Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Weekend in Chicago...

Travels may be ending for awhile. We concluded our summer of the city which has seen us in Houston, San Juan, New Orleans, Munich, Prague, Innsbruck and now Chicago for a visit with Katie and Peter. You might can put Chicago on the list twice since we were there in May and it was kind of beginning to be summer in East Texas and on that trip we did not need any kind of heavy weather gear.  

It was definitely summer in Chicago this time and while milder temps than Texas it was a bit humid but good for a day at the ball park to see the White Sox play the Mariners. We have seen the Cubs at Wrigley Field before so this was new. The old famous White Sox park has been torn down and we arrived just in time to see the corporate sponsorship change from Cellular One to Guaranteed Rate Park. That's some kind of local mortgage giant and some are already calling the park "Guaranteed Fate." Anyway the Sox won for us and while Cathy is a bit mad about the Sox's win over the Astros in the 2005 World Series (she got wrapped up in the game on an airport TV and missed a flight) it was hard not to be for the home team.  

Katie bought me a serving of nachos in a Sox batting helmet. It had all the trimmings and after I ate it and wore the helmet it made my hair perfect.  


That name will soon be coming down. 




Certainly a nice park and we had great seats but you know it just aint home. Don't seem right playing baseball outside. 






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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dachau Concentration Camp...

We visited Dachau Concentration Camp on our recent European trip. It's not too far from Munich and admission is free. It was the first camp to open in 1933 and was intended to hold political prisoners but soon grew into a 100 sub camp system that held Jews, Clergy, Artists, writers, Russian POWs and many forced laborers. For you rock music fans the Father of Rush bass player Getty Lee was held here. There were 32,000 documented deaths and many more that were undocumented. 

People asked me what I felt at Dachau. I think one of the spookiest things was this gate that translated reads "Work Will Set You Free." It's not the original gate. The original was stolen in 2014. It has not been recovered. A similar gate to Auschwitz Concentration Camp was also stolen by a group with right wing ties but was recovered and the men arrested. 

A fine tree lined avenue provided shade for the barracks, the foundations of which can still be seen. In the distance is the induction center where new arrivals were booked. The trees were an attempt to make the place look decent. Actually after the liberation by American troops in 1945 the camp stayed in use first for Nazi SS troops awaiting trial and then as a place to hold ethnic German refugees expelled from Eastern Europe who were awaiting resettlement. It was closed for good in 1960. I think it's a little hard to wrap your head around the fact that WW2 was such an upheaval that folks were still trying to get home 15 years later.    


Nice shady trail. 


Thousands of Russian POWS executed here. 


Mass graves. 


Crematorium. 

The ovens. 

These are the newer ones. There is an original crematorium next door but it could not keep up with the pace. I got a second hand story about a friend who visited in the mid 60s.  You could smell the burnt bodies and the shoes of victims were still piled outside the door. 


The bunker where torture cells were located. 


Men and women died behind these doors. 


The fence with quite a few guard towers still standing. I recently met a 97 year old vet who told me that the Chaplin of his unit came and got him in a jeep and said "I want you to see this." They drove to a camp where prisoners had been machine gunned trying to escape and they still hung in the wire. Individual bodies lay all about with single bullet wounds to the head. The old vet's memory has faded and he does not remember the name of the camp but he remembers what he saw there.   


The gas chamber. 


A terrible war was fought and these camps were liberated. Bad thing is that evil men still carry on their horrible business in other places. What have we learned? 


Each of these pleasant colorful symbols in this monument represents what was pinned to your clothes to identify your group.. A Catholic, a Jew, a gay person, an immigrant, a writer, any person that the Nazis felt was an undesirable. Which one would you wear on your clothes? 






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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Great Night for Busking...

Thank you Lufkin. We had a great night busking on the street corner of First and Angelina in the shadow of the old Perry Building. We had a good crowd, made some tips, the drinks from Standpipe were cold and the food from Old Souls was hot. 

You might think this is a bad photo of Cathy, mouth hanging open and all but actually she is singing an acapella tune by the late Steve Fromolz, "Hobo Bob." We saw Fromholz some years ago and he asked if there were any requests. Cathy called out for Hobo Bob. Steve said "I don't remember it." If you come see us play you will hear Hobo Bob. Fromolz is dead.  You can't get that song anywhere else. 

Thanks to the friends that came out and saw us. Thanks to the young man from Seattle who stopped by to listen and said "this is like people do at home all the time." Maybe the selfie he had his friend from San Francisco take of him playing the tambourine with us will go viral or something and we will get famous. Thanks to the Sound Techs bicycle team for riding by and hollering "Freebird." Made the gig real  because for some reason most people figure out after hearing Hobo Bob that we are not going to play that tune.    


Third Saturdays. Street busking downtown. The City of Lufkin is giving weirdos, freaks and hippies a chance to rule the streets. Thanks to mainstreet director Barbra Thompson for organizing this. Call her up and put your act in public.  

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Friday, August 19, 2016

N/A in Europe...

I don't drink beer. Have not had a real beer in 20 plus years. The old health issue thing raised it's flag once and things are better without it but I do like the taste of beer and I occasionally drink near beer. In the USA there is a couple of brands of non alcohol usually readily available in stores, restaurants and bars. It's pretty watery and a teen age checker in a grocery store will often ask me why I am drinking such. 

In the big city you sometimes find more exotic brands but in Europe there was usually at least two brands of non Alcohol beer at every restaurant and bar I went to. Sometimes it was even in a tall boy can and it was always good tasting beer.   Once by accident Cathy even bought a six pack of fruity tasting N/A beer at the store. 


Nice that the non drinking culture of the world seems to be recognized and given some choice. First photo is in Innsbruck. 




This is Czech Budweiser. Not the same as the USA company, which I think might be a one world global government of it's own by now. There has been a dispute ongoing since 1907 over this name betwenn the two brewers with over a 100 court cases filed. Hang in there. Stick it to the man!  


Also a Czech beer. They label it. This is for the driver. 

I'd also like tothank my cousin Alyssa for having a real good N/A beer at her recent wedding in New Orleans. It was either spring for that or pay for increased security if I was to have to go the other route. 

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Good Luck of Europe...

You know how it is with this blog. I look at stuff and decide what it means. Some think I don't always decide right. After traveling in Europe we saw lots of things, new things and as with large cities what you end up getting is your city. Someone else visits and they see different things and they get their city. I think I have so photographic evidence that Europeans, or at least the tourist that visit the historical sites are superstitious.  

There are lots of statues in Europe. I mean there are a lot of statues everywhere but face it, Europe is the old world and no matter what happens in downtown Huntington there are great things that happened way back in the day before the red light on highway 69 was installed. Here's some evidence of how statues in Europe bring good fortune. 


A statue in Munich. It's obvious that the right breast has some kind of mojo. It's polished shiny by millions of hands compared to the worn weather look of the rest of the statue.   


Some old king. That part of the armor or even court dress was called the braguete. It sort of hid the opening before zippers were invented and men and women were both still wearing something like a dress. The Church did not much care for this style. You can see once again the effect of many touches. Makes me wonder what the effect was when this guy walked into a room wearing this outfit with that thing sticking out. 


I am reading a book right now on the history of music in Cuba. It starts way back in the middle ages in Europe and advances the notion that people in the old world were not naked much because of the Church, because hygiene was not good and so on and once the warm waters of the new world and thinly clad native women were discovered much of the enthusiasm for casting the infidel out of Jerusalem was lost. I think this statue was made after that time and    I forget where  it was but I had to wait for the people in line posing. Once again finely polished. 


And in Prague there's Kafka. At least he has his pants on but something is powerful about those feet. 

Just for the record I did not touch any of the photographed parts. I just observed and maybe one day I'll think, man I should have rubbed that thing. I need a little luck today. 

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Congratulations Miguel...

Today Miguel graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. We are very proud of him.

Here he gets the hug.

Next is the hand shake.


Then the hug from the wife. 


And finely congratulations from the whole group of family and friends. 


Friday, August 12, 2016

We Are Home...

If you keep up with facebook you may have noted that I tried to shake it break it with a bunch of photos of our trip to Europe to visit Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. Bet you are glad I did not ask you to copy and paste all those post. 

Anyway the work begins. We have two cameras full of photos and adventures. It may take a while to sort and edit all that. I know I for one am going to have some trouble remembering which church is this and which castle this is. I guess without knowing it you life turns into your body of work and moving through the world we live in has been the theme of this blog all along.

Speaking of moving through the world I don't think we could have moved through Europe without the help of our hosts Ross and Beverly Kay.  They live in Taufkirchen a small suburb outside Munich. Ross works nearby as an engineer and does something with the computer chips that run your life and that's all you need to know about that. 

Many thanks for Ross and Beverly. You guys were great. 

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