Rich Engle

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Everything posted by Rich Engle

  1. Yeah but believe me, bootlegging wood is not going to be an option for these guys. Oh, I know for sure it has been--especially for super-select models. Very small shipments of very expensive woods. Like I said, I think even that Madagascar thing was a little off. You wouldn't believe what you used to be able to get. There were so many little broker suppliers; it was done mostly mail order. Some of the companies were selling body blocks, others even raw bodies. You still see it around sometimes. I know a lot of luthiers that are always keeping their eyes out for old desks and things like that, for that matter. Even good mahogany is hard to find. That's why the Kalamazoo plant worked so well for so long--the furniture business in, say, Grand Rapids, and so on. Note: the Kalamazoo plant (now know as Heritage guitars--I used to work for them) was closed in the mid seventies, with Gibson opening the Nashville facility.
  2. Because of being in the business, I've been watching this thing for awhile. This thing with the wood has been going on for years and years--mainly because of depopulation of rain forests (as he went across talking about how a commission was set up). Guitar manufacturing (starting mostly with Gibson) has a deep root in the furniture industry. In fact, that is why the original Kalamazoo plant is where it is--surrounded by premium wood sources (particularly mahogany, the mainstay of Gibson bodies). Actually, though, Gibson never got super exotic like many later companies did, especially around the eighties. This is where people starting making astounding instruments out of scarce woods-- African rosewood, Koa, premium Swamp Ash, that sort of deal. And around that time these woods were also being extensively harvested to make other pricey items (furniture, jewelry, sculptures, whatever). Now, considering how much rain forest was being burned down every day, I still contend that by comparison, this is kind of small potatoes, especially in the guitar market, which is somewhat smaller than people realize. This was a time of very harsh, militant environmentalism. There was some skinny within the closer parts of the industry, which I tended to be very privy--and this on the first raid. I am only sharing scuttlebutt and must tread softly. See, Henry has been known to be a lot greasier than he comes out. This first thing got him into a good spot of mess, with the legal fees alone, I would imagine. It is possible that Henry went out kind of on his own (outside of their normal acquisition process) and brought in some stuff that maybe he should not have. And then after it hit the fan, Gibson was strapped by it (this company works very close to the bone and has suffered many near blowups over the years). It is further possible that Guitar Center (the largest music chain in the world and surely his main distrubutor) took some paper on Gibson and threw some fix-it money in there. I can imagine this kind of put a drag on profits over at Gibson, or at the least put them in the unfortunate position of being leveraged by their own main client. Messy. I think he was warned and on principle (which I am not arguing) just kept at it. I'm not surprised they did something that harsh to him, and neither should he be. Again, I'm not saying it was right. But, I am saying that Henry might not have been pristine on their end, either. The Madagascar deal smelled a little funny. But still, storm troopers? Jesus. One additional thing I find sad for Gibson is that, quite frankly, outside of their custom and upper-line instruments (and even those, occasionally) the quality and pricing are disturbing. They are not like they used to be. And at like 2500.00 GLP minimum for a Les Paul Standard, no bloody way. Not all the way, but for many years Gibson has been selling off its name--to a good extent it is the name on the headstock. Another thing: do you have any idea how many import guitars come in here with the same woods on them? Korea and China are the dominant suppliers of entry-to midline instruments (and Indonesia is now coming in strong), and the great majority of those guitars have rosewood fingerboards. Even Gibson, with their very large import line (Epiphone). Rosewood only comes from certain places anymore--pretty much. So this whole finished/semi finished thing is so fucking haenky anyway, right? r
  3. "I would probably have to say it is less the plight of the animal, and more the perverse intentions and acts of the human that fuels the hate" Now, we're getting somewhere. rde
  4. Boy, that is what I was going to say. And there I was being all Zen, and shit.
  5. Reading, or the lack of, has something to do with it. Shortened attention spans. Very few people (and I am talking general mainstream, here) have the moxy and/or desire to study intellectual anything. How do you discuss Aristotle with someone that thinks wrestling is real? Dumbing down. The fact that there has always been a not-always-positive (socially) effect on newly-born Randians. The liberating effect is so profound that many of them (I include myself, looking back) are very volatile, harsh, unpleasant people to deal with. Bad buzz in the field, over decades. The completely dessicant, museum-like nature of ARI. I'll leave that there. But Atlas continues to be read. Heck, one of my nineteen-year old students (my protege, actually) just started up on it--he is a high-level, scholarship kid at Edison College. It gets talked about among the young, it always shows up around there and we know that. There are a lot of reasons. There's a lot competing with it. You could make a giant list. Best, rde
  6. If you are sure, solid about what you love, what you believe in, you get the bravery to do even things that might obliterate you. Hopefully, those things are well-put together--truly moral, as in in alignment with reality. In alignment with the flow of the universe. You will know what to do, and do it. This is what separates a highly-evolved human from those who are not. One of the sad, frightening realizations that is obtained when you are working on your personal evolution is that there are those who walk on this earth who are not fully human. Empathy is a survival mechanism, a component even, from what we see in evolutionary psychology, say. Real empathy is one of the things that allow us guides, markers, to make good decisions. If you know what is truly right (in harmony with all existence), it is very likely you will try to do that right thing. Every day, we all make nearly-countless amounts of decisions; little ones, medium ones, and occasionally very large ones. And sometimes, what might appear off-rip to be a very small one is very impactful--it requires a discerning, honest eye: awareness (in the fullest sense of that word). In the larger ones that come roaring in at you, the biggies, this is where you find out exactly how "strong" you are. And that kind of moment is always an incredible realization--to have yourself instantly gauged by what reality has brought to you, so to say. It's actually a good moment of consciousness, but by then you are usually too far engaged in deciding to truly enjoy it. rde
  7. Been there and done that. I couldn't rescue the dog because it ran off. Years ago, this was. I had just come off a gig at Cleveland State University, and was walking out to find my car (it was in the dead of a horrible winter, there was almost no one on Euclid Avenue, which is basically a frozen wind tunnel when it gets like that). Some asshole standing there in the middle of this kicking the shit out of his already-starved dog. I saw red (anytime I see violent attacks on the weak--kids, wives, smaller people, animals) I lose control, which is almost impossible for me. First I warned him to stop ("Hey, cut that out--no reason for that."), which only fueled his fire and he set in again. I put down my guitar in the slush and started in on him. I broke his nose, his jaw, his ribs, and a couple of other things, I think. It was not a controlled situation, and also fighting in subzero is nasty business. I left him unconscious in a pool of his own blood in the middle of Euclid Ave., the dog bolted off (tried to find him but could not), and left. I'm not saying whether that was right or wrong, I'm just saying that's what you will get if I see it. Then, of course, there is this kind of shit: Edison Fries an Elephant 1903: Thomas Edison stages his highly publicized electrocution of an elephant in order to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current, which, if it posed any immediate danger at all, was to Edison's own direct current. Edison had established direct current at the standard for electricity distribution and was living large off the patent royalties, royalties he was in no mood to lose when George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla showed up with alternating current. Edison's aggressive campaign to discredit the new current took the macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC (a killing process he referred to snidely as getting "Westinghoused"). Stray dogs and cats were the most easily obtained, but he also zapped a few cattle and horses. Edison got his big chance, though, when the Luna Park Zoo at Coney Island decided that Topsy, a cranky female elephant who had squashed three handlers in three years (including one idiot who tried feeding her a lighted cigarette), had to go. Park officials originally considered hanging Topsy but the SPCA objected on humanitarian grounds, so someone suggesting having the pachyderm "ride the lightning," a practice that had been used in the American penal system since 1890 to dispatch the condemned. Edison was happy to oblige. This portion of Edison's film Electrocuting an Elephant is taken from a German television show. When the day came, Topsy was restrained using a ship's hawser fastened on one end to a donkey engine and on the other to a post. Wooden sandals with copper electrodes were attached to her feet and a copper wire run to Edison's electric light plant, where his technicians awaited the go-ahead. In order to make sure that Topsy emerged from this spectacle more than just singed and angry, she was fed cyanide-laced carrots moments before a 6,600-volt AC charge slammed through her body. Officials needn't have worried. Topsy was killed instantly and Edison, in his mind anyway, had proved his point. A crowd put at 1,500 witnessed Topsy's execution, which was filmed by Edison and released later that year asElectrocuting an Elephant. In the end, though, all Edison had to show for his efforts was a string of dead animals, including the unfortunate Topsy, and a current that quickly fell out of favor as AC demonstrated its superiority in less lethal ways to become the standard.
  8. I never get used to this part of the business. Thanks, Adam, for the share. r
  9. Rich: I have dealt with the Angel Investors and I have the utmost respect for them, see this here. Essentially compares Angel Investors v. Venture Capitalists. Adam just my first quick idea Great start! Thank you so much, Adam--I sent it to Dar. r
  10. Yeah, thank you and that is right. Forest for the trees. She's sitting with a loan officer at her bank right now. So, so far, so good. Thank you! rde
  11. Hi, All! We have such a wonderful pool of talent here. So (and I don't think I have ever asked for help), I could really use some informed help/advice from my online family (believe it or not, that is how I view you guys). Here's the sitch: My wife Darlene is retired (just on SS, but does fine). Recently she has had the desire to mount a new business. Darlene is a highly experienced business professional, with many accolades, successes, whatever, under her belt. She is a true entrepreneur, right down the line. She wanted to go back out and do a standalone biz, and did (early, I helped her). This particular biz is sort of a mix of esoteric clothing, kid's stuff, fairy-ware; all kinds of very unique products; the market is there and she knows what she is doing, patiently. She is 61, a woman, and represents a minority in terms of getting a modest start up biz grant. She started to explore this online, and of course, the hounds of hell and other floodgates opened on her. All she is trying to do is obtain a small grant. Oh, my phone is driving me crazy. Just now these beserk Indian scam artist bastards tried to beat me up for $1.87. I vaporized them. So, my question is, what is the real skinny on getting small biz grants in this area? Legitimate stuff. She has a real winner of a thing going here (the products are lovely) and we are working towards not only web biz but a lease at a fantastic retail zone here in Ft. Myers, Fl. It will work, we just need some basic seed money. Any advice would be appreciated. I figure someone around here has to have experience in this area. I can provide further details as needed. She did her first trade show, and was met with a very strong response. I would like to help her get this thing off the ground--it is a flyer. Thanks in advance, Rich Engle
  12. You guys obviously haven't been down South, lately. It's only worse. Christian Conservatives . . . hurumph, I only wish. Those are the ones that wear those suits and stupid ties, no? I've even heard talk that they not only read, but can complete compound sentences. I've seen these people and they kind of resemble Rush Limbaugh. They likely make stinky mustard farts<tm>. McGregor Baptist Church That one is ten minutes from my house. I hope one day that they all run off to re-baptize themselves or something so I can raid their media studio. Discussing Calvinism, actually, now that I think about it, has just about nothing to do with nothing. They have mutated. It is bad enough being a UU, what with the Pilgrim and Quaker roots. The people that brought you the Salem Witch Trials. I would love to see a practicing Calvinist--I would attempt to sell them laxatives, what with them having their shit stuck up them so fucking far. These are the people that, when church lets out, mob Bob Evans, think it is the goddamn Four Seasons, and leave a dollar tip, the skeevosa sons of two strangers. Did you know that Martin Luther had a lifelong farting problem? But I digress. I like this tract off of Predestinarian, heh: Oh, I love to be so naughty in front of Jesus. rde
  13. As well it should be. I will throw in. What is really going on "upstairs" has little or nothing to do with your left or right leanings; what is projected is simply a smokescreen--one to get a person involved in the small matters. Meanwhile, these people are about to eat us. rde And that's all I have to say about that. --Forrest Gump
  14. One thing I knew when I published this was that it would create good discussion within certain learned folks. It is definitely thought-provoking. rde
  15. The question is, where is Branden? I'd think that getting in touch with Penn and Teller and clearing up the misunderstanding would be of value to him -- explaining the difference between his notion of self-esteem and others', telling P&T that they've got good instincts when in comes to the subject, showing them how they're actually already in agreement with him in many ways despite their misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of his views, forgiving them their errors, etc. J I would seriously doubt NB would even acknowledge them. And I like those guys.
  16. This kind of work goes to a rather small crowd, and, at first, I was a bit hesitant to put it to my little blog, which is read by many, er, non-AR-type readers, or whatever you might call that. I like Andrew's work very much, because he works to accuracy, and has a very light, humorous touch even on top of it. Punishment Capitalism, by Andrew Russell Enjoy, I did! rde
  17. There will never be another NB. Not even close. And I mean that with all the respect there is for him. There was nothing but goodness in anything I've ever done with him, even in one business situation that got very ugly. He is a wonderful teacher and a very good man. r
  18. Not to worry, that Eeyore frown is readily turned upside down: 910 years of time and space...according to Wikipedia anyway. Wow, tis true... 70 English words w/ no rhyme I don't know why but this always fascinated me for some reason. But fear not, there is hope, every time a new dictionary revision comes out. It's like the lottery. And I too forget if I said greetings for ND, did I? I am far too lazy to look. But even so, let's do it again--I really enjoy having you around. Both of you guys! r
  19. Rich: Oh, so you are going to bring up that Nazi stag party again...I never mentioned that you played the accordion in the Marlena Dietrich outfit at that party, did I! Adam Don't ever again use my name and the word accordion in the same sentence: I will track you down like a hunted animal. It's bad enough I have to do 3-4 gigs a year with my friend...he's 80, and he plays one of those . . .those . . .things. And a midi synth one, to boot. Yikes. Now get back to your can of ether.
  20. Did you wear the lampshade, like the last time? Enjoy! r
  21. I don't know where else it could be. But those guys--if they haven't already on one of their sites, they'll figure it out. Glad you, uh, "enjoyed" it, I guess we could say. I did--a true Hallmark Moment. r
  22. Thanks, Phil. Now all you boys behave, though--this is about Robert's book. We have plenty of other sandlots open this week. rde
  23. Wow, that's weird. Someone else told me that happened. I have to look in on that--cumbersome!!