Everybody Thinks He Can Be A DJ!

Posted in DJ Stuff, Party Machine Celebrities!, Weird Things at Parties with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by djscottshirley

Loyal Blog readers have heard me say that everybody and his dog thinks he is a DJ now. Many have seen the now-viral photo of my chimpanzee DJ.

Just when you think you have seen it all, the trend becomes a royal mess – yes, HRH the Prince of Wales had to try it out:

Perhaps I should take up polo.

“And They Will Throw Rice at Your Wedding”

Posted in Texas Aggie Weddings, Weddings! with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2012 by djscottshirley

I write a lot about traditions. I have posted about ethnic traditions, school traditions, family traditions, yachting traditions, and weird traditions.

At Texas A & M University, the big joke is that if you do it twice, it’s a tradition. Their Traditions Council has recorded the origins of some of their long-standing traditions. But the origin of many traditions is often lost to the mists of time.

Do you remember the last time anyone threw rice at a wedding?

Newlyweds were once pelted with rice when they left. Now birdseed seems to be the weapon of choice.


It was the tradition for many years for guests to throw rice as the Bride and Groom made their honeymoon getaway. The origin for this is vague, but it is supposed to symbolize wishing prosperity and fertility to the newlywed couple. In other cultures, guests might throw dates or figs.

In America we stopped throwing rice, in favor of birdseed, due to fear of harming birds. Seems the birds would eat the dry grains of rice, which would expand in their stomachs, ultimately causing the poor bird to explode. Everyone now “knows” this, and it is simply not PC to throw rice any longer.

Turns out it’s all nonsense.

Why aren’t there stories about exploding birds? Because it doesn’t happen.

Pigeon shrapnel!

I always suspected this. I recall driving through the rice fields of south Louisiana and seeing that they were filled with birds. Some were eating the crawfish and other critters in the flooded rice paddies, but many birds were eating rice. And we never once saw a bird explode.

Our culture is so pre-programmed to believe that any story that gets repeated enough must be true. So it became universal practice to use birdseed instead of rice. The past few decades have seen couples running through bubbles, rose petals, and sparklers as well.

There are some practical reasons to favor birdseed. Rice can be hazardous to walk on, and a bear to clean up. Many venues banned rice for these reasons…but it had nothing to do with exploding pigeons. And so far no one has exposed a conspiracy by bird seed companies to promote their product this way.

I recently heard of a hazardous birdseed story. Someone purchased birdseed for a wedding that was specially treated to keep squirrels from eating it. After showering the bride and groom with it, they developed a painful burning and itching, as did many guests who came in contact with the seeds. Turns out the active ingredient was capsaicin, extracted from chili peppers. That was a hot wedding!

So now that the truth is out, will we see a return to the rice throwing tradition?

We now have special "Designer Wedding Rice"

There are new, improved rice products being marketed for weddings that are supposed to be safer and easy to clean. Some is even heart-shaped! And it won’t make birds explode – just as regular rice won’t.

35 Things Learned in 35 Years # 25

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2012 by djscottshirley

25) Take Requests, But Know When To Say NO!

People ask if I take requests, and of course the answer is YES.

Requests are part of the fun of having a DJ entertain! Unlike most bands, who tend to focus on a single genre of music, Party Machine DJs have no limit to what we can play.

Other than, of course, the client’s wishes, and good taste. It is never appropriate to play music that offends people.

So we are able to promise our clients that we will not play songs with obscene or racist lyrics. There is no good reason to play such songs, and plenty of good reasons not to.

When we plan events with our clients, we make a list of “must-play” songs, and a list of “don’t play” songs. But we don’t make a playlist for the whole event, because that defeats the purpose of having an experienced DJ, who not only takes requests, but has the knowledge to know what to play when, to make the party flow.

A loud heavy metal song with screaming guitars is not right for an elegant cocktail hour at the beginning of a wedding reception…but might be perfect later when the dance floor is rocking. Timing is everything.

So sometimes the answer to a request is, “Yes, but later, when it fits in.”

Children don’t get this. Kids always ask for their song to be NEXT! And it doesn’t matter to them, that there are other people whose requests are ahead of theirs. And there is lots of gender bias among pre-teens: the boys typically hate the latest teen heartthrob, which of course is all the girls want to hear. It can be comical, but experienced DJs have plenty of tricks for dealing with selfish and demanding kids and their requests.

Here is how one Dutch DJ handles requests for a kid’s event:

Gotta Have Pirattitude!

Posted in Pirate Holiday on May 20, 2011 by djscottshirley

Never miss an opportunity to dress like a pirate!

That’s one of my prime beliefs. So when the Perfect Wedding Guide (PWG) sent invitations to their New Issue party, I was thrilled to learn we were supposed to dress with a P, W, or G.

Some wore pajamas, lots of pink and purple, but for me, it was an opportunity to break out the Pirattitude, with the added bonus of my lovely wife (MLW) dressed as a saucy Pirate Wench Girl (PWG).

Scott and Brenda celebrating with PWG. AAARRRR!