Shameless plug

Becky redesigned her website and I just finished coding the main page and the contact page last night. So the new site is up and running, and I think it looks great!


She is starting to get a lot of inquiries from all over the world. We can thank all of her family members and former clients who are doing a great job spreading the word. Especially Sarah, he seems to be our internet advertiser.

Last thing, can someone running IE6 on Windows let me know if there are any inconsistencies? All the other browsers should display the site correctly.


Long time Macintosh writer and Macworld columnist Anyd Ihnatko displayed a very cool instrument this past week at Macworld Boston. It was a ukuele with a built in USB port to hook directly up to a computer without the need for any other external devices. Dubbed the iUke, it was built for him by the folks over at Brian Moore Custom Guitars/iGuitar. You can read the story behind the iUke’s creation as well as see a picture of the instrument at the following link:

Welcome to iUke on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

The iUke works perfectly with GarageBand. Just plug it in, fire up GarageBand, and play away. Andy says he will post sample audio from the device on his personal site shortly.

Into the West

“INTO THE WEST, a six-week television event from TNT, Executive Producer Steven Spielburg and DreamWorks Television, explores one of the most powerful and defining chapters in American history.”

I’ve really enjoyed the first two episodes of Into the West. I’ve only caught bits and pieces of the first episode, saw all of the second, but missed the third. There will be six, two-hour episodes altogether. This weekend they’ll show the fourth episode. You can see the new episodes Friday, Saturday, or Sunday evenings (8/7c) with an encore presentation of the previous episode on Sunday evenings (6/5c) just before the new episode airs.

One of the main character’s name is Jacob Wheeler who originates from Virginia. He rescues a Lakota named Thunder Heart Woman from being sold to a mountain man. They eventually get married, move back to Virginia, then move back out to California again (with tons of other things going on in between). The whole show doesn’t focus on the two, but so far they seem to be the two common links between the settlers and the Native American’s. Here’s a preview of what this weekend’s episode entails:

“Jacob Wheeler’s children witness history as the transcontinental railroads bring east and west together. Margaret Light Shines, Jacob’s daughter, is captured by the Cheyenne, and is adopted by the tribe. But when their village is brutally attacked by U.S. soldiers, she turns her back on her old life and escapes with her new Cheyenne family.”

As the many different stories have unfolded, we get to see the settling of the West from many different perspectives, and the good and bad aspects of both the newcomers and native people are presented. You can read a very detailed synopsis of each episode that has aired as well as brief descriptions of what is yet to come at the Into the West website:

Into the West

I’m also looking forward to the final two episodes of the series. Episode 5 will be about Crazy Horse and Custer at Little Big Horn, and the series will culminate with the massacre at Wounded Knee in episode 6.

It’s unfortunate that you have to have cable or satellite to watch this. But I’m sure that the DVD will be available shortly. I’ll most likely at least rent it on DVD when it’s available so I can watch them all together. And hey, it could possibly the first made for TV anything that I purchase on DVD.

Virtual Banjo Lessons

This goes right along with the two banjo ebooks I wrote about earlier. The authors of those books are offering virtual banjo lessons in mp3 format. There’s a catch however (from their Plunkthumping website):

“The catch here is that after the each workshop goes online we will not post the next one until at least five people send us audio files of themselves playing the “homework” assigned at the end of each lesson.”

Here’s the website:

Virtual Frailing Banjo Lessons

Rather interesting idea. I don’t have a banjo handy, but if anyone tries these lessons out, please leave a comment.

Stars & Stripes Forever

Anyone know who Bill Tapia is? I didn’t until today. He is a long time folk singer. His instrument of choice is the ukulele. I came across an mp3 file today of a live performance he did of Stars & Stripes Forever (control-click or right-click the following link to save to your disk):

Bill Tapia: Stars & Stripes Forever

And if you’re interested in knowing more about Mr. Tapia and his music, you can visit his website.

Sandra Day O’Connor leaving Supreme Court

It’s been quite a week of news for the Supreme Court. From about 10a Eastern:

“Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said today she is retiring. O’Connor, 75, said she will leave before the start of the court’s next term in October, or when the Senate confirms her successor. “It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms,” O’Connor wrote in her resignation letter.” – Sandra Day O’Connor leaving Supreme Court – Jul 1, 2005

She was a desenting voice in the recent eminent domain decision and had written a very critical response to the decision.

Free banjo ebooks

Taken from

“Patrick Costello has recently released two of his popular old-time banjo books under a Creative Commons license, allowing them to be distributed freely on the Internet. These books are outstanding resources for all beginning banjo players and the online versions are completely FREE.”

Banjo ebooks

I thought Justin and all you other aspiring banjo players might enjoy this.