Here are the last Pintastic 2017 Videos and interviews from the show.

I talked to Jessie who was at her first Pintastic

and watched her play a little Wizard of Oz

I talked to Sean who was waiting to play Dialed In

I played a little of the new Star Wars Pinball (only got to play it once)

And that ended the Pintastic Interview on Saturday. On Sunday morning I shot (what I thought) was the last Pintastic interview again with Gabriel D’Annunzio the man who made it all possible at the cost of being flat out taking care of things

If you enjoyed Pintastic he is the man you need to thank the most.

I was getting ready to leave and join my wife and other son at a breakfast/lunch Buffet down the road when internet sensation Todd Tuckey’s partner in crime Frank joined me for an interview filmed by my son, we were shortly joined by Todd Tuckey himself.

That video I shot for Todd that we’re talking about is not up at TNT Amusements yet, I’ll post it once he has it up.  I was wearing two hats and scarfs btw because we were leaving and I had not packed a hatbox.

My full playlist for Pintastic is embedded below

As you can see there was a lot of work along with the play at Pintastic 2017.

I’ll likely have one more pintastic post related to a topic I’ve dealt with before but we now return to our normal blogging, at least until next week when I’ll be at the Catholic Media event in Chicago and I shoot a whole bunch of new interviews to post


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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

The other day, the Washington Post postulated (pardon the redundancy) a lengthy missive dramatically titled Why My Guitar Gently Weeps: The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care. Sales are down! Workers laid off! Stores in trouble! Only baby boomers still buy guitars! Chicken Little running around yelling “the Stratocaster is falling!” Etc etc etc ad tedium.

Despite its obligatory embarrassing factual gaffs (no, Mr. Democracy Dies In Darkness dunderhead, the Gibson automatic tuner isn’t an available add-on; it’s standard on their high end models), the article is occasionally almost correct. It’s hardly a trade secret that right now popular music is in the doldrums. Somehow, it manages to be both omnipresent and irrelevant. Joe Walsh says it best:

At the present time, this generation’s edition of pop is machine music minus humanity. It is programmed, precise, perfect, and utterly void of heart or soul. Hip-hop’s endless drone of endlessly repeated beats and loops is as boring as rappers forever proclaiming their greatness is banal. Music today is Gertrude Stein’s Oakland. There’s no there there.

These things are accepted because, sadly, their target audience doesn’t know any better. The current generation, and to a degree its predecessor, has limited if any exposure to true artistic, songwriting, and instrumental proficiency. Like every generation before, the current crop wants its own entertainment icons. They have no idea they’re being fed Cheez Whiz while being told it’s caviar. The concept of a concert being the forum for actual live music is foreign to them. It is perfectly acceptable to exchange big bucks for two or so hours of dance moves, costume changes, and popping out of trap doors, all set to a prerecorded soundtrack. Every note lip synced? Who cares! She’s my idol! SQUEEE!

Nevertheless, all is not lost. Music trends come and go; it is not beyond reason to expect the next genuine, rather than media made, music hero will be a lot more Beatles and a lot less Beyoncé. Country, even in its current popified form, remains guitar-driven, the hotter the solo the better. Gibson has rectified recent production year gaffes; the 2017 models are truly drool-worthy for guitar aficionados of all ages. (Speaking of Gibson, doubtless there is no connection whatsoever between it and its head Henry Juszkiewicz being the article’s chief target for slagging and how the Justice Department, during the Obama administration, targeted Gibson for illegally importing wood, this harassment including a dramatic raid with guns drawn on Gibson’s Nashville factory … only to have the confiscated alleged wood later sheepishly returned once it was proved the lumber was acquired lawfully, right? Er … right? Wait, what, Juszkiewicz is an outspoken conservative? Sheer coincidence!) And, unlike the article’s assertion, buying and playing guitar remains a pursuit for all ages. Evidence? Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your consideration Guitar Showcase in San José, California.

Guitar Showcase has been privately owned and run since the 1960s, boasting a veteran staff that knows their stuff regarding guitars and related items be they vintage and new. It’s long been my store of choice, the mysterious albeit not mythical Mrs. Dude having endured many a lengthy session of me trying various guitars and talking shop with the staff. (She levels the playing field by dragging me to and through the local scrapbook store, but that’s a story for another time.) Unlike a Guitar Center, home of the kids kranking it and not much else, Guitar Showcase is where the serious players shop.

Guitar Showcase’s clientele comes in an equal mix of two flavors: the, uh, seasoned people like me who always stop and look at something new Steve Miller has recently dropped off for consignment before getting on with things, or 18-25 year olds who are usually ridiculously good players. The store doesn’t have nearly a Guitar Center’s foot traffic, but enjoys a far higher percentage of buyers per customers. Introductory models, high flyers (Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters, Gibson Les Pauls and SGs, Martin or Taylor acoustics), and not the occasional high end vintage or new instrument all steadily march out the door. The bottom line is the store’s bottom line is not hurting. At. All. And there are a whole lot more boutique guitar shops across the land doing equally well.

So no, Washington Post, the electric guitar is not dying a slow death. Newspapers, on the other hand …

Sunday morning begins with the left all a shutter over Donald Trump revealing that the absolute moral authority™ that the left conferred on him over his civil rights record 50 years ago has expired.

It’s a very Breitbartian response to the congressman who was never called to account for making false claims at the passage of Obamacare despite a $100K bounty for video or audio to support his claims of racism.

The media/left loud outrage was predictable as was Allahpundit’s willingness to join in this panic but in the end it changes nothing and all that the fuss will do is demonstrate Democrat importance.

As Batman said to the Joker in the original Dark Knight #3. “you’re playing the old game, today I’m taking no prisoners.


We’ve also heard a lot about how horrible it is that he said this with  Martin Luther King Day coming, but the fact is many of the left rejected King in life considering him an uncle tom and only embraced him after death when he was of use.  Furthermore given the  black community’s rush to re-segregate schools and dorms in the name of “diversity” and the Democrats embrace of it that they invoke King at all is frankly obscene.

If MLK was alive today he’d be ostracized in the same way as Clarence Thomas


For several weeks in the media we have seen story after story about GOP fears over the repeal of Obamacare and the press reporting that they are having 2nd thoughts.

Alas for the left that narrative has gone the way of the dodo

On a largely party line vote, the GOP controlled House passed a budget which will allow the party to repeal Obamacare using reconciliation, a process reserved for budget related items which cannot be filibustered in the Senate. The budget bill passed 227-198, with all Democrats and 9 Republicans voting against it.

That amounts to under 4% of the GOP defecting and largely because they (rightly) object to the level of spending. In the highly unlikely event that the same level defect from the senate, say a Rand Paul in protest to the spending, that will easily leave 50 votes to finish off Obamacare and don’t be surprised if a few democrats running for re-election in red states join in.

So I guess we can classify those stories as “fake news”.


For all those journalists still getting the vapors over Trump’s attack, here is an example of the actual mistreatment of journalists:

Hamas blocked journalists from filming a major protest against power cuts in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, detaining an Associated Press journalist at gunpoint and badly beating an Agence France-Presse photographer who refused to relinquish his camera.

The journalists sought to cover a demonstration against chronic electricity shortages in Gaza, which the AP described as “one of the largest unauthorized protests in the territory since the Islamic militant group took power a decade ago.”

Oddly the MSM doesn’t find this all that newsworthy, likely because Hamas opposes Trump.


Speaking of fake news lets also talks more fake hate crimes

Ann Doss Helms reports another fake hate crime in the Charlotte Observer. A kindergarten teacher was alleged to have committed the fake hate crime against a Muslim student. CAIR promoted the fake hate crime in its patented style, alleging a two-month reign of terror against the boy. The fake hate crime duly made the national news. Then came the investigation:

Police found no evidence to confirm a November report that a teacher bullied and assaulted a Muslim kindergartener at David Cox Road Elementary, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools reported Friday.

Principal Celeste Spears-Ellis notified parents that the accused teacher has returned to the classroom after the District Attorney’s Office found “no evidence of an assault other than the complainant’s report” and no grounds for criminal charges.

As a general rule if you have to fake hate crimes to make news odds are they aren’t happening.  And may I say that this bit (and the next) shows that Powerline has become a must read website


We’ve heard a lot about fake news let’s talk fake charities:

The Clinton Global Initiative has informed the New York Department of Labor that it intends to lay off its 22 employees on April 15, 2017. The reason given is “Discontinuation of the Clinton Global Initiative.” Here, via the The Great American Movement, is a link to the notice on the NY DOL web site.

It’s must be tough for a family of influence peddlers when they have no more influence to peddle.


It seems to me that this evaluation is correct:

THIS ISN’T A PROTEST, IT’S A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY: Inauguration Protesters Plan To Destroy Property And Disrupt Balls.

I think these people have decided the way to power and influence in the Democrat party is to destroy, I think they’ll look great in a DC jail and if Sessions decides to go after this stuff using RICO and start suing the folks funding these guys it could get interesting


I’ve been playing a lot of Civilization 6. It seems to me a radical departure from the previous versions. I really feel that I’m playing a different game rather than an update, not necessarily a better or worse one, but a different one. The real change is that I’ve been working in a two laptop system where one is dedicated to the game and the other to this work.


I’m an old comic book guy and at Christmas I picked up a bunch of stuff out of my kids folder for them along with six issues of Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Staki that I never cancelled. You would think after 20 years the quality might drop just a little, but it hasn’t. Along with Groo I’ll still pick them up and enjoy them.


Finally Yesterday Atlanta made mincemeat out of Seattle 36-20 and were celebrated as a powerhouse  while the Patriots pretty much treated the Texans the same in a 34-16 win and were greeted with stories about what is going wrong with them.  That’s how good the Pats are.

Incidentally The NFL should think it’s lucky stars for Tom Brady and the Patriots, the story of his suspension and their quest for Superbowl 5 along with the rise of the Cowboys, Atlanta and Aaron Rogers Packers have overshadowed the idiocy of Kaepernick et/al, but the real NFL news was San Diego telling the chargers to pound sand when asking for a new stadium. I think taxpayers are catching on to the scam.

Many people are writing about the fifteenth anniversary of the Islamist terrorist attack on America. Garrett M. Graff has a compelling article at Politico, ‘We’re the Only Plane in the Sky’ that tells the story of that horrible day by those in the Bush White House.

September 11, 2001, profoundly changed my view of the world.
On a personal level, it brought home how ephemeral life really is – especially since my birthday is on September 13th.

Ephemeral as it is, a responsible adult’s life has inescapable obligations and commitments, and we all enjoy pastimes in our valuable spare time.

Which brings me to the subject of pro football.

As a University of Georgia alumna, I loved UGA football while I was a student. I loved it while in college because of the social scene and the general enthusiasm of a football weekend, but to this day my knowledge of football is patchy at best. (Indeed, years ago my coworkers were annoyed that one week I won the football pool, but I digress.)

I do understand, however, how one develops a passionate interest in a sport, an activity, or a subject. I hope most people do; indeed, it is a poor life that does not experience a passion for something. In that sense, I fully understand why people are football fans even when I don’t know much about the game itself.

Likewise, many people  are passionate about politics.

Once you combine a passion for a sport with political statements, such as the (maybe?) intentional grounding plans for September 11, no less, tempers will flare, big time.

The excellent Argentinian movie The Secret In Their Eyes (not the American remake) explains a soccer fan’s passion in this scene. At the end of the scene, however, the actor says, “There’s one thing a guy can’t change, Benjamín. He can’t change his passion.”

The thing is, you can change you passion, not only once, but many times, in your lifetime. Ace explains:

It’s Not Give Up Something. It’s Choosing Something Better.

Ace both quit smoking and gave up watching football, because they became zombie habits (emphasis added):

For me, i didn’t stop watching football to make some political statement. I just realized it was a habit I wasn’t particularly enjoying — it was a Zombie Show I was watching. One of those shows you keep watching long after you have stopped taking pleasure from them, just because you’re in the habit of watching them, and they’re still on.

Zombie habits are just bad habits. If you’re not really enjoying something that takes up hours of your life: stop. You will quickly find some better things. The mind wants to be engaged and to have fun. You will find fun.

Ace is not alone in this realization, of course. Political-activist football players and teams are risking, as Juliette mentioned, that

A large portion of the NFL’s audience won’t put their monies out for this sort of thing.

Life is short; you don’t need 9/11 to remind you, even when it brings immediacy to the point. So, if the pastime has become a zombie habit, listen to Ace: You’ll find fun.

And good luck to the NFL guys.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

 

At Pintastic NE 2016 There were some big names in Pinball one of them is Jersey Jack of Jersey Jack Pinball

That’s Dr. Rick Lewis of the silverball Pinball Museum with him.

This is his Wizard of Oz game in play

and here are the guts

The Charity Project Pinball that places machines in children’s hospital around the nation returned

And there were plenty of individual players like Howie

and Mike

But it wasn’t just individual players, there was also associations like the Southern New Hampshire Pinball Club.

If I had a few extra bucks and more time I’d have joined on the spot

And there were plenty of parents and children there which is why Maggie the Clown, Lee Lee and Jane were there

But in end the real stars are the volunteers and organizers who brought plenty of their own machines for people to play for hours on end at their own expense, helped keep them running and full of credits for all three days and then after many days that ended at 3 AM had to get up early on Sunday to pack up their machines to take home.

So give a bow to Gabe who goes through so much for all of us to have a great time.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

One of the benefits of being fluent in more than one language is that it allows you to watch hoity toity stuff from abroad. You know the type – soap operas wrapped around history/period pieces, like The Tudors and such, only in languages other than English.

After the success of The Tudors – where Henry VIII was gorgeous but shorter than the real-life Henry – the Spaniards have come up with a TV series on Henry’s mother-in-law, Queen Isabella. The series, Isabel, is as visually appealing as The Tudors, filmed on beautiful locations and sets, and stars not only a lovely girl as Isabel but very handsome men, who greatly add to the appeal. Behold, the cast of Isabel:

I came across Isabel while flipping channels a couple of weeks ago, and started to watch the episodes on line (in Spanish, no subtitles). As it turns out, I finished watching the first season just as Hillary Clinton’s new book came out.

Hillary could learn five things from the young Isabel:
1. It’s not about you, it’s about your country: The young Isabel wanted to be queen not because it was her due as kin of the powerful, but because she was determined to make her people more prosperous (materially and spiritually) and to better her realm.

2. Don’t ask “what difference at this point, does it make?” Isabel fully realized that she was there to make a difference, and that it was her responsibility to do so.

3. Treat your bodyguards with respect and consideration. Young Isabel learned from an early age that good help is not only hard to find, but that her life depended on them, unlike Hillary, who confused the Secret Service with porters.

4. Don’t let your hair down in public. While young Isabel wore her hair down in the TV series, she was scrupulous about protocol. No leading the conga line while on a junket for her!

5. Don’t hang on your husband’s coattails. Isabel, when her brother the king died, placed the crown on her head and became chief justice through her own initiative. She didn’t wait for Ferdinand to get back in town. Indeed, the point was that she didn’t need to wait because it was she who was in charge.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog, and is fond of pretentious TV soaps disguised as docudramas.

My reviews of Stephen Budiansky’s soon to be released volume Perilous Fight America’s Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas 1812-1815 are now available both at Lunch.com here and at Amazon.com via the Amazon vine program here.

If you are looking for a book that is a play by play of the cannon balls of the fleet such as Preble’s boys you will likely be disappointed but Budiansky does cover a lot of aspects of the War that have been given short shift by other historians.

Oh and I suspect the William Bainbridge fan club will take Budiansky off their Christmas list.

But I have to agree with hyacinth girl concerning Pete Postlethwaite:

Spielberg called him the best actor in the world, a statement I cannot dismiss as hyperbolic; he was an amazing actor. He was anyone, anything, any time — for someone with such a distinctive face, he had the uncanny ability to blend into and become a part of the fabric of any film he was part of, while never becoming invisible. He simply was whatever character he was cast as, and he never once seemed to be acting. You believed he was whomever he claimed to be, and he was riveting.

My primary memory of him is from the Sharpe Series as Sgt Obadiah Hakeswill. He was also excellent as a lawyer in Amistad and as George Merry in the best version of Treasure Island there ever was (with Charlton Heston as Long John Silver).

I do not ever remember him giving a bad performance and thanks to the miracle of video he will be enjoyed many generations after his death.

Thanks Pete, well done!

You know it when you dream that your wife has taken you to a shop that specializes in Doctor Who stuff and in the dream the owner hands you a 14 foot Tom Baker Scarf and you wake up just as he hands it to you and am about to put it on!

You would think at age 47 I wouldn’t wake up with a huge smile at that point but I did. Sometimes I think men at heart never stop being kids. (The proof is yesterday my youngest got the Complete Three Stooges Yesterday and when he went to call his 55-year-old uncle to tell him his delight that same uncle shared his own delight at the very same gift!)

Speaking of which don’t think we didn’t notice that during yesterday’s Doctor Who Christmas special A Christmas Carol (which BBC America sneakily put on at the same time as my show, so I had to watch the steam online several hours earlier) that the little kid was wearing a Baker scarf at one point given to him by the 11th Doctor.

Other than the opening which makes Christmas simply the “winter solstice” (consist with the praying to Santa nonsense in The Eleventh Hour and the ignoring of the consequences of non-timelords meeting themselves in a time-line (Maudwin Undead) it was a cute sentimental story that is very enjoyable.

However I didn’t find it timeless, I have a nasty feeling that Steven Moffat is stuck on the same gimmick and can’t get off of it. You will like it but will you want to watch it again and again?

There’s the rub.

The 6th of our Advertisers of Christmas series.

Putnam Street lanes is on Putnam street Fitchburg and has been there for 120 years. For those of you who don’t know how Candle Pin bowling works here is a quick peek:

Then again sometimes the wood gives it back:

That doesn’t happen to me too often but it’s stuff like this that makes candlepin bowling such a challenge and why there has never been a perfect game in candlepin and the smaller balls are easier for kids and the elderly to keep rolling.