Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween...

I know you have seen this photo before. It exists on the blog in other places but it's one of my favorites. Good enough to use again even though it must be 20 years old.  Halloween is very important around here. Happy birthday to Rose, Juan and Uncle John. Thanks to Cathy for saying "yes" as I will always remember this holiday day, happy day as the day I asked you to marry me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are Your Pictures Yours...

I knew a guy one time. It was back in the days when you had to take your photo film (grand pa, is film what you are spitting up?) to the drug store for development. He thought that if you had a really good scenic photo taken on your vacation the people who saw it first, the developers, would sell your scenic view to the postcard companies. He claimed he had seen photos he had taken at the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, the Old Stone Fort and other places for sale in the tourist souvenir stores. 

I did not much buy this. I think there is probably only a limited number of places you can stand to make a picture of the Old Stone Fort so if me and you both have a Brownie camera I bet our photos are going to look about the same.  Now given a nice camera and a trained eye a good photographer might come up with an extraordinary shot. I don't think this guy I used to know had a trained eye and I think he was mistaken about the photo on the postcard being one of his. 

The internet has changed all this and I don't think people use postcards all that much anymore. Now I think my pictures and pictures people make of me end up online somewhere. In fact I know that whenever I put up a photo of my wife in a bathing suit it automatically ends up on some hot chick web site. See some guys can't make it on their own thing. That's why they must piggy back on the thing you do which is being married to a hot chick. 

So this brings us around to a recent fishing trip. We are tied up on the secret spot and down the lake comes this. 
Looks like he's headed right to us. I had to take my hat off to get this next photo.

Somewhere on the internet is a pontoon boat/hot chicks fish web site and pictures of me doing my thing are all over it. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Church Member Passes...

Our condolences go the the Glenn family on the passing of their mother Helen. Cathy visited Helen's parents and took them communion and for the past few years as Helen became more immobile Cathy visited her at home and took communion to her on Sunday evenings after church. 

On Sundays when I was not working I usually went with Cathy. Helen was another one of those people who knew you when she met you. She always told me to behave as I left her home. I don't know what made her think I might do otherwise.

Here's a photo I took of Cathy and Helen when we recently visited her at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
Helen came home shorly after this and passed away yesterday surrounded by family.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday Cigar Box Fun...

Took a booth at St. Paul's Methodist Church Fall Festival on Saturday and had a good day playing and selling cigar box guitars. It's my cousin Dixie's church and she invited me to purchase a booth for this event.  I do have a long connection going back to St. Paul's. I had friends that went there and I remember going to dances with live bands. In fact I remember one dance where the band had white and black people in it. That was bound to have been around 1972 so even though members have aged it's a pleasant place and was very open to the noise I made all day in the booth. 

The final total for sales was two one stringers, a three stringer and an amp. Bill Cooney, my celebrity sponsor and endorser  came along and backed me up on tenor guitar and tenor banjo. Here's a photo of Bill and I tried my best to make it look like a George Harrison album cover.
My mom has a lots of friends at this church. She is really an old Methodist but has been mixed up with the Baptist so long she continues on there. She played a little percussion and made sure my act was consumable for the venue, in other words not too many songs about New Orleans. 
Cathy is in the background. She put out some of the baby blankets she makes for sale but no luck on these. 
Here's a happy buyer but his wife is not too sure. He told me he tried to learn guitar at age 80 but gave it up. I like that. If you don't succeed, scale back and do less. I think it was Ken Kesey who said something like I promise a lot to be able to deliver what I can. If you playing more than one string you just showing off. I sold another one stringer and the booth had only been open 5 minutes and did not get that ladies photo. She bought the prince Albert can diddly bow.
Here is a girl that is going to make her boy friend very happy this Christmas. She bought a cigar box guitar and amp. Sounds like he might be a good player because she wanted to hear the guitar through the different amps. She said "I know some sound better with certain guitars." You can see what she picked. 

A good fun day. met some other interesting people but might save their story for later. There is a video of me and Bill playing on facebook. Thanks to all the shoppers and the church we had a fine time. 



Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Great Guy has Passed Away...

Jim Lamont, a long time St. Patrick's Catholic Church member, a songwriter, a joke teller, a friend and great guy has passed away. Here is a photo of Jim and his wife Cheryl from the 2011 St. Patrick's festival. It was taken at the same time Jim was interviewed by the Lufkin Daily News on the subject of changes in the parish since 1928. 

I have gone by Jimmy and Cheryl's the past few years to play Happy Birthday for him on the tuba and spent a couple of hours last month playing songs on the cigar box guitar for him. He spent a couple of hours giving me tips on climbing a greased flag pole and how to pass off as a monkey after being hypnotized in a medicine show. Jim's in heaven singing his spirit songs and does not need a cigar box. I'm still down here on earth and  have not made it to the top of the flag pole and the monkey thing scares me.  

When I was first getting to know Jim about 25 years ago we were at a church Fat Tuesday dinner and I had just returned from a little Mardi Grawing in New Orleans the previous weekend. Jim loved to tell jokes and he began telling me one. He said "A hippy was at Mardi Gras and he had on a loin cloth. He stuck a bottle of gin in the waist band of it and the next thing he knew he got pushed out into the street and was walking along among the parade floats..." I couldn't listen to the rest of the joke because I was distracted about how this guy knew what had happened to me the past weekend. 

Jim was not a computer user but Cheryl keep him up on the blog but I don't think he really needed it. He knew you when he saw you. Till we sing your songs with you again, thanks for everything. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guitars for Sale this Weekend...

My guitar stress tester Warren shows off some of my latest builds. He's a good model but you have to be careful. He almost fell over when an airplane flew by. At this point a guitar comes in third against airplanes and tractors. 

What Warren is introducing is a new budget line of guitars. On Saturday I will have some nice instruments on sale at St. Paul's Methodist Church's fall festival from 9am-3pm. I don't expect to sell a bunch of $60-$75 dollar guitars (my usual pricing) at a craft fair so I have made some non electric diddly bows and some guitars from less sturdy boxes that will be bargain prices. There will also be some shake stick percussion and electric drums from wooden cigar boxes. Christmas tin guitars will be blown out at lower prices and of course I will have a couple of nice instruments for sale also. All instruments are tune-able and gig able. 

Just for comparison sake I recently visited South Austin music, a place where pro musicians of Austin Texas shop and there were three builds for sale there that fall under the cigar box umbrella of definition.  There was a wooden box type and a license plate guitar. One was a 5 string if you can figure that and both had fretted necks. They were meant to be played electric so while I am sure pickups and hardware were good they had no more acoustic personality than your average electric guitar. The other was a Punch cigar box, a box I have used for builds and while it had a nice fretted neck it was not solid and the box top was loose with no box corners. Prices ranged $175-$225. I am not offering fretted necks so you will need to learn slide but I think my guitars have dual acoustic/electric personalities that you will find pleasing in addition to solid quality and gigiability at a blow market price that covers my cost and leaves room for your customer satisfaction and fun. 

Here is a few close ups of the economy one string. I have three of these made from old cracker boxes. They will be $5 each. Where you gonna have more fun than this for $5? 

I might trim that string before Saturday. 

My celebrity endorser Bill Cooney will be on hand in the booth for autographs and we will be jamming all day. Hope to see you there. 

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Once Again I Get Conned into a Quick Trip...

I guess everything has a cost. For me that cost is carrying furniture to a third floor apartment. Maybe I'm hiding my age better than I think is why they ask me to do these things but it was for a really sweet person and the apartment was in the righteously funky South Austin part of town so I guess in the long run I am the winner. After the chore was complete me and Cathy relaxed in a room on South Congress Street in the old Austin Motel, a motor court type of place dating to 1938 and walked across the street to catch Dale Watson at his Monday night vertical gig at the Continental Club. 

I remember the old days of the early 80s which in reality don't seem so old to me. South Congress did not have too much going on. The Continental was there and I guess the motel was there but it must have been pretty dark and it seems like I recall street walkers on that side of the street as I walked up the other side to see music at the club from my old friend Julie's house. Now a days my activity tolerance is lower for walking dark streets. The Austin Motel is a trendy, hip place to stay if you have the bucks and get your reservation in early. There are a lot of shops with boots, jewelry, vintage clothes, art and old records which all require money also. There is a big new motel under construction on South Congress which is going to put thousands of more people on the streets. They will need food, bathrooms and stuff to buy. I just hope I can still get into the Continental Club for $7 to see a killer hard country band which by coincidence is the same price people pay to see me at local VFWs playing most of the same songs which as songwriter Randy Newman says "Just not as good." 

Dale Watson has a great band. In addition to playing all the old hard country favorites he dipped into the swing songbook with some Louis Jordan and a great country cover of the John Lennon tune "Ballad of John and Yoko." This is the way a band from Texas should play. They come in looking all country boy and the next thing you know it's taken off in a whole nother direction.  

I think Dale must have some sort of working agreement with Lone Star Beer. He had a little theme song and dance thing he played about Lone Star several times during the night and he drank a lot of them. He advanced a conspiracy theory that it was Lone Star which Jesus turned the water into but big wine has put a spin on the story that we can't seem to break out of. 

I can't seem to see where my friend Julie's house was off South Congress. Might not still be there. Much has changed. With all these people coming they are going to be the type that want lights. They won't be like me during those years I flailed at the dark. Maybe with the lights I can see old friend's houses and the places I have been.   

"...I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinking to himself "Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf..."Bob Dylan from "Lilly Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
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