Is it true that repeated exposure to banjo playing and banjo players can cause irreparable inner-ear damage, or is that simply a tall tale invented by frustrated guitar pickers? While I have no firsthand experience, my sister's husband's cousin's wife's uncle had become stone deaf while trying to tune the 5th string on his banjo for six straight days. These days, I'm told, he continues to play incessantly, and doesn't seem to notice the discordant sounds coming from his instrument -- much to the detriment of conversation in their household. This points to a much larger threat, that Repeated Continuous Exposure to Banjo can eliminate human interaction and communication. While I realize that most people are not subjected to RCEB, those that suffer from this affliction may someday move into the higher levels of government, where they might become an international liability. I have been led to understand that there are quite a few banjo players in Texas, for example. That seems to explain quite a bit, don't you think?
—A concerned New Mexican
Uncle Duffy takes great offense at your letter, but in the spirit of free speech feels there’s no alternative than to publish it. Some of my best friends noodle on the banjo, even the 5-string banjo, and many of them are not real stupid. And, although many banjoists would not be confused with Rhodes Scholars, some of them have IQ’s which do approach the triple digits. As to your reference to Texas, I prefer to not be too political in this column, but the conclusions you draw may be steeped in a modicum of accuracy.
Dear Uncle Duffy,
I received a nice letter from some nice man in Nigeria who wants to put 5 million dollars into my bank account. The most money I ever got was $25.00 on a scratcher. He says he’s a chief accountant for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). He says that he got my name somewhere and that he needs me to help transfer some money to the US concerning a pipeline in Nigeria. Anyway he says that if I send him some money (really just a few thousand) I can make the five hundred million dollars. What a nice guy. I’m thinking of doing it, but need a loan. Hey, if you loan me the few thousand, I’ll share the winnings with you. What do you think, uncle?
You may wish to refer to a letter which came in to my offices in October from some NM idiot who thought he was going to win some money by buying magazines. I’ll give you the same advice. Don’t do it, nimrod. Most of us get these Nigerian letters about once or twice a month. It’s a scam, but the government is powerless to stop it because it preys on greed of idiots like you. Thankfully you don’t even have the seed money to lose to these shysters. Wanna buy the Montaño Bridge?
I keep hearing radio advertisements for buying a star for my girl. They say if you send them a bunch of dough, they’ll name a star after my girl and put the name in some kind of official registry – the Star Registry in the Copyright Office in Washington DC. Then they’ll send me directions how to find my girl’s star. Should I do it? Will they give me one of the good ones like that there North Star – I think it’s called Pollanus or something? My girl already is a “heavenly body” if you catch my drift. Do you think they’d name a planet after her or one of them hemorrhoids which orbit in the solar system? Sorry for all the questions, I don’t know much about astrology, but I want to do this right for my chick’s 16th birthday. By the way, her name is Venus.
First let me clear up a lot of misstatements in your letter. I can see that, even though you don’t know much about astronomy, you obviously TOOK UP SPACE in high school. And “astronomy” is the science, “astrology” is not a science, it’s just a bunch of idiots pretending that the alignment of the universe is anything but random. The north star is Polaris. They’re called asteroids, not hemorrhoids – and I won’t even link that with Uranus. Mainly the Star Registry is as much a scam as the Nigerian letter discussed above. It’s pretend. You really won’t have a star named after your “girl” Venus. You probably don’t even know that there’s already something called Venus in space – and it’s no doubt a lot brighter than your friend.
Dear Uncle Duffy
(Is Duffy your first name or last name?)
My husband Manny says it's OK to have a drink after you have finished breakfast (unless it's on the weekend in which case you can have a drink with breakfast). In my family we were told it is not OK to have a drink before 10:00 AM. Who is correct?
—Dipso in Rio Rancho
First, Duffy is my first name although I do know some folks with the last name of Duffy. Since they’re Hispanic, they call themselves Los Duffys. Sadly for him, he married Muffy Shapiro and she actually changed her name to Muffy Duffy. But I digress… If Manny wants a drink before or during breakfast, I say that’s okay by me. (Of course he must never drive again, but I think you know that anyway.) Uncle Duffy always gets serious when it comes to a major problem in this state – DWI’s – do don’t drink and drive. There’s a famous bluegrass song called “Whiskey before Breakfast” which explains a lot about bluegrass musicians and music. Hey, Ulysses S. Grant drank before breakfast, and they named a middle school after him in Albuquerque. Robert E. Lee never drank, and he lost his rear-end in the Civil War. Cause and effect? You tell me.
Dear Uncle Duffy
My husband Enrique got knocked flat on his keester when he tried to run though the invisible dog fence with Barnaby's (Barnaby is our German Shepherd) collar on. He claims he was just testing the collar to see if it worked OK. I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't some part of his brain that is not functioning correctly. (He does come to dinner when I ring the bell). Do you think he needs to see a psychiatrist?
—Worried in Cherry Hill
Enrique sounds like a keeper – whether you want to or not. Heck you can keep him home just by telling him that the collar is a new cool manly necklace you bought him. After the 83rd zap he’ll sub-consciously decide never to venture out again. Uncle Duffy once had a friend in Scottsdale who had an invisible fence, but liked to carry her dog around the house. She always tried to carry the dog through the fence and couldn’t understand why he tried to bite her all the time. True story!
Dear Uncle Duffy
What is all the fuss about football? The game makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever to me. It looks like a bunch of animals running up and down thumping their chests and doing silly dances. Am I missing something here or is football just over-rated?
—Rather be shopping in Corrales
Dear Rather (any relation to Dan?),
My father was an immigrant from Belarus. To the day he died he could never understand football. He used to tell me in his Belarusian accent, “Vy don’t zey jahst gif everyone a ball so they’d stop fighting over it”. Me, I love to watch football and I agree that the silly dances and thumping of chests and macho bravado ruin the game. So is the pointing in the sky when one moron scores a touchdown because the other moron (who had also pointed up to the sky) missed an assignment. I like to think God has better things to do with his time than to root for the Raiders against the Buccaneers. Maybe he doesn’t. Let’s face it, these guys are not really from Tampa (there is no city called Tampa Bay, leastwise, not in the Tampa Bay area) or Oakland, it’s just one corrupt corporation against another, so rooting for one city team is like cheering on Sears against Dillards. And, by the way, if I may continue my rant, did you ever notice that all of these former football players end up the rest of their lives crippled and even more slow-witted than they’d be if they didn’t get their heads pounded every weekend by 400 pound dyslexic behemoths.