Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day One of Wild Grand Kid Rumpus...

Warren and Coraline are with us a few days. We started with a trip to the lake. Pretty slow fishing. We managed 8 cats but pretty fair size and we cooked them up for supper. 
Grandma supervises a very serious young man. 

Mary is a good deckhand helping to manage the kids while on the boat. I owe her a river monster trip. 

Mary called to scale the boat canopy to help free a hook I hung there on a back cast. One of those mysterious things. How do you hang a hook in the middle of the boat canopy? I don't think my pole is that long. 

Nope, no more beer. 

One a more somber note while I did not take any photos there are big mats of the giant salvina, an invasive species of floating water plant back up in the Deer Stand area of the lake and loose plants floating everywhere with all the high water from recent rains. It's going to change the way we fish and use the lake.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Hack up a Vintage Guitar...

Well not a real valuable vintage guitar but a $40 pawn shop Harmony Guitar I bought a few years ago. I always thought it was maybe early 80s but turns out it is from the late 60s or early 70s. I had done some alterations to it already. The original pick ups were micro phonic. They picked up sounds all around and squealed so I waxed potted them. This fixed that problem and I have gigged the guitar a few times. 

Pretty nice sounding guitar but the weak pickups get a bit lost with a band. I notice one of my facebook friends blues rock recording artist Alvin Youngblood Hart seemed to have a bit of a side line taking 70s imported guiatrs and souping them up with nicer electronics.  I thought I would give it a try. 

I tried cutting a new pickguard but I am going to have to practice that a bit more. I ended up modding the old pick guard and installing a single lipstick pickup so called because in the 60s the Danelectro Guitar company bought up excess lip stick tube and put guitar pickups in the and then mounted them on their guitars. 
I played the guitar at band practice. I think it's an improvement. Maybe a little bridge intonation and some new strings are next. Here are some folks I saw with lipstick pickups at Riot Fest. 
The band Television. 

Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. 

Oh yeah, my guitar has cool stickers on the back. 

A little Alvin. 


Monday, January 26, 2015


Clouseaux is a Houston Band playing spy/sic-fi/lounge music. We saw them when they opened for Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets last week.  Cool music with good horns, spacey guitar, otherworldly vocals and lots of percussion. 

The trumpet player on the right is someone we saw last summer. I can't recall the band's name but he has a nice sound that he adds a little reverby effects to and that band had dancing girls. I'm a bit partial to bands with dancing girls but I think I did like this band better than that one. 
When the band got started the singer seemed to be warming up his pipes with a kind of hummed melody that complemented the flow of the song. Cathy was impressed at this first tune and thought this was a really great way for a singer to warm up the pipes before really kicking it in. Turned out he sang all songs like this sort of belting out a third wordless horn part while shaking a percussion instrument. 
In fact we thought since the Houston light rail ran just outside the club's doors maybe he was a horn player who left his horn on the train and they made him sing his parts. Leaving your horn is easy to do and has in fact happened to me and my horn is a tuba. People get pissed at you sometimes when you bring a tuba somewhere so you can only imagine how pissed they get at you when you forget and  leave it and try to explain how it was an accident.  

Anyway this guy had great pipes and a little internet research shows that he's the owner of the used record store right across the street from the Continental Club called Sig's Lagoon. We bought records there. More on this later but right now get down with some Closeaux.

You know people ask me all the time how I find this stuff. I don't know. It finds me.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

It's Ali's Birthday...

                                         All sing now it's our favorite daughter in law's                                                      birthday. 
Ali is actually our only daughter in law. You can't make any statements about one son in law being favored over another. There is several of them. It might cause hard feelings. Then you might find yourself shoveling your own snow, digging your on fence post holes, cleaning your own fish or cutting your own firewood and other chores that son in laws are glad to perform.  

Hope Ali has no chores on her birthday. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Fish...

While making a quick visit to see Warren and Coraline last week we took a tour of the Sea Center in Lake Jackson. The Sea Center is where the saltwater fish are bred for stocking in Texas bay and beachfront waters. It's what my fishing license fee gets me each summer when I take to the surf for trout and reds. Juan used to work there so we had had a behind the scenes tour years ago. Apparently Juan takes the kids pretty often these days because they almost seemed to have a personal relationship with certain ones. 

Warren says come on! 
Coraline says really Grandpa? 

Warren seemed like he was a personal friend to this old boy and they knew each other on sight. 

By the way the Sea Center is free. It's your fee and tax dollars at work. It's just one reason I don't mind paying. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

It's my Birthday...

That time of year. Looks like I have spent 21,170 days on this planet as of today. I think Nick Cave the singer has out a documentary filmed as he goes through his day on his birthday called "20,000 days on the planet" or something like that. I don't think they are going to show that film at the Lufkin Theaters. You may have to travel somewhere else for a viewing. Thanks to all you guys for wishing me a happy birthday. You can check in here on this blog to see what kind of days I have had for some of these 21,170 and to tell the truth I really seldom have an uninteresting day. There is always something going on or fixing to happen.  

You know what they say, "the older you will get..." 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

First Catfish Trip 2015...

We were out yesterday for some fishing with Cousin Beverly and her husband Donnie. While the catfish were not burning it up a a bight sunny, cool windy day we did manage enough for a fish fry. Here;s the crew that staffed the boat yesterday. 
We always give awards on fishing trips. Someone has to always get the award for the smallest fish. I got it on this trip. For the record he is not swimming in my belly. 

What Cathy is saying in this photo is "one more unflattering picture of me on the blog." I guess that's an award of sorts. In some circles people fight or pay big money to get their photo on this blog.  

Donnie "I don't get cold" get the warmest award. Beverly gets the lying husband award.  

We ended up with 14 small keepers, just right for a fry. I am getting real spoiled eating all these fresh fish.  It seems like I am getting more in tune with when fish is less than fresh if I order it in a restaurant. 

The big white pelicans that migrate in from the Great Lakes region are back. This is a zoomed up shot of a flock that was maybe a 100 birds with many following cormorants (in this photo giving the pelicans a "I want to be you when I grow up" look and gulls.  The pelicans swim along and eat 4lbs of fish a day. That's 400Lbs of fish for this group. That cormorants and gulls follow behind taking their leavings. I think supporting this kind of bird activity gives a pretty good indication of how healthy the fish population is on the lake. 

 They were moving with the wind. I think a good project for the future is some drift fishing behind this feeding frenzy.   


Friday, January 16, 2015

Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets...

Saw Deke Dickerson and Los Straitjackets play at the Continental Club in Houston. I have been many times to the Continental in Austin but my first time to this location. It's a good venue. We met Anne there in what is becoming some sort of week day music scene club crawl celebration for us. 

Los Straitjackets are a surf band that wears Mexican wrestling masks, all instrumental with all announcements made in Spanish. I have one cd of their music. Deke is a big old hillbilly boy I have been following for a while. I have about 4 of his cds, two books on rare guitars and I bought the collaboration between these two performers which is Called something like Deke sings the instrumental surf hits. Turns out all the old 60s surf tunes including Hawaii 5-0 had words. They have dug these words out to sing them. 

Me and Deke are friends on facebook. He is a good historian and preservationist of 50s-60s hillbilly/rockabilly/surf/western swing/guitar/Americana culture. I recently spotted a notice of a gig by this group in New York published in the New Yorker magazine which I subscribe to. I was afraid Deke might miss it if he did not subscribe and it said "Los Straitjackets with the powerhouse guitar of Deke Dickerson." I scanned and emailed to Deke. He responded "sweet!" Here's a photo of the kind of guitar show off stuff you can see at a Deke show.
Drummer's name was Sugarballs. and he was quite the showman. 

They used Fender amps and Del Pino Guitars which gets the good surfy Fender clean sound when paired together. That'a a road warrior of an amp there, silverface Fender Super Reverb, late 60's or 70s played by black mask. He had the reverb cranked. I'll never buy another guitar that is not all blingy, sparkly and it must have a talent lever. 

Here's a clip. Get into some Deke. 



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Old Family Baby Photos...

And I do mean old. I don't even know who these people are but they are thought to be my Wiley/Ledbetter ancestors. They are from the collection assembled by my cousin Mary Lou and her husband Mike. Maybe they will chime in if they can name some but I think many of these identities are lost to time. At least a picture is still worth a 1000 words and maybe a little more so on the internets these days. I don't think any of these folks are in a position to be embarrassed by this publication. 

These photos come from a file of almost 3000 images. This is an attempt to get them organized in som fashion. In this attempt to put some form to all this I chose baby photos as an organizing phrase and the oldest ones at that. There are 100s of baby photos and some are quite recent. Your parents can put those on their blog for you. I might have used a couple of photos here from the 1940s. In the future I will organize and publish a blog now and then with titles such as animals, young men/women, family groups, husband and wife and so on.  

Ok, I would have done this myself, "Let's pose the baby in front of the outhouse." looks like an accident but you are really showing off for the out of town relatives. 

This photo had a caption "Gladys Stuart?"

A Happy Baby. 

Hard to see but this photo must be old. 

One minute ago that boy in the middle was pulling hair. He did not get caught.  

Not babies but everyone says, "Here come the sisters." 

You would get sent to jail for letting a baby stand on a chair these days. 

A "Modern" photo I think this might be my cousin Bill. He was here last summer for a fish fry and it's too good a photo not to use. He can still wear those pants.  The "Let 'em have it with both barrels" shot. 

Parade rest! 


Friday, January 09, 2015

Lost My Voice...

Not as a blog writer. I have laryngitis. I can barely speak above a whisper. It was better this morning to start the day but as the day progressed and I talked to patients and their family members, other therapists, nurses, aides and anyone else that came along by the time I got home I could not hardly hold my end of the conversation for the one hour I talked to Cathy before she went to work. 

Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx with the hoarseness or loss of voice caused by irritation to the vocal folds. Thank God for cell phones because I was able tro slip mine down my throat, take the photo and pull it back up with a string. 

A speech therapist I work with gave me orders of vocal rest and 64 ounces of water a day to hydrate. Sounds good but I may have to wait on the water because if I start now I might wet the bed tonight. 

A second thing that is going on with this is that my tinnitus is worse today. Tinnitus is a "ringing" in the ears due to hearing lost caused by loud noises, stress or nasal drainage or the lack of. No stress here but I really have the other two, exposure to loud noise and drainage problems. In fact I don't know what this drum beat Warren is playing would sound like in my current condition. I know for sure I could not sing along. 

Sometimes I threaten to come to your house. I always encourage your calls. None of that will be happening tonight. 

"...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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