Question: I play the
accordion, too. Why did you start playing the accordion? What was your first accordion?
What do you play now? Do you know any good accordion jokes?
Answer: Glad you asked! Why I started to play the accordion--hmmmmm.
Well, after the incident of the jar of bees and Joey Doberman (see the Tales
Out of School page), my mother and father thought that if I put my energy
into music instead of stupidity, I'd be better off--and so would a lot of innocent
bystanders. So they asked me what instrument I'd like to play, and I said "the
accordion" off the top of my head for no particular reason at all.
My first accordion? My parents
went right down to Wards and bought me a 34 key, 48 bass piano accordion on the
budget plan for $6 down and $7 per month (big money in those days). I think the
whole bill came to about $65 or $70. There was nothing more beautiful to
me than that accordion. I instantly fell in love with its gleaming white pearl
finish and the celluloid-covered frame and keyboard. It had three sets of steel
reeds (not two--I know as a fellow accordionist you'll appreciate that),
a sliding octave coupler and a fourteen fold bellows. And it was made in Italy,
not Germany. My parents even sprung for a flannel-lined, artificial leather carrying
case for an extra four bucks. I still have this accordion, although it is not
really playable anymore. Now, I'm going to get a little more technical
in the next paragraph for the accordionists among you, so you non-free reed
musicians and all others might like to scroll down to the jokes.
These days I play three instruments.
One is a vintage 4x12 Hohner Carmen, 2/4 reeds musette tuned, 0/0 registers, 34
trebles, 11/16" keys, black with red & white deco floral accents (really
pretty!), metal grille, and extra long keys, a few of which are out of level,
but it's in pretty good shape. I've got a Baffetti button accordion, too, with
treble buttons in 2 rows, 8 bass buttons, 3 sets of treble and 4 sets of bass
reeds, and 1 treble switch. It's OK, but nothing like my best...which is my Pigini
Super Bayan piano model, a very nice lightweight instrument with a 45-note
extension for the treble and a 58-note extension for the bass. The reeds are made
out of single aluminium blocks. The touch sensitivity is simply incredible.
I can play for hours and hours without killing myself and the tones I can get
out of this sweetheart...just splendid!
Jokes? As far as accordion
jokes, I've heard more than my share, but here are some of the least
offensive. You have to have a thick skin if you play the accordion, as
you probably know. I've found the best way to handle critics, jokers, and hecklers
is to smile, take their ignorance and poor taste in stride, and not let the uncultured
dolts get to me. It's a strategy with applications in all areas of life, isn't
it? Well, here's what you asked for...
If you drop an accordion,
a set of bagpipes, and a viola off a 20-story building, which one lands first?
What's the difference between
an Uzi and an accordion? (The Uzi stops after 20 rounds.)
What do you call one hundred
accordions at the bottom of the ocean? (A good start)
this is a variation on a similar "lawyer" joke.)
What's a bassoon good for?
(Kindling for an accordion fire)
What's a accordion good for?
(Learning how to fold a map)
What do you call a group of
topless female accordion players? (Ladies in Pain)
Minimum safe distances between
street musicians and the public:
Violinist: (25 feet)
Tone Deaf Guitar Player who knows 3 chords: (75 feet)
15 year-old Electric Guitar Player with Nirvana fixation: (100 feet)
Accordionist: (60 miles)
What is that "kishka" stuff you mention in that story in your Tales
Out of School?
Answer: Well, I can tell you some of the ingredients that Petey's Gramma
and Grampa used to make their kishka: pigs' feet, snouts, and livers; buckwheat
grits; onions; and fresh pig's blood. Pretty horrible stuff, eh? But is it much
worse than a hotdog? I don't know all the spices they threw in, but since I can't
imagine you would actually try to make kishka, I guess that doesn't matter. If
you're really interested, though, I suppose you could find out in any Polish cookbook.
More short answers to
questions asked but once or twice. Yes, I know this is supposed to be a
FAQ, but since this is my page, I can do what I want. As before, you should
easily be able to deduce the questions given the answers which follow...
- I just acquired a lovely
Brittany spaniel, although they don't call them spaniels anymore.
- Yes, Martians do
click, squeak, and chirp--sort of.
- No, Walter Brooks was born
in Rome, NY, not Centerboro.
- As of this year, Brooks
would be 112, so I really don't think so.
- My next five best include:
"Accordion Jitters," "Lara's Theme," "Pope John Paul II Polka," "Hinky Dinky Parley
Voo," and, of course, "Lady of Spain."
- "Zuma, Man from Mars,"
was just a professional wrestler. He was on the cover of the September
2, 1950, issue of Wrestling As You Like It magazine. I have the evidence
in my scrapbook for 1950.
- If you're referring to
the meat product, yes, I occasionally enjoy SPAM.
- No, the Martian mural I
referred to is not a velvet painting.
- Go ahead and name him after
- No, I do not wear
sneakers--ever. For adults, they are in bad taste at all times and everywhere.
- I made my own Newtonian
telescope. Grinding a ten-inch mirror was no easy job!
- No, no more recipes. You'll
have to buy the book.
- To find out what happened
to Jimmy Witherspoon, see the Centerboro necrology.
- Of course I visit
my father at the home! What kind of a son do you think I am?
- Yes, someone did mention
to me once that Wiese lived in Brazil for three years.
- I used to go camping much
more frequently--my favorite places were the Adirondacks, Algonquin Park up in
Ontario, and, of course, the Big Woods.
- Yes, I can tolerate well-behaved
children who keep a respectful distance when adults are around. "Children should
be seen and not heard" works for me.
- Sorry, the Pez dispensers
are not for sale.
- I once saw a cloud that
looked just like an overstuffed armchair.
- I'm sorry the friture
did not turn out well for you. I don't know what you did wrong.
- William Bean had a 1924
Rumley Oil Pull tractor. I sold it at the auction, and you probably did
see it at the steam engine show they have in Canandaigua, N.Y., every summer.
- No, I don't whistle while
I play the accordion.
- I would guess that just
before Freddy vanished, he weighed about 275 pounds.
- As far as I'm concerned,
television is still a "vast wasteland."
- Well, I usually vote my
- I don't think the
disappearance of frogs and horseshoe crabs has anything to do with plans the Martians
may have for Earth.
- Mrs. Underdunk and I have
no definite wedding plans at this time.
- No, I have no idea where
you can buy the kind of white paste Herb ate in elementary school.
- I'll have you know, for
your information, that Jayne Mansfield's IQ was 163! Can you top
- I don't know why
the Martians keep the clothes. Souvenirs? Trophies? Exhibits?