Monday, February 29, 2016

Making Music at Church...

So most of you thought I was a rock star. Not really. Me and Cathy and a talented cast of supporting characters do play music at St. Patrick's Catholic Church each Sunday at the 5pm bilingual Mass. We have been doing so for at least 20 years, maybe more I think. I have kind of lost count. 

The credit for the long running success of this group must go to Cathy. She picks the music for each Sunday and usually sets things up for several weeks in advance This involves reading all the readings so that the songs fit Liturgically in the Mass, pulling the music from the files, making song sheets and arranging anything new. I have the easy part.  I polish picks, tune guitars, run the church sound system and record the homily for online posting each Sunday and help Cathy do some of this other stuff.

We are doing the music for the upcoming Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil Masses. In addition to a bunch of music, some which is new to us we are drawing together all who want to sing and play so there are extra rehearsals each Sunday 2-4pm. Here are some photos from this past Sunday's rehearsal. I posted them to the Church Facebook but it was so much fun I had to post them again on my own little web site. 
There are a couple of kids in the parish that are really tearing it up on mandolin. Glad I'm playing bass. If I had had to be on Mando also it would be very embarrassing for me.  

Another mandolin player and good also! 

All are welcome to sing. This was just the first rehearsal so I bet this group gets bigger by Easter. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bird Photos...

Here are some bird photos I made on a recent Galveston visit. People seem to like my photos. At least they tell me so. After updating one of my facebook photo albums this week certain subjects such as tuba players, birds, big screen TVs and my wife holding up a catfish she just caught are beginning to look like a body of work.

You know the story. A guy is living in a walk up cold water flat in a nameless and soul killing large city. People don't talk or look at each other as they hustle the daily grind and this is all taking place in a time before cell phones. He dies and his kids find a huge collection of photos of light poles and trash cans that he has made for the past 60 years and they are such things of truth and transcendental beauty bringing meaning and enlightenment to everyday items that art is moved on to some kind of cosmic next level that is only available to those that are already resting to the old cold ground.  

Now I rested last night in a water bead with some kind of thing on it that warms it so you sleep all cozy and snug. I had a hot shower this morning and my kids are well aware of all these blog posts and photos. I won't rest in the cold ground because I choose cremation since it's more fiscally responsible.

Here's the bird photos.

First two photos are the white pelicans. These are also seem on East Texas lakes during the winter. They are migrants from the Great Lakes. 

Meet you at poop rock. 

The brown pelican is a Texas resident. 90% of these breed on two islands in Corpus Christi Bay. This pelican eats bait fish and does not consume the same species as humans eat. They have often been endangered ranging from early 1900s persecutions by fishermen who thought they were stealing their fish to post WW 2 declines brought on by pesticide use. Sorry about all those government regulations folks (Trump will probably overturn this) but they have made a strong recovery.  They remain venerable to oil spills due to the fact breeding areas are near shipping lanes.   

Looks like from this photo they will poop on your boat. Cathy who also gets a photo credit for some of these pictures says in Florida they can be pests who will walk right up and eat your fish bait out of your bucket. In Texas it's been my experience that they totally ignore humans at least when they are fishing.  

A lone lost egret perches on a shrimp boat. 

Sweet sunshine. 

Always wanted to live on a boat. 

Click the tag link for more birds. 


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Stories of the Mule and Other Wiley Animals...

My mother does not have fond remembrance of the old days. Not that things were all that bad but as time goes on they get better, especially for those of us in the good old USA. There are many opportunities to apply ourselves and in the many stories of my family that is what happened.  Along the way we forget the bad stuff and remember the funny or the good. That's what my mom did the other day when she upped with the story of Lorance the mule. 

 In the early 1930s or so my mother's father, Caleb Lester Wiley bought a mule in Arkansas. The mule's name was Lorance.  My mother would have been 5-10 years old. The family lived on the Tennessee side of the Mississippi River and though I did not verify this with her probably in Tipton County. If you don't know Tipton County here are a few facts. The Spanish Conquistador De Soto probably crossed the river somewhere near here. The New Madrid Earth Quakes of 1811 and 1812 changed the course of the river so that part of Tipton county Tennessee became part of Arkansans.  So you see the river and getting across it is a big deal.  

Apparently the purchase of Lorance was such a financial hardship that getting him across from the Arkansas to the Tennessee side of the Mighty Mississippi was required to be done the cheapest way possible. My Uncle Gilbert, who would have been in his early 20s swam Lorance across the river at a place called Richardson Landing. In case you want to look it has a facebook page, not really like your's or mine but a check in kind of page.    

This is a good story but we lack a lot of details. How much did Lorance cost? How long did it take? We do know that they made it fine although it is remembered that when it came time for my Uncle Alec to plow with Lorance big long words were often put to use. Since we don't know the answers to these questions and I am not going to write big long words here I have sifted through my collection of 2800 Wiley Family photos and picked out photos of people with animals. No, there is not a photo of Lorance and I don't know who all these folks are in the pictures. 
Caption to this photo is "Linda Duck and Shu-shu." I don't know Linda. 

My Uncle Richard and Boots. 

Don't know these people or dogs. I'm guessing this is a Ledbetter. My mother does report a dog named Franck Delano Roosevelt. They called him Frank. 

Bear on a chain with a muzzle tourist trap.. Sad Old School animal treatment probably Great Smoky Mountains

Bear on the loose Great Smokies. 

Don't know these folks. Might be Aunt Winnie Lou.

Same dog I think. Liked to have his picture taken. 

If you know your cars maybe you could date these. Don't know who this is but looks like a Wiley. 

Same dog again? 

My cousins Mary and Dixie in dog heaven. 

Aunt Euna, cousin Marilou and Boots. 

Uncle Gilbert and cow. The caption says, "the calf took good" 

So there you have it. I knew there was a blog post in these animal photos. It took a long forgotten story of Lorance and a river swim to bring it about. 


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Love Bomb Go-Go...

My new favorite band. We saw them marching in the Galveston Mardi Gras Parades. I have been following them since. They hail from Oregon and after the Galveston appearance they made stop overs of note at the New Orleans Mardi Gras and in Las Vegas. Looks like to me a bunch of marching band nerds that haven't grown up, which is a good thing for old band kids. Here are some photos I took. 

In addition to running around and doing non traditional kind of marching band things they can line up and do it in what you could call pretty much military style. 

Good drum section. Bet that guy could still give a band director fits. 

Anybody with dancing girls is alright by me. 

Naturally I took a lot of pictures of the tuba player. His name is Mars. I want to be like him when I grow up. Don't know what the wire to the tuba does. I have lately been experimenting with tuba and guitar effects and sometimes have a mike in the bell but it's attatched to a pedal board and an amp so it keeps me kind of stationary. 

as usual the trumpets always have the melody. 

Getting down for the crowd. 

You know I got some Mexican wrassling masks around here some where. 

More tuba. 

I kind of have to stop and think a bit myself after every song. 

Love Bomb Go-Go. Check them out.



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Grammy Awards....

Ok so I don't own the best album of the year. In the world of people who say "I like all kinds of music" I probably have some selections in heavy rotation around here that would be nails on a chalk board to some poor listeners ears and nerves. I did catch one Grammy act live this past year and listen to a couple of others regularly.

At Riot Fest in Chicago back in September we saw the winner of the best Reggae recording winner Morgan Heritage. They are all brothers and I found the music to have a very positive uplifting message.

Two other favorites are Jason Isbell (seen him a couple of times) who won best roots album  and song and another blues album nominee Cedric Burnside who latest album Hill Country Descendants is great.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Warren and Coraline Fish the Sabine...

It was a slow day of fishing action on the Sabine River even though we ended up with a decent pile of fillets. I don't think the white bass run is in full frenzy yet but it sure was a great day and a great place for grand kids to romp. 

Here you see Coraline and Warren scamper the great sand banks that line the river. Next time we bring cardboard to make a sled out of. 

I think Cathy put us to shame on the fish, She had 8, me and the kids had 4 and here is the one Mary caught. 

Very intent on fishing. 

It would be good for all to remember to keep your rod tip high. 

It's a long drag back up the bank. Don't keep more fish than you can carry. 


Friday, February 12, 2016

A Selfie, A Shirt, the Numbers...

People tell me all the time "I like looking at your pictures on the blog." Thanks. They are much to the dismay of my subjects, just that. Pictures of my subjects. I don't make many selfies. I look with great jealousy on those with the perfectly composed selfie all dignified, sexy, thoughtful, important and here I can't even figure out how to get the camera out of the shot.

This is a photo of me at the recent Galveston Mardi Gras. I am wearing a Neville Brothers "Mardi Gras to the World" t shirt that I bought at a Neville Brothers show in New Orleans at Mardi Gras time 1986. I think it's pretty cool I still fit in it after all these years and all these carnivals. Kind of a story goes with this shirt.

After attending this show and buying the t shirt (I can't remember the price in 1986 dollars) I wrecked my car on a foggy Louisiana highway. Seems another driver had run into the back of a wrecker towing a vehicle away from a wreck scene and I ran into the back of all that. Nobody was hurt, "at least not a lot" as singer songwriter Todd Snider says and though I did not drive the car home that day I saved the shirt. The car was fixed to return in glory to New Orleans several more times to later when I came to my senses or lost my mind depending on who's doing the telling was traded on a car that would transport a bunch of kids.  

So for the numbers. This event and t shirt date back 30 years. A Neville Brothers T shirt like this in good used condition, which this one might not qualify as sells for $45 on ebay. The car I wrecked was a 1984 Rocket 88. The person driving the car I ran into was 17 years old. He would now be 47 years old.  

I think I have the start of a good equation that given a cool shirt to wear I will be able to make the perfect selfie every time I try. The only number I need is the number of times I have been to Mardi Gras. I plug that in I might have something. 


"...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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