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ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music

Peter T. 20 Jul 99 - 02:09 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jul 99 - 02:18 PM
Frank Howe 20 Jul 99 - 02:19 PM
20 Jul 99 - 02:34 PM
Rick Fielding 20 Jul 99 - 04:06 PM
Bert 20 Jul 99 - 04:07 PM
The Shambles 20 Jul 99 - 04:27 PM
katlaughing 20 Jul 99 - 04:39 PM
Peter T. 20 Jul 99 - 05:13 PM
SueH 20 Jul 99 - 07:36 PM
Steve Latimer 21 Jul 99 - 09:03 AM
Peter T. 21 Jul 99 - 04:42 PM
Bryant 21 Jul 99 - 06:04 PM
Art Thieme 22 Jul 99 - 12:05 AM
Art Thieme 22 Jul 99 - 12:13 AM
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Subject: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 02:09 PM

*ASK YOUR MUDCAT ADVISOR!!!*<

Dear Muddy,
I always read your column and I need some advice. I recently began taking guitar lessons from a famous Mudcatter, who will remain anonymous except for the fact that his CD will be in stores shortly. Anyway, when I began these lessons, he assured me that if I learned to fingerpick properly and smoothly handle bar chords and bass runs, I would then be able to go into any hospital in continental North America armed with nothing more than a straight razor and two paper clips, and I could at the very least operate on the corpus callosum of selected patients.
In a recent thread, a Mr. Art Thieme (I believe) has hinted that folk singing is not exactly brain surgery. This is directly contrary to what I was advised when I began. I was also told that this kind of folk music activity would improve my upper body strength, facilitate entry into the Internet software development market, and put me "on the fast track to the future".
Can you help me? When Mr. Thieme suggests that folk singing is not exactly brain surgery, how close to brain surgery is "not exactly"? Is it still close enough? My teacher says that it is good enough for most kinds of brain surgery, but I am beginning to doubt him.
yours,
CONCERNED IN CANADA.


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 02:18 PM

DEAR CONCERNED:
Does this guitar instructor with the soon-to-be released CD drive an AMC Pacer? Pacer-driving plectrum pluckers probably put pens and pencils AND plectrums in pocket protectors, which is really weird.
Better to take accordion lessons.
sincerely,
-MUDDY-


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Frank Howe
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 02:19 PM

Dear Concerned in Canada, You have every right to be "concerned" as you have been led astray ever so slightly. Folk music is indeed much like brain surgery in that it's appropriate application dierectly impacts on positive cognitive and affective functioning. It differs, however, from brain surgery in these critical ways: You will never make any real money. You will not, in fact, be allowed anywhere near a hospital unless you are horizontal. You will never receive a check from a third party payer. You will not get to use any really cool high tech equipment ...and finally and perhaps most importantly... You will never accidently sneeze while working and cause someone to have a permanent facial tic. There may be some other minor differences but these are the ones most noted by others who have made similar career path mistakes. Best wishes M.A.


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From:
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 02:34 PM

Dear Concerned,

I too wrestled for years with the question of whether my folk music guitar playing will properly prepare me for the exciting and challenging world of neurosurgery. I knew that trying to get those Doc Watson licks down was improving my dexterity and nimbleness and I truly felt that with enough practice, I'd soon be prodding tumors and tickling medula ombolongata with the best of 'em. But alas, I fear that Mr Thieme's words are all too true. Folk singin' ain't exactly brain surgery. It is, however, very close to rocket science. I'd go into the similarities but my column length doesn't allow it. Suffice it to say that while your folk music hobby won't properly train you to cut open people's skulls and muck about inside, it will give you the training you need to put all sorts of objects into low Earth orbit. So good luck, Concerned. The folks at NASA are waiting for your resume.

Muddy


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 04:06 PM

Dear Concerned in Canada. NEVER doubt your teacher! I'm certain that he has your very best interests at heart, and if he tells you that with a modicum of smoothness and simplicity in your accompaniments you can move mountains - believe him. I have it on good authority that many highly paid medical specialists (are their any left in Canada?) perform the most complicated surgery using only national fingerpicks and the very type of expertise that you are now learning. Of course there are some peripheral perques to be had as well - at no extra charge - I might add. Show me the woman who can resist the gentle touch of the man who knows how to play a proper "F" chord. Your teacher has probably yelled "Thumb, thumb, dummy", at you, well "Concerned", picture that glorious moment when the object of your deepest desires literally screams those same words (without the "dummy" part) at you, and you look into her yearning eyes and say " Wait til you see my Bm7b5!"

Your "fuddy duddy muddy buddy" (using some jerk's computer)


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Bert
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 04:07 PM

Dear Concerned,

I think that what The Famous Mudcatter meant was, that if HE teaches you to play guitar, your listeners will act as though they had received a lobotomy.

Muddy


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 04:27 PM

It may not be (B)rain (S)urgery but it could be B/S, initially?


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 04:39 PM

Dear Concerned,

It is good that you wrote before something really tragic could happen. You probably are not aware of this, but when you go for your next lesson, you will learn that your famous teacher, alas, walked a fine line of genius, which left him teetering on the edge of insanity, a balance he could not maintain. At this writing, we regret to inform you, all lessons are cancelled for the foreseeable future while the famous teacher recovers from the brain surgery he was made to suffer due to the onset of this insanity. Furthermore, we have it on good authority, that the surgeon who operated on him, a well known icon in the New England region, had many, many years of the proscribed training, just as you've been instructed in, necessary to effect a compleat recovery. Therefore, my advice to you, is to practice, moderately, pray, fervently, and await, patiently, the return of your beloved, yet addled teacher. He should come back to you as good as a new lobotomy can leave anyone, as long as they give him back his Duckboots!

MUDDY'S MUDDER


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 05:13 PM

*ASK YOUR MUDCAT ADVISOR*

Dear Muddy,
Thank you for your sympathetic advice. I have always been a fan of yours, and now that you have published my piece in your magazine, and replied to it, if somewhat contradictorily, I am totally prepared to follow your advice. I need some further assistance, particularly after the rumours you allude to.
After I read your early responses, I became very concerned that I had chosen the wrong career path, and I phoned up the Better Business Bureau. When I explained my situation, the gentleman on the other end of the line had what seemed to be a hysterical fit of laughter. When I explained to him about how folk music was the "fast track to the future" as promised, he said: "More like the Toonerville Trolley to Dumpsterville". I cannot find any reference to Dumpsterville in my atlas, and from his tone, I am not sure that all is well. Are you familiar with Dumpsterville, and would it have a hospital with a brain surgery wing?
Later in the conversation I described to him the CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT that I had been awarded by my teacher's academy after only two weeks in the course!! In the certificate I am authorised to wear something called the YELLOW GENUINE PLASTIC BELT OF FOLK AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES!! In smaller print, it also says: "This certificate allows the bearer to engage in brain surgery using rudimentary instruments anywhere (Pat. Pending)."
The man at the Better Business Bureau then said: "Who signed this, Ben Casey?" and when I looked down, I was astonished to find that it was Dr. Casey. I have not met a Dr. Casey, and have not found any of his records, but he certainly sounds authoritative.
The man at the BBB also made reference to a Scarecrow and a diploma, but he was somewhat incoherent by this point.
Can you help me? I have already spent substantial amounts of money, including five dollars for a straight razor, $1.97 for a box of paper clips, and $300 for an emergency room visit to have a stuck finger removed from a Coke bottle which happened when I was trying something called a bottleneck lick. I liked the emergency room, and have I said that I would like to be a brain surgeon? I think I could help people with bad brains, and I still cling to the belief that folk music is my best path for qualifications in that direction, but I am becoming really anxious that I could be making a big mistake.
CONCERNED IN CANADA


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: SueH
Date: 20 Jul 99 - 07:36 PM

Dear Concerned in Canada

Your letter has been passed to me by a colleague, in respect of the position of Senior Consultant (Neurosurgery), for which we are now recruiting.

As you will probably be aware, this hospital is known the world over for its innovative approach to brain surgery, and interest in this vacancy has been very high.

It is not normally within my remit to answer recruitment applications such as yours, but it has been many years since I have seen a letter detailing qualifications as unique as your own, and rather than wait for the return of my secretary, who is out to lunch, I am contacting you in some haste.

I should like to invite you to attend for interview on July 26th at 10.30am, where you will have the opportunity to meet the other members of the Neurosurgery department, as well as other members of staff and some of the patients currently in our care.

Looking forward to a favourable reply,

Yours sincerely

D. Mented Senior Almoner St Agnes' Hospital for the Chronically Insane


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 09:03 AM

I believe that you are allowed to do brain surgery on Banjo and Accordian players only as there isn't really a great deal at risk.


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Peter T.
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 04:42 PM

*ASK YOUR MUDCAT ADVISOR!!!*

Dear Muddy,
I am very excited but also confused. You are the only one I can turn to for advice. I have received this invitation from a Dr. Mented (I think) to become a Senior Consultant in Neurosurgery at a major hospital!! Can you believe it!!!!!!And I still haven't gotten out of the key of C. My teacher was right!!!!! How could I ever have doubted him for an instant!!!!
But I am also wracked with uncertainty, for two reasons.
First, will I have time to keep my folk music up when I am a world famous neurosurgeon? I am really only a beginner, but I have also dreamt about being on stage with Peter, Thingumy, and Mary, bringing in the chimes of freedom, and so on. Must I turn my back on this forever?
Second, you made reference to the fact that there was a place open for me in the vast field of rocket science. Could that be my real destiny, written in the stars?
Can you help me make the right choice? I need to know really quickly because I have to reply to the St. Agnes people lickety-split.
CONCERNED IN CANADA


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Bryant
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 06:04 PM

Dear Concerned,

Congratulations on your imminent debut in the exciting and challenging world of neurosurgery! I have to admit that I was sceptical when I first wrote you suggesting that you turn your attention to rocket science. I suppose I was speaking from my own lack of success in cracking into the field. But perhaps things have changed since my failed attempts and the medical establishment is finally seeing that folk musicians can make real contributions when it comes to fixing broken brains.

Anyway, regarding your concerns . . . first of all, I wouldn't worry too much about finding time to keep up with your folk music. For one thing you can always persuade Dr. D. Mented and others like him (or her?) that you really need to keep in practice lest your neurosurgical skills wane. Tell him (her?) "Doctor, as you know I've got a pretty tricky frontal lobotomy coming up tomorrow so I really feel I should go home and play some John Hurt in order to be in top form." Hey presto! Off you go for a 6-pack and an evening of working on "Stack O' Lee".

Secondly, please keep in mind that, unlike folk music, neurosurgery is a very lucrative field. What this means is that you can probably get away with doing 2 or 3 operations a year and (assuming you don't get all stupid and buy a Ferrarri and a swanky apartment) spend the rest of your time practicing and maybe get a slot on the summer folk festival circuit.

Finally, once you get firmly established in the high powered neurosurgical world and you start to wondering if you've sold out and left your true folk roots behind you can always re-connect with that socially conscious part of yourself by singing to your convalesing patients! I know that the first thing I'd want right after having someone dickering around inside my skull is hearing a good rousing rendition of the "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues".

So buck up, Concerned. Looks like you got it all now. Best of Luck. And you know, I've been getting these headaches lately and. . .

Muddy


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Jul 99 - 12:05 AM

Concerned In Canada,

I never learned to read music---always played by ear, As a result I developed huge calluses on my ear lobes. Since I've been hanging around hospitals too damn much in recent years, the docs decided I should have my lobes removed. If that's not some sort of lobotomy, I don't know what is. I still have a fear that M. Tyson is gonna come up behind me and bite my other ear off---calluses and all. Then I'll never be able to play again! Well, what the hell---then I'll just team up with Catspaw and go on the road hitting the story-telling festival circuit. With luck, eventually we'll get a library job (probably as janitor). Yeah, beggars can't be pickers! ("Choosers" I mean.) All kidding aside, I've been on those hospital floors with those brain surgery folks. (They often double as spinal surgeons---to maximize the profits, don't ya know.) They're nice people even if they do take the skinhead thing a bit far. "Why stop at the skin?" One guy actually said that to me. He was finally tossed off the hospital staff for indulging his "cranium fettish". I told him, "Funny, you don't look fettish!" He accused me of being anti-semantic.
! Then he said, "In the beginning there was the word!"

Tell me, people, after reading these threads lately, what the hell good are words? ;-)) ---(That's a double chin on the smily thing---they wouldn't remove those. What good are they.)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: ASK MUDDY!Brain Surgery/Folk Music
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Jul 99 - 12:13 AM

The "brain surgery" allusion came frome something John Hartford once said to me when I thought I'd messed up a set. "Art, when a brain surgeon makes a mistake it can be a real tragedy; somebody might die. When you and I make a mistake, the worst that can happen is that somebody will be bored!"

A.T.


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