Guitar Train

Hop aboard the Guitar Train to the final destination of Advanced Musical Knowledge

Paper Towel Craziness


This month, Quirky T is conducting the Guitar Train on a non-musical detour.   This stop looks at the craziness of paper towel designs. Since paper towels can be used for so many purposes, they are pretty much a necessity of life (unless you’re environmentally conscious and use washable real cloth towels – good for you). I never understood the need for a design on a paper towel. A simple plain white paper towel is all we need.

plain white paper towel

plain white paper towel

After all, we’re only going to use it for a few seconds to clean up or a few minutes maximum in the microwave. It does not need to have a design. It does not need to have writing on it. I’m not looking for words of wisdom from a paper towel. I just need something functional. Plain white paper towels without images or writing are actually requested when microwaving certain items. I suppose this is so that the ink from the design does not get into the food or stain the microwave tray.

What I do not need, want, desire, or understand is this –

park scene paper towel 1

park scene on a paper towel

What is that? Why is there a park scene playing out on my paper towel? Who thought of this and why? I can understand napkins having designs since they will actually be displayed on tables. Although, I doubt a stroll through the park scene on a napkin would match any table or event theme.

park scene paper towel 2

park scene on a paper towel

And why are the women who are pushing the stroller, walking the dog, and strolling through the park all wearing very high heels? I’m surprised the woman on the bike and the female jogger (who incomprehensibly is wearing a skirt) aren’t wearing high heels also. What does that say about this paper towel company’s concept of women? And what about the lack of men except for the guy on the bench and the boy playing? I just don’t understand it.

park scene on paper towel 3

park scene on a paper towel

Guitar Train passengers, do you understand the purpose of this design on a paper towel? Do designs and sayings on paper towels bother you?


Another Quick Station Stop and Reading Update

Good news from The Guitar Train, Quirky T is finally reading books she has had on her bookshelves for years. I just finished reading “The Beatles” by Hunter Davies. This is the only authorized biography of the Beatles and was published in 1968. The version I read included a 1985 Postscript and a 2009 Memento Mori list of Beatles related people who have died since 1968. I can’t believe that I have not read this book until now. How did I miss it 30 years ago when I first became a Beatles fan? I read so many Beatles related books then but none as great and first hand as this one. The author spent months with the Beatles during a very interesting time in their career (but really, when was there an uninteresting time in the band’s short career?). I recommend it to every Beatles fan as a must read book.

After finishing that book, I started reading another Beatles book, “Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney” by Howard Sounes. This book was given to me as gift and I purposely put off reading it because I thought it would be too salacious. So far it definitely is more so than the Hunter Davies biography which had to be whitewashed some at the time. But as I wrote in the station stop about reading Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford autobiographies, how much do I really want to know?

I really don’t want to know too many personal details about Paul McCartney especially if they are gossip and not fact. Still, I will read the book without necessarily believing everything that is written.


On a non-music note, I am also reading Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. I have seen movie and play versions of the book but I hadn’t read the book. I’m reading it now for a book club meeting in March. Since I have a deadline to finish the rather slim book, I think I’ll have no problem finishing it. So I am back on the reading track.


Guitar Train passengers, which Beatles book is your favorite and why?



Quick Station Stop – Reading Update


This Guitar Train stop is a quick station stop to update my quest to not read any library books until I have read all the books I already own. The quest is not going well. I have not really read any more books since my last update in July 2018.

I did take one book out from the library which I am reading now. It is the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama’s autobiography called “Becoming”. A very interesting and informative read and I would recommend it. I am definitely going to finish reading it and quickly because I only have it from the library for two weeks. Maybe I need deadlines in order to accomplish things, even in my leisure time.

Guitar Train passengers, do you need deadlines to accomplish pleasurable tasks?

Let It Snow

Winter is here so let it snow. I love snow and I wish it would snow all year round. The earliest I have ever seen snow was in September in St. Moritz, Switzerland high in the Alps. The earliest I have seen snow in the United States was in the state of Vermont in October while staying at the Trappe Family Lodge in the mountains. The lodge is run by the Von Trappe family from the movie “The Sound of Music”. So being from Austria, the family knows something about snow in the Alps. The latest time in the season I have seen snow was this past April 6. I would love to live where it snows straight from September to April. I often dream in the summer that it’s snowing only to wake up and remember it’s summer.

Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont, USA

As a child, snow brought the possibility of no school. Unfortunately that didn’t happen too often. It seems to happen so often now to the point where school children lose vacation days to make up for extra snow days they had. As an adult, snow brings more annoyances and hazards than fun. Treacherous driving conditions and power outages are common occurrences in snow storms. I don’t mind shoveling snow while it’s still snowing beautifully and there’s a quiet calm in the air. Once it has stopped snowing and it’s just dark and cold, shoveling feels like hard work.

So to celebrate winter and all the upcoming (hopefully) snow, here are my favorite non-Christmas snow songs.

  1. “A Marshmallow World “ (live) – Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra
  2. “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” – Dean Martin
  3. “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” – Gloria Estefan


I’m also hoping that the snow this winter (and into Spring) will be beautiful and benevolent like a lady bug.


Guitar Train passengers, how do you feel about snow? Have your feelings changed since you were a child?



Off the Music Track – My Bargain with Bugs


This month Quirky T conducts the Guitar Train off the music track to discuss a topic which pesters her – bugs. Besides the cold weather I love, another great aspect of winter is less bugs. I have a bargain with bugs – if they are inside my house or workplace, I have the right to kill them because they are on my turf but if they are outside on their turf, I have to leave them alone. I can swat them away from me but I can’t harm them.


I had a cat who was a great bug spotter but she wouldn’t kill the bugs. She would just play with them and chase them. So I used her to find the bugs for me and then I would kill them, usually with a folded up newspaper or whatever heavy object was nearby. Luckily I don’t have enough bugs in my house to justify buying an actual flyswatter. Also, unless I carried the flyswatter around with me constantly, by the time I retrieve the swatter, the bug would probably have disappeared somewhere to tell their bug friends to all come over to my house.


I have no problem killing many kinds of bugs. I kill flies because they bite and are a nuisance. I definitely kill spiders since some types can cause blindness with their bite. I also kill ants because they can multiply so quickly and take over a house. I don’t kill stink bugs since I have heard horror stories of their smell after death. I actually corral them and release them intact outside. I also don’t kill lady bugs since they do not cause any harm at all and are pretty.


I hate the saying that someone is so nice that she would never hurt a fly. I have hurt flies but that doesn’t mean that I am not nice and I would physically hurt a person. I think a better expression would be, “She’d never hurt a lady bug.”


Guitar Train passengers, how do you feel about killing bugs?

The Guitar Train Stops to See Phil Collins in Concert!!!

Phil Collins concert 2018

Quirky T was fortunate to be able to conduct the Guitar Train to stop to see one of her favorite musicians, Phil Collins, in concert. I knew it would be a bittersweet experience since Phil Collins is not the able-bodied man he once was. I knew he would be sitting in a chair for the whole performance and not playing the drums because of back problems and drop foot. Still, I was not completely prepared for the moment he slowly walked on stage with the aid of a cane. That moment made me very emotional. I really hope he wasn’t in any pain. As much as I and other fans want to see him, he doesn’t need to be performing live anymore. Obviously something is propelling him to perform. Maybe it’s the chance to share the stage with his teenage son, Nic, or to prove the title of his recent memoir that he’s “Not Dead Yet”.


As soon as the music started, the fact that Phil Collins remained seated was not so obvious. He still can sing and had much energy despite having limited mobility. The songs played were hits from his Genesis and solo careers. The only song I wasn’t familiar with was “You Know What I Mean” which I’ll write more about later. With so many great songs to choose from, Phil said before he played the first Genesis song the chance that they would play the song we want to hear is slim. That was actually not true for me since I was happy with the three Genesis songs he sang – “Throwing It All Away”,

“Follow You Follow Me”,

and “Invisible Touch”.

I’m not used to him singing Genesis songs at his solo concerts. I liked how he always kept them separate but it made sense to sing some Genesis songs here because this tour may be his last performances. The only other Genesis songs I really would’ve liked to hear were my two favorites – “That’s All” and “Turn It On Again”. I realized that hearing “Abacab” and “Home by the Sea” would’ve been long shots.


As far as solo songs, I enjoyed all the songs performed except “Easy Lover” which has never been a favorite of mine. The only other solo songs I would’ve really liked to hear were “Don’t Lose My Number”, “I Don’t Care Anymore”, and my absolute favorite song of all time, “We Said Hello Goodbye”. So I can’t complain about his song selection except that it would’ve been nice to hear more songs but I understand if physically he couldn’t do more. One highlight of the concert was his duet with back-up singer Bridgette Bryant on “Separate Lives” which was slowly, beautifully done with drama and tension. Another highlight was the earlier mentioned song “You Know What I Mean” which Phil prefaced by saying his son, Nic, chose this song out of all his songs. The song provided a tender father- son moment as Nic played the song on the piano while his father was next to him singing it. Check out to see the complete set list for the concert.


I felt there was a fatalistic element hanging over the concert. Given Phil Collins’ ill health and age, some of his lyrics took on other meanings. He started the concert with the song “Against All Odds” which had the potent line “take a look at me now” which I was doing as a comparison to how he was in past concerts.  Also in the song, “Hang In Long Enough” (which Phil has done), is the line “It’s a long, hard road and the end is getting near.”

I guess all we can do is be happy that we had Phil Collins music in our lives and be happy he’s still with us now. Despite my reservations about seeing Phil Collins in a diminished state, I’m so glad I went to the concert. It was another amazing concert by an amazing musician whose music has meant so much to me throughout my life.


Guitar Train passengers, how would you feel about seeing your favorite musician performing in a physically diminished state?


Off the Music Track – It’s Okay to be Cold and Alone (update)


Last July, Quirky T conducted The Guitar Train off the music track to discuss a pet peeve. I don’t want to have any pet peeves or complain about people or issues but I thought maybe getting this annoyance out to the world would either correct the situation or get it out of my system as an issue and I could make peace with it. The latter occurred after I wrote The Guitar Train stop called “Sports Trash Talking”.


That former annoyance is now a non-issue for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same results from this post. So here’s the post followed by an update.

So my pet peeve is people who feel like they need a consensus to be cold. I’ve often been in situations at a work office or a store where an adult has complained of being cold and then has asked me if I am cold also. No, actually I am not cold; I’m perfectly fine. In fact, I would much rather be cold then hot and sweating. When you’re cold, you can always add more layers of clothing, gloves, and a hat to make yourself warmer. If you’re hot, there’s only some much clothing you can take off. And even then, you’ll probably still be hot and uncomfortable.


When someone is in a house or a car and playing the role of hostess or host, then it is acceptable to ask others if they are cold because an adjustment can be made to the temperature controls to make the temperature more comfortable. In that situation, the need for a consensus is relevant. If the hostess is the only one feeling cold, then she has to be an adult and put up with the discomfort for the sake of her guests. But when you are in a large office building, supermarket, or another place where there is no way to adjust the temperature, then complaining is useless. Do the cold complainers think if they get a majority of people together to agree that it is cold, they can all march over to management and demand a higher temperature that will interfere with the safe management of the office or the products in the store but will make them nice and warm?


It has gotten to the point where when someone asks if I am cold at work, I answer that I am not because I work there every day so I dress accordingly. I don’t understand adults who don’t prepare themselves and then complain every day. If you know you tend to be cold, than dress accordingly. If you know your work atmosphere tends to be cold, than dress accordingly. I have heard people complain about how cold it is in a supermarket when they walk in from 90 degree heat and humidity. First of all, anything is cold compared to 90 degrees. Second of all, I would not want to shop in or buy food from a supermarket that was not air-conditioned in the summer. I would hate to see what the fruits, vegetables, and icing on the cakes look like at temperatures above 70 degrees in a building with all the windows closed. I have seen some customers come prepared for the cold and put on lightweight jackets when they enter the store. They don’t complain; they just come prepared and go about their business of shopping.


If the cold complainers are not trying to gather an army on their side to complain to management about the temperature, then why do they need to know if other people are cold also? Why are they so fearful that they are the only ones who are cold? I have never heard that feeling cold while indoors in air-conditioning for a short period of time is a sign of a serious illness or impending death and should be remedied immediately. If that was true, then I would want a consensus to know it’s not just me and I won’t be “catching my death of cold.”


So I am pleading with adult cold complainers to not act like whiny children and complain to me about something out of my control. No, I don’t know why “they” (the management) keep it so cold. Nor can I walk up to a thermostat and raise the temperature to please you for the few minutes you are in the building. Please don’t bully me into saying I’m cold just because you are. I guess all I can do when asked the irritating question if I am cold also is to reply pleasantly, “No, I’m not but I‘m sorry you are.” Really, everyone, it’s okay to be cold and alone. You’ll survive.


Now the update, the cold people have escalated the issue. As the seasons change, people seem to forget the fact that autumn is supposed to be colder than summer. Yet they still complain that they are cold and they now badger me to be cold also. Recently I have been told by a complete stranger while inside in 70 degrees that I should be wearing a sweater! I was not cold nor did I look like I was cold. I had to plead my case with this stranger that I did not need a sweater because I was actually hot.


A few days after that incident, I was again at work when I sneezed. A woman, a stranger, said she was surprised that I wasn’t sneezing all the time because it is so cold where I work. Again, I had to explain that I was not cold. (I probably sneezed because of dust). This woman then said I SHOULD be cold. Another woman passing by agreed that I should be cold. This is insanity. It’s now to the level where I am told how I should be physically feeling. For the record, and I wish the last time ever, I AM NOT COLD!


Guitar Train passengers, does this situation bother you? Have you ever been asked if you were cold and how did you respond if you weren’t?

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