Monday, September 30, 2013

You Might See a Picture Like This Elsewhere...

I snapped this photo of Miguel, Mary and Cathy the other day at Discovery Green in Houston before the music began and before Morgan and Matt joined us. Sorry guys that you did not make the blog on this one. Good news though, you might make someone's blog. 

While we were grooving to the music, and by grooving I don't mean I was up doing some kind of hippie twirl dance but that Cathy was reclined back in my lap as I sat cross legged with the others laid about on Mexican blankets with remains of our picnic supper gathered around close in case we needed another little done bite. A young woman with excellent camera gear stopped by and asked if she could take our picture for the Green's web site. at least that's what they told me she said. I have a little trouble hearing questions like this while live music is going on and if me and you share a stage and you say "1, 2, ready go key of "D" I might start playing in the key of "B." But at least she asked and it will be ok if my picture ends up on her blog because she did ask and I said ok. 

I don't always ask if I can put you on my web site. I do sometimes as I did this weekend when a former Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler visited St Patrick's. I said "Bishop, do you mind if I use your photo on our Church web page and in social media?" He said, "Of course not!" That was nice and it made me nice also and I was extra careful to position the Bishop so it did not look like incidental background items were growing out of his head. I did not ask this guy if I could use his photo. Posted by Picasa
As I walked by this young man who was playing quite well I noted that a copy of "Catcher in the Rye" lay by his side. I guess it's popular again. I read it when I was this age. Wiki notes that the novel deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, alienation, and connection. Now Salinger is dead, there's a documentary and more books will be published. Salinger will make more money than he ever did when alive and in the meantime I stole a picture of one of his readers for my blog. May be in the absence of complex issues I would have asked but I used my usual technique of walking past the subject and pretending to take a leak while snapping the photo. 

So this young man becomes more connected than he might imagine with the appearance of his photo here. He now belongs and hopefully would not be alienated by my use of his photo. I certainly hope my photo makes the Discovery Green Web page but then I am in the money, compliments and publicity business and I believe complex issues might be a little less so than we think. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

More Live Music...

While driving into Houston the other day we were tuned to KPFT, the local community station and they had an interview of a band, Korsak, who would be playing at Dan Electro's Guitar bar that evening. The band was in Austin at that moment in time and the interview was by phone. Later that evening when I talked to the band member Korsak (the band's named after him, like Pink in Pink Floyd) he told me the station wanted the band to play live but that would have meant rising at 4am in Austin to make the air time that morning in Houston. My comment to him was that rock and roll is sometimes not all what it's cracked up to be. 

It's hard to describe Korsak's music. Very good of course with strong song writing of the uplifting sort. The band in this picture has somewhat unusual instrumentation, congas, dejumbe electric and acoustic guitar. They do have a bass player but he had to return to Europe where they are all from. The bass player was from Slovakia, and other members hail from England, Spain, France and the Canary Islands which is kind of the main base of operations. Nothing in the music really suggested these places with the lead guitar, the Spaniard being a very capable rock player.  

We had seen Ray Wylie and Shinyribs at Discovery Green so as it was still early we decided to see if we still had our hang chops for crawling the Houston bars and having heard these guy's interview on the radio we checked them out. I was glad as there were only about 12 people in the place with maybe half of them brought in by the radio. Even with the poor turn out they gave a great show and I was glad to be there supporting live music. 

Note the tip jar at the front of the stage. They also offered their CDs at half price, a special because it was their last U.S. show before returning to Europe. I chipped in the price I would have paid if there had been a door cover. I don't know what the other folks in attendance tossed in the tip jar but it could not have been the greatest pay day for these guys. In fact last night I played to a much bigger crowed at the local VFW dance. I know I made more than these guys did especially since I also won the 50/50 drawing raffle they hold each weekend. I can't help it if I'm lucky. 

So anyway support live music. I'm not talking about the Stones, Bruce, or the Eagles. They have made their money and will continue making money in ways poor folks don't even imagine. Support that guy a long way from home, that guy or girl you never heard about before today, that person who has been locked away in a little room playing scales. Thank them and make it pay that they have now made it to the bigger room.    Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 27, 2013

Ray Wylie Hubbard...

Saw Ray Wylie Hubbard at an outdoor park in Houston called Discovery Green. They have a regular Thursday concert feature there. It's free. Me and Cathy met up with Mary, Miguel, Morgan and Matt for a nice evening of music. 

If you don't know Ray he's the guy that wrote the old cosmic cowboy anthem "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" and has had to sing that every night for the last 40 or so years. Lately he has written a bunch of better songs than that and is becoming know as the "Snake Farm" guy. Hope he plays that one for the next 40 years. He's a good show. One of my favorite of the old "outlaw country" singers of my youth. 

A band call Shinyribs opened and they were very good. More on them later. Also did a little night club crawling ending up at Dan Electros Guitar Bar seeing a band from the Canary Islands called Korshak.   

Live music is great. Go see some. In the spirit of shameless self promotion I'm at the Lufkin VFW tomorrow night. Show starts at 8pm.   Posted by Picasa


Monday, September 23, 2013

More Small Chair Problems...

You have seem my attempts at building stuff on these pages. Here's one of Cathy's projects. She has a small chair problem. Small chairs that have found themselves unwanted are readily available for $5  at one of the resale places. Cathy then makes it more than what it was. 

This one started as an old fashioned metal office chair. The "do not remove under penalty of law" sticker on the bottom says "Revised 1946." The hard leather seat, still in pretty good condition, is removed. Cathy then took an arm load of belts, also from the re sale shop and wove them in the frame for a new seat. I think Rose supplied the muscle for a good tight weave. 

I think it looks pretty good sitting by the big bathtub in the back bathroom. You could like sit there and take your shoes off before a bath or something. 

I see another chair and a sack of belts on the porch. More from the small chair wars later.    Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Kind of Duck?...

On one of our recent fishing trips we launched out of Monterrey Park on Lake Sam Rayburn. I noticed these birds lazing about on the band not 50 yards from the boat ramp. I don't know what kind of bird they are.
They were pretty tame. There was not a bunch of human activity at the ramp. Only us launching and two young men returning from a hunt on the opening morning of teal season. These are definitely not teal, which are small birds. I must complement the young men on their duck ID skills. Hard to resist a target like these and after all the history of mankind indicates that it is somewhat genetically programmed  in us to kill something just to see what it is. I assure you that these birds are not swimming in my belly. 
As we motored slowly by on the way to our fishing spot a couple of the birds flew. The rest of them just ignored the heck out of us as you can see by this disrespectful head tucked over the back posture. It's the most insulting gesture of the duck world. 

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

If You Don't Think a Lot of Hard Work Goes Into Fishing...

I know what some think. They think that guy fishes all the time and catches them all the time. They think he might even have a day job fishing. Well let me tell you a lot of hard work goes into fishing. 

If you stayed out there fishing each day you could easily wreck the ecosystem. This past weekend we took about 50 catfish from two different places. You got to give some time for more to move back in. You also have to give some time for the little ones, the ones that Cathy whispers the mantra of "grow big" into their finny little ears before returning them to the deep to do exactly that. So to give these fish a little break I spend my time scouting for more fishing spots. It's hard work but I find the most cost effective and fastest way to do this is by air. 

What I do is head down to the Angelina County Airport, they call it that because if you are a resident of Angelina County there is a local government program that allows all in the county in possession of a state approved picture ID to use a plane if they need it. Need of use is a separate document, downloadable in PDF format from and required before takeoff. So from there it is real simple to quickly overfly the lake in search of new fishing waters. They are easy to spot. If anyone wants to do participate in this just give me a call. You won't even need the ID thing to ride along. 
Does it look like to you that I am flying this thing ok? 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

More Catfish...

It's been a busy 7 days off and it's back to work today. We did finish things off yesterday with another fishing trip. Pop and Geneva went with us. I think Geneva racked up the best numbers. We kept 24 keepers and threw back a bucket full of undersized fish. Here's Geneva with one of her many catches of the day.

Geneva and Cathy pose with a nice tub full. No great size but a bunch of tasty fillets were made from this bunch.
  Posted by Picasa


Monday, September 16, 2013

New Amp Model...

Posted by PicasaHere we have El Dia De Los Muertos, the day of the dead amp model. It's a two watt circuit board, two three inch speakers, 9 volt power supply and for those late night all by mice elf jams don't want to wake the dead, a head phone out jack. Box is from the Goodwill store. It's a vintage item, you may note some wear and tear. 

It sounds good with the personality of whichever guitar coming through well.  

This afternoon this amp and two of my home made guitars will be hanging in the local music store, Sound Techs, with for sale signs. We will see if the public is ready for us.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Cathy's brother Matt came for a fishing trip today. We caught 25 catish. It was nice and cool early this morning. Even though it heated up by lunch we managed to get some nice fillet size keeper cats in the deep late summer pattern.

I think Matt had big fish for the day. Speaking of big fish as we caught these cats schools of gar rolled all around us. Some of them looked to be 3 and 4 feet long. We cast a few lures and got a few to follow it back to the boat but no takers.

These cats are now swimming in our bellies. Rose and the kids came up in teh after noon and here you see Warren has a fist full of catfish as Rose holds him up to the dinner table.  Posted by Picasa


Friday, September 13, 2013

Lucky I Am Easy Amused...

Leave me home by myself for a few minutes and I get the looper out and start playing with mice elf. Here's a backing track you have heard before with lead 6 string guitar on it. I redo it here with lap steel lead. It's me on all instruments. I used a backing drum beat but played the snare drum and looped it in mice elf. Listen here to STEEL SWINGING

Note the chairs in the photo. Just like I have a three string guitar problem Cathy has a small chair problem. She buys old wood chairs for a couple of bucks, paints and recovers. I sit in them to play for some good mojo. Note the day of the dead material on the chairs. I have a small amp in the works that will have this material for the speaker grill.  Posted by Picasa


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Build #12...

Finely got back on track with another cigar box guitar build. This one uses an "Acid" brand wooden cigar box. I got the cigar box from the local cigar shop 1882 Tobacconist on South First Street. I'll plug them since I'll probably get some more boxes there. 

I looked up Acid cigars on the internet. The company that makes these has numerous brands and they tout this brand as "a smoking experience like no other." I guess I'll have to market my guitars as a playing experience like no other. 

This one is pretty music like my most recent builds. Same tuners, same peizo pick up and this time I did all soldering and wiring my self instead of buying a pre wired kit. The guitar is for sale and I have about two others that I will soon be actively marketing. 

In case you wonder what it sounds like the acoustic sound is fair to good. I tuned A-E-A for a more model blues sound instead of the happy country A-C#-E tuning I usually prefer. The peizo sounds good through solid state amps, more so that a tube amp for some reason and really sounds good through the recent homemade amp build I did.  

So what does it sound like? Here is an original composition called the Sting Ray Blues. Click on the link to here the song.  It's dirty, it's nasty, it's about a sting ray that stung my foot. I tried to imitate that crawling in the bottom sound using a cigar box three string guitar, a homemade 2.5 watt amp and a heap plenty of wah-wah and delay. For $80 bucks I'll sell you this guitar and you can crawl the bottom also. Posted by Picasa


Monday, September 09, 2013

Who Done This?...

That's a question I used to have to ask a lot more when I had kids still living in the house. I never got a satisfactory answer either. I don't think I'll get an answer to who or what chewed a hole in the bucket of maize I was souring up for catfish chum. 

If you have been fishing with me you know what a science it is. I sling a bunch of stinky soured maize over the side of the boat and then all others sling an even stinkier bait in after it and you hang on for when the catfish start pulling. Souring the maize does take a little planning because the longer it's been fermenting the better it will be. 

I rarely have to add any other ingredients to a bucket of maize. I might occasionally pour in a beer. I don't drink so I don't have beer around here but if you came over and got so drunk that you could not drink all your beer and you left some in my fridge I may have poured that in the maize. Note the warning sign on my buckets in the picture. It says don't fall in this stuff.

As you can see I have several buckets ready for the cool fall fishing and for some reason a critter and I suspect Squeaky Squirrel, has gnawed a hole in one bucket and consumed the entire contents. I suspect Squeaky because when ever I would round the corner of the yard where these buckets are stationed Squeaky would flee from the area acting like he was not doing anything. Kind of like the kids used to do. I don't know why this bucket was chosen from all others. There is at least 12-15 gallons ready for consumption and he seems to have had his fill.

Well you know how it is. Sometimes you have to go straight, give up your old habits and start anew. Can't keep your head in a bucket forever.     Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 05, 2013

A Little From the Nerren side of the Family Tree...

My Granny Wallace was a Nerren before she married. Her Great Grand Father was Elam Albritton. That makes him my third Great Grandfather.

 Elam was born in Simpson, Miss on February 2, 1843 to James and Charity. The 1850 U.S census shows the family in Houston, Tx. Elam is 7. James is 50 and Charity is 44. There are 4 other people ages 17, 12, 5 and 2 listed in the household. Some are brothers and sisters, perhaps the older one is an uncle. It's hard to tell with this kind of thing. 

The next thing we find out out about Elam is that he is a private in the 7th Texas Calvary  7th Regiment Mounted Volunteers Confederate States of America serving from 1861-1865. That would have made him age 18 at enlistment. This Regiment formed in the summer of 1861 and was made up of men from San Antonio, Palestine, and Angelina County. They began as part of the Army of New Mexico and soon transferred to the Trans Mississippi Department. They participated in about 17 engagements including the Battle of Mansfield, La. Not too long ago we toured that battle field and I had no idea I was walking the same ground an ancestor once did.  Another notable battle was Cox's Plantation where a small Confederate force routed a larger Union force. A little research indicates 430 Union dead and 33 Confederates killed. The 7th may have born the brunt of this for the Rebels as the Regimental record lists 6 killed 35 missing and 34 wounded. While the official end of the war was May 9th 1865 the 7th did not surrender until June 2nd. 

The next official document that allows us to track Elam is the 1870 census. He's in Angelina County, he's a farmer with a value of $550. The post office is listed as Pennington and he is married to Marie whose maiden name was Massingill and they have a one year old, Andrew. Things are a little murky here. Some places list the wife as Mary, an easy mix up from Marie on and old scratchy hand written document. It seems that about 1875 Mary or Marie was no more and Elam is Married to Ruth Massingill. They seem to have one son and daughter between 1875 and 1889.   Elam passed away on Jan. 22nd, 1910.  Here's his stone in the Mckindree Cemetery.
It seems that about 1824 Ruth fell on hard times and applied for a Confederate widows pension at the Angelina Country courthouse. Here's the document:

If you read this document two friends B.F.Nerren, (probably a relative) and C.A. Rush swear that "We were in the same regiment and all together all the time. We were in Company D and Elam was in company E. We knew him to be a good solider and a good citizen after the war up to the time of his death." It's signed by these men and the facts of the companies and their names show up on the regiment roster. It's also signed by Judge J.T. Maroney and the tax assessor collector Jack Nerren, probably another relative. I guess Ruth needed this pension because they certify her homestead value as "none." Seems that Confederate pensions were still being awarded up until 1955.   

So we have found out a lot of things about old Elam but questions still remain. Who were Mary and Ruth, both with the Massingill surname? What happened? What about the Confederate service ? He does not seem to have been a slave owner but just a poor boy in a rich man's war. There are certainly Nerrens, Massingills and Albrittions who are still around. Maybe we will one day find out. 


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

New House for the MM...

Mary and Miguel are now house renters in the fine city of Stinkadena, Tx, I mean Pasadena, Tx. I know when my wife was a kid that's what she said they called it because of all the chemical plants there. Thankful that's changed, the air is clearer, I did not smell anything stinky except for the usual household orders that you can encounter anywhere, anytime, anyplace. 

Here's the house. It's a nice little 1950s style bungalow. Three bed, two bath and a yard for the dogs. This photo the living room with my two wheel truck Mary got me for Father's Day. How convenient is it that I break it in helping her move. 

Garage has been taken in and has a gas log fire place. I want one of those. I am getting too old to cut firewood. 

If you go see Mary and Miguel you will pass over the Houston Ship Channel. Lots of money made down here around Pasadena. The big companies rake it in and some trickles down to the little guys that work all around here. It's a good place to be to get your start.     Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Happy Birthday Glenn...

It's my brother Glenn's birthday.He's spent the day dancing and intends to continue on into the night. It is his birthday. It's ok if he does what he wants. If you want to take part in all this dancing just head over to his house. 

Happy Birthday Glenn!Posted by Picasa


Sunday, September 01, 2013

From the Does This Make My Butt Look Big Department...

Posted by PicasaMary says "It followed me home can I keep it?"

Warren says "Something behind me! Touching me!"

Now Warren says "Is this thing on? I mean am I on this thing?" Give him a break. His best talking mostly consists of fart noises for now. 

Mary and Cathy axe the eternal question that many have axed through the centuries as they stood on the shore and gazed over the curving horizon, "Is this thing seaworthy?" 
"...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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