talented people on the planet.

Well, speaking of Super Bowl  commercials, my son, Don Meehan Jr, a working actor moving ahead in New York, starred in a very funny one about the “Perfect” N.E. Patriots in 2008 with his comedic talents, when the price then was upwards of $5,400,000 for a one minute commercial. See it HERE. He did the Off Broadway show Play Dead  recently with Teller of Penn and, and is opening in another one on July 9, World Premiere of SASQUATCHED! THE MUSICAL Set for NYMF, 7/9 through 14. Yeah, just a block off the old chip. That’s my boy.


Waiting for the mail that never comes – Talk about anxiety!

Imagine how you might feel if you were anxiously waiting for some good news from The U.S. Patent Office as well as Guinness World Records on some important projects you are working on. Yeah, that’s where I’m at right now. Every morning, after four months, I’m checking my email for whether Guinness is going to go for my world record of the most overdubbed voices on a sound recording. Also, every day I’m checking the U.S. mail after over three years of waiting to hear about our Patent Application for our Miniaturized Surround Sound Loudspeaker Placement Platform. The full Application with drawings is here. My wife, Fran and I came up with this one. And she is also busy as all hell with her great work on her items for pets, such as collars, leashes, bow ties and you name it on her website, PamperYourPet Boutique. As you can see, there’s never a dull moment at our house.

The  Miniaturized Surround Sound Loudspeaker Placement Platform is all about listening to 5.1 sound inches away from the speakers instead of feet. I spent months writing it myself in legal fashion and doing about thirty drawings, since Patent attorneys charge thousands. I’m trying to make a plan that will include both of these projects and have written and tossed at least a dozen attempts to write a decent plan for some crowd funding on Indiegogo. I reckon that if Guinness doesn’t come through, I’ll just complete the recording without them. I’m up to 126 voices to date doing the Hallelujah Chorus, soprano, alto, tenor and bass, to wind up with a country rock feel.

It would be nice to have their name on it. To my knowledge, no one has ever overdubbed as many voices as I have on a recording. So, since I know it has never been done, I have a shot with some good publicity, I guess. But if they fall through, I’ll just do it without them. Their last demand was that if they took it on, I would need to sell 10,000 records. I answered with this:

“With all due respect of your professionalism, there is no record company in the world who would guarantee any sales, and no way 10,000 sales of a recording… Also, it’s unique quality of mixing classical with Nashville country style band backing, may not appeal to anyone… Secondly, it makes sense to me that laboring and/or singing and recording 11 hours (4 minutes x 175 voices = 700 ÷60 = 11 hours) of my voices should at least be offered to the public to buy, rather than to have it sit on the shelf just to say ‘I did it.’ Most people will say, ‘so what?’ And so will I. Therefore, it makes sense to offer it for sale on my label and then attempt to get major label interest.”

So, am I off the wall or what? Actually, they upped the number requirement from 175 to 200 voices, which I said ok, no problem. What’s another 100 minutes of singing for a world record?

This is reminiscent of negotiating with used car salesmen, real estate agents, department store appliance salesmen, and strange as it may seem, this is starting to look like a negotiation game here with Guinness. It appears that they may be just looking for money.

They say on their website that it will take four to six weeks to give an answer. In my case now, since my application on Feb. 11. 2013, it is going into the fifth month. They say, “At Guinness World Records, we take great care to evaluate every claim we receive. Before we accept or reject a new record proposal, we always carry out claim-specific research, which may require the expertise of external consultants. As a consequence, a Standard Application requires four to six weeks to be reviewed…If you Fast Track the initial application or upgrade your standard claim, the cost of the service is £450 / $700 + 20% VAT (if applicable). Please note that payment for the Fast Track services guarantees that your record application is given priority treatment to be researched and processed.”

Therefore, if I had given them $700 plus 20% VAT on Feb. 11, I would have had an answer in three days on about Feb. 14. Also, for quite a few more hundred dollars and travel and hotel expenses I can have one of their judges at our event to speed things up more and also have an immediate answer.

Do I really need this aggravation? How about I just do it, and tell the world, “Hey, I just did another world record of overdubbing my voice 200 times on a recording. Here is the proof.” Proving is not that difficult, since my voice will be just about the same on every track. And I can show a track for every voice. Tell me what you think about this. I’d love to hear some of your comments.

As far as the Patent Application is concerned, usually no company will be interested in taking on abn invention unless a Patent has been issued, and you are up against thousands of others out there trying to sell a Patent. And according to statistics, it’s just like songs. There are thousands of songwriters and not a lot of them get out there. Believe me, writing a Patent Application is like writing a thesis, and writing the claims is almost impossible So, I guess I’ll have to just wait it out on both accounts to form a plan for Indiegogo. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow. Sounds like another song.

How to filter out the sound of the Goodyear Blimp engines

I watched some of the U.S. Open last week. It happened only about ten miles from where we live, here in Northeast Philly. But, watching on TV was a lot easier than trekking over there and walking miles in the rain. I was drawn to it by the sound of the Goodyear blimp, which would fly over us on the way to cover the event from above. It made me wonder how many Goodyear blimps there are, since they seem to be everywhere you go.

We live close to the Northeast Philly airport, and in fact, are at the very end of the longest runway. It’s not so bothersome, inasmuch as the sounds of three or four jets a day taking off and flying over only lasts a few seconds. But when the blimp slowly flew over every morning last week heading to the Merion Golf Course in Ardmore, PA, the constant sound of the engines drew my interest to make me run outside to get a closer look at this beautiful machine flying over me. Also my curiosity took me to Google to find out that there are three in the U.S., which fly over sporting events like Merion.

As a musician, the sound, or the pitch of the engines resonated and lasted in my ears and made me wonder what hertz, or frequency, I was hearing. So, I found the pitch by comparing it with playing a note on my guitar but I soon forgot what it was. By the way, the telephone dial tone, when you pick it up to dial, gives you a pure “F” chord, with the notes F, A and C. So if you have good relative pitch, you can tune your instrument this way.

It wasn’t too much later, when I tuned in to the tournament on TV, that I heard the same sound of the blimp’s engines over the announcers’ voices, constantly, throughout the reporting. It was a pain and a bore that their microphones were picking up the apparently un-muffler-ed sound of the blimp’s engines, throughout the day. And then, later I would hear the blimp returning to the airport.

It dawned on me later that if I were the audio engineer on the job, I would insert what is known as a “dip” filter into the circuit. It is a gizmo that finds the annoying hertz, or frequency, and enables you to dip the program only at that frequency, and filter out most of the noise.

The moral here is that the next time you are watching an event on TV where the blimp is hovering over and you hear the constant annoying sound, call the station and tell them how to fix it. By the same token, if you are an audio engineer at one of these events, and you are tired of the job and want to piss your boss off, and maybe want to collect unemployment, throw in the filter. When you find that frequency of the blimp’s engines, instead of dipping it, boost it to where that is almost all you hear, and guaranteed, you’ll be able to collect your unemployment in a New York minute, a Texas second or an Indiana instant.

So, on Monday, June 17, the day after Merion, I awoke early to hear at least 15 or 20 private jets take off and fly over me, the most ever, and I assumed that it was, indeed, all the billion or millionaire players heading home or wherever. It left me dreaming and thinking how great it would be to just get in your own plane and be wherever you want to be in no time. Well, I can dream can’t I? Sounds like a song. By the way, I wrote a new one over the weekend. Can’t wait to record it. No, the blimp sounds won’t work on it. Guess I’ll go over to the Boulevard (Roosevelt Speedway- It’s three blocks away) and record some 2 and 4 wheeler speedsters sounds for the demo. The Boulevard’s almost like Indy. They all do 60 and more and race to the next light only to sit there and wait for the green light, then speed on to the next light. Anybody know how to filter out those nuts?