Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Walk in the Big Slough Wilderness Area...

The Big Slough Wilderness Area is my favorite place to duck hunt. It's rolling around to that time of the year again and we took a little scouting trip to the area last week. Barring the Democrats (I would say a Hillary win but I think that's looking like a sure thing) arrive on November 9th to take up my old shotgun things look good for finding some prime hunting spots. 

Looking down the trails. After a bit of thick cover the trail opens out wide but then starts to wind and turn as people have made their way around fallen dead pines. I don't think many are making this walk and next time I go I think I will carry some flagging to mark a trail. I have GPS points through the area in case I get lost which has happened before but I think the flagging will be a nice thing. 

I don't feel like I would be giving away my secret spot or anything with a marked trail. Other duck hunters seem to prefer more water and with the East Texas forecast for Nov. , Dec. and Jan. predicting little rain the creek should have just enough water for jump shooting like my dad taught me. Today is the anniversary of my dad's passing 25 years ago and hunting the way he taught means more than any kill numbers I put up.  

Is that a big foot? Is it taking photos with an ipad? Oh excuse me, MRS. Bigfoot. 

I don't deer hunt but here is a nice buck scrape. It was on a little cedar of some kind, different from the cedars in my yard, almost Christmas tree pretty. Maybe it will survive this buck's markings. 

I'm sure hunting will be on the table on Nov. 9th as will be the fried duck breast and gravy that Cathy cooks so well. Someone has been coming to take the guns since the monkey man ran in 1980 and they have not got them yet. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Meatsweats and Mule Armstrong...

I always have admired the musician George Clinton. We got to see him perform in New Orleans a few years ago In addition to righteous funky music he created this whole mythology around the group Parliment/Funkadelic involving costumes, characters and the mothership. Well we modeled this a bit by playing a gig this weekend at Travis Kitchen's Annual Fall Jamfest to bebefit Thanksgiving Dinner for M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital. We Called ourselves the Meatsweats   

You know what the meatsweats are. You've had them. Just spend a Saturday evening at an East Texas wedding reception or quinceanera  eating too many carnitas and the good tacos. The next day you may find yourself sweating for no good reason. That's the meatsweats. Here on stage at the jamfest is left to right Meatbelly Meatsweat, Captain Meatsweat, Mule Armstrong and Necklips Meatsweat. 

Thanks to the great sound team with Jenny (I think) and Spanky who made it no great stretch to take this street performing collective of freaks and plug them into mics and have it all sound good.  

Here is our publicity promo. Who would not like to come to a Meet the Meatsweats event?

Here's Mule applying make up to the Captain. 

Meatbelly and Necklips. 

Necklips Meatsweat. 

There were many bands that played each with their own mythology including a very good KISS tribute band "Lovegunner." 

Black Masquerade. 

Joe Cuellar with Marshall and Rayburn Hance. 

James Alton Hutchison

That's the master of ceremony "Death" with a young man who's name I forgot. 

Steve Costner Band. 

The Stonewall Rockers. Thanks to Travis for the invite to sit in with them and the Brazos River Rats. 

Me on Harp with the rockers. 

I play my turtle shell percussion with the Rockers. 

Here's Jongy. Let's make him a blog character. We need more sax. 

Cathy with Batman Hance. 

KISS and the Meatsweats party! 

In addition to all this there was a charity auction that me and Mule won nice items in and a catfish dinner for everyone. Thanks again to Travis for a smooth well run event. 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Filling the Freezer back up...

Popular demand calls for more fish frys. We started back down that road yesterday and got some help from friends Suzi and Charlie to load the boat with 42 fat cats. Fair to average size they made 9 pounds 7 ounces of fillets. We put 6 pounds in the freezer and ate 3 pounds last night. 

This is what a fishing trip looks like through Cathy's eyes. 

This is what Suzi looks like on a fishing trip. 

Charlie, who has begun a new phase of life called retirement makes a new friend while Cathy helps the friend's friend look on. 

Suzi wins the prize for the largest wad of trot line string snagged on this trip. 

Cathy proves that the fish bit at the back of the boat just as well. 

There's a nice one! 

Charlie and Cathy double again. Charlie took one for the team with a catfish fin to the hand. Painful for sure but the fish met his end in a hot frying pan. 

After this photo of a wash tub full of fish they swam in our belly. Menu was fried catfish, hushpuppies, carrot salad and cajun potato salad. 

I figured there would be a good bite before the weather change that is predicted this weekend. This morning looks like a foggy blue cat kind of day. Cooler weather patterns should change things from a deep water to a shallow water pattern pretty soon but there are fish everywhere in the lake. The spot we fished yesterday has produced in the hottest part of the summer and last year we caught a bunch of fish same place on Christmas Day.  

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Read These Books...

I have been reading. Not anything new about that. I have always read and in the forth grade I read more books than anyone except for some girl. Being busy with many things sometimes these day reduces me to a quick magazine article before drifting off to sleep. Over that past year I have found an author who really resonates with me as I pursue my interest in music, genealogy, history and if you are interested I think it gives insight to how we have come to the situation in politics we face in this election year. 

The books I am talking about are by author Ned Sublette with one of them being co authored by his wife Constance. Ned is a Texan, a musicologist, a composer, an author, a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, had a #1 record with "Cowboy Rumba" on the European World Music charts in 1999 and has produced the NPR show Afro Pop Worldwide. He's a smart guy. The books he has written and which I have read, three of which you see here (one is on the kindle, not a pretty picture) are "Cuba and it's Music", "The World that made New Orleans from Spanish Silver to Congo Square," "The Year Before the Flood, a Story of New Orleans," and "The American Slave Coast, a History of the Slave Breeding Industry." 

I suggest you read the World that Made New Orleans, The American Slave Coast and Cuba and It's Music first. These books are very historical taking you back to the Crusades and religious wars of Europe to set the cause and effect scene for the way things unfolded as the New World was formed into what we know it now. Everything is well footnoted and the letters and writings of the founders of the good old USA are often quoted. These are not opinions. They are history. As Faulkner said, "the Past is not Dead, it's not even past." 

If you want to discuss politics, history, music, race relations or the constitution with me you need to read these books. Some of the things inside are how the constitution is written to give slave owners power, with the footnotes and quotes to back this up. You can read good old Tom Mr. Liberty  Jeff's writings on how much each slave birth increased his wealth. Learn something about music with the facts that mostly sub Saharan people came to the USA as slaves which is why we have the banjo and fiddle, descendants of Islamic instruments and how Cuba, whose slaves were forest people got the drum. 

I mention my interest in genealogy. Many of my old ancestors came right into Virginia and moved right down through the Carolinas,  into Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. They owned the slaves ( yes I'm ashamed) and fought the wars. Funny thing about those slave owners. They left evidence in their wills of how the slaves were to be divided up but they don't seem to have left a military service record. The ones with military records don't seem to have been slave owners and therefore we can make a pretty good argument (if you read the books you will see) that the soldiers were not rich people. It's always a rich man's war and while we complain about how ugly politics and race relations have become we can see that it has always been that way. If you keep a black man low enough you don't have to raise a cracker up very much. This is not a new tactic. Heck you can even get the cracker to fight and die for you. 

On the topic of slave breeding here is a will from an ancestor. Pretty telling that  he uses the same term, "increase" for slave births referring to the offspring as it just as they do in Ned's books. That "increase" was like a savings account for the family. 

Will of Robert Wiley, Maury County, 1820 
State of Tennessee, Maury County: In the name of God, Amen.
Robert Wiley    
  Will – Record Book C, page 221 – Columbia, Tennessee 
I, Robert Wiley, being weak in body but of sound and perfect mind and memory blessed be God for the same. I do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) 
First I give and bequeath unto my beloved Wife Sarah Wiley all my personal Estate after my funeral expenses and just debts is paid, to have and to hold during her natural life as widowhood, Also my will is after the death or marriage of my wife that the negro boys Abram and Milford be sold to the highest bidder and the money arriving  from the sale to be equally divided among my children hereinafter named: John Wiley, Thomas Wiley, Robert S.Wiley, William Wiley,  Moses Wiley,  Andrew Wiley,  Polly Wiley, Margaret Wiley. 
Item 2nd I give and bequeath unto my son Alexander Wiley the track of land whereon I now live whereon his mother is to be supported during her life as widowhood by the care of said land.  Item 3rd I give and bequeath unto my 
daughter Sarah Thompson one negro woman named Flora after the death or marriage of my wife to her and her heirs forever, but provided the said negro woman Flora should have any increase before the death or marriage of my wife, my will is that it be sold and divided among the whole of my remaining heirs. 
And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife and my son Alexander Wiley my Executive and Executor of this my last will and testament hereby working all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made in witness whereof I have hereonto set my hand and seal the thirty first day of August 1820.                   
Robert    X   Wiley                
Witness: Francis S. Perry              

Once you get the historical stuff out of the way and if you actually check up on Ned's sources and see that it's all true instead of taking a number in the Holocaust Denier queue should go ahead and pick up The Year Before the Flood. It will be a pleasure for you New Orleans junkies out there and instead of being a scholarly work it's written in Ned's own voice. Some who chose the queue won't like this book at all.. 

So there. If you are a banjo player I have probably ,made you mad calling your instrument Islamic. If you think the founding fathers had your interests in mind well they probably did if you were white and owned slaves. If your great great great grand father fought the Indians in Alabama (mine did) what did they tell those crackers about why? One thing I know is that you cannot say that is just the way it was back then. I am going to do what I can to make sure we don't go back that way. 

Here's some of Ned's Music.



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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

I guess I'll Write About Certain Places the Rest of My Life...

When it comes to big cities I have spent a time in all the usual suspects within a several hundred mile radius with the most visited being Houston, Austin, New Orleans and Chicago and that might be fairly accurately listed in order with Chicago gaining ground fast and Austin sinking in the ratings not necessarily because of any lost love but just the fact being that I have nothing drawing me there for now. With a visit to Europe this summer this axis of entertainment was widened and attractions of Prague were enough to make me want to explore more. We certainty had a good place to stay there.  

This is the building our airb&b apartment was in. Two couples stayed for less per night that you would spend at a Marriott facility in a nice USA neighborhood. Our host informed us  that Rolling Stone Keith Richards and film director Oliver Stone occasionally stayed in the building. The apartment we rented was owned by a fairly well known photographer/film maker/producer Adolph Zika. Adolph seems mainly known for making black and white nude photos of his girlfriend but don't worry it's no worse that you would see on award winning TV series such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, of issue from Donald Trumps mouth. 

View of the river from the balcony. 

One thing about Europe is that when you see something you cannot read a sign (in English) and know what it is. Across the street from us is what I would guess is some kind of government office. 

The living room looking into our bed room. Very comfortable sleeping with the windows open and letting street sounds drift up as a city that never sleeps lullaby. 

I think our photographer friend was a car fan. Lots of models. 

Kind of like my house with drums of various sorts tucked into the corners of rooms. This is exactly the kind of drum that Cathy likes played for an alarm clock in the mornings. 

For some reason I find myself at hippie festivals from time to time and some one usually has Patrician masks for sale. I always wondered who bought that stuff. 

After a couple of weekends of heavy music playing around here I am only just feeling like picking up a guitar after a couple of days break. After a couple of weeks on the road it was a nice treat to find a guitar and amp in the apartment. I had stuck my trusty slide in my pocket and while the action on what appeared to be a Fender Strat was too low for my slidey slider thing I enjoyed having something to strum on. I think that little Marshall amp had a malfunctioning master volume so no tome machine here. One of my cigar box amps will eat this for lunch especially if you like the low fi thing.  

Speaking of Mr. Richards this was a coffee table book, in addition to Adolph's own books available for browsing. I just looked at the photos in both of them since they were in Czech. 

I say what appeared to be a Fender Strat because there was no country of origin, usually they (I own two strats, I can speak on this) have USA, Mexico, China and so on somewhere on them and a serial number. This had neither but did have a Fender decal. Till I get some more info I am calling some kind of knock off, parts guitar or down right fake. All that don't mean it was a bad guitar. It does show some signs of serious play wear but I hope nobody payed full Fender price. 

Prague, I don't know when I see you again. Till then, I write and remember.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Opened Deer Season Last Night...

Only thing was that the deer I killed was with my car. My car is drivable and will need extensive repair. The deer is not driveable. 

This is going to be an inconvenience since Cathy works nights and I work in Jasper. I am taking recommendations for body shops.  

Some folks are driving around in new cars and suddenly I'm jealous. Morgan bought a new Chevy truck and while I did not get a photo of  that I did get this photo of Mary and Miguel's new ride that they bought yesterday. 

Anybody want to come by and give dad a ride?

While we are on the subject it rains, it pours. My hot water heater is out. 

Sunday, October 09, 2016

We Had Another Big Fish Fry...

Believe it or not we got the house all cleaned up, musical instruments were stored till next time (which comes sooner than you think, playing at church this evening), and the only people who spent the night at the house were related to me.  

Thanks to all the folks who came. There were old friends, new friends, people I have not seen in a long time. There were musicians and kids. I can't say enough to thank Arron, Ray and Connie who really deliver the goods on the cooking. We gonna do this again. Here's photos, some by me and some by Edna. If you got some good pictures please post them. 

Thanks for cooking Ray! He stepped in when another cook had to cancel. 

Great job Aaron. We will do this again. 

I don't know if I got a photo of every picker but the music was good. 

Hushpuppies by Connie. 

Mike came and played early because he had a gig. 

Warren plays backup for songs by blond chicks. 

Cathy, Mary, Rose. 

New to percussion her name is Journey. 

Anne with her vintage Silver-tone. 

Diamond on washboard. We gave her a washboard to wood shed for Pop Fest in a few weeks.  

Of course no party is complete without tuba.

Thanks to everyone who brought a side dish. I had cake for breakfast and am looking forward to other leftovers for lunch. 

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