The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blood Country Video Book Trailers

More storms expected around 4 a.m. Joyce and I may have to go down to our family room/basement and seek refuge in our steel storm shelter. 

I've neglected both my blog and the others that I regularly read this week. I missed those regular reads and will catch up soon; I hope you noticed my absence too, and I'll be visiting you guys this week. I promise. 

I've been busy with first one thing and then another. I just put up a post on my CountryDirt blog that explains where part of that time went and there's another post on there you might also want to check out that gives quotes from three reviews the book has received so far. 

I indicated earlier that I wouldn't be soliciting here except to show you the book video trailers when they were ready. I've completed 2 video trailers to promote Blood Country; one is 133 seconds long, the other is 67 seconds. As part of the book's promotional/advertising campaign, these will be posted on YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, etc.

Here's what the longer video (with more plot details) looks like.

video

And this is the short trailer, with fewer details and slightly different wording.


video

This was my first experience using the Windows Movie Maker software that came with my Gateway. A big part of the time I spent was in learning and getting familiar with the process. My wife Joyce offered suggestions and criticism about the music and the selection and order of the photos. 

The music track, which is called "Badass" (a great title, I think), and the license to use it was purchased from Royalty-FreeMusic.com. The photos and usage license were purchased from a great site called dreamstime.com. You can spend hours on this site setting up searches and looking through the available photos. You buy credits and use them when purchasing the selected photos. The photos I used cost $25 total, very reasonable for a project like this. 

I welcome comments or questions about the videos; making them was a lot of fun, and I hope to put some more together in the future.

------------End of Country Dirt Post-----------

If any of you all that check in here from time to time have advice and/or criticism regarding the video, I'm open to any observations you might make. I was in a writer's group for nearly 20 years and developed a fairly thick skin. I think it's a necessity if you plan on learning and improving as a writer. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Car Tunes

It was near midnight last evening when I worked on this post. I remembered something I used to use in class, an old audio cassette with a blues number, "Dynaflow Blues," by Johnny Shines. Why I used it, or how, or anything about the context, I'm not sure about. It may have been some kind of exercise in establishing criteria for criticism.

I looked it up on YouTube and found it. Then I started thinking about other car tunes. (Sounds a little like cartoons, doesn't it?) I could have gone further with this and may do a part II at a later date.

First, here's Johnny Shines. He sings, "She's got a bad disconnection, baby, somewhere down below." Dontcha love that line? Great slide guitar work, too.



This next one, I wasn't familiar with till I found it last night. But I like it. Another blues number.
Johnny Basset, Motor City Horns: "Cadillac Blues."



Gotta have a Ford tune. I really like this one. It's got that old '50s vibe working. Ronnie Dawson, "V8 Ford Boogie."



And, of course, Bill Haley, "Rocket 88." Some say it's the prototypical Rock and Roll song. Some say Jimmy Preston's earlier "Rock the Joint" started it all. I'm not getting into that debate or the one about whether this version or Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats (Ike Turner and the Kings of Rythm) is the most influential. Bill Haley's version is the one I heard first, so here it is.



I heard Johnny Bond's version of this first in the early '60s, but from somewhere in the '70s, here's Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, with "Hot Rod Lincoln."



This last one I'd never heard either, and it's an okay song, but I'm posting it mainly because of the great video of that black 1955, Series 62 Caddy convertible. No matter what you think of the tune, the car is absolutely stunning.

Vince Taylor. "Brand New Cadillac"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dapper Dan P. H. D. and Connee Boswell

Dang it. I like the internet. And I love youtube. They're the new university. They're a veritable fount of information, and best of all, you get direct access without filtering the knowledge through some left wing idiotard pontificating instructor. Even without trying, you can learn something on there. It's a fact.

And that's why I'm creating the Dapper Dan P. H. D. program.

The Potato Head Doctoral degree.

Heh. No. The Public History Doctorate. Just send me $19.99 and a boxtop from a carton of reduced fat Cheezits. Nah. I'ze jus pullin' your leg. You don't have to send me nothing. (But do try those reduced fat Cheezits, they're pretty good.) The best thing about my P. H. D. is you can give this degree to yourself.

That's right. Just work hard on the innernets, then, go to this site and make yourself a doctorate degree. You can make your diploma certificate as fancy as you like. What kind of program of study must you complete? How many hours must you spend learning about Patsy Montana and other esoteric subjects? That's all up to you, grasshopper. You'll know when you're ready to award yourself a diploma for all your research on the Innernets and the Tube of You.

I myself know that I'm not quite there yet. I need to dig a little deeper. A lot deeper. There are huge gaps in my database. Like this singer from the 1930s and 1940s. Connee Boswell who apparently was a big influence on Ella Fitzgerald. The onliest important Boswell I ever heard of before was the Boswell who wrote the Life of Samuel Johnson and about whom I learned a little (make that a very little) when I got one of my useless Humanities degrees back in the '60s.

So there you go. This Connee Boswell is important too. I learned about her on the Innernets, but you're probably not going to find a course about her in any college catalog.

First, from Wikipedia.

Constance Foore "Connee" Boswell (December 3, 1907, Kansas City, Missouri – October 11, 1976, New York) was an American female vocalist born in Kansas City but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With her sisters, Marthaand Helvetia "Vet" Boswell, she performed in the 1930s as The Boswell Sisters and became a highly influential singing group during this period via recordings and radio. Connee herself is widely considered one of the greatest jazz female vocalists and was a major influence on Ella Fitzgerald who said, "My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it....I tried so hard to sound just like her."[1]


The name of their 1934 song "Rock and Roll" is an early use of the term. It is not one of their hotter numbers; it refers to "the rolling rocking rhythm of the sea". 
...
In 1936, Connee's sisters retired and Connee continued on as a solo artist (having also recorded solos during her years with the group).
...
Connee sang from a wheelchair - or seated position - during her entire career, due to either a childhood bout with polio or a childhood accident (sources differ). The general public was not aware of her condition although Boswell herself did not keep this secret. During World War II, she tried to get involved with the U.S.O. tours but was not given permission to travel overseas. The Army thought it might not be a morale-booster to have a singer who used a wheelchair perform for the troops.
Connee Boswell was a favorite duet partner of Bing Crosby and they frequently sang together on radio as well as recording several hit records as a duo in the 1930s and 1940s. 
Now this, from youtube.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Country Dirt

I've been working on a new blog to promote Blood Country. It's called Country Dirt and it's going to be my main site for the book. I'll leave a book link in the left column here on the Post, but I won't be writing anymore stuff here about it, sullying up this place with all that crass materialistic, commercial stuff.

Not that this place is all that pure or anything, I'm just speaking figuratively. Mainly, I don't want to estrange the few bloggers friends who stop by here regularly by boring them with constant "buy this book" posts.

I'm working on a promotional video (if I succeed, I might have to violate my anti-sullying rule and use that here on the Post as well, just to see what ya'll think about my first cinematic attempt), and I'm also eventually going to set up a Facebook page. Now, that Facebook thing could be a real adventure for me.

Anyhoo, here's the first post from over at the other site, and a link in case you want to check it out. This post might be of interest here because of the video of an old friend I found on youtube. He's a songwriter/singer and...well, I explain more below in the first Dirt post:

COUNTRY DIRT

Country Dirt? What's up with that title?

The "country" part refers to country music. I love country music. I live outside Nashville, but be advised, that fact doesn't guarantee my affection for the music. I know lots of people here who don't like it, some who hate it, even some who are embarrassed by it. 

I just like it, it's simplicity, it's general reliance on lyrics over volume, and it's themes that connect to real people's lives. Before my parents got a TV, I listened to the Opry on Saturday nights on the radio. After we got a TV, I watched Flatt and Scruggs, Porter Wagoner, the Wilburn Brothers, etc. on TV. Right now, the first preset radio station on my truck radio is WSM, 650 AM. 

I like Rock and Roll and other kinds of music too. But my heart has always been in country.

I've always been fascinated with the people who make this music, not only the stars, but the sidemen as well. Over the years, I've had connections with several people who are involved with music in Nashville, at least on the edges of that scene. An old friend of mine, Charlie Barnes, was a sideman for Jeannie Seeley and Jack Green for awhile. He cut a single or two back in the day and still can play guitar with the best of them and has a great voice. Another good friend and former work colleague is the son of a famous Nashville sideman, Howdy Forrester; Bob's a super fiddle player himself. 

In the '70s I met songwriter/singer Guy Golemon. We became friends for awhile and our kids played together. We had quite a few beers over the years and I even helped him move into a new apartment one time. When they grew up, his sons John and Will became a major part of the group, The Cactus Brothers. I lost track of Guy but recently saw this great video from 1988 posted on youtube last year by his son Will.   


Nashville can sometimes be a dirty, mean spirited place for an artist struggling to get noticed. Guy's song nails the frustration that a lot of artists who come here eventually feel. And that leads me to the second word in this blog's title.

"Dirt."

Even as a boy I liked to play in the dirt, making roads and racetracks and battlefields. My grandma used to say, "Let that boy alone, a little dirt never hurt anyone." When I got through playing, I could always take a bath.

My Encarta Dictionary has several meanings for "dirt." 1. unclean substance. 2. earth. 3. hard packed earth. 4. scandalous facts. 5. corrupting influences.

I think all of these meanings are in play here. I will sometimes deal with "unclean" things in country music, scandalous facts, corrupting influences, etc. 

I figure there's plenty of material in this area for lots of posts; I could do a whole month on George Jones' shenanigans, for example. And, in this same context, the travails of Mindy McReady come to mind. That's poor Mindy to the right.

I've got my first post in the hopper now about a drunken Ernest Tubb's attempt to shoot (with a .357) a well known Nashville producer. 

But, I'll always be on the lookout for stories readers might have; if you've got dirt, share it here. (I'll be glad to research your stories/rumors and post them.) 

But I'll also pay attention to meaning number 2, earth, as in the good earth, our home, the source of our sustenance. Country music is often said to be "down to earth," or "earthy." Nothing dirty about that. I'm thinking in this context about stories of how struggling artists got discovered, what obstacles they had to overcome, etc. Also, Again, any stories or anecdotes along these lines that you want to share on this site will be welcomed.

In the interest of full disclosure, there's one other thing I need to tell you. I'm using this blog to promote (sell!) my book, Blood Country. It's a mystery novel set in Nashville and the private detective is also a guitar sideman. The case he's digging into involves him with one of Nashville's most prestigious music families and some scandalous secrets that they've hidden for twenty years. I'll be doing regular posts about the novel and sharing some excerpts from the book here. Right now, you can read more about the book (and buy it) by clicking on the links to the left.

That's all for today, partners.

It's fun to play in the dirt, but always take a bath when you're done. Until we meet again, stay true to yourself, and when you do anything, give it your best shot. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Montana Post

My good friend George in Montana sent me an email this morning. Here 'tis.

Summer's almost here. We can now see the deer moving around in our backyard. 


Thanks, George. One little pic like that helps put our own weather complaints into perspective.

And, in keeping with the "Montana" theme, and honoring my pledge not to post Merle Haggard's "Big City" again, I found this little gem about Montana from 1939 on youtube. It features a girl singer named Patsy Montana and the song is "Back on the Montana Plains."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Last Train from Poor Valley

Only time for a quickie post this morning. Joyce had her second session of chemotherapy yesterday, and we return to the hospital today for the followup anti-nausea shot. She's felt a lot better for the last few days and is expecting this round to be easier than the last one since she knows what to expect this time.

I've had this post in the hopper for awhile and now's as good a time to use it as any. First, to set the mood, a short 1:12 minute video of a Norfolk and Western freight/passenger train steaming through the snow. It could be the "Last Train from Poor Valley."



Norman Blake has a song called "Last Train from Poor Valley." In this video, before performing the song, Blake explains how he came to write it. The story involves Johnny and June Cash and the making of a Christmas album.

Blake plays guitar, of course, and is accompanied by his wife Nancy, and himself on Dobro (by means of video editing and overdubbing). As you might expect, he ain't too shabby with that Reso.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Plymouth Forever

The Plymouth automobile is gone now. But in 1937, things looked pretty good. This low priced marvel even had an oil filter.

This 1937 film advertisement for Plymouth is about ten minutes long, but it's some fascinating footage.



A little over 20 years later, they looked like jet aircraft. And had push button transmissions. Do the early '90s cars look as antique when compared to a 2011 model?

What happened to Chrysler? Why did they let the once mighty Plymouth die?

Monday, February 14, 2011

For Joyce: Happy Valentine's Day

I heard today on the radio that divorce lawyers get about a 40% spike in business around Valentine's Day. I'm not sure what's up with that, but my guess is a lot of folks decide that what they have in their marriage isn't what they want. What do they want? I'm guessing romance of some kind. And today is the day that symbolizes all that.

I know it's a Hallmark holiday and all that other phony stuff, but romance is important. It helps seal the deal emotionally.

But finding the "right" person involves a whole lot of luck and fate. After all, we're not talking about rational choices here.

When individuals initially get together and form a couple, there's give and take on both sides. That never stops, but after awhile, in a successful, long term relationship, the individuals become secondary. The union or marriage itself becomes the living, vibrant, important thing. On this long road there have been curves and tunnels and switchbacks, but Joyce and I feel very lucky that we found each other and that our relationship has evolved to the point where we both understand that the union itself is the important thing. We do a little work on it every day.

Okay, enough of that.

Besides the pot of buttercups I bought her yesterday, here's two online Valentine gifts for Joyce today. A beautiful and unlikely love sonnet by Robert Frost, plus a song by Vince Gill.

The Silken Tent
by Robert Frost


She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.

Vince Gill: Look at Us

Friday, February 11, 2011

Elmore Leonard's "Justified"

I watch mostly movies on TV, but sometimes a show comes along that demands my attention. I first took notice of FX's "Justified" last year when I read it would be based on a story by Elmore Leonard.

Elmore Leonard, is, IMHO, in the top ten writers in English in the 20th Century. I know that's a brash statement, especially since Leonard is a "popular" writer, whose works have sold in the millions and have been used for movies and TV shows.

What movies and TV shows? Let me give a few examples. I'll start with a western, since that what he started writing first. You've heard of "3:10 to Yuma?" Perhaps "Valdez Is Coming?" "Hombre?" "Last Stand at Saber River?"

Don't like westerns? How about these films: "Get Shorty," "Jackie Brown," "Mr. Majestyk," "Stick," "Out of Sight," or maybe "Killshot?"

His Wikipedia entry notes that he's sometimes called the "Dickens of Detroit" because many of his earlier novels were set there and they present accurate portraits of the city's people. Many other writers have praised Leonard
such as Saul BellowMartin Amis, and Stephen King. "Your prose makes Raymond Chandler look clumsy," Amis told Leonard at a Writers Guild event in Beverly Hills in 1998.[6] Stephen King has called him "the great American writer."[7]
My quick count on his Wikipedia page gave 48 novels. Here's a couple (from many) that I've read over the years that I really enjoyed: Stick, and Cat Chaser.

Back to Leonard's "Justified," which is based on his story "Fire in the Hole." The show's Eastern Kentucky, mountainous setting is one thing I enjoy.

This unusual (for Hollywood) setting immediately sets the show off from the NYC, LA, Chicago, crowd. The setting also influences the kinds of stories that are told and how they're resolved.

And, it allows for all sorts of interesting and different characters. I lived in Richmond, KY, for a few years in the early '60s, and from my experience there and in Campton where I taught an extension class, the characters Leonard and the show's writers have created are drawn accurately. It's TV, so there's some stereotyping, but overall, the characters seem real.

The show's star is Timothy Olyphant (left, in hat) who plays U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. About Olyphant and another cast member, Walter Goggins, Yahoo News says this,


As Givens, a Kentucky native sent back (as punishment) from the Miami office to Lexington after he shoots a cartel member at a restaurant (it was, as Givens is wont to say, "justified"), Olyphant is the poster boy of the series. But his intensity is matched by Walton Goggins, who plays Boyd Crowder, Givens' boyhood friend-turned-criminal. It's possible that Season 1 would have been riveting without Goggins, the former "Shield" star who was supposed to die in the pilot. But the writers saw the chemistry the actors had and the magnetic and crazed gravitas Goggins brought to the part and couldn't turn their backs on what is likely to become a long-running friendship/feud between Raylan and Boyd.

Leonard likes the show as well.
Elmore Leonard has never been shy about letting people know what Hollywood has done to his books. But in the case of "Justified," the FX series based on his work, he has said writer/executive producer Graham Yost and his staff have not only nailed the characters, tone and nuances but also gone beyond his wildest hopes.
It's usually a good sign when an author praises a TV or film adaptation of his work. Take a look at "Justified," on FX on Wednesday nights at 9 Central. If you like what you see, check out the whole first season and then start blocking out your Wednesday nights for the next 13 weeks.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Famous Nashville Sidemen: Guitarist Fred Carter Jr.

Do you remember and still enjoy the amazing finger picking intro on "The Boxer," the famous S and G tune?



That great intro was performed by legendary Nashville sideman Fred Carter, Jr. Carter's fingerprints can be found on various artists' recordings through the '50s, '60s, and '70s such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, and Levon Helm.

Besides his fantastic guitar work, the North Louisiana native also sang, wrote, songs and cut a few records himself along the way. Here he's in a '60s R&R groove as he sings on this tight Monument cut of his co-written "Happy Tears." Some might not like this old rock sound, but I dig it.



And singing a straight (but smooth) country song, "Too Much Love Is Spoiling You," on this old '60s Country Jukebox album:




The Alan Mayor photo above shows Carter at Nashville's Station Inn in 1983. (We went there in the '90s with our friend Charlie Barnes, a sideman himself in the bands of Jeannie Seely and Jack Green back in the day; visit the Station Inn if you ever come to Nashville.)

Carter, who was the father of country singer Deanna Carter, died in the summer of last year (2010) at the age of 76.

Fred Carter exemplified the talent and creativity of the Nashville sideman, a man content to be on the side, but possessing the skills to step into the spotlight when necessary.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday: Updates



  

1. The last couple of days have been very rough for Joyce. She had tried to lay off the pain and anti-nausea meds on Sunday and Monday and thinks now that was probably a mistake. Also, even before her surgery December 28, she had been fighting a throat infection, which since the chemo started last week, seems to have returned. Her fever went up Monday night/Tuesday morning, but she started taking the pain meds again and got it under control. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic which I picked up for her last night, so she's taking that now too. The fever is only part of the problem, however. When the pain meds diminish after four hours, she is experiencing quite a bit of pain. They say that's to be expected, that it's the chemotherapy at work, but it still hurts like hell. She's taking the pain meds regularly now and sleeping more.

2. I have to run out for about an hour around 2:00 to see my doctor for a coumadin check (hopefully, I'm in the last 2-3 weeks of taking this stuff for the clot). No problem there except that the snow is supposed to begin after lunch and continue throughout the afternoon. This could make getting back through the Hollow and up our long drive iffy. I'm thinking I may reschedule this appointment.

3. We have a 2009 Toyota Avalon, so this morning's news about the investigation into sudden acceleration was of interest to us. Seems the investigation showed that the issue was not electronically caused. I've always felt these instances were more than likely driver related.

We've owned several Toyotas and this is our third Avalon. But, we do have problems with this car. The dealer couldn't explain why it died with the motor running the other day when I was bringing Joyce home from the hospital. Could this happen again? What if we were pulling into traffic on the Interstate with a big 18 Wheeler bearing down on us and the thing decided to shut down again?

Also, there's a big issue regarding the seatbelt warning alarm. I say alarm instead of chime because that's what it is. It sounds as loud and irritating as one of those shrill backup beepers on a truck. Let's say you want to go down to the end of the drive to check the mail before buckling up. Or suppose you're at a strip mall and you want to move your car a couple of hundred feet to another store. In each case, however, the alarm begins to sound. And it increases in intensity and rapidity like a mad parent screaming at a recalcitrant kid. YOU MUST BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELT! NOW! NO EXCUSES!

It's a beautiful car. Really. And on the road, minus this irritation, it's a joy to drive. Effortless. Smooth. Quiet. But. Since the alarm thing happens everytime you get in the car, this Federally inspired and Nanny Corporate backed safety feature has made our experience with this Avalon a disaster. The driving experience has been totally ruined.

4. Warning. Unexpectedly rough and sharp segue. Did you know that Avalons are manufactured in Kentucky? And that Kentucky is the Bluegrass Music center of the universe?

Bill Monroe wrote this song and I love it. I may have already posted it before, but I'm putting it here. Right now. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Toast: Oedipus, Hubris, Hockey, Flatpicking

Coffee's hot. Smooth 100% Arabica. Toast is just out of the oven, butter melting.

Toasters are fine, but you got to butter after the heat, right? I prefer butter first, then put the bread in the oven (I actually use the broiler). That way, the butter and the bread come together. At the risk of offending a possible reader or two, I'll say it's almost a kind of transubstantiation. At least it seems to have that effect on me. Hot coffee, soft warm toast with oozing butter. A glass of cold milk on the side. I'm a new man.

1. First Slice. Damn snow (we just had another one last evening and the temps are plunging again). What's going on here? This is Tennessee, dammit. Wintertime is usually rain, rain, rain, one little snow, rain, rain, more rain. Geez.

The ancients dealt with weather uncertainty by deifying it. There were gods of the Winds, gods of the rain, gods of the storm, etc. These gods could be appeased through prayer and sacrifices or offerings.

Sometimes, if things got really out of hand, a poor unlucky soul was selected as the representative of the community for such a sacrifice. He/she might be exiled out of the village into the wild, or this person might be killed as a sacrifice, or as some kind of appeasement to the angry gods.

Sometimes the people selected were leaders, kings. Some scholars say the Greek story of Oedipus fits this pattern. Wikipedia info tells us that a seemingly weather related plague grips the city of Thebes.

Many years after the marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta, a plague of infertility strikes the city of Thebes; crops no longer grow to harvest and women do not bear children. Oedipus, in hishubris, asserts that he will end the pestilence. 
He finds, of course, that he is the cause of the pestilence, he is the disruption in and offense to the natural order. Before the city exiles him, he gouges out his own eyes so he can't see the children he fathered with his mother Jocasta.

I'm wondering. Did our Global Warming Scare propaganda offend the weather gods? Were they outraged because some of us puny mortals thought (or were taught) that we were so mighty we influenced the weather, that we were more powerful than they?

Maybe they want a sacrifice of some kind. Maybe they want a leader sent into exile.

The high Priest of the Global Warming Scare lives right here in Tennessee. Nashville, to be exact. Perhaps, if we rose up and demanded that he sell his house here, and then kicked him out of the state, and permanently exiled him to the vast liberal California wasteland, the balance would be restored, the winter rains would return, and the damn snow would stay where it belongs.

Just a thought.

2. Second slice of toast. Speaking of hubris. I boasted about the Preds' prowess in defeating the Wings in an earlier post. These things do come back to bite you. In this morning's Tennesseean sports headlines, I found this one: "Predators pummeled by NHL's worst team."

The facts don't lie. The Preds are going down, down. They've won only 1 of the last 6 (that would be the victory over the Wings). Could this losing streak be related to my first slice of toast? Is it Gore's fault?

Just asking.

3. Third slice. The coffee and toast are kicking in. I'm feeling better. Just need a little music now, and my day is ready to go. Some superb flatpicking oughtta do the trick.

I've liked this Tennessee guy for a long, long time and own two vinyls to prove it (one's called "Whiskey Before Breakfast," the other title I can't remember right now). He once played in Hylo Brown's bluegrass band and in the early '60s was inspired by Doc Watson.

I'm speaking of Norman Blake, whose loose right hand touch is so light, it's almost like that soft butter in the middle of the toast. Okay, I'm pushing it, I know. But just pour a second cup and watch and listen. Especially the way he knocks those bass notes down on the D-18. That Adirondack spruce soundboard just hums in your brain.

This video is from his prime, not that he still isn't top dog in my book. He's got those '70s gold rims working and he's with his cool crew, the Rising Fawn String Ensemble, both superb musicians. This song is called "Randall Collins."



One of my favorite songs of Blake's (he wrote this one) is "Slow Train Through Georgia." Not so much fancy flatpicking here, just a good "escape" song with great lyrics. I've learned the chords and lyrics to this one and sometimes try it on the old Silvertone dreadnought. On a cold snowy day like today, taking that Sunshine Southern Special and rolling down to the sea sounds pretty good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Moving on to More Important Concerns



The Super Stuff is all over now, except for cleaning up the confetti. I think we can move on to more important concerns.

I'm speaking now of moving on from point A to point B on the American athletic landscape. Or, to be more precise, from F to B. From Football to Baseball.

I know some of you are in Football withdrawal right now. Being without football for a few months will be tough going, but you can make it. Just stay focused and have faith. If you put some of that faith into baseball, it will make everything better.

To make this transition easier, let me provide you with something I used to use in the classroom when teaching about the kind of thinking that goes into comparing one thing with another. George Carlin's famous routine about "Baseball vs. Football."




Feel better? I hope so. Forget football. Don't even think about basketball or hockey. Think baseball. 

The Cubs. This is the year. I can feel it in my aging bones. The planets are aligning. The baseball gods are smiling. Okay, I'm aware that the Cubs have gone 102 years (since 1908)without winning a World Series. I'm well aware of that fact. 

But I've got this feeling, see. Spring is coming. Things are beginning anew. And this is the year. The Chicago Cubs are going to win it all. I guarantee that. You heard it first, right here. 

More snow is coming this week, but the Cubs (pitchers and catchers) will be in Mesa Sunday, February 13. From the Cubs' website:

Pitchers and catchers report
Feb. 13.
Full squad reports
Feb. 18.
First Spring Training game
Home vs. Athletics, Feb. 27, 1:05 p.m. MT
Opening Day
Home vs. Pirates, April 1, 1:20 p.m. CT

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What Super Bowl? We Got a Hockey Team! Preds 3, Red Wings 0

I know all over the U. S. it's Super Sunday. I know most people are into preparations for a big Super Bowl Party. The beer is iced down and in a few hours they'll have their pulled pork smokin', their hot dogs and burgers grilling', their pizzas bakin', and their hot wings sizzilin'. They've got their green and gold mackinaws on, or their black and gold jerseys all ready. Quite a few are probably spiffin' up their cheese wedge hats or getting their special Steelers face makeup ready for the Big Time.

Here in Nashtown, however, things are a little different. Yeah, plenty here are doing what I said, but we got other things on our minds. I'm talking about hockey.


That's right. Hockey. We got a hockey team. The Preds. Recently, they've been on a 4 game losing slide, but last night, oh, last night, they broke through big time.

If you read this blog, you know I've never been much of a hockey fan. (Gimme a break. I'm from the South, it just isn't in my genes.) But I'm ready to admit, one can learn. After all, that's what the internet is all about. Right?

NM blogger Buck is a true hockey fan. He's been ranting on about the beauty and glory of hockey and the absolute fabulousness of his team since I started reading a few blogs about a year ago. Buck's passion  about the game and his devotion to the Detroit Red Wings is frequently on display, but not to excess. Some of his readers razz him a little about it when he goes on a hockey tear; he's sensitive about that, which earns my respect.

Because of Buck, I started to pay a little more attention to hockey. I mean, I haven't actually studied the game or anything, I just pay a little more attention to my morning skim of the online Tennessean's sports pages and look for news about hockey, and/or the Predators.

Guess what I found this Super morning?

Seems the Preds finally got it together after losing 4 straight. Their goalie, Pekka Rinne, came through with a shut out as the Preds defeated the wondiferous Wings 3-0. The paper's Josh Cooper says,
Rinne's fourth shutout of the season propelled thePredators to a 3-0 victory over the rival Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena. 
According to Cooper, Coach Barry Trotz calls Rinne " the eraser."
In 17 games since returning from a knee injury, Rinne has allowed more than three goals just once and allowed more than two goals just three times. He made 35 saves on Saturday.
Like I said, I'm not quite there yet as a hockey fan. But I know enough to understand that having that puck slammed at you 35 times and stopping it every time ain't no small feat.

In the interest of accurate reporting, I need to note that the Red Wings do have a better over all record. The Preds are 28-18-7 while the Wings are 31-15-6 for the season. Still, we're 2-1-0 against them this year so far.

But now that I've done my duty and brought up the record, here's the thing I still haven't got into, haven't grasped yet about hockey. It's like one of those mysteries of the ancient catholic church that only the ordained priesthood could understand. The laity (that would be me) were doomed to writhe in their ignorance forever because they just couldn't muster the necessary levels of faith and learning to fathom those mysteries.

Ooops. Got a little off track there. What I really wanted to say, is what's up with this tie thing? And the points that go into the rankings?

Oh well. I'll save that for another day. We won. That's what matters most. Right?

Finally, you'll notice that I don't have any pics here of the game. The Tennesseean has a note under each picture connected to the story indicating that you can purchase said pic. Guess they gotta make a buck anyway they can these days.

So, speaking of bucks, and getting back to a specific New Mexico Buck, he's just finished off a week of bad (and I do mean bad weather) in which his cache of cigars froze, and now he hears his beloved Wings have fallen. He must be in a real funk, so I'll just end with this to cheer him up a little:




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fastback Lust: 48 Buick Roadmaster Sedanet

When I was a young lad of 15 in 1955, I began to fantasize. About girls, of course. And cars. I had a learner's permit and had already learned to drive, so in my imagination I thought a lot about the kind of car I might be able to afford as a working teen. (Dad had already said he wouldn't be able to help any with the financing, that I would have to earn enough on my own to make a purchase.)

Since at that point I could only drive an automatic, my fantasies focused on the few 1940 cars then available with that kind of tranny. One of them, a 1948 Buick Roadmaster Sedanet (fastback) with Dynaflow soon took center stage.






Pontiac had hydra-matic fastbacks at that time, but they were still based on the more angular pre war design. While the 48 Buick Specials and Super had that same look, the 48 Buick Roadmaster had the more rounded and modern style that took the front fender line swooping right on back till it met the rear fender. That seems like a minor detail, but think about it for a minute. Once the front fenders met the back ones, there was no going back (unless you count the retro Plymouth Prowler from few years ago--let's not count that, okay?). So, from a styling perspective (historically speaking), this flow through fender thing was a very significant change.


The 48 Buick Special fastback above illustrates my point.

Also, those lesser 48 Buicks didn't have the Dynaflow, Buick's automatic at the time. 1948 Roadmaster Sedanets were/are beautiful cars and costly (even though 7 years old at the time), but seemed in the realm of possibility to my fevered imagination at 15. Everything, as I recall, was fevered in those days.

Why, you may ask, did I conjure up these memories of fastback lust at this time? Yesterday, walking to our Avalon in the hospital parking garage, I saw this.


Hondas are great cars and get positive reviews, but many of the car mags criticized this particular style. It's called the Honda Crosstour. I'm not sure about you, but I like the looks of it. It's that fastback lust again.

To not leave you hanging fire about the resolution of my fantasy, here's what happened. I learned to drive a straight shift and use the clutch like any red blooded American male should do. My choices were then increased tenfold. And technically, the first car I owned that I could actually drive, was one like this, a 48 Chevy Aero, straight shift.


It wasn't an automatic, but as you can see, I did get one thing from the earlier fantasy. A fastback. It had the pre war separate fender style, but it wasn't quite as angular looking as the Pontiac, and, best of all, it was a fastback. Oh yeah. Always liked them. Still do.

Since we had a breakdown in the grocery parking lot yesterday on the way home in our still under warranty Avalon (something electrical, had to be towed), that Crosstour is looking good to me right now.

Ahh. Fastback lust. What can a guy do?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Morning Music: Tony Vice, "Let's Ride into the Sunset Together"

One of the great songs Joyce and I recently discovered via our grandson's interest in a video game called Fallout New Vegas is a cowboy song by Tony Vice, "Let's Ride into the Sunset Together." We both turned 70 last year and celebrated our 50th anniversary in August. Needless to say, we like this song a lot.



Tony's had a long and colorful career. You can listen to some more of his songs on youtube and read about him on his website: RedWing Ranch. The song below is another one I've taken a liking to; it's called "Good Friends Met Along the Trail." I'm thinking not only of all those great friends I met in my real experience but those online as well. Enjoy.

Tuesday Update

Joyce had her first chemotherapy session today. It lasted about 3 hours and involved a cocktail of anti-nausea meds, pain meds, and some really nasty stuff that would pretty much kill everything in her body for awhile.The nurse first gave a very clear explanation about what was going to happen, then she started the drip. When the nasty stuff went in, she stayed right there watching carefully to make sure none of the devilish looking stuff (it's red) didn't leak out. She explained that just a drop or two on the skin could do some serious damage. Thank goodness, Joyce's IV port worked well and there were no problems. She's been sleeping pretty much all the time since we got home. We return to the hospital tomorrow to get a special shot designed to counter some of the destruction the nasty stuff is causing (especially reducing her white blood cell count). If the white cell count gets too low, it could be very dangerous to her. This shot costs something like $3500.

Politics intrudes. As we were leaving the waiting room, I saw a new issue of Time had just been placed on the magazine stand. I looked at the cover and almost gagged.



Time magazine used to be the most respected weekly news magazine. Now it's so partisan, the editors are willing to show us on the front cover that they are simply shills for the Democratic Party. I was already feeling bad and Joyce was feeling a lot worse and then we saw this sickening cover picture.

Ron Futrell over at Breitbart's Big Journalism site, takes us behind the scene and gives us what he calls the view from behind the photo. Check it out. I know you need a laugh after seeing that photo. Futrell doesn't disappoint.