Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Causing Trouble...

Seems like all over the world young restless men are causing trouble. Here's a group I saw driving through the French Quarter on there way to the Frenchman Street corner where up and coming brass bands play for tips. 

I think that it would be pretty easy to find a similar photo of young men in another country or maybe as the past becomes the future and the speculative fiction of 1950s sci fi  novels passes into the reality of the present in this country riding in a similar vehicle carrying automatic weapons. I won't do that. I only use photos I make of things I have seen. What I see here is a good thing. 

Tubas and trombones tell the truth. Don't ever forget that. Don't trust anyone without a musical instrument in their house. 


Monday, July 25, 2016

A Great New Orleans Wedding...

New Orleans is one of my favorite places. Lots of trips there and a lot of stories to tell. Sometimes I don't think I have told all the stories from the first time I was there. This weekend we were there for my cousin Alyssa's marriage to Jesse. Just like me New Orleans is one of their favorite places and it was a great time spent with family. 

The wedding was held in St. Louis Cathedral. It's the big church located in Jackson Square and is the oldest cathedral in the USA. The first church on the site dates to 1719 and the current structure dates to 1850. 

Great Wedding Liturgy. The priest was wonderful, Jesse's aunt who is a nun did one of the readings and some family members and or friends I think did the cantering and played the big pipe organ

The bride and groom lead a second line through the Quarter with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band supplying the street beat.  The origins of the Paulin Band date to the 1920s. They are the heritage of serious traditional New Orleans Jazz.  

The wedding party winds through the Quarter. 

The reception was at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The website description uses phrases like "Southern Refinement" and "food is art philosophy" and I can tell you the the food was out of this world. I hate to say it but there were so many good things that I did not actually sample everything. The things left undone were the traditional New Orleans dishes red beans and rice and etoufee. As tasty as the shrimp and grits, gumbo, lamb and beef were I know I will take this regret to my grave. 

Parents of the bride my cousin Andrea and husband Kim. Thanks for being great hosts. 

My cousin Jennifer and husband Floyd. We got to get together more often. From the small world department one of their sons, Quentin went to high school with Cathy's niece Caitlyn's boyfriend Nathan.

Thanks again to all my family and good luck to the bride and groom. Life is great and y'all are wonderful. 

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

They Told Me I Went...

...About five feet on this thing. Seemed like 5 miles. Others went further and going further is what it's all about.

Saw This...

So on Saturday evening I'm doing my usually no work dirty sweaty hippie thing of street busking in downtown Lufkin. This truck passes. I run onto the street, my guitar in one hand and my camera in the other and as I blend in with the poky mon playing masses I snap this photo. It's a truck with a Trump sticker and a Rebel flag. 

I know you got your memes. I took this photo. I saw this. I could quote paragraphs from Nixon speech writer Pat Buchanan own unapologetic writings on the 1968 election's "Southern Strategy." I won't because you got your quotes also. 

I'm not here to change minds or make people mad. I am just observing and drawing my own conclusions from the history I know and the things I see.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Street Busking...

We hit the Lufkin Streets last night as a 5 piece billing ourselves as Mule Armstrong and the Meat Sweats. Members were Mary and Miguel Meat Sweat, Necklips, Mudbelly, and special guest Banjo Bill. We quickly recruited new members with Don Miguel Meat Sweat joining us on goat hooves percussion and Dave, a Seminary Student currently assigned to St. Patrick's on guitar. 

We normally like to be in the food truck area but we set up outside Manhattan Restaurant for this evening since there was another group down in our favorite spot. Here's Cathy, Bill and Mary. If you are looking for us on these evenings you are going to have to get out of your car and find us. No telling where we will set up.

Miguel on uke and banjolele. Back behind him on that very corner is where my Great Grandfather Quiller Nerren often sat after his retirement from grave digging for Gipson's Funeral Home and held court in the late 1940s. There was a bank located there in those days on what is the corner of Lufkin Avenue and 1st Street. and Quiller knew all who passed. I don't know how Quiller got to town to this spot as his golden years progressed. He lived not terribly far out of town, just across Timberline Drive on Lufkin Avenue across from the HillCrest/Glendale/Oddfellows Cemetery.  It was nice that he lived so close to work. 

Don Miguel was shakin' em on down laying down a strong percussion beat. 

Bill plays uke. 

Here's Necklips. 

Some of the tunes we played Cathy has been singing with her dad since she was 3 years old. 

We played two hours with a break in between for an Old Souls Food Truck fill up. 

Dave the Seminarian. He's studying to be a Catholic Priest at a school in New Orleans. He's assigned to St. Patrick's and is due to return to New Orleans for more study next week. He will be back to our parish around Christmas. 

Help me out on this. Here is a photo of the poke man players gathered around the Old Pines Theater. Seems like there was a science fiction novel where people that were playing some kind of game and entered such a trance state that the rest of the world just let them pass by in the work place, church services, meetings and public gatherings and on the street with kindness and patience because they knew that they could not be helped.  Anybody that spent the late 1970s in their dorm room with a stack of scifi paperbacks remember the name of that book? We are there now. It has came to pass.  

We kind of thought with all the people downtown playing this game that some would stop and listen to our music. They did not but best I can tell some rare poke mans were spotted all around us. 

We did make money. Enough for a round of small smoothies at Standpipe. I've made less so we call this great success. 

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Camp Catfish...

It must be July. Bill and Geneva have Camp Catfish set up at Hank's Creek. For all you climate change deniers like Mike Pence let's take a note that the ramp at Hank's which has been closed all year due to to high water is now open and reportedly Monterrey Park is also open. First time I have launched all year on this side of the lake. I can remember many low water Julys but this is becoming more common. If you visit Hanks take note of the trees in the park marked for removal. They have been killed by the high water levels. 

I recently wrote a song with the words, "flood gonna come every year." If you are playing pokeman it's not gonna be so bad for you as it will be for some in the natural world. 

Here's Camp Catfish. 

An earlier than usually start. We were to the park by 7:30. 

How many pictures are there like this? Cathy gets big fish of the day award. 

The very next cast she also got little fish of the day. Final count was 23 catfish, a bit bigger than average size and quite a few of them were blue cats. Water depth was 29' at the front of the boat and 39' at the back. That's a nice little drop off structure. Fish were 5 reel cranks off the bottom.  

Mud belly gets the sun at his back so it's in their eyes and lands a nice one. 

Bill boats a good one. 

We called my mom, she came out and everybody has catfish swimming in their belly! 


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Malcolm Holcombe at Liberty Hall...

Last night we took in a show by singer song writer Malcolm Holcombe at Liberty Hall in Nacogdoches. It was sponsored by the Pinetop Mystics. I like this venue and the listening room atmosphere was perfect for Malcolm's songs about his take on rivers, 40 year papermill men and life in general. 

Malcolm is from North Carolina and his intricate finger picking has it's roots in the East coast Piedmont Blues style and he uses this to create smoothly modulated segues from one song to another . His songs are poems of life and other times he uses words to set the stage for what's going on in his head. He's maybe a little crazy but then most creative people are.    

Malcomb has shared stages with Merle Haggard, Richard Thompson, Leon Russell and John Hammond. Yeah, I know you haven't heard of him but important people have. I had one of his cds already and I bought the one with the "40 Year Papermill Man"song. I can identify with that. I worked in a papermill 25 years and if it had not closed down I would be closing on 40. 

Thanks to the Pine Knot Mystics for bringing this show to town. It was a stop off gig between shows at the Mucky Duck in Houston and Strange Brew in Austin. This weekend he is at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Oklahoma. 

Malcolm was a gracious performer and thanked Liberty Hall for the sign and policy that prohibited concealed weapons. I thank them also. 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Out Among the People...

I use this photo to represent the people I hang out with. Here you see various family members all having a good time.  Yesterday at work someone celebrated a birthday and there were photos of the gang wearing silly birthday crowns and later in the evening we gathered with Blackspot friends and naturally some cell photos were snapped..If you see me at church I am usually making photos of people, the environment and the grounds as our lives move through the seasons of worship. If you look through this blog there are plenty of photos of musicians playing and singing together which is a fete often compared to herding cats.  

In all these places I hang our and all these people I have fun with I could probably say we won't  agree on just everything in the world. There is a shared purpose in all these situations that we do agree on. Family, work, faith, music that we try to make come first and that requires a certain level of and I not too sure what to call it but all need some education, some competence, spirituality, love, tolerance and who knows what else to make all these relationships work for a common good.  Of course if you look in the photo a large pontoon boat is handy. 

That's why I was certainty surprised the other evening to be thrown into a conversation with people whom I did not share so much in common. Cathy texted while I was at work and said she was on call but had a staff meeting. I drove to meet her at the local pancake house and I'm in scrubs. I just want, for the sake of the story for you to know that this time I was not dressed like I was playing bass for Black Uhuru. 

I slid into a booth and waited for Cathy. Next to me was a gentleman and I use the term loosely 65-70 years old. Another guy, a bit younger and thinner sat a couple of tables away. A younger man soon occupied a nearby table and because I often treat these type patients and I noted that at sometime in his life he had had a traumatic brain injury.  Across from him a man and woman 75-80 years took a booth. The man looked a bit tousled and the woman had orange hair. Behind this couple was a booth of young black people, maybe teenagers.

I waited and could not help but hear the gentleman begin telling thin guy how he flirted with every waitress in town. While he never used bad language or was crudely lewd he did use the word "bosoms" and I can't remember the last time I heard a man brag so about his lady killing ability. He stopped by my booth and exchanged general pleasantry and I could tell he was disappointed that I had no war story to exchange. Thin guy stopped by my booth and said "I was waiting for you to help me out." I was not sure I could have. I was glad Cathy had not arrived because I surely would have had her stolen from me by this dangerous ladies man. 

Meanwhile, and keep in mind I am kind of telling the story in a linear fashion but it all happened at once TBI guy starts telling the young waitress all about Jesus and the Bible verses he has memorized. He mentions her possibly attending his church but I don't think it was really a come on and to give the waitress credit she is very patient with this man. I should have told her that health care needs the kind of person you are. 

TBI guy makes a comment and I don't think it was to anyone in a particular about the terrible recent events. Tousled guy mentions loudly that he "never leaves home without his gun" and will "pop a cap if he needs to." 

I think about the fact that the good guys, who all had guns, died in piles in Dallas and the fact that for old men nothing happens fast and he probably won't get a round off until too late. 
TBI guy responds to this last comment cheerfully, "if something starts I guess I'll just go meet Jesus!" I tell TBI that I'm with him. 

The black kids eat and leave. I don't take any photos but now I hate that you didn't get to see the orange hair. I did not ask what school anyone went to, what instrument they played or where they went to church. We did not hunt up kin folks but being my family has been in the area since 1837 I am seldom surprised by the connections I find. 

Cathy arrives. We eat. I go home and dress like I'm in Black Uhuru's band.   . 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Mary...

Happy Birthday Mary the catfish rider. Who knew after all these years you would still have pictures of you taken with the tuba in the background. 

The other kids were so jealous. You were spoiled and had your own pool. Sorry we told you that dog was a horse. 

Sorry about that time on the beach. At least you had a boat and a life jacket. 

I look sleepy in this photo. 

No retrospect of your life is complete without mentioning the time you ate ice cream and enjoyed it so much.

Maybe we shouldn't have let the other kids dress you. 


Friday, July 08, 2016

Gun Control...

It's time. No argument you can make against it holds water. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Happy Birthday Coraline...

Happy Birthday to Coraline. Six years old! 
Thanks to Beverly Kay for this great photo. 

Coraline may have found her sport. 


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A Few New Blog Characters...

From time to time we get to introduce new blog characters. At a weekend trip to John and Mari's Lake Jacksonville house and a second July 4th party we met some new people. I got a feeling you will see them here from time to time. From the looks of the crew John has assembled on his pontoon boat you might ask how do you notice if you have new people? 

Let's meet these new folks. Standing you see niece Caitlyn's boyfriend Nathan. Sitting with Bill and Geneva is Chase and his wife Diamond. 

The they went that a way photo. Where is that guy going with my son in law? Got to keep an eye on them. 

Chase is a Cooney. It's a story and maybe we will tell it sometime but me and Chase had a little discussion about nurture vs. nature. After getting to know the Cooney clan he knows why his nature is such as it is. 

Here's Nathan and Caitlyn with my grandkids. Nathan was good with the kids and told me I was a cool grandpa. While I was floating a tube off the dock Chase dripped cold water on me. It felt good and he did not get the rise he expected. I explained that my reaction was minimal  because I immediately knew it was not urine. Nathan said if that was the first thought to come to my mind he thought, "there is a guy that's been places and done stuff." So you see, we all fit together. 

Mari, Addison, Diamond, Mary and Miguel all swim. 

If you notice Miguel you can bet everyone else did and I don't think I saw any other people blow on the yellow noodle the rest of the day. He must have had so much fun, in the words of Robert Earl Keen, "I had to take a nap."

Maybe Chase, Diamond and Nathan should watch out. Next blog post they won't be new characters anymore.  


Monday, July 04, 2016

Family Tradition...

On this holiday weekend it's good to have family traditions. When we go to the lake each summer we have some special ones that are related to tubing and knee boarding.

Everyone knows that a small child held up and offered to the water ski gods ensures that you have a safe summer on the lake. The gods never accept the offering. It's just symbolic and as we are careful responsible adults everything is safe and of course I make sure I have tried it first. I always tell the grandkids "Hold my O'Doul's and watch this." 

Here you see Margaret and her kids Addison and Grayson as the suffer the down the creek ride. Always pull out of state visitors down a small creek on a tube when they visit East Texas. Throw Warren on there and have him make snake noises. 

Coraline says "you ok grandpa?" She is  famous because after a spectacular flame out by me on the knee board last summer she said, "ok we need to get him home now." Actually this position keeps my head from getting sun burned. With thinning hair it's fast becoming my traditional position.  

Always tell the new person to the knee board, "we are not going to go fast."

Stock market tip. Mary stands on the knee board. You head in a northerly direction which corresponds with up and you time how long she stays up. Then you head in a southerly direction which corresponds with down and time that also. Tells you how many points the stock market will rise or fall when it opens after the holiday. We are not telling the results. Of course for a small fee we can advise other investors. 

Mudbelly's health check. If he can get up on the knee board will probably make another year. 

I think James McMurty had a song where he mentions something like "teaching the kids to jump the wake screaming like cats on fire." Here is pre screaming like cats on fire photo. 


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