Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

Looking for ways to support and honor U.S. military servicemembers and veterans who protect our security and freedom? In years past, you could wrap up a care package and mail it to "Any Service Member" for the holidays, but with increased mail restrictions, the Pentagon is asking people to help through financial contributions, letter-writing and e-mail, purchasing authorized pre-made care packages, or volunteering time through non-profits.

Below are links to programs that offer aid to our military -- everything from care packages to emergency services to military family support. Show your pride in our armed forces today, either by purchasing a gift or card for a servicemember, or donating to programs that support our military.

Cards, Letters, Gifts, and Care Packages

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting "Any Service Member" or "Any Wounded Service Member" letters or packages. Mail to "Any Service Member" that is deposited into a collection box will not be delivered. Instead of sending an "Any Wounded Soldier" letter or package to Walter Reed, please consider making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the DoD Community Relations website.

The following charitable organizations help send gifts, cards, and care packages to our troops:

Adopt a Platoon -- Support the troops through gifts and sponsored mail.
Any Soldier -- Sponsor care packages to servicemembers in Iraq.
Army and Air Force Exchange Services -- Purchase gift certificates for active and hospitalized servicemembers.
Blue Star Mothers
-- Organizes postcards to troops and care packages, and is currently petitioning Congress for reduced air fares for servicemembers.
Books for Soldiers -- Donate books, movies, and more.
Cell Phones for Soldiers -- Donate your old cell phones, which pay for calling cards for our troops.
Commissary Gift Certificates -- Give the gift of groceries -- buy or donate gift certificates.
A Million Thanks -- Collects emails and letters of appreciation for our armed forces.
Operaton Dear Abby -- Send greetings and messages of support.
Operation Give -- Donate toys to be given to the children of Iraq.
Operation Gratitude -- Contribute to care packages sent to our servicemembers.
Operation Homefront Hugs -- Contribute to care packages, or adopt a servicemember.
Operation Troop Aid -- Provide care packages for our deployed U.S. Servicemembers.
Operation USO Care Package -- Sponsor a care package for $25.

Help with Mailing Packages
Instructions on Sending Mail to Servicemembers -- Straight from the U.S. Postal Service, instructions and recommendations on sending individual mail to servicemembers.

Health Care, Hospice, and Recovery Organizations

The following charitable organizations offer programs that provide comfort and support to our wounded veterans and their families:

American Red Cross Armed Forces -- Offers medical services to active duty, veterans, reservists and families nationwide.
Angels of Mercy / No Soldier Left in Need -- Donate clothes to wounded soldiers returning stateside, or donate to long-term rehabilitation programs
Armed Services Blood Program -- Donate blood that will be sent to areas of need around the world.
Blinded Veterans Association -- Volunteer and scholarship organization provides care and support for blind veterans and their families.
CAUSE: Comfort for America's Uniformed Services Elite
-- Provides comfort items for troops recuperating in military hospitals and rehabilitation centers from wounds and injuries.
Fisher House -- Support families whose loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.
VA Voluntary Service -- Volunteer to help care for wounded veterans.
The Walter Reed Society -- Walter Reed Society helps provide for the needs of many returning injured servicemembers and their families.
USO -- Donations to the USO pay for hospital support for recuperating soldiers, USO entertainment tours and other important services.

Transition, Scholarships and Vocation Rehabilitation

These organizations provide transitions services, scholarships and vocational programs to help servicemembers and their families re-integrate in to the civilian world.

The Freedom Alliance -- Organizes donations and contributions for our servicemembers, and also awards scholarships.
Operation Purple -- National Military Family Association (NMFA) volunteer program provides educational camps for military children.

Soldiers' Angels -- Support group aids wounded Soldiers with transitional backpacks, personal visits, and phone calls, etc., and also sends thanks via letters and email to the U.S. military and its allies.

Counseling and Other Relief and Support Organizations

The following organizations provide a wide range of services and support for our troops and wounded veterans including counseling, financial support, housing, emergency services and more:

Air Force Aid Society -- Official support and relief organization for Air Force servicemembers, veterans, and families.
American Legion -- Organizes blood donation, volunteer networks, purchase flags of support, and more.
The Armed Forces Foundation -- Provides support and education help to our troops.
Armed Services YMCA -- Provides educational, recreational, social and religious support to the military.
Army Emergency Relief -- Official support and relief organization for Army servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance -- Major support and relief organization for Coast Guard servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Freedom Calls Foundation -- Contribute to videoconferencing facilities that put servicemembers in touch with their families.
Freedom Fund -- Send letters of thanks to the troops, or donate to funds that support deploying servicemembers.
The Home Front Cares -- Provides support for the Pikes Peak Region's military families of all services by distributing funds, goods and services to needy families.
Homes for Our Troops -- Assists injured veterans and their families by building new or adapting existing homes for handicapped accessibility.
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund -- Fund provides unrestricted grants to the families of military personnel who have given their lives in the current operations in defense of our country.
Military Pets Foster Project -- Nationwide network of foster homes cares for the pets of deployed personnel.
Navy/Marine Relief Society -- Official support and relief organization for Navy servicemembers, veterans, and families.
Operation Child Care -- Provides child care services for the families of Reserve and National Guard members.
Operation Hero Miles -- Donate your unused frequent flyer files to servicemembers.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation -- Provides college scholarship grants, financial aid and educational counseling to the children of Special Operations personnel killed in an operational mission or training accident.
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) -- Provides services and support for survivors of late servicemembers.
Unmet Needs -- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) program donates money to help with military families' financial necessities.
Veterans and Families -- Sacramento, Calif.-based organization is building support services for returning veterans.
Veterans of Foreign Wars -- Features a full range of veteran services and advocacy programs.
Wounded Warriors Fund -- Donates everything from phone cards to TVs to wounded soldiers.
Yellow Ribbon America -- Show your support with a yellow ribbon.

Here is a story about Frank Zappa that I'd like to tell, as a way of giving you, the few folks who are actually going to click on the vid and listen to the entire album, a sense of what it was like for Frank while he recorded these songs. It's the summer of 1969 and Frank is in Los Angeles, recording the material that would become Hot Rats. Now, I'm not sure exactly which studio it was, whether it was Sunset Sound or TTG or Whitney studios (all three played host to the Hot Rats sessions), but one of these studios was where Frank recorded the tune "Willie The Pimp." Now the first interesting thing about the guitar solo was how it was recorded. Normally, a studio is separated into two parts, the big area where the musicians perform and get recorded (the studio, or the live room), and a smaller area, attached to the bigger area, where the tape machines and computers and engineers sit, making sure the recording is happening properly (the control room). However, for the song, "Willie The Pimp," Frank decided he wanted the guitar solo for that tune to stand out, to be different. So he set up his amp and his microphones in the recording area, like normal, but then instead of playing in that space, he brought his guitar into the control room and plugged his guitar into the mixing board. Then he ran that sound out of the board and into the studio, to his amp. He would play his guitar and the amp would broadcast that sound, which would get picked up by the microphones, which would transport that sound back into the control room, back into the mixing board, and finally, onto the magnetic recording tape. Pretty different, right? But that's not the half of it. It turns out that while Frank was laying down the solo for "Willie The Pimp," he was not undisturbed. Back in 1969, unions were a big thing (as they had been for years), and a union guy showed up in the studio, to make sure Frank was paying the musicians properly, and to make sure all the paperwork was filled out properly. So there's Frank, trying to lay down this solo, and there's this union guy, holding a clipboard, just a few feet from Frank, waiting for Frank to finish playing so that he can show this union guy all the proper forms. And Frank knows the guy's there and that he's impatient and tapping his pencil on his clipboard, urging Frank to wrap it up, and Frank's trying his best to ignore him and concentrate on his solo, but he's getting angrier and angrier at this impatient union guy with his clipboard and his senseless bureaucracy and his self-importance and… Well, now go listen to "Willie The Pimp" and listen to that solo and imagine what must have been going through Frank's head as he played those notes.


  • Frank Zappa – guitarpercussion, vocals
  • Mike Altschul – woodwind
  • Bill Byers – trombone
  • Chunky (Lauren Wood)– vocals
  • Lee Clement – percussion
  • George Duke – keyboards, vocals
  • Earl Dumler – woodwind
  • Aynsley Dunbar – drums
  • Tony Duran – guitar, bottleneck guitar
  • Erroneous (Alex Dmochowski) – bass
  • Alan Estes – percussion
  • Janet Neville-Ferguson – vocals
  • Fred Jackson, Jr. – woodwind
  • Sal Marquez – bass, trumpet, vocals, brass
  • Joanne Caldwell McNabb – vocals, brass, woodwind
  • Malcolm McNabb – trombone, horn, trumpet in D
  • Tony Ortega – woodwind
  • Joel Peskin – saxophone, woodwind
  • Don Preston – Mini Moog
  • Johnny Rotella – woodwind
  • Ken Shroyer – trombone, brass, contractor and spiritual guidance
  • Ernie Tack – brass
  • Ernie Watts – tenor saxophone, C Melody Saxophone (the "Mystery Horn") solo on "Cletus Awreetus Awrightus", woodwinds
  • Robert Zimmitti – percussion
  • Gerry Sack – phantom tambourine


From Wikipedia: The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life is a double disc live album by Frank Zappa, released in 1991 (see 1991 in music). The album was one of three to be recorded during the 1988 world tour, along with Broadway the Hard Way and Make a Jazz Noise Here. Each of these three accounts of the legendary '88 tour has a different focus: Broadway the Hard Way mostly showcases new compositions, Make a Jazz Noise Here features a sampler of classic instrumental Zappa tunes, and this album devotes itself to covers, some unlikely such as "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, as well as Zappa's extensive back catalogue, focusing mainly on Zappa's mid-1970s output but with some material from the Mothers of Invention's late 1960s recordings and one song ("Lonesome Cowboy Burt") from 200 Motels. It was re-issued in 1995 and 2012 along with his entire catalogue.


I'm gonna start posting Zappa albums, focusing on those that are easiest for the neophyte to swallow. Indeed, I'll be posting the least bitter Zappa records. That's funny to think about, that he's so acerbic one has to pick the least acidic as an appetizer. Oy.


All Music Guide - Review by   [-]

Given the urban title of alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe's debut Columbia album, it's quite a shock when he and his red-hot band of collaborators that include James Blood Ulmer on guitar, Bob Stewart on tuba, flutist James Newton, bassist Cecil McBee, and Jack DeJohnette open with the decidedly funky Latin breaks on "Down San Diego Way." It's not a vamp and it's not a misleading intro, the first of four tracks showcases not only the deep versatility of the rhythm section, but Blythe's own gift as both a composer and as a soloist. He states the melody, handing off the harmonics toUlmer and Newton and then flies high into the face of its chosen changes, allowing the beat to change under him several times before bringing back a theme and letting Ulmer solo. Blythe's grounding in the blues and in modal composition guide him on the title track; he and Newton move through intervallic shifts of chromatic intensity and spatial columnar structures, while Ulmer builds a middle bridge to both ground and fly from. But Blythe is not content here to showcase the extremes. On both "Slidin' Through," his exercise in harmolodic composition, and "Odessa," Blythe provides ample proof of his wisdom as a bandleader, encouraging solo and rhythmic interplay between different groups of musicians such as McBee and Blythe on the former and between himself, Newton and Ulmer on the latter as the rhythm section winds it out in both cases, stretching the narrow envelope into something far more textured and thematically unified -- note the Ornette-meets-noir ambience of "Odessa." This group lays like a band that had been together for years, not the weeklong period it took them to rehearse and create one of Blythe's masterpieces. Over 20 years later, Lenox Avenue Breakdown still sounds new and different and ranks among the three finest albums in his catalog.

Various answering machine messages from Frank Zappa's home recording studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen:

1:06 PM

The Lottery [1969]


As suspenseful now as it was in the 70s when this short film was shown to our grade school. And yeah, that's a young Ed Begley Jr., so enjoy that. Still, wow, terrifying.

Part 1

Part 2

The critic Ekkehard Jost wrote that "Ayler's negation of fixed pitches finds a counterpart in Peacock's and Murray's negation of the beat. In no group of this time is so little heard of a steady beat [...] The absolute rhythmic freedom frequently leads to action on three independent rhythmic planes."[5] Maintaining these qualities required deep group interaction. Ayler himself said of the record, "We weren't playing, we were listening to each other".[1] The Penguin Guide to Jazz selected this album as part of its suggested "Core Collection" and awarded it a "crown".[6]

This is an original film I produced. I was thinking of it as an art installation. So, there's that. Oh, and the music is a tune, in full, by Charlie Haden and John McLaughlin. So there's that as well.