Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Scientist...

I would hope you are familiar with the Italian astronomer Galileo. He was born in 1564 and is known as the Father of science, physics and observational astronomy.  He was a champion of a new theory in those days that the Earth and planets went around the sun instead of the accepted idea of the time that they did not. It got him in trouble with the Catholic Church and he spent the last years of his life until his death in 1642 under house arrest. There are still people around that dispute things discovered through good scientific procedure and there are also some people that may not make a heralded breakthrough but are real good at the observational thing. 

One of these people is a neighbor of some family members in a certain Chicago neighborhood. In fact they have dubbed him Galileo because he observes from his rooftop just as the original Galileo may have and actually sometimes does have a small telescope. It's taken me a couple of years to catch this Galileo in action but this time I got him. 


The station, a small table and chair stays set up year round. This was my first time to see him in position but I have noted over that past couple of years that while I might not see him things are changed around from day to day indicating that he has been observing. In fact I watch, he watches and I wonder what name he has for me. 


Galileo does spend some time at ground level and seems to have a mission to assure others that he is harmless. I might guess mental illness but approaching others with an explanation of your behavior might well mean you realize what you are doing is strange. I do the same thing when I travel. When everyone around me knows I am from Lufkin things just automatically seem to go better. 


Busy as a little beaver. I am usually in Chicago about this time each year and if the weather is pleasant like it was for this visit it is often the first nice day in a while and old Galileo is just like everyone else getting out and shaking off the cabin fever. 


I don't know if the pyramid means anything but the red white and blue is a positive sign in these here parts so maybe old Galileo will be ok. After all it's an all American thing that seems to have fallen out of fashion, getting to know the neighbors.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Street Photos of People With Dogs...

I don't have a dog. I've had lots of them though, especially when the kids were growing up. Teaches responsibility and stuff. Like when the kid don't feed it and you end up taking care of it. Basically though I enjoyed the dogs and the kids as well. Glad they all have their own places now. 

Things have changed with dogs. I remember when it was ok for a man to shoot his own dog. Probably go to prison now.  I used to doctor on sick and injured dogs. Probably would be deemed malpractice Mary can recall all the times it took both of us to hold down the big white dog to address some injury he had come home with. She drew a picture of us doing this and labeled it "dad the mad dog doctor." The dogs I attended to, baring massive internal injures always got well. 

I am amazed when on social media some one posts a photo of a dog on the street and says "saw this lost dog today." When in college A friend had a dog named Al and in the course of his college career (my friend's, not Al's) he moved, sometimes several times a semester. Al often came up missing. He could usually be found at the last residence they shared miles away. A dog going down the street, in my experience has either been dumped by a cruel master or is looking for a good place to poop. It's a 50 50 chance the dog knows what he is doing. 

So this brings us to today's topic which is a topic I often address and will probably, as I get older, uglier and slower get my butt whipped. It's more photos of people on the street I have collected, miles apart and in different cities that were doing something that I can cobble together into an attention seeking blog post. It has to do with dressing to walk your dog. 

I took this photo at the Galveston Mardi Gras. Cute dog and pretty girl but I'll be darned if I dress the dog better than myself for a big street party. Of course I realize that photos of how I was dressed this day are viral on social media but then I don't care. 

A different crop on this photo and I could have blogged about how the guy hiding his face used to be in the Ramones or that the big guy smoking the cig probably don't have as many to smoke as he thinks. 


This photo is from a walk in a Chicago Park just off Lake Michigan. The wind was cool to me but here was a guy in shorts walking his dog. From a distance the shorts looked black and it seemed that with the white leg stripe he was perfectly matching the black and white dog. In fact I think they are the same kinds of dog in both photos. 

I must have some kind of sickness because I admit when I took this photo  I was thinking about the photo of the girl and writing this blog post. I might even get a dog one day but it will be far in the future when I am no longer able to wander the streets looking at people. I won't ever wear pants with a stripe down the leg unless the are red pants, the stripe is gold, the cuffs have fringe and I'm playing accordion in an Eastern European punk rock band.  


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Monday, May 23, 2016

Morgan and Ali Crawfish Boil...

It seems that it is the custom for it to rain on a crawfish boil at Morgan and Ali's house. That's ok. It just serves to remind us of that time at Woodstock and next year we will just go ahead with swimsuits and belly flops in the mud. Here are some of the photos.

The rain. So? Morgan cooked 100+ pounds. They got et. 

We did have a covered porch and a tent canopy so as always, things could be worse but they aren't. 


Cathy explains to BD what it really means when the monkey poops in your hat. 


Alejandra and friend. 


Suzi and Charlie. 


I don't know if I met these people. 


Mary's fist gig on the guitar she bought from Ben. It's going to get the job done. 


Cathy and Miguel on guitar and banjolele. 


Suzi took up cigar box guitar a couple of years ago, is taking guitar lessons and now this. It's a long slide down the hill but we will be there with you. 


Left to right Katherine and Jared on vocals and guitar, me on goat hooves percussion and Morgan on lead guitar. Mo was on this night. Great fun and good songs with these people.  

 Look at everybody on the cell phones. An affirmation for me. They do the same thing at the big rock shows. 

This guy was in the ice chest all by himself the next morning. The survivor and even though I have no photos of her Ali also survived. I guess she was just moving to fast to be caught on camera. 


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Low Down Brass Band...

While in Chicago we caught a brass band playing in the New Orleans style and the most modern part of the style at that. They were called the Low Down Brass Band. I thought they were great with good horns, good voices and good songs. Only thing was I just did not get many good photos which is a mystery to me as I was up close and maybe I should have got closer or something but the last show I went to I got great photos from the balcony. Go figure. 

Here are three unedited phone photos.The tuba player was good. 





Sax Players. They were also good singers. The band had several good voices. 


This is not a great photo but if you can make out the box around that guy's neck it's a percussion instrument from Peru called a cajita. Cajita means "little box." Traditionally made from a church collection box you wear it around the neck and tap it with a stick while opening and closing the hinged lid to get different sounds. I have some odd sized cigar boxes that are not going to lend themselves to guitar making very well so I think I'll try my hand at some of these later in the week. 

This guy also played trumpet and I like the blend of his and the bari sax players voices. 


One thing that is going on in New Orleans is a mix of rap and brass bands. Down there the traditional brass band folks are slow to embrace but I think for the young people it great to blend tradition and innovation. This group did that very well with the rapping dude you see here. Face it folks, rap is here to stay and bands like these show how to do it well. 


The tuba dude. As I said he was great. 


check them out, the Low Down Brass Band. 




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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Getting Around the Big City...

Last September on our visit to Chicago Katie encouraged us to begin biking around. It was a little scary to think about and I think the main fear was just that Chicago is a big place but broken down into it's parts like Humboldt Park where the PK live and other places such as Wiker Park, Logan Square and Ukrainian Village you can think of it as a bunch of small towns and that's manageable. Besides no one in Chicago blows past  you as fast as a jacked up Texas four wheel drive around here does. And there are bike lanes through most Chicago neighborhoods. 

On our return to Lufkin we picked up some bikes and have been biking here. If you checked the Lufkin News Editorial page this week they run a feature where folks go on line and leave their comments on local issues.  This week the issue was with the Lufkin City Council canceling a planned downtown plaza area and what would you like to see them use the $400,000 for. My comment was to make a bike trail like Chicago's 606 trail. here's a photo of us riding the 606. 

And yes I know that the girls always think I'm taking a picture of their butts on purpose while riding but it's better that me swiveling around and try to take a frontal while I ride.  

The 606 is an old industrial rail spur that dates to the time of the Chicago fire when the city was being rebuilt. These old neighborhoods were industrial areas where bikes, food, furniture and musical instruments were made and the rail transported goods to ports on the river and then on out to the heartland of the country. As you can see it's a hard surface with a soft running track border. Lots of walkers, skaters, bikers, runners you name it. 




Well lit at night and it does have a closing time to thwart criminal uses.  


Cathy is a blur of speed. 


General downtown riding. All well lit enough with the bike lanes we did not have any bike lights. I don't ride in Lufkin unless well lit. I did not even worry here. 



Speaking of getting around public transportation is good. We used buses and the train to and from the airport and downtown to the Field Museum. I have a little credit card think and when you get on a bus or to a train station you tap a sensor with the card and get in. I spent about $10 on public transport. Even though the neighborhoods are not to busy car wise this beats the heck out of the freeway and looking for parking. 


Back to the 606, it has been a good thing for the residential areas bordering it. In addition to being an outdoor space for people that don't have too much personal outdoor space in the city it seems to be a selling point for homes and rentals bordering the trail and is no doubt raising property values and quality of life. 

That's why I made the comment I did to the newspaper. I love the little wooded trail our city has but it has it's drawbacks and I think there might be abandoned rail spurs around here that could be put to good use and would be good for us.   





Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chicago Crawfish Boil 2016...

I have done crazier things than fly to Chicago to eat crawfish. It's not all that crazy really when you consider that it's our daughter Katie and son in law Peter throwing the boil and I get to spend the weekend hanging with them as well as doing and seeing the sights of the third biggest city in the USA. Besides I like to think of it as one of those going against the grain things, going north to get something that's really south. It's a piece that may fit a puzzle one of these days like maybe 20 years in the future. I'll probably be gone but the rest of ya'll will be standing around saying "yeah man that's what that dude was trying to show us and we just now getting it fingered out."  

These craws were from the south all right. Natchitoches, La. to be sure. They arrived in an overnight shipment right to the door live, big, clean and ready to eat and eat them we did. They were good. Check the photos for yourself. Here's Peter giving them a hose down. 

Cathy makes a new friend. 

Katie and Cathy. 

The crawfish races. 

That get em while they are hot look. 


Peter coaches the guest on the finer points of craw fish. 


Yum yum. 

Party gets underway. 


I can remember when I was in there leading the charge, boiling, cooking and everything. I'm still leading the fish fry charge for now but looks like my kids and their spouses are taking all this hard party work over from me. Time to rest easy and enjoy. They got this. 

 Them craws are good! 

Peter takes a photo from the balcony or what ever they call that in Chicago. 

 Ok, Ok so the the fire idea kind of sucked. 
Nothing else this day did. 


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Wednesday, May 04, 2016

More on the Ancestors...

Here's a photo I got from my cousin Sue at a recent family gathering. It's my Grandmother (Granny) Wallace's grandparents Elam and Mary Ann Massingill Albritton.. 

Photo by Harrington and Rogers of Lufkin Tx. I'll have to look them up. 

You might recall I have blogged about Elam before. He was a Civil War vet in the 7th Texas Calvary. In 1924 he had been dead since 1910 and Mary Ann went down to the Angelina County Courthouse and filed for a Confederate Widows pension. You can read all this old info at this LINK

Today I took my mom and we went out to McKindree Cemetery and visited Elam and Mary Ann's grave stones. I had seen a photo of Elam's stone on find a grave but today I made a bunch of photos of Albritton, Massingill and Ridgeway headstones.  I will be looking these folks up and figuring out who is who as time permits. 





I believe Mary Ann's Gates of Heaven on her stone is a little wider that Elam's. 

I need to find out who these people were. I am guessing sisters, Elora and Eudora.

Nice Angel on Elora's. 


Eudora has a lamb on her's. She was born Feb. 7th, 1887 and passed on June 8th 1888. 


I am thinking these might be my people also. These petrified headstones are right in the middle of a grouping of my kin. As I walked the burial ground and it's not a big place all families were together. 


So new stuff to find out about. Some names I know, some we will have to find a place for. Stay tuned. 





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