I play the guitar, and sing. Sometimes I do both at the same time. I'm what you would call a Renaissance Man.

If it's one thing the Ol' NickelNDime knows, it's that people like to be told why a song is good. The first response someone always wants to hear after they've listed their favorite songs is, “Yeah, that's actually really terrible, and you should probably listen to my music if you want to be my friend.”

For some reason, NickelnDime has never taken home an award in the best friend category. Thank God for participation trophies.

All joking aside, here are some songs that may have flown under your radar that I always find myself going back to over and over.

5) Day after Tomorrow – Tom Waits

Every time I think I've locked down on my favorite Tom Waits' song, I rediscover one that I have forgotten. “Day After Tomorrow” is one of those songs. What makes this song so great is its delivery of the story through the entire elements of the song. From the sparse instrumentation, to the fragmented vocals, to the lamenting lyrics, all of the different elements tell a very specific story. The listener won't even discover the main theme of the song until the third or fourth verse.


The song opens up with instruments playing very loosely, and next comes Tom's opening with these lyrics:

“I got your letter today, and I miss you all so much here.”

What's so great about how Tom delivers the lyrics is that he sings them like someone who is drained of completely everything. I believe there's a honesty in Tom's voice that even some extremely talented vocalists could never reproduce. I'm looking at you, Rod Stewart:

Oh, Rod you cheesed this classic. Didn't you, Rod?

Just compare the two and tell me which one you believe more. Is it the pretty-voiced boy telling ya about a downtown train? I didn't think so.

The song tells the story of a solider that goes home from war the day after tomorrow. It contemplates everything from what the character misses most about his home, to the morality of war or lack of. At the end of the song, the listener who may have never been to war, might actually see the view point of a solider waiting to come home from war.

Favorite lyrics from the song:

They fill us full of lies, everyone buys
'Bout what it means to be a soldier
I still don't know how I'm supposed to feel
'Bout all the blood that's been spilled
Will God on this throne
Get me back home
On the day after tomorrow

4) Intervention – Arcade Fire

When a song starts off with an organ, it better be good. Luckily, this song delivers! These lyrics deal with paranoia, while endorsing the groups that pushes the propaganda that fuel one's paranoia. At least, that's what I got out of it. I could be wrong, but I'm not because I'm super smart.

This would be me if I was in a fantasy novel. On the account that I'm super smart... as indicated by the owl being a really smart creature in fantasy lore.

This song has so many elements and themes. Where do I begin? It literally covers how someone can be subdued into obedience by fear. Take each of the choruses. They change slightly every time they come up. Here they are:

First chorus:

Working for the church while your family dies
You take what they give you
And you keep it inside
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan we'll go at it alone

Second Chorus:

Working for the church while my family dies
You're little baby sister's gonna lose her mind
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan we'll go at it alone

And lastly, and my favorite, the Third Chorus:

Been working for the church while your life falls apart
They're singing hallelujah when defeating your heart
Every spark of friendship and love will die without a home
Hear the soldier groan we'll go at it alone
Hear the soldier groan we'll go at it alone

The first two lines of the last chorus paint such a dire situation.

3) SOB – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats:

Yes, I listen to newer things. I like newer things. I'm very hip they tell me...

As much as I hate the cliché, 'I gotta quit drinkin' song, this song does it in such a tasteful way. The song mixes two genres of music; gospel spiritual, and early R&B (think Wilson Pickett – Land of 1000 Dances). The basic rhythm of the clap on the upbeat (It's very hard to clap to), keeps the verses glued together tight!

The tonality of the recording is done in such a superb manner. There's no instruments crowding over each other. Whomever recorded this song captured each instrument and mixed it well with all other existing tracks on the recording.

4) That's the Way the World Goes Round – John Prine

There are few songs that can melt away my stress, and this is one of those songs. What are the other songs, you ask? Well, that's a private matter and I don't wish to discuss it here, thank you very much. It really goes to show how even a simple song can be completely epic.

The verses are ridiculous, almost on purpose, but they complement the more serious chorus that points out that life is, in fact, a bunch of ups and downs. After a stressful day, and after listening to this song, it really puts life into perspective for me.

Favorite lyric:

I was sitting in the bathtub, counting my toes
When the radiator broke, water all froze
I got stuck in the ice without my clothes
Naked as the eyes of a clown

Between you and me, I've been trying to fit, “Naked as the eyes of a clown” into casual banter, and it's not going as well as I thought. When I say the phrase, people don't see me as the deep thinker I'd like them to, but rather as some would say, 'a weirdo':

“If NickelNDime tries to slip in, 'I was naked as the eyes of the clown' after I ask him when he's planning on cutting his lawn one more time, I'm going to call the city inspector.” – NickelNDime's neighbor who doesn't 'Get it.'

5) Wish I Knew You – The Revivalists

There's something to be said about a music video that perfectly tells the story of the song. “Wish I Knew You” is one of those videos. The song laments on not pursing romantic options while the two people were younger. I believe the singer is lamenting that he's so infatuated with his lover that he wishes he would have gotten with them sooner. Such a wonderful idea and concept. The instrumentation has kind of nostalgic type of feeling to it as well.

Throughout the years, certain common phrases have always made me raise an eyebrow whenever I heard them. Here are five common phrases with interesting origins.

5) The Whole Nine Yards

When I first heard this expression I thought it had something to do with American Football. I should have realized that it wasn't about football, because in American Football a team needs to get ten yards to keep possession of the ball. It's probably best that I never became a head coach for an NFL team...

“Now remember, if you get nine yards, fall down. I know it seems like an odd number seeing as the field has a total of a hundred yards but... that's how the saying goes, so let's stick with that.” – Coach NickelNDime


Origins of this one is a little murky. The earliest use of it was in the article, “Paint The Town Red” published in 1885. It read:

“What a silly, stupid woman! I told her to get just enough to make three shirts; instead of making three, she has put the whole nine yards into one shirt!”

What does that even mean? I've looked at it for a bit, and its roots were sexist, or in a demeaning tone, but that's just my interpretation of it. Whatever the reason, it was soon used as an idiom to describe a person giving it all they had when trying to achieve a goal or task. It has stood the test of time because I still hear it being used.

4) There's more than one way to skin a cat

When I used to work in construction (Yes, a teenage NickelNDime used to swing a hammer...) there was an old timer who would always use this term, and it always bothered me. The crew would be listening to the foreman give his basic plan so the crew was all on the same page, and Grampy McOldtimer would utter, “You know, there's more than one way to skin a cat,” as his lit cigarette would dangle from his mouth. It became so predictable that I could mouth the words as he would say the words. Maybe that's why this expression bothers me...

...or it might be because somebody actually came up with multiple ways to skin a cat, and then brag about it.


“More than one way to skin a cat,” is just the most up to date usage of a very old saying. Apparently, animal cruelty wasn't an issue back in the 17th century which is the oldest written use of this phrase. Although the phrase didn't use cats, but another furry human companion:

There are more ways to kill a dog than hanging,” – John Ray’s collection of English proverbs 1678.

The oddity about these phrases is that it's clear what they meant, however, there is no explanation of why people chose these methods.

3) Baker's Dozen

“Make it a baker's dozen.” I would hear customers say when I worked at an Italian bakery growing up. Yes, I had quite a few jobs in my teenage years. Management of these establishments saw my free-thinking lifestyle not as free thinking, but rather lazy. Why thirteen? I often wondered. It was my boss who explained it to me.


Medieval bakers were often subjected to floggings and fines if they were caught selling smaller loaves than they quarantined. Most of the bakers didn't have scales at the time. On top of that, it was next to impossible to guarantee the same size loaf every single time. To avoid a fine or public beating, bakers just started throwing an extra loaf to be sure. It's probably a good thing that I wasn't a medieval baker...

“You see, man,” the baker uttered as he took a big drag from his medieval pipe, exhaled and continued, “The reason they make bakers count thirteen as a dozen is because of the Big Wheat industry. The more I sell, the more I need to buy from them!” – NickelNDime.

2) I've got a bridge to sell you

This phrase is used to imply that a person is gullible. People will use it along these lines: “Well, if you believe that, than I've got a bridge to sell you!” My father-in-law will usually say it to me after I've stated something that is known or proved to be true... better known as a fact.


I actually love the origin to this phrase. There was a man named George C. Parker, who around the early 1900's illegally sold plots of land that he did not own. One of his most notable cons was the Brooklyn Bridge! He would sell sections of the bridge to unwitting marks and quickly run off with their money. The people would not realize they were conned until they tried to set up a toll booth on the bridge and the authorities would show up and shut them down.

1) Paint the Town Red.

I remember hearing my grandparents use this term when I was really young. As a little NickelNDime, I thought this actually meant that grown ups would get dressed up, grab a bucket of red paint, and go to town painting everything.

“I mean, why wouldn't grown ups just go to a movie, and then coffee afterwards?” – a very confused young NickelNDime


I, young NickelNDime, was pretty accurate in his assumption, but was just off by a couple of centuries. In 1837, the Marquis of Waterford, a known drunkard and trouble maker of the time, went on one of his legendary binges. He led a group of his friends on a night of vandalism. They stole door handles, knocked off potted plants, and yes... they painted buildings red.


There are two points I'd like to make before I give my review on CBS' mini-Series, “The Stand”.

1) I'm a Ginormous Stephen King Fan!

I've read so many of his books throughout the years. In fact, for awhile instead of introducing myself to new people in the traditional way of, “Hi my name is 'insert name'. What's your name?” I would instead announce the number of Stephen King books I had read up to that point in my life...

“I want you to hear me say the number **seventeen**, and I want you to carry it around with you for the rest of your days. Yeah that's right, I've read seventeen Stephen King books.” – NickelNDime greeting someone for the first time at a diner party.

2) I Didn't Even Finish the Mini-Series I'm About to Review.

That's right. I have never reviewed something that I haven't read/watched/listened to several times, but with this one I made an exception because...

This version of “The Stand” might be the worst adaptation of Stephen King's work ever! I'm including, “Maximum Overdrive” when I make that statement.

For those of you who don't know, “Maximum Overdrive” was directed by King himself, and was so awful King afterwards stated, “I will never direct a movie again.” It probably didn't help that he was coked out of his mind, and mentally checked out when he couldn't get Bruce Springsteen to play the lead.


Yeah this, “The Stand” adaptation was worse than that. First, let's go over the storyline.

The Plot or Storyline:

The Stand is a novel of epic proportions. The story begins with a virus escaping from a secret military base. After the virus is exposed to the outside world, ninety nine percent of the population is wiped out. If I recall correctly the first half of the story from the book follows a select number of characters as the world and society fall apart into an apocalyptic landscape. Each character's storyline is fleshed out in the original material, and the reader has a very good understanding of who each character is.

The surviving one percent of the population then splits into two groups. The first group follows an old woman named Mother Abigale, who is old and feeble but almost saint like in her kindness. The other leader is a handsome yet seductive leader that preys off of people's fears and desires. It's the classic showdown of good vs evil while maintaining very deep connections to the main characters throughout the story.

So What Went Wrong With the Mini-Series Adaptation?

In a short summary... everything.

The new adaptation(There was a mini – series in the 90's) used a lot of flashback scenes. There's nothing wrong with this technique, however it's done so poorly that anyone not familiar with the story is completely lost while watching it.

Character development is almost non-existent. Stephen King is known for writing so much detail into his characters. He'll write a thirty page event that happened to a secondary character years prior in the storyline, only to help describe the current scene in more vivid detail. The mini-series had none of that.

Lastly the storyline is almost none existent. Nothing, and I mean nothing is explained in the whole storyline. There's no nuance that was in the novel, or original mini-series for that matter.

This mini – series played out like...

“Oh no, there's an awful plague!”



“We should start a civilization. This time we're gonna do it right!”



“Wow starting a new civilization, is really hard...”


And finally...

“Now there is a bad guy, that we think is a demon of some sort... but we're not going to dive in the source material too much... so just take our word... he's really, really bad, okay? Is anyone still watching?”


This just reaffirms my long held belief that art can not be manufactured. Money and talent can help, but if the concept is bad to begin with, then it becomes an achievement just to reach mediocrity as a finished product. The best example I can point to is the original “Star Wars: A New Hope,” to the last installment, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” The original was shot on a shoestring budget, and is regarded as one of the best films in cinema history. The most recent installment had so much capital invested in it but was so awful that by the end I was actually routing for Emperor Palpatine.

I know we are supposed to suspend our disbelief when watching science fiction, but someone should have rolled up a newspaper and smacked J.J. Abrams on the nose and said sternly, “NO!” when he pitched this idea.


In Summary...

I'm not against remakes, but there is a cavoite to that. The remake has to be as good, or as better than the original or the source material. A good example of this is the original, “Batman” movie directed by Tim Burton. That set the bar pretty darn high. I would say Christopher Nolan reached that bar with, “The Dark Knight.”

Unfortunately this version of, “The Stand” appears to not have even come close to reaching that bar. In fact, it never even left the ground.

NickelNDime Out!

With a membership to Coil, you help a growing community of independent content creators like myself. It's a new concept to rid the internet of paywalls or advertisements.


There is a paralyzing fear that follows me around in my professional career. It's the kind of debilitating fear that Edger Allen Poe lamented about in, 'The Raven.' You know the kind. It's the kind of fear that keeps you up all night until morning creeps in through the window to let you know that you now have to start the day on no sleep. It's that kind of fear.

What is this fear, you ask?

Is it the fear of falling on stage?

If only I was this graceful...


No... try again

Is it a fear of breaking a string on stage?

If only I had this much control...


No... One more guess.

Is it the fear of female listeners not being able to control themselves when they hear my singing voice?

The director recalled to a journalist years later that he had gotten the idea for the opening scene to, “A Hard Day's Night” after watching a crowd of females go nuts after a NickelNDime show.


Nope sorry

The thought that repeats over and over in my brain is...

What if I'm playing a gig somewhere and someone requests a Slack Key Guitar piece, and I don't know how to play it and then everybody stands up at once and calls me a fraud?




Never mind if nobody has ever requested it, there's always a chance. Well, I got tired of losing sleep over not knowing how to play Slack-key and decided to do something about it!

What the heck is Slack – key guitar?

Slack – key guitar is Hawaiian fingerstyle guitar music. The origins of the genre are pretty interesting. When cowboys from Mexico introduced their Spanish guitars to Hawaiians in the late 1800's, the Hawaiians did not care for how the instruments sounded. So, they tuned the strings until it sounded pleasant to their ears! I'm always fascinated when cultures collide and a new music genre is born.

To say Slack – key has a different tuning on the guitar is quite the understatement. There are over 50 different tunings for Slack – key guitar!

The actual reason I learned this song was because it's been playing on my wife's music station and I thought it would be nice to play something I knew she enjoyed. Also I found that learning something completely out of your wheel house is always a great way to break out of learning ruts we can all fall into!

Anyways... Hope you enjoy it!

Isn't it so relaxing to listen to?

NickelNDime, out!

For a monthly subscription of $5.00 to Coil, you could enjoy the content below this line. There's a blog and video lesson on how to play this song. Totally worth it, if you ask me.,,


Anyone that knows me, knows I take the lyrics to songs extremely seriously. In fact, they are the first element of a song that my mind focuses on when I hear a song for the first time. That's why I'm perplexed when people misunderstand mega famous songs. Here are three songs that people completely misinterpret the meaning to.

This Land is Your Land was Written by a Socialist!!!

The US has prided itself on good ol' fashioned self reliant bootsrappin' capitalism. Most patriotic songs of the nation reflect an American exceptionalism that even has had Uncle Sam at times mutter, “a little on the nose, don't ya think?” Which is what makes the story behind, “This Land is your Land” and it's songwriter, Woody Guthrie so interesting.

You see, Woody Guthrie grew up in the Dust Bowls, during the great depression. He saw first hand what unfettered capitalism could do to his fellow American. If you haven't read, “Bound for Glory” I urge you to read it. It is an autobiography of Woody from his childhood all the way to when he turned down performing on Broadway instead opting to play for the people outside of Broadway who could never afford the ticket of admission.

What's so Controversial with this song?

If you went to elementary school in the US, one of the first songs you learned to sing was this song. If you ask a random American to recite the a verse, they'd most likely be able to recite the first couple verses...

“This land is your land and this land is my land

From California to the New York island

From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway

I saw above me that endless skyway

Saw below me that golden valley

This land was made for you and me

I roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps

To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts

All around me a voice was sounding

This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting

This land was made for you and me

This land is your land and this land is my land

From California to the New York island

From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters

This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The voice come a-chanting and the fog was lifting

This land was made for you and me

The lyrics describe how beautiful the landscape of America can truly be.

Well the verses that school systems decided to omit out you silly, silly goose! As mentioned earlier, Woody grew up in a time when tycoons destroyed the economy. He enlisted in World War II he hated fascism with a passion. He also believed that capitalism would lead to fascism. Woody was terrified of the US slipping into fascism like Germany. He was deathly afraid the wealthy would gobble up all the land for themselves.

There are two very curious verses the school systems always seemed to leave out when they decide what lyrics are printed in the school books...

“There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.

The sign was painted, said 'Private Property.'

But on the backside, it didn't say nothing.

This land was made for you and me.”

Oh yeah, and this one...

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple,

by the relief office I saw my people.

As they stood hungry,

I stood there wondering if God blessed America for me.”

As much as Woody feared fascism, he feared being blacklisted a little bit more. McCarthyism was in full swing, so... probably didn't want to be blacklisted.

Today – Smashing Pumpkins

This song illustrates the genius of Billy Corgan, and I wasn't even a big Smashing Pumpkins fan. At first glance it the lyrics combine with the positive melody are very deceptive. Especially the first line of ever verse, “Today is the greatest, day I've ever known...” Those words alongside the massive riff at the begging leads the listener to believe that it's a song about being happy, right?


It's about suicide.

Let's take a look at the lyrics:

Today is the greatest

Day I've ever known

Can't live for tomorrow

Tomorrow's much too long

I'll burn my eyes out

Before I get out

I wanted more

Than life could ever grant me

Bored by the chore

Of saving face

Today is the greatest

Day I've ever known

Can't wait for tomorrow

I might not have that long

I'll tear my heart out

Before I get out

Pink ribbon scars

That never forget

I tried so hard

To cleanse these regrets

My angel wings

Were bruised and restrained

My belly stings

Today is

Today is

Today is

The greatest day

I want to turn you on

I want to turn you on

I want to turn you on

I want to turn you

Today is the greatest

Today is the greatest day

Today is the greatest day

That I have ever really known

This song is about someone who has decided to end their own life. Billy Corgan recalled reading a research paper that stated that friends and family of people who committed suicide observed an odd behavior shift in the loved ones who attempted suicide. People that attempt suicide tend to be severely depressed which is to be expected. However, friends and family would notice a sudden upbeat type of personality in someone that they had been seriously concerned about. The research paper went on to explain this phenomenon. People who have attempted suicide and failed have explained this phenomenon as well. The phenomenon is once a person has made the choice to commit suicide, they feel like they don't have any more problems to worry about. They are actually excited about their decision.

That's why the person in the song believes that, 'Today is the greatest day he's ever known.' It's because in his mind, he's solved all of his problems.

Every Breath you take – The Police

This one is humorous even for Sting, the lead singer of The Police. This was one of their biggest hits of their career. Again, a melody can be very misleading if you focus on all of the lyrics, not just some of them. Most people think this is a love song, but it is not. Let's look at the lyrics:

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take

I'll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay

I'll be watching you

Oh, can't you see
You belong to me
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

Since you've gone I've been lost without a trace

I dream at night I can only see your face

I look around but it's you I can't replace

I feel so cold and I long for your embrace

I keep crying baby, baby please

Oh, can't you see

You belong to me

How my poor heart aches

With every step you take

Every move you make

Every vow you break

Every smile you fake

Every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

Every move you make

Every step you take

I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

Whoo, hoo

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay) I'll be watching you

I'll be watching you

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay) I'll be watching you

(Every move you make)

(Every vow you break)

(Every smile you fake)

(Every claim you stake) I'll be watching you

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay) I'll be watching you

This song is about a stalker who is obsessed with someone. Sting has commented numerous times it never fails to surprise him that strangers will tell him that their wedding song was, “Every Breath you Take.”

It's also a pain to play on guitar!

By now every Detroit Lion fan has come to the realization that Mathew Stafford will not be returning as Quarterback next season. The Lion's front office and Stafford agreed that it was best for both parties to trade him and receive a first round and possibly a couple second round picks in the draft. Why is this such a big deal? Well, to answer that I have to go into the Lion's awful, putrid history.

The Lions have been historically bad, for so very long. To name a couple stats that as a Lion's fan, I'm legally required to have memorized:

  • They've won only one playoff game since 1957.
  • They were the first team in NFL history to have a winless season. (0 – 16)
  • They forced one of the greatest running backs to walk away from the sport. (Barry Sanders)
  • They forced one of the greatest wider receivers into early retirement. (Calvin Johnson)
  • Since 2012, they've had only 9 wins against teams with a winning record.

Am I painting a picture for you?

What's the big fuss about Stafford?

To explain this, I have to explain what Stafford means to me. You see, Stafford was the player that got me watching football again. I had always loved the sport. Heck, I played in little league growing up. The team I played on got to compete in the little league championship game at the Pontiac Silverdome!

I don't want to brag, but I had three sacks that day, and a forced fumble. My children get to hear about my little league physical feats every night before bed.

To me there is no greater sport than American football. It's the only sport that I know of, that requires so much strategy, yet relies on quick reflexes when a plan goes south. A sport that displays such a high level of finesse, yet at the same time also displays pure brute physical force. Growing up, nothing was better than watching the boys in silver and Honolulu blue play on Sunday.

That was until this guy abruptly retired...

G O A T is spelled B A R R Y S A N D E R S


The man in the picture above is Barry Sanders. He was the greatest running back to ever play the game. That's not just a Detroit native saying that, watch any sports show where they do a “Top 10 Best RBs of all Time” rating, and I'll betcha Barry is in the top 3 every time. You knew you were watching history being made when you watched this man run the ball. Here's just a glimpse of this mans greatness.

Once this man walked away from the game, because the Lion's front office mismanaged the team so poorly, I stopped tuning in on Sundays. The Lions became the laughing stock of the entire league. It wasn't fun watching the Lions getting blown out 30 to 0 halfway through the game. I wasn't interested in a team that would win every so often by a fluke play.

That all changed the year after the Lion's notorious 0 – 16 season. That was the year they drafted Mathew Stafford. It was the first time in a long time that I had an optimistic view of the Lions chances. I didn't completely buy in until this game.

It was after that win, that the Lions started to win games. Yet for all the talent Mathew Stafford had/has, it never materialized into a playoff win. The front office just couldn't get the pieces around him. It was brutal to hear the sports announcers during the Lion's games this season. You'd get to hear gems like, “Wow, Matthew Stafford has set the record for the, 'Fastest Quarterback to Throw For Forty Thousand Yards.' You'd think they'd be able to do something with him... Such a shame.”

That's why the majority of Lion's fans don't begrudge him for requesting a trade. Who would want to stay with a team that's in a complete rebuild, after you've seen how they rebuilt twice already? It doesn't matter if the Lion's picked the right GM this time, or a great coaching staff. If you're an elite Quarterback, would you take that chance on another rebuild, or would you go to a team that's already got it together?

So far thee well No. 9! Wherever you land, I'm sure you'll probably take them deep into the playoffs. One of the last true, gunslingers.


Wow, as I was writing this article, a news story dinged on my phone. Mathew Stafford was just traded to the L.A. Rams for Jared Goff, and two first round picks, and one third round draft pick! WOW, the Lions made one hell of a trade! That's why I love this sport! There is so much optimism with this new GM and head coach. They are making a lot of great moves right out of the gate!

Lesson 1

Before you go, “Wait, the first lesson was on August 14, what gives?” Well, let me explain. I wrote this lesson during a renovation of my home, and totally forgot about it! As I was scrolling through all my unpublished articles, I stumbled across this one and realized, “Oh yeah, I remember this!”

Why are so concerned about where I've been, what are you writing a book about me?

“Where the hell is NickelNDime? He's so much funnier and better looking than Gallagher.” – What I imagine goes through my reader's heads when they haven't heard from me in awhile.

* Just in case you didn't get that reference Gallagher was a comic from the late 70's early 80's that smashed fruit on stage.

Anyway, let's pick up where we left off, the second picking pattern.

1) The first step is to play through the last part. When you get to the last picking part, where your 1st finger is on the 2nd fret, and your 4th finger is on the 3rd fret, DO NOT TAKE YOUR HAND OFF!!!

2) You're going to slide your fret hand until your 1st finger is on the 10th fret, and your 4th finger is on the 12th fret. This step requires practice all on it's own, so make sure you take the time to be able to transition between the two positions comfortably. The good news is that's all your fret hand will have to do during this section. The bad news, the picking hand gets a little more intricate during this section.

Set Up for Picking Hand:

Thumb rest on the 5th string.

Pointer rest on the 3rd string.

Middle rest on the 2nd string.

Ring rest on the 1st string.

The picking pattern is as such:

Pinch* – Pointer – Middle – Thumb – Pointer – Middle

*Pinch = Thumb and Middle at the same time.

That pattern is played twice.

The Rhythm:

The count of this picking pattern has some 16th notes so lets break it down.

| 1 + ah 2 e + |

Remember the numbers are the down beat. If you have difficulty hearing the rhythm, listen to and count it here:

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me!

NickelNDime Out!


A week ago I was wearing my David Bowie T-Shirt when my four year old pointed to Ziggy Stardust and asked, “Who is that?” My face lit up. I set my music collection to play David Bowie and, “Heroes” was the first song to play. As my boy and I were listening to it, the song reaffirmed my believe that David Bowie was a musical genius in his own right.

Why is this song so great?

Because of the lyrics, you silly little goose you!

...sorry I'm around two toddlers now, so this is how I talk now. Deal with it, I know I am.

Starting with the lyrics it draws from a very specific situation, yet they are so open everyone can relate to them. It tells the story of a couple sharing an embrace at the cost of risking their own safety. The first verse sets the setting:

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day

The two know it can't last, because whatever force trying to keep them apart will eventually succeed, but in that moment they have each other.

The second verse is great because it's full of optimism yet at the same time filled will despair:

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day

One of the lovers proclaims they can be royalty however in the next line the listener is reminded that someone or something will not stop until they are taken from each other. The last line illustrates how dire their situation is if being heroes means being themselves for just one day.

The last verse puts the whole story in focus:

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, just for one day

This song takes place at the Berlin wall. One of the lovers is from East Berlin, the other is from West Berlin. As the guns and bombs are blowing up all around them, they have each other. In a world that is chaos, nothing else matters to the two but each other. My favorite line of the song is in this verse. “And the shame, was on the other side,” part is a very powerful statement. It means nothing they two lovers did was wrong, and anyone trying to keep them apart would have a had time justifying their actions.

While the lyrics draw upon one specific time in history, the message is still the same. Maybe being a hero doesn't mean you have to save a thousand people from a burning fire, or rescue a drowning person. Maybe being a hero means doing what you know is right, in the face of extreme oppression.

That's just my interoperation of the lyrics. I could be wrong. I smoke a ton of the devil's lettuce.

Hey, let me ask you something, do you have $5.00usd a month to join Coil? You could read below this line and get a music lesson out of it. I know, asking payment for my content is insulting and I'm sorry I asked.


This is one of the very few Christmas tunes that I do not get tired of listening to during the holiday season. I've always enjoyed it as a child. As an adult, I find my self humming it when the holidays roll around. Why in fact, last week as I ripped a pine tree out of the ground with my bare hands for our family Christmas tree, I said to myself, “Self, you should do a cover of that song.”

Actual footage of me blowing a tree down with the power of my lungs. I mean, you gotta make it challenging or else, why even do it?


There was just one little problem, I don't sound a thing like Nat King Cole! Where his voice has a very warm and deep timbre, my voice was once described by a family member as a, “Duck choking on broken glass that needs to be put out of it's misery.

Thanks again for the kind words grandma... Worst first communion ever.

Seeing as my voice is not everyone's cup of tea, I decided to take a stab at doing an instrumental version. After rummaging through old Christmas music books, I found a version that I really liked. Now I'm not much of a jazz player, and a lot of the voicings in this song really test my skill level, but I think I did a pretty good job in the delivery of it.

Random Music Lesson

Something I came across when reading the sheet music was this...

Not to brag, but I can read both notation and tablature. Sometimes I fear I'll be crushed by the weight of my own genius.

The first three notes of this measure are known as a, quarter note triplet. I've played triplets before and knew how to count them as well. A standard triplet is three notes to one beat. To count a triplet, a musician will count to themselves, 1 – Trip – Let. So a measure of triplets would be counted as such:

1 – Trip – Let 2 – Trip – Let 3 – Trip – Let 4 Trip – Let

But I had no idea how to count a quarter note triplet! I continued to rummage through my old music books till I found my answer. The quarter triplet would be played over two normal beats, but counted as if they were two triplets.

The hits for a quarter note triplet would be:

1 – Trip - Let 2 - Trip – Let

Now you have a little tidbit of information in case you're ever at a dinner party and the conversation hits a lull. Nothing breaks the ice better than spouting off random music reading knowledge.

*“Does anyone know how to count quarter note triplet? Guess what, I can! Don't believe me? Watch, '*1 – Let – Trip' Bam! Now, who wants to do a rail?” NickelNDime shortly before he is asked to leave the Salvation Army charity dinner.

All in all, I feel I did pretty good job with the recording. The tonality that the microphones captured felt very full and warm. Take a listen:

Hope you enjoyed it, and have a happy holiday!

NickelNDime out!

Wow! Has it been a year already? Yes it has, or I wouldn't be writing this article, you Silly Billy! You're probably asking yourself, “Is there any way we can celebrate this joyous occasion of NickelNDime being on Cinnamon for a year?”

The answer is, yes.

Yes, there is, and I will tell you how...


5) Fiddler's Green - Posted 12 Months ago

A year ago I was bored and a was taking requests from the Coil community. I believe Sandra was the first to message me and request, “Fiddler's Green” by the Tragically Hip. I had heard of the Tragically Hip, but not the song. It was a great experience learning a song I would have never even listened to. Thanks Sandra!

4) K9 Grid Iron – Posted 10 months ago

You didn't know I could direct, act, compose, and produce a high budget film, did you? Well, I can! K-9 Gridiron was a game that was so fun to play with Zoe and Topanga in their younger days. I remember thinking to myself when I first posted this video, 'Welp, I better change my name and hire an agent, 'cause this video is about to break the internet.' You can imagine the shock on my face when I realized I couldn't quit my day job after I released this.

3) Nightlapse, Northport, Mi – Posted 2 months ago

When I did this time lapse six years ago, I realized it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the best way to show friends and family was to individually invite them to my home residence one at a time:

“Thank you for making the treacherous journey to my residence. I see the help have shown you to my study, terrific! Now, if you would be so kind, I took a time lapse you must see. After we watch it on a loop for several hours, we'll have my personal chef prepare a nice warm supper of mutton. Which is of course as you know, the cuisine everyone is raving about these days.” – NickelNDime trying to relate to the common folk.

When Cinnamon announced Cinnamon Shorts I finally found a place for this specific piece of content! Which was a relief, because it became rather expensive to rent a mansion and hire a staff just to show my friends a 15 second clip. I don't want to brag, but the Cinnamon short I've made of this has been viewed over 2.4 thousand times! Don't worry, I already contacted the IT department at Cinnamon and asked them if they wanted me to take it down so their network wasn't overwhelmed.

They still haven't responded, so I think it's okay if I leave it up?

2) Blackbird (Cover) wsg Catera Combs – Posted 3 months ago

This was such a wonderful project to work on. Catera has such a wonderful voice, and I hope to work with her again in the future. I wrote about the whole experience when I made the video. You know you've made something good when you show it to people you know and yell in their face, “HEY!!! LOOK WHAT I MADE!!! IT SOUNDS GREAT!!! I'M BETTER THAN YOU!!!” and then you push them down, and run away.

Thanks, Catera! I look forward to collaborating together in the future!

Before we get to No. 1, here are some honorable mentions...

Solitary Man (Cover) wsg Tom Kuster

View from Mesick Cabin

Yellow Ledbetter (Pearl Jam Cover)

and the No. 1 video from my channel is...

Drumroll please...


Wait for it...


Any minute now...


You want this to stop don't you?


Okay, I'll stop. The 1st place goes to...

1) Shelter From the Storm (Dylan Cover) – Posted 3 months ago

Sometimes things just work when you hit the record button, and that's how this project turned out. If I recall correctly, this was done in one or two takes, and it felt good when I listened to the playback. I hope to capture many more moments like this in the future on Cinnamon. Wouldn't it be great if this platform is still around in five or ten years?

Then I could totally do a, “Best of the NickelNDime Channel, hosted by NickelNDime!!!”

Don't act like you don't want to see it.

I know I do!

Take it easy, but take it!

NickelNDime Out!

For five dollars a month you could read below this line. If you like seeing ads constantly pop up or are on the side of your screen and commercials before every video you watch, then it probably isn't for you.