Best New Artist – Jen Chapin

Autographed CD - Click for bigger pic...Last night, The Lady Janet and I had a rare evening out on the town. We went down to a nearby small town called Newcastle, CA, population 6,231, to a very cool little joint called Constable Jack’s, where I tried alligator for the first time (Mmm… alligator), and we listened to Jen Chapin, daughter of the late Harry Chapin, sing excellently with her excellent band.

It was very sad that there were only a handful of people listening in this venue that said “Maximum Occupancy 100,” because these guys rocked. The bass player is her husband Stephan Crump, and he plays Fender&#153 like a master, and standup bass as well, though he only played the Fender last night.

The drummer, keyboard player, and guitarist also showed off great chops on about 15 songs that were rhythmically and harmonically sophisticated, yet surprisingly catchy. Several reminded us of other female vocalists we like very much like Alanis, Joan Osborne, and Norah Jones, though Jen has a unique voice that is pure and powerful, laid-back, even girlish at times.

The good news about the lack of crowdedness is that we got to talk at length with Jen and her band. I asked her about her process for writing, for instance, and she said that it depends on the song. Some come to her as a melody, others as words to a bass line. She says she writes on guitar and piano, though she doesn’t play them on stage.

Click through to and check out the samples, then follow her around on tour and buy all her CDs.

Bottom line – I give this band:
Used by permission.
A note about me:

I am not a major league pitcher for The Pirates, nor is my wife a model who writes publicly about our private intimacies.

The good news is that I’ve been getting about 15 to 20 extra hits per day lately from Googleâ„¢ search hits for “Chris Benson’s Wife.” The bad news is that they’re really looking for K-R-I-S Benson’s Wife.

So if you’re them, you need to go to, and I apologize for how slow it is when you get there – she seems to be very popular right now.

What Country Is This, Anyway?

The coveted Asparagus Pee Doh! Award...Excite Today’s Poll today asked whether or not the US should ever use physical torture on detainees, and the majority said, “Sure, why not – whatever it takes.”

Do you think that the United States should ever use
physical torture on the people it detains?

Yes, in some circumstances 54% => 5420 votes
No, never 41% => 4143 votes
I’m not sure 3% => 395 votes
I don’t care 0% => 61 votes
Current number of voters: 10019

I find this deeply disturbing.

Auburn Journal

My 15 minutes?Hey, this is cool. I’m considering running for a school board seat in the local elementary school district. There just happened to be a reporter from our hometown newspaper out at the County Clerk’s office when I was picking up the paperwork, and he asked for an interview, and abracadabra, I’m on the front page of the paper this morning. See you in the funny papers!

Bookselling This Week: Freedom to Read Amendment Fails on Tie Vote

Free is when you don't have to pay nothin' or do nothin'. I wanna be free! - Frank ZappaGlad to know that some people in Washington are fighting for our freedom of expression and right to information. Here’s a link from today’s Bookselling This Week – pay particular attention to the second paragraph: Freedom to Read Amendment Fails on Tie Vote

Update: Here is a related article regarding the 1st Amendment that, among other things, proves that the average American isn’t knowlegeable enough to comment on the 1st Amendment. I love the line that says, “having three of 10 Americans say they have too much freedom is a disturbing figure.” I encourage you to click on through to the First Amendment Center for other interesting and enlightening tidbits regarding our freedom.


As a recovered nicotine addict, I had an odd thought just now about smoking: instead of charging $5 for a pack of cigs, and requiring an ID to prove you’re old enough, they ought to require proof of insurance, both health and life, to prove you won’t be an undue burden on society or your family before your time.