Thursday, November 30, 2017

Multipurpose is How I roll...

This is something new. For the first time in our lives we bought a new fridge before the old one went out. I guess that's how you know you have really made it.
This is a Samsung. I don't know where it was made but it's a good possibility it was China, Hungary, South Africa, Germany Sweden, Luxembourg, Poland or India unless Trump has brought those jobs back and my internet research just does not know it yet. Hopefully this does not cancel my buy in America efforts but this sure seemed like a more solid item than the Frigidaire. Any way last time I checked most of those countries were still on our side.
This thing is the same brand as my phone so maybe there will be some duality discovered. Maybe it will take my calls, play music ,connect to the internet or write this blog for me. One thing for sure I think it could be used as a casket. Maybe if it will last me I'll be buried in it. If it craps out after a few years we could convert it to a porta potty to be used at fish fries.
It might not be made in America but that don't keep us from being ingenious.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dogs and Trombones

I almost titled this Dogfish Trombones. It's a take off on the name of an old Tom Waits album, from the 80s and it's up for debate whether that is old music or not since I do have a book about a trumpet player, Buddy Bolden, from the early 20th century waiting to be read by my bedside. That's old music.  Buddy apparently never recorded so unlike Tom Petty and David Cassidy he won't be making money he can't spend. I do have some money to spend and I went looking for a trombone. Later on I saw a dog. Let's see if we can put this all together. 

I think my old high school band friend Kenny, a trombone player and still a good one, made the funniest comment ever on the internet when he saw this photo of me and grandson Ezra. 

He said "like training a dog to gunfire." My instruments are all bell front so it is an edgy sound that's old school. Back in the high school days when teams did not have pro style stadiums with the fans well away from the action with bleeding noses the band marched to the sideline playing the fanfare and came to a halt right there close to  
fans in low seats. In our infantile high school desire to play long and loud we would pick out a guy sitting there ready for some football and direct our low brass gunfire right at that person. We would later say in our infantile high school way, "Did you see that guy? I got that poop all over him!" Only in our infantile high school way we did not say poop. We said another word. Face it. Tuba playing is loud as poop.    

New grandson Wallace won't be here for his gunfire training till January.   You can see here that he is getting ready for it. 

We tried our best with Cathy on guitar and Katie on uke. Some people can't stand ukes. Some gotta have 'em. Wallace tolerated it well. 

So what ended up happening is that I thought if we could buy a brass instrument we might start training early. I thought that there should be a trombone for $50-$75 in a pawn shop. I based this on the incident where I once bought a trombone at a pawn shop in downtown Lufkin. When I asked for a trombone the proprietor said "How many you want?" Think about it for a minute. If band starts in 5th grade with 20 trombone players and say all those guys and gals stick around till 12th grade so 20 players x 7 year classes of band equals 140 trombones in town at any one time. Plus my friend Kenny makes 141. If we drop the voting age to 11 that is is enough people to swing a low turn out local election like road commissioner or school board.   

So we set out on the great trombone adventure/pawn shop tour. Katie even installed an app on her phone that would notify if a trombone came up for sale at local pawn shops. I checked a couple in the immediate area to no luck and then we went down to the hipster mecca of Wicker Park on the premise there would be failing, poor hipsters pawning their axes.  Right away I noted there were no poor people in Wicker Park. Harder to tell about the failing thing. There were no trombones. After several shops I probably was primed to pay $50 over my budget so I guess it was a good thing we did not see any. 

We soon headed home on the bus. All that was wasted was an afternoon. I can remember the days when grandiose ideas were pursued for a week or until all avenues were exhausted.  Guess I am not so dedicated these anymore.. We stopped at an old bakery for a cookie. Nice place, been there a long time. 

When we came out of the bakery a guy got off the bus with a trombone. Must be the only one in town. 

Later on the flight home a guy and a gal got on the plane with a dog. 

I acted like I was taking a selfie but I got their photo. Like the dudes in the Chicago airport terminal in fatigues and machine guns I don't think I have seen this before. I was aware that folks sometimes shipped animals on planes as a piece of cargo but I guess if some folks let their dogs wear clothes and a hound can have a favorite TV show they watch from their recliner they can have a seat on a plane. 

I could only wonder if I had found that trombone what kind of trouble it would have caused to get on a plane with it. Not exactly a fit for the little baggage sizer so does it have to be a checked item? I mean what if I had got on board with it and then played a song. People have their lap tops out doing work, music is my work and I certainly need to work at playing the trombone. Probably make me be like Buddy Bolden. No one would get to hear what I played. 

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Catfish Are Biting...

I note from the fishing log that last year on November 19th me, Cathy and her brother mat caught 75 catfish. We headed out to the lake yesterday with multiple plans of action. 

One ongoing deal around here has been the demise of the original Yamaha 50 horse power motor that came on the boat when we bought it in 2006 I think it was. The last lake trip the motor did not run well so we took it the the shop. A stopped up carburetor denied gas and oil to two of the three cylinders burning one, damaging another to a lesser extent and leaving one ok.  The cost of a new motor was about twice the cost of the repair so we are now the owners of a new 40 hose Evinrude purchased at Callahan Marine. This was our first lake trip with this motor and hopefully this will be the last motor purchase and will last until I'm too old to fish. 

The Evirude E-Tech. It's fuel injection, computerized, use less oil, less gas, EU certified and environmentally friendly and made in the USA. The first pontoon boat we owner lasted 17 years and the motor was a 60 Johnson. This boat came with a 50 Yamaha and I did not notice any change in performance from the 60. Now after a test run this 40 certainly seems powerful enough though we certainly won't know till we get a summer time load of people and pull a ski tube but I think it will be ok. Going fast aint what it used to be. 

How many more photos do you need of Cathy with a catfish? Ok here is another. I took all the fishing gear out while the boat was at the shop and one thing I forgot to return to it's rightful place was the maize we use to chum up the catfish. It did not seem to make a difference as we caught 32 fish and proved to show that the fish are here at this same spot I mentioned we caught them a year ago.  I think Cathy might have put it on me a little. I mean I caught fish but I threw back a bucketful of undersized fish. Her's were keepers.  

This might have been the reason for good fishing. Lots of little tern like birds perched on every stump is a good indication of bait in the water. 

A closer zoom. 

I mentioned multiple plans of action. It is duck season and I carried a shotgun. Cathy put me out and I walked up a creek. I killed one cat squirrel and flushed two wood ducks I did not get a shot at. Cathy continued to fish and reported seeing 13 ducks from the boat. That's ok. At this stage of the game and what with the sore knee I have had from the past week or so it's just comforting to know that a fat boy can still put on waders, negotiate flooded creek bottoms and catch a glimpse of birds on the wing and scenic lake views.   

Another sundown on Big Sam. 

32 catfish. made about 5 pounds of fillets with one small package held out that I might try to make a courtbuillon (pronounced coo-be-yon) out of. I saved the squirrel for a gumbo or soup flavoring or if I get a bag full this hunting season I'll get Cathy to fry. 

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Monday, November 20, 2017

The Mountain Goats...

We saw the Mountain Goats while in Chicago. It was at the Rivera Theater, a venue built in 1917 in  French Renaissance Revival Style. It's a very good place for a show with standing room on the floor and balcony seating for us old farts that might or might not hold up to rushing the stage these days. The Mountain Goats are one of Cathy's Favorite bands and we last saw them in 2012 at Fitzgerald's in Houston. Occasionally I get in Cathy's car and there are like 9 of their CDs handy as needed. 

If you don't know this band it's pretty much one dude named John Darnielle. He has various collaborators and appeared at this gig with the same band as last time plus an added instrumentalist. John is very prolific and many of his early recordings were lo-fi on a boom box. The last decade or so the sound has become more polished. While not always my cup of tea when it comes to sitting around listing I much enjoy the live shows and there are certain songs that really ring a bell for me. The band's wiki page describes the music as "organically emotional motifs." The New Yorker magazine referred to him as "America's best non hip hop artist."  

Average looking dude, short hair, sport jacket, barefoot, guitar...

Don't let the acoustic fool you. This is hard strummed shouted anthem style stories of life. Probably lot of string changes, bleeding fingers and so on. If you have ever had the thought like one of these songs verbalizes "I'll live through this year if it kills me" or I'm gonna say what I feel using the same four chords I always use the Mountain Goats might be for you.  

Strapped on an electric for a few tunes. 

Opening band was Mothers. Seems like I recall there was another band the Mothers that you might not want to get mixed up with these guys. Usually I look forward to opening bands with that secret underdog wish that they will show up the headliner, make him work harder for his money and deliver an honest version of their selves. Last few openers I have seen in Chicago seem to fit some particular style that requires skillful musician ship with lots of time and tempo changes but if are happy hearing a set a set of Jimmy Reed covers every now and then it will leave you looking for the groove. I did like the shimmery clean guitar sounds though.   

Tried to get a photo that represented the theater style. I advise checking this venue if in town. Lots of good bands play here.  


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Back From Chicago...

We made another trip to Chicago. Peter was gone out of town till Friday night for a work trip so we hung with Katie and Wallace for Wednesday and Thursday till he returned. We had some fun, saw a concert and more. We will detail adventures more but for now the grandchild pictures. 

Katie sent this cell phone photo this morning. It looks good on the small screen but I touched it up for better looks on the computer. It's just the old baby whisperer showing that he still has it. 

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Patron Saint of Man Buns...

Well not really but the way it goes when you debate the deconstructionist over health care, gun control and how there is a war going on that the poor can't win I sure don't want to talk about men's hair styles. It does look like a man bun in the photo I made in the little screened in gazebo at church. To me it seemed like this thing  just appeared there but it's a pretty big church and home to a diverse group of people and cultures so it might just be another case of me not really knowing what is going on. The photo is of a statue of St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. . 

That just looks like a man bun. It's really some kind of fire coming out his head. I'd wear a man bun if my hair was not going away right there on top because I think my wife likes that kind of thing and we want to do what she likes. A few times I have felt like there was fire coming out of my head so I guess I'll just have to settle for that memory since the man bun a'int happening. 

If we dig into the memories of the early Church and history we know that there was another Judas who betrayed Christ. This caused our Jude, who was also originally Judas to shift the spelling of his name and reportedly become involved with anyone who required help even when things looked most hopeless just to make sure that folks would not confuse him with the other guy. That reputation stuck with him and continues to this day. 

Maybe that's why this Jude looks a little world worn. He's chipped and faded just like we are sometimes but I think he can help us out.   


Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Music of the South...

That's way south to you. We saw Los Llaneros at the Dia de Los Muertos Festival and they played the music of Columbia and Argentina. Members were from those countries as well as Panama. 

A little research shows that last May President Trump lifted a ban on the importation of Argentine lemons. This puts USA growers at the mercy of competition from a foreign industry that dwarfs the size of domestic farming. Those that thought we were going to make America great again alerted right away that it was not supposed to be this way. There was nothing sour about this music though and I hope to hear more like it with the advent of increased immigration.    

The harp was a nice melody instrument. I have some Colombian music on CD but it's more Afro Cuba cumbia influenced while I guess you could say there was a more classical European tinge to these sounds. The web site for the band calls it "cowboy music" of the grasslands.  

You can check them out here: 

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Chikawa Aztec Dancers...

We saw the Chikawa Aztec Dancers of Conroe Tx and this past weekend's Dia de Los Muertos festival in Nacogdoches. Chikawa means strong in the Nahuatl language. Natuatl dates from the 7th century Aztecs and is one of the National Ingenious Languages of Mexico. Various dialects are still spoken in rural central Mexico. 

Originally these Day of the Dead celebrations of the Azetcs lasted two months and were meant to remember those gone on and remind us still here that there is no reason to fear death. It's not sad finality but part of an ongoing cycle of the universe with elements of acknowledgement, remembrance, and communication.  This lined up very well for the Catholic Church, my faith by the way, which has a way of working in the local angles and renamed this celebration All Souls and All Saints. It made sense to shorten things to two days only because you don't want everybody running around in face paint and feathers during Advent. 

So here are the photos. Good drums, good dancing and a lot of scary jaguar sounds.



Some kind of fife. I think I could cobble together from my wretchedly ethnic percussion collection adequate instrumentation to pull off a semblance of this music. 

This guy played conch, ocarinas and this log drum which has a very similar sound to the wooden drums I call tongue drums. I have a small tongue drum and I am on the look out for a conch to blow. It will be for those times you get tired of hearing the tuba.   

This group was very gracious with the crowd sticking around for photos. Here are the Zamoras with the dancers. 

Keep an eye on that guy. 

Everyone enjoyed meeting the group, well almost everyone. 

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Monday, November 06, 2017

One More Time...

One more time some one remind me why assault type weapons are for sale to the general public.   


Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dia de Los Muetros...

Dia de Los Muetros translates to the "day of the dead." It's come from old Aztec traditions that focus on gathering the family to remember family and friends who have died and to pray in support and celebration of the spiritual journey of those gone before. Europeans came along and this kind of stuff fit right in, what a coincidence and they shifted things around to involve All Saints Day. That's not all that shifted around because we must acknowledge that the indigenous people got the short end of the stick even though the core beliefs of mankind are very much in line across continents, cultures and generations.  Makes you wonder why there are conflicts. People all seem to want some comforting afterlife after all the struggle here on Earth. 

Nacogdoches, puts on  Day of the Dead festival around the square on the brick streets of the Oldest town in Texas. There was good music, dancers, food and maybe 10% of the crowd in costume. Naturally we dressed for the occasion and thanks to the expert help of Mary and her makeup skills Cathy and Rose won runner up t shirts in the costume contest. I'll post more on music and dance later but here is what we looked like. 

Just in case you don't recognize these guys here is Warren and Coraline. 

Rose and Tim

Warren and Tim


Mary. I can only guess what a half painted face might symbolize. Maybe part of this world as well as part of the next? 

Oh yeah have you heard? The Astros won the World Series. 

As usual behind the camera I don't have a good picture of me. I was dressed up and many people through out the day stopped as asked to take my photo. We were all selected for the contest with Rose and Cathy as runners up. There were good costumes, we had fun and thanks to Mary for our face paint. 

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Friday, November 03, 2017

Local Live Music...

It was local Live music for a little impromptu Halloween Party at Blackspot Tattoo this week. Old Souls Food Truck was on hand to feed and when I got off work I threw on the King/Bishop/Samurai/whatever you think it is costume and went up there to check things out. This little band calling themselves Dead Tigers was playing.  

It's a guitar/drum duet and you know that kind of thing is all the rage with bands like the White Stripes, the Black Keys, the Japandroids all spawned by a group led by Dex Rhomweber from a few years ago called the Flat Duo Jets. I gathered from conversation that these guys were high school band kids, or that at least their friends were. That's a good group of people to be hanging with and is how I got my start all those years ago. I guess I'm still hanging with that crowd. 

Now if you were looking for a real slick performance of your favorite classic rock tunes this was not it. It was people standing up there and being honest about doing music, turning their backs to that wall and letting it out and that's the thing that is most important. I personally did not recognize a song they played so I can't say if this is covers or originals but I did note the use of dynamics with cleanly played sweet quiet passages set apart and followed by crashing, joyous distortion which I have noted to be the thing in some circles. 

They also had put some time in setting the stage and atmosphere for this Halloween night gig. It will be a good memory for these  guys and their friends. Heck I am remembering it right now myself.  Thanks to the Blackspot/Old Souls crew for making a nice place when kids of all ages can do stuff.  

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Wednesday, November 01, 2017


I'm not talking about signs that America is getting to be great again or anything like that but I walk around and make photos. Likely lately it has been photos of grandchildren but I try to keep my skills sharp for the unusual, the out of place and street art. Here's signs seen in Chicago.

I hate I missed this but like so may things I had to work, was out of town, went fishing but my heart is with you. 

1688# is a hip hop clothing company in Chicago. Their web site calls for injecting substance into a watered down street culture. 1688 is apparently the year the word "Chicago" came into use. Don't worry id you are a Trump fan. I note they also have art on the website depicting Mayor Rahm also so they look to be one of those actual barometers of if you have screwed up we are going to bring attention to it.  I don't know what this sticker might mean but I have often thought conflicts might be easier resolved if we all loaded up, went to the drive through at Dairy Queen and got an ice cream cone. Of course some will argue for Marble Slab. So it goes.  

This sign. I don't think I have seen it in Lufkin. I note that at most red lights in Chicago there are three lanes of traffic that wait for the change. There is the left turn, most of the time protected. Then there are the other two lanes that feed into a single lane on the other side of the intersection. That means that the cars have like 25 yards or less to form a single lane of traffic. I think loop 287 in Lufkin is maybe 28 miles long and during road construction it takes every bit of that to form a single lane. There for I think this sign means  "go around the asshole."  

It's the new fish and chips, tea and crumpets, or cheese and crackers. I am just glad I did not have to think of this myself. 

I don't know what this is. Maybe someone's band name?  You know there is not going to be anymore gigs if you get this, right? 

Lots of people from south of the border in Chicago. Always good food to be had. I like to do nine meals at nine different Mexican restaurants in nine days. It's like a prayer that I call it the Mexican Food Novena. If you remember there were lots of European immigrants and of course their food is here and then the blues came right up Highway 61 and food came with that also. People move, people cook and people pray. It's a sign.  


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