Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Numbers for the Fishing Log...

You may have seen these photos cause they were all over facebook. We gotta post them again here to keep our log of how many fish, where, the weather and as a general record in case anyone needs an alibi. 

Fishing with Scott Smith (no worry here using full names, just google Scott Smith) we caught 35. They were deep. 


Scott scores. We have know this dude probably 40 years. Looks like we are going to spend retirement years hanging with all these folks from the good old days.


Several decent blue cats. 


It's like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, a bloody mess. 


I love being on the lake. 

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Quicksand...

With Scott Smith in for a weekend of duck hunting, catfishing and guitar playing we decided that we might as well try to include in white bass fishing and achieve some kind of double quadruple trifecta  The catfish were game and with the help of modern clip on guitar tuners the guitars were in tune but ducks and white bass were absent. All in all good fun was had including an encounter with water saturated sand on the banks of the Sabine. 

Here is blog character Scott. We actually had a minor encounter with quicksand as we approached the river. I was in the lead and made it through the area. for some reason the rest of the Indians in this white bass war party took a different route that they barely made it through. I though this would be an embarrassing photo for Scott but in this new age of spin let's just say he throws a long shadow on the land. 

Cathy caught one small white bass. The next thing she knew she was sinking in mud. If you don't know the properties of quick sand a quick internet review tells us that quick sand may appear solid but once it's agitated or of there is a change in pressure or suffers a sudden shock it liquefies and  becomes spongy with objects sinking to their level of buoyancy.  this is what Cathy stepped in. 


Cathy says her first thought was "I hope I don't top my boots here." Second though was "hope they don't see me." 


Third though was as you can see, "Help." After some tugs and the misunderstood suggestion that she should take off her shirt, which I though was a good one because it always helps if after a misadventure to have dry clean clothes to put on. After all she was dressed in layers as I don't want anyone to get the idea it's my common practice to be all muddy and naked out in the woods somewhere. 

Note the tow strap. The technique that finely freed her was tow strap under the butt keeping a steady pulling pressure as she extracted her legs. 


On solid ground. As the rock band God Speed You Black Emperor sings, "Lift your skinny fist like antennas to heaven."  


At least this won't appear to be solid ground to the next bank walking white bass fisherman. 



We will keep the tow strap handy and an eye on fishing reports from the Sabine so stay tuned. 

  

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Here's How We Measure the Heart of America...

Politicians take polls and of course there are approval ratings. We can count how many people come to our fish fry. Some people said a lot came to mine. Alternative facts say it was catfish that was cooked. As we wrapped up the Christmas season with a big family weekend I used my sure fire way to figure out where this country stands. All you have to do is crunch the data that is your Christmas cards. 

I do this every year. This year I broke it out into three categories to contemplate.

There were 15 religious cards. Clear cut examples of faith  I excluded trees and wreaths. It could be argued there is some symbolism but that's too far a stretch for such science as this. I did count the cards from the Bishop and the Monastery here but it's probably in their job description that they have to send a religious card. I counted Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's card as religious. It was obvious what was on their minds.   

There were 14 clearly secular cards all sleighs and snowmen with an occasional snow woman.    

There were 12 picture cards of families. B.O. sent one with a picture of his dog. Don't get mad at him though. I bet some of you treat your dog better than you do other humans but we are all on some path of spiritual journey and you must start somewhere. Family and dogs are an ok place to start. 

So what does this mean? Well it looks like religious cards nudged secular out for the first time since I been logging this info. On the other hand if I add family to the secular which is ok if you just used a day off to watch the big game secular wins 26-15. That's a pretty good whooping. 

Now if you just scrolled down past all this reasoning just to get to the photo your eye might have caught the fact that I did not get all that many cards. Some say they got more but I haven't read their blog post about it. I do know that of the religious cards seems like the Three Kings were popular this year. That's good because they are my favorites. 

I have never seen this in the USA but while on a European visit this summer I noted these marks in chalk over the doorways to homes. 

Sometimes seen like this 20 + C + M + B + 17 it's a blessing for the home and all who enter. The numbers are the year and the letters stand for the Three Kings, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazer. The plus sign represents the cross and in Latin it can stand for "Christ Bless This House." There is a series of prayers to bless the chalk and bless the house.  

The idea is that the chalk will fade but the symbolism will sink into the heart of all in the home and be maifest in their words and actions. 

I tossed all those cards except the family photos which I will hold on to just a bit longer.  

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

As Usual No One Was Hurt...

At least not a lot. 

You may have heard about this. The great silly string massacree. Every year (well except last year when I mistakenly bought spray hair dye which ended about as well as could be expected) the kids open their Christmas Stockings to find the usual goodies and lumps of coal but also find cans of silly string. That's another story why we are just opening Christmas Stockings but I like Christmas and try to make it as long as possible. 

 You know what happens when young and old adults with no future planned get a hold of silly string. Of course I got the photos and I can vouch for the high quality and easy clean up of poor people's store MIC party product. Maybe we have had USA made silly string before because there has been a strand or two that hung from hard to reach places for several years demonstrating great determination and staying power that I could just not in good conscience bestir myself from the couch to clean up. Hopefully after Friday's induction we will see Silly String great again combining all the above describable traits, a future planned and made in USA. Oh yeah, the photos:









As you can see a great time was had by all. Hope it goes that way for you too. 


  


Friday, January 13, 2017

Sabine River Trip...

It's that time of the year, yas, yas my old friend the white bass. We made a quick trip over to the Sabine River and even though it's early in the season we hope because of the mild weather the spring run might be starting. We were wrong but we did catch enough for a couple of suppers. 

Cathy fishes on a rainy morning. Rain did let up so we made a nice day bank fishing. Cathy likes to bank fish every now and then instead of the big lake run and gun. 

This was one of the bigger fish we caught. All were males. The big egg laden females are not there yet. Total for the day was 5 fish. Just as well we did not fill up and ice chest I don't know what we would do with them since there is about 50 pounds of catfish in the freezer. 


This is the boat ramp at River Ridge Park and guide service. I am always amazed by these big river sand banks. I bet it takes some doing to keep that boat ramp cleared. 


And this is what supper looked like. That is butter cajun onion cilantro broiled white bass. It was good. 


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Down on the Plantation...

On the way home from New Orleans me and Cathy as well as Charlie and Suzi who were riding with us took a bit of a wandering way home down the River Road. The road is a stretch between between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on both sides of the Mississippi river where great homes in the Greek Revival and Creole style demonstrated the wealth and conspicuous consumption of the sugar planters. All this was made possible by slaves who did the hard labor of sugar cane harvest. We stopped by for some photos at the Evergreen Plantation which was closed and toured the Whitney Plantation which is an exhibit focused on the life of the slaves. 

I have toured Plantation homes before and been reading some well researched and footnoted books by Ned Sublette that tell much about the life, politics and music of the American South. In fact when I mentioned these books to a Whitney Plantation Staff member he exclaimed "He was here two weeks ago!" I love visiting these places. Here are some photos of the Evergreen.

There is an Oak Ally Plantation with more impressive trees and several of the plantations have these tree lined roads but I chose this one because of the Spanish Moss.

A slave cabin at Evergreen. There are few slave cabins left. One here, a few there they are probably not in original locations. Written accounts by none other than Mark Twain of this stretch of river mention thousands of buildings with a cruise down the river very similar to a drive through the busy street of a city. 


Evergreen Plantation. It was closed. Roof looks to need some repair. Many homes remained intact until the 1920s when disease hit the sugar cane. Restoration began in the 1940s.  


If you don't know about sugar cane harvest it's the kind of crop that works a man to death. The USA banned importation of people with the Constitution in 1809. While that sounds pretty good it basically set up a slave breeding industry in places where tobacco crops had depleted the soil. Many slaves were shipped and marched down south to the sugar cane and cotton fields as needed. In Cuba where there was a sugar industry but importation of persons went on till the 1870s slaves were worked to death and new ones brought in. One bright spot here is that the slave culture of Cuba was constantly re Africianized with music, customs of the various countries of origin and religions. In America this did not happen and much has been lost. 

The tour guide for the Whitney Plantation touched on many things I already knew about these times so it was great to be refreshed on this history in the place that it happened.

Southern rot, mildew and decay. It's where I do my best work. 


Whitney Plantation. 


An overseer's house. Made from cypress it is in original condition and location and is unrestored.   



Slave house with iron pots for sugar cane in the foreground. These cabins were moved here from other places. The original ones that still stood on this site were knocked down in the 1970s to make room to move move in equipment for the cane fields. 


In the distance 300 year old cane fields still make people rich. 


Figures in Antioch Baptist Church on the plantation grounds. 



There was a wall with slave names gathered from church birth records. Only one with a last name was the same last name as the plantation owner of that time. 


As I say I have researched in this area some. I'll make my own wall here on this blog by listing the humans that two my ancestors owned:
Abram, Milford, Sara, "the mulatto girl Lucy", Hercules, Moll, James, Abraham, Cato, Daniel, and Annaca. 
There are others. These are just the names I have. I am lucky enough to have the last names that help me look up the wills that divided these humans as property while also allowing the future inheritance of what was known as their "increase."   The ancestors of these folks probably don't know as much as I do from where they came. 

With living, a lot can be learned. I hope it's that way for you also. 





  


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Friday, January 06, 2017

It's Carnival Time...

I have a case of post New Orleans depression. It's a feeling you get on the return from the Big Easy and the old cold drab supper on your plate just has no taste. Or maybe you put on a record and danced around like you did in a Frenchman Street live music club but the only problem is you knocked over an end table and broke a lamp. Post New Orleans Depression is a things undone situation you sense when you should have gone to this place, ate this cajun dish or bought that silly crawfish thing you saw in the French Market. Don't worry it's over the next time you get to go and have a chance to fix it. I feel it coming on this weekend even though I'm just back because the first Mardi Gras Parades are scheduled to roll now till Fat Tuesday.

It was a bit of consolation in advance on this trip because we did get to see the Sugar Bowl Parade. A few big floats and lots of bands with many tuba players gave us just enough to get in a good carnival mood.

Here's the French Market Coffee float.

Take the "A" Train! 


U.S. Air Force Honor Guard tubas. 


Man bun tuba. 


Oklahoma Sooner Band Tubas. Oklahoma played Auburn in the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma won. I don't know why I did not manage to get a photo of the Auburn tubas. I did know that after seeing the bands that Auburn was a corp style band with good discipline. Oklahoma looked to be a mob style band probably entertaining but good and sloppy. .    


You gotta have Louie representing on a float somewhere. I think that's a city ordinance. 


Bystanders groove to the marching band's drum line beat. 


These folks going to hurt their necks trying for beads. 


Oh, I think they just hungry for shrimp. 


Looks like I won't make Mardi Gras so a cure for this affliction with be a while in coming. Till then:





 

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Why You Watch Boring Music...?

You know I stalk ya'll. On the internet, I don't hang out in the bushes by your house very often. I could care less about your dog's photos or pictures of what you ate. I look at what you think about music. From this stalking I have gathered that the country music award winners were not country and that just lately someone mucked up the words to a song on national TV. Now I don't feel qualified to define what's country and I have certainly stood up in public, spiritually naked with only three chords, a guitar and just frigged that up something righteous. This weekend on New Year's Eve I was at a club called One Eyed Jacks on Toulouse Street in New Orleans and saw the Squirrel Nut Zippers who I don't think hit a wrong note at all. 

One Eye Jacks is a place I have been a couple of times now. In addition to music it hosts regular 1930s type burlesque shows, one of which opened the show. Pretty tame burlesque compared to TV these days. Might not want to bring your mom but you would surely feel comfortable with a cousin. The decor of the place is an erotic Storyville Red that harks back to the old cat houses of turn of the century birth of jazz New Orleans. If you glance real quick past the staircase you can easily imagine old school big leg fancy girls lounging lazy on the steps with a Southern Comfort neat in a slim glass.  

If you don't know the Squirrel Nut Zippers here they are. 

It's a bit of a blurry photo but there is a lot of dancing and prancing movements going on in a band that plays what I would describe as a blend of delta blues, cabaret, 1930 swing, gypsy and dixieland. Nut zipper is an old southern term for moonshine. A squirrel nut was a caramel candy from the 1890s. This group had a platinum seller in 1996  but has been only sparingly active in the 2000s. The only original members are Jimbo Mathus and drummer Chris Phillips. 

You might remember Jimbo. We saw and met him a couple of years ago in Houston. A really great show of Americana music that time but with the Zippers all stops are pulled out. One of the best showman I have recently seen and maybe considering the areas of the American songbook that are dawn on maybe best ever. 

If you say "banjo, must be bluegrass" you are wrong. That's a tenor. See Banjo Bill if you need to know more. 




Having met with Jimbo I can say he's a polite Mississippi southern gentleman. He's nice to your girl when you introduce him to her.



Here's a guy to keep an eye on. Calls himself Dr. Sick and his main instrument for the evening was violin. He played it like a madman dancing rocking and high kicking all over that stage. He's on banjo here but also played musical saw and guitar. 


New Year toast. 


The second set this band performed this evening was all new songs. Expect a new release soon. Get it. Don't listen to boring music. 
   

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