There's been a mysterious increase in people anonymously signing onto our e-mail list through this Web site in the past week, which makes us all extremely happy. I hope that at least a few are the product of last week's kickin' show at The Hook. Huge bill benefit nights like MFA 6 are always social and fun, and our fifteen minutes on the stage felt glorious, but it can be hard to tell what the actual impact of participating might be. In the moment, right after being rocked by us, compliments (and a future show or two) are offered, but since the experience is about donating money and good will towards a charity and not about promoting our band cause in particular, the good feelings seem to be pretty much the end of it. Although, on the subject of compliments to swell the head this was a good one: "Tonight you guys sounded as good as any band ever, any big league band, The Stones, whatever!" So I said even the Fab Four? And he said "Well my favorite band is XTC. I love those guys! And you guys are just as good as them. You even sounded a bit like them in some parts." Which is Mighty High Praise! A smile skylarks at the mere remembrance! Another probability for at least one or two of the new e-mails comes from a reunion with a branch of my family that started with a reconciliation of cold-warring factions back in June and culminated in Thanksgiving spent with "new" relatives in NJ. Men. Jeez. If sisters had been fighting there would have been words and words and stories going around behind everybody's backs, but at least there would have been talking. The only positive I can think of is that these people did miss completely my surly teenage years (yes, me!) so my sister and I were able to skip directly to the adults table and re-meet these people as ourselves and not come up through the years as our parent's children. I know I had a good time because I broke a streak of Thanksgivings On Which I Vomited. Gross, I know. I'm like that kid on South Park in that I have a fairly sensitive system and when my body wants to complain about a toxin, upchuck is the emergency exit of choice. The past several years there were some very strange T-giving tables blending families (that didn't stick) and that plus the expectation to gorge oneself plus other circumstances like the Year The Guests Brought Pink Wine have made for a very sad waste of stuffing and gravy indeed. This year Thanksgiving was delightful. My new relations are warm and wonderful and conveniently located in New Jersey, and I sincerely hope Dear Readers that you all had nice T-day weekends too. Saturday we returned to the Court House Bar & Grill - which supposedly operates during football games, although I have yet to see any body eat anything besides the 25 cent vending machine pistachios in that place. I had a bit of a head cold, so it was fortunate that we had pre-planned to play Plastic Beef style with special guest vocalist Ann Millerick. We opened and closed the night with several of my original tunes plus a bunch of covers. I felt in the zone musically despite the occasional small frog in my vocals. We invited Rachel Got Arrested to join us again, and I learned the sad story behind this very talented band's detour away from focus and music, and received another nice compliment from their front man Roger Reverb who said he's been listening to MEET THE ANIMAL obsessively. My goal in making MTA was to create a smooth-seed record that would support the kind of repeated listenings I've given albums like "Bloodletting" (Concrete Blonde), "Flood" (They Might Be Giants), "Boys For Pele" (Tori Amos) + "Sergeant Peppers" and a Bowie greatest hits record, and I'm so gratified to know that at for at least a handful of people we've hit that mark.